Here in our little corner of the world, many people eat (and enjoy) blackeyed peas!
Family and friends celebrate New Year's Day by serving blackeyed peas and cornbread.
While preparing this paper, I remembered a funny story that my Mom used to tell.
Her younger brother Eddie and younger sister Ines, were given a bucket of black-eyed peas to plant. They got tired of planting seed by seed, so they decided to just dump the rest of their seeds into a hole, then left to go play!
When Papa Savage asked if they had planted the peas, they of course said 'yes'.
All was well for maybe a week or so...until Papa Savage happened to be walking over the field. He saw the little plants peeking up from the soil, then all of a sudden he noticed a huge clump of dirt being pushed skyward....by DOZENS of pea sprouts!!
The evidence demanded discipline!
Be sure that your sins will find you out! Wrong is wrong and right is right!
There's a country western song: "It's all wrong, but it's alright".
Another song, "It can't be wrong...because it feels so good".
These two songs (plus many others) come out of the 'grey area' of what is right...
or wrong. No absolutes and if it feels good, do it.
America is reaping the results of adjusting God's Standards!
God's Standard for behavior is The Bible.
We MUST remember that 'more is caught than taught'....
when it comes to children learning right from wrong.
They will follow your words until they're about 12 yrs. of age...
then they follow your example!
Doesn't it seem strange (as some think) that God created us and then left us to try to figure out 'what is right and what is wrong'? Or what is helpful (or hurtful) for us?
I saw a church sign once: "God said it....I believe it and that settles it".
No, God said it...and THAT settles it whether I believe it or not!!
But it is certainly best for us if we follow the Directions of our Creator!
Some say, 'When all else fails, read the directions'.
No, BEFORE all else fails, read the directions! (the Bible)
The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount are given to us as Road Maps....
to Happiness (Blessedness).
By the way, those are Ten COMMANDMENTS....NOT suggestions!
However, many try to adjust these God-given Standards and get into trouble.
The adjustments may be adjusted...and 'the beat goes on'....and they never return to The Standards.
THREE DETERMINANTS FOR RIGHT OR WRONG:
personal pleasure or happiness;
what man's reason dictates;
conscience without Christ;
final determination for right or wrong is within man.
Sin pollutes the stream.
very prevalent among primitives;
pressure to conform.
We should not allow the group to decide right from wrong.
3) THE WILL OF GOD:
What is right is not necessarily what man's reason dictates...
but what God commands.
It is not man's intuition, but God's revelation.
Not what society sanctions, but what the sovereign God approves.
There may be conflicts.
SIX SCRIPTURES ON RIGHT OR WRONG:
1) Will it be habit-forming? (I Corinthians 6:12)
2) Will it lead to dissipation? (Ephesians 5:18)
3) Will it offend a weaker person? (Romans 14:21 and I Cor. 8:13)
4) Will it harm my Christian testimony? (Romans 14:16)
5) Am I certain it is right?
If not, I'd be partaking of a doubtful thing and that would be sin. (Rom. 14:23)
6) Will it bring glory to God and creation? (I Cor. 10:31) BODY....MIND....SPIRIT/SOUL
THREE QUESTIONS TO ASK ON RIGHT OR WRONG:
1) What effect will it have on me?
Body, mind, conscience (moral nature) and spirit.
2) What effect will it have on others?
(Romans 14:13-23 and I Cor. 8:1-13)
3) What effect will it have on the cause of Christ?
Can the Lord bless and use for His glory, my involvement in this activity?
(I Cor. 10:31,32)
Psalm 54:11 "No good thing does the Lord withold from those who walk uprightly".
David should have asked these questions before his sin with Bathsheba.
THREE TESTS TO DISCERN RIGHT OR WRONG:
Are there some people you prefer not know about it if you did it?
Would it be ok if everyone else did this same thing?
What kind of family, church, country, and world would there be...
if everyone did it?
Can I pray about it?
Can I ask God to go with me?
Can I ask Him to bless me in the doing of it?
THREE SOURCES OF LIGHT ON 'RIGHT OR WRONG':
1) LIGHT FROM WITHIN:
A natural capacity (gift) for moral living.
God gives power of decision..the Will.
2) LIGHT FROM WITHOUT:
Observe results in others (example: results of smoking, drinking, drugs, gambling, etc.)
3) LIGHT FROM ABOVE:
I Corinthians 10:13
Does your conscience ever bother you about redemption, relationships...or God's Will?
Read Romans 14:7-23 and I Corinthians 9:27.
It is important that we KNOW and DO what is right!
We MUST be:
a 'help' and not a hindrance...
a stepping stone and not a stumbling block...
a lift and not a 'load'...
a Christian influence....a positive and not a negative!
My 'preacher brother' Keith, gave me a book of poems
many years ago. One of my favorites in that book is
this one by R. Lee Sharpe:
"Isn't is strange
That princes and kings
And clowns that caper
In sawdust rings...
And common people
Like you and me
Are builders for Eternity?
Each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass,
A book of Rules.
And each must make
Ere life is flown...
A stumbling block
Or a stepping stone."
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