Our preacher, Mark Stinnett, publishes articles for the church bulletin each week. These articles are designed to teach, encourage and challenge the members of our congregation. His latest articles can be found below with the most recent at the end of the list. Mark has archived all of his articles on his personal blog 'MicroMarks' which can be accessed at: micromarks.blogspot.com.
What does it mean that “God is good?”
I have heard that statement all my life, even more in recent months. Most recently I’ve begun to wonder what people mean when they say, “God is good.” I’ve begun to wonder what that sounds like to someone who does not believe in God, or someone weak in faith who is experiencing great difficulty in life. I know this...
¨ The presence of evil does not change the good character of God.
¨ Calamity and injustice in this world do not change the good character of God.
¨ Your circumstances do not change the good character of God.
God revealed His divine character to Moses:
“The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished….”
—Exodus 34:6-7 (NASB95)
We should recognize that God is always full of love and, at the same time, always full of justice. The fact that God is compassionate and slow to anger tells us that there is reason for compassion and reason for anger. The fact that God will not let the guilty go unpunished tells us that sin will be punished, so justice ultimately will be served. The fact that God forgives tells us that God deeply desires a relationship with created mankind.
So, the character of God gives us understanding of God and understanding of the world we live in. When we read the Book of Genesis, it is evident that God did not create the world in a broken state. Nor did He create man in a sinful state. Yet, because of sinful man, we now live in a broken world. So, we should not be surprised that we live with calamities, injustices, and personal difficulties, not the least of which is death itself.
Think about it: Mankind sinned and God did not destroy him. Said another way, mankind foolishly broke fellowship with God and walked away. Yet, God deeply desired fellowship with created man. Because of His divine nature, He determined to remedy the situation through Jesus.
So what does all this have to do with, “God is good”?
God allows evil to remain; allows calamities to occur; and even allows YOU to experience difficulties, suffering and death. That is the world mankind has made for himself, not the world God created for man. That is what we deserve.
God is just, so there has to be a payment for sin. From the beginning, the consequence of all sin was death. So, before man was even created, God had devised a plan in which He would preserve His character of being just. He would offer to pay for man’s sin debt. He paid the debt by offering His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for your sins and for my sins. God fixed man’s sin problem through Jesus Christ. Can you think of a suitable word to describe this expression of God’s justice and love?
The sacrifice of Jesus bought about reconciliation between God and mankind. Reconciliation is a relationship word. It means that God ended the division and brought Himself and mankind into a friendship relationship. But He did not stop there. God wants that relationship to last forever—literally! So, He made a promise to those who believe in Jesus Christ and devote their lives to Him. He promised eternal life in a new heaven and new earth. The new heaven and new earth will not be broken. It is a place described as paradise. God will be there. Jesus will be there. All who are holy and righteous will be given new bodies so they can live there forever. Can you think of a word to describe all that God has planned for His holy ones?
God is good!
February 7, 2021
Some will see the beauty of the snow; others, a clean, safe sidewalk. The saying is true: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
We understand Samson, David and Xerxes (Esther’s king). They were men who desired and married beautiful women. But why mention that Sarah, Rebekah, Rachael, Abigail and other women were beautiful? Why make special note that baby Moses was beautiful, or King David?
At the very least, God is not blind. He actually understands something about the physical beauty of humans. Physical beauty is perfectly fine. No one should feel ashamed or be shamed by others for being physically beautiful.
God even acknowledged that men are attracted to women on the basis of physical beauty. In the Law of Moses, strict laws governed men who took beautiful women as wives from among the captives after a battle. (Deuteronomy 21:10-14)
As you might also expect, there are many warnings in Scripture about physical beauty. You should remember Peter’s instruction for women to pursue inner beauty, not bling (1 Peter 3:3-6). Unlike humans, God is super unimpressed with jewelry, cosmetics and fashion.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Solomon warned his son not to chase the “evil woman.” The Hebrew word “evil” in Proverbs 6:24 is literally foreign or strange. That means that she is off limits to the man. She is beautiful and can turn on the charm, but she’s an adulteress. She lures men in, then destroys them. A fool chases beauty.
As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.
How foolish it is for a man or woman to trust in fading beauty, or so the flowers tell us.
Think about these other beauties in Scripture:
- The priestly garments for Aaron were “for glory and for beauty.” (Exodus 28:2)
- Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon was called “the beauty of kingdoms.” (Isaiah 13:19)
- Israel was called the “Beautiful Land” several times in the book of Daniel.
- Referring to the remaining faithful ones of Israel, Isaiah described the “Branch of the Lord” as beautiful. (Isaiah 4:2)
- Isaiah also told of a future King (Messiah) who would possess beauty. (Isaiah 33:17)
One other beauty stands out. Yet, our beauty-intoxicated society would surely be surprised.
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!
Paul wasn’t referring to just any good news. He was quoting the prophet Isaiah about those who would announce salvation (peace with God), those who would share the gospel. That’s why their feet are beautiful. They carry the message of life. You too can carry the message of life by telling someone about Jesus.
(And parents, don’t forget your kids.)
February 14, 2021
There are different kinds of verbal communication and different ways to express things. It is important to God to get His word out. So, preaching, teaching, and evangelizing are vital. Yet there is another means of communication that is also important to God. With it you can teach, encourage, inspire and praise. When a message is combined with music, a unique result is produced: song. God wants His people to communicate with song. So, don’t be bashful; just sing!
Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord. —Ephesians 5:18-19
February 21, 2021