April 28, 2019

Wonderful Words Of Life – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Your testimonies are wonderful; Therefore, my soul observes them. The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. I opened my mouth wide and panted, For I longed for Your commandments.” (Psalm 119:129-131)
That which the Psalmist describes as wonderful, your “testimonies,” is translated by a number of different words; “rules” in the NET, “laws,” in the NLT, “decrees” in the NRSV, “statutes,” and in the NIV. It is a generic term describing God’s Word. David says it is wonderful.
Modern liberals often ridicule Bible-believing Christians as “bibliolaters.” They charge, “You worship the Bible.” Such accusations usually come when the accuser is shown to be in violation of scripture. But the fact is that it is not possible to place the Bible on too high a pedestal. David says it is “wonderful.”
Consider just how wonderful are the Scriptures. It’s truths were written in the heart of God even before the creation. “Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). Then, “He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,” (Hebrews 1:1).

Finally it was complete, and the last of the prophets concluded it with an all-embracing warning: “if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book…” (Revelation 22:18-19). In other words, critics who tamper with the words of the Bible are facing disaster. The psalmist said: “The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus said: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). Eternal in the past; inviolable in the present; forever in the future! All we shall ever need for our guidance is to be found in God’s wonderful testimonies: “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (II Pet. 1:3) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable. . . That the man of God may be perfect” (II Timothy 3:16-17).
You can have no higher view of God than you have toward His word. Therefore, contrary to the attitude of those chafing under His decrees, it is not possible to have too high a view of Scripture, You can have no higher view of God than you have toward His word. Therefore, contrary to the attitude of those chafing under His decrees, it is not possible to have too high a view of Scripture, “for thou hast magnified your word above all your name” (Psalm 138:2).
We need to imprint into our hearts the thoughts we sing in the hymn written by Phillip P. Bliss in 1874, “Wonder Words Of Life.”

Sing them over again to me,
wonderful words of life;
let me more of their beauty see,
wonderful words of life;
words of life and beauty,
teach me faith and duty:
Refrain:
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
wonderful words of life;
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
wonderful words of life.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris.

April 21, 2019

Disturbed By The Name of Jesus – Ken Weliever

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Several years ago Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote a short, simple but powerful song with these moving lyrics.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; there’s just something about that name
Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain;
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all Heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away
But there’s something about that name
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away
But there’s something about that name

Today the name of Jesus is controversial. People don’t like hearing anyone invoke Jesus’ name.I’ve personally been advised not to pray in Jesus name in some settings. Former Florida football star, Tim Tebow, was severely criticized for invoking the name of Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Ironically Chaplains in some states have been ordered not to speak of Jesus or pray in His name during their counseling periods.
When Franklin Graham released his book, The Name, he was accused of “bigotry” and engaging in “hate speech.”
Graham expressed his frustration in the book. “Tolerance has become the new watchword of our times. It is heralded as perhaps the highest virtue in Western culture that glues people of differing backgrounds and ideologies together for the sake of promoting cultural unity. We are told by the media and the government bureaucrats to be tolerant of everything and anything except the gospel of salvation, all in the name of political correctness.
“It seems almost ironic that Christians are not being tolerated by such a ‘tolerant’ society, Graham wrote, “So I admit I get frustrated and a bit defensive when I encounter intolerance toward the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
This reaction, however, is not new. The New Testament apostles experienced it in their preaching.
In Acts 4 the Sadducees found Peter and John preaching in the Temple. They were “greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (v. 2).
As a result they were arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court, to give account of their actions. Peter used this occasion to preach the gospel. Regarding Jesus, Peter concluded his sermon with these powerful words:
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’ (v. 12).
The apostles’ unflinching boldness, and courageous response confounded the religious leaders. After conferring with one another, they released Peter and John and “charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” (v. 19).
Unfazed and unafraid, the apostles replied, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
Those who did not believe Jesus was the Messiah and denied the resurrection were upset. Today the name of Jesus angers and irritates orthodox Jews and Muslims.Atheists, infidels and agnostics don’t like hearing the name of Jesus. The politically correct crowd tries to bully and shame us in not speaking Jesus’ name.
There’s just something about that name.
You see Bible believers affirm that Jesus was more than a mere man. He is Divine. He is the Christ. He is the Son of God. He has pre-existed from eternity with the Father. And is the Creator of Heaven and earth.
There are over 200 names, titles and designations for Jesus in the Bible. They each bear witness to Jesus’ greatness. His prominence. And His Preeminence. I am reminded of the statement of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The name of Jesus is not so much written as plowed in the history of the world.”
Jesus is the Lamb of God. The King of Kings. The Lord of Lords. The Head of the Church. The Light of the word. The Way. The Truth. And the Life.
Jesus is our High Priest. Our Mediator. And our Savior.
Never be ashamed of the name of Jesus. Pray to God in Jesus name. Proclaim it. Preach it. Praise it.
There’s just something about that name.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

April 14, 2019

Be Strong and Brave! – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

I Chronicles 28:20

“David said to his son Solomon: “Be strong and brave! Do it! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic! For the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not leave you or abandon you before all the work for the service of the LORD’s temple is finished.” NET
Through His spokesmen the prophets, God gave this command — to be strong brave — eleven times. The charge was found on the lips of Moses, five times in Joshua, then twice from David, and once from Hezekiah.
Each of these divine mandates focused on unique trials. Each clearly defined the response God required of His people when challenged by threating situations in a wide variety of circumstances. These numerous examples emphasize the divine principle: Challenging situations do not excuse. They teach us, they strengthen us, they urge us on more determined, unwavering service to God.
(Unfortunately, this valid, critical lesson is too often distorted to produce greater contentiousness. “Stand for the truth,” becomes code words for, “Split more churches.” We must learn the difference.)
The first occurrence of this divine command is delivered by Moses to the Israelites. The poignant scene of Moses’ death, just after he was allowed to view the unattained promised land, loomed just ahead. Israel was finally to enter the Promised Land, but Moses would not be leading them. They would face the giants without him. God’s instruction to them in that situation was…
“Be strong and courageous! Do not fear or tremble before them, for the LORD your God is the one who is going with you. He will not fail you or abandon you!” (Deuteronomy 31:6). In the next verse, Moses gave a similar exhortation to Joshua, their new leader.
The next-to-last occurrence is the text with which we began, quoted above. It expresses almost the same words of the first occurrence. This time David is exhorting Solomon to courageously move forward with the enormous responsibility, building God’s marvelous temple in Jerusalem. Whether finally entering the land that intimidated Israel and the unfaithful spies previously, or beginning God’s magnificent temple, God’s children should expect opposition and but must be strong and brave to carry it through.
The word “brave” often translated “courage” occurs more in Joshua than in any other book of the Bible. The specific requirement is given five times: three by God, once by the people to Joshua, and once by Joshua to the people. In all these passages, the context stresses doing what God says, regardless of the situation, especially in resistance to sin and pagan belief systems. Especially significant is God’s command:
“Make sure you are very strong and brave! Carefully obey all the law my servant Moses charged you to keep! Do not swerve from it to the right or to the left, so that you may be successful in all you do.” (Joshua 1:7).

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

March 31, 2019

Bioinspiration: The Birds Will Tell You-By Jerry Bergman, PhD

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Humans have been endeavoring to soar like birds for millennia. After multiple failures, many people felt that manned, mechanized flight was impossible. After three years of test flights, Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first successful airborne attempt finally achieved the dream of mechanized flight in 1903, and it changed the world. And “throughout the story of the Wright brothers…birds figure prominently.”1
They were no doubt inspired by the mention of birds 53 times in the Bible, such as “ask…the birds of the air, and they will tell you.”2 The brothers were largely self-taught but voracious readers who experimented with mechanical things throughout their lives.3 Their church had long been openly creationist and very opposed to Darwinism. In harmony with that commitment, the brothers perused books such as English biologist St. George Jackson Mivart’s detailed anti-Darwin book On the Genesis of Species.4
Wilbur and Orville realized that if birds could fly, humans could copy their design and likewise be able to fly. Their mother loved birds and could identify a bird by its song. She taught this love to her sons.5 After observing birds effortlessly gliding for long distances, they concluded that if a “bird’s wings could sustain it in the air without the use of any muscles, we do not see why man could not be sustained by the same means.”6
The brothers recognized a critical factor was the bird wing’s shape, which they endeavored to copy. Observing birds was one way their approach to flight differed significantly from contemporary experimenters whose focus was on developing more-powerful engines. The brothers focused on wing design. Specifically, the wing needed to be curved to force air on top to travel faster than air underneath. Faster-moving air has less pressure, creating lift from the air below the wing. Their notebooks include detailed notes on bird flight that help historians determine what they learned from birds.7
They also studied other flying experiments, which they compared “with their careful observations of soaring birds.” Wilbur noticed that a buzzard maintained its “balance in the air chiefly by twisting its dropped wing. This twist increased the air pressure on the dropped wing and restored the bird to level flight.”8
The brothers copied this design to enable their flying machine to bank or lean into a turn just like a bird. After two years of experiments, they realized the existing scientific data were wrong.9 Using a small, homebuilt wind tunnel, they collected accurate data that enabled them to construct more-efficient wings and propellers. We can see God’s engineering genius even in this pale imitation of His created avian wonders.
The human engineering of devices inspired by design in the natural world is called bioinspiration, a field that has grown both in size and importance in the years since the famous flight.10 The Wright brothers’ example is only one of thousands. From “studying God’s creation in the form of bird-flight, they were helped to develop their own creation of a  better aircraft.”11 Indeed, very few men have changed the world in greater ways than the Wright brothers, and they started by watching “the birds of the air.” We can see God’s engineering genius even in this pale imitation of His created avian wonders.
References
Combs, H. and M. Caidin. 1979. Kill Devil Hill: Discovering the Secret of the Wright Brothers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 109.
Job 12:7.
Moolman, V. 1980. The Road to Kitty Hawk. Alexandra, VA: Time-Life Books, 107-108.
Mivart, S. G. J. 1871. On the Genesis of Species. New York: D. Appleton and Company.
Reynolds, Q. J. 1978. The Wright Brothers, Pioneers of American Aviation. New York: Random House.
Moolman, Road to Kitty Hawk, 111.
Combs, Kill Devil Hill, 109-111.
Eimerl, S. 1964. The History of Flight. New York: Golden Press, 29.
Ash, R. 1974. The Wright Brothers. London: Wayland Publishers, 41
Forbes, P. 2006. The Gecko’s Foot: Bio-inspiration: Engineering New Material from Nature. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
Lamont, A. 1991. The Wright Brothers: Pioneers of the Skies. Creation. 13 (4): 24-27.

March 3, 2019

Thoughts On Inspiration – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle…” (Leviticus 1:1 KJV)
This verse introduces us to one of the books of Moses, often foolishly considered uninteresting and irrelevant to Christians. This erroneous misconception results in a crippling ignorance of many things God wants Christians to know.
The Apostle Paul explained one of the very important purposes of the Law of Moses.
“Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ,…” (Gal. 3:24)
David understood that the Old Testament was not just for the people of the Old Testament.
“This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.” (Psa.102:18 )
The apostle Paul reminded the Christians in Rome…”For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope.” (Romans 15:4 NET)
Leviticus begins with an unmistakable claim of inspiration. Consider the comments of Holman Bible Commentary…”God spoke to Moses from the inner sanctuary (within the Tent of Meeting) and gave him general directions for the various offerings to be brought. Before this, God spoke from the mountain, but now he spoke from the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant.”
Moses who was quoted authoritatively by Christ (Mark 12:26) tells us this was not something he dreamed up or that had developed from years of tradition, but Moses said God spoke to him. Self-aggrandizing frauds may make similar empty, unsubstantiated claims today, but Moses’ claim was very different. When God spoke to Israel from Mount Sinai they knew it.
“All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance.” (Exodus 20:18)
Later God spoke to Moses for the people from within the tabernacle.
“Now when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim, so He spoke to him.” (Numbers 7:89)
Moses says Leviticus is instruction from God that came from within the Tabernacle, evidently from the place specified by God, “from above the mercy seat… from between the two cherubim.” The place chosen by God would enhance the intended impression that this message was not from man but was undoubtedly from God.
Even the prophet Balaam understood the nature of revelation that he received.
“Behold, I have come now to you! Am I able to speak anything at all? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I shall speak.” (Num. 22:38)
The prophet Isaiah taught that revelation from God’s prophet was the Word of God.
“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

The prophet Jeremiah clearly communicated this concept of revelation.
“Then the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.” (Jeremiah 1:9)
“Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book.” (Jeremiah 30:2)
All the rest of the first chapter of Leviticus consists of a direct quotation from the Lord Himself. In fact, most of the rest of the book also consists solely of the direct words of God, except for an occasional interjection of a statement that God was still speaking. In all, 717 of the 832 verses in Leviticus (that is 86 percent) consist of the very words of God, directly quoted. This is more than any other book of the Bible, except for the books of the prophets, some of which also consist almost entirely of verbatim statements from God. The same situation is found in lesser, but still substantial, degrees in other historical books, not to mention the extensive quotations from the sermons and discourses of Christ in the four gospels.
Leviticus is a guidebook for the consecration and cleansing of God’s people—especially His priests. In the New Covenant, all believers are priests, and therefore are expected to be consecrated and pure.
“But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” (I Peter 2:9).

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

February 24, 2019

Live Free by Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Live as free people, not using your freedom as a pretext for evil, but as God’s slaves.” (I Peter 2:16 NET)

What a wonderful privilege it is to live in what the songwriter called the “sweet land of liberty.” Many countries around the world say they are free, while imposing what we would consider terribly oppressive restrictions to freedom, especially freedoms regarding religion. We see dangerous trends in America, indicating still worse impositions may be on the horizon, but we are still more free than most. When we have opportunity, I believe we have responsibility to do what we can to preserve that freedom which our ancestors obtained for us at great cost over two centuries ago.

However, we must never try to turn Christian liberty into license for sin. It would surely hurt those brave forefathers if they could see how we now use “freedom of choice” to justify murdering multitudes of innocent children before they are born, and how we use “freedom of speech” to warrant fouling the eyes and ears of our children with widespread pornography and to promote all kinds of immoral behavior in our society in general.

No nation can remain truly free very long after such practices become widely accepted by its citizens. We need to be praying!

Similar warnings apply to the abuse of our spiritual freedom in Christ. As the apostle Paul said and repeated: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable.” (I Corinthians 6:12, and I Corinthians 10:23).

Even though Peter says we are to “live as free people,” indicating we have real liberty, we are nevertheless “slaves of God.” The Greek word translated slave or bondservant, “δοῦλος,” actually means…

“1. male slave as an entity in a socioeconomic context, slave.” BDAG

Our liberty in Christ is not freedom to disobey God’s Word whenever we really want to, or feel like we should, but rather it is freedom from our former bondage to sin.

…though you were slaves to sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to, and having been freed from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.” (Romans 6:17-18).

Post-modernism is permeating our society. Our nation is rapidly becoming anti-Christian in belief and practice. Nevertheless, Christians can still best serve our nation and our Savior by practicing and proclaiming Christ’s saving gospel, promising freedom from sin now, and life with God eternally.

Adapted from ideas expressed by Henry Morris.

 

 

February 17, 2019

Gress by Philip C. Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

I’m intrigued by words that we only use with prefixes or suffixes.  For example, I’ve never heard anyone speak of someone being “gruntled”- only “disgruntled” (yes, I am aware that a pig with laryngitis is “disgruntled”).   If a prefix or suffix can be added, doesn’t the root necessarily have to be a word?  Apparently not, at least not in English.  Consider:  If “gress” was a word, and therefore had a meaning, it would have to refer to “movement.”  This conclusion is forced by all the prefixes we add to “gress” that have to do with the direction or type of movement they describe. Consider that…

Egress means outward movement.  To be in Christ, we have to move out of (and get over) ourselves!  “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me’,” Matthew 16:24.  Consider also Philippians 2:3-7, where the example of Jesus emptying Himself and becoming a servant in obedience to God is given to show how we must get outside of ourselves and “regard one another as more important” than ourselves in order to properly serve God and each other.

Congress means together movement (coming together; contrary to popular belief, it does not mean “no movement”!).  On the day of Pentecost and following, saved individuals came together to listen to the apostles’ inspired teaching, to pray, and to the breaking of bread (generally thought to be the commemoration of Lord’s Supper, cf. Acts 20:7), to care for one another, and to simply be together and enjoy each other’s company, Acts 2:42-45.  Great encouragement and growth were the products of this coming together

Progressive means forward movement.  After thanking and commending the Thessalonians for their reception of the gospel, their imitation of the apostles and the Lord in living the gospel, and their continued endurance in all of these areas, Paul urged them to continue to “excel still more,” 1Thessalonians 4:1,10.  He is counseling them to progress- to continue to move forward in their faith!  Peter makes it clear that Christians must add to their faith and grow as security against stumbling, and to make certain of their entrance into heaven, 2Peter 1:5-11.   But on the other hand…

Aggressive means violent movement.  The apostle Paul said, of his life prior to conversion to Christ, that he was a “blasphemer and a persecutor and violent aggressor,” 1Timothy 1:13.  Those violent and aggressive traits and characteristics are supposed to be a part of that which is put away when we come to Christ, cf. Colossians 3:5-11.  We are to be peaceable (loving and making peace), refuse to take our own revenge, and kind to our enemies to overcome evil with good, Romans 12:17-21.

Regressive means backward movement.  After the ancient children of Israel had been freed from slavery by God’s miraculous plagues upon the Egyptians, after they had been miraculously delivered from Pharaoh and the Egyptian army by crossing the Red Sea on dry land, and after they had been miraculously provided for and sustained by God in the wilderness, when they reached the promised land of Canaan and most of the spies sent into it brought back an intimidating report, Stephen says of them, “in their hearts (they) turned back to Egypt,” Acts 7:39 (cf. Numbers 13:25 – 14:4).  The Hebrew writer seems to referencing this turning back when he urges Jewish Christians of his day (and us today as well!), “we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul,” Hebrews 10:39.  Thus, backward movement is the wrong way for God’s children!

Digressive means downward movement.  In Romans 1:18-32, Paul delineates and describes those who, “though they knew God, did not honor Him as God, or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish hearts were darkened, professing to be wise, they became fools…”  As a result of this rejection of what they knew and could plainly see of God, they digressed away from Him into degradation, depravity and ultimately, destruction.  Surely, this is not the way to move!

We can “gress” (move) out of ourselves and into Christ; we can come together as Christians to worship God and encourage one another; and we can grow and move forward toward heaven; or, we can continue in violent, backward, and downward movements toward hell.  We get to pick the direction we move, but we can’t stay still.  Choose wisely!

(Philip C. Strong; Southport Church of Christ; 7202 Madison Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46227; online at southportcofc.org; email to mrpcstrong@hotmail.com)

 

 

 

February 10, 2019

Continuing Obligation – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

I was recently asked about a question that arises fairly often among conscientious Christians. The inquirer was concerned about whether or not one’s contributions should be “made up” if absent from the first day of the week assembly. There is no passage that deals directly, specifically with this question. However, there are a number of biblical principles, that when considered together, provide answers.

“The sum of Your word is truth,…” (Psalm 119:160)

First, we must understand that Christians are taught to associate themselves with fellow Christians, to function together as a local church.

“When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples;” (Acts 9:26).

This local congregation of fellow Christians constitutes the only functional arrangement authorized to carry out Christ’s mission on earth.

“Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons:” (Philippians 1:1)

Christians associated in this manner form a single, complete functional body of Christians.

“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ….For the body is not one member, but many.” (I Corinthians 12:12, 14).

Only one specified method is “ordered” (I Corinthians 16:1) for obtaining funds necessary to carry out the authorized work of that body. This is the first day of the week contribution.

“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside…” (I Corinthians 16:1)

The apostle Paul compares the work of this local church to the responsibilities of a family.

“(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?)” (I Timothy 3:5)

We must understand that individual Christians are uniquely related in a functioning body, a family, that they are in a relationship that does not exist with other local churches. Then, we should realize that the responsibilities we have as a part of that body do not float around or transfer when we temporarily visit other churches. As when a bread-winner in a family is out of town, so it is with responsibilities in a local family of Christians.

It is possible to fulfill these responsibilities on the occasions when one is absent from the first day assembly, in a number of different ways. It may be wise to plan ahead and leave your contribution with a brother or sister who can place your donation in the “collection” for you, on the first day of the week. If not, remember that your responsibilities did not dissolve just because you were out of town. Your family’s bills must be paid, even while you are at Disney World. Likewise, the responsibilities did not dissolve just because you were out of town. Your family’s bills must be paid, even while you are at Disney World. Likewise, the responsibilities of your local body, the family of God, continue.

When the Lord was in the temple in Jerusalem, He was interested in and watching the many, very different examples of giving.

And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.” (Mark 12:41-42)

We all need to be reminded, He is still interested and still watching.

“Therefore openly before the churches, show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you.” (II Corinthians 8:24)

 

 

 

February 3, 2019

Faith In Our Creator by Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)

This verse describes the very first example of faith in the Bible’s great “faith chapter,” Hebrews 11. This fact strongly argues that meaningful and effective faith is to be founded, first of all, on the revealed fact of special creation—creation ex nihilo—in contrast to “creation” through some protracted, naturalistic, imaginary process of evolution. All of the “worlds” were simply called into existence by God’s omnipotent word.

“For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” (Psalm 33:9).

In no way did He have to start with some chaotic form of matter already in existence. Jesus Christ—the Word of God (John 1:14)—created space and time as well as matter/energy.

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16).

“All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (John 1:3).

It is interesting that the ancient world saw this characteristic (Creator) as the fundamental factor, distinguishing the true God from all others.

Xerxes, King Of Persia (Esther’s husband, Ahasuerus) placed a huge billboard sized inscription on the stone wall seen by all who approached his magnificent castle (over a mile long) at what is now Van, Turkey. This greatest of monarchs, who “reigned from India to Ethiopia,” (Est.1:1) publicly proclaimed his faith in the Creator to his idol deluded subjects.

“…The Great God, The Greatest God Who Created The Sky And Created The Land And Created Humans Who Gave Prosperity To The Humans Who Made Xerxes King, King Of Many Kings…”

When the apostle Paul spoke to the Athenian philosophers, he proclaimed the “Unknown God,” which he distinguished from all the “gods” worshiped in Athens, the city full of idols. Paul said this was, “The God who made the world and all things in it,…” (Acts 17:24)

This is the beginning point, the foundation of true faith.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen.1:1)

Inspiration records the wisdom of Solomon urging …

“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth,” (Eccl. 12:1)

This is the faith introduced in the last verses of the previous chapter, that is the foundation of our lives and our salvation.

“BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; …But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” (Heb.10:38-39)

Following immediately then is his description of faith.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

After that the great progression examples of faith in Hebrews 11. Heading the list of these, of course, is faith in the special creation of all things by the Word of God. The necessary conclusion is that a “living” faith and “saving” faith must be founded, first of all, on the fact of supernatural creation of all things by God in the beginning.

Evolution is also based on faith, but it is contrary to Scripture and to true science.

Richard Dawkins, known as the “Pope of Evolution,” freely admitted this fact on the BBC program, “Brief History of Disbelief,” broadcast in October of 2004. Jonathan Miller was interviewing and asked about the obvious difficulty in explaining the origin of feathers from scales by natural selection. Dawkins responded…

“…there’s got to be a series of advantages all the way in the feather. If you can’t think of one, then that’s your problem not, not, not natural selection’s problem. Natural selection um, err, well, I suppose that is a sort of matter of faith on my part…”

His conclusions are based on faith, a faith that has a fundamental weakness. Natural selection only operates on what already exists. Random mutations only change what already exists. Neither is a creative process. Neither even addresses the subject of true origins.

Our faith is in a truly adequate cause…an eternal creator. Hard to fathom? Understandable. But honorably face the only alternative… nothing created everything. When, with integrity, we face the fact that there are only two alternatives, the honest choice is obvious.

Adapted from an idea in an article by Henry Morris

 

January 27, 2019

The Donkey’s Rebuke – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you that you have beaten me these three times?’…The donkey said to Balaam, “Am not I your donkey that you have ridden ever since I was yours until this day? Have I ever attempted to treat you this way?” And he said, ‘No.’” (Numbers 22:28-30)

This tale of a donkey talking has long been the object of ridicule by skeptics. Elitist, liberal theologians assure us the story is an allegory or fable. We know that it is not, rather, a real historical event for several reasons. It is confirmed, both by inspiration through the apostle Peter and by Archeology.

“forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.” (II Peter 2:15-16)

For those who truly believe the Bible, this is sufficient. More and more of today’s society do not believe the Bible is God’s word (as was the case in the New Testament world). Following the example of the prophets and Apostles, we need to learn to teach these people. Both in the Old and the New Testaments, the wonders of creation (Isaiah 40:26-27; Romans 1:20) and supernatural power were effectively used to persuade precious souls to believe. (I Kings 17:22:24; 18:19-39; II Kings 5:8-17; John 4:39: 11:42-45; John 20:8-9; Acts 17:28; 14:17; Romans 1:4) Those who insist contentiously, that only the Bible may be used to persuade, are woefully ignorant of Biblical methodology and would effectively tie one hand behind our backs as we seek to seek and save the lost.

Obviously, there is no naturalistic explanation for a donkey speaking with the voice of a man. When we find confirmation, we are demonstrating that supernatural powers were necessarily involved.

I was personally involved, in a small way, with an ongoing excavation at Deir Alla, Jordan, originally discovered in1967. The dig has revealed eighth century BC artifacts that document the activities of a prophet named Balaam. Three times in the first four lines he is referred to as “Balaam son of Beor,” exactly as in the Bible. The complete inscription consists of 119 fragments of plaster inscribed with black and red ink. It clearly describes the vision of Balaam son of Beor, a “seer of the gods,” described in in Numbers 22–24. (I have displayed in our museum, a certified replica of this critical fragment. DRP)

This dramatic confirmation does not come from the Israelites, who one might imagine would be tempted to embellish. It is from the antagonistic witness of the Amorites, their enemies. Amazingly, this Amorite inscription refers to God as “el” and “Shaddai” which is exactly the term often used to refer to God during the period before Moses. (Balaam Son of Beor, Bible and Spade, Bryant G. Wood, p114, 1995)

Archaeology is an important science that continually strengthens our faith in the historical accuracy of the Bible. Since the Bible refers to hundreds of cities, kings, and places, we would expect to find evidence from on-site excavations. Ninety-seven percent of all cities mentioned in the Bible have been found. (Zero percent of cities peculiar to the Book Of Mormon have been found.) The Bible is the most historically accurate book of history on earth.

We have extra-Biblical, tangible archeological evidence that God intervened supernaturally in the affairs of the nation of Israel (for our benefit, Romans 4:23) and that the record we have of these amazing events actually happened.

This divine record tells us that Balaam blessed Israel, instead of pronouncing the curse for which he was to have been paid by the Moabites, who were desperately trying to keep God’s people out of the Promised Land. The Moabites needed an unforgettable rebuke. They were apostate descendants of Lot, who had known the true God (Numbers 25:1-3) but were determined to thwart God’s purposes.

Consider also that this account demonstrates that God is concerned about His animal creation, caring even for every sparrow. (Matthew 10:29). The animals have been placed under man’s dominion, but they are for his service, his instruction, and his enjoyment—not for his abuse.

Thus, Balaam’s donkey was supernaturally enabled by God to rebuke not only Balaam but also anyone who would unnecessarily abuse one of His specially and beautifully designed animal subjects.

 

 

 

 

 

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