Saturday, December 1, 2018


Jack Davis

Malachi 3:16-18, “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”

Reading from the Scripture of all that God has spared and not spared, will and will not spare, is to read a message of divine forbearance and love. Some of the Hebrew words translated “spare” express “to have compassion on, to pity, commiserate.” Others mean to “restrain, refrain, preserve, hold back, withhold, (generally) to forego inflicting the retribution designed.” May it ever be remembered and touch our hearts, that the righteous retribution designed for my sin (the sin of the whole world) was poured without measure upon God’s dear Son, our holy Savior and lovely Lord.

God had one beloved Son that fully served Him. This Son could say, “I do always the things that please my Father.” It seems very clear from these Scriptures that some sons are going to get in harmony with Him; that there are those who once “turned every one to his own way,” but the Lord “laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Some of those sons will set on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Then there are some other sons that will have first judged themselves and then will judge the angels and the world.

Let us note who it is that He intends to spare. “My jewels” – those of His finding, that have undergone the grinding, that He will set in a permanent prominent place. “They shall be mine,” – These are those whose thoughts please Him as well as their words. God is pleased with those that think of Him and speak often to one another about Him and His Son. Oh yes, He does take notice of what we say. He records, remembers and rewards.

We realize as we come to know the Lord in His Word, that there is so very very much that He has and is sparing us from. There is yet far more in the future. Only eternity will tell it all. There are many sons that the heavenly Father has kept. It is a joy to consider all that He has preserved us for as well as from.

“THE ANGELS THAT SINNED” – For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;” II Peter 2:4. Peter seems to be giving strength to the argument that God was going to judge false prophets and false teachers by pointing out the destiny of those beautiful, heavenly creatures that sinned. Jude 6 confirms that those lovely beings “kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” We should know that God always does right; He is consistent with His holy law and His holy nature; He judges righteously.

“THE OLD WORLD” – “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;” II Peter 2:5. The righteous Judge determines what and where He will judge and spare, and His judgment is always fair. The saints will testify in eternity, “true and righteous are his judgments” – Rev. 19:2 & 16:7.

“SODOM AND GOMORRAH” – We read that those cities, “giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” Jude 7. God turning those cities “into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with  their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:” II Pet. 2:6-9.

We read in Romans 1:27 of some of God’s judgment against “going after strange flesh,” and it seems that in Scripture, God often allows the punishment to fit the sin. We are aware that in every age and generation, the multiplied temptations seems to get stronger. Yet the fact remains true, God does know how to deliver us all out of temptation, in whatever form it takes. PRAISE GOD!

THE NATURAL BRANCHES – ISRAEL – “I will therefore put you in remembrance…how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” Jude 5. “Boast not against the branches, But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee:” Rom. 11:18-21. Here we read of God’s judgment of His own chosen people, spoken of as the “natural branches” and the “wild olive tree” as the represented Gentile nations. We Gentile nations are warned against the national pride of the national condemnation of Israel. Some in the past have referred to them as Christ-killers. But “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” All humanity is guilty of our Lord Jesus Christ’s death.

HIS OWN SON – “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” – Rom. 8:31-34.

Oh what a precious, powerful portion of Scripture! Herein lies the beauty of grace divine. This is a fact so immense, it is mind boggling to say the least. When we think of all that God did not spare: the Angels, the world before the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the “natural branches” from, and then down to this choice, HIS OWN SON, the holy, only undefiled, altogether lovely.Son of His love. In accord with His own law and government, He could not spare Him and spare us also. The Son of His greatest joy, His uttermost delight, that always please the Father in all things, was not withheld, “But delivered Him up for us all.”

“God so loved…that he gave his only begotten Son.” We think of how this was expressed in type with Abraham and Isaac. God told Abraham, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest…and offer him there.” Now when Abraham had obeyed and was about to complete his task, God said, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad…seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me” Gen. 22:2,12. Isaac was Abraham’s most prize possession, his most treasured treasure. In Isaac were contained all the promised blessings, the promised heir, yet he was not withheld. What a beautiful type!

God’s full inheritance for us is His beloved Son. He is the appointed and anointed heir of all things, so what more, what else, what greater gift could God give. “With Him” all things are freely ours. Yet the only righteous and holy bases for such giving and forgiving, rested upon the full penalty being paid for our sin.

Just think of it, beloved, God spared not His own Son. The entire punishment for our sin, the immeasurable, uttermost anger, the wrath of divine judgment and justice was totally poured out on God’s beloved Son. “Surely he hath borne nor griefs, and carried our sorrow: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” – Isa. 53:4-6.

Jesus bore it all alone; with the sin of the whole world put to His account, He became poor, made sin, that we might be made righteous and eternally rich.

What are we saying to these things in word and deed? Shall we not speak to one another about Him who is altogether lovely? What are we withholding from Him? What are we sparing? Do we not owe Him our whole being our entire life? Thank God for the life that we have to give.


Anita Clark – Pastor

Grace Chapel, Carbondale, Kansas

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined...For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this” Isaiah 9:2, 6-7.

This is one of the prophecies of the Son of God, who would come upon the earth. The people of the earth who were walking in the darkness of their sins would see a “great light.” This great light was Jesus Christ. He called Himself, “The Light of the World.” This light showed up sin to be the evil it definitely is, and then illuminated and made bright the path to forgiveness for the evil of sin by a loving God.

This light which shined down on the very spot where Jesus lay nestled in the hay of an ordinary manger, where lambs and sheep were feed, came from a magnificent star; a star that has had so called “wise men” puzzled about its origin ever since. Later in Jesus’ life as He entered His ministry, He declared that He Is “the Light of the world.” In Isaiah 8:22, it tells the opposite side of the story, “And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.” This is speaking of Israel in olden times when they had trouble with the Assyrians, but also shows how the unbelieving world finds themselves helpless in the darkness of their sin, as they walk away from the Light, the Lord Jesus Christ.

These beautiful names of our Savior Jesus Christ give such a wonderful description of our dear Lord. “His name shall be called Wonderful.” “Wonderful” in the Hebrew (the Old Testament was written in Hebrew) means “a miracle, a marvelous thing.” In Judges 13:18 a messenger of God appeared to Manoah, the father of Samson, the mighty and strong man. Manoah asked what the being’s name was and He answered, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is Secret.” This word, “secret” is the same word in the Hebrew as “wonderful” in Isa. 9:6. When we seek the Lord and inquire after Him, He reveals the secret treasures to us. For example Apostle Paul used the word “mystery” to describe truths that to the majority of people are “secret,” but they are revealed to those who diligently seek after Christ Jesus.

“Counsellor” is the next name of the Lord Jesus Christ mentioned here (V. 6). In our day this word is spelled, counselor. In the Hebrew it means, “an advisor, one who deliberates, consultant, guide.” How precious the thought that Jesus is all these things to us. As we consult Him for His direction and advise, we can’t go wrong. The Scripture tells us that Christ sits at the right hand of God as our Counselor or Advocate, making intercession for us. Psalms 1:1,2 states, “Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law does he meditate day and night.” Psalms 33:11 says, “The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations.” Also the blessed verse, “thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me up to glory,” Psalms 73:24.

“The Mighty God” is the next title given to Jesus the Son of God. “The Mighty God” is the name God called Himself when He appeared to Abraham in Genesis 17:1, where the Lord told Abraham “I am the Almighty God, walk before and be thou perfect.” The word “God” in Isa.9:6 and the word, “God” here are the same Hebrew word, meaning “strength, almighty, power.” The word “Almighty” or “Shaddai” in Genesis 17:1, means the “nourisher, sustainer or the breasted One.” He not only is the God of Miracles, but the God who “keeps us going,” sustaining us in trials and afflictions. John the Apostle learned to rest on Jesus breast, in close fellowship, when Jesus was here on earth. Some have said that this was because he was younger than the others, and needed to lean on someone older to sustain him. This place of fellowship brought a depth of understanding to John’s heart, which is seen in his work as he wrote by the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John, which is the deepest one of the four Gospels, - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We too need to learn to lean on Jesus. He has invited us to “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly and you will find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” Matthew 11;28-30. He is the Mighty God.

“The Everlasting Father,” is the next prophesied name of the Son of God. Although Jesus is the Son of God the Father, for 1,000 years He will reign as God Almighty and as “the Everlasting Father.” “Everlasting” in the Hebrew means “ in perpetuity (unending), everlasting, and eternity.” The word “Father” means the “paternal side, principal or chief.” Jesus will manifest that loving care as a father does his children, holding them, soothing them, loving them without reservation. That’s our beloved Lord Jesus. Enfolding us in His great arms of strength, soothing our fears, giving us courage to go on. Some of us never experienced this kind of tender care from our earthly dad, but this is certainly what we experience with our heavenly Father all the time. He loves us with an everlasting love. Jesus will take on this role during His reign of the millennium.

“The Prince of Peace,” The word “Prince” means “ the head person (of rank or class), chief, general, Lord, Ruler etc.” Colossians 1:17-10 tells us, “And He (Jesus) is before all things and by Him all things consist (are sustained), And He is the head of the church; Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness (completeness) dwell.” Being the Head of the Church is His official place right now during this Age of Grace. In the Age to come, He will be the Prince, Son of God, King of kings, and Lord of Lords. I Timothy 6:15-16 are some of my favorite Scriptures, “The Lord Jesus Christ, Which in His times He will show, Who is the blessed and only potentate, the Kings of Kings, and the Lord of Lords; Who only has immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto; whom no man Hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honor and power, everlasting. Amen.” We are eager to see our dear Lord Jesus take His rightful place as ruler. He will be crowned in the heavens and take His throne (Rev.4). He will be putting all principalities and powers under His feet during the seven years of tribulation and then He will rule in His peaceful millennial kingdom. The word “peace” is the Hebrew word “Shalom,” which means, “safe, well, happy, prosperous and rest, etc.”

Isaiah 9:7 tells of His kingdom. He will rule upon the throne of His father David, which will fulfill the prophecies. God planned all of this concerning Jesus Christ being born of the right ancestral line, descendant of King David, to fulfill the promise to David in II Samuel 7:8-17 that his seed would reign upon his (David’s) throne forever. How blessed is that! We might say, God moved “heaven and earth” to fulfill this promise. The right man to father the prophesied Son, the right woman to be His mother, not just anyone, but the exact ones to fulfill God’s prophetic word.
Does God do that for us too? Yes, He does. Each of us can look back and see the miraculous way God worked in our past to bring us into this glorious way of the Truth. All we need to do is to walk with Him and let Him lead us on in His perfect way and will.


Gordon Crook

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. Psalm 139:17-18
As we come to the end of the year, it is time to account for this year. We will soon be accounting for what we owe the IRS, or what they owe us. Businesses have to account for their profit and losses. Lots of counting to be done. Let us not forget to count our blessings.
I don’t think that we should spend a lot of time looking at the past, but sometimes it is good to look back so we can account for God’s goodness and mercy and grace in our lives. The song says; “Count Your Blessings.” I don’t think we need to “count” them, as it might be impossible. However, we should consider them to elicit praise to our amazing God. The idea of counting them is to indicate that they are numerous.
“Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” Psalm 40:5 We will never be able to account for every thought and blessing that God bestows on us, but it should not keep us from speaking of them and showing our gratitude. David was exceedingly grateful towards God. He recognized God’s many blessings in his life, and knew that he did not deserve even one of them. “My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know  not the numbers thereof.” Psalm 71:15.
It seems that we are often easily able to count our troubles and enumerate the trials that come our way. But, they pale in number compared to the blessings that God bestows. They also pale in comparison to the glory that God has prepared for us. “For I reckon  that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed  in us.” Romans 8:18
As you consider God’s goodness and all of the blessings that He has brought your way, I want to move your focus to the most important blessings that over shadow all others and make our troubles seem so insignificant. Read Ephesians 1:3-14, and most of the second chapter. Spiritual blessings far exceed the value of the natural blessings we receive.
I don’t intend to suggest that we should not be thankful for the natural blessings that we receive. However, we can often get focused on those, and then we can get disillusioned if they go away. The spiritual blessings that were purchased for us by the blood of Jesus are far more important, and also they are eternal.
Since we tend to spend time and effort to get and retain the natural blessings (sometimes forgetting that they are given to us of God), should we not then spend more time and effort laying hold of the spiritual blessings? Philippians 3:13-14.
So, count your blessings for this year, and give thanks to God for every one of them, but do not forget to give proper weight to the spiritual blessings that are ours, and to lay hold of them every day.


Pastor Debra Isenbletter

Christian Assembly, Springfield, Missouri

The Valley of Refreshing (Ps. 104:10): “He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.” Who sends the springs? The Lord does! Where are the springs found? In the valleys! Notice that valley is plural. We look back over all the different valley experiences and find this great truth – in each valley will be found a place of refreshing. The Lord sees the need and will always meet the need. Out of all the places the Lord could send springs we find that He sends them to the valleys, He makes them available there.

To enjoy these springs – we must first be in the valley, for these particular springs are found no where else! The Lord will provide refreshing anywhere we find ourselves, but these springs are unique, for they are found only in the valleys. To be satisfied with these springs, we have to come to the place of need first. It is when we are really thirsty that we appreciate a drink of water and when we are really needy, the Lord sends these springs and they are supernatural springs!

(Deut. 8:7): “For the Lord thy  God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of the valleys and hills.” Here we see what happens after we have passed through the valley, after we have been brought “into a good land.” The wonderful promise is that we will be brought out and into a good land. Israel was brought out of Egypt and out of the wilderness and into “a good land.” We have been brought out of the world and when our pilgrimage and journey is over we will be brought into a “good land,” it is a heavenly home that awaits us. There are also times when the Lord brings us out of the valley and gives us a wonderful time of rest before we enter into another valley.

During those times when we have passed through a valley, we look back and see “brooks” and “fountains” and “depths” He has provided. We see that they all come from “out of valleys.” There is a unique type of refreshing that only comes from the valley experiences. We can comfort others because of our experiences and our sufferings, comfort that comes from “out of valleys.” After we have passed through the valley, what we have learned not only refreshes us but can refresh others. We can bring out of the valleys those “brooks” and “fountains” and “depths” for they are times of refreshing that have become a part of us, glorious refreshing that the Lord has given to us in times of need. We in turn, can give to others, who are passing through valley experiences a taste of the refreshing we have received.

There is such a abundance of blessing provided to each child of God, even in the midst of the greatest trial or deepest valley. The Valley of Blessing is where we bless the Lord and He blesses us. The Valley of watching is where we watch the Lord enable us and deliver us. The valley of the Oak is where we see the Lord as our strong oak and lean on Him. The Valley of Thorns is where we dwell and bring forth a sweet fragrance and where the results of our suffering are seen in the valley of fruits or our fruitfulness. The Valley of the Shadow of Death is where we pass through, looking at Christ who is our Life. The valley of Weeping is where all our sorrows are changed to victories. The valleys of Refreshing is where we are refreshed and where we refresh others from our experiences.


By Orville Freestone

Lakewood, Colorado


“A man after God’s own heart” –

I Sam. 13:14

David was a very complex person; a shepherd, a musician, a warrior and a king, but his distinguishing characteristic was he had a heart for God. Unlike Saul, who justified himself when denounced by the prophet, David was repentant when accused of sin. David was a warrior who credited God for his success. (Psalm 18:20) He was a very sensitive person showing deep emotion in his psalms. As Israel’s king, he became the standard by which all his successors were judged.

David was the youngest son of Jesse (I Sam. 16:11-13) so it was he who cared for the sheep. At that time the wealth of a family was in sheep and cattle. Shepherding was menial work, but it was also a responsibility and David proved faithful in this position. He led the flocks to “green pastures” and beside “still waters” and defended them from wild beasts. (I Sam. 17:34) As a youth he showed not only bravery, but confidence in the Lord when he faced Goliath. He was “mighty and valiant,” (I Sam. 16:18) but humble and discreet and “the Lord was with him” (I Sam. 18:14) This was true throughout his life. He was genuinely humble. He was respectful toward Saul even when Saul sought to kill him. He honored the king as “the Lord’s anointed.” He was humble before the Lord when he put off his royal robes to dance and warship before the Ark of God. When his wife Mical rebuked him for not behaving like a king, he brushed off her criticism.

As a warrior, he led his troops and shared their dangers. He gathered a motley group of misfits (I Sam. 22:2) and welded them into a formidable force that became the core of his army. They were fiercely loyal to him. His personal bravery and loyalty won them to his cause. When all the tribes hailed him as king, he was able to build them into a nation. By treaty and by war he created a “greater Israel” that reached from Egypt to the Euphrates river.

In those days the first order of business for a new king was to secure his throne by eliminating all who might contest his claim. This David did not do. Most of those who would oppose his right to the throne were dead. Contrary to custom, David sought to find any of the house of Saul who were still living to “show kindness to” them. (2 Sam. 9) He found crippled Mephibosheth son of Jonathan. His love for Jonathan was tender and true and he secured his rights and property to his only remaining heir. His one great desire was to build a temple for The Lord to house the ark of God and the Law. This The Lord forbid him to do, but said that his son should build it. So David gathered all the materials on site before he died.

David was an acclaimed musician. Their music was very different from our western style and we do not know for sure how it sounded or what the musical terms for the psalms mean, but a measure of their greatness and of the others in the Book of Psalms is that they deeply affect us today. What is more familiar to Christians today then The Twenty Third Psalm? David’s music could lift Saul out of his depression and his poetry does the same for us.

David was not always wise concerning those to whom he entrusted responsibility, such as Abner who was not always loyal, or Joab and Abishai, David’s kin, who killed Abner. (2 Sam. 3:30) Nor was he wise in dealing with his sons. However, at the end of his life, only one thing was held against him, his great sin in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. David greatly wronged his friend and faithful warrior by committing adultery with his wife, then compounded the crime by having Uriah killed in battle. (2 Sam. 15:5)

The measure of his greatness was that when Nathan the prophet confronted him with this great sin, David said those seldom spoken words “I have sinned.” (2 Sam. 12:13) What other ancient oriental king would have accepted such reproof? God forgave David but he did not escape the consequences, which he humbly accepted. It was this repentance and his attitude toward God that made him “a man after God’s own heart!

Trusting God in Our Trials


Pastor Gary Giddings

Church of the Full Gospel

Sand Lake, Michigan

1 Peter 1:3-7 - 3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

As much as we don’t like it when troubles and problems come our way, we find that God uses these things to teach us to trust and to depend upon Him. We wish that God would automatically help us when the way gets rough, but we are learning that He waits for us to call upon Him. Note that Jesus waited for Peter to call upon Him when Peter began to sink in the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 14:28-31).

V. 3 - We have a LIVING HOPE because Jesus arose from the dead; we don’t serve a dead Savior, we serve and worship a LIVING SAVIOR. The Apostle Paul wrote, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:19-20).

V. – 4 We have an inheritance reserved in heaven that can’t be corrupted, can’t be defiled and will not fade away! We CAN have treasure in heaven because Jesus said, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:20-21). How do we lay up treasure in heaven? We love God and obey Him which means we do what is pleasing in His sight. We honor Him in all that we do. It isn’t about giving Him SOME of our time, talent and resources. We give ALL to Him! As an old song goes, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing though. My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue … and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”

V. 5 - We are “kept by the power of God.” This power is the Grace of God. Our part is to surrender to God’s work in us. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “By the Grace of God I am what I am: and His Grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the Grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor. 15:10). Truly God’s Grace will lead us all the way home.

V. 6- How can we rejoice and be in heaviness (be sad) at the same time? Though our OUTWARD circumstances may seem very daunting and overwhelming to us, INSIDE we have the life of Christ, the New Creation life by which we REJOICE. We are told that “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). Various temptations will prove whether or not we are careless or disobedient concerning the will of God. This “temptation” is an examination of what our motives are. The victory is ours as we exercise our faith in God and let our light shine in these “jars of clay.”

V. 7 - The trial of our faith is “much more precious than of gold that perishes.” The word “trial” has the thought of testing, yes, but also of “trustworthiness.” God trusts us with the things that He allows us to go through. God is proving the “genuineness” of our faith in Him. He already knows but we don’t know. We are learning to allow Christ to live through us. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20). Psalm 119 is all about the Word of God. The one who wrote this definitely had experience following the Lord. He had his ups and downs, but He learned to TRUST God. Reading this Psalm shows what FAITH IN GOD can do: It can go through hard and difficult times because this FAITH is based on the eternal Word of God.

Psalm 119:143 “Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.” We are learning to depend on God and His Word for our comfort and encouragement. When we are tempted to get discouraged about our situation, remember what Jesus said when He was tempted: “IT IS WRITTEN …” Jesus used the Word to combat the enemy. What a great example for us! The Psalmist was feeling the heat of being in a “tight and narrow place” and it must have been awful! Our natural reaction IS NOT to be calm and rational as we try to figure out how to get out of a big mess. We tend to let our words fly and/or we might let our fists fly! So when we can’t take the pressure anymore, what can we do? We go to God’s Word. It is BOTH in the good times and in the bad times that God’s Word is our source of hope and strength. It is in God’s Word that gives us eternal enjoyment and pleasure of which we never have to be ashamed. God’s Word gives us comfort and peace as we rest in Him.

Psalm 119:144 “The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.” God’s Word is RIGHT and His Word is EVERLASTING. Just as a comparison, look at any book that man has written and notice how soon it is OUT OF DATE. Why are man’s writings so dated? There are new discoveries, new insights, new thinking, etc. But when God says something in His Word, you can count on it FOREVER. God’s Word doesn’t need to be updated or amended. We look to the Lord for our understanding and we LIVE. Let the Lord DEFINE who you are. Let Him set the boundaries of your life and live freely within those terms.

Psalm 119:23-24 23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. 24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors. Have you heard of William Wilberforce? He was a Christian and a Member of Parliament in England in the late 1700s and early 1800s. He led a campaign to legally end the slave trade in the English Empire and it succeeded after more than 20 years of work. He had committed Psalm 119 to memory and it is said that he would recite it while walking back home from Parliament.
Think of how verses 23-24 must have helped Wilberforce to keep going in the face of great opposition. Most of the other Members of Parliament didn’t want to end the slave trade that brought them wealth and power. Many spoke against and vilified Wilberforce for his stand. How did Wilberforce know that slavery was wrong? The Bible tells us that we (ALL people) are made in the image of God and Jesus that died for ALL. Look at these verses that speak of how the Word of God strengthens those who put their trust in Him, even in times of great difficulty and adversity.

Psalm 119:41-42 41 Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word. 42 So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.

Psalm 119:49-50 49 Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. 50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.

Psalm 119:51-52 51 The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law. 52 I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.

Psalm 119:61-62 61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law. 62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.

Psalm 119:86-88 86 All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me. 87 They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts. 88 Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.

Psalm 119:95-96 95 The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies. 96 I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.

Psalm 119:107-108 107 I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word. 108 Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.

Psalm 119:110-112 110 The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts. 111 Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart. 112 I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.

Psalm 119:157-158 157 Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies. 158 I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.

Psalm 119:161-163 161 Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word. 162 I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. 163 I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love. We praise God and we rejoice that our name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. No matter what happens here on earth, WE HAVE A HOME IN HEAVEN. Of course it isn’t easy when we are rejected and not included with others when we stand for Jesus. But because of our experience with Him, we can REJOICE with joy unspeakable that is full of glory!

1 Peter 1:8-9 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. The greatest story ever told is the story of Jesus laying down His life for us. We enter this story when we accept Him as our Savior. “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Whatever trials or troubles that the Lord allows to come our way, we can TRUST Him because He never makes a mistake. Before honor comes humility (Prov. 15:33). We have the example of Jesus who humbled Himself: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).

Friday, November 23, 2018


Jack Davis

These three little words certainly preach a powerful message to my heart. What ever they mean or express may be understood from their context. Do they say to us, win at any cost or whatever it takes? Does the end justify the means, or the means justify the end? Can we sing, “It will be worth it All when we see Jesus?” Let us touch upon “means” related to serious determination, Satanic deception and self-disqualification.

Phil. 3:11, “If my any means I might attain unto the resurrection of (out from among) the dead.” II Cor. 11:3, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” I Cor. 9:27, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (disqualified).”

Serious Spiritual Determination: The Apostle Paul here speaks of the means by which the highest privilege will be attained, and also of the greatest Prize to be apprehended in this Age. With this priceless Person, in possession and place before him, he ran with patience the race that the Lord had set him on. He, “following after,” forget those things he had left behind, reached forth to that which the Lord had set before him, and pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling. Paul being so powerfully drawn, called others to the race, and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit urges us to run also. I read that he had a good understanding of the Olympic events of his day, but he was not playing games, his earnest attitude is an example to us, Phil. 1:19-21, 2:15-17.

It is important for us to realize that our dear Lord knows just what it takes to get us there on time. He has, and is, our wherewith to get there with. On our course let Him always be the chief of our ways and means. God supplies all that is necessary through Jesus, and by Him we offer “the sacrifice of praise to God continually.” We are made winners through Him that strengthens us, (Phil. 4:13) and more than conquerors through Him that loves us (Rom. 8:37).

This prize-winning does mean that we will experience some major losses of things once held dear to our hearts, but for those that will be victorious, those losses are counted as the divine means to a glorious end. For such, every loss is an eternal gain. Personal gain for the old self-life is also counted as a massive heap of rubbish.

Satanic Deception: Paul, jealous over the saints, having betrothed or engaged them to “one husband,” feared that some of the saints would be cheated out of that glorious bridehood by the deception of their adversary the devil. Throughout this age, Paul has been presenting to the Church his revelation of the Bridegroom. The god of this world has also been at work to blind “the minds of them which believe not” to the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ. Our adversary  uses every trick and every advantage that we give him to rob us of our place and Prize.

Thank God, “we are not ignorant of his devices.” This cunning, crafty foe is “the accuser of the brethren.” We are so very glad that we have a true and faithful Advocate. The means between the fulfillment of serious determination and self-disqualification are many and multiplied. No wonder the Spirit caused the admonition, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing he be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing” Phil. 3:15-16. Read also Col. 2:4-7. If you have the same burning desire as Paul to win Jesus Christ as your Bridegroom, thank God. If you do not, I believe you would be wise to ask God to kindle in your heart that “most vehement flame.” Thank God for ever being attracted – drawn to the beauties and glories of Christ.

As the serpent beguiled Eve, deceived and defeated her, so our enemy would use his subtility to take away our simplicity in Christ. He is going all out to corrupt our minds from single-hearted devotion to our dear Lord Jesus Christ. He still appeals to our intellectual pride to make us think we know better than God just what is best for us. He tries to make us think that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is still much more to be desired than the tree of life. Our Adversary, as an angel of light, has his deceitful workers lying in wait to deceive with intelligently concocted forms and formulas, “anabolic steroids.” Things artificially injected into spiritual conflict are not “mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” They will tell you, try a little of this, add a little of that and it will give you the racer’s edge, and advantage over others. But spiritual conflict allows no place or space for carnal substances. (II Cor. 10:4-70)

Satanic suggestions: interjected into human minds by what ever the media (any means) that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, are fiery darts meant to corrupt our minds. We can only be prepared for such onslaughts by being wholly receptive to the Holy Scriptures, and responsive to the Holy Spirit, having the mind of Christ. Thank God that we have the privilege of bringing into captivity our thoughts to the obedience of Christ. Oh how great the need to be wearing the “helmet of salvation” today. Our enemy offers so many “corruptible crowns,” high sounding ideals and titles, great achievements and accomplishments, that are meant to distract the spiritual runner.

The “Simplicity” of verse three speaks to us of single-hearted devotion to Christ. Prize-winning calls for a singleness of purpose, concentrating one’s focus on one object. In athletic terms, keep your eve on the ball or on the goal. The apostle Paul wrote, “I therefore run, not as uncertainly.” Ones whole course of life must be Christ centered so as to avoid the many distractions. As the Psalmist wrote, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after.” Jesus told Martha, “one thing is needful,” and Paul wrote “this one thing I do,” these express that single-hearted devotion.

Self-disqualification: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” I Cor. 9:24. Paul was a winning example, and urges us also to run like winners. He had to lay aside many corruptible crown. There was no way he could fool or pay off the Judge, that is righteous and looks on the heart. God has used the apostle Paul to call others to the race. He has powerfully urged us to join the winning team. He calls out, “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” God also gave Paul the rules of the contest, the rightly divided Word of truth. These are plainly posted so that no one will have an excuse. We read in Gal. 5:7-8, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.”

We each must be responsible before God. “Let no man take your crown.” We will not be able to use someone else for an excuse, before the righteous Judge. “And if a man also strive for masteries, (goes for the championship) yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully,” II Tim. 2:5.

The Apostle Paul tells us of the “means” by which he could be disqualified to teach us how to avoid being disqualified. Every thing necessary to make us the most victorious saints has been set before us, Let us run!


Anita Clark – Pastor, Carbondale, KS

Much controversy takes place over this subject. It takes a study of the Word of God to “rightly divide the Word of truth.” Some say that He will come to take away all the believers of this Church Age before the tribulation begins, while others teach that He will come in the middle of the tribulation, and others only see one coming in power and glory at the end of the seven years of tribulation. What is the answer? What does the Scripture state? Only it is Truth!

In I Thessalonians 4:13-18, we read of the coming of the Lord before the tribulation. In verse 13, Paul says, “I would not heave you ignorant brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not as those who have no hope.” In I Corinthians 15 he dedicates the whole chapter to the subject of the resurrection of the believers. You would do well to read the whole chapter.

We see from this chapter that because Jesus rose from the grave, the believers in Christ are guaranteed to be raised up in new bodies like unto His glorious body, which He possessed after His resurrection. (Phil. 3:21)

In I Corinthians 15:22-23, we read, “For as in Adam all die (all the progeny of Adam are subject to death in their time), even so in Christ shall all be made alive,” But in I Corinthians 15:23, Paul adds another dimension, “But every man in his own order.” The word, “order” in the original Greek means, “turn, something in orderly arrangement, rank or cohort, a series or succession.” This means that the admonition of Jesus, “to watch and be ready” is showing that not all believers of this age will go at the same time. Some are watching and some are not. “Everyman in his own rank” is not speaking of their dying, but of their resurrection from the dead - “in orderly succession, or rank. etc.” The Amplified Version which follows the Greek original language, presents this Scripture, “But each in his own rank or turn: Christ , the Messiah, [is] the first fruits, than those who are Christ’s [own will be resurrected] at His coming.” These words, “His coming,” is the Greek word “par-oo-see-ah” which means “presence or coming.”

I Thessalonians 4:15 mentions “the coming” which is the word again “par-oo-see-ah” Then is verse 16-17, we read, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first, Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up to be with the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” The words “caught up” mean the same as “par-oo-see-ah.”

Further consideration of verses in the fifth chapter show that there are conditions which may prevent the believer in Christ from being ready for this coming of Christ the first time. Verses, 1-3 are a warning that Christ will come as a “thief in the night.” Verse 4-6 warns of spiritual sleepiness, “But ye brethren, are not in darkness, that day should overtake you as thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of the darkness. Therefore let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober.” These verses show the possibility of believers in Christ becoming complacent and careless about the things of God, not watching and waiting for the Lord to appear. Consequently, they will be left to go into a part of the tribulation of seven years that will come upon the earth, after the catching away of those who have faithfully watched and looked for the coming of the Lord Jesus. Apostle Paul was warning the people of God of this problem.

In the book of Revelation 7:9-17, we read of a group of believers who come out of the tribulation. This group is “a great multitude, which no man could number” Rev. 7:9. Some believe that these are all saved during the tribulation of seven years, but they are taken to heaven during the first few years of the tribulation. They were those who were saved during this age, but were walking after the world, those who were sleeping and not watching for Jesus to come. Look around and you will see that not all people who know Christ as their Savior are actually yielding to Christ in full commitment, watching and waiting for Jesus to come. This is why some believers will go into the tribulation.

In contrast to these sleepy believers is those who yield fully and are watching and waiting for the Lord to come. The promise to them in Revelation 3:10-11 says, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation (tribulation) which shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Vs. 21 says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne...”

In Revelation 4 we see the Lord Jesus Christ taking His throne in heaven and in verse 4 we see twenty-four elders taking thrones with Him - around about His throne. In verses 6-9 we see the Living Creatures giving glory to the Lord by falling down in worship. Note that the Four and Twenty Elders have crowns which they cast down before the throne of the Lord Jesus. (Remember that the Lord promises in other Scripture crowns to those who yield to Him). Then, importantly in chapter 5:8-10 it details some information about who these beings are. Verse 9 it says, “For thou hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, tongue and people, and nation. And thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests and we shall reign on (over) the earth.” They are not angelic beings.

Revelation 19 shows us a preview of the people of God in heaven with the Lamb - the Lord Jesus. In verse 1 - “A great voice of much people.” In verse 4 - the Twenty-four elders and Living creatures are mentioned. They are the overcomers who have stood fast in their faith all down through the Age of Grace, from Pentecost until Christ’s coming before the tribulation began, which we see reigning with Christ in Ch. 5. In verse 6, we see “the great multitude of Revelation, who came out of the tribulation period in chapter 7. They are full of praise and sound like a mighty thunder. They exclaim in verse 7, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come and His wife hath made herself ready.” Note they are not the Bride. They draw attention to the Bride of the Lamb. Note that the Bride arrayed in “fine linen, clean and white” while back in chapter 7, the great multitude was dressed simply in white robes (Vs 7).

The Finale of this study is the Second Coming of Christ in Power and Glory, chapter 19:11-16. This is at the end of the tribulation. Note again the believers from all the past ages are already in heaven with Him. Now, He rides down in judgment. In Revelation 16:16 it speaks of the Battle of Armageddon, where the Lord will pour out His wrath upon the unbelieving world and the Antichrist. His people will already be with Him there in heaven when He comes back with them to pour out His final judgment. These verses correspond with other prophetic Scripture: II Samuel 7; Psalms 2, & 110; Isaiah 2:1-4; 9:7; Daniel 7:13-14; Zechariah 14:1-21; and Matthew 24:27-31. All these foretell Jesus Christ’s Kingdom reign.

Let us remember that we are the people of God right now in this present evil time and we need to yield to God and be ready to rule and reign with Christ. Colossians 3:4 “When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” I Peter 5:4 “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

His Glory

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

Paul speaks of us as “earthen vessels” to help illustrate the great dichotomy between us and the exceedingly valuable gift that we have been given. In the verse above this, he tells us that God “hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” God put the very life of Christ in us. Colossians 1:27.

The purpose of using fragile, ugly “earthen vessels” is to demonstrate His Glory. If the vessels were marvelous, strong and capable, the vessel would receive the glory. However, God is able to use us as vessels to show others His glory.

These “earthen vessels” will not last long, and they just return to the dust. In 2 Corinthians 5:1, Paul reminds us that these bodies dissolve. However, there is something eternal that is within us when we are saved by God’s grace.

The work that God is doing with these vessels is more than just some fixing up. He is creating something useful and beautiful. “Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” Jeremiah 18:3-4. We are not making ourselves better. We are not creating something beautiful. God is the only one that can do that.

What results will only bring glory to God. Anything that brings glory to ourselves, is not useful or beautiful. If we do something that is good, where does that come from? Who gets the glory? “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16.

What about the things that happen in our lives that seem bad or difficult? Sometimes pressure is what is required to mold the clay to its best. God can use anything to display His glory if we let Him.

In John 11, we read of Mary and Martha and Lazarus. When Lazarus falls ill, Mary and Martha send for Jesus, knowing full well that He is able to heal Lazarus. Here is Jesus’ response: “When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” John 11:4 Jesus could have healed Lazarus and Mary and Martha would have been extremely grateful and would have worshiped Jesus. However, they would have missed out on the revelation of His glory in a much greater measure.

We need to be willing to allow God to do the work that He wants to do in our lives, so the He will be glorified. We so not know the end result of what is being worked right now. We cannot see the final piece, but God can. We need to be careful of limiting God to only working in ways that we understand and think are best.

Gordon Crook


Pastor Debra Isenbletter

Christian Assembly, Springfield, Missouri

Valley of Weeping (Ps. 84:5-7): “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, in whose heart are the ways of them or (whose heart is set on a pilgrimage). Who passing through the Valley of Baca (weeping) make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.” How wonderful and instructive are these verses concerning the one who passes through the valley of weeping.

“Baca” means “weeping” and yes, there will be times of weeping, times of sorrow. We all at one time or another go through this valley, but notice that we only pass through, we don’t stay there and we always find grace there! There is a wonderful promise of provision given to the one passing through this valley seen in the description of this man, the heart of this man and the refreshing for this man. The provision begins with how this man is described: “Blessed is the man” – He is a blessed man and where is the blessing seen? It is seen in statement “whose strength is in thee.” This is a fundamental truth that we each need to lay hold of – that we have no strength in ourselves! This is a hard place to come to, a humbling place to come to, but it is this realization that takes away our helplessness and gives us an endless supply of strength found in the Lord. To be able to say when we feel the weakest and most vulnerable that my “strength is in thee” is the first step of victory in this valley.

What about the heart attitude of the one who is passing through this valley? The latter part of V. 5 says, “in whose heart are the ways of them” or “in whose heart are the ways.” The Amplified Bible translates this, “whose heart is set on a pilgrimage.” The “ways” are described as a pilgrimage and journey. Our heart attitude affects how we perceive things around us. Is our heart set in the way or the path the Lord has put our feet upon? Is our heart set on a pilgrimage? Do we realize every day that wherever we are and whatever the circumstance that we are only passing through? So we realize that this is a journey that we each must make, that sometimes we can’t avoid the painful experiences or the heartbreaks. It’s a little like seeing the cup as half empty or half full. The attitude of our heart makes all the difference, we can choose to make this valley something wonderful or we can choose to make it something terrible.

What is the provision in this valley, beyond the strength the Lord provides? It is seen in what we do while in the valley, the provision flows from the heart attitude, from the knowledge that this is a journey, we must make, it is a journey we can’t avoid and that the Lord will give us strength and grace as we need it. So while we go through this valley what can we do? We can “make it a well.” I was struck by the statement “make it a well.” We can make this valley experience into a well, a place where we are refreshed and others are refreshed. We can look for the blessings along the way or look for ways to be a blessing to others. It is as though all the tears shed, all weeping in this valley become a well that can comfort and refresh. Not only can we make it a well by the Lord sends times of refreshing. He sends “the rain” that “filleth the pool.” We can take that rain the Lord provides, lay hold of those moments of refreshing and store them up, let the pools fill up, so that we are sustained and strengthened. We can overcome in this valley and not be overcome.


By Orville Freestone

Lakewood, Colorado


“God let none of his words fall to the ground” –
I Sam. 3:19

Samuel was born in a most difficult time for Israel. The old confederacy of the tribes was badly fraying and the period of the Judges was coming to an end. It was a time of anarchy and chaos. Worse, most of the country was occupied by the Philistines. Samuel was the last of the Judges and also a prophet who would be the transitional leader to the age of the monarchy. 

Samuel was remarkable even as a child. In fulfillment of her vow, his mother took him to live at the Tabernacle with an aged priest as soon as he was weaned. In those days a child was weaned at about the age of three years. Imagine leaving such a small child away from mother the father and far from home! But there is no record of his crying for his mother. He always accepted life from the hand of the Lord. Most remarkably, as a child he heard the voice of God. How difficult it must have been for him to tell Eli that God said judgment would come to Eli and his sons.

Israel early accepted that Samuel was a prophet (I Sam. 3:20) and leader and his was a long career. Being a Levite, Samuel served Eli in the tasks allotted to the Levites, but he was not a priest and did not fill the office of priest. He offered the sacrifices that the Patriarchs and prophets such as Elijah offered, that is, the whole burnt offering. There were seers, “men of God,” and even prophets before Samuel, but he founded by his example the prophetic movement in Israel. (I Sam. 9:9)

Israel also accepted Samuel as a Judge and resorted to him for guidance and advice. Samuel also has a “circuit” as Judge where he traveled yearly to judge Israel. (I Sam. 7:15-17) As prophet and judge, he invested first Saul, then  David as king thus completing the transition from Commonwealth to Kingdom. Israel universally honored him. God attested to his life and ministry, for He  “let none of his words fall to the ground.” All that he said was true and all he foretold came to pass. (I Sam. 3:19) This is said of no other person in the Bible!

Samuel was a faithful and godly leader in the most adverse of circumstances. His character is in stark contrast to Eli and his sons, who were “corrupt and did not know the Lord.” Eli, himself, was rebuked by “a man of God” for not restraining his sons. (I Sam. 2:27-36) With so many leaders of high promise failing so miserably in office, Samuel shows what faithful leader, today as then, is like and what he can accomplish. May we be faithful  in whatever position we find ourselves and leave the outcome to the issues of our lives to God.

A Bride For Christ

Earlene Davis - Pastor - Wichita, KS

 It is God’s purpose for Christ to have a bride. This truth is brought out in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. In Genesis chapter 2, the LORD God said it is not good that man should be alone and He caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh thereof; and builded he a woman and brought her unto the man. The first man Adam was a type of Christ as we read in Romans 5:14, it says that Adam was a “figure of him that was to come,” speaking of Christ. Leading us to see a beautiful type of the bride being taking out of the body of Christ.

In I Cor. 12 we learn that all believers are members of Christ’s body, the church - Vs. 12-14,20,27. Now let us read Eph. 5:25-27,29-30,32. It was in God’s purpose for all the church to be Christ’s bride. The provision has been made. Just as Salvation for all mankind has been provided by Christ’s death, yet not all accept God’s free gift that they might be saved. The same is true of this provision to be the bride of Christ.

Paul the chief apostle to the church has espoused (betrothed) or engaged all believers (the whole church) to one Husband (Christ) by his gospel - II Cor. 11:2-3. This espousal was that Paul may have the joy of presenting “a chaste (or pure) virgin to Christ” (without spot, holy and without blemish).

Paul’s Gospel has called the whole Church to this attainment. Christ must have a bride, a mature companion, full grown in every respect. But even though the whole church has been betrothed, not all will qualify as the pure virgin who shall be presented. Many go the way of satisfying their fleshly nature instead of running to win Christ as Bridegroom. There are qualifications to be Christ’s bride. She must be proven and tried. She must hold Christ as her head and absolutely be dependent upon Him.

The purpose in an engagement is to become better acquainted. The relationship we might say is on probation. Of course Christ is not on probation, for His love has already been proven. He left the glory of heaven to win the desire of His heart. He stooped down to the death of the cross and the humiliation of the tomb to deliver her from her former lord, the Old Adam. Therefore it is impossible for Him to fail her.

But this is her day to be proven and found faithful. She has conditions to meet to win Christ, even as He had to win her. She learns obedience by the things she suffers – II Cor. 4:6-10, 15, 17-18. Paul is not making light of the suffering, but making a comparison, in that the afflictions are working a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

Paul feared for the Church that some might lose, not their soul, but the opportunity of this attainment. Paul knew the subtilty of Satan, that is why he warned of the danger as we read in II Cor. 11:3. The Church as a whole did not see the trap, because they failed to read and heed the warning. Like Eve who was beguiled and acted independent of her head, her husband. The Church has moved and acted independently, not depending upon Christ, the head of His body, the church. That is being corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ

Let us leave the responsibility upon Him and be subject unto Him. II Cor. 11:4 There are those who preach another Jesus and how to be strong and able in themselves. But that is not Paul’s gospel, he preached a humble Jesus, rejected by the world. His wife must go the same way of suffering, which also let us not forget, brings victory.

Romans 8:16-18 – May we embrace that which has been set before us. This calling is to a service of love that is unknown by many believers. Why is that so? They don’t bother to read God’s Word written to them, where we learn God’s purposes for us. Let us covet this place with our Lord and Savior as His bride.

In Philippians Chapter 3, Paul says “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Vs. 12-14). The Prize is Christ Himself -verse 8, – “that I may win Christ.”

Philippians 3:15 – “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”


Debra Isenbletter

“Therefore, let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.” I Thess. 5:6-7

Paul is admonishing these saints to “watch” and not to sleep, and the sobering thought is that there are those who are asleep.

The first point about sleeping is who is sleeping. Sleepiness is not a word used to describe the sinner, for he is already “dead in trespasses and sins” Eph. 2:1. Sleepiness is a word used to describe saints who are not watching, who are unaware of what is going on around them. When one is asleep, one is alive, but not aware of what is going on in the real world. Sleepers cannot see, cannot hear and cannot move, but when they dream, they think they are doing all of those things. It is just the same with sleepy saints, they may not even be aware that they are asleep. Their dreams give a since of realty to all they do. There may be a lot of activity and they may even think they are serving the Lord, but there is a difference between carnal activity and spiritual activity.

The second point about sleeping is when it occurs. Paul says, “they that sleep, sleep in the night.” Night is a time of darkness, a time when light has departed, a time when people slow down, lay down and finally sleep. It is the morning light that wakes us and energizes us.

The admonition Paul gives is to watch, and it is to saints who are not asleep. And who are not in the night. Paul tells these saints in V. 4, “But ye brethren are not in darkness.” He tells them they are not in darkness and darkness is the absence of light. They are dwelling in the light, they are awake and not asleep. They have received that light and received it in all its fulness. They are walking in that light and walking in full obedience. They are shining as lights, as beacons for others to see and in the end they will reflect the fulness of the glory of Christ.

Paul warns of “that day” which is a day of darkness and a day of judgment. What makes the day dark is that there is a loss of light as the night progresses. During the night there were four different time frames or watches beginning at sunset and ending at sunrise. The night hatches were divided into the following four watches. 1st Watch: sunset – 9:00 pm; 2nd Watch: 9:00 pm -midnight; 3rd Watch: midnight – 3:00 am; 4th Watch: 3:00 am – sunrise. Those watching watched the light as it departed and sounded an alarm when the next watch began.

In a spiritual sense, what makes the day dark is the loss of light and what and who is the light in this world? It is the Lord Jesus Christ and it is His saints. John spoke of Jesus and said, “light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than the light” John 3:19. Paul tells the Thessalonians they are “children of the light” I Thess. 5:5. He tells the Philippians they are to “shine as lights in the world holding forth the word of life” Phil. 2:15. And he tells the Ephesians they are “light in the Lord” and to “walk as children of light” Eph. 5:8. It is our light, which is the life of Christ, that hold the darkness back. What will make the day dark is taking the saints (lights) out of this world. Paul told the Corinthians that in the resurrection we will each reflect a glory, either that of the sun, the moon or the stars. We each have different degrees of light that are seen in us as the life of Christ glows. Yes, there will be a glory seen at a later time, but right now there is a glory that is hidden, a light that is Christ in us that is holding back the darkness. What happens when some of that light is removed? It begins to get dark.

There are watching saints and there are sleeping saints. It is these saints who are awake, who are not in the night that will lay hold of the admonition to watch and be sober. They are watching during the day, they are watching before the sun sets. They are watching before the First Watch begins.

These four watches could picture different period and even different groups of saints during the seven-year tribulation period. The tribulation is a time of darkness (night) and there will be degrees of darkness until all light is gone. The question is, what is it that brings on this darkness or absence of light? Night begins with a departure of light, and it is a gradual departure and night ends with the return of light. If the saints are lights in this world (and they are) and if each rank of believers reflects a different degree of light i.e. sun, moon, stars, then we can see what brings on this darkness. It is the departure of the saints. When one rank leaves (translation or resurrection), then there is a loss of light and the next rank wakes up and begins watching. The loss of light, the taking out of that light by translation is a wake-up call that will awaken those that had been asleep. When one rank leaves, light departs, the sleepy wake up and being to watch and the same pattern follows until all the light is gone.

Paul is writing to a group of saints who are already watching, they are not asleep. They are the first group to be watching and they watch while others are asleep. They are watching during the day for the light has not departed yet, the sun has not set. They are that light that must depart before it begins to get dark. They are those that shine with a sun glory and as long as they are here, the darkness and the night are held back. Remember the first night watch begins at sunset, when the night begins. There will be a group of saints, the Bride, the first rank, the full-overcomers, who will be taken out (by translation or resurrection) before sunset, before the first watch begins, while it is still day. It is their departure, the loss of their light which will begin the 1st watch, for the sun has set, light or saints have departed. It is the departure of this first group that will be a wake-up call for those left to watch and they will begin the 1st watch. When they are caught up, others will wake up and begin the 2nd watch and the pattern continues until all the watches are complete.

Though this group of saints, taken out first, taken before the 1st watch, may be small in number, they will manifest the greatest amount of light. It is after their departure that the tribulation, the time of great spiritual darkness begins, and the darkness increases as each rank of believers is taken out. During this time “a man of sin” will be revealed, and the world will believe “the lie” II Thess. 2:3,11. It is a time of great deception, of great darkness.

Each rank of believers will reflect a glory, a degree of light and a degree of fellowship with the Lord; but the degree of glory, the amount of fruit and the depth of the fellowship is determined by their love for the Lord and their submission to the Lord. Paul describes the glory of this first rank, this group of saints whose departure brings a great loss of light and whose departure begin the first watch and wakes other up. Their glory is the glory of the sun, I Cor. 15:41. It Is the full glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. One definition for glory, besides just brightness, is the “unfolded fullness of all that Christ is.” This group will fully reflect all that Christ is, they will have come “unto a perfect man and unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” Eph. 4:13. Their fruit will be 100-fold fruit (Mt. 13:23) or “a full corn in the ear” Mark 4:28. All the growth will have taken place, they are not just a blade of a stalk, but there is a complete and full fruitfulness in their lives. This group has overcome because they have held their “first love: and done “the first works: (Rev. 2:4-5). The relationship they have to the Lord is that of His Bride, His wife, who “hath made herself ready” Rev. 19:7.

Let us lay hold of Paul’s admonition to “watch and be sober.” To look with longing and love for the Lord’s appearing. Let us watch now, while it is day!

Monday, October 1, 2018


Jack Davis

Ezra 9:8-10, “And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. And now, O our God, what shall we say after this?”

We are often amazed at God’s gracious dealing with Israel. As we read their history, it seems that God was always delivering them from some form or degree of bondage. He used several different instruments to give them a reviving, stirring them up to make them constructive. Their grace space was undeserved, unearned, but so is ours. Thank God, that in spite of their trend toward declension and apostasy, His grace always provided for a remnant and escape. (V. 14)

Romans 11:5-6, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”

Grace space as considered from our text can teach us of the power of our preservation, to leave us a remnant to escape, and promotion to a prominent position, to give us a nail in his holy place, and of provision for precious perception, that our God may lighten our eyes. I am thinking of this in relation to time, area and opportunity. The grace of God that is producing lasting results, gives eternal benefits, is now offering passing opportunities.

We think of grace space for Israel as a nation. “And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, (killed the Prince of life) as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, When the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began…Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” –Acts 3:17-21,26.

Grace space for all nations: “God that made the world…And hath made of one (blood) all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver, or stone, graven by the art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at (overlooked); but now commendeth all men everywhere to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead:” -Acts 17:24,26-31. Therefore we realize that all nations will have opportunity to have fallen in line with God’s will and purpose.

Apostate Christendom is given space to repent, (Rev. 2:21) In fact each assembly written to in Revelation two and three hear the words “repent” except Philadelphia and Smyrna. God graciously warns them to turn around. He give space for a change of direction. Changes of attitude and actions come from a changed heart.

Space is given to each individual. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence:” –Gen. 6:5,11. No wonder the Lord said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he is also flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years” -Gen. 6:3. Reading this verse along with I Peter 3:20, it seems that God gave them ample opportunity to avail themselves of His marvelous grace. “…when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a-preparing, wherein few, that is eight souls were saved by water. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord…and Noah walked with God” -Gen. 6:8-9, It seems here that God began anew, with this one man a real movement of grace. In each generation, God always had those who had faith and walking with Him.

The “fashion” of the ark in the details given, teach us some lessons about grace space. “A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it about; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it” -Gen. 6:16. Each creature found his space by grace in the safe place. The three “stories,” elevation or nests in the ark remind me of Amos 9:6, “It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth.” We also think of the Tabernacle having the outer court, inner court, and the holiest of holies.

Time is of the essence: “And now for a little space grace hath been shewed” -In a contract each party has an allotted period in which to fulfill his part of the agreement. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work:” -Ecc. 3:1,17. “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth…” -Ecc. 12:1. Give Him your whole life while you are full of life. In so many of our everyday events and experience, we fail to realize the importance of the present. Lord help us to be wise in time, redeem the time, buy up the opportunities that are quickly passing to appropriate the grace of God. “We spend our years as a tale that is told. So teach us to number our day, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom” -Ps. 90:9,12.

How are we spending our span? What tale will our years tell? What are we doing with our grace space? “O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” -Ps. 90:14. It is not just a matter of counting days, but rather making our days count for His glory. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that NOW it is high time to awake out of sleep: for NOW is our salvation nearer than when we believed” -Rom. 13:10-11. “We then as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he said, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee; behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation). Giving no offense in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:” -II Cor. 6:1-3. God’s grace would make us fruitful, give us productive lives for His glory. This is a time to be sowing, and growing, and for His light to be glowing, but very soon we will be going and then it will be time for His universal showing of the glorious grace He has been freely bestowing. GLORY BE TO God forever!!

The grace of God did not make the Apostle Paul lax, lazy or indifferent, but spiritually ambitions. God’s grace was not ineffective or without results in Paul’s life. Praise God, we are still receiving great benefit. “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me:” –I Cor. 15:10, Read Col. 1:27-28.

How much grace do we want, do we need, will we take? “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” -Eph. 4:7. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” -II Cor. 8:9. “…they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” -Rom. 5:17.

Love One Another

& Jesus Christ

Anita Clark – Pastor, Carbondale, KS

“This is My commandment that ye love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12

What more can be said about “LOVE.” It would seem that this topic would be exhausted by now, but it isn’t. As the song says, “If we with ink the ocean fill and were the sky of parchment made, and every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade; to write the love of God above, would drain the ocean dry; nor would the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky” (The Love of God). God’s love for us is so immense because He is so immense. His love fills the universe. “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool...” (Isa.66:1). How can He truly care for me or you, little pusillanimous mankind?

John 3:16, says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Almost every Sunday School child can quote this familiar verse. I’m so glad I learned it when I was a child. It tells us how much God, the Father loves us - “He gave His only begotten Son.” This is the greatest gift ever given. This is a living gift that goes on and on, never wearing out. It reaches down through the centuries from that old rugged cross on the hill to the lowest sinner even in our day. What a gift! What a love! Although mankind has often rejected Him, yet He still loves them.

Jesus gave a new commandment, not like the old commandments of the law. We cannot fulfill this new commandment in our own strength or determination, but only by having Christ in our hearts. When we were saved, Christ’s life entered ours, and as we yield to God, that life manifests characteristics that are like the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the greatest attributes is “love.” Jesus loved so much that He willingly went to the cross for us. And now, He asks that we love others in the same way. If we say that we love others, but we never manifest it, then, it is doubtful that we really love as Christ wants from our lives.

I Corinthians 13 gives us examples of what “love” does. In short, love never does anything that harms or hurts another individual. Love never by it’s own actions deliberately stumbles another person. Love always thinks through a situation, “Will this thing I am doing edify another or tear down another’s faith.” My actions may not be to deliberately hurt someone, but if I knowingly do something that will hurt someone else, then I have failed to really love as God wants from me.

Think about this. An example is a weak brother or sister, who may not see the Word of God as deeply as we do.” Apostle Paul said, “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no meat while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend” I Cor. 8:13. Can you imagine doing that? What love this act shows. It would be hard to give up meat entirely for the sake of another’s conscience, but that act is a real show of love. In speaking of the “meat issue” Paul said in I Cor.8:9, “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak.” Would we be willing to do this in order to not be offensive? Apostle Paul was a great example to all believers. Let us think about this and see what God can do through us in winning someone to faith in Christ, and to a walk with the Lord.

The most important work of Love in our hearts and lives is to love Jesus supremely - above all else. When this is true in a believer’s life, love is distributed to the members of our families and to all the believers we know or come in contact with, and even the people that are not Christians.

In Revelation 2:4, we read that the Church of Ephesus had “left their first love.” After a list of achievements credited to this church group, such as “works, labor and patience, and had not fainted, and recognized those that were false” the verse four says, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against you because you have left your first love.” Some interpret this to mean, the love you had right after you were born again. Think about it! At that point in our relationship with Jesus Christ we loved Him with a very immature love. As we go on with the Lord we come to a deeper place of love with Him. The word “first” in the Greek mean “foremost, (in time, order or importance), best, or chiefest.” This is the kind of love the Lord wants reserved for Himself. Christ alone. Our relationship with Jesus should be a deep love. He should be number one in our lives and hearts, the most important person in our lives, the chiefest one. Song of Solomon 5:10 says, “My Beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.

Amazing Love

Behold , what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
1 John 3:1

I would like to just let you read these words over and over again and consider them carefully. If you are not stopped in your tracks to be amazed at what God has done, you are not paying attention.

Behold – “to see,” “to know,” “to be aware.” We have to stop and take some time to see and know and be aware of what God has accomplished for us. This is not something that we should just pass by lightly.

What manner – “what possible sort.” What kind of love reaches out to one’s enemies (Romans 5:10)? What kind of love offers freely a perfect and innocent life for the life of a transgressor? An enemy?

Hath bestowed upon us – “given freely to us.” No cost on our part. No requirement for repayment. We are recipients of this love. If you ever get to thinking that you have done something to deserve this privilege, you are absolutely wrong. God in His sovereignty bestowed this love upon us before we even sought for Him.

That we should be called the sons (children) of God – He has called us His children, not because we made ourselves fit for His family, but because He gave us a new birth into His family. He makes us fit for His family (Ephesians 1:4-6) in His sovereign grace. We were not even worthy to be called His friend, but He makes us His children. It is beyond amazing to consider this. Take some time to just meditate on what it means to be called the children of the Living God.

We should be exceedingly humbled by this verse. When you get to thinking too much of yourself and taking yourself too seriously, think about this. We were nothing without Him, but we are everything in Jesus.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be : but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2

If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are now a child of God. In case that is not enough, there is something still to come. He has given us so much more than we can imagine. Someday, we will be like Him, when we see Him in glory.

These verses continually amaze me. How can we not continually worship and praise our Lord for His amazing love? I’m not just talking about singing in church, or mouthing some words, but rather our entire life should be in worship of Him continually. He deserves to be worshiped because He is God, but doubly so because He has bestowed upon us an amazing love that cannot be fathomed.

Gordon Crook


Verta Giddings

Chapter 28


In our last lesson, the ones on the ship were able to safely get to the shore in spite of the difficult time they had at sea. God had promised there would be no loss of life, but that the ship would not be saved. They were to land on a certain island.

They escaped to an Island called Melita – Vs. 1-11. This is now called Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea. They were barbarous people, of Phoenician descent, who had a language different from Greek. They were kind to those shipwrecked people who were wet and cold. They kindled a fire for their comfort. Here a great miracle took place. Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire. A viper (poisonous snake) came out of the heat and fastened itself to Paul’s hand. When those island people saw this take place they figured that this man, Paul, must have been a murderer who had escaped the sea. Now he was going to get what was coming to him, and they just knew he would die. Instead of that, Paul just shook off the beastly thing into the fire and felt no harm. They all watched, thinking he would die any minute. When he didn’t die, just like human nature they changed their minds and figured he was a god. Before Jesus went back to heaven after His resurrection, He told the disciples to go into all the world and preach and gospel to every creature. One sign which would follow them that believe, would be – “They shall take up serpents” – Mark 16:17. That didn’t mean they could just play around with poisonous snakes and not be hurt. This is really what Jesus meant. This was not presuming on God’s protection. This WAS God’s protection.

The people didn’t forget about this miracle. The chief man of the island, Publius, received them and let them stay with him for three days. While there, Publius’ father became very sick. Paul went in and prayed, laid hands on him, and he was healed. That opened the way for many others to come and be healed. The ones there gave them a lot of honor, so that when they left the island, they were given many necessary things. They stayed there for three months.

On to Rome – Vs. 12-16: The shipwreck people had lost everything they had in the storm. Now with the provisions the island people gave them, they could go on their journey. There was a ship which had wintered in the island, named Castor and Pollux. They were able to board that ship. Their first stop was Syracuse, where they stayed three days, then on to Rhegium and Puteoli. The three believers, Paul, Luke, and Aristarchus, were able to stay with other  Christians there for seven days. Then they went on as far as Appii forum and the three taverns. There they were net by other brethren. Paul thanked God for that and took courage. Upon their arrival in Rome, the centurion delivered them to the captain of the guard. Paul was allowed to live by himself with just a soldier to watch over him.

Paul’s ministry in Rome – Vs. 17-31: As was Paul’s custom, he gave his message to the Jews. He called the chief of the Jews together to tell them first. He explained to them why he was there in Rome. He told them he had appealed unto  Caesar and it wasn’t because he had anything against his nation, nor had he done anything against their customs. He told them he was bound because of the hope of Israel. They told him they had not received any letters against him, nor had anyone who had come from Israel spoken any harm of him. They did want to know about this “sect” for it was everywhere spoken against. Then they decided upon a day when they would come where Paul lived and hear his message. So they did. He testified of Jesus, out of the Law of Moses, and out of the prophets. They stayed all day listening. The result was the same as always – some believed; some did not. They left when they couldn’t agree among themselves. Paul knew this was an example of what had been written by Isaiah the Prophet, that some would hear and not understand, and see and yet not perceive. He knew their hearts were not really open, so they could really see, and really hear, and have an heart understanding, and be converted. So they departed and kept on reasoning among themselves.

Paul lived two whole years in his own “rented” house. He received all that came to him. He preached and taught them about Jesus and no one kept him from doing so. Paul had the opportunity in Rome to give the gospel story to the guards who watched over him. He also ministered to some in Caesar’s household. Some of them believed in the Lord Jesus Christ – Phil. 4:22. The Bible does not say when or how Paul died, but history says he was beheaded there in Rome.

Another part of Paul’s ministry in Rome was writing epistles (letters) to the churches at Ephesus, Philippi, and Colosse. He also wrote letters to Timothy (II Timothy) and to Titus. What a wonderful life Paul lived. He told those who lived in Philippi that he was ready for whatever God had in store for him, Whether to live or to die. He just wanted the Lord to be glorified – Phil. 1:20-23. And God was indeed glorified by the life and even the death of the Apostle Paul.