Before We Criticize

Yesterday I picked up my friend Peter Kennedy. As we drove off, the “ding-ding-ding” warning sounded, and I said to Peter, “Seatbelt, Brother.” He said, “I have my seatbelt on.”

I looked. He did.

I didn’t.

I had a good laugh over that!

There’s a lesson in that

How human it is to be more conscious of others’ perceived faults than our own.

“Why,” Jesus asked, “do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? . . . . You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3, 5).

The Pharisee in Jesus’ parable prayed in the temple, “God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

“I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get”

Big Me, little you. O what a good boy am I!

God was not impressed.

The attitude God can bless

But the tax collector, standing nearby, humbly confessed, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” It was that man who went home a forgiven man, Jesus said, while the Pharisee did not (Luke 18:9-14).

Humility goes a long way with God.

Pride gets nowhere.

 

humility-tagged

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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A Video Every Engaged Couple Should See

I believe in premarital counseling. Young couples need all the help they can get.

They need to understand what their vows really mean: “for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish; till death do us part.”

Down the marital road troubles will come. What then? Will the vows hold?

Sara and I stood before Ray Beeson on July 11, 1969, as he officiated at our wedding. Ray has been married to my sister Doris for 67 years.

Now Doris has advanced Alzheimer’s, as did my other sister Sue Porter who died last April.

Please watch the attached video of Ray and Doris as they go through this hard but blessed experience . . .

Together.

 

No, Thanks!

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Please buy our stuff!

Recently a catalog arrived in our mailbox, featuring furniture, dishes, flatware, decorative items for the home, etc.

The best words I can think of to describe this merchandise are gaudy and pricey.

Reminds me of a story my dad told. After a cowboy visited Neiman Marcus department store in downtown Dallas he remarked, “I never knew there were so many things I don’t need.”

The cure for discontent

I’m impressed with these passages from the apostle Paul:

“. . . I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am . . . I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.  If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:6-8).

Developing a satisfied soul

In our consumer-oriented culture, does getting more and more make us happier and happier?

Paul was a truly happy man. He said, “I have learned to be content . . . .”

It’s something we must learn.

There’s nothing in that catalog I want.

But there is something you and I would do well to desire.

Contentment.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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God in the Stern

Jimitri and Ruby Green’s two-year-old son Deuce was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.

In his email below which arrived yesterday, Jimitri refers to the incident recorded in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus and the disciples were in a severe storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was asleep in the stern of the boat.

Panicking, the disciples woke Him and said, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

“And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still.’ And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.

“And He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?’

“They became very much afraid and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?'” (Mark 4:35-41).

Now here’s Jimitri’s email:

After the first round of chemo, hearing the news that Deuce was not in remission really crushed my spirit (at least I thought). I had so many questions for God running through my mind.

Questions like:

How could God not honor our prayer?

Why isn’t God listening?

Are we not doing something right?

And many other things.

But I was brought to one of my favorite stories in the Bible—Jesus calming the storm. It wasn’t until the disciples started to get a little wet they started to question God’s care for them.

But a miracle is performed in such a fearful circumstance.

Here’s what I’ve learned from this month, even when the water rises or things don’t go how we plan them to.

God is still in the stern.

Even when things seem to be going completely wrong, God is still in the stern.

In our situation

Deuce did not go into remission, but God is still in the stern. Therefore He is still in ultimate control.

We received amazing news today after allowing Jaleah [their daughter] to be tested [to be a possible bone-marrow donor]. She’s a 10/10 perfect match for him. This is rare because there was only a 25% chance that she’d be a perfect match. So this means his donor will be his baby sister.

Praise God!

Please share this news with our church family. We are happily rejoicing and we know that the next few months may have more bumps in the road, but we’re continuously trusting that God is in the stern, and we have nothing to fear.

Also that in the end of all of this we’ll be just as amazed as the disciples were after the storm obeyed Jesus Christ.

Love you all so much. Please continue to pray with and for us.

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Please see the related post of February 19, “Suffering Viewed Through the Lens of Faith” https://fulfillingourpurpose.org/2018/02/19/suffering-viewed-through-the-lens-of-faith

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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“Many Convincing Proofs”

Is it just wishful thinking—the belief that Jesus did indeed rise bodily from the dead?

Or is there good, solid evidence for it?

Luke says of the apostles, “To these He presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days . . .” (Acts 1:3).

Among the proofs were these:

  1. He suddenly appeared to them behind closed doors (John 20:19).
  2. His showed them the scars of His crucifixion (Luke 24:36-40; John 20:20).
  3. He invited them to touch Him (Luke 24:39; John 20:24-29).
  4. He ate in their presence to prove He was no apparition (Luke 24:36-38, 41-43).
  5. He enabled Peter and his companions to net a huge catch of fish, which no doubt reminded them of a similar miracle during His ministry (John 21:1-11; Luke 5:4-11).
  6. He predicted they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days, which happened just as He said (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8).
  7. Finally, they watched in awe as He ascended out of their sight into heaven (Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11).

What changed their minds

Jesus made these appearances not only in Jerusalem but also in Galilee where He had told them to meet Him (Matthew 28:10, 16-17).

One more thing: The apostles were not expecting Jesus to rise from the dead. When others told them they had seen the risen Lord, they didn’t believe it (Mark 16:9-14; John 20:24-25).

It was the “many convincing proofs” that made true believers of them.

Seeing Him changed everything.

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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How Would You Answer?

Yesterday a friend asked how I would respond if someone said he did not believe that the Bible is inspired.

This is what I told him:

If the person is open to the truth, I would first prove that Jesus rose from the dead.

“Nothing is more crucial in the field of Christian evidences than the question of the divinity of Christ. Nothing is more crucial in establishing the divinity of Christ than His resurrection from the dead” (Batsell Barrett Baxter, I Believe Because . . ., p. 223).

“If our Lord said frequently . . . that after He went up to Jerusalem He would be put to death, but on the third day He would rise again from the grave, and this prediction came to pass, then . . . everything else our Lord ever said must also be true” (Wilbur M. Smith, Therefore, Stand, p. 419).

His resurrection validates all He claimed to be. It also validates all He said.

Jesus taught that the Scriptures are indeed God’s word and therefore authoritative, including the message of the apostles (Matthew 4:1-11; 10:1-4, 18-20; 15:3-9; John 10:35; 14-25-26; 16:12-23; 17:17).

H. C. G. Moule said it well: “Jesus Christ absolutely trusted the Bible, and though there are in it things inexplicable and intricate that have puzzled me much, I am going to trust the Book, not in a blind sense, but reverently, because of him” (quoted in Handley Carr Glynn Moule, Bishop of Durham: A Biography by J. B. Harford and F. C. MacDonald, p. 138).

It’s only logical.

Everything hinges on His resurrection.

If He did not rise, then we can dismiss Him as a deluded religious fanatic at best, or at worst a deliberate fraud.

In either case, we could not say, as so many do, that He was a good man or a great teacher, but not the Son of God.

But if He did rise, then our only logical recourse is to admit He truly is God’s Son (Romans 1:4).

And then take the next step: submitting to Him as our Savior and Lord.

It only makes sense.

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What if Jesus Were Not Raised?

The big claim of Christianity is that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day following His crucifixion.

That’s a pretty tall claim! Can it be supported? Disproved?

First Corinthians 15 is called the Resurrection Chapter. Paul wrote it to counter the teaching of some who asserted there is no such thing as resurrection (v. 12).

How does Paul prove his case?

He cites a half dozen instances of Jesus’ appearances following His resurrection, including one to more than 500 eyewitnesses at one time!

Paul’s list can be supplemented with additional resurrection appearances recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John at the end of their respective Gospel accounts.

Then Paul does something very interesting. He says, “What if . . .?”

If Jesus had not been raised . . . .

  • The apostles’ preaching would be in vain (v. 14).
  • That would make the apostles false witnesses (v. 15).
  • The faith of Christians would be of no benefit to them (vv. 14, 17).
  • Christians are not forgiven of their sins as they thought they were (v. 17).
  • Christians who have died are lost (v. 18).
  • Christians would be objects of pity, since their hope is groundless (v. 19).

And so . . . .

If Jesus’ resurrection is removed from the Christian faith, the whole thing collapses in a heap!

But if Jesus did indeed emerge alive from the tomb, His resurrection supports and validates the entire Christian faith.

Believe it!

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