Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. - Matthew 10:32-33
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In a recent conversation with what one might call a concerned, but disenchanted Anabaptist (or Mennonite, if you wish), the current state of affairs among the collective Anabaptist scene in North America was discussed. He made a rather disquieting and thought-provoking comment. He said, “Materialism has taken over.” What do you think—has it? Does this friend have a talking point? What about us—how do we rate?
“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” I remember the first time when the words of this song deeply impressed me. I was sitting in church with our first little newborn baby while we sang this little chorus. Suddenly I was struck with an overwhelming sense of awe at the vastness of God’s love for my baby and me. That God can have such a deep love for my baby and for us imperfect people is hard to grasp.
An essay on the topic ?The Duty of a Christian Wife? was assigned to me for a recent Christian Endeavor program. This has been a good lesson for me to study, and I see that I have much to learn! My first thought on this subject was the verse in Micah 6:8 which reads, ?He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.? Ephesians 5:33 says, ?The wife see that she reverence her husband.? But what does this entail in real, everyday life?
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8). My thoughts the last months have been on positive thinking. I am sure that for some of you, positive thinking comes easily, but for some of us, it is a lot harder. I began to think of this one day when I was having a discussion with someone about being thankful.
“O the unsearchable riches of Christ! Wealth that can never be told; Riches exhaustless of mercy and grace, Precious, more precious than gold!” (Christian Hymnal, No. 20).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke of the unique opportunity of being able to lay up treasures in heaven. These heavenly investments promise eternal returns. Recessions, stock market crashes, and political upheavals cannot erode their value. They are beyond danger of any earthly corruption or fraud.
“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord” (Luke 1:46).
When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would be with child, she had questions. How could it be when she was yet a virgin? She accepted Gabriel’s answer to her question. She also accepted as truth the incredible news from Gabriel that her cousin Elizabeth was with child.
“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings” (Mal. 4:2). God’s prophet, Malachi, spoke to a people well acquainted with heartache. He told them of One whose coming would be like the rising of the morning sun. As sunlight restores and reinvigorates all living things, so the rays of light from the Sun of righteousness would warm and heal those who would look to Him. Today, Malachi’s words speak again to those who carry life’s heavy load.
Has there ever been a time in your life when you looked out into the universe and wondered, “Is there really a God out there?” In April 2001, through a series of strange circumstances, a certain man found himself speaking at an atheist convention. The audience of 250 was reasonably polite until he made the statement that the Bible was filled with scientific and medical facts, written several thousands of years before man discovered them. The reaction was one of immediate and unified mockery.
Hope is the central theme of the Christian’s salvation. Our helmet is the “hope of salvation” (1 Thess. 5:8). “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” (Rom. 8:24). What did the apostle Paul mean when he said we are saved by hope? Our hope in God and His Word (the way of salvation) is paramount to the Christian’s existence; we have no other hope. Christ is our lively hope. Christ, or our hope in Him, is what keeps us going and fighting the battle against sin and our flesh. Thereby we are saved.
A brother whom I knew fairly well and thought a lot of was “suddenly” overtaken in a grave sin. This brought to mind some verses in 1 Corinthians 10. “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted” (v. 6). Then again in verse 11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” We must remember that no matter how shocking an event, God has a use for it and can use it to warn others.