ON DEALING WITH REJECTION

Between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, there was sufficient ridicule to make anyone feel that they had been rejected by God and man.

With their bickering, the average individual found himself in a quandary about what he really believed.  This loaned itself to the crowds that went to listen to Jesus.  What He declared made sense and coincided with the average man’s interpretation of the Scriptures that existed in that day.

His, Jesus’, initial presentation was specifically to the disciples.  He spoke with authority: “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy”.  He goes further when He says:

“But there is nothing covered up that will not be known; Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.  I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.  But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes I tell you, fear Him!”

Jesus clearly indicates to those present: that it is not the Pharisees who have twisted the Scriptures who they should fear, but it is the One who has given them the Scriptures and lives by them.  He is naturally referring to Himself!  He has just told them that the most they can do is take their life, but then: “they have no more that they can do.”  Keep in mind that eternal values are always prominent.

He gives us the tenderest and consoling words that a man or woman who lives for Him could ever hear:

“Are not five sparrows sold for two cents?  Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows!”

The believer recognizes his worth before God.  God never has any intention of our living in fear and rejection, He has declared (John 1:12) that when you receive HIM, He receives you as a son, and nothing can separate you from HIM!  Nothing!  A SON IS BORN INTO THE FAMILY!

-Ted

THE ENGRAVERS HAMMER

My grand-parents lived a very short distance from us.  In the mind of a young child, there are advantages and disadvantages.

Because “Pa” was not in the best of health, it meant we mowed his grass, along with the other necessities that became our routine.  It was often my duty to shave him on Sunday morning, early, so he could look his best as he went to church.  I look back today on the privilege that afforded me to assist him. (I was not allowed to accept any reimbursement.)

Pa was a hard worker in his healthy years.  He built a whaling rig that was a beauty, but like many other Bermudians they were never able to bring one home, although they harpooned one but lost it when well out of sight of Bermuda.  He was a lighthouse keeper, and in his off times did a lot of other odd jobs.

I loved to go in his “cellar” and mosey around.  He had an array of tools, and of course, all of the whaling necessities.   I was enamored with the fact that all of his tools were stamped with JC, James Cowen.  They were all readily identified.  I guess that people would borrow and never bring them back, and this way it was easier to avoid arguments.

I recall how I saw my father coming down from one fellows home with the wheelbarrow filled with tools.  Naturally, I said: “Dad, where have you been?”   His reply was typical of my father… “I knew Stuart was not home, so I went up to gather all of my tools.”  I said: “Some of those are not yours, they are Stuart’s.”  He said: “I know!  I brought some of his, so I have a head start on him when he comes to borrow some more of mine.”

I have not gotten lost.  “Value is improved by the engravers hammer!”  I read it years a go and have never forgotten.  God wants His very best for us!  He sometimes has to remind us that carefully hammered is an identification mark, and that identification mark is there, reminding us who we are and where we live! 

“For those whom He loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you endure; “God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  For all discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:6-11)

-Ted

A TESTIMONY?

When things seem to go in the opposite direction from your intention, and persecution develops, how is it approached?  Reading Luke 21:13, it says that “It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony.”  In fairness, let me quote the surrounding portion.  “See to it that you are not misled: for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them.  “When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.”  Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven, but before all these things, they will lay hands on you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My names sake.  It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony.  So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.  But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death and you will hated by all because of My name.”

More is said in the following verses, but we have to be reminded that things, as bad as they are presently, are going to get worse.  You can take the attitude of “poor me” or you can determine that this is an opportunity for your testimony. God, the Holy Spirit, will give wisdom in those moments… it is HIS PROMISE!

In the event that God is going to allow the unfolding of these events very shortly, BE PREPARED.

WHEAT AND TARES

As Matthew recorded numerous parables that Jesus had presented to the listening crowd, he mentions this one in the list. 

In reality, it bespeaks the time in which we currently reside as much as it called attention to kingdom preaching.  (Matthew 13:24-30)

Whenever Christ declared His message about the Kingdom, there was no problem in realizing that since Adam and Eve, we live exposed to living side by side, wheat and tares.   Since, Jesus had just presented the parable of the sower and how under a variety of exposures, the devil had made an effort to destroy the seed that had been planted.

As a child, I recall how we had our own garden, and we planted quite a variety of vegetables, but never wheat.

We had to pull up many a weed… you probably remember how my old farmer friend said: “You never have to plant a weed.”  Such was the problem here! 

When the wheat was planted, the tares, (which look identical) came up.  (In our garden, we had a weed that looked identical to a carrot.)  There was not a matter of choice, you did the same as the farmer and his situation…let them grow together until they were readily identifiable.

As we consider this parable, you cannot help but imagine the frustration that a farmer in this situation must have experienced.  I know I would have been somewhat frustrated, but the Lord tells how this frustration was handled.  “Let them dwell together.  When harvest comes, we remove the darnell first; we burn it, then the wheat.”

One does not have to be a genius to recognize the legitimacy of this method, especially in that era of history. 

The farmer speaks:  “The enemy probably did it but there is a solution.”  He did not re-act, he responded!  As we would have said as children: “Cool, calm, and collected!”

Who might we recognize as the winner in this Parable?   “Gather the wheat into my barn.” (v30)  Getting even may be lowering yourself to the level of the enemy, but the wheat in the barn says it all!

-Ted

TAKING SECOND PLACE

Some things are hard to digest, and I am not referring to food. 

I have been alerted frequently over the years, how on occasion in a church there is some individual who aspires to be in a position where you know that, in that position there will be the development of problems.  Such a situation demands action, but it must meet both Scriptural and Constitution/By Law accommodation.

A few thoughts entered my mind as I read John 1 on the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist.  First, was the thought that these men, from a human stand-point, were cousins.  Jesus went to where John was baptizing.  John was questioned about what he was doing by the Priests and Levites sent from Jerusalem.  John made it quite clear about why he was baptizing. 

His reply was simple: “I am not the Christ.”  Then they had additional questions.  “Are you Elijah?”  “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” “No.”  “Who are you? Because we have to tell those who sent us.” “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the Prophet said.”

John recognized the presence of Jesus but did not identify Him.  He mentioned the difference of their baptizing and his own feeling on the matter.  However, it was not until the following day that he said: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  This is He on behalf of whom I said, “After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.” John also said:  “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 

I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit’. I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

All of this involved Jesus and John.  I am reminded that not once did John ever try to take anything but “second place”.   Naturally, Jesus is first!  Jesus must always remain first.  Actually, second place is a “high calling” when Jesus is FIRST!

NAHUM, WHO?

Every now and again God shows us someone who was a “nobody”, as far as the world was concerned, but mightily used of God in some out of the way place, and some tangible manner to reach people for Christ.  Nahum was such a man.

Nahum was “unknown”, except that you could not help but wonder why the meaning of his name: consolation.  Another anomaly may catch our attention, that being he was from Elkosh.  (That was possibly, Capernaum.)  Having stood on some of the ruins of Capernaum, probably makes me a “little proud”, forgive me, for it was supposedly the “headquarters” of our Savior.  It was also the place where Jesus cast the demons out of the pigs and they were destroyed.

Try that background and become a Prophetic Preacher to Nineveh.  Not an easy task under any circumstance.  He certainly had not held any close ties to Nineveh, and now he comes preaching what they might say was negative.

However, he is careful to present the attributes of the Almighty before he presents what God is going to do to Nineveh.  “The Lord is slow to anger and great in power; and the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” (v3)  He does not leave out the power of the Almighty… (v6) “Who can stand before His indignation?  Who can endure the burning of His anger?”

However, v7 says: “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him.” 

It was one of the verses that our children learned early in life, and I trust it will carry them through, no matter what befalls them or you!

-Ted

THE HOLY SPIRIT

A city full of churches; Great preachers, lettered men!

Grand music, choirs and organs; if these all fail, what then?

Good workers, eager, earnest; who labor hour by hour,

But where, oh where, my brother; Is God’s almighty power?

It is the Holy Spirit, that quickeneth the soul;

God will not take man-worship, nor bow to man’s control.

No human innovation, no skill, or worldly art,

Can give a true repentance, or break the sinners’ heart.

We may have human wisdom; grand singing, great success.

There may be fine equipment, but these things do not bless

God wants a pure vessel, anointed lips and true,

A man filled with the Spirit, to speak His message through.

– Author Unknown

BETRAYED WITH A KISS

Much has been said about the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but never enough.  Those last hours, leading up to His arrest, and what followed, can never be considered more often than necessary. 

The burden on the heart of our Savior is tell-tale.  Here He has entered the final days of His earthly and heavenly mission and the disciples were arguing, first about who would betray Him and next, which of them would be regarded as greatest. Grown men arguing about who was to be considered the most important!  Pathetic!  I have to admit that I have seen individuals projecting among themselves this identical behavior.

I love how Jesus turns the tables and points out how the Gentiles have a name for those with such individual aspirations… “Benefactors!”  To you, disciples, there is something to always remember: “The one who is greatest among you is the one who takes the place of the servant …” ‘I am the one who serves!’”

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat: but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Simon obviously felt guilt, and the other disciples probably felt that Jesus was indicating Simon was the one with a major problem.  He immediately said to the Lord: “Lord, with You I am ready to go to prison and to death.”  Jesus said to Peter those words that will ever echo into in the minds and hearts of men and women:  “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”

Peter dug his hole in the ground as he pledged: “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And only Jesus knew at that moment exactly what to say to them, “It is ENOUGH.”

Moments later, as they knelt and Jesus prayed with such depth as to sweat as though drops dripped from Him like blood.  The disciples slept!  That’s right, they were worn out; and like many of us today, they slept.  How we need to learn to pray!

Then, and only then, in the program of God… Judas made his way to the Savior, who said: “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”  The disciples in readiness would offer defense with those swords, one removing the ear of the slave of the high priest.  True to His character, Jesus healed him.

Yes, a kiss!   I do not know about you, but I hear Jesus saying, ENOUGH! 

(Ted)

A COUPLE OF YEARS

It was two years ago that we began writing this Blog. 

It is with thanks to the Lord and to you that it has continued.  Our intention is to keep writing until the Lord sees fit to call us home… today, tomorrow, or ?

This has only been possible through the help of my daughter and grand-daughter.  Our pattern is to present things in “short” order, trusting that the Lord will work through the Holy Spirit, and time our writings in accordance with individual needs.

To those of you, from around the world, who have expressed appreciation, we say THANKS!   It is impossible to respond because of our limitations.  The Lord knows that we write, that others read, and the Holy Spirit will cause people to be ministered to in ways that are beyond our limitations.

To the folk who God addresses, we encourage you to read the Scriptures daily.  In the event you have never trusted Christ as your Savior and Lord,

God loves you… John 3:16

Christ died for you …

Acceptance of His redemptive work on Calvary, on your behalf…

And submitting your dependence on Him constantly…

Is His guarantee to you of Eternal Life!

In the bonds of Calvary’s Love,

From all three of us! (Ted, Cathy, Crista)

WHAT IS NEXT ON THE AGENDA?

The “agenda” can be awfully confusing.

Every time I think I have covered what the Scriptures have declared, some brother purposely throws a wrench into my bucket of beliefs, and I have to take time to sort through his ideas.  A very high percent of the time, I have covered most of them long ago, but I try to show or grant interest, short that it may be.

Haggai is a good example of how to handle the individuals who brazenly try to make light of what God is doing.  He begins by first identifying what is being said by the people, and next He presents what God is saying.  They say, in effect, it is not time for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt, but Haggai speaks boldly and says: “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?  Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Consider your ways!  You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes’.”  

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Consider your ways!  Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,’ says the Lord.”

A Pastor said: “This has been a burdensome time for the Church as a whole.  Naturally, attendance is down, the older folk who are the consistent givers are not able to contribute, the younger folk are so up to debt themselves that they cannot afford to give, sickness is prevalent, and the list goes on!”

Hear Haggai again: “You look for much, but behold, it comes too little; when you bring it home I blow it away.  Why?” declares the Lord of hosts, “Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house.  Therefore, because of you the sky has withheld its dew and earth has withheld its produce. 

“I called for a drought on the land, on the mountains, on the grain, on the new wine, on the oil, on what the ground produces, on men, on cattle, and on all the labor of your hands.”

What happened next?  1:12 of Haggai… “Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him.  And the people showed reverence for the Lord.”

What we have observed can be duplicated… and will be repeated when we follow the same principle!                                                          

-Ted