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Tidings for Tuesday

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1

On October 22, 2013, police in Santa Rosa, California, noticed a teenager carrying what appeared to be an AK-47 assault gun in the city’s Moorland Avenue neighbourhood. Although it was an airsoft gun (a non-lethal replica), the device did not have an orange tip, which is a legal requirement for all toy guns. Carrying it was 13-year-old Andy Lopez, a grade 8 student who attended Lewis Opportunity School in Santa Rosa, who also had a replica pistol in his pocket. There are conflicting reasons given as to why Lopez was carrying the replica firearms, with some stating that he was returning them to a friend and others saying that he was supposedly going to use them to try and scare a friend as a joke. Two police deputies approached, one of them remaining in the police vehicle while the other called out to the teenager to drop the weapon. Instead, young Lopez turned and aimed his gun at the officer. At that moment, the officer in the police car opened fire, and the teenager was dead. Apparently, Andy Lopez had never been taught to obey his parents. So when it was critical that he obey the police, he didn’t think it was necessary. We do our children no favours by not expecting them to obey their parents.

Children who never learn to obey their parents have a difficult time adjusting to a world where obedience is a necessary part of society’s structure. Disobedient students get poor grades in school and find few opportunities for employment. Disobedient employees are usually demoted or fired. Disobedient citizens land in jail. Disobedient friends find themselves alone. There are times when every one of us need to do as we are told, and the place to learn how is in the home. Sadly, far too many homes are broken and disfunctional these days, and far too many children do not get their training they need. This should never be the case in the Christian home, where the Word of God is read and the order of God is observed. Children will thrive in such an environment, and will be prepared for a life of both service and leadership. But while our text is an important one for parents to note, it is not specifically directed at the parents, but at the children.

Paul does not say, ‘Parents, make your children obey’. No, he directly addresses the children. The Greek term used in the original refers to children who are under their parent’s care, both pre-adolescents and teenagers. This verse is specifically for them, telling them that obeying their Christian parents is the right thing to do. The term ‘in the Lord’ refers to parents who are living for the Lord and who desire their children to do likewise. Such parents will use wise judgment and scriptural principles in leading and directing their children. And the children will be truly blessed to obey them.

Rather than suppressing children, our text offers them an opportunity to rise to the best that their parents – and the Lord – would have for them.  -Jim MacIntosh

Meditation for Monday

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Charity never faileth, but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall cease. 1 Corinthians 13:8

Some hardy little shrubs grew along the path behind the old schoolhouse, and we brushed past them as we made our way to play in the woods behind. We noticed those shrubs looked the same every year, never seeming to grow or shrink. Although they were shorter than the goldenrod that grew along the same path, these shrubs were different. The goldenrod, clovers, and other grasses that grew along the same path sprang up each spring, flourished through the growing season, then died in the fall. They were good for only one season. Those shrubs, on the other hand, were permanent, leafing in the spring, dropping their leaves in the fall, and enduring through the snowdrifts of winter to releaf the next spring. As far as I know, those shrubs are there yet. They remind me of love as the constant and eternal feature of all that we have in Christ.

Our text speaks of prophecies failing. Prophecies were integral to the early days of Christianity, as God would reveal His truth to faithful men. But as the Word of God was delivered, as the writings of the apostles filled the canon of Scripture, there came at time when prophecies had no more purpose. The Bible being completed, the Holy Spirit had no new revelations to impart. The revelations each of us receive nowadays come as the Holy Spirit instructs us from the Word of God as already delivered. We do not need prophecies anymore. But we need love.

Neither do we need the gift of tongues. This gift of languages was given at the time of Pentecost to deliver the Gospel message to all of those who heard the apostles preach. This gift continued for some time in some areas, as God proved the authenticity of what His people were delivering. These were real languages, not the gibberish featured by the charismatic organizations around us. And they were not intended to prove some advanced form of spirituality, as those charismatics claim. This gift soon became unnecessary as the Gospel spread, as people shared the message far and wide with others in their own tongues. Because this gift became unnecessary, it has ceased. But love has not.

The vanishing away of knowledge will take a little longer, but it too shall occur. Our text is speaking of our earthly knowledge, that which we have learned from Scripture, from study, from ministry and Bible studies, from experience. This knowledge provides the foundation for our Christian life, with instruction, encouragement, correction, and inspiration as we make our way through our sojourn here. But this knowledge is imperfect, flawed by our failing memories, our inability to understand, and our own ideas and impressions. We need perfect knowledge in the Glory, and we shall have it, leaving behind the imperfect knowledge that we now possess. But love will never be left behind.

The love of Christ that constrains us in time will only grow and flourish as we enter eternity, leaving behind those things that are no longer needed. -Jim MacIntosh

Food for Friday

Friday, February 15th, 2013

So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he did eat continually at the king’s table, and was lame on both his feet. 2 Samuel 9:13

If Mephibosheth were living today, I believe he would have made a good addition to one of God’s Assemblies. There is much about this man that is comparable to Christians of today. Features of his life after he was brought from Lodebar by David are similar to the features of New Testament Assembly principles.

For one thing, Mephibosheth was occupying a place that was his solely by the grace of the king. We acknowledge that our place in God’s Assembly is not something that we in our unsaved days would have ever sought, or ever been able to attain. How gracious of God to bring us into the fellowship where the Lord Jesus has placed His Name! May we ever appreciate it as much as Mephibosheth appreciated his seat at David’s table.

We are also told that Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem. He has no interest in the old life in Lodebar. He has a new and better home; no other place will do, because David is there. Can we ever be content in a place that bears the name of men’s ideas or mortal heroes rather than the Name of the Lord Jesus? Our home is His presence.

Mephibosheth was continually at David’s table, just as members of God’s Assembly feast weekly on the emblems that remind us of His death, feast daily on the Word of His truth, and feast hourly on the goodness of His drawing us unto Himself and His Assembly.

Despite his newly exalted position, Mephibosheth remains lame. He can never forget that his place at David’s table is not because of his own capabilities but because of David’s grace. We too are reminded that despite our salvation, we are still in sinful bodies, still helpless to accomplish anything outside of God’s power and direction.

Are we like Mephibosheth? Do we appreciate the King’s table? Like him, we are former enemies who rejoice at His marvellous peace and eternal friendship. In God’s Assembly, we can fully appreciate our King. -Jim MacIntosh

Sermon for Saturday

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. John 20:24

I had other things to do that evening, so I opted to do them instead of going to the midweek prayer meeting. I succeeded in getting my tasks done, and felt I had made the right choice. But the next day, one of the Christians called to tell me about the meeting. Instead of the prayer meeting, they had held a missionary meeting. It turned out that a missionary we had been supporting was in town for a visit and had offered to give a report. I was disappointed, because I had missed hearing the report from the missionary. But I had actually missed an even more important Person who was in attendance.

How many meetings of your Assembly does the Lord Jesus attend? According to Matthew 18:20, He is at every one of them. At most meetings, one person or another is not able to make it, because of illness, work, or being away from home. And sometimes, some feel the meeting is not as important as other things they can do. Those people miss out on the presence of the Lord. We don’t know why Thomas failed to attend the first meeting when Jesus appeared to His disciples, so we can’t cast too much criticism at him for not being there. But we can make note of what he missed by not attending. Had he known that Jesus would be there, he would undoubtedly have made a great effort to attend. If we allow the realization that the Lord Jesus is going to be at each Assembly meeting to grip us as it should, we will miss very few of those meetings.

Our text identifies Thomas as one of the twelve. He was definitely within the fellowship of that special group. He had participated in all of the activities that the disciples engaged in during Jesus’ ministry. He had taken part in the discussions during and after the crucifixion. He must surely have known all about the gathering that night. There is no reason to believe that his doubting the resurrection was something that applied to him alone. If it had been another disciple who had missed that meeting, that other disciple would probably have done the same as Thomas. So it wasn’t a matter of who missed the meeting, but it was the fact that a meeting was missed.

Missing meetings can cause us to miss out on some very important events. Like Thomas, we should have been there. -Jim MacIntosh

Thought for Thursday

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body, and be ye thankful. Colossians 3:15

We took our three-year-old granddaughter to the hardware store, where she showed a keen interest in the many fascinating things she found there. Her bubbly personality and constant chatter caught the attention of one of the clerks, who talked to her and showed her how to use the big magnet to pick up loose nails that had fallen from their bins onto the floor. The clerk told Grace to be sure to collect a lollipop at the checkout, for being a good girl. At the checkout, the multicoloured lollipop was so fascinating that Grace almost forgot to thank the lady who gave it to her. Almost, but she did express her thanks, and was complimented for her good manners. Grace did better than most people nowadays, who are rarely thankful for anything. On the other hand, Christians should be thankful for everything.

Being thankful is far more than good manners. Being thankful shows a proper attitude to God for all his loving kindness and to those around us for their kindness and care. Perhaps thanklessness comes from the spirit of entitlement that is part of the baby boom generation, and their children. Living in a world where there was always enough and often too much, a world where raising a little fuss would often get us whatever we wanted, a world in which parents preferred to pamper rather than discipline their children, has produced a world where thanklessness is a way of life. This attitude became very obvious in the occupy moment that occurred in many major cities throughout our land and in other countries. Instead of appreciating what they had, occupiers demanded what other people have, regardless of whether they earned or deserved it. When it comes to the blessings of God, you and I could never earn or deserve them. That’s why we should always be thankful. That’s why everything we receive from God, or from anyone else for that matter, should cause us to respond with deep gratitude. As Christians, we have far more to be thankful for than others do. We should cultivate an attitude of thankfulness, and we should freely express our thanks.

Our thanks should always be the first thing mentioned in our prayers. Oh, how good our God has been to us! We must appreciate our salvation and all the great blessings that spring from it. We must also appreciate all the temporal blessings we receive, acknowledging that we did not even deserve the drink of cold water we last enjoyed. Our families also deserve a lot of thanks for putting up with us, and for all they do. So do the other members of our Assembly. And when was the last time you thanked the members of your Assembly oversight for their care and guidance? Keep in mind that a thankful spirit is a good testimony and goes a long ways in attracting sinners to the Gospel.

Counting our blessings ever day will help to keep us thankful, but we can never be thankful enough. -Jim MacIntosh

Corn Hill Gospel Meetings

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Corn Hill Gospel Meetings

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Thursday, November 25th, 2010

For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you, for I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them in Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago, and your zeal hath provoked very many. 2 Corinthians 9:1,2

What would the apostle have written if this was his letter to your Assembly? Would his words sounded anything like this? What has your Assembly done lately to help poor Christians, or others living in poverty and difficult circumstances? How much money has been distributed this year? And how much last year? How many hours do the folks in the Assembly spend gathering clothes and other articles to send to very needy places such as Ukraine?

What about you personally? How deeply into your pockets have you reached to help a saint in need? What is your budget for helping those with less resources than yourself? How many items have you assembled to contribute to this very worthy cause? And have you sought out bargains for supplies that you can buy to contribute? How much inconvenience have you accepted to enable others to obtain the food and clothing and other materials that they need?

The Lord Jesus spoke frequently about the poor, in fact, He majored on it many times. It’s important, actually one of the most important aspects of our lives. But we in North America have developed the ability to keep the needy out of sight and out of mind, and therefore out of pocketbook. We don’t know about the need, so we don’t offer to help out.

That’s no excuse. Scripture reminds us often to seek out the needy, to look for the need, and be quick to offer what we can to help.

When was the last time you went without a meal? There are many who can’t remember the last time they had a good meal, and others who have no idea where the next meal is coming from. We have it in our power to do something.

Be among the many who have been provoked to generosity by the example of the Corinthians. -Jim MacIntosh

Monday, August 9th, 2010

On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people, and therein was found written that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God forever. Nehemiah 13:1

Unlike the Edomite and the Egyptian, who could come into the congregation after three generations, the Ammonite and the Moabite was forever barred from the congregation. If we read the portion in Deuteronomy that is referred to here, we find that the Ammonites and Moabites refused hospitality to God’s people as they made their way through the wilderness, and they hired Balaam to curse the Israelites.

The Lord told His disciples that the world would hate them because it hated Him. But that is not an excuse for their hatred. The Lord will not and does not excuse the world’s hatred and evil treatment of His own. Undoubtedly a major reason why so many perish in their sins is their despising and cursing of Christians. Mark well those who speak evil of the Lord’s own children; they will not escape punishment for their words and deeds.

Something important happened when this portion of Scripture was read. The people took notice, and separation occurred. The mixed multitude found itself on the outside. This should come as no surprise, because a careful and accurate reading of Scripture always produces separation. God makes a difference between the holy and the profane, between the redeemed and the unrepentant, between the worshipper and the despiser, between the believer and the blasphemer. And He marks that difference clearly, and expects his people to do so as well.

We have become slack concerning the mixed multitude. Those who do not appreciate the things of God are allowed to dabble in those things. Let us be careful that only those with a clear profession of faith and a genuine love for God’s truth and presence enter into the holy place of our worship. Ours is a blood-bought right to be there. Outsiders have no right. -Jim MacIntosh

Tidings for Tuesday

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

The rich people of this world are divided into two very distinct classes: Those who have a great deal of money, and those who have very little need of things. If you are like me, you probably don’t know very many people of the first type. The Lord’s people are noted for being in humble circumstances, and while there are those among us who have large incomes and resources, they are few. But the interesting thing is that those rich people of the second type can be any of us, with the right attitude. If we reduce our expectations and desires significantly, we can be rich with what we have. I think Paul’s words in today’s text are directed at those saints who have a proper view of material things.
Note that Paul does not say God will supply our desires or our wishes. I might want a newer, more powerful computer. But the one I am using is still functioning. You might desire that lovely coat in the shop window, but your current coat is still serviceable and adequate. It’s nice to get new and better things, but God, Who knows what we truly need, does not promise us those things. However, He Who knows what we truly need has promised to supply those needs. If God’s provision has not extended to you something that you long for, maybe He’s telling you that you don’t need it. Otherwise, He would have supplied it.
Today’s text is a wonderful promise! Properly understood and accepted, this promise should eliminate ulcers among God’s people. We have nothing to worry about; all our needs are guaranteed. The Lord, who knows far better than we do what we need presents to us this unconditional guarantee of supply. His knowledge of our needs coupled with His perfect love for us ought to delight our souls today.

The more we understand and appreciate that God’s care for us extends to all our needs, the more wealthy we become. If we want what He wants for us, and if we allow Him to supply us, all our needs are met. And that makes us rich! -Jim MacIntosh

 

 

 

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Then said Jeremiah the prophet unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah, the Lord hath not sent thee, but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. Jeremiah 28:15

Hananiah was a prophet, but he was a false one who gave the people what they wanted to hear. He had prophesied that the yoke of Nebuchadnessar would be broken, and the people would be freed from the punishment that God had allowed the king of Babylon to bring upon them. Jeremiah challenged this false prophet, and within the year, Hananiah was in his grave.

The world abounds in false prophets, evil people who make their followers to believe lies. There are many well-known ones, such as the leaders of cults and other world religions. Such false and evil prophets as Mohammed, Joseph Smith, Charles Russell, and many others, have used their lies to deceive many millions of people. However, there are many others whose names are not well known, at least not recognized as false, who are just as dangerous and just as deceiving.

Information was recently circulated about a course on miracles being actively promoted by Oprah Winfrey. The woman who developed this course bases it on so-called revelations she received from a Christ who is definitely not the Christ of the Bible. This so-called Christ is said to have told her that the crucifixion was unnessary and that there is no such thing as sin, among other New Age nonsense.

We need to be on the lookout for such deceivers, and faithfully warn younger Christians to be careful about paying any attention to them.

Jeremiah was a faithful and true prophet. He knew that God’s people had sinned. He knew why they were being punished. And he knew they would be restored eventually.

The Bible is totally faithful. Trust its message today for all your needs. Ignore the liars. -Jim MacIntosh