By Don Case
In our society we find it necessary to pay for many types of insurance, some mandatory others by necessity. In most cases, coverage for our homes, autos, and Social Security are required expenditures. Some discretionary insurances are not required but necessary to maintain financial stability in case of emergencies. Being protected against major illnesses, loss of life and natural disasters makes us compelled to invest in insurance.
How Can We Insure Our Values?
What are we doing to protect ourselves from catastrophic loss of values which will have consequences to our families eternally? God's plan for the continuous preservation of values lies in the family. We can pray for Gods help to plan family life in such a way that we are consistently teaching and modeling ceaseless values. Teaching God's values to our families is the only way to insure those values will be perpetuated.
Over time there has been an increased transfer of responsibility for insuring our values from the family to various other agencies and entities. Teaching of values has been assigned to schools, youth programs, the government and even the media. Transferring responsibility to other agencies has been a colossal disaster.
A Few Ways To Insure Our Values
We need to model and practice our values. As we practice what we preach we should set the example against materialism.
We need to support the good agencies and institutions which are responsibly insuring our values that we hold dear.
We need to evaluate where our resources are being invested. Make sure our support is for agencies that support Biblical values.
Remember that God placed the primary responsibility for values on the family and the church working together to accomplish His desired goal.
Dear Lord, my family is valuable to me, please help me assure that spiritual values are passed along to all members of my family.
One of the key themes Christians need to appreciate is that in making the choice to no longer serve Satan and instead serve the Creator, we are voluntarily "signing up" to be slaves of Christ. Throughout the New Testament, inspired writers routinely referred to themselves and to those they were teaching as bondservants and any true understanding of our roles need to consider what it means to be bondservants of the One who gave His own life in full service to His Father and to each of us.
Paul used the term to describe himself on three separate occasions in his letters (Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10; Philippians 1:1). In doing so, this incredible worker in the kingdom wasn't boasting about himself but rather using a strong term to impress his listeners, both then and today, with the seriousness of service to God. In being a bondservant of Christ, Paul clearly understood and wanted others to understand that that also required service to others. The apostle writes, "We do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake" (II Corinthians 4:5). What an incredible thought -- by serving one another we serve the Christ!
Paul would continue this line of reasoning when he wrote the Ephesians and addressed the subject of master/servant relations. We often (and appropriately so) use this to illustrate the attitude we should have to our modern employers. Paul writes, "Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh... as to Christ; not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart" (Ephesians 6:5-6). Parents tell their children that God sees everything. Adults will do well to remember this too as He sees how we work and knows our attitudes better than anyone!
Of course, the greatest encouragement in terms of being a bondservant comes from the fact that Jesus was THE quintessential bondservant in His life of sacrificial obedience. Paul writes that Jesus, "made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7). No one forced Jesus to leave the "glories of heaven" in order to come to this earth. Instead, out of incredible allegiance to the Father and as a result of amazing grace for us, Jesus chose to serve us. The best way to honor Him is to serve others and in doing so, serve Him. On Judgment Day, what a blessing to have God Himself call us "Bondservants of Christ!"
The obvious question for you and for me is to address whether or not we are included in this blessed group of men and women who not only know that we are called bondservants but also to be able to live out the responsibilities of those slaves who try to share with the a lost and dying world the value of such service. Knowing how great our Master is, we ought to really try to share His greatness with others so that they too can experience the greatness of fellowship with our eternal God.
by Don Case
Our society is showing no restraint in going in the direction of bad behavior, perversion and sin. People today are finding more pleasure by engaging in and spreading indecency and wickedness than living morally and spiritually disciplined and decent lives. There seems to be a resentment of spiritual and moral discipline which is said to infringe on some people's freedom to do what ‘feels good.' They say religion imposes unnecessary controls on desires, drives, urges and pleasures. Many people today are angry with God who they believe is spoiling the fun of living life to the fullest. They believe His laws, principles and commandments are restricting. He is often considered too morally and spiritually demanding.
All a man's ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart... There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death....A man who strays from the path of understanding comes to rest in the company of the dead. (Proverbs 16:25, 21:2,16)
Our society is protected by physical, social and spiritual laws that work together to maintain law and order that benefit all of us. Acting irresponsibly, against any of these laws has significant consequences. Satan's sinister strategy is to rid mankind of spirituality, morality and godliness by making people believe they can get rid of its source: God.
But the truth is no one and nothing can get rid of God because nothing exists outside of Him.
We should truly reflect His nature and be like Christ. This can only be achieved through our submission, commitment and respect for His divine instructions and commandments. We need to understand that God is asking us to conduct ourselves well by trying to protect us with moral and spiritual boundaries because of the existence of evil. His commandments are so that sin might be recognized and be clearly identifiable and avoided.
Sin is a destroyer of good, safety, peace and life. It also breeds harm, violence, sorrow, ill-health and death. Men may want to travel freely through life ignoring the God who knows more than we will ever know about the dangers and tragedies that can consume us. Men who insist on committing adultery, murder, hate, violence, drug abuse, immorality, etc. will find themselves harmed emotionally and physically with eternal consequences. God expects honesty, faithfulness, kindness, true love, patience, respect, joy, compassion, purity, etc.
"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people." (Prov. 14:34) "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov. 16:18) The fear of the Lord leads to life: Then one can rest content, untouched by trouble." (Prov. 19:23)
Wickedness & sin downgrade & destroy a nation but righteousness is an honor to any people.
Being a Christian is not simply something that we do and never give thought to who we are or what we're doing. Instead, we are instructed to be thoughtful about our godly service, fully aware of the importance of our work in His kingdom. This was the point of the inspired writer when he wrote:
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
As with so many other passages in scripture, this single verse teaches us many valuable things. First, take a moment to "consider" the word "consider." The Holy Spirit is making a deliberate request of saints to actively think about not only Jesus but also how His experiences compare with our own. This ought not be a rare and passing thought for Christians, but rather a frequent part of our regular thought process.
Second, the Holy Spirit advises us to consider "Him." Jesus Christ is the very center of everything that we do, think, and say as servants of the most high God. If humanity would remember this, it would go along way in clearing up the confusion that comes from false doctrine that has everything but Jesus as the center of our lives.
Third, the writer wants us to appreciate that just as Jesus endured, "hostility from sinners," so will we. In fact, our Lord taught us that we will be "hated" by others (sinners) for the mere reason that we have pledged ourselves to serving Him (Matthew 10:22). No one is naïve enough to think that, armed with this knowledge, that the sufferings we endure will all of the sudden be more "pleasant," but we ought to be able to take some level of comfort in knowing that we bear some similarity to our Savior (including His sufferings) as a result of our dedication to Him.
Fourth, the rationale for remembering Jesus is clearly defined by the writer. The goal of looking at Jesus and considering the Savior is to avoid both weariness and discouragement. One of the things that Christians need to always be aware of is the fact that Satan knows us and knows that one of his greatest tools is that of discouragement. That is, Satan doesn't have to get you or me to "do" something wrong, as long as he can keep us from doing right. No wonder why the Holy Spirit saw fit to provide us with this warning!
As we begin a new week, let us, too, "consider" our walk and the responsibilities that we have toward our loving God. In doing so, let us ponder the perfect sacrifice of the Christ and the suffering that He endured so that we could live. And let us never, ever, be discouraged. The work we do is worthwhile in every respect!
CONSIDER OUR WALK...
CONSIDER THE BLESSINGS OF SALVATION!
By Don Case
It has only been a few years since Sundays were reserved for church and family gatherings. Most stores were closed and few activities were ever schedules on the Lord's Day. Today many more events are planned for Sundays such as sports, work, parties, picnics and trips. Often these events are excuses for being too busy for church and spiritual activities.
The church needs to communicate why attendance is appropriate and important in the lives of Christians. Many people say they love God but do not see the need to attend a church.
There are many very good reasons why we should go to church however just going to a church building does not make us Christians. The biblical definition of a church is a gathering of believers to worship, instruct, fellowship and pray.
Things Our Church Provides
- Christian preaching with spiritual instructions.
- The Lord's Supper which is a continual reminder of Christ's death and love.
- Christian fellowship which will strengthen the best that is in us.
- Opportunities that make our lives count for God.
- Training opportunities through which we can find ourselves growing.
- Service opportunities through which we can make our lives useful to God and humanity.
- Opportunities through which we can express our gratitude to God for His grace in our lives.
Here are some valid reasons why we should go to church
- To learn about God. The church is a training center & we should have a teachable spirit and want to learn.
- To be in the presence of the Lord and like-minded Christians.
- To be made whole, body, soul, and spirit. A time to pray for one another so we may be healed.
- To stay committed.
- To grow by being with other members that will encourage and challenge.
- To contribute by using our gifts to bless others and to serve as Christ did.
- To support our families and see that our children are properly trained.