THE TRUE MARKS OF SUCCESS

A hundred years ago, Ralph Waldo Emerson noted three qualities he deemed marks of true “success”: the ability to discern and appreciate beauty, the ability to see the best in others, and a commitment to leaving the world a better place. Notice that Emerson does not say that success comes in having the best seat at the table, acquiring more material possessions, or in belonging to the best clubs. Emerson contends that success comes with appreciating God’s world, developing loving relationships with God’s people, and with working to improve God’s world.

Beloved, the Gospel provided us all we need to accomplish this. “Seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue” (2 Pet 1:3). And remember, the Gospel is God’s power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). True success comes by making the world a better place through the Gospel.

Think About It!

Have A Great Day!

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”
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THIS OLD BOOK

This book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding; its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy.

It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter.

Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet.

Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory and a river of pleasure. Follow its precepts and it will lead you to Calvary, to the empty tomb, to a resurrected life in Christ, yes, to glory itself for eternity. [author unknown]

How often do you read and studied your Bible? “Give diligence [study – KJV] to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth”(2 Tim. 2:15).The Psalmist declared, “Oh how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psa. 119:97).

Think About It!

Have A Great Day!

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”
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SLUMS OF APOSTASY

The life of Edgar Allen Poe is one of the most tragic of all American writers. Within a brief span of forty years he literally went from riches to rags. Raised by foster parents who loved him deeply, he was provided with an education that matched his genius in his field of interest. He attended private schools in England. He was schooled in Richmond at the University of Virginia. He even spent a period of time as a cadet at West Point. 

Poe, in his heyday, was unparalleled as a literary critic, editor, poet, and author of short stories. Most of us have probably had our spines tingled by The Pit and the Pendulum or The Tell-Tale Heart or The Raven. His works have indeed left their mark. 

But the mark left by his life is another story. Poe lost his young bride through a bitter case of tuberculosis. By that time, alcohol and drug abuse, along with involvement in the occult and Satanism, had proved to be his undoing. Depression and insanity plagued his short life, eventually leaving him unconscious in the gutter of a windswept street in Baltimore. Four days later he died, having never regained consciousness. 

Poe began his life with money and brilliance, which quickly brought him prestige and fame. But it was only a matter of time before he became a ragged, penniless bum.  

This tragedy, the slow slip from riches to rags, can happen to us spiritually as well. That is why Paul warned, Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates”(2 Cor. 13:5)? Do not slip into the slums of apostasy.

Think about it! 

Have a great day!

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”
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THE COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM

INTRODUCTION
A. An old woman had, for years, been thoroughly overcome by all kinds of troubles and trials in life. Her family had done all they could for her, but nothing seemed to help. Finally, they gathered together one day and told her. “Grandma, we’ve done all we can for you. From now on you’re just going to have to trust God.” A look of fear and total dejection came over her face as she said, “Oh, dear. Has it come to that?”
1. It always comes to that!
2. Our world, it seems, does not know what to do with God
a. Many have a lack of faith, or a weak faith
b. Others have a misconception concerning faith
B. The life of Abraham gave us any many insights into faith and trust in God – Let us now look into another episode in the Life of this great man.
DISCUSSION
A. ABRAHAM’S FAULTY ASSUMPTION
1. Genesis 15:1
2. “After these things,” that is, after Abraham had delivered Lot from the invading kings, the Almighty gives Abraham words of encouragement:
a. Man has two basic fears:
1) The presence of evil
2) The absence of good
b. Thus, God presents himself as a:
1) “Shield” – He is our protector from evil
a) Psalm 3:3
b) Psalm 18:2
2) “Exceedingly great reward” – He will provide what we need
a) Psalm 34:9-10
b) Psalm 37:25
3. Genesis 15:2-3
a. Notwithstanding the great promise just given, Abram is still childless and landless; and the Lord has made as yet no sign of action in regard to these objects of special promise.
b. So Abraham is wondering if Eliezer is the heir of which the Lord speaks
4. We, too, can make faulty assumptions at times
a. Do we assume that because our prayers are not answered as we wish that God is not answering our prayers or does not care?
b. Do we assume that because we are faithful to the Lord that no trouble will befall us?
c. Do we assume certain things about people without the proper evidence?
d. Assumptions can be dangerous
B. GOD’S FAITHFUL ASSURANCE
1. The Revelation
a. Genesis 15:4-5
b. God renews His promise and says that Eliezer is not the promised heir, but the one that shall “come forth out of thine own bowels”
c. The seed promised is here renewed – and Abraham is seen as trying to rush the plans of God, or perhaps there was some doubt on his part
1) Abraham tried to rush the plan through Eliezer
2) Later he would try to change the plan through Ishmael
3) It is a tragedy when man tries to change God’s plan
d. Do we ever try to rush or change the plans of God, or do we ever begin to doubt – we need to remember that our timeline may not be the same as God’s.
e. Notice the character of God’s promises:
1) 1 Kings 8:56 … His promises are unfailing
2) Romans 4:21 … His promises are assured by Divine ability
3) 2 Peter 1:4 … His promises are of infinite value
2. The Response
a. Genesis 15:6
b. One of the greatest words in the Old Testament is found here for the first time in Scripture – it is the word rendered “believe,” a word which essentially means “trust”
c. So now, when God asks Abraham to carry out certain orders, he unhesitatingly obeys, and this attitude is a demonstration of his faith.
1) But even more is revealed here – God’s response to Abram’s implicit obedience shows that the patriarch met with God’s favor and was considered “righteous” as a result
2) And now, in the verses following, we see the Promise and the Sign issuing forth in the Covenant.
d. Unfortunately, this verse has become the playground of false teachers who say that a man is justified by faith alone, but…
1) Paul connects faith & obedience – Romans 1:5; 16:26
2) James 2:14-24
3. The Ratification of the Covenant (15:7-17)
a. The Details
1) Genesis 15:7-11
2) God renews the land promise with Abraham and confirms the promise with a covenant
3) The Lord now directs him to make ready the things necessary for entering into a formal covenant regarding the land. These include all the kinds of animals afterward used in sacrifice….. The number three is sacred, and denotes the perfection of the victim in point of maturity….. The division of the animals refers to the covenant between two parties, who participate in the rights which it guarantees.
4) For whatever purpose a covenant was made, it was ratified by a sacrifice offered to God; and the passing between the divided parts of the victim appears to have signified that each agreed, and if they broke their agreement they would to submit to the punishment of being cut asunder – an ancient mode of punishment
5) Do you realize that we have made, in a sense, a covenant with God in baptism? God gives us remission of sins and we are to give Him a life of faithfulness.
6) With regard to the Ratification of the Covenant, notice…
b. The Destiny of Israel
1) Genesis 15:12-16
2) The history of Abraham’s seed would not be a continuous highway of peace, for it is prophesied that they would go into Egyptian bondage and leave as a great nation with great substance
3) This all came to pass just as God said
4) We can count on what the Lord says. Notice a few examples:
a) Romans 8:28
b) Mark 16:16
c) John 5:28-29
5) With regard to the Ratification of the Covenant, notice…
c. The Descent of God
1) Genesis 15:17
2) The “smoking furnace” and “burning torch” possibly symbolize the smoke of destruction and the light of salvation….. Their passing through the pieces of the victims and probably consuming them as an accepted sacrifice are the ratification of the covenant on the part of God, as the dividing and presenting of them were on the part of Abram.
3) Concerning us today God has done His part
a) He has given us the blessed sacrifice of His Son
b) He has given us His written word to direct our paths
4) Are we doing our part?
a) Have you taken advantage of the sacrifice of Jesus by obeying God’s plan of salvation?
b) Are you doing your part by remaining faithful and walking in the light as He is in the light?
CONCLUSION

Tom Moore
http://www.fromthepreacherspc.org
http://www.harrisandmoore.org
http://www.parkheightscoc.com

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”

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REFUSED TO LISTEN

In the fateful winter morning of January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger stood poised for launch. Overnight, the temperature had plummeted into the twenties. At liftoff it was a crisp 36 degrees F. Four-foot icicles still clung ominously to the launch tower.

Allan McDonald, an engineer employed by the manufacturer of the solid rocket boosters that straddled the shuttle, shuddered, but not because of the cold. Research had shown that the O rings sealing the sections of each booster might be more likely to leak as the temperature dropped. In fact, the rings had never been tested during an actual launch below 51 degrees F.

McDonald stood virtually alone as he steadfastly opposed the launch that icy morning, but he was overruled. The launch went ahead as scheduled, and 73 seconds later six brave astronauts and one enthusiastic school teacher lost their lives when the O rings failed.

Was Allan McDonald arrogant when he challenged the decision to launch? Was he intolerant? Any thinking person would say no. He just was unwilling to see innocent people die because others had ignored or distorted the facts. We would say Allan McDonald knew the truth, and he stood up for it.

The same is true of Jeremiah – he stood for truth; and yet, the people wouldn’t listen. “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken” (Jer. 6:16-17). Are you listening carefully to the word of God?

Think About It!

Have A Great Day!

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”
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PULLING OFF THE KNOBS

The story is told of a man who once bought a new radio, brought it home, and placed it on the refrigerator. He then plugged it in, turned it to WSM in Nashville (home of the Grand Ole Opry), and proceeded to do the most unusual thing. He pulled all the knobs off! He had already tuned in all he ever wanted or expected to hear, and so he chose to limit his radio reception to one station.

Perhaps if more in the world would do this with regard to the word of God we would have a lot less religious confusion in the world. Too many are tuning in to every “channel” of doctrine. Paul warns, “be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14). We must tune only into God’s channel – His holy word for our direction. This is why Jeremiah declared, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23).

Think About It!

Have A Great Day!

Tom Moore
http://www.fromthepreacherspc.org
http://www.harrisandmoore.org
http://www.parkheightscoc.com

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”

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THE SUN WILL SHINE AGAIN

Many years ago, a newsboy, thinly clad and drenched by the soaking rain, stood shivering in a doorway one cold day in November. First one bare foot and then the other was lifted for a moment and pressed against his leg to get a little warmth. Every few minutes his shrill cry could be heard, “Morning paper! Morning paper!” A man who was well protected by his coat and umbrella stopped to buy the early edition. Noting the boy’s discomfort, he said, “This kind of weather is pretty hard on you, isn’t it?” Looking up with a smile, the youngster replied, “I don’t mind too much, Mister. The sun will shine again.” What a picture of the Christian life! Chilling winds of adversity and gray skies of a sinful environment can easily discourage us. But we can always count on better days because we know God is working in our lives.

Remember the words of our Lord, “…I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). “Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:4-6)

Think About It!

Have A Great Day!

Tom Moore
http://www.fromthepreacherspc.org
http://www.harrisandmoore.org
http://www.parkheightscoc.com

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”

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