The Apple Of God's Eye

May 8, 2011

God’s Word Versus Man’s Traditions

Why do we do the things we do?

Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:  “This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.  In vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”  Jesus, Mark 7:6-7

Some scholars, theologian and clergy believe the only way to understand the Bible is to have it explained to you by someone who has studied it.

Unfortunately, too many people subscribe to this belief.  All too often they listen to a priest, rabbi, or preacher tell them what the Bible says. And as if this was not bad enough,  they go even further into blindness by setting their own standard of morals and conduct.  They, in effect, become a god unto themselves.

The main problem with North America, and the world is that they have become a people who have deserted the Word of God, replacing it with their own “evolving”  moral code of diversity and tolerance. Now we see mainstream society accepted abortion, gay rights, pornography, false religions and every other immoral concept that has been devised in the heart of man.  “To each his own,” they say, and go merrily on their way, not coming close to understanding why our nation and world is in the condition that it is in.

There is a living God who oversees the affairs of men and nations.  This was true of Israel of the Old Testament and it true of the nations of the world today.  As a Bible oriented, moral and family value respecting nation we have become the greatest nation on the face of the earth.  This was also true of Old Testament Israel.  But like Israel, we have forsaken the commandments of God in favor of the traditions of man.  Is there any reason that we should not expect the same fate that befell Israel when they deserted the teachings of God?

It is time that America woke up and turned back to the faith and values that have made us great and condemn the immoral practices being legally practiced  in our nation today.  If we choose to live as heathens we cannot expect the blessings of the God of righteousness.

February 23, 2011

Everyone Needs A Boss

afdr.ab.ca

It’s not generally known, but in the center of the Vatican there is a tiny private garden used by the pope when he feels like refreshing his mind and being alone with his thoughts. There’s a gardener there named Guiseppe who has been taking care of that area for more than 40 years.

One day Guiseppe was working in the garden when he noticed on the far side a bush begin to shake and shimmer as the light hit it. The whole bush seemed to dance and move. Guiseppe became afraid and ran to a telephone to call the cardinal.

“Cardinalli, Cardinalli, God’s in the bushes!”

And the cardinal responded about the way you would expect. He thought Guiseppe had been standing in the sun a little too long, or maybe he was getting a little senile. So he said, “No, Guiseppe, that’s not so.”

But Guiseppe says, “Cardinalli, look outa your Window.”

So the cardinal says, ”All right.” He walks over and sees the bush shimmering and shaking boldly and brightly. And he comes back and tells him, “You’re right, Guiseppe. You’re right!”

Then Guiseppe says, “Cardinalli, what should I do? What should I do?”.

“Id better call the Papa,” says the cardinal. So he telephones the pope. Meanwhile, Guiseppe is cringing down in his telephone booth. Down in the comer, he can barely see the light shining through, blinding everything around. Finally his phone rings again, and the cardinal says, “Guiseppe, I justa talked to the Papa.”

And Guiseppe says, “Well, what did he say?”

“The Papa say,” came the reply, “looka busy.”

When the boss is around, everyone tries harder, everybody “looka busy.”

Everybody has a boss

But who needs a boss? Do you? Judging by the fact that everybody has a boss, evidently everybody must need a boss, right up to and including Jesus Christ Himself. He has a boss. The Father is clearly in charge and the Father is the only one in the entire universe who does not have a boss. (more…)

September 1, 2009

The Power Of Parental Example

“He’s the spitting image of his father.”  — “He’s a chip off the old block.”   — “Like mother, like daughter.”

Expressions like these reflect that we tend to follow the example set by our parents.  How good or how bad an example do you set as a parent?

Children are richly blessed in life if they have good examples to follow. This leaves you as a parent with a major question to answer: By following your parental example, where will your children end up?

To help answer that question, let’s look at some ways that your children learn from your example. Here are several traits you may occasionally exemplify, and what those examples will produce in your children.

Hostility

A child living with hostility will learn to fight. Have you ever been out somewhere and observed children who punch, scratch, pinch, push, bully, swear at and tattle on other children?

If this is their behavior in public, then what must the example they see at home be like?  Are your children guilty of such conduct? If so, from whom do they learn it?

Parents who stand on the sidelines of sporting events yelling and urging their children to win at all costs — and who get upset and angry when their children lose — are teaching a spirit of competitiveness. They are also teaching that winning is all that matters.

Do you know parents who will only play sports if they can win all of the time and who are extremely irritated at losing? They will not play with people they cannot beat. Ever wonder what attitude their children will adopt toward fair play and being able to lose gracefully?

Why not teach children by example, that winning, though important, is not the supreme goal? Playing the game in sportsmanlike fashion and showing concern for the other players is most important.

Children exposed to bad sporting examples quickly absorb the message that to solve a problem you argue and fight. What a pity they are not rather learning that peace comes from practicing the principles that make for peace (Jas. 3:18).

Criticism

A child who lives with constant criticism will learn to grumble and complain. Is the family dinner table a place for gossip, criticism and cynical remarks? If it is, then children are learning to be complainers.

Do you have gripe sessions in front of them? If you must air grievances, do it privately, away from young, impressionable minds. This may take restraint on your part when you have the urge to be critical. Better still, overcome such negative habits.

Certainly, you should teach your children to accept criticism — it’s a tool for growth — but criticism should always be constructive and be given in a spirit of love.

Disregard for law

It is surprising to see the extent to which some “Christians” flout vehicle speed laws and parking directions. Some apparently feel that traffic regulations are “only man’s laws anyway.”

What is of greater concern about such disregard, beyond that you could wind up hurt physically, is that you are nourishing a belief in your heart that you are above law. This teaches children double standards. Derogatory remarks about authority figures — whether police, teachers, government officials or ministers — also set a bad example.

Paul warns, “Obey those who rule over you” (Heb. 13:17) — even when you consider the rules inadequate or foolish. Your purpose is to learn to submit to authority. If you don’t set the example, how can you expect your children to submit to you? Disregard for law and order encourages rebellion.

Unequal love

Isaac grew up in a family atmosphere that reflected unequal love toward his half brother Ishmael (Gen. 21:8-11). Eventually Ishmael was forced out of the camp and separated from his father, Abraham, because of Sarah’s and Hagar’s feelings against each other.

In time, Isaac had his own family — twin sons — Esau and Jacob. But personality differences took root in the family because Isaac favored Esau while Rebekah gave more of her love to Jacob (Gen. 25:28). This led eventually to Jacob’s taking Esau’s birthright by deceptive means worked out by his mother. Not the best example of family togetherness. But where did Isaac learn to conduct his family this way?

Favoritism

If you practice favoritism, your children will learn to be partial. Continuing with the above story, we read that Jacob had many children from his two wives and their handmaids. But the child Jacob loved most was the youngest, Joseph.

The problem with this was in being so open about it before the others, culminating in the special gift of the coat of many colors (Gen. 37:3-4). This produced family jealousy and rivalry.

Of course, Joseph’s dreams and his approach in telling his brothers didn’t help matters either (verses 5-11). The end result of Jacob’s practicing partiality was that Joseph was sold into Egypt as a slave.

Joseph, himself, was partial years later in Egypt when he gave a banquet for all his brothers. Guess who got the biggest share of food? Benjamin, the youngest, was openly favored (Gen. 43:34).

This resurrected a family resentment that resurfaced at the death of Jacob. Joseph’s brothers became fearful, thinking that with the patriarch out of the way, Joseph would take revenge on them (Gen. 50:15).

Hypocrisy

Children see through hypocrisy, especially in the Christian example you set. Do you say one thing — or even tell your children to do one thing — while you yourself do something else?

Does your child know and see that you pray, study the Bible, fast, get anointed when you are sick and serve others? Or does he see a show at Church services each week and general disinterest the other six days? Whatever you practice, your children see and tend to copy, whether for the good or bad.

But what if you yourself have been the victim of bad parental influences and find yourself struggling to change?

God gives encouragement through the prophet Ezekiel. As long as you are willing to take heed to your ways, to consider right and wrong and seek to change faults, you can avoid being an injurious example to your own children (Ezek. 18:14-17, 27-28). You can, if you are willing to make the effort, teach them God’s way.

Joseph and Mary must have set a fine example for Jesus. God the Father must have been especially mindful that a right kind of family environment would be needed to nurture and admonish Jesus during His boyhood years.

With the help of this fine family example, Jesus grew up to be “in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).

Could there be a better goal in child training than this, that as a result of the godly family environment you create for your children, they grow up to be “in favor with God and men”? How richly blessed your children will be if this happens. And what a commendation for you as a parent!

If your family environment reflects criticism, hostility, ridicule and competitiveness, your child will learn to fight, to feel shy and guilty, to be spiteful and hateful and perhaps be destined to end up as an ineffective parent himself.

But if your family environment reflects tolerance, encouragement, praise, fairness, honesty, security and approval, your child will learn acceptance, patience, confidence, justice, faith and to find true and enduring friendships.

The parental example you set has great impact upon your children. Make your example a good one!

Source: The Good News, May 1983

February 22, 2009

Does The Bible Give Guidelines On Clothing Standards?

Christians should always use the Bible as a guideline for how they represent themselves. Scriptures tell us God’s true Christians are the light of the world (Math. 5:14), and as such are ambassadors for God in conduct and appearance.

Looking to scripture, there are three principles which can applied when selecting clothing:

1) Is it modest apparel? (1 Timothy 2:9). Christian women should never wear clothing that might be arousing to the opposite sex. This includes miniskirts, overly revealing bathing suits, and dresses that expose cleavage or are too tight. These are not appropriate — their intent is to cause arousal, which does not express good taste or wisdom.

Modest apparel should also not reflect extremes in fashion. Tongue and nose rings, excessively high heels, an inordinate amount of jewelry, overly baggy pants and outlandish hairstyles all reveal an attitude of immodesty. On the other hand, clothing which goes against all conventions of style would also be a wrong extreme. The Christians’ life should be one of balance and moderation, never (Philippians 4:5).

2) Is the clothing of good quality? Being modest does not mean we have to dress in a drab fashion. Rather, we should maintain high standards by buying the highest-quality clothing within the limits of what we can afford. Being a light to the world means setting an example for others to follow. Therefore, our clothing should be sharp, reflect balance and good taste.

3) Is it appropriate for the occasion? A formal dinner requires a different outfit than a more casual event, to avoid standing out. In addition, many denominations allow people to attend services dressed any way they want. So one will come in shorts, while another wears jeans or coverall. Casual clothing is never the standard God expects from His true adherents at Church services — after all, they are appearing before the God of the universe.

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