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
Psa 50:14 Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:
15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
How thankful have we been? We, by habit, are a complaining people. How many are complaining about shelter-in-place. We could complain and howl but give some thought to what is happening. Families are reconnecting that have been disconnected for so long because of too many activities that separated families. I prefer assembling as a church but thanks to shelter-in-place, my message of Jesus on Wednesday and Sunday have reached New York, New Jersey and six other states and almost 200 people. I am so thankful for this opportunity. Have we been offering thanks and paying our vows to the most High?
Notice this qualification: immediately after this statement, God offers for us to call upon Him in the day of trouble. Recently my calling upon God in the day of trouble has been prayers for our nation. Prayers by myself and church members and many others have been offered for other church members, a missionary who has contracted the corona virus and is in the hospital and his family that also have corona virus. We are praying for a baby in the hospital that had open heart surgery and will undergo at least one more surgery. Prayers have been offered up for a friend, mother, and wife that was rushed to the hospital with a possible stroke. Days of trouble are answered by the Lord and His deliverance is available which will glorify God when offer thanksgiving unto the Lord and pay our vows. Vows here means promises. Lord if you will heal our nation and those suffering from health issues, I promise to learn more about you. This is a vow, a promise to God. Let us be a thankful, promise fulfilling people and thereby glorify God.
William Andrew Dillard
In communication exchanges with my dear cousin, ______________ of __________, she mentioned the idea of a chisel in life. I cannot get this off my mind, mainly because it makes so much sense. Accordingly, I attempt to expand on that idea for my own analysis, and I hope it may make some sense to others who read these lines.
How prone we are to live life to the fullest, but as much as humanly possible within our comfort zone. When something invades our comfort zone, it is always by an external force, and not of our own making. We are secure in who we are. We identify ourselves by the peripheral things and people around us, especially those we have known for a lifetime.
When a parent, sibling, or child dies, we feel ourselves chiseled. But we must understand that we really are as a sculptured work of art, fashioned by the Master Artist, and fully realize that He is not done with those of us who remain. When one of my children was still-born, it was as a chisel strike that I would have avoided at all cost, but one that brought more clearly into focus the fashioning of my life by my loving and righteous Creator-God. When deep depression struck in 1984, the chisel had never struck so hard and so painfully to shape my life to solely depend on my loving Sculptor. Then, dad died in 1987. The chisel struck again; painfully, but masterfully, further defining what I am to ultimately become. When mom died in 1988, it was a chisel blow. When my sister died in 2000, the chisel struck again. She was the first of my siblings to cross the bar, and I felt so vulnerable; that there was less of me than before. This week, my brother just older than I, succumbed to a massive stroke, and I am again feeling the strike of a chisel. Now, my oldest brother has gone to be with the Lord. There was love between us, even though we were not so close in later years as we had been as youngsters growing up. Still, all the precious people were there, and I knew it, and to some degree depended upon it. That was my comforting, self-definition of life. I feel the chisel from which no one is immune, even ministers of the gospel.
I do not seek immunity from the chisel, nor do I lament each blow as it may appear that I do. It is just that life is ever changing, and those who love the Lord will feel the chisel as He uses the events of life to channel us into complete trust and comfort in Him rather than the people and things that surround us. One day the Master Sculptor will be done with the chisel, and changes will cease to occur for we shall see Him as He is because, at last, we shall be like Him. Until then, may God give each of us the strength and grace to be still, and to cherish each blow of the chisel in the comforting knowledge of what He is doing to and for each one of us.
There are times when certain verses of scripture appear somewhat strange to the modern reader. An example is Psalm 2:12, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.” Think with me about this verse for a moment. It means something far different to the practice of those who spread their germs by repeatedly kissing a statue.
The context of the second Psalm has as its subject matter the raging of heathen, vain imaginations of people, and kings and rulers of the earth taking counsel together against the LORD (Jehovah), and against His anointed (His Covenant People). They want to break their bands, and cast away their cords. (Moral and spiritual attachments). It is a word picture of modern man in his determination to achieve an ill-conceived utopia apart from any acknowledgment of God. The grace of God allows them to continue to do this for a limited time.
Meanwhile, God shall laugh, and have them in derision, and shall vex them in his sore displeasure. The Son of God is given the heathen for inheritance, and the uttermost part of the earth for possession. He shall indeed break the nations with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. In view of that fact, the admonition and instruction of wisdom is written in the eternal Word: “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
To kiss is to join with the mouth. “Kiss” is the translation of the Hebrew word, “Nashaq.” In Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies, the Hebrew term is defined as “to kiss by joining the mouth to the mouth or hand of another in token of the friendly, affectionate union of hearts or of reverence and subjection.” (Page 239). Two really important accomplishments with the mouth are ingestion for nourishment, and projection of communication of the thoughts of the mind. Then one should discern from the terminology that to kiss the Son implies one should ingest in subjection the Word and Will of the Son. Furthermore, that one should then project from the mouth that which is sanctified and holy, even such as becomes the Son. Applied to modern day judges and governmental leaders, it seems a tall expectation indeed. In fact, it might just be considered such when applied to ministers and other church members. But all may rest assured that wisdom and life lies in the Son. He will be kissed in subjection and affection or those who refuse will be dashed in pieces in irrevocable judgment.
William Andrew Dillard
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:1-3
It is interesting to note that both the beginning, and ending of man’s allotted work time on this planet is marked by a day of rest. The first day of rest was a literal solar day (since all the days in Genesis One are marked by an evening and a morning). The last day of rest will be a millennial (1,000 years) day. Consider how they are connected.
The initial day of rest which God hallowed, was virtually ignored for 2500 years. Then, God put it into the Mosaic Law with teeth, that it should be adamantly observed. That the purpose of the Law was to teach, and to bring God’s people to the age of Grace is plainly identified. Notice further that the culmination of man’s work, and history on earth will be a day of rest. This is promised in Hebrews Chapter Four, and is otherwise spoken of as the “Day of the Lord.”
Now notice that the Apostle Peter explains that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day, 2 Peter 3:8. The principle to understand is: God gives man six days to labor on earth (6,000 years) and the seventh day of rest is the day of the Lord (the millennial reign of Jesus).
Adam and Eve were created 4,000 B.C. Additionally, it is certain that we are very close to 2,000 years since Jesus’ time. That adds up to 6,000 years.
The coming of Jesus effected a change in the reckoning of time from B.C. to A.D. (Anno Domini, the year of the Lord). History has suffered through the Roman, Julian, and Gregorian calendars, one counting a year as ten months of 30 days each to the others being 12 months of varying days, then every fourth year an extra day added to February. So, it is unclear just what precise year we are really living in, but Another possibility of time computation is that of covenants. God has worked with His people in terms of covenants, especially since Abraham. If the 4,000 years B.C. were completed when Messiah was cut off, fulfilling the Law Covenant, and empowering the New Covenant, ( 33 A.D.), then, if modern calendars are correct, this is actually 1987 (2020 minus 33 years). The last seven years of this age is the tribulation period, so that would make it to be almost on top of us.
Conclusion: We have had our six days of labor. It is time for the seventh day, the 1,000-year Day of the Lord, to begin. It is coming right on time. Are you ready for it?
( I am not a date setter, but this is interesting to roll around, unless, of course, you already know it all!)
Proverbs 15:14; 18:13; Psalm 53:1
Pro 15:14 The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.
What a thought provoking verse. The very first part of this passage reveals a person that is very thoughtful. An understanding person knows that he does not know everything. This type of person is a seeker of knowledge. He wants to hear so that he can learn. There are many today that want to close their ears to words that might expand their knowledge. A seeker of knowledge is a reader and a hearer. A seeker of knowledge will feed many. Proverbs 10:21 says “The lips of the righteous feed man.” A seeker of the knowledge of God that applies that knowledge to their life and gains forgiveness, cleansing and salvation is the righteous that will feed many because they have something they have learned to give to others.
The contrast to the seeker of knowledge is “but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness” Proverbs 15:14b.
Pro 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
Has this ever happened to you? How often has someone cut you off or how often have you cut someone off that is trying to contribute to your knowledge. Consider, you are not Hetty on NCIS Los Angeles. We are not mind readers no matter how perceptive you thing you are. There are 2 things I would warn you about. To believe that you know what some one is going to say is evidence of presumption and an element of self-conceit. An old standard statement is, God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth so that we can hear twice as much as we speak. This presumption of knowledge brings shame. Proverbs 26:12 says “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.” We need to learn how to listen carefully to others.
Psa 53:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
This verse is considered an emphatic statement about the atheist. Notice the proclamation that an atheist is called a fool. The term fool overshadows the sense of sin in such a proclamation. We consider sin to be a horrible, terrible thing, yet the foolishness of a person denying God overwhelms the idea of sin. This statement is worse than a heathen that believes there is a God but continues in wickedness and sin. The denial of God is “abominable iniquity.” The stench of denial reaches heaven. Here is a fool who has denied the creation that he lives and thrives on. Here is a fool who has denied the Son of God, our Redeemer and Savior. Here is a fool who has denied the sacrifice of the Son of God. Here is a fool who has denied the shed blood of the Son of God which cleanses us from sin. Here is a fool that is an abominable stench to God and has no hope in this life or the life here after. Our prayer should be that God deniers might see the mighty work of God.
The multiple facets of life which men choose to follow amazes the keen observer. Some are meek and humble; others are haughty and proud; some are weak and fearful; others are bold and aggressive; some are quick to inquire while others already know it all; some are consumed with power and authority while others are content to fulfill their tasks of life, leaving the authority worries to others, It goes on! Here is a graphic illustration. Think with me about it!
Once upon a time on a hill far away were raised three cruel crosses. Upon these were men, still alive, badly beaten and abused, whose fate was to die in intense agony for crimes allegedly committed. The cross on one end contained a convicted thief. The cross on the other end also contained a convicted thief and/or robber or insurrectionist.
The cross in the middle contained the unrecognizable figure who without sin admitted the sins of the entire world upon Himself: Our altogether lovely, Wonderful, Precious Savior: Jesus, God’s only begotten Son. He was unrecognizable because the heavily wielded, Roman cat of nine-tails has laid upon his flesh to expose His bones. His beard had been pulled off His face with its flesh. His vestige was marred more than any man (Psalm 22, Isa. 52), and interestingly enough, a brief dialogue of the three dying men occurred.
The thief on one end of the three-cross line spoke sarcastically to the man on the middle cross. “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.” Luke 23:39. He neither knew nor cared that the greatest single event in all of human history was occurring, and he was also a part of that monumental scene. He thoughts were not of the world beyond in which he would soon find himself, or that he was beside the resurrection and the life who could pardon his wicked soul of the sins for which he was dying. How typical of the world of sinful men.
On the other side of the middle cross the second thief rebuked the first, saying, “Doest not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.” Luke 23:40-41 It was then that he turned his head to the middle cross and said, “Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Jesus said, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
Let it then be shouted to the darkest regions of the universe: Jesus is Lord, and there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.
I want to be remembered by the Man of the Middle /Cross, and I am, and I shall be.
Men in every generation should follow the undeniably successful attitude of the second thief. It is just this simple, and there is no plan “B.” In repentance from sin, and singular trust in the Savior, let prayers ascend, “Lord, remember me!”
William Andrew Dillard
From the pages of Holy Writ recorded in Luke 16, comes a story told by Jesus to His disciples. It perplexes many readers to this day. It is the story of an unjust steward who acted in a commendable way with the material things within his trust
The context is that the steward had been accused of being wasteful of his master’s goods, and was called upon to give account which would probably end his position.
Realizing his plight, and his unpreparedness to work in more menial jobs, he moved to make friends with creditors who in reality may have been bad creditors, but his actions brought at least partial payment to his master while making friends through the use of material things that would enhance his job opportunities..
The conclusion of the story leaves no room for doubt that it was all about the wise use of material things. Jesus stated that the children of this world are wiser in their generations than the children of light. In other words, the children of light have need of wising up to the benefit of using material things to befriend others, especially in their times of need.
Mammon is money. Jesus taught His disciples to make to themselves friends with this mammon of unrighteousness. While some wrestle with what this means, the application is simple and sure.
God is to be honored with one’s money. This means more than tithing or what one may give to his church. It is how we wisely reach out to others. Everything one has comes providentially from God, and has value, small or great. To use knowledge, wisdom, or material things to be helpful to others is the overall point. It has been said that what one keeps, he loses. But what one gives away, he keeps. When opportunity presents itself to do good to others, even if it may cut a little into the quick, it is the right thing to do. One never knows just how the twists and turns in the course of life will wash out. A good deed done may well return tremendous dividends much later when they are needed most.
The bottom line is that no one may serve two masters. He will love one and despise the other. If money is our goal in life, and we cannot part with some of it to help others in their time of need, it is certain that in our own times of need no one will be ready to reach out with a helping hand, an encouraging word, a recommending boost. The unnamed steward was wise to this principle. He employed it and it was a tremendous blessing to him.
God’s people today are stewards of the Word of life, of reconciliation to God. What are we doing with this most important possession of the Master?
You can’t act like a skunk without someone getting wind of it.
Joh_11:39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
Sometimes this how others think of a few people’s actions and mannerisms. They stink.
Don’t let this be you.