The BIBLE VIEW #942 — Character

In This Issue:
Good and Bad Character
The Character and Attributes of God
Honesty Is a Principle
We Remember Their Character
Test of Sanctified Character
Character
Where Are Your Convictions?

Volume: 942    January 29, 2024
Theme: Character

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Good and Bad Character
Bill Brinkworth

A person is exhibiting good character, as given by many biblical examples, when:

  • He uses the old biblical standard for morality, wisdom, and good behavior rather than the constantly changing public opinion.
  • He sticks to his word, no matter what it costs him.  His word, including commitments, means something to him.
  • He fights temptation rather than giving in to it.
  • He is more interested in what is right than what is popular.  His principles cannot be altered or compromised by peer pressure.
  • He puts others’ needs in front of his desires.
  • He consistently does the same thing, even when no one is looking!
  • Doing what he thinks is right is more important than any embarrassment, public opinion, or other negative thing it may cost him.
  • He learns from his mistakes and does not intentionally repeat them.
  • He has godly, rather than selfish, priorities.
  • He is as honest with himself as he is with others.
  • He lets principles, rather than emotions, pride, or opinions, guide him.
  • He seeks and follows truth, even if it costs or pains him to do so.

A person is not exhibiting good character when:

  • He changes his stand from biblical principles and morals to match those that oppose what he is voicing.  A man of good character will not succumb to mob rule or mob mentality!
  • He makes choices that he believes are popular.  He is more interested in popularity or what he can get out of a situation than doing the right thing.
  • He is more interested in instant gratification rather than long-term results.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your future!”


  The Character and Attributes of God

Gleaned from Bible Readings for the Home, 1943

 A Christian should be Christ-like.  Christ was like His Father.  Here is how the Bible describes God’s character:

  • “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” I John 4:8
  • “The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.” Psalms 145:17
  • “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” Ex. 34:6, 7
  • “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” Ps. 86:15
  • “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;” Deut. 7:9
  • “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Col. 2:3
  • “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: (impartial, unprejudiced)” Acts 10:34
  • “The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” Ps. 145:9

“When you run away from a problem, it most likely will follow you the rest of your life, no matter where you go!”

Honesty Is a Principle
Author Unknown

A slave boy on the auctioneer’s block was approached by a kind-hearted man who asked, “If I buy you and take you to a beautiful home, will you be honest and truthful?”

The young man answered without hesitation, “Sir, I will be honest and truthful whether you buy me or not!”

We Remember Their Character
Author Unknown

Abel, had the best sacrifice
Abraham, waited for God’s promises
Adam, the sinner that tainted all mankind
Daniel, the brave one
David, deep trust in God
Elijah and Elisha, relied on God
Eve, succumbed to serpent-pressure
Jacob, sneaky and an opportunist
Jesus, Holy, obedient, righteous…
Job, patient and trusted on God
Jonah, disobedient to God
Joseph, the chaste and upright
Judas, betrayed Jesus
Obadiah, the faithful
Moses, follower of God
Nehemiah, man with a burden to continue to worship God’s way
Paul, determined to do what God commanded
Satan, enemy of God
You!  What best describes your character:  ________________


Tests of Sanctified Character
Author Unknown

Some of the acid tests of sanctified character will always be:

  1. Can you labor on cheerfully without earthly reward?
  2. Can you toil on hopefully without tangible returns?
  3. Can you travel the road of frequent criticism without bitterness?
  4. Can you sacrifice, pray, and give while others lead the procession and receive the honors?  Are you willing to be the soil where providential events may grow while others fill the places of leaves and blossoms on the trees of time?

“Truthfulness is a cornerstone in character, and if it is not firmly laid in youth, there will ever be a weak spot in one’s character.” — J. Davis


Character
Author Unknown

The Greek word from which our word “character” originates refers to a sharp-pointed instrument or engraving tool.  This definition can also be applied to our personal “character.”  Our character is the means by which each of us makes an impression on the world; our character labels us. 

The instrument itself is not a finished product.  It is a mere tool, but character improves with use like many a fine instrument.  Our actions and reactions temper our disposition and strengthen us to face future obstacles.  Each must forge his character.  Each must be responsible for keeping it in condition.  Each must also be responsible for its results.

Where Are Your Convictions?”
Author Unknown

A certain congressman once voted for the approval of an immoral bill.  He knew he was doing wrong, but he stifled his conscience in obedience to political expediency demands.

Not long afterward, while visiting his home, he met an old friend on the street.  After they had exchanged greetings, the friend frankly told the congressman how disappointed he was by the leader’s vote.  “You voted wrong on that bill, John.  You must have known it was wrong.  How did you happen to vote that way?”

“Well, yes,” admitted the embarrassed politician.  “I’m afraid it wasn’t the right way to vote, but you have no idea what pressure I am under.”

“Pressure?” echoed his friend.  “Where are your convictions, courage, and conscience that can help you bear that pressure?” The question was a searching one.   It mercilessly exposed the congressman’s lack of character to stand by his convictions. 

“Do right until the stars fall!” — Bob Jones, Sr.

The BIBLE VIEW #940 — Getting Along

In This Issue:
Handling Conflicts
Don’t Let the Carnal Fight the Carnal!
Love Them No Matter What
Foolish Words

Volume: 940    January 15, 2024
Theme: Getting Along

Get the New Testament reading schedule at:
https://openthoumineeyes.com/assets/readntt.pdf


Handling Conflicts
Bill Brinkworth

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” Matthew 18:15-17

Everybody has had a problem with somebody sometime.  What does the Bible say to do when you are offended?

It does not say to start a smear campaign and tell everybody your side of the situation to get them on “your side.”   That usually gets a bunch of people bitter at one another.  When you do that and convincingly get others to think you are right and the other wrong, you bring the innocent listener “shame and folly” (Proverbs 18:13) for making him judge a situation without hearing the other side.

The Bible also does not say to hold it all in when another has offended you.  That often results in one having a severe case of “bitterness” against that person.  Waiting around for that person to come to you and get it right is also not on the Bible’s recommended list of ways to handle problems.

If the person is a Christian, God’s Word says to go to the offender.  Many times, that person may not even know they offended you.  Going to the person one-on-one will often solve the problem.

When you go to that person, you may discover:

  • He did not mean it the way you understood it.
  • That you heard it wrong!
  • A new way of looking at a matter.
  • That you were 100% wrong!

I have often been embarrassed when talking with someone and finding that my being upset at them was not justified.  It takes courage to face a person when they have offended you, and they may not always accept your confronting them.  That is why the next step to get the problem solved is found in Matthew 18:17-18.

There may be a time in settling differences between you and another that you may have to bring an unbiased person with you to be a witness in further communications with the offender.  Rarely, it may even be necessary to take the matter in front of the church if the Christian is a member of your church.

People shudder at the Bible’s way of handling a problem.  Most do not deal with the situation correctly.   That is why there are so many disgruntled people in churches.  It is also why many “… soweth discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:19), and some live with bitterness.

Follow God’s advice in solving a problem between one another.  Our heavenly Father knows best; He has raised billions of children!

“Love is the doorway through which the human soul passes from selfishness to service and from solitude to kinship with all mankind.” — Author Unknown



Don’t Let the Carnal Fight the Carnal!
Bill Brinkworth

Like so many Christians even today, Paul faced opposition from other Christians.  Some in the churches he spoke at questioned his apostleship, and others accused him of walking in the flesh (II Corinthians 10:2).  

No matter the accusation, Paul chose not to fight back.  He decided not to fight those who were carnal with his own carnal retorts.  He was determined to let his works for the Lord speak for themselves and let the Lord do the rest of the battling (II Cor. 10:4-8).

Most who attend a church may have someone falsely accuse them of something or else have one’s feelings hurt at least once.  No church is perfect.  It is a God-commanded assembly of believers, and it may have mostly Christians in attendance, but none of them are perfect. 

Some members of the church family are more carnal than others.  They see things from a fleshly perspective, not how God sees them (II Cor.10:5).  To make matters worse, they often voice their opinions about other members.  When this is done, someone usually gets hurt.

Too many, unfortunately, get wind of what was said about them and leave the church — never to darken the ministry again.  My first thought is usually, “Who would be behind such a move of leaving a church for the wrong reasons — God or Satan?”  It certainly would not be of God to disobey His commandment (Hebrews 10:24-25) to assemble with other believers, yet people leave churches all the time for the wrong reasons.

There have been times that my wife and I also have had things said about us by other church family members.  The false accusations hurt us deeply, but we remembered that we were not in attendance for the accusers but for God.  He wanted us to stay, and we did.  It was a hard time, and we prayed much about the situation. 

We never missed a meeting, and we kept at the work the Lord had for us.  Over time, we looked around and noticed that our accusers were no longer in attendance.  God does take care of his own, but that does not mean that there will not be difficulties.

Paul stayed and did what God told him to do, and God used him greatly.  His accusers names are not even mentioned in the Bible, but Paul is still remembered.  Be a “Paul.”  Purpose in your heart whom you will serve, and then let the Lord handle the light work!

“Hopefully, you didn’t go to church for ‘feelings’, so don’t leave if they get hurt.  You should be going to church to be obedient to the Lord!


Love Them No Matter What

We are not only to get along with other Christians, but we are to love them.

  • “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34
  • “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:12
  • “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Gal. 5:14
  • “These things I command you, that ye love one another.” John 15:17
  • “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8
  • “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:” I Thess. 3:12
  • “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” I Thess. 4:9
  • Also: Heb. 13:1, I Peter 1:22, 2:17, I John 3:11, 23, I John 4:7, 11-12.



Foolish Words
Bill Brinkworth

Proverbs 18 brings to light behavior tolerated by most but not accepted by God.  His Word shows that those types of conduct are foolish.

We see here that foolishness:

  • Is not wanting to understand all sides of a matter.  The fool is more concerned about doing what feels right or seems the best thing for him to do.  This sounds more like the desire today to do what is popular rather than what is logical, moral, fact-related, or helpful.
    “A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.”
    Proverbs 18:2
  • Is making a decision or judgment after hearing only one side of the situation or story.  Without knowing all sides of an account and only portions of what is considered, wrong assumptions will be made.  Facts are often not the fool’s concern, as they prefer decisions based on emotions and not truth.
    “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Proverbs 18:13
  • Are words that are often disliked and shameful.  Sadly, the speaker may not even realize the derogatory impact of his speech on others.
    “A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.” Proverbs 18:6
  • Often comes off one’s lips and ruins one’s character, respect, and testimony.  Many times, it is not even realized that one’s worst enemy is one’s thoughts and words.
    “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.” Proverbs 18:7


After reading the wisdom of these four types of foolishness, it should bring to mind the actions and words heard today from prominent speakers, politicians, media outlets, and others.  Their statements may be eloquent and contain official-sounding, ten-dollar catchy phrases, but much of what we hear is not wisdom.  In God’s eyes, much of what is said and accepted is still foolish.

“The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.”  Proverbs 15:2

The BIBLE VIEW #939 — Changes

In This Issue:
New Things
Why Are They Different?

Volume: 939    January 8, 2024
Theme: Changes

Get the New Testament reading schedule at:
https://openthoumineeyes.com/assets/readntt.pdf


New Things
Bill Brinkworth

Living a biblical lifestyle is certainly the old way, the way much of mankind has lived for over 6,000 years.  Living that way may be “old-fashioned” to some,  but there are many new things that obeying and living for the Lord can offer.

Here are some of the new things God still offers and desires all to have and experience:

A new birth. When one becomes a child of God, he has a new spiritual birth.  He is a new, different creature.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3: 3
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” I Peter 1:23
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” II Corinthians 5:17

A new joy, happiness, and purpose. Being born again is wonderful.  It comes with new chances in life with great joy and happiness.
“O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.  Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.  Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.  For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods” Psalms 96:1-3
“And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” Psalms 40:3  A
lso: Psalms 98:1.

 A new heart. God gives, along with salvation, a new “heart” that has new desires, purposes, and hopes.
“Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.  And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” Ezekiel 11: 17-20 These verses were written about the people of Israel, but the principle can apply to us.
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

 A new outlook. Life is seen differently by a child of God.  When one is saved, educated from the Word of God, and obedient to it, life looks a lot different.  Activities and actions of the past now may appear contrary to God’s commands and harmful rather than “fun.”  The “old, dead” Bible now becomes alive and helpful.
“Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it?  I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.” Isaiah 46:6

 A new life (a new mind). Along with other new blessings comes the “mind of Christ” which thinks much differently than before the new birth.
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.  Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:22-27
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” Colossians 3:10

A new day filled with second chances and other opportunities. Just as a new day brings fresh opportunities and expectations, God gives the born again soul a second chance in life.
“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

A new testament; new covenant. A “testament” is a document declaring the will and desires of a person.  The New Testament that God gave man is not only part of the Bible, but it is His will and the new covenant (commitments or promises) He made with man.  It tells of God’s will for man in this church age.
“And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Mat.  26:27-28
“And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.”
Mark 14: 24

A new world. One day, God will destroy this world, and a new one will be created. 
“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered.” Isaiah 65:7
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Rev. 21:1-2

“If you have not experienced many of the first six changes mentioned above, you may not be saved!  Gulp! “ — Bill Brinkworth


Why Are They Different?
Bill Brinkworth

Luke 7:36-48 answers a question some have.  They wonder, ”Why are so many second-generation Christians not having the same enthusiasm and excitement about the things of God and serving Him as their parents did?” 

In those Luke 7 verses, we read of a very sinful woman. Many have supposed from her description that she was a harlot.  When the woman found Jesus was nearby, she visited Him. She wept as she washed Jesus’ road-weary feet with her tears and anointed Him with ointment.  Because of her apparent love and respect for Jesus and her broken-heartedness over her past sins, Jesus forgave her. 

A parable (Luke 7:41-42) given by Christ explains the key to her broken spirit over her guilt.  The Saviour’s teaching story taught that the one that was forgiven the most was the most appreciative and loving of the Saviour.

This explains why some today, with a sinful past, are the most appreciative after being saved. Drunkards have gotten saved from the clutches of alcohol, and when they got saved, they have a different, hopeful future.  Adulterers who have seen relationships crumble from rampant sin have become faithful, loyal spouses after becoming born again. 

Violent men have become excellent, peaceful fathers after the Saviour came into their lives and changed them from the inside out.  When millions of sin-torn lives trusted the Saviour’s sacrifice and received God’s pardon for their sins, they were transformed. 

After those rescued souls got closer to God and learned what He wanted for them, they made things right that were wrong. They usually concluded that exposure to the ungodly worldliness encouraged them to make wrong turns. To prevent their loved ones from making the same bad decisions, they did all they could to keep others from going the wrong way.

Parents made sure their children were in church. Families had daily Bible-reading devotions. Financial sacrifices were made to send children to Christian schools so they would not be polluted by secular education. 

With all the effort put into them, often those second-generation Christians, although they may have gotten saved, still went in the wrong spiritual direction.  The children, although insulated from powerful, sinful influences, got the desire to “taste” sin. The allure of the shiny things of this world has often led the second generation right back into the mire from which the previous generation was rescued.

Why does this happen so often? Unfortunately, our sinful nature often prohibits us from learning from those who have learned a lesson the hard way.  We ignore advice from those who have already traveled the wrong road and must learn the lesson for ourselves — sometimes the dangerous path. 

It would save much heartache, grief, and destroyed lives if people would listen to those warning them of the wrong direction in which they are headed.  No one should have to repeat the errors of others!

“Insanity is following the bad examples of others and expecting a different result!” — Author Unknown

The BIBLE VIEW #931 — Christian Examples

In This Issue:
Be A Worthy Example
A Christian Home
An Encouraging Example
An Encouraging, Cleaned Example
Showing Hope and Love

Volume: 931     November 6, 2023
Theme: Christian Example

Read the FREE typeset version of this newsletter at https://openthoumineeyes.com/newsletters.html (Click on #931).  Use it for your church bulletin inserts or as a ministry handout.

Be A Worthy Example
Bill Brinkworth

“Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: 9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” II Thessalonians 3:8-9

Every Christian is responsible for a very important task: to be a good Christian example (“ensample”) to others.  Many do not read the Word of God for themselves, have not learned what God has for them to do, and are more reliant on a godly example than they should be.  It is dangerous to their spirituality to totally follow someone else, but it does happen.

For this reason, Paul the Apostle was aware of eyes attuned to his behavior and actions.  He wrote some important points to be “… an ensample unto you to follow …”.  In II Thes. 3, he pointed some of them out:

  1. That obedience and understanding of God’s Word would be seen in his life, and God would get the glory.  If we are a godly example for someone, it should always be God and His work that get the glory, not us!
    “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:” II Thes. 3:1
  2. Keep your distance from others who are not doing right (“disorderly”), even if they are Christians (“brethren”).  He defines “disorderly” in verse 11 as those who are lazy and not working and those who are meddling in other people’s business (“busybodies”).  Association with those types of people may give others the impression that you are also like the crowd you are with.
    “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” II Thes. 3:6
  3. Do not stop living and doing right.  Others around you, even Christians, may be acting worldly, not obeying God, or not involved in reaching others for Christ, but that is no reason for you to abandon your post!  Keep on keepin’ on, no matter what others are doing.  Do not tire of doing it alone.
    “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.” II Thes. 3:13

It would be better for all if each Christian faithfully read God’s Word and obeyed all that he is shown but not many do that.  They often follow the actions and behavior of those they associate with.  With this reality in mind, our responsibility to be a proper, godly “ensample” is thrust on us.  Lead those who are watching or following your example down the right path.  There are eyes on your testimony — constantly!

A godly, virtuous man shines the purity of his righteous life.  He is a lighthouse set by the sea-side, whereby mariners sail safely and avoid danger because of his light.  But, he that lives in sin is a false lantern, which shipwrecks those that trust him and follow his example.”  — Fellthan, 1668


A Christian Home
D. L. Moody

A godly house should be the best proof of true Christianity.  It is not my church; it is my house that knows me best.  It is not my pastor; it is my home companion who can best judge me.  It is the servant, the child, the wife, and the friend that can discern most of my real character.

A good man will improve his household.  Rowland Hill once said he would not believe a man to be a faithful Christian if his wife, children, servants, and even the dog and cat were not the better for it.  That is being a good Christian.

If your household is not the better for your Christianity, if men cannot say, “This is a better house than others,” then be not deceived; ye have nothing of the grace of God.  

Let not your servant on leaving your employ, say, “Well, this is an odd sort of a Christian family.  There was no prayer in the morning, and I saw no prayer at night.  I was kept at their home all Sunday working.  Once a fortnight, perhaps, I was allowed to go out in the afternoon when there was nowhere for them to go so that I could hear a Gospel sermon.  My master and mistress went to a place where they heard the blessed Gospel of God; as for me, I had to work.”

Surely, Christians should not act that way.  Carry out your godliness throughout your home.

An Encouraging Example
Bates, 1625-1699

Precepts instruct us what our duty is, but examples assure us they are possible.  Examples resemble a clear stream wherein we may not only discover our spots and sins but also be encouraged to wash and clean them.

When we see men like ourselves, united to frail flesh and in the same condition as us, but they overcome the most glorious and glittering temptations, we are encouraged in our spiritual warfare.  We are encouraged that we, too, can get the victory over such temptations and sin.

“Men can ‘live’ long after they are dead.  They can outlive their memory and may be more enduring than any monument of brass or marble.

“Their example may be like the circles rising around a sinking stone.  The waves it makes grow wider and wider, embracing a larger and larger sphere, until it dies in gentle wavelets on a distant beach.  Likewise, your example can also reach a distant time.  Take care, then, how you live now.”
—Guthrie

An Encouraging, Cleaned Example
Talmage

A child from a filthy home was taught at school to wash his face.  He went home so much improved in appearance that his mother scrubbed her face.  When the father came home and saw the improvement in domestic appearances, he also cleaned his face.

The visiting neighbors also saw the change and tried the same experiment until all on that street were cleansed.  The next street copied their example.  Soon, the whole city felt the result of one schoolboy washing his face.

This tale illustrates the best way for the world to be washed of its sins and pollution.  It can start by cleansing our hearts and lives.  

A man with grace on his happy face, Christian cheerfulness in his heart, and consistency in his behavior is a sermon that many will see and will impact many lives.  Your godly Christian behavior and attitude will make a difference!

The flower blossom cannot tell what happens to its fragrance.  Neither can any man tell what becomes of his influence and example.”  — Unknown


Showing Hope and Love
Deb McCoy

Recognizing hope in unexpected places,
Displaying courage and character that shines forth on our faces.
Joy unrestrained in heartfelt authenticity,
Facing challenges without sinking to fleshly complicity.

Persevering by faith against all odds,
Battling exhaustion through the lenses of facades.
’Tis grace that is unleashed from Heaven above,
Telling the story of our Father’s great love.

Beyond the most painful chapters in each of our lives,
We are met by the mercies of God as our hearts He revives.
This pathway of hope strengthens our testimony in the Lord.
Growth and vitality permeate our hearts and minds as we lift up His Sword.

Our commitment to God will reveal our willingness to obey,
May we always be mindful that salvation was costly as on Calvary’s cross He did pay.
Whatever your circumstances, Christ is your truest and most loving friend,
Hope is assured as you receive God’s favor and victoriously run the race to the end.

One watch kept on time is good to set the time of others.  On the other hand, if one is not on time, it will be a poor example for others to set their time by.  Christian, be careful by whom you set your ‘time’.”  — E. Cook

The BIBLE VIEW #923 — Forgiveness

In This Issue:
Handled Properly
What Can be Learned
God Both Forgives and Justifies
“If I Had Known!”

Volume: 923     September 11, 2023
Theme: Forgiveness

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Handled Properly
Bill Brinkworth

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Mat.  5:44-45

It started innocently.  A “Hey, J.” was shouted to the passing neighbor.  However, the dog walking with its owner started barking at D. and got closer and closer.  The animal’s warning bark turned to a quick nip on D.’s leg.

“Owww!” was D.’s natural cry.  “Your dog bit me!”

“Oh no, he didn’t,” was J.’s defensive retort.  More harsh words ensued.

D. was angered as his words and pain were questioned.  The argument between the two neighbors escalated.  D. took the moment to point out some of J.’s other damages to his property.

Back and forth the argument went.  Both parties shouted hurtful accusations.  Finally, one of the men walked away in disgust, and the heated discussion stopped.

After rehashing it with himself and his wife, D. was even more convinced that he was right and that the neighbor was wrong.  He thought about it for hours and the next day.  D. was very troubled over the matter.  Thoughts about his Christian testimony to the neighbor and how he had reacted troubled D. He could not get any peace as he mulled over what had happened.  He knew he was right, but his reaction could have been better.

As conviction troubled him, D. thought about how to remedy his situation.  The neighbor was definitely in the wrong, but D.’s reaction certainly was not Christ-like. Soon, he found himself composing a letter apologizing for his actions.

“Dear J.,
“I want to apologize for my actions the other day.  It was wrong of me to lose my temper and say the things I said.  I am a Christian, and that behavior is unacceptable…”


“Sincerely,
“D.”

Included with the letter was a gift certificate for two at a local restaurant.

Five weeks later, a letter appeared in D.’s mailbox.  It was from J., and it read,

“Dear D.
“… I have returned your gift certificate.  I cannot accept it, as I had wronged you also.  I hope we can continue to be good neighbors and put this behind us….”

The matter was smoothed over because one man humbled himself and made it as right as possible.  No one on this side of Glory knows how D.’s handling affected that man, his girlfriend, others with whom he may have shared the situation, and others who scoffed at how D. handled it.  A good Christian testimony had been etched in others’ minds.

Although many Christians argue with others, few get it right, as did this neighbor.  I never heard all the details about how J. reacted.  All that does not matter anyway.  The important thing is that a man saw his error in a situation and attempted to get it right. 

If more would value their Christian testimony, obey the convicting “voice of the Holy Spirit,” and handle their actions more Christ-like, Christianity would be a better example than it is to so many today.  Thank you, D. for your example!

Read a related article at http://www.devotionsfromthebible.com/ephesians/lets-go-out-to-the-tree/

“Doing an injury puts you below your enemy.  Revenging one makes you even with him.  Forgiving him sets you above him.— Benjamin Franklin


What Can be Learned
Philips, 1871

“What can Jesus Christ do for you now?” said an inhumane slave master, applying a lacerating whip to an already half-murdered slave.

“Him teach me to forgive you,  Massa,”  was his reply.

The best way to get even is to forgive and forget.”

God Both Forgives and Justifies
Dr. H. A. Ironside

When God forgives through the risen, glorified Jesus, He not only forgives, but He justifies us.  An earthly judge can’t forgive and justify a man.  If a man is justified, he does not need to be forgiven.

Imagine a man charged with a crime going to court, and after the evidence is all in, he is pronounced not guilty, and the judge sets him free.  Someone says as he leaves the building, “I want to congratulate you.  It was very kind of the judge to forgive you.”

“Forgive?  He did not forgive me; my actions were justified.  There is nothing to forgive.”

You cannot justify a man if he does a wicked thing, but you can forgive.  God not only forgives, but He justifies the ungodly because He links the believer with Christ, and we are made “accepted in the Beloved.”

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also
forgive you.
Mat.  6:14


“If I Had Known!”
D. L. Moody, 1877

When I was East a few years ago, Mr. George H. Stewart told me of an instance in a Pennsylvania prison when Governor Pollock, a Christian man, was Governor of the State.  A man was tried for murder, and the judge had pronounced sentence upon him.  His friends had tried every means in their power to procure his pardon.  They had sent deputation after deputation to the Governor, but he had told them that the law must take its course.

When they began to give up hope, the Governor went down to the prison and asked the sheriff to take him to the condemned man’s cell.  The Governor was conducted into the presence of the criminal, and he sat down by the side of his bed and began to talk kindly to the prisoner.  

He spoke to the man of Christ and Heaven and showed him that although he was condemned to die on the morrow by earthly judges, he would receive eternal life from the Divine Judge if he would accept salvation.  He explained the plan of salvation, and when he left him, he committed him to God.

When he was gone, the sheriff was called to the cell by the condemned man.  “Who was that man?” asked the criminal, “who was in here and talked so kindly to me?”

“Why,” said the sheriff, “that was Governor Pollock.”

“Was that Governor Pollock?  O Sheriff, why didn’t you tell me who it was?  If I had known that was him, I wouldn’t have let him go out until he gave me a pardon.  The Governor has been here, in my cell, and I didn’t know it,” and the man wrung his hands and wept bitterly.

My friends, there is one greater than a governor with you today.  He sent His Son to redeem you and to bring you out of the prison house of sin.  He is waiting to forgive all your sins.

The discoverer of the role of forgiveness in the realm of human affairs was Jesus of Nazareth.” Hannah Arendt

The BIBLE VIEW #915 — Don’t Quit!

In This Issue:
Plod On!
Don’t Quit

Volume: 915     July 17, 2023
Theme: Don’t Quit

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Plod On!
Bill Brinkworth

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:58

When younger, I spent many summers in an off-grid cabin in Maine.  What an exciting place for an adventure-seeking and curious child it was.

One day, I remember hearing an unfamiliar sound of a distant chainsaw.  As those tools were not common in the ’60s, I wanted to know who was sawing and where it was happening.

Trekking up a forested hill and following barely used logging roads, I found the source of the noise; it was a flannel-shirted, hardworking lumberjack. 

As he cut down the towering pines and firs, he stripped the fallen trees of their branches and fetched his “helper” to pull them to where the pulp wood would be cut and stacked.

After disappearing briefly, he returned with an amazingly large workhorse.  After leading the animal to the fallen trees, a couple of shouted commands got the creature to back up to the logs, where chains and a harness hitched the beast to his next timber task.

More commands were given, and the creature hauled his wood load behind him.  In places, the ground was spongy with rotten debris, cedar roots, and old stumps.  However, the obstacles did not hinder the trudging beast.

If one of the massive logs he lugged was snagged on an old trunk, the horse powered through the obstacle and often even pulled the stump out of the ground.  The horse and his task were unstoppable, and the animal plodded on.

Sometimes the mushy ground gave way to the over 1,000-pound animal, and his hoofs sunk deep into the soft tangle of roots and branches, but still, onward he labored.

There were places the ground was harder and less cluttered with obstacles.  Still, the beast lumbered on with his load at the same speed he held when on marshy, soft ground.  No matter what was encountered, the “worker” consistently trudged on delivering his load.  Nothing seemed to deviate him from His task.

Christians should model their service to the Saviour with the same consistent work ethic as that workhorse.  There will be hindrances and obstacles while serving the Lord.  Sometimes they will be occurrences in a believer’s life or even health trials.  However, an obedient worker must trudge on when possible and complete the task they were convicted to do.

Preacher, if God called you to the ministry to lead and educate a flock of believers, continue at the task despite the opposition you may be facing.  Plod on.

Plod: To walk or study heavily, steadily, and laboriously

Sunday school teacher, bus ministry worker, deaf interpreter, or whatever task you felt led to be involved in, keep on keeping on!  Do not let criticism, ungratefulness, or even unruly children halt you from your responsibility.  Plod on.

Serving the Saviour is not an easy task.  Perhaps that is why so many’s efforts to serve the Lord are short-lived.  There are, unfortunately, more quitters than those “plodding on” through the turbulences and trials.

If God called you to do a task for Him, continue until you are convicted and convinced He desires you to stop.  Plod on!

“Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace through those difficulties.”  — C. S. Lewis

Don’t Quit
Bill Brinkworth

Too many quit or want to resign when the going gets rough.  In most cases, one never quits the problem; one just runs away.  The dilemma is still there.

Deserters are everywhere:

  • Husbands feel they cannot handle the burden of being a husband and father and abandon their responsibilities.  Although he is distant from his family, he is still a father and husband.  His running away has not changed that.  The problems he ran away from usually get bigger than they originally were.
  • Wives run off leaving families and husbands, however, she is still a wife and mother, just also distant from her responsibilities.
  • Children sometimes do not like their parent’s rules.  They, too, may run away, but they still have the same parents.  They just put space between themselves and the unsolved problem that will probably haunt them for the rest of their lives unless they stay and work out the difficulty.
  • Students quit school but usually spend their lives without training and education.  The rest of their lives are stalled because they never learned the necessary lessons to further their lives.
  • Friends quit a long-term friendship because of an argument.
  • Employees quit when they do not like what is happening at the workplace.

It usually is easy to walk away from an uncomfortable situation.  It does not take character, intelligence, or common sense to run away when the way gets tough.

Rarely is anything solved by quitting.  There will always be problems in life.  Unsolved problems have a way of following us wherever we go.

Many take their quitting lifestyle and try to apply it to their spiritual lives.  Here are several reasons why one cannot quit on God:

You cannot quit being a Christian. Once a true Christian, always a Christian.  You did not earn it.  It was a gift of salvation if you trusted Jesus’ finished work on the cross as payment for all your sins.  However, too many quit being Christ-like.
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” John 10:28-29

You cannot quit because the enemy has nothing to offer. There are only two sides – Satan’s and God’s.  If one is truly saved by faith, one cannot get unsaved and be on the loser’s side. 
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

You cannot quit because victory may be just around the corner. Troubles and tribulations are part of the school of life.  You may be very close to passing the “test” and going on to life’s next lesson.  Do not quit now.
“And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.” II Timothy 4:18

You cannot quit when you make a mistake. Just get back in the saddle, and try again.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39

You cannot quit now; you may miss the harvest. Maybe one day your problem will be over, and you will reap a blessing from the tribulation.  Maybe it will be tomorrow or the day after.  Spiritual fruit does not always come the day it is planted.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:58 Also: John 15:4.

Many times life is very difficult.  If you are a Christian, you are on the winning side.  Do not quit now.  Victory is possible; it is a blessing when achieved, and it may be just around the corner!


“God didn’t bring you as far as He has to abandon you!”  — Author Unknown

The BIBLE VIEW #883 — Enduring!

In This Issue:
Not Much Has Changed!
I Won’t! 
What Did They Do?

Volume: 883     November 7, 2022
Theme: Endure!

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Not Much Has Changed
Bill Brinkworth

The battles and challenges Christians face today are not much different from those early Christians encountered.  Little has changed.

Although people today see themselves far advanced from their early predecessors, there are remarkable similarities between New Testament and today’s Christians.  They are similar because of man’s consistent-through-the-ages sin nature,

Paul warned Timothy (I Tim. 6:20) to keep far away from the doubting, faith-challenging science.  It attempted to challenge what God would have His people believe by faith.
“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:” I Timothy 6:20

The “science” Paul referred to here was not so much the “science” we recognize today.  “Science” in I Tim. 6:20 referred to man’s knowledge.  It was intellectualism that challenged a Christian’s faith and beliefs.

Many today also believe that “knowledge” is superior to what God’s Word declares.  However, the Bible refers to it as “fables” (I Tim. 1:4), “vain (empty and pointless) jangling” (I Tim. 1:6), “profane and old wives fables” (I Tim. 4:7), and “vain babblings” (II Tim. 2:16).  God wants all to know that man is not as wise as he thinks he is. 

Man’s intellect continues to question and challenge creationism, the existence of God and His involvement in His creation, life after death, and God’s Word is preserved and is still with us.  That we’re-smarter-than-God attitude is still doing all it can to question and ridicule Christianity’s principles and beliefs.  However, despite incorrect thinking, God’s way will “work” with modern man.

Early Christians also had to deal with unbiblical religion and traditions.  Today’s Christians are still dealing with false teachings.
“… ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.” Mark 7:8  Also: Mat.  15:2, Mat.  15:3, 6.

It is man’s philosophy, mixed with God’s way, that waters down the truths and power of God’s commandments (Mat. 15:6).  Man’s ideas and beliefs that contradict the Word of God have often weakened Christianity.  To make it even harder to live the Christian way, those who call themselves “religious” or “Christian” often become stumbling blocks and the enemies of true Bible-believing and obeying Christians.

Man, then and today, still has to deal with immorality.  Saints in Sodom and Gomorrah had to deal with homosexuality, as do today’s Christians.

False worship was just as big a problem in the Old and New Testament times as we are experiencing.  Idolatry was just as much a shock to Paul as it is to modern believers when people are seen praying to idols, some even professing to be Christians.

Ungodly leaders have also been a hampering and discouraging force that opposed the open practice of Christianity.  Early Christians faced the government’s controlling arm under Roman rule.  It was that reign that martyred thousands of Christians on Roman crosses, in their fires, and other tortures.  Old Testament saints faced similar torment from the pharaohs, Shalmanesser, Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, and countless other unrighteous rulers. 

Many today vote for government officials.  The “rulers” that get elected are often not leading their people in the way God would have them govern.  The government’s support of abortion, welfare without working, paying for illegitimate births and birth control, and diseases contracted from sinful behavior are some proofs of ungodly governmental authority.

It is not much easier to live a godly life today than in yesteryears.  The world and its often ungodly practices, beliefs, laws, and temptations have always been a barrier to those committed to obeying God.  Very few times in history has the world been a comfortable environment to live the way God would have all to live. 

Hiding behind the excuse, “Well, it was easier for earlier saints and Christians than today,” is not true.  There always have been difficulties and challenges for those living God’s way.

It is the individual Christian’s responsibility to choose correctly.  Decide to reject man’s philosophies, traditions, and what is popular to fit in. Determine to trust God’s way of salvation and walk the narrow way God expects the believer to follow (Mat. 7:13-14).  Difficulties may arise in pleasing God but obey Him, no matter what.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

“If you can get along with the world, then you are out of step with God.”
— Dr. Harold Sightler


I Won’t!
Author Unknown

I want to let go, but I won’t let go,
There are battles to fight,
By day and by night
For God and the right,
And I’ll never let go.

I want to let go, but I won’t let go,
I’m sick ‘tis true;
Worried and blue,
And worn through and through,
But I won’t let go.

I want to let go, but I won’t let go,
I will never yield;
What, lie down on the field
And surrender my shield?
No!  I’ll never let go.

I want to let go, but I won’t let go,
May this be my song,
‘Mid legions of wrong;
That I may never let go.

The man who wisely said, “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead,” should have added, “Be sure you’re wrong before you quit!”


What Did They Do?
Bible Readings for the Home1

  • When beaten by the Jewish rulers for preaching Christ, what did the apostles do?1
    “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” Acts 5:41
  • After receiving “many stripes” with their feet made fast in the stocks, what did Paul and Silas do while in prison?  1
    “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” Acts 16:25
  • When Jesus was nailed to the cross, what did He say?
     “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.  And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” Luke 23:34
  • Even when persecuted, what are we told to do, and why?
    “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.  Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” Luke 6:22-23
  • What assurance is given that the child of God may bravely endure every trial and hardship of life?
    “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
  • How constant should our rejoicing be?
    “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”  Phil.  4:4

1Bible Readings for the Home, Sothern Publishing Association, Nashville, TN, 1943, Page 574-575

“Build your nest upon no tree here; for you see God has sold the forest to Death, and every tree whereupon we rest is ready to be cut down.  We must flee and build upon the Rock.  Jesus is that Rock.” — Rutherford, 1661

The BIBLE VIEW #873 — Your Testimony

In This Issue:
He Says He’s a Soldier
What Others See
“It Will Always Shine!”

Volume: 873     August 29, 2022
Theme:  Testimony

Theme: Drifting Away  

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He Says He’s a Soldier
Bill Brinkworth

“You’re sure you’re a soldier?” I queried.

“Yes, sir,” quipped the slovenly dressed young man in civilian clothes.

“Where’s your uniform?”

“Well,” he explained, “I don’t wanna be like everyone else.  I never even bought one.”

“Hmm,” I scratched my head.  “If you’re a soldier, certainly you must have read the soldiers’ training manual.”

“No, never read it at all.”

“You’re a soldier, don’t have a uniform, and never even read the training manual?” I was really perplexed now.  “Certainly, you’ve attended boot camp?”

“No, never had the time.  I always had something to do when the Army wanted me to go.”

“And you’re sure you’re a United States Army soldier?”

“Yes, sir.  I’m very proud to serve my country.  Whenever they need me, they can count on me,” was his proud answer.

“I’m a little confused.  You say you’re a soldier but never wore the uniform, read any procedure manuals, or attended training.  Did you ever fight in any battles?”

“Oh, no.  They wouldn’t let me because I never attended boot camp.  But when they have a war, I’ll be there.”

“Hmmm.” I just had to ask, “Well, what makes you so sure you’re a soldier?”

“I must admit, it seems strange that I haven’t done things most soldiers do.  But, you see, my father was in the service.  His father was also in the Army, and I believe even his father was.  So everyone just knows I’m a soldier, too.”

This fictitious scenario is echoed thousands of times through a similar testimony of professing Christians.  They claim they are a child of God, but do not think, believe, dress, or behave like one.  They never read God’s training manual, the Bible, never faithfully attend church, and are not observed doing anything spiritual.  They are in the battle and have lost, but they do not know it has even started.

God’s Word clearly teaches one way to be saved.  It is not my method or yours that will get one into Heaven.  It is His Heaven, and there is only one way there; His way.

That way is to know we are sinners, as Romans 3:23 clarifies: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”  Because of our sin, none of us has pleased God, and an eternal punishment awaits them.  Romans 6:23 states: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

There is good news, however.  Although we are sinners and heading for Hell, Christ died for our sins and paid for them (Romans 5:8).  The proper way to get to Heaven is to accept His payment for all our iniquities.  After believing that,  we have God’s promise that we will go to Heaven: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).” That is God’s way to be with Him forever.

Being a Christian will soon be a public affair.  People will see that the Holy Spirit has made some changes in one’s life.  Family and friends will see moral practices replacing old wicked routines and habits.  It will be evident where the Christian will be on Sunday.  His Bible will also no longer be dusty.

It will no longer be a guessing game to determine if one is a Christian when one is genuinely saved.  The changes in his life and lifestyle will make it clear that he is “born again.” He will be proud to be enlisted in God’s army and will make it evident by looking and acting like a real Christian soldier.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16


What Others See
Bill Brinkworth

One of the most valuable assets a Christian can have is his testimony.  What others think of him is often what they see him do, how he reacts in certain situations, and how they believe a Christian should live (although their view may not always be accurate).  Paul gave some advice in Ephesians 4  on how to preserve that testimony.  Some of his advice included:

  • Do not live like the rest of the world and put the wrong value on things that are really unimportant (Eph. 4:17-18).
  • Do not lust after things of this world and be consumed with greed for them (Eph. 4:19).
  • Do not let your conversation with others be about lust for this world’s things (Eph. 4:22).
  • Live a righteous life and strive to be a good example (Eph. 4:24).
  • Let your conversation be honest and do not lie (Eph. 4:25).
  • If you get angry, get it right with those involved before the sun goes down (Eph. 4:26).
  • Do not get close to sin and allow the devil to destroy your testimony (Eph. 4:27).
  • Do not steal, but work hard for what you want (Eph. 4:28).
  • Be careful of the words you utter, making sure what you say helps others (Eph.  4:29).
  • Do not sadden the indwelling Holy Spirit by sinning (Eph. 4:30).
  • Do not allow the sins of bitterness, violence, anger, and evil speaking to be part of your life (Eph. 4:31).
  • Be kind to others (Eph. 4:32).

As hard as we try, some will always see our example as wrong, no matter how we adhere to the above advice and other godly principles.  Although it is impossible to please all the people all the time, we have a responsibility to have the best testimony possible.  

Our example is not so much about what others think about us, but what others think about Christ by our example.  We are often all the unsaved will ever see about Christ.  Will they determine they do not want to be a Christian because of what they observed in our behavior, or will they consider being one because of how we live our lives?

Your walk talks louder than your talk talks.


It Will Always Shine!”
Author Unknown

A traveler once visiting the lighthouse at Calais said to the keeper, “What if one of your lights should go out at night?”

“Never!  Impossible!” he exclaimed.  “Sir, yonder are the ships sailing to all parts of the world.  If tonight one of my burners went out, in six months, I would hear from America, or India, saying that on such a night, the lights at Calais lighthouse gave no warning, and some vessel had been wrecked.  Lives could be lost because of my neglect.  Ah sir, I sometimes feel, when I look upon my lights, as if the eyes of the entire world are fixed upon me.  Go out!  Burn dim?  Never!  Impossible!”

What a lesson that man’s commitment and fervor should be to the Christian!  The Christian must remember he is a spiritual lighthouse for the world to observe.  Let then his “light” be full, bright, and clear.  The moment he neglects it and leaves his “lamps” untrimmed, some poor soul, struggling amid the waves of temptation, for lack of a beacon of example to light his way, may be dashed upon the rocks of destruction.

“I have ever deemed it more honorable and more profitable to set a good example than to follow a bad one.”  Thomas Jefferson

The BIBLE VIEW #867 — Separation

In This Issue:
Separate Yourself

Volume: 867     July 16, 2022
Theme:  Separation

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Separate Yourself
Bill Brinkworth

An important biblical teaching is believers should be separated from sin and the ungodly activities of the world as much as possible. 

It is taught throughout the Old Testament.  God’s people, particularly Israel, were to keep their distance from the heathen, so they would not be exposed or tempted by the ungodly’s involvement in sin. 

In the New Testament, early believers were also warned to remain as far as possible from the unfruitful, ungodly works of unrighteousness.  God wanted His people nowhere near the grasp of harmful, contagious sin.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Eph.  5:11

The Bible tells us much about living a separated, godly life:

  • From the beginning, God did some separating.  God separated the unrighteous world from Noah and His family when He sent the flood.  The ungodly perished. 

    In Old Testament times, God repeatedly warned His people to separate from the ungodly so they would not end up doing the sins the enemies of God were committing.
    “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.” Isaiah 52:11
    “Flee out of the midst of Babylon
    [a sinful nation], and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence.” Jer. 51:6   God was going to judge the sinful nation.  He did not want His people to be included in the punishment that would be inflicted on the ungodly.
  • God says not to do the sinful or “close to appearing sinful” activities they do.
    Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” II Cor. 6:17   
  • Our example, Christ, lived a separated life.  We claim to be “Christ-like,” which is what “Christian” means, so we also should live a separated life.
    “For such an high priest [Jesus] became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;” Heb. 7:26

A different way of living does not save anyone.  “Not cursing, chewing, or hangin’ around with those that do” is a good practice, but it will not make one saved.

However, when one acknowledges one’s sin, realizes the price that will ultimately be paid for it, accepts Christ’s payment for one’s iniquity, and accepts Him as Saviour, that person is saved from the penalty of sin.  That person will be changed on the inside, and changes on the outside should soon follow.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” II Cor. 5:17

This “new creature” should want to live the way the Lord wants him to live.  The child’s Sunday school song reminds us, “The things I used to do, I don’t do them anymore.”

The “new” saved person will produce godly fruits (actions that are pleasing to the Lord), not because he has to do them to keep his salvation, but because his new “heart” will want to do them for the Lord.  A saved person should desire to please his Saviour.
“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:  9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” Eph.  5:8-12

The new-hearted Christian should realize that much of the way he used to live was not pleasing to the Lord.  To please the Lord, he should want to separate himself from sin and its temptation.

For centuries, separation from sin and even the “… appearance of evil …” (I Thes. 5:22) were preached from most pulpits and practiced by most.  Christians lived differently.  They spoke, dressed, believed, acted, and thought differently.  They were ashamed, as were their families, when they were involved in sin or even imitated the lifestyles of the unsaved.

This thinking and lifestyle are foreign to many of today’s Christians and are often ridiculed by them.  One would be hard-pressed in most churches and Christian households to be able to tell any difference between “Christians” and the unsaved.  

Some church leaders and believers spend more time excusing, justifying, and explaining their worldly thinking and lifestyles than remembering one of God’s most important commandments to His believers — to live holy.
“Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.”  Lev. 20:7  Also: I Peter 1:16.

God has not changed since He had the words penned in Lev.  20:7.  No matter how those around us are living and believing, a Christian is always to live as godly as he can. 

We are on God’s winning side, and we are to live like it.  We are not to live like the ungodly.

When a Christian lives the way God commands, the ungodly will separate from him.  Godly living convicts the ungodly, and rather than change their way of living, they often will alienate themselves from the source of their “feeling guilty.”  Many Christians that do not live a separated life never make any difference to those around them, as their lifestyle is not a godly example.
“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” Luke 6:22

The majority of Christians fail in the area of separation.  Most often, they will not separate themselves from the things of this world and separate themselves unto God.  They want the comfort of knowing they will go to Heaven, but their sincerity is lacking. 

Most will not separate from the places they should not be.  They also act, think, dress, and look like the ungodly.  Their desire is to fit in like everyone else.

If the fad returns to have short skirts, many Christians will quickly be in the store to make sure they look like everyone else.  When the fashion of long hair returns for men, they are the first to drive past the barbershop and find something to tie their hair back.  Too often, Christians are more interested in fitting in with the world than they are fitting in with God and letting Him make them as holy as He can.

It would be more helpful for Christians if they had the attitude, “I’m a Christian.  If the Bible shows me to do something, I will do it without question.  If the world thinks I am peculiar, then that is their problem.  As for me and my house, I will separate from the world and its many questionable behaviors.  I will look, act, talk, and behave like the Bible says a Christian should.”

We should not strive to fit in and appear like everyone else.  Remember when your mother said to you, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it?”  We did not like her admonishment, but too many are doing that spiritually; we are doing what everyone around us is doing.  Too many are following the world rather than leading the world by a Christ-like example.

The question or place of confusion for many is, “Well, what is it I should be separated from?  What are the ungodly works of wickedness I am to keep away from?”

Reading the Bible will reveal the main source of what should be avoided — sin.  There are more sins than those found in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20).  One man counted over 600 sins.  One will not know what he should keep away from if he does not read the Bible and learn what they are.

“Well, many of the sins are for Old Testament times,” is often the retort.  The Old Testament, particularly the Law, is the schoolmaster (Gal. 3:24) that teaches us what God likes and dislikes.  Since God never changes, what was a sin to Him in those days, unless there is a retraction or permission given in the New Testament, is still iniquity today.

People feel more comfortable with a list of sins.  However, because of man’s devices, dealings, and different times, sins change.  A list of sins from Old Testament times would not always apply today.  

Scales no longer have weights, so the sin of “false balances” would not be valid for most today.  However, the principle behind that sin, cheating, and deceiving still can be applied today.  

There were no guns in 1200 BC, but fatally killing someone with one today is still a sin.  Murder has always been a sin, be it with a gun or a stone.  Alcoholic beer is not mentioned in the Bible; however, drunkenness is to be avoided according to God’s Word. 

Abortion also is not mentioned in the Bible, but the principle of not killing another and taking one’s life is forbidden by God.  Many insist the dress codes and standards of the Old Testament are only for by-gone days, but the principle that honors the differences in the sexes as God created them has not changed.

Many justify sin and lack of separation with the excuse, “Today is different.”  Sin is sin and always has been.  The principles of what is iniquity needs to be learned from God’s Word and then applied.

Man’s lifestyles and possessions are constantly changing.  A list of what not to do will never be accurate for more than several years. 

It is the spirit of doing the right things that must be established, and then an attitude of discernment will hold true and guide one, no matter what changes in the world.  It is the “spirit” of God’s law that needs to be the ruler to measure what is right and wrong, not just being on God’s list of sins (“the letter” of the law).
“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” II Cor. 3:6

When one lives a life far from the edge of being “wrong” or sinful, they will seldom have to worry about “falling into sin.”  I learned this from my first pastor after I was saved. 

Pastor Fedena drew an imaginary line on the platform and walked along it.  He said that many Christians do not want to live a separated life, yet they still want to have an appearance of being a Christian. 

They are so close to sin that it takes very little to unbalance them spiritually.  He illustrated this by stumbling off the line he was walking on and tripping down the platform’s steps.

“But,” he went on to illustrate, “Those that have learned the wisdom to stay away from anything that would tempt them or even give an appearance of their doing wrong,  get far away from that ‘tolerable’ line.”  He moved far away from the imaginary line separating right and wrong.  As he continued, he pointed out, “As I get farther away from the questionable ‘gray’ area, you will see that I am getting closer to God.”  That is what living far from the edge of right and wrong does; it protects us from being tempted and falling into sin.

He went back to the line of “what-one-can-get-away-with-and-still-not-be-involved-in-sin.”  As the preacher tried to balance on the line again, he warned, “Those that live close to the edge of where they were before they were saved, and know what sin is, cannot lose their salvation when getting too close to their old lifestyle, but they can get involved in it.  They may lose their testimony that may take a long time, if ever, to get back.  Their witness as a godly example will be ruined.

“When referring to Christian hypocrites, those that got too close to the edge and fell into sin are usually referred to.  It is much safer to get far from the tempting edge and closer to God.  If it is questionable, give God the benefit of the doubt and stay away from its involvement.”

That is what separation is all about: separating oneself from anything that will make one fall and hurt the cause of Christ.  That is why God wants us to separate from many things of this world and, of course, from sin.  

God loves us and does not want His children hurt by sin or weakened by its temptation.  Separate yourself from the world and unto God.

“If you’re a Christian, why would you want to act like, live like, look like, or even talk like the devil’s losing side?”

The BIBLE VIEW #865 — Gossip

In This Issue:
“Beware of the Drowning Man!”
Three Things to Remember
The Spreader
Slander

Volume: 865     July 6, 2022
Theme:  Gossip

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“Beware of the Drowning Man!”
Bill Brinkworth

It is said that it is very dangerous when trying to swim out and save a drowning person.  Too often, the rescuer is drowned by the flailing, panicking drowner.

The natural reaction of the one going down, for possibly the last time, is to keep their head above water.  In an effort to survive, he can grab hold of the rescuer, and in trying to get another breath of air, drown the person who is trying to help him.

A disgruntled, unhappy person is often much like the drowning man.  For whatever reason, they are dissatisfied, they share their unrest and discontentment with others.  In most situations, they mean no harm.  They are unloading their burden and anguish on others hoping the person can say something or change something to stop their dissatisfaction.  However, their complaining, or “venting,” does much the same as the drowning man.  He can take the listener down with him.

The one listening may not know what is to follow in the conversation or genuinely may want to be a consoling ear to the one doing the complaining.  Before the “rescuer” knows what has happened, he is a casualty of gossiping lips.  Those words may do more than “sink ships,” as they said during World War II when referring to those that said more than they should have.

Making oneself a listening post for complaining, gossip, or dissatisfaction can result in one having the same thoughts as the one floundering.  The complaints and opinionated talk can spread like an infectious disease.  Soon the grumbler’s frustrations are shared feelings of their audiences.  Here are some common scenarios that trap too many:

  • “Well, maybe that person at work is lazy and making us do his work like the other person said.”
  • “Hmm, Sonya said that the person in the back of class is responsible for all the things missing in our class.  Maybe he is a thief.”
  • “Oh, oh.  She thinks her husband is cheating on her; perhaps mine is doing the same thing.”
  • “Things are not the same in church as they were.  So-and-so says it’s because of what Deacon Jones is doing.  Our problems in church are all his fault.”
  • “My friend says So-and-so looks like he’s hiding something, and he is right; he does look suspicious.  I don’t think I will trust him, either.”

On and on the opinions and observations of others can go into listening ears, doing damage by intentional or unintentional words.  Most often, we want to help, and that is why we listen.  However, words often turn into improper or unjustified judgments or actions by the listeners. 

Here are several guidelines one can keep in mind when lending a listening ear:

  • What the other person is saying is only his side of the story.  If the listener wants to know the truth, he should hear the other person’s side of the situation.  Suggesting to immediately get the other person’s view of what is being said often silences what is being said, as the talebearer may know what he is saying is more emotional than factual.

 “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Proverbs 18:13

“Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?” John 7:51

“One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” Deut. 19:15

“Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.” I Timothy 5:19

“It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.” John 8:17 

  • Why are they telling me?  Can I change the situation for them?  Are they just gossiping, backbiting, complaining, or do they want the problem they are speaking of handled their way?  Can what they are saying result in anything positive?  

If it is discerned what is being said is for the wrong reasons, change the conversation or walk away from it.  Why would anyone want to take part in another’s sin?

“They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.” Psalm 12:2

“Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.  “Psalm 34:13

“Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.” Psalm 120:2

  • Is what is being said edifying?  Can it be destructive to my ears?  Will it reinforce the problem to them as they share their concerns and make both of us miserable?  Is what is said going to help or change anything, or is it gossip?

“They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips.  Selah.” Psalm 140:3

“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” Proverbs 17:9

  • If a suitable solution is given to solve the speaker’s dilemma, will he follow the advice, or will he keep grumbling to anyone who listens?

“Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.” Proverbs 23:9

“Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” Proverbs 9:8

  • Why am I listening to them?  Am I doing it to be a help, or do I want to hear some dirt about someone else?

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29

  • Does voicing their grievances bring confusion and division to others?  If it brings adverse side effects to others, then their “beefs” are probably not of God.
    “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” I Corinthians 14:33

It is natural for most of us to want to listen to the concerns of those we are in contact.  It is also quite normal to want to help them with our suggestions.  We must always be aware of what our ears are listening.  Often, a person does not know the damage their words can do to themselves and their listeners.  They may not even know they are “drowning” in their trials and tribulations, but a drowning man can take others down with himself.  Beware of drowning people.

Although some quoted scriptures were in a different context, they were used to show a biblically taught principle.

Oh, be careful little lips what you say, for the Father up above is looking down in love …”   — Words from a child’s Sunday school song


Three Things to Remember
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Remember, three things come not back
The arrow sent upon its track.
It will not swerve; it will not stay
Its speed; it flies to wound and slay.


The spoken word so soon forgot
By thee, but it has perished not.
In other hearts, ‘tis living still.
And doing work for good or ill.


And the lost opportunity,
That cometh back no more to thee;
In vain thou weepest, in vain dost yearn;
These three will nevermore return.

You cannot stop people’s tongues, and therefore the best thing to do is to stop your ears and never mind what is spoken.” Spurgeon


The Spreader
Author Unknown

On a well-equipped farm, you will find at least one machine that looks like a low-slung wagon.  It is called a “spreader.”  It is used to disperse seed and fertilizer.

Unfortunately, in every town, big or small, you will find men and women that might be placed in the category of the “spreader.” They run about from place to place spreading gossip, which is the dirtiest kind of dirt.  Gossip helps no one and harms everyone.  It is about the meanest manifestation of dirty work that a human can do and not be exiled.

Chances are, if one speaks ill to you about others, when you are not around, he will speak ill of you.” — Barbara Brinkworth