Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

We Are The Same Church

Posted on: October 17th, 2021

A Look Back – Ten Year Anniversary in our building

The following article, Vol. 1 and No. 1 is from October 16, 2011

This is the first Sunday in our new building and at our new location. The Woodlawn Hills congregation met for some fifty-five years at 1742 Bandera Road. During this time the church had various men serve as elders, deacons and preachers. Members have come and gone. Clearly the old location and building served the Lord’s purpose well, for we have grown in numbers to a point where we needed more room. With the support of the membership, our elders decided it was time to build a more suitable place for our current needs.

Our new building gives us room to grow numerically and we have more classroom space. I would imagine there may be a few “bugs”, but we will work them out in time. We need to be patient as we settle in to our new place of worship.

I know we’re excited about the future and the opportunities, and we should be. We are, however, the same congregation of God’s people. While our place of gathering has changed, we have the same elders, deacons and members. The purpose for our existence has not altered, for we have the same work and mission. Zeal and enthusiasm for the Lord are qualities we should always have.

The primary focus of a local church in the assembly is edification. The Hebrew writer records that Christians must not abandon the assembly, but rather come together to exhort one another. (Heb. 10:25) The idea of exhorting is to support, encourage and build each other up in the faith. You are important to this effort and need to attend every service.

Paul affirms this same point in 1 Corinthians 14:26 when he says, “Let all things be done for edification.” The Corinthian brethren were doing things counterproductive to edification. They were arguing over which gift was more important, and people were speaking out of turn and at the same time. Their actions hindered spiritual growth rather than encourage unity and peace. Keep this point in mind as we assemble to worship God.

Elders “feed the church of God”, which is clearly a charge to edify. (Acts 20:28) Preachers teach others, who in turn can continue the cycle of edification. (2 Tim. 2:2) Elders and preachers recognize the danger of apostasy for themselves and those under their care. (Acts 20:29-30 & 2 Tim. 4:3-4) The best way to avoid falling is to grow spiritually, and that is why we assemble.

We also come together to worship and glorify God. For the most part the location is unimportant so long as we worship according to Divine direction. (John 4:24) For that reason, the acts we do in our assembly must mimic the early New Testament church.

A local church should never become so focused on numerical growth that she forgets God’s pattern for worship and evangelism. “Christianity” has become so concerned about keeping and adding members that many have devised their own ways of reaching out to people. They look to the social gospel and entertainment as ways of enticing people to their faith. Many water down God’s Word and compromise clear Bible teaching to make the message less offensive to people. In essence, people think they know better than God when they tamper with His original pattern, or when they believe the “old ways” will no longer work.

Christians have a wonderful message, one of salvation, hope and a better life. (Col. 1:3-6) Those outside of Christ have none of these. (Eph. 2:12) They don’t know or understand God’s saving gospel. Each member of the Grissom Road congregation has the privilege of taking this message to the lost. We need to look for and appreciate the opportunities to teach the gospel.

As a member of the Grissom Road congregation, you have access to the instruction and guidance needed to prepare for this work. We provide classes and teaching to get everyone ready to evangelize, but if you don’t take advantage of the training you may not be comfortable with your knowledge. If you are not comfortable with your knowledge, you may be hesitant to talk with people about salvation.

I don’t want to leave the impression that one has to have great and vast knowledge before they can teach the lost. Every Christian should have a basic understanding. Don’t be afraid to talk to people about what you know, and get help with what you don’t know. We are in the world to help save as many people as possible.

The Grissom Road congregation has a bright future if we continue to do the Lord’s work. We are at peace and united in our effort to serve God. If we do our part, God will give the increase spiritually and numerically. Remember the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.”

I want to thank everyone involved in planning and overseeing the construction of our new building. It all begins with the elders and their decision and foresight to take on this project. Special thanks goes to Gary Harmon and Russell Watson who were actively involved in every stage of the work. They took a great burden off the elders and everyone else. To all of the members, thank you for being behind this effort and for your support.

Terry Starling

================= MAY GOD BLESS OUR EFFORTS

Unprofitable Questioning

Posted on: October 10th, 2021

Rewind the clock 27 years. I am in the first grade sitting in Mrs. Kaiser’s classroom. Mrs. Kaiser arranged the seats this year in groups of about six, so the kids in each group were very close in proximity. I remember only one specific student besides myself in this group, and the reason for this is sad. The groups had periods of downtime as the teacher went from group to group ensuring all the students were staying on track to master the material. It was during one of these occasions that I decided to draw a picture for my teacher to be presented to her the next time she approached my group. Once finished, I was very proud and fond of the artwork, though the time spent on my masterpiece did not rationally correlate with my strong feelings, of this, I am sure. I remember Mrs. Kaiser approaching our group; it was time for me to present the gift. I raised my hand, and after being called on, I told Mrs. Kaiser about the gift only to be disappointed by an unfortunate “no thank you, why don’t you keep it or give it to one of your group mates?” I can remember being upset, but she had presented me with a solution that would still allow me the satisfaction of bringing joy to someone else via my artistic efforts. I turn and ask Robert if he would like my drawing, and he quickly accepts with a smile. Evidently, I had not yet mastered the nuance between the deviant and thankful smile because ten seconds had not gone by before he started to rip my gift into shreds before throwing the pieces onto his desk. I was crushed, which was only natural.

Jeremiah 18:1-11: “…So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Am I not able, house of Israel, to deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel. At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot it, to tear it down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will relent of the good with which I said that I would bless it. So now, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘This is what the Lord says: “Behold, I am forming a disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Now turn back, each of you from his evil way, and correct your ways and your deeds!””
We reviewed this passage recently in the auditorium Bible class, and when we did, the above memory from my youth resurfaced. With God’s message from the book of Jeremiah, I think we can draw some applications from my unhappy story. It is obviously not a perfect parallel, but it proves to be similar enough I believe.

God illustrates in Jeremiah that since the Potter owns both the materials and the vision of the final product, the Potter can tear down or build up whatever structure he so chooses. God then piggy backs off this known objective truth to say something about himself that has eternal consequences. Since God created the heavens and the earth and the people who inhabit the earth, he rightfully had ownership to decide the fates of the peoples. Ownership was, and still is today, the key. Did Robert B. not own my artwork after I freely gave it to him? Did I not relinquish all rights over what was to be done with the gift once I handed it over to him? Of course, yet I was devastated because Robert. B. didn’t deal with his possession in a way that aligned with my judgement or pleasure. God blessed foreign nations by raising them up to enact judgement on both the nations of Israel and Judah. Many were shocked, perplexed, angered, disappointed, discouraged, dejected, and crushed. Certainly, there were those who naturally questioned God since their world just came crashing down. Did they have a right to question? No. Why not? Because God was the authority, meaning he owned the people and the vision for their future, both immediate and long-term.

Thanks be to God that His long-term plan involved sacrificing his own son Jesus to save us from our sins. He could have looked upon us and determined we were too spoiled to save. We must remember that God promises followers of Jesus to save our soul rather than our physical body, cushy circumstances, free country, etc. If God chooses to take any of these away from us, or simply allows them to be removed, it is of no avail to question God. Though it will come naturally to question and to even be angry or discouraged for a time, we must not allow ourselves to question God’s power or His love for us. We must ultimately remember that He is the Potter and we are the clay.

Travis Starling

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Posted on: October 3rd, 2021

It may well be that the besetting sin of modern day discipleship is its failure to procreate itself. Speed has been so aggrandized in our society that it has become necessary that whatever we do we must do in a hurry.  We seem to be possessed with a determination to succeed more than to be spiritually inclined and equip ourselves for eternity, so we tend to put off thing that don’t pertain to our quests.  One of those things is reaching out and touching someone.

I have a theory.  It may not be right, or it may be a bit simplistic, but it’s worth considering anyway.  I don’t think anybody will go to heaven by himself: he will go with someone or take someone with him.

Discipleship does not depend on some kind of human machinery for its procreation.  It depends on the disciples themselves.  “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (II Tim. 2:2).  That process is so simple. But where is it being used?  How sad, because it works.  If every person in the congregation here decided to convert just one soul to Christ in the coming year, and if there are 300 in our congregation, the church would be 600 in twelve month’s time.  Will that not work?  The problem is not that the plan won’t work; the problem is we won’t work the plan.

What is necessary to get at the business of making known the gospel to those who come under your influence?  I suggest just four.

Concern.  When Jesus saw the multitudes, “he was moved with compassion” (Matt. 9:36).  We emphasize his feeling of “compassion,” but fail to consider that the compassion moved Him.  It took Him from unconcern to concern, from indifference to distress.   It is that movement of compassion that caused Him to die for the sins of the world.  “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son” is a statement of His concern for the lost souls of men.  The gospel is the power to save (Rom. 1:16) and that power is retarded only to the extent that it is not used.  How about you?  Are you actually concerned for the lost souls around you?  Are you actually moved by what you see?  If you are not, why not? I hardly see how one can call himself a Christian and not be moved by the number of lost souls he sees every day.

Boldness.  One of the Devil’s most effective tools in retarding efforts to convert people is diffidence, a lack of confidence.  It takes courage to try and teach someone.  You run a kind of risk. You are apt to fail a lot of the time, and knowing that makes it more difficult to make the effort.  But make the effort we must.  Jesus failed.  In fact, he failed most of the time.  But some will come, some will be interested, and even if you just snatch one soul from the fires of Hell you have done well. “Be not weary in your well doing,” said Paul (Gal. 6:10), “for in due season ye shall reap if ye faint not.”  If we would just keep that in mind our mission would be an easier one, our work more diligent, our successes more often.

A willingness to be inconvenienced.  We are wedded to convenience in this society.  We don’t want anyone or anything to invade our comfort zone.  That proclivity to be comfortable has thwarted many an effort at converting someone to Christ.  We make flimsy excuses, give faulty “reasons” why we can’t make arrangements to teach someone.  It gets in the way of our plans.  What that says, most of the time, is that our plans are out of order, our priorities ill arranged.  You have to want to convert someone before you will do it.

Faith.  We don’t have enough confidence in the gospel. Is it or is it not power of God to salvation?  If it is, then why don’t we treat it as such?  If you suddenly came across the cure for cancer, would you let anybody know about it?  Would you treat it nonchalantly?  Certainly not!  You would want everybody to be delivered from the malady.  You hold in your hand the power to save men from a malady much greater and more dangerous than cancer.  You have in the gospel; it can save men from their sin.  How can you put much confidence in it to save your own soul if you don’t have confidence enough in it to recommend it for the salvation of the souls of others?

It’s time we got busy about evangelism.  It’s time we got to the business of making the gospel work in the places where we live and work every day.  How long has it been since you talked with someone about his soul?  Well, that’s too long.
<Dee Bowman>

The Bible: Dare We Leave It?

Posted on: September 26th, 2021

It is amazing how much of religion in general has left the Bible. Catholicism bears little resemblance to the Bible anymore, nor does Denominationalism. In fact, some of the congregations who wear the name “Church of Christ” are quickly abdicating biblical principles in preference for what the people want instead of what the Bible says.

Is it because the Bible is no longer relevant? Is it out-dated, no longer relevant? Have we reached a point in time where there is no longer a need for scriptural precedent for what we do. Have we become so “mature” that we no longer need the “thou-shalts” and the “thou-shalt-nots” so prominently displayed in the Bible? And is our “new hermeneutic” better than the original hermeneutic which called for direct command, approved apostolic example, or necessary inference?
Is it possible that we have reached the stage in modern religion where we have bought into the Old Roman philosophy that says Vox Populi, Vox Dei, “the voice of the people is the voice of God”?

It’s scary to note where we’re headed.

Why the Bible? Well, first of all, because it works. People have not changed. Technology has changed, Communication has changed, Medicine has changed, Transportation has changed, but man has not changed. Not one wit! He still has the same ole problem with sin–too much pride, too much lust, too much acquiescence to the moods and fancies of the day, too much “whatever” when it comes to defining morals. In the midst of it all, God’s word is “profitable for doctrine,” what we are to believe about who we are, where we came from and where we’re going, “for reproof,” to point out our imperfections, “for correction” to get us back on course again, and for “instruction in righteousness” so as to keep us going straight even in the midst of all sorts of pressures to get us off course. It is sufficient for all our needs; it thoroughly furnishes a man “to every good work.” (Read II Timothy 3:16-17)

But it only works if we use it. And to use it we must become familiar with its information, its warnings, its promises of peace and hope. And so we are admonished to “study to show thyself approved unto God.”

There must be a conscious effort to make the word of God a consistent part of our lives; and that requires a diligent concern for all that it says–not just part of it–but all of it. And it won’t provide what God wanted when He gave it if it’s up on a shelf somewhere gathering dust, pressing funeral flowers, wedding invitations, and other such memorabilia. (Read II Timothy 2:15)

The Bible identifies sin. It shows us the need for a Savior. It shows us the Savior. How dare we neglect it? (Read Jeremiah 10:23; Isaiah 55:8-9)
“It is appointed to man once to die and after this the judgment.” “Let us hear the conclusion to the whole matter: fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will being every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.” The Bible sets forth the truth about man’s destiny. It answers the question “if a man die shall he live again?” It speaks to the condition of man at his death as being the most important consideration of his life. “Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess unto God.” How can we possibly neglect to consider–and that most carefully–these and many other references to man’s destiny? And how can we dare be so pompous as to change or alter what the Maker of the Universe says? (Read Hebrews 9:27; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Romans 14:11)

Finally, the Bible brings heaven into focus. Hope comes alive for those who subscribe to the Bible. The resurrection becomes a manner not of if, but when to the serious Bible student. (Read I Corinthians 15:55-f; Philippians 3:20-21; II Thessalonians 1:7-12)

So, do you want to take a chance on changing what God has said? Not me, sir! (Read II John 9)

<Dee Bowman>

Can We Be Confident?

Posted on: September 19th, 2021

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

We have God’s assurance that we will find him, but only if we seek him with all our hearts. There is no guarantee that the indifferent or the double-minded will find Him. We must do more than dabble in religion, and God must be more than simply one of the “interesting” things on our agenda. We must pursue Him with a purity of heart and a passion that will not be denied. What He seeks is to be the Lord over all our thoughts, and if we seek anything less than that, then it is not God whom we seek. But even so, we need to be strengthened by the confidence that when we seek Him truly, we will in fact find Him.

There is a text in Isaiah where God says that He desires to be found by those who seek Him: “For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, “Seek Me in vain”; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right'” (Isaiah 45:18-19). Just as God did not create the earth and then leave it uninhabited, He did not command His people to seek Him and then hide Himself from them!

When Paul was given an opportunity to speak in Athens, he said that God designed the world so that people would be moved to seek Him: “in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27). We may “grope” for God, as it were, but in truth “He is not far from each one of us”. Our seeking for God need not be unsuccessful.

The lackadaisical may complain that they sought God but never found Him. Yet no one has ever been disappointed who sought Him wholeheartedly and with an honest desire to obey Him once He was found. “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart”, God said through Jeremiah. This means that it is a matter of choice on our part whether we find God or not. And the choice that we must make is to seek Him diligently. If we’re diligent, then we can also be confident. <Gary Henry>

Our Way Day By Day

Posted on: September 5th, 2021

Wherefore we faint not; but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). The “outward man” is simply the house of the inward man. Day by day that house is “decaying” and wasting away. Who, past forty, needs reminding? Nevertheless, with relentless rapping on the door of our minds come the messengers of aging; the hoary head, the stooped shoulders, the wrinkled skin, the dimmed vision, and all the other infirmities that won’t let us forget what Paul says. All men know that much. But God’s people know something else.

They know that just as surely as the outward man is decaying, the inward man is being renewed day by day. They know that for the faithful Christian, growing older means growing better. He is growing better because he is growing in the knowledge of God’s word. As the newborn babe, he continually longs for the “spiritual milk which is without guile” (1 Pet. 2:2). As he grows in knowledge of the word, he also grows in the faith that is produced by the word (Rom. 10:17). As he grows in knowledge and faith, he also grows in usefulness to the cause of Christ. He is renewed in his determination to live closer to the Lord, to do what is right and oppose all wrong. In his spiritual growth, the aging Christian has learned that death is not the end, but merely a transition to something very far better. The happy anticipation of being in the Father’s house makes leaving this worn out tabernacle a welcomed blessing!

That’s why the apostle Paul saw death as gain. But death is gain only when living is for the Lord. Every living man knows that he will keep his appointment with death (Heb. 9:27). He should know that living for the Lord is living at its best because it is living that prepares for death. Though the outward man is perishing and bound for the dust, we nourish and cherish him; we spare no expense to care for him and tend to his needs. Will we neglect the needs of the inward man that we know will survive the grave? With every tick of the clock and every beat of the heart we are getting closer to the end of this life.

The question is are we getting closer to heaven?

<Dan Shipley>

Rededication

Posted on: August 29th, 2021

There are only a handful of times in biblical Israel’s history in which there were reforms to bring the people back to the Lord. Among the kings of the north (Israel), there were no true revivals. Among the kings of the south (Judah), there were a few, but most notable were the reforms that happened under Hezekiah and Josiah. When Hezekiah led the reforms, the people appeared to dedicate themselves to being faithful (2 Chron 30-32). Sadly, within a generation or two, that faithfulness waned. Josiah brought back another reform (2 Kings 22-23). This, too, only lasted a short time. One of the lessons in these reforms is that every generation must be rededicated to the Lord. No generation may rest upon the accomplishments (or the failures) of those who have gone before. One generation repenting and reforming is no guarantee that the next generation will do so. All will be accountable before the Lord for their own actions, and even within any given generation there will be those who will not submit themselves to the Lord.

Christians must take stock of their situation, examine their spiritual condition, and rededicate themselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This world makes it easy to slip away slowly so that we become comfortable with our complacency and soon we are adrift with no anchor. Perhaps this is one reason the Hebrews writer gave the warning: “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it” (Heb 2:1). This takes continual diligence.

The year 2020 was hard, a time in which the world was shaken up by a pandemic and its accompanying problems. Churches were very much affected by what happened because of its impact on the assemblies, classes, and other gatherings. Many churches were no longer meeting except online, and for some, this went on for a year or more. Many others, after weeks or months, began the slow process of trying to reestablish their assemblies. The process has been difficult because it was also attended by many disagreements about how to handle the situation. Some churches have divided, and many have found themselves wondering about the future of their respective congregations.

One of the difficulties that some congregations have faced, though, is that they have members who quit coming altogether and, in some cases, do not give much indication that they are coming back. Is it possible that for some Christians, the pandemic made it so that they could essentially disappear without much accountability? Assemblies have also been hit by the fact that some who previously were faithful to the Sunday evening assemblies and midweek Bible classes have not reestablished their previous habits of returning at those times. For some congregations, these absences really show up in their numbers and can be discouraging to many.

The point is not to judge motives or particular circumstances. Rather, we want to encourage each of us to look at our own motives and circumstances and see where we stand. Have we become complacent? Have we established new patterns and habits that now keep us from being with the brethren more? Are we supporting the work of the congregation through our participation in a way that is encouraging and edifying for all? Can we do better, and if so, how will we engage ourselves to this purpose? We can see a time like this as one that damages our spiritual vitality, or we can see it as an opportunity to meet the challenge and grow closer to the Lord and one another. That’s up to us.

Difficult times like this do not get to redefine the work of a local congregation or the body of Christ as a whole. The whole body is still “held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Eph 4:16). While a local congregation may need to make some adjustments from time to time, given that what they do is still within the boundaries of God’s authority, there should still be full participation and active engagement of its members in whatever else they are doing.

Let us see times like this as opportunities to do some soul searching and to rededicate ourselves to the Lord and His will. The world has once again been shown that there is much corruption and death. We can take this in a fatalistic sense that finds no redemption or hope, or we can take it as another indication that this world is truly not our home and that there is something yet far greater to come. If the latter, then we surely want to “be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you” by developing our spiritual attitudes to glorify God (2 Pet 1:10). Restoration and reformation are but a decision away, and by faith we can and will endure to the end.

Doy Moyer

What Is Truth

Posted on: August 22nd, 2021

In the eighteenth chapter of John, Christ stood before Pontius Pilate to answer charges of insurrection. Pilate, the governor of Judea, asked Christ if he was the King of the Jews. Christ answered by saying His kingdom was not of this world. Pilate then asked if He was a King. Jesus responded in John 18:37 by saying, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I came into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate, provoked by this response, replied, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Then Pilate, thinking his last question was unanswerable, departed from the presence of Christ.
More than 1900 years after the question was first asked, many people have not found the answer. We would like to suggest a few.

God’s Word Is Truth
A few hours before His death Christ prayed to His Father. In John 17:17 He said, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” The sole source of religious truth is the word of God. Religious truth will never find its source in the creeds, catechisms and church manuals written by men.

Truth Is Valuable
Proverbs 23:23 says, “Buy the truth and sell it not.” The value of religious truth can be seen in John 8:32, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” All men are held in bondage to sin until they are set free by the gospel.

Truth Is Narrow
In mathematics there can only be one correct answer to any given problem. The same is true in religion. Sincerity alone is not enough (Matthew 7:2123). Many people teach that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere. The fallacy of this idea can be shown by the following statement: If it does not make any difference what you believe about Christ, then it can not make any difference if you believe in Christ. If it does not make any difference what you believe about how men are saved, then it can not make any difference if you believe anything about salvation. Will anyone deny it? The same could be said of the church and of God Himself!

Truth Is Binding
When a religiously honest man sees that he is mistaken, he ceases to be one of two things: either he ceases to be honest or he ceases to be mistaken. He cannot remain in error and retain his honesty. Many religious people have remarked, “Well, I don’t believe everything my church teaches.” If the church of which you are a member is in error, then you are obligated to either change that church or get out. Truth can have no fellowship with error. We must not give aid to any false teacher (2 John 9-11).

Truth Will Judge
In the resurrection day, you will not be judged by what your mother believed, what your father taught you or by what everyone else was doing at the time. You will be judged by the words of Christ (John 12:48). What you know about the truth and your reaction to it will determine what He will say to you on that final day. If we can be of assistance to you in your search for the truth, please contact us. If you do have a Bible, we would be happy to provide you with one

<David Padfield>

The Path To Life

Posted on: August 15th, 2021

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalms 16:11)

The verse above is applied by Peter (Acts 2:25-28) as prophecy regarding the resurrection of Christ. However, it’s immediate application would be to David, it’s author. There are rich promises in this verse that should encourage us.

We often speak of life as a journey. All along the way there are highs and lows, sunshine and storm. But, David shows David the right path. This path leads to God who is the source of blessings, rather than death and corruption.

The point of the Psalm is not the difference between life here and there, but between life with God verses life apart from God. The secret to ultimate fulfillment is found in communion with God. When we realize this, the challenges of this life will seem to dwindle.

By trusting God, we can cheerfully except the place he has appointed for us. David seeks God‘s counsel (vs.7), God’s protection (vs.8), and the assurance of a future life to come (vs 1). God is the only one who can make such promises. He is the only true path to life.
By following the right path, one finds that in God‘s presence is enough joy to for fill every craving of the human heart. The effect of sin is to quench our desires for God, and hinders us from following this path to ultimate contentment.

The Scriptures are designed to convict us of sin, and lift our thoughts back to God. The Scriptures tell us of a crucified risen and glorified Savior who rolls away the burden of sin and provides forgiveness, peace, security, and victory. Joy in God is found through faith in this Savior.

In this life there will be many challenges heart aches grief and pain. But, in the midst of this earthly sojourn God is a fountain of life and joy.   <George Slover / Moment with the Master>

The Lure Of The Easy way

Posted on: August 8th, 2021

“And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: if this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.” (1 Kings 12:26,27)

Whether or not Jeroboam’s fears were well founded is uncertain. However, of one thing we can be sure. He was more concerned about the people’s loyalty to him than to God. To accomplish his aims, he shrewdly baits his trap with something that entices most all men — the lure of the easy way. He told them, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem…”. Little did it matter, apparently, that he gave them idols, pretended priests and pagan worship. The important thing was that he provided them with an easy religion — and that overshadowed all else. They became victims of the easy way.

Many are the mortals who have succumbed to the lure of the easy way, both spiritually and otherwise. Our advertising agencies have learned the devil’s sales pitch well. They tell you how to lose weight — the easy way. They offer easy ways to quit smoking, to achieve physical fitness or financial independence. People haven’t changed much since Jeroboam’s day. They still fall for the same old bait, “the easy way”; and in doing so have filled the prisons, swelled the welfare rolls and lengthened unemployment lines (Not to mention the irretrievable waste of time, talent and potential). And, as in Jeroboam’s day, the easy way is still a popular way in religion. The prospects of having to “go up to Jerusalem” (or even across town) is still too much for too many. They would take the denying self out of following Christ; the giving diligence out of seeking approval; and the striving out of entering in at the strait gate. Such would have the benefits without the bother. As Jesus says of others, “They have their reward.”

As might be expected, even the Lord’s church has been touched by the lure of the easy way. It is felt in our teaching program when preachers and teachers find it “too much” to make adequate preparation of their lessons and when Bible class students find it “too much” to study and prepare assigned work. It affects our visitation program when members find it “too much” to leave their comfortable homes and TV programs to call on the sick or unfaithful. It affects our personal evangelism program when brethren think it “too much” to try and teach others the way of salvation. It affects the purity of the church when we think it “too much” to finally discipline the unruly among us. Of all things that contribute to the weakening of the church, none is more influential than taking the easy way.

The narrow way can never be the easy way. Not only are the ways different, they lead to different destinations (Matt. 7:14). “Going up to Jerusalem” may require self-denial, sacrifice and hard work but it’s the way of the cross — and that leads home.

Dan S. Shipley, Plain Talk, Vol. XV No 1 Pg3—March 1978