"All material is written by
Joe R. Price, unless otherwise
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
It is so important to wear your seat belts. Nearly 43,000 people died in automobile accidents in America in 2002. Of those fatalities, 17,419 were alcohol related. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for people under the age of 34. Every thirteen minutes there is a death caused by a motor vehicle accident.1 These are among the reasons government has mandated wearing safety belts in cars and trucks. They save lives. So, “click it or ticket.”
God’s word speaks of another type of “safety belt.” The Bible teaches the importance of being secure and safe in Christ. The most important thing we can do to insure our spiritual safety is to obey God’s word in faith (Gal. 3:26-27; Heb. 5:8-9). Jesus said we must obey the will of His Father to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7:21). It is vital that we apply our faith by doing what He says (Lk. 6:46; Heb. 11:6; Jas. 1:21-25; 2:14-26). When we obey Jesus in every area of our lives we are putting on our “spiritual safety belts.” We must not allow anyone or anything to hinder us from “obeying the truth,” otherwise we are exposed to spiritual danger and death (Gal. 5:6; Rom. 6:23).
Car accidents harm and kill the body; sin harms and kills the soul. “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (Jas. 1:15-16). All of us are tempted to sin against God. When temptation occurs we have a choice to make: obey Jesus and be spiritually secure, or sin and bring death to our souls. We wouldn’t dream of intentionally causing an automobile accident, yet when we choose to sin we cause a far worse outcome. By choosing to obey Jesus we will be safe from harm: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (Jno. 10:27-28). There is safety in always obeying Jesus; there is danger and death in sin. We must put on our spiritual safety belt of obedient faith so our souls will always be secure in Christ.
1 Auto Accident Statistics – Online Lawyer Source
Children would try the patience of Job! I watched one day as a young mother lifted her screaming little daughter (by one arm!) out of the family car in front of a store. I could not tell what it was the child was crying about, but the mother said to an older woman, who was likely her mother: “Will she ever grow out of that stage?” It was all I could do to keep from saying, “Yes, and before you realize it!” But I would not intrude.
While parents are right in the midst of bringing up their little ones it seems to them that it will be an eternity before they reach the place where they will not be such a “bother” and a worry anymore. Small children even at times will test the strength of a seemingly strong marriage; and appear to “get in the way” of success and progress.
A story from READER’S DIGEST several years ago, written by Robert W. Wells, of which I give only the first three paragraphs, is a beautiful and wonderful article. I hope every parent will read it slowly, digest it fully, and be impressed forever:
“To an adult a tree is a tree, a cloud passing before the moon is only a cloud like those that have gone before. But a child is not like that. Things happen for the first time to him.
“I remember a July day when John was four. We had left the Manhattan apartment where we lived then and were spending the weekend in a small town. After dinner, my wife, the boy and I went for a walk. We came to an open field with a stand of oaks behind it. John had been holding my hand, but now he slipped free. He stood quietly for a moment, this big-city boy, surveying the largest expanse of earth he had ever seen that was entirely devoid of people. And then he was off, running hard.
“I can still close my eyes and picture him, this child whom I shall never see again, although he still lives concealed in a tall youth who has his name. Across the grass in the dying sunlight he ran, short legs pumping, under the trees, up a hill, then swooping back toward us, head erect, eyes half-closed. In spirit I was running with him, feeling the things he felt, and I was suddenly aware that the child who had loosed my hand and left me would never return, that in a brief instant of time his babyhood had ended and his boyhood begun. I could feel time ticking away.”
Oh, mother! Oh, dad! Seize every moment you can lay hold upon in order to have some time with your children while they are so young, so tender, and so innocent. Relish some precious periods of play and lightheartedness with them! But, more importantly, show them by a good example what being a faithful Christian is all about. Prove to them that nothing is more important to you than the Lord and His church by putting Him first every day. Let spiritual matters take precedence in your thoughts, be first in your financial budget, have supremacy in your time, and take priority in all your activities (Matt.6:33). In becoming parents, accept a most serious responsibility! “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord, and fruit of the womb is his reward” (Ps.127:3).
Quick! parents, while the clay is soft, pliant and easily molded. Hasten to the task! Don’t wait another moment! Later will be too late!
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph.6:4).
TIME IS “TICKING AWAY!”
Men without some assistance have never been very good at understanding prophecy. The fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies is clearly shown in the Old Testament, and the fulfillment of other Old Testament prophecies is clearly shown in the New Testament. From the Old Testament it is obvious that even Jewish scribes and rabbis did not understand many of the prophecies about the Messiah (Christ) and His kingdom. It is also obvious that some resorted to twisting and perverting Scriptures (2 Pet. 3:16). Here are some things to keep in mind that will help us not to be taken in by the speculators in prophecy today:
1. Most of the prophecies in the Old Testament found their fulfillment in the histories of Israel and other nations who came in contact with Israel. The bondage in Egypt, the conquest and settlement of Canaan, the Assyrian captivity, the Babylonian captivity, the restoration of the Israelites to their land, and the historical period between the testaments are all dealt with in Old Testament prophecies.
2. Many other Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in the ministry of John the Baptist, the ministry of Christ, and the beginning and early history of the church (which is the kingdom of Christ).
3. The 24th chapter of Matthew concerns primarily the destruction of Jerusalem (which came to a climax A.D. 70) and secondarily the second coming of Christ. Nearly all present-day speculators misapply the things spoken by Jesus about the destruction of Jerusalem to the second coming of Christ.
4. The revelation of Jesus to John was written to the seven churches of Asia and is to be understood from their viewpoint. They were under severe persecution; their suffering would worsen. They needed encouragement; they needed to know that God was aware, cared and would deal with their tormentors. To view the book as either a preview of history from the first century down to the end of time or as primarily a depiction of events that would transpire right before the end of time is to miss the whole purpose of the book.
Some common mistakes made by so-called experts in Bible prophecy:
1. To take fulfilled prophecy (either fulfilled in the historical period of the Old Testament, the period between the testaments, or the New Testament) and treat it as unfulfilled.
2. To apply prophecies in the Old Testament about the first coming of Christ to the second coming.
3. To make the kingdom and kingship of Christ material; to insist that old national Israel was to be brought back into existence and that the Messiah would reign from Jerusalem.
4. To maintain that some prophecies were not fulfilled when they were supposed to be fulfilled (such as the establishment of Messiah’s kingdom in the days of the Kings of the fourth--Roman--kingdom, Dan. 2).
5. To engage in speculation and showmanship by declaring that cur-rent events are always the subject of Bible prophecy.
6. To insist that the end is near, that Christ is about to come, that we are definitely living in “the end times.”
Court says city can claim homes
The Supreme Court ruled this week that the city of New London, Connecticut, can seize private property under eminent domain for the purpose of promoting economic development. Private home ownership was thus exposed to a broader interpretation of eminent domain than before (The Bellingham Herald, A1, 6/24/05). The bottom line: Ultimately, we really don’t own what we think we own!
Doesn’t the Bible say something about that? “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we will be content” (1 Tim. 6:7-8; see Lk. 12:15). People will continue to dispute over lands and houses, but Christians should never forget that our home is in heaven (Heb. 11:16). No one can take that home away from God’s faithful ones (Jno. 10:29).
Chickadee Warning System
It seems the black-capped chickadee uses highly sophisticated signaling system to warn other chickadees of predators. A recent study conducted at the University of Washington in Seattle concludes the song of the chickadee often contains a response to lurking predators (like hawks, owls and falcons). Evidently, the chickadee can vocalize the degree of danger that is present as well as encourage a response from other chickadees. “The most exciting aspect is probably just that there is so much information encoded in one vocalization,” said Chris Templeton of UW in Science magazine. (Chickadees Sing Complex Warnings, Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News, http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs)
Here’s my question:
If chickadees are the product of organic evolution, how did they ever
develop this warning system? Surely all the chickadees would have been
eaten for lunch before their warning system could evolve and protect them!
Hum. Natural Selection or Intelligent Design: What makes more sense? The
hand of God (Psa. 8:6-8)!
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA