Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Thrust of the Bow

Genesis 49:24 “But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob...” Joseph’s bow abode in strength. It is the hand on the bow that determines the thrust of the arrow. I am ashamed at the lack of thrust in my service, the lack of willingness to bend. There was much bending in Joseph’s experience, and there was a powerful thrust going forth.

Chapter 41 verse 49 “And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering: for it was without number.” It takes bending to gather by the handfuls. The thrust of his influence went out to all the countries of the earth. It would be impossible to measure the thrust of influence in lives that are willing daily to gather handfuls of heavenly seed. Joseph knew that experience of being falsely misrepresented and misunderstood—the supreme test for many of us. In chapter 39, there was a beautiful bending in his spirit. He kept himself from the hardness of bitterness. The thrust of influence that went forth from his spirit could not even be contained by prison walls. The keeper of the prison committed all authority into his hand. The thrust of that influence has reached even into our hearts today, and it is an example to us of bending in our own spirit. Unwillingness to bend existed in the hearts of his brethren and it created their problem. They brought an evil report to their father. They could not bow to speak peaceably to their younger brother. They could not tolerate the message of his dream that resulted in sorrow, suffering, pain and famine. This involved their little brother and grief-stricken father, until finally they were brought to the place where they said, “We are guilty”. The thrust of their influence started reaching out and their father could bless them and see the possibility of them becoming the patriarchs of the Old Testament. There is a tendency within us to be afraid to bend because of the experiences of pain and suffering that might be required.

Psalm 78:9 “The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.” They turned aside as a deceitful bow. It is possible to have the outward appearance of bending and not the reality of it within, and as a result, there is no thrust, no accomplishment in the day of battle.

I thought of Jesus who felt His need of an additional thrust that last evening before He faced Calvary. It was accomplished by Him bending both inwardly in the struggle in the Garden and also outwardly bowing as He bent to wash His disciples’ feet. In the light of accomplishing cleansing for the sins of the whole world, this matter of washing the feet of twelve men would seem very minimal, but we see the result of that tremendous thrust. Those armed officers came to Jesus with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus said to them, “Whom seek ye?” and they answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth”. Jesus said, “I am he”. They stepped backward and fell to the ground in John 18. His bow abode in strength because of His willing spirit to bend. The momentous thrust that went forth from that bowed figure on Calvary we cannot find words to describe, that cleansing that still reaches and cleanses us from every stain of sin. In light of such bending we should live in appreciation of it, so the effect could prevail upon our hearts and help each be willing for what it means to bend each day. Jesus was willing to completely bow so cleansing could be brought to others.

I would like to speak the words of Job, “My bow is renewed in my hand.” May we enter more fully into the effect of such a thrust.

Source: J.SZAKACS
 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

So Many Things

So many things I do not know of earth's philosophy;
But this I know - God sent His Son to live a life for me.
It matters not that earth's wise men o'er words and creeds have striven,
I see that Jesus marked the Way so clear from earth to heaven.
'Tis not the things I ought to know, or truths I ought to see,
But what I ought to be and do, which matters most to me.
So many things I do now know, for "Jacob's well" is deep
But this I know that Jesus died, the Shepherd for the sheep,
And if I follow as He leads, and thus requite His love,
I'll prosper in the pastures green, and dwell with Him above.
And when the gilt of earth shall fade with every transient joy,
I'll have my treasure where no thief nor rust can e'er destroy.
So many things I do not know about the stars above;
But this I know - God put them there, and at His will, they move.
The last of Adam's race will die, the gates of time be past,
Before men tell their number, or measure space so vast;
And "what is man" that such a God should of him mindful be?
And such as we should dwell with Him throughout eternity?
So many things I have not learned about this world below;
But I can trace the work of God in every place I go
I've seen Him in the tropics, and in frozen northern land,
In valley, plain, and mountain height, by lake and ocean's strand.
The wise man said, "Of making many books there is no end,"
But I love the Book of Nature more than all that men have penned.
I cannot find identical two pebbles in the brook!
Nor yet two grains of wheat as with the microscope I look!
I cannot find two quite the same among the forest trees;
Nor yet the leaves which shiver in the gentle noonday breeze!
How can each sheep in hundreds its own lamb's bleating tell?
And when it finds it by its bleat, confirms it by its smell.
The wild bird calling to its mate its answering note discerns;
The waiting wife, her spouse's step as homeward he returns.
The features are dissimilar in households of one name,
And though it scarce seems possible, no voices are the same;
Nor yet exactly like the script wherewith our names are signed,
Woe to the criminal who leaves his finger prints behind.
I do not know, and no man knows, when Christ shall come again;
'Tis not revealed to angels, much less to sons of men.
Eleven sad disciples heard upon the mountain's brow,
"This self-same Jesus comes again, just as you see Him now."
And I know He'll seek one people, and only one that day
Those doing what He told them before He went away.
I love the Book of Nature and all its precious lore;
I read God's Book - The Bible - and I love it more and more.
I glory not in what I know, nor ought that I have done;
I feel my education here has scarcely yet begun;
But in one thing, I do rejoice midst earthly sin and strife
That ever God wrote down my name within the Book of Life.
Author:  W. Hughes

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Keepers of the Light

The Keepers of the Light, who day by day,
Wipe clean the lamp, that it will clear display;
Trim back the wick, so that it will burn bright,
Then add the oil, enough to burn all night.
 
'Tis not their lot to turn the helms of ships,
Nor change the tide, or stop the wind that whips;
Their portion is that precious light to tend;
And o'er and o'er a constant message send.
 
The Keepers of the Light, at eventide,
Kindle the lamp, which shall in the darkness guide
The mariners who ply the treach'rous sea,
Oft' peering in the dark, so anxiously.
 
That steady beam which says that 'Someone Cares',
Makes even hardened seaman offer prayers;
That still on earth are such as these
Concerned to help them safely cross the seas.
 
The Keepers of the Light, in midnight drear',
They know not who is watching – far or near;
Nor can they see the weary sailor weep,
When lost at sea, A glimpse! A bearing reap!
 
These faithful souls, whose vigil in the night
Steadfast to send a beacon of bright light;
It matters not how fierce and storm and gale,
They purpose true: "The Light Must Never Fail!"
 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Seek Thy Servant

Perhaps that hymn (119 - “There is rest”) doesn’t apply to this Convention when it speaks about entering the fold and so forth, but here at this place we can enter into more fully than ever before, the riches and promises of God’s Kingdom.

My thoughts have been in Psalm 119, the longest psalm in the Bible.  Who wrote it? I don’t know.  The writer was a real child of God, a real servant of God.  When we read the different chapters in the psalm, we come to the conclusion that this man knew God, knew the statutes and ways of God.

Verse 165 says, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”  It was not a theory in his mind.  He had proved that there was great peace in serving God.  This was a man who knew many things about the Kingdom and word of God.  There is no doubt that this man was a servant of God, who followed closely in the footsteps of God.

The very last verse, 176 is an unusual verse.  “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.”  He had gone astray: past tense.  Then present tense: “seek thy servant.”  When we think of this most wonderful man who wrote all these verses, at the end he said, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant. .”  I have prayed this prayer many a time down through the years.  More than once I have gone astray but have prayed, “Seek Thy servant.”

When we talk to this man who wrote the psalm and we would say, “You never left the borders of the Kingdom.  You always prayed and sacrificed and did your part to serve God.  You never left the Kingdom or this faith or this way of Truth.  How can you say then, ‘I have gone astray . . seek Thy servant’?”  

He would answer, “Yes, I did go astray.  I never took steps outside the Kingdom of Heaven.  I remained within the borders of Israel, but many a time, in my thoughts, in my feelings and in my attitude I went astray.  Many times in my spirit I went astray and I had to pray to God.  I have had some wrong thoughts, some wrong feelings, some wrong desires and had to pray, ‘Please bring me back into the centre, right near the Shepherd.  Not physically but in my own being I have gone astray.  O Lord, seek Thy servant’.”

We may feel the same today.  We have stuck with it through different circumstances and tests and trials in hard and dark days.  We are still here, coming to the meetings, taking part in the fellowship, but within ourselves we know we have gone astray many a time in our attitude, in our judgement, in our thinking at the time, towards others.  “Lord, seek Thy servant.”

Sheep are wonderful animals.  You have millions of them in Australia.  They all have this one trait, they just can’t find their way.  No animal gets lost so easily as a sheep.  Take a dog a hundred miles away.  Let him loose and he will find his way.  Take a sheep a few hundred yards down the road and it won’t find its way home.  For any of us it is so easy to go astray in our spirits, in our thoughts, in our minds; not going astray physically.  “Lord, seek Thy servant.  Bring me back again to have the mind of Christ in all matters.

There is a similar thought in the Book of Psalms where we read many a time about the harp and different musical instruments including an instrument of ten strings.  
Take the harp.  It is often tuned.  Even a piano needs tuning from time to time.  It takes someone with a very good ear for music to get the tuning fork and get the right tone.  Leave a harp in the corner for a few days and it has to be tuned again; the strings tightened or loosened.  For good harmony there is need for tuning all the different strings.

We have come to Convention to be tuned.  Our tuning fork is Jesus.  He gives the right reading, the right measured tone for our lives, to have the right attitude in every experience.  As we said in Psalm 119, last verse, “Lord, I have got lost in this or that experience.  I need Thy help.  Seek Thy servant.”  I hope, in this Convention, God can seek and find us to bring us right near the Shepherd for future days.

A sheep gets lost so easily.  Other animals never get lost.  The lions and tigers, even the elephants find their way in the jungle, where there are no tracks, no roads to follow to get where they wish, but a sheep gets lost so easily.  It is our tendency, even in this fellowship, to get lost.  We need His guidance to bring us back to the centre of the flock.  “Seek Thy servant.”  A sheep needs a shepherd.

Other animals, even like the cows over in Switzerland where every year they take them up into the Alps for the summer months where the special type of grass grows.  They graze on those grasses to produce butter and cheese and such products.  But then the snows fall and the cows come down.  Every time they come down, there is quite a procession.  The herdsmen guide them down the mountainside.  Often there is music to accompany them and they take flowers and put them on the horns of the cows.  It is a tradition in that part of the world.  Usually there is the queen of the herd.  She is number one.  Even other animals, wild animals, amongst themselves they choose one to be number one; to be the king.  They take one of their own to guide them through life.

But with the sheep it is not so.  There is no king or queen sheep.  Sheep need a shepherd.  They need a higher level of intelligence to find their way.  A sheep is not able to lead other sheep and that is why sheep need a shepherd.  Even David, that gifted man, whose musical attainments were obvious to all, courageous on the battlefield, head and shoulders above everyone else in the country: he had ability; he had strength; he had courage, all that a man could require, humanly speaking, yet he said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I need the Lord.  The Lord is my shepherd. I need Him.”  We need a higher power to guide us.

Do you know what’s wrong with Australia and New Zealand and Switzerland and every nation upon the face of the earth?  So much turmoil, so much distress and chaos and so many upset people.  It’s because they take one of their own to be their guide.  They elect one of their own to lead the country.  Every time there is disillusionment.  Things go wrong every time.  We need a shepherd.  We need God.  As the psalmist said, “I have gone astray . . seek me.”  I can’t find the way.  It’s not in me to find the way.  I need Thy power.  I need Thy Word, I need Thy Spirit.  I need all the strength of Heaven just to find the way, to be amongst the flock; just to realise our dependence upon Him in this place.  “Bring me into the centre of Thy will.”

We need a shepherd.  There is a very interesting verse in Proverbs 30:21 “For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: For a servant when he reigneth . .”  To sit on the throne, to guide the affairs of a nation it needs a certain amount of ability, a certain amount of intelligence and schooling to guide the people, but when a slave (in Bible days illiterate) who can’t read or write is on the throne, then the country is troubled; the nation is disquieted.  There is trouble on every hand when a servant reigns on the throne.

When this old Esau nature, this one who should be servant to the new nature, when the human is serving the spiritual that is good, but when this servant starts reigning and governing, when the old human nature has the say in our life, there is trouble in our hearts, trouble in our whole being, in our hearts and around us.  God must be our guide in all matters.  “I have gone astray . . seek Thy servant.”

I have no real verification of this story but it seems, when the first settlers arrived in New Zealand from the British Isles they brought deer, pigs, rabbits and sheep.  New Zealand was then a paradise for animals. There were no snakes, no wild animals.  Those first settlers let all those animals go free.

The pigs multiplied quickly and the deer multiplied quickly until there were hundreds of thousands of deer in the whole country.  Of course the rabbits multiplied with great speed.  Of the pigs, deer and rabbits, there were hundreds of thousands within a few short years.  

The sheep all perished.  No snakes, no wolves, no enemies and yet they perished because they had no shepherd, no one to look after them.  They died.  It just proved again that a sheep cannot survive without a shepherd.  We are glad that we have the Shepherd, seeing our hearts and our need and where we are in our spirits and in our thinking and He is there to bring us back again into the centre of His will.  “I have gone astray . . . seek Thy servant.”  We need the shepherd so much in our lives.

In my teen years, back in my home country one evening, three teenagers and myself, all professing, all trying to find the Way in heavenly matters, were travelling.  We went this evening by car, those three other boys and myself.  One of those boys was driving correctly but came around a sharp corner and there were five sheep in the middle of the road.  He put on the brake but unfortunately,  hit one of the sheep.  It was obvious it had to be put out of its misery.

I am a city boy.  I made a remark to my friends, “Those stupid sheep, those silly sheep, being on the road, putting dents in the car.”  One of my friends, a country boy said, “It’s not the fault of the sheep.  It’s the fault of the shepherd.  He should have been more careful, when evening came, that all his sheep were in behind a closed gate and not wandering on the road.”  If there had been a court case you wouldn’t judge the sheep and put him in prison.  It would be the shepherd who would be judged, not the sheep.

Aren’t we so glad we have such a Shepherd who said, “I will pay the price.  I will be condemned.  I will go to Calvary’s cross and die for the sinners of the world.”  He is a true Shepherd who says, “I want to find them and bring them right to the centre, the best place for their souls.”  We are glad that we have a Shepherd who cares for our souls.  Sheep go astray so easily.

Psalm 73:2 “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.”  It is a psalm of Asaph.  This was a man of God, a member of Israel, one who understood the things of God.  He knows all about God, the will and way of God and has been a faithful man for many years and he says in this psalm, “My feet were almost gone . .”  “I almost tripped over.  I have been stumbling.  I have had trouble in past days.  It has been rough going and I have stumbled many a time, tripped on this and that.  My feet were almost gone.  I almost lost my footing in the things of God.”

What was to blame?  Was it the Way of God?  Was it that the Way was so narrow or rough or steep, or was it because of others who weren’t so true or faithful in their place?  
No!  He was stumbling and tripping over and failing to make any progress in the things of God.

We have the answer in the next verse, verse 3.  “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”  He saw the wicked flourishing, lack of discipline in their lives.  He couldn’t understand it.  How could they live such a life, turn their backs on God and prosper at the same time?  He was envious at the foolish.  “They’ve got it so good.  No self-denial, free to do whatever they wish.”  For that reason he began to stumble and that made the going very hard as far as his life was concerned.  “O Lord, seek me and bring me back.”

Psalm 73:16 “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.”  He was going into the presence of God; going into the sanctuary, into the place where there was always light.  There were seven lamps burning the whole night through, never darkness there.  He got the answer in God’s presence.  Sometimes we see what others are doing and could be influenced by them.

Psalm 1:1 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”  Don’t sit in the seat of the scornful.  It is easy to be scornful, to mock, to criticise, to judge.  It is very, very easy.  It comes from human nature.  The easiest thing to do is to be scornful and to mock others.  Don’t sit there.  Why not?  If you sit there too long you will see things as they see them.  You will get the very same way of thinking about things and judge as they do.  Who wants to be a scorner?  

I have gone astray like a lost sheep . . . seek Thy servant.”  That was the case in Psalm 1 and Psalm 73; people going astray inside the Kingdom; people going astray inside the fellowship, people going astray inside the flock of God.  “Lord I’m having trouble.  I can’t fathom it out.  Why this or that?  Why that unfairness?”  When that happens pray, “Lord seek me.  Give me clear understanding of the things of God.  Seek Thy servant again.”

In the Bible there are at least two parables of lost sheep.  They are in Luke 15 and Matthew 18.  In Luke 15 Jesus was talking with the Pharisees and Sadducees. One sheep got lost and He left the ninety-nine to get the one lost sheep.  It was the picture of the publican folk who led a different type of life, down to the gutter level of life and the ninety and nine were just a picture of the Pharisees, religious people of Jesus’ day.  I couldn’t understand why the shepherd would leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and seek just one lost sheep.  Why would he leave all those sheep behind, ninety and nine, just for one sheep that got lost?

If those ninety-nine sheep were as concerned about that lost sheep they would have gone too.  Those ninety-nine sheep should have followed the shepherd to find the lost one.  They stayed behind in the wilderness.  They didn’t have the hallmark of the true sheep.

I don’t believe, anywhere in the world, is there a people who stand by their preachers like God’s people do.  I have been in a number of Conventions and I have heard time and time again in testimonies, how God’s people have appreciated Gospel meetings.  Hundreds of times it has been mentioned like, “This year we have appreciated the Gospel meetings in our district.”  That is a hallmark of God’s people.  No one does more to stand by their preachers or their shepherds than God’s people do.  It is a hallmark of a true sheep.

Matthew 18.  It seems to be almost the same parable but it is not: a shepherd and a hundred sheep.  The subject in this chapter is the spirit of a little child.  
He took that little child and put it in the midst of them.  That whole chapter is about having the spirit of a little child.

Where did He find the sheep?  Up in the mountains.  This sheep had strayed from the lowly place and climbed to the mountains and got lost there.  It hadn’t stayed on the plain in the fold.  This sheep was found in the high place, strayed from the place of humility.  The spirit of a little child had been lost.  The Master went to find this one who had lost the spirit of a little child.

The shepherd and the sheep, when they leave the sheepfold in the morning, the shepherd calls his sheep to come and the day lies before them.  The thing is to go and find grass for the sheep to feed on, a place of shade and water; that is the part of the shepherd every day.  The shepherd never asks one of the sheep, or the sheep in general, “Where will we go today?”  The shepherd never asks, “What shall we do today?  Where shall we feed today?”

In all our plans, if we are young or old or middle aged, be guided by our shepherd and not make our own plans.  I can tell you stories about people who took their own way, never asked the Shepherd for His answer on the matter, be it career, be it marriage; there has been sorrow and tragedy. Remember we need the Shepherd and the Shepherd chooses the way and we have to follow the Shepherd.

In John 27 there are three little statements.  “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”  If there is one shepherd and there are a hundred sheep like back in the Bible days, if they were travelling overland, how many in actual fact, physically, are following the shepherd of the whole one hundred?  It would be just five or six, just those who can see his heels, the back of his legs or the back of him.  They follow the shepherd and all the others, ninety or more of them, follow the sheep.  All cannot see the shepherd’s heels.  Most are following the sheep in front of them.

But spiritually speaking it can be done.  We can all follow the Shepherd. “ . . they follow me.”  We must be very, very sure about one matter.  “Am I really following the Shepherd, not just following the movement of others, but really following the voice of the Shepherd?”  If there be a hundred or a hundred thousand or more, all can hear the voice of the Shepherd and follow the Shepherd.

Abraham heard the voice of the Shepherd.  “Leave behind thy father’s house and country and go forth.”  The Bible tells us that Lot went with him.  Abraham heard the voice of the Shepherd and followed Him to go further.  God gave guidance all those years in the land of Caanan and Lot went with him to this point where there were disputes between the herdsmen.  Lot made that selfish choice, that fertile land for the future, but didn’t see hidden behind the horizon, disaster and catastrophe.  He lost everything in Sodom and Gomorrah.

We never read once that God spoke to Lot.  Lot didn’t make any altars.  He just followed Abraham.  What were the results?  He lost everything.  He didn’t follow the voice of the Shepherd, he just followed one of the sheep.

My sheep hear my voice, . . . and they follow me.”  I have been impressed at these Conventions in Australia and New Zealand, impressed with my fellow Workers, impressed with you good folk, with the devotion and attitude and spirit and sacrifice of love.  There is so much evidence of life and the love of God working in the hearts of His people, but there are a few here and there who find it hard to follow. 

They are straggling, on the fringe of things, drawn away by other thoughts, by other opinions, by other doctrines, all sorts of things out there.  They are those on the fringe of things, finding it hard to follow.

My sheep follow me.” Why?  Because they “hear my voice.”  Some are finding it hard to follow because they are not hearing the voice of the Shepherd, not taking time to get alone with God, not making the effort to pray and hear the voice of the Shepherd.

With Psalm 23 we have to come to the conclusion, what a paradise for the sheep!  There is every provision and every promise.  It is just a paradise for the sheep; still waters, green pastures, cup overflowing.  The sheep who hear the voice of the Shepherd follow.  Only those who follow know this wonderful provision.  “My sheep hear my voice . . and they follow me.”  It’s not hard to follow.

Once, in Switzerland, I parked a little car on the shores of Lake Geneva and a big, old truck came in behind me and stopped.  It was a truck from France.  The driver didn’t know Switzerland.  He asked me, “Can you please tell me where this address is?”  I said, “Sure, I know where that is.  Some of our good friends live on the same street.  You get back into your truck and turn round and turn up to the left, climb the hill, bear to the left and right, come to another street, turn sharp left.  There will be street lights, then you will go under a passageway.  Go through there and take the second street to the left.”

The look on his face showed that he was perplexed.  It got confusing for him.  I said, “Look, I will get into my car and I will drive.  You follow me.”  He found his destination without one wrong turn.  What a privilege to follow our shepherd!  He knows the way.

John 10:28 “ . . they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”  What a guarantee!  What a wonderful promise that no power, nobody, is able to pluck them out of My hand.  Those are the promises of Jesus, the words of Jesus.  Let us realise that we have the choice of being in the flock of God or in the hand of the Shepherd.  “No man can pluck them out of my hand.”  It is a promise, not for those in the flock but for those in the hand of God.

The flock graze together and there is a certain amount of unity in a flock of sheep, but sometimes a lion can come and grab those sheep and they perish.  Even with the best of shepherds one on the fringe can be destroyed by a wild animal.  It is better to be those in the hand of the Shepherd, not in the flock of the Shepherd.  Sheep in the flock have a certain amount of basic freedom, can go to the right or to the left, or drag behind others in the flock, but the sheep in the hand of the Shepherd, they cannot move.  

They are held.  They have no liberty.  They are captors, held in the hand, but they have the guarantee that no one, nothing “shall pluck them out of my hand.”  “No man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”  Are we just in the flock of God, or in the hand of God, to be held tightly our whole life through?

As I said before, I have often had to pray this prayer, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep . . . seek Thy servant.”  Like a harp we need to be brought back into harmony; need to be finely tuned.

If we have gone astray then God is here to seek and find us.
 
G. Snow

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Story About Forgiveness

Here's an inspiring story of two friends who learn something special about forgiveness together. It reflects those experiences in our lives that get us thinking: "should I hold on to this, or just forget about it"? I hope the lesson in this inspiring story will help you answer some of these questions, as well as help whoever you share it with:

Click Here to watch the video.

Source: ba-bamail.com

When To Be Silent

Lord, help me to know when and what to speak, and when to be silent.

the Bible says...

1. Be silent In the heat of anger - (Prov 14:17)

2. Be silent When you don't have all the facts - (Prov 18:13)

3. Be silent When you haven't verified the story - (Deut 17:6)

4. Be silent If your words will offend a weaker person - (1 Cor 8:11)

5. Be silent When it is time to listen - (Prov 13:1)

6. Be silent When you are tempted to make light of holy things - (Eccl 5:2)

7. Be silent When you are tempted to joke about sin - (Prov 14:9)

8. Be silent If you would be ashamed of your words later - (Prov 8:8)

9. Be silent If your words would convey the wrong impression - (Prov 17:27)

10. Be silent If the issue is none of your business - (Prov 14:10)

11. Be silent When you are tempted to tell an outright lie - (Prov 4:24)

12. Be silent If your words will damage someone else's reputation - (Prov 16:27)

13. Be silent If your words will damage a friendship - (Prov 16:28)

14. Be silent When you are feeling critical - (James 3:9)

15. Be silent If you can't say it without screaming it - (Prov 25:28)

16. Be silent If your words will be a poor reflection of the Lord or your friends and family - (1 Pt 2:21-23)

17. Be silent If you may have to eat your words later - (Prov 18:21)

18. Be silent If you have already said it more than one time - (Prov 19:13)

19. Be silent When you are tempted to flatter a wicked person - (Prov 24:24)

20. Be silent When you are supposed to be working instead - (Prov 14:23)

"WHOEVER GUARDS HIS MOUTH AND TONGUE KEEPS HIS SOUL FROM TROUBLES" - (Prov 21:23).

"BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD" (Ps 46:10)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Where Do We Go After Death?

It is good when we come to a meeting to try and retain some of the things we hear so that in future days we can read over the passages of Scripture spoken of. Tonight I would like to speak a little that has been real to me the past few months. Well, I might say fresh, because it was some few years ago when I first thought of it, but just recently my mind has been refreshed on it because I have been asked many times in different places the question, “Where do we go after death?” But, first of all, I would like to say this and would like for you to  keep in mind that in this world there are many classes of people but in God's sight there are only two: Those that are “in Christ” and those that are “out of Christ”.  I would also like to bring before you the six periods of time: 1st, Life; 2nd, Death; 3rd, the period between Death and the Resurrection; 4th, the Resurrection; 5th, Judgement; 6th, Eternity. Through all these periods there are only the two classes, those in Christ and those out of Christ. 

We do not have to say much about the first period,

1Life. We are all living and know just what life is. We either live in Christ or out of Christ. There are only the two classes. Life is often referred to as "life's little day". The time when we are born into the world until the time we leave it, that is life. It is this life that decides where we will be for eternity.

2. Death. "What happens when we die?" Turn to Ecclesiastes 12: 5-6-7. The latter part of the 5th verse speaks of death…”Man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets.”   Then verse 6 makes verse 7 clearer. “Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. 7 Then shall the dust return to the earth, as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” You remember back in Genesis 2:7, when God created man, it says, “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”. God took from the earth clay as it were, and made man just as a potter would make a vessel, then He breathed into his nostrils His spirit. Just two things coming together, one from the earth and one from God: united, they made a living soul. So we see here in Ecclesiastes 12:7 what happens at death…the dust returns to the earth as it was and the spirit shall return to God who gave it…a separation of the two things at death that were united in life. There isn't anyone who wants to die out of Christ but how can anyone die in Christ if they live out of Christ? I might say tonight I want to die in this hall, but if I don't come into the hall, how can I die in it? I might be just outside of the door of this hall yet not be willing to come into the hall, and die on the outside. Ecclesiastes 3:21, “the spirit of man goeth upward and the spirit of the beast goeth downward.” Ecclesiastes 9:10, “There is no work nor device nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest.”

3. The Period Between Death and the Resurrection. Revelation 14:13, “…Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, etc..." ----- "that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” This is the period following death to the resurrection for those who die in the Lord. They are resting and their works do follow them. It says of Abel, in Hebrews 11:4, that as a result of his labours, he being dead yet speaketh. By his deeds, his influence still lives. That is equally true of others as well as Abel. Do you think God would be so unjust as not to give Abel and others a little reward for their life speaking to us? So thus He gives them rest from their labours unto the judgement when they receive their reward. Revelation 6:9, “I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.” They were resting. Where is that altar? I am just going to tell you I don't know, but I have a good idea it couldn't be far from where Jesus is, and He is at the right hand of God. Paul said, in 2nd Corinthians 5:8, “I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Philippians 1:23, “I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.” I have no doubt as to where the spirit goes of those who die in the Lord at death; they are resting, waiting for the final judgement day. Do you think, in this 9th verse of Revelation 6 that it means only those that were slain? I don't think it would leave Moses, Joseph and David out of the count, and they were not slain. I like to read that verse like this: “I saw under the altar the souls of the overcomers.” The reason why I read it that way is because in this same book you read about those that overcame were clothed in white raiment. In Genesis 49 it says of Gad, “A troop shall overcome him, but he shall overcome at the last.” It is those that overcome at the last that will die in Christ. In connection with those that die out of Christ, read Jude 6. “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgement of the great day”. Read 2nd Peter 2:4, “For if God spared not the angels that sinned but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgement.” Verse 9, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished.” Is it worthwhile being in Christ? I should say it is!

4. Resurrection. John 5:28, In the resurrection there are two classes of people also. All shall come forth, but not all shall arise at the same time. 1st Corinthians 15:23. “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, etc.” 1 Thessalonians 3:13, “To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”; chapter 4:13 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words”. Then, in Revelation 20:2 and 3, Satan will be bound and deceives the nations no more. Verse 4, See on the throne those that were resting, souls that were beheaded or overcomers reigning with Christ for 1000 years. Verse 5, “But the rest of the dead liveth not again until the 1000 years were finished.” Read in connection with verse 11, (“I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.” ) Matthew 25:31 to the end of the chapter.

5. Judgement. Revelation 20:12: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” What does it mean when it says "the books were opened"? It means the 66 books that I am holding in my hand. If we did not have these books to teach us how to live in Christ, there might be some excuse, but God has left us without excuse because He has given us His Word to go by. What is the book of life? In the human kingdom when a child is born, there is someone to come around to register that child's name, birth, etc. in the State Register. If you would not have been born, your name would not be in that book; likewise in God's kingdom. When a child is born into God's family, their name is registered in the Book of life; the deeds that we do, etc. and in that day these books will be opened, and those who are in Christ will find their names registered there; but those that are out of Christ, their names will not appear because they have not been born again. Those that are in Christ will receive their reward.

6. Eternity. Matthew 25:34, “Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”, and to those that are out of Christ, verse 41, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels”. God prepared a Kingdom for everyone but for those that disobeyed, a place of punishment was prepared. He prepared a better place for them, but if they won't choose the better place then He will send them to the other. I don't know any better future for a woman, man, young boy or girl, than in God's pathway, both here and hereafter.

J. Jackson ~ Virginia 1940