Volume 39 January-February-March, 2008 Number 1

Doing Good to Our Brethren - Al Diestelkamp
Drowning in Debt - Andy Diestelkamp
Good or Evil...You Make the Call - Rick Liggin
Have a Nice Weekend - Leslie Diestelkamp
Wine is Still a Mocker - David Diestelkamp

Special Article: Reproductive Technologies - an outline by David Diestelkamp dealing with the issues of birth control and reproduction techniques. Click the icon at left to view/download the outline.

Doing GOOD to Our Brethren
By Al Diestelkamp
Having a relationship with Christ puts us into a spiritual family along with all others who are in Christ. It requires that we develop and maintain affection and love for those of like-precious faith--even to the point of "giving preference" to them (Rom.12:10).

While we have an obligation to do good to all, we have a special duty to do good "to those who are of the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10). Our differing personalities and temperaments can make this a difficult task, but that does not excuse us from accomplishing it.

It is inevitable that we will come in contact with other Christians who "rub us the wrong way." The tendency, in such cases, is to avoid as much contact with them as possible, but that is not the solution. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying about another person, "I don't like that man. I'll have to get to know him better." Many times a true friendship can evolve from dislike if we get to know one another better.

"One Another" Disciples
The term "one another" is often used by inspired writers of the New Testament when giving instruction as to how we should act toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. A profitable study would be to go to all the scriptures that contain these words in order to learn the many ways we can do good to our brothers and sisters in Christ. The limited space in this paper will not allow such an exhaustive study, but we want to take note of a few of the "good" things we are to do to, and for, one another.

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For the last several months there has been a great deal of angst over adjustable rate home mortgages (ARMs), people's inability to make their house payments, and thus the potential for many defaulting on such loans. In addition, the overall indebtedness of households is increasing. Quite frankly, many families are facing financial crisis and are blissfully unaware of it. They don't allow themselves to think about it or they think that somebody will do something to fix their problem.

It has long been observed that financial matters create some of the greatest stresses in marriage. The amazing power of compound interest that is lauded by investors as a means to make your money grow under sober-minded stewardship can also quickly drown the undisciplined consumer in a virtual ocean of debt. Debt is often a very sensitive subject that most do not want to discuss with others.

It is no surprise to the student of Scripture to find that God has much to say regarding money and, therefore, about debt. While debt has become a way of life in our materialistic culture, the spiritually minded would do well to beware.

Debt can simply refer to what is owed by agreement as the result of services performed or goods received. It is an obligation to be met. In such agreements one side assumes risk while the other meets the obligation and is indebted to the other until the obligation is met. We see this in all aspects of commerce from the relationships of employer/employee to producer/consumer. As such, debt is not inherently evil.

Problems of debt come when the obligations are not met. "The wicked borrows and does not repay" (Psa. 37:21a). The teaching is not that borrowers are wicked, but that those who do not honor their debts are wicked. I fear we have raised up a generation that would find those words harsh.

To fail to pay back what we owe is to default not only on a loan but on our word, on an oath, a promise. In Leviticus 19:11-13 we find false swearing and dealing grouped with lying and stealing. It is all considered to be fraud. In most agreements taking an oath is sufficient to give the lender confidence (Heb. 6:16). When we, who claim to be children of God, go back on our word, we profane the name of our God. God is our witness whether or not we utter those words in our purchase agreements.

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Good or Evil...You Make the Call
By Rick Liggin

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10).

The fact that Christ will judge us all based on our good or bad deeds makes it necessary for us to rightly distinguish between good and evil. Isaiah warned: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness" (Isa. 5:20). It's a serious matter to call something bad when it actually is good; or to call a thing good when it actually is bad. And that's exactly why the apostle Paul urges us to "examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil" (1 Thess. 5:21-22).

Notice particularly the word "everything" in this text! Paul says that we must examine everything carefully! Not one thing is to be automatically considered goodor evil. Everything must be tested! We must not just examine those things that jump out at us as "suspect," or only those things we don't like or don't want to do. Everything must be examined! Even the things that are not suspecteven the things that we like and want to do. Why? Because eternity hangs in the balance!

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Have a Nice Day
By Leslie Diestelkamp (1911-1995)

Each Monday lately our new bread delivery man has said as he left, "Have a nice weekend." Naturally, we are amused and perplexed. I have concluded that he was trained late in a week by one who left his customer saying, "Have a nice weekend." This new man just is not aware that such a greeting is only suited to the last of the week, and so he uses it all the time.

Many people are like that in religious matters. They read that Jesus taught His disciples to pray, "Thy kingdom come," and so they go right on doing the very same thing more than 1900 years after the prayer was answered.

Some read that God commanded the Jews to keep the Sabbath holy, so they try to do the same today, even though they are not Jews and also long after the Sabbath was "nailed to the cross" (Col. 2:14).

Jesus told His apostles to "tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high" (Lk. 24:49). Many today are still expecting to receive that miraculous power long, long after Christ's promise was kept (see Ac. 2:1-4).

The fact is, late in the week it may be o.k. to say, "Have a nice weekend," but this is hardly the expression suited to Monday mornings. Likewise, it once was right for men to keep the Sabbath holy, but with Christ's death God repealed that law (Heb. 8:13). It was once right to pray for the coming kingdom, but when the kingdom came (Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:9) we should know enough to quit asking for it.

Immediately after the ascension of Jesus, it was correct for the apostles to expect the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as Jesus had indeed promised (Jn. 14:26; 16:13), but since the Holy Spirit came and fully revealed the gospel (Gal. 1:11; 1 Cor. 3:13; Rom. 1:16-17), we cannot expect this to be repeated in each generation because there is no more truth to reveal to us (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3).
This article, written in 1965, was printed in the West Side Bulletin, Aurora, Illinois

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Wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink arouses brawling, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise" (Prov. 20:1). It's now nearly 3,000 years later and wine continues to mock and many continue to be led astray by it.

Wine's current ploy is to divert attention from the many negatives of alcohol drinking to its alleged "health benefits." Over the past decade the media has sensationalized a few studies which some believe suggest health benefits from drinking wine. Rises in wine sales and use have actually been attributed to these reports.1 Does a glass of wine a day keep the doctor away? The seduction of wine's health benefits need to be countered with a stiff dose of reality.

Most findings are preliminary, require further study, and their interpretation and meaning are very controversial among scientists and doctors. Don't be fooled by the misreported certainties in the media.2

Antioxidants in wine, called resveratrol and flavonoids, are suspected, but not known, to have health benefits.3

You would have to drink gallons of wine a day in order to take in the same amount of resveratrol as the mice were fed in some wine studies.4

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About Think's Editor - Al Diestelkamp


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