There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.
Saturday, October 3, 2020
There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.
“Ye…took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance” – Heb. 10:34.
Overcomers of all ages have experienced such as we have recorded in Hebrews ten. In fact all believers have suffered some losses, but not all have been able to take them joyfully. I believe this is mainly because they focused their attention and affections on the temporal instead of the eternal (II Cor. 4:16-18).
The scriptures give us many examples of those focused on either the material or spiritual wealth. We read in Genesis thirteen that there came a separation between Abram and Lot. “And Lot lifted up his eyes and beheld all the plain of Jordan…Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan…and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.” But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.
By way of contrast we find Abram allowing God to focus his attention, direct his path, and chose his inheritance. It seems that God was comforting him when He told Abram to lift up his eyes and look from the place that he was. Abram could have been very severely pained by the separation as well as greatly releaved.
In genesis fourteen we read of a war wherein Lot’s property was plundered or “goods spoiled.” Lot had gone away farther, after having pitched toward Sodom, he now dwelt with the losers of this battle, and was thus taken captive. Can we not see the sequel among God’s people today?
“And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there…” and their enemies took all their goods and victuals, and went their way. “And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods and departed” – Gen. 14:10-12. We next see a real overcoming attitude manifested in Abram. When he heard that Lot was taken captive he went to war, won the victory, and brought back all the plundered goods, even Lot and his goods.
When the king of Sodom went out to meet Abram, the victor and to reward him, Melchizedek king of Salem got there first with bread and wine, and blessed him, saying, “Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth.” Abram is here identified as belonging to God who owns it all, and Abram proved it by his actions. He was surrendered to God, he had solemnly promised by the uplifted hand what he would do when victorious. Therefore when the king of Sodom approached him with the suggestion, “take the goods to thyself” Abram proved that he was indeed living by faith, for he refused his offer. Living by faith in God keeps us from becoming indebted to or dependant upon man.
“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me…” Gen. 15:1-2.
Abram seemed to need comfort and assurance after such marvelous victories. The possessor of heaven says, “fear not.” Oh, thank God for His fear nots! To our hearts. What better protection could we find, than to have the “I AM” as our shield. And what greater possession than to have the “I AM” as our reward. I believe he manifested an earnest faith, and sincere interest in God’s promise, when he asked, “what will thou give me?”
Faith cannot refuse such an offer. Doesn’t Jesus still offer Himself to believing hearts today as the Prize of the high calling? Oh, how foolish we would be to refuse such an offer, He is worth everything. May our love abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that we may (be able) to approve things that are excellent; that we may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ (Phil. 1:9-10).
“Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred” – Acts 7:14. Joseph had been thrown into the pit by his brothers. Then he was sold into slavery and put in prison. Eventually he came to the palace, and advanced to a place of rulership. We know that He was placed there by God to be instrumental in his brother’s deliverance. He eventually told his brothers, “God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Gen. 45:7). He had been told to tell his father and bothren, “Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.” V. 20.
It seems that our heavenly Father and our lovely Lord, who was beautifully typified by Joseph, speaks thus to us; about our stuff and the goods of our heavenly homeland, and promised inheritance. Don’t place such high value on that which you all one day leave behind, so as to allow it to hold you back, hinder your progress, but come on, come on, forget those things you have left behind, reach forth to that which I have set before you.
MERCY, COMPASSION, AND FORGIVENESS
Anita Clark – Pastor Carbondale, Kansas
These traits are what the Lord Jesus Christ manifested when He was here on the earth. We, who are born again have the life of Christ in us. As we walk in the new life, we will manifest the characteristics of the Lord Jesus.
Titus, a follower of Christ through Paul’s ministry was admonished to manifest Christ in his life toward others in Titus 3:1-5. Verse 1 says, “...be ready for every good work.” Verse 2, says, “...speak evil of no man, to be no brawler [i.e. to be peaceable], but gentle, showing all meekness to all men.” Paul says in Vs. 3. “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” Vs. 4 tells us what changed us, “But after the kindness and love of God our Savior toward men appeared...according to His mercy He saved us...”. A wonderful change took place.
A good definition of the word “mercy” in the New Testament is “compassion or sympathy, tenderness or tender heartedness, or pity.” Remember, Jesus was asked by poor miserable people to have compassion on them. Some examples come to mind from Christ’s time here on the earth - many times when He showed compassion or mercy.
In Luke 10:30-37, Jesus told the story of the “Good Samaritan.” If you haven’t read this story, do read it. The poor man had been left to die, wounded and bleeding beside the road. A certain priest came by, but he could not help the man because he couldn’t touch a dead person. That would never do, he just couldn’t risk his career as a priest of the temple. After all there were rules to follow. Second, a Levite, a man of the chosen tribe, very religious, who had to keep his life holy came by. What if this man was dead, this Levite would have to go through a big cleansing process before he could even enter the temple, much less work there. Notice, “They passed on the other side.”
Then, came along a Samaritan. Jesus calls him. “A certain Samaritan.” God has “certain” people who show mercy on the helpless and the needy. This Samaritan didn’t hesitate and think, “Now, is this man a moral man or immoral, is he a man who obeys God or not.” No! The Samaritan had compassion.
Another illustration that Jesus used was the story of the “lost son,” found in Luke 15:11-32. Vs. 20 says, “And he arose, and came unto his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed.” The word “compassion” means “to be moved inside our inner being, to feel sympathy, to pity.” Where would we be without the compassion that our Father God has for us.
Jesus had compassion on the great multitude of people which came out to hear the Word from Him. (Mark 8:1-3). Vs. 2 says, “I have compassion on the multitude because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat...”. He saw not just their spiritual needs, but their natural needs. What a good example. We too must be willing in ministering to others to meet natural needs if there are some. Not only showing compassion for their rescue from sin’s hold, but also for their natural needs. Sometimes, when we meet the natural needs there is opportunity to share the gospel with them and bring them into the spiritual light of God’s uttermost compassion for their souls.
Another word to study is “forgiveness.” This word means, “to send forth, lay aside, let go, put away, pardon a sin or offence.” Sometimes someone hurts us so badly that we think we can never forgive them. That’s a lie the devil tells us. God’s word teaches us that we must forgive others. This is not only when they ask us to forgive them, but in any circumstance where there’s been a break between persons.
There’s not a one of us who hasn’t experienced a situation where someone hurt us, or went against the truth of the Word, or some other offense. We often just break fellowship and leave them alone. Sometimes there’s nothing we can do except to pray for them and commit them unto God.
Paul says in Ephesians 4:30-32, “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” These descriptive words show exactly what happens when a person is angry at another, and just lets go of all control. This is truly the fleshly nature being manifested. How sad that believers sometimes let go and speak in hateful words like this!
Our God is such a wonderful loving God who forgives all our trespasses. We are human and sometimes we go through very hard things to overcome, but God wants us to enter into forgiveness toward those who have hurt us. Yes, even when they don’t ask for forgiveness. Jesus said, “I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44.)
Who To Trust?
“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” Psalms 146:3
God’s Word is very clear about not trusting in ourselves or in other men to solve our problems. It is certainly vain to expect help from man for the problems that are a result of the sin of mankind.
“Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.” Psalms 62:8-9
God does not give us reason to trust in one person over another. It matters not how they are thought of by the world, God reminds us that we can only trust in Him. No one can move the balance against God.
“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.” Psalms 118:8-9
We put our trust in God, not the “right” leader or the “best” choice of men. All of those in power are there by God’s choosing; ALL of them. Let us be content to rest in the mighty power of our God, and in His sovereign choice of those that will carry out His will to bring about His purposes in these last days.
In Matthew 25 Jesus is still answering the questions that His disciples asked Him in chapter 24:3. “…Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” We know this by the Words “Then” – Vs. 1, and the word “When” – V. 31. Jesus spoke parables to illustrate the separation of saint and saint, Vs. 1-13; the separation of servant and servant, Vs. 14-30; the separation of nations, Vs. 31-46. These parables are prophecy of that future judgment.
THE TEN VIRGINS
Vs. 1-13 - “Then (at that time) shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out (or going out). But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not ( or recognize you not). Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
I added the Greek meaning of some words. The Lord appears as the Bridegroom gathering the guests for the marriage supper. Rev. 19:9, “Blessed are they which are called (or invited) unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Some have an invitation to grace the wedding, they are not the Bride, but the guests. It is plainly evident that the 10 virgins are believers. A virgin signifies their separation from the world, especially the defiling religious condition of the end. God never likens the ungodly to a virgin, which speaks of chastity and purity. All the virgins have lamps speaking of the Word of God, illuminated by the Spirit of God.
There is a fundamental contrast between the ten, five were wise and five were foolish. The wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps, the foolish took their lamps with out any extra supply of oil. They were not prepared to go out to meet the Bridegroom, their lambs were going out. They all slumbered and slept as the dark night advanced and while the Bridegroom tarried. They were passive as to the truth and witnessing for Christ in those dark days, hiding their light, in fear.
There is a change, a cry is heard. “Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him.” It could be the result of the catching away of the overcomers. All the virgins are aroused and all trimmed their lamps, they are now stirred with the fact of the coming of the Lord. Their witness for Christ is revived. But the foolish have no oil to replenish their lamps, their light is dim, compared to those who have oil in their vessels. This is a lesson even for us today. We may have a good enough light, but no active faith in the Bridegroom’s coming.
The foolish now want the oil, the full measure of the Holy Spirit. They appeal to the wise for oil, but it is too late. The wise instruct them to go and buy for themselves. Isa. 55:1, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Buying tell us that one must thirst, no longer indifferent and slothful. While they went to buy, the Bridegroom came and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage and the door was shut to the banqueting chamber, not the door of salvation for sinners. For that gateway will never close until the end of time.
This parable and all other parables, illustrate some principles of divine truths by natural events or natural things. As here there is the figure of the wedding with invited and uninvited guests, to point out an important fact connected with God’s Kingdom. The foolish having gone to get oil that they might shine assures us they are saints. The wise who have oil, having received the Holy Spirit are ready for translation. The door for translation of the Church is over, the door is shut.
There is a due time, but the foolish did not qualify to attend the wedding. They will remain on the earth, as God’s witnesses, for God must have a witness for Himself upon the earth. They are the last rank of the Church. They will constitute the feet of the body of Christ that will stand on Mt. Olivet (Zach. 14:4).
The wise virgins figure no doubt the 144,000 that we read of in Revelation of the tribes of the children of Israel. They are mentioned being sealed while on the earth with the Holy Spirit – Chapter 7:3,4. They are seen in heaven – Ch.14:1-5. “They are virgins,” (V. 4) and follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.
There is positive proof in God’s Word that the end of the Church, and her translation will be gradual. There will be a time of transition of God’s dealings with the heavenly to the earthly people, just as there was in the beginning of this Church Age (the first 9 chapters of the book of Acts). Israel was the connecting link at the first and they will be at the end. They (the Church) are translated at different times, the first rank overcomers are seen in heaven Revelation chapters 4 and 5 before tribulation. The great multitude of the Church are translated, coming out of tribulation days, chapter 7:13-17. The I44,000 are seen in heaven, chapter 14.
May we learn from this portion to be ready, watching expectantly for our Lord’s return. discerning the signs of the times. We are children of light, of the day, let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be ready. For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ - I Thess. 5:5-9. His appearance to call up the First rank could be any moment now. “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout…the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive… shall be caught up together with them… to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord - I Thess. 4:16-17.
Debra Isenbletter, PastorSpringfield, Missouri
Ch. 1:11 - “Then said they unto him; What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? For the sea wrought and was tempestuous.”
This verse is about a question, and it is a question for the prophet not the man. It is the prophet who will give them an answer and although Jonah may think his answer is his idea or his way of escape, it is neither. The God who created and controls the sea will use what Jonah says to these men to test their faith and to test Jonah’s faith. We see the Prophet and the Problem (which is the prophet). They Consult the Prophet: “Then said they unto him…” They said this to Jonah the prophet. The word “said” expresses an urgency, it can mean “to demand” such as Do Something! Or it can mean “to desire” as in Please do something! They are speaking “unto him,” unto Jonah. Unto the “Hebrew.” Unto the one who knew “the God of heaven.” Unto the one who knew the God that “made the sea and the dry land.” Unto the one who “fled from the presence of the Lord.” They believe that Jonah knew God and could speak to God.
They Consult the Prophet who is the Problem: “What shall we do unto thee.” The Question is: “What shall we do?” They know that they need to do something but they did not know what to do. The Quandary is: “unto thee” because they know that Jonah is the problem but he is also the solution. This is not the first time the question of “What shall we do?” has been asked and whenever it has been asked there is both desperation and faith behind the question. When it is asked in faith, despite or because of the desperation, there will always be an answer.
Manoah asked this question of the Lord concerning Samson and how they should raise him. “O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.” (Judges 13:8). They were given an answer; a detailed answer and they followed those instructions faithfully. Those that are willing to ask: “What shall I do,” must be willing to do whatever they are told to do, even if they do not fully understand. That is faith. The Philistines asked this question concerning the ark (1Sam.6:2-3) and obeyed without question.
John the Baptist was asked the question “What shall we do” by the people (Luk.3:10); by the publicans (Luk.3:12); by the soldiers (Luk.3:14). John gave an answer to each group, and they could choose to do or not do what John told them.
Jesus was asked the question: “What shall we do?” (Joh.6:28-29) by those who had a sincere desire to please and serve God. Jesus told them what to do by telling them what to believe.
The crowd at Pentecost asked Peter, “What shall we do?” (Act.2:37). Their conviction was real, their desire was real and the answer was simple. It was to believe on the Lord Jesus, to show that belief by repenting and being baptized and to take the added step of faith by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Council at Jerusalem asked the question; “What shall we do to these men?” (Act.4:16). They were talking about the apostles, their preaching, their miracles. They asked this question but they did not really want to hear the answer. It would have been the same answer that was given by Peter on Pentecost. Simply believe.
These men asked Jonah what they should do because they did not know what to do. They know what the problem is, it is the sea. They even tell Jonah what the solution to the problem is: “that the sea may be calm unto us?” They know Jonah is the source of the problem, so they believe Jonah will have the solution to the problem. It was the sea that threatened the ship and threatened their lives. If the sea could just “be calm” then everything would be fine. They believed that Jonah’s God (who made the sea) could also calm the sea and since this was Jonah’s God, Jonah would have to ask his God to do this. They saw the danger: “for the sea wrought and was tempestuous.” They could not ignore it, they could not escape it, they could not stop it.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
A Pattern Prayer
By Dr. Vicky Moots
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” Matt. 6:9-13.
“Which art in heaven:” This phrase separates him from our earthly father. He is our Heavenly Father. A father is a protector and a provider. Earthly fathers are not always capable of doing that. They may lack the strength or the resources, but our Heavenly Father is more than able to meet our needs physically and spiritually. He even knows our needs ahead of time. “…your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matt. 6:8). But He wants us to come into His presence and ask.
How does He supply our needs? Paul tells us how in Phil. 4:19: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Not only can He but He shall. It is His obligation as our Father. (Not all our wants, but our needs.) And He will do it according to His riches in glory. Do you think that is sufficient? Will His supply ever run out? He has abundant riches in glory! They are inexhaustible! And how does He do this? It is by Christ Jesus. In Jesus we find everything that we need. Our Heavenly Father supplies everything that we need through His Son. When we accept Jesus as Saviour we have access to all our Father’s riches. If we reject His Son, then we cannot call Him our Father, and He has no obligation to take care of us.
“Hallowed be thy name:” His name is holy and not to be cursed or used lightly. Many people say, “Oh, my God!” When they are upset or use the initials “OMG” on social media. It is irreverent to use God’s name in this manner. They are obviously not considering God’s name to be holy for they are using it as a byword. When we come before His presence in prayer, we must acknowledge His holiness and give honor to His name. But this should also be true in our daily conversation with others. If we are taught to honor our earthly mother and father, how much more honor should we give to our Heavenly Father? We read in Mal. 1:6, “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour?” We give Him honor by recognizing His holiness and the authority and power in His name. Then we will be willing to obey Him and live a life that will bring glory and honor to His name instead of disgrace.
Verse 10: “Thy kingdom come:” Jesus likely prayed this too. “Thy kingdom come” meant to Him that He would have to go to the cross to die to fulfill God’s plan. He was in full agreement with God’s plan and we must be also and be willing to submit to it, even as Jesus did when He prayed, “Not my will but thine be done.” We certainly do not agree with the things that are happening in today’s world, but we know that they are in fulfillment of prophecy so we pray in agreement with God’s plan, “Thy kingdom come” and are looking for Jesus’ soon return. We also acknowledge that God is not only our Heavenly Father but a King and has a kingdom. He is ruler of the universe but wants to be King of our lives and set up His kingdom in our hearts. We submit to His authority as Father, God and King and let Him reign over us now. Instead of looking to an earthly ruler or president to bring peace, we need to look to the Lord to give us peace in our hearts. Matt. 6:33 instructs us: “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…”. Letting Him reign as King in our lives now prepares us to reign as kings one day in Heaven with Him.
Verse 10 “…Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven:” Jesus was our example when He prayed to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion in Luke 22:42: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.” This was spoken by Jesus personally two years after He had given us the pattern prayer in Matt. 6. Jesus submitted to God’s will in Heaven to be done in earth, and so He went to the cross. Are we also willing to bear our cross that is given to us in this life in order that God’s will be done in us? Could God have set up His kingdom on this earth without Jesus going to the cross? He could have, but He had a greater plan. He wanted us to be His sons. God had to sacrifice his Son in order that we could have our sins forgiven and be born again to become sons of God. God could have created us to serve him automatically even as the angels do, but he wanted a family. He wanted us to serve Him out of love. If we love Him, we will trust Him in all things and submit to His will in our lives.
Jesus was the Son of God in Heaven but came to earth in a body of clay. He was then part of the earth as well as Heaven. He wanted God’s will to be done in His earthly body, in earth, as it was in Heaven. Are we willing to do the same, in our earthly body, to submit to God’s will no matter the cost? Can we sincerely pray with Jesus, “not my will but thine be done”? Think about that the next time you pray this prayer.
WALK IN LOVE
Gary Giddings – Pastor, Sand Lake, Michigan
Ephesians 5:1-2 “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor.”
We are called to “Walk in love.” Another way of saying this is, “Live your life in love.” Our primary focus is God: we are called to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. We are also called to love our neighbor as ourselves. What does this look like, especially when we don’t agree about some things? As born-again, Spirit-filled Christians, we may not always agree. So how do we get along without resenting or offending each other? We are learning to “walk in love,” that is, we are learning to “live our lives in love.” We are “followers of God, as dear children.” We are learning to share the love that God has shown to us. Notice the word “therefore.” What is it THERE FOR? Why should we be “followers of God”?
Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Because we have been forgiven by God, we can forgive others! We don’t have to be caught up with strife, contention and offenses. We can hold on to them if we want, but why? It only brings us down! We can forgive because we have been forgiven. We are free to know and to enjoy God, so why do we hold on to things that hinders our relationship with Him? We want to be like Jesus, loving and helping others to be free. We are free to enjoy the blessings of God. We have liberty in Christ, no longer in bondage to sin and shame.
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” What does this LOVE look like? How is it shown? John 15:12-13 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” 1 John 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
It is easier to “lay down our lives” for the sake of others when we look at things the same way and want to do things the same way. But what if we have a difference of opinion? What if we don’t agree on matters of what we think God allows or disallows? Can we still show love to each other? Romans 14:1-2 “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.”
It is so easy for us to take a topic, an issue, a situation and take sides: “THIS is right, THAT is wrong.” If God shows us in the Bible that something is wrong, then it is wrong. For example, stealing is wrong, adultery is wrong, murder is wrong. But what about eating meat? Someone may think that eating meat is wrong for them for whatever reason. But we tend to label an action “wrong” if it is different than what we would do. Sometimes we want rules because it seems to make things clearer and simpler for us, but Christianity isn’t about “following the rules.” If you are more interested in rule keeping, then you would be more comfortable with being an Israelite in the Old Testament. Not only was Israel given the 10 Commandments written on tables of stone, but according to Jewish tradition, Israel was given 613 commandments! There were rules for everything! For example, there were rules for what the people of Israel were allowed to eat and what they were allowed to wear for clothing.
Christianity isn’t about “rule keeping.” It is about loving God and loving each other. There are certain things that should be done or not be done, but the focus is LOVE. Romans 13:8-10 tells us that “love is the fulfilling of the Law.” Romans 14:3-4 “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”
We could point to the Scriptures that tell us that eating meat is allowable by God. But does that mean that we are to beat someone over the head with it? Maybe a believer comes from a family background that didn’t allow the eating of meat for whatever reason. But we are not to despise or look down on those who don’t do things exactly as we would.
Romans 14:5-6 “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” Whatever your practice is, do it as unto the Lord. Live according to your conscience, but make sure that your conscience is informed by the Word of God. In all things, let us show love towards another, not forcing others to act like us. Let the Holy Spirit do His work to shape another’s conscience.
Romans 14:22-23 “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned [condemned] if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” According to Scripture, we need to have a good conscience in whatever we do. The Apostle Paul declared that he had “lived in all good conscience before God” (Acts 23:1). He also said that he trained himself “to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16).
The Apostle Paul also told Timothy the importance of a good conscience: 1 Timothy 1:5 “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:” V. 19 “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:”
In 1 Corinthians 8, the Apostle Paul addressed another questionable situation: the eating of food offered in sacrifice to idols. Paul agreed with those who said that an idol is nothing and that there is only one God. But Paul was also aware of those who couldn’t eat meat offered to idols with a good conscience. Paul wrote, “But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.” (1 Cor. 8:8-9).
According to Paul, for one to flaunt his liberty before a brother or sister who doesn’t have it, this is a sin against the brethren and against Christ! So Paul made his stand and declared, “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend” (1 Cor. 8:13).
What is the present day application to this? One thing that comes to mind in this COVID-19 era is the wearing of masks. We may have different opinions of whether masks are needed or not. There are rules in places of business that varies from state to state in our nation. But what about our church buildings? Should we require that everyone wear a mask at church? It may be your opinion that either masks are necessary or that masks are useless or harmful. But the point here is that we should not let this issue divide us Christians. Can we disagree and still get along? Do we insist on our liberty to NOT wear a mask or can we wear the mask for the sake of others who perhaps are physically vulnerable to the coronavirus?
1 John 4:19-21 “We love Him, because He first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” We can walk in love because of the love that God gives to us. Love doesn’t originate in us but we can “pass it on” to others. When in doubt about what to do, show love.
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Who has the Goods? Hint, “And the servant took ten of the camels…of his master, and departed; for all of the goods of his master were in his hand” – Gen. 24:10.
In this Chapter we find a most beautiful pen picture, of the mission of the Holy Spirit being sent forth to bring a bride to the heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. This servant, representing the Holy Spirit has the camels, picturing the providences of God, and the goods, speaking of His gracious giving, in His control.
I would invite you to consider with me, by direction from God’s Holy Word, what our attitude should be in relation to the goods mentioned in Scripture, both perishable and non-perishable. By goods we might think of possessions, property, valuables, treasures, substance and sustenance.
Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven…For where your treasure is there will your heart be also” – Mt. 6:19-21.
Paul told Timothy; “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy…” I Tim. 6:17.
Thank God for such comforting admonishment as Hebrews 10:34-37. “For ye had compassion of me in my bounds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Glory, glory, glory to God! Do you believe His promise? Are we looking for Him? Are we loving His appearing? What manner of persons ought we to be? II Pet. 3:11-14.
What manner of persons were these in Hebrews Ten? How could they have such an attitude, to take joyfully, bare cheerfully the plundering of their property? The confiscation of their belongings? Evidently their affections were set on things above. Praise God they were not just pretending, playing games, whistling in the dark, they were not saying of well, I don’t care, these things mean nothing to me. They manifested this attitude because they really knew something worth knowing. This knowledge wasn’t just theory with them, but rather possessed with treasure of everlasting value. They had something that the world could not take it away.
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” – II Cor. 5:1. As we move on in God’s will, being led by the Spirit, we lay hold by faith on that which He has laid up for us in heaven.
“And he said, I am Abraham’s servant. And the Lord hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses. And Sarah my master’s wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath” – Gen. 24:34-36.
The Servant not only told Rebekah of Isaac’s wealth but also gave her earring and bracelets of gold, Vs. 22. In type we understand also from scripture that the Holy Spirit has the “goods” for our ears and hands. He divinely opens our ears, as channels to our hearts, and also otherwise equips us for service.
“The servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things” – Gen. 24:53. Do you know the Holy Spirit? He has gifts for all the family of God. The Holy Spirit is indeed the distributor of all God’s great giving. I Cor. 12:4,11, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit…But all these (gifts) worketh that one and selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.” He, and not man determines who gets what gifts. The Holy Spirit Himself is God the Father’s gift to His family, and no one else. But our Father does have one main stipulation, we must ask. Read Mt. 7:6-11. He would make us to know that everything that our Father has given to us is good, thus everything that the Holy Spirit has brought with Him is also good. James 1:16-17.
He not only convicts our hearts of our need of a Savior, and that Jesus is both Lord and Christ, but was also sent to bring us into our Lord’s eternal wealth. What a delight to meditate on I Cor. 2:9-12. Is He making you know the “goods” that the Father has freely given? Is He revealing to your heart, the good that our God has prepared for them that love Him? If not, Why not?
Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father” John 16:12-16.
God has also sent our guide to make us realize that our adversary would use material goods (stuff) to blind us to our deeper spiritual needs. “For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you” I Cor. 4:7-8. Read also Rev. 3:17-18.
Paul wrote, that they which receive an abundance of grace shall reign in life by one Christ Jesus – Rom. 5:17. Jesus said: Blessed are the poor in spirit, in other words we are blessed when we know, or have a deep awareness of our spiritual lack. He also said that we are blessed when we hunger or have a real appetite for that which pertains to divine righteousness, Mt. 5:3,6.
COMMUNION WITH SOLOMON
The queen of Sheba came,
Having heard of Solomon’s fame,
Concerning the dear Lord’s name.
She came to view for her self,
His glory, wisdom, and wealth.
With a great train, she came,
Laden with spices and very much gold.
To prove him with hard questions she was bold.
And right from the start,
She communed with him all of her heart.
Now from all that she learned,
She was breathless, and cried;
The half I never was told.
Now a greater than Solomon is here,
And in His sweet name we draw near,
To appropriate His marvelous grace,
And to commune with him face to face.
For He invites us to be bold,
To search out the wealth of His wisdom untold.
He calls us to make the excellent choice,
To let Him see our face, and let Him hear our voice.
– Jack Davis
PEACE IN THE DAY OF CHAOS
Anita Clark – Pastor Grace Chapel – Carbondale, Kansas
“And in those times there was no peace to him that went out nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries.” (II Chronicles 15:5.)
We are going through terrible conditions in the world today. “All the inhabitants of the countries” are affected. The virus is not giving up easily. It has certainly brought the U.S.A. trouble and death. Also, rioting in various countries continues to go on and on. We know that we are living in the last days of the age. Can you imagine what life will be like in the Tribulation spoken of in the book of Revelation, which is soon coming upon the earth? In Luke 21:26, Jesus speaking of that coming time, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth...”.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.” There are many trials and tests to us who are Christians - hindering us in various ways. Why? God is testing us. I believe that He is trying wake people up.
Ephesians 2:14 says, “For He is our peace.” I want to especially emphasize “For He is our peace.” It matters not what you are going through, where you live, and etc. all that matters is that peace comes into your life because of the Peace Maker, the Lord Jesus Christ. Trials are hard, and it may seem like they will never end, but “HE IS OUR PEACE.” Vs. 17 tells us, “And (Jesus) came and preached peace to them which were afar off, and to them that are nigh.” This message of peace is still going out today.
PEACE - in the Bible has three aspects. Many have taught this truth in the past. It is not a new thought, but a very peaceful teaching.
First - The Peace With God - Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified [Means - “to be made righteous”] by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We were sinners, having no place with God, far from God, but He saved us through giving His Beloved Son to die for us. Our part is to believe and ask Him to come into our lives. Then we are “justified” or “made righteous” in God’s sight, becoming His children, giving us a wonderful standing in His family. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast.” Verse 14 says, “For He is our peace.” When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we experience profound peace, the Peace With God. Colossians 1:20-21 says, “Having made peace through the blood of His cross...And you who were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works...yet now hath He reconciled.”
Second: Peace of God - This is what God wants to work in our lives after we have received salvation and the Peace with God. This is peace that settles the worried mind. Jesus said to His disciples, just before He went to the cross in John 16:32-33, “These things I have spoken unto you that in me you might have peace. In this world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” The word “overcome” in the Greek means to: “conquer, prevail and get victory.” Our lack of peace in our daily living is a lack of faith in God.
Peace means “quietness and rest.” There’s nothing like this peace that He gives. So many times in trials and tests, we don’t know where to turn, but then, we pray and suddenly the peace comes. Right now in the midst of this chaos of the pandemic, and the election and unrest, Jesus gives sweet peace for He is the Peace Maker. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And (the result) the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Note what peace does it “passes all understanding” (thought or feeling).
Third: The God of Peace - Philippians 4:8-9, tells of a way to gain peace of mind. Paul says, “Think on Spiritual things.” Have you ever been in a trial of faith that you just couldn’t get your mind off of the trying situation? The enemy, Satan, loves to get us to think on defeating things. The more we think on those awful discouraging things, the more defeated we become.
Paul tells us here to think on “honest, just, pure, lovely, things of good report – virtue...worthy of praise.” I have found there’s a struggle, when in trial, to stop thinking about the upsetting circumstance. Satan will bring those defeating thoughts back again and again. But, the results of guarding our mind is found in verse 9, “Those things which you have learned, and received and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” The word “do” means “to practice.”
In our daily life, practice thinking on all those good things. The results is sure. The God, our God will be with us. That is what it tells us in II Cor. 13:11, “Finally, brethren, farewell (Greek - full of cheer, calmly happy, glad, joyful, rejoice), be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”
A battle goes on in our minds. II Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” The results - “Peace, peace, wonderful peace, coming down from the Father above, Sweep over my spirit forever I pray in bountiful billows of love.”
Remember Isaiah 9:6, speaking of Jesus, which was to come, He is “The Prince of Peace.” So, pray, read God’s Word, and believe it. God is on your side.
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Psalms 1:2
“Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.” Psalms 112:1
The word “delight” means “pleasure”, “desire.” This verse refers to the “blessed” man. The “happy” man. Not just happy over something that has occurred, but an indwelling happiness. This seems to me like something we should consider. There is a lot of unhappiness in today’s world, but we have been given an option for true happiness.
Notice the object of the delight: God’s Word. What could this possibly do for my happiness? There are lots of books about how to be happy, how to get more enjoyment out of life. However, they never seem to work very well. At best you might find some temporary happiness.
God’s Word is different because it is a living book about a living Savior. The happiness does not come from just reading the book, or just trying to do some things that are stated in the book. True happiness comes from knowing the One the book is about. Studying God’s Word is not about learning some secret formula or magic incantation. It is about coming into a deeper relationship with the God of the universe.
The Psalmist knew this very well, because he had a relationship with God and it was deepening all the time. He had come to understand the value of being under God’s care. And, this caused him to seek more.
“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” Psalms 40:8
For those that have found pleasure in God’s Word, they soon find that they also find pleasure in God’s will, which we learn from the study of God’s Word. Being in God’s will is the safest, most complete place to be. Everything else will lead to disappointment.
I really want to notice the thought about “delight.” This is not about doing God’s will because it is a “requirement,” but really taking pleasure in doing God’s will. When we take the approach of “requirement,” we will find ways to rationalize that anything we are doing is God’s will. When we truly take pleasure in doing God’s will, we will continually be searching to understand His will in our lives.
This is why the Psalmist mentions that God’s Word is in his heart. While we may not find direct, specific details about God’s will in our lives, knowing His Word will allow us to understand if we are walking in His will or simply choosing our own.
Why should we “delight” in God’s Will and God’s Word? Because it is the only way to be truly happy (blessed). And, it is the one thing we can choose to do that we will never regret; not now, and not in eternity. Don’t just do God’s Will, take pleasure in it. Don’t just read God’s Word, take pleasure in it.
Earlene DavisCHRIST’S RETURN TO EARTH
Matthew 24:36-39, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe 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.”
Jesus is emphasizing the suddenness of His coming. It will be a surprise to the world and as unwelcome as a thief, even as the flood was. It came suddenly sweeping upon the ungodly and took them away in judgment – Gen. 6. This is not the rapture of the church as some preach. This is when He shall come in judgment. The flood was judgment. Who were saved when the flood came? Only those who enter into the ark of safety. Many were not saved and taken away in judgment. “So shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Vs. 40-41, “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” It will be separative and selective. Today, is a time of separation spiritually. The Lord is separating us unto Himself. When this judgment comes there will be actual separation between saint and sinner. The one taken will be taken in judgment and the other left. That is the way it was in the flood. Those left were in the ark, they were safe. That day will show plainly who is a believer and who is not. Those who believe will be left for blessing in the earth, as was the case with Noah and his family.
Vs. 42-43, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.” Watchfulness is the admonition.
When did the watches occur? It was at night. They would watch the city so no danger would come to them. Six o’clock at night unto six o’clock in the morning were divided into four night watches. Mt. 14:25, Jesus came to them in the fourth watch of the night walking on the sea. Tribulation will be the night time that is coming to this world. In the fourth watch He will come to Israel, the Day Star will arise – II Pet. 1:19.
We are not in that time. We are not of the night, we are of the day - I Thess. 5:5-6,24. In Acts 1:6-8 the disciples asked Jesus, Will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel? He said, It is not for you to know, but be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Vs. 44-47, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.” This message is primarily to Israel, but verse 45 is an example to us that God loves faithfulness. Let us be wise in what the Lord has given to us, and may we feed others the Word of God.
Vs. 48-51, “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder (cut off), and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The principle of this can apply to us also. We read of two kinds of servants here, The wise and faithful servant is one that watches for the Lord and expects Him to come any day. There is also the unfaithful servants, who are only professors. They are known as servants, yet they serve themselves not others.
Debra Isenbletter, PastorSpringfield, Missouri
Ch. 1:10 - “Then were the men exceedingly afraid and said unto him; Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.”
“Then were the men exceedingly afraid”—Jonah has given his answer to their questions and now we see the strong emotional response to what Jonah has said. They were “exceedingly afraid”, they were “intensely” afraid; they were “terribly” afraid. They were “terrified”. The reason given for their fear is not just because of what Jonah said about his God, He was “the God of heaven” and the God that “made the sea”. The reason for their terror is because of what Jonah did. He ran from God. They seemed to be more afraid of Jonah’s God than Jonah was. These ungodly, pagan men have a degree of fear and a degree of faith. Both give them a revelation concerning Jonah’s God. They were afraid of God’s power; afraid of judgment, afraid of dying, even a little afraid of Jonah. Where was Jonah’s fear? We do not a hint of it in this narrative. Jonah did not seem to be afraid and he should have been. Their fear is the foundation for the Lord’s salvation and His mercy. “Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him” (Psa. 85:9) and “great is his mercy toward them that fear him.” (Psa. 103:11).
“Why hast thou done this?”—These men ask Jonah a question. Their question is an accusation that demands an explanation. It can be translated: “What is this you have done?” or “How could you do this?”. They are shocked. They are astonished. You get the idea that they would never do this if they knew this. What has Jonah done? Jonah has run! Their accusation is very personal because their lives are at risk. Everything God did was to Get Jonah’s attention and it affected them. They were caught in the middle, they stood between God and Jonah, innocent bystanders. Jonah’s disobedience put their lives in danger. Jonah cannot answer this question and he does not seem to answer it because he cannot justify himself and he would have to face himself, would have to take responsibility for his actions. The lesson is that everything we do or do not do has consequences. We are not the only ones affected, others are affected.
Abram’s fear of the famine led him to Egypt (Gen. 12:10). Abram’s fear of the Egyptians led him to tell a half-truth concerning his wife (Gen 12:13). Where was Abram’s faith? All we see is his fear. Because of a lack of faith and because of his fear, he caused Pharaoh and his household to suffer. Pharaoh took Abram’s wife into his household and God was angry. “And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues…” (Gen. 12:17-18). Pharaoh questioned Abram, accused him, “Why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife” (Gen. 12:180. He suffered because of Abram’s actions, because of his fear, here his fear was a lack of faith in God.
Samson’s anger over his wife being given to another led him to take action that brought the anger of the Philistines upon all of Judah. (Judges 15:1-11). He acted apart from God’s will. He married a Philistine, his companion, his friend was a Philistine. (Judges 14:20). What was he doing in fellowship with those that were the enemies of his people? When he compromised it brought consequences? Her father thought he had just cause to give her to another but Samson took action that brought down the wrath of the Philistines and they asked him, “What is this that thou hast done unto us?” (Judg. 15:11). His actions affected them.
Jonah’s actions affected those around him. Our actions affect those around us. We are not the only ones affected if we are disobedient to God’s Will or God’s Word. Like Jonah, there are others caught up in the judgment that was directed against Jonah.
“For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord.” At the end of this verse we find out that at some point, Jonah had told them that he had “fled” and that he had flesh “from the presence of the Lord.” That must have told them that Jonah was a prophet of God, who else would stand in the “presence of the Lord?” This fleeing is the real issue. It is what Jonah can no longer deny, it is what he can no longer hide, it is what he must face and see the consequences of. Somehow these men knew that the “presence of the Lord” showed that Jonah had a relationship with God, he had fellowship with God, he had a responsibility to God. The Amplified Bible translates this as “he fled from the presence [face] of the Lord [as his prophet and servant].” This is what was so shocking to these men. After hearing Jonah describe Who his God was and His Power they were stunned. They, in their knowledge of their gods and their limited knowledge of Jonah’s God understood the importance of responsibility to the god you served. This must have been humbling for Jonah. They knew because “he had told them.” Jonah’s conscience had forced him to tell the truth, he did not lie. The telling of this truth is the beginning of Jonah’s recovery and restoration as God’s prophet. Their next question in vs. 11, is a question for the prophet and not the man.
To Everything a Season
(from Ecc. 3:1-8)
By Vicky Moots
To everything there is a season,
A time, a purpose and a reason.
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to laugh and a time to cry,
A time to till and plant the ground,
Another time to mow it down,
A time to heal, a time to kill,
A time to speak, a time to be still,
A time to tear down, a time to build,
A time to cast the stones away,
A time to gather another day,
A time to embrace and be held tight,
A time when embracing isn’t right,
A time to rend, a time to sew,
A time to keep, a time to let go,
A time to get, a time to lose,
A time to let go and let God choose,
A time of peace, a time of war,
A time when hate will be no more.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
A Pattern PrayerPart 1By Vicky Moots
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” Matt. 6:9-13 is commonly known as “The Lord’s Prayer” and is given by our Lord solely as a pattern of the manner in which we should pray. It was never intended to be simply memorized and repeated in place of a personal prayer. Jesus strictly told us in v. 7, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do”. “Vain” means “empty, having no value.” A prayer that is memorized and repeated frequently is worthless to the soul and has no spiritual meaning, serving no purpose to the individual or to God. Prayer must come from the heart and is intended to be direct communication between us and the Lord, even as Jesus communicated with his Father. We are given a heartfelt example of that in John 17 which is Jesus’ personal intercessory prayer for all believers prior to his going to the cross.
Most people who have memorized and repeat the prayer given in Matthew 6 have no real understanding of its meaning and application to us as Christians. In this study, I am going to break it down phrase by phrase in detail in the same manner as if we were chewing our food prior to swallowing, so that we may be spiritually nourished thereby.
V. 9: “Our Father:” shows our personal relationship with God as sons, as members of his family. Only his children have the right to call him “Father.” So how do we have the right to do that? The answer is found in John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him [Jesus], to them gave he power [ability] to become sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh [not an earthly, fleshly birth], nor of the will of man, but of God.” It requires a spiritual birth to enter the family of God. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:7, “…Ye must be born again.” You were born once in the natural, but you need a new birth, to be born of the spirit. Just as the birth of Jesus was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit, so is our new birth when we accept Christ as Savior by believing on his name. When we are born again, then God is our Father.
In the Old Testament God was not known as Father in the sense of a family relationship. The term Father that was used, as in Isa. 64:8, refers to God as creator. “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Under the Law the relationship was that of a master to servant. Blessings were based strictly on obedience, and therefore disobedience resulted in the curse of the Law. But after we are born again then God is no longer just the creator of the universe who is way out there somewhere, but he becomes our loving Father who cares for us and about us as individuals.
I John 3:1: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God…”. After we are born again he considers us his sons just as much as he does Jesus. The term “adoption” is used in Gal. 4:4 which means “son placing,” referring to our relationship and privileges as mature sons rather than merely children. The full understanding of this term would require a separate Bible study. But basically, it means that not only did we choose him and accept him, but God chose us and accepted us. Just like his Son, Jesus, we have the same rights and privileges to call him “Father.” He places us alongside his Son.
In addition, we are informed in Gal. 4:6-7 “And because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” “Abba” is a term of endearment like “Daddy” and shows a loving personal relationship. Only children, not servants, could use that term. What is your relationship with the Lord today? Are you a son or a servant? A son who loves the Father will gladly serve him out of love, not out of fear. Only grace not law, gives us the privilege of calling God our Father; we cannot earn that relationship by our good works. It is by grace that we are saved and become sons of God by accepting God’s Son, Jesus, as the sacrifice for our sins. May the Holy Spirit help us to fully comprehend and accept our relationship with God and our position in his family as sons and not servants.
To be Continued
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
In both the Old and New Testaments, God uses shepherding to illustrate His loving care of His sheep (His people). When we say, “The Lord is my shepherd,” we acknowledge that we are His sheep, but saying it is not enough; our lives must reflect it.
The problem is very few have any idea about the actual role of a shepherd. What it means for the Lord Himself to be willing to be our caring shepherd.
May we acknowledge we belong to Him and everything we have and everything we have ever worked for belongs to God? We are His stewards, managing things for Him. The world tempts us to say, “it is all mine,” but God owns us and we must acknowledge that.
Psalm 100:3, “Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves, we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” God bought us with a price, He has redeemed us. Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
In Acts 20:28, Paul gave a charge to the elders saying, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
Scripture teaches that true wholeness is achieved by surrendering to God’s control of everything in our lives. Everything we have is His; He is in charge. However, Psychologists and psychiatrists tell us to assert ourselves and be subject to no one, that self-reliance is the road to wholeness.
If we cannot submit to God’s authority, we will never have true peace and contentment. Everything would depend upon our circumstances, which are continually changing. By acknowledging that the Lord is our shepherd and by accepting His authority in our lives. We can find true freedom and fulfillment.
With genuine gratitude and exaltation, we can proclaim as David did, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” I lack nothing and have everything that I need because the Lord provides it all.
The Encouraging Word
“Set your affection (mind) on
the things above, not on the
things that are on earth.”
“Blessed is the man that trusteth
in the Lord and whose hope
the Lord is.”
“You drew near when I called
on you; You said, “Do
“O GOD the LORD, the strength
of my Salvation, you have
covered my head in the day
“Rejoice always; pray
without ceasing; in everything
give thanks; for this is God’s
will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Saturday, August 1, 2020
“But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life” – Acts 5:19-20.
These prisoners had been told not to speak any more in the name of Jesus. The high priest and all that were with him had been stirred to indignation by the multitudes of believers being added unto the Lord, and a multitude of the sick being healed. They hoped to put a stop to these marvelous works by threatening, and then by putting them into prison.
Praise God the angel of the Lord brought them forth. They were given the good occupation of all the Lord’s escapees to go, stand and speak the wonderful words of life. Thank God, we have been set free, and we also have the God-given liberty to boldly do the will of God in our lives, even in the face of threatening bondage.
These escapees hadn’t taken the easy way out, but endangered their lives by obeying the higher command. V. 29, “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” Having left the prison, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But when the high priest came, they sent to the prison to have them brought, and they found them not. They found the guards doing their job well, except for the fact they were guarding an empty cell. Let our adversaries’ men always be kept busy guarding an empty prison.
In a later prison break, we read of Peter being taken prisoner by king Herod. “Peter therefore was kept in prison; but prayer was made without ceasing of the church of God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me” – Acts 12:5-8.
The things that happened to Peter here may remind us of our experiences in various types of prisons. He seems to manifest great peace, an overcoming attitude in a very uncomfortable situation. I believe he got more rest than the two men chained to him. Oh, how we thank God for the light that was commanded to shine into our prison, to alert us of our liberty in Christ, and the truth that makes men free. He sometimes has to smite or shake us to make the chains fall off. It is also amazing the way He prepares us to move out in His will. In order to fully follow Him in His perfect will, we need our loins girt about with truth, our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, and be experimentally wrapped in the robe of His righteousness. We then may also declare, as Peter “declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison” – Acts 12:17.
Now as Paul and his companions went to prayer, a soothsaying slave girl agitated them many days. When Paul commanded the evil spirit to come out of her, it stirred up the wrath of those making profit from her acts. Then they caught Paul and Silas, and brought them to the magistrates, and stirred up the multitude against them. “And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely. Who having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God; and the prisoners heard them” - Acts 16:23-25.
This event is such a wonderful testimony of victory even if the record ended right there. At midnight, in stocks, and with many stripes is not usually considered the most ideal time for praying and singing praises, but oh, thank God this is when the prisoners heard them. I am glad that God also still produces the same attitude and actions today in those who in their darkest trying hour completely trust Him. Sometimes we also are prisoners for Christ sake, that other prisoners may hear the joyful sound in the darkest places. Yet we certainly rejoice that the earth did quake, and the foundations of the prison shake, and opened the doors and loosed the bands. We greatly rejoice in the liberating of the prison keeper and his household. Thank God that we today who are constrained by love divine, are still able to encourage “prisoners of hope” to always “turn to the strong hold” of our faith. Zec. 9:12.
While Jeremiah was shut up in the court of the prison, the Word of the Lord was sent to encourage him to “call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” – Jer. 33:3. The prison for Jeremiah was, even though dark, damp and gloomy a sweet place of communication and revelation. A place to listen and to speak to the Lord. Yet I doubt if he complained when he got out.
It seems that the escapes we experience as we go on farther with the Lord, become more and more intricate. They aren’t always easily expressed or explained. They are not things that the flesh would boast in. II Cor. 11:30,32-33, If I must needs glory, I will glory in the things which concern mine infirmities. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me. And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.”
At this time Paul provably escaped the edge of the sword, but how many of us would proudly tell how? We might be prone to tell it like this concerning the window. ‘The Lord just opened the windows of heaven and swept my through.’ In place of a basket, we would rather say a chariot of fire whisked me out of his grasp in the neck of time. When we would tell of the wall, who would tell that it just fell down flat and I walked over it, or better yet I walked right through it. Was not this a glorious deliverance for the man chosen to be the chief apostle of the church? Paul had to say I escaped by being let down. He was let down by the brethren. Has the Lord ever provided you such an escape? The names of those gracious saints who held the robe are not mentioned, but I am sure God has it on record. God had placed Paul’s life in their hands.
After this escape, Paul was “caught up,” II Cor. 12:2,4. He then was caused to behold glorious things that he could not talk about. Because of what he saw, he was turned down, in his request for removal of a thorn. He was turned down to escape being lifted up. Our Father always provides a way of escape for us, from captivity to carnal pride. He resist the proud and gives grace to the humble. He has provided for our freedom from the influence of the world, the devil and the flesh, wherein dwelleth no good thing.
There is coming so very soon that great escape, let us be ever and always expectant of it. “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God: and the dead shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” – I Thess. 4:16-17.
GOD’S WORK IN US
Anita Clark – Pastor – Carbondale, KS
The example used in the Old Testament of the “Potter and the clay” is especially illustrative of God’s marvelous work in the hearts and lives of His people, whether Israel or the believers of the Church today. Isaiah. 64:8 says, “But now O LORD, Thou art the Potter, and we are the work of Thy hand.” God, Creator made man from the dust of the ground. Genesis 2:7 says, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” The word “formed” is a word that means “to mold into form especially as a potter.”
In Jeremiah 18:1-6, the prophet was told to go down to the potter’s house, and God was going to cause him to hear His words. We too can hear the words of the Lord through the illustration of the Potter and the Clay. Notice verse 3, “Then, I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold He wrought a work on the wheel.” Just as God molded Adam out of the dust of the earth, God works in all His children. In this particular Scripture, God is speaking of His work on Israel at that time. Notice verse 4, “And the vessel that He made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so He made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” This verse though written of Israel is applicable to believers today. God is working a divine work in each of our lives.
In Romans 9:20, Apostle Paul says, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonor.” We are the vessels that God has formed. Some may have a more honorable place in the Church than others, but God is in control, and calls some to one ministry and others to something else. We have to learn that God is the Potter, and He is bringing about through His skilled hand as the Master Potter His own divine will. He has the power over the clay. We should not question the work of God in our lives.
Isaiah 45:9 speaks of the “potsherds” striving with the Maker (God). This is speaking of Israel who was as broken pot (just broken pieces - potsherds) at the time of this prophecy, but we can also apply this verse to ourselves. We should not “strive with our Maker,” questioning His work in our lives, saying, “God are you sure you know what you are doing?” We are often a helpless, broken pot. A song says, “He is the Potter, We are the clay, Mold me and make me, this is what I say. Change my heart, O God...Make me just like You.”
The Potter, our Maker, is working in us to change us into His own image. When a Potter begins to work with the clay, the first thing he does is to work the air bubbles out. This is called “wedging.” This takes some time in the Potter’s hands, and the clay is still a glob, but pliable in the Master’s hands. Next comes the molding or shaping of the clay, which either is done on a wheel or just by coiling the clay to make whatever it is that the Master wants to make. The clay is kept moist by the Potter using water as he works. The Master’s hands are always holding the clay and working with the clay. When the desired shape is produced, the Master fires the clay. Without firing, the clay pot will never be usable. The firing is at very high temperature in a kiln, the oven that will bring forth a usable pot. After the firing then comes the staining or painting. This is where the beauty comes to the pot. Then, the pot must be fired again to perfect the staining. Of course there are many different kinds of pots, some beautiful, just to display on a shelf, but others which are more practical and useful. Think about this and realize why God used this illustration of “The Potter and the clay.”
How does God work in our lives, as the Potter of the clay? Apostle Paul exhorts in I Thessalonians 2:12-13- “That ye would walk worthy of God, Who hath called you into His kingdom and glory. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” As we take in the Word of God, it does a work in us, as the Potter does His work with the clay, an “effectual work,” which in the Gk. Means, an “active, fervent and mighty” work. Ephesians 4:16 speaks of this “effectual work.” which brings “...increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” The Potter knows exactly what He is doing.
In Ephesians 3:20, Paul speaks of “...the power that worketh in us.” This is the Holy Spirit power that the Potter uses to transform us into Christ’s image. Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God which worketh in you, both to will (to determine) and to do of His good pleasure.” God uses many things to shape us and mold us into the image of Christ. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal: but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (II Cor. 4:16-18).
Ephesians 1:11 tells us, “...according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” There is no one who is all knowing and all powerful as God. Verse 19 speaks of the “exceeding greatness of His mighty power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.”
Philippians 3:21 says, “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself.” Note the word, “working” which in the Gk. Means “efficiency (energy) operation or the effectual working.” How can a believer expect to be changed into the likeness of Jesus Christ? The Potter is on the job. Praise God! He is the power that works in us to giving us the ability and strength required to be an overcomer, changed into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord!
Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:” There will be a terrible upheaval in the heavens. Rev. 16:8-10, the sun will scorch the unbelievers. The sun is a star and when a star burns out it gets hotter and burn itself out. It is possible this is what will happen to the sun. Anyway terrible things will happen. See Rev. 6:12-13.
Mt. 24:30, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” This is the sign the disciples asked for (V. 3). The Son of man once crucified, coming to deliver His people. He is the sign. “All the tribes” refer to the 12 tribes of Israel. They shall see Him with their physical eyes, a real man of flesh and bones, they shall mourn in repentance and receive their Messiah – Zech. 12:9-14. “The clouds of heaven” are the heavenly hosts of saints accompanying him. In Heb. 12:1, they are called a cloud of witnesses. In Rev. 19:14, they are called the armies in heaven. He comes “with power and great glory” with His heavenly saints (see I Thes. 3:13 & Jude 14). Rev. 19:11-13,15-16 gives a good description of this.
V. 31, “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Israel will be gathered where they have been scattered – Dan. 9:7. Angels simply means messengers, redeemed glorified men shall call them back to God with a great sound of a trumpet (trumpeting God’s Word). Just as Joseph was moved in love for his brethren when he revealed himself to them; so Christ will yearn over His people. He will view them as (a new creation) in their homeland, no more to roam. Dan. 12:12, Blessed is he that cometh to that time.
Vs. 32-33, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” Christ gives another sign of this coming to pass. The fig tree is likened unto the nation Israel in Hos. 9:10; Isa. 5:1; 6:9-13. Remember when Jesus entered Jerusalem (called His triumphant entry), the next morning outside the city was a fig tree and didn’t have any fruit on it. It had leaves only. Jesus cursed it and the disciples marveled because it dried up immediately. It represented Israel, not bearing fruit, only leaves which figures just a profession. That is how Jesus found them at His first advent. Now we see the nation Israel, yet tender and putting forth some leaves. It is a sign that Israel’s spiritual restoration is near. Afterwards they will get fruit, when they accept their Messiah. “When ye see these things, know that it is near, even at the door.” We have a door, open in heaven, Israel will have a door open on earth.
V. 34, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” I believe this means, the generation when Israel begins to put forth its leaves. Israel became a nation in 1948, but scripture also tell us that God changes the times and seasons. He can lengthen days or shorten them (Dan. 2:21 & Mt. 24:22), but this promise shall be fulfilled.
Vs. 35-36, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away (compare II Pet. 3:10; I Pet. 1:25; Heb. 1:10-12; Rev 21:1,5). But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” At that time Jesus was a man on the earth speaking, but now as God, I think He knows, for God knows all things.
Continued next issue: Christ coming to the earth
What Is That To 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
Jesus has always been calling to a personal relationship. He called each of His disciples to follow Him at the beginning of His ministry, and now He calls each one of us to follow Him.
We live in a culture where people are constantly looking to others, and to the group to determine what they should or shouldn’t do. The “group” decides what is right and wrong. Everything is determined by the consensus of the majority, or even sometimes by the very vocal minority.
This article is not about politics, even though this same phenomenon occurs there as well. I want to consider carefully our individual lives, and in particular as it relates to our relationship with Jesus. Who determines what that relationship is to be like? Who determines where that relationship carries you? Who is in control of that relationship?
I can see that I will get into some trouble here. We live in a culture that values individual rights and individual power over ones own life. However, when we enter a relationship with Jesus, we will need to cede that right and power to Him. The relationship will never flourish and deepen if we are set on being the one that establishes the boundaries and the direction of the relationship.
I also want to note that as Jesus called more disciples, He did not say “follow us,” He always says follow me. When Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, he makes sure to qualify it “as I follow Christ.” He is inviting us to follow Christ just as he does. We can read more about Paul’s relationship with Jesus in the third chapter of Philippians.
A couple of months back, I wrote about walking with Jesus. I noted that He approached the two men on the road to Emmaus, and walked with them. That is personal.
Consider Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” This verse is not about doing works to stay saved. It is about each individual and their relationship to the Savior.
We don’t need a group decision on what is right or wrong, God’s Word provides that. We don’t need a group decision on what path we should be taking, we need to walk with our Lord in very close communion. So many of God’s precious people are following whatever the latest worldly fad is, and have no real relationship with their Lord.
I don’t want this to sound like we don’t need each other in the body of Christ, but our fellowship as an assembly of God’s people is directly related to each individual’s relationship to Jesus. Our fellowship with Him will determine our fellowship with one another.
Saints, it is so late now. in Romans 13:11-12, Paul says the night is far spent and that we should wake up. I can’t say it strongly enough. Time is short. This age is coming to an end. You cannot and will not take anything from here, except your relationship with Jesus. Please make it the preeminent thing in your life.