Notes on Fatherhood

I can honestly say my views on Father’s Day changed markedly when we started to research educating our children at home. A speaker at our first homeschool convention talked about things that I knew were important but was not hearing from any other source. Things such as fathers stepping up and taking responsibility for overseeing the education of your children (regardless of where they are educated). Fathers stepping up and taking responsibility for the spiritual direction of the family (it is NOT the responsibility of their Bible class teachers). Far too often I am afraid these things are left to our wives to take care of. Yes the mother is to play a vital role butfathers cannot simply abdicate that role because you’re too busy or too tired or just don’t see it as an important responsibility.

Discipline is another area where responsibility rests clearly on the father’s shoulders. (Ephesians 6:4)  I have always found this unpleasant but the need nonetheless remains.  We have all seen too many children in the general population who lacked proper discipline and behaved accordingly.

In the very last verses of the Old Testament we find the following warning:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.  And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”-          Malachi 4:5, 6

How very sad this situation sounds.  The implication is the hearts of the fathers were not currently turned toward their children. It is not stated to what the fathers hearts were turned, I am sure they had excused themselves from that responsibility based upon their need to spend more time in labors to provide for their families or to entertain themselves by whatever means existed in the centuries before Christ.

As fathers, we can not lose focus in setting a spiritual direction. This is a task which requires serious contemplation and planning.  It will not happen by accident and requires not only your time and your talents but your heart as well.  The time you invest in leading your family and providing an example can reap tremendous rewards.

Where Did We Get The Constellations?

As we were studying Job I ran across the mention of the constellations in Job 38: 31 {the Pleiades and Orion mentioned specifically).
I began to consider the origin of the names for the constellations and who set the specific stars to be included.
If we assume Job to be a contemporary of Abraham he would have lived about 2000 BC.
I did a quick search on Wikipedia for the origins of the constellations. In an article by that title you will find the following sentence:
The earliest direct evidence for the constellations comes from inscribed stones and clay writing tablets dug up in Mesopotamia It appears that the bulk of the Mesopotamian constellations were created within a relatively short interval from around 1300 to 1000 B.C […]
The mention of these constellations in the book of Job clearly identifies their existence several hundred years before science took note.

The Blessedness Of Mourning

Johnie Edwards

Many blessings are found in things which we do not enjoy. There is a passage in the Old Testament which declares a principle that men need to remember. “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning: but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth” (ECCI. 7: 2-3). Jesus said, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4). The word “blessed” means “happy.” Therefore Jesus said, “Happy are they that mourn . . . ” Of course not every sort of mourning can claim this blessing, for “the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2 Cor. 7:10). Solomon said that there is a time for mourning. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Eccl. 3:1-4).

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Worship

Donald Willis

Worship is “courtesy or reverence paid to worth; hence, honor; respect.” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, pg. 988). There is in man an innate quality, which causes him to recognize and pay homage to Deity. There are varying degrees of homage paid, but basically man is a worshipper. Worship is accomplished in more than one way. One is instructed that worship is “honor, reverence, homage in thought, feeling or act (My Emphasis, DW)… The O. T. idea is… the reverential attitude of mind or body or both, combined with the more generic notions of religious adoration, obedience, service.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. V, pg. 3110).

The worship paid to Jehovah under the Law of Moses was one, which appealed to the letter of the law and could only foreshadow the true worship, which would be under the Law of Christ. The worship of Israel was a fleshly observance. God, as conceived by the Jewish nation, was a supreme being interested in the affairs of that particular people. Thus they rendered respect unto him. Many impressions of the real nature of God are given through the writings of the inspired Prophets, but the Jews did not understand. The Jew had the impression that his personal presence had to be in a particular place at a particular time, and if it were, he was worshipping Jehovah. God did require his presence. They brought sacrifices to God offered with their hand, of both animal and vegetable nature. Their worship, then, was one that appealed to the senses of man; i.e., touch, smell, etc.

John 4

But God is Spirit! The aggregate of existent substance is the product of Jehovah’s power. He is the ruling monarch over his creation. He is an infinite and eternal mind, an intelligent being, without material existence. God is interested in man and his worship directed to God. To note the nature of Jehovah, one must conclude that he cannot be worshipped with mere external observances, but an individual’s personal spirit must be imbedded in his worship in order to unite with his Father, who is Spirit. “How utterly heterogeneous (dissimilar, DW) would be a carnal and spurious worship with the perfectly pure and holy nature of God . . .” (Meyer, The Gospel of John, pg.l58-159).

The Samaritan woman was concerned about the place in which to worship God, this mountain or Jerusalem. Jesus explained, “True worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).

Heart Worship

God is not pleased to accept the simple outward forms of worship but the heart must accompany an individual’s worship. “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matt. 15: 8). The Lord has said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matt. 22:37). Knowing the nature of God to be spirit, man must place the spirit (the part of man made in the image of God) into his worship in order to reach the throne of God with his praises. Fleshly observances are entirely void unless they have the escort of the heart, for they miss the mark of God’s acceptance. “The simplicity of the primitive Christian worship . . . is worthy of particular notice and admiration. Here are no expensive ceremonies: no apparatus calculated merely to impress the senses, and produce emotions in the animal system, ‘to help,’ as has been foolishly said, ‘the spirit of devotion.’ The heart is the subject in which this spirit of devotion is kindled…” (Adam Clark, Commentary, Book V, pg. 681).

 

which this spirit of devotion is kindled…” (Adam Clark, Commentary, Book V, pg. 681).

“Christians shall worship God, not in the ceremonial observances of the Mosaic institution, but in spiritual ordinances, consisting less in bodily exercise and animated and invigorated more with divine power and energy.” (Matthew Henry, Commentary, Vol. 5, pg. 524).

A Proper Attitude in Worship

In our worship and praise to Jehovah, it is necessary to manifest the proper attitude. Simple attendance at the services is not sufficient, although attendance is commanded and therefore necessary (Heb. 10:25).

One observes many different attitudes of people who attend services.

(1) The sentiment of many is to be saturated with the knowledge and spirit of God; to take into their being the spirit of Christ and manifest in their lives the fruit of the spirit. Would that all professed “worshippers” were of this nature!

(2) Some folk attend out of a sense of duty. They apparently have the impression that all God requires of them is personal presence (i.e., this mountain of Jerusalem). Therefore such improper attitudes as the following manifest themselves.

(a) I know that I must attend the Sunday morning services, therefore I am here.

(b) The singing is terrible.

(c) The person wording the prayer made a grammatical error; it seems that someone would be called upon to lead in prayer that would at least know how to speak properly.

(d) The preacher talked for a long time. I never did get the significance of what he was saying. (Reminds me of the little boy who said he thought it was a pretty good “show” for just a quarter.)

Beyond these matters, one cannot help but note the attitude manifested by many during the services.

(1) Gum Chewing. There is nothing wrong with chewing gum, as far as I can determine, but when one comes into the presence of Jehovah to pay his homage to Him, it is completely out of place. The solemnity of the hour would demand our abstinence from this type thing.

(2) Whispering. While gathered to worship God, many cannot manage to withhold just a few words from his/ her neighbor. This has been known to happen during prayer, while one is beseeching his God; during the reading of the Bible, while God speaks to man; and during the exposition of divine truth. This exemplifies the “disinterested” attitude, and one who professes to be a child of God certainly could not be disinterested during his worship.

(3) Note Passing. This falls into the same category as the above and is not only evidenced by young folk, but many adults do the same. FOR SHAME!

(4) Star Gazing. Such simply are disinterested (covered in number 2) in what is being done or said, and wish that everything would hurry up and be over so we can go home. Many, many attenders manifest this attitude!

(5) Fashion Show. Many see only what people wear to the services, and pay little or no attention to the purpose of assembly. You hear them speak of what “Sis. So-and-so” had on instead of the spiritual benefit derived from the assembling together.

Conclusion

Are we partaking of the nature of God when we worship? Remember, God is Spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and in truth. Mere presence is not sufficient, but we must respect the person of God, who demands that approved worship be in a proper spirit or attitude. Worship relates to both man’s observance and God’s acceptance. “Christ’s reign … has primary reference to the inner man… And this serving God in mind, or with the spirit, I denominate the true worship of God. All else is secondary or partial.” (Moses E. Lard, The Pioneers on Worship, pg. 22).

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…” (Matt. 1-2:30).

Truth Magazine VII: 6, pp. 14-15
March 1963

 

If We Hope…

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4

One of the most important words in the Bible may be this little four letter word Hope. The Scriptures are God’s gift to us for the purpose of establishing our faith, giving us a cause for hope. A man with hope for his future can endure great hardship. A man without hope lacks direction and purpose. Hope can be a powerful motivation in our lives. As we study the Scriptures our faith is built and reinforced and our hope that there is a better life awaiting us empowers us to endure the sufferings of this life.

For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. – Romans 8:24, 25

There is difficulty in establishing this hope. God’s promises are not based on tangible things that we can see or touch. If we believe in the beauty of God’s character and his love for us we will seek to please Him and we will hope for what he has promised. I love this phrase, if we hope, then do we eagerly wait. As a child I remember not being able to sleep the night of December 24 as I eagerly awaited the morning. Are we awaiting our reward with eagerness?

(as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations” in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” – Romans 4:17, 18

Why was Abraham a father of many nations? It was because despite their advanced ages, despite what he could understand, he believed God’s promise. Even though Abraham had nothing tangible on which to base his faith, he believed God. How strong is your hope?

tdk

Gospel Meetings

By Connie W. Adams

In spite of the claim of some that “the days of gospel meetings are over”, congregations continue to have them. Reports in bulletins and other periodicals indicate that some meetings are productive of much good while others seem to have little good effect. It seems that in the last few years there has been an upswing in the number of people obeying the gospel in meetings. I do not claim to be an expert on the subject, nor to have had the amount of experience in meeting work that others have had. Over the past twenty years I have been privileged to work in a good many meetings in various sections of the country I and within the last four years have preached in sixty meetings. From these experiences some observations have been made, and some judgments formed which I wish to pass along to the reader.

Why the Difference?

You can go to a place for a meeting and preach your heart out to empty seats, with half or less of the members making any attempt to attend, and very few visitors and be chilled to the bone from the indifference. You spend a week trying to revive an almost dead church, while in your heart you wonder if you would not have done more good at home. Then you close there, and the next nights begin somewhere else and right away you sense the difference. Here the meeting house is clean; the tract rack is neat and filled with a good selection. There is warmth and friendliness about the people, the house is comfortably filled the first night and the crowds, interest and enthusiasm mount throughout the week. You preach along the Mme general lines as in the last meeting and several people obey the gospel. You close and go home with a feeling of accomplishment. What makes the difference?

(1) Some brethren have a meeting as a matter of tradition. They have always had a meeting every year, whether they needed it or not! They get a preacher lined up to come, run his picture, in the paper, have some handbills printed (and usually wind up with half of them left over), and think they are ready for a meeting. The members of some of these congregations act like they have just enough religion to make them miserable,

(2) Successful meetings are the result of much planning, prayer and effort. They do not just “happen.” A congregation with a lively program of personal evangelism will nearly always have a few people about ready to obey the gospel when the meeting time comes. The members talk the meeting up. There is an air of expectancy and enthusiasm. I used to hear older preachers talk about a meeting having a good “tone” and did not know what they meant. Now I do. You see members come in all smiles as they introduce you to their neighbor, or a relative, or a co-worker from the office or factory. You see them with the same person when the service is over looking over the tracts and trying to steer their friend into selecting two or three that would be a big help to him in learning the truth. Often zealous members make arrangements for you to come and talk with their friends. In short, the congregations which have good meetings have done their homework.

(3) The preachers responsibility in a meeting is serious. If he is a sour apple by nature, this will be reflected both in and out of the pulpit and will cause some whom he could help to feel that he is unapproachable. He must come fully prepared to preach the truth without fear or favor of man, yet with a genuine warmth and spirit of kindness. He must resolve to preach what is needed. This will not always be appreciated. There may be serious problems in the congregation which require teaching. There may be pressures in a given area which afflict the church. Sometimes the church may be in a battle with institutionalism or the social gospel movement, and need some help. There may be prospects almost ready to obey the truth that need to be taught on certain subjects and persuaded to become Christians. Nearly every congregation has a problem with members being afflicted with the spirit of the world. There are devout saints who need encouragement. There are mature and advanced Bible students who need meat, as well as babes who need milk.

I cannot speak for other preachers, but I cannot spend all day long socializing, or on a golf course, or making an endless round of calls on people who are not really prospects at all, calls that are more social than anything else, then rush to a big meal somewhere, and finally get to the meeting house worn out, get up to preach and do my best work. Regardless of how many times a man has spoken on a subject, he ought to have Some time fo-ponder his lesson, refresh his mind on the passages to be used and recheck the sequence of points he plans to make. Before all the golfers descend on my head, let me add that I have nothing against a man getting a little exercise during a meeting, and if he can find time for a round or two, then that is fine with me. But I have worked with preachers in meetings who played every day and have seen some of them get up and make a flop in the pulpit when I knew they were capable of much better.

The preacher’s private conduct in a meeting can help or hinder not only the meeting but the work in general at that place after he is gone. Some fall into the trap of hearing one side of a dispute and then at, tempt to grind someone’s axe for him. It is not uncommon for members to ask questions of visiting preachers and this often affords opportunity to do much good teaching. Sometimes this may involve close study and even argumentation. Some delight in asking loaded questions, or in trying to see if a difference can be discovered between the visiting and local preacher. I have known of preachers bringing up questions in private homes that raised more doubt than anything else, so that the local preacher would have his hands full for several months putting out the brush fires so carelessly caused. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col. 4:6).

Bring a faithful preacher who practices what he preaches, together with a zealous congregation which has made adequate preparation, and you will have a good meeting. The truth will be preached, sinners will be instructed in the way of righteousness, and the saints will be edified. Whether they are “visible” or not there will be good results from such an effort.

TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV: 2, pp. 23-24
November 13, 1969

 

 

The Family Table

J. Wiley Adams

The family meal is an occasion that can help to unify the family. Memories of pleasant times around the table for me are very pronounced. This is true whether I look back to my own boyhood days or whether I consider the matter in terms of my own family, children and grandchildren.

I grew up in different times that included the great depression and World War II. Breakfast was a main event at our house. Everyone had to work and thus everyone needed to eat a substantial meal. Diets and various food restrictions were unheard of. We all worked so hard nobody in the family was “fat.” Everyone came to the table at meal time and no one dared say “I don’t like” this, that, or the other which was on the table. We could not afford to be “picky” about our food. Whatever was on the table you were glad to have it, and you asked for more. You knew it had to last until the next mealtime. Eating between meals was not a well known practice in those days.

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Liberty

By Robert Farrish

 It is 9:30 p.m., July 4, 1986. The Washington fireworks are about over, while the New York Statue of Liberty fireworks celebration is soon to begin.

The words, “freedom” and “liberty,” have been spoken and heard often today. It would be interesting to know how many times the words have been used in the last twelve hours. It is doubtful if any person in the United States has not used the word, liberty or freedom, today! What are my rights or liberties? “Rights” are frequently claimed which are based upon selfish “license” rather than proper liberty. The word “liberty” is often mis-used by selfish interests. What is liberty? How would you define the word?

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Godly Families in the Local Church Who Get Involved Together

Where have all the godly families gone? They are disappearing rapidly. They are disappearing from society due to the high rate of divorce, “dead-beat” dads, child abuse (emotional, physical and sexual), and juvenile delinquency. Godly families are also disappearing from local churches of Christ. I see more and more parents attending by themselves without one or more of the children. When you ask the parent where the child is, they offer up some flimsy excuse as to why they could not come. I see more and more disinterested teenagers staying at home or going out with their friends instead of attending a local gospel meeting. I see more and more grandparents bringing grandkids because one parent or both parents have left the church. I see more and more single parents and divorcees in the Lord’s church.

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Some Rules For Bible Study

Eugene Britnell

1. Realize that the Bible must be studied and rightly divided. (2 Tim. 2:15.)

2. Realize that the Bible contains the mind and will of God. (2 Peter 1 :2 1.)

3. Approach the Bible reverently and humbly. (I Thess. 2:13.)

4. Have profound faith in ALL it says. One cannot accept only a part of the Bible as being inspired. We must accept it all or reject it all.

5. Let the Bible speak to you-not you to it.

6. Study for profit and with an earnest desire to know more of God’s will, and not just to argue or endeavor to justify yourself.

7. Be willing to obey implicitly what God commands of you. (Matt. 7:21 ; Lk. 6:46.)

8. Use common sense in your study. For example, some contend that the word “water” in John 3:5 does not mean water, but common sense will convince us that it does. The letters w-a-t-e-r spell water in any other book, and there is nothing to indicate that it is used figuratively in this passage.

9. Observe who is speaking. All of the Bible was written by inspiration but that does not mean that all the statements recorded therein are true or were spoken by inspired persons. Example: Job 2:9 and Psalms 14:1.

10. Observe to whom each statement is addressed. Whether to the alien sinner, Christian, unfaithful, etc.

11. Observe why each book was written. For example, the first four books of the New Testament were written to produce faith in Jesus as the Son of God, the book of Acts records the cases of conversion of the apostolic age and a history of the early church, the next twenty-one letters are instructions to Christians, and the book of Revelation is a book of symbolic teaching showing primarily thing., that are to come and offering encouragement to the early Christians under severe persecution.

12. Study and interpret each passage in light of its context or setting. Failing to do this, some have argued that Paul teaches in I Cor. 1:17 that baptism is not essential, but the context shows that he did baptize some, and the reason he was glad he hadn’t baptized more was “lest any man should say that ye were baptized into my name.”

13. Realize that there have been three distinct dispensations of religion-the PATRIARCHAL (from creation to Sinai), the JEWISH (from Sinal to the cross), and the CHRISTIAN (from Pentecost of Acts 2 until the coming of Christ). The New Testament is our guide in this dispensation.

14. Study the meaning of the titles of the books of the Bible.

15. Consider the history and chronology of the events of each book in the Bible.

16. Do not interpret one passage of scripture so as to contradict the teaching of another. For example, one cannot correctly interpret Romans 5:1 or Acts 16:31 to teach salvation by faith only for that would contradict James 2:24 and Gal. 5:6.

17. Determine if the language is literal or figurative. Take all passages as literal unless the context forces a figurative interpretation. To illustrate, it is clear that the “water” of John 3:23 is literal, while the context and wording shows that the “water” of Rev. 22: 17 is figurative.

18. Don’t read something into the text which is not there. Be content with taking only what it says.

19. Harmonize the Scriptures, taking ALL God says on any subject, letting all obscure passages be understood in light of the plain.

20. Have the proper attitude toward the Bible and how it teaches. Produce the scripture for ALL you do in religion, and don’t appeal to the SILENCE of the Bible for authority for anything. The Bible furnishes us completely (2 Tim. 2:16-17). We must not pervert it (Gal. 1:6-9). We must not go beyond that which is written (I Cor. 4:6). We must not add to or subtract from its teaching (Rev. 22:18-19).

Truth Magazine III:10, p. 1
July 1959