The Encourager

The Encourager

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Traditional vs. Non-Traditional  by Greg Gwin

Sunday, September 27, 2015

It seems that many of our brethren are determined to be 'non-traditional' in their beliefs and practices. It has almost reached the point where being 'traditional' is now the uncommon thing! The approach and mindset of some is apparently: 'If this is the way it has always been done, it must be wrong — let's change it.'

Concerning this 'non-traditional' way of thinking, let us offer these observations:

If any 'tradition' is being bound in place of, or in favor of, God's law, then such 'tradition' should be immediately exposed, denounced, and discarded. In rebuking the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus said: "For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men … Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition … Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition …" (Mark 7:8-13). Let us never be guilty of binding our human traditions as they did.

Remember that some 'traditions' are handed down to us by divine inspiration, and these are important and necessary to our salvation. Paul said: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle" (2 Thess. 2:15). And he instructed this: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us" (2 Thess. 3:6). Therefore it is essential that we honor every God-given 'tradition'.

Finally, think about this: Things that are done 'traditionally' (based upon lawful areas of judgment) have become 'traditional' for a reason. Basically, these specific ways and means have been chosen because they work well. Good and wise brethren have seen the expediency of these methods over time, and thus they have grown to be the 'norm'. Changing these things just to demonstrate that we are 'non-traditional' is neither prudent nor necessary.


A Family Is....... by Grant B. Caldwell

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A FAMILY IS FAITH — Believing in God as the Supreme Being, believing in each other in thought and expression, and believing in one's self as being worthwhile and capable.

A FAMILY IS SHARING — Each member sharing with all the others their lives, their thoughts, their efforts, their wealth, and their love.

A FAMILY IS DISCIPLINE — Not just spanking the young'uns for acting up, but Mamma, and Daddy, Brother, and Sister, all learning what is right and doing it no matter what it is.

A FAMILY IS WISDOM — It is learning from past experience how to make future blessings. And it carefully weighing each moment to gain the most benefit for everyone in every situation.

A FAMILY IS GROWING — Growing bodies in little ones, and growing minds in everyone. Growing love, growing wisdom, and growing close.

A FAMILY IS JOY — Not that in the family everything is always happy, but happy that everything is always in the family.

A FAMILY IS WORK — Every person has a job to do and is expected to do that job knowing that all will benefit from the work of each one.

A FAMILY IS PLAY — Making time to have fun and be silly, time to run and laugh, and time to wish and dream.

A FAMILY IS STRENGTH — One person alone is seldom strong. Together there is energy — synergy — to pull whatever the load, and to face all of the enemies. Together the joy is multiplied and the sorrow is divided.

A FAMILY IS SATISFACTION — It is getting those things we really need in life and being content with the things that we get. It is realizing there is so much more than just the things in life.

A FAMILY IS FORGIVING — Knowing that everyone makes some mistakes and some more than others, but when they are corrected, they are over and forgotten. And then most of all …

A FAMILY IS LOVE — It is that special feeling when in each other's presence, the warmth, the joy, the pleasure. But even more, it is the knowing there is care, concern, and having each other's back. Yes, that has to be that from which all the others come. A FAMILY IS LOVE!!!


Children's Influence Upon Parents by Bill Hall
Children can influence their parents just as parents can influence their children. The following story about an imaginary couple may have been duplicated in the lives of many of our readers.

George and Mary were a wonderful couple as they began their life together. Throughout their youth they had received strong teaching concerning worldliness, and their conduct showed the effects of that teaching. They had been taught faithfulness in attendance, and they never missed a service for "anything." In character and conviction, they were blameless.

This young couple failed, however, to instill into the hearts of their children these same convictions. Consequently, as the children reached their teens, they began to put pressure on their parents to let them do what all the other young people were doing. Gradually the will of the parents was broken down, and they began to permit their children to do things they never dreamed their children would ever do.

Rationalization came easy for George and Mary. "After all, the Bible is not specific in these matters," they thought. "The Bible says 'modest apparel', but it doesn't define modesty." "And, they're only planning to go to the dance; they aren't planning to dance." "We can't say 'no' to everything," they said. When Junior began to show unusual athletic ability, the question of attending services became a problem. At first they took Junior out of games and brought him to midweek services, but then the team began to depend more and more on him. The play-offs came, and the team's only hope in the plays-offs was for Junior to play. George and Mary gave in. And once they had given in, they had no more argument for the future. Junior never missed another game to "go to church."

George and Mary often found themselves on the defensive in Bible classes. They began to argue for their children's behavior. And, the more accustomed they became to their children's actions, the more innocent their actions seemed to be. Eventually, their own conduct became affected. They reached the point where they thought nothing of missing Friday night during a meeting to see "Junior" play ball. Mary even adopted some of the daughter's dress habits, although remaining sufficiently "discreet" to stay in good graces of the brethren. Yes, George and Mary are still in good standing in the church, and their change has been so gradual that many fail to realize that they are not the strong Christians they formerly were. What happened to George and Mary? Instead of bringing their children "up" in the nurture and admonition of the "Lord", their children brought them "down" in the nurture and admonition of the "devil".

Our children may do wrong, but they must not do wrong with our permission. We do not seek anger, but repentance. Parents, would your names fit in the place of "George" and "Mary" in the above story?

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