Monthly Archives: November 2017

The Roman TOGA and Gal. 3:27.


Excellent study.

The Shayne Moses Project

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

There was a garment called the Toga, which the Romans “Put on” and wore in public as an outward declaration of their position or circumstances in life. (See Webster’s New International Dictionary, 1923 Edition, Page 2166. See also works on Roman Antiquities.) The “Toga Candida” was a white toga worn by those who were candidates for office. The “Toga Picta” was a toga adorned with golden stars, and was worn by a great general. From this comes our present day custom of army officers wearing bars and stars on their uniforms to indicate their rank. The “Toga Pulla” was a black toga. It was worn by those in mourning. From this came our present day expression “put on mourning.” The “Toga Virilis” was the manly toga. It was worn by young men when…

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National Enquirer Prayers


From A Pastor's Heart

two men gossiping

“What a blessing to have friends you can ask to pray for a situation, and they don’t ask questions.”

Have you ever heard the tag line, “Enquiring minds want to know”? This line was made famous many years by the tabloid National Enquirer, sadly located in your supermarket checkout line.

National Enquirer has made millions on man’s insatiable desire to know the stuff of somebody else’s life, even if it is a lie.

That same National Enquirer search can be found among well-intentioned people who “pray.” Have you ever heard someone say, “I just found out (circumstance) about (name).  I’m only sharing this so you can pray about it.”  The bait has been thrown out, and wham!  We take it hook-line-and-sinker!  Do we really want to know so we can genuinely intercede or do we just want the National Enquirer version?

Or, someone is going through a rough time in…

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NOW, I CAN BURN!


NOW, I CAN BURN!

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

The dark ages are appropriately named. It was a time when knowledge was stifled, persecution rampant, and martyrs made in wholesale numbers as one may readily and correctly infer from such documents as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs; A History of the Churches of the Valleys of Piedmont, and other such historical books.
Almost within shouting distance of the famous Oxford University, the powers of England burned William Tyndale at the stake as he prayed “Lord open the eyes of the King of England.” His crime: translating the Holy Scriptures into the English Language so common people might know God’s truth in a time of terrible clerical corruption.
Among many English martyrs is one notable Thomas Cranmer. He was a religious cleric who lived in the stormy political time of King Henry VIII. It was a time when religious reformation was gaining acceptance, but with a terrible price. Cranmer did the bidding of kings, and was reluctantly promoted into the office of Archbishop of Canterbury. Pressure on his life was so intense that he finally wrote things he did not believe, but to his credit, he recanted his recantations in public forums as well as in written form.
Cranmer was tried, condemned as a heretic and subsequently burned at the stake at Oxford in 1556. He was so remorseful of his earlier actions, and so willing to die rather than re-affirm them, that when put to the stake and the fire began, he said with his hand first extended to the flame, that with this hand I have written offensive things to my very heart, and it should burn first. With his hand steadily in the fire, he was heard to say, “Now I can burn!” In a short time, the man who had served royalty stood by his heart’s convictions and calmly died, consumed by flames without crying out.
So many have paid the ultimate price for matters of faith ( Heb. 11). We need not endorse their every tenant of faith, but, let us not fail them with infidelity to our biblical convictions, even many of those same convictions for which so many died.

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BURNING HEART OR HEARTBURN?


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
BURNING HEART OR HEARTBURN?

Sometime back I drove past a sign that read: CHURCH OF THE BURNING HEART. I thought that was a little unusual for the name of a church. Upon further inquiry, I learned that it was like so many other religious clubs doting the landscape in these last days. It was what one would call independent, but more precisely non-denominational. That simply means it does not affiliate with any known and named group of churches both in affiliation and in doctrinal standing. Of course, there are enough non-denominational churches that now non-denominational would be a denomination but for the lack of affiliation among themselves or any cohesiveness to their doctrinal standing. It seems they just want to present themselves to the public as totally free, thus better, than any church that is known by its doctrinal standing. As a result what is commonly held among them is the doctrine of universal, invisible church which necessitates open communion. Furthermore, they have no qualms about baptismal source or mode, and most do not maintain a church membership role due to their universal thinking. But these things effectively negate personal responsibility, and personal accountability in the minds of natural men who have an inclination to worship God due to their being made in His image. The appeal succeeds in motivating men into further estrangement from their Creator in a form of godliness that denies the power thereof.
As more and more of these types of “churches” arise, one may wonder at the wonder of it all. Would the Holy Spirit lead men to a form of worship that is in rebellion to plain biblical teachings? Is it possible that God would accept a form of doctrine out of conformity to His Word? Has the blood-bathed battle of His churches throughout the last 2,000 years been in vain; their form of worship and division of the Word of truth wrong?
The apostle John has the answer in his first epistle: Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” 2:18-20. Compared to Holy Writ, a better name for the afore mentioned group might be THE CHURCH OF THE HEARTBURN, big time!
As sweet as they are, let it be recalled that Jesus did not make His people to be sugar, but salt! Moreover, the disastrous results of salt that loses its savor is graphically presented in plain terms! Matt. 5:13

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Near Miss


Storyshucker

Wait! Frantically I chased the bus trying to catch the driver’s attention. Brakes screeched and exhaust puffed as he threw open the door and impatiently waved me in. Out of breath from my unexpected sprint, I leaped onto the bus which jerked roughly into motion. Why does everything seem so urgent?

Ear shattering noises blasting from my alarm clock that morning had startled me into reality. Abusing the snooze button meant ultimately springing from bed in a hasty rush. After a speedy shower I dressed in a hurry and dashed out of my front door to see the bus pulling away.

And from now on I should hurry! I nearly missed it!

Anxiety at work as constant emails popped up. Between fast-paced phone calls I zipped out for a quick lunch and realized in a panic that I was late to a meeting. Choking down a sandwich while running, I…

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November 22, 2017 · 1:57 PM

Can women be pastors?


Running The Race

A friend of mine believes his pastor is considering naming his wife as co-pastor of his church. He asked me what I thought.

Although I am not a feminist, I believe in women’s rights and equality and that women should, generally anyway, have the same opportunities as men, I can’t get around the fact that women as pastors is clearly unbiblical.

The Word of God proclaims, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent” (1 Timothy 2:11–12). In the church, God assigns different roles to men and women. This is a result of the way mankind was created and the way in which sin entered the world (1 Timothy 2:13–14). God, through the apostle Paul, restricts women from serving in roles of teaching and/or having spiritual authority over men. This…

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THINKING THANKSGIVING DAY


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
THINKING THANKSGIVING DAY
In the context of many Bible verses, those who know and worship God are admonished to be thankful. In a world of sinners in which Satan is god, and humanism is the religion of choice among the disobedient and wayward, evidence of thankfulness can be scarce.
Let the Words of the Psalmist take center stage: “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:3-5
Thanksgiving Day in America is set aside by presidential proclamation. It is a federal holiday that most likely will be filled with reveling more than in giving of thanks. That is sad, indeed. America is blessed above all nations on earth, and its people should be the most thankful in spite of huge problems that plague its systems in many ways. However, it is not hard to note the abundance of goodness heaped on the country by the Almighty.
Even the Grinch and the neer-do-well folks have reason to be thankful to God. If for nothing else, the gift of reason alone. Properly understood, this simple fact should drive thankfulness to the top of every person’s heart. When one is thankful, he acknowledges that it is He who has made us and not we ourselves. Thankfulness values human life, not just our own but that of others, and of the unborn, too. Thankfulness worships the Creator in the realization that every good and perfect gift comes to us from the Father of Lights with Whom there is no variableness neither shadow of turning, James 1:17.
To thankful hearts, the focus on Thanksgiving Day is a special blessing. It is not a ritual to indulge in once a year, but a way of life! The emphasis underscores how far, and in what ways, we may have fallen from it, and that is priceless. Thankfulness, like faith, comes through the knowledge and acceptance of the teachings of God’s Word. So it is no surprise discover thankful people being well versed in it.
Arguably, there may have never been a time when the need to experience true thankfulness was greater. May we all stop, reflect, and increase in this special quality of life.

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LAGNIAPPE AND CHRYSTAL WEDDING


LAGNIAPPE AND CHRYSTAL WEDDING OATS

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

Lagniappe” is a French word pronounced (lan-yap) that is well known in pockets of French culture such as Louisiana. South Arkansas, Quebec, Canada, etc. It means “A little something extra” as a favor from a merchant to a customer or something thrown in for good measure. In the little community of my childhood, it was always a practice, and in some areas, it is a custom presently.
This recalls corporate practice in childhood as well. We did not purchase much at stores beyond absolute necessities, but when it came to breakfast food, washing detergents, and cow feed. four things determined choice. In breakfast cereals it was always Chrystal Wedding oats and Nabisco shredded wheat, because there was a nice crystal-like drinking glass in every box of the oats. These lined our shelves. In every box of washing detergent there was a nice, free dish cloth. These filled cabinet drawers. In cereal, I begged my parents to buy Nabisco Shredded Wheat. I hated the stuff, but there were illustrated “Straight Arrow” cards separating the wheat loafs that taught me how to build an Indian shelter out in the woods. Finally, in cow feed, every gingham type sack of 100 pounds of feed must be clean and not torn because we would be wearing it as a shirt from momma’s hands very soon.
“Lagniappe!” What a good and helpful practice it was to poor families recovering from the Great Depression. A little something extra to the primary purchase. It brings to mind, the great goodness of our Savior. He loves us so much that He died to save us, and all who call upon Him in repentance finds that gift of salvation in full power as it was at the beginning.
However, if that were not enough, it goes on and on from that initial gift. His spirit guides us and illuminates us to the marvelous truth of His Word, so that peace beyond understanding, promises that are staggering, and comprehension to the harmony, unity, and symmetry of His ingested Word renews the mind, and implants an insatiable desire to know more, and to receive their fulfillment. His gifts are “Lagniappe” forever and ever.

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CRYBABY LOSERS ON RECKONING DAY


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
CRYBABY LOSERS ON RECKONING DAY

In the world of Christian discipleship there are as many classes of folks as there are fruit producers in the parable of the seed and the sower, Matthew 13:2-8. The lifestyle of these folks parallel the seed effects falling on the wayside, in stony ground; among thorns, and in fertile soil. The latter ones are blessed beyond imagination whether they fit into the thirty, sixty, or hundredfold producers. The former categories forecast the sad state of those who choose another way of life than that which is produced by the nourished seed of faith. In attempts of self-justification, they may point to the failure to understand, and blame the forces of evil (birds) for snatching away the opportunity to understand wondrous truths when it was they who refused to open their heart, mind, and Bible. Then there are those whose lives reflect no depth of root and are scorched by the pressures of a sinful world.
Finally, there are those who will not deal with the social concerns, financial opportunities and other pressures of life promoted by the flesh, and who, as a result, miserably fail in discipleship. It just seems easier to give in to the world than do the proverbial paddling upstream of Christian discipline. Such as these do have a long lineage; a primary example of which is ancient Esau. To Esau, the things that could be his in the future paled in comparison to what he could have in the present, even if it was just a bowl of soup. He was hungry! So, why worry about pie in the sky when there is steak on the ground? Esau thus lost his birthright: a double portion of his father goods. He also lost out in the blessings of life that patriarchs were empowered to confer on their offspring. Upon realization of his miserable failure, Esau, saddened and enraged, lamented much, but to no avail. Crybaby projections are so unflattering and useless in foolish adults!
So, let all be warned. The scriptures do not say what they say in vain. The writer of Hebrews states quite forcefully that churches should be aware of the spiritual condition of their members to ensure their spiritual well-being. He said we should look diligently: “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”
Some may be repulsed by this in the belief that reward is not to be gained or lost, but such an idea is foreign, even opposed to the scriptures. The Judgment Seat of Christ is for Christians, I Cor. 3:9-15. John’s admonition to avoid loss is to God’s people, 2 John 1:8. Let us not live so as to be Crybaby Losers on Reckoning Day! Judging the present state of “Christianity,” by standards of the Word, there will be plenty of them.

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CHALLENGE OF THE MUSTARD SEED?


HEBREW HONEYCOMB
CHALLENGE OF THE MUSTARD SEED?

It is nothing short of staggering! Jesus said if one had faith as a grain of mustard seed, he could remove mountains. Matt. 13 & 17. Now think with me for a minute about this.
The tiny mustard seed slips through the fingers of a clinched fist, yet it makes a tree-like plant. The possibility is simple but awesomely complex: God programmed it to do so. Were the tiny mustard seed blessed with a brain, it would surely object to the prospect.
The mustard seed might say, “do not plant me in the ground. It is cold, dark and lonely there, and I would not be happy.” It may also offer: “to expect me to produce a mighty plant is ridiculous.” Furthermore, it might offer: “even if I did sprout, the chances are too great that a flood or drought would kill me, and if that were not enough, the sod is too hard to break, and even if I did someone would step on me, and that would be the end of that.” The negative odds are overwhelming.
I submit that the success of the mustard seed lies in its absence of a brain, so it simply does what God programmed it to do. One cannot escape the idea that if the tiny mustard seed succeeds in such a mighty, formidable task, what could the Christian do who is resigned to follow the will of God? Regardless of the “mountains” of potential opposition, he would accomplish mighty things!
Dwelling on the subject at hand reminds one of an old story. It seems a tavern was to be built in a town that had always been dry. Christians in that town opposed it and called for a prayer rally. They asked God to intervene in the proposal. The next day, lightening struck the tavern then under construction and it burned down. The tavern owner filed a lawsuit against the town churches, declaring them responsible for his loss. The churches hired a lawyer, and denied all responsibility. Responding to this unique case, the judge declared that regardless of how the case comes out, it is evident that the tavern owner believes in prayer and the churches do not.
Ouch! That is close enough to home to hurt! Yet, it illustrates human reaction in contrast to mustard seed programming.
But is it possible to have faith as a grain of mustard seed? Readers should consider the faith of Job in agony; of Daniel in the lion’s den; of the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace; of the church praying for imprisoned Peter; of Prisoner Paul in cold, wet shipwreck. If that is not enough, some time should be spent meditating on the eleventh chapter of Hebrews.
The apostle Peter walked on water so long as his attention was on Jesus, but the sad reality of modern day saints is that they are like those other disciples on the sea that night: they never get out of the boat. “If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed. . . “

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