Know Your Bible

VOL. 10                           May 15, 2011                           NO. 19

 Assurance From God, Or Self-Assurance
 
       When the great crises of life loom before you, would you rather have assurance from God or self-assurance? Great moments of choice and lifelong decisions in terms of consequence should be based upon the most profound and only choice upon which to base life's pathway.  Self-assurance is empty when it lacks divine guidance, and all human assurance is subject to the frailty of human knowledge, experience, and absence of fore-knowledge.
 
     The believer has the greatest source of assurance, but "not all have faith" (1 Thess. 3:2). Many who claim to have faith do not seek solutions to their problems in life from the wisdom of God. Many who say that they are Christians have opportunity to marry faithful  Christians who are steadfast and strong, but the opportunitists choose rather to marry unbelievers of poor character to their own hurt and ruin. They assure those who exhort and warn them that they know what they are doing and that all will be well. Their marriages end in divorce, and their children suffer the burden of their parents' folly for most of their lives.
 
     Many professed believers seek salvation in ways not commanded of God, while refusing to accept God's way and His assurance in His Word. Rejecting God's assurance, they choose their own standard of conduct, their spiritual fellowship, their own churches, their own form of religious conduct, and their own code of morals and ethics. All the while, they assure themselves that all is well with their soul -- self-assurance of salvation.
     True believers turn to the Lord for their "full assurance of faith" (Heb. 10:22). "Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord, Teach Me Thy Way,"  they sing and pray. They apply themselves to diligent study of the Word of God with the aim of complying with it and walking in "The old paths wherein is the good way" (Jer. 6:16), unwilling to walk elsewhere. They pursue diligence in faithful service to God "to the full assurance of hope until the end" (Heb. 6:11). They seek to enrich their hearts "to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:2,3). What a comfort it is to do anything with the assurance of the Word of God that it is the right and proper thing to do! No nagging doubts or fearful worries accompany assurance from God. Our hearts are assured before God when we live and love as we ought (1 Jn. 3:14-19).
 
     Assurance that originates from self or from mankind is a form of pride and self-exaltation. Assurance from God honors and glorifies God and keeps human humility intact. If we know that we cannot see prophetically, that knowledge should impel us to seek the greater knowledge and guidance of God, to study and apply the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise unto salvation which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15). Then "blessed assurance" reigns, and we can say with Job, "I know that my Redeemer lives," and with Paul, "I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day."

---Gilbert Alexander
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Priorities And Our Children

     I was 15. The classroom was filled with kids from their Freshmen to Senior year. This was a meeting of all the agriculture students to see who would be interested in joining the FFA (Future Farmers of America). I sat timidly as the teacher wrote down the names of students who volunteered. Then all eyes turned to me. “Are you joining, Kerch?” “I’d like to join,” I stammered, “but I can’t come to the meetings because I go to church on Wednesday nights.” From the back of the room someone hollered, “You can’t join if you don’t come to the meetings!” Then one of the Juniors looked across the aisle and shouted, “What’s the matter with you Kercheville? You want to go to heaven or something?” The room roared with laughter. A year later, after making straight A’s in my Ag classes, the rule for Wednesday night attendance to the FFA meetings was waived and I was allowed to join. At the end of my Junior year, having never attended a meeting, some members of the club greeted me at school on Thursday morning with the news that I had been voted president of the FFA for the following year. I said, “That’s great! My first order of business is to change the meeting to Thursday nights.”
 
     My parents never told me that I couldn’t attend the FFA meetings. Even years before, when I had Little League games that conflicted with worship, they never made the rule that I had to miss the game. But I did. When it came time for school dances, my parents never forbade me to go. But I didn’t go. It wasn’t that I was an extra good kid. I got more “whippin’s” than any of my siblings. You see, God was first around our house. Spiritual things were a daily topic of conversation. God and his Word were spoken of when we rose up, when we lay down, when we walked by the way (rode in the car), and when we sat in the house (Deut. 6:6-7). We were never specifically “told” to read our Bible. We were encouraged to because Mom and Dad were always reading and teaching us what they read. The message we got was loud and clear: nothing came before God and doing his will.
 
     That doesn’t seem to be the standard in many families any more. In each of the six gospel meetings I have preached this past year, I have had at least one person come up to me and say something like, “These lessons have been so good I sure hate to miss tomorrow night, but we have (fill in the blank: soccer, back to school night, Girl Scouts, etc.).” One person told me he wouldn’t be back for Sunday evening worship because of a “soccer-fest.” When I replied in amazement, “You are missing worship for soccer?” He said, “Oh, I’ll get the tape!” Unfortunately, he had missed the point. However, my biggest surprise is not that many Christians are putting the world’s things before the Lord, but that they are so open about it. They act like no one in their right mind would deny a child their special activity just to go to worship. In fact, it isn’t the child that is feeling deprived, it is the parent.
 
     Revelation 12:11 states, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” We as parents need to be practicing and teaching this kind of fierce, unwavering commitment to the Lord. Even the threat of death will not quiet the word of our testimony. Children recognize priorities in their simplest form. We cannot say, “It is only Wednesday evening worship or only Sunday evening worship.” It is what we do “instead of” something else that expresses what is important. It is whether we take time every week to tell our children about Abraham, Joseph, Daniel, and all the others, that makes a difference when they must make similar decisions. It is what we get most excited about and make sacrifices to do, that tells others, especially our children, where our heart is. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).
 
---Berry Kercheville
 
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So Much Time To Read The Bible
 
     How much time does it take to read from Genesis to Revelation? If you would read the Bible at a standard pulpit speed (slow enough to be heard and understood), the reading time would be seventy-one (71) hours. If you would break that down into minutes and divide it into 365 days , you could read the entire Bible, cover to cover in only 12 minutes a day. Is this too much time to spend reading about God?

---Selected
 
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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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