It’s Time To Grow Up! – 1

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Scripture Text – Galatians 4:1-18

One of the great setbacks to legalism in the Christian’s lifestyle is that it gives the appearance of spiritual maturity when, in reality, it leads the believer back into a “second childhood” of Christian experience. The Galatian Christians, like most believers, wanted to grow and go forward for Christ; but they were going about it in the wrong way. Their experience is not so very different from that of Christians today who get involved in various legalistic movements and denominations, hoping to become better Christians. Their heart and motives may be in the right place, but their methods are wrong.

This is the truth Paul is trying to get across to his beloved converts in Galatia. The Judaizers had convinced them into thinking that obeying the Law would make them better Christians. Their old nature felt an attraction for the Law because the Law enabled them to do things and then to see the results of those actions; it was works, under the guise of the Law. As they took stock of themselves and their achievements, they felt a sense of accomplishment, and, no doubt, a little bit of pride. They thought they were going forward when in actuality they were regressing.

Paul takes three approaches to this situation as he seeks to convince the Galatians that they do not need legalism in order to live the Christian life. They have everything they need totally and completely, by abiding in Christ Jesus.

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He Explains Their Adoption

Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. – Galatians 4:1-7

Among the blessings of the Christian experience is adoption (Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5). We do not enter God’s family by adoption, the way a homeless child would enter a loving family in our own society. The only way to get into God’s family is by regeneration, being “born again” (John 3:3).

The New Testament word for adoption means “to place as an adult son.” It has to do with our standing in the family of God: we are not little children but adult sons with all of the privileges of sonship.

It is unfortunate that many translations of the New Testament do not make a distinction between children of God and sons of God. We are the children of God by faith in Christ, born into God’s family. But every child of God is automatically placed into the family as a son, and as a son he has all the legal rights and privileges of a son. When a sinner trusts Christ and is saved, as far as their condition is concerned, they are still a “spiritual babe” who needs to grow (1 Peter 2:2–3); but as far as their position is concerned, they are already an adult son who can draw on the Father’s wealth and who can exercise all the wonderful privileges of sonship.

We enter God’s family by regeneration, but we enjoy God’s family by adoption. The Christian does not have to wait to begin enjoying the spiritual riches they have in Christ. “If a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Now follows Paul’s discussion about adoption. He reminds his readers of three specific facts.

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What we were: children in bondage (verses 1-3). No matter how wealthy a father may be, his infant or toddling child cannot really enjoy that wealth. In the Roman world, the children of wealthy people were cared for by slaves. No matter who their father was, the child was still a child, under the supervision of a servant. In fact, the child was not much different from the servant who guarded him. The servant was commanded by the master of the house, and the child was commanded by the servant.

This was in reality the spiritual condition of the Jews under the age of the Law. The Law, you recall, was the “guardian,” as the Word states, that disciplined the nation and prepared the people for the coming of Christ (Galatians 3:23–25). So, when the Judaizers led the Galatians back into the legalism from which they were freed, they were leading them not only back into religious bondage, but also into moral and spiritual infancy and immaturity.

Paul states that the Jews were, like little children, in bondage to “the elements of the world.” This word elements means the basic principles, in other words, the ABCs of the world. For some fifteen centuries, Israel had been in kindergarten and grade school, learning their “spiritual ABCs,” so that they would be ready when Christ, the Messiah, would come. Then they would get the full revelation, for Jesus Christ is “the Alpha and the Omega.” – Revelation 22:13.  He encompasses all the alphabet of God’s revelation to man. He is God’s last Word (Hebrews 1:1–3).

Legalism, then, is not a step toward maturity; it is a step back into childhood, into guardianship. The Law was not God’s final revelation; it was but the preparation for that final revelation in Christ. It is important that a person knows their ABCs, because they are the foundation for understanding all of the language that one must eventually learn. But the person who sits in a library and recites the ABCs instead of reading the great literature that is around them, is showing that they are indeed immature and ignorant, not mature and wise. Under the Law, the Jews were children in bondage, not sons enjoying their liberty in the Father.

To Be Continued

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Adaptation of excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Volume 2.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture links provided by Biblia.com
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Daily Prayer & Praise 10/03/2022

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Prayer for Monday

Lord our God, our Father in Heaven, we come to You as Your children. Bless us, we pray. Bless us especially in days when fear tries to take hold of us. Help us to remember that You do not give the spirit of fear. Allow Your help to come down to us as You have so often promised, the great help that is found abiding in Jesus Christ and He in us, who shall come to redeem the whole world. Bless us through Your Word. Renew us again and again to stand firm and true to You, for You are our help for redemption and reconciliation through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.

Amen.

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Adapted from the Daily Written Prayers of Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt, 1842–1919. In Public Domain
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Creation Out of Nothing

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Frederick the Great needed a new court chaplain. He decided to base his selection on the way in which applicants would deliver an extemporaneous sermon. The text, in a sealed envelope, was to be handed to each applicant as he entered the pulpit.

In church, on the appointed day, a courtier handed one of the ministers a sealed envelope. Opening it, the minister found a blank sheet of paper. He held up one side and exclaimed: “My brethren, here is nothing.”

Then he held up the other side, and added: “And here is nothing. It was out of nothing God created all things.”

He then proceeded to deliver a dynamic discourse on the power and wonders of creation. He received the appointment.

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Chuck Smith Quote 10/03/2022

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God Did It!

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Monday October 3, 2022

Zechariah 4:6
So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts.”

He says, “I will do it for you. Why do you worry? I will do it for you. I am God. I am Jehovah. I am your righteousness. I am your provider. I am your healer. I am your banner of victory. I am your shepherd. I am your peace. I am your everything.”

If God is all this to us, then there is no reason why anybody should be downhearted in this hour. If God could make a world out of nothing, why can’t He make anything He wants now for His people? God invites us to see Him work. . . .

If we will unite our hearts and intentions and dare to believe it, we will see God begin to move in great strength and in great power. We will see coming down from heaven that which we so desperately struggled to bring in from the outside. We will see the great God do it and then it will not be said, “This man did it,” or “That woman did it.” But we can all say together, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” – Zechariah 4:6 (KJV).

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Tozer on the Almighty God : A 366-Day Devotional (WingSpread, 2004)
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Bless The Lord!

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ns 10-3 bless the Lord

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Reflecting With God 10/03/2022

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Thinking, praying, reading, studying the Bible – when we do these things, we are reflecting on the Word of God. To reflect is to contemplate and/or consider, and God wants us to deeply reflect on His Word so that we can better understand Him.

Monday Reflecting

“We are your servants, ready to do whatever my lord the king commands.” – 2 Samuel 15:15.

If we are really and always and equally ready to do whatsoever the king appoints, all the trials and vexations, arising from any change in His appointments, great or small, simply do not exist. If He appoints me to work there, shall I lament that I am not to work here? If He appoints me to wait indoors to-day, am I to be annoyed because I am not to work out of doors? If I meant to write His messages this morning, shall I grumble because He sends interrupting visitors, rich or poor, to whom I am to speak them, or “show kindness” for His sake, or at least obey His command “Be courteous”? If all my members are really at His disposal, why should I be put out if to-day’s appointment is some simple work for my hands, or errands for my feet, instead of some seemingly more important doing of head or tongue?
~ FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL

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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Sowing Seeds 10/03/2022

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*Pastor’s Note: The harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few, so we will keep sowing seed for the Glory of  the Lord!

Sowing Seeds of Love

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Coffee and a Side of Psalms – Psalm 38:15


PROLOGUE TO PSALMS:
There is one thing that a Child of God can always rely upon with their Heavenly Father; HOPE and ASSURANCE! His plans for the world may appear to be harsh, yet He is always thinking of ONLY the best for those Whom He calls by name! Remember that when you look around at the situations in the world then realize and remember, our Home is NOT of this world!

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Beyond All Expectation!

But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. – 1 Corinthians 2:9-16.

I’ll be honest with you all who are reading this; my age is starting to tell on me. Not just physically which it most certainly is revealing, but also in my thoughts at times. This last week as I was praying and meditating on some of the things of the Lord, is a case in point. Now, I have always been a person who questions just about everything. You might get the image of that small child tugging on their parents clothing and asking “why?” all the time. Well, I don’t think I have ever outgrown that! I still do that to our Heavenly Father and believe me, I am so very thankful for His longsuffering nature and His patience!

What I was contemplating and thinking about was Heaven and our eternal state and just what it might be like. I know that to a great degree it is just speculation, but I also believe that the Holy Spirit within us gives us hints now and then; little bits that our finite minds can at least start to grasp.

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The thing I was questioning the Lord about was related to our memories and such and especially in relation to Him “wiping away every tear.” Revelation 21:4 states it this way, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (NKJV).

My questions to the Lord amounted to wondering how there could be no sorrow if our memories were intact, especially in the area of remorse and even those things that caused pain. After all, aren’t those things part of what makes us who we are, even IN the Lord?

Of course then something dawned on me concerning eternity; there is NO time. In that regard we will be more and more in the likeness of our God in which He created us. Yes, we have a beginning (though in God’s mind, He has known us always!) but we will be eternal, without end, just as He created us to be. That’s where some of the questions for me were answered.

Think about it. In the natural we have a saying that “time heals all wounds.” Now in actuality, it doesn’t heal the wounds, but it lessens the pain of those wounds by placing them further and further into our memories. Over time, especially a great deal of time, the memories don’t remain as sharp or as painful in relation to those hurts and pain.

It’s very possible that God WILL take our sorrows and pains away immediately, after all, He created us and He will always remain sovereign AND He is going to give us a glorified body like Christ Jesus has once He calls us Home. But even if it is not instantaneous, the stigma of that remorse and those sorrows will probably be overshadowed with the perfect joy we will be able to bask in.

The other thing is this; the average lifespan today is about 80 years. That’s eight decades and I am already starting my eight decade and there are certainly things in my past that though I regret extremely and am sorrowful for, the pain of that has diminished. Now understand that the lessons I have learned from them have caused me to be the person I am today, but those early pains and sorrows don’t hinder me from moving forward in the Lord.

Here’s my point; in 1000 years of living in the presence of our Heavenly Father and working with our Lord and Savior in total and absolute joy, how is a memory like that going to even matter. By that time, we will already be who we are in Christ. We will be ever moving forward in the work the Lord has prepared for us. This past life will in most likelihood appear to be but an infinitesimal dream; and it will be all because that is how God, as our Father, created us!

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When I thought of that, I couldn’t help but praise and glorify the Lord and give Him thanks for choosing someone like me. The fact is, this is His desire for ALL His creation, but all of His creation does not give it even the slightest thought and without that effort, they will most certainly, sadly, miss out on the greatest gift in anyone’s life!

You can understand how Paul must have felt when encouraging the church of Corinth in that portion of his letter to them. However God chooses to accomplish what He has promised, it will be with perfection and we will be the beneficiaries of that eternal gift! I for once look forward to that time and it causes me to continue to press on, even more so today, in spite of the circumstances surrounding us.

My prayer and my hope, is that all of you reading this can also see that glimmer of hope and joy, and though we can’t totally imagine or comprehend the fulness of it, we DO have the Spirit’s promise and guarantee that it is waiting for each and everyone of us who is abiding in the Lord!

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® ESV © 2016 by Crossway Bibles.
Where noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Questions On Bible Prophecy – 4

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*Pastor’s Note: We will continue, in no particular order questions posed from the excellent book by Mark Hitchcock entitled, The Complete Book of Bible Prophecy. My hope and prayer is that it will give some insight into much of the end-times prophecy the Bible speaks of and hopefully alleviates some of the fears and confusion people have about studying prophecy. The following is the next in a line of questions I present to you from his book:

Isn’t Studying Bible Prophecy All Just Speculation?

Bible prophecy has often suffered as much at the hands of its friends as it has at the hands of its foes. Date setting, newspaper exegesis, identifying the Antichrist, and reckless speculation have turned many people off to Bible prophecy. Added to this is the frustration many people feel in wading through all the different views of the end times. Therefore, many of God’s children simply write off studying Bible prophecy as an exercise in futility. I have personally heard many people say that when it comes to the last days, no one really has any idea what is going to happen.

While it is certainly true that a small group of overzealous speculators have tainted the legitimate study of Bible prophecy and that there are a number of views of the last days, this should in no way dampen our fervor in studying the end times. Almost every area of Bible study or theology has its quacks, and there are differing views on many subjects in the Bible. But we should not allow this to scare us off from discovering God’s truth on any subject he has revealed to us. We should apply the same principles of sound interpretation that we use in other areas of theology and Bible study to the study of prophecy. When we do, we will begin to see and understand the true benefits of studying prophecy, which not only informs us about future events but calls us to be ready for Christ’s return. Handling Bible prophecy inappropriately keeps us from discovering these benefits. That is why we need to approach the study of Bible prophecy with an attitude of humility, as well as excitement and expectation.


Mr. Hitchcock’s teachings are informative and enlightening as well as inspirational and any book you can get for yourself from his writings will most definitely be well-worth it. I hope you are blessed AND informed and some of these questions and answers will give you a greater strength to walk in confidence and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bible prophecy ALWAYS points to God and His plans for this world that He created through Christ Jesus. Therefore, for true Christians, it is meant to be a comfort that God continues as always to have everything under control despite what it might appear to the average person.

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Mark Hitchcock, The Complete Book of Bible Prophecy (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1999)
Scripture links provided by Biblia.com
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Kill My Own Son?

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IT SEEMS incredible that God would tell Abraham to “take . . . your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love . . . and offer him there as a burnt offering,” – Genesis 22:2. What sort of God would ask such a thing? What sort of God would test a man’s faith with such a weighty request?

It was a severe test of Abraham’s faith. Perhaps most of us would have failed the test. We might even have rejected God as cruel and bloodthirsty. But Abraham believed God. Though the sacrifice of Isaac seemed to go against God’s promise of an heir, Abraham believed that God would still fulfill His Word, even if it required Him to raise Isaac from the dead (Romans 4:17).

The request was also a harsh lesson that all of life comes from and belongs to God (Genesis 2:7; Job 27:3; 33:4). In essence, life is merely on loan to us, both as parents and children. God can ask for its return at any time. So in that respect, the request to slay Isaac was similar to the difficult period that Abram and Sarai endured as they waited for the birth of this very son (Genesis 18:1–15; 21:1–7). Their lives and the lives of any children they might have were in the hands of God.

Let there be no mistake: God abhors human sacrifice, as many OT passages make clear (Leviticus 18:21; 20:2; Deuteronomy 12:31; Psalm 106:35–38; Ezekiel 20:30-31). So when Abraham was about to slay His son, God stopped him short of the actual sacrifice and provided an alternative in Isaac’s place. It proved to Abraham that his faith was well-placed: God is the God of mercy.

He is also the God of wisdom. He sometimes makes what to us may seem like strange requests. But if like Abraham we will believe and obey, He will reward our faith with His goodness and righteousness.

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Courtesy of Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary
Scripture links provided by Biblia.com
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Centuries of Meditations – First Century 17-18

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To know GOD is Life Eternal. There must therefore some exceeding Great Thing be always attained in the Knowledge of Him. To know God is to know Goodness. It is to see the beauty of infinite Love: To see it attended with Almighty Power and Eternal Wisdom; and using both those in the magnifying of its object. It is to see the King of Heaven and Earth take infinite delight in Giving. Whatever knowledge else you have of God, it is but Superstition. Which Plutarch rightly defineth, to be an Ignorant Dread of His Divine Power, without any joy in His goodness. He is not an Object of Terror, but Delight. To know Him therefore as He is, is to frame the most beautiful idea in all Worlds. He delighteth in our happiness more than we: and is of all other the most Lovely Object. An infinite Lord, who having all Riches, Honors, and Pleasures in His own hand, is infinitely willing to give them unto me. Which is the fairest idea that can be devised.

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The WORLD is not this little Cottage of Heaven and Earth. Though this be fair, it is too small a Gift. When God made the World He made the Heavens, and the Heavens of Heavens, and the Angels, and the Celestial Powers. These also are parts of the World: So are all those infinite and eternal Treasures that are to abide for ever, after the Day of Judgment. Neither are these, some here, and some there, but all everywhere, and at once to be enjoyed. The WORLD is unknown, till the Value and Glory of it is seen: till the Beauty and the Serviceableness of its parts is considered. When you enter into it, it is an illimited field of Variety and Beauty: where you may lose yourself in the multitude of Wonders and Delights. But it is an happy loss to lose oneself in admiration at one’s own Felicity: and to find GOD in exchange for oneself. Which we then do when we see Him in His Gifts, and adore His Glory.


Thomas Traherne (1637 – September 27, 1674) was an English poet, Anglican cleric, theologian, and religious writer. Traherne’s writings frequently explore the glory of creation and what he saw as his intimate relationship with God. His writing conveys an ardent, almost childlike love of God, and is compared to similar themes in the works of later poets William Blake, Walt Whitman, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. His love for the natural world is frequently expressed in his works.

The work for which Traherne is best known today is the Centuries of Meditations, a collection of short paragraphs in which he reflects on Christian life and ministry, philosophy, happiness, desire and childhood. This was first published in 1908 after having been rediscovered in manuscript ten years earlier. Before its rediscovery this manuscript was said to have been lost for almost two hundred years and is now considered a much loved devotional.

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Thomas Traherne, Centuries of Meditations, ed. Bertram Dobell (P. J. & A. E. Dobell, 1927)
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A Supernatural Book – John Linton – 8

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gs john linton John Linton (1888 – 1965) John Linton is not normally listed among the elite of the evangelists in this century: Moody, Sunday, Bob Jones, Sr., Appelman, John Rice. But he was not some lesser light—God mightily moved through his ministry. He left a trail of converts to Christ as well as revived, restored, rejoicing churches.

His gospel soundness, his compelling delivery, his Scotch brogue and his devotion to our Lord made him widely acceptable. You cannot hear the inimitable Scotch brogue in his sermon, but you can enjoy its sweet and powerful message.

He died at age 77 in the pulpit while conducting evangelistic services.

The Bible – A Supernatural Book
The Fulfilled Prophecy of The Bible

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God . . . – 2 Timothy 3:16.

One of the most striking characteristics of the Bible, distinguishing it radically from all other books either ancient or modern, is that it contains in every part, from its first book to its last, predictions in plain language of events that were to take place in the history of mankind on earth.

These prophecies were soberly uttered—and uttered in the name of Almighty God. They are not confined to events done in a corner and impossible of full investigation but have for their subjects the largest cities and most famous empires in the world.

Nor are they so indefinite and ambiguous that their meaning is obscure. They are definite, specific prophecies regarding persons, places and events, given in such detail that time will prove one thing or another: either the Bible is vindicated as an inspired Book through the fulfillment of its prophecies, or it is exposed through their nonfulfillment as the worst imposture in history, because these prophecies were made in the name of the holy God.

What, then, of these prophecies?

Take those concerning the death of Christ. A few years ago I published a booklet entitled Fifty Prophecies Fulfilled in One Day, showing that on one single day of twenty-four hours, from the time of Christ’s arrest in Gethsemane to the hour when He was buried in the shadow of the cross, no less than half a hundred specific prophecies were fulfilled! Any mathematician will tell you that the numerical chance of accidental fulfillment would run into astronomical figures against it. Just to mention a few of such:

Four classes of people were to be active in the crucifixion (Psalm 2:1-2 – Jews, Gentiles, kings, rulers). Christ was to be sold for silver, betrayed by a friend, forsaken by disciples. The betrayer would eat bread at a table with Him. His hands and feet would be pierced. He would drink vinegar and gall. They would cast lots for His vesture. The price of betrayal would go to the potter’s field.

What of those prophecies? Were they fulfilled? They were fulfilled so accurately that Bolingbroke, the English infidel, in explaining their fulfillment, said Jesus arranged those things that happened to Him so as to make them transpire according to prophecy! He could not deny the fulfillment but said it was all arranged.

I will ask you: Is that an honest and rational explanation?

We are told in Acts 4:27 that Herod the king and Pilate the governor were the king and ruler prophesied in Psalm 2. Does anyone believe that wicked Herod and cowardly Pilate conspired against Christ in order to fulfill this prophecy?

Would Judas Iscariot hang himself in an effort to fulfill Scripture?

Did the Roman soldiers purposely gamble for Christ’s vesture because they knew of a prophecy to that effect?

Would the hypocritical Pharisees and priests send the blood money to the potter’s field because they knew the condemnatory fact was written in Scripture against them?

The answer is that Bolingbroke’s explanation is a magnificent testimony to the actual fulfillment of these prophecies. His resort to a puerile explanation was because he could deny neither the prophecies nor their fulfillment.

To Be Continued

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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the Holy Bible: King James Version. In Public Domain.
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Window On The World

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For Sunday October 2, 2022

2 Peter 3:10
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens
will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent
heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

While astronaut John Glenn was preparing to orbit the earth, he learned that his space capsule, Friendship 7, would not have a window—the experts couldn’t figure out how to design it. Glenn talked to NASA executives, worked with the engineers, and succeeded in getting a window installed. He couldn’t imagine orbiting the earth and being unable to see it.

All of us would love a view from space, but there’s a greater way of looking at our world—by studying it through the window of biblical prophecy. Most earthlings are shortsighted and are lost in the whirlwind of the present. But as Christians, we understand that world events are hurtling toward their preordained end as predicted in Scripture. At any moment, the trumpet may sound, and the curtain will fall on history.

We still have time to make a difference, but only if we view the world as God does and understand that history is His-story.

The advent of our Lord . . . is the foundation of our certainty
and the secret of our patience.

G. CAMPBELL MORGAN

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David Jeremiah, Turning Points with God: 365 Daily Devotions (Tyndale, 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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It Comes Right Now

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Return, Israel, to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” – Hosea 14:1-2.

As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” – Acts 8:36.

Forgiveness – Available For Asking

Ted Tinling spent twenty years as master of ceremonies of the prestigious Wimbledon tennis championships. Then, in 1949, he committed an unpardonable breach of etiquette by outfitting Gussie Moran in lace-trimmed panties. Fired for his mistake, he lingered as an outcast for the next thirty-three years. Only in 1982 was he forgiven and once again received into their ranks.

When people repent of their sins, they find God eager to forgive and have them back. The acknowledgment of their sin, their sorrow for having so grievously offended him, and their request for cleansing will bring a complete pardon. God won’t put them on probation, but automatically grants his love and acceptance. We cannot overvalue the hope, optimism, and joy that God’s readiness to forgive offers us. He never says, “I’ll have to think about it,” or “maybe next year I’ll forgive,” or “prove your penitence first.”

Wimbledon officials felt they had to protect the sanctity of their name and tournament when they fired Tingling in 1949. They also felt that a thirty-three year exile from the club would be a good dose of punishment. But then, it’s a proud club, with the fear of being tainted. God has no such fears. He is anxious that we receive his Son’s instant, full, refreshing forgiveness. His grace is greater than all our shame.

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Courtesy of Speaker’s Sourcebook of New Illustrations by Virgil Hurley © 1995 by Word, Incorporated.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV © 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Your Word Is Truth


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YOUR WORD IS ABSOLUTE TRUTH!

And now, O Lord GOD, you are God, and your words are true. – 2 Samuel 7:28 ESV.

“Now by this I know . . . that the word of the LORD in your mouth is the truth.” – 1 Kings 17:24 NKJV.

The very essence of your words is truth. – Psalm 119:160 NLT.

“You are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God.” – John 8:40 NASB.

“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” – John 15:3 NKJV.

To make her [the Church] holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. – Ephesians 5:26 NLT.

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Prayer For God’s Presence

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Richard Sibbes, Prayer for Sunday 10-2-2022

Gracious and holy Father, who has sanctified each new day for your own glory and worship, and for the furthering of us in the way of salvation; and has made a most gracious promise, that when “two or three are gathered together in your name, you will be there in the midst of them”: grant, then, we ask you, the performance of this your promise unto us, now gathered together in your name, to pray unto you, to hear and speak your holy and blessed Word, and so sanctify our hearts by your Holy Spirit at those times, that we may perform our holy duties as shall be most to your glory and our own comfort.

Amen.

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Elliot Ritzema, ed., 400 Prayers for Preachers (Lexham Press, 2012)
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Revelation 3:10-11

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*Pastor’s Note: I encourage everyone to read and study Revelation in the version of your choice. I offer them in the NLT strictly for ease of reading.

“God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” – Revelation 1:3  NLT

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False, False, False Teachers! – 5

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Scripture Text – 2 Peter 2:1-9

We conclude with Peters warning to the church to be alert and vigilant. This is the third and final of the three aspects addressing the subject of false teachers in the church.

The True Believers Delivered – Continued

(God) did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations . . . – 2 Peter 2:5-9a.

Lot (verses 6-9a) – Continued. God enabled Lot and his family to remain unscathed by the corruption and wickedness, even though they were living in the midst of a cesspool of iniquity. God also rescued Lot and two of his daughters before the judgment fell on Sodom and the other cities of the plain (see again Genesis 19). Lot was not rescued because of any merit on his part. He was rescued because he was a believer and because his Uncle Abraham had prayed for him. Abraham outside of Sodom had more influence than Lot inside the city. Lot even lost his testimony to his own family, for his married daughters and their husbands laughed at his warning, and his wife disobeyed God and was killed.

Lot CHOSE to live in Sodom and could have avoided the filthy influence of the place, but many people today really have no choice and must live surrounded by the evils emanating from the world. Think of the Christian slaves who had to serve godless masters, or Christian wives married to unsaved husbands, or believing children with unsaved parents. Christian employees working in offices or factories are forced to see and hear things that can easily stain the mind and heart. Years ago I was talking to my brother-in-law, also a Pastor about situations like this and he made the statement that these things “bruise” the soul. I’ve never forgotten that. So, Peter wants to assure his readers and us that God knows how to “deliver the godly out of temptations.” – 2 Peter 2:9, so that we may live victoriously.

He also is able to rescue us from judgment. In Noah’s case, it was a judgment of water, but in Lot’s case it was a judgment of fire. The cities of the plain were caught in a violent overthrow as the area became a vast furnace of fire and brimstone. This certainly would parallel Peter’s warning about the COMING judgment of fire (see again 2 Peter 3:10-12).

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Peter was not pointing to Lot as an example of separated living, but rather as an example of one whom God rescued from spiritual darkness and condemnation. In a sense, Lot was even rescued against his will, because the angels had to grasp him by the hand and pull him out of the city (Genesis 19:16). Lot had entered Sodom, and then Sodom had entered Lot, and he found it difficult to leave.

Our Lord used both Noah and Lot to warn us to be prepared for His return (Luke 17:26–37). The people in Sodom were enjoying their regular pleasures, careless of the fact that judgment was coming; when it came, they were unprepared. “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.” – 2 Peter 3:14.

But the same God who delivers the godly also reserves the ungodly for judgment. It has well been said that if God spares today’s cities from judgment, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. Why is God’s judgment lingering? Simply because God “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9. Society in Noah’s day had 120 years in which to repent and believe, yet they rejected the truth. Though Lot’s example and testimony were weak, he at least represented the truth; yet his immoral neighbors wanted nothing to do with God.

Our present age is not only like “the days of Noah,” but it is also like “the days of Lot.” Many believers have abandoned the place of separation and are compromising with the world. The organized church has but a weak testimony to the world and sinners do not really believe that judgment is coming. Society is full of immorality, especially the kind of sin for which Sodom was famous. It appears as though God is slumbering, unconcerned about the way rebellious sinners have polluted His world. But one day the fire will fall; then it WILL be too late.

God’s people, as weak as some are, will be delivered from judgment by the grace and mercy of God. God could not judge Sodom until Lot and his family were out of the city. Likewise, it is my fervent belief that God will not send wrath on this world until He takes His own people out and home to Heaven. “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:9–10.

One day soon, the fire is going to fall. Are you ready?

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Adaptation of excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Volume 2.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture links provided by Biblia.com
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