Jesus being infinite
suffered in a finite
period of time
what we being finite
would have suffered
in an infinite
period of time. –
Jesus being infinite
suffered in a finite
period of time
what we being finite
would have suffered
in an infinite
period of time. –
William Andrew Dillard
A MEASURE OF FOREVER
“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:” Gen. 1:14.
We keep calendars of times and seasons dictated by created bodies in the universe. Does that seem to take the control stick away from us? If so, good! Think about this with me!
“Time” picks the curiosity of arts and science. Men fancifully envision being time travelers, etc. yet no one has ever broken its barriers except the super natural beings of the universe. So what is this presence that moves the universe and all in it in one direction? It is a dimension in which all created entities are inexorably locked to the fulfillment of their determined destiny. Think of it as “measured forever” which is an oxymoron because forever cannot be measured. Still it is as close as we can come to understanding it. Moreover, a measure by its very definition must have a beginning and an end to qualify as a measure. Are you still with me?
Time had its beginning in Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning…” God created the universe with specific design, and predestined longevity. He created the means to calculate time, and He supplies the wisdom to know that everything in the universe is destined to end, concluding the “measure.” That is the big picture. There are thousands of subsets of all things and their relationship to time.
For men, the mean measure of time is threescore and ten years. For some reptiles and plants, it is much higher. For some life forms it is a matter of hours. But men are given the ability to reason, to calculate, to understand. Consequently, as we turn the calendar, we calculate that one more grain of sand (a year) has passed through the cosmic hourglass, and another is on its way through it. A thousand years may equal a thousand grains of sand, and how many grains have already passed through it? Logic implies that the hourglass is almost full. Is this making any sense at all to you? Ephemeron will live but a night, but it says, “It has just begun. It is such a long, long time till morning!” But, morning comes and with it the end of its time. For us, seventy years seems a very long way in the springtime of life, but it grows so short in November. What does all this mean?
Calendars mark completed measures of time. It comes, it endures for a while, and it ends. It is a measure! Your life started; it has endured; and it is surely coming to an end. It is a measure! But the bright prospect is that before it ends here, a new life may begin in Christ Jesus, the eternal Son of God. His life that He extends to you through repentance and faith is not a measure of forever. It is forever!
THE DANGERS OF ASSUMPTION
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
Several decades ago, as a young, inexperienced traveler, a visit to foreign mission fields underscored danger in assuming the schedules of others to be dependable.
The trip to Costa Rica included a stop in Mexico City. It was a blessed time which demands a story within itself. But the point is that the time for departure from Mexico City was assumed to be dependable. An early arrival at the airport allowed some leisure time, and then an early check-in put me directly on the airplane. As I was being seated, the plane started to move. I exclaimed, “but this plane is not scheduled to leave for another 30 minutes. The stewardess reply was, “It is O.K. everyone is here so let’s go!” Huh! I was glad to be on the plane early.
Then when departing San Jose, Missionary Ward was also traveling back to the States, so we went together.
At the airport, we were told all seats were taken, and I was not included. Under protest that I had an international ticket that scheduled my travel on this flight, I was told a 24 hour early check-in was required. So, it appeared that I would be left behind, awaiting another flight, perhaps the next day. I had assumed that my placement was secure by the scheduling of others.
Fortunately, Gene Ray Ward intervened on my behalf, and not knowing Spanish, I do not know for sure just what all went on, but because of his intervention, I was allowed to travel on that flight by using a stewardess jump-seat. I was, and am, grateful for the help, and those incidents made me a much wiser traveler. It truly is dangerous to assume.
That danger is exponentially underscored in the world of spiritual things. So many guilty of assuming that others are right will face a rude and disastrous awakening when they find out that baptism, church membership, good works, and their dependence on the misinformation of others have not saved them. Paul said, “I know Whom I have believed…” Personal relationship with Christ Jesus cannot be replaced, or substituted in any way. Assumptions may be worked around in mundane things, but not in the eternal welfare of the soul!
By Mike Yoho
THE RACE SET BEFORE US
For the past several months I have been training for a marathon. This event is scheduled to take place in January 2014. This is the first and probably the last time I will train for and participate in such an event.
One thing I have learned is that training takes time: hours and hours on the road alone with my thoughts, prayers and reflections. As I have moved along in times of training I have pondered lessons from running that might apply to life in general and spiritual lessons in particular.I thought about this article.
Twice in the last month I fell during my runs. Thankfully, I was not hurt physically. The only thing that was damaged was my pride along with my running tights (I know…you’re getting an unwanted visual image). After each fall, I jumped up and looked around to see if anyone witnessed my embarrassing tumble. I also thought about what might have caused my calamity since I am not accustomed to falling.
On both occasions, my fall came when I as looking at my watch. Another thing I have learned: running is a challenge for the mind. In order to manage the length of time I have found that focusing on a distant object or target can make the intervening time seem quicker. At the same time, since I usually run on uneven pavement I also have to keep watch on the obstacles in my immediate path. Look up and look down. It is possible to look towards the distant goal while keeping an eye out for the things that might trip me up in my nearer future.
This is true with my spiritual run as well. I am focused on Jesus and serving Him with my life and I am interested in overcoming the obstacles that are in my direct path. It is a long distance run, not a sprint. Hebrews 12:1,2 captures the thought well for me, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
What about my fall? Both times my fall came when I took my eyes off the road and looked at my watch trying to determine my pace and distance covered. I am reminded of the time Jesus called Peter out of the boat to walk with Him on the water. All was well until the distraction of the waves, he began to sink.
Times of falling happen when we turn our eyes from the path before us to the distractions that always present themselves. Is this not the lesson of David and Bathsheba along with many others from the Word of God? Thankfully, the Lord is always willing to extend His hand to help us up.
Hopefully, we learn to focus on the road ahead and limit the distractions that can so easily cause us to stumble.
Copied from the Vineline
TWO PRIMARY RULES FOR RIGHTLY UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE.
This is the most important chapter of this book. To learn the two primary rules here presented is absolutely necessary in order for one to be able to understand the Bible, and be able to teach it without shame.
The late Ben M. Bogard said:
“Perhaps the most misleading idea people have is to think that when they open the Bible, no matter what passage they may read, that the passage applies to them, for they think all the Bible applies to them, but it is not true . . . The student may be startled to learn that much of what we know as the Bible does not apply to us in this age” (The Golden Key, p. 5).
The writer’s personal experiences verify the truths stated in the above quitation. When either a saved or unsaved person reads the Bible with the idea in mind that God does all the talking, everything in the Bible is to be practiced by the reader, the Bible seems to be a confused, nonsensical, out-dated book.
I.TWO PRIMARY RULES
There are two primary rules by which one may learn to arrive at the particular meaning of any passage in the Bible. These rules are both scriptural and scientific. The two rules are
1.the five point question rule, and
2.the proper application rule.
1.The Five Point Question Rule
This rule must be applied by anyone reading the Bible in order to interpret any passage intelligently. One does not have to study this book or this system of study in order to do this. But a study of this rule, as illustrated, will help one to be able to learn the particular teachings of the Bible much more rapidly. One may apply some ponts of the following rule, without knowing such a rule exists. But one who knows the five point rule is enabled to learn the actual meaning of a passage much more quickly than one who does not know such a scientific, scriptural system or rule for analysis of written or spoken matter exists. In reading the Bible one should find out the following five things about every passage:
1.Who is speaking or writing?
2.To whom or about whom is he speaking or writing?
3.“About what subject is he speaking or writing?
4.When or about what time is he speaking or writing?
5.What is the occasion for the speaking or writing?
2.The Proper Application Rule.
This rule is designed to teach one how to apply a given Bible truth, after the truth is determined. This concerns the “how” of applying known Bible truths. Since it has been pointed out that the New Testament and the Psalms are God’s rule and guide for man’s faith in practice today, this proper application rule enables one to know how to determine what doctrinal teachings of the Psalms and new Testament he is to practice today. This proper application rule for understanding the Scriptures has two parts:
1.The general application of a truth or deed to every person.
2.The particular application of a truth or deed to an individual or particular group.
For instance, some Scriptures are written describing the condition of all the unsaved. Other Scroptures describe the condition of particular unsaved individuals or groups. That men who are lost, wicked, shall all be cast into hell is a general application of the Bible’s teaching on the future punishment of the wicked – Psalm 9:17. That some lost people shall suffer more in hell than others is a particular truth, requires a particular application of some passages of Scriptures that tell how and to what extent some shall suffer in hell – Matt. 10:15; 11:24; 23:14-15; Luke 10:12′
II.FIVE POINT RULE ILLUSTRATED
A. One should always, upon reading any passage in the Bible, first ask himself, “Who is doing this speaking or writing?” There are at least seven classes of speakers in the Bible.
1. Sometimes God is speaking.
a. God spike to Adam and Eve, Gen. 3:9.
b. God spike to Noah, Gen. 9:8
c. God spoke to Abraham, Gen. 12:7; 22:1,3.
d. God spoke to Moses, Exodus 3:4, 14.
e. God spoke to all present, Matt. 3:17, 17:5.
f. God spoke to Saul, Acts 9:5
2.Sometimes angels are speaking.
a. An angel spoke to Hagar, Gen. 16:7-11.
b. An angel spoke to Abraham, Gen. 22:11.
c. An angel of the lord spoke to Balaam, num. 22:31.
d. An angel of the Lord spoke to Manoah, Judges 13:13-14.
e. An angel spoke to Elijah, I Kings 19:5; II Kings 1:3.
f. An angel of the Lord spike to Haggai, hag. 1:9, 12.
g. An angel spoke to Joseph, Matt. 1:20; to Zacharias, Luke 1:11-20; to Mary, Luke 1:26-37; to the Marys, Matt. 28:2-8; to the shepherds, Luke 2:9-14; to the apostles, Acts 5:9-10; to Paul, Acts 27;23-34
3.Sometimes the Devil is speaking.
It is true that both God and good angels are sometimes speaking as one reads portions of the Bible. But it is also true that sometimes the Devil is speaking. Whatever truth the Devil might relate, that is put in the Bible, was spoken by the Devil as a means of ensnaring men. The Defvil never told the truth or any truth for any good or holy purpose. The first conversation in which Satan ever engaged with man was hel to deceive man. And before he finished he lied to Eve, saying, “Thou shalt not surely die.” One should not use the Devil’s language and apply it to the Lord. In the following passages of the Bible the Devil spoke in person:
a. To Eve, Gen. 3:1-4.
b. To God, Job 1:7, 9-11; Job 2:2, 4-5.
c. To Jesus, Luke 4:3, 6, 7, 9, 10.
d. Devils (demon spirits) spoke, Luke 4:41.
4.Sometimes prophets are speaking.
From Aaron and Moses (Ex. 3:10; 7:1; Deut. 18:14) to Malachi (Mal. 1:1), every prophet of God sought to reveal God’s will. They were true prophets.
But there were also false prophets, whose words are recorded in the Old Testament. Should their words be taken for practice? (See Jer. 14:13, 14; 23:21-32; 27:8-15; Luke 6:26; Matt. 24:24-26; Acts 13:6-10.)
5.Sometimes wicked men are speaking.
Should one accept what a wicked man says at face value, as a matter to be practiced? And when the Bible quotes what wicked men have said, one should not take the words of some wicked man for his personal practice. Wicked men, or unsaved men, spoke in the following recorded passages:
a. The fool, psalm 14:1; Luke 12:16-20.
b. The harlot, prov. 7:13-20; John 4:19, 20.
c. Pilate, Matt. 27:24.
d. Man born blind, unsaved, John 9:31, 35, 36. Some use the words of this unsaved man to try to prove that God will not hear a sinner pray. Such is an abuse of intelligent interpretation of the Bible.
e. Examples in Acts 3:5-7; 6:11; 18:12-16; 24:1-9.
6. Pray everyday. Reserve a time in your day to thank God for His many blessings and ask for His guidance.(Luke 18:1)
7. Do at least one Good Deed each day. Plant the seed of “goodness” and it will produce after its kind. (Acts 10:38)
What if someone promised to deposit $86,400.00 into your bank account each day? You would ask for the catch. The catch is, all money , left over at the end of the day would be lost. But remember, the next day, another $86,400.00 would be deposited again. Would you try to spend the entire amount each day in order to keep from losing any of it?
Actually, this does happen to everyone each day…sort of. Every 24 hour period contains 86,400 seconds of time and time is a priceless commodity. The time you do not invest wisely each day is gone forever.
How much time do you spend with God each day? We must not only make the time, but it must be quality time in the presence of God. Real prayer takes time. Reading the bible and waiting for God to speak from His word requires time. In this fast paced modern world, it is all too easy to never have enough time in important areas of life. Family time often suffers, and personal relaxation away from stress and cares of life is often non-existent.
As always, the bible has a word and example to follow. Paul himself is a good example to follow. He worked full time in the ministry and supported himself by making tents. A study of his life and missionary journeys will reveal that he was extremely busy with little time to spare, yet he stayed in communion with God. Personal time with God ranked high on his list of priorities. His fellowship with God helps explain his positive attitude in suffering and his tireless determination to press toward the mark. He received strength by consistently spending time with God for renewing and refreshing.
Perhaps William Longstaff said it best with these well known words:
Take time to be holy,
The world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret
With Jesus alone;
By looking to Jesus,
Like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct
His likeness shall see.
oseph Harris is the Vice President of Southeastern Baptist College in Laurel, MS. (This article may be reprinted in whole, as long as the name Joseph Harris and http://www.miniedition.net also appear).
SPIRITUAL GIFTS 6
May we take a look at I Corinthians 12.
There were a number of things that the Church at Corinth was doing wrong. Paul has been setting them straight in previous chapters on several different areas. Now he proceeds to the misuse and abuse of the gifts. Verses 1-11 We have basically covered these verses in previous studies. I do like the way Paul starts out – :I would not have you ignorant brethren.” Paul inspired by God wants to enlighten us as to the Gifts.
Verses 12-31 compares the gifts to the body. First let us clear up one item that is commonly misunderstood about the pastor epistles. Paul is writing to the Church at Corinth and comparing it to the body of a person. He is not comparing a universal anything to the body, just the Church at Corinth. Within the Church at Corinth, Paul is making the point that not all will speak in tongues. Today, there are those that have made several statements to me. One is the question about me having ever spoken in tongues. No I haven’t. God has blessed me with the gift of preaching. There is also the statement that one has not received the Holy Spirit until that person speaks in tongues. I have no clue where this came from or what scripture is used to try and support this fallacious statement.
The gifts are listed one by one. Now list the parts of your body one by one. Paul makes his point so clear that none should be able to misunderstand. If your body was all mouth how noisy it would be. The body could not go anywhere because of no feet. The body could not gain knowledge because there would be no ears to hear. Each part of our body serves a specific purpose. The same is applicable to the Church. Each gift was given for a specific reason or purpose. The misuse and or abuse of these gifts is a concern for Paul. His statement is that one would be given one gift and someone else another gift. Not all would have the same gift.
Paul says to “…covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”
Next time we will look at chapter 13.