GOD’S ACCURACY

I recently received an email from a member of the congregation where I preach.  ”I’ve edited it down” due to its length and due to the fact that it contained a request about forwarding it on.

I think, though, that you’ll find what is left very interesting.  I know I did

GOD’S ACCURACY

God’s accuracy may be observed in the hatching of eggs. . . . .-
those of the canary in 14 days;-
those of the barnyard hen in 21 days;-
eggs of ducks and geese in 28 days;
those of the mallard in 35 days;
The eggs of the parrot and the ostrich hatch in 42 days.
Notice, they are all divisible by seven, the number of days in a week!

God’s wisdom is seen in the making of an elephant.
The four legs of this great beast all bend forward in the same direction.
No other quadruped is so made. God planned that this animal would have a huge body, too large to live on two legs.  For this reason He gave it four fulcrums so that it can rise from the
ground easily.
The horse rises from the ground on its two front legs first.
A cow rises from the ground with its two hind legs first.

How wise the Lord is in all His works of creation!
Each watermelon has an even number of stripes on the rind.
Each orange has an even number of segments
Each ear of corn has an even number of rows.
Each stalk of wheat has an even number of grains.
Every bunch of bananas has on its lowest row an even number of bananas, and each row decreases by one, so that one row has an even number
and the next row an odd number.

Amazing!-The waves of the sea roll in on shore twenty-six to the minute in all kinds of weather.-
All grains are found in even numbers on the stalks.
God has caused the flowers to blossom at certain specified times during the day.  Linnaeus, the great botanist, once said that if he had a conservatory containing the right kind of soil, moisture and temperature, he could tell the time of day or night by the flowers that were open and those that were closed!
The lives of each of us may be ordered by the Lord in a beautiful way for His glory, if we will only entrust Him with Our life. If we try to regulate our own life, it will only be a mess and a failure.  Only God, who made our brain and heart, can successfully guide them to a
profitable end.

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AN ENCOURAGING HEADLINE

Today’s post will be very brief.  In the interest of fairness, though, I think it is necessary.

If you read my post the other day, you read my thoughts about the decision of the World Vision organization to hire “Christians” who are in a same sex marriage.

This morning, the following headline was on foxnews.com (and other places):

Two Days Later, World Vision Reverses Policy That Allowed Hiring Of Gays

Due to some doctrinal differences, this decision does not mean that I am now a supporter of this organization.  I am pleased, though, with this stand that they have taken.

In my opinion, our nation would not be where it is morally if people who at least believe in Christian principles would take a firm stand on and for those principles.

Jim Faughn

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WORLD VISION = WORLDLY VIEW

World Vision’s American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman.

Abstinence outside of marriage remains a rule. But a policy change announced Monday [March 24] will now permit gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be employed at one of America’s largest Christian charities.

Those first two paragraphs are in italics because they are a direct quote from Monday’s edition of ChristianityToday.com.  The title of the article/post by Celeste Gracey and Jeremy Weber is “World Vision:  Why We’re Hiring Gay Christians in Same Sex Marriages.”

The authors quote Richard Stearns, the president of World Vision U.S., as believing this is a “‘very narrow policy change.”  Further, he is said to believe that this should be viewed as “‘symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity.’”

For those who may not be familiar with World Vision, it is reported to be a “Christian relief and development organization.”  Its stated purposes have to do with helping, in various ways, the underprivileged throughout the world.

While the goals may be commendable on some level, this “very narrow policy change” is indicative of a sad, but all to common, truth.

World Vision has joined the ranks of a growing number of organizations and individuals who would like to be considered as “Christian,” but which/who have a decidedly singular worldly view.

God’s people are called to be salt and light (cf. Matt. 5:13-16).  Those who have responded positively to that challenge are different from – not the same as – the environment around them.

God give us more people who truly have a Christian view instead of a world view.  May our “vision” be to take the truth of God’s word to those who are lost rather than to join them in their lost condition.

Jim Faughn

 

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FRIENDLY FIRE

Military spokesmen and the news media seem to use a variety of phrases in an attempt to sanitize some of the unpleasant aspects of war.  From time to time, we hear reports of troops being wounded or killed by “friendly fire.”  That somehow sounds better than having to report that the damage was done by one of our own bullets, missiles, bombs, etc.

Sometimes, the evidence indicates that the fire was not so friendly.  At times, some apparently take advantage of the confusion caused by the intensity of a particular battle to settle some personal grudge with a fellow soldier (maybe a superior officer).

I have wondered at times how often “friendly fire” damages the Lord’s army.  Could it possibly be that some of our wounds and casualties come from our own ranks?

We know that Paul had to deal with “…perils among false brethren” (2 Cor. 11:26). He also warned that: “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another” (Gal. 5:15).

Sadly, it seems that some have neither learned from Paul’s experience, nor heeded his warning.  Some in the Lord’s army seem more intent fighting a brother or sister, discrediting them, spreading gossip about them, and/or ignoring them than they are on waging war against our real enemy.

“Friendly fire” among us may cause the loss of two souls.  The one “fired at” may be so wounded that he or she never recovers.  The one who does the “firing” is most certainly damage beyond measure until and unless he or she repents.

Jim Faughn

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POETIC PRIORITIES

            I recently ran across a poem I’d read years ago.  I have no idea who the poet was, nor do I remember the specific source, but I’d like for all of us to think of the poem as a reminder about our priorities.

 

If a man would concentrate on God

            As he does his business schemes;

And give the church the backing

            That he does his baseball teams;

If he could quote the scriptures

            As he does his favorite jokes;

And practice with his prayer

            The way he does his golfing strokes;

If he argues with temptation

            Like he argues with his wife —

The world would soon be full of

            Saints who lead a perfect life.

 

Jim Faughn

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“I SAT WHERE THEY SAT”

Ezekiel had an important commission.  His responsibility was great.  The words he would speak would be weighty because they would be the message of God.  He would be delivering his message to people who were needing desperately to hear such a message, but who probably did not think they needed to hear the message that God had for Ezekiel to deliver to them.  

It may be that some of the very best preparation made by Ezekiel for this important task  took place during the seven days when he “…sat where they sat…” (Ezekiel 3:15).  Along with inspiration, Ezekiel now also had first-hand knowledge and experience.

Ivory tower Christianity is a contradiction in terms.  Those of us who seek to proclaim God’s message, whether publicly or in private studies, cannot afford to behave as though we are another Moses coming down from Mt. Sinai.

Effective teaching — classroom teaching, home studies, and/or preaching from the pulpit — needs to be done by those who are sensitive to the needs, concerns, problems, joys, and triumphs of their “students.”  If we “sit where they sit,” our perspective and our impact will be greatly enhanced.

 

Jim Faughn

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WHY WE WENT TO NASHVILLE ON SUCH TERRIBLE ROADS

On this past Monday afternoon, while many people around here were doing everything they could to avoid getting out on the terrible roads around here, Donna and I were on our way to Nashville,TN.  Grandparents do some “dumb” things at times, don’t they?

We did get to spend the evening with our son, his wife, and  those two grandchildren who live there.  That, however, was not the only reason we raced along at a breathtaking 10 mph at times on Interstate 24.  OK, so we didn’t drive at that speed for the entire trip, but 45 – 50 mph was a very  rare experience.  The norm was somewhere between 30 – 40 mph.

So — why did we go.?

Along with seeing a part of our family, we were also going to Nashville in order for me to participate in what I am hoping will be a project that is very beneficial to a number of congregations. At least, that is the goal.

This project was the “brainchild” of our son.  Instead of me trying to explain it to you, I’m hoping you’ll click on a link below that he provided which will give you (hopefully) the information you need.

As you will see if you read his information, the project is designed to be used by congregations during the summer months.  One of the things I like about it, though, is its flexibility.  For example, the congregation where I preach plans to use this as our “winter series” instead of our summer series.

Whenever and however the series is used, it is my prayer that it will, in fact, be used.  It should be a helpful tool.

If you’d like to know more about this, here is the link.

www.faughnfamily.com/video-summer-series-update-recording/

Jim Faughn

 

 

 

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NO SECOND CHANCE

I suppose that the eraser is man’s monument to second chances.  It reminds us that we make mistakes and that we need the opportunity to try again.

However, there is at least one thing that does not afford us the opportunity of a second chance.  You’ve heard it in a well-worn adage:  You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

There are many areas of our lives in which this is true, but, to me, none is more vital than trying to teach people the gospel of Christ. Marketing experts know that an unattractive package can inhibit the sale of a wonderful product.  They spend countless dollars to find just the right package to “show off’ their product.

Why should the gospel of Christ be any different?  The “contents of the package” cannot change if we are going to be loyal to our Lord.

At the same time, people with whom we come into contact may never know what the “contents” are if one of us makes a bad first impression on them.  My life may be the only sermon somebody “hears.”

I need to remember that I don’t have a second chance to make that first impression.  I also need to remember that that first impression may have eternal consequences.

Jim Faughn

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NOT A BAD WAY TO LIVE

For the past few years, I’ve made it part of my morning routine to listen to a portion of the Bible as I start my day.  Each year, I select some plan that will take my through the Bible in a year and do my “morning listening” on my smartphone.  (In case you’re interested, after a few years of being all about iPhones, I switched a few months ago to a Samsung Galaxy S4 and really like it.)

This morning, a part of my “audio reading” came from Deuteronomy 5.  The first verse of that chapter contains these words:

And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them.  (ESV)

I know I’ve read (and heard) that verse many times before.  This morning, though, something struck me that I’d never thought about before. 

As I heard those words, I had a thought that I don’t remember having previously. I fully understand that this verse is found in the Old Testament and that we are no longer bound by its laws (cf. Col. 2:14, etc.)  At the same time, I heard four points that would be very beneficial to all of us today. 

It would not be a bad way to live if all of us would

  • hear the word of God.  We cannot please God without faith (cf. Heb. 11:6).  Since the hearing of God’s word produces faith (cf. Rom. 10:17), it would seem to me to be axiomatic that I must hear God’s word in order to please Him. 

              I would also suggest that each of us needs to make sure that it is, in                     fact, God’s word that we are hearing.  From the pen of the apostle                         John, we read these words:

              Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to  see                               whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out                   into the world (1 John 4:1, ESV)

  • learn the word of God.  I fear that we are living in a time similar to the one described by the prophet Hosea:  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6, ESV). Some people giggle at some of those “man on the street” interviews during which people demonstrate that they have absolutely no idea what is in the Bible.  I’m not one of the gigglers.  Rather, I shake my head and want to cry. 

             I would suggest that there is something terribly wrong with my                            priorities if I can, in an instant, tell you everything anybody would                    want to know about the latest sensation in the entertainment, sports,                political, and/or social world, but I cannot tell you one accurate thing              about The King of Kings.

  • keep the word of God.  I realized that this admonition is found in some translations of the verse we are considering, but not others.  I’m including it here because I believe that the word of God is, indeed, a treasure to be kept.  I’m not suggesting that we lock them away in some safe or safety deposit box and never refer to them.

              On the contrary, I’m thinking about what we read in Maybe the words               of the psalmist would be appropriate here:  “Thy word have I hid in                   mine heart, that I might not sin against thee”(Psalm 119:11,                     KJV, emphasis added).

  • do the commands of God.  Jesus condemned many of the religious leaders who were alive during His earthly ministry because “…they say and do not…” (Matt. 23:3, KJV).  A lazy Christian makes about as much sense as a round square.  I wear the name of the One who “…went about doing good…”(Acts 10:38).  It seems to me that I must at least try to emulate Him in that

So, there you have it.  If I hear, learn, keep and do the commands of God, that, in my opinion, is not a bad way to live.

 Jim Faughn

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TWO SAD WORDS

I just finished reading a bulletin published by a man I’m honored to call my brother and friend.  On the subject line of the email, he included the words “final edition.”

My brother and friend made it clear in the bulletin that, while this was the final edition of this publication and that he has made the decision to no longer serve as the preacher for this particular congregation, he would still be available to preach, teach, and serve in other capacities in the future.  I was very happy to read that.

I think my friend has told me how old he is, but I’ve forgotten.  All I know is that he’s older than me and that means he is not a “spring chicken” any longer.

However, he has so much to offer in terms of Biblical knowledge, wisdom, and energy.  His abilities are recognized so much that he regularly goes “across the pond” to preach, teach, and counsel.  Besides his work with the congregation he’s been serving for many years, he’s been making a drive of about an hour to our community each week to teach a special class at one of our local congregations.

In short, this brother does not deserve to be “put on a shelf.”  It is also not his intention to “shelve” himself or to “ride off into the sunset.”

Still, it is sad to read the words final edition.  The closing of a chapter is always a sad thing for me.

I’ve already written (emailed) my friend and shared some thoughts with him about how much I love and respect him.  He has had a greater influence on my life than I think he will ever know.

I guess I just wanted to share this with you as a reminder that, in some ways, there will be a final edition in all of our lives.  We will reach the end of one chapter of our life and open a new chapter.

I pray that, when it is time to close that “final final chapter” here on earth, we do what I am sure my friend will be able to do.  It is my prayer that each of us can look back on a life of dedicated service and look forward to some truly great things for all eternity.

Jim Faughn

 

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