December 31, 2017

A Well Springing Up – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

By Don R. Patton

“Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” (John 4:13-14 ESV)

Water is absolutely essential for the world we know. I had a chemistry professor who introduced his chapter on water with the quip, “Without water, what would we do with all our ships?” His joke was funny because we are all well aware that the significance of water goes far, far beyond ships. We understand that most of what happens on earth requires it. We would not exist without it and if it is cut off we die.

Jesus used this obvious knowledge to communicate to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, and to you and me.

The word translated “drinks,” used twice in the above passage, is not in the same form both times in the original Greek. The first is present tense, which in the Greek implies a continual, habitual drinking. The second is aorist, which typically indicates a one-time action.

Likewise, the two references to a “well” in the passage depict two different ideas. The Samaritan woman referred to a “well” (literally “a hole in the ground”), while Christ denoted a “flowing well,” or “spring,” using a different word. The ESV appropriately translates it, “welling up.”

Also consider that when Jesus said one who drinks from His spring will “never be thirsty again,” He expressed Himself in a very emphatic way. Not only is “thirsty” emphasized by the sentence structure, but the combination of two negatives preceding the verb “thirsty” is further strengthened by a word often translated “forever,” or “eternal.” He said literally: “shall not, shall not thirst, forever.”

One who drinks from the wells of the world will continually thirst, again and again, for sinful pleasures that never satisfy. But a drink from the springs of “living water” (4:10; 7:38) of which Christ spoke eliminates spiritual thirst forever!

The drink of water from Christ is water that satisfies with the promise of forgiveness from every sin, perfect peace, ultimate fulfillment now, together with the firm conviction in the promise of eternal life forever. It becomes in the believer a veritable spring, inexhaustible in its quantity and unsurpassed in its quality. The water appears to portray the continual work of the Holy Spirit through His word that fills our hearts, sent by Jesus to comfort and provide complete guidance to His followers in His absence. One day we’ll be with Him, and then, as well as now, He completely satisfies.

Adapted from an article by John Morris

 

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December 24, 2017

God Hears Your Whispers – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“There will be silence before You, and praise in Zion, O God, And to You the vow will be performed. O You who hear prayer, To You all men come. …By awesome deeds You answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation,…” (Psalm 65:1-2, 5)

Man is created as a social creature. God, himself, acknowledged that it is not good to be alone. (Genesis 2:18) Even in a crowd, we can find ourselves alone, without someone with whom we can share our thoughts, our fears, our desires. Loneliness is painful, and that pain can become overwhelming. Pity the poor soul who has no one.

There are circumstances in the life of most when loneliness overshadows like a cloud, when no one is there to listen and provide counsel. Holidays, when it seems loving families surround everyone, seem to intensify the pain.

Or perhaps there is some problem so personal and intimate that it seems unfitting or too embarrassing to share with anyone else. But God will listen! No need is so small, no place too remote, no burden too heavy. The “God of all grace” and “the God of all comfort” will listen and care.

“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (I Peter 5:10)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (II Corinthians 1:3-4)

“The LORD hears when I call to Him.” (Psalm 4:3)

Teenagers may complain that their parents won’t listen to them; wives may believe their husbands don’t listen; sometimes it seems that no one will listen to our questions or ideas about anything. But

“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.” (Psalms 145:18)

“Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8)

But how can He listen? After all, God is far away on His throne. The risen Savior ascended far above all heavens to sit down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

How can the Father hear when we whisper a prayer in our hearts that no human could hear?

God is indeed up there, but He is also right here! Furthermore Jesus promised an additional comforter.

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)

The laws of physics tell us that we cannot be in two different places at the same time. But the author of those laws is above them. Man is quite different from the eternal creator who can be in heaven and in our small dark room. He can be with us in the midst of the lightning on the mountaintop and in the inner recesses of the black darkness of the depths of the earth. God. All of this is true while, “…God abides in us,…” (I John 4:12)

Of course, His hearing and living within is conditional.

“If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear;” (Psalm 66:18)

“FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.” (I Peter 3:12)

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

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December 17, 2017

What Is First In Your Life? – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 NASV)

“But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 NET)

My grandmother “bribed” me to memorize the “sermon on the mount, at about age 12. Some would say she motivated. Whatever…it worked, and no doubt had a profound impact. I did the same with my children.

Of course, the passage quoted above is included in this Lord’s sermon. It has become a favorite memory verse for millions and has even been set to music by a number of musicians. Its truth is foundational. Let’s carefully look at what it says.

First, we must know what we are talking about. Most don’t understand the kingdom. Most of the time in the New Testament, the kingdom is a rough equivalent of the church. Notice the interchangeability in the following passages.

“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus said to him…‘upon this rock I will build My church; …I will give you the keys of the kingdom…’” (Matthew 16:16-19)

“…transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. …He is also head of the body, the church;” (Colossians 1:13, 18)

“John to the seven churches that are in Asia:… your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom…” (Revelation 1:4, 9)

Many depreciate the value of the church today. The Bible presents a very different view. Paul said that Jesus died for the church (Ephesians 5:25) and Jesus says you should put the kingdom and God’s righteousness first in your life.

Greek “tenses” speak less about the time than the kind of action involved. The Greek word translated “seek” is present tense, which typically implies continuing action. This would imply a command to establish an ongoing habit or lifestyle of “seeking” the kingdom and righteousness. We are commanded to put first things first on a continual basis, then watch Him take care of the items of secondary interest.

The “seeking” Jesus commands specifies “His righteousness.” Many today are seeking to be righteous, but at the same time consider the principles of righteousness taught by the Bible to be nuts. The attitude is similar that Paul described on the part of his brethren, the Jews.

“For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3)

They seek diligently, as long as they get to seek what seems righteous in their own eyes. It should not surprise us that God’s standard of righteousness is different from our own. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Jesus teaches that we must continually “seek” to make His priorities our priorities—to mold our thinking by the Word of God so that we think as He does. Our lives should exhibit the purity and righteousness that He exhibited when on Earth. While it is true that we never completely achieve such perfection this side of heaven, we are commanded to be “seeking,” to do so by the power promised to us (Philippians 4:13).

If we reverse the proper order, not only will we not attain His kingdom and His righteousness, but we will probably miss the secondary “things” as well. The word “added,” a mathematical word, implies the prior existence of something to which other things can be added. We enjoy bountiful physical blessings, but Jesus knows how to add. The assurance of “all these things,” the physical things we need, are not as important as the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” (Ephesians 3:8), but how nice to know he cares and promises…when “above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness.”

Adapted from an article by John Morris

 

 

 

December 10, 2017

Mt. Ararat and the Resurrection – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat.” (Genesis 8:4)

The story of Noah’s preservation through the Flood that brought death to most life on earth not only demonstrated God’s attitude toward sin and His determination to judge, but it is also a beautiful picture that prefigures the salvation God planned and now offers to all mankind. It is an accurate history of a real event that did happen the way the Bible describes, but it is also a beautiful analogy.

The Flood was sent as a judgment upon the sinful world of Noah’s day.

“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:5-7)

The “wages of sin” (Romans 6:23) has always been death. It is more than a consequence. In the eyes of the source of all justice, the Almighty God, sin requires death as payment of a debt. But God provided a way of salvation, not by faith only, but through faith demonstrated by building and entering the Ark. Out of probably billions on the earth, eight souls, Noah and his family, believed and humbly submitted.

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. …Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. …Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. “This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. “You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. … Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.” (Genesis 6:8-9, 14-16, 22)

Although the analogy is not perfect, it does beautifully illustrate the fact that the punishment for sin is still death and that God has provided a perfect way of salvation to those who believe and humbly submit to His Son Jesus Christ.

In that light, it is interesting to note the date mentioned in our text, Genesis 8:4, has great significance. The calendar was changed by God at the time of the Passover, another beautiful prefigure of Christ’s work. The seventh month became the first month.

“This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb… ‘You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.” (Exodus 12:2-3, 6)

The Passover was to be observed on the fourteenth day of that month each year following.

“…For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.” (I Corinthians 5:7)

Christ was sacrificed for us on the day of the Passover (John 19:14) and rose again the third day, the seventeenth day of the first (formerly the seventh) month.

This was the anniversary of the landing of Noah’s Ark on Ararat, providing its inhabitants new life following judgment of the world and its destruction because of sin. What a blessed picture of our new life based on Christ’s death for our sins.

“…God patiently waited in the days of Noah as an ark was being constructed. In the ark a few, that is eight souls, were delivered through water. And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you…” (I Peter 3:20-21 NET)

(Based on a shorter article by John D. Morris, Ph.D.)

 

 

December 3, 2017

Things Which Are Not Seen – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (II Corinthians 4:18)

It is obvious, when we look at the life of the apostle Paul, that he was able to focus on, and evaluate choices and circumstances in view of eternity. Christians talk about this, but it is one of the most difficult concepts to actually put into practice. Physical things loom large in our eyes. Sometimes that is all we see. Paul says he does not look at such things. Expressed in the irony of the paradox, he does not look at what is seen, rather he looks at what is not seen.

It is easy to see and think about temporal things but hard to see and think on eternal things. Spiritual nearsightedness is all too common and subtlety distorts our perspective.

The authors of the New Testament were embroiled in strife with the carnal minded, immersed in the cup of suffering the Lord predicted (Mark 10:38-39), but still managed to keep their sights on the eternal. Consider how often “eternity” seasons their Spirit inspired words. The redemption that Christ purchased for us with His blood is nothing less than “eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12) and therefore “He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,” (Hebrews 5:9). Consequently, as joint-heirs with Him, “those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance,” (Hebrews 9:15). ” He encourages us to remember that “the God of all grace…called you to His eternal glory in Christ,” (I Peter 5:10) and to remember that God has there provided for us “eternal dwellings,” (Luke 16:9).

All of these eternal things—eternal redemption, eternal salvation, eternal inheritance, eternal dwellings, and eternal glory—are of infinitely greater value than the temporal things that crowd our minds and limit our goals. They are not to be compared with temporal distractions that are all, no matter how appealing, passing away. It is significant that the phrase “eternal life” occurs no less than 44 times in the New Testament. God speaks of it often, and so should we!

The last eternal thing mentioned in the Bible is the key to obtaining all eternal blessings. It is the “eternal gospel.”

“And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people;” (Revelation 14:6).

Let’s determine to submit to it and fill our hearts with it.