10 December 2018

"FOR THE LIVING KNOW THAT THEY WILL DIE"

This is a profound statement made by the inspired writer as found in Ecclesiastes 9:5. We know that death is inevitable. In Hebrews 9:27, we read, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” No doubt, millions viewed the funeral services of the late George H. W. Bush, our 41st President; and, many were moved emotionally, especially with the eulogy given by his son, George W. Bush, the former 43rd President. While the average lifespan of the Presidents of the United States has been approximately 71 years, President Bush lived to be 94 years old. He lived a ‘full life’ of service for his country. But he had one thing in common with all of mankind, he died. In this life, men are often separated from each other due to such factors as race, economics, social and educational status, but, there is a common denominator that unites all men and that is the grim reaper called death. Death is no respecter of persons. It matters not whether one is young or old, rich or poor, a king or a peasant, popular or unpopular; death eventually comes to every man and woman. Moses, in referring to the rebellious Israelites, stated, “if these men die naturally like all men, or if they are visited by the common fate of all, then the Lord has not sent me.” In this verse Moses alluded to that which is common to all me, death. Even men who lived in the infancy of the human race and who lived long upon the earth had one thing in common, they died. It is said of Methuselah, “So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died” (Genesis 5:27). The Psalmist asked, “What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave?” (Psalms 89:48). It was David who said to his dear friend Jonathan, “...But truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death” (I Samuel 20:3). Life is so precious, frail and uncertain. Death on the other hand is ever present. In death it is immaterial whether one is buried in a coffin of gold or wood; whether there is much pomp and ceremony, or just a few words uttered by a friend. The most important thing to be considered is whether or not the deceased person was a child of God. In fact, that is all that really matters - for eternity! Therefore, not knowing the day nor the hour when Christ shall return again nor when death shall come, it behooves each one of us to set our house in order; that is, to give our lives completely to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is in Christ Jesus that we have salvation and eternal life (2 Timothy 2:10; I John 5:11, 12). God “desires that all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). He gave His only begotten Son to die for the world so that we could be saved (John 3:16,17). As a penitent believer a person should be baptized into Jesus Christ for remission of sins (Acts 2:36-38; Galatians 3:26, 27). As a disciple of the Lord, living faithfully the Christian life, heaven will be our eternal home (Matthew 25:34; 2 Timothy 4:7,8). By God’s infinite grace, the sting of death will be removed and victory over the grave will be experienced by the children of God (I Corinthians 15:54-58).

20 November 2018

MY THOUGHTS ON THANKSGIVING

“I thought about my ways, And turned my feet to Your Testimonies” (Psalm 119:59). A thoughtful person is a thankful person. Blessed is the person who meditates on God’s testimonies. To think on the blessings of God, is to thank Him for His infinite grace. Thankfulness to our Heavenly Father produces ‘thanksliving’. We cry out, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…” (Psalm 103:1,2). Therefore, we are to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). As a late night television personality was often heard to say, “I hark” back to the days of my youth. I have memories of some small communities having ‘Thanksgiving dinner’ together in a school building. One of the songs we used to sing was, “We Gather Together”. It was a religious song, one that is seldom sung today. But, the lyrics are so meaningful: “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing, He chastens and hastens His will to make known; The wicked oppressing cease them from distressing, Sing praises to His name, He forgets not His own. Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining, Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine; So from the beginning the fight we were winning, Thou, Lord, wast at our side, - the glory be Thine!” Almost every year there would be a ‘Thanksgiving Play” in the schools. The song usually sung was, “Over The River And Through The Woods.” Here are a few of the lyrics: “Over the river and through the woods, To grandmother's house we go; The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh, Through (the) white and drifted snow! Over the river and through the woods, Oh, how the wind does blow! It stings the toes and bites the nose, As over the ground we go. Over the river and through the woods, To have a first-rate play; Oh, hear the bells ring, "Ting-a-ling-ling!" Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!” How fortunate you are, and how grateful you should be, if you have your family together on this, our national holiday, “Thanksgiving”! “Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!”

15 November 2018

WHAT COLOR WAS SAUL'S (OF TARSUS) HORSE?

The following will be questions that can be found in the New Testament regarding the conversion of a biblical character by the name of Saul, who was a persecutor of the “Way” (22:4). I will give you the basic texts found in the book of Acts. This method will allow you to read the verses from the Bible without my understanding being given of the passages of scriptures. You can read for yourself what the writer, Luke (Acts 1:1;Luke 1:1-4), wrote as he was guided by the Holy Spirit. Here are the passages in the book of Acts: Acts 9:1-19: 22:1-16; 26:1:26. Why was Saul going to Damascus ( 9:1-3;22:4,5)? Did Saul believe that he was doing the will of God by persecuting the disciples of Christ; and, that he did it with all sincerity (23:1;26:9)? What caused Saul to be unable to see (22:6)? Who appeared to Saul on the way to Damascus: (9:3-5)? What effect did this experience have on Saul (9:4;22:6,7)? Who was Saul actually persecuting when he was persecuting the church (8:4;9:4,5;22:7,8)? What were the questions Saul asked the Lord (9:6; 22:10)? In what city was Saul instructed to enter (9:6;22:10)? What did Saul do for three days (9:9,11)? Do you understand that Saul was a believer in Jesus Christ at this point in time; and, that his actions indicated that he was penitent of his sins? What were the basic reasons for the Lord to appear to Saul (22:14,15;26:16-18)? What was the name of the disciple who was sent to speak to Saul (9:10)? What act of faith was Saul instructed that he “must do” (Acts 9:6) in order for his sins to be washed away (forgiven) (Acts 22:16)? The question may be asked, did Saul, in fact, obey this command (See Romans 6:1-4)? Please notice the plural pronouns, “us” and “we”, which would include Paul who wrote the book of Romans (1:1). Oh, I have not dealt with the question that is the title of this article, “What color was Saul’s (of Tarsus) horse?” You know, that is a very interesting question. I have seen pictures and videos of Saul riding a horse on the way from Jerusalem to Damascus; however, would you believe, there is no passage of Scripture that informs us he was even riding one. I sincerely thank you for your time and interest in this study of God’s Holy Word.

02 November 2018

THOUGHTS ON PRAYER

“Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray?” Remember alway to “pray in the Morning, pray at the Noontime, pray in the Evening, Pray anytime;. Pray when you are happy. Pray when in sorrow, Pray when you’re tempted, Pray all the time.” Be sure to “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” It is a good to have this “Sweet Hour of prayer”. How wonderful that we can go to “The garden of prayer” and meet with our Heavenly Father. You can rest assured that “prayer will change the night to day”. As Christians, we can truly say, “I Need Thee Every Hour”. In this life, with all its sorrows and trials, “Savior, grant me rest and peace”. During the storms of life, “Shelter us under Thy wings’. As children of God how wonderful to know, “What a friend we have in Jesus’. When discouragements and trials come our way, we have the wonderful privilege to “Tell it to Jesus alone”. “Dear God and Father of mankind”, please know that “I am Thine, O Lord”. When we draw near to the end of our days, please “Abide with me”. It is in humility that we say, “My faith looks up to Thee”. As we close these thoughts, please Heavenly Father, “Hear me when I call, O God, my righteousness, Unto thee I come in weakness and distress; Hold my trembling hand, lest helpless I should fall, O hear me, Lord, hear me, O hear me when I call. Hear my voice, O God, and cleanse my soul within, Mercy do I need for all my doubts and sin, Only in Thy grace I trust my all in all, O hear me, Lord, hear me, O hear me when I call.”