Saturday, June 30, 2018


Jack Davis

“I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies” – Psalm 18:3.

Our forefathers (in the U. S.) were possessed of strong determination to become an independent nation. Some of them had the burning desire to worship God after the dictates of their hearts, but their freedom from an iron-fisted rule did not come without great cost.
Their declaration of independence, was related to much shedding of blood. The liberty from their enemies’ control was to be enjoyed as a complete deliverance – and thus they called upon the Lord.

I am certain that our greatest freedom from our enemies is to be realized as we become most dependent upon the Lord. Our enemies can only bind and hinder us as we try to conduct our lives in independence of Him. Hence dependence upon Him produces the greatest independence possible.


Declaration of our independence: I Cor. 7:22-23, “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” We, being purchased out of sins slave market (redeemed by the Blood), are free, free to serve, honor and worship the Lord. Glorify Him with all that we are and do, as well as what we say.


“I will call upon the LORD.” In the first three verses of this 18th Psalm, David seems to express a three-part resolve, of which this is the third. In verse one, “I will love thee.” “In whom I will trust,” verse 2. He has made his decision from past experience it is evident, as he tells us what the Lord is: what he had become unto Him. Humanity is told to call upon the Lord, bringing their request boldly to the throne of grace. We are promised sweet blessings, and the richest benefits in so doing. Yet we find that the only ones that consistently follow through are those that also truly love and trust Him.


“The LORD who is worthy to be praised.” Oh yes, He is worthy! But who realize His altogether worthiness? Is it not those that, “worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh?” Who can say with convincing certainty, “He is worthy of all our worship,” other than those that love Him, trust Him, and call upon His Holy name? Those that stay in close, personal contact with our Lord realize victorious Christian living. Such believers are feasting at Jesus’ feet, and fighting the good fight of faith on their knees. Thus in prayer and praise we are being preserved.

Who knows by experience the total worthiness of His praise? Oh, what a privilege we have of knowing our Lord personally, intimately, in the sweetest closest communion. It is there, in prayer, that we gather much material for praise. In praise, we give God the glory for the victories won in prayer. These go together well. A happy Godly life cannot be separated from prayer and praise (Phil. 4:6-7 and I Thess. 5:16-18).


“So shall I be saved from mine enemies.” The psalmist thus expresses such confident assurance. We may also know now that He is able to save to the uttermost (Heb. 7:25). We have the need and the privilege to be experiencing His saving power in our daily lives – body, soul and spirit. He has saved us; He does save us; and He always will save those who call on Him in truth, in the way and time that is best for us (II Cor. 1:8-10).

OH yes, God’s people do have their enemies no matter how Christ-like they are. Enemies have we that are powerful, wily, deceitful, and fierce. There are always enemies of  God’s grace, enemies of the cross of Christ, but the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Lord’s people (without and within). Prayer and praise in peril, seem to be the main way God would have us deal with our enemies that involves the world, the flesh, and the devil. In prayer, we, by faith, flee to His presence knowing that He is always there, placing ourselves under His protection, depending on His mighty power instead of defending ourselves.

Prayer is not just informing the Lord of our plight, for He knows all that we have need of. It is not pleading with Him. Prayer is not overcoming divine reluctance, but rather laying hole of His loving willingness. It is the Lord’s purpose to save. He has made full, provision for our deliverance. As we yield to Him and trust Him, He is performing a deliverance that will soon be complete (Phil. 1:6).

It is good for us to remember as we place before Him our dependent resolve that divine rescue often follows, or is preceeded by a requesting and rejoicing.


Anita Clark – Pastor, Carbondale, Kansas

The ultimate purpose of this Church Age is to prepare a group of redeemed human beings to be a Bride for Jesus Christ. The work of the Holy Spirit is going on today in the lives of believers who are yielding to the divine working of God. Apostle Paul speaks of this in Philippians 3:7-14. A careful study shows that Paul was not speaking of gaining salvation, when he writes, “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.” He is speaking of a work that will change him into a completely yielded child of God with a close place with the Lord Jesus. This brings the believer to a place of complete yieldedness to the Lord, where all is counted loss for Christ.

Let us consider the phrase, “...that I may win Christ.” No where in the Bible does it teach that we win salvation by any good works. In fact the opposite is taught i.e Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He has saved.” Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved by faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Not of works lest any man should boast.” Also in Philippians 3:11, Paul says, “Not as though I have already attained.” This word means in the GK. “To seize or attain.” No where does the Scripture say we must strive to gain salvation to become a child of God. The word used in verse 13 “apprehend” means almost the same thing, “to seize, attain, apprehend.” Paul sums up his desire in verse 14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

In other portions of Paul’s writings he speaks of the race course, likening it to our spiritual day by day journey to achieve this place as the winner. ( I Corinthians 9:24-27). The wonderful place we desire - is to be yielded to Christ completely so that He can work in us by the Holy Spirit to prepare us to be the Bride of Christ. Paul speaks specifically about this in II Corinthians 11:1-3, “Would to God you would bear with me in my folly, and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

God has made provision that every believer in Christ could be in that company of believers who will make up the Bride of the Lord Jesus Christ. The sad thing is that not all will avail themselves of that glorious place. Satan deceives believers and lulls many to sleep. (I Thess. 4:13-5:8). The Lord warned that we are to watch and be ready for His soon appearing. In Revelation 19:1-10 we see a beautiful scene in heaven, when all the church is gathered unto the Lord. Not all who there are the Bride. Read this passage. In verse 7 we see the “great multitude” introducing the Bride, who had “made herself ready.” There are other groups in heaven also who are not the Bride.

The purpose of this introduction about the Bridal company is to talk further about a parable that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 13:45-46 - “ The Goodly Pearl.” In verse 45 “the Merchant man” speaks of Christ who came to the world “seeking goodly pearls.” God has made provision for each believer to be His “pearl of great price.” Sadly, all will not let Him do His work in them. The word “goodly” in the Gk. means “beautiful, good, literally or morally virtuous.” The Lord Jesus came to earth to seek a Virtuous Bride. Proverbs 31:10 says, “Who can find a virtuous woman, for her price is far above rubies.” The word “virtuous” in the Hebrew language means “strength, valor, and moral character.” Jesus came down to call a people who would yield to Him completely and love Him supremely. He gave up all He had with the Father to find this Pearl.

Verse 46 shows what Jesus Christ did: “He went,” He sold all that He had,” and “He bought it.” The text says He was “seeking goodly pearls.” This speaks to us that provision is made for every believer to be that beautiful pearl that Jesus is looking for right now in this Age of Grace. Here we find, “Who, when He had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that He had, and bought it.” II Corinthians 5:21 tells us “For He hath made Him sin, who knew no sin, for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” He condescended and gave up all that He had with the Father and became a human being in order to die and save us. That’s how greatly He esteemed the “Pearl of great price.” This pearl represents the Bride of Jesus Christ.

And oyster is an ugly thing, and represents us in our Old Adamic state. It is rough, rock hard, and almost impossible to open. We were found in the dark depths of the Ocean of Sin in a very corrupt state. Oysters grow in water that is often smelly and has a bad flavor. This is so typical of all the human race, when Jesus found us. We were hopeless! He saw the worth of what the Oyster would produce though she was in a deep dark place. He came to that place and “made Himself of no reputation and took upon Himself the form of a servant (slave)” in order to rescue us. Hebrews 12:2 states, “ 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.”

What causes the pearl to grow in the ugly old oyster? The Lord works a work from the inside out. As we yield He does His work in us. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” Philippians 2:13. The pearl in the natural depth realizes an irritant bothering her. It is usually a parasite as an intruder, and not a grain of sand. This intruder into Gods’ plan is “sin.” If the parasite stays in the oyster it will destroy the oyster. God gave the Oyster a defense mechanism, a fluid to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of the coating, called “nacre” is applied until a lustrous pearl is formed. This speaks to us that God is working a little at a time to change us into His image and make us ready to be that pearl of great price. We might liken the fluid (nacre) to the Holy Spirit who is constantly at work to make us into that beautiful pearl. This work is an inward, often unseen by others, work.

Pearls are formed sometimes by a bead of shell being implanted in the Oyster, but the non-nucleated pearl is much more valuable. The longer a pearl is grown in the mollusk the larger the pearl and its value increases. A natural pearl of value is found in less than one in every 10,000 wild oysters. Natural pearls created without human intervention are very rare. A string of natural South Sea pearls can cost more than 75,000 pounds. God does this work in us as we yield to Him. Our will must be surrendered to Him or this work cannot be finished. Others may not see the work, (as hidden away in the oyster) but the Lord, the Master Workman does, and has promised to finish the work He has begun. The only thing that hinders this is our will.

He did not look at the ugly shell, or the depths in which we dwelled or the worm or parasite of the old nature. He saw the beauty of what we would be when He molded us and His Spirit coated us with the beautiful righteousness of Christ. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through His poverty might be rich” II Corinthians 8:9. Revelation 19:7, says, “ Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.” Our job is to yield to His working in us.

Matthew 13:46 says, “Who, when he had found one pearl of great price” Jesus is looking and finding the “virtuous one” the only one of her mother-(Song of Solomon 6:9)” mentioned in Proverbs 31:10, whose “price is far above rubies.” This one captured His attention is “far above rubies.” Choose now to let the Lord work in you to be ready for this exalted place.

God’s Grace Teaches

Gordon Crook

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:11-14

God’s grace is not just some idea or some philosophy. It is the reality of God reaching out to fallen man. It is the expression of God’s love manifested in His Son Jesus Christ. God didn’t just talk about mercy and grace, He demonstrated to us through Jesus. In the Old Testament, God lays out His plan for reaching out to us, and of providing for our need.

God’s grace brings unto us the free gift of salvation that makes us righteous in His sight. In Romans we learn that none was able to make themselves right with God, and none could stand in God’s presence for all were sinners. We needed a substitute to take our deserved punishment so God’s righteousness could be satisfied. And so, God’s grace appeared in the form of Jesus Christ. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Many think that teaching grace is bad because it gives place for people to live their lives any way they please. Nothing could be further from the truth. God’s grace teaches us something very different. Thinking that grace teaches licentious living is a result of a reprobate mind that has not understood the truth of God’s Word. A true revelation of God’s grace will humble us before God. Licentious living is a result of man’s pride leading him to ignore God’s grace.

The result of God’s grace is a new life; the life of Jesus, in us. It brings change and renewal. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4

That new life is pleasing to God, not me trying to please myself (licentious living), or even me trying to please God. It is me yielding to the life of Christ that is now in me.

God’s grace compels us. It draws us, and it moves us to be pleasing unto Him. This is a result of a revelation of our complete lack of ability and goodness without Jesus.

What does God’s grace teach us? What are we learning? To live soberly (sound in mind); we are not fooled by the enemy to follow the world. We live righteously and godly; our lives reflect the life of Christ as we go through this world. Our revelation of the grace of God causes us to want to share it with others.

The key is found in verse 13. We are looking for something. God’s grace gives us the right, ability and desire to look forward to something that supersedes this world and its desires. We are not truly of this world, and are not stuck in this evil world. We have a marvelous hope of the coming of our Lord that we might be where He is. John 14.

The grace of God has appeared in the form of Jesus, and there is yet another appearance that brings us to the peak of God’s grace. It is a happy hope and is glorious beyond our understanding. That hope keeps us looking for Jesus. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” Philippians 3:20. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2Timothy 4:8

Those that have had a revelation of God’s grace, are loving and longing for the coming of Jesus.

God had a purpose in sending His Son to bring us salvation through His sacrifice. He was purchasing (redeeming) us for His special purpose. We are a peculiar (special) people.

The ‘good works’ come as a result of God’s action of grace. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. As those that have been purchased by a price; the precious blood of Jesus, we are equipped to live godly lives that are pleasing to Him who paid the price for us. What have you learned from God’s grace?


Verta Giddings

Chapter 21:15-40; 22:1-30; 23:1-22
Paul’s Arrest

In the last lesson Paul was ready and willing to go to Jerusalem, even though he had been warned by the  Spirit that he would be bound and delivered into the hands of the Gentiles. He still knew it was the Lord’s will for him to go. He was told right after he was saved, that he would suffer for the sake of the Lord Jesus, and he was willing to do this.  Today we will learn what took place when he arrived at Jerusalem.

First Paul went to the believers in Jerusalem and they were happy when he told them how many had been saved on his last missionary journey – Act 21:15-20. After that, he went to the temple to speak to the unbelieving Jews. He wanted so to reach the men of Israel, enough that he was willing to make a vow and go into the temple with some others. He took that opportunity to worship the Lord, as he said in  Acts 24:11. This was to last seven days. When that time was almost ended, there was a terrible uproar. Some Jews from Asia, saw Paul in the temple. They stirred up the people claiming that Paul was teaching men everywhere against the Law of Moses. They even claimed he had taken a Gentile into the temple. They just imagined that, for they had seen him with a Gentile before that somewhere in the city of Jerusalem – Acts 21:27-30. The angry people ran and drew Paul out of the temple and even went about to kill him. V. 31.

How Paul’s life was saved from this angry mob – Vs. 32-40. The chief captain took soldiers and rescued him from those evil people. They had even been beating Paul before that. The Roman soldiers really didn’t know what to do with Paul so they bound him with chains and demanded to know who he was. The accusers were all mixed up for they all cried out different things. Then the soldiers carried him away from those folks to the castle. As Paul was led into the castle, he asked to speak to the chief captain. He told this man that he was a Jew of Tarsus. He asked in Greek if he could speak to the people. That must have surprised Lysias, the chief captain. Paul was allowed to speak to the Jews in their own language.

Paul’s message before the multitude – Chapter 22. When the people knew he was speaking their own language, they listened. Then he told them about his early life, about his persecution of the believers in Jesus before he became saved on the road to Damascus (Acts chapter 9). He told of that great light that had come on his path. He told about being blinded by the light. He said when he was in Damascus that Ananias had come to him and told him he was chosen by the Lord to know His will and see Jesus, and hear His voice. Ananias had told him he would be a witness about what he had seen and herd. Then he told how, when arriving in Jerusalem, after he had been saved, he was praying in the temple. There the Lord had told him to leave and go to the  Gentiles, for those Jews wouldn’t hear him. That seemed to be enough for the Jews listening to Paul. They didn’t want to hear that the Gentiles should hear about God. They became even more angry. They cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air. The chief captain had to have him brought into the castle. He said to beat Paul. As they bound him with thongs, Paul said to a soldier – “Is it lawful for you to scourge (beat) a Roman who wasn’t even condemned?” That put fear into them. Since Paul was born in the free city of Tarsus, he was a Roman citizen. The chief captain asked him directly if that was true. They just had to keep him over for another day.

Paul spoke before the Sanhedrin – the Jewish Council – Chapter 23:1-10. Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. He told them he had lived in all good conscience before God. They didn’t want to hear that. Then Paul, who was a Pharisee, took the opportunity to “divide” the group by saying he was a Pharisee himself and believed in the resurrection. That didn’t set well with the Sadducees, for they  didn’t believe in anything at all supernatural. The two groups began to argue and fight.  The chief captain had to again rescue Paul from violent men.

The Lord stood by Paul in the night – Acts 23:11. He told him to be of good cheer, for he had testified of Him in Jerusalem, and that he would witness of Him in  Rome.

The conspiracy to kill Paul – Acts 23:12-22.
Forty men banded together and bound themselves under a curse that they would not eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. These men wanted the chief priests and elders to have the chief captain bring Paul down the next day, pretending to ask him something, just so they could kill him. Paul’s nephew heard of this and got to the chief captain and told him about it. He told him what he knew. The chief captain listened and believed him, but told him not to tell anyone.

This is as far as this lesson takes us. Was Paul safe, even though there was plenty to make us think otherwise? We know they could not take his life until it was the right time. This was not the right time. He had not yet witnessed before kings. The Lord had said that Paul would go to Rome. God cannot go back on His word. Paul could rest in that, we are sure. Are you safe in the Lord’s hands? Definitely you are. You can witness for Jesus, and nothing can happen to you unless the Lord allows it. His timing is right every time.
To be continued


Debra Isenbletter

The Valley of Zephathah (II Chron. 14:1-11). Zephathah means “place of watching,” therefore this is the Valley of Watching. This is the valley that Asa had to face and again, this is a valley where a battle takes place. This is the valley where the child of God Watches what the Lord does! In the account given of Asa’s reign, we find that “In his days the land was quiet ten years” (v. 1). This king’s reign began with no battles, and during those ten years Asa was busy for he spent those first ten years of his reign doing the things that would strengthen God’s people spiritually. What he did was preparation for a battle that would come later. Asa took away several things and he built several things. For everything taken away in our lives that are defiling or hurtful, the Lord adds that which will strengthen, but the taking away comes first.

Asa “took away the altars of the strange gods” (v. 3) and he “took away the high places and the images.” Then once those things were taken away he commanded God’s people “to seek the Lord God of their fathers and to do (obey) the law and commandment” of the Lord” (v. 5). He begins to lay a foundation that will strengthen God’s people spiritually. But Ask doesn’t stop there, he not only begins a work that builds up the people spiritually, but he focuses on a need that is natural. As “build fenced cities in Judah” (v. 7), he made walls about the cities (v. 8).  He prepared an army, “mighty men of valor,” 300,000 from Judah and 260,000 from Benjamin. Asa did all this when there was no war, and no treat, but all these preparations, both spiritual and natural were necessary.

At the end of ten years the enemy  rose up against God’s people, a million strong, but Asa was ready and went out to meet them. The place where the battle took place was the “valley of Zephathah” or the “Place of watching.” This is the place where they would watch the Lord deliver them. “Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah” (II Chron. 14:10). Asa, though he has an army, though he has fortified his cities, though he has prepared the people by telling them to seek the Lord, he is still dependant upon the Lord. Asa goes to the Lord in prayer, for he knows that any victory and strength must come from the Lord. He cries unto the Lord and says, “help us, O Lord our God; for we rest in thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude, thou art our God; let not man prevail against us” (v. 11).

This valley which was a “place of watching” was also a place of resting, it is a resting in the Lord, an utter trusting in the Lord, though the enemy could not see this. Asa knew that he would have to fight this battle, he went into this valley prepared to fight, but he also knew that because the people had sought the Lord for ten years and obeyed His commandments that they would fight in the strength their God provided, in the strength they found in His name. When the battle began, “the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah” (v. 12). Who smote the enemy ? The Lord did. An enemy army of over one million strong set against a little over 500,000 and what happened? That great multitude fled before the people of the Lord and “they were destroyed before the Lord, and before His host” (v. 13). There is the key to their victory, it is the Lord and His host, and the two cannot be separated. The king and the people watched the Lord deliver them. It was the Lord Who defeated the enemy but He did it through His people. He fought with them and he fought through them. Sometimes the Lord goes before us and fights the battle and sometimes He wants us to fight, sometimes we cannot avoid a spiritual battle with the enemy. But whether we do nothing or whether He fights through us, the battle is still His and the victory is still His. We watch what He does and rejoice in the victory!
To be continued


By Orville Freestone

Lakewood, Colorado


“Those who walk in the steps of that faith
of our father Abraham” Rom. 4:12.

The apostle Paul wrote that the things that happened to the ancients were written for our learning, that we should not repeat their mistakes and errors, but learn from their experiences of faith (I Cor. 10:11). Abraham is certainly one of the greatest persons of history, not just of the Bible. After four thousand years he stands tall as an example of faith and as one of the foundations of western culture and thought. His imprint is deep in history. He is especially noted in scripture for his faith. Paul challenges us to follow in the steps of Abraham’s faith. What are they?

His first step of faith is that He believed God. God made seven promises to Abraham: “I will make you a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, you shall be a blessing, I will bless those who bless you, I will curse him who curses you, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:1-3 ) Abraham believed what God said, even though it seemed impossible. This changed Abraham’s life: he became a pilgrim of faith. We, too, can believe God, and our lives will be changed.

Abraham’s second step of faith is that he obeyed God. It is difficult for us to comprehend what God’s command to Abraham meant, to leave his family and country and go to where he knew not. Our times are very different from him. To belong to a family and tribe was security. When he left Ur, he left one of the great cities of his day. But he obeyed God, went out to where he knew not, and became a pilgrim of faith. (Heb. 11:8-9) Peter assures us that we are pilgrims of faith and that we, too, can obey God. (I Peter 2:11)

The third step of Abraham’s faith is that he worshiped God. Wherever he went he build altars (Gen. 12:7; 12:8; 13:18; 22:9) and he returned to those altars to worship. (Gen. 13:4) Too often, when Christians move to a different place, or take another job, the church where they will worship is not a part of the plans. Then, when distance from their church is too great or there is none where they go, they become church drop-outs. The admonition to not forsake the assembling for worship (Heb. 10:25) is for our spiritual welfare.

The fourth step of Abraham’s faith is he trusted God. Genesis 15:6 reads “he believed in the Lord, that is he put his faith in the Lord, he trusted Him. He believed that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead, if that was necessary to fulfill His promise. (Heb. 11:18-19) This was a test of faith more severe than we are likely to have and we too, can trust the Lord for our lives. Like him, we can trust God’s promises to us. It is greatly important that we understand what are the promises of God for us. It is not true that “every promise in the Book is mine.” Some of the promises in the Bible are of judgment for the unbelieving. Other promises are to Israel and not for us. We do have “exceeding great and precious promises” on which we can trust our lives. It is important that we know what they are.

These are the steps of the faith of Abraham and we can walk in them too. But like us, at times Abraham’s faith failed. When there was a famine in the land of Canaan Abraham took his family to Egypt to survive. (Gen. 12:10) He lied about his relation to Sara causing problems all around. This was certainly not of faith, but God graciously protected them. When it became apparent that Sara could not have a child, they resorted to a common law of that time that a slave could be a surrogate mother for an heir. (Gen. 16) God soon made it clear that this was not what He had in mind. Only trouble came from this. Again in Genesis 20, Abraham lied about Sara being his wife. Again, the result was grief. It took a while for Abraham to learn that “works” are not faith. Even so, Abraham did walk by faith and became “the friend of God.” (II Chron. 20:7) These are lessons that we, too, must learn.

 Portraits of Christ

E. J. Davis

I like finding these portraits of our Lord in the scriptures. This one is found in I Peter 2:25 – Christ, The Shepherd and Bishop of Our Souls. Let us go back in this chapter and make our way down to this 25th verse. Several exhortations are given for believers to live a life that gives honor and glory to God.

We will start with verse 17. “Honor all men,” this word “Honor” in the Greek has the meaning of “value.” Value all men is not easy for our flesh, but we possess the Life of Christ and He died for all mankind. “Love the brotherhood,” they are family, our brothers and sisters in Christ. We may not agree doctrinally on some matters, but they are still family and we love all the family of God. “Fear God,” the Greek word used here means “to be in awe, reverence.” We not only know Him as our creator, but as our redeemer and that is awesome. “Honor the king,” Give due respect for God set them in that very place and that makes them accountable to rightly exercise the authority committed to them.

V. 18 – Servants are under masters, as are employees, students and underlings in the military, saints should be subject, not only to the good and gentle, but to those that are harsh. Vs. 19-21 – It is thankworthy even when we endure suffering wrongfully, if we serve them as service unto God. Christ suffered in silence, may we follow His example and manifest the grace of God in all circumstances, for this is well-pleasing to God. Jesus left everything in the Father’s hands, and so should we. God’s grace will enable us to triumph. Jesus said, “Bless are ye, when men revile and persecute you, saying evil against you falsely for my sake.” We shall be vindicated in the Lord’s own time and rewarded. I Cor. 4:5, “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: then shall every man have praise of God.”

V. 22 – God’s Lamb was pure and spotless in every way, thus the perfect sacrifice for sinners. I Jn. 3:5, “He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.” V. 23. - He meekly and patiently endured all shame and indignities that wicked men did unto Him. The Father vindicated Him when He raised Him from the dead. V. 24 – He who had no sin, took upon Himself all our sins and God’s judgment of sin fell on Him. Ps. 42:7, – “all thy waves and thy billows (of judgment) are gone over me.” By His stripes we were healed, body soul and spirit.

We love Him, Who first loved us and we desire that our lives bring glory to Him. The flesh always puts self first, but the life of Christ within says, Yes in every little detail to God’s will. V. 25 – It is the grace of God that we have been brought to know Christ as our Shepherd who cares for us in every way. The portrait or type of Christ as our Shepherd is no precious.

A shepherd or sheep-master was constantly with his flock, day and night, feeding them guarding them with tender care. Jesus words in John chapter 10, “I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep” (V. 11). “I know my sheep, and am known of mine” (V. 14). “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (V. 15). “He putteth forth His sheep, He goeth before them, the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice (V. 4).

I am so glad we can say like David (Ps. 23:1), “The Lord is MY Shepherd; I shall not want.” He is also the Bishop or overseer of my soul, guiding and directing my way through life. We can’t expect any better treatment from this world than our rejected Lord. We need not be surprised when our testimony is rejected by most and accepted by only a few. But we are here to be a light in this darkened world. “This little light of mine, I’m go to let it shine.”

Col. 3:23-24, “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Rev. 22:12, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me…”. It is far better to have the approval of the Lord than the commendation of the world. May we manifest the characteristics of the life of Christ daily, the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.

Monday, June 18, 2018


Jack Davis

Our powers of discernment develop in usefulness by being exercised properly. By the practice of constant use, they become more alert and well trained. In John 16:7-14 Jesus speaks of that which is necessary for their benefit, He promises the Holy Spirit for their personal guidance, bringing inspired learning for inspired living. He promised this other Comforter who would continue to do in them what the Lord had been doing for them.

This Person was to bring them into the Truth that makes men free. He was sent to open spiritual ears and spiritual eyes, so that the eyes of our heart will be “enlightened.” This to me expresses far more than just knowing that which is recorded, or written on paper, or heard, or held to mentally, or applied methodically. It is rather that which is applied to daily living – Truth in the inward parts. We do will to be most receptive to His impressions, and responsive to His impulses. Oh, Beloved, let us not try to still the Spirit’s Voice in our hearts, nor dim the Spirit’s light in our lives.

Acts 28:26-27, “Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” We have Israel’s history recorded as an example. They had no excuse for being so sick and ignorant spiritually. God’s grace had supplied all they ever needed for perfect health, but here we read of the hindrances to spiritual healing and health: gross heart, dull ears, the closed eyes. These describe their sad state. Yet, now for some time, the so-called Christian nations have been taking the same course.

I Cor. 2:9, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. “We are made aware just how dead the senses of fallen humanity are to comprehending things Divine. We understand from verse thirteen that Divine wisdom is not taught by human learning nor the philosophy of man. God’s well is so deep and the Holy Spirit sounds for us its profound depths.

Now, if you are filled with and yielding to the Spirit, you cannot be satisfied with the shallowness of a casual acquaintance with Him. In verse fifteen He describes the spiritual insight, who appraises all. This is in contrast to these of chapter three, who are able to discern only on a natural plane. They are described as infants in the faith who walk as men, manifesting their spiritual immaturity by their conduct, appetite, and attitude. They cannot take the meat of the Word, not digest it if they could. They are controlled by selfish desires, acting upon human impulse, and taking the wrong headships.

Our natural senses seem to dull or degenerate by ill health, lack of use, or improper use. Each natural sense – seeing, hearing, smelling, touch, or taste – has its spiritual counterpart; but many saints never experience their development to the full potential. Most seem to be willing to let someone else do their looking, listening, smelling, feeling, tasting, and hearing; and thus perceiving what is good or evil. It seems that lack of use results in lack of ability to use. Yet I believe it is really a  lack of understanding or realizing the meaning of the signal being given by the inactive sense. It is “by reason of use” (application of the Word, spiritual exercise) that we are enabled “to discern both good and evil” – Heb. 5:14.

Note some hindrances: To seeing – Living back of what light we have been given. Living in darkness makes it difficult to take in more light.
To hearing – Being enveloped with the noise of the flesh and of the world dulls our hearing, making it difficult to perceive that still small Voice of God’s will for our individual lives.
To smelling – Two bad things happen when dwelling around things that make a bad odor. You get used to the smell, and begin to think it is not so bad. Then you also begin to take on its aroma. With some odors your clothes become saturated, savoring the stench of the flesh and the world’s dump clogs our senses to the fragrance of our Father and our sweet Lover Christ.
To feeling – By the jostling bruising blows of the world’s pleasure, we are numbed to His tender touch. Our hearts can become gross, dense, heavy, callous, seared, and insensitive.
To tasting – By eating the junk food, garbage of the world or worldly church, we never develop an appetite for the good wholesome nourishing beneficial food of our Father’s table.

By the development of our spiritual senses and their use, we can be saved many a sad wasteful harmful experience which will only reap corruption. It is far better to discern and avoid evil than to experience harm, loss, and corrupting waste.

II Cor. 2:16, “To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life, And who is sufficient for these things?” Each sense is important. All are meant to work together under the direction of the head. Each is intended to fulfill its specific function for the benefit of the whole. There are certain things you cannot discern by just seeing, smelling, or listening. To ignore the function of one or another of our senses can be dangerously wasteful. It is interesting to notice the often in a human body, when one or other of the senses is harmed or malfunctioning, the others seem to become more active and sensitive to help compensate for the lack. They seem to do surprisingly well, yet they cannot completely fulfill the function of the other.

As Individuals, God has made available the spiritual sense to each of us; so that we by the Word through the Spirit, are able to get the will of God for our own lives, under the direction of our Head – the Lord Jesus Christ.

To illustrate: the nose might say, “That smells good.” The eye – “That look Good.” Right away the taste buds begin to water. But the head says, “Check it out and touch it.” The feeling seems the signal, “Wait, it is too hot!” Or the ear might send a signal, “I heard a crash behind you.” The head says, “Look!” The eye sees danger, and tells which way to jump.

In the whole Body of Christ each segment as seen by men has its separate functions, its particular ministries and missions to fulfill. Each is undeniably important. God gives the gifts, the ministries, and the increase. As far as He is concerned, denominationalism and sectarianism have no place in the Body of Christ. The attitudes of these are, “I have no need of you.” Or, “If you are not doing what I am doing or interested in my interests you are nothing, unnecessary, unimportant; you are out.” Well, we know that is not true, not right.

Then there is the Bride. The Old Testament illustrates this Truth. A rib was taken out of Adam, “who is the figure of Him that was to come.” With this rib God built a wife for Adam. Rebekah came out of her father’s house to be a bride for Isaac. Today the Bride of Christ is being made up of individuals who honor Christ as their only Head. They are being taken out of Christ’s Body, separated unto Him from all forms of religions organizations. These believers are being developed into a complete perfect Body for Jesus Christ’s highest eternal enjoyment, having all the senses and equipment of the Body. There will be no lack in that Body of Bridal believers. They will have developed the sharpness of seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling. On the other hand, the Bride company will not exalt itself above other members of the Body, nor consider any member unnecessary or unimportant. Yet the Bride company yearns for the closest fellowship with Christ.

When the Body for the most part has denied the God-given Headship of Christ and the Holy Spirit who is so essential to spiritual development, the Bridal saint whole-heartedly desires and grasps all that He has provided and sent for her perfection. What happens when the natural body goes to sleep? The activity of the senses slows down and its sharp alertness dulls. Today true Bridal saints are discerning God’s purpose for believers, and acting in harmony with their Head by obeying the Word. They have their senses exercised and sharpened by giving their complete attention to Him.


Pastor Anita Clark – Carbondale, Kansas

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. James 1:2-3

What does it mean to “count” it, our trials and tests “all joy?” The Greek word for “count” means “to command with official authority, to govern, judge or have rule over.” This Scripture says to do this “when we fall into divers temptations.” There is no way a believer can do this in their own strength. It requires a total reliance upon the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s power.

The word “temptations” in the Greek means “a putting to the proof.” The trials of life prove where we have our confidence - either in ourselves (which always fails) or in the Lord for strength. The tests and trials will come, but there’s victory in Jesus. These tests are - any trial that tempts us to complain or lose faith in Who God is. Notice there are “divers temptations.” Your trials are not like mine and mine not like yours, but God has allowed each trial to come to perfect our faith. He is the wise Master-builder (I Cor. 3:10). He knows exactly what it will take in our particular case, so He deals with us as individuals.

“Knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” This is one of those thing mentioned in the Word of God that we can know. God is not allowing these tests to punish us, but to help us to grow. God loves patience - it’s one of His divine characteristics, so when we say, “I want to be like Jesus,” trials will come to work those traits in our lives. “Trying” of faith is sort of like exercising a muscle. The more the muscle is contracted, the more developed it gets. The more we exercise our faith the greater our confidence grows in the Lord. The Amplified version say of vs. 3 - “Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.”

In Romans 5:2-5 we read, “By Whom (Christ) also we, have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations (GK. “pressure, persecution, anguish, trouble”) also; knowing that tribulation works patience.” Patience is the trait produced in the believer’s life which is so much like God Himself. The process of the work God wants to do in our lives is endurable because as patience works experience (Vs. 4) and then experience works hope, and hope makes not ashamed, “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

James 1:4 says, “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” God lets us have a choice. The Amplified version says, “Let endurance and steadfastness have full play and do a thorough work that you may be fully developed (with no defects), lacking nothing.” We can choose to let God have His way in our lives, or we can rebel against the work of the Lord. The Potter has to work roughly with the clay at times to bring forth exactly what He pictures in his mind to be the best outcome for that particular piece of clay. The first thing the potter does is to slam the clay on the work surface to “wedge” the clay. Then, the work begins on the wheel. The Master Potter is so very talented in working with the clay, and the outcome is just like magic to behold. How precious to give our will over to the Master for His molding of our lives as He chooses, not what we choose. Perfect submission - that’s what He desires, for He knows what is best.

II Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen; for the things which are not seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Our lifetime is just a moment compared to eternity. The work that the Lord is doing in our lives will one day bring “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Again I quote the Amplified Version, Vs. 17 “weight of glory- “beyond all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!” We cannot fathom what is in store for those who love Christ with all their hearts and lives.

He is coming very soon for His Bride, who has yielded her all to His working and is faithfully watching and waiting for Him. Will you be in that number when the first trumpet rings out? That is my desire, is it yours? Our part is to “Let Him” and Yield to Him.” He has promised in Philippians 213, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good Pleasure.”

The Word

Gordon Crook

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

It would be impossible to exaggerate the importance of God’s Word for the believer. However, it seems that there has been a growing indifference to the Word among Christians today. Even many, that attend church and enjoy the worship service and are very sincere in their Christian life, do not seem to have much interest in Bible study.

Way back in the time of Samuel, we find this statement; a very sad statement: And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. 1 Samuel 3:1. The Word of the Lord was precious, rare, not frequent. There was no open vision. God was not being revealed, not because He did not want to, but because the people had no interest.

The same might be said today. And, lack of the Word is stunting to spiritual growth. Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18. How can we “keep” (guard) the Word if we have not taken it in? This is not just a mere reading of the Bible, but studying and laying hold of God’s Word in our lives. It becomes an integral part of our lives, and the Holy Spirit uses it to develop growth.
Paul encourages Timothy several times, and I have been especially impressed with the thought of the individual responsibility that is laid out for us. When Paul writes to Timothy, he is writing to an individual, and each one of us can and should take that as if it were written directly to us. After warning Timothy of the condition of those that would deceive, he encourages Timothy as follows: But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. 2 Timothy 3:14. What is the answer to the evil of this world, and the deception of the enemy? Continuing in God’s Word.

In the previous chapter, Paul encourages Timothy to “hold fast the form of sound words” 2 Timothy 1:13. The word “sound” means healthy. We need to lay hold of the healthy spiritual food that we need. We know what happens in the natural when we consume unhealthy food (and yet we still do it). The same is true spiritually.

The Word of God is vital for our ability to go into the battle. Ephesians 6:17. Even Jesus showed us by example when tempted in the wilderness. His response to Satan was always from the Scriptures. He wanted us to understand the importance of the Word in our battle with the enemy.

Each one of us has an individual responsibility to study and lay hold of God’s Word for ourselves. Paul encouraged Timothy to study for himself. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15. We will not be able to know the enemy’s attack coming against us if we do not know what God’s Word says. We also will not be able to recognize false teachers unless we know the truth.

We do not want to just be skimmers of the Word, but rather study the depths and allow it to take residence in our hearts. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16. It is not enough to just hear from time to time; we need to take it in for ourselves, and it needs to dwell in us.

The Word changes us from within by the work of the Holy Spirit. Many people read the Bible, but do not take it in. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13. We want to be like these saints. The Word must be mixed with faith, that is, taken in faith for it to be effectual. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. Hebrews 4:2.

So, since we want to grow spiritually and be pleasing to our Lord, we must take an interest in studying and laying hold of the Word. Each individual has a responsibility to study the Word for themselves. While it is important to be fed in church by those God has placed as pastors and teachers, we should not limit our intake to just those few times each week. It is not enough that my dad and grandpa know the Word. It is not enough that my pastor knows the Word, I need to know for myself, and have a revelation of the truth. Let us lay hold by faith.


Verta Giddings

Chapter 20:5-38 & 21:1-14
Paul’s Farewells

The Experience at Troas – Acts 20:6-16. Paul and Luke (note the ‘we’) had sailed from Philippi in Macedonia, and came to Troas, which was in the northwest corner of Asia Minor. Quite a few gospel workers were waiting for Paul when he arrived there – 20:4-5. They stayed there a week, likely waiting for the first day of the week to arrive. That gave them the opportunity to have fellowship with the believers, for they must have gathered to worship on Sunday like we do. Paul had to leave in the morning, so he took that opportunity to preach to them. He had much to say, for he realized he wouldn’t be seeing them again.

They gathered in an upper room where there were many lights. It says they were in the third loft. I’m sure they were all eager to hear what Paul had to say. He preached a long time. One young man by the name of Eutychus was sitting in a window. He sunk down with sleep and fell down, clear from that third loft. Remember that the writer of “Acts” is Dr. Luke. He tells the story and says they took the young man up dead. Jesus to the rescue with Paul’s help! Paul went down, fell on him, embraced him, and then announced, “Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.” That didn’t stop their meeting. They continued right on with their fellowship, breaking of bread, eating, and talking until morning. The young man was alive and all of them were comforted. What a visit! The group went on by ship to the seaport Assos. Paul took that opportunity to walk that distance. Perhaps he just wanted to talk with the Lord. Anyway they got him back on board ship at Assos, then came to Mitylene, then to Chinos, Samos, Trogyllium, and finally Miletus. From there he called for the elders at Ephesus to come there to meet him.

Paul and the Ephesian Elders – Vs. 17-35. The reason Paul wanted them to come to him there was to save time. They apparently met on the seashore at Miletus. This was his last “Goodbye” to them. He had many things to tell them. Here are some things he touched on: He reminded them of his manner among them, that he had served the Lord with all humility, with tears, temptations, because the Jews were out to “get” him. And that he had kept back nothing from them about God’s Word. He had showed them, and taught them in public and in private. He testified to Jews and Greeks repentance and faith. Now he was going bound in his spirit unto Jerusalem, and he didn’t know what would take place there. The Holy Ghost had witnessed in every city that bonds and afflictions awaited him. None of this bothered Paul because he didn’t mind if he would die. What he desired most of all was that he would finish the work God  gave him to do. He wanted to do this with joy. This was to testify the gospel of the grace of God. He knew he wouldn’t see them again so he wanted them to know he had done all he could do. He had taught them all the counsel of God, as he said before, not holding back anything from them.

Then he gave some warnings – Vs. 28-30. They should take heed to themselves. They should take heed to the flock over which they were overseers. This meant these elders were under-shepherds of the flock of the Lord. As such they must feed the flock. Jesus bought his sheep (you are one of these) with his own blood. Paul knew that after he left grievous wolves (really bad men) would come from the outside to hurt and scatter the people. Even from within, from their own selves, men would arise, saying wrong things to have men follow them.

Then Paul gave them advice – V. 31; Vs. 33-35. Watch, remember what Paul had taught and how he live. He had warned them night and day with tears. He had not wanted their money. He had worked with his own hands to support himself and those with him. He had showed them how to help others. He said the Lord Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Paul commended them to God and to the word of His grace – V. 37. He said this to build them up. This would give them an inheritance.

Vs. 36-38 – After he finished speaking to them, he kneeled down and prayed with them. They all were crying because they wouldn’t be seeing him again. He loved these people and they loved him. They went with him to the ship. Now he was on his way to Jerusalem.

Some thoughts about what took place before Paul arrived in Jerusalem – Acts 21:1-14. They stayed at Tyre long enough for the ship to unload, which turned out to be seven days. There they found some believers. There the Holy Spirit warned Paul not to go to Jerusalem. They stopped at Philip’s house at Caesarea. Remember when Philip preached to the  Ethiopian in the desert, and then was caught away to Azotus? That was in Chapter 8 of this Book of Acts. Anyway by now he had an house and four daughters who prophesied. Was not he a happy man? They stayed there quite awhile. It was there that the prophet Agabus came and warned Paul about going to Jerusalem. He illustrated this by taking Paul’s girdle (belt). With this he bound his own hands and feet and told Paul they would do this to him at Jerusalem and deliver him to the  Gentiles. All the folks there tried to get Paul not to go. Paul knew, however, that he should go. It was the will of God. Their loving him so and not wanting this to happen to him was breaking his heart. He said he was willing not just to be bound, but also to die for the name of the Lord Jesus. And so – V. 14 – they let him go, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”

This ended Paul’s third missionary journey. We will find these prophesies came true but since Paul knew this was the will of God, we will see that it will work out for good. After all, had not the Lord said he would bear His name before Gentiles, KINGS, and the children of Israel. He would get to witness to kings by his being bound as the prophet had said. Are we willing to suffer for Jesus? If you knew this would bring many to Jesus wouldn’t you say “Yes” to the Lord, even when it meant hardships?
Continued in the next issue.

Portraits of Christ

E. J. Davis

This portrait of Christ is found in Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of faith…”. Notice, I left out the word “our” (our faith). Most Bibles have it in italics, showing it is not in the Greek text. It was added by the translators. For Jesus, the One Who Himself had perfect faith.

The Greek word for “Author” means, chief leader, captain, prince. The Greek for “Finisher” is the state of completeness, perfection. In other words, He is the Leader and Completer of faith or the Author, Captain and Perfector of faith.

Verse one of this chapter, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,” refers to the encouraging and inspiring examples of the Old Testament saints of chapter 11 for their overcoming faith. Christ’s faith far surpassed their faith for which they are commemorated. Christ is the leader, the pre-eminent One of faith.

Let us finish the rest of verse 1, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. “ The Old testament heroes of faith were ordinary human beings that obtained a good report (Ch. 11:2). How? By simply believing their God and trusting He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Ch. 11:6). If their life of faith pleased God, so can our life of faith please Him (Ch. 11:5). So “Let us” lay aside every hindrance and the sin of unbelief and run with patience our race, that we may win the Prize set before us, Christ as our Bridegroom. He is the Prize.

We are not looking to Abraham, or Moses, but “Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of faith.” May our hearts be fixed on Him and our vision filled with the hope of His soon return for us. May we look unto Him, for He is our true strength for running. He is the Light of our life.

In all things He is pre-eminent, the witness of what faith is. We find in Him the perfect example to follow and the energy we need for life’s journey. I thought of the Olympic athletes that spend years in training to obtain fame and others willing to spend their life to gain riches; those things last a brief time. How much more willing should we be to run for the prize we will enjoy for all eternity. Selah!

Christ requires our attention, for He is our file-Leader and Finisher of faith. He ran before us (12:2), resisting religious sinners who bitterly opposed Him, and he finished His course enduring the cross of shame. He was inspired by the joy set before Him, His bride by His side which is still ahead for Him.

Eph. 5:25-27, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

We know not all the church (the body of Christ) will quality being holy and without blemish. But Christ will have a Bride. Rev. 19:7, “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.”

The Bride will be a rib company from the body of Christ who will qualify. She “hath made herself ready.” How? I Cor. 9:24-27, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 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 (or disapproved, not qualifying).”

Let us as Paul count all things of the flesh lost, putting Christ first, before all else, Yielding to the Holy Spirit for His leading and working of God’s Word in our lives. These are not just cliché phrases. Phil. 3:12-15, “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. 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.”

Let us get serious with God, the time is short. Heb. 10:35-38, “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. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”

By Whose faith? Gal. 2:20, “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.”

II Cor. 11:2, The Apostle Paul desires to present a chaste virgin to Christ (chaste means pure, blameless, holy). All the Word of God is good and profitable, but get into Paul’s Epistles to learn the ultimate purpose of God, a bride for His Son and how that we may qualify.

 Phil. 3:9-11, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead (out from the believing dead),” the first rank. The bride is seen in Rev. 21:2 as a “holy city” prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

May God bless you and may we all go forward by the faith of our file-leader, our Lord Jesus Christ.


Debra Isenbletter

Valleys play an important part in the life of a child of God. A valley by definition means “a depression” or “a long depression in the earth’s surface,” “an area drained by a river” or “a hollow.” By the very definition we can see how the term valley would apply to the low places in our lives, to the times we feel drained by the trials or to times of depression and sometimes not just depression but a long depression that seems to go on with no end in sight. But there is a positive side to the valley experiences that each believer goes through that teach us wonderful lessons.

With that thought in mind, I’ve chosen seven valleys: The Valley of Blessing, the Valley of Watching; the Valley of the Oak or Strong Tree; the Valley of Thorns; the Valley of the Shadow of Death; the Valley of Weeping; and the Valley of Refreshing. Each of these valleys can be found in scripture and each can be applied to experiences we go through and in each valley can be seen a wonderful victory and overcoming for the child of God!

The Valley of Berachah (II Chron. 20:1-26). “Berachah” means “blessing,” therefore this valley is The Valley of Blessing. It’s hard to think of a valley experience as a blessing, but this is exactly what it is. It is a valley of blessing because of the praise and blessing given before the battle and it is a valley of blessing because at blessing received after the battle. This is the valley that Jehoshaphat had to face, and it began with the news that “there cometh a great multitude against thee.”

Jehoshaphat knew there was going to be a battle and he knew the enemy looked greater and stronger than God’s people and he was afraid. But he also knew what to dowhen he was afraid, and this is what we do today when we face this valley. “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord’ (v. 3). What did he do when he was afraid? He sought the Lord! Here is the beginning of the blessing and the beginning of the victory; it is seen in what we do when we are afraid. Fear can paralyze us or it can energize us. There are times when there is nothing we can do, when all we can do is “seek the Lord” but that is enough for victory.

When Jehoshaphat sought the Lord, he didn’t do it with doubt, he did it with faith, and he did it publicly in the house of the Lord. His prayer shows that he knew just how great the Lord was and this is seen in three questions he asks: “Art not thou God in heaven?” (v. 6). “Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land?” (v. 7). “Wilt thou not judge them?” (v. 12).

The answer to each of these questions is Yes! The Lord responds to this godly man’s prayer with a wonderful message for every child of God who is facing a battle and must go into the valley to face a great multitude. What we do in the valley, our attitude when as we walk through the valley makes all the difference. What turns that valley into a place of blessing is what they do, as they get ready to face the enemy. The Lord speaks to them and what He says fills their mouths with praise. It is the Word of God that encourages us, lifts us up when we feel defeated and takes our eyes off ourselves or off the enemy and puts them on the Lord.

The Lord said to Jehoshaphat, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude: for the battle is not yours, but God’s (v. 15). Sometimes we forget this simple but profound truth. The battle is not ours, we belong to the Lord and He will both fight for us and enable us to fight the battle. The Lord doesn’t deny the multitude is great and doesn’t deny that they must face the enemy, but the Lord says that the responsibility for fighting the battle rests upon Him!

When that wonderful truth is laid hold of and embraced in faith, then what is left is praise. All they are asked to do is stand still and see the salvation of the Lord (v. 17). They stand still in faith but they still have to go into the valley, but they don’t go into the valley afraid and they don’t go into the valley in defeat, they go into the valley rejoicing and singing! How can they do this? It is because they know the responsibility for the battle rests upon the strength of the Lord and not upon their own strength; they know that the battle is already won. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1). Faith sees the victory before the battle begins.

At the end of the battle God’s people were left with the spoil of the enemy and they were blessed in another way, but the greater blessing, the one for which the valley takes it’s name is the blessing they give to the Lord. “And the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah: for there they blessed the Lord: therefore the name of the place was called, The valley of Berachah, unto this day” (v. 26).
To be continued

In Times Like These . . .

Corina Medina

When many seemingly adverse circumstances overtake us or our loved ones, we do well to remember that in the valleys can be loses, weaknesses, inabilities, illnesses and even death. He, our beloved Lord is our good Shepard who desires to lead us to the healing waters of His precious Word.

You see this in Psalms 84:5-8, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.
Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.”

Draw close to these waters. Exodus 15:27, “And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.” Again, draw close to these waters and encamp there until he has finished the good work he began in you. As he shows us the wisdom of our submitting to the trial a given to us from His hand which we see written in Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”

The waters speak of cleansing, healing, peace and rest. The palm trees speak of the fruitfulness He is working in our lives. As we submit to the circumstances there will be a peace that truly passes understanding, along with great comfort from the blessed Holy Spirit. And also, amazingly, joy in believing that in our inabilities (helpless estate) He is able to do exceedingly more than we ask or think.

II Corinthians 6:10, “As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; (impossible without dependence on His grace). Jeremiah 15:16, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.”

So believing these things we look to Philippians 4:4-7  “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Trust Him, He is adorning us and preparing us for eternity with our bridegroom. Psalm 45:13-15, “The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace.” So, looking forward to that glad day, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. I Thessalonians 5:16-18, Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”