Category Archives: Bulletin Articles

Words of wisdom from our weekly bulletin

STRONG–STRONGER–STRONGEST

STRONG—STRONGER—STRONGEST

Who is the strongest person on earth?  Is it those men and women we see on the TV who can pull a semi-truck for several yards or lift huge stones and place them on pedestals?  Perhaps you thought of Samson or Goliath.  May I suggest that while we admire and marvel at such feats, the physical is only one type of strength.

Even stronger than that type of strength is the kind seen in everyday men and women who persevere through all types of trials, setbacks and pain.  The caregivers who take care of weak and disabled parents, children or relatives day after day.  The cancer patients who struggle through chemo and radiation.  The people who have all kinds of afflictions all at once and yet refuse to have a pity-party.  Women usually seem more able to tolerate pain than most men.  I have seen these precious sisters “take a lickin and keep on tickin” through multiple childbirth, cancers, arthritis, surgeries, etc, etc.  Despite all that they can often  still see the pain and suffering  of others and come  along side them to empathize and encourage. This is a strength of the heart, an emotional strength.

The strongest of the strong, however, are the Christians who have been martyrs down through the years and even today.  To take up one’s cross daily, ( Lk 9:23) dying to self and keeping the commitment until death, ( Rev 2:10) and giving one’s life for others,( Jo 15:`13) is the strongest of all actions.  Even if we aren’t called to die a martyr’s death, we need to keep our commitment through loss of income, loss of family members, loss of respect and all kinds of mistreatment.  By dying to self each day we glorify the One who did physically die for us.  ( I Cor 15: 3-4)

Some of us at Northwest are painfully aware that we are no longer strong physically. A lot of us would not rank ourselves in the stronger category either.  The strongest of us has not yet become a martyr.  However, spiritually we can and should be living in the strongest category due to the indwelling Godhead who gives us inner peace and strength.  ( Eph 3:16) ( Jo 14: 23)

Jim Bailey

 

COMPLEX

In almost any area of human endeavor the simple precedes the complex.  In biology the planting and harvest of seeds came before the making of genetically modified plants. In aviation the kite and the balloon came before the airplane and the spaceship.  In music the drum preceded the piano and the organ.  Each generation builds on the shoulders of all the past ones.

It is possible to pass through life looking only at the simple, surface appearance of nature and other physical things.  But if one truly wants to appreciate the depths of God’s creation, he will delve into the complex design and structure of animals, plants, rocks, and ideas.

An honest seeker will soon discover that even the most brilliant discoveries are but foolishness to God. ( 1 Cor 1: 19, 25, 27)  New inventions and improvements in electronics and other areas are being presented almost daily.  But to our God who created everything and man from dust, they surely must seem like child’s play.

In our spiritual life we Christians should be attempting to advance from the simple to the complex also.  However, that is often quite different from the physical growth we mentioned.  The more simple spiritual actions are such things as: Praying, Singing, Giving and other acts we can do by ourselves.  The more complex probably consists of:  Humility, Unselfishness, Tolerance, Love and others that we do for the benefit of others.

Perhaps the most complex action is enduring persecution.  Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said, “ In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus WILL BE PERSUCUTED.” ( 2 Tim 3: 12)  Other verses confirm this. ( Mt 5:44) ( Mt 5:11) ( Jo 15:20) ( Rom 12:14)

We humans seem to desire the simple surface worship rather than plumbing the depths of faith.  The heroes we admire most in the Bible are those who suffered greatly yet persevered—David, Joseph, Moses, Jeremiah and especially Jesus. We are fortunate here at Northwest to have a man in the pulpit who desires to grow in the depths of faith and character.  His preaching shows that he has empathy for the underdog because of the events in his life.

Jim Bailey

YOU CAN BE GOD!

This has to be the most naïve and insulting statement that God could ever hear.  A logical thinker should respond, “I could not nor would I ever want to be God.”  And yet there have always been those who think they do.  Satan ( the Devil, Lucifer, the Dragon, the Serpent) was the first and continues to challenge God for the souls of mankind.  Although he is a created being, Satan seems to have had a special place in heaven’s domain.  He had entrance into God’s court to accuse Job ( 1:6, 9-11) and again the nation of Israel after the exile. ( Zec 3:1)  He must be beautiful because he masquerades as an angel of light. ( 2 Cor 11:14)  If the passage in Ezekiel 28 is a dual prophesy that also talks of the king of Tyre, then Satan was a, “ model of perfection and full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. (v 12)  That is until he was, “driven out of heaven in disgrace from the mount of God.” ( v 16) ( Rev 12:9) His heart became proud and he corrupted his wisdom. (v17)  He was banished  to earth and according to Jesus, is the prince of it. (Jo 12: 31)  He is a liar and the father of lies, and a murderer. ( Jo 8:44)  Not a great role-model in trying to be God.

Some dictators throughout history have aspired to be or allowed themselves to be called God: Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, Various Caesars, Hitler, etc, etc. All were humbled by the true God. This must be why we call it BLIND ambition.

What wonderful insight and providential interaction it took to fulfill the prophesies while still allowing humans their free will. What arrogance to think any mere human could cope with billions of conflicting wishes while still loving each soul.

Most of us have real difficulty arranging our own agenda for a day let alone those of others. Who would really want to worry about what others need to do? God does not worry, but He cares.

Job wanted to argue his case face to face with God. ( 13:3) ( 23: 3-4) God begins in chapter 38 through 41 to patiently yet firmly explain to Job why He is almighty and Job is not. He laid the foundation of the earth. ( 38:4)  He ask Job if he knew the gates of death ( 38:17)  and if he knew the laws of the heavens. ( 38:33)  Job could not answer any of the many questions God asked him about His creation, finally declaring, “ I put my hand over my mouth, I am unworthy.” ( Job 40: 4)  A good lesson for us the next time we think, “ If I were God, I’d…”

Jim Bailey

 

TAKE ME WITH YOU!

TAKE ME WITH YOU!

Most responsible parents would weigh this small child’s request in the scales of common sense.  Is the destination:  An age appropriate location? Would there be a danger to the child? Would boredom cause discipline problems? Would time be a factor?  On the positive side: Could we make this a “teachable moment”? Could the child bond more closely with the parent? Will the parent learn patience not frustration?

Implicit in our decision to obey Jesus Christ is His desire to be with us always. ( Mt 28:20)  In fact, He lives, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, within our inner being. ( Jo 14:17) ( Jo 14: 23)  How badly do we really want to go wherever they go?  Are the cross on a gold chain and the WWJD ( What would Jesus do?) bracelet mere jewelry?

Based on the places Jesus went during His tenure on earth, we can assume that we should be willing to go to almost any destination.  That includes: Jails, Burn units, Alzheimer’s wards, Cemeteries, Divorce courts and many other uncomfortable locations.  In these places we can pray for and comfort victims and their relatives in hopes of having “teachable moments” for Christ.

If we decide to “take Jesus with us” to these type places, we should remember what He taught His followers.  “In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” ( Jo 16:33)  “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” ( Mt 10:22)  “If  anyone is ashamed of me and my words…the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes into His Father’s glory with the holy angels.” ( Mk 8:38)  Jesus gave us a warning and then a promise.  As with the small child, our actions should be weighed in the balance of common sense.  If other religious groups have promised to kill us on sight, we should probably try to live to teach another day in hopes of reaching them in a different way as did the Apostle Paul, ( Acts 9: 23-25) and also Jesus himself. (Lk 4:28-30)

Jim Bailey

VOICES

I have two voices that sound in my head nearly unceasingly.  The first is a physical one called Tinnitus, a medical condition in which an extremely high-pitched ringing occurs in my ear producing an unwanted, intrusive, annoying noise almost constantly.  I hesitate to call it a disease, although it seemingly has no cure other than those claimed for years—“Dr” Zeke’s Snake Oil.  The ringing (squealing) never goes away, but it is possible to mask the volume somewhat by distractions and hearing aids. Certain combinations of medicines seem to exacerbate the condition.  I can function quite well in society, but sleep is a blessed escape from voice # 1.

The second voice is a welcomed guest and a spiritual gift which is also always there but in a positive, uplifting way.  This voice, of course, is the indwelling Holy Spirit of God who works with my conscience, ( Rom 9:1) helps me know the mind of the Father and Son, ( I Cor 2: 10-12, 16) strengthens me in my inner person, ( Eph 3:16) helps me pray, ( Rom 8: 26) and so much more.  The Spirit is so different from voice # 1 in that I decide when to heed or reject His gentle promptings.  His voice reminds me to look in the inspired words He has written in the Bible and yet is not an unrelenting, demanding and annoying voice.  The Spirit was given by Jesus to remind the Apostles of the truths He taught them and to be a Counselor and Comforter to all His people. ( Jo 16: 7-15)Although it is possible to grieve, ( Eph 4:30) lie to, ( Acts 5: 3-4) and quench, ( I Thes 5:19) voice # 2,  I hope to never reject such a friend who has only my good in mind.

I don’t really expect to see a cure for Tinnitus in my lifetime, but I fully expect to spend eternity with the Holy Spirit along with the Father and Son.

Jim Bailey