A Missing Sponge

A surgeon was very selective with the people he wanted to work with. It was the first day on the job for a young nurse and the surgeon decided to issue a test. As the young nurse assisted the surgeon during a procedure, she noticed a problem.

“You’ve only removed eleven sponges, doctor,” she said to the surgeon. “We used twelve.”

“l removed them all,” the doctor declared. “We‘ll close the incision now.”

“No,” the nurse objected. “We used twelve sponges.”

“l’ll take full responsibility,” the surgeon said grimly. “Suture!”

“You can’t do that!” blazed the nurse. “Think of the patient.”

The surgeon smiled, lifted his foot, and showed the nurse the twelfth sponge, and said, “You’ll do.”

It can be difficult to stand up for what is right, especially when we meet resistance. As for the young nurse, she was willing to risk disapproval and possibly even her job to stand up for what was right. Thankfully, she was working for a person who also valued integrity. It takes courage to expose ourselves and come under the heat of the spot light. In John 12:42-43, we see some people who weren’t willing to stand out, “Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.”

Which do we love more, God’s approval or man’s? It feels really good when people like us, praise us, and agree with us. Many people are even willing to sacrifice their morals and ethics in order to lay low and run with the crowd. It can be scary to be disliked, made fun of, and disagreed with. it can be hard to stand up for honesty and integrity as Christians, especially when those around us do not.

Moses told Joshua before his death, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

People may dislike or disagree with us, but there is only one approval that really matters anyway, God’s. When we stand with God, God will stand with us. Therefore, no matter what other people may think, let’s be courageous Christians and pursue God’s approval above all others.

The Ethiopian

It was down a dusty street the steed drawn vehicle reeled. One of the riders gotten for a handhold to prepare himself, however he kept talking eagerly to the next rider as they both pored over the look between them. The evening sun bursted down savagely as the chariot moved on past desolate vistas.

The speaker was a youthful Jewish man of Jerusalem who had been venturing out by walking down to Gaza on the Mediterranean drift. His group of onlookers of one was a dim cleaned Ethiopian, an imperial clergyman of the ruler of Ethiopia, who was restoring the long miles home in the wake of revering at the sanctuary in Jerusalem. The Ethiopian was riding and perusing the old expressions of the Jewish prophet, Isaiah, when the youthful Jewish man kept running up and consented to clarify the confounding content.

A hand over the street uncovered a little spring. The Ethiopian had listened precisely to the young fellow named Philip clarify that Isaiah’s prescience and whatever is left of the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets had been satisfied. Philip brought up how one called Jesus of Nazareth had fulfilled in his life, demise and wonderful revival all the Jewish predictions of old. The youthful evangelist showed one could get the greater part of God’s guaranteed favors through this Jesus by having confidence in his name, apologizing of one’s wrongdoings and being immersed for the abatement of sins.

As the Ethiopian peered toward the flashing impression of the sun in the water, he swung to Philip and asked, “Look, here is water. Is there any good reason why i shouldn’t be purified through water?” The openness of the dull man brought a snappy answer from Philip, “In the event that you accept with your entire being, you may.” The answer returned, “I trust that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” The chariot was stopped next to the street and together the two altogether different men strolled down into the cool water. Philip drenched the illustrious pastor in the water and raised him up once more. Together they left the water be that as it may, as the Ethiopian glanced around, Philip was no more. With extraordinary bliss the eunuch proceeded with his excursion home.


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Glorifying God

Commend signifies “to attribute grandness to; revere. To hoist in respect: reflect radiance upon.” The motivation behind all made creatures, particularly the individuals who are His kids, is to commend God since He is deserving of all grandness, respect and power (Rev. 4:11).

Ephesians 3:21 says that the congregation, in all eras, ought to praise Him. The undeniable thing to ask is, “The manner by which?” “By what method can the congregation celebrate God?” This article will endeavor to propose some routes in which the congregation can convey radiance to God.

Since the congregation is individuals, the body of the spared (Acts 2:47), it is those individuals who must convey brilliance to God. In this way, in all actuality, the congregation can just laud God by those people who involve it. In what ways, at that point, would we be able to as people who are individuals from the congregation extol God?

By Our Purity of Life Christians are rebuked to be immaculate so as to commend God. “Escape sexual perversion … or, then again do you not realize that your body is the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were purchased at a cost; along these lines laud God in your body and in your soul, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:18-20). To stay unadulterated, Christians are directed to think on immaculate things (Phil. 4:8); not partake in the transgressions of others (1 Tim. 5:22); be cases in virtue (1 Tim. 4:12); rinse their hands and sanitize their hearts (Jas. 4:8); and keep unspotted from the world (Jas. 1:27). Such immaculateness is important so as to be with Christ (1 John 3:3), see God (Matt. 5:8), and praise God (1 Cor. 6:20).

By Our Purity of Life

The individuals who involved the congregation in Macedonia were incited to praise God as a result of the generosity of the Christians in the city of Corinth (2 Cor. 9:13). When one uses the assets he has to advance the reason for Christ, God is celebrated. Matthew 5:16 states, “Let your light so sparkle before men, that they may see your acts of kindness and praise your Father in paradise.”

The Scriptures clearly instruct what the Christian’s mentality toward material belonging ought to be. He is to look for first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:19-33). He should understand that the affection for cash is a foundation of a wide range of shrewdness (1 Tim. 6:10). The individuals who are rich are to be neither haughty nor confide in wealth yet ought to rather be rich in acts of kindness, prepared to give and willing to share (1 Tim. 6:17-19).

Riches utilized as a part of God’s administration is riches accurately utilized. One is to give as he is flourished (1 Cor. 16:1-2), deliberately, neither grudgingly nor of need, yet brightly, for God cherishes a happy supplier (2 Cor. 9:6-7).

By Our Perseverance

To drive forward is to endure in any reason or endeavor; to keep endeavoring despite demoralizations. As Peter composed his first epistle, he knew its beneficiaries would need to persevere through future trials and enduring. He was keeping in touch with them to urge them to drive forward notwithstanding the colossal difficulty that was going to happen upon them. In 1 Peter 4:16 he expressed, “Yet in the event that anybody endures as a Christian, let him not be embarrassed, but rather given him a chance to celebrate God in this issue.” Christians extol God in the congregation by persisting in:

Solidarity. The solidarity paradise wants depends on the expression of God (1 Cor. 1:10). To safeguard solidarity among brethren requires “industriousness” (Eph. 4:3) in light of the fact that one must know the expression of God and make proceeded with utilization of it in all conditions. In any case, such exertion is advantageous on the grounds that solidarity praises God (Rom. 15:6).

Love. The motivation behind love is to commend God. Satisfactory love is done in soul and truth (John 4:24) subsequently regarding God with the best possible states of mind of veneration for Him and regard for His pledge.

Showing His oath. One who is shown God’s assertion learns of God, His strength and greatness, and how He is to be regarded (2 Tim. 4:1-5). His oath uncovers His energy and tells how He is regarded by compliance to His will in every way.

The work of the Lord. Doing the acts of kindness that God would have His kids to do respects Him (Matt. 5:13-16). In this way, Christians should dependably be “possessing large amounts of the work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58) with the goal that God is continually being regarded by their lives. Such makes others laud Him as well (1 Pet. 2:12).


On the off chance that we hope to be with God in transcendence, at that point we should laud Him while we live here on earth. Let us as people and as an aggregate body be doing all that we can to celebrate God.

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I Believe Jesus Christ Is The Son Of God


Admitting Jesus’ Identity

Any individual who longings to be a partaker of a similar satisfaction and favors that the Ethiopian eunuch appreciated must admit as he did Jesus’ way of life as the Messiah, the guaranteed Son of God. Jesus broadcasted, “Whosoever along these lines should admit me before men, him will I admit likewise before my Father which is in paradise” (Matt. 10:32). Paul clarified this admission is fundamental to salvation, “That if thou shalt admit with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt have confidence in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be spared” (Rom. 10:9).

When one admits Jesus, what is he saying he accepts? To admit Jesus is to admit he is the Christ, the Messiah guaranteed by God’s prophets (John 9:22). Admitting Jesus implies one trusts God raised Jesus from the dead to be Lord (Rom. 10:9; Phil. 2:9-11). When one admits Jesus he is admitting Jesus is the Son of God, that he is God (1 John 4:15). One must not just admit Jesus’ divinity, he should likewise admit Jesus’ mankind that “Jesus Christ is come in the tissue” (1 John 4:2-3; 2 John 7).

Demonstrating Jesus’ Identity

Christians are to admit as well as demonstrate Jesus’ character to others. Jesus guaranteed he was the Messiah, the Lord, the Son of God and the Son of Man. Be that as it may, Jesus said that his claim, without anyone else’s input, was not set up. Jesus stated, “On the off chance that I take the stand Myself, My witness is not valid” (John 5:31). One demonstrates reality of his cases by delivering confirmation to bolster his cases. One sort of proof to build up a claim are witnesses who confirm reality of the claim. Under the Law of Moses a few witnesses built up reality of a matter (cf. Deut. 19:15; John 8:17; 2 Cor. 13:1; 1 Tim. 5:19). Jesus set up his cases by the correct confirmation and he indicated the many witnesses which demonstrated his personality (John 5:32-47).

The individuals who declared Jesus as the Son of God did not make unsupported declarations. They lectured Jesus to induce confidence in the individuals who heard them. This confidence was not a gamble, but rather a religious upon clear proof. Adherents were asked to “Demonstrate all things; hold quick that which is great” (1 Thes. 5:21) and to “purify the Lord God in your souls: and be prepared dependably to give a response to each man that asketh you a reason of the expectation that is in you with quietness and dread” (1 Pet. 3:15). What is the proof? Who are the witnesses?

The Witness Of The Scriptures

The Scriptures affirm Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus indicated them as an observer of His personality, “You look the Scriptures, for in them you think, you have unceasing life; and these are they which affirm of Me” (John 5:39). How?

More than 1,000 years the Old Testament Scriptures were composed. God’s Word predicted of the coming Messiah through prescience and sort. There are more than 400 direct predictions of the guaranteed Messiah in the Old Testament. There are additionally numerous prophetic “sorts,” people and things that foreshadowed the life, passing and revival of the Messiah.

Jesus demonstrated he was the Son of God by satisfying every one of the predictions of the Scriptures concerning the Messiah. Jesus told his educates, “This is the thing that I let you know while I was still with you: Everything must be satisfied that is composed about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms” (Luke 24:44; cf. Matt. 5:17-18; 26:56; Luke 4:20-21; 24:27; and John 5:39-40, 46-47).

Jesus’ messengers likewise indicated this proof (Acts 3:18, 24; 7:52; 10:43; 13:29; 26:22; 28:23; 1 Pet. 1:10). “As his custom might have been, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he prevailed upon them from the Scriptures, clarifying and demonstrating that the Christ needed to experience the ill effects of the dead. ‘This Jesus I am announcing to you is the Christ,’ he said” (Acts 17:2-3).

Some contend Jesus either purposely or unintentionally satisfied the predictions. To begin with, numerous predictions Jesus satisfied were outside any human control, for example, the way of his origination (Isa. 7:14), the season of his introduction to the world (Gen. 49:10), the place of his introduction to the world (Micah 5:2), the way of his demise (Psa. 22:16), and so on. Second, one individual may satisfy one or possibly two of the predictions, yet the likelihood of one individual satisfying more than 400 predictions is practically outlandish.

One author evaluated the likelihood of one man satisfying just eight of the predictions of the Messiah at 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. We should delineate this likelihood. On the off chance that one had 1017 silver dollars, they would cover the condition of Texas two feet profound. Check just a single of the silver dollars and blend it with all the rest, blindfold a man and give him one chance to get the privilege stamped silver dollar. However Jesus satisfied the majority of the predictions. The Scriptures indicate such a variety of subtle elements of the individual, words and work of Jesus that the best way to reject Jesus as the Son of God is to dismiss the very Word of God.

The Ethiopian eunuch was understanding one of the predictions of the Christ from Isaiah and Philip “started at a similar sacred writing, and lectured unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35). He accepted and admitted Jesus as the Son of God, as a result of the observer of the Scriptures.

The Witness Of Miracles

Jesus demonstrated he was the Son of God by the supernatural occurrences he performed. “However, I have a more prominent observer than John’s; for the works which the Father has offered Me to complete – the very works that I do – take the stand Me, that the Father has sent Me” (John 5:36). His supernatural occurrences were the Father’s “works” which affirmed of Jesus.

Supernatural occurrences have dependably been God’s methods demonstrating his awesome envoys. Nicodemus was by all account not the only Jew who comprehended Jesus had originated from God, “for nobody can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2; Acts 10:38). At the point when the Jews stood up to Jesus saying, “‘Tell us evidently in the event that you are the Christ,’ Jesus addressed them, ‘I let you know, and you don’t accept. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they give testimony Me'” (John 10:25; cf. John 10:37-38; 15:24).

At the point when the witnesses lectured Jesus as the Son of God, they reminded their gatherings of people that they had seen the marvels Jesus performed and this demonstrated Jesus’ personality. Dwindle reminded the Jews on Pentecost, “Jesus of Nazareth, a man endorsed of God among you by marvels and ponders and signs, which God did by him amidst you, as ye yourselves likewise know” (Acts 2:22; cf. Acts 10:38).

Jesus’ marvels were not “done in a corner” (Acts 26:26), but rather done straightforwardly and openly, regularly before thousands. Indeed, even Jesus’ adversaries couldn’t deny the marvels he performed. Jesus’ marvels were God’s awesome declaration of Jesus’ personality.

On the off chance that Philip lectured Jesus to the eunuch, he more likely than not let him know of his marvels. At the point when John the baptist sent his supporters to Jesus to inquire as to whether he was “He that ought to come?” Jesus’ answer was to show them numerous wonders. At that point he let them know, “Go your direction, and disclose to John what things ye have seen and listened; how that the visually impaired see, the faltering walk, the outsiders are purified, the hard of hearing listen, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is lectured” (Luke 7:20-22). The Ethiopian trusted Jesus was the Son of God due to the confirmation of Jesus’ wonders.

The Witness Of The Resurrection

The best observer of Jesus is his restoration from the dead. At the point when the Jews requested a celestial indication of Jesus’ power, Jesus indicated his revival, “Decimate this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up … he spake of the sanctuary of his body. At the point when in this way he was become alive once again, his followers recollected that he had said this unto them; and they trusted the sacred text, and the word which Jesus had said” (John 2:19-22).

The restoration was not a conspiratorial bit of hindsight of a fizzled revolt. Jesus’ first open guarantee of his restoration came toward the start of his open service. He talked regularly of this “sign” all through the three years he freely educated (Matt. 16:21; 17:9, 22-23; 20:18-19; 26:32; Mark 9:10; Luke 9:22-23).

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Different Choice Test


The missionary John discloses to us that “wrongdoing is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). A great many people comprehend that when God gives us a “Thou shalt not” He implies business. We comprehend that wrongdoing conveys with it the punishment of otherworldly passing – partition from God (Rom. 6:23).

Have you at any point considered what God calls it when you submit some demonstration He has called a transgression, however you didn’t realize that what you were doing wasn’t right, and in this way trespassed your in obliviousness? Is it called:




The right answer is “3” (sin).

Despite the fact that some today have the state of mind that “If obliviousness is euphoria, ’tis habit to be astute,” God has constantly considered men responsible for their activities. In the Old Testament, God stated, “On the off chance that anybody of the everyday citizens sins inadvertently by accomplishing something against any of the charges of the Lord in anything which should not to be done, and is blameworthy, or if his wrongdoing which he has trespassed goes as far as anyone is concerned, at that point he might bring as his offering a child of the goats, a female without imperfection for his transgression which he has trespassed” (Lev. 4:27-28). Despite the fact that one may have trespassed unexpectedly, the Lord still viewed their activity as wicked, and along these lines considered them responsible for their activities.

The witness Paul discloses to us that the Old Testament was composed “for our learning” (Rom. 15:4). While we are not under the Mosaic law today, we can take in numerous significant lessons from it. Numbness of the law is no reason. Paul himself had been in charge of the demise of Christians, despite the fact that he “did it insensibly in unbelief” (1 Tim. 1:13), and kept up a spotless heart the whole time (Acts 23:1).

We have to remind individuals today that wrongdoing is a genuine matter – whether we sin deliberately or accidentally. “Whoever transgresses and does not dwell in the convention of Christ does not have God. He who dwells in the regulation of Christ has both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 9).

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Do Paul and James Contradict?

Do Paul and James Contradict?

Written by my friend Gene Taylor

Many people are persuaded that the writings of James and Paul contradict on the topic of faith and works. Martin Luther even labeled the book of James “an epistle of straw, and destitute of evangelical character” because of this very reason.

In reality, any misunderstanding of the writings of these two men is not their fault but that of those who have not “rightly divided” the word of Truth (2 Tim. 2:15).

Nearly all those who believe that the writings of James and Paul are contradictory hold the position that people are saved by “faith only.” In an effort to defend their position, they make light of the book of James instead of studying it in order to see that it and Paul’s writings are in complete harmony. They either misunderstand or completely disregard the true motive and purpose behind James’ book.

A careful study of the book of James shows it complements the writings of the apostle Paul. Paul deals primarily with the doctrine of justification before God which comes, not through merit, but through the grace of God. James, on the other hand, shows that it is hypocritical for one to say he believes in God while living ungodly. The believer must apply the word of God to his life and take it into his heart. He must show his faith by doing the will of God.

Paul, especially in the books of Romans, Corinthians and Galatians, writes of the problems brought on by Judaizing Jews who wanted to bind parts of the Law of Moses on Gentiles who were obeying the gospel. He showed that the Old Law had been a law of works and that the blessings people got from it were earned. It did not require faith for one to become a child of God, as does the gospel, the law of faith, (Rom. 3:27). Physical birth, not faith, made one a Jew, a child of God under the Old Law. So Paul, explaining the difference between the Old Law and the New, penned his dissertations on faith — a concept that was new to the Jews. He was contrasting the works of the Law of Moses with the obedience of faith. James, in his epistle, wrote of the new law, the perfect law of liberty (Jas. 1:25).

James, speaking of the new law, shows that even though it is a law of faith, works are necessary for justification (Jas. 2:24, 26). Practical application of faith toward God, brethren and other people makes a person’s religion meaningful, fruitful, and true. If one has the true faith of a dedicated believer, he will exemplify that faith in his life and will manifest it in his works.

But as Paul wrote, and James agreed, the law of Christ, the law of faith, excludes glorying or boasting. While it does require certain works of believers (Titus 2:14), since it is God who requires them, they are His works and not man’s. They declare the believer’s confidence in and reliance upon God and in no way give anyone who does them any reason to boast or glory in self. Doing works of righteousness gives glory to Father and Son.

Though Paul, affirming the Old Law had been abolished (Col. 2:14), rebuked the self-righteous Judaizing Jews who tried to bind it on the Gentiles, he exhorted Christians to continued obedience — doing the good works for which they were created (Titus 2:14). He told Titus to remind believers “to obey, to be ready for every good work” (Titus 3:1). In this matter, as in all others, Paul and James are in complete accord.

Who Is on the Lord’s Side

In its early days, when Israel was going through its birth pangs as a nation, God led them to Mt Sinai where they would be given their law. Three prerequisites to any kingdom include: a king, a territory, and a law. With God as their King and Canaan as their soon-to-be-conquered territory, all that remained were rules of conduct to govern their lives. When, after forty days, Moses returned from the mountain-top with tablets of stone upon which God had written the Ten Commandments, he found the people engaged in the idolatrous worship of a golden calf. In righteous indignation, Moses shattered the tablets at the foot of the mountain. Then, he burned the golden calf, ground it into powder, scattered it over the surface of the water and made the people drink it (Ex. 32:19-20). Then, when Moses saw that the people were getting out of control, he stood at the gate of the camp and cried out, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!” (vs. 26). Three thousand men fell that day in the fury of God’s judgment (vs. 28). How could they so quickly forget the God who had provided such marvelous deliverance?

Centuries later, on the first Pentecost following the resurrection and ascension of Christ, another kingdom was brought into existence. Peter’s message on that occasion centered on the fact that Jesus, whom they had crucified, had been made “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Jesus had been crowned “King of kings” (Rev. 17:14). But, in addition to a king, a kingdom needs territory. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world (Jn. 18:36). His kingdom is in the hearts and minds of His people (Lk. 17:21). Finally, there is the matter of law. A kingdom must have laws by which it is governed. Isaiah described the coming of the Messianic kingdom saying that the law would go “forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Is. 2:3). This law did not come through Moses, but through Jesus the Son of God. It was not received from the top of a mountain but from heaven itself. It was not accompanied by the death of three thousand but by the rejoicing of three thousand souls who gave their hearts and lives to their new king (Acts 2:41).

Paul, like Moses, was amazed at how some could so quickly desert their Deliverer (Gal. 1:6). As Moses asked, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”, so also Christ asks His disciples to faithfully align themselves with His cause. The pressure to conform to the thinking and behavior of the world—our tendency to forget about even things of great significance—our ability to lose sight of things spiritual, focusing instead on things which can be seen, felt, and experienced with the natural senses—all of this calls us to count the cost of our discipleship and firmly place ourselves in the camp of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes it can be confusing for us to know who is truly on the Lord’s side. There are no uniforms in the army of the Lord—no special insignias, badges, wrist bands, or necklaces. We know them by their fruit and the love that they have for one another (Mt. 7:16; Jn. 13:35). While it may be confusing at times for us to know who is truly on the Lord’s side, be assured of one thing: “The Lord knows those who are His” (2 Tim. 2:19).

written by Glen Elliot


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While the Bridegroom Tarries

In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus describes a hypothetical situation in which ten virgins are awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom. Five are foolish and the other five are wise. The reason for such an assessment is that the wise virgins took oil for their lamps in case there was a delay in the bridegroom’s coming while the foolish virgins made no such preparation. Then, at midnight, a most unexpected time, the arrival of the bridegroom is announced. Because the prudent virgins had oil enough only for themselves and the foolish virgins did not have enough for their lamps, they were forced to go to the dealers in the middle of the night to buy more oil. While they were away, the doors were shut and they were unable to gain access into the wedding feast (Mt. 25:1-11).

The events described in this parable may sound strange to the ears of modern-day disciples who are unfamiliar with Hebrew marriage customs. The Bible Knowledge Commentary provides the following insight:

Marriages were arranged for individuals by parents, and contracts were negotiated. After this was accomplished, the individuals were considered married and were called husband and wife. They did not, however, begin to live together. Instead, the woman continued to live with her parents and the man with his for one year. The waiting period was to demonstrate the faithfulness of the pledge of purity given concerning the bride. If she was found to be with child in this period, she obviously was not pure, but had been involved in an unfaithful sexual relationship. Therefore the marriage could be annulled. If, however, the one-year waiting period demonstrated the purity of the bride, the husband would then go to the house of the bride’s parents and in a grand processional march lead his bride back to his home. There they would begin to live together as husband and wife and consummate their marriage physically.

As the bride of Christ, the church is currently in a phase of preparation—a time of waiting for the appearance of the bridegroom (Eph. 5:25-27). The church is betrothed to Christ, awaiting the day of presentation (2 Cor. 11:2). We must “Be on the alert then, for [we] do not know the day or the hour” (Mt. 25:13). John identifies our wedding day in the events that mark Christ’s second coming, saying, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:1–2).

Concerning these matters, we observe two important things: (1) Continual preparation is wise, neglect is foolish; and, (2) We cannot borrow preparation from others—it must be our own. In the light of such truths, how diligent ought we to be in preparing for our eternal future!

written by Glen Elliott


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Memory Check

Perhaps, you have noticed the proliferation of games and tests aimed at meeting our need to feel secure in the things we remember. With all the attention given to horrible diseases which rob the mind, we feel comforted in remembering. But, memory fails, even in the best of us.

According to Tyler Smith, “researchers [have] discovered that our memories might not be as reliable as we think. In fact, every time you recall a memory, your brain distorts it a little. Like making a copy of a copy of a copy, you reproduce the event in your mind’s eye based on earlier versions of the memory” (Logos Talk. “Why You May Be Misreading Scripture, & and What to Do about it”. Mon, April 10, 2017).

In practical terms, what this means is that your favorite stories, as told around the dinner table, might not be as accurate as you think they are—that fish you caught might not have been as big as described. It is not as though you are deliberately exaggerating—you may be recalling a memory of a memory of a memory.

If we are willing to listen, this says a lot about our need to rely on Scripture in our teaching and preaching. Otherwise, the retelling of familiar Bible stories becomes less and less like the original, divinely inspired narrative. Important details are lost or otherwise overlooked as we grow content in retelling the gist of the story from our own perspective.

Ancient Israelites, though commanded to tell and retell important stories of their colorful past, were required to go back to the Scriptures for periodic reminder (Dt. 31:9-13 cf. Josh. 8:34-35; 2 Kgs. 23:1-3; Neh. 8:1-12).

As Christians, we are also blessed with the ability to go back and check the facts from the inspired text. The story of Jesus may be told and retold many times. It is important, however, to rely on the Scriptures for accurate recall. Otherwise, we may soon be missing important details or adding to the story facts that are absent from the inspired account.

The writers of the New Testament were endowed with the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit to “guide [them] into all the truth” (Jn. 16:13). These men were “moved by the Holy Spirit” and “spoke from God” (2 Pet. 1:21). The Holy Spirit was sent to “teach [them] all things, and bring to [their] remembrance all that [Jesus had spoken to them]” (Jn. 14:26). The Bible is not a body of recollections dependent upon the frail memory of men—these are inspired remembrances, accurate in every detail.

Much of the good we accomplish today in preaching and teaching falls into the realm of reminder. Peter said he was ready to remind the brethren of important biblical truths and would continue to do so as long as God granted him life (2 Pet. 1:12-15; 3:1-2). Paul said it was no trouble for him to write the same things over again and that it was a safeguard for his readers (Ph. 3:1). Perhaps, we would do well to remember that a sermon or class filled with Scripture, even Scripture with which we are well-familiar, is a necessary step we must take to avoid the digression which naturally occurs when we rely solely upon our failing memory.

Written by Glen Elliot

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The Lordship of Jesus Christ

Belief in the lordship of Jesus Christ has little power unless it is translated into practical, everyday life. Jesus has been “raised from the dead and seated at the right hand” of the Father in heaven, “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Eph. 1:20-21). The Father has placed “all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (vss. 22-23). The supremacy of Christ as lord and king is emphasized also in Paul’s letter to Colossians where he says “that He Himself will come to have first place in everything” (1:18).

The lordship of Christ is clearly established in Scripture and widely accepted among all those who claim to be followers of Christ. But, bringing the lordship of Christ into everyday practice is a challenge for even the strongest of Christians. Fundamental to meeting this challenge is adopting a life-style that shows that we belong to Jesus and that He is always present in every area of our daily lives.

We belong to Christ (1 Cor. 3:23). All things were created by His power (Jn. 1:3). We were purchased by His redeeming blood (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). Therefore, we are not our own. We belong to Him. We are but stewards of what God has given us. In referencing the offerings presented in sacrifice to God under the Law of Moses, God reminds them that these animals already belonged to the Lord (Ps. 50:10-11). He continues, saying, “the world is mine, and all it contains” (vs. 12). What a change would be made in our lives if we practiced divine ownership! Abraham Kuyper is credited with having said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”

A second challenge which must be met in making the lordship of Christ real in everyday life is to practice the presence of God in every situation. Too often, we live and function as though Christ is present only on Sunday morning when we are gather together for worship. But God is omnipresent (Ps. 139:7-12). Like Jonah the prophet, we cannot flee from the presence of the Lord (Jon. 1:3). Nor can we, like the ancient Israelites, manipulate the presence of God (1 Sam. 4:3). Instead, we must earnestly seek His presence in every circumstance (Ps. 63:1). An everyday reflection of the lordship of Christ might be summarized as follows: “Be present where He is present” (adapted from Jake Mailhot). Since Christ is everywhere present, we must practice His presence in every walk of life. The apostle said it this way: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Ph. 1:21).

written by: Glen Elliott