MY DRIVER’S LICENSE

Recently I went to get my driver’s license renewed.

No accidents, no tickets and I was still certain that they would make me take a driving test because of my age.  However, that was not to be the case, and I walked out, good for another five years. 

What was most interesting was when the attendant looked up and said: “Your hair color?” Naturally, I replied: “grey”.  However, I could not resist and asked: “Why did you ask?”  He said, “I do this every day, all day.  You would be amazed at the answers I receive.  I look at all these ladies and they reply, “brown!”  It may be grey, blue, green, black or whatever, but I just put down “brown”.  With some men I want to put “bald”!  Pity the policeman who has to figure out the conflicts that might take place in some grey haired old-lady or bald headed man on the side of the highway!”

We all go through life with its many changes and do not acknowledge that they have taken place.  We endeavor to rest in the laurels of the past; most of the ones we hang on to are in the positives.  We do not spend much time reflecting on our failures.

I wrote that little booklet on “Forgiveness” (download here).  I have often thought of things that I have been FOREVER FORGIVEN of my wonderful, wonderworking Lord!  I have no business to ask again or repeat them to the Lord, or repeat them again and again.  He assured us in the “Lord’s Prayer” that we should forgive as we have been forgiven.  God does not recycle what He has forgiven and neither should we.

We all need to think carefully about the answers or the projected relationship that is presented when we deal with others.  Keep it honest!

Think deeply about the “Lord’s Prayer” and every word that we project to and about HIM!  (Matthew 6)

-Ted

A POET’S CONCLUSION

It was such a blessing to read Psalm 104 and picture David reflecting on God’s creation.

I take the liberty of calling your attention to the New American Standard Version of the Word of God.  In the event you possess other versions, I suggest you read them also.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul!  O Lord my God, You are very great;

You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering Yourself with light as with a cloak,

Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.

He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters; He makes the clouds His chariot;

He walks upon the wings of the wind; He makes the winds His messengers,

Flaming fire His ministers.

He established the earth upon its foundations, so that it will not totter forever and ever.

You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters were standing above the mountains.

At Your rebuke they fled, at the sound of Your thunder they hurried away.

The mountains rose; the valleys sank down

To the place which You established for them.

You set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth.

He sends forth springs in the valleys; they flow between the mountains;

They give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they lift up their voices among the branches.

He waters the mountains from His upper chambers; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works.

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the labor of man,

So that he may bring forth food from the earth, and wine which makes many heart glad,

So that he may make his face glisten with oil, and wood which sustains man’s heart.

The trees of the Lord drink their fill, the cedars of Lebanon which He planted,

Where the birds build their nests, and the stork, whose home is in the fir trees.

The high mountains are for the wild goats; the cliffs are a refuge for the shephanim.

He made the moon for the seasons; the sun knows the place of its setting.

You appoint darkness and it becomes night, in which all the beasts of the forest prowl about.

The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their food from God.

When the sun rises they withdraw, and lie down in their dens.

Man goes forth to his work, and to his labor until evening.

O Lord, how many are Your works!

In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions.

There is the sea, great and broad, in which are swarms without number,

Animal’s both small and great.

There the ships move along, and Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it.

They all wait for You to give them their food in due season.

You give to them their food in due season.

You give to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.

You hide Your face, they are dismayed; You take away their spirit, they expire

And return to their dust.

You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the ground.

Let the glory of the Lord endure forever; let the Lord be glad in His works;

He looks at the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains and they smoke.

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me; I shall be glad in the Lord.

Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, Praise the Lord!

REDEMPTION AND REHABILITATION

By, Linda DeSilva

The note above the head-line in Monday’s paper caught my attention: ‘Redemption Farm, billed as a place for troubled youth drops all references to agriculture.”  What seemed like a viable plan appears to have been abandoned … just at a time when gang and individual youth violence is increasing! The situation is, or should be, of concern to every parent – indeed, of the whole Island.

Since the Government no longer regards Redemption Farm suitable for rescuing and rehabilitating unmotivated or rebellious youth, what next?  We already have the Endeavour programme, Sea Scouts, and many other opportunities, including Church/Faith-based youth organizations such as Vacation Bible School, Good News Clubs, and Word of Life – all of which have run successfully year by year. Could Government receive helpful advice from these?      

  ‘Redemption’ (so sorely needed) is not a new concept.  It has been in the mind of God since the Creation and the Fall of Adam and Eve (whose family was certainly dysfunctional)!   Cain murdered Abel and there have been imperfect families ever since.  But, thankfully, there is evidence of redemption and rehabilitation throughout the Scriptures – and in our own generation – of those whom Christ has redeemed from the penalty and practice of sin.

  So, just what is ‘redemption’? Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary: REDEMPTION: Deliverance by payment of a price. N.T. from sin, death, and the wrath of God. O.T. by a kinsman redeemer (e.g. Ruth 4:6); rescue or deliverance (Numbers 3:49); ransom (Ps 130:7)

   The New Testament emphasizes the tremendous cost involved in our redemption from sin’s penalty – Christ’s life, death, crucifixion and resurrection.  Our gratitude is (or should be) boundless. ‘Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!”(Anon.) “Redeemed, How I love to proclaim it!”(Fanny J. Crosby)

   Rehabilitation is the next step:  Paul wrote: “I keep working towards that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No … I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing.” (Philippians 3: 12 & 13 NLT)  Like Paul, thankful for our redemption, let us forget the past and look to the future prize God is calling us to receive. 

NEWS-WORTHY

As a youngster in Bermuda, which is about 20 miles in length, we used to joke about the fact that anything spoken of in Somerset could be learned about in St. George in less time that it took you to get to the other end of the Island.

Keep in mind, that was during the days of a very limited radio, telephone or a next day newspaper.

In Luke 24 we learn how two men, going to a village seven miles away, (Emmaus) from Jerusalem, on that very day, were discussing the events that had taken place relating to the resurrection.  How swiftly such news travels!

Granted, what we are reading about in Luke 24 is worthy of rapid distribution. That confrontation by the Savior had to be a historically significant moment.

They were endeavoring to inform the Savior, while He was opening the floodgates of truth concerning His manifestation and redemptive fulfillment.

Another exciting moment is having been invited by them we read in verse 30: “When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving to them.  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.”

I dare you to be so bold as those brothers to follow up on that portion of the Scriptures and honestly ask the Lord to open to you the truth concerning His Messiah-ship, the truth about that death, burial and resurrection, along with His promised indwelling of the Holy Spirit!

-Ted

GOD REMEMBERS!

The fleeting years become more pronounced. 

My friend and I were speaking each to the other about this thing of “old age and its accompaniment”.  We agreed on a number of “episodes” but we also agreed we could not remember some of the details of others for which we “purposefully” had placed in the cupboard of forgetfulness.  Because of our difference in age, mine appears to be a little more pronounced than his, but I will never admit that to be the case to him.

God did remind me of certain facts pertaining to promises He had made to Israel and how He would never forget them.  For instance, one of His methods of recall to His activities on their behalf is found in the one hundredth and fifth Psalm where He says: “Make known His deeds among the peoples.” (Verse 1)

While the majority of people in the world continue to display their ignorance to the sacred Scriptures, there are a few who continue to dig their sand-holes in the grounds of the past and expose the truths that our Bibles of the present have long ago reported.  You know, they are called archeologists?  Did you ever study the multitude of promises that are currently solidified by these “groundhogs”?

In that eighth thru the eleventh verses of Psalm 105 we read: “He has remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac.

Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion of your inheritance’.”

It is exciting to read on and see God give a promise to a “few people” and then go on to fulfill it gratuitously.  His re-memory is excellent! 

The world tries to change those promises… I suggest that they give up and watch as God remembers.

BIRTHDAYS

(Natural, Ceremonial, and Spiritual)

By, Linda DeSilva

An approaching birthday leads to recalling the past and planning the future. Mine is this Sunday, so I have been doing just that. Now, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates two birthdays a year – doubtless with many memories. Her actual birth date is Wednesday, 21st April, 1926. As Sovereign, however, her official birthday is held in June, with much pomp and ceremony and, usually, more settled weather. Fortunately, two annual birthdays do not make her twice as old!
On one occasion, Jesus himself spoke of an all-important second birthday to a prominent religious leader who came to see Him. At this point in the life of Jesus, He was under much criticism from the Scribes and Pharisees, so it was advisable for this visitor to maintain anonymity. “After dark one evening, he (Nicodemus) came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi”, he said, “We all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” In response to this flattering approach, Jesus said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” When Nicodemus questioned Jesus as to how an old man could once again enter his mother’s womb and be born again, Jesus gave various illustrations from nature to explain that everyone who believes in the Son of God will have eternal, imperishable life – spiritual rebirth in a new dimension through faith in Him. Then, Jesus summed it up in the well-known words of John 3:16: “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (See John 3: 1 – 21.)
Queen Elizabeth’s ceremonial birthday does not change her age or rank. In contrast, the second birth which Jesus offers is the gift of eternal life – life which never ends – everlasting, imperishable life with Him in the Kingdom of God. This life in Christ which begins here on earth and continues throughout eternity is available to all who believe and receive Him as Saviour and Lord!
Born once – eternal death! Born twice – eternal life!
Have YOU accepted God’s gift of eternal life? If not, do so TODAY!

WLDERNESS WANDERINGS

The opening words of this Psalm 63, create anticipation, mainly because it was the Psalmists (David) injecting the depths of his feelings even while He was in “retreat” mode. 

His preference would have been to be in the sanctuary in Jerusalem.  However, the likelihood of that possibility was negative, but the presence of God as the necessity of this experience surmounts the experience itself. 

We are reminded of the necessity of Jesus having to go immediately into the wilderness following His baptism; for what reason?  To be tempted of Satan!  Three times Satan struck at what he saw as a possible weakness, and three times we read of Christ’s rebuke.  There was the prospect of food, “turn the stones to bread”; 40 days, hungered, but “man cannot live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God!”

That was followed by a test of ego: From the pinnacle of the Temple he suggested, “If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You; and On their hands they will bear You up, so that You will not strike your foot against a stone.’  It is to this that Jesus replies: ‘On the other hand, it is written, You shall not put the Lord your God to the test’”

The devil tests Christ by taking Him to a high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”  Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written “you shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him ONLY.” 

Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.  (Matthew 3)  It is then that we hear Him say, from Psalm 63, “My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.  Because your loving kindness is better than life.  My lips will praise You.  So I will bless You as long as I live.  I will lift up my hands in Your name, my soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.”

“When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, for you have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.  My soul clings to You; you right hand upholds me. But those who seek my life to destroy it will go into the depths of the earth.  They will be delivered over to the power of the sword; they will be a prey for foxes.  But the king will rejoice in God; everyone who swears by Him will glory, for the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.”

So, we have all been in wilderness journeys; they are not new.  But, to have a Psalm like this in readiness, is soul lifting.

-Ted

HE WAS A CONTRADICTION

John has long been described as the Apostle of Love.  Unless I miscounted sometime ago, that word “love” can be found 52 times in the Epistle of 1 John.  I have to believe that the title accorded Him is justified.

First John 2:3-5 says: “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.  The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.  By this we know that we are in Him:”

Jesus Christ was LOVE.  Every aspect of love was demonstrated during His earthly ministry.  When hanging on the cross, his words: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)  As I mentioned in the title of the portion we have selected… “He was a contradiction!”

Everything that we know of Jesus was totally out of character of the average person.  He was the fulfillment of what had been said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…”  What we saw in the Father was epitomized in God the Son…LOVE.

If we reflect on the 4th verse we discover that if “I have come to know Him,” He transfers His love to me so that I will then show His love through me.   If that action is not in effect I need to understand that I am a liar and that the truth is not in me.  If I have received Him, His love will now permeate every necessity of my life and I will show the love that He now occupies.

We often speak of the difference between the professing and the possessing of the Lord Jesus.  Reception of Him (Christ) will be accompanied by actions permeated with love!

A word that I neglected to mention was “propitiation”.  When Christ was crucified, God the Father was satisfied, and a reception of HIM produces sanctification.

Love in us personified Him and what His love represents!  Love reflects LOVE!                                  

-Ted

OUTSIDE THE WALL

In the very beginning of the Word of God, there is a flow of information that unfolds, and yet is not understood initially.

As the centuries roll on, more and more is added, with some things understood, and others remaining buried from our thinking.  Naturally, there are individuals who determine they have insight beyond everyone else.  Even the Apostle Peter said that some things were “hard to understand.” (2 Peter 3:16)

Assuming that Paul the apostle wrote Hebrews, we can readily see that his training as a Pharisee experienced constantly the necessity of explaining as he met people from different backgrounds. 

Look for a moment at the verses in Hebrews 13:12, 13, “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.  So, let us go to Him outside the camp, bearing reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.”

To many individuals these verses may be confusing, but looking at what the apostle say’s, about the portion of the worship was “its preparation” outside the city.  That is exactly what took place with your representative and mine on Golgotha.

Minute details that were not readily understood as “the Apostle to the Gentiles” (Acts 13)   explained to those who might be unfamiliar with the simple but profound pictures that had been around for years.

The types, the vivid pictures in the Old Testament were graphic, but seldom clearly understood, especially when those involved the Gentiles.  By the way, in even such a small statement as we have looked at, we were included!  THANK YOU LORD!

-Ted

APOSTLES IN ACTION

The Book of Acts is not written for the purpose of spreading Doctrine, although there is Doctrine in it.

Some have said that it should have been called: “The Acts of the Holy Spirit.”  Still some have said that it would be equally proper if it carried the title: “Acts of the Disciples”.  I would not object if it was called: The Holy Spirit Unleashed!  What we see in this Book is the ministering work of the Holy Spirit of God working through the Disciples and God putting His hand of blessing on the one that would technically replace Judas Iscariot.   Several most exciting verses appear in chapter 1, verse 7, 8.  Jesus answers a question about when He would restore the kingdom to Israel… “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Chapter 2 of Acts tells of the Holy Spirit descending upon them on the day of Pentecost, thus the fulfilling of that promise.  While some made fun of HIS ministry at that moment, Peter clarified the matter, explaining what had been predicted by the prophet Joel.

From that point, in the Book of Acts, we see the Holy Spirit empowering not only the disciples that Christ had chosen, but others also.  The ministry of Paul was established and accepted, and the church exploded to fulfill that 8th verse … “Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

From this point on, the Holy Spirit of God reveals His uniqueness by equipping the disciples, and others, in a variety of ways to spread the WORD to the World.  Did every disciple have all the same gifts? No!  The Book of Acts, along with other Books of the Bible shows different acts being performed by different disciples.  The single repeated act is distinctive of all of them; they were endowed with the Holy Spirit.  God does not want me to be a Paul, just Ted.  If I falter, and I do too often, seek forgiveness and move on.  No labor is in vain when done for Him under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

-Ted