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A Perfect Mother

A Perfect Mother

       The first mention of “mother” in the Bible occurs shortly following the creation of mankind. Adam had been created from the dust of the earth on the sixth day, after God had created all other things.   The woman was the final creation of God, and she was made from the rib of Adam. We can read this in Genesis 2:23-24, which also reveals one of the reasons God created both “male” and “female”. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.  This passage also shows that God’s plan for the procreation of the human race was always to occur within the institution of marriage. “ . . . shall cleave to his wife . . .

       The second mention of mother in the Bible is in Genesis 3:20, and from this passage we understand that Eve, the wife of Adam was the beginning of motherhood. And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Shortly after Adam and Eve sinned, they were exiled from the Garden of Eden, and they began their family. With the birth of her son Cain, Eve became a mother. She again became a mother with the birth of Abel, and later Seth, as well as other unnamed children. (Genesis 5:4)

       It has already been stated, Eve had sinned, and therefore she was not “perfect”. Neither are any other humans, as Romans 3:23 informs.   For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;    However, God knows that we cannot be perfect in the sense of “being without fault”, but He also knows women can “perfectly” carry out the role for which women was created. Here, I am not referring to just their role in procreation. I speak of the capability of the woman to 1) bear children (man cannot do this). And, 2) rear those children to know God, revere God and His Word, and faithfully serve God as a young person and into adulthood and throughout their lives. Indeed, this is the job of the woman that would be “a perfect mother”.

     After the fifth chapter of Genesis, nothing else has been said about Eve in the Old Testament. We do not know how Eve raised Cain, Abel, Seth or her other children, but we do know from Genesis 4:26 that after the birth of the son of Seth, men began to call upon the name of God. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD. This seems to indicate that Eve, Seth’s mother perhaps indeed had some positive influence upon him during his most formative years.

       There are many other mothers mentioned in the Bible and all had some influence on their children. We know of the Genesis chapter 27 account of Rebekah’s influence on Jacob to deceive his father, Isaac. This is not the type of influence a mother should have on her offspring. We also know of a mother who made sure her son would be properly influenced. The woman was Hannah of 1Samuel 1:20-22 who prayed to God for a son. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD. 21 And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow. 22 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever

       Hannah fulfilled her vow to God, and gave her son Samuel to the service of God, to the benefit of His people Israel.   Hannah turned her son Samuel over to Eli the priest who properly guided young Samuel toward God, even though he could not do so with his own sons. Hannah was blessed, in that 1Samuel 2:21 tells us she was privileged to bear five other children she herself could influence to serve God. And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD. 

     There are many other mothers identified throughout the Old and the New Testament. However, few mothers stand out as do a certain two who are named in 2Timothy 1:5. One is Lois, the mother of Eunice, who is the mother of Timothy. When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Timothy’s mother was a Jewess, but his father was a Greek as we read in Acts 16:1.   Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:

       Regardless of the strife that may have resulted in a family where the mother was a believer (a Christian), and the father was not, the mother and the grandmother saw to it Timothy knew the scriptures. We know this from 2Timothy 3:15.  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.    No doubt Eunice made some mistakes in raising Timothy. All mothers do. No mother is perfect.   But she perfectly raised her son in the Word of God. This, in my understanding, makes her, and all others who do so, a “perfect mother”.   They showed their child a chance for eternal life. If you are a mother, be “a perfect mother” teach your child the truth.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Are You Preparing?

Are You Preparing?

      Many are being deceived, as much is being written, spoken, and taught regarding the eternal destination of the soul. Unfortunately, much of this is based on “feelings” rather than on God’s Holy Word. Rare are the religious folks that will “properly” point out that God “set the standard” in His Word for those who will spend eternity with Him in Heaven after the destruction of this planet and the judgment occurs.

     In James 2:18-19, in the discourse on faith verses works, we find that the devils seem to have more sense than many who now live on earth because they “tremble”. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  These “devils” know where they are to spend eternity. They tremble because they know God has dictated the unchanging terms for entrance to Heaven, and they did not meet these terms.

      It is also, only in this life, in which one can make changes in their lives, so they can “make it to Heaven”. Below is a poem, written by my wife’s father, O. D. Wilson, around 1970.   This poem is about a real person whose name has been withheld. The purpose of the poem was to bring attention to the fact that preparation must be made before it is too late.   It is abundantly clear that the Luke 16:19-31 narrative about departure from life indicates, as soon as one dies, they will be aware of their eternal destination.

     We will all spend eternity in one of two places. One is a place of peace (all want to go there), the other is a place of torment. None want to go to the latter.   If you don’t make the preparation now, the place where your soul will abide forever, is not a place one desires to go. You can’t live life “as you wish” and then appeal to the mercy of God to change the outcome of a wasted life.    Galatians 6:7 is referenced in the poem. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 

All Dressed Up And No Place To Go


To introduce myself, I’m “Mr. G.”,

The next lines that follow, are all about me.

For the 81 years God’s let me live,

Not a thing in return to Him did I give.


I made a few friends, put some money in the bank,

Entertained myself with the beer that I drank.

For truth and right, I never made a search,

I doubted the Preachers and laughed at the church.


The example I set led my children astray,

And they’re following me on the downward way.

But my Mom was a Christian, and I’ve seen her cry,

As she pleaded with me to get ready to die.


Yes, time’s running out for me I know,

Just a few more days, and I’ll have to go.

When you walk by my casket, look down in my face,

You’ll be seeing a man who rejected God’s Grace.


When you see my hands folded upon my chest,

No doubt you’ll believe, I have gone to “rest”.

But my hands worked for me, and not for the Lord,

And my selfish gain is my only reward.


The hairs on my head, though silvery gray,

Do not reflect honor; I lived my own way.

My lips, still in death, were used to profane,

Instead of revering my Maker’s Name.


There’s a verse in the Bible I used to know,

“Be not deceived, you’ll reap what you sow.”

For me my friend, it will then be too late,

I’ll have missed my last chance for the pearly gate.


The beautiful clothes you will see me wear,

Will be carefully selected and arranged with care.

But, they won’t men a thing, to me, I know,

I’ll be all dressed up, and no place to go.


O.D. Wilson - deceased


     Don’t wait until it is too late to think about where you’ll spend eternity. If you are honest, you will contemplate your soul’s true condition and begin to make the needed changes now. We can help guide you through the Word of God and show what God says to do, and how to do it. Don’t “gamble” with your soul.  That loss cannot be recouped, as time for you, ends when you die. Time has no effect on eternity, as when eternity begins, time itself will be no more. You must act now before it is too late.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

After You Die

After You Die

           This is an area in which there are no experts around to advise you, nor to explain what you will experience. This is because none are “here” who have crossed into that realm, present claims notwithstanding.   It is also a fallacy to believe that one can “contact” you from beyond this life.   We are made certain of a few things regarding death from God’s Word. You will not know what happens here after you die. Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 makes this perfectly clear. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun

       Neither does one “go directly” to their final abode immediately upon his or her death, contrary to what is taught in many places. Luke chapter 16 gives us a bit of a glimpse into the “intermediate” after-life.   In this telling narrative from the Lord Himself, we see two possible destinations for the soul after it leaves the body.   Luke 16:22-26 shows the two, and why each goes to their respective places.   And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell (Hades) he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.  25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  This is not “just a story” as many have claimed. This is Jesus, helping His people, the Jews, see the need to prepare for eternity.  

       The beggar was given a name in vs 20, and was repeated in vss 24 & 25. Abraham was real. The rich man’s brethren were real. Moses is also named in this narrative and he was real.   Abraham, Moses, Lazarus and the rich man had all died, and we all know death is real.   This has been true since the slaying of Abel.   Adam, the created son of God, “ushered” death into the world per Romans 5:12.   Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 

       We also see in the Luke 16 accounts of death, and the impermanent abodes of the soul, that there is a division (great gulf), vs 26, between those that rest, and the ones that are tormented.   We are also told that the rich man “fared sumptuously” every day and was clothed in “purple, and fine linen”, while Lazarus the beggar was “full of sores” and desired the crumbs, or leftovers of the more fortunate.   Let’s not be deceived into thinking that all who have “good fortune” will “go to Hell”.   This simply shows that the rich man lived according to his own selfish desires and lusts, and not as God would have him live.   It is worth noting that once one has passed from this life, they can make no changes to the outcome.   This is why in Luke 16: 23 the rich man wanted someone to “go back” and testify to his five brethren.

For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 

     We are made aware of the temporary nature of these places as we read

1Thessalonians 4:16-18. Why would the “righteous dead” be raised if they were already in Heaven?   Why would they not remain there to await the rest who will spend eternity with God?   For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

       Hebrews 9:27 makes it abundantly clear that after death, comes the judgment.   And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment We also understand from 1Corinthians 15:24-26 when “the end” is. It is when death is “destroyed”. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. This is when the judgment happens.

       But, what to do in the meantime, while we are “alive and remain”? We are told in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. It is in this life, in which we have the privilege to choose where we what to go “after we die”. Make sure you prepare NOW for the “eternal future”. Obey the gospel today.  

      Know that we will account for this life. 2Corinthians 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.   What do you have to lose?   Just your eternal soul!                  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Electronic Church

Electronic Church

By Wayne Jackson

         In recent months numerous articles have focused attention upon the phenomenal value of the World-Wide Web as an evangelistic tool. A recent issue of the popular denominational journal, Christianity Today, was devoted entirely to this medium of communication as it relates to religious information. Twenty percent of those who use the Internet do so for religious purposes. During the final quarter of last year, twenty million people accessed various web sites seeking metaphysical data.  Two million Americans visit the Web every day for spiritual guidance. Surely Christians should see the value in teaching the gospel of Christ via this increasingly popular medium.

       At the same time, there are dangerous pitfalls associated with the Web.

An Avenue for Error

     There is a vast range of false teaching that clutters the World-Wide Web. Everything from Eastern mysticism, to religious agnosticism, to sectarianized “Christianity” is available. They can be invited right into your home – with but the click of a “mouse.”   Some sites are very professionally done and therefore, are slick avenues for promoting error to the unsuspecting.

       The Web also accommodates a wide variety of “church nuts,” providing them with an opportunity to peddle their wares, when they could never secure an audience otherwise. Anyone with the right kind of technical skill can get a web site going, whether or not they know anything at all about the Bible.  In the minds of some, their very presence, via such a sophisticated medium, legitimizes their endeavor. This is a part of the “price tag” for

“freedom of the press.”

       Unfortunately, some Christians, unwittingly or otherwise, assist with the propagation of error by their “links” network. Some web sites, operated by members of the church, have elaborate link connections to other sites. And yet, virtually every link directs the viewer to a denominational source – some of which are rank with false teaching.    Apparently, there is not a solitary Christian web site worthy of their recommendation.  What message does that convey?    A revealing one for those who consider the matter thoughtfully.

A Substitute for Corporate Worship

     A news service recently quoted Brenda E. Brasher, a theology-philosophy professor, and author of the book, Give Me That Online Religion, who says that, “One of the best-kept secrets of cyberspace is the surprising amount of religious practice that takes place there.” Brasher has found more than a million religion-oriented web sites, with many of them virtually functioning as temples and churches.

       For many people, sitting in front of a computer and accessing a religious web site, has become a spiritual exercise that fulfills their need for a worshipping experience. A new study by the Barna Research Group suggests that “by the end of the decade, we will have in excess of 10 percent of our population who rely upon the Internet for their entire spiritual experience” (emp. added).

       For a long time, anemic Christians have rationalized their slothful religious devotion by appealing to the use of various media or electronic devices.    Some churches, for example, broadcast their Sunday morning services; a few perfectly-healthy, though lazy, members rationalize remaining at home on the ground that “we can tune-in the services on the radio.”  Many a preacher has heard this line during a gospel meeting: “We can’t be at the meeting on Friday evening; we’re having a family outing. But we’ll get the tape!”

     As wonderful as the new tools for electronic evangelism are, they can never function as a substitute for assembling with the people of God at the prescribed times for engaging in corporate worship.      There are Bible commands and principles that obligate us to “come together” when we are able to do so, and no “flip of a switch” can satisfy those demands upon able-bodied people.


      The above article was written by Wayne Jackson, as is indicated at the top of the article.   He was a well-respected Christian writer, and has now gone on to his reward.     My wife first accessed this article in 2019, long before the present “COVID” distress and all its associated fear. I am unsure exactly when it was written.   Thankfully, there are those who foresaw the myriad of implications, problems and sin associated with “substitutions” for worship.   Hopefully, we too will see the need to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” and all it entails.  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Such As I Have, Give I Thee

Such As I Have Give I Thee

     When the term “such as I have give I thee” is contemplated, folks are most likely to think of the power of miracles as existed in the apostles in the babyhood of the church. We are familiar with this phrase as this is what the Spirit had Luke record in Acts 3:6. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  This miracle was not performed simply to benefit the lame man, but was profitable to all who saw him “walking and praising God” as well. This is because it brought attention to the “power” by which this miracle was done. Then, in Acts 3:12-26 we can read the inspired sermon which followed this great miracle.  

     Contrary to the teaching of some, God no longer provides this power for His servants to perform miracles.   This does not mean that God doesn’t provide for those that love Him. The Spirit had Peter pen what we read in 2Peter 1:3-4 which show that God’s power is still in effect, and also contains His Promises to man.  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 

       We also have the Words of the Spirit through the pen of Paul as he was directed to write in Romans 1:16-17 so that we might know how the power of God is manifested to mankind today. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith The gospel is God’s power to save and is also available to us to take to others for their benefit.

     2Thessalonians 2:14-17 shows what God gives today, how He gives it, and how we access His “grace”. It is the means by which we can have the “everlasting consolation”, hope and comfort God offers. This is also how we are to be strengthened to carry out the Work of the Lord. Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. 

         So, what do we have, and what can we give others? We know from 1Corinthians 2:12-13 what the apostles received, and with what they were charged to “give” others. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. We pointed out that Romans 1:17 teaches “the just shall live by faith”. Therefore, the answer to our question above, is we have the same thing the apostles received. We have God’s Word, and in that Word, Romans 10:17 tells us how we might have faith. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God God’s Word preached and taught produces faith.

       This is where we, the Christians of today come in. God, in His infinite wisdom, not only formulated the plan, brought it into being through His Son’s death on the cross, His resurrection and ascension to heaven. But He gave His Word to His apostles, through the Spirit (the Comforter) as the Lord promised them, and also determined that man, those that had been saved through obedience to the gospel, take it to others. In the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18b-20, we find Commandment from Christ to His eleven apostles. All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.

       The formula is: Go, teach, baptize, and teach.   This is what we have and what we can give. This is why the Spirit had Paul admonish Timothy in 2Timothy 4:1-2. I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  God sent His Son. His Son authorized us to go, teach, and baptize. The Spirit gave us the Word. Such as I have, give I thee. Let us help you know and follow God in accordance to His Word. God’s grace is available to us through His Word.   Titus 2:11-12 tells us: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

The Foolishness Of God?

The Foolishness of God?

     It is possible that on the first of April, you either participated in, or were the victim of some harmless prank or foolishness. This is because of the tradition of “April Fools’ Day”.   There are varied ideas as to how this tradition came to be, some themselves foolish, yet none proven. Some records show that “April Fools’ Day” has existed as far back as the twelfth century. Various cultures also participate in it differently.

     As a child we may have delighted in being on the “giving end” of one of the many pranks played on such a day. We delighted in the “fooling” of another. As maturity is achieved, many see the silliness of such pranks as childish or adolescent. Perhaps some are just “sticks in the mud”, and resist such frivolities. Nevertheless, others continue to participate in the irrationality that surrounds these traditional days.

     There are indeed many “foolish” things in which one may participate and many things which man thinks to be foolish. When we dislike, or are incapable of doing something, we often deem it “foolishness”. When we disagree with something to the point of refusal to participate, again we denounce it as “foolishness”.   Such is the case in the only occurrence of God’s Word when foolishness is ascribed to Him. 1Corinthians 1:23-25 is this passage. Contextually applied, it is easy to see that the “foolishness” that is being exposed is that of man, and not God. Nothing God has said or Commanded is foolish. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  It was the Greeks that considered the preaching of the cross foolishness.  The Jews “stumbled” at the preaching of the gospel because it went against their preconceived notions and therefore, to them, also foolishness.

     As rational human beings, blessed with the capacity and capability to learn and discern, should we not be able to determine what is foolish and what is not? Should not this especially be the case when it comes to the destination of our eternal soul?   God’s Word is given to mankind so we can see where foolishness leads. Proverbs 19:3 informs us of the path that is taken when foolishness is embraced. The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD Perhaps this is why the Spirit had the palmist pen the Words we find in the first part of Psalm 14:1: The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

     When God is not considered nor regarded, much of what man does becomes foolishness.   The Pharisees in Mark 7:5 considered the eating with “unwashen hands” foolishness and defiling, as it did not align with the “tradition of the elders”.  Jesus’s response to His disciples regarding this in Mark 7:18 was given so they would know not to follow tradition. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;  His Words from Mark 7:20-23, also places man’s foolishness in some dubious company. And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21  For from within, out of the heart (mind) of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. 

     How do such thoughts as these listed above get “into” the man? He has to put them into himself by learning.  There are those who study philosophy, psychology, theology, and all others sorts of things. Then, they consider themselves wiser than others. It is obvious that they do not consider God’s Word.  1Corinthians 1:27-29 shows us the fallacy of the world’s wisdom.    But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;  28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 

     Are you willing to risk your soul to the “wisdom of man”? Do you think Jesus was “fooling” when He made the statement in Mark 7:7-8? This was in the same context of the Words of Jesus above. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 

       Wouldn’t you rather depend on the Word of God and the instruction He has provided for salvation? 1Corinthians 1:21 shows that only God’s Wisdom can bring one to salvation. For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Why not follow God’s Word and obey the gospel as outlined in His Word so you can be saved?   God’s Commandments are not now, nor were they ever foolishness.  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Commandments From God

Commandments From God

    When we receive Commandments from God, how do we react? That is a question that each will have to ask and answer for themselves. What one “states” when the question is asked, should be the same as they do!

How did Israel of old react?   In Jeremiah 6:16, the Spirit had the prophet issue God’s Commandments so that they might have peace.   What was their response? Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. All the Commandments of God are for the good of mankind.

     God gave Old Testament people Commandments to follow. Isaac was given a promise from God in Genesis 26:3-5, because of the fidelity of his father in regard to God’s Commandments. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; 4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed5Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws

       Joshua 1:8-9 is where we read of the Commandments of God to His people Israel, as they were being led into the Promised Land.   This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success 9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. All this was for their benefit and to fulfill God’s plan.

     Jesus, in Matthew 21:28-31 presented two scenarios to help the Jews of His Day see the fallacy of only “appearing” to keep the Laws of God. But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. 29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. 31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 

Those of Jesus day needed to know that keeping God’s Commandments would lead them to the kingdom. This kingdom, the church for which Christ died, was the fulfillment of God’s plan for man.

     Jesus’ teaching was forwarded by His disciples in Matthew 10:5-7 as Israel was being prepared to receive the kingdom. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

       The gospel consists of the New Testament Commandments of God. As the gospel was being preached in the first century, the Gentiles were granted entrance when Peter was sent to Cornelius. Notice the attitude of Cornelius in Acts 10:33 when it came to “receiving” what God offered. Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. Then there are the Words of Paul as the Holy Spirit had him write in Romans 1:16 to show the “power of God unto salvation” is the gospel. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 

       There is also Romans 16:25-26 which confirms that the gospel is the Commandments of God. Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: This is in exact alignment with the Word’s of Jesus as recorded in John 14:15. He said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  

      1John 5:3 was written to Christians, so this same concept is applied under the Law, and the Gospel. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.  Don’t be as king Saul of old in 1Samuel 15:13. And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORDThe reply? (vs 14) And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?    Obey the gospel, the Commandments of God today. Obey it all the way. To do otherwise means eternal destruction. If you need help or additional teaching, we can help guide you through His Word.      

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Receiving The Blessings Of God

Receiving the Blessings of God

     There are many who think that God does not bless them.  More often than not, this is because they don’t consider of what God’s blessings to man consist.   Many are selfish, and think if they don’t receive financial wealth or maintain physical health with little or no effort, they aren’t “blessed”.

     All God has given man is a blessing to him. Christ created the Earth on which we live. According to Hebrews 1:3, He set all things in order and upholds them by the word of His power. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Surely this is one of God’s many blessing to all of mankind.

     In fact, God blesses all, and Jesus said so in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:44-45, Jesus pointed out that all the Jews were God’s children under that Old Testament Law, and both the “good and the bad” received the benefit of God’s temporal blessings upon them. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust

     Another excellent example of God’s Blessings being liberally applied to all His Old Testament children is the forty years when Israel wandered in the wilderness.   In Exodus 16:35 we read of the “blessing” God provided them. And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan. Will any argue that all the Israelites were continually obedient to God’s Commands? No! In fact, their own disobedience was the very reason it took forty years for Israel to travel to the Promised Land.

       Old Testament Israel’s shoes and clothing not wearing out while they wandered were also physical blessings from God. The rain for nourishment of the earth is a physical blessing. These blessings from God require little to no effort on the part of the recipients. Some blessings of God do require the recipients to “do something” before receiving the blessing.   In the case of the manna, the Israelites had to “go out”, and “pick up”, the manna so they could eat.   The same with the quail the Lord sent for their sustenance. Numbers 11:32 proves this to be so. And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp. 

       The same concept applies to the spiritual blessings God has richly given man. The “physical” blessings Israel received were so the future blessings of a “spiritual” nature would come to be. Galatians 4:4-5 helps us to see this and none who believe in Christ would deny that Jesus’ coming is a blessing to man. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Jesus also said in the latter part of John 10:10 why He came. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Can any say this is not a blessing?

       God’s temporal blessings, (rain, sun, etc.) require no effort whatsoever on the part of the ones who benefit therefrom. But even some of God’s “spiritual blessings” to man require some effort of those who would be profited by them.  God does not “rain down” Salvation upon man. We are shown in Acts 10:34 that all are to receive God’s spiritual blessings in the same way. Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: In Colossians 3:24-25 the Spirit had Paul explain this in such a way that the brethren there could not possibly misunderstand. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. 

     In Philippians 2:12 the Spirit also had Paul remind the brethren who worshipped there that one’s Salvation was not simply “handed to them”. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

James 1:25 additionally affirms this. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed

       Of course, all should realize there are no spiritual blessings anywhere, except in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 confirms it.   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: Seek to become a Christian, a child of God in accordance to His Word and “work” to prepare yourself to enjoy the eternal blessings He has promised to the obedient and the faithful.   That’s the only way those blessings can be received of God.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Do You Have Time For God?

Do You Have Time For God?

       We are all “busy people”. In 1Kings 20:39-40 we read of a prophet that was “too busy” to do as the king asked him.   And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver.40 And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it.  In verses 41 and 42 we read of the cost incurred because of his actions. And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets. 42 And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people. In essence, he didn’t “have time” to do as Commanded. The price was his life, and that of his people.  

      Today, we live in busy times. Many have had their schedules altered and made more difficult as a result of various things. Time is at a premium. We seem to have more demands on our time that we did just a short while ago.   FACT: We have as much time now as we have always had. There has always been twenty-four hours in a day. The “key” is what we do with the time God has granted us.   The churches of Macedonia in 2Corinthians 8:3-5 are an excellent example of how to use our time in service to God. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.    When one “gives themselves” to God, they dedicate themselves to God and finding time to serve Him is no problem.

     The apostle Paul also serves as an excellent example to us as to how we are to spend our time in service to God. In 2Corinthians 12:14-15a we can read to what degree Paul served God for the benefit of the Corinthians. Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; . . .   From this we can surely see how important it is to find time for God.  

     But still, folks continue to offer the same lame excuse: “I don’t have time to . . . “ Incredibly, they even apply this to service to God.   This “dog won’t hunt” as the saying goes.   Most have time for all else they wish to do! We are told in Ecclesiastes 3:1 of the FACT that there is indeed time for all man is to do while on this earth.   To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven Then we see in Ecclesiastes 3 2-8, a list of a number of “purposes” in which a person could participate. Surely this includes time for God.   As we read Hebrews 12:28 we clearly see that the Spirit has the penman write these Hebrew Christians that the kingdom has come, and in that kingdom, one MUST make time for God. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

       Now, think of the “time” God has dedicated toward humanity. It is easily seen in 1Peter 1:18-20 that even before “time” began God had a plan that would be carried out.   Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you This was done for the saving of man’s soul and happened in God’s timeframe.

           God chose a people through whom to bring His Son to earth. They were the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He gave them a law, and separated them for this purpose. This took many years. We then read in Galatians 4:4-5 when this happened and why. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  In God’s “New Testament Law” God gives promises. One of these promises is Salvation through Christ.   In 2Peter 3:9 we are told that God still offers “time” so people can repent and come to Christ. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  This shows God still has time for us, if we will turn to Him as directed in His New Testament Word, and be obedient to the gospel.

        Christ provided the sacrifice for salvation in His death on the cross, and we have been given time to obey Him in accordance to His Word that we might contact the blood of Christ.  Why will you not make time for God?  If you don’t make time for God, there is a huge price to pay.   Are you willing to pay that price and spend eternity in Hell?   Your choice – Choose wisely.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ


Application Required

     The title of this article might jump to our minds, especially if we are in the market for a job. Gone are the days in which one could simply walk into a place of work, have a brief conversation, and procure employment.    Now- adays one must set up an appointment with a Human Resources specialist, prepare a resume’, gather references, then fill out the application. Upon arrival to the meeting with the HR person, questions which should have already been answered by the arduous preparation of documents that you have provided, will be asked to see if you are a “good fit” for the desired position. Afterward, you will endure a “probationary period” before being fully accepted.  

      Another “application” with which we are familiar, is that which deals with medications and such.   Some of us become “acutely aware” of the need to “apply” the required medications, ointments, poultices etc. to relieve itchy, painful effects of disease or injury.   One can have all the “medicine” in the world, and if not “applied”, they do nothing to relieve the discomfort or heal the condition. Medicine left in the bottle or tube is useless. The same could be said of a crutch or a cane. Until “applied” properly, it cannot support the weight, or provide the balance, for which it was intended. “Application required”.

     Yet another way in which we might think of the subject at hand, is in the automobile we drive, or the way in which we are conveyed from place to place as we conduct the business of life.   Many a young man has desired to own a car with “muscle” or power. They may want such to impress others by owning one as a “status symbol” or for some other reason. However, unless that vehicle is put into use, its “power” cannot be fully realized.   Potential power is not in effect until the “application” of that which releases the power.  A motor has no power until it is “engaged”. Crank the vehicle, put it in gear, engage the power, and go.    “Application required”.

      Let’s now examine this concept in light of God’s Word, and how we are to “apply” it. We are clearly told in 2Peter 1:3-4 that God has provided all we need to have life, and so we can live godly.   According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But what happens when this is improperly applied, or not applied at all? “Application required”.

        We earlier mentioned “medicines”. The same concept is in place to those who are charged with providing medications and healthcare. If one refuses to go to the doctor, or refuse the help offered, can he/she “blame the doctor when health is not restored? This too has a spiritual application. In Mark 2:17, Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees: “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”   The scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and many Jews refused Jesus and His teaching.   “Application required”.

     In John 11:25-26 as Jesus spoke to Martha, following the death of her brother Lazarus, He instructed her as to the source of the resurrection after He had told her Lazarus was going to rise again. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? This “life” is only found in Christ. This is also what Jesus was telling Nicodemus in John 3:5 when He told him how man would enter into the kingdom of God, which is the church. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  “Application required”.

    The brethren in Rome were told in Romans 1:16 that the gospel is God’s power to save “whosoever believeth”. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.Sadly, some have erred in their understanding of this passage.  Some teach one may “believe” their way to Salvation. That is not what this scripture teaches at all. This is readily apparent from the Words of Christ Himself in Mark 16:16. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  Therefore, the teaching of the gospel must be “applied”, and one must not only believe, but also must be baptized.   “Application required”.

     In fact, one must participate in every single step in the gospel plan of Salvation to receive the promise of eternal life. Perhaps you don’t know what these are. They are: 1) Hear – Romans 10:17;   2) Believe that Jesus is the Son of God – John 8:24; 3) Repent of sins – Luke 13:3;  Confess that Jesus is God’s Son – Romans 10:9-10; Be Baptized into Christ – Acts 22:16; And remain faithful until death – 2Peter 2:20-21. And, if one is a Christian and hasn’t remained faithful, God provided for this as well.   In Acts 8:22, Simon the former sorcerer, who was an “erring Christian was told what to do to “restore himself” to a proper relationship to God.

     These are God’s Laws for the healing of the soul, the “spiritual medicine” that every soul needs.   If you desire to be saved: “Application required”.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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