God’s Glorious Gifts

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God’s Glorious Gifts

© B. Scott McCown – February 5, 2016

 

I noticed Your glory this morning;

I saw the sun in the sky;

Amazed at this day You’re adorning;

With beauty for every man’s eye.

You give us life, You give us hope;

You give us light, You help us cope.

You gave Your Son, To set us free;

You gave Your all, For even me.

I see Your hand in man’s history;

I know of Your labor to save.

Amazed I stand in Your story;

Humbled by the Love that You gave.

You give us life, You give us hope;

You give us light, You help us cope.

You gave Your Son, To set us free;

You gave Your all, For even me.

Thank You for loving Your Kingdom.

Thank You for creating our home.

Bring us through life in Your wisdom;

Until we reach that heavenly dome.

You give us life, You give us hope;

You give us light, You help us cope.

You gave Your Son, To set us free;

You gave Your all, For even me.

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I Don’t Know What to Say

I try to post a blog four days a week.  Some days, like today, I have so much running through my mind – or very little for that matter – that I am not focused on a single thought or lesson.

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Today, I am thinking about the wonderful devotional thought the freshman (Jackson B) from Tide4Christ shared last night.  I am thinking about his point of actions speaking loader than words.  I wonder what my “actions” on the drive in said about my life’s focus?  I wonder what my demeanor at the drive-thru said? As I go through today, will my life reflect Christ or the world?

I am thinking about the discussions in Bible Class last night.  We were studying Rahab in Joshua 2.  This Gentile woman the ESV refers to as a prostitute hid the spies sent from Joshua, lied to those looking for them, and then sent the spies away in safety after receiving a promise of protection.  When she hid them, she makes this statement of faith,

I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.” (Joshua 2:9-11, emp mine -BSMc).

Rahab had more faith than Israel.  They often doubted what God promised (remember the twelve spies).  Even these two spies only confess that God had given them the land and made the inhabitants hearts melt after they talk with Rahab.  How is it that A Gentile woman of ill-repute has a better grasp on faith than God’s people?  What does that say about us as Christians today? Do I miss seeing or acknowledging God’s blessings in my life because I think that others have bigger walls and more protection so obviously they have more blessings than I have?

I am thinking about families that are suffering with loss of property because of tornadoes.  I am thinking of families whose loved ones recently died.  I am thinking about teens involved in tragic accidents. I am thinking about those facing heart issues, cancers, and other feared diagnoses. Although I do not believe God causes these events, I pray He walk with those suffering and leads them through so that their faith grows stronger.

I am thinking about you – yes you – you who read this blog.  I pray that you grow in faith. I pray that the words I share help you focus on what is spiritual over what is physical.  I ask you to pray for me.

  • Scott

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Why Baptism Isn’t Something You Do

BAPTISMIn Acts 2:37 the people interrupt the preacher (Peter) and ask a simple question.  Simple yet profound, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Those gathered on that day, after hearing the Apostles speaking in each audience member’s own languages (BTW there were more dialects and languages than there were apostles), and after being reminded of their guilt in killing the Messiah and how God raised Him from the dead, proving this Jesus of Nazareth to be Lord and Christ, the realized their guilt and knew they had to do something.

Peter tells them what to do, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38).

What were they to do?

REPENT. They were to return to God. They were to make an about face. The Thessalonians provide us an example of what repentance is when they, “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” (1Th 1:9). Whatever traditions, doctrines, or motivations led them to be participants in Jesus’ crucifixion, they were to put them away and turn to God.

And BE BAPTIZED. Baptism is a passive participation of the penitent.  They were not told, “Repent and baptize yourselves.” Peter told them Repent and BE baptized.”  Baptism is not a work we do to earn salvation.

Baptism is something we MUST submit to in order to obey God’s word. Jesus said, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” (Mark 16:16). Even in that verse baptism (immersion) is an act of submission.

Baptism is something done to us as we submit to God.  Paul describes baptism as a re-enactment of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ – the gospel. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:3-5). (Just for argument sake the physically dead do not bury themselves, so it would make since that does dead to sin have someone bury them.)

In Galatians Paul echoes Jesus’ statement of belief and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16) when Paul says, “But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:25-27).

  • Baptism is linked to faith.
  • Baptism is a re-enactment of the Gospel in the life of the penitent.
  • Baptism is a submissive act that we allow done to us.
  • Through our death to self and sin, burial in water, and rising out of that watery grave, we are put into Christ.
  • Because of our faith, we submit to immersion  (baptism) so that we will receive forgiveness of sin, receive the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our salvation (2 Cor 1:21-22), and are added to His Kingdom the Church (Acts 2:47).
  • Baptism is necessary for forgiveness of sin and entrance into the Kingdom.

But baptism is not something YOU do to earn God’s grace, it is something done to you to receive God’s grace when you submit to Him.

Scott

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Advice from Noah’s Adventure

You are familiar with the story of Noah and the ark. God through the faithfulness of Noah saves Noah’s family and preserves mankind from complete annihilation by a large floating craft that carried Noah and species of animals to safety. (Read Genesis 6-8).

You are likely familiar with the phrase if not some of the material entitled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum.

While looking through some old files, I ran across an unassigned article that ties these two together – “All I Need to Know I learned from Noah’s Ark.”

  1. Don’t miss the boat

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    Image via superbook.cbn.com

  2. Remember that we are all in this together
  3. Plan ahead. It was not raining when Noah started construction.
  4. Stay fit.  When you are 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
  5. Do not listen to critcs, just do the job that needs to be done.
  6. Build your future on higher ground.
  7. For safety’s sake travel in pairs or groups (Noah took seven each of clean animals).
  8. Speed is not always an advantage. Tortoises were on the same ark as cheetahs.
  9. When you are stressed – float awhile.
  10. Remember the Ark was built by amateurs the Titanic by professionals.
  11. No matter the storm, when you are with God, you can ride it out, knowing there is a “rainbow” in your future.

Have a great day!

  • Scott

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Friday is for Praise

 

God is . . .

  • My Shield – Psalm 33:20
  • My Glory – Psalm 3:3
  • My Judge – Psalm 7:11
  • My Refuge – Psalm 9:9ipad 100
  • My Sustainer – Psalm 13:6
  • My Counselor – Psalm 16:7
  • My Strength – Psalm 18:1
  • My Rock – Psalm 18:2
  • My Fortress – Psalm 18:2
  • My Deliverer – Psalm 18:2
  • My Support – Psalm 18:18
  • My Light – Psalm 18:28
  • My Redeemer – Psalm 19:14
  • My Shepherd – Psalm 23
  • My Salvation – Psalm 25:5
What else is God to you?
– Scott

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Money Matters

How to manage your money God’s Way.

Join us at Central Church of Christ 304 Hargrove Road, Tuscaloosa for Money Matters Weekend on January 29 & 30, 2016 as Keith Kasarjian shares how can manage our money God’s way.

Keith Kasarjian has preached for more than 20 years for churches in Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. He earned a B.A. from Faulkner University and an M.B.S. from Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. He is the Assistant Director of Extension Studies at Bear Valley and Director of New School Development. Keith has taught in Bear Valley extensions in several countries and has done additional mission work in many others. His writings have been published in periodicals such as Gospel Advocate and Words of Truth. Keith is also a scuba diver and a marathon runner, who also enjoys camping with his family, golf, the outdoors, fitness, and cooking.

 Friday, Jan 29

  • 6:30       Registration / Refreshments
  • 7:00        Welcome
  • 7:15        Session 1: Giving that Feels Good: When we give, we like to feel good about it, but the reason we give makes all the difference in the world.  Why do you give, what you give?
  • 8:00       Break
  • 8:15        Session 2: A Practical Plan for Generous Giving: We want to be generous, and be remembered as generous, but we don’t always know how to be so. This lesson will make the plan extremely practical 

Saturday, Jan 30

  • 9:00        Continental Breakfast
  • 9:45        Session 3: Proverbial Financial Wisdom Some of the best advice ever given on money was written by the wealthiest man of his day. We will take a look at the wisdom that will make a difference in your finances.
  • 10:30     Break
  • 10:45     Session 4: Living Within Your Means: With so much pressure on us to “keep up with the Joneses,” many are living beyond their means. We will give practical suggestion on how to spend less than we make.
  • 11:30     Fellowship
  • 12:00     Lunch
  • 1:30        Session 5: Digging out of Debt: Debt is easy to get into and hard to get out of. In this session we will demonstrate proven successful strategies for getting out of debt forever.

 

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When God Brings You Yo It

I what sound like good phrases every day. A few of them follow:

  • If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.
  • Everything happens for a reason.
  • God had to break me so I could learn to rely on Him.

As meaningful as these phrases sound they are NOT biblical. In fact, sometimes they do

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April 27, 2011 Central Church of Christ’s building

more harm to faith than they help. What kind of father would intentionally bring harm to his children to teach  them a lesson? What parent would beat a child to the breaking point? In our society we would call that abuse.  Well, my God is not an abusive Father.

Hebrews 12:6 speaks of God disciplining His children, but discipline is training not always in a punishing way. Contextually, the Hebrew writer is talking about our struggle with sin not hardships in life.  Any hardships that are a part of that struggle are not God’s doing in the sense that He caused them, but that they are a consequence of our misconduct. This morning I heard local radio personalities talking about their children’s struggle to get out of bed for school. One DJ said she literally pulled her child’s feet out of the bed and set them on the floor. After they asked for advice, one listener messaged that she allowed her child to suffer the consequences of sleeping in – being tardy for school a few times, being late for work, etc. When the child realized they were responsible they asked for help learning to get up.  The discipline in Hebrews 12 is the same.  Training as we learn from our mistakes.

Romans 8:28 does say that all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. But that does not say all things are good. Nor does it say that God causes all things.  What it says is that when we trust and rely on God as His child (called according to His purpose) that God will be with us through the hardships and can and will bring us good despite them and often through them. This will not always be immediate and we may not always see it, but God will be with us.

Bad, evil, disaster, disease, death, crime, and poverty happen in our lives and all around us. That is what happens in a “fallen world.” Such might be consequences of our sin, Satan’s activities and influence, or the collateral damage of others’ sin. They are not caused by God, but God can and will see His children through them in life now and in eternity.

  • Scott

 

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