Know Your Bible

VOL. 9                           October 17, 2010                           NO. 42

 Good Days and Bad Days

     "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
    Life's like that. Just about the time you think you have it all figured out, some new adventure disrupts your confidence and flies in the face of your conclusions. Nobody has life figured out. I wrote in my journal recently: "I don't suppose it's possible to have any length of time where you are right with the world. I had 15 minutes one day where it just seemed everything was just right. Then the phone rang. Pfsst! Right out the window. But then I've had times when everything was all messed up, tangled, distorted, and disheveled. And right in the middle of my pity party the mail comes and there's a nice note-unexpected and joyful-and for the next 15 minutes things are right with the world again. That is, until the phone rang. Pfsst! Oh well, the mail comes again tomorrow. Maybe…" Trying to figure life out is a futile enterprise; one destined for sure failure.
    Here are some suggestions for making life - all of it - more pleasurable and more useable:
Don't run from trouble.
    You can't go fast enough. Trouble will find you. Face it head-on and with determinate faith. There is no temptation bigger than you can bear if you put your confidence in God (1 Cor. 10:13). And there's no problem that can't be solved if you keep in touch with your spirituality. Even the fear of death is conquerable if you have sufficient trust in your Master (Heb. 2:14-16, 1 Cor. 15:51-58).
Don't let discouragement rob you.
    Discouragement is one of the Devil's most functional tools. It wrestles a man down by robbing him of his faith, and in doing so, saps his energy to keep on. It strikes every age, every spiritual level. It causes faith to flag and determination to become impotent. It's a power-grabber, discouragement is. But faith is still the answer. Trusting confidence in God will triumph over discouragement. But you have to engage it. You have to shove your faith in front of the discouragement before it can conquer it. Listen to what God said: "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Heb. 13:5). Do you believe it?
Remember, down doesn't have to mean out.
    Just because you lose a battle now and then doesn't mean you've lost the war. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back into the fracas again. There's work to be done, people to see, prayers to make, lessons to learn. Activity is the key to winning. Don't every quit. Only the weak quit. "Brethren, I count no myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Paul, in Phil. 3:13-14). "I press," said Paul. You must do so too, for he closes the admonition with "Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded." Are you?
And remember, most of all, that you and God make a majority.
    There is no force on earth strong enough to separate you from His love and to keep you out of His kingdom. Not even death itself can do it. Certainly, we may boldly say, "…the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me." Paul said, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us." Stay with God and you can't lose, folks.
    And finally, remember that Solomon said, "In the day of prosperity rejoice; in the day of adversity consider, for God hath set the one over against the other…" (Eccles. 7:14). Don't try to second-guess Providence, or ask "why me?" Relax and let it happen. Don't ask, "Why has God allowed this?" Rather, ask, "What does He want me to do with this?" Allow the good days to cause rejoicing. Allow the bad ones to increase your learning.
    Life is happy for those who love God and are keeping His commandments, no matter what comes along. After all, life is constructed of two things: good days and bad days.
---Dee Bowman
From The Eastside Enlightener,
Bulletin of the Eastside church in Athens, AL
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Going To Church and Enjoying It
    Some time in the past I heard a question that I have not been able to dislodge from my mind. Someone asked, "Are you going to church more and enjoying it less?
 I now do not remember the circumstances which caused this question to be asked. However, every time it forces itself into my consciousness, thereby reaffirming the fact that it continues to retain lodging in my mind; it irks me. The one who framed that question must have been as ignorant of the purpose for which the children of God assemble themselves together as a wood lot hog is about the manners of polite society.
    The idea behind the question seems to be that the local church somehow is responsible, if someone ceases to enjoy assembling with the children of God in that locality. I say that it "seems to be" because every time that disgusting question has asserted itself, making known its continued presence in my mind, it has been accompanied by this thought. Still, I do not know where anyone would get the idea that a local church is responsible to see that those who assemble together derive enjoyment from the services. Sometimes when I have to preach against something which I know is being practiced by some member, I may derive some relief in the knowledge that I have discharged my duty, but I do not derive enjoyment from it. There also is little likelihood the guilty one will derive enjoyment from it. God recognized this in Hebrews 12:11: "Now no chastening for the present seemeth joyous."
    Enjoyment derived by "going to church" is completely dependent on the attitude of the church goer. When one is living according to the will of God and enjoying his relationship with God it is reasonable to expect he will enjoy assembling with the children of God. After all, the real reason for assembling is for children of God to, in concert with one another, perform acts which express the worship taking place within each heart.
    Many fail to realize the church, as the church, does not worship. Worship by its very nature can come only from within the worshiper. Even though many seem to have missed it, Jesus made this very plain. He said, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (Jn. 4:24). Although I have heard gospel preachers give many different meanings to "in spirit," I believe by giving consideration to the rhetorical question asked in 1 Cor. 2:11 ("For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?") we can all understand the meaning of "worship him in spirit." Obviously, if "the spirit of man ... is in him," worship "in spirit" can take place only within the man who is worshiping.
    These considerations would make it obvious that one who is "going to church more, but enjoying it less" needs to search his own heart to find the reason, rather than trying to blame the local church. A local church that provides for the performance of the acts which God desires his children to perform in concert with one another, is in no way responsible for the diminished enjoyment of anyone.
    There is no way a local church can please God by the services it conducts and provide enjoyment to a person who does not enjoy expressing worship within his heart by performing, in concert with the children of God, the acts which God has required to be performed in that way.                                        (Edited for space, ERH)
---Fred Shewmaker
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