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Covetousness

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GOING TO THE MEETING?

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Going to the meeting?

by Michael Penfold, Bicester, England
It’s meeting time.‘Let’s see . . . keys, mobile phone, Bible. Let’s go’. If that’s all the ‘getting ready’ you do before the opening hymn, this article is for you! Though most believers know that assembly fellowship involves more than merely ‘turning up’ on time and filling a seat for an hour, truly ‘getting ready’ for the meeting is fast becoming a lost art. Yet the Bible outlines three obligatory pre-meeting activities. Three words will help the memory:
    1. Preparation
    2. Examination
    3. Reconciliation



     For preparation, consider the Lord’s words in Exodus 23:15, “None shall appear before me empty.” Worshippers at the annual ‘callings together’ of Israel had to come with an offering. None could simply arrive and feel they had done their duty.      Are there long gaps in the breaking of bread meeting where you gather? Do the brothers who take part repeat more or less the same words each week? Do a number of…

True and False Conversion

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No one eases into Christianity. You cannot gradually become a Christian. A good solid conversion is the starting point of the real Christian life.  You can't become a Christian because your family or friends want you to. It isn't a matter of making up your mind to "go to church" or behave better. And none of this halfway stuff will do either – praying some prayer in an emotional moment at the end of a retreat, summer camp or after some gospel message, and then stumbling along trying to have one foot in the kingdom and the other in the world.  Scripture records those who “believed,” but the Lord didn’t believe in them (Jn. 2:23-25; 6:25-26; 8:30-32).  This may upset your “weak” or “carnal Christian” theology, but the Lord Jesus tells us that the lukewarm ones will get spewed out of His mouth (Rev. 3:16).  So here’s some good advice.  Take the Lord Jesus Christ and Christianity seriously, or not at all! Someone called it "all or nothing." Well said!
     The f…

Before You Call Yourself A Calvinist

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by Paul A. Bailey
In certain circles today it is fashionable to declare one's five point Calvinistic credentials with incautious pride. Having talked with many Calvinists, however. the writer has found very few who actually know what Calvin believed! It is not wise to use the label "Calvinist"' without knowing what Calvin taught, so before you declare yourself a Calvinist, please note the following:
I)  John Calvin believed and taught that Christ is present in the emblems of the bread and wine at the Lord's supper, and that spiritual life is communicated through partaking of these.
Even the Calvinist R. l. Dabney admits this error of Calvin:
"We reject the view of Calvin concerning the real presence (recognising our obligation to meet and account for the scriptures he quotes in a believing and not rationalistic spirit): first because it is not onIy incomprehensible. but impossible ... The bread broken and wine poured out symbolise the body broken and slain and b…

Dwight Eisenhower: A Good Man, Well-Intentioned but Mistaken

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The 20th Amendment to the Constitution set January 20th as the official inaugural date. Because January 20, 1957 fell on a Sunday, President Eisenhower took the oath of office for his second term in a private White House ceremony. He repeated the oath and was formally inaugurated again in public on Monday, January 21. Dwight David Eisenhower thus began his second term by placing his hand on Psalm 33:12 as he took the oath of office. Psalm 33:12 reads:
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance."
There is no doubt he is one of the most respected presidents of the 20th Century. He was certainly a sincere and God-fearing man. His presidency had no taint of scandal like some others.
However, with all due respect to him, and no desire to dishonor his memory, his choice of verses, though admirable as an aspiration, is not applicable to the United States. Two reasons.
(1) America's God is not the LORD. While some vestige…

Three Enemies of Truth

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Three Enemies of the Truth

1. Appeasement    To conciliate or pacify by making a sacrifice of a moral or spiritual principle.

    * The world made this mistake with Hitler, then with Communist Russia, and so on. In the churches it only allows evil or rebellion the time it needs to put down roots, and spread and affect more people, making more difficult and painful the work of cleansing, discipline and correction that must inevitably be done anyway. Nothing is gained by appeasement, and in the long run more is lost.

2. Compromise     To come to an agreement by concession or consensus; yielding; or conceding.

    * This is the idea of democracy, the will of the majority, but it is not set forth in the Bible as a Scriptural pattern to follow. There was no voting or ceding to the consensus, but rather an earnest seeking of the will of God, which must be done even though all are not in agreement. The Scriptures teach us to be of one mind, but not to give in to a majority vote. The majority doe…

Hymn by Thomas H. Gill, 1869

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I would not give the world my heart,
And then profess Thy love;
I would not feel my strength depart,
And then Thy service prove.
I would not give the world my heart,
And then profess Thy love;
I would not feel my strength depart,
And then Thy service prove.
I would not with swift wingèd zeal
On the world’s errands go,
And labor up the heavenly hill
With weary feet and slow.
O not for Thee my weak desires,
My poorer, baser part!
O not for Thee my fading fires,
The ashes of my heart!
O choose me in my golden time:
In my clear joys have part!
For Thee the glory of my prime,
The fullness of my heart!

What Is Your Concept of Jesus Christ?

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If the "ten-cent-store Jesus" [today it would be "dollar-store"]that is being preached by a lot of men, the plastic, painted Christ who has no spine and no justice, and is pictured as a soft and pliable friend to everybody - if He is the only Christ there is, then we might as well close our books and bar our doors, and make a bakery or garage out of the church!     But that Christ that is being preached and pictured is not the Christ of God, nor the Christ of the Bible, nor the Christ we must deal with.     The Christ we must deal with will be the judge of mankind - and this is one of the neglected Bible doctrines of our day!     The Father judges no man. When the Lord, the Son of Man, shall come in the clouds of glory, then shall be gathered unto Him the nations, and He shall separate them.     God has given Him judgment, authority to judge mankind, so that He is both the Judge and Saviour of men.     That makes me both love Him and fear Him! I love Him because He is …

Commands to the Rich

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1 Timothy 6:17-19 17  Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18  That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19  Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
In The Disciple's Manual, William MacDonald writes: "In closing this section, Paul tells Timothy to charge those who are rich in this world. They should not strut pride and arrogance, nor trust in uncertain riches. Rather their trust should be in the living God who gives us richly all things to enjoy. This latter expression, "who gives us richly all things to enjoy" has often been used to justify the stockpiling of wealth. But the following verse explains all. We don't enjoy money when it lies sterile in the bank buit when we use it to do good, to distribute to th…

Quotes from C.T. Studd

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"I cannot tell you what joy it gave me to bring the first soul to the Lord Jesus Christ. I have tasted almost all the pleasures that this world can give. I do not suppose there is one that I have not experienced, but I can tell you that those pleasures were as nothing compared to the joy that the saving of that one soul gave me."

"I realized that my life was to be one of simple, childlike faith, and that my part was to trust, not to do. I was to trust in Him and He would work in me to do His good pleasure. From that time my life was different."

Expressing the aggressive leadership that was his in spiritual endeavors, C.T. Studd wrote:
"Nail the colours to the mast! That is the right thing to do, and, therefore, that is what we must do, and do it now. Wh…

HOLDING THE ROPES

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by J. Norman Case
More than a century ago (1793), as a few earnest disciples were conferring together on the needs and claims of heathendom, one of them, Andrew Fuller said, “There is a gold mine in India, but it seems almost as deep as the heart of the earth. Who will venture to explore it?” Said William Carey, who was one of the number, “I will venture to go down, but remember that you must hold the ropes.”
    In this great undertaking all true Christians can and should have a part. It is scarcely necessary to say that many are not themselves called to go forth to a foreign land. There are those who are chose and called to go forth to the fight, and those who are appointed to “tarry by the stuff.”  There are some who go down into the mine to find that which is infinitely more precious than gold, while others remain outside to “hold the ropes.” Both parts of the work are honourable and important; the one being necessary to the success of the other. And the part we indiv…

WHICH MODEL?

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by Donald L Norbie
     Every man who begins a church has some model in mind. There is an ideal in his thinking that motivates him. Various denominations have different models.
    As Paul went into Corinth he had a goal to build a temple for God. He too had a model, a plan, to follow. He later wrote, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon” (1 Cor. 3:10).
    In the 1880's, as the assembly movement took root in Canada and the United States, those pioneering preachers too had a model. They felt very keenly that they must follow the simple plan of the early churches.
    What were some characteristics of the model they envisaged? The true Gospel of grace must be preached. Baptism should follow a profession of faith. The local assembly should welcome all who are truly born again, who as a result love the Lord and are not morall…

THE DEVOTIONAL LIFE IS ALMOST CROWDED OUT

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by A. W. Tozer

“That ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business...that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without...” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible, multiplying distractions and beating us down by destroying our solitude.
“Commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still” is a wise and healing counsel, but how can it be followed in this day of the newspaper, the telephone, the radio and the television? (Note: and now internet and smart phones which were nonexistent in Tozer's day). These modern playthings, like pet tiger cubs, have grown so large and dangerous that they threaten to devour us all. No spot is now safe from the world’s intrusion.
    One way the civilized world destroys men is by preventing them from thinking their own thoughts. Our “vastly improved methods of communication” of which the shortsighted boast so loudly now enable a few men in strategic centers to fee…

Old Words - New Meanings

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Students of languages find it fascinating to note how words change in meaning. The better dictionaries often track the history of an English word through the centuries. In giving an old definition, they rightly label it obsolete or archaic.
    Some words have special importance to Christians and we should be alert to their changing meanings. For example:
     Earlier, Bible-believing Christians were called Fundamentalists, a term specially scorned in Britain. In Latin America all Protestants are "Evangelicals." For the most part they are Bible-believing Christians, because without the Holy Spirit few expatriates had the stomach to take on Rome. Now most Evangelicals in Latin America are Pentecostal/Charismatic in doctrine.
    In North America perhaps forty years ago Evangelicals tried to enhance their PR image by going in for higher education and intellectualism. This maneuver has succeeded in eliminating some of the opprobrium. But the romance has meant that many lead…

THE DEADENING EFFECT OF RELIGIOUS MAKE-BELIEVE

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by A. W. Tozer
"Let...no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way." Romans 14:13


    The deadening effect of religious make-believe on the human mind is beyond all describing.     What can the effect be upon the spectators who live day after day among the professed Christians who habitually ignore the commandments of Christ and live after their own private notions of Christianity?     Truth sits forsaken and grieves until her professed followers come home for a brief visit, but she sees them depart again when the bills becomes due. They protest great and undying love for her but they will not let their love cost them anything!     Will not those who watch us from day to day conclude that the whole thing is false?     Will they not be forced to believe that the faith of Christ is an unreal and visionary thing which they are fully justified in rejecting?     Certainly the non-Christian is not too much to be blamed if he turns disgustedly away from the…

FAITH FOR THE WORK

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The religious world as a whole treats church work as a business. Money is solicited; pledges are taken and budgets are made up. Church workers are hired and may be fired. Polls and surveys are taken to discover what the public wants in a church service. Religion is a product to be sold. Success is then measured by how rapidly both building and congregation grow. A megachurch is viewed as the pinnacle of success.
    It is all a far cry from the simplicity of the New Testament. Jesus Himself modeled a life of simple faith in His Father. He never asked for money and lived a frugal life of dependence upon His God.. No one could accuse Jesus of greed or covetousness. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (II Cor. 8:9 NKJ). Those who believed in Him and His message opened their hearts and homes to Him and met His needs. What a beautiful life of faith it was!
    His disci…

How can I Know Right from Wrong?

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by Norman Crawford It is no longer true that everyone knows the difference between right and wrong. All mankind has been equipped by the Creator with a moral conscience, but this inner sense of “right” has been sorely obscured by sin and human philosophy. The heart of man is unchanged. A heart that is full of sin cannot be made more full. However, restraints are gone, and the line of separation between good and evil has almost disappeared. Sin and evil are not new, but at least in the past, the wrong was correctly labeled. Today men “call evil good, and good evil.” They “put darkness for light, and light for darkness” (Isa. 5:20). This mixture of light and darkness is the masterpiece of Satan (2 Thess. 2:7).
    Even genuine Christians are affected by this sad mixture of right and wrong. Almost anyone can identify as being evil such sins as “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strive, seditions, her…

Disappearing Jewels: Missing Mothers

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by Henry Hintermeister

TEARS welled up in Jenny's eyes. The 12-year-old  was holding the note she had found on the kitchen table. Her heart was still aching from the ridicule she had received from several girlfriends on the way home from school. She had been looking forward to telling her mother about it.
Hurt, she grabbed an apple from the wire fruit basket and headed for the family room. Jason, her younger brother, was already engrossed in a mid-afternoon movie on cable TV. She flopped herself down on the other end of the couch.
     This scenario, in multitudes of variations, is repeated in millions of American and Canadian homes each weekday afternoon as schools emit their educational cargo to trudge home to homes devoid of the reassuring presence of a mother.
     Let's face it. Mothers are pretty special. A warm TV is no substitute for a warm embrace from a concerned, compassionate and caring mother. It should be against the law for a child to come home from sch…

The Apple Tree Switch

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It was a few weeks after my mother’s funeral. The ache in my heart was still excruciating. I could hardly think of her without tears. I went about my work as a groceryboy in a mechanical sort of way. The owner of the store was away at lunch when the woman and her ill-mannered son arrived.
    She flounced in through the front door with her incorrigible offspring at her heels. He made straight for the peanut barrel. In those days, long before lettuce was sold by the pound or steaks were wrapped in cellophane, the grocery store was a homey sort of place that you could enter without an engraved calling card, and where you could stop without having to observe traffic signals as you pushed a chrome-trimmed baby carriage around. I went on about my work of sacking potatoes and left the woman and her son to their own devices.
    Suddenly, during a lull in my own operations, I heard a crunching sound. I looked over toward the peanut barrel. That eight-year-old Public Enemy was gobbling up peanu…