JUST BLOWING SAND

When I was a girl at home, we had a nice little newspaper called The Donley County Leader that often featured news from several towns in Donley County Texas. The part I liked was that it also featured poetry.

One column was called “Plowin’ Out the CORNERS” by Uncle Zeb. I never really knew who Zeb was, but we corresponded several times. Once I submitted a poem written by my mother and he thought it was great. Another time or two, I wrote him about what was going on in our “neck of the woods,” and he always answered me. Here is a copy of one article he wrote along with the poem I submitted.

Continue reading JUST BLOWING SAND

ROLE MODELS FOR OUR CHILDREN

Revised December 27, 2016

After describing the wicked behavior of two NFL players, one father noted the two bad choices (bad sportsmanship and alcoholism) he saw demonstrated and asked the question, “Which has more potential to do harm to our impressionable children who watch the NFL and look to its players as role models?”

Not one person in the discussion even mentioned the cheerleader’s costumes or the new gay NFL player, but another parent observed, “Everyone got so upset with what one player said, which was loud and unsportsmanlike, but not vulgar, yet, not one word was said about the Chevy commercial played repeatedly through the game with a vulgar profanity in it.”

As I read, my first reaction was to consider the command of God in Ephesians 4:17-18This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” What things are highly esteemed among men? Work? Sports? Obviously work produces something useful and is generally not in vain. What about games? Do they produce anything useful? Will the Lord reward us on Judgment Day for watching the Super Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Rice Bowl or the Rose Bowl? We all know the answer to that.

So what about those things not done for the Lord? Hebrews 6:1 and 9:14 speak plainly. Living works are done for God and dead works are at least vain (useless) if not eternally destructive. Finally, because of the aforementioned things that are part of any football game, I pondered which category it might fall into? Can anyone truthfully say he watches the football games for God?

Dead works are just that. They are works not done for the Lord—mind you…not necessarily sin, but at best just vain or useless time spent. It is a sad day when we have to make a choice between wicked lifestyles that affect our children! Whatever happened to following Jesus’s example in learning to discern between good and evil and choosing only the good (Isa. 7:15, Heb. 1:8)?

How can spending our time in a dead work (any dead work) serve God—especially a dead work that has so many obvious evils associated with it? Both wicked choices mentioned by the first father, plus the obvious evil advertising during the game, fall into the list of sins in 1 Corinthians 6.

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10, KJV).

If those sins cause a man to be put out of the fellowship, is it OK to deliberately expose our children to either one? What should be the obvious choice in order to avoid such wickedness?

The real problem is found in 2 Cor. 5:15, Luke 9:23-26, Mark 8:35, etc. Not only parents but also all those who would be Christ’s disciples must die to self in order to live for him and the gospel!

Because of our own weaknesses and disposition toward worldliness (1 John 2:15), our children are watching and becoming part of it—emulating its evil “heroes.” The process takes place by what is called osmotic learning or osmosis. They gradually become like the people they are taught to admire (1 Cor. 15:33).

The only way to save our children from the world’s evil is to protect them (shelter them) from it. We must do our best to guide them in following the great heroes of the Bible—especially Jesus. Remember also that even though Christians have to live in the world, they should not be part of it (1 Cor. 5:9-10).

The Scripture quotations in this article are from The King James Version.

Disclaimer: Whereas I sometimes link Bible verses from BibleGateway.com or BlueLetterBible.org for the reader’s convenience, I have found there are serious issues with both programs. I neither believe nor recommend the Calvinist’ doctrines of predestination/foreordination nor the doctrines of grace only. I firmly disapprove of the denominational advertising found there.

IT SHALL ACCOMPLISH WHAT I PLEASE

“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isa. 55:10-11).

Our Heavenly Father says that His word is like the snow and rain from heaven which makes the earth to bud and give seed to the sower and bread to the eater. Like the moisture from the sky, His word will not return to Him void, but it will accomplish the purpose for which it has been sent. The comparison here is between the earth receiving the snow and rain and being nourished or watered by it and His word (both Old Testament and New) being sent into the hearts of the people. Sometimes the earth is rocky and hard; likewise the hearts of the people may not be receptive. Yet the gospel has a way of softening or watering those stony hearts to make them grow into what God wants them to be.

When we have studied and worked with an individual or a group of people who seem not to understand or respond, we need to remember this passage and know that God’s word will not return to Him empty. It will accomplish His will even if it only serves to put Jesus enemies under His feet (1 Cor. 15:24-26). Our Father is fair and will give these people every possible chance to repent (2 Pet. 3:9).

God has ordained that He will accomplish His will through His word. Man’s ways and thoughts are not the same as God’s ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9). The only way we can know God’s thoughts is for Him to reveal them to us, for only the Holy Spirit knows the thoughts of God (1 Cor. 2:11). God’s prophets and apostles were inspired to write the word of God in the scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16-17). All truth is in the scriptures (John 16:13). We can build in wood, hay and stubble, but the only thing that will endure the test of the fire is gold (1 Cor. 2:12-13). God’s word is pure gold, and we must use that to build in the hearts of the people. The Lord commanded Timothy to preach what he heard from the inspired apostle (2 Tim. 2:2), and was told to preach God’s word (2 Tim. 4:4). He commands us to preach the oracles of God (1 Pet. 4:11). If we trust Him, and preach His word, it will not return to Him void.

QUESTIONS:

  1. What two things are being compared to God’s word (Isa. 55:10-11)?
  2. For what purpose does God ‘send’ his word?
  3. What did God promise and how did his word come to pass when the children of Israel were grumbling about the manna (Num. 11:23)?
  4. How did the Israelites rebel at God’s word at the waters of Meriba (Num. 20:24)? What happened as a result?
  5. What kind of a man does God favor (Isa 66:2)?
  6. What should the man of God do who has His word (Jer 23:28)?
  7. To what is God’s word also compared (Jer. 23:29)?
  8. He that heareth ______ ___________ and believeth on _________________ hath __________________ (John 5:24).
  9. Jesus said, “If you continue in ________ _________ you are my disciples indeed (John 8:31).
  10. Why could the Pharisees not “hear” Jesus word (John 8:43)?

COME AGAIN REJOICING

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psa 126:5-6).

The metaphor here seems to be that of a poor farmer who has had a very bad harvest the year before. A very scanty portion of grain and food has been gathered from the earth, yet the seeding time has come again. Out of the previous year’s famine, he must plant for a new year. Maybe only a little seed has been saved to be sown, or perhaps the farmer has purchased the seed at great expense, in hopes of another crop to feed his family. The poor farmer must sow, or else despair and perish. He carries his precious seed with him in his bag, and with a sorrowful heart commits it to the plowed soil. Though the sowing of seed is a work of labor and sorrow, yet the return (the harvest) brings rejoicing. Works which are begun under many difficulties, and which require much labor, are crowned with success. The joy is more than equivalent to all the weariness and sorrow felt in carrying out the task whether it is the toil of the farmer; the cares and anxieties of the student; the work of conversion and repentance; the labors of the preacher or minister; the efforts of the Bible class teacher; the faithfulness of the Christian parent; the endeavors of elders in overseeing the flock; even the zeal and sacrifice of the Christian missionary. Whoever labors hard, in cold and in rain, in fear and danger, in poverty and in want, casting his precious seed in the ground, will surely come again, at harvest-time, with rejoicing, and bearing his sheaves with him.

The prophets who sowed in tears will reap in joy. The righteous were persecuted and served their God with weeping (Hos. 10:12). Paul wept as he sowed the seed of the kingdom, but he will reap in joy (John 4:34-38). Paul sowed the word of God to Ephesus and many others (Acts 20:17-19). He reminded them of the tears he shed in sowing the seed to them (Acts 20:31). He did not labor in vain, but reaped in joy. Those who sin can sow the word and humble themselves to obey (Jas. 4:9-10). Those who sow in tears of sorrow for their weaknesses can still sow and reap in joy. Jesus is the classic example of one who sowed in tears and reaped in joy (Heb. 5:7). Who could possibly reap more than Jesus?

QUESTIONS:

    1. What reasons might make the farmer sow his seed with tears (Psa. 126:5)?
    2. Why would the analogy of sowing and reaping be such a graphic illustration to those living in Israel during David’s time?
    3. Why would Christians sow eternal seed in tears?
    4. Explain how the time of reaping would bring joy to those who sow the seed.
    5. What does the faithful Christian mother do with her children every day (2 Tim. 3:15)?
    6. How would a faithful, qualified elder sow in tears and reap in joy?
    7. When are we to sow the seed (2 Tim. 4:2)?
    8. If we do not work in the field when it is “cold,” to whom will we be likened (Prov. 20:4)? What will he and we have in the harvest?
    9. What is the eternal seed (Matt. 13:22-23; Luke 8:11)?
    10. What if a farmer sowed the wrong seed or mixed seed? Would he then reap in joy?
    11. According to the parable of the sower, the word of God is the seed sown in the hearts of men. What is the fruit of that seed?
      • Using the vine analogy, what are God’s children in the vine (John 15:5)?
      • Is the fruit which the branch produces grapes or more branches (John 15:2)?
      • Is the child of God commanded to bear more branches or more fruit (John 15:8)?
      • What is the fruit that the child of God is to produce (Tit. 3:14)?
      • What does the Father purge so the branch will bear more fruit (John 15:2)?
      • Some say the fruit of a Christian is another Christian. If this is true and the Christian is a branch, what would the Christian produce?
      • If the Christian bears another branch, and the Father purges the first branch, what would happen to the second branch?
      • If the fruit of a Christian is another Christian, what does the Father promise to do if the first branch produces fruit (good works) (John 15:2; Tit 3:14)?

RESEARCH QUESTION:

  1. Find as many ways as you can to show how the apostle Paul sowed in tears and reaped in joy. Remember that Paul wrote at least 13 of the NT epistles and possibly 14. There are examples of his “sowing in tears” in all of his letters. Pay particular attention to 2 Corinthians, chapters 10 through 13.