RE-BIBLE

The story is told of the villager, who returning to his own village did so with excitement.  He told of his visit to the other village and proceeded to talk about what was taking place spiritually.  Excitedly he said: “They are having a Re-Bible!

In effect, he was right.  When the fires of revival began, one of the primary evidences was the excitement that had been generated toward the reading of the Bible, the Holy Scriptures.  In discharging my duties as a minister of the Gospel, there is little that can be explained during any resurgence on the part of the saints toward the reading of the Bible.  It gradually affects, not just a portion of the congregation, but every person in attendance at that church.  That is why I suspect they use the phrase: “The Fires of Revival!”

When the Word of God is read consistently, it brings with it a fresh understanding of Scriptural truth and the necessity of conforming to what God has revealed in His Word.   The need of a new found obedience to the Savior becomes a challenge.   There is the realization that much of what one desires can be achieved through association on a more “involved” basis with other saints who have equaled desires.  While there is such a desire, be certain that you co-ordinate through the pastor who will, in all probability have a list of individuals or programs that will encourage you in this fresh commitment.  If this is not done, it can turn into nothing more than a headache for all involved.

Remember that only six verses of Psalm 119 do not make mention of the Word of God in one aspect or the other.  In any situation, make sure that you stick with the WORD!  If others bring or suggest other books in your sequence of “get togethers”, graciously, but firmly stick with the Bible.

Let’s get back to the subject that we are ultimately tying together.  An old friend of mine said, years ago, “Revival is not worked up, it is sent down!”  As you are faithful, so God is faithful.

Hebrews 4:12  “For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and Spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

“the Word of God is not imprisoned.”  2 Timothy 2:9

“I shall keep Your statutes.”  Psalm 119:8

PARTIALITY

It is not unusual for children to acquire the idea of partiality at a very young age.  After all, they are surrounded with an audience of “important people” from the earliest remembrances of childhood.  Our news media, with all of its preponderance of ideas about “celebrities” and their life styles, can create an aura of duplicity that can be achieved with the end result of “high style” and financial achievements.  I must inject that we see it in little ones who show preferences of who gives them attention to satisfy them in a group of family members.

Even the early church had a problem in this area.  James the apostle addressed it when he spoke of those who, when entering the church, were quickly observed who they were and what they wore, and then seated them accordingly.  He spoke to the seating arrangement as being completely out of order inasmuch as the “ushers” of that era were prone to place people of “notoriety” in the more prominent positions. (James 2:14-26)  One church that I attended made it quite clear that certain people had purchased a particular pew. 

In observing the “preferred posture” of certain people in the church, I have noticed that some make choices on where they hear best, where the heat or Air Conditioner satisfies their comfort; and some even find “the family pew”.

The Scripture makes it clear that we “brought nothing into the world so we cannot take anything out of it either.  One young lady, responsible for her uncle’s funeral arrangement, asked if she could put her uncle’s fishing pole in the casket as it was “a love of his life.”  Naturally I would not object but have often wondered what I might find in other caskets if I were to dig them up.  I have noticed at funerals that the casket is as far to the front as some people will ever get.

My friends, we are enjoined not to show partiality when we are in the work of the Lord.  Basically, NONE of us is more important than another!  There are a few options as relating to the sick, the needy, the widows, but certainly not to someone who shows their robes of financial affluence.

We have so grossly equated prominence, financial successes, sports personalities, political accomplishments, and the list goes on (no matter how it was achieved), and dozens of other categorized successes, to the point that unless you reach one of these you are a nobody.  Shame on us!

James in his Epistle makes it clear. (Reference above) Brethren, these things should not be, and especially among God’s people.

ANNA

Just suppose!  You had been married for only seven years when God called your husband home. 

You could be very angry, discouraged, depressed, or one bitter lady.  However, you could go the other direction, reach eighty four, and look back at what God had allowed you to do; you had “never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.”

Because of my nature, prayer is not the easiest thing in my life.  The devil sees to it that I have to fight to get in time to pray.  My “busyness” becomes an imposition in my thinking and I have to fight to have a decent prayer life.  Think of a lady who has been praying for seventy seven years for basically the one particular prayer, “She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.” (v37)  When she beheld the Christ child, note that it says  “at that very moment she came up, “and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.”

Praying for something specific for seventy-seven years and suddenly walking up and seeing Jesus, knew her prayers were answered.  The Apostle Paul had a problem and after three times, He felt that the “thorn in the flesh” had been prayed for sufficiently and ended up saying, basically, God is going to use this for His glory.  That’s enough!

Now she continues to talk, first with THANKSGIVING!  She knew her prayers had been answered; she could not contain herself.  I think any of us would be excited to realize that prayer had been answered after all these years.  Further, this was just a “little handful” that would not be comprehended for at least thirty years down the road and even then, only by a small group.

While she was praying for the “redemption” of Jerusalem, she beheld someone even greater: “The Redeemer of mankind!” 

What a prayer warrior!   Hopefully this will become a challenge to you as it has been to me.  Take up a prayer challenge, and refuse to give up!!  God will answer!  Perhaps we all need to talk to Anna and have our hearts challenged afresh!

A LITTLE LEAVEN

In our earliest childhood we experienced the toughest of times!  I have no regret that was the case; we recognized only that this was our fortune and misfortune. Some would have us believe it was only the latter.  

One thing we acquired from someone who was “moving up” from our status to a newer one was an old four burner kerosene stove, and it even had an oven that you could seat on the burners and bake items. 

As well as being a great seamstress, Mom could whip a meal together in short order.  As for salads, there was always the ability to put together something that would more than suffice on the spur of a moment; and she never ran out of ideas.

There was one problem that seemed to elude her; it was called “baking”.  It was not all her fault, because in Bermuda we had to fight high humidity.  When it was at its peak, it was virtually impossible to keep yeast for long. Those little square blocks would lose their ability to function properly and the bread and rolls would almost always come out of the old kerosene oven, close to looking like a pancake.  Some of you might well remember those days.  I had to keep telling myself that even though the slices of bread were quite a bit smaller, they still had the same nutrients.

Where am I going with this?  “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.” (Galatians 5:9)  Throughout the Scriptures you will find references to leaven.  When it is at its “peak” and working properly, it permeates the dough and causes it to rise, and after baking and buttered…  WOW!!

Because of its nature, it is also used in the Scriptures with the ability to permeate every last ounce of bread.  When looking at its negative qualities, we see how sin can enter a person’s life and gradually destroy the testimony that should radiate the joy of the believer’s faith in Christ.  It is also used to teach the necessity of cleaning out every iota of sin, or it will permeate and become destructive.  One of the accompaniments of instructions to the children of Israel as they prepared for the Passover in Exodus 12:15, is that they should remove every indication of leaven.

God wants every visage of sin removed or it will become destructive to your life and mine!

BREAD SEEKERS

There are those cataclysmic moments when our only recourse causes us to cry out in language close to: “God I know that you are the only one who can help me, please bail me out?”

We may not use those exact words, but something close to it blurts across our lips that demonstrates our brain knows where to turn in those moments of impossible odds. Somewhere in your background you were made aware of God, and His many attributes. You undoubtedly exercised your dependence on Him in that moment; if never before you showed your wisdom concerning Him.

Jesus had served 5,000 people and still there were twelve baskets of fragments remaining. The disciples endeavored to cross the sea without Him, however strong winds descended, they were frightened, and He came to their rescue. What words from the Savior: “It is I; do not be afraid.” The next words sound like anyone of us might utter, “So they were willing to receive Him into the boat.” (John 6:21)

Meanwhile, those who had their bellies filled where wanting “more”, in their desires they too crossed to Capernaum, “seeking Jesus”. Jesus identifies their motives… “you ate of the loaves and were filled”. He then says: “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” (John 6:24)

I have no idea what tragedy you may have encountered, nor do I know exactly the words that you called out to God in that moment, but I do know that He holds you accountable for your action, and I know He said, “work for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you”.

His love and grace follows and is sufficient for the supplicant!

SEALED

As I recall, Ephesians 1:13 makes a reference to the believers there listened to the message of truth, which was the gospel of their salvation, believed and were therefore “sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.

Years ago packages had to be “sealed”, if they were certified or insured. I recall using the wax and a brass instrument that was put into the hot wax and therefore guaranteed concerning its delivery.

Before the “wax” job, the seal was basically a ring that was impressed on the object and that gave indication who had issued an order; it also solidified that the item, an order or even an object, was legitimate. My grand-father used metal letters that were impressed upon his tools, anticipating that they stood a better chance of being returned.

Things have changed quite a bit. In fact when I go to the Post Office they usually ask if I want a “tracking number”, and that is satisfactory. They want the item sealed with “tape” and that is sufficient.

When the folk at Ephesus comprehended the message that had been preached to them, we read that they were “sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise. Is it not a wonderful truth to possess? God “seals” (authenticates) our new found faith through the ministering work of the Holy Spirit. He guarantees our immediate and ultimate new birth. (John 3:3)

The Apostle Paul says something in chapter 4:30 that is exciting. One hears repeated that basic truth: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

When I received a package that had a “seal” on it, I immediately thought: “It has not been tampered with. It has been delivered and it was sufficiently important to have a “seal” on it.” My friend, God placed His seal on an individual through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and when the ultimate of the individuals redemption takes place and they are delivered from this old world and into His presence, they will continue to rejoice that “He which hath begun a good work in them has completed it.”

God be thanked!!! God be glorified!!!…We wait with Holy anticipation!

HOLY DAYS OR HOLIDAYS?

Even I can remember when Christmas was a Holy Day – Not just another Holiday. Remember when the majority of Christmas Carols where related to the birth of Christ instead of the majority being related to another break in the calendar.

Can you recall when an emphasis was on the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, as over against presents, Christmas trees, Christmas lights, food in abundance, and indulgence of every kind and nature.

Something went wrong! It did so in a major fashion!

The business world squeezed out the spiritual world and we are but a shadow of what was once dominant. I hate to admit it, but our secularization is now the dominant factor. I can only imagine what is taking place in the minds of many as they read what I have written. If it crosses swords with people, even this old codger, it needs to be spoken.

We “graduated” in our thinking! We extended Christmas in two directions and in the process ended up with something that is a mish-mash of all levels of sports activities… football, basketball, soccer, vacations, Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and no matter what I miss, I am up for criticism…oops I forgot to mention “Impeachment day”…

It is time for us to wake to our dilemma. Like our National Budget, while we think that we are becoming ingenious in dealing with it, a pay day is ahead. Our spiritual hey-day is around the corner.

Let us get back to some Holy Days and not so many holidays.

RESURRECTION DAY 2020

It was just over twenty of us that had gathered under hushed conditions in the Garden where many of us believe the body of Jesus had been entombed. We knew that there are those who disagree with us; it made little difference as we reflected on the One who represented us on Calvary.

We took the bread and the cup in obedience to Jesus command that we “do this in remembrance of me”; there was not a dry eye. That was thirty plus years ago, but it is just as real today as then.

One does a little extra reflection this time of the year. Sad to say, it is not always celebrated in the manner it should be. We are more prone to think of “us” than of HIM! He is the reason that these days are placed on our calendars, but I dare say that there are comparatively few who will shed a tear of reflection or break the bread and drink the cup in remembrance of HIM.

Friend, I challenge you to think upon HIS death…a horrible demonstration of how corrupt the thinking of people can be. What love for the unlovely and unlovable!

Think about HIS resurrection! The grave sealed with hatred and emptied by LIFE HIMSELF!

Reflect…Reflect…Reflect!

BY THE NAIL PRINTS

This morning I was awakened, (Thankfully singing to myself) “I shall know Him by the nail prints in His hands.” I shared with our daughter Cathy how I had not heard it in “ages”. She reminded me that she used to sing it frequently.

I spent some time trying to remember all of the words, but the memory is not as sharp as it was in yesteryear. Next, I rehearsed what I had been reading in Revelation yesterday and recalled how in Chapter 19: 13, we have these recorded words: “He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called THE WORD OF GOD”. In 22:14 we read: “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.

It could not be any clearer than what we have just quoted, if one does not have robes that have been washed in the blood of our Savior and Lord Jesus, he is without the presence of the Lord for all eternity. If you recall at the beginning of this Book, it was a revelation to John, not revelations! Also, it was to the seven churches of Asia. Watch how John wraps up this Book, quoting from the revelation he had experienced from the Lord: “I, Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” (Rev. 22:16) Whether we look at that last quoted verse or begin back in Genesis 1:1 to this point, all are drawn into the picture of needing their robes washed in the BLOOD.

I am uncertain about a lot of things as relating to eternity future, but of the washing of our robes in the Blood of Jesus I am CERTAIN. If need be, I to, like Thomas of old will be able to identify HIM by the nail-prints in HIS hands. Hopefully you have that guarantee in your heart and mind!