April 30, 2017

Forty Days & Forty Nights – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Forty Days”

“To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3)

There are nine 40-day periods described in Scripture (the phrase itself occurs 17 times).

  1. Intense rainfall at the Flood (Genesis 7:12, 17)
  2. First giving of the law (Exodus 24:18; Deuteronomy 9:9, 11)
  3. Second giving of the law (Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:18, 25)
  4. Searching of Canaan by the fearful spies (Numbers 13:25; 14:34)
  5. Defiance of Israel by Goliath (1 Samuel 17:16)
  6. Elijah’s journey to Horeb (1 Kings 19:8)
  7. Jonah’s reluctant preaching in Nineveh (Jonah 3:4)
  8. Christ’s temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2)
  9. Christ’s post-resurrection preparation of apostles by Christ (Acts 1:3)Each of these periods was a time of intense testing for one or more of God’s people, except the last. The final 40-day period, encompassing Christ’s preparing His disciples after His resurrection, was a time of triumph and great blessing. He had come victoriously through the most intense testing anyone could experience, and now He could show Himself alive to His disciples and promise the same victory to them. Forty days of testing, then 40 days of triumph! Even a lifetime of testing is more than balanced by an eternity of blessing.

    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18).

    “And Forty Nights”

    “The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights.” (Genesis 7:12)

    There are five 40-day periods in Scripture that include the phrase “and forty nights.” On these occasions the activity described continued into the night.

    1. The great flood
    2. First Giving of the law to Moses
    3. Second Giving of the law to Moses
    4. Elijah’s journey to Horeb
    5. Christ’s temptation in the wilderness

    The great flood involved the most intense rains ever experienced on the earth. Water poured torrentially, day and night.

    Today’s clouds contain only enough moisture to cover the surface of the earth to a depth of less than two inches. Obviously there was much more water suspended above the earth before the flood. We are reminded of the Genesis account, God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so,” (Genesis 1:6-7) Evidently, most of the “waters which were above the expanse,” were percipitated, providing much of the water that covered the mountains, water that has now receded into much deeper oceans (Psalm 104:6-8).

    One can visualize the stress-filled nights for Noah’s family; cries of dying friends outside, no light of the sun or moon to pierce the darkness. But, of course, they were all safe in God’s specially designed Ark.

    Many years later, Moses twice spent 40 days and 40 nights in the awesome presence of God on Mount Sinai, receiving divinely inscribed tablets, with the Ten Commandments and the laws of God. The mountain was quaking and breathing fire and smoke while he was there. The nights were perhaps even more awesome, but God was there!

    Elijah spent 40 days and 40 nights traveling back from Beersheba to Sinai, even though this relatively short journey would not normally require 40 days. Evidently Elijah experienced great hardships and obstacles along the way and many sleepless nights, but God met him again at Sinai, and it was worth it all.

    Finally, Jesus (“made like His brethren,” Hebrews 2:17) was “led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil . . . forty days and forty nights” (Matthew 4:1-2). Temptation is often intensified in the deep, solitary darkness of the night. In weakened human flesh, without food or rest, He was greatly tempted (“as we are,” Hebrews 4:15), but He was triumphant, and then the angels came and began to minister to Him,” (Matthew 4:11)

     

 

Advertisements

April 23, 2017

Joy – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:04 am by sranderson0103

We are constantly pained by the fact that many of our friends associated with the denominational world are so consistently deluded regarding God’s plan of salvation, His Kingdom and the work He expects the church to be doing. So much so, that I wonder if we sometimes think that we have an exclusive on the truth regarding these issues. We understand the principle of authority, therefore know better than to involve the church in unscriptural activities, no matter how appealing to human wisdom (Matthew 15:9,13; Col.3:17; Hebrews 7:13,14, II John 9, etc.). We have brethren that don’t get this critical concept. Do we find ourselves with the impression that the point is so obscure and so difficult that only we “super spiritual” Christians grasp it?

The following article was written by a friend, who preaches for a large denominational church. So, what would he know about the sin of diverting church funds from authorized church activities to pay for entertainment? Many of my friends, who consider themselves members of the church, fail to see this error. I found comments of the author refreshing, for a number of reasons. Perhaps, his observations will help some see, that these concepts are not just the self-righteous proclamations of legalistic “Church of Christers.” (Don R. Patton)

Joy in the Christian Life

by Henry M. Morris

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11)

The word “fun” is never mentioned in the Bible, and “entertain” is used only in reference to being hospitable. Such activities as “reveling” and “playing” receive nothing except condemnation in the Scriptures (with the exception of little children at play).

Yet, there is growing emphasis today in many churches and para-church organizations on providing “entertainment” and “fun times” for their members—especially for teenagers and young adults. This is the way to reach them and keep them for the Lord, so they say. Perhaps so, but one wonders why neither the Lord nor the apostles nor the prophets ever told us so. Is this a program kept in reserve by the Lord just for the young people of this generation?

Actually, Christians can have something far better, more effective, and more lasting than fun and entertainment. In Christ, they can have heavenly joy! “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” the Bible says (Proverbs 17:22), where the word for “merry” is more commonly translated as “joyful” or “rejoicing.”

While the Bible never mentions “fun,” it has many references to “joy” and “rejoicing.” Here are just a few. “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16). “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). “For the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

We must remind ourselves continually that the Lord Jesus daily, through His words, shares His joy with us, “that [our] joy might be full.”

 

 

April 16, 2017

Why Did My Savior Come To Earth? – Ken Weliever

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

By Ken Weliever

“Why did my Savior come to earth?” asks J.G. Dailey in his famous hymn.

“Why did He choose a lowly birth?”

“Why did He drink the bitter cup of sorrow, pain and woe?”

“Why on the cross be lifted up?”

Why was the Son of God crucified on Calvary? Why rejected? Betrayed? Beaten? And Battered? Why mocked and ridiculed? Why treated with scorn and contempt? Why killed like a common criminal?

We can point an accusing finger at Judas who betrayed him. Peter who denied him. And the Sanhedrin council who tried him.

It is almost too easy to blame the howling mob who cried “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”   Pilate who cowardly washed his hands of the whole sordid affair. Or the Jews who assumed responsibility when they said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

It’s tempting for us preachers to explain the cross by getting bogged down in words like “atonement.” “Justification.” and propitiation.”   True, they are words that offer insight into the deeper meaning of Jesus’ journey to earth. His life. Death. Burial. And resurrection. They do deserve our serious study.

But the answer is found in Dailey’s hymn. It is simple. Succinct. And scriptural. It’s the refrain repeated over and over.

“Because He loved me so!”

The 14th century Catherine of Siena, is credited with proclaiming, “Nails didn’t hold Jesus to the cross. His love for you did.” The events of the most famous Friday in history were of Jesus’ own choosing. His death was voluntary. “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:18).

In  He Chose the Nails, the author expresses Jesus’ decision to die on the cross in these gripping words.

“The hand squeezing the handle was not a Roman infantryman. The force behind the hammer was not an angry mob. The verdict behind the death was not decided by jealous Jews.”  

“Jesus himself chose the nails.” 

“So the hands of Jesus opened up. Had the soldier hesitated. Jesus would have swung the mallet. He knew how; he was no stranger to the driving of nails. As a carpenter he knew what it took. And as a Savior he knew what it meant. He knew that the purpose of the nail was to place your sins where they could be hidden by his sacrifice and covered by his blood.

The cross was about love. God’s love. Grace. And gift.   Love caused the Son of God to leave heaven. Come to earth. And die on the cross.

In what Robert Jackson once called “The Greatest Sentence in the World,” Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).

The cross demonstrated the passion of Christ. The purpose of God. And the power in His shed blood. For me. And for you.

And resurrection Sunday signaled to all of the human race that His love was alive. And well. For 40 days He shared that message. Quieted the skeptics. Emboldened believers. And commissioned His disciples to spread the Good News.

Ahh, the Good News! Why did Jesus come to earth? Because he loved me so!

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman