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16  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: October 07, 2017, 10:00:52 AM
A Credible Lifestyle

“And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey.” (Mark 1:6)
 
At times we tend to think of John the Baptist as a wild man, one who would have been either an offense or a laughingstock to those he was trying to reach, but in reality quite the opposite was true. He was greatly respected and believed; some even wondered if he should have been worshiped as “that prophet” (i.e., the Messiah) or revered as Elijah (John 1:21). His “preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Luke 3:3) was so effective that not only the common people (Luke 3:10) but also the publicans (v. 12), soldiers (v. 14), priests, and Levites (John 1:19), as well as the Pharisees and the Sadducees (Matthew 3:7), came to hear his teaching. Many repented and were baptized.
 
Far from lacking credibility, John’s style was what was expected of a prophet. Indeed, his ministry and message were in fulfillment of those of Elijah (Malachi 4:5), who himself “was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins” (2 Kings 1:8). Even false prophets mimicked this style (Zechariah 13:4) to gain credibility.
 
The point is, we should strive to package our timeless message of the gospel of Christ in such a way as to gain the greatest hearing and the most true converts. This is not to say that we should dress as John or Elijah did, for that would be bizarre in today’s world. Nor should we flaunt riches, for both styles detract from the message and induce ridicule and blasphemy.
 
Perhaps the principle is to dress and act as the hearers would expect a credible, sober conveyer of truth to behave. Let us be careful to “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (Titus 2:10). JD
17  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: October 06, 2017, 08:15:40 AM
Walk as He Walked

“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (1 John 2:6)
 
The idea of walking as Christ walked can be intimidating to a Christian. After all, the sinless Son of God, Himself fully God, who gave up everything to serve and save rebellious mankind, set an exceedingly high standard. Nothing short of perfection and total sacrifice will do. Nevertheless, while we recognize that we will never fully achieve Christlikeness on this side of glory, we have “received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him” (Colossians 2:6). Let us note several specific commands in the New Testament that describe such a walk.
 
First and foremost, we are to “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16, 25; Romans 8:1-4). The empowering of the Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to “walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12; Ephesians 4:1). Furthermore, our walk is a walk of faith: “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
 
We must “walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us” (Ephesians 5:2), and since “now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (v. 8; see also 1 John 1:7). We will make good use of our opportunities as we “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16; Colossians 4:5).
 
We must “walk in truth” (3 John 4) and in honesty (1 Thessalonians 4:12; Romans 13:13). This walk will be evident to all by our “good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
 
Such a victorious walk might be its own reward; but there is more. Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, has said of those who overcome that “they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy” (Revelation 3:4). JDM
18  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: October 05, 2017, 09:10:48 AM
Christ the Creationist

“For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.” (Mark 13:19)
 
In predicting a future judgment on the unbelieving world, the Lord Jesus referred to “the beginning of the creation which God created,” thus affirming the biblical doctrine of supernatural, sudden creation. In the pagan world of His day, evolutionism was dominant almost everywhere. The Epicureans, for example, were atheistic evolutionists. The Stoics, Gnostics, Platonists, and others were pantheistic evolutionists. None of the extra-biblical philosophers of His day believed in a God who had created all things, including even the universe itself.
 
But Christ was a creationist, and the much-maligned “scientific creationists” of today are following His example and teaching. He even believed in recent creation, for He said (speaking of Adam and Eve) that “from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6). The pagans all believed in an eternal cosmos, but Jesus said it had a beginning and that man and woman were a part of that beginning creation, following which “the sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27).
 
He also believed that the “two accounts” of creation (Genesis 1 and 2) were complementary, not contradictory, for He quoted from both in the same context. “Have ye not read,” He said, “that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female [Genesis 1], And said For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? [Genesis 2]” (Matthew 19:4-6).
 
There may be some Christians who are evolutionists, but there is no such thing as “Christian evolution,” for Christ was a creationist! HMM
19  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: October 04, 2017, 09:58:43 AM
Angels Round About

“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” (Psalm 34:7)
 
Since God’s angels are normally unseen, we have little appreciation of how intimately they are involved in our lives. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14). As in our text, there may well be a protecting angel embracing and delivering us in times of danger. “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11-12).
 
Angels are sometimes called on to rout the enemies of God and His people. “Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul . . . and let the angel of the LORD chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them” (Psalm 35:4-6).
 
Angels are intensely interested in the salvation and spiritual growth of believers, “which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12). “For we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men” (1 Corinthians 4:9). There are even occasions when “some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2).
 
There is “an innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22), beings of great power and wisdom (2 Kings 19:35; 2 Samuel 14:20). They are not omnipotent, omnipresent, or omniscient, of course, since they—like us—were created by God simply to obey God. “Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word” (Psalm 103:20).
 
Finally, we shall be “carried by the angels” (Luke 16:22) into God’s presence. Then we can better understand and thank them for all the many services rendered to us here on Earth. HMM
20  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: October 03, 2017, 09:02:09 AM
Sin Not

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” (Ephesians 4:26)
 
There are many occasions when a Christian may be rightly angered by some ugly word or incident and thus be strongly tempted to respond in kind. Our text, however, reminds us that such a reaction for a Christian is sin, and it urges us to get control of our anger before sundown. We are not to let our anger fester until it breaks out in action.
 
A very similar command was given long ago to Old Testament believers also. “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah” (Psalm 4:4). When angry, it is far better to wait and communicate with God about it in bed than to bring recriminations in the street (or, perhaps, in the home) against the ones who have angered us.
 
The Lord Jesus Himself is always our example, “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:23).
 
Anger is often one of the most difficult areas to overcome in the Christian life. As James says, “The tongue can no man tame . . . Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God . . . . My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 3:8-10). Nevertheless, what man cannot tame, God can!
 
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). “Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). Anger may come, but to act in anger is sin. HMM
21  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: October 02, 2017, 08:54:19 AM
Stand Fast

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth . . . . For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” (Psalm 33:6, 9)
 
Many is the modern-day evangelical who has attempted to harmonize the plain sense of the Scriptures with Big Bang cosmogony, concepts of stellar evolution, and a uniformitarian framework for Earth history. This exercise seldom results in a tempering of secular thought but rather in a compromising reinterpretation of Scripture, making it say something it clearly does not say.
 
The Bible says that “the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3), that all things that now exist were simply called into existence at God’s spoken command.
 
Creation was a true miracle. It was not (as some insist) merely a godly oversight of cosmic processes acting on eternal matter, nor was it the gradual appearance and disappearance of matter in a steady-state transformation. Only a poor regard for Scripture, coupled with an overly high regard for current astronomical theory, could interpret Hebrews 11:3 as the explosion of a tiny, super-dense “cosmic egg” (that did not “appear,” i.e., too small to see), itself the result of a “quantum fluctuation in a vacuum” in a Big Bang which produced the entire universe.
 
Rather, as implied in the formula “Let there be . . . and there was” repeated many times in Genesis 1, and as described in our text and elsewhere, all things derive simply from His spoken word. Our response should not be to disbelieve and twist but to believe and praise. “Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him” (Psalm 33:8). JDM
22  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: October 01, 2017, 09:32:55 AM
The Urgent Patience

“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:13-14)
 
The closing comments by David in this prayer are a wonderful testimony to his faith as well as a stable axiom for our own. God’s promises may well have ultimate fulfillment that “the eye hath not seen, nor ear heard” (1 Corinthians 2:9), but they are not just for the “by and by.” Many of God’s precious promises are focused on “the land of the living.” Peter insists that “his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).
 
Even in the midst of the terrible destruction of Israel and the awful captivity looming in Babylon, God told Israel, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you . . . thoughts of peace, and not of evil” (Jeremiah 29:11). Jesus tried to calm His frustrated followers and direct them away from worry about the things of life (Matthew 6:24-25). “Behold the fowls of the air,” Jesus said. They don’t work or do anything particularly notable, “yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26). If God takes care of the “grass of the field,” will He not care for us—“O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30).
 
Paul’s command to the Philippian church is sufficient to conclude this thought. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). HMM III
 
Adapted from Treasures in the Psalms, Henry M. Morris III, 346.
23  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: September 30, 2017, 08:20:54 AM
The Urgent Lessons

“Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.” (Psalm 27:11-12)
 
These requests are simple: “teach, lead, and deliver” so that we will be able to get away from the “will” of our enemies and the “cruelty” of the plans of those who plot against us.
 
We need to be taught the way of God so that we can be effectively directed to live as the God of all creation intended for us to live. “O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me” (Psalm 25:4-5). Once we have been twice-born, our active drive should be to “walk in thy truth” (Psalm 86:11). John 17:17 equates truth to the Word of God. That Word is the basis upon which and by which the Holy Spirit will guide us “into all truth” (John 16:13).
 
The prayer for deliverance must of necessity be a prayer in accordance with the revealed will of God. That means, above all else, in agreement with the written Word of God. God does not circumvent His Word, even for the sake of delivering His children. The Holy Spirit does not invent some new truth just to help one of God’s erring children get out of a sin-produced jam. The deliverance will be in a “plain path.” God will “lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16).
 
May our prayer contain the prayer of Psalm 143:10: “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.” HMM III
 
Adapted from Treasures in the Psalms, Henry M. Morris III, 341-342.
24  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: September 29, 2017, 09:06:23 AM
The Urgent Faith

“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.” (Psalm 27:10)
 
The preceding verses to our text bear out that David was almost shouting his prayer to the Lord. His need was urgent, the circumstances were fearful, and David was not attempting to impress the crowd around him with his religious piety. An urgent need demands an urgent expression!
 
Such urgent expression, however, should not be understood or suggest that shouting is sufficient to move the Lord to hear. Jesus warned against using “vain repetitions” and “much speaking” as a substitute for genuine petition (Matthew 6:7). The Creator certainly understands the human condition. Our dear Lord Jesus “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). We are clearly told that we are to seek Him with our whole heart.
 
This kind of prayer is like thirsting for the Lord’s help “in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Psalm 63:1). This kind of prayer reaches out with the soul to “desire thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early” (Isaiah 26:9). God does promise that the seeking prayer will be responded to! “Those that seek me early shall find me,” Wisdom promises in Proverbs 8:17. “I will hearken unto you,” the Lord says. “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:12-13).
 
It is the “effectual fervent prayer” of the righteous man that “availeth much” (James 5:16). HMM III
 
Adapted from Treasures in the Psalms, Henry M. Morris III, 341-342.
25  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: September 28, 2017, 09:05:27 AM
The Urgent Prayer

“Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.” (Psalm 27:7-9)
 
David’s prayers were urgent, intensely demanding God to deliver or protect him from immediate circumstances that were threatening to “eat him up.” Many prayers for help in time of trouble are very similar.
 
Although there is no requirement to pray out loud, there does seem to be a consistent pattern in these prayers that cry out for help in desperate times: the petitioner cries “with my voice” (Psalm 3:4; 27:7; 77:1; 142:1). Perhaps the need is so great that one forgets to be formal and just blurts out the need. Possibly the urgency of the situation is so immediate that all concern for what others may think is obliterated. Maybe, when we use our voice in our prayers, more of our “being” is involved in the praying.
 
Whatever the circumstances or reasons may be, the Scripture seems to bear out the need to vocalize our petitions. The widow who would not leave the judge alone (Luke 18:1-8) and the friend who pounded on the door for food at midnight (Luke 11:5-10) are two classic parables that encourage us to insist and to persist in our prayers before the Lord.
 
Even when every resource we have at our disposal fails, even when those closest to us desert us, God promises, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3). HMM III
 
Adapted from Treasures in the Psalms, Henry M. Morris III, 341-342.
26  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: September 27, 2017, 09:14:34 AM
God's Dwelling Place

“One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life. . . . For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me: he shall set me up upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:4-5)
 
David is absolutely confident that in God’s dwelling place is the security of his life and the surety of his purpose. It is there that David will find the beauty of the Lord and will be able to inquire for the necessary instructions. There in God’s presence will “the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us” (Psalm 90:17), and there will wisdom dispense her “ways of pleasantness” (Proverbs 3:17).
 
The descriptions of God’s dwelling place are often given in military terms. David was a warrior. The New Testament Christian is often challenged to think like a soldier. Therefore, it is certainly fitting that the Scriptures are full of these portraits of protection and deliverance. The God of salvation and deliverance hides us from the eyes of the enemy. We are kept “as the apple of the eye . . . under the shadow of thy wings. From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about” (Psalm 17:8-9). “And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD” (Psalm 27:6).
 
Today, the desperate saint need go no farther than his own prayer closet to be in direct contact and under the sheltering “pavilion” in His secret tabernacle. HMM III
 
Adapted from Treasures in the Psalms, Henry M. Morris III, 341-342.
27  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: September 26, 2017, 09:16:54 AM
God's Boldness

“When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.” (Psalm 27:2-3)
 
The wicked were ready to “eat up” the flesh of David. Whatever may be in view as the setting of this psalm, it surely warns of a pending catastrophic event in David’s life. The use of this poignant phrase in the Old Testament often relates to physical destruction of a people at the hands of a military conqueror (Numbers 24:8; Psalm 53:1-5; Jeremiah 5:15-17).
 
In the New Testament, however, the emphasis seems to be on spiritual, mental, and character destruction (Galatians 5:15; 1 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 12:20). The biblical message is consistent. No matter whether the Scriptures record an actual event or they use the examples of history to illustrate a spiritual truth, the results are the same. At the apparent peak of the enemy’s power, the enemies of God “stumbled and fell.”
 
All godly soldiers should be aware of their own insufficiency. As the conflict is building and the strength of the enemy becomes known, only a foolish braggart assumes that his own resources are enough to bring about victory—especially so when we face the great Adversary and “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10).
 
Observation that the host is surrounding and war is rising demands that the child of God not casually enter into Kingdom affairs in ignorance of the enemy or of his potential. Rather, David rests “in this [God’s strength] will I be confident.” The bold warrior is bold because he is focused. HMM III
 
Adapted from Treasures in the Psalms, Henry M. Morris III, 341-342.
28  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: September 25, 2017, 09:27:46 AM
God's Rescue

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
 
These are familiar terms within the Psalms, often glossed over because of their frequent use. Light is often associated with truth throughout the Psalms (Psalm 18:28; 36:9; 43:3). But it also indicates the provision of clarity (Psalm 37:6; 38:10; 112:4) and understanding (Psalm 119:105; 119:130), and even favor with God (Psalm 4:6; 44:3; 89:15; 90:8).
 
This psalm is a song of joy about God’s marvelous deliverance and may very well demand the broadest application possible. The Lord does provide truth for me as I search His Word—and sometimes that truth just pops into my head and heart when I most need it. He surely grants clarity and understanding to me. That is the primary ministry of the Holy Spirit on my behalf (John 16:13-15). And who can ignore the favor we receive in our salvation (Ephesians 2:8)?
 
The “rescue” of the Psalms is often set in terms of a military rescue, but it is also applicable to the eternal rescue from sin that is the ultimate focus of the Word. God is said to be the horn of our salvation (Psalm 18:2), a shield (Psalm 18:35), the rock (Psalm 89:26), our strength (Psalm 140:7), as well as my joy (Psalm 51:12) and my truth (Psalm 69:13). These descriptions draw a picture of protection, as does the phrase “strength of my life” in our text. It is consistently used in the Psalms of a rock or fortress that provides safety from enemy attack. All of these settings emphasize the often sudden and unexpected rescue of God’s people from sure defeat at the hands of an enemy. HMM III
 
Adapted from Treasures in the Psalms, Henry M. Morris III, 341-342.
29  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: September 24, 2017, 08:43:58 AM
Singing Garments of Life

“The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.” (Psalm 65:13)
 
This is the concluding verse of the beautiful 65th Psalm, climaxing a remarkable series of testimonies about God’s providential care of His creation. In this final figure, the lands are pictured as clothed in beautiful, living garments—garments that shout and sing in joyful praise to their Maker.
 
The figure would be better appreciated in biblical times or in certain lands (e.g., New Zealand) today where flocks of sheep are so abundant that they literally seem to cover the pasture lands in wool. The flocks first provide a metaphorical garment for the pastures, then literal clothing for men and women. Similarly, the fertile valleys are everywhere arrayed in golden grain, which later provides food for both the animals and human beings.
 
And “the sounds of the earth are like music,” as the song so eloquently expresses it. For those with ears to hear and eyes to see, praise is everywhere being offered up to our great Creator and faithful Sustainer by the very creation itself.
 
Jesus also spoke of the beautiful garments of creation: “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28-30).
 
The verse following our text, therefore, appropriately exhorts, “Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands . . . All the earth shall worship thee” (Psalm 66:1, 4). HMM
30  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: September 23, 2017, 09:20:00 AM
The Creation of Plants

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” (Genesis 1:11)
 
One of the favorite biblical arguments used these days by Christian advocates of an old earth comes from a forced interpretation of this verse. While the verse seems to teach “sudden” creation, old-earth advocates interpret the verse to necessitate an indefinite time period, at least long enough for seeds to grow up into mature, seed-bearing plants. Plants differ widely and are thought to have evolved all throughout Earth history. The third day, then, must be understood as long enough to witness the appearance of all “kinds” of plants and is equated with a vast stretch of geologic time. However, there are many biblical problems with this view—a few of which follow.
 
Scripture teaches that “in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is” (Exodus 20:11; see also Genesis 2:1-4; etc.), and no meaning other than a solar day is biblically defensible. The “herbs” and “trees” mentioned can only mean small or woody plants that supposedly arrived late on the evolutionary scale, for the same words are used to identify food plants on Day Six.
 
Furthermore, the verb “bring forth” (Genesis 1:11) is also used when God made animals, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature” (v. 24), on the sixth day. It cannot be referring to the growth of a seed out of the ground but rather must imply the sudden creation of both plants and animals in abundance.
 
Such compromises are impossible biblically and are quite unnecessary. There are no true facts of science that are incompatible with the young-earth teaching of Scripture. We can be sure of its teachings. JDM
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