Know Your Bible

VOL. 5                           March 12, 2006                           NO. 8

 "All Things"

    Have you ever felt like there was nothing that could stand in your way? No mountain you couldn’t climb? No river you couldn’t cross? Everything has just been going your way and you think, "Boy, I must be doing something right!" That feeling doesn’t last long, does it? Before you know it, the hurricane blows in and washes away all your hopes and dreams. Maybe your financial situation changes or your health takes a turn for the worse. Maybe you lose someone you love dearly. It seems like everything you’ve longed for is gone. You are washed up - stranded in a sea of despair, doubt, and fear.

    Why is it that some weather the storms and others do not? Jesus said in Matthew 7:24-27 that the wise build on the rock, while the foolish build on the sand. It is human nature, I guess, to be in control. We like to control our own lives, our own futures. If anyone tries to take that control away from us, we get angry and upset. We build on the rock of ourselves rather than the one true rock: Jesus Christ. We fall so easily when hard times come because our lives have no foundation - no sustaining quality that enables them to withstand the perils of life under the sun.

    Positive mental attitudes, self-esteem, and self-confidence can carry us a long way in life; however, if that is all we have, then we are lacking. The apostle Paul expressed the proper type of self-confidence in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Paul had faith in himself through his faith in God. Believing that we can do all things is not wrong. Believing we can do all things without Christ is. Too often we forget what James wrote in James 1:17, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." God continues to give us all many good things, even in the midst of adversity. However, we have to let God be God sometimes. He wants to give us every good and perfect gift, but we first have to learn to trust Him with control.

    Let’s look back at our lives and think about times we faced insurmountable obstacles. How did we cope? Did we obey God? Or did we forsake Him in order to follow our own path? What was the result? In my life, the answers are obvious: when I trusted God (even when it seemed the least logical direction) things invariably got better. When I struck out on my own, things invariably got worse. Usually, the latter was the case for me. I hope it won’t be for you. Let us all with one accord resolve that yes, we, indeed, can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

---Michael W. Rhodes

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"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Tim. 2:15.

    This scripture is often used as a text or basis for a sermon on "The proper division of the word", but this is not the main thought in the verse. The end to which the exhortation points is, "to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed," and one of the means to this end is "Rightly dividing the word of truth."

    The desire to be approved by the Lord is common to all who believe in God. At least there is no one of this class who would entertain for a moment the thought that he cared nothing for God's approval. Their course in life may seem to the earnest Christian to manifest an indifference toward God and His requirements, yet none of them would be so wicked as to express total indifference as to his final acceptance or rejection by the Lord.

    In worldly pursuits, desire is the moving power that causes man to work. The object sought for may be pleasure, gold, social prominence, or "A bare living," but in order to attain any of these diligence must be exercised. No matter how great the desire for success in any calling it cannot be reached without work.

    Just so in the kingdom of God. God's approval is desired, and certainly every Christian should diligently seek for it. But do they do so? Are you showing yourself to be a workman, or are you idle, indifferent, and just drifting along with the tide of time into eternity? If you are a workman, are you showing yourself an approved workman? Perhaps friends approve your work, or the world may applaud you, or some of the religious societies praise you, but does God approve your work? Remember that when Jesus comes again, He will reward every man according as his work shall be, Rev. 22:12. If you wait till then to ascertain the character of your work you may find yourself mistaken, as some referred to by the Lord, Mt. 7:22,23. They had done "wonderful works", and yet were disapproved.

    It is not the wonderful work, the great work, that finds approval, but the faithful work, work according to the will of God. "Furthermore then we beseech you brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commands we gave you by the Lord Jesus." 1 Thess. 4:1,2. It pleases God, then, when His commandments are obeyed. It should not then be difficult for the Lord's servants to distinguish between the works that please God and those that He disapproves. To this end he "rightly divides the word of truth." for therein reads: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Tim. 3:16,17. On the other hand the apostle plainly shows the works of the flesh that must not be indulged. Gal. 5:19-21.

    Again, there must be not only fidelity to the Lord in doing that which He has commanded, but there must be constancy, diligence, perseverance. Do you think it pleases God to forsake the assembly for you own ease or to accommodate some visitor? Will God approve that workman who, "goes to church when it is convenient, contributes once in a while if they have it to spare, pray only when they get sick and think they will die, and spend the balance of the time in social pleasure, seeking worldly gain, or the friendship of the world? Brethren, sisters, if we are to receive that glorious approval of "Well done, good and faithful servant thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things enter thou into the joy of the Lord," we must diligently follow after the approved things. To be an approved workman with God we must do the things approved of God, and these things are given us by inspiration. We may study them, admire them, learn them, but all this will not benefit us or bring us to the desired end, unless we diligently, earnestly and constantly do them. Let us all, then, study to show ourselves approved workmen unto the Lord, by doing the things approved of God.

---via, Ft. Gaines, Instructor

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