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Point of Reference

    by Fred Price

Why is that so hard – accepting a message, advice, instruction and direction? Why do we often rebel against "help" even when we know the advice is well-intended and beneficial? It may have something to do with the condition of our hearts. "He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." John 8:47 Granted, not everyone's word carries the weight of Christ's, "…I came into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." John 18:37 But most of your advisors, particularly your parents,…  ( Click for more )

October 10, 2003

What change? Nobody likes unexpected change. We get comfortable where we live, with what we do, who we associate with, how we worship; and want to be left alone. Change is associated with work, discomfort, learning something different or new. But so much of what we do and who we are is superficial; camouflage really. We often hide ourselves, cover the real us up, only to have that real you jump out in unacceptable ways at inappropriate times. Steven Curtis Chapman dealt with this topic in a song titled, “The Change.” In it he bemoans the hip, glossy change that often…  ( Click for more )

Nearly everyone curses today. Many Christians do; if not in public then in private, especially if they get really mad. In fact, we seem to have set up a standard of practice for cursing. It's not permissible at this time and place but almost expected in another set of circumstances.

When are you most apt or tempted to curse? Does it make you appear more attractive, well-spoken, strong and in control? In fact, usually just the opposite is true when we are crude and disrespectful. Many have commented on the coarseness of our society; but people have always cursed. What's the…  ( Click for more )

The question as to whether there is a higher moral law to which we will all be held accountable has been highlighted once again in the face-off between Judge Roy Moore of Alabama and those opposed to the Ten Commandments memorial displayed (until recently) in that state's rotunda. Judge Moore has vowed to take his cause to the Supreme Court in an attempt to see the monument re-instated to what he feels is its proper place of prominence.

In the shadows of this judicial battle lie the questions that must be answered before any reasonable solution can be arrived at. Was our nation…  ( Click for more )

This belief is at the heart of our brotherhood's refusal to create one more denomination, choosing instead to join together in a loose confederacy of believers who none-the-less share a common faith and cooperate with one another in advancing the Gospel. Having no centralized authority to dictate our behavior or monitor our doctrine gives us a freedom to worship that many don't have but a responsibility to police our own actions that many ignore. To obey God's word requires that we know what it says and understand the context in which it was spoken.

Our confidence in the record…  ( Click for more )

'Right on! Power to the people! (Young people anyway) You don't know every thing just because you're older. Who say's I'm wrong just because I'm young? Old ideas are out-of-date, out of touch. Young ones are correct, applicable, positive. Down with the old - up with the young!'

Is that what Paul was talking about? Hardly. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18 How do we "not let anyone" without being arrogant and demanding? Remember, God says in Proverbs 8:13, "I hate pride and arrogance,..." (See also Proverbs 16:18)…  ( Click for more )

What Does It Take To Get Your Attention? You would probably say, 'Not much, I listen pretty well'. Would mom and dad agree? Before you get mad, let me say you're both probably right. You undoubtedly listen more than you let on and as parents we might possibly over-state our case because we're not sure you are.

Is that an attempt to impose our will, deprive you of fun and force you to be what we want you to be? NO! It's because we love you so very much, because we're scared - about you and for you. We want the absolute best for you! Always before, we could steer you clear,…  ( Click for more )

August 29, 2003

No matter how much time we may spend in God's word it can always remain fresh, with new insights, direction and inspiration; it being a peculiar characteristic of God's word to be intensely relevant to any number of different people of various backgrounds, personalities, circumstances and ages. It speaks to us on different levels, at different times according to the changing needs of our lives. Some material is so unique it may surprise, amuse and even confuse us. The Prophet Ezekiel's story of "Dry Bones" could certainly qualify as one such topic. It spoke to those contemporary…  ( Click for more )

August 22, 2003

Johann Gutenberg was born in the city of Mainz, Germany around 1400, into the middle of a movement to make God a personal God by revealing Him to people in their own language, making Him available to any and all who could read. He greatly facilitated and energized this movement with his refinement of the printing press.

Before Gutenberg's invention of moveable type, all copying of printed material was done by hand or on presses that imprinted designs or words on parchment or cloth using blocked images or letters - extremely time-consuming and expensive. It is believed the Chinese…  ( Click for more )

August 15, 2003

Have you ever received contradictory advice? Grow up - but not too fast. You need to take on more responsibility - but not too much. You need to act like an adult yet have fun as a kid. Part of the problem is in your perception, part of it is in others' expectations; while some of the problem is in understanding the issue. Sometimes we confuse the concepts of privilege and responsibility, demanding the privilege while ignoring the responsibility that comes with it. You do need to grow up, but not so fast that you miss out on the fun of being young. You do need to take on responsibility,…  ( Click for more )

The misrepresentation of truth, either intentionally or in ignorance, seems rampant today. God's declaration concerning a previous generation's lack of truthfulness appears applicable to America today. "This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips." This resulted in their being rejected as God's spokesmen to the world, which was their true calling. (Jeremiah 7:25-29 and Exodus 19:5,6)

Three incidents suffice to highlight the problem, though it is not found exclusively among the rich,…  ( Click for more )

August 1, 2003

The loss of space shuttle Columbia, the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the ongoing hardships associated with our response to Afghanistan and war in Iraq as well as our continuing involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian quaqmire has altered our sense of well-being and how we view the world. Activities once taken for granted no longer bring satisfaction, some of which may be good. My personal response, after shock and anger, was a need for solitude. Unable to fully comprehend what was happening, I was torn between needing to do something and not knowing what to do. Lacking direction and excitement…  ( Click for more )

July 25, 2003

The opening statement of a July 6 Tribune Star editorial, "Institution Under Siege - Winds of Change Threaten the Tradition of Marriage," refers to a cultural debate intrinsically tied to our religious base as a nation. "The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that outlawed state bans on homosexual sex was the latest loud volley in an ongoing culture war over the shape and nature of personal relationships." The Justices ruled 6-3 that a Texas sodomy law, used to arrest, fine and jail two Houston men caught in the "act" violated their right to privacy under the U.S. constitution.

Although…  ( Click for more )

Enron, Tyco, Andersen Acc. "People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction." ImClone, World Com, Freddie Mac. "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." Televangelist Jim Bakker and CEO Ken Lay. "Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:9, 10)

The list of corporations being charged with…  ( Click for more )

July 11, 2003

What kind of question is that? It's not one to be asked lightly or insensitively. But there is deep significance to this question in scripture. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25,26) Well - do you? What was he talking about? All men die - or do they? I believe in Jesus' eyes, death is embodied in separation…  ( Click for more )

European society, as well as our own, was built upon the beliefs and actions of their forefathers. This truth is at the center of an international debate as to whether we should continue to follow in their footsteps or find our own way. Some question the relevance of these men's faith and the practical influence it exerted in their lives. Some doubt the necessity of faith altogether. Others question from within a number of practices and policies of the church. Many nations stand at a crossroads; as the European Union prepares to vote on a far-reaching continental constitution that…  ( Click for more )

What makes us behave the way we do? Part of what defines us as individuals is inborn. These Characteristic Traits or Inclinations, largely genetic, are passed on to us by our parents; hair and eye color, body size and expressive abilities to name but a few. Patience, math skills (or the lack thereof), a quick temper or an easy laugh, the ability to listen and comprehend may all be tendencies we share with them to some degree - but they don't totally dictate who we are and how we react.

Our Minds or Intelligence, again some of which we acquire at birth; influences our capacity…  ( Click for more )

The Jayson Blair fiasco has raised a number of issues, honesty not the least of them; igniting debates concerning affirmative action, truthfulness in reporting and accountability in the work place. This in turn has cast him as a representative of society's lack of integrity.

Jayson was caught trying to be something he wasn't, or being too lazy to be all he could. He himself said, "I fooled some of the most brilliant people in journalism." Subsequent revelations concerning even more established reporters using material gathered by others yet claimed as their own and "on…  ( Click for more )

June 6, 2003

Mavra Stark is president of the National Organization for Women's Morris County, N.J. chapter. She is protesting the double murder charge in the Laci Peterson case, fearing detrimental repercussions to her organization's goals if Laci's child is accorded the status of having been a person, though unborn. She has said, "There's something about this that bothers me a little bit. Was it born, or was it unborn. (Refusing to accord the child the dignity of using his name, Conner.) If it was unborn, then I can't see charging (Scott Peterson, the victims' husband and father) with murder."

Conner…  ( Click for more )

May 30, 2003

In this day of respect for diversity and tolerance of all people and beliefs, we have created fertile ground for the resurgence of paganism; defined as a faith pre-dating Christianity or something other than. The popularity of mediums and fortune tellers and the acceptance of Wicca, witchcraft and animism, renewed interest in Native American practices, radical environmentalism, the New Age movement, renewed interest in Greek mythology and theology as well as the virtual worship of virility, fertility and sex in our society give ample evidence of paganism on the rise. We have gone…  ( Click for more )

In a desire to be sensitive and considerate of others' feelings and the sacrifice of people who go above and beyond the call of duty, we at times make allowances that we shouldn't. For those who perform particularly hard or dangerous jobs we often overlook bad behavior as if it were a perk of that job; after all, their work is demanding, with the possibility of injury or death - let them shoot off a little steam. And when lives are indeed lost in the course of doing their duty, we instantly accord them a place in heaven.

I don't begrudge anyone performing a hazardous job more…  ( Click for more )

Is a quarrel always wrong? "Starting a quarrel is like breaching (breaking) a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out." Proverbs 17:14 Is it ever right to have an argument? "He who loves a quarrel loves sin." Proverbs 17:19 Can a disagreement ever be legitimate? "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another." Colossians 3:13

What if someone is saying or doing something stupid - really wrong - even sinful, and I disagree with it? Do I have a right, an obligation to say so? "...the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead,…  ( Click for more )

May 9, 2003

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. The danger in this allusion to simple imagery is that we expect it to tell the whole story. That's often impossible. We are image-driven in this generation; too pre-occupied or lazy to investigate a person, cause or incident for ourselves - relying on 15 second audio or video bytes to tell us all we care to know. But these can be misunderstood, misapplied or manipulated to mean something not intended.

We have recently had an image shown on our televisions and in newspapers and magazines that has been heralded as breathtaking…  ( Click for more )

May 2, 2003

"God will make a way Where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see; He will make a way for me. He will be my guide, hold me closely to His side. With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way. He will make a way." - Don Moen

Do you believe that?

The story of David the shepherd boy who slew a giant, rallied an army, and soothed a king has inspired many; and goes a long way in proving the reality of Mr. Moen's chorus. It also is an excellent example of how fleeting the good life can be. For the young man David, who befriended a king's…  ( Click for more )

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