Apples of Gold

Apples of Gold contains articles to help you draw closer to God and grow in your worship of Him.  It is our desire that these truly will be words "fitly spoken" to encourage you in your walk with the Lord.

It's All About Timing

Rob Stroup
Written by Rob Stroup

Do the righteous deserve to be rewarded for serving God? Do the unrighteous deserve punishment for doing wrong? Be careful how quickly you answer that question, because we often see the wicked prospering and the righteous suffering. If God is in control and the wicked are unpunished, is He just? If God is in control and the righteous suffer, is He caring? We often grow frustrated because it seems we don’t get what we feel we deserve while making right choices. We want God to quickly reward us with good results for being kind, honest, or faithful. Many times, though, the benefits of obeying Him are not immediately evident. Conversely, often the people we perceive as selfish, arrogant, unkind, and dishonest seem to get ahead and nothing happens to them. The temptation is to assume that they get away with their sin. Where is the justice in that?

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Who Made You Different?

Rob Stroup
Written by Rob Stroup

1 Corinthians 4:7(a) For who maketh thee to differ from another?

In Luke 18: 9-14, when the publican and the Pharisee came to the temple to pray, the Pharisee thanked God that he was not as other men. No doubt he was thinking of how he had kept himself from sins of the flesh. As a keeper of the law, he was nowhere near immorality. He was careful always to be exactly accurate in all business transactions, not taking advantage of others. Never would he allow an untruth to cross his lips. He handled his money wisely and tithed of every possession to God. In his spiritual zeal, his hair was cut and groomed in accordance with the teachings of the law and the rabbis, his spiritual leaders. His clothing was made of fabrics that were specifically described in the writings of Moses. Sabbath days were always holy days in his family, spent in the temple, praying and avoiding anything that looked like physical labor. His self discipline was exemplary, even fasting every week! If any man was unspotted by the world and set apart for God, it was the Pharisee.

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The Narrow Path

Rob Stroup
Written by Rob Stroup

Matthew 7:13, 14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

There has been confusion about these verses – do they teach about the way to heaven and hell? Does this teaching from the Sermon on the Mount mean that life choices are how God determines who has eternal life?

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Faithful Creator

Rob Stroup
Written by Rob Stroup

1Peter 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

The Jews were being persecuted for their faith in God. Why did Peter try to encourage the suffering believers with a statement about God as a “faithful Creator?” Just as we expect the sun to rise each day, we should have even more confidence in the God Who makes it happen!

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It's Not a Game!

Rob Stroup
Written by Rob Stroup

The other night our Sunday School class gathered together and played board games. There were games that were very fast and some that were more methodical. One of the games involved trying to guess what the other players were thinking. It was really a great time of getting to know one another in an informal setting. No one took it too seriously, telling stories and teasing one another as the games progressed. Sometimes a player would become distracted by the conversation and make a mistake that could cost them points or even cause them to lose a turn! The more intent players could take advantage of the distraction and make moves or play cards that would change the game. Thankfully, I never saw anyone get overly upset when they lost. As I considered it later, it reminded me of how many times we become distracted in life and miss opportunities or make mistakes. The glaring difference is that our life is not just a game and we must take it seriously.

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