Most denominations that profess Christianity have used and continue to use musical instruments in their worship. Today, more and more churches of Christ are joining them in that practice. Many don’t think it matters to God and others think it’s what God wants. So, here are a couple of thoughts that I have found in the Scriptures for us to consider.
“Listen to your heart.” “Follow your feelings.” “Trust your gut.”
But, the Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
That’s right! The heart lies. It lies better than it does anything else.
It is not just wicked. It is desperately wicked. It is as evil as it can be.
You cannot really know what is going on in your heart. It may lead you, unknowingly, to your own destruction, as Proverbs 14:12 warns, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”
A lot of attention is given to the baby Jesus in the manger at Christmas time. It is a humble setting, usually portrayed in a stable with animals. If this was so, it would have been a smelly place, certainly not what you would think of for the King of kings and Lord of lords.
His parents took Him to Nazareth. This despised city became His home for the next 30 years, until He began His ministry in Galilee. It lasted for three and a half years, with no place to lay His head. During this time, He was rejected by His own people and the Jewish leaders sought to kill Him. He was betrayed, arrested, hit and spit upon, falsely accused, mocked, scourged and crucified. He was forsaken, denied and doubted even by those closest to Him.
John 8:31-32 “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’”
True disciples of Jesus abide in His word. They are not followers of men. They do not live by the creeds, traditions, doctrines or philosophies of men. They stay with Jesus’ word.
I like to read all kinds of books, but the Bible is unlike any other book in the world!
It claims to be an accurate record of the words of God Himself. Internal and external evidence substantiates this claim but there is an intrinsic convicting power that will move anyone who reads it with a good and honest heart to a sure and certain faith.
Many have never really given the book a fair and thorough reading.
Yes, God encourages us to come to Him for all our needs. He promises to listen to us when we ask and He promises to answer our requests. He gives generously and will never scold us for asking. You can always count on Him for every good and perfect gift.
Read it for yourself in the Bible: Matthew 7:7-11; John 14:13; Hebrews 4:14-16; James 1:2-5, 16-17; 5:16-18; 1 John 5:14-15.
Some of you may be wondering, “Why, then, do I not see this in my life? Where are God’s blessings?” The problem is never with God. It is with us. Open your heart to this teaching from James 1:5-8.
“Would you be free from the burden of sin? There’s power in the blood!”
In our bodies there is life-giving power in the blood. To our souls there is life and hope only in the blood of Jesus Christ.
There is cleansing, convicting, drawing power in the blood!
“And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all…” 1 Thessalonians 3:12
It is easy for us to criticize others. We all seem to be very quick to find fault in everybody else but ourselves. Seldom do we take the time to understand the underlying causes of their perceived weaknesses. If we knew more about their life we might be more compassionate and if we were honest it might lead us to admit that we are no better.
It is hard for us to help others until we first humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord. No one can argue with the fact that we all fall far short of His glory. Every one of us suffers from problems of the heart like anger, jealousy, pride and malice. Our tongue constantly slips. Time and time again we make mistakes with our life. There is not a one of us who doesn’t need forgiveness, mercy, patience and love.
It is good for us to remember how we have been treated by God so that we will know how to treat others. God loved us when we were unlovable. He gave His Son for us while we were still sinners. He continues to help us though we often fail to be grateful. He never gives up on us even when we have given up on Him. There are a lot of angry, hurting, lost people who just need someone like you and me to love them just like we have been loved by God.
“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’” 1 Peter 4:8
2 Timothy 3:12 “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
Is it your desire to live godly in Christ Jesus?Do you suffer persecution? How you answer the first question will determine your answer to the second. If we are faithful Christians we will have persecution.
More and more we are hearing about Christians being persecuted, tortured and killed around the world. We have all experienced the ridicule, mockery, snubs; been called names, been treated unkindly or differently than others because we are Christians.
Just as the world hated Christ, so it hates His followers. Jesus was not put on a cross because of anything He had done wrong. None of us should be surprised when we are persecuted.
There are many challenges facing the church today. The sinful morals and attitudes of the world have greatly influenced the church. We are fighting both liberalism and anti-ism from within. There are always the problems of hypocrisy, envy, discouragement, indifference and neglect among church members.
Such challenges are not new. The first century church faced the same. Much of the New Testament was written to churches, Christians and ministers to help them meet these challenges. We, too, can learn how to successfully face these same challenges as they appear in our day.
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135