In the lips of him that hath discernment wisdom is found; But a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding (Proverbs 10:13, ASV).
By Ron Thomas — The words of this proverb are not hard to understand. Wisdom comes from only one of two sources. The source of wisdom is either from God or not-God. There are no other options. Continue reading “Two sources of wisdom: God or not-God”
Hatred stirreth up strifes; But love covereth all transgressions (Proverbs 10:12, ASV).
By Ron Thomas — I have come to understand we live in a society that hardly knows the meaning of the word racism, just like they hardly know the meaning of the word hate. Without giving attention to the first word, let us give attention to the second.
The word hate has broad application in Scripture; it can be associated with intense dislike, coupled with animosity to something not so intense. Continue reading “Hate and love”
By Johnny O. Trail — At the close of World War II, there was some concern that Japan would not surrender. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had already been devastated by atomic bombs, and America continued to bomb various regions of Japan as the USA prepared a third nuclear bomb. To further encourage the Japanese to surrender, Americans dropped pamphlets from airplanes.
When the Japanese emperor, Hirohito, came on broadcast radio to announce the surrender, it was the first time that many of his subjects had ever heard his voice. Many of Hirohito’s followers believed he was a “demi-god.”/1 Some who heard him surrender to the Americans were hearing the voice of their “god” for the very first time.
For a moment, one might consider what it means to truly hear the voice of God. Continue reading “The voice of God”
By Ron Thomas — I have always been interested in learning from where church denominations came from. As I was looking through some church history books, I came across a section in the book, Church History in Plain Language (3rd edition, 2008), by Bruce Shelley. In the section “The Idea of Denominations” (pp. 306-308) there is a brief discussion on how the concept of denominations came into being in a religious context. It took root in the 17th century, then grew in the 18th and following centuries. Why did it come into existence in the first place?
“The Reformers [Protestant Reformation leaders, RT] had planted the seeds of the denominational theory of the church when they insisted that the true church can never be identified in any exclusive sense with a particular institution” (p. 307).
Continue reading “Where did church denominations come from?”
By Johnny O. Trail — It seems that most people tend to display those things that they are most convicted about on the back of their cars. As one who reads everything, bumper stickers spark a great curiosity in me. Many bumper stickers contain humorous and witty sayings. Some of their messages are very good in content and design. Other messages leave one scratching their head wondering why any reasonable person could place such garbage on a car that would have otherwise maintained its re-sale value very nicely.
On the way to Nashville last week, this writer noticed a bumper sticker on a car that read, “Tree Lover, Dirt Worshipper.” The other stickers on the back of the vehicle were not much better in the message being conveyed. This bumper sticker reflects a decidedly pagan view of deity as reflected in the false religions of the Old and New Testament. We have come to think more of the creation than the creator. Romans 1.25 says, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” This view is supported by a nation that has “gone green” to protect the environment at all costs. Continue reading “The bumper sticker says it all”
By Johnny O. Trail — Mickey and Linda were married for around 60 years./1 Linda was immersed into Christ from an early age, but Mickey was not a member of the church. For many, many years she and others patiently prayed for him and engaged him in various Bible studies.
When I started at the congregation where Mickey and Linda attended, I was blessed to become friends with them early in the work. Since my grandmother’s maiden name was “Jacobs” and Linda’s was too, I always called her “Cousin” when she came into the building. As I watched them over the 10 years that I was a part of their congregation, their love for one another was very apparent. There was always a twinkle in his eyes and in hers when they were together. Still, she had a persistent fear—”would Mickey obey the gospel before his life was over?” Continue reading “Nine steps and 45 minutes to salvation”
By Johnny O. Trail — The book of Judges offers some interesting history about the Israelites and the relationship they had with the Philistines. Samson had humiliated the Philistines by destroying their standing crops with fire. Since Dagon was a god of grain, this was a direct challenge to their deity. The biblical text says in Judges 15.4-5,
“And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives.”
This outrage was swiftly answered by the Philistines. They sought out Samson at Etim and asked the Israelites where he might be found: Continue reading “Have we surrendered?”
By Johnny O. Trail — As the temperature rises the hem lines go up and the neck lines tend to plunge. While this is sometimes seen as a problem that is reflective in women’s fashion, it can also be a problem among men. In addition to the cut of the hems and the depth of the neck lines, the messages written on shirts and pants can be immoral in nature.
One of my earliest memories involved a trip to Nashville to visit an uncle who was dying of cancer in the Veteran’s Hospital. Since we were from Manchester, it was really easy for us to become lost as we navigated the large and confusing town of Nashville. Somehow or another, we ended up on lower Broad Street. In that day, prostitution was a problem in that area. There, on a street corner, were two women who were dressed rather strangely. From the back seat of our Chevrolet Impala I asked my parents, “Why are those women dressed that way?” Continue reading “Purity is about you”
By Johnny O. Trail — Drives returning home after Wednesday evening services are typically uneventful. Last Wednesday was vastly different than what I typically experience on my commute from mid-week Bible study. The tragic experience I came upon made me ponder a few things of spiritual importance.
As I was topping a hill on the way home, I saw a motorcycle laying in the ditch. Just a bit further down the road, there was a white car that had wrapped itself around a tree. Since my eldest son typically drives himself and his brothers to and from church in his car, my concerns were immediately raised. He too, drives a white vehicle. Continue reading “One less day”
By Brett Christensen — The only reason you and I are in Christ’s church is because we have heard the pure message of salvation as taught in scripture, and have believed it with enough conviction to obey it and continue in it. That’s not true of anyone outside the Lord’s church, whether they’re in some humanly established alternative church or even irreligious.
It’s good news that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the tragic corollary is that those not in Christ are not new creatures. We in Christ have an unassailable hope; those apart from Christ are living without hope. If God means what he says, then we cannot deny these truths. So the unpleasant reality about any person or group which has not followed God’s instructions on how to get into Christ is that they’re without God, without hope in this world, not having the forgiveness of sin which is available in Christ. Continue reading “Us and them”