Monthly Archives: August 2014

Labor Day

One of the reasons work is so important for us is that God is a worker and we are made in His image (Gen. 1:26)! We normally don’t associate the idea of “work” with God. After all, God is omnipotent. Job said, “I know that Thou canst do every thing and that no thought can be withholden from Thee” (Job 42:2). Luke informs us that with God, “nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37). In Moses’ inspired creation account, God simply speaks the world into existence (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 14, etc.). He spoke, and it was done, as the Psalmist states (Ps. 33:9). The Lord asked the question of Abraham, “Is any thing too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14).

And yet, the Bible speaks of God working in bringing about the creation. Notice, Genesis 2:1-3: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. [2] And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. [3] And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” The Bible clearly says three times that God worked (cf. also Ps. 8:3,6). We normally associate “work” with the idea of effort or activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something (Webster). Since God is omnipotent, and nothing is too hard for Him, how is God said to work?

For me or you to move or lift a hundred pounds takes a certain amount of effort and energy. It takes God just as much effort and energy to move that hundred pounds! The difference is that He is unlimited in His power and can exercise that power for as long as He has a mind to do it while you and I are limited in power and can only exercise such power for the limited time our bodies will allow it. But it was work for God to bring about the creation. If you don’t think it was, then you try it yourself!

Creating the world, then, was work even for an omnipotent God. It did not fatigue God in any way because He is of unlimited power. His ceasing work on the seventh day was to provide us who are limited in power and ability a chance to rest (Deut. 5:14). It would also be used as a type of Heaven, the eternal rest (Heb. 4:9). But we must work in order to enter into that rest (Heb. 4:11).

God also worked when He performed miracles in bringing out the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. Moses calls the defeat of the Egyptian armies in the Red Sea “that great work” (Ex. 14:31). The defeat of an enemy army is no easy task, but God did it with just a “blast of His nostrils” (Ex. 15:8). God is spoken of as working when He hewed out the tables of stone upon which the Ten Commandments were to be written. “The tables were the work of God” said Moses (Ex. 32:16). We should always remember to magnify His work because He exalts His power (Job 36:22-24).

Because God works and we are made in His image, it is necessary that we also work. We should work with our hands to have to be able to give them that are in need (Eph. 4:28). In fact, if we do not work, then neither should we eat (II Thess. 3:10). Jesus, leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps, said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Therefore, when we understand God’s word, we should be doers of the work and not hearers only (James. 1:25). We are to be ready to every good work (Tit. 3:1) because God knows our works (Rev. 2:) and every man’s work shall be made manifest (I Cor. 3:13-15). “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor. 15:58).

For the Christian, every day is Labor Day.

Eric L. Padgett

“I Wish I Had More Time”

James Foley was ruthlessly murdered by Islamic terrorists. A video of his beheading has been posted on the internet by the terrorists in hopes of inciting fear throughout the world. Though I have not and will not watch the video, I understand that just before he is murdered he says on the video these heart wrenching words: “I wish I had more time.” Our hearts go out to his family. But his words and death teach us a very important lesson–none of us know what life will bring our way the next second, the next minute, the next hour, the next day or the next year. All of us wish we had more time.

The patriarchs lived into the hundreds of years but even their lives were relatively short. When you compare a hundred years or even a thousand years with eternity, you realize that you don’t even begin to scratch the surface of time. But no matter how much time we are given in this life, we are really never quite ready when it is taken away from us or those we love. The time you and I are given in this life is so precious, so very precious. But sometimes we act as if we have all the time in the world and we really don’t. We should “remember how short my time is” (Psalm 89:47).

Even when I was younger I realized time was fleeting. I was never one of those who felt that I was invincible or that time would never catch up with me. I know I have not always used my time wisely, however, even though I knew I should not waste it. But one of the hardest tasks in life is to keep consistently focused on the important things. The cares of this world tend to choke the life out of us, if we are not ever vigilant and sober (Matt. 13:22). All too often we spend our time on the frivolous and mundane and do not give proper attention to the things which are eternal (II Cor. 4:1). Because we are given so precious little time, we should redeem every second of it (Eph. 5:16).

The ironic thing is that God wants to give us all the time there is! He has promised us everlasting life (John 3:6)! The Lord has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (II Tim. 1:10). If we could only realize that we are given a short period of time here in this life to develop our own character to be like God’s, then God will bless us with everlasting life (I John 5:13; Jude 21). Do we want to lay hold on eternal life? Then we must fight the good fight of faith (I im. 6:12). The promise of life is ours if we want it, the way to obtain has been made known to us, all we have to do is to lay hold on it!

We must realize that the fortunes of this life are not always under our control. Sometimes our lives are tragically taken from us by a horrible accident. At other times it is taken by some demented sadist, as in the case of Foley. Sometimes we face hardships and troubles so intense, that, under those circumstances, it is easy to understand the desire for these to come to an end. Even Paul had a desire to depart and to be with Christ (Phil. 1:23). We cannot know what the morrow may bring us (Prov. 27:1). Therefore, we must always be ready (Mark 13:37).

Therefore we must continue to fight the good fight of faith and to do all that we can possibly do in this life so that when that when this life does come to a close for us we may say with the apostle Paul, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (II Tim. 4:6-8).

Eric L. Padgett

The Heart of A Christian

There is a part of man that lies deep within him, which controls every aspect of his life. The Bible calls this the “heart.” The Biblical use of the term “heart” is comprehensive. The term heart covers the realm of all emotions from love and hate (Ps. 105:25; I Pet. 1:22) to joy and sorrow (Eccl. 2:10; John 16:6) to peace and bitterness (Ezek. 27:31; Col. 3:15); It covers all mental processes from thinking (Esth. 6:6) to reasoning (Mark 2:6), from imagination (Jer. 9:14) to remembrance (Deut. 4:9), and purposefulness (Acts 11:23) to intention (Heb. 4:12); And it controls all character traits such as purity to wickedness (Jer. 3:17; Matt. 5:8), sincerity to hardness (Ex. 4:21; Col. 3:22), and maturity to rebelliousness (Ps. 101:2; Jer. 5:23). The Apostle Peter calls it the “hidden man of the heart” (I Pet. 3:4). The question before is, What are we to do with our heart?

First, we are to “commune with our own heart” (Psalm 4:4). We are to take a good, long, serious look into the mirror of God’s word to see deep into our own soul (James 1:22-26), and to reflect on a host of issues like: are my motives right, am I doing all I can do, is my conscience clean, etc. In short, we are to examine ourselves, and prove our own selves, whether we are in the faith (II Cor. 13:5). Will we be able to do as Paul did when we come to the close of our life, as he did his, and say I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith, I have finished my course, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness (II Tim. 4:1-18)?

Second, I am to keep my heart with all diligence (Prov. 4:23). God created us with a cage (the rib cage) surrounding our physical hearts to protect it from external injury. We regularly watch our diet and exercise to keep our hearts healthy. Why wouldn’t we take at least the same precautions to protect our spiritual heart as we do our physical? The things that come out of an unguarded heart are things like evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies (Matt. 15:9). If we do not guard our hearts they can become blinded (Eph. 4:18) and hardened (Heb. 3:15). Satan can raid the heart (Mark 4:15). We must guard our hearts to keep these tragedies from occurring.

Third, we are not to regard iniquity in our heart (Ps. 66:18). Sin begins in the heart. Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts and enticed (James 2:14). But lust is clearly a function of the heart (Prov. 6:25; Matt. 5:28). If a man will be good, therefore, he must not regard iniquity in his heart (Matt. 12:35; Mark 7:21). We need to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Philip. 4:8). What do we watch on television? What kind of music do we listen to? What sites do we visit on the internet? What places do we physically frequent? If we continue to regard iniquity in our hearts, how can we expect God to hear us when we cry unto Him (I Pet. 3:12).

Fourth, we are to love God with all our heart (Matt. 22:37). That the heart of man is not the mind or the soul or the strength of man is evidence because Jesus separates them in this statement. But it is evident also that God is not pleased with half-heartedness; He does not like lukewarmness (Rev. 3:15,16). Mere half-hearted efforts at service are to no avail (Hos. 10:2). God does not want feigned service (Jer. 3:10) but a heart prepared to serve (II Chron. 20:33).

Fifth, we should sanctify God in our hearts (I Pet. 3:15). This means God should have a place in our hearts unparalleled by any other one or thing. Jesus said we should seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). Do I sanctify God in worship by being there for worship every time the doors are open (Heb. 10:25)? Do I sanctify God in my speech, keeping my tongue pure and being prepared to talk to others about Christ (Col. 4:6)? Do I sanctify God in my manner of dress, so that I bring glory to God and do not seek merely my own comfort (I Tim. 2:9,10)? Does God have a special place in my heart?

Sixth, we should trust in the Lord with all our hearts (Pro. 3:5). Do we really trust in God? Really? When things don’t seem to be going like we want them to, or like we think they should, do we continue on the course that God wants and has commanded? Or do we, like the children of Israel coming out of Egyptian bondage, grow restless with God’s pace of advance? Do we, like Sarah, in giving Hagar to Abraham, try to force God’s hand? (How did that turn out?) Do we have the attitude of our Lord Who, when He faced the agony of the cross, prayed “Not my will, but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42)? It is not easy, because we would rather trust in weapons (Ps. 44:6) or wealth (Ps. 49:6,7) or men (Jer. 17:5). If we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He shall direct our paths (Prov. 3:6).

Seventh, we must believe in the Lord with all our heart (Rom. 10:10). This belief is not a blind leap in the dark, but rests upon solid evidence (Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:1). This is the kind of faith that God rewards when it causes one to diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). To have it otherwise is to be unpleasing to Him. This is the kind of heart that leads to obedience (Acts 8:37).

Finally, we must obey from the heart (Rom. 6:17). Going through mere ceremony does no good (John 4:24). When our obedience comes from the heart, it comes from the deepest part of man, the part of man that controls all of life, and it is then and only then that the obedience is genuine and effectual. We may be able to fool men by our actions, but God knows our hearts (Acts 1:24; Rev. 2:23). We cannot mock God (Gal. 6:7). On the first Pentecost after our Lord’s resurrection, when the assembled masses heard the word of God, they were pricked in their hearts (Acts 1:37). Their heart was not a stone, wherein the word could not send forth deep roots, but was tender enough to receive the truth. What about our heart? Is it hardened or is it receptive to God’s word? Have we truly obeyed from the heart?

Eric L. Padgett


Some times in life we are required to make choices. Some of these choices can have very serious and lasting consequences. Which person should I marry? Which house or which car will I buy? Should I have surgery or not? Should I speak out or should I remain silent. These are real options that sometimes require a hard choice to be made between two or more alternatives. But some times the choices presented to us are false. Sometimes we are told we must choose between two or more possibilities and the necessity of a choice is only apparent.

For example, sometimes we are told we must choose between hating and loving. We understand that the first and greatest commandment in the law of Moses was to love God and the second greatest was to love neighbor as self (Matt. 22:35-40). We understand that Jesus commanded us to love one another (John 15:17). But we also understand that God, our Heavenly Father, hates iniquity (Heb. 1:9). Are we any better than our Heavenly Father? Are we more righteous than He? The Lord specifically commended the churches of Ephesus and Pergamus because they hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which, the Lord said, He also hated (Rev. 2:6,15). We should hate what the Lord hates and love what He loves! The choice between hate and love often is only a false choice.

Another example of this is the false choice between building and defending. I have heard certain segments of our brotherhood derisively call those who are committed to defending the faith “brotherhood watchdogs.” Those who use this language are usually never willing to stand up against anyone except those who stand up against doctrinal and moral error. But once again, this is a false choice. Just as the Jew of old in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem wrought with one of his hands and with the other hand held a weapon (Neh. 4:17,18), so, too, we must both build and defend the Lord’s church. In fact, in the Christian dispensation, because Truth is so intimately connected with the salvation in the Lord’s church, we cannot but help do one when we faithfully do the other. The choice between building and defending is a false one.

Another false choice often presented as the only options is between God’s love and God’s justice. Some emphasize God’s love so much that it sounds as if God never has judged anyone or never will be judge of all the earth (Gen. 18:25). Truly, God is love (I John 4:8). Indeed, no greater love has been shown than when God sent His Only Begotten Son into the world to be offered as a ransom for all (John 3:16; I Tim. 2:6). But, nevertheless, God is going to judge man for his sins because God is just (Zeph. 3:5; Zech. 9:9). To be true to God we must teach all His word says about Him. The choice between God’s love and God’s justice is a false one.

Another choice the religious world likes to force us to make is the one between grace and works. Most in the religious world will say we are saved by grace and nothing else. Still others in the religious world will say that we can merit our salvation by being good enough or doing enough to earn our salvation. Again, the choice is a false one. We are saved by God’s grace (Eph. 2:8) just as surely as we are saved by works of obedience (II Thess. 1:8). God’s grace is extended to all men but it teaches us that we must do something in response (Tit. 2:11,12). The choice between grace and works is a false one.

Finally, some want to force a choice between faith and baptism. Some will emphasize the necessity of faith to the extent they say we are saved by faith alone. In fact, the New Testament teaches we are not saved by faith only (James 2:4). The Bible clearly teaches that baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). The Bible clearly teaches that he that believes and is baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:15,16). The right way of teaching this issue is to present the whole counsel of God and not just what we want to teach (Acts 20:27). The truth is, there is no choice between faith and baptism because it is not “faith or baptism” but “faith and baptism.”

In life, there are many serious choices we must make. Some are matters of life and death and eternity. Let us not add to these real and serious choices false and manufactured ones.

Eric L. Padgett

Christian Character Trait Self-Examination

The Christian is unique in the world. We are not a part of it (John 15:18), though in it (John 17:15) and influencing it (Matt. 5:16; 28:18-20), yet must remain untouched by it (II Cor. 6:17; I John 2:15-17). A part of letting our light shine in the world is not only what we say but how we otherwise conduct ourselves (I Pet. 1:17). Below is a list of twenty-six character traits which the Bible teaches we should cultivate in our lives as Christians. Obviously, the list is not exhaustive. To learn all the Lord would have us do, we must read and study the Scriptures daily to garner principles which we must apply in our lives (II Tim. 2:15). But this list may help us to see the kind of world this would be if we were all to faithfully practice the teaching of our Lord. If you think of others, please send them to me that I can expand this list.

A document called “Christian Character Trait Self-Examination,” may be found on the web site that you can use to personally grade yourself in these areas.

A Christian is Honest – Romans 12:17; Hebrews 13:18.
A Christian is a Truth Seeker – Prov. 23:23; I Cor. 13:6.
A Christian is Steadfast – I Cor. 15:58;Hebrews 3:14.
A Christian is Gracious in Speech – Col. 4:6; Proverbs 15:1-2.
A Christian is Selfless – Philip. 2:5-8.
A Christian Values Life – Exodus 20:13.
A Christian Respects authority – Romans 13:1-2; Eph. 6:1; Hebrews 13:17.
A Christian is Humble – Matthew 18:4; Matthew 23:12; I Peter 5:5-6.
A Christian is Always Growing – II Peter 3:18; I Peter 2:2.
A Christian is Peaceful – Romans 12:18; Romans 14:17, 19.
A Christian is Quiet – I Thess. 4:11; I Tim. 2:2.
A Christian is Meek – Matthew 5:5; Galatians 5:23.
A Christian is Kind – I Cor. 13:4; Eph. 4:32; II Peter 1:7.
A Christian is Loving – I Cor. 13:1-8.
A Christian is a Servant – Eph. 6:5-7; Hebrews 12:28;Matthew 20:26-28 .
A Christian is Pure – Matthew 5:8; James 4:8.
A Christian is Temperate – Acts 24:25; Galatians 5:23; II Peter 1:6.
A Christian is Virtuous – Phil. 4:8; II Pet. 1:3,5.
A Christian is Patient – Hebrews 10:36; Hebrews 12:1; I Thess. 5:14
A Christian is Faithful – Heb. 11:6; 10:22,23,38.
A Christian is Industrious – I Thess. 4:11.
A Christian is Holy – Eph. 4:24; I Pet. 1:15.
A Christian is Evangelistic – Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15,16.
A Christian is Sober – I Pet. 1:13; I Pet. 5:8; I Thess. 5:6.
A Christian is Knowledgeable – Col. 1:10; 3:10; II Pet. 1:5.
A Christian is Chaste – II Cor. 11:2; Tit. 2:5; I Pet. 3:2.

One day we will all stand before the Lord in judgment to be examined by Him. We need to study now so that we will pass that test.

Eric L. Padgett