Know Your Bible

VOL. 7                           July 20, 2008                           NO. 26

Our Priorities Are Showing!

    No Matter What They Are, Priorities Tell The Truth About Us: - If God is first in everything (as Jesus said in Matt. 6:33), then it will show. It will show in the quality of our worship -- that we pray fervently, that we give cheerfully, that we sing with the spirit and the understanding, that we listen attentively to the preaching of God's Word, and that we examine ourselves when we partake of the Lord's supper. And more to the point -- how we choose to live daily between worship services also reveals everything about who we really are.

    Did Isaiah refer to us also when he wrote, "These people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me" (Isa. 29:13)? Or does our righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees who were only concerned with how things looked to others (Matt. 5:20)?

    Our priorities tell on us because we like to tell of them. When we talk more about football, racing, soap operas, TV shows, movies, books, school, etc. than we talk about spiritual matters, then our earthly priorities show through. "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:1-3). Or did we truly die? Maybe we only got wet when we were baptized.

    Where is our treasure? Better yet, where is our heart? Our heart is the heart of the matter. Jesus teaches us not to "lay up for ourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matt. 6:19-21).

    In explaining the parable of the sower, Jesus observed, "Others are like the seed planted on rocky ground. They hear the teaching and quickly accept it with joy. But since they don't allow the teaching to go deep into their lives, they keep it only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching they accepted, they quickly give up. Others are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds. They hear the teaching, but the worries of this life, the temptation of wealth, and many other evil desires keep the teaching from growing and producing fruit in their lives" (Mk. 4:16-19).

    How we spend our money and time are billboards along the highway of life advertising to God, to others, and to ourselves what our priorities really are. It's easy for our mouths to proclaim our love to God but when we're stingy with our checkbooks and watches, the truth is that we don't love Him we love ourselves. "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant" (2 Tim. 3:1,2).

    Having something to do to relax is fine, but when it becomes more than a hobby -- when it becomes our life -- then we've got a problem. We become charmed by the "busyness" of travel, entertainment, fishing, hunting, golfing, shopping, surfing the Internet, etc. For example, how much do we spend on entertainment each week? The books and magazines we buy; the DVDs we purchase or rent; the CDs and MP3s we purchase and download for our iPods and cell phones; the Internet subscription; the rods and reels and boats (and all the maintenance that goes with them), the guns etc. If we paid special attention, we might see how quickly the expenses add up. We might even be embarrassed by the amount. Ah, but when it comes to the Lord, we can become tightfisted with our money. This betrays our true allegiance.

    "But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints" (Eph. 5:3).

    "Some men's sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden" (1 Tim. 5:24,25).

    Priorities always tell the truth. What truth are your priorities telling on you?

---Jamey Hinds

Biblical Insights, Vol. 7, No. 8, Aug. 2007.

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Should We Let Kids "Decide For Themselves"?

    Occasionally we hear parents who say that they don't want to force religion on their children. These misguided folks think they are doing their kids a favor by letting them "decide for themselves". They're afraid that there will be some resentment in the children later if religion has been 'crammed down their throats".

    May we be absolutely blunt in response? That is one of the stupidest ideas anyone ever suggested!!! We force many things on our children. We insist that they bathe, brush their teeth, change their clothes, etc. We "cram" education down their throats by making them attend school regularly. We demand that they do their homework. We force them to eat good food, get adequate rest, and do other things that are important to their health and development. We do all of this because we know it is in their best interest. And, we do it even when the kids don't like it. Why is it that this common sense approach is neglected by parents who are determined to "let the kids decide for themselves" when it comes to religion?

    Dr. James Dobson writes: "There is a critical period when certain kinds of instruction are easier in the life of children. There is a brief period during childhood when youngsters are vulnerable to religious training. Their concepts of right and wrong are formulated during this time, and their view of God begins to solidify. The opportunity of that period must be seized when it is available. The absence or misapplication of instruction through that prime-time period may place a severe limitation on the depth of the child's later devotion to God. When parents withhold indoctrination from their small children, allowing them to "decide for themselves", the adults are almost guaranteeing that their youngsters will "decide" in the negative."

    God's word has always taught us the truth on this subject: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).

---Greg Gwin

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