HOW MANY HUSBANDS/WIVES???
An experience common to modern man is that of occasional wondering just who it is that is staring back at him in the mirror. One preacher said that each time he wants to look into the mirror; some old man beats him there. Once while visiting an old friend in the hospital whom I had not seen in many years, he said, “I know I look different, and some things have changed, but I am still the guy you knew years ago.” Such is the often amazement of the aging process. In response to a question to one man by his wife: “will you love me when I am old and gray,” came the reply, “certainly; I have already loved you through six other colors!” On a more serious note, medical science tells us that with the exception of brain cells, every cell in the human body dies and is replaced every seven years, and it is the oxidation of cells creating imperfect replacements that accounts for the aging process. Hummm, every seven years! No wonder then that my wife has had eight husbands, and I have enjoyed eight wives! But alas, when brain cells die, they are not replaced. Could that mean there is a lot of short-circuiting going on between the ears? We are indeed a changing people in a changing world.
But, hold on, and rejoice! Our Creator/Savior is the same yesterday, today, and forever! So unchangeable also are His promises! The universal laws of sin and death are also unchangeable in the world of men. As the operation of those laws cause the human body to spiral downward into the clutches of death, so do they cause the very planet and all therein to spiral downward. It is called the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the most provable law of science. But something else is potentially going on. Potentially, that is, to those who may not know the Lord personally in the free pardon of sin, but reality in those who do. In Holy Writ it is so stated: “. . .but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 2 Cor. 4:16. This is shouting ground! This is the ultimate defiance of the Second Law of Thermodynamics! It is the essence of everlasting life in the here and now that shall continue to be enjoyed in eternity.
It is a blessing to enjoy the multiple spouses all in one person that the aging process produces, but it is an exponentially greater blessing to know the eternal presence of spiritual life in Christ, and the exciting, invigorating hope it produces.
Tag Archives: inspiration
HOW MANY HUSBANDS/WIVES???
SOURCE OR FACILITATOR?
From the inspired pages of antiquity there comes powerful, spiritual lessons for individuals and churches in today’s Christian world. Consider the symbolism of the candlestick, It is chief among the many objects used to identify and illustrate the Lord’s New Testament Church. It was the instrument of light in the Holy Place of the wilderness tabernacle and later the Old Testament Temple. Among misunderstandings about the candlestick is that it is a light source. Now hold on! Think with me!
The candlestick of Bible times references the Jewish menorah. But the menorah (candlestick) was not a light source as many presume. Rather it was a light facilitator. That is, it was especially constructed for the purpose of facilitating the flow of oil through its pipes to the terminal bowls where it was ignited. It was the fire then produced by the combustible oil that created the light. The portable construction of the candlestick allowed positioning for light in specific places. In like manner, the Lord’s church, metaphorically called a candlestick, is not of itself a light producer. It is a facilitator of God’s light of truth to a lost, dark, sinful world of condemned men. The light it can only offer is the light (truthful content) of God’s Word, and its effects in life. The church supports the veracity of the Holy Word, by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that has resided within and upon it since Pentecost. Additionally, it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to give understanding through the Word to saved men, and to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment to come. As men repent of sin and are enlightened by the Holy Spirit through the Word, they are not to obscure that light, but to be joined to the candlestick thus becoming a part of the great conduit/facilitator of truth and light.
In the first half of the last century, light in homes was furnished by burning oil in glass lamps. Sometimes that process blackened the chimneys of the lamps requiring them to be cleaned frequently. That process ignored, the lamp ceased to be an acceptable facilitator of light. Sometimes, the appearance of men to others is that of a dimmed light; a life that needs the cleaning of repentance and forgiveness. Christians are not light sources. But the question remains: how are they as facilitators? How bright or dimmed is the light of the candlestick? God help us all to be clean, excellent facilitators of the heavenly light!
American Minute with Bill Federer
His father was a Boston Tea Party “Indian.”
He graduated second in his class from Harvard, was a U.S. Representative, then Massachusetts Speaker of the House.
At age 32, he was appointed as the youngest Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
His name was Joseph Story, and he died SEPTEMBER 10, 1845.
Serving on the Supreme Court for 34 years, he helped establish the illegality of the slave trade in the Amistad case, 1841.
Joseph Story helped found the Law School at Harvard, stating in a speech there in 1829:
“There never has been a period of history, in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundation.”
In 1833, Joseph Story commented on the pamphlet ‘The Relation of Christianity to Civil Government in the United States’ written by Rev. Jasper Adams, President of the College of Charleston, South Carolina:
“Government can not long exist without an alliance with religion; and that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests and solid foundations of free government.”
In Vidal v. Girard’s Executors, 1844, Justice Joseph Story wrote:
“Christianity…is not to be maliciously and openly reviled and blasphemed against, to the annoyance of believers or the injury of the public….
It is unnecessary for us, however, to consider the establishment of a school or college, for the propagation of…Deism, or any other form of infidelity. Such a case is not to be presumed to exist in a Christian country…”
“Why may not laymen instruct in the general principles of Christianity as well as ecclesiastics…We cannot overlook the blessings, which such laymen by their conduct, as well as their instructions, may, nay must, impart to their youthful pupils.
Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a Divine Revelation…its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained and its glorious principles of morality inculcated?…”
“What is there to prevent a work, not sectarian, upon the general evidences of Christianity, from being read and taught in the college by lay teachers? It may well be asked, what is there in all this, which is positively enjoined, inconsistent with the spirit or truths of the religion of Christ?
Are not these truths all taught by Christianity, although it teaches much more? Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?”
Joseph Story was appointed to the Supreme Court by James Madison-the ‘Chief Architect of the Constitution’ who introduced the First Amendment in the first session of Congress.
Joseph Story wrote in Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States, 1840:
“At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and of the Amendment to it now under consideration, the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the State so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship.
An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.
But the duty of supporting religion, and especially the Christian religion, is very different from the right to force the consciences of other men or to punish them for worshipping God in the manner which they believe their accountability to Him requires…
The rights of conscience are, indeed, beyond the just reach of any human power. They are given by God, and cannot be encroached upon by human authority without a criminal disobedience of the precepts of natural as well as of revealed religion.”
Justice Story continued:
“The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.”
In Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833, Justice Joseph Story explained that the reason the Federal Government had no jurisdiction over religion was because religion was under each individual State’s jurisdiction:
“In some of the States, Episcopalians constituted the predominant sect; in other, Presbyterians; in others, Congregationalists; in others, Quakers; and in others again, there was a close numerical rivalry among contending sects.
It was impossible that there should not arise perpetual strife and perpetual jealousy on the subject of ecclesiastical ascendancy, if the national government were left free to create a religious establishment.
The only security was in the abolishing the power.
But this alone would have been an imperfect security, if it had not been followed up by a declaration of the right of the free exercise of religion…
Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the State governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice and the State constitutions.”
Regarding the Second Amendment, Justice Joseph Story wrote in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833 (3:§§ 1890–91):
“The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted…
The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers.
It is against sound policy for a free people to keep…standing armies in time of peace…from…the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people.
The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will…enable the people to resist and triumph over them…”
Story warned further:
“And yet…it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline…that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our national bill of rights.”
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.
BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED
Parson to person
Never before has the world been so filled with transient folks. Modern transportation and international trade seems to have shrunken the world significantly. Nowadays, one may eat breakfast in California, lunch in New York and dinner in Europe or vice-versa. It is reported that Wal-Mart’s 747 is furnished with beds. Executives may board in late evening in northwest Arkansas, retire, then deplane refreshed and ready for business in the morning in Europe. Just think about it!
Interstate movement multiplies that potential exponentially. The matching of skills and jobs often take one far and wide before retirement age. Then there are those who are given to repeatedly jumping on the moving trains of commerce and opportunity because they feel their life is cast in a day of small things, and they must move on to achieve their potential. Moreover, there are plenty of clichés that speak to that mindset. “A sitting hen lays no eggs,” “The moving wheel has the cargo;” The rolling stone admits no moss;” “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence;” on and on they go. But wait just a minute!
Whatever happened to the idea of “Bloom where you are planted?” Insatiable desires for fame and fortune most often have a disappointing end. Notice how the traveler always wants to be “home” for important occasions? But if everyone became nomadic in the present carousel world, where would home be and who would be there? Additionally, it is most often those who plant deep roots who are able to bloom the longest, and bear the most fruit. It is they who create stability. This principle is definitely applicable within the Lord’s churches. Travelers (missionaries) are scriptural and needed, but what are they, and how shall they proceed minus a base, Rom. 10? Folks should not be afraid of a little responsibility, but “brighten the corner where they are!” This means going beyond normal efforts to enhance the reputation of their God-given church as a spiritual institution in the community. Causes to run away at the slightest challenge to be responsible will always find them. But such challenges are actually marvelous opportunities to shine; to “bloom where they are planted,” and that really counts!
Parson to Person
Sometimes the question is asked, “Where should I start reading in the Bible?” Well, for the initial reader, I really would not recommend the genealogy chapters, although they are important. There are better places to “wade in” to the Word. For instance, if one likes suspense, adventure, romance, and a general all around thriller, there could be no better than Genesis.
However if one wants to be spellbound by the enormous faithfulness of God to His faithful people, the first few chapters of Daniel fills the bill. If one wants poetry and praise, look into the Psalms. For those enamored with knowledge, understanding and wisdom, Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are the books to read.
The great blessings of faithfulness, and curse of infidelity are impressive in Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. War in conquest and defeat are the offerings of Joshua, Judges, and the books of Samuel. The Chronicles and Kings yield up much history of the ruling dynasties of Israel and of Judah, while the prophets’ books lay bare their burdens of condemnation of sin, and of hope in the end.
The gospels relate much of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the Old Covenant and the foundation of the New Covenant underscoring the terrible, but altogether loving sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son for all who would trust in Him.
Acts speaks of the empowerment of the Lord’s church and its initial mission efforts into all the world. The apostolic epistles are filled with doctrines that are to govern the Lord’s people throughout this age, and Revelation reveals the final victorious Christ Jesus together with events leading up to His displayed supremacy, and the final abode of His people in a new creation of which New Jerusalem is the focal point. Incidentally, since understanding Revelation depends on a good understanding of all the rest of the Bible, I usually do not recommend it for the initial reader, but I never dissuade anyone from reading it as much as they like.
So, Perhaps I have helped some along the way to choose an introduction to the eternal Word. It is prayed that all men might come to realize that mastery of the Bible as much as possible is the most important thing they will ever do. The “where to start” question is a thrill. It means someone is going to be exposed to life altering Holy Writ to their benefit and to the glory of God. Have you read any of the Word lately?
WORDS WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE!
The ancient patriarch, Job, was both a wise and righteous man. The book that bears his name is astounding from a variety of viewpoints. In the height of his misery, and with the added torment of his not so wise friends, he lamented a longing to have an audience with his Creator that he might lay out his case before Him. To his astonishment, he was accorded such a unique hearing. The initial question put to him by the Creator was: “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” Job 38:2. Words without knowledge. Words without knowledge! Think what this means!
The importance of specific understanding of words is essential in the correct conveyance of ideas. However, the weakness of words in their specific language, and the propensity of many people to use them as labels to which a variety of ideas may be attached may defeat their purpose in the minds of some even though it does not diminish the power of their original purpose. For all of his understanding, Job had this problem. A host of folks who have a lesser measure of wisdom than Job still have that problem.
With split infinitives, dangling modifiers, misplaced adjectives intermingled with colloquialisms and idioms, making English a barrister’s paradise, how much more perilous could it be for precise ideas to be exchanged? Please patiently consider this with me.
A typical example is the term, “Christian.” Who or what is a Christian? To a religious world largely influenced by Protestantism and it’s universal, invisible church doctrine, it is anyone who confesses Jesus as the Son of God. Protestantism’s mother, the Roman church allows that anyone who does not have Catholic baptism is a heretic, hence, not Christian. In both of these bodies of religion they understand that the basic idea of “Christian” is tied to the church: But Catholicism believes itself to be the universal, visible church, and Protestantism believes in a universal invisible church. True Baptists are not, nor have they ever been a part of either.
Still, through the power of Protestant influence, hyper-evangelism, and their propensity to use words as labels, darkening counsel without the knowledge of them, many Baptist churches have unwittingly fallen into great weakness, attributing to all who profess initial faith in God as a “Christian,” when they have done nothing more, and often not as much, than Old Testament folks did.
Please consider that the term “Christian” designates one who is anointed with the Spirit that anointed Jesus at His baptism and the first church on the day of Pentecost. These have been buried with Christ, and raised again to walk in “newness of life” in the New Covenant body of Jesus, the house of God, the Pillar and ground of the truth: His church. To ascribe that term to those not so doing is to pervert New Testament teachings and inject a weakness into the body of Christ that, in time, will be its undoing. If we will use words, let us by all means know what they mean etymologically, and contextually. Ministers have a heavy responsibility to enlighten counsel, not darken it.
“Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us,” Psalm 123:2.
Recently, I was watching a top rated college football team run its fast-paced hurry up offense. Every play the team would quickly get to the line and prepare to run the called play. Once the defense lined up and the coaches on the sidelines could see how they were defending, the team would look to the sidelines for the coach’s call. At once, every player’s head would turn toward the sideline and his eyes would dial in on the signal the coach was giving. He would patiently wait until the play was called, and then he would execute it to the best of his ability.
In today’s Psalm we read “as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters.” The writer uses this illustration to show us how we should have our eyes fixed on God awaiting the instructions He has for us. Just as servants are subject to the direction of their master, we are subject to the direction of our Lord. The same way a “maiden” or female servant focuses on the “hand of her mistress.”
It is the Lord who meets our every need, and it is the Lord who should guide our lives. We are called to be His servants. As His people, our eyes should be focused on Him at all times so that we will be ready when He directs us. Because of His authority He has the right to direct His earthly servants.
Are your eyes focused on your Heavenly Master awaiting His direction.
“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God,” Hebrews 10:7.
Jesus Christ shed His blood and laid down His life for me! When I take a moment to let this truth sink in it humbles me. To see the sacrifice it took to cover my sins is sobering. How can I ever give anything back to Him that measures up to that? My life is all I have to give.
Sin absolutely wrecked our world. All of God’s creation feels its effects, including you and I. We are a broken people. Sin has devastated our lives and separated us from God. Just anything will not work as a worthy sacrifice to reconcile us back to God.
In today’s passage, we see the writer of Hebrews quote a psalm of David’s. Verse 4 speaks of the impossibility of the blood of bulls and goats to remove sin. The animal sacrifices in the Old Testament were great pictures that showed us the seriousness of our transgressions before God, but they fell short of paying the price for sin.
Then Jesus entered the world and became the answer for our sins. He offered Himself as the ultimate sacrifice. His death and shed blood was able to accomplish what the blood of animals never could.
Now we have a reason to serve Him. The knowledge of what Jesus did on our behalf should serve as all the motivation we will ever need. When we consider the enormous gift that God gave to us, we should react by giving Him our lives.
Is the truth of Jesus’ sacrifice serving as your motivator for doing His will?
Parson to Person
An arresting concept emanating from the scriptures is that of being separated while united. No, this is not double-speak, so think with me about it.
Jesus had much to say about the doctrine of separation while in His earthly ministry. He came to separate families. He forthrightly declared He had not come to bring peace, but a sword, and that His teachings received would make the members of one’s household to be his enemies in spiritual things. The family would still be united, but at the same time separated.
The apostle Paul spoke in detail about personal, inner separation while being united. His writing in Romans Chapter Seven underscores what most every Christian of any degree of maturity experiences. Not doing what should be done, and doing what should not be done is universal among people of God on earth. The higher calling of God in Christ prompts us ever onward in the right direction, but the warfare with the flesh ever yields challenges to those accomplishments. By these things, one is separated while remaining united in the Christian pilgrimage. Every disciple of the Lord Jesus knows exactly what I am talking about from his own personal experience.
Another aspect of the subject is what is obviously manifested in the Lord’s churches. Some have managed to get their name on the church roll, but have never been saved. Still others who are legitimate members of the church find it often cramps their style, and they rejoice when they find another excuse to not participate either in worship or other important kingdom activities. It must be admitted that they are members of the church even if one has cause to doubt that Jesus would say so. Hence, the church is separated while still being technically united. It will be judgment before the Lord that finalizes and eliminates such fragmented status.
Still, in another sense being separated while united is often a cause of great joy. As one experiences war between the spirit and the flesh, and through prayer and understanding, the spirit wins over the flesh, it brings great happiness. This is the kind of separation while being together that pleases the Lord. It also adds to the growth in grace that builds Christian warriors.
The enemy of every disciple of Jesus lies within, and it cannot be uprooted. It can be overcome to a great extent as one dedicates himself to learning and following the Lord in harmony with His Word, and that brings rich reward in the end. Until then, victory in life through separation while being united goes on in the sure knowledge and hope of final unification of the total man without the separation sin has brought to us.
“And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee,” Psalm 39:7.
One of my favorite passages is 1 Corinthians 15:19. This verse tells us that if our hope in Christ is just for this life then we are “miserable.” I am so grateful that my hope rests beyond this life. My hope does not end with my time here on this earth.
We can have an eternal confidence. We can know the type of hope that brings true satisfaction, but that hope can only be found in Jesus Christ. It is a hope that extends beyond today and into an eternal Heaven where our Savior sits at the right hand of the Father. Our hope is found in Him and secured in Him.
Psalm 39 is a song about the brevity of human life. We see in this psalm that our lives are short when compared to eternity. In verse 4 the psalmist actually asks to know the amount of time he has left on this earth and the means by which he will leave this earth. Yet, he retreats back to the question and answer found in verse 7. The psalmist shows that even in the uncertainty of this life our hope can only be found in the Lord.
Would you want to know when you would die and by what means? The Bible is clear that you will never know the answer to that question, you can only know that “it is appointed unto men once to die” according to Hebrews 9:27. But you can have hope that goes beyond this life. In Christ, you can find an eternal hope that brings peace during uncertainty.
Are you able to find peace in this life knowing your hope is in Him?