Ingratitude self-evaluation test

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.

(2Timothy 3:2)

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he warns of imposters in the last and perilous days. He lists a series of qualities that describe these traitors (cf., 2Tim 3:2-8).

Among this descriptive list is the quality of being “UNTHANKFUL.”

We usually know when someone ELSE is being an ingrate, but seldom do we recognize it in ourselves. There are only two ways I know to see it in ourselves. One is through constant self-evaluation (cf. 2Cor 13:5), the other is learning by example (both positive & negative).

Let’s combine these strategies with a self-evaluation test using biblical examples.

Take this GRATITUDE self-test to know if we’re being grateful or ungrateful.

Do I only see…

  • the FORBIDDEN fruit?
  • the freedom to eat every other FRUIT in the garden?

(Gen 2:16-17; 3:4-6) Metaphorical for those forbidden “fruits” of the lust of the flesh.

Do I only notice…

  • Those that are ABSENT from the assemblies?
  • Those that are in ATTENDANCE?

(Mat 18:20; 1Cor 11:18)

What do I regularly think about…

  • WORRY and anxiety?
  • the WORD?

(Mat 6:33; Phil 4:8)

When I’m planning my contribution…

  • Do I Give GRUDGINGLY?
  • Do I Give GLADLY?

(2Cor 9:6-15)

When studying my bible do I…

  • Dread READING?
  • Look for the REAPING from what I read?

(John 20:30-31; 2Tim 2:15; Eph 3:3-4; 2Pet 1:5-10)

When assembling to worship with the saints, do I…

  • See it as an OBLIGATION that I have to do?
  • See it as an OPPORTUNITY that I get to do?

(John 4:24; Heb 10:25)

When it comes to my brethren what do I notice…

  • The HURT of some?
  • The HELPFULNESS of most?

(Num 11:5-6; James 1:20)

When the weather turns…

  • Do I only see the RAIN, snow, sun etc.?
  • Do I notice the blessings of REFRESHMENT?

(Acts 14:17; Matt 5:45)

What is my attitude toward my job?

  • Do I view it only as WORK to pay my bills?
  • Do I see it as WEALTH building to share & enjoy?

(Eph 4:28; 1Tim 6:17-19)

When I’m ill…

  • Do I exemplify the SICKNESS with an organ recital?
  • Do I SHOW my hope in my faithful endurance?

(Jas 5:11; 2Cor 4:16-18)

When trouble comes…

  • Do I only see the STRUGGLE?
  • Do I see the STRENGTH and patience that comes from endurance?

(Jas 1:1-3; Heb 12:11)

When I go into the marketplace…

  • Do I lament the COMMERCIALISM?
  • Do I see the nearly limitless CHOICES?

(Mat 20:13-15)

Life on earth is seldom easy. The way we respond to the struggles of life will determine how much HOPE we display. A positive response gives the best chance to reach the lost through our godly example (cf. 1Peter 3:1-6).

Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ at Franklin & Juniper st. in Borger Texas.

Teach them to WALK

After we give them food and needs, what do we teach our children. We teach them to WALK.

Teach them WISDOM, from your wins, losses, and the Word. Jas 3:17

Jas 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

Teach them how to ACT toward others, in the workplace, and in the community. Eph 4:28; 6:5-6

Eph 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

Teach them and give them LOVE. Rom 5:8-10

Ro 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Most importantly, teach them to KNOW the Lord. Eph 6:4

Eph 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

2Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ on Franklin & Juniper in Borger Texas.

8 People to be GRATEFUL

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

(1Thess 5:18)

In a previous article I listed some things for which I am grateful. (v8 #45 Nov 6, 2022). Today I’d like to make a list of the People to which I am grateful.

Many people claim that they are self-made and in need of help from no one. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The scripture says, “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.” Everything we have in life will come through or because of others.

We need people. We’re not going to be able to grow all our own food, refine our own gas, nor sow our own clothing. Our needs in life lie at the root of all economies.

Therefore, it is of great necessity that we are grateful to others. Have you taken the time to thank them personally? Do you recognize who they are? Let’s consider who it is that deserves our gratitude.

Certainly, first on our list is GOD. “…He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt 5:45b). “Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17). Every good gift comes from above, ought not we give thanks?

Some of the most important people in our lives are often the worst treated of all people, and these are our RELATIVES. We certainly need to show them gratitude. Our parents birthed us and provided for us. Our children bring us a sense of purpose. Our extended families bring us comfort and belonging. Spouses aid one another both physically, emotionally, and spiritually. While this is the ideal, it may have it rough spots. Nevertheless, let us be grateful to those we love the most. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:1-4).

Another group of people to add to the gratitude list are the AGED. These are those who have been through what we have yet to experience. These can be a source of good knowledge on how to live good lives. Not because they always did it right, but that they sometimes did it wrong and learned from their mistakes. “That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:2-5).

I’m also grateful for those who have educated themselves with those highly TECHNICAL skills that makes civilized life possible. This would include doctors, surgeons, and engineers, but it must also include those with TECHNICAL skills in the blue-collar fields; ie., mechanics, plumbers, and electricians to name just a few. How would life be without these TALENTED people? “For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward” (1Tim 5:18; cf., Le 19:13; De 24:14-15; 25:4).

Let us also be grateful for those service EMPLOYEES who are often overlooked or looked down upon. These folks prepare our food, make our clothes, and also make civilized life possible. “And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him” (Eph 6:9; cf., Rom 2:11; 1Co 7:22; Col 3:25-4:1).

While we’re making this list of people let us never forget our FRIENDS & Co-Workers. It’s self-evident that we desire FRIENDS. These are people we choose to make a part of our lives because of common values and interests.  “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov 17:17). “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Prov 18:24). Are these not worthy of our gratitude?

An odd one that I put on my list are those that are UNFRIENDLY. We can be grateful even for these. Our savior told us that He loved us while we were enemies, and commands us to love our enemies (Rom 5:8-9; Luke 6:27), but can we also be grateful? I think so. Consider what Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1Cor 11:19). The unfriendly, the unkind, the unruly, and the other “uns” become a contrast to help us recognize what is good. I know it sounds weird, but that’s the only way I can understand this verse.

Lastly, would be our LEADERS. It is a direct command to pray for them, and it is clear that God rules in the kingdoms of men, therefore let us give thanks. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1Tim 2:1-4; cf., Dan 4:17).

One more thing; The above is a general list of the groups of people to whom we could show thanks. I urge you to take it a bit further and to specifically identify individuals in each of these categories that you could recognize with thanksgiving. I began making a list, years ago, of people who have made an impact in my life. Names are constantly being added to it. Then I make a point to thank them in person, or with a note, and I certainly give thanks to God for them.

If you do this, you will be amazed at how much people change when we begin to be grateful for them and show it to them.

Spencer

How to know if we’re ungrateful

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.

(2Timothy 3:2)

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he warns of imposters in the last and perilous days. He lists a series of qualities that describe these traitors (cf 2Tim 3:2-8).

Among this descriptive list is the quality of being “UNTHANKFUL.”

We usually know when someone ELSE is being an ingrate, but seldom do we recognize it in ourselves. There are only two ways I know to see it in ourselves. One is through constant self-evaluation (cf. 2Cor 13:5), the other is learning by example (both positive & negative).

Let’s combine these strategies with a self-evaluation test using biblical examples.

Take this GRATITUDE self-test to know if we’re being grateful or ungrateful.

Do I only see…

  • the FORBIDDEN fruit?
  • the freedom to eat every other FRUIT in the garden?

(Gen 2:16-17; 3:4-6) Metaphorical for those forbidden “fruits” of the lust of the flesh.

Do I only notice…

  • Those that are ABSENT from the assemblies?
  • Those that are in ATTENDANCE?

(Mat 18:20; 1Cor 11:18)

What do I regularly think about…

  • WORRY and anxiety?
  • the WORD?

(Mat 6:33; Phil 4:8)

When I’m planning my contribution…

  • Do I Give GRUDGINGLY?
  • Do I Give GLADLY?

(2Cor 9:6-15)

When studying my bible do I…

  • Dread READING?
  • Look for the REAPING from what I read?

(John 20:30-31; 2Tim 2:15; Eph 3:3-4; 2Pet 1:5-10)

When assembling to worship with the saints, do I…

  • See it as an OBLIGATION I have to do?
  • See it as an OPPORTUNITY I get to do?

(John 4:24; Heb 10:25)

When it comes to my brethren what do I notice…

  • The HURT of some?
  • The HELPFULNESS of most?

(Num 11:5-6)

When the weather turns…

  • Do I only see the RAIN, snow, sun etc.?
  • Do I notice the blessings of REFRESHMENT?

(Acts 14:17; Matt 5:45)

What is my attitude toward my job?

  • Do I view it only as WORK to pay my bills?
  • Do I see it as WEALTH building to share & enjoy?

(Eph 4:28; 1Tim 6:17-19)

When I’m ill…

  • Do I exemplify the SICKNESS with an organ recital?
  • Do I SHOW my hope in my faithful endurance?

(Jas 5:11; 2Cor 4:16-18)

When trouble comes…

  • Do I only see the STRUGGLE?
  • Do I see the STRENGTH and patience that comes from endurance?

(Jas 1:1-3; Heb 12:11)

When I go into the marketplace…

  • Do I lament the COMMERCIALISM?
  • Do I see the nearly limitless CHOICES?

(Mat 20:13-15)

Life on earth is seldom easy. The way we respond to the struggles of life will determine how much HOPE we display. A positive response gives the best chance to reach the lost through our godly example (cf. 1Peter 3:1-6).

Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ in Borger Texas

30 Days of Gratitude pt3

During this national holiday of Thanksgiving, let us list the reasons to have THANKFULNESS.

day 19:

I’m Thankful for TEACHERS of the Gospel.

Eph 4:11-12 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

day 20.

I’m grateful for HOPE in Christ.

1 Timothy 4:10 KJV

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

day 21.

I’m grateful for Adoption.

Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (cf., Gal 4:5)

day 22.

I’m grateful for the New Testament that brings belief, faith, and understanding.

John 20:30-31 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (Eph 3:3-4; Ron 10:17)

Day 23.

Kingdom of His dear Son. Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Day 24.

Family & Friends. Prov 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Day 25.

UNSPEAKABLE gift. 2Co 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Day 26.

The Love of God. John 3:16; Rom 5:8-10 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Day 27.

My Neighbors. Jas 2:8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well;

Day 28.

Eternal Life in Christ. Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Day 29.

Our Savior, Christ Jesus. Acts 13:23 Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:

Day 30.

Sacrifice of Christ. John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ on Franklin & Juniper in Borger Texas.

Paul’s Defense to Agrippa

Paul’s defense to Agrippa is very powerful, and something all Christians should study to understand, and be able to recite.

Acts 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

I OPENLY DECLARE

  • I Worship the God of the Bible. John 4:24 God is Spirit: then let his worshippers give him worship in the true way of the spirit.
  • I Believe all things which are written in the Law (of Moses) and the prophets. Luke 24:26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to go through these things, and to come into his glory? 27 And he made clear to them all the things in the Writings, from Moses and from all the prophets, which had to do with himself.
  • I Have Hope toward God. Heb 6:19 And this hope is like a strong band for our souls, fixed and certain, and going in to that which is inside the veil;
  • I Hope in the Resurrection of the dead, (both of the just & unjust). 2Cor 5:10 For we all have to come before Christ to be judged; so that every one of us may get his reward for the things done in the body, good or bad.
  • I Strive to have a conscience without offense toward God. 1Thess 2:4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
  • I Strive to have a conscience without offense toward mankind. Acts 23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

None of the above is to be separated from the New Testament to make a creed we recite in a rote manner. These are the words the Apostle Paul came to know and Believe through inspiration of the Holy Spirit as he gave his defense before Agrippa.

Spencer.

10 Times we’re UNGRATEFUL

And Jesus answering said, were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? (Luke 17:17)

Jesus gave cleansing to 10 lepers who begged Him for mercy. He commands them to “Go shew yourselves unto the priests.” And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them noticed that he was cleansed and turned back to glorify God. He fell on his face and gave thanks. The necessary inference from Jesus’ response is that all 10 were cleansed, but only one returned to give thanks. This also means that Jesus is saying that the other 9 were UNGRATEFUL.

While we can’t know what they were thinking, we can know from scriptures about other people who were UNGRATEFUL to God for the good things He has done. Let’s learn from these negative examples about how to be GRATEFUL to God.

10 Reasons why we’re sometimes UNGRATEFUL.

The blessings are Unconnected in our mind to Jesus. Sometimes we just don’t realize that everything good is from God. Consider Ephraim, “I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.” (Hos 11:3; CF. 2:8; Is 1:3; Dan 5:18)

Perhaps some thought it was Not Enough or it was expected. It reminds me of what God said to David, “And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things” (2Sam 12:8).

Sometimes we give Glory to another. “And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians,” “Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation” (Judges 10:11,14).

Sometimes there’s Resentment on the part of the recipient of God’s blessings. The elder brother had resentment toward his prodigal brother’s return and restoration. “And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf” (Luke 15:29-30).

Some disregard any blessings from God because they believe they were Already improving anyway. It reminds me of Pharoah when a plague was lifted. “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said” (Exo 8:15).

There are some that would show gratitude, but are too busy, perhaps Tomorrow. “According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me” (Hos 13:6; cf Deu 6:11).

Some people are just too proud or Egotistical to recognize God’s blessings. Consider the wealthy man in Luke twelve, 13-21; or the Pharisee & the tax collector, “I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess,” (Luke 18:9-14); or Israel toward God’s care for them (Jer 2:31).

Sometimes we Fail to know God’s word about the good things He’s done. “They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt” (Psalm 106:21). If we fail to know about Christ, we’ll fail to give thanks to Him for His indescribable gift.

Some of us are just Uncaring about God’s blessings. We take for granted things that come for free. “And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10).

Perhaps there are some that just don’t Love God like this sole Samaritan did. “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:15-16). It reminds me of the question Jesus posed to Simon about two debtors, “And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most” (Luke 7:36-50)?

We’re commanded to give thanks, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1Thess 5:18), but it begins with recognition of the Source from whom all blessings flow (James 1:17).

Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ in Borger Texas.

30 Days of Thanksgiving pt 2; CONTENTED

30 days of THANKFULNESS

day 10.

I’m grateful for CHILDREN.

Psalm 127:3-5 KJV

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord : and the fruit of the womb is his reward. [4] As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. [5] Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

HERE IS OUR LIST OF GRATITUDE SO FAR.

Grace

Rain

Advocate

Transportation

Invocation

The Temple, the church.

Understandable word of God

Debt paid by Christ

Election

HERE IS OUR LIST FOR BEING CONTENTED.

Children

OPEN doors of Opportunity to preach the Gospel

Col 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

NUPTIALS.

Prov 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

TIME.

Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

EATING & Enjoying company with Family & friends.

Ecc 2:24; 3:13; 1Tim 6:8

1Tim 4:3-4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.

NEEDS being MET.

Phil 4:11-13; Ps 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

TALENTs (ability).

Matt 25:15. Each according to his ability.

EFFORTS (wages according to my effort.) Luke 3:14. 1Cor 7:17; Matt 25:15

DOCTRINE of Christ.

2John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Why are you GRATEFUL?

Lessons from 1Peter 5: ELDERS

Instructions from a fellow elder.

be Examples. Do as I do. Phil 3:17

not Lording (not) cf. 3John 9-11

not for Dishonest gain 2Peter 2:1-3; 1Tim 5:17

Eagerly (willingly) 1Tim 3:1; 1Cor 9:17.

Readily cf. Rom 1:15 “I am Ready”.

Serve as a shepherd. cf. Chief Shepherd John 13:1-17.

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper st church of Christ in Borger Texas.

Lessons from 1Peter 5; SUBMIT

1Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Younger SUBMIT. [1Peter 5:5; cf 2:13-3:6; Heb 13:7,17; Eph 20; 1Thess 5:12]

Surrender (obey) [Heb 13:17]

Understanding [Heb 13:7]

Blissfully (with joy) [Heb 13:17]

Monetize them. [1Tim 5:17]

Identify w/ their work [Heb 13:7; Col 4:18]

Trust them. [Heb 13:17]

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper st church of Christ in Borger Texas.