Immersed in Baptisms
The word baptism means immersion. People do not often consider that there are actually several baptisms contained within the scripture.
Modest Apparel (1 Timothy 2:9)
The following is an excerpt from Soldiers in Training by Brother Daryl Coats.
Losing our Teens
Both polls and anecdotal evidence point to the same result: Bible-believing churches are losing their teenagers to the world. Teenagers who grow up in churches are leaving church and going to the world as soon as they get a chance. One statistic states that only 4% of the teens in evangelical churches stay in church. If that is anywhere close, that is an astounding figure. Churches have drawn the teens with entertainment and fun, but this will not keep them. Probably, the greatest contributing factor is the home. If the home is not solidly Christian--to the point of serious separation from the world--then the teens will learn their values from the world. We must work harder to exhort parents to be godly parents and then teach them how to do it.
Today's "Knoxville News-Sentinel" has an article on how skulls have become a big fashion statement. What used to be reserved for the underground and Goth kids has become mainstream. Skulls are everywhere. The fashion designers use them because of their connection with poison, danger, pirates, and death. Although most popular with the young, they can give an edge to older fashionistas who want to look tough. Isaiah 65:4 tells us of those "Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels." The Maniac of Gadara who was delivered by Jesus Christ also had "his dwelling among the tombs" (Mark 5:3). We have a generation that is given to death. They dwell among the tombs and need to be delivered from the evil one.
In Bridgeport, West Virginia, the High School recently settled a case that had been brought against it by the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and the ACLU. The school agreed to take down a portrait called the "Head of Christ" that had been on the wall outside the principal's office for 37 years. In the same school, one classroom had a portrait of Buddha and another had a two-foot statue of Buddha. These were not opposed and will be allowed to remain. One reason the school officials decided to surrender their rights out of court was the fact that, if they had lost, they would have had to pay the legal costs of both sides. This is established by federal law and it is one of the reasons so many schools quickly give in when they are sued. A bill to change this law passed the House in September. However, it seems unlikely that the Senate will be passing the bill anytime in the near future.
Pet or Murderer?
According to a 17 December 2006 article in The Associated Press, a 48-year-old man in Cincinnati, Ohio was killed by his 13-foot boa constrictor in his own home. Apparently, he was found in the reptile's cage with the murderous creature wrapped around his neck. What a tragic story! His pet turned on him and killed him!
When Ye Be Come Into the Land
The Book of Numbers is a great book when looking for devotional material.In chapters 1-10 the people seem to be wholly following the commandments of the Lord. However,chapter 11 is the beginning of woes.The very first phrase is "And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord".In chapter 12, we find the murmuring moving up the poles into the leadership and infecting Miriam and Aaron as they murmur against Moses. In chapter 13, ten of the twelve spies come back with an evil report concerning the land of promise. In chapter 14, we find the people wanting to make a captain to return to Egypt and then wanting to stone Joshua and Caleb for their report of faith.This chapter includes the decision of the Israelites not to go into the land of promise and then their decision to go into the land of promise after the Lord told them they could no longer go in. The Israelites decide to go against the commandments of the Lord and try to take the land of Canaan on their own, only to be smitten by the Amalekites and Canaanites.
The Lovingkindness of the Lord
Psalm 107 is an amazing Psalm with an amazing end. The last verse of this Psalm says, "Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD." On the surface, you would expect this Psalm to deal with the sweet times of blessings and gifts from God, but the opposite is true. The chapter gives five examples of troubles or trials in the lives of people. Some experience troubles because of sin and some because the Lord led them into troubles and some just because of everyday life. Two verses are repeated four times each. One of these verses is repeated in verses 6, 13, 19 and 28 and it says, "Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses." The other verse is repeated in verses 8, 15, 21, and 31 and it says, "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!" These verses demonstrate not only a purpose for trials in the lives of men and women, but it also builds on the idea of the lovingkindness of the LORD. The lovingkindness of the Lord seems to be connected to His dealings as a Father. He allows or causes trials and troubles in our lives to bring us to a point where we cry out to Him and then He delivers us. When He delivers us, He desires praises from our lips. Through these trials we are drawn closer to Him and are strengthened in faith. This truly is the lovingkindness of the Lord.
Barrels of Blood in Brussels, Belgium
According to an article in Thursday's "Wall Street Journal," earlier this year on the day Muslims celebrate the willingness of Abraham to sacifice his son on Mt. Moriah (a son they claim was Ishmael), 25,000 sheep in Brussels, Belgium, had their heads turned to Mecca and were sacrificially killed by having their throats slit so that they would die from the shedding of their blood. Many of the Muslims will be eating their sheep for lunch that same day. Although home slaughters are illegal in Belguim, Muslims now make up over 15% of the one million people in the city of Brussels.
Setting Your Sins on Fire
"When burdened with sins from 2006; just burn them up for a real quick fix." Martin Luther dealt with a Roman Catholic agent who sold indulgences with a catchy ditty. Perhaps the preceeding one might work for the new sellers of quick fix forgiveness. Thursday's "Wall Street Journal" revealed a growing trend in churches and the modern spiritual community. More and more congregations are meeting for a service in which they write the sins and failures of the previous year on a piece of paper. Then, in a heart uplifting ceremony, they burn the pieces of paper to symbolize the doing away of these sins and their readiness to face a new year clean and ready to do better. The ceremony is getting rave reviews from many religious groups.