Scrapping to win others

• Satan attempts to keep people from coming to the Lord. He will use even well-intentioned souls to throw up obstacles. Just as the well-meaning Peter became a barrier to Jesus, who told the apostle to get out of his way. An intense competition for the souls of men rages in the streets; we dare not draw back because we think we are above the fray, superior to those who are scrapping to win others. We do not use their under-handed tactics, nor do we make outlandish promises, but our feet must be swift and sure so that the true voice of God is heard by the masses.

•  Those hopes of mine not based on God’s specific promises are prayers for blessing on friend and foe. Hope in its biblical sense has a foundation, the truth of God, the promises he makes for our future. Then there are those human hopes that we desire for others: health for the sick, mates for the lonely, peace for the perturbed. Those hopes we turn into prayers, since to grant these things to others is beyond our powers.

• Some are making attempts to discover back in history the “church of Christ.” Their attempts appear to be lacking documentation and serious questions about the methodology have been raised. More than that, however, is the question: is the truth more true because we can trace the church back into history? This is an exercise of the Roman Catholic Church and some Baptist groups. We’ve always preached, properly so, that when the pure seed of the word of God is planted, true saints and faithful churches will grow from that sowing.

• I tweeted that the word “gospel,” both as a Twitter hashtag, and here in Brazil (using the actual English word), has been highjacked to refer to music, and that to a performance-based style that calls attention to the performers rather than to Christ. Today’s so-called gospel music has nothing to do with the gospel. (And this is an issue wider than instrumental music.) Instead of a message, people think that kind of music. The highjacking of the term is a sign that performance-based music has taken center stage in what was once a message-centered faith.

• Another tweet: Prayer doesn’t “work” only we when get what we ask for. I’ve read messages in social networks where people say, with gratitude, that the prayers of friends worked, because the person received what was requested of God. But if a prayer is denied, does it cease to be less effective? Has not God answered still? Do we measure the power of prayer by how much we get from God? Perhaps we have multiple cases of bad expressions. One suspects, however, that the language betrays a materialistic and selfish view of prayer.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

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