Speaking where the bible speaks, and silent where the bible is silent.

Archive for Jul. 9, 2017

Growing Old in Jesus

If you are living, you are getting older. We begin to age from the moment we leave the womb and we cease to age once we die. The myth of the “fountain of youth” has fooled men and women for generations. Try as you will, you cannot stop the aging process. Yes, you can change your appearance with Botox, plastic surgery and facial cream. Even so, those things do nothing to stop you from aging internally.

Let’s not be content with just accepting the fact that we are growing old. Let’s plan and work at becoming better. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” Then there was the fellow who took a different approach, “If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself.”

The book of Ecclesiastes talks about life here on earth, and in chapters eleven and twelve describes the aging process. Not only does Solomon tell what happens to us as we get older, he also tells us how to grow old gracefully.

Enjoy Life By Giving

(Eccl. 11:1-2)

The idea of these verses comes from planting rice, sowing the seed on the water that would later produce food. The best way to happiness and true meaning to your life is to share with others. Become involved in the lives of other people. Look beyond yourself.

Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Paul writes in Ephesians 4:28 that a person should work at his job rather than steal so that he will have honestly earned a living for himself and have something to give to those who are in need.

As you get older and look back, the knowledge that you were generous with what God gave you gives you much comfort, not just money, but also your time, abilities and energy. Give yourself to teach those who are younger and to set a good example for them to follow.

Adapt Willingly

(Eccl. 11:34)

In verse 3 Solomon is showing us the inevitability of life. Clouds will pour out, rain and trees will fall in the forest, and many other events will transpire which are inescapable. Let’s face it, somethings in this life we cannot change.

The counsel comes in verse 4; “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.” If you keep watching, occupying yourself with those inevitable events, that’s all you will amount to. You’ll never get around to sowing the seed because you are waiting for ideal conditions and therefore you’ll never reap. When you adapt to the inevitable changes in life as you get older, then you can be productive in any given situation. We must accept that which cannot be changed unless we kill ourselves prematurely. So instead of reaching a point in your life that you cease being productive and think that the only thing you can do is sit in the rocking chair, you must remember that anyone at any age has worthwhile things he can accomplish and contribute to the world around him. Look around and see how you can be a benefit to others.

Trust God

(Eccl. 11:5-6)

“As you do not know what is the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes all things. In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”

Many things are beyond our comprehension. Even so, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try something just because you don’t know or understand everything about it. Being unable to understand all that is involved in reproduction certainly hasn’t stopped people from having children. Therefore, be busy sowing (i.e., doing whatever needs to be done and is good to do), and trust God to raise it up.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”

Rejoice Daily

(Eccl. 11:7-8)

We are never too old to rejoice. It is good to be alive and to see the beauties of God’s creation. “Truly the light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun.” Psalm 118:24 says, “Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” And the apostle Paul urges us to, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4).

We are not being encouraged to rejoice in the wrong things, or just make having fun our goal in life. See in all that you do there is reason to count your blessings and be thankful.

Remember God While You Are Young

(Eccl. 12:1-2)

Remember him while you are young lest you look back and say, “I have no delight in them.” Few people are more bitter and lonely today than those who have grown old alone, that is, apart from the Lord. The picture of verse 2 is that instead of clearing after rain, the old person who in bitterness has closed himself in, and the clouds, instead of refreshment bring one storm after another. Therefore, lest you find yourself cynical and bitter in your old age keep the Lord in focus throughout your entire life. You won’t regret it all of your life.

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After God’s Due Order

There is a very interesting admission made by David, a very thought provoking statement in 1 Chron. 15:13. In speaking to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests and to six Levites who should have attended to the moving of the ark from Kirjath-Jearim out of the house of Abinadab to Jerusalem, he said, “For because you did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought Him not after the due order.” God had given complete instructions as to how the ark was to be prepared for moving, how it was to be moved and who was to move it (Num. 4:5, 6, 15). The priests were to cover the ark, first with the covering veil, then with a covering of badgers’ skins and finally with a cloth of blue. The priests were to place the staves in the side of the ark and then the sons of Kohath, descendants of Aaron, were to come and bear it upon their shoulders (Num. 7:9 f; 2 Chron. 15:15). Though the Levites carried the ark they were not to touch it under penalty of death. Instead of following this order that God had appointed, the ark was loaded on a new cart drawn by oxen a and accompanied by two sons of Abinadab, Uzza and Ahio. When they came to Nachon’s threshing floor the oxen shook the ark and Uzza put forth his hand to steady the ark and God smote him dead. He no doubt meant well, but he violated God’s command and died because of it (1 Chron. 13:7-10 f; 2 Sam. 6:1-7).

David confessed that they had not followed God’s due order and now commanded Zadok and Abiathar, the priests and six sons of Kohath to prepare and move the ark according to the way God commanded Moses (1 Chron. 15:13-15). This incident should serve as a lesson today to all who claim to believe the Bible. God means what He says and says what He means. Man’s sincerity and good intentions do not take precedence over God’s specific commands. Man is not to substitute his own ways-his “good” judgment, no not even in an emergency, in lieu of God has commanded. God’s due order is to be respected and observed.

Consider a few other examples of respect and lack of respect given to God’s due order. Abel followed God’s due order regarding sacrifice while Cain did not and, as a result, God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and rejected Cain’s (Gen. 4:3-7 f; Heb. 11:4). Noah followed God’s instructions concerning the ark by which he and his family were saved from the flood (Gen. 6:14-16, 22 f; Heb. 11:7). How well Noah followed God’s due order is shown in Gen. 6:22, “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” This is the proper way for observing God’s due order-do just what God commands and in the way He commands it. Nadab and Abihu were not so particular in doing all’ that God commanded them which resulted in their destruction by fire (Lev. 10:1, 2).

Does anyone have any reason to believe that God is any less concerned today about His due order being followed? Can we all learn something from David here? God has a due order for the saving of mankind from sins. His order requires faith, love and obedience (Matt. 7:21 ff; 1 Jn 5:3; 2 Jn 6; Jn 14:15, 21,23,24; Heb. 5:8, 9; Mk 16:15, 16; Acts 2:38). Millions are ignoring God’s order and are following man’s order of “faith only.” God’s order for baptism requires a burial in water for the remissions of sins, to be saved, to get into Christ (Col. 2:12 f; Acts 2:31; Mark 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21; Rom. 6:1-5). This is not a sprinkling or pouring as the Catholics practice on new born children. These babies have no mind of their own to believe, no language to confess, and nothing whatsoever to repent thereof. Multitudes are not willing to bow to God’s way, but satisfy themselves with being with the majority who deny that baptism is a condition of salvation and say the “form” does not matter. God’s order for the church calls for one body, with one Head, and under divine authority (Matt. 16:18 ff; Eph. 4:4-6; Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22, 23). God’s order is rejected for man’s many ways and personal choices (Isa. 66:1-4). The proper way of acceptable worship has been set forth (Acts 2:41 f; Eph. 5:19). The popular idea of “anything in the way of worship as long as one is sincere” is preferred by most.

The same thing that caused the breach in David’s time has caused division in the church today-a failure to follow God’s due order. Sermons stressing God’s pattern and the need for following it have been replaced with the popular sermon topic, “Where There Is No Pattern.” The idea seems to be that we have been too strict in insisting on following patterns set forth in the scriptures-that God has left some things up to our “good” judgment and common sense. Just as God has a due order for salvation, baptism, the church and worship, He has a due order for the work of His church (Eph 4:12). He has furnished us completely concerning that order (2 Tim. 3:16, 17 f; 1 Pet. 4:11). We need to respect that order, abide in the doctrine of Christ and His apostles, and stay with the patterns set forth in God’s word. It is safe and scriptural to do what God commands. Biblical examples show that when God’s due order was followed the people were blessed. They did not add to, take from, or substitute for what God told them (Deut 4:2 ff; 1 Cor 4:6; Gal 1:6-9; 1 Pet 4:11; Rev 22:18,19). As Paul said to the Corinthians, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor 14:40).

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