22 June 2016

A TRIBUTE TO HELEN DILL

A TRIBUTE TO HELEN ROBINSON DILL
March 3, 1933-June 15, 2016

The following are remarks that I made during the funeral service for Helen on Sunday, June 19th at the Eastern Meadows church building in Montgomery, Alabama.
                 “Helen Robinson Dill, age 83 of Montgomery, AL, passed away on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. Helen Dill’s highest priority and joy in life was to be a good wife and mother to five; second only to her serving God and the church as a preacher’s wife. That life covered many moves to new cities and adventures, she was always ready. She would rise to the challenges utilizing her creative talents cooking, sewing, painting, gardening, and making ceramics.”
On Friday, November 21, 2003, we honored Helen and Roger at the Capitol City Prayer Breakfast. I spoke of them on that occasion. “Helen Robinson, a lovely young lady from Marietta, Georgia first came to Montgomery Bible College in 1950 for one year but Roger says that since he wasn’t there, she returned home and attended the University of Georgia and later enrolled at Alabama Christian College” (I was in the 10th grade in 1950 and knew Helen. The previous year, I had met Roger who stayed only one year at MBC).
“Roger relates how he was standing near the girl’s dormitory on the old campus on Ann Street watching as the new girls were coming in and it was then that he spotted Helen and determined that she was the one for him. They were married in 1953 and just recently observed their Golden Wedding Anniversary. I have often wondered what would happen if you crossed a DILL from Carbon Hill with a sweet Georgia peach. Would it be ‘pickled peaches’ or ‘sweet Dills’? I believe it was the latter. To this union was born Wendell, Nina, Evie, Alicia and William. They also have 10 grandchildren. They kept on having children so by the time we followed them in Opp, the brethren had added on to the preacher’s house. Virginia and I have always appreciated Roger and Helen for having five children, thus providing an additional large and lovely bedroom for us.
Helen has been and is an ideal preacher’s wife. She has been the ‘wind beneath his wings’. She has served 18 years as his/or the church secretary. Helen has taught ladies Bible classes for 35 years, along with other classes; and, she also been very busy in yers past in rearing five children.”
Virginia and I moved from Fort Deposit to Prattville in 2004 where we would make our home. It was then that Roger, Helen, Byron and Carolyn Benson, Virginia and I would become the closest of friends. We would often eat together on birthdays, anniversaries and at other times. But then death invaded our group. First it was Byron who died on Monday, August 24, 2009. Some 5 months later on Wednesday, January 3, 2010, Carolyn slipped into eternity. They are now in the care of their Heavenly Father.
Years passed but the time came when Roger had to have surgery and he never fully recovered from a deep sleep. He went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, October 21, 2015. And now, approximately 8 months later, on Thursday, June 16, 2016, our beloved Helen went to be with Roger in the eternal care of our Lord Jesus Christ who they faithfully served for so many years.
In closing my remarks, I read a portion of the poem, GONE by John Greenleaf Whittier :


05 April 2016

THIS IS MY FATHER'S WORLD

As believers in God, we understand through the writings of the Holy Scriptures, He, who created the heavens and the earth, is still in control of matters pertaining to the happenings on this earth. In our finite minds we cannot always know and understand His purposes and plans. Man, in his innate ability to make his own decisions, often will go contrary to the desires of the Lord. Thus we often reap as we have sown, whether good or evil, blessings or curses. 

Nebuchadnezzer, king of Babylon, was used by God to punish his people Israel because of their idolatrous ways and sin. The king became very arrogant and God punished him in this manner. He was made to be like a wild animal and was fed the grass of the field until a lengthy time had passed. You will find this story in the book of Daniel 4:31-34; 5:20, 21. Note especially Daniel 5:21: “Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, TILL HE KNEW THAT THE MOST HIGH GOD RULES IN THE KINGDOM OF MEN, AND APPOINTS OVER IT WHOMEVER HE CHOOSES” (Emphasis, R.E.)

There are other great and powerful lessons taught in the Bible about God and His treatment with the nations of men. Here are a couple of passages that need to be seriously considered: Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Psalm 9:17: “The wicked shall be turned into hell (Sheol), And all the nations that forget God.”

The prophet Jonah was commanded by God to “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” (1:2). Noah eventually did go to Nineveh and preached a simple but profound sermon, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (3:4). The inhabitants from the king to the peasants all repented and God spared the city from destruction. 

The passage in 2 Chronicles 7:14 must be understood in the light of the context. In the Old Testament, God chose the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be His chosen people. They were known as the children of Israel, the Israelites and the nation of Israel. Israel and Judah had forgotten God and were in the throngs of Idolatry and God used the Babylonians and the Assyrians to punish them. But God in His grace and mercy extended to them these promises: “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” The promises found in this passage can be applied to any nation that will adhere to the directives contained in this passage, namely, humility, repentance, prayer and seeking after the Lord.

We don’t know what the future holds for our nation but we know who holds tomorrow. Read carefully the words found in the song, ‘This Is My Father’s World’: “This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget That though the wrong seems often strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father’s world: Why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King: Let heaven ring! God reigns, Let earth be glad!”


01 March 2016

YOU CANNOT GO BY FEELINGS ALONE!

It was late at night and my wife and I had retired and all of sudden she asked, “Did you close the garage door?” My, my, why did she have to ask me that question so late at night! I am positive that I closed the door but she has aroused my curiosity so I got out of bed and made the trip to prove that I had closed the garage door but much to my surprise, the door was still up! I was sure that I had closed that door and I felt as safe as you could be in believing that all the doors were locked leading to the inside of our house. But, I was wrong!

Now let me tell you about the latest concerning our feelings that we were safe in our house. This morning I took a birthday card to the mail box and when I returned to open the front door there was a set of keys in the lock. Someone had left them there over night. You see, I was in Montgomery all day. My wife used our truck to do her shopping. She entered the house through the front door. So, it was not me this time in not securing the house. But, you know, we slept soundly through the night feeling that we were safe as we possibly could be.  But we were wrong!

My friends, feelings alone can be deceptive. This is true in the realm of religion as well in other areas. The reason is explained by the prophet Jeremiah: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (17:9). The wise man wrote in Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.” One biblical example of a person having deceptive feelings is that of Jacob who thought Joseph had been killed by a wild beast but later learned that he was alive in Egypt. How often have you heard someone say, “I feel that I am saved”? We must remember that salvation takes place in the mind of God and not according to how a person feels in his heart.

It is true that a saved person can have a clear conscience and a feeling of peace that passes all understanding in the Lord – when he complies with the directives of the Lord (1 Peter 3:21). This comes about when a person responds by faith to the grace of God (Romans 5:1, 2). This saving faith is one of obedience (Hebrews 5:8, 9). So, when a penitent believer is baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit he receives forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will know that his sins have been washed away by the precious blood of the Son of God (Acts 22:16; Ephesians 1:7).

“Is thy heart right with God, Washed in the crimson flood, Cleansed and made holy, Humble and lowly, Right in the sight of God?


22 February 2016

KINGDOM/CHURCH IN THE BOOK OF COLOSSIANS

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse…” (1:1, 2). The apostle Paul, guided by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote this epistle. The “saints” and “faithful brethren” refer to the same persons who were “in Christ” who lived in the city of Colosse. The term ‘saint’ does not mean  perfection because Paul instructed them in chapter three to continue putting of certain sins as they matured in Christ. ‘Saint’ denotes a life of holiness, one of sanctification.

In chapter one, verses 13, 14, we read: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” There is a kingdom of darkness from which the brethren had been delivered. This is in contrast to the kingdom of light. All who are not in the “kingdom of the Son of His love” remain in the “power of darkness”. To be “conveyed” is to be ‘translated’, that is to move from one place or condition to another. Thus the brethren in Colosse were in the kingdom of the Lord. They had been redeemed by His blood and had been forgiven of their sins! It is worthy to note that the kingdom of Jesus Christ was in existence in the first century!

But you may ask, when were their sins forgiven by the blood of Christ? In chapter 2: 12 we read: “buried with Him in baptism in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”  It was in baptism that these brethren who formerly were in the “power of darkness” now had been “buried with Him in baptism” and “were raised with Him through faith in the working of God.”

We have learned that the “saints” in Colosse were in the kingdom, having been “delivered from the power of darkness and that occurred when they were “buried with Him in baptism”. The brethren were also in the body of Christ according to chapter 3:15: “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Please observe that whatever the “body” is, there is but “one” (1:24). In chapter 1:18 we read: “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Jesus Christ is the supreme and only head of his one body which is His church!

But once again you may ask, how did the brethren get into the “one body”? Please allow me to use a verse by the author, Paul, to answer that question from his epistle as found in 1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”

In summary, we have learned that the brethren had been translated into the kingdom when they were baptized; that they had been baptized into one body which is the church of our Lord. And having been buried with their Lord in baptism they were redeemed from their sins by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Now they had “the hope” which was “laid up” for them “in heaven” (1:5). Thank God for His infinite love and grace!