Volume 37 January - February - March, 2006 Number 1

We are told studies have shown that, in raising children, "quality time" is more important than "quantity time." More than one woman has found comfort in this when trying to salve the conscience for hiring a babysitter or day-care while she pursues a career. Without disputing the value of quality time, it cannot replace the amount of time spent. What's curious is that I have not met even one of these women who would accept this excuse from her husband regarding the time spent with her.
- Al Diestelkamp

When I Get Old - Al Diestelkamp
Today's Use of Things Written Before - Al Diestelkamp
The Master Teacher - Rick Liggin
For the Kingdom of Heaven's Sake - Andy Diestelkamp
Reacting to the Charge of Antiism - Al Diestelkamp
The Most Unfamiliar Book - Frank Vondracek

WHEN I GET OLD By Al Diestelkamp
For a number of years I have been in that time of life that is referred to as "middle age." I remember well the day that I realized that I was actually too old for that designation--unless I expected to live to be 100 years old. However, nothing has been more effective in illustrating the truth that life is "even a vapor that appears for a little time" (Jas. 4:14) than recently having to apply for Medicare coverage. This has prompted me to write this article, primarily for my own benefit, but with the hope that it will be edifying to others as well.

All of my life I have looked younger than my chronological age. I don't say that to brag. In fact, in my younger days I considered it sort of a curse. For instance, on one occasion, after I had already fathered three children, I answered a knock at our door only to have the visitor ask me to run get my mother. However, time is catching up and I have noticed more and more, that even young women are beginning to hold doors open for me.

I've been wondering about how the latter part of my life will be, especially in regard to my work as a gospel preacher. While there may be some effects that come with aging which will eventually limit my abilities, there are other pitfalls, all too common among "seniors," that I want to avoid.

There is a danger, after years of preaching and teaching, to become battle-weary. Of course, one doesn't have to be a preacher, or even old, to need the reminder not to "become weary in doing good" (2 Thess. 3:13).

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Today's Use of Things Written Before
By Al Diestelkamp

Recently I was asked why it is that we won't go to the Old Testament for authority to worship God in song with instrumental accompaniment, but we will go there to authorize spanking children. It was noted that there is no mention of that form of discipline in the New Testament.

The question is a good one that deserves an answer.

Within the pages of the Old Testament we find many statements of truth which have always been (and always will be) true. Indeed, the Bible begins with such a statement: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).That is an eternal truth for all ages.

The book of Proverbs contains God-inspired wisdom for all ages. It is there where we learn that if we love our children we will not spare the rod (13:24). It is there where we learn that "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother" (29:15). Though there is no New Testament law commanding us to correct our children by spanking, we cannot deny God's wisdom.

We are right to teach the truth found in the Old Testament. However, we cannot go to the Old Testament practices and laws for our authority today. For instance, through Moses God made a law that a rebellious son who would not repent was to be taken out of the city and stoned (Deut. 21:18-21). It was a law for the Israelites, but was never intended to be a law for all time. Therefore, we don't teach people today to stone their rebellious children.

There is no denying that King David's praise to God with the timbrel and harp was within God's authority for that time. It is also true that he worshiped God by offering animal sacrifice (2 Sam. 24:25). These were legitimate methods of worship that pleased God during that time, but neither are authorized by God in the gospel age. God replaced animal sacrifice with the sacrifice of His only begotten Son.

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By Rick Liggin

There can be no doubt: Jesus was the Master Teacher! He spoke with such power and authority that once it was said of Him: "Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks (Jn. 7:46). He was, in fact, such a good teacher that people "would get up early in the morning to cometo listen to Him" (Lk. 21:38); and when they listened, they "were very attentive to hear Him" (Lk. 19:48). As the updated NASB puts it: they were "hanging on to every word He said." The point is that when Jesus spoke, people listened! His preaching provoked emotions like amazement, wonder, and gladness (Matt. 7:27-28; Lk. 4:22). In fact, Mark reported that the "common people heard Him gladly" (Mk. 12:37) Wow! It must have been awesome to hear Jesus preach!

But Jesus' teaching was not only profound and authoritative, it also must have been impressively clear--easy to understand! It had to be, if common people "heard Him gladly." One does not normally hear a speaker "gladly" if he can't understand him! No, rest assured, Jesus' preaching was powerful, profound, authoritative, and understandable. What a joy it must have been to listen to Jesus preach!

Don't you just wish you could hear the Master Teacher preach? Don't you wish that you could be right there to hear the "gracious wordsfalling from His lips" (Lk. 4:22)?

Well, guess what? You can! All you have to do is open your New Testament and read one of His sermons! "Oh, but that's not the same as actually sitting at Jesus' feet and hearing Him say the words!" Maybe not, but it's the next best thing. Jesus' written sermons are just as powerful, just as profound, just as authoritative, and just as understandable. All it takes is for you to open your Bible and read! You see, Jesus not only was the Master Teacher; He still is the Master Teacher! Why not study one of His sermons today!

315 E. Almond Dive, Washington, IL 61571
Email: rcliggin@gmail.com

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By Andy Diestelkamp

We are content to serve God as long as it is convenient and it allows us to be happy. But when the will of God has some hard sayings that apply to us or those we love, then we are tempted to tinker with God's will--if not abandon it all together. This is no better illustrated than in the longstanding, ongoing, and evolving arguments on the subject of divorce. As we wrestle with the knotty scenarios that are all the more frequently presented to us these days, we plunge ourselves into God's Word looking for answers. Yet, while seeking those answers we are prejudiced by what we have taught before, confused by the teachings of others, and haunted by the real people we know who might not like us anymore if we teach what Jesus and His apostles taught.

There seems to be a prevalent attitude that--since it is not good for man to be alone--marriage is the inalienable right of all people, regardless of what God has revealed on the subject of divorce and its consequences. Yet, the God that observed that it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18) also said that He hates divorce (Mal. 2:16).

We would be better served if we spent more time preaching on the sanctity of marriage and the sin of putting asunder what God has joined and less time looking for justification to "marry another." The "right" to marry another disproportionately dominates our arguments compared to what the Scriptures have to say on the subject. Yea, our technical justifications have us so violating the spirit of Jesus' teaching that we have crammed enough liberty into Matthew 19:9 to make a Pharisee proud. It is time to take our focus off the exception (which usually does not apply--otherwise it would not be an exception) and start making application of the rule: putting asunder what God has joined is sin as is marrying another.

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By Al Diestelkamp

If one dares to ask for scriptural authority for some practice within the church he risks being called an "anti." That term has been applied through the ages, sometimes in a tone that sounds hostile. Some have hesitated to question innovations for fear they will receive that "branding."

For some reason I have never considered it an insult to be called "anti." Even though I know it was not meant as such, I after considering the source, I choose to view it as a compliment. Usually those who use that term do so simply because they don't have good scriptural aguments to offer. However, I suspect that if we look hard enough, we will find something they oppose--if nothing else, they are against what they call "antiism," making them "anti-antiism."

Another reason not to recoil when so branded is the company we keep. When we look into the Bible we see a lot of "antis" who pleased God--and that should be our goal, not seeking to please men (see Gal. 1:10). There was Elijah who was "anti-idolatry; John the baptist who was "anti-adultery" (Mk. 6:18); Jesus who was "anti-defiling of the temple" (Jn. 2:14-16); and the apostle Paul who was "anti-women preachers" (1 Cor. 14:34), just to name a few. That puts us in pretty good company!

I suppose, if I had a choice, I would prefer that brethren would discuss their differences instead of resorting to name-calling. There was a time when there was at least an attempt to justify by the Bible what is practiced in the churches. The motto, "We speak where the Bible speaks, and are silent where the Bible is silent" (a response to 1 Peter 4:11) has evolved into hollow words for many of our brethren.

The only real difference between the Lord's church and the churches of men is our dogmatic insistance on proving all that we teach and do by the revealed will of God. When we blur that distinction it is no wonder that others view us as just another denomination among many.

P.O. Box 891, Cortland, Illinois 60112
e-mail: al@thinkonthesethings.com

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By Frank Vondracek

I'll not beat around the bush. The most unfamiliar book on earth to too many of us is God's book, the Bible. The claims the Bible makes for itself are astonishing. It says of itself, "I am perfect. I am complete. I am infallible. I am truth. I am sufficient. I am the very words of God, and as such I am eternal, everlasting, indestructible and powerful" (2 Tim. 3:15-17; Heb. 4:12). Also, the Bible claims to give faith; to guide man's life, to give new life and to lead to eternal life (1 Pet. 1:22-25).

Have you ever tried to count all the blessings given to you by God? It's not easy to acknowledge every one of them because we don't always recognize some blessings until later. While the Bible says God tempts no man (Jas. 1:13), it clearly states that He often tries or tests us. Such times are occasions to gauge our faith, trust and dependence on God. James says that even hard times, difficulties and sorrows are blessings in disguise. These kinds of experiences ought to help Christians to come out stronger in faith and patience (Jas. 1:2-4).

What about the Bible in all this? If you have ever read, studied and meditated upon Psalm 119, you at least know that this psalm is entirely about the word of God and the believer.

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About Think's Editor - Al Diestelkamp