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MUSINGS by André J Lebrun
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Substance of a Meditation on LAODICEA

Revelation 3:14
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I find it interesting that in Revelation 3:14, where the Lord Jesus addresses the church then existing in Laodicea, He presents Himself as “the Beginning of the Creation of God.”

Laodicea (meaning: the people’s rights) is the last church to which Christ speaks in Revelation 2 and 3. It represents the last phase of the Church period before His return to earth. It also speaks of a time when ‘people’s rights” will be first and foremost and God’s rights will be trampled upon.

We are living in a period when the Foundations of Christianity and that which is of Christ are doubted (the very tenets of ‘the Faith’, the concept of the Creation of our Universe and even the very historical existence of the Person of Christ!).

Still, Christ presents Himself as “the Beginning (Originator) of the Creation of God”. Indeed, He brings us all the way back to the beginning of time and the created world thus emphasizing the basic concept of Divine Creation. We are not the fruit of an ‘accident’ (evolution). No! We are the fruit of God’s ‘Workmanship’ (French: ‘Chef d’oeuvre’ (Epistle to the Ephesians, Chapter 2.)

In this day and age, I find THAT quite intriguing and definitely, most comforting!

I sincerely desire that our readers will seek Him with all their might! TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!! And unfortunately, Time is not on our side!

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Simple Outlines for Bible Study

NOTE: These outlines are posted to encourage our readers to pursue for themselves a simple, regular READING and STUDY of the Holy Scriptures.

“Have an OUTLINE of sound words, which thou hast heard of me…’ 2 Timothy 1:13 – JND
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The Biblical Christian Experience

Adapted and Abridged by Andre J Lebrun - From a Short Paper by Hamilton Smith

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INTRODUCTION
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The Epistle to the Philippians presents to us the proper, biblical Christian Experience… At least what it should be and not what it is habitually!

Thus, each Believer can say: ‘This is the experience that is possible for me to enjoy if I live the Christian life in the power of the Holy Spirit.

JOY is an important element of the Christian life in this Epistle, despite a multitude of adverse conditions and situations (3:13; 4:4, 10).

We underline the following additional features that Paul mentions:

- His CONFIDENCE in Christ Jesus and his no confidence in the flesh (i.e. self) (1:6; 3:3; 4:13)
- His enjoyment of PEACE (4:7)
- His LOVE flowing out to Believers (1:8; 1:17; 4:1)
- His HOPE in Christ (3:20)
- His FAITH in the Lord (4:12, 13)

Paul`s focus on the Person of Christ is the secret of his blessed and enriching experience in the midst of so much distressing circumstances.

Thus Paul embarks in this epistle on the blessed and special task of displaying to all of us the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ in a very lofty way!

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He does this by presenting:

1. Christ as our LIFE (1:20,21)
2. Christ as our PATTERN (2:5)
3. Christ in glory as our OBJECT (3:13,14)
4. Christ as our HOPE (3:21,21)
5. Christ as our STRENGTH (4:13)

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1. Christ, our LIFE (1:20-21)

In all truth, Paul could say: For me to live is Christ. Christ was Paul’s ALL in his life. If he lived, it was by and for Christ. If death was his portion, he would die for Christ. Over such a Christian, adversaries had no power, Satan had no point of attack and death had no terror. Self being effaced and gone as a motive, insults and desertions called forth no bitterness and rancour; circumstances, however trying, drew forth no complaint.

His one object was NOT to defend or exalt himself, or to decry and belittle others, but, in all circumstances, he endeavoured to MAGNIFY Christ.

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2. Christ, our PATTERN (2:3-5)

The flesh in us is vain and the effort to exalt ourselves leads to the belittling of others. This vanity ever leads to strife. So we read of the disciples, “There was a strife among them because they each wanted to be accounted the greatest” (Luke 22:24).

The Apostle would have us to be of One Mind (v.2); the one mind that he desires us to have is the lowly mind (v. 3); and the lowly mind has been perfectly set forth in Christ (v.5). The mind of Christ would deliver us from all self-importance, and lead each one to esteem themselves the LEAST of all. We need the MIND of Christ if we are to exhibit the GRACE of Christ. And Christ is our Example and our Pattern.

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3. Christ, our OBJECT (3:13-14)

These verses present to us Christ in glory as the One towards Whom we are pressing on.

In the light of the eternal glory that is before us, present things lose their value, and the sorrows by the way are seen to be but for a moment… How blessed it is for ALL believers to know that! If we have not yet laid hold of Christ in the Glory, He has laid hold of us and He will not let us go! He is able to subdue all things unto Himself so that, at last, He will have us LIKE HIM and WITH HIM in the glory.

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“And is it so? We shall be like Thy Son!
Is this the grace which He for us has won?
Father of Glory, thought beyond all thought,
In Glory to His own blest likeness brought.

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4. Christ, our HOPE (3:20-21)

The Apostle looks up to heaven and sees Christ in the glory, and realizes that Believers are going to be conformed to the image of God’s son in glory […]

Once He came as Saviour to deliver us from our sins and judgment by His death on the cross. A second time He is coming as Saviour to deliver us from these bodies of humiliation…

In the twinkling of an eye we shall be like Christ and with Christ.

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“One moment here, the next with Thee in Bliss,
Oh, what a glorious prospect, Lord is this!
Changed in a moment, from the flesh set free,
Caught up together with Thyself to be.”

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5. Christ, our STRENGTH (4:12-13)

Paul had known what it was to be in want as well as in prosperity; he had been full and he had hungered; he had enjoyed plenty and he had suffered need. But in all circumstances he found his support in Christ. “I have strength for all things in Him that gives me POWER.”

We may say Christ can do this for all Believers, and it is true! But, Paul says: `He has done this for ME, for I have learnt by experience that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

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CONCLUSION

Seeing that Christ remains and that Christ is the same (Hebrews 1:11-12), It is possible […] for the simplest believer to enjoy this true, proper Christian Experience:

 JOY in the Lord
 CONFIDENCE in the Lord
 PEACE in the midst of trials
 LOVE flowing out to others
 HOPE looking for the Coming of Christ
 FAITH counting upon His support to lift us above the trials of the way

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SUMMARY of Philippians

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CHRIST IS:

1. Our LIFE (1:20-21)
2. Our PATTERN and EXAMPLE (2:3-5)
3. Our OBJECT and FOCUS (3:13-14)
4. Our HOPE (3:20-21)
5. Our STRENGTH (4:12-13)

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Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes... Gleaned from Various Sources!
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PRAYER
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Visitors to the famous gallery in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, can hear the guide’s whisper travel around the whole dome, the sound bouncing back many times from the smooth walls. If you put your ear close to the wall, you can hear what is said on the other side on the opposite side of the dome, even though it may be said in the lowest of tones.

A number of years ago, a poor shoemaker whispered to his young lady that he could not afford to marry her as he had not enough money to buy any leather, and his business was ruined. The poor girl wept sadly as she listened to this sad news.

A gentleman on the other side of the gallery, which is 198 feet across, heard this story and the shoemaker’s whispered prayer, and he decided to do something about it. When the young shoemaker left St. Paul’s the gentleman followed him, and after finding out where he lived, had some leather sent along to the shop. Imagine how delighted the poor man was! He made good use of this gift, and his business prospered so that he was able to marry the girl of his choice.

It was not until a few years later that he learned the name of his unknown friend. It was the Prime Minister of Great Britain, W. E. Gladstone.

There is always One above who hears our whispered prayers, and will take action. No matter how low we whisper, He will hear. We cannot always tell our human friends about things, but God always knows, so we can tell Him all in prayer, and He will hear and answer our prayers.

(Philippians 4:6)
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Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes... Gleaned from Various Sources!
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‘‘There is no hiding place from God, but IN God."

by Eddie Askew
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I have been thinking about the following phrase for a while: “There is no hiding place from God, but in God.”

Many of the tensions which people experience today, whether they admit it or not, are caused by running away from God; running away from a commitment they are unwilling or frightened to make… The Psalmist wrote: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139). At last, turning to face God he finds, not the frightening, devouring power he had fled from, but the open arms of a welcoming dynamic love. The tensions are resolved, the alienation gone, sin is forgiven. The point of shelter from the strains which God’s demands make is in God Himself.

Much of the stress in our lives comes from our flight from the totality of commitments. We run from responsibilities we don’t want to accept… We run because total commitment demands more change in our lives than we have the courage for. Yet, running, we never arrive; we find no hiding place, nowhere is safe from God; and the only way to come to terms with the tension of God’s presence is acceptance. We turn to face Him and we find that God’s arms are the arms of healing love, arms “strong to heal and save”.

The point of resolution of the stress of God’s demands is acceptance. The hiding place from God is IN GOD; the point where life begins is at the Cross, in the death of self where “I no longer live but Christ in me.”

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MEDITATION

Lord, you ask so much.
There was a time when I offered you everything.
In the rosy glow of commitment
Nothing was too much, nothing too good for you.
I thought that once the decision was made,
Once I put myself in your hands
Then I could float, buoyed up, soothed, comforted
In the warmth of your love.

BUT I’ve gone a long way, Lord since then.
There have been good times, strong times
When I’ve rejoiced in you.
Sometimes, though, the water’s cold
And the swimming is hard […]
I’d like a rest.

You ask so much.
I’m tempted to run away, Lord,
To go into a corner and hide,
But I know you’ll still be there.
And afterwards, the sour taste of failure.

So, I turn and face you again, Lord.
Braced for your look of disappointment,
Accusation. Questioning,
And I find instead:
LOVE!
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EXTRACT from the book entitled:

A Silence and a Shouting – Meditations and Prayers
by Eddie Askew

Published by The Leprosy Mission International
LONDON, ENGLAND.
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MUSINGS by André J Lebrun
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“…They tell how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 – NIV
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What a Scripture! So full of wonder, or if you will, so wonderful! It depicts in no uncertain terms the ‘God produced experience’ of those young believers.

Please mark the following…

1. “You turned TO God, FROM idols…” This is CONVERSION!

It was the power of ATTRACTION in the living God that produced this result. Of course they had “turned from idols’, but that is the principle of REPULSION at work! The real power resides in the attractive Beauty, Grandeur and Power of the True and Living God!

- REPULSION is POWERLESS and NEGATIVE

- ATTRACTION is POWERFUL and POSITIVE!

Of course, both are important elements in conversion, but the above distinction is worthy of note.

2. “…To serve the living and true God…” This is CONSECRATION!

Consecration evidently includes ‘Christian service’. A lot of Christians today will talk of ‘ministry’, which is right in itself, but the word has a certain ‘underlying meaning’ attached to it. It too often suggests that only a certain group of believers are in ‘the Ministry’, sort of making them a special, eclectic group!

Scripture speaks differently. Every believer in Christ is called to his or her own special, personal, service to Christ. Scripture does not suggest that we are required to possess a certain level of intelligence and degree of education to serve the Lord. If that was the case, then this would beg the question: Where did the Thessalonian believers get their ‘training’ before serving? And what about those hard-working fishermen - Peter, Andrew and others?

After their conversion, these young Thessalonian believers were dedicated and consecrated to serving the living and true God. Such is the Scriptural pattern… Pure and simple!

3. “…And to wait for his Son from heaven…” This is CONTEMPLATION!

They were not waiting to improve the world, as lofty an objective as that might seem! They were not waiting for the Great Tribulation to start! They were waiting for God’s Son from heaven. Their eyes were fixed upward to where Christ presently sits crowned and glorified!!

So many believers today are waiting and expecting “the wrath to come.” How sad! It doesn’t mean that the Christian company will never suffer any persecution or experience ‘some degree of tribulation’. Of course we will, as the good Lord himself has instructed us (see John 16:33). But general opposition and persecution as Christians is NOT the ‘great tribulation’. If you read carefully the above verse, it says: “…Jesus, who rescues us FROM the coming wrath…” Persecution from man may be qualified as ‘wrath from man' but most definitely NOT ‘wrath from God’. The latter is the true character of the so-called great tribulation, God’s wrath poured out on this world…

Such should therefore be our happy, hope filled perspective! We wait for Jesus, from heaven, who rescues us from the coming wrath!

CONVERSION / CONSECRATION / CONTEMPLATION – such is our blessed portion.

How interesting that the Apostle adds: “…Whom God has raised from the dead!”

YES! We have a victorious Saviour!
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On this First day of another week, let us consider the following:

- The Blessed Place that Christ now has in Resurrection
- The Blessed Hope we have in belonging to Him
- The Blessed Prospect of being with Him soon, in the Father’s House!

We wish one and all a Blessed SONday!

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FOUR WORDS FOR THE LORD’S COMING

Compiled by Gretchen S. Lebrun / Edited by AJ Lebrun

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There are 4 different words in the Greek New Testament for the Lord’s coming:

1. Greek: Eleusis

a. A coming, an advent
b. Found only ONCE in the Greek New Testament - Acts 7:52
c. Refers to the FIRST Coming of Christ

2. Greek: Parousia

a. Presence, coming, arrival, advent
b. Found TWENTY FOUR (24) TIMES in the New Testament
c. This particular word emphasizes the Lord’s PRESENCE
d. Here are a few examples:

i. Matthew 24:27 “…So will be the coming (Presence) of the Son of Man.”
ii. 1 Thessalonians 4:15 “…We who are still alive, who are left till the coming (Presence) of the Lord…”
iii. James 5:7 “Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming (Presence).”
iv. 1 John 2:28 “… So that we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming (Presence)

3. Greek: Apokalypsis

a. Laying bare, making naked, a disclosure of truth, a manifestation, an appearance
b. Found at least NINETEEN (19) times in the New Testament
c. This word is applied to both the first and second coming of the Lord, with an emphasis on his PUBLIC MANIFESTATION
d. Here are a few examples:

i. Luke 2:32
ii. 1 Corinthians 1:7
iii. 2 Thessalonians 1:7
iv. 1 Peter 4:13

4. Greek: Epiphaneia

a. An Appearing, an appearance
b. Found six (6) times in the New Testament
c. This word is applied to both the first and second coming of the Lord
d. Here are the six verses:

i. 2 Thessalonians 2:8 – 2nd Appearing
ii. 1 Timothy 6:14 – 2nd Appearing
iii. 2 Timothy 1:10 – 1st Appearing
iv. 2 Timothy 4:1 – 2nd Appearing
v. 2 Timothy 4:8 – 2nd Appearing
vi. Titus 2;13 - 2nd Appearing


“If we bring APOKALYPSIS and EPIPHANEIA into comparison, ‘apokalypsis’ is the more COMPREHENSIVE and GRANDER of the two words. It sets forth nothing less than that progressive and immediate UNVEILING OF HIMSELF to His Church on the part of the otherwise unknown and unknowable God…”

Author unknown

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Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes... Gleaned from Various Sources!
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“Not I, but Christ”

by F. A. Hughes
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It is remarkable and yet plainly evident from Scripture, that God the Almighty, who fills both heaven and earth, should take delight in that which is small. He magnifies His Word above all His Name (Psalm 138:2), yet the very first chapter of Genesis is full of the smallest letter in the Hebrew language, a letter smaller than the comma in English. Some of the greatest and most precious truths in the New Testament are expressed in monosyllables:

- "I am the way, the truth and the life;"
- "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men;"
- "Thy faith has saved thee; go in peace;"
- "The truth shall set you free;"
- "For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world;"
- "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me"

And many, many more! The eternal greatness of God's heart of love is expressed likewise — "For God so loved… that He gave."

In contrast to man's vaunted, and yet often futile efforts, God shows us in the remarkable passage of Isaiah 11 how He accomplishes His purposes, and removes every trace of the power of evil in a "little child." The word in the original could be translated "little finger" — and before this tiny symbol the whole power and ferocity represented in the previous verses is completely defeated, the whole earth filled with God's glory, the people blessed and a resting place of glory secured.

A weaned Isaac was the occasion of "a great feast;" a weaned Samuel became a mighty prophet none of whose words dropped to the ground. Benjamin (the son of the right hand) is referred to as "little Benjamin" (Psalm 68:27), yet in Deuteronomy 33 he is spoken of as "the beloved of the Lord." In 1 Samuel 9 Saul refers to himself as belonging to the smallest tribe, and his family the least amongst them. In 1 Samuel 10 he "hid himself." As such he was anointed king and honored of all. In 1 Samuel 15 he had lost the sense of smallness and hence came into rejection by God who "resists the proud."

By contrast Saul the erstwhile proud "Pharisee of the Pharisees" is Paul (little) and in his own eyes is "less than the least of all saints." It is with this change of name he meets the attack of Elymas, the "child of the devil;" and it is as "less than the least of all saints" that the preaching of "the unsearchable riches of the Christ," and the making known of "the mystery . . . hid in God" is committed. It is as accepting the place of "a little child" that one is morally fitted to enter the region where the will of God — His kingdom — prevails (Matthew 18; Mark 10). A "little maid of Israel" carries the dual thought of smallness and of dignity. Her message is marked by affection and assurance and is honored by God. She herself goes out of sight; in the reference to Naaman in the gospels the effect of her testimony only is mentioned.

The ark was one of the smallest articles in the tabernacle construction, but how gloriously precious it was, and how wonderful that which it contained! And so our thoughts move on happily to the Person of our beloved Lord. Some nine times in Matthew's gospel the Lord Jesus, He who is "over all . . . God blessed for ever" is referred to as the "young (little) child."

Recently I read that "diminutives in Scripture are for the heart, not for the head." Adoringly we bow in worship as we contemplate the wonder of the incarnation, beyond the scope of our human mind, but having an appeal to our affections which fills our hearts and lives with responsive praise to the One "Who being in the form of God . . . humbled Himself" thus. In the Revelation we have over twenty references to the Lord Jesus as the Lamb, and in each case a diminutive is used — "a little Lamb." In Revelation 12 the full title of Satan in all its power and wickedness is given — "the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan… he was cast out… and his angels with him" (v.9). Salvation, "the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ" is brought in, all in the power of the blood of the "little Lamb."

Yes, the power of evil, the self-exaltation of man, is all completely negatived by the One who "made Himself of no reputation." Have we really appreciated and have we assimilated this beautiful feature of smallness? Does it affect our lives and our service as it should? Do we regard ourselves and those whom we may be privileged to serve, in the endearing way in which the blessed Lord speaks of them to Peter in John 21 — "My lambs" (another diminutive)! The only time the word is used except in Revelation as already seen. Achan sought a "goodly Babylonish garment" — descriptive of the greatness of man's world which under the hand of God is hastening to judgement. A system which also has penetrated Christendom to the point of corruption! Hannah made Samuel a "little coat" and brought it to him, not once, but "from year to year." How morally great he became — but may we think that the sense of his own smallness remains? Could we comfortably wear the coat which Paul (little) left at Troas with Carpus (fruitful)?

True leadership still demands the spirit and features of "a little child."

Like Thee in faith, in meekness, love,

In every beauteous grace.

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Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes... Gleaned from Various Sources!
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‘‘Give us this day our daily bread." (Matthew 6:11)

by Grant W. Steidl
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PRAYERS AND REQUESTS

I can almost hear someone saying, “Now we’re getting somewhere. This is what prayer is all about – requesting!” There is a good reason for talking about things like relationship, worship, and aspirations when we talk about prayer. Remember what James says about not receiving the things we ask for because we ask amiss [wrongly] (James 4:3). The problem which James describes is what I would call selfish praying. It easily infects our thinking, causing us to ask for things that will gratify our lusts rather than glorify God.

This may be a major reason why people don’t take seriously such promises as Matthew 21:22, “And all things whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing you shall receive.” They can’t imagine God actually cashing such a blank check, because they don’t understand true prayer. The point is this: If we understand our relationship with God as Father, if our concern is to really sanctify His Name, and if our aspirations are centered in His will, then our prayer requests will reflect this. And God delights to answer such requests.

Notice also that the Lord taught the disciples to ask FOR NEEDS rather than wants. There is an important distinction between these two things. He said to ask for “daily bread” not daily delicacies.

Perhaps He allows life to become increasingly difficult and uncertain in the world in order to teach us simplicity and dependence on Himself.

But here’s the paradox. He yet takes pleasure in giving and doing far more than we ask, or even than we think. In fact He loves to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

Ask for an inch and He gives a mile. That’s just like our Father.
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Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes... Gleaned from Various Sources!
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‘By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death… for before his translation he has the testimony that he had pleased God.’ (Hebrews 11:5)

by Grant W. Steidl
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THE WALK OF FAITH

Is it right to blame bad behavior on a bad environment?

Can a person walk with God when he or she is continually surrounded by ungodly people?

What does it mean to walk with God?

All valid questions!

Consider a man named Enoch. When he came on the scene, violence had already become an established fact of life on the earth. Of course other things were there too. The descendants of Cain tried to make the world a pleasant place to live without God through agriculture, industry, and music; but violence and corruption remained the dominant theme upon planet earth.

“But Enoch walked with God.” By faith he lived an exemplary life. His eyes were fixed upon God’s promise and his days were packed with pleasure for God.

Some of us work on jobs where we are regularly exposed to cursing and dirty jokes, or where we are expected to be dishonest as a matter of company policy. Others of us may be in schools where God has been outlawed, and we are bombarded with filth from teachers and textbooks as well as from fellow students. All of us suffer from the distortions and corruption foisted upon us by the mass media.

Is it possible to live for Christ in such a world?

Let’s encourage ourselves from Enoch’s example.

How can I, in a world full of sin,
Where Christians are never expected to win,
Be faithful to Christ? The answer is plain.
Follow His Word and hold fast to His Name.

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Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes... Gleaned from Various Sources!
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By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. (Hebrews 11:4)

by Grant W. Steidl
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THE SACRIFICE OF FAITH

A Christian student, talking to one of his professor who claimed to be confused by the many religions in the world, said, “Sir, there are really only two.”

“Only two? What are they?” asked the professor.

“Well, one is Cain’s religion,” replied the student. “This one proclaims that I must bring to God something that I have produced so that He will accept me. Cain’s religion can be seen in the various religions throughout the world including, unfortunately, a good part of that which calls itself Christian. Every person who thinks that he is going to find acceptance and favor with God because of what he can do, or what he can give to God belongs to Cain’s religion.

The student continued, “Abel’s religion, on the other hand, is really much more than a religion. It is life! Abel sacrificed a lamb to God in recognition that he was a sinner, and could only be accepted by God through the death of an innocent victim. Abel’s lamb pointed on to the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who came into the world to save sinners, so that any person might come to God, saying, “I am a sinner worthy of death, I have nothing to bring. I have nothing to offer. But I come pleading the blood of Christ which was shed for me.”

Which of these is your religion? God accepts only one of them!

Just as I am without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

by Charlotte Elliott

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