Sounds Like Greek

The origin of the Greek language from which the English Bible was translated indicates advanced planning by God. May a recounting of it encourage you to realize God is at work in your life today. Regardless of your circumstances God is at work to bring the best out of it.

At a point in history various forms of Greek: Attic, Doric, Aeolic and Iconic, were spoken in various regions of Greece.

At the battle of Leuctra the King of Thebes with 7,000 warriors defeated 11,000 Spartans by using a new oblique battle formation. Thebes then controlled all of south Greece.

Sitting on a hill overlooking was a warrior from north Greece. His name was Philip of Macedonia. He and his countrymen were animal-like warriors. Philip went back to his countrymen and taught them the new oblique form of battle.

Philip and his redheaded wife Olympia had a son named Alexander, who was to grow up and be known as Alexander the Great. He became a conquering general at age 16. While still a teenager his dad was killed and Alexander took over his position. He desired to conquer Persia, but there was a disconnect. His army spoke different forms of Greek. This young genius got his scholars together and developed a common form of Greek known as Koine, which became the language of Greece. He then composed his own drill manual. Using it he conquered most of the near east and made Koine Greek the language of the region. A number of Jesus’ disciples had Greek names: Philip, Mark, James, John, Luke, and Andrew. One of Jesus’ languages was Greek.

When Rome conquered the entire region, the administrative language became Latin. Rome conquered the region militarily, but the Greeks conquered it linguistically and philosophy. This is why the region at the time was spoken of as the Greco-Roman world. Greek had become the perfect language in which to express a thought.

About 400 years after Alexander the Great developed Koine it became the language in which the New Testament was written. It was so definitive they had four different meanings for the word “if.”

First class, “if” and it is true.

Second class, “if” and it is not true.

Third class “if” maybe yes, maybe no.

Fourth class, “if” I wish it were true, but it isn’t.

If (and it is true) God would work all those details together for good, He can do the same in your life. Relax and trust Him.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8: 28)

That does not mean everything that happens is good. It means in everything that happens, everything, God is busy to bring the good out of it. Trust Him.

Can God Bless Your Financial Planning? 11/15/98

Malachi 3: 9, 10
Page 1403 Come Alive Bible

JESUS CHRIST loves you and is compassionately concerned about your welfare.

Do you believe that?

Scripture assures us of His empathy: “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26).

Jesus Christ is aware of you and your life-situation and wants to provide for you.

Do you believe that?

Scripture assures us of His commitment to us and our needs. “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10: 29 & 31).

Jesus Christ can be trusted. He is worthy of your trust and obedience.

Do you believe that?

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

Our loving Lord has designed for us an opportunity to demonstrate our trust and dependence. It is a grand test designed to afford you a tangible way to show your love and faith.

First, He gives us the capacity to earn wealth. “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18).

What ever your earning capacity God has given it to you. Have you ever thanked Him for that ability? It is a gift. Therefore, all you earn is a gift from God. Have you ever looked at your pay check as though it is gift wrapped? It has the signature of the person representing the firm for which you work but it comes from God.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17).

Summarily that means we are dependent upon and indebted to God.

Regarding money we play the “I wish” game.

I wish the credit card had never been invented.

I wish I had started saving for retirement sooner.

I wish I had invested more wisely.

I wish I had planned better for my children’s education.

I wish I had not gone into debt so heavily.

I wish I had bought less and saved more.

I wish I had started tithing and giving more to the cause of Christ before now.

All of these areas relate to a phase of stewardship. Stewardship involves your saving and investment plan, planning for children’s education, providing for retirement, avoiding improper debt, as well as giving to the cause of Christ. Too often the message of the church regarding money just relates to giving to the church. Many folks are so unaware of God’s design for over all stewardship they get their finances in a big league mess.

In an audience of this size there are persons from every strata of wealth ranging from poverty to significant wealth. Some of that which is to be shared will apply to each segment. Many of the illustrations won’t relate directly to everyone but the principles illustrated will. Learn the principles and don’t be preoccupied with whether they relate to rich or poor. Biblical principles relate to all of us regardless of our financial position.

Some He trusts with wealth. Some He trusts with little. For each there is a burden, a challenge, and an opportunity. We would do well to pray the Proverb: “Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God” (Proverbs 30:8,9).

What are you going to do with what He has entrusted into your care. The word for it is stewardship. It relates to everything He has put in your trust. Everything! It doesn’t refer to simply one tenth. It relates to ten tenths, that’s 100%.

What are you going to do with it?

-Some people evidence selfishness and either spend it upon themselves or some one or thing they like. Provide for your own. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (I Tim 5:8).

However, if you properly budget you won’t have to rob God to do it. Don’t spend God’s money at your own discretion. “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

-Some want to get all they can and can all they get. Saving is proper by God’s standard. We have a classic example: “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:6 – 8).

There are plenty of ants to model for us. It is estimated there are 7,600 types of ants constituting a world population of over 5 quadrillion. They all have the habit of thrift and savings in common.

It would amaze most people to total all the money that passes through their hands. Your income is likely more or less than $50,000 annually. Therefore let’s use a hypothetical income that represents no one. If a 40 year old husband and wife have an annual income totaling $50,000 more than $2.5 million dollars will pass through their hands by retirement age.

How much of that will you invest in the cause of Christ about which you feel passionately? How much will be frittered away?

Findings noted in “The Millionaire Next Door” indicate we would be better off it we developed the mind set of a millionaire. The authors found that most millionaires had rather have wealth than the appearance of wealth. 36% of the millionaires own a car that is more than three years old.

50% of them had never spent more than $29,000 for a car.

Seven times as many millionaires own a Sears card than an American Express Platinum card.

More important than how much you make is how you manage it. One person said my problem isn’t overspending but under depositing.

It is Biblical to wisely save to provide for your future. Don’t be selfish.

“There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun: Riches kept for their owner to his hurt” (Ecclesiastes 5:13).

-Some persons in their haste to get more money violate a warning found in Proverbs 28: 20, “A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.” A modern English translation makes it easier to understand this passage: “Avoid get rich quick schemes.”

Don’t rob for your own benefit. Next to robbing God robbing Billy Graham would be next.

Reputedly, Dr. Graham came down from his mountain home near Black Mountain, North Carolina to pick up a few items at a grocery store. As he was coming out a would be robber held a gun on him and demanded his wallet. As Dr. Graham handed it to the robber it fell open exposing his drivers license with his name and photo.

The robber looked at it and exclaimed, “Are you Dr. Graham, the real Billy Graham?”

Upon hearing a yes the robber handed it back saying, “Here Dr. Graham keep your wallet, us Baptists got to stick together!”

-Some want to save it and let those they love inherit it. Some deprive themselves of comforts in order to have a better inheritance. That is admirable to a degree. Because of the aging of one strata of people and the emergence of another over $10 trillion will be passed on to a younger generation within the next 10 years. Two things will likely result.

Estate taxes will eat up much of it. In 1932 when the laws regarding estate taxes were passed President Franklin Roosevelt said, “Estate tax is a means of the redistribution of wealth.” That means the government takes a large part of a person’s estate and gives it to who or what ever they desire.

Part of Christian stewardship goes beyond the grave. Estate planning can enable a person to save dramatically on inheritance tax and give more money to the cause of Christ. By virtue of being on the board of a large national Christian organization, I had occasion to be with a group of millionaires hearing an estate planner lecture. I guess I was there because they wanted a token not wealthy person present. After the lecture one multi-millionaire privately asked the estate planner can you show me how to give more money to the cause of Christ?” They can.

Let me share a word of caution regarding a second thing. Wealth without a vision is a burden. If persons inherit wealth without knowing how to manage it grief results.

Get this, 95% of those who inherit great wealth die poor.

Solomon amassed a fortune. His great fear was his heir would not know how to manage it. Sure enough in one generation one descendant squandered his entire fortune.

“For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children” (II Corinthians 12:14).

Leave your heirs a proportionate inheritance but don’t rob God to do it.

-It is estimated by retailers that the average teenager spends $90.00 a week of discretionary income. It is hard to conceive of that as reality when so many have so much less. However those who target teens as a market have studied the issue thoroughly. Teens, it is a blessing to have such discretionary funds, funds you can spend any way you want. However where ever you fit in the $90.00 a week scheme don’t spend God’s money on yourself.

-One of several reasons God instituted the tithe is to give us occasion to prove to ourselves and to Him our unselfishness. How are you doing?

Our government has set a poor model for us. As a result of their deficit spending every child is born with a $64,500 tax debt. That is derived at by dividing our government debt by the number of people. They have spent money they didn’t have and built this enormous debt.

In our rush to have things before we can afford them we have done the same. Financial advisor, Larry Burkett said, “Credit has become a means to push God out of His place in helping us make decisions. As long as you can rely on credit, you don’t rely on God and the result is almost always a disastrous plunge into debt.”

Most of us have to use credit. How it is used is important. Avoid using it for items that depreciate. When it is used for an item that appreciates it is an investment.

A recent Gallup Survey noted that 56% of all divorces result from tension over debt. Don’t put your marriage under this undue stress and tension.

A recent Wall Street Journal described money as “an article which may be used as a universal passport to everything but heaven, and as a universal provider of everything except happiness.”

Exercise self-control regarding things you want. Galatians 5:23 lists “self-control” among the fruit of the Spirit.

According to Malachi 3: 10 there are three pragmatic reasons for tithing:
-PROVISIONS. “That there may be meat in My house.”

It is to provide for the cause of Christ. Are there ministries unprovided, materials unavailable, and messages undelivered because God money intended for those purposes was spent by you for what you decided to use His money?

The cause of Christ is retarded by our failure to fund it. Among church attenders, those who attend weekly contribute 3.4% of their income to charitable organizations. Those who attend only a few times a year contribute 1.4% of their income.

-PROOF: “I will … open for you … and pour out a blessing…”

It is as though God is challenging us to test Him.

Conversely, verse 9 says there is a “curse” on those who don’t obey His command. That in part is what is wrong with America, some churches, and a lot of individuals. This is a part of the text often skipped.

-PROFESSION: It shows our confidence in God as our provider. It reveals we are willing to relinquish part of what He has provided us with back to Him as an indication of our trust of Him.

If you do not know Christ as Savior and Lord this message may well have seemed secular and even carnal. Trying to get your financial profile right with God before first getting right with God yourself is unreasonable. As the Scripture notes: “I do not seek yours but you” (II Corinthians 12:14). Before following God’s plan for your finances declare your desire to follow His plan for your life.

Years ago a Native American heard this explained and responded. “I see that your God does not want my beads, blankets, and horses but me. Your God is very wise for when He has me He has my beads, blankets, and horses.”

Who Is the King of Glory?

“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.”  Psalm 24: 7 – 10

It is supposed that the psalm was penned upon occasion of David’s bringing up the ark to the place prepared for it, and that the intention of it was to lead the people above the pomp of external ceremonies to a holy life and faith in Christ, of whom the ark was a type.

The text repeats the chorus revealing it was a song of praise.

“Who is the King of Glory” was a typical question when someone was at the door.

Who is there? “It is the Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle, the Lord of hosts. . . .”

It was the occasion of bringing the ark of the covenant into the sanctuary, a high and holy occasion deserving of this chorus. The ark symbolized the presence of the Lord, making it a very special occasion.

With great readiness the doors and gates were to be thrown open to Him. The ark was to enter into the innermost sanctuary.

This is symbolic of Jesus entering into the hearts of people today by His word and Holy Spirit. This analogy depicts Jesus as in His present day sanctuary, the heart of every believer. Jesus’ presence in the believer is like that of the ark in the temple; it sanctifies us.

In admitting Him into your heart you are granting entry to the one who is strong and mighty, the Lord of hosts.

The opening words of the next Psalm are a fitting response:  “Unto thee, O Lord! do I lift up my soul.”

We have reason to sing –  – – 

“I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine                  
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.”

“He is the Lord God of hosts” ( Hosea 12:5 Amos 4:13 ), who has supremacy over all creatures, and especially the heavenly armies ( Joshua 5:14 1Kings 22:19 ).

Regarding His pending death Jesus said, “Are you not aware that I can call on My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26: 53) That would have been 72,000 angels.

Let the commander of such an army enter into, domicile in, and rule over the sanctuary of your heart.

Pause now to affirm His role, and pledge Him your allegiance.

Jesus’ Coming Draws Near

“…I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:3

The pages of the Bible ripple with promises of Jesus’ coming again. We are reminded the signs of the time are everywhere.

Candidly I believe every one of the prophecies foretelling His return have been fulfilled. There is not one unfulfilled. The stage is set. I don’t look forward to the undertaker. I long for the uppertaker.

I love a cloudy day. When someone says of a beautiful day there is not a cloud in the sky, I regret to hear it because Jesus is said to come on the clouds. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

I don’t believe in the immediate return, but I do believe in the imminent return, meaning it can be at any moment, but not essentially immediately.

Candidly, won’t that be a grand day? Hallelujah, yes, and amen, it will be.

BUT, what if He doesn’t come in our lifetime?

I know that in response to our faith He promises the forgiveness of our sins. However, there is no guarantee in that arrangement of a promise that He will return in our lifetime.

Don’t do as members of the New Testament church in Thessalonika did. They just stopped their normal activities and started looking for Him. Not a good idea. 

Instead trim your wick. In the New Testament story groomsmen who at the wedding while waiting for the bridegroom, illustrative of Jesus’ return, trimmed their wicks, meaning they got ready for His coming. So, trim your wick, get ready for His return. How?

You do so by living so that if it were today He would find you faithfully exercising your responsibilities as a Christian to the fullness.

Most often Christians are heard to say they hope He will come during current hard times. They even speak of the hard times as assurance He is coming at any time. Don’t you know that when the Mongol hordes were sweeping across western Asia and eastern Europe slaughtering Christians many thought that was assurance of His immediate return.

In Ephesians 4: 1 – 6 believers are beseeched, given a gentle wooing in love to live for Jesus. 

Jesus did not say, “Obey me and I will bless you.” He in effect said, “I have blessed you, now obey me.” This is not a human command, but divine compulsion.

Believers are urged to walk worthy of the Lord. Worthy translates “axios” meaning in a manner worthy of the Lord. It is an adverb of manner. It was a term used at the time balancing scales were used to determine a weight. It meant to bring up the other beam of the scale, or to be equivalent. Your calling of the Lord is on one side of the scale and your lifestyle the other. We are beseeched to live a balanced life for Jesus. We are therefore beseeched to walk in harmony with our calling. Our relationship with Jesus should motivate right living.

If looking for His appearance doesn’t prompt us to do so, nothing will.

Lift up your head our redemption draws near.

Hello, How Are You? 10/11/98

Numbers 6: 23 – 26
Page 208 Come Alive Bible

Jesus Christ gathered with His bewildered followers on the eve of His execution for His last time with them. Confusion and fear held them in a firm grip as He spoke. Much of what He said is contained in John 14 – 17. In that hostile environment His talk was punctuated with such words as “joy” and “peace.” He spoke often in various settings of His followers as being “blessed.” That is us.

Yet, much of our conduct and conversation gives the impression we have little joy, peace, and experience few blessings. Listen the next time you speak to someone with such a simple greeting as, “Hello, how are you?”

Two common negative responses are often heard. One: “So far, so good.” This sounds like the response of a person on safari in a predator infested jungle. Things have been going pretty good so far but at any minute I expect an attack resulting in catastrophe.

Further translated, “God has taken care of me so far, but at any minute I expect His provision and protection to expire.

A second even more negative response is, “Tired!”

It is 9:00 AM and a healthy individual says, “I am tired.” Causes you that have a “I can’t wait until 3:00 PM” attitude to cycle back and see just how much more tired this person is.

In the Old Testament era followers of Jehovah were taught a special prayer which gave cause for optimism. It is often called the equivalent of the Lord’s Prayer in the Old Testament. It is called the Aaronic Benediction.

“The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace” (Numbers 6: 24 – 26).

God taught us this prayer. Blessing is His idea. A simple response to the greeting, “Hello, how are you?” should well be, “Blessed.”

The prayer in faith expects God to draw near and enfold one in His grace. To pray it is to live expectant of blessings not of dread as expressed in “So far, so good.”

The praying of this prayer is a way of saying, “Yes, Amen!” to God’s promises.

“The Lord bless you and keep you” speaks of present blessings and future care by the Lord. He will “keep you.”

He will “make His face to shine upon you.” On Mount Sinai the Lord in His shining brilliance revealed Himself to Moses and gave to Him the Ten Commandments. It was revelation of His will. This expression, “Make His face to shine upon you” refers to Him revealing His will.

“The Lord lift up His countenance upon you” is a term expressive of a smile. May God find such pleasure in you as to smile and reward you with peace.

The prayer speaks of blessing, presence, and the smile of God. It is not a persons idea it is God’s idea. It is what He wants for you.

Now back to the response to the innocent greeting, “Hello, how are you?” Why in light of the provisions of this prayer do so many people respond “Tired?”

This question concerns the medical community as well as the faith community. Dr. Richard Clark Cabbot of the Mayo Clinic led a team that studied the issue of “How to help people overcome that tired feeling.”

Parenthetically, there are times when we are all legitimately tired. It is a legitimate wonderful condition if the fatigue is the result of energy and effort well spent.

Vince Lombardy, the highly successful former coach of the Green Bay Packers, said, “Happiness is to be lying flat on your back exhausted from an effort to achieve victory.” That is a celebration of honest and honorable fatigue.

However, the doctors of Mayo Clinic in their study were concerned with the chronically tired persons who has no physiological reason for always being tired. They concluded four things to help overcome this negative state of being. They are: WORK, PLAY, LOVE, AND WORSHIP.

The Clinic was so impressed they had a logo designed using a cross with four equal arms each of which represented one of the four: WORK, PLAY, LOVE, AND WORSHIP.

Consider them as daily antidote to having that “tired feeling.” It is a prescription from a highly respected medical source.

The way in which it should be done is found in Colossians 3: 23: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”

Put yourself into your work as though creating a work of art to be viewed by the Lord Himself. Often a worker finds himself under the supervision of a boss that just can’t be pleased regardless of the effort and excellence. This verse relieves the pressure. If you do what you do to an audience of one, that one being the Lord, and He approves and others don’t you don’t get depressed. If you do what you do to the same audience of one, the Lord, and He approves and others applaud you don’t take off on an ego flight. You didn’t do it for them you did it for Him.

This I refer to as THE LAW OF EMOTIONAL EQUILIBRIUM. It helps you keep your balance.

An Italian Duke was walking through his formal rose garden when he came upon a young gardener cutting roses and placing them in a uniquely beautiful carved wooden box. “What are you doing?” he inquired, not knowing the box had been hand carved by the young gardener. “I am pruning the roses and placing them in this chest.” “Does such a menial task demand such craftsmanship,” asked the duke. “No, sir,” came the reply, “but my nature does.”

“What is your name?” the duke demanded, “you shall be flogged for such impudence.”

“My name sir, is Michelangelo.”

It is little wonder that having a nature demanding such excellence in little things resulted in a life of mastery in major things. He was doing that menial carving as unto the Lord and found great pleasure in it.

Here comes a part you got to like —– PLAY.

Unplug, recreate, and enjoy amusement. Allow yourself to relax and laugh.

Stress, prolonged fatigue, negative emotions, and a pessimistic outlook flood the body with toxins. They release chemical toxins within your body. Don’t make your body a toxic waste dump by depriving it of play.

Health is no laughing matter but it does help if you laugh.

The body is under a biochemical onslaught. Mounting research makes it clear that one’s attitude and emotional state are impressively vital to the preservation of health and recovery from illness.

“Exhibit A” is a stress-sensitized person. Such a ones response to everyday stress has the same flush of biochemical release as during a major threat. This biochemical rush suppresses the immune system to various infections and diseases, according to psychological research. Hormones released by stress promote ulcers, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and strokes.

Conversely, a positive, optimistic, jovial spirit releases health inducing pain killers and a “feel good” mood. These chemicals known as endorphins and enkephlins when released into the body by the brain are a morphine-like substance that act as a good natural anesthesia and relaxant. A person senses his or her highest level of well-being when they are at work. PLAY! For your health sake play.

If God smiles, and our text says He does, so should we. The Bible says, “[God] will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy” (Job 8: 21).

That means you may yet experience a growth spirt in your funny bone.

Solomon, the wisest of the kings, wrote there is a “time to laugh” (Ecc. 3: 4). In praise of the Lord the Psalmist wrote, “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy” (Psalm 126: 2).

Infect people around you with “cheer-germs.” Those who catch the disease will find their load lighter and their Christianity brighter.

Try giving yourself away. A lady when asked what she had been doing said, “I’ve been trying to get something for my husband.” Came the reply, “Did you have any offers?”

If you try loving and giving yourself away there will be lots of offers.

A short version of Jesus’ summation of the law is simply, “You shall love…” He went on to say, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind'” (Matthew 22:37).

Don’t look upon God with suspicion. Release yourself to love Him.

Additionally He instructed us to love our neighbor as our self.

Studies show babies are not born knowing how to love, but with the capacity to receive and experience love. They learn to love from how their parents love them. Perhaps you missed it. Maybe bitter circumstances have made it difficult to love others. It is at this point God, the Father, steps in to show us love. We then learn how to love from the Father. He has demonstrated His love for us. He has shown us the true meaning of love by loving us.

We are slow learners. Here it is right in the Book: “We love because God first loved us” (I John 4: 19).

John follows this up by alerting us to our opportunity to show God’s love for others by the quality of our love: “For he who does not love his brother which he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (I John 4:20).

Babies learn to love by receiving the love of their parents. We learn the highest law of love by experiencing the love of the Lord Jesus.

We put into practice our love by doing for others what God has done for us. We learn to accept people with all of their faults and failures just as God accepted us.

If you dare to love people you are going to be hurt. If you don’t you are going to be sick. Hadn’t you rather be hurt than sick?

Not long ago, a magazine article about Roseto, an Italian- immigrant village in eastern Pennsylvania that became famous for its residents’ low levels of heart disease was researched. Despite hard lives and high-fat diets that included plenty of lard (because olive oil was too expensive to import), the heart- attack rate among Rosetans was less than half the U.S. average. Well, that was then. In the past three decades, the town’s heart disease rate has risen to approach that of any other place in over stressed America. What made the difference? Some doctors believe Roseto actually lost its heart. Earlier in the century, Rosetans lived with as many as four generations of family crowded into a single home. Residents worked together, socialized together, and were extremely dependent on one another. Then came your basic American prosperity: better-paying jobs, big homes on the outskirts of town, and television. According to researcher Stewart Wolf, M.D., there was a “conspicuous social change from family-centered attitudes toward more self-centered, materialistic concerns.” As people grew apart, they also developed more heart disease. Is it possible to find other ways of achieving the close community and personal intimacy the Rosetans had long ago? According to Dr. Dean Ornish, it isn’t just possible, it’s vital. In “Love & Survival,” Ornish issues a powerful call for doctors and everybody else to start considering love, intimacy, and emotional and spiritual growth to be as important as any high-tech medicine in preventing and treating physical illness. American society is facing an epidemic of “emotional and spiritual heart disease,” Ornish says, that is every bit as harmful to our bodies as cholesterol and other risk factors.

In my files I found a poem by Helen Steiner
Rice penned in my mother’s hand writing.
Where there is love the heart is light,
Where there is love the day is bright.
Where there is love there is a song
To help when things are going wrong.

Where there is love, there is a smile
To make things seem more worthwhile.
Where there is love, there’s a quiet peace,

A quiet place where turmoils cease.
Love changes darkness into light
And makes the heart take ‘wingless flight.’

Blessed are they who walk in love,
They also walk with God above.
And when man walks with God again
There shall be peace on earth for men.

This is the fourth necessity for avoiding “that tired feeling” according to the research by Mayo Clinic doctors.

Two ancient factors distract us from worship:
One is TRIVIALIZATION. We, like the ancient Gnostics, have made God in our image and refer to Him as the “Old Man,” or the “Man Upstairs,” or even the “Big Guy.”

The name Gnostic means “one who knows all.” That bunch of know it alls from the first century talked about God. They expressed their opinions regarding Him. They didn’t talk to Him or worship Him. They talked to each other a lot about God but they didn’t talk to Him.

The second is TRIBULATION. Roman persecution in the first century distracted the people from worship. It was not popular to be a follower of the crucified Christ. It was not lawful to be a Christian. This caused economic discrimination, social ostracism, imprisonment, and martyrdom.

John, the beloved disciple of Christ, encountered the Gnostic philosophy that trivialized God and personally experienced tribulation. His tribulation resulted in him being imprisoned on the Island of Patmos. There, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he worshiped and penned the Revelation. Therein he teaches us of worship and to worship.

The Book of the Revelation begins, “I was in the spirit on the Lord’s Day…” (Rev. 1:10).

On the last page of the Bible, after momentary distraction by angels, he refocuses on the issue and exhorts us “Worship God” (Rev. 22: 9).

By the time our study comes to the final entry in the library of 66 books called the Holy Bible, our minds are bursting with knowledge and our hearts burning with desire.

Why then aren’t things better in society and particularly in the Christian community? Could it be that we have become modern Gnostics talking much about God and little to Him. Motivated to work for Him but failing to worship Him. Perhaps we have even read the revelation searching for knowledge regarding the lamp stands, seals, bowls, and beast without getting the central message. That is “worship God.”

Perhaps we even come to our main hour of worship each Sunday bleached out emotionally and depleted physically by the activities of Saturday. Perhaps we have even adopted the world’s calendar and now schedule things on the Lord’s day that interfere with worship. Are some paying tribute to persons on the Lord’s Day when they should be giving it to worship? That is an unpopular thing to say, but if a representative of the Lord doesn’t say it the trend worsens.

A clarion call to worship and an unequaled example is found in the book of the Revelation.

The only way we can stay alert to the reality of God in Christ ruling and saving is in the act of worship.

The only way we can be trusted to say anything about God that is close to true, to do anything for God that is halfway right, is by repeated singing, praying, listening, and believing with the elders around the throne, where the scroll is unsealed and the gospel read out clear and strong in worship.

If we absent ourselves from worship or treat it as marginal on our social calendar we become dominated by the world rather than directed by worship.

Worship is the primary means we are give to orientate ourselves to God’s will. Therein and thereby we are energized. When we truly worship the Living God then – – – –
“The LORD bless you and keep you; [His protection is ours.]
The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; [His provisions are ours.]
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace” [His peace is ours.] (Numbers 6: 24 – 26).

Hello, how are you? BLESSED!