Flood Relief & Divine Pattern

EARLY ON AUGUST 11, torrential downpours dumped rain on the surrounding Baton Rouge and Lafayette areas. Rain fell at a rates up to 2-3 inches per hour and overall totals exceeded nearly 2 feet in some areas as a result of the system remaining stationary. Accumulations reached as high as 31.39 inches in Watson, Louisiana.

The Washington Post noted that the “no-name storm” dumped three times as much rain on Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina. It dropped the equivalent of 7.1 trillion gallons of water or enough to fill Lake Pontchartrain about four times. Hurricane Katrina, by comparison, dumped about 2.3 trillion gallons of rainwater in the state (though more in other states). The flood also dumped more water than Hurricane Isaac. According to the National Weather Service Hydrometeorological Design Studies Center, the amount of rainfall in the hardest-hit locations had a less than 0.1 percent chance of happening or was a (less than) 1-in-1,000-year event.

This flooding has caused heartache and hardship for some in our family of Christ. One congregation in particular, reached out to let brethren know of their plight. They requested help according to the pattern established in the New Testament, not through the institutions of man.

The pattern for aiding brethren in other areas has been established by Acts 11:27-30.Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.” (emphasis mine seb).

A famine had arisen in the days of Claudius that had severely stricken the Christians in Judea. The Holy Spirit directed Paul on how this relief should be made. Paul wrote about the contribution being sent by the saints in Macedonia; “For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem” [Romans 15:26], so too, the church at Corinth [1Cor 16:1-4].

What we see from this pattern are individual saints (and local congregations) collecting money and sending it directly to the parties affected. No middlemen, no organizations that funnels off money for “operating costs” nor do we see a board of directors who can decide to send the money for a non-scriptural use (as we see with so many “charities”). What we see are saints fulfilling the need directly. The pattern is simple, clean AND EFFECTIVE, because it is the divine pattern from God.

As individuals, we have liberty to be a bit more broad with our benevolence. We’re able to give aid beyond just the saints, unlike the limitations placed upon the church treasury by the Holy Spirit [1Timothy 5:9,16]. If we can, we should be benevolent, being mindful of those times when we ought to refrain [Ga 6:10; 1Thess 3:10-12].

That being said, here is the note from the brethren in Louisiana;

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STOP! The need involving Christians in Louisiana has been met.

With several families displaced by floods and facing reconstruction on the inside of their homes, the cost estimate was $500,000 beyond what that local church could do. However, THE NEED HAS BEEN MET.

I just spoke with one of the elders. Their biggest concern is returning the funds beyond what they need. I told him he’ll have to get a roll of stamps. He said, “Wilson, it will take rolls and rolls AND ROLLS of stamps…” He said, “We never dreamed there would be such an outpouring of help for us…”

He went on…

“Please spread the word that the need has been met and that we will do our best to return the monies not needed back to the source.” I am sure they will. But be patient. They have been flooded (sorry!) with overwhelming generosity.

Want Bible? Exodus 36:5: “The people were restrained from bringing any more…” Don’t tell me it doesn’t happen. It just happened in Gonzales, Louisiana…

God is good. And so are His people. Please “Share” the news

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Praise God, the need was met for these folks within a few weeks, following God’s pattern of benevolence. I’m sure more can and should be done by individuals, and it can be done following God’s divine pattern for benevolence.

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Does the Bible Answer Everything?

DURING A DISCUSSION with a 20 something, the question was raised, “do you really think that the Bible has answers for every situation of man?” I immediately responded with, “YES! In principle.”

What I mean by this is that the Bible contains principles that can aid us in working through any and every situation of life. The Bible is God’s revelation for man and contains His law, i.e. rules of conduct to govern man. (2Peter 1:21; 2Sam. 23:2; 1Cor. 2:7-13, Eph. 3:3-5; Gal. 6:2; James 2:12, etc.).  In fact, all Scriptures given by inspiration of God furnish man completely unto all good works, unto all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Tim. 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:3). This tells me that God has made known to mankind His will regarding every situation a person might face.

God, the creator of us all, knows what is best for us. Shall the clay question the potter? Unless we consult with God how shall we direct our own steps [Jeremiah 10:23]? This direction, given in His law, governs our total conduct. Conduct is the meaning of the word “conversation” in Phillippians 1:27; “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.” KJV

The total of man’s conduct may be catagorized into five relationship areas: religious, political, economic, domestic, and social.

God reveals His Direction for our conduct regarding our relationship to…

RELIGION in the gospel: John 4:24 ; James 1:27; Romans 12:13; Heb. 13:2; Gal. 6:10.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth

GOVERNMENT (political: Rom. 13:1-7; 1Peter 2:13-14), to business (economic: Eph. 4:28; 2Thess. 3:10).

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

ECONOMIC (Eph 4:28; 2Thess 3:10;)

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

FAMILY (domestic: 1 Tim. 5:1-6; Eph. 5:21; 6:4).

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

COMMUNITY (social: Matt. 7:12; Luke 10:30-37).

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:

In the Bible, we can study God’s precepts and examples to learn how to direct our own steps. The conduct of many folks, good and bad, are recorded for our learning [1Corinthians 10:6,11; Romans 15:4]. God rejected sinful conduct and demonstrated His approval with conduct that was in harmony with His will. The conduct of their lives, exemplified in the scriptures, are aproved or disapproved according to the dispensation in which they lived.

We have a perfect example in Christ “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps: who did no sin.” [1Peter 2:21-22]. Never did He violate God’s law [1John 3:4], but in every respect His conduct was in harmony with the Father’s will. This mind that was in Christ we are to imitate [Phil 2:5-11].

With regards to the final judgment, when this world will be dissolved, what manner of person ought we to be? [2Peter 3:11]. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” [1Pe 1:15-16].

The answer to the question is YES, the Bible does give us directions to face any situation in all of our relationships; Religion, Economic, Political, Family and socially. The Bible is God’s written instructions for mankind, His will for us.

So many people are walking around saying, “I know God has a plan for my life.” He does, yet many never bother to read it. God does have a plan for us, let us study it and do His will [2Timothy 2:15]. Most importantly, let us study His will on how to gain eternal life.

Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. John 6:68

The one oar Christian

THERE’S A STORY TOLD OF an old wise man of God who was continually criticized for his motto, “pray and work.” A young pupil, struggling with the mounting problems of life, asked the wise man, “If God is so powerful, why then do you teach us also to work?” The wise man of God invited this youth to go fishing. As they entered the boat, the youth noticed that the old man only used one oar and said, “If you don’t use both, we’ll just go around in circles and you won’t get anywhere.” “That’s right, my son,” the elder man replied. “One oar is called prayer and the other is called work. Unless you use both at the same time, you just go in circles and you don’t get anywhere.”

Over the years I’ve learned that prayer alone, or work alone, is just like trying to row a boat using only one oar. All you ever seem to do is just go around in circles.

There is no doubt that prayer ought to be a part of every Christians day. Jesus taught this on several occasion, exemplifying it in His own life [Mat 14:23; 26:36,39; Mark 1:35; Luke 9:18,29].

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And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Luke 18:1

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Unfortunately, that is where many of us stop. We pray and pray and pray, wondering why nothing ever changes. What we forget is that God has also required us to act. Let us consider two Godly men Abraham, and Moses, men who are noted for how God spoke to them as a friend [Gen 18:17; Ex 33:11].

In reading Hebrews 11, we see that these two men had a great faith. Was their faith only seen in their prayer life? Are these men remembered for their inactive faith only? Do you recall reading about these men sitting in their easy chair, lifting up praise and prayers to God and softly drifting off to sleep comforted with the thought that God would take care of their troubles? No, never. What we DO READ is that these men of faith prayed and worked.

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By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Heb 11:8

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Heb 11:7

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When Abraham heard God, he acted upon those commands. In the case of offering up Isaac, it is said that he “rose early” that morning to fulfill the commands of God [Gen 22:3].

Moses also acted upon the commands of God.

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By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. Heb 11:24-26

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Did either of these men think that they were accomplishing anything out of their own power? No, they had placed their trust in God, but this trust was manifested by a remarkable demonstration of action.

When we pray according to God’s will, we’re praying having sought to know His will through the study of His word [2Tim 2:15]. Then after we pray, we get up and apply that knowledge to our lives. We act, not because we think highly about ourselves, rather, because we are trusting God to bless our godly activities.

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But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22

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For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”  (KJV) [Jam 1:23-25]