Distracted by the CARES of the world

14 The sower soweth the word.

WAYSIDE.

15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

STONY GROUND.

16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

THORNY GROUND.

18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,

19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

GOOD GROUND.

20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. [Mark 4:14-20]

All of us are barraged daily with things that distract. The CHALLENGES of life feel like trying to take a SIP of water from a FIREHOSE. Does your life feel like that? Mine too. Everyone seems to want / need your attention. Some of them are not sinful in themselves, but when we allow them to take away from more important things, then they become sin.

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” [James 4:17]

Paul tells us, “And be not conformed to this world” [Rom 12:2]; John says we must “not love the world or the things in the world” [1John 2:15-17]; James wrote “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God” [James 4:4] and to remain “unspotted from the world” [James 1:27]. While much can be said about all 4 soils, this article will focus on the Thorny Ground, “the CARES of this world.”

First, we all face the physical (the bible calls them CARNAL) needs of life. Food, Clothing & Shelter are necessities and not sinful. For most of us it feels like we work just to pay our bills, or that we’re in a rat race. This is telling us that the Carnal needs of life are surpassing the “weightier matters.” Another way of saying this is with one word, WORRY. Jesus gives us the remedy; “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” [Mat 6:19-34]

A second thing that is not necessarily sinful are the AMUSEMENTS we have. The scriptures teach us that God, “giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” It’s ok to relax, rest and enjoy the fruits of our labor. However, when they push out the “weightier matters” they have become sin.“There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.” [Prov 21:20] When we take time to enjoy the fruits of our labor, do we forsake the assembling of ourselves together when we go on vacation? We’re not speaking of sinful things like adultery, fornication, stealing, drunkenness, lying, etc. Often, it’s the lawful things that we’ve placed ahead of our service to the Lord.

The third thing that can become a distraction, and I say this with all humility knowing that this one hits our heart, is our RELATIONSHIPS. Family & Friends are important, commanded, and necessary to our existence. [cf. Gen 2:18; 1Cor 7:2; 1Tim 5:16 et al] However, even these can lead to distraction if we allow relationships to take us away from that which is right. “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” [Mat 10:37; cf. 1Cor 7:32-33] We must care for our families, AND we must serve the Lord. God is not telling us to stop loving our family, friends, or neighbors. We ought to do these things without leaving the others undone. Here’s something to remember; our family, who have gone on before us, would give this exact advice! [Luke 16:19-31:]

Fourthly, mixed in with all of the above is our need for money. Our household ECONOMICS can elevate to a point where we begin to trust it above our trust in God. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God,” [1Tim 6:10,17; cf. James 5:3; Mat 6:19] One must love and trust the Lord PREEMINENTLY [Col 1:18].

A fifth distraction can be the SOCIAL Ills of the world. Some of us have placed our concern for Societal ills ABOVE the spreading of the Gospel. This concern creeps into our practices in the church. We must be constantly reminded that the Gospel “is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” [Rom 1:16]. We must help our neighbors, and the best way to do that is by teaching them the way of the Lord and by doing things His way [Mat 22:21; 2Thess 3:12; 1Tim 5:16; Eph 4:28].

Be on your guard, be watching and let’s not grow weary doing good while waiting for the Lord’s return. May we be found well doing when He returns. “Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.” [Luke 12:37]

And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and CARES of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” [Luke 21:34; emp mine seb]

Preaching the Cross

Some will argue against the preaching of obedience to the gospel by crying, “PREACH THE MAN, NOT THE PLAN.” They may also say, “THE NEW TESTAMENT IS A LOVE LETTER NOT A LAW BOOK.”

How does one answer such charges? Are they correct in their assertions? Is preaching about baptism, the one church, and against the errors of liberalism & denominationalism opposed to preaching the Cross of Christ?

What does the Bible say? If our speech and preaching needs any revision, let us hear it from the revealed word of Jesus the Christ. Philosophies of preaching from liberal professors will not suffice. We shall appeal to the word of God for all things in word or deed [Col 3:17].

 As this article begins, we are reminded to ‘season our words with salt’ [Col 4:6]. We are not mad any anyone. Our desire is that everyone come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. It’s to that end that we “Preach the Cross of Christ.”

To preach the CROSS is to preach “CHRIST CRUCIFIED” [1Cor 1:23]. Preaching the cross is to preach the gospel [1Cor 1:17,18]. It is not “with enticing words of man’s wisdom,” “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery,” which has been revealed by the Spirit of God in the book of God, the Bible [1Cor 2:1-13].

Those that heard the preaching of the Cross RECEIVED the gospel [Acts 2:41; 8:14; 1Cor 15:1]. To receive the gospel, through the word, is to receive the ‘grace of God’ [2Cor 6:1; Titus 2:11-12]. To preach the cross is to ‘testify the gospel of the grace of God’ [Act 20:24].

Until one is OBEDIENT to the word of his grace, he has not been saved by the preaching of the Cross [1Pet 1:22; 1Cor 1:18]. Whenever and wherever one is obedient to the gospel he is saved by grace [Acts 10:48; 15:11]. When Paul preached the cross to the Corinthians, they were obedient in baptism in the name of Jesus the Christ [Acts 18:8; 1Cor 1:13]. This is how they were “washed” [1Cor 6:11]. Baptism is “in the name of the Lord Jesus” [Mat 28:19; Acts 10:48; 19:5], and baptism “in the name of the Lord” is “for the remission of sins” [Acts 2:38; 10:48; 19:5].

Then, as Paul rebuked SIN found in the church at Corinth, was he not ‘preaching the cross?’ When he spoke against division, immorality, marriage, and the perversions of the Lord’s Supper, was he not ‘preaching the cross?’ [1Cor 14:37]. The entire letter is the command of the Lord, the wisdom of God, the Gospel.

When the elitist tells us to ‘preach the man, not the plan,’ without condemning the antichrist teachings of denominations, they have missed the mark regarding the connection of Jesus to His plan. To preach the Man without His plan is to miss the SYNONYMOUS terms spoken of salvation.

  • “Baptized into Christ” [Rom 6:3,4; Gal 3:27]. “Baptized into one body,” the church [1Cor 12:13, 20; Eph 1:22-23; Col 1:18, 24].
  • Reconciled unto God “in Christ” [2Cor 5:18-20]. Reconciled unto God “in one body by the cross,” the church [Eph 1:22,23; 2:16].
  • Saved, redeemed by the blood of Christ [1Peter 1:18-19; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14]. Church purchased with the blood of Christ [Act 20:28].
  • Christ “gave himself for me” and tasted “death for every man” [Gal 2:20; Heb 2:9]. Christ “gave himself for it,” the church [Eph 5:25].
  • “In Christ” – “made nigh” – “by the blood” [Eph 2:13]. “In one body” – “reconciled” – “by the cross” [Eph 2:16].

It is not off balance, nor out of focus, to speak about baptism into the body or church of Christ, to speak of reconciliation in one body, the church, to speak of Christ having purchased the church with His own blood. To speak of one, Christ, is to speak of the other, the church. Paul once “persecuted the church” [Act 8:3; Gal 1:13; 1Cor 15:9], but when the Lord appeared to him, He said, “why persecutest thou me?” [Acts 9:4; 22:7; 26:14]. To preach Christ, to preach the Cross, is to preach the church. If to persecute Christ is to persecute the church, then to preach Christ is to preach the church. It stands to reason, anyone against the doctrine of Christ, is against Christ [2John 9].

Let us therefore, speaking the truth in love, Preach the Cross.

Letter to a friend (3o3)

Dear Friend, (continued 3o3)

When the New Testament refers to churches it refers to local congregations of the same body, the same church (Romans 16:16; Revelation 1:11). There is only one church, one body of Christ (Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22,2); Romans 12:5; 1Corinthians 12:12).

Denominations are not all part of “one universal church,” they are different churches. That is why we call them the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, the Church of God, etc. The word “churches” does not refer to denominations. The term church is never applied to a denomination in the New Testament. A denomination is too large to be what is referred to as the church in the New Testament; it is larger than the local congregation.

It is too small to be what is referred to as the church in the New Testament; it is smaller than the universal church. Therefore, the church of Christ in the New Testament, those who are saved, are not in a denomination.

What we are to do is to be part of the one true church; not the church of our choice, but the church of God’s choice. Religion is not merely a matter of good intentions, but a matter of obedience to the will of God (Matthew 7:21-29; Hebrews 5:9; 1Peter 1:22-25; 1Samuel 15:22; 1John 1:6,7; 5:3; 2John 1:9). We are not to be a part of the church we like the best, as though we are picking cars, but of that which is described in the New Testament.

Friend, the Apostle Paul in writing to the Corinthians, told them that they could not worship falsely and still belong to God.  Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?  and what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). The Christian could not worship with the unbeliever and be doing that which was right. Although Paul was particularly addressing the problem of idol worship, the principle remains the same for any unbeliever, or group of unbelievers.

The apostle John said: We are of God: be that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error (1John 4:6). If a man, or group of men does not listen to the instruction of the inspired apostles as revealed in the New Testament, he or they are of the spirit of error, they are unbelievers. This includes the plan of redemption, the organization of the church, and the worship of the church. If it is different than the New Testament pattern, then they are of the spirit of error. Therefore, for one to be obedient to God, he must come out from among them and be separate; else he has separated himself from God.

Friend, I plead with you to be a part of the congregation of the saved, the church of Christ, by being born again in the waters of baptism. My prayer is for you to walk in the light of God sword.

With the greatest of affection, I pray that I may also remain…

Your Friend

4 strategies on how to GIVE more.

4 strategies on how to…

GIVE more. Eph 4:28

To give more we can

GET rid of Debt, Get more income. Prov 23:7

Work some OT to have extra money to Give?

Sometimes folks need mentoring and some new

INFORMATION giving. Prov 9:9 give instruction…

It takes no money to

VOLUNTEER giving. Snack Pack, hold a flashlight, hold a hand. Mat 25:31-ff

Take a look at your current spending and

EVALUATE your budget. Expensed vs Extra

You can tell a lot about a person when you look at their monthly spending. I knew a man that spent most of his money on food delivery. It’s no wonder he was also a heavy man.

reverse the direction.

Run out of Money before you run out of month?

Put giving first and EXTRAS last.

Rectangle: Rounded Corners: SUMMARY:

give
We can have and enjoy things. 1Tim 6:10

God want us to give and to have. 2Cor 9:8 Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

What is the church of Christ?

Continue in the LORD Daily!! | Kristi Ann's Haven

 

What is the “church of Christ?”

The word “church” means the “called out ones.” The church is composed of those who have been “called out” of the world by the Gospel unto Christ (2 Thess. 2:14). Thus, these “called out ones” are simply Christians trying to be just what the followers of Christ were in New Testament times (1 Thess. 1:5-6).

In New Testament times, each local congregation of God’s people was a church of Christ. For example, there was a church of Christ at Philippi, a church of Christ at Corinth, a church of Christ at Jerusalem, etc. (Phil. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; Acts 8:1; Romans 16:16).

What We Are

The Saved – The church is the saved (Eph. 5:23). The church is NOT the Savior; Jesus is. The church is the body of Christ, with Jesus as its head (Eph.1:22-23). ALL who believe in Jesus, repent of their sins, and are baptized (immersed in water) for the forgiveness of sins are saved (Mark 16:16); that is, they are “added to the church” by the Lord (Acts 2:38, 41, 47). The church at Samaria consisted of the saved, those who had believed and been baptized after hearing the things concerning the kingdom of God (i.e., the church of God), and the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:5, 12).


Subject to Christ – Jesus is “the head over all things to the church” (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:24). We have no synods or conventions to guide us. We are not part of any amalgamation or association of churches. We are subject only to the authority of Christ (Matt. 28:18; Col. 3:17).


What We Are NOT:

A Denomination – We are not associated or affiliated with denominationalism. The creeds of denominations are foreign to the Bible teaching on Christ’s church. The only church founded by God is the one mentioned in the Bible (Matt. 16:18).

 Catholic or Protestant – We are not a Catholic Church. We honor and revere no man or human authority such as the Pope (Matt. 28:18). We are not a “Protestant” church in the popular sense. We “protest” sin, false doctrine, ungodliness, and immortality, but we are not allied with Protestant denominationalism. Catholics and Protestants are not referred to in the scriptures; Christians are (Acts 11:26).


A Social Club – The church was purchased with the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). The Son of God did not die for a social organization, but for a “spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5). We are not a glorified social center. We are the church. We worship God “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24), not by fun, food, and frolic (Romans 14:17).

Why the Name “church of Christ“?

In New Testament times, the church was called: 

“the church” (Acts 2:47; 5:11; 8:1)
“the church of God” (1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Tim. 3:15)
“the body of Christ” (Col. 1:24; Eph. 4:12)
“the churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16)
“the church of the first-born” (Hebrews 12:23)

 Since Christ…

Christ Promised to build His church. Mat 16:18

Christ died for the church. Eph 5:25

Christ purchased the church with His blood. Acts 20:28

Christ is the Head of the church, which is His body. Col 1:18; Eph 1:22-23.

Christ is the savior of the body, which is His church. Eph 5:25.

Wouldn’t the most accurate & scriptural designation be ‘the church of Christ?’

 

Individual members of the church were called:

“Disciples” (Acts 11:26)
“Saints” (Romans 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2)
“Brethren” (1 Cor. 1:10; Gal. 6:1)
“Christians” (Acts 11:26; 1 Peter 4:16)

Whatever we do in word or deed must be by the authority of Christ (Col. 3:17). Jesus Christ is the only creed of the church (Matthew 16:16-17). Anything more or less is of human origin (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

As Christians, How Do We Worship The Lord?

The New Testament says, “Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, the same hath not God: he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9). Christians must conduct worship consisting only of those elements found in the New Testament church (John 4:24).

These are:

Prayer (Acts 2:42)

Singing (Colossians 3:16)

Gospel preaching or teaching (Acts 20:7)

Observing the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:23-26; Acts 20:7)

Contributing of our means (1 Cor. 16:1-2) for the work of the church (Eph. 4:12)

All of these actions of worship are privileges of the members of the Lord’s church and in no way will be forced upon our visitors.

How Can You Tell If a Congregation Is of Christ?

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free…” (John 8:31-32; cf. 13:34-35).

We live in a world where there are hundreds of different kinds of so-called churches, all of them differing in name, creed, and in practice: And yet many of them claim to be Christian and headed by Christ. How can one be sure which church, creed, or practice is what Jesus wants and which is of man? Answer: By examining what is taught and practiced against the only standard available – GOD’S WORD (1 John 4:1).

How Does One Become a Member of the church of Christ?

The Lord adds to the church those who are being saved (Acts 2:47). One does not “join” the church. To be saved, one must do the will of God, as expressed by the New Testament (Matthew 7:21).

For the sinner to be saved he must:

HEAR the Gospel (Rom. 10:17)

BELIEVE in Jesus (John 8:24; Hebrews 11:6)

REPENT of their sins – a change of mind involving action (Acts 17:30-31; 26:20)

CONFESS faith in Christ (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:10)

Be BAPTIZED for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38)

People are saved and added to the Lord’s church today in the same manner that they were in New Testament times (1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:47).
Please contact us with your comments or questions.

 

originally posted at: http://www.trustingodamerica.com/churchBrief.htm

Whats An Expedient?

 

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient:” [1Corinthians 6:12]

A challenge that the church faces is regarding the concept of expedients. What are they? Why do we care? How are we to decide?

First, we need to define the concept. An expedient is the tactics or actions we take to fulfill a generic command. It only applies with a generic command. A specific command is limited to that which is specified.

Let’s look at a familiar example;

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood;” [Genesis 6:14]

The SPECIFIC COMMAND is an Ark of gopher wood among other things. There are 17+ specific commands to Noah. The details are laid out when God commands what to build. Noah couldn’t change or modify the command. He was limited to an “ark” not a dingy, nor a house, nor a barn.

The GENERIC COMMAND is ‘make.’ This is generic as God doesn’t go into the details of the building process. He gives the size and number of floors, but He doesn’t tell Noah HOW to build it.

God left those details up to Noah to work out.

  • How was he to gather the wood?
  • How was he to mill the wood?
  • How was he to attach the wood together?
  • Could he use a hammer & saw? They aren’t mentioned, does this mean he couldn’t use them?

Noah is given the freedom to choose HOW to accomplish the GENERIC command while completing the SPECIFIC command.

Here’s where the EXPEDIENT comes in. He was commanded to build an ark, so he needed to find the necessary means to fulfill this command. Could he have built the ark out of gopher wood twigs, sure, but that wouldn’t EXPEDITE the command. It would take far too long. He needed to fulfill the command in the most efficient & effective way. That’s an EXPEDIENT.

Here are 6 rules about expedients:

  • Expedients must first be LAWFUL. The phrase, ‘the end justifies the means’ is wrong. We cannot do anything as long as the desired outcome is accomplished. For example, to help a hungry brother, theft is not allowed. That’s one thing we learn in 1Sam 15:22. The expedient must first be LAWFUL.

 

  • Expedients do not make a DOCTRINE. Denominations must create rules and organizations to regulate their expedients. That’s the tail wagging the dog. The expedient aides in accomplishing a SPECIFIC command when the method how is not given. For example, we are commanded to give on the first day of the week [1Cor 16:1-2]. The church cannot start a bank to fulfill that command. We can open a bank account to hold the funds until they are needed, but to open a Bank goes beyond the command.

 

  • Expedients do not require a SUBSTITUTION of the command. We are told to baptize (immerse in water). Sometimes a person is sick or infirmed making the command seem difficult. Some have then substituted sprinkling or pouring to make the command easier. Doing this modifies the specific part of the command to   IMMERSE in water. Therefore, it is not an expedient. We cannot do things to expedite a generic command when it violates the specific command.

 

  • Expedients don’t cause others to STUMBLE. Sometimes we find a lawful expedient, but for another it violates their conscience. Maybe because of their background. This is what we learn from 1Corinthians 8. It was lawful to eat meat that was sold in the marketplace despite the fact that it had been previously offered at the temple to a false god. Because some had converted out of that mess, they didn’t feel it was right to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Paul said,

“Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”

[1Cor 8:13; cr. 10:23]

  • Saying, “I don’t like change” is not a reason to stop an expedient. There are changes in technology that makes fulfilling a command more efficient. For example, the disciples didn’t have PowerPoint. We do, and it’s an efficient and effective tool when presenting a lesson or leading singing.

 

  • Expedients aren’t BINDING. It’s authorized to baptize in a river, but to require it is a violation. We can baptize in a baptistery, the ocean, lake or puddle. As long as the command to IMMERSE is met. [cf. Acts 8:36]

Our desire here is to serve God with all our hearts, soul & mind without violating God’s commands nor anyone’s conscience. With patience, prayer & study, we can learn how to fulfill all of God’s commands as EFFICIENTLY & EFFECTIVELY for the edifying of the body.

—Spencer

Jesus, the Way

The Hebrew writer speaks about Jesus as bringing better things for us:

But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.”

[Heb 6:9]

Jesus tells us about a few of these better things when He said that He is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

[John 14:6]

We’ll study about more of these ‘BETTER THINGS’ as we delve into the story of Jesus, His ministry, His teachings & His sacrifice.

It’s important for us to study, as far too many have a misunderstanding about Jesus. They make Jesus into a genie. The struggles of life cause many to look to Jesus, but they often encounter erroneous & contradictory teachings. These false teachings won’t take away the struggles, rather they will turn them into despair.

  • Do you have problems? Are you confused about the answers? Do you know that Jesus has revealed to us all things pertaining to life & godliness [2Pet 1:3]? Through the guidance of His word we can smooth out many of life’s problems. When we study His word, we will discover how profitable it is to our life on this earth.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

[2Tim 3:16-17]

  • Do you feel lost with a feeling of despair? That can be overwhelming. You’re not alone. Jesus felt all of the same things you feel, yet without sin.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”     [Isaiah 53:3]

  • Are you afraid? “HAVE NO FEAR” is an idea found hundreds of times throughout scripture, and is one of those better things found in Christ. [1John 4:17-18]
  • Are you confused about the Bible? A confusion caused by the 1,000’s of denominations in our world. You don’t have to be, because Jesus is the way to a better truth. He is the truth.

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” [John 1:17]

  • Are you confused about the church? It’s easy to see why by the many denominations proclaiming to be the Lord’s church. All the while as they preach another Jesus, another Gospel and another spirit [2Cor 11:4]. Jesus spoke of better things about the church. Jesus made a promise to build A church. Just ONE, [Eph 4:4; 1:22-23]. The church that He would build would be paid for with His own shed blood [Acts 20:28]. The church that Christ built has Himself as the chief cornerstone [Eph 2:20]. And you cannot join His church. No sir, you cannot join the church of Christ. You must be ADDED TO IT by the Lord through obedience to His instructions, “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” [Acts 2:38, 41, 47]

I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” [Matt 16:18b]

These are just a few of the ‘better things’ found in Christ. Everything will be better in Christ, in His WAY, in His TRUTH and in His LIFE. Please, I beg you, get in that WAY, that bright & shining WAY.

—Spencer

GOD GAVE US

Every good and perfect gift comes from above – James 1:17 ...

 

AS WE LEARN ABOUT GIVING in our study of 2 Corinthians 9, we have come to a point where Paul is writing to encourage us to give BOUNTIFULLY.

He uses the illustration of sowing & reaping. This is still good imagery for today. Paul specifies 4 out of the 9 basic principles of the Law of Sowing & Reaping.

  • We expect to reap so much MORE than we sow.
    • If you plant a few seeds, you’ll get a smaller return.
    • If you plant a lot of seeds, you should expect a much greater return.
  • You will reap in a different season than when you sow.
  • If you don’t sow, you won’t reap.
  • You WILL reap what you sow.

Paul then goes on to emphasize the necessity of giving by pointing out the giving done by our Creator.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.” [2Cor 9:8-11]

Upon reading this, along with a few additional passages on the subject, we glean 5 incredible gifts given to us by God.

SEED to SOW: v10. Everything we have was created by God. Isaiah 55:10 states, “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater::”

SEASON: God has given us the seasons, as Paul spoke in Acts 14:17, “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.” These seasons provide for the growth cycles as well as for us to see God’s might & power [Le 26:4; De 11:14; 28:12; Job 5:10; Ps 65:10; 68:9; 147:8; Jer 14:22]

SPROUTING with fruit: v10; What a comfort it is to know that God continues to provide for us the things need for life. David concluded, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” [Psa 37:25] cr 1Cor 3:6.

SUN: When God was displaying His power to Pharaoh, He darkened the sun for 3 days. It was a darkness so dark that it could be felt. [Ex 10:21]. Every time the sun rises, take a moment to thank God for the marvelous light. [cr. Jas 1:17; 1Cor 15:41]

SIGNS: God doesn’t leave us in darkness of His will, He also gave us signs that we can read about in the Bible. “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” [Heb 2:4] These signs are sufficient for our faith, if we’ll just read His word. [Acts 14:3; John 20:30-31]

HIS SON: v15; No listing of God’s blessings is complete if we fail to include Christ Jesus. All other blessings pale in comparison. God’s love is demonstrated toward us through the giving of His Son as a sacrifice for the sins of man.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” [1John 4:9-10]

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.” [John 3:16]

It’s a shame that people continue to reject the Grace of God given to us through Jesus, the Christ. It’s also a shame that those who have obeyed the gospel become stingy with their Time, Talents & their Treasures in service to the Almighty.

Let that not be one of us.

IT’S HOW MUCH?!

Surely, you’ve uttered those words after asking a vendor for their price. I’m often shocked at the price of certain items. With that in view, I thought it a good time to look at the prices of some of the finer things.

If you’re in the market for a new ring, here is the most expensive diamond in the world. The WINSTON BLUE DIAMOND weighs in at a hefty 13.22 carats and can be snapped up for a paltry $23.8 million.

Perhaps you’re in the market for a new production vehicle, then the ROLLS-ROYCE SWEPTAIL may be for you. You can lose 20% of it’s value when you drive this $13 million baby off the lot. If that’s out of your budget then you can grab one of the cheaper most expensive cars, the MCLAREN SPEEDTAIL for just $2.2 million.

If you’re like me, you’re saying, “I’ll never spend more for a car than I would my house.” So, you’re looking for a house? If BUCKINGHAM PALACE were on the market, you could grab it for $1.5 Billion. Unfortunately, it’s not for sale; however, you can pick up the VILLA LEOPOLDA, VILLEFRANCHE-SUR-MER in France for just under $800 Million.

All of these are likely out of your price range, so let’s look at a few ‘cheaper’ things. At $11,000 per night you could take a vacation at NORTH ISLAND IN SEYCHELLES. If you’re a bit more adventurous you could spend just one night at WHITE DESERT “GREATEST TRIP” TO ANTARCTICA. This trip of a lifetime will only set you back $195,000 for the 24-hour trip. That’s just $8125 per hour…or perhaps you could visit for a few minutes at just $135.42 per minute.

These things are just luxury items anyway, how about we look at some more practical items? The most expensive suit of clothing will only set you back $895,000, THE STUART HUGHES DIAMOND EDITION. Each one of the three suits ever made takes over 800 man hours to design & stitch the finest wool, cashmere & silk into this magnificent work of art. We all need clothing, right?

Moving onto food, how about THE FORTRESS STILT FISHERMAN INDULGENCE? You’ve gotta eat, and this fine dining experience is a mere $14,000. To wash it down, there are beverages ranging in price from $225,000 up to $3.5 million.

That’s some shopping list, but we don’t come here to give recommendations like Yelp. No, we need to talk spiritual matters.

For most, if not all of us, these pricey things are way out of our league. We’ll never experience such worldly pleasures. However, what would we do for much less, much less?

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” [Matt 16:26].

By the way, you can pick up everything that could be bought for just $241 trillion (based on the combined world GDP).

You see, when we reject God’s plan for us, His plan of salvation through Christ Jesus, we place a higher value on things that will one day burn up over the great cost paid for your soul. [2Peter 3:11].

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” [1Peter 1:18-19]

Jesus told us not to fret over things we shall eat, drink or wear. Rather, we are to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. [Mat 6:30-33]. While on this planet we may never take a luxurious vacation, nor live in a magnificent mansion, but there is a far greater place that awaits those who are in Christ. Lay up your treasure there [Mat 6:20; John 14:2; 1Thess 4:16-17]. (BTW, you can get a RTW ‘Round the World’ flight for just under $2k)

This Website contains the instructions for God’s plan of Salvation. Let’s go to heaven together, shall we?