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Are we truly thankful?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

 

Many, many years ago a story is told of a good king in Spain known as Alfonso XIX who learned that the boys who served in his court were forgetting to pray before their meals. So, he decided to teach them a lesson. He gave a banquet and invited them to attend. Midway through the dinner a ragged beggar came in, sat down, and began eating ravenously. When he was finished, he went out without saying a word.

"That ungrateful wretch ought to be whipped," shouted the boys. "He ate the king's food and never showed gratitude." Quietly the king rose to his feet, and silence fell over the group. "Daily you have taken the rich blessings of life from the hand of your Heavenly Father," said the king. "You've enjoyed His sunshine, breathed His air, eaten His food He has provided, and you have not bothered to say 'thank you' for any of them. You are more ungrateful than that beggar."

Often we like those boys, take for granted those blessings that God has provided.

In Luke 17:11-19 Jesus healed ten men of leprosy. Out of the ten men who were healed only one man returned to thank Jesus. Jesus asked the man who return, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner" (Lk. 17:17, 18).

So many times, we often neglect to be thankful.  Yet, thanksgiving is to be a natural attitude of our worship (1 Cor.14:16-17) and is to characterize all of Christian life (Col. 2:7; 4:2).  We are to give thanks daily and regularly.

As we read in the the New Testament the early Christians expressed thanks: for Christ’s ministry (Luke 17:16); for Christ’s delieverence from sin (Rom. 6:17-18; 7:25); for God’s indescribable gift of grace in Christ (2 Cor. (:14-15; 1 Cor. 15:57; Rom. 1:21)  and for the faith of fellow Christians (Rom. 1:8).

All this comes from the God who loves us and has given so much to us; shouldn’t we be thankful always?

Alex Haley, the author of "Roots," had an unusual picture hanging on his office wall. It was a picture of a turtle on top of a fence post. When asked, "Why is that there?" Alex Haley answered, "Every time I write something significant, every time I read my words and think that they are wonderful, and begin to feel proud of myself, I look at the turtle on top of the fence post and remember that he didn't get there on his own. He had help." 

That is the basis of thankfulness - to remember that we got “here” with the help of God, and that He is the provider of every blessing we have.

This Thanksgiving season may we be reminded of all the Lord has done for us and may we not only thank Him now but every day that we have the breath of life.  Think about it!

 

Written by Mark T. Tonkery

 

Teens are lacking in basic Bible knowledge

Thursday, November 10, 2016

 

Washington-There’s considerable ignorance about the Bible among U.S. teens, judging from a Gallup Poll released Tuesday. 

       Fewer than half the 1,002 youths polled knew that Jesus turned water into wine at the Cana wedding, and nearly two-thirds couldn’t identify a quote from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount or the relation of the road to Damascus to the Apostle Paul’s conversion.  About one-in-10 thought Moses was one of Jesus’ 12 apostles.

       The poll, with a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, accompanied a report issued by the Bible Literacy Project of Fairfax, Va.

       The literary project interviewed 41 high school English teachers who are regarded as outstanding by their colleagues; forty of those teachers said knowledge of the Bible gives students a distinct educational advantage.

 

                   This article that was reported by The Associated Press sadden my heart when I read it, yet I am not surprised.  We live in a very Bible illiterate age. We must take the warning of Hosea 4:6 very seriously which reads, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge….” We as well as our young people will be destroyed if we do not heed the teachings and warnings of the Bible.

                   As Christian parents and concerned Christians we must encourage young people as well as ourselves to be involved with daily Bible study, regular attendance at Bible class and worship.  We need to try to make a good effort to see our young people be involved in the spiritual activities of the church to help our children to spiritually and in the knowledge in the Bible such as:  Bible Boosters, Vacation Bible School, Bible Bowl, Lad’s to Leaders, and other youth activities.

                   We must ask ourselves, are we making the most of these opportunities to build our faith and increase our knowledge of the God the Bible?  Are we encouraging our children to be involved with various youth activities to boost their knowledge of Scripture and grow spiritually?

                    Not only will studying the Bible give students a distinct educational advantage as the article above pointed out, but the Bible will give every Christian a distinct advantage over sin, Satan’s schemes, and a knowledge of where we will spend eternity.

                   Church if you’re not encouraging your young people to read and study the Bible then we are setting them up for failure in this life and in the next.  Please get involved with the various methods that the church offers to help your children get to Heaven.  Do it now before it is to late for you and your children!

 

Written by

Mark T. Tonkery

November 10, 2016

The Bible Safety Chain Study

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Bible Safety Chain Study

            Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to an Open Bible Study workshop that was hosted by Ohio Valley University.  In this workshop the Bible Safety Chain Bible Study was presented.  It is a Biblical way of teaching a person who is lost in their sins how to become a Christian.  It is a study that will take about two hours to go through but one that is well worth one’s time. 

            If you would like to use this study or read through it, you are welcome to go to the following link:  http://www.wbcofc.org/pdf/safetychainbiblestudy.pdf

May God Bless you and hope this study will be a blessing to you!

Mark T. Tonkery

What makes a strong nation?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

 

            It is election year.  So a common theme we hear is “Let’s make America great again,”  “Let’s be stronger” and “be a great world power.” 

            So what makes a nation strong and great?  Proverbs 14:34 states, “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a disgrace to any people.”  So, in the words of the inspired writer righteousness makes a nation strong.  Notice what does not make a nation great military might, being in a political party, money, or even peace.

Charles Carroll one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence stated, “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure…are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”

Sin is an age old problem, which has been with mankind from Gen. 3.  1 John 3:4 reads, “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.”  In its basic meaning sin is a missing of the mark, missing the mark of God’s purpose which is disobedience towards Him, which results ultimately in a week nation. 

So, if we want a better nation, then it begins with you and me obeying what the Bible tells us to do to be righteous, to do right things, be moral, be honest, be faithful, loyal, and stop doing evil.  1 Cor. 6:9-10 puts it this way, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” Let’s get back to God, let’s get back to doing righteous things and let’s stop sinning.  Think about it!

 

Written by Mark T. Tonkery

God's Amazing Fish!

Friday, October 21, 2016
Written By Mark T. Tonkery
 Fish, I guess I have never thought about them as much as I had thought about them the other day.  I was privilege to take a trip with our senior citizens from church, to a giant fish aquarium.  When we walked into the aquarium we were surrounded by fish, from Angel fish to Zebra striped fish, there was a wide range of colors, shapes, sizes and different skills that each of the fish displayed.  As we observed these unique sea creators that God had spoken into existence, I could not help to think about how awesome and amazing  our God is.
 Job 12:8-9 states, “…And let the fish of the sea declare to you who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this.”  In this passage it states that the fish of the sea declare to people who do not know the Lord, that the Lord made all things, and that the beauty and uniqueness of the fish declare that they are made by God.  In reading these verses in Job and seeing the boundless schools of fish in an aquarium, river or sea, how could there be any other explanation?
 People have come up with the ideas of evolution, Darwinism and other godless theories of how things just came to be, but how can they explain measureless types, sizes and the abilities of fish and other creatures in our world?  I guess if I had a wild imagination I could give the evolutionist one fish that could evolve from slim if I believed there was no God.  But how does one explain the countless of talented and different species of fish without there being a Creator?    Only with a loving God could you see His finger prints in creating a fish who would keep her babies in a cleft of a rock, protecting them from predators so that they would have a chance to live.   Only our Lord could make another fish who could use its fins to walk on dry land and give it the ability to breath in the air or water.  Only the Creator could make a different fish who could spit water into the grass and knock bugs into the water so they could then eat them.  Only the King of Kings would make another fish whose sex is determine from the temperature of the water.  Only the Word that became Flesh could speak these creatures into existence on the fifth day of creation and have them to fill the waters of the sea and multiple after their own kind.  I could list many of the other fish and creators of the sea that have a talent to do amazing things, who are shaped like rocks, who have more colors on their scales than the rainbow and who reach a wide range of sizes.  Only the Creator, God could do this!  No, wonder the Bible and God’s people sing His praises.  Not only does God deserve such praise but when one realizes what He has done how could anyone do anything else but praise him?
, “O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.  Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.  For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.  In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.  The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.  O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.  For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart…”(Ps. 95:1-8 KJV)
 Although this Psalm does not talk about God’s amazing fish, it does talk about praising God for His greatness and His handiwork in His creation.  Also notice that the Psalmist in his praise of God makes a note for people to not harden their heart, when they hear God’s voice.  This verse rings a similar cry as Job 12:8-9.  God’s creation is His voice to teach people and to declare to them that God is the Creator, that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a living God in whom all people live and breath (Acts 17:28).  As a created being, people, in all the earth should realize that God is real and not harden their heart towards Him.  But love Him with all their heart, soul, and mind (Mt. 22:37).
 If God can make a myriad of fish in different shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities, just image what he can do with people who were not spoken into existences, but formed by the His own hands (Gen. 2:7).  Imagine what the Lord could do with the person who acknowledges Him and calls upon His Name.  We will be able to do the impossible and live the unimaginable, just because we are His little children.  After all it was the Son of God who said, “Believe me that I am  in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believe on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.  And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son (Jn. 14:11-13 KJV).
 May we listen to God’s creation and not harden our hearts, but allow it to open our eyes and our heart to the wonder of our God and Creator.  So that we can be called His people and glorify the Father and the Son by whom all things were made.

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