Critical Examination Of Any And All Teaching

Let’s start with the Bible. We do not criticize the Word of God. In fact, it gives us a critical picture of mankind and men’s rebellion against God. However, there is an appropriate way to approach Scripture. First, what is the overall thrust of the Bible’s teaching on any given subject? Scripture has great harmony in its teachings. Does what I am assuming is a proper understanding of God’s Word conflict in any way with major doctrines such as the Virgin Birth, the Deity of Christ, etc.? What has been the commonly accepted position of all truly Bible Believing churches down through the years?  Would what I am studying violate any of God’s commands? Have I discussed a questionable teaching with a Spirit taught, careful student of His Word (one whose reputation for intense study and consecration has proved him to be a reliable source of help)?  Even then, check it out (maybe with another student of the same type). If any doubt surfaces, keep studying, asking for the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Be patient. Some truth emerges over time. Use tools to help you study. There are some very good tools. Have a good concordance and a respected Bible Dictionary, among other tools. There will be some areas of honest disagreement among true believers. Let this motivate you to search even harder to see if you can determine who is correct on a subject. More tomorrow, Lord willing. Selah! Can you imagine the impact if all Christians would devote themselves to a disciplined study of God’s Word?   Ron

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” I Thessalonians 5:21

Disciplining The Mind

Thanks to the help of TV and other aids that are somewhat less effective, too many Believers have developed lazy thinking habits. Sometimes, we are so pre-occupied with entertainment (especially TV) that we fail to take time to think deeply. Sometimes, we are so busy that we don’t find time to read. When we do find time, we may choose to read only “shallow stuff”. In conversation with other people, do our minds skip quickly from one line of thought to another or have we trained our minds to stay on track?  Do we have friends that can, and do, challenge and stimulate our minds? Do we buy too much of what the media dishes up as accurate or true, without critically analyzing and verifying what is being communicated? Do we study, above all, the Word of God? After that, do we study thought provoking material from Godly, respected, writers?  If so, do we check the teaching against Scripture to see if is reliable or not? Even good authors are not infallable! Can we discern truth from error? Do we ever study theology? This is a great help in defending the Faith, if it is sound theology. Peter, under inspiration, in I Peter 1:13a. commands us to, “..gird up the loins of your mind...”. We need to strengthen our minds.  Selah!  If your mind has become sluggish, don’t you think it is time to reign it in and bring it under discipline to God’s plan for it?   Ron

Teacher, I Have A Question.

Not every disciple is an evangelist. Nevertheless, Paul told Timothy, in II Timothy 4:5c, “….do the work of an evangelist.” The same thing is true of teaching. If someone asks you a question, that may be an opportunity to teach. If you have someone who respects you, you can usually teach them. Older women can teach younger women (see Titus 2:3 5).  We men are to teach faithful men who can teach others( II Timothy 2:1). A Pastor in the Biblical sense is a Pastor-Teacher. Parents are to train (i.e; discipline and teach) children. (Ephesians 6:4b and Proverbs 22:6). (Even giving a book or tape may be indirect teaching. Good books and tapes provide good teaching. Bad books and tapes shouldn’t be given.) In the light of all this we should be “…apt (i.e; capable, prepared, equipped) to teach…” (II Timothy 2:24). Therefore, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15).  Selah! If you are thinking that teaching is only for Pastors, Bible Teachers, Sunday School Teachers, etc. take a careful look at accounts, such as in the Book of Acts and other parts of God’s Word, where believers teach others about God and His Word. If you find someone, today, who will listen or ask questions, this may be your chance to teach.    Ron

A Too Often Overlooked Friendship

It’s possible to look too far afield for a close friend. How often do we forget that our mate can be our very best human friend? If we don’t have a mate (and even if we do), a child, or parent, or other family member can be or become a very special friend. Now the same principles apply with these, that we have been dealing with during the last three days. Invest yourself, using those principles, in those closest to you. It is a great starting point. If it is a husband or wife, it should inspire extra effort on your part. Study their needs, be helpful and considerate, express appreciation, listen carefully to them, pray for them, and do fun things together. If a disagreement arises, agree to stop the discussion until emotions give place to trying to see the other person’s point-of-view. (Don’t generate more heat than light.) Remember important dates (i.e; birthdays, anniversaries, etc.). Give genuine compliments. A little romance goes a long way, if it first comes from the heart. Go on a date like you did before you married. Have family and husband & wife devotions. Don’t take your partner for granted. Note things they do for you day in and day out and say….. (are you ready for this?): “Thank you!!”  Encourage each other. Read and discuss together. Admit when you are wrong or might be wrong. Selah! If you are willing to work at this, other things that will bless your mate will come to mind.   Ron

“Depth” Relationships

As mentioned recently, there are different levels of friendship. Today, I want to focus on very special friends. If we are to enjoy this kind of friendship, we must learn to be trustworthy ourselves. It will also take an extended period of time to discern if we have a true friend (or friends) that can be trusted. This involves spending quality time with them, getting to know them well. These kinds of friends will usually share common values and interests. We enjoy being and doing together. We pray for each other. We would sacrifice for each other. We share each other’s joys and sorrows. We would lovingly confront a friend when he or she is wrong or doing wrong and we would gratefully receive that kind of confrontation when we are in the wrong. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend,….”.  So says Proverbs 27:6a. This kind of friendship is priceless! There is an even deeper friendship than this that we have been discussing. This Friend infinitely exceeds all of the dearest friends on earth. He is a friend,”… who sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24b. He will never fail us! In the words of Arthur A. Luther’s wonderful hymn, “Earthly friends may prove untrue, Doubts and fears assail; One still loves and cares for you, One Who will not fail.   Jesus Never Fails!”  Selah! This kind of Friend is the special delight of a real disciple. Think about that and rejoice!  Ron

Developing Relationships

How many times have you heard this lament. “I don’t have any real friends.”?  Has the person who said this been friendly? Proverbs 18:24a  reminds us, “A man who hath friends must show himself friendly….”.  What is involved in being “friendly” ? A very important way to begin is to genuinely care about others. People sense it, if we only like them because we want to get something from them (even including their friendship). How can we enrich someone’s life? Find ways to bless another and you will be blessed. Meet someone’s need. Try inviting someone to your home or an event. (If an event, pay for their ticket, if possible.) Don’t expect them to reciprocate. Speak pleasantly.  Listen carefully. Never betray a confidence! Give sincere compliments, occasionally. Express gratitude for acts of thoughtfulness and helpful words. Speak well of people to others. Be patient with people. These are a few helpful ways to be friendly. Selah! Think about how you want to be befriended and then befriend others that way. Don’t smother them with your friendliness. Put the whole matter before God in prayer.   Ron

What Kind Of Friends Do You Have?

There are “fair-weather” friends. There are also those who are friends only as long as they can get something out of us. Of course, these are not real friends. Even among true friends, there are different levels of friendship. There are casual friendships. These are people that we like and when we see them, we enjoy the encounter. The next level of friendship involves those that we love to get together with if at all possible, and would go out of our way to help them insofar as possible. Advancing to the next level of friendship, there are those friends that we care deeply about and try hard to get together with as often as it can be worked out. We would be willing to make personal sacrifices to help them. There is an even greater friendship. Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  Jesus was that kind of Friend. He did that for those who will open their lives to Him. Thank God for that Friend!  Selah!  How sad to have no true friends. Tomorrow, Lord willing, we want to discuss the cure for that kind of problem.  If you don’t have that problem, thank God. However, you may know someone who does. Do visit us tomorrow for more about friendship.    Ron