Friday, February 15, 2013


Expletives Deleted - Angry Words

[written in 2001.]

"Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." WRONG! Experts say that verbal abuse (names, insults, gossip, slander, domination, profanity, etc.) are the kind of things that brought on the shooting at Littleton and other such incidents. Investigators say that 99% of the school's physical violence incidents (fist fights, pushing, shoving) had begun with verbal conflicts liberally salted with profanities. Eliminating verbal violence and trash talk would bring a decrease in physical confrontations. In a 1999 poll New York State teachers named profanity use as the number one problem in their classrooms, ranking it above disrespect and defiance.

The movie, television, and music industries are among the biggest culprits. The past two years have seen a barrage of filthy words and expressions never before used on TV.

"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one." Col. 4:6

Choose your words carefully. Be pleasant and hold their interest. Always make good use of the time. Avoid "cussing and swearing." Someone has said: "Among those who feel no constant responsibility to God, people speak them freely (cussing and swearing and dirty talk) in the office, factory, shop, store and school. Careless talk is part of the modern age." It has ever been so.

We are to bless and not to curse people. James 3:10

"Do not speak evil of one another, brethren...." James 4:11 "Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother." 2 Thess. 3:15

To quote Paul: "Since you have heard all about Him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus, throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God's likeness - righteous, holy, and true. So put away all falsehood and tell your neighbor the truth because we belong to each other. And don't sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil. If you are a thief, stop stealing. Begin using your hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need. Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, He is the One who has identified you as His own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." Eph. 4:21-32 NLT

"And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you." Phil. 4:8-9 NLT

"So let us stop going over the basics of Christianity again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding..." Hebrews 6:1-3 NLT Read Hebrews 5:12 to 6:12.

A Church by Name


[I wrote this some years ago.]

The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. They were also known as saints, and brothers & sisters in Christ. Jesus was their Lord and Savior. Their identity was in Him and being part of His One Spiritual Body. (1 Cor. 12:13).

The followers of Jesus Christ probably did not begin putting names on the places where they met for worship until the third century. It was about that time when they began building church-buildings. Before that persecution probably kept them from advertising just who they were.

We use names to identify who we are. We inherit a family name because of our ancestors in that family. In addition we "denominate" ourselves with a personal name. Each one of us wears this personal name as a means of identification. "John Jones," "Bill Smith," etc.

We are Churches of Christ. Our family name is "Christian." In New Testament times, local Churches had local names to identify them. "Church of God which is at Corinth." "The Church at Ephesus." "The Jerusalem Church."

Here are some of the names of local Churches of Christ at various places in the USA and Canada.

Sinners Union Church of Christ, in Missouri. Fellowship Church of Christ. Welcome Church of Christ. All People's Church of Christ. Novelty Church of Christ. Humansville Church of Christ. Bland Church of Christ.

Sunrise Church of Christ, Ohio. And a Sunset School of Preaching in Texas. Others are: Faith; Hope; Love; Grace; and a Popcorn Church of Christ.

Union and Unity are popular names. Also Independence; Harmony; Concord; Liberty; Freedom; New Freedom; New Hope (but no Old Hope); Lover's Lane; and a Dark Corner Church of Christ in Arkansas. Canada adds an Iron Bridge; Ice Lake; Medicine Hat; and a Recreation Church of Christ.

In Kentucky there is a Ceasarea Church of Christ at Stamping Ground; a Poole Church; Olive Hill; Little Mud; Horse Cave; Beauty (which used to be Ugly); and Stop Nine in Ohio.

Names sometimes are given to us because of how we speak of ourselves to others. We are still the same group of people. History shows us as "Congregational" (because as congregations we are self-governing and independent). Other names sometimes found in our history are: Reformed Baptist; Republican Methodist; Christian (sometimes Christ-ian); Sandemanian; and many others. We now only use Church of Christ to show who we are as a Brotherhood.

The point of all this is that we wear the Lord's Name because we have been born again into His Family. We also wear our own name to identify ourselves as to who we are and where we are on the map. Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone. See Acts 4:12.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Revive Us Oh Lord!

Revive us Oh Lord

Fill our heart with Thy love

May each soul be rekindled

With fire from above.

Hallelujah, Thine the glory

Hallelujah, Amen.

Hallelujah, Thine the glory

Revive us again.

1. God gives the increase.

"Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation."  2 Cor 5:18-19

"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase." 1 Cor 3:6-7

"Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come--all are yours. And you are Christ's, and Christ is God's."  1 Cor 3:21-23

2. "May each soul be rekindled with fire from above!"

"And finding some disciples he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." Acts 19:1-2

"...we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God." Acts 2:11-12

"Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Tim 1:6-7

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." Romans 8:14-17

"In interpreting this passage we should remember that Paul is speaking to those already converted. Hence, in these and in the preceding verses, he is not telling them how to become children of God, but how to continue such. Now, it is true that the Spirit lays down the terms by which we may become Christians, and if we obey these terms, then both the Holy Spirit and our own spirits testify that we are sons of God. But since Paul is not addressing converts, such an interpretation would be wide of his thought, which is this: If the Holy Spirit indeed leads us in a conflict with sin and a steady effort towards righteousness, and if we submit to be thus led, then the Holy Spirit unites with our spirit to testify that we are God's children." [McGarvey]

3. Therefore submit yourselves to God.

"...whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Matt 23:12   

"Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." James 4:7-10

Changing our hearts and minds (repentance) always brings a blessing from the Lord. Some fear turning away from sin makes life hard to bear. But it is through this new relationship to God that we find abundant life of faith, love, joy, and all the fruit the Holy Spirit gives. Receiving the Holy Spirit of God brings refreshing renewal from the Lord. (But some struggle in despair because they do not know they have been set free.)



"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Gal 3:28-29

We do not cease to be who we are. All are equal at the foot of the Cross. All become "joint heirs with Christ" [Romans 8:16-17]. We have different gifts, but we have all been "baptized into one body by the one Spirit" [1 Cor. 12:12-13].

1. The Bible speaks of women.

a) "I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also." Romans 16:1-2

"A woman was on her way to Rome. Wrapped in her cloak was a letter from Paul to the church at Rome. She was a messenger from the church at Cenchrea. Paul expected her to be received and assisted."

b) The last disciples to leave the Cross were women. The first disciples at the Empty Tomb were women. Joel's prophecy which was fulfilled at Pentecost spoke of both sons & daughters, men- servants and maidservants [Acts 2:16-21].

c) Jesus treated men and women equally. Compare Luke 8:1-3. "Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities--Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance."

2. Abigail is one of the women honored by the Scriptures for faith and wisdom. [compare Rahab, Ruth, Tamar, Mary & Martha, etc.] 1 Samuel 25.

a. "And David arose and went down to the wilderness of Paran." David had been anointed king, but Saul would not step down and was fighting against David. Nabal was a wealthy landowner. David asked him for needed supplies. Nabal created division by slandering David and his men. David reacted in anger. "Now David had said, "Surely in vain I have protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belongs to him. And he has repaid me evil for good. May God do so, and more also, to the enemies of David, if I leave one male of all who belong to him by morning light." 1 Sam 25:21-22

 3. Abigail showed her wisdom.

a. The servants told Abigail what Nabal had done. "scoundrel" = "son of the devil"

b. What Abigail did. "Abigail did not respond by weeping in despair, throwing a fit of rage, or panicking with worry. She simply did what she could to bring peace."

"Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. And she said to her servants, "Go on before me; see, I am coming after you." But she did not tell her husband Nabal." 1 Sam 25:18-19

  4. People create division.

a. Nabal had a wrong spirit and attitude. He was obligated to help David. David was too quick to retaliate toward Nabal.

b. Division comes not merely when there are differing opinions, but when the offended parties do not want reconciliation.

 5. Peacemakers combat division.

a. "Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." [James 3:18]. "Meanness gets you nowhere, but goodness is rewarded."

b. As long as Satan is the prince of this world, he will do all he can to divide and conquer. We must do our best to accept and love others, to forgive, and to strive for unity.

"The fruit of The Spirit is love, joy, peace, ..." [Galatians 5:22-23].



"Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." Rev 5:8

1. Live long and prosper.

Satan says: "Destroy and be free." (compare John 8:44.) But God wants us to "seek peace and pursue it."

"And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace." Jeremiah 29:7

"For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 15:4-6

2. Pray for all people.

"I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth." 1 Tim 2:1-4 (NLT)

"These are also the qualities our new president needs. After a divisive campaign, an extraordinary economic collapse, a period of ecological vulnerability, and a time of war and global instability, our president and our nation need humility, wisdom, and courage. Wherever we or our congregations may be politically, these three qualities should guide our prayers for the leaders responsible for our nation and our world. Leadership that is lacking in any of these three will be far less constructive than these trying times demand." Mark Labberton 2009

Praying for America, Dutch Sheets, via Charisma 2001.

"God Bless America! America will never be the same. In light of recent events, more people are praying together for protection, for guidance, for God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Our country was founded as "One Nation Under God." Dutch Sheet’s plea is that America will return to its roots and become a country that trusts God and fears no one but God Himself. We stand united, patriotic and humbled as a nation. As we turn back to our faith in Jesus Christ, may God Bless America once again"

3. Paul the apostle was a man of prayer.

He prayed for the many he brought to Christ and for the new churches he helped establish. He also taught those Christians to pray for him. "Brethren, pray for us" [1Thess. 5:25]. In his Epistles, Paul requested that believers pray for him in prison and on missionary journeys. He also gave specific request for which they were to pray. He wrote the Corinthians: "you also helping together in prayer for us" [2 Cor. 1:11]. And to the Romans: "Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me" [Romans 15:30].

4. The model prayer.

"Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one." Luke 11:1-4

In text format. Fthr n hvn. U r holy. Come. rule earth as hvn. Giv us food. Frgv our wrongs. keep temptation n evil from us. All is yours. U rul in glory. Amn.

"But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." Jude 1:20-21 (compare Romans 8:26-28.)

"The grace of faith works by love, purifies the heart, and overcomes the world, by which it is distinguished from a false and dead faith. Our prayers are most likely to prevail, when we pray in the Holy Spirit, under His guidance and influence, according to the rule of His word, with faith, fervency, and earnestness." Matthew Henry


God Put a Rainbow in the skies

When it looked like the sun wouldn’t shine anymore,

God put a rainbow in the skies. [old song]

1. Water sustained the ark.

"But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." Matt 24:37-39

"By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." Heb 11:7

Water saved Noah not of itself, but by sustaining the ark built in faith, resting on God's word. The flood was for Noah a baptism, as the passage through the Red Sea was for the Israelites (1 Cor. 10:1-4). By baptism in the flood Noah and his family were transferred from the old world to the new.

2. God’s covenant with Noah is still in effect.

"While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease." Genesis 8:22

"The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." And God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth." Genesis 9:16-17

"For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; For as I have sworn That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, So have I sworn That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed," Says the Lord, who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:9-10

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water." 1 Peter 3:18-20

"The other view is that Christ went "in spirit" in the person of Noah and by him preached to those who were afterwards held in prison on account of their disobedience." —People's New Testament (Johnson’s Notes)

3. Covenant details.

"So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man." Genesis 9:1-5

"In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean." And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common." Acts 10:12-15

The meaning of this vision is clear. Peter is hungry. He sees a sheet lowered down, containing all kinds of animals, reptiles, and wild beasts. Many of these are ritually "unclean" and the Law forbids any to eat them. The voice says: "Get up, Peter; kill and eat!" Peter answers: "I have never eaten anything considered defied or unclean. " This can only mean that the commands of the Law about "clean" and "unclean" foods have been canceled (Mark 7:19). Peter, as a Jew, would not associate with Gentiles (John 4:9). The purpose of the vision is to show Peter that God intends him to go with the messengers. See Eph. 2:13-18.

"Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men."  Romans 14:16-18