Monthly Archives: August 2018
Parson to Person
Belshazzar was blessed to be king of the first great beast of empire. In prophecy, his kingdom (Babylon) was likened unto a lion in beast symbolism, and the golden head of the statue of empires seen in a kingly dream and interpreted by the prophet Daniel.
His story is a repetitive one both before and after him. It is the story of sinful, foolish pride being a downfall. A modern rendition of that is herewith given.
“Hello, Belshazzar! You are the son of the first great king, Nebuchadnezzar. Remember? He was the king from whom sanity was withdrawn so that he ran with the beast of the field, ate straw like an ox, and grew long nails as claws until he learned that El Elyon (the Most High God) rules in the governments of men and appoints whom He will over it. I say, remember? because you knew this.
Hello, Belshazzar! You are king, but you have not humbled your heart before God. Instead, you have elected to be exalted and praised by a thousand of your lords, and you have called for the sanctified vessels of the Temple of God in Jerusalem to pollute them as wine glasses in your sinful party.
Hello, Belshazzar! It is you to whom the writing hand has written on the wall in your presence. So, “keep your gifts O, King, and let your rewards go to another,” said God’s man, Daniel. “I will read the writing unto the king and make known to him the interpretation.
This is the writing: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. This is the interpretation of it. Mene; God has numbered your kingdom, and it is over. Tekel; You are weighed in the balances and have come up short. Peres; Your kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”
History reveals that Babylon was thought to be impenetrable. Its walls were some 80 high and wide enough at the top for chariots to pass. It was the ultimate in human security. . . or, was it?
For sometime, unknown to dwellers in Babylon, the Meads and Persians had worked upstream to dam the Euphrates river which ran through Babylon. In the night of Belshazzar’s final ball of self glory, the water had diminished below the bars that extended from the city wall into the river. The Meads and Persians used that entryway in mass, and took over the city state with ease. In that same night Belshazzar was slain and Darius took over the kingdom being about 62 year old.
It is said that those who forget history are doomed to relive it. Common observation of society shows no change for the better over time. Repetitious, prideful and disastrous falling from a myriad of modern Babylons and Belshazzars abound.
So, let the Daniels and their wisdom also abound. Jesus the only triumphant Savior is the singular stone of help. Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. Friend, what is your preference: Salvation or judgment? Hello . . . .!
THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY
A songwriter once penned these words: “Troublesome times are here, filling men’s hearts with fear; freedoms we all hold dear now is at stake . . .” When one looks at the political arena, it appears little above mass confusion. When one looks at the religious scene it is void of most of the Bible teachings. When one looks at the economical stage, it is so tenuous as to cause men’s hearts to fail. If all this seems to paint a bleak picture of today’s world, it is meant to do so. But there is more, much more!
The crumbling foundation of the family unit leaves children without parents, or in some cases single parents. Then the demands of the workplace leave little time for children who are largely abandoned to a latchkey position to formulate their own distorted views of life. Each ensuing generation is in an ever worsening condition. What is it all about. What is happening to the world we live in?
Certainly, these are times so often and well prophesied by God’s Word. It would seem a time for the masses to hear the clarion call of the gospel. It should be a time of widespread repentance, of men seeking the will of the Lord with a contrite heart. But just the opposite is the mainstream of life. What is one to make of it all?
The apostle Paul informed us of these times. He wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:7, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let until he be taken out of the way.” Think about it!
The “Mystery of Iniquity.” The term “Mystery” is from the ancient Greek term, “Musterion.” It derives it existence from a base word “Muo” which basically means “To shut the mouth.” Hence, a mystery is something known to the initiated, but unknown to the uninitiated. It remains a mystery to those unqualified and unwilling to search out and know the meaning. “Iniquity” is a translation of the Greek word “Law” (nomous) with a negative prefix, to literally translate “no law.” It means not given to or ruled by law ; contempt and violation of law, wickedness. This is aptly descriptive of modern times, but they will worsen because there is a restraining power who lets (restrains) until he be taken out of the way, so that ultimate chaos may prevail.
The so-called progress of humanity apart from God has led to the abolition of world war; the vaunted progress of medical science has led to longer life spans, and as the world struggles to balance trade, unite religious movements, and to feed the bulging population creating population shifts of illegal migration, the world ripens for the ultimate rule of its god. His predetermined end of it all is destruction in many forms, but the final stage will be Armageddon. It is a millenniums long plan that will go down in eternal defeat for all evil. Sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the stomach.
SELL ME THIS POWER
In biblical Christianity there is power! Saints sing of it often in such hymns as “There Is Power In The Blood.” Repentant lost people rejoice in it at the altar of their heart. Saints who are wise reject the time consuming offerings of the world in order to know Him and the POWER of His resurrection as did St. Paul as he told the Philippians.
Jesus said that all power is consolidated in Him as He commissioned the church in Matthew 28:18-20. Just before ascending, He told His church that they would receive power after that the Holy Ghost was come upon them. According to Acts 2, they certainly did. But it was not a temporary power. It was an age long power to be resident in New Testament churches; power sufficient to bring them through the age with the proper testimony of God, and His love for the world.
But power is one of the objects of the sinful, greedy world which sees material advancement as the purpose of life. Thus the very existence of understood power draws men either to God and Salvation or to Satan and the ladder of materialism and creature comforts.
Such was the case of one Simon the sorcerer as noted in Acts 8. It is interesting to note that Simon was a long time practitioner of sorcery. Doubtless, he accumulated a considerable amount of wealth with it. However, the introduction of Bible Christianity in Samaria was mightily blessed of God so that many were saved and baptized. Make of this what you will, the Bible declares that Simon also was saved and baptized. Simon then continued with Philip, drawn by the miracles which he did.
Some days later Peter and John were dispatched from Jerusalem to Samaria who prayed for them, and laid hands upon them, and they received the Holy Spirit that had come upon the church in Acts 2. Simon was impressed, so impressed that he offered the apostles money to have their power conferred upon him. Peter minced no words rejecting the request, and directing him to repent of such wickedness, 8:22-24.
Unarguably, the apostolic years were filled with extraordinary displays of holy power as credentials of holy men in the absence of the New Testament. But with its completion, focus is shifted more precisely upon the church of the Living God. It is the pillar and ground of the truth under the constriction of the Holy Spirit and the eternal Word. In these things there is staying, aggressive, authoritative, energetic power from heaven. Surely, the world remains filled with satanic inspired charlatans, who emulate Simon saying, sell me this power that I may accumulate wealth through deception. But, as it was then, so it is now. The gifts and calling of God may be only enjoyed God’s way. They are not for sale.
John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!” He was a natural motivator.
If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?”
He replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life! I choose the positive side of life.”
“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.
“Yes, it is,” he said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live your life.”
I reflected on what he said. Soon thereafter, I left the company we worked at to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.
I happened to run into him about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?”
I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.
“The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,” he replied. “Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live.”
“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked.
He continued, “..the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘he’s a dead man.’ I knew I needed to take action.”
“What did you do?” I asked.
“Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said John. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Gravity!'”
Over their laughter, I told them, “I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”
He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).