Monthly Archives: March 2014

Days of Noah


Author – Bob Hess
TODAY AND THE DAYS OF NOAH ARE LIKE LOOKING IN A MIRROR:
“As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For just as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” Matthew 24:37-41
What are these verses telling us? We are told that Noah was a preacher of righteousness (Contrary to how the new movie portrays him), according to 2 Peter 2:5. He was a righteous man (living a life that was right in the eyes of God), blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God, according to Genesis 6:9.
When Noah began building the Ark, I can just imagine how those who observed what he was doing reacted. Being a “preacher of righteousness”, I can see Noah telling the people what God was planning to do. But in spite of watching this faithful man of God, being obedient to God, the people continued on in living each day as though Noah was crazy for doing what he was doing. A flood? It doesn’t even rain. Where is all the water going to come from that will cover our city, let alone the whole world? I can just hear them saying, as days became months and months became years. Then came the 119th year, and still no rain, let alone a flood. But, Noah kept building and making the preparations that God had instructed him to do.
But people STILL continued on with their same lifestyle of “eat, sleep and be merry”. Noah was “crazy” – “Building an ark because it is going to rain and kill everyone?”. Finally at the end of the 120th year from the day that Noah was told that God had had it with man, Noah had completed the task that God had given him – completely and he made sure that every “I” was dotted and very “T” was crossed (Genesis 6:22). God told Noah to get into the ark with the seven members of his family, and GOD SHUT THE DOOR OF SAFETY.
Today, many of God’s people are telling the people of this world that Jesus is about to return. But, life goes on as usual. Things are becoming more and more evil as each day passes bye, just as they did in the day of Noah. Right is becoming wrong and wrong is becoming right – homosexuality, abortion, etc. (Isaiah 5:20-24 and Malachi 2:17). In Malachi, God said that He is tired of them saying that “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD and He is pleased with them”. Sound familiar? We are facing a day when people spit in the face of God by saying that homosexuality is OK in God’s sight when God’s Word says otherwise.
Well folks. Jesus IS COMING BACK SOON. People can deny it if they want to. But Peter warned the Christians of his day that “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say “Where is this coming He promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:4)
The scoffers are becoming the majority today. But we can’t give up and we can’t give in. We need to be “preachers of righteousness” just as Noah was as he waited for God’s promise to be fulfilled for 120 years. I honestly don’t believe that we have 120 years. Who knows? We may not even have another 120 minutes.

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HEBREW – Cleave


dāḇaq

Today we meditate on a word of deep significance. The English cleave appears twenty-six times in the OT, all but six of which are translated from dāḇaq (H1692), meaning “to cling to, join with, stay with.” It’s used, for example, in Job_19:20 for bone cleaving to skin, in Job_41:1; Job_41:15-17 of the great sea creature Leviathan, whose scales are tightly fastened together, in Job_38:38 for clods of earth being stuck together, and in Num_36:7 for someone holding on to an inheritance. So hard did Eleazar’s hand cleave to his sword as he fought the Philistines (2Sa_23:10), we could say poetically that the sword became a part of his arm.
More significant, however, is the figurative use of dāḇaq in picturing relationships, especially of their closeness and loyalty. The first appearance of dāḇaq, in fact, pictures the devotion and intimacy of marriage, where “a man [leaves] his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen_2:24). David’s men cleaved unto him in loyalty when Sheba rebelled against the king (2Sa_20:2).
Most important, however, are the pictures we see of the loyalty and devotion of God’s people to Him. We read several times of God commanding His people to cleave unto Him (Deu_10:20; Deu_11:22; Deu_13:4; Jos_22:5; Jos_23:8), for such cleaving demonstrates true love for Him (Deu_30:20).
A particularly striking example of such faithfulness appears in Psa_119:31, where the psalmist says to God, “I have stuck unto thy testimonies.” “Stuck” is dāḇaq. In Psa_119:25, David says, “My soul cleaveth unto the dust,” that is, despair was sticking to him as though it were glued. Now, however, it is he who is glued, glued to God’s Word (testimonies, February 17). “While the dust of despair is glued to me,” David says in effect, “I am ever glued to God’s standards.” A woodworker uses glue to join boards together, and so strong is that bond that the board will break in another spot before it will break on that joint. That is how we are to be glued to the Word of God.
Scriptures for Study: What were God’s people told not to cleave to in Jos_23:12? Read the verses in Deuteronomy and Joshua noted above and meditate on your closeness to God.

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The Devastation of Sin


Psalm 32:1-5
“I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah,” Psalm 32:5.
Jesus gave us insight into the true heart of mankind and the devastation of sin when He explained what happens when a person sins: “Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:20). The most devastating thing about sin is not the offensive act of sinning, though that is bad enough. We sin when we do something wrong, offending or violating someone, transgressing God’s definition of right behavior. As if that were not bad enough, the devastation that takes place in the hearts of the offenders is even worse.
Because we were made in the image of God, we each have a God-consciousness and a general moral code written on our hearts. Add to that moral code the overwhelming conviction of God’s Spirit, and you have little chance of escaping feelings of personal guilt when you sin. This is the devastation of sin—the feelings of personal guilt and shame that overwhelm us and prevent us from bringing our sin to light for fear of rejection and rebuke. This desire to keep our skeletons in our closets is what drives many people into spells of discouragement, depression and despair. That is why the psalmist said his bones were wasting away while he remained silent about his sin (Psalm 32:3).
What is the answer for this devastation of sin? We must expose it to the light of God, confess it and seek reconciliation with God and with the offended person. When confession is made, forgiveness is enjoyed.

JUST A THOUGHT
Will you confess your sins today?

Mark Clements

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86 – March – 27 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

 

Baptists struggled for liberty
1778 – On this very day, two young evangelists Isaiah Parker and Samuel Fletcher, were persecuted by mobs as they attempted to preach on the streets of Pepperell, Massachusetts, according to an entry in the diary of Isaac Backus.  Unwilling to surrender to the pressure the young men visited Pepperell several times during the spring and summer.  During a visit on June 26, however, a real blowup took place as six converts presented themselves for baptism.  On Sept. on that year, Backus makes an entry concerning a letter from the Baptists at Pepperell which was discussed by the Warren Association.  The setting according to Backus, “They met in a field by a river side, where prayers were made, and a sermon begun, when the chief officers of the town, with many followers, came and interrupted their worship.”  He went on to record that the owner of the field warned the “rowdies” to depart but they refused to go.  One of the Baptist preachers reminded them of the liberty of conscience which is generally allowed, even by the powers that we were at war with; and one of the officers said, “Don’t quote scripture here!”  Then a dog was carried into the river, and plunged in evident mockery.”  A gentleman in town then invited them to his house for worship that was near another river.  The mob followed and took some whiskey and more dogs and began to plunge them into that river in obvious contempt for water immersion.  At that point friends warned them that for their safety they should remove themselves to yet another area for the baptism of the converts, which they did.  But even then they had to endure more abuse at the close of that service.  The result of this opposition only strengthened the resolve of our forefathers neither did they ever believe in coercing converts.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 124..
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HELP, SIDEBOARDS NEEDED


Author – William Andrew Dillard

Parson to Person
What am I ever going to do with all the blessings being heaped upon me? I live in a sinful body, under a sinful system. But the grace of the altogether lovely Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus by which I am eternally saved has also led me down the narrow road which His Word affirms to be correct. From other pathways, the moans and groans of sinners in the pain and agony of a life gone awry play loud and clear from community to global scenes. How I wish they knew Whom I know; what I know, and had the blessings I experience every day.
When one walks in the narrow path of the Lord, the blessing attendant to that life abound on every side. They become numerous, even mountainous in abundance. the Psalmist said, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation, Selah” Psalm 69:18 In the maze of normal life events, he cautioned himself and us to not get lost in temporal things saying, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Psalm 103:2.
Most everyone has a story to tell about someone they know who has fallen in the quagmire of sin, so why would I not be next? I think of His benefits toward me. I was given godly parents; exposed to the Word early and consistently. I have a loving Savior Who died for me. I have a faithful wife and dear children and grandchildren who love me and look up to me. I have a ministry that God called me to perform faithfully. I have a loving church to preach to and who hears my weekly messages. I live in a country where I am still free to worship God as the Bible teaches me I should. I have the blessed privilege of investing time, money, and life into His service, and He tells me that investment will net one hundredfold. The reality of my life is: Help! I need sideboards to contain the abundance of blessings that just keep on coming.
It is little wonder then that Jesus said, “ Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38. How true it is! I am a very blessed man!
My prayer for you is that you will be blessed more than I am. If you think you are not so blessed, please stop now and meditate on Psalm One. It will put you on the pathway of life that requires sideboards. Even then, your containment capacity will not be sufficient.

Sideboards for Seniors

Sideboards for Seniors

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Hebrew – Fool (1)


’ewiyl [and] kesiyl

Opposite those who are wise, understanding, and discerning is the fool, about whom the Bible has much to say. There are some 160 references to the fool (or “fools” and “foolish”) in Scripture (AV), most of which are in the OT (only thirty-three in the NT).
One word translated fool is ’ewiyl (H191), which is derived, some scholars think, from yā’al (“to be foolish”), while others think it comes from “an Arabic word meaning ‘be thick,’ and therefore ‘thick-brained’ or ‘stupid.’” Whichever is correct, ’ewiyl seems to be the first level of foolish behavior. This type of fool is one who seeks controversy and argument (Pro_20:3), despises instruction because of perceived self-sufficiency (Pro_1:7; Pro_12:15), and is basically immoral (Pro_7:21-22; Pro_14:9). So complete is this fool’s insolence, in fact, that it is a waste of time to even speak to him: “The instruction of fools is folly” (Pro_16:22). Even if you ground him in a mortar with a pestle, it would do no good (Pro_27:22). What is this fool’s end? He “shall fall” (Pro_10:8, lāḇat, H3832, “torn down, ruined”).
The next level of fool is kesiyl (H3684), which appears some seventy times, more than twice as often as ’ewiyl. It comes from the root kāsal (H3688), which appears only in Jer_10:8 in reference to idol worshippers. The associated Arabic word gives a picture of sluggishness. Here then is the dull, obstinate fellow who, even if you put truth right in front of his eyes, will not see it (Pro_17:24). He simply cannot (and would not even if he could) see what is right. And, like ’ewiyl, it is pointless to speak to this fool (Pro_23:9).
This fool is vividly contrasted in Pro_1:22 : “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?” While the “simple” man is naive about what is true, and while the “scorner” mocks truth as unknowable or relative, the fool obstinately and irrationally refuses truth, adamantly rejecting true knowledge, which is not only the knowledge of God but any knowledge that comes from God. Again, what is this fool’s end? He will be shamed and dishonored (Pro_3:35) and ultimately destroyed (Pro_18:7).
How does the fool encourage the believer? We are reminded that while the fool despises wisdom and instruction, we know that it is God who is the beginning of everything (Pro_1:7).
Scriptures for Study: Note some of the traits of ’ewiyl in the following verses: Pro_12:15; Pro_14:3; Pro_14:9; Pro_15:5. Now note a few of the traits of kesiyl: Pro_14:7-8; Pro_15:7; Pro_26:11; Pro_29:11.

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Achan’s Temptations


Joshua 7:20, 21
“When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it,” Joshua 7:21.
As the children of Israel began to take the Promised Land, their first major conquest was the city of Jericho. God ordered Joshua to destroy the entire city, except for Rahab and her home and to devote all the gold, silver and vessels of bronze and iron to Him. Once God brought the walls of Jericho down, everything seemed to go according to God’s plan. Victory was enjoyed by all, and Joshua led the people to the next conquest—Ai. The conquest of Ai was not successful, however, and it was soon discovered that someone had been disobedient to God’s orders and had stolen what was rightfully God’s. That someone was Achan.
In the chaos of Jericho’s destruction, Achan stumbled upon an opportunity to make himself wealthy which he simply could not resist. What he stole was equivalent to a year’s wages, and it seemed nobody else knew about it. God knew, though, and the entire nation suffered because of one man giving in to temptation.
Do you find it difficult to resist temptations brought on by greed? The story of Achan is a great reminder that, when we give in to temptations, our families and communities will suffer as a result. The next time you are tempted to take something that is not yours, consider the ramifications that fostering a culture of stealing would create. Remember: “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6).

JUST A THOUGHT
Will you be content today?
Mark Clements

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85 – March – 26 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


The Word of God prevailed
1771 – The Potomack Baptist Church was founded on this date having been planted by the Chappwamsic Baptist Church and their pastor David Thomas.  Thomas was a Regular Baptist from Pennsylvania and was probably the most learned of the early Baptist preachers of Virginia.  He settled in the Northern part of the colony and was continually threatened by ruffians with clubs and guns as were many of our early preachers.  The Chappwamsic church produced some of the greatest of our early church planters like Jeremiah Moore, Daniel Fristoe, and his brother William.  William wrote an early history of the Ketocton Baptist Association and planted the Potomack Baptist Church.  William Fristoe experienced the same treatment, and became the object of those same despisers of the gospel.  The planting of these churches was resisted by large gangs of men with clubs and rocks as they attempted to break up the meetings and beat the preacher.  One example involved a gang of around forty men led by Robert Ashby, who entered the meetinghouse with the purpose of disrupting the meeting.  Some stout fellows at the door threw Ashby out.  This involved the whole multitude in a huge fight.  Soon after, Ashby cut his knee, and it became infected and literally hung by the hamstrings.  On his sickbed he desired preaching, but when the preacher would begin preaching he would stop his ears.  He died a horrible death of great suffering.  So strongly did it impress the people that God had intervened that it put a damper on those that were trying to hamper the meetings.  We can say with certainty what they said of the early church in the book of Acts,  So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
The post 85 – March – 26 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST appeared first on The Trumpet Online.

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HEBREW – Discern


biyn

One Hebrew authority digs to the true depth of biyn (H995) by noting: “The background idea of the verb is to ‘discern,’ and this lies behind the [derivatives, such as] . . . the preposition bên ‘between.’ The combination of these words, ‘discern between,’ is used in 1Ki_3:9, ‘That I may discern between good and evil.’ Biyn includes the concept of distinguishment that leads to understanding.”
In simpler terms, the key idea in biyn is “to discern, to distinguish between.” From where does understanding come? From discernment. 1Ki_3:9 is, indeed, pivotal. If you ask most Christians, “What did Solomon ask God for?” most will answer immediately, “He asked God for wisdom,” but that is not precise. He did not ask God for wisdom (chokmâ, March 22), rather he asked God for discernment. Our English word comes from the Latin discernere (dis, “apart,” and cernere, “to sift”), and Scripture repeatedly emphasizes this principle. We are to separate, sift through, and distinguish between in order to see and understand.
Catastrophically, however, discernment has all but vanished. Many Christians are tolerant of, or even embrace, false teaching, such as: mysticism, prosperity teaching, seeker-sensitive church ministry, user-friendliness, the “emerging church” movement, unity with Islam, and the list goes on. “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to [or discerns, biyn] his going” (Pro_14:15). What was the responsibility of the OT priests? To “teach [God’s] people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean” (Eze_44:23). That is likewise the responsibility of pastors today (Act_20:28-31; Eph_4:11-14).
So what does discernment mean? There is only a single principle: What does the Word of God say? It doesn’t matter if some new idea or teaching “sounds good,” but whether it’s right according to Scripture. At the very heart of the Reformation was the concept of sola scriptura (“Scripture Alone”), which is to dictate all we believe and practice—not church tradition, human opinion, pragmatism, or anything else.
As David again pleads in Psa_119:169, “Give me understanding [discernment, biyn] according to thy word.” While David had very little Scripture at his disposal and so cried for discernment, many today don’t even care about discernment even though they have God’s completed revelation in their hands.
Scriptures for Study: What did Job say about discernment (Job_6:30)? Carefully consider just a few NT passages that speak of the critical nature of discernment (Act_17:11; 1Ti_6:20-21; Heb_4:12; 2Pe_2:1-2; 1Jn_4:1).

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The Fallacy of Cover-up


Matthew 23:25-28
“Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity,” Matthew 23:28.
Confession: every time I take the lid off a gallon of milk, before I pour it over my cereal or into a glass, I smell the milk. Yes, I look at the expiration date, but I do not really trust the date. From personal experience, I have discovered that, though the gallon of milk may look normal on the outside and may even have a safe expiration date, sometimes the milk has spoiled. I hate wasting a good bowl of cereal by pouring spoiled milk over it, so I never judge a gallon of milk by the way it appears.
Jesus used similar illustrations to describe the religious hypocrites of His day. The danger of pretending to be pure and denying the reality of sinfulness in the heart is the same as treating a cup as if it is clean simply because the outside has been washed. Jesus also illustrated the stupidity of hypocrisy by comparing it to a whitewashed tomb full of decaying bodies: the outside looks clean, but the inside is rotten.
What is the moral of the story? Do not pretend to be something you are not. We are all sinners, so we should all walk in humility, admitting our weaknesses and our desperate need for forgiveness and salvation. Pretense gets us nowhere. Admit your weaknesses and mistakes to God and to others. If we are willing to do that, we will find healing and joy.

JUST A THOUGHT
Will you confess your sins to God today?

Mark Clements

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