Sunday, December 8, 2019

Welcome

December is now posted.


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

There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.

He Has been Here


He has been here as a babe,
   God’s own beloved Son.
Of a Virgin He was born –
   Behold it was done.

He has been here as a child,
   Whom the wise men came
To see and to worship –
   Jesus was His Name.

He has been here as a Lad.
   In Temple He was found.
Learned doctors He amazed –
   With wisdom profound.

He has been here as a man,
   Plying ever day
His skill as a Carpenter –
   That was God’s own way.

He has been here as Teacher
   Wisdom all divine.
Was displayed in each lesson.
   His words were sublime.

He has been here as Redeemer,
   On the cross He died,
Suffering sorrow and shame,
   For us crucified.

He has been here–Wondrous God.
   His glory was seen.
He will come soon again,
   With beautiful Queen.
–Mary M. Bodie

WE HAVE REDEMPTION


Jack Davis


“In whom we have redemption  through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” – Eph. 1:7

THE POSSESSION

“We have redemption” – Oh, what a blessed element of divine enrichment! Our apostle Paul writes of this as our precious, present, personal possession. This has become ours by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This possession contains for us prospects that are most promising.

THE PRICE

“Through his blood” – This expression tells us what it cost to give us redemption. This is of the greatest value to both God and man.

“They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (for the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever) that he should still live for ever, and not see corruption” – Psa. 49:6-9.

How could any one estimate what great value God placed upon His beloved Son? “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down at the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool” – Heb. 10:12-13. “…by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” – Heb. 9:12. Our redemption is not of that which is corruptible, I Peter 1:18-19, but of that eternal person of Jesus Christ, “…who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption’ – I Cor. 1:30.

THE PARDON

“The forgiveness of sins” – Thank God, He was totally satisfied, when Jesus paid the full penalty on the cross, purchasing our freedom from the guilt of sin. Jesus speaking to His disciples said, “…this is my blood…which is shed for many for the remission of sins” – Mt. 26:28. Paul wrote, “…without the shedding of blood is no remission” – Heb. 9:22. Glory to God, we are acquitted of our sin, because Jesus poured out His precious life blood in payment of ransom that righteous justice demanded. Praise God, we who were sold under sin, in sin’s slave market, have been set free, released for payment of ransom. Oh, what marvelous grace!

THE PROVISION

“According to the riches of his grace” – Only by the Holy Spirit can we comprehend the merit and measure of such marvelous provision. How can divine forgiveness be measured? Certainly not by such poverty as our goodness. How great is my sin? Am I not guilty of the death of God’s beloved, sinless Son? Is not God’s grace as great an any, or all my sin? Oh, Yes, it is greater than all my sin. How else could one measure redemption, what worth, what works, on whose merit? How much can we do to earn it, gain it? How much must we do to retain eternal redemption? Let us ever rejoice, accepting our Father’s figures, that our redemption is only and ever merited on such measureless wealth as the “riches of his grace.” 

THE POSITION

“…wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” Eph. 1:6. Where could we find a greater degree of acceptance with God? Has God accepted our Redeemer? Has He ever said of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased?” Where could you purchase a greater, better or safer standing? He has redeemed us to make us kings and priest unto God. Are here higher credentials to the throne of the universe? Thank God, we may know our position “in Christ.” Are we using this access? Are we drawing on this exhaustless account? If not, WHY NOT?

THE PRAISE

“To the praise of the glory of his grace…” To whom does the praise belong for our redemption? To whom will it go for eternity? Who are we giving the glory to now?

“O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.”

“Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders” Psa. 107:1-2,31-32.

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forger not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s” Psa. 103:1-5. 

A Child Is Born-A Son Is Given



Anita Clark – Pastor, Carbondale, KS



“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” Isa. 9:6

This is a marvelous verse of prophecy of Jesus both as a human baby and as God’s Son. It shows both His divine nature and His human nature. The scripture above states, “a son is given.” He was born as a babe as every other human, yet given as God’s only begotten Son, the gift of God to the sinful world. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” These two facts (“a child is born, a Son is given) are key to “Peace on earth, good will to men” Luke 2:14.

In Isaiah 7:14 Isaiah prophesies, “Therefore the LORD Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” This title means, “God with us.” All these names are needed to express Jesus’ full identity of who and what He would become. Therefore, “the child” became, “The Wonderful Counselor,” “The Mighty God,” “The Everlasting Father,” showing His absolute deity, and the unity with the eternal Triune Godhead, then “Prince of Peace.” Only Jesus can bring peace to the hearts of individual men, and bring world peace to this troubled world. In Colossians 2:3 referring to Christ it states, “In Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” and “For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” Col. 2:3,9.

Heb. 10:5,7 says, “Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering thou (God the Father) wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me...Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” This is quoted in the New Testament from Psalms 40:6-8. Jesus Christ fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah which would come to earth.

John 1:18 refers to the “bosom of the Father” as the place where Jesus was before His condescension to the earth to become a human. When He came to earth He gave up that place with the Father to be born as a babe, grow into a perfect man, die on the cross for the sins of all mankind, and the third day was resurrected! This hideous death by crucifixion of Jesus Christ was the will of the Father planned eons before the world was ever created.

Because of the perfect obedience of the Son of God to His Father God, the plan of salvation came about for all the human race. In John 10:17, Jesus says, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may might take it again” of course referring to the resurrection which took place three days after His death.

As John 3:16-18 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already; because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” So, believing in Jesus as our Savior is much more then just believing in baby Jesus born of a virgin, born in a manger. We must believe in the Christ of the cross to be saved from our sins and receive eternal life. This is the complete plan of God for each person to be saved from sin and receive eternal life and live a life of victory through Him! This complete plan brought “Joy To the World.” and “Peace On Earth” which will come when Jesus Christ comes again.

You



Jesus saith  unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. John 21:22

My father often said to me “you worry about yourself and let me worry about your brother.” That is not something easy for a child to understand, and yet even most adults seem to struggle with this concept. I have often heard my heavenly Father speak similarly to me. I need to be reminded that I am not responsible for what my brother does, but I am responsible for how I respond to God’s calling on me.

Scripture is pretty clear about the individuality of God’s work. While we are certainly one body in Christ, and a part of the family of God, each one of us has a responsibility for how we respond to God’s Word and to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Jesus spoke to Peter to call him to feed His sheep. Peter got caught up considering another disciple and Jesus spoke to him, “what is that to thee? follow thou me.” Our natural tendency is to look around at others and compare ourselves to them. Whether that be, “I’m so much better than so and so” or “Why should I follow God’s Word when so and so doesn’t and they seem to get away with it.”

God is not working to make us like so and so, He wants to work in your life and in my life to make us each like Jesus. My desire should not be to “get away with it like so and so”, it should be to be changed from glory to glory in the image of Jesus.

Paul realized this important concept and was careful to not compare himself with others. “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2Corinthians 10:12

We also would be wise to realize that God wants to work individually in our lives as well and allow that work to proceed. Regardless of who is watching and what others are doing, we can “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” Philippians 2:12. This does not mean that we work for our salvation or for our sanctification, but it puts for an individual responsibility for the work that needs to be done in our lives. The very next verse makes it very clear that God is the one that does the work.

In the third chapter of Philippians, Paul speaks clearly about his personal, individual desire to become more like Jesus and to win the prize of the high calling, which is Jesus Himself. While this is intended to call to each of us, Paul was set for himself to pursue God’s best.

Often we want to make others change their lives, and surely this is a good desire, but we must realize that we are not able to change others or to make them want to change. However, if we are allowing God to work in our lives, then others will see and be encouraged. But, they must make the choice themselves to pursue God’s best in their life.

What is that to you? You follow me. That is the call from Jesus.

Gordon Crook

JESUS FOR ME



Gary Giddings, Sand Lake, Michigan 



Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:13-14). Take this personally: Jesus is for me. He laid His life down for me and He invites me to be His friend. The song “Wounded For Me” (written by W.G. Ovens and Gladys Westcott Roberts) describes five different things that Jesus did for me in five verses.

v.1 Wounded for me, wounded for me,
There on the cross He was wounded for me.
Gone my transgressions, and now I am free.
All because Jesus was wounded for me.

Isaiah 53:5-6 - “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

The prophet Isaiah wrote this 700 years before Christ came to earth. What does it mean to be wounded? According to the 1828 Webster Dictionary, a wound is “A breach in the skin and flesh; caused by violence or external force; to hurt by violence.” Jesus, The Word of God made flesh, was wounded for me. He bore the judgment for my transgressions.

v.2 Dying for me, dying for me,
There on the cross He was dying for me;
Now in His death my redemption I see,
All because Jesus was dying for me.

Romans 5:6-8 - “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

According to Apostle Paul, Jesus died for the ungodly and the sinner, and that was you and me. This was the plan of God that Jesus would die on the Cross for us. He became our substitute so that our sins would be washed away, making us right with God. Now we can know and enjoy God’s presence and we will never to be banished from Him!

1 Corinthians 15:3 - “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;”

What does it mean to die? Death is when the spirit leaves the body. Death, according to the 1828 Webster Dictionary: “(1) To be deprived of respiration, of the circulation of blood, and other bodily functions, and rendered incapable of resuscitation … either by natural decay, by disease, or by violence; to cease to live; to expire; to decease to perish; (2) to be punished with death; to lose life for a crime, or for the sake of another.” Jesus didn’t die for His own sins because He never sinned. He died for my sins.

v.3 Risen for me, risen for me,
Up from the grave He has risen for me;
Now evermore from death’s sting I am free,
All because Jesus has risen for me.

Luke 24:5-7 - “And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

Certain women went to the tomb but Jesus’ body wasn’t there. The angels told them that Jesus had risen from the dead. Risen, according to the 1828 Webster Dictionary: “(23) To be revived from death.” Jesus told His disciples that He would rise again on the third day. Anybody can say the words, but Jesus backed up His words with action. Death could not hold Him in the grave and He arose victorious over death!

v.4 Living for me, living for me,
Up in the skies He is living for me;
Daily He’s pleading and praying for me,
All because Jesus is living for me.

Jesus is doing something NOW on our behalf. He is doing something that greatly helps us along the way. He is interceding for us to God the Father.

Romans 8:33-34 – “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

To intercede, according to the 1828 Webster Dictionary, “(2) To mediate; to interpose … to act between parties with a view to reconcile those who differ or contend … (3) to plead in favor of one.”

We need Jesus to intercede for us because we don’t always follow through in our commitment. Jesus is our Advocate when we sin (1 John 2:1). We confess our sins and we are forgiven (1 John 1:9).

v.5 Coming for me, coming for me,
One day to earth He is coming for me;
Then with what joy His dear face I shall see,
O how I praise Him – He’s coming for me!

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 - “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”

Jesus is coming to take us home. He is preparing a place for us in heaven so that we can be with Him forever. “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28). Let Jesus be everything to you and He will help you to be ready for His coming.

Jesus was wounded for me, Jesus was dying for me, Jesus has risen for me, Jesus is living for me and now Jesus is coming for me!

We have found that life is “Jesus for me.” This is our contentment, our joy, our peace when we open up to the love of Jesus. In every moment of every day, let it be Jesus for me because Jesus is for you!

THE WILL OF SATAN


Part 3 of 5
Carson Richards


Not All wills are good wills. Isaiah 14:12-14, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” So the very beginning of the fall of this intelligent, beautiful creature, was the “I will.”

From that purpose comes another great part of his sinful nature, “emulations.” The big seventeen marks of the flesh in Gal. 5:19-21 has one of them, this emulation. It simply means competition based on incessant ambition. This creature, then, has instilled the principle of competition in the heart of men, his dupe. Notice how that will persists throughout life from the earliest manifestation of human will in childhood to the very last gasp. The child wants a better toy than another; the old person wants more attention than the one in the next chair. Always you must compete with another human being, for the enemy has put that way into his will that he has imposed on the lesser creature, man. We have to follow suit in some sense to exist but, be that as it may, it is the very antithesis of love which thinks of the other person. You must exceed, not just excel, you must win, win, win, or despair sets in. So our wills are influenced by this part of the Satanic will, in this world.

After this vying with God, other products came forth in the will of this tremendous creature. John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own (will or disposition): for he is a liar, and the father of it.” So Jesus characterized him in three ways: murderer, liar, and lustful or ambitious. The presentation of the devil as a murderer is primary, so he must put that will in man.

Another word for murderer is destroyer. The name, “Apollyon,” in  Rev. 9 means “destroyer.” In other words, the unmitigated, dogged intent to destroy everything in his way is the killer instinct. Again, this arises in the lower creature, humanity. Notice how that in every activity of the world: sports, politics, science, even religion (or primarily, religion) this killer instinct is dominant. I worked with a fellow who said one day, “That son of mine will succeed in the world, he has the killer instinct.” He said that he, himself, did not. For curiosity, I asked him if he thought that I did, and he said, “No, and you haven’t got very far, have you?” There is that great slant on this great being.

Next, “liar,” Luke 4:5-8, “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” I remember a brother saying, “That is not so, for the devil is a liar.” That fits in with the truth spoken by Nebuchadnezzar when he said that God gives the kingdoms to whomsoever He will. You can’t have it both ways. So he lies in this big way with a big man, as Jesus is.

To us, as little people, he makes big promises. I remember another brother telling how the devil would use a man and then drop him. We see that all over in what happens to big people in prominent places. You  see, his will is to lie. What did he tell  Eve? “You shall not surely die.” Did she? It wasn’t ‘surely not,” but “surely.” If each of us could recount all of our spiritual experiences, you will find he has lied to us. Sometimes about seemingly good things, sometimes fearfully bad things, to come.

Then his lusts; he has “blind ambition” as the fellow characterized an expresident in a book, Lust, though narrowed down to the one human relation as men are prone to do with words, really  means an insatiable desire of any sort. To have something you don’t have; to do something you are not doing; and there is never an end point of satisfaction, only a temporary weakening. A millionaire wants another million. A scientist wants the next great discovery. The athlete wants the next crown. The adulterer wants another partner. This master of evil plants unanswerable intensity of evil in mortals. What a will!

Jesus spoke in John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do…” However, not all who follow lusts in religion are youthful. The first mentioned passion above, “emulations,” is a strong passion, to out do others in religious endeavor. The gospel says, “in honor preferring one another.” It says the law was fulfilled in one word, “thou shalt love thy neighbor as they self.” Even good words become a matter of competition.

Ephesians 2:2, shows the evil of Satan as to his will, that is greater than that of men. “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” We are born into a world wherein Satan’s will is imposed on all. John in his epistle says, “the whole world lieth in wickedness,” or better, “the wicked one.” He has control of the way things are run. If so, on man accumulatively, what can one person do? Satan’s will is tenacious, pernicious, salacious and malicious. Sounds frightening – I intend it to do so. Tune in next month, and the Lord willing, and hear of another will, God’s will, our only recourse!

JONAH


Debra Isenbletter – Pastor
Christian Assembly, Springfield, Missouri


Introduction: Many have wondered if the book of Jonah is simply a parable, an allegory or actual history. Jonah is mentioned during the reign of Jeroboam II. He is acknowledged as an actual prophet and one of his prophecies as coming to pass. (2Kings 14:25) Jesus spoke of Jonah as a real prophet and the events in the book of Jonah as actual events. (Matthew 12:39-41). When Jesus spoke of Jonah, He not only spoke of his prophecy concerning Nineveh and their repentance but shows that Jonah’s experience in the belly of the great fish itself was a prophecy that pointed forward to His death and resurrection. Jonah is listed as one of the minor prophets in the Old Testament and all those prophets are acknowledged as real, they lived, they prophesied, they were each given unique messages and ministries. Jonah’s ministry is just as unique and so is his message.

What is truly unique about Jonah is those that he was sent to minister to, the Gentiles and the great city of Nineveh. What is also unique about Jonah is the success of his ministry. They believed what he said, they repented before God and they were spared. No other prophet had that type of success. According to history prior to Jonah’s visit to Nineveh several events happened that could have prepared their hearts to listen to his message. The plague of 765 B.C.; the eclipse of the sun in 763 B.C. And a second plague in 759 B.C. The Lord did not send Jonah before these events, He sent him after these events, it could be that these things occurred for this reason, to reach the hearts of these Gentiles.

Ryrie Bible Note: There are at least seven miracles recorded in Jonah. 1) The calming of the sea before the sailors lost their lives (Jonah 1:15). 2) The provision of the great fish and the preservation of Jonah in the fish (Jonah 1:17). 3) The vomiting of Jonah upon dry land (Jonah 2:10)—Jonah not only survived being swallowed, but survived three days and when vomited up, need up on dry land, not the sea. 4) The preparing of the vine (Jonah 4:6). 5) The worm (Jonah 4:7). 6) The wind (Jonah 4:8). 7) The salvation of the people of Nineveh (Jonah 4:10).

We need to see by faith that it does not matter how impossible things seem to be, what matters is that with God all things are possible and nothing is impossible. What matters is that God is sovereign. What matters is that Jonah was a servant of God. What matters is that we are servants of God and whatever He asks us to do, we are to do it in faith, even though we may not understand why, even though we may not want to. By faith we serve Him. By faith we see He enables us. Jonah was walking by sight, not by faith, he was walking according to his will and not God’s will. He is an example for us. He is an example of Israel’s failure in their calling. He is an example of God’s grace in action.

Warren Wiersbe says this is about Jonah’s attitude, that Jonah had a wrong attitude about the Will of God; the Word of God and the Love of God.

I believe the lesson that Jonah learned is the same lesson that we all need to learn. Whatever our calling or ministry, however the Lord leads us, however impossible the task may seem, we trust the Lord. We can learn to understand, to accept and to surrender to the Will of God, walk in obedience to the Word of God and as we do this, we find that we are able to show the Love of God.

Outlines for Jonah:
(Ryrie) Jonah Fleeing (Ch1)
Jonah Praying (Ch2)
Jonah Preaching (Ch3)
Jonah Learning (Ch4)

(Wiersbe) – 1st Outline
1. Resignation (resigns his office) (Ch1)—The Lesson in God’s Patience.
2. Repentance (Ch2)—The Lesson in God’s Pardon.
3. Revival (Ch3)—The Lesson in God’s Power.
4. Rebellion (Ch4)—The Lesson in God’s Pity.

(Wiersbe) – 2nd Outline
God’s Patience with Jonah (Ch1)
God’s Mercy toward Jonah (Ch2)
God’s Power through Jonah (Ch3)
God’s Ministry to Jonah (Ch4)

(Phillips)
The Word of God (1:1-16)
The Word with God (1:17-2:10)
The Word for God (3:1-10)
The Word about God (4:1-11)

Chapter 1:1: Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,


We see Jonah’s call as a prophet. he is called to speak “the word”, whatever the Lord tells him. He is called as a prophet to do this, only a prophet can do this. This is his office. This is his responsibility. This is the proof that he is a prophet. When “the word of the Lord came unto” Jonah, the word was clear and understandable and he knew Who it was from. The Hebrew for “word” means “speech, utterance,” a “communication” or “counsel;” a “decree or commandment.” In those meanings we see the different ways and different tones that the Lord uses when He speaks. For Jonah this was not only a “communication” from the Lord, it was a “commandment” from the Lord. When the Lord speaks, the servant listens. Eli told little Samuel how to answer God when He spoke: “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” (1Sam.3:9)

It is the word “of the Lord”—The One who speaks is Jehovah, it is the word of the “Lord.” It is the word of the “self-existent one.” It is the word of the “eternal one” who reveals Himself and He is revealing himself to Jonah and to Nineveh through His Word. If Jonah obeys that revelation becomes vocal, it becomes visible, it becomes real to those he speaks to. The next thing we see is that this word “came unto” a specific person, to Jonah. It came to him Personally, it came to him Privately. We don’t know where Jonah was. We don’t know when this was. But the fact that the Lord spoke to Jonah, gave him a message tells us that he was a prophet. There is only one other place in the Old Testament where Jonah is mentioned, (2 Kings 14:25). There he is called a “servant” of God and a “prophet” of God.

“Jonah”—Jonah’s name means “a dove” (JB Jackson, Hitchcock, Easton) —What a wonderful name and description of him. In the “dove” we see the Spirit of God and the Peace of God. We see Jonah’s Anointing by the Spirit in his name, it is the name his father gave him. We see the potential and power of Jonah’s Message in that name, it was to restore peace between God and Israel/Man.

“the son of Amittai”—We see Jonah’s Father, he is “the son of Amittai” which speaks of the Truth. Amittai means: “truthful; faithful” (Jackson); “true” (Easton/Unger); “true, fearing” (Hitchcock). The foundation that everything Jonah says rests on is “truth.”

It is interesting that in 2 Kings 14:25 is an added description of the “word of the Lord.” It is the word of the Lord God of Israel, there we see God’s relationship to Israel. The call of Jonah to preach and the message he gave was specifically for Israel. In Jonah it is: “the word of the Lord” and Israel is not mentioned because the message is for the Gentiles, for the city of Nineveh. In both instances it is the Lord (Jehovah) that speaks and the meaning is still the same whether it is to Israel or the Gentiles. To Nineveh He is the Lord (the “self-existent One who reveals Himself”). He does this through His Prophet but He is the God of Israel not the Gentiles. The Gentiles must learn of God through Israel. This is what God wanted the nation to do, they were to be His light to the Gentiles.

In 2 Kings 14:25 Jonah is called God’s Servant: “his servant” and “the prophet. In “his servant” we see Jonah’s Subjection. In “the prophet” we see Jonah’s Power. Maybe he thought it was easier to be the Lord’s servant when he was speaking to Israel and harder when speaking to the Gentiles. But in each instance, he was still the Lord’s “servant.” Sometime those He calls forget that part of their calling. The Apostle Paul never did. He was always the “servant (bond-slave) of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jonah’s father’s name is given (Amittai) but also Jonah’s birthplace is given (Gath-hepher) which means “wine-press of the well.” There is a double meaning to that name that speaks of opposite experiences in Jonah’s life. A “wine-press” can speak of a Place of Suffering and “well” can speak of a Place of Refreshing. This is a true description of what every “servant” of God will experience when they are obedient. It is a picture of the Valley and the Mountain top experiences in our lives. The place Jonah was born was in Galilee (5 miles from Nazareth).

We see the similarity to Jesus, who was raised in Nazareth and who ministered in Galilee. Nathaniel asked, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (Jon.1:46). Jesus ministered in Galilee and the Pharisees stated that “out of Galilee arise there no prophet.” (John 7:52). They were wrong, they forgot Jonah was from Galilee in their attempt to belittle Jesus and deny His calling and ministry.
To be continued

Friday, November 8, 2019

THOUGHTFUL AND THANKFUL




It has often been pointed out that thinking precedes thanking. When we are presented with a gift, it is because we think of its significance and meaning that we are led to express our appreciation.

What, then, are the thoughts that, entertained by the Christian, lead to thanksgiving?

Predominant in our thinking should be thoughts of God. God–what a train of thought should be started when we think of Him! Power, wisdom, goodness, grace, love, care: these are just some of the thoughts that cluster around the Word God.

When Paul traces the downward path of mankind, he begins by saying that men,  “when they knew God…glorified him not as God, neither were thankful” – Romans 1:21. Men were not thankful that they had a revelation of God; indeed, they sought to suppress that knowledge and to evade its power.

In addition to thought on God, we should see our own insignificance in the light of the facts we know about God. We should see and confess our own frailty and failures. We should admit our commitment to earthly things. But we should not stop there. We should think thoughts about our privileges in Christ. God has loved us and made us significant, through sending His Son to die for us. The Father has accepted us in His Beloved Son.

In the light of these thoughts, we should be led to think of our responsibilities. We now have the privilege to live for God’s glory – thanks-living. Redeemed, we should seek to serve Him faithfully. We should recognize our responsibility to be thankful, and from our lips there should come a daily song of praise.

Why is it, then, that we are not more thankful? The truth probably is that we don’t stop to think. The cares and riches and pleasures of this life choke the plant of gratitude, and our lives become unfruitful.

Thanksgiving is thus really the product of careful cultivation. It is the fruit of a deliberate resolve to think about God, and our privileges and responsibilities. By giving thanks we make manifest the fact that our lives are not controlled by the imperious cares and concerns of this life. We give testimony to the fact that material things do not dictate the horizons of our soul.
- selected

WE GIVE THEE THANKS


Jack Davis


We read this statement of the thanksgiving of the Saints with the sounding of the seventh trumpet. This trumpet sound was not one short blast, but evidently a prolonged sounding as we read in Revelation 11:7 of the days of the voice of the seventh angel. Therefore what we read in Revelation 11:15-19 must be somewhat a synopsis of the events of that time.

“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned” Rev. 11:15-17.

The joyous thanksgiving proffered here is first for who He is, and then for what He has done, as answered prayer. They speak of the Lord God Almighty, which “art’ as the omnipotent, and eternally self-existent One. See Rev. 19:6. The One who could say, before Abraham was, “I Am.” This was before the eternal living Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

Let us look at Rev. 11:17 in relation to Isa. 9:6-7, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

GOOD NEWS

“A child is born.” His birth was announced “good tidings of great joy” for He was born to be the Savior of the world. Oh, how thankful we are today for good news. Those people of that day were in need of that good news, as are we in need of good news today.

GREATEST GIFT

“A son is given.” The son that was given was the Beloved, well-pleasing Son of God. What shall we say to these things? “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.” What can we say to Him “that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,” that He might with Him also freely give us all things? Shall we not say in word and deed, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift” II Cor. 9:15. Thank God for His sinless Son, that was given for us on the cross.

GLORIOUS GOVERNMENT

“The government shall be upon His shoulder.” The thanks going to Him that was, is, and is to come, seems to climax here. The Savior of the world, the Son of God, is also worshipped as the Sovereign of the universe. Glory to God in the highest, For He must reign, He shall reign, and these say here, “Thou hast reigned.”
SONG OF THE SAINTS

Therefore, He is the Song of the Saints with the sounding of the seventh trumpet. What intense emotion, as they sound out the Sovereign’s triumph!

These same Saints are seen falling down before Him that sat on the throne and worshiping the Creator, Revelation 4:9,11. Then we hear from them again in Revelation 5, singing that beautiful melodious song of the redeemer, as a Lamb that was stain, who also as a Lion, had risen to reign. In chapters 4 & 5, we read that they fall down before the throne. In Revelation 11, they seem to bow even lower, “they fell upon their faces.”

Who are these that are so excited? Their proclamation, “We give thee thanks,” is not a matter of committee vote. They don’t sit down, saying, “Let us talk this over and decide. Well, we guess this would be the proper, possible appropriate thing to do.” Thank God, they don’t say, “Well, we suppose we should, and we could if asked, and the majority deems it necessary.”

Glory to God, these are those that have been submitting To Him, and supplicating Him for some time. These know well His right to reign, for He has held the throne-room of their hearts. Those he will reward with crowns of righteousness, co-heirs with the eternal One, kings and priests unto God, those He has redeemed to reign, have been bowing the knee, deeply earnestly supplicating “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Their constant, continual prayer, moment by moment, day by day, year after year, will finally gloriously have been answered. “We Give Thee Thanks” !!!

PREPARE  YE  THE WAY OF   THE   LORD



Anita Clark – Pastor – Carbondale, KS



“Prepare the way of the Lord, Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3

This verse is a prophecy of John the Baptist who was the forerunner of Christ. In John 1:22-23, John answered those who inquired who he was, by saying, “I am the voice crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias (Isaiah).” This is exactly what John was called to do. He did exactly that. The word, “prepare” used in Isaiah in the Hebrew means “to clear the way or remove the obstructions and make smooth and straight,”

How do we follow this example of clearing the way of the Lord Jesus and His coming? When we prepare for guests that are coming to visit for a meal or lodging, there’s a lot of planning and preparation that has to take place. Making ready the house, planning the meals, supplying everything that the guests may need. How much more should we be preparing for our Beloved Lord and His soon return.

Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you..I will come again and receive you unto myself.” The place where Christ went to prepare everything for us is, when He went to die on the cross. Some think Jesus is up there building mansions for us, and that is what He’s speaking about, but every provisions for our salvation, and bringing many sons to glory was provided for when He died the death there on the cross. Everything that we will ever need has been “prepared” for us by Christ through His death. Every trial, every victory, we may have, He already fought that battle and won. LAY HOLD OF THIS PROVISION BY FAITH!

Someone may say, “I don’t have enough faith! Romans 10:17 states, “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” If you are not regularly hearing the Word of God, you lack faith in your tests and trials of life. Read the Word, and attend the meeting where you can hear the Word expounded, where you will learn of the promises of God. You will be prepared by the Word of God. Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory, by Christ Jesus.” Letting Him give His preparation to us, brings victory everyday through everything.

Noah is an example of “preparation.” Hebrews 11:7, “By faith Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark, to the saving of his house, by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” This took 120 years to complete the ark until the flood came. Note this was all “by faith.” He believed what God said. He did not reason that it never had rained, that he lived inland, and how could he get all those animals to come and get in. His faith was in the God that had prepared the plan and knew the end from the beginning, and knew that the ark would float. What a miracle!

It is the same today. Matthew 24:36-39 says speaking of the coming of the Lord Jesus, “But of the day nor hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. And knew not until the flood came and took them all away, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Son of Man is the name given to Jesus Christ in the book of Daniel 7:13-14 “...The Son of man came with the clouds of heaven...And there was given Him dominion, and glory and a kingdom.”

As Noah obeyed God and prepared the Ark, Jesus Christ obeyed God, even to the death of the cross to make provision (to prepare) for all who believe to enter into the safety of the Ark of Love, to gain eternal life by believing in Christ as their Savior.

II Chronicles 35:4, God told Israel to “Prepare yourselves.” Amos 4:12, “Prepare to meet your God.” How can we prepare the way of the Lord’s soon coming? The signs of the times show there is coming a change soon. First, yield to God ourselves, than make sure that our family is giving Jesus first place in their lives. Be a Godly example to our children showing them love and compassion. Telling others that Christ is coming and loving Jesus vehemently, which means passionately, ardently, intensely, and earnestly.

Grace–Heir



An heir is one who is entitled to possess. In the natural, it is expected that the children will inherit from their parents. This teaches us something about what God wants us to know about our spiritual situation.

In Romans 8:14-17 we read: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” This is a spiritual inheritance. Certainly, we would enjoy having an earthly inheritance from our parents, but that would, sooner or later, be used up. Or we would have to leave it when we leave this world. The spiritual inheritance that God offers to us, is eternal.

I just want to think about what we are considering here. Maybe we are a little too quick to just read these words or say them without understanding what we are reading. The Almighty God, the Self Existent One, the Creator of all things, is saying that we are His children and heirs. Can you comprehend that? I can’t. If you told me that I was to inherit the richest man on earth, I would not be able to comprehend that, and here we are talking about the owner of all the universe.

What makes me so special that I am heir of God and co-heir with Christ? Nothing except that Jesus died for me and offered me the privilege of a new birth. I have been born into God’s family by faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood for me. Nothing that I did or could ever do would bring me to this place. We are heirs by grace. Notice in the original verses that we “received.”

Consider what 2 Corinthians 8:9 tells about our Lord Jesus becoming poor, as He lived here, so that we might be rich, with God’s riches. Paul refers in Romans 11:33 to the depth of the riches of Christ. He also refers to the uncertain riches of this world in  1 Timothy 6:17. So, which do you think are more important? Unsearchable or uncertain?

So many of God’s precious children live as though they were spiritually poor, when they are heirs to all of God’s riches. How sad that must be for our Father who wants us to enjoy all that He makes available to us. Our children in the natural enjoy the use of our wealth even as children. Imagine if they chose to go live under a bridge while you are offering them a good home and food and clothing.

Our Father offers us unsearchable wealth in Christ, and all is ours to enjoy even now. We certainly will have and enjoy more in eternity, but that is no reason to live spiritually poor now. Not sure how to lay hold of your inheritance now? Study God’s Word. Ask His Holy Spirit to reveal your wealth in Christ. You will find there that He shows you what those riches are, and you will find that your faith to lay hold of them is increased. We do not want to be like the children of Israel that missed out because they failed to believe. Numbers 14.

The world would have us believe that the riches of this world are to be sought after and fought for. God’s Word tells us that they pass away (Proverbs 23:5). The world would have us to run after worldly riches and gain, but our Lord would have us run after Him. We have an unrivaled privilege to inherit eternal riches in heaven, but we must lay hold of them by faith. We will surely miss out, if our focus is on the earthly riches.

What is the purpose of wanting to inherit all that God offers? It will bring glory to Him. Ephesians 1:18 “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” Based on our understanding of natural wealth, we might think that all those people inheriting the riches of Christ will diminish His inheritance, but it is quite the opposite. The more we lay hold of what He has, the more He is enriched and glorified.

Don’t be a spiritually poor child of God when He offers you so much. Gratefully reach out and lay hold of His Grace.
Gordon Crook

CHRIST THE ROCK


Kenneth Devers


“And all did drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” I Cor. 10:4. All spiritual drink or refreshment comes from Christ. The rock speaks of durability, unchangeableness, strength and refuge. All of these refer to what Christ is and can be to every believer.

He is viewed as the smitten rock in Ex. 17:6, “Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink…” Paul refers to this in I Cor. 10:4. Christ was smitten of God at Calvary, while being made sin for lost mankind. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” II Cor. 5:21. Out of this Rock (through death) came life everlasting. He not only refreshes but satisfies.

In Num. 20:7-11, Israel was in need of water. The Lord told Moses to speak to the rock and it would give water, but he was so tempted, because of the peoples’ attitude that he lifted up his hand, and with the rod, smote the rock twice. This is a different setting then Ex. 17. The Rock had already been smitten, and this great leader failed to do what was asked of him. This shows leaders can fail, and will, by looking at people and their shortcomings instead of unto the Lord. The rock smitten is a type of Christ dying ONCE for all. “…but now ONCE in the end of the world (age) hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
“So Christ was ONCE offered to bear the sins of many…” Heb. 9:26,28. Now all that is necessary to partake of the water is reach out by faith and drink, yea even abundantly. God, by his marvelous grace, over-ruled even in this act of disobedience, by causing the water to come out abundantly. “Grace, wonderful grace, great boundless and free.” Christ’s sacrifice fully satisfied the Father and was sufficient to meet the needs of the whole world. Out of him flows blessing to all mankind.

“For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (are void of understanding).” Deut. 32:31. Rock, spelled with capital R, is used five times in this chapter. Moses distinguishes this Rock from the heathen’s rock or gods. He reminds his people of the greatness of their ROCK, His perfect acts, their salvation, creator, deliverer and only by faith can He be comprehended. No wonder the heathens were void of understanding. Whatever people depend upon, whether talents, ingenuity or genius minds, abilities, riches, etc., all can fail; but our ROCK, never. It makes a person different to trust Him.

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; by God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” Psa. 18:2. David claims the Lord in this verse, as “MY ROCK,” a personal refuge, a safe hiding place from his many enemies, Saul being the chief one. This Rock is our home or abiding place, even as the rocks were for the conies. Prov. 30:26. David “encouraged himself in the Lord” Through faith in his Word, even in times of battles, as well as after. Rock in this verse also means recuperation. After the battles, bruises, wounds, and many hurts, don’t we also find him to be our place of recuperation and comfort, the one who applies the mollifying ointment? We rest in him and prepare for the next battle. All of this is qualifying us for a throne. Satan can’t touch us, as we take refuge in the Rock.

“Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake then to pieces.” Dan. 2:34. (Read vs. 44-45). This stone is Christ as Lord of lords and King of kings, who will crush the gentile nations as they stand in defiance of Him, at the close of the seven years tribulation. The greatness of the nations are “…counted to Him less then nothing, and vanity.” Isa. 40:15,17. They’re no match for him; for the fulness of his conquering power will be manifested as recorded in Rev. 19:11-16.

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Mt. 16:18. Here Christ declares himself to be a foundation rock for His church. He is called the chief corner stone in Eph. 2:20. Paul instructs the church how to build upon this foundation in I Cor. 3. The song says, “I hold not the rock but the rock holds me.” What a firm foundation, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” – Hallelujah!

The same quality found in this Rock is reproduced in His saints also. “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” Psa. 57:7. Fixed means–that which is set, permanent, established, unchanging, to remain, and one dedicated to a cause. Doesn’t this sound like a rock? Have you ever heard the expression, “they’re sure set in their ways?” Let this be our attitude toward the cause of Christ and the Word of His wonderful grace. This characteristic of Christ is found in dedicated saints. I am not, and will not be changed in attitude toward Him but desire to be consecrated to and for His cause, to hold forth the word of truth faithfully. Thank the Lord for faithful saints, who maintain and unchanging purpose of heart toward our ROCK.

 THE WILL OF MAN


Part 2
Carson Richards


Once more, we will give the definition of will – “That faculty or power of the mind by which we determine to do or not to do something which we conceive to be in our power.” John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” THE WILL OF MAN – It seems to me that this is the expressive interplay of the trinity that man is; body, soul and spirit; on the will of man, the new birth being given as an example of being a part of that will; after the wheels of another will were set in motion. The will of man does enter into the new birth in this manner, that of believing God’s will of redemption. Let us explore a little some branches of this will of man.

At the outset, consider this part of man’s will, likely the most vital part, the spirit. The spirit is mentioned in the final departure, the crucial one, of the first civilization. The climax of this is in Rom. 1:28, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” This is the big twenty-three, one of my descriptions of the various sorties of the flesh that the Word of God gives. So this will finally takes its abode fully in the mind, and it, without God, can’t be good.

Ephesians gives the ultimate of this: Ch. 4:17, “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.” And the picture gets worse as you read on…even “past feeling.” Here it refers to feeling in the mind or spirit. So this entrenchment of the will of man in the mind is a sad state.

Now I say that there is an individual will, or course, in each of us. Nevertheless in a big percentage of cases, it must conform to the composite mind, the joining of the wills of the mass of men in the different divisions of society such as government, religion, economy, customs, traditions. Few can counter the total will of man in which they were born; or the totality of human will which surrounds us. If this sounds kind of heavy, I have a reason. I want to remind us, that there is a danger in submitting docilely to this individual will with which we are born, or this totality of the human will which we have already touched on.

I remember another Scripture in Rom. 12 where it states not to conform your mind or spirit, or will to that of this world’s will. Again we have to use wisdom, for the mavericks, those nonconformists without God, who basically fall into four categories. If he contradicts the law, he is a criminal, that is not favorable to God’s will. If he deviates too much from common practice of thinking, he is crazy. If he withdraws from human contact, he is a hermit. If he resists the overall structure of society, he is a revolutionary, and of course there are more.  So we are not advocating any of the above, but will put all our picture together, and perhaps it will make sense. Now here are a few examples of the general paths of the will of man en masse according to the Bible.
Gen. 4:3-7, “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”

So there is a primitive entering of the human will into the matter of religion, or the way toward God. This way which Cain used is human works. Cain was a worker. His name means “fabricator;” he even slew his brother because his works were evil – in whose sight? It was in God’s sight.  So the will of man has always been to earn a place in earth and with God.

Paul tells us in Rom. 10:3, “For they (Israel) being ignorant of  God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” So the ultimate test of religion was this people, and what a will they had! To this day, they are a champion of do-it-yourself in religion, and everything else. Lots of works, yes, and even the church went that way, and will continue, for in Rev. 2:19 Jesus prophesied that the works of the harlot system would be greater at the end of this Church Age than at the first. The great build-up of the human will in human works is displayed in that final system. They look good, but if they are against God’s way they are finally evil.

Gen. 10:2-5, “Now these are the sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.” So the will of man tended to expansion. That spirit ever prevails in history, and does now. Of course, Psalm 115 tells us that God owns the heavens, but has given the earth to man, and Isaiah says that it was meant to be inhabited. So I don’t say this is all bad, but simply giving examples of the exercise of the human will. The individual will must give in. We might not like it, but it is always so. But it does go that way – expand. Paul tells us in Acts 14:16, “God…who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways,” nationally, culturally, and religiously have they spread out.

Gen. 11:4, “…Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” So the human conglomerate will rose up in independence of God. As the second Psalm prophetically says, Vs. 2, “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” This spirit or will, will prevail all down to the end of this age, for we read in II Thess. 2:4 of the great anti-christ…” Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God…” Such a vicious, foolish will flaunts itself.

Mt. 15:1-9, “Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” So there you have it; tradition and custom and habit are substitutes for the Word of God in the religious sphere, and related spheres. Paul, the traditionalist in the early part of his life, had a miraculous turnaround. He wrote the Galatians of the traditions of his fathers that he had followed faithfully. Amen, the human being goes that way, too.

So that’s that. Here is a cursory view of the human will in prominent fields. And from there, we will look at two great wills or forces that finally dominate this human will, as we lay it open the them. First, we will consider the evil will of an evil taskmaster. I don’t say that all man’s will is entirely dominated by him, there seems to be a bit of leeway for man, but in the crisis he can, and the words of God show that he has taken over the human will.
     To be continued

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Enrichment


Jack Davis


“The King will enrich him with great riches”
I Samuel 17:25

This interesting statement was made concerning the person that would defeat the man that had defied the armies of the living God.

We read of faithful men like David, Joseph and Daniel that were enriched by kings in Old Testament times. Then we also think of how the god of this world has promised so much, but all that he offers is contaminated, soiled, decaying. Thank God, He that is to reign as King of kings offers us true riches of eternal wealth, an incorruptible inheritance.

Joseph: “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it on Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt” Gen. 41:41-43. Joseph was called a prosperous man. He had gone to the pit, to prison, but praise God, he landed in the palace, because  God was with him. Shall we learn from considering what God brought him through?

Daniel: “Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed  Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be third ruler in the kingdom” Dan. 5:29. The kingdom of Belshazzar went down, but praise God, Daniel went up, being promoted in the kingdom that succeeded. “So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian? Dan. 6:28.

David: “Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him. And gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle. And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants” – I Sam. 18:4-5. God saw to it that these faithful men prospered. David was aware of the benefit of being in the favor of the king, even Saul. David also learned about enrichment from a higher King, let us learn as well.

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least in unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who will give you that which is your own?” Luke 16:10-12.

The King of our hearts has true riches for the faithful. It is evident that where, and in whom, we put our trust determines how trustworthy we are. When we think of Divine enrichment, we think of the apostle Paul. In Paul’s epistles we learn that we enter into the enjoyment of divine enrichment, by divine enlightenment, enablement and encouragement.

“According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry” I Tim. 1:11-12.

Oh, what unsearchable wealth God committed to Paul’s trust, for us – Eph. 3:8. God used Paul to let us know on vessels of mercy prepared unto glory, the riches of His glory. Rom. 9:23. He that is rich in mercy, will show, in the ages to come, the exceeding riches of His grace – Eph. 2:4,7. He also would have us to know the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints – Eph. 1:18. Paul was inspired to pray that God would grant us strengthening in the inner men, according to the riches of His glory – Eph. 3:16. He wrote to the Philippians that honored God, that God would supply all their need according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ – Phil. 4:19. God would make known (Divine enlightenment) unto us the riches of the glory of the mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you the hope of glory – Col. 1:27.

The men of Israel spoke to David that slaying Goliath would make one rich. It is important when going into battle to know your enemy. David knew the man that he was about to go up against from God’s viewpoint. He spoke of him as this “uncircumcised Philistine” that had defied the armies of the living God.

There is one main man that Satan would use to rob us of our reward, and take our crown – Col. 2:18: Rev. 3:11. “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another: – Gal. 5:24-26.

We are given in this portion some encouragement toward spiritual enrichment. He urges, “let us.” According to the provisional fact stated in Galatians 2:20, we do well to let Him do the living in us. We are Christ’s, and the full overcomer allows Him to fully possess them, dominate their lives with His love, instead of being ruled by the flesh. Oh yes, there is unsearchable wealth for those finding this true in personal experience. Read also Col. 3:5-17; Rom. 8:12-14; 13:10-14.

Saul had told David, “Thou art not able,” but after hearing David speak faith, he said; Go, and the LORD be with thee.” We read in Romans 8:31-32, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

We are told that “Godliness with contentment is great gain” – I Tim. 6:6. “Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” – I Tim. 4:8. We are not to “trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” – I Tim. 6:17. Trusting in the living God will bring us into lasting wealth that is durable, and true.

ENLIGHTENMENT toward ENRICHMENT: The Holy Spirit must make us realize our need, or we never even begin to enter into the enjoyment of divine wealth. Jesus said, “When he (the Comforter) is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” – John 16:8. He makes mankind aware of their bankrupt condition, their total depravity. There is no deeper poverty than to be without Christ, without hope, and without God – Eph. 2:12. God’s Word spells out these facts so very clearly, Romans chapters one through three, expresses it in detail, but it is the Holy Spirit that brings it to the heart of man.

The Holy Spirit also makes us to know that God is rich in mercy. “…the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” – Ps. 84:11. When Abram had honored “the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,” above opportunity for material gain, God said unto him, “…I am they shield, thy exceeding great reward: – Gen. 15:1.

Shall we trust Him to guide us into the enjoyment of our God-given riches? Consider I Cor. 2:9-12. He would make us know the provision, and preparation that has gone into making us rich, as well as teaching us the true value of all things.

How else could we possible have a hint of what it cost our dear Lord Jesus Christ to enrich us with such great riches? “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” – II Cor. 8:9.

The life of Jesus Christ in us would also enrich others and our Father as well. Read II Cor. 6:10. “…as poor, yet making many rich…”

WHY DOES A CHRISTIAN SUFFER?



Anita Clark – Pastor, Carbondale, Kansas



Trials are God’s tools to shape and mold us. Trials are like when a man prunes a tree, so it bares fruit. In this message we will look at what effect trials have upon the believer’s life. How do the hard times in our lives benefit us for His eternal glory?

I. TRIALS PRODUCE GROWTH - Ephesians 4:14-15 says, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine...But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ.” I Peter 2:2 speaks of “newborn babes.” II Peter 3:18, admonishes us to “...grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Growth takes place as we are tried by trials and learn to prove that God’s Word is true and is our victory day by day. We begin to understand that, “All things work together for our good” (Romans 8:28).

For a tree to grow properly, it must be watered and pruned. The water speaks of the Word of God and the “pruning” speaks of the trials of life God permits to work in our lives. Paul says, “Now unto Him that is able to stablish you according to my gospel” (Romans 16:25). The word, “stablish” in the Greek means ‘to turn resolutely in a certain direction, to set, strengthen.’ This speaks of growth in the believer’s life. Paul says in I Corinthians 3:1, “I brethren could not speak unto you as unto Spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.” As we go through the trials, we gain insight into what God wants in our lives, and we learn to lean on the Lord, and we grow up into Him in all things.

II. TRIALS BRING CHANGE - Change from being a spiritual infant - to maturity. II Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all with open face beholding in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” The word “change” in the Greek means, ‘transform, transfigure, to fashion like, or to conform to a pattern.’ Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed...”. The word “conformed” means the same as the word “change.” This in the Greek is the word, ‘metamorphose.’ The ‘pattern’ is Christ and the Word of God. As we yield to God and walk with Him, we are conformed to His image or likeness. We find out what that is (His likeness) by studying the Word of God. The Word “Transform” speaks of ‘to change in composition.’ As the butterfly in the cocoon -there’s a lot of work going on in the restricted area of the cocoon, but this is the way a worm becomes a beautiful butterfly. This depicts what the trials of life produce in us.

III. TRIALS GIVE US A DIFFERENT PROSPECTIVE - We learn through the trials that this life is just a time of preparation for the time the Lord will come and we will fly away. A poem by C.T. Studd says, ‘Only one life, it will soon be passed, only what’s done for Christ will last.’ Suffering makes us to understand that this life is temporary. Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 tells us “A time to be born and a time to die.” Trials cause us to look at life in a different way. Since life is fragile and only for a moment, and trials are our lot (we all have them), we learn to yield to Him regardless of how we are tested. We see that this life is just a preparation for our place we will have in heaven for eternity. II Timothy 2:12 says, “If we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him.” We learn to take all things from the Lord, and realize that the victory over the trials is “...working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight in glory. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal” (II Corinthians 4:17-18).

IV. TRIALS TEACH US SO MANY THINGS - Romans 5:3, “...we glory in tribulations ...knowing that tribulation worketh patience.” God is a very loving, patient Being. He loves this characteristic of patience in His people. He tries our faith and teaches us endurance through the trials. Job 23:8,&10, shows Job’s attitude toward the severe trials he was enduring. He says, “Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward but I cannot perceive Him. But He knoweth the way that I take; and when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

II Corinthians 4:17 says, “For this light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” The Amplified Version says these trials ‘produce for us, ...beyond all measure [surpassing all comparisons, transcendent splendor and endless blessedness.’

V. THE TRIALS TEACH US DEPENDENCE UPON GOD - Jesus was so dependence upon His Father, He said in John 5:30, “I can of my own self do nothing.” In John 15:5, Jesus says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches; He that abideth in me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without me ye can do nothing.” Trials work this in our lives. We come to the end of ourselves, and finally turn it all over to the Lord. Philippians 2:13 states, “For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” We learn to go in the strength of the Lord. Phil. 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheth me.”

 Apostle Paul says in II Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. 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 for me only but unto all those also that love His appearing.” Paul suffered so much as recorded in II Corinthians 11:21-33. None of us have gone through as many varied trials as are recorded in this account of Apostle Paul’s. He said in Colossians 1:24, “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body’s sake, which is the church.” Paul did not complain about his sufferings, but rejoiced that God counted him worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake. The early Church believers suffered so much for Christ, and many in foreign countries are suffering extremely right at this present time. Our thoughts go to this fact so many times, when we think we are going through so much.

The Lord tells the Smyrna Overcoming believers (sufferers to death) in Revelation 2:10 “Fear none of these things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days; be thou faithful unto death and I shall give you a crown of life.”

God Is Faithful



“Words are easy.” Intentional  or unintentional, people promise things all the time which they cannot be certain they will be able to do. This means that even the best intentioned person will often fail to keep their word just because it is not possible.

Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. Psalm 119:90

When we speak about God as being faithful, we will struggle for a way to define that. God is not just faithful (He does what He says), God is the very definition of faithful. God did not become faithful, or strive and work to be faithful, He is by His very existence faithful.

Men need laws of nature and of the universe to explain things (not that they know all), but they know there has to be constancy of some sort. In engineering, we use many “constants” that help us define how things work. God is the only true constant. It is because of Him that there are constants in the universe. Nothing exists or happens outside of God’s existence, and nothing can change God or His existence.

I did not intend for this to become some sort of philosophical thought process, but I want to stress that we are often stuck with applying words to explain something about God that fail to do justice to who He is. It is good for us, from time to time, to just consider and meditate upon who God is, and the characteristics that make Him God.

We need to do this, because a knowledge of who God is will be very critical to our relationship with Him. If we tend to speak and think about God in similar terms to how we speak and think about ourselves, we will lose a great deal of understanding of God’s true nature.

Because God is the self existing one (He exists without any input from anyone or anything else), He is then by definition faithful. Only God can define what can be and what can happen, and only He can make it be and make it happen. Hebrews 1:1-3

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Mat 24:35

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Numbers 23:19

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. Isaiah 40:8

God’s Word is eternal and fixed. We can rely on it just like we can rely on gravity to keep us from falling off the earth, just like we can rely on the sun to rise every day. Whether we admit it or not, we like and need something or someone that we can rely on at all times.

We say that a real friend is one that stays by our side in good times and bad times. God’s faithfulness makes Him the best friend we could ever find. He does not change His Word because we are unfaithful. 2 Timothy 2:13

For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Malachi 3:6

Knowing that God does not change is a great comfort to God’s people. We are certainly not constant or faithful absolutely, but our God is. We don’t have to wonder if God is going to change His mind tomorrow and we are no longer saved. We don’t have to wonder if God will be able to complete His plan. We can rest securely in the faithfulness of our God.

In these uncertain and tumultuous times, we need to stand on God’s faithfulness every day. The world is in upheaval, and there is no faithfulness to be found among men. We cannot rely on ourselves or others for anything, but God will never fail us.

So, I must come back to what I always do. It is exceedingly important to study God’s Word. It is His promise to us, and it encourages us to trust in Him more and more.


Gordon Crook

WILL


Carson Richards
Part 1 of 5


The will is by definition “that faculty or power of the mind by which we determine either to do, or not to do, something which we conceive to be in our power.” Example: we came to meeting tonight. We had the power to do it, and we did it. Others had that same faculty and did not. That, of course, does not include those who could not. I want to consider in this lesson some generalizations, personal observations and scriptural authorities for the excise of this ability. It is a part of the created being we are, so it has to be something planted by the Creator. I remember the old military cliché – in emergency situations to “fire at will.” Well, old Will has escaped all that. Either the shooters were not good marksmen, or Will was an artful dodger, for he is still with us and will be to the end of the earthly life. His need may have disappeared after that. It is a very important earthly propensity we humans have, women just as certainly as men. It is a universal thing.

Let’s take three examples in my experience in the use of this thing, called “will.” All three are actual persons, so we’ll use fictitious names. First, there was Sweetie Pyee. She was the half-sister of a younger girl who came to our Sunday School. This girl, Sweetie, came to live with her father and step-mother and came to Sunday School a few times. One Sunday she didn’t come, and we inquired about her. Her younger sister answered, “She made up her mind.” I gathered that she had made up her mind not to come to Sunday School, and she never did after that. You see, she had a will that decided that simple, yet far-reaching course.

Second, there was a brother, Sandstone, and his wife, Granite. Granite always had her will imposed on  Sandstone. His mind went bad in the latter years. I visited him in the presence of granite and her sister whom we will call Marble. While I was there, Granite approached Sandstone about something, where-upon he kicked at her and swore very vehemently and ever blasphemously. She was embarrassed and said to me, “That is not Sandstone speaking, but the illness.” I said nothing, but didn’t agree. I saw a lifetime of a subdued will that was let loose at last. I believed he meant just what he said. So there is the example of the will dormant, but still there just the same.

Finally, there was Clack McDuff and I, Clack McDuff (fictitious name) was the son of a taciturn Scotsman and he was my best friend in school, from age eight to twenty. We played sports together, looked at the stars on summer nights and spoke of dreams to come. We shared our thoughts and all. A couple of years back I was at a High School class reunion for “X” number of years after graduation. I will not say the number of pride’s sake. A rather dignified man stepped forth when I arrived, held out his hand, and said, “Hello, Carson.” It was Clack McDuff. I think a thousand thoughts went through both our minds. He had wanted to be a detective and I, a doctor. Other boys had laughed at him. I didn’t, he was my friend. He did get into the FBI and had retired not long before the reunion. I never became a doctor. His will was stronger than mine. There is another part to this. I remember when I decided to come to Kansas City and learn the Word of God and to follow the Lord, that I wrote several friends of school days. Clack was one of those. Some shrugged it off, some laughed, but he didn’t laugh. He let me know I was following one course and he another. Our wills didn’t go in the same direction. The rewards of his will are about over; he might be saved, he might not. I can prove nothing of the excellence of my choice, for the will is center of the choice. But we shall see what we shall see hereafter.

Now lets get some Bible leading on the subject. We are giving this general study of “the will” so there will be some Scriptures we use again later. Gen. 3:6: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereon, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her; and he did eat.” Disregarding all the implications and accusations herein usually attributed to the women, let’s rest on the premise that wills were brought into play by our first parents. They had wills and used them to eat, when they might not have eaten. Either was in their power. There is man’s will, one of our later points. Gen. 5:24: “And Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him.” Now no wills are mentioned here, but there was definitely the presence of two. Paul tells us that Enoch pleased God before his translation. Amos, the prophet, tells us that two cannot walk together except they be agreed, and in the God-man relationships, the dominant will is God’s. So Enoch submitted his will to the will of God.

Eph. 2:2: “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” So there is the will of this “prince” who rules the spirits of this world’s conglomerate. We will look more at that later, too.

Gen. 24:58: “And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.” Some have heard me say that this is my favorite women of the Old Testament. I have chosen Rebekah to represent the last point we will share with you now concerning “my will.” Regardless of our station in life or the preponderance of other wills combined, we each exercise our own will.

May God bless you in the proper use of this very crucial part of your spirit, the will!
To be continued – Part 2, THE WILL OF MAN

SCARS
(Part 2)


By Dr. Victoria Moots


The amount of scar tissue formed depends on how deep and how wide the wound is. That means something to us spiritually also. Eph. 3:18-19 tell us of the breadth and length and depth and height of the love of God which passes knowledge. What does that mean to us? It means that no matter how deep, how wide your emotional scar is, His love can go deeper, can go wider than anything you have ever experienced. Why? Because Jesus experienced all our emotions. He became a man; He became like us. He suffered emotional wounds. His friends turned against him, He was betrayed, He experienced grief, His father died, He thirsted, He hungered, He was tired. There is nothing that you have experienced that Jesus hasn’t already experienced for you. And so His love is deeper, higher, wider than our wounds. It passes our knowledge to understand that. We just need to experience it. How do we comprehend it then if it passes knowledge? We lay hold of it by experience, then we know how great his love is. Whatever emotional need you have, don’t think that He can’t heal it. His love goes deeper and wider, and then He draws us up to Him, just like the fibroblasts. He draws us to Him to bring about the healing.

So scars are necessary. We need to not pick at the scab, not get impatient, give the Lord time to work in our lives.
We need to keep hands off both physically and spiritually as I said before.

The scars of Jesus tell a story of love and obedience to the will of His Father. He could have avoided them. But what did He pray in the garden? “Not my will but thine be done.” He said, “I come to do thy will oh God.” So he went through the process of obtaining those scars because of His love for us. The scars in his hands will be seen by the world. But he had another wound. The scar from the wound that pierced his heart was only seen by those who were close and intimate with Him. He was behind closed doors because in order to show that wound, he had to pull apart his clothing, to partially disrobe. Only those that were close to him and became familiar with Him were allowed to touch His wound.

In Phil. 3:10 we read that Paul desired to know Him in the fellowship of His suffering. He desired to be close and intimate with the Lord. He wanted to know Him in the power of his resurrection. The power of his resurrection was evidenced by the fact that he had scars in his hands and side. Paul said I want more than just evidence, I want to fellowship with his suffering, being made comfortable to his death. He wanted to enter in to the suffering, that Jesus experienced, not just the physical suffering, when the soldier took that spear and pierced into his heart. He wanted to understand the emotional pain that Jesus experienced when He hung there on the cross, the emotional pain of being made sin. He wanted to enter into that kind of suffering. If you just wanted to enter into the physical suffering you could just take a nail and hammer it into your hand. That wouldn’t even begin to compare to His suffering. The physical suffering, though very great, was only part of the suffering he experienced. The other part was that he had to be made sin for us and He willingly did that. If we want to know Him like Paul did, then we will get behind closed doors and we will handle Him. Paul said in Gal 6:17 “I bear in my body the mark of the Lord Jesus,” he gloried in the scars that he received as a result of preaching the cross because it glorified Christ. He gloried in the cross. He didn’t want to know anything except the cross.

We can glory in the scars that we have received after we have healed as it glorifies Christ. It is Christ in us. God allows circumstances in our lives that sometimes hurt us and leave scars. As we yield to the healing process, the scars can become testimonies of the Christ life in us, the resurrected life of Christ life in us.

I have a friend who had been in prison who was always afraid that people would bring it up to him. They would keep picking off the scab and causing pain. I told him that you need to turn it over to the Lord and turn it into a testimony. The next time someone says something you need to say, “I’m so glad you brought that up because I want to tell you what the Lord did for me while I was in prison. If I hadn’t gone to prison I wouldn’t have had healing for my soul.” Then they can quit talking about it because they don’t want to hear your testimony. You can do the same thing whenever someone tries to bring up some things in your face. You can, through the power of the Holy Spirit, turn that scar into a testimony. God doesn’t remove the scars. They are there for a reason.

Did you know that Jesus had no scars before he was crucified? How can I say that? Only the risen Christ had scars. As the Lamb of God, He was without blemish or spot. So that means He had no scars. He was perfect. In Exodus 12:5 it tells us the Passover lamb had to be without blemish or spot. In I Peter 1:18-19 it reminds us that Christ was that perfect lamb. He had no scars. He was slain as the Passover Lamb for our sin. That’s where he obtained these scars. Now He will bear those scars for eternity. Why? As a reminder to us and to the world that our sins will not be remembered and that we will not be forgotten. Those scars are His for eternity.

Will ours be? I will answer that question later. So why are those scars in His hands now? In Isaiah 49:16 it says, “Behold I have graven Thee in the palms of my hands.” What does that mean? The nail scars! When He looks at His hands, He sees us. He says, “That’s Vicky, I died for her.” When He looks at His hands He sees each one of us individually. You can put your name in there. Those scars are His for eternity.

In the natural people don’t want scars. They feel they mar their appearance. Surgeons and lawyers get rich from scars because our of vanity and pride. We desire the flesh to be perfect on the outside. Billions of dollars are spent on cosmetics and plastic surgery to cover up or try to remove scars. Are we doing the same thing spiritually, trying to cover up our scars?

The scripture says that all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. That means you are going to have scars. Some will have physical scars for suffering for Jesus, some will have emotional scars but you are going to have scars and you are going to have suffering. Why? That we may reign with Him. As we yield to the Lord we are going to accumulate scars, many scars. Those scars in our lives are marks of obedience to the will of God. We learn to know Him in the fellowship of His suffering. When our suffering gets to be too great for us we can get behind closed doors with Jesus, and get close and intimate with the Lord and say to Him, “You have those scars because of me, Thank you Lord. I thank you for the scars that I have received because you are conforming me to your image.”

So do we have enough scars in our lives that the world could identify the Christ Life in us? Are we covering those scars up; are we hiding them? Or are we allowing the Holy Spirit to use them as testimonies of healing? Don’t hide your scars. The flesh is not perfect. He takes away the old and gives us the new; we are regenerated. Someday our sin and suffering scarred bodies will be healed. We are going to have glorified bodies and I know we will not have scars in those bodies. Why? Because the scripture says we are going to become His spotless Bride. No scars! So until then, let’s allow scars to become testimonies of what Christ has done in our lives, what He’s done for us and in us.