Wednesday, December 28, 2011

                                          A HOPE RENEWED IN THE                                     FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD

      A new year is upon us.  How we look at this year will determine our attitude as the days, weeks, and months begin to fade away.  As children of God we should be looking forward to the new year because of the privilege we have been given in living a life filled with hope.
     The hope we share is realized through the promised blessings of God.  In Luke 4:18,19 we have recorded for us the words Jesus read aloud to those gathered in the synagogue.  Luke records in the 17th verse the words being read by Jesus are from the prophet Isaiah (61:1,2).  Jesus wanted the crowd to understand that God was working in their lives and prophecy was being fulfilled in their midst (vs. 21). 
     Two things must be noted.  First, Jesus was making it clear there was no longer a reason to be in despair.  The anointed one of God was here.  This anointing is not to kingship but to the pronouncement of the Messiah and His appearance.  The one who was going to save them from their sins, and had the power to heal their infirmities, was now no longer a dream.  He was there.
     The second thing to notice was the skepticism among the hearers.  While they wondered about the gracious words Jesus spoke, they also recognized Him as the son of Joseph (vs. 22).  This is what prompts Jesus to tell them, "no prophet is welcome in his home town." (vs. 24).  Jesus would have to prove Himself to people.
     As the truth about Jesus began to be affirmed through His works, many still refused to acknowledge Him as the Messiah, and failed to receive the blessings of the Lord.  It was meant to be a favorable year, God's favor being poured out upon them.  Yet we today are much the same.
     Through this past year, we have mourned together and celebrated together.  We know of some who are in a prison, in the bondage of sin or other snares that prevent them from truly praising God.  Others have a blindness that keeps them from seeing the solutions the Father has provided to them as they struggle through life's dark valley.  Still others are downtrodden because of hurts inflicted upon them,  circumstances that have dampened their spirits, or maybe extinguished their hope altogether.  Yet, still others have enjoyed the freedom from bondage and have escaped their personal captivity and now rejoice in the Lord.
     Where do you fit in?  Regardless of where you are simply realize the words that Jesus spoke in the synagogue are the same words He is speaking to you.  Don't allow Satan to keep you bound, or blind, or downtrodden.  It is time to realize the hope that is in us and the blessings around us.  The good news is the words of Isaiah's prophecy have been fulfilled.  This year is not to be like those of the past.   Let us truly see the favorable year of the Lord, and His blessings.  Let us live this year with the renewed hope that will not disappoint (Ro. 5:5).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In new window
Print all


                                            FAVORITE SCRIPTURES
     Since our earliest memories of childhood there is a favorite Scripture we hold dear.  For many people it is John 3:16.  Some cherish Romans 8:1,2 or maybe Romans 8:28.  Others fondly look upon 1 Corinthians 13 because of the application of Paul's description of love.  During this time of year, many will look to the gospels of Matthew and Luke and cite those as their favorite passages, for here we read of the birth of Jesus. What is your favorite Scripture?  No matter what you choose there is a reason for it.
     It is interesting however, that many or most people never look upon Acts 2:38 as their favorite Scripture or even Acts 22:16.  Other passages that relate directly to salvation hardly ever come to the mind of people when asked what their favorite Scripture might be.  Deep down we know that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, or is God breathed, yet we still have a tendency to think in human terms and credit the written words to Paul, or Peter, or John, or any other biblical writer.
     It is a good thing to have a favorite Scripture, or even more than one for that matter.  Scripture is meant to provide comfort as well as instruction, and the favorite Scriptures we hold dear supply that comfort.  But while memorizing a favorite passage of Scripture, let us not forget the importance of applying that Scripture to our lives.  And while there are other passages we may not like as much as our favorite, remember they too, are still God's word, and were written for our instruction.
     I am reminded of a man whose name is recorded in Old Testament Scripture by the name of Ezra.  This character of the Bible is not mentioned much in the course of conversation when biblical subjects are being addressed.  How often do you talk about him or even mention his name?  Yet there is a passage of Scripture that speaks volumes about this man and his relation to God.  It is found in Ezra 7:10.
     Ezra had gone from Babylon to Jerusalem, a journey that took five months (7:9).  His purpose for going there was to study the law of the Lord, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.  Take note of this verse.  Ezra was not content to merely study the word of God. He wanted to learn it in order practice it and then be able to teach it.  And not just a favorite verse, or two, or three. But the whole Law.  Ezra had come to understand the preciousness of this Law, for it came from God, and was life to him.  Ezra had to study this Law, he had set his heart on this matter.
     Do we hold the Scriptures in as high a regard as Ezra?  Do we memorize the verses that speak of Jesus' death, or His resurrection?  Do we long to live the teachings of God and desire to teach them to others?  Here again is a valuable lesson to be learned from the pages of Old Testament Scripture.  While it is good to have a favorite Scripture, let us not neglect the rest.  Let us love God's word as much as we claim to love God.  To truly love Him is to keep His teachings or commandments (Jn. 15:12-14; 1 Jn. 4:2,3).  Rodger

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Each and every one of us have something worth remembering.  Such things are sung about, written about, and taught to us through formal times of instruction or simple experiences of life.  Among those things written about you will find exhortations from God's word intended to help us remember teachings of utmost importance.
     Peter speaks of this in his second letter to the brethren (2 Pet. 3:1,2), as he exhorts them to remember the words spoken before hand by the holy prophets, as well as commandments set forth by Christ through the apostles.  Many times we don't want to hear what is being said.  Reasons for this attitude will vary but what is taking place is a rejection of God's word.  
     When you need words of comfort to whom do you turn?  When you need strength to whom do you go?  Again, answers will vary, but for the most part the answer will not be the Lord.  This is why Peter was writing this second letter.  To remind the brethren of what they heard and the source of that teaching.  These were not mere thoughts of men, but the words of the Lord.  The purpose of these words was to impart a source of encouragement, edification, and and admonition.
     Yet even the words of our God are sometimes not enough to keep us anchored to Him through faith.  We often go our own way, drifting away from our source of safety and comfort.  We end up fighting battles on our own.  All because we don't remember what can be found within God's word.
     A passage of Scripture familiar to each one of us is Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it" (NASB).  This passage relates to us there is something worth remembering.  When a child is raised to know the word of God, there is a seed planted that may not always bloom to produce fruit when we think it should.  Sometimes it seems to take longer for some to mature in the knowledge of God's word than others.  Times of unfaithfulness may also result, but there is always that ray of hope when a seed is planted.
     This is not to say that we condone sinful behavior, but once that seed has been planted, it is up to the individual and God concerning the fruit that will come.  We simply pray.  We cannot lose hope for we never know what the future holds.  That training in godliness is never really forgotten was shown to me in our last visit to the nursing homes in Leitchfield.  As we were singing the songs, I noticed an elderly woman singing along.  She held no songbook.  She sang the words from memory.  The  training and teaching from years past were evident.
     Once we learn something we never fully forget.  What becomes important is what we are teaching.  We may desire for our children to have the best education money can buy, but if we are not instilling God's word into the hearts of our children, then we have robbed them of the most precious education available to man.  And this teaching has very little cost.
     If we want the best for our children then we should strive to provide them with a knowledge of God's word.  As they grow they may encounter various trials but they will always be aware of the anchor available to keep them from drifting.  When life gets hard they will always look back at the teaching of their youth and acknowledge this is truly something worth remembering.  Rodger

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


In new window


     Anyone who has raised a family knows full well what the inside of a doctor's office looks like.  Whether or not it is your desire, you're going to see a doctor at some point in your life.  While some take great pride in never having gone to a doctor, others will see a doctor quite often.  Physically, we are different when it comes to health issues.  Spiritually, we are the same.
     In Luke 4:23 it is written, "And he said to them, "'No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me'", 'Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your home town as well'" (NASB).  Jesus goes on to say that no prophet is welcome in his own home town.  Strange as it seems, when people know you they don't often give you the same respect or courtesy they might give to someone else.  You would think with Jesus it would be different, but it wasn't.  Jesus had been talking about the healing He was about to perform,  as the Scriptures of the Old Testament recorded would happen, and Jesus said the passage quoted from Isaiah (61:1), was now fulfilled in their hearing (vs. 16-21).  Obviously, the people He spoke to had their doubts.
     People are strange.  They can go to the doctor and listen to the diagnosis, take the prescription he (or she) hands out, and leave, sometimes giving no attention to what was said or having the prescription filled.  Perhaps not so strange is the fact we do the same thing on a spiritual level as we do on the physical.
     In writing to the young man Timothy, Paul tells him to "prescribe and teach these things."  The 'things' refer specifically to what was mentioned previously in the context of the letter.  Paul talks about the falling away of some from the faith (4:1) because of deceitful spirits (teachers) and doctrines of demons (false teachings).  After listing some the false teachings, Paul tells Timothy to point these things out to the brethren (vs. 6) by sharing the sound doctrine he was following.
     When Timothy is told to 'prescribe' these things, it is literally meant to keep commanding these teachings.  The prescription is not just something Timothy or Paul have devised, it is the teaching of God we are to be following.  Concerning interaction with older people and widows, Paul tells Timothy to prescribe these teachings as well.  God's commandments go beyond what we like to refer to as doctrinal issues, to our everyday life and how we are to conduct ourselves toward others (5:1ff).
     While it is true that some doctors may over prescribe, the Great Physician knows just what we need.  So if we would simply follow the prescription set forth by Jesus in His word, and then apply what we are taking in, we would find ourselves a lot healthier spiritually.  That in turn, would go a long way in helping a feel better physically.  If we long to be the mirror image of our Savior so as to reflect the glory of the Father, let us follow Jesus and act not on our own initiative, but on what the Father reveals in His word.  So the next time you sit down and open your Bible and begin to take in what God would have you to know, remember you are in reality filling the prescription God has provided you.  When followed correctly, you will find that prescription is just what the doctor ordered.  Rodger

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Family of God

Many people use the phrase, "Blood is thicker than water."  It is a true saying but as a youth minister said years ago, "So is milk."  When the phrase about blood is used, it generally is to show the strength of the family bond as it exists between parents and their children, as well as other family members.

But is blood of mere man thicker or more powerful than the blood of Christ?  Why do we place such faith in the blood of men when it was Jesus who died on the cross?  Isn't it the blood of Jesus that cleanses us of our sin and doesn't that cleansing go deep even to the conscience?  If we are going to boldly state the power of  the blood we must make sure we are speaking of the blood of Christ and not our grandparents or parents.

This truth was brought home to me again recently when it was said by some how sad it was when people put their job ahead of family.  In many situations this is true.  No job is more important than my children and most certainly not more important than my wife.  However, my current position is as a minister of the gospel.  In that position I must stand firmly on the word of God as is the case for any who claim to be a child of God.

When I hold my children accountable for their actions, it is not just simply as a father, but in cases of sin, as a Christian brother.  What we often seem to overlook is the family of God.  While I am the father of seven biological children, with one safe in the keeping of God,  my heavenly Father is the creator of us all.  When I hold my children to a godly standard, I do so because that is the standard they will ultimately answer to.  No one can escape the watchful eye of God, and no one is exempt from a repentant lifestyle before Him.

What is recorded in God's word is not just for me, it is for all of us.  When I put on Jesus in baptism I am added by God to the church for which Jesus died.  When my children put on Jesus in baptism, they are added to the same church.  Though I am their earthly father, I am now their spiritual brother.  While there may be certain household rules laid down by me as a father and their mother, God's word has already established the guidelines we are to follow as members of His spiritual family.  As is the case with all who make up the church, we become accountable to one another, and most certainly are held to account by God.

It is not a question of liking my job more than family or wanting to hold my job over family matters.  It is a question of godliness and if sin is present it must be dealt with biblically.  I have lost positions as a minister because I wanted people to face their sin, when others in the church did not hold God's standard as the authoritative word it is.

I try not to allow my personal beliefs or desires cloud my judgment in spiritual matters.  I must be true to my heavenly Father.  You must be true as well.  So let us hold fast to the banner of love that is God's word and let us truly be the family of God.  Rodger

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


We all have someone in our lives we could look back on and remember as someone we used to know.  It may be a former love interest,  a close friend, or a work associate.  Depending on the relationship the memory of that person may or may not be a pleasant reminder.  There are times it may even apply to self.   I can remember a time when I was sitting in a local diner drinking coffee and talking with two acquaintances when one of the young men began to verbally attack his girlfriend.  This young lady worked as a waitress in this diner.  That it took place publicly was an embarrassment to all around.  At the end of the verbal assault, the waitress now in tears and the angry young man having left the premises in haste, the other young man there with me said he didn't know that man.  What man?  The one that walked out.  They actually knew each other for years, but a new side had been revealed for the first time.

I began to think of the contents of this article as I struggle with a problem that is personal as well as spiritual.  It is personal because it involves me but also involves others of my family, both biological and spiritual.  I started thinking of how people change as they go through life.  Yet often those changes go unnoticed because people are separated by distance, or certain characteristics are kept hidden from loved ones.  Sometimes characteristics are seen but ignored.

Have you ever received a bad report about someone and refused to believe it?  We may want to believe only the best about people, and that's noble.  Sometimes people change.  I'm not suggesting we blindly believe everything we hear, regardless of the subject matter.  But if there is a possibility a brother or sister is in sin, do we love them enough to make sure? Or are we content to say, "that's not the person I know."  It may be true it is not the person you used to know, but people do change.  Sometimes that change may happen right before our eyes and go unnoticed, if we allow ourselves to be blinded by past loyalties.  Sometimes change will take place away from our view.  Too many times reports are received based on someone we used to know, and not who (or what)  the person  has become.

James speaks of one who looks into a mirror, goes away and forgets what kind of person he was.  This person has deceived himself for he has not changed what he saw in the mirror.  He continues to do wrong because he did not look intently into the perfect law of liberty, God's word, which shows a reflection of one who saw a need to change and did so (Ja. 1:23-25).  We can't just be hearers of the word, we must be doers.  That means we have to be willing to change.  Oftentimes even when one has been baptized change can happen over time that deceives the heart of the evil doer, while also staying hidden from the view of others.

But if we really believe in the sacrifice of Jesus, then we should truly be willing to change.  To be the mirror image of Jesus demands that change from us, so that we may behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18),  as He transforms us into His image from glory to glory.  From our cleansing to become free from sin, to our glorious eternal home in heaven, it is God through Christ who transforms us.  Let us not become blind to our own need to change, and let us not look blindly upon those around us who may be struggling in their spiritual lives.  How sad it would be to one day hear the Lord say about us, "he was just someone I used to know."  Rodger

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


     There may be many thoughts which lay beneath the surface when the blushing bride comes to mind.  It may be the prolonged kiss at the altar, causing a bit of embarrassment.  Or perhaps the point in time when the garter belt is thrown, though that may be a bit too old fashioned for some to remember.  You may have your own reason for remembering the blushing bride.  I fear however, we have have come to a time when the bride no longer blushes.
     The ever changing social attitudes have taken a once loud voice and brought it largely to silence.  The women of our land who spoke loudly against attacks on motherhood, homemakers, and the mistreatment of women in various ways, are now the very same voices who allow such attacks to be tolerated and often times overlooked.  The women of this world no longer blush or stand ashamed of the lifestyles that are now the norm in their lives.
     The prophet Jeremiah spoke about this problem in his day (Jer. 6:15; 8:12).  Jeremiah was not speaking in general terms regarding women but more specifically against the prophets and priests who were unfaithful in their service to God.  There is however, an application to be made more broadly to the words of Jeremiah.  Since Jeremiah was speaking to the covenant children who served under the Law of Moses, let us make application to the bride of the new covenant, the church.
     Jeremiah speaks the words of God against those who were offering a superficial healing by crying "peace peace," when there is no peace (6:14; 8:11).  Preachers today will many times stand in the pulpit and preach of God's love and grace while not addressing sinful behavior taking place in the body.  This is not solely the responsibility of the preacher, but he certainly bears that responsibility.  We certainly need God's grace and His love but not at the expense of losing souls through a watered down gospel. 
     More and more the worldly elements of immorality are creeping into the church through many ways, and yet we don't seem to mind.  Faithful parents as well as preachers faithful to the word are becoming the exception in the church today, no longer the norm.  That is a disturbing trend that needs to stop.  We must all be mindful of our own lives and look to the welfare of others.  Young people in the body of Christ need to return to a more modest way of life and turn away from the forms of entertainment that should be causing them to blush, and yet seem to be looked upon as acceptable behavior.  Older people need to be doing this as well.
     When someone today gets embarrassed by what they heard or saw, they are looked upon as out of touch and old fashioned.  But the truth of God's word is not going to change.  That goes beyond the teaching concerning our salvation to the daily lifestyle we follow.  What we must really understand is that when Jeremiah was telling the Lord's people they had forgotten how to blush, they were not being complimented for their maturity in now being able to accept and tolerate certain behavior.  They were being chastised for their disobedience and warned of the impending judgment against them.
     The church today, the chosen lady (2 John 1), needs to stand in defense of what is right according to God's standard, so we may truly be the mirror image of His purity and holiness.  There are images all around us that should be making us blush.  After all, we are the bride of Christ.   Rodger

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


New window

     How fast the time goes by.  Another birthday is upon us.  Some of our number here are celebrating birthdays around this time, but the specific birthday I speak of is in reference to America, this great country in which we live.  This birthday is better known as Independence Day.  July 4, 1776, is the day this country was born by declaring its independence from British rule.
     When you speak to people about your independence have you ever wondered why you never read about independence in the Scriptures?  I looked in several concordances and the word 'independence' does not appear.  So why is that?  I believe the answer is still found in the Scriptures.
     When one declares independence, it is for the purpose of proclaiming the breaking away from one power in order to establish an identity of sovereignty.  America declared its independence from Britain by defeating them in battle and proclaiming itself a new nation no longer governed by British rule or law.  New laws would be established and enacted and a new government formed.
     The Scriptures tell us we can't really be independent.  We must be dependent upon someone or something.  If we are dependent upon something we are practicing idolatry.  If we are dependent upon someone, we either belong to God or to Satan.  Lifestyle will determine upon which one we have placed our dependence.  Let us understand full well we can never be independent in this life.
     The good news is we can be free.  Often we equate freedom with independence.  Not true.  I have experienced freedom in my life, and yet I confess I am dependent upon my Creator, my heavenly Father.  Because I have chosen to be dependent upon my God, I have been set free from the law of sin and death (Ro. 8:1,2).  I have been set free from being a slave to sin by becoming a slave to righteousness (Ro. 6:17,18).  I have been set free from the yoke of slavery that binds others to ungodliness.  I have been allowed to live in true freedom because of the death of Jesus on the cross. 
     The title of this article is inaccurate.  There is no such thing as a true independence day.  Only a day when we choose freedom over slavery.  Have you chosen that day?  Are you living as a freeman in Jesus Christ or are you bound to slavery by sin?  Maybe a birthday is what you need.  Spiritual birth takes place at baptism after we die to sin and proclaim our dependence on our Father through Christ (1 Pet. 3:21).  I pray you are truly free. Our battle belongs to the Lord.  Rodger

Monday, June 13, 2011


In the Revelation of Jesus Christ (not John), which was given to Him by the Father, we are told He communicated what was to shortly come to pass to John through His angel. (Rev. 1:1)  This angel is not designated as the Holy Spirit but would imply a special messenger that communicated (signified in signs and symbols) to John the content of the Revelation.  In the second and third chapters Jesus addresses the seven churches who are designated as the recipients of this Revelation.  Through the special messenger of Christ John is told what to write to the angel of the seven churches.  The term 'angel' as it is used here does not make reference to a particular angelic being or human representative, but, "symbolically the representative spirit of each church, the spirit of the church." (Wallace, The Book of Revelation, pg. 84)  What seems to be the focus here is the personality of each church.

Each congregation certainly had a distinct personality from the others and only Smyrna was found to have nothing against them by Christ.  Today there are many congregations of the Lord's church and each possesses a personality made up by those who are its regular members.  Whether that personality is good or bad is between them and the Lord.  I would like to relate this article to this great country of ours and how it relates to the church, and how the church needs to respond to this country.

To be sure the spirit or personality of America is continuing to decline because of the ungodly conduct of the majority of its citizens.  The recent scandal of Anthony Weiner speaks volumes about where we are as a country.  Many New Yorkers represented by Weiner don't think he needs to resign though Democratic leaders are beginning to urge him more and more to resign.  But this call for resignation is more political than moral for the Democrats are fearing a backlash at the voting booths.  To be sure Republicans as well as Democrats and Independents have much to be ashamed of, but the spirit of America is one that really doesn't seem to care about some of the immoralities which are becoming more common place by the day.  The ethics of our elected officials is a whole other matter but also reveals a spirit or personality in rapid decline.

What the church needs to be asking itself is how we are going to respond to such immoralities.  This response must begin in each congregation.  The first question is in regard to our own personality before our God.  Is it one that pleases God?  Would we be like Smyrna or maybe Ephesus?  Some news commentators may call Christians backward or unintelligent, but we can't let such attacks keep us from standing up for the truth of God's word.  Christians of all ages need to come together as one, and our personality, or spirit, must resemble that of Christ.

If we are to be the mirror image of our Lord and Savior then let us strive to make sure our congregations possess the personality worthy of the name of Christ, and so pursue peace and harmony based on His truth.
America is a great country but if we want to remain as such, we must begin now to change its personality back towards a godly people, and that begins with God's people.  Let us be the peculiar people we are supposed to be, that royal priesthood. Let us turn our hearts to God and in so doing lead this nation back to its Creator.  Rodger

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


     We have all studied the creation account.  Since childhood we have been taught about the days of creation and the beginning of man's occupation of the earth.  We also learn of man's sin against God and the curses that would plague the earth because of that sin.  In chapter 4 following the birth of Seth we read man began to call upon the name of the Lord. (verse 26)  In chapter five we are given a genealogy of the generations of Adam which take us to the birth of Noah and his sons.
     But there is something written in the course of the genealogy we often acknowledge, and yet really don't give much thought to what is being said.  When Enoch is mentioned in verse 21 we are told he became the father of Methuselah.  Attention is then given to Methuselah who lived longer than any other man in human history.  Often overlooked in this piece of trivia is the account of Enoch.  It is not enough to pay attention to Enoch's age when he became the father of Methuselah.  Something else much more striking is written about Enoch.
     When all of the other genealogies are read there is a common thread mentioned about them all except Enoch.  All the others died.  Enoch did not die.  In verse 22 we are told that Enoch walked with God for three hundred years after the birth of Methuselah, becoming the father of other sons and daughters during that time.  In verse 24, we are told again that Enoch walked with God, and then, he was not, for God took him. 
     When Enoch walked with God he had a fellowship with him.  This fellowship denotes an intimate relationship shared between him and God.  We are also told in 6:9 that Noah walked with God.  The same word used to describe the walk of Enoch with God is used in connection with Noah.  In 6:8 we are told that Noah found favor (grace) in the eyes of the Lord.  And yet Noah was not taken in the way Enoch was taken.
     The phrase and he was not simply tells us Enoch no longer existed in the flesh as others of mankind.  The only explanation given for this is found in Hebrews 11:5.  Enoch was taken up by faith so he should not see death, and he was not not found (and he was not) because God took him up.  The last portion of this verse is striking, "for he obtained a witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God."  We are then told in verse 6, without faith it is impossible to please God.
     What are we to learn from the written word?  First, God blesses man in various ways.  We may not always understand but it is not always given to us to understand.  Secondly, if we are going to be people of faith we must have an intimate fellowship with God as Enoch did.   Implicit in this fellowship is our dependence on Him and obedience as we call upon His name.  This is how we become pleasing to Him.  Finally, if we desire to be taken up by the Lord as a part of that resurrection unto eternal life, then let our life boldly proclaim to those around us we walk with the Lord.  Rodger

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wagging Tongues Mock The Truth

   When Jesus was on the cross there were those who cast insults at Him and mocked Him.  He claimed to be the Son of God, and yet, there He was on the cross, His life blood dripping from His hands and feet.  Scripture tells us the people were wagging their heads. (Matt. 27:39)  The 'wagging' taking place means to move the head in such a way as to express derision.  Derision refers to one being made a laughingstock, one being derided, or an object of contempt. (Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, 1983, pg. 490)  Another word for derision is mockery, among others, and it is mockery I want to focus on.
     On march 24th, I received an email from Military .com that included an article concerning the Stolen Valor Act.  This act was passed by Congress several years ago in order to protect the honor of those who had served in the military in heroic ways, and had been awarded the Medal of Honor.  An article from August 2010, mentioned that a federal court had found the act unconstitutional.  The reason the court was having to rule on the matter was because of one named Xavier Alvarez. who claimed to have been awarded the Medal of Honor while serving in the Marine Corps.  The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest honor.  Mr. Alvarez was never awarded the Medal of Honor.  In fact, he never served in the Marine Corps.  He lied to make himself look good.  It was later discovered he at one time claimed to have played for the Detroit Red Wings, a National hockey League team, as well as having rescued the American ambassador during the Iranian hostage crisis.  He never did either of those things.  It is bad enough Mr. Alvarez has made a mockery of the truth with his wagging tongue of derision, but he has also acted in a contemptible manner toward the public concerning the matter of truth. What's even worse is the decision of the court system to say lying is okay by declaring the Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional.
     What the judges have failed to realize is that Mr. Alvarez is as big a loser in this ruling as the American people.  If you ever talk to this man, how can you be sure he is being honest with you, or simply telling another lie?  Nothing he says can be taken as truth or believed because he has admitted the lies and doesn't seem to care.  How can we as parents hope to teach our children not to tell a lie when the court says its okay.  If one is willing to lie about his or her service record, or any other part of their life, they will lie about anything. 
     What of the harm done to those who truly earned this Medal of Honor through heroic measures?  Their acts have been greatly diminished by a group of legal eagles who are supposed to support truth, and have even taken an oath to that effect.  Whom do we believe?  Whom can we trust?  Jesus may have been on the cross but He was raised from the dead.  He said that would happen.  Jesus also said many would arise claiming to be Christ. (Mt. 24:23ff)  That has happened as well at various times.  Jesus said He would build His church. (Mt. 16:18)  He has done that too.  All what Jesus said He would do (except His second coming and that's' still coming) He has done.  Other biblical writers have attested to that fact.
     We don't need anymore wagging tongues, or tongues of derision that make a mockery of truth and reveal nothing more than a contemptible attitude toward our brethren and others we may meet.  If we are going to be the mirror image of our Lord and Savior, then let our 'yes' be 'yes' and our 'no' be 'no!' (Mt. 5:37)  If people cannot depend on what we say, how are we going to help them in life, much less teach them the gospel?  If you have given your heart to God your tongue should be His as well.  Use it wisely and allow your tongue to be a ready writer of truth for God. (Ps. 45:1; Col. 4:6)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Great Meltdowns of History

Recent events have served to remind us of past catastrophies.  I can remember when Chernobyl captivated headlines in the eighties following the meltdown of a nuclear reactor.   Now we fear more of the same after the devastating earthquakes in Japan are causing a nuclear plant there to go through the meltdown process.  These disasters affect more than the countries where they occurred.  There is also the threat of the spread of the nuclear fallout to other countries.  Germany has already ordered the shut down of all seven nuclear plants in that country.
Another recent incident also gives us reason to remember various meltdowns in history.  Charlie Sheen dominated the headlines for a couple of weeks following another meltdown.  This for Charlie was just one more episode in a long series of  embarrassing personal moments.  As innocent bystanders we must decide how we will  allow this to effect our lives.  It deserves some thought as to how other such meltdowns affected people.
We can begin shortly after the creation of man.  Adam went through a meltdown by blaming Eve for eating the forbidden fruit.  Then there was Cain taking the life of his brother Abel because his sacrifice was not accepted by God. Major meltdown.  Lamech reveled in his meltdown moment through his arrogance of being more infamous than Cain.
You can see many such examples given to us in Scripture.  Meltdowns have happened throughout time and we today have come to expect them.  Some even welcome them for the gossip material they provide.  Yet we don't seem to want to deal with them in ways that can help resolve the problem. What do these meltdowns have in common?  They reveal the absence of God in their lives.
For Charlie Sheen, I can't help but feel sorry for him and hope he doesn't progress to the point where he becomes suicidal.  Charlie needs help.  Above all he needs the prayers of the righteous, not the self righteous, but the righteous people of God.  No man can be truly successful if God is not a part of his life.  Success is not measured in wealth or fame, but in godliness and faithfulness before our Creator.
If we are going to avoid a meltdown of our own, we need to look to Jesus.  Even in His final days leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus never went through a meltdown.  He always entrusted Himself to the Father, who was His source of strength.  If we are to be the mirror image of Christ, we should be doing the same.  As this mirror image we will not be just another historical statistic but a name written in the book of life.  Rodger

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Tongue of Civility and Free Speech

     We are hearing voices from many places telling us our speech needs to become more civil.  We need to stop the vitriolic diatribes that have become much too commonplace in our society.  While speaking out against certain groups of people may lead one to be charged with a crime of hate speech, the Supreme Court recently ruled the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church don't violate the free speech amendment of the Constitution.  It is lawful according to man's law, but is evil according to God's word.
     So as days go by the lack of civility grows and hatred grows deeper in the hearts and minds of people.  If there is to be an answer where does one go to find it?  I would suggest, and rather strongly, that we go back to the supreme example of life.  This brings us directly into contact with Jesus and His word.  What Jesus taught in His earthly ministry applies to all mankind.  The reason there is so much hatred in the words people speak is because the church has not continued to apply the teachings of Jesus in their life.
     What must first be understood is there is to be no compromising of the truth.  Jesus never did this and does not expect us to.  We must also understand Jesus did not have to say something Himself in order for the teaching to be from Jesus.  If we hold the Scriptures to be the word of God, then all of Scripture is embodied in the teachings of Jesus.  Whether it be recorded in the gospel or the other New Testament writings, what is there is God breathed.  If God speaks to us through the word, and that word is Jesus (Heb. 1:1,2; Jn. 1:1,14) then we acknowledge the divine authority of all Scripture.
     Jesus said, "But let your statement be Yes,yes, or No, no; and anything beyond this is evil." (Mt. 5:37) Jesus simply tells us to mean what we say and stand on your words.  It used to be said a man's word was his bond.  If he said it he meant it and did it.  Such we should be today.  If we are to be people of love, we can speak truth without the destructive words that hurt people instead of building them up. (Col. 4:6 Eph. 4:31)  As much as we like to share as Christians, gossip is still a sin.
     We all have studied much about the tongue and James is very clear as to how we are to conduct ourself in the house of God. (James 3)  If we want society to improve its speech habits we need to start in the church.  We need to show people how important God's word is in its teachings of everyday life as well as salvation.  Since you can't teach about God in schools, the home becomes the place where real teaching needs to take place.
     Jesus was able to turn the hearts of people to God and he did this in a loving way.  He had His moments of anger and still did not sin.  What we need to learn is how to communicate in godly ways.  Do not be afraid to stand for truth, and proclaim that truth in love.  As a mirror image of Jesus we can still allow God's word to reveal its truth if we are willing to abide by it ourselves.  Free speech is not the issue.  The problem lies in the heart of man and what he thinks of others.  When we see them as God's creation we will address them as such and so fulfill the law of love.  That is what Jesus would do.   Rodger

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


     Some of you may remember the song recorded by Louis Armstrong, "What A Wonderful World."  In this song he speaks of many things that bring joy to his life for he looks upon the things God has created.  When we behold the beauty of this world we also are reminded of God's wondrous works and proclaim, "what a wonderful world."
     There may be other times however, when we look out and see some things not so appealing.  Some of what we see may be the condition of the world.  Some may concern our own home or our personal life.  Still other things we see may be affecting the church for which Jesus died.  Jeremiah had this in mind when he wrote, "An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so!  But what will you do at the end of it?" (Jer. 5:30,31)
     Jeremiah records the word of God in this prophecy as Jehovah sees His people go astray.  The prophets were not faithful to their calling, and the priests paid no attention to God's authority.  This would be truly appalling and horrible if we were to experience such a thing.  I quoted from the New American Standard version of the Bible the passage from Jeremiah 5.  The King James translation uses the word 'wonderful' instead of 'appalling.'  When we think of something wonderful, our thoughts turn to the positive views of what is pleasing or enjoyable.  'Wonderful' can also mean to astonish or be astonished. 
     Don't we find it astonishing how people can abuse God's word, or reject His authority?  Rightly, we are appalled at worldly situations and even more so of problems affecting the church.  It is now we need to be even more dependent upon God's word and lean upon His truth and not our own understanding.  Though unsure of what daily events  may come our way, let us not grow to love the world or the ungodly ways of others.  God is asking what will be done at the end of it, or when the day of accountability arrives.  What would we do?
     The best way to avoid such a predicament is to stay focused on the positive things of God and not allow the negative influences of life to overwhelm us.  As we live life in the light of God's love we can look at the blessings of life and the beauty that surrounds us, and still proclaim, "what a wonderful world!"  Rodger

Thursday, January 27, 2011

She Looks A Lot Like You

I looked upon my newest grandchild today.  She is the third grandchild and the first granddaughter.  When I saw a picture of her a couple of days ago, I remember saying, "she does look a lot like Naomi."  Naomi is the youngest of the children given to Denise and me through the wondrous works of God.  Noticing how much Olivia Anne resembled her got me to thinking about our Lord all over again.
The theme of this blog is "mirror image" and again the words of 2 Corinthians 3:18 come back to me, "But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit."  As babes we reflect the purity of Jesus spiritually just as Olivia resembled Naomi physically.  But how long does that mirror image last?
Olivia will grow, as will Naomi, and their physical features will change with the years as they pass through the stages of life.  There may always be a certain resemblance.  Whether there is or not, it is not the physical appearance that matters.  As we grow spiritually are we still trying to look like our Lord?  Are we allowing the Lord to continually transform us into His image?
A precious price was paid so that we could all be made into the Lord's image spiritually.  The Lord desires we truly become bearers of His image, of His character, and not like the one who looks at his natural face in a mirror, but then goes away forgetting what he looks like (James 1:23,24). Or what he is supposed to look like.  I think Naomi and Olivia are very pretty on the outside although I may be a bit biased. I hope to play a role in helping them to be beautiful on the inside.
If we are to be the mirror image of Christ, let us pay the utmost attention to the one who stands in the mirror, and make sure that when we walk away, we do so with the love of Jesus in our heart and his truth on our lips. Rodger

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sainthood Need Not Wait

    On this day I have heard of the beatification of Pope John Paul II, moving him one step closer to sainthood and its blessing.  How marvelous for this man to be so honored even more quickly than those who have passed from this life before him.  Are there some who deserve a higher standing than others who are mere mortals?  Jesus was speaking against the evil intent of some who accused Him of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub. (Lu. 11:17ff) When He finished His teaching a woman in the crowd raised her voice and declared, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts at which You nursed." (vs. 27)  Notice then the words of Jesus in response to the woman, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it." (vs. 28)  Jesus did not elevate His mother to the place man desired for her, but instead spoke of those who will be lifted up by God Himself.
     When Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians he addressed them as saints and faithful brethren. (1:2)  The reason for this address shows us the state of those who have been sanctified by God.  Through the gospel we are called out of the world as the Colossians were (1:5, 13,14; 2:9ff), and are then added to those who are being saved. (Acts 2:47)  Those who are sanctified are in the church, the body of Christ of which Jesus is the head. (Col. 1:18)  Paul also relates the mystery of past ages has been manifested, or made known, to the saints who comprise the church, and are recipients of the riches of the glory revealed in the gospel, which is eternal life. (Ro. 6:23; Col. 1:27)
     The words Jesus spoke to the woman as recorded by Luke relates to those who hear and obey the gospel.  We are blessed because of the wonderful gift of grace and mercy God provides to us, as well as  having been sanctified by God, thus making us saints.  As we walk according to the word of God in faithful obedience, we find the constant cleansing of the blood of Jesus. (1 Jn. 1:7) It is not what we have done but what has been done for us.  We are not elevated above other men but are simply set apart and the Father knows those who are His.
     If we are to live as the mirror image of Jesus let us not elevate man higher than he ought to be, but let us hold up the word of God as the standard of life to the world.  Sainthood need not wait, it is available now for those who choose to be sanctified by God  through the washing of Jesus' blood.  Rodger