On our farm near Madison, it is most interesting to note the difference between the Robin and the Buzzard.
In the Springtime it is such a joy to note the Robin. He sings so beautifully and sees the good and beauty of the farm. But the buzzard is something else. He flies over a thousand lovely, beautiful things and just keeps circling until he finds something that is dead and corrupt. He is never satisfied to look for the clean and beautiful.
There is a good lesson from these two birds. One is always looking for the good, the beautiful and the clean. They find different things because they are looking for different things.
In the local congregations in our brotherhood the “Robins” are such a joy — they encourage us, they inspire us to greater heights, they keep us going.
Unfortunately, sometimes in the local congregation there is a “buzzard.” He majors on minors. He overlooks a thousand good, clean wholesome things and keep circling until he finds something bad, or at least so he thinks. It seems he is attracted only to the rotten, the sordid, the bad, the negative. He is “nit-picking” fellow, and he is always upset over something.
We have often been asked at the Madison congregation why so much you hear is positive and good. Our answer is we work with a group of “robins.” You cannot build a happy family picking your partner to pieces — always overlooking the good and emphasizing the bad. Nor can you build a great congregation picking each other to pieces.
I know a congregation that has a thousand and one good things about it, but the members are blue and discouraged. They are constantly bombarded with negative notes about shortcomings. Seldom is heard an encouraging word and the skies are cloudy and gray.
Even in our brotherhood there is an occasional “buzzard” — always circling and looking for the dirt. He rushes into print without investigation just as long as it is bad. He never gives his brother the benefit of the doubt or checks the truthfulness of his misinformation. He is not a builder, but a wrecker. He brings discouragement, disappointment, and dismay.
However, we learned a long time ago that in the church of our Lord there are 7000 “Robins” to every “buzzard.” Thank God for Robins — they keep us going, bringing encouragement, inspiration, and spiritual help.
How beautiful it is to work with such wonderful Christian people who hold up the preachers and elders hands and make progress in the work of the Lord much easier and much more pleasant.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8
And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. Exodus 17:11-13
IT’S NOT THE PIZZA
John W. Moore
For any organized group, business, or institution to be successful, it must have a goal and objectives by which to reach achieve that goal. The church of our Lord is a divine institution, established by Christ in Jerusalem around AD 33. It has a heavenly goal with divinely authorized objectives by which it can achieve that goal. Those objectives are to evangelize the lost, edify the saints, and practice benevolence. The following comments will focus on the churches responsibility to edify its members.
EDIFICATION DEFINED. Edification (Greek oikodome) is the act of building up, strengthening or developing. The word oikedome and its verb form are used often in the New Testament with reference to the actual construction of a house, building etc. (Matthew 7:24; Mark 12:1). It is also used in a figurative sense regarding the building up of an individual or the church as a whole (1st Corinthians 14:14; Acts 9:31, respectively). On at least 24 occasions edification (or its English equivalent) is spoken of in reference to what a Christian receives for aid in spiritual growth and stabilization.
EDIFICATION IS ESSENTIAL. Christians must grow (2 Peter 3:18). They are to desire the sincere milk of the word (1 Peter 2:2). They must not be children who are easily swayed by the various fads and passing schemes of false teachers (Ephesians 4:14), nor deceived by the adversary (1 Peter 5:8) and his lies. They must be able to distinguish between right and wrong, good, and evil (Hebrews 5:12). They must continue steadfast in what they have learned (Acts 2:42) and persevere in the midst of suffering (1 Peter 5:10). They must be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might (Ephesians 6:10). However, these objectives can never be realized unless one receives edification. Edification is essential. Without it both the church and the home will never be what it ought to be. False teachers will deceive us and Satan will weaken us. We will never be motivated to evangelize; think pure, act pure, worship regularly or fulfill our roles in the home, if we are not edified.
SOURCE OF EDIFICATION. Edification is received by means of a variety of avenues or human instruments (e.g. the elders, preacher, teachers, parents, faithful children of God, the assembly, etc. see Ephesians 4 and Hebrews 10:23f). However, the source of our edification is God and His word. Notice the Bible passages that tell us what God’s word will do:
Sanctify you John 17:17
Cleanse youJohn 15:3
Produce faithRomans 10:17
Save you 2 Timothy 3:15; James 1:22
Make you complete2 Timothy 3:16-17
Build you upActs 20:32
Stablish youRomans 16:25
Produce spiritual growth1 Peter 2:2
New lifeJames 1:18
THE CHURCH AND EDIFICATION. The church must edify its members (Ephesians 4:11-16). It has the divine mandate and apostolic example to build up its members. The elders of the church must feed the flock (Acts 20:28) and take care of the church of God (1 Timothy 3:5). This edification is to be done through a proper, systematic, and continual process of Bible study and thorough fulfilling the commands ascertained through that study. Hot dogs, pizza, baseball, volleyball, etc. will not produce Christian growth. It is possible, and even likely, that edification could take place at a social gathering of Christians, but it is not the pizza or pecan pie that produces it. The church must edify the saints with God’s word, as well as singing, prayers, etc., which reflect the truth and practice of that Word.
Every congregation should expect, demand, and receive spiritual edification. Every member must know what it is, understand its necessity, and know that it is a work of the church. We must keep the saved, saved by means of edification.
John Moore, Via the Southwesterner May 17 1998
SAY IT NOW
A country doctor once told me the story of one of his patients, a taciturn man little given to expressing his feelings. His wife, always frail, suffered a ruptured appendix and was rushed to the hospital where, despite a successful operation and numerous transfusions, she grew steadily weaker. The doctor tried to challenge her to greater effort by saying, “I thought you would be strong like John.” She replied, “John is so strong he does not need anyone.”
That night the doctor told John he didn’t think his wife wanted to get well. “She’s got to get well,” said John, “would another transfusion help?” The rancher’s blood proved to be the same type as his wife’s, and the doctor arranged a direct transfusion. As John lay there, his blood flowing into his wife’s veins, he said, “I’m going to make you well.” “Why?” she said, eyes closed. “because I need you,” he answered simply. There was a pause, then her pulse quickened. Her eyes opened and she slowly turned her head. “You never told me that before,” she said.
Writing of the incident later, the doctor said, “It wasn’t the transfusion but what went with it that made the difference between death and life.”
But, you say, I am never involved in any life–and–death situation. I’m just an ordinary person going about my daily business doing what needs to be done. How does this apply to me? The truth is that it does apply, for all of us, being human, need to face the unalterable fact that any instant it may to be late to say things we really feel but put off saying. As Augustine once put it: “God has promised forgiveness, to your repentance, but he has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.”
Death is not the only end on which we gamble when we indulge our “do—it–later” urge. Equally great is the risk we run of creating dead ends in living. For by not saying now perhaps some simple word of commendation, such as “You’re doing very well,” or “I’m proud of you,” we may suppress some unguessed strength, talent or contribution that we might have brought to life.
Via Christian Herald — Margaret Blair Johnstone via THE EXHORTER Arab AL 2 26 1989