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Violations of God’s Marriage Laws (I)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In our land today there are so many marriage problems; divorce increased 109 percent from 1962 to 1974! In each divorce there is a violation of God's law involved. That being true, then souls are in danger. In addition to that, hearts are saddened in each and every case of divorce. Therefore, I wish to look at this subject, challenging our minds to consider the matter seriously. I hope that we may be able to better understand the subject, so that we may keep ourselves as God would have us and, then, possibly to assist others to avoid the dangers and heartache.

I am well aware of the emotional aspect of this subject and the difficulty of discussing it objectively. However, I challenge each reader to consider the concept and the consequences as objectively as possible. First, try hard to understand the idea-what is involved and the basis for it; secondly, evaluate it which can be done only after one really and accurately understands it; thirdly, think in terms of individual and congregational response to the teachings. It is not an easy subject to deal with, regardless of the position that you hold or the approach you choose. The hardness is due to these facts: (1) so many people are involved; (2) it deals with one of the most important relationships of mankind Yet these factors make it even more reasonable that we try hard to understand and act rightly.

1. God does have a law, regarding marriage. Some deny that we are under "any law" today. They proclaim loudly that we are under "grace." They can and do point to the scriptures, which on the surface seem to support their view: ". . . for ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Rom. 6:14). Other passages Gal. 2:16; Rom. 5:20-21; seem to support that idea.

However, before one accepts that proposition, I would refer him to some other passages which show that this view is not correct: ". . . (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without the law" (1 Cor. 9:21). "Bear ye one another's burden, and fulfil the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (Jas. 1:25). God's grace is extended through teachings (Tit. 2:11-12; Acts 20:32). That grace that brings salvation has appeared and it teaches us to deny some things and to do others. The word of His grace is a source of strength by which we as Christians are to build. That book, which is a part of His grace, will be the standard by which we are judged (Jn. 12:48; Jas. 2:12). So, it is a "perfect" law and it gives freedom; thus it is a book or law of "liberty." He who will reject that and continue to proclaim that we are not under law but under grace is not going to be helped by God's grace, until and unless he has a change of heart.

God's law on marriage consists of all He has said on the subject that is applicable today! Therefore, we need, I suggest, to gather all that He has said on the subject and then separate that which is not applicable today. For example, we see from Matt. 19:8 that some things were given because of hard hearts; likewise, in 1 Cor. 7:26 we are told that some things were for the "present distress;" thus they would not be applicable today. Passages that are to be considered as being in this law are: Gen. 2:24-25; Matt. 19:4-9; Mk. 10:2-12; Lk. 16:18; Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:1-6. Other passages may be relevant too. But, surely these passages are adequate to convince the unprejudiced mind that we are under a "law" today. It is the law of Christ.

Some of the main points of that law then are: (1) One male and one female being joined together with God having a part in making and establishing that relationship (Matt. 19:6; Mk. 10:9). They are to leave father and mother and cleave unto one another and this is to be for life; (2) There is a three-fold purpose in marriage. Companionship is the first mentioned (Gen. 2:18). Procreation-bearing children-is a second purpose to be achieved in marriage (1 Tim. 2:15; 5:14). To prevent immorality is a third reason for marriage (1 Cor. 7:2-5). (3) Not to put away one the other in the marriage relationship is an important part of the Lord's Law for man today (1 Cor. 7:10).

From the above we conclude that God does have a law for people today to govern and regulate men and women in this primary relationship. This relationship is the most important of all relationships which every person is a part of in our society. This relationship functions to mold and shape the character of each individual; as the family goes, so goes the society. God, being concerned about the people, their state here and now, and their eternal destiny, has given rules, laws, or regulations to assist man in his' character-building and earthly behavior which affects his whole being both temporarily and eternally.

II. Violations can occur! Vows taken can be violated. As two people are joined together in marriage, there is an exchanging of vows. Each person promises to take and recognize the other as his lawfully wedded spouse. They promise to love, cherish, and care for each other in all kinds of circumstances. They promise to "forsake" all others and to keep themselves for each other exclusively. These promises are made before other witnesses and usually before God-that is, mention of His name is made in many cases but of course not by all. However, Christians recognize that God has a part in the marriage if it is a real marriage, even if God's name is not mentioned. The scriptures point to the seriousness of taking a "vow" and then not keeping it (Ecc. 5:4-5; Deut. 23:21-22).

Scriptures are violated both positively and negatively when a divorce occurs! Jesus says if a man puts away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, he causes her to commit "adultery" (Mt. 5:32). He also says that if a man puts away his wife, except it be for fornication and marries another, he commits adultery and he who marries the one put away commits adultery (Matt. 19:9). In Matt. 5:32 when Jesus said that when a man puts away his wife without fornication he causes her to commit adultery, He evidently was saying that she is placed in a condition that is very likely to cause her to remarry and thus "commit" adultery. Some have tried to make the Lord say the moment that a woman is put away for no cause of her own she is guilty of adultery. That is neither reasonable nor scriptural.

Paul, expanding somewhat upon what Jesus had said, in I Cor. 7 said that neither the husband nor the wife is to "depart" (v. 10). "But," he continued, if a departure does take platc, then "let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband; . . ." (v. 11). The same principles apply to the husband, as is stated in the last clause of the verse. He, also, deals with the believer and the unbeliever's relationship and obligations and privileges (vs. 12-16). The believer is obligated to remain in the relationship with the unbeliever if the unbeliever wishes to retain this relationship. However, each individual is to place the Lord first (Matt. 10:37-39; Lk. 14:25-33); if one cannot maintain this relationship and serve the Lord too, then he is to choose to serve the Lord. The believer is not to "depart" from his unbelieving spouse, but if the unbelieving spouse depart for this reason, then the believer is to remain faithful to God and allow the unbeliever to "depart." If a spouse dies, the living can remarry "only in the Lord" (1 Cor. 7:39; Rom. 7:2-3).

With this information before us, I suggest that the following are violations of God's law on marriage. (1) Pre-marital sex, which is called "fornication" in the scriptures, is a violation because marriage is the only acceptable place for sexual activity. (2) Extra-martial sex is a violation because it brings in a person other than the two that have the rightful duty and privilege to each other. (3) Post-maritial sex is condemned for the same reason stated above: God allows sexual activity only between a man and woman who are married to each other. (4) Homosexual activities are condemned; they are violations of God's law on marriage which approves of a male and female being joined together so as to have sexual activity. All of these acts are engaged in by many in our land today, and some "religious teachers" have spoken out in favor of accepting people into the fellowship of the saints who so act.

III. Consequences of the violations: To violate these rules, any one or all of them, is to be guilty of sin which causes a soul to be lost (1 Cor. 6:9-11; Eph. 5:3-5; Heb. 13:4; Gal. 5:19-21). These passages clearly state that any of these violations is a transgression and will keep one from heaven, unless they are forgiven!

To have the forgiveness of sins, one must meet God's requirements; His terms of salvation. If one is a child of God and violates any of these laws, he must: (1) repent of his sin; (2) he must confess that sin; (3) he must ask God .to forgive him (Acts 8:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-10). If one is not a child of God, to be forgiven of his sin, he must: (1) believe in Jesus Christ (Jn. 8:24); (2) repent of his sins (Acts 17:30-31); (3) confess his faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-39); (4) be baptized in water for the remission of sins, to have them washed away by the blood of Christ, to become a member of the body of Christ (Acts 2:37-41; 22:16; 1 Cor. 12:13). Unless God's terms of salvation are complied with, a man's sins will remain with him till the judgment. And if they are not forgiven prior to that time, they'll cause us misery for an eternity (Rev. 22:11; 20:12-15).

Beloved, it is clear that this subject is one of eternal importance. I pray that you and I will search the scriptures and our lives to see if we are clean in the eyes of God because we have met His terms of pardon. If we have not, then we need to be persuaded to commit ourselves to His will. Having done that, then we need to go to work helping others to gain the knowledge and then the faith necessary to comply with His will. Remember that His grace has brought us the revelation of His word and His power and goodness has preserved it for us. However, we must read, understand, and apply it in our lives if we are to profit from it.

Truth Magazine XXI: 43, pp. 682-684
November 3, 1977

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Becoming the Man God Wants You To Be #6, October 17, 2020: Servanthood

What Does The Bible Say About Servanthood?

The Bible has much to say about having a servant’s heart. One of those “teaching moments” that Jesus had with his apostles was when the mother of James and John came to Jesus to ask a favor. Here is the Scripture account:

20 Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. 21 “What is your request?” he asked. She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” 22 But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” 23 Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.” 24 When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. 25 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:21-28, NLT)

Consider also the following passages:

Luke 22:27 ESV: For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

John 12:26 ESV: If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

Ephesians 5:21 ESV: Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

1 Peter 2:16 ESV: Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

Mark 9:35 ESV: And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

Mark 10:42-45 ESV: And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45 ESV: For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV: For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Galatians 5:13 ESV: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

1 Peter 4:10 ESV: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

Philippians 2:5-8 ESV: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Matthew 23:11 ESV: The greatest among you shall be your servant.

How Does This Contrast With What The World Say About Servanthood?

“The world encourages personal ambition and pride. As the saying goes, ‘He who dies with the most toys wins.’ We live to compete and succeed. We want to be first. We want to be the boss. Our bumper stickers boast of our achievements. Our walls are decorated by our diplomas.

Is it possible that God desires something far greater for us than our own personal ambition? Yes it is, and yes He does. This greater thing that God wills is to be found in the most unlikely of places, a place to which most of us would never look at all: servanthood.

The world does not think highly of servants. To be a servant is to be in the lowliest of positions. No one boasts of their job as a servant. In fact, most people would be ashamed to be called servant. However, we do not live for the opinions or applause of man, but of God. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, what does God say on the subject? What does the Bible say about servanthood?” (https://www.compellingtruth.org/servanthood.html).

Here Are Some Real Actionable Steps We Can Take!

Leadership authority, Dr. John Maxwell, says that “to embody the quality of servanthood, a true leader:

1. “Puts Other’s Ahead of His Own Agenda….

2. “Possesses the Confidence to Serve….

3. “Initiates Service to Others….

4. “Is Not Position-Conscious….

5. “Serves Out of Love….”

He then suggests, “To improve your servanthood do the following:

  • Perform small acts of kindness for others that show you care
  • Learn to walk slowly through the crowd…. Make it your goal to connect with others by circulating among them and talking to people. Focus on each person you meet…..Make your agenda getting to know each person’s needs, wants and desires….
  • Move into action….Begin serving with your body and your heart will eventually catch up….

(The 21 Indispensable Qualities Of A Leader, John C. Maxwell, pp. 136-139)

Conclusion

We can all probably think of people in our lives who have demonstrated the characteristic of servanthood. I always think of my Dad who selflessly served others as he preached the gospel for forty-nine years (1957-2006). He preached in many small, struggling churches and worked as a welder, to support himself as he preached. He was not one to get discouraged easily and was a great role model.

In her book When Character Was King, Peggy Noonan gives many examples in the life of former President Ronald Reagan that demonstrated his servant’s heart. Also, in an article titled, “The Quiet Grace of Ronald Wilson Reagan” by Craig Shirley and Frank Donatelli, that appeared in the October 19, 2016 Wall Street Journal, they give an example of his personal grace, “Over the course of his life, the Gipper sent thousands of letters to fans, friends and even opponents, many of whom remember his personal grace. During his stay in the hospital, recovering from the assassination attempt, nurses were astonished to find Reagan one day on his hands and knees, cleaning up some water he had spilled. The leader of the free world was wiping the floor so no one else would have to do it” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-quiet-grace-of-ronald-wilson-reagan-1476831665).

Serving others is a recognized step in the recovery process. In the Celebrate Recovery Eight  Principles, Principle 8 says, “Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.” Step Twelve of the Twelve Steps of Recovery says, “Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” This step is based upon Galatians 6:1, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” This is all about giving back; about servanthood!

I hope these thoughts will help you in becoming the man that God wants you to be. Thanks for reading ….

Randy

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Disciplines of Life: Lesson #12 – Discontentment

“And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord” (Numbers 11:1)



Introduction
We continue our series on the Disciplines of Life by looking this month at the Discipline of Discontentment. As we have pointed out in previous articles in this series, these are called “disciplines” because they are not acquired without deliberate effort. Discipline is “training that corrects molds or perfects the mental faculties or moral character” (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, p. 360).

The Pilgrim’s Progress is   a religious allegory written by English author John Bunyan, and published in two parts in 1678 and 1684. The work is a symbolic vision of the good man’s pilgrimage through life. At one time second only to the Bible in popularity, The Pilgrim’s Progress is the most famous Christian allegory still in print. It was first published in the reign of Charles II and was largely written while its Puritan author was imprisoned for offenses against the Conventicle Act of 1593 (which prohibited the conducting of religious services outside the bailiwick of the Church of England). (Patricia Bauer, Assistant Editor, Encyclopedia Britannica) (https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Pilgrims-Progress)
 
V. Raymond Edman begins his chapter on discontentment by looking at an excerpt from this work by Bunyan. He says, “Bunyan paints a colorful portrait of contentment in his description of the shepherd boy in the Valley of Humiliation, ‘Now as they were going along and talking they espied a boy feeding his father’s sheep. The boy was in very mean clothes, but of a very fresh and well-favored countenance; and as he sat by himself he sang: ‘Hark,’ said Mr. Great-hart, ‘to what the shepherd’s boy saith.’ So they hearkened, and he said:
‘He that is down need fear no fall;
He that is low, no pride;
He that is humble, ever shall
Have God to be his guide.
I am content with what I have,
Little be it or much;
And, Lord, contentment still I crave,
Because Thou savest such.
Fullness to such a burden is,
That go on pilgrimage;
Here little, and hereafter bliss
Is best from age to age!’
 
‘Then said their guide, ‘Do you hear him? I will dare to say that this boy lives a merrier life, and wears more of that herb called heart’s-ease in his bosom, than he that is clad in silk and velvet.’”
 
“Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1st Timothy 6:6) is the divine commentary on this wholesome and healthful attitude of the soul. On the contrary, the danger of discontentment is written large in the Scriptures. Is it fair to infer that godliness without contentment can be great loss?”(pp. 173-174). There are many things in this world that might tend to create discontentment in us, especially in this time where we are so concerned about the COVID pandemic, political and social unrest, and the approaching election. Let’s take a look at some reasons why discontentment is a discipline that the Christian should monitor and control.  
 
Discontentment Disregards the Divine Presence Promised to the Lord’s Own.
 
Consider God’s relationship with Moses and the Children of Israel. He led them by a pillar of cloud during the day and by a pillar of fire at night (Ex. 13:21-22). He defended them with this same pillar (Ex. 14:19-20). He showed them where to pitch their tents & when they should journey (Num. 9:15-23). The Lord had made a strong promise to Moses (Ex. 33:12-23). Throughout the long wilderness journey, Moses “kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27, NLT). But the Children of Israel complained (Num. 11:1). They forgot God who had done great things in Egypt (Ps. 106:21).
 
Consider the promises made by Solomon in his Proverbs, to those who seek the wisdom of God:
“5Then you will discern the fear of the Lord And discover the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, 8 Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones. 9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you, 12 To deliver you from the way of evil…” (Proverbs 2:5-12, NASB)
 
Consider what we find In New Testament times. Jesus promises to always be with us (Mt. 28:18-20).  Jesus promises to send His Spirit to the apostles (Jn. 14:15-17). When we consider all that Scripture has to say about how He is always with His people, discontentment disregards those statements of affirmation. As Edman concludes, “Sweet, wonderful, gracious Presence of the Lord! With us by His Spirit, whom we disregard when we are discontent!” (Edman, p. 175).
 
Discontentment Despises the Promises of God.
 
Moses reminds the Children of Israel that they had been led out of Egypt by the powerful hand of God to the land promised to their fathers.
 “3 Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by [c]a powerful hand the Lord brought you out from this place. And nothing leavened shall be eaten. 4 On this day in the month of Abib, you are about to go forth. 5 It shall be when the Lord brings you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall [d]observe this rite in this month” (Exodus 13:3-5).
 
But dissatisfaction gripped their spirit:
“Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe in His word, 25 But grumbled in their tents; They did not listen to the voice of the Lord” (Psalms 106:23-24).
 
Their memories selectively only remember the good parts of their time spent in
Egyptian bondage
“4 The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? 5 We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, 6 but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna” (Numbers 11:4-6).
 
We need to be careful, lest we express discontent during troubled times. We need to maintain a positive disposition and emulate the Apostle Paul’s attitude:
“I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:11-13).
 
Discontentment Discounts the Provision God Makes for Us.
 
Daily bread, received in the form of manna was initially much appreciated:
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction….  14 When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine flake-like thing, fine as the frost on the ground. 15 When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded, ‘Gather of it every man as much as he should eat; you shall take an omer apiece according to the number of persons each of you has in his tent.’” 17 The sons of Israel did so, and some gathered much and some little. 18 When they measured it with an omer, he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no lack; every man gathered as much as he should eat” (Exodus 16:4, 14-18).
 
But eventually they tired of the manna and greedily desired meat:
4 The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? 5 We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, 6 but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.” (Numbers 11:4-6)
 
We must be careful lest our taste for the Word of God become less appealing to us as did the taste of the manna change from the taste of honey to the taste of fresh oil (Numbers 11:8).
 
Discontentment Displeases God (Numbers 11:1).
 
Though Scripture tells us that the Lord “delights in blessing his servant with peace” (Psalms 35:27) and that He “satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:9), it is possible to be a disappointment to God by not believing Him. For faith is a very important characteristic that He looks for in His children (Hebrews 11:6).
 
Of Israel it is said, 
“The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them. Instead, they grumbled in their tents and refused to obey the Lord” (Psalms 106:24-25).
 
Unbelief among His own people in Nazareth caused Jesus to marvel and limited his opportunity to do mighty works in their presence!
“Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them.  And he was amazed at their unbelief” (Mark 6:4-6, NLT).
 
What about us? We have the Lord’s assurances of His presence, promises and provisions but do we displease Him by our lack of faith when we face a little inconvenience in our lives?
 
Discontentment May Be a Natural Part of Our Disposition, but Contentment Can Become a Major Characteristic of Our Christian Life.

The Apostle Paul serves as an excellent example, for he said,
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13, NLT).
 
“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content” (2Timothy 6:6-8).
 
Conclusion

“The discipline of discontentment is to turn from a complaining spirit, and the criticism that corrodes, from the dissatisfaction that displeases God, to a thankful attitude and a ‘merry heart that doeth good like medicine (Proverbs 17:22), to the faith and praise that bring pleasure to the heart of the Almighty” (Edman, p. 179)

The discipline of discontentment is to be “be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’ 6 So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me’” (Hebrews 13:5-6, NLT).

(Adapted from: The Disciplines of Life by V. Raymond Edman, pp. 173-179)

Randy

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Reprint of The Vanburen Instructor, April 18, 2004

The Van Buren Instructor                                         
A Publication of the Van Buren church of Christ

Meeting at 711 Access Road in Van Buren, AR. 72956;

Service times Sun: 9:30 and 10:20 AM; 6:00 PM; Wed. 7:00 PM Study   

471-5801......www.vbchurchofchrist.org             Visitors Welcome ....Members Expected!

Volume 6     Number 16    April 18, 2004                                 

   






Bitterness: A Bullet of Brutality!
 

 Acts 8:23: "For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity."
    Ephesians 4:31: "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
  Each of us is likely to be treated in a way that we perceive to be unfair along life's pilgrimage, perhaps a number of times. How we react to such action determines to a great extent the amount of happiness, pleasure and satisfaction we experience in this journey as well as how we nurture others.
  Bitterness can easily "spring up" in the heart of the person who en counters unfair and or harsh treatment.  Bitterness will affect us greatly and practically every other person who crosses our path.  The Bible points to bitterness as something to be weeded out of our lives  at the earliest stages and not allowed to develop, because the consequences are so great. Read carefully the inspired writer's words:
  Hebrews 12:15: "looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;"
  Its development is from the very small "root" to the destructive poisonous plant fully developed ‑‑ causing much trouble and defiling many.
  1. In many of our streets today, bullets are piercing the hearts and life support systems of many, much before their time.  We read of people having bullets enter houses and even taking their lives while they lie in bed or play in their yards, even while being held in the arms of their grandmother on their steps.  A great deal is being said and resources spent on trying to restrict the purchase of guns, which I have no objection to, but feel that it is foolish to think that such restrictions will make a dent in the crime committed by guns.  It's what is  being fed into the minds of children  and a failure to help them learn how  to deal successfully with unpleasant  experience, that's producing the bullets of brutality.
  2. Bitterness is not only a critical destructive mind set for the person who has it, but it is a bullet that pierces the lives of all  who touch that person.  His/her behavior affects many others.
               
How to avoid bitterness:
  1. See the destructive forces and consequences of it.  Look first of all in the Bible and read of its danger and consequences of a spiritual nature.

  2. Look around you and see others who have developed this in their minds and see how miserable they are and how they affect others.

  3. Determine to look at the positive aspects of adversity ‑‑ Job,  Peter, Paul and others.  Yes, one will suffer some at the hands of the wicked. At times well meaning people will say things and do things that cut us to the heart.  But remember that we are not the first to so suffer ‑‑ see Abel, Jeremiah, Christ and His apostles and early disciples. The righteous always wins the battle, however, in the long run. Read 2 Cor. 4:17; Rom.8:16‑18.
Ponder their message seriously.
  Remember what James says: "But if you have bitter envy and self‑seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above,.." (Jas. 3:14‑15).  ‑‑William C. Sexton
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    Those to Serve Today
Announcements: Les Davis
Song Leader: Sean Cavander
Prayer: Don Douglas
Lord’s Supper Talk: Ottie Talkington
Scripture Reading: Keith Hernandez
Lesson: Burl Young
Closing Prayer: Ellis Westbrooks
                 Lord’s Supper Table
Bread:  James Stein Fruit of the Vine: Jeff Bryant
Assisting:Derek Goodin and Ellis Westbrooks



News/Notes/Quotes

    Welcome to all visitors with us today. We are so happy you came to worship the God of heaven. Please fill out a visitor’s card and place it in the collection plate. Please come back any anytime. If we can be of help, in studying the Bible, please let us know. We’ll gladly study any Bible subject with you, and try to do it at your convenience and place of your choosing.
 
Bible Reading for Today:
Sunday morning: See Burl Young   
 
Those who are sick, Prayer List:
 
  Brother Hugh Jeffery discovered last week he has COPD, and must take daily treatments. Keep him in you prayers, please

Jeff Bryant’s father, is still in  Saint Edwards, Room 5414, taking Therapy. I’m told the last two days had shown improvement. Let us keep him and the family in our prayers.
 
Barry Jones, It was so good to have brother Barry Jones home and able to attend services last Sunday. Let us keep him in our prayers, that the healing will be complete, and his life will be greatly improved.
 
     Geneva Sexton, had to miss her 6th chemo. treatment Friday due to a low blood count. She had been feeling very weak and could hardly stay awake. She said the first part of the week, she slept about 19 hours a day. Therefore, she still needs your prayers. Lois and I greatly appreciate your concern and prayer in her behalf.­
 
VERY GOOD NEWS:  we have a new sister in the Lord Jesus Christ. Haley Herandez was baptized last Sunday night. We know that angels in heaven rejoiced (Lk. 15:7, 10). We all rejoice with her, also! We know her mother and father are thrilled by her good action! 
 
 
       GOSPEL MEETINGS
Yours  truly says THANS for your prayers. The meeting in Saint Joseph MO, April 11-16 went well. Lois and I enjoyed being able to worship with people we had not seen for awhile, as well as meet some new people. We preached the truth, and it seemed to be received well. We had a safe trip home.                    
Our Meeting with Pat Farish, April 25-30
     Next Sunday is the starting date for the spring series of lesson . Let us make this a week of prayerful efforts to contact out neighbors, friends, relatives to attend. The following topics will be explored, examined in light of the Bible.
 
   Sunday morning, The Solution, Psalm 119:11
   Sunday evening, "What Doth Hinder?"
  Monday, "Words, Whereby Thou Shalt Be Sav­ed"
  Tuesday, Joseph, In The House Of Potiph­ar
  Wednesday, The Thief On The Cross ‑‑ And You
  Thursday, "Then Cometh The Devil"
   Friday, Why Do You Wait?

Those out-of-town:
     Randy Cavender plans to be preaching in Tahlequah, OK today, both services.  Remember him in your prayers, also.
      I’ll be preaching at Waveland this morning and at Bethel at 4:30, and try to be here at 6:00 PM. Lois plans to be with me.
            Talkingtons, Ottie and Sue, are to be out of town today, I’m told.
            Les and Stephanie Davis and the children are to be visiting out of town today I understand.
      There was a work day at the building yesterday. I understand that 5 men and two women showed and did some work. I trust that we all are grateful for their efforts.
      Wednesday night study:  Let us all remember the Wednesday study at 7:”30 PM. Classes for all. __________________________________
The Van Buren Church of Christ
711 Access Road
Van Buren, AR 72956