By Mike Riley

In Romans 8:35-37, the apostle Paul who was beset by problems on every hand (2 Corinthians 4:8-18) stated: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Even as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

The problems we face will either defeat us or develop us – depending on how we respond to them. Unfortunately, most people fail to see how God wants to use problems for good in their lives. They react foolishly and resent their problems rather than pausing to consider what benefit they might bring.

With the above thoughts in mind, the following are five ways God wants to use the problems in our life:

By David Hersey

Definition of Reverence In the Old Testament

In the Old Testament definition of reverence, “reverence” occurs as the translation of two Hebrew words: Yare’ (pronounced yaw-ray’), which carries the meaning of “fear.” This word is used to express the attitude toward God Himself. “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him (Psalm 89:7). “Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD, (Leviticus 19:30; 26:2). The thought being one of fear, awe and respect. The second word, shachah (pronounced shaw-khaw’), carries the meaning of “falling down” as in the prostration of the body. It is used to express the attitude and bearing toward another who is considered superior. “Then Bath-sheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live for ever” (1 Kings 1:31). Compare also 2 Samuel 9:6 and Esther 3:2,5). The thought with this word being honor, submission and obeisance.

By Mike Riley

In Matthew 7:13-14 our Lord stated: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” This passage of scripture is just “one” of many Bible passages teaching “oneness”. In this article, let us consider just a few “oneness” passages in the Bible:

1) David spoke of one path (Psalm 16:11).
2) Solomon spoke of one path (Proverbs 4:18).
3) Isaiah prophesied of one path (Isaiah 35:8).
4) Jeremiah foretold one way (Jeremiah 32:39).
5) Christ said there one way leading unto everlasting life (Matthew 7:13-14).
6) Christ said, “I am the Way” (John 14:6).
7) Christ said there is one door (John 10:9).
8) Christ said there is one Shepherd (John 10:16).
9) Christ said there is one fold (John 10:16).
10) Christ built one church (Matthew 16:18).
11) Christ commissioned the preaching of one Gospel (Mark 16:15-16).
12) Paul knew but one Gospel (Gal. 1:8-9).
13) There is one body (Ephesians 4:4).
14) There is one Spirit (Ephesians 4:4).
15) There is one hope (Ephesians 4:4).
16) There is one Lord (Ephesians 4:5).
17) There is one faith (Ephesians 4:5).
18) There is one baptism (Ephesians 4:5).
19) There is one God (Ephesians 4:6).
20) There is one doctrine (Matthew 7:28; John 7:16-17; Acts 2:42; Acts 5:28; Romans 6:17; Ephesians 4:14; 1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Timothy 4:2-3).

There is “one” way, not “many” ways; “one” path, not “many” paths; “one” door, not “many” doors; “one” fold, not “many” folds; “one” church, not “many” churches; “one” Gospel, not “many” gospels; “one” doctrine, not “many” doctrines; “one” body, not “many” bodies; “one” Spirit, not “many” spirits; “one” hope, not “many” hopes; “one” Lord, not “many” lords; “one” faith, not “many” faiths; “one” baptism, not “many” baptisms; “one” God and Father, not “many” gods and fathers.

Conclusion

There are “many” doctrines of men (Matthew 15:9; Colossians 2:20-22; Hebrews 13:9). There are “many” doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4:1). A faithful preacher must continue in “the doctrine” of Christ to save himself and those who hear him (1 Timothy 4:16). We are not to receive into our homes or bid Godspeed to those who bring doctrine other than that of Christ (2 John 1:10-11). To do so is to bring “division” into the church of our Lord. Division among the followers of Christ is unscriptural and contrary to Christ’s prayer (John 17:20-21) and Paul’s admonition “that there be no divisions among you” 1 Corinthians 1:10-13).

Let us therefore resolve to adhere to the Bible teaching of “oneness”, “that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27) and not to “the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9; Titus 1:14).

By Mike Riley

After condemning those who would find fault in judging others, not seeing their own faults (Matthew 7:1-5), our Lord said:

Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6).

Evaluating some folks as “dogs” or “hogs,” necessarily requires making a judgment about a person’s character and heart. Some kinds of judgment are entirely necessary (John 7:24).

The terms, “give” and “cast” in Matthew 7:6, are consistent with the respective figures of “dogs” and “swine.” Dogs could not tell the differences in meats offered on the altar (Exodus 29:31-37) and meats that were not offered. If the Jews had taken a part of the sacrifice that was holy and given it to a dog, he would have had no appreciation for its holiness. If you give a piece of meat to an old hound dog, he’ll swallow it with one gulp without any discrimination regarding sacredness.

By Mike Riley

As I was walking my little Dachshund dog this afternoon, I noticed a young man in his teens smoking a cigarette while standing alongside a concrete fence. Looking at him smoking reminded me of my high school years, when my peers wanted me to succumb to the idea of “lighting up” simply because they thought it was “cool.”

If I had allowed myself to follow my peers because of their hateful barbs, I would have more than likely acquired the nicotine “fix” that so many young people have acquired through the years. But I decided to be a leader instead of a follower, and as a result, I’m still “smoke free” today. Like my grandmother, I often wondered what “thrill” young people received from putting fire and smoke down their throat and lungs, and I’m still wondering the same thing today.

Young people, I can personally testify to the fact that it’s not easy being a leader. It takes great moral courage and dedication to live above the crowd, not partaking of their worldly lifestyles. You will more than likely be rejected by your peers because you’ve chosen a “different” road.

But know this. You and God make up the majority. In the Old Testament, young Joseph had a difficult decision to make when he decided to reject the advances of a married woman, but He made his decision with God in mind, and you must do the same.

Joseph told Potiphar‘s wife, There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9; cf. Proverbs 6:29, 32).

A word to the wise — be a leader! Just because “everyone is doing it” doesn’t mean it’s good for you to “do it.” Allow God to be your Friend, Mentor and Guide (Proverbs 3:5-6; cf. Psalm 37:5), for He will never lead you astray nor into activities that are harmful to your mind or body (Deuteronomy 6:24-25; Deuteronomy 10:12-13).

Read, study and make application of the spiritual principles found in God’s word (Ephesians 3:1-4; 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV; Hebrews 5:13-14) in your daily living. You’ll never regret it, and that’s a guarantee from one who has “walked the walk” (since January, 1960) and is still doing so. Do I have many friends? No, but I do have one Friend (Hebrews 2:23; cf. 2 Chronicles 20:7) who has never forsaken me nor ever will (Genesis 28:15; Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5), and that is indeed a great blessing!

May the promises and blessings of God be yours (2 Corinthians 6:14-18, 7:1; Ephesians 1:3) as you “walk” with Him (Genesis 5:24;        Hebrews 11:5).