And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 22, Number
In this issue:
Pray and Sing
Joe R. Price
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. (James 5:13, NKJV)
Prayer and song. This couplet proves comforting and invigorating as we go through life’s storms and life’s calm. Suffering comes in many forms; physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Prayer is a balm for the weary, an assuring strength during times of tumult and uncertainty. And so, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Even as suffering leads to earnest prayer, happy times evoke praise of the Almighty. The Lord is the source of joy that no one can take from us – the joy of victory over sin and death (John 16:20-22, 33). When life brings good fortune, Christians raise up songs of praise to God. We remember that God is the Giver of every good blessing; we did not create our happiness without His good providence.
And so, James gives us sound instruction for difficult and happy times. He reminds us to look to God through all of life’s joys and sorrows. The Lord “will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). He will see you through.
-Sword Tips #1207
Today’s Thought for the Day comes from Psalm 90. This psalm presents a vivid contrast between the eternal nature of God and the brief, temporal nature of man. The psalmist describes God (vv. 2 & 4):
the mountains were brought forth,
a thousand years in Your sight
God exists independent of time. In 2 Peter 3:8, Peter writes: “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” Some mistakenly believe this is God’s formula for measuring time. That’s not the point at all. Time is meaningless to God! On the contrary, as men we are prisoners of time. In verse 10 the psalmist writes:
days of our lives are seventy years;
As human beings we are very proficient at suppressing the knowledge of our own mortality. We know we are mortal, but most of the time we act as if we are going to live forever. The stoic Roman philosopher Seneca once wrote: “It’s not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.” We need to stop wasting our limited time by coming to grips with our own mortality and “make hay while the sun shines,” so to speak. We need to take advantage of the short time God has allotted us and never forget He guarantees not even one tomorrow! As James writes (Jas. 4:13-16):
“13 Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”
When we suppress our own mortality, we are repressing a valuable gift God has given us. Solomon tells us God “has put eternity in [our] hearts” (Eccl. 3:11). We behave like fools when we stifle that and mimic the attitude of the rich fool in Luke chapter 12. He was convinced he would live forever to enjoy the fruits of his labor. In verse 19 he said, “And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’” He made a most egregious error! God had an entirely different plan! “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’” (v. 20) The rich fool experienced what the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, wrote: “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” The rich fool’s plan and God’s plan were not in synch. Sadly, most of us live like the rich fool. We make plans that eliminate God or (at best) we keep Him on the periphery of our life.
In verse 12 the psalmist asks God:
teach us to number our days,
Let us not be foolish and make the grievous error of the rich fool by not including God in our life. In fact, He must be at the very center of this life if we expect to gain eternal life (Matt. 16:25-26):
“25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Let us heed the wise words of the sweet psalmist David (Psa. 39:4):
make me to know my end,
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Faith and the Ballot Box
Joe R. Price
Election season is in full swing. Politicians and their supporters are competing for our votes. America’s republic democracy gives us the right to be heard at the ballot box.
Whatever we do in word or deed is to be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus,” surely the politicians and policies we support with our votes fall into the realm of faith (Col. 3:17). As Christians, faith should inform our votes.
Some Christians may choose to withdraw from the political arena altogether. By doing so, they lose an opportunity to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matt. 5:13-16). Our influence reaches into the voting booth.
Some Christians choose to compartmentalize candidates and issues. Some vote for people despite their immoral policy positions. Others discount the moral baseness of candidates when they vote. We make impactful choices when we vote. Therefore, shouldn’t Christians’ votes be consistent with the word of God and reflect our faith in the Lord?
With few exceptions, the people we vote for are not Christians. They are worldly and lost in sin. Therefore, Christians should consider whether the issue or person they vote for will promote morality and help us “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Tim. 2:2).
In Washington, we will vote this year on a sex-education curriculum (already passed into law) that promotes premarital sex, the LGBTQ agenda, and abortion (among other things). Scripture teaches such sins destroy societies and souls (Rom. 1:18-32; Gal. 5:19-21). If approved, this curriculum will condition and expose children (K-12) to explicit, godless material. A vote to reject Referendum 90 will oppose Senate Bill 5395 taking effect (ballotpedia.com). Where Christians should stand on this issue ought to be crystal clear.
Many politicians support a litany of immoral practices (abortion, civil liberties to LGBTQ people, etc.) that violate the word of God. These factors must be considered when we vote. Let us inform ourselves on candidates and issues, so our votes reflect our commitment to the Lord and His truth.
Let us remember we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven. We love America, but we love the kingdom of God more (Matt. 16:18; Jno. 18:36; Acts 5:29; Phil. 3:20). Live for heaven.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 08/15/2020
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA