Yet … through Jonah’s preaching God converted the largest city on earth. Jonah’s story carries with it fantastical but true elements of runaway prophet, giant fish, death or near-death experiences, raging storms, begrudging task completion, a small worm and a withering shade tree. So many miracles pack Jonah it boggles the mind- ten of them in four short chapters. Read the rest at The End Time
BY JOEL HANCOCK
My father was always there to greet me when I came home. I thought it was because he didn’t trust me.
I have lived on a small island off the North Carolina, USA, coast all my life. My home is protected from the open ocean by a barrier island that my family calls the Banks. This barrier island, populated by wild horses and waterfowl, was a summer wonderland to me as a boy—a natural theme park that charged no admission.
Most families who lived on the islands had some kind of boat. By the time I was a teenager, my parents allowed me to use a boat without adult supervision. I often went with my six older brothers to the Banks where we could play. We swam in the ocean, waterskied on the sound, chased after herds of wild horses, and dug for clams.
Each afternoon or early evening as we returned home to my father’s dock, I saw my father standing on the shore, awaiting our return. As we secured the boat, he asked about our day and inspected the boat to make sure it was okay. I thought he was just worried about his boat.
My brothers eventually bought boats of their own, and my father entrusted his boat to me alone when I took my friends and younger cousins to the Banks. One thing about my father stayed the same even as I grew older and matured. No matter the occasion or the amount of time we spent on the island, he was always there walking to the shore the very moment our boat came into view.
It seemed as though he had an internal tracking device that allowed him to know the very instant I headed for home. I could not elude him by staying later than usual or heading home early. He always knew exactly when I would approach the shore.
Even after I had a boat and a family of my own, my father was always there to welcome us back to the dock after we had gone out on the water. “How does he know?” I used to ask. “How can he tell exactly when I am headed for home?”
Eventually, having sons of my own who wanted to go boating alone revealed my father’s secret.
The first summer afternoon that my two sons headed out alone on the boat, my heart ached for their safety because I had a deeper understanding of how dangerous the water could be. From the moment my sons departed, I stared almost without respite toward the horizon, waiting for their return.
After a few long hours, I could see my sons in the distance as they made their way back. Then, just like my own father, I walked to the shore to reassure myself that all was well—not with my boat, but with my boys.
Every time I see my sons as they break the horizon for home in our small powerboat, I remember a specific verse in the Savior’s parable of the prodigal son. “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him” (Luke 15:20).
Perhaps it wasn’t a chance circumstance that the worried father in the parable saw his wayward son returning home. I can imagine how long and how often the father might have watched that road in the weeks, months, or years since his son’s departure. Likewise, I understand better how our Heavenly Father stays on the lookout for each of us, especially when we have strayed.
My own father died five years ago, after a lifetime of looking after his children and grandchildren. I treasure the mental picture I have of my father waiting on the shoreline. There was a time when I thought his constant attention meant he didn’t trust me. But now, looking back, wisdom has shown me that he loved me enough to let me take the boat and to be anxious that I return safely. He was waiting for me because of how much he loved me.
The challenge of such cares of the world was always real enough, even in the so-called Christian world in decades past. Today, though, these worldly cares comprise particularly profound challenges in a secular setting: they make no apologetic intrusion, but instead present themselves as if they were all of life itself.
For one reason, it is unfashionable to be spiritual. A genius possessed of religious faith is sometimes tolerated among colleagues in the business, academic, or political world. His bilingual ability to converse in the language of his professional realm and in the realm of faith is noted but not often applauded.
Unsurprisingly, when life is seen solely by the natural eye and not at all by the eye of faith, the framework for living is, at once, shifted markedly, if not irrevocably. And the natural eye is so naturally attuned for viewing the cares of the world.
It is useful at times, therefore, for the Christian beset with the cares of the world to be reminded of some of those good individuals who have lost that precious perspective of faith for a season.
What of that mess of pottage now, for which Esau was willing to sell his birthright? (SeeGenesis 25:29-34.) Not understanding his birthright, Esau “despised” it. Later he despised Jacob too, and thought to murder him when Jacob officially received the birthright blessing (see Genesis 27:26-41). But, my, how gracious Esau grew to be, as evidenced when his and Jacob’s caravans met in the desert many years later!
And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.
Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands. (Genesis 32:6-7.)
As a present for Esau, Jacob sent on ahead several hundred of his domestic animals. Finally the two brothers met.
And [Esau] said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord.
And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.
And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou was pleased with me. (Genesis 33:8-10.)
Where are those synagogues now in which it was once so desperately important for some to maintain their place rather than to confess publicly their belief in Jesus? (See John 12:42-43.) Later, some of those who hesitated may have acquired the necessary courage.
And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7).
The list of such bracing and reminding questions could be multiplied almost indefinitely.
If, over the decades, one could have been agelessly situated on a space platform and could have thus watched the recurring human drama from a distance, among the strongest impressions he would have acquired would be the dull repetitiveness of human folly. He would see the almost childish intensity with which each new set of players on this planet pursues the cares of the world.
The age-old drama goes on, with each group pursuing the cares of the world as if they were pioneers in the process instead of constituting just another legion of lemmings marching to the secular sea.
How does the adversary get away with it? Mostly by darkening the human mind. Who, after all, would purchase his wares in the bright light of day, when their shoddiness and pale imitativeness could be more clearly seen—to say nothing of the appalling consumer consequences flowing from use of his wares?
Among other things, the adversary also induces new jargon to describe old sins. He also provides new rationalizations to justify old vices. Mostly, however, he can count on new crops of greenies!
The adversary cleverly uses the tight time frame of mortality against morality to undercut the purposes of mortality. Thus he is able in a variety of ways to persuade many mortals to believe of this life, “This is it! This is all there is!” “Go for the praise and honor of men, because that is all there is!” “Seek sensations while they last, to verify that you are really alive.”
By cleverly steering people away from the reality of immortality and accountability, he uses endless variations in the same, basic, recurring theme: “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Hence each new generation not only acts out the drama but does so with a prideful provincialism—as if there were nothing to be learned from the past. Moreover, if the permissive generation still prefers to believe at all in a God, they will believe in a permissive God.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
What an interesting time that we live in! Not a good time as we see more and more persecution of the followers of Christ across the world. And yet a time that must occur in order to fulfill the prophecies laid out in the Bible. And yet with the horror of seeing those who are killed, we must as well remember the promise. Always looking to God and not to man, to the future and not to relive and renew the past. What has gone before is not what He has plans for in the future and it is the future that we desire to be a part of.
Good News Translation (GNT)
4 Then I saw thrones, and those who sat on them were given the power to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been executed because they had proclaimed the truth that Jesus revealed and the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image, nor had they received the mark of the beast on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and ruled as kings with Christ for a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over.) This is the first raising of the dead. 6 Happy and greatly blessed are those who are included in this first raising of the dead. The second death has no power over them; they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they will rule with him for a thousand years.
9 Reverence for the Lord is good;
it will continue forever.
The judgments of the Lord are just;
they are always fair.
Do you ever stop to consider the words “fair” and “just”? We use them everyday, our children bring them to our attention when we reprimand them. How often have you heard “that’s not fair?” But what does it mean to be fair, or what does it mean to be just? We sometimes link them together, and in ways they have similar meanings, but they are not the same are they?
The dictionary tells us that Just means:
- Honorable and fair in one’s dealings and actions
- Consistent with what is morally right
- Law Valid within the law, lawful
- Suitable or proper in nature, fitting
- Based on fact or sound reason, well-founded
Some of the related words to Just, are:
Being Just leads to Justice and yet Justice does not always lead to Fair because justice is supposed to treat everyone equally. Treating everyone equally is to hold people accountable for their actions. Lawfully you are bound to obey, irregardless of the circumstances.
“Justice is a certain rectitude of mind, whereby a man does what he ought to do in the circumstances confronting him.” Thomas Aquinas
The definition of Justice is:
- the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments
- the administration of law; especially: the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity
- the quality of being just, impartial, or fair
- the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action: conformity to this principle or ideal: righteousness
- conformity to truth, fact, or reason: correctness
When Solomon was confronted with the decision of who the baby belonged to in 1 Kings 3:16-27, the fairness of his decision was evident and justice prevailed.
1 Kings 3:16-27
King James Version (KJV)
16 Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.
17 And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.
18 And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.
19 And this woman’s child died in the night; because she overlaid it.
20 And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.
21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.
22 And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.
23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.
24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.
25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.
26 Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.
27 Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.
And yet unlike our children, most of us know that life itself is inherently unfair. The definition of fairness is:
The quality of making judgments that are free from discrimination.
And yet everything in our lives makes us biased to a degree. Sometimes to a degree that what we do is unfair to everyone involved. Take children’s games for instance. We don’t want to see one child hurt, so we decide that they all are winners. In doing this we encourage the idea that all life has to be fair. The child who wins, loses because he can not claim the mantle of winning, the child that loses, loses more than the race because he loses the ability to understand the value of trying hard and failing. Life is not perfect and what we don’t learn as children is much harder to accept as an adult. It breeds resentment on the part of the child who wins, and an attitude of being owed on the part of the child who lost.
It is neither fair nor just to teach our children that all must be winners and that all must be equal. I am not saying that we shouldn’t teach our children to try to be fair, or that we should not be as fair as possible ourselves. What I am saying is that we need to teach our children to handle life as it is and not as we would like it to be. Nothing on this earth is perfect and never will be until our Lord returns and ushers in His kingdom.
When the Lord comes to rule the earth. He will rule the peoples of the world with justice and fairness. Psalm 96:13
King James Version (KJV)
20 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
This example of unequal work for equal pay would make heads spin today. And yet there is a valuable lesson here that is that value is not seen the same way by all, and what is valuable to the owner of the vineyard was getting the harvest in. People who think everything has to be fair would be very disappointed and yet it is one of the most important lessons that all of us need in life. The ones that come in last are just as important to the job getting done, as those who are there from the beginning. It is the same lesson that we learn in the Prodigal Son and many of the other parables.
True fairness and justice will not come into the world until He returns and we are being unfair and unjust to our children if we do not teach them this. I am not saying that we should not teach them to be fair and just, only that utopia on earth is impossible and that we must do our best, but that it is naive to expect that from others. We need to teach them that all men have free will and that there are those that choose to do evil. To expect them to believe that everyone is good and does there best is to expect them to believe in fairytales. We can not protect our children all the time, nor can we keep them ignorant. We need to teach them to protect themselves and to rely on God. We need to teach them to have the complete armor that God has given us.
Let me end with this:
“God has overlooked the times when people did not know him, but now He commands all of them everywhere to turn away from evil ways. For he has fixed a day in which He will judge the whole wold with justice by means of a man He has chose. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising this man from death!” Acts 17:30-31 GNT
― Dennis Wholey
― Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
For Such a Time as This: Life Lessons from the Book of Esther
The Book of Esther in Review
What a tremendous book we have just completed! Not only is it a great story with all the drama and elements that a novel would contain, but it contains great lessons about how we should be living, conducting ourselves on the job, facing opposition, facing success, and looking ahead confidently to the future. Most importantly, it is the best “textbook” of the Scriptures about the providence of God, and how He works in the perfect way and the perfect timing to accomplish His purposes.
We began in the winter capitol of the Persian Empire, Susa, where we also concluded the story.Pride, lust, alcoholism, and the pursuit of power and dominance marked the Empire’s ruler, Ahasuerus (Xerxes). Ahasuerus sought to gain support for his campaign against Greece and then onward into Europe. However, his foolish partying cost him his marriage, and although Queen Vashti lost her crown, she kept her dignity as she refused the king’s immoral drunken orders. God used this providentially however to begin arranging His chess pieces for what He planned to do.
When Ahasuerus attacked Greece, despite all odds being on his side, he was badly beaten and returned to Susa in shame and depression, missing the wife he had divorced. His advisors hooked onto this, and began a search for all the beautiful virgins of the land to be brought to the king so he could find a substitute for Vashti. These women were sadly taken from their homes to never return again, but to be the concubines of the king. Again God was working providentially in this, for this also allowed Esther to get into the place He had for her to make a dramatic impact for Him.She was selected by the king as Vashti’s replacement, and this would be vital in the long run.
Should we as follower of Christ separate people into different classes in order to keep from offending them if what they practice as daily like if against the law of God even if they are approved by current society?
I think to most Christians the obvious answer would be no! We would not except murderers, thieves, or even gluttons into accepted categories of sin. Sin is sin and it is something that we are all guilty of. True murderers and thieves are breaking the law of man as well and if convicted of their crimes, face a mortal court and a punishment here on earth for their crimes. That does not mean that they will not face judgment when they stand before the Lord!
But judgment is not our job, we are specifically warned against judging. But spreading the truth of God’s word is what we are required to do. Sitting silent and letting those who are committing acts that are a violation of the law that God set forth fail to reach out to God and repent or change is our responsibility. We can not make them, they have free will. What they choose to do is their own responsibility. If we do not do God’s will and warn them that they are committing a sin, we will face God’s judgment ourselves.
We are in a time where certain acts are favorable with those in power, murder of innocents in abortion, homosexuality, the sexual abuse of children, stealing money from those who earned it, violence against those who are different color, nationality, faith, or even a different political position. We are living in an increasing violent world where drones are being used to kill people whom some have judged guilty without a trial, where those who disagree with those in power are bullied and shamed regardless of the truth or rightness of their beliefs. Where wars are encouraged because those in power think that some other leadership would do a better job.
A. W. Tozer said:
“Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen
visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will be not one but
many), he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will
contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment
of Christendom. Such a man is likely to be lean, rugged, blunt- spoken and a little bit angry with the world. He
will love Christ and the souls of men to the point of willingness to die for the glory of the One and the salvation
of the other. But he will fear nothing that breathes with mortal breath.”
Jesus told us to pick up our cross and follow Him, he never said it was going to be easy. He told the woman accused of adultery: ”And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” John 8:11 We don’t condemn those who are practicing sin, we simply inform them of God’s word and that they can come to Jesus and be saved.
Society may accept any type of behavior that they choose. It is shameful that they accept the things that they do. However we knew the world would come to this point. It has to for prophecy to be fulfilled. We may not like to live in it, we are already being persecuted for our beliefs. This does not negate our responsibility to do God’s will and spread the Word to the world. Explaining what sin is and giving people an opportunity to repent, is what God wants us to do.
If we fail to tell someone that abortion is murder in God’s eyes or that homosexuality is indeed a sin, not only will they lose the opportunity to change, but we will lose the opportunity to do what God wants us to do and we will lose as well. Their blood will be upon our heads:
King James Version (KJV)
8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
This is something that is the responsibility of all followers of Christ. It is up to all of us. It is not just for the Pastors, we are all ministers in the eyes of the Lord. We minister in what we say, what we do and how we act. We don’t stand for ourselves, we stand for Jesus, we don’t live for what the world thinks is right, we live for what the Lord wants.
I have read several posts this morning about Louie Giglio and his disinvite from giving the benediction at President Obama’s second inaugural ceremony and it is simplistic to look at the words spoken on both sides of the issue as simply representing peoples opinion. It is so much more than that. It is a further degradation of the ability of Christians to speak in public in a country that was founded upon the principles of Religious Liberty. It is also a sign that evil is more and more prevalent in our society and that the final conflict is getting closer. It is a warning to all who can see that we must be prepared and we much choose on which side we intend to stand. There is no middle ground.
From Red State
Having to Choose
an excerpt: “
But twenty years ago he gave a sermon that could be considered prophetic. He told Christians of the coming pursuit of an aggressive homosexual agenda and that they must not stick their heads in the sand and let happen what happens. You can hear that bit here.
He went further than that. He admonished Christians that, in dealing with the issue, they must do so without hate, but with love. They must not condemn, but lead to Christ. But he also said they must stand their ground.
In the sermon, Louie made clear that the secular world is against Christians on this issue. But most controversially, he said that gays can be saved from their sin by embracing Jesus Christ, through whom all things are possible. Listen to his statement. Louie Giglio’s grievous and offensive sin is that he dares to believe in sin.
His statement is one of orthodox Christianity. Over time, many Christians have accepted that people can be born gay and that it may not be a choice as you or I might perceive it. If we are all born into sin and homosexuality is a sin, which it is, then it seems to fix Christian orthodoxy that one can be born gay. The problem is that, for orthodox Christians, it is still a sin and the world is increasingly hostile to the idea that any sexual sin should be treated as sin. The world is opposed to moral truth and standards and demands intolerance in the name of tolerance.”
“2 Timothy 4:3-4 notes, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” Secularists peddling a secular agenda in the name of tolerance have declared Truth to be myth and myth to be truth. They hear what they want to hear and condemn what they do not understand as intolerance.”
From Albert Mohler:
“Anyone who teaches at any time, to any degree, that homosexual behavior is a sin is now to be cast out.
Second, we should note that Pastor Giglio’s sermon was, as we would expect and hope, filled with grace and the promise of the Gospel. Giglio did not just state that homosexuals are sinners — he made clear that every single human being is a sinner, in need of the redemption that is found only in Jesus Christ. “We’ve got to say to the homosexuals, the same thing that I say to you and that you would say to me. … It’s not easy to change, but it’s possible to change,” he preached. He pointed his congregation, gay and straight, to “the healing power of Jesus.” He called his entire congregation to repent and come to Christ by faith.
That is the quintessential Christian Gospel. That is undiluted biblical truth. Those words are the consensus of the Church for over 2,000 years, and the firm belief held by the vast majority of Christians around the world today.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee and the White House have now declared historic, biblical Christianity to be out of bounds, casting it off the inaugural program as an embarrassment. By its newly articulated standard, any preacher who holds to the faith of the church for the last 2,000 years is persona non grata. By this standard, no Roman Catholic prelate or priest can participate in the ceremony. No Evangelical who holds to biblical orthodoxy is welcome. The vast majority of Christians around the world have been disinvited. Mormons, and the rabbis of Orthodox Judaism are out. Any Muslim imam who could walk freely in Cairo would be denied a place on the inaugural program. Billy Graham, who participated in at least ten presidential inaugurations is welcome no more. Rick Warren, who incited a similar controversy when he prayed at President Obama’s first inauguration, is way out of bounds. In the span of just four years, the rules are fully changed.
The gauntlet was thrown down yesterday, and the axe fell today. Wayne Besen, founder of the activist group Truth Wins Out, told The New York Timesyesterday: “It is imperative that Giglio clarify his remarks and explain whether he has evolved on gay rights, like so many other faith and political leaders. It would be a shame to select a preacher with backward views on LBGT people at a moment when the nation is rapidly moving forward on our issues.”
And there you have it — anyone who has ever believed that homosexuality is morally problematic in any way must now offer public repentance and evidence of having “evolved” on the question. This is the language that President Obama used of his own “evolving” position on same-sex marriage. This is what is now openly demanded of Christians today. If you want to avoid being thrown off the program, you had better learn to evolve fast, and repent in public.
This is precisely what biblical Christians cannot do. While seeking to be gentle in spirit and ruthlessly Gospel-centered in speaking of any sin, we cannot cease to speak of sin as sin. To do so is not only to deny the authority of Scripture, not only to reject the moral consensus of the saints, but it undermines the Gospel itself. The Gospel makes no sense, and is robbed of its saving power, if sin is denied as sin.”
Good News Translation (GNT)
6 Those who do not remain in me are thrown out like a branch and dry up; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, where they are burned.
1 John 2:6
Good News Translation (GNT)
6 if we say that we remain in union with God, we should live just as Jesus Christ did.
Evil comes in many forms, sometimes it is in those who are closest to us. Abigail faced evil in her life in the form of her husband, Nabal. He was a man that did without nothing that he desired but his greed caused him to lose everything including his life. When David‘s messengers approached him, he threatened them and turned them away. If he had not been so greedy the outcome of his life and the life of Abigail would have been very different.
One of David’s men warned Abigail of what David planned to do, and had she not listened she would have died as David had intended to destroy Nabal and everything living around him. She acted on her own and met David on the road and provided him with food and drink generously. Had David not listened to her, and continued in his plans to destroy Nabal, his life would have been very different.
So many time we have the opportunity to listen and yet we are often so busy that we neglect to do so, and sometimes in our own arrogance we think we know the best for us and what we hear doesn’t quite fit in with what we hear. Because Nabal didn’t listen, he died without grace from God, because Abigail listened she met David and went on to become his wife. Because David listened he did not commit an act that would have change the course of his future.
1 Samuel 25
King James Version (KJV)
25 And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.
2 And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.
3 Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.
4 And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep.
5 And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name:
6 And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.
7 And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.
8 Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.
9 And when David’s young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased.
10 And Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master.
11 Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?
12 So David’s young men turned their way, and went again, and came and told him all those sayings.
13 And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.
14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them.
15 But the men were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing, as long as we were conversant with them, when we were in the fields:
16 They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep.
17 Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.
18 Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.
19 And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal.
20 And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert on the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them.
21 Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good.
22 So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
23 And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground,
24 And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid.
25 Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.
26 Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the Lord hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.
27 And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord.
28 I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the Lord, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days.
29 Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.
30 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel;
31 That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid.
32 And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:
33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.
34 For in very deed, as the Lord God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
35 So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person.
36 And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light.
37 But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.
38 And it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord smote Nabal, that he died.
39 And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the Lord, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the Lord hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife.
40 And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spake unto her, saying, David sent us unto thee, to take thee to him to wife.
41 And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.
42 And Abigail hasted, and arose and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that went after her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.
I have been thinking a lot about time lately, about how in many ways time is complex and yet in others, very simple. It passes without any input from us and yet we spend so much of the time we have in trying to control it. Sometimes it seems to fly and at others, to crawl. We have scientists telling us that our very perception of time actually causes it to change. We live in interesting times and sometimes we think that ours is the most important time that there is. As if nothing of importance happened before we came along. As if God Himself has forgotten about us and abandoned us because in our minds things are so very bad that He must not care.
I was reminded of the story of Lazarus this morning. I was listening to music and one of my favorites began playing. It is one that is sometimes sung by my friend and church sister, Keva, who has a beautiful voice. It is about the sorrow of Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, when Jesus didn’t arrive while Lazarus was still alive. How sad they must have felt. Perhaps they even felt anger and betrayal, knowing that Jesus could have saved him.
And yet Jesus used this time to teach all the rest of us a story that was so much bigger that the death of a beloved brother and friend. He taught of the resurrection from physical death, but He also taught of the irrelevance of time in His actions. The time in the tomb meant nothing to Lazarus. It meant a great deal and a wonderful lesson to the rest of us.
Whatever we want is limited by our time, but time has no limits on God. And He isn’t bound by our rules or desires. We may look at the story of Lazarus and question if Jesus didn’t care enough to get there sooner, perhaps some may even question if He was cold in His use of this as a lesson to all of those present, as well as the rest of us who believe in Him. And yet this was perhaps one of His greatest lessons and gifts to the world. With the resurrection of Lazarus He not only gave us a foretelling of His own death and resurrection, He gave us confirmation of the reality of resurrection and the knowledge that we too, could have the opportunity that Lazarus had.
If Jesus had come earlier, while Lazarus was still alive, no one would have had the reassurance that He too would be resurrected. Our time is not God’s time! His plan is working along just fine and each of us is playing our part. We make the choices everyday on what to do with our time, perhaps we spend too much time worrying about whether God is listening or whether He even hears us. Whether Jesus is going to hurry and save us from ourselves. Perhaps in this time of celebrating His birth, we should spend our time giving thanks for the sacrifice that He gave. He keeps His promise and Jesus will return at the time that His Father wishes.
King James Version (KJV)
11 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.
8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?
9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.
18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:
19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.
29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.
30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.
31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.
32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.
34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!
37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?
38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Soil microbiologist: Evolution no help in research
Don Batten interviews Professor ‘Skip’ Skipper
Paradoxes of Scripture
by Henry Morris, Ph.D. | Dec. 20, 2012
“There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” (Proverbs 11:24)
“To get, we must give.” This is not the world’s method for attaining prosperity, but it is the paradoxical message of today’s verse, as well as that of Christianity in general.
Note some of the many other paradoxes in the Bible related to this basic truth.
1. To really live, we must die. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).
2. To save one’s life, he or she must lose it. “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luke 17:33).
3. To be wise, we must become fools. “If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise” (1 Corinthians 3:18).
Read the rest at the Institute for Creation Research
2 Peter 3
King James Version (KJV)
3 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.