September 17, 2023
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17, ESV)
“Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.” (Psalm 22:11,
This past week I spent a lot of time with a wonderful friend whom I have not had a lot of contact with over the years, but I count him as one of my great friends. Don is from West Monroe, LA. He has lived in Louisiana his entire life except for six years he spent in Panama City Florida. He was in town to preach a gospel meeting for the church here. Although he has spent most of his life in Louisiana, he has traveled to numerous states in this country. He has also traveled the world in connection with various mission works in Africa and South America.
Don has been to Oklahoma several times, but this was his first visit to this part of the state. I had the pleasure of introducing him to many residents of Newkirk and he commented several times about how friendly and helpful the people in this area were. He really felt at home here.
One of the things he wanted to do while he was here was to find out whatever happened to a friend he made in college during the school year of 1962-1963. Don went to Oklahoma Christian College in Edmond and one of his roommates was from Kaw City. Someone had told him that this man had passed away, but Don wanted to find out if that was true. If his friend was living, Don wanted to contact him. So, on Tuesday, we spent most of the morning trying to find him. We made several stops, and everyone did their best to help us on this quest. There were times when it seemed like the effort would end in frustration. However, two sisters who work at Kaw City’s, City Hall called their father who called his sister and almost instantly we were able to speak with him on the phone.
What does that have to do with the verses I’m using in this article? This morning I found myself sitting next to my neighbor at breakfast and was telling him about this quest. He asked the name, and I didn’t remember the name exactly. He said, “No, I don’t recall anyone by that name, but I do know a person that had that same first name, but the last name was different.” It made me realize that I had the last name wrong. He did know the man we had been looking for. The man sitting next to my neighbor was the brother-in-law of Don’s friend.
We had spent hours looking for and finding Don’s friend when the answer was as close as my next door-neighbor. Are you looking for answers to life’s questions? They are as close as the Bible laying on your coffee table. Why search the world when God is so near.
“That they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each of us. (Acts 17:27, ESV)
Thanks for listening and keep on shining.
The little book of Jude begins with some big reminders for Christians of all ages (both in time periods and in years). Let’s examine three from the first three verses.
Always put Jesus first (v.1).The author of the epistle, Jude, was the half brother of Jesus Christ. And yet, rather than boasting about that, he referred to himself as, “a bondservant of Jesus Christ.” First and foremost he considered himself a servant of Jesus. We would also do well to put Jesus first place in our lives. First consideration in everything we do should be Jesus and His will.
He is our Master every moment of every day. Always remember that Jesus has saved us (v.1). Jude reminded his readers that they had been “called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.” Christians need to constantly bring to mind that they were called out of the world by the gospel of Christ, sanctified by contacting the blood of Christ in baptism, and are preserved by the grace of God through faithfulness in Christ. It is vital to keep this on the forefront of our minds.
Always be living for Jesus (v.3). Jude’s exhortation was to continue to “contend earnestly for the faith.” As important as putting Jesus Christ first and remembering that He has saved us are, it is equally important to always live for Him in word and deed. Many false teachers and false notions abound, and we must be the ones to live and speak the truth concerning Jesus and His will. The Greek word translated “contend earnestly” was often used in reference to an athlete striving hard. Thus it is a reminder to us that living this way and speaking the truth is going to take a lot of concentrated, dedicated effort.
Another way of looking at these thoughts is that we need to be giving back to Jesus. He has given us so much (salvation, blessings, assistance, etc.). Let us in appreciation give Him first place in our lives, give remembrance to what He has done for us, and give Him a faithful life that honors and proclaims Him. Let’s always give back to the One who has unselfishly given to us.
— Edd Sterchi
Broadway church of Christ