Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Somewhere along the line "division" became a good and right practice when "doctrine" was involved. Brothers inevitably came to different conclusions regarding scripture. The brothers and sisters were honestly trying to do God's will and be obedient to Him and His word. They also honestly disagreed. So there they were, opposing one another on a biblical subject. When the impasse was noted, seeing no other recourse, they divided. Each had followers or supporters and they took them and off they went. Two groups now, not speaking, arguing, ignoring one another both thinking the other lost for their point of view. It happened over and over and over again and is happening today.

Somewhere along the line "love" lost its meaning. It was no longer the greatest command. The "greatest command" must have been about the issue which precipitated the division since unity was ignored. Relationships broken, friendships ended, communion unshared, communication stopped and churches split because points of view became more important than Christ and his love for us and our love for one another.

Views of the Trinity, running baptismal water, communion cups, prayer order during communion, marriage and divorce, the Holy Spirit operating only through the word, having bible class, building a gym, orphan homes, Herald of Truth out of Abilene, churches giving money to Christian colleges, kitchens, buildings themselves, literature used in bible classes, raising hands, bowing down, praise teams, Christians serving in the military, pacifism, premillinialism, instrumental music, hermeneutics, missionary support, church cooperation, evolution, and on and on the list goes....Brethren dividing, ignoring, and speaking about one another in journals and to other people because they disagreed. Each one of them truly thinking they were RIGHT. In it all the love of Christ, patience, perseverance, etc...(1 Cor. 13) is abandoned. All in the name of "doctrine." The "greatest command" becomes the second greatest command because MY doctrine is first. What a shame. Foree

Friday, September 26, 2008


This blog addresses an issue which has plagued our brotherhood for decades - division. Division can only take place when someone has the intent to divide and others align with him/her with the intent to divide. Division is not an idea but an action. When someone is divisive they intend to create something new from something that already exists or make two out of one.

So a person presents a new idea about something biblical. Perhaps their new thought or approach is different than former thinking or approaches. Their idea may or may not be biblically correct but they may hold it passionately. Is the new idea or interpretation or methodology divisive? It is, only if the person who presents it as a foundation or as a reason to divide or if one who hears it decides there must be a division or separation! The new thing could be polarizing, that is, people line up on different sides of the isle but it does not and cannot become divisive unless someone seeks division. Paul warns us about a person who is divisive and does not continue in God's teaching (Romans 16).

The divisive person is the person who divides or tries to divide. Another perspective or opinion is just that. Ideas, perspectives, interpretations do not divide, divisive people divide. Divisive people are not to be tolerated. We have to tolerate different matters of faith (ideas or beliefs - Romans 14) but not people who use their idea or faith to divide.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Somewhere along the line the church began to draw primary billing. Debates about names, organization, function of leadership, building use etc...dominated theological circles. Somewhere along the way it became more about church as institution. Even the word "church" prompts a vision of a group of people sitting in a building under a certain name organized in a certain way and doing certain things in a certain manner.

When you read the bible the central thought and focus is not the church but JESUS. Jesus only mentioned "church" once (Matthew 16:18- now be careful about including Matt. 18). The rest of his time on earth was dedicated to a call to repentance, a call to discipleship and a demonstration of his love for everyone. Read John, Jesus offered himself! The Father's focus from eternity was not the church but Jesus, the Anointed ONE, the Lord and Savior.

People are converted to Christ. Jesus makes the disciples ONE. Jesus sent the Spirit to give gifts to those who followed him (Jesus). Jesus saves us, empowers us, unites us, forgives us, and promises to come back to get us. He is the one to whom we look for everything. Jesus is the all in all and one to whom people in need are drawn. He is the one that died and lives for everyone. He is the ONE, the only ONE.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Proving God

There are traditional arguments for the existence of God. One Argument From Design says that every design demands a designer. An illustration is that you cannot take all the pieces of a watch and throw them in the air and think that a perfectly working watch will fall to the ground. It is true. However, God himself came from nowhere. He is perfectly designed yet He had no designer.
God tells us that if we are to come to him we must 1st believe that he exists and 2nd believe that he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6). The key word here is "belief." Believing is the foundation of our relationship with him. There is no final empirical or scientific proof that he exists, even though it is unbelievable that this world and all of its beauty and intricate systems could happen by accident. But in the end, God is invisible and has never been seen directly so belief is the only avenue to him.
Being convinced of God comes after one considers this world and wonders if it could happen by accident. The answer is no. This intricately designed and working universe demands a creator - Read Romans 1:20. After looking and experiencing this world one either believes in God and seeks him or not. It is our calling to believe, not to figure Him out! Foree

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Sunday, one of the best days. I hope your time with the brothers and sisters is a good one. I hope the message you hear is from God's word and speaks to your heart. I hope the songs remind you of God's glory and Jesus' sacrifice and the love God has for you. I hope the time of assembly is a time of rest for your soul and that your Spirit is regenerated. I hope the Supper once again reminds you that God loves you and has saved you through Jesus. I hope your church family embraces you and does their part in making your walk with God a victory. Have a good day today...God made this day for just that. Foree

Friday, September 19, 2008

LOVE - Foundational

God's prompting for sending Jesus came from his love for his created beings (John 3:16). It was his love for us, a mother's love, that made God want to gather us up like a hen gathers her chicks (Matthew 23:37). This undercurrent of a desire for the well being and good of others is the basic stuff of spirituality.
When God talks about love (1 Corinthians 13) it is about concern for others. Love is PATIENT with others, kind to OTHERS, not boasting ABOUT SELF, not proud OF ONESELF, not easily angered WITH OTHERS always hopeful, trusting, protecting and persevering WITH OTHERS. This love runs deep within the spiritual person...(the Corinthians had none of it)...
This Godly instinct is why LOVE is the GREATEST COMMAND, and why God desires MERCY and not sacrifice. It is why faith that moves mountains, and people who can speak with the tongues of angels and those who give themselves on the altar of sacrifice have done NOTHING if the foundational motivation (LOVE) does not exist,
So, there it is....what pleases God...a loving heart, the FIRST of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5). The Spirit is here to manage the image of God is us, love that flows in us because it flows in God. Foree

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The "Image of God"

The bible says we are made "...in God's image." Hurricane IKE brought out that image in many ways as the A&M church responded to evacuees and opened our facility for their needs. Our first effort was during RITA a few years back....
A young man with arms laden with tattoos walks up with a grin on his face and says "God bless you," not long after a very young girl presents some workers with a picture on a poster board surrounding THANK YOU in the boldest letters. Anthony calls back from his home town after returning to make sure we know he arrived safe and sound. Evacuees running for their lives take the time to sweep, mop, wash windows, clear tables and ask if there is "anything they can do." A man in a wheel chair reads his bible at breakfast and prays before he ever takes a bite. God's image shining brightly.
Church members arrive day after day at 6AM, 11:30AM and 5:30PM with enough food to feed 300 people and then some. Men and women stay up all night keeping careful watch for the safety and convenience of those sleeping in classrooms turned into bedrooms. A cot, a blanket and a pillow welcome relief for worried and tired travelers.
The "image of God," that spiritual side, built into humanity glow brightly as people assist each other and give a cup of water in Jesus' name. Race, background, social standing all lost in a sea of spirituality granted by God's grace when His image was laid on us. A beautiful thing the image of God. Born of Deity and marked with that Spirit it displays itself in the worst of circumstances. God among us, in us, demonstrating that which prompted God to send Jesus before the world began. Evacuees and helpers alike, working from within because the need arises and the "image" takes over. Thank you God for giving us part of Yourself. Foree

Monday, September 8, 2008

Saul's Lesson - Religious Observance NOT Obedience

King Saul was Israel's first, chosen by God after Israel's leaders ask for a king. Having a king was alright with God, he had given instructions about such a man to Moses (Deut. 17:14). The problem was that Saul did not have the mentality (spirituality) that God required.
1 Samuel 15 records the "straw that broke the camel's back' between God and Saul. God told Saul to completely destroy the Amalakites (the end of a story begun several hundred years ago by God after the Amalakites "waylaid" Israel in their wilderness sojourn Cf. Exodus 17). Saul fought the Amalakites but spared Agag the king and the "best" of the livestock (1 Sam.15:9). Samuel ask Saul if he did as God commanded (destroy EVERYTHING) and Saul said "yes." Samuel ask "then what is the bleating of lambs(1 Sam.15:14) I hear?" Saul said - well we saved the best of the livestock in order to offer sacrifices (15:21) to God. God's response...1 Samuel 15:22 "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings...as much as obeying (his voice-flg)."
Saul thought religious observance was obedience! God wants an obedient heart, not observances. Observances are only effective if they are offered with faithful hearts. The point is that DOING good things is not necessarily a sign of faithfulness. God seeks hearts turned to HIM, not good acts. Good acts serve no purpose without a heart turned to God. More to come...Foree

Friday, September 5, 2008


Today I had to pass by the house to meet a family member. As I drove up there was a nice steel Smoker sitting in my driveway. I have been looking at them for awhile - you know the kind that are constructed from heavy gauge steel with wheels and use real wood rather than propane? Anyway there it was. A note was attached, written on plain notebook paper, "Delivered by a 'thorn'." Anonymous gift. A pleasant surprise. Enjoyment for me and for them. Prompted by a lesson from God we (giver and receiver) learned from His book. Happy moment, fun!
"Thorns" come and go and somewhere wrapped inside of them are God's blessings. Hidden amidst the trial, a surprise gift. The recipient left to ask, "Why would God bless me so?"
A message about thorns - a message from God's book - a gift given - unannounced.
Isn't God wonderful. Every once in awhile he leaves a gift...I might plan a meal some day and invite some guests and the giver might be among them, watching me enjoy the gift. God just keeps on giving...nice!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Things We Can Depend On

When "thorns" poke their way into our lives it usually means trouble, discomfort, suffering, hardship of varying intensities. As we pass through these times of trial, often intensified by the devil coming along and throwing in some temptation there are truths on which we can depend:
We can depend upon God being at work in us no matter what (Philippians 2:13-14.
We can depend upon His Holy Spirit being in us and doing His work (Philippians 1:19).
We can depend upon our brethren sharing in our struggles (Philippians 4:10,14).
We can depend upon God to make good things out of the difficult (Philippians 1:13-14).
We can depend upon God's forgiveness for our sins (Philippians 3:12-14).
We can depend upon the fact that if we die due to our trial we will be better off (Philippians 1:23-24).
God is dependable and faithful. He has not left us comfortless. He will always be with us no matter what we might encounter in this "thorny" world. God will help with our needs (Philippians 4:19) Foree

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Lesson Learned

Several years ago in a study of Philippians I was given a very practical application from a friend. When trouble comes our way or when we face a dilemma Paul gives us something very practical to do. Take a sheet of paper and write at the top the name of the problem, the person with whom you have conflict or the situation you may face...After the naming of the issue or person read Philippians 4:8. On the left side of the page write down the words TRUE, NOBLE, RIGHT, PURE, LOVELY, ADMIRABLE, EXCELLENT, PRAISEWORTHY...leaving some blank space under each word.
After the NAMING and the LISTING go back and write something TRUE about the issue or person or situation...do this with each of the words Paul uses...When you are done you have completed a positive and biblically based exercise regarding the "thorn" you face...
Then, pray (Philippians 4:6)...
There is Spirit filled wisdom in Paul's words. When he writes them he is in prison and his friends at Philippi share in his struggle(1:30). Paul's' Spirit filled words are practical and helpful...they might even relieve some anxiety about whatever we may face...Foree

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Prayer and God's Will

I have been giving some thought to the last post on this blog. I am wondering if God might answer our prayer to the detriment of another? Suppose a loved one is hurting or ill...our usual desire is for them to quit hurting or be healed. What if we pray for that and God honors our prayer but what is really best for the hurting one is to hurt or for the sick person to pass on to the Lord?
This is a tough question. We often view death as something to be avoided but perhaps the best thing in some situations is for the person to die and be with God (read Philippians1:20-27). Good for a person to die? Sounds odd. But how does God view death? Is it the end of our journey or the real purpose for our existence?
So, we might consider the "will of God" in our prayers. Maybe this is why we should pray "they will be done." It is not an out for God but the deliverance of our will to His will. We can ask for whatever we desire but set in His will. God answers according to his desires, not ours. Foree