Upon This Rock MONTHLY MAGAZINE OF HIS TRUTH BE TOLD APRIL 2013
“Equipping Others to Serve the Savior”
Greeting Saints, I have been inundated with people who believe that they can reinvent what God said for their purposes. And this is disturbing. I was watching a classic movie entitled, ―Murder on the Orient Express‖. In this movie, a man is killed because he had committed the horrible crime of murdering a five year old child. The child‘s murder also resulted in the death of her parents and a household servant who was unjustly accused and later committed suicide. The murderer was able, through bribery, to escape punishment for his crime. Twelve people who were directly affected by his crime decided to give him justice. All twelve participated in a revenge act of murder by killing him. When confronted by the sleuth in the story with their actions, one character stated, ―I prayed to the Lord about what I was going to do and I believe he told me that it was alright to do this.‖ Immediately the scripture came to mind ―There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death‖ (Proverbs 14:12). While this was just a movie, what concerns me is that I hear the same statement by our brothers and sisters in Christ regarding how they choose to live when it is in direct violation of God‘s word. Oh my brothers and sisters, I admonish you to follow the words of Paul, ―Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect‖ (Romans 12:1-2). In our magazine this month, we are striving to encourage believers to follow the principles of godly living based on the word of God. Find a quiet place, get your favorite beverage and spend time reading this issue. Enjoy! Sherrese
Table of Contents Feature Article ................................................................................................................................................... 3 Saved, Sanctified and Single .............................................................................................................................. 7 When Two Become One ................................................................................................................................... 10 Children’s Corner ............................................................................................................................................ 11 Youth On The Move: Ask Nick and Ebonie ...................................................................................................... 12 Reflections ........................................................................................................................................................ 14 Two Every Man An Answer.............................................................................................................................. 15 Missions Matter ............................................................................................................................................... 17 Parenting.......................................................................................................................................................... 19 Featured Congregation .................................................................................................................................... 21
His Truth Be Told is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving God by serving others. By God‘s grace, we desire to see lives transformed, families restored, communities strengthen and society changed. We are committed to sharing the Word of God by following Jesus‘ command to make disciples of all nations and to teach them the things He has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). We believe that as the faith of individual Christians are strengthen, local churches are healthier and communities are changed. His Truth Be Told provides hosts bible workshops, seminars and conferences. We also provide training for bible teachers and evangelism training. If at any time His Truth Be Told can provide you, your family or friends with biblical teaching and/or training, please don‘t hesitate to contact us at 240-606-2291, visit us online at www.histruthbetold.org or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 FEATURE Article
The Day Death Died Calvin Darby Something Right, Went Horribly Wrong! It was another wonderful day in the garden. I went about my daily work as set forth by my Employer. In fact, He gave me a strict set of orders to follow and I was not opposed to those orders. Well, at least not initially. After all, my Employer and I had a very intimate relationship. He loved me unconditionally and I Him. He provided everything I would ever need and I appreciated it very, very much. However, even in the midst of such perfection, I felt something was missing. This was not lost on my Employer, for He also knew something was missing. In yet another act of His infinite love, concern and kindness towards and for me, He created someone who would not only resemble me physically, but this creation was able to communicate with me, understand me and love me. This creation could feel my joy, understand my thoughts and share in my work. Praise be to the Lord God! Of all His creations, I‘ve not met a creation of such magnitude; finally, an equal. So wonderful was this creation, that I couldn‘t help but proclaim, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 2:23
Oh, the love our Creator has shown me and now us. Our relationship grew deeper by the day. He walked with us and talked with us daily. There was nothing standing between us and His unending love and care for us. So awesome is the love of our Creator, that even after thousands of years, others who would experience His love would say, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?...For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35, 38-39)
But then, the unthinkable happened. My wife and I disobeyed our Creator; our loving and compassionate God. It is then that we experienced and knew in full measure, His holiness, His Righteousness and His Wrath! It‘s been many, many years since that fateful day of disobedience. Oh, what strange madness overtook us on the day that we disobeyed Him? Oh, why did we disobey the One who is 100% perfect, 100% of the time? The One who did nothing but love us, care for us and protect us? He gave us everything we needed. His only command was that we not eat the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden: ―And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ―You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die‖ (Genesis 2:16-17).
I made a pretense of blaming my wife and by extension, our Creator. Even my wife found someone, well something to blame. No, there was no passing the buck. We were guilty, guilty as sin. Sin, yeah, that‘s what we did and we have no excuse. Sin, oh I remember the days when I didn‘t know what sin was. I greatly miss those days. The wonderful, loving and merciful Savior that He is; even in our sin, He promised to save humanity: “I will put enmity [animosity] between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your offspring [followers] and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). Something Wrong, Went Wonderfully Right! I couldn‘t believe it! No matter how much I played it over in my mind, I just couldn‘t believe it. They‘ve crucified our Lord. I‘ll never forget the night when they came to the garden to arrest Him on trumped up charges. It was hard to accept that Judas Iscariot betrayed our Lord. Indeed, he betrayed us all. He ate with us, worked with us, prayed with us, worshiped with us; went to synagogue with us. Rightly did the word of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah say, ―The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?‖ (Jeremiah 17:9). He fooled us all, except the Lord of course. It was He who told us, ―…Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me‖ (Matthew 26:21). We began to question each other, as we were each desperate to know which one of us He was referring to. Then He said, ―…He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born‖ (vv. 23-24). Then ―Judas, who would betray him, answered, ‗Is it I, Rabbi?‘ He said to him, ‗You have said so‘‖ (v. 25). Indeed he did! “Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him. (Mark 14:10-11)
The religious leaders worked diligently through the night at this farce of a trial. Having no valid charges to bring against our Lord, they lied and schemed: ―Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, ―We heard him say, ‗I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.‘‖ Yet even about this their testimony did not agree‖ (Mark 14:55-59). These false witnesses were no doubt present that incredible day in the temple. It was amazing! ―In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the moneychangers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the moneychangers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, ‗Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade‘‖ (John 2:14-17). His actions caused no small commotion. ―…the Jews said to him, ‗What sign do you show us for doing these things?‘ Jesus answered them, ‗Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.‘ The Jews then said, ‗It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?‘ But he was speaking about
the temple of his body‖ (John 2:18-21). Nothing will ever remove that image of our Lord hanging on that Roman cross. It wasn‘t enough for our people and the religious leaders to make a mockery of the legal system, corrupt that it was. No, they displayed their full hatred of Jesus by lying on Him, smacking Him, beating Him, spitting on Him and mocking Him. Their hatred continued to grow as they placed a fake crown made of twisted rusted thorns onto His head; causing further injury, blood loss and excruciating pain (see Matthew 27:27-56, Mark 15:21-38, Luke 23:26-49, and John 19:16-37). This pain couldn‘t begin to compare to the pain of being nailed to that old rugged cross. As each rusty thorn penetrated His flesh causing incredible agony, I remember when He said, ―And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself‖ (John 12:32). Jesus was always loving, compassionate and kind. Even on the cross, as He hung there in unimaginable suffering, painfully lifting His body just to take a breath; His back shredded from many lashes; thorns piercing His hands and feet and the throbbing pain from the sharp thorns pressing down on His head; He still had the compassion to say, ―…Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do‖ (Luke 23:34). Our brother Paul later stated that, ―For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God‖ (2 Corinthians 5:21). As He hung there, paying the price for the sin of all humanity, He stated in clear, unmistakable words, ―…It is finished, and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit‖ (John 19:30). They were the longest three days of my life. Ironic, considering the previous three years were the best days of my life as we walked with Jesus; learning at His feet and witnessing His many miracles. We were all hoping He was the Messiah. Now He was gone. Or was He? The Day Death Died It‘s been three days now since we witnessed those horrific events that took our Lord‘s life. Take? That‘s not quite the right word. After all, He did tell us that, ―No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father‖ (John 10:18). Why was it so difficult for us to believe His words? It was obvious that God was with Him. He never said, thought or did anything that displeased God. Indeed, it was Father who said from heaven, ―This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him‖ (Matthew 17:5). Why did we not listen? These last three days took their toll on all of us. It seemed to be just another early morning, but we soon learned that this morning would be the most amazing morning in the history of the world. This would be the morning that death died! Jesus‘ mission was complete. By His death and resurrection, He secured eternal salvation for all who place their trust in Him. Not some false hope as many religious leaders promise. The ―freedom‖ they offer is nothing more than veiled bondage. Our Lord made it clear that, ―…if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed‖ (John 8:36). True freedom! Freedom from the power of sin; freedom from the never-ending attempts to gain God‘s favor through works; freedom from living a life of trying to please others at the expense of pleasing God. Freedom! The ultimate freedom—freedom from the fear of death: “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” Hebrews 2:14-15
I remember thinking about the future; it seemed full of endless possibilities and miraculous. But then our Lord was dead. But on this wonderful morning, it was no longer the future that looked miraculous. The present was now beyond miraculous! You could hear the excitement in their voices. Jesus is alive! Jesus is alive! He promised that He would rise in three days and now here were Mary Magdalene, Salome, Joanna and the other women telling us that the tomb is empty and that our Lord will meet us in Galilee (Luke 24:9-10; Mark 16:1-2; Matthew 28:5-10). Unfortunately, some of us took their story for nothing more than a fanciful tale (Luke 24:11). Oh, how wrong we were!
What a remarkable time that was. There He was alive and full of life. He is incredible. So incredible that some of us were so stunned that we couldn‘t believe it. So, He asked, ―Have you anything here to eat?‖ (Luke 24:41). After showing us His hands and feet and eating with us, He ―…opened [our] minds to understand the Scriptures‖ (verse 45). He then went on to instruct us by saying, ―Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high‖ (verses 46-49). That was just like Jesus; always doing more than you could ever imagine. Power from high? The Holy Spirit? Unbelievable! No, this time we believe! ________________________________________________ Humanity‘s wonderful and untainted relationship with God was lost in a garden (the Garden of Eden). How fitting that on Resurrection morning, Jesus rose and showed himself in another garden (the garden tomb). Our relationship with God can now be restored, but only through the One who walks with us not just in the cool of the day, but all day, every day; the only true God and Savior, Jesus of Nazareth! When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:54-58 *All scripture taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).
7 SAVED, SANCTIFIED AND SINGLE
Have You Found The One? His Truth Be Told Staff Is he the one? Is she the one? If I only had a nickel for every time I‘ve had this question asked. It‘s not an unfair question or useless question. But it is a question that we desperately want a surefire answer to. Unfortunately, there isn‘t one. Okay, so that‘s not the answer you were hoping for. But before you stop reading this article; please allow us to offer some suggestions for helping you decide if you‘ve indeed found ―the one‖. Despite the many claims of dating services, finding ―the one‖ is more art than science. Think about the complexity of human relationships for a moment. We‘re talking about two people with different backgrounds, personalities, likes and dislikes, worldviews and habits. And that‘s just for starters. Finding someone in regards to marriage is a serious undertaking and should never be undertaken lightly or just to fill a physical or emotional void in our lives. Your choice of a spouse is on the short list of one of the most important decisions you‘ll ever make. In fact, this decision will impact not only your life, but the life of your spouse, your family, his/her family, your friends and his/her friends. This decision is so important; we often don‘t want to have to make it solely on our own, so we defer to such things as signs, confirmations, seeking advice from poor sources or from our feelings. When it comes to marriage, it is interesting that we often begin with the question of ―who‖ we should marry instead of ―if‖ we should get marry. We can spend years asking God to send us ―the one‖ and as the years go on, so does the frustration. This frustration could be due to the fact that you‘ve assumed God wants you to get married and you‘ve never taken the time to ask Him if you should even get married. Now, when we talk about whether you ―should‖ get married, we are referring to a ―desirable or expected state‖, not whether something is good or bad. Being single is not a curse as many have made it out to be. In fact, singleness, like marriage is a gift: ―Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am [unmarried]. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another‖ (1 Corinthians 7:6). To make the right choice in selecting a spouse, we search through the scriptures in the vain attempt of finding that winning formula to finding ―the one‖. Although such a formula does not exist, there are biblical guidelines for helping you in selecting a spouse (provided you‘ve already determined that you should get married). In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul outlines the advantages and disadvantages of being single and married. However, he leaves the choice squarely on the shoulders of the believer. His concern is that we carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each and choose wisely.
Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. 1 Corinthians 7:25 But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you. 1 Corinthians 7:28
Marriage is a very serious matter and we are instructed to make a wise decision in getting married as well as who we get married to. Garry Friesen makes the following astute observation concerning whether or not to get married: The decision about our choice of singleness or marriage must be made according to spiritual advantage or benefit. Paul‘s detailed discussion urges us to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of each state for serving God. The believer is then free and responsible to choose the state that, in his judgment, will bring the greatest benefit to the Lord‘s kingdom. For some, singleness is better than marriage; but for others, the natural state of marriage is better. The objective for the believer is not to find the decision God has already made…, but to make a wise decision.1 Contrary to popular belief, the biblical guidelines for Christians to marry are quite simple: The person must be of the opposite sex (Genesis 2:21-25) The person must be a Christian (2 Corinthians 6:14-15) The person must be biblically free to remarry (1 Corinthians 7:39) So now that you‘ve determined that it is wise and god-honoring for you to get married, here are some suggestions to help you determine if you have indeed found ―the one‖. Just the Facts One of the most overlooked methods for obtaining valuable information in dating relationships is the asking of relevant questions. Because our emotions can easily mislead us, we must learn to ask good questions in order to make wise decisions. Deciding who you should marry cannot be determined simply by how wonderful they make you feel. Emotions are too fluent for that. Your goal must be to make a wise decision, not just a decision. While some facts are simply gathered over the time spent together, some facts can only be gathered by asking questions. Some questions that can help you make a wise decision in this matter are: Do you view marriage as a lifelong commitment? Do you want to have children? If so, how many? If not, why not? What was your childhood like? How were you raised? How do you believe children should be disciplined? What are your hobbies? What things irritate you the most and why? How do view the roles of husbands and wives? How involved do you think relatives should be in a marriage? In a blended family, what role do you see for the non-biological spouse? Would you ever consider adoption? Do important is a career to you? Do you want your wife to be a stay-at-home mom? Why or why not? These and other questions are not be asked in a rigid fact finding manner that would scare off potential marriage partners, but if you want to know what your partner thinks, you need to ask. Because you are seeking to marry another person and not yourself, the answers to some questions will be different. What you have to decide is if those differences are show stoppers in moving your relationship forward or terminating it. Knowing where you and your partner differ can help you navigate those differences in a way that‘s compatible and enhances your relationship instead of fracturing it. Having meaningful conversations on a variety of topics is one of the best ways 1
Garry Friesen, Decision-making and the will of God, (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah, 2004), 298
to make a wise decision in this very important matter. The answers to these and other questions can remove the rose-colored glasses we often wear and help compare perception against reality. Be Authentic One of the things that make new relationships fun, interesting and exciting can also be the thing that tears it apart; not being authentic. At the beginning of most relationships, we put our best foot forward. This is fine and to be expected. However, we should not continue to show only what we believe to be the best aspects of ourselves. So instead of showing an authentic version of ourselves, we portray the person we think our partner wants us to be. This leads to a relationship built on false pretenses. In every relationship, there comes a time when it‘s time to be real. After all, we want a relationship that‘s based on truth, not falsehood. Over the years, I‘ve had many people tell me that ―people change after they get that piece of paper‖. It‘s not likely that a person totally changes after getting married. What is more likely is that we never got to know the actual person to begin with. In too many instances, couples continue to wear their masks until after the wedding. It then seems that two strangers got married. So instead of just dealing with the normal period of adjustment and the joys of being newlyweds, these couples now have to deal with the frustration, uncertainty, surprise and sometimes anger that who they thought they married doesn‘t actually exist. Putting our best foot forward is only natural when dating. However, we must also be honest with our partners; showing them the less then flattering sides of ourselves and they must do the same. Anything less is flirting with disaster. Either your partner is going to love you, all of you, for who you actually are or they won‘t. So, be honest about your feelings, dreams, goals, beliefs, preferences as well as what you expect from your relationship. Above all, be honest with yourself about these things. Don‘t try to make an unrealistic fantasy appear in real life and give your partner the space, time and freedom to honest with you. Doing so, will not only enhance your relationship; it will lead to a clearer decision-making process that involves facts, reality and proper perspectives than just raging emotions or an attempt to combat the fear of being alone. Seek Godly Counsel In considering if the person you‘re with is ―the one‖, wise counsel should be sought. Most of us have family members, friends or Christian leaders (e.g. pastors, teachers, etc.) that we can talk things out with. Proverbs 15:22 tells us that, ―Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.‖ Finding someone that you trust and who is spiritually mature in Christ can offer you wise counsel in making one of the most impactful decisions of your life. The honesty mentioned in the previous section is also needed here. You must be honest with the person you‘re seeking counsel from and they must be honest with you as well; pointing out possible dangers in the relationship as well those things that are positive. In deciding who to receive counsel from, you should seek out the person(s) that can be honest with you and who also have your best interest at heart. Be Prepared The Boy Scouts are not the only ones who should follow the motto, Be prepared! Proper preparation is a very important part to a successful marriage. Don‘t kid yourself, human relationships are complex and treating them with objectivity and wisdom will lead to happiness and success. But that happiness and success will not happen by accident. It must be intentional and that means work. Work is not a nasty four-letter word. It is something to take pride in and get pleasure from. If you‘re in a relationship that is moving towards marriage (or at least you hope it is), then you should avail yourself to the many resources that can help you in making a wise decision in your dating relationship. While there is no surefire checklist, we believe that implementing the suggestions in this article will be a help to you. Relationships don‘t have to be stressful and marriage doesn‘t need to be feared. That was never God‘s intention, so don‘t make it yours.
When Two Become One
Stirring the Pot His Truth Be Told Staff Because of the stresses in our lives, many couples have found themselves questioning whether they should stay married when the flame is low and almost dead. When you were single, dating or engaged, you probably thought you would never feel this way in your marriage. But now you wake up and find that oh, so wonderful chill you got whenever they we near hasn‘t been seen or heard from in a long time. Unfortunately, this negative feeling doesn‘t need years before it occurs. It can happen in the first year, the tenth year or the fiftieth year of marriage. Interestingly, it often happens in the first year. This is often when the fantasy of what marriage is like has been replaced by the reality of what marriage really is. Don‘t despair, there is hope! There are a couple of things you need to do before we get started. 1. Commit yourself to praying for your spouse and for your marriage 2. Remove the word regret and divorce from your vocabulary. Now, let‘s just start with small tasks and move from there in order to rekindle your love for each other. Why did you marry your spouse? a. Get a journal of some kind and honestly write down you answer to that question. Be specific. Then read what you wrote. If you find that the reasons you married were not good or unwise then confess to the Lord and let go of it. Start with a clean slate. However, if you married for good and wise reasons, then make a list of your reasons on another sheet of paper and keep it in the place where you have your quiet time or carry it with you and remind yourself each day why you got married. b. Name six things about your spouse that you either like or that they are good at. Each day you are going to thank the Lord for these things in your spouse‘s life and find a way to compliment your spouse each day. c. Your prayer this month is: ―Lord help me to love my spouse the way that you want me to‖.
Every great fire begins with a small flame. We will add to our tasks each month. If you are willing share with us how you are doing throughout the month. We will always keep your name anonymous. _____________________________________________________________________________ We would love to receive your feedback on this article or any other questions that you may have. Please email us at: MooreOnMarriage@HisTruthBeTold.com *These articles are not a substitute for couples whose marriage is in crisis. In that event, we highly recommend that you seek out professional Christian counseling.
Children’s Corner Bible Reading – 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 (ESV) 3
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.  So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ―They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.‖  So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb.  Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.  Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb.
Coloring Page Jesus Died on the Cross For Our Sins
Youth On The Move: Ask Nick & Ebonie Ask Nick & Ebonie is the section for youth to ask questions about God, the Bible and life in general. Nick & Ebonie Williams are dedicated to helping youth become what God has called them to be.
Bakery Dating Naomi Cassata __________________________________________ I was never one to date around in high school. Instead, I was the shy girl that slipped through barely noticed by the opposite sex. I was fairly attractive, but due to my introverted personality, I wasn't approachable (I later learned from a good friend). Feeling shy and awkward around the opposite sex was an understatement for me. I had no problem being friends with them, but anything more would have made me blush. I'm not sure why, but it I'm sure it kept me from a lot of heartbreak. What We Learned About Relationships As Teenagers Teen dating seems like a normal part of our adolescent years; despite the fact, it is fleeting and, most of all, lacks commitment. In youth group, I learned two things you need before entering a relationship: (1) Only date someone who is likeminded in my Christian beliefs based on 2 Corinthians 6:14 about not being "unequally yoked," and (2) Don't have sex before marriage. As long as you followed those rules, you had the makings of a God-ordained relationship, so I was taught. I'm not saying these are bad principles to live by. How can they, when they are Biblebased? The thing that bothers me is we never heard about the heartbreak that happens after the relationship ends or dealing with the rejection that looms over us afterwards. The matter of the fact is, minus a very small percentage, the majority of teen relationships just don't lastâ€”and rightly so; they aren't meant to. Most teens go into relationships with innocent intentions. The guy or girl is cute or they like his or her personality. Having someone to eat lunch with or go to the prom with is usually the extent of the commitment. For junior high and senior high students, marriage is far from the brain. My best friend in high school had a boyfriend for a couple of months, whom she broke up with because she found her "true love" elsewhere. Due to immaturity on both their parts, this relationship also ended a few months later. If I could influence the life of a young person, I wouldn't coach him or her on how to find the right guy or girl, but instead I would ask, "Are you ready to pursue godly marriage?" If they were completely honest, ninety-nine percent of the time, the answer would be an absolute "No!" The Sole Purpose of Relationships In my younger days, I used to think the purpose of dating was for "fun and excitement." I mean, who wants to be home every weekend, all alone, watching reruns of Full House? Not I! Consequently, this type of thinking can often be found in those that have no intentions for committing themselves to another in order to lead into marriage.
Instead, dating is merely a socially entertaining (often with physical benefits) type of relationship. And the best part, there are "no strings attached." When that relationship gets dull, they quickly move on to someone who reignites all those feelings in them once again. Passing through my college years and upper 20s, I've seen my share of the "teen dating" mindset between couples. You've seen them, or maybe you have been a victim of them yourself. One member is generally not willing to fully commit to the other; she wants the cake, but isn't willing to pay for it. They can be compared to someone browsing the delicious delicacies at the local bakery: chocolate ĂŠclairs, jam-filled donuts, moist chocolate cake all in a row. They all look wonderful and delicious with too many to choose from. Sitting down to take a bite out of one, and then not willing to pay for it, is like the person who wants the taste, enjoyment, and satisfaction of the moment but without the commitment to pay for it. Once they finish with one item and the enjoyment is gone, they move on to the next item that will bring them enjoyment. In the end, someone's heart always ends up broken, and the glory of the relationship goes to someone other than God. The sole purpose of entering a relationship is to lead up to marriage. If you're not ready spiritually, emotionally, or financially, you are wasting your time. The Bible has a lot to say about love relationships, but it is geared toward marriage covenant relationships. Why? Because that's the way God intended relationships to be from the beginningâ€” long-lasting and enduring. A mutual commitment, through marriage, is God's way of sealing a love relationship between a man and woman. Marriage relationships are meant to be lifelong commitments; therefore, throughout Scripture we are reminded of how to be faithful to that covenant. (Paul exhorts married couples in 1 Corinthians 7:10 to stay faithful to their vows; Hebrews 13:4 reminds the reader that the marriage bed is pure; and Ephesians 5:22-23 talks about husbands and wives walking in respect and love toward each other.) Dating multiple people for fun is a concept that is nowhere found in the Bible. In the book of Genesis, Chapter 2, we can take a peek at the first God-ordained love relationship. It gives us God's view on a man and woman coming together. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (verse 24). The point brought out here is for one man to be united with one woman and the two to become one flesh. This scripture leaves no room for seeking out multiple partners for short-term pleasure. Seeking out short-term relationships for "our pleasure only," with no further intentions, will always end in broken promises and broken hearts, which is nothing different from our teenage days. No, marriage minded relationships aren't fool proof, and not all will end with "Happily Ever After." But when commitment is present, there is a greater chance of success in moving toward marriage. If you are marriage-minded material, finding someone who is mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and financially ready for marriage should be the thing to consider. Submit questions, comments and suggestions to: NickAndEbonie@histruthbetold.org
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Godly Wisdom For Our Decisions
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When we’re facing a decision And we’re feeling so unsure, We need to pray for godly guidance And the wisdom of the Lord We need to wait with confidence That God will show the way And open doors we must go through Giving peace when we pray
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Show us your ways, O Lord And where we need to walk Guide us to where you want us Help us pray as we ought
Equip us with power and strength To tread upon new ground To go where we’ve not been before Where your blessings shall abound
For we shall never know how much You long to bless our lives Unless we take that step of faith And follow the steps of Christ To be where we can grow in you And become more mature in faith To live in the wisdom that you've given To be immersed in your saving grace To know your will for our lives, We but only need to ask You long to show us what to do, All we need is obedient hearts
© By M.S.Lowndes
Sunday The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ [Part 2] • 7:00pm (EST)
Monday How to Study the Bible • 1pm (EST)
Thursday The book of Genesis [Part 1] • 12 noon (EST)
Wednesday The book of Romans [Part 2] • 7pm (EST)
Coming Summer 2013 A study in the book of Daniel: Spiritual Living in a Secular World
Coming Fall 2013 A study of the book of Esther
15 To Every Man An Answer
Care Enough to Share1 ―Why are Christians so pushy with their faith? Why don‘t they just let people believe what they want to believe?‖ Chris Lutes Stu, my college roommate, had just asked the question. Stu had a very bad attitude about Christians. He thought they were either hypocrites or fanatics, or a little bit of both. I felt a hard knot form in my stomach. I wondered what I should say. I wanted to defend Christians. I also wanted to let Stu know that not all Christians were that pushy. I especially didn‘t want him to think I fit his ―negative stereotype.‖ What came out of my mouth was this: ―Well, Stu, maybe some Christians are too pushy. But think about this: Imagine I found out your mother had cancer. Let‘s say I had a cure for her cancer in a bottle in my dresser drawer. Would you want me to keep quiet about it? Just leave the cure in my dresser?‖ Stu gave me a blank stare. ―See, Stu,‖ I continued, ―Christians believe all people have a kind of spiritual cancer. We call it sin. We believe it‘s a killer—it‘ll keep you from living your life to the fullest. It‘ll keep you out of heaven and eternally separated from the God who loves you. But Christians believe we have the cure. So wouldn‘t it be wrong for us not to share this with people we believe are dying from spiritual cancer?‖ Stu remained unusually quiet. It seemed he was kind of thinking through what I‘d said. Like maybe it had made a little sense. Why Are Christians So “Serious”? Comparing sin to sickness isn‘t something I made up. Jesus used the analogy about 2,000 years ago. He once said he hung around spiritually hurting and morally messed-up people because it‘s ―not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. … For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners‖ (see Matthew 9:10-12). Jesus made it his mission to pass along ―the cure‖ for sin. In fact, his death on the cross is proof of how serious he was about this mission. It‘s also proof of how well he understood the dreaded consequences of sin. Sin is so bad it could only be cured through the death of God‘s own Son. Should we be any less serious and passionate about sharing the cure? Hardly. The reality is this: If we truly believe sin is a deadly sickness, we must care enough to offer others the ―medicine‖ of salvation. And while 1
we don‘t want to come across as pushy, we should feel a certain urgency about sharing the cure. Sharing our faith with others, however, is more than just something we should do. It‘s an incredible privilege! Just think of it: God allows us to bring his saving message to our non-Christian friends. What an honor! Telling others about Christ is also something we must do. It‘s an obligation. ―Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have,‖ Peter says in the Bible. He adds that we are to do so ―with gentleness and respect‖ (1 Peter 3:15). That‘s right: Arrogance has no place in our witness. And we are never to be, well, pushy —if pushy means ―obnoxious‖ and ―disrespectful.‖ And sometimes we don‘t even need to open our mouths. In another place, Peter says we are to live such good lives among non-Christians that ―they may see your good deeds and glorify God … ― (1 Peter 2:12). Our attitudes and actions are to reflect God‘s love and concern—so much so that others will be attracted to God. But … We are not responsible for saving anyone. This is so important, I want to say it again: We are not responsible for saving anyone. Yes, we must pray for the salvation of our non-Christian friends. Yes, we need to tell them about our faith in Christ. Yes, we must try our best to answer their toughest questions. And yes, we must live our lives so that others see Christ in us. But we cannot change people. Only God can do that. We simply do our best to prayerfully pass on the message of salvation. God takes it from there. Salvation is between God and your non-Christian friend. It‘s God‘s Spirit who makes people aware of their sin (John 16:8). It is the power of God that changes attitudes and hearts. It is God and only God who brings people into a relationship with himself (1 Corinthians 1:9, 24). So share the Great Good News. But the actual ―saving of a soul‖ is God‘s responsibility. A “Final” Word about Stu I wish I could tell you Stu became a Christian. I can‘t. Unfortunately, I lost track of him after college. Even before we finished college, though, Stu‘s attitude had changed a lot. He‘d become ―easier‖ on Christians. Less sarcastic toward them. He expressed appreciation for my friendship. And he even said he hoped that I and the other Christians he knew would be able to stay true to our beliefs. Quite a change for a guy who once thought all Christians were fanatics or hypocrites. Or both. Of course, this isn‘t really the ―final‖ word on Stu. I continue to care about him. More importantly, God continues to care about him. My friend‘s in very good hands. The hands of God. The same is true for your non-Christian friends. So care enough to pray for them regularly. Care enough to tell them about the truth that‘s changed your life. Care enough to show them God‘s love through your actions. Just be faithful and let God handle whatever comes next.
17 Missions Matter
James Hudson Taylor - Part 4 A Character story about faith1 Before Hudson Taylor finished his medical training, he faced a number of trails which God used to prepare him for his life work on China. On one occasion, he and other students were working on an autopsy of a man who died of a deadly disease. Suddenly Hudson got a pin prick from a contaminated needle. ―Get your affairs in order,‖ the doctor in charge told him. ―You will be dead by tomorrow.‖ Hudson Taylor did indeed get very sick, but God spared his life. When his medical training was completed, Hudson felt he was ready to leave for China as a missionary. Though only 21 years old, he knew he could trust the Lord to provide for him and to use him to win the Chinese to Christ. When news arrived that war was dying down in China, Hudson Taylor traveled to the office of the Chinese Evangelization Society to offer himself for service. The director was surprised to see him and when Hudson Taylor told him why he came, the director replied, ―Why, I just finished writing you a letter asking you to consider leaving soon for China. Here is the letter,‖ he said, holding out a piece of paper. Hudson Taylor was thrilled, but he knew he could not agree to go until he got his parents‘ permission. When he told them of the invitation to leave for China, they replied, ―How could we say ‗no‘? It is for this purpose we dedicated you before birth. Go in the blessing of the Lord.‖ And so, on September 19, 1853 he boarded a sturdy little ship called Dumfries and sailed for China. He said ‗good-bye‘ to his mother at home before leaving. His father was on shore to see him off as the only passenger on the 470 ton vessel. The ship traveled south through the Atlantic, around Africa, and east to China. Shortly after setting sail, they faced a violent storm. But a far worse trial came a few days later when no wind blew for several days. The ship drifted closer and closer to the rocky shore and sand bars where it would be broken and lost. ―There is nothing we can do except wait to see what will happen,‖ the captain lamented hopelessly. ―There is one thing we can do,‖ Hudson answered. Four of us on board are Christians. Let us each go to his cabin and pray for a wind to arise.‖ The captain, one of the Christians, agreed. After Hudson Taylor prayed, he came up, confident that God would answer his prayers. ―Let down the corners of the main sail,‖ he said to one of the sailors. ―What would be the use of that?‖ he sneered. ―We asked for wind and I believe God will give it.‖ The man let down the sail, grumbling as he worked. But as he did, the wind grew and soon filled the sail, just in time to save them from the danger! Arriving in a strange country after 5 months of sailing brings many strange surprises in itself. The customs, dress, language, and appearance of the people were different from anything Hudson Taylor had seen in England. But other problems also developed. He had difficulty getting a place to stay and he found that the war was still going on. Then too, his missionary support was not always sent on time from England. Not long after his arrival, he was told that a missionary couple, Dr. and Mrs. Parker, would be arriving soon and he was to find them a home. Hudson had little money, and great difficulty finding a house adequate for them. But he had learned to trust the Lord for supplies of all kinds. 1
His first task would be to learn the difficult Chinese language. As he roomed with a kind English missionary, he spent hours of hard work, mastering the picture-writing. Once he had learned to speak some Chinese, he began to work among the people. He rented a houseboat and traveled up and down the great Yangtze River to the small villages along its shores, making the most of the few sentences he knew to tell them about Jesus. Many of these people had never seen a foreigner dressed in queer clothes and with short hair. Some would come out of curiosity. Hudson Taylor and Dr. Parker would treat their medical needs and pass out New Testaments and tracts. Often they would speak to individuals at night on the boat. But in some cities they were not welcome. ―Don‘t go to Tungchow,‖ they was [sic] warned. ―They are very wicked and will hurt or kill you.‖ ―They need the Savior who can save them from their wickedness,‖ Hudson Taylor replied. They decided to go anyway. As they approached the city, a group of drunken soldiers grabbed them and began to hit and kick them. ―Let‘s kill them,‖ one man said. ―No, let‘s take them to the Mandarin,‖ another replied. They dragged them down the street to the city leader. But instead of beating the missionaries, the Mandarin accepted a New Testament. Hudson Taylor and Dr. Parker were given tea, and permission to tell the people of this city about Jesus. Hudson Taylor had many other adventures in the villages of inland China. But always something hindered his ability to share the good news about Jesus with these people. Because of his appearance, he was always viewed as a foreigner. Finally Hudson decided to do something about that. He shaved the front part of his head, dyed his hair black and fastened a braid in back. Then he took off his English clothes and put on short breeches and a loose shirt. Finally he put on flat, pointed slippers and a silk robe. When other missionaries saw him, they laughed or criticized him. But when the Chinese saw him, they said, ―He is one of us. We will listen to him.‖
“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Who is Babysitting Your Child? His Truth Be Told Staff So many things to do and only 24 hours in a day; how do we get it all done? Many of us as parents have relied on and are relying on someone or something else to watch our offspring. We have all heard of the numerous stories in the media about children being harmed by nannies or daycare providers. We have been given suggestions on how to select a good child care provider. And that‘s a good thing. However, who or what is watching our children when we are with them? Because of our busy and demanding schedules many of our homes are filled with everyday activities that require our attention. So what do we do with our children during those times? Many of us utilize the conveniences of modern technology (e.g. television, movies, iPods, iPads, computer games and gaming systems to occupy the attention of our 0 – 12 children. Many of our children spend more than 3 – 4 hours per day watching a screen of some sort. These devices are not bad when used correctly. We have to be diligent to monitor the things that are children watch as well as the number of hours they spend watching it. We have to be careful not to give our responsibility over to electronic devices. Nothing compares to the time we spend with our children. Here are some helpful suggestions to allow us to complete our daily tasks as well as protect our children. Limit the time your children spend with electronic devices to 30 minutes per day. This means you have to be creative and very selective in how you divide their time. Incorporate your children in the activity you are doing. We know you are thinking ―If I do this it will add to the time needed to get the task done‖. And that may be true. However, it will be more beneficial to the child. Examples: In cooking, give them something to do to assist you. Always use age appropriate activities such as getting the utensils, handing you items or if they are old enough, putting some ingredients in the dish. For children between 0-2 years, talk to them while working. If you start this early they will continue as they get older. For children 15 months and up, get them a smaller version of what you are doing like a small broom or a toy lawn mower and let them work alongside of you. If you need a quiet activity, give them a craft or coloring activity in the room where you are. This teaches them to work independently and quietly around others. When they are allowed to play or use the devices, make sure you know what they are doing. Some of the cartoons and games are filled with violence and inappropriate messages and images.
When you do your quiet time with the Lord have them do theirs at the same time. You are then giving them a living example of what it means to walk with Christ. Remember it is our job as parents to ―Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it‖ (Proverbs 22:6). These are just a few suggestions. You may have some of your own. Why not share them with your fellow readers, so that we can all benefit from each other‘s wisdom. You can email us your suggestions. Periodically, we will be posting on parenting suggestions on Facebook.
FEATURED CONGREGATION Each month, we list a featured congregation. These are congregations where its members will be loved and the gospel preached and practiced. If you would like to see your church featured here, please see requirements below and nominate your congregation. We look forward to having various locations to recommend to our readers.
Nominate Your Congregation In an effort to encourage oneness in the Body of Christ and unity of the faith, His Truth Be Told will feature a congregation each month in our community that is open to evangelizing the lost and equipping believers. The purpose is to let you our readers, know of various local congregations where you, your family or friends can attend in their areas. The criteria that we look for in selecting a local congregation of believers are: 1. The consistent preaching of the gospel Jesus Christ. That salvation is through Christ alone by grace through faith and not by works. 2. The consistent preaching and teaching of sound doctrine. 3. The equipping of believers within the local congregation. 4. The warm welcoming of new believers from the surrounding community. 5. Evangelism is a priority and can be visible within the congregation. 6. Community minded (i.e. visible and active in the surrounding community). 7. Open to fellowship with all believers (regardless of race, gender, church affiliation, etc.) If you would like to nominate a congregation, go to our website http://www.histruthbetold.org and fill out the nomination form.