March 25, 2018

Great Is Your Faithfulness – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

“This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-23)

Most have heard and sung the beautiful song by this title, written in 1925 by Thomas Chisholm. He was born in a log cabin in Franklin, Kentucky and became a Christian when he was twenty-seven. He began preaching when he was thirty-six, though poor health forced him to retire after just one year. Toward the end of his life, referring to this song, he said, “I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.”

That God is faithful, simply means He will keep His word. He will do what He says He will do. Once we have become His child, He promises to provide everything we need to live an effective fruitful, victorious Christian life and He is faithful to His promise and we need to be reminded.

For example, when we are tempted to sin or are tested we are promised: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (I Corinthians 10:13).

He will ground us firmly in His truth and keep us from moral and spiritual harm. “…the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” (II Thessalonians 3:3).

When we do sin He assures us that, ” If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9).

With all our failings, when we commit ourselves to Him and meet the conditions of His will, we have the assurance that He will eventually perfect us in Christ, and He faithfully will continue this until it is done. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” (I Thessalonians 5:23-24).

All that He has promised, He will do, even when we are unfaithful to Him, He remains faithful to us and will still keep all His promises, per His clearly stated conditions. “If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (II Timothy 2:12-13).

Many pervert God’s promise of faithfulness. Even in the midst of clearly stated “if’s”, they claim it is unconditional. However, as we recoil from that error, let’s be sure to see and treasure His real assurances. God faithfully promises to faithful Christians that He “…will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (I Corinthians 1:8).

Therefore, we determine to be faithful. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;” (Hebrews 10:23)

 

 

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March 11, 2018

Grace Upon Grace – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” (“one gracious gift after another,” NET) (John 1:16)

Most of us are more familiar with verse 14 of this is chapter, where John says,

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

From this passage, we usually focus attention on the mind-boggling idea that the eternal, “Word became flesh,” or the spectacular “glory” John saw at the transfiguration, or that Jesus brought the complete fullness of truth into a world to whom God’s mysterious plans had only been dimly revealed.

However, two verses later John emphasizes another facet of verse 14; that Jesus was “full of grace.” He reveals that, from this fullness, we receive “grace upon grace,” or, “one gracious gift after another.” The idea is that the reservoir is inexhaustible.

Unfortunately, many use the amazing grace of God as a springboard to launch demonic ideas that virtually erase the accountability of the gospel. Our Calvinistic friends confuse “inexhaustible” grace with “unconditional,” grace; a false doctrine, absolutely inconsistent with scripture.

Paul urged those at Pisidian Antioch to “continue in the grace of God,” (Acts 14:43) clearly indicating they might not.

The condition of those who did not is described in Galatians 5:4.

“You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

The ultimate consequence of failing to meet God’s conditions of grace is illustrated in Paul’s rebuke to the Corinthians,

“we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain(II Corinthians 6:1).

God’s ultimate judgment, which includes and excludes inexhaustible grace, will be determined, defined by His divine standard.

“on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge…” (Romans 2:16)

Judgment “according to my gospel,” in the minds of far too many, means according to the good news that God removed their sins unconditionally, even though they do not “continue in the grace of God,” having disobeyed and “fallen from grace.”

The gospel, God’s standard of judgment, necessarily involves the “truth of the gospel.” (Galatians 2:5, 14) Immorality contradicts the gospel.

“…immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel…” (I Timothy 1:10-11)

Christians rejoice in the inexhaustible grace that promises sinners, even enemies, forgiveness, reconciliation, blamelessness now, and promises of incomprehensible, eternal blessings in the world to come.

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Furthermore, that inexhaustible grace enables worthless failures to be useful in the work that God planed before the foundation of the world and sent His son to this earth to accomplish.

“For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” (I Corinthians 15:9-10)

“let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29)

Still further, there is more. We need grace for times of testing and opposition as well as for serving.

“…do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. …But He gives a greater grace. …7… Resist the devil and he will flee from you.’” (James 4:4-7)

“…there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me — to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” (II Corinthians 12:7-9)

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;” (II Corinthians 9:8-9)

Jesus promises grace for forgiveness (according to His gospel), grace to do His work, grace when tempted, grace whenever we need help, strengthening, sufficient grace for every need, “grace upon grace,” “one gracious gift after another.”

 

 

 

February 25, 2018

Seek First – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:05 am by sranderson0103

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

Appropriately, this passage is one of the most familiar and most memorized verses in the New Testament. Quite a few songs have been based on this verse and have etched its words into our hearts. The passage pointedly expresses a fundamental concept about our service to God.

Familiarity sometimes causes us to look past truly important lessons. Perhaps unfamiliar renditions in different translations will help.

“But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” NET

“and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” NLT

“But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.” CEV

“But let your first care be for his kingdom and his righteousness; and all these other things will be given to you in addition.” BBE.

Let us look again, with care at what it says.

The original Greek verb translated “seek” or “pursue” indicates durative action, implying a command to establish an ongoing habit or lifestyle of “seeking” the things of the kingdom. As one commentator said, “We are commanded to put first things first on a continual basis and watch Him take care of the items of secondary interest.”

“The kingdom” was the theme of Christ’s teaching.

“From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

“Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, …” (Matthew 4:23)

“Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,…” (Matthew 9:35)

The Kingdom was His priority. We should make it ours. The world will ridicule efforts to live Biblically. (A good example is the new CBS show Living Biblically.) Mockery should not deter us from molding our thinking by the Word of God so that we think as He does on every issue. Spiritually minded men have always understood this.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” (Psalms 119:105)

“For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23)

“With Your counsel You will guide me,…” (Psalms 73:24)

Jesus described the appropriate attitude of Christians.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;” (John 10:27)

The context of this chapter focuses on maintaining proper priorities in relation to…

Pride (vv. 5-8, 16-18)

Treasures on Earth (vv. 19-21)

Singleness of purpose (vv. 22-23)

Covetousness, serving two masters (v. 24)

Anxiety, concern about the future (vv. 25-32, 34)

The world tends to make these things primary. Jesus says they are not. He reminds us of what we surely know. Remember, “…your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” (v. 32). Did you forget? Surely we know God knows, but we act as if He is ignorant. He really “knows” implying more than just knowledge. He knows and He cares.

If we reverse the proper order and put second thing first (like the world) we are disobedient. This is not an option. It is a command from Jesus Christ. When we refuse to obey His commands we demonstrate a lack of love for Jesus (John 14:15) we sin (I John 3:4) and sin separates us from God, (Isaiah 59:2). Those separated from God cannot go to heaven.

Not only will we miss our primary goal, the blessings of kingdom, but we will miss the promise of secondary “things” as well.

The word “added,” is a mathematical term implying more benefits in addition to what already existed. These further benefits are promised conditionally… if we “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…’

Failing to meet the conditions deprives us of God’s spiritual blessings here and hereafter, with earthly blessings piled on top. Bad mistake.

Let’s make sure this passage is laid up in our heart. (Psalms 119:11)

 

 

 

February 18, 2018

Eternal – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

The late Isaac Asimov, the famous atheist, author of more than 500 books, acknowledged:

“In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself – and that is what the second law is all about.”

The creator of the universe initiated this law (the Law of Entropy) and it governs the universe, which is winding down; not up.

“Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. “Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. “But You are the same,” (Psalm 102:25-27)

Everything we see (as our clothes) is wearing out. This realization tells us, it has not always been this way. Something quite different from what we observe, was responsible for the initial order of the universe, from which it is now degenerating.

Since science is based on what we observe and everything we observe is going downhill, science cannot explain that initial order. The necessary implications of observational science, point to an explanation beyond the natural processes we observe; in other words, to a super-natural explanation.

The First Law of Thermodynamics, derived from what we observe, tells us nothing can be ultimately created or destroyed. Those who are brave enough to think about these two universal laws, come face to face with the realization the “natural” world cannot account for what we observe. What is the source of all this stuff (law says not from nothing) and how did it get up, from which it is now going down? Of course, imaginations conger up fanciful solutions, but have little to do with real science.

Think about it. Think about the implications of the first law. If there ever was a time when truly nothing existed, then nothing would exist (if we are limited to observational, scientific explanations). The fact that organized stuff does exist, says something beyond the natural is responsible, something super-natural. And it says that what is responsible is beyond our space-time continuum. These observable facts point to an explanation that is supernatural and eternal.

Eternal? Can that be a reasonable explanation? Since we have never observed anything eternal, it sounds unreasonable. But, a reasonable answer requires consideration of the alternative. What would that be? Squarely, contradicted by the First Law of Thermodynamics, the devoted naturalist says, “Nothing.” “Nothing created everything.” That’s the alternative story, and they’re sticking to it. (See, A Universe From Nothing, Laurence M. Krauss) An astute critic expressed it this way. “Naturalists believe that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing but then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs and eventually people.”

I understand that the “eternal” explanation is difficult to swallow but it’s better than, “nothing.”

Inspiration (confirmed by perfectly fulfilled prophecy and abundant, competent eye-witness testimony of supernatural signs) reveals that a supernatural, eternal being is the answer.

“Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.” (Psalms 41:13)

“Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” (Psalms 90:2)

Understandably, the Word of this supernatural, eternal being, will endure forever.

“Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands.” (Psalms 119:89-90)

“The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

The inspired Apostle Peter quotes Isaiah’s revelation and extends the promise to the preaching of the Apostles.

“BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” And this is the word which was preached to you.” (I Peter 1:25)

The eternal Word of the eternal God promises that because God is eternal, we also shall live forever.

“His descendants shall endure forever And his throne as the sun before Me.” (Psalm 89:36)

The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (I John 2:17)

 

 

 

February 11, 2018

Confess – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Since sin began, back in the Garden of Eden, man has been foolishly trying to conceal sin. We are ashamed. We don’t want anyone to know. When we are really ashamed we really don’t want people to know what we have done. So, the understandable reaction is to cover up. The desperation to conceal often leads to foolish conduct. “Let’s get behind this bush so God can’t see us.” We snicker, and then say to ourselves regarding our own sin, “Pretend nothing happened. Everything will be fine. No one will ever know.” Satan whispers absurd rationalizations into our ears that seem very reasonable. “After all, if this gets out, it will hurt my influence for good. I will never be able to face my church family. My life will never be the same.”

Absurd conduct often proceeds to the really bizarre. Recall that King David committed a terrible sin and did his best to cover it up (II Samuel 12). Bathsheba’s noble husband (the victim) foiled David’s desperate, almost laughable shenanigans to conceal. So, murder appeared to be the only reasonable thing to do.

It took divine wisdom forcefully expressed through the prophet Nathan to penetrate David’s calloused defenses, but imagine a more typical approach. “David, it would be wise for you to confess your sin.” “What?” “You think that makes sense?” “You have to be crazy.” (Murdering the honorable, self-sacrificing husband is obviously much smarter.) David, along with thousands who have followed since, would respond, “No! No! No! That would be stupid.”

Man says we ought to cover. God says we ought to confess. Nathan explained that man’s proposed course is very different from God’s.

“For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’” (II Samuel 12:12)

No matter how it sounds or feels, this was God’s wisdom.

Foolishness of our cover up “wisdom” is exposed when we understand and face the uncomfortable reality of God’s penetrating, pervasive all-seeing eyes.

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13)

Nathan’s powerful confrontation forced David to see his foolishness and to acknowledge God’ wisdom.

“O God, it is You who knows my folly, And my wrongs are not hidden from You.” (Psalm 69:5)

“I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)

We should learn from this and many other Old Testament examples that humility and confession of sin is required to approach our holy God. These lessons bring us to Christ who, through His inspired ambassadors bring the point home.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another…” (James 5:16)

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

Consider the vivid picture of this difficult lesson, illustrated in Jesus’ parable of the “prodigal son.”

“But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! ‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ “So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:17-20)

God’s wisdom is truly

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February 4, 2018

“The God of the Old Testament – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

I am continually amazed by the number who pass for Bible students, who slander “the God of the Old Testament.” I refer to those who see a moral problem produced by elevating trending societal concepts of “goodness” to the status of moral law, a status that supersedes revelation from the Creator. They effectively say, “Yes, I admit God was a vindictive meanie in the Old Testament, but then He evolved into the wonderful God of love we see in the New.” This attitude demonstrates an astounding arrogance (assuming a superior sense of morality) and at the same time an amazing ignorance of the God of the Old Testament.

The following quote is not from Jesus, nor from one of His official ambassadors, the apostles. It is the law of Moses that instructs…

“‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18)

A professional teacher of that Mosaic law, “a lawyer” asked Jesus…

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’” (Matthew 22:36-39)

The words in capital letters are quotations from the Old Testament. The first quotation was one of the most familiar and revered of all passages to the Jews:

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

The second commandment which the lawyer considered great, says:

“…you shall love your neighbor as yourself;….” (Leviticus 19:18)

Jesus acknowledged that His opponents knew the Old Testament Scriptures. He said: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.” (Matthew 23:2-3) This lawyer, an expert on the Law of Moses concluded regarding that law: “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:40)

But wasn’t God cruel and vengeful toward the residents of Palestine when He commanded them to be “utterly destroyed” and gave their land to His favorites, the chosen Israelites? The answer is absolutely not! The view betrays a lack of appreciation of God’s holy view of sin.

“Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor.” (Habakkuk 1:13)

The sin of the residents of Palestine had grown to a fullness that the holiness God could not tolerate. Consider His own explanation.

“Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess,” (Deuteronomy 9:6)

“‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants.” (Leviticus 18:24)

The holy God who created the universe sees things perfectly through infinitely holy eyes. It is insolent arrogance for His feeble creation to assume that they know better.

The truth is that the great underlying theme of the Old Testament is love—love for God and love for others. Jeremiah testified that God’s love is eternal, from long before and that it will never end.

“The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

 

 

 

January 28, 2018

Invalidating the Word of God – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.” (Mark 7:13)

The “politically correct” pluralist insists that those who believe conflicting religious views must learn to coexist (easy when you don’t believe any of the views are really true). In other words, if you have no more faith in the Bible than you do in Mother Goose, then you view it any way you want to, and they do. If you insist that a concept is true, necessarily implying conflicting views are false, you are an intolerant bigot (understandable if none of the views truly true).

This view invalidates the word of God as surely as the conduct of Pharisees, rebuked by Jesus in the New Testament. The fact that He rebuked their view, necessarily implied He believed what He taught was true and their view was not true.

The Pharisees had encumbered the Word with numerous “interpretations” that enabled them to ignore the teachings they found inconvenient. But, since it’s not really, really true, then what’s the problem? The obvious problem is that Jesus believed the Word was absolutely true and they were invalidating Divine revelation.

The contrasting attitude of today’s pluralist is not because they are nicer or more generous. It is because they don’t believe in truth, unless you are talking about their pluralism, which is true and contrasting views are false and must be opposed. That’s not sweet. It is dishonest. Like Jesus, I rebuke such attitudes because I believe in truth.

Jesus taught that every word of Scripture was true and authoritative.

“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. “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:18-19).

In John 10:35 Jesus added “the scripture cannot be broken.”

Skeptics pose apparent difficulties, evolutionists ridicule the creation account, and the immoral try to wriggle away from its moral constraints, and we may misunderstand, but the Scripture cannot be broken! Jesus said…

“He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. …the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” (John 12:48-50).

Today’s intellectuality elite pluralists are following in the example of the Pharisees rather than Christ. Jesus says they are “invalidating the word of God…”

Various translation clarify: “nullify the word of God” NET, “making void the word of God” ESV; “making the word of God of no effect,” NKJV. The paraphrase CEV says, “And you ignore God’s commands in order to follow your own teaching.”

Consistently, all translations affirm that Jesus taught these words were God’s words and their own interpretation was blameworthy.

Peter expressed exactly the same view in II Peter 3:16, referring to what the inspired apostle Paul wrote; “…the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” Here, He uses the Greek word “στρεβλόω ” defined:

“twist…of the use of tortuous devices in the course of inquiries…to distort a statement so that a false meaning results, twist, distort…” BDAG

If you express what Jesus believed about God’s word, you will face fierce, dishonest opposition. They say it is absolutely true that you must not insist on what is absolutely true. But, we should believe as Jesus did, that if the word of God says it, it is true and opposing views are not. Proponents opposing views are not generous, they nullify the word of God.

 

 

January 23, 2018

The Hand of God – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:10 pm by sranderson0103

“that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.” (Joshua 4:24)

Within the constellation Circinus we see a magnetized, neutron star, a pulsar which spins 7 times per second (bright central region of the picture). NASA calls it “a cosmic dynamo that powers a wind of charged particles…”

We are constantly impressed by atheist’s inventive ingenuity, but explaining the amazing complexities of this structure in the context of the pervasive disorganizing effects of the inescapable 2nd Law Of Thermodynamics is a major challenge. Their “explanation” raises more impossible questions than answers…when the Creator is ignored.

From time to time we need to be reminded, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” (Psalm 19:1) The truth is, the hand of God can be seen throughout creation.

When the second generation of Israel emerged from the wilderness wandering and approached the land that “flowed with milk and honey,” they needed to be reminded how they got there.

“… the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 7:8)

As the children of Israel miraculously crossed the Jordan River into God’s promised land, they were reminded, …

“For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.” Joshua 4:23-24)

God’s word is awesome, but it is not the only means of demonstrating God’s power. As God showed His irresistible power to the world at the Red Sea, everyone should see the hand of God in the heavens.

Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,” (Isa 40:26)

David was impressed with the evidence of God’s ability to hear and see as evidenced by His creation, of our ears and eyes.

“He who planted the ear, does He not hear? He who formed the eye, does He not see?” (Psalm 94:9)

We should constantly be aware of God’s sensitive ears and His all seeing eyes as well as His mighty hand.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:6-7)

 

 

 

 

January 14, 2018

Swelling Seas – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

O LORD God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty LORD? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them.” (Psalms 89:8-9)

I stood on the beach, a few feet from the roaring ocean, as a hurricane roared ashore. That impression of overwhelming, uncontrollable power, the awesome sound, has remained vivid in my mind for over 50 years. When we imagine a mere mortal trying to oppose such power, we laugh. Only the truly insane would try. But He can.

“For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, Which lifted up the waves of the sea. They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; ..He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed.” (Psalm 107:25-26, 29)

One of the most obvious demonstrations of the divine authority of Christ (absolutely confirming His word) was seen when a fierce storm suddenly arose on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus and his disciples were traveling across in a small sailing boat when the disciples were terrified in the midst of the raging sea.

“…He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm.” (Luke 8:24)

The same kind of superhuman power was witnessed when Jonah was fleeing from the disagreeable task assigned him by God. He was on board a sailing vessel when the mariners, sailing to Tarshish, realized that the storm threatening to destroy them had been sent by God because of Jonah.

“So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.” (Jonah 1:15-16)

Consider the fact that Isaiah compares the opponents of truth to a roaring sea.

“But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud. ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’.” (Isa. 57:20-21)

Likewise, Jude describes ungodly, false teachers who are like “wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam;” (Jude 1:13)

In Luke 21, Christ used the figure of a raging sea to portray the anguish “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,” (v.20) “days of vengeance,” (v.22) the “great distress on the earth and wrath against this people,” (v.23), when “Jerusalem will be trampled down.” (v.24). He says, “nations will be in distress, anxious over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves.”

From all the examples cited above, we are reminded that the God who created the swelling, threatening oceans and calmed them, can surely calm our darkest, most threatening storm. The Psalmist foresaw the coming Messiah as one who would “rule in the midst of Your enemies.” (Psalm 110:2) He can defeat or speak peace to the nations. He can calm our troubled hearts. Through faith we can see His power in the midst of the storm and await His calm voice of peace.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

January 7, 2018

The Word – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:1-5)

In this passage John the used the Greek word “λόγος,” (logos) to communicate the role of Christ, the divine, eternal, perfect expression of God. It was a word that had already been used in Greek society, by deluded philosophers, to describe absurd notions of a few of their idols. When John appropriated their term, he was not copying their pagan absurdities; he was challenging their foolishness. Starting where they were, he took their concept to a completely new level. The real logos perfectly expresses the mind of God, is himself God, created everything, was the source of all life and light, and dispels their feeble darkness.

John’s description is a direct confrontation of Greek paganism. It supersedes any puny pagan competitor. It is as well, a marvelous portrayal of our savior, the foundation of Christianity.

The writer of the book of Hebrews describes the concept to a Hebrew audience.

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” (Hebrews 1:1)

Consider also John’s description of the conquering Christ in his Revelation of Christ to the persecuted saints of Asia.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.’” (Revelation 3:11-13)

Consider also the fact that the title of the “Word of God” is given both to Jesus Christ as the living Word and to the Scriptures as the written Word.

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

“For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” (I Thessalonians 2:13)

How can one rationally claim to accept John’s “logos,” the perfect expression of God, while at the same time failing to honor the written word of God (the Bible)?

Some say “Oh, it used to be honorable but it has been polluted.” They are effectively saying the “logos,” the eternal, divine “Word” was powerless to protect and preserve, as He promised to do.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:34-35)

The living Word and the written Word are so perfectly synchronous that what is said of one can usually be applied also to the other.

Both are human, yet without error;

“…in Him there is no sin.” (I John 3:5)

“…the Scripture cannot be broken,” (John 10:35)

Furthermore, each is eternal.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever” Hebrew 13:8)

“Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.” (Psalms 119:89)

Each gives everlasting life to those who believe.

“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” (I John 10:11)

“…born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” (I Peter 1:23)

Finally, judgment comes by both Christ and the Scriptures.

“…He has given all judgment to the Son,” (John 5:22)

“…the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.” (Revelation 20:12)

The Word of God is truly awesome, but which, the living Word or the written Word? The answer is, “Yes.”

 

 

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