Know Your Bible

VOL. 11                                                                                                                                                                                February 5, 2012                                                                                                                                                                                NO. 2


 Remembering Your Creator Demands Knowing Your Creator


The 12th chapter of Ecclesiastes is an oft quoted text imploring youth to know the frailty of life and certainty of death. The last verses of chapter 11 exhort youth to embrace the law of sowing and reaping explained by the apostle Paul in Galatians 6:7, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Life is about choices and making the right decisions. 

Verse one of the twelfth chapter is the key to the whole message of Ecclesiastes and in reality the answer to all of man's needs revealed by God in His Divine Word: "Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when thou shall say, I have no pleasure in them" (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

The command to remember the Creator is not new with Solomon. The Lord exhorted Israel to remember Him with penalty of forgetting Him (Deuteronomy 8). "But the loving-kindness of Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; to such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his precepts to do them" (Psalms 103:17-18). Being careful to remember the Lord was to hedge one's mind about with His commandments, judgments, and statutes (Deuteronomy 8:11).

The challenge for youth today is far more complex that remembering the Creator they have to learn who He is! Remembering the Creator suggests a mind that knows something to remember. Our young people are struggling with knowledge of the Creator because many homes do not instill in their children knowledge of God. They will know who the winners of American Idol are; the names of every player on the National Champions of basketball and football; the words to music that is supposed to be music; and the cell phone numbers to fifty friends but have little or no knowledge of who I AM THAT I AM (Exodus 3:14).

Our youth are fighting against the pressures of the world without a proper defense in the knowledge of GOD ALMIGHTY (Genesis 17:1). Knowing who the Creator is will give our youth a sense of strength and courage filled with hope. To know the ALMIGHTY will give assurance to our youth they were made in His image (Genesis 1:26); not a monkey. Understanding the HEAVENLY FATHER will help our youth find peace in a world of chaos as He gives understanding through HIS WORD (Psalm 119). Believing in GOD will help them find the SON OF GOD. How can our youth believe in the SON when they do not know the FATHER (John 14:6-11)? 

Parents who fail to teach their children about GOD prepare their children for heartache, misery, destitution and failure. The LORD commanded the Israelite parents to teach their children about HIM "that they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God" (Psalm 78:7). PARENTS READ DEUTERONOMY 6 AND PSALM 78!

Many children (not all) whose spirit is not faithful to God can blame their parents for that failure. They could not remember what they were never taught! What are we teaching our children?

---Kent Heaton

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No Progress Without Practice

It is foolish to think that we can make progress in the habits of godliness by doing nothing more than listening and learning. While these are essentials, they are not enough. It takes practice to make progress, and we should not expect that to be any less true in spiritual matters than in those of a worldly nature. 

When we meet individuals who have become adept at the disciplines of the godly life, we often suppose that they're just more devout than we are. Or perhaps we think that they're more intelligent or insightful. Or we wish that we could have read the books and heard the sermons that they've read and heard. But when we think this way, we betray an ignorance of the real thing that produces spiritual progress: practice. The trait that distinguishes the adept from the inept is that the adept have done certain things...over and over, every day, for many years. 

Prayer: -- Not all of our prayers are of equal quality. Keeping in mind a scriptural definition of "good" praying, it must be said that we do not pray as well at some times as at others. Paul mentioned that "we do not know what we should pray for as we ought" (Rom. 8:21), and the disciples asked Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples" (Lk. 11:1). 

But how do you make progress in your prayer life? Well, we certainly need to learn all that we can about the principle of prayer, but the time comes when we have to start practicing the art of prayer. It can't be learned any other way than by praying...over and over and over, every day, for many years.

Understanding: -- It would be hard to overestimate the importance of Bible study, but frankly, some people do a better job than others of correctly understanding what the Bible teaches. The Ethiopian eunuch, for example, was reading the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, but he was having trouble understanding what the passage meant (Acts 8:30-34). So we need to work not only on the quantity but also the quality of our Bible study. (2 Tim. 2:15). 

But how do you make progress in your understanding of the Scriptures? It can't be done by the simple investigation of hermeneutics. It requires patient repetition of the act of Bible study. You're not likely to find a mature, responsible student of God's Word who arrived at that point any other way than by doing Bible study...over and over and over, every day, for many years. 

Discretion: -- Isn't it refreshing when we encounter some older Christian who has grown very wise in matters of discretion and discernment? In a good sense, don't we "envy" those who have learned how to size up a difficult situation and see which course of action is best to take? Surely we do, and of all the abilities we need in this life, none is more vital than the ability to take God's general principles, apply them to a specific situation, and discern what God would want done. Paul wrote, "Do not be unwise, but understand  what the Will of the Lord is" (Eph. 5:17). 

But how do you learn to be a better decision maker? There is only one way, and the Hebrew writer put his finger on it when he spoke of those "who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb. 5:14). 

In matters of godliness, then, there aren't many effective shortcuts. Being a beginner is just hard; that's all there is to it. Some time will have to pass before we can be more skilled. But the passage of time will not, by itself, guarantee improvement (Heb. 5:12); we have to actually do the things that need improving -- and do them repeatedly. So let's look for every opportunity to practice the things we want to improve. God deserves nothing less than our very best, and the best that we can do won't be done unless we pray and study our Bibles and use our discretion -- over and over and over, every day, for many years.

---Gary Henry

via Gospel Power, Vol. 14, 

No. 34, August 26, 2007.

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Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

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