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BEING MISUNDERSTOOD

BEING MISUNDERSTOOD

Being misunderstood

By: Gary L. Rodgers

(All scripture notations are taken from the KJV unless noted otherwise)

Have you ever said or done something that was taken wrong by another person? Your thoughts and words were headed in one direction while their ears and mind were receiving it in a different way. It happens doesn’t it?

I was listening to an evangelist deliver a message on the radio and he hit on something that sparked an interest in me. He touched on a person in scripture that he believed was terribly misunderstood and I must say that as I studied this for myself that it became a real eye opener for me.

From what we have all read and been taught in scripture it took but one word to cause such confusion. Unfortunately not only was this person misunderstood but they were labeled in an unfavorable light by multiple scores of people down through the centuries. And it comes as no surprise as to why.

But before I divulge the identity of this person I would like to quickly skim over the first chapter of the book of Job before getting into chapter two where my point of reference lies.

  • The Bible says that Job was a perfect and upright man, one that feared God and shunned away from, turned aside from, or departed from evil.
  • He had a large family of 7 sons and 3 daughters.
  • He prayed daily for his family for fear that one of his children may have sinned by cursing GOD in their heart.
  • Then we find that Satan comes into the picture and Job is about to be tested for his faith and his integrity.

As you read on you will find that this true man of God lost everything he had in one horrific day. He lost all of his wealth, his servants, his cattle and his children, all in one day. Keep in mind that as you read this story that Job had no idea of what transpired up in Heaven between God and Satan. He had no idea that God would allow the evil one to touch him and bring such misery upon him.

Yet we find that in all of this confusion and misery that Job humbled himself before the LORD and bowed down and worshipped him and in verse 21 we find those marvelous words. “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. How many of us would find it hard to say these words in the midst of a real hardship?

In the first chapter of Job we see the true character of this righteous man when he says; “blessed be the name of the LORD.”  And in verse 22 it says that “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

One thing certain is that Job could not have ever spoken those words unless his true affection and dedication was to God.

Not only had Job lost all of his wealth, his servants, and all of his children. There was someone else who faced these same trials with him. The one person that still remained whom he did not lose was his wife. Have you ever given any thought as to why that was? Some would have us to believe that she was Job’s cross to bear. Yet for the most part she silently wades through these deep waters of hardship with only having spoken but a few words. And the few words that she spoke had brought the eye of reproach upon her from so many.

PROTECTION UNDER THE ONE FLESH UNITY

So why was she there to suffer along with Job? In verse 5 of chapter 2 we find these words, “touch now his bone and his flesh and he will curse thee to thy face.” And how did GOD respond to Satan in verse 6 of chapter 2, “behold, he is in thine hand; but save (or, preserve) his life.

Do you recall what Adam said in Genesis 3:23 when God brought Eve unto him? “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

That one flesh unity between Job and his wife was so binding that Satan could not touch the life of Job’s wife without touching the life of Job himself. And Satan cannot touch your husband or wife without touching your life as well.

“Touch now his bone and his flesh.” Satan heard what God said yet he tried to get God to allow him to destroy Job’s wife. Why? Because he knew that to destroy Job’s wife would be his way of touching the very life of Job himself.

Since Satan had not received permission from God to touch Job’s life, for him to touch the wife of Job would have been in direct violation to God’s command. And what a blessed thought to know that we are safe and secure in Christ, that Satan cannot touch our life without God’s approval.

Sometimes our suffering is confusing and we have a tendency to think that it is because we have done something wrong, but that is not always the case and this story of Job is a prime example of that.

MISUNDERSTOOD

Now, I have said all of this to bring to light our topic of discussion for today, who was it in scripture that a number of people have greatly misunderstood?

Our person of interest in this study is found in Job 2:9. She was the one that said, “Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.” As you can see we are talking about the wife of Job.

How are we to take these words of Job’s wife? Where they fierce and cutting as many have suggested or have taught; or where they presented in a much deeper meaning of sensitivity and perhaps we have totally misunderstood the meaning behind what she had said.

As we read on in Job 2:10 it would appear that Job was speaking to his wife harshly and scolding her when he says –

“Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Six times the word curse is used in the KJV book of Job, and as you begin to research this word it may come as a surprise to you as it was to me what she may have really said, or dare I say meant.

 

I have been trying to get a feel for the way that these words were spoken, and depending upon how they were said you could come away with a completely different outlook on Job’s wife. It’s like anything that we say; it’s not only the words that we use but the way that we express them. It’s like when you say “I love you” to someone. The way that you say it is just as important as the words themselves. You could say it in a charming way, a happy friendly way, or a sarcastic way. Your tone of voice and demeanor play a big part in how you express yourself with the words that you use.

Sometimes it pays to do a word study to get a better understanding of something that is being said, and as I studied this word “curse” in the Strong’s Concordance it totally amazed me to its various meanings and in the way that it was used.

I found that it is the Hebrew word “barak,” and according to the Strong’s Concordance out of the 330 times that it is used in the KJV Bible 302 of those times it carries the meaning “to bless, or to kneel”. I asked myself how this could be? I believe that I have a pretty good understanding of what the word curse means. But never in my wildest imaginations would I have ever given thought to it meaning this.

Often you will find in the Hebrew and Greek that there are words that carry specific meanings which our English at times fails to properly express. And this word curse happens to be one of those words. I’m not saying that the 1611 interpreters did not properly choose the words that should have been used in these scriptures, I’m saying that sometimes the meanings of words change over time and we need to go back to those eras to get a clearer understanding of what is truly being said. Look at our own language today and how certain words now present a different meaning than what it was originally intended for. A good case in point are the words “cool, bad, my bag, and words from the 60’s and 70’s, groovy, or out of sight”. Don’t you suppose that people a thousand years from now are going to be scratching their heads over what we have said today?

So let’s examine this Hebrew word barak and how it was used in a few other places of scripture.

Deuteronomy 8:10 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt (barak) bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.

1 Chronicles 29:20 And David said to all the congregation, Now (barak) bless the LORD your God. And all the congregation (barak) blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the LORD, and the king.

Genesis 24:11 And he made his camels to (barak) kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.

Now let’s look in Job 1:11 to see how the word curse was used in that verse of scripture when Satan told God that Job would “curse him to His face.”

Job 1:11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. It is the same Hebrew word barak which means “bless” with a little something added to it. A modifier was added to the word, and the modifier was the Hebrew word “lo” which means not.

So in essence Satan was saying that Job would bless not the Lord. That Job would not kneel down to God and bless him if He God were to lift the hedge of protection that He had around Job and allowed Satan himself to touch him. This is the only place in scripture where I have found the modifier (lo) used with the word curse to present this meaning of “bless not”.

To try to get a better feel towards the character and the atmosphere surrounding Job and his wife I tried to compile some other thoughts and ideas as to how their respect and concern for one another may have been if they both possessed the type of spiritual character that would meld them together as being united as one.

A FEW ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS AND BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES

  • Job of course was the leader of his household as God would have us men to be.
  • With Job being a righteous man would you not think that he was likely to be careful to select a woman to wife who was equally yoked and like minded with him in serving the Lord?
  • Remember that Job’s wife suffered great loss as well.
  • Would it be reasonable to say that the type of persons that Job and his wife were that they taught their children well and had probably brought them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?
  • Would I be correct in saying that Job’s wife was likely to always be in attendance and worship with Job whenever he made sacrifice and prayed?
  • Could it be that Job’s wife was exhausted physically and emotionally with all that happened to her regarding her husband, her children, and her former way of life?
  • What heartache did she suffer in knowing that there was the likelihood that her husband would die, leaving her alone with another grave to place flowers upon?
  • Wouldn’t you suppose that she may have gone to God everyday in prayer with questions and was likely to be begging and pleading for her husband’s life?
  • Had she watched over Job and protected him from the ridicule and scoffing of onlookers? I believe that she probably did.
  • Why did God not chasten nor punish Job’s wife for the words that she spoke? If they were bitter and cruel enough to suggest to her husband to curse God in a profane way, then why didn’t God reprimand her?
  • Interesting that as God again blessed Job so was his wife also blessed with double the wealth that they had before.
  • If she had not been a woman of strong, moral, and spiritual character could not Job have put her away (divorced her) and married other wives to father more children by?
  • Because of her being of the same mind and character as her husband I believe that God blessed her womb and that is why Job fathered ten more children with her.

IN SEARCH OF THE WORD CURSE

So how are we to take the meaning behind the word curse? I have read through various comments on these verses and wish to present one of several views that I have read to show that she may not have been the cruel and bitter woman that so many make her out to be.

According to several commentators and as suggested by the Strong’s Concordance this word curse is a Euphemistic expression in the Speech of Job’s Wife.

You may be asking yourself as I; what is a euphemistic expression?

In its basic meaning I take it to be saying something different from the way that it may sound to others.

Euphemistic defined as:

  1. A word or phrase used in place of a term that might be considered too direct, harsh, unpleasant, or offensive.

No doubt that when Job’s wife said to curse God and die that was a pretty harsh, direct, offensive expression. But I believe that the meaning behind what she said was totally different from the way that it sounded.

Here are a few examples of Euphemisms:

  1. a) You aren’t poor, you are economically disadvantaged.
  2. b) You aren’t broke, you just have temporary negative cash flow.
  3. c) Ah, that new car smell, genuine imitation leather. 100% vinyl.

You see we call them euphemisms, while our government calls it being politically correct.

In the following article the author presents the wife of Job in a different light than that of one who would chide her husband and suggest that he should blaspheme God and have his life taken from him for doing so.

The Most Misunderstood Woman in the Bible

Why Job’s wife may have gotten a bad rap

By: Daniel Darling

 

Her name was never revealed and yet she may be the most infamous woman in the Bible. Augustine labeled her “the devil’s accomplice.” Calvin called her “a diabolical fury.”

And the contemporary understanding of Job’s wife hasn’t improved on Calvin or Augustine. It’s difficult to find a book or sermon treatment of the life of Job that doesn’t include the usual condemnations toward his wife. It has become a standard joke to pity Job, as if his wife was yet another cross God called this man to bear.

If the Proverbs 31 woman represents a model of Christian virtue, the wife of Job occupies the role of least desirable, sharing space in the Hall of Shame with the likes of Jezebel, Delilah, and Michal.

But is this image an honest assessment of her character? Or is there a possibility that in our rush to empathize and identify with Job, we’ve rushed to cast judgment on his wife?

What We Forget

I wonder if there isn’t a gap in our understanding of the Job story. Although clearly Job is the main character, he is not the only one. She may not have been the primary subject of the cosmic argument between God and Satan (1:6-11; 2:1-4), but she was still caught in the crossfire. You might argue that every hardship endured by Job was similarly felt by his wife:

She watched her children die (Job 1:13-19). Ten times God had blessed her womb. Ten times she endured the joy and pain of childbirth. Ten lives nurtured to love, honor, and respect Jehovah. From the account in the first chapter of Job, this appears to be a fun-loving, God-fearing, tight-knit family. Who was the heartbeat of this home? Likely Job’s wife played a part in that. It’s unlikely he could be such an esteemed man in society (Job 1:1) if his wife was not an integral and influential leader in her own right.

Imagine the grief that overwhelmed her soul as she looked down in disbelief at ten freshly dug graves.

She experienced dramatic financial loss. The Bible describes Job as a wealthy man, perhaps the richest in the world (Job 1:3). Undoubtedly his wife was accustomed to a lifestyle of luxury and comfort. I imagine her home was adorned with the finest furnishings, her clothes spun from the most expensive threads. Her children likely had everything they needed.

In one really bad day, she lost it all. All their wealth, property, and way of life (Job 1:13-22). She was not only bankrupt, but homeless, forced to beg outside the city dump.

She became a caretaker for her disease-ravaged husband. Although Old Testament scholars don’t agree on the nature of Job’s illness, clearly his pain was so excruciating, he asked God to take his life (Job 3). It distorted Job’s appearance so dramatically that his closest friends could barely recognize him and when they approached, fell to the ground in pity (Job 2:12). This last temptation brought by Satan was so severe, it nearly broke Job’s soul. Every day Job spent at the ragged edge of death, only experiencing momentary relief brought by the heat of the burn piles and the scrape of pottery shards.

While we weep with Job, we miss the faithful, steady presence of his wife. She put aside her own grief to stay and care for her husband. Imagine the exhausting drain, caring for a suffering soul like Job. Imagine the loud howls of agony, hour after hour, day after day. Imagine the one you love walking the thin line of sanity, suffering excruciating, debilitating pain.

Job’s wife continued this mission of mercy without the resources of a helpful support network, without any financial resources, without relief. Their children were gone, their friends and family scattered, her God seemingly absent.

Words of Despair

And we come back to those seemingly bitter words of resignation, the only recorded words of Job’s wife in the entire story. Words shared at the lowest point of her life.

“Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die” (Job 2:9, ESV). These are tough words that appear to reflect a heart bitter and angry toward God. This is where most commentators pounce, accusing Job’s wife of collusion with the Devil to force her husband to do exactly what the Devil predicted Job would do: give up on God. Many question her faith, wondering if perhaps her faith in Jehovah wasn’t real.

I find both scenarios difficult to believe. Every human has moments, words, thoughts we’d love to have back, shared in the crucible of a crushing trial. Imagine if those words were recorded in history for everyone to dissect and analyze.

Clearly God chose to record her thoughts in Scripture, yet sometimes I wonder how fair it is to define an entire life based on one conversation. Nowhere before or after this incident are we given any indication that Job’s wife was a perpetually bitter, unhappy wife.

And perhaps her advice to Job wasn’t born out of her own misery, but out of compassion. Day after day, she witnessed her husband live out his days in utter agony, no relief in sight. Maybe she was seeking the most compassionate way out for Job. Curse God, pull the plug, and get it over with. Perhaps she longed to see an end to Job’s suffering, a painless journey to the sweet relief of heaven. This is certainly something Job himself desired of the Lord.

It’s not uncommon to find raw, honest, expressions of grief spilled on the pages of the Bible. Yet we celebrate David, Moses, Jeremiah, and even Job as being authentic and honest, but heap judgment on Job’s wife for similar expressions.

A Husband’s Response

Job’s response is fascinating. He carefully listens and watches his beloved wife shrink under the weight of their shared hardships.

I imagine Job lifts his blistered hand and strokes her hair. At first, his words read like a harsh rebuke: “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10, ESV).

Yet, if you listen to Job, you almost hear admiration. “You speak as one of the foolish women.” He didn’t say his wife was foolish. He didn’t even say her words were foolish. He said, “She sounds like one of the foolish women.”

In other words, “You don’t sound like yourself.” You might read these words like this: Sweetheart, that’s not you talking. This doesn’t sound like the woman of God I know and married. That is not you talking, my wife. Let’s remember God’s promises. Let’s remember his goodness.

Such a far cry from the ringing condemnation she’s received in the centuries since. Job knew his wife’s suffering was just as acute as his. In fact, seeing the pain in her eyes may have added to Job’s great suffering.

It’s likely she was in a state of shock. Sudden loss has a way of clouding our judgment, distorting our view of reality and of God. Often those living in the thick of tragedy make contradictory statements about faith and life. Today we might even conclude Job’s wife suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Apparently Job’s words were the balm his wife needed to soothe her soul, because she isn’t heard from again in the remaining chapters of the story.

What Does God Think?

Curiously, while authors, commentators, and pastors all rush to judge her, God is silent. The Scriptures don’t record specific words of blessing for Job’s wife like they do for Job (Job 1:8).

Yet we don’t find divine rebuke either. Surely, if God was displeased with her, he would have expressed it. He didn’t hesitate to rebuke Job’s friends (Job 42:7-9).

All we know of God’s treatment of Job’s wife is how he blessed her after the trial was over. She shared in the doubling of their wealth (Job 42:10). She had the privilege of giving birth to ten more children, whom the Scriptures declared the most beautiful in all of the land (Job 42:12-15). And it’s likely she shared in the many more fruitful years of her husband’s life. The Scriptures say that Job lived long enough to see four generations of his offspring (Job 42:16).

A Model of Endurance

So what can we learn from Job’s wife today? Perhaps her greatest testimony is her simple presence during her husband’s lowest moments. At the end of Job, we read that his siblings and friends returned and “consoled and comforted him because of all the trials the LORD had brought against him” (Job 42:11). It’s easy and safe to show compassion after the fact, but during Job’s lowest moments, they were nowhere to be found.

Yet every single day, there was his wife, caring, loving, and enduring the trials Satan inflicted.

The trials that would split many marriages didn’t split Job and his wife. They stuck it out together. And at the end of this story, we read of them conceiving and raising another ten children.

Was her attitude perfect throughout the storm that engulfed her family? No. Did she say things she would later regret? Absolutely.

But through it all, she endured, her faith in God remained intact, and maybe, just maybe, her service to her husband should be held up as a model of biblical character.

CONCLUSION:

Of the views presented herein and the study on the Hebrew words “barak and lo” where do you find yourself with regard to Job’s wife. Was she a bitter woman with a condemning spirit as some would have us believe, or was she indeed a Psalms 31 virtuous woman caught up in a period of great woe and misery? And maybe you have an alternate view altogether!

The question is; how would we react in such confusion and pain if we were standing in the place of Job and his wife? Has our spiritual strength stood under the pressure of the trials that we have faced in our own lives? Only you can answer that!

We must all come to the realization that there are things that we will come across in scripture every now and then that are shadowed in mystery and they are not always so cut and dry for us to understand. Yet it behooves us to search the scriptures daily to see if the things that we are taught are so.

 

THE FEAR OF THE LORD

THE FEAR OF THE LORD

By: Gary L. Rodgers

Fear of the Lord

Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

Psalms 2:11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

If I were to summarize what I felt was the one thing that society at large is lacking in our world today, I would have to say that it is probably The Fear of the Lord!

The Bible says in Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” You want to be holy and have wisdom and understanding? The Bible says that we can get that if we fear the Lord.

Does God want us to fear Him to the point where we shudder and want to run and hide from Him? No! I don’t believe that at all. I believe that He wants to draw us close to His side to love us and train us, and yet He wants us to have a fear with regard to the consequences of sin because we know that our Father hates sin.

It was sin that put our Savior on a cruel cross. Not any sin that He committed, but as we know, it was our sin that would eternally separate us from God.

On Calvary it was the sins of the world that drove the nails through the flesh of Christ, who was the living veil which was torn between us and God.

Hebrews 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

Jesus is our true Ark of security to deliver us from the wrath of a Holy God. It is sin that still sends people to a lost and condemned eternity who will cry out from the depths of hell, My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me?

DOST NOT THOU FEAR GOD

Next to Christ on the cross as we know, hung two thieves who were justly condemned for their life of sin. The one looking on Christ and believing in him rebuked the other saying Luke 23:40Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? (Even in the face of sure death there are people that are so blindly led by Satan that they display no fear of God. Unfortunately for them they will find out what it means to experience fear in the hands of a living God. Hebrews 10:31) Continuing on with the one thief’s comments to the other thief with regard to their condemnation and guilt in verse 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. What a precious promise!

Matthew 27:39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, 40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. (The Jews being spiritually blind require a sign. (1 Cor. 1:22) therefore they do not walk by faith for “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 ) 43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.”

THE WORLD HAS BEEN TOLD

They got the message who Jesus was, it was nailed to the cross in three languages above His head. In Hebrew to tell the religious world, in Greek to tell the cultural and intellectual world, and in Latin to tell the rulers and political leaders of the world that this was indeed the King of the Jews; The Messiah, the Deliverer, the one whom the Jews sought.

The world stands naked before God, and the fig leaves of religion will not cover their sin. The Fig tree is often used in scripture to symbolize the Jewish nation of Israel. Being a part of the Fig Tree, a Jew, circumcised under the law will not save anyone. Because the world has been given the message that Jesus is the King of the Jews, no one will have an excuse for rejecting the Savior. No one!

The problem of their day was, and is, the same problem that this world has in our day. No faith from the people because they have no fear of the Lord.

Listen! Not everyone that stood before Christ on the cross that day was a non believer! There of course was His mother, and John, and other of His disciples that believed and trusted in Him. But I believe that scripture proves that there were still others that knew who He was but they lacked the faith and the spirit to trust Him.

I can be exhausted and stand next to a chair for hours believing that the chair is designed to hold me; that’s my belief. But none of that means anything if by faith in what I believe is not exercised by my sitting down.

THEY KNEW WHO HE WAS

Let’s now look at a parable in Matthew 21:33-41, and then we will tie up this parable with verse 45. This parable is just one of the places in scripture that causes me to believe that there were others who knew full well who Jesus was, including some of the priesthood who stood there among the crowds. And I have to ask myself this question. Why? Why if they knew that Jesus was the Son sent from God, why would they do such a thing? Now I’m not saying all of them knew, but I do believe that there were some that did!

As we read these verses I would like to interject some thoughts as we go through it.

Matthew 21:33 Hear another parable: (an illustration of a truth in a story line) There was a certain householder, (the Lord our God!) which planted a vineyard, (the house of Israel, a people chosen by God to be holy) and hedged it round about, (A divine hedge or wall of separation and protection. The Jews as chosen by God were to be a peculiar separated people from all others on the earth. Deut. 14:2) and digged a winepress (Emblematically the winepress typically speaks of judgment (Isaiah 63:2-4, Rev. 14:19-20) in it, and built a tower, (The Temple was the highest place within the city of Jerusalem where the Priests and Levites kept their watch every night. It was also a place where man met with God in the Holy of Holies. So it was not only up to the priesthood to watch over the Temple. They had a responsibility to safeguard the rituals and laws of God) and let it out to husbandmen, (These husbandmen were the Chief Priests and Pharisees and we will pick up on that in verse 45) and went into a far country: (The far country is speaking of Heaven where the householder (God) is waiting for the day when the vineyard (the souls of His people) are ready for the reapers to harvest.)

So let’s just pull our points together for a minute in this one verse.

  • The householder is God
  • The vineyard is the house of Israel the chosen of God
  • The hedge shows that they were to be a separated people
  • The winepress speaks figuratively of God’s judgment upon mankind
  • The tower as we know is the Temple. It was the place where the Priests and Levites would offer sacrifice to God on behalf of the people
  • The husbandmen are the Chief Priests and Pharisees who were responsible to the householder to tend to the vineyard and bring up a fruit (body of people) that were to be presented unto the Lord as a holy people.

THEY WANTED HIS WEALTH AND HIS POWER

Continuing on with the story in Matthew 21:

34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. (Who were these servants that were sent? The Prophets!) 35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence (fear) my son. (I think we all know who this son was? Jesus! The only begotten of the Father!) 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the Heir; (Did you get that? They said this is the heir, meaning that this is the son, (they recognized who this son was) come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. (Ah ha! how interesting that they said this. First of all take notice that this is the husbandmen not the people of house of Israel that’s doing the talking, and they are plotting to kill the heir. And the core reason why they wanted to kill him was to seize on His inheritance.

If you are a part of an estate as the next one in line to gain power over the estate, you don’t get that unless the one ahead of you dies. I remember in 1994 when the Melendez brothers were sent to prison without the possibility of parole because they killed their parents in hopes of gaining their parents’ considerable fortune. They wanted to seize the inheritance so they plotted and killed their parents. There’s nothing new under the sun says Ecclesiastes 1:9.

THEY LOVED THE PRAISE OF MEN MORE THAN THE PRAISE OF GOD

Remember that earlier in the message I said that I believed that scripture proves that there were still others that knew who Jesus was but they lacked the faith and the spirit to trust Him? This parable is just part of it. In addition to what we have just read I would like to present to you the words of John 12:42 and 43.

John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him;

[** I actually like the way that the NIV puts it. “Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.”]

42 continued but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Keep that in mind as we get back into Matthew 21 and continue on with verse 39.

THEY FEARED LOSING THEIR POWER OVER THE PEOPLE

Matthew 21:39 And they caught him, (they arrested and condemned Him, the heir of the vineyard, Jesus!) and cast him out of the vineyard, (He was rejected by the very people that He came to seek and to save and they removed Him from the city of Jerusalem! He hung on a cross outside of the city, despised and rejected says Isaiah 53:3) and slew him. (they crucified him) 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard (He will open up His vineyard to a new people that have made it their choice to be holy and acceptable unto God. Not as a Jew being one by natural birth, but one being a Jew by a spiritual birth believing God as did Abraham. Romans 4:16-17, Gal. 3:6-9) unto other husbandmen, (Who were these other husbandmen? The Gentiles!) which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. (the harvest of souls)

Often fear causes us to do things that in time we will regret. I believe that some and possibly a fair number of the Chief Priests and the Pharisees knew that Jesus was the Son, and God was convicting them of their error, for it says in verse 45 “And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.” You see! The reality of Christ’s message finally hit home. Not everyone in a church building is a believer. There are those who know who Jesus is but they are not willing to trust Him for fear of what they may be asked to give up. The rich young ruler proved that point. (Luke 18:22 & 23) Jesus was not after the young man’s wealth. Jesus was trying to get the young man to let go of his idol, money! But he couldn’t do it, not even for the sake of eternal life. How sad that there are others of the same mind.

We find in another portion of scripture that after Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, word got back to the Chief Priests and Pharisees about this and it says in John 11:47 & 48; Listen to this carefully! “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place (our prestigious office our station) and nation.

Apparently the Chief Priests and Pharisees craved the love for the praise of men more than they feared God and they had no desire to lose their position and wealth. No wonder Christ called them hypocrites and blind guides! The fear of losing power and wealth has caused many a person to do some of the most vile and unthinkable things that one could imagine.

TWOFOLD MEANING OF FEAR

The word fear in scripture carries a two-fold meaning. It means to be afraid to anger or disappoint someone. It also means to have a great deal of reverence towards someone or something.

Fear will cause us to show respect. Not only does fear build respect it also builds camaraderie and unity with others facing the same situations.

Nothing will teach us more, and nothing will cause us to have a greater love and respect for God and His people, and a love for lost souls, than when we grasp the truth regarding “The Fear of the Lord!”

INVITATION

If you have never trusted Christ to save your soul, then I would like to invite you to do so now. Simply follow along with me in praying while trusting in Christ and with a heart of sincerity repeat these words.

Lord I know what sin is and I know that I am a sinner. I believe that you are the Son of God who died on a cross, was buried, and resurrected from the dead for me. I am placing my full trust in you only to save me and wash away all of my sin with your blood. Please come into my heart as my LORD and Savior. Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, then we praise God for you. The bible teaches in Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place:____________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067, or visit our website at http://www.myerstownbaptistchurch.com/ to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk and too answer any questions that you may have.

BEING SET FREE

BEING SET FREE

Free from Burdens

By: Gary L. Rodgers

When the Lord frees the lost sinner from the guilt and condemnation of sin the lost sinner is truly set free, but as a Christian are there things that can constrain us in other ways? If I were to pin point a specific item that has caused me to struggle in my Christian walk I would have to say that it has been this matter of not clearly grasping the truth regarding accusation and conviction.

In his powerful book “WHAT EVERY CHRISTIAN OUGHT TO KNOW” author Adrian Rogers brings to light a most important message about the matter of accusation and conviction that has helped me and I believe that it can be a great help to others as well.

“The Difference between Accusation and Conviction:

You need to learn the difference between Satanic accusation and Holy Spirit conviction. The devil is the accuser of the brethren. He will do this in two ways:

  1. The devil will accuse you about sin that has already been confessed. He will try to dig it up again. Friend, when God buries it, it is gone. He will never bring you into double jeopardy. He is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:9), and, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean” (Acts 11:9 NIV). “and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1John 1:7B)

But the devil will sometimes confuse you about things you did years ago. You’ve put it under the blood and been forgiven, but he keeps dredging it up.

  1. The devil will try to make you feel guilty for no reason. You just kind of feel bad all over. So you end up praying this way, “O God, if I have sinned, forgive me.” Friend, do away with that kind of prayer. That’s not the kind of prayer that David prayed. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins.” Name that sin! That’s the only way you’ll know that you are really forgiven. Just call it by name.

But the devil will either try to dredge up sin that has already been forgiven or to make you feel bad about something without giving it a name. That is accusation.

What is conviction? Conviction is the Holy Spirit saying, “this and this and this you have done,” and like a good doctor, He’ll put His finger right on the sore spot, and He will push. He will call it by name and want you to confess it and be cleansed. And that’s so wonderful. Don’t let the devil accuse you of sin that’s been forgiven or accuse you of things that have never committed. The Holy Spirit of God will convict you specifically, and then you confess it, and you will be clean.”

SIDE NOTE FROM GARY L. RODGERS:

True confession means to agree with God about sin and repent or abandon that sin and forsake it, or turn and go the other way from it.

When you seek God’s forgiveness, His forgiveness is so complete and perfect that “He will cast your sins into the depth of the sea.” (Micah 7:19B), and “He will remove our transgression from us as far as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12) When God forgives, the matter is finished. “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” (Isaiah 43:25)

If God so completely forgives, then who is it that brings our past sins to the forefront and causes confusion? It’s not God that brings them to remembrance, it’s that old accuser the devil who accuses the brethren before God night and day. And the day to end all of that will come. (Revelation 12:10)

WHERE DO YOUR ROADS TAKE YOU

WHERE DO YOUR ROADS TAKE YOU

By: Gary L. Rodgers

 WHERE DO YOUR ROADS TAKE YOU

I was sitting at my desk one evening and thinking about the many roads that I have traveled in my life. There were roads that ran through some of the most beautiful country side imaginable. In mid-summer, wild flowers seemed to pop up here and there displaying their many colors shapes and sizes, while I had the pleasure of catching the aroma of each bouquet as I traveled along. Now and then I would cross over a creek and I would manage to catch a glimpse of its glistening waters in the bright sunlight and wonder just how refreshing it would be to take a cool dip on a hot sweltering day. Often as a young man growing up in the country I walked along many roadsides. Some were next to fields where I would take time to stop and watch as the wind would glide over the grasses as if the meadow were a canvas and the airstreams were brush strokes making all sorts of swirls as if some artist was getting the feel of the brush against a new masterpiece. One of the great pleasures that I got while strolling along these roadways would be when a bird would land close to me on a fence or shrub and chirp at me as I meandered by. It was like they were trying to be friendly and say hello in their own special way. It was those times when it felt like God was walking with me and He wanted to show me His beautiful handiwork and all I needed to do was to take but a brief moment to stand in awe of His mastery. Isn’t it a shame that as we get older we look back to those days and wonder why we never took the time to enjoy His provisions for us? It seems like the older I get the faster life’s pace races ahead of me. It often seems as though my wife and I would no sooner get the lawn furniture out in the spring that it was time to put it away again for the winter. No wonder the bible tells us that our life is but a vapor for a little time and then it vanishes away. (James 4:14)

Then there were roads that I traveled that were hemmed in on both sides with tall field corn and all I could see was an empty road that seemed to run off in the distance going nowhere. It always gave me a sad lonesome feeling to be on roads like that. It reminded me of the many empty worthless miles in life that I have traveled. Not really going anywhere, just moving along with the pace of the world.

I can also remember roads that I traveled in the winter during a snowstorm. The way was slow and treacherous and you always had to keep looking ahead for dangers, quick stops, and turns. Yet there was something really beautiful about the way that the evergreen trees would reach out with their branches to catch piles of snowflakes as if the ends of each branch had hands; all the while saying if you look hard enough you will truly see the beauty of this day. And I thought to myself, you know that is where we do most of our living! On dangerous roads with sudden stops, steep mountains and blind curves. And all the while God is reaching out to us with the gift of His Son and asking, won’t you take time to accept the pure beauty of this gift that I am offering to you? I’m handing it to you as you pass by! All you need to do is reach out and take it. Just like the snow, it’s clean, and it’s pure, and this offer from me will only last but a season. Today is the day to take it, for tomorrow it will be too late! Stop! Look at the beauty of this gift! It was I who paid the full price for it so that I could offer it to you freely! It’s all around you and all you need to do is accept that it is there for the taking.

No doubt that our lives are filled with struggles, but in those struggles we can find moments of peace and rest. God sends blessings during those times to catch our attention so that we will take our eyes off of the situation and place out trust in His capable hands. It’s kind of like watching a bright red Cardinal in the midst of the falling snow. It catches your attention and you are filled with a peaceful joy as you watch it flutter from branch to branch. The storm itself seems to fade away for the moment and nothing else catches my attention more than the blessing of knowing that God is ever present with me wherever I go. All I need to do is reach out to Him in faith.

My Dear Friend,

Everyone travels these roads in their lives and so few stop to realize the great prize that is being presented to them. The snow is the salvation that God offers to each and every passerby. Some have stopped to admire its beauty and then with joy through faith they would reach out and take it. And the blessing is that there is plenty for all. All we need to do is help others to seize the moment and get them to stand still long enough to reach out and take it for themselves. I can’t bring the gift to you, but I can show you where it’s at. The evergreens of opportunity are stretching out their hands to us, begging us to take what God has provided. Today is the day to reach out to God! Every person needs to stop and take this gift to themselves; it can’t be done for you!

If you have never prayed a prayer asking Jesus to save you, then I invite you to follow along with these words so that you can receive the free gift of salvation.

Dear Jesus, I know what sin is, and I know that I am a sinner. I ask that you would please forgive me and wash away all of my sin with the blood that you had shed for me. Please send the Holy Spirit to come too live in my heart to teach me and guide me in righteousness. I know that you personally died for me, and that you were buried in a tomb and rose from the dead for me. I believe that you are now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. I put my complete trust in you alone as my Lord and Savior and I am trusting in you only to get me to Heaven as I through faith, accept your free gift of eternal life. In your Holy and Precious Name I pray. Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________ of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 too let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!

THE CHRISTMAS STORY

THE CHRISTMAS STORY

By: Gary L. Rodgers

 Christmas Story

Luke 2

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

 

Matthew 1

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

 

Luke 2

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

 

Matthew 2

1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

 

No greater story has ever been written!

Giving

GIVING

By: Gary L. Rodgers

God giving Christ

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

So often in my prayers when I find myself asking for something of the Lord I do wait in hopes of receiving it; the problem is that I usually want it right away. He never ceases to amaze me with His perfect timing and the way that He generally answers it in such an unsuspecting way. And sometimes He allows the trial to worsen before an answer comes.

Recently I was in need of some money to get some bills paid and like everyone else I found that I was having a lot more month left over than money. And of course when times like this come up the Old Devil starts to throw suggestions my way as to what I could do, but deep inside I know what is pleasing and not pleasing to the Lord, and the battle between faith and self-reliance then comes into play. So I decided to be obedient to what I knew to be right no matter how trying my situation. I determined to trust that He would get me through it. A couple of weeks had gone by and one day I went out and got the mail out of our mailbox. In shuffling through the mail I noticed a letter from the IRS and I thought to myself; now what! I was getting ready to go back to work at that moment and I didn’t want any more pressures on my mind than I was already having. For me to be stressed and not being able to focus on my job was not a good thing, and as any of you know, when you’re looking for good news the IRS is not exactly the place to look for it.

So off to work I went and a few hours later I returned home being somewhat apprehensive about opening up that letter. I prayed and said “Lord please help me to get through this, all I know is that if I am faithful to you that you will work all things out for my good.” (Romans 8:28) And with that I cut open the letter.

After having opened what I was convinced to be a dreadful letter I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The letter said that an adjustment was being made to my income taxes and it showed that they went back to 1983 and calculated what was unpaid to me at the time along with daily interest and in the letter was a check for over one thousand dollars. Praise the Lord, what a blessing! I never would have guessed that the Lord would use the IRS to make a voluntary correction and so bless me with an answer to prayer in my time of need.

You know; the Lord blesses us far beyond what we deserve and He always has. Way back in the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve fell and plunged all mankind into sin and death God went to work to put together a plan to save me and you from the awful torment of hell. And He did that by giving His Son to face the wrath of His righteous anger against all manner of sin. He always gives us His best and I have to wonder if I have always given Him my best? Shamefully and sadly I would have to save no I haven’t. Could I as a father so willingly demonstrate my love for someone who was rebellious against me by giving one of my sons? Could you?

Abraham was called to offer up his son Isaac and as I read that story I wondered how would I react to such a request? I can imagine that I probably would have taken the whole night to tearfully beg the Lord to ask something else of me. My desire would have been to prolong my time with my son for as long as I possibly could. But as I read this story, Abraham apparently had rested during the night for it says in Genesis 22:3 that he rose up early in the morning. It would appear that Abraham was anxious to do what God had called him to do. But how could this be? Abram knew that God made him a promise and it was reflected in his name when God changed it to Abraham which means (father of multitudes.) How can a man be a father of multitudes when he has but one son of promise through his aged wife and now God has asked him to sacrifice him? Abraham knew to trust God’s promises and what a lesson that is for all of us!

Nearly 1900 years later another father took his son up that same mountain. But this time this father did indeed offer up and sacrificed His only begotten Son as a sin sacrifice. He gave of His Son willingly in order to redeem us from our lost estate.

The Lord has given us His very best and still does! I have to ask myself this question; what have I truly given to Him?

Would I be so willing to give my children what they ask for if they had little time to love and respect me and obey what little I would ask of them? Why is it that we get this attitude that God owes us something? In truth we are the ones that owe Him. Giving of ourselves to the Lord is a matter of showing Him how important He is to us. Adam and Eve chose to do what they wanted the way that they wanted it. Can I say that I have done any better? May the Lord convict me and teach me to give Him my best!

Lord I ask that you would please forgive me for giving so little in return for all that you have given to me. May I be more willing in spirit and more cheerful in heart when giving back to you the things that you ask of me! I know that you tell us that you will never leave us nor forsake us; nor will you ask of us more than we are able to bear? Lord I believe this to be true; and with this I also believe that our degree of faith is then measured by the temperature of our obedience.

Lord is there anything that I have that I can give to you of myself?

Luke 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.

Giving is a selfless demonstration of where our heart truly is. Had God not willingly given to us then none of us would have any future hope.

2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

We as a nation have been given much by our heavenly Father; what are we willing to give back to Him?

Luke 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

 

God gave His Son so that you might live. In John 3: 14 to 18 we are told:

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Jesus is God’s only provision for you and me to escape the awful penalty for our sin debt.

Death has no scheduled appointment. It could be at any moment. It could be today. Won’t you stop gambling that you have one more day? If you want to make Heaven your home then please bow your head in prayer and follow along with these words.

Dear Jesus, I know what sin is, and I know that I am a sinner. I ask that you would please forgive me and wash away all of my sin with the blood that you shed for me. Please send the Holy Spirit to come too live in my heart to teach me and guide me in righteousness. I know that you personally died for me, and that you were buried in a tomb and rose from the dead for me. I believe that you are now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. I put my complete trust in you alone as my Lord and Savior and I am trusting in you only to get me to Heaven. In your Holy and Precious Name I pray. Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

 

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!

 

WILL YOU CHOOSE TO SAVE ME?

WILL YOU CHOOSE TO SAVE ME?.

WHICH BIBLE SHOULD I TRUST AS THE WORD OF GOD?

By: Gary L. Rodgers

Confusion

It’s mind boggling when you go to purchase a Bible today with all of the various translations of scripture that you find available. And for a new born believer in Christ this could become a little overwhelming when pouring over all the arguments presented on the internet about which translation is the more accurate while trying to be careful to select the pure and simple truth of God’s Holy Word. My concern is the shadow of confusion that is planted in the minds of precious souls after having been bombarded with such a barrage of information. What evidences are out there to help one to decide which Bible version they should select? How do they know if what they read in the Bible that they chose is true and accurate?

WORD FOR WORD

Some people want a word for word translation from the Hebrew and Greek into a word for word exact equivalent in English. What they don’t realize is that unless you have an understanding of the Hebrew and Greek Syntax (Syntax – word order and sentence structure), that you would still have a Bible that would be difficult to read and understand even though you would recognize and read each word in our language. It is like some of the expressions of the Pennsylvania Dutch that we have read which appear funny to us. (Ex: “Throw Father down the stairs his hat.” And, “throw the cow over the fence some hay.”) The meaning is there, it’s just that the Syntax from one language to the other differs and that is where the interpreters come in and provide an expression that we can understand. In short you cannot apply our rules of Grammar to other languages; it simply doesn’t work that way: not to mention that there are words in the Greek and Hebrew that our English words would fail to translate on an equal par. That is why the translators of the KJV provided words or phrases in italics or parentheses to indicate that the words given to us are not in the original manuscripts; but rather they are presented as the best use of words in our language to provide a clear and precise expression behind what the writers were saying.

OTHER EVIDENCES

In addition to the various translations there are many archeological discoveries that have presented scientific evidence that the Word of God is geographically and historically accurate. The Dead Sea scrolls that were uncovered during a ten year period from 1946 – 1956 has helped to provided accuracy to time and events that are presented in scripture. The scrolls date back to approximately 400 BCE and have brought a fresh excitement to the study and affirmation of scripture accuracy.

 TEXTUAL CRITICISMS

There have been countless arguments (textual criticism[1]) among scholars regarding which ancient documents are considered to be the most reliable manuscripts (MSS) that should be used to interpret The Bible. Most of what I have read seems to focus their attention around the Byzantine MSS which gave us the Textus Receptus and the Alexandrian MSS of the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, A,C, and D. In addition to these arguments there are other questions that arise when searching through the information highway regarding what passages were used or left out at various stages of manuscript history to produce the translations of yester-year and those of today. I find that most of the criticisms on the internet are claims that often produce a disheartening and confusing sway of thoughts and theories. And not everyone is truthful about what they call reliable and accurate MSS. It is easy to be swayed into the arguments for a particular version of the Bible when you have a tendency to lean in that direction to begin with. All of this makes it even more difficult for those of us that have been saved for a period of time to be open to giving audience to some of the claims by various scholars. That doesn’t mean that we necessarily need to be agreeable to what they say but rather that we should look into what they are saying to determine if accusations and claims are truthful.

SETTLING THE MATTER

For my own peace of mind I have had to settle this matter of which version was right for me regardless of all arguments in favor for or against it. No doubt that these textual criticisms have caused a great deal of confusion and concern when it comes to which version of scripture is accurate; even to the point of causing some to become discouraged and losing faith. A very sad reality but none the less it does happen. The arguments over scripture accuracy will continue until the day that we get to Heaven. What all of the Scholars need to be ever mindful of is what the bible says about adding to or taking away from the Word of God. (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32, Revelation 22:19)

For myself I can only express the comfort that I have in the version of scripture that I chose as being the authority for my life. The LORD has spoken to me countless times through the conviction of The Holy Spirit while reading and studying His word; therefore I will stick with what has become so very dear and near to my heart. I have never felt the need or desire to change from that. I have looked at other versions of scripture at times while studying a particular matter or subject to see how they interpret the passages, but I always come back to what I have chosen as my final authority trusting that the LORD will guide me into all truth.

I have read many arguments on both sides of textual criticism that favor one version over another and I have tried to research the support information that they offer to their claims. I have found that some of what they say can be verified and some of the websites that they listed were no longer available. I can only speculate as to why that is. The one thing that I am certain of is that “GOD is not the author of confusion” according to 1 Corinthians 14:33; so my dependence is fully upon Him to guide me into all truth. We all need to walk cautiously “because our adversary the devil as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) So no matter which version of scripture I use there will always be those that will disagree with me, and that’s fine; “every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) My goal is not to please man, but to please God and He will give me the ability to do that.

While I feel that it is important for me to understand what textual criticism is, I cannot allow myself to get so bogged down in the argument that I lose sight of what I am called to do. I have read several in-depth essays on the manuscripts that were used to write both the older and more modern versions of scripture and I feel for myself that I must support the claims that the Byzantine MSS, also known as the Majority Text that they are favorably in line with the authentic Greek texts of scripture. I therefore do not accept for myself any translations from the Alexandrian MSS from which the Westcott/Hort, and the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus interpretations of scripture are used to translate the more modern versions of our day.

STUDY, STUDY, STUDY

I am thankful that there are learned men in our day that still follow the command to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” (2 Timothy 2:15)[2] It is a curious thing to me that some versions of the Bible appear to present this verse with the emphasis being that you do your best to present yourself approved, which to me negates any command to study, rather than showing yourself approved because you have obeyed GOD’S directive to study. To me it sounds too much like self approval rather than GOD approval. If my study of God’s Word under my own efforts is what presents me as being approved then I have to confess that I am a failure for several reasons. First of all I don’t understand everything that I read. Secondly there are days when I simply read without meditating and earnestly delving into the deep meanings of God’s Word. And thirdly there are days when I do not rightly divide the Word of Truth through word study and cross referencing of scriptures.

God’s Word was never given for us to clearly grasp everything apart from the leading of the Holy Spirit. That is how I see that we show ourselves approved, through the guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit, not through our own self taught wisdom. Maybe that’s why in my version of the Bible that the word success is only found one time throughout the whole Bible; and it has to deal with the meditation and observance (through the study of scripture) to all that is written therein; then we will be prosperous and have good success. (Joshua 1:8)

While I am not versed in the languages of the past it became necessary for me to search for a solution to settle this matter in my own mind as to what Bible I should be using for my study and devotions. The whole plethora of arguments which still persists among scholars appears to have caused within Christendom a great deal of harm when it comes down to encouraging people to trust the inerrant, verbally inspired Word of God.

For my own peace of mind I decided to begin looking up differences between two widely used versions of scripture. The most heated argument of textual criticisms seem to center around 1 John 5:7, also called the Johannine Comma, with a notation in the footnotes of some of the modern versions to say that this passage was not found in any Greek manuscripts before the fourteenth century; yet I have read arguments with references to show that it was. Sadly for the sake of the argument the seed of doubt is planted in peoples mind as to whether or not they can trust any Bible as being the Word of GOD. It seems to me that the only one who is benefiting from this argument is the one who started the criticism with Eve when he said “Yea, hath God said,” (Genesis 3:1) and he is still actively asking that same question today.

 SUGGESTION

My suggestion for people when looking for a Bible is to pray about it and let the Holy Spirit guide you to the book that He wants you to use. He was sent here to be your comforter and guide and He will do that if we let Him. After all He had a hand in giving us the Word of God and I would think that He would know which translation God wants you to study. (2 Peter 1:20 & 21)

It’s sad to say that many Bibles in our country sit and collect dust when they should be read to strengthen us in this crazy world of sin. People need to stop and realize the privilege that we have here in our homeland to freely purchase and read a Bible; it is a freedom that many before us have given their lives for. Many countries do not share this same freedom that we have and they read and study under the threat of death or imprisonment.

Ephesians 5: 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

THE KJV AND THE TRANSLATORS

The following notes were copied from a website regarding the Translators of the KJV of 1611.

Translated from the majority MSS which numbered a little over 5,000

Fifty four Scholars worked on this project. Set up in six committees. Two committees at Oxford, two at Cambridge and two at Westminster Abbey

An invitation was extended to “all principally learned men of the kingdom” to participate as consultants or advisors.

The character and credentials of the translators were impeccable. Lancelot Andrewes, while a young student at Cambridge, learned a new language each year during Easter break. After several years, he had mastered most of the languages of Europe. Andrewes spoke Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic and at least fifteen other languages. It was said of him that he could have been “interpreter general” at the Tower of Babel! He was also reputed to have spent an average of five hours each day in prayer. Among the Christians of his day he was known as “the star of preachers.” It was said that “those who stole his sermons could never steal his preaching.”

John Bois read through the Hebrew Bible by age five, and by age six was writing Hebrew legibly. He was often found studying Greek at the Cambridge library from four a.m. until 8 p.m. (sixteen hours a day!). Bois tutored many of his fellow students at the University in Greek, and his class was also attended by many of his Greek professors! John Bois served as pastor of St. John’s Church before, during, and after his work as Bible translator. He preached without notes, but not without much prayer and study. He had the entire Greek New Testament committed to memory. He practiced fasting twice a week, and often gave to help the poor until he had no more to give himself.

Dr. Miles Smith was known as “a walking library.” He was called by his contemporaries “an incomparable theologist.” He had studied all of the writings of the Latin and Greek church fathers, and was as well versed in Arabic, Chaldee and Syriac as he was in English. It was said of Smith that he “had Hebrew at his fingers’ ends.”

At age 23, John Reynolds was made a Greek lecturer at Corpus Christi College. He gave himself to the study of the Scriptures in the original languages, and was an “able and successful preacher of God’s Word.” He had read all the Greek and Latin fathers, and all the records of the ancient church. He was known as “a living library” and “a third university” (Oxford, Cambridge, and John Reynolds!).

Of the fifty-four translators, four were college presidents, six were bishops, five were deans, thirty held PhD’s, thirty-nine held Masters degrees, there were forty-one university professors, thirteen were masters of the Hebrew language, and ten had mastered Greek. Every man involved in the King James Bible translation believed in the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, all believed in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and all were men of prayer. Many were not only Biblical scholars and master linguists, but also God-called, Spirit-filled preachers. Yet the translators considered themselves “poor instruments to make God’s holy truth to be yet more and more known unto the people.”

In the final analysis, the translators of the King James Bible believed that what they had spent nearly seven years of their lives producing was an “exact translation of the holy Scriptures into the English tongue.”

Each of the six groups had been given certain portions of the Bible to translate into the English language. Upon completion of their assigned task and with all members of their individual groups agreeing to the accuracy of their selections and interpretations; their final work was passed onto another of the six groups to be reviewed and approved by each member in that group before being passed on to another of the six groups. This process continued on until all members of the entire work reviewed and acknowledged that the translation of the entire Bible was complete and accurate.

WHEN TEXTUAL CRITICS ARGUE

When textual critics argue the validity of 1 John 5:7 – 8 and other scriptures I often wonder how these 54 learned God fearing scholars of 1611 who held such a high standard toward manuscript selection and scripture translation; men who spent hours in prayer and much of their life in the study of languages and scripture: how could they be so negligent to insert certain verses that today are being labeled as not being reliable? Why would they take such great care elsewhere and not place these verses in question in italics or parentheses to show that they were not part of any ancient manuscript as was their common practice throughout the translation? Apparently all 54 of them either made a mistake, or conspired to insert something that was not true thus bringing themselves under the condemnation of GOD or all of them had cause to believe that the verses were properly selected and translated from ancient manuscripts. And if these men were so immersed into prayer and scripture study then why were they not under conviction through the Holy Spirit regarding these matters if they were wrong? They were all dependent upon each other to be honest and forthright to the task set at hand. I am not so inclined to accept any implications that the work of 1611 was done in gross negligence or as a part of any conspiracy. Nor am I so quick to believe that today’s scholars are more knowledgeable and spiritually more capable than those learned men of yesterday. Unless The Holy Spirit so convicts me otherwise, I will remain faithful to the book that has brought me to the foot of the cross where I have placed my whole being by faith into the Trinitarian God of creation, salvation and all comfort.

REVISIONS

The KJV of 1611 has undergone several revisions since its first printing. The primary reasons for the revisions were due to spelling errors, grammatical errors, typeset errors and a change from the Gothic font type to an easier to read Roman type font. In the Gothic font the letter “v” looked more like a “u” and the letter “s” looked more like an “f”. However, the very first English-language book to make a clear distinction between the sound of “I” and the sound of “J” was not written until 1634. It wasn’t until then, after the 1611 Bible was published, that the English language officially accepted the shape and sound of the letter “J” as “jay” and no longer the “yuh” “Y” sound. These changes not only brought a revision to the KJV of 1611 but I’m sure to other documents as well. Even with our modern day Word Document Programs, errors are made in spelling and grammar in spite of the spelling and grammar checks built into the systems. So with printing still undergoing changes back in 1611 I suppose that there would be errors in anything that was printed, not just the Bible. Some of the old English words still remain in some of today’s KJV’s. A good example of that is the word “shew” which is found to be different in two different KJV’s that I currently have. In my Open Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers the word is spelled s-h-o-w throughout the book, while in my Thompson Chain – Reference Bible of the KJV it is spelled s-h-e-w throughout that book. So it depends upon the printer and their revision date as to how things were spelled, which should not reflect upon the integrity of the translations.

In either case it is still pronounced as show Why there was never a revision to these and some other words is beyond me, I have no answer. But that still does not give me reason to doubt nor dismiss the work of the Translators when the Printers have made many of the errors that called for some of the revisions to be made. One often made error was in the typesetting of the letters “q, p, b and d.” So what we are talking about here is two different groups of people, Translators and Printers. A typographical error found in Ruth 3:15 where the word “he” was printed instead of the word “she” labeled some of the first editions to be known as the “He” Bibles, and others as “She” Bibles. So it really came down to the printing company and the typesetters on most of the revision changes.

In addition to this there were pronunciation and spelling changes to some words in our English language also. An example of this I found while studying 2 Timothy 3:17, in my KJV of the Open Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers it reads “thoroughly furnished” while in my Thompson Chain – Reference Bible of the KJV I find this verse to read “throughly furnished. The difference from one version to the other is the added or missing “o”; however you wish to look at it. I have never questioned either publisher on the difference but when I look at a dictionary definition of these two words this is what I got.

“through”

continuing in time toward completion of (a process or period).

  • so as to complete (a particular stage or trial) successfully.
  • from beginning to end of (an experience or activity, typically a tedious or stressful one).

 

“thorough”

ˈ complete with regard to every detail; not superficial or partial.

  • performed or written with great care and completeness.
  • taking pains to do something carefully and completely.

 THE CLOSE

So the argument comes down to this in my opinion, have modern day scholars presented themselves as being throughly or thoroughly furnished unto all good works? For myself I don’t know how to answer that question; but I find it hard for me to dismiss the integrity and ability of the translators of the 1611 Authorized Version of scripture. Their hard work and dedication speaks volumes with regard to their capabilities. Just because something is newer does not necessarily mean that it is better.

While I am not able to go toe to toe with any Bible Scholar on which version of scripture is the best. I do know that through God’s leading and the conviction of the Holy Spirit I firmly believe that I have what He wants me to use. This is what I believe and this is how I have settled the matter for myself.

Is GOD able? My faith tells me that He is!!!!

[1] Textual Criticism is the science of studying ancient manuscripts to determine the authentic text of the Bible. It is sometimes called Lower Criticism.

[2] The syntax of this verse (2 Timothy 2:15) begins with an imperative (command) with an infinitive as it’s object.

Syntax – grammar, sentence structure, language rules

Infinitive – a form of a verb with no specific tense, person, or subject.

This is an aorist active imperative (command)

aorist – a verb tense used to express a past action in an unqualified way, without specifying whether that action was repeated, continuing, or completed or how long it lasted, found especially in classical Greek.

Imperative – very important, crucial, essential, urgent, commanding, necessity, law, rule

HE IS THE GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE

By: Gary L. Rodgers

God of the Impossible

I have chosen to not select any particular verse for the message that I am about to present to you because the entire bible points to Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior from cover to cover. He was concealed in the numerous types and practices of the Old Testament, and in the New Testament He was revealed when He took on flesh and was given as a ransom for all.

At Golgotha He hung on a cross with the sin and shame of all mankind placed upon Him. He hung there as the innocent sacrificial Lamb of God in obedience to The Father; suspended above a world that rejected Him. He was laughed at, ridiculed, and hated for daring to call himself the Son of God, yet He experienced the suffering of the cross and the wrath of The Father was laid on Him for each and every one of us whose sins nailed Him to the cross. Only a God of the impossible could do something like that! He comforted the hearts of those who walked with Him by appearing before them behind closed doors to allow them to see, and touch, and know that He has indeed risen from the dead. Over five hundred people saw and spoke with the resurrected Savior as witnesses that He is truly the God of the impossible. He called out to a friend who was buried four days in the grave to give him new life to demonstrate that He is the God of glory capable of doing the impossible.

I am reminded that my every breath and heart beat is dependent upon His grace and His mercy; that by faith I have placed my entire being in His capable hands. No one, not Satan nor any angel nor can I myself be pulled from His hand of protection (John 10: 27-30) through the salvation which He has provided; and today I can say without question that I am a child of the God of the impossible.

ONLY A GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE COULD DESIGN AND FINISH A REDEMPTIVE PLAN FOR US

John 19:29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

30When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

The very words that sealed the redemption of man’s soul came from the Savior himself, as recorded by John in the words “IT IS FINISHED.” Only a God of the impossible could have spoken such words.

Only a God of the impossible could look down from Heaven at sinful man and decide way back in the Garden of Eden to offer up himself as the total, final, and perfect sacrifice necessary to free man from his guilt of sin and to cleanse him for all eternity. (John 1:29)

It was the God of the impossible who called out to all of us when he uttered those words Adam (meaning – mankind) where art thou? Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you felt the call of God reaching out to you and asking “where art thou?”

The plan of salvation was set in motion when in Genesis 3:15 God said to the serpent “it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Only a God of the impossible could have made such a promise from the garden all the way to the cross. Satan’s wound would only be temporal because the God of the impossible rose from the dead and crushed the head or the full power of Satan when He Jesus took away from the Devil the powerful threat of death, hell and the grave.

Only a God of the impossible could have looked down from the cross and say not only to them that were there to gaze upon him that day but He looked into the eons of time and saw you and me and said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

It was the God of the impossible, Jesus Christ himself, whose name according to Isaiah 9:6 is Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of peace, who had the power and the authority to not only descend into the very depths of hell and suffer the pain and anguish that you and I would have felt. (Acts 2:27, Ps 16:10) It was this mighty God, this Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace who rolled back the stone and resurrected himself from the dead. Only a God of the impossible could do something like that. (Acts 2:24)

When He said “IT IS FINISHED” He was announcing to Heaven and earth that God’s plan to redeem the souls of man and to offer the free gift of eternal life to all those that receive Him by faith as Lord and Savior and which are then cleansed by His blood that the plan was completed and it was finished; and nothing was to be added to that.

  • I tell you the truth: when Jesus hung on the cross, He hung on that cross alone. It has never been Jesus plus anything; or else the plus becomes everything and Jesus becomes nothing.
  • When Jesus hung on the cross church membership did not hang on the cross with Him.
  • When Jesus hung on the cross Baptism did not hang on the cross with Him.
  • When Jesus hung on the cross He hung there naked without so much as one fig leaf of religion to cover Him.

So I ask, is it any wonder that Mark 10:27 and Luke 1:37 teach that with God nothing is impossible?

This life has been, and is, and always will be a struggle. All of us experience suffering in some way or another, but we don’t need to suffer any longer once this life is over. The Lord has provided a way for us to have all of our sins cast away and forgotten by Him forever if we freely choose to do what He asks of us, and that is to simply believe and fully trust in Him with an unquestionable child like faith.

God sent His Son to come and do what was impossible for us to do for ourselves. He sent Christ to pay the full penalty for every sin that any of us has ever committed no matter how wicked and terrible that it may be or ever was, and He has provided a way for us to be totally forgiven and cleansed from every stain. And that provision comes through Jesus Christ and Him only. And because of Christ’s work at Calvary we can not only be forgiven by Him, but we can also forgive ourselves, and we can in turn forgive others.

You can secure your eternity with God today by simply following along and saying a simple prayer. But mind you that it is not the saying of this prayer that saves you. Its believing and trusting in what you are praying, it needs to be from the heart not just words from the mouth. You can tell everybody in the whole world that you love them and it doesn’t mean a thing unless you truly mean what you say. The bible teaches that confession is made with the mouth but believing is from within the heart. (Romans 10:9 & 10) The heart knows if you are sincere or not!

Today I beg of you; if you are not positively sure that you will go to Heaven when you die then please come to the foot of the cross and meet the God of the Impossible. The only one who could have uttered those words that fulfilled the promise of God at Calvary when He said, “IT IS FINISHED.”

The bible teaches that you can know that you have eternal life as noted in (1 John 5:13)

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

And you can make that decision today…..

2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

We are never encouraged to wait to see if we will be saved, but rather we are urged to put our faith and trust in Christ now, today, for tomorrow could be too late! This is not a choice for me to make for you; it is a choice that only you can make for yourself. And if you are wanting to make that choice then please follow along and say this simple prayer.

Lord I know what sin is and I know that I am a sinner. I believe that you are the Son of God who died on a cross, was buried, and resurrected from the dead for me. I am placing my full trust in you only to save me and wash away all of my sin with your blood. Please come into my heart as my LORD and Savior. Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you then we praise God for you. The bible teaches in Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place:____________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067, or visit our website at http://www.myerstownbaptistchurch.com/ to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk and answer any questions that you may have.

DANGEROUS INFLUENCES

DANGEROUS INFLUENCES

By: Gary L. Rodgers

 

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PSALMS CHAPTER ONE

Psalms 1:1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

At the very onset to the book of Psalms we are forewarned not to become a part of the dangerous influences that surround us.

ARE YOU BEING INFLUENCED IN A POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE WAY?

Are you walking by faith or are you being led blindly by the influences of people around you? What type of influence are they being to you? Are they influencing you to follow Christ through every situation in your life? Or are they influencing you into other beliefs and doctrines that are contrary to the word of GOD?

I am afraid that there are some of us that have sat idly by and let others direct our thoughts and words without giving any thought or concern as to whether or not we were being led in a positive or negative way.

It behooves us to study the word of GOD on our own to make sure that what we are being taught is in agreement with biblical teachings. While we are to be in submission to the authority of our Pastors and teachers it is still our responsibility to study to show ourselves approved unto GOD, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (diligently studying and cross referencing) the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 Pastors and teachers are people, and people do sometimes say things that may not be exactly correct. Not that we do it purposely but we too make mistakes and if you are in disagreement with something that we say or teach then you should come directly to us and present your concern. It is possible that your pastor or teacher is right and that you are wrong or maybe it is something that we have not looked at as clearly as you. We all learn from each other, and there are some things that you need to weigh in your own mind whether or not it is a clear teaching of scripture. We must be careful not to try to make the bible say what we want it to say. It’s easy to fall into this and we need to be open to hearing the views and teachings of our Pastors and teachers and weigh all evidence given before finalizing our decisions or thoughts. If you are walking in obedience to the LORD He will reveal the deep truths of His Word to you. But when you go to your Pastor or teacher, go in the spirit of love and respect. You will find that in turn you will and should be treated the same.

I DON’T UNDERSTAND

But I don’t understand what I read you may be saying. All of those thee’s and thou’s confuse me and I get bored with trying to read it. And the genealogies why do they have to be in there?

May I ask, what is so hard about understanding what thee or thou means? The fact is that for the most part these are just excuses. When I got saved I started reading the King James Version and it is still my preferred version of scripture. I like the poetic flavor of the King James and I believe that GOD has had His hand on this book ever since the day it was written. And I believe that it was the Spirit of God working through these learned men to select and interpret the manuscripts that were used to give to each of us in the common language of the day, the true words of God. We need to understand that the bible is the sacred Word of GOD to mankind. No one picks up a bible and reads it from cover to cover and clearly understands all that they read. And there is a reason for that. God’s Word was given to us through the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17 and 2 Peter 1:20, 21) Therefore wouldn’t it make better sense for us to have The Holy Spirit working in our lives to explain the scriptures to us? The group of men that were selected into committees to put together the Bible of 1611 were the most learned minds in the world that were chosen for such a huge task, and I believe that the timing for this endeavor was perfect.

I believe that someone correctly stated that the bible is a book that is God breathed. I do not accept that it is a book that partially contains God’s Word. Either I can by faith trust the interpretation of scripture from cover to cover or I cannot trust any of it. My whole spiritual being and faith hinges upon whether or not this book is the inerrant Word of God.

I don’t believe that any of us today are capable of differentiating what some call truth from error when it comes to what God says. And I find it hard to believe that an all powerful God who is capable of creating the entire universe by speaking it into existence would not have the ability to keep one book true to all that he has said. I realize that there are words that were given to us in italics and parenthesis from the interpreters of scripture to more clearly define the meaning of what we are being told, and what was put into italics was done by the interpreters to help understand that these words were not in the available manuscripts. And that is fine since our language breaks down and does not fully reflect all that was being said in the Hebrew or the Greek, both in word and in structure. Which you will note in the next section of the words that were put into parenthesis from the book of Hebrews 5:12-14.

It is not a failure on God’s part in saying what He meant but rather a weakness on our part to clearly define what He said.

When you pick up a bible you are holding in your hand a letter of love and instruction from a Holy GOD written to each of us. In it there are those deep seated golden nuggets of truth that GOD has for us to dig out as we study, feed upon, and grow in obedience to His Word. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 1 Peter 2:2

THE NEW BIRTH

In John 3: 1-21 we are told about the new birth. We are told that you must be born again. What does being born again and desiring the sincere milk of the word tell us about a new Christian? It’s telling us that they are like infants and as infants there are those that are matured in the Word which then have a responsibility to teach, train, and feed these new born infants through scripture. Would any of us put a piece of steak into the mouth of a new born baby? Of course not, they would choke on it! Well GOD doesn’t put any steak or course foods from His Word into the mouth of a new born believer in Christ either. We read in the book of Hebrews 5:12-14. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. So you see there is a reason why you don’t understand everything that you read. I have been saved for a number of years and still don’t understand all that I read. Guess that means that I am still growing. Praise the LORD for that.

ONE IN FIVE SCRIPTURES CONTAIN A NUMBER

One of the most fascinating studies that I have enjoyed reading and learning about is the way that God used numbers in scripture. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Evangelist Dr. Ed F. Vallowe a number of years ago and have gleaned some rich insight through his book on the Mathematics of the Bible. I also read a brief history about a man by the name of Dr. Ivan Panin 1855 – 1942 who spent a number of years of his life devoted to the study of mathematical patterns in scripture which many allude to as being the watermark of authenticity of God’s Word. A system of numerical patterns that are the underline support of what we read on the surface of each page. It so blessed my heart to read how God had taken this Agnostic with a genius mind for mathematical equations; saved his soul through his study of scripture when he Ivan Panin, tried to disprove the existence of God and the Bible as having been written by a superior being, Jehovah God: Later in his life as a child of God he then issued a challenge through leading newspapers of the world to anyone for a natural explanation or rebuttal of the facts that he had so discovered. An amazing story and testimony!

WHY A LIST OF GENEALOGY

Now to touch lightly on the genealogy part of scripture; there are reasons why they are listed in the bible. One reason is that it stands as a testimony to ones heritage. It also shows GOD’s hand in the order of births and GOD’s perfect order of things. For example the number ten in scripture represents Testimony, Law and Responsibility. We have ten fingers and ten toes. We are held responsible for what we do with our hands and where we go with our feet. Our fingers can act as a testimony for or against us. Moses went into Mount Sinai and came back with Ten Laws written by the finger of GOD. Exodus 31:18 Man has a responsibility to obey the commandments of GOD. In Romans 4:15 we are told that the law worketh wrath. Keeping this in mind and looking at Galatians 5:19-21 we find a list of the works of the flesh; notice what the tenth item listed is; (Wrath)! The law worketh wrath! Drop down to the next two verses and you find a list of nine things that are the fruit of the Spirit, against such there is no law. Nine is the representative number for Divine Completeness. Coincidence you say! Well let’s go to Hebrews chapter 11 starting with verse 4 and reading to verse 23 we are given a list of things that were accomplished “By faith.” Notice who was the tenth person mentioned “By faith” in verse 23. It was Moses that man of GOD who by faith went to see the burning bush and met with GOD and received the Ten Commandments (Ten Laws). God poured out ten plagues upon Egypt as a testimony that the nation of Israel was His beloved people. The number for man which is commonly used symbolically by reference is the number 6, is it any wonder that the man of sin with his number of 666 still falls short of God’s glory in His (God’s) perfect number of 7? Eight is typically used in scripture to supports the meaning of New Birth, New Creation or New Beginning and New Order of Things. Is it any wonder why the Gematria[1] of Jesus’ name equals the number 888? Coincidence; or does God use as suggested by some, numbers as a watermark to authenticate His Word that we read on the surface of each page? No doubt it does provide for some interesting food for thought.

WE COME UP SHORT

Because man is weak in the flesh and disobeyed God in one point way back in the Garden of Eden, man became a guilty sinner; and God sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay our penalty for that disobedience. Jesus came to fulfill all the law so that we can be forgiven by faith through our acceptance of His death, burial and resurrection. You and I cannot possibly obey every law that God gave to man. That is why the scriptures teach that we fall short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23) If we fail one time in any point then we fail in all the law. (James 2:10) The law was not written to show man what he has to do to be perfect. The law was written to show man that he is indeed a hopelessly lost sinner and therefore needs a Redeemer; someone who can restore man to God. And that happened through the sacrifice of God’s Son Jesus Christ. Man cannot through any self willed effort become perfect. The law was written to show us that man stands guilty before a Holy God. Contrary to our natural way of thinking, God’s law was not written to justify man but rather to condemn man.

NO LAW, NO OFFENSE

Where there is no law, there is no offense. The New Testament is the New Covenant between God and man. As already mentioned man became an imperfect being back in the Garden of Eden when he disobeyed God’s command not to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. When Adam did this he plunged the entire human race into a sinful state. Because of one human being, Adam, the father of the human race in willful disobedience to God has placed all of mankind into condemnation through our lineage (blood line). (Romans 5:12) It took a GOD with human flesh to obey all the law and to become the payment that GOD required: Jesus paid our penalty. John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. The genealogy or pedigree of a person gives you an idea of the type of person that you are dealing with. If you are about to enter into a contract with someone who comes from a long line of people that were liars and swindlers and have been known for always backing out on their word, how would you walk with them? Would you blindly agree to sign any agreement with them? No! I believe that you would be very cautious and possibly on the verge of not proceeding ahead into any contract with them.

We must always walk cautiously; while our intentions may be good and our dealings honest it does not necessarily mean that the other person holds any regard to any of it.

POLITICAL INFLUENCE CAN BE A DANGER TO US

Recently while I was looking over some books from Christianbook.com, I came across a book called “Understanding Islam and Christianity Made Easy.” I wanted to read a little bit of the book to get a picture of the way that it was structured. On page 5 there was something that upset me and I wanted to note it as being what I call a “Dangerous Political Influence.” http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product_slideshow?sku=635825&actual_sku=635825

“Quoted from their book”

Muslims in America

“Islam is the fastest-growing religion in America, a guide and a pillar of stability for many of our people.” This was a quote taken from Hillary Clinton as noted by the Los Angeles Times.

This is frightening!!!!!!!!!!!

I researched this further to see what else I could find on this.

An excerpt taken from, The Island Online Leisure article regarding Hillary Clinton trying to win favorable votes from the Arab and Muslim communities of the United States during the first election campaigns against Barak Obama. http://www.island.lk/2008/06/01/leisure1.html

“Clinton didn’t content herself with addressing Arabs. She headed as well to Muslims, aiming at winning their support, especially that Obama, her competitor, is from Muslim African descent. In 1996, at the first-ever White House celebration of Eid al Fit[2]; the former First Lady accepted two gifts of Qur’an saying: “I am honored to have these gifts… one for my husband, and one for me, as Chelsea already has her copy. I have to admit that a good deal of what my husband and I have learned about Islam has come from my daughter. Later that year, she remarked that “Islam is the fastest growing religion in America, a guide and a pillar of stability for many of our people…” Hillary Rodman Clinton

Also in an article from “A Muslim’s Diary” the same statement is recorded. Lack of knowledge in the religion: Islam is the fastest growing religion in America, a guide and a pillar of stability for many of our people.-Hillary Rodman Clinton. http://amuslimdiary.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/an-article-from-a-14-year-old-sister/

Wake up Christians!!!!! You are about to let your nation be taken away from you!

THE ANOREXIC LIFE

This nation was founded upon the principles of Holy Scripture and its precepts were designed after the laws contained in scripture. We as a nation have drifted seriously away from GOD and His Word and as a result we have become morally and ethically anorexic and our strength as a unified people has become nearly non-existent. Why haven’t we brought this nation back to its one time greatness? Because it is the responsibility of its citizens to acknowledge that there is a GOD and the bible is His written Word? The key word for us as a people is the word “REPENT,” which implies that we are to do an about face and turn from our wicked ways. In doing this He (God) would then heal our land! “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn (repent) from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14. But are we willing to do this? I believe that what we have always needed was to have more Christian politicians in our seats of government (Just like it was in the days of our nations birth) to make this country the Super Power that it once was. But as I read and study scripture I am fearful that there is a reason why there is no mention of our nation in the last days. I believe that our country has gone so far away from God that there is no longer the hope of turning our country around to bring it back to its former greatness.

I don’t believe that Islam is the answer for the United States.

WALK CAUTOUSLY

I am fearful that if we don’t do our part for the cause of Christ that we may be possibly headed for some future persecutions in our homeland. We all need to do what we can to get people saved and to strengthen the beliefs of those that name the name of Jesus. No doubt that some if not many will balk at our attempt to share the gospel with them. And I’m sure that as we try that there will be those that will try to label what we are doing as hate speech. But we as a Christian people need to continue to try for two reasons. First and foremost because we need to love one another, and in sharing the gospel that is what we are trying to do, love our fellow man and help them to come to the realization that they too can have eternal life but putting their faith (trust) in Christ. Secondly we being a Christian means that we are to be Christ-like, and Christ gave his life a ransom for all when he faced persecution and death on the cross, and for us it could mean persecution and death as well. Not an easy thing to think about much less talk about. We are told in Ezekiel 3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

A SORROWFUL ATTITUDE

I also believe that we are in the Laodicean church age where even bible believing Christians are saying that they are increased with goods and have need of nothing. We need to open our eyes and the eyes of our saved brothers and sisters to the fact that many churches in our country have become lukewarm and indifferent in their attitude towards bible study, prayer, soul winning and sound doctrine. Many are turning from the truth of scripture to follow after what others are trying to call the norm of society. And we are warned of this in 2 Timothy 4:3 & 4.

2 Timothy 4:3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

This so called norm which is being promoted by those that have raised their banner of sin as the new law of the land is a serious offense to our Christian beliefs: and our rights to worship God freely will be the next step of attack in their agenda. We are being pushed to set aside what God calls sin for the sake of those that wish to promote their immoral disintegration, and our indisputable right to believe and hold to those doctrines which oppose sin in any form is now being challenged. We all need to get serious about what we believe and why. Our children in particular are being pulled in all sorts of directions in an education system where they are exposed to heresies and false doctrines. We as the adult structure of our churches need to take a strong stance and begin teaching our families at home during a time of daily Devotion and Prayer. We need to be open to their questions and also ask what they are being taught or what they are being influenced by. We can no longer sit by and just trust that they are getting it and understanding what the bible truly teaches.

LORD TEACH US

Often I think of the Disciples coming to Christ and asking Him to teach them to pray. That has always been a bit of a shock to me that they asked Him to teach them to pray. Having been a devout Jew you would have thought that they would have already understood this. And if they needed to be taught how to pray then did they need to be taught how to win a soul to Christ? Did they need to be taught how to tithe and why? Did they need to be taught how to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the LORD? Did they need to be taught to put on the armor of GOD and fight the good fight of the faith? I believe that they did in all cases, and if Christ had to teach these and many other things to His children then it behooves us to teach our children as well.

We need to get busy teaching our children and grandchildren the truths of GOD’s Word. We need to stop this Laodicean attitude and get serious about what we believe and who we believe in. If we don’t start teaching our children “Thus saith the LORD” then we are going to lose them to these hellish ways and false doctrines. They are your children, so fight for them!!! Quit acting like you don’t have any power or strength! You have the power of Heaven at your disposal; use it!

Let go of the things of this world and take hold of Christ!!! I am often reminded of that thought in this simple little poem.

TREASURES

One by one He took them from me,

All the things I valued most,

Until I was empty-handed;

Every glittering toy was lost.

 

And I walked earth’s highways, grieving.

In my rags and poverty.

Till I heard His voice inviting,

“Lift your empty hands to Me!”

 

So I held my hands toward heaven,

And He filled them with a store

Of His own transcendent riches,

Till they could contain no more.

 

And at last I comprehended

With my stupid mind and dull,

That God COULD not pour His riches

Into hands already full!

By: Martha Snell Nicholson

 

We live in a world of uncertainty, threatened by sin! It seems like we are forever being challenged by someone to accept the norm of the day and to reject what they call old habits or beliefs. Many people act like God is a fantasy with no power and no authority. But He will laugh when their calamity comes upon them, and He will cause them to be sore afraid and terrified.

Psalms 2:1Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,       3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

Psalm 37:13The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

We are all born into this world as hopelessly lost sinners and without Christ our sure destination is to spend an eternity in a real place called hell. But we can escape that awful destiny and change our course of direction. We are told in Romans 10:9 & 10 that if we believe in our hearts and confess with out mouths the LORD Jesus we will be saved.

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision.  Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk. Feel free to contact us with your questions. We are here to help you come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Gematria is an Assyro-Babylonian system of numerology later adopted by Jews that assigns numerical value to a word or phrase in the belief that words or phrases with identical numerical values bear some relation to each other or bear some relation to the number itself.

[2] Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity,” while Fir means “breaking the fast”. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eid_ul-Fitr

 

FRET NOT THYSELF BECAUSE OF EVILDOERS

By: Gary L. Rodgers

Psalms 37

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In today’s world we are bombarded with evil all around us and for the child of God it is important that we don’t lose sight of God’s promises that He will set things right. In Psalm 37 we find the hope of God when we are told to fret not.

How many of us have heard the expression “Don’t sweat the small stuff!” or “Don’t let things get you down!”

How about “Be happy with what you got!” or “Don’t be envious of another man’s possessions!”

As we note immediately from Psalms 37 we find in the very first verse that David through the influence of God is telling us to “Fret not.”

According to the ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA –

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting some 40 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older which is said to be 18% of the U.S. population. And costing somewhere in excess of $42 Billion dollars a year in treatments. One third of the country’s total mental health bill.

No wonder someone coined the phrase and rightfully so that we make Jello nervous!

My favorite is the one that goes – “I’m about as nervous as a Baptist Preacher that can’t find his offering plates.” Being a Baptist, that is what I call being fearful and fretting.

You will note in reading Psalm 37 that it is not a prayer but rather a series of instruction as to how we the children of God are to react to our feelings of frustration over the wealth and seeming prosperity of the wicked. When you get all down in the mouth about the mountain of wealth that the wicked have and what little you have by comparison, Psalms 37, 49 and 73 are good Psalms to read to help ease those bouts of anxiety when life seems to have dealt you a bad hand so to speak.

Have you ever looked at these drug dealers and others involved in crime and say to yourself “It’s just not fair! It’s just not fair that I struggle so hard to get somewhere while these bunch of criminals seem to live a lavish lifestyle with no expression of worry and sorrow, with no sense of fear for tomorrow. It’s just not fair!”

I know that my children sometimes would have this look or question on their face as to why I would restrict them from participating in certain school activities and parties. And for them I am sure that it just didn’t seem fair. But I didn’t do it because I was against their having fun. I did it because I love them and I wanted them to learn early that not everything that may seem innocent on the surface was truly that way in reality. I wanted them to learn that just because the world seems to be going in a certain direction that it was also alright for us to follow along and participate as well. And I believe that Psalms 37 is the instruction of a loving father to us, His children that not everything is meant for us to have or to be involved in, that things are not always as they may now seem.

Read Psalms 37: 1 thru and up to verse 34, stopping there momentarily.

We are told at the very onset of this chapter to “Fret not” or to not be worried, or concerned with what the wicked have; nor are we to be envious or jealous of them. In due time they will be destroyed and the memory of them will wither away as suggested by the use of the words in verse 2. The truth of what is being said in this chapter can be realized in Revelation 18 where we read about the great whore Babylon (or the great perversion would be another way of saying that). Babylon is both a city and a world system, it will be a place of great commerce, it will be a place of world influence. It is thought by some that it will become the seat of world finance and market. But we are told that God will destroy Babylon along with the vast wealth of the wicked in one hour. All of these so called get rich quick criminals and the filthy perversions behind much of their wealth will be destroyed in one hour, and all of these syndicate leaders, and merchants, right down to the street hooker will lose all that they hoped to gain, and they will weep terribly over their losses. That’s why it is so important for us and our children to learn to be content with what God has given us.

You don’t need to be a multimillionaire to be happy. Our happiness is not in things but in the Lord God himself. Our happiness is eternal and much of it is still yet to come. Generally speaking there is nothing

wrong with being wealthy, but do you know that most people and Christians in particular would not be able to handle a large amount of wealth? Why do you suppose that is? Unfortunately most people would not feel as though they needed to pray as often as they did before. For a number of people their wealth would become so important to them that they would continually have it on their minds, and God would filter into their lives somewhere down the line. And then there are some that would have so much that they would begin to feel a power within themselves that would influence them into believing that they can take and do whatever they want, and not be fearful of any consequences.

I can think of two people that have been like that. In the secular world I believe that there is a certain popular young man that initially started out as a very respectful and fine young person. But the influence of his wealth and those that he hung around with gave him this false pride and feeling that he was invulnerable when it came to behaving himself and acting in a responsible and upright way. In his mind laws and rules did not apply to him. King David was another one I believe to have fallen into this false power and security when he looked upon and lusted after Bathsheba and summoned for her. And through this he planned and schemed his way into committing adultery with her and consequently murdered Uriah her husband. And as a result of that God sent Nathan the prophet to confront David about his sin; and we read about that in 2 Samuel chapter 12.

2 Samuel 12:1And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.

2The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:

3But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.

4And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.

5And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:

6And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.

7And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;

8And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.

9Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.

10Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; (Let me ask you a question. Do we not believe that we have eternal security, that once saved we are always saved? Do we not believe that? Does this verse sound to you as some would suggest, that we can sin and get away with it because we believe in the security of the believer? Does it sound like David was getting away with it?

Do you think that my children felt that they could get away with virtually anything because I was their Dad, and that my relationship to them would never change no matter what?

Why would the sword not depart from David’s house? We find the answer to that question in the latter part of verse 10 which says.) “Because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.” (Sin has its price doesn’t it?)

11Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. (s-u-n meaning that God will do this in full view of all the land. It will not be hid away in darkness. It tells us in Numbers 32:23 “Be sure that your sin will find you out.”)

12For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

Great riches can give us a false sense of security if we are not careful. So what are we to do? In verses 3,4, and 5 of our text we are told to “Trust in the Lord”, “Delight thyself in the Lord”, and to “Commit our ways unto him”. That’s the real secret to happiness. Not what the world has to offer, but what God will provide. We need to be content in the things that we have and not desiring of the things that are offensive and contrary to God’s will and precepts.

In verse 7 we are told to rest or be content in the Lord. When Solomon became King he didn’t ask for great wealth, instead he asked for wisdom and God not only gave him an extraordinary wisdom but He showered Solomon with untold wealth as well. But look at what all that wealth brought Solomon. We are told that he had hundreds of wives and Concubines and in 1 Kings 11 it clearly tells us that his wives were taken from the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were all taken from the nations that God told the children of Israel that they were not to intermarry with. And we find later on in that chapter that Solomon’s wives led him astray and that he turned his heart after other god’s.

Great wealth does not provide the security and happiness that comes with walking close to the Lord in all our ways and knowing that He shall direct our paths. (Proverbs 3:5&6) Solomon was a man with vast wisdom, and if he could not fare up under the influence of his many riches, how dare I be envious of all that the wicked have and think for a moment that I could do better? There are rich successful Christians in this world that have learned the secret of acknowledging God in all their ways, and trusting in His word as their means to becoming prosperous and of good success. (Joshua 1:8) But for many, vast riches would be their downfall.

No doubt that there are things that money just can’t buy. If you have ever led a soul to Christ then you know that there is a certain joy, and peace, and feeling of victory that you experience with that. Money can’t buy that kind of feeling of spiritual happiness. There is a certain joy, and peace, and victory that comes with witnessing specific steps that occur in the life of our children or a newly born child of God that money can’t buy, and the world can’t give it to you. So we need to “Rest in the Lord. And wait patiently for him:” as noted in verse 7 of our text.

We are told to cease from anger, and forsake wrath, and again we are told to fret not. “Fret not thyself in any wise to do evil” as noted in verse 8. Evildoers will be cut off and shall be no more, but the meek shall inherit the earth.

Doesn’t verse 12 speak well of the way that things are in our society today? The wicked plot against us, and they gnash upon us with their teeth. We are so hated by the world and this system of corruption, and greed, that the wicked scheme against us and take every opportunity to attack us and tear us down in any way that they can. But we were warned of this by Christ when He told us that the world would hate us, because the world had hated Him first. (John 15:18) Why else do they hate us? Because we are a reminder to them that there is a God who will someday judge the works of men. They hate seeing us happy in what little that we have, because they are not satisfied with all that they have gained through their greed and wicked ways. They crave more, and they have no true peace, they have no true joy. They just have things that will in time be destroyed by moth, and rust and corruption or decay, and thieves break through and steal. (Matthew 6:19 and 20) We are told in verse 16 of our text. “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.”

The arms or strength of the wicked shall be broken or brought to naught as noted in verse 17. “But the Lord upholdeth (or carries us the righteous with His full support and power.) ”And our “inheritance shall be forever. And we shall be satisfied in the days of famine.” (verses 18 and 19)

I like what it says in verses 23 thru 25:

23The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

24Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

25I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

We have a body of flesh that can be tempted. And at times that flesh will bring us down. But we will not be utterly cast down because we have a loving Father that will reach out to us and lift us up when we are sinking in the rough seas of this world of sin. He did it for Peter and He will do it for us. Praise the Lord and amen!

And when those days come upon us we are to depart or forsake evil and do good by taking all of our cares and worries to the Lord. (verse 27 and 1 Peter 5:7) “For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved forever.” (verse29 of our text)

As long as the law of our God is in our hearts we shall be able to stand firm in the day of trouble and we shall not be moved. (As suggested by the words in verse 31 and in Psalm 17:5 which reads: “Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.”)

IN CLOSING:

In verses 35 – 40 of our text we read:

35I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

36Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

37Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

38But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

39But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

40And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

Fret not thyself because of evildoers my friend, because the Lord is our God and Savior for “he hath made us, and we are not ourselves; (or not our own) we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:3)

“The Lord is on my side: I will not fear: what can man do unto me? (Psalms 118:6)

And all of God’s people said – Amen!

HAVE WE RUN OUR COURSE AS A NATION

By; Gary L. Rodgers

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Recently I have read two books that seem to meld their messages together in such a way as to send a strong warning to the United States with regard to the events that have struck our nation on 9/11 in 2001 including other events that have happened and continue to happen since that horrific date in our nation’s history.

The second book that I have read deals with the historical changes that have occurred within the nation of Israel in the past five hundred years and by all appearances if the next four blood moon occurrence follows the pattern of the last three, another historical change may very well be on the horizon for the nation Israel and the United States in the years 2014 and 2015.

The two books that I am speaking of is “The Harbinger” written by Jonathan Cahn a Jewish Messianic Rabbi from Wayne New Jersey who brings out an ancient prophetic mystery that appears to effect the paths taken by the United States from the book of Isaiah chapter 9 and specifically verse 10 as its key verse which reads, “ The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.” This was a defiant response by the nation of Israel against the judgments of God. In essence they were saying “Who cares if God judges us? Whatever is torn down, we will rebuild with something better. We have nothing to fear from what God can bring against us.”

The second book that I am speaking of is a book written by Pastor John Hagee from Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas called, “Four Blood Moons”. In addition to reading the book I also searched the NASA website to verify dates and years.

I believe that both of these books have a message for us as a people and a nation; both for the United States and Israel, two nations that have been so blessed by the Lord our God. In the second half of Luke 12:48 it says “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required:” No doubt that both of our nations have been given much.

Rather than my going into a lot of detail I would urge everyone to at least watch the video of an interview with Jonathan Cahn at the following link.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=the+harbinger+by+jonathan+cahn&FORM=VIRE1#view=detail&mid=5BC906097420B90672EE5BC906097420B90672EE

In a booklet that I recently wrote (SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS) after having read the book “FOUR BLOOD MOONS” by Pastor John Hagee I have come to believe that one startling fact remains and that fact is that September of 2015 is the close of a Shemittah or Sabbatical year. The end of the seventh year, or year of Sabbath; a year in which the land was called to rest or heal.

While this was an observance that the nation Israel was commanded to follow, the Shemittah as mentioned by Jonathan Cahn in his book and in the video has had some impact on our country since the Shemittah of 9-11-2001 and 2009.

I would be interested to hear your comments on the video and I would urge you to buy the books.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS

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By: Gary L. Rodgers

 

Has God employed the use of certain signs in the Heavens to prepare the nation of Israel for some event that would change their lives and their course in history?

In Matthew chapter 2 we read about three wise men that followed a Star which pointed them to where they found the Savior of the world.

Were there other signs in the Heavens that brought about some sort of change for the nation of Israel?

  • In Joshua chapter 10 we are given the story of Joshua praying to God that He would cause the sun and moon to stand still which gave Israel the daylight that they needed to destroy the army of the Amorites.
  • In Isaiah 38 we find that God caused the sun to go backwards for a portion of a day as a sign to King Hezekiah that God heard his prayer and 15 years was added to his life.

OTHER SIGNS AND WONDERS

Joel 2:30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

Zechariah 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. The feast of tabernacles or Sukkot is a celebration called “A Season of Our Joy” which is a feast of booths (tents, tabernacles). The Jews would celebrate this feast inside of their booths which is a makeshift tent that they would setup in their homes as a remembrance to the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.

We know from scripture that the Passover or Pesach is a celebration when the Jews were delivered from Egyptian bondage. The death angel went throughout Egypt and slew all of the first born of both man and beast. The Jews were instructed by God to smear Lamb’s blood on the doorposts and lintel of their homes and when the death angel saw the blood he would then pass over that house. (Exodus 12:12)

The Pesach and Sukkot are also a celebrated time of sowing and reaping of their harvests.

Would you agree that these are two very important celebrations to the nation of Israel, the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles?

Recently while doing a study on blood moons I happened across some interesting notes that I wanted to share.  

As we know from our school years astronomy and astrology are both a study of the stars.

Astronomy is a study of celestial objects such as moons, stars, planets, and galaxies. It is the study of the physics, chemistry and mathematics of these objects. (Physics – which is a study of the matter and motion of these objects through space and time)

Astrology – Is the study of motion and the position of these stars in relationship to one another and this information has been used to predict future events. From this study the signs of the Zodiac and Horoscopes were developed which are believed by some to express certain character traits of people born on specific dates.

 ASTRONOMY

As a Christian I feel that the science of astronomy is something that would be alright for us to understand. In a book that I have from Dr. Harold Wilmington from Liberty university he brought out some interesting points about the vastness of space and the size of certain stars and planets when trying to get us to see how big God’s world is and how we size up by comparison. Light-years is the distance that light travels in a one year period of time. Light as we know it travels at 186,282 miles per second which calculates to 671 million miles traveled in 1 hour of time. Space as we know it is so vast that a measurement of feet, inches and miles begin to breakdown when trying to calculate these distances, so light-years are used to measure some of these distances. One light-year calculates to some 5.9 trillion miles that light will travel at a speed of 671 million miles per/hr in one year’s time. When considering these calculations we as a planet are but a tiny speck in all of our surroundings. When thinking on these things Psalms 8:3-9 comes to mind which reads:

3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

I am awe struck by the wonder and greatness of our God; yet man in his pride has challenged the very holiness and existence of our God. I believe that Romans 1:22 has it right when it says “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,”

ASTROLOGY

God has some very strong things to say against astrology. In speaking to the nation of Israel, He declared his judgment about such practice by saying, Deuteronomy 17:2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, 3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: 5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

 In fact, God made it very clear through the prophet Isaiah that astrology cannot save Babylon. God pronounced His judgment on Babylon and challenged their false beliefs to save them from the coming judgment. In Isaiah 47:13 we read “Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.

 WHAT CAUSES A BLOOD MOON TO APPEAR

Down through the centuries there have been lunar eclipses which occur when the moon is aligned in the shadow of the earth which causes the moon to turn a blood red color. The rarest and most significant of these blood moons is when you have four of them occur over a two year period on the Jewish holidays of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. This rare occurrence called Tetrads have happened three times in the past 500 years with the next set scheduled to occur in the years 2014 and 2015. So what is the significance to all of this? Could it be that God uses the sun, moon, and stars as a sign to the nation Israel that some dreadful time of trials and tribulations are about to fall upon them?

We are told in several passages that one of the signs of the end will be when the sun is darkened and the moon turns to blood.

 Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

Genesis 1:14 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:

HISTORY OF THREE SPECIFIC (FOUR) BLOOD MOON OCCURANCES (Tetrads) IN THE LAST 500 YEARS

The Tetrad of 1493 & 1494 occurred on the following dates:

  • Passover – April 2, 1493 and Sukkot – September 25, 1493
  • Passover – March 22, 1494 and Sukkot – September 15, 1494
  • The total solar eclipse occurred on September 24, 1493

This time in Jewish history marks the horrible event known as the Spanish Inquisition that was headed up and controlled by King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella of Spain; this was the same Queen that financed the voyage of Christopher Columbus a year earlier in 1492 when he came to the Americas.

In Spain the Jewish people were brutally tortured and murdered because they refused to abandon their faith and be converted to Catholicism. With their money and their property taken from them, and without means of supporting themselves, all Jews who refused to convert to Catholicism were then banished from Spain.  

The Tetrad of 1949 & 1950 occurred on the following dates:

  • Passover – April 13, 1949 and Sukkot – October 7, 1949
  • Passover – April 2, 1950 and Sukkot – September 26, 1950
  • The total solar eclipse occurred on September 12, 1950

This time in Jewish history we find the nation of Israel in its infancy as a nation reborn. This period marks the miracle of the ingathering of the Jewish people to return to their beloved homeland. As we know from history, Titus of Rome overran Jerusalem in A.D. 70, destroying the Temple and the city and then he forcibly exiled the Jewish people from their sacred land that was promised to them by God.  Now after 1,800 years without a country to call their own the Jewish people were now able to return to the land of their forefathers. With the persecution and suffering of Germany and Adolf Hitler behind them they now could go home to the place where God intended for them to be, in the land of promise. Now they could set up their own system of Government according to their beliefs and once again teach their children the Hebrew language of their ancestors.

Isaiah 66:8 Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

Why has the United States been so blessed over the years? It’s because with our influence and support to the children of Israel in 1948 we were able to sway the United Nations to pass a vote for Israel to become a Jewish state. For centuries the nation of Israel has been a wandering people; now they are home for good and never to be moved again.

The Tetrad of 1967 & 1968 occurred on the following dates:

  • Passover – April 24, 1967 and Sukkot – October 18, 1967
  • Passover – April 13, 1968 and Sukkot – October 6, 1968
  • The total solar eclipse occurred on November 2, 1967

The significance behind this Tetrad was the six day war and the re-taking of Israel’s holy city of Jerusalem. Faced with overwhelming odds against them and by the hand of Almighty God they re-took the city that they have so longed for. Miracle after miracle occurred in those six days, and now they were able to once again say that Jerusalem was back in Jewish hands.

 According to NASA the next Tetrad is scheduled to occur in 2014 & 2015 on the following dates.

  • Passover – April 15, 2014 and Sukkot – October 8, 2014
  • Passover – April 4, 2015 and Sukkot – September 28, 2015
  • The total solar eclipse is to occur on March 20, 2015

What will be the significance of this event? No one knows other than God himself. But whatever happens we can feel sure that God will do something in the lives of His covenant people. Down through the centuries a vast number of blood moons have appeared, but as we have noted only three of the four blood moon signs have occurred on the specific Jewish holidays of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles in the past 500 years.

The next four blood moon Tetrad of 2014 & 2015 is certain to come, and I feel safe and secure in knowing that regardless of what this event may bring, that God is in complete control and that I’m as sure for Heaven as anyone can be. I know that my God will never leave me nor forsake me. His promise to save me because of my faith in Him and to deliver me from the wrath that is to come gives me all the peace that I need that tomorrow will be well taken care of.

The United States has always stood by Israel in the past and it is my hope and prayer that it will heed the warning of Genesis 12:3 and stand by Israel until the day that God brings down the New Jerusalem from Heaven. (Revelations 3:12 and 21:2)

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Praise God “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12b)

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/lunar.html

Even the world is keeping their eyes on the heavens.

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/mega-moon-meteor-showers-11-must-watch-events-light-2014-2D11821225

 

THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD

THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD

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By: Gary L. Rodgers

SUCCESS

If I were to ask you to define success, what would you say? Some might say that having a new home is a sign of success. Others might say having a lucrative career is a sign of success. Still others might say that good health and a nice family is a sign of success. All of these things are fine in themselves but in the KJV of scripture the word success is found written only once in all of God’s Word and it is found in Joshua 1:8 which reads, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” The bible tells us that if you want to live a prosperous and successful life that you can achieve that by reading, meditating and obeying the word of God. The world looks at this and laughs, yet they have no true peace in the life that they lead but they try to convince everyone around them that they are a success at life and its many pleasures. And I suppose that by the world’s standards that they are, but by God’s standard they are poor and wretched and blind. No doubt that we live in a Laodicean world where the attitude is that “I’m increased with goods and have need of nothing. (Revelation 3:17)

So often I felt that if I had some money saved ahead of my bills and other obligations that I would feel like I’m going somewhere, yet with the few times that happened I found that I prayed less often and my dependency on God seemed to be somewhat on the shy side of what it should have been. And on top of it all I found that the more that I pursued the idea of gaining more money the less that I read and studied God’s Word, I found little time for meditation and being observant to do according to His will, so while I was working at trying to be a success by the world’s standard I found that I was failing as a Christian. Now don’t misunderstand what I am trying to say here. There is nothing wrong with having a nice home and new cars with a sizeable savings in a bank. There is nothing wrong with that as long as God and His word is still first in your life. When God starts to become a second seat to those things then watch out! You are about to take a tumble.

Do you know why it is easier to win a poor man to the Lord than a rich man? The rich man may be listening but in the back of his mind he is wondering what is this going to cost me? While the poor man is saying I have nothing so maybe there is something in this for me! The poor man is saying “I have nothing to lose, so maybe this is the message that I have been looking for that will give me hope”.

As Christians we have a wealth that the world does not understand. And this wealth is in God and His Word.

My wife likes the idea of taking a trip, I keep telling her to hold on there’s a big one coming up soon, it’s called the Rapture, and believe me you won’t be disappointed.

DISCERNER

Another powerful word that is only found once in the KJV is the word Discerner. (Hebrews 4:12) And it is relative to God’s word being the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. It is a word of true understanding and it tells us that God’s word is so alive and powerful that it is sharper than any two-edged sword. Which not only can pierce and divide asunder the soul and spirit but it also knows the thoughts and intents of the heart. Wow! Can you imagine that? God’s Word can with its keen edge easily separate the soul from the spirit?  We as humans generally have a hard time explaining the difference between soul and spirit in our own words. But God’s Word has no trouble with that at all. There is a difference and we are told in scripture that the first Adam was made a living soul and the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:45)

If we are walking close to the Lord in His Word we will be able to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart whether those thoughts and intentions were good or evil. So if we study, meditate, and are obedient to God’s Word then we will have the power to use His living Word to discern between what is good and what is evil.

ENGRAFTED

Engrafted (James 1:21) is another word that is only found once in the KJV version of scripture and it carries with it the meaning (inborn, or implanted). So if we would take this word of God and so implant it into our lives it then has the power to sanctify or set us apart and save our souls. Then that must mean that God’s Word is so powerful that it can change the worst of a sinner’s heart into becoming a child of God. (Galatians 4:6) and we will be grafted into the true vine.   

CONVERTING

Another word that is found only once in the KJV of scripture is the word converting which shows that God’s Word can make a change in us and give us wisdom. (Psalm 19:7) His Word is perfect and His testimony sure.

When we trust in God’s living Word Jesus Christ (John 1:14) we are then converted from being a lost sinner to a saved born again believer in Christ. (John 3:1-21)

ENLIGHTENING

God’s Word is so pure that it will enlighten us or open our eyes to the truth, which rejoices the heart. (Psalm 19:8) This is also a word that is only found once in the KJV of scripture.

Five powerful words, each having their own importance that can only be gained through the reading, meditating and obedience to God’s Word!

I CARRY A LANTERN

I CARRY A LANTERN

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By: Gary L. Rodgers

Theme verse – Psalm 119:105

I was anxious to learn what God had to teach me, so I asked God for a pair of running shoes so that I could quickly run down the road of knowledge to gain as much wisdom as I could. [1] Instead he gave me a lantern.

That night before I went to bed I used the lantern to find my way through scripture as I walked down the road of knowledge. It was a slow pace one step at a time as I couldn’t see too far ahead of me for the light did not give its brightness any more than a single step in length. With each step I could see the back of someone’s heel just ahead of me and I knew in my heart that it was the Lord leading me down this road of knowledge and through the paths of righteousness.[2] Oh how I enjoyed every precious moment that I spent with God learning about him and sharing thoughts on the many splendid things that he wanted to teach me. The excitement of learning and growing in his word was a craving in my soul. I wanted to know more. So I asked God again to give me a pair of running shoes. Instead he gave me a lantern.

The next evening I again used the lantern to be led away in scripture. The more he taught me the more I wanted to learn.  He showed me that we are all hopelessly lost sinners and that we needed someone to take all of our sins upon themselves as our sin sacrifice; [3] someone who would pay the terrible burden of debt that we were under. He showed me that trusting him with my present life and my eternal life was the best decision that I had ever made.

As I held up my lantern to get a better look he showed me some wonderful and exciting truths about himself. It was like lightly uncovering the earth with your finger and as you dug into the soil you all of a sudden felt something below the surface that at first would get your heart to pounding. So you dig a little faster and as you uncover it you see a sparkling jewel of wisdom glistening in the lantern light. It had the most beautiful sparkle and glow about it; it was like a crystal the likes of which I had never seen before: [4] shiny and sparkly with a thin ribbon of red running through it so that when you looked at it from different angles the red line would broaden. It reminded me of what we called a cat’s eye marble when I was a child. I dug a little more and found another one, then three, then four; after a while I had a hand full. Those little jewels of knowledge and wisdom became so precious to me, my own little treasure trove that I put into my pocket.[5] Wow! Was I ever excited! I wanted more, much more! I knew that there had to be more ahead for me and I was in a hurry to get there, so again I asked God for a pair of running shoes.

THE RUNNING SHOES

The next morning along side of my bed was a nice new pair of running shoes of self will. I could hardly wait to put them on. As I laced them up I thought of all the wonderful and spectacular places that I would be off to. I was so excited that I didn’t even take time to eat breakfast; so I ran out the door and down the road I went leaving behind the lantern that God gave to me. I thought that I would take a quick run and be back before night fall; so why take it? I ran for miles over dirt roads and through some of the most beautiful country side that I had ever seen. Big billowing clouds against a blue sky gave a mirrored image of themselves in a large pond near the side of the road. A small flock of birds trailed one another in unison across the pond which gave the appearance of two strings of pearls one above the other swerving their way across a painting. The sun was warm, and the air was so fresh and gentle that you could smell Lilac and Iris flowing in the breeze as I ran. Occasionally I caught the sweet smell of honeysuckle and inside I knew that my God made it and everything was just perfect.

THE FALL

At one point I ran so fast down a small grade that I couldn’t control my speed and I overran my balance and down I went. I could feel the small pieces of gravel tear into my flesh as I slid on the dirt road, the pain was unbearable and the burning from the gravel rash was sickening. Finally it ended when I rolled over unto my stomach as I was sliding and my right knee hit a big rock in the road. At first I rolled around in pain. I hurt too much to check myself for injury so I just stopped and laid there for what seemed like forever. Finally I was able to sit up and check myself for cuts and bruises. My whole left side was scraped raw from my left hand, down my arm and elbow, across my ribs and left thigh. My right knee had a bad gash in it from the rock that I hit and I thought that I would never be able to get up. So I sat there all bloody and torn and began to feel sorry for myself for the terrible tragedy that I just experienced. I thought how could something like this happen? Everything seemed like it was going along fine, I was in control and everywhere I looked there appeared to be no danger. So why Lord, why?

THE TRIP BACK

Finally I got to my feet and hobbled back up the hill. I headed down the road toward home until I came to the pond again. I cupped my hands and gathered up what water I could to clean my wounds. The cool water felt so comforting like a welcoming friend. Just then it dawned on me that it was getting late in the afternoon and before long evening would come upon me. I knew that there was no way that I would get home before dark but I had to try to quicken my pace as much as I could. So with a limp like hobble I ran the best that I could toward home. I thought to myself that no one knew that I was away and no one knew where I was. How foolish of me to be so very far from home in this predicament! All I wanted was to learn as much as I could about God and I wanted to learn in a hurry; so I felt that I just had to have a pair of running shoes to pick up the pace.

THE DARKNESS

As I hobbled along toward home it didn’t take long for all of the beautiful scenery to disappear into utter darkness.  It was nearly impossible to see anything. I longed for the moonlight to break through the clouds and it seemed like a dark cloak of torment hovered above me. I could tell that I was on the road by the sound of crushed gravel sliding under my feet with each pounding step and I could occasionally catch glimpses of trees and hillsides against the night sky. The sounds of crickets and night creatures were in my ears and I was frightened. What an eerie menacing feeling this darkness had about it.  Several times I heard the voice of someone crying and begging me to stop running and help them. I cried out to them “Where are you?” But I was not able to find them. The rising mist played tricks on my eyes and I imagined that I could see their arms reaching out to me. A flood of tears was running down my face because I wanted so desperately to help them and couldn’t. I knew in the deepest of my thoughts that they were dying and I was not able to offer them any aide.[6] Way behind me in an almost muffled sound I could hear the horrible screams of these lost souls as they were giving up their final breaths of this present life; and I wished so much that I had a lantern to guide them into the light of God’s love and forgiveness. If I could only get home, that’s all that I could think about. If I could only get home where I would be safe from the horror of this terrible night!

THE NIGHT TERROR

Suddenly from out of nowhere in the pitch black of darkness I could hear the sinister sounds of other footsteps crushing against the graveled road behind me. Some horrible beast was chasing me and taunting me with its silence. I was far too afraid to look behind me and I could feel their hot breath against the back of my neck. [7] A cold chill of fear hit me like a blast of winter wind. I felt that my life was about to end and my only hope was getting home or somewhere near enough to home where I could call out to someone, anyone, for help. The darkness was so dense that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face but I had to keep running as fast and as hard as I could. As long as I could hear my footsteps hitting against the graveled road I knew that I had a chance to get to safety. I kept looking up to the night sky to catch a glimpse of the surrounding shadows to keep me on the road. I ran with all of my might; sweat was pouring out of me like a river and fear kept pushing me onward. Finally in the distance I caught sight of a low glimmer of light: as I drew nearer I could see that it was in the shape of a cross and I knew that it was my lantern in my bedroom window shining out a path for me to follow. In desperation I cried out to my God to save me from this terrible night, and in an instant I tripped and was going down again in a heap. I hit my head so hard on the roadway that I was nearly knocked out.

THE STRANGER

Soon afterward I felt someone pick me up in their arms and I struggled to be free but I had no strength in me. I didn’t know who they were or where they came from but I could see that they were oddly enough dressed in a medieval armor that had a smooth and shiny gleam to it. You could sense that there was a powerful strength inside of the armor that told you that this was an ancient one who had fought many a battle.  On their side they carried a sword and on their shoulder they slung their shield so that they could carry me. The shield had a beautiful silvery look about it when the moonlight hit it. And on the shield was an engraving of an open book with a cross sticking up out of its midst. I stopped struggling for the moment: for some reason the stranger’s strength and way about him made me feel safe and secure. In a daze I faintly remember the stranger carrying me home before I passed out.

TRYING AGAIN

The next morning as I came to consciousness I awoke safely in my bed. My wounds were all dressed and bandaged;[8] and next to my bed on the floor was my pair of running shoes all covered with dirt and dust with a few hints of blood stains. What a horrible night that I just went through!

I got up out of my bed and picked up my running shoes and went outside in the beautiful morning air. With all of my might I threw those running shoes as hard as I could across the dirt road into a fire that my father had burning in a field from the branches that he gathered up for the fire the day before.[9] I turned my eyes toward Heaven and with a smile I said, I am your child who loves you and wants to always follow you, and from now on if you will lead me I will follow you one cautious step at a time so that I may see and learn; I will never again ask for running shoes because from now on I CARRY A LANTERN!

                                      MESSAGE SUMMARY

We all need to carry the lantern of God’s Word to light our path so that we may follow in his paths of righteousness one step at a time.[10] We are living in an age where everything is expected to be done quickly. When our computers download information and it takes more than a second we feel like it is running to slow. When we use a microwave to heat up some food or a beverage we get a little on edge waiting for that minute to pass by. We race down the highway exceeding the speed limit and most of the time we are not really going anywhere. And then we really get annoyed because the officer seemed a little slow about writing us out a ticket. We need to slow down the pace so that we don’t overrun our balance and trip head over heels into problems. God’s desire is to teach and direct us in His Word through the power and direction of the Holy Spirit.[11] There is nothing wrong with our being anxious to learn. But we can’t make the mistake of trying to run ahead of God;[12] we need to follow him at a pace where we can be taught and he can use us for his work. Chocolate tastes much better when you allow it to melt in your mouth rather than chewing it up and swallowing it.

God will teach us in time as we follow him;[13] that to run ahead of him will eventually cause us to fall. If we are persistent in prayer God will answer, and sometimes what we pray for is not in our best interest. And there are times that God will allow us to have those things as a means of teaching us a lesson. As a believer in Christ you can’t travel through this world without his leading and expect to live a victorious life. Often when we fail we begin to feel sorry for ourselves and have a tendency to take some time to get back up and put forth the effort to find his footsteps again. In the process of time we come to grips with the fact that there are many souls out there that are counting on us to bring them the salvation message. And if we are ill prepared we will miss those opportunities to lead someone to Christ. God will give us the solid footing that we need so that we can remain balanced and not lose our footing.[14]  

The thoughts and sounds of a soul spending an eternity in hell will always haunt us. Satan wants us to fail and he will chase after us to bring us down if he can. He can’t destroy us but he can cause us to stumble. We as saved Christians need to keep pushing forward in our faith. We need to strive for the mark of the high calling of God.[15] We need to look to God in our weakness and call out to him to help us.[16] He will help us to get back on track with the power and strength needed to lead the lost to him. We have that precious blood of redemption through Christ to save us, and if we have accepted Him as our Lord and Savior we are able by faith to call Him Abba, Father.[17] Therefore we need to put on the whole armor of God[18]  so that we can help each other and also to fight the battle to win those lost souls that are slipping away into eternity.

CLOSING

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

 

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!

 

(Psalms 8:1) O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. (Numbers 6:24 & 25) We ask O Lord that you would bless us, and keep us; and cause your face to shine upon us;  (Nehemiah 9:31) For thou Lord art a God who is gracious and merciful unto us.

(Hebrews 13:5) Let us be content in the things that we have and not desiring of the things that are offensive and contrary to thy will and precepts:

(2 Corinthians 3:17) May we walk confidently in the Spirit of our Lord and in the liberty of His grace, knowing that (1 Kings 8:57) the promise of God is to never leave us, nor to forsake us!

(Philippians 1:11) May we be filled with the fruits of righteousness through our Lord and Savior, to the glory and praise of God our Father! Amen!

 


[1] Proverbs 4:5-13

[2] Psalm 23:3

[3] Isaiah 53

[4] Proverbs 8

[5] Matthew 13:44, Luke 12:34

[6] Luke 16:23-26

[7] I Peter 5:8

[8] Psalm 147:3

[9] Matthew 7:19

[10] Psalm 23:3, 119:105

[11] John 14:26, John 16:13 & 14, I Corinthians 2: 10-15

[12]  We need to study at a pace where we are at in our spiritual growth, infancy, childhood, adolescent, adulthood, seasoned Veteran.

[13] I Peter 2:2

[14] Psalm 17:5

[15] Philippians 3:14

[16] Psalm 34:6

[17] Galatians 4:4-7

[18] Ephesians 6: 11–18

GODS POSITIONING SYSTEM

God’s Positioning System

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By: Gary L. Rodgers

Recently the Pastor of our church brought something to my attention in a new light. He referred to the bible as being our GPS. The more I thought on this the more it became of interest to me that what he said is so very true, it is our GPS!

Today nearly every vehicle has either a GPS that was installed in the vehicle from factory or a portable one that was purchased. As we know that the letters GPS stands for Global Positioning System. This system works on the principle of trilateration which means that the ground device needs to be able to calculate the distance between at least three satellites in order to calculate its location on the earth, and with surprising accuracy.

MAPS

Some years ago I worked for the Chrysler Corporation out of Newark Delaware hauling new cars all over the North East. Other than loading and unloading the vehicles I had to learn to read a map which is now becoming obsolete with the GPS system. Makes you wonder how many people ten or twenty years from now will be able to read a map. Maps are broken up into grids and for you to find a certain town or place on a particular map you would look up the name of the place under each state in the Map Index and it would give you both the horizontal and vertical line coordinates to find where you wanted to go. From that you would determine where you were at and where you wanted to be. The road lines would tell you if they were secondary roads, roads under construction or major highways by the colors and symbols that were used. They would also give you in miles the distance between towns and/or highway exits so that you could determine with some reasonableness the amount of time that it would take you to travel where you wanted to go between points. All of this took some time to study your maps and if you needed to take a quick glance at a map while driving it was not the easiest thing to do. No doubt that the GPS has made life much easier for all motorists, but it never hurts to know how to interpret a map.

The Department of transportation has gone to some great lengths to simplify road makings for travelers. For instance, route numbers began to change a number of years ago with the idea that all even numbered routes would run East to West and all odd numbered routes would run North to South. Beltways were typically three digit highways. There were times when this pattern did not hold true on some of the very old route numbers. The modern day GPS has become a great tool for anyone traveling. One other thing that I like about a GPS is that they give you the nearest gas stations and restaurants when you’re traveling. When they start putting in all of the yard sales then I’m throwing mine away and going back to the maps; ha!

GOD’S POSITIONING SYSTEM

The more that I thought about what the Pastor said the more that I liked it, a Holy GPS system! This God’s Positioning System will let the wicked know and all nations that forget God that they will be turned into hell. Psalms 9:17

God’s Positioning System works on a trilateration system known as the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. We being the receiver here on earth will always know where we stand at any point in our lives with the Holy Trinity. This system will let us know that man cannot live by bread alone. Mark 4:4

God’s positioning system will also pinpoint everyone’s final destination. For the saved; eternal life! John 3:16

For the unsaved the lake of fire! Revelation 20:15

God’s positioning System will tell us about specific points of interest along the way. Did you know that in the King James Version of scripture that there are five words that have only been used but once in all of scripture to tell us something about His wonderful book? These five words are:

These five words are the five guide lines for using God’s Positioning System.

  1. 1.      SUCCESSJoshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

 

  1. 2.      DISCERNERHebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

 

  1. 3.      ENGRAFTEDJames 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (engrafted – inborn or implanted by nature or by others instruction)

 

  1. 4.      CONVERTINGPsalms 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

 

  1. 5.      ENLIGHTENING Psalms 19:8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

This is such a powerful, powerful book and there is much for all of us to learn so that we can be prosperous and have good success. It’s the one book that never gets old because there is always something new for the Lord to teach us.

I like that I can respectfully look at this marvelous book as being God’s Positioning System for all men in all walks of life.

God’s Positioning System is so powerful that it gives us the name of the great Physician. John 5:1-15

In fact it even gives us His number so that we can call Him about anything. J-E-R-3-3 : 3

One thing about this GPS is that it won’t always take you on the shortest route, but it will always take you on the right path.

Psalms 17:5 Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.

Isaiah 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

The unique thing about this GPS is that once you follow its direction in the paths of righteousness and get saved you will never be lost again.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

May the Lord bless you as you look into and study the GPS of scripture, the bible.

 

 

 

THOSE LEFT BEHIND

THOSE LEFT BEHIND

By: Gary L. Rodgers

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1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality.

 

Dear Friend,

The thought of you reading this message tears at my heart when I think of the time frame in which you may possibly be reading it. If you are reading this after the Rapture of the church has taken place, then I know what you are about to face in these last days, and the loneliness that you will experience. Because of that I decided to put together this message to hopefully help you find your way through these dark hours. I have asked many people to please store this message in their Bibles so that you and others like you would find it. I’m convinced that when the Rapture of the church occurs that multitudes of people are going to fill up church buildings everywhere with scores of people asking a lot of questions. And I am also certain that the one thing that people will seek after is a Bible, so that they can search for answers on their own with regard to what will happen next during this Tribulation period. I may not know who you are and I can only hope that you will listen to me and follow through with the right decision for yourself during this situation that you are faced with. I’m sure that you are probably scared and confused and wanting to know what happened. Hopefully I can help you somewhat with your questions.

PRE-RAPTURE SALVATION

The Bible was given to us by God so that we could see ourselves for who we truly are. We are all hopelessly lost sinners needing a Savior to pull us from the road that leads to destruction. (Matthew 7:13) It was also given to us so that we would know what steps that we needed to take for salvation in order to be saved from the terrible fiery pit of Hell. For me it was a matter of acknowledging that I was a sinner, confessing my sins to The Lord and asking Him to forgive me, at which time I put my complete trust in Him to get me to Heaven. Not church membership or baptism, but Christ alone. If these other things would have been necessary for salvation, then what would have been the point of Christ going to the cross? We could have simply participated in some religious act or obeyed the laws of Moses and that would have been all that was needed. (Galatians 2:16 & 21) It is impossible for man to keep all of the laws of Moses. Adam and Eve had but one law to keep and that was to stay away from the tree of the knowledge of Good and evil. (Genesis 2:17) And they failed at keeping just one. The thief on the cross did not come down and participate in any pious acts, so how was Christ able to tell him “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) It was his faith in Christ that saved him and nothing more, and nothing less. All through the Bible I found that the door to Heaven is unlocked by the key of faith (that unwavering confident trust that goes beyond all logic and reasoning) in the Messiah.

Christ died on the cross for each of us; shed His blood as the total and complete payment for our sins; (Hebrews 9:22) He was buried in a tomb and on the third day He rose from the dead, alive forevermore and then was seated at the right hand of the Heavenly Father.

Everyone will stand before a Holy God someday and give an account for themselves. (Romans 14:12) Getting saved did not make me perfect; it meant that I have been rescued by God from a path that I was on which was leading me to face an eternity in Hell. Christ provided a way for me to be able to stand free of guilt in the presence of a Holy God by washing away all of my sin with His own blood. (1st John 1:7-9, Revelation 1:5)

Satan will stand as my accuser, but Christ will defeat his accusations in my defense in that Heavenly Court because I have been redeemed by His (Christ’s) blood, the blood of the Lamb. (1Timothy 2:5, John 1:29)

EVERYONE FAILS GOD IN SOME WAY

We all fail God before and after we get saved. Peter did it, he denied Christ three times. King David did it, he committed adultery and murder. The Apostle Paul acknowledged that he was always struggling with sin, and at times he would fall to sins temptation. The point is that we all fail God in our lives; why? Because we have this sinful flesh that will always war against our spiritual body. (Romans 7:17 – 25)

The difference is that if we have put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ then our sins will be forgiven and God will not remember our sins any more, whereas before salvation our sin stood between us and God. (Psalms 103:12, Isaiah 43:25) God told Adam that if he took of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that he would surely die (Genesis 2:17). Because Adam disobeyed God all of humanity was plunged into sin and the penalty of death passed upon each of us. (Romans 5:12) “For the wages of sin is death” says Romans 6:23. For all of mankind there is a payday someday unless we accept the payment that Christ made for each of us. And because I accepted what He did for me I could rest assured that Heaven would be my home. (Romans 10:9&10, John 10:27-30, John 14:1-3)

THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH

For those left behind after the rapture of the church there is hope but it will be very costly.

To continue for you; I’m sure that you are wondering what was the meaning behind the disappearance of so many; and what can I expect to see happen next? All the people who suddenly disappeared, the graves that opened up and are now empty; what happened, and where did they go? The truth is that every believer that trusted Christ for their salvation; their total being was taken out of this world by God in what we Christians called the Rapture. (1st Corinthians 15:51-55) The word Rapture is not found in scripture, it is a Christian term meaning a snatching away. God took us out so that we would not face the fury of His wrath. (1st Thessalonians 5:9) And we are currently with Him during this seven-year period that you are now faced with called the Great Tribulation, the time of Jacob’s trouble. (Daniel 12:1-13, Matthew 24:1-51, Jeremiah 30:7)

PREPARATION FOR THE DAYS TO COME

I know that you are going to hear all sorts of explanations as to who we were and where we went. And I’m certain that with all of this so-called UFO activity (which I believe to be demonic influence) that the False Prophet will try to link us with that. And with his deceiving tongue (Matthew 24:21-26) some of his explanations are going to be very convincing, but you must by all means reject all of these lies and stick with the truth of God’s Word. You should be searching the scriptures and reading the book of Revelation and the book of Daniel to get a better understanding of these events and to prepare for the days to come. There will be seven years from the date that the Rapture took place until Christ returns to destroy the Antichrist and the False Prophet and all those that follow them. During this first three and one half years the False Prophet will be busy at explaining away the rapture and setting the stage for the Antichrist to set himself up in the Jerusalem Temple as the Messiah. (2 Thessalonians 2:3&4) You will be given peace during this time frame and it will seem as though everything is getting better. But I warn you that this is a temporal peace that will last for a short time.

THE SECOND THREE AND ONE-HALF YEARS OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION

In the second three and one half years of the seven-year Tribulation period it will get worse, much worse. I know that this will be a terrifying time for all of you that will be facing those days but I feel compelled to continually urge you to not be drawn into the lies of the False Prophet and the Antichrist. You need to put aside all of the false explanations that you will be hearing and to simply know that this was God’s doing. You need to hold to The Lord Jesus Christ as your final hope in these last days. The False Prophet will try to convince everyone that they need to take the Mark of the Beast (The Beast is a man who was given the number 666. Six is the representative number for man, 666 represents a super human being with great power. The number 7 is God’s number for perfection and man (6) never gets any closer than this (666) to becoming equal to God). You will be asked to take the mark either in your forehead or on your hand. Charge cards will become a thing of the past, and I suppose that with all of the identity thefts that have happened over the years that The False Prophet will convince many into believing that this is the only way to safeguard against that. People have gotten so use to not paying with cash that this will seem much easier and better. But I warn you that there is a dark sinister meaning behind this mark that is not visible to the naked eye. God totally forbids that anyone should take this mark, for if you do you will be seen as an enemy of God and have absolutely no hope of ever getting to Heaven. (Revelation 14:9-11)

THE LAKE OF FIRE IS A PLACE RESERVED FOR SATAN AND HIS ANGELS AND ALL THOSE THAT REJECT CHRIST

 If you accept this mark then you may as well stop reading right here and now and go on with the few years that you have left in this life and prepare yourself for an awful eternity in the lake of fire where it will be thousands upon thousands of times much worse than anything that you could possibly imagine or suffer during this seven-year Tribulation period. You weigh out the difference in the balance. Seven years of suffering and hardship or a never-ending eternity in the depths of hell. Not only will the lost suffer the eternal fires of hell, they will never have so much as a drop of water to put on their dry tongues (Luke 16:24), they will never have any food to eat, they will never have any sleep or comfort. They will never see nor hear anyone else. They will forever be alone and forgotten by everyone that once knew them.

During the Tribulation period it will seem like Hell on earth. Without the mark of the beast you will not be able to buy nor sell anything. You will be hunted like an animal and taken prisoner as an enemy of the people. You will be killed for not taking the mark and for standing firm with your belief in God. You must hold fast your position until the end. (Matthew 24:13, Revelation 14:12 & 13) If you accept the mark you will never see Heaven and any present suffering that you have put yourself through will have been in vain. What are a few days, a few months or a year or two of these hardships when the end result would be an eternity for you in Heaven?

You cannot be rescued from this seven year tribulation period in the same way that I had been rescued (saved). The Rapture is now past. Somewhere in your life you have heard or read the gospel message about accepting Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and rejected it. And because you have done this of your own free will you are now faced with this horrible brief seven-year period in history. It will be the worst of times far beyond anything that we have ever imagined, and thank God it will not go beyond the seven years. I urge you to please put your faith and Trust in Jesus Christ at all cost and never waver from it. Everyone will suffer in some way during this Tribulation period. God will pour out His anger upon the world and all will suffer to some degree. But again no matter how horrible or painful it becomes it does not go on forever. If you give in to the False Prophet and Antichrist you will have absolutely no hope. Everyone will live through eternity somewhere; you are the one to decide where.

THE LIES OF SATAN THROUGH THE FALSE PROPHET AND THE ANTICHRIST

The False Prophet and Antichrist will convince multitudes to accept them as their only hope for the future. Remember; they will give the world a peace that will last only 3 ½ years. They will persuade people into believing that it will last forever, but it’s a lie; it will not last. Their hidden objective is to destroy the Jews and anyone who believes and puts their trust in Christ. They will cause children to turn in their parents as enemies of the people. Husbands and wives will turn on one another. Boyfriends, girlfriends, fiancés and neighbors; many of them will turn against one another and follow after the Beast. So who do you trust? Can you survive alone?

No matter what happens, you must hold firm to your faith in the word of God and in the Son of God. During this time frame you will not be able to get saved in the same way as I had done, you will be required to forfeit your life in order to gain entry into the Kingdom of God. Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

So please I beg you again, suffer through with whatever it takes and God will rescue and avenge your soul. You need to prepare for this period in your life. So go and do whatever you can to help yourself. I wish that there was more that I could do for you. I can only give you a warning; you will need to do the rest. I pray that if you are left behind after the Rapture of the Church that you will become one of those as mentioned in Revelation 6:9–11 and Revelation 7: 9-17 It will be very frightening, it will be the most difficult time that you have ever faced in your life, it will be painful, but in the end it will be worth it. Think about it, a couple of years of suffering, or an eternity filled with it. Remember that the choice is yours, and like it or not you will choose one of the two.

BEFORE THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

For those that are here before the Rapture of the Church occurs why not take advantage of the gift that God is offering to you? Bow your head in prayer and confess to Christ that you are a lost sinner in need of a Savior. Believe that Christ has died in your place and took all of your sin upon Him and paid the full penalty in your stead. Accept that Christ went to Calvary for you, died on the cross and was buried in a tomb and that on the third day He rose from the grave as a Living Savior and is now seated in Heaven at the right hand of God the Father. Ask Christ to come into your heart and be your personal Lord and Savior and to wash you with His shed blood so that all of your past, present and future sins may be washed away forever. Amen!

If you have done this then you are now a child of God and have the right to call Him Abba, Father. Romans 8:14-17

Pray for the lost to be saved; ask God to fill you with His Spirit so that you have the power needed to win lost souls to Him. Go to the lost and present the gospel of Christ to them and lead them in prayer to the saving of their souls. Everyone must personally come to Christ seeking His forgiveness. We cannot do it for them. It is a personal thing that they must do for themselves. But you can help them with their prayer and God will bless you for it. If you don’t know how to witness to someone then feel free to share this message with them.

By all means pass this on to others to place in their Bibles to help someone who will face the Tribulation period. Time is of the essence; Christ stands at the very threshold of coming for His children.

Every one of us that are saved as a born again believer in Christ will come to realize that this present world is as close to hell as we will ever get. For those that are lost in their sins on that final day, then this present world is as close as they will ever get to Heaven.

THE QUESTION OF THE DAY

How old does a person need to be to die? How old will you be when you die? Is it possible that it could happen at any time; even today? If you were to die today, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven? Read the following references regarding this all important question. (1st John 5:13, John 3:14-18, John 10:27-30)

May the Holy Spirit protect this moment from any influence by Satan that would prevent you from opening up your heart to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior. Through the power of his name and the cleansing of his blood we ask it. Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

 

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!

FORGIVENESS

FORGIVENESS

By: Gary L. Rodgers

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Genesis 50:15 And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us (avenge himself upon us) all the evil which we did unto him.

16 And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,

17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.

18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.

19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?

20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

In the above verses we find the continuing story of a man named Joseph, whom as we know was sold into slavery by his brothers who hated Joseph for being the highly favored one above all that were in his father’s house. But now, Joseph was Governor over all of Egypt, answering to no one other than Pharaoh himself. Joseph’s father Jacob has died and now Joseph’s brothers are afraid that Joseph will take his revenge out on them for the terrible injustice that they committed against him. (verse 15) Take notice what it shows in verses 17 & 21 about the character of Joseph. Joseph was a tenderhearted man who showed love, mercy and forgiveness to his brothers. Joseph saw what happened in his life as the perfect plan of God to save the nation of Israel from starvation. (verse 20)

When you are mistreated by others, do you look at the possibility of it being the hand of providence working in your life toward a greater cause? I wonder how often some of us may have possibly missed out on some real future blessings because we had taken our eyes off of the Lord, and looked at what happened to us as a terrible injustice instead of forgiving and handing it all over to the Lord? I truly wonder!

Do you find it easy to forgive? What does it mean to forgive and how would you define forgiveness?

A FEW DEFINITIONS

1.  to cease to feel resentment against (an offender)

2. the excusing or release of an offense without demanding a penalty

3. an unconditional full pardon

When someone asks you to forgive them how quickly are you able to do that? How many of us could at times enjoy being like Peter and chopping off a person’s ear when we get upset? (John 18:10) Is this the right way to approach any situation, particularly where forgiveness needs to be involved? If we have been offended we need to possess an attitude of forgiveness toward that person. It’s not always easy but it is necessary. Forgiveness does not only release the offender, it also releases the offended.

Name some of the adverse affects that we experience when we don’t forgive:

1)     Anger (Ephesians 4:26)

2)     Bitterness (Ephesians 4:31)

3)     Hatred (Psalm 109:3)

4)     Physical sickness – The Lord’s Supper – 1 Corinthians 11:27- 30 (if we have an unforgiving spirit we need to take that to the Lord and seek His forgiveness and healing)

5)     Spiritual emptiness and separation from God – Isaiah 59:2 (Jesus – My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me. Matthew 27:46)

6)     Unrest – exhaustion and fear – Medical science links heart attacks, anxiety and depression to a person not having a forgiving spirit.

It is impossible for us to go through this life without having our feelings hurt. But what we do with that hurt and how we handle the situation will demonstrate to others the makeup of our character. Maybe we don’t always handle it right on our own, but with God’s help we can better our batting average.

Forgiveness is the first step in restoring fellowship; which builds relationships to new levels of love for the other person. Forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven it is granted as an act of love, mercy and grace toward the other person; that is what Christ did for us.

How we act toward someone who has wronged us does not mean that we should put ourselves back into a harmful situation to allow them to continually take advantage of us with their wrong behavior.

If we do not forget an infraction committed against us does that mean that we have not really forgiven? I don’t believe so; I believe that we need to use some sound wisdom by walking cautiously when we find ourselves back on similar paths where we had been abused by others before.

I believe that we are taught in scripture that we are not to render evil for evil, (1 Thessalonians 5:15) but rather we are to avoid confrontations by turning the other cheek as a sign of being passive to acts of violence, but does that mean that we are to be someone’s door mat because we possess a spirit of forgiveness? I believe that we need to be cautious with others that deal with us with contempt. (Matt 5:44) We need to give place to the Lord to allow Him to avenge us and not we ourselves. (Romans 12:17-19)

What does God’s word say about forgiveness?

In Matthew 18:21 and 22 we find these words.

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

And in Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

 

What if I don’t feel like forgiving others what should I do?
There are times when we may not feel like forgiving others, but as an essential part of our spiritual growth and advancement we need to, for in so doing we heap coals of fire upon the head of our enemy. Proverbs 25:22 and Romans 12:20.

An unforgiving spirit will cause one to have severe stomach problems. Let’s be like one of the Pastor’s who was sitting next to another Pastor in a church and listening to a message from the platform about how Christians should not get ulcers. So he jabbed the other Pastor with his elbow and said “We don’t get ulcers brother, we give them!” Let’s be like that, let’s not get ulcers, instead let’s give them with kindness.

We need to have positive thoughts of forgiveness if we are to be set free from these shackles of sin. If you have someone that you are struggling with to forgive, take some time to sit and dwell on what hell would be like for them. Picture them in torment, suffering for eternity, all alone, screaming in pain and anguish beyond any measure that any of us have ever felt. Hear their cries for help and their pleading to be delivered from those eternal fires. What if your spirit of not forgiving them was the very cause for them to spend an eternity in such an awful place? What if you were the deciding factor in their final resting place, how would you vote?

Then think about Christ as He hung on the cross, suspended between Heaven and earth. All the sins of the world on Him; yours, mine and even those that have wronged you and caused a heart of bitterness to linger within you! He could have called ten thousand angels (Matthew 26:53) to destroy all of mankind and release Him from the pain and suffering that He experienced for you and me. You say “well I wasn’t there I didn’t nail Him to any cross.” Physically you may not have been there, but your sins and mine were all there just the same.

When He looked down from the cross and said “Father forgive them,” do you suppose that He was only speaking of those that were in His presence that day? No! He also saw your face and mine! He saw what would happen to us had He not gone to the cross in our stead paying the full penalty for our sins. He saw the pain and eternal anguish that you and I would experience had He come down off of the cross (Matthew 27:42) and not gone through with being our Redeemer. FORGIVENESS! Such a big word that carries a huge weight with it.

 

What can I do to help others that are struggling with forgiveness?

People who have experienced abuse, trauma, or loss need time to sort things out and allow God to bring them to the place of forgiveness in His time. Forgiveness by us does not always happen immediately, but it will happen in time if we give it over to God. Jesus act of immediate forgiveness for salvation demonstrates His perfect mercy, grace and redemption. There are things we can do to help those struggling with forgiveness toward others. We need to listen to them and be gentle with them, giving place to the Spirit of God to carry them through the steps of possessing a spirit of forgiveness. We need to pray with them and encourage them through scripture. They need to know that yes! They were wronged, but that the pains of the past will continue to hurt until they forgive and allow God to release their heart and mind. He will set the record straight; He will handle the matter His way in His own time.
Personal Testimony – On October 30, 1978 I put my complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ to forgive me and save me from my sin. What a blessed moment that was when I felt the weight of that guilt being lifted from my shoulders. When we forgive others there is a weight that we lift from their shoulders. Did I deserve to receive the penalty that God has in store for the sins that we commit? Of course I did. But the one thing that helped me to be released that day from such a terrible penalty was the love of a Savior who had every right to condemn me, yet at Calvary he forgave me. How can I thank Him for releasing me from such a terrible burden? I can do it by loving and forgiving those who have caused an offense against me.

A STORY OF FORGIVENESS

I recall that shortly after having gotten saved a group of people from Liberty University visited our church and put on a skit about five missionary men who were killed by a group of Waodani tribesman in the jungles of Ecuador in 1956. One of the wives, Elizabeth Elliott, Wife of Jim Elliot and Rachel Saint a sister to Nate Saint eventually won these tribesmen over to Jesus Christ. The story and the play were a real testimony to what God will do in our lives through our forgiveness of others, but part of the blessing that day came when the middle aged bus driver for the group gave his testimony. This man told us how much he had loved his stepfather who was an enemy soldier during the second world war. As it turned out the stepfather was the very man that killed his real father by machine gun.

Forgiveness, a very powerful word for healing the heartaches in our lives.

Can you name some stories in scripture that show true forgiveness.

a)     Jesus on the cross “Father forgive them” – Luke 23:34a

b)     Joseph and his brothers – Genesis 50:15-21

c)     Jacob and Esau – Genesis 33:1-4

d)     The story of the Prodigal – Luke 15:11-32 (27-32)

e)     The stoning of Stephen – Acts 7:55-60

What are some of the things that we do to get over the hurt and anger that we experience? Often times I need to have some time to cool down; like a pan on a stove when it’s hot; it needs to cool down before you can touch it.

As humans we do learn to forgive but we don’t always forget. Christ on the other hand not only forgives, He also shows that His forgiveness is so complete in that He removes our offenses away from us in such a way that He no longer remembers them.

  • Psalm 103:12 God shows His mercy and totally forgives the sin in our lives.
  • Isaiah 38:17 What God puts behind Him stays behind Him
  • Micah 7:19 God delights in mercy and His forgiveness is perfect and complete

There is much to say on this matter of forgiveness and I hope that I have touched on it enough to stir up some food for thought.

A prayer of forgiveness
Dear gracious Heavenly Father, I come before you in prayer, seeking your direction in forgiving those that have wronged me. I ask that you would help me to release their offenses against me through the power of forgiveness. Please set me free from the shackles of anger and bitterness by helping me in this matter. In the name of your Son Jesus Christ I make this request. Amen!

 

DID YOU KNOW THAT ANGELS LEARN FROM US.

CREATING A PRAYER DIARY

CREATING A PRAYER DIARY

By: Gary L. Rodgers

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One of the most useful tools that I have come across to help me in my prayer life was the creating and use of a Prayer Diary. For a few dollars you can pick up a Journal or a Notebook to make into your Diary.

Below is a list of items that you can select from and edit to fit you and your needs. The important thing is to pray daily about some very specific items.

One of the great things that I have liked about making use of a Prayer Diary is being able to jot down certain dates or notations regarding answered prayer or something I’ve read. You may wish to leave some space between the various topics to include entries at a later time.

In the latter part of Nehemiah 8:10 we are told “for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (KJV) What greater joy than to get alone with the Lord and listen to his “still small voice” in scripture, (1 Kings 19:11-13) and then make entries regarding the occasion.

Your Prayer Diary should be tailored to fit you, your ministry, and your personal needs.

Prayer for:

Our spouse, our children, and our grandchildren

Happiness in our lives and homes

Love, kindness, harmony, and peace in our homes and places of work

Daily restoration of the joy of our salvation (Psalms 51:12)

Spiritual growth:

  • Soul winning power and witnessing
  • Ability to be able to present a clear gospel message
  • Zeal and passion to study the Bible
  • Prayer and Fasting
  • Defending the faith
  • Love for lost souls
  • Submissive Wills
  • Spiritual Wisdom
  • Scripture Knowledge
  • Compassion and Understanding
  • Growth in our Faith
  • Obedience to the Lord and his word in all things
  • Faithfulness to the Lord and each other
  • Help us to watch over, encourage, and support each other
  • Help us to have a forgiving spirit
  • Discover and nurture our spiritual gifts
  • Love for the brethren
  • Daily filling of the Holy Spirit
  • Fear God and to have a meek and quiet spirit

Help us to walk in obedience to the Lord with our tithes and offerings

Good mental and physical health

Peaceful, safe and protected life

  • From Satan and his demons
  • From those that would hurt us or cause trouble for us
  • Help us to guard, protect, and maintain our testimonies

Meet our financial needs

Help us to be good soldiers of the cross

Resist the devil

Face trials and troubles with the right heart attitude

Be gentle, temperate, and kind-hearted

Heal us physically, emotionally, and spiritually

Help us to finish strong in our faith

INTERCESSORY PRAYER

Pastors, Teachers, and Missionaries

  • List the name of your Senior Pastor
  • List the name of you Associate Pastor(s)
  • List Specific Missionaries
  • List the name of specific teachers

Prayer for them, their families, and their ministries:

Protection for their:

  • Good Health
  • Deliverance from Satan
  • Deliverance from evil men
  • Financial Needs
  • Answers to prayer
  • Spiritual Growth
  • Wisdom
  • Faith
  • Spiritual Guidance
  • Ministry direction

Specific prayer items:

Pastor ___________

  • Wisdom in dealing with others
  • Strength and encouragement
  • Filling and direction of the Holy Spirit in his messages

Spiritual growth and fortitude at ___________________________ Church

  • Reaching lost souls
  • Building Fund and/or maintenance fund
  • Mission support

Pray for the salvation of lost family members and friends

Deliver us from those sins that so easily beset us

Put within us a clean heart and a clean mind

Daily put on the armor of God

Put away jealousy, bitterness, and anger

Strengthen us in our Bible study and prayer life

Harmony in our churches between the brethren

Prayer for our country and our leaders to possess a Godly fear and humbleness of heart

Personal Needs

Help me to:

Be an avid student of the word

Have a strong mind

Have a strong will of obedience and determination to always do right

Flee from sin

Possess a good and cheerful attitude

Live peaceably with all men

Bless my ministry

  • Souls get saved
  • Disciple believers to have a change of heart
  • Believers strengthened and encouraged
  • Ministry Financial needs
  • Expansion
  • Holy Spirits direction and power

Help me to be a powerful ______________ Teacher of the word

Help me to prepare powerful lessons and messages

Personal physical needs and problems:

  • List any and all physical and emotional needs

Prayer for others:

  • List of specific people and their needs

Taters Don’t Grow on Mountains

By: Gary L. Rodgers

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 When you read or hear the word “Mountains” what comes to your mind? Mountains have always been of particular beauty and interest to me as I’m sure they have been to others. No doubt I could paint the same picture in my mind that others have painted in theirs. You know! The log cabin built on a hillside overlooking a lake that lies in a large open area that is tucked in between two mountains as if the whole place were supported by the hands of God cupped together to form its surroundings. A place where trout streams swirl their way through the valley floor with smooth and gentle curves, caressing their way over rocks that gives the stream its voice as if it were the still small voice of God speaking to you softly and gently. As you look around you notice that the banks of the streams show signs of wild flowers and soft grasses growing to provide you their special beauty that can be found nowhere else in the world. A place where you happen upon a dead tree surrounded by tall grasses and wildflowers that oddly enough presents a striking beauty all its own as if to say that it purposely died to give you joy and happiness.

 

Imagine the excitement of catching a large Bass on the lake or wading through the clear water streams catching trout that weigh ten pounds or more; a true mountain paradise where you can find Pheasant, Grouse, Rabbit, Squirrel and Deer with huge racks.

 

Oh how wonderful is the peace of the mountains. To be there to live through all four seasons, to taste the cool clean waters of spring, to enjoy the warmth and beauty of summer, and to enjoy the Master’s painting of the fall colors. Yes! Even to feel the cold of winter on your face and to watch the gentleness of the snow falling with blankets of snow resting gently on the branches of pines trees making them look like spreads of cake frosting.

 

I have always enjoyed my time in the woods and open fields during hunting season. To take in the warmth of the Fall sun and the beautiful Fall colors where you felt like you and God were alone to commune and enjoy the day together. Fall has a smell all its own that can only be described as a relaxing odor, not a perfume odor like the smell of spring but a semi-sleepy smell that tells you that everything around you is getting prepared to take its rest.

 

I guess that the one great experience of being in the mountains is the great sense of freedom that you feel; Freedom from the day-to-day challenges of everyday life and the drudgery that seems to go along with that.

 

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK

I once visited Glacier National Park in the mountains of Montana where I had this overwhelming desire to take in and to forever keep a photograph in my memory of the many breathtaking views that I had seen. I can still see the mountains, streams, and fields as if I were there but a day ago.  It was a place where every rock, tree, shrub, and blade of grass seemed to lie in perfect harmony with its surroundings as though someone took the time and effort to place every speck of dirt and every living plant with great precision.

 

But man in all his restlessness and wonder will look to the higher mountain peaks and always imagine what it would be like to be up there. What breathtaking views would he see there, and what adventures would he experience, what treasures of beauty and peace lay on those lofty slopes? Eventually man will succumb to his fantasies and begin the climb. The way is difficult and treacherous. Small indentations in the rock face for finger and toeholds, deep ravines, ice, deep snow, howling winds, freezing temperatures and shivering nights. And yet man presses on with his passion and determination to succeed in this venture. The climb is sometimes fearful, with every muscle straining and every nerve on edge. And after many days of difficult laborious climbing we finally reach the summit. The experience of self-gratification, of power and achievement is beyond words; the feeling of renewed strength, the taste of triumph, and the many thoughts that must travel through ones mind. The awesome peace and beauty to behold in such a place nearly erases the memory of the climb. Mountain peaks gleaming in the early morning sunlight like giant crystals, and low-level clouds separating you from the rest of mankind.

We ask ourselves; will Heaven be like this? No! Not at all! It will be better!

The thoughts of staying up there above the rest of the world, close to Heaven, close to God must have often traversed the heart and mind of many a soul.

While the feeling of this place is like no other you eventually come to the realization that this wonderful and beautiful mountain top cannot sustain you. You must descend to the valley floor for nourishment.

 

MEETING GOD ON THE MOUNTAIN

To climb a mountain to meet with God is an experience like no other. The food that God provides for us beside the still waters in the valleys below will nourish and strengthen us for another venture to those snow-capped peaks. And what makes the trip even better the next time and each time afterward is the pleasure that we get from bringing a friend along and seeing the excitement and joy in their face as they too meet with God. There is a sense of joy and accomplishment that comes with being up on the mountain. Yet one realization becomes evident to us as we stand there gazing at all the beauty surrounding us. It is the valleys and hillsides below that help us to grow. It’s the everyday struggles and hardships that make us who we are. It’s where God teaches us and it’s where we learn to lean on Him with all of our disappointments and wants. The mountain top is always a beautiful place to visit but we all come to the realization that Taters don’t grow on mountains.

 

Between every mountain there is a valley and the valley is a vital part of every journey.

It’s the place of preparation a place where we get strengthened for the next journey, the next climb. But God is with us no matter where we are. When we get older climbing a mountain becomes difficult, even to the point of being impossible. Yet we can have our special climbing experience by getting away from the hustle and bustle of this world. Get alone with God and experience a wonder as you have never had before. Get into your prayer closet and take in the lofty mountain peaks that God lays before us. It is breathtaking and beautiful. And when we are all done we can go back to the valley again for the nourishment that we need. That is where God teaches us, in the valleys, that is where we will grow. So take it all in and by all means enjoy the trip. Remember God is with you and any hardship that you face He is there facing it with you. And when that final day comes and you walk through the valley of the shadow of death He is there with you. How do you know this? It’s because in the Valley of Death we will cast a shadow from the brightness of His glory shining upon us.

 

Isaiah 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

 

So rest easy all who have trusted in Christ and have asked Him to wash away their sins with His blood. Rest easy for you are never alone!

 

 

 

 

THE INVITATION

 

Would you also like to meet with God on the mountain of faith where you can have the sweet peace of knowing that you will someday join Him in Heaven? You can know for sure today that you will go to Heaven and that you will become His child forever.

In the Bible we read in:

 

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

 

God is calling out to you and others like you, to offer each of you the free gift of salvation. You can’t buy it and you can’t work for it.

 

­­­ John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.

29 My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand.

30 I and [my] Father are one.

 

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Remember that this is a gift that is offered to everyone. It is offered to us by God.

 

Let’s take a look at what a gift is or is not. Suppose that today was your birthday and I came to your house with a gift for you. When you answered the door I said Happy Birthday! And I held out (offered) a gift to you. What do you need to do to get it so that it now becomes your very own? You need to reach out and take it, right? Well let’s suppose that after you took the gift from me I then held out my hand and said “That will be $112.42 please!” Your first thought would be that this isn’t really a gift at all because I got to do something to make it mine.  In this case you would be paying for it so this would not be a gift at all now would it?  If it’s a real gift then it has to be what? Free! And if it’s free then it means that the one offering it to you paid the full price for it so that they could offer it to you for free!

 

Jesus Christ paid the full price for the gift of salvation that He is offering to you and the world. And it’s free!

 

Let’s go back to the point where you answered the door on your birthday and you reached out and took the gift from me. But this time after having taken the gift you reached into your pocket and offered me money for it. Again this would not be a gift at all but rather a purchase. Because you’re the one now paying the price for it! So in reality I didn’t give you anything.

 

Do you understand what I’m trying to say? If Salvation is truly a gift from God then it has to be free, which means that you do not buy it, and you don’t work for it! There is absolutely nothing that you do for it other than reaching out for it in prayer and receiving it unto yourself by faith.

 

Jesus stands at the door of your heart with a gift for you;

 

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

 

Won’t you reach out and take it? All you need to do is bow your head in prayer and acknowledge that you are a sinner. Ask Christ to forgive you for all of the sins that you have ever committed and to wash away all of your sins with His blood. Acknowledge that you have put your faith and trust in Him as your Lord and Savior. In doing this the Holy Spirit will come into your heart as your guide and teacher in the things of God. Amen!

 

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

 

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk. 

TAKING YOUR FIRST STEP AS A NEW CHRISTIAN

By: Gary L. Rodgers

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First we would like to say congratulations on a very wise decision, and we welcome you into the family of God. We are so very excited for you and rejoice with the angels over your decision to follow Christ.                                                           Luke 15:10Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

As a new Born Again Believer in Christ there are many new steps that you will experience in your Christian walk, steps that we have all gone through and it is our responsibility to help you to get started on the right foot. Just like an infant you will first begin to crawl and then later you will begin to take steps that will seem a little shaky at first but as you mature you will learn to balance yourself with confidence. The most important thing when starting out is to keep at it. Your determination and effort will pay off in time.

FEED ON GOD’S WORD TO GROW STRONG

Just like a new infant you need to feed upon God’s Word as your spiritual food.                                                                          1 Peter 2:2As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:  All of us begin feeding on (learning) the soft and easy things of God’s Word. This is known as the milk of God’s Word. You wouldn’t take an infant and start feeding it steak and potatoes, because they are not ready for it yet. They would choke on it. So you start them off with milk, and eventually as they begin to grow you start feeding them soft foods, and later as they grow more and more they will get into the coarse foods of meats and vegetables of God’s Word. Our Heavenly Father being the good parent that He is will do the same with us. He knows what we are able to take in and He will not give us anything that we are not able to handle. He wants us to develop into a strong Christian. God will feed us what we need when we are ready for it.

 In Hebrews 5:12-14 we find these words:

12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

13 For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish believers who were wavering in their faith because of severe persecutions and public ridicule that they were going through. They were in danger of becoming apostate in their faith and reverting back to Judaism. They were lacking in leadership of those with the spiritual strength and fortitude to carry the church through those rough times. That is why they were told that they were as those that have need of milk, as a babe. We all need to study and grow into becoming strong leaders in the faith. God gives us all that we need to stand strong and fight the battle against principalities and wickedness in high places. We need to put on the “Armour of God.”

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

And after having done all that we can to stand we too will be able to say that we have fought a good fight and have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith:

As Christians you will find that there are those hard times that we too will go through that will shake us to the very foundation of our faith. But be strong in the Word and God will get you through it. And the way to get strong is to study the word, have an active prayer life, and be obedient to the Word. We will face temptations in our lives, but God will not allow anything to come into our lives that we cannot handle.

1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

  

LEARNING AT DIFFERENT STAGES

Everyone learns at different paces and at different stages in their life. The unsaved person will pick up a Bible and as they begin to read they learn certain things. First they will learn that they are a hopelessly lost sinner needing a Savior. They will learn that Christ is that Savior and that He paid a very special price for their souls at Calvary. They will learn just as you did that they need to confess to Christ that they are a sinner and seek His forgiveness. Their reading and learning from scripture is limited to all things pointing to their need for salvation. The deep spiritual things of God are for His children.

GOD TRAINS US IN THE SAME WAY THAT WE TRAIN OUR CHILDREN

When a person first gets saved something very important happens at that moment. They are adopted into the family of God as one of His own.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.

The Lord stands ready as any good father to begin teaching and training His child. He holds up our hands so that we can hang onto His strength to support us as we begin to walk. He is there to correct us and sometimes that involves a spanking to train us. He doesn’t do this out of pleasure He does it because He loves us and wants us to grow up into the kind of man or woman that we should be. All spankings (chastening) seem grievous at the time, but it brings about a correction in our lives that is beneficial to us in that it helps us to mature into a fine upright child of God. A correction from God is also a sign that we belong to Him. We as parents correct our children because they belong to us. It’s not up to us to go around and correct children that we are not the parents or guardians to.

Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

10 For they verily for a few days chastened [us] after their own pleasure; but he for [our] profit, that [we] might be partakers of his holiness.

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

 

THE BLESSING OF OBEDIENCE AND WITNESS OF THE BLOOD

One of the greatest blessings as a parent is to see the obedience and honor that our children bestow upon us. In the same way this is a great blessing to our God when we obey Him. Our obedience will inch our way up into the various stages of maturity. If we were to take the time to stop and see that God deals with us in the same way that we deal with our children, we could easily learn a great deal about Him, and it would eliminate much confusion and heresy. For instance, when we disobey God are we or are we not His child when that happens?  Yes! We are His Child. What if it is some terrible crime like murder, stealing, adultery, hatred, disrespect etc.? Are we still His child or do we lose our salvation? We are still His Child! Well what if these things were done to us by our children? Are we still their parents or not? Of course we are! What if one of our children were found dead, what could the authorities examine and compare to show that we are their parents? The Blood!!!! The blood will always stand as a witness that these are our children. The blood of Christ will always stand as a witness that we are a child of God. The blood stands firm and never changes.

Well if we never lose our salvation (our relationship as a child of God) then wouldn’t that give us a license to sin? No it does not! And I will give you an easy way to prove that. Go tell your parents that because you are their child forever that you no longer need to obey them, and that you can do whatever you want when you want, and that you don’t need to listen to anything that they say because they can’t erase your relationship to them. When you get up off of the floor let me know how you made out! Well guess what? It works the same way with God. You tell Him that, and I can assure you that you will face some severe correction in righteousness. You never lose your relationship to your parents. Good, bad or indifferent you will always be their child. AND YOU NEVER LOSE YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD. To further illustrate:

 

RELATIONSHIP VERSUS FELLOWSHIP

Far too often people confuse relationship with fellowship. We have a relationship to our children that will never cease; it always remains constant. Our fellowship with our children changes from time to time. Sometimes we will get downright disappointed or angry with them. The peaceful love and fellowship that we have with each other does change from time to time through disobedience and disrespect. Relationship never changes. It is no different with our relationship and/or fellowship with God. God does not throw us out of the family because we do something wrong. That is not possible. Why, because that would mean that our salvation was dependent upon us, and not Christ. When we fail God we break fellowship. How do we restore that? The same way that we restore fellowship with each other, we admit our wrong and ask for forgiveness with a truly repentant heart, they forgive us and all is restored.

 

BAPTISM

One of your first steps of obedience as a child of God is to follow the Lord in Believers Baptism. Baptism does not wash away sin, if it could then what was the point of Christ going to the cross? He wouldn’t have needed to die, we could have simply gotten baptized and we would then have been a candidate for Heaven. When a person stands in the waters of Baptism and they are lowered into the water in full submersion and brought up out of the waters, this is done as a sign to the world that like as Christ we too have been buried together with Him in death (submerged in the waters), and like Him we shall also raise from the dead (brought up out of the water) into a new life.  If you were Baptized before it is important that you get it done again now that you are a new believer in Christ.

 

CONTINUE IN THE WORD AND CHURCH ATTENDANCE

I encourage you to read your Bible daily. Pray daily and keep short sin accounts. Get into a Bible believing church where you can learn and grow. A place where you can make new friends that will love you and lift you up. Not just any church will do. If the church does not teach that salvation comes through the shed blood of Christ and Him only. And if the Church does not teach that Christ is coequal with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, then you don’t belong there. If you have written to us that you have gotten saved and we sent this booklet to you based upon that; then we have listed a church or churches in your area that we encourage you to take time to visit to confirm their stand on these issues before becoming a permanent fixture.

God is a God of order and is not a God of confusion. If you have questions about a church in your area that you are considering and not sure of, then we will do our best to help you with your questions.

My prayer for you is to be strong in the faith, and that you share the gospel of Christ with your family and friends. Fight the battle for their souls. They are counting on you!

May the peace of God and the joy of the Spirit be with you. Amen!

 

 

Church in Your Area ___________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________

Phone: ______________________________

Pastor: _______________________________

 

Church in Your Area ___________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________

Phone: ______________________________

Pastor: _______________________________

 

Church in Your Area ___________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________

Phone: ______________________________

Pastor: _______________________________

 

THE INVITATION

If you have picked this booklet up somewhere or received it from someone then we would like to encourage you to become a part of God’s family and make Heaven your home if you have never done that. You can do this by bowing your head in prayer and following along with these words. Dear Lord, I confess that I am a sinner. Please forgive me for all of my sin and wash them away with your blood. I believe and trust you with my eternal life. I know that you died on the cross for me personally. I know that you were buried in a tomb and I believe that you resurrected from the dead and are now seated at the right hand of God the Father. Please come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. May the Holy Spirit teach me and instruct me in the way that I should go. Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

 

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

                                                  KEEP PLOWING AHEAD

By: Gary L. Rodgers

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How many times have we heard someone telling us to keep plowing ahead, keep at it? Well like it or not it is one of the best pieces of encouragement that you could ever hope for. This is not a phrase that should ever grow old for us. But more so than telling someone that; it is better for them and for ourselves I think if we helped them to keep plowing ahead. I’ve always said that the toughest part about being a Christian is being a Christian. When we get saved we don’t just all of a sudden start doing everything right. Even that great man of faith who showed himself to be an example for us, the Apostle Paul struggled with sin and doing what he knew that he should be doing. We struggle, and struggle, and struggle, and wonder if we are ever going to get headed off on the right foot.

WE BECOME MORE AWARE OF SATAN AS OUR ADVERSARY

Anyone who gets saved will soon come to realize that Satan is our enemy and he will do all he can to cause us to stumble and fall in our Christian walk. He will throw every temptation that he can at us. He laughs at our weakness and applauds our failures. He mocks our faith and jeers at our effort to keep plowing ahead. He interrupts our prayer life and causes us to think all sorts of terrible things when we pray. He puts things in front of us to draw away our attention from God. He whispers things in our ears that we should not listen to; and he causes us to whip our tongue like a wash cloth that we are shaking out to hang on a wash line. He knows what to put before our eyes to cause us to lust in the flesh. He knows just how to discourage us and when. He is a powerful foe, but we have the mind of Christ. We can defeat him by resisting him. And if you are saved you have already proven that you can resist him. All of these things are not something new to us.

Satan has been throwing every curve at us all along even before we got saved. The difference is that before we got saved we took pleasure in sin and we did not resist Satan until the Holy Spirit had us under such conviction to where we had seen ourselves as a hopelessly lost sinner needing a Savior. Then our eyes were opened and we saw Satan for who he really was and through the power of prayer and faith we resisted him and we accepted God’s free gift of salvation. Now because we are saved we are more aware of Satan’s tactics and we battle against sin because we have a desire to do right. Satan has beaten me down to where I couldn’t stand it any longer.

STAND ON THE SOLID ROCK WEARING THE ARMOR OF GOD

But God has set my feet on solid rock (Jesus Christ) so that I could take a stand and fight the battle of faith. I am able to defeat my enemy with the weapons of war and the armor of protection that God has given me. You too can put on the battle gear and join the fight. Everything that we have been given is for us to use to defend the faith and to make an assault on our foes to defeat them. Nowhere in scripture have we been given the sound of retreat to flee from the spiritual battlefield. And by the hand of God and through His power and might we can keep plowing ahead. Do we ever get down and discouraged? Of course we do, we all do! Sometimes we get so beaten and battered that we can’t seem to get out from under its terrible burden. But God has given us the power to get back up on our feet and fight back so that we can have the victory to slay that old dragon. We have been given a sure foundation for our faith, Jesus Christ the Rock of Ages. As a Christian we have a responsibility to defend our brothers and sisters in the faith and to encourage them to go out against those opposing giants that we all face in the faith.

WE ARE NOT ALONE IN OUR STRUGGLES

We are a part of the body of Christ therefore when one part of the body hurts the entire body feels it. When we get injured the body goes to work to heal that injury. It immediately begins a process of restoring tissue and starts to build up immunity to infection. We as a body of believers need to do the same thing. We need to restore a repentant brother or sister of the faith who has been drug down by the Devil’s snare.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

We also need to stop sin in its tracks to safeguard the rest of the body to infection. Like Nehemiah we need to build with one hand and battle with the other hand. We need to follow and apply to our hearts and minds those things that are necessary to our lives as a Christian. In Nehemiah 4:9-21 I would like to outline what I see that we are offered in scripture starting with verse 9.

  • We need to set a watch to guard against Satan and those that would oppose us. (verse 9)
    • We all need to keep our senses keen and sensitive for self-preservation and defense against the dangers and opposition that is before us.

 

  • In building the walls of defense we need to clear away the debris (much rubbish) from our lives those things that hinder us and so easily beset us. (verse 10)

Hebrews 12:1Wherefore 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,

 

  • My Pastor and I discussed the meaning behind these two words, weight and sin as not meaning the same thing. We understand what is meant when the word sin is mentioned. But what is meant by this word weight? As he explained there are things in our lives that are not a sin if they are treated correctly. It is not a sin to be involved with sports, it is not a sin to have a nice car; but if they take precedence over our serving and obeying the LORD then they become a sin that so easily besets us. If going to sporting events and car shows keep us from getting our families into church where they can be fed with the word and grow in the LORD then it is wrong. And if it is wrong it becomes a sin for us to do that. Paul talks in 1 Corinthians 8 about eating foods that are sacrificed to an idol and how the idol as we know is nothing. It is not alive and it has no power. We do not gain or lose favor with GOD by the foods that we eat. But if in eating foods sacrificed to an idol causes another brother to stumble and go against his conscience for what he believes to be wrong, then for the sake of their weak conscience we should not do it. We must be careful in our liberty that we have through Christ not to do anything that would appear to be evil. For in doing so if it wounds the weak conscience of a brother then it will be counted as a sin against Christ.

                To continue with Nehemiah 4:10

  • We need to let go of the world (much rubbish) and hold onto Christ.

In this thought I am reminded of, and encouraged by a woman of faith who I am told suffered through four incurable diseases which left her bed ridden and struggling with pain for more than thirty-five years of her life. Yet in all of this she has written to my estimation some very beautiful works. One of them being a poem called “Treasures”.

 Treasures

One by one He took them from me,
All the things I valued most,
Until I was empty-handed;
Every glittering toy was lost.

And I walked earth’s highways, grieving.
In my rags and poverty.
Till I heard His voice inviting,
“Lift your empty hands to Me!”

So I held my hands toward heaven,
And He filled them with a store
Of His own transcendent riches,
Till they could contain no more.
And at last I comprehended
With my stupid mind and dull,
That God COULD not pour His riches
Into hands already full!

By: Martha Snell Nicholson

 

  • We need to stand a watch to guard against the arrogance and subtitle craftiness of our enemies. (verse 11)

 

  • There is strong evidence that we will face every sort of imaginable attack from Satan to destroy the building of faith. This strong evidence is suggested by the words “they said unto us ten times,” in verse 12. The warning has been repeated over and over again. Ten is the number for testimony which means indication, evidence, or proof. A supported claim.

 

  • Just like Nehemiah the church needs to set (or place) the people in battle array to defend the faith.

 

  • We need to make sure that the message is clearly understood that “we need to always be prepared for a battle.” (verse 13)

 

  • Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10) We should never go to battle under our own strength. We are to be followers of Christ. We need to rely on the power and strength of Christ going before us to defeat the enemy. We need to be a champion for not only those of our own household, but for those that are of the household of God. (verse 14)

 

  • We need to all work together plowing ahead to build the Church of God.(verse 16)
    • We need prayer warriors to actively pray for the building and battling (contending) for our faith. (Jude 1:3)
    • We need Pastors and Teachers to guide and instruct us in righteousness, and to watch out for our souls. (Hebrews 13:17)
    • We need Deacons and Elders to carry out those tasks and ordinances that are needful in the church so that the building of the ministry is not hindered. (Acts 6: 1-7)
    • All of us are called to take the gospel to the world to win souls. (Mark 16:15)
    • All of us are to study our Bibles to show that we are a workman not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

 

  • We are to work (keep plowing ahead) together in unity as a well structured and organized body of believers building and defending the faith. (verse 17)

 

  • We are to always rely upon God’s Word as our weapon of defense.

 

When we do the work of faith for the ministry as a body of believers or as an individual we are to always be attentive to the warnings from those that watch over our souls (sounding of the Trumpet). You cannot avoid a fight if you are going to build a ministry. Conflicts will come and at those times we need to come together as a body of believers wherein we shall find direction by our Pastors and strength in the body as a whole through prayer.  (verses 18-21)

 ARE YOU PLOWING AHEAD?

Are you plowing ahead as a Christian or have you become complacent and callous? We all face the struggles of everyday life and the battle against sin. But as a part of the body of Christ we have a network of believers to pray for us and lift us up during those times of hardship and weakness. We can be made strong and given the encouragement that we need we can get back into the battle of faith.

Keep plowing ahead, plant your feet firmly on the battlefield and break up that fertile ground for soul winning. Sow the seed of hope to the lost, encourage them to accept God’s plan of salvation. Irrigate the field of souls with the water from the river of life, Christ’s shed blood. Pray to the Lord of the Harvest that there would be a great increase, and that many souls would be saved.

THE INVITATION

Are you beaten and battered from sin? Are you looking for refuge and rest for your soul? Then I invite you to kneel at the foot of the cross and gaze upon God’s sacrifice for you and all mankind. Gaze upon the one that paid your total sin debt by shedding His blood for you; He offers an invitation to you and to whosoever will that may come to Him seeking forgiveness. God is offering you and the world a precious free gift of salvation. All you need to do is reach out in prayer and take it.

Won’t you bow your head and pray this prayer by faith? Lord I know that I am a sinner. I am tired of the beatings that Satan has laid on me with sin. Please be merciful to me a sinner! I put my complete confidence and trust in you as my personal Lord and Savior. Please cleanse away my sin with the blood that you shed for me. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart to guide me in the paths of righteousness. I too wish to have my faith stand firm on you “The Solid Rock” that I may fight the battle as a good soldier of the cross to win the souls of my family and friends for your glory and praise so that they too will be lifted from the road to perdition.

Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

 

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!

THE RAPTURE GENERATION

By: Gary L. Rodgers

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Recently while doing a study on Matthew 24 and Luke 21 regarding end time events it said and suggested in both chapters of scripture that all of the things that were mentioned by Christ would happen within the generation of the Jews that returned to the Promised Land. (See Matthew 24:32-34 and Luke 21:29-32) As we know from history the Jewish nation of Israel was established in May of 1948.

Another verse within these passages that caught my attention was Luke 21:20

Luke 21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.

I thought to myself Wow! Then the snatching away of God’s children just prior to his wrath being poured out onto the nations of the world must be a lot closer than we realize! It seems more and more like the enemies of this tiny nation are surrounding them and preparing their armies to go up against them.

 I wanted to know what the length of a generation was determined to be. I did a search on the internet and came across endless blogs with a great deal of conjecture in answer to this question. Below are the notes from the most sensible, and biblically sound article that I came across regarding this question on how long is a generation.

The following notes were copied from the website: http://www.raptureready.com/rr-last-generation.html

I copied the last half of their article which pretty well covered my question; to read the entire article please visit their website.

A View from the Psalmist

Disregarding untimely or unnatural deaths due to epidemics, famine and war, there is evidence in the Scriptures and in recent history to support a 70-80 year life span for the past 3000 years. The evidence for a 70-80 year lifespan was present during the 10th century B.C. during the reign of King David (c. 1010-970).

About 400-500 years after the Exodus (c. 1450 B.C.), the life span of man seemed to level off at around 70-80 years. This was around 1000 B.C. during the days of Kings Saul, David, and Solomon. Perhaps the most significant declaration in the Bible for the life span of man is given in Psalm 90. The Psalmist states that the life span of man is seventy years with eighty years being the upper range of normal life expectancy: “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God…For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night…For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: We spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away…So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Return, O Lord, how long?”

Ironically, Moses, who lived to be 120 years old, is credited with writing this Psalm during the 15th century B.C. Moses may have been suggesting a new life span for man, since the 70-80 year statement does not coincide with his age or the age of his contemporaries, Aaron and Joshua.

According to conservative scholars, Moses was born around 1526 B.C., led the Exodus from Egypt in c.1446 B.C., and died about 1406 B.C., the year Joshua crossed over the Jordan River into Canaan. About 400 years after Moses’ death, David began his reign of 40 years that would end around 970 B.C.

The Generation of David

As David approached the end of his life, he was considered to be an old man by those living at that time. The Scripture tells us: “So when David was old and full of days, he made Soloman his son king over Israel” (1 Chronicles 23:1). The significant years of David’s life are given in 2 Samuel 5:4: “David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.” “So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years…” (1 Kings 2:10).

Acts 13:36 concludes: “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers and saw corruption…” The Scriptures reveal that David served his generation and was seventy years old when he died.

A contemporary of David, Barzillai the Gileadite, was considered to be an old man during the days of King David’s reign. The Scriptures report: “Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old…And Barzillai said unto the King, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem? I am this day fourscore years old…let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city, and be buried by the grave of my father and of my mother” (2 Samuel 19: 32-37).

Both David at 70 years and Barzillai at 80 years were considered to be “old” and “very aged” men nearly 3000 years ago, and both of their life spans coincided with the 70-80 years described in Psalm 90.

THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY

Around 200 years after David’s death, Isaiah prophesied: “Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king…” (Isaiah 23:15).

The concept of 70 years as the life span for kings may have been established after David’s death at seventy years. When Judah was taken into Babylonian captivity in 606, 597, and 586 B.C. by King Nebuchadnezzar, it was to be for seventy years. The Bible tells: “Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the Lord hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath. For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight saith the Lord…” (Jeremiah 7:29-30).

The capture of the Southern Kingdom of Judah by King Nebuchadnezzar brought Ezekiel and Daniel to the land of Babylon. After Babylon’s capture by the Medes in 539 BC,, Daniel began reading from the book of Jeremiah about the captivity that had been prophesied by Jeremiah: “In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem…” (Daniel 9:2).

The length of time appointed for the rejection of this “evil” generation was seventy years. If the age of the Jewish generation rejected by God was twenty years and up, as with Moses’ generation in the wilderness, then those still living in Babylon would have been over ninety years old when the seventy-year period ended. Most of the generation taken into captivity had already died or were too old to make the journey back to the Promised Land. Daniel was a youth when taken captive and was probably in his eighties or nineties.

The Generation of Christ

Shortly after Christ’s birth, Jesus was brought to Jerusalem to be dedicated to the Lord. Anna, who was considered to be very old at the time Christ was born, was present at the temple: “And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day” (Luke 2:36, 37).

Christ described the generation of his day as evil and accused them of killing, crucifying, and persecuting the prophets, wise men, and scribes that he had sent to them. He also prophesied that he would be rejected by His generation. Because of their stubbornness and failure to recognize “the time of their visitation,” Christ pronounced judgment upon the city of Jerusalem and declared: “all these things shall come upon this generation” (i.e., the generation of Christ).

We know that Christ did not live out the full length of his generation, which raises the question: “Who shall declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth.” (Acts 8:33; Isaiah 53:8). Christ said in Luke 11:30 “For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.”

That raises an interesting question! Has God appointed a “man of God” to be a sign to each generation of people? Jesus Christ, who was “cut off” or killed as prophesied in Daniel 9:26, was to represent the evil generation of his day. How long would Christ’s generation have been if he had not died an early death?

Most Bible scholars believe Christ was crucified between 30-33 A.D. If that was the case, the wicked generation that the time of Christ represented was judged 40 years later when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. The last vestige of Jewish resistance was wiped out at Masada in 73-75 A.D. The destruction prophesied upon the generation that crucified the Lord was complete.

Historians tell us that Jesus Christ was born sometime before the turn of the century (2-8 B.C.) with 4 B.C. being the most popular view. Assuming that the generation that Christ described had expired by 75 A.D., the length of that generation would have been between seventy and eighty years.

Extra-biblical Confirmation

As discussed earlier, the Psalmist declared that the life span of man was 70-80 years. The extra-biblical book of Jubilees, which was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls during the middle of the twentieth century (1947-1956), has an interesting account of the regression of man’s age that coincides with the description given in Psalm 90:9,10. This ancient document, believed to have been written sometime between 150 and 105 B.C., describes the regression of man’s age from the generation of Adam down to a generation that will receive a great punishment from the Lord. I recommend the reader who wants to go more in-depth, read that account.

LIFE SPAN OF MAN TODAY

Evidence discussed thus far indicates that the life span of man leveled off at around 70 to 80 years during the reigns of King Saul, David, and Solomon and has remained about the same for the past 3000 years (1000 BC to 2000 AD). Fluctuations in lifespan have occurred due to war, famine, disease and other factors. People are most likely to grow old in rich countries, where there are sufficient medical and sanitary facilities, clean drinking water and enough food at their disposal. In poor countries, these facilities often are insufficient, with the result that infant and child mortality is very high.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Base, life expectancy today is only 37.13 years in Zimbabwe, 47.49 years in Kenya, and 48.09 years in South Africa but is 63.24 years in Brazil, 63.69 years in Egypt, 67.34 years in Russia, 71.62 years in China, 79.87 years in Australia and 80.80 years in Japan. Most of the countries in Europe and North America have life spans between 70 and 80 years. The life expectancy of those living in the United States in 1850 was less than 40 years but increased to 47.3 years by 1900 and then mushroomed to 76.7 years (1999) by the end of the 20th century.2

If 70 to 80 years still represents the length of a generation, as described in Psalm 90:9,10, one would expect the life span of those living today to be close to that figure. According to the 2002 World Almanac and Book of Facts, the average life expectancy in the United States is 77.26 years (74.37 years for males and 80.05 years for females). For Israel it is 78.71 years (76.69 years for males and 80.84 years for females). The average life expectancy at birth for Israel is projected to be 81.6 years in the year 2025. 3

THE FIG TREE GENERATION

In the parable of the fig tree, Jesus talked about a generation of people (perhaps Jews and Gentiles) that would be living at the time he returned to earth to establish his kingdom. With Israel back in their land after almost 2000 years of dispersion and other end-time prophecies coming into focus, the Jewish people now living in Israel could very well be the generation Christ was talking about.

Perhaps this Generation?

Luke’s version of the fig tree parable, which mentions the fig tree (Israel) and all the trees, (nations of the world) (Judges 9:8-20) states: “And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you. This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away” (Luke 21:29-33).

If the length of David’s generation, Christ’s generation, and those living today is 70-80 years (a 3000 year span), it would be reasonable to conclude that the generation Christ was talking about in the parable of the fig tree will also be 70-80 years in length. If the fig tree in this parable represents the nation of Israel, as many prophetic scholars believe, and the generation that is described has a lifespan of 70 to 80 years, then we see several strong indicators that the generation Christ was talking about has already been born. That would mean that the return of Jesus Christ to establish his reign for a thousand years is close at hand. The indicators we have seen include:

  • the rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948 (Isaiah 66:8),
  • the Jerusalem controversy in the end times (Zechariah 12:1-3),
  • preparations for rebuilding the Jewish Temple (Revelation 11:1,2),
  • ongoing negotiations for a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians (Daniel 9:27)

The Most Significant End-Time Prophecy

The end-time events described in the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation could not have taken place without Israel back in their land. Israel’s return to the land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the 20th century after dispersion by the Roman armies in 70 A.D. is the most important event that signals the soon return of Jesus Christ. Israel’s rebirth as a nation has also served as a catalyst for other end-time prophecies that are beginning to converge on the world scene. The pieces necessary for development of the end-time prophetic puzzle began to fall in place between the middle of the 19th and first half of the 20th century when the Jewish people began coming back to their homeland in record numbers.

A movement called Zionism encouraged the Jewish people to return to the “Promised Land” and brought about the Balfour Declaration in 1917, a statement by Great Britain that supported a home for the Jewish people. After much negotiation and endorsement of a partition resolution by the United Nations in 1947, the rebirth of Israel (Isaiah 66:7-9) took place on May 15, 1948. Following a period of wars between the Jewish and Arab nations in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973, peace negotiations have been ongoing and will continue until a covenant (Daniel 9:27) is confirmed between “the prince that shall come” (Antichrist) and the nation of Israel.

GOD’S BLUEPRINT FOR THE FUTURE

Christians who take the Bible seriously should be actively watching the prophetic shadows that are appearing in today’s headlines. The primary purpose of God’s prophetic Word is to point people to Jesus Christ, “the author and finisher of our faith.”

A Chosen Generation

As we entertain the possibility that we may be the generation Jesus was talking about in the fig tree parable nearly 2000 years ago, we are admonished by the Scriptures to watch and be prepared. As stated clearly by Jesus in Matthew and Mark, no man knows the day or the hour of his coming but the Father only. The same Jesus, however, was very angry with the Pharisees and Scribes for not discerning “the signs of the times” and not knowing the “time of their visitation.” In these thought-provoking and challenging times in which we are living, we need to be informed and discerning like “the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…” (1 Chronicles 12:32).

One day there will be a generation of Christians that will escape the grip of death and be ushered into heaven, the “final frontier” for believers. The generation that is “left behind” will face the ruthless tyranny of a global dictatorship. The world stage is now being set for the closing act of this dispensation, and the climax of world history, Christ’s return, is drawing near. As God’s children, we may very well be the generation that is chosen to “escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21: 34-36). That possibility is certainly worth pondering!

EVERYONE HAS TO DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES

You may be asking yourself what you can do to get to Heaven, and if that is your question then I wish to share with you a simple prayer that you can pray to invite Jesus into your life to save you. You just simply need to mean what you say and believe in your heart with faith that God had raised him from the dead and thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:8-10)

Please follow along with these words:

Dear Jesus, I know what sin is, and I know that I am a sinner. I ask that you would please forgive me and wash away all of my sin with the blood that you had shed for me. Please send the Holy Spirit to come too live in my heart to teach me and guide me in righteousness. I know that you personally died for me, and that you were buried in a tomb and rose from the dead for me. I believe that you are now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. I put my complete trust in you alone as my Lord and Savior and I am trusting in you only to get me to Heaven, and I accept your free gift of eternal life. In your Holy and Precious Name I pray. Amen!          

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

 

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!

GETTING TO HEAVEN AT OUR OWN SPEED

By: Gary L. Rodgers

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Recently while listening to a Preacher on a CD he said something that got me to thinking. He said that he was told that the Heaven where the Throne of God is at is 3.5 light years away from our earth. Now how anybody would know that is beyond comprehension. I don’t know how anybody here on earth could begin to calculate such a thing. But for the sake of argument let’s suppose that what he said was true.

How long would it take a man traveling in the fastest manmade vehicle known to man, get him to heaven? First of all science tells us that the speed of light is 186,000 Miles Per Second. So using their calculation how many miles would it be to get to Heaven if it were 3.5 light years away?

Next, when I looked up the fastest known vehicle on the internet it was said that Apollo 10 in 1969 traveled at a speed of 24,790 Miles Per Hour.

If all of this information were true then how long would it take us to get there? Using simple math let’s take a look at it.

1.)    186,000 MPS (Miles per second) = Speed of light, X 60 seconds in one minute, = 11,160,000 MPM (Miles traveled per minute) traveling at the speed of light

 2.)    11,160,000 MPM (Miles traveled per minute) traveling at the speed of light, X 60 minutes in one hour, = 669,600,000 MPH (Miles traveled per hour) traveling at the speed of light

 3.)    669,600,000 MPH (Miles traveled per hour) traveling at the speed of light, X 24 hours in one day, = 16,070,400,000 MPD (Miles traveled in a 24 hour day) traveling at the speed of light

4.)    16,070,400,000 MPD (Miles traveled in a 24 hour day) traveling at the speed of light, X 7 days in one week, = 112,492,800,000 MPW (Miles traveled in a 7 day week) traveling at the speed of light

5.)    112,492,800,000 MPW (Miles traveled in a 7 day week) traveling at the speed of light, X 52 weeks in one year = 5,849,625,600,000 MPY (Miles traveled in a 1 year period) traveling at the speed of light

If Heaven were 3.5 light years from the earth, then we would multiply this current number of 5,849,625,600,000 MPY x the 3.5 to get a total number of 20,473,689,600,000 Miles from the earth to the throne of God. Nearly 20.5 trillion miles, now that is a lot of miles in anybody’s book!

Now to calculate how long it would take us to get to Heaven if we were traveling in Apollo 10 @ 24,790 MPH, supposedly the fastest known craft manned by any human. Let’s start by taking the total distance of 20,473,689,600,000 miles and divide it by the 24,790 MPH to calculate how long it would take us.

1.)    20,473,689,600,000 miles from the earth to Heaven, divided by the speed of craft 24,790 MPH would give us a total number of 825,885,018 hours of time needed to make the trip in Apollo 10.

2.)    825,885,018 hours needed for the trip and divide that by 24 hours in a day, we would have a final result of 34,411,876 days needed to make the trip in Apollo 10

3.)    34,411,876 days needed and divide that by the typical number of days in a year of (365 days) we would have a final result of 94,279 years for us to make this trip in Apollo 10, not calculating that every forth year we would have a leap year of 366 days. In essence none of us would ever live to see Heaven.

Our loving and supreme omnipotent God will demonstrate His great power and strength one day when He suddenly raptures us from off the earth in a moment in the twinkling of an eye.

1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

 

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Apollo 10 and the speed of light do not begin to measure up to the power and wonder of our God!

There are people out there that have an eleventh hour religion, they believe that they will have enough time when Jesus comes back for His own to quickly say a prayer and be saved. The truth is that they won’t even have enough time to give it any thought. O how Satan blinds us to the truth of God’s word!

Is Heaven some 3 ½ light years away? No I don’t believe that at all, it is much closer than you think! How far is Heaven away from you my friend! It’s the distance from your mouth to your heart. In the book of Romans we are given these words:

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 If you have never prayed a prayer asking Jesus to save you then I invite you to follow along with these words.

Dear Jesus, I know what sin is, and I know that I am a sinner. I ask that you would please forgive me and wash away all of my sin with the blood that you had shed for me. Please send the Holy Spirit to come too live in my heart to teach me and guide me in righteousness. I know that you personally died for me, and that you were buried in a tomb and rose from the dead for me. I believe that you are now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. I put my complete trust in you alone as my Lord and Savior and I am trusting in you only to get me to Heaven, and I accept your free gift of eternal life. In your Holy and Precious Name I pray. Amen!          

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!

DARE I BELIEVE THIS AS TRUTH 

By: Gary L. Rodgers

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Not long ago I was reading an article that I passed along to a number of family members and friends. I thought about it later and decided to write my thoughts on what I believe to be true. With the Presidential Elections of 2012 now in the past it seemed like we were all being bombarded with all sorts of select truths, half-truths and flawed accusations. It was like a giant cake mix with all sorts of ingredients that we liked or did not like, some were necessary and some ingredients were just plain thrown in for the pleasure of someone saying that they put together the recipe. But how do we know when what we are being fed is fact and not some fabricated lie to sway our thinking in one direction or another? Can we accept all that we read as being absolute fact verbatim? Pretty much no matter what we read about the debates and other issues of concern for that day we were all being fed by the thoughts and influential penmanship of the person writing the article. Yes, even this article that I am writing. With all of the things that are happening in the world, most of which are pretty fearful, we can easily become paranoid and fearful to the point where we hide and do nothing. I hope to encourage you to stand firm and keep pressing forward. I believe that we have a responsibility before GOD to do our best at what we know to be right; and to speak out against all injustices and promote the gospel of Jesus Christ.

For myself I only know of certain truths that are sure. Not because I say so, but because GOD says so!

Fact:

  • GOD is still in charge and has not abdicated His throne.
  • GOD does not lie.
  • GOD’s Word is reliable and we can trust it to discern truth.
  • Christ went to the cross for everyone. Not just for certain select people.
  • Our only salvation is through Jesus Christ alone; not some religious belief; not some church membership; and baptism does not wash away sins. Study it for yourself in scripture.
  • Yes man penned the words in scripture, but the influence and choosing of words was the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit. If my GOD did not have the ability to keep His Word true to himself, then all that I believe and trust fails.

That fact is that there would be an end to the elections and there will be a finality of all the hurts and sufferings in the world, there is an end to all of this madness, and we have a sure hope in our future that GOD will take care of our every concern. Yes we do need to vote, and yes we do need to take a stand for our freedoms; both as a free American and as a Christian! My tomorrows are not dependent upon the Democratic or Republican party. My tomorrows are secured in who Christ is and what He will do for me because I am one of His own. If you would like to know how you can also become one of His own feel free to message me with a return email address and I will send you some words of hope. It costs you nothing to know, but it will cost you everything if you don’t know. It’s your free choice! And you can study it to prove whether it be true or not on your own.

THE TWENTY-THIRD PSALM

The Twenty-Third Psalm

By: Gary L. Rodgers

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1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

A number of years ago I listened to a message preached by an Evangelist by the name of Walter Burrell on the 23rd Psalm and it so blessed my heart that today I wanted to share that wonderful message. I have met and talked with this dear brother several times and I am pleased to have had him sign my Bible. Brother Burrell has graduated from this life into the next some time ago and no doubt that Heaven was made a little richer by it.

The 23rd Psalm has been one of those Psalms that has been memorized by so many. It has carried many a distraught soul through some of the darkest days of their life, and even has given strength to those in the face of death. The message that this dear brother preached has come to mind on many occasions and has helped me to appreciate the fruit of the Word that the Lord has given to us. I like what J. Vernon McGee once said. He said that he had a professor that told him that it was ok to graze upon another man’s pasture, but that we should give our own milk. So today we will graze in other pastures and we hope to produce the sweet taste of the milk of the word that we may grow thereby. 1 Peter 2:2

A PARALLEL TO THE WAY THAT SHEPHERDS CARE FOR THEIR FLOCK; AND PSALMS 23

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD; I SHALL NOT WANT.

In the first verse we clearly read that the LORD is our shepherd. The way that LORD is spelled tells us something about its meaning. In this case LORD is referencing the sacred name Yahweh. So as we look at it, the first verse is telling us that the God of all creation is our Master and our Shepherd. Jesus said in John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” And again we are told in Psalm 100:3 “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” So we see in scripture that we are likened to that of sheep, and we are told in John 10:11 and 15 that Jesus the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep. What greater blessing than to have our God love us so much to willfully lay down His life for all of us! So why sheep, why didn’t He liken us to something bigger, something more fierce, something stronger? We could have been likened to a Lion? No! That wouldn’t be right, because Satan is likened to a roaring Lion that “walketh about seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) I know what! How about a donkey or a mule? After all a donkey spoke to Balaam in Numbers 22:28 and I know that I have spoken to a few mules in my lifetime. But no, that wouldn’t work! Mules are stubborn and if you put two of them in the same stall someone will get kicked. He chose to liken us as sheep. Sheep are a gentle, timid lot. Sheep need a shepherd, someone whom they can follow and serve; someone who will watch over and protect them and meet their needs.

HE MAKETH ME TO LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES: HE LEADETH ME BESIDE THE STILL WATERS.

A good shepherd will always seek areas of good pasture for his sheep. One thing that sheep do well is eat and I can give a hardy amen to that. The Lord longs to feed us and if we come and dine we will grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18) Another thing about sheep is that they spook easily. The sheep know the gentle voice of the shepherd and they are comforted by that, and knowing that the sheep frighten easily the good shepherd will not bring them to rushing water. Sheep need to drink from the calm still waters of God’s Word so that they can be refreshed by it. If a shepherd cannot find any still waters close by he will often take his staff and dig a small trench long enough to get away from the rushing waters. He will stand there and watch as the water backs up in the trench until it is clear, and then he will call his sheep to come and drink from the still waters. God is not loud and boisterous when it comes to training His sheep; if He was it would frighten the sheep. It’s that still small voice that the sheep hear and obey. (1 Kings 19:11-13)

HE RESTORETH MY SOUL: HE LEADETH ME IN THE PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE.

One of the great blessings that the Lord bestows upon us as His children is that He restores our soul.

Psalm 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

He does not leave us, nor does He forsake us. (1 Kings 8:57) When we get saved we do not become perfect, we will commit sin; but when we do the Lord does not cast us away from Him as though we were not one of His children. He will restore us! This is beautifully illustrated in the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 starting with verse 11. Now this doesn’t mean that we can go out and deliberately commit sin and get away with it. If you do you are only fooling yourself into believing that you have that right, or that freedom. You cannot walk in the things of the flesh and please God. You will not get away with it! (Number 15:30-31) We need to be careful as to how we view sin, and we need to guard against the snares of sin, and be protective of our own souls. (Proverbs 22:5)

After a period of time a shepherd becomes familiar with his sheep. He knows which ones will disobey his commands and will in turn also influence other sheep to do the same. So what he will do is mix a red dye and dip the end of his staff into the red dye and mark those unruly sheep by smiting them across the shoulders with the dye. Once he has gone through and marked those that will not heed to his voice, he will separate the flock and take those unruly sheep back home. (1 Corinthians 5:5)

Sometimes a shepherd will deliberately break one of the legs of the sheep (church discipline) so that it cannot run off. What he will do then is make a sling so that he can carry the sheep and keep it close to him (Galatians 6:1), so that the sheep becomes more acquainted with the shepherd, all the while speaking to him in a still soft voice and caressing him so that the sheep will know the gentleness of his master. The Lord our God loves us and is gentle and longsuffering towards us, and we as Christians need to be careful not to have the red dye of disobedience smitten across our shoulders, thus marking us to be the next one taken home before our time! Lord, lead us in the paths of righteousness.

YEA, THOUGH I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL: FOR THOU ART WITH ME; THY ROD AND THY STAFF THEY COMFORT ME.

Someday if the Lord should tarry His coming; the brightness of His glory will shine upon me and I will cast a shadow in the valley of death. But I will fear no evil! For the Lord himself shall be with me and guide me every step of the way. Blessed Jesus hold my hand!

There were two things that a shepherd would carry, one was a rod which was basically a club, and the other was a staff that had a hooked end. The rod was used to protect the sheep, while the staff was used to train and guide the sheep. Sometimes sheep will put themselves in some very dangerous situations, like standing right on the edge of a cliff. So what a shepherd would do is gently, and ever so slowly reach out with his staff and slide the hook of the staff around the sheep’s neck and pull the animal over onto its back to get it away from danger. How many times have we stood on the edge of sin, only to have the gentle loving staff (the Holy Spirit) of our Savior to reach out and pull us back into the fold, back to safety, back from the clutches of sin? (1 Corinthians 10:13) O the peace of knowing that our Lord will go to great lengths to protect us from sin and its penalties. I am so thankful that whenever I got off into sin that my LORD came and searched for me, found me, and brought me back to where I belonged. We do serve a wonderful God and Savior. And He is the reason why we can be comforted in the time of trouble. I once lived in great fear and no matter how much I tried to ignore it the fear was always there. Praise God the Lord has delivered me from the fear of death, hell and the grave.

THOU PREPAREST A TABLE BEFORE ME IN THE PRESENCE OF MINE ENEMIES: THOU ANOINTEST MY HEAD WITH OIL; MY CUP RUNNETH OVER.

God prepares us to maintain our testimony of Him before our enemies. He prepares His children for the battle, to stand firm in the face of overwhelming odds and death. David was an example of that when he went up against the giant Goliath. (1 Samuel 17) God prepared David for the battle in verse 40 where it says “And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.” Remember what we said in the above verse about the staff being used to train and guide the sheep. The bible says in Proverbs 22:6 that we are to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” David was being led and prepared by the Word of God all the days of his life, and this particular day as he took the staff of his training, and being led by the Spirit of God he chose five smooth stones. Five in scripture carries with it the meaning of grace. By the grace of GOD David confronted the Giant that stood against Israel and defied the God of Israel.

1 Samuel 17:45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

The world needs to understand that when they challenge Israel that they challenge God as well.

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

That tiny nation of Israel has not gotten to where it is today on its own. It has and will ever be under the protective hand of God Almighty.

PREPARING THE TABLE

When a shepherd would take his sheep to new pastures he would often get down on his knees and search through the grasses to pull out a particular weed that was referred to as the enemy of the sheep. This weed would make the animal sick, so the good shepherd would do what he could to prevent this enemy from hurting his sheep. Do you know that the Lord also prepares a table for us? He has a spiritual diet for us that will help us to grow and mature in His Word. And as we feed upon His Word we will be strengthened before our enemies. In 1 Samuel 17:17-18 we find that Jesse the father of David gave David parched corn, ten loaves and ten cheeses to take to his brothers and the captain of their thousands. Symbolically I believe that the Lord was trying to get the children of Israel to see that they needed to be fed and strengthened of the Lord before going up against Goliath and the Philistine army to give testimony to the world that there is a God in Israel. Ten in scripture carries with it the meaning of testimony, law and responsibility. We have a responsibility to our God to obey His laws of righteousness and give testimony before all men that they too should come, to taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalm 34:8)

In the Holy lands there is a fly that will attack the eyes of the sheep and the shepherd will take and pour oil on the head of the sheep and around its eyes to protect it. We as the sheep of His pasture will be anointed by the Spirit of our GOD who will protect us and open our eyes to truth and righteousness, and therein will our cup of blessing be overflowing as we hear and obey the voice of the Good Shepherd.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

This word follow in the Hebrew carries with it the meaning of chasing after, or to pursue. The Psalmist is telling us that God’s goodness, grace, mercy and love will pursue us all the days of our life. And we that are the sheep of His pasture will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (John 3:16)

CLOSING REMARKS

It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. (Romans 2:4b)

If you are ready to trust in the Lord, then I ask that you follow along in prayer and repeat after me. Dear Jesus, I know what sin is, and I know that I am a sinner. I ask that you would please forgive me and wash away all of my sin with the blood that you shed for me. Please send the Holy Spirit to come too live in my heart to teach me and guide me in righteousness. I know that you personally died for me, and that you were buried in a tomb and rose from the dead for me. I believe that you are now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. I put my complete trust in you alone as my Lord and Savior and I am trusting in you only to get me to Heaven and I accept your free gift of eternal life. In your Holy and Precious Name I pray. Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to save you, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!

I’M PLUMB TUCKERED OUT

I’M PLUMB TUCKERED OUT

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By: Gary L. Rodgers

Have you ever heard someone use the phrase “I’m plumb tuckered out?” It’s a slang expression saying that we are totally exhausted.

As a young man growing up I worked on my neighbor’s farm during the summer to help bring in the Hay and Straw and I loved every minute of doing it. There is something special about the aroma of fresh cut alfalfa. I would come home after a long day and my mom would say, “you look like you’re plumb tuckered out!” And I would say that she was right a hundred percent of the time.

LANGUAGES CHANGE

Languages change and develop over time into new expressions and words. Did you ever stop to think about all of the new words that we inherited with the coming of age with the computer? Did you ever wonder what people will be thinking say an hundred thousand years from now when someone reads the command; “Set your mouse over the drop down menu and right click it!”  I remember how difficult it was for me to grasp that when I first read it in a manual, much less some of the other terms. I’ve often wondered how much head scratching will be going on in the future thousands of years from now when someone reads a message that they found from our era that reads; “ I was watching this house that was engulfed in flames and the flames must have been fifty feet high! Was that ever cool!”

WHAT YOU DON’T LEARN NOW A DAYS

My son once told me that his wife was his main squeeze! I doubled over laughing when he said that. It just hit me as being so funny. I thought that I was doing good when I said that yesterday his mother was my squoze and today she is my squeeze, and come tomorrow she will be my squish!

WHAT IS A HOOPTIE?

My wife came home and told me that I needed to fix the driver’s side mirror on our old car which had gotten broken off. As luck would have it some church friends of ours from New York was coming to visit us on Saturday and when I told him what happened to our car he said not to worry that he would fix it.

On that Saturday he took a tube of construction adhesive and squoze some of it down behind the mirror and then duct-taped the mirror into place. Then he told me that we are now the proud owners of a Hooptie.  I said what’s a Hooptie? He went on to say that a Hooptie is any car that is held together by wire, rope or duct-tape. It may even be a car with four different makes and size of tires on it. Or it could be a car that you have to use the passenger side door to get in and out of it. Our friends told us that because we kept the piece of duct-tape on the car that makes it a classic. Wow! So now with a sense of pride I tell people that I have a Hooptie classic limited edition. Ha!

INTERESTING CHANGES

Languages and expressions seem to change rapidly. Text messaging is something that I never had a desire (hankering) to get into. I have a hard enough time with the English language much less getting into texting. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with texting, I’m just fascinated with the changes to language and other things that I have seen in my own lifetime. Imagine my surprise when I learned that PITR meant “Parents in the room” and all along I thought that it meant “Pass it to the right.” I guess that there are some things that were not meant for my generation. I’m not stupid mind you, I’m just not edacated.

In looking over some of the Old English Words of the King James 1611 I found it interesting that the letter “J” did not come into existence until approximately twenty five or thirty years after the King James Version of scripture was written. The word Jehovah began with the letter “Y” and the name Joshua was pronounced as Yahshua, meaning “Jehovah is salvation.” Interesting!

One of the words that have stood the test of time is the word “love,” and I’m glad that it has. Love has its own special meaning that cannot be adequately replaced by any other word. Now that I have gotten older and I too am a Hooptie with my shoulder and knee replacements, I’m thrilled to be able to still tell my dear wife that I love her and when she is done with the Roast Beef to please P-I-T-R.

SOME HUMOR FOR YOU

I would like to include a humorous story that a friend of mine emailed me regarding the beloved and wonderfully blessed Dr. Billy Graham. The story went like this:

Billy Graham with his new suit is now 92 years-old with Parkinson’s disease.

In January, leaders in Charlotte , North Carolina invited him, as their favorite son, to a luncheon in his honor.

 Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with this disease.

But the Charlotte leaders said, ‘We don’t expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you.’

 So he agreed.

After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the podium without notes or preparation , looked at the crowd, and said: “I’m reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Past Century. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, he reached into his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket; so, he reached into his trouser pockets. It wasn’t there. He looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it. The conductor said, ‘Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.

Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket. The conductor rushed back and said: ‘Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are; no problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one’. Einstein looked at him and said: “Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going”.

Having said that Billy Graham continued: “See the suit I’m wearing? It’s a brand new suit. My children and my grandchildren are telling me I’ve gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So, I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I’ll be buried. But when you hear I’m dead, I don’t want you to immediately remember the suit I’m wearing. I want you to remember this: ” I not only know who I am. I also know where I’m going. May your troubles be less, your blessings more, and may nothing but happiness come through your door. Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil – it has no point. Amen & Peace My Friends and may each of us have lived our lives so that when our ticket is punched we don’t have to worry about where we are going”.

And to that I say Amen!

NOTHING WRONG WITH GOOD CLEAN FUN

As you may have already guessed, this is just written for us to have some good clean fun. Life is serious enough and once in awhile we need to simply share a laugh or two. I believe that God too has a sense of humor. And He gets a laugh out of some of the crazy things that we do. Having fun doesn’t need to have a filthy word or any filthy suggestions in it!

I just felt like today I would break away from the norm and just share some fun to hopefully brighten your day. Just remember that if you are saved you have a lot to be thankful for and happy about. And I do hope that I gave enough humor to put a smile on your face. 

FALLING ASLEEP WHILE LISTENING TO A SPEAKER

The next time that I fall asleep in church I think that I will use the same line that Winston Churchill used when one of his cabinet members asked; Mr. Churchill, must you always fall asleep whenever I give a speech? His reply was; No! It is strictly voluntary!

 Now that “I’m Plumb Tuckered Out” I think that I will go and take my quota of naps so that I can get to sleep later tonight.

May the Lord bless and preserve you!

Brother Gary L. Rodgers

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WHICH SIDE OF THE BOAT DO YOU FISH FROM

By: Gary L. Rodgers

Fishing is a fun and exciting sport. It takes some amount of patience, some skill, and it always helps to go where the fish are. Fish won’t come to you unless you have enticed them with the right kind of bait. I have at times thrown pieces of bread on the water and watched as the fish would feed on it. I have enjoyed watching the relaxing and gentle movements of fish in an aquarium. A good fisherman learns to relax and enjoy the moment. Some days you catch one or two fish and other days you either catch a bunch of them or none at all. The thrill of hooking one that puts up a good fight makes it exciting and joyful for you. It’s a feeling like none other when you hook a big one. The tug and pull on the pole gets your blood to racing through your veins. You need to know how much drag to apply to your lines so that when the fish is pulling against the line that it doesn’t break. The idea is to wear the fish down so that he puts up less of a fight. Sometimes a fish will swim toward you in an attempt to spit out the hook, and during those times you need to wind your reel quickly to always keep the line taunt. Some fish have a soft mouth so you need to be easy on the drag and how hard that you fight them. Sometimes you just need to go along with the fish until the right moment to land them. Some fish hit the bait hard while others are very gentle; so you need to get a feel for that. Fishing is a great experience and you can learn a lot as you go.

FISHING FOR MEN

Jesus said “follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19 and Mark 1:17 Fishing for men is just as exciting and fulfilling as it is to catching fish. You need to carry with you the “bread of life,” Jesus Christ if you are going to catch men. Sometimes when going after fish you come to learn that when the sun is on your back that you will cast a shadow on the water and your sudden movements will at times spook the fish. When going after men always remember to keep the Son before your face.

I like what Jesus told Peter and those six that were in the ship with Peter on the sea of Tiberias to cast their net on the other side of the ship. John chapter 21,

Peter and those that were with him had fished all night and caught nothing. I can imagine how frustrated and tired they were. There have been times that I fished for many hours and caught nothing. It’s tiring, it’s frustrating and it makes you wonder what you are doing wrong.

FISHING IN DEEP WATERS

I remember my Dad telling me a story about one of his fishing expeditions. He enjoyed fishing and he was quite good at it. He said that he was fishing at a lake and was casting out into some deep water. So what he did, which he also taught me was to tie a piece of rubber-band on the line at the depth that you want to fish and too trim it off closely at the knot so that it would easily slide off of the spool and through the eyes of the rod. Then you put some split shot down to within about 18” of the hook. You put enough split shot on the line so that the minnow would tire himself out from trying to swim back up to the surface of the water. Then you would take a fair sized plastic bobber and turn the metal catch of the bobber so that the line could easily pass through it. After doing that you would hook the bobber onto your line below the piece of rubber band. Now you were all set to fish. The bobber would slide down until it hit the split shot which made casting easy to do. After the cast you would give enough slack so that the minnow along with the split shot would sink down deep into the water. Once the piece of rubber-band hits the metal loop of the bobber you would see the bobber flip upright and you knew that you were at full depth to catch fish. An ingenious way to fish!

LEARNING FROM OTHERS

Anyway, my Dad was telling me that one time he was fishing at this lake and he was catching all sorts of fish using this method. Two guys that were sitting not too far from him were watching him fish; they couldn’t believe that he was catching so many and they didn’t have much of anything. They saw that each time he cast, his bobber was not that far up from the hook, so they kept moving their hook close to the bobber. After awhile one of them came over and said that they were doing the same thing as my Dad and were fishing as shallow as he was and they were not getting any bites. So Dad had a good laugh and gave them some rubber-bands and taught them the secrete of fishing deep while casting with a short amount of line. Soon they were all catching fish.

FISHING FOR SOULS

The point of all of this comes down to how do we catch men? When Jesus called out to Peter and his crew and told them to cast their net on the other side I can imagine their thoughts. They were probably thinking that they have been fisherman all of their lives and they knew how to catch fish. Now here comes someone who tells them to try it his way. Frustrated and tired I imagine they thought to themselves, “what can it hurt; we haven’t caught anything all night!” Much to their surprise their net was filled with fish, and in verse eleven we find that they caught an hundred and fifty three fish in all.

JESUS KNOWS HOW TO FISH

No doubt that Jesus knows how to fish. He knows exactly what it takes to catch men! Yes! it takes time and patience. It takes someone like Christ to teach us how. And if we keep Him in the forefront of our witnessing we will catch men. And there will be memorable moments that you will carry with you for life. Some men will be caught easily and some will put up a good fight. And those that struggle in the battle for eternal life will be the catch that you will always hold dear to your heart. Sometimes you are surprised at what you catch. Some will be trophy catches that go on into the ministry as Pastors, Deacons, Evangelists and Teachers. But always keep in mind that if you go fishing without the bread of life (Jesus Christ) for bait, you will fail. You see Peter and his crew was fishing under the knowledge and power of self. It was not until they fished under the guidance of The Lord Jesus Christ that they became successful in their catch.

THE SKILLS OF FISHING

Fishing takes time, patience and knowledge of what you are fishing for in order to make a catch. Never go soul winning without Jesus Christ. You need to always pray for the direction and power of the Holy Spirit to guide you in your steps and in your words. You don’t need to be a theologian to win souls. You can’t plan ahead what questions you will be asked and what answers you will give. You go along with the pulls and tugs and keep the line of witnessing taunt. There will be times when you catch nothing because the fish cleaned off your hook. But always bear in mind that sometimes you will feed the fish rather than catch them. God says that His word will not return to Him void in Isaiah 55:11, so be thankful for those days that the people are fed with the word. It will in time accomplish what God has set out for it to do. In time you will learn how to cast, how to hook, and how to bring in souls to Christ. Not everyone that Jesus spoke to got saved. The Rich Young Ruler was an example of that in Matthew 19:16-22 He tried to gain eternal life by doing the works of the law. When Jesus told him to sell all that he had and give it to the poor, be sure to understand that Jesus did not want this young man to be poor and destitute. He wanted the young man to see that you can’t hold onto the world and Him (Christ) at the same time. We all have to decide which is more important to us Jesus or worldly pleasures. It all comes down to this question. What will we hold onto and what will we give up to have Jesus first in our lives?

SOMETIMES FISH WILL NOT FEED

Sometimes people don’t want to hear what we have to say. But you are not alone in this. Some were fearful and didn’t want to hear what Jesus had to say, so He left them and moved on.

Luke 8:37 Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.

38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,

39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.

And just like Jesus you will find those that are anxious to receive Him and here the good news as indicated in verse forty.

40 And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.

There are many, many precious souls out there waiting for you to bring the good news to them. Go ahead and take that step of faith and you will come to see that the Lord has a special blessing waiting for you when you see your first soul get saved. God has a joy waiting to put into your heart that you will never forget, the day that you went fishing with Jesus for souls and caught one.

SOME THINGS THAT I DO WHEN I GO SOUL WINNING:

  1. I always pray that the Spirit of the Lord will guide me to people that I can be a witness to; and I pray that Satan will be held at bay during those moments when a soul is about to receive Christ as Lord and Savior.
  2. I always show people what it says in the bible so that they can see it for themselves. I never ask them to read what it says in the event that they are not able to read well. It will embarrass them and may even destroy the opportunity to win them to Christ.
  3. I write down the date, time and place that they received Christ and I give them a copy of it for a record that they can keep in their bible.
  4. I always ask for their full name, address, and phone number so that I can do a follow up with them later to see how they are doing and answer any questions or concerns. I give them information so that they can contact me as well.
  5. I invite them to visit our church, and if they are too far away I ask them if it would be alright to have a member of a local church in their area visit them?

I have called Christian colleges and through their help I have made contact with Pastors that are local to the person that just got saved.

May the power and influence of the Holy Spirit go with you as you venture out to win souls for Christ!

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WHO IS ANTICHRIST AND WHERE DOES HE COME FROM?

By: Gary L. Rodgers

There have been a lot of questions over the years about whom the Antichrist is and where he will come from. I have heard all sorts of explanations and ideas on this and I have not really formulated an opinion of my own on the subject, partly because I am looking for the next great event on the timetable of end time events and that is the Rapture or the snatching away of the Bride of Christ, the church. Secondly I have become somewhat disillusioned towards trying to muddle through all of the scriptures referring to this satanic figure. It is not an easy study and my interests have been more in the area of evangelism.

Recently I was asked to pull together some information on this and I have tried to compile the information into some sense of order to hopefully present a clear understanding based upon what I have found in the scriptures. This will not be an in-depth study on the subject but I will try to hit on a few points and provide some of the teachings that I have also heard on this subject.

Speculation! now there’s a serious word if there ever was one. I have tried to read what others are saying on this subject and there is all sorts of theories and a wild array of “let me be the first to make a prediction on this character and where he comes from. Everyone seems to have their opinion and some are pretty far out there. I just finished reading one where the Illuminate was going to give the exact date that the Antichrist would appear and how they would herald in this event by igniting the planet Jupiter. How they planned to do that is beyond me but never the less that is what the article said. I recall that there was some talk that the beast which is another reference to the antichrist was some gigantic three-story computer that was located in Belgium, which, although many believed it to be true it turned out to be a fabrication by an author who created the monster for a story that he wrote. Story after story can be found on the internet as to who or what the antichrist is yet many people fall into believing these wild notions because they choose to believe a lie.

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

The more that I read the more I am convinced that it is so much easier just to have faith in God and His Word than to believe some of the ridiculous notions that the occult and other so-called people of professed great powers and wisdom have to say.

FALSE CHRISTS IN THE WORLD

I’ve had my fill of people like Jim Jones whose mother had him believe that in him she had birthed a messiah; a man who in his childhood filled his mind with the poisonous influences of Stalin, Karl Marx, Adolph Hitler and the likes. Then in November of 1978 at their compound known as Jonestown, Guyana, he influenced his followers to commit suicide by drinking a punch laced with cyanide. Those who refused to drink the concoction were either shot or had their throats slit. Of the 909 inhabitants at Jonestown 303 of them were children who were murdered by this madman and his henchmen.

Then in 1993 in Waco Texas a group known as the Branch Davidians under the influence of one David Koresh whose real name was Vernon J. Howell had a shoot out with authorities that ended in a blaze of flames and smoke that took the lives of some 80 people in the compound with 23 of them under the age of 17, fourteen of which were fathered by Koresh. Koresh’s influence over these people was that they saw him as being the Messiah and he claimed to be an heir to King David.

HEED THE WARNING

Over and over again we see the dangerous influence of people like Charles Manson and others claiming to be our Lord and the destructiveness of their influence. Clearly we are warned about this in scripture.

Matthew 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Over the years I have heard several comments and ideas as to where the Antichrist will come from. Some say that he will come out of Rome, some believe that he will be Jewish and come out of the tribe of Dan. No matter who he is or where he comes from one thing is for certain, he will be under the influence of Satan and will set himself up in the new temple as God and restore the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament.

SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT

I once heard a preacher deliver something in his message that I thought was interesting and wanted to include this as another piece of speculation as to whom the antichrist may possibly be.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

In verse 3 above the phrase the son of perdition is only found in one other verse of scripture, John 17:12 which is in reference to Judas Iscariot. And because this phrase is used when speaking of either character there are some that say that the antichrist could possibly be Judas Iscariot reincarnated.

John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

Cross references are given along with this verse:

John 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? In the Strong’s Concordance it suggests a reference that may be applied to a man who, by opposing the cause of God, may be said to act the part of the devil or to side with him.

Acts 1:20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: (Psalms 69:25) and his bishoprick (Presiding office, Overseer-ship) let another take. (Psalms 109:8)

ATTEMPTS TO FIT PUBLIC FIGURES TO THE ANTICHRIST

There are those that have tried to fit public figures into the mold of the Antichrist. Some have tried to point fingers at Presidents, Prime Ministers, Religious figures and other world leaders to say that they are the Antichrist. Whoever he is we know from scripture that he is a powerful figure. In scripture we find the word antichrist used in four verses by the Apostle John.

1 John 2:18  “and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come”

1 John 2:22 “He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”

1 John 4:3 “and this is that (spirit) of antichrist”

2 John 1:7 “This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”

He is also referred to in scripture as the beast and Revelation chapter 13 has much to say about that. We know from scripture and from what we have been taught that he will be a powerful political figure and when he comes on the scene he will uproot three kingdoms.

The only clear reference to his identity that I am aware of is in verse 18 of Revelation 13 where it first of all says that he is a man, and then it goes on to say that he has a number and that number is 666.

Revelation 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

Well I guess that puts to rest all ideas of a computer or some other technical system from becoming the beast.

WHAT DO NUMBERS TELL US?

In a quick study on Biblical Numerology I have learned that the number six is man’s number and it supports the meaning for the weakness of man, the evils of Satan and the manifestation of sin.

In the book of Revelation this number 666 has a very sinister meaning when it is presented in multiples of the number 6.

Seven is a sacred number that references God’s perfect spiritual completeness. Six falls short of the number seven. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

While 6 represents in its meaning the number for man, 66 would represent a very powerful man, and the number 666 would represent a man of superior abilities and powers, yet we find that it will never come up to equal the number 7. This man with all of his abilities will never equal God, so right away when he is seen setting himself up in the temple as God, this should alert everyone that he is a liar.

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MODERN DAY MAP OF WHAT WAS ONCE THE ANCIENT ROMAN EMPIRE

LIST OF MODERN COUNTRIES THAT COVER THE AREA OF THE ANCIENT ROMAN EMPIRE

occupied by Israel. This would have been part of the Roman province of

Portugal Austria Azerbaijan
Spain Czech Republic Syria
Andorra Slovakia Iraq
United Kingdom Slovenia Kuwait
France Croatia Cyprus
Monaco Bosnia-Herzegovina Lebanon
Luxembourg Hungary Jordania
Belgium Yugoslavia Israel
Netherlands Albania Saudi Arabia
Germany Greece Egypt
Switzerland FYR Macedonia Sudan
Liechtenstein Romania Lybia
Italy Bulgaria Tunisia
San Marino Turkey Algeria
Vatican City Georgia Morocco
Malta Armenia

Palestine – Not yet an internationally recognized nation. Situated on Jordanian and Egyptian territory, currently occupied by Israel. This would have been part of the Roman province of Judaea.

From somewhere in this vast territory will come this son of perdition who will reign with terror and do all that he can to annihilate the nation of Israel and those that name the name of Jesus. We are told in the book of Daniel that the people, of the prince that will come, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.

Daniel 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation (tribute or offering to God) to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

In A.D. 70 Titus of Rome destroyed the city and the temple. In A.D. 70 the territory of the Roman Empire stretched out over the entire Mediterranean coastlands.

There is varied speculation as to which of these nations the Antichrist may possibly come from. We can be reasonably certain that he will come out of this Empire that was dominated by the ancient armies of Rome.

IS THE ANTICHRIST OF JEWISH BLOOD?

Some say that the Antichrist will come out of the tribe of Dan for several reasons. In Genesis 49:1 we find Jacob (Israel) from who came the 12 tribes of Israel, called his sons together to tell them what should befall them in the last days.

1)      When Jacob prophesied what would become of Dan in Genesis 49:16 & 17 he said –

                   16 Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.

                   17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his                              

               rider shall fall backward.

2)      When you look in the list from whom the Lord will seal 12,000 of each of the twelve tribes of Israel you will notice that the tribe of Dan is not mentioned. Rather in his place you will find Manasseh the eldest son of Joseph. (Genesis 48:8-22)

3)      Dan was the first of two children that were born to Jacob through Bilhah, who was one of Rachel’s maidservants. (Genesis 30:4) And because of this some Scholars feel that Dan and Naphtali were not considered too be of true Israelite origin.

4)      We are told in Daniel 11:37 that the Antichrist will not regard the God of his fathers, which could allude to him being of Jewish descent. We are also told that he has no desire of women for he shall magnify himself above all.

CONCLUSION

Who exactly is the Antichrist, and is he of Jewish descent? Is he from the tribe of Dan as some suggest? Is the Antichrist actually Judas Iscariot reincarnated?

All that I will say is that we are not certain of his origin or his true name, but some scripture does provide food for thought as to his character. We know that he is Satan’s man of the hour and we have a responsibility to warn others of this coming future enemy of God and the nation of Israel and anyone who dares to worship the God of heaven and His Son.

My heart goes out to people who will in the near future come face to face with this horrible beast of a man. Their only hope for escape is the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray for the world that many will be saved before it is too late.

My Dear Friend,

We live in some of the most troubled times in the history of man and I wish to encourage you to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior so that you will escape this terrible time period that is about to come upon the world. The Lord is soon coming to gather His people from the face of the earth so that they will escape the Tribulation period and the wrath of His judgment. If you are ready to do this then I invite you to follow along and repeat this prayer in faith believing in Jesus Christ.

Dear Jesus, I know what sin is, and I know that I am a sinner. I ask that you would please forgive me and wash away all of my sin with the blood that you shed for me. Please send the Holy Spirit to come too live in my heart to teach me and guide me in righteousness. I know that you personally died for me, and that you were buried in a tomb and rose from the dead for me. I believe that you are now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. I put my complete trust in you alone as my Lord and Savior and I am trusting in you only to get me to Heaven and I accept your free gift of eternal life. In your Holy and Precious Name I pray. Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to save you, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact me at unctionsofthespirit@gmail.com so that I can rejoice with you and pray for you.

May the Lord bless you with His peace!

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THE TWO MEN THAT DIED

 This is a story about two men that died and were headed to their eternal destination. The one man was carrying a white piece of paper in his hand and we will call him “Mr. Saved” the other man that died we are going to call “Mr. Good Guy”. “Mr. Saved” was walking down a road to the right side and “Mr. Good Guy” was walking down a road to the left side. At one point the roads crossed each other and here is where the two men met.

 The conversation between the two went something like this;

MR. SAVED – Hi I’m Mr. Saved and I am headed to my eternal destination in Heaven; and who are you?

 MR. GOOD GUY – My name is Mr. Good Guy and I am also headed to Heaven. May I ask you Mr. Saved, what is that piece of paper that you are carrying in your hand all about?

 MR. SAVED – Oh this says Mr. Saved! This paper is my testimony showing that I am saved. You see this use to be all black; covered with sin. And when Jesus saved me He washed away all of my sins with His blood and made me all clean; so you see that is why this is now all white as snow, because I have put all of my faith and trust in Christ alone.

As the conversation continues Mr. Saved begins to fold up his paper

** INSTRUCTIONS – Begin folding your paper as shown in Fig. 1 thru 4 above while carrying on with the story at the same time.

 MR. SAVED – May I ask you Mr. Good Guy, how are you going to get into Heaven?

MR. GOOD GUY – Well I am going to get into heaven because I have been a really good man. I went to church every Sunday, I read my Bible, prayed and I even joined a church and got baptized.

MR. SAVED – Well no doubt those are all really good things. But what did you do with Jesus?

MR. GOOD GUY – What do you mean what did I do with Jesus? I didn’t do anything with him.

MR. SAVED – Well the Bible teaches that we must all put our total faith and trust in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior to get us into heaven. He was the one that died on the cross, so we must go to Him personally, individually, and confess to Him that we are a hopelessly lost sinner and ask His forgiveness. You see He paid the penalty for our sins so that we could be saved by simply asking for forgiveness and accepting the free gift of eternal life that He has provided for us through His death, burial and resurrection. Going to church, reading our bibles and praying are all good things that we should do.

** INSTRUCTIONS – Mr. Saved shows his paper to Mr. Good Guy. By this time your paper should look like Fig. #3

MR. SAVED – See this? It reminds me of my church where I went forward in a service and asked Jesus to forgive me and wash away all of my sin. The things that you did are good, but those things alone will not save us. Jesus came here for a reason, and that was because you and I cannot possibly be perfect and do everything exactly right every time. Only Jesus can do that. He shed His blood to pay the penalty for our sins so that we could be rescued from an eternity in Hell. And because I have done that I am now taking my Heavenly flight to be with Him forever. See my paper; it looks like an airplane doesn’t it?

 ** INSTRUCTIONS – By this time your paper should look like Fig. #4. You should fold the flaps down to make it look like an airplane.

Mr. Good Guy thought that maybe he needed some of the paper that Mr. Saved was carrying so He asked him for a piece.

MR. SAVED – Well I‘ll give you some but it won’t do you any good. This is my testimony not yours.

** INSTRUCTIONS – Tear off only one strip of paper as shown in Fig. #4 This should be the same as the fold line for the airplane wings. Choose someone to hold these pieces of paper. Tell them that they must not lose any of the pieces.

NOTE: Tear off the paper as straight as you can, you do not need to cut the paper with a scissors.

MR. GOOD GUY – Well I believe that I will get into Heaven even if I didn’t ask Jesus to come into my heart and save me. You’ll see! Being a good person and getting baptized will get me there.

 Mr. Good Guy looked at  the  little  bit  of  paper  that  he had and felt  that  maybe he should have some more so he asked Mr. Saved for  more.

MR. SAVED – Well I’ll give you more, but like I said before it will not do you any good. Unless a person asks Jesus to come into their heart and be their Savior all the good works in the world cannot save them.

 ** INSTRUCTIONS – Tear off the second strip of paper as shown in Fig. #4.  Give these pieces to the same person that you handed the first torn pieces to with the same instructions not to lose any of the pieces.

After having finished their conversation they said good-bye to each other and went on their way. After some time Mr. Saved came up to a beautiful white pearly gate and knocked on it to let someone know that he had arrived. An Angel opened a peephole in the door and asked –

 ANGEL – Can I help you?

MR. SAVED – Yes! I am Mr. saved and I have arrived to enter into Heaven.

ANGEL – One minute while I look in the Lambs Book of Life to see if your name is in it. The Angel pages through the book – Saved, Saved – ah here it is! “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13) The Angel opens the door and says – I found your name in the book of life and you are permitted to enter in.

Mr. Saved walks in and hands his paper to the Angel.

** INSTRUCTIONS – Select someone to be the angel and have them hold this last remaining piece of paper, be sure to tell them not to open it until you ask them to.

Moments later Mr. Good Guy arrives and He too knocks on the door and the Angel opens the peep hole and asks;

ANGEL – May I help you?

MR. GOOD GUY – Yes my name is Mr. Good Guy and I have these papers to help me to get into this place.

** INSTRUCTIONS – Have the first person that you gave the two strips of torn paper to hold them up for everyone to see.

ANGEL  One minute while I look in the Lambs Book of Life to see if your name is in it. The Angel pages through the book – Good Guy, Good Guy, – Hmm, I can’t seem to find it.

The Angel opens the peep hole again and says –

ANGEL – I’m sorry but I can’t seem to find your name in the Lambs Book of Life.

MR. GOOD GUY – I’m certain that it is in there and like I said before I also have these papers to help me get in.

ANGEL – I’ll tell you what we will do. If you step around to the side where you will see a small booth, I will meet you there to look over your papers.

After they meet the Angel takes the papers and begins to open them up. The Angel lays them in order while talking to Mr. Good Guy.

ANGEL – You know that just being a good person is not enough to get you into Heaven. If it could, then Jesus would not have needed to die on the cross; would He? People would have done like you and just gone out and joined a church and gotten baptized. But the Bible teaches that GOD sent His only begotten Son to die for you. It also teaches that if we reject the Son then we have also rejected the Father. Jesus said that no man can come unto the Father but by me. And because you have not done what GOD wanted you to do by putting your complete faith and Trust in His Son then I’m afraid that your papers say that you are going to spend an eternity in Hell.

** INSTRUCTIONS – By this time you should have all of the strips of paper opened and arranged to spell the words HELL.

Mr. Good Guy then gets angry and slams his fist down on the table and says –

 

Mr. Good Guy – I got these papers from that Mr. Saved and if I am going to hell then he is going there also.

ANGEL – Wait one minute. Mr. Saved was here a moment ago and handed me his piece of paper which is his testimony. Let’s open it to see how he got into Heaven and you didn’t.

 ** INSTRUCTIONS – Get the person who is acting as the angel to carefully open the last remaining piece of paper without tearing it. Tell them to hold it up after they open it for everyone to see.

ANGEL – You see; the only way to get into Heaven is by the way of the cross through Jesus Christ and Him only. There is no other way. If you reject Him then there is no hope for you. All of the good works that man can think of doing will not help him. Did joining a church die on the cross?

MR. GOOD GUY – No!

ANGEL – Did baptism die on the cross?

MR. GOOD GUY – No!

ANGEL – So you see Mr. Good Guy. Every person must make a decision to either accept what Jesus did for them and believe and trust in Him to save them or they will spend an eternity in hell.

INVITATION

Now it is your turn to decide. Who do you choose to be like; Mr. Good Guy who trusted in his good works or Mr. Saved who trusted in Jesus to get him to Heaven? The choice really is yours, no one can make it for you.

If you are ready to trust in the Lord to be saved, then I ask that you follow along in prayer and repeat after me.

Dear Jesus, I know what sin is, and I know that I am a sinner. I ask that you would please forgive me and wash away all of my sin with the blood that you shed for me. Please send the Holy Spirit to come too live in my heart to teach me and guide me in righteousness. I know that you personally died for me, and that you were buried in a tomb and rose from the dead for me. I believe that you are now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. I put my complete trust in you alone as my Lord and Savior and I am trusting in you only to get me to Heaven and I accept your free gift of eternal life. In your Holy and Precious Name I pray. Amen!                                                                                                                                  

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to save you, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

 

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Feel free to contact me so that we can rejoice with you in your decision.

Email: unctionsofthespirit@gmail.com

May the Lord bless you with His peace!

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FIVE

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Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

   9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

FIVE

By: Gary L. Rodgers

Some time ago I began to read a book from a Dr. Ed F. Vallowe on the use of numbers in the Bible and I wanted to share one number in particular that beautifully illustrates God’s wonderful love and grace towards us. I hope that you find this equally rewarding as well.

Throughout the Word of God we find that God uses numbers to bring about certain truths, and I have found that sometimes these numbers seem to jump right off the pages of scripture to emphasize that this wonderful book has indeed been written by the God of creation Himself; whom by His grace has demonstrated that He loved us by giving His Son as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Grace is the unmerited favor of God towards you and me.

Often when I pray whether it be at home or in church I will raise my hand(s) to the Lord and for good reason. First of all I have found twelve verses of scripture where Prophets and Kings have raised up their hands unto God in Heaven in an attitude of prayer! But one thing in particular that speaks to my heart is when I look at my raised hand I am reminded by my five fingers that I have knelt before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who by His grace has made this possible for me to do this. And in doing this when the Lord looks down on me it is a reminder to Him that by faith I am saved by His grace and not by my works. That’s how important and honorable it is for me!

THE NUMBER 5

Grace or God’s Goodness

Heh (ה) in the Hebrew; Epsilon (Ε, ε) in the Greek

The tabernacle in the wilderness speaks out in its dimensions and design in groups of five or multiples of five the grace of God. We find that there were five offerings that were to be sacrificed on the altar.

  1. Burnt Offering:

This offering was to be burnt to ashes, only the skin would be given to the Priest. (Leviticus 7:8)

The whole offering went up to God and thus speaks of His own satisfaction in the death of His Son. The ashes are descriptive of the absolute and thorough judgment of sin. The skin of the animal as with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21) speaks of the provision of God that was made in the death of His Son to clothe the guilty naked sinner in the garments of salvation and righteousness, making the lost sinner a joint heir with Christ. (Isaiah 61:10 and Luke 15:22)

  1. Peace Offering:

This typifies Christ reconciling man to himself through the peace that was made by His shed blood on the cross. (Colossians 1:20 and Ephesians 2:14 – 19) Believers are to now feed upon the affections and strength of Christ, as typified in the breast and shoulders of the sacrifice. (Leviticus 3:1-17 and 7:11-21)

  1. Sin Offering:

Christ is pictured in this offering as our substitute, bearing the judgment of our sin to meet the requirements of the law. (1 Peter 2:24 & 25, 3:18, Isaiah 53, Leviticus 4, Leviticus 6:25-30)

  1. Trespass Offering:

This was a two-fold offering in covering sins against God and against ones neighbor. This typifies Christ’s death as atoning for every effect of sin. (Leviticus 5:1-19, Leviticus 6:1-7)

  1. Meat Offering:

Typifies Christ’s perfect humanity. (Matthew 1:18-23, 3:17)

The Frankincense speaks of the fragrant life of Christ.

The oil speaks of Christ’s anointing of the Spirit for His public ministry.

In the story of David and Goliath, David chose five smooth stones. David trusted in the grace of God.     (1 Samuel 17:40-51) When God has something for you and I to do you can rest assured that God will give us the grace needed to do it.

The number five is mentioned 318 times in scripture and nearly always touches on the Goodness and Grace of God towards man.

There are five women that are mentioned in the genealogy of Christ. All five of these women experienced the grace of God in their lives.

  1. Rahab
  2. Ruth
  3. Tamar
  4. Bathsheba
  5. Mary

In Romans 11:5 & 6 we find that the word “grace” is used five times and the word “work or works” used four times. The number four in scripture typically carries with it the meaning of Creation, the Flesh or the World. The works here mentioned are of the natural man. The natural man is dependent upon his own works and if he is to be saved from his works it is done by the grace of God.

In 1 Peter 1:1&2 Peter addresses the saints in five countries, and he mentions five doctrines. After these two sets of five Peter uses the word grace.

  1. Pontus
  2. Galatia
  3. Cappadocia
  4. Asia
  5. Bithynia

 

  1. Elect
  2. Foreknowledge of God
  3. Sanctification of the Spirit
  4. Obedience
  5. Blood of Christ

“Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”

In Exodus 30:23 – 25 we find five ingredients in the holy anointing oil.

  1. Myrrh – An aromatic resin found in the thorny plant of the Commiphora tree that is typically harvested by bruising the tree.
  2. Sweet Cinnamon – A spice that is found in the inner bark of the Cinnamon tree which is native to South East Asia.
  3. Sweet Calamus – Is a perennial marsh plant with sword-like leaves and aromatic roots. Indigenous to India and is found in Europe across southern Russia.
  4. Cassia – A shrub like tree that produces a bean. The tree has a strong aroma to it and is slightly of bitter taste. Sometimes referred to as Chinese Cinnamon.
  5. Olive Oil – Abstracted from the olive and is a tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin.

In typology the Holy Anointing Oil is used as a type to represent the Holy Spirit. (Acts 10:38)

In Hebrews 10:29 the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of Grace.

In Isaiah 9:6 we find five names that Christ was to be called.

  1. Wonderful
  2. Counselor
  3. The Mighty God
  4. The everlasting Father
  5. The Prince of Peace

The fifth name that Christ was called was the Prince of Peace. Grace brings Peace.

In John 5:2 we find that the Pool of Bethesda had five porches. People came to this place to be healed of their infirmities. This is a picture of God’s Grace. Jesus had five words in His question to the man at the pool . “Wilt thou be made whole?” Thus demonstrating that this man would be made whole by the grace of God.

In Jeremiah 33:11 we find the five voices of Grace that would be heard in Israel when they return from their captivity.

  1. The voice of Joy
  2. The voice of gladness
  3. The voice of the Bridegroom
  4. The voice of the Bride
  5. The voice of them that say “Praise the Lord of Hosts

Two scriptures of interest that I would like to quote here from Dr. Ed Vallowe from his book on Biblical Mathematics. Each of these verses is broken into five divisions.

Hebrews 9:14

  1. “How much more shall the blood of Christ,
  2. Who through the eternal Spirit
  3. Offered himself without spot to God,
  4. Purge your conscience from dead works
  5. To serve the living and true God.”

A. In number one is the Son, Jesus Christ, who by the GRACE of God tasted death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)

B. Second we have the Spirit of GRACE. (Hebrews 10:29)

C. Third we have the God of all GRACE. ( 1 Peter 5:10)

D. Fourth we have man, lost (dead) in his sins and needing God’s GRACE of forgiveness. (Ephesians 2:1-9)

E. Fifth we find that man is made alive by GRACE and can now serve God. (Ephesians 2:5)

  •  In the first three divisions we find the Trinity.
  • In the fourth we find man (Gods CREATION) lost in (this WORLD) his dead works.
  • In the fifth man is reconciled by the GRACE of God.

In John 3:14 & 15 we find these five divisions;

  1. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
  2. Even so must the Son of Man be lifted up:
  3. That whosoever believeth in Him
  4. Should not perish,
  5. But have everlasting life.

A. In the first division we find that this was God’s Divine plan. God sets the stage. Man needs to accept it.

B. In the second division we find that the Son of Man (by the GRACE of God) must also be lifted up. Suspended between Heaven and earth (rejected by both).

C. In the third we find that God’s gift of GRACE to man cannot be worked for, It can only be accepted by mans faith.

D. In the forth we again find God’s Creation (man) lost in this World of sin, is reconciled by the grace (that undeserving gift of pardon) of God through Jesus Christ.

E. In the fifth we find that if man believes and accepts God’s plan of salvation that by the GRACE of God man will be saved. (John 3:16)

Other interesting verses where the number five points to GRACE:

  • Genesis 6:8 – The fifth time that Noah’s name is mentioned in scripture is in this verse. “But Noah found GRACE in the eyes of the Lord.”
  • Ruth 2:2 – The fifth time that Ruth’s name is mentioned in scripture is in this verse. “And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find GRACE. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.
  • Ruth 2:8 – The fifth place where Boaz named is mentioned in scripture he tells Ruth not to glean in another field, but to abide fast by his maidens. And in verse nine he reminds her of the instructions that he has given to the young men, and that she should drink of the same vessels as that of the young men when she is thirsty. And in verse ten we find Ruth’s words after hearing all of this. “Why have I found GRACE in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing that I am a stranger?” Are these not the same questions that we as a hopelessly lost undeserving sinner ask God when He offers His GRACE to us?

The fifth time that David’s name is mentioned after having been anointed by Samuel and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David is found in 1 Samuel 16:22.

“And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found FAVOUR in my sight.” In the Strong’s Concordance it carries the meaning of grace. It is the same word that is used for GRACE in Genesis 6:8. The word in the Hebrew is “chen” (חֵן) pronounced as (khan).

“For by GRACE are ye saved through faith.” How wonderful and loving beyond all measure is our God to bestow upon us this unmerited favor whom have deserved it the least.

The Bible closes with these wonderful words:

Revelation 22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

IS THIS GOD’S WORD

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IS THIS GOD’S WORD

By: Gary L. Rodgers

2 Timothy 3: 16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness:

***The word reproof means to prove by conviction and to prove by testing.

17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

*** Note: “throughly” – In two bible websites and in two different publishers of the KJV of scripture I have found this word spelled in this manner. In one other KJV of scripture I have found this to be spelled as thoroughly. The meaning from Strong’s Concordance # 1822 in the Greek means to equip fully or finish out, accomplish or thoroughly furnish. In reading this verse from the 1611 version the word is spelled throughly, however as languages change in spelling and pronunciation, the KJV has been revised to reflect these changes.

2 Peter 1:20 & 21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

*** 1) prophecy (From the Strong’s Concordance)

a) a message coming to us from divine inspiration declaring the purposes of God, whether by reproving and admonishing (rebuking, advising earnestly) the wicked, or comforting the afflicted, or revealing things hidden; esp. by foretelling future events

b) Used in the NT of the utterance of OT prophets

21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

God has given us a marvelous book to have for our very own. The more that we read it and study it the more that we will come to realize that this is a special book that was given to us from a Holy God!

A word of caution –

In the past year or more I have come across some interesting studies by some learned men regarding the mathematics of the bible that are interesting and do provide some food for thought. However interesting, I have come to the conclusion that we need to be careful not to get so bogged down with all of these theories that we get away from good sound bible study and scripture research. Nothing should ever take precedence over an active study in the word of God.

No doubt there is a numerical structure in the bible; that cannot be denied; which by all indications shows that the bible is so uniquely written that only an all powerful being with thoughts far above our thoughts could have possibly written it. In fact I have read someone’s calculation that the probability of scripture having been written by man as a conspiracy to fool the world in a deliberate manner was so improbable that he determined the ratio of chance for this to happen to be one in a multiple of billions of chance. So in short, man is incapable of producing a book over a 1600 year period that harmonizes its truths in the same manner as that of the bible.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

There are many proofs given to us that the bible came from God, and as a child of God we need to settle any questionable doubts regarding that. Satan will make attacks against God and His word and if any of us were to doubt God’s word, then how can we be comforted in knowing that we are saved? To doubt God’s Word is to call Him a liar.

The secular world does give us many proofs that the book that we hold in our hands is indeed the very Word of God. One of those ways is through the excavations to ancient civilizations in and around what we call the holy lands.

There are many Archeological discoveries that have presented scientific evidence that the bible is historically accurate; such as the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls that were uncovered during a ten year period from 1946 – 1956.

 With regard to the Dead Sea scrolls –

  • Before these scrolls were discovered the primary manuscripts that we had in our possession at the time dated back to 900 A. D. While the Dead Sea scrolls dated to a time 1,000 years prior to this date.
  • Of the 972 texts discovered during this find, all of the Old Testament books were found in the Dead Sea scrolls
  • Amazingly when the Dead Sea scrolls were compared to the 900 A. D. manuscripts there were practically no differences found. The differences amounted to about 5% and that was mostly in word spelling. One example of this would be the 2 Timothy 3:17 verse discussed earlier.

I have also in the KJV, run across a word spelled s-h-e-w; show! Although it is spelled with an “e” instead of an “o” it is pronounced the same and means basically the same as our word s-h-o-w.

As you study God’s Word and begin to study facts about the bible you will soon learn that the letter “J” was not found in the ancient Hebrew or Greek alphabets. In fact it was not introduced into the English alphabet until nearly 400 years ago in 1634 as the last letter to be introduced into our 26 letter alphabet; 23 years after the translation of the King James Bible of 1611.

Interestingly as you study this wonderful book and things about the way that the bible was originally written and later how the Holy Spirit worked in the interpretation and writing of the first English speaking bible of the KJV in 1611, you will come away with a new and profound admiration of respect for this book handed to us by God Himself.

Of all the books that have ever been written the bible has had more attacks on it by Satan and his cohorts than any other book ever written. It has been challenged many times by individuals and organizations as to its authenticity and accuracy and has withstood these assaults each and every time.

It is vitally important that the child of God settle this matter within themselves that the bible is God’s inerrant word, given to us by the divine inspiration of God the Holy Spirit and that it is trustworthy now and forever in all spiritual matters. It is true and can be said that the bible is a book that is God breathed.

Our church has been going through a study called “40 DAYS IN THE WORD” and I would encourage anyone who is going through this book to incorporate several of the study methods into your habit of research and study. Your method of study will greatly depend upon your attitude and approach towards this wonderful book and your desire to know God’s Word. There is so much height and depth to God’s word that in a life-time we will never find either extreme. Some before us have tried and have opened up so much to us in their discoveries that one must conclude that there exists a supreme being who has formed the foundations of the world and hung the earth, stars and planets upon nothing and has given us a book that we can trust and rely upon.

When discussing the various methods of study from “40 DAYS IN THE WORD” in a Sunday morning class one person had made a comment that touched me deeply. They said that they were always told that they should read the bible but no one showed them how! Immediately my thoughts went back to the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch and Philip in Acts chapter 8: 30 to 31 and verse 35.

30 And Philip ran thither to [him], and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.”

35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.”

God bless the Preacher and the brother or sister who takes the time to show another how to study God’s Word. May the Lord help us to be more attentive to this need!

In our Pastor’s message on (Jan. 27, 2013) from the book “40 DAYS IN THE WORD” I was so taken by the points noted that outlined the extreme care that was used when the scriptures were copied onto other scrolls. What fascinated me was how meticulous and detailed was the care that was taken to make such copies. Can you imagine having taken such care as to have a specified number of columns, number of lines and a specific number of letters on each line? In addition to this there was a specified black ink that had to be used and each time that the sacred name of God was written a fresh quill had to be used. Such reverence and care that these men took when copying the Word of God!

Equally noteworthy is that every word had to be copied letter by letter and nothing could be written from memory. After the work was complete the writers would count the number of times that each letter of the alphabet occurred in each of the books and if it didn’t come up to the known number that it should be, then the complete work was thrown away and it had to be done over again. Equally astonishing to me was that they knew what the middle letter of the first five books , (known as the Pentateuch) of the Old Testament was, and the middle letter of the entire book of the Old Testament (Torah) as well. They knew exactly how many letters there were to these known middle letters from both the front and back of the Old Testament; and if their count did not match this known information then again the entire work would be destroyed and re-written.

Imagine having copied by hand with a quill the Old Testament and after having done all of that, you went through the painstaking task of counting every letter only to find that it did not meet the requirements that were outlined to consider it a completed and accurate writing of scripture; and now you have to destroy the work and start over. Wow! Not only would this be a hard thing to do, but it is amazing to me that they would take such a task upon themselves. They didn’t have erasers, or white out or a program on a computer where they could edit and make corrections like we do today. I take my hat off to these men of ancient days that took such care to transcribe with reverence and great accuracy the Word of God. That is the way that it was done and I feel that it should still be done that way today.

Earlier we had gone over some of the evidence of scripture that the bible testifies of itself as to being God’s Word. Then we looked at the scientific evidence of Archeology as another means of proof, now let’s take a look at some of the Historic proofs:

The Bibles historic accuracy has been criticized repeatedly through the years, yet with the scientific proof of Archeology the historic details in scripture have withstood the assaults of these people.

  • For years the critics have insisted that the story of Abram’s rescue of Lot in Genesis 14 was a farce. They said that the names of the kings listed were fictitious since they could not be confirmed through secular history. And that the King of Babylon serving the King of Elam was historically impossible. Since then other discoveries have proven these accusations wrong.
  • For decades it was said by the critics that the writers of the bible invented the Hittite tribe. In 1911 – 1912 Professor Hugo Winchkler of Berlin documented and proved that such a tribe of people did exist through some ten thousand clay tablets that were found at the site of the Hittite capital.
  • The existence of Solomon’s reign and his thousands of horses and chariots were in question until excavations revealed at Meggido one of the five chariot cities, thousands of horse stalls.

In scripture we find many eye-witness accounts of these historic events which cannot be denied.

These eyewitness accounts of scripture were written down by those who experienced them, thus giving us a first-hand account of specific events. The disciples were together in a room when they both heard and saw the resurrected Jesus appear before them. Such evidence and others are clearly recorded in scripture.

For years the atheists and the like have always pointed to carbon-dating as being a reliable method of testing, to date the past. In the Blue Letter Bible.org website I came across this interesting bit of information which says; “The radiocarbon method, for example, is now known to be so unreliable that many archaeologists have abandoned it altogether (Henry Morris with Gary Parker, What is Creation Science?, Revised edition, El Cajon, Calif.: Master Books, 1987, p. 14).”

Down through the centuries God has always had the ability to preserve His Word as the true reliable source of study for all of mankind. All we need to do is trust it.

Did the bible come from God? You better believe that it did! And you can rest assured that there is no other book like it anywhere. I’m thankful that we have such a wonderful God who is able to always leave for the world a testimony of His power and might. If you don’t believe me just take a look at the fragile Dogwood flower in the spring, the whole flower itself gives testimony that a Savior died for you and me.

May the Lord bless you in your study of God’s Word!

THE BIRTH OF A MINISTRY

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THE BIRTH OF A MINISTRY

By: Gary L. Rodgers

Unction’s of the Spirit/I Carry a Lantern Ministry is a work that the Lord has laid upon my heart to reach the lost and to lift up and challenge a struggling brother or sister to keep pushing ahead for the mark of the high calling of the Lord. My hope and desire is to be able to offer the readers words of encouragement and hope in a troubled world.

Through the power and direction of the Holy Spirit I have written a series of short stories and teachings which I have posted to my site in hopes of leading as many as are willing to come to the foot of the cross to meet with Christ where they can have their many burdens lifted to the saving of their soul.

DO NOT LEAN ON SELF MADE CRUTCHES

Many years ago, I like so many people today, faced some serious emotional stress that seemed to weigh heavy on me to a point where I felt as though I could go no further. My life seemed to be running in a downward spiral and I didn’t know how to stop it. I hated who I was and I hated my life. Nothing seemed to give me the peace that I so desperately needed. I knew enough about the bible and church to hurt me more than help me. My greatest fear was reading the bible for myself. I had this false belief, crutch if you will; that the less I knew what the bible said the better off I was. I thought that if I stood before GOD and knew very little about the Bible that I would be forgiven for my ignorance and GOD would not condemn me to that horrible place called hell. Satan surely does blind us to the truth when he tells us “thou shall not surely die”!

The feeling of being an empty shell continued and my self-worth was not getting better. Finally after reaching a point in my life where I was about to destroy myself and through the conviction and prodding by the Holy Spirit I picked up a bible and began to read. It was very important that I would read and understand for myself. So many religions and church denominations in the world told me one thing, they can’t all be right; so it was important that I see and understand what the Bible says for myself.  I started in Matthew and kept reading in the New Testament, and sometimes I would jump around in scripture. Reading the Bible was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. The more I read the more I became aware that I was a hopelessly lost sinner headed for an eternity in hell. I was so afraid to face this horror! My excuse for not knowing what the bible said was now gone by the wayside. That self-made crutch that I prepared and relied upon so heavily vanished forever. I had to keep reading; I felt that somehow there just had to be a spark of hope for me. I needed to find what that spark of hope was and I needed to do whatever it took to change the direction that I was headed in. Finally a glimmer of light when I read that Jesus was wanting that none of us should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But what exactly did that mean, and what did I need to do? How do I get off of this horrible avenue of destruction?

THE HOPE OF FAITH WILL LEAD YOU HOME

GOD never leaves us without our being shown that His Son Jesus Christ is the answer to lifting away all of our burdens. I kept reading in a mixture of fear and hope and then the LORD brought a man into my life who became a very dear friend. My new friend Jack showed me what I needed to do according to scripture and that by accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior all of my sins would be washed away by His blood and I would assuredly have a home in Heaven. It took some convincing me that this was all that I needed to do; so after more reading and prayer I finally with a sincere heart of hope and faith settled the matter one morning in my truck while on my way to work. When GOD lifted that burden from my shoulders it was like having the weight of the world lifted off of me.

I thank GOD for opening my eyes to the truth and saving my undeserving wretched soul. The Lord called me into the bus ministry where for several years I had seen many souls get saved. It was here that a little boy’s pain wrung out my heart to the point where I have determined to present the gospel as clearly and simply as I can for others to see and know that Christ is their final answer to every hardship that they face. They do have a friend in Jesus, and I also wanted them to know that I wanted to be their friend.

SUCH PAIN

I stopped by this little boy’s home as one of my regular visits one Saturday morning. The little boy’s name was Brian’ and little Brian had some emotional problems. I had two teens with me to help in our visitations that day. As we entered into Brian’s home I was shocked and heart-broken to see the little guy sitting in the middle of the living room floor with a pair of urine soaked underwear pulled down over his head. His parents sat on the sofa with this smug sense of pride on their faces that they had succeeded with embarrassing and humiliating him with his problem. In their prideful sphere of self-righteousness they said that they were trying to teach their son to stop bed wetting. The Lord had to restrain the thoughts that ran through my head that morning. I was ready to let the flesh take over and go to battle. I knew that if I did I would never see the little guy again. So in a voice of disapproval, yet with respect that this was their son I asked if I could take the underwear off of his head. They allowed me too and I took little Brian into my arms and hugged and kissed him and told him that I loved him. My heart was crushed over the way that he was treated. After some discussion Brian was allowed to get up and I was able to take him along with me to Sunday school the next day on our church bus. By choice of heart Brian became my little boy and every weekend we were sure to let each other know that we loved one another.

Ever since the incident with Brian I determined that I would share the gospel in a clear and simple way to help other Brian’s in this world so that they would know that all of their sorrows, shame and embarrassment could be left at the foot of the cross where Jesus would lift them up and hold them in His arms to tell them that He loves them. I delivered little Brian from a moment in his life where he felt the pains of humiliation. Christ will deliver all of us from all of our pains and humiliation if we give him that chance. And that is what Unction’s of the Spirit/I Carry a Lantern Ministry is here to do; to help you the lost and lonely; to help those poor souls that are crying out for hope to see that there is both hope and deliverance in the person of Jesus Christ.

THE INVITATION

If you are lost in your sin I want you to know that Jesus loved you beyond all of your faults. When He went to the cross you and all of your sins were future. Well my friend the future is now here. You need to decide for yourself. This will be the most important decision that you will ever make in your life. No one can make it for you, but it is a decision that you must choose for yourself. Will it be for the Lord or will it be for the world? If you have made a decision to ask the Lord to save you then I invite you to follow along in this prayer and say with a sincere heart.

Dear Jesus, I know what sin is, and I know that I am a sinner. I ask that you would please forgive me and wash away all of my sin with the blood that you shed for me. Please send the Holy Spirit to come too live in my heart to teach me and guide me in righteousness. I know that you personally died for me, and that you were buried in a tomb and rose from the dead for me. I believe that you are now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. I put my complete trust in you alone as my Lord and Savior and I am trusting in you only to get me to Heaven. In your Holy and Precious Name I pray. Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________ of your decision.

Record this information in your Bible, it is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

May you be blessed and encouraged in your Christian walk!

Brother Gary L. Rodgers

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Hello Everyone,

I wanted to announce to all of you that after months of hard work and much prayer my book has finally made it to market. You can view it on (Amazon.com) by typing in the search box “By the Grace of God Devotional and Prayer Diary”. I wanted to give you a look at the cover and interior of the book.

I tried to create something special that would give the user more than just a Devotional; actually it gives you three books in one when considering that it can be used as a Prayer Diary where you can write down your prayer and praise items plus it can be used as a journal where you can jot down your study notes etc. I wanted the user to broaden their thinking when using this book so I decided from the onset to avoid having the page header, scripture verse, and topic all agree in thought with each other for any given day.

Two things that always frustrated me with Devotionals was a date set for each page and a set scripture reading for each day. Whenever I read a devotional and I missed a day or two there was always a guilt trip on my part with trying to catch up. And If I was studying something specific it bothered me to set that aside and study something else that was selected by another person. So I chose to fix it so that you could begin the devotional on any day of the year and if you happened to miss a day or two it didn’t matter, you simply started again from where you left off. To give more meaning to your studies I made it so that you selected your passage of scripture study for each day.

There is plenty of room in this 8.25 x 11 book for you to write anything and everything. It has 365 pages so that way you get a full year’s use out of it. Every page is different; there are no repeats. So, By the Grace of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit a new idea was born.

May you find it to be a rewarding tool in your daily walk with the Lord.

Brother Gary 

IS IT TO LATE TO SAY THAT I LOVE YOU

By: Gary L. Rodgers

James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

I have often wondered how many of us had wished that we had the opportunity to tell someone once again that we loved them. Several years ago my dear mother passed away and so often when I look at a picture of her I so wish that I could tell her just one more time that I loved her. My mother was a very tender-hearted woman, and this character trait in her was an open invitation for some to take advantage of her good-nature. Mother would always help in any way that she could. I came from a poor family and it was not an easy life, all of us pretty much had the bulk of our clothes given to us. I only remember my mother ever having bought but one new dress and that was after she baked and sold bread and other baked goods that she was able to do that. The Sears catalog was a big deal in our house. We would so often page through it and wish that we had the means to buy some of the many beautiful things that we saw. We were so poor that the dog purposely stayed skinny so that he would not be looked upon as a possible meal. Ha!

Meat was not something that my dad would buy from the grocery store to often. He did all of the shopping for us; and if you wanted a pair of shoes you got whatever the small general store in town had to offer or you got nothing. For years I got the same style work shoes that I wore every day for every occasion. Every summer we planted a huge garden and that is what kept us going throughout the year. We packed three freezers full of every vegetable that you could imagine plus we canned a great deal as well. We would go out and pick black berries by the buckets full. We had a large construction wheelbarrow that we would fill to overflowing with peas or beans and it seemed like it took all day either shelling peas or snapping string beans. Summer for us was not exactly free time to do whatever we wanted. Meat was a rare treat for us. Once a month and sometimes every two months my dad would buy a roast that we would have. Going out to a restaurant was totally out of the question.

JUST A NAÏVE COUNTRY BOY

I’ll never forget when I went into the Army at seventeen I went to Fort Jackson, SC for basic training. One weekend I had the opportunity to go into town. I remembered that I had a pocket full of money probably about eighty dollars or more and I walked around town about half-starved not knowing if I had enough money to buy something to eat. I never was in a restaurant before and didn’t have the slightest idea how to place an order or what it cost. I was to shy and embarrassed to go in on my own. Sometime later one of the guys took me into a restaurant and showed me how to order and what it cost. I was just a pure country hick with very little knowledge about how the world operated and what things cost. Sometimes I wish that I remained that naive. But of course the world has its way of educating us in things that would have been better for us to have let alone.

THE PULL OF THE FLESH

The pull of the flesh is a powerful force and Satan knows how to dangle those trinkets and desires in front of our eyes at just the right time. In the Garden of Eden he knew exactly when to approach Eve with temptation. She had no idea what the serpent was talking about, she never experienced anything that he mentioned. With her child-like innocence she answered the serpent and said that if she touched the fruit or did eat it that she would surely die. What did this strange word die actually mean? She knew who God was and the temptation to be like Him was what it took to cause her to disobey. Satan took the sin that he committed and tempted Eve with it to bring death to the human race. That sin of pride to be like the most high God. (Isaiah 14:14)

The pull of the flesh is ever-present in our lives and it will always be a battle that we all go through. The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life are the things that we all seem to be drug down by over and over again. 1 John 2:15-17

WE HAVE GIVEN UP SO MUCH

Have you ever wondered what all we forfeited when we fell to temptation in the Garden of Eden? The Garden of Eden was beautiful beyond our wildest imaginations. Everything was perfect in every detail. The temperatures were perfect in heat and humidity, and the animals would all come to get their daily petting and back scratching. There was a joy and harmony between man and nature that has not been equaled since. The grasses swayed in the warm air and the birds sang their songs of joy and happiness in harmony with their surroundings. And the greatest of all that we had in The Garden was that personal relationship with the Lord where we spoke to Him face to face. What sweet fellowship that we shared with Him. Yet we have given it all up because of the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. The shame of it all is that we still forfeit that sweet fellowship that we can have with the Lord for the same reasons. And today we think that this world is at its worse than ever before, yet the bible tells us that when Jesus comes this old world will be just like it was in the days of Noah and Lot.

Luke 17:26And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.7They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.28Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;29But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.30Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

THE TRUMPET SOUND

Someday soon there will be the sound of the Trumpet of the Lord announcing that the Bridegroom has come for his Bride and we shall be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye. 1 Corinthians 15:52 What a blessed time for those that have placed their faith in the Lord and have trusted and accepted Him to save them from an eternity in an awful place called Hell. But what about those that have not received the free gift of eternal life through their acceptance of the only begotten Son of God. What happens to them? As it was in the days of Noah and Lot – There were only eight souls that entered into the Ark when God’s judgment fell upon all mankind and there were only four that fled from the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. What fear those lost souls must have faced when for the first time rain began to fall from the Heavens and fire began to fall from the skies above. The painful cries of anguish and pain must have been some of the most bone chilling and heart wrenching sounds that Noah, or Lot, and their families have ever heard.

What horrible sounds will come from the throats of those that we have loved over the years. A lost son or daughter, a mom or dad, perhaps a brother or sister or maybe a sweetheart or a grandchild. Will their cries be like those that banged on the door of the Ark wanting to be rescued? What hopeless eerie sounds will fill the hallways of eternity. Will any of us hear those cries; a sobering thought isn’t it?

IS IT TOO LATE TO SAY THAT I LOVE YOU

I thought of you today as I studied in God’s Word.

And I prayed for you again as usual just before I went to bed.

In the early morning hours with restless dreams I thought of you again,

From you there came a sound of fear and anguish the likes of none I’ve ever heard.

I prayed for you in that moment that your soul would be redeemed.

But all I could hear was your voice as you began to scream.

Tears ran from my eyes in great floods, then I awakened with a quick.

Drenched from the horror of my night as I thought about you,

 I have but one question to ask.

Is it too late to say that I love you?

By: Gary L. Rodgers

THE CLOSE

My dear friend, If I could, I wish that I were able to make you see that there is a day coming where we will all give an account for our lives. Today we all have a choice to either accept the free gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23) that Jesus offers each of us or to reject it. If you decide to put it off until tomorrow then you have already made a decision. The big question is do you have another tomorrow? We all like to think that we have plenty of tomorrows but what guarantee do we have of that. I have family and friends that are now gone who thought that they had lots of tomorrows. Some were infants and teens, some were in their twenties and some older. Ignoring all of this doesn’t erase the fact that God loves you so much that He sent His only Son to die and pay your penalty for you. Sin carries with it a heavy price, eternal death in the Lake of Fire. But if you were to trust the Lord Jesus Christ to save you and wash away all of your sin with His shed blood then you will spend an eternity in Heaven with Him.

THE INVITATION

If you are ready to trust in the Lord, then I ask that you follow along in prayer and repeat after me. Dear Jesus, I know what sin is, and I know that I am a sinner. I ask that you would please forgive me and wash away all of my sin with the blood that you shed for me. Please send the Holy Spirit to come too live in my heart to teach me and guide me in righteousness. I know that you personally died for me, and that you were buried in a tomb and rose from the dead for me. I believe that you are now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. I put my complete trust in you alone as my Lord and Savior and I am trusting in you only to get me to Heaven and I accept your free gift of eternal life. In your Holy and Precious Name I pray. Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to save you, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!

ALL OF CREATION

ALL OF CREATION.

Welcome to Unctions of the Spirit ” I CARRY A LANTERN MINISTRY”.

DID YOU KNOW THAT ANGELS LEARN FROM US

By: Gary L. Rodgers

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In thinking about the Holy Angels of GOD I have come to realize that there are things that they learn from us.

 

  • The Holy angels of GOD don’t know what it is like to carry a heavy burden of sin.

 Angels are ministering spirits and learn things about us and from us. They surround us day and night and watch every move that we make. GOD’s Holy angels have never known this burden that we as humans carry. Those angels (unholy angels) that have lost their former estate when they followed after Satan are held bound in darkness and held in reserve for the day when they will be judged and cast into the lake of fire, but holy angels do not feel the burden that we carry.

Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

 

  • They don’t know what it’s like to kneel before the cross of Christ and feel the burden of sin being lifted from one’s soul.

The burden of sin is a weight that only man can know. The Holy angels of GOD have no idea what it is like to feel the weight of such guilt. The fear and shame of this guilt is something that they have never known.

 

  • They don’t know what it feels like to grow in faith and experience the blessed feeling of seeing a loved one come to Christ.

Growing in faith is a sacred pleasure that we get through reading and becoming obedient to the Word of GOD. It’s a freedom of choice on our part that gives us a joy and peace beyond all human expression when we choose to obey GOD.

 

  • They don’t know what it feels like to sing the songs of their redemption.

Singing the beautiful songs of praise to our GOD for saving our unworthy souls is a great joy, honor and privilege. It’s an expression that is developed in our hearts that resonates through our vocal chords. It’s a sound of love to our LORD and Savior that angels cannot make.

 

  • They don’t know the joy of answered prayer.

Prayer is that deep inward expression of hope and desire to have. We are privileged to be able to make intercession and supplication to our GOD for ourselves and for all humanity. To see our prayers come to fruition warms our hearts and gives us a joy that angels don’t have knowledge of.

 

  • They don’t know what it is like to love their Savior.

There are no words to rightly define the feeling of love toward our Savior. Love is an emotion that stirs one toward a desire to express to someone through word and action how we feel about them. It goes beyond any material value. It’s a total commitment and devotion that we willingly give to someone.

 

  • They don’t know what it feels like to get victory over sin.

Angels don’t know what it is like to win the battle over the sins that so easily separate us from the blessings of our LORD. They have no idea what it feels like to have been set free from the shackles of sin that once held us in bondage; comforted by the fact that this victory came through Christ on the cross.

 

  • They don’t know what it feels like to hold a book in their hands that was personally written to them.

Being able to hold in our grip the Word that was written to us by a Holy GOD is a pleasure all in its own. Its pages give hope to a wandering soul and strength to the redeemed of the LORD. It maps out the fall of man, the promise of a Savior, the payment, forgiveness and washing away of sin, the resurrection unto life eternal and the reward of being forever in the presence of GOD.

 

  • They don’t know the peace of being saved from the eternal fires of Hell.

The Holy angels of GOD don’t know what it feels like to live under the threat of the fiery indignation and wrath of GOD because of our sins to finally be delivered into His promises as one of His children.

  

  • They don’t know the feeling of being resurrected from the grave.

Angels don’t know what it is like to be raised from the grave as in the Case of Lazarus of Bethany. To put on incorruption and be given a new body like unto our Lord and Savior will be a new experience for the children of GOD. 

But most of all;

They don’t know what it’s like to look into the hands of their Savior and through the humbleness of one’s heart, gaze upon the scars that were put there by us!

You are a very special concern for God, so much so that He sent His only Son to die and pay the penalty for your sins so you wouldn’t have to. The choice to accept or reject this free gift of eternal life is your choice alone. Angels don’t have such a gift as this offered to them; they don’t have a choice like this to make, there is no plan of redemption for angels, no gift of salvation for them through Jesus Christ.

That’s how special you are to God!!!

 

 

The Invitation

The arms of a loving and forgiving Savior are open to everyone that will come and seek His forgiveness. GOD has a free gift that He has offered to the world. Now it is your time to respond to His invitation to be saved from the eternal fires of Hell. By bowing your head in prayer and acknowledging from your heart that you are a lost sinner and ask Him to forgive you; He will do that. Acknowledge that you have put your complete trust in Him alone to get you to Heaven and that you believe that He not only died on a cross to pay for our sins but that He rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of GOD the Father.  Amen!

 

In having done this you can rest assured that you are now a child of GOD and He will take you into Heaven. Your sins have been washed away by the blood that HE shed for all of us on the cross and the Holy Spirit is now residing in your heart to teach and train you in the ways of righteousness.

 

 If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision.  Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!

SIGNS OF THE TIMES.

ABRAHAM COMMANDED TO OFFER ISAAC.

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