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Soli Deo Gloria is the writing and teaching ministry of Baruch Maoz in Israel. Baruch is engaged in writing original commentaries on the Bible, and theological and practical works in Hebrew. Some of his books are available in English. His Critique of the Messianic Movement, Come Let Us Reason Together: The Unity of Jews and Gentiles in the Church, has been published by P&R, and his Devotional Commentary, Malachi: A Prophet in Times of Distress by Founders Press. Both are available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon while Shepherd Press produced his Devotional Commentary Jonah: A Prophet on the Run.
Baruch has written a series of commentaries in Hebrew on Hosea, Joel, Amos, Micah, Jonah, Nahum and Malachi, Matthew, Romans and Colossians. He has written an Introdution to the Life and Epistles of Paul, an Introduction to Systematic Theology, and edited a modern translation of the Old Testament into spoken Hebrew. He is presently translating the New Testament into Modern Hebrew and engaged in other writing projects. In the pipeline are books on church life and structure, How to Preach and Listen to Sermons, and Daily Christian disciplines. To date, Baruch is the only author writing Christian literature n Hebrew.
Baruch and Bracha are Israeli Jewish Christians who have served in Israel for 5 decades now. Between April 1974 and December 2006 Baruch served with Christian Witness to Israel, most of that time as Israel Field Leader. Betwen May 1975 and December 2008 he served as Pastor of Grace and Truth Christian Congregation in Rishon LeTsion, Israel. Our website reflects the experiences gained in the course of that time.
Our monthly newsletter, MaozNews, is available for the asking, with back-issues to be found on this website (Baruch's Writings/News From Israel). To subscribe, click address at bottom of this page. His faceBook and Linkedin pages serve as blogs and provide almost daily information on the scene in Israel. His postings are also avaialble via Twitter @BaruchMaoz
Following is a link to Baruch's summary to Paul's letter to the Romans (audio, 40 minutes)
November 30, 2016
From my commentary on Colossians (Col. 4:7-10)
To be published by Founders Press 2017
Paul closes with the promise that Tychicus and Onesimus, the bearers of this letter, would provide the Colossians with up-to-date information concerning his situation. He then proceeds with a series of greetings from Christians who were with him in Rome, coupled with his personal greetings and brief exhortations. Finally, he attaches his signature. With the exception of Justus, all individuals mentioned here are also mentioned in Paul’s letter to Philemon.
“About me Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow-slave in the Lord, will inform you, whom I sent to you for this very purpose, so that you might know the things concerning us and that he might comfort your hearts with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother who belongs to you. They will inform you of the situation here.” Let’s pause for a moment and introduce the individuals mentioned in these verses.
Tychicus, described by Luke as an Asian (Acts 20:4), hailed from the Roman administrative region of Asia, presently in western Turkey, where Troas, Colossae Hierapolis, and the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2 and 3 were situated. He is first mentioned as a member of Paul’s party when the apostle traveled through Greece and Macedonia on his way to Jerusalem with a collection from the churches among the Gentiles for the brethren in Jerusalem, impoverished by a drought that decimated the Roman world of the time.
Tychicus was with Paul in Rome. He seemed to have been with the apostle throughout the latter’s two-year detention in Caesarea, traveled with him to Rome, and was sent out by him, with Onesimus, bearing this letter, one to Philemon, and the letter to the Ephesians (Eph. 6:21–22). Apparently he also carried one to the Laodiceans (Col. 4:15–16), which may have been a copy of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
Paul was released following Caesar’s decision and continued to travel for the Gospel. From 2 Timothy 4:12 and Titus 3:12 we learn that Tychicus rejoined the apostle’s company and was sent by him to Crete to replace Titus. He was with Paul again during the apostle’s second and last imprisonment in Rome, during which time he was sent by the apostle to Ephesus to replace Timothy. Some believe Tychicus is the brother spoken of in 2 Corinthians 8:22: “Our brother whom we have often tested and found earnest in many matters, but who is now more earnest than ever because of his great confidence in you.” If they are correct, then another of Tychicus’ missions was to the troubled church in Corinth.
In this letter Paul described him as a “beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow-slave in the Lord.” Paul was, as discussed earlier, an affectionate man. But he did not hand out compliments lightly; he had high standards, and Tychicus met them. He was “faithful,” proving himself a “fellow-slave in the Lord,” and thereby became particularly beloved to Paul. Unlike many who take every advantage to intimate how far advanced they consider themselves to be in comparison with others, Paul put Tychicus on his level—a fellow-slave, an equal partner. We lead best when we focus on encouraging others. Paul knew this well and devoted a good deal of his energies to encouraging and promoting others to areas of responsibility. We could well learn from him.
He “will inform you, whom I sent to you for this very purpose, so that you might know the things concerning us and that he might comfort your hearts.” Paul’s relations with the churches and with the people alongside whom he worked were not exclusively based on authority but on mutual affection and a shared commitment to the Lord. Paul knew that the Colossians would be concerned for him and would want to learn of his welfare and his labors. He considered himself obliged to report to them. In spite of his strong personality, the apostle was not a loose cannon; he was an emissary of the churches, including those he founded. He reported to them. And his relations with the churches were not merely formal; they were affectionately personal.
Onesimus is mentioned next here (Col. 4:9) and in the letter to Philemon, a prominent member of the church in Colossae and, most likely, the one in whose home the church met. Onesimus was one of Philemon’s slaves. He fled to Rome after robbing his master, met Paul, and was converted (Philem. v. 10). The apostle sent him back to his duties as a slave in Philemon’s household (Philem. v. 12), which is what occasioned his letter to Philemon. Nothing more is known of Onesimus. Tradition seeks to fill in the blanks but nothing is certain.
Onesimus was not engaged in Gospel work, but he, like Tychicus, is described as a “faithful and beloved brother, who belongs to you [that is, he came from Colossae]. They [Tychicus and Onesimus] will inform you of the situation here.” Although a young Christian, Onesimus was entrusted with a mission, to be carried out in fellowship with the elder, more experienced Tychicus: to report to the church in Colossae. The fact that he was a slave—and a runaway slave who probably stole from his owner (Philem. v. 18)—did not alter Paul’s confidence in him. He had been converted. He had repented on his sins and was now on his way back to his owner, where he would have to accept Philemon’s decision as to the consequences of his actions. – and slave-owners had a life-or-death power over their slaves.
There is an important lesson here for each of us. We do not like to bear responsibility for our deeds, but repentance is never merely verbal; it involves owning up and, where possible, restitution. It means being willing to bear the punishment due to us for our sins.
November 29, 2016
1,773 fires broke out all over Israel
Over the course of the last 8 days, 1,773 fires broke out all over the country, 39 of which were deemed major; 25 cases have been positively identified as the result of arson; 30 individuals, Jews and Arabs, were arrested, and over 2,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by fire. There was no loss of life.
In addition to Israel's fire-fighters, assistance came from Jordan, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Russia and the Palestinian Authority.
November 22, 2016
From my commentary on Colossians (Col. 4:5-6)
To be published 2017 by Founders Press
Finally, Paul refers briefly to the church’s conduct in relation to the world: “Conduct yourselves wisely toward those outside.” Wise conduct is the product of thought, relating of principle to precept, and precept to duty. This is one of the more appealing characteristics of the Faith of the Gospel: Christian conduct is not based on arbitrary precept; it encourages thought—not mystical experimentation, not existential experience, but a conscious effort to understand the world, and to subdue and harness it to the achievement of its divinely appointed goal. The Christian Faith is an extrapolation of the Creator’s command to Adam, to serve him by acting as his agent on earth subduing, filling, and ruling over it in God’s name.
“Those outside” are not the common Christians, content with Christ and indifferent to the higher spiritual plane to which the heretics invited the Colossians; they are non-Christians, people who are not consciously and willingly enlisted in the service of God and who therefore remain outside the pale of his saving blessings. They are separated from Christ, outside the church, outside the covenant, and outside the fellowship of the saints, without God and without hope in the world.
Wisdom dictates Christians conduct themselves in the world so as to implement the principles of the Gospel in ways that will challenge these outsiders and convey the Gospel to them. A morality grounded on, framed, and motivated by the fear of God and that treasures holiness more than profit is an example of such wisdom. A humility that issues out of the biblical view of man and a generosity that is the product of God’s grace and kindness are further such examples.
Christians should exemplify the Gospel in their daily lives, in how they use their time, energies, and possessions, in how they drive, choose their careers, educate their children, and make decisions. They should be engaged in the study of God’s word and in thinking deeply about the world in terms of the Faith. Their light should shine in such a fashion that it points onlookers to God and moves them to worship him.
One aspect of living wisely has to do with what Paul describes as “making the most of the time,” literally, “redeeming” the time, and I might well have chosen to translate the word time as “opportunity.” Note the definite article. Paul was not speaking of time in general but of a specific time. There are two words in Greek we might translate as “time.” One is chronos, which means time in general. The other is kairos, which refers to a specific moment in time, often an opportune moment. The word Paul uses here is kairos.
This immediately brings us back to the apostle’s exhortation that the Colossians were to conduct themselves wisely. Guided by principle and fortified by wisdom, they were to discern the implications of every moment and make the most of each to live consistent with the Gospel and, in this way, proclaim the Gospel by their lives. As noted earlier, this was one of the most compelling features of the early church.
Another aspect of living wisely is indicated by Paul when he says, “Your speech should always be gracious, having been seasoned with salt so you know how to answer each person.” Salt purifies. It also adds something of a gentle sting to food, rendering it more palatable. The simile of seasoning our speech with salt would indicate a soft, pure attitude, void of rancor and unkind or unclean expressions, rendering what we have to say, however stark, more palatable than the angry words we are often inclined to employ.
Wisdom would further dictate that our answer is formulated in a way that takes into account the individual being addressed.
While always respectful, we are not expected to address our spouse or our boss in the same way we are expected to address our children. Nor ought we address our spouse at a moment of aggravation as we might legitimately do in a calmer situation. In all aspects and in all the walks of life, we are to live out the Gospel, demonstrating the holiness and the grace of God in ways that those who watch us live discover the validity and beauty of God’s message and see the validity of a life lived out for God.
From my commentary on Colossians (Col. 4:2-4)
To be published 2017 by Founders Press
Paul is asking the Colossians to help him through prayer to promote the very unity that was threatened by the heretical teaching offered in their city. He assumes that, like him, the Colossians were thrilled at the wonder of the mystery and would embrace it fondly, as he does. He assumes their commitment to the sufficiency of Christ and to the unity of all who confess Christ’s name and revel in his achievements.
“For which mystery I have also been bound.” This is a reference to the detention imposed on Paul, first in a Roman prison in Caesarea and then under house arrest in Rome. Had he kept to “the simple Gospel” and not opposed those who insisted Jewish traditional practices should be added to one’s faith in Christ, he would not have been arrested. Nor would he have found it necessary to demand he be tried in Rome, before Caesar. Paul was arrested because he insisted on preaching the mystery and seeking support to help ensure he would “reveal” that mystery in his preaching and in the mixed composition, setup, and function of the churches God used him to establish.
Not trusting himself, Paul now seeks prayer from others to help ensure he would speak of that mystery “as I ought to speak”: with boldness, exuberance, and eager expectation. He does not trust himself to be faithful. Like us, Paul desires to be liked and accepted. But (like us?) he desires above all to please and glorify God. He therefore asks the Colossians to pray he would overcome his reticence, conquer his fears, and speak out for the truth of the Gospel, the unity of the church, and the sufficiency of Christ in a way these topics deserved. As human as any of us, Paul knows he needs God’s help to live that way, and he asks for such help.
53 years ago...
53 years ago this day God drew me to himself, forgave my many sins and called me to love him. Over the course of 53 years I have limped along the way, often wandering to the left and to the right, ever to be brought back by a loving God, a loving family and faithful friends. My debt to Him and to them is beyond description, my gratitude beyond expression. Soli Deo Gloria!
From my commentary on Colossians (Col. 4:1-2)
To be published 2017 by Founders Press
The household, the church, and society are the spheres in which we Christians live out our lives. They are the spheres in which the Gospel is to be exemplified in the course of daily dealings. Paul had already dealt with the family. In verses 2–4, he addressed the church on an important aspect of its internal life and then, in verses 5–7, on its conduct in society. It is significant to note that most of what Paul had said up to this point has immediate relevancy to church life.
Churches (and Christian families) should be praying communities. This is so obvious that Paul does not exhort the Colossians to pray; instead he says, “Continue in your prayers,” assuming they prayed as a matter of course. Prayer should be the natural, frequent activity of church life. “Be alert [as you pray],” Paul exhorts. Don’t let your thoughts wander, and be ready to turn anything you hear into a subject for prayer. Often, when an individual prays in public, those who hear him simply wait until it is time to say “amen” without really entering into the content of the prayer. “Be alert” means that we not only listen to the contents of the prayer being offered but that we engage our hearts and minds in it as well. Contrary to the practice of some, there is room for an occasional “amen,” “yes, Lord,” and “hallelujah” as we are led in prayer.
Did you notice the term just used “as we are LED in prayer”? If one is leading, others are expected to follow. That is the very least of what I think Paul means when he called on the Colossians to be alert as they continued to pray. One led, but all prayed; one voiced the praise, confession, and requests of all, while all identified with the prayer by sharing in it.
Paul exhorts, “Be alert as you pray.” How many of us need this simple reminder? How alert are we when all bow their heads in prayer? Do our thoughts wander? Do we doze off? Or do we truly participate in the prayers being offered by listening to them actively and joining our hearts with the praise, confession, and requests made?
Prayer should always involve “giving thanks.” Praise and gratitude are the inevitable consequences of understanding the Gospel. There is so much for which we ought to be thankful. God loads us daily with benefits seen and unseen. He watches over us with tender care. He has done so much for us by revealing himself to us and drawing us to himself.
We are too quick to submit our requests, too selfish to be as grateful as we ought to be. Once we’ve met the required standard of verbal gratitude and praise, we hurry to the real business of prayer, the submitting of our requests before God. Christian prayer should always be engaged in honest thankfulness. Nothing we have has been deserved; it is all a gift of grace. The food we eat, the air we breathe, the soil on which we walk, the world in which we live, the rain and the sunshine, our parents, spouses, children, and friends, the lovely breakfast and the beautiful landscape—these and more are all gifts of God. We should “be thankful.”
Next, Paul seeks the support of the Colossians for himself: “Praying also together with us that God would open to us a door for the message.” Although an apostle, he does not consider himself perfect or one of the elite. He needs the prayerful support of all God’s saints.
What is his concern? Why does he ask the Colossians to pray? Were they to bring to God the story of Aunt Emma’s thyroid or Uncle Jim’s back pain? How about Bill’s search for employment, Corrie’s troubled pregnancy, or Jacky’s choice of education? These all are, of course, important topics. They affect our lives deeply. But Paul’s concerns are for issues that affect our lives even more deeply. Pray, Paul says, “God would open to us a door for the message.” Paul is under detention, liable to lose his life. Yet he does not ask to be spared, or for his needs to be met while under house arrest. He teaches us by example not to focus so much on our needs or on matters related to earthly things. We are to lift our eyes and look beyond our needs and those of the circle of our friends and family.
We are to think of the Gospel, of the glory of God, of the extension of his kingdom, of the salvation of souls and the health of the church. Pray “God would open to us a door for the message.” Of course, the message has to do in this case with “the mystery of Christ,” and Paul’s desire is “to declare” that mystery. As noted earlier, Paul’s described the mystery in 1:26–27, summarized in 1:27 as “Christ among you, the hope for the glory,” referring to the ultimate, eternal unity of redeemed humanity, presently realized to a significant extent in the church.
November 02, 2016
From my commentary on Colossians (Col. 4:1)
To be published 2017 by Founders Press
Having provided instructions as to how to implement the principles he laid down in 1:1–3:17 by addressing the family (wives, husbands, children, and parents), the apostle turns to the wider Roman-era household, which would often include slaves and slave owners. At the end of chapter 3, he spoke of the duties of slaves. Here he turns to speak of their master-owners (v. 1), and then to the conduct of the church (vv. 2–6). Finally, in the following section, he concludes his letter with a series of greetings short instructions and a signature.
“You masters, provide justice and equality to your slaves in the knowledge that you too have a Master in heaven.” At the end of chapter 3, Paul placed slaves and slave owners on the same level by according the slaves the same moral value. He closed by intimating that all will be subject to judgment. Now he levels them again by explicitly submitting them both to the lordship of Christ. Slave owners are to honor God by respecting their slaves.
Masters are required to treat their slaves justly. According to Roman law, slaves had no legal standing. They could be fed or starved, pampered or beaten, killed or be kept alive at will. They were disposable property. There were some cases in which slaves rose to great power, or in which nobles emancipated and even adopted slaves, according them equal to or higher status than their own children. But this too was contingent on the whim and wish of the owners. Slaves could not appeal for justice. Their only hope was mercy.
Paul places slaves and their owners before the bar of God’s justice because they were both created in the image of God. He requires masters to recognize that their slaves are human beings, as much objects of God’s grace and love as any. Under inspiration of the Spirit of God, he imposes on slave-owners duties with regard to their slaves.
If that was not clear enough, Paul makes it doubly clear by instructing masters to provide their slaves with “equality” in the recognitions that they too “have a Master in heaven.” In other words, in a real sense they are fellow-slaves, and will have to give account to their heavenly Master as to how they have treated their equals.
Such statements were nothing short of revolutionary. To the extent that the words were understood, they destroyed the grounds on which the institution of slavery was based. No man has arbitrary rights over another. No man may purchase or sell another. No man may treat his fellow as if he were mere property. Justice and equality are to reign. This is one of the ways in which Gospel principles overturn social mores and lay the basis for a moral, kind, respectful society. No other religion has done that. No other religion can.
Elitism, promoted by the Colossian heretics, ultimately asserts than one person is of greater value than another and lays the grounds for a worldview that permits slavery. Nazism was but another expression of that kind of elitism, and another is totalitarian communism. Nazis and Communists considered themselves the cream of humanity, the highest stage in an evolutionary process. They were, therefore, accorded privileges denied to others.
October 27, 2016
From my Commentary on Colossians
To be published 2017 by Founders Press
(Closing prayer at the end of Chapter Three)
God of all glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three in one and one in three; distinct yet one without dissensions; one yet without suppressions; an eternal, harmonious, holy, happy God. We are called into community to serve you and reflect the beauty of your harmony as we live together. Give us grace so that you might have glory through us and the world might know you have sent your Son to save, in Jesus’ name, amen.
October 21, 2016
October 19, 2016
From my Commentary on Colossians (Col. 3:22-25)
To be published 2017 by Founders Press
False teachers were encouraging the Colossians to despise weakness and lay claim to a mystical knowledge that lifted one above the level of common individuals. The Gospel teaches us that we are to respect and love all, and to treat others as equals, regardless of our respective roles.
Speaking of respect, one of the most remarkable examples of how the Gospel transforms a culture is found in its application to the relationship between owner and slave. Roman life was largely based on slavery. There were more slaves in Rome than there were citizens. Slaves, procured primarily as the consequence of war, were considered to be mere possessions, to be used and disposed of at their owners’ will. The Gospel did not challenge Roman slavery directly; it undermined it by putting slaves and slave owners on the same level, treating them as equal objects of God’s grace and judgment, and laying a solidly spiritual basis for the slaves’ relationship to their owners:
Slaves, obey in every way your human masters, not just as meets the eye—like those who try to please people—but in heartfelt sincerity—because you fear the Lord. Whatever you do, serve from your heart like you are serving the Lord and not people in the knowledge that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. You serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Whoever does wrong will receive the wrong he did, and there is no discrimination.
Coming from the pen of a man who grew up in a first-century Roman city (Tarsus was just that, although situated in what we would now call south eastern Turkey), these are quite remarkable statements. Slave were enjoined to obey their human masters, but for reasons an average Roman would not expect. The term used to describe the obedience slaves are to give their masters is exactly the term the apostle used to describe the kind of obedience children are to render their parents: “in every way.”
He then goes on to explain: “Not just as meets the eye—like those who try to please people—but in heartfelt sincerity—because you fear the Lord. Whatever you do, serve from your heart like you are serving the Lord and not people in the knowledge that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. You serve the Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words, view whatever you are called upon to do in the context of your slavery in terms of worship. Serve the Lord in the way you serve your masters while tending their flocks, farming their fields, cleaning their homes, or educating their children. Paul repeated this statement three times in the course of these short encouragements.
It does not matter what we do—sew a button, mow the lawn, build a house, trade in stocks, sell merchandise, or whatever other activity in which life involves us—everything should be an act of worship and, because of that, done to the best of our ability. In the final run, we are serving the Lord, and we should do so from the heart, eagerly, sincerely, and happily. We’re not working for praise, a salary, or just because we must, but in the knowledge that “from the Lord [we] will receive the reward of the inheritance.”
Our reward is not to be found in the passing advantages humans can give us. Our reward is of infinitely greater value; it is “the reward of the inheritance” of which Paul spoke in 1:12. Slaves are equal recipients of that inheritance, and “whoever does wrong,” regardless of whether he is a Jew or a Gentile, a freeman or a slave, “will receive the wrong he did, and there is no discrimination.” On the Day of Judgment, God will not take one’s social standing into account. He will not inquire as to our race or gender, our education or personal background, how many times we fasted or attended a Passover Seder. “Whoever does wrong” will be punished. Slave owners will stand at the bar of divine on the same level as their slaves, and both will have to give account of themselves: Did you treat your slaves with respect and equal justice? Did you serve your master heartily, as one serving the Lord?
This is a promise and an encouragement to slaves, often mistreated by their owners: be patient and do your work in confident hope because the Judgment Day will undoubtedly come and justice will be served. It is also a warning to those who owned slaves: if you do not wish to receive the wrong you imposed on others, you had better treat your slaves with respect, care for their needs, and employ them in a just, gracious manner.
Paul’s closing words concerning judgment and the lack of partiality in judgment are similar to what the apostle had to say in Romans 2:6–11, where he stated that God
“will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. “
Here is a truth, variously applied in differing contexts, relevant to them both.
If this principle is true with regard to slaves and their masters, it is all the truer with regard to employees and their employers, hired hands and those who hire them. Both those who provide services and those who pay for them should treat each other in the fear of God, giving at least as much as they contracted to give in terms of performance and remuneration.
October 13, 2016
From my commentary on Colossians (Col. 3:20)
To be published 2017 by Founders Press
Next come the children: “Children, obey your parents in every way because this is what much pleases the Lord.” The Greek actually uses a word most commonly translated “fathers,” but was frequently used to denote parents (see, for example, Heb. 9:23). That seems to be the meaning here.
The children’s chief duty toward their parents has to do with obedience. Parents should not bribe their children into doing what they are told, nor should children be terrified into doing so. They should be taught that obedience is their duty before God. Parents are not always right, but they are always to be obeyed “in every way”; that is to say, not only by doing what they are told, but by doing it willingly, from the heart, “because this is what much pleases the Lord.” Obedience to one’s parents is part and parcel with obedience to God. It is a spiritual act, an act of worship.
There is a certain order in the universe, with God in Christ paramount. A time will come when children will have the duty and the right to educate their own children. That is when they can call the shots. But as long as they are minors, their safety is to be found in accepting the thoughtful, godly, loving guidance of their parents.
Such an order lays a tremendous burden on parents, especially fathers: “Fathers, do not frustrate your children, so that they do not lose heart.” What frustrates children more than anything else? What causes them to loose heart? Inconsistency on the part of parents, lack of fairness, unfulfilled warnings, arbitrariness, contempt, and suppression all contribute to a child’s frustration and led to the kind of indifference that expresses despair.
Children are taught to lie by parents who break promises and do not carry out warnings. They develop a well-justified sense of injustice if their parents do not hear them out before reacting, treat any of their siblings differently, or vacillate between forbidding and allowing the same kind of behavior. They are frustrated when they do not know what to expect, because their parents’ reaction depends more on the parents’ mood than on what they have done. They rebel or sink into indifference if their parents do not respect the image of God in them and therefore suppress initiative, repeatedly express lack of confidence in them, or do not encourage them to think and act on their own. If the children can never do right, why should they try? What is the point of trying when there is never any encouragement if, however well the child performs or however much he or she has invested effort, no compliment will be forthcoming? If they can never meet the standard, they will inevitably despair. Trust your child. Give her opportunity to grow, to make mistakes and learn from them, to develop her own God-given propensities, to be herself.
Contrary to what Roman culture taught, children are not subject to the arbitrary whims of their parents. Nor are they extensions of the parents’ persona. Parents are not to live out their unfulfilled ambitions through their children, nor impose their views—not even their faith. True faith is the product of a work of God in the human heart, not the imposition of man. It is the God-given response of an individual to God; it can never be forced by human hands. If we are to avoid frustrating our children and causing them to lose heart, we must educate them to think independently and equip them with spiritual and moral standards. Such standards are best inculcated by way of example. Children who grow up in a godly home where faithful, tender affection is expressed, integrity is preserved, and God is lovingly feared will have the means to weigh and make their own decisions. God will draw to himself those among our children whom he sees fit.
The opposite of frustration and loss of heart is what we should seek for our children: a holy, humble, honest ambition to fully realize their gifts; a respectful, caring attitude toward others; a sense of dignified integrity, vigor, and happiness. When these are combined with God’s saving, sanctifying grace, our children will realize their full potential, and God will be glorified in them. What more could we desire?
I have deep respect and love for Baruch Maoz, and the work that he is carrying on in Israel, despite obstacles and opposition. He has been a dear friend for many years. I’ll never forget doing a conference for him in Israel several years ago. I pray that God may use his sound theology, helpful preaching, excellent books, and numerous gifts for the conversion and spiritual maturation of thousands of Israelis and for the abundant glory of God. Rev. Joel R. Beeke, Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation, Author
Baruch Maoz has been a minister of the gospel, author, publisher, and voice for believers in the land of Israel for four decades. I have seen firsthand the fruit of his ministry and I cannot recommend it too highly. Baruch’s preaching, teaching, and writing ministry should be supported by all who care about the gospel and its impact in Israel and beyond! Pastor Jerry Marcellino, Audubon Drive Bible Church, Federation of reformed Evangelicals – Laurel, Mississippi
Knowing and embracing our Lord’s clear directive to bring the Gospel to the “Jew first” I, along with BPC have been extraordinarily blessed to work in partnership with the effective biblical and faithful ministry of Baruch Maoz. His ministry of evangelism, discipleship, along with his strategic and insightful writing/translation projects, only enhance my opportunity to recommend him and his ministry. Rev. Harry Reeder, Senior Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church (PCA), Birmingham AL
Tom Ascol of the Founders Movement writes: "Baruch and Bracha Maoz serve in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Baruch has served as a pastor, publisher, author and church reformer in his homeland of Israel. He has ministered several times with our Grace Baptist Church family in Cape Coral and our people have come to love Bracha and him dearly. I highly recommend his and his ministry to any church that values expositional preaching and the gospel of God's grace." Dr. Thomas Ascol, Grace Baptist Church (SBC), Founders Movement, Cape Coral FL
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TAX-deductable support for our ministry should be written to the order of Berean Baptist church, P.O. Box 1233, Grand Blanc, Michigan48480-3233. Direct bank transfers may be made to Franklin Bank, 24725 West Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48034 USA, Routing Number 241271957 Berean Baptist Special Account No. 567495976.
Please inform Ms. Craig Cooper at Berean Baptist Church of the details of the transaction (including date, transaction number and sum) at email@example.com
All contributions are tax deductable. Receipts are sent at the end of the calendar year or at the donor's request.
Please do not send contributions directly to us – we consider accountability important.
Funds sent for the ministry will be used exclusively for that purpose. We reserve the right to use for the ministry funds sent for personal use.
IMPORTANT NOTICE Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org Please edit your Contacts List and henceforth direct all mail to that address.
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