[forthright] Some Things Change / Spies Among Us

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Jul 2010 06:02:45 -0300
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

Managing editor Richard Mansel has been on vacation
this week. He returns tomorrow to his post. Visit his
new weblog and welcome him back! http://richardmansel.com


COLUMN: ENCOURAGING WORD

Some Things Change
  by Paula Harrington

One of my most cherished possessions is an old Bible
that sits on a shelf in my family room. Within the
front cover and written in beautiful script, is my
grandmother's name. Penciled next to her name is the
date, August 28, 1927.

Many things have changed since my grandmother wrote her
name in that book. Wars have been fought. Land has been
claimed. Good and bad men have risen to power and made
their mark on our history.

There's not enough room on the Internet to note all the
progress our world has seen. Life as my grandmother
knew it has changed dramatically. In one sense, our
lives are easier now than they were in the late 20's.
In another, our days are full of stress and hassle
brought on by technological advances.

Yet, the most important thing, the words inside that
Bible, haven't changed. God still spoke the world into
existence. Jesus still came to earth. He lived, he
died, and he rose again. There is still only one name
under Heaven that will save. Children of God still have
a future in Heaven. Love still prevails. Grace, faith,
and hope are still present and thriving.

That old Bible has traveled many miles. After my
grandmother's death, it found its way into my father's
library and many a sermon was preached from it. When
Dad died, it went to my aunt and eventually ended up on
my bookshelf.

If the Lord wills, I will pass that old tattered Bible
down to one of my children some day.

I look forward to seeing what God has in store for our
future, but isn't it comforting to know, that no matter
how different life on this planet might change, the
most important things never will?

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and
forever" (Hebrews 13:8 NIV).

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COLUMN: HEAVENLY CONNECTIONS

Spies Among Us
  by Tim Hall

The arrests earlier this week of 11 individuals on
charges of spying for Russia has garnered much
attention. These seemed to be ordinary citizens,
pursuing the American dream like the rest of us. If the
charges are proven true -- and there already appears to
be substantial evidence coming to light -- we will
learn again that people can be deceptive.

According to a report released on July 1, 2010, one of
those charged has confessed to his actions. Though he
seemed to be an ordinary citizen, working as a
photographer and a karate instructor, he has confessed
that he worked secretly for "the Service". He was born
in Uruguay as he previously claimed; the house in which
he and his wife lived had been purchased by Russian
intelligence officials.

Neighbors and associates of those arrested are shocked
at the thought that their lives intermingled with
people who were living lies. The most unnerving
prospect is that these people were working to undermine
the ideals their neighbors held dear.

Will this cause us to look with renewed skepticism at
those around us? Can we know the true identity of our
next-door neighbor?

Paul wrote about some who were spies: "And this
occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in
(who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we
have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into
bondage)" (Galatians 2:4, NKJV). A key phrase in that
verse is "false brethren"; *pseudadelphos*, brothers
who were not genuine.

These of whom Paul wrote were of the Judaizing group of
Christians, teaching that Gentiles must become Jews as
well as Christians. The letter to the Galatians was
meant to squash such thinking and to preserve the
liberty they had in Christ (Galatians 5:1,13). These,
however, were more set on their agenda than on serving
the Lord. In some ways they resembled Christians, but
they actually served another master.

This was not Paul's only experience with false
brethren. In 2 Corinthians 11:26 he wrote of some of
the trials he had endured. Among them were "perils
among false brethren". They wore the name of Christ,
but they didn't follow his will.

How frightening would it be to be busted by God,
exposing the fact that we were not really the people we
claimed to be? Instead of being devoted to Jesus, we
were instead devoted to our own comfort and happiness.
The consequences of being a pseudo-disciple are
serious!

This is an opportunity to examine our allegiance. Do we
really subscribe to the truth of Philippians 3:20: "For
our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also
eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ"?
Before we're exposed in judgment, let's come clean and
be genuine.

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