Oct 26, 2010

Change Is Inevitable In Everything Except God

Common Sense Commentary:

Only two things never change .... the fact of change itself and God Himself. "I am the Lord, I CHANGE NOT." Mal.3:6. ++++ "Jesus Christ THE SAME yesterday, and today and for ever." Heb.13:8. Eternal God has always been perfect and will always be, world without end. He has always known everything, past, present and future and always shall. God has never "learned" anything having always known everything. Omniscience cannot change; Omnipotence cannot change; Omnipresence cannot change. God cannot improve for the better, He is perfect, and cannot be made less perfect. Everything else changes constantly; some for the better and some for the worse. Satan, himself is constantly changing but never for the better, always for the worse. Satan will give his evil power to the "Beast" Kingdom (a governing system) and the rising horn (king) who shall conquer the saints and is described in Dan.7, "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to CHANGE TIMES AND LAWS...." for three and a half years. Dan.7:25 and Rev.13:4-7. This fluent, articulate ruler "king" of the "Beastly Kingdom" will "think to change times and laws" and will, in fact, change History and National Laws to harmonize with International Laws. Laws against unequal food distribution, crime, global warming, smoking, drinking, personal weapons, inequity of any kind (equal health care, equal housing, equal transportation and electricity and so on). Consider this lost world of darkness, misery, injustice, most of the world's population in dire need, a United Nations which constantly endorses "International Law" and International causes, banking, currency, and more power.

This is exactly the world, political atmosphere and condition of humanity which will be responsive to World Law and a World Leader who promises justice, equality, food, medicine and safety. That is the "CHANGE" we are moving toward in the United Nations and in America right now. Global Laws and Global Equality would be welcomed, at this moment in history, by most of the world and even by the Socialistic pseudo Liberals in the United States Of America. If you do not believe that, simply face the facts of the recent "changes" in our country and world. Who would ever have thought it could happen here ..... but it is. This world, and half of America too, is ripe for acceptance of World Government, Law and Leadership. It sounds good and reasonable to the vast majority of suffering and needy and abused masses in the world, as well as Socialistic/Communistic/ Humanistic types. But the rule of Antichrist will be a dictatorship.

"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." Luke 21:28.

Pass It On. RB

Oct 25, 2010

The Bible: God's Word Or Not ?

Common Sense Commentary:

Dr. Henry H. Halley, author of Halley's Bible Handbook, is known throughout the world as one of the greatest Bible scholars who ever lived. In the introduction of the book, which has sold millions of copies, Dr. Halley has this to say about the Bible:

"Apart from any theory of inspiration; or any theory of how the Bible books came to their present form; or how much the text may have suffered in transmission at the hands of editors and copyists; apart from the question of how much is to be interpreted literally and how much figuratively, or what is historical and what may be poetical; if we will assume that the Bible is just what it appears to be, and study its books to know their contents, we will find there a Unity of Thought indicating that One Mind inspired the writing and compilation of the whole series of books; that it bears on its face the stamp of its Author; that it is in a unique and distinctive sense THE WORD OF GOD."

"There is a difference between the Bible and all other books. Authors may pray for God's help and guidance; and God does help and guide; and there are many good books in the world unmistakably God had helped the authors to write. But even so, the most saintly of authors would hardly presume to claim for his books that God wrote them. But that is claimed for the Bible. God Himself superintended and directed and dictated the writing of the Bible books, with the human authors so completely under His control that the writing was the writing of God. The Bible is GOD'S WORD in a sense that no other book in the world is God's Word."

"The Bible composed by many authors, over a period of many centuries, yet ONE BOOK, is, in itself, the outstanding Miracle of the ages, bearing aloft its own evidence of its Superhuman Origin."

"Everybody ought to love the Bible. Everybody ought to be a regular reader of the Bible. Everybody ought to strive to live by the Bible's teachings. The Bible ought to have central place in the life and working of every Church; and in every pulpit. The pulpit's one business is the simple expository teaching of God's Word." Unquote.

Let me add a few words to Dr. Halley's: Patrick Henry once said, "The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed". In addition, more than 90% of our country's founders believed the Bible to be "God's Word". Who am I to deny the Prophets, Apostles, and our National Founders. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God". IITim.3:16.

Yes, there are times when Jehovah is so quiet in the face of mounting injustices and unanswered prayer that even a saint is tempted to imagine that the whole world is in the unfeeling control of science or fate or happenstance. But then there are other times when His voice is so clear and His presence and glory and love so obvious and strong that no honest, reasonable, rational person could dare deny God's absolute, certain reality. Besides that, there is, even to the unbeliever's eyes, the undeniable witness of the Universe, Earth, Human existence, babies, sight, hearing and intelligence which demand acceptance of the Creator God.

This is why the faithful believer, who seems always to be living a victorious life, does not trust in circumstances or self or appearances. His faith is rooted and grounded, not in feelings, but in God's Holy Word and His power to fulfill His Word.

"Your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." ICor.2:5.
"We walk by faith, not by sight." IICor.5:7. "Faith cometh by hearing ... The Word of God." Rom.10:17. It is God's Word and only God's Word which is the root of our faith, and "without faith it is impossible to please God ." Heb.11:6. Know this, that Jesus Christ, The Living Word of God, is the Saviour of sinners, of which I am one, saved by His Grace. He will save you as well.

Pass It On. RB

Oct 21, 2010

Garbage Dump Poverty....

Common Sense Commentary:

Spoiled brats never know they are spoiled brats. They think whatever they want is their right and the longer they get it, the more violent they become when it stops. Witness France. The bankrupt government must raise the retirement age to sixty and all the unions are striking ... with an iron hammer and setting fires. Our country has been so prosperous for so many years that very, very few citizens of the U.S. have ever seen real, true, honest to goodness poverty. Most think they have, but really haven't. There are some Americans seventy five and older who not only saw real poverty but lived in it during the Great Depression from 1929 to 1941. No use trying to explain it; it's like war or giving birth, you don't really know how it is unless you've done it. There is, however, real, true, garbage dump poverty in India, Africa, Haiti, Mexico and in parts of other countries but not in the USA. Someone will say, "I saw a poor "street person" or dirty child in the ghetto of New York or some other U.S. city, who was in poverty". Poverty is not the problem when the person or parent spends all their money on drugs, alcohol, gambling, tobacco, and unnecessary stuff. Poverty is no problem when you can walk to a Rescue Mission or Food Kitchen or beg enough in a few minutes to get a meal. I built and directed a Rescue Mission for years and in every case, to my knowledge, of those who came there in need, there was a drug, alcohol, gambling, mental, legal, or an aversion to work, problem. The real problem in the USA is addiction, mental, legal, lazy or a parental problem and the government complicates it by enabling the problem and robbing those involved of their dignity and self reliance with free everything. Some call that Socialism and some Liberalism, but what it is ..... is robbing the producers by taxation and inflation in order to buy the votes of the non producers. God says, the day will come when, "The vile person shall no more be called liberal". Isa.32:5 KJV.

We have, in our country, the largest welfare and free stuff programs of any nation in the world. We have dozens of pseudo "entitlement" programs, unemployment benefits, free housing, free medical care at any hospital emergency room, free prescription drugs, free clinics in ghetto's, free schools,free public defenders, food stamps, food banks,soup kitchens, rescue missions, "entitlements" and subsidies of every kind imaginable, plus give away stimulus money called "Quantitative Easing" plus "earned income tax credits". Not a word of the latter is true. It is money taken from other people's tax payments to "give" someone who did not "earn" it but was given to those who PAID NO TAXES AT ALL. So call it what it is, "welfare".

Missioning in Mexico, many times, I have seen parents and children, who had no choice and through no fault of their own, lived in a garbage dump. They were working hard to survive by feeding pigs rotten scraps of food and digging glass, metal, wood, paper and bone out of the poorest garbage dump you can imagine. This is poverty in a very poor country where nobody throws anything away of any value whatever. These garbage dump people live in and under the trash or a hovel held together with wire or string. Some sleep in the trash. They have no electricity, no running water, no appliances of any kind, no bathrooms or bedrooms or furniture. They have rags for clothes and usually no shoes. Most of them do not drink or smoke or use drugs. They have no money for such things. Many of them are handicapped, sick, parentless, too old, too young, or too something to make it outside of the garbage dump. Their problem was and is, indeed, POVERTY, as well as a corrupt government where you, routinely, must pay-off gov. officials to get anything done. Their poor are the poorest of the poor in a poor country. We went there, each year, to take truck loads of food and hope in Christ. The church we founded there is still alive and doing God's work.

Every American should visit the garbage dumps of Mexico, Haiti, India, or Africa to learn what real poverty is and then come home, work hard, be frugal, stop complaining and get involved in the spiritual and poverty problems of the world.

Pass It On. RB

Oct 19, 2010

But We Were NOT Poverty Stricken

Common Sense Commentary:

I heard someone say, the other day, that 25% of Americans were now "Poverty Stricken" and needed "more Government Stimulus money". I must not know what "Poverty Stricken" means.

I was born during the "Great Depression" on December 24, 1930. I was the only Christmas gift Mom and Dad could afford that year or for ten more years. Dad earned about $2.00 for a full day's labor and then worked at night to survive. I remember one of those night jobs. A rich man, who had two pairs of shoes, one brown and one black, asked Dad if he needed $5.00. Dad said, "That depends on what you need done". The two pair of shoes man said he had dropped his gold watch in the outhouse toilet and it was probably on the bottom. Dad said, "That, I can do for $5.00", and he turned the outhouse over and went in and finally found the rich man's watch. Yes, he really needed that $5.00 .... but we were not "Poverty Stricken". My father is still my number one hero.

Except for the Mexican community, we lived in the poorest section of Sweetwater, Texas but we were not "Poverty Stricken". I played with Mexican kids who had much less than we did, but I never heard any of them or their parents say they were "Poor" or "Poverty Stricken". They were tough, slender and worked hard at the lowest paying jobs, but they did not dream that anyone owed them anything except what they worked for. They are still special in my heart.

We couldn't afford any groceries except oatmeal, cornmeal, flour and beans but that was more than many of our neighbors, so we did not think we were "Poverty Stricken" and wouldn't want anyone else saying we were. We had neighbors who begged food at our back door when times really got hard. They may have been "Poverty Stricken" but we were not. Mom always had enough flour or cornmeal to share with them and enough left to make gravy or cornbread for supper ..... so we were not "Poverty Stricken".

Mom and Dad could not afford a Ford Model "T" or "A" for several years, but neither could most other young couples. Dad walked to work until they finally saved enough to buy an old car and then, he often left it for Mom. The only entertainment we had was each other, paper dolls, a good imagination, and an old radio with two or three stations to listen to... but we were not "Poverty Stricken".

Until I retired, my office was larger than the first house I remember living in. It was a little white frame with about 300 square feet of floor space built by my Dad who was not even a carpenter. It was ice cold in winter and blazing hot in summer. We shivered half the year and sweated the other half, but we were not "Poverty Stricken". Everybody used the old-fashioned "Funeral Parlor" hand fans or a piece of cardboard to stir up a breeze so we were not "Poor", we had lots of air.

When we injured a hand or foot, Dad stuck it under the Coal-oil spout because we could not afford iodine or "monkey blood" (Mercurochrome) or aspirin or cough medicine except a teaspoon of coal-oil with sugar on it .... but we were not "Poverty Stricken". We got one pair of cheap shoes per year for school in September and sometimes had to go bare-foot in April through August, but we were not "Poverty Stricken". My two sisters and I could sometimes "look" poor enough that Dad would reach deep into his pocket to find one penny for a 1 cent piece of candy. We split it three ways and thought we were rich to have a Daddy like that, but we never felt or thought we were "Poverty Stricken" or "poor".

I never heard my mother or father complain about "who was responsible" for the situation. They thought they were responsible to pay their own way and raise and feed and cloth their own children without any body's help. They made do. They worked hard. They were frugal. They got us through the 1930's on hard work, sacrifice, love and hope. That is all we had but it was enough and we were never "Poverty Stricken". We were never even "Poor" and did not envy those with more stuff than us.

I thank God for those hard times. They built character and muscle and pride in our nation which lasted until recent years when most of those who lived through the Great Depression have passed on and very few remember how it felt to have practically "nothing" and still be happy but never "Poverty Stricken", never "Poor". So today, 25% of Americans are "Poverty Stricken" but have homes, cars, televisions, boom boxes, refrigerators, closets full of clothes, cell phones, movies, carry quart sized sodas in one hand, a whopper in the other and talk on their cell phone while driving with their knees. (you can tell by looking who is starving and who is not .... Just in case you didn't know that). I have never seen a truly starving person in this country except a skinny anorexic who thought they were too fat. There are many who swear they are starving but weigh 300 pounds. There are many who "poor-mouth" about needing more free stuff but already have a house full of stuff with three cars parked on the lawn each with a $1000 boom box. They would have been the richest people in Sweetwater during the 1930's.

So don't talk to me about "Poverty"in the U.S.A. I've seen it in Mexico, Africa, Asia and even Europe right after WWII, but what we have is not a "Poverty" problem, it is a drug problem, an alcohol problem, a lazy problem, a spoiled rotten problem, and a political Socialist problem. In other words, a moral problem.

It seems to me most of our nation is now "Poverty Stricken", but not in material things, .... in character, in thankfulness, in personal pride, in self reliance and in gratitude....the important things. Yes, we have become very, very poor in those things .... Truly "Poverty Stricken".

Pass it on if you dare. RB

Oct 18, 2010

Single By Calling ....Jesus Was Single

Common Sense Commentary:

The most notable single person in the Bible was the most notable person in history. Jesus Christ never married a wife. Jesus was single. He has chosen Himself a Bride ... the Church. This Holy Courtship is presently in the Engagement stage. His proposal and promise has been given and guaranteed by the golden gift of His Holy Spirit to assure and secure His beloved. Our Bridegroom, having redeemed His Church from a sinful past, has now taken His journey to His "Father's house", to "prepare a place" there for her. Jn.14:2. This holy, spiritual union, with it's promise of holy matrimony, will be culminated by a glorious wedding ceremony in His Father's House, at a time already determined by the Father but unannounced as yet. The announcement will be suddenly heralded around the world by the voice of the archangel and sound of heaven's trumpets. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord." IThess.4:16-17.

Jesus Christ, the heavenly Bridegroom will be eternally united to his Bride, the Church (true believers), and includes those who remained "single" in this world, but accepted His Proposal, "Come unto me". Every person who accepts Jesus Christ as their own, will be included in His chosen Bride and will participate in the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb". Rev.19:9 "Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb."

Remember, to insinuate something is unnatural or missing in a single person's life is like saying something is wrong with being a Jew .... Jesus was both. Such customs, opinions and prejudices are in direct contradiction of God's Word. In fact, the Apostle Paul suggested that the ideal marital situation of a disciple of Christ would be "single" and free to serve the Lord, if the person could endure singleness. "I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I," ....Unmarried. "But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn (lust)." ICor.7:6-9.

For these and other good reasons, our single saints should be accepted as they are, without callous questions such as, "When are you going to get married ?" or "Do you have any prospects?" Married people, of all people, should know that marriage is not always desirable for everyone, especially those who are "called to be single", as Paul apparently was. People are all different. They have different needs and different callings from God. To marry someone outside of the will of God is a terrible mistake so don't put pressure on a single person to marry. Let the Lord lead them in His will .... not yours. You may cause them to marry outside of God's will. There are many unhappy married people. Even some who are Christians. Many spouses of believers are not saved and some will never be and they, therefore, will be eternally separated from each other. Better not to marry than for a marriage to end in divorce, especially with children involved. Do not put pressure on single people.

Marriage can be wonderful for a person who is called of God to be married and, if in fact, they marry the person God chooses for them and, if they serve God faithfully together. But, a person can serve God just as effectively single as married. Paul says, more effectively, if lust doesn't control them.

Remember, some people are single by calling. Let them be. Let us mind our own business. Jesus was single and so was the Apostle Paul.

Pass It On. RB

Oct 17, 2010

America Is Weary Of ....

Common Sense Commentary: I am not speaking of everyone in the following catagories,but of those described here, of whom America is weary ...........

Of whites whose bigoted bias believes the color of a person's skin has anything at all to do with their value as a person. ....

Of blacks who expect something for nothing and blame all their failures on racial discrimination...

Of Jews who are so focused on the historic persecution of their race, that they accuse anyone who disagrees with them of anti-semitism. ....

Of Fundamentalist Christians who criticize and condemn those to whom they are not willing to give a Christian witness, of the saving grace of Christ.

Of Liberal "Christians" who justify every sin in the Book except intolerance and racial discrimination. ...

Of selfrighteous homosexuals who demand acceptance, by an entire nation, of their lifestyle and desires, as marriage equals, to Biblical and traditional marriage.

Of judges who overlook tons of absolute evidence of guilt in order to protect the last, ambiguous ounce of a criminal's rights, and then release them back on society.

Of politicians who put their party and self interests ahead of what is good for the nation. ...

Of those who are intolerant and hateful toward those they consider to be intolerant and hatefull. ...

Of "know it alls" like me who, when they see these faults in others, publish them. ...

So, exactly "what" am I ? A white, fundamental, Christian Essentialist who loves Christ, Jews, blacks and all lost souls, but have very little patience with Liberal Judges, Liberal Christians, Liberal Politicians, Haters of people, Bullies, and Selfrighteous Homosexuals.

Pass It On If You Like. RB

Oct 16, 2010

"No Respect of Persons with God" Rom.2:11

Common Sense Commentary: God is irrespective of persons = Ultimate Equality !

One of the primary attributes of God is His divine sense of balance and justice (righteousness).
Though life is seldom fair, and justice fleeting, because of the sinful nature of all mankind, God has set the standard of righteousness, and He sent Jesus as His perfect example of it.

Included within God's righteous heart is His irrespectiveness of persons. "For God so loved the WORLD that he gave His only begotten Son that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish ...." Jn.3:16.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is universally offered without "respect of persons" . "Go ye into ALL THE WORLD, and preach the gospel to EVERY CREATURE. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned" (equal opportunity). Mark 16:15-16.

The Christian Family is exclusive to believers in Christ .... only, but without "respect of persons", within that body, whether Pastor, Teacher or Janitor. Gal.3:27-28.

These are the reasons that one of the most prominent doctrines in the Bible is, "No Respect Of Persons". Rom.2:11. This term is found seventeen times in the Scriptures and it's application, hundreds of times:

1... There must be no respect of persons to the poor or the rich - Lev.19:15.

2... There must be no respect of persons to the great or the small -Deut.1:16-17.

3... There must be no respect of persons in our judgement of anyone -Deut.1:16-17.

4... There will be no respect of persons, with God, even in death -2Sam.14:14.

5... Respect of persons is ungodly (unlike God thus unchristian)- 2Chr.19:17.

6... God is no respecter of persons who have inborn talent or skills - Job37:23-24.

7... We are not to be respecters of persons with "equal" immorality - Prov.24:23-24.

8... Respect of persons reflects dishonesty and lack of character - Prov.28:21.

9... There is to be no respect of persons racially or nationally -Acts 10:34-35.

10... God gives equal rewards for equal works whoever it may be - Rom. 2:9-11.

11... Employers/Supervisors are to be fair & equal to "equal" employees -Eph.6:8-9.

12...There will be no "injustices" in the day of Divine judgement - Col.3:24-25.

13... Unjustified special or ill treatment of others violates Christian love-Jm.2:8-9.

14... God respects our faithful works not our persons, in prayer -I Pet.1:17.

Pass It On. RB

Oct 14, 2010

No Discharge... No Surrender... No Turning Back

Common Sense Commentary:

There is a continuing conflict and "battle royal" of which wise King Solomon said, "There is no discharge in that war". Ecc.8:8. There are very few causes worth fighting over. Of those, even fewer are worth sacrificing one's entire life for, and fewer still worth dying for. Every true Christian is faced with the most urgent of those causes ... The Cause of Christ. One may not comprehend the eternal importance of his faithful obedience and service to Christ ... or, he may not be willing to pay the price of such commitment, but he has the opportunity and he has the decision to make. When compared to all other important "causes" in life, this is the only one which stands alone, as supreme, on God's list , and at the pinnacle of human priority.

The cause of Christ is a "Spiritual Warfare" of Good against Evil, God against the Devil. "There is no discharge in that war". This war is THE BATTLE OF THE AGES. It has raged across this world since the Garden of Eden and will continue to the end of time on earth. It is the primary negative effect upon this world and upon the human race. God has more power that Satan, but we are flesh, and have a free will to do good or evil. It was this war, of which George Duffield wrote, "Stand up, stand up for Jesus ye soldiers of the cross; lift high his royal banner; it must not suffer loss". It was of this war Apostle Paul warned the Ephesian Christians, and us today, as well, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places".Eph.6:10-18.

One of my all time favorite stories is of a non-Christian, Japanese soldier who was truly and totally committed to his Emperor and an illegitimate cause. I read the true account of this example of unwavering fidelity, in the 8-17-1975 issue of Grit Magazine.

In the spring of 1974, Lt. Hiroo Onoda, of the Japanese army, made world headlines when he emerged from the Philippine jungle after a 30-year ordeal of war, a lost cause, obedience, and survival. Hunted in turn by American troops, the Philippine army and police, hostile islanders, and successive Japanese search parties, Onoda had skillfully out maneuvered all his pursuers. He did not know the war was over in 1945, with Japan the loser. He had his orders and would not deviate from them.

Year after year Onoda continued his efforts to evade capture and stay alive, convinced that the Second World War was still being fought and waiting for the day when his fellow soldiers would return victorious to the Philippines. Courage and conviction enabled him and his few comrades to fight on until, after 30 years, he alone was left to return to civilization, a hero to his people, a soldier who fought and survived the longest, loneliest battle, by one man, in history.

The island of Lubang, not far from the main Philippine island of Luzon, is only six by eighteen miles in size. Lt. Onoda was detached there with 198 other Japanese soldiers and sailors during WWII. One day they spotted an immense American naval armada composed of two battle ships, four aircraft carriers, four heavy cruisers, twenty-eight light cruisers, destroyers, and 150 troop transports. The sea was literally peppered with landing craft ... "more than I count count", he said, They faced an awesome, overpowering enemy and they all began to "talk big about committing suicide and giving up their lives for the emperor", except Lt. Onoda. Onoda was determined to continue to fight a guerrilla warfare, not commit suicide.

The Americans blasted the island unmercifully, stormed ashore and killed or captured practically everyone ... except Lt. Onoda and a few friends, who took to the high ground in the center of the island, and began their long epic battle. They fought until there were only three of them left. The Americans dropped leaflets which said, "The war ended on August 15. Come down from the mountains ..." They didn't believe it and besides, it was contrary to their orders. Lt. Onoda's Division Commander, General Yokoyama, had commanded, "So long as you have one soldier, you are to continue to lead him. You may have to live on coconuts! Under no circumstances are you to give up ..." Onoda would testify later, "I told Shimada and Kozuka about my orders from Gen. Yokoyama. Kozuka immediately said, "Lieutenant, I'll stay with you to the end, even if it takes ten years". Shimada spoke even more enthusiastically. "The three of us ought to secure this whole island before our troops land again." This they attempted to do for the next many years. Shimada was killed in 1954 and Kozuka in 1972, but Onoda, believing the war was still being fought, continued to fulfill his soldierly responsibilities. He made regular "trips around our circuit of campsites, which we regarded as inspection tours of the area under our occupation". He also continued, alone, to "carry out our beacon raids" (efforts to signal to friendly troops who might be in the vicinity). Thus he faithfully carried out his duty for thirty long years against unimaginable obstacles and difficulties.

Finally, a brave young Japanese reporter figured out where Onoda might show up to gather fruit at a certain time and pitched a tent there and waited. Sure enough, Onoda came that way and the reporter became the first to talk to Onoda in years. The young man said, "Onodasan, the Emperor and the people of Japan are worried about you". "Did you bring any orders for me?" "No." "In that case, they'll just have to keep on worrying", said Onoda. He testified later, "It was my intention to hold out on this island, if necessary, for twenty more years. I was confident that I could".

After much pleading and reasoning, Norio Suzuki asked Onoda, "What could I do to persuade you to come out of the Jungle?" The old soldier answered simply that he would never surrender nor quit until he received direct, oral orders from his immediate superior. Then, he would know the war was over and he would be relieved of any further responsibility to carry out his original orders.

If we Christians would hold the great commission, given us by our Great Commander, with such self-sacrificing commitment, the world would never be the same.

The Apostle Paul, speaking of the many obstacles and attacks upon those who serve our God, said, "Bonds and afflictions abide me ... but none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course ..." Acts20:24. Then, after years of total commitment and faithful service to our Lord, Paul wrote some of his last words, "I have finished my course, I have kept the faith ..." 2Tim.4:7

Where are we in our service to God ? Have we obeyed His orders: have we done what He commanded and assigned us ? The war is not over until the trumpet sounds, or we are dead.

Pass It On. RB

Oct 13, 2010

Every Season (And Age) Is Wonderful

Common Sense Commentary: "I have been young, and now I am old; yet have I not seen the righteous (right) forsaken nor His seed begging bread." Psm.37:25.

I wrote this article for the September 1984 issue of Word Of Truth when I was 53 years old.It will be updated at the end of this blog.I will be 80 this Dec.24th.

Isn't it wonderful that God knows what He is doing ... all the time ? His plan is always perfect. We would be so much better off if we would simply yield ourselves to God's perfect will. The older I get, the more I realize it is the only way.

I think God's illustration of this is the unique beauty of each of the four seasons and the different satisfactions we get from each of them. When fresh, green buds and little flowers begin to stick their tiny heads out to feel the warmth of Spring, life is born. Then, suddenly, cold has gone and left cool behind. Everything wakes up, as if for the very first time, with color and new life. Farms all over America are turning the awakening soil a beautiful green. Children are free to run and play without much responsibility. At that moment it seems to me, Spring is the most wonder full time of the year.

Then, comes Summer and the strengthening, purifying effects of the sun. What fun it is to go vacationing, sailing, picnicking, mountain climbing, swimming, or start new projects. At those moments it seems that Summer is the most important season of the four. So much can be done in the summertime.

Along about August, I find myself growing tired of Summer with all its' heat and activity and begin looking forward to those cool, dry breezes of Fall. Then, you wake up one morning, step outside and that wonderful Autumn atmosphere has arrived. It feels like "school days" and "football" and "harvest time, pumpkins, and festivals", all to the tune of colorful trees and falling leaves and wood smoke seasoning the cool air. A walk in the woods, leaves raining down on sweaters and coats is a soothing and glorious time. And, of course, I feel Autumn is the most fantastic season of all.

I suppose you would say that I am in the autumn of life at 53. During my teenage years I was convinced that no age of life could ever be as great as youth. The spring of life from infancy to 20 is beautiful. Then, suddenly, we are married, have children, new responsibilities, and almost unlimited physical strength and health. It was the summer of life between 20 and 45. Those in the summer of life usually still think 60 is old, but not as old as they once thought. So they fill their lives with activity, raising the children, making money, and begin to save for "retirement" .... some day. When I was 20, I thought people who were 36 were "old". I thought men who were 45 or 50 should retire and move on ... make room for the younger guys. Funny how that thought keeps changing upward as one grows older.

(My 92 year old aunt still thought she could drive her big old car and was safer than "these teenagers". She may have been right about the teenagers, but she kept up the car insurance, inspections and licenses until we insisted she be rid of all that. She died this year at 97 after a fall. She lived alone but was "too young to go to a retirement center".) This para. added 10-13-10.

Then comes the Autumn of life. It will seem strange to most of you younger readers, but at age 53, life is more enjoyable, exciting, challenging and wonderful to me in every way .... except for football, which I now enjoy watching more than playing. As strange as it may seem, I would rather be 53 than 33, 23, or 13. The autumn of life is absolutely fantastic. It has to be the best season of all. The only thing wrong with my viewpoint is that I have never been 63 or 73 or 83. Many of those who are living in the winter of life tell me that, in it's own way, it is just as wonderful as either of the other three seasons of life. I think the secret to happiness, fulfillment, and being satisfied with your age and place in life is found when you are at peace with God and yourself. Of course, health can make your personal peace of mind more difficult. To me, there is nothing quite so beautiful as a happy Christian who grows old gracefully and is content in the knowledge that every age has it's blessings and every person has his or her place in God's plan. It may be, you feel unnecessary, unloved, or unable to do anything really important with your life. Not so. If you are young, you will grow in knowledge and ability and usefulness. If you are old, you can still do the most important things in life, love your grandchildren, share your wisdom and experience when asked, be kind to everyone, listen to their problems, and most of all pray for them.One phrase from a grandparent can change a life. That is serving God, and them, as much as anything anyone else, younger, can do. No season is more important than another, and no season is unneeded. So it is with age.

.................Update as of 10-13-10 .....................
I am now a few days short of 80 years old in the winter of life. So what is it like ? Thankfully, I still agree with what I thought and said twenty six years ago in that last sentence, above. At 80, I am just as happy with life and even more in love with my Lord. Health, of course, diminishes,
with age, but peace with God does not .... it grows steadily stronger. I am content with my own life and health and wouldn't trade for someone else's. Even though I know my departure couldn't be very far off and may be imminent, I still want my own life, health, circumstances, my children, my wife, and my memories .... all of them. I must confess that, if I could, I would do some things differently or not at all, but I am a realist, it can't be, so I do not let regrets undermine an old man's peace of mind and peace with God. I rest the past with my Lord, good or bad, and let Him straighten out the kinks and potholes. He is in that business.

Even death is not to be feared ... for the believer. Dying is no more the end of life than winter is the end of seasons. It is simply another changing of the seasons and the beginning of a brand new and far more wonderful, glorious way of living. For a Christian, it is the spring of eternal life, that will never cease or turn hot or cold or die. I am sure that it will be the best season of them all. Faith in Christ makes all seasons beautiful .... including old age and the fifth and final one, which lasts forever.

Pass It On. RB

Oct 12, 2010


Common Sense Commentary:

Dale Carnegie's book, "How To Win Friends And Influence People" motivated a lot of folks, around the world, toward business success and a good personality. I don't know whether it had any Spiritual or Moral impact. At this point, in American history, it is less important to "win friends" than it is to "influence people" to vote right and save this Republic (Gov. of Laws). If I fail in both those good attributes, I will suffer the lose of some friends, but keep my integrity, though, I may lose my Country to Socialism, Islam, Illegal Immigration or some other form of corrupt dictatorship. Which means, I would rather lose the friendship and goodwill of all of my friends and relatives than for all of us to lose the foundational principles upon which America is built, and therefore lose our Country to Socialism or some otherism. That price is too high to pay. From now on, I will not vote FOR the "LOTE" but AGAINST the "GOTE ". These two terms I can define, because they are mine. They mean "Lesser Of Two Evils" and "Greater Of Two Evils". I will cease to vote FOR the LOTE and begin to vote AGAINST the GOTE. Big switch huh ?

I will never again vote for someone simply because I admire some "one" attribute about them, including their "War Record", or because I dislike "one" thing about their opponent. Hitler had a good "war record" in WWl, but then created the worst war in human history, WWll. He was also a Socialist (NAZI =National Socialist Party) I would rather vote for an idiot than for an evil genius. At least the idiot couldn't destroy this country ... or is that what has already been happening ? If a Political Party wants my vote, they will have to be more astute in choosing candidates, and less political, and run descent All Americans, even if it is Garbage Collectors. Come to think of it, that may be exactly what this mess requires.

I will never again vote for someone because they have a "familiar name", or "sound good", or "look good", or "seem moral, or rich or poor, or speak well, or any other "outward appearance". "But the Lord said, ... Look not on his appearance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." 1Sam.16:7. Jim Jones had all those good "appearances of good attributes" but was, in fact, a thieving Socialist, Sexual Deviate, Biblical Heretic, mass suicide Frankenstein, and most surely Insane as well. It was "Appearances" which caused all of San Francisco to love him and vote for him ... for the longest time, but then the Devil unmasked himself and every body around him died.

I will never again vote for anyone simply because of their Party affiliation. All Political Parties, like churches, have a few devils in the crowd; some more than others, some many more, and some a majority probably. No, not probably: Nobody supporting Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao, Castro, or Kim Jong Il , or even a few U.S. politicians can possibly be a descent, moral person except, maybe, some totally ignorant few.

If a candidate is so terrible, so contemptible, so dishonest, so likely to destroy this once great nation, I WILL vote AGAINST them in prayer. I will seek the wisdom and leadership of Him who "Looketh on the heart" and pays little attention to "Outward appearances". Then, I will only vote as I feel He is leading me. If He does not lead me for the other candidate, I will not vote for either candidate. David prayed that the Lord would "reward" his enemies" .... "according to their deeds". Psm.28:4. God sought "a man after His own heart" and found David. 1Sam.13:14. So, I suppose David's prayer, in Psm.28:4, for his "wicked enemies," was in order. God may even lead Christians to vote "FOR" or "AGAINST" a political party. There was once, in our country a Communist Party, a Nazi Party, and a Socialist Party. There may still be a Socialist Party, I don't know, but I think those people have mostly died or joined one of the other two major parties in America today. A few of them probably came to Christ, so I can't say they all joined the same party.

My prayer now, in these critical times, is that God will raise up one of the existing Parties to serve Him or a whole new Party which will. If He doesn't raise up some honest, preserve our freedoms, Constitutional, Conservative candidates, and God does not inspire me to vote, I will simply sit the elections out and pray for our nation and people. I will never vote for another part-time Patriot and part-time Socialist. And, don't give me this "seperation of church and state" nonsense. That wasn't true with our Founding Fathers. If a person's faith doesn't affect their politics, they are hypocrits.

George Soros, the biggest Democrat donor and billionaire supporter, is sitting this election out, financially at least, with this statement, "I don't believe in standing in the way of an avalanche". He said it this week. He obviously believes the Republicans will win big in November, but I suspect, he also is beginning to realize that no matter who controls Congress, nobody can stop this runaway, freight train, going down the mountain with it's load of TOXIC waste and Socialism. All of which originated in Washington D.C. and on Wall Street and in the corrupt minds of Politicians. Soros may even HOPE his party won't win so the other party will be blamed when the train derails the nation. So, take up the slack, be good Stewards, save your money, pray a lot, and be ready for tough times for several years.

Pass It On. R.B.

Oct 10, 2010

My West Texas Boyhood In The Dust Bowl During The Great Depression

Common Sense Commentary:

I was born the year following the 1929 stock market crash and beginning of the Great Depression. My earliest, meaningful memories are when I was four or five years old. We lived on Lemon Street (a dirt road) on the northwest, outskirts of Sweetwater, Texas, on the poor side of the railroad tracks. Times were very difficult for my young parents, but they never complained. I never knew we were poor, back then, until I was grown. I don't have to fear poverty; I've already been there. I know how to be poor. It actually takes very little to survive, if you are not wasteful.

We lived in a little shotgun house with three 8 by 8 rooms, an outhouse, and a little 10 by 10 barn for a milk cow and chickens. My father had dug a 4 by 8 storm cellar just outside the back door for my mother's fruit jars of canned vegetables and preserves for special Sunday Dinners. Dad never gave it much thought but Mom thought of that cellar as a safe place to go when one of the many thunder and wind storms blew in, usually from the southwest or northwest. Those winter storms from the northwest, Texans called "Northers" and swore there was nothing between West Texas and the North pole but a "bob war" fence (barbed wire). I remember very clearly standing in the middle of the road, there, looking west at one of the most impressive sights I have ever seen. We lived in what was known as the "dust bowl", which covered much of the southwest. What I saw that day was a black wall that reached from earth to the clouds and as far as I could see north or south. It was a "dust storm" that would blast the paint off houses and cars, blind your vision and cover everything with inches or feet of dust and destroy farmer's crops. West Texans would ride those dust storms out in the house with windows and doors closed tight against worn out old clothes saved for that purpose. Even so, when those dust storms had passed, there was an inch deep and a yard square of dust on the floor at the door and on all the window sills. There was dust in the food, dust in the clothing drawers, closets and in our eyes, ears, hair and grinding in our teeth. I love West Texas still .... It's home.

Storms never seemed to bother Dad but Mom was most frightened by tornadoes. There seemed to be a lot of them in the 1930's across West Texas. That was the main reason Mom insisted we have a "STORM" cellar. Well, every time a bad storm blew in, Mom was up, at all hours, looking outside and listening for that "locomotive" sound of a tornado. When she saw or heard what she was convinced was one, she would wake up us kids to "put something on quick", and then rush in and shake Dad awake with vocal emphasis. "Bob, get up, a tornado is coming .... Bob, wake up, a tornado, BOB, TORNADO !" Dad would arouse, listen a moment, and say, "it's just the wind, Alma," then, turn over and go back to sleep. That agitated Mom when we had a perfectly good storm cellar standing safely underground, empty, except for survival and winter only, canned goods. But one night, she was "really" excited when she awakened us screaming, "GET UP, TORNADO !" This time we could all hear it coming like a freight train bearing down on our little house. Dad was also awakened by it and pulled on his trousers and led us all out the back door to our storm cellar. The cellar door, covering the entrance, was wood, covered with galvanized metal, was very heavy, and angled from the ground up to the top of the dirt mound covering the cellar. We stood by, in the whipping gusts of wind and rain, while Dad reached down for the big metal door handle he had fashioned himself. He couldn't seem to open it, as he usually did, with one hand, so he changed positions and with both of his big hands and powerful arms jerked two men up about eighteen inches out of that cellar, clinging desperately to the inside handle, built large for that purpose, when the wind really got bad. They looked horrified, thinking it was the tornado jerking the door off. Dad was said to be the strongest man in Sweetwater. He held the door open and could see our two neighbor families jammed in there, scared to death. Dad told them to "stay put" and Mom was speechless until the next day. The storm passed, she went into her cellar to discover several jars of her prized peaches had been eaten and the empty Mason Jars left for her to wash. She wasn't too fond of that. After that, we didn't bother going to our cellar during bad storms; it was always full of neighbors.

Yes, those were the "good old days" when neighbors were neighborly, food meant beans and cornbread, one pair of cheap shoes per year when school started ... if at all. Some children went bare footed even in winter, a "Guess What" package of two pieces of caramel candy and a prize for a penny, sweet milk or buttermilk over a glass of old cornbread, the iceman left a 25, 50, or 100 pound block of ice in your "ice box", oil lamps for light in half the houses and two light bulbs (total) in the others, a wood stove sitting, red hot, in the middle of an 8 by 8 living room for the whole house, 5 cents a bushel for mesquite beans gathered and delivered by me to the stock yard a mile or two south of my private mesquite orchard, one Niagara Shredded Wheat biscuit delivered to our door by a nice neighbor for us kids to share. We had only oatmeal or cream of wheat. My toys were an old broom stick horse, tumble weed cattle, big rock chickens and little rock chicks, and a big world full of imagination and adventure awaiting me. From time to time, we saw dirigibles and even zeppelins passing over Sweetwater, with loud, low tone, humming motors, following old Hwy.80 across America. Almost every cold wintry night I could hear wind whistling around the eves of our house, or the shrill whistle of a freight train way off in the distance. Each year, we kids could pick Cotton and pull the sack up and down the rows for several hours for 25 cents and sore fingers. A Coca Cola was a nickel and many a man labored hard for $5.00 a day to support his family. Mom would heat a brick on the stove, hold it with a towel and iron our cold sheets in winter and then wrap it in the towel and leave it at our little feet. A barrel of coal oil for Mom's cook stove and for doctoring cuts and smashed fingers by Dad.
Sin wasn't complicated in those days, "Don't lie, cheat, steal or cuss around women or girls. "There were those who did the first three but no man or boy cursed around women or girls.

The whole family took a bath, in the same wash tub full of the same water every Saturday ... whether we needed it or not. Moms first, kids second, Daddies last. All old men were toothless, chewed Brown Mule tobacco and used a cane. Women wore flour sack dresses, they made themselves, with the colorful sacks flour came in.

All of that was what is meant by the "good old days". But we had more, much more, a secure home, loving, hard working parents who reverenced God, made our house the best home a kid ever grew up in. Thank you Lord for Mom and Dad, I didn't deserve them then and still don't, but will love them for eternity.

Pass It On. A blessed boy at 80 years young.

Oct 9, 2010

"Heads Up" Republicans and Independents

Common Sense Commentary:

The latest Gallup Poll, in it's "low turnout model", shows the Republican edge over Democrats at a stunning 56% to 38%. That degree of plurality has never been seen in any similar Gallup survey. I have chosen their "low turnout model" because it seems likely, to me, that even though Republicans and half of the Independents will turn out in force, Democrats, other than blacks, which is 13% if the population, have lost their motivation. They won't say it openly because they celebrated too loudly when Obama said "We can" and they said "I do" and their man won, but they don't like him either, now that the sun has come out of eclipse.

These Liberals, who spoke so highly of Obama, the king of Liberals, are rather like the naive, teen aged girl who brought her new fiancee, a recently released convict, home to meet her parents with his "brass" earring on her middle finger. All the respectable citizens in town knew this con-artist for what he was. The extensive evidence was a matter of record. The girl's radiant smile, gleaming eyes and happy heart announced her engagement to the "most wonderful man in the world". Her parents were speechless, horrified and her mom fainted. The fiancee pulled a Playboy magazine from his baggy, britches, hip-hop pocket and sat down in the father's chair to smoke joint and look at the girlie pictures. The father and daughter carried Mom into her bedroom where the father began showing the girl the morning paper which was covered with articles about her future husband's criminal history. He had been the leading pimp, drug pusher and addict in the county besides a long record of other criminal activity and the chief suspect in dozens of unsolved crimes including murder and rape.... and he was awful ugly and smelled bad too. Before her father, weeping, could finish the long list of this guy's crimes, she whined loudly, "But Daddy, nobody's perfect"...... I think I know that girl.

My "Heads Up" to Republicans and Independents is this: If Republicans win control of both houses of Congress, the "blame" shoe will be on the other foot ... so to speak. Right now, the majority of voters are blaming the Democrats for the mess this country is in; but that will change. In my opinion, the worst is yet to come in our economy. Only the mass printing of currency has forestalled a financial tornado but a much worse storm of depression is building to hurricane force. TARP, Quantitative Easing (printing money) and Stimulus give aways have TEMPORARILY held off the financial destruction, which will now be much worse when it is unrestrained. This, because of greater pressure build-up to the point of explosion. The fact is, it cannot now be avoided, and will come as a cat 10 hurricane rather than a tornado and Republicans will be there to blame. They will do their best to stop the catastrophe, redirect the thing, or let the air out of it to no avail ... but they have to try. The Conservatives can stop Obama and Congress from passing any new Socialistic legislation charged to our National Credit Card (printing presses), which already has a bottom line liability upwards of twenty trillion dollars owed and committed. That is a debt of a thousand, thousand million or a million million, or a thousand billion MULTIPLIED by twenty and growing another trillion every year into the future. Now, when we can't even pay the interest, when it's only 2 or 3%, how can we pay it when interest doubles or triples while the principle also increases ? Simple answer, we can't.

We would have been better off to let those so called "Too Big To Fail" banks go under and be rid of them. They brought it on themselves and us, and deserve to fold. Now, that's just one of our problems. When all these little, black, domino thingies, with white dots begin to tilt and fall, in turn, who will the people blame if Republicans have control of Congress ? Even if they all espouse the Conservative tenets of the Tea Party and swear again to uphold the Constitution, and stop spending money we don't have, salute the flag, and wear patriotic pins on their pajamas, they cannot prevent the consequences of our National sins. Only God has that power and we haven't given Him any reason to use it.

With a change in leadership, in Congress, the people will expect more of the new crew than is possible, at this point. Superman could not turn this ship around now. The rudder has been disabled by a political torpedo. It is like changing the crew of the Titanic, in mid ocean, AFTER it has side-swiped the iceberg. A new crew ain't gonna save the ship but the ship is going down on their watch and they will get the blame, even though they were not responsible for what happened, some in their party voted the Liberal line . But, since they can't repair the ship quickly enough to save it, in two years, before the next election in 2012, "throw the bums out" will still be the cry of the populous masses. There might even be one or two new parties running candidates. For instance, the Tea Party, which isn't a political party at present, or a hyper Liberal Party splitting off the Democrat Party. Which ever split off is strongest could sink the Party they now vote with. What then ? Only God knows and He ain't tellin.

The people already know that Obama, with his crooked as a snake Czars, and his disappearing cabinet act, doesn't know what he is doing up there in the stratosphere .... or maybe he knows exactly what he is doing and is bringing this country down to chaos so it will accept world wide laws, rules and rulers with international banking, currency, securities standards and fire arms laws. We already have an International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a Bank of International Settlements and "Global Trade Laws" and a United Nations and the list goes on. Prophecy !

Pass It On. RB

Oct 8, 2010

The Choice Is Yours !

0Common Sense Commentary:

In personal, Christian growth, the first and last entry, on our account with God, other than what He, Himself has done, is "Our Choices". He has made all His decisions and choices in our favor, created us "in His own image", and handed us a clean "Life slate" for our life's choices. If we died as a fetus or young child, we would go to heaven with a clean slate. However, when we reach the "age of accountability", which I believe varies, but is usually somewhere around twelve, we must make our own personal choices for the direction in which we will go. For these reasons, our first cognitive, reasoning becomes our own defining choice. So, we have voluntarily, willfully, stepped off into our future and made the first entry on our account with God, whatever anyone else may do.

We all begin life with a blank slate given us by our Creator. You may write what YOU WILL on that slate. Others may influence you, inborn tendencies will woo you, circumstances will threaten you, God's Holy Spirit will plead with you .... but YOU alone will make your first and your last choices and decisions in life. If your children chose to pull the plug on you, you will choose how you react, if you are conscious. If not, you will already have made your last decision. Your children will give account for THEIR choices, right or wrong.

We start life under the care and training of our parents. Their quality of care and training, for you, are THEIR choices which THEY will give account for. Their choices lay a foundation of inclinations in your nature and personality. These formative factors are an integral bias in forming your individuality; but they are not the primary determinant in your life and destiny. YOU WILL MAKE THAT CHOICE !!! If it were not so, God's judgement upon our sins would neither be fair nor like Him as a Father. We will only answer for what we have power over to choose. If our temptations were too great, too strong to resist, a just God would not accredit them to us. We can try to convince Him that ours is a special case, that we "had no control over that overpowering temptation", but He denies our claim. WE ARE RESPONSIBLE for our actions ! "There hath no temptation taken you but such is COMMON to man: but God is faithful, who WILL NOT suffer you to be tempted above that YE ARE ABLE; but WILL with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." 1Cor.10:13. He makes it very clear that sin is OUR CHOICE not His. He "makes a way to escape, but it is We who reject or accept it. Almost all of the GOOD and BAD things which happen to a person are not the result of chance but are, in some small or great degree, the result of good or bad CHOICES which we have made. No, not someone or something else ,we can blame, but our own selves. If we could be justified by pointing blame to our parents, then to whom do they point blame, THEIR PARENTS ? If that works, who do their parents blame and on and on all the way back to Adam and Eve. Who do they blame .... GOD ? Oh yes, oh yes, I forgot again, "The Devil made me do it".

We are far better off, eternally so, to simply be honest, confess our guilt and ask God's forgiveness and be free of the sin and the guilt. "If we confess OUR sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1JN.1:9 . That is not just easier, it is the only way and results in a "clean" slate again. "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." Rom.4:8. You see, all of a believers sins were put upon Jesus on the cross and, there they were judged and paid for by Him in His death. "For God ".... hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, Him who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." "IN HIM, IN HIM, IN HIM". 2Cor.5:21.

So, the choice is yours. Will it be for Jesus or those other powers in your flesh or other people's power over you to do their will ? The choice is yours and it lasts forever and ever and ever.
"Choose you this day whom you will serve .... " Joshua 24:15

Pass it on. RB

Oct 5, 2010

The Blessings Of Extreme Trials

Common Sense Commentary:
The Bible teaches that "ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO ...." ME. For you too, if you are one of "....THOSE WHO LOVE THE LORD". Rom.8:28. One of those "things" that " work together for good", to true Christians, is "Tribulations", which is "Trials".
"Tribulation WORKETH patience" which is perseverance.There is gain in Christian suffering and hardship. Rom.5:3. There is no verse in the Bible which contradicts this truth and many which verify it. The fact is, there are "Blessings in extreme trials".

1. Extreme trial is essential to living life to the fullest extent possible.

In the heat of battle, in the burst of adrenalin at eminent danger, in all moments of great trial, there is a certain euphoric expansion of mind and muscle which is worth more than many days, weeks or months of uneventful existence. The two high water marks of the Apostle Paul's life were when he was struck down and blinded by the Lord, on the Damascus Road, and later when he was drug out of Lystra, Galatia and stoned to death, or near it, for preaching Christ.He was left for dead, there in the road, with his few followers standing around, sadly looking at his bruised, broken and bloody body. Suddenly, he gasped for breath, opened his eyes and got up. Then, he went immediately back into the same city and finished what God sent him there to do ... Preach Christ. Acts.4:19-20 & 2Cor.12:1-6. Even Paul said he didn't know whether he had been "in the body or out of the body", alive or dead and referred to himself in the third person.

2. Extreme trial is the purposeful pain of exercising unused senses and endurance

Just as physical exercise strengthens and tones the body, extreme exercise of the emotions and senses prepares the inner person for equal or greater trials in the future where they would otherwise collapse and fail under the stress of great trials. 1Cor.10:13.

3. Extreme trial develops awareness that life has much more important meaning.

Unusual and difficult trials serve to awaken one to the fact that life is more than just a long, drawn-out, boring sentence to hard labor and disappoints. It teaches us that things could be worse. It's also good to know that, even if we don't see clearly what it is, God has something important going on beyond human perception and we are an important part of it. The man Job didn't understand why he was suffering so and had lost everything and everybody he loved . But God was using all that loss and suffering, in Job's life, so he would get a clearer picture of his true self and of God Himself, and of what was really important in life. He grew into a far better man than he had been before those trials. Job 42:3-6.

4. Extreme trial offers the certain knowledge that, thereafter, one will be a better person.

Any Christian, determined to survive, must know that successfully enduring great trial requires that the survivor must grow better, more patient, caring, fulfilled and prepared for the future.

Apostle Peter put it in these words. "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, and settle you." 1Pet.5:10. Jesus has a higher purpose in trials than just making us hurt. "I am the true vine .... Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." Jn.15:1-2. Trust Him to do in and with your life as He knows best ... for His glory and your good.

5. Extreme trial teaches us that by enduring pain and hardship, we encourage others to endure theirs also.

When we, as Christians, suffer with patience and grace, others who are also in the midst of great trial are strengthened to endure by our example. Only the patient endurance of severe hardship prepares one to counsel and encourage those in similar situations. "The God of all comfort .... comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." 1Cor.1:4.

6. Extreme trial generates gratitude to God for preparing us to fulfill His perfect purpose in our lives.

Anyone who truly believes in the omniscient, caring God of the Bible must also believe that He knows better than we what experiences in life are best for us. And He knows how to get us to the place where our talents will be best invested and where we will be at peace with ourselves and with Him. Jesus said, "Follow me and I will make you ...." "Now the God of peace .... Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ ...." Heb.13:21.

7. Extreme trial, when it has passed, leaves relief, joy and fulfillment.

The most obvious blessing of extended, crushing hardship is the relief and joy which follows it's passing. Personal fulfillment takes a little longer in it's arrival. The holy oil, of God's Spirit, which smooths and sooths the grinding weight of suffering's movement through our lives, is knowing our Father is shaping us and this pain is the path to higher ground. "No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." Heb.12:11.

Pass It On. RB

Oct 4, 2010

If Love Doesn't Last Forever, What's Forever For ?

Common Sense Commentary:

If even love doesn't last forever, for millions of people, then what's forever for ? That was the title of a popular, secular song a few years ago. It is a good question. Most of the people in this world are asking themselves such questions, seeking something dependable in life. If the best thing in life can't endure the pressures and trials of life, what can endure; what does last forever ? What can we ,dying human beings believe in? What does last forever ? Is there anything that never ceases .... that we can count on ?

Statistics show that most marriages and common law unions will eventually come apart. There isn't enough space here to list all the negative eventualities which can destroy human, sexual attraction and relationships,where there are no "spiritual" roots to hold them together. Most of our youthful dreams are never fulfilled, pleasure ceases to satisfy, worldly success is hollow, and rootless love dies. For these reasons, many middle aged people turn off their sensitivity switches so they won't hurt anymore. It is sad to see so many who have given up on a truly happy life. Yes, the world is a mess, but hasn't it always been so?

Even a thousand years before Christ, King Solomon, who possessed every possible treasure, and enjoyed a king's menu of pleasure, declared that, "all is vanity". In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon reviewed his life and a long list of his successes and pleasures. He outlined his philosophy of life and thirty times in twelve chapters he concluded, "all is vanity". The Hebrew word here for "vanity" is "hebel" and simply means "empty", useless, unsatisfying.

In King Solomon's "quest for the best" in life, he discovered what all of us must sooner or later learn ... that life without God is, in fact, "empty". Nothing, of this world, satisfies for long. As we grow older, the more wonderful, beautiful things we scratch off our list, the shallower becomes the depth of our satisfaction, ... without God. The "empty" junk food of temporary gratification is available in ever increasing abundance; but the nourishing manna of lasting satisfaction may be found only in a love for Christ. His supply of peace and purpose ,in life, is sufficient for all who seek Him. "Seek ye first, the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these (other) things shall be added unto you." Mt.6:33.

There is absolutely no "permanent" satisfaction in pleasure or secular accomplishment. God has provided, it is recorded in His Word, that faith in His Son Jesus Christ is the beginning place for a fulfilled life. Following our experience of salvation, every Christian who continues to seek after Him is satisfied with peace and purpose. When we no longer "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness", we are no longer satisfied and at peace. There is only one way we can depend on, which is lasting. God's love lasts forever and THAT'S what forever is for,but we can chose to turn away from that one thing which lasts forever. Each of us has a God given free will to decide for ourselves, and each must and will chose our own destiny. " And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve ... but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15.

Pass It On. RB

Oct 3, 2010

Watson Smith's Baptizin'

Common Sense Commentary:
"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called." 1Cor.1:26.

Well, it happened about 45 years ago in Tallahassee, Florida. We were still meeting in the old storefront building on south Monroe Street. The church was only a few months old and we had an odd assortment of church jumpers, disgruntles, outsiders, a few seeking sinners, and ten or fifteen growing saints. One "good ole boy" started showing up every Sunday night and slowly graduated to Sunday morning and finally included Wednesday evening prayer meeting on his schedule. His name was Watson Smith.

Watson had been around, in his time. He had been everything from engineer on a logging train to mayor of Port Saint Joe. One of his primary enterprises during all his years was some concentrated, hard drinking. When I met him, he had just about run the course and had slowed down to building a farm and wearing out heavy equipment. God sent him to our new church, Temple Baptist, now North Florida Baptist.

Every time we had a man-sized job to do, Watson knew how to do it and always had the right tools and equipment. He was a hard handed, weather beaten, unintimidated, sincere sinner, something like a middle aged Simon Peter.

I had asked Watson several times when he was going to accept Christ as his Savior and become a Christian. He would say, "Preacher, I ain't goin' to be no hypocrite Christian". When I pressed him for a decision, he would respond, "I'll get saved when I can live up to it". Several months passed, and Watson was a more faithful church going sinner than any saint we had. He was always there and always ready to help.

One day, God burdened my heart for Watson Smith's soul and I went looking for him. I finally found him on his Blountstown highway farm, plowing. I had driven back through the woods to his field and walked out across the furrows toward him. He stopped, killed the tractor, and nonchalantly got down and looked me over. "You ain't dressed for this kinda work, preacher", he said, "You done kicked the shine off them Sunday shoes".

As God would have it, Watson Smith was ready to take his stand for Jesus. We knelled down there in the dirt next to his tractor, out in the middle of that field, and Watson prayed the sinner's prayer. When the trees had finished clapping their hands and the holy angels had sung the last verse, I told Watson I would baptize him Sunday night in our little homemade baptistry.
"No Preacher, I don't wanta be baptized inside no buildin." He was quiet a moment as he thought and looked out over the swamp at the back of his property. I'll build my own baptizin' place right down there."

Well, I don't think Watson did much else for several months but build his own baptistry. He cleared trees, dug out that swamp, built a dam and then waited for rain. On prayer meeting nights he would request prayer for rain. Of course, rain came ... and came ...and came. The next Wednesday night, Watson requested, "Preacher, you can call off the rain, my fields are flooded and my pool is full". It was more than a pool, it was a small lake. Watson was ready to be baptized.

He put an ad in the paper, posted a huge sign at his gate on Blountstown highway, with an arrow pointing toward his "pool". In big, bold, hand-done letters, it said, "WATSON SMITH'S BAPTIZIN". That Sunday afternoon, the church, Watson's many old friends, County Officials, St. Joe Paper Co. officials, and a crowd of curious passers-by, gathered on the banks of Watson's new lake, for dinner on the ground, and Watson's baptism. It was a day and time I will never forget.

A couple of years later, after Watson had cleared the way, with his bulldozer, we built our first Church building on North Meridian Road. Shortly thereafter, Watson stopped his truck at a red light on Gaines Street. When it turned green, Watson went to Heaven. He's there today. I'll see him soon.

Pass It On. RB

Oct 2, 2010

Only TOUGH Times Build Tough People

Common Sense Commentary: Faith turns Millstones into Milestones, Negative into Positive.

Every life has victories and defeats, peaks and valleys, good times and bad. The difference in people is not "who had hard times and who didn't". Everyone has had and will continue to have good and bad times. The difference in people is how each one "takes" what happens to them. You've heard it said that, "Hard times make some bitter and some better". It all depends on the faith and attitude of the person. Hard times bring the best out of some and the worst out of others. An eagle thrives on meat that would kill a sparrow.

We have all seen two different people enter into the same kind of difficulty and one comes out devastated, the other rejoicing. Some people turn God's "Milestones" into "Millstones" and others turn life's "Millstones" into "Milestones" which lead the way to better things. A Millstone consumes your strength and time and drags you down to the dirt. But see it as a Milestone and it becomes another forward step to your goals and success. I know people who seem always to snatch victory out of defeat. Others I know, seem only to snatch defeat out of victory. The difference is "Faith" and the victorious attitude which grows out of that Faith. "Tribulation worketh patience (perseverance)." Rom.5:3. Trials hurt. Perseverance gets us through them.

One man looked through prison bars and saw miles of mud and junkyard cars. Another man looked through those same bars and saw the Milky Way and Beautiful Stars.

When we know the truth about God, grace, love and life, hard times can strengthen and sweeten the character ... if we believe it. When we see hard times as an unfortunate accident, or an injustice against us, we recoil with resistance or resentment and feel betrayed by providence or God. This attitude only complicates and compounds our troubles and difficulties. Lives without faith are filled with doubt and unbelieve , and feel continually trampled by inconvenience and difficulty.

God's Word says, "....this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith". 1Jn.5:4 .
Faith in what ? Faith in God and His Word, which says, "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His PURPOSE." "All things" means "All things" and that includes hard times. But don't leave out this part of that verse, "to them that love God". Also, the verse restricts it to, "according to His purpose" not necessarily OUR PURPOSES. Rom.8:28.

Trust God's purpose in hard times; and rest in His will for your life. It is self evident that He knows better than we what is best for us and what it will take to break our resistance and guide us into his perfect will and our own good. We must learn to allow the storms to purge and smooth our lives as the storm and ocean waves purge and smooth the seashore. God is at work in every life. Some know it and some do not. Be thankful He is there and loves us. Grow gracefully through the storms of life. Remember, it is for OUR GOOD that God does what He does and allows "tribulation" to work its perfect work in us, and make us more "Christlike" ....which is "His Purpose". Our "Christlikeness" is the single most important purpose of the New Testament.

Pass It ON. RB