Our 57th Year Receive by Giving Stepping on Feet Looking Back Bugs and Politics Worry or Pray? Is Life Unfair? Don't Worry? Content? Resolution Time
by Don R. Richards
With this issue of The Banner of Love begins its 57th year of publication. Only by the blessings of the Lord have we provided the news and doctrinal viewpoints of interest to Primitive Baptists over these years.
As many of our readers know, the Banner was started by my grandfather, Elder H. G. “Hard” Richards in 1932 in Anton, Texas. My father, Elder Afton E. Richards, took over the as publisher and labored tirelessly for 50 years with this newspaper until his death.
I do not attempt to fill the shoes of either my father or grandfather, who were both deep thinkers, writers and soldiers for the cause of Christ. I feel inept to guide The Banner in the manner they did over the years, but I pray the Lord will guide me in continuing the tradition of The Banner to provide His people the type of publication grounded in His spirit with good. church news and solid doctrinal articles..
We could not publish The Banner of Love but for our many writers and readers. A number of Primitive Baptist ministers regularly provide to us good articles on a variety of subjects addressing the Gospel and doctrines of the Lord. I personally have not provided the dedicated time and attention to the majority of technical details necessary for monthly publication from the upkeep of mailing lists to the tedious typesetting of articles. While I serve as publisher, my father’s loyal companion, Sister Opal Richards, who labored at his side more than 15 years is the one primarily responsible for these many necessary duties.
As we begin this new year, we feel it important to emphasize the original purpose of The Banner of Love as laid out by my grandfather when he started it--to provide a timely communication to Primitive Baptists which gives them scriptural articles and news while trying to avoid personal problems, politics and church troubles.
In line with that original purpose, my grandmother, Sister Dora Richards, provided the name for the publication. It came from two scriptures which are printed at the top of the front page of each publication: songs of Solomon 2:4: “He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love.” Also, Psalms 60:4: “Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth.”
To those we add Psalms 20:5: “We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the Lord fulfill all thy petitions.”
If it is the Lord’s will, we hope to provide another 57 years of a “banner of love” for His people by displaying the truth and avoiding personal matters and problems. Occasionally, we labor over the publishing of certain writings and submissions. We do not wish ever to censure, but we have on rare occasions provided certain editing or omission to insure we stay with the original purpose of this publication.
Our goal for the Banner of Love is to display the works of the spirit which the Apostle Paul detailed in Galatians 5:22-23:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
We welcome your comments, contributions and criticisms. We ask for your prayers that the Lord will give us His grace and grant us the ability to continue the Banner according to His will, His intent and His purpose.
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by Don R. Richards
Many of you know that the Banner of Love is in its 57th year of publication. Not many are still around which remember when it started, and the early problems which were associated with the early production of the paper.
However, we do still have one of our faithful standbys who was around for the start of the Banner, and who is still around today helping us get it out each month.
My aunt, Ima Dora Richards Haile, was a young girl when her father (and my grandfather), Elder Hard Richards, started the Banner of Love in the small print shop with his three sons: Afton, Alton, and Edwin along with my Aunt Ima Dora. She was involved, as was the entire family, in getting out each monthly edition, especially when it came time to address and mail out the paper.
Today, she has come full circle with the Banner of Love. Each month she drives over to our shop from her home in Plainview and helps address, sort, bundle and “sack up” the Banner so that we can mail it to our readers. In fact, we would have been in dire straits many times but for her help. Not only is her help good and welcomed, she also entertains us with many stories of the good times and the tough times of getting the Banner to press back in its early days.
We hope to make getting the Banner out each month a little easier in the upcoming weeks as we begin to computerize our mailing lists.
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We have all heard to saying that it is much better to give than to receive. The problem we sometimes have is that we simply do not have the time or energy to give to others as we should. Many times we get busy with our own problems, which are always as great or greater than others, to help anyone but ourselves. If we try to spend too much time worrying about others, then we cannot seem to have the time to work out our own problems.
In the sermon on the Mount Jesus lays out for us our duty of “alms-giving.” in the 6th chapter of Matthews, verses 1-4, Jesus talks about the rewards we will receive for doing our alms in secret in that our Father will reward us openly. Clearly, we have the duty to give to the poor, and to do so without recognition or attention from our fellow men.
Almsgiving is an important duty and, one we should follow as Christ details for us in the Sermon on the Mount.
However, there also is another excellent example given to us by the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians regarding helping to comfort those who are in need because of their troubles and tribulations. And, we are to do it even in times of our own tribulations.
Go to II Corinthians, Chapter 1 and read verses 3 and 4. There the Apostle Paul tells us that God is the Father of our Lord Christ, and is the one who comforts us in all our tribulations. Then he tells us our
corresponding duty for being comforted of God-- so that we can in turn provide comfort to other persons who are going through their own tribulations.
The really important lesson to me in the scripture is the final point that the Apostle Paul makes in verse 4 after telling us that we should comfort others after the Lord has provided comfort to us. We are told that in our providing comfort to others in tribulation, we will receive the comfort of God by our acts of providing comfort to others.
We thus receive comfort by the giving of comfort. We are relieved of many of our tribulations by attempting to help others be relieved of their problems.
There is a blessing of giving of yourselves to others. Nearly always the blessing you receive is much greater than than your act of helping others. By giving of yourselves to help others, you are helped to a greater degree yourself.
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by Don R. Richards
I got my feet stepped on at church recently.
Several times over the past year the ministers have said things about life and circumstances which have addressed me and my life and which I have taken personally.
Over the past year I can recall a number of services by my pastors Elder George JohEison and Elder Hulan Bass, and such visiting ministers as Elder Gus Harter of Georgia and Elder Lasserre Bradley of Ohio, that have touched on aspects of my personal life.
I do not always want to accept instruction on certain matters. I had rather the minister skip over some of the more controversial topics of today’s life and tell me more about things that I want to hear. And there are certainly some things that I had rather not be told about and do not need to know about in order for me to live a good life.
How about you? Have you ever had the minister preach about things that make you uncomfortable? Have there ever been sermon’s in which the minister preached about things that, although you knew they came from the Bible, you were not really interested because they directly addressed your personal situation or told you things you were not interested in.
Have you ever had the minister preach about things that you knew you were not in line with, but that you knew were “probably scripturally sound if you ever really studied the matter?
Sometimes I simply prefer not to know some of the instruction of the Bible because it is simply what I do not want to hear. I can live my life perfectly fine without having somebody else quote scripture at me.
Maybe the best thing I can do is to fight fire with fire. Maybe I should just quote scripture back.
In order to do that though, I have got to get out the Bible and read it. I have got to research a little to find what I need to fight back with. I need to see what the Bible says and study it to fight back.
The Apostle Paul tells us that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
If we want to learn the doctrine, then reading the scriptures will help us. If we want to prove a point or correct someone else’s interpretation or application of the doctrine, then the scriptures is the place to look. And if we want to instruct others in the gospel or in the manner of good works, the scripture is again the place where we will find the guidance to do so.
But what if we simply refuse to look it up, or to listen to our minister’s instructions, instead choosing to hear only what we want to hear and ignoring other instructions when our toes get stepped on?
“He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.” Proverbs 15:32-33.
As Solomon added in announcing at the first of his well-cited Proverbs: that the proverbs were given “to know wisdom and instruction” and to be able to “perceive the words of understanding.” Solomon stated that the Proverbs were “to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment and equity.” Proverbs 1:2-3.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7.
The very nature of us is to want to refuse to hear things which go against what we want to hear. We do not want to hear those things which go against what we want to hear. We do not want to hear those things about our personal life and habits which we know, or do not care to find out, do not fit within the instruction of the scriptures for making the “man of God perfect , thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Our ministers, if they are doing the job which they are charged, should be saying things which occasionally make us uncomfortable. They should be instructing us in the manner in which we should live and delivering with force and power the inspired guidance and teachings of the gospel.
Ministers should make us happy in the sovereign grace of God. It also should make us squirm in our seats occasionally as it addresses our lifestyles.
If we think the sermon we heard is wrong, then we ourselves have a duty to study the scriptures for “reproof and for correction.”
The next time the minister steps on my toes (which more than likely in my case will be the very next Sunday morning), I should not only heed the information, but welcome it. If I think it is wrong, then I should open my Bible and search out the scriptures for correction.
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by Don R. Richards
“But his (Lots) wife looked back from behind him and she became a pillar of salt.” Gen. 19:26.
I feel there is a lesson to be learned from the Bible’s example of Lot's wife who looked back during the flight of Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Just like Lot's wife, we can be turned into a “spiritual” pillar of salt.
I know many times I want to look back at my life and remember the good times I had and the good experiences I enjoyed. I wish I could have them again. I can easily vision my parents and many of my friends who have passed away, and think that life never will be any better than it was during those happy times.
This may be especially true for you. if you have reached the age of 60,70 or 80. Do you look at an empty house and see a former loved one, whether it was a husband, wife, son, daughter or parent and long for those days when the family was all together and happy. Do those memories bother you such that you know you will never have those type of good times again in the short. remainder of your life..
Have you let yourself become immobilized by looking back and knowing that life has really run out for you and you are just biding time.
Perhaps you do not get around as good as you used to. Maybe you do not see as well, hear as well, sing as well or preach as well.. You don’t have the physical ability or strength you once had. You: may know that the best of life really has passed you by. All your good memories and blessings are behind you for you to look back at.
If this describes you, then you may be allowing yourself to be immobilized, and like Lot's wife, became a “spiritual” pillar of salt by looking back.
But that's not what the Lord told us to do.
"Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43: 18-19.
There is nothing wrong with remembering the wonderful times the Lord has blessed us with in the past, but we should remember that the Lord of the past is also the Lord of the future. He will provide us with new blessings tomorrow.
Whether you are eight or 80, or whether you are retired from preaching or bound to a bed or wheelchair, the Lord has a purpose for your life. We should not let ourselves become immobilized by looking back, but should look to what blessing the Lord can provide to us, and through us, tomorrow through His Kingdom of Heaven until he decides it is time for us to die.
If you are 85, the lord still has work for you to do. It may not be the most physically active role in life or in the church, but it is an important role. The lord many times blesses us by providing a blessing through us for the benefit of others.
We do not need to let ourselves get bogged down by looking back at how good things used to be. It is okay to remember how great the Lord has blessed us in the past but it is most important to look forward to how the Lord will protect us, guide and bless us in the future.
Some of the greatest inspiration I have received comes through the examples of those who do not know I am watching. I. am inspired by the elderly sister I see giving a $20 bill to the church when I know she really cannot afford to give that much. I am inspired by the elderly minister who provides the stability and guidance for the younger exercising speakers. I am inspired by the elderly deacon who plays on his hands and knees with the young children.
And I am especially inspired by the person who has lost an entire family yet constantly talks of the great blessings the Lord continues to provide. That is looking forward to the next blessing the Lord will provide.
The Lord of yesterday is also the same Lord for tomorrow. We should look, to tomorrow and not let ourselves become pillars of salt by an obsession with looking back.
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by Don R. Richards
We have had a small problem recently which has become even mere aggravated by the recent move of our operation in Lubbock. As hard as we have been trying to battle it, we know it shows up hidden here and there throughout recent issues of The Banner of Love. It is what I will call a "happy d."
We use computerized typesetting machines to re-type all the news and articles which go into the Banner each month. As with all computers, we get an occasional “bug” in the system. However, this bug has created us more problems than others in the past. Our move exposed our typesetting machines to the weather and other jostling which normally accompanies a move, and has not helped us with our problem.
You may have noticed that at some. places in an article the letter “dd” is repeated several times more than it should be. There are other associated typographical errors, with the problem but the “happy d” shows up more than the others.
It is not that we do not know how to spell, we are just having a more difficult time in eliminating this “bug” than in others in the past. For each problem you see we have corrected dozens of others. It seems the harder we look, the harder a “happy d” hides from us. Until the paper is printed. Then every one jumps out at us and makes us wonder why we did not catch such an obvious typographical error before the paper went to press.
Maybe we will have all the “bugs” out next month. Thank you for your patience with us.
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As we put this issue of the Banner, a new judge has just been nominated by President Bush to the U.S.. Supreme Court. Whether he will be approved or rejected by the U.S. Senate remains to be seen. As with other nominees in the past, his background will be opened up to the public over the next several weeks as every interested group in the nation dissects his past hoping to get a glimmer of whether he will be favorable to their particular cause.
Those who know me personally know I am a devout student of politics. I enjoy following the processes of government and watching with keen interest how the various individual personalities fit into the process.
I also am a strong believer in the basic U.S. constitutional principle of separation of state from the church because I believe it is fundamental to our undisturbed right to worship our gospels, of free grace from a sovereign God.
Religious belief is used as rationale for a lot of irrational acts. I never want it to be used as justifiable grounds for dictating how, when or who I worship, because I know much of the world does not understand, appreciate or enjoy the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. Because I put such a premium on my right to worship the way I believe, I try to understand to importance of keeping governmental politics out of the church.
While I do not feel we should inject specific religious beliefs, backgrounds or interests into the process, we have the duty and the ability, to ask that God's will be done in a manner which will be best for us all.
Regardless of who is selected, or not selected, for President, Governor, the Supreme Court, or the pastor of our church, we should be involved directly.. .through the avenue of prayer.
I have definite opinions about particular subjects. However, I know God does not wait for me to make up my mind before He decides what is appropriate in His Will. Even though I personally feel a certain way, I should pray that God’s will be done, not mine or anyone else’s. If the “wrong” man is selected for a particular position, God has a way of making it work out. - Go back and read the 8th chapter of Acts where a government man named Saul changed dramatically once the Lord laid His hands on him and changed his name to Paul.
Our job, in a “religious” context, is to pray that the right decision will be made and that God will direct the hands and minds of those charged with making the decision. After the selection, we should pray that God will guide the individual and bless them with His grace.
We have the duty to pray for others. We pray for our friends, and we have the duty to pray even for our enemies.
The Lord has blessed us with what I feel is the best political system of government the world has known. Pray that He will continue to bless it and to guide the minds of those we have chosen to represent us (whether we voted for them or not).
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:15.
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by Don R. Richards
I am generally a pretty sound sleeper.
Going to sleep has net been a major problems for me over the years. When my head hits the pillow, it usually is not too long before I am asleep.
There are those who know me too well who will also tell you I do not always need a pillow in order to get to sleep pretty fast.
This does not mean I always get all the sleep I want or start out to get.
Suddenly, many times in the middle of the night, or especially early in the morning I wake up with a pressing problem occurring my mind. I wake up quickly worrying about a nagging matter at home or work that I cannot get off my mind.
No matter how many ways I lie or turn over, I cannot seem to get my mind clear to enable me to get back to sleep that I so long for to be fully rested.
It seems I keep repeating the problem over and over in my mind searching for an elusive answer and worrying how to solve it. Many times the answer for me has been to go ahead and get up to try to get the matter off my mind.
Others tell me they face similar problems maybe not in the early mornings, but, some people face this same problem in trying to get to sleep the night before. Constant worrying, usually about a problem that we actually have little control over.
There may be no answer to the missing sleep or waking up, but there is a better way to address our problems. The better way is to ask for help from someone who can solve the problem.
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thess. 5:16-18.
Instead of getting angry or frustrated at a nagging problem in your mind and your inability to solve it, simply view the situation as a time to pray. Do not just lie there and get yourself depressed. Use this situations as a reminder to yourself to pray and thank God for any good He can help bring out of this event, no matter how distasteful or unpleasant the matter might be otherwise
I can look at a situation and all I can see is the pain or discomfort that is in it for me or my family, friends or work colleagues. God has a way of changing those things, usually through one of us involved in the problems.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Phil.2:13.
The next time you wake up or cannot get to sleep because you face a crisis with a pleasant answer, let that circumstance serve as a reminder to pray. Instead of lying in bed tossing and turning over the problem, take that time as the opportunity to discuss with God your problem, and give Him thanks for any good He can get out of it or turn it in to. Time spent worrying when you are trying to sleep usually is wasted time. It is time much more valuably spent praying.
Do not let such times turn into a distraction for you. Look at it as a call to prayer. Do not mss the opportunity to get some help for problems, instead of just running them through and through your mind.
Worrying will make you miserable. Praying will not make you miserable.
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by Don R. Richards
Life seems so unfair. Is is sometimes so hard to understand why things happen and turn out like they do.
I have trouble understanding why certain people have certain things happen to them. It seems as though some of us are just lucky, and others of us are unlucky.
Why do certain people win the lottery? How does my neighbor afford that new car? Why can those people get that nice big house; and why does a co-worker get all the best job opportunities?
I see that people around me have much greener pastures than I have. I envy my church brother who prays public prayer better than I do. And why is it that everyone in church always compliments a sister’s casserole, but never mention my casserole or apple pie?
Life would be better if I could keep up with Brother Jones. I desperately want what he has. I know I am just as talented. I certainly deserve to have what he has as much as he does.
It is difficult to go through life without finding myself envious of another at times. It may be your neighbor, your best friend, your brother, your co-worker or another church member.
Our envy leads us to attempt to copy, or “keep up” with our neighbor. Or, in worse cases, leads us to “out do” them or even attempt to “put them down” or discredit them with, our friends.
The Bible speaks of this as coveting our neighbor. It is our strong desire that sparks our motives in dealing with our neighbors and friends.
Envy and covetousness is not a minor problem. It is not a new problem. It is a problem that can rob us of our enjoyment of the Kingdom of Heaven.
It is the subject of the Lord’s last commandment, and one which the Lord goes into some detail to explain.
Like all of the Lord’s Ten Commandments, the lOtb is easy to read and understand. It does not need a lot of detailed or exhaustive interpretation. But, like the other commandments, it bears reviewing by each of us on a regular basis:,
"Neither shalt , thou desire thy neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbor’s.” Deut. 5:21; Exodus 20:17.
The Book of Luke tells us where Jesus also gives us a lesson in coveting. “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Luke 12:15.
When we are envious of another’s possessions or talents, it means we must be unhappy with the things with which the Lord has blessed us. Envy and covetousness is a challenge to the gifts the Lord has given us because we are in fact rejecting our grace and seeking that of another.
Each of us is given our distinctive gifts. Romans 12:6 tells us that each of us is given “gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us...” We are given a parable as to how to make our gifts to grow in number and quality. Matt. 25:15-29 Jesus discusses the master who gave his servants various amounts of goods before he embarked on a trip. Upon his return the master discovered that some of the servants had used and invested what he had given to them such ‘that his gift to them had grown. One servant, however, had taken his gift and buried it so as not to lose it. The master rewarded those who had used and developed their gifts, but took away the one gift of the servant who had not used his, but had instead buried it.
The Lord has blessed each of us with a gift different from others. If we: want it to grow, we should use it. In 1 Cor. 12:7-31 the Apostle Paul tells us that the same Spirit gives to each of us different gifts. As a whole the gifts work as one in the manner as designated by Christ.
There is a great blessing in our being content with what we have or can develop through use.
“... godliness with contentment is great vain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” 1 Tim 6:6-8.
‘The Apostle Paul goes on in Timothy to tell us that those persons whose basic sole ambition is to be rich in money will fall into temptation and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
We must fight our covetousness on a daily and hourly basis. The real blessing is being content to use what we have to its fullest so that we are, "rich in good works."
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by Don R. Richards
SPECIAL NOTE: We make special note here of our sadness at the recent passing of Elder Jesse Bass.
We remember him with great fondness, both as a wise and loving uncle, and as a great orator of the sovereign grace of God.
As close brothers-in-law, he and my Dad used to really enjoy the many spiritual “discussions” they had over the years. I remember visiting him when he and his family lived in Crosbyton and operated a farm service where they raised chickens for area farmers. I am greatly appreciative today for his thoughtfulness and gentleness in showing the young naive boy I was how the chicken business operated. I remember knowing that this man was one of the most knowledgeable I had ever met: he knew more about chickens than I thought existed at the time, and could explain it to a young boy in a manner that I understood. Then, on Sunday morning, he could tackle the most complex biblical subjects in a manner that revealed his tremendous working knowledge of the Scriptures.
My Father relied on him numerous times in asking him to write articles for the Banner upon a reader’s request for the answer to a particular question. Only three months ago, in the July 1990 edition, we reprinted on the front page one of Uncle Jesse’s articles which he had written at the request of my Father.
While we are sad at his passing, we know he is now relieved of his suffering. We thank God for allowing us to know him and to have had the opportunity to enjoyed the blessings the Lord provided to us through him.
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The Apostle Paul has a way of catching your attention with the style of his writing.
In the 4th chapter of Philippians at the 6th verse, Paul tells us to “Be careful for nothing.” Basically, he is saying “Don’t worry” or “worry about nothing.”
Easy for him to say, He does not have to buy my groceries for my family this month. He does not have to pay my utility bill, or the doctor’s bill for my child. Where was he on tax day?
That is one of those “easier said than done” type of phrases. Paul simply did not understand the problems we face, especially in today’s world. How do we raise our children free from the problems of today’s society that we know are out there? How do we avoid not worrying about an upcoming doctor’s visit that we “know” will be bad news about our health?
Paul did tell us “not to worry about anything”, but he did not end that thought with a period: the verse, and his thought continued. Paul did not tell us just to not worry, he told how to not worry. He gave us following advice in the remainder of the verse.
“Be careful for nothing: but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
Paul says we should not worry, because we are to take everything to God by prayer and petition, being thankful for God we have this avenue and that we have someone who can help us address our problems.
It is important to follow the reading of verse six with verse seven because Paul explains one of the great mysteries of the people who appear to have insurmountable problems, but can face them with a calm understanding.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.”
We are to take our worries to God who is receptive but to whom we should show constant thanksgiving. Then the tranquility of mind of the person who understands this and does it is hard to explain to a person who does not take their problems to the Lord. The peace of mind in the face of such obvious problems, is a peace so wonderful on the inside, that it is virtually impossible to explain to someone who has not experienced it. God’s peace far surpasses our own understanding of problems and our ability to cope or solve the problem.
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by Don R. Richards
I have problems being content with myself. Whatever state I am in, it seems I constantly find myself wishing something or the other was a little better.
I know my lifestyle is better than I have experienced in times in the past. Somehow, I forgot about those times and wish I could have other things, or be something that I presently am not.
I hope I am not obsessed with discontent, that I must admit that it has some effect on me.
As we near year’s end and the annual Holiday season, we are told that many people focus a lot more on their personal problems. I am not sure why year’s end plays such an important role because of all the enjoyment most of us feel over being with our families and enjoyed the fellowship that comes with the holidays.
However, as the holiday season passes and we close out another year, it seems that there is an unnecessary attention paid by ourselves about ourselves. We have gotten a little older, maybe lost a little more of out physical appearance that is so important to our vanity and egos, or we recognize that we will not make all the money or provide for our fami1ies as we had planned from our youth.
It is something many of us go through.
The Apostle Paul recognized this problem. It was something he saw and experienced during his travels and minister. Paul provided us with a great number of “tools” for our living through his many experiences. His epistles provides to us the interpretations of the Gospel and how to apply it to our daily lives. His words of wisdom give us simple explanations that address the same problems today that he witnessed almost two thousand years ago.
In the. 4th Chapter of Philippians, the Apostle Paul talks to us about the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding.” Paul tells us to focus our lives on the things, which are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.
In verses 11-12 of chapter 4 of Philippians, he again addresses the point, which I feel is extremely important to each of us in shaping our daily lives:
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and. to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”
Paul here tells us he speaks not because of any particular need or desire, but that regardless of whether he is poor or rich, he has learned to be satisfied and content.
Understanding - the peace - that only God gives is what provides us the inner peace of contentment that Paul speaks of. Whether we are “abased or “abound” we should be content knowing that God “shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Jesus Christ.” Phil. 4:19.
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by Don R. Richards
We, at The Banner of Love wish the best to you during this holiday season. As a time of special fellowship with your family and friends, we pray it is the Lord’s will that you enjoy the blessings of the kingdom of heaven.
It is customary as a new year is about to commence for each of us to make our new year’s resolutions. We are to make fresh commitments to ourselves concerning things which will make our lives better and more prosperous during the next year.
Like most people, we find ourselves talking about what our resolutions will be this year and compare them to those of the people with which we work. We usually like to come up with some type of unique or original resolution, probably in hopes of sticking by it this year.
Instead of trying to think of something new, perhaps it would not be a bad idea to “go back to basics.” Instead of trying to dream up a unique resolution, would we not be better off simply to live by the basic rules which most of are already aware. There is no need to attempt to come up with new, complex or imaginative commitments to ourselves. We would just do our best to make this the year we try to live up to the simple, easy-to-understand rules already spelled out for us.
Moses brought them down from Mount Sinai in the 20th Chapter of Exodus, and explained them again in the 5th and 6th Chapters of Deuteronomy.
First, let us resolve to have no other gods before the Lord. No idols, no statutes, no graven images that we bow to. This is not an ancient problem of Moses’ time - it is a problem we have today. And it is a problem not just confined to the literal interpretation of “graven images” or statutes, but includes the times when we worship “other gods” of money, power, greed, food, alcohol, drugs, lasciviousness, witchcraft and ego. We should not let a worship of worldly “gods” come before our worship of the Lord.
Next, let us resolve not to take the name of the Lord in vain. How many of us suffer with this problem. Do we swear by the Lord’s name or make promises in the Lord’s name which we do not keep?
We should resolve to honor our Mother and Father. This gets hard to do many times as we grow apart from our parents and lead lives of our own with families of our own. Our lifestyles are different, our values different, our political views are different, and we simply do not have the time to suffer with the many worries of our aging mother or father. However, there was a time when we were totally dependent upon our parents. And I cannot remember my parents ever complaining about the untold hours they spent, including the early mornings, caring for me and insuring my welfare, education, and safety.
The Apostle Paul tells us that honoring our mothers and fathers is God’s first commandment “with promise.” Ephesians 6:2. The promise is that, if we do it we will “Live long on the earth” (Eph 6:9) or that our “days may be prolonged” Deut. 5:16.
While most of us can easily resolve not to steal or commit murder, can we so easily resolve that we will not commit adultery (even in our hearts if we look upon another with lust? Matt.:28)? Do we not also need to resolve that we will not bear false witness against another? Can we free ourselves of gossip and backbiting and the like to meet this commandment?
Finally, do we also not need to resolve that we will not crave and covet, be envious or zealous, imitate or emulate our fellow friends and colleagues? Wouldn’t we be much better off if we could learn to be content with our station in life, than to be envious and jealous, coveting another.
We do not need to work hard to come up with a simple list of resolutions for the new year. The Lord through Moses has already provided the list for us.
Not only should we resolve to follow the list ourselves, but we are told what else we should do: “teach them diligently unto thy children.” Deut.6:7. We should resolve to follow these commandments and talk about them and keep reminding ourselves of them all the time; when we are sitting, when we are standing, when we are walking, when we wake up. We should place reminders for ourselves of these commandments on our fingers, before our eyes and upon the gates and doors of our homes. Deut. 6:7-9.
We will have our reward for making and keeping these resolutions: we will have a happy, prosperous year.
We pray for you in 1991.
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