Thursday, June 25, 2020

Happy Father's Day by David R. Kenney


HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

In 1972, the government designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. We live in a time when even fundamental concepts are being challenged. The value of fatherhood has been disputed, but both the Bible and statistics speak of the value of fathers. For example, “children from fatherless homes are more likely to be poor, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, drop out of school, and suffer from health and emotional problems. Boys are more likely to become involved in crime, and girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens” (www.fathers.com).

Have you ever considered why God is depicted as our Father? He is not only the Father to the Son, Jesus, but He is “Our Father” (cf. Matt 6:9; Luke 11:2). W. Terry Varner observed: “If we listen carefully to our prayers, and the prayers of others, we will notice the term Father is probably used more often than any term or designation of God. Why? The term Father suggests all those characteristics inherent in the term of earthly father” (A Prayer From Heaven – The Model Prayer as Evidence for the Deity of Jesus Christ, 15). The most important responsibility of a father is to establish a relationship between his children and their Heavenly Father: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:4 NKJV). Fatherhood is so important that the highest level of leadership between Christ and the congregation include this qualification: “one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);” (1 Tim 3:4–5).

Perhaps there is some reason Father’s Day is difficult for you. Maybe your father is now deceased? Maybe your father was not the admirable kind? Do not let that keep you from honoring those who are fathers. Some children do not have a father. Perhaps you could fill that role by mentoring a child who needs a Christian man in their life. Perhaps you have a Christian father to enjoy this holiday with. If so, celebrate! Maybe this could be a time to reconcile past infractions with your father. If there are issues in the relationship with your earthly father, then please do not wait too long to repair the breach. A father’s love may be forever, but his life here is but a span.  

Saturday, May 30, 2020

All Souls Matter by David R. Kenney


All Souls Matter (#AllSoulsMatter)
By David R. Kenney

Hopefully all are familiar with the pattern …---… which are three letters forming what is called a “prosign” which we simply know as SOS.  It has been accepted as a worldwide distress signal at least since 1905 and can be communicated audibly and visually.  When I was in school, we were taught of the importance of the telegraph machine, and how Samuel F. B. Morse sent the first telegraphic message, “What hath God wrought?” between Baltimore and Washington D. C. in 1844.  I have been thrilled by this marvelous invention, even using it as one of my science fair projects with the help of a dear friend, Jerry Dawson, years ago.  I learned more about these things from two sets of encyclopedias my parents purchased for our education, The New Book of Knowledge and The American Peoples Encyclopedia.  What exactly did “S.O.S.” stand for?  It was not uncommon to find these letters on life preservers on ships.  While the letters themselves had no specific meaning at the time of the pattern’s inception, some designated it as an acronym with various meanings such as “Save Our Ship” or also common was “Save Our Souls”.  To my knowledge, it never meant “Save Our Skins” but that seems to be the direction we are being pushed in our country.
By Rhey T. Snodgrass & Victor F. Camp, 1922 - Image:Intcode.png and Image: International Morse Code.PNG, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3902977


We have several divisive movements exerting on our nation.  Some seek unity; however, one is left wondering about such efforts which reject “All Lives Matter”, “Blue Lives Matter” but advocate “Black Lives Matter” (sometimes denoted as #BlackLivesMatter).  The hashtag (#) sign is similar to the “prosign” in that it facilitates finding this keyword throughout the Internet.  Is “Black Lives Matter” a more unifying phrase than “All Lives Matters” which some scoff at?  A friend of mine tried to explain to me that “Black Lives Matters” includes “All Lives Matter” but particularly black lives too.  I politely asked my friend if he would have the same sentiment if there was a “White Lives Matter”, “Red Lives Matter”, etc.  Not exactly an inclusive unifying nomenclature, is it?

Do all lives matter?  Yes.  Should the color of their skin enhance or diminish how much a life matters?  It should not.  As a child, I remember singing these familiar lyrics by C. Herbert Woolston:  “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.  Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.  Jesus loves the little children of the world.”  Now this is what we need to get back to in our country—mutual love and respect! 

Perhaps a “slogan” that we ought to consider in our beloved nation is “All Souls Matter” (#AllSoulsMatter)!  There are forces in our land that are pitting one ethnicity against another, exploiting them for their own advantage.  We need to come to the realization that when we only think of each other in terms of our skin color, we are only thinking “skin deep”.  We need to think deeper, or higher, on a more spiritual plane.  There was a time when the world was divided between the Jews and everyone else; i.e., Gentiles; however, that was to bring the Messiah into the world, with demonstration, to redeem it from sin by His sacrifice, and with that action eliminate such distinctions; cf. Ephesians 2:11-13; Galatians 3:28.  The apostle Peter, as he explained there were no ethnic distinctions, stated “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.  But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35, NKJV.)   The Greek term translated “partiality” can also be translated “discrimination” or “favoritism”.   

Our nation was very much united on the premise of being “one nation”, but one nation “under God”, even though our nation did fall short at times.  Both of these concepts go hand-in-hand.  Progressive, secular, liberal forces are seeking to remove “under God” but still claim there is “something” to keep this “one nation” together.  What is that “something”?  I suspect the answer is them whether we like it or not!  We have seen the consequences of division whether it be between ethnicities, social classes, financial status, and just about every physical numerator known, but we need to focus on our common denominator—our souls.  All Souls Matter (#AllSoulsMatter), and we all need God to Save Our Souls!  This is what some call the golden text of the Bible—“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, NKJV.)  

All Souls Matter to God, and All Souls Matter (#AllSoulsMatter) should be our focus too.  #AllSoulsMatter!