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Point of Reference

    by Fred Price

December 4, 2020
Jesus used parables to convey many of his deepest thoughts, using visual images from rural settings many in his audience lived in and could relate to.  The parable of the sower is a good example of this type of allegorical teaching.  (Mk. 4:1-20)  It still resonates with people today whether they be farmers,……  ( Click for more )
Much is made of the legal decisions and subsequent challenges made by pro-life and pro-choice forces, which amuses and perplexes many who live outside the U.S.  Across much of Europe, protest and counter-protest over abortion is almost unheard of, the same being true in many other countries with left-leaning governments……  ( Click for more )
November 20, 2020
Did the assertions of last week seem at all far-fetched?  An article by constitutional expert and national columnist Nat Hentoff, “Assisted Suicide: Just Say No Thanks”, highlighted the probable progression of ideas into acceptable “fact” which in turn translate into action; finding expression……  ( Click for more )
November 13, 2020

Sure they do. As individuals, we are all inclined to respond to certain situations differently and at times instinctively react to circumstances we are confronted by; but we are just as likely to “act out” at the end of a thought process in response to ideas both familiar and foreign. Going from exposure to new ideas or reinforcement of old ones to participation may take days or mere moments, the smaller the amount of consideration given an “opportunity” usually leading to worse results.

The point here being the distinct possibility – or likelihood…  ( Click for more )

Webster’s defines a disciple as a pupil of another’s ideas and ideals, and a follower as one who adheres to another’s beliefs and teachings. What’s the difference? It’s ultimately a matter of commitment, yet what a difference that can make. It would seem to be significant that the word Disciple is derived from the same word as Discipline: training that develops self-control, orderliness, obedience in thought and deed; making self a part of something – not copying a routine, belief or habit but learning ideas, and developing responses so thoroughly…  ( Click for more )

There are several crucial lessons to be gleaned from Galatians 6:1-5 and supporting scripture. In these few short lines, Paul states a number of principles that could profoundly change our lives; instilling in us a mindset more in line with Christ’s (Philippians 2:5), leading to a self-awareness that renounces self-centeredness and promotes genuine ministry.

He starts out by advising, “…if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” Absolutely negating a critical self-righteousness that encourages us…  ( Click for more )

The near hysterical statements made by both parties vying for the White House this year make me fear for our country, as their ranting leaves virtually no room for accommodation, compromise or civility; not only during the campaign season but afterward as well. Besides which, it creates doubt in the minds of our allies and adversaries alike as to our reliability and integrity in foreign affairs. More importantly, it tears at the fabric of who we are; a diverse, disparate citizenry that has to be willing to talk things out and compromise enough to address the needs of the greatest…  ( Click for more )

October 2, 2020

Melchizedek is a man of mystery, his entire biblical history contained in three verses of Genesis; the most significant information passed on to us being, “He was a priest of the God Most High and the King of Salem.” (Later to be known as King David’s capitol – Jerusalem.)

Melchizedeck’s story begins with Abram defeating a confederation of Canaanite rulers who had raided an alliance of kingdoms including Sodom and Gomorrah, where Abram’s nephew Lot lived. Returning home with Lot in tow and much booty, Melchizedek makes his appearance;…  ( Click for more )

September 25, 2020

That’s how Martin Luther once described John 3:16. This brief and familiar passage indeed giving us an outline of Christian theology; a summary of the nature and character of God, an assessment of the human condition, and the meaning and means of our salvation.

First off, it begins by declaring God’s love for the world and all its inhabitants. His defining characteristic – love – inspiring him to create us and the world we live in/on. (1 John 4:8) Which leads us to a second attribute that God defines for us, personhood; we being created…  ( Click for more )

September 18, 2020

This question was raised during a conversation between Jesus and his disciples in which they had discussed what others thought about him. A number of opinions were voiced – some likening him to John the Baptist, others to Elijah, while a few were reminded of Jeremiah or one of the other prophets. But the real point of this exercise was brought to bear when Christ asked, “But what about you?... Who do you say I am?” Matthew 16:13-15

It’s not that the contributions other people have made to your thinking and beliefs don’t matter,…  ( Click for more )

In considering just a few of the more recent leading headlines of the evening news and local newspapers, it’s not hard to understand the scriptural assessment of the age of man as, “…a crooked and depraved generation.” Philippians 2:15 Innocent people still being killed in war-torn areas around the world and in our streets here at home; deceit and cheating in our schools, corporate offices and financial institutions; rampant promiscuity throughout society – inflicting heartache and disease – among the very young up to and including…  ( Click for more )

What would the world be like without people who are unafraid to take on difficult tasks and get things done, even if they occasionally fail; knowing that refusing to try guarantees failure? The Apostle Paul would seem to be such a man.

The problem with some of these terribly active over-achievers is that they tend to be so much more task-oriented than prayer-motivated in anticipation of activity. The Apostle Paul’s phenomenal success was rooted in the fact that he was not merely goal-driven but compelled to act, at least in part, because of his active…  ( Click for more )

What would the world be like without people who are unafraid to take on difficult tasks and get things done, even if they occasionally fail; knowing that refusing to try guarantees failure? The Apostle Paul would seem to be such a man.

The problem with some of these terribly active over-achievers is that they tend to be so much more task-oriented than prayer-motivated in anticipation of activity. The Apostle Paul’s phenomenal success was rooted in the fact that he was not merely goal-driven but compelled to act, at least in part, because of his active…  ( Click for more )

August 21, 2020

Who was Josiah? A righteous, God-fearing King of Judah who started his reign at age eight. How much could one so young really know? To a certain extent, he had to depend on what he was taught. Is that good or bad? It depends on what you do with those foundational teachings; at some point examining them closely, either accepting them as your own or rejecting them for something else. Gaining additional knowledge and increasing faith is your responsibility. Evidently Josiah did, it being said of him, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord…”…  ( Click for more )

In our rights conscious society today, it shouldn’t surprise that people protest anything that infringes on their ability to do whatever they choose; forgetting that freedom is grounded in liberty – which actually sets limits within the framework of freedom. (Based on the biblical principle of, “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil;…” 1 Peter 2:16) Our Founders realizing that to insure freedom for all, each of us must be willing to give up a certain amount of individual freedom to insure the overall freedom…  ( Click for more )

I couldn’t help but think of the book of Jude, which I recently read, while listening to a “celebrity” use his past attendance in church and his self-fashioned faith to reinforce his determination to live as he saw fit – which was decidedly unbiblical. (As have so many others, compromising the gospel to suit their lifestyle, rather than modifying their lifestyle to conform to scripture.)

Jude is a very short book/letter, written by a brother of Jesus and James – another letter writer; defending the authenticity of the faith as handed…  ( Click for more )

August 7, 2020

I couldn’t help but think of the book of Jude, which I recently read, while listening to a “celebrity” use his past attendance in church and his self-fashioned faith to reinforce his determination to live as he saw fit – which was decidedly unbiblical. (As have so many others, compromising the gospel to suit their lifestyle, rather than modifying their lifestyle to conform to scripture.)

Jude is a very short book/letter, written by a brother of Jesus and James – another letter writer; defending the authenticity of the faith…  ( Click for more )

I couldn’t help but think of the book of Jude, which I recently read, while listening to a “celebrity” use his past attendance in church and his self-fashioned faith to reinforce his determination to live as he saw fit – which was decidedly unbiblical. (As have so many others, compromising the gospel to suit their lifestyle, rather than modifying their lifestyle to conform to scripture.)

Jude is a very short book/letter, written by a brother of Jesus and James – another letter writer; defending the authenticity of the faith as handed…  ( Click for more )

A consistent theme of Jesus’ teaching was his equality with God, offering repeated affirmation of his deity in sometimes vague but often clear terminology; such as: “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30 “…just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us…” John 17:21 And, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:7 (See also John 1:1-14)

…  ( Click for more )

July 24, 2020

I don’t know that judging the success of others is really any of my business, especially when the topic is so subjective and there are so many levels and definitions of what it means to be successful. But any measure of success we accomplish as Christians must start and finish with our willingness to accept Christ’s call to, “Come, follow me.” Which can be a daunting task, until we realize that God is interested in and seeks to be involved with every aspect of our lives (Revelation 3:20) – if we allow Him to be – making our lives more productive,…  ( Click for more )

Last week we examined a number of instances of people caught up in sin who reacted in several different ways. Sorrow that was superficial or immobilizing and consequently counter-productive, or deeply felt motivation for change. This week we will try to understand why some people become totally consumed by the consequences of their sin while others pick up the pieces – repentant and humbled – yet able to make a difference, finding inspiration in the process.

Godly sorrow acknowledges God as the highest authority, accepts moral absolutes relating…  ( Click for more )

Have you ever expressed sorrow because of circumstances that were beyond your control? What was your motivation? I hope genuine sympathy for those experiencing difficulty. Have you ever apologized because you knew you had done wrong – and been found out – or even when no one else had caught on yet? What was your motivation? Concern for the one wronged, regret, repentance? Realizing our need in sorrow can be a good gauge of our spiritual maturity; what we do with our lives afterward is a good indicator of our sincerity and understanding of God. As, “Godly…  ( Click for more )

Deciding whose counsel is acceptable and whose advice is best disregarded can be complicated and achieved primarily through experience. Jesus declared that wisdom is proved right by the actions it promotes. (Matthew 11:19); reinforcing Proverbs’ injunction to, “Listen to advice and accept instruction and in the end you will be wise..” Proverbs 19:20 And “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,…’ Prob. 15:20 Yet even here, a specific source of instruction and advice is recommended. “I will instruct you and teach you…  ( Click for more )

Whenever a sensational event happens that is so steeped in controversy, as the George Floyd murder is, I often try to keep quiet for a while, sorting fact from fiction – where possible – sifting through the hyperbole and raw emotion to ascertain who really did what to whom. The genuine facts of an incident often becoming clearer with time and distance. And infact, there have been absurdly exaggerated statements and actions perpetrated by both sides of this debated incident. But whatever Mr. Floyd may have done or been in the past, he certainly didn’t…  ( Click for more )

June 19, 2020

According to Jesus, faith is nothing less than a complete exchange of all we are for all he is. His declaration, recorded in John 12:25, intriguing and concerning me. “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Does that mean we should loathe the life we presumably have as a gift from him? I don’t think so. Other scripture defining “world” this way, “…the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does… but…  ( Click for more )

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