BY VALDIR JOSÉ DA SILVA —
“Now, announce to the men, ‘Whoever is shaking with fear may turn around and leave Mount Gilead.’ 22,000 men went home; 10,000 remained'” Judges 7.3
The feeling that appears so much in the adventures of our hero Gideon is fear. In this chapter 7, the Lord recognizes Gideon’s fear in verse 10 and once again gives him a sign that he, the Lord God, will be present in battle.
But what strikes me most in this chapter is that 32,000 men volunteer to attack the Midianites. However, when it is proclaimed that those who are afraid may leave, an astonishing 22,000 return and 10,000 brave men remain. Continue reading “Shaking with fear”
By Johnny O. Trail — On I-24 going toward Clarksville between exits twenty-four and nineteen, there was an electric road sign that read “Rough Road Ahead.” This stretch of highway has been problematic for years. It continually washes out and needs constant patches and repairs. Suffice to say it is a very rough road—our vehicle’s suspension and tires can attest to that fact.
Would it not be nice if we had various road signs in our lives to warn of “Rough Roads Ahead”? In the lives of many, this would be a continual warning about situations they encounter down life’s pathway. What type of signs might one see in their travels? Of course, signs only work when they are read and heeded. Continue reading “Rough road ahead”
BY JERRY HILL — One thing was becoming clear: the Lord’s church did not require a full-time preacher in each location in order to exist and thrive, as our custom seemed to demand. By 1965, penitent, baptized believers were seen to be able to speak to others in a convincing way. Churches began and grew, in which there were no full-time preachers
The last wishes expressed on earth by our Lord require his followers to “make disciples of all the nations” (Mathew 28:19), “preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15), “that repentance and forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all nations” (Luke 24:46), and “tend” and “shepherd” “my lambs” and “my sheep” (John 21:14-17). This was to start with the apostles “in Jerusalem“, and would go to “all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Continue reading “The noble goal requires removal of practices”
By Johnny O. Trail — He was the most powerful leader in the world at that time. His nation was incredibly wealthy with a powerful standing military that had no rival. The nation he ruled was at the pinnacle of the civilized world. In addition to its art and culture, the architecture of its empire is still studied and marveled at today.
Even though his association with God’s people caused him to prosper, he did not know who God was. Exodus 5:2 says, “And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.” In spite of these things, they were destined to be defeated by the slaves they exploited for labor and profit.
Continue reading “Moses, Pharoah and God”
The rich, as a rule, love their riches. Jesus observed how difficult it is for the rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew 19.23. As well, many saints, whose eyes are impressed by wealth, give preference to the more well-off in life.
Therefore, it is necessary that we all, as brothers and sisters who love each other without prejudice or conditions, hear again the word of God, which discounts completely the possessions that a person has, for “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” Luke 12.15. Continue reading “Christians still prefer the rich. How crazy is that?!”
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”
Theologians make their fine distinctions and hard classifications. They like the old idea of taking one thing at a time. They consider God’s holiness, then move on to his love. Such an approach is probably acceptable, as far as it goes.
The various and wonderful aspects of God’s nature and personality are a single unit. Westerners like to break things down into their component units. The ancient Hebrews, however, liked to pull things together, considering them as a whole. The former group excels in analysis; the latter, in synthesis.
When it comes to the one true God, the Hebrew approach recommends itself. If God is one, his nature partakes of that oneness. Continue reading “God judges because he loves”
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?”