Thoughts on life and Scripture...

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Goat Story and A Good News Story

We have an ugly goat. She is three years old. She has never been able to get pregnant. Her hooves are always in a bad condition, even though she is hoof trimmed regularly. Since she didn't get pregnant this year we decided to sell her for meat. We had a buyer, but when he saw the goat he decided she was too old. So we sold him another goat. Our ugly goat lived another day. We were going to butcher this goat and use the meat for ourselves, but we never got around to it. Then we had another buyer. When they came to the farm, I caught the goat for them. The two men had their butchering knives ready to go. But when I caught her, I checked her just to be sure she wasn't pregnant. To my dismay, she was developing an udder. I couldn't sell her now. How could she do this to us? I sold the two men, two of my other goats. Old Ugly is laughing now. She is still alive. Soon she will be kidding. She has escaped death a number of times now. She might think that she has nine lives. But death will get her one day.

This story leads me to consider a spiritual lesson. We all must die and then face judgment. We may escape death numerous times. But eventually death will get a hold on us. Every time we have a close brush with death, we should consider our souls. Are we ready to die? How can we be ready? Every single human is a guilty sinner. We have broken all of God's law in some form. On our own we have no hope of eternal life. God is holy and just and cannot let us go free. Our crimes must be punished. But there is hope. For God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus to come to earth as a man, to live a perfect life and to die on a cross to pay the debts that sinners owe to God. If we repent of our sins and trust Jesus Christ for forgiveness and righteousness, we will be forgiven and be given eternal life. All that come to God for grace and mercy through Jesus, He will receive with open arms. This is good news for unworthy sinners like us.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Alexander the Not-So-Very-Great

 "Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city."
Proverbs 16:32
Alexander the Great conquered much of the known world in a very short time. His empire extended from Greece to Egypt to India. Many kings and kingdoms fell before his skill as a general. Yet it was no army that conquered Alexander. It was Alexander who conquered Alexander. His lack of self control destroyed him. One way this lack of self control was expressed was in his uncontrollable anger. One example of this is when He quarreled with one of his friends who had saved his life in battle. During this heated exchange of words, Alexander killed him with a spear. Afterwards, Alexander was filled with grief and  he even tried to kill himself. The world calls Alexander the Great, but he does not deserve the title. Anyone who can conquer his temper is better than a man who can conquer many kingdoms. We'll look at a few reasons why one who can conquer his anger is better than one who conquers a city.
It is more difficult to conquer our sins, especially anger, than it is to conquer a whole kingdom. In fact it is impossible. True victory over sin can only begin with being born again by the Holy Spirit. Even after this great event, sin dies hard. It is a most stubborn enemy. When you think it is subdued, it attacks again in a most unlikely place. The Christian must wage a constant, bitter war with sin. This war is more difficult than wars against nations and people. But by the power of the Holy Spirit and the use of the means of grace, such as prayer, Bible study, and listening to the Word being preached, we can begin the conquest of such a terrible enemy. I say 'begin to' because no sin is truly conquered until we die and are glorified.  Alexander won some small victories in his lifetime, but failed against the strongest enemy; his sinful nature.
It is better to conquer our anger than to conquer a city because our anger is a more destructive foe. Anger ruins families, marriages, churches, and countries. Anger breeds more anger and violence. A little spark of  anger can became a wild, out of control fire. Anger makes people do foolish things. Anger clouds our mind in a heavy fog. We say words we wish we could take back. We may even injure and kill some one in anger. Uncontrollable anger ruins the one with the temper and those around them. An angry person is defenceless against temptation. Anger destroys much more than wars and battles. It is, therefore, much better to conquer our anger because it is so destructive.
It is better to conquer our tempers than to conquer a city, because it bring a much greater benefit. Patience can calm quarrels and strife. Self control can prevent a war. Being slow to anger can bless and heal friendships, families, and nations. Patience can overlook an offence. Thinking before we speak in anger can rescue us from all sorts of sin. Conquering our tempers will bring us peace in our hearts as we walk with God and trust Him to deal with the sins of others. Being slow to anger is a quality of God. When we are slow to anger, we are acting like our Father in heaven. Conquering our tempers will give us assurance that we are children of our Heavenly Father, for such a virtue is impossible to obtain on our own. The benefits of conquering our tempers are so great. Conquering a city has very few benefits and many negative impacts.
The conquerors of sin are the truly great people in the eyes of God.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A God of Seeing

"The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good."
Proverbs 15:3
God sees all things. God can see all things because He is everywhere at the same time. Every thing that is done on this earth is seen by God. No one can escape from the gaze of the Lord. Every good deed done is seen by God. Every evil deed done is seen by God. Even if no one ever sees and knows your deeds, be assured, God sees them. God will punish the evil that is done and will reward the good that is done. How can sinners escape from a Judge that sees all their crimes? "If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord who could stand?" Psalm 130:3  There is no hope of escape from the God who sees all but ,thankfully, the next verse give us hope. "But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared." verse 4. God's omniscience is not just a warning and terror to sinners, but a comfort for his people who are washed in the blood of Jesus. God sees their good deeds done in love and for His glory. They may toil alone for the Lord, without the praise of people. They may suffer for Jesus' sake forgotten by this world. They may have unknown sorrows and pains. God sees. He knows. He cares. He is a comfort and will reward in His good time. This is what Hagar found when God met her in the wilderness. She said, "You are a God of seeing," for she said, "Truly here I have seen Him who looks after me." Genesis 16:13
"Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD; how much more the hearts of the children of man!"
Proverbs 15:9
This proverbs continues the truth found in verse 3. But it goes beyond the external actions, to the internal motives and thoughts of the inner person. Sheol is the place of the dead. The word Abaddon means destruction. It refers to the torments of hell. The Lord's gaze on us doesn't end when we die. Those who have died and gone into Hell are still seen by God. Even death will not hide us from God. And if God can see the spirits of those who have died, then surely He can see the every thought and desire of the heart. We cannot fool God. He sees through our hypocrisy. He knows when we don't mean the prayers we offer up. The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and God knows and sees the depths of that wickedness. God also sees the broken heart which grieves over sin. God sees the heart that is sad because of its struggle to walk godly. God understands us better than we understand ourselves. This is be a great comfort to us who belong to Jesus Christ by faith. 
These two proverbs show how a knowledge of the Lord will bring wisdom. Proverbs 9:10 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight." Knowing that God can see all things--even our hearts and that He is every where present can produce a holy fear and reverence in a sinner that can lead to his conversion. After we are converted we must continue to grow in our knowledge of the Holy One. As we do so, we will increase in wisdom.  Knowing we are under the eyes of the Holy God will keep us from sin and encourage us to do good. It will be a source of comfort and encouragement. We need to cry out for more faith so we can see the invisible God as we go about our day to day activities. If we should desire wisdom, then seek to know more of the attributes of God. Study them diligently. Study them frequently. When you come to know your God better, you will find that you will increase in wisdom.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Mother's Day Post

This is a special post for Mother's day. Here are some things that my kids love about their mother.

Caleb: One thing he loves about mom is that she helps him make different projects. He loves Mom's sense of humor, especially when she calls them stinkers.

Isaac: He love his mom especially because she teaches him math and he loves math. He is thankful for the hard work that his mom does to make him nice clothes.

Anna: She says Mommy makes pretty dress for me and I love pretty dresses. Anna loves Mommy's good cooking. Mommy's love for me is seen in the food and dresses she makes for me.

Silas: He loves his pretty and funny mommy. He likes it when mommy reads books to him.

Leah: goo goo da da ba ba ma ma oo aha ah. This is what Leah said and I will try translate it for you.
Leah wants to say she loves her mommy. Her mommy takes such good care of her. My diapers are changed. She gives me good food.

So you see Fenna is a great mom. Her children rise and call her blessed. Many women do great things, but she surpasses them all. Happy Mother's day Fenna

Happy Mother's day to my mom also. Thanks for all the blessings that God has given to me though you. Hope you have a blessed day.

 Love Brad

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Work Like an Ox

"Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox."
Proverbs 14:4
   This proverb uses the farming practices of the people in Israel's day to teach us a lesson. An ox needs to be taken care of. He needs food and water every day. He needs his stall cleaned. If he becomes sick, he needs treatment. His hooves need a trim every so often. This is a lot of work. Every day of the year  the ox needs your care and attention. All the work may lead  one to consider getting rid of the ox. Sell him or eat him. No more work filling his manger with food. No more mucking out his stall. Maybe without him around you can relax and have some fun. But before you sell the ox consider the last part of the proverb. The ox is used to plow your field. You need him to get the fields ready for planting. No one could plow as good as an ox. His hard work in spring would greatly improve your chances of a large harvest in the fall. In the fall the ox would be used to thresh the grain as well. So without the ox, your harvest would suffer and poverty would come upon you quickly. Wisdom realizes that all the hard and unpleasant work of taking care of the ox is worth it in the end.
So how can we apply this now, in our time? I don't know anybody here in our country that plows with an ox and most people don't even live on a farm. I believe this proverb's lesson is similar to our modern proverb, "No pain no gain." In our jobs this is the case. We need to work hard to make a profit. We need to do the unpleasant jobs in order for the business to succeed. We have to sacrifice. The easy way is not the way to success and good results. This truth can be seen in the home. Without children, our homes are cleaner and quieter. Without children we may have more money in the bank. But without the hard and sometimes unpleasant work of raising kids, we will never know the great joys of having children. Children are really worth the time and work we put into them. This principle is also seen in the ministries of the church. They all involve difficult, continual, and costly work in order for there to be a great harvest. Missionaries often work for years before there are any conversions. Elders have to work hard at teaching, rebuking, and shepherding for there to be godly growth in the lives of the church members. I am sure you can see how this proverb can apply to many other areas of life.
God's wisdom teaches us to toil and labour in the tasks that He has given to us. When we do, God will bless the work of our hands. Avoiding hard work or being lazy is the way of fools.
2 Thessalonians 3:10b-12, "If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living."
1 Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Faithful Messenger

"A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful envoy brings healing."
Proverbs 13:17
 During the US-Mexican war, the future Confederate general Robert E Lee had an important message that was to be given to his general. He traveled over mountainous terrain covered with sharp, volcanic rocks during a storm in the night. When he reached the general's camp, he was told the general had moved on. So he re-crossed the awful terrain to where he was told the general had moved to. Yet again on arrival he was told the general was not there. So he again had to re-cross the difficult ground. This time he found the general and gave him the important message which helped the army gain victory. For his trouble Lee had cuts, bruises and weariness, but also the praise of his general who said of Lee's trek, " the greatest feat of physical strength and moral courage performed by any individual, to my knowledge, pending the campaign." This is an example and illustration of the proverb we are looking at today.
A messenger is someone who had great responsibility. His task is to go to whom he is sent and faithfully and accurately give the message entrusted to him regardless of what the reaction would be. His was not always a easy task, especially if the message was not a positive one. Often people take out their anger concerning the message on the messenger. Or, as in the case of David's messengers in 2 Samuel 10, the messengers could be mistreated because the message is misunderstood. The messenger's task was important. Failing in his task could have grave consequences. A messenger who changed the message or failed to deliver it could do much damage. A wicked messenger would surely be found out by the one who sent him. You can be sure that the messenger would lose his job or his life. Whatever would happen, trouble would come to him as the proverb says. There are great consequences for betraying someone's confidence in you. On the other hand a faithful messenger would find favour from the one who sent him. His faithful work would bring blessings to those who employed him. One who faithfully discharges his duties and responsibilities will bring a positive and healthy atmosphere, free from distrust.
The applications of this proverb can be two-fold. 1) It is important when we are given responsibilities to faithfully and honestly carry them out without regard for self. The greater the trust given to us, the greater our diligence to keep that trust. It is well that employees should learn this as it will benefit them much in the workplace. 2) This is a principle that can be applied to all Christians and then specifically to preachers, teachers and evangelists. All Christians are called to be ambassadors for Christ. We are given a message by God for this world. We have the responsibility to tell others of this gospel message.  We must get the message right without changing it in the slightest. We must give the message regardless of the consequences. This is not only applicable for evangelism, but also for the teaching of God's word. God has given us what He want us to know. We simply need to take that message and bring it to people. We can't pick which parts of the message we like or dislike--no, the whole counsel of God must be proclaimed. And when it is, then there is healing. Our hearts are sanctified by the truth of God's word. Lives, families, and churches are healed through the Holy Spirit working through His word. Souls find new life as the gospel is preached. But to the one who misrepresents, mistreats, abuses, or neglects God's truth, there can only be trouble ahead of him. God will deal with them as He sees fit. God has made us messengers and gave us His message, let us be faithful unto death to discharge our duties and we will receive a crown of life and a rich reward.