Institute for Creation (Credulous) Research (Retards), PO Box 2667, El Cajon, CA 92021 Voi

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

________________________________________________________________________ Institute for Creation Research, PO Box 2667, El Cajon, CA 92021 Voice: (619) 448-0900 FAX: (619) 448-3469 ________________________________________________________________________ ||||||||| |||||||| |||||||||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| ||||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| ||||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| ||||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||||||||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| ||||||||| |||||||| ||||| ________________________________________________________________________ September, October, November Fall 1993 "DAYS OF PRAISE" ________________________________________________________________________ Daily Bible Readings and Devotional Commentaries Copyright (c) 1993 by I.C.R., Santee, California 92071 EDITOR: Henry M. Morris CO-EDITOR: John D. Morris MANAGING EDITOR: Donald H. Rohrer ASSISTANT EDITOR: Ruth Richards ELECTRONIC EDITOR: Donald H. Barber ________________________________________________________________________ "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High" (Psalm 46:4). We are happy to send you herewith the fall issue of our ICR devotional Bible study booklet, "Days of Praise," and trust that these studies will be a blessing to you. We continue to get many letters of appreciation, and we praise the Lord for the way He is using them. We realize that an occasional devotional may give a controversial interpretation of a Bible passage. When this happens, please don't "throw out the baby with the bathwater." We try hard to be completely Scriptural in everything we publish, but Christians differ occasionally in their interpretations, even though they may agree on the fact of Biblical inerrancy. We hope you will find help in most of the studies and will at least consider carefully the Biblical reasoning in those which you might at first wish to question. The studies are intended to be doctrinal and substantive, rather than bland and innocuous, because we are convinced that Christians today urgently need the meat, as well as the milk, of God's Word. Since readers of "Days of Praise" come from many denominations, this almost inevitably generates occasional disagreement, but even this can be an incentive to further study and thus valuable for that reason. At least we can all agree on the truth of special creation, the fact of absolute Biblical authority and the great doctrines of the saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! May God bless you as you study His Word! RRA Robert R. Armstrong, M.D. KBC Kenneth B. Cumming, Ph.D. DTG Duane T. Gish, Ph.D. JLG John L. Groenlund, Th.D. CJH Mrs. Connie J. Horn PGH Paul G. Humber, M.S. HMM Henry M. Morris, Ph.D. JDM John D. Morris, Ph.D. DER David E. Rush, M.S. NPS Norman P. Spotts, D.D. ________________________________________________________________________ September 1, Wednesday IN THE MIDST "And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you" (John 20:26). Jesus, in His earthly life, was often "in the midst" of things. At the age of twelve, He was found in the Temple, "sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions" (Luke 2:46). Then, early in His adult ministry, His hometown enemies at Nazareth attempted to kill Him, "but He passing through the midst of them went His way" (Luke 4:30). Later, in Jerusalem, a group of Pharisees sought to stone Him, but He simply went "through the midst of them, and so passed by" (John 8:59). Finally, however, they were able to put Him to death, and as a bitter testimony of their hatred, they had Him crucified with two common criminals, "on either side one, and Jesus in the midst" (John 19:18). Three days later, the tomb was emptied, and He would never again be in the midst of enemies. Instead, He met His disciples in the upper room. There, "when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you" (John 20:19). Eight days later, with Thomas present, Jesus once again appeared in their midst and greeted them with words of peace. Though now in heaven, His presence still speaks peace to us through His Holy Spirit, for He promised: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). Even in the ages to come, He will be in our midst, for John says, describing that scene: "In the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it has been slain," and then all creation will sing "unto the Lamb for ever and ever" (Revelation 5:6,13). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 2, Thursday THE SPIRITUAL ROCK "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" (I Corinthians 10:4). One of the most amazing miracles recorded in the Bible occurred when Moses smote the rock on Mount Horeb and water came forth, sufficient to satisfy all the multitude there in the wilderness (Exodus 17:6). In describing this great event, the psalmist later sang: "He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths. He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers" (Psalm 78:15,16). In our text above, Paul indicates that the miracle had great symbolic significance as well. "That Rock was Christ." The Greek word used here for "Rock" is petra, the same word used by Christ when He said that "upon this Rock I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18). Christ is the one foundation upon which the church is built (I Corinthians 3:11). He is also symbolized by the "living water," the "well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:10,14). The actual rock from which the waters burst forth in the wilderness did not literally "follow them," of course, but "that spiritual Rock" did follow them, for Christ was there with them through all their years of wandering. The literal water followed them too, keeping them alive for forty years. When Moses struck the rock, God opened a mighty spring "out of the great depths," evidently tapping a deep pressurized aquifer from which waters emerged to form "streams also out of the rock." These streams flowed continually in the desert for forty years, so the children of Israel could march and camp beside them as long as they were in the wilderness. Christ still today is our Spiritual Rock, continually yielding the spiritual waters of everlasting life. HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 3, Thursday I CORINTHIANS 13 "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love" (I John 4:8). True love, God's kind of love, is defined in the great love chapter, I Corinthians 13. Thus, it is instructive to see how He exhibited the love He expects us to show. "Charity suffereth long" (13:4). "The Lord is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). "And is kind" (13:4). "I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 9:24). "Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up" (13:4). God has no need to boast. What He is and Who He is boasts itself: "I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8). "Seeketh not her own" (13:5). Jesus also said, "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me" (John 6:38). "Is not easily provoked" (13:5). "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy" (Psalm 103:8). "Thinketh no evil" (13:5). "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:12). "Rejoiceth not in iniquity" (13:6). "For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness" (Psalm 5:4). "Beareth all things" (13:7). "He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth" (Isaiah 53:7). "Endureth all things" (13:7). "Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps" (I Peter 2:21). "Charity never faileth" (13:8). "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3). CJH ________________________________________________________________________ September 4, Saturday THE SOUL EXCHANGE "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36,37). The lives of many people revolve almost completely around the stock exchange, and they never stop to realize that it easily may become a soul exchange, where they exchange their very souls for the imagined blessings of the great god, Mammon. "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (I Timothy 6:10). Similarly, many are greatly exercised about their monthly profit-and-loss statements. But the Lord Jesus asks whether there is really a profit, even if one acquires the wealth of the whole world at the cost of his soul, and the answer to such a rhetorical question has to be: "No!" For "the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (I John 2:17). Furthermore, the words "life" in verse 35 and "soul" in our text are actually the same word (psuche) in the Greek original. That is, to lose one's soul is to lose one's very life, for they are inseparable. A life centered around money is not only a soul lost, but a life wasted, as well. On the other hand, if we lose our lives in Christ, then we find true life, eternal life, beginning here and now, and continuing forever. This is a good exchange! God may well bless a Christian with material wealth, but this should not be his motivation. "Charge them that are rich in this world" Paul says, "that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate (i.e., share); Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life" (I Timothy 6:17,18,19). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 5, Sunday GOSPEL APOLOGETICS "Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace" (Philippians 1:7). This testimony of the apostle Paul was followed by another: "I am set for the defense of the gospel" (Philippians 1:17). In both, he is stressing the vital importance of defending the gospel. In the one, he states his firm determination to defend the gospel; in the other, he reminds his fellow Christians that they also are participants in its defense. These facts are sufficient to show that the gospel does need defending. The word "defense" is the Greek apologia, from which we derive our word "apologetics." It is a courtroom term, referring to the formal, carefully structured defense presented on behalf of a defendant by an attorney. In context, it speaks of a careful, scientific presentation of arguments defending the gospel from its enemies. The saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, encompassing His great works of creation, incarnation, atoning death, victorious resurrection, and coming kingdom, was under serious attack in Paul's day, as it is today. We urgently need to be prepared to give an effective apologetic wherever and whenever needed. Peter also urged the importance of such preparedness: "Be ready always to give an answer (same word, apologia) to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (I Peter 3:15). This is a command, not an opinion! "Be ready always to give a logical (the Greek word here for `reason' is logos, from which we derive `logic') apologetic for your Christian faith." It behooves us, therefore, to study and use Christian evidences diligently in our Christian witness. HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 6, Monday GOD'S HUSBANDRY; GOD'S BUILDING "For we are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building" (I Corinthians 3:9). Labor Day was established as a national holiday in this country in 1894 in order to celebrate the important part played by workers in the development of the nation. The first labor laws were passed only in 1802 and the first labor unions formed only in 1825, both being in England. But God has been working since the beginning. After finishing His work of creating and making all things (Genesis 2:1-3), He has ever since been "upholding all things by the word of His power" (Hebrews 1:3). Furthermore, although God "rested" from His work of creation, He very soon began His great work of reconciliation, and both His work of conservation and His work of reconciliation still continue today. Jesus said, therefore: "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17). It is in this great work of reconciliation that we have the high privilege of being "laborers together with God." Paul has reminded us that God "hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation" (II Corinthians 5:18). As farm laborers have worked in the fields and vineyards of the world to sow and water and reap, and as construction laborers have worked to build the structures and machinery of the world, so we who belong to Christ have the responsibility to produce spiritual fruit in our lives and the lives of others (John 15:16) and to add spiritual building blocks to God's "holy temple in the Lord" (Ephesians 2:21). Instead of the primeval curse, therefore, our "labor in the Lord" (Romans 16:12) becomes a blessing when we "do it heartily, as to the Lord" (Colossians 3:23). And Christ promises, when He comes again, "to give every man according as his work shall be" (Revelation 22:12). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 7, Sunday A MODEL CHURCH "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father" (I Thessalonians 1:3). Paul had begun the work at Thessalonica, and when forced to leave, he maintained an active interest in and contact with the Thessalonian believers. The book of I Thessalonians contains both encouragement and commendation for these believers. In the context of our text, he mentions some of their strengths, and it would behoove us to take note and apply these strengths to our churches. Paul mentions the triad of faith, love, and hope so common in New Testament writings. The "work of faith," that past work of salvation in the believer's life, is amplified in verses 4-6, where we see that God has chosen to work His work of grace in them through the Word of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit (v.5). There, reception of the Word had been with both affliction and joy (v.6). Next, Paul commends their "labor of love." They were committed to both outreach and missions, as we see in verses 7 and 8. Their testimony had not only affected the local area, but was "spread abroad." Moreover, they had entered into proper worship of God, maintaining purity of doctrine (v.9). The "labor of love" to others will inevitably follow as a means of serving God. Lastly, Paul commends their "patience of hope"--their expectant joyful outlook on the future, waiting for Christ's return (v.10). May our own churches have this same perspective on the past, present, and future work of Christ. May our own lives give attention to the same details, and have the same goals and outlook as the Thessalonian church. Purity in doctrine and a life of service is the best way to wait for our Lord's return. JDM ________________________________________________________________________ September 8, Wednesday BRUISING THE DEVIL "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen" (Romans 16:20). This is an intriguing promise, suggesting that believers can somehow inflict bruises on the devil, who is perpetually seeking to "devour" them (I Peter 5:8). This promise is a clear allusion to the primeval assurance of Genesis 3:15, when God promised that the unique "Seed" of "the Woman" would eventually "bruise" (actually "crush") the head of the old serpent, the devil. This prophecy will finally be fulfilled in Christ's ultimate victory, when Satan first will be bound for a thousand years in the bottomless pit and then confined forever in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:2,10). In the meantime believers, who also in a sense are the woman's spiritual "seed" (Revelation 12:17), can repeatedly achieve local and temporary victories over Satan and his wiles by resisting him "steadfast in the faith" (I Peter 5:9). If we resist him as Jesus did, with relevant Scripture, then God promises that he will "flee from you" (James 4:7). Such local victories can be obtained over these dangerous teachers whom Satan is using (note Romans 16:17-19, just preceding our text) "shortly" in this manner, but we need to be continually alert against his recurrent attacks. The ultimate victory over Satan, of course, will be won only by the Lord Jesus when He returns, and we must "be sober, be vigilant" (I Peter 5:8) until that time. Whether we are aware of it or not, we must perpetually "wrestle" against "the rulers of the darkness of this world" (Ephesians 6:12), who will be casting "fiery darts" (Ephesians 6:16) against each believer. Finally, with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17), we can even, by God's grace, inflict spiritual wounds on Satan himself! HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 9, Thursday CHRIST THE KING "Which in His times He shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (I Timothy 6:15). Of the many descriptive titles of the Lord Jesus Christ, perhaps the most significant is that of King, because this speaks of His universal dominion. The day is coming when "every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth" (Philippians 2:10). First of all, since He created all things, He is the King of Creation. "For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is His also. The sea is His, and He made it: and His hands formed the dry land" (Psalm 95:3-5). In a special sense, of course, He is the King of the Jews. "He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:33). He is also our King of redemption, having set us free from the kingdom of the wicked one. He "hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:13,14). There is a day coming in which all the kings of the earth shall unite against Him. "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful" (Revelation 17:14). "And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: . . . And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (Revelation 19:15,16). Until then, let us serve Him as King, and submit to Him as Lord. HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 10, Friday ATONEMENT "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch" (Genesis 6:14). It may be surprising to learn that God's instructions to Noah concerning the ark's design contain the first reference in the Bible to the great doctrine of atonement. The Hebrew word used here for pitch (kaphar) is the same word translated "atonement" in many other places in the Old Testament. While the New Testament word "atonement" implies reconciliation, the Old Testament "atonement" was merely a covering (with many applications). As the pitch was to make the ark watertight, keeping the judgment waters of the Flood from reaching those inside, so, on the sacrificial altar, "it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Leviticus 17:11), keeping the fires of God's wrath away from the sinner for whom the sacrifice was substituted and slain. The pitch was a covering for the ark, and the blood was a covering for the soul, the first assuring physical deliverance; the second, spiritual salvation. However, not even the shed blood on the altar could really produce salvation. It could assure it through faith in God's promises on the part of the sinner who offered it, but "the blood of bulls and of goats" could never "take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4). Both the covering pitch and animal blood were mere symbols of the substituting death of Jesus Christ, "whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God" (Romans 3:25). Through faith in Christ, our sins are "covered" under the blood, forgiven by God and replaced by His own perfect righteousness, by all of which we become finally and fully reconciled to God. HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 11, Saturday SPEAK TO THE ROCK "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28). Not long after the people of Israel had left Egypt, they stopped at Rephidim (Exodus 17:1). There they found no water, and spoke bitterly against Moses. When Moses appealed to God, God commanded him to strike a rock with his rod, and water flowed from the rock (Exodus 17:6). Later, at Kadesh, the people again railed against Moses (Numbers 20:1-5), and God commanded Moses to take his rod and to speak to the rock that lay before them at Kadesh. Moses, in his anger at the people, struck the rock twice with his rod, rather than speaking to it. Water did flow from the rock, but because of Moses' disobedience, God told him that he would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land. This may seem to be harsh punishment for a moment of disobedience, but God had a very special reason for such severity. The rock represents Christ, who was struck once for our iniquities, and extends forgiveness, pardon, and eternal life to all who call upon God in His name. "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God" (Hebrews 10:10-12). "For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14). Similar passages are found in Romans 6:9,10 and Hebrews 9:25-28. Unfortunately, some Christians believe they must offer, again and again, the body and blood of Christ as a sacrifice. But praise God, since Christ has already fulfilled the Law, we now only need to speak to the Rock. DTG ________________________________________________________________________ September 12, Sunday HE-MAN OR HEMAN "And with them Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest that were chosen, who were expressed by name, to give thanks to the LORD, because His mercy endureth for ever" (I Chronicles 16:41). Children today seem to be quite taken with He-Man, the self-proclaimed "master of the universe." He is a human, possessing supernatural powers and tools. He is portrayed as everything a man should be or could be. Of course, the Christian parent today finds many unbiblical themes in this cartoon, for this is humanism in its extreme, with a liberal touch of the occult thrown in. Strongly expressed is a self reliance on human abilities and plans, with extra-natural powers coming from non-godly sources. This stands in stark contrast to submissive worship of and service to the true Master of the universe. In our text, we find another He-Man, named Heman. In contrast to the cartoon hero, Heman is involved in work which is truly great, and no doubt deserved eternal rewards. When King David returned to Jerusalem with the Ark of the Covenant, "he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record and to thank and praise the LORD God of Israel" (v.4). Heman was one of those chosen to serve the Lord in this fashion. He was "to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD upon the altar of the burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of the LORD" (v.40). He was further equipped with "trumpets and cymbals for those that should make a sound, and with musical instruments of God" (v.42). May God grant us children, like Heman, who are occupied with things that truly count, devoting themselves to acts of true greatness in service of the one and only Master, as well as Creator and Redeemer of the universe. JDM ________________________________________________________________________ September 13, Monday HERE A LITTLE, THERE A LITTLE "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line; line upon line; here a little, and there a little" (Isaiah 28:10). The setting of this unusual passage is most sobering. Both the people and their priests in Israel's northern kingdom (personified by "Ephraim") were in gross rebellion and drunken disobedience to the Lord. They were even ridiculing God's prophets who were trying to call them back, complaining that they were being treated like school children. In effect, they were saying: "Are you presuming to teach us as you would freshly weaned infants, going line by line, with rule after rule?" Whereupon, God replied that He would use people of another tongue to come in and teach them what they refused to learn from Him. These precepts He had been trying to teach them should have provided true rest and refreshment, but now learning these lessons would prove to be their undoing. What should have been a blessing to them would become their condemnation. How desperately do modern Christians need to heed these same words! They profess to believe God's Word, but they study it only superficially, compromise its doctrines, and disobey its instructions. "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God" (Hebrews 5:12). Most Christians of today, like the Corinthians of old, are still "babes in Christ" (I Corinthians 3:1). Thus, it really is necessary for their teachers to bring the Word of God to them "precept upon precept, line upon line, little by little." "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God" (Hebrews 6:1). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 14, Tuesday THE WATCHERS "I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven" (Daniel 4:13). It is only in this chapter of Daniel (see also verses 17 and 23) that certain angelic beings called "watchers" are mentioned. Whether the term applies to all God's holy angels or only to a certain order of angels has not been revealed in Scripture. However, we do know that at least some of the angels, if not all of them, are intensely occupied with observing events among humans here on earth. For example, Paul said that he and the other apostles had been made "a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men" (I Corinthians 4:9). The word "spectacle" in this verse is actually theatre, and is so translated the only other time it is used in the New Testament (Acts 19:29,31). It is sobering, as well as surprising, to realize that Christians--especially Christian leaders--are on a stage, as it were, being carefully watched by an audience which even includes the angels. Paul also cautioned Christian women to maintain a covering on their heads "because of the angels" (I Corinthians 11:10). Perhaps the watching angels are also included in the great "cloud of witnesses" who observe us as we "run with patience the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1). But why should these mighty angels, these "holy ones," these heavenly "watchers," have such a "desire to look into" these things here on earth? (I Peter 1:12). Perhaps they are anxious, like us, to "see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God" (Ephesians 3:9,10). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 15, Wednesday JEHOVAH "And, thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands" (Hebrews 1:10). The primary name for God in Scripture is the majestic name Jehovah, occurring nearly seven thousand times. The early Jews were reluctant to use that name, for fear of using it lightly (Exodus 20:7), and substituted the word adonai (meaning master or Lord) in its place. Our English versions have followed suit, using the term "LORD" for Jehovah (all caps to distinguish it from adonai, or Lord). Thus the name Jehovah appears only four times in the King James, and causes us at times to miss the full impact of the passage. This is especially true in the New Testament passages quoting from Old Testament passages which used the name "Jehovah," for which "LORD" has been substituted. Now, in the English versions, the name "Lord" appears. If "Jehovah" (i.e., deity) were read, instead, much richer meaning would be gathered, and it would prove beyond a doubt the full deity of Christ. Consider two examples: First, our text quotes from Psalm 102:25-27. The entire psalm consists of praise to Jehovah, and here in Hebrews it addresses the Son. If we read "thou, Jehovah, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth," and realize that Jesus is the subject of the passage, we recognize that Jesus can be none other than the Creator God. Also, in Matthew 3:3, where John the Baptist fulfilled his prophesied role by teaching, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord," quoting from Isaiah 40:3, we see Jesus equated with the Jehovah of the Old Testament, for Isaiah uses the term LORD, or Jehovah. In these and many other examples, we see Christ as the Jehovah Jesus, and that the God of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New Testament. JDM ________________________________________________________________________ September 16, Thursday INSTRUCTION CONTRARY TO KNOWLEDGE "Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge" (Proverbs 19:27). One of the saddest realities in the modern world is that many of the leaders of evolutionary and humanistic thought were raised in Christian homes, where from an early age they were exposed to the truths of Scripture. Testimonies without number have been chronicled of Christian students going to universities where they were taught to doubt and then to disbelieve the faith of their parents. Perhaps all these students ever knew of Christianity was a set of rules; maybe they never understood the reasons their parents held certain views nor the basis for these beliefs. Certainly the foundational teaching of creation has been missing in many Christian homes and churches. Our primary goal as parents should be to establish a godly heritage--to teach the truths of God in such a way as will be believed and cherished by our children, so that they will "keep that which is committed to (their) trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called" (I Timothy 6:20). Certainly a more effective way of teaching is to continually point the child or student back to foundational principles, rather than to list a set of do's and don'ts. We must teach those under our influence to to be grounded in the Word, so that they can make sound judgments when away from our watchful eyes. No greater aid to serious study; no better primer in careful reasoning exists than in Scripture. Using it and other supportive materials, a child can learn to think carefully and critically. Not only will they learn information, but here they can learn wisdom and knowledge and understanding. "For the LORD giveth wisdom: and out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding" (Proverbs 2:6). JDM ________________________________________________________________________ September 17, Friday THE FATHER OF SPIRITS "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" (Hebrews 12:9). Human parents transmit physical characteristics to their offspring, but our spiritual attributes come from God, for He is "the Father of spirits." Paul recognized that all men are "the offspring of God" (Acts 17:29), and that each man is still "the image and glory of God" (I Corinthians 11:7). Thus our spirit/soul nature, as distinct from our body of physical/mental flesh, has come from God who created it and united it with our body, evidently at the moment of physical conception in the womb. It is obvious that the "image of God," man's spirit/soul nature, could not be transmitted genetically via the "genetic code" and the DNA molecules, for these are simply complex chemicals programed to transmit only the physical and mental attributes of the ancestors to the children. Nevertheless, the spirit/soul attributes of each person also seem to be associated inseparably with the body from conception onwards, continuing so until separated again at death, when the spirit goes "to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (II Corinthians 5:8). In the meantime, however, the "image of God" in man is marred by its incorporation in man's "sinful flesh," for "the body is dead because of sin" (Romans 8:3,10). By this union of flesh and spirit, man inherits Adam's fallen nature as well as his mortal body, and both are in need of salvation. Christ "gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity" (Titus 2:14). Therefore, we, like Paul, can pray that our "whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thessalonians 5:23). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 18, Saturday JOB AND ADAM "If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom: . . ." (Job 31:33). The patriarch Job lived long before Moses and the writing of the Pentateuch, yet he knew about Adam and his fall and likewise about God's curse on the world because of Adam's sin. Note the following references in the book of Job to death and the curse: "Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble" (Job 14:1; compare Genesis 3:16). "All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust" (Job 34:15; note Genesis 3:19). Evidently Job still had access to the records of primeval history, either by verbal tradition from his ancestors or perhaps through actual written records of the ancient patriarchs handed down from Adam to Moses. There are also a number of references in Job to man's original creation. After speaking first of the beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, Job asks: "Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:9,10). Note also Elihu's testimony: "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life" (Job 33:4). The book of Job was almost certainly the first written of all the books of the Bible, and it testifies abundantly that the knowledge of the true God and His creation was still the common heritage of mankind at that time. Job knew the Lord, and never tried to hide anything from Him, as Adam had done. His ancient testimony is still true today. Quoting what must have been an early revelation from God, he wrote: "And unto man He said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding" (Job 28:28). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 19, Friday SUBMISSION "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God" (Ephesians 5:21). Normally, in today's world, we are told to strive for the top. Desire to be "Number 1" overshadows the Biblical injunction of submission. But when we are truly in a right relationship with God, we will be submitting to one another. Christ taught that servanthood was of much greater value in the eyes of God than mastery. We all know too many examples of churches which have been split by conflicts arising from selfishness among the believers or an unwillingness to serve. "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?" (James 4:1). A Spirit-filled Christian (Ephesians 5:18) desires to submit and serve, rather than to assert and rule. The same thought is reflected throughout Scripture: "Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble" (I Peter 5:5). "Obey them (i.e., spiritual leaders) that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls" (Hebrews 13:17). We must also submit to "every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake" (I Peter 2:13). The word "submit" is a translation of two Greek words meaning "to line up under." It usually reflects a military hierarchy, "to rank lower than." Our goal, therefore, should be to place others above ourselves and to be in submission to and in service of them. This attitude, of course, was the attitude that Christ exhibited as He left Heaven to come and serve, and die, who "took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:7,8). JDM ________________________________________________________________________ September 20 - Monday CHRIST THE SON OF GOD "And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4). The opening verses of Paul's epistle to the Romans stressed that the gospel of Christ was actually the fulfillment of that "which He had promised afore by His prophets in the holy Scriptures" (Romans 1:2). This promise was centered in God's eternal Son, who had promised to redeem the world from sin and death. To do this, He must become a man, "made of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Romans 1:3), yet He also must be sinless in both nature and practice before He could become God's perfect sacrifice for sin. He must be perfect man--man as God intended man to be. He must be a "second Adam," created without sin, yet He must not fail as did the first Adam, being "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). He must, therefore, be miraculously conceived. "A body hast thou prepared me" (Hebrews 10:5)--a perfect body unblemished either by inherited mutations or by a sin-nature genetically inherited from his parents. Then, for nine months, His body would grow, finally to be born of the virgin and to live a life "holy, harmless, undefiled" until that perfect, sinless Man could be made "one Sacrifice for sins for ever" (Hebrews 7:26; 10:12). But how would the world ever know that all of this was really true? How could lost sinners be assured that their Creator had now become their Redeemer? By His resurrection from the dead--that's how! He has been "declared to be the Son of God with power . . . by the resurrection from the dead." Jesus Christ is "that Man whom He hath ordained;" and of this we can be sure, because "He hath raised Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 21, Friday AFTER THE FLOOD "Behold, He withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also He sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth" (Job 12:15). The great flood of the Bible was such a traumatic global cataclysm, practically all the people groups that developed from its survivors kept its memory alive in their traditions and legends. The Bible itself, of course, has the only completely accurate record (Genesis 6-9). In addition, the ancient book of Job, written only a few centuries after the flood, reflects the still-fresh memories of the awful deluge. Job knew, for example, that the flood had literally "overturned the earth," eroding away the pre-flood mountains and depositing their debris to form new mountains after the flood. Job's friend, Eliphaz, said: "Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden? Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood" (Job 22:15,16). Referring to God's promise after the flood, Job said: "He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end" (Job 26:10). In the climactic 38th chapter of Job, God Himself recalls this promise: "Who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? . . . And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?" (Job 38:8,11). The general atmosphere of the entire book of Job seems to reflect the conditions shortly after the flood. Modern skeptics deny that such a flood ever occurred, but it was a real and terrible event to those whose immediate ancestors had gone through it! Today, its testimony is preserved not only in the Bible and ancient traditions, but also in the flood sediments themselves, now seen everywhere as the fossil-bearing rocks of the earth's crust. HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 22, Wednesday VICTORY VERBS "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (Revelation 1:5,6). The three verbs, "loved," "washed," and "made," reveal the personal, victorious aspects of Christ's work for us. The same three verbs are also found in Titus 3:4-7: "The love of God our Savior toward man appeared . . . the washing of regeneration . . . that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs." May we ever marvel at what Christ has done! (1) He loved us. There is no reason for God to love us. Sinners deserve nothing but eternal damnation; yet God loved us! "We love Him, because He first loved us" (I John 4:19). His love is best seen in the sending of Christ. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16). (2) He washed us. Our sins are gone because of Christ's blood. "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:12). "Without shedding of blood is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22). "Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him" (Romans 5:9). Praise God! We are cleansed by, and only by the blood! (3) He made us. Christ not only loved us and washed us, He made us kings and priests. In the Old Testament, a king could never be a priest. Those who tried (Saul, Uzziah) were judged; but the New Testament believer is made both by Christ's death. "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests" (Revelation 5:10). NPS ________________________________________________________________________ September 23, Friday THINGS WORTH KNOWING "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is" (I John 3:2). Although the book of I John is well known for its use of the word "love," various words, such as "know," "perceive," and "behold," occur almost as often. Several of these words refer to the work of Christ in salvation. "And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins" (I John 3:5). "We know that we have passed from death unto life" (I John 3:14), and "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us" (I John 3:16). This knowledge brings great assurance: "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life" (I John 5:13). This knowledge should bring us into a life of submission and service: "But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him" (I John 2:5). Similarly, "and he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us" (I John 3:24; see also I John 4:13). This gives us confidence in prayer: "And this is the confidence that we have in Him, . . . if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, . . . we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him" (I John 5:14,15). The culmination of a life marked by salvation, assurance, empowering, and victory will be that we will be with Him and be like Him. "Behold [same word as know], what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (I John 3:1). JDM ________________________________________________________________________ September 24, Friday JESUS CHRIST IS LORD "And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:11). Throughout the New Testament, we find there are three names used primarily for the Son of God: Jesus, Christ, and Lord. The name Jesus, meaning "Jehovah is the Savior," is His human name, linking Him with humanity, whom He came to save. Christ, meaning "anointed," is His Messianic name, linking Him with the prophecy which He came to fulfill. The New Testament equivalent to the Hebrew word "Jehovah" is the word Lord, linking Him with deity, whom He came to represent and reveal, and to whom is due homage. These three names have a chronological emphasis, for until His crucifixion, He was known primarily as "Jesus," but after His resurrection and ascension, He was preeminent as "Christ." When He returns, it will be as "Lord," to reign. To be sure, there is overlap, for He is simultaneously all three, and has been throughout history. But the general pattern is clear. The three names also indicate His three-fold office and work. "Jesus" suggests His career as a prophet, teaching men the truth, while "Christ" suggests His priesthood, atoning for sin, and "Lord," His kingship, ruling over men. Mankind's relationship and responsibility to Him follow this same pattern: obedience to Him as Prophet; faith in Him as Priest; surrender to Him as King. There is no effort on the part of the Scripture writers to separate these names into different individuals, for on many if not most occasions, two or three of the names are combined, showing that these three names reference one and the same person. "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). JDM ________________________________________________________________________ September 25, Friday THE PROVERBIAL TONGUE "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise" (Proverbs 10:19). The book of Proverbs has much wise counsel concerning the use of the tongue. It contains, for example, no less than 27 sober warnings against speaking lies! There are also at least eight condemnations of gossiping. For example: "A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter" (Proverbs 11:13). Then there are warnings against using the tongue to criticize, or to slander, or to hurt. A good example is in 12:18: "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health," and also in 18:8: "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly." Too much talking is also dangerous, as our text for the day points out. In this connection, one of the most picturesque proverbs is the following: "A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike" (27:15). The virtues of silence are graphically pointed out in 17:27,28: "He that hath knowledge spareth his words: . . . Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." Similarly, there are many promised blessings to those who speak carefully and graciously: "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver" (25:11). "The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning" (16:21). "A wholesome tongue is a tree of life" (15:4). "The tongue of the just is as choice silver" (10:20). "A soft answer turneth away wrath" (15:1). "A word spoken in due season, how good is it!" (15:23). May we, indeed, learn to make our speech like choice silver, apples of gold, and a tree of life! HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 26, Sunday THE ORACLES OF GOD "Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?" (Romans 3:2,3). This striking synonym for the Scriptures ("the oracles of God") occurs just three times in the Bible. In our text, Paul is emphasizing the great privilege and responsibility that was committed to the Jews when God gave His "oracles" to them, a word implying "divinely inspired utterances." Then the author of Hebrews rebuked those Hebrew Christians who had still not learned the very "first principles of the oracles of God," despite having been professing Christians for a long time (Hebrews 5:12). Finally the apostle Peter urged his readers: "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God" (I Peter 4:11). That is, anyone who presumes to speak for the Lord must "preach the word" (II Timothy 4:2). It is not our words, but His words that are "quick and powerful" (Hebrews 4:12). In fact, Stephen called them "the lively [or `living'] oracles" (Acts 7:38). In all these references, it is clear that these "oracles of God"--that is, the Holy Scriptures--constitute the very utterances of the living God. They were given to and through believing Jews and are preserved for us now in our Bibles. They obviously should be believed, studied, obeyed, and proclaimed by all who consider themselves to be Christians. The fact that many people reject the Bible, even claiming it is wrong in what it teaches, is irrelevant. Such claims merely display human arrogance. God's word has been "for ever . . . settled in heaven" and "is true from the beginning" (Psalm 119:89,160). It will endure even after this present world has passed away (Matthew 24:35) and will finally be the criterion by which its detractors will be judged in the last day (Revelation 20:12; 22:18,19). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ September 27, Friday HIS WORKMANSHIP "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). The two more familiar verses immediately preceding our text for the day emphasize the fact that we are not saved by works, but rather by grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9). Ephesians 2:10, however, explains a major reason for God's saving us--that we would do those good works which He ordained beforehand. The Greek word translated "before ordained" is used only one other time in the New Testament (Romans 9:23), where it is translated "afore prepared." The idea here is the amazing fact that those good works have been prepared beforehand for us to do, probably even before we were born. God evidently had specific purposes in mind for each one of us, both creating us and then re-creating us in Christ to accomplish these plans. Some day, we Christians all must stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10), where "every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (v.12) regarding our work here on Earth. If God has plans for us, having prepared beforehand good works that we should carry out, it is sobering to contemplate what our response will be when we stand before Him to account for our activities. In order to avoid displeasing Him, it is necessary that we, as those who have been saved through faith and who desire to please Him, be obedient to His Word and sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so that we may be faithful in carrying out those good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do. RRA ________________________________________________________________________ September 28, Tuesday THE SECRET THINGS "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 29:29). This portion of Scripture follows a lengthy re-statement of the Covenant of God with His people, Israel. In this chapter, Moses reminded the people of the works that God had wrought on their behalf in their deliverance from Pharaoh, in His provision for them in the wilderness, and in His protection on the battlefield (vv.2-8). In this final address, he encouraged them to "keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do" (v.9), and stated the various blessings that would be theirs if they would do so. Lastly, he described, in graphic and burning words, the results of breaking the covenant (vv.18-27). "And the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day" (v.28). In recognition of the limitations of humankind, Moses wrote in our text that there are certain things known only to God, which He has veiled--things which cannot be understood by the human mind--things which He simply chooses to keep to Himself. But he goes on to say that He has revealed certain things to us, and these things we must obey. Consequently, our text consists of a great principle of life: We must do what we know to do. We don't know everything, but we must act responsibly and properly to that which He has told us, leaving the "secret things" and their consequences to God. Elsewhere, He promises that even the secret things will "work together for good to them that love God" (Romans 8:28)--in His sovereign plan. We must obey, doing what we know to do, and leave the results with Him. JDM ________________________________________________________________________ September 29, Friday PLAYING THE FOOL "Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly" (I Samuel 26:21). Saul became jealous because of David's military success (I Samuel 18:7-9, etc.). As a result, Saul sought to kill David. Our text comes after a pursuit of David to the hill of Hachilah. With the help of the Lord, who caused a deep sleep to fall on Saul and his men, David sneaked into camp and stole Saul's spear and cruse of water. At a safe distance, David called to Saul and displayed the spear and cruse to prove he could easily have killed Saul, but chose not to do so. This episode overlays a deeper principle of our obligation to those in authority over us who are God's anointed. We are not to take things into our own hands to change God's plan, because we serve a living God who is still in control--"This thing is not good that thou hast done. [Speaking to Abner, Saul's general and bodyguard.] As the LORD liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the LORD's anointed. And now see where the king's spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster" (I Samuel 26:16). The problem was that Saul was chasing David without cause (v.18). After David made known his intention not to cause any harm to Saul, Saul realized he had been a fool, lacking understanding in the matter. Contrast Saul's playing the fool with David's acting in wisdom. David knew God, understood the principle of respect for God's anointed, and practiced wisdom by teaching others about God's plan. Perhaps we all play the fool at times, but we ought to be wary lest our foolishness degrade into wickedness. May God make us wise, rather, through meditation on His word. KBC ________________________________________________________________________ September 30, Thursday DEMONIC DISCOURAGEMENT "Behold, He put no trust in His servants; and His angels He charged with folly: How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?" (Job 4:18,19). This was the strange message delivered to Eliphaz, the first of the three friends who proved such "miserable comforters" to Job in his sufferings, by "a spirit" that "stood still, . . . an image . . . before mine eyes" (Job 4:15,16). This "thing was secretly [literally `stealthily'] brought to me," said Eliphaz (Job 4:12), and there is little doubt that its original source was Satan himself, in his efforts to discredit and destroy Job. The "spirit" who instructed Eliphaz was not sent from God, as he may have thought, but was one of those angelic servants who had been "charged with folly," when they followed Lucifer in his primeval rebellion. Still smarting with wounded pride that God would make His angels mere "ministering spirits" (Hebrews 1:14) to Adam and his children, whose own bodies were mere "houses of clay," built out of the dust of the earth, these demonic rebels hate human beings--especially those who love and serve God--with great passion. If Satan could not destroy Job by tempting him into moral wickedness or rebellion against an "unjust" God, perhaps he could lead him into discouragement, using his self-righteous "friends" to cause him to lose faith in God's love and care. But he failed! Job said: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him," and "I know that my Redeemer liveth" (Job 13:15; 19:25). Such defeatism is one of Satan's most effective weapons. When he strikes with it, we must, like Job, "resist steadfast in the faith" (I Peter 5:9), knowing "the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy" (James 5:11). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ October 1, Friday DEATH BY SIN "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12). This very important verse conveys several vital truths. First of all, death came into the world only when sin came into the world. Suffering and death of conscious life, whether animal or human, were not a part of God's finished and "very good" creation (Genesis 1:31-2:3). There was an abundance of food and all other provisions for both people and animals. There was certainly no "struggle for existence" or "survival of the fittest," for every creature was created "fit" for its own environment. When Adam sinned, however, it became necessary for God to bring the curse of decay and death not only upon Adam but also upon all his dominion (Genesis 3:17-20; see also Romans 8:20-22; I Corinthians 15:21,22). Furthermore, there remains no warrant for the notion that "Adam" is simply a generic term representing the human race. He was "one man." In fact, he was "the first man" (I Corinthians 15:45), and Eve was "the mother of all living" (Genesis 3:20). There was certainly no population of evolving hominids becoming "Adam." In fact, Christ Himself made it clear that Adam and Eve were there "from the begin- ning of the creation" (Mark 10:6, quoting Genesis 1:27). The entire argument here in Romans 5:12-21 becomes irrelevant if the Genesis record of the creation and fall of Adam did not happen precisely as recorded in Genesis 1-3, and this would mean that there is no reality in the saving work of Christ, either. Such a rejection of the Christian faith is hardly warranted by the fragmentary fossils that have been alleged to support the notion of human evolution. No one should stake his eternal soul on such a will-o-the-wisp as that! HMM ________________________________________________________________________ October 2, Saturday CAN GOD? "Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?" (Psalm 78:19). The Bible dramatically states that God can do anything. "For with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37). "Is anything too hard for the LORD?" (Genesis 18:14). "Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee" (Jeremiah 32:17). Yet, in spite of the fact that God is omnipotent and can do anything, the children of Israel constantly questioned God's power to supply their daily needs. Their complete lack of trust was evidenced in three questions: "Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Can He give bread also? Can He provide flesh for His people?" (Psalm 78:19,20). They trusted God for the big thing (deliverance from the land of Egypt) but had a terrible time believing God for the smaller things (their daily provisions). Are we not exactly like this at times? Having trusted God for the big thing (salvation), we then turn around and doubt that He will supply our daily bread. Is there any need too great for God to supply or any obstacle He cannot overcome? Are we tempted to say, "Can God supply a table in my wilderness experience?" The wonderful promise still stands true: "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). He "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we [could ever] ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). God's people "turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel" (Psalm 78:41). May we never do that, but rather, may we be strong in faith, taking God at His word. Instead of saying, "Can God?" why don't we turn the phrase around and say, "God can!" NPS ________________________________________________________________________ October 3, Friday EVOLUTION PROPHESIED IN THE BIBLE "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables" (II Timothy 4:3,4). "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come" (II Timothy 3:1), when "they will not endure sound doctrine," as our text verse indicates. The Bible predicts a worldwide departure in the last days, from Christianity and the Bible to "cunningly devised fables" (II Peter 1:16). Men will be "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (II Timothy 3:7). We think of our great universities with their brilliant professors and scientists, many of whom fall into this category. A great many in our apostate age feel they do not need God, and that man does live by bread alone. Furthermore, some modern theologians think of their relationship with God as a democracy, wherein men can cooperate, but definitely not submit. Many of these intellectuals do not believe in either God or the Bible, but refer to Jesus merely as a good man. Logically, then, must they not conclude that the Savior is a product of evolution? Darwinian evolution is one of the tremendous fabrications used to discount special creation and deify science--"science falsely so called" (I Timothy 6:20). What a poor substitute! Scientists cannot produce life, even at the lowest level, nor can they produce genuine evidence that evolution has ever occurred. Let us put our trust in the Biblical record. Earnest study and commitment to Christ as Savior and Lord will solve problems and provide answers in our hypocritical age of apostasy. JLG ________________________________________________________________________ October 4, Monday WATCHMAN OF OUR WORDS "Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties" (Psalm 141:3,4). The psalmist prayed the Lord would "set a watch," or a guard upon his mouth and heart. It is not that we are to be "guarded" into silence, but rather, that the "Watchman" would allow only those things to pass our lips that are pleasing to His hearing. Prayer is one of these things, as seen in the verse preceding our text: "Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice" (v.2). As sinners, how is He pleased with our prayers? When we follow David's example in Psalm 32:5: "I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin," we can be sure our prayer pleases the "sentry" of our words, for "the prayer of the upright is His delight" (Proverbs 15:8). In addition to prayer, praise also meets with His approval. We can say as David, "O LORD, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise" (Psalm 51:15). "Let my mouth be filled with thy praise" (Psalm 71:8), "for it is good to sing praises unto our God" (Psalm 147:1). "My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes" (Psalm 119:171). As we meditate upon God's Word, our speech becomes increasingly "seasoned with salt" (Colossians 4:6). It is not the quantity of our words that is effective, but the quality of their content, as they reflect the wisdom of God found in the Word of God. "The lips of the righteous feed many" (Proverbs 10:21). "The mouth of the righteous man is a well of life" (Proverbs 10:11). CJH ________________________________________________________________________ October 5, Friday THE MESSAGE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else" (Isaiah 45:22). Ever since sin entered into God's created world, His message to all people of all ages has been the same. At the time of the curse, God prophesied that there soon would be a coming Redeemer--the Seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent, although the Redeemer Himself would be made to suffer in order to do away with the effects of sin (Genesis 3:15). "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Leviticus 17:11). God repeatedly warned the people of His hatred of sin and wickedness (see for example Psalm 5:4-6; Proverbs 6:16-19), but He recognized that humankind was totally incapable of measuring up to His standard of perfection. That great statement of righteous requirements, the Ten Commandments, demonstrated the utter impossibility of complete compliance (Exodus 20; Psalm 14, etc.) Conversely, God repeatedly extended His invitation to be rescued from sin and its effects and its necessary judgment by confidence in His plan for mankind. In our text, we see that "all the ends of the earth" have the opportunity to be "saved." "Surely," shall one say, "in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to Him shall men come" (Isaiah 45:24). This plan of God focuses on the promised Redeemer who would come to buy back humanity from its enslavement to sin. "A virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: . . . and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:5,6). JDM ________________________________________________________________________ October 6, Wednesday PATHS OF THE SEAS "Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee" (Job 12:8). Matthew Maury served as a U.S. naval officer before suffering an injury which forced his retirement. He was then placed in charge of the Depot of Charts and Instruments of the Hydrographic Office of the Navy from 1841 to 1861. He was a Christian who loved the Word of God. One day, while reading Psalm 8, he was struck by an important truth in the 8th verse. There he read that God had given man dominion over "the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas." He immediately saw the great practical significance of that verse, recognizing that there must be currents of water in the oceans, just like vast rivers, as well as in the atmosphere (Ecclesiastes 1:6). With confidence in the accuracy of the Bible, Maury determined to discover the paths in the seas and the wind circuits, utilizing the charts and log books he had at his disposal. He did discover and plot many of the wind circuits and currents, such as the great Gulf Current, 40 miles wide and 2,000 feet deep that comes out of the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic; the Japanese Current, the California Current, and others. Utilizing this information, the sailing ships of his day plied these currents and wind circuits, reducing by as much as three weeks the time required to cross the oceans. On a monument erected by the state of Virginia to his memory is found a plaque that reads as follows: "Matthew Fontaine Maury, Pathfinder of the Seas, the genius who first snatched from the oceans and atmosphere the secret of their laws. His inspiration, Holy Writ, Psalm 8:8; Ecclesiastes 1:6." A genius? No. Just a simple Bible-believing Christian who trusted the inerrancy of the Word of God. DTG ________________________________________________________________________ October 7, Friday HOW CAN THINGS INVISIBLE BE SEEN? "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20). This powerful verse introduces Paul's burning description of the descent of ancient human societies that once "knew God" (Romans 1:21) into evolutionary paganism, idolatry, and wickedness. This deterioration was willful and inexcusable, for they had abundant evidence of God's nature and power in the very creation which they had chosen to worship instead of the Creator (Romans 1:25). Even though God Himself was invisible (being omnipresent), they could easily see the evidence of His existence and His grace in creating and sustaining all things, "for God hath showed it unto them" (Romans 1:19). "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork" (Psalm 19:1). Since these things were "clearly seen" and "understood" by men "from the creation of the world" (that is, from the time the world was created), it is obvious that there have been men and women there to see and understand these things ever since they were created. This assures us that the creation did not take place billions of years before men appeared on earth, as our theistic evolutionists and progressive creationists would like to believe. Men and women have been on earth ever since its very beginning (see also Mark 10:6; Acts 3:21), and all should have recognized and worshiped the true Creator God. That being true, how much more inexcusable are our modern evolutionists--whether atheistic, pantheistic, or polytheistic--who not only reject the testimony of God in creation, but also His far more complete testimony in Scripture, and in the person and work of Jesus Christ. HMM ________________________________________________________________________ October 8, Friday THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE "Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's" (II Corinthians 10:7). In a time of movie stars and sports heroes, with television in every home and the glamorizing of physical attractiveness all but universal, even Christians have come to expect their own "stars" of the pulpit and the media to be men and women of great charisma and outward appeal. In this modern scene, the apostle Paul would surely be out of place. Even in the first century, he was criticized, both for his poor physique and pulpit technique (II Corinthians 10:10). But, as Paul noted in our text, God's calling is not based on one's outward appearance. Long ago, when God chose David over the imposing presence of King Saul, He said that "the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart" (I Samuel 16:7). Paul would also rebuke our modern obsession with physical fitness, reminding young Timothy that "bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things" (I Timothy 4:8). Peter had this to say to Christian women about their appearance: "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price" (I Peter 3:3,4). One's appearance should be neat and modest, of course, for our purpose is to cause men and women to see Jesus Christ, not to look at ourselves. As Christ Himself exhorted: "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ October 9, Friday MARITAL PROBLEMS "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him" (Colossians 3:17). Marriage has always had a high place--a high calling. In the beginning, God's stated purpose in marriage was to propagate children (Genesis 1:28) and to eliminate solitude (2:18). Such a state was deemed "very good" (1:31). But sin entered through Adam's rebellion, and the universal curse resulted. Out of this came a new marital relationship, one full of potential problems, for "He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee" (3:16). It is safe to say that the many excesses on both sides of a marriage that we see today are the legacy of sin. Not only is marriage affected by the curse, Satan himself delights in destroying marriage. Immediately after the curse, we see that he introduced numerous practices which are detrimental to a proper marriage. The ungodly lineage of Cain began to practice polygamy (4:19). Later, Noah's son, Ham, indulged in sexual thoughts and innuendoes (9:22). Even godly Abram participated in an extra-marital affair which, even though not specifically condemned, was harmful to his marriage (16:1-3). Soon after this, we read about homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19); fornication, rape, and marriage to unbelievers (Genesis 34:1,2); the practice of incest (35:22; 38:13-18), prostitution (38:24), and seduction (39:7-12). What is the solution for this age-long attack on the family? We must heed the guidelines given in Scripture for a godly marriage. Passages such as those surrounding our text are well worth our study. JDM ________________________________________________________________________ October 10, Sunday THE CITY OF GOD "But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city" (Hebrews 11:16). When word came to Augustine, the bishop of Hyppo, in the year 410, that Rome had been sacked by barbarians, he grieved. Though he had written and preached vigorously against the decadence that had eaten away at the core of Roman civilization, he grieved that what was good was being swept away also. Her law and order were crumbling, and the world would become subject to the lusts of barbarians. And he grieved because he had friends and relatives living in Rome. Anxiety and fear swept through his congregation, but he comforted them with Scriptures such as the above, that spoke of our real home. Rome was built by human hands, he said, and so could be torn down by human hands; but there is a city that has not been built by man and can never be destroyed by man. There is "a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God," where we have "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven" (Hebrews 11:10; I Peter 1:4). Rome was not then, and is not now, "the eternal city." Likewise, our own country, the United States of America, while we believe it was established by God for our welfare and are grateful for it, will not last forever. It too will pass away. But we as Christians sense that we don't really belong here anyway, for we are "strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (Hebrews 11:13), longing for our real home. In the year 430, Augustine and many of his congregation died when the Vandal army besieged Hyppo. The barbarians saw it as a victory; but for the Christians, it was no defeat to be released from their earthly city into their heavenly home. DER ________________________________________________________________________ October 11, Friday ZECHARIAH AND CHRIST'S ADVENT ". . . for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee" (Zechariah 2:10,11). This old prophecy of the coming Messiah helps us better understand "the world" of John 3:16. The Father so loved "many nations," that He gave His only begotten Son. The vision also reveals the purpose for Christ's coming. The high priest, Joshua (3:1), whose name in Hebrew is equivalent to "Jesus" in the Greek, represented the people before God. The problem was that he was dressed in filthy garments. More than five hundred years later, on Calvary's cross, Jesus, the only effective high priest and worthy representative before the Father, was dressed in the filth of our sins. In the same verse, the "angel of the LORD" is mentioned. He prefigures the divine aspect of the Lord Jesus Christ. This "messenger" (the basic meaning of "angel") promised prophetically to remove "iniquity" and "clothe . . . with change of raiment" (3:4). This happened when Jesus, the God-Man, obediently offered the once-for-all sacrifice of Himself on the cross. He now removes sin and clothes redeemed people in His own perfect righteousness. The Father sees the elect in the light of His Son's perfection. Finally, God promised to "bring forth (His) servant the BRANCH" (3:8) and to "remove the iniquity of that land in one day" (3:9). This happened "one day" when Jesus was "pierced" (12:10) by Roman soldiers. No one Biblical image adequately portrays the wonder and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ and His work of salvation. The mosaic of Biblical prophecy, however, finds unity in Jesus, available now to save all who humble themselves before Him in prayer and trust Him for salvation. PGH ________________________________________________________________________ October 12, Tuesday MERCY AND TRUTH "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Psalm 85:10). The words "mercy" (Hebrew checed, also often translated by "kindness," or "lovingkindness") and "truth" (Hebrew emeth) occur more often in the psalms than in any other book. In fact, "mercy" occurs more in the psalms than in all the rest of the Old Testament put together. Though at first these two concepts seem opposed to each other (for how can God's truth, which abhors sin, be compatible with His mercy, which forgives sin?), nevertheless they are "met together," for "His salvation," according to the previous verse, "is nigh them that fear Him" (Psalm 85:9). "Mercy and truth" (or "lovingkindness and truth") are brought together at least sixteen times in the Old Testament, including ten times in the psalms. And when God's eternal truth can be united with His loving mercy, both mediated through His Holy Word, there is great blessing indeed! "All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies" (Psalm 25:10). "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name" (Psalm 138:2). The first time the phrase is found in the Bible is in the prayer of Abraham's servant, thanking God for "His mercy and His truth" (Genesis 24:27). God's mercy and truth, of course, are really met together only in Jesus Christ, through whom God can both "be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). He is "our peace" (Ephesians 2:14) and is "made unto us . . . righteousness" (I Corinthians 1:30). He is both "the truth" (John 14:6) and will show in the ages to come, "the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ October 13, Friday OUR "WHY?" QUESTIONS "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?" (Romans 9:20). Every believer goes through difficult experiences from time to time--loss of a job, a painful injury, failure of some plan, death of a needed loved one, even facing a terminal illness of his own--and the natural tendency is to cry out: "Why, O God?" God surely understands our longing for an answer, because He made us--"He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14). But He would have us merely to trust Him. Job, who surely suffered more than any of us, could say: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him" (Job 13:15). Job did indeed plead for an understanding of His undeserved sufferings, but God answered merely by reminding him of His great creation and His providential care for all living things (Job 38-41). As our great Potter, He has the right to make His vessels for both honor and dishonor (v.21). We who have been redeemed by His mercy should be grateful that He chose us even before the world began (Ephesians 1:3,4; II Timothy 1:9), confident that He--by whatever means He chooses--is preparing His "vessels of mercy" to receive the full manifestation of His glory in the ages to come (v.23; Ephesians 2:7). The fact that our finite minds cannot fully comprehend right now what He is doing in our lives merely gives us an opportunity to trust Him more. "We know that all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28) in those who are His. Therefore He would say: "Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator" (I Peter 4:19). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ October 14, Thursday STAND UP FOR JESUS "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong" (I Corinthians 16:13). Many times Scripture compares this life to a battle, with the Christian a soldier warring against the foe. The well-loved hymn of the last century, "Stand Up for Jesus," reflects this theme. It was inspired by the dying words of a young pastor, fatally injured in a tragic accident. Dudley Tyng urgently instructed his two young boys to "Stand Up for Jesus" in the years ahead. The verses of the hymn will serve sequentially as references for our next four studies. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross, Lift high His royal banner, It must not suffer loss; From victory unto victory, His army shall He lead, Till every foe is vanquished And Christ is Lord indeed. "My son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. . . . Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (II Timothy 2:1,3), Paul commanded his younger disciple. Among other things, a good soldier of Christ is to represent his leader well, seeing that no dishonor comes to Him or His banner. With Christ as Commander in Chief, the victory is assured, and one day God will "make thy foes thy footstool" (Acts 2:35). "God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11). As David the great warrior-king lay dying, he exclaimed, "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in heaven and earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all" (I Chronicles 29:11). How foolish not to "Stand Up for Jesus." JDM ________________________________________________________________________ October 15, Friday YE THAT ARE MEN NOW SERVE HIM "And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. . . . Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?" (Judges 6:12,14). Just a few days before his fatal accident, Dr. Tyng had spoken to over 5,000 men at a noon-time YMCA meeting at which over 1,000 responded to the gospel. His text for the sermon was Exodus 10:11, "Go now ye that are men, and serve the LORD," a theme repeated in the second verse of "Stand Up for Jesus," written in his memory. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, The trumpet call obey; Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day. "Ye that are men, now serve Him," Against unnumbered foes; Let courage rise with danger, And strength to strength oppose. This verse reminds us of the task facing Gideon following his commission into God's army, as given in our text. Israel was defenseless and outnumbered, but "the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man" (v.16). The chosen warrior-to-be obeyed, and "the spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet" (v.34), thus gathering a fighting force soon to be pared down to only three hundred choice men (7:7). With these courageous men God wrought a mighty victory, overcoming a well-armed fighting force numbering over 120,000. Truly it was "His glorious day." In summary, we might remember the Lord's promise to Joshua, Israel's first general: "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: . . . I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. . . . Only be thou strong and very courageous" (Joshua 1:5,7). Let us follow his lead and "Stand Up for Jesus." JDM ________________________________________________________________________ October 16, Saturday AND HAVING DONE ALL, STAND "Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel: . . . That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into His oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with you this day" (Deuteronomy 29:10,12). The Old Testament soldier of national Israel needed physical armor and weapons, but more than that, he needed the covenant protection of the Lord. Today, the New Testament saint seldom must fight in the physical sense, but a much more intense fight is raging: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12). We are safe and victorious as long as we "put on the whole armor of God" (v.11). The third verse of "Stand Up for Jesus" refers to this cosmic battle: Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Stand in His strength alone; The arm of flesh will fail you--Ye dare not trust your own; Put on the gospel armor, Each piece put on with prayer; Where duty calls or danger, Be never wanting there. Years ago the Assyrians came against God's people. King Hezekiah reminded them: "Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed: . . . With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles" (II Chronicles 32:7,8). The source of our salvation and victory is the same. Our "gospel armor" includes "truth . . . righteousness . . . peace . . . faith . . . salvation . . . and the word of God" (Ephesians 6:14-17). When we don it "with prayer" (v.18), we will "be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (v.13). Share the victory! "Stand Up for Jesus." JDM ________________________________________________________________________ October 17, Friday THE VICTOR'S SONG "And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will show to you to day. . . . The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace" (Exodus 14:13,14). The song which we have been using to focus our thinking these past few days has encouraged each Christian to join in the battle and "Stand Up for Jesus." He has already assured us of ultimate victory, and in the meantime, leads us into each skirmish. He gives us the privilege of participating with Him in His victories. And, at times, as we see in our text, He tells us to simply "stand still" and watch Him work. The final verse of this hymn relates the long war's end. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, The strife will not be long; This day the noise of battle, The next the victor's song; To him that overcometh, A crown of life shall be; He with the King of glory shall reign eternally. The strife will indeed be over soon, especially if we measure time on the scale of eternity. Until then, "our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (II Corinthians 4:17,18). And what are some of these eternal rewards? "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. . . . He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death" (Revelation 2:10,11). And, speaking of our home in the eternal New Jerusalem, "the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: And they shall see His face. . . . And they shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 22:3,5). What blessings await those who "Stand Up for Jesus." JDM ________________________________________________________________________ October 18, Monday A NEW HEART "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10). There are two kinds of heart trouble--one physical; the other spiritual. We all know of the physical kind, but are we aware that everyone is born with spiritual heart trouble? It can lead to such things as adultery, idolatry, witchcraft, heresies, murders, and drunkenness (Galatians 5:19-21), to physical death, and eventually to eternal, spiritual death. The word "heart," mentioned 800 times in Scripture, relates, usually, to the spiritual, or psychological aspect of a person and is the source of evil in everyone. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). Even in the first period of human history, "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). Time did not improve man's performance. Paul writes, during the time of the Roman empire, "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). In the end, sin collects its wages: death--both physical and spiritual, "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). How can our heart's disease be cured? God, the Father, sent His only begotten Son, Christ, to the cross, laying the penalty of the world's sin on Him, thus dying as our substitute: "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness" (I Peter 2:24). Christ is the Savior from sin, and eternally releases all who accept Him as their Savior. He is the divine Physician who heals hearts. When spiritual heart trouble is cured, we find peace and forgiveness in this life and can enjoy eternal life--life forever in His presence. JLG ________________________________________________________________________ October 19, Friday THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" (Romans 8:9). Note that in this one verse the Holy Spirit is called both "the Spirit of God" and "the Spirit of Christ." Thus the two terms are synonymous, which means that Christ is God, and so is the Holy Spirit. Note also that we "have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father" (Romans 8:15). In fact, our text assures each of us that we are actually living "in the Spirit," because He has come to "dwell in you." All of this has come about "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, . . . by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5). This glorious new birth, with sins forgiven and eternal life, is accomplished by the oly Spirit in response to our faith in Christ as Savior and Lord. But also note that "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." It is absolutely vital that we have the Holy Spirit, "for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). The question is, just how do we know that we have the Holy Spirit? The answer is, because His word says so! "He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me," said Jesus, "hath everlasting life" (John 5:24). Furthermore, we have the testimony of internal peace and assurance. "The Spirit (Himself) beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:16). Finally, the indwelling Spirit will increasingly be growing His eternal fruit in our lives--the nine-fold fruit of "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Galatians 5:22,23), and this will testify to others also that we do indeed have the Holy Spirit. HMM ________________________________________________________________________ October 20, Wednesday IMMEDIATE RESULTS "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Romans 8:22). Sometimes we don't get to see the results of our work or choices soon enough to suit us. But on one occasion, a man's choice and resulting action were given immediate attention, and the effects of that attention even now rule the universe. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat" (Genesis 3:6). The result of Adam's deliberate sin--"Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression" (I Timothy 2:14)--was immediate and total punishment upon Adam and Eve, and through them, on all humanity (Genesis 3:14-19). "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12). "For the creature [or creation] was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope" (Romans 8:20). This "bondage of corruption" (v.21) placed upon the entire creation, now known to science as the Second Law of Thermodynamics, is known to all of us as the basic tendency of life. Everything is in the process of death and decay. This law will one day be removed, but until then, we, like the groaning, travailing creation of our text, "groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" (v.23). Although we recognize now that "the wages of sin is death," we can be very thankful that "the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). JDM ________________________________________________________________________ October 21, Friday THE VIRTUE OF HAVING ENEMIES "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets" (Luke 6:26). It is no compliment to say about a Christian that he has no enemies, for that is the same as saying he has accomplished nothing. The apostle Paul had many bitter enemies, and they finally got him executed. In fact, almost all of the great heroes of the faith, through all the centuries since Satan gained his victory over Adam and Eve, have had to overcome bitter opposition from that wicked one. So, instead of resenting our enemies, we should thank God for them, for they enable us to become more like Christ! Only through such experiences can we learn what it means to say, with Paul: "I am crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20). Only if we have enemies can we learn to obey Christ's difficult command to "love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). The Lord Jesus easily could have called on twelve legions of angels to rout His enemies (Matthew 26:53). Instead, He submitted to their vicious insults and cruel tortures, even praying in His agony on the cross, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). The enemies of Christ killed Him, but had they not done so, He would not have died for our sins, and we would be lost eternally. This is a mystery to ponder, and difficult to comprehend, yet, as the Bible promises, "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee" (Psalm 76:10). The enmity of men can thus be a channel of divine grace to the believer, for "tribulation worketh patience" (Romans 5:3), and "our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (II Corinthians 4:17). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ October 22, Friday JESUS CHRIST OR CHRIST JESUS "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20). The doctrine of verbal inspiration implies that not only are the words of Scripture inspired, but the very order in which they appear is also inspired. Study by commentators and translators have rightly noted that a change in the order of the words would at times change the meaning or emphasis of a passage. This phenomenon is often seen in the order in which the various names of Christ appear. By noting this order, one may sometimes gain new insight into a passage. While the name Jesus, alone, normally appears in the gospels and the book of Acts, the compound name, Jesus Christ, appears on occasion. Interestingly, the same compound name is used exclusively by the disciples, John and Peter, in their letters, and by James and Jude, the brothers of our Lord. Of course these men knew Him first by His human name, Jesus, and only fully comprehended the fact that He was the Christ, [meaning "the Anointed," or "the Messiah"] after His resurrection and ascension. Paul, on the other hand, first encountered Christ in all His glory on the road to Damascus. Perhaps, as a consequence, he frequently reversed the order, speaking of Christ Jesus, although he used both orders many times. The reason for this choice of order perhaps can best be illustrated in Philippians 2:5-11. In verse 5, Paul described the "anointed One," who first emptied Himself of certain aspects of His deity to take on human form. Therefore Paul used the name Christ Jesus. In verse 11, however, the order is reversed. In this case, as in our text, the movement is from humanity to glory. In one, the glory of the risen Savior is emphasized; in the other, the glory that we shall share with Him. This glory is assured us through His victory. JDM ________________________________________________________________________ October 23, Friday WORKING NO ILL TO PREBORN NEIGHBORS "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Romans 13:10). The claim has been made that the New Testament is silent on the subject of abortion, but Paul, after reminding his readers of the law against murdering (which implicitly forbids abortion) and the obligation to love our neighbors (Romans 13:9 and repeated variously in the New Testament), added, "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor." It is foolish to think that the apostle, who testified about his being set apart from his mother's womb (Galatians 1:15), would have excluded the weakest and most fragile among us in his concept of neighbors. The passage surely speaks against harming our littlest "neighbors." Abortion works ill to very close neighbors. Luke, Paul's associate in ministry, recorded Pharaoh's harmful practice of killing "young children" (Acts 7:19). This is important, for the word selected for "children" in this context is the same word used by Luke, a physician, for preborn baby John (". . . when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb" [Luke 1:41]). The use of the same word in God-breathed Scripture for babies who have been born and for baby John who had not yet been born points to continuity of substance. The Creator of little children stressed the integrity of Scripture--to the minutest detail. If Pharaoh's killing of babies was wrong, how can any Christian believe that he is aligning with Scripture if he supports the killing and harming of younger babies by abortion? Children need protection, and they are dependent on our love. The text says that "love is the fulfilling of the law." Let us obey this law, reiterated in the New Testament, and love every single child. Let us do him or her no harm, for "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor." PGH ________________________________________________________________________ October 24, Sunday BEER-LA-HAI-ROI "Wherefore the well was called Beer-la-hai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered" (Genesis 16:14). This unusual name for a well means "well of the living one who sees me." The chapter deals with Hagar when she fled from Sarai's presence (v.6). The "angel of the LORD," like a shepherd, found Hagar by a well in the wilderness (v.7). This is the first explicit reference in Scripture to Jehovah's messenger--the "angel of the LORD." The whole scene is not unlike another one in the New Testament when the Great Shepherd encountered another woman at a different well (John 4). Like Jesus, the "angel" in Genesis 16 is somehow both God and distinct from God. We see that He is God from verses 10 and 13. In the first reference, the "angel," speaking for Himself, said, "I will multiply thy seed exceedingly." Only God can multiply seed (cf. Genesis 22:17). The one speaking to Hagar was none other than the LORD (Jehovah) Himself. Correspondingly, Jesus claimed divine prerogatives. In the Old Testament, Jehovah God is "the fountain of living waters" (Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13), but Jesus in John 4 claimed to be the source of living waters (vv.10,14). He could say this because He was and is Jehovah God, the Son. He is also the one referred to in the naming of the well. He lives. Speaking of Jesus, the apostle John wrote, "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" (Revelation 1:17,18). Jesus, then, is the living one who sees, finds wandering sheep, and hears. May we obey Him as did Hagar, believe Him as did the woman at the other well, and bow before Him as did John. PGH ________________________________________________________________________ October 25, Friday STUNTED GROWTH IN CARNAL CHRISTIANS "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able" (I Corinthians 3:1,2). The apostle Paul here makes a clear distinction between "spiritual" Christians, controlled and led by the Holy Spirit, and "carnal" Christians, still controlled by the desires of the flesh. A carnal Christian is a baby Christian. Baby Christians are a cause of great rejoicing when they are newborn believers, just like baby people. But if they remain babies indefinitely, they become an annoyance to hear and a tragedy to behold. Each born-again believer needs urgently to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18). That spiritual growth comes only through study of the Word, accompanied by belief and obedience. First there must be "the sincere [or `logical'] milk of the word" (I Peter 2:2), but that is good only for the first stages of growth. "For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:13,14). Carnal Christians are not necessarily pseudo-Christians, although they should examine themselves to determine whether their profession of faith in Christ is genuine (II Corinthians 13:5), but they should not be content to remain spiritual babes. Every Christian should be able to say with the prophet Jeremiah: "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts" (Jeremiah 15:16). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ October 26, Tuesday HIS WAY--MY WAY--PERFECT "As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him. For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect" (Psalm 18:30-32). "As for God, His way is perfect" (text). Since God is perfect, we can be certain His ways are also perfect. He certainly does all things well, never making a mistake. We don't always know why God does certain things in certain ways, but we can be assured that a perfect God can make "my way perfect" (text) as well. God's way is still the best way. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5,6). His way is always to be found in and through the Word of God. "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times" (Psalm 12:6). Those who put their trust in the tried and true Word of God will never be disappointed. God cannot lie; what He promises He must perform. He cannot go back on His word. "Thy word is very pure" (Psalm 119:140). In the text we find that God is our sure defense--"buckler;" our sure foundation--"rock;" and our sure power--"strength." God's way is a perfect or completed way. What He starts He finishes. What He begins, He brings to completion. The same is true in our lives. He will bring to pass all of His promises to their ultimate conclusion. "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). He makes our way perfect (complete). "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day" (II Timothy 1:12). NPS ________________________________________________________________________ October 27, Friday THE SECRET OF THE LORD "The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will shew them His covenant" (Psalm 25:14). This is an amazing promise. The word for "secret" means the "inner counsel," evidently of the Triune God Himself. But how can those who fear the Lord really know the secret counsels of the Godhead? The answer can only be by divine revelation to God's prophets. Thus the prophet Amos affirms: "Surely the Lord God will do nothing but [unless] He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). When these ancient promises were given, however, most of God's revelation, though already "settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89), was still not revealed to men. Then Christ came and promised His disciples, "The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost . . . shall teach you all things" (John 14:26). "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son" (Hebrews 1:1,2). In addition to the Twelve, God then also called the apostle Paul, and through these men, the Son would convey to those who fear Him all the rest of His revelation. "By revelation He made known unto me the mystery; ( . . . Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit" (Ephesians 3:3-5). Finally, "the secret of the LORD" was completed in written form by John, the last of the apostles, with nothing else to be either added or deleted (Revelation 22:18,19), that ". . . the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets" (Revelation 10:7). All we shall ever need to know of God's eternal counsels is now available to all who desire to know, in the Holy Scriptures. HMM ________________________________________________________________________ October 28, Thursday THE JUDGING SPIRIT OF GOD "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years" (Genesis 6:3). This is a difficult verse, but it is bound to be significant, for it contains the first reference in the Bible to God's judgment. The word for "strive" is almost always elsewhere rendered "judge," or "judgment." It is used in Deuteronomy 32:36 ("the LORD shall judge His people"). Thus our text seems to be telling us that, before the flood, the Holy Spirit was directly dealing with people in judgment because of their increasing involvement with sin and rebellion against the Lord. God, through the Holy Spirit, was working earnestly in the antediluvians to enable them, before His written word was available, to discern right and wrong, but their insistent rebellion would soon lead to such depravity that God would leave them altogether, and send the destroying, cleansing flood. In this more enlightened age, with the complete Bible available and the saving work of God's Son now well known, the Holy Spirit has a new judging ministry: "When He is come," Jesus said, "He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged" (John 16:8-11). This time man has been given not 120 years, but almost 2000 years to respond to the convicting judgments of the Holy Spirit, yet "evil men and seducers . . . wax worse and worse" (II Timothy 3:13). Thus judgment is imminent once again, and to those who have "done despite unto the Spirit of grace" (Hebrews 10:29), the next time will not be merely a cleansing flood. "For our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ October 29, Friday SCRIPTURE SAYS/GOD SAYS "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (II Timothy 3:16). Among the many evidences for verbal inspiration, both within and without Scripture, is the frequent interchange of God recognized as the author of a particular passage, with the human author who actually penned it. This can be true only if the very words recorded by the various authors are "God breathed" (the meaning of "inspiration"). For example, the early Christians exclaimed "Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?" (Acts 4:24,25), thereby recognizing that God spoke through David, who wrote God's words in Psalm 2:1,2. Likewise, Paul, in his masterful dissertation on God's sovereignty, claimed, "the scripture saith unto Pharaoh" (Romans 9:17) that which God Himself had spoken unto Moses (Exodus 9:13). In other words, what Scripture says, God says. Even Christ Jesus, who Himself had written with His finger, "Honor thy father and thy mother" (Exodus 20:12) on tables of stone, personally ascribed the authorship of the passage to Moses (Mark 7:10). Evidently, to Christ, there was no difference. That which Moses had written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and in this case what he had copied from the stone tablet, was fully the Word of God. We can be sure that what Scripture says, God says. "That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (II Timothy 3:17). We can trust our lives on earth, our view of history, and our eternal destiny to what is written on the pages of Scripture. JDM ________________________________________________________________________ October 30, Saturday WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW, WHY? "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). Any reporter knows that to cover an event well he has to answer these six questions. When it comes to the greatest story of all, the Bible also answers these questions. In fact, four of them are answered in the first verse of the first chapter of the first book! Who? God, the one, the only true God. "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD" (Deuteronomy 6:4). What? God created. What did He create? He created the heavens and the earth. Where? Right here. When? He created "in the beginning," apparently also creating time itself. How? By forces beyond human capacity. Since there is so much packed into this one verse, it is no exaggeration to say that in many ways it could be the most important verse in the Bible. It has been said that if one can believe Genesis 1:1, he can believe anything in Scripture. It provides the foundation for all other Biblical teaching. Certainly, if it is not literally, absolutely true, the rest of the Bible cannot be true either. It should be no surprise, then, that our opponents direct some of their most vicious attacks at this fundamental verse. A few of the current ways materialists have mocked it in support of their own godless scenarios of origins are, "In the beginning, hydrogen," or "In the beginning, quantum physics. . . ." God cannot be pleased with such travesties of His word. Why did He create? "Thou art worthy, O Lord, . . . for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11). The Word says, "In the beginning, God created . . ." and there is every reason to believe it. DER ________________________________________________________________________ October 31, Friday LEVIATHAN "In that day the LORD with His sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and He shall slay the dragon that is in the sea" (Isaiah 27:1). There is a remarkable animal called a "leviathan," described in the direct words of God in the 41st chapter of Job. It is surprising that most modern expositors call this animal merely a crocodile. Our text plainly calls it a "piercing serpent . . . the dragon that is in the sea." He is also said to "play" in the "great and wide sea" (Psalm 104:25,26). God's description in Job 41 says "a flame goeth out of his mouth" (v.21), and "he maketh the deep to boil like a pot" (v.31). The entire description is awesome! Whatever a leviathan might have been, it was not a crocodile! In fact, there is no animal living today which fits the description. Therefore, it is an extinct animal, almost certainly a great marine reptile with "terrible teeth" and "scales" (vv.14,15) still surviving in the oceans of Job's day, evidently one of the fearsome reptiles that gave rise to the worldwide tales of great sea dragons, before they became extinct. But that is not all. In ending His discourse, God called leviathan "a king over all the children of pride" (Job 41:34), so the animal is also symbolic of Satan, whose challenge to God instigated Job's strange trials. He is "the great dragon . . . that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world" (Revelation 12:9). Perhaps, therefore, the mysterious and notorious extinction of the dinosaurs is a secular prophecy of the coming Day of Judgment, when God "shall punish leviathan" (Isaiah 27:1), and the "devil that deceived them" will be "cast into the lake of fire . . . and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Revelation 20:10). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 1, Friday GOD'S SINGING PRESENCE "For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished" (Jeremiah 30:11). The Lord spoke to Jeremiah asking him to write this prophecy in a book about the fate of Israel and Judah. He confirms that He will be responsible for their return from exile, "and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid" (v.10). However, He is quick to state that the restoration would come after a period of appropriate discipline. During the time of the captivity, the Lord promised to be with the people. This promise of presence is a foundational commitment on God's part to His people. "And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of" (Genesis 28:15). Furthermore, it is a promise that He has extended to believers of this age also. "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20). The purpose of this presence is said to be "to save thee" (text verse). This relationship and responsibility is not distant or duty bound, but very intimate; joyful and expressive, and most involved in the believer's affairs. "The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17). What comfort this is to us, that our commitment to Him is covered by His commitment to us. He is there, and intends to stay there, singing. KBC ________________________________________________________________________ November 2, Tuesday CASTING LOTS "And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles" (Acts 1:26). This is the only instance in the New Testament where Christians are said to have "cast lots" in order to make a choice. This particular choice involved a very important question: Which of two apparently equally qualified men should be selected to take Judas' place among the twelve apostles? It is significant that before the lots were cast, they all prayed and asked the Lord to indicate His choice (Acts 1:24), "and the lot fell upon Matthias." Casting lots apparently was very common in ancient nations among both Israelites and Gentiles. The practice is mentioned at least 88 times in the Old Testament and eight other times in the New Testament (six of which refer to the casting of lots by the Roman soldiers for Jesus' vesture as He was being crucified). The first mention of the practice is found in connection with the offering of two goats on the Day of Atonement, the one to be sacrificed; the other to carry away, as it were, the sins of the people into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:8). On the pagan use of the practice, see, for example, Jonah 1:7 and Esther 3:7. The "lot" could have been any object used to make a choice. In recent centuries in Europe, small balls of different colors began to be used, and this practice came to be known as "casting ballots." The latter term eventually came to be practically synonymous with voting--whatever method was used to "cast" one's vote. In any case, it is important to note that the Bible's single mention of this practice by Christians indicates that it was preceded by earnest prayer for the Lord to reveal His will, not merely the preference of the one voting. We also always should seek earnestly the Lord's leading in any choice we are called on to make in any election. HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 3, Friday JEREMIAH AND INSPIRATION "Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name. But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay" (Jeremiah 20:9). Contained within the books of the Old Testament are nearly three thousand claims to its precise trustworthiness. Over and over again, the various authors claim to be communicating the very words of God. A number of such claims were recorded by Jeremiah in his book. As we see in our text, Jeremiah was somewhat discouraged with the lack of response to his ministry. But, just as he decided to refrain from passing on God's word to the people, he felt an inner burning, recognizing that these words were much too important to ignore. These words had come from God Himself! On other occasions, he heard the words of God directly, and was commanded to pass them on with precision. "Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD's house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD's house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not [literally `to shave,' or `to lessen in effect'] a word" (Jeremiah 26:2). This straight- forward teaching of verbal inspiration is applied to the written accounts, as well: "The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book" (Jeremiah 30:1,2). This book, which throughout contains such strong condemnation of falsehood, and which was written over a period of more than two thousand years by numerous authors, yet, without any contradiction between these writers, surely is the Word of the eternal, holy God. It is the information our Creator knows we need. JDM ________________________________________________________________________ November 4, Thursday THE GOD WHO SAVES "The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower" (Psalm 18:2). What a testimony given by David to his God! In this single verse, there is a seven-fold ascription of praise to the Lord for His great salvation. Each testimony can be appropriated also by all who trust Him. (1) My Rock: The word used here does not mean a stone or even a boulder, but a mighty monolith, immovable and impregnable. (2) My Fortress: This word refers to a great bulwark--a stronghold. The Hebrew word is essentially the same as Masada, the high butte where the Jews resisted the Roman armies after the destruction of Jerusalem. (3) My Deliverer: "Our God is able to deliver," even from the fiery furnace, the den of lions, and from the armies of Saul. (4) My Strength: This is another word often translated "rock," this time a rugged, craggy one, most appropriate as a symbol of great strength. (5) My Buckler: The small, movable shield used to "quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" (Ephesians 6:16). (6) The Horn of my Salvation: This striking Old Testament symbol is even repeated in the New Testament (Luke 1:69) and applied to the coming Savior, referring either to the "horns of the altar," where fleeing sinners could cling for refuge, or to the fighting horns of a strong beast. (7) My High Tower: Here the word is not for a man-made tower, but for a natural, high, topographic eminence, suitable both for watching and for defense. The great promises of salvation and security in Christ are timeless. The words that brought such hope to David are still a comfort to believers today. HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 5, Friday PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you" (John 13:15). Christ's life matched His teachings, and so must ours. Consider, for example, Christ's teaching that we should "pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). This is matched by His prayer for His tormentors while on the cross, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Elsewhere, He taught that our circle of influence should be greater than those of like thinking (Matthew 5:47), a fact which caused His detractors great consternation (Luke 15:2). He taught that our prayers should not be done so that "they may be seen of men" (Matthew 6:5). And the gospels record several times where He went "into a solitary place, and there prayed" (Mark 1:35; see also Mark 6:46). Christ placed great value on children, as we see in Matthew 18:6, and later He welcomed them (Matthew 19:14). He taught Peter to forgive "seventy times seven" times (Matthew 18:22) and later forgave Peter for his continued denials (Mark 16:7). Christ advocated paying taxes (Mark 12:17) and later enabled Peter to pay tribute for both of them (Matthew 17:27). He taught that "a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15), and He Himself had "not where to lay His head" (Luke 9:58). Likewise He placed great store in aiding the poor (Luke 14:13), both in teaching and in practice (Matthew 14:13-21). Perhaps His teaching "love your enemies" (Matthew 5:44) is best illustrated by His tender prayer for those who would soon take His life as He hung on the cross for the very ones responsible for His death, "Father, forgive them" (Luke 23:34). May God grant us the strength to follow not only our own teachings, but His teachings, as well. JDM ________________________________________________________________________ November 6, Saturday REASONABLE SERVICE "I beseech you therefore . . . by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:1,2). For those who would know God's will for their lives, these verses provide the definitive answer. The key is sacrifice, not conformity. It is paradoxical, but wonderfully true, that real living is dying--dying to the world and living unto Christ! This great theme is emphasized repeatedly throughout the New Testament (Galatians 2:20, etc.). Whether paradoxical or not, the principle of sacrificial living for Christ is eminently reasonable service! "Reasonable" is the Greek logikos, from which we derive our word "logical." "Service" is the Greek latreian, referring to service as a priest. We have been made "an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (I Peter 2:5). It is perfectly logical that we render such lifelong service to the great Friend who laid down His life for us, in order to take away our sins and give us everlasting life with Him in the ages to come. It is also logical that we should not conform our lives to the standards of this present evil world. Why should we imitate this world's materialism or humanism, in dress or music or morals or anything else? We have far higher and more lasting standards, guided by the Word of God and by minds renewed in Christ. Our minds once were "blinded" by "the god of this world" (II Corinthians 4:4), but now they can be guided by "the mind of the Lord" (Romans 11:34; I Corinthians 2:16). Here is the key to knowing that good and acceptable and perfect will of God! HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 7, Friday ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED "To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved" (Ephesians 1:6). This wonderful verse assures that all who have been saved by God's grace have been "accepted" by the Lord. However, this is not just a marginal acceptability. The Greek word occurs only one other time in the New Testament, and there it appears in the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary. "Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women" (Luke 1:28). That is, we are not merely accepted; we are highly favored by God! This is not because of our own personal merits, of course. It is because God sees us as in His Son; He loves us because He loves Him, and we are in Him. Although Christ is called God's "beloved Son" seven times in the New Testament (each time directly by the Father Himself), there is only one other time when He is spoken of simply as "the beloved." This is in Matthew 12:18 (quoting Isaiah 42:1), "Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon Him." The love of God the Father for His beloved Son is the root source of every other love in the universe, for it is the one love that is eternal. "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24). This is what it means to be highly favored in the beloved! This was the prayer of Christ on His way to Gethsemane the night before He went to the cross. We who are in Him, are predestined to be with Him in glory, to behold His glory, and forever, as redeemed sinners saved by grace through faith, to be "to the praise of the glory of His grace" (text verse). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 8, Monday THE SPIRITUAL SENSES "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him" (Psalm 34:8). Frequently, Scripture uses our five physical senses in a figurative way to help us comprehend our interaction with the heavenly realm of God's presence and power. We can "see," for example, with spiritual eyes. Paul prayed thus for the believer: "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" (Ephesians 1:18). Similarly, we are privileged to hear the voice of the Lord with spiritual ears. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27). "A stranger will they not follow, . . . for they know not the voice of strangers" (John 10:5). The sense of touch is the sense of feeling, and God can both touch and be touched. We read, for example, of "a band of men, whose hearts God had touched" (I Samuel 10:26). Of Jesus Christ, it is said that He is not a remote deity "which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Hebrews 4:15). Even people who never knew Him can perhaps "feel after Him, and find Him" (Acts 17:27) if they truly desire His great salvation. We can even become "unto God a sweet savor of Christ" (II Corinthians 2:15). To the world, the faithful Christian life and testimony can either be "the savor of death unto death" to those who refuse it, or "the savor of life unto life" (II Corinthians 2:16). Finally, we are exhorted actually to taste the Lord, and see that He is good! His Word will be, according to our needs, either "sincere milk" (I Peter 2:2), "strong meat" (Hebrews 5:14), or "sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb" (Psalm 19:10). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 9, Friday PRAYER OF THE WHOLE HEART "Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:12,13). There are many promises and instances of answered prayer in the Bible. Unfortunately, many of us really don't seem to believe them, and therefore don't experience the answers to our prayers. Halfhearted praying may sometimes secure partial answers, but God exhorts us to pray wholeheartedly. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16). The principle is timeless, and is stressed often in the Word. "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3). God's resources are unlimited, but our motives must be pure, and our prayers must be from the heart. "Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering" (James 1:6). "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:3). In addition to right motives and genuine faith, there must be deep sincerity as we pray from the heart. "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint" said Jesus (Luke 18:1), who Himself found it necessary to pray long and earnestly. "Rising up a great while before day, He . . . departed into a solitary place, and there prayed" (Mark 1:35). The early church followed His teaching and example, and saw His blessing. "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication" (Acts 1:14). "And they continued steadfastly . . . in prayers" (Acts 2:42). "We will give ourselves continually to prayer" (Acts 6:4). Consequently, "The word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly" (Acts 6:7). God is honored when we search for Him and pray to Him with all our hearts. HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 10, Wednesday DILIGENT FAITH "Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" (Hebrews 4:11). At first glance, this verse seems to command opposite actions simultaneously. On the one hand, "we which have believed do enter into rest" (Hebrews 4:3), and on the other, we are to "labor," implying work. Some Greek words translated as "labor" do, indeed, have the connotation of toiling, or weariness, as in Matthew 11:28: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." However, the Greek word for "labor" in our text verse is only translated thus in this one particular instance. It is more commonly translated "diligence" or "diligent," and means to use speed, to make an effort, to be prompt, or earnest. Hebrews 3:7,8 (quoting Psalm 95) further explains: "To day [denoting readiness or promptness] if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness." We are enjoined to "be not slothful" (Hebrews 6:12) or "dull of hearing" (5:11), "for unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them [the children of Israel]: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it" (Hebrews 4:2). We are to be "followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Hebrews 6:12). Although we who believe and have entered into His rest have "ceased from [our] own works, as God did from His" (Hebrews 4:10), our diligent faith produces "good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). "Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity" (II Peter 1:5-7). CJH ________________________________________________________________________ November 11, Friday IN THE LORD'S ARMY "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" (II Timothy 2:3,4). This is a day that has been set aside in America to remember those who served in conflict in the Armed Forces. The memory of these good soldiers calls to mind the words in our text, where Paul adjures each of us to be disciplined and hardened soldiers of Jesus Christ. This verse is well known to many people, but there is little doubt that we view this verse in far too shallow a fashion. In these days of relative peace and prosperity, we lose sight of what it was really like to be in armed conflict, and tend to think this passage is teaching that we should not be overly materialistic--that we should be willing to give up some of the pleasures and luxuries of life to be more effective soldiers of Jesus Christ. We need, however, to remember that a soldier in a real war gives up virtually all comforts, perhaps even going without meals or a place to sleep. Totally left behind are father, mother, brother, sister, wife, children. Nothing can be permitted to "entangle" the soldier, for his sole duty is to serve, obey, and please his commanding officer--even to die, if need be, on the field of battle. Without such commitment, the battle will likely be lost. Could it be that we as soldiers in the service of Jesus Christ have not been the disciplined and dedicated soldiers that we should be? Have we, in essence, been "playing" at war--not having the discipline or desire to make the sacrifices necessary for victory? Since ours is a cause far greater than that of any nation at war, should not we be willing to do whatever it takes to "please Him Who hath chosen him to be a soldier?" JDM ________________________________________________________________________ November 12, Friday NOT MANY WISE MEN "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called" (I Corinthians 1:26). For the most part, the rich and famous of this world, the wise and powerful, have always looked down on the followers of Christ and the Scriptures. This seems increasingly true today, and many believers have been led to compromise as a result. Rather than being discouraged by the intellectual snobbery of educated and powerful unbelievers, however, we should rejoice in this further proof of the prophetic inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. This passage is, in fact, a remarkably fulfilled prophecy, true for almost 2000 years. Christians have founded great universities to train people in God's truth, only to see them taken over, one after another, by the ungodly leaders of this present world. Missionaries have carried the gospel to heathen lands, only to be superseded by wealth-seeking materialists who exploit and subvert their converts. Paul did not say "Not any," of course, but "Not many." God always has raised up a few brilliant or powerful men (such as Paul himself) who have devoted their abilities and influence to the Lord and His Word, but these have always been the exception. There have been a few godly kings and generals, a few Christ-honoring artists and musicians of great talent, but they are far outnumbered by the others. But we must remember that God said long ago that that was the way it would be. "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in His presence" (I Corinthians 1:27-29). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 13, Friday THE `SHALL NOT'S' OF JOHN'S GOSPEL "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). There are many wonderful promises to the believer listed in the gospel of John. Let us consider seven of these which teach of things which "shall not" happen to the believer. Teaching of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Christ said, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14). Similarly, "Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst" (John 6:35). Furthermore, He taught: "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). Our deepest needs are met in Him. Having once believed, we are placed into His family and He promises "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28). In Him, we are utterly secure. Why? "He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24). Consequently, we have no fear of death. "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" (John 11:25,26). As the familiar verse in our text tells us, if we only believe "that He gave His only begotten Son," we shall "not perish, but have everlasting life." JDM ________________________________________________________________________ November 14, Sunday ABIDING WORDS "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7). In order for the words of the Lord really to abide in us, it seems clear that we should commit as many of them to memory--not only in our minds, but in our hearts--as we possibly can. "Thy word have I hid in mine heart," the psalmist said, "that I might not sin against thee" (Psalm 119:11). There are many promises of blessing to those who have God's word in their hearts. "For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips" (Proverbs 22:18). "My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; . . . Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God" (Proverbs 2:1,5). Both the apostle Paul and the apostle Peter have noted the importance of Scripture memorization. Paul says: "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" (Colossians 3:16). Peter's exhortation is as follows: "This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets [i.e., the Old Testament Scriptures], and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior [i.e., the New Testament Scriptures]" (II Peter 3:1,2). The words "be mindful" mean essentially "recall to mind." Since the Scriptures cannot be recalled to mind unless they've first been installed in the mind, nor can they abide in our hearts unless we first hide them in our hearts, now is the time to begin! HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 15, Friday THE SON OF CONSOLATION "And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet" (Acts 4:36,37). The apostles renamed this unique servant to match his God-given gift of building up others. Let's look at this trait in action. When Saul of Tarsus was converted to become the apostle Paul, there were many believers who were skeptical about his transformation. Indeed, "they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple" (Acts 9:26). It was Barnabas who came alongside as a comforter to Paul and who served as a character witness for the acceptance of Paul by those at Jerusalem. The other side of this behavior of consoling others is that of exhorting others. After the church acknowledged that the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles also, Barnabas was sent out to Antioch to minister to new believers in that city. Upon arriving, he saw evidence that the grace of God was exhibited in the lives of these believers, and exhorted both believers and non-believers to "cleave unto the Lord" (Acts 11:23). As a result, "much people was added unto the Lord" (v.24). It is evident that Barnabas could be such a great consoler because he himself was filled with the Holy Spirit. His life and testimony radiated the presence of Christ, so much so that Barnabas was referred to as "a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith" (v.24). His walk with God was so committed, that as he was chosen for missionary work, "the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away" (Acts 13:2,3). KBC ________________________________________________________________________ November 16, Tuesday THE MEEK OF THE EARTH "Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought His judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger" (Zephaniah 2:3). This phrase, "the meek of the earth," occurs three times in the Bible (see also Psalm 76:9, which promises their salvation; and Isaiah 11:4, which assures them justice). Our text promises deliverance from God's wrath. "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5), said Jesus, referring to the promise of Psalm 37:11: "But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." There are many other similar promises: "The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way" (Psalm 25:9). "He will beautify the meek with salvation" (Psalm 149:4), so we need to put on "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price" (I Peter 3:4). That meekness is not weakness is made clear from the first use of the word in the Bible. "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth" (Numbers 12:3). Moses was strong and courageous, but also deeply humble and self-sacrificing; a man of prayer and trust in the word of God, willing to defend it at all costs. The Lord Jesus defined meekness in terms of His own human character: "Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart" (Matthew 11:29). A meek spirit enables a Christian to maintain composure in the face of opposition, to accept adversity without complaint; promotion without arrogance; demotion without resentment. It produces a peace which no trouble can disturb and which no prosperity can puff up. Therefore, as our text commands: "Seek meekness!" HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 17, Friday ISRAEL'S CONFESSION OF FAITH "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deuteronomy 6:4,5). As stated in the Law, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 was to be recited by all Jews both morning and evening, for it contains God's basic plan for passing on the message of God from generation to generation. The primary teaching is contained in verse 4. There is only one God, indivisible, although in three persons. His divine uniqueness precludes the worship of any other deity. The response to this message is that we should love that God with our entire being. Jesus Christ recognized this as the first and greatest commandment (Mark 12:30), teaching that obedience to it fulfilled one's duty to the entire law. The message was so important that God even gave the mechanics for passing it on. In verse 6, we see that "these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart." Each person, particularly parents (v.7), needed a heart commitment to God's commandments, statutes, and judgments (vv.1,2). Next, they had to commit themselves to raising up a godly heritage. "Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children" (v.7). This teaching was to be first of all, oral teaching. They were also to dress in such a way that it reflected their commitment to the law of God (v.8) and they were to place visual reminders of the law of God all around their homes so that the children were constantly reminded of the things of God (v.9). Christians need to discover the truth of this passage. We must not merely assume the godly teaching of our children, but also actively cultivate it. At stake is not only the personal walk of our children, but also the eternal message of God. JDM ________________________________________________________________________ November 18, Thursday CHRISTIAN PROPORTIONATE GIVING "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come" (I Corinthians 16:2). Although the New Testament writers frequently commend and encourage generous giving to the Lord's work (e.g., II Corinthians 8,9; Philippians 3:10-19), this seems to be the only verse where a systematic method of giving is suggested. The only references to tithing in the New Testament are set in the context of either the Jewish or patriarchal economies and so are not directly applicable to the Christian economy, although the principles are instructive. The particular collection referred to in our text was for what we today would call a "designated offering," but probably this principle of regular and systematic giving for the over-all work of the Lord was also carried out in similar fashion, since no other method is ever prescribed in the New Testament for Christians. Although tithing is not specifically mentioned as the standard, the principle of proportionate giving is clearly commanded. Those who have been most "prospered" by the Lord should contribute the most, but all should contribute something out of what the Lord has given them. Recall that Jesus gave special commendation to the poor widow who gave "all her living" (Mark 12:44), and that Paul gave special commendation to the Philippian believers whose "deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality" (II Corinthians 8:2). Their giving was also to be regular and systematic, on "the first day of the week," not just sporadic or impulsive. Of course, if a person received wages say, only once a month, it could all be given on the first Lord's day following, since it was only that day on which he had been "prospered," as it were. And it should, of course, be given cheerfully and thankfully (II Corinthians 9:7,11). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 19, Friday FAITHFUL IN MINISTRY "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry" (I Timothy 1:12). Paul, in a similar manner to Daniel, walked closely to the Lord and made known to those around him the benefits of a dedicated life. Daniel had the impossible task, just like the other wise men of Babylon, to reveal, and then to interpret Nebuchadnezzar's dream. The one big difference favoring Daniel's success was that he had dedicated his life to serving God and had all of God's resources at his disposal. He knew that his God could and would reveal the matter to him so as to bring glory unto Himself. "I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter" (Daniel 2:23). Enabling leads to good works: "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (II Corinthians 9:8). "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13). The result of being available, willing, and faithful to the work of the Lord may be more far-reaching than is immediately apparent. After the survival of Daniel and his friends from the fiery furnace, the king decreed that all people should honor Daniel's God. "Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent His angel, and delivered His servants that trusted in Him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. . . . Because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort" (Daniel 3:28,29). KBC ________________________________________________________________________ November 20, Saturday WHEN THE FOUNDATIONS ARE DESTROYED "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3). The word here for "foundations" is not the usual word for, say, a building foundation. Used rarely, a better translation of this word would be "purpose," or "basis." The fear expressed is not that the foundations of our faith might be undermined, but that we might lose our sense of purpose. In the context of the psalm, David was in danger of becoming demoralized by the pressures of wicked desires and evil ambitions all around him, and Christians surely have the same problem today. Why should we try to maintain high standards of doctrinal integrity and moral purity when the people around us--even most Christians--seem to be occupied mostly with materialistic ambition and pursuit of pleasure? If we allow the devil to undermine the very purposes God has for our lives, wandering away from His will in favor of some temporal interest, then why even continue with a pretense of Christian living? David's solution was simply to remind himself that "the LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: His eyes behold, His eyelids try, the children of men" (v.4). He may allow the righteous to be tried for a season, but we must not forget that "the righteous LORD loveth righteousness" (v.7), and that "the wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth" (v.5). When we are tempted to wonder whether it is really worth all the effort, and when our very foundation and purpose for living seems to be crumbling, we should remember that our God is Creator, Sustainer, and Judge of all--that He still is on His throne, and that we who belong to Him have been "predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:11). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 21, Friday NATIONAL RIGHTEOUSNESS "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34). Modern Christians place great emphasis on personal salvation, but we must remember that God is also the God of the nations. That being so, our own nation, so greatly blessed of God in the past, may well be in great peril, for "the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Psalm 9:17). Our nation was founded by men who had strong faith in God, and its laws were based on the laws of God. The schools all honored the Lord and His Word, taught the truth of special creation, and enforced Biblical morality among the students. Today, God and anything associated with Him are banned from the classroom, His laws are no longer taken seriously in the courts and legislatures, and evolutionary humanism is, in effect, the state-endorsed religion. Divorce and immorality are affecting most of the nation's homes; business and finance are ubiquitously plagued with greed and dishonesty; the sins of homosexuality, drunkenness, and drug use are rampant, and atheistic, New Age globalism is an imminent threat at our gates. God would even have spared Sodom, though, if there had been ten righteous (Genesis 18:32), and America has evidently been spared thus far because it is still the nerve center of world missions and Christian literature, as well as aid for the sick and needy. The modern revival of true creationism is centered in this nation, and serious Biblical interest is growing in many places, yet worldliness, apostasy, and compromise are eating away at the heart of American Christianity, and there is great need for a revival--not of religious emotionalism, but of genuine commitment to the integrity and authority of God's Word. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD" (Psalm 33:12). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 22, Monday GRAVEN IN THE ROCK "Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!" (Job 19:23,24). In the midst of terrible calamities and sufferings, righteous Job expressed a heartfelt longing to write down his experiences and meditations, that others might later understand. This longing no doubt later led him, when the Lord finally restored him to health and prosperity, to do just that. Job apparently wrote his book, originally, not on some perishable material, but, as we see in our text, on tablets of stone with a pen of iron, so that his testimony might be permanently available to all future generations. Indeed, God in His providence has ordained exactly that, by incorporating it in the Bible. And the essence of Job's testimony is surely one of the most wonderful statements of faith ever penned, all the more remarkable in view of Job's circumstances when he uttered it, and in light of the limited knowledge of God's plan of redemption available in his day. Here it is: "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth" (Job 19:25). Even before the days of Moses, Job knew that God Himself would become, not just the world's Redeemer from its bondage under the great Curse, but his own personal Savior! He even sensed the necessity of God's bodily incarnation, for he said He would stand on the earth in the latter days. He knew that he himself would some day be resurrected from the dead, for he said that, even after worms had destroyed his body, "yet in my flesh shall I see God" (Job 19:26). In the many centuries since, multitudes of other believers have seen Job's testimony, written forever in the Book, and have made it their own, trusting their living Redeemer. HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 23, Friday THE PERSONAL PSALM "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Psalm 23:1). Have you ever noticed how many times David used "I," "my," and "me" in this great psalm? Let's count them. "The LORD is my (1) shepherd; I (2) shall not want. He maketh me (3) to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me (4) beside the still waters. He restoreth my (5) soul: He leadeth me (6) in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I (7) walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I (8) will fear no evil: for thou art with me (9); thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (10). Thou preparest a table before me (11) in the presence of mine (12) enemies: thou anointest my (13) head with oil; my (14) cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me (15) all the days of my (16) life: and I (17) will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." Seventeen times in six short verses, David personalized the great doctrinal truths found in this beautiful psalm. He understood that his great shepherd was none other than Jehovah (LORD) Himself, who would personally supply his every need, restore his soul in times of distress, give him victory over his enemies, even death; and abundantly bless him, even to the point of being with him forever. How important it is to realize that our God is a personal God who desires to be to us everything that a faithful shepherd is to his sheep. Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep" (John 10:11). Our God would even die for us, and there is certainly no daily need He will not supply. "I shall not want." The apostle Paul said it beautifully: "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). May we daily practice the presence of our personal God and great shepherd of the sheep - the Lord Jesus Christ. NPS ________________________________________________________________________ November 24, Wednesday OUR NATURAL AND SPIRITUAL BODIES "It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body" (I Corinthians 15:43,44). In this portion of this great chapter on the resurrection--first that of Christ, then the future resurrection of the redeemed--death and resurrection are compared to seed-sowing and harvest. When a seed is planted in the ground, it is as though it had died and is buried. For a long time after its "death," the seed cannot be seen, but finally it rises again as a beautiful flowering plant, or sheaf of grain, or even a lovely tree. Jesus made this same analogy. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" (John 12:24; note also Mark 4:26-29). Our human bodies, because of sin and the curse, eventually die and are buried; but one day (like the planted seed) they will appear again, but now immortal and glorified, far greater than they were before--that is, of course, if their real inhabitants (their eternal created spirits) have been born again through faith in their already-resurrected Savior. Our new spiritual bodies rising from the grave will be real physical bodies (like that of Jesus after He was raised), but will no longer be under bondage to gravitational and electro- magnetic forces, as at present, but only to spiritual forces, of which we have as yet very little knowledge. We do know, however, that our spiritual bodies will be "fashioned like unto His glorious body" (Philippians 3:21). Although "it doth not yet appear what we shall be: . . . when He shall appear, we shall be like Him" (I John 3:2). Then, in our glorious, powerful, spiritual bodies, we as "His servants shall serve Him" in love and joy forever (Revelation 22:3). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 25, Friday THANKSGIVING IN HEAVEN "And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats [thrones], fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned" (Revelation 11:16,17). This is the final reference in the Bible to the giving of thanks. It records a scene in heaven where the 24 elders, representing all redeemed believers, are thanking God that His primeval promise of restoration and victory is about to be fulfilled. The petition, "thy kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10), is now ready to be answered. Similarly, the final reference to the offering of praise is also set in heaven. "And a voice came out of the throne, saying, `Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great.' And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth" (Revelation 19:5,6). The word "alleluia" is the same as the Hebrew word "hallelujah," meaning, "Praise ye the Lord!" Thus, the joyful notes of praise for who He is and thankfulness for what He has done will resound through heaven when Christ returns. Then, forevermore, the very lives of all His saints will be perpetual testimonies of thanksgiving and praise. This is our destiny, if we have received Christ by faith as Savior and Lord. It is important that our lives even now begin to reflect such a character, that we may be the better prepared as the day approaches. "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thessalonians 5:18). "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name" (Hebrews 13:15). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 26, Friday GOD OUR SAVIOR "But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared" (Titus 3:4). Six times in the pastoral epistles Paul refers to God (evidently meaning the Father) as our Savior (I Timothy 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4). Usually, however, he and the other New Testament writers identify Jesus Christ as our Savior. "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18, for example). In the same fashion, Paul relates that his commission to preach the gospel came from "God our Savior" (Titus 1:3), while elsewhere, he says his commission came "by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:12). Is this a contradiction? No! In fact, references to God as our Savior should not surprise us, for it is found in numerous places in the Old Testament. (See, for example, Psalm 106:21.) Furthermore, our understanding of the Trinity insists that all three persons of the Godhead are One in purpose. Of course, Christ made many references to the fact that He was not acting on His own, but came to do "the will of Him that sent me" (John 6:38). Paul, himself, seemed to be comfortable with this seeming overlap, for in one sentence he wrote, "God our Savior: . . . Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior" (Titus 1:3,4). While Christ was the primary instrument of salvation as the perfect sacrifice for sin, God the Father is, without question, the source of all human salvation, and the application of the title Savior to Him is proper. Indeed, we derive great comfort as we see the role of all three Persons of the Godhead involved. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (I John 4:10). JDM ________________________________________________________________________ November 27, Friday PERFECT PEACE "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (Isaiah 26:3). Perfect peace is rendered in the Hebrew, "Shalom, shalom." God's people are kept in "Shalom, shalom" when they have their minds stayed on the Lord and trust in Him. Note three places where peace is promised to the believer: (1) "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). The believer has what is called "peace with God." We were sinners (guilty) before the law court of God, but now we are justified (not guilty!); therefore, now that the sin question has been settled, we no longer fear to stand before God. We are "in Christ" (Romans 8:1; 16:7; I Corinthians 1:2, etc.). Thus, His presence produces continual peace before a holy God. (2) "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7). The "peace of God" mentioned in this text is given to quiet the state of our heart because of circumstances. So many things can seemingly take away our peace. We believers are ever bombarded with trials, sufferings, and tribulations that the devil likes to use to disturb and discourage us. But the Lord has promised peace in our hearts and minds. The Lord desires to give peace in the emotional part of us (the heart), and also in the intellectual part of us (the mind). He will keep, that is guard (military term), our hearts and minds. (3) "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you" (John 14:27). Personal, practical peace comes from the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ. We don't have to work up peace; it comes from Christ, directly, and is the fruit of the Spirit. Therefore, "let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). NPS ________________________________________________________________________ November 28, Sunday THE EXTENDED FAMILY "But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life" (Mark 10:30). When Jesus saw a mother grieving over the death of her only son, "He had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not" (Luke 7:13), and returned him alive to his mother. The situation at the cross has some parallels to the above, but a new solution for the grieving mother was necessary. It was important that the Son on the cross stay there in order to save her. She earlier had confessed such a need (cf. Luke 1:47). The solution to the immediate need, however, was found in the circle of faith. Mary was to seek comfort in another "son" who was already standing nearby--John. He, in turn, was to care for Mary as he would for his own mother (John 19:26,27). Consider spiritual relationships in Christ. The one who does the will of the heavenly Father, "the same is my brother, and sister, and mother," Jesus said (Matthew 12:50). John seems indeed to have grasped the broader message: "My little children" (I John 2:1). Paul, similarly, called Timothy his "own son in the faith" (I Timothy 1:2)--with familial terms being used for Titus, Onesimus, and Rufus' mother, also (Titus 1:4; Philemon 10; and Romans 16:13). He tells us to entreat an older man "as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters" (I Timothy 5:1,2). In our text for today, we learn that broken physical relationships which occur as a result of faith in Christ will be replaced "an hundredfold . . . brethren, sisters, fathers, mothers, wives, children" (Matthew 19:29; Mark 10:30). Believers, because of Jesus, have been brought into a big family--a family of faith. The Lord is to be praised! PGH ________________________________________________________________________ November 29, Friday THE GOOD CONFESSION "I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession" (I Timothy 6:13). Young Timothy also had "professed a good profession [same word as `confession'] before many witnesses" (I Timothy 6:12), evidently of similar substance and quality to that in the witness of Christ before Pilate. When the Jews urged Pilate to condemn Jesus to death, their charge was that "He made Himself the Son of God" (John 19:7). Pilate gave Jesus opportunity to deny this charge and save His life, "but Jesus gave him no answer" (John 19:9). Both by His silence, when a denial of the charge could have saved Him, and by His open testimony before Pilate that He was, in fact, a King from heaven itself--indeed "the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (I Timothy 6:15), it becomes clear that our own "good confession" must be a confession of our faith in Jesus Christ as Son of God, our Savior and Lord, especially when that confession is made openly before hostile witnesses. Jesus said: "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32). Paul said "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9); and John said, "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God" (I John 4:15). Despite the great blessings awaiting all who make a courageous and good confession of saving faith in Christ, most people will refuse until it is too late. There is a time coming, however, when "every tongue [will] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:11). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ November 30, Tuesday CHARITY OR LOVE? "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal" (I Corinthians 13:1). It is well known that this word "charity" (Greek agape) is translated as "love" in most modern translations of the Bible. In fact, even in the King James Version, it is translated "love" more than three times as often as it is rendered by "charity." One wonders why these scholarly translators of the 17th century did not translate agape by the word "love" here in this very familiar "love chapter," as it has been called. They certainly knew the word did not mean giving to the poor, for they translated verse 3 thus: "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, . . . and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." How could anyone exhibit greater charity than to give everything he owns to the poor? They evidently well knew that agape did not mean "charity" as we think of charity today. But neither does agape mean "love" as we think of it today. People today usually are thinking of romantic love, or erotic love, or brotherly love, or perhaps even a sort of happy feeling (e.g., "I love a parade!") when they speak of love. Actually, the original English concept of "charity," meaning a genuine and unselfish concern for others because of their own intrinsic worth in the sight of their Creator, is the true meaning of agape in its Biblical usage. "Charity" may not be the best word to express this attribute today, but "love" is so common and so misused, and seems even less appropriate. In fact, no single English word today really seems to fit, perhaps because we have almost lost the very virtue which the word "charity" used to express. Well, no matter how we say it, our lives desperately need to show agape, for God Himself is "agape" (I John 4:8). HMM ________________________________________________________________________ This "Days of Praise" quarterly was converted to ASCII, for BBS use, from the original formatted desktop articles. Comments regarding typographical errors in the above material are appreciated. Don Barber, ICR Systems Administrator Fax: (619) 448-3469 All ICR staff members adhere to a Statement of Faith in the form of two documents: "Tenets of Scientific Creationism," and "Tenets of Biblical Creationism." (see Impact No. 85) ________________________________________________________________________ Institute for Creation Research A unique complex of evangelistic, missionary, and educational ministries. Trans-denominational in structure; worldwide in outreach. Advancing the cause of true science and education, winning people to Christ, and strengthening the Christian witness, by promoting genuine creationism in science and Scripture. If you would like to receive our free monthly newsletter "Acts & Facts," or our free quarterly devotional Bible-study booklet "Days of Praise," just request them by contacting ICR at (619) 448-0900. ________________________________________________________________________ Typical ICR Ministries Scientific Research Related to Origins ICR Graduate School of Creation Science Books and Audiovisual Materials (all levels) Seminars, Debates, Workshops, Bible Conferences, etc. Weekly Radio Program, "Science, Scripture, and Salvation" Daily Devotional Guide, "Days of Praise" (Free on Request) Guided Tours to Areas of Biblical/Science Significance Monthly Newsletter, "Acts & Facts" (Free on Request) ICR Museum of Creation and Earth History Daily Radio Program, "Back to Genesis ________________________________________________________________________ ICR Ministries ICR is primarily supported by voluntary contributions (IRS tax-exempt) from concerned Christian people and churches. Member, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability --- *** ---


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank