Tag Archives: nature

UNDERSTANDING GREED


William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

Greed is the universal requisite of natural man. It is his sinful nature, manifesting itself repeatedly, and often.
Greed may be likened to the grease that keeps the wheels of insatiable desire turning. It is the sinful motivation of natural man to create an elusive, indefinable, apex of life that cannot satisfy or be perpetuated due to the deterioration of all things, and the brevity of earthly life. Greed is soundly condemned in the pages of Holy Writ. From its description of ultimate selfishness in Psalm 17:12, and Proverbs 1:19 to its marked prohibition in pastors and deacons in I Timothy 3 to the woes pronounced upon the perishing in Jude 1:11, the Holy Word underscores its wickedness.
Dreamers of an ultimate, human heaven on earth of their own making have led men far afield from the best government ever experienced on earth: Theocracy! The Hebrews knew this in their liberation from Egyptian slavery, the wilderness wanderings, and possession of the Promised Land. But greed led them to reject their government. They wantonly lusted after the monarchial form established by godless nations around them, with the human glory and personal gain it could bring.
So, over the millenniums of time men ever searched onward for their zenith of a utopia on earth. From monarchial, to oligarchical, to fascist dictatorship, to communism and socialism they dream and work on. It is somewhat interesting though that there is a form of government that stands out as superior to them all. It is capitalism! Communism and socialism purport to equalize the standards of men, stifling the baseness of greed. Only trouble is, it does not work because all men are greedy. So the populace is forced into poverty while the rulers bask in luxury; the ill-gotten product of their greed. Soon the system breaks down as history consistently shows.
On the other hand, Capitalism plays to the greed of men, allowing a free market place and a republic form of democracy restricted to protecting those tenants. It works well for all because it encourages entrepreneurship. Men may work and enjoy the fruits of their labors. Is it a perfect form of government? No, by far, it is not, but it is the best the world has to offer as its continued success testifies. Is greed good? Certainly not, but greedy is what sinful men are. 
One day, heaven will rule on earth. Then and only then will men realize their fullest potential, and appreciate what a perfect government can do and be for them. But sadly, even the millennial reign of Jesus will ultimately be rejected by sinful men to their own eternal punishment. What follows is a new heaven and a new earth; a new city of complete perfection for God’s people. Now that is what should be the desire and preparatory work in the heart and mind of everyone.

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The Nature of Sin – Romans 6:12


  1. The Nature of Sin – Romans 6:12
    1. Sin is: – Rom. – 6:16
      1. Sin is a Fact – Gen. 4:7
        1. A fact of experience. – I experience it in my own heart.
        2. A fact of observation. – I see sin in others
        3. A fact of revelation. – Sin is revealed in the Bible – Genesis 6:5,6
          1. The policeman pursues it.
          2. The physicians prescribes because of it.,
          3. The law discovers it.
          4. Conscience condemns it.
          5. God punishes it.
          6. Nobody likes to say “Commit it.”
      2. Sin may be defined but cannot be explained. – John 8:34
        1. To explain sin is to explain it away.
        2. Sin had no place in the original creation.
        3. Sin is a parasite that sucks the soul dry.
        4. Sin made its appearance in a garden of delights.
      3. Sin is: – John 16:8 “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin.
        1. A Cheat. – It promises pleasure and pays off in pain.
        2. A deceiver. – It promises life and pays off in death.
        3. A destroyer. – It promises profit and pays off in poverty.
        4. Moses looked at sin and chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
    2. Sins True Definition:
      1. “Sin is any lack of conformity to, or transgression of the law of God.”
      2. “Sin is any lack of conformity to the law of God, whether in act, disposition, or state.”
      3. The Apostle John: “Sin is the transgression of the law” – I John 3:4b
      4. Sin is violation of the moral law of God and cries out for just retribution.
    3. Sin is: – John 16:9
      1. Missing The Mark.
        1. Missed the Mark in rejecting the Son.
        2. Missed the Mark in serving after salvation.
        3. Missed the Mark in faithfulness.
      2. Man turning aside. –Isaiah 53:6
      3. Competition with God.
        1. In authority – you bought with a price. – I Peter 1:18,19
        2. Adam and Eve decided to become independent of God and create their own law.
        3. They rejected the law of God and became a law unto themselves.
    4. Sin is Certain.
      1. The Reality of Sin
        1. Ask Adam if sin is real in his loss of Eden.
        2. Ask Cain if sin is real in his cry – “My punishment is greater than I can bear.
        3. Ask David when we hear him say – “I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.”
      2. The Potentiality of Sin
        1. The sin committed reveals a heart of rebellion.
        2. The sin committed reveals a mind bent to the world.
    5. Sin Forgiven through a Mediator. – Romans 5:15
      1. Sin is God’s competitor
      2. The Savior is God’s Mediator –
      3. The First Adam Competed with God for Sovereignty and ruined us all. – I Corinthians 15:45
      4. The last Adam, Jesus Christ, cooperated with God for our salvation.
      5. The first Adam said – “I will.” – Genesis 3:6 – “He did eat.”
      6. The last Adam said – “Not my will, but thy will be done.” – Matthew 26:39
      7. The last Adam said -: I delight to do thy will, O God.” – Psalm 40:8
      8. God’s will led Him along the rough road of suffering through gloomy Gethsemane to bloody Calvary where Jesus cried – “It is Finished.” – John 19:30

Romans – 6:11-14

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DEALING WITH YOUR VERY OWN NATURE


DEALING WITH YOUR VERY OWN NATURE

William Andrew Dillard

Once upon a time, a hunter was walking through a wooded area in the winter. It was quite cold, with light snow on the ground. As he made his way, he came upon snake who pleaded with the hunter for mercy. “I am so cold,” said the snake. “Please put me in your backpack lest I soon die. I must get warm. Your backpack will do the trick, and I am not heavy enough to be a burden to you.” Whereupon the hunter replied, “No! I cannot do this. You will bite me, then I will die.” “Oh, no!” replied the snake. “I would never do that to a friend. I am simply one of God’s creatures about to die, and you are my only hope. Please allow me a place in your backpack.”
After thinking a moment about what the snake had said, and what his plight was, the hunter relented, and placed the nearly frozen snake in his backpack, and went on his way. After some time, the snake revived from the warmth of the hunter’s body conducting through the backpack. Immediately, the snake crawled out of the backpack and bit the hunter on the neck.
“What have you done!” declared the hunter. I befriended you when there was no one else to do it. I saved you from certain death. Now, I shall die. Is this the way you reward such kind deeds?”
“Oh, don’t be upset,” said the snake. “It is my nature to bite. It is your nature to believe a lie. We have only done what is our nature to do.”
Nothing about a snake has changed. Nothing about sin has changed. Hear James 1:14-16, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.”

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Hebrew Words


 

River

 

nāhār

 

A river invokes images among the most serene in nature. Humans are irresistibly drawn to rivers, a source of refreshment and even life itself.

 

The Hebrew nāhār (H5104), which is found in several Semitic languages, appears about 120 times in the OT. The first is when “a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads” (Gen_2:10). Think of it! Flowing through the perfection of Eden was a river, undoubtedly a quite large one, for it fed four others. That river probably made the “Mighty Mississippi” look like a creek.

 

Several other great rivers are mentioned in Scripture, including the Euphrates (Gen_15:18; Gen_31:21), the Nile (Gen_15:18, “river of Egypt”), and the Tigris (Dan_10:4, “Hiddekel”). Nāhār also refers to ocean currents, as Jonah was tossed about by the “floods . . . billows . . . and . . . waves” (Jon_2:3).

 

At least one major reason rivers were so significant in Jewish thinking was because there were so few of them in their territory. Unlike the rich, fertile lands of Egypt and Mesopotamia, which existed solely because of their rivers, Israel was “a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven: A land which the LORD thy God careth for” (Deu_11:11-12).

 

Psalms 46 is a case in point. Why is God “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psa_46:1)? Because in the midst of raging, cataclysmic chaos (Psa_46:2-3), “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High” (Psa_46:4). While Jerusalem, of course, has no river (cf. October 22), God Himself is the river and brings it many blessings. This verse looks forward to the millennial Jerusalem and was obviously in John’s mind as he penned the book of Revelation (Psa_22:1-2; cf. Zec_14:8-11).

 

We defer to Spurgeon in closing today: “Divine grace like a smoothly flowing, fertilizing, full, and never-failing river, yields refreshment and consolation to believers. . . . It is no boisterous ocean, but a placid stream, it is not stayed in its course by earthquakes or crumbling mountains, it follows its serene course without disturbance. Happy are they who know from their own experience that there is such a river of God.”

 

Scriptures for Study: Psalms 46 (January 14) is one of thanksgiving and trust. Read it through prayerfully, noting that God is our refuge (Psa_46:1-3), our resources (Psa_46:4-7), and our ruler (Psa_46:8-11).

 

 

 

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HEBREW HONEYCOMB STIRRING UP YOUR COMFORT ZONE


William Andrew Dillard

The Lord spoke of His people Israel in the following terms: “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.” Deut. 32:11-12

Nature teaches much to the discerning mind. Additionally, God often used the nature of plants, animals, and fowl to teach spiritual lessons to His people. Certainly, this is a classic case that merits meditation and appreciation.
The eagle builds its nest high, away from would be predators. It is made of strong material initially, then padded with softer material, and lastly, lined with soft down from the adult eagle’s body. It is warm, cozy, comfortable, an ideal place for eggs to hatch into little eaglets. Moreover, as the tiny birds grow, food is brought to them, even dropped into their mouth. Life is good! It is a perfect welfare state requiring no initiative from the little eaglets, but to receive what is brought to them.
But it is not the purpose of the eaglets to remain nest bound, and the subject of constant attention and basic care. Soon, it is time for little eaglet to become an eagle. Lesson one is the stirring of the nest. Surely, that will entice the eaglet out of it. But not so! Eaglet is not leaving this nest even if it has become uncomfortable. Next, comes the stripping of the down. Now that creates an unbearable setting. The woven briars are not nearly as desirable as the soft down. Finally, the eaglet is enticed to come aboard the spread wings of mother eagle. The next step is perhaps most frightening. Eaglet is taken high above the earth and dumped. As it falls, it begins to flap its little wings. If at first it does not fly, mother eagle will swoop down beneath it to catch it on its mighty wings, and take it up for another try. Thus does the first step toward fulfilling purpose in life find fulfillment. Others will follow, especially that of hunting and captivating food. Finally, little eaglet is little eaglet no more, but a mature bird enabled to sustain itself and continue the cycle of life for which it is intended.
When God stirs up your comfort zone, it is usually not exciting, and may even be objectionable, at least initially. But God knows the great potential that lies in each of His dear children. Often we are moved through hardship, heartache, tragedy, and challenge to achieve the high level of spiritual maturity that allows us to fulfill the reason and purpose of being on the planet. So, the next time adversity visits, rather than drown in lamentation and self pity, let the excitement of the higher unknown prevail. God is stirring up your comfort zone for purpose, even a lofty purpose for which you shall later praise His name in gladness.

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GOD GIVE ME JOY


God give me joy in the common things:

In the dawn that lures, the eve that sings.

 

In the new grass sparkling after rain,

In the late wind’s wild and weird refrain;

 

In the springtime’s spacious field of gold

In the precious light by winter doled.

 

God give me joy in the love of friends,

In their dear home talk as summer ends;

 

In the songs of children, unrestrained;

In the sober wisdom age has gained.

 

God give me joy in the tasks that press,

In the memories that burn and bless;

 

In the thought that life has love to spend,

In the faith that God’s at journey’s end.

 

God give me hope for each day that springs,

God give me joy in the common things!

 

Thomas Curtis Clark

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IN THANKFULNESS


Oh God, if I could but impart

The thankfulness that swells my heart

For each and every little thing . . .

 

Like color bursts announcing spring,

The shaded spots the trees have brought,

The sunshine brightening every thought . . .

The squirrels playing on my lawn,

The eventide . . . the still, new dawn . . .

The fragrant smell of brown leaves burned,

The fresh black dirt where earth is turned –

So many small things such as these

Have done so much my life to please

My whole life long would be of praise

To God, the Keeper of my days

 

Beverly Enderby Kimzey

 

 

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I HAVE FOUND SUCH JOY


I have found such joy in simple things;
A plain clean room, a nut-brown loaf of bread,
A cup of milk, a kettle as it sings,
The shelter of a roof above my head,
And in a leaf-laced square along a floor
Where yellow sunlight glimmers through a door.

I have found such joy in things that fill
My quiet days: a curtain’s blowing grace,
A potted plant upon my window sill,
A rose fresh-cut and placed within a vase,
A table cleared, a lamp beside a chair,
And books I long have loved beside me there.

Grace Noll Crowell

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AFTER


After the snow of winter,
Spring will surely come,
Bringing warmth and beauty
Of blossoms and birdsong.

After the rain, the swallow
Will soar again on high,
And a rainbow follow
In a sunlit sky.

After the tears of sorrow,
Spirits will renew,
And a bright tomorrow
With God’s help see you through.

Elsie Natalie Brady

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LITANY OF LOVELY THINGS


So runs my litany of lovely things,
That I recite when I have need of words
To cheer my heart and stir my memory,
A cherry orchard bright with humming birds,
The tinkle of a narrow woodland stream,
Over smooth white stones on yellow sand,
Lazy hours on a windy hill,
Where shady oaks and spreading chestnuts stand.

So runs my litany of lovely things,
The long low whistle of a midnight train,
The glow of fireflies through the purple dusk,
The fresh earth smell that follows summer rain.
The scent of jasmine on a restless breeze,
An orange moon about whose shoulders fall
Airy clouds of grey, swept gracefully
Into deep folds that form a star fringed shawl.

Quiet hours when the drowsy hum
Of crickets reach across the edge of sleep,
The soft swish of the waves against the shore,
The ever changing colors of the deep,
The beautiful awareness of a world
To which the Infinite so closely clings
The mystic vividly made manifest,
…So runs my litany of lovely things.

Grace E. Easley

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