Bible Top 1000

The Leader Of The Church
[ Selected ]

God didn't ordain that His Son become "a figurehead" over the church, although that's exactly what He's become to most. They use His name and profess to be His followers yet He has little or no influence over what they believe and do. Their religion has been reduced to a system with a life of its own to be embraced, protected and extended to others. Another word for "system" is "prison." Our world is filled with religious prisons from which the true remnant need to be set free. Isaiah 42:22.

Christ was ordained to be the active leader of His church. We haven't been left to choose our own preferred way any more than the Israelites were left to cross the wilderness and conquer Canaan on their own, each as he saw fit. Can you imagine what it would have been like had hundreds or even thousands of competing sects arisen each contending that theirs was the right way?! The only way they could have conquered Canaan would have been if the Canaanites had died laughing at the confusion! Every time they rejected the leadership of Christ through Moses (I Cor. 10:1-11) they got into serious trouble.

One of the main functions of Christ's active leadership is communicating relevant truth. We need more than a body of "orthodox doctrine" (whatever that is) to learn and pass on. While there certainly are timeless truths (such as "Christ and Him crucified"), we need the word of God revealed as it applies to the specific day and hour. Only Christ by the Spirit can do that. Luke 4:21. Rev. 5:9.

So Why Do Bad Things Happen?
by Stacy James

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The biggest question with evil is, "Why doesn't God prevent it from happening?" If God is really an all-good and all-powerful being, why doesn't he do something?

First of all, God does not create evil; he allows it to occur. When he originally created the world, he created all things good. He created people, however, with the freedom to choose. This includes the freedom to make right and wrong choices. Often those wrong choices bring about consequences that end up hurting ourselves or other people, sometimes innocent victims who didn't deserve it.

As a college student, I was paralyzed in a diving accident. God did not push me in the water to punish me or necessarily teach me a lesson; I chose to dive off my friend's shoulders. As horrible as the consequences were, I can blame no one but myself.

Of course, God could intervene and control everything about our lives---the good and the bad---but then we would merely be robots and not truly free. He could even force us to love him if he wanted, but then forced love isn't true love. He gives us the freedom to choose or not to choose him, the freedom to live and enjoy life, and the freedom to make right and wrong choices. Unfortunately, we are left to deal with the consequences of our own and other people's actions.

Author C. S. Lewis said that 80 percent of suffering comes from the moral evil of mankind. So what about the other 20 percent? There are some things we will never truly understand here on Earth.

There is good news, however. First of all, the God of love is also a God of justice. For all those who make wrong choices, hurt innocent victims, and get off scot-free, a time is coming when they will face the consequences of their actions. God is the Ultimate Judge, and in due season, God will judge everyone for all their deeds. "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13).

Second, God often uses the trials of life for a greater good, often to develop our character and make us better people. And we are able to help others in similar circumstances. I have been able to reach out to disabled students (after my character was changed from complacency to compassion!). Trials also force us to see what is important in life, and often drive us to God when nothing else will. We see the importance of faith, of love, of caring, and of family and friends.

Third, God has provided a way out. A time is coming when there will be no more suffering. In heaven, people will enjoy a paradise beyond imagination. God has created a place of eternal glory where there will be no more crying, pain, sickness, or death; a place where people will share his joy forever.

Finally, God does care. He never promised life would be problem-free, but he promised to be with people. Jesus himself felt love, compassion, and sorrow, and was drawn like a magnet to those who were hurting. God, in his love, wants a relationship with us. "For God so loved the world, that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

To read Stacy's story, see her website at

The Relapse of Concentration

"But the high places were not taken away out of Israel; nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days."
(2 Chronicles 15:17)

Asa was incomplete in his external obedience, he "was right in the main," but not entirely right. Let's beware of the thing of which we say - "Oh, that doesn't matter much." The fact that it doesn't matter much to us...may mean that it matters a very great deal to God. Nothing's a light matter with a child of God. How much longer are some of us going to keep God trying to teach us one thing? He never loses patience. We say - "I know I'm right with God"; but still, the "high places" remain, there's something over which we've not obeyed. Are we protesting that our heart is right with God, and yet, is there something in our life about which He's caused us to doubt? Whenever there's doubt, let's quit matter what it is. Nothing's just a mere detail.

Are there some things in connection with our bodily life, our intellectual life, upon which we're not concentrating at all? We're "all right in the main," but we're slipshod; there's a relapse on the line of concentration. We no more need a holiday from spiritual concentration than our heart needs a holiday from beating. We can't have a moral holiday and remain moral, nor can we have a spiritual holiday and remain spiritual. God wants us to be entirely His, and this means that we have to watch to keep ourself fit. It takes a tremendous amount of time. Some of us expect to "clear the numberless ascensions" in about two minutes.