15 December 2017
My Cardiologist had finished examining me during my annual checkup. He then said, “I will see you next year.” I was thankful that my heart seemed to be in good shape. When I entered the hall, I saw several of the ladies who worked in the building and I said to them, “He said that he would see me next year, but, he did not give me a guarantee.” It was then that my doctor walked up behind me, placed his arm around me and said, “You are a God man, has God ever given you a guarantee?” Though my Cardiologist is very religious, he is not a Christian; but, since 2001, when he put a stent in a 95 percent blocked artery that was across my heart, he has known that I am a gospel preacher.That is why he called me a “God man”. I replied that God has not promised me another year to live (James 4:13, 14). However, God has given to me, as well to all Christians who endeavor to live faithfully, several ‘guarantees’. I have chosen only a few ‘guarantees’ from God that are mentioned in the inspired writings of the apostle John. John 10:27-29: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” As long as we listen to the voice of our Good Shepherd and follow Him, there is no power on earth that can remove us from the hands and care of our Heavenly Father. John 11:25, 26: “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” These words of Jesus Christ give comfort to children of God who trust in Him who died for our sins, and was resurrected from the tomb. 1 John 5:11-13: “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life, he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life....” Eternal life for the believer is to be found in the Son of God, and what He did for us on the cross of Calvary when He shed His precious blood. If we “walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7, 9). Revelation 14:13: “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” say the Spirit, “they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” These are God given ‘guarantees’ for Christians who “die in the Lord”. “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God; Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”
08 December 2017
The apostle Paul was in a Roman prison when he wrote the letter of second Timothy to his “son in the faith”, Timothy. This is the last recorded letter Paul ever wrote. In the 4th chapter, verses 9 and 21, there are two statements made by Paul that greatly encouraged the younger evangelist to make every effort possible to come see him before it was too late. Paul wrote, “be diligent to come to me quickly” (V 9); “Do your utmost to come before winter…” (12). There are two reasons implied in these statements for Timothy to make every effort to come to him as soon as possible. One is that winter would not be the time to travel by boat. The wintry storms made it very dangerous to travel on the seas. Paul had experienced shipwreck during that season of the year as recorded in Acts 27. No doubt, the most important reason for Timothy to make haste to come to him as quickly as possible is found in the words of Paul in verses 6-8: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.” Should Timothy tarry too long, it would be too late to see Paul alive for his “departure” was at hand, that, his death was imminent. In life, there are words we need to express and actions we should take before it is too late, that is, we should do them before “winter” comes. Husbands and wives should express daily their love for one another. There is always the possibility of a heart attack, a stroke or an accident that could take the life of your mate. The last words spoken to your husband/wife could be, “I love you”. Parents need to express their love to their children, regardless of their age. They need to know you care for them, not only by the physical and material you give them, but, a hug and ‘I love you’ will give assurance to them that you really do love them; and, that you desire they live for Jesus Christ so the family can be together with God in eternity. Children need to express their love and appreciation to their parents as well. They should respect and honor their parents (Ephesians 6:1, 2). Aged parents, especially, desire to hear from their adult children who live long distances from them. Siblings should stay in contact with one another. Efforts should be made to be together when possible. It is very difficult to give up a brother or sister to death. Wishing that you had expressed your love and care for one another after death has separated you from a loved one is of no avail. That is why you need to do it before “winter” comes, otherwise it will be too late. Also, brothers and sisters in Christ should express their love to one another. We are “children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26). We are to love one another as Christ has loved us (John 14:12). We are the family of God. Those who have not given their lives to Christ and who have not obeyed the gospel (Romans 1:16; Acts 2:36-38) should no longer tarry because “winter” (death) might overtake them (Hebrews 9:27), and they would pass into eternity without God. “Winter” (death) is coming to us all. Now is the time for us to express our heartfelt feelings to our loved ones; and, to do what we can to help others while we have the time and opportunity (John 9:4, Galatians 6:10). The clock of life is wound but once And no man has the power To tell just when the hands will stop At late or early hour. Now is the only time you own Live, love toil with a will Place no faith in tomorrow For the hands may then be still. Kenneth L. Fielder
30 October 2017
There are two kinds of invitations to special events; one is very specific, that is, only a select group of people, normally family and friends, are invited to attend a gathering. Then, there is the general invitation to all who would be interested in attending a special occasion. An example would be an invitation placed in a church bulletin, inviting all to attend a wedding ceremony. In this brief article, I want to mention only three invitations offered by God. The first one is found in Isaiah 1:18. But you should read the first 17 verses of this chapter to understand the background of this gracious invitation by our Heavenly Father. His people had forgotten Him; they were hypocritical; God rejected their worship because their hands were full of blood, just to name a few of their sins. Yet, God, in His mercy and longsuffering, offered this invitation to His sinful people: “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool” (V.18). Please observe it was God who made the first move in this matter of preserving Judah and saving His people. God promised them that if they would be obedient, He would bless them (V.19). God gave man the ability to make choices, whether to respond in a positive or in a negative manner. The second invitation I have chosen to mention was made by God the Son, Jesus Christ. In Matthew, chapter 11, Jesus did “most of His mighty works” in the cities that were located on the northern end of the Sea of Galilee which were, Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. However, the inhabitants of these cities rejected Him as being the Son of God. Jesus said that it would be “more tolerable” for the “land of Sodom” and “Tyre and Sidon” in the “day of judgment” for these cities, because they would have repented had they seen “the mighty works” which He had done in their presence (11:22, 24). Because the Lord desires all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), He offered this invitation: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” To everyone who accepts this invitation by faith in Jesus Christ, and obeys the commands of the gospel (Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:26, 27), the blood of Christ will wash your sins away (Acts 22:16; Revelation 1:5). The most precious of all the invitations extended by God in the Holy Scriptures is found in Matthew 25:34 when “the King” will say to the saved ones on the judgment day, : “ Come, you blessed of My Father, “inherit the kingdom prepared for you for the foundation of the world…” After a life of faithfulness and service in the kingdom of God in this life, “an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Praise God for His infinite grace, His stedfast love and His tender mercies!!
29 October 2017
When was the last time you saw a person blush? I remember well the last time I saw someone blush. It happened to be following a Bible class conducted in the home of members of the church. After the class ended, we were enjoying eating snacks and enjoying being together. I asked this Christian lady to help me to hoe in my garden that was located on her property. She mentioned that she had asked some of the ladies present to assist me to do a certain job in my garden. The word she used to define that particular kind of labor was correct; however, when she said the word, it took on an entirely different meaning. When she realized what she had said, she ‘turned as red as a beet’ (which is an ancient saying). She was totally embarrassed! You could see the redness beginning in her neck and traveling up to engulf her face. She was embarrassed and she blushed!! That incident occurred back in the 1980s. Would you believe there was a time in the history of God’s chosen people that no one blushed? Read carefully the words found in Jeremiah 6:15: “Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the LORD.” The priests, prophets and and many of the kings of Judah had led the people into idolatry and away from God. They were guilty of every kind of abominations, even to the offering of their sons to be burned in homage to a foreign god. It was a of time of immorality. Their consciences were ‘seared’. Did anyone feel ashamed of their wretched deeds? No! In fact, they did not even know how to blush! There are many of our young people who do not know the meaning of the word ‘blush’, because they have never seen anyone blush. Here is one definition found in the dictionary “A reddening of the face, especially from modesty, embarrassment, or shame.” This is not indictment against all, for there are morally conservative persons who would not be included in the following remarks. Generally speaking, we have been desensitized! The definition of the word is: “To make emotionally insensitive or unresponsive, as by long exposure...” We have come a very long way from the four letter word used in the movie “Gone With the Wind”, that appeared in 1939. Now, we hear swearing and every vulgar and ‘curse’ word imaginable on television and in the movies. We are not bothered by all the gory deaths we see on the silver screen. Children are now ‘sex-texting’ and sending nude pictures of themselves to others The swimwear used by many women reveal ninety percent of their bodies to be seen by all. There is no embarrassment, shame, and no one is blushing. However, there is a time when Christians should not blush. In the words of the song, AM I A SOLDIER OF THE CROSS, written by Isaac Watts (1721-24), and that is when we claim Jesus as our Savior. Here are the lyrics found in the first stanza: “Am I a soldier of the cross, A follower of the Lamb, And shall I fear to own His cause, Or blush to speak His name?” Of course, we are not to be ashamed of our Lord or His Word.