THE BLESSED LIFE

The opening words of the Book of Psalms are: “Blessed is the man…” Who is this prototype of a blessed man? What traits does he possess? And is it possible for each of us to be such a person?

First, there is the negative side. This blessed man does not walk “in the counsel of the ungodly.” There are plenty of people in this world who will give you bad advice on how to live your life. But the only correct way to live is to follow the Creator’s manual, that is, the Bible. Also this blessed man does not stand “in the way of sinners.” He does not follow the bad example of others in their speech, dress, behavior, entertainment, etc. Exodus 23:2 warns, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.” Proverbs 1:10 offers this advice, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” And further this blessed man does not sit “in the seat of the scornful.” Today’s English Version translates it: “join those who make fun of God.” It’s not uncommon at all in our world for people to ridicule God and religion. Of course, we must never condone such. (Psalm 1:1)

Second, there is the positive side. The blessed man delights in God’s word – “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:2) In stark contrast to following the counsel of the ungodly he lets God’s word be his meditation, counselor and guide. And what’s the result. His will be a fruitful, blessed life. Just as surely as “a tree planted by the rivers of water” is fruitful even so the man who plants his life upon the word of God will enjoy a rewarding life. (Psalm 1:3)

A few weeks ago while visiting another congregation, I heard them encourage the entire congregation to read through the New Testament in the upcoming year. I thought that’s a good idea. Of course, if you are in the habit of reading through the entire Bible in a year, reading through the New Testament is not much. However, if you are not a regular Bible reader, than reading through the New Testament in 2016 would be a good start. Try for one chapter a day and even if you miss a few, you’ll make it through in a year.

Claude

ANCIENT, BUT TEMPORARY

The oldest buildings in the world are found in Turkey, France, Italy, Scotland, Malta, England, Ireland, and Iran. All date back to at least 3,000 B.C.  They are historical treasures, revealing the earliest dental procedures, burial habits, religious ceremonies of pagans, societies and more. It fires the imagination to think about what life was like for people who lived contemporary to Noah’s sons, Abraham, and perhaps Job. We can hardly fathom buildings that have stood for several thousands of years.  However, they are all comparatively temporary.

Peter writes, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!” (2 Pet. 3:10-12).  When Christ comes again, all the works of earth will be destroyed with fire. Such a promise is meant to motivate us to live in view of the unseen and the eternal.  Specifically, Peter says such knowledge should cause us to be holy and godly, watchful and anticipating.  Ancient buildings can be seen with the eyes of flesh.  Future destruction must be viewed through eyes of faith.  May we remember, as we live each day and build our lives, that nothing in this life is worth surrendering eternal life.

Neal Pollard

Just Christians #4

Can a person be just a Christian and have private devotions at home alone and not assemble with other Christians for worship? NO!

All Christians are expected to assemble for worship with other Christians. This was the practice of the early church. For example Paul and Barnabas were obviously in the habit of assembly with the church in whatever city they found themselves. We have this record of their stay in Antioch: “And it came to pass, that a whole year they [Paul and Barnabas] assembled themselves with the church and taught much people.” (Acts 11:26) In the Book of Hebrews Christians are urged to assemble regularly: “Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)

A person can certainly be just a Christian and not a part of any man-made denomination. Nevertheless, he or she is expected to assemble regularly for worship with others who are also just Christians. This is the way it was in the beginning. The North main Street Church of Christ is such an assembly of just Christians.

Claude