The Giant That Slew David

A group of high school juniors and seniors were given a quiz preceding a class titled, “The Bible as Literature”. The following replies were received:

  • Sodom and Gomorrah were lovers
  • Jezebel was Ahab’s donkey
  • The gospel writers were Matthew, Mark, ‘Luther’ and John
  • Eve was created from an apple
  • Jesus was baptized by Moses

These were actual responses, but the ‘best’ answer came from a boy who was in the top 5% of his class academically. The question was, “What was Golgotha?”. The answer he gave was, “Golgotha was the name of the giant that slew the apostle David”.

If it were not so pathetic, it would be hilarious. What a pity that so many people are illiterate of God’s written Word. In a land filled with churches, chapels, and tabernacles, in a land of radio, and T.V. broadcasts, it seems that only a small handful of students know much about the Book of Books.  We have the Scriptures easily available in hardback, paperback, cloth and leather bound – versions, translations, and paraphrases too numerous to count. We have Bible dictionaries, lectionaries, and commentaries, yet we are becoming more Biblically illiterate with the passing of time.

We are starving for the Word of God.  Are these the days prophesied by Amos ( Amos 8:11-13)?  “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.”

As disturbing as the high school students’ responses were, an even more alarming survey appeared some time back. A national periodical published a survey of seminary students entitled The Startling Beliefs of Our Future Ministers. The survey was made across several major denominations. The survey results follow:

  • Do you believe in the virgin birth of Christ      –     No – 56%
  • Do you believe in the physical resurrection?  –     No – 54%
  • Do you believe in a literal heaven and hell?   –     No – 71%
  • Do you believe in the deity of Christ?             –     No – 89%
  • Do you believe that man is separated from God by birth (doctrine of depravity)?   –  Not concerned  –  98%
  • Do you believe in the second coming of Jesus? – No – 99%

The prophet Hosea sounds a warning!  “ My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge … seeing thou hast forgotten the law of God, I will also forget thy children (Hosea 4: 6). The giant of the lack of knowledge of God’s Word is slaying us.

Prayer: Lord, let us hide your Word in our hearts that we may not sin against you (Psa. 119:11). Help us to teach your Word to our children, speaking of them when we sit in our houses, when we walk by the way, when we lie down and when we rise up. (Deu. 11:19).

~ Brother Roy

The Difference

I often marvel at the earthy wisdom from the ‘hills’ of Kentucky. Growing up in Eastern Kentucky, I didn’t realize at the time how wise many of the people and sayings actually were. Not until I left the hills to pursue higher education did I begin to see that the simple folk wisdom often exceeded the erudite proclamations of academia.

Let me share an example. As a youth, I heard my dad say, “If the difference makes no difference then there is no difference.”  When I apply that bit of wisdom to the Christian life, I must ask, “What difference does Christ make in my life? What difference does Christ make in your life?”. I know that He must make a difference or there is no difference. Scripture sets a high standard for the difference Christ will make.  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” (II Cor. 5:17)  The apostle Pauladds more emphasis by stating that we must all come “ unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:13)

With such a high standard, how can we possibly measure up? The answer is ‘grace’.  Grace received and applied makes up the difference between our best effort and God’s high standard. When we truthfully give our best effort and come up short, God’s grace makes up the difference.

If that proposition is true, and it is, you may ask, why struggle? Why not just let God do it? You must surely know that grace makes up the difference only when we give our best effort and fall short. God does not demand more of a redeemed person than they are capable of doing, but He does expect us to give our best.

What difference is Christ making in our lives? People must be able to see a notable difference in our daily lives. Eph. 3:20 gives us this promise, “ He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us.”  The difference Christ makes will make a difference in the way we live!

Prayer: Lord, please do not let me be one of those Paul referred to in Gal 5:4 as “those to whom Christ has become of no effect … fallen from grace.

~ Brother Roy

On Probation

Webster’s Dictionary provides the following definition of ‘Probation’: The early release of a law breakers who must be under supervision and must report as requested to a probation officer. 

You may ask, “What has that got to do with me?”. We are all, by Biblical definition, law breakers.  The Bible say that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Then we are told that the wages of sin is death. We are under the penalty of sin. We are law breakers.   

I do not want to seem harsh or legalistic, but there is a side of the gospel that must be presented.  In God, there is mercy and grace, and they call us to forgiveness. However, we must also acknowledge that with forgiveness of sin there comes responsibility.  Jesus said, “if you love me keep my commandments.” John 14:15

Once we are born again, care must be taken to maintain a life of obedience to life principles in scripture.  We are on probation as we move through life.  We are under the supervision of the Holy Spirit. The scriptures (Heb. 9:27) also tell us that it has been appointed to every man once to die, and after that the judgement.  We will report truthfully at judgement on the activities of our lives after we have been released from sin by the blood of Christ.

We are warned not to become entangled again in sin. In Gal. 5:1, the Apostle Paul advises, “ Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”  Peter in II Pet. 2:20 admonishes us, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.”

Since you have gained your freedom, have you been in regular contact with the One who set you free? Have you been willingly following the leadership of the Holy Spirit?

~Brother Roy

A Hiding Place

Have you ever thought that you would like to run away and hide? When the pressures of life seem like they are more than you can bear, do you want retreat to a secret place?

If so, know you are not alone in those thoughts. I think most all of us have experienced those emotions. As a matter of fact, I believe all of us need ‘a hiding place.’

One of the most amazing stories to emerge from the horrors of W.W. II was Corrie Ten Boom’s book The Hiding Place. Her family had provided a hiding place for Jews trying to escape Hitler’s grasp. When she was discovered, she was shipped off to a concentration camp. She was subjected to torture and indescribable humiliations. Stripped of all else, she found her hiding place in the Lord. Her spirit and soul found shelter in the Lord. We all need a hiding place.

King David, a man after God’s own heart, at times needed a hiding place. It is a profitable study to return to 1st and 2nd Kings and read David’s story. The Bible can help us see that all of us from time to time need a hiding place.

  • Sometimes the stresses of daily living drives us there.
  • Sometimes sin and temptation force us there.
  • Sometimes danger such as violence, crime, and war pushes us there.
  • Sometimes family situations such as divorce, troubled children, etc., send us there.
  • Sometimes sickness and physical problems shove us there.
  • Sometimes sorrow and grief, loss of loved ones send us running for such a place.

You can find a hiding place in God’s Word like Jesus did in the Wilderness of Temptation. A close relationship with friends who know the Lord is a shelter. Prayer has been a proven refuge by souls under pressure across the ages.

The great music of the Church is a place of hope:

  • “In seasons of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief, and oft escaped the tempter’s snare by thy return, sweet hour of prayer.”
  • “He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock that shadows a dry thirsty land; He hideth my life in the depths of His love, and covers me there in His hand.”
  • “The Lord’s our rock, in Him we hide, a shelter in the time of storm; secure whatever ill betide, a shelter in the time of storm.”
  • “Precious hiding place, precious hiding place, in the shelter of His love; not a doubt or fear, since my Lord is near, and I’m sheltered in His love.”

~ Brother Roy

Great Commission Living

If you follow the last days of Jesus’ ministry on earth, no matter which Biblical source you look at, He is always pointing his followers to others.  In Matthew, He tells them to “go and make disciples of all nations.”  In Mark, He tells them to “go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”  In Luke, He says that “repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations.”  In John, He tells Peter to “feed my lambs…take care of my sheep…feed my sheep.”  In Acts, He says to those gathered on the Mount of Olives that they “shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  The last instructions that Jesus gave to his followers on earth were to reach others.  His desire was that they would be more than disciples, but disciple-makers.

The old saying goes that if you catch a man a fish, he will eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.  If you teach someone to be a disciple, you may save a soul; but if you teach someone to be a disciple-maker, who knows how many will be saved!

So how do you and I go about living the Great Commission?  How do we go about fulfilling God’s call to reach the ends of the earth?

Great Commission living is about a vision.  God’s vision from the creation of the world was that man would love Him.  God’s vision is still, despite our rebellion, that “no one should perish, but that everyone would come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  God’s vision is that at the end of time, people from every tribe, tongue, and nation would worship around His throne.  We must share God’s vision for a lost and dying world.

Great Commission living is about a partnership.  In Eph. 4:11, Paul indicates that some are called some to be apostles, while others are called to be prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.  He told the Corinthians that the church is to be one body with many parts – partners in fulfilling God’s purposes.  If the world is going to be reached with the Gospel, some of us must go.  Some of us must be prayer warriors, fighting spiritual battles on our knees.  Some of us must give, supporting God’s work with our finances.

Great Commission living is about living the Greatest Commandment.  We must love the Lord our God with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our minds, and we must love others as much as we love ourselves – everything comes from this!  If we do not selflessly represent the heart of God to the world, they will never come to Him.

With these thoughts in mind, we must ask ourselves:  am I living the Great Commission?  Some of us need to get on our knees and put our faces to the floor and tell the Lord that we are not moving until we catch a glimpse of His vision for a lost and dying world.  Some of us need to ask the Lord to show us how and where He would have us serve. Some of us need to ask the Lord to teach us what it means to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  We all must find our place in God’s Great Commission.

~ Matt Kinnell
NHIM Board Chairman