Richard Craig, Author at GraceAndWorks

ARE TEMPTATIONS DIFFERENT TODAY?

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This discussion seems to come up many times in today’s world. Do Kids have more temptation today than 10, 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years ago. I’m going to answer this by my own experience and also with what God has to say.

First is my own experience. I was fortunate to have grown up in a Christian home with Christian values in the 60’s. We gathered around the table for meals, played games as a family, watched TV together, and took family vacations. We kids were always involved. My parents were interested in what was going on at school and asked questions about how we/things were going and THEY LISTENED!! On Sundays we were always in Worship as a family. That being said the temptations were there, as they are today. I grew up in a small town of about 350 people with approximately 60 Kids total in High School (Frosh-Senior). Alcohol was available, there were those with a trash mouth, those who skipped school to create trouble, homosexuality was talked about, but made fun of, there was adultery going  on (Just not talked about much), and if you looked hard enough, drugs were available. In the 60’s we had to deal with the Veit Nam war and all the protests + the political unrest.  We had teachers that would slide in comments about Evolution and other religious connotations. This all sounds to me like what is going on today.

What does God have to say about what is going on?

Jude 1:7 gives the account of Sodom and Gomarrah being destroyed because of sexual immorality and perverse sexual activities. Homosexuality was going on then and is still going on today.

John chapter 4 talks about Jesus encountering a prostitute at a well. Prostitution was going on then and is going on now.

Take a look at the history of cities like Corinth and Ephesus and you will encounter prostitution, adultery, homosexuality, perverse sexual activities, foul mouthed people, and drunkenness. All of these things were going on in cities then, just as they are now.

Every letter the Apostle Paul wrote tells us to be aware of false teaching. People distorting and perverting God’s Word just as they are doing today. If there isn’t false teaching going on, then why are there so many different religious affiliations. Why is there not just the one Church Jesus established on the Day of Pentecost?

It’s been said that kids today deal with a bigger “Gray” area than they used to have to deal with. I would challenge anyone to show me in God’s written Word where there is any “Gray” area. God’s Word tells us exactly what is good and what is bad, what is light and what is darkness, what is Godly and what is of Satan. There is no “Gray” to be found in God’s Word. Yes, kids today have challenges and issues to deal with, but they are not any different than the were in Old Testament times, 1st Century Church times, 50 years ago, or today.

I’m going to end this with what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:9
“That which has been is what will be. That which is done is what will be done. And there is nothing new under the sun.” If you believe God and what He has to say, then let’s quit making excuses for those who wish not to be obedient to God.

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a GREAT day all.

OVERCOMING ADVERSITY…….

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This story is about a Preacher in India. His name is Velan Sivakumar. At 5 years of age his Dad passed away and a short time later his Mom left with another man and abandoned him. His uncle took him in and put him in Christian Orphan home. When he was in the 9th grade, he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior and was baptized. Upon his graduation, he then went to a Bible school in India for a 3 year course to become a Preacher for the Lord’s Church (Church of Christ).

He then returned to his home town of Murthur to start his work. His work started with 3 families and has grown from there. Today he serves and preaches for 3 different congregations. 1 has about 40 members, 1 has about 20 members, and the new one he just started has about 10 members. His ministry in India is thriving and growing because of his tireless efforts to teach the Truth and spread God’s word throughout this region where he lives.

We sometimes think that we can’t do things and we just can’t continue to be productive. This man saw that there was and is a need to Preach Christ in India and he did what it took to get educated and make something of his life. Out of the adversity he had, into the success he is having.

He is married and has 3 beautiful children that he and his wife are raising to be respected and productive young people in the region where they live. Out of all the adversity, he now has a beautiful family that he can be proud of.

About 4 months ago, Velan got a hold of me through my website. We started conversing through e-mail and our relationship has grown from there. He has begun to think of me as the Dad he never knew and I, the son I never had. The love and caring that we have for one another continues to grow as we now work together to further the Lord’s Work in India, even though we are 1000’s of miles apart. I have been able to support him with encouragement, knowledge, and about a month ago was able to put some financial help together for him. He is now able to have a good support system for his family and his ministry in India. Out of all the adversity, he now has a more stable situation.

Velan Sivakumar, a friend, an adopted son, a Preacher for the Church of Christ, a family man with strong morals, and a man that knows what he wants to do and gets it done. All of this out of the grasp of adversity. Certainly there is  a lesson in all this for us.

If you would like to be a part of this work, e-mail me at: richardcraig60@yahoo.com

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a GREAT day all.

OUT WITH THE OLD–IN WITH THE NEW

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I took my car into the dealership to get an oil change and a new air cleaner. I explained to the service rep what I wanted done and he told me I would be next up and it would be about an hour. As I was sitting in the waiting lounge, I started thinking about how our bodies are similar  to the engine in the car. Every once in a while they need to be drained and cleaned out.

It was then that I started wondering how that could be done. How nice it would be to get rid of all the sludge and be able to breath fresh air again. It’s not as easy as taking out a drain plug and draining the oil or loosening a couple bolts and just replacing  a filter.

How do I drain out the bad habits, bad thoughts, bad attitude, and bad actions? How do I get a new filter in place so I can hear the good things and filter out all the bad things that are going on today? If there was just a drain plug to take out or a couple bolts to loosen, life would be so much easier. However, if your belief in God is strong, if you’re being obedient to what He says to do and if you are truly walking by Faith, then these changes aren’t as hard as one would think. Being diligent in the study of His Word, consistent in prayer and walking as Christ walked, we can accomplish the changes. By making the changes in our life, we can be a good example for others to follow. We need to remember that we should be the example of love, not the example of hate and division that we’ve seen in the recent months. We are living in a world right now that dictates we take the plug out and drain the bad from us and put a new filter in place so we only have the good going into our bodies and not all the bad that is going on. There is a computer term: GIGI–Garbage in Garbage out and that is what is happening, if we don’t make the changes. Let’s make GIGI mean Good in      Good out!!

Stay Safe–Stay Healthy–Stay HAPPY!!
SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a GREAT day all.

STAY FOCUSED!!

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With all the Social Unrest, Political Unrest, and the various and sometimes misleading information on the virus, I had taken some time off from writing Blogs. I want to share a few thoughts on acquiring/building/keeping your Faith. I’ve been teaching the adult morning Bible class at South Valley Church of Christ in Las Vegas on Sunday mornings and I want to share some of the conversation that has taken place.

Getting our hearts and minds in the right place–Seek 1st the Kingdom

Putting focus in our eyes–Making sure they stay in God’s light not in Satan’s darkness.

Keeping our ears involved–Listening to what God has to say and not what man has to say.

Getting the feet and legs involved–Go, Teach and Preach, making disciples of everyone.

If we can do these things, it will help keep our focus on God and not focused on the things that are happening in the world today. We are fighting the same issues that hampered the 1st century Church. Good and bad leaders, world sickness, and issues of social unrest. The world will go on until God says no more, and sends Jesus back to earth. We/I have a really difficult time with control issues. God is in control!! Not you and not me. Sometimes that is hard to grasp, especially in these uncertain times.

One of the questions I have raised with the class is: We go to the light switch and know there will be lights, we go to the water faucet and know there will be water, we put the key in the ignition of our car and know it will start, why don’t we have the same confidence in God? The best answer is because of repetition. We do those things over and over and eventually we just know it will happen. The same thing will happen with God, IF, we will be regular in our communication with Him. Attend Bible classes, Worship, and be consistent with prayer. By doing these things over and over, we will find God is as reliable as the light switch, water faucet, and the key for the ignition.

STAY FOCUSED ON GOD, NOT SATAN!!

Smile God loves you!! Have a GREAT day all.

MAN’S WAY OR GOD’S WAY??

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There are a lot of people that think all you have to do to get to Heaven is believe in Jesus. There are a lot of people that believe Baptizing infants is OK. There are a lot of people that believe you can go to any church of your choice. I’m going to address these three ideas in a very concise form.

1) Mark 16:16, the Bible is very clear that you MUST believe and be Baptized. Revelation 2:10, the Bible says, “Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life.” Being Faithful means being obedient. Being obedient means (studying), 2nd Timothy 2:15 and following, (Worshiping on the Lord’s Day) Hebrews 10:25, Every example in the New testament refers to the 1st day of the week, Sunday, as Worship. 1st Corinthians 16:1,2, lay by and store on the 1st day of the week. Acts 2:42, Communion on the 1st day of the week. Not once a month, once a quarter, or once a year, those are only 2 of the examples, and (Living a righteous life), being right with God–Doing what He says, not what you want.

2) Baptism means immersed. Phillip and the Eunich went down into the water and came back up out of the water, Acts 8:34-39. Colossians 2:11,12 , we are buried with Him through Baptism. Romans 6:4, again buried with Him in Baptism. As far as infant Baptism–Mark 16:16 says to believe and be Baptized, Matthew 16 2-5 says to become like little children (innocent), Romans 14:10-12 says that everyone is accountable. Infants cannot be like little children, they already are one and innocent. Infants cannot believe because they don’t have the capability. Infants cannot comprehend what God’s Word means. Infants cannot be held accountable as they have no idea right from wrong. Baptism is for those that understand the “Plan of Salvation” and know right from wrong.

3) The New Testament church was established on the Day of Pentecost, 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus. Acts 1:1-Acts 2:47. Old Testament prophecy told us about the coming the New Testament church and a new covenant. Jesus stated, about Himself, that upon this rock I will build My church. That means there is only one church, the New Testament church. Ephesians 4:4-6 says there is ONE Body, ONE Spirit, ONE Hope, ONE Lord, ONE Faith, ONE Baptism, ONE God, and ONE Father of all. The church was not established in the 100’s, 500’s 1200’s, 1300’s, 1600’s or any time after the Day of Pentecost. There are no added man made creeds in the New Testament church. The Bible has everything in it and nothing needs to be added to it. There are 100’s of different denominations today. Why is that, when the Bible is very clear there is only one. The reason: Man thinks he has a better idea than God has.

I would pray that none are offended by God’s Word. If you would like further study, contact me at richardcraig60@yahoo.com, and I will set up a Bible study with you. This can be done through the mail or in person.

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a GREAT day all.

 

SPEAKING BAD ABOUT OTHERS…..

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As Christians we need to be careful about what we say and or post. This applies to family, friends, politicians, and co-workers–and anyone else!!

Talking Bad About Others

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

I tell you, on the day of judgment, people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

So…………what did we learn? Keep your tongue from slander. Do and say good to all things. Stop the hatred of others!!

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a good day all.

A DEADLY VIRUS CALLED SIN…

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“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1st Corinthians 10:13

Face it, there are a lot of people spiritually sick. (That’s why some refer to God as the “Great Physician,” right?) Yet as Christ is transforming and healing each one of us, we get weak and impatient … and many of us otherwise good Christian people end up doing some really bad things.

This virus, of course, is sin.

It poisons our thoughts, twists our actions, and blocks our lives from being what we know God wants it to be. It keeps our faith walk stuck in limbo–instead of healthy and growing. “There’s nobody living right, not even one, nobody who understands, nobody seeks after God. They’ve all turned aside; they have, together, become unprofitable. No one doing good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb, with their tongues they have practiced deceit. The poison of asps in under their lips. They open their mouths and it’s full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are their ways; The way of peace they know not. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18, The NKJV)

Sin begins with a subtle pang of temptation. If we allow it to take hold, it can grow into a deadly “lifequake,” wreaking havoc and turmoil in our lives. That’s why Jesus warned us to be on guard: “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs” (Luke 12:2-3).

But we have a choice. Through Christ we can overcome temptation and sin.

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a GREAT day all.

BECOME A COMPLETE PERSON!!

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This Blog is about becoming a complete person. It’s not about racism. It’s not about politics. It’s not about protests. It’s not about riots. It’s not about the Church, Baptism, or Salvation. It’s about escaping corruption and becoming a complete person.

It all begins with Faith. Faith in family. Faith in friends. Faith in your job. But even more important is Faith in yourself. Walk with confidence. Know you can do what you aspire. Most important is–BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!

Now add Virtue to that. Conform to a standard of doing the right thing. Be of moral excellence. Gain strength through your own courage.

Now add Knowledge to those. Be an excellent student whether in school or on the job. Learn everything you can about your place of employment. By becoming knowledgeable about your workplace, you enhance your chances of advancement.

Now add Self-Control to those. Stay away from those things you shouldn’t be doing. Maintain the self-control over your faith, virtue and knowledge knowing that if you do, those will be become stronger.

Now add Perseverance to those. Don’t give up. Stay steadfast in what you want from life. Be unmoveable in what you are doing. Don’t get distracted!!

Now add Godliness to those. Have a strong belief in God and strive to be your best in obeying what God wants from you. Heaven is a goal.

Now add Kindness to those. Treat people right and they will treat you right. Respect those around you. You may not always agree with them, but you don’t have to be disagreeable towards them. Be cordial and pick your friends wisely.

Now let’s top all of those with Love. Get the hate out of your life. Love your family. Love you friends. Love your job. Most important, LOVE YOURSELF!!

As you can see, these are building blocks. Work on each one as you move up the ladder of life. Faith in yourself is the foundation for all others!!

Have a GREAT day all and remember to SMILE God loves YOU!!
P.S.–If you want a study on becoming a complete Christian, you’ll find this in 2nd Peter 1:1-11.

I WON’T COMPLAIN!!

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We have a lot of “Stuff” going on in America and the World today. We have a split Country on politics, a virus, small business’s struggling, and many people unemployed. It certainly is a troubling time. I won’t complain.

I’m 72 years of age and I’ve seen 12 different Presidents in office during that time. It seems like every time there has been a change, there are those that think America is doomed and can’t go on. Guess what? America will go on until God says, “No more.”  Throughout the Bible there have been many different leaders, some good, some not so good, but the World has continued. In these 12 Presidents I’ve seen, some were good and some not so good, but America has continued. I’m an Independent voter and I try to vote for the best person whether they are Democrat or Republican. Once someone is in office, I will pray for them, support them, and do my best to not complain, because until there is another election, I can’t do a thing about what is happening. I believe God is in control and I won’t be the one to second guess Him. We should have one focus–FAITH–that God will take care of business. It’s been said that we plan for tomorrow and God laughs because He has plans for us.

I have no idea what the homeless people go through. I have a nice home and family–I won’t complain!!

I have no idea what the small business people are going through. I’m retired–I won’t complain!!

I have no idea what people do without their own transportation and have to rely on public transportation or walk. I have a nice car–I won’t complain!!

I have no idea what people having to go to food banks for food are going through. I have cupboards and a refrigerator full of food–I won’t complain!!

Please stop whining, complaining, and preaching doom and let God work his plan. IT’S CALLED FAITH!!

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a good day all.

PERSEVERE IN TIMES OF TRIAL!!

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Beyond the concept of PERSEVERANCE, there are biblical exhortations to PERSEVERE in the Christian life. In his letters to Timothy, the apostle Paul reminds the young pastor to “watch your life and doctrine closely. PERSEVERE in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16). Timothy’s character was that of a godly man, and his doctrine was sound and scriptural. Paul warned him to watch them both closely and PERSEVERE in them because PERSEVERANCE in godly living and believing the truth, as with us, would keep him Faithful, Steadfast, and a good influence to others.

Further exhortations to PERSEVERE in the Christian life come from James, who warns us to be “doers of the word and not hearers only” because those who hear but do not do are “deceiving themselves.” “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it [PERSEVERES]…this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-24). The teaching here is that the Christian who PERSEVERES in both godliness and the spiritual discipline will be blessed in the very act of PERSEVERING. The more we PERSEVERE in the Christian life, the more God grants His blessings upon us, thereby enabling us to continue to PERSEVERE. There is great reward is PERSEVERING in the Christian life. In keeping God’s commandments, there is “great reward” for our souls (Psalm 19:11), peace of mind and a clear conscience.

James also exhorts us to PERSEVERE “under trials” because those who do will be blessed and will receive the “crown of life” which God has promised (James 1:12). A Christian can be secure in his salvation and his faith will also PERSEVERE in affliction, sickness, persecution, and the other trials of life that come to all Christians. If we desire to live godly lives in Christ, we will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12), but the faithful will PERSEVERE, kept by the power of the Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our salvation and who will keep us “strong to the end,” PERSEVERING so we will be “blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:8).

We are living in a time, right now, where we need to understand what it means to PERSEVERE. We need to not lose our Faith and understanding of God’s Word, standing steadfast is all we do.

Have a good day all. SMILE God loves YOU!!