Monday, January 1, 2018


Jack Davis

Let us notice some blessed benefits in the believer’s relationship with the Lord. It is a priceless and personal privilege to be partakers of and identified with Him, our dear Lord Jesus Christ.

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” Phil. 1:3-6.

OUR POSITION – IN CHRIST: the Apostle Paul begins this epistle by addressing the saints “In Christ.” Oh, what a position! It is so important that we be currently aware of and living in the enjoyment and power of it. Realization of our position should make a great difference in our spiritual condition, and should affect our disposition. Sometimes we seem so prone to forget, or we ignore or take it for granted. This ought not to be. Thank God, Jesus Christ is indeed our Ark of safety. There is no better place, nothing more secure, than being in Him. There is no condemnation, and from Him there is no separation. We have been crucified with Him, raised up and seated in heavenly places. Glory to God! What a lofty place we have “in Christ Jesus!”

OUR PROVISION – BY CHRIST JESUS: “For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ…But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” Phil. 1:19; 4:19. Full salvation, complete deliverance – body, soul, and spirit – is wrought for us, being worked in us; and we can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us – 4:13. Happy is the man that finds in the Spirit of Christ his satisfying portion. Lord, help us look nowhere else.

OUR PRIVILEGE – PREACH CHRIST: “And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the Word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to by bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the Gospel. What then? Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice” Phil. 1:14-18.

Preaching Christ was not a privilege given exclusively to Paul alone. Thank God, we each may be partakers in the ministry of the Gospel, sharing the labor and the rewards alike. Preaching Christ is not all done from the pulpit. Paul did not try to exclude any, even though he knew that not all had the right attitude or purpose. Yet, we read of real victorious rejoicing, on Paul’s part. We, to, when fully following Paul and are in fellowship with Him, can also rejoice when and wherever Christ is truly preached.

OUR PURPOSE – LIVE CHRIST: In order to live Christ, we must let self cease, and allow Him to do the living. “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die in gain” – Phil. 1:20-21. This is such a special privilege. It is indeed awesome to consider. “I am crucified with “Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” – Gal. 2:20. We may also enjoy this earnest expectation of Christ being magnified in our bodies. Our Apostle Paul here expressed the attitude of a real living sacrifice. We are enriched and shall be eternally rewarded by surrendering the control of our life to the Lord.

OUR LIFE’S PRODUCT – BY CHRIST JESUS: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruit of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel” – Phil. 1:9-12.

God desires from us productive lives. The Apostle wrote that he desired that fruit abound to the saints’ account. We also, as we fall deeper in love with the Lord, want to be fruitful “unto the glory and praise of God.” The fruit spoken of here is produced out of a righteous life. “The fruit of the Spirit,” that Paul speaks of in Galatians 5:22-23, is also traits of the life of Christ being reproduced in us. The only fruit that can possibly come froth from us “unto the glory and praise of God” is by Jesus Christ. Therefore, let us wholeheartedly trust Him for truly productive lives.

OUR PROSPECT – WITH CHRIST: In verse twenty-three, Paul spoke of “having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ,” Oh, how Jesus wanted this, He had real joy set before Him. In Proverbs 8:30-31, we read of Jesus as wisdom personified, being daily His Father’s delight; and yet His delights were also “with the sons of men.” Oh, how much He wanted us with Him. He prayed for it in His high priestly prayer, recorded in John 17:24. This was His will on the way to the Cross where He paid for it. Jesus has so fully provided for and prepared the way that we be “with Him” forever.

Paul’s desire to depart, and ours, is not just to get out of our troubles or away from the presence of sin and corruption which serve to make us very, very homesick. II Cor. 5:1-8, We groan, we who have the earnest of the Spirit (a little foretaste of Heaven) a token of that which is better in the world to come. We groan, yet our groaning is not just to get out of these limited, corrupt, decaying, dishonorable, weak natural bodies. Oh, yes, that too! What a relief! But that is added, extra.

Paul speaks of being “willing rather to be absent from the body.” The real yearning, the deepest longing from within, is to be “with Him” (Present with the Lord). Because we love Him, we want to see Him face to face – “Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together WITH HIM” – I Thess. 5:10. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” – I Thess. 4:17.

OUR PRIZE – WIN CHRIST: “what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. I press toward the mark for the Prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” – Phil. 3:7-8,14.

This winning Him is very clearly above and beyond that of Savior. There is going to be a wedding. At the marriage supper of the Lamb there will be blessed guests, there will be precious powerful servants. Some gathered there will enjoy Him as the most gracious Host ever. Some there at that glorious feast will really appreciate Him as the most kind, gentle, and generous Master. But, to the winners, He will be their Bridegroom.

OUR PERFECTION – LIKE CHRIST: – “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye 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. For our conversation is in Heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” – Phil. 3:15-16, 20-21.

In whatever measure and in whatever way we have come to partake of the mind of Christ, having His attitude of heart, let us keep going on in the same way; for in Him in perfection. This is why God would have us “grow up into Him in all things” – Eph. 5:15. Christ is formed in us – Gal. 4:19. We are being changed inwardly into His likeness – II Cor. 3:18. So we can see that some will be more like Jesus than others.

The purpose of Him who “hath made us accepted in the Beloved” is that we be “conformed to the image of His Son” – Eph. 1:6; Rom. 8:29. He “who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” has purposed also that we “be to the praise of His glory” – to the praise of the glory of His grace – Eph. 1:11-12.

“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. 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” – I John 3:1-2. When we receive a body “fashioned like unto his glorious body,” this will be the final touch of perfection into His own likeness.

Communication With God

Pastor Anita Clark

Grace Chapel, Carbondale, Kansas

We have a God Who speaks to us. He is not voiceless. Gen. 1:3 says, “And God said, “Let there be light and there was light.” He spoke the world into existence. II Cor. 4:6 says, “God Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined in our hearts...” About 58 times or more in the Old Testament it is recorded that “God said.” There is power in His spoken word. When He spoke, things began to happen.

In contrast, Habakkuk 2:18 says, “What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Woe to him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold, silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.” “Dumb” means speechless. Our God is not speechless, but from the beginning has been speaking to mankind.

How futile to trust in an idol to hear our prayers and to perform anything that will help us, but our God not only hears us when we cry to Him, but answers our cries with His voice. Many times in the Word, He spoke out loud to make Himself known. In the past God has spoken in many different ways, sometimes directly, or using angels to speak, speaking to man in dreams, using His written Word, or using His prophets and ministers to speak to us.

In the Old Testament times He spoke directly to Adam and Eve, Noah and Abraham and Jacob and others. Then He began to speak through His prophets. They spoke with power and proclaimed, “Thus saith the Lord....”

John 1:1-2 tells us Jesus is the Word, the Logos of God. God spoke through Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 1:1- 3, we read, “God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by the Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” He is the Word of God. He speaks to us in person, through the written Word, and the spoken Word through the Bible and through messengers of God bringing the Word. Do you want to hear God speak to you? Give your thoughts and ears to the Lord. Seek Him and ask Him to speak to you. He will.

Why do we not hear God’s voice? Maybe we’re too occupied with the world, not giving time to Him. Relationships in the natural have to be nurtured. It is the same with God. James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands (wash in the water of the Word, your hands or your service -Eph 5:26), ye sinners, and purify (sanctify- dedicate as holy to the Lord) your hearts (minds, thoughts and feelings), ye double minded (two spirited, two natures, vacillating in opinion or purpose).”

In New Mexico there are gigantic radio telescopes pointing to heaven listening for intergalactic noise makers such as blackholes or pulsars. They say, “We are not particularly listening for someone from another planet to say hello, but if someone does do that they would be picked up quickly.” What a surprise they would have if God, the Creator decided to speak to them over their receivers. Yet, He has spoken to us. How profound is that?

Remember little Samuel, living in the tabernacle with Eli the high priest. Read about him in I Samuel 1:20. In chapter 3 God wanted to talk to Samuel. He spoke to Samuel in the night.

This little boy did not know it was God, but after Samuel heard the voice of God calling several times, Eli the priest told him to answer God saying, “Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth.” God then told Samuel very important things which would come to pass. I love this story because I know that God can and does speak to many children about His ways. My own experience with the Lord at age 12 years old, was that I needed comfort from the Lord over my parents divorcing. As I cried out to the Lord, He spoke to my heart, “All things work together for good to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). I had heard this verse before, but was not really familiar with it, but it became my firm staying point for the rest of my life.

God also got Apostle Paul’s attention on the road to Damascus as he was going down there to persecute the Christians (Acts 9). When God spoke to Him, He got his attention by shining a very bright light, which caused Paul to fall to the ground, and he heard a voice saying, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” How grateful we are that God spoke to Paul and brought him to conversion. After this Paul heard God’s voice often and received great revelations of God and the truth God wanted to be made known to the church. How we praise God for Paul hearing God’s voice and the revelation he received.

The word “hearken” is used many times in the Bible and means “to hear intelligently, with implication of obedience.” Sometimes the word “hearken” is another word which means “to broaden the ear (with the hand) by implication to listen. In the New Testament it has the meaning, “to understand and be obedient to.” How many times have you heard the voice of God speak to you? Did you hearken to that voice? Are there actions of obedience manifest in your life to what God is saying? The way of victory and peace is to listen to the voice of the Lord.

Too Far Gone

Many will take time at the first of the year to take stock of their lives. Maybe make some resolutions to turn things around. Maybe making plans for the new year.

You may be one who thinks that they are too far gone to be able to turn things around. Perhaps your life seems out of control and you think it is too late to change that. You may think that no one cares and no one can help.

I was reminded about the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. This is just one illustration of God’s love for His children. The Bible is full of reminders that God seeks the lost and wants to bring them back to Him.

If you are not yet a believer (saved by the grace of God) then you may think that you are beyond God’s care or desire or ability to save. The apostle Paul reminds us that God saved him, chiefest of sinners, and that demonstrates the extent of God’s grace to save even the worst of all men. I Timothy 1:15. John Newton penned the famous song, “Amazing Grace,” to express his amazement at the power of God’s grace to save a wretch like him.

You are never beyond God’s grace, and God is still seeking you, no matter where you find yourself. Please know that you are not “Too Far Gone.” Turn to God and He will save you and turn your life around. Romans 10:13. The blood of Jesus is just as powerful today as it was when Paul turned to God for salvation.

If you are a believer; you have been saved, but you think that you are too far gone for God to accept you now, you need to know that God never gives up on His children. Even right now, He is calling for you to return to Him. He will welcome you with open arms. You are a precious child that has been bought by the blood of Jesus Christ. Do not miss out on one more minute of God’s love and care.

What God desires, is those that will be yielded to Him. He will make us what He wants us to be. He is not waiting for us to become something that we think He wants us to be. He is not waiting for us to become “acceptable.” He has made us acceptable in the beloved; Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:6. He is waiting for us to come to Him with yielded heart to allow Him to make us what He wants for His glory.

Gordon Crook


Pastor Debra Isenbletter

Christian Assembly, Springfield, Missouri

Ruth 4:16 – “And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it.”

In this verse we see three things that Naomi did, she did each with great joy and this is her wonderful reward after all her suffering and sorrow.

She took the child: “And Naomi took the child.” Naomi “took hold of” this child, I think she took hold of this child with joy and gladness, through him she had been given a new purpose in life. The word “took” means to “receive,” she was given this child by Ruth and Boaz as a gift and she received that gift with great joy. It means “to accept” and here we see how she reached out and accepted what has been offered to her. It means “to take possession of” or “take unto (oneself),” one translation reads “Then Naomi took the child (as her own)” – NAS. This baby boy would take the place of his father, the son she had lost. In this phrase I can picture Naomi reaching out and the child being placed in her arms.

She loved the child: “and laid it in her bosom.” Naomi then lays this child in her bosom, this is a maternal action, a tender action. The word “laid” can mean “to appoint,” this was God’s provision and purpose for her. The same word is first used in Gen 3:15 as “put,” when God says, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman…” In that word we see God’s purpose, something that cannot be changed or taken away. There is power and permanence in His word. Naomi has accepted and taken hold of a new responsibility and no one can take away what she has taken hold of.

She taught the child: “and became a nurse unto it.” After this we see a description of how Naomi fulfills her responsibility. She becomes the child’s “nurse” and this word comes from “to support or to build.” It means “to bring up and establish” and can be translated “foster as a parent.” The child became her responsibility to raise and teach, it is from her that he would learn and be instructed as well as nourished and loved. Many commentators believe that when Naomi became the nurse for Obed that this may have been a formal act of adoption. Remember that Boaz’s responsibility as kinsman was to “raise up the name of the dead” (4:5,10) so that the child would carry on the line of her son.

In these three actions on Naomi’s part, where she took the child, and loved the child and taught the child, you see three steps or stages in raising a child. Now she has been given someone to fill that emptiness after the loss of her husband and sons, and both her arms and her heart embrace this child.

I can see in Naomi a type of the nation of Israel as they fulfill their responsibility as teachers. God had promised Abraham that the “nations” would be blessed through him (Gen 12:3). That blessing to Abraham was three-fold. It was personal: Abraham believed first and Isaac was born, it was a personal promise to him. It was National: Israel (his descendants) must believe and then preach and teach their children. It was Universal: Nations will be blessed by Israel’s testimony and teaching. I think that Naomi is a picture of the remnant that know the Lord and will be teachers of the Word. They will know by suffering and by experience (like Naomi) the wonderful provision of their God and teach others. They will have the knowledge to be teachers for the Lord will say, “they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest.” (Jer 31:34). They will take this knowledge and use it to teach others about the Lord. They will finally fulfill the calling of their lives: “And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem” (Zech 14:8). The nations will know this and come to them and say “let us go up to … the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us his ways…” (Isa 2:2). When they do this it will finally be said that “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord” (Hab 2:14). That glory is seen in Christ as He reigns but it is also seen in His people as they testify and teach others about their God and their Messiah. The great commission of Jesus to His disciples was to go out “and teach all nations” (Mat 28:19) and to be “witnesses” (Luke 24:47-48). This is what they have yet to do and what Naomi will now do as she becomes the nurse of Obed!


Verta Giddings

Chapter 15
The council in Jerusalem

Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch for a long time. They were able to tell the people there how the Lord had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles – Acts. 14:27-28. The ones in Jerusalem must have heard about this and it did not please certain men there. These men came to Antioch and said, “except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved” Acts. 15:1. What they were trying to do was to put the Gentile believers under the Law which was given to Israel. There were true believers among the Gentiles. The apostles, Paul and Barnabas never told them to observe these things given to Israel. It was decided that Paul and Barnabas and some others should go to Jerusalem and meet with the apostles and elders there. On the way to Jerusalem, they passed through Phenice (Phoenicia) and Samaria. All of these believers were glad to hear about the work among the Gentiles.

The Council: some of the pharisees believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, but they still believed they had to continue with the things connected with the Jewish ways. The apostles and elders met together with Paul and Barnabas to consider the matter – Vs. 5-6.

The first speaker was Peter – Vs. 7-11. They knew Peter had gone to the Gentiles. We studied about this in Chapter 10. Remember that Peter had to have this object lesson given him by the Lord. Jews were forbidden to eat certain meats. He had to be shown three times that it was now allowed. He finally learned what the Lord was telling him. He knew that he could go and preach about Jesus to the Gentiles. He went to the house of Cornelius, who was a Gentile. Those people believed on Jesus, had their hearts purified, and received the Holy Ghost. God showed him that He put no difference between them and the Jews – V. 9. Peter did not tell them to be circumcised and keep the Law. He even went on to say, “Why tempt ye God to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which even their fathers could not bear.” Peter’s conclusion was that all, Jews and Gentiles, could be saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Then they all kept quiet and heard what Barnabas and Paul had to say. They spoke of the miracles and wonders they witnessed as they preached to the Gentiles.

Now it was James’ turn to speak. Remember he was likely the chief elder (pastor) in Jerusalem. He was the brother of our Lord Jesus. He said that Simeon (Peter) had told about his experience with the Gentiles. Then James said that the prophets had written about the plan of God, and all this fit right in with it. He outlined the plan thus: Read this in Vs. 14-18.
  A. God would visit the Gentiles to take out of them a 
   people for His name.
  B. Then Jesus will return.
  C. He will build the tabernacle of David.
  D. After this the rest of men might seek after the Lord –
   even Gentiles.
James gave his sentence – V. 19 – that they would not trouble the ones of the Gentiles who had turned to the Lord. There were things they should do, though, since they were believers. This was necessary because in every city there were Jews who would be offended if they were not careful about certain things.

Everyone was in agreement and they said they would send chosen men of their own company to Antioch when Paul and Barnabas returned. These men were Judas and  Silas, chief men among the brethren. Not only that, but they wrote letters to send back with them. They sent greetings to Gentiles in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. They let them know that they hadn’t sent those men to Antioch which hade caused the trouble. These are the things the Gentile believers should avoid. (1) Not to eat meats offered to idols; (2) Don’t eat blood; (3) Don’t eat things strangled (for the blood would not have drained from the meat); (4) Abstain from immoral practices.

When they arrived back in Antioch and gathered the multitude together, they read the letter to them They rejoiced. Judas and Silas stayed for awhile and encouraged them. Silas continued to stay in Antioch.

This type of council never had to be repeated. It was settled then and there that the Gentiles were not under the Law. How were the early believers saved? Not by works, not by doing, but by believing. This is exactly how we are saved. Remember Eph.. 2:8-9, WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE. We didn’t deserve it – that is what grace means to us. It is by grace through faith. We must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him into our hearts. He will forgive all of our sins, and we become a part of God’s family. We just take God at His Word. Since He says He will forgive  us, believe He will. It isn’t what we can do that makes us Christians, it is what we believe. We receive Jesus into our hearts. Have you ever done that? You never could work hard enough to be saved. Jesus took your place in death to give you life. Let us thank Him for this.


Corina Medina

Kansas City, Kansas

When our prayers seem to go unanswered, and when things don’t go the way we had hoped they would for whatever reason; not just some selfish desire, but a sincere desire for good and it doesn’t happen, such as, for someone to be saved, or for someone to grow spiritually and come into a closer relationship with our Lord. These prayers can be long waited for with no apparent result, or it even could be that everything seems to be going terribly wrong.

The Holy Spirit turns us to truth and hope in Hebrews 10:35-36. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” And remember that God’s time table is different than ours. II Peter 3:8-9, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one things, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

And meanwhile as we wait we turn to God’s Word and He will council us, give us peace, refresh us and show us how much He loves us. This was the Apostle Paul’s prayer for the church. Colossians 1:9-12, “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”