Sunday, December 4, 2022

 The Unspeakable Gift

Jack Davis

“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” 

II Cor. 9:15

Oh, what a gift! What thanks can we offer? What thanks, do we give? Who is able to tell, or express the entire contents, the eternal benefits of such abundant giving?

James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” In Hebrews six, verse 4, we read of a “heavenly” gift. God loved so much He gave the best in the universe, Jesus loved me and gave Himself for me. John 3:16, Gal. 2:20.

Who is able to comprehend all it cost God our Father, and Jesus Christ our Lord to provide such for us? Do we grasp the full meaning of such statements as: “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Rom. 8:32 or II Cor, 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” And that “God made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” - II Cor. 5:21.

How does such indescribable, inexpressible, inestimable, incomparable, generosity beyond words dawn upon our hearts? Jesus told the woman at the well, that if she knew God’s gift she would have asked of Him, for He gives living waters. Thank God, He has provided that we fully know him, the greatest of all gifts from the greatest of all givers. The Holy Spirit has been sent to unwrap, unfold and reveal to our hearts the manifold grace of his marvelous giving.

“I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the  Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mind, and shall shew it unto you” - John 16:12-15. 

Consider I Cor. 2:9-12, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” 

The immeasurable measure of all God’s giving, is the gift of Christ. For it all comes to us in, with, through or by His Son. “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of  Christ” – Eph. 4:7. This unspeakable gift, all undeserved, unearned, contains unsearchable riches – Eph. 3:8. We each partake of Him in individual measure. 

We make the choice and appropriate or apprehend what we want of Him. There are differing degrees or measures of assimilating Him into each of our lives. Our apostle Paul has proclaimed unto us wealth that is indeed untraceable, fathomless, boundless and exhaustless. Such riches are only to be discovered “in Christ.” Endless treasures are available to those in Him.

“What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord” – Psalm 116:12-13. “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all his benefits” – Psalm 103:1-2.

Although we cannot express all that is God’s unspeakable gifts, yet appreciation for such giving should produce Thanks-givers, Thanks-livers. Rom. 14:6-9 and II Cor. 5:14-15. Thank God, that we can express our thanks from the depths of our being, “all that is within me;” and from the dedication of our lives.

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” – Col. 1:12-13.


Gordon Crook, Pastor
Grace Assembly, Wichita, Kansas

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

Immanuel means “God with us.”

I have been thinking about who God is, and contemplating His greatness. I enjoy checking out the pictures that come from the Hubble telescope, and now, from the Webb telescope. There are some amazing pictures of our galaxy and the universe. 

One in particular that grabbed my attention is one called “Pillars of creation.” This formation is some 30 quintillion miles (30 with 15 zeros) from us, and is just a small part of the known universe, and yet it overwhelms the mind to consider the immensity and the glory of it.

As I look at that, I realize that my God inhabits this incredible universe, and is the creator of it all. The fact that mankind is so full of themselves and so defiant before God, is hard to understand when they have this evidence before them. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” Psalms 19:1. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” Psalms 8:3-4.

What is man that Thou visitest him? And yet, He did visit us. God had promised from the beginning to take care of the problem created by man’s sin. In Genesis 3:15, God promised one who would bruise the head of the serpent,  and this is exactly what Jesus came to do. 

Take some time to just consider that Jesus would leave His glory to come down to earth. That is hard to comprehend. Paul tells us about that in Philippians. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8. Sometimes we get a little full of ourselves, but consider the condescension of Jesus. He has a right to be high minded because He is God, and yet He condescended to our level for our benefit.

As we come into the Christmas season, we might tend to forget the real reason for celebrating this time. The world will seduce us with the trappings and the festivities and the gifts that we think we deserve, but the real purpose of this season should be to consider Immanuel. Consider the only gift that really matters to any of us. “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” 2 Corinthians 9:15. 

Again, considering who God is, and thinking about the glory that is His, we must then be in complete amazement at the reason for Immanuel. Jesus didn’t come to live among us just for His own entertainment, nor to mock or condemn us. He had a special purpose in mind that goes even further to blow our minds. “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:24. This one always amazes and humbles me. Jesus wants us to be with Him where He is. John 14:1-3.

And even now, He is with us. We are clearly instructed that we have the Life of Christ in us. He lives in us and is by our side all of the time.  “. . .for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5c. While we do not have to wait to be with Him, we are certainly looking and longing for the day when we will be physically in His presence.

When you see the pictures that are taken by the Webb telescope, and all of the discoveries of our scientists, may it remind you of the Creator that loves you more than any other part of His creation. Consider that the creator of all of that would be willing to come down to be Immanuel, so that we can go up to spend eternity with Him.


Anita Clark – Pastor
Grace Chapel, Carbondale, Kansas

“Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31. 

What a precious passage! The eagle is spoken of 35 times in Scripture. God really wants to impress us with this creature used as an example of victory and strength. We must learn to wait in fellowship with the Lord, and for the fruit of the Spirit to be manifested in our lives. Then we become mature in Christ and able to mount up on wings of faith, as eagles wings, and experience the strength of the Lord. Remember - the current of the wind  holds the eagle suspended in the air, as is the hand of our God that sustains us. In Exodus 19:3-4, we see Moses going up to Mt. Sinai and the Lord called to him, “Thus shall thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles wings, and brought you unto myself.” In V. 5, God says, “” shall be a peculiar treasure unto me.” The Lord God is so faithful to His people. He carries us when we are weak and needy. 

In Psalms 91 we see a description of “the Most High,” (God) as a great bird. V.3 “surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler (Satan), 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.” The rest of this chapter is so wonderful. It thrills our hearts and lifts us up above the shadows of our trials to know that our God loves us and is watching over us constantly as a great bird of prey. Psalms 17:8 says, “Keep me as the apple (pupil) of the eye, hide me under the shadow of Thy wings.” He is faithfully watching over us, until we learn to fly above the trials of life.

In Proverbs 30:18-19 Solomon wrote about the eagle. “There be three things which are too wonderful for me.” “The way of an eagle in the air...” was the first example. How wondrous is the eagle riding upon the air currents, almost immobile, hardly any effort at all, marvelous and stupendous, gliding along. This speaks of our victory over trials and tests that almost would defeat us, but through the Lord’s strength, we “FLY” in victory. In Jeremiah 49:16 God speaks against Edom, using an example of the eagle, “that dwellest in the cleft of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: that makes a nest as an eagle.” 

Some facts about the eagle represent how we as Eagles saints are triumphant:

1. The eagles nest is not in a low place, but high up on a Mt. Peak. Job 39:27, “Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock and the strong place. From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off..” This speaks of dwelling in victory in the heavenly places.

2. This place is unapproachable to man. Only God can hold us in the heights, with His arms of love surrounding us and holding us tight.

3. The eagles nest is built out of twigs- a strong framework and covered with moss and lamb’s wool and etc. The eagle puts thorns in the nest in upright position before they put the lamb’s wool to cover the roughness. The eagle gathers moss and plasters the inside till the thorns are covered so the eaglets are protected. Our safe place - how precious.

4. Feeding the young. Job 9:26 says, “as the eagle hasteth to the prey.”An eagle does not eat just any kind of old spoiled meat, as a vulture, but what she herself kills. She feeds her young bite size pieces just big enough. She instinctively knows how much and how often to feed the young. This is such a sweet picture of the Lord Jesus feeding His flock. He always knows exactly what we need. If we are very young in the Lord, He provides spiritual food to cause us to grow. However, as we begin to mature in Christ, He blesses us with depths of the Word of God. Praise the Lord our GREAT EAGLE! The Eagle also drinks fresh water and pours it in the baby’s mouths. Every believer in Christ can experience this wonderful happening. God wants us to grow up into Christ.

5. The Training of the Young - Deut.32:11-12, “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings, So the Lord alone did lead him.” God knows exactly when the time has come to ‘stir up our nest.” The mother eagle scatters the moss and lamb skin, so the thorns stick up so baby birds won’t go back to the nest. When the eaglets are large enough, the mother pushes them off the cliff, compelling them to fly. If they begin to cry out, she swoops underneath them and gathers them up on her wide wings, then she drops them again - over and over. They finally get the idea or they die. If they achieve this - she takes them up very high, and they follow her. Isa. 58:14, “Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD: and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth.”

6. Sometimes we become so taken up with life that we don’t put God first. So, He allows trials to work  dependence upon Him. God may stir up our “nest.” When He does He always gives us power to overcome the circumstances. We learn that He is with us and letting us fly on His wings (His strength.) He wants us to grow out of babyhood spiritually, and become grown-up sons of God. He is very patient with us, although often times He allows trials and tests to get us to take that step of growth He wants us to have.

At their first attempts at flying, she supports them on the tip of her wing, encouraging, directing and aiding their feeble effort to longer and sublimer flights. So God takes the most tender and powerful care of His chosen people.”


Earlene Davis

Looking Into Heaven – Rev. 4 & 5

John by vision is taken into the throne room of heaven. Ch. 4:1, “After this” after John viewed the Church Age, he is still at the Lord’s Day and his view is now upward. He sees a door opened in heaven and hears the same voice, “as it were a trumpet,” it is the voice of the Lord (1:10-11). A trumpet has a clear, commanding sound. Only the full overcomers will hear that first trumpet sound, For they will be looking for the Lord’s coming, loving His appearing – II Tim. 4:7-8. Not all believers will be ready, they will not be listening for His voice. But they will get stirred up when they realize many saints are gone. They will be listening for His voice when He calls up the innumerable company of Rev. 7.

“I will show thee things which must be hereafter,” Yet future after the Church Age. The first thing we look forward to happening is the Rapture “Come up hither,” and they will ascend up to be with the Lord. “Immediately John was taken up into heaven at the trumpet voice. 

John represents the full overcomers (Smyrna & Philadelphia) taken up at the first trumpet sound. Those in graves resurrected and those alive will be translated – I Thess. 4:13-15. Believers will then be “changed in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye” – I Cor. 15:51-53.

“Behold a throne was set” and One sat on the throne” Christ takes His own throne. It is His day to reign – I Cor. 15:25. The nations no longer have any right to rule, Gentile times are over. The nations will refuse to relinquish their authority (Ps. 2) and Christ will have to take it from them, thus bringing on tribulation days.

The Ruler Described

In chapter 1, we saw Him as Judge, here we see Him as God Almighty. He is worshiped as the Creator (4:11). 4:3 – The Jasper stone is like our diamond and means, “He will be made prominent.” It figures His deity, He will reign as God. The sardine stone is reddish or flesh colored and means ‘ruddy’ or ‘ruddiness.’ It represents His humanity, He will have a human body and rule the universe. He is the GOD-MAN, glorified. 

Christ will be exalted to a greater height than a man has ever been exalted. He will reign a thousand years – Rev. 20:4. He will always be King, but after the thousand years, He will reign in subjection to His Father – I Cor. 15:24-28. He will reign forever and ever – Rev. 11:15.

Later in Revelation we will read a description of the heavenly Jerusalem as a Jasper stone representing the Church as possessing the qualities we see in Christ. “There was a rainbow round about the throne, like unto an emerald.” A rainbow is a token of God’s promised mercy, a sign He would never destroy the world by a flood again – Gen. 9. It will be fire next time – II Pet. 3:10-11. 

An emerald is greenish in color and figures eternal life, life out of death. Christ will take authority and judge until He has put all enemies under His feet, but over His throne is this rainbow, the promise of hope. This is a beautiful scene, we have been in the throne room of heaven – Hallelujah!

Next time, we will read, what Christ will do when He sits upon His throne.

To be continued


Debra Isenbletter, Pastor
Christian Assembly
Springfield, Missouri

Jonah 3:10 “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”

In this final verse of chapter 3 we see three things concerning God’s response to Nineveh and the mercy He showed to them.  It is striking that each of the chapters has ended with a visible sign of God’s mercy.  

1. At the end of chapter 1 - Jonah was spared when the Lord prepared the great fish to swallow him.  

2. At the end of chapter 2 – Jonah was spared when the Lord delivered him from the great fish.  

3. At the end of chapter 3 Nineveh was spared when God did not destroy them. It is interesting that with Nineveh it is God that is emphasized not the Lord.

His Scrutiny: “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way;” The first thing that God saw was their actions: “their works”, the second thing that God saw was their attitude: “they turned from their evil way.” Both were essential, both needed to be in harmony with what God expected. God “saw” everything, He “looked” at everything, that He “inspected” everything carefully, and what He saw, He “approved” of. What I find interesting is that in the previous chapters, it is the Lord that sees what Jonah does and responds to Jonah, but in this chapter, it is God that sees what Nineveh does and responds.  Both are the same but the Lord is seen in connection with His people and His covenant with them and God is seen in His connection with the Gentiles. Israel had a closer more personal relationship. The Gentiles knew very little of God and when He revealed Himself it was as the God of Creation and the God greater than all their gods. 

Their Actions: “And God saw their works.” The first thing God saw was their works. The word “works” speaks of “any action, good or bad.” Here the works are good in contrast to their past works which were bad.  The word “works” also speaks of an “activity that produces a result.” They did not start and then stop, what they began to do they did, and they did not stop until they saw a result.  Their “works” were “deeds” that would be talked about long after judgment had passed and Jonah had left. What they did must have left a lasting impression on those in the city and people that heard stories about what happened. The works have already been mentioned, they include their fasting, their mourning, their praying. They are works of repentance that were clearly seen. The entire city participated, from the least to the greatest, from the king to the lowest servant.

In Jonah’s account of what happened, and he gives an honest account, there is the visible truth that God sees everything, nothing is hidden.  His eyes “run to and fro through the whole earth” (2Chr.16:9). Job says, “Doth not he see my ways and count all my steps?” Job also reveals that not just his life was examined but the lives of all men: “For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings” (Job 34:31). We find that throughout the Old Testament and Paul reminds us in the New Testament that nothing can be hidden form God (Heb.4:13).  This is what the people of Nineveh realized when Jonah preached to them the message of judgment.  Either Jonah listed their sins or the Spirit of God brought to each heart their deeds and actions and they were convicted. 

Their Attitude: “that they turned from their evil way.”  When they “turned” this shows a change of heart.  When they turned “from their evil ways” this shows a change of direction. They turned away from those evil things that they had been doing. Jonah only summarizes their evil as “wickedness” (1:2) and “the violence of their hands” (3:8), but historians record horrific atrocities they committed. God sums everything up under the word “evil.” Whatever each individual’s evil was, God accepted their repentance, He accepted their works, He accepted their intentions.  History shows that this did not last but God looked at that moment and accepted what they did.  I thought about Ahab, who was such an evil king, one of many is Israel.  When he repented and fasted and put on sackcloth the Lord saw that he humbled himself and said that the judgment would not occur in his days but in his sons. (2Ki.21:27-29).  Nineveh is similar in their attitude, it was temporary and judgment was stopped, set aside and would occur much later.  Even though we may not understand why God did this, and Jonah certainly did not, God gives these people a glimpse of His grace and His mercy.  What they do with that revelation after that is up to them. It could be that there were some who went on and turned to the Lord.  What we do know is God was satisfied with their response.

His Satisfaction: “and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them;” Here we see God’s grace but also His justice because He was justified by their actions and attitude. God “repented,” one translation is “relented” (NAS) and another is “revoked His sentence” (Amplified). He could change His mind because the city had repented and when they repented the reason for judgment was no longer justified. God does not change but He can change His mind. He is always righteous.  He judges because He is righteous and He holds back judgment because He is righteous. This is what Jonah could not see or understand. It does not matter who the wicked are or what the wicked have done, if the wicked will repent God will also (Jer.18:7-8).

His Sovereignty: “and he did it not.”— Finally we come to a crucial point.  It is that God can change His mind and he did. He can do this because He is God, because He is sovereign.  He “did it not”.  That is what Jonah could not understand. God did not do it, did not pour out judgment, did not do what He said He would do.  What Jonah failed to see is that He is still Just, He is still Righteous, even when He is Merciful. What Jonah failed to see is that He is Sovereign.  Sometimes we lose sight of that aspect of God, we take Him for granted and forget that He is God, that He has a right to do what He wants, when He wants and we may not understand the reason why.  Jonah still has a lesson to learn and in his lesson we see again the grace and patience of the God that Jonah serves.

 God’s Timing and Purposes –Ecc. 3:1-8

Part 11

Pastor Vicky Moots
Kingman, Kansas

Ecc. 3:6a: “A time to get, and a time to lose…”  We spend our entire life accumulating things and never seem to be satisfied that we have enough.  Of course, there are certain things that we have to buy when we are starting out on our own or when we get married, so that is “a time to get.  However, no matter how much we “get” in life, we lose it all when we die.  What about in between these times? Is there “a time to lose” before we die?

In Mark 8:34-36 Jesus told the people, “…Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

Some people say that we need to just “get a life,” but the only way to “get a life” is to lose the one we have now, the one that is only temporary, and exchange it for one that is eternal.

In Matt. 19:16-22 we read the story of a rich, young ruler who came to Jesus to ask what he must do to have (or “to get”) eternal life.  Because he was rich, he was used to being able “to get” anything he wanted.  However, he was greatly disappointed when Jesus told him in v. 21 that he would need to sell everything he had (because he was trusting in it) and give it to the poor.  Verse 22 tells us, “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away very sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”  He was not willing “to lose” everything that he had been able “to get” in this life in order “to get” eternal life.  Sadly, at that point, his earthly riches seemed more important to him than his soul.

In contrast, we read in Matt. 4:18-20 where Jesus called Peter and Andrew to be fishers of men, “And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.”  Then in v. 21 He called James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were in a ship with their father.  Verse 22 tells us, “And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.”  So, we see that these men, unlike the rich, young ruler, were willing to lose their life (to leave their livelihood and their family behind) in order to find it in Jesus and become His disciples.

The apostle Paul described his own “time to lose” in Phil. 3:7-8.  However, in the previous three verses he listed the things of which he had been boasting in the natural and that he had considered gain prior to his conversion.  But one day on the road to Damascus, to persecute Christians, he came face to face with Jesus in a vision.  The light of it was so bright that he fell to the ground and lost his eyesight for three days, until God restored it.  That was the first thing recorded that Paul lost, but it would not be the last.  God opened his blinded eyes, both physically and spiritually, so that he could see clearly who Jesus was.  As a result, Saul the persecutor, became Paul the apostle, for he chose to deny himself, take up the cross, and follow Jesus.

In Phil. 3:7-8 Paul states, “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.”

Are we willing to lose all that we hold dear to us in order to win Christ? We may not actually have to lose everything we have, as Paul did, but we need to not hold on to the things we possess and the people we love in this world more tightly than we do to Jesus.  Jesus must take first place in our lives.  He must become our first love.

Jesus, Himself, willingly experienced “a time to lose,” and because of that, we can have the gift of salvation.  In Phil. 2:5-8 Paul describes how that Jesus suffered the loss of all things, including His life, in order that we might have life.  He left the riches and glory of heaven, and as we read in vs. 7-8, “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

He did this for us, so that it would be our “time to get,” as Paul tells us in II Cor. 8:9: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

Our “time to get,” as far as spiritual riches and gain are concerned, is now; but first comes our “time to lose.” our time to follow the example of Paul and of Jesus, and to humble ourselves.  It is “a time to lose” our old life, to forget those things which are behind, and to “…press toward the mark for the prize of the high [upward] calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14), for Jesus is coming soon.


Pastor Gary Giddings, Sand Lake, MI

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” Gal. 3:13

What is “the curse of the Law”? It is God’s judgment upon us for failing to live up to His standard of what is right. As humans, we tend to justify ourselves and minimize any wrong we have done. We like to think that we are “good.” We can readily see the need for others to be punished when they do wrong, but we easily gloss over our own wrongs. We tend to think that we are “good” or at least “mostly good.” But what does the Law say? “Honor thy father and thy mother … Thou shalt not kill … Thou shalt not commit adultery … Thou shalt not steal … Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor … Thou shalt not covet” (Ex. 20:12-17).  

These are things that concern our relationships with other people. But more importantly, what about our relationship with God, the One who created us? “Thou shalt have no other gods before me … Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God … Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain” (Ex. 20:1-7).

We, as a people, are cursed for failing to live up to God’s standard. This failure to “hit the mark” is called SIN. It is a problem for ALL of humanity. “There is none righteous, no, not one.” But Jesus is the answer for this! The word REDEEMED in Galatians 3:13 means “to buy up, to ransom, to rescue from loss” (Strong). It also means, “to buy out,” especially of purchasing a slave with a view to his freedom” (Vine). What does this mean for us? When Jesus RESCUED us from sin and its destructive ways, we were given FREEDOM. When we were born-again, we didn’t just transfer from one slave-master to another, but we were MADE FREE. What good is it to leave one slave-master for another? Maybe another master would treat us better, but we would still be slaves and not free. God doesn’t ENSLAVE us. He doesn’t force His will upon us. God doesn’t treat us like property because He created us in His own image and He loves us. 

Jesus stands at the door of our heart and knocks. He ASKS us to open the door. He doesn’t use trickery or force to gain entrance. No, He patiently waits for us. God sees YOU, the person. He wants to have a personal relationship with you through Jesus the Son. This is where FREEDOM begins. Knowing what this means to have FREEDOM in Christ helps us to understand why we see all kinds of behaviors, good and bad, in Christians. Some may question their own salvation or the salvation of others because “Christians don’t do that” (whatever is questionable or obviously wrong). Just because you said a prayer and let Jesus into your heart is NO guarantee that you won’t ever do wrong again. You were SET FREE to make your own choices.

God has given you the wonderful GIFT of SALVATION: What will you do with this gift? Only when you GIVE YOURSELF to the Lord will this relationship with Jesus really begin to make sense. Only then will we continue to experience the life that God has for us. When we let Jesus take over the throne of our heart, this is how we continue to find joy and satisfaction! Rom. 5:1-2, Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. We can’t put a price on this PEACE that we have in Jesus. We can rest knowing that we belong to Him and that He will take care of us. We are His children and we are in His FOREVER FAMILY. We are not God’s SLAVES, we are God’s CHILDREN. We have been REDEEMED, we have been SET FREE. What are you going to do with this FREEDOM? Are you going to use it to worship and serve the Lord or are you going to use it for other things? 

You are FREE to please God or to please yourself. You are FREE to do what is right or what is wrong. God isn’t going to take away your FREEDOM TO CHOOSE, but He will let you know the results of your choices: there is CAUSE AND EFFECT in the spiritual realm also. When we sow to the flesh, we will reap corruption. Sin in our life will hinder us and wear us down.

Paul enjoyed his freedom because in Christ he was a New Creation. He lived that way. He didn’t let his Old Creation live long enough to spoil his freedom. Rom. 6:16  “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? First we listen, and then we yield and obey. Will we obey the Spirit or the flesh? The one we listen to will be the one we will serve. That is why it is important to fill our mind with the Word of God and to pray. When we listen to the Spirit, we will not want any of the destructive ways of the flesh.

I Cor. 6:12,  “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power [control] of any.” I Cor. 10:23,  “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify [build] not.” Paul saw that he was FREE to do anything. But he learned to say “No” to that which would control him and keep him from enjoying HIS FREEDOM in Christ. He also stayed away from that which wouldn’t BUILD HIM UP in the Lord.

Titus 1:1a  “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ …” Why did Paul call himself a SERVANT to Jesus? He knew his Old Nature very well and he wanted nothing to do with it. Only when he COMMITTED himself fully to Jesus could he know and experience LIFE, LOVE, and LIBERTY. SALVATION is free to “whosoever will.” It doesn’t cost us anything because Jesus paid the price for our sins. He said, “It is finished” (Paid in full). But to become a DISCIPLE (follower) of Jesus will cost us something. To follow Jesus on a continual basis involves a COMMITMENT on our part. You may be a BELIEVER in Jesus, but will you dedicate yourself to Him? Don’t just be a BELIEVER but be a FOLLOWER of Jesus. Give yourself totally and completely to Him and He will never disappoint you. As born-again Christians, we are REDEEMED. We were taken out of the slave market and MADE FREE. When you use your FREEDOM to worship and serve God, you will find your greatest fulfillment and contentment. But if you use this FREEDOM to live according to the world, the flesh, and the Devil, you will be ensnared and brought under its control for a time. Let us use our FREEDOM to serve and to worship our Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is worthy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

 Why Know God’s Word?

Jack Davis

“Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?  Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” John 7:14-16.

Jesus sent with good news and teaching from God the Father, came with such an exemplary attitude. What a wonderful safeguard against going off on some tangent. Here we find the secret of how to avoid teaching error. In other words, “What I teach did not originate with me.” It’s His that sent me. Our religious old nature is so quick to take credit for anything, would like to be provocative, proclaim something new, wow our hearers, get attention, a following. 

Verse eighteen gives us a hint as to what is behind the doctrines of men. “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” John 7:18.

Seeking our own glory, we try to say something strange or different to make a name for ourselves. What should motivate us to know the Word? “If any man will do his will, he shall know the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” John 7:17.

Our Lord is no respecter of persons. There is no excuse for a believer remaining spiritually ignorant. Let us walk in all the truth we have, and we will receive more truth, and in all the light and enjoy more light.

Knowing God’s Word, understanding it’s teaching, or being able to tell others what God’s Word teaches, no matter how much we know or how well we know whatever we know, doesn’t tell the whole story. A willingness to know God’s Word, in order to understand God’s will doesn’t quite get it altogether either.

A willingness to walk in all the will of God, will produce the proper appetite, a deep hunger to take in, and assimilate it into our innermost being. In other words, this wilingness should cause such a craving, longing to have his Word become a part of us, even more…be productive in us for God’s glory. I Thess. 2:13.

Oh, yes, our lives may be conducted in obedience to our Father’s marvelous Word; Rom. 6:17-18, and thus adorn the doctrine. Titus 2:10.

We do well to ask the Lord from the depths of our being to strengthen inwardly, trusting Him to entirely engraft and make effectual His word in us. For we cannot afford to wrestle between His will and ours. It is so good for us to settle it in our hearts, and know without question that our loving Lord’s will for our lives is absolutely the very best.


Gordon Crook, Pastor
Grace Assembly, Wichita, Kansas

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

In 1 Corinthians 15 we read about a coming change that will certainly be glorious as we are changed from this mortal to our glorified bodies. This is indeed a change that we anticipate, but often we fail to consider the change God wants to make in us right now.

God is not just in the forgiveness business, He is in the change business. Forgiveness of sins is just the beginning that makes it possible for us to be changed into something more glorious than we can imagine. That change is starting right here in this life, and will certainly culminate in the coming change to our glorified bodies someday.

When we are saved, we are given the Life of Christ and that begins the change in us. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. The old creation that we are from birth is changed for a new creation. Only this new creation can be changed from glory to glory.

It was always God’s plan to provide a way that we could share in His glory. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29. It was our sin the kept us from sharing in His glory. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23.

Paul speaks several times about this process, and it is a process. Daily we are in the process of being changed if we yield to the working if the Holy Spirit. “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 12:2. The transformation is taking place as we take in the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to renew our mind.

Most of what we find in the New Testament is speaking to us about our attitudes. That is, the way we think and react to every aspect of life. The world has a way of thinking about things, and they have a way of reacting to the circumstances of life, and God is wanting to change ours to align with His.

As we take in God’s Word, and are yielding to the Holy Spirit, our thinking is being changed. We may not “look” different to others, but there should be a difference that is noticeable by the people we contact every day. We should be projecting in our attitude, the life of Jesus that is in us. “And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” Colossians 3:10.

Because this is an ongoing process of change (from glory to glory), we must be willing to allow daily work in our lives. Satan is constantly trying to work on your life through the world to keep you in the old mindset of the old creation. If we decide we do not need to take in God’s Word or allow Him to work in our life daily, then we will come more and more under the influence of the world.

We are not capable on our own to change ourselves into that which pleases God and glorifies Him. Only He can do that, and He does that through His Word. “Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7. “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of [this] calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of [his] goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12.

These verses clearly tell us that our own effort to change ourselves will not result in the kind of change that God will do. It is true that some people change their attitudes or “improve” themselves in some way, but it is not the same as the change that God is making, because God is changing us in a way that will glorify Him forever. Any change we could make in ourselves, will only result in us glorifying ourselves, as man always wants to do.

Some people are afraid of change, and I admit to not liking change very much when it comes to the things around me, but this change that God is working is always good, and we should not only be OK with it, but should actively seek to have Him change our heart every day from glory to glory.

 Diligence to Learn God’s Word

Anita Clark – Pastor 
Grace Chapel, Carbondale, Kansas

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

The Word “study” in this verse of the Bible means “to be diligent; use speed; make effort; or be prompt or be earnest.”  It is very important to desire to learn the Word of God.  

Apostle Paul’s epistles are the most important part of the Word to learn and study.  He wrote fourteen books of the New Testament.  He is declared by God’s Word to be the Apostle of the Gentiles (all others except Jews). However, Paul said that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” II Timothy 3:16-17.

The Word of God is our Spiritual food.  If we are to grow up in the Lord in all things, we must take in the Word.  Romans 10:8, 14-15 says, “How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent?”  Also, Paul says “ pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (I Cor. 1:21).  This is one way the student of the Word learns, through the teaching and preaching of God’s Word in the God directed meetings of the church.

Studying the Word is more than reading it.  In studying, one looks at each phrase, each word, and even looks up references- other Scriptures to help to expand the meaning, and for better understanding.  It is important to let the Holy Spirit teach us by expanding our viewpoint of whatever portion of the Word we are studying. 

I Cor. 2:10-13 impresses upon us the importance of the revelation and teaching by the Holy Spirit, “Bur God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea the deep things of God.  For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but by the Spirit of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches, comparing Spiritual things with Spiritual.”

There is power in the Word of God which actually changes a life.  It brings in the light to our souls.  It shows us the way to walk pleasing to God.  It brings Spiritual growth into our lives. 


Eph. 4:12-15 says that God gave different ministries to lead and teach the believers more depth of the Word of God. Verse 12 states, “For the perfecting of the saints. For the work of the ministry, for the edification of the body of Christ.” It tells us that God wants us to grow past babyhood, where we are unstable and are easily “tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.” 

Verse 13 says, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” 

This is the only way we will learn to follow the true teachings of God (or doctrine) is to study and learn what that doctrine really is.  This is called “being established in the Lord.” The Lord wants us to be an adult Christian, who follows the Lord, and is an example to others.

If you are young in the Lord and don’t understand how to study and want further explanation, feel free to ask an older Christian for help. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Eph. 6:10


Earlene Davis

Promised reward to Philadelphia.

Rev. 3:10-12, “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…Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast…Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God…and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven… and I will write upon him my new name.”

The overcomers are waiting and watching patiently for His coming and the Lord will keep them from the tribulation period. Like Smyrna overcomers, they have a crown. Also He will make them a pillar in the temple of God. To most of the others we read, “I will give.” But these overcomers become an established part of God’s sanctuary, because they have been established by Paul’s gospel and have been pillars, support, for other people to lean on. They grew and became strong. 

Also “I will write upon them the name of by God” – identified with God as to His nature and person, having His family name. “And the name of the city of my God, New Jerusalem. Not only citizens, but they will bear the name of the city. Rev. 21:2, New Jerusalem “coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” “I will write upon him my new name.” Christ’s bride will bare His new name. 

Laodicea overcomer’s reward - Rev. 3:21, “…To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” When Christ sat down with His Father, He did not sit as an equal. Heb. 2:8, “But now we see not yet all things put under him.” Acts 2:34, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.” 

These saints will sit with Him, but not rule conjointly. It will cost these saints something to overcome the Laodicean condition. We see a distinction in the different rewards to these different groups. All are overcomers of the conditions in Christendom of their time, but some are full overcomers and He is not going to give the careless and indifferent the same reward as devoted ones. That would make Christ to be an unrighteous judge.

Seven times Christ has said to these churches, “I know thy works,” and seven time “will I” or “I will reward.” He will reward according to our works of faith out of love to Him. We read in I Cor. 15:41-42, “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:”

I Cor. 15:22-23, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” 


Debra Isenbletter, Pastor
Christian Assembly
Springfield, Missouri

Jonah 3:9 “Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

In this verse we see a testimony of faith and hope, these two cannot be separated. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb.11:1) They were willing to believe the impossible, There were three different things that they hoped for that moved them and motivated them to take the actions they did, both individually and nationally.

First Hope: They believed God’s Compassion. “Who can tell if God will turn and repent.” They had a glimmer of hope.  They did not “know” for certain how Jonah’s God would react or act because they had done something no one expected. They had expressed both sorrow and repentance. Jonah certainly did not expect it. It was completely unexpected, and it was unprecedented.  

“if God will turn” shows that they thought that God might “turn” back from doing what Jonah had declared. That was amazing faith.  It showed that they believed that judgment was certain. It showed that they wanted to believe that mercy was possible. “and repent” shows that they understood that Jonah’s God could feel compassion and pity,  and that He could change His mind. They had repented, they had changed their mind because of fear of judgment.  They hoped Jonah’s God would change His mind concerning judgment because of their faith in that judgment. They hoped that their faith would cause Him to feel compassion and pity for them.  I do not know how the gods of Assyria were portrayed but it does not seem likely that they were known for compassion or pity. This idea that a deity might even feel compassion may have been a radical concept to them. That is an amazing amount of faith and hope from a pagan nation and a pagan heart.  

Others have asked this question, “Who can tell” which reveals faith and hope.  Three examples are David, Joel and Jeremiah.  David fasted and wept and prayed when his child was dying  and said, “Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me that the child might live.” (2Sa.12:22). Joel pleaded with God’s people to fast and weep and repent and turn back to God and his encouragement was “Who knoweth if he will return and repent and leave a blessing behind him” (Joel 2:12-14). Jeremiah boldly states that if a nation that has been judged by the Lord will repent  and turn from evil that the Lord will do the same. He will withdraw that judgment, “I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.” (Jer.18:8). In these examples there is a mutual turning away, man first and God next. In Jonah it is the Gentiles that do this not the Jews and they will later shame God’s people with their faith.

Second Hope: They believed in God’s Mercy. This is the next step of faith that hope lays hold of. It is that judgment might be averted.  The phrase “and turn away” is also translated “turn back from (evil)” with an emphasis on the evil. Their hope is God will “turn away” or “turn back from evil. Of course the evil from their perspective is  the devastating judgment of the city.  

God could choose to step back from the point of no return. He will do this, but it will only be a temporary reprieve. The reason it will be temporary is that their repentance is only temporary, it did not last.  But the fact that He does step back is a wonderful picture of His Grace and a lesson for Israel.

Nahum prophesies to Judah about the destruction of Nineveh.  His prophesy is written more than one hundred years after Jonah’s ministry.  The ten tribes had been conquered by Assyria, only the two tribes are left.  Nineveh is just as evil, as when Jonah walked through the gates of the city and prophesied to them.  They had a reprieve that lasted a long time. When Nahum prophesies concerning Assyria’s destruction, it is not to them, it is to Judah, God’s people.  Nineveh had their chance with Jonah. Either those that had repented did not pass their knowledge on to their children or it only lasted for a short time.  

God’s “fierce anger” shows the violence of His emotion and His judgment. It is a righteous anger against, their “wickedness” (1:1); their “evil way” (3:8) and their “violence” (3:8).  His judgment equals that anger and it is hot.  Sometimes God’s “fierce anger” reaches people when nothing else will.  They knew why God was angry and they were afraid.  It is a mystery that they understood that God’s anger could be turned away because Jonah did not seem to preach this. Israel understood that iniquity could be forgiven and their sins covered (Psa.85:2-3) but Nineveh did not understand or know this. Their sins had not been covered by a sacrifice. After they were spared we do not read that they asked Jonah to tell them about greater truths about his God. We do not read that Jonah even considered doing this. Yet God takes the knowledge they had and accepts it and spares them. That is Amazing Grace. They picture those that have a degree of faith, that repent briefly but not permanently.  They have a conviction but did not seem to have a conversion. There needs to be both. Yet God spares them, gives them an opportunity and if they truly had a desire to know more, I believe God would have told Jonah to speak to them deeper truths.  

Third Hope: They believed in God’s Deliverance. “that we perish not.” This was their greatest fear, that they would be destroyed. They are like the sailors in the storm that did not want to perish. They believed this would happen but they also believed that this might be stopped.  Because of their fear they had a measure of faith that God accepted and that Jesus would use later to show Israel’s lack of faith (Mat.12:41).  Grace accepts their faith though it did not last.  Just because their faith was temporary did not diminish the value or importance of it. It is still a testimony of the power of the Word of God. This is an example of the power of faith and grace and it does not matter who shows it. Their faith and hope points forward to what the Gentiles would later do.  Paul writes we are “saved by hope” (Rom.8:24) and that is hope in God’s mercy, and God’s sacrifice. This is the substance of Paul’s wonderful gospel of grace: That Gentiles who believe by faith receive mercy (Rom.9:25). That the Remnant who will believe by faith receive mercy (Rom.9:26-27). The offer is to all who believe, no matter how terrible their background, how wicked the sin.  Grace offers mercy and in the last verse of this chapter we see a visible manifestation of God’s grace in action.

 God’s Timing and Purposes – Ecc. 3:1-8

Part 10

Pastor Vicky Moots
Kingman, Kansas

Ecc. 3:5b: “…a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.”  To “embrace” means to “clasp in the arms, usually in an expression of affection or desire, to hug.”  It can also mean “to accept readily, to encircle with the arms or to cling to.”  This can refer to embracing people, things, ideas or actions.

Let’s start with the thought of embracing people.  We usually hug people whom we care about to show them that we love them.  Currently, during this pandemic, we have been told to refrain from embracing and to practice social distancing to avoid spreading the virus.  But I feel that this lack of closeness with other people has partially contributed to the mistrust and civil unrest that we have seen recently in our nation.

Jesus expressed His love for the little children who were brought to Him by their parents in Mark 10:16, where it says, “…he took them up in his arms, put his hands on them, and blessed them.”  The disciples thought that Jesus would not take the time to be bothered by them, but He showed them that it was “a time to embrace” children because they were important to Him, and they should be important to us also.  Our children need to be embraced and taught to embrace Jesus while they are young.

We find a more intimate type of embracing described in S.O.S. 2:6, which is a picture of the spiritual relationship of Christ and His bride: “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.” The Lord desires to be so close to us that there is nothing between us in our relationship with Him as He holds us securely with His strong right arm.

Oh, how we need to let His arms encircle us and embrace us tightly today in this troubled world so that we may be at peace.  But we also need to seek that intimate place of closeness with Him as our Bridegroom.  That is the place which the apostle Paul stated in II Cor. 11:2 was his desire for us as believers: “…for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”  Are you willing to accept that espousal?  Now is the time to embrace Christ as your preeminent love, to cling to Him and His Word instead of the things of this world.

What other things should we embrace? Solomon instructs us in Prov. 4:7-8 to embrace wisdom: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom…she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.”  True wisdom comes from above, not from man.  We are to encircle wisdom with our arms and tightly cling to it.  Jesus Himself is the personification of wisdom, and so is the Word, for Jesus is the Word.  When we lay hold of God’s Word, it will bring us to honour and not to shame.

We can also embrace those things which we cannot see, but which God has promised.  They may be future but can become real to us now by faith, as we read in Heb. 11:13: “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them…”

Many people today doubt that Jesus will come again, saying, “…Where is the promise of his coming...” (II Peter 3:4).  But we can eagerly embrace it as if it were to happen today, as Peter tells us in II Pet. 3:8-9: “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward…”

Now, what about the things that we should not embrace? When is it a time to refrain from embracing? Jesus embraced sinners, not with His arms, but with His love.  However, He did not embrace their actions.  He told them to “go and sin no more.”  We should follow His example in embracing them with our love.  We can associate with them, as He did, but we must be careful not to become associated with their lifestyle while we witness to them.  We should socially distance ourselves from even the appearance of evil.

In conclusion, is there ever a time for Christians to refrain from embracing each other? We love to embrace our spiritual brothers and sisters at church and fellowship meetings, but we can be sure that Satan is looking for any opportunity to cause us to stumble or for our actions to be evil spoken of.  Embracing the opposite sex can be looked upon by unbelievers as an intimate gesture and be taken the wrong way.

Embracing means any encircling of the arm which would include coming alongside a person and placing your arm around the back of their neck to their opposite shoulder.  Even innocent physical contact can be construed as sexual in nature.  This is one reason why Paul warned Christian men in I Cor. 7:1, stating, “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”  

Billy Graham was so careful concerning this that he would not even enter an elevator if there was a woman in it alone, in order that he could not be falsely accused of touching a woman.  He avoided slander of any kind in his ministry by following Paul’s advice.

The proper “time to embrace” is in the presence of other believers, and the “time to refrain from embracing” is any time or any place where the motive for your actions could be misinterpreted as more than just a friendly hug.  Therefore, I would suggest to all Christian men that before you hug a woman at church, you should ask her permission first, and it should never take place in a room where you are alone with her.  

By taking these precautions, you will be following Paul’s wise counsel in Rom. 14:16: “Let not your good be evil spoken of.”

Please be assured that nothing that I have said was intended to keep us from expressing our Christian love to each other by hugging.  It is only to say that there is “a time to embrace” and “a time to refrain from embracing,” as Solomon had stated so many years ago.


Earlene Davis

Jesus tell us in John 14, “I go to prepare a place for you and I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also – Vs. 2-3. Acts 1:9, When Jesus ascended to heaven, two angels told the disciples “this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Titus 2:13, “Looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.

When Jesus comes for His saints, is called the ‘rapture.’ The Greek word is ‘parousia’ or His protracted presence that covers a period of time. It will be bodily and personal. I Thess. 4:13-18, “This we say unto you by the word of the Lord…The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” Caught up together, the Rapture.

I Cor. 15:51-52, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”  Phil. 3:20-21, “…we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” I John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” We will have a glorified body like unto His glorious body.

If there is a last trump sound (I Cor. 15:52), there must be a first and so on.  I Cor. 15:22-23, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” The Greek word for “order” is a military term meaning ‘rank.’ So it reads, “every man in his own rank.

Our Apostle Paul informs us that we all are running the race course, but one (group) receives the Prize. I Cor. 9:24-27, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (or disapproved).


Phil. 3:12-14, Paul says, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” V. 8 tells us the Prize is Christ, Himself.

In the book of Revelation, we read of three ranks of the Church taken up at differ times. The first rank is in chapters 4 & 5, they are in the throne room of heaven viewing Christ taking His throne. They are described as the 4 living ones and the 25 elders. These are not angels, but redeemed humans from every kindred, tongue, people and nation – chapter 4:9. V. 10 tells us, they have let the Spirit work in their lives, making them kings and priests unto God. They are kept out of the tribulation period because they kept the word of Christ patience – chapter 3:10. A special promise to the overcomers of the Church.

We read of another rank of saints in the 7th chapter. It is an innumerable company, so large they can not be numbered. They were not kept out, but they come out of tribulation days. Rev. 7:beginning with V. 9, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” 

V. 13, “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (the tears of tribulation).

There is a 3rd rank of the Church seen in heaven in chapter 14, The 144,000 out of Israel. V. 1, “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” V. 3, “And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four living ones, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” 

Mk. 13:32, Jesus said, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father (only).” Acts 1:7, “it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” But we can know when it is near, for the Lord has given us signs (I Tim. 4:1 and II Tim. 3:1-5, also Mt. 24:5-8, “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 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.  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” We live in this time, and all this is leading up to the tribulation. I want to be of the number that is kept out.


David Beck, Pastor
Grace and Glory Chapel
Sedalia, Missouri

Recently as I was thinking about praying for different ones, these thoughts came to mind.

……..For the lost, that they will accept Christ and be    

Born Again, entering into the family of God.

……..For the saved, that they will accept more of the

         Truth and be filled with the power of the 

  Holy Ghost.

……..For those who are Spirit-filled, that they will run

the race to win Christ as Bridegroom.

……..For those who are already running, that they will 

not lose focus on the Prize.

……..And……..For each other, as long as there is still

  time to pray.

Ephesians 6:18, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”


“Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.”  Psalm 124:8

“I will lift up the cup of Salvation and deliverance, and call on the Name of the Lord.”  Psalm 116:13

“For of this I am confident, that He who has begun a good work within you will go-on to perfect it in preparation for the day of Jesus Christ.”  Philippians 1:6


“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”  Hebrews 13:20-21

“So too the Holy Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.” Romans 8:26 Amp.

Martha Wainwright

Saturday, October 1, 2022


Jack Davis

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” Col. 1:18.

A most precious truth is before us in this text. Jesus Christ has always been the Father’s thought and theme. The Bible is all about Him. The eternal preeminence of our dear Lord over all except One, the Father Himself, flows through the Scripture. “He must reign” - I Cor. 15:24-28. When all things have been subdued unto the Son, then will Jesus Himself be subject unto the Father. The word translated preeminence has the thought of superior rank. Jesus stands first, occupies the foremost or chief place, for He alone of all humanity is supreme in everything and every respect.

Three words in this verse give special emphasis, expression or meaning to the thought of his preeminence.

“Head” is used metaphorically of Christ in relation to His authority and direction of redeemed humanity, the Church, and of the husband in relation to the wife. I Cor. 11:3. God has set Him far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. Eph. 1:21; 4:15 & 5:23.

“Beginning” speaks of Him that is denoted to be first as ruler, and origin. Not only the start of a new creation, but also in God’s purpose and provision, it’s ultimate consummation.

“Firstborn” seems to indicate our Lord’s superiority of position even more than His priority. 

It is evident that many that are attracted to the “Bridal” message, get focused on different aspects of this special company. It is good and important that the Bridal characteristics be recognized, and better yet realized. We do well to rejoice in those traits being developed by Him, of Him, in us. Praise God!

Let us not be unaware that the lofty place, the highest possible for redeemed glorified humanity is to be gained by laying low at our Redeemer’s feet. If any are going to reign with Him, we must be reigning now in life. Such reigning is only possible by allowing Him to reign in our life. Let us now honor Him as King on the throne of our heart.

Shall we get focused on bridehood, that may lead to pridehood, or rather on the bridegroom who will bring us into the throne room? Jesus Christ as bridegroom is offered as the Prize of the high calling. It is possible to miss winning Him, by getting more occupied with a prestigious place, a gloriously exalted position, than being centered on God’s preeminent Person, our dear Lord Jesus Christ.

As we view that most attractive couple correctly, He will always be Chief to her, and she is His choice. Song of Sol. 5:10 & 6:9. True Bridal saints would not have it any other way. 

Let no man beguile you of your reward (rob you of the Prize)…by “not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and not together, increaseth with the increase of God.” Col. 2:18-19. There are those forgetting to retain, failing to maintain the proper scripture relation with Him, not clinging to or practically apprehending Him. Does such as these continue to honor Christ as their personal Head?

Paul speaks of those there in verse eighteen as being “vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” We read that love vaunteth not itself. “For this I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits” Rom. 12:3,16.

Paul admonishes us to cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…II Cor. 10:5. He also admonished “Let this same mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” Phil. 2:5. He encourages us to think as Jesus thought, as our example of true humility. It is our privilege to have His attitude or disposition. Jesus didn’t cling to His prerogatives as God’s equal. No one else could leave such a lofty, glorious, exalted position, or give up such wealth, nor come to such poverty, as did our glorious Lord. Who else could descend to such depths to reach and deliver such depraved filthy vulgar polluted worms?

Our adversary did just the opposite. Ezekiel tells us that He set his heart as the heart of God, that his heart was lifted up. Read Eze. 28:1-17. He said in his heart, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” He also said “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” Isa. 14:14.

When the serpent beguiled Eve, did he not appeal to her intellectual pride? He said, “Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as god’s, knowing good and evil” Gen. 3:4. Do we believe that she would have been wise to have referred Satan to her head, Adam? Should she not have taken direction from him? Well, Thank God! We may now eat of the tree of life, because our Head Jesus Christ has tasted death for every man.

I am often thrilled with the truth that comes to our hearts from scripture as Rom. 8:16-18; II Tim. 2:11-13; Rom. 12:1-5; Col. 3:10; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 4:13-15 and I Jn. 3:1-3. For being made like Jesus is a marvelous work. A special blessing may be enjoyed from Rom. 8:29 but does this tell us that the full overcomer will be Jesus’ equal in authority, honor, power and glory? Does this mean that Christ’s bride will be His equal, identical with no degree of difference? Individually, or corporately?

God has ordained that many sons be brought to glory. Jesus will have many brethren like Himself, yet distinct and distinguishable. These sons molded into his image will share inwardly His likeness, and radiate outwardly His glory, but the eternal purpose is also that He be the first-born among many brethren. Who but Jesus could fulfill better the eternal purpose in full measure, the true meaning of the firstborn, first begotten, firstfruits?

Who will cease to bow before God’s triumphant Son in that eternal state? Oh, there is going to be a wedding to top all weddings! But will submission to His entire preeminence cease after the wedding? What will those seated on thrones be doing as well as reigning? Will His bride ever cease to fall down and rejoice in His presence? I think not. What will the full overcomers do with their crowns? What will the “Bridegroom” do with His?

However high He may raise us, He will never stop being “Head” above His body or His bride. His uplifted body, all of it exalts the Head, even the neck. He shall never cease to be King of all those being kings and Lord of all those being lords.

 He’s All I Need

Gordon Crook – Pastor 
Wichita, Kansas

He’s all I need, when I just need someone to talk to. He’s always there to hear my prayer each time I call Him. All my needs He supplies, my thirsty soul He satisfies. He’s the Lord of lords. He’s all I need. (First stanza of a song by Genelle Tennant.

Sometimes we sing our hymns without really paying attention to the words and what they really mean. Singing the words is much easier than living them. Paul lived the words that he wrote in his epistles.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13. Paul reminds us that everything he needed, he would find in Jesus. Even though he found himself in situations of real need, he was always content, whatever his state, because he found his true supply in Jesus.

We are often encouraged to lean on ourselves, or maybe even on others, and that might make us feel better. While sometimes there are others that God will use to help us, we must always first look to our Lord for everything in our lives. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” Psalm 62:5. God is the only one that has proven Himself to always be faithful, and to always be there for us. “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.” Hebrews 13:5.

Satan will convince us that the world can offer us everything we need, and that we need all that it has to offer. However, we will never be able to be content as long as we search for contentment in this world and all that it offers. No amount of money, fame, titles, or anything else will ever be enough. The longing that exists in us is for God, and only He can fill it. “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;” Psalms 63:1 “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:19

There is an imminent danger for all of God’s people that Satan is desperately attempting to attack our minds to convince us that what God has told us in His Word is not true. To convince us that we can be in control of our own destiny and have no need of our Lord. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” 11 Peter 5:8. Paul says this about unbelieving humanity: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:21. Satan is not looking to literally “devour” us, but rather to destroy our fellowship with our Lord; to get us to believe that we do not need God.

The solution to this problem is found in James 4:7-8, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” Drawing near to God. He really is all we need. 

This problem is not only about needing God to supply our material needs, but recognizing that we need our Lord in every aspect of our lives. He supplies our needs in every way. We also are not attempting to create some kind of lazy attitude about our lives. I go to work every day to provide for my life, but I recognize that God provides me the job, and enables me to accomplish my work, and supplies my needs through that. As soon as I begin to believe what the world is telling me about my ability and what I deserve because of my effort, I am shutting God out and it is a lie, because I cannot do anything without my Lord.

This is true about every aspect of my life. I need Jesus for everything that comes my way. And in fact, Jesus is all I need. If Jesus is first in my life, then all other things will fall in their place and be sufficient, because Jesus is sufficient.

Don’t let the world convince you that you are sufficient unto yourself, as you will miss out on the very best that God has for you. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5.


Anita Clark – Pastor 
Grace Chapel, Carbondale, KS

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and you shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.  And I will be found of you, saith the LORD...” Jeremiah 29:11-14.

These beautiful verses were given to Israel with God’s promise to help them and work His will in them, and for them.  However, these beautiful assuring words are also very encouraging to us.  The word “thoughts” found  here has a beautiful meaning referring to God’s plan for each of His people.  Further explanation of the meaning is: “a scheme, strategy, blueprint or map, a cunning plan.” Our God is not helter-skelter, but working according to the Plan, “His thoughts toward us.”

Before the foundation of the world, His thoughts were upon us.  Ephesians 1:3-6 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all Spiritual Christ. He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame, ... predestined us to adoption (son placing) by Jesus Christ... To the praise and glory of His grace and made us accepted in the Beloved (Christ).” His divine thoughts were upon us before time.

I Corinthians 2:14, states, “The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned...” Paul goes ahead to say in verse 15, “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him?  But we have the mind of Christ.” The word “mind” speaking here of Christ’s mind, means in the Greek, ‘the intellect of Christ, divine thought, feeling or will.’ When we are saved and are yielded to the Holy Spirit, we have the mind of Christ. His thoughts are toward us.  What kind of thoughts?  ”Thoughts of peace, thoughts of love.” Our God is love.

The whole Psalms 33 is a great blessing if read all the way through, however one verse stands out (V. 11) which says, “The counsel of the LORD standeth forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations.”  The Scripture says. “God is good.” Everything God allows into our lives will work good for us.  Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” God allows everything for our Spiritual growth, everything for our blessing,” even the corrections in our lives is for our good.


No one thinks more often about us than God does.  Psalms 40:5 tells us, “Many, O LORD, my God are...thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto Thee… They are more than can be numbered.” Psalms 139:17 says, “How precious...are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them.”  Psalms 33:11 says, The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever; the thoughts of His heart to all generations.”  Everything God thinks about us is for our good, and for our growth, for our blessing, and even for our correction, and even that is good.

The first verses we have considered in Jeremiah 29, we have the phrase concerning the Lord “giving us an expected end.”  The words, “to give” mean “to bestow, bring forth, restore, to pay.”  This is what God does for the person who has a willing heart.  The Lord Jesus said, in Matthew 7:11, “If ye being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him.”

The essence of this message is: He is watching over you - You are constantly in His thoughts. His plan is being worked in each of your lives.  You will be blessed if you commit your way to the Lord and trust also in Him, and He will direct your path. “ The path of the just is as a shining light that shineth more and more unto a perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18.


Earlene Davis

Personal Lessons in Christ’s letters
to the seven Churches – Rev. 2 & 3.

The promised reward to Thyatira overcomers is in Rev. 2:26-28 - “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.”

Dispensationally they speak of those who endure tribulation and will reign over the earth. We could say, they are the foot portion of the mystical body of Christ. Zec. 14:4, “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem…” All believers will reign with Christ in some measure, but some in a lesser way. 

V. 28, “And I will give him the morning star.” Coming out of the darkest hour they will behold His light. Christ is to them as the morning star, the promise of a brighter day – the millennium. Mal. 4:1, “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven…But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings…” 

The 5 foolish virgins of Mt. 25 correspond with these overcomers. They were not able to go into the marriage supper of the Lamb (the door of translation was shut) and they dwell on the earth.

Let us move on to the Sardis overcomers. Rev. 3:4-5, “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” 

They are saved, clothed with Christ’s righteousness. The overcomers out of that condition, hold to His name in spite of where they are. Do you have loved ones who are saved, but not yielded to the Lord. Be comforted, “The Lord knoweth them that are his” II  Tim. 2:19. They belong to Him, He purchased them with His own blood. In spite of all the social preaching and error in Christendom, they accepted Christ. He will say, these are my people. 

Next issue: The reward promised Philadelphia and Laodicean overcomers.


Debra Isenbletter, Pastor
Christian Assembly
Springfield, Missouri

Jonah 3:8 “But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 

Here we see how fear can unite a people. They have a common fear, their destruction.  They have a common goal, to try to stop their destruction.  The king and nobles make three additional decrees that the people can do to try to avert the danger.

National Sorrow: “But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth.”  Following the fasting, the king adds something else, he asks them to do what he is doing. He asks every man, every woman, every child, everyone to show their sorrow visibly. Not so he can see it but so that Jonah’s God can see it. Not only is this visible expression of sorrow, and not only is this sackcloth to be worn by the people but also by all the animals. This is such a visible picture of man’s control over creation, how these animals are subject to man and suffer because of man.  Whether they were cattle or sheep or goats or horses or any other domestic animals, man used them and often abused them. It must have been a sight to walk around the city and see not only people but animals covered with sackcloth, but also to hear the animals crying out because they were hungry and thirsty.  

National Prayer: “and cry mightily unto God.” The word “mightily” means “with force, with vehemence.” This was not a weak cry, it was a strong cry, it was a loud cry, it was a desperate cry.  It is an urgent cry.  It was a cry that was heard throughout the city. They cried unto Jonah’s God, they did not cry unto their own gods.  “God” (Elohim) is the “strong one,” the “supreme Deity.”  They cried unto the True God not to false gods. The word “God” (Elohim) is plural and that shows that there is an abundance of power and strength available to draw from, and the source of God’s strength is inexhaustible. It is plural is a hint of the Trinity which will be revealed in the New Testament.   But what is striking is that they cried out unto God just as Jonah had done when he was in desperate circumstances. Jonah had said: “I cried by reason of mind affliction unto the Lord.” (Jonah 2:2) If Jonah could cry out unto God, why could they not cry out also? They took a leap of faith when they did this.

National Repentance: “yea, let them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.”  Let “them” do this. Let “everyone” do this.  The king must do this. The nobles must do this. The people must do this. All must examine their lives. All are guilty of evil and all must acknowledge that guilt and turn away from that evil. In their turning they are both turning away from something and turning toward Someone. This is not about returning to God because they never knew God but they can turn to God. What grace!  Each individual must do this, each must examine their own life, not the lives of others. The king cannot do it for the people and the people cannot do it for the king. Each must see their own sin, acknowledge it, repent of it and turn away from it.  

True repentance brings a changed behavior and a transformed life.  True repentance brings forth fruit.  The Lord Jesus says, “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.” (Mat.3:8). Another translation is: “So produce fruit that is consistent with repentance [demonstrating new behavior that proves a change of heart, and a conscious decision to turn away from sin.] (Amplified Bible). True repentance will produce works.  Paul writes concerning the Gentiles, that after they hear the gospel, that they should “do works meet for repentance” (Act.26:20).

They needed to turn from their “evil way”, once they see that evil. That behavior was a way of life, until Jonah’s message, they may never have realized how evil their lives were. This is the testimony of the old creation.  Paul tells us in Romans that they were already evil by nature because they had rejected God and that evil just grew.  They had “changed the glory of the incorruptible God” (Rom.1:23).  They had “changed the truth of God” (Rom.1:25).  Because of that rejection of God who had revealed Himself to them through creation, God judged them in ways they did not even realize.  He “gave them up” (Rom.1:24) and He “gave them over” (Rom.1:28) to those evil ways.  They were already filled with all that was evil and it was revealed in all their actions (Rom.1:28-32).  

The definition for evil can be very specific, as in specific acts or actions but that evil is also something else, it has consequences.  The word evil can also mean “giving pain” or “causing misery.” That is something the Assyrians certainly did in their treatment of other nations.  Jonah forces them to confront this evil behavior, he calls it “the violence of their hands.” This is the violence that they practiced and it can also mean that violence was their chief sin.  Paul describes this behavior in his photograph of the old creation when he says “Their feet are swift to shed blood” and “Destruction and misery are in their ways” (Rom.3:15-16).  When I researched the Assyrian culture and practices one of the statements that stood out was that “Cruelty was the instrument of Assyrian control.”  It is how they controlled the nations they conquered.  The details are horrific and the cruelty unbelievable and Jonah’s message must have reminded them of this and their conscience was convicted by the deeds done that hurt others.

This is such a powerful lesson on the response to the Word of God.  It is a picture of the conviction of a sinner’s heart.