Know Your Bible

VOL. 11                                                                                                                                                                                September 16, 2012                                                                                                                                                                               NO. 34



The dog days of August usher in the beginning of school as children walk for the first time into their classes and many enter their final year of school with great anticipation. Roads are jammed with cars and buses moving families in the hectic schedules of activities that will last until the warm days of summer return. Teachers brace for the onslaught of children filling the classrooms and the challenges of imparting knowledge to a different world from days gone by.

The time when chewing gum and writing notes was a major offense in school has been replaced with drugs, sexual immorality, hatred and kids killing kids. Buildings are surrounded with fence (some with barbed wire), metal detectors, armed guards and security cameras to create a safe environment for staff and students. The Bible is banned from the classroom, prayer removed from every part of school and homosexuality exalted by teachers and students alike. Godless theologies fill the pages of school books and teaching the basics of education have been replaced with futile tests of rote memory work. The day when the teacher was respected and the child warned has now been replaced with threats to teachers and children allowed free reign.

One of the most important books a child (and parent) can have in the school environment today is a ‘Manual for surviving school.’ Leaving children at school is like letting them play in a mine field. Teachers and staff are faced with insurmountable challenges that test their abilities to teach. How can anyone survive in school in a world gone mad with the self-centered philosophy of “Me”? There is only one manual for surviving school – and anywhere else for that matter: the Bible.

The word of God teaches man that the world does not revolve around the “me-me-me” philosophy of life (Philippians 2:1-5). Genesis 1:1 declares that man is not the center of the universe and he never will be. Throughout the writings of the Bible man experiments with his wisdom and is repeatedly shown to fail (Jeremiah 10:23). Pursuing the fleshly desires will only bring about death (Romans 1). Lack of respect for God will trickle down in society to lack of respect for others (1 Peter 2:17). Misery comes about when man tries to do things his way (Proverbs 2). When a nation forgets God, it is doomed (Psalm 9:17).

Preparing for school requires some very important lessons. The most important book you can have at school is your Bible. It may be banned from the school curriculum but it cannot be banned from the person. Challenge your faith as a student or a teacher by taking the word of God with you and spend time during the day reading its message. Prayer can never be taken out of school. If you have your head connected to your neck you still have a right to bow your head in silent prayer. Remember Daniel and his three friends did not let the government of Babylon stop them from worshiping the Lord God and neither should you.

Live the example of faith by dressing modestly adorning yourself with the chaste conduct of a person of God (1 Peter 3:2-4). Young ladies need to put clothes on when they go to school. Young men should be examples of purity in speech, honesty and respect. Teachers and staff should emulate the pattern of godliness in their behavior and example as a guide for young people. Let your light shine in school (Matthew 5:16).

---Kent Heaton

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P In the beginning, the Lord blessed man with a paradise garden to keep, trim, and enjoy. Only one prohibition was mentioned. Adam and Eve were not to eat of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Gen. 2:17). If they ate, they would lose their place in the garden and forfeit their right to the "tree of life." They would lose their lives and their special relationship with the Lord. This was the consequence. Sadly, they ate of the prohibited tree and paid the consequences.

Have you noticed the singular lack of consequences in almost every system of American culture? God's plan of behavior management for children (the rod of discipline Pro. 22:15) has been set aside by parents and schools. Athletes, stars and politicians are seen to break laws with impunity. Bad manners and rudeness are tolerated if one is popular or famous. Coaches throw chairs, athletes sling helmets, and parents attack other parents, all clear violations of team rules and rules of appropriate behavior. Yet, rarely are those actions held to account. Proverbs 19:19 tells us the truth: "A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again." Priests and teachers have abused children without penalty. Presidents lie, congressmen take money, etc.

Human beings require structure and discipline. Fortunately for us, our Creator planned for our growth and happiness by holding us accountable. God is honest with us: sin brings death. The Word clarifies His expectations and holds us accountable. God is predictable, consistent, and fair. And aren't we thankful for that! The beauty queen and best player have the same consequence and reward as the rest of us. Moses, God's chosen leader, was held accountable for disobedience (Number 20). Samson, a judge chosen by God, maintained supernatural strength as long as he followed God's directions. However, God allowed Samson to suffer the consequences of foolish behavior: the Philistines cut his hair, blinded and imprisoned him. Ultimately Samson gained victory over himself and over his enemies; God did not abandon Samson but answered his prayer.

Obedience begins with the fear of consequences. God's people cannot thrive if they accept the culture of no consequences. Churches grow numerically but not spiritually. Many are suffering from the lack of discipline among their members. Fornication, bar-hopping, gossip, and bitterness find their way into churches. Behavior that is plainly un-Christian is ignored while the "positive" is accentuated. By overlooking sin, the consequences of sin are not seen or felt. Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for this (1 Cor. 5:1-5). They accepted an adulterer as a faithful brother. Paul told them to deliver him to Satan -- to let him know where he was spiritually. They were not even to eat with him. How cruel! No! This is God's way of shocking the sinner into seeing the consequence of his sin.

Not all consequences are bad. In fact, the disciplining of the Corinthian adulterer caused him to repent and return to Christ. Paul urged the brethren to reaffirm their love to him (2 Cor. 2:3- 9). The renewal of Christian fellowship was crucial in helping this brother remain faithful. It remains the same today. We can not live without consequences. Some believe, because God does not punish sin immediately, He will not punish it at all. This is a serious mistake. In this life we might evade many bad consequences. However, in judgment all will be made right. Everyone will stand before God to be judged based on the things we have done on earth (2 Cor. 5:10). Don't buy into the idea of a culture with no consequences, for there is no such place in existence.

---David Hartsell

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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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