Saturday, May 23, 2020

Welcome

June 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.

SPIRITUAL ESCAPEES


Jack Davis


“Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 124:6-8

There are multiplied snares set for our triune being, that would be used by our adversary to keep us from the ultimate purpose of our deliverance (Salvation to the uttermost). Oh yes,, there are many chains and bonds intended to hold us captive from the glorious liberty of God’s people. Praise God, the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed, and promised to break every chain and give us the victory again and again. Snares are still being broken for God’s people today and we are escaping.

“If it had not been the LORD was on our side, when men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul. Then the proud waters had gone over our soul” – Vs. 2-5.

“The Lord was on our side.” How did they know? How do we know He is on our side? Of course we know because the Bible tells us so, but also by experiencing the protection provided, and the blessings bestowed. It is often in the most trying experiences that we really prove it.

“When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Isaiah 43:2

What a promise! What assurance! How marvelous, He is able to keep us from the fire and in it. He can bring us through, and He will bring us out. In the midst of the trial, the fire can be used to burn off the bands (Daniel 3:23-24) and also to purify the gold (Job 23:10). He is providing now that the trial of our faith be found unto His praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. (I Peter 1:7). We read in I Cor. 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Sometimes we insist on a quick escape, and miss some of the benefit for which the trial was allowed.

Full overcomers are not necessarily always escapist. We read in Hebrews 11:34, that some escaped the edge of the sword, and others out of weakness were made strong. Yet there is so many times that we would like to fly away. There certainly are times that some of us have to experience discomfort before we ever desire to get out of our rut. It seems that at times He has to let things close in on us before He can shake us out. I am reminded of Israel in Egypt.

“And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.” Psalm 55:6

Wings symbolize to me the God given ability to rise and reign, to be more than conquerors. These things are provided for all of  God’s children, but how many of us use them? Oh yes there is a “windy storm and tempest coming.” Thank God for the escape He has so wonderfully provided.

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Revelation 3:10

PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD


Anita Clark – Pastor, Carbondale, Kansas


“The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” Mark 1:3.

This verse is repeated here by Mark from Isaiah 40:3 - “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert the highway for our God. John did exactly as he was prophesied to do. He prepared the way for Christ to be recognized as the Messiah to Israel. Also, in Malachi 3:1, a prophecy of John the Baptist, whose ministry began before Christ Jesus was revealed. Think of this word “Prepare.” It means in the Hebrew Old Testament, “providing, to make ready, planning, and supplying.” His whole ministry was to promote Jesus to be recognized as the Messiah. He suffered a martyr’s death because he obeyed God completely.

We think of Jesus Christ who said, “I go to prepare a place for you” - John 14:1-3. Jesus did not mean that he was going to do a lot of carpentry work so we could have a mansion over there in heaven. I believe that He was referring to the work He would do through His death on the cross that would supply all who believe a place with Him in heaven. He went willingly to the worst death contrived by man - one that caused tremendous suffering to those who died in that manner. Through His death all provision was made for us who believe to have an eternal dwelling in heaven with him. Everything we will ever need has been “ prepared” for us by the death of Christ. Every victory over every trial - He already fought that battle and won for us. Lay hold of that provision by faith.

You may say, “I don’t have enough faith to lay hold of that.” Read Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” If you are not regularly hearing God’s Word, you will lack faith in tests and trials of life.

The Word of God says, “Not forsaking of the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as we see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). Right now we are not able to meet together, and oh, how much we miss it! We help one another, giving support by our obeying the Word and meeting together.

Everything we need for our Christian life is already “prepared” for us. Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The word “supply” in the original Greek means “to make replete (filled or well supplied), to cram, to satisfy, to finish (a period or task) or perfect.” This great supply that Jesus’ death has provided for us brings us victory everyday, through every trial and test.

How can we prepare the way of the Christ, Who is coming very soon? First, We need to be sure we are prepared. Amos 4:12 says, “Prepare to meet thy God.” Israel was told, “Prepare yourselves.” (II Chron. 35:4). John the Baptist went before the Lord declaring repentance, and preparing others to believe in Jesus as their Messiah. Are we ready to see the Lord when He comes?

Signs of the soon coming of Christ are everywhere. The Bible declares that there will be seven years of tribulation, which shall come upon all the earth to try them that dwell upon the earth. The Scripture teaches that to those who look for Christ Jesus, He will come and take them away to be with Him before the tribulation starts. How can we “prepare” to meet our God? How can we be ready to answer that trumpet sound as we read in I Thessalonians 4:13-18? Here is alist of things God can work in us if we let Him:
1. First yield ourselves to God, putting Him first.
2. Make sure our family is giving Jesus first place in their lives.
3. Be a good example to them, showing the love of Jesus and His compassion.
4. Telling others that Christ is coming soon.
5. Loving Jesus vehemently - meaning passionately, ardently, intensely, and earnestly.

Jesus wants first place in our lives. We need to be prepared for that special place He has prepared for us. Revelation 21:3 speaks of the Bride of Christ “prepared for her husband.”

HOW DO WE PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD? Yield to God ourselves. Pray for Him to come soon. Walk with God as a true believer before the world. Believe and live to show we are not of the world, but of the new world to come. Long for and pray for His soon return. Witness to those around us to receive Christ and be ready. HE’S COMING VERY SOON.

Walk With God



“These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:9

“And Enoch walked  with God: and he was not; for God took  him.” Genesis 5:24

There are several people in the Bible of whom it is said that they waked with God. When I read Genesis 3:8 where it says that God was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, it causes me to realize that God was accustomed to walking with Adam and Eve in the garden. How amazing that the Creator of the universe would choose to walk with His creation.

This is clearly what God desired when He created man. He wanted fellowship with His creation. This is still God’s desire today. He wants to walk with us, or more importantly, He wants us to walk with Him. The problem is that the fellowship that God had in the garden was broken by Adam’s sin, and that made it impossible for man to walk with his Creator any more.

Simply put, God is Holy, and sin cannot enter His presence. That leaves sinful man separated from God’s presence. And because a sinful man could not improve this situation, God had to bring the change. Jesus dying on the cross was not just to create some “religion,” it was to change the equation so that the penalty of our sin was taken by Jesus and we could once again come into God’s presence. Hebrews 10:19-22.

So, how were Enoch and Noah able to walk with God? They did it the same way we can; by faith in God’s atonement. Their faith looked forward to God’s atoning work, our faith looks back to the cross. The important example that has been set for us is that they desired to walk with God, and He honored that.

Today, God still wants to walk with you. Yes, with YOU. This is not some religion we are talking about. Religion has requirements, and traditions, and rituals. God just wants to walk with you and talk with you. No requirements except to be saved by the blood of Jesus. No rituals, just a walk with the Almighty, Supreme God of the universe: your Creator.

I don’t know if you have ever thought about what it might really mean to walk with God. When you have a revelation about who God is, and realize the awesome privilege that it is to come into His presence (fear of the Lord in scripture), you can come to enjoy your walk with Him. There are many today that seem to think that we get to demand things from God (decree something that God has to bring about). This demonstrates a lack of understanding of God.

I encourage you to consider whether you really have a desire to walk with God. If you do, just know that He wants to walk with you. In Luke 24 we find Jesus approaching two disciples and walking with them. Read that. It is such a great example of His tenderness in walking with us. They did not approach Jesus to walk with Him, He approached them. Today, He is approaching you to walk with you.

One of these days, we will be walking with our Lord, and we will not be for He will take us.

Gordon Crook

Prophecy 


Earlene Davis
THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS


In Matthew 24, Jesus gives prophecy of a time of Tribulation that is coming upon the earth and the signs that lead up to it. It is the prophetic week of Dan. 9:27, which is seven years long. The last half of those seven years will be great tribulation, called Jacob’s trouble in Jer. 30:7. At the beginning of the seven years Israel will be deceived and enter into a covenant with the nations. This will be their down fall, which we will cover later.

Before those seven years begin, the overcomers of the Church will be raptured, I Thess. 4:14-17. Then Christ will be seated on His throne in heaven to reign, Rev. 4. Gentile times are then ended and judgment will begin for the nations and ungodly men, the tribulation days. They will end when Christ comes to the aid of Israel and take vengeance on the nations, II Thess. 1:7-8; Jude Vs. 14-15 and Rev. 19:11-16. There is almost seven years between these two phases of His coming.

Mt. 24:1, “Jesus went out, and departed from the temple.” The leaders of Israel had rejected Him (chapter 23), and He said unto them, “Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” –  Mt. 23:39. A remnant of  Israel will receive Him at the end of those days of Tribulation.

“The disciples came to him to show Him the buildings of the temple,” in which they had much pride. “Jesus said, See ye not all these things? Verity I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (V. 2). “The disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (or Age), V. 3.

SIGNS

Vs. 4-5, “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” It will be a time of deceiving. I know I have heard of some in my life time. And we know by Scripture, the greatest deceiver to come will be the Antichrist.

V. 6, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” All these things are signs. There has been a war going on somewhere in the world since 1914. There are wars going on today and rumors of several wars that could break out any time. The leaders of the nations are trying to bring about world peace by negotiations, trying to keep wars from happening. The Lord says, let not these things cause  great anxiety, for these things must come to pass, the worst comes later.

V. 7, “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers (various) places.” True these things have happened in the history of the world, but these signs are of significant character, coming all together or one after another. Famine follows war and is also caused by lack of rain. Many countries are suffering famine. Pestilences are present in many forms: AIDS, Ebola Virus, and Coronavirus are world health problems, and killer hornets, etc. Earthquakes use to happen in 50 or 100 years, but have increased and become common even in unusual places.

V. 8, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” In other words all these things lead up to the seven years of tribulation. We are not in the tribulation period, but I do believe we are in the beginning of sorrows, the signs God gave to alert His people to the times in which they live. So that we will be ready for our LORD’s return and not spiritually sleeping. In I Thessalonians 5:5 Paul says, we are not children of the night, we should not experience the tribulation days. For they are the day of His wrath. He has provided that we escape those days, He has given us these signs. I Cor. 11:31-32, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” We are to judge ourselves by the Word of God.

Wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes should wake people up, that the time is near. But most are not stirred toward the Lord. These things happen so frequently now that people treat them as common place and become numb to news reports. Most Christians are indifferent as if they are going to continue here forever. Oh, that men would seek the Lord and put Him first in their lives. Luke 21:28, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
Continued next issue: Tribulation begins

JONAH


Debra Isenbletter, pastor
Springfield, Missouri


Vs 7: “And they said everyone to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So, they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.”

Everyone is desperate to find out what they can do to save themselves, how to remedy the situation. They have prayed to their gods and that has not helped. They have thrown everything overboard that they can and that has not helped. The captain has brought Jonah above to stand with everyone else. We don’t read that he prayed. We don’t read that he has said anything. We don’t read what his reaction is to the storm. Jonah is still silent. The sailors and captain are desperate and they come up with one more thing they can do, it is to find out if this is someone’s fault, to find the person responsible.

First, we see the Practice that was common in that day: “And they said everyone to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots,” It was the practice of casting lots to make a decision, or to find out something. In that practice, which the sailors and even Jonah participated in, we see a unity of purpose in the word “everyone” and the word “fellow.” They were “companions” or “friends” which shows a personal relationship. They were “fellow sailors” and a “fellow passenger” which shows a professional relationship. But whatever the relationship, whether personal or professional, whether close or distant, they were draw together by their need. They say, “let us”, let each of us, let all of us do this. Let us “cast lots.” The word “cast” means “to throw” and the word “lots” comes from “a pebble” and small stones were used for that purpose. It was a form for divination, of trying to seek knowledge by divine or supernatural means. Man would not or could not know the outcome, therefore the result was by divine intervention. Both pagans and Jews used this method, either for decisions, or directions. They had come to the end of themselves so they were going to ask their gods and Jonah’s God would give them an answer. We don’t know the specific details of how they did this but they may have used an individual marker or stone to identify each individual, then either one was drawn out of the container or the container was shaken and one fell out.

Even though this is a form of divination, casting lots was permitted by God and used in the following ways. Lots were cast to choose the land where each tribe would dwell (Num.26:52-56). Lots were cast to choose the scapegoat (Lev.18:8-9). Lots were cast to choose the courses for the priests service in the temple (1Ch.24:5; Luk.1:18). Lots were cast to choose who brought wood offerings to the house of God (Neh.10:14). Lots were cast to find a guilty man: Achan (Joshs.7:13-20). Lots were cast to choose a king: Saul (1Sa.10:19-22). Lots were cast to choose a replacement for Judas: Matthias (Acts 1:1:21-26).

Second, we see the Purpose: “that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us.” They recognized that the storm was a divine judgment, they called it “this evil” or this “adversity, this calamity.” They realized that someone was responsible and wanted to know who it was. They seem to be aware of what Jonah still cannot see—he is responsible. Their actions will force Jonah to face his actions.

Finally, we see the Person: “So, they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.” Was Jonah surprised? Were the sailors surprised? Whatever method man used, it shows that God was still in control. “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.” (Prov.16:33). The phrase “the whole disposing thereof” means “its ever decision.” This shows that God is sovereign over human affairs and what may look like chance is really part of His plan.

This choosing of Jonah shows an obligation cannot be avoided and that a sin cannot be hidden. We see that principal in the behavior of Gad and Reuben when they wanted to settle and not cross over Jordan and fight (Num.32:1-6). Moses told them if they neglected their obligation there would be consequences. “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Num.32:33). Jonah’s sin found him out!

This choosing of Jonah shows the Lord will reveal and bring to light what is hidden. “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.” (Luk.12:2). Jonah’s hidden sin is revealed and brought to light. He is forced to face it.

What a sobering lesson in how the Lord is in control, He is always in control. There is no hiding from Him. There is no running from Him. There will come a time when He brings us face to face with our decisions and Jonah is now forced to face the decisions he has made.
Continued next issue

Instruments of Righteousness 


by
Dr. Victoria Moots


“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and our members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Rom. 6:12-13).
What is an instrument? It is a tool that is prepared for a specific purpose, such as a musical or surgical instrument. Since I am a physician, I am going to use the analogy of surgical instruments compared to us as members of the body of Christ and instruments of God. God performed the first surgery when he removed a rib from Adam to prepare a bride for him. He continues to perform surgery on the body, the church, and is in need of instruments. Even the simplest of surgeries required a variety of instruments. God desires to use each one of us in a special way for a specific purpose. He has chosen us and purchased us with the blood of his Son.
No matter how good a surgeon is, he cannot perform surgery without instruments. The instruments do not possess any skill; the surgeon does. For each surgery a group of instruments is necessary, not just one; and none of these are more important than the other. The value of each instrument is not based on its size, the brand name or the previous surgeries for which it has been used, but on its intended use. Each one is of equal value when it is in the hands of the surgeon. Each instrument has been created for a specific purpose and will be used as the need arises. Some will be used more often than others, but each one must be clean and sterilized and prepared ahead of time in order to be used. God has fashioned each member of the body of Christ according to his plan and arranged us in a specific manner in much the same way as instruments on a surgical tray are laid out prior to surgery in preparation to be used when the surgeon calls for them. Just like the surgical instruments, each one of us is unique and valuable to the Lord, but we must be willing to work together and wait on the Lord for his timing. We must also yield to the necessary cleansing process that prepares us for service, for the ministry he has chosen for us.
Each surgical instrument must be cleansed initially and after each surgery or anytime it becomes contaminated. Instruments in a hospital are taken to Central Supply for a thorough scrubbing and cleansing wash. In II Cor. 7:1 Paul instructs us that we are to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” An instrument cannot cleanse itself; it simply has to yield to the cleansing process that has been provided. We are to let him cleanse us through his Word, as is stated in Eph. 5:26: “That he might sanctify and cleanse it [the church] with the washing of water by the word.” What does it mean to sanctify something? It means to set it apart or separate it for a specific purpose. Not only does he cleanse us, but he must separate us from the world in order to be useful as his instruments.
After surgical instruments are cleansed, they must be sterilized. Prior to sterilization an instrument is placed in a special package that is capable of withstanding heat, and it is sealed so that the instrument is completely separated from anything that could contaminate it. Then it is put into a sterilizer which is heated to a specific temperature to kill any residual bacteria. It remains in that package with a seal on it signifying that it is ready to be used when the surgeon needs it.
Sterilized instruments are not better instruments. They are the same instruments but they are better prepared, for they have not only been cleansed but separated and sealed. As God’s instruments we also must be cleansed, separated, sealed and put “through the fire” in order to be declared instruments of righteousness. We are to be separated from the world, for we are in the world but not of the world. God instructs us to do this in II Cor. 6:17: “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing.” It is only then that we can be deemed suitable for service. We don’t like the scrubbing or the separation, and we certainly don’t enjoy the fiery trials, but it is only through this process that he can purify us.
It is the Holy Spirit that separates us unto God. Paul was considered by God to be a “chosen vessel,” but he had to be separated for service, as we read in Acts 13:2: “the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul [Paul] for the work whereunto I have called them.” What about the seal? Eph. 1:13 answers that question: “after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” So, you see that the Holy Spirit not only separates us but seals us for service. Our job is to yield to the Holy Spirit and let him do the work in us.
If a sterilized instrument falls during surgery and becomes contaminated it is not thrown away, for it is too valuable to be discarded. It is picked up, cleansed and put “through the fire” again so that it may be used at another time. Likewise, there are times when we may stumble and fall but God does not discard us. We are too valuable to him for he paid a great price for us. First, he picks us up. This is described in Ps. 37:23-24: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.” Then comes the cleansing so that he may use us: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). We are also exposed daily to the contamination of this world and need a daily cleansing from the water of the Word of God.
During the time that a fallen contaminated instrument is being resterilized, the surgeon has to substitute with a different sterile instrument in order to finish the surgery. We must remain yielded and separated at all times, for God may need to use us outside of our “calling.” Remember, it is the skill of the surgeon that is important, not ours. Our job is simply to yield our physical members as instruments of righteousness in his hands.
Many different types of instruments are needed during a surgery to perform the multitude of required tasks. Some are very small and may seem insignificant, while others are quite large, but all are necessary. This is also true in the body of Christ. For example, a scalpel is first needed to do the cutting. This would represent the Word of God, which is “sharper than any twoedged sword” (Heb. 4:12), that is given out by the ministers. Then retractors are used to pull back the tissues and hold things out of the way. These could represent prayer warriors who hold back the forces of the enemy (Satan) by their prayers. Without retractors it would be very difficult to perform surgery. Forceps are necessary to pick up things. Spiritually, we are instructed to “lift up” the hands that hang down, to comfort and help those in need. Various clamps are needed to hold things or bring things together, which is also an important ministry in the body of Christ. I could use other examples, but I think you get the idea by now that we each have a ministry that God has given us to perform, and that we are valuable to him. God did not choose us because we were valuable. We are valuable because he chose us.
God is capable of taking anyone, no matter how defiled and dirty they may be, and transforming them into an instrument of righteousness. I would like to illustrate this by relating an experience I had while on a medical mission trip to a third world country a number of years ago. On that particular trip a group of plumbers and other handymen had also come for the purpose of trying to restore water and repair plumbing, including toilets, in the hospital where the surgical team was to be working. A patient was brought to the hospital that needed some surgery which required orthopedic instruments, but none were available. One of the doctors realized that the plumbers’ tools were similar to what was needed and suggested that perhaps they could be cleaned and sterilized and used for the surgery. So that is exactly what happened. The filthy tools that had been used the day before to fix toilets were scrubbed and sterilized and became servants of the surgeon instead of the plumber. They had been transformed from dirty to clean and the surgery was able to be performed successfully.
This is also what God can do for us. He sees our potential to become his instruments, and by the blood of Jesus is able to transform us from servants of sin into instruments of righteousness. All we need to do is to be willing to yield ourselves to him and be cleansed.

Testimony


Earlene Davis


The Lord has blessed me with faithful workers to help me with the work of being able to publish and send out the Glorious Gospel magazine. Gordon Crook, Don Rogers, Jack and Kathie French. These four have been faithful every month for years, with no pay, they do what they do as unto the Lord. I so appreciate them. Because of the Virus we have all had to stay at home, so I did not expect them to come. I realized that working without them these last three months, just how important they are. Credit is due to them, but I know the Lord sees their service and He rewards.

I also appreciate all the writers that have sent in articles and poems for print. At present Anita Clark, Gordon Crook, Debra Isenbletter, Vicky Moots are regulars, but there has been many others. So glad they are willing to share what the Lord leads them to write.

I have come to realize that most do not realize how much work there is to the finished product by some comments made, thinking it only takes a day to get it ready. So I will walk you through the process. But don’t get me wrong, we all enjoy the work and count it a privilege to minister is this way by the printed page.

First, I have to assemble and get the articles ready for the month in the computer. That takes several days. After having the right number of pages for the 25 page magazine; I send them by e-mail to Gordon Crook and he put them in Page Maker and sends them back to me by e-mail. He also prints out the bulk mail labels (via TeamViewer), through a Post Office program called Intelligent Mail which I was unable to learn. That tells you something about me.

Next day, Don Rogers comes and does the printing on the Risograph machine. It takes several hours. While he is doing that, I am printing the Cover page on the Brother machine and printing out the package and foreign labels and putting them on the right size envelopes or packages and adding postage (postal machine). Don then does the folding on the folding machine and we both start the collating of the pages and finishing collating and stapling the next morning.

Jack and Kathie French come and Jack trims the magazine on the cutter machine. Kathie put the 3 seals on the bulk magazines. Jack then puts the bulk labels on the sealed copies. The rest of that day is spent getting the magazine in the right envelopes and packages and filling the postal bags. Don and I take it to the Post Office. He puts three mailing bags on the dock, then going in the bulk office and sending off the bulk mail, then go to the lobby to mail off the foreign packages. Then we praise and thank the Lord that it is done for another month.

We now send the magazine not only to a lot of the US States, but to 10 foreign English speaking countries (Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Egypt in Africa; England and Wales in Europe, India in Asia, Paraguay and Argentina in South America, also Philippines and Australia). Many are pastors in those countries, what a privilege God has given us by His grace (39 years printing Glorious Gospel).

MAIL FROM NIGERIA AND INDIA


Nigeria
Dear Davis,
Glorious Gospel Magazine is a special tool to us here. I have two separate Ministers training conferences this month of March that I will be sharing copies of the Magazine.
Postal system in this country is something else. They wanted to extort money from me and I refused, I didn’t know they will return the parcel. I am so sorry for the inconveniences it has cost you. I promise it will not repeat again.
Thanks for your understanding. Izuka Elkanah O. Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria, W Africa   

––– o –––

My dear co labourers in His vine yard,
Thank you for your support and partnership in spreading the Gospel here in Nigeria. Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
I thank God for His enabling grace. Yes, the Glorious Gospel publications you have been sending to me are getting to in good condition. It is my earnest prayer to God, to continue to provide you with all you need to keep this good work going, all to the glory and honour of His name, and for the edification of the saints.
Ukachukwu Onukaogu, Jtlos 3 Ministries, Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria, W Africa


INDIA
Dearly Beloved,
Greetings to you in the name of our Resurrected Lord Jesus - what a great joy that our Lord Jesus is alive. 1 Corinthians 15: 20 says, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Jesus was crucified, died and was buried but, Hallelujah, He rose from the dead. That is the story of gospel - the three basic facts. These are not doctrines, these are not philosophies, these are not ideas that men have. These are simple, but hard facts that occurred in the history that cannot be eliminated, these facts have changed the history of the world. 1 Corinthians 15: 1-11 says, First, Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. Jesus died as substitute in our place, for our sins. Christ bore in His body, our sins, our curse and our unbelief. He died in the place of a sinner. Many men have died as martyrs for good causes, but only one Man, Jesus Christ, died for sinners. Second, He was buried in a tomb and it was that dead body that rose from the grave alive again. His tomb is still empty. For two thousand years, infidels and atheists have been trying to explain the empty tomb and none of their explanations are valid. Third, He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. Paul in II Corinthians 15: 5-8 gives eye witness evidences that the resurrection of Christ actually happened. First, He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve after which He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at the same time. Then He appeared to James, last of all He appeared to Paul as well. Though Paul was a persecutor of believers, though he was not worthy of salvation or apostleship, though he deserved nothing but hell, it was the grace of God that that saved him. Paul did not choose God but God sought him and chose him for salvation and service. He made him the greatest apostle of all time. It is because of grace - God’s amazing grace. As people saved by grace, let us not keep silent, but let us proclaim this good news of resurrection of Jesus to every one and pray that they should be saved.
The whole world is in panic and fear because of the Corona Virus threat. Let us pray that God in His mercy would forgive the iniquities of the people and save mankind from all calamities. John 14:6, “Jesus (said), “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (NIV)
Yours in His service, Team Uppahar and Rajat Kumar Pani, Orrissa, India

Sunday, May 3, 2020

PROMISES TO THE FAITHFUL


Jack Davis


“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” I Cor. 1:4-9

Oh, what marvelous promises are given in Scripture to believers in this Age of Grace. They are truly exceeding great and precious. But I would especially deal at this time with benefits promised to the “faithful.” These are given by Him that is willing, able, and faithful to keep or fulfill His promises. Paul was thankful for the possibilities that was their’s and our’s in Christ Jesus. The extremely wealthy deposit at the disposal of God’s people is to be confirmed in us and by us. That grace for total eternal enrichment is realized as His testimony is confirmed. Such grace is not only to be declared but also demonstrated in the life, and distributed unto others. Hence demanding faithfulness.

GOD IS FAITHFUL: Paul was inspired to pray that “…the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is underlined with the comforting statement; “Faithful is he that called you, who also will do it.” I Thess. 5:23-24. Let us also be encouraged by I Cor. 10:13. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to men: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

THE FAITHFUL SON: Read Hebrews 3:1-6. In Christ Jesus we have the supreme example of the faithful Man. Just think how it cost Him to faithfully fulfill His purpose for being here, and now we are called into His fellowship. Staying in fellowship with Jesus keeps us faithful, and faithfulness to Him keeps us in fellowship.

THE FAITHFUL ARE PROSPERED: “A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent” Prov. 28:20. Faithfulness and fulness of faith are synonymous, and powerfully intertwined. God hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus, but it is the faithful that go after and inherit the blessings. Much energy is wasted seeking swift satisfaction in material gain, and then watching it vanish, but our greatest riches come right on time and will last for ever.

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the lord is. For He shall be a as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when the heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green, and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit” Jer. 17:7-8.

A productive life is promised to one planted by faith in the promises of God. I am reminded of Sarah, who through faith “…received strength to conceive…and was delivered of a child…because she judged him faithful who had promised.” Heb. 11:11. A faithful person is a fruitful person.

Abraham, a great example of the prosperity of the faithful. When Abraham’s servant was sent to find a bride for Isaac, he told Rebekah; “…the Lord hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great…”. Abraham “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith giving the glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform.” Rom. 4:20-21. Shall we not be of the same persuasion? Are we not blessed in walking in the steps of the faith of our forefather Abraham? “So when they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham” – Gal. 6:9.

THE FAITHFUL ARE PRESERVED: “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. O love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer” – Ps. 31:19,20,23.

Our Father delights to hide those that are open in their fear and faith toward Him. Because their trust and testimony is not a hidden thing, they faithfully manifest a reverence and righteousness in Him. The trusting are made trustworthy. We are dependable in the measure that we depend upon Him. His dependability is made ours or else we are not at all dependable.

Our God is a sun and shield, He gives grace and glory, and no good thing does He withhold from them that walk uprightly. He told Abraham, “I am they shield, land exceeding great reward.” Jesus said, No man shall be able to pluck you out of my hand, nor my Father’s hand. Peter was inspired to write that we are kept by the power of God. Paul wrote that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, and that our life is hid with Christ in God. He is likened unto an invisible shield. These promises are given to all who put their trust in God. Yet it is evident that we miss many a hard lesson, or rough experience by being faithful. It is also certain that we may make triumphant gain from those trials that we pass through in faith.

Daniel, a great example of the faithful who are preserved. He also was promoted and prospered. Dan. Chapter 6:3, “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; for as much as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.”

They tricked the king into singing a decree forbidding making any petition to any one accept the king for thirty days. Thank God, Daniel was faithful in his prayer life. He continued to trust in God before the sons of men. He knelt and prayed three times a day with his windows open as he had always done. Well the penalty for such was to be cast into the den of lions, but this situation gave occasion for king Darius to testify to Daniel’s faithfulness as well as the delivering power of his God. “O Daniel, servant of the living God…whom thou servest continually, (is He) able to deliver thee from the lions?” v. 20. No manner of hurt was found upon Daniel, because he believed in his God. v. 23.

Our adversary, the Devil, the accuser of the brethren, the father of lies, would like to devour every one of God’s Children, and deceive the very elect. Thank God, greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. The apostle Paul was aware of the afore mentioned facts, and testified: “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion, and the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” – II Tim. 4:16-18.

Men had proven unfaithful, but not the Lord. Paul, through it all, was made a pillar of faith. He stood with the Lord by His faithful Word. Paul had been preserved and expected to be unto the fulfillment of God’s purpose for him here. Having fought a good fight, he kept the faith, and kept the Word of his patience, he knew the Lord could keep all of like faith also from the hour of temptation coming upon the world.

THE FAITHFUL ARE PROMOTED: Paul a prominate example (I Tim. 1:11-12), “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. And I thank Jesus Christ our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” Oh, what a ministry committed to Paul trust. He poured out his life in proclaiming this glorious message. This message sent to lift to the uttermost heights of celestial glory, promoting the loyalty of royalty and the royalty of loyalty.

Is the gospel of God’s glory real to you? Has it been productive in you in any measure? If so, then in that measure, it is also committed to your trust. You, beloved have a stewardship of that which is the best. Are you thankful? Do you appreciate what place the King of kings has set before you? Are you apprehending that for which you are apprehended? Let God’s Word remind you (us) as stewards of the mysteries of God; “It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.” I Cor. 4:1-2. Faithful stewards shall be richly rewarded, highly promoted. He would like to say to each of us,. “Well done.” Those faithful in the few things will rule over many. The crowns promised the full overcomers tell us of winners, they speak also of the right to reign. Incorruptible crowns of righteousness and glory are promised.

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive a crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him’ – James 1:12.

“Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” – Rev. 2:10.

Be Strong and of 
Good Courage


Anita Clark – Pastor 
Carbondale, Kansas



Right now the world is going through a terrible time of a rampaging health crisis - the Corona virus.  The whole world is affected and many are infected.  It seems like a very strange thing to be happening, but I know that God has allowed it to work in all of us.  Either we trust in the Living God or do not.  It seems so strange to not be able to worship in our church buildings.  As I contemplate what has been happening, I am drawn to know that God is in control and performing His will in this earth.

Many strange things have been happening more often, it seems.  Recent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and the terrible fires in the Amazon and in Australia have all been signs of the times.  And now this!  It has been a surprise, as I for one have thought that the really bad judgments of God would not happen until the tribulation of seven years, which is coming very soon.  Sure I know that there have been disasters in the past, but it is amazing to see this come upon the whole world.  All we Christians need to be in prayer that many unbelieving people will come to accept Jesus Christ. Also pray for other believers as this is a trying time - being isolated as we are.

Matthew 24:7 Jesus speaks of the coming judgment upon the earth.  In this verse He mentions, “.. There shall be pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places.”  The word “pestilence” is used 47 times in the Old Testament.  God often judged the people of earth by sending it upon those who were disobedient.  Today as we are experiencing this plague, let us realize that God has allowed it to work in the people of the world to draw some to His love and salvation, and very likely He has allowed it to come to test us (the believers) also to see how much we really trust God.

Psalms 91:3-6, & 10-11 says, “Surely, He shall deliver thee from the snare (a spring net) of the fowler (which means a person who sets a net to catch birds), and from the noisome pestilence. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.  There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Believe this and rest in the Lord and His watchful care over us.

We all go through times of discouragement and diversity.  Where does our help come from? The word of God tells us.  Joshua 1:5-9 - God speaking to Joshua after Moses died and Israel was facing the promised land and all the enemies there, (Vs.9) “Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”  We can take these verses as encouragement to us right now in whatever circumstances we are going through. 

Apostle Paul tells us, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10).  Jesus said  in John 15:5, “..For without Me ye can do nothing.”  As we go through trials of life, we learn that our strength is not enough.  We try and we fail, but when we are dependent on the Lord’s strength, we can go on in courage and His power.

Paul heard the voice of Jesus say to Him, “My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”  The word “sufficient” means “enough,” though, God’s grace is never given in a small measured way that is barely enough, but rather it always meets the need completely. The word, “perfect’ speaks of “fulfilled, or made perfect.”  In our distress and weakness, He gives strength to climb any obstacle, to mount any wave, to walk on in victory. When he asks us to do something, He gives the ability to perform that duty.  In our weakness, we learn that we must go in His strength.  He gets all the glory for victory in our lives.

So, dear believers in Christ Jesus, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him and he will direct thy path.” Proverbs 3:5-6

God’s Will


“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

Now, if ever, is a time for God’s people to walk wisely. Wisdom in dealing with the world, and wisdom in our spiritual race. That wisdom comes from understanding God’s will and doing it.

There should be no difficulty in realizing that the days are evil. From the pandemic that we face to the response of many and the behavior of the world. It certainly seems like “in the time of Noah.” Unfortunately, many of God’s people seem to be more concerned with this world and the things they can have and achieve in this world than showing the world that there is an answer. The world does not need more people attempting to explain the political paths that are certain to solve their problems. The world needs to hear about Jesus.

God’s will is not to make the United States the greatest nation in the world. God’s will is not to make the lives of Christians easy. God’s will is that none should perish. God’s will is that there would be a bride prepared for His Son, Jesus Christ. God’s will is that we be God’s peculiar people (Titus 2:14 and 1 Peter 2:9). We should consider this every time we speak or act. We are to show forth His praises.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living  sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed  to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove  what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

Notice in these verses the “sacrifice,” the “presenting” and the “transforming.” Presenting our lives to Him will require a sacrifice. We may lose some things. We may lose some “constitutional rights.” We may lose some friends or colleagues.

We might avoid those losses if we conform to this world, but then we would not know and understand God’s will. We need to be transformed from our current worldly thinking to God’s thinking. God’s will is not to be found or understood in the worlds thinking or knowledge or philosophies. God’s ways and God’s thinking are far above ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), and we need to allow Him to transform us into that.

The only way this will be possible is by allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s Word to us through study and prayer. When we come across something in the world, let us compare it to God’s Word and act accordingly. Let us gain understanding of God’s will and seek to do His will. It will be far better than anything we could come up with.

Gordon Crook

Prophecy 


Earlene Davis


The Seed of David
(the third mountain peek of prophecy)

The people of Israel chose a king to rule over them because they desired to be like the other nations. In time God rejected their choice of a king and God choose David to sit on the throne over Israel. God gave a great promise to King David found in II Samuel 7:12-13. “… I will set up thy seed…I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.”

David’s son Solomon succeeded David upon the throne, yet he was not that chosen promised king. The last of Solomon’s line to reign was Coniah and he was rejected forever. Christ was born of the line of Nathan, another son of David, Luke 3:31. Through the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, God brought forth the Redeemer, who was the Seed of the woman, the Seed of David, whose kingdom shall be established forever, and the Seed of Abraham through whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.

We read in II Samuel 7 that David wanted to build a temple for God and make the plans. But Nathan, the prophet came to him with a message from God that David could not build the temple, but his seed would.

II Samuel 7:8-11, “Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth. Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house.”

This had a partial fulfillment. All prophecy had a partial fulfillment and a later fulfillment. God made sure that there was a local fulfillment, for He had said, the proof of a prophet is that his prophecy is fulfilled. But they have a greater fulfillment yet to come. Notice verse 10, Israel has never come into this. They never put out all of the heathen out of the land. In the books of Joshua and Judges it says, “They dwelt among the heathen” (the Ammorites, the Canannites, etc.). They have never had this established place. But when Jesus comes and reigns, they will never move again and the children of wickedness will never afflict them again.

II Samuel 7:12-13, “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.”

This could only be done in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the fulfillment of this prophecy. Actually Jesus was a direct descendent from David, by two lineages. Matthew chapter one give the lineage of Jesus through Joseph. Luke chapter three gives the genealogy of Jesus through Mary. The line of Joseph was cut off about 606 B. C. From that time on there was no more kings dwelling on the throne, in God’s order. But if they had not gone into Babylonia captivity, Joseph would have been sitting on the throne of Judah as king. 

Some thank Solomon is the fulfillment of this prophecy. But this is not so because Solomon’s line ended. So we go to Mary’s lineage and it is through another son of David, we hardly even read of Nathan in Scripture. So, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Seed of David and when He reigns, His reign will be forever. Biographies also call Jesus the Son of David, truly He is. Revelation 22:16, “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”

II Sam. 7:14-15, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him…”. Some might think this couldn’t be Christ because He never committed iniquity. But in this sense He was found guilty of our iniquity; He bore in His own body our guilt. We were the ones who committed iniquity, but Jesus took it upon Him. He was our substitute. He was chastised with the rod of men and with the stripes of the children of men – Isaiah 53.

All is fulfilled up to this point, but the house and the established kingdom has not been fulfilled yet. It will be when Jesus Christ comes to set up His kingdom on the earth. II Samuel 7:16, “And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”
Praise God!
Amen.

JONAH


Debra Isenbletter, Pastor
Springfield, Missouri


Vs 6: “So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.”

I have divided this verse into four different parts: The Captain, The Criticism; The Command and The Concern.

The Captain: “So, the shipmaster came to him,”—The “shipmaster” or the captain is the one that seeks out Jonah. He does not send someone else, he came personally to seek out Jonah. He knew Jonah was onboard and he searched for him until he found him. In the midst of the storm, in the midst of the crisis he realizes that there is one man not present! The Lord is seeking Jonah and speaking to Jonah through this man. He “came to him.” He “approached” him, he “drew near to” him. Until the storm these sailors had ignored Jonah. Now circumstances change their attitude, desperation changes their attitude, fear changes their attitude. They realize there is a man onboard they have ignored, thought insignificant, a man they know nothing about.

The attitude of the world to the Jew throughout history is one of derision. The Lord mentions this attitude as part of the curse for disobedience. “And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb and a byword among the nations whither the Lord shall lead thee.” (Deu.28:37) and again in Jeremiah: “I will deliver them…to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them: Because they have not hearkened to my words.” (Jer.29:18-19). The world ignores the Jew until something goes wrong and there is a reaction against them. During the dark ages, during the bubonic plague (the Black Death) Jews were blamed for the plague, for poisoning wells, for just about everything. There were violent attacks against Jews and Jewish communities. In Germany some blamed Jews for losing World War I and later for Germany’s economic decline.

The Criticism: “and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper?”— There are different tones of voice in these words. First, the Voice of Authority: “and said unto him” because this means “to challenge” or “to command.” The captain had the authority to both “challenge” and to “command” him. Next the Voice of Accusation: “What meanest thou?” Why are you asleep. Why are you below? Why are you not helping? This is an Exclamation: How can you sleep through the storm? How can you not be aware of the danger? Finally, the Voice of Astonishment: “O sleeper?” Jonah was asleep in two ways. First he was physically asleep, he was fast asleep, he was in a heavy, deep sleep. Second, he was spiritually asleep. He did not hear the Lord speaking to him through the storm. He was asleep to the voice of God, asleep to the Word of God; asleep to the Conviction of God.

It was time for him to wake up and the Lord gives him a wake-up call through the captain. When Jonah finally wakes up, he wakes up! This is the provision and promise of the Lord. Isaiah write: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” (Isa.60:1). The Amplified translates: “Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for you light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you? When the Jews receive their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, they will rise in the power of this light and shine forth. They will be the light to the Gentiles they were meant to be. Ezekiel writes that these were dead and asks the question, “Can these bones live?” (Ezek.37:1-10). The answer is yes! The Lord will breathe new life into them, it will be the New Creation life, the life and light of Christ. And through that new life they will rise up and show forth great light.

The Command: “arise, and call upon thy God,”—The captain commands him to do two things. First, he says, “arise,” other translations read “Get up!” Remember the Lord had told Jonah to “Arise and go to Nineveh” (v2). All the same meanings apply to this word, there are the same different levels or stages that Jonah can do this. He is “to arise and accomplish.” He must be willing to obey God. If we rise up in obedience we will accomplish whatever He asks of us. He is “to arise and abide.” He is to be willing to stand for God. He is “to arise and endure.” He is to be willing to suffer for God. He is “to arise and become powerful.” He is to be willing to depend on God. All of these should be manifested in his and our lives and the outcome is glorious, it is to “become powerful” and that power is God’s power not our own. Jonah is to wake up and he is to stand up! The captain then gives him a second command— “call upon thy God.”

He is asking Jonah to acknowledge two things. To acknowledge his need: “call upon” or “cry to for help.” To acknowledge his relationship: “thy God.” This is Jonah’s God and no one can call upon Him but Jonah. Jonah has been running from these two things, his need and his relationship with God. The captain has no idea which god Jonah worships but even he knows these two principal truths and he reminds Jonah that he has a need, and he has a relationship with a higher power that can meet his need. Jonah is being reminded of the privilege he has and the power he was through this privilege. He is reminded by a pagan Gentile. God does hear all who cry out to Him in faith. The Lord heard Hagar’s cry of need (Gen.16:11). The Lord heard the cry of His people in Egypt (Ex.3:7). He understood their sorrow and their suffering. The Lord hears the cry of His saints. John writes: “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he heareth us.” (1Jn.5:14). It does not say here whether Jonah called upon God at this time. It is not until Jonah is in the belly of the fish three days that it says “Then Jonah prayed” (Jonah 2:1). If that is true, it says something about how stubborn Jonah is.

The Concern: “if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.”— The captain’s concern is that they not die. Somehow this captain sees three things that Jonah has forgotten. He sees God’s Prophet: “if so be that [your] God.” He sees God’s Grace: “will think upon us.” He sees God’s Deliverance: “that we perish not.” The Lord uses this man to remind Jonah that he is a prophet and he is an intercessor. The Lord uses this man to shame Jonah. He has faith in an unknown God. He has faith in an unknown prophet of God. Jonah is reminded of the power of prayer but he must have a desire to pray and a faith in the God that he prays to. It is time for Jonah to wake up and to fulfill his calling.

A Spiritual Pandemic

by 
Dr. Victoria Moots


A pandemic is classified as a global outbreak of a disease and usually starts out locally as an epidemic and then spreads worldwide.  Most viral pandemics are caused by the influenza virus which mutates in character from year to year.  One of the deadliest ones was the Spanish flu of 1918 which killed between 20 to 50 million people. The swine flu (H1N1) was a new strain of that virus and killed approximately 700 million to 1.4 billion people worldwide.  The regular seasonal flu kills between 290 to 650 thousand per year.  The coronavirus (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic on March 12, 2020 and the final devastation of it is yet to be determined.

Viruses such as the influenza virus spread rapidly because they are so contagious, meaning that they can be easily spread from person to person.  When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus containing droplets are scattered out into the air.  This is more readily spread when people are in close proximity (within six feet) or when they touch each other.

The Bible contains good information in the Old Testament regarding preventing the spread of disease.  The priests who ministered in the tabernacle in the wilderness were required to wash their hands in the brazen laver after offering sacrifices prior to entering the tabernacle.  Anyone with a draining sore or bloody issue was considered unclean and had to keep themselves separated from the rest of the people.  More specifically, regarding an infectious disease, let us examine the regulations for leprosy, which was a major health concern in those days.  Leviticus 13 describes how to diagnose an active case of leprosy.  If a person met the criteria, he was considered “utterly unclean.”  V. 45 tells us he was to put a covering upon his upper lip, which would be like a modern-day face mask.  V. 46 states, “…he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without [outside] the camp shall his habitation be.”  In other words, he was to be quarantined, away from everyone else.  This was, of course, to prevent the spread of the disease to other people.

Healthcare professionals are following similar guidelines today to limit diseases.  Regarding the spread of COVID-19 we are also limiting the gathering of large groups of people together and avoiding personal contact as much as possible.

But what if we wanted to spread something that was good? In that case we would do the opposite.  After Jesus’ resurrection, just before he ascended back to heaven, he commanded his disciples, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).  They had become personally infected with the good news of the resurrection through close contact with Jesus himself and now they were told to start spreading it around the world, infecting others.  They were to do this by preaching, or spreading the gospel with their mouth, which contained the contagious droplets of the new Christianity virus.

Like any other pandemic, it started out locally as an epidemic and then became worldwide.  We see this when Jesus told his followers in Acts 1:8 “…ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem [locally], and in all Judea [regionally], and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth [worldwide].”  The pandemic of Christianity began initially with the twelve disciples and a few women then increased to 120 who were gathered together in the upper room in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out.  But we also read that more than 500 people had been in contact with Jesus at one time following his resurrection (I Cor. 15:6).  These also had the potential to become infected and spread the virus.  However, the 120 in Jerusalem exposed an even bigger crowd of people, for we read in Acts 2 that a large multitude heard them speak and about 3,000 of them became infected and believed.  After that, “…the Lord added to the church daily…” (v. 47), those that were being saved, and the infection continued to spread by person to person contact.

A virus is spread by the droplets of water that come out of the mouth of an infected person.  The aerosol of those Christians was the Word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ and still has the power to infect anyone who is exposed to it, even today.

After the Day of Pentecost, we read in Acts 3 that Peter and John were going into the temple in Jerusalem to pray and met a lame beggar asking for money.  Peter told him, “Silver  and gold have I  none; but such as I  have give I thee: In  the  name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).  What did Peter and John have? They had been infected with the Christianity virus, and as commanded by Jesus, were spreading it through his name throughout Jerusalem to anyone with whom they had contact.  Peter not only spread the virus by what came out of his mouth, but he reached out and took the lame man by the hand, making direct physical contact.  This promptly spread the infection to him and he was immediately healed and began to walk and leap and praise God which in turn infected others around him.

The religious leaders of that day now recognized the seriousness of the epidemic of Christianity and tried desperately to keep it from becoming a pandemic.  They took Peter and John aside after that incident to question them.  The chief priests and rulers feared that it would keep spreading and quickly held a council among themselves saying, “But that it spread no further among the people, let us straightly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name” (Acts 4:17), “…and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (v. 18).  Basically, they were telling Peter and John to cover their mouth, with a “mask” of silence, much like we put a mask on an infected person to limit the spread of infected aerosol droplets.  However, Peter and John refused to do this and replied, “we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (v. 20).  They could not hold back the breath of the Holy Spirit which was now flowing through them: “…for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt. 12:34).

Since then Christianity has become a pandemic through the name of Jesus.  Many have tried over the years to stamp it out and Satan continues to do this today.  He persists in trying to remove the name of Jesus or the symbol of the cross from schools, government offices, places of work and even our homes.  Christians all over the world are being persecuted, tortured and killed in an effort to eradicate the name of Jesus and Christianity.

Sadly, there are many in America who claim to be Christians that have never really been infected.  They have no symptoms of the virus that are detectable in their lives.  What symptoms would be expected to be manifested? The three most important symptoms which confirm a suspected case would be praise, joy and love.  Praise and joy would be likely to be manifest in spite of dire circumstances.  We find evidence of this in Acts 5 which states  that the apostles, after being  beaten for  preaching in the name of Jesus, were “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” (v. 41).  We find further evidence of these symptoms in Paul and Silas after they were beaten and thrown into the inner prison for preaching and had their feet placed in the stocks.  At midnight they “prayed, and sang praises unto God…” (Acts 16:25).  Perhaps they were delirious with the fever from the infection! Jesus, himself, confirmed that love was an important criterion in the diagnosis as stated in John 13:35: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

A person cannot become a Christian simply by hearing about Jesus and reading about him or memorizing the Bible anymore than a person can become infected with the coronavirus simply by hearing about it on the news or reading about it on the internet.  We must have personal contact with Jesus by letting the gospel touch our heart and infect our soul.  In order to claim the name of Jesus and become a Christian we must have had close enough contact with him to be able to say with John, “we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (I John 1:1).  John was so close to Jesus that he leaned on Jesus’ breast and was called the “disciple whom Jesus loved.”  The Word of life was Jesus himself.

As a result of such close personal contact we become infected and there will be evidence in our life that others can see.  With Christ in our life, we can then touch others and spread his love and continue to preach the gospel with our lives, as well as with our mouths.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

PROVING GOD’S WILL


Jack Davis


“I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing  of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of  God” - Romans 12:1-2.

God’s will for us is also His good will toward us, and always good for us. We are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices, but we also are to know in experience God’s perfect will.

“Wherefore be ye  not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” Eph. 5:17. In fact, Paul prayed that the saints be “filled with the (exact) knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” Col. 1:9-10.

We are beseeched, pleaded with, implored by the mercies of  God to that which will prove in experience the will of God. In other words, we are to come to know the reality of God’s will far beyond theory – human logic.

It seems evident that the perfect will of God is occupied far more with what we become, than with what we are able to accomplish, or how we appear to others. What difference will it make who all we please, or what all we do, if we miss the will of God for our life?

“The mercies of God:” of all that is expressed in the preceding chapters of this book of Romans (Rom. 11), the mercies of God are spelled out in clear detail.  As the inspired writer comes to the close of the eleventh chapter, dealing with those marvelous facts concerning God’s ways of dealing with Jew and Gentile, he seems to get carried away in a spirit of praise, beside himself unto the Lord. Those verses, thirty-three through thirty-six, make up quite a song of praise. Now here in Romans twelve, those “mercies” are pointed to as Divine leverage to move believers to a willing response to the will of God.

“Present your bodies:” He is speaking of the believer’s entire devotion to  God. In such devotion we may find the sweet display of the life of Christ, a demonstration of the power of an endless life, and especially in the presenting believer, the discovery  of God’s perfect will.

In such “presenting” we totally commit, turning the controls over to the Lord. Submitting to His choice we let Him have His way, making a determination to be Available for His will. “”Not my will but thine be done.”

I remember a time in my youth, going up for prayer with the request and earnest desire that the Lord’s will be done in my life. One of the brethren, praying for those that came up for prayer, said, “It will be.” As I thought about it later there seemed to be some wisdom in that statement, yet at the time, it made me feel somewhat foolish in asking. May the Lord help us to never be flippant about His will, nor with the young that ask.
I cannot say like Jesus said, “I do always the things that please the Father.” But praise God, we are so blessed to have in us the very life of Him that did, and still does, the perfect will of the Father. It is our sweet privilege, and to our glorious benefit, to absolutely yield to that victorious life within.

Thank God, as we get a heart grasp of the tender mercies and loving kindness of our God and Father, or rather as these get hold on us, we more readily give up the control of our life. I don’t believe that we actually do what we want when we go against the sweet will of God  for our lives, but rather what our adversary wants. If we truly know what is good for us, we find we will want what He wants for us.

“A living sacrifice:” It is God’s will that we live, and that our sacrifice be living; our worshipful service be of those raised from the dead. It is those that are alive that are manifesting His life. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” Gal. 2:20.

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” II Cor. 4:7-10.

As we present our bodies a living sacrifice, not only is the life of Christ manifested, but also may be magnified.

“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing shall I be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” Phil. 1:20-21. Letting Him do the living in us demonstrates the will, wisdom and power of God.

“Your reasonable service:”  is such too much to ask, in view of Eph. 5:1-2? Is not this a logical service, by the reasoning of His abundant mercy? Realizing such mercy we earnestly desire Him to have the greatest possible return on His costly investment. Legal service… – His will in the whole matter is that it all comes from a loving heart.

“For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” II Cor. 5:13-15.

“And be not conformed:” it is not His will that we fit the style, nor follow the course of this age. Thank God, we are different, and we are enabled to act differently. Not conforming to this world is indeed a very real part of how we present our bodies a living sacrifice.  We are not obliged to give ourselves to the dead, and yet deadly forms it follows. Don’t allow it to squeeze you into its mold, especially the religious forms. II Tim. 3:1-5.
“Be ye transformed:” Faith in the power of the Word to work effectually, build us up, and give us an unsearchable inheritance, powerfully transforms us from within. As Christ is being formed in us, we are being conformed to the image of God’s dear Son. What a privilege we have of beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and of being changed into the same image from glory to glory, II Cor. 3:18.

“By the renewing of your mind:” Thus as we meditate, ruminate and assimilate His Word; He regenerates our thinking to Him and His - powerfully proving the will of God.

Witnesses of the Resurrection


Anita Clark – Pastor 
Carbondale, Kansas

     
After the ascension of Jesus into heaven, recorded in Acts 1:10 & 11, His disciples returned to Jerusalem and were gathered in an upper room, continuing, “with one accord in prayer and supplication” (Vs. 14).  Peter stood up in their midst and declared they should appoint another to take the place of Judas Iscariot.  One who had “companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us...unto the same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection” (Vs. 21,22).
In Acts 2 after the out pouring of the Holy Ghost and Peter’s declaration that “this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel,” in Vs.16, he goes on to state, “Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know; Him...ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up having loosed the pains of death because it was not possible that He should be holden of it” (Vs. 22-24).  Again in Vs. 32, Peter says, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” 
The resurrection of Christ is of such vital importance for all believers.  He had affirmed throughout His ministry that He would die and rise again.  The disciples then witnessed the “Infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3) of the empty tomb and His appearances to them and others.
In Acts 4:33 as many that believed were gathered together at Jerusalem it is written of them, “And with great power gave they witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.”  Today we also give witness of our resurrected Lord and Savior through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Apostle Paul encountered the resurrected Jesus as recorded in Acts 9, as he journeyed to Damascus intent to do harm to those who believed and preached this risen Savior. When the brightness of the risen Lord shined about him and revealed Himself saying, “I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest” (Vs. 5), Paul from that time forward gave witness to Jesus’ resurrection. In Paul’s first recorded sermon as preached at Antioch in Piscidia, He declared, “When they had  fulfilled all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree, and laid Him in a sepulcher.  But God raised Him from the dead; And he was seen many days of them which came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses unto the people” (Acts 13:29-31).
Paul continued to say, “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you, the forgiveness of sins: And by Him all that believe are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Vs. 38-39).  This message we gladly affirm yet today.  It is the only message which can change men and bring hope.  And we are witnesses to the power of the resurrected life that has been imparted to us who believe.

                 STILL


  It has been twenty years since “Y2K”
  And still the Bride is not caught away.
So the scoffers still louder sing their tune
  That Jesus really isn’t coming so soon!

But we remain steadfast in our sure Hope,
  Knowing by Faith we are able to cope.
Keeping our focus on  God’s living Word
  Until that first trumpet sound is heard.

  So to answer the unbelief and doubt,
  We may boldly stand fast and shout,
   Whether at morn or night or noon,
“Yes, Jesus is STILL coming so soon!”


For YET A LITTLE WHILE,
AND HE THAT SHALL COME WILL COME,
AND WILL NOT TARRY.

(Hebrews 10:37)

David Beck, pastor
Sedalia, Missouri

Know God, Know Peace
No God, No Peace


As I sit here watching the news, they are closing the schools for the rest of the school year. There have been many difficult decisions made in an attempt to reduce the impact of a virus and possibly save some lives.

I also have watched as many have panicked and acted very selfishly. Fear of the unknown drives many to act in ways they might not otherwise, but it shows us the true nature of mankind.

This is not intended to shame people or to be some preachy article about never being afraid. Fear is a natural part of our humanity. It is also useful as a mechanism to protect ourselves from harm. If you are not afraid of the poisonous snake, you might just get bitten. If you are not afraid of the tiger, you might get eaten.

I cannot make predictions about what might happen, let alone some kind of guarantee. However, I want to bring some perspective and some encouragement. As God’s children, we have a hope that transcends all of the difficulties of this life. Times of difficulties are opportunities to share Jesus with the world that needs to know Him.

There are many encouraging scriptures to lay hold of. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” Psalm 46:1-3. This passage gives us a perspective on the world around us. It can be a scary and dangerous place, and without God it should be. However, for God’s people, it is only a temporary place where we can cling to God as our refuge.

This does not mean that we never have fear, but it does mean that we have a different reaction to fear. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh  my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2. We have our Heavenly Father that we can look to for help. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say  of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.  Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover  thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” Psalm 91:1-7. We place our trust in our God because He is the only one that can deliver us. If we put our trust in ourselves or in a government institution, we will end up disappointed.

There is no other place to put our trust. And, it is not enough to just to say we trust in God, it needs to be in our heart. “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting  in the LORD.” Psalm 112:7. Having our heart fixed in the Lord will keep us from drifting with the sentiment of the world.

It is so important that we stay in God’s Word. Every day that we choose to not send time with our Lord in His word, we come a little closer to being overtaken by the world and the things that will overwhelm our heart. “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.” Psalm 23:4. Be sure that you are not walking through that valley without the rod and the staff. It really can be a scary place.

While we have an enemy that is real and is very dangerous, we have a Father who is real and is truly in control. We CAN trust in Him. How do we know we can trust Him. First, He is the only one that is truly able to deliver. History (God’s Word) clearly proves that God is the only one that can do all that He claims. Secondly, He is our faithful Father. His love for us exceeds any that we could imagine form anyone anywhere.

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow  not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” Matthew 6:26. “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31.

While I cannot offer any guarantees for what will happen, I can offer some guarantees. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor  forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:5-6.

Jesus made some promises: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3. What is there about this world that we would fret over when we know we have something better awaiting us. If God has prepared a place for us, do we think He is unable to care for us here?

When the world is full of fear, let us, as God’s precious people, show the world what we have and offer them real peace and rest.

Gordon Crook

Prophecy



Earlene Davis


The Seed of Abraham
(2nd mountain peek of prophecy of Jesus)

Many years passed after the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 was given (The Seed of the Woman), until the time of Abram. God called Abram out from Ur of the Chaldees (an idolatrous people) into the land of promise. Abram was childless when God gave him gracious promises found in Genesis 12:1-3. “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee (in thy Seed) shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Notice the “I will’s,” these promises are unconditional in every way. Abram doesn’t have to do anything to receive these blessings, just believe God will do what He said. God said through Abram’s Seed all the nations shall be blessed. Later Abram had a son born to him, Isaac, but he was not the particular promise Seed meant. Yet, he was a most wonderful type of the future One, and the chosen line through which Jesus Christ should come. Galatians 3:16, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.”

Only in Christ shall nations be blessed. This promise will have its fulness during the Kingdom dispensation. When Christ is reigning, all the nations will be blessed because Israel will be blessed. Israel will be the predominate nation in the whole world during that Age. All other nations will pilgrimage into Jerusalem, which will be the center of all spiritual activity. Christ (the Seed of Abram) will rule and because of Him all nations of the earth will be blessed. Isaiah 2:2, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.”

The promise spoken to Abraham in Genesis 22:17 is two-fold. “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore…”. We are counted as of the many seeds of Abraham spiritually.

Romans 4:3, “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” V. 5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Thus Abraham is the
Father of all them that believe; those who walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham – Vs. 11-12. “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed…” (V. 16). Abraham is our father in the faith because of Christ (the Seed of Abraham).

Israel as a nation is the sand of the sea and the church is the fulfillment that his seed would be multiplied as the stars of heaven. The promises to the church are heavenly. Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” To Israel as a nation their promises are earthly. This is the difference between the promised dispensation to come, the Kingdom Age and the present Church dispensation or Grace Age.

All prophecy circles around these mountain peaks of prophecy.
Next issue: The Seed of David

JONAH


Debra Isenbletter, pastor
Springfield, Missouri


Jonah 1:5: “Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.”

In this verse we see two different events: The Pagans Praying; and Jonah Sleeping. What a contrast, what a difference! This verse begins with their Fear: They were afraid and there was cause for their fear because “the ship was like to be broken [in pieces].” Fear is like a single coin that has two sides, two pictures, i.e. “heads” or “tails.”  On one side is “reverence” and “awe” and on the other side “terror and dread.” One is positive, the other negative. They felt only the terror and the dread. They did not know the Lord but they understood His Power. They felt hopeless and helpless and this is the place the Lord must bring everyone before they cry out.

Following their Fear is their Cry: “every man unto his god.”  That is the first step, a necessary step and there are two different cries.  There is a cry of fear or there is a cry of faith.  In this case they had both but they will find out that their faith in their gods will prove fruitless.  But “every man” did cry out, “every man” did pray.  All the men prayed and they were earnest and zealous in their prayers.  Almost everyone will pray in a moment of crisis or fear or zeal. These were religious men, at least they were religious in a moment of crises. There were many gods that were prayed to that day because each man prayed to “his god” though the names of the gods are not mentioned. These could have been personal deities or national deities or even storm deities. The Canaanites and especially those that sailed had several storm gods that were both revered and feared. On land they were revered because they brought much needed rain and at sea they were feared because they brought destructive storms. The circumstances we find ourselves in determines the tone of the prayer, petition or praise.  What is going on around us influences us. Like other pagans, they will find that fear and faith is not enough. The priests that prayed to Baal had both faith and zeal and yet nothing happened when they prayed and Elijah mocked them and their gods. (1King 18:26) They exhausted themselves and the sacrifice as not consumed by fire.  Elijah prayed a simple prayer and the Lord answered in a mighty way.  The point is that every nation worshiped gods, it is not enough to be religious.  Only Israel knew and worshipped the true God.  Not one sailor prayed to the God of Israel and not one sailor knew what Jonah knew. But Jonah hid who he was and he hid what he knew when the hid in the ship.  It will take a terrible storm and desperate circumstances to cause the sailors to see their need.

Following their fear and their cry is their Loss. They “cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea.”  They threw everything they could overboard. This was not a passenger ship, this was a ship with valuable cargo on board.  We don’t know what the cargo was, it could have been grain, wine, oil, clothing, pottery, jewels, gold, silver—whatever the cargo was it was costly. The choice was, lose the ship, lose our lives or lose the cargo.  They were forced by judgment to let go of everything to save their lives.  They wanted to live at all costs.  This is what every man must do, let go of everything and cry out to the Lord.  Sometimes the Lord will forcibly strip those things from us.

Jesus taught about the greediness of man, that it easy to fix our eyes on those things and hard to let go of them. “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luk.12:19-20). Paul learned to let go of those things willingly, joyfully.  “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ)” (Phil.3:7-8). There comes a time when each man must choose between the World and the Word; a time to choose between the god of this world and the God of this world. The men on the ship are about to have an opportunity to choose and an unlikely man will show them the way—Jonah!

In the meantime, after praying, and receiving no answer, they begin.  They threw everything they could overboard.  This was a common practice among sailors, the sailors on the ship Paul was on did the same thing, “they lightened the ship” (Act.27:18-19). It was a last desperate effort to save themselves.  What is so striking is that the Lord brings the ship to the very verge of destruction, yet keeps the ship from being destroyed. They need to be this desperate before they seek Jonah.
Where is Jonah’s Location? “But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship.” Again, we notice the word “down.”  Jonah went “down” to Joppa (v3); he went “down” to the ship (v3) and he went “down” into the ship (v5). While all of this is going on, where do we find Jonah? Not where Paul was in the midst of the storm, not encouraging, not praying, he is hiding.  Jonah keeps going down, thinks that he is hidden but the sailors are going to bring him up briefly and he will have to give an account of himself.

What is Jonah’s Condition? “and he lay, and was fast asleep.” He lay down in a dark place. He thought he was safe and secure, he thought he was hidden, he was wrong.  Jonah “lay” down exhausted and he slept.  He was probably exhausted physically from traveling, from searching, from trying to find a way to avoid God.  He was probably exhausted spiritually because what he was trying to do was impossible. He was struggling against himself, against his calling, against his ministry. He was struggling against God and his exhaustion is a picture of no spiritual strength and no spiritual purpose.  So, Jonah “lay” down to rest and the result is he “was fast asleep.”  The phrase comes from “to stun (paralyze, knock out).” It speaks of a “deep sleep;” a “heavy sleep;” of being “unconscious.” Jonah was so deeply asleep that the storm did not wake him.  He was impervious (unreceptive, unmoved) and he was oblivious (unconscious, responsive). There are examples of this condition in the Bible.  Sisera was asleep when Jael slew him. (Judges 4:21).  Samson was asleep when Delilah cut his hair (Judges 16:19).  The disciples were asleep when Jesus prayed (Mat.26:40) and it makes you wonder what would have happened had they stayed awake.  Saints today can be asleep to what is going on around them.  We need to be awake to see how close is our deliverance (Rom.13:11).  We need to “not sleep as do others,” we need to “watch and be sober” (1Th.5:6).

Jonah was asleep to God’s Word, God’s Voice, God’s Power. He was a prophet of God and yet he was asleep.  It will take the pagan sailors to wake him, it will take judgment to wake him. The great contrast is that Jonah did not see the danger because he was asleep but the sailors did because they were awake.  God will use the sailors to shame and to chastise Jonah, that is what the Church is doing with Israel, our faith should “provoke them to jealousy” (Rom.10:19; 11:11). The Lord set Paul “to be a light to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:47), that is what Israel should have been, could have been and one day will be.  That is what God wanted Jonah to be.

God will use Jonah to preach to the sailors and in doing that Jonah is doing what he was running from.  He will so this when he goes to Nineveh. He will preach to the pagan Gentiles and they repent.  Whether he likes it or not, that is what he is forced to do by circumstances to the pagan sailors.  What he says and does will cause them to glorify God, it may not be his intention, but it is God’s.  I find it interesting that Jonah ends up doing what he didn’t want to do on the ship, he preached to Gentiles and they believed God. It foreshadows what he will do in Nineveh.  The response of the sailors is the same response of the Ninevites.  They acknowledge God and praise God. The Lord is teaching Jonah a practical, though painful lesson.