Monthly Archives: April 2020
When my wife’s father, Dr. Paul Goodwin, was a teenager in the hills of north Arkansas, a neighbor, Widow Jones, had a watermelon patch filled with ripe melons. Even though Paul knew it was wrong, he persuaded a friend it would be great fun to “swipe” some of the more abundant produce of widow Jones’ patch. So, the boys quietly moved through a strip of woods, climbed the fence, & each picked a ripe melon. Then they retreated into the woods & they feasted on the juicy, red melons.
Afterward, however, they were confronted with what to do with the incriminating evidence of the raid. After some deliberation the boys decided to place the leftover fragments of the melons under the culvert of a nearby dirt road. The ditch under the culvert was deep, dark, & covered with vines & thick weeds—a perfect place to hide the rinds. Who would look there?
The two boys thought they had committed a perfect crime! But, the one thing they didn’t plan on was the wandering cow of Widow Jones. Evidently, the cow smelled the leftovers of the feast hidden in the pipe & in trying to get at them had somehow lodged her head in a wooden structure surrounding the culvert. And widow Jones’ son found the entangled animal and more importantly he discovered something else.
And with this piece of evidence “Detective Jones” nailed the gang! You see, Paul Goodwin’s big toe was unusual in that it was somewhat shorter than the longer toe next to it. And Jones told his mother, “Mama, I’d know Paul Goodwin’s footprint anywhere!”
There was no open confrontation. Only a widow woman speaking to her neighbor, the mother of a thief. And this lesson, sooner or later all sin will be found out. This is why the Son of God went to the Cross & was raised again. So all who will turn from their sins in repentance & turn to Jesus Christ in faith as their Only Hope for eternal life will be saved, go to Heaven when they die. Have you done this, my friend?
[Adapted from “Reflections from Driftwood” by Paul Goodwin.]
Feed him in milk,
Dress him in silk,
And call him a beautiful name;
But I’ll tell you, Bud,
He’ll root in the mud,
And act the hog just the same.
Don’t think it amiss,
Because he does this,
And call him a horrid bad creature;
For he is no dog,
He’s only a hog,
And follows the bent of his nature.
If he had a sheep’s heart,
He’d do a sheep’s part,
And down in the mud wouldn’t wallow;
But as he is no lamb,
He can’t act like them,
For nature’s the thing that we follow.
So, the nature of sin
Forever has been,
To root in the mud with the Devil;
From sin to depart,
It takes a new heart,
To lift to a higher clean level.
Man may do his part,
But can’t change his heart,
This power to him is not given;
He may look and pray
For a clean heart today,
And God can answer from heaven.
—J. L. Brown [a Missionary Baptist preacher in north Arkansas, who for a time served in the state legislature.
As Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, the disciples of Jesus were saying, “Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord” peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.”
This did not make the Pharisees happy at all. They even demanded that Jesus rebuke the disciples.
Jesus answer to them was recorded in Luke 19:40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
Let me run back in history a little bit, all the way back to Amos 1:1 – The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
The Jordan River Valley is not just the place where the Jordan River flows. The valley exists because it is an active geological fault. It is the joint between two great continental plates. The west of the river is the African plate, and the east of the river is the Arabian plate. This fault gave the river a place to flow.
Like all geological faults, the Jordan Valley is a hotspot for earthquakes, and the Bible describes many of them. Perhaps the most devastating happened during the lifetime of Amos, which left a mark on the archaeology of the entire region. Ancient historian Josephus reports that Solomon’s Temple itself was damaged in the quake. Josephus also reported a mountain splitting in two with a giant rock tumbling into a ravine. Imagine the sound that this movement of the land would make. Massive rocks grinding and tumbling and cracking.
We find Jesus on the cross and find His disciples silent. Jesus statement comes to mind that the “stones would immediately cry out.” In the silence of His disciples Jesus voice carried across the crowd, “my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me. And then again He called out again, “It is finished, and immediately, according to Matthew 27:51 the earth did quake. The stones themselves broke the silence of the disciples and opened graves, a testimony that Jesus was the Son of God. This testimony by the grinding upheaval of stones witnessed to the centurion and those with him. Matt. 27:54 records their reaction. “they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. The silence of disciples cannot mute the testimony of Jesus Christ the Son of God. The stones cry out.
Three days later as women headed to the tomb, there was another earthquake. This was not a somber quake that announced the death of the Savior. No, this earth quake that is recorded in Matthew 28:1,2 announces life. This is an announcement of victory over death, hell and the grave. This is the announcement that the price had been paid. This announced the pouring of the blood of Jesus Christ on the heavenly mercy seat. This is a quake of Joy, Redemption and justification. Let us not fail in crying out – HE LIVES.
William Andrew Dillard
In the discipline of math, much is made of binary expressions. Moreover, since God is the author of all truth, including that of math, we may glean a lot of understanding of spiritual truth from it as well. Consider the binary diagram above. It is not meant to produce a headache, but to give you rejoicing as you understand it.
Out of the universe of all men only a fraction of them have any relationship with God. Circle 1. represents all men who are saved. Circle 2. represents all men who are baptized. Circle 3. represents active church members. Now notice how the lines overlap or bind. Some saved men are active church members, but have never been baptized, 1 & 3. Some baptized men are active church members but have never been saved, 2 & 3. Some are saved and baptized, but not active church members, 1 & 2.
While God wants all men to trust Him and thereby be saved, He also wants saved people to follow Him in scriptural baptism. But it does not stop there. He wants all saved, scripturally baptized people to be active and learning in the fellowship of His New Testament church.
Therefore of all the possible positions that men may find themselves in spiritually, there is only one position that is totally compliant, and submissive to the will of God. That is the area where all three circles intersect noted as 1, 2, and 3. Where do you fit?
That mankind is made in the image and likeness of his Creator: body, mind, and spirit, has been a major preachment in ministry, both of myself, and of others who were studied, Bible preachers. It was therefore a special joy to me to hear Brother Don McCutcheon deliver a strong message on this point from Matthew 22:15-21. How many times have I read the twenty-second chapter of Matthew, and simply passed on with a visualization of what is right to offer to God from our material blessings. Of course, it is right to do that, but so much more is brought home here, and I feel certain the Pharisees and Herodians got the point.
There, on the coin, the tempters presented to Jesus in their attempt to entangle Him in his talk, was exactly what one might expect: a line-drawing likeness of Caesar with letters above identifying him as the emperor and authority of the Roman empire. The question posed was, “Is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar, or not?” In addition to calling them what they were (nothing wrong with that), Jesus asked for a piece of the tribute they were talking about. When a coin was produced, Jesus simply asked whose image and superscription was upon it. When Caesar was so identified, the answer was brilliant and obvious: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s: and unto God the things that are God’s.”
But are not all things God’s? “All things were made by Him; and without him was not anything made that was made,” John 1:3 tells us. But this was a pitting of material things vs spiritual things, and the answer of Jesus turned it back on the hypocrites. The producer of the coin was Caesar, and the Roman Empire as attested by the image and superscription. So render such to him. Then what is to be rendered to God? The same thing! That is, render to God the bearer of His image and superscription which is yourself: the crowning act of creation as noted in Genesis 1:26-27: mankind! To be in the image of God necessitates a trinity: mind, body, and spirit. This is what Paul affirmed in I Thessalonians 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Every person is to give himself to God! Friends, when that is done, there will be no dilemma or argumentation of what else should be given to God.
Think about it! You are the image and superscription of God! Then, render unto God the things that are God’s!
“What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would give Him a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part.—-
But what I can, I give Him,
Give my heart.”
Christina G. Rossetti, 1830-1894