REJOICE YE PEOPLE OF GOD
Luke 2:10-14 I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 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.
INTRODUCTION: TOMORROW MUCH OF THE WORLD WILL CELEBRATE HIS BIRTH.
The old Puritans made a parade day of work on Christmas-day, just to show that they protested against the observance of it. A sign prohibiting any such observance read:
“The observation of Christmas having been deemed a Sacrilege, the exchanging of Gifts and Greetings, dressing in Fine Clothing, Feasting and similar Satanical Practices are hereby FORBIDDEN with the offender liable to a fine of five shillings.”
W While we may commend the Puritans for many things, we feel no compulsion to follow their example as it may relate to Christmas. We believe they entered into that prohibition with over weening zeal and hubris [excessive pride] but not according to knowledge. As Mr. Spurgeon said, “leave the Puritanical superstitions to the superstitious.” While endeavoring to live godly lives the Puritans hyper-radicalized things of a religious nature and went beyond the bounds of biblical parameters.
The earliest day for Christians to celebrate the 25th of December was in 336, after Emperor Constantine declared Christianity the empire’s favored religion. The fact is that for the first 300 years a day designated as the Birth of Christ was not a topic of discussion. And, December 25 was not declared a federal holiday in the United States until 1870. In makes no sense to designate or argue for any particular day of the year as the time of the birth of Christ because no one knows the exact month or day the angels announced his birth. It is a long time since 1832, longer still from 353, longer still from that dark night brightened by a special star in which Jesus the king was born. Yet, as we approach December 25 again, it gives us yet another opportunity to pause, and in the midst of all the excitement and elaborate decorations and expensive commercialization which surround Christmas today, to consider again the event of Christmas and the person whose birth we celebrate. The recovery of the lost meaning of Christmas is simply not going to happen in this age. It just seems to me that it is a tragic loss to substitute “Jingle Bells” for “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” and a tree for the manger of Bethlehem. The instinct is right to fade out these things in the light of the Christmas star. It is all about the Son of God’s incarnation that the angels sing–God with us–Immanuel. Yet, as we approach December 25 again, it gives us yet another opportunity to pause, and in the midst of all the excitement and elaborate decorations and expensive commercialization which surrounds Christmas to consider again the Lord’s birth and the person He is, no longer a weak baby but the King of Kings and Lord of all. We must be able to distinguish the spiritual from the ritual and the commercialization of His Nativity.
What better time of the year to speak about our Lord and Savior?” Christmas, by the way, means Christ-Mass and so named by the Roman Catholic church in 353. You will not find it anywhere in the Bible.
Christians should take the opportunity to proclaim His birth as the greatest gift God ever gave to mankind when God in his time and for His glory sent forth the King of kings and Lord of lords not to rule, but to save; to bring the possibility of peace between man and his Creator.
We must remember that his coming was not to revolutionize the world into a Christian-ruled world. The day of His righteous rule on earth is yet to come. His coming was not to start a military revolution designed to overthrow the Roman rule. His purpose was to bring peace and good will to men.
I recently read something Martin Luther the Reformer said concerning the birth of Jesus Christ: The mystery of the humanity of Christ, [is] that He sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding.
In another instance Martin Luther, in responding to a well- meaning but over-zealous Phillip Melanchthon a friend and German theologian. Melanchthon suggested that the Reformation, well under way was to do away with all civil laws and press for a world governed by Christian ethics, principles, and practice. He wanted a styled Christian society ruled by according to the prophecy of Micah chapter four—swords into plowshares…spears into pruning hooks…and peace shall be the rule and not the exception.
Luther warned against such a desire saying: “If anyone attempted to rule the world by the gospel and to abolish all temporal law and sword with the demand that all peoples be baptized and at baptism become members of the Roman Catholic Church, and as a result men are to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks thereby among them would be no civil law or swords – nor see any need for either – pray tell me, friend, what would he be doing? He would be loosening the ropes and chains of wicked men allowing them to bite and mangle all others, meanwhile insisting that they were harmless, tame, and gentle creatures; but Luther added I would have the proof in my own wounds. Such an environment wicked men under the banner of the Christian flag set themselves up as rulers, abuse evangelical freedom, carry on their rascality and insist that they Christians were subject neither to law nor sword, as some are already raving and ranting. To such a one we must say: Certainly, it is true that Christians, so far as they themselves are concerned, are subject neither to Jewish law nor Roman sword, and have need of neither. But take heed and first, fill the world with real [perfect] Christians before you attempt to rule it in a Christian and evangelical manner.”
The plight of the Jews at the time of Christ and long before was the fault of the Jewish people.
The cause of all Israel problems began centuries before in the city of Ramah, just north of Jerusalem about 20 or so miles.
1 Samuel 8:4-7 all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. They did not want a judge, they wanted a king, and look at the result. The desire of the people was not righteousness but power over other nations. Samuel warned them saying if a king arises to rule over them [I Samuel 8:11-22].
The Jews at the time of the birth of Christ were not a nation. The Commonwealth of Israel was in a name only. While the Jews stood together in worship, all were governed by Rome. They were a zealously religious but an oppressed people and most were scattered far and wide but where ever they were they managed to maintain their ancient monotheistic religion and worshiped the One True God.
Jerusalem, to the Jew, was the place of their only temple in all the world. Other towns had small structures that served as a place of worship but no Temple where sacrifice was conducted by official priests including Caiaphas who was the High Priest at the time. This is why every year Jews from all over the world came to that city to celebrate the week of Passover. Jerusalem was to the Jew, the “holy city.”
In Jerusalem, the Jews were allowed to practice their worship of their God. It was however only barely tolerated by Rome in order to keep the peace. To keep this shaky peace the Temple was for the exclusive for the Jews and neither gentile or Roman was allowed inside. Still, for all intents and purposes they were under the political rule of Rome.
Jerusalem was to the Romans, especially to Pilate the Roman Governor, little more than a hot and dirty spot in the Roman world.
The Ruler of the civilized world at the time of the Birth of Christ was Caesar (Octavian) Augustus. Augustus’ rule began 27 years before the Savior’s birth he ruled until 14 A D when he died.
Caesar is a title of divinity; of dignity superior to that of a mere king. Augustus means Grand; magnificent; majestic and awe-inspiring in pomp and circumstance, demanding reverence. He was the most powerful man on earth. He and was at the time worshiped, except by the Jews, as the sovereign, supreme monarch as God of the Roman empire.
THE DECREE THAT ALL THE WORLD BE TAXED
A decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration was and was carried out by Quirinius [kwɪˈraɪnəs] was governor of Syria. The real purpose of the census was of course, to give Rome a head count of all peoples under Caesar’s rule but mainly it served as a means of establishing a taxation roll for Rome’s benefit. The decree set certain towns as locations where the people traveled to register. This required great sacrifice and expense to everyone.
Joseph a simple carpenter, his espoused wife Mary, and a child that was soon to be born whose name would be Jesus. [Note that the name Jesus came to Joseph in a dream in which the angel advised Joseph to name the yet to be born child, Jesus. This is the first mention of his given name.
While not much is heard of Joseph after Jesus’ birth, he was blessed when the angel said to call Him Jesus, the name above every name. Remember Joseph was distressed, in a quandary upon learning that Mary was with child and knowing it was not of his doing… 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.
Joseph and Mary, a virgin, lived in Nazareth about 90 miles from Bethlehem which was at that time in history when Nazareth was under the reign of Herod, son of Herod the Great. They were required to make the journey to Bethlehem, the city of David of which Joseph had descended, to be counted for taxation purposes. And since Mary Joseph’s espoused wife was pregnant with the yet unborn boy child, the journey must have been both arduous and difficult task for both. (Luke 2:1–5).
Bethlehem means the house of bread! how suited this to him, Jesus, the bread of life. Ephratah, or Ephrath, meaning fruitfulness- It was a very small town little of the thousands of Judah, of little importance to a world which even today believes that “bigger is better.”
David, the apple of God’s eye, king of Israel, ancestor of our Jesus was born there. One wonders in view of this biblical and historical fact if the Holiest city in the world should not be Bethlehem instead of Jerusalem?
Tiny Bethlehem, where the greatest event in all of history would take place, where the Eternal Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, would be born.
The events we have learned preceding Jesus’ birth were the results of the plan and will of God who chose a census to fulfill the prophecy of the town where the Savior would be born, proves that even the hearts of kings and emperors are in the hands of God. The “due time” of Galatians 4 now was imminent, it was the time of Messiah’s appearance.
Prophecy Proclaims His Birth…
THE SIGN [a miraculous occurance]ATTENDING HIS BIRTH FORETOLD: Isaiah prophesied some 700 years earlier in Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
WHAT HE SHALL BE CALLED: and shall call his name Immanuel.
THE PLACE OF HIS BIRTH FORETOLD: Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting
THE NAME BY WHICH HE SHALL BE CALLED and his name shall be called Wonderful…
THE PEOPLE OF HIS KINGDOM — For unto us [the Jews] a child is born,
THE MANNER OF HIS ULTIMATE RULE and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
THE OFFICES THAT HE WOULD FILL AS KING OF KINGS– Counsellor, [notice the comma] The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
THE LENGTH OF TIME HE SHALL RULE7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,
THE LOCATION AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE THRONE UPON WHICH HE WILL ONE DAY RULE upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
THE PURPOSE OF HIS BIRTH FORETOLD AND DETAILED: Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. —
In luke, Jesus added one more comment to Isaiah’s prophecy—to preach the acceptable year of the Lord!
JOY TO THE WORLD…THE LORD HATH COME
People of God rejoice, your Savior lives –
We have reason to rejoice for many reasons, far too many to recite here, but I offer a few the most important and present reasons for rejoicing:
REJOICE: WE HOLD IN OUR HANDS ALL THE PROMISES OF GOD.
We rely on the Bible as the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
It is profitable: for doctrine or the principles and concepts of spiritual and practical application to lighten the darkness of men’s hearts to the praise and glory of the Author and Finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ.
It is useful for correction, for instruction in righteousness. And, lastly, its end: that the man of God may be perfect (complete) thoroughly (completely) furnished unto all good works.
REJOICE: WE CAN SING OF THE BIRTH OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR.
The hymns that we sing concerning his birth are in the main, theologically sound. We must remember that the people of God have sung hymns even in the ancient past.
(Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26) record that at the Last Supper when Jesus abrogated [set aside] the Jewish temple sacrifice of a male lamb that was killed and his blood sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenant and replaced it with himself as the Lamb of God, they sang a hymn. The Lord and His Disciples sang a hymn after the Supper as they left the place of the Supper and went out to the Mount of Olives to pray.
What did they sing? These hymns were known as the Hallel Psalms (meaning “Praise” psalms) and consisted of three specific Psalms, or songs: 113-118.
To realize the Lord of heaven and earth sang along with mortal men hymns of praise and thanksgiving is wonderful to realize…Jesus singing. Not to be overly dramatic but how sweet must have been the sound of his voice. Which Psalm did they sing?
Psalms 113 A hymn of praise: Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. 2 Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. 3 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’s name is to be praised. The LORD is high above all nations and his glory above the heavens. 5 Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high, 6 Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth! 7 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; 8 That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people. 9 He maketh the barren woman to keep house and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.
Psalms 116:16- A song of service to the King of Kings: O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds. 17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call upon the name of the LORD. 18 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people, 19 In the courts of the LORD’s house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.
Psalms 118:1-6 A hymn of thanksgiving…and of love and courage – It would seem appropriate since this alludes to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God and his own suffering soon to befall him. Perhaps He at least saw looming before Him, Calvary’s hill and the events that would soon take place for Him. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever. 2 Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth forever. 3 Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth forever. 4 Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth forever. 5 I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place 6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
REJOICE: HIS BIRTH HAS GIVEN US HOPE.
Hope in a Scriptural sense is the Christian’s faith and confidence we hold on to dearly and is the highest degree of expectations of good; based on God’s gracious promises.
Paul writes in his second letter to the Thessalonian church, 2:16 that we (Christians) have Good hope through the Grace of God.
Jeremiah 6:16 records: Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.
And, Jesus says to us in Matthew 11:29-30 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
REJOICE: WE HAVE THE PEACE OF GOD
Philippians 4:7 And the peace OF God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The peace of God is more than feelings or emotion. That kind of peace the world can give but only for a short time. The kind of peace we have with God is the Person of Jesus Christ…He is our peace. Resting in Him gives us peace of mind. And with our minds fixed upon Him shall keep us from anxiety, fears and debilitating concerns and unhealthy worries. We thought the Spirit of Christ make our concerns, prayers of intercession, supplication, and personal need meaning we make all our requests known to God, and He who has given all power in heaven and in the earth shall give us the peace of God that passes all understanding. He is the One who keeps our heart and minds secure.
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
REJOICE WE HAVE NOT ON THE PEACE OF GOD. We also have peace WITH God. Romans 5:1-2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
As Jesus Christ is the Person of our peace of God so, Justification through faith in his blood is the doctrine and basis for believer’s peace
REJOICE: BY FAITH IN HIS BLOOD WE ARE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH WITH GOD.
Justification does not mean, as many think — “just as if we have never sinned.” There is so much more! It means that though we have sinned we have been declared righteous. Webster: Justified means our sins are forgiven and total absolution from guilt and punishment; or an act of grace by which God pardons the sinner and accepts him as righteous, on account of the atonement of Christ. In courts of our laws, it means that the accused has been acquitted and so declared in the acquittal no longer subject to condemnation. As David pointed out in our Bible study last Wed. evening, Justification does not mean made innocent but that as Webster defines it: In theology, remission of sin and absolution from guilt and punishment; or an act of [free] grace by which God pardons the sinner and accepts him as righteous, on account of the atonement of Christ.
It follows the rule that a Priest, an intercessor, and mediator represent the sinner and by sacrifice, the shedding of blood, the guilty person’s sins are Atoned for, meaning they have been covered by the blood are no longer considered guilty. In the case of Christian Justification, means that not only have our sins be paid for, resulting in the shed blood of Jesus on the cross but that something has been added in the place of our guilt since removed. It is the righteousness of Jesus Christ Himself that now stands between God and the believer.
Therefore, though we have sinned, we are no longer condemned for our sins but have received through the mediation of Jesus Christ, the total and complete forgiveness for our sins.
Though we have in times past been aliens and strangers..now…
Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Ephesians 2:11-13 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
1 Peter 2:10 in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
O’ that time would allow us to consider more additional and wonderful reasons why, because of the sacrifice of our Lord on Calvary’s tree, He who knew no sin became the recipient for our sin, thus satisfying the demands of God for Justice and Judgment.
When thinking of some of the reasons why we may rejoice even now in such a sad world, doesn’t it make this time of Christmas so much more personal?
Let us serve our risen Savior who is in the world today. We know that He is living, whatever men may say; we see his hand of mercy, we hear his voice of cheer, and just the time I need him he’s always near, He lives, oh yes he lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with us and talks with us along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You asked me how I know he lives; he lives within my heart.
Does he live in yours? The Savior is waiting to enter your heart, Why don’t you let him come in? There’s nothing in this world to keep your apart, What Is your answer to Him?
Come every soul by sin oppressed, there’s mercy with the Lord, And he will surely give you rest By trusting in His word.
Hear his call: Come unto me , all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
REJOICE, REJOICE O’ CHRISTIANS, LIFT UP YOUR VOICE AND SING ETERNAL HALLELUJAHS TO JESUS CHRIST OUT KING! THE HOPE OF ALL WHO SEEK HIM THE HELP OF ALL WHO FIND, NO OTHER IS SO LOVING, SO GOOD AND KIND.
Folks, if you have put off coming to the cross; if you have heard the gospel and were “almost persuaded,” Lay hold on Him Now, He will lay hold of you, may you do so at this hour…come to him now and enter into His rest.
It is not possible for us to be with all or loved one’s at this season of the year, but we shall all be together again on fine morning though it be according to our faith in Christ.
There is coming a day
When no heartaches shall come
No more clouds in the sky
No more tears to dim the eye
All is peace forevermore
On that happy golden shore
What a day, glorious day that will be!
What a day that will be
When my Jesus I shall see
And I look upon His face
The One who saved me by His grace
When He takes me by the hand
And leads me through the promised land,
What a day, glorious day that will be!
There’ll be no sorrow there
No more burdens to bear
No more sickness, no pain
No more parting over there
And forever I will be
With the One who died for me
What a day, glorious day that will be! AMEN
A MATTER OF TIME
Last time I preached Mark 1:15 which states: The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Two Wednesday evenings ago I taught on the wisdom of Solomon as He prayed to God to give him wisdom to properly judge His people.
Luke 9:57-62 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Solomon was a very wise man. He had lived long enough to get a true perspective on life and living. He knew the value of time. He wrote in Ecclesiastes 3: that God has put everything in a time and space continuum saying that there was a time for everything under the sun. And in verse 11 he writes: God, hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
John Gill writes on Solomon’s word. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” and though everything is beautiful in its time, yet till they are made manifest, and all viewed together; they will not be perfectly understood, or the beauty of them seen. For God has put something “hidden”, or “sealed up”, in the midst of them, as it may be rendered, so that they cannot be perfectly known.
Matthew Henry says: Everything is as God made it; not as it appears to us. We have the world so much in our hearts, are so taken up with thoughts and cares of worldly things, that we have neither time nor spirit to see God’s hand in them. The world has not only gained possession of the heart, but has formed thoughts against the beauty of God’s works. We mistake if we think we were born for ourselves; no, it is our business to do good in this life, which is short and uncertain; we have but little time to be doing good, therefore we should redeem time. Satisfaction with Divine Providence, is having faith that all things work together for good to them that love him. God doeth all, that men should fear before him. The world, as it has been, is, and will be. There has no change befallen us, nor has any temptation by it taken us, but such as is common to men.
Robert Hawker adds: From the fluctuating state of things, as they refer to men (and time), Solomon makes a beautiful transition in those verses, to the permanent and settled things of God, and his purposes. Here, indeed, as the Preacher saith, everything is beautiful in its time and order. In things of nature, providence, and grace, (and time) we may well cry out, as we contemplate them; in wisdom hast thou made them all.
With these Scriptures and commentary in mind, I want to speak to you this morning on the subject of time a subject that as we grow older the fact of time and its brevity as it relates to life’s ending becomes very important.
What do you do with your time? How much time do you spend doing nothing? Watching TV? Reading your Bible? On your knees? Writing letters? Etc., etc.
Time is important to you and me. Time is always on our minds. We say, “there was a time when…” We speak of the time of the “good old days,” as if those times were better than today’s. We oft’ times put off doing things thinking, “I will have time to do this or that tomorrow.” Or “Sorry, I don’t have time to do this or that.” I don’t have time to be faithful to my church, no, but you have time for whatever else you want to do or feel you have to do. What if for you tomorrow never comes? What then…you will plead for more time…there will be none!
What is time? It is a particular portion or part of duration, whether past, present or future.
The time was; the time has been; the time is; the time will be. Lost time is never found again.
God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets. Hebrews 1:1.
On time: Time is a gift from God and we are to make the best use of it. We should not waste a second of it. There are times when I wonder if I have made the best use of the time God has given me.
Time management, we think, has little to do with our everyday life.
I was never taught as a boy the best way to manage my time. I knew by instinct when it was time to eat, sleep, and play. I knew when it was time to get out of bed, get dressed, and go to school. I knew that school started at 8:15 and that to not be on time meant trouble. I knew that summer time was a time for play, and at several points of time the grass had to be cut. I was never educated on the importance of “time management,” which by definition is the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity.
Thomas Jefferson, our 3rd. President wrote in a letter to his Daughter Martha when she was 11 years old…we are never to young to learn good time management. And tho’ his letter contains a suggested time frame you may find a bit humorous considering the time in which we live I hope you may find it useful in your own life.
With respect to the distribution of your time the following is what I should approve.
From 8 to 10 o’clock practice music. From 10 to 1 dance one day draw another.
From 1 to 2 draw on the day you dance, and write a letter the next day.
From 3 to 4 read French.
From 4 to 5 exercise yourself in music.
From 5 till bedtime read English and write.
If you love me then, strive to be good under every circumstance and to all living creatures, and to acquire those accomplishments which I have put in your power.
This letter, though’ written by the hand of a wise father to his daughter could have been written by God to you and me for it speaks of good endeavors that exercise the mind and heart and pleases God.
Time management is important because of the brevity of our lives. Our earthly sojourn is significantly shorter than we are inclined to think. As David so aptly points out, “You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath” (Psalm 39:4-5). The apostle James echoes this: “You are a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14). Indeed, our time on earth barely registers on the eternal radar screen. To live as God would have us live, it is essential we make the best possible use of our allotted time. God did! (Genesis 1:1-2:3)
Moses prays, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). A good way to gain wisdom is to learn to live each day with an eternal perspective. Our Creator has set eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Knowing that we will have to give an account to the One who gives us time should motivate us to use it well. “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.”
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul cautioned the saints, “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
Living godly productive lives involves using our time wisely. Knowing that the harvest is great and the workers are few, and that time is rapidly dwindling should help us make better use of our time as witnesses for our Lord.
There is no doubt that the responsibilities and pressures of this world scream for our attention. The myriad of things pulling us in different directions makes it all too easy for our time to get swallowed up in mundane, lesser matters. Those endeavors which have eternal value, then, often get relegated to the back burner. To avoid losing focus, we need to prioritize our time and set goals we want to accomplish with the time allotted us. Additionally, to whatever extent possible, we need to delegate.
Regarding time and our work ethic, we need to recall that God did all of His work in six days and rested on the seventh. This ratio of work to rest sheds light on our Creator’s expectations relative to our own work ethic. Indeed, Proverbs 6:10-11 reveals the Lord’s disdain for slothful behavior: “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit.”
Furthermore, the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) illustrates the tragedy of wasted opportunity as well as the importance of laboring faithfully until the Lord comes.
We need to place our focus on that which is eternal as opposed to the fleeting pleasures of this passing world, and must include determining what is more important. Accordingly, we should move forward with diligence and divine purpose as the courses of our lives progress toward God’s ultimate goal. We are to accomplish as much as we can with the time He has given us. We will be eternally rewarded for investing our time in good works (1 Corinthians 3:14). We should live as if each minute counts – because it really does.
Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Everything is as God made it; not always as it appears to us. We have the world so much in our hearts, are so taken up with thoughts and cares of worldly things, that we have neither time nor spirit to see God’s hand in them. The world has not only gained possession of the heart, but has formed thoughts against the beauty of God’s works.
We mistake if we think we were born for ourselves; no, it is our business to do good in this life, which is short and uncertain; we have but little time to be doing good, therefore we should redeem time. Satisfaction with Divine Providence, is having faith that all things work together for good to them that love him. God doeth all, that men should fear before him. The world, as it has been, is, and will be. There has no change befallen us, nor has any temptation by it taken us, but such as is common to men. (Matthew Henry)
Now, to eternity. We cannot speak about time unless we compare time to eternity. Time will end. Eternity has no end! This is something that men should consider in regards to the life they will have when time runs out.
A word about eternity… God inhabits eternity – He dwells not only among human beings, but he dwells in eternity – where time is unknown – in a world where the passing of days into nights is not marked– Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity , whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. With the Lord there is neither beginning of days, nor end of life, nor change of time. His name is holy, and all must know him as a holy God. He will have tender regard to those who bring their mind to their condition, and dread his wrath. He will make his abode with those whose hearts he has thus humbled, in order to revive and comfort them. Matthew Henry
By God’s ‘determinate counsel He has established time and has set certain limits on time. For example by His own Determinate Counsel and Foreknowledge He has:
- Set the boundaries of the times of day and the night, of the seasons of the year.
- Set the boundaries of time of all Creation – He set the earth on its proper axis. The first is the rotation of the Earth around an invisible axis. It takes the Earth about 24 hours to finish one complete rotation. The Earth rotates from the west towards east. As viewed from North Star or polestar Polaris, the Earth turns counter-clockwise. The earth’s rotation determines everything we take for granted. The time of day, the years, the seasons, the tides, the way the earth rotates and circles the Sun. The average distance between the Earth and the Sun is 96 million miles and it takes a complete orbit occurs every 365.256 days, during which time Earth travels 584 million miles.
- He set the boundary time for the great flood not to rise above 18 cubits over the Highest mountain – Everest perhaps at 33,000 feet, plus.
- God set the boundary of time for Satan’s power over Old Job. Job 1:12
the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.
- He set the boundary of time for the span of man’s life: Psalms 39:5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. And in Psalms 90:10- 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.
- God set the boundaries of time regarding the number of days for the body of our Lord to lie in the tomb – three days and three nights.
Eternity… What is it? It is “continuance without beginning or end.” (Webster) How is that something we can figure out in our finite minds. How do we know this to be true – We are told that it is so by His own word. Eternity is Endless, Never ending, perpetual, undying, immortal, abiding, permanent, enduring, infinite, boundless, undying and a dozen other definitions.
Picture a circle, where does it begin and where does it end? It never began and never ends. Then think of the life of a man, any man. It had a beginning, a time of mornings and nights, seasons, a time for living.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
We oft’ use the phrase that God has put eternity in men’s heart, but that is not what Solomon says. He said that God has put the world in the heart of man.
The ‘world’ in this case may be taken in two ways. One meaning of the “world” is, ‘everlasting’ or the fact of an everlasting (eternal) world to come. But the word ‘world’ used in this same text also may mean just what it says which is to imply that We have the world so much in our hearts, that we are so taken up with thoughts and cares of worldly things, that we have neither time nor spirit to see God’s hand in them.
The world has not only gained possession of the heart, but has formed thoughts against the beauty of God’s works. We mistake if we think we were born for ourselves; no, it is our business to do good in this life, which is short and uncertain; we have but little time to be doing good, therefore we should redeem time. Eventually all time will pass into that which time has always been, guess where…ETERNITY.
I ask you to look at your life as the length of this pole – you begin at one end and die at the other end.
Surely, you noticed the length of the pole it is short, it has a beginning and an ending. Eternity, by contrast has neither.
A believer thinks of eternity much different that an unbeliever, if the unbeliever thinks of it at all. A believer thinks of eternity as a place of life, glory, and the presence of God. Eternity is not time, as we know it. It is a place.
The majority of us live the length of our lives the way we want, suiting ourselves with little or no thought of God. We believe that we have “all the time in the world” to straighten up and fly right. We think that we will wait until the end and then turn to God. We who have read even a modicum of Scripture or heard even a small bit of preaching know this is not true.
Many believe that they are going to pass through this portal we call time and one day step into…what they know not and care less. Most believe that when it is our ‘time’ we all will go to a heaven of some sort, but few believe that any will burn in a Lake of fire forever. Yes, they say we are going to live then we are going to die and that’s the end of it! So many say to their soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry . Luke 12:19
Psalms 90:10 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.
I am so glad God has given us ‘time.’ If he had not done so we would have ceased to be as soon as Adam bit into the forbidden fruit! God by His grace and mercy has given us “time” on purpose and for purpose. Time is borrowed. It is on loan to mankind. Time is an invention of God to give us opportunity to discover who we are and what we are; to discover life; to live it with purpose, that purpose is to glorify God and in glorifying God we find not only purpose but happiness, but not just happiness but joy, and not just happiness and joy but eternal, everlasting Life.
What is our purpose of time as it relates to your life and mine? It is to Glorify God.
- What does it mean to Glorify Him? It means to take time to give glory only unto Him.
- How do we do this? In this sense we do this by honoring God and praising Him.
We hear God say: 1 Chronicles 16:28-36 Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. 29 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. 30 Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.
- Bring an offering.
- Come before Him.
- Worship Him.
- Reverence Him.
Why are we to do this? Because He is God and there is none other.. “Behold” He cometh with the clouds to judge the earth and gather His elect from the four corners of the earth—from the Uttermost part of the earth.
It is futile to speculate about why God allowed things to happen in what we call the past; or what He is about right now; or what is He going to do in the future. We must remember: 2 Peter 3:8-14 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
As Believers we have today, tomorrow is gone, the future is not yet. What will we as believers do with today? The choices will we as believers make today either for or against God is up to you and me.
If you have not been born again…you must be if you are to enter or see the kingdom of God. Repent of your sin and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Savior—YOUR TIME IS NOW! DON’T WASTE IT!
Look at this pole. It represent your time of life. At one end is the beginning and at this end time is over. The red tip is where most of us try to make a decision that will guarantee eternal life. Seems silly doesn’t it? Spending most of the time of our life in foolish and ungodly endeavors and thinking that we know the end is near and then try to make amends and be reconciled to God before its too late. We live in a time motion state…time and motion means to make the best use of our time while we have the time!
Time is full of many things; some very pleasant, some unpleasant but one day time will run out and if you have not made good use of the time God has given you, if you are living out your time thinking nothing of the eternity that awaits of all, Come to Jesus today – Life, after all, is really just a Matter of Time. 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 says:
1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 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.)
Today, this time, is the accepted time, now is the day (time) of salvation! This is, we say, the dispensation of the Grace of God. A time when He will save men from their sin. This dispensation will end. There is coming a day when the accepted time of salvation is passed into eternity forever and that time will be no more! You may say that you will come to Christ when you have time. Today is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.
Do not put off what will be the most important thing you will ever do…Come to Christ today. He will not turn you away. Come to the cross and lay your sin at the Feet of the Lamb of God that taketh away your sin. Come in faith…He will receive you. This is the time! It may never come again!
WE THE PEOPLE – A TIMELY REMINDER
(Proverbs 21:1 Read).
OUR CONSTITUTION IS AT STAKE IF OUR COUNTRY ALLOWS IT TO BE VIOLATED, IGNORED WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE.
The importance of your vote on Nov. 8 cannot be overstated. This may be at least one of the most important National elections ever.
THE PREAMBLE OF OUR CONSTITUTION
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
WE THE PEOPLE…
The U.S. Constitution was drafted in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love—This was the same place the Declaration of Independence was signed. Our independence was formally declared on July 2, 1776, a date that John Adams believed would be “the most memorable epoch in the history of America.” On July 4, 1776, Congress approved the final text of the Declaration. It wasn’t signed and ratified until August 2, 1776.
The Constitution was written during the Philadelphia
Convention, now known as the Constitutional Convention—which convened from May 25 to September 17, 1787. It was signed on September 17, 1787.
The Constitution by opening up with “We the People” immediately affirms that the Constitution is of the people, for the people, and by the people of the United States.
This interpretation, which arises most strongly from the presence of “We the People” in the Preamble, effectively leads to an understanding of the Constitution as affecting the people directly and not through regulations imposed on the States. In other words, those words define that the interaction between the Constitution and the citizens of the United States is direct and immediate, meaning that the Constitution, and the government it creates supersedes any and all State governments.
There were 55 delegates in attendance, representing all 13 states except Rhode Island, which refused to send representatives because it did not want a powerful central government interfering in its economic business. George Washington, who’d become a national hero after leading the Continental Army to victory during the American Revolution, was selected as president of the convention by unanimous vote.
The delegates (who also became known as the “framers” of the Constitution) were a well-educated group that included merchants, farmers, bankers and lawyers. Many had served in the Continental Army, colonial legislatures or the Continental Congress (known as the Congress of the Confederation as of 1781). In terms of religious affiliation, most were Protestants. Eight delegates were signers of the Declaration of Independence, while six had signed the Articles of Confederation.
At age 81, Pennsylvania’s Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) was the oldest delegate, while the majority of the delegates were in their 30s and 40s. Political leaders not in attendance at the convention included Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and John Adams (1735-1826), who were serving as U.S. ambassadors in Europe. John Jay(1745-1829), Samuel Adams (1722-1803) and John Hancock (1737-93) were also absent from the convention. Virginia’s Patrick Henry (1736-99) was chosen to be a delegate but refused to attend the convention because he didn’t want to give the central government more power, fearing it would endanger the rights of states and individuals.
The words “We the People” in the Preamble are often considered the strongest links between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, in that the Declaration of Independence was written from the perspective of the people, not of specific individuals or of government. In beginning the Preamble of the Constitution with “We the People,” the Constitution is immediately emphasizing the significance of the people and is also ensuring an understanding that the people are the ones giving power to the Government. This is also a critical element to the American Constitution, in that the power of the Government mandated by the Constitution comes not (directly) from God, but from “We the People.” We can say that while both have profound meaning, the bible was inspired by God while written by men, while the Constitution was inspired by men and written by men, therefore inferior to the Bible.
First, the US Constitution while not inspired by God, that is it did not come from God’s mouth as did our Bible, but who would or who could deny that the men who wrote the Constitution must have been guided by God’s hand. We must remember however, that the men who crafted this great paper were, in the last analysis, men, fallible me, men who were Christians and men who were not. Also, many of these men were looking out for their own self-interests. In any even the US Constitution must rank along side of the Magna Carta in importance and tho’ not near the importance of the Bible, the plenary inspired Word of God, still one can readily see God’s hand in it.
A Six Point outline of the Constitution of the United States:
- A more Perfect Union—a more perfect union was simply a better and stronger union than had preexisted the Constitution. The “pre-existing” Constitution refers to the Laws of England.
Our forefathers sought for relief and so was born a Declaration of Independence from English Monarchy; Natural Rights that are Rights inherent in human beings, not dependent on governments, which include life, liberty, and property; Consent of the Governed which is the idea that government should derive its power and authority by sanction of the people; and they wanted to limit Government that placed certain restrictions on government to protect the natural rights of citizens.
- Establish Justice—the key word is “establish,” clearly implying that justice, unlike union, was previously nonexistent. On the face of it, that implication seems hyperbolic (exaggerated), because the American colonies/states and local governments already had functioning court systems with independent judges, and trial by jury was the norm. But Governor Morris was an American statesman, a Founding Father of the United States, and a native of New York City who represented Pennsylvania in the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation. He chose the word establish carefully and meant what he wrote; he and many other Framers thought that the states had run amok and had trampled individual liberties in a variety of ways. The solution was twofold: the establishment of an independent Supreme Court and the provision for a federal judiciary superior to those of the states; and outright prohibition of egregious state practices.
- Insure Domestic Tranquility— was in a general sense prompted by the long-standing habit of Americans to take up arms against unpopular government measures and was more immediately a response to Shays’s Rebellion in Massachusetts (1786–1787).
When the United States first became independent, its constitution was called the Articles of Confederation. This Confederation’ set up a government in which the states had essentially all of the power and the federal government had very little (the Declaration of Independence). During that time, the economy of the US was not very strong. The weakness of the US economy led to a situation in which many farmers ended up in debt. As their debts got bigger, their creditors (usually rich bankers from the cities) tried to get back the money they had lent by foreclosing on the farmers. In Massachusetts, this process caused – farmers, led by Daniel Shays, to rebel.
Shay’s Rebellion, helped to persuade rich Americans that a new constitution was needed. They were afraid that the state governments were being dominated by poorer people who would institute bad policies such as the debt forgiveness that Shays and his people wanted. They wanted a stronger national government and one that would be more insulated from the desires of the masses. This is why Shays’s Rebellion ended up being very important. It scared American wealthiest enough that they pushed for a new Constitution. That is how we ended up with the Constitution that we now have.
We should bear in mind that two rebellions broke out during the first decade under the new Constitution, the Whiskey Rebellion (1794) Nearly twenty years after the Revolutionary War began, the United States government faced a small-scale revolution by some of its own citizens. As in the previous war, taxes were a central issue. And Alexander Hamilton understood that putting down this rebellion was critical to the life of the nation.
In order to create a self-supporting and effective government, Treasury Secretary Hamilton knew he needed to find a steady source of revenue. He proposed an excise tax on whiskey produced in the United States, and Congress instituted the levy in 1791. In general, the citizens of that time felt negatively toward the idea of taxation. The farmers of western Pennsylvania, many of whom distilled whiskey and profited from its sale, (‘moon shiners) proved outright hostile to the idea.
In July of 1794, a force of disaffected whiskey rebels attacked and destroyed the home of a tax inspector. The rebellion grew in numbers, if not in actions, and threatened to spread to other states. Hamilton knew that the presence of a large and government were to survive, it would have to show itself capable of keeping control.
Hamilton advocated the use of military force; President George Washington instead put state militias on the ready and sent in negotiators. When talks proved fruitless, Washington acquiesced to Hamilton’s view. A force of 13,000 militia troops, led by Hamilton and Virginia governor Henry Lee, marched into western Pennsylvania.
Fries’s Rebellion, (1799), was an uprising, in opposition to a direct federal property tax by farmers in Eastern Pennsylvania led by John Fries (c.1750 – 1818). In July of 1798, the Federalist-controlled U.S. Congress, which greatly needed revenues for an anticipated war with France, had voted a direct federal tax on all real property, including land, buildings, and slaves. This tax, which caused widespread national resentment against the John Adams administration, infuriated the German farmers of Bucks, Northampton, and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania Eventually, several hundred farmers took up arms under the leadership of John Fries. At Bethlehem, Pa., Fries and his men forced, by intimidation rather than by actual violence, the release of a group of tax resisters who had been imprisoned under the custody of the federal marshal.
In response, President Adams called out a force of federal troops and militia, who marched into the rebellious counties and began making wholesale arrests of the insurgents. John Fries was captured and subsequently tried twice (double jeopardy), convicted of treason on each occasion, and sentenced to hang. He was pardoned by Adams in April 1800, when the president declared a general amnesty for all those who had been involved in the “rebellion.”
- Provide For the Common Defense is obvious—after all, it was the reason the United States came into being. But the matter cannot be dismissed lightly. For the better part of a century Americans had been possessed by a fear of “standing armies,” insisting that armed forces adequate to defend the nation would also be adequate to enslave it. Besides, ordinary Americans could believe that, since the War for Independence had been won over the best fighting force in Europe under the aegis of the Confederation, further provision was unnecessary as well as dangerous. Anti-Federalists clearly thought along those lines. By and large, those who agreed had seen little of the fighting during the war, whereas veterans of actual combat and people who had served in Congress or the administration during the darkest hours of the war knew differently. They expected that other wars would occur and were determined to be prepared to fight them. The Framers did, however, take fears of standing armies into account, hence their commitment to civilian control of things military.
- Promote the General Welfare had a generally understood meaning at the time of the Constitution. The salient point is that its implications are negative, not positive—a limitation on power, not a grant of power. By definition “general” means applicable to the whole rather than to particular parts or special interests. For example in the late 1790’s Alexander Hamilton, became convinced that a federally financed system of what would soon be called internal improvements—building roads, dredging rivers, digging canals—was in the national interest. But, since each project would be of immediate advantage only to the area where it was located, none could properly be regarded as being in the general welfare. Hamilton believed a constitutional amendment would be necessary if internal improvements were to be undertaken. James Madison, in his second term as President, would veto a congressional bill on precisely that ground.
- Secure the Blessings of Liberty To Ourselves and Our Posterity— In broad terms the securing of liberty is a function of the whole Constitution, for the Constitution makes possible the establishment of a government of laws, and liberty without law is meaningless. Special provisions, were designed to prevent specific dangers to liberty about which history had warned the Framers. Those (dangers and special provisions)) were drawn from the example of English history: the prohibitions against suspending the writ of habeas corpus (a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person’s release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention .the legal right to apply for a habeas corpus). And against bills of attainder (declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them, often without a trial.) and ex post facto laws (A law that makes illegal an act that was legal when committed, increases the penalties for an infraction after it has been committed, or changes the rules of evidence to make conviction easier) , and against granting titles of nobility(that not only forbids the United States from granting titles of nobility, but restricts members of the government from receiving gifts from foreign states without the consent of the United States Congress). In addition, Article III, Section 2, guaranteed trial by jury in criminal cases, and Section 3 defined treason extremely narrowly and prohibited corruption of the blood. These protections of liberty are of individual liberty, not of the states’ liberty as under the Articles of Confederation.
AS CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY AND AS CITIZENS OF HEAVEN WE NEED TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE OFFICES OF OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS
Our Bible is clear: The question is, will God turn the hearts of Hillary or Donald, or will He use them to turn our hearts? And to what lengths will he go, if that is His will, to allow POLITICIANS access to the soul of our country in order to turn our hearts toward God?
It is not news to any citizen who has been awake in the last 30 years that our “Ship of State” is on a course and sailing into troubled waters. It has sailed on these kinds waters before and has survived and as long as we remain a nation that maintains Judeo-Christian values and uses our military and diplomatic strength to keep us strong will come out of this funk we find ourselves in today. While the principles of values are vital we will not survive on principles and values alone!
John 21:1-12 –If we stay with the analogy that our country is on a boat sailing in troubled waters lets determine what sort of a boat we are on.
I note that the first apostles were fishermen. My concept of a fishing boat is that everyone one it had a job to do – it was a working vessel. Now whether or not we are referring to a church or to a country everyone on this boat needs to do their job or no fish will be caught. So, first things first. A busy American does great things – Let’s tell our government to PUT AMERICA BACK TO WORK: Many years the leadership of our country led us to great heights. Not because our leaders were without spot or blemish but because they put us to work! Nor could it be said that all were Christians. In 1933 thousands of men were out of work due to the Great Depression. President FDR’s initiative inaugurated a brilliant initiative called, The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). It operated under the control of the US Army. Camp commanders had disciplinary powers and corpsmen were required to address superiors as “sir”. This initiative not only put men to work but taught them respect and discipline—two things basically missing in today’s world. By September 1935 over 500,000 young men had lived in CCC camps, most staying from six months to a year. The work focused on soil conservation and reforestation. Most important, the men planted millions of trees on land made barren from fires, natural erosion, or lumbering—in fact, the CCC was responsible for over half the reforestation, public and private, done in the nation’s history. Corpsmen also dug canals and ditches, built over thirty thousand wildlife shelters, stocked rivers and lakes with nearly a billion fish, restored historic battlefields, and cleared beaches and campgrounds. In less than 10 years, the Civilian Conservation Corps built more than 800 parks and planted nearly 3 billion trees nationwide. How much were they paid? Young men flocked to enroll. Many believed that the CCC was largely responsible for a 55 percent reduction in crimes committed by the young men of that day. Men were paid $30 a month, with mandatory $25 allotment checks sent to families of the men, which made life a little easier for people at home.
This initiative helped put America back on its feet. Then on December 7, 1941, you will remember that Roosevelt called it “A Day That Shall Live in Infamy.” The United States entered WW 2.
God allowed a great and terrible war to bring the world to its knees. Both American men and women went back to work again! And in addition Americans began to call on the name of the Lord. During the war churches flourished and patriotism blossomed! Through the great sacrifice of many we grew stronger. We recognized our weaknesses and prayed for God to strengthen us, and he did, and as a result America became the strongest and richest nation on the face of the earth.
Speaking of being the richest…we are now as a nation, 16-17 Trillion dollars in debt – to say we are the richest why so much debt—false economy! We pay 16 cents for every dollar we borrow…that’s 16 percent interest! Our country is the greatest country on the earth but we did not attain to such heights by chance. We attained to this point two ways and both are related: We got here by leadership and hard work. We are losing ground in both because our leadership is weak and getting weaker, and jobs are plentiful but the illegal immigrant will work for far less that the American citizen, because they are cheap labor.
From the forties through most of the fifties growth and patriotism was simply something we of that generation expected. God blew the dust off of Our Declaration of Independence and our Great Constitution was mandatory curriculum to be taught in elementary schools, colleges, and Universities. In classrooms throughout the county students pledged allegiance to the flag and sang the National Anthem and God bless America. We were a growing nation independent of foreign resources, now we are no longer independent but dependent on foreign countries like Saudi Arabia and other Eastern countries to heat our homes and power our transportation system; China to make our clothing; France and Germany to bottle our perfumes; Japan to provide the steel to build buildings and bridges and highways.
There was a time when our nation’s Constitution was studied in every classroom. The Preamble was memorized and Amendments learned by rote. Spirituality is more prevalent in foreign countries than here.
America, in general is on another kind of ship…not a working ship where everyone pitches in and work is considered virtuous and honorable. Nowadays, work is considered something we do between week ends. Many take no pride in their work and consider themselves no better than hired hands on the job to make the executives rich.
Time was when men and women took pride in producing a good product at a fair price. Now many look at work simply as an 9-5 exercise in futility.
Time was when government regulations were at a minimum and companies thrived on initiative and creativity. Not long ago the Government issued a regulation on independent truck drivers that drove many out of business.
Many Americans in general have left the fishing boats and booked passage on cruise ships and are giddily sailing along without a compass.
You know what a cruise ship is don’t you? It is not about work. It is all about us; about play demanding that someone wait on us, feed us, entertain us, coddle us, give us our every desire. Sounds good but it all comes at a high cost.
MORALITY ISSUES: The stink of sin permeates the air. Far too many people think far less of the lives and liberty of others and far more of their own skin. Crime is at an all-time high. Racial unrest great news for the media. Welfare programs are intended to help the needy but people have learned to play the system and the system is bankrupt. Health care costs have risen exponentially. People are afraid that their money will run out before their time of life runs out.
IMMIGRATION ISSUES: Entrance into this country back then was not easy. Our civil laws were explained and were expected to be obeyed. Our Constitutional idea of liberty and freedom was taught. And citizenship was required and desired. These things acted as guardians at the gates of our nation, but those gates have long since rotted away and thousands are allowed entrance without adequate checks. Entrance into America is more about getting something while contributing nothing; it is more about gaining personal welfare than providing for the general welfare. Immigrants no longer go through an Ellis Island experience to be checked for disease and criminal records. They sneak across our border under cover of darkness. Because we have so many illegal immigrants and are allowing thousands to enter our country who come escaping the tyranny of their own country, we have become a welfare state!
They work cheap and put American citizens out of work – poverty infiltrates our country and absorbs our resources – water, gas and oil, and fills doctor’s office by such numbers that Americans must wait weeks, even months to set an appointment with their doctors.
WELFARE ISSUES: Welfare is not a bad word. Another word for welfare might be compassion or mercy. No right thinking American is opposed to helping the dispossessed, the down and out, the homeless and the helpless, the runaway kids, the addict, and anyone who is trying to build a better life for themselves. What we are against is the freeloader, the guy who is as healthy as the next guy but who has learned that the system can be worked to their advantage. It used to be that men would stand in long lines waiting to be called to work.
We are not in favor of the current “open door” illegal immigration policy that previous and the current administration have literally turned to with a blind eye and jaundiced concern. An illegal immigrant is defined: as a foreigner who enters the U.S. without an entry or immigrant visa, especially a person who crosses the border by avoiding inspection or who overstays the period of time allowed as a visitor, tourist, or businessperson. To allow thousands to enter into our country without any requirements or conditions, is not only harmful or safe to our society in general but is against our Constitutional laws.
POLITICAL ISSUES: I believe that our government has far too many politicians with their personal lobbyists who invest millions of dollars directly into the pockets of corrupt politicians. Remember, “he who has the gold makes the rules.” This has allowed corruption to seep into our government.
If we paid attention to the political advertisements every politician is corrupt. Far too many politicians are kinds of people that Charles Dickens describe in his classic novel, Oliver Twist, as “Artful Dodgers.” An Artful Dodger by definition is a pickpocket, so called for his skill and cunning in that respect. I heard on Bott Radio just this week that In 2015 1,000 politicians were indicted for some sort of shameful even criminal activity.
The media makes much of corruption and criminal activity in churches among preachers and priests, all of it deserving of exposure and punishment.
Would it be all that wrong to say that if our politicians are elected to office by the people is because that we the people are partially at fault simply for the fact that we put them in office? Officials are oft’ times put in office simply due to party affiliation and rarely due to a voters conscience! While we by our vote put them in power, we can by our vote kick them out of their gilded offices.
Also, many candidates attain to local and national political office simply because their constituents are willing to spend thousands if not millions of dollars to get their candidate elected…all expecting some kind of payback benefit to them in return.
Are there statesmen and patriots in our Democratic form of government, no doubt a few, but their voices are often drowned out by career politicians who get rich, live lavish lifestyles, receive personal retirement monies far in excess of the private citizens who put them in office to represent their constituents. The society of America has plenty of men and women of good character, educated, patriotic citizens that if given an opportunity would be good at governing locally and nationally, but they never get the opportunity. First, most have not the ability to raise the financial resource to run a campaign. Secondly, the way to political office is to run the gauntlet of libelous and slanderous comments used against them – who needs that?
We must find ways to bring these good people to the forefront of our local, state, and national government positions. I have some ideas on how we can achieve that, and I am willing to speak to those ideas at some future date.
Pundits, almost by a herd mentality, have declared the upcoming election as “something never before witnessed in our country’s history.” And many have stated that the two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are two of the least desirable choices ever brought before an already hyper- biased, divided, people-and that’s not good. God help us if just half of what they accuse each other of is true.
This coming election will be won, nevertheless by a majority vote of the people, and that’s good. Whichever one is elected we will have literally put the reputation, welfare, and maybe even the continued existence of our country in their hands – a scary thought!
Yes, we must pray that they will do what they say they will do while running for office. Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, suggests: We know from Scripture that God can turn the hearts of kings. That means that we should be praying for God’s will to be done and for our leaders to seek God and listen to Him. We should pray that they would be surrounded by godly counsel and, most important, that our leadership would personally know God and the salvation found through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
First: Romans 13:1-7 Paul does not approve all that rulers do, but he is speaking generally of the ideal before rulers. (RWP)
We remember that Nero, corrupt from the top of his head to the sole of his foot, was ruler during this time! Nero hated Christians to the point that he set Rome on fire and blamed it on them hoping that the Roman citizenry would rise up and destroy the movement.
However, even Nero was “a minister of God” to the people of Rome and as the leader of Roman Rule and Government Nero was given the right and the obligation to punish evil doers. Under Nero’s rule, his government had laws (much of the Law of our own land came from the example of the early Romans). Laws that were for the good of the people and not for evil. Nero had the right and obligation to bear the sword against criminals and evil doers. He was a “revenger” of God to execute wrath of law breakers. Paul declared that because Nero was the head of Roman Government Christians must be subject to Roman law and not only for fear of punishment under the law but so that one’s conscience was clear of guilt. And tribute when required was to be paid. He sums it all up in verse 7 – Tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
Christians, but not only Christians, are to obey the Law of the land or be subject to the punishment that would be rightly incurred. Nero did not go unpunished while leader of Rome however, in his madness God ordained the Nero punish himself…he ruled until he committed suicide by stabbing himself in the throat in June, A.D. 68.
We have a Constitution of laws and amendments by which our country has enjoyed for over three hundred years. Time does not allow for a thorough examination of it, however, this morning I want us to look at the Preamble which serves not only as an introduction but an outline of this precious document.
Whoever, by the grace and will of God attains the victory on Tuesday, November the 8th., must uphold the Constitution and protect it from those who willingly and often off-handedly violate its precepts and principles to their own profit at the expense of the Constitution. THIS WE CANNOT AND MUST NOT ALLOW! If you have not yet registered to vote I urge you to do so. Not to vote or to merely let fate determine the course of the election is to stomp the one paper that in writing at least preserves our freedom as citizens of this great land.
Our enemies have I believe, seen us in a very bad light—they see a country divided on many fronts—and they look upon this as weakness. They see the one’s running for the highest office in the world as clowns and self-absorbed people, not to be respected for their resolve to preserve our Constitution, – They view our present candidates as politicians and not patriots. Neither of the two have given us, the citizens who will put them in office, one iota of information as to how they will lead our country through these difficult times and restore a respect for, if not a fear of, these United States…which brings to mind the saying: United we stand; Divvied we fall.
The first attributed use of this statement in modern times is to one of the Founding Fathers, John Dickinson in his pre-Revolutionary War song “The Liberty Song”, first published in the Boston Gazette in July 1768 In that song Dickinson wrote:
Come, join hand in hand, brave Americans all,
And rouse your bold hearts at fair Liberty’s call;
No tyrannous acts shall suppress your just claim,
Or stain with dishonor America’s name.
In Freedom we’re born and in Freedom we’ll live.
Our purses are ready. Steady, friends, steady;
Not as slaves, but as Freemen our money we’ll give.
Our worthy forefathers, let’s give them a cheer,
To climates unknown did courageously steer;
Thro’ oceans to deserts for Freedom they came,
And dying, bequeathed us their freedom and fame.
Their generous bosoms all dangers despised,
So highly, so wisely, their Birthrights they prized;
We’ll keep what they gave, we will piously keep,
Nor frustrate their toils on the land and the deep.
The tree their own hands had to Liberty rear’d;
They lived to behold growing strong and revered;
With transport they cried, “Now our wishes we gain,
For our children shall gather the fruits of our pain.”
Swarms of placemen (pronounced pliesmen) who is (One appointed to a political office, especially in government, as a reward for political support; an appointee, a yes man) and pensioners (not referring to our Social Security but to those who live by the government at taxpayer expense while doing nothing at all)…soon will appear…
Like locusts deforming the charms of the year;
Suns vainly will rise, showers vainly descend,
If we are to drudge for what others shall defend.
Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all,
By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall;
In so righteous a cause let us hope to succeed,
For heaven approves of each generous deed.
All ages shall speak with amaze and applause,
Of the courage we’ll show in support of our Laws;
To die we can bear, but to serve we disdain.
For shame is to Freedom more dreadful than pain.
PRAY TO GOD FOR HEALING UNITY IN OUR COUNTRY, AND THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF GOOD GOVERNMENT.
Proverbs 21:1-8 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. 2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts. 3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. 4 An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin. 5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want. 6 The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death. 7 The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment. 8 The way of man is froward (perverse) and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.
Surely, we should all admit that as Paul, we do not always know what we should pray for as we ought. Paul is not saying that we know not that we should pray — we are told always to pray and to do so without ceasing, meaning we should never stop praying. He does not say how we are to pray. He is saying we know not WHAT we should pray for as we should.
We know the mechanics of praying: kneeling, on our face, looking up, hands folded, hands folded under the chin, eyes closed, eyes open, silently, vocally, Choose number one or all of the above?
When we pray for the sick, for example, or for someone to get saved, we know we should pray that someone gets well or that someone gets saved. What if it is God’s will that one not get well, or if it is not in God’s purpose that someone get saved. God may have a reason for allowing sickness and for not responding to our prayers for someone to get saved.
Scripture encourages us and confirms that we should know up front that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose.
QUESTION: When you pray do you ever wonder why your prayers are so shallow and lack fervency? Or why the content seems to be missing something? Do you ask yourself, ‘why can I not pray like Brother Jim or sister Joan?’ Why is there no apparent and sensible content in my prayers? Why is the quality of my prayers are so infantile and immature sounding. Why are my prayers are so short in duration when some people say they pray for an hour or two? Or why does the content seem to me to be missing something? Why, is the quality of my prayers so infantile and immature sounding to me. You are probably like most of us!
DO YOU EVER WONDER What is the meaning of Romans 8:26, 27, 28?
READING: Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought : but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
I know for sure what these verses do not mean. They do not mean as I have wrongly and often stated that when we pray the Holy Spirit translates our prayers after he has cleaned them up a bit and added to our weak content an arbitrary and deeper meaning. And that He has given us the ability to ‘groan’ in words that we simply cannot articulate in spiritual manner. (this idea has led to much confusion especially on the subject of glossolalia).
QUESTION: Must we know God’s will and purposes in advance before we pray? Are we to remain silent and not say anything until we know what his will and purpose is? The answer is, we may never be privy to God’s will or purpose therefore we should pray as we are able and leave the rest to Him.
Let’s open this container of grace and drink of its contents knowing that the Holy Spirit will help us. After all His ministry is to “guide us into all truth.”
I. What is prayer?
A.T. Robertson, in my opinion the best source for word meanings in the New Testament says this in regards to prayer: He says that the word ‘pray’ in Romans 26 is an “Articular clause object of oidamen (we know) and indirect question with the deliberative aorist middle subjunctive proseuxōmetha, retained in the indirect question.”
My response to this is, HUH? Really? If you have the same reaction to this definition let’s together try to put the definition of ‘pray’ in words and in a framework that we may understand.
II. What is meant by infirmities? Example: Lk 13:11-there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. 13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
She suffered evidently from a genetic weakness – something she was born with. The woman suffered a spinal infirmity. She could not straighten up. But when the Lord touched her she “was made straight.” She, in herself could do nothing about her condition – the Lord “helped” her in her “weakness.”
As a side note this reminds us that spiritually we are all born in a bent position, and we can do nothing about it in ourselves. The Lord must and will “straighten” us out. It is not by our works of righteousness that we become saved but by the precious efficacious blood of Christ and His righteousness. Moving on…
Though we are born with a ‘spirit of bondage (infirmity), as Christians we have a renewed (always renewing) mind, but we remain genetically and spiritually infirmed requiring the constant help and attention of the Holy Spirit to ‘heal’ us of this ‘spirit.’
Though the infirmities of Christians are many and great so that they would be overpowered if left to themselves, yet the Holy Spirit supports them. The Spirit, as an enlightening Spirit, teaches us what to pray for.
III. The generally accepted explanation is: The Holy Spirit as a sanctifying Spirit works in us and stirs up our mind, purifying it. The Holy Spirit is a comforting Spirit, strengthening us to deal with our infirmities and discouragements. Zech 12:10 He is called: the spirit of grace and of supplications:
1.The Holy Spirit increases our love of God.
2.The Holy Spirit understands our infirmities and searches into our renewed mind to discover the desire of our hearts which we are unable to articulate.
3.The Holy Spirit makes intercession to Jehovah God in our behalf, acting as an advocate, helping our inability to articulate our prayers. While these things are true we are not totally satisfied in understanding.
Another explanation: As Christians we have a ‘renewed mind’ (Romans 12:2) but it is a mind under construction. This means that while our mind is renewed it still has a way to go. My thought on this is that our renewed minds are ‘under construction’ that this requires a consistent work of building up something until it is completed. Only The Holy Spirit can do this for us.
2 Co 10:17-18 — he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
Pride is an awful thing when found in anyone but especially heinous when discovered in a Christian. Pride in a Christian is usually evident by a lack of spiritual growth which is obtained only through a growing understanding of God’s word. They harbor the false thought that “once saved always saved” gives them the notion that they need no further improvement.
When born again, salvation is assured but what egregious thinking it is to think that as ‘babes’ in Christ there is no need to grow in Grace and in the Knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. This kind of thinking insures nothing less than spiritual ignorance and stunted spiritual growth.
This thinking stresses that not only do we not know what to pray for as we ought but that we never will if we remain static in our spiritual growth.
2 Ti 2:15-17 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus.
Notice 8:27. And he (that is the Holy Spirit) that searcheth the hearts (no distinction here between ‘hearts’ and minds) knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit.
A difficulty arises when the ‘he’ that searches the hearts is the same he that knows the mind of the Spirit and ‘he’is the same he that makes intercession for us. This appears to be the same person! What is the meaning?
The meaning is that the one who searches the hearts and the who knows the mind of the Spirit and the one who makes intercession according to the will of God IS God Notice that the ‘will of’ God is in parenthesis. Parenthesis means that the “will of”has been added by the translators. This then could and perhaps should, be read as he maketh intercession according to GOD!
Also see in verse 28 we read “according to his purpose”. The pronoun ‘His’ is coming before purpose. It is also in parenthesis, and in the original language it must read, ‘according to purpose’. So in 27 and 28 we have to determine whose ‘will’ belongs too and to whose purpose it is meant to be.
My take on this is that in both cases these statements refer to God and since the Holy Spirit is God then both agree as One God, and since God and the Spirit are persons of the Trinity the are in essence the same God. It makes sense then that the Spirit would know the mind of Himself! Havn’t you heard it said of a person who “knows not his own mind”. Meaning double minded. Surely the Holy Spirit “knows His own mind.”
Anyone who has a commentary and the ability to read the sentence structure in this verse as it is written in the Greek interlinear edition, will readily see that the word ‘will’ is not there, neither is the pronoun ‘his’.
IV. The conclusion of the matter, until proven otherwise is…
1.The Spirit help us in our weaknesses in prayer.
2. We know not what to pray for as we ought.
3.The Spirit knows his own mind for he has the mind of God because He is God.
4.The Spirit searches and knows the hearts of each one of us.
5.The Spirit makes intercession for us according to the will of God, that is his own will.
6. We know that in spite of our weakness in prayer that all things do work together for good and we should leave it at that.
7. We are of those who love God and called according to His purpose!
Knowing these things we should do our part and study to show ourselves approved as workman unto God and not end up shamed for our pride thinking we alone know the mind, will, and purpose of God, for we do not always know these things. We should go on in the exercise of daily praying and know that as we grow by the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit our prayers will be acceptable to God. God will always do right.
James 5:16 The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
So Be It!
IN LOVING MEMORY…
Charles Richard Freed passed away February sixth of this year. He referred to himself as “Itchey Pede, the Little Swede”. As to its meaning? We don’t really know. However after a somewhat less than an ‘exhaustive’ dictionary and language research we found that it may mean, “Tickle feet.” Itchey may refer to rapid movement and Pede comes from the word describing a fuzzy little creature with many legs, a millipede, who knows? But it is as near a definition as could be found, and describes Richard to a “T” because his feet were always busy moving from one person to another to say Hello or to lend a helping hand, and often just to hurry over and listen to what others were talking about. So, I suppose that it may be appropriate for one to refer Brother Richard as “Mr. Tickle Foot.”
Our Church will say farewell to Richard in a tribute to his life on Saturday, the 23rd of this month of April. Services begin at 10 A.M.. The attendance may be relatively small, but all who knew Richard and who loved Richard and were blessed by him, will be there paying their respects to a man whom the world did not know or care to know, but when the angels carried him to heaven I have to believe that there was great rejoicing.
Richard was small of physical stature but he had a heart for serving as big as a house. He loved his church and people in general. He was a faithful member, attending every service, always on time, and always with a bright and somewhat mischievous smile. He served as our greeter, eager to open the door for all who approached. Always ready to hand them a bulletin. And, if given a moment, share his testimony to all who would listen.
He died on a Sunday morning and attended worship that very morning with the great congregation in heaven of justified men made perfect, where he no longer need to believe in Jesus by faith, for on that day Richard, smiling, stood before his Master and gazed in rapture on the face of the One who saved him by Grace, the Lord Jesus Christ.
I would like to think that at that meeting Jesus will have said to him, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21
Good bye for now my brother…”See you soon.”
“ Unless a man undertakes more than he can possibly do, he will never do all that he can. Henry Drummond
Do you know what God’s will is for you? No one area of one’s life appears as difficult as when it comes to how to know the will of God.
I suppose that no more than 3 out of ten people know God’s will for their life. People wander through the maze of man’s advice trying to sort through the maze of it all. One man says, if you do the best you can God will reveal his will to you. Another says if you join the right church you will learn what his will is for you. If you pray longer more fervently God will be forced to comply.
What is God’s will? Where can it be found? Can it ever be known entirely known. In one sense, God is eternal and all knowing, it may not be that a person can ever know all of the components of God’s will. In another sense, it is clear that what God’s will is for man is open and available through the Holy Spirit, and in yet another sense there are common components to God’s will that applies to everyone and other components that belong to others depending on that ‘other’s abilities, gifts, and the intent of God to bestow the knowledge of his will on those whom he will.
For example, Henry Drummond writes: “There is an experience which becomes more and more familiar to everyone who is trying to follow Christ — a feeling of the growing loneliness of his Christian life. It comes from a sense of the peculiarly personal interest which Christ takes in him, which sometimes seems so strong as almost to make him feel that his life is being detached from all the other lives around him, that it is being drawn out of the crowd of humanity, as if an unseen arm linked in his were taking him aside for a nearer intimacy and a deeper and more private fellowship.” If you are a Christian you will want to know God’s will for your life.
But even a lost person can know God’s will yet fail to comply to it. Everyone must fulfill at least one aspect of God’s will if he is to be saved — and “this is the will of God that you believe on him that sent me”, quoting Jesus Christ. You may began to know the will of God for your life when you believe on name of the Son of God.