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Father Knows Best

In the latter half of the 1950s, there was a television program called “Father Knows Best.” It was “squeaky clean” and wholesome compared to most of today’s programming. The father, named Jim Anderson, portrayed knowledge and thoughtful wisdom in advising and guiding his family.

Some of the greatest minds in science seek to understand the marvelous things God has made. I enjoy reading about scientific efforts to understand sub-atomic particles, light, gravity, energy, dark matter, and the universe. Scientists seek to develop a comprehensive theory harmonizing general relativity with quantum theory, but they always conclude that no theory works for everything! All fall short. I am left admiring the incredible complexities only our Father understands!

The Apostle Paul made interesting statements in Ephesians, 3:8–19. He speaks of the “unsearchable riches of Christ” and the “mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ.” Yes, Christ created all the scientific wonders. But, why was it hidden? Because, from the very beginning, mankind rejected God, wanting to figure things out on our own and deceived into thinking we could live a better way (Genesis 3:1­–6). So, here we are, still stumbling vainly around, without the answers. There is no shortage of enrollments in the proverbial “School of Hard Knocks.”

If only mankind would be humble and go to the One with the answers. Then we might begin to comprehend the endless width, length and depth of His thoughts. The more we study God’s word, the more we can appreciate God’s wisdom. No wonder Paul bowed his knees to the Father and Jesus Christ!

There are many statements in the Bible where humble servants of God acknowledge the vastness of God’s mind. For instance, in the Book of Job, Eliphaz, one of Job’s friends, says of God: “[God] does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number” (Job 5:9).

The prophet Isaiah contrasts God’s greatness with man’s smallness and weakness. He asks, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, measured heaven with a span, and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? … Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in… ‘To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?’ says the Holy One… The Creator of the ends of the earth neither faints nor is weary. There is no searching of His understanding” (Isaiah 40:12, 25, 28, King James Version).

David acknowledged the greatness of God, saying: “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3).

The Apostle Paul said, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” (Romans 11:33–34). Paul was paraphrasing statements made by Isaiah and Jeremiah. And in 1 Corinthians 2:9–10, Paul quotes Isaiah 64:4: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” Paul continues, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”

Humans do not think the way God thinks. But, if we humble ourselves and seek His guidance, we can grow in understanding of things that are far more important than theoretical physics and the detailed workings of all things big and small.

God is the greatest Father of all, with vast knowledge, infinite understanding and wisdom deep and unsearchable, beyond all human comprehension. Our Father knows best. Get our free booklet The Real God: Proofs and Promises, and if you haven’t yet, subscribe to the Tomorrow’s World magazine, free of charge, for articles like “Home, Sweet (Cosmic) Home.”

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/father-knows-best

Why Such Hateful Behavior?

Watching news reports, one could easily say that the rising level of hateful behavior is appalling! A United States representative called for harassing public officials of the opposing political party. A restaurant owner refused to serve a government official, while others refused to serve police. Hollywood actors and comedians say threatening, vile, and disgusting things against political leaders and their family members, stunning our sensibilities! Sadly, some applaud and cheer these rants rather than soundly condemning such behavior. Why is there so much hatefulness, vitriol, and out-of-control behavior?

Some “adults” behave worse than what you might expect of children, exhibiting a genuine lack of maturity by name-calling, hurling insults, and even engaging in physical confrontations. The lack of maturity is hideous! What a state of affairs! I’ve seen a far better level of behavior, self-control, and maturity exhibited by little kids having a playground disagreement.

However, though we may find it shocking in one sense, we are not surprised if we are familiar with God’s word. For instance, we can read that because mankind rejects God, they have a debased mind and engage in “…sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:28–31). This practically summarizes today’s news! In a week of news articles, you can probably check off most of the items listed above.

We can read a prophecy of the last days in 2 Timothy 3, where we are warned that “…in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (vv. 1–5). Again, a description of news we see nearly every day.

If we profess to be followers of Jesus Christ, we would be wise to avoid such people. In fact, we should do the opposite of those things we see in society. Instead, we should “…be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:1–3).

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:44–45). What an incredible change we would see in news reports if even only some of the participants followed this instruction!

The Apostle Paul made an interesting observation in his epistle to the Corinthian Christians. He said, “For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (1 Corinthians 3:3). And therein is the problem in human relationships, whether between or within families and even entire nations

We must not allow ourselves to be drawn into the way of hate. Rather, we should follow Christ’s instructions to love and bless and pray for our enemies who hate us. You may find the article “Sins of Racism, Anarchy and Secularism!” helpful on this subject.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/why-such-hateful-behavior

Finding Peace of Mind in Stressful Times

As interested observers and students of the world scene try to absorb and digest all the conflicting information that comes their way, a profound sense of hopelessness grips some, and feelings of hostility and aggression are stirred in others. There is a sense for most people that things are not going to turn out well.

Information overload can become an oppressive burden. Pick a field of interest, be it political, environmental, agriculture, homelessness, economic uncertainty, massive immigration, public health, or education. Each of these important subjects has a subset of problems and antagonists with differing opinions, often passionately disagreeing on the causes and solutions. The problems seem obvious, yet real answers or solutions are elusive, and the only response seems to be greater public hostility and social unrest.

You see it on the street, where tempers are short and some resort to road rage or feel the need to demonstrate publicly—sometimes violently—to make their point or to be heard. As people go about their daily lives, questions and issues for which they have no real answers leave them feeling unfulfilled and deeply concerned about their country and their future. Much of this is not new, but it seems to be more intense and divisive than in times past.

A big part of this feeling of unease and concern is that behavioral norms are collapsing. What was considered perversion and abhorrent behavior a few years ago is now considered a civil right. Gender confusion has roiled the public square as school systems, business and government entities deal with the demands of the many groups, though small, who demand their “rights.” The courts are clogged with litigation as people sue to make their case or to seek damages because of perceived discrimination.

The legalization of marijuana for medicinal and recreational use is another issue that foments strong feelings on both sides of the issue. Street violence, mass shootings and gun control are unsettling and contentious issues that go on unabated.

Under this crushing load of intractable problems, where does one go for answers or for guidance and instruction? The best source is not widely recognized today. The Holy Bible, which is God’s instruction book for mankind, contains timeless wisdom for those willing to search it out. It contains not only God’s plan of salvation for mankind, but also practical, useful advice and counsel on personal relationships and business matters. The Book of Proverbs is a great place to go for such instruction. The Psalms contain great inspirational messages. And, of course, the words of Jesus Christ and the Apostles are as useful and meaningful today as when they were written centuries ago.

King David, who had great success and great difficulties in his life wrote, “Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity… Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm” (Psalm 37:1, 7–8).

As Jesus explained to his disciples what to expect in the end times he said, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these thingsmust come to pass, but the end is not yet” (Matthew 24:6).

The Apostle Paul, who lived in very stressful times, wrote these comforting words to the Church of God congregation in Philippi: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7). How is this possible you might ask? It is made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God uses to accomplish His will. Jesus promised the disciples that He would send the “Comforter” referring to the Holy Spirit (John 14, King James Version). He did send it on the Day of Pentecost in 31ad (Acts 2).

If you are interested in finding help to find peace of mind in your life in these troubled times, our booklets The Bible: Fact or Fiction and What is a True Christian? will be very helpful for you. You can also check out the telecast “Success in times of Stress” for more practical aid in facing the challenges of modern life.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/finding-peace-of-mind-in-stressful-times

Don’t Quote Me on That!

Have you ever browsed Facebook, Twitter or your e-mails and found an irresistible quote, perhaps shared with you by one of your online friends? A quote you’ve never read, a quote from some famous person, a short, pithy message that was too memorable not to pass on? And so, even if you aren’t the online “sharing” type, you give it a shot; point-click-send, and there it goes to all your friends, followers or contacts. You’ve just become another link in a chain, spreading some inspiring nugget across your little slice of social network. Let the “likes” and comments come rolling in.

Except, maybe you didn’t check to see if this quote was genuine. Maybe you didn’t have time, and maybe you thought it didn’t matter. As long as it brought a chuckle, gave someone positive vibes, cheered somebody up when they were down, then posting it did some good. Right?

Granted, it won’t bring about Armageddon if that information wasn’t entirely authentic, will it? How much impact can just a line or two of misinformation have?

Indeed, how big a fire can a little spark make?

When you think about it, misinformation, like fire, can do a lot of damage, depending on where and how it appears. Who gets credit for a quote, and what that quote says about people, history and even basic, seemingly indisputable facts can appear anywhere in the world—anywhere, anytime, and to anyone, in an instant.

And then it hits you.

When you get the “little dopamine hit” from seeing that tiny red circle pop up, you’re also feeling the power and pleasure of sharing something profound and with so little effort. If a share can spread information so rapidly—and can even alter your entire mood, especially when it goes viral amongst all your friends—then it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Sharing something may seem helpful or funny, even if it is a little questionable, but you can never predict the cost of “deceiving your neighbor.”

Repeating a false “fact” or a quote that was never said can make someone (you especially) look foolish, and hurt a reputation. It can also slander or misrepresent people who can’t defend themselves—like the deceased. And it can influence people, especially young social media users, to believe lies or doubt even well-known and established facts.

Which of these offenses would you like to be guilty of?

On a lighter note, this video sponsored by the popular “Mental Floss” website shows several examples of famous misquotes. The presenter, John Green, tackles a variety of supposed quotes from influential sources. I marvel at how things they never said—or ever would have said—can have similar influence via the Internet, today.

I don’t know about you, but if I didn’t say something, I don’t want to be known for saying it.

The Bible has a lot to say about the power of careless and inaccurate words. “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death,is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, ‘I was only joking!’” (Proverbs 26:18–19). The New International Version says “like a maniac”—a crazy person, disturbing everyone nearby. In contrast, the Bible tells us: “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint” (Proverbs 17:27, NIV). Sometimes, having true wisdom means not  “sharing” something—especially when you haven’t taken the time to verify its authenticity!

And on that note, I might add that the Bible itself is often misquoted—online, in print, and in person. Ironically—but forgivably—Mr. Green misquotes it in his own video, because of an unclear passage in the original King James Version.

He states, “The Bible never claims money is the root of all evil, just that the love of money is the root of all evil.” However, Paul actually tells Timothy more clearly in the New King James Version, “The love of money [greed] is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Look it up. Greed and the evil it inspires is the issue—not money itself. Anyone can look around today and see that money is hardly the only “root” of evil. Quoted correctly, the scripture is sound moral (and financial) advice; misunderstood, it becomes a radical oversimplification.

Take the time to “check up” on something before you accept or “share” it, and you may get more enjoyment from learning the truth than spreading a lie, however innocently.

And be especially sure to prove things that are said to be in the Bible, because 1 Timothy 6:10 is hardly the only misquoted scripture.

Let us help you. Check out the Tomorrow’s World Bible Study Course. Start finding out what the Bible really says.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/dont-quote-me-on-that

Harvest Time is Coming

Everybody loves a freshly harvested apple, peach, orange, grape, strawberry or other piece of produce. Gardeners wait with anticipation to harvest that first ripe tomato. When fruit is fully ripened and at the peak of flavor, the time for harvest has finally arrived.

The term harvest refers to the season when crops have ripened, to an item of produce, or to the act of gathering crops. Those involved in agricultural production are especially familiar with harvest seasons. Farmers’ markets are increasingly popular with those seeking fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. “According to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, 8,687 farmers’ markets operated in 2017, up from 2,746 in 1998.” These direct-to-consumer outlets include roadside stands. Some farmers allow and encourage customers to pick their own fruits when the harvest time has arrived for strawberries, apples and other crops.

Throughout the Bible, the term “harvest” is used not only to speak of ripe food crops, but also refers to God’s judgments and “harvests” of mankind—the very purpose for His creation.

 

After the flood in Noah’s day, God promised: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).

When God established His annual Holy Days, He used three different harvest seasons for their timing: the barley harvest in the early spring, the wheat harvest in early summer, and the great harvest in the fall of the year. (See Exodus 23, and our booklet The Holy Days: God’s Master Plan.)

God used His prophets to warn nations of their impending judgment, coming like a harvest as the fruits of their ways became ripe (Joel 3:1–13).

Jesus taught using parables, one of which was the Parable of the Sower. Some of the seed sown fell by the wayside, some on stony ground, some among thorns and some on good ground. He explained to His disciples that the seed represented the good news of the Kingdom of God, which is heard, but only bears fruit in good soil. Those who bear fruit are those who hear the gospel, accept it and bear fruit (Mark 4:2–20).

Later in Mark 4, Christ teaches the Parable of the Growing Seed, which is used as an analogy of the Kingdom of God. The seed is sown, sprouts as a tender blade, grows, produces a head of grain, and finally ripens. Only when this happens has the time to harvest come (vv. 26–29).

In John 4, Jesus spoke of the harvest in an interesting way. When asked by His disciples if He had anything to eat, He told them He had food to eat which they did not know. His food is to do God’s will and finish His work (vv. 32–34). Then He explained that work, which is a harvest. Perhaps quoting a common saying when He said, “There are still four months and then comes the harvest,” Jesus explains that the harvest was white (ripe) already (v. 35). He was talking about “gathering fruit for eternal life.” The disciples were called to help reap the harvest (v. 38) that is currently in progress. This is the small, early harvest. But even so, Jesus told His disciples to “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest, because the harvest is great, but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:38, Luke 10:2). But the large harvest will take place after Christ returns to the earth to set up the Kingdom of God.

God’s whole purpose for the creation is to produce “fruit for eternal life,” an offer to mankind for salvation and the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23). In Matthew 13, Jesus’ Parable of the Wheat and Tares shows wheat harvested, but tares burned up (vv. 24–30). The harvest periods reveal God’s plan. Be sure to read The Holy Days: God’s Master Plan, and Is This the ONLY Day of Salvation? Harvest time is coming.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/harvest-time-is-coming