By James Baker
As I write this article, the world is experiencing more heat than usual. In Europe there are triple digits and the US has many 98 -100 degrees days. Heat warnings have been given all week telling people to watch out for pets, neighbors and above all, leave no child or animal in a parked car.
Yes, it is indeed hot and I’m amazed to learn that Europe for the most part, has no air conditioning in homes and businesses. Regardless, everyone agrees that the ending of the heat wave will be a welcome relief.
Every year the world experiences hot weather and everybody complains. But after a few days or weeks, it disappears the weather becomes favorable again. And if the world keeps standing, that will happen this time as well. Gen 8.22.
But let me tell you something that most people never think about. If you think it's hot now.
I would like you to turn your attention from the hot weather we're having on earth and think about Hell fire. I heard a man make a joke the other day. He made a comment about a warm house he entered. Once inside he told the occupants. “Wow!” What do you have the thermostat set on?
The reply was, no; there is no such thermostat that can set a temperature call “Hell.”
Just a joke, but a powerful thought to think about. The bible teaches dangerous information about Hell. We need to heed its warning. It is a place of terrible darkness where there will be weeping wailing and gnashing the teeth. It is a place that the worm or activity does not cease and the fire does not go out. It is a place where the devil and his demons will be tortured in the fires of hell for eternity. It is a place where the ungodly who have chosen to follow the devil will spend eternity in the flames of Hell.
It will not be like our heat waves that come for a week and disappear. This will be eternal with intense heat where the souls of those who are lost will experience that torment forever and ever. I’m listing some of the scriptures which you can read as they teach the horro of Hell. Matt 3.12. Matt 5.22:29-30. Matt 10.28. Matt 13.38-42. Matt 25.41-46. Mk 9.43-48. Rev 20.10-15.
Hell must be avoided at all costs. Men cannot afford to go there; but many will find themselves there. Matt 7.13-14. Spending eternity and being punished with evil people, pain, darkness, cries of despair and no hope will be for all who in up in Hell.
Yes’, we are experiencing weather related heat waves and they are very tough. We get burnt by the sun and the humidity, we sweat, but all of this is temporal. Hell is worse for it is eternity
By James Baker
Deplorable! A crying shame! Unbelievable! I say all of this because jail is for the evildoer.
No one should be in jail if they aren’t an evildoer. Luke 23.40-41. Matt 27.19-23.
Yet it is heartbreaking to see police officers make mistakes during the heat of battle resulting in the death
of a person. From what I have seen about good police officers, they attempt to save their lives as well as the life of the offender. Officers can train at the academy, but no amount of training will be like the real thing when it happens. Many things don’t always work out as the officer might hope; because of the offender resistance, many officers are pushed into a fight with the criminal and in the heat of battle; who can say that everything will go as training at the academy taught?
I agree that police officers, because of who they are should be held to a higher standard than the normal citizen. But let us not forget that police officers are human beings and though we look to them as our savior against the bad guys, they are human and capable of making mistakes which may cause injury or death. Mark 10.18.
A mistake is an unfortunate action which occurs because something is lacking. That something could exist because of the rapid pace of the moment or some other unforeseen condition. Despite that, we must remember that the final action was not intended; it was a mistake. 2 Kings 6.4-6.
I haven’t met a person who is incapable of making mistakes. And yes, mistakes can be big and they can be small, but they are still mistakes, it wasn’t intended.
Things got out of hand while a police officer is trying to stop a criminal and in the whirlwind of action something goes wrong. Someone gets hurt, someone dies. The officer's intention was to stop the evil which the offender created along with the atmosphere which resulted in actions not going the right way.
No police officer can control the havoc which criminals cause, no police officer should go to jail trying to do what is right. If anyone goes to jail, it should be the criminal.
The bad guy has the remote control in every crime which he commits. If the criminal would comply with the officers commands a lot of this stuff, we saw on tv in the past few years would been
But many of our courts have decided to punish the officers in attempts to pacify the vengeance many people call for. If an officer goes to jail over a mistake, we pray that God will give that officer favor within the system and hopefully God will get that officer out of prison at some point. Gen 39.20-23.
But Seek First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness
Keith Sharp | Mountain Home, Arkansas, USA
True Story. Billy was 6 years old. It was springtime close to summer vacation. When school was out, he and his mom, a widow who was remarrying, were moving. He came home from school and informed his mom he wouldn’t be going back to baseball. When she asked why, he replied, “The rest of our games are on Wednesday night, and we’ll be in church.” She hadn’t said a word to him about it. She didn’t have to. How would that compare to our family practices?
In Matthew 6:19-34 Jesus contrasts the righteousness of the kingdom with the materialism of the Gentiles. Matthew 6:33 summarizes this contrast. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” What should be our chief goal in life?
The kingdom of God of Old Testament promise and prophecy is the rule of God in the hearts of His people.
“Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He
answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will
they say, “See here!” or “See there!” For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you’”
The kingdom of Christ is the church of Christ in that the people in whose hearts the Lord rules are those who compose His church. The terms “kingdom” and “church” are used interchangeably at least twice in the New Testament (Matthew 16:18-19; Hebrews 12:22-23, 28).
If we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” we put kingdom blessings and kingdom relationships at the absolute top of our priorities.
The context of this summary statement contrasts concern over material wealth with the spiritual blessings and relationships of the kingdom (Matthew 6:19-34). If I have a job which involves sinful activities or prevents me from serving the Lord, including assembling to worship with his people, I need to find a different job.
This also applies to family and friends. The Lord and His kingdom even come ahead of family (Matthew 10:34-38). If family comes to visit, and it’s time for worship, invite them to come with you. If they won’t come, ask them to stay until you return.
It certainly applies to recreation. Are we “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”? (2 Timothy 3:4) If we miss worship or Bible classes for sports, what does that tell us? Do we have time to go fishing but can’t find time to talk to a neighbor about the Bible? If we put kids’ sports ahead of the gospel meeting, what are we teaching our children? (Ephesians 6:4)
Brother J.D. Tant was a famous preacher of three or four generations ago. He used to close his articles in “Gospel Advocate” magazine by warning, “Brethren, we’re drifting.” It didn’t make him popular, but he was right. Are we drifting?
by Bryan Matthews Dockens, Las Vegas NV church of Christ
Knowing what content to trust from the mainstream media is a challenging task, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine has certainly occupied a great deal of attention recently. If all that has been reported is accurate and reliable, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy is worthy of tremendous respect in that he is literally standing with his troops in the front lines of the war. Whether the reports are truthful or not, the lesson is being taught that heads of State ought to face the risks of war together with their people.
It has been disconcerting for generations to observe so-called commanders in chief of the armed forces of major world powers sit in their “war rooms,” giving orders to soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen to kill and be killed without putting themselves in harm’s way. It was 1814 the last time a President of the United States commanded troops in the field when James Madison led American forces against the British at the Battle of Bladensburg. Despite Congress declaring war eleven times since the Constitution was ratified, the War of 1812, when Madison presided over the Republic, is the only occasion when the Commander in Chief ever fulfilled his role so directly. Numerous other military operations that were never officially declared as wars by Congress certainly did not garner as much personal attention by the Presidents who oversaw them.
George McGovern once said, “I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.” Regardless of the Senator’s politics, that one statement deserves universal agreement.
One often overlooked factor in David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba is the timing: “It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem” (2nd Samuel 11:1). The king of Israel took an immoral interest in another man’s wife when he was home but should have been on the battlefield. In this easily ignored fact, astute readers should infer that heads of State belong with the forces they command, not idling comfortably at home. From Joshua to the judges to the kings of Israel and Judah, Scripture consistently depicted national leaders shoulder to shoulder with their troops at the front. This was not unique to inspired history either; it was the ways things had always been throughout the world until recent generations. Zelenskyy’s example is so refreshing and encouraging not because it is unprecedented, but because it follows precedents long ago abandoned by weak leaders the world over.
Instead of merely ordering air strikes, artillery attacks, and infantry to march on the enemy, heads of State should assume a more direct approach to armed conflict. Let the commander in chief be the first to spill blood. Let those who agitate for war accept personal risk before ordering other personnel into harm's way.
Observe the example of Ehud:
“So the children of Israel served Eglon king of Moab eighteen years.
But when the children of Israel cried out to Jehovah, Jehovah raised up a deliverer for them: Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. By him the children of Israel sent tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Ehud made himself a dagger (it was double-edged and a cubit in length) and fastened it under his clothes on his right thigh. So he brought the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. (Now Eglon was a very fat man.) And when he had finished presenting the tribute, he sent away the people who had carried the tribute. But he himself turned back from the stone images that were at Gilgal, and said, ‘I have a secret message for you, O king.’
He said, ‘Keep silence!’ And all who attended him went out from him.
So Ehud came to him (now he was sitting upstairs in his cool private chamber). Then Ehud said, ‘I have a message from God for you.’ So he arose from his seat. Then Ehud reached with his left hand, took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. Even the hilt went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the dagger out of his belly; and his entrails came out. Then Ehud went out through the porch and shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.
When he had gone out, Eglon’s servants came to look, and to their surprise, the doors of the upper room were locked. So they said, ‘He is probably attending to his needs in the cool chamber.’ So they waited till they were embarrassed, and still he had not opened the doors of the upper room. Therefore they took the key and opened them. And there was their master, fallen dead on the floor.
But Ehud had escaped while they delayed, and passed beyond the stone images and escaped to Seirah. And it happened, when he arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the mountains of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mountains; and he led them. Then he said to them, ‘Follow me, for Jehovah has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand.’ So they went down after him, seized the fords of the Jordan leading to Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross over. And at that time they killed about ten thousand men of Moab, all stout men of valor; not a man escaped. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest for eighty years” (Judges 3:14-30).
Ehud led by example. He led from the front, not behind. He dared. He risked. He put himself in mortal jeopardy, assassinating the enemy king, before rallying the fighting men of Israel to the cause.
“Governing authorities” continue, under the present covenant, to “bear the sword” as “God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:1-7). May they do so with honor and integrity, accepting for themselves the dangers they order others into.
The Lord Jesus abhors hypocrisy. He called out the Pharisees of His time, telling the people, “Do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers” (Matthew 23:3-4).
If more leaders would personally bear the risks of military engagements, there might just be fewer wars to fight.
"Grace and peace be with you. Amen."
Bryan Matthew Dockens, evangelist
by Tom Edwards
The actual above phrase, "Beam me up, Scotty," was never used in any of the Star Trek episodes that aired from September 8, 1966 to June 3, 1969, nor was it said in any of the Star Trek movies.
But the show and movies did have a fictional transporter that would convert matter to an energy pattern that could then be sent to a specific location where it would then be converted back into matter. And all of that was portrayed as happening rather quickly. For the energy pattern was "beamed" to its destination.
That, of course, is all science fiction; but have you ever wondered how angels have "traveled" to earth? What is the distance from earth to the heaven in which God and angels dwell? Can it be measured? Is it even a part of our physical universe?
I would think of that realm in which God dwells to be separate and apart from our physical universe — like some type of parallel universe that is undetectable from our own; is independent of; does not clash with; is far superior to; and will blissfully, perfectly, and eternally remain even after our physical universe ceases to be (cf. 2 Pet. 3:10-12).
But God entered into our physical universe. For "the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us" -- and that Word was God's Son Jesus (John 1:14,1-3).
Jesus, of course, was born of the virgin Mary (Isa. 7:14). But what about heavenly angels that God had sent to earth on various occasions? Would their "journey" have been faster than the speed of light? Instantaneous?
To answer that would be speculation. But notice some unusual things the Bible shows of how some people were apparently "transported."
In Acts 8, after Philip had met the Ethiopian eunuch, preached to him about Jesus and then baptized him, verse 39 says, "When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord SNATCHED Philip AWAY; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing" (NASB, emphasis mine).
Both "snatched" and "away" are from the same Greek word (harpazo), which Thayer defines thirdly as "to snatch out or away." It is also the same Greek word that is used in 2 Corinthians 12:2 where Paul speaks of having been "CAUGHT UP to the third heaven" and "CAUGHT UP into Paradise" (v 4, NASB, emphasis mine). And it is also the same Greek word when Paul comforted and assured the Thessalonians of their loved ones who had died in the Lord, by saying, "Then we who are alive and remain shall be CAUGHT UPtogether with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thess. 4:17, NASB, emphasis mine).
Would we think of our being "caught up" to meet the Lord to be something that would take several seconds or more? Or would it be instantaneous? For much miraculous change will occur at that time with not only those who are Christians and still living, but also with those saints who are deceased.
For as Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52: "Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, IN A MOMENT, IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and WE WILL BE CHANGED" (NASB, emphasis mine).
Do you know what the Greek word for the phrase "in a moment" is? It is atomos. Thayer defines it as "1. that cannot be cut in two, or divided, indivisible. a. of a moment of time."
I wonder if even the first part of that definition might literally apply to 1 Corinthians 15:52. For if "in a moment" meant 4 seconds, then that could be divided. But what about a "time" that cannot be divided? A time that is indivisible. Would it not be something that is literally instantaneous!
Mounce’s Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament defines it as 'indivisible, and by impl[ication] exceedingly minute; . . . in an indivisible point of time, in an instant or moment, 1 Co 15:52."
James Strong shows it to mean "uncut, that is (by implication) indivisible (an atom of time)."
The primary definition that Webster gives for "moment" is "an indefinitely short period of time; instant." And one of his definitions for "instant" is "succeeding without any interval of time; immediate."
For another example, the Sea of Galilee is said to be about 13 miles (21 km) long and 8 miles (13 km) wide, and with a circumference of about 33 miles (53 km).
In the following account of Jesus walking on that sea, John 6:19 says, "Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were frightened" (NASB).
We also learn of how the weather conditions were for them at that time. The boat was being "battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary" (Matt. 14:24, NASB). And it was not just a wind that was against them, but it was also a "strong wind" (John 6:18, NASB).
Concerning this sea, H. Leo Boles writes: "The storms on the Sea of Galilee often were sudden and frightful . . . They had rowed far enough to be just in the center of the sea, where the current of the Jordan caused the greatest commotion in a storm. The sea, where they were crossing, was about six miles wide" (New Testament Restoration Commentary on Matthew 14:22-23).
But consider now what the apostle John brings out about that event. He writes: "The sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. But He said to them, 'It is I; do not be afraid.' So they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and IMMEDIATELY the boat was at the land to which they were going (John 6:18-21, NASB, emphasis mine).
Commenting on John 6:21, Marvin R. Vincent speaks of the boat being "immediately" at the shore, to which they had been heading, as being a "miraculous arrival" and "simultaneous" with "their entertaining the wish to receive Him, or with His actually coming on board" (Word Studies in the New Testament).
The word "immediately" is often used in connection with miracles Jesus performed (cf. Matt. 8:3; Matt. 20:34; Mark 5:29; Mark 5:42; Mark 10:52). And does that not also manifest even more the miraculous nature of it -- rather than gradually happening or healing over a period of a few days or weeks!
In getting back to Philip, we left off with him having been "snatched...away" by the Spirit of the Lord, after having baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, and the eunuch then going "on his way rejoicing" (Acts 8:39). But notice now where Philip had been "snatched...away" to, according to verse 40: "But PHILIP FOUND HIMSELF AT AZOTUS, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea" (NASB, emphasis mine). That was definitely a miraculous transporting — and not science fiction! And I wonder, if Philip would have had a stop watch to time how long that transporting would take, would he have arrived before he could even pressed the starting button!
And what about Enoch? It is said about him in Genesis 5:24 that "Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him" (NASB). The Hebrew writer adds a little more to that, by saying, "By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God" (Heb. 11:5, NASB).
Would that not have also been instantaneous?
Of course, we do read of two being miraculously taken up, which, at least for part of the way, was not instantaneous. But they were both very special cases.
One of them pertains to Elijah. For what happened to him was to be a special sign to Elisha, Elijah's successor, which he needed to see, as recorded in 2 Kings 2. It reads: "...Elijah said to Elisha, 'Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.' And Elisha said, 'Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.' He said, 'You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.' As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. Elisha saw it and cried out, 'My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!' And he saw Elijah no more..." (NASB). So, apparently, God wanted Elisha to see that!
The other example is that of Jesus when He ascended back to heaven. But, again, that was definitely a special sight for His apostles who were there to witness it. Luke records that event, by saying: "And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven'" (Act 1:9-11, NASB). The apostles were the Lord's witnesses. They walked and talked with Him. They saw Him perform miracles, and they saw Him risen from the dead. And now they saw Him even ascend into a cloud when leaving this earth.
Of course, we would think that somewhere along the way in that ascension, after Jesus was out of sight, that His physical body would need to be exchanged with a heavenly body. For as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 15:49-50, 53: "Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. Now I say this, brethren, that FLESH AND BLOOD CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed" -- "For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this moral must put on immorality" (NASB, emphasis mine). What glorious bodies the saved will have in heaven!
And again, let us not forget that the Bible shows in both the Old and New Testaments of God sending His angel or angels to earth. They did not come by spaceship. Nor would I think they rode on a light beam or any other means of transportation than simply the will and power of God to send them. For God merely has to say it, such as "Let there be light" (Gen. 1:3) -- and it is done!
For one last example, which appears to indicate that God's "transporting" can even be through solid objects, consider the Lord's apostles immediately after His crucifixion. They must have been greatly discouraged and were fearful for their lives at that time and appear to have gone into hiding.
Just hours prior to the Lord's crucifixion, Peter, apparently out of fear, had denied Jesus 3 times -- rather than acknowledge that he was one of the Lord's apostles.
And concerning the day of the Lord's resurrection, John 20:19 says, "So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you’” (NASB).
In about 60 different Bible translations I looked this up in, 34 of them refer to those "doors" of John 20:19 as not merely be "shut"; but, rather, as being "locked." Yet that was no hindrance to Jesus!
So when it comes to being caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, we do not first need to be outside for that. For no walls, nor bars, nor even being confined in the most inescapable prison will be able to hinder that from happening!
Though we are not told specifically how God has sent angels to earth, yet we know that He did send them; and if that sending happened instantaneously, we should then have no trouble in believing it. For with God, “all things are possible” (Mark 19:26), and “Nothing is too difficult” for Him (Jer. 32:17). And God is certainly not hindered by distance, nor by time, nor by matter. For He is the Master over all things! For all has been made possible through Him!
God can truly do exceedingly more than all the amazing things we can even imagine!
So let us each be ready for that time when God’s people “will be caught up together...to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17, NASB).
By James Baker
Preachers cannot force baptisms. If that were the case, Satan would have no one in his ranks because the preacher would have taken all prospects away. 1 Peter 3.9. There have been times when supporting churches have demanded more from the preachers they support, than what they are doing themselves. Matt 23.4. Just because a preacher gets a check from a church, that is no reason for them to demand baptisms from that preacher. For example, how many people are the supporting churches baptizing? Acts 8.5-6. Many churches have a large supply of males while the supported preacher might only have two or three males working with him and those churches expect that preacher and his little group to jump over the moon. Just cannot be done. It is not easy to convert people and anyone who says otherwise, should show a list of all the converts he has made.
It takes lots of work and many disappointments to convert people and it could take weeks, months or years. I’m not saying it is impossible, because I believe there are two reasons why the world is still standing. Reason 1. The righteous who are currently doing the Lord s will. Reason 2. The righteous who will obey the gospel in the future. 2 Peter 3.9. So not impossible, but its not easy either. We can only teach where we are permitted and hope that the students will be receptive to the message. Acts 2.41
So, I ask again. To all supporting churches with your large membership and elders, radio and tv programs. How many people are you baptizing? I’m not speaking of some members child. I’m speaking about people who have no contact with the church there. People of the neighborhoods, people on the members jobs. etc. How many baptisms have you had?
Faithful preachers go out every week looking for opportunities to share the gospel and hopefully get someone to give their life to Christ. 1 Cor 1. 13-17. As well intention as the man of God might be; that is no guarantee that someone will be immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins. Acts 18.6 The consent to baptism comes from the student, not the preacher. Acts 16.30. Acts 18.7-11.
I encourage all, preacher or not, supported by a local church or not. Just go out and do the work you know that you should do. Be ready for opportunities to speak or do some action to teach someone. Yes, you want to and expect to; get the water warm for a baptism. But in the meanwhile, just keep working. If a preacher is working, he doesn’t deserve to have his support cut. If he is watching tv all day that would be a different thought on the matter. 1 Cor 9.9-16. Think on these things.
By James Baker
There has been and probably still are, small churches consisting of women and only one man. In some cases it is unknown how the church became that way and in others it is known; however that is beside the point. What we have are people worshipping God short-handed of man-power. The lack of men doesn’t disqualify the gathering as a church because Jesus said where two or three meet, He is in the midst; Matt 18.20. But it does make that church incomplete. Tit 1.5.
Someone might say, how about the women taking a lead? That would be wrong, because it would place the man in subjection to women and the scriptures teaches that women cannot exercise authority over the man when it involves the work of God. So the man must perform all the duties. 1 Tim 2.11-12. 1 Cor 14.34-35
The church wants to keep going and the man doesn’t complain, he just keeps on doing the work. He arrives at the church on Sunday morning and doesn’t sit down until all the service is complete. He does the prayers, communion, singing, collection and the teaching. No easy task and surely challenging should he take ill. Just like Moses father in law didn’t think it was a good idea for Moses to deal with all the problems of the nation by himself, neither do we wish such labor upon a brother. EX 18.13-27. But thanks to God the sisters support him and God upholds him so the work goes on. If there ever was a Macedonia call; cases as these are such. Acts 16.9-10.
I write this article because I have known of such churches and I had to do the same at times in my past. The job of a one show isn’t easy, but it can be done by a determined man. I have nothing but the highest respect for men who are in such situations. And if I go on vacation in a region where a brother is in such a position, I will be worshipping with that group so I can encourage those saints.
To all the Christians sitting in huge churches and I do mean sitting. For example, a brother has to take a number and wait in line like the deli at Safeway, just to pass the collection tray. That is when you know, you have too many men. Judges 7.4. Some churches have so many men that it takes weeks to put them into use, so for most of the time they just end up sitting on the bench. I’m asking brethren, not to be content just sitting on the bench. You have talent. Put it to work by helping a church who is staying afloat because of a one man show. Place membership at a church where you can work doing something every time the doors are open.
God will bless and smile upon you, because you want to work and not sit in a pew feeling comfort and protection. Get up and get out and put your talents to work. Encourage the needy church with your presence. Heb 10.24-25.
By Frank Himmel
Superstition and mystery surround the subject of demons. The Bible contains no discourses about them. All we can know must be discerned from the handful of incidents in which they were involved.
The New Testament word rendered demon was used by Greeks to denote an inferior deity. The Bible depicts them as members of the spirit world who are evil, operating in conjunction with Satan.
Jesus cast out demons on numerous occasions. Notice a few cases from Mark’s gospel.
Early during His ministry, a man with an “unclean spirit” came to the synagogue at Nazareth where the Lord was teaching. He cried out, “What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Jesus cast out the spirit to the amazement of the crowd (Mark 1:21-18).
Later in the same chapter, Mark records that Jesus cast out demons, not permitting them to speak, “because they knew who He was” (v. 34). Their knowledge was correct (see James 2:19), but theirs was an endorsement He could certainly do without!
Mark 5 records the case of Legion. This man was possessed by many spirits, hence his name. They made him unusually strong and given to self-abuse, out of his right mind. These, too, confessed Jesus. This case illustrates demons having emotions, desires, and reasoning power. They asked and received permission to leave the man and enter a herd of swine, resulting in the death of the herd.
Mark 9 records the case of a possessed boy. The spirit that tormented him made him mute. It threw him into convulsions and often threw him into fire or water to destroy him. The boy’s father brought him to Jesus’ disciples. The Lord had given them power over unclean spirits (6:7), but they were unable to cast this one out. Evidently, it was particularly strong or strong-willed. Jesus said the problem was the apostles’ lack of faith (Matthew 17:20).
Despite the varied physical effects produced by demon-possession, it is noteworthy that in no case did it cause one to be a sinner.
The prophet Zechariah foretold the day when prophecy and unclean spirits would be removed from the land (Zechariah 13:2). That day was in the era when the fountain for sin was opened for the house of David (v. 1).
Demon-possession corresponded to the time of the establishment of the kingdom of heaven. God allowed it because it provided one more proof of Jesus’ identity. Even critics knew that expulsion required miraculous power. Thus Jesus told them, “If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28).
— Via Pathlights, October 31, 2021