Cry Out All The More

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Its 7:59 AM and you’re in the midst of a pleasant dream. You hear your alarm clock and you’re suddenly awake, back to reality. You open your eyes and you see black. You rub them, still black. Maybe you’re dreaming? You lie back down, wait a few minutes, open your eyes again; pure blackness. You’re blind. What are you going to do?

If this happened to me, I would be in a panic, desperately trying to find help; desperately trying to get a hold of a physician to correct this issue.

I’m reminded of one in Scripture who was faced with a similar dilemma. This man was blind, he was a beggar, and he was desperate.

I’m thinking about Bartimaeus in Mark 10. In this chapter, we read of an account where Jesus is leaving Jericho. As He’s passing through, a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus hears Him. This beggar soon begins to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” As he shouts, people begin telling him to be quiet. At this, Bartimaeus shouts all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stops in His tracks and says to His disciples, “Call him.”  His disciples call the blind man, saying, “Take heart. Get up; He is calling you.” The text says Bartimaeus immediately threw off his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.

Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus replies, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” Jesus says to him, “Go, your faith has made you well.” Bartimaeus immediately recieves his sight and follows Jesus.

Although we may not see many blind beggars on the side of Nashville Highway, I use this story to pose the question: Are you blind? I’m not asking are you physically blind, that’s obviously not the case or you wouldn’t be reading this article. I’m asking are you blind spiritually?

Maybe you’re like Bartimaeus. Maybe you’ve heard about this Jesus but you can’t see Him. You see all of these people proclaiming to be Christians, but they’re not acting like it. You see all of these churches, but they’re wearing different names. You’re reading all of these religious articles, but they’re all saying different things.

You feel lost. You don’t know where to begin. You don’t know where to go. You’re crying out for help, looking for answers, seeking encouragement, but you just can’t find the help you need.

Friends, I’m here to tell you, there are scores of people in this world, who feel the same way, much like Bartimaeus: blind and crying out for help. They are seeking a Savior; they are searching for answers, and looking for the Truth. I’m here to tell you, cry out all the more.

The search for Truth can be a daunting task. If this is how you feel, I can tell you one thing: You won’t find Truth from any source but from the One who is Truth, and that is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the right way to look.

“…Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” John 14:6

Friends, Jesus is the Light of the world and He is able to illuminate this dark, desperate, and curious world into all paths of righteousness.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,” John 8:12

When we have questions look to Jesus Christ for answers. Open up His word and study it diligently. When Satan tries to quench your spirit, be like Bartimaeus and cry out all the more; never quit.

When you do, the Truth will be exposed and you will be able to see Christ for who He truly is—The Great Physician, the Savior, and the Light of the World.

By Timothy G. Ruffin

3 C’s of 2 Peter

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Shortly before the Apostle Peter’s death (ca. AD 67), he penned an inspired message “to those of like precious faith.” We call the letter, 2 Peter. It is a short epistle, a mere three chapters. But it contains vital warnings against error and false teachers along with exhortations to continued growth and hope in the Lord’s return.

One can easily outline the book according to the three chapters, The 3 C’s of 2 Peter.

  1. Cultivate Christian Character (2 Peter 1). Christians are taught to develop certain spiritual virtues and assured that if they practice them in life, they will never be unfruitful in their service to God nor miss out on heaven (2 Peter 1:5-11). Peter also directs them to the confirmed Scriptures as the source for their faith and doctrine. Scripture is inspired and it can be correctly interpreted by anyone, not just preachers, pastors, professors, or some other kind of self-professed “expert” (2 Peter 1:19-21). This assurance in Scripture is vital because…
  1. Condemn False Teachers (2 Peter 2). Peter warns the Christians that God’s people have always contended with false prophets and now false teachers would trouble the saints. They would deny Jesus and lead many astray. God has and will differentiate between true teachers and true followers as well as the false and the wicked (2 Peter 2:1-11). Peter describes the coming false teachers in terrible terms: covetous, beasts, corrupt, deceptive, adulterous, accursed, etc. (2 Peter 2:12-17). Though their works should manifest their hearts, many saints will be enraptured with their licentious teachings and return to the captivity of sin. Thus, some will lose their salvation (2 Peter 2:18-22). And judgment is coming…
  1. Confidence in the Day of the Lord (2 Peter 3). False teachers have little interest or need to warn people about judgment. Such unpleasant teachings fail to tickle ears. Peter warned that the truth of the Lord’s return will be scoffed at (2 Peter 3:1-4)! Thus, living with the Day of the Lord in view will draw ridicule from the world, and likely the false teachers and backsliding saints will also mock it (see 2 Peter 2:1-2, 12-13). But God’s Word has created the world, destroyed it with the flood, maintained it until this day, and decreed the world’s ultimate destruction in fire (2 Peter 3:5-7). If it hasn’t happened yet, it is because God considers time differently than we do and His longsuffering and desire to see people saved is not yet exhausted (2 Peter 3:8-9, 15). But because Christians are confident in the Day of the Lord, they will live like He’s coming tomorrow (2 Peter 3:10-15). Saints will heed Peter’s warning and be about the business of living and growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:17-18).

Reading this letter is great way for any Christian to begin the day. It sparks us onto growth, warns us against satanic wiles, and reminds us that today could be the day that we meet Jesus! Can you remember the 3 C’s of 2 Peter?

By Andrew Roberts

5 Great Things from 1 Peter

5 Great Things from 1 Peter

                How do you typically use the expression “That’s just great?”  Like most people I typically use this expression not to convey truth, but rather irony and sarcasm. I use it to convey the opposite of what I say. For example, if my wife says to me, “Honey, our son just spilled his milk on the kitchen floor,” I will say, “That’s just great!” What I really mean, “What just happened is bad and now I am upset!”

This is an expression that we often use in our culture, but let’s apply it to the Bible and make it one of truth.  In fact, let’s take the statement and apply it to the things that are found in the wonderful little letter of 1 Peter. In each of the five chapters of 1 Peter you can find some things that truly are great for God’s people.

  1. God’s people have a great salvation in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:10-12). This great salvation was foretold by the Old Testament prophets (verse 10). It was something that God’s angels desired to look into (verse 12). It is something that has been secured by the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18-20). Do you have this great salvation in Jesus? Have you believed in Jesus as God’s Son, turned away from sin, and been immersed in water for the forgiveness of your sins? If not, then you have yet to receive this great salvation found in Christ. You need to change the course of your life (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38-47).
  1. God’s people have a great example to follow in the Lord Jesus (1 Peter 2:21-23). Keep in mind that Peter initially wrote this letter to Christians in the first century who were suffering for the cause of the gospel. These saints were being arrested and even killed for what they believed. Why would they be willing to endure these things? Because Jesus suffered first (1 Peter 2:21). Jesus is the great example and high priest who stands in the presence of God for disciples. As His priesthood Christians do as He did. They boldly proclaim the majesty of God and abstain from things that are sinful (1 Peter 2:9-11). Are you doing that?
  1. God’s people have been given a great command (1 Peter 3:15). Peter says disciples have the responsibility, duty and privilege to always be ready to give an answer for the hope they have in Christ. Unfortunately, because of a lack of knowledge many of God’s people have no answer at all for their faith (Hosea 4:6). They have neglected to add to their faith “knowledge” (2 Peter 1:6). They are unable to adequately explain what the Bible says about salvation, the church, worship, or godly living. This problem can only be solved by daily reading and studying of the scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15). Will you make time to diligently learn God’s will each day (Psalm 119:97)?
  1. God’s people have been given a great name (1 Peter 4:14-16). That great name is Christians. This is a name so great that it is worth suffering for it (1 Peter 4:16). It is a noble name (James 2:7). It is the name that disciples wore in the first century (Acts 11:26). It is the name that Paul persuaded men to wear when he taught them the gospel (Acts 26:28). It is not a name to be hyphenated. It is not a name to be worn by Saturday night sinners who are Sunday morning church-goers. It is a name that is to be protected with honor. Followers of Jesus are to thank God every day that they are able to wear the name Christian.
  1. God’s people have a great enemy (1 Peter 5:8)! His name is Satan! Whether you know it or not, but every day you are being hunted by Satan. He knows how much God loves you and that is why he is seeking to devour you spiritually. In fact, he is strong and ferocious that Peter called him a “roaring lion.” He will stop at nothing until he completely separates you from God. How do you defeat him? By being “sober” and constantly on the “alert” (verse 8). By resisting him firm in in the truth of the gospel (verse 9). By always trusting God to do exactly what His word says! Only when you do these things will you be able to defeat this great and terrible enemy.

There are many other great things that can be found in 1 Peter. But here are just five that I hope will bless and help you this week. Always be mindful of these great things. Pray about them. Mediate on them. Allow them to humble you. In the midst of all you face in life, allow these things to motivate you to cast your cares upon God (1 Peter 5:7).

BTW: If you are looking for a place to learn more about the word of God, I want to invite you to visit the Jackson Heights Church of Christ. We are located at 1200 Nashville hwy in Columbia. Our website is http://www.thebibleway.org

Please feel free to visit and learn more about the word of God with us!                                                                                          – by Shawn Jeffries

 

Do you know where you are going?

Do You Know Where You Are Going?

On the very last day of 1999 (December 31, 1999), Time Magazine announced its “Person of the Century.” That person was Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein was described by Time as “the embodiment of pure intellect, the bumbling professor with German accent…”

Yet, Einstein, the great German physicist, was said to be a slow learner in his youth. In fact, he was said to be so slow in learning to speak, that his parents even consulted a doctor (this personally makes me feel good about our son Shawn Michael!). Einstein also had a rebellious attitude towards authority. This led to one school principle expelling him and another saying he would never amount to much. As it turned out, Einstein did amount to something after all.

On one occasion, Albert Einstein was traveling from Princeton University by train. The conductor came down the aisle, punching each passenger’s ticket. When he came to the well known physicist, Einstein reached into his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his pants pocket. It wasn’t there! He looked in his briefcase and he couldn’t find it there. He then looked in his papers in the seat behind him, and he still could not find it! The conductor said, “Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I am sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.” Einstein nodded in much appreciation.

The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket. The conductor walked back to him and said, “Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are. We all know who you are; no problem. You don’t need a ticket. I am sure you bought one. You don’t need to look for it any longer. It’s ok.” Albert Einstein then looked at the conductor and said, “Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I am going.” This is why he was so often called “the absent-minded professor”!

This is a very interesting story that reminds all of us of the importance of knowing where we are going. Every person should know where he is going – and not just when he gets on a plane, train, or car. We need to know where we are going when it comes to our eternal destinies!

Do you know where you going after this life? Do you know if you are going to heaven or hell? Some believe that we can’t know our eternal destiny until the Judgment Day; they believe there is no way we can know whether we are right with God in this life. That belief does not line up with the Bible!

This is what the Bible teaches about this issue:

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments (1 John 2:3).

The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us (1 John 3:24). 

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God (1 John 5:13).

The Apostle John knew where he stood with God. He knew where he was going. We can as well! When we obey the gospel we can KNOW that we are right with God and on the path to heaven to be with Him for eternity. Examine your life today and ask yourself the question, “Do I know where I am going?”

By Shawn Jeffries