Saturday, April 1, 2023


Part 2

Jack Davis


“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” Luke 9:23-24

We each have our own responsibility that the Lord gives the members of His body. “But let every man prove his own work, then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.” Gal. 6:4-5. It is good that each individual count it a privilege to be faithful in his personal task. Those that will not deny themselves, will find self occupation too heavy a load to also bear another’s weight. The weight of a dead man is far too much to carry, daily. 

Jesus said, “My yoke is easy, my burden is light.” Paul said I count the things gain to me, loss for Christ. When Jesus said, “Follow me” He was on His way to the cross and death, but praise God, from death unto life everlasting he passed and we follow him there. What a wonderful and comforting promise we find in Deut. 33:25 – “as thy days so shall thy strength be.” However many or long our days may be, whatever each day may contain in events, circumstances, trying situations, daily vexing detours or exceeding joys, we are to find in Him sufficient strength.

Paul said, “I die daily” – I Cor. 15:30-31. He also said that he carried a daily care of the churches – II Cor. 11:28. He spoke of the life of Christ being manifest in our mortal bodies, and “to live is Christ, and die is gain.” As a living sacrifice Paul’s life was poured out unto the Lord, and flowed out in service unto the people.


“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah” Psalm 68:19. From other translations we get the thought of blessing the Lord for daily sustaining us, bearing our burdens and winning for us the victory. Who can tell all the benefits, or number them every day? He has indeed a special load ready for us to pick up daily. What shall we say? Oh, well, I’ll just skip what the Lord has for me today. I’ll pick it up tomorrow. Who can guarantee that there will be the same availability tomorrow or that we will have the same need? It doesn’t seem that He would have us satisfied with leftovers or go on yesterdays load. Of course on occasion He could give us a meal like He fed Elijah, once.


“Give us day by day our daily bread” Luke 11:3. We may live from hand to mouth, His hand to our mouth. Whether we need natural or spiritual nourishment, He would have us ask, look to him, and expect from him, daily. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God”– Luke 4:4. Oh, I thank God more and more for His beneficial words of life.

What does it seem that people are most likely to complain or murmur about? Is it food and drink? I am afraid that God’s people are far more consistent in murmuring than in gathering divine provisions. There were problems in Israel’s history, Exodus 16, and also in the early church that they had to deal with, when complaints were made about the service– Acts 6:1. Israel, having come out of Egyptian bondage it seems that some of them still hand an appetite for Egyptian cuisine, Leeks and garlic. “And the children of Israel said unto them, would to God we had died at the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full, for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger” – Ex. 16:3.

Well, God heard their complaints, opened the windows of heaven, and poured out for them their daily victuals morning and evening, manna and quail. The supply was absolutely sufficient for the multitude of that nation. The one main stipulation was that they were to go out and gather daily each day’s supply, every man according to His eating. On the sixth day they were to gather two day’s supply, and rest on the Sabbath. They could take what they would want or need, but, like we tell our children, eat what you take.

The bread from heaven typified our precious Lord Jesus Christ in His wondrous condescension. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world”– Jn. 6:47-52. As the true bread from heaven Jesus has given us not just to hold to as a theory, but we are to assimilate all that we receive of him for practical use. He wants to meet the whole need we have for Him, every day. It is our sweet privilege to enter into the preciousness of Christ as the bread of life, day after day.


“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so”– Acts 17:11. It is so very important how receptive we are to the word of life, written or spoken. To be attentive to God’s precious Word is to experience marvelous changes of it’s effectual working in all those who truly believe- I Thess. 2:13. David said, O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the  man that trusteth in Him– Psa. 34:8. Peter said, “If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious”– I Pet. 2:3.

Elihu told Job and his comforters, “Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that hath knowledge. For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat”– Job 34:2-3. Job said, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food”– Job 23:12. An important attitude was manifested in those at Berea. They not only had a readiness of mind, but were studious, searching the scripture, daily. Paul told the saints at Thessolonica, “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good” – I Thess. 5:20-21. As we feed on the whole counsel of God, daily we will develop a healthy appetite for the rightly divided word of truth. We then will know better than to try to satisfy ourselves with religious junk food, or hog’s husks.

We do well to gather all we can during this Age of Grace. It will soon be over. Let us now appropriate and share what we take in daily while it is alive in us and to us. The Hebrews were told, But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” – Heb. 3:13. Let us urge, encourage, admonish each other every day, reminding ourselves of the imminence of that glorious event upon us, as protection, and prevention against hardness in both the exhorted and the exhorter. GOOD DAILY BUSINESS.

 Believe It Or Not

Gordon Crook, Pastor
Grace Assembly, Wichita, Kansas

There was a show called “Ripley’s Believe it or Not,” and also a museum by the same name. They have collected many things that are hard to believe. Ripley was intrigued by things that seemed hard to believe. Sometimes, even after seeing them with our own eyes, we wonder if they are really true. It is our nature to be skeptical of things we are not familiar with or have not seen with our own eyes.

God has called on us to believe His Word. Even though we cannot see God, with our natural eyes, we take Him at His Word. Why would I want to do that? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. In verse 6 we are told that “without faith, it is impossible to please God.” Those that come to God must do so in faith, believing. So, faith is the very basis of our relationship with God. We believe God’s Word, because we have seen that it is true and that He keeps His promises.

None of us has seen God at any time, and so we must believe, by faith in His Word, that He is God. We must believe by faith, that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die in our place, and to forgive us our sins. We must accept by faith the free salvation which God offers us. But that is not all. We must also continue by faith to walk with God in close fellowship. We will not enjoy the fulness of what God has to offer, until we accept it by faith.

In His Word, God tells us about the things that He has done, and the things that He will do. We see that God is ABLE to DO, and always DOES what He says He will do. When we read about God’s faithfulness in the past, the Holy Spirit increases our faith in God for the future. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17.

So, when God makes promises to us about our future, we can take Him at His Word, and simply believe. God has made many great and precious promises to those that believe on Jesus Christ as their Saviour. “... Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: ...” 2 Peter 1:4. These promises present us with a great hope. “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel” Colossians 1:5. 

One of those promises is found in Romans 8:17 “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” This promise is hard to believe. It is beyond our imagination to understand what it could mean to be glorified together with Jesus. Well, I choose to believe it and am incredibly grateful for what God is doing in my life.

God deals with us according to His Word. We cannot expect to know about God’s dealings without reading and studying His Word. As we begin to understand God’s way of dealing with us, our faith will increase, because we will see that He is doing just what He said, and that even the suffering here is working right now in lives of those that yield to Him. “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.

As we read God’s Word more, we come to realize the immensity of His promises, and they might seem hard to believe, but our faith increases with each time we read. So, spending time in the Word of God is important because it is also how we are “beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord.” 

When we spend too much time in the things of the world, it can tend to diminish our faith. That is one reason that we gather together in church to take in God’s Word and encourage one another. However, church should not be the only place we hear God’s Word. We need to study every day to let God speak to us and increase our faith. We can read and study anytime. Also, so that we can have fellowship with others of like faith. It is very important to be in church at every opportunity that we get.


Anita Clark – Pastor
Grace Chapel, Carbondale, Kansas

“For we are labourers together with God, ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation and another buildeth thereon.  But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” I Corinthians 3:9-10.

Apostle Paul is the “wise masterbuilder” (Vs.10).  In verse 9, we see that we “are God’s building” which means, “God’s structure.”  Apostle Paul was the wise master builder.  God appointed him to bring forth the message of GRACE, which is the very important means to produce in the believers the growth which is needed to be established and ready to reign with Christ one of these days very soon.  God gave the ability to Apostle Paul as he wrote the fourteen epistles to various churches while he was here on earth. God is “the ultimate master builder,” but He used Apostle Paul to write the message of truth down.  How blessed we are to have these wonderful epistles available for us.

In Philippians 2:13-16, says, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” He Has a divine blueprint. Note this phrase, “His good pleasure.” It pleases the Father when we walk in the Spirit and yield to the working of God in our lives. He gets much pleasure when He sees us “presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice” to Him and His will (Rom.12:1). What He is creating is beautiful and perfect!  Our part is to let Him work.  Apostle Paul is our example of letting God do His work in us, as he went through many trials.

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work, to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever” (Heb.13:20-21).  Notice the words in Vs 21 “make you perfect.”  This phrase means in the Greek, “to complete throughly.” Notice- it is “in every good work.”  We are ordained to do good works, this is what God has called us to do. This is the manifestation of the life of Christ which dwells in us, “through Jesus Christ.” He gives us power to overcome and do His will.

“As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you,  as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory; For this cause also thank we God without ceasing because when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the words of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (I Thess. 2:11-13). In I Thess 1:5, it says “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost...”

How Important is God’s Word?  Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”  The Word of God is the only true authority. What you or I think means nothing, if not absolutely in tune with God’s Word.  Apostle Paul admonished in II Timothy 2:15, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” As we believe the Word of God, it works in our lives and changes us. Other things  that work in our lives is found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”  Apostle Paul says in  II Corinthians 4:16-18, “For which cause we faint not, but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Our outward man, our body carries the life of Christ in us, known as “the inner man.”  The inner man (Christ in us) is renewed day by day, as we yield ourselves to God’s working in us. Notice the words “day by day.” This divine work is going on continually, until the Lord comes, or until we go home to Christ by death. There is not one day, as we get up in the morning, that God is not working to change us - day by day (Vs 16).

We have a will.  We must let Him do His work in us.  I always marvel at Paul calling his trials and tribulations a “light affliction.” These tests are “but for a moment.” How can these troubles be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in heaven?  Romans 8:18 says, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  This is the secret of overcoming in our trials and tests - don’t look at these trials, and tests etc.  II Corinthians 4:18, “While we look not at the things which are seen:

Psalms 27:1 says, “The LORD is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid.”  The word “strength” in the Hebrew language means “a fortified place, fortress, rock or stronghold.”  We as humans are weak, we need the strength of our God to get us through life. God helped His people in Bible times in very ample and abundant ways.

When Moses brought Israel out of Egypt, and faced the Red Sea, the armies of Pharaoh were close behind. God caused the waters to go back, and Israel was able to cross over in deliverance.  Exodus 15:1-2, Moses and Israel sang to the LORD, “The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.” In I Samuel 17, we find a young man named David (who later became the king of Israel).  He fought against a great enemy of Israel, Goliath, a giant, a champion of the Philistines. God helped young David win the battle - killing this terribly wicked man, and delivering Israel. I Samuel. 17:47, David said, “...the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you (the giant) into my hands.”

There are many examples in the Bible of people who were in circumstances that seemed to be absolutely impossible to be delivered from, but God delivered by His great strength. In  II Corinthians 12:9, God spoke to Apostle Paul, and said, “My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” – Eph.6:10.


Earlene Davis

I did not set out to teach the book of Revelation at this time. If you wish to study that book, I suggest you find it on the web-sight: I am only hitting the highlights of the book that pertain to future events for the saints of the Church. We have covered the prophecy of the first rank of the Church in heaven. They are taken up to heaven first and are present in the throne room beholding Christ taking His throne.

Christ taking His throne begins His millennial reign                                                 in heaven, but on earth He must first judge the Gentile nations for their opposition to His rule. He must put down all rule and authority that is opposed to Him – I Cor. 15:24-25.  He must take control so it will come to pass that He rules on earth as He does in heaven. Isa. 45:20-25 shall be fulfilled. Also Israel as a nation shall be judged for refusing His Messiahship. A remnant shall be saved, a new creation nation born in a day – Isa. 66:8.

To those who want to read of the tribulation days coming on this earth, will find it in that study of the Book of Revelation. Also details of the Antichrist and false prophet are also in the study of the book of Daniel, also on the web-sight. I will tell you this that the first 8 verses of Rev. 6 are like an index to the remainder of Revelation. Judgments come forth as the seals of the book are opened.

Not all saints were ready when the first rank was taken up, so they will have to taste part of tribulation days. We read of them in chapter 7:9-17. They are a great multitude which no man could number from all nations. They ascend to heaven and seen standing before the throne. They are not joined to the Lamb’s throne as the Living ones, nor on thrones as the Elders, but are in the presence of the throne. They are clothed with white robes, in other words Christ’s righteousness. Having Palms in their hands speaking of victory, rejoicing over their deliverance.

They shout and praise God with a loud voice for their redemption and acknowledge Christ, the Lamb, for their salvation. All the angels circle around them, about the throne with the living ones and elders being in the center. The angels fall down in their faces in adoration and praise beginning and ending with  Amen. “Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen” – V. 12.

One of the elders answered, What are these arrayed in white robes and whence came they? The elder answers saying Sir, thou knowest. These came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb – V. 14. They come out of tribulation days and are caught up to heaven some time during the first half of that hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world. It is not the unspeakable great tribulation of Mt. 24:21 which is the last half of that period called Jacob’s trouble – Jer. 30:7 & Isa. 26:20.

They washed their robes, it could be their garments had been spotted by the flesh? Read Ch. 16:15. Don’t you think missing being caught up in the first rank may have stirred them up to cleanse their robes? I think so. Praise God, they are in heaven, but have no crowns nor thrones, but they are blessed and serve Him day and night V. 15. The Lord is so precious to them, He dwells among them and they enjoy His divine presence. The Greek text reads, He that sitteth on the throne “shall spread his tent upon them (tabernacle over them). 

The Lamb, their Shepherd, will nourish them and they shall hunger no more. He shall lead them to ever-flowing springs of life, they shall thirst no more. Neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Once they felt these things, but sorrow is banished for ever. They will only know the joys of heaven and be fully satisfied. Blessed is the portion of these servants of God.

Differences between the first Rank and this company. The first rank can be numbered and this company is  innumerable. The first rank are kept out of tribulation and arrive first in heaven and view Christ taking His throne. The innumerable company come out of tribulation after Christ is enthroned. The first rank are in and around the throne – the innumerable company stand before the throne in an outer circle. The first rank fell down in worship and sang a new sing, having harps and bowls of incense – the innumerable company stood and cried with a loud voice. The first rank praised God for redemption and His work of making them kings and priests – the innumerable company cried Salvation to our God. The first rank wear crowns and sit on thrones – the innumerable company hold palms in their hands. The first rank are kings and priests and rule and reign with Christ – the innumerable company serve Him day and night.

Do you see the difference? Put Christ first in your life. He can do this work only in yielded saints. I Cor. 9:24, every  believer has been places on this race course. Many run uncertainly, others strive to win Christ and know it is by being in subjection to Him. Submission is the out standing quality of the bride of Christ. She puts Him first in everything. He is the Chief One in Her life. Let us run to win Him, our Beloved Lord.

In this book we read of the overcomers leading in the worship of God and they have specific ministries associated with Christ. They announce the opening of the seals, they sound the 7 trumpets (Ch. 8). They hold the golden bowls containing the 7 last plaques (Chs. 15 & 16. We do not read about the innumerable company again until Ch. 19. They serve at the wedding feast of the Lamb – Ch. 19:5-6. The elders and living ones are mentioned again and again, the last time in Ch. 19:4, as worshipers.

There are at least three rank of the church: 

1. The living ones and 24 elders (Chs. 4 & 5).

2. The innumerable company (Ch. 7:9-17)

 The 144,000 (Ch. 7:1-8) 


Debra Isenbletter, Pastor
Christian Assembly, Springfield, Missouri

Jonah 4:4 – “Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry?” 

The Lord answers Jonah with a single question, which he will repeat after the lesson.  “Then,” shows that the Lord waits until Jonah finishes, He does not interrupt, He does not stop Jonah form speaking what is on his heart.  This is a picture of the Lord’s patience and wisdom.  Again, it is Jehovah who speaks, it is the “self-existing one, the eternal one who reveals Himself.” Scofield writes that “this points to a continuous and increasing self-revelation.”  In other words, the Lord is continually revealing Himself and that revelation never stops.  That continuous revelation is seen throughout the Old Testament. 

Adam, his sons and others knew God by this name (Gen.4:26); as did Abraham (Gen.12:1-7); as did Moses (Exo.3:14-17); as did God’s people (Exo.6:2-3).  Jonah knew God by this name but saw it more connected with His covenant relationship with His people. Jonah knew God as a prophet called by God. Jonah learned something new about God in the belly of the great fish and here sitting waiting for the destruction of Nineveh, Jonah will again learn something about the God he serves.  He will learn another lesson, it will be a lesson in Grace.  The revelation never stops.  As we grow, we learn and as we learn we grow.  The Lord never stopes revealing Himself and it is often through lessons of correction. 

So, how does the Lord begin to reveal Himself further to Jonah?  He does so with a question. “Doest thou well to be angry?” Other translations read:  “Do you have good reason to be angry?” (New American Standard)  “Is it right for you to be so angry?” (Complete Jewish Bible).  The lesson begins with this question.  The Lord will follow the question with what He does but the question is important.  I remember, Sister Erline Spickard, whenever she taught us, would often ask us a question. She knew the answer and wanted to see if we knew the answer and in answering the question we had to think about it, search the scriptures and we learned not by being given the answer but by searching for the answer.  A question is a good way to teach.  The Lord is both teaching Jonah with this question and He is chastising Jonah.  We do not find that Jonah answers at this time, he will later.

All the meanings for the word “well” are positive and yet there is nothing positive about Jonah’s words, his attitude or his actions. The Lord is asking: Is your attitude “fit” for a servant of God?  Is your attitude “beautiful”? Does it glorify Me?  Does your attitude “benefit” or “make better”?  Are you made better by it, are others made better by it?  Does your attitude make you “happy” or content”?  I certainly don’t see any happiness or contentment in Jonah at this time. He seems to be a most miserable person.  Is your attitude “well-pleasing”?  It may be to Jonah but it is not to God.  Sometimes we can take a certain type of pleasure in a bad attitude, in complaining, in discontent.  Since Jonah’s attitude can be summed up by the word anger, it is not a “beautiful” or “fit” testimony.  He is hurt by it. Nineveh is hurt by it. God is hurt by it.  

Jonah was “angry” and God knew it, heard it and saw it.  The word comes from “to blaze up” and means “to be furious, displeased, to be jealous or zealous.”  Jonah thought nothing was wrong with being zealous for God or jealous of the Gentiles but the Lord wants Jonah to examine his heart to see if it is justified.  Is this a righteous anger or is it unrighteous? Is it selfish or fleshly anger? Is it political or patriotic anger? There is no denying that Jonah is angry, but he needs to examine why he is angry in the light of God’s Word.  The Lord wants Jonah to see the consequences of his anger, that this is the wrong type of anger.  Jonah is hurt, God is hurt, the Gentiles are hurt.  The Lord wants Jonah to see there is no reason, no cause to be angry. 

Moses is an example of someone who in his walk both did well and did not do well.  The test of doing well is seen over a lengthy period of time, a lifetime.  The best example of the contrast of doing well and not doing well, of obeying and disobeying in the life of Moses, is the water that is brought forth from the rock.  Moses did well when he obeyed God and smote the rock (Exo.17:66).  Moses did not do well when he disobeyed God and smote the rock instead of speaking to it.  (Num.20:8-12).  Water came forth both times but Moses’ testimony was that he did not do well.  The reason was because he was angry and his anger cost him and he lost several things.  He lost his patience. He lost his testimony. He lost his reward and could not enter into the promised land.  

If the anger is not justified, there is a time to refrain from anger, to restrain that anger, to judge that anger. It does not just hurt others, it hurts us and it hurts our testimony before the Lord.  I wonder as Jonah left the city to go and wait for its destruction, if the people saw his anger.  I think it would be hard to hide. Jonah may have started out angry, angry at their sin and wickedness, angry that he had to preach to them, angry that they were Gentiles, angry that they repented.  It seems as though he would not and could not let go of his anger. 

Paul warns “Be ye angry and sin not” (Eph.4:26) and goes on to say if we do not do this that we can “give place to the devil” (Eph.4:27).  James says we should be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (Jam.1:19). 

The Lord responds to Jonah’s anger with such patience.  This question is like “a soft answer that turns away wrath” (Prov.15:1).   Matthew Henry writes:  “We should often put this question to ourselves. Is it well to say this, to do this? Can I justify it? Ask, ‘Do I well to be angry? Do I well to be so soon angry, so often angry, so long angry? Is this well, that I allow anger to get dominion over me? Do I well to be angry at the mercy of God?’ That was Jonah’s crime. Do we do well to be angry at that which is for the glory of God? To be angry at that which angels rejoice in? To be angry at that grace which we ourselves need and are undone without.”

The answer to this question is that Jonah did not do well, he has yet to learn this and the Lord will teach him.  That is God’s Grace. 

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

Part 15

Pastor Vicky Moots
Kingman, Kansas

Ecc. 3:7c: “A time to keep silence, and a time too speak.”  Perhaps you have heard it said that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body, but that is not actually true.  It was mistakenly considered to be very strong because of its endurance.  It never tires out no matter how much work it does.

Spiritually, however, it is extremely powerful and has more strength than a wild animal, as we discover in James 3:7-8: “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

Man cannot tame the tongue, but God can.  We see an example of this in Luke chapter one where the angel Gabriel announced to  the priest that he and his elderly wife, who were childless, were going to have a son, and that his name was to be called “John” (John the Baptist).

He doubted this and asked for a sign, to which the angel replied in Luke 1:20, “…behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed…”

So, Zacharias’ “time to keep silence” lasted 9 months, until the baby was born, and he wrote, “His name is John.”  Verse 64 exclaims, “And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.”  It was now his “time to speak…”  If only we all were as eager to speak God’s praises as he was!

The first time that keeping silence was mentioned in the Bible is recorded in the book of Job, which is considered to be the oldest of all the books in the Bible.  Job 2:11 tells us that three of Job’s friends came to mourn with him and to comfort him after the sudden loss of all that he owned, the loss of his health and the loss of his entire family, except for his wife.  Verse 13 states, “So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.”  Their time of silence contained more wisdom than all of the eloquent words that they spoke to Job after those first seven days contained in the next 34 chapters.  We can learn a lesson from Job’s comforters and that is to refrain from using a lot of words to comfort those who are grieving.  Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing.

James gives us some good advice in his epistle, in James 1:19, concerning our tongue that will keep us out of trouble if we will heed it: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”  However, we find that keeping silent is extremely difficult to do.  Children must be taught how to keep quiet, which is equally true for adults.  Paul recognized the difficulty of this task and gave us some homework to do regarding keeping silent, in I Thess. 4:11: “…study to be quiet, and to do your own business.”  I think we all need to work a little harder on that assignment!

David must have struggled somewhat with the difficulty of keeping silent, for he stated in his prayer in Ps. 141:3, “Set a watch [guard], O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.”  He was actually asking the Lord to stand guard in front of the door of his mouth and to not let any words escape that should be held prisoner.

The Lord knew that we also would need someone to stand guard before our mouth and has sent us the Holy Spirit to be our “Paraclete” (one called alongside to help).

In I Samuel chapter one we read of Hannah’s time of silence.  She was barren for many years and yearned to have a son.  In desperation, one day when praying in the temple, v. 10 states, “And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord and wept sore.”  In vs. 12-13 we read, “And it came to pass as she continued praying before the Lord…she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard.”  Eli, the priest, who was watching her, lips, thought she was drunk, but the Lord heard her heart, for her spirit communed with God, and she became the mother of Samuel, the prophet.

When we are so burdened, that we are unable to put our prayer into words, the Holy Spirit, who guards our lips, is also able to intercede and to speak for us according to God’s will, as Paul declares in Rom. 8:26-27: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself [Himself] maketh intercession…for the saints according to the will of God.”

In conclusion, Jesus also experienced “a time to keep silence.”  He spoke many words during His ministry, but He did not speak in His own self-defense to refute the false accusations against Him.  His time of silence was so important that it was prophesied in Isa. 53:7: “…he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, an as a seep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”

This was fulfilled at the time of His trial when he was brought before Caiaphas, the high priest, who asked Jesus, saying, “Answerest thou nothing? But he held his peace, and answered nothing…” (Mark 14:60-61).  Then Jesus was brought before Pilate for judgment, and we read, “And the chief priests accused him of many things:  but he answered nothing.  And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? Behold how many things they witness against thee.  But Jesus yet answered nothing…” (Mark 15:3-5).

Jesus remained silent and willingly suffered defamation in order to accomplish God’s will.  He allowed Himself, by His silence, to become condemned to death so that He could bear our sins upon the cross and we could be set free.

 The Encouraging Word

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  Colossians 3:2 (NIV)

“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV)

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)

“Let your love be sincere – a real thing; hate what is evil (loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness), but hold fast to that which is good.” Romans 12:9 Amp.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

“But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God and made Him my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” Psalm 73:28 Amp.

Martha Wainright