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186,400

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

“86,400”

Jarrod Jacobs

                   86,400 is a large number, isn’t it? Imagine having $86,400 in your bank account! What might you do with it? What if someone had 86,400 gold bars? How rich might someone be who could own 86,400 houses? Certainly, one would be most blessed if he were able to have 86,400 close friends. Yet, we are not speaking of those things when we refer to the number 86,400. 86,400 equals the number of seconds in a day!

                   Each day affords us 86,400 seconds of time in which to serve God, to work, to sleep, to raise children, to eat, to enjoy hobbies, and everything else we do. How are we using this time? Someone made the observation of how difficult it would be for one to spend $86,400 each day with the stipulation that he could not save it, nor “invest” it, because at the end of the day, he would lose any money he had not spent. This is similar to our gift of 86,400 seconds. The seconds we have this day will be used up in this day, and at the end of the day, they are gone forever! We have no “roll-over seconds”, or “do-overs”! There is no retrieving the seconds from this day once they are gone!

                   With this in mind, how are we using our time? Do we appreciate this gift like we should? Time should not be “killed,” “wasted,” etc., but savored and used wisely because it is precious and finite. This fact is stated often in the Bible. Moses asked God to, “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12). Man’s life has been compared to a vapor in Scripture (Jas. 4:14). It has also been compared to grass or a flower, which “withers” and “falls” in time (I Pet. 1:23). Job said, “Man who is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). He also said, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle and come to their end without hope” (Job 7:6). The apostle Paul emphasized the brevity of life when he stressed the importance of obeying God “now” (II Cor. 6:2). It is written, “Today if ye will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts...” (Heb. 3:7-8). Notice that all of these verses emphasize the precious possession we call time. It fascinates me to consider the fact that our eternal God (Ps. 90:2) actually inspired men (II Pet. 1:20-21) to dedicate portions of His Bible to reminding man not to waste time! Since He has done this, I had better take heed!

                   Knowing that our life is brief at its longest (Jas. 4:14), and that our lives can end, or be irreversibly changed in a moment (Prov. 27:1), is there any wonder that we see a continued emphasis in Scripture on one doing what is right “today”, while we still have the opportunity? 86,400 seconds per day seems like a lot of time (and it is). On the other hand, these seconds move very rapidly.

                   86,400 seconds is all we have been given for this day. HOW will we use this precious time? Will it be used in selfishness or godliness? If the Lord wills, and we wake up to a new day tomorrow, HOW will we use the 86,400 seconds given to us on that day? The world has given us far too many “distractions” wherein we are encouraged to waste our time. (I say this as one who is guilty of wasting time, too!) Yet, let us resolve today to stop wasting time and make the best use of our time we have on earth (Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5)!

Noah Condemned The World By Faith

Monday, March 27, 2017

“Noah Condemned The World By Faith”

Jarrod Jacobs

                   How many times have we heard people say words to the effect, “If you tell me that there is only one way to Heaven, then you are condemning me (or my family, etc.).”? Is this a valid charge?

                   Friends, when one takes a stand for the truth, he will be condemning those who are not following the truth. Please read Hebrews 11:7 to see a Biblical example of what we are discussing. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” The Bible says that when Noah built the Ark, following God’s plan to the letter (Gen. 6:13-22), he condemned the world. How did Noah do this? How could he have condemned the world when he was simply doing what God said?

                   First, he condemned the world by living by faith (Heb. 11:7). When God told Noah what to do, he did it without question (Rom. 10:17; Gen. 6:22). Noah heard God’s word and obeyed. This is living by faith! As a result of his words and example, his family followed his lead (I Pet. 3:20). Sadly, the rest of the world refused to listen to God (through the preaching of Noah, II Pet. 2:5) and drowned in the Flood. Notice that Hebrews 11:7 begins and ends stating that Noah lived “by faith”. Therefore, through his faith, Noah condemned the world.

                   He also condemned the world by heeding the warnings of God (Gen. 6:13). In contrast, when the people heard Noah’s preaching, they refused to heed God’s warnings and get into the Ark. When Noah was warned of “things not seen as yet,” he heeded the warning. In like manner, we are warned by God of an eternity in Hell for our disbelief and disobedience. Are we heeding the warning of the Lord who has said He will come “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thess. 1:6-9)? Consider this carefully.

                   Finally, he condemned the world by preparing for the coming flood. Noah’s preparation of the Ark showed that he not only believed in God, but believed God. He believed the warnings and then acted upon what he had heard. Those who have faith today will also do what God says to do (Rom. 10:16). Christ gave a similar warning in Matthew 25:1-13, where we see that those who were prepared were rewarded and those who refused to prepare were condemned. It was the same in Noah’s day! Noah prepared for the Flood, and in so doing, condemned a world of fools!

                   Noah condemned the world at that time because he followed God and had the backbone to stand for his convictions and preach God’s word to others. He did God’s will regardless of the consequences to himself or his family. There are too few people like this today. Let us stand behind God’s will and have the backbone that was characteristic of Noah! Have we complained that someone was “condemning” us? Perhaps it was because they were doing God’s will, and we were not! Let us repent while we still can (Lk. 13:3; II Cor. 6:2).

Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Acts 4:12

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Acts 4:12

                   Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” This verse is the end of a larger thought wherein Peter defended himself before the Sanhedrin for healing the lame man and preaching Christ (Acts 3). The Sanhedrin wanted to know what authority granted these men the right to heal the lame man (Acts 4:7). Acts 4:9-12 is the full answer. Verse 12 reminds us that salvation comes by no other “name” or authority than Christ! If anyone is to be saved, we will do it through the authority of Christ or not at all (Jn. 14:6; Col. 3:17). Buddha, Shinto, Mohammed, Confucius, Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, Aimee Semple McPherson, and anyone else has no authority on earth (Matt. 28:18). We will be saved by the teaching and authority of the Lord, or we will not be saved! It is as simple as that!

– Jarrod Jacobs

What Will You Leave Behind?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

“What Will You Leave Behind At Death?”

Jarrod Jacobs

            Every day we learn of people who have died. Some die in their old age, some in their youth. Regardless of how long we live, or the reason for dying, our life is brief at its longest. Moses wrote that our life is “soon cut off” (Ps. 90:10). James says our life is, “even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (Jas. 4:14).

            With this in mind, have you considered what you will leave behind at your death? Some perhaps have taken out life insurance policies, and similar things to provide financial stability for their survivors. But, is this all that one will leave behind at death? By no means! What will a man leave behind at death?

            First, influence, good or bad, will be felt by our survivors. Concerning the death of the saints, Christ said, “their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13; I Tim. 5:24). If we are unsure as to whether or not our influence is felt after death, tell me how many newborns are being named “Jezebel” or “Judas” these days? In contrast, many babies are named “Paul, “Hannah,” “James,” and “Sarah.” Why do people still cringe and shudder at such names as Adolph Hitler, or Mussolini if it is not for the influence those people left behind?

            Yes, our influence is felt even after death. Therefore, let us make sure our influence is godly (Matt. 5:16). Our children and grandchildren deserve no less than to observe a righteous influence in us!

            Secondly, all decisions we had to make are left behind. Once this earth-life is over, there is no coming back. Solomon said, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecc. 12:7). Therefore, let us get our priorities in order. If you die in your sins, you will have wasted your life. When you die, decisions left undone will remain undone! Seeing that this is the case, perhaps we can better appreciate the emphasis the Bible makes on folks doing things “now” and “today” while we still have the opportunity (ex: Acts 16:33). Make the right decision and remember “now is the accepted time ... now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2). If we don’t take advantage of this day, with its opportunities, we may not get another chance!

            When we die, will we enter into the bosom of Abraham, and to the safety of our Father? (Lk. 16:19-31) Will we be lost in our sins? If we love Christ, we will be busy doing His will right now (Jn. 14:15). Sadly, many are satisfied to do their “own thing”, living a life of carelessness and wickedness; (being friends of the world and enemies of God, Jas. 4:4) and are not ready at all to enter into eternity.

            Are you a friend of God, or Satan? You must be one or the other (Matt. 6:24, 12:30)! There is no “middle ground” with God. You’ll either be for Him or against Him; His friend, or His enemy. Remember, friendship with God depends upon whether or not you are a Christian (Acts 22:16), a joint-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17). Are you a Christian? If not, please obey the gospel message today (Mk. 16:16).

What Is Your Attitude Toward Sin?

Friday, March 24, 2017

“What Is Your Attitude Toward Sin?”

Jarrod Jacobs

            What is your attitude toward sin? Do you consider it funny? The Bible says, “fools mock at sin” (Prov. 14:9). Is sin something that you consider “no big deal”? Perhaps you think sin is serious, but not serious enough to cause you to change your life? When we read the Bible, we are warned about sin, and told that folks need to change their lives immediately! (Acts 22:16; II Cor. 6:2; etc.) Tomorrow may be too late.

            Perhaps our attitude toward sin is not what it ought to be because we do not appreciate how terrible it is. Let us consider God’s definition of sin as revealed in the Bible:

            The Bible compares sin to a terrible wound (Isa. 1:6). God looked upon national Israel and said, “From the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness in it; but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil.” David described sin in a similar way in Psalm 38:7-8.

            Another description of sin is a heavy burden (Ps. 38:4). David said, “For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.” He continued to describe their putrid nature by saying, “My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness” (Ps. 38:5).

            Our Lord describes sin as a debt (Matt. 6:12). He instructed His disciples to pray: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Do we recognize that sin is a debt we have? Have we forgiven others that need our forgiveness? If not, how can we expect God to forgive us of our debts (Matt. 6:14-15, 18:21-22, 35)?

            The Bible also describes sin as a stain (Isa. 1:18-20; Jas. 1:27). The “stain” of which Isaiah speaks is compared to a garment which has been “double-dipped” in dye so that the fabric is vibrant with color. James reminds Christians to make sure and not be “spotted” with the corruption found in this world! The way we can keep from such is described for us in James 1:25-27.

            The New Testament reveals that sin enslaves us (Jn. 8:34; Rom. 6:16; II Pet. 2:19). One who is in sin is in slavery and a citizen in the kingdom of darkness (Col. 1:13; I Pet. 2:9). Hence, the need for “redemption!”  How terrible it is, though, when we see folks who are slaves to sin and either don’t know or don’t care! May we avoid such attitudes!

            Sin results in spiritual death (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 21:8)! No one who dies in sin will see God.

            Sins such as lying, immodest dress, drinking alcohol (“socially” or otherwise), adultery/fornication, homosexuality, filthy language, and lusting after the opposite sex, etc. (Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-7; Rev. 21:8) are not “minor” things. Your soul is in jeopardy so long as you continue to live in such sins!

            Seeing that the above is true, if one could go to someone who can heal the wound, lift the burden, forgive the debt, cleanse the stain, give us freedom, and bring spiritual life, would we not do it? Of course, we would! Then, what is YOUR delay? Repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38). What is your attitude toward sin?

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