18 February 2017

"THERE IS A FOUNTAIN FILLED WITH BLOOD"


Zechariah 13:1: “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.” The prophet Zechariah, inspired by the Holy Spirit, penned these words approximately  five hundred years before the coming of Jesus Christ. Because of the immediate context containing prophecies regarding Jesus Christ before and during His crucifixion, we can understand this passage as pertaining to His death. In chapter 9:9, the writer mentions that “Your King is coming you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey” (NKJV) This was fulfilled as found in Matthew 21:4, 5. In chapter 12:10, we read, “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” This prophecy is fulfilled in John 19:37. Again, we find another prophecy regarding Christ in chapter 13:7, “...Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered.” The fulfillment of this prophecy is found in Matthew 26:31.


The location of the “fountain” in chapter 13:1 was to be in Jerusalem. A fountain is a source of fresh water that is gushing forth for the thirsty souls. However this “fountain” refers to that which flowed from the side of our Savior while he hung on Calvary’s cross. It was a Roman soldier who “pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out” (John 19:34). His precious blood was shed “for sin and for uncleanness”. When Jesus instructed His disciples to drink of the cup, He said, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:7: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” In Romans 6:3, 4, the apostle Paul explains that we come in contact with His blood that saves when we are “buried with Him through baptism”.

William Cowper, in 1772, wrote the lyrics of the moving and beautiful hymn, “There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood”, based on the words found in Zechariah 13:1. Here is the first stanza of the song:
There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains:
Lose all their guilty stains,
Lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.
Praise God for His immeasurable love!

16 February 2017

A WORD OF EXHORTATION

In years past, I enjoyed going on dove shoots. There were times when I would carry at least a couple of boxes of shells, along with my Remington 1100 12 gauge shotgun with a improved cylinder. I was ready to harvest my limit of birds; however, there were times when the doves chose not to fly over the field. What a disappointment!

When teachers and preachers take the much needed time to prepare a lesson or a sermon in anticipation of the support of the membership of a congregation and hopefully, some visitors to be present for the class and/or the worship assembly, it is a great disappointment to the teacher and/or preacher when but a few members are present. Especially is this true when a congregation is small in number. The absent of just a few members will be quite evident. Of course the teacher/preacher will be greatly disappointed and discouraged. But consideration should be given first of all as to what our Lord Jesus Christ is thinking.

He knows what is in the heart of all men and women (John 2:24, 25). And He knows the difference when a member could attend the assemblies and don’t; and, the member who desires to attend but can’t because of circumstances beyond his control as in the case of illness. Brethren should get their priorities in order. The Lord should come first in all matters. While attendance for our assemblies is not the whole of Christianity, it is very important and needful. It was our Lord’s “custom” to be present for a worship assembly when he lived on this earth (Read carefully Luke 4:16). Our worship assemblies are meant to be, among other reasons, times to “stir up love and good works” and “exhorting one another” (Hebrews 10:24, 25). On the positive side of matters, I am always personally encouraged to see our aged saints (in spite of their ‘aches and pains’) to be present for our assemblies. I am very thankful for their examples of faithfulness. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9,NKJV).

05 January 2017

"YOU HAVE NOT PASSED THIS WAY BEFORE"

The great leader, Moses, had died and the Lord God had chosen the faithful warrior, Joshua, to be the leader of the children of Israel. They were encamped on the east side of the River of Jordan and the time had come for them to cross over the River of Jordan and into the land of ‘milk and honey’, the land of Canaan. God had assured Joshua several times that He would be with him as he was about to enter the promised land (Joshua 1:6-9).
In Joshua 3, the priest, carrying the ark of the covenant, were to lead the people across the River of Jordan and into the land that God had promised to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). Joshua, in  charging the people to follow the priest at a certain distance, said this to the people, “FOR YOU HAVE NOT PASSED THIS WAY BEFORE”. The children of Israel were about to enter a land they did not know.
As we enter this new year of 2017, it could also be said of us, “For you have not passed this way before.” We do not know what this new year will bring. It might be weal or woe, sadness or happiness, life or death, success or failure, etc. For the child of God, we should read what God said to Joshua and to know that basically He tells us the same: “Be strong and of good courage”, “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:6, 9). In Hebrews 13:5, we read, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Because we are children of God, this is the blessed assurance we have in our Lord. Here are some suggestions that will strengthen you as you enter the uncharted course in this new year of 2017:
  1. Trust in the Lord with all your heart (Proverbs 3:5, 6).
  2. Love God with all your heart, soul and mind (Mark 12:30).
  3. Love your brethren and your neighbors (John 13:34, 35; Mark 12:30).
  4. Do good to all men and especially your brothers and sisters in Christ (Galatians 6:10).
  5. Attend the assemblies of the church to worship God and to exhort/edify/build up one another in the most holy faith (Hebrews 10:24, 25).
  6. Be steadfast in prayer (Romans 12:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
  7. Increase your knowledge of the Word of God by reading and studying it daily (Psalm 1:1-3;119:97; Matthew 4:4).
I close this article with the words of the apostle Peter as found in 2 Peter 1:10, 11: “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these thing you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”




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 :