Growing In Godliness Blog
Jesus, A Real ManFriday, June 02, 2023
Jesus, A Real Man
By Paul Earnhart
Jesus was a real man. He was not a fictitious character Iike Santa CIaus or Superman.
Jesus lived here in this world at a certain time and in a certain place. This makes Him different from fictional or mythical characters. The stories of mythical characters usually begin with such words as, “Once upon a time in a land far away.” The story of Jesus does not begin that way. In Matthew's account the very location of His birthplace is revealed, and the presence of shepherds nearby is described. Even today, you can go to Bethlehem and walk the streets of that city and see the very fields where the shepherds watched their flocks by night.
In Luke's account, the time of His birth is given--not the day or the month--not even the year, for they did not count years then as we do now. But Luke pinpointed the period exactly by telling who the emperor of Rome was, and who was governor of Syria and describing a census which took place while he was governor. Luke is even more specific about the time when Jesus began HIs ministry. All of this makes it possible for students of history to know exactly when Jesus Iived as well as where he Iived.
The Bible is not a book of myths or fables. It is a book of history. Luke tells us that he did considerable research to make certain his account of the life of Jesus was accurate (Luke 1:1-4). Since Luke was so specific, those who did not believe in Jesus could easily check out the accuracy of what he wrote. Even today, the science of archeology has confirmed the accuracy of Luke's writings about geography, politics and ancient custom. If he was so accurate in reporting those things, we can believe what he wrote about Jesus.
What he and the other men wrote was that Jesus was a real man, but not merely a man. Not just the son of Mary, He was the Son of God, God's messenger to the world.
ANGELSFriday, May 26, 2023
By Larry Coffey
If you google the word “angels”, you will receive a lot of information about the Los Angles Angels baseball team. This may not have happened in the late 20th century when television shows and many books and articles were about angels. I have no research available to support it, but my impression is that angels have fallen out of favor in our present society.
One who reads the Bible will be aware of angels since the NKJV Exhaustive Concordance states the words “angel” or “angels” appears 361 times in the Bible. Like many others, as I read the Bible, I noted angels mentioned a lot but I didn’t know much about angels until I taught a class on the subject about 10 years ago. Other DH members showed a lot of interest, so I repeated the class two more times.
Who are angels and what do they do? W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words has this to say in part:
“An angel is a messenger sent whether by God or by man or by Satan, and is also used of a guardian or representative in Rev. 1:20, Mt. 18:10, but most frequently of an order of created beings superior to man, Heb. 2:7, belonging to heaven, Mt. 24:36, and to God, Lk. 12:8, and engaged in His service, Psa. 103:20.”
Michael Hardin in his class book on angels lists the following functions they perform:
--Angels are helpers and protectors to God’s people in need, Psa. 34:7.
--Angels come to give God’s people guidance and direction, Gal. 3:19.
--Angels come to call men to special missions, Ex. 3:2.
--Angels come to rescue people from great danger, Gen. 19.
There are many more things which could be listed that angels have done.
The Preceptor Magazine, October 2003 edition had an article on thoughts and questions about angels. It listed some things angels and men have in common:
--Both angels and men are alive. Both have the ability to move about, speak and worship God.
--Neither is deity. Both are of a lower order than God. Men are yet a little lower than angels.
--Both can choose to obey or disobey God. Each is held responsible for their choice. Their final state will depend on the choice they make, Rom. 6:16, Jude 6.
--Both have feelings or emotions. The angels shouted for joy when God laid the foundation of the earth, Job 38:4-6.
--Men marry and are given in marriage, and by procreation populate the earth and continue the race, Lk. 20:34, Gen. 1:28. Angels do not marry and procreate, Mt. 22:30, Neh. 9:6. This implied that angels are sexless beings. As a result, there are no baby angels, no cupids with bows and no teen angels.
--Men are visible to one another while alive. Angels, as spirit beings, are invisible to men. There are occasions when the eyes of the beholder have been opened so that he has the ability to see angels, Gen. 18 and 19, Lk. 24:4.
--Men are mortal and subject to death, Heb. 9:27. Angels are immortal, not subject to death, Lk. 20:34-38.
--Men have a Savior, Jesus Christ. Angels that sin are kept in Tartarus in chains of darkness until their judgment, Jude 6, 2 Pet. 2:4.
To me, one of the greatest things about angels is that they are sent here to help Christians. We read in Hebrews 1:13-14: “And to which of the angels has he ever said, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet? Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?”
Someone may ask, do we have a guardian angel? I don’t believe the Bible teaches we have a specific angel to help us. Why would we want one angel when we could have many? I will take the many and be thankful for God’s grace in providing angels to help and serve us.
AttendanceFriday, May 19, 2023
By Larry Coffey
Ed Byers, my father-in-law, was a charter member of the Douglass Hills church. He served as an elder of this church for 26 years. I know of no one who was more devoted and worked harder for this church than he did. Also, I have never known anyone who attributed more importance of attending our worship periods than he did.
Of course, he knew and taught there was more to being a Christian than attending the worship services. His view was like that of long-time preacher, Roy E. Cogdill, who wrote in the Expressway church bulletin in 1977 the following: “Attendance at the services of the church is the best index of interest in one’s own spiritual growth, and is a certain indication of one’s own interest in the Lord’s church.”
When encouraging members to attend our worship periods we often quote Hebrews 10:24-25 which reads: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Bobby Graham does a Q. A. column in Truth Magazine each month and in the April, 2022 edition, writes the following regarding Hebrews 10: 24-25: “In my judgment, the Holy Spirit was appealing to the Hebrew Christians to rescue them from drifting away from Christ in their disastrous return to the Law of Moses. One should get the point here: their assembling with each other, and the beneficial effects noted in verses 24 and 25, was one divine provision for their spiritual strength/stamina, so that they remain faithful to Christ. They needed such assemblies for their spiritual survival.”
Here is a story that appeared in church bulletins several years ago relating to the importance of attendance: “Paul Harvey once reported news of a 73-year-old man who was pinned beneath his farm tractor for four days and nights in rain and a terrible storm. Concerned friends went to see about him just in time. He lived after his ordeal but lost a leg. Several newspapers picked up on the story and centered upon the amazing fact that a 73-year-old man could live after being pinned beneath a tractor for four days. That is amazing, but what is more amazing is what caused his friends to go see about him. One friend said the reason was that he missed prayer meeting on Wednesday night. That’s all? He just missed one service and his friends went to check on him. This man was so faithful and regular in his church attendance that everyone knew if he was not there, something had to be seriously wrong. A question. What if you had been the one pinned under the tractor? Would your absence have been noticed? Or would you have died under the wheel?”
Brother Ed knew there were times when members could not attend services, such as sickness, disabled, etc. But he also knew people gave all kinds of excuses for not attending when they were perfectly capable of doing so. People claim they can’t come to the worship periods, but they can go lots of other places, such as restaurants, shopping, vacations, doctor check-ups, etc.
He was concerned for the souls of his brethren and did not hesitate to try to encourage them often to demonstrate their love for the Lord by attending every worship period available. He knew their spiritual health was far more important than their physical health.
I agree with my father-in-law. I love and miss you brother Ed.
The Desperate Need for LoveFriday, May 12, 2023
The Desperate Need for Love
By Mark McCrary
The world is in desperate need of love. A lack of love and compassion is at the very heart of most of the problems plaguing us today—war, racism, mass shootings… the list goes on and on. In a time where there seems to be so much division, hatred, and fear, it is more important than ever to embrace love as the answer to our problems. The Bible tells us that love is not only important, but it is also essential to our well-being as individuals, as a church, and as a society.
In 1 John 4:8, the Bible tells us that "God is love." Love is not just something God does; it is who He is. It is the very essence of His nature. The Bible also tells us we are made in His image (Genesis 1:26). That entails many things, but certainly that we need to reflect Him to the world around us. Therefore, if He is love, we must be love as well; we need to love as He loves. Jesus reminds us that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40). In John 13:34-35, He tells us, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Love has the power to overcome hate, to heal wounds, and to bring people together. When we love others, we are showing them the same grace and mercy that God has shown us. We are breaking down the barriers that divide us and building bridges of understanding and compassion. Love allows us to see people for who they are, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, or background.
In 1 Corinthians 13, often referred to as the "love chapter," the Bible describes what love looks like in action. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
This kind of love is what we need more of in our world today. And beloved, it is our duty as Christians to model it. Our families, friends, and coworkers need to see this love alive in us.
Am I showing this kind of love? To people who make me angry? To sinners? Let’s ask God to help us accept the words of the apostle John while examining our hearts: “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
The world needs love right now because love has the power to transform lives and bring about positive change. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to love others as He loves us. We need to be agents of love, showing kindness, compassion, and understanding to those around us. If we all choose to love one another, we can make a difference in our world and bring hope to those who need it most.
Attendance AttitudesFriday, May 05, 2023
By Gary Watson
Hebrews 10:24-25: "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
Note from this passage that we have a command to meet together as the saints. The reasons given for meeting are to stir one another to love and good works and to encourage one another. Also, other passages of scripture show that we are to meet to remember the Lord’s death and to worship God.
Some have lax attitudes toward meeting with the saints. They may believe that elders view those with consistent attendance at assemblies of the saints as better than those who do not assemble consistently. They may view attendance as a check-off requirement.
This writing does not address those who are home-bound due to illness or other medical or ambulatory limitations. This writing addresses those who do not see meeting with fellow Christians as essential to pleasing God. Some might say work schedules keep them from regular attendance. This writing does not address those who work and desire to be at assemblies. THIS WRITING ADDRESSES THE BELIEF THAT ATTENDANCE IS NOT ESSENTIAL TO A CHRISTIAN’S LIFE.
Let’s look at how the very first Christians viewed their assembling together: Acts 2:42-47: "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God…”
A facebook piece pokes fun at lax attendance attitudes:
Borrowed and OUCH!!!!
What would it look like if the disciples valued worship and community like many believers do their church gatherings?
Peter - "My mother-in-law came in for the weekend."
Andrew - "I was up kinda late last night."
James (the son of Zebedee) - "Really needed some 'me' time."
John - "I was there last week. Besides, I'm not really being fed."
Philip - "Finally had a sunny day to hit the lake."
Bartholomew - "Had brunch scheduled with my Uncle Zed."
Thomas - "I doubt it would have been any good today."
Matthew - "I had to get my taxes done."
James (the son of Alphaeus) - "My dad (Alphaeus) wanted to fish today."
Thaddaeus - "The kids needed a rest day."
Simon - "I didn't hear my alarm. Because I didn't set it. Because I don't have one."
Judas - "Getting tired of hearing the same old message."
Going to church is not about checking a religious box off your "make God happy" list. It's about being invested in the lives of others; participating in the mission of the gospel; loving and being loved. Following Jesus was never meant to be a solo experience. Pull up a seat at the table. It is a level table and there is room for all of us.