Thursday, October 31, 2013

Do Not Be Wise in Your Own Eyes - Proverbs 3:7

"For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." Matthew 23:12


by S. Baring-Gould M.A.

Isaiah, Ezekiel and the apostle John saw in vision the glory of heaven and the throne of God and near it there were four beasts "full of eyes within and without" - Revelation 4:8. That is to say the beasts saw all that was within them as well as all that was outside them.

We are full of eyes without. We see everything that is going on among our neighbors and a great deal which is not there also, but we have no eyes for seeing anything within. We know nothing of ourselves, our own faults, and our own errors.

We see every wrong thing done by a neighbor, we have eyes for this, but we see no wrong done by ourselves. We have no eyes for that.

We see all the weakness of others, we have eyes for this, but we see none of our own weakness. We have no eyes for that.

We see all the folly of others, we have eyes for this, but for our own stupid acts and words we are blind. We have no eyes for that.

It would be better if we were well supplied with eyes within, instead of so many eyes without. It would be better for our neighbors and it would be better for ourselves. 

In the gospel, we hear of the chief Pharisees watching Christ. They had eyes for that. They watched him to find something against him. But they themselves were hypocrites and perverters of the law and they didn't know. They had no eyes for this. End.

Let us ask God to put our eyes on ourselves and then on Him. May we all be humble when it comes to what we are.
 "I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing." Psalm 16:2 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Spreading the Gospel in England.

The Village Pulpit
by, S. Baring-Gould M.A.

"In the time when all the north of England was heathen, there was an assembly held at Iona to decide who should preach the gospel to the English of Northumbria. One missionary was sent, and after having labored for some years, he came back to give an account of his mission. A council was held and he said, "Those Northumbrians are a stiff-necked, hard-hearted people. I threatened them with God's wrath, I spoke to them of Hell-fire, I warned them of the terrors of judgment, I denounced the vengence of God on them and they would not be converted."

One sitting in a back seat said, "My brother, it seems to me you went the wrong way to work. You should have gone in love and not in wrath. You should have tried to win and not to drive." All eyes turned on the speaker and it was decided with one voice he should be sent, and he went. His name was Aidan - and he was the Apostle of all Northumberland, Durham and Yorkshire. He had the joy to see the whole people bow their necks to receive the yoke of Christ."

Then they went out, using Aidan's only method as a missionary, which was to walk the lanes, talk to all the people he met and interest them in the faith if he could. His monks visited and revisited the villages where he sowed the seeds and in time local Christian communities were formed. One story tells that the king, worried that bishop Aidan would walk like a peasant, gave him a horse but Aidan gave it away to a beggar. He wanted to walk, to be on the same level as the people he met and no doubt to vary his approach when he discovered something of their background and attitudes.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

God in A Messy World.

I heard a preacher say, "We live in a messy world." I totally agree with him. Almost every day we run into a mess. Traffic, sickness, nasty co-workers, family problems - it goes on and on. The people who follow God also have messes in their lives because we live on a dysfunctional planet. But the preacher went on to say, "The only thing messier than following God, is not following God."

I've thought about that lately. I've thought about how hard life can be but then thought about how my life would be without God in it. It wouldn't be just messy, it would be a horrible disaster.

If God were not in my life, I would not be speaking to anyone in my family. They have all hurt me at one time or another but I learned forgiveness from God; therefore, I not only speak with them, I love them dearly.

If God were not in my life I would be drunk - a lot. He took drinking away from me and I'm so glad he did.

If God were not in my life my marriage would be over. Without Him I couldn't have overlooked the things my husband said when we fought. I couldn't have let my husband be himself and accept him just the way he is. I would have left him and gone out to face the world alone without his support and love.

If God were not in my life I would have committed suicide by now. I came close even when he was in my life, so I know I would have done it. Life was just too painful - but with God's strength and love I can make it through each day.

I sometimes look at people and think, "How can you not want God in your life? How can you think this life is all there is and be okay with that? How can you not think about nor want eternal life?" I'll never understand it. I just pray everyone in the world will find out how wonderful it is to have God in your life.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

We All Belong to God.

 "The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him." Psalm 24:1

I read this verse yesterday morning after praying for my daughter who was having some trouble. I believe the Lord was telling me my daughter belonged to Him. Her life was in his hands and I was not to worry.

I take seriously this verse: "Do not be worried about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 Philippians 4:6

My mind runs to worry as a river runs to the sea. I'm disciplining my mind to take every single worry to God and Scripture doesn't lie; He gives me the peace that passes my understanding. I just want to thank and praise him for that today.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Conclusion of "If Not Good - Not God."

Conclusion of:

If Not Good - Not God. 
by I.M. Haldeman

On one occasion when talking to the Jews Jesus said that Abraham had rejoiced to see his day, had seen it and was glad. They turned upon him and reminded him he was not yet fifty years old, how then could he have seen Abraham, or Abraham him - that Abraham who had been dead nearly two thousand years?

He faced them and said, "Truly I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am."
There is one place in Holy Scripture where this phrase is supremely used. In the third chapter of the book of Exodus it is recorded that God manifested himself to Moses at the burning bush, and there declared himself to be the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. He commanded Moses to return to Egypt, appear before Pharaoh and demand the release of the children of Israel from their cruel bondage; and when Moses inquired by what name he should speak to the people, he answered,

"Say unto them, I AM has sent me to you."
"I AM."
To the Jew these two words set forth the supreme name and title of the eternal God.

In saying, "Before Abraham was - I Am," Jesus announced himself to be the eternal, self-centered, supreme being, Almighty God. When he said this, and because they understood him, because they knew exactly what he meant by these words, the Jews took up stones to stone him.

Jesus asked, "For what good work do you stone me?"
They answered, "For a good work we do not stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself out to be God."

The Jews were not deceived. They knew what he had done. They knew he claimed to be no less than very God himself.

Therefore: If Jesus Christ were not Almighty God, he was not a good man.
No mere man can claim to be God and be good.
He who, as mere man, claims to be God, robs God of the glory that is exclusively his.
No man who robs God of equality and who deceives men into believing that he is God, can be good - he is a wicked and blasphemous deceiver.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Jesus Says He is God.

Continued from previous post...

If Not Good - Not God. 
by I.M. Haldeman

Against this exaltation of Christ as merely a good man, and the persistent denial that he was God, stands the unmistakable claim which Jesus Christ himself made - that he was God.

Jesus made the claim to be God in many ways.
He claimed it by declaring his power and authority to forgive sin.
That was a striking moment when he proclaimed it for the first time. Four men had brought a paralytic to the house where he was preaching. When they could not get in because of the crowd, they climbed up on the roof, took off some of the tiling, and by means of ropes or corners of the mattress let the man down to the very feet of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he turned to the sick man and said, "Son, your sins are forgiven."

At once there was an uproar. The leading men, sitting round and watching him, burst out with a protest, charging him with blasphemy, saying that God only could forgive sin.
And they were right.
No mere man can forgive sin. Again and again the Scriptures teach us that forgiveness is with God that he may be feared.

In announcing the man's sins forgiven, Jesus clearly claimed the prerogative, power and authority which belong to God.

He claimed this equality by declaring himself to be the Son of God. The the Jews, "Son of God" was equivalent to "God the Son." It meant to them, the moment he styled himself by that name, an unqualified claim to essential equality with the Father. Because of this they raged against him and would have killed him, crying out that he had made himself equal with God.

He made this claim in terms which admit of no misunderstanding. he said, "I and the Father are one."
When Philip said, "Show us the Father and it will be enough," he answered and said, "Have you been with me so long a time and have you not known me, Philip? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." He also said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life - no man comes to the Father but by me."

By this statement he deliberately shut out all other men as the ground and means of approach to God. He declares that God, the Father, can be found in and through him alone; that he is the supreme way, the very truth and the very life; not that he knows some truth and has a measure of life in common with men, but that he is the truth - the Absolute life. Such attitude, such claimed rights, privileges and powers belong alone to God.

But he goes beyond this. He testifies that he has been from all eternity the manifestation of the very self-hood of the Father. Hear what he says:
"And now, O Father, glorify me with your own self, with the glory which I had with you before the world was."

He traces his personality backward beyond the hour when the world was launched into space, before the stellar systems were created. he goes beyond time and takes us into eternity.

Such claims as these are the claims of one who declares himself to be, and without restraint, nothing less than Almighty God.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What Some Say About Jesus.

Continued from the previous post...

Jesus, If Not Good - Not God.

For two thousand years the world, without a dissenting voice, has borne witness that Jesus is the one man who came into the earth and walked through it superlatively good.

Among the voices in the common consent of the world that Jesus Christ was a good man, there are those who with equal insistence deny he was Almighty God.

They agree that he had the spirit of God; that he had it in measure such as no other man before or since. They announce their belief that he is the mightiest advance on humanity ever known; that all other religious teachers pale before him as the stars before the sun. They speak of his spotless life with fervent admiration, and draw special attention to his discourses as models of exhortation to righteousness and truth. The them the sermon on the mount is a chef d' oeuvre. Out of that sermon they take the maxim about doing unto others as you would they should do unto you. They take that maxim and frame it and make it the "Golden Rule" of human life. They exalt Jesus as the perfect example, telling us that if we shall govern our life by him, make him our constant copy, imitate him, we shall fill our daily existence with righteousness and truth. In fact, if we seek to praise the humanity of Christ; if we desire to see his goodness exalted to the heavens, and his humanity put beyond compare with the sons of men - we must to to the Socinian, the Arian and the Unitarian - those who deny the deity of Christ. But this exaltation of the human Christ is simply setting up a man of straw that with one blow of deific discount he may be knocked down again. He is set up as a man that he may be cast down as God.

They will not accept him as God.
God Almighty, we are told, cannot be confined or shut up in any one man. Man as man and, therefore, every individual man in his part, is the avatar of God. Each man is in some sense the incarnation of God. God is more or less enthroned in all men. God is to be found in all men as he is to be found in all nature.

A good man - call Jesus a good man - set him up as high as you please, build as lofty a pedestal for him as you will, but Almighty God - Never!

To be continued...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Jesus in Death.

Continued from the previous post...

Jesus, If Not Good - Not God.

On the cross Jesus gave utterance to words which reveal the inner character of his soul.

When a man has been lied about, falsified, his good evil spoken of and his reputation assailed (as was his before the Sanhedrin - in the mock trial given him there), when such a man has been hounded from one end of town to the other, spit upon and jibed at and, finally, nailed through hands and feet to a torturing cross; when such a man with his heart bursting ( because of impeded circulation, driving the surging, tumultuous blood back upon it), with the sun scorching his bare temples, a crown of thorns stabbing him at every helpless turn of his restless head; when such a man, under such circumstances, can rise above the wickedness, cowardice and cheap treason that have nailed him to the cross, and pray that his guilty murderers, villainous detractors and unscrupulous slanderers may be forgiven, that man bears witness that he has, at least, a heart of good.

And it was just such a prayer which came from the parched, dry, cracked lips of this man of Nazareth as he hung upon the cross and cried out,
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
Again he spoke from the cross.
There was standing near, a woman who had been chosen of God to give him birth. She was sobbing convulsively. She was realizing what had been foretold of her more than thirty years before - "a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also." Mary, the mother of Jesus, stood there brokenhearted. Jesus turned his head and looked at John bidding him take that weeping mother to his home, his heart and care, and be unto her a loving son.

Once more he spoke from the place of anguish - that moent on the edge of death. There is soul, rising from the depths of the overwhelming waves of agony cries:
"Father into your hands I commit my spirit."

He who in the hour of death can face God and eternity and commit himself to the hand of supreme justice as a confident child to the arms of a loving father, bears witness that in his soul there is no ghastly memory of sin, no sharp remember pang, no fear of offended law. Such a confidence and such a committal of triumphant calm bear witness that the heart is at rest with God, and is conscious of its own good.

To be continued...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"If Not Good - Not God."

Continued from previous post...

I am posting selections from the book, "Christ, Christianity and the Bible," by I.M Haldeman. He writes so beautifully of Jesus' life; I just wanted to share it with you. This is continued from my previous post:

Police officers, sent to arrest him as a disturber of the peace, found him in the midst of the people, speaking words that hushed their tumult, quieted their murmurings and gave them rest; and the officers returning to them who sent them said, "Never man spake like this man."

Pilate's wife dreamed a troubled dream of him, and sent word to her husband not to lay hands on him - seeing that he was a just man. Three times before heaven and earth - in a testimony that still echoes through infinite spaces, and is heard by listening worlds - Pilate himself proclaimed, "I find no fault in this man."

He lifted up his voice against sin and unrighteousness.
Against nothing did he so much speak as against religious hypocrisy. Nowhere, in any record, is language so terrible, so penetrating, so hot, so full of the flame of fire and scorching analysis, in its denunciation of those who on the outside were like whitened sepulchers, but on the inside were full of dead men's bones and corruption.

Nowhere, outside the twenty-third chapter of Matthew, does language fall with such tremendous vibration of thunderous indignation and the accent of aroused and fully angered justice. "You serpents," you generation of vipers," are some of the phrases; and the words, "fools," "blind hypocrites," mingle again and again with the far-sounding, judicial menace, "Woe, woe unto you."

Jesus seemed to be dominated and controlled by one idea - the idea of God. The God thought held and moved him. He could not go anywhere, see anything, or utter the shortest discourse, that he did not in some fashion connect it with the infinite Father. (Here the author reminds of us the parables of the sower and shepherd etc.)

God! God! God! this was the supreme note of his life.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Was Jesus Just a Good Man, or Was He God?

I read a small book called, "Christ, Christianity and the Bible" by I.M. Haldeman.  It was written in 1912. I'd like to share what this writer says over the next few posts. 


If Not God - Not Good.

By, I.M. Haldeman, D.D.

The world has accepted Jesus Christ as a good man.
The evidences of his goodness are manifold.
He was full of compassion.
He never looked upon the people as a crowd. He never thought of them as a mass. He saw them always as individuals. His heart went out to them. All his impulses were to pity them, sympathize with and help them.

He went among them. He entered into all conditions, accepted all situations. He was present at a wedding, he ate with publicans and sinners and was a guest at a rich man's table.
He saw the ravages of disease, the shame of sin, the tragedies in life.
He knew there was torture in body and anguish in spirit.

He took the mystery of pain and laid it upon his heart, until tears were his meat and his drink, by day and by night. He became a man of sorrows and an expert in grief. he took upon him the woes of the world until he was bowed and bent as with the weight of years. The tears of sympathy grooved his cheeks, as when streams carve their way down mountain sides. Because of this men looked at him and saw neither form nor comeliness; neither was there any beauty in him that they should desire him.

He was a beneficent man.
Multitudes of men are benevolent, but not beneficent.
Benevolence is well wishing. Beneficence is well doing. he was always well doing, giving sight to the blind, healing the sick, cleansing the leper, feeding the hungry, raising the dead, unloosing the bonds of Satan - unwinding the serpent's coil.

He was absolutely unselfish.
He emptied himself and made room in his soul for other lives. he had no office hours and never interposed secretaries or major-domos between himself and the people. He received all who came to him - ministering without money and without price.

Jesus of Nazareth is in that house.
He is healing the sick. He is giving health, and strength, and peace to all who seek him. He turns no one away. Compassion, sympathy, beneficence the tenderness of a mother for her helpless babe - these are the characteristics which his daily ministry revealed.

No one ever brought a charge of evil doing or evil speaking against him.

The people who followed him said, "He has done all things well."

To be continued....

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Jesus Answers John.

Continued from previous post...

This is how Jesus replied to the doubts of John:

Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Matthew 11:4-6

Jesus didn't say, "I'm not here to be an earthly ruler." He showed John by his works what God was doing. He let John decide if that was enough. It was. But Jesus also gave John a warning, "And blessed is the one who is not offended by me."

Are we sometimes offended by how God acts? Do we wonder what he is doing when earthquakes and tornadoes hit and people are killed? Do we wonder why he doesn't do more for us? Are we offended by how slow God seems to do things? Does he not act the way we think he should act?

Jesus says we are blessed if we do not get offended by these thoughts and leave him. Many have left and defied God because of the suffering in the world. If we feel this way we need to study the Bible and pray to understand why the world is the way it is. It does no good to blame God and be angry. That leads nowhere.

We live in a world of sin and suffering. That is a fact. God allows it to happen. Why? Because thousands of years ago a man and woman rebelled against God and gave this world to Satan. He has caused all the suffering in the world - not God. But God came down and suffered with us. He hasn't asked us to go through anything he hasn't gone through. He became one of us and will always be half God and half human. We have no idea what Jesus gave up for us.

Jesus came here to show us what God is like. His life was beautiful. This is what God is like.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Doubts? You're in Good Company.

John the Baptist was moved upon by God to introduce his Son to the world. He told the people to repent of their sins and that the Messiah was coming soon. Finally, the day came when he met Jesus:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! He is the one I was talking about when I said, 'A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.' I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel." 

Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I didn't know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, 'The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' I have seen and I testify that this is God's Chosen One."
 John 1:29-34

Later on, King Herod arrested John and threw him in prison because he had told the king it was unlawful for him to have Herodias as a wife, since she was the wife of Herod's brother. So, John was in prison waiting for the Messiah to take charge of the kingdom of Israel. This is what all the people believed about the Messiah - that he would set up his kingdom on earth. But this didn't happen and John began doubting.

John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, "Are you the Messiah we've been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?"  Matthew 11:2,3

Although John had seen the Spirit of God come as a dove and heard the voice of God say, "This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased," he now doubted. He didn't understand why Jesus was wandering around preaching instead of taking over the kingdom from the evil Herod. He was determined to find out so he sent his friends to ask Jesus.

Don't we sometimes find ourselves doing the same thing? Life doesn't go the way we think it should; tragic things happen and we wonder why. Sometimes we question the mercy and goodness of God because He doesn't do what we think he should. These kind of doubts have bothered people from Job to David and their doubts are recorded for us to read and learn from. 

To be continued...

Friday, October 4, 2013

Laodicea - The Last Church.

In the previous post, I wrote about Christianity's condition just before Jesus returns. This church is called Laodicea. It is a rich and proud church; one that feels no need of God, they are doing just fine themselves.

The most frightening thing God says to Laodicea is, "I will spit you out of my mouth." If Christians don't repent and ask God to help them, this is what God will do. Why would you spit something out of your mouth? Because it is nauseating and repulsive. What a terrible and sad condition to be in. May God help us.

Jesus gives us all a chance though. He says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." Revelation 3:20,21

So, Laodicea has not asked Jesus into their hearts. That is the root of the problem. We cannot be saved or even be good people if Jesus is not invited into our hearts. And these Christians have not done that because they feel no need of Him. 

Is it any wonder the world thinks Christians are unkind and disgusting when some shout, "God hates gays," and so many of them want to cut out welfare, food stamps and government programs for the poor. This is not what Christ did or would want us to do. 

I know there are many true Christians who do want to help the poor. But, in the verses about Laodicea they must be the minority because these verses are speaking of the majority of Christians. May God help us to repent and ask Jesus to come in and eat with us.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Last Church on Earth.

In the Bible, Revelation chapters 2 and 3 are messages to God's church down through the ages. It begins with the church following Jesus returning to heaven and ends with the last church before he returns.

Laodicea is the name given to the last church on earth. The "church" means Christendom - all those who profess Christianity. All other ages of Christianity have attributes that God praises - all but Laodicea. 

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, 'I am rich. I have everything I want. I don't need a thing!' And you don't realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 

So I advise you to buy gold from me--gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent."
Revelation 3:14-19

What is the great sin of the Church at the end of time? Pride and independence. 

Pride:  There are a few definitions of pride, some good and some bad. The pride God is speaking of is this:  "The quality or state of being proud; inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one's own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, rank, etc., which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve, and often in contempt of others."

          "I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech." Proverbs 8:13
          "Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall." Proverbs 16:18
          "Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our                     acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith." Romans 3:27

           "This church represents the state of the church, from the end of the spiritual reign of Christ, till the time of his personal appearing and kingdom, to judge the quick and dead; for after the spiritual reign is over, professors of religion will sink into a formality, and into a lukewarm frame of spirit, and into great spiritual sloth and security, Revelation 3:15, which will make those times like the times of Noah and of Lot; and such will be the days of the coming of the son of man to judge the world. Its name signifies either "the righteousness of the people"; and so may point at that popular and external righteousness, which the majority of the professors of religion in this period of time will be boasting of, and trusting in; being self-sufficient, and self-dependent, when at the same time they will be naked, as well as poor and blind," 
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

To be continued...