Not All Of The News Is Bad
Not many mornings pass without my having at least scanned the news headlines and probably reading at least 1 or 2 stories. I don't know why I do it, because all the news can be summed up this way: it stinks! Planes lost at sea, ferries sinking, horrible crimes committed and global confrontations ready to erupt. No, the news isn't pleasant.
Thankfully, not all news is bad, in fact we are gathered today because we believe in some very good news! This news isn't found in the newspapers, but it's of great importance. As Paul wrote, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1Corinthians 15:3–4).
Almost two thousand years ago this week, those monumental events were accomplished, and unlike most of what passes for "news" today, those events were not quickly forgotten, nor will they ever be. We've gathered today, just as we do every first day of the week, in celebration of this good news. When we partake of the Lord's Supper "we proclaim the Lord's death until He comes," (1Corinthians 11:26).
I'm thankful that we can worship together today. I'm thankful that we're here to remember and celebrate good news, because no matter how bad this world gets, not all of the news is bad.
Cramming for Finals!
Cramming for Finals!
It is that time of year for students, especially college students. The semester is coming to a close. Papers will soon be due. Finals are right around the corner. It is time to get down to the business of studying! The semester has been fun but now grades are coming into the picture. Accountability is now an issue. Oh well. You still have a couple of weeks before D-day. All is not lost – yet.
I know all students are not procrastinators but plenty are. I was one of them sometimes. Deadlines are necessary for some people to produce. The scary thing is a lot of Christians look at Judgement Day the same way. "I still have lots of life left. There is no need to be too serious about life. I'll get everything straight before the end. There is still plenty of time to serve the Lord."
So lots of Christians plan to "cram for ﬁnals" somewhere down the road. Not a good idea. I have observed that most people who plan to "cram for ﬁnals" later in life rarely get around to it. They get so comfortable in their lackadaisical Christianity that it becomes their standard. They eventually think their lukewarm service is actually acceptable to God. It is not. "So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth" (Rev. 3:16).
God expects our faithful service now. That is clearly the wise path. After all we never know if we will get to live our "later years." We could end up like the man to whom God said, "Fool! This night your soul will be required of you." Do not plan to cram for heaven. Make Christianity a daily service. Then the end will come with great expectation, not with fear. How pleasant to be able to live every day with Paul's words on your lips, "Oh Lord Come!" (1 Cor. 16:22)
Stubborn As Mules!
By Josh Creel
By now you’ve probably met my youngest son, Ethan. If not, here’s a short summary of Ethan. First, he’s cute as can be. Like all children, his smile lights up any room and his learning process is a joy to behold. He’s just cute. Second, he’s got a loud personality. He does everything with such exuberance, including adding a very loud “AMEN” to many prayers in public worship. Third, he’s stubborn, stubborn as a mule. We are constantly chasing him out of the pantry or freezer as he’s looking for a treat of some kind. He will run out of the kitchen, turn around and run right back to the pantry or freezer. I can’t count the number of times we’ve had to swat his little legs to make him stop some bad behavior, only to see him do it again once the crying stopped. Ethan, you better be glad you’re so cute.
As Ethan’s father, it’s my job to give him instruction, to tell him what’s wrong and to show him what’s right. But stubbornness leads people, including little boys, to reject instruction. That’s why no parent likes stubbornness in their children, and we try to break them of it quickly. Significantly, our Heavenly Father said the following: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you.” (Psalm 32:8–9, NASB95) For weeks I’ve been saying Ethan is “as stubborn as a mule,” but as I read these words this week I was struck by the thought that God could be saying the same thing of me! He’s giving instruction, His eye is upon me, but will I take the instruction or not? If I don’t, then He says I’m like the horse or mule who lack understanding.
Today we’ve come together to worship our God and receive instruction from our Father’s Word. Specifically, we’re looking to the Scriptures to see what God says about marriage. No doubt, we will learn wonderful truths that can enrich each marriage. But will we receive and apply the instruction, or like many a child, will we be stubborn as mules?