People of The Living God

Romans 8

 

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November 2017



 

 

 

WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS

WAKE UP, WAKE UP, WAKE UP……

Melody Ax

        The Lord spoke these words to me one morning when I was praying.  WAKE UP, WAKE UP, WAKE UP.  Three times He spoke this to me.  The Holy Spirit reminded me of the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25, where Jesus said there were five foolish and five wise virgins.  In verse five, it states, “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.” (Notice they all slept)

        In the World Book Dictionary, the definition of “wake” is as follows: to cause to stop sleeping, to make alive, to restore to life, resurrect from the grave, to wake the dead, to be roused from mental inactivity, become alert and to be restored to life.  Figuratively, “He needs some interest to wake him up.”  People, it sounds like we all need to wake up and see what our Lord is trying to tell us.  He is speaking to us all.

        In Ephesians 5:14-18, it reads, “Where he saith, awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light.  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil.  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess but be filled with the Spirit.”  Sounds like to me we need to wake up and become wise virgins, not foolish ones.

        The other day, we were going to a special church gathering at a church in town.  It grieved me when I saw the ball field packed with cars and then we get to church and there was hardly anyone there.  I am not against sports; I have five children that loved sports.  But, what is it going to take for us to wake up and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways?  As II Chronicles 7:14 states, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  This is the only way things will every change.  Now, I am not trying to condemn anyone, I need to wake up as well, and as I write this, I want whoever reads this to understand that I am writing this to myself as well.

        What happens while we sleep?  In Matthew 13 (the parable of the wheat and tares) in verse 25, “But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.”  The enemy comes in and tries to destroy us.  In verse 39 of Matthew 13, it tells us who the enemy is and what the parable means: “the enemy that sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the world and the reapers are the angels.”  We must wake up and not let the enemy come into our lives.

        There are many things that put us to sleep.  It is just like eating a big meal and stuffing ourselves past the limit of satisfaction.  We get very sleepy, don’t we?  At least I do.  I always feel very sluggish and want to sleep.  Well, we not only put ourselves to sleep by eating too much physically, but there are other ways to put us to sleep.  There is a spiritual sleep.  We have so many distractions today that will put us to sleep; such things as the internet, T.V. sports, video games, etc.  Anything that will come before God is a distraction.  Even the cares of this life get in the way.  This is a big one for me.  The enemy loves to put distractions in front of us and keeps us so busy that we don’t even have time for God.

        Jesus warns us in Luke 8, known as the “Parable of the Sower,” and verse 14 reads: “And that which fell among thorns are they which when they heard, go forth and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life and bring no fruit to perfection.”  Luke 21:34, Jesus warns us, “and take heed to yourselves lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life and so that day come upon you unawares.”  Verse 35: “For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.”  Verse 36: “watch ye therefore and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of man.”

        I would like to close by saying that our God is a loving God.  He is a just God.  His rain falls on the just and the unjust (Matt. 5:45).  His heart’s cry is for all of us to wake up!

        As Romans 13:11-14 states: “and that knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  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 armour of light.  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lust thereof.”

We must sound the alarm to WAKE UP!!!

 

 

 

 

PRAYER AND THE TEN VIRGINS

Alfred King

        In returning to Jerusalem for His final Passover, Jesus saw no change made to the evil practice of buying and selling in the temple by certain devious hypocrites who fleeced those who came to offer sacrifice before the Lord.  In the beginning of His public ministry “He had made a scourge of small cords, (and) he drove them all out of the temple, along with the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables” (John 2:15).  In spite of that earlier display of righteous indignation, three years later He found the same hypocritical “den of thieves” again “fleecing the sheep” and disgracing the order of worship established by Jehovah.  Again, Jesus finds Himself grieved at the diabolical merchandizing of God’s design in the temple by deceptive, thieving, self-righteous hypocrites whose love for money far outweighed any semblance of love for God or His sacred order.  Holy wrath rose up within Him, an anger that compelled Him to again “root out, and pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down” (Jer. 1:10) that which religious men had established and substituted in place of God’s design.  He had just come into the city of Jerusalem to the cheers of the “great multitude (which) spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.  And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (Matt 21:8-9).  But this second act in disrupting the profiteering of the religious frauds in the temple had brought about outrage among the religious leaders, and had also silenced the praises of the multitudes.  The accolades ceased as uncertainty filled many hearts.  This wasn’t at all what they expected from the promised Messiah.  In their profound studying of the scriptures, apparently they had missed or forgotten Malachi’s prophecy: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:  And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Mal. 3:1-3)

        How rapidly attitudes changed when He went into the temple in a spiritual rampage, creating havoc among these religious extortioners and exposing them for what they really were.  One moment they were praising Him and ready to crown Him King of Israel and the next they were crying “crucify Him”.  How strongly religious traditions and superstitions can blind one’s eyes to truth.  How quickly one’s mind can be confused and how rapidly one’s world can change.  For the chief priests and the Pharisees, Jesus had turned their world upside down and they felt their life would be much better if Jesus were no longer around to constantly point out their evil hypocrisy and they could begin to get things back to normal.  To those who heard and understood the truth in Jesus’ words, and followed Him, confusion and uncertainty followed as their world looked as though it were falling apart.  Even the disciples were shocked and floundered when Jesus was taken and crucified.  They too thought He was going to be King of Israel and sit on David’s throne.  However, both groups were wrong.  When the last nail was driven into the hands of Jesus, the last nail was also driven into the coffin of Israel’s religion.  Their house was left unto the desolate and their destiny was sealed.  God’s judgment, which fell upon them in 70 AD still amazes and staggers the minds of men today when they read about the horrors of Jerusalem’s final days.  Could there be any greater wretchedness and inhuman behavior than what was exhibited among the Jews in Jerusalem as God’s wrath fell upon them?

        However, to those who had followed Jesus and believed Him to be the Christ, those who felt their world shattered as their faith was shaken to the core, to them a new order of worship and a new covenant was established.  And for those disciples who were hunkered down in the upper room for fear of the Jews, lest they be hunted down and killed, their ministry was just beginning.  It was a ministry that would “turn the world upside down”.  One that would continue till the day when Christ returns.  This gospel of the kingdom would not only affect many lives in Palestine but would bring hope and salvation to the whole world.  To those faltering disciples, hope was born anew when Jesus appeared unto them after His resurrection.  As He ascended up into heaven, He sent the promised Comforter which fell on them just days later, and they were forever changed as they experienced the reality of that kingdom which Christ had promised. 

        In Matthew 24, shortly after the second cleansing of the temple, Jesus foretold the destruction of the temple, that object of worship among so many Jews.  He also included in that discourse many signs of His return and precursors of the end of the world.  Immediately following this dialog, He gave them a parable concerning ten virgins.  Each of these virgins had lamps and all went out to meet the Bridegroom.  And they all slumbered and slept.  At midnight there was a cry made, “Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him.”  All the virgins arose and began to trim their lamps but five did not have enough oil to keep their lamps burning.  While they went to purchase the oil, the Bridegroom came and the door was shut so that when the five virgins who lacked the necessary oil returned, they were not allowed entrance.

        There has been much written on what characterized the five wise and the five foolish virgins and most are probably to some degree true.  But it seems to me that the critical issue here if we consider all scripture together and boil it down to a plain and simple point is that the ones who will “endure to the end” are those who truly love God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength.  Jesus stressed very seriously that the deception of the latter days would be great, much like that day in Jerusalem when the people were faced with a very difficult question, a question that forced a decision.  Was Jesus truly the promised Messiah or were the religious leaders correct in their rejection of Him?  Did they love God and His Son enough to be willing to be rejected by the religious leaders, to be put out of the synagogue, and to have their name cast out as evil (Luke 6:21)?  Will this generation be able to say with Peter, “To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68)?  Or will they be afraid to have their name deleted from the church’s role?  Will their reputation among the religious majority outweigh their love for God?  Will the years of devotion to their church supersede their devotion to Christ?

        It seems to me that the ingredient the foolish virgins were lacking was a genuine love for the truth and a devotion to God.  There must be such an attachment to the Lord Jesus Christ that nothing can separate us from Him.  It is not just in striving to be obedient, as important and essential as that is.  Jesus said, “If a man love me, he will keep my commandments” (John 14:21).  On the command, to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, hang every other command included in scripture.  Therefore, while many may earnestly endeavor to keep the commands of Jesus in their own strength, they will fall short if a genuine love for God does not exist.  To be acceptable in one’s church fellowship by conformity to certain laws and by-laws will not be sufficient to sustain them in the day of serious decisions.

        The love necessary to create Christ-likeness is obtained through several activities in our lives but the one most important and essential in creating pure love for God is that of earnest prayer.  It is created by spending time with God alone in intimate fellowship.  It is developed through getting to know Him, for the more that we truly know Jesus Christ, the more love for Him grows within our hearts.  The love for other things fade away as this marvelous and most wonderful passion for Christ grows.  The prayer of which I am speaking is not that of petitioning God for an hour, rather it is precious time spent in communion with Him in personal fellowship.  The great song writer Fanny J. Crosby penned these words, “O the pure delight of a single hour that before Thy throne I spend.  As I kneel in prayer and with Thee my God, I commune as friend with friend.”  To love God with all one’s heart, soul, mind and strength and to love one another as Christ loves us, is not acquired except through communion with God.  However, we need to remember that as essential and necessary as earnest prayer is, it does not negate the need to “labor to enter into His rest”, or putting on “the whole armour of God” or building one’s house upon the rock, or “striving against sin” or obedience to every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, but it is the ingredient which causes all of these labors to produce true discipleship and sustaining power to keep us on the strait and narrow way that leads to eternal life.  It keeps us from mere religiosity and creates genuine Christ-likeness.  May God draw His people into that secret place of the Most High where we dwell in continual communion with Him.

 

 

 

 

“AS MY FATHER HATH SENT ME”

Alda Scullin

        “For the son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch” (Mark 13:34).

        The word servant, as used in the Bible, means more than one who serves.  Actually, bondman (or slave) would be a better word, for the people of God are just that.  We have been bought with a price and even our bodies are not our own (I Cor. 6:19,20).

        Notice in this verse that Jesus gave two things to His bondmen.  He gave them authority, and He gave to EVERY man his work.  Every child of God has been given a task and the equipment, or authority, with which to do it.  There is no place for drones in the plan of God.  He intended that everyone should work.  This does not mean that everyone should preach.  The task before us can be summed up in a few words.  It is the same as that which Jesus came to do; namely, the will of the Father.  As Peter expressed it: “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God” (I Peter 4:2).

        Heb. 10:9 – “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.”  “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).

        Just before He left, Jesus said to His servants, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:18-20).

        Here we have the commission and the authority.  For more on the authority let us look at Matt. 16:19: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  “Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19).

        Now after Jesus gave every man his work and the authority with which to do it, He “commanded the porter to watch.”  It is the porter’s job to watch the entrance, to keep the gate day and night, to see that no enemy enters.  But the porters soon grew weary of watching, for Jude found it necessary to warn them that they should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints, “For there are certain men crept in unawares…ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness.”  Jesus knew how soon His servants would forget His warnings, for He asked, “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:18).

        Paul was moved to write to the church at Corinth to examine themselves, “Whether ye be in the faith” (II Cor. 13:5).

        “Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the master of the house cometh…lest coming suddenly He findeth you sleeping” (Mark 13:35).

        Many are the men who have “Crept in unawares” during the intervening ages while the porters slept.  The grace of God has been turned into loose living.  Other “ways” have been substituted for THE way Jesus commanded.  Babes in Christ cannot mature because they are fed only milk.  Where are the faithful stewards to give the “meat in due season” (Matt. 24:45,46)?

        Let us examine and prove ourselves.  What kind of servants are we?  Are we watching, or sleeping?  Ministering, or only being ministered to?  Have we used for His glory the authority and power He gave, or have we, like so many, relegated it to the dim past?  Are we good stewards of our master’s house or is our portion buried some place for safe keeping?

        The master of the house will return.  Will He find us watching, or will our hearts be overcharged with the cares of this life so that the day will come upon us unawares?

        “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36).

        “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch!” (Mark 13:37)

 

 

 

 

CHRIST AND DEATH

Curtis Dickinson

        The Gospel of the death and resurrection of Christ focuses on the issues which lie at the root of all man's problems and reveals the connection between sin, judgment and death.  We must see this connection or we have no Gospel.

        The Bible pictures death as the enemy of man.  It entered the world as a curse for man's sin and stands always as the product of man's estrangement from God.  God takes no pleasure in death; it is equated with enmity against God: “All they that hate me love death” (Prov. 8:36).

        When Jesus spoke of dying, the disciples were distressed.  It was something that should happen to the wicked – David even prayed that God would take the lives of the wicked – but not something that should happen to the pure and holy teacher who exemplified righteousness and lived without sin.

        To the Jews the preaching of the cross was a stumbling block.  They were not prepared to accept a Messiah who must submit to a shameful death.  Their Messiah was to be a superman, smashing their enemies and leading them to a glorious golden day when they would live in luxury and power.  This concept still holds sway in Zionism and millennialism.

        Then, as even today, the basic issue of sin, judgment and death was overshadowed by the love of the world and by political and material goals.

        The preaching of this generation has focused on self-esteem and love.  Somehow we have embraced the idea that it denies love to talk about our guilt before God and the inevitable consequences of sinning against Him.

        When the relationship between sin and death is denied, then Christ's death becomes only a sentimental story, a picture of man's inhumanity to man, but with no direct effect on man's ultimate destiny.

        In fact, great effort is made to deny the connection of death with sin and judgment.  Death itself is ultimately denied.  It is only a transition to another form or state; the “real you” doesn't die.  Hence, the popularity of the reincarnation concept and the doctrine of universalism, that all will somehow eventually be saved to eternal life.

        In the face of such common philosophies, the death and resurrection of Christ loses Biblical relevance.  Men continue to mouth the words in order to sound orthodox, but the significance is missing.

        Christ viewed death as a fearful reality.  As He knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before His death, “distress and anguish came over him.”  He saw death as an enemy (as Paul, who called it the "last enemy” I Cor. 15:26).  He prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”

        Contrast Christ's attitude toward death to that of Socrates, who saw death as his liberator, which loosed his soul from its prison in the body.  Socrates, in his ignorance, saw death as a friend.  It had no connection to sin and judgment and held no terror for him because it had no reality.

        Christ's death was voluntary.  Given His unique and supernatural power, demonstrated in many miracles, including the times He walked away from the Jews who continually sought to murder Him, Jesus could have avoided the cross.  He explained, “I lay down my life that I may take it again.  No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down of myself” (John 10:17,18).  He clearly stated that the purpose of His coming into the world was to “give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).  He was not put to death for His ideals, nor because He was in conflict with the guardians of religious law or a threat to Roman authority, but because He was the “lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

        It is significant that the Gospel narrators make no attempt to impress upon us the grotesque horror of a Roman crucifixion, as so many of us are tempted to do.  Nor do the apostles dwell upon this, but simply refer to the cross or to blood or to His death.  The force of the event was in the fact that a sinless man died to meet the penalty of sin upon the sinful.  God provided a “dier” with no guilt of his own to die for the guilty!  Call it atonement.  Call it propitiation.  Call it salvation.  Call it sacrifice.  Call it redemption.  It all amounts to the same thing, that the stroke of death due to all of us fell upon Jesus in order that we might receive life instead of death.  “now at the end of the ages has He been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.  And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this comes judgment; so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for Him, unto salvation” (Heb. 9:26-28).

        On the third day after death Jesus arose bodily from the dead.  Having no sin of His own, He could not be held by death (Acts 2:24).  His resurrection is a demonstration of a supreme miracle of God, to restore life to the dead.  It says nothing of a transcendent power of the soul, but the opposite, that the solution to death is resurrection, a restoration of life to the whole man.  Jesus said to John, “I was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore” (Rev. 1:18).

        The hope Christ offers is grounded in these historic facts: that He died to meet the just penalty for sin and that He arose from death.  All whose sins are imputed to Christ are sinless so far as judgment is concerned; therefore, death cannot hold them and they too shall rise to live even as He does.  Sin is the root of all man's ills, including death, and the remedy is found in only one thing, the death of Jesus.

        For humanity God sets forth only one destiny, not a variety of options.  We will have life in His image and in fellowship with Him, or we will not have life at all.  Paul writes that “you were called in one hope” (Eph. 4:4).  The alternative is death.  Only in this context is the cross of Christ understandable.

        On this basis the apostles called men to repentance and faith in Christ as Lord.  To the Greeks Paul cried, “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

        To escape the prospect of that judgment men have invented a systematic theology which denies death.  But the proof is in the historic fact that Jesus who stood as man in that judgment suffered death and was restored to life by resurrection.

        Jesus promised, “Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32).  On that great and final day, when we stand before God, when all must give account for the sin and evil of this life, it is as if Jesus should stand before the Father and say, “I confess that I took the guilt for all this one's wickedness and bore his sin in my own body on the tree.  The wages of his sin is paid; therefore, he is acquitted and is free to enter into eternal life.”

        Death is everywhere.  The second and final death awaits each sinner.  But the solution has been provided in the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Only by identifying with Him can the sting of death be removed.

 

 

 

 

DISTRACTONS AND DIVERSIONS

Larry Ax

        In Ephesians 2:2, Satan is called the prince of the power of the air.

        In Ephesians 6:11, it speaks of the wiles of the devil.  Most of these are very devious and evil deceptions, but the two that seem to be so innocent were amusement and entertainment.  Read On!

        As prince of the air, Satan has developed many distractions and diversions.  The deceit started basically with radio, then television, simple electronic devices and then to some of the most sophisticated diversions beyond imagination!  Genesis 6:5 reads: “and 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.”  Has it changed?

        Are they all completely evil?  No!  If used properly, they can be an extremely useful tool.  If used improperly, they can become an extremely deadly toy.  Some questions come to mind when contemplating this controversial issue.

        1.  Are they used as a tool or toy?
        2.  Instruction or an Idol?
        3.  What is the first priority in the morning?
             Pray or Play?
             God or Gizmo?
             How much time with God?
             How much time with Gizmo?

        We must examine our hearts daily!  II Cor. 13:5 states, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.  Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

        There are some definitions of some key words that seem to be needed at this point.  These are from the World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary:

        Gizmo – a gadget; device; contraption
        Distraction – to draw away the mind or attention.  Draw apart-divide
        Diversion – turning aside-diversion of attention, amusement or entertainment.
        Deviation – an act or instance of turning aside from a way, course, rule, truth, or the like.
        Divert – to turn aside

        These can lead to sin.  In the book of Proverbs it is called an abomination to God and is called discord.  God hates it!  This word “discord” means difference of opinions-disputing, disagreements, strife, controversies.  II Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a work man that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

        Please study these words and ask the Holy Spirit to convict you.  If you are guilty, he will show you.  These are very subtle and dangerous deceptions!  May we all desire and seek to be pure and Holy, submitted to our Lord!

 

 

 

 

“GO YE OUT TO MEET HIM”

Harry Miller

        Here is an order that will be given to the church universal: “GO OUT.”  All men who do not expect to be caught on the wrong side of the “shut door” will now take heed to the full significance of this command.  It is strange, yet it is true, that both the “wise” and the “foolish” virgins have failed their Lord in not GOING OUT a long time ago.  Let us take note that ALL of the “virgins” were sleeping until the fateful midnight hour; none can claim superiority as far as the GOING OUT is concerned; none ventured out until after the cry was made.

        We now consider a few verses of Holy Writ (commanding believers to go out): “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean” (Isa. 52:11).  Some may take exception to these commands from the Old Testament, but these very Scriptures are quoted in the New Testament, and they are also applied to present day saints: “God hath said, I will dwell in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you…and ye shall be My sons and daughters” (II Cor. 6:16,17).  In the above we have underlined “her” and “them.”  By examining other Scripture we hope to identify them.

        “Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.  For here have we no continuing city” (Heb. 13:13,14); the implication here is that the “camp” and a certain “city” are one and the same.  It is well to observe that “HIS REPROACH” is not to be found IN the “camp” or “city” from which saints are ORDERED to depart.

        The Patmos visions throw more light upon the identity of this something from which all saints are to depart.  “The woman which thou sawest is that great city” (Rev. 17:18).  Now the “camp,” the “city,” and the “woman” are one and the same something from which God’s people must flee.  “Her sins have reached unto heaven” (Rev. 18:5); this certainly is no place for those professing to be children of God.

        By divine inspiration we have been given the name of this infamous creature: “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Rev. 17:5).  We are also told that she has “become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (Rev. 18:2).  Bear in mind that these statements are divinely inspired.  This is heaven’s evaluation of that something that the “camp,” the “city,” the “woman” SIGNIFIES.  Let there be no illusions concerning this abominable creature; she is utterly corrupt.  God will not cleanse her, neither will He have mercy upon her in the day of His wrath.  It may be inconceivable that holy people could yet remain in this terrible city, but according to verse four of chapter eighteen, it appears that a final call is being given just before the day of wrath: “I heard another voice from heaven, saying, COME OUT of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”  Just as there was danger for Lot and his family, so also is there danger for those of this latter day who remain too long in this corrupt “city.”  We may now understand the significance of the words of our Lord when He warned, “Remember Lot’s wife.”  Lot and his family tarried too long in Sodom.  Mrs. Lot’s heart was with her treasures in the land of wickedness, and she lost her life and her soul in the hour of final escape.

        Let us now identify that CITY, but not as it is popularly identified(?) by the apostate Protestant church.  Since the days of the “Reformation,” Protestants have pointed at the Roman Catholic church and have said, “There is Babylon, the mother of harlots.”  This libelous stigma has been applied and proclaimed by generation after generation of Protestants until it has now become accepted as fact by practically all of professing Christendom outside of the Roman Catholic fold.

        It may startle many of our readers to hear us say that the Roman Catholic church is NOT MYSTERY, BABYLON.  The wicked “city” of Revelation seventeen and eighteen is far bigger and far greater than the Roman church.  Consider these things: There was no Roman church when Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Come out from among them.”  The author of the book of Hebrews wrote, “Go forth,” to the saints of his day, and he was living a full three centuries before there was a Roman Catholic hierarchy.

        Let us carefully examine this Scripture with the object of identifying this most abominable “city”: “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” (Rev. 18:24).  This “city” is guilty of the blood of Abel; the blood of Christ; the blood of Stephen; the blood of those who perished under Nero; the blood of the Roman Catholics who were slain in England in the seventeenth century; the blood of Protestants and Catholics who were slain in both “world wars.”  This array of most heinous crimes certainly must be laid at the door of something far older and larger than the one religious system that bears the name of Rome.

        It certainly has been a very clever piece of strategy of the Devil to cover up the real identity of his CITY.  While the mass of humanity has pointed at the church of Rome, the DEVIL has been able to bring practically the whole world under the spell of his BABYLONIAN MYSTERY.

        It is time that Christians turn back to the Lord and His way.  The world (kosmos arrangement), as we know it, was not the sphere of being that the Father originally intended for His creatures.  Paradise was man’s God-intended home.  After man was “cast out” of this state, he became a helpless target for spirit powers that continually robbed him of his estate.  Instead of man subduing the world (the evil arrangement), he fell into its bondage, and like the Hebrew in Egypt, he became a menial slave to the whole world system.

        But hear the good news: Our Saviour said, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  Jesus Christ has conquered the world system, and all who completely follow Him will also be masters of this evil Babylon.

        There are two kingdoms in this world: Satan’s and Christ’s.  He who wills to do the will of our heavenly Father is made to find the “strait gate” and the “narrow way” that lead to life everlasting.  Such a person is a subject of God’s kingdom; all others are under the dominion and the rule of Satan.

        The “good news” (gospel) of the Christian faith is that “THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND” (within the reach of men).  Since the advent of Jesus Christ it has been within the reach of man to walk out of the kingdom of Satan and enter the heavenly kingdom.  This great truth has been fought by the Devil and his agents from the very day of the inception of the Lord’s dominion.  Satan has been defeated by the blood of Christ, “forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy (make powerless) him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14).  The Lord Jesus demonstrated that He had “bound the strong man” – “If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come unto you” (Matt. 12:28).  Just before His death the Master said, “Now is the judgment of this world (the Babylonian order or system): Now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:21).  “And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10:18).  “he was cast out into the earth” (Rev. 12:9).

        This fellow, known as “the prince of this world,” has been working with great fury to plunder and destroy, but his end is near.  No more can he come before the throne of heaven and present his opinions for consideration.  Jesus Christ is now the advocate for men of faith, and the “accuser of our brethren is cast down,” for “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God” (Rev. 12:10).

        Brethren, rejoice!  Jesus Christ is NOW KING: “NOW unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever” (I Tim. 1:17); “Christ…the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:10).  Listen to these glorious words: “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory…wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places, Far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet” (Eph. 1:17-22).  “Jesus Christ, the prince of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5) made these statements: “I am He that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am live for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Rev. 1:18); and again He said, “these things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth” (Rev. 3:7).

        The apostle Peter said, “We were eye witnesses of His majesty” (II Peter 1:16): this could only be said of a king.  It is very strange that Christendom has denied the power and authority of Christ in this our day now.  “We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Heb. 8:1); he who doubts the power of Christ should again read the words of the Father: “Unto the son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom” (Heb. 1:8).  However, what greater proof do we need than the last words of our Saviour to His church,” “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.  Go and teach all nations” (Matt. 28:18,19).

        Our adversary, the Devil, has been able to rob the church of its place in this world by means of the doctrine of demons which places Christ’s kingdom in the FUTURE.  This hellish doctrine of a FUTURE KINGDOM of God is a masterpiece of deception.  All who teach such things are instruments of anti-Christ whether they are aware of it or not.

        “While men slept” the enemy sowed these evil tares among the saints, but it is now time to AWAKE and “put on the beautiful garments.”  This message from the letter to the Colossians should encourage all saints: “The Father…hath delivered us from the power (kingdom or rule) of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son” (Col. 1:13).  Mark this well: The Son’s kingdom is not future – IT IS PRESENT.  Every Christian is already in the kingdom of God.  He has been translated.

        It is the HEAVENLY GOVERNMENT which is known as the “kingdom of God.”  Those who do not recognize the LORDSHIP of Jesus here and now in this age will never know Him as Lord in the age to come.  A lot of people are looking for Christ to sit upon a throne here on this earth, but this will never come to pass.  Those who have such a future hope usually confuse all the Scriptures concerning His coming, for Christ shall come in flaming fire to make a complete end of all world affairs.

        True knowledge of the real kingdom of God can never be understood until one sees clearly the two opposing forces that strive for man’s affections: Satan’s kingdom and Christ’s kingdom.  There are many types, shadows and figures of these two kingdoms given throughout the Scriptures.  The two “women” of the book of Revelation gives us many details concerning the two diverse systems of government.  They also are explained in figure by the two “cities” which portray the good and the evil: Jerusalem the city of peace, and Babylon the city of confusion.

 

 

 

 

THE CURSE OF HUMANISM

Randall Walton

        Our society is wreaked with a multitude of plagues.  We hear daily of the distresses that come upon nation after nation – hunger, disease, oppression, political turmoil, poverty, rioting, death in the streets, etc.  We who are so fortunate as to live in the U.S. see very little of these dread disasters firsthand because they don't touch our shores.  However, we are experiencing a calamity in this country which is equal to any of the above named tragedies because it eats away, as a hideous cancer, the very fibers and sinews of our existence as a God-fearing nation.  It is a devilish destroyer that threatens the moral and spiritual life of every boy, girl, woman and man.

        And, surprisingly, it has a foothold in this country which is nearly impregnable.  Known as Humanism, its beliefs are embodied in two documents which are called, “Human Manifesto I” and “Humanist Manifesto II.”

Humanism is mainly aimed at our children in the public school systems, since the belief exists that if the children's minds can be conquered, taking over the nation will be very simple.

        The following are but a sample of the many anti-Christian views which are propagated by the Humanist champions:

        * “We believe that traditional dogmatic or authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human needs and experience do a disservice to the human species...We find insufficient evidence of a supernatural; it is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of the survival and fulfillment of the human...While there is much we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are and what we become.  No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.”

        * “Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.”

        * “Promises of immortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful.  There is no credible evidence that life survives after death of the body.  We continue to exist in our progeny and in the way that our lives have influenced others in our culture.”

        * “In the area of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct.  The right to birth control, abortion, and divorce should be recognized...the many varieties of sexual exploration should not in themselves be considered evil.”

        * “At the present juncture of history, commitment to all mankind is the highest commitment to which we are capable; it transcends the narrow allegiances of church, state, party, class, or race in moving toward a wider vision of human potentiality.”

        These are but a few of the tenets of this quasi-religion which has infiltrated our schools and is influencing the younger generation.  The implications and the subtlety are so degenerative that children's faith is undermined without their knowledge that it is being done.

        What can be done to protect our youth from this all-out attack upon their morals and their belief in God?

        Parents need to know more about what goes on in their children's schools.  They should check out their textbooks, inspect their curricula, and know what they are being taught.  If they find that their children are victims of the humanist philosophy, there may be no alternative other than to pull them out of the system.

        Many parents are now teaching their own children at home through the help of material furnished by a number of publishers across the country.  We do not recommend any certain ones, but feel that parents should investigate several of the publications, then make their decision on the basis of their own evaluation.

        It is evident that too many parents do not involve themselves in their children's education.  As a consequence, many textbooks are inaccurate historically, are biased and prejudicial, and are motivated by the humanist movement.  We urge parents to become involved in their children's educational programs – they are your responsibility before God, and God will hold you accountable.  “For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).

 

 

 

 

THE LEADING OF THE LORD

Armando Montes

        “For as many are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).

        A proof of divine sonship for anybody claiming to be a child of God is the leading of the Lord.  Throughout the centuries the Lord God has led His children, those who love and serve Him.  The Bible is a record of many people whose steps are guided by the Living God.  Ancient Israel was led by the Spirit of God.  As they walked in His ways the Spirit of the Lord was their guide.  The Book of Acts is a wonderful example of the glorious leading of the Spirit of God in the heavenly and apostolic church.  “For this God is our God for ever and ever.  HE WILL BE OUR GUIDE unto death” (Psalm 48:14).

True Christianity

        Christianity is more than a set of beliefs held in common by some individuals.  It’s a WAY OF LIFE.  The way of the Lord is a practical matter.  Christianity, in its essence and purity, is a spiritual revolution.  The words of our Lord Jesus Christ are “quick and powerful” and when they are applied to anybody’s life they bring about changes needed in man’s heart.  “Therefore if any man BE IN CHRIST, he is a NEW CREATURE: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17).

        Being a genuine CHRIST-ian means to be a FOLLOWER of Christ (Mark 8:34; Matt. 10:38).  About His disciples the Lord Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they FOLLOW me” (John 10:27).  The Greek word translated “follow,” in this verse, means “to walk the same road.”  Thayer defines it as “to cleave steadfastly to one, conform wholly to his example.”  Christians have been called to walk the same road of their Master.  This is a way of self denial and entire devotion to the will of God.  Every true Christian is to “follow His steps” and to be conformed to His image.  The sinless and consecrated life of our Lord Jesus Christ is the example for everybody professing to be His follower.

        The Christian life is a daily WALK of growth and development.  True Christianity is a progressive walk.  As he walks the narrow way of the Lord the child of God faces many crises.  He has to make hard decisions or to solve some problem.  He needs a guiding hand to show him the right path when life is rough and difficult.  He needs an encouraging hand to lift him up in times of trials and temptations.  He needs a mighty hand to help him “to fight the good fight of faith” (I Tim. 6:12) against the evil forces that try “to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).

Man In The World

        “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God…because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14).  In his lost state, without God, the carnal man does not understand spiritual things.  Man is “dead in trespasses and sins” and, consequently, he has “come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).  He is unable to discern the spiritual realm that surrounds him.  He needs to be brought back to God.  It’s a work of the Holy Spirit to restore man to God.

        “And I will pray the Father, and He shall GIVE you another Comforter, that He may ABIDE with you FOR EVER” (John 14:16).  “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).  This “evil world” is covered with “the vail that is spread over all the nations” (Isa. 25:7).  After sin entered into the cosmos this earth became a place of darkness, gloominess, sorrow and grief.  Confusion and chaos are two of the main characteristics of this world.  The believer is in real need of a guiding hand and a light by which to walk through this Babylonian system.  “Thanks be to God,” for He did not leave His children alone and comfortless.

        Each child of God has been given the Holy Spirit and His Word to lead, comfort and teach him in the way of righteousness and truth.

His Word

        “O send out THY LIGHT and THY TRUTH: let them LEAD me” (Psalm 43:3).  His Word, His Law is a lamp, light and truth (Psalm 109:105; Prov. 6:23; John 17:17).  His Word is one of the means by which God reveals His will and guides His people.

        “The Lord my God will enlighten MY DARKNESS” (Psalm 18:28).  Spiritual darkness is a result of sin, of man’s first fall.  As years went by this condition increased and today, gross darkness covers the earth and the people.  His Word has been designed to give light and to show the way of God.  Our Lord Jesus is THE LIGHT of the world, and he that follows Him shall not walk in darkness (John 8:12).  There is only one way to walk in light and that is to obey the words of the Master.

        The Lord is creating divine character within His saints.  His Word is one of the means that God is using to fulfill His purpose.  The Lord has always had a chosen people.  Our Lord Jesus is coming again to receive “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing…holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27).  Those who will reach this state will have submitted themselves to the cleansing and sanctifying process of His Word.  This process of sanctification is not an instantaneous experience but a continuous work of the Spirit of God and His Word in our lives.  It requires time and effort.  Sanctification is perfected through obedience to the words of the Lord.

        The purpose of the whole creation is to bring forth a divine family, a group of people with the divine traits of the Living God.  Through the ages of human history the Lord has been looking for a spiritual people.  He has not been interested in a religious “churchy” people.  The family of God has been called to set their “affection on things above, not on things of the earth” (Col. 3:2).  They have been called to walk in the Spirit and overcome the frailties of the flesh, the carnal nature.

        Man is born with a human nature, a carnal mind that “is enmity against God” and it is not subject to His law (Rom. 8:7).  Earthly nature, apart from God, is prone to sin and opposed to the Lord.  To enter into the family of God man needs a change, a metamorphosis in his heart.  The Law of the Lord is perfect…holy, just, good, SPIRITUAL (Psalm 19:7; Rom. 7:12,14).  The words of our Lord Jesus Christ have power to bring about a change in our lives, if and when they are fully applied.

        “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…thy ROD and thy STAFF they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).  His Word is “the rod of His mouth” (Isa. 11:4).  His Word is a source of sustaining strength and comfort in the darkest hour of temptations and trials.  Before the foundation of the world the manifold wisdom of God foreknew every problem that His children would face and, through His Word, He made provision for every need and difficult situation.  “that we through patience and COMFORT OF THE SCRIPTURES might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).  The Word of God abiding in our hearts is a spring of comfort and consolation against the discouraging darts of the enemy.  Obedience to His word keeps and increases our faith and hope in Him.

        The Word of God is full of many wonderful promises for His people.  “I will NEVER leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5).  In these few words lies an everlasting promise of God that should move us to continually trust in His faithfulness.  “All the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen” (II Cor. 1:20).  Attached to every promise of God there is a condition.  If we meet these conditions we can be sure that our Heavenly Father will fulfill His part.  He will open the way for the need to be met, but it will be the NARROW WAY because “My thought are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Isa. 55:8).

His Spirit

        “Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that DOTH SPEAK: behold it is I” (Isa. 52:6).  Our God, the Living God, has always spoken to His people.  He has always directed the paths of those who have had ears to hear.  After the day of Pentecost, the Spirit of the Lord set His Church in order.  At that time there was a direct line of communication between the Lord and His people.  Through the gifts of the Spirit and the different ministries the Lord guided the steps of the early church.  They enjoyed the blessings of hearing and obeying the voice of “thus saith the Lord.”

        The Book of Acts recorded some of the ways that the Lord used to speak to His people.  He gave plain, direct instruction and commands to His servants through different means.  The Holy Ghost called and sent His workers to the harvest field (Acts 13:2-4; 16:6-10).  Visions and dreams were given to order the steps of the early disciples (Acts 10:1-6, 9-16; 18:9,10).  Angels were sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation.  They worked on behalf of the people of God (Acts 8:26; 12:5-10; 5:17-20).  True prophecy, tongues and interpretation of tongues were in operation in the early assemblies.  Our Brethren were strengthened and edified in each meeting through the marvelous operation of the gifts of the Spirit.  No wonder that the churches were “established in the faith, and increased in number daily” (Acts 16:5).  They walked “in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 9:31).  The Book of Acts is a wonderful display of the work of the Holy Spirit among and through His people.

        “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Heb. 13:8).  The Lord gave His gifts and ministries “for the perfecting of the saints” (Eph. 4:12).  These gifts still belong to the Church of Jesus Christ.  Brother Peter, moved by the Holy Ghost, spoke of “the times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21).  Brethren, we are living in these times.  The total and direct leading of the Holy Spirit to His Church is on the calendar of the Living God.  Through the gifts and diverse ministries and operations the Lord will lead His people unto the golden goal of perfection.  Before our Lord Jesus returns for His saints there will be a manifestation of the sons of God (Rom. 8:19).  Through His Church and under the complete direction of His Holy Spirit “a short work will the Lord make upon the earth” (Rom. 9:28).  This work will be brought forth only by the Spirit of God because, according to His Word, it is “not by might, nor by power, but my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6).

        “Take heed that no man DECEIVE you” (Matt. 24:4).  Four times in this chapter of Matthew (verses 4,5,11,24) our Lord Jesus Christ warned His disciples about deception in the last days.  Religious deception is one of the signs of the latter days and is widely spread today.  “God is not the author of confusion” (I Cor. 14:33), and He is not in any man-made religious system.  Paul said that “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (I Tim. 4:1).  There are so many false teachings and doctrines today.  Many of God’s people have been led astray by false teachers: “there shall be false teachers among you…and many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (II Peter 2:1,2).

        In the midst of so much confusion there is one place of safety and that is to “walk in the light, as He is in the light” (I John 1:7).  Every child of God needs His spirit to witness to Him of the truth of the Lord.  Those who abide in the secret place of the Most High have received the unction of the Holy Spirit.  They can have knowledge through the Spirit of the things of God.  As we follow His written word and the “still small voice” of His Spirit we are standing on the rock, on solid ground that will keep us unmovable and unshakable in THE faith of Jesus.  Complete obedience to His Word and absolute surrender to His Spirit is the way to weather the stormy winds of error.

        Our Lord Jesus Christ “gave authority to His servants, and to every man his work” (Mark 13:34).  Every child of God has been given a work to do and a place to fulfill in the kingdom of God.  “We are labourers together with God” (I Cor. 3:9).  What a privilege to work for the King of the universe!  There are different functions in the Body of Jesus Christ.  Every member has been assigned a place of responsibility to minister “for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12).

        “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles” (I Cor. 12:28).  No matter what people think or say, God is in control of His work.  Through the Holy Spirit He’s leading His people today.  It’s the responsibility of every believer to find his or her place of ministry in the Kingdom of God.  Our obligation is dual: to the Body of Jesus Christ and to mankind in general.  We are keepers of the Brethren.  It is our duty to daily build up the members of His Body.  The Holy Spirit knows the best place to minister.  It is time to earnestly seek the Lord in deep prayer and ask Him to set His Body in order.  Then His glory will rest upon His people as in the early church.  Then He shall guide us CONTINUALLY.

        We have been given the ministry of reconciliation or, as Thayer defines it, “the ministry whose work is to induce men to embrace the offered reconciliation with God.”  Comparatively speaking, few people have been given a public ministry as preachers, evangelists, Bible teachers.-.but every child of God has been called to minister for the Lord.  There is no place for drones in the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father.  Personal prayer, spiritual songs, personal witness and even a holy life, under the anointing of the Spirit of God, can move people to seek the Lord.  It is the believer’s responsibility to seek His face, find his or her place of ministry and then to be “fruitful in every good work” under the leading and anointing of the Holy Spirit.

The Last Days

        We are living in the last days that our Lord Jesus foretold in Matthew 24.  The cup of iniquity is running over.  Violence and crime are everywhere.  Immorality is destroying the pillars of our society.  Moral perversion is on the increase.  This is the very condition that our Lord likened to “the days of Noe” and that will bring the righteous judgment of God upon the land.

        The Lord, through Noah and his family, warned people of His judgment upon the earth.  Today the Lord is also warning man of His impending judgment.  Isaiah prophesied of this time and said that “the land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled…the inhabitants of the earth are burned and few men left” (Isa. 24:3,6).

        God has always been faithful to His people, to those who have known Him, to those who have enjoyed a personal and intimate relationship with Him.  As He spared righteous Noah and his family, He will also protect His remnant Church.  In this end time, when the wrath of God will be poured upon the earth, there will be a place of refuge, of safety for those “who abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”  “God is our REFUGE and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

        “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4).  The Lord God, by His spirit, has always called His chosen to be separated from the world, from Babylon, the system of confusion ruled by man.  This Babylon covers more than the Catholic Church, as is so often taught today.  Babylon represents the world system that has ruled mankind down through the centuries.

        There is a mighty movement in the realm of the spirit to bring the people of God into complete harmony and unity.  The hour has come to flee from Babylon.  As we are getting close to the end of all things the separation is becoming more urgent.  The Lord will gather together His elect in this end time: “And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries…and they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Jer. 23:3,4; 32:37,38).

        Now is the time to be in perfect tune with the forces of heaven.  This is the time to have an ear to hear His “still small voice.”  As we stay close to God in communion and constant prayer He will direct our path.  He will show us the way to go to the place where He wants us to be.  May God help us to be sensitive and obedient to Him that we won’t miss the leading of the Lord in this end time.

 

 

 

 

“FOR HE SATISFIETH THE LONGING SOUL”

Psalm 107:9

Maxine Coleman

        “Ho ev’ry one that is thirsty in Spirit!
        Ho ev’ry one that is weary and sad!
        Come to the fountain, there’s fullness in Jesus.
        All that you’re longing for, come and be glad.”

        Jesus satisfies every longing of the soul!  One hymn writer has said: “He is my everlasting portion.”  Another has called Him “The Blest Rock of Ages.”  King David has proclaimed Him to be “his refuge and his fortress.”  Martin Luther has confirmed the truth of these last words in his song: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

        He as been lovingly referred to as “My Breath, My Sunshine, My All In All.”  A follower of Christ, who has suffered persecution for His sake, has devotedly declared: “He is the center of all existence.”

        We could go on and on with such endearing names as “The rose of Sharon,” “The Lily of the Valley,” “The Bright and Morning Star;” but none of these would sufficiently describe the Divine Attributes of our Saviour: none of these could adequately portray the Sacred Person of our Lord; yet He satisfies the longing soul!

        To the sinner who has been saved by His marvelous grace, “He is everything, both great and small.”  He thrills at the words, “My Redeemer.”  He is enthralled by the reality of his salvation.  It is a miracle!  He has been bought by the precious blood of Jesus.  He has been ransomed, set free, forgiven!  He has now become a purchased possession.  He can shout and sing: “Now I belong to Jesus,” throughout all eternity; for Jesus satisfies every longing of the soul!

        “All that I want is in Jesus;
        He satisfies, joy He supplies.
        Life would be worthless without Him.
        All things in Jesus, if find.”
        “And filleth the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:9).
        “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 33:5).

        God extends His goodness to us in many different ways.  Goodness is also one of the fruits of the Spirit: “but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness” (Gal. 5:22).

        God’s goodness is universal: to the sinner and to the saint alike.  “The lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Psalm 145:9).

        His goodness is manifested in material blessings: “for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45).

        His goodness is manifested in Spiritual Blessings: “Oh how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” (Psalm 31:19)

        His goodness is extended to us in the forgiveness of sin: “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee” (Psalm 86:5).

        The goodness of God leads us to repentance, so let us not despise the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering” (Rom. 2:4).

        Now that we have discussed the goodness of God, let us not forget His severity: “Behold the severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off (Rom. 11:22).

        Let us continue in His goodness.

        Goodness is obtained by a walk in the Spirit, just as are the other fruits, which include love, faith, meekness, temperance.  A walk in the Spirit requires effort on our part.  As we cooperate with the Holy Spirit and let Him have His way, the fruits are developed in our lives.

        The fruit of the Spirit is manifest in the life of a true follower of Christ.  “Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit” (Matt. 7:17).  Jesus also said: “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matt. 7:20).  “For the tree is known by his fruit” (Matt. 12:33).

        It should be the sincere desire of every child of God to be filled with His Spirit.  Our prayer should be:

        “Fill me now, Fill me now,
        Jesus, come and fill me now.
        Fill me with thy hallowed presence;
        Come, O come, and fill me now.”

 

 

 

 

GIVING THANKS

Editor

        Being thankful is a characteristic of a grateful heart and has a very positive effect upon one’s overall well being.  This is true whether one is a disciple of Christ or not.  In the United States we have a special holiday that we celebrate every year in November called “Thanksgiving”.  It is not that we should only be thankful once a year; but it is a good thing, for it causes us to reflect upon our lives and evaluate and count our blessings.  For those of us who are privileged to live in a free and prosperous nation where we can choose the life we want to live, it is something we should each greatly appreciate and cherish.  Opportunities abound when liberty is allowed, and those nations whose people are free are much more affluent than those whose governments are tyrannical and have rulers who are not interested in their citizens except as those people may benefit them in some personal way.

        In the United States, education and opportunities of every sort are accessible for those who will apply themselves and work to achieve their goals and dreams.  The blessings that have brought this country to become prosperous and offered its citizens the freedoms they experience have come from God, and that because it was founded upon Christian principles.  God is a God of love, and love does not dominate or enslave; rather, it allows those loved to be free to make their own choices in life.  While this is dangerous in many ways because of men’s sinful natures, it nevertheless places man in the position to choose the path he wants to take in life.  It also frees one to serve God and eventually gain eternal life; or he can reject His salvation and reap the consequences.

        There are so many blessings which we receive each day and so many things for which to be thankful.  All who are reading this article have been given the breath of life, which is one thing we often take for granted.  We also have family and friends, a job where we can labor and gain the resources to pay for a place to live, a vehicle, food, and other essentials of life.  But beyond the essentials, most in free countries have many luxuries also, which are not necessary to sustaining life.  These are all things for which to give thanks.  Our family members and friends also contribute to making our lives happy and complete.  Of course, the greatest thing for which Christians are to be thankful is the love that God had for mankind.  His great love compelled Him to send His beloved Son into the world in order to save mankind from an eternal hell.  Such love as God’s has never been equaled nor can it be described.  The blood that flowed from Calvary over 2000 years ago still flows to cleanse any who will come to Jesus Christ in faith.  All those who will go to Him, He will not cast aside (John 6:37).  The great work of Grace even goes beyond initial salvation, because there is a continual working of the cross in every born again believer, a work that continues all the days of the believer’s life.  There are promises given through Christ in which the believer can rest.  There is a foundation in Christ which cannot be shaken no matter how the winds may blow or how tempestuous the sea rages.  There is offered through the work of the cross a peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7) and joy that gives strength and a fulfillment of which the world knows nothing.  There is an abiding place offered through the atoning sacrifice that provides an assurance that never fades even in the most difficult trials and wringing circumstances.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the message through which we find friendship with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit and a grace that enables us to “come boldly to the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16) to receive blessings from God’s hand.  Wonderful as are all the blessings in the natural world, even greater are the bounties and glories which we receive in the spiritual realm.  And His blessings are forever, while these worldly blessings are only for a time.  In light of these thoughts, let us take time this month to reflect upon our physical and spiritual gifts and develop thankful hearts for all of them.  Let us praise our blessed Redeemer that loved us and gave Himself for us.  Thank you, Lord Jesus!

 

 

 

 

MARY MAGDALENE BENDYNA

(July 17, 1932 - October 3, 2017)

Picture of Mary Magdalene Bendyna

      Sister Mary Magdalene Bendyna, who has been a member of People of the Living God congregation for 20 years, passed away on October 3, 2017.  Sister Mary and her late husband, Alexander, moved to Tennessee from Arizona in the late nineties in order to be close to People of the Living God where they could attend the services and help when and where needed.  They never missed a service, a bible study, a prayer meeting or any gathering with the congregation and loved to come to any music practices or impromptu music gatherings.  Sister Mary was a quiet person who loved people and was very serious in her relationship with the Lord.  She was a person who was constant and steady in her walk with the Lord and a strong believer in prayer. 

      Sister Mary began having some health problems about two years before her decease.  As her health grew worse, her son took her to live with him in Holly Pond, Alabama where she remained for just under a year before her passing.  She will be missed by her family as well as her church family.  We rejoice with her today because her suffering is over and her future is sure.