Monthly Archives: October 2016

Children of the Day

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

October 31, 2016
Children of the Day
“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)

It may be significant that most of the days during the year which have been considered to have some special meaning are observed as “Days”—for example, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, etc. Those observed mainly at night—such as Halloween and New Year’s Eve, tend to emphasize frivolity or even sinfulness. Christmas Eve may be an exception, but this celebration (December 25) rarely notes the real reason for Christ’s incarnation.

It is for good reason that darkness has become a term referring not only to absence of daylight but also to absence of moral light. Many biblical references make this connection. Note just a sampling.

“The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12).

“For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love” (1 Thessalonians 5:7-8).

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. . . . But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light” (Ephesians 5:11, 13).

All who have trusted in Christ have been “delivered” by our heavenly Father “from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13). It would be utterly irresponsible, therefore, for us ever to shame our Father by behaving like the children of darkness. “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). HMM

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The Joyful Sound

New-Bible-Hi-Res-JPG October 30, 2016
The Joyful Sound
“Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.” (Psalm 89:15)

Many have been the Christians who have joined in singing “We have heard the joyful sound: Jesus saves; Jesus saves!” Not all have known, however, that this beautiful phrase comes from a great psalm extolling God’s marvelous works of creation and then His promises of redemption.

“The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them. The north and the south thou hast created them” (Psalm 89:11-12). Earlier verses note that “the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD” (v. 5), speaking of the angels, “the sons of the mighty” (v. 6), literally, “the sons of God.” It is exciting to realize that the very first “joyful sound” was heard when God “laid the foundations of the earth.” Then it was that “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:4, 7).

There was also a joyful sound when Christ was born, and the angel came bringing “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born . . . a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. . . . And suddenly there was . . . the heavenly host praising God” (Luke 2:10-11, 13).

Whenever a soul is saved, there is another joyful sound: “Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth,” said Jesus (Luke 15:7). Finally, there will be a most wonderful sound of joy on Earth when the Lord comes again. “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:10). Therefore, even now, “my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation” (Psalm 35:9). HMM

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Compound Names of Jehovah

bible_02  October 29, 2016
Compound Names of Jehovah
“In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:6)

There are seven compound names of Jehovah in Scripture which together provide profound insight into the person and work of our Lord. The first of these identifies Jehovah, the God of the Covenant, with the Creator “the LORD God [’Jehovahelohim’] [who] made the earth and the heavens” (Genesis 2:4).

On finding a ram to sacrifice in place of his son, Isaac, “Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh [the Lord will provide]” (Genesis 22:14).

Contingent upon their keeping the law, God promised the people of Israel that “I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee [literally, ‘Jehovah-rapha’]” (Exodus 15:26).

Fresh from a miraculous victory in the first battle of the people of Israel, “Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi [Jehovah the Victor]” (Exodus 17:15).

Once the Lord had commissioned Gideon to lead the people of Israel out of bondage, “Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom [Jehovah sends peace]” (Judges 6:24).

In a passage concerning the future regathering and conversion of Israel quoted in our text, we see that Israel refers to the “LORD our righteousness [’Jehovah-tsidkenu’].”

Finally, in the last verse of his book, Ezekiel describes the absorbing charm of the heavenly city and the One who will preside over it, claiming, “The name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there [’Jehovah-shama,’ Jehovah the indweller]” (Ezekiel 48:35).

And best of all, He is all seven to us. JDM

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One Day as a Thousand Years

bible-cups  October 28, 2016
One Day as a Thousand Years
“Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)

It is sad that many Christians today are so eager to appear intellectual, they are willing to compromise God’s clear revelation to do so. God has made it as clear as plain words could make it, that “in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is” (Exodus 20:11). Yet because evolutionary “science” has alleged that the earth is billions of years old, multitudes of evangelicals have fallen in line, rejecting God’s plain statement of fact and then trying to find some interpretive loophole to hide behind.

Our text verse is perhaps the key verse of the so-called “progressive creationists” who try to correlate the days of creation in Genesis with the supposed 4.6 billion-year system of evolutionary geological ages, by citing Peter as agreeing that “one day is a thousand years.”

No, Peter is saying that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years”! That is, God can do in one day what might, by natural processes, take a thousand years. In context, the apostle is condemning the last-day uniformitarians (those who teach that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation”) as “willingly ignorant” of the tremendous significance of the historical facts of creation and the Flood (2 Peter 3:3-6). Real written records only go back a few thousand years, and to attempt to calculate any date before that requires use of a premise which, in context, the Scriptures have just condemned! God says the uniformitarians are willingly ignorant and then urges those who believe His Word to “be not ignorant.” The only way we can know the date and duration of creation is for God to tell us, and He says He made all of heaven and Earth in six days, and not so long ago! HMM

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Unceasing Prayer

worship_3  October 27, 2016
Unceasing Prayer
“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

This is, no doubt, the shortest commandment in the Bible, and seemingly the most difficult to obey. How could anyone possibly pray without ceasing? What about sleeping, or working, or other necessary pursuits?

Paul himself claimed to pray without ceasing. For example, he wrote to the Roman church: “For God is my witness, . . . that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers” (Romans 1:9). To the Thessalonians he wrote: “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3). In his very last epistle he wrote: “I thank God . . . that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day” (2 Timothy 1:3).

It is obvious from such references that Paul did not mean we should be uttering prayers continually, but rather to be continually in a prayerful attitude and never to stop the regular practice of prayer. In like fashion, the Lord Jesus said: “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). In the parable following this command, He spoke of God’s “own elect, which cry day and night unto him” (Luke 18:7). This would further imply that our prayerful attitude and regular practice of specific prayer should be taking place every day and every night. We should never “faint”—that is, “lose heart”—if the answer isn’t what or when we hope, but keep on praying anyway. When it’s the right time, He will, indeed, answer “speedily,” and in the right way (Luke 18:8).

To pray without ceasing means simply to be free to communicate quickly with Him, night and day, always in an attitude of prayer. “If ye abide in me,” He said, “and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). HMM

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When Christ Ascended

images  October 26, 2016
When Christ Ascended
“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?)” (Ephesians 4:8-9)

This verse has been controversial but is nonetheless very important. The context is taken from Psalm 68:17-20: “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: . . . Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: . . . our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.”

The psalmist is apparently describing the Lord among His heavenly hosts, riding home as a mighty king returning with the spoils of battle. Evidently this battle prize consisted of His own people who had been held captive in an alien land but who now had been captured from the enemy by the returning King. To do this, the King (none other than the Lord Jesus Himself) “ascended up on high,” leading them to His own throne in the heavens.

But first He had to descend to the earth, and then even to “the lower parts of the earth.” This unusual phrase must refer to the great pit in the center of the earth confining the souls of the dead—the place called Hades.

One of Christ’s purposes on Earth was “to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1). That is exactly what He did when He died on the cross for the sins of these very captives, then, in the Spirit, descended into Hades to set them free.

He returned with the very “keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18), alive forevermore. The souls of those who had died in faith came with Him, finally ascending with Him into “paradise,” in “the third heaven” (note Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:2, 4) to wait with Him for His future return to reclaim the whole earth. HMM

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Bringing Up Children

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October 25, 2016
Bringing Up Children
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

This verse, together with the parallel passage in Colossians 3:21, is probably the key New Testament instruction specifically dealing with the training of children. “Nurture” is from the same Greek word that is translated “chastening” in Hebrews 12:5, 7, and “instruction” in 2 Timothy 3:16. It has particular reference to carrying out child training with both firmness and gentleness, as needed and appropriate in each particular case.

The term “admonition” is from a Greek word meaning “putting in mind.” Thus, the “admonition of the Lord” implies teaching the ways of the Lord by using the Word of the Lord. There is no substitute for implanting a knowledge of God’s Word in the minds of our children. Even if they should drift away for a while in later life, the Lord can use His Word in their hearts to bring them back.

Both types of training—through action and through verbal teaching—are said in this passage to be primarily the responsibility of the father. The first reference in the Bible to training children deals with Abraham’s responsibility to bring up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (see Genesis 18:19). Mothers, of course, also have much responsibility and ability in this ministry (see Proverbs 1:8, and the example cited by Paul himself of how Timothy’s mother and grandmother had taught him—2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). Fathers, too, sometimes delegate certain teaching responsibilities to tutors (Galatians 4:1-2), but the overall responsibilities are theirs.

And all of this training should be done in love. “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged” (Colossians 3:21). Then we trust the Lord and pray. HMM

All the children of the World

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