Saturday, May 23, 2020

Welcome

June is now posted.


We will be posting the Glorious Gospel articles individually below. A PDF file (large print) can be downloaded under the Archives tab and printed if desired, as well as past editions.

There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.

SPIRITUAL ESCAPEES


Jack Davis


“Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 124:6-8

There are multiplied snares set for our triune being, that would be used by our adversary to keep us from the ultimate purpose of our deliverance (Salvation to the uttermost). Oh yes,, there are many chains and bonds intended to hold us captive from the glorious liberty of God’s people. Praise God, the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed, and promised to break every chain and give us the victory again and again. Snares are still being broken for God’s people today and we are escaping.

“If it had not been the LORD was on our side, when men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul. Then the proud waters had gone over our soul” – Vs. 2-5.

“The Lord was on our side.” How did they know? How do we know He is on our side? Of course we know because the Bible tells us so, but also by experiencing the protection provided, and the blessings bestowed. It is often in the most trying experiences that we really prove it.

“When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Isaiah 43:2

What a promise! What assurance! How marvelous, He is able to keep us from the fire and in it. He can bring us through, and He will bring us out. In the midst of the trial, the fire can be used to burn off the bands (Daniel 3:23-24) and also to purify the gold (Job 23:10). He is providing now that the trial of our faith be found unto His praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. (I Peter 1:7). We read in I Cor. 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Sometimes we insist on a quick escape, and miss some of the benefit for which the trial was allowed.

Full overcomers are not necessarily always escapist. We read in Hebrews 11:34, that some escaped the edge of the sword, and others out of weakness were made strong. Yet there is so many times that we would like to fly away. There certainly are times that some of us have to experience discomfort before we ever desire to get out of our rut. It seems that at times He has to let things close in on us before He can shake us out. I am reminded of Israel in Egypt.

“And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.” Psalm 55:6

Wings symbolize to me the God given ability to rise and reign, to be more than conquerors. These things are provided for all of  God’s children, but how many of us use them? Oh yes there is a “windy storm and tempest coming.” Thank God for the escape He has so wonderfully provided.

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Revelation 3:10

PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD


Anita Clark – Pastor, Carbondale, Kansas


“The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” Mark 1:3.

This verse is repeated here by Mark from Isaiah 40:3 - “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert the highway for our God. John did exactly as he was prophesied to do. He prepared the way for Christ to be recognized as the Messiah to Israel. Also, in Malachi 3:1, a prophecy of John the Baptist, whose ministry began before Christ Jesus was revealed. Think of this word “Prepare.” It means in the Hebrew Old Testament, “providing, to make ready, planning, and supplying.” His whole ministry was to promote Jesus to be recognized as the Messiah. He suffered a martyr’s death because he obeyed God completely.

We think of Jesus Christ who said, “I go to prepare a place for you” - John 14:1-3. Jesus did not mean that he was going to do a lot of carpentry work so we could have a mansion over there in heaven. I believe that He was referring to the work He would do through His death on the cross that would supply all who believe a place with Him in heaven. He went willingly to the worst death contrived by man - one that caused tremendous suffering to those who died in that manner. Through His death all provision was made for us who believe to have an eternal dwelling in heaven with him. Everything we will ever need has been “ prepared” for us by the death of Christ. Every victory over every trial - He already fought that battle and won for us. Lay hold of that provision by faith.

You may say, “I don’t have enough faith to lay hold of that.” Read Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” If you are not regularly hearing God’s Word, you will lack faith in tests and trials of life.

The Word of God says, “Not forsaking of the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as we see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). Right now we are not able to meet together, and oh, how much we miss it! We help one another, giving support by our obeying the Word and meeting together.

Everything we need for our Christian life is already “prepared” for us. Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The word “supply” in the original Greek means “to make replete (filled or well supplied), to cram, to satisfy, to finish (a period or task) or perfect.” This great supply that Jesus’ death has provided for us brings us victory everyday, through every trial and test.

How can we prepare the way of the Christ, Who is coming very soon? First, We need to be sure we are prepared. Amos 4:12 says, “Prepare to meet thy God.” Israel was told, “Prepare yourselves.” (II Chron. 35:4). John the Baptist went before the Lord declaring repentance, and preparing others to believe in Jesus as their Messiah. Are we ready to see the Lord when He comes?

Signs of the soon coming of Christ are everywhere. The Bible declares that there will be seven years of tribulation, which shall come upon all the earth to try them that dwell upon the earth. The Scripture teaches that to those who look for Christ Jesus, He will come and take them away to be with Him before the tribulation starts. How can we “prepare” to meet our God? How can we be ready to answer that trumpet sound as we read in I Thessalonians 4:13-18? Here is alist of things God can work in us if we let Him:
1. First yield ourselves to God, putting Him first.
2. Make sure our family is giving Jesus first place in their lives.
3. Be a good example to them, showing the love of Jesus and His compassion.
4. Telling others that Christ is coming soon.
5. Loving Jesus vehemently - meaning passionately, ardently, intensely, and earnestly.

Jesus wants first place in our lives. We need to be prepared for that special place He has prepared for us. Revelation 21:3 speaks of the Bride of Christ “prepared for her husband.”

HOW DO WE PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD? Yield to God ourselves. Pray for Him to come soon. Walk with God as a true believer before the world. Believe and live to show we are not of the world, but of the new world to come. Long for and pray for His soon return. Witness to those around us to receive Christ and be ready. HE’S COMING VERY SOON.

Walk With God



“These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:9

“And Enoch walked  with God: and he was not; for God took  him.” Genesis 5:24

There are several people in the Bible of whom it is said that they waked with God. When I read Genesis 3:8 where it says that God was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, it causes me to realize that God was accustomed to walking with Adam and Eve in the garden. How amazing that the Creator of the universe would choose to walk with His creation.

This is clearly what God desired when He created man. He wanted fellowship with His creation. This is still God’s desire today. He wants to walk with us, or more importantly, He wants us to walk with Him. The problem is that the fellowship that God had in the garden was broken by Adam’s sin, and that made it impossible for man to walk with his Creator any more.

Simply put, God is Holy, and sin cannot enter His presence. That leaves sinful man separated from God’s presence. And because a sinful man could not improve this situation, God had to bring the change. Jesus dying on the cross was not just to create some “religion,” it was to change the equation so that the penalty of our sin was taken by Jesus and we could once again come into God’s presence. Hebrews 10:19-22.

So, how were Enoch and Noah able to walk with God? They did it the same way we can; by faith in God’s atonement. Their faith looked forward to God’s atoning work, our faith looks back to the cross. The important example that has been set for us is that they desired to walk with God, and He honored that.

Today, God still wants to walk with you. Yes, with YOU. This is not some religion we are talking about. Religion has requirements, and traditions, and rituals. God just wants to walk with you and talk with you. No requirements except to be saved by the blood of Jesus. No rituals, just a walk with the Almighty, Supreme God of the universe: your Creator.

I don’t know if you have ever thought about what it might really mean to walk with God. When you have a revelation about who God is, and realize the awesome privilege that it is to come into His presence (fear of the Lord in scripture), you can come to enjoy your walk with Him. There are many today that seem to think that we get to demand things from God (decree something that God has to bring about). This demonstrates a lack of understanding of God.

I encourage you to consider whether you really have a desire to walk with God. If you do, just know that He wants to walk with you. In Luke 24 we find Jesus approaching two disciples and walking with them. Read that. It is such a great example of His tenderness in walking with us. They did not approach Jesus to walk with Him, He approached them. Today, He is approaching you to walk with you.

One of these days, we will be walking with our Lord, and we will not be for He will take us.

Gordon Crook

Prophecy 


Earlene Davis
THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS


In Matthew 24, Jesus gives prophecy of a time of Tribulation that is coming upon the earth and the signs that lead up to it. It is the prophetic week of Dan. 9:27, which is seven years long. The last half of those seven years will be great tribulation, called Jacob’s trouble in Jer. 30:7. At the beginning of the seven years Israel will be deceived and enter into a covenant with the nations. This will be their down fall, which we will cover later.

Before those seven years begin, the overcomers of the Church will be raptured, I Thess. 4:14-17. Then Christ will be seated on His throne in heaven to reign, Rev. 4. Gentile times are then ended and judgment will begin for the nations and ungodly men, the tribulation days. They will end when Christ comes to the aid of Israel and take vengeance on the nations, II Thess. 1:7-8; Jude Vs. 14-15 and Rev. 19:11-16. There is almost seven years between these two phases of His coming.

Mt. 24:1, “Jesus went out, and departed from the temple.” The leaders of Israel had rejected Him (chapter 23), and He said unto them, “Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” –  Mt. 23:39. A remnant of  Israel will receive Him at the end of those days of Tribulation.

“The disciples came to him to show Him the buildings of the temple,” in which they had much pride. “Jesus said, See ye not all these things? Verity I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (V. 2). “The disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (or Age), V. 3.

SIGNS

Vs. 4-5, “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” It will be a time of deceiving. I know I have heard of some in my life time. And we know by Scripture, the greatest deceiver to come will be the Antichrist.

V. 6, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” All these things are signs. There has been a war going on somewhere in the world since 1914. There are wars going on today and rumors of several wars that could break out any time. The leaders of the nations are trying to bring about world peace by negotiations, trying to keep wars from happening. The Lord says, let not these things cause  great anxiety, for these things must come to pass, the worst comes later.

V. 7, “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers (various) places.” True these things have happened in the history of the world, but these signs are of significant character, coming all together or one after another. Famine follows war and is also caused by lack of rain. Many countries are suffering famine. Pestilences are present in many forms: AIDS, Ebola Virus, and Coronavirus are world health problems, and killer hornets, etc. Earthquakes use to happen in 50 or 100 years, but have increased and become common even in unusual places.

V. 8, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” In other words all these things lead up to the seven years of tribulation. We are not in the tribulation period, but I do believe we are in the beginning of sorrows, the signs God gave to alert His people to the times in which they live. So that we will be ready for our LORD’s return and not spiritually sleeping. In I Thessalonians 5:5 Paul says, we are not children of the night, we should not experience the tribulation days. For they are the day of His wrath. He has provided that we escape those days, He has given us these signs. I Cor. 11:31-32, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” We are to judge ourselves by the Word of God.

Wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes should wake people up, that the time is near. But most are not stirred toward the Lord. These things happen so frequently now that people treat them as common place and become numb to news reports. Most Christians are indifferent as if they are going to continue here forever. Oh, that men would seek the Lord and put Him first in their lives. Luke 21:28, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
Continued next issue: Tribulation begins

JONAH


Debra Isenbletter, pastor
Springfield, Missouri


Vs 7: “And they said everyone to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So, they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.”

Everyone is desperate to find out what they can do to save themselves, how to remedy the situation. They have prayed to their gods and that has not helped. They have thrown everything overboard that they can and that has not helped. The captain has brought Jonah above to stand with everyone else. We don’t read that he prayed. We don’t read that he has said anything. We don’t read what his reaction is to the storm. Jonah is still silent. The sailors and captain are desperate and they come up with one more thing they can do, it is to find out if this is someone’s fault, to find the person responsible.

First, we see the Practice that was common in that day: “And they said everyone to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots,” It was the practice of casting lots to make a decision, or to find out something. In that practice, which the sailors and even Jonah participated in, we see a unity of purpose in the word “everyone” and the word “fellow.” They were “companions” or “friends” which shows a personal relationship. They were “fellow sailors” and a “fellow passenger” which shows a professional relationship. But whatever the relationship, whether personal or professional, whether close or distant, they were draw together by their need. They say, “let us”, let each of us, let all of us do this. Let us “cast lots.” The word “cast” means “to throw” and the word “lots” comes from “a pebble” and small stones were used for that purpose. It was a form for divination, of trying to seek knowledge by divine or supernatural means. Man would not or could not know the outcome, therefore the result was by divine intervention. Both pagans and Jews used this method, either for decisions, or directions. They had come to the end of themselves so they were going to ask their gods and Jonah’s God would give them an answer. We don’t know the specific details of how they did this but they may have used an individual marker or stone to identify each individual, then either one was drawn out of the container or the container was shaken and one fell out.

Even though this is a form of divination, casting lots was permitted by God and used in the following ways. Lots were cast to choose the land where each tribe would dwell (Num.26:52-56). Lots were cast to choose the scapegoat (Lev.18:8-9). Lots were cast to choose the courses for the priests service in the temple (1Ch.24:5; Luk.1:18). Lots were cast to choose who brought wood offerings to the house of God (Neh.10:14). Lots were cast to find a guilty man: Achan (Joshs.7:13-20). Lots were cast to choose a king: Saul (1Sa.10:19-22). Lots were cast to choose a replacement for Judas: Matthias (Acts 1:1:21-26).

Second, we see the Purpose: “that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us.” They recognized that the storm was a divine judgment, they called it “this evil” or this “adversity, this calamity.” They realized that someone was responsible and wanted to know who it was. They seem to be aware of what Jonah still cannot see—he is responsible. Their actions will force Jonah to face his actions.

Finally, we see the Person: “So, they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.” Was Jonah surprised? Were the sailors surprised? Whatever method man used, it shows that God was still in control. “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.” (Prov.16:33). The phrase “the whole disposing thereof” means “its ever decision.” This shows that God is sovereign over human affairs and what may look like chance is really part of His plan.

This choosing of Jonah shows an obligation cannot be avoided and that a sin cannot be hidden. We see that principal in the behavior of Gad and Reuben when they wanted to settle and not cross over Jordan and fight (Num.32:1-6). Moses told them if they neglected their obligation there would be consequences. “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Num.32:33). Jonah’s sin found him out!

This choosing of Jonah shows the Lord will reveal and bring to light what is hidden. “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.” (Luk.12:2). Jonah’s hidden sin is revealed and brought to light. He is forced to face it.

What a sobering lesson in how the Lord is in control, He is always in control. There is no hiding from Him. There is no running from Him. There will come a time when He brings us face to face with our decisions and Jonah is now forced to face the decisions he has made.
Continued next issue

Instruments of Righteousness 


by
Dr. Victoria Moots


“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and our members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Rom. 6:12-13).
What is an instrument? It is a tool that is prepared for a specific purpose, such as a musical or surgical instrument. Since I am a physician, I am going to use the analogy of surgical instruments compared to us as members of the body of Christ and instruments of God. God performed the first surgery when he removed a rib from Adam to prepare a bride for him. He continues to perform surgery on the body, the church, and is in need of instruments. Even the simplest of surgeries required a variety of instruments. God desires to use each one of us in a special way for a specific purpose. He has chosen us and purchased us with the blood of his Son.
No matter how good a surgeon is, he cannot perform surgery without instruments. The instruments do not possess any skill; the surgeon does. For each surgery a group of instruments is necessary, not just one; and none of these are more important than the other. The value of each instrument is not based on its size, the brand name or the previous surgeries for which it has been used, but on its intended use. Each one is of equal value when it is in the hands of the surgeon. Each instrument has been created for a specific purpose and will be used as the need arises. Some will be used more often than others, but each one must be clean and sterilized and prepared ahead of time in order to be used. God has fashioned each member of the body of Christ according to his plan and arranged us in a specific manner in much the same way as instruments on a surgical tray are laid out prior to surgery in preparation to be used when the surgeon calls for them. Just like the surgical instruments, each one of us is unique and valuable to the Lord, but we must be willing to work together and wait on the Lord for his timing. We must also yield to the necessary cleansing process that prepares us for service, for the ministry he has chosen for us.
Each surgical instrument must be cleansed initially and after each surgery or anytime it becomes contaminated. Instruments in a hospital are taken to Central Supply for a thorough scrubbing and cleansing wash. In II Cor. 7:1 Paul instructs us that we are to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” An instrument cannot cleanse itself; it simply has to yield to the cleansing process that has been provided. We are to let him cleanse us through his Word, as is stated in Eph. 5:26: “That he might sanctify and cleanse it [the church] with the washing of water by the word.” What does it mean to sanctify something? It means to set it apart or separate it for a specific purpose. Not only does he cleanse us, but he must separate us from the world in order to be useful as his instruments.
After surgical instruments are cleansed, they must be sterilized. Prior to sterilization an instrument is placed in a special package that is capable of withstanding heat, and it is sealed so that the instrument is completely separated from anything that could contaminate it. Then it is put into a sterilizer which is heated to a specific temperature to kill any residual bacteria. It remains in that package with a seal on it signifying that it is ready to be used when the surgeon needs it.
Sterilized instruments are not better instruments. They are the same instruments but they are better prepared, for they have not only been cleansed but separated and sealed. As God’s instruments we also must be cleansed, separated, sealed and put “through the fire” in order to be declared instruments of righteousness. We are to be separated from the world, for we are in the world but not of the world. God instructs us to do this in II Cor. 6:17: “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing.” It is only then that we can be deemed suitable for service. We don’t like the scrubbing or the separation, and we certainly don’t enjoy the fiery trials, but it is only through this process that he can purify us.
It is the Holy Spirit that separates us unto God. Paul was considered by God to be a “chosen vessel,” but he had to be separated for service, as we read in Acts 13:2: “the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul [Paul] for the work whereunto I have called them.” What about the seal? Eph. 1:13 answers that question: “after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” So, you see that the Holy Spirit not only separates us but seals us for service. Our job is to yield to the Holy Spirit and let him do the work in us.
If a sterilized instrument falls during surgery and becomes contaminated it is not thrown away, for it is too valuable to be discarded. It is picked up, cleansed and put “through the fire” again so that it may be used at another time. Likewise, there are times when we may stumble and fall but God does not discard us. We are too valuable to him for he paid a great price for us. First, he picks us up. This is described in Ps. 37:23-24: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.” Then comes the cleansing so that he may use us: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). We are also exposed daily to the contamination of this world and need a daily cleansing from the water of the Word of God.
During the time that a fallen contaminated instrument is being resterilized, the surgeon has to substitute with a different sterile instrument in order to finish the surgery. We must remain yielded and separated at all times, for God may need to use us outside of our “calling.” Remember, it is the skill of the surgeon that is important, not ours. Our job is simply to yield our physical members as instruments of righteousness in his hands.
Many different types of instruments are needed during a surgery to perform the multitude of required tasks. Some are very small and may seem insignificant, while others are quite large, but all are necessary. This is also true in the body of Christ. For example, a scalpel is first needed to do the cutting. This would represent the Word of God, which is “sharper than any twoedged sword” (Heb. 4:12), that is given out by the ministers. Then retractors are used to pull back the tissues and hold things out of the way. These could represent prayer warriors who hold back the forces of the enemy (Satan) by their prayers. Without retractors it would be very difficult to perform surgery. Forceps are necessary to pick up things. Spiritually, we are instructed to “lift up” the hands that hang down, to comfort and help those in need. Various clamps are needed to hold things or bring things together, which is also an important ministry in the body of Christ. I could use other examples, but I think you get the idea by now that we each have a ministry that God has given us to perform, and that we are valuable to him. God did not choose us because we were valuable. We are valuable because he chose us.
God is capable of taking anyone, no matter how defiled and dirty they may be, and transforming them into an instrument of righteousness. I would like to illustrate this by relating an experience I had while on a medical mission trip to a third world country a number of years ago. On that particular trip a group of plumbers and other handymen had also come for the purpose of trying to restore water and repair plumbing, including toilets, in the hospital where the surgical team was to be working. A patient was brought to the hospital that needed some surgery which required orthopedic instruments, but none were available. One of the doctors realized that the plumbers’ tools were similar to what was needed and suggested that perhaps they could be cleaned and sterilized and used for the surgery. So that is exactly what happened. The filthy tools that had been used the day before to fix toilets were scrubbed and sterilized and became servants of the surgeon instead of the plumber. They had been transformed from dirty to clean and the surgery was able to be performed successfully.
This is also what God can do for us. He sees our potential to become his instruments, and by the blood of Jesus is able to transform us from servants of sin into instruments of righteousness. All we need to do is to be willing to yield ourselves to him and be cleansed.