Know Your Bible

VOL. 8                           February 1, 2009                           NO. 2


    We must be very careful in our spiritual walks. We must be dedicated to putting the Lord first and relying upon His wisdom and strength. In doing so, we grow closer to Him and in our relationship. We must be careful to always realize our blessings hope and victory comes from God through Jesus. If we aren't careful, we can begin to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.

    Amaziah, King of Judah, was all set to go to battle against Edom. He had 300,000 of his own choice men. Also, he had hired 100,000 valiant warriors from Israel for 100 talents of silver. A man of God came to him before he went to war and told him that God had the power to help or to bring him down. Following the advice given, Amaziah gave the100 talents of silver to the warriors of Israel and then sent them away. Amaziah relied upon God and the Lord gave him a great victory over Edom (2 Chron. 25:7-12).

    Then Amaziah did an incredible thing: He brought the idols home from the conquered people and set them up as his gods! He bowed down before them and burned incense to them (vs. 14). This, as you can imagine, led to his eventual downfall.

    Amaziah is a powerful example in showing us that even in doing the right things, there is a danger of thinking we can do many things our own way, since we've followed God in certain areas. If we aren't careful, one can end up embracing the very evil he set out against!

    Let you and me remember our place in following God to the fullest of our ability. Let us be humble in our own estimation and rely upon the Lord for guidance.

---Shane Williams

in The Lilbourn Light, Vol. 9, No. 8, Dec. 2008

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    The "core" of an apple or other kinds of fruit is its central or innermost part. "Core" is also used metaphorically to denote "the central, innermost, or most essential part of anything" (Random House Dictionary). The core of man is his soul, his spirit, his heart. This is the inward man that reasons, is moved by emotions, and wills to act in certain ways. This is, we might say, the control center of the being that God created in His own image (see Gen. 1:26,27).

    The "value" of something describes its "relative worth or importance" (Random House Dictionary). It can refer to the monetary value attached to a coin or paper denomination. It can also reflect the worth of some material item of merchandise. But in an abstract way value is attached to principles or standards for human behavior, whether religious, moral, or ethical.

    When men speak of a person's "core values," they point to the essence of his thinking, his beliefs, his convictions -- the views about life that control him, that motivate him. Why, for example, are people devoted to God and walk by faith and live religious and moral lives of righteousness and holiness? Why do some people hang out at bars, use filthy and vain speech, and engage in lascivious and immoral behavior?

    The answer to these questions is -- because of who they really are! These practices simply reflect their "core values" what in their innermost being, in their essential person they consider to be of importance or worth. The "core value" of man, unlike an apple or peach, is not fixed and unchangeable by some instinct or inherent law of nature. Men are different from the rest of earthly creation. They can reflect, weigh, and analyze ideas and views to determine what is good or what is bad. When they conclude that there is a God who is holy, righteous, pure, and perfect (see 1 Pet. 1:15,16; 1 Jno. 3:3-7; Matt. 5:48); when they see God as their Creator with the right to set the standard of behavior for man; when they know that this standard of right and wrong is revealed in the Bible -- then they understand what has "value" and what the "core" of their being should be.

    What man, the creature, must then do is fill his soul with the Word of truth and shape his mind with righteous and holy principles. As God's law to Israel was written in stone, so His new covenant will must be engraved in man's heart so that the core of his being is formed after the likeness and perfection of God Himself (see Heb. 8:8-13; Eph. 4:20-24). This can only come through study, meditation, and faith. When man walks by faith the "core values" of eternal truth will control his behavior and people will know he really is of God.

---L.A. Stauffer

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Still Standing After the Storm

    Hurricane Ike destroyed many homes along the Texas coast. In one section of the community of Gilchrist, over 200 homes were completely leveled. But one is still standing. Warren and Pam Adams lost a house to hurricane Rita in 2005. They didn't lose this one, because they built it to stand in a storm -- it is supported 14 feet off the ground by sturdy columns sitting on thick concrete.

    A life of faith is not a life without storms. There will be heartache and sadness, temptation and trial, illness and death, disappointment and doubt. The question is not whether or not there will be storms; the question is whether or not we are building our lives to withstand them. No matter how others may be building their lives, we must build ours to stand.

    A life built on God's word will stand, because God is stronger than the strongest storm surge. "The floods have lifted up, O LORD, The floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, than the mighty waves of the sea" (Psalms 93:3,4).

    Jesus said that the wise man "built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock" (Matthew 7:24,25). Jesus' words are the rock to build our lives on. If we hear His words, but don't follow them, we won't stand the storms. That is like building a house on the sand.

    We look forward to the day when all of life's storms are over -- when we stand before the Lord in peace, "holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight." That can be your experience if "you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard" (Colossians 1:22,23).

---Steve Klein

Via The Bulletin of the Church of Christ at New Georgia,

September 21, 2008

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