By Ryan Parsons
Being a dad is one of the greatest honors in life, but it’s also one of the most difficult jobs out there. Culture’s skewed expectations and diminishing view of fatherhood hasn’t made our work as dads any easier. We know the importance of providing, protecting and leading; but, how do we do that faithfully in today’s world? Thankfully God’s word exists to encourage and lead us in the work of fathering. One place we find great encouragement is the Psalms.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
they labor in vain who build it;
unless the Lord guards the city,
the watchman keeps awake in vain. (Vs 1)
It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late,
to eat the bread of painful labors;
for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. (Vs 2)
Behold, children are a gift from the Lord;
the fruit of the womb is a reward. (Vs 3)
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
so are the children of one’s youth. (Vs 4)
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
they shall not be ashamed,
when they speak with their enemies in the gate. (Vs 5)
Here are four lessons that we can quickly take away from these words of wisdom:
Let the Lord BUILD your house (Vs 1)
This isn’t talking about nail guns and power tools (although those are cool!). He is raising the question, “Is God the center of everything holding all things together?” If not, let him build beyond a dwelling and establish your home.
Accept the Lord’s protection (Vs 1)
As a father, we take security seriously. While we check the locks at night and make sure our kids wear their seatbelt, here we are challenged to trust in the providence of Almighty God and let Him protect us eternally.
Let the Lord guide your work (Vs 2)
The role of provider is not something most dads take lightly. However, we can easily become entangled in the grind and exhausted from the tempo. Remember, reliance upon God in all things leads to peace.
Enjoy the reward of children (Vs 3-5)
Sometimes screaming babies, inquisitive toddlers, needy young ones, and temperamental teenagers can cloud our eyes to the blessings of our children. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the joy that they are now and will continue to be in the future. Thanks for being a dad who puts God first! Happy Father’s Day
By Brian Thompson
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” (I John 3:1)
The apostle John is referred to as the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 13;23; 19:26; 21:24). This is not to say that Jesus did not love the other disciples but there seemed to be some extra connection between Jesus and John. Jesus entrusted His mother to his care (John 19:26) when He was dying on the cross.
When writing to the early church John refers to them as “beloved’ six times in just five chapters of I John (I John 2:7; 3:2, 21; 4:1, 7, 11). The apostle Paul and Peter also used the same phrase frequently in their letters to the early church (Romans 1:7; 12:19; I Corinthians 15:58; I Peter 2:11; 4:12; II Peter 3:17). The elders and the apostles in Jerusalem felt the same way about Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:25). Even God uses the phrase “beloved” when referring to His own Son (Matthew 17:5).
Anyone who is a child of God is beloved of God. They have tasted of the love that God has for them as His children. There is no love on earth that equals the love God has for His children. That’s why, in the scripture above, John states, “See how great a love it is to be called God’s son or daughter!!”
Some of you may never have enjoyed a father’s love in your life. But you can!! You can become a child of the Father who dwells in heaven. His love is waiting to be showered upon you when you, in faith, obey the call of His gospel (II Thessalonians 2:14; Romans 1:5: 16:25-26; Acts 2:38). Every person who is born again through baptism is a child of God and beloved of Him (John 3:1-21; 35-36).
If I can help you in any way to become a child of God please feel free to contact me through the church’s website. Happy Father’s Day!!
By Brian Thompson
“He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is counted prudent.” (Proverbs 17:27-28)
I believe this world would be in a lot less trouble if it would listen more and speak less. It seems that everyone wants to be heard more and to listen less. Christians are told by James to, “be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). In other words, listen first to what others have to say, speak only when necessary and then you’ll avoid being hurt or hurting others.
Solomon says, “A fool does not delight in understanding (in listening and learning from others), but only in revealing his own mind” (Proverbs 18:2). It’s not always what we said that makes us wise but what we didn’t say. Sometimes what we said does more harm than we could ever have imagined.
So when it comes to opening our mouth and saying what we feel compelled to say we’d be wise to consider if our words will achieve the righteousness of God or make us appear foolish and selfish in the eyes of others.
By Joe Slater
Some people just naturally stand out from the rest. Of three individuals the Bible says there was “none like him.”
When Israel clamored for a king so that they could be like the nations around them, God reluctantly gave them Saul, the son of Kish. The prophet Samuel anointed Saul and asked Israel, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen, that there is no one like him among all the people?” (I Samuel 10:1, 24). What was so special about Saul? “When he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward” (10:23). Unfortunately, his fine physique didn’t make Saul a good king. He started out well but came to a disastrous end.
Hezekiah, unlike Saul, was renowned not for his good looks, but his godliness. “He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among the kings of Judah, nor who were before him” (II Kings 18:5). Hezekiah had inherited a kingdom mired down in the idolatry and immorality of his father, Ahaz. Despite his youth and regardless of the difficulty, Hezekiah instituted sweeping reforms to bring Judah closer to God.
Even better than Hezekiah was the patriarch Job. God Himself said of him, “There is none like him on the earth” (Job 1:8a). What made him so exceptional? The Lord said he was “a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (1:8b). Job’s conduct was such that no one could successfully find fault with him. (His friends tried, but failed miserably!) Job’s reverence for God led him to
Christians ought to stand out from the world. We may not have marvelous physiques, nor should that be our concern. Let us trust in the Lord like Hezekiah! Let us strive to be blameless and upright, reverencing God and shunning evil! May God say of us, “There is none like them!”
By Glen Elliott
Restoring an old piece of furniture to its original glory is a beautiful thing. But there is a vast difference between restoring and repurposing. People can be quite creative in repurposing an old piece of furniture. Since circumstances have changed, some relics of the past no longer serve a useful purpose in the present.
However, repurposing has no place in restoring the pattern of New Testament Christianity. Repurposing the church betrays a belief that the original is no longer adequate to meet present needs. But, the words of Christ are forever relevant and convey an unchanging purpose to those who are His followers (Matt.24:35; 28:18-20). Millions in darkness stand in need of what Christ offered in the first century. How can we tell them that such is no longer adequate to meet their needs – that things have changed – that we are different people, living in a different culture, requiring a differing purpose?
Clearly stated in Scripture is the Lord’s purpose of seeking and saving the lost (Lk.19:10). His purpose meets our most pressing need: salvation from our sins. This basic need has not changed. “There is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl.1:9). So far as the nature of man is concerned, we are all sinners who need a Savior (Rom.3:23).
Those who seek to restore the pattern of New Testament Christianity in the 21st century must seek also to restore His purpose as the primary reason for the church’s existence. Because so many have repurposed the church to meet their own needs and desires, we have seen a corresponding lack of focus on teaching and preaching the gospel. We have been deceived into thinking that we can do His work without His word – that we can socialize lost souls into the kingdom. But, when focus is shifted away from Christ and His word, we have repurposed the church according to our own desires.
Our mission is accomplished by preaching the gospel (Mk.16:15-16). Scripture says, “They shall all be taught of God” (Jn.6:45). We do not absorb people into His church by creating loyalty to us rather than to Christ. We do not ground people in the faith by keeping them entertained, but by making them disciples of the Lord. Many are ill-equipped to know the difference between the New Testament church and the repurposed, counterfeit version of the church as it exists in our world today. The difference is seen in “preaching the word” or accumulating “teachers in accordance to (our) own desires” (II Tim.4:2-3).
“Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great
mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus
Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and
will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God
through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Peter 1:3-5).
In the verses above the apostle Peter wants to pay tribute to God and His Son for the
wonderful hope he and all Christians have because of God’s incredible mercy and plan
of redemption for mankind. There is no hope on earth that equals the hope God gives.
Peter describes it as a living hope; a hope that does not disappoint or change. It is a
hope one has only by being born again by water and the Holy Spirit (John 3). Such a
birth involves being baptized into Christ’s death, burial and resurrection for the
forgiveness of one’s sins (Romans 6:1-11) in order that they might obtain an heavenly
inheritance from God the Father. That inheritance is imperishable, undefiled and will
not fade away. It is one’s reservation for a spot in heaven for eternity. That reservation
is protected by the power of God through the faith of the one being born again as they
believe that God will come through with His promise concerning their forgiveness and
eternal life. It is a salvation that is ready to be revealed at any time. It is up to God to
reveal it when He desires to do so. He is patient, not wishing for anyone to perish but
for all to come to repentance (II Peter 3:9).
What do you hope for in life? What do you hope for in death? It is truly amazing that
even in death one can something living; a living hope in Christ.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to
you. Therefore, do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will take care of itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33-34)
It seems natural to be anxious when facing many uncertainties just like it’s natural to cry
when facing things that trouble us. I don’t believe it’s wrong to have anxiety as long as it
doesn’t have you. When I allow anxiety to take over my thoughts and heart to the
exclusion of God then it is wrong. The apostle Paul states, “Be angry, and yet do not sin;
do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26). Uncontrolled anxiety, like
anger, can lead to sin when a Christian refuses to take his/her concerns to God. The
apostle Peter encourages us to deal with our anxiety by “casting all our anxiety upon
God, because He cares for us” (I Peter 5:7).
Was Jesus anxious in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to His arrest and crucifixion?
When you read Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:44 and Hebrews 5:7 Jesus was extremely
nervous and emotional (there was loud crying and tears and His sweating became like
drops of blood falling down upon the ground). In the midst of His anxiety He beseeched
His heavenly Father and God heard Him because of His piety. That’s how Jesus dealt
with His anxiety. He took it to His Father in heaven. We’d be wise to do the same
before our anxiety gets out of control.
By Mike Riley
The following barbs of wisdom come from The Sword and Staff publication, 2009,
Volume 47, Number 1; Pg. 17 (appropriate Scriptures and related articles have been
- You reap what you sow, and also you reap what you don’t sow (you suffer the consequences of not doing anything – Matthew 25:24-30).
- When a nation has lost its morals, it has lost its moors and is like a ship adrift at sea.
- According to the book of Proverbs, a child may be foolish and if not corrected will grow up to become a full-fledged fool (Proverbs 15:5).
- We only help people, in the long run, when we help them to help themselves.
- We lose our independence and liberties to the degree that we do not accept our responsibilities (Galatians 5:1).
- After the cattle have gotten out, it is a little late to think about shutting the gate.
- If deeds speak louder than words, some people aren’t saying much and can hardly be heard.
- Let us not look to psychology as the answer to our spiritual problems, but to the Word of God (II Timothy 3:16-17; Acts 20:32; cf. Acts 9:26-31).
- Many “mega” churches don’t seem to be “mega” when it comes to doctrine.
- If we confess our sins, but don’t forsake them (Proverbs 28:13), the only purpose it will serve is testimony against us in the courts of heaven.
- Many times, the person who has the least to say is the most eager to say it (Proverbs 17:28; cf. Proverbs 10:19; Proverbs 11:12; Proverbs 13:3).
- If we don’t live within our means, we will soon find life demeaning (Luke 15:11-
- If you don’t take that first strong drink, you won’t have to worry about the consequences of the second, of the third, and of all that follow.
- People who have “an ax to grind” don’t cut it with the Lord (Romans 12:18-19;Colossians 3:8).
- If you want to find your place under the sun, move on out from under the shade and get to work (I Corinthians 15:58; cf. I Corinthians 3:6-9)
It really shouldn’t be surprising that the word of God is current to every culture and
generation. Since God is timeless and cultureless, it shouldn’t surprise us that His word is
also that way. Though it’s not surprising, it is none-the-less amazing!
It is true that the Bible is set in time and culture as the plan of God was slowly revealed
through the centuries. The people in the Bible were real people who lived in various
cultures at various times. But as God intertwined their backgrounds and futures, He let
the world in on the plan He had before the world was created (Ephesians 1:4). He chose
to develop through the Jewish people His plan for redeeming the entire world. When
God became flesh and lived on earth (John 1:1, 14), He did so in Jewish society. Yet,
when Jesus went to the cross, He broke down those cultural barriers and opened up for
the entire world His gospel (Ephesians 2:12-16). Jesus wanted to be relevant to every
generation and culture.
At this point you might be wondering where all this is going, so let me tell you. There
are people every day who are searching for relevant help with their personal problems of
life. Many of these people attend worship every week. Many of them pray often. Yet,
they seem to wonder if God really understands their unique situation, and if so, does He
have something significant to say to help them. These people live all around us, and
perhaps, even in our own homes. But they also live in Nepal and Argentina and
Scotland. No matter when or where people may live, no matter what their culture or
customs may be, people are longing for, needing, a word from God. And the Bible is just
the place to look. It’s the only place to look.
Since God created us, He knows all of our needs. And since God transcends time and
culture, He’s not locked in to only one way of doing so. He not only knows us inside out
as individuals, He also what’s going on around us. But the really amazing thing is that
whatever my needs may be, the Bible can help us. The word of God is living and active.
It penetrates the soul and spirit and can judge all of our thoughts and attitudes (Hebrews
4:12). The Bible may be thousands of years old, but it is amazingly relevant to every one
There is no need to struggle through each day wondering if anyone cares, if anyone can
help. God cares and He has given us His word to be our source of direction and comfort.
Read it every day. Meditate on it. Study it. Learn it like never before. Then, when
Satan tries to defeat us, like Jesus, we can draw from God’s word just the help we need
(Matthew 4:1-11). We’ll be amazed at how relevant God’s word is.
By Joe Chesser (Adapted)
I was in my mid-twenties when I noticed my first gray hair. I promptly plucked it out (Ouch!). Problem solved … except it wasn’t. More and more gray ones invaded my coal-black locks; pulling them became an exercise in futility. My children suggested Grecian Formula. I told them, “No, I earned every one of these!”
My vanity has long since subsided. What hair I have left is nearly all gray (or is it silver? white?).
Solomon wrote, “The glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is their gray head (Proverbs 20:29). All kidding aside, gray hair is nothing of which to be ashamed. Generally it indicates age, and we hope that with age comes some wisdom. I’ve seen a few gray heads that really were splendorous, though I think I wouldn’t count my own among them!
Under the Law of Moses, God commanded: “You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:32). Your parents probably taught you, as did mine, “Respect your elders.” I commend young folks in any congregation when they treat older people with courtesy and respect. It speaks well for them and for their parents.
Again it was Solomon who wrote, “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory if it is found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31). Age doesn’t guarantee good behavior. We who have attained senior citizen status owe it to the young to conduct ourselves with integrity. It’s easy to respect someone if they are acting respectably!
If you don’t have gray hair yet, just wait – you will! Be sure you are found in the way of righteousness.
By Joe Slater (revised)