March 27, 2016

Keep Me … Hide Me – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:10 pm by sranderson0103

“Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” (Psalm 17:8)

We understand, as did David of old, that we will face threatening challenges in our life. Seldom are men actually trying to kill us, as was the case with David, but we understand and relate to a variety of threats of violence.

God sees all this and protects His children in a special way, even though we live in a world cursed by the consequence of sin (Genesis 3:17). We suffer and die. Nevertheless, God’s providence operating in an unfathomable manner toward an unknown goal, will accomplish exactly what that all-wise purpose intends. Joseph didn’t know that goal as he was drug toward Egypt, but God did, and protected him in a special way till that plan was accomplished.

While being drug along, it is impossible to see clearly what God is doing, but He does, and through His promised providence, will protect, provide and succeed with His plan. These assurances that comfort us, though we may not have a clue where we are being drug.

In midst of the turmoil, David prayed, “Keep me as the apple of the eye…” (Psalm 17:8). “In Old English, the pupil of the eye (the round, dark center) was called the ‘apple‘.” Urban Dictionary. Wikipedia says, “The phrase apple of my eye refers to something or someone that one cherishes above all others.”

Think of how we recoil when something threatens to poke us in the eye. We respond reflexively. David prayed and trusted that God would protect us as we protect our own eye, in the accomplishment of His purposes (whatever that may be).

Later, God assured Zechariah, “He has sent Me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.” (Zechariah 2:8)

Likewise, David prayed, “Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” (Psalm 17:8)

Consider how often David used the figure of God’s “shadow,” understood as a type of His invisible, but very real, guiding presence.

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.” (Psalm 36:7)

“Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by.” (Psalms 57:1)

“For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by.” (Psalms 57:1)

“For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.” (Psalms 63:7)

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!’” (Psalms 91:1)

Isaiah used the metaphor often in a similar manner.

“There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain.” (Isaiah 4:6)

“For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall. Like heat in drought, You subdue the uproar of aliens; Like heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the ruthless is silenced.” (Isaiah 25:4-5)

“The exile will soon be set free, and will not die in the dungeon, nor will his bread be lacking. For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the LORD of hosts is His name). “I have put My words in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of My hand,” (Isaiah 51:14-16)

Such passages remind us of Peter’s assurances.

“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. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises,…” (II Peter 1:3-4)

Guarded like the apple of His eye, hidden under the shadow of God is a good and safe place to be.

 

 

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March 20, 2016

Not The Smallest Letter Or Stroke

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Not The Smallest Letter or Stroke – By Don R. Patton

“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:18)

Paul affirms that “All Scripture is inspired by God…” (II Timothy 3:16).

A poll conducted by Gallup, June 4, 2014, resulted in the headline, “Three in Four in U.S. Still See the Bible as Word of God.” While this conclusion encompassed several erroneous ideas of inspiration, their investigation revealed that only “21%… consider it fables and history.” Well, I suppose that sounds better than expected, but it is a long way from what it should be, especially considering the distorted notions about inspiration.

The statement by Jesus, quoted above, tells us He believed God’s law involved even the smallest letter, even the smallest stroke used to make that letter. He is teaching that God’s authority extends to even the small parts of the Word.

That authority extends to the very words of inspiration, is asserted by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians.

“For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God…which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit,… combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” (I Corinthians 2:10, 13)

Furthermore, in many passages, the point being made depends on what many would consider insignificant components of a word or phrase.

Jesus’ argument for the resurrection demonstrates that He believed that Scripture was authoritative, down to the tense of the verbs. His audience, the Sadducees, challenged his belief in the resurrection. He responded…

“But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 32 ‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” (Matthew 22:31-32)

Do you see the point? Probably not if you fail to appreciate the fact that the distinction between “I am” and “I was” makes a difference. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been dead hundreds of years when God spoke these words to Moses. (“the passage about the burning bush,” according to the account of Mark and Luke: Mk.12:26; Lk.20:37) The point is, long after they were dead, God did not say, I was their God. He said, “I am their God.”

Jesus is saying, “There! That proves the resurrection. Have you not read? Don’t you get it?” If they had understood the authority of tenses, they would. But they were the “liberal scholars” of that day, so they missed it. Jesus thought it was a good argument. They thought He was being “picky.” Which of the two attitudes do believe was appropriate?

The poll referenced earlier documented a sickening array of perverted ideas of “inspiration.” We should understand that Paul did not use the English word “inspired” to describe Scripture. That is the word translators have used to communicate the meaning of the Greek word chosen by the Holy Spirit (theo/pneustoß). This word does not speak of an indirect influence, an “in-spiring.” Rather it describes a direct “spiration.” The idea is expressed well in the New English Standard Version. “All Scripture is breathed out by God…” (II Timothy 3:16)

Paul said that the process of the production of scripture was so guided that Scripture was directly produced by God. It is “God breathed.” This word is consistent with the way Jesus used scripture. No term could more emphatically assert the practical authority of the “smallest letter or stroke.” The Sadducees, the liberals of Jesus’ day, and the liberals of today, think this attitude is silly. It should be obvious that the Son of God and His apostle Paul disagree.


 

 

March 13, 2016

Fornication Is For Cowards

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Fornication Is For Cowards – By Matt Barber – WorldNetDaily (August, 7, 2015)

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” (I Corinthians 6:18)

I had an interesting heart-to-heart with my dad the other day. We were discussing my son, his grandson, who was spending time with my folks in Colorado over the summer. At the risk of bragging a bit – my boy, an eighth grader who recently turned 14, is already 6-foot-1, very handsome and a competitive Olympic-style boxer. Evidently, on the previous day a “drop-dead gorgeous” high school girl had made a sexual advance at him, and while as a Christian young man, he had managed to graciously rebuff that advance, he shared with his grandfather that “it was tempting.”

Boy do I know it. Having been a teenage boy myself a few decades back I faced those same temptations on multiple occasions, and, regrettably, as I’ve shared before, both then and into my young adulthood, I succumbed to those temptations more often than not.

That fact is part of what my father and I were discussing. He grew up in West Texas where, as with much of the country today, it was considered machismo for men and teenage boys to rack up as many sexual conquests as possible. While he became a Christian just before he and my mother were married, the message I yet received from him was, with a wink and a nod, that “boys will be boys.”

It’s the old Don Juan double standard. What’s good for me, ladies, is not good for thee. As the late comedienne Joan Rivers once quipped, “A man can sleep around, no questions asked, but if a woman makes 19 or 20 mistakes, she’s a tramp.”

Jokes aside, this double standard is real, and it’s even embraced by much of the church today. I don’t mean to blame my father. This was the exact message I wanted to hear as a hormonal teen. Even so, it was the wrong message. More importantly, I was wrong to use that message as a rationalization for my own sexual immorality. Today, my father and I are in full agreement on these points.

Here’s the universal truth. God takes all sexual immorality very seriously, and any sexual conduct outside the “male and female” marriage covenant, as Christ exclusively defined it, is sexual immorality (Matthew 19:4). It’s sin. “But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband” (I Corinthians 7:2).

Hebrews 13:4 makes God’s expectation for us abundantly clear: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”

For everyone, Christ followers especially, sexual purity is not an option. As Ephesians 5:3 admonishes, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”

This is serious stuff. So serious, in fact, that those who maintain an unrepentant, sexually immoral lifestyle face eternal separation from God. “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral (fornicators), nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality … will inherit the kingdom of God” (I Corinthians 6:9-10).

During our conversation, my dad shared a recent exchange he had with an elderly pastor he sometimes visits. He was telling the pastor about his youthful sexual exploits and that even today, though he knows it’s wrong, he sometimes feels a tinge of pride about them because, in his hometown, the more a young man “scored” with the ladies, the more he was admired. Almost like a hero.

The pastor looked my father in the eye, stone-faced, and told him directly and without equivocation, “You were no hero. You were a coward.”

Ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark.

It cut to the quick, not just for my father, but for me as well. I’d never thought of it that way. In this world, the cowardly thing to do is to conform to this world. When it comes to sexual morality, and especially for young people in our sewer-like culture, what’s difficult to do is the right thing to do.

And the right thing is to obey God.

Indeed, Jesus commands that we “flee from sexual immorality.” In the face of danger, we think of fleeing as the coward’s way out. But when we’re fleeing from temptation, from sin, to take flight is to show courage. It’s an act of righteousness.

Guys, fornication is cowardly. It’s the easy way out. Women are not the objects of our pleasure. They are God’s daughters, created in His own image and likeness. When we use them sexually, we dishonor them, our own bodies and their future husbands. It’s theft. We’re stealing a priceless gift reserved for another.

No, the courageous thing to do is to remain pure – especially in a culture that glorifies sexual impurity of every kind. It’s courageous because it’s difficult. It’s courageous because with purity will come mockery and contempt. Young men, this is true especially for you. Even when I was a teen, boys who chose sexual abstinence were considered “sissies.” They were weird.

But they weren’t weird. What they were was obedient. What they were was courageous. What they were was honorable.

What they were was blessed.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:12-15).

Like I said, this is serious stuff.

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9-11).

Buck up, boys. Don’t be a coward. Show some courage. Show some honor.

I wish I had.

[DRP – I believe this article is worth reprinting. It is encouraging to see how many times it has been reprinted across the country. townhall, cnsnews, blackchristiannews, rightwingwatch, 50wire, charismanews, us.geosnews, lockerdome, moralmatters, continentaldivide, lutheransforlife, FederalReserveNews ]

 

 

 

 

March 6, 2016

Not This Man – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

By Don R. Patton

“So they cried out again, saying, ‘Not this Man, but Barabbas.’ Now Barabbas was a robber.” (John 18:40)

The attitude of Abraham’s children, prepared for this moment for centuries, toward their promised Messiah is mind-boggling. “Not the loving shepherd, willing to die for us. Crucify him, but release the rebellious thief.

“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:10-11)

Thousands of generations have passed, but the rejection of the world’s creator and savior continues. They still cry, as predicted in Jesus’ parable, “‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’” (Luke 19:14). Even in a nation founded by devout believers, the name of Jesus Christ is banished from the schools, ignored in the halls of government, and blasphemed on the streets.

And whom did they choose instead of “this man”? They preferred Barabbas, who was not only a robber, but also a revolutionary and murderer (Luke23:19). Today, they eulogize the atheist Darwin, or the robber Lenin, or the revolutionary Mao, or

the murderer Hitler, or any one of a thousand antichrists; but they will not have our Creator.

Overstated? Consider last week’s reaction, by many of our nation’s leading scientists, to an article just published in a major peer reviewed scientific journal. The offence? The article acknowledged the obvious implications of a Creator’s design.

After a lengthy description of their elaborate, meticulous methodology, the highly qualified authors concluded, regarding the human hand…

“The explicit functional link indicates that the biomechanical characteristic of tendinous connective architecture between muscles and articulations is the proper design by the Creator…” (PLOS ONE, January 5, 2016)

The storm began late last week when several famous scientists discovered the article and responded viciously. They described the publication as “unacceptable,” and criticized the “sloppy job” done by the reviewers and editors. Several scientists said the journal should be boycotted unless amends are made.

Anxo Sánchez said, “Just found out PLOS ONE published a paper with “evidence” about some “creator”. If not retracted immediately, I will resign as editor.”

The cowardly response by PLOS ONE was immediate.

“Following publication, readers raised concerns about language in the article that makes references to a ‘Creator’ … Consequently the PLOS ONE consider that the work cannot be relied upon and retract this publication. The editors apologize to readers for the inappropriate language in the article and the errors during the evaluation process.”

Our nation’s scientist, like the religious leaders of Jesus day, should have known and glorified our Creator. Instead they responded in a strikingly similar, shameful manner. Can you hear the echo from the first century

…“Behold, your King!” So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!”…” (John 19:14-15).

Peter rebuked the disgraceful conduct of the Sanhedrin and charged, “…you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,…” (Acts 3:14). Later he quoted David to the disciples, ‘THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND, AND THE RULERS WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST.’” (Acts 4:26).

The rejection of our creator today is just as real as it ever was. Rulers, industrialists, scientists, educators, and commentators say in deed, if not in word, “‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’” (Luke 19:14).

Nevertheless, Jesus proved victorious over the worst they could do then, and He will do so again!

“He arose a victor from the dark domain, and he lives forever, with his saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!”           (Low In The Grave He Lay)