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IMAGES AND SUPERSCRIPTIONS OF THE ALMIGHTY


William Andrew Dillard

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

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THE CHISEL


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.

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“KISS THE SON, LEST HE BE ANGRY . . .”


William Andrew Dillard

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.

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THE DAY OF REST AT HAND


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!)

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LORD, REMEMBER ME! A SINNER'S CRY


William Andrew Dillard

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!”

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WHAT DID THE UNJUST STEWARD DO THAT WAS SO RIGHT?


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?

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Action Words From the Weeper to the Sleeper



William Andrew Dillard
From the pages of long, long ago there is preserved for us the words of our kind, loving God through His prophet Jeremiah. “Thus saith the Lord, ‘Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls, But they said, We will not walk therein.’” Jer. 6:16. This verse is literally packed with action words that command attention. Here is a closer look.
“Stand.” The ancient word is “Amad,” and is used some 500 times or more in the Old Testament. Over 350 of those times it is translated “Stand,” “Stood,” or “Stand up.” In the world of convictions, it means to hold tenaciously.
“See.” The Hebrew word is “Raah,” meaning to have vision, perceive, regard, consider, watch, and other synonyms.
“Ask” Here, the word is “Sha’al,” meaning to request, enquire, seek desire.
“Walk.” The Hebrew word is “Yalak,” and means to go, come, proceed, live life.
“Find” is “Matsa.” it means to attain to, secure, get, acquire.
Thus did Jeremiah, in tears, appeal to a stiff-necked people, “Stand up, [even hold tenaciously to convictions] in the ways [of God]; see [consider, regard, perceive, and have vision] and ask, [enquire, seek, desire, and request] for the old paths wherein is the good way, and walk, [proceed to live the manner of life] therein, and he shall find {attain to, secure, get, acquire] rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk therein.”
What a powerful appeal of promise to a wayward, but covenant people whose path had long since left the ways of God. Furthermore, the timing was so crucial. Judah was about to go into Babylonian captivity, and they were so cold and backslidden that they were not touched in heart and mind at the appeal of God, but rejected the kindness of their loving Creator while treating His weeping prophet despitefully. They refused to be blessed by turning from their sinful, prideful ways of life.
One cannot meditate on the problems of National Judah in the days of Jeremiah without drawing a parallel vision of modern churches. Although there are many who love the Lord and seek to worship Him correctly, while waiting patiently upon His return, there are so many who have given themselves over to materialism, socialism, and other sins of the modern era. It is heartbreaking. Still, prayers are offered that all who love the Lord will follow the mandates of Jeremiah 6:16,. The time is short, and ears are dull of hearing. It remains that each of us will be found as a weeper over the plight of others, or a sleeper, unaware of the impending judgment: that of Christ’s return for Christians, and the Great White Throne for others. It is so much better to be a weeper than a sleeper!

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WHAT DID THIS HOST OF NAMED FOLKS DO THAT WAS SO RIGHT?


William Andrew Dillard
It gives one pause to think that some of the grandest deeds mentioned in the Bible do not carry with them proper names of those who did them. On the other hand, a number of proper names are given without much if any detail of what they did except in a general way. Could it possibly be that such is another way of underscoring that any worthwhile thing done in the sight of God is actually attributable to God rather than the human instrument? Could it also be that the mention of many proper names without detail of what they did is another way of the Bible underscoring the importance of the individual being dedicated to God, and to the things of God so that they forever share in the blessings of dedicated discipleship?
Truly, one cannot be held responsible for living in a day of smaller things. But every person in every age is accountable to God for how he is faithful in that to which he has access.
It is in this line of thought that the following host of proper names are brought forth for consideration.
Gaius, Erastus, Quartus, Tertius, Sosipater, Jason, Lucius, Timotheus, Olympas, Nereus, Julia, Philologus, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, Phlegon, Asyncritus, Rufus, Persis, Tryphosa, Tryphena, Harcissus, Herodion, Aristobulus, Apelles, Stachys, Urbane, Amplias, Junia, Andronicus, Mary, Epaenetus, Aquila, Priscilla, and Phebe.
Aside from being somewhat difficult to pronounce, most of them are also foreign to a great many Bible readers. But there they are, penned into the eternal Word of God. They are noted specifically as being helpers or blessings in other forms to the apostle Paul. This may be found in Romans 16. Moreover, the brief paragraph of names is far from inclusive of all whose names may be found in the divine sixty-six books.
However, that these are there shouts loudly to all of God’s people of covenant down through the age of names that are not known to us, but names that are well known to God. The role of their kind has swollen the magnificent books of life, and nothing could be more humbly rewarding than that names of modern saints should continue to swell those pages.
To believe what God has said, and to walk within the constraints of that belief is of far greater value than most people realize. The host of folks that ran through the mind of the apostle Paul as he neared the finish line of his course brought him thankfulness and joy. They blessed the apostle, and they were a blessing to one another in the sweet fellowship of God’s work, and folks, that is so right!

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BATTLING THE BEAST OF DISCOURAGEMENT


William Andrew Dillard
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
Often, an overcome saint is the result of the war with the beast ( evil esp. in government), Rev.13:7. An interesting consideration is: has this happened before? Is there a precedent that could possibly prepare one for that possibility? Consider the following:
The terms “discourage” or “discouraged” appears only a few times in the Bible. Most of the appearances are in the Old Testament with one in the New Testament. They are all directed to or about God’s people. It is also interesting to note that usage is few, but employs several words to cover the idea’s spectrum. The Hebrew terms so translated are:
“Qatsar,” in Numbers 21:4. The word means primarily “to be short; hence, impatient, vexed and or grievous.” Here it depicts the reaction to hardships in the way of the Hebrew journey from Egypt. They were not discouraged because of the way, but in the way due to so many obstacles as well as the absence of the few conveniences of life afforded them in Egypt.
“Nuw,” in Numbers 32:7, 9; this term is primarily meaning “to hinder, forbid, disallow, refrain, or frustrate.” It depicts the state of the Hebrews after the evil report of the spies, turning them away from entering the Promised Land.
“Macac” is translated “discouraged” in Deut. 1:28 and means “Dissolve, melt, drop off.” It describes the heart of the Hebrews upon the report of the giants being in the Land of Promise.
“Chathath,” in Deuteronomy 1:21. This means “shattered, dismayed, broken, afraid.” It was used here in the negative as an admonition of encouragement for the Hebrews to take the Land of Promise.
Collecting the meaning of all these words, one finds that the Bible warns God’s people to NOT be impatient, vexed or grieved; to NOT accept hindrance, forbiddance, frustration or restraint from doing God’s Will; to NOT be shattered, dismayed, broken or afraid in heart and spirit; to NOT dissolve, melt or drop off in service and faith in Him.
Does the going get a little rough sometimes? You bet it does! Does Satan use the above named tactics to discourage, dissuade, and negate one’s discipleship? You bet he does! But to Israel, the Promised Land was still there and God’s victory was theirs for the claiming. To those who are standing for the Lord and His Word today, the reward of faithful service is still there and the Captain of the Host of the Lord is still present to give the victory.
So, let us all be aware of Satan’s tools of discouragement, and in the words of the beloved apostle Paul, “Let us not be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Gal. 6:9. The battle with the beast, and its outcome is every Christian’s war, and there are tremendous blessings for the Christian victor. In Christ you will be such a victor!

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FREEDOM TO BE UNEQUAL


William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
The founding documents of the United States of America would have us to believe all men are created equal. Rather than take issue with equality in creation, let the reader consider that the very moment one comes into this world he/she is both equal and unequal. One’s parental status, environment, socio-economic level, and I.Q. does not provide for equality but for inequality.
Though flawed as all governmental systems of men are, that inequality has, with the help of God, produced the greatest nation on earth. Capitalism’s principles are based on the Judeo/Christian ethic of theology, morals, and individual initiatives. It is a nation that evil works relentlessly to undo.
Now, there are those who labor to enrich themselves by pandering to those who will not work, will not pursue an education, but will demand in violent destructiveness that those who do have initiative, and who do work should support them. Government folks in high places push this agenda for their own obvious purpose of staying in power through “votes by pandering,” and seem determined to deprive the nation of capitalistic enterprise. One wonders: do they believe the government printing presses can keep the economy afloat forever?
As an aside, many years ago, this writer was placed on a legislative ad hoc committee to draft childcare legislation. In some of the discussions with more liberal committee members over the issue of assurance of preventing failure, it was my premise then as now, if there is not freedom to fail, there is no freedom: if there is not freedom for all, then there is no freedom at all.
Obviously, it was the Creator’s holy will that men have free moral agency: the freedom to win; the freedom to lose, the freedom to live; the freedom to die. Men who reject God and pursue the premise of evolution are determined to change that, but it is a determination destined to fail. Still, there is a sense in which all men are equal: all are sinners, and all are condemned by virtue of sin. The good news is that God provides for all men the freedom to partake of His marvelous grace, and thereby escape the destiny of sin while gaining the wealth and joys of heaven. But that freedom exercised makes men unequal.
Thus does 2 Cor. 6:14 admonish believers to not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. Let there be rejoicing in heaven and earth that the lovely Lord Jesus: the Creator/Christ, has by His own blood purchased for all who love Him the freedom to be unequal.

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