How To Avoid A Double Standard


JESUS CHRIST used His peerless capacity to draw listeners attention with a simple story illustrating a sublime truth. He used eyesight to dramatize the importance of having undivided loyalty.

Immediately He moved to use one of the many contenders for our loyalty as an illustration of all. Following the story of what we are willing to see is the story of who we are willing to serve.

Don’t let Satan decoy you into thinking this is a message on giving money. It isn’t. That is peripheral. It is a message on who you are going to serve. More specifically, it is a message on who or what is your God.

Jesus Christ in simple clear terms said, “NO man can serve two masters…” Though often tried it simply cannot be done. The warfare between contending masters is waged daily on the battlefield of human hearts. The conflict is between MATERIALISM and NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANITY.

So completely has materialism saturated our outlook on life that we can proceed only a short way on the road to Christian maturity until this subtle cancer has to be diagnosed and removed. Materialism is malignant. The desire for the things money can buy and the earthly security money can create has always been a challenge to Christian faith. It has never been as systematically injected into the human soul as presently.

Christ knew of the human struggle with materialism.

In the gospels He told 38 parables. Out of the 38, 16 concerned how to handle our money.

Christ said more about money and possessions that He did about heaven and hell combined.

In the gospels 1 out of 10 verses deals with money or possessions. That is a total of 288 verses in the four gospels.

In the Bible there are more than 500 references to prayer and less than 500 references to faith. There are over 2,000 references to money and possessions.

I. CONSIDER THE CANDOR “No man can serve two masters…”

A slave was a living tool. A master had life-and-death control over a slave. To be a “slave” meant for a master to be constantly, entirely, 100% devoted to obedience to that one master. It would be utterly impossible to have two masters. Slavery involved:

A. The slave had no rights of his own – there was single ownership.

B. The slave had no time of his own – full time service is a trait. Emancipation Proclamation.


When Jesus became my Master I read everything He said and studied about all that He did. I memorized His words and dreamed of His deeds. It was as though I was living with the Man = and you know = I was.

“Mammon” is a Chaldean name for the money-god. In Hebrew mammon (Mamon) is a word for material possessions. In His use of the term Jesus is representing material goods as a rival god, a power that seeks to dominate us. Jesus knew “…the love of money is the root of all evil” (I Timothy 6: 10a). It is not money that is the root, but the love of it. One may have little or no money and love it to the point it is a god.

In making this statement initially Jesus was addressing thing-oriented, greedy, avaricious, covetous, manipulative religious leaders who were grasping for more things.

In telling the greedy young ruler to “Sell your possessions and give to the poor” (Luke 12: 33) He was telling him to get rid of his false god.

When Jesus dined with Zacchaeus and the “wee little man” got his life right with the Lord he volunteered to get rid of his false god and declared: “Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will repay back four times the amount” (Luke 19: 8).

It is not always used in an evil sense. Its ancient use means “to entrust.” It was a banking term. Gradually the word use changed from “that which is entrusted to another” TO “That in which one puts trust.” The change of word usage reveals a change in the hearts of people. A person’s god is the power in which he trusts. We become slaves to our causes.

It needs to be made perfectly clear that one can’t serve God and mammon, but you can serve God with mammon. Many do.

In His earthly ministry Jesus was supported financially by wealthy women who enabled Him to give to the poor. He dined with the wealthy Zacchaeus. He attended the lavish wedding in Cana.

Our society’s preoccupation with self inclines persons to be predisposed to choose mammon. Our cultures self-centeredness, our narcissism, is clearly forbidden in Scripture.

God’s purpose in creating us initially and redeeming us was for fellowship with us. He created us for worship. If we worship anything other than God, we engage in idolatry and fail to glorify Him.

Many husbands and some wives overly committed to their career ambitions are not only putting material matters ahead of God but also ahead of the family. The marriage suffers and children are the losers.

In choosing to serve the Lord we need to go back to the original meaning of the word which was “to entrust.”

Don’t tune me out until the following thought is completed. Christianity is the most materialistic religion in the world. It takes creation seriously. Christianity does not divorce itself from the material world, but realizes a responsibility to be a steward of it. New Testament stewardship means we belong completely to the Lord and as such we are managers of His possessions He puts in our care.

Our regular question should be: “What does the Master want me to do with this possession or opportunity?”

Christians are materialistic in the sense they realize everything, including themselves, belongs to the Lord. As a result we live to please our Lord in managing His material universe and all that is in it.

It is impossible to be without a master. Everyone has one. The master is trusted.

“Trust, faith, belief, and hope,” we still toss these words around like a child does “eeny, meeny, miney, mo” but the splendor has gone out of them. This is true because we really trust in assembly lines, have faith in insurance policies, believe in mass production and place our hope in big government. None of these or all of them combined don’t bring fulfillment.

At the end of World War II the death of many adults left a lot of orphans. At the end of the war the allies provided camps for these children in which they were fed and cared for. Though well cared for the children couldn’t sleep. Even eating three meals a day they would lie awake at night. Psychologists studied why they could not sleep.

They proposed a solution. Every night when the children went to bed someone went down the row of beds and put a piece of bread in the hand of each child. The last thing they felt at night was the bread in their little hands. Soon they were sleeping all night. Experience had taught them there was no hope for tomorrow. Though they ate well each day they were apprehensive about tomorrow. Now they could sleep because their anxiety had been overcome by the bread in their hand as they went to bed. They were not afraid of the future.

Do you know God has given us the equivalent of that piece of bread? His bread in our hand is this: “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

We don’t need to unduly stockpile for the future. God has the assets to provide for His children. Christ reminds us: “Don’t you know that your heavenly Father feeds the birds, and are you not much better than they?” (Matthew 6: 26).

If He feeds the birds He will surely feed His own children.

Mammon is a poor god for it makes for itself wings and flies away. It is a gilded toy that won’t work.

We CAN choose. Christ always defined the alternatives: sheep or goats; figs or thistles; right or wrong; the Father or the world; God or mammon.
We MUST choose. Nature requires it. One can’t be both selfish and generous. You can’t travel in two directions at once. Proverb: “A man can’t carry two melons in one hand at a time. You can’t sail under two flags.

III. CONSIDER THE CONCLUSION “Hate one and love the other.”
Those who love the world, hate Christ. Those who love Christ hate the world.

When traveling to a foreign country it is wise to exchange U.S. currency for the currency of the country to which you are traveling. That is no less true in the spiritual realm. In our present life our currency is dollars. In the Kingdom of Heaven it is souls. By a form of divine alchemy our dollars are converted into souls. The exchange must be made before leaving this country, however.

Let’s watch two couples about to embark on their heavenly journey. They are approaching the end of their pilgrimage called life.

The first couple pauses on the brink of a dark foreboding chasm which an angel tells them is the grave. Reassuringly the angel tells them they need not be afraid of that dark shadowy place. Confirmation is given they will pass through it safely. “Look beyond it,” the angel appeals, “look on the other side.”
In amazement they look to see shimmering through the mists in the distance the beautiful “City of God.”
“It’s so beautiful,” the woman joyously exclaims, “so very beautiful!”
Turning to her husband she says, “Let’s go at once.”
“Just a moment,” said the guide, “first you must put down on this side all those material things you are carrying in your hands. Just throw them on the trash pile of useless things. The litter is what others before you have left.”
The couple froze and said nothing.
Sternly the angel said, “Nothing but yourself can go beyond the grave. Put it down.”
“But, you don’t understand,” the man appealed. “These are our valuables. We have spent a life time saving for them. They represent a lifetime of hard work, thrift, and shrewd business investments.”
“They won’t be needed. Such possessions are absolutely of no value in the ‘City of God.’ The very streets are paved with gold.”
Slowly the man released his grip and dropped his all on the scrap heap.
Seeing this his wife clung more closely to her treasures. The angel pointed to a box she held tenaciously.
Pleadingly she said, “These are my special treasures that made me the envy of friends.”
“In the presence of the King of King such tawdry trinkets aren’t allowed. You have to be attired in white robes of righteousness.”
Hesitantly she tossed it down but clutched a velvet jewel case. Patiently the angel held out his hand. Slowly she opened the case displaying a gorgeous strand of pearls.
“These are priceless pearls. They are the real kind, the ones from the sea. Everyone is a perfect spherical and has a deep luster. The necklace has great sentimental value. I turned down a very generous offer from a jeweler for them. To me they are priceless.”
“A mere bauble!” the celestial host said. “Don’t you know the gates of the City of God are each one pearl. The rings on your fingers must go also.”
“These are my diamond and emerald rings. These flawless stones are priceless.”
“Infinitesimal! Such stones are used for building purposes in the New Jerusalem. Look, the mist is lifting. It’s time to go.”
Again they looked and saw the city “having the glory of God and her light was like a stone most precious…and the foundations of the wall were garnished with all manner of precious stones” — emeralds, sapphires, amethysts.

Empty handed the couple went down into the chasm and passed through the gates beyond. They were saved “as if by fire.” That which represented their treasures were left on the earthly scrap heap. Then it became clear what the writer of the Revelation (18:17) meant when he wrote, “For in one hour so great riches is come to naught.”

Back on earth another couple approached the end of their pilgrimage. They came with no reluctance and a much lighter load. With no sign of regret they placed their possessions on earth’s scrap heap. Expectantly their eyes were turned toward the City of God.

The gates of the Holy City swung open and joy-bells rang. Amazed and joyfully the couple stood amid a crowd waiting to greet them. “Welcome Home,” they shouted. Many of them the couple had never seen. One of these strangers said, “Next to our beloved Savior you are my best friends.”
“How can this be since we have never seen many of you before?”
One answered for many. “We were in far-distant heathen lands, but messengers came to bring us the good news of salvation and that is why we are here. Since we arrived God has looked over His account books and told us you were responsible for those messengers. Since it was announced this morning that you were coming this crowd that you made it possible to hear the good news has been gathering to welcome you and say thanks.”
Excitedly they had a momentary flashback to times down on earth when after praying it over they had given money they could have used on themselves to support missionaries and the cause of Christ in their local church.
Just then, Oh, then the dear Savior’s face shone upon them and He spoke, “Well done, good and faithful servants, you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you rulers over many things.”
Hear now the Savior speak to you: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6: 19, 20).

How Old Is The Earth?


JESUS CHRIST Is spoken of as Creator: Colossians 1. When?

How old is the earth, really?

Estimated ages for the earth range from 6,000 years to 5 billion years. The two age estimates are so different they can’t be reconciled. One has to be wrong. The disparity is illustrated by the following.

If you were to stack Bibles with thin pages, allowing each page to represent a year, the stack representing 6,000 years would be about knee high.

Using the same ratio, the stack representing 5 billion years would reach 114 miles into the stratosphere.

Which stack do you choose as representative of the age of earth?

The science of dating the age of the earth is called GEOCHRONOLOGY. “Geo” means Earth and “chronology” refers to the sequence of time.

There are approximately 70 methods of dating the Earth. Each is based on the principle that natural processes have occurred steadily through time, producing cumulative results that can be measured. These studies reveal the upper age of the Earth. Only a few of them suggest the Earth is very old. These are the ones the secular press emphasizes to the uninformed public.

There is a principle that can account for the great variance. The dating processes that suggest an old Earth are based on GRADUALISM. This theory suggests that through a slow process everything has evolved. The time required is up to 5
billion years.
DYNAMIC large scale cataclysmic events suggest accelerated transformation.

Following are some methods of dating about which the public is generally uninformed. CHECK THE EARTH’S OIL PRESSURE
Have you ever seen one of the old movies that depicted the explorers striking oil? They were called gushers. Great pressure caused the well to spout oil high into the air when the oil deposit was tapped and the pressure released. All of this pressure had been trapped beneath sedimentary rock. Even the most dense sedimentary rock is porous to some degree. With time that pressure would lead out.

Discoveries have exposed high pressure wells at great depths. If those oil deposits had been there more than 5,000 years in some cases, based on the porous nature of the soil, the pressure would have left.

The pressure of these wells suggests a young earth.

Some things are so technical and complex they are hard to make simple. This is one worth struggling with.

Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. A light year is the distance light travels in a year, that being 6 trillion miles. There are galaxies that are alleged to be billions of
light years away. That means light that left these solar bodies 5 billion years ago would just now be reaching the Earth. This appears to be a point in favor of an old Universe. It isn’t.

Now scientists, using what is known as Riemannian Distances, know light might well be taking what they call a “shortcut” as it travels through space. Based on observations of 27 binary star systems, it appears that light in deep space travels in curved paths on Riemannian surfaces. Using a very complex scientific formula, light from infinite space would reach the earth in only 15.71 years.

Using this formula, if the distances in space are measured correctly and some solar bodies are billions of light years away, light from them would reach us in 15.71 years.

Another explanation that would discount the theory that light from deep outer space supports evolution deserves consideration. A number of observations over the last 300 years indicate that the speed of light is slowing. It extrapolates to having been 500 billion times faster 6000 years ago. If that is true, light from a 5 billion light year star would have reached Earth in only 3 days.

The rate of the depletion of the strength of the earth’s main magnetic field is measurable. The electromagnetic dipole magnet in the conductive core of the earth is being consumed at an observable rate. Using this known rate of decay, it can be projected how weak the signal will be at a certain time.

By running this formula in reverse, it can be determined how strong the magnetic force would have been at a certain time in the past. If the earth were more than a few thousand years old the magnetic force would have been so great it would have exploded. There is no way this magnetic force could have been in existence for billions of years. It requires a young earth explanation.

Earth is consistently gathering dust from the cosmos at a measurable rate. Because of wind and water erosion it does not build up appreciably. The rate is known, however. The Earth and its moon travel through the same region of space. Thus, the same rate of interplanetary dust falls on both. With an awareness of this rate, and assuming the Universe to be billions of years old, NASA space scientists were able to calculate how deep the dust would be on the moon. They, knowing this, designed the lunar lander with large pods for feet to prevent it from sinking into the dust. Estimates of the depth of the dust, based on the known rate of its falling, was conservatively 54 feet on the moon. This would surely prove an old Universe.

Touchdown, lunar lander. Surprise, the depth of the dust varied from 1/8 of an inch to three inches. Required time for such a collection of interplanetary dust? Fewer than 8,000 years.

The era of fish was suppose to have occurred about 340 million years ago. According to evolutionary theory, the oceans are at least 2,000 million years old.

When volcanoes erupt, the content of the erupting material consists of as much as 20% water. This extremely hot water, having been under the Earth under high pressure, is spewed into the atmosphere as steam and upon cooling, condenses in the form of rain. This is new water on the earth’s surface and is called “juvenile water.” Each time a volcano erupts, more water is added to the oceans.

Question: How long would it take for all the ocean water to have accumulated from volcanic eruptions?

About twelve eruptions occur a year, producing roughly one cubic mile of water. By calculating backwards, it can be determined how long it would have taken to produce the 340,000,000 cubic miles of water in the oceans. At the rate of one cubic mile per year, it would have taken 340,000,000 years. Problem!

That means that 340,000,000 years ago there was no ocean. How could fish have evolved if there was not water?

The rim of Niagara Falls is wearing away at a predictable rate. To have eroded from its natural precipice would have taken only about 5,000 years.

Upon visiting a cave with limestone stalactites you will likely be told they were created in 100 thousand years. Under the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., stalactites have grown to a length of 5 feet in less than 50 years. No more than 10,000 years would have been required at this rate to produce large stalactites.

The World That Perished, John C. Whitcombe, Jr., Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1973, p. 114.

He Gave A Gift That Keeps On Giving


JESUS CHRIST’S birth was God’s way of saying, “Merry Christmas, planet earth. I have a present for you.”

JESUS CHRIST was the reference when Paul wrote, “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift…” (II Cor. 9:15).

The gift is indescribable, inexpressible, marvelous, and wonderful. The gift is Jesus Christ Himself.

Our distinctive southern tongues have a way of making certain words sound alike. Two such words are presents and presence. “Presents” meaning gifts and “presence” meaning to be in close proximity. God’s present to the population of planet earth was the presence of His Son, Jesus Christ.

An appropriate gift does two things:

It reveals the love of the one giving it.

It suits the needs of the one receiving it.

Isn’t it rewarding when you give a gift for the recipient to say, “How like you to give such a thoughtful gift and it is just what I wanted and needed.”

The gift of Christ as Savior does both. Our response should be, “How like you dear God to give me just what I wanted and needed.”

A gift is an expression of the giver’s heart. The recipient gets it but not because it is earned, merited, or deserved. It is simply an expression of the loving heart of the giver.

Wouldn’t it be a magical Christmas if you placed neatly wrapped packages under the tree with names of family members on them and then set up a cash box to collect a fixed sum for each? The moment you received money for one it would not be a gift, but a purchase.

In Bud Blake’s “Tiger” comic strip two little boys were talking about Christmas. One said, “My folks got us an artificial tree this year.” The other little guy asked, “Does that bother you?”

“No,” was the response, “just as long as the gifts are real.”

The gift of God the Father is Jesus. His name evidences the scope of the gift. Jesus means, “Jehovah is Salvation.” Thus, in the end, the gift is salvation.

Suppose God had said, “You can purchase your salvation.” That would have left out millions who are too poor to buy their salvation.

Suppose He had said, “Be good enough and I will give it to you,” or “Do enough good deeds and you can merit your salvation.” Who could have done that much good or behaved that well?
Suppose God had said, “If you do sufficient penance, or suffer enough, you can deserve your salvation.” Some, having a clouded understanding of just how far their sins had separated them from God, might not have performed sufficiently.”

In Rome, Italy I have seen persons climbing stairs on their knees as an act of penance, thinking they were garnering the favor of God by their work.

In Brazil, I have seen persons walk gravel roads on their knees hoping to gain God’s favor by their penance.

There are millions who live under this misconception today.

Suppose God had said, “I am going to grade on the curve and if you score high enough you will pass and get your salvation.” When Jesus entered the earthly scene He messed up the curve.

Instead, God said, “I will give you salvation if you will receive the gift.” The gift is His presence.

I walked through the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau, and reflected on an account I had read in the book by Corrie Ten Boom entitled “Christmas Remembered.” It was her memory of her experience in such a Nazi hell hole.

It was Christmas Eve. Corrie and the other Christians in the camp had placed meager handmade decorations on a few trees in celebration of Christ’s birth. Beneath some of these trees were the lifeless bodies of fellow prisoners who had died and been thrown there.

Corrie was weary of trying to tell people of the love of Jesus and physically fatigued as she glanced out a crack to see the bodies by the light of the moon. Amid all the moaning and groaning she heard a child’s voice pleading, “Mommy, come to Ollie. Ollie is so alone.”

Corrie knew one of those bodies beneath those trees was that of Ollie’s mother. Corrie went to the bunk of the child and softly said, “Ollie, mommy can’t come, but I want to tell you of One who did come on that first Christmas and that He will come to be with you right now.” Corrie continued to tell how Jesus in love had come to earth and how He lovingly died on the cross of Calvary for our sins. She proceeded to tell little Ollie how the death and resurrection of Jesus enabled Him to provide a lovely house in heaven where there were no cruel people; only those who had love for Jesus and one another. In faith, little Ollie trusted Jesus that night and found great comfort in His presence.

A few days later Corrie saw Ollie with her sores and wounds bandaged only with toilet paper. She could tell the child was in pain but asked anyway: “Ollie, where is Jesus?” With a warm though weak smile the child said, “He is in heaven where He has provided a little house for me.”

“Is He just there in heaven?”

“No,” she said, “he is here with me and when I hurt, I let the pain remind me of His suffering and dying for me to provide that little house in heaven.”

The Nazis saw to it that the little house didn’t stay vacant long. Ollie died and went into the presence of the Lord, all because of a present from the Lord — Jesus Himself was that gift of salvation. Ollie went to heaven because of Christ’s presence.

Let’s consider some passages of Scripture as though they are correspondence delivered to us. First,I. SPECIAL DELIVERY FROM ZACHARIAS (LUKE 1: 5 – 25)
Zacharias and his wife lived in a little hillside town near Jerusalem where he served as a priest in the temple.

An angel appeared to him and told him his wife Elizabeth would have a child.

Verse 18, Zacharias’ understanding of nature prompted him to respond in a natural way and both doubt and question the angel’s message: “How can I know this is true? I am an old man myself, and my wife is getting on in years….” He was so alarmed the angel said, “Fear not…” Well, why not? Why should he not have been virtually terrorized?

The text answers, “Thy prayers have been answered.”

Because of his doubt, God sealed his lips until the birth of his son, John the Baptist. This should be a clear indication to us that God doesn’t like His children going around sowing discord and stirring up dissension.

When his son was born Zacharias began to praise the Lord.

To some, faith comes after hesitation. When it does come, then comes praise.

In Nazareth a young virgin received an angelic message regarding having a baby. Normal child birth is exciting but this is something special. Husbands often get more excited than wives. Such an excited husband spoke excitedly over the phone, “My wife is pregnant and having contractions every two minutes.”

The operator questioned, “Is this her first child?”

“No, you dummy, this is her husband.”

Parental arrangements for marriage were made for children when at a very young age. This was considered both an engagement and marriage. As they approached marriageable age, they entered into a one year period of betrothal. During this time they lived apart but were legally married. Unfaithfulness during this time was punishable by death.

This process of marriage is the reason secular writings referred to virgins who were widows.

Six months after visiting Zacharias, Gabriel was sent to Nazareth with a message for a teenage girl named Mary.

Mary was frightened and the angel again spoke that familiar line: “Fear not…”

Why not? Because, “You have found favor with God.”

A. Mary said of her son, He was her “savior” (Vs. 47).

Mary was special. She was “blessed” (Vs. 28). What Jesus thought of her and what she thought of Him can be learned from the Scripture.

Christ and Mary must each be acknowledged for what they are.

Some failing to understand the Scripture try to attribute to Mary the work of Christ. Only He saves; not His mother.

Mary never hinted she was savior.

Jesus never hinted Mary was savior.

Mary stated Jesus was Savior. In verse 47 she called Him “my savior.”

Jesus stated He was savior. He said of Himself, “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

A Christian receptionist in a doctor’s office tried several times to explain to her friend this basic principle. Over and over she tried to communicate that Mary, His wonderful and blessed mother, could not do what only Christ could do.

One day the lady called and asked to speak to the doctor about a medical problem. The receptionist said, “He isn’t in, but his mother is. Will she do?” Further explanation of this parallel helped the caller understand this truth.

After calming the fears of Mary, that angel told her she was going to have a baby. She never questioned the fact.

She simply asked “How?” (Vs. 34).

The supernatural nature of what was to happen never puzzled her. The Holy Spirit would supernaturally invest an ovum with the germ of life, and the child to be born would be divine.

This clearly teaches Christ was conceived of a virgin. If you deny that, you have an inadequate concept of God. If God couldn’t do that, He couldn’t save anyone. If your view of God is of One who couldn’t do that, in the view of a book authored over thirty years ago by J. B. Phillips, Your God Is Too Small, he writes, ” My God, the God of the Bible, could handle that easily, and He did.”

The angel greeted her, “Hail.” The word was CHAIRE which means “rejoice.” She did so in a big way. She did so because she chose to.

The fact that as a single pregnant girl she might lose her beloved Joseph and even be stoned did not repel her. She disregarded the possible social stigma.

Mary then made one of the most courageous statements ever recorded: “Let it be to me according to your word” (Vs. 38).

Her response: “I belong to the Lord, body and soul. Let it happen as you say” (Vs. 38). Self had been brought under God’s control.

How you respond to the Lord determines the direction of your life. You are a sum total of your choices.

Later in life, under different circumstances, Mary said to Christ’s disciples, “Do whatever He says for you to do” (John 2:5). She was urging them to respond as she had responded.

When I left for college, my cousin who had played basketball in college with the man who was to be my coach said, “Whatever he tells you to do — do it. He did twice as much in college as he will ever ask you to do.”

In effect Mary was saying, “Do as I have done.” That is her message to us.

Remember we pray: “Thy will be done…” Not, “Thy will be changed…”

B. Of Mary’s soon-to-be born Son, it was said: (Vs. 32)

“He shall be great…”

“…called the Son of the Highest.”

C. Of Him she said:

“My soul does magnify the Lord” (Vs. 46).

“Magnify” comes from the word MEGALUNEI, which means to laud, to celebrate.

I am sometimes asked, “Don’t you ever get discouraged?” Yes, but I am never going to tell you when I get discouraged because that might discourage you and that would discourage me and I can hardly stand my present discouragement.”

“My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Vs. 47).

The coming of God to her as Savior was the cause of her rejoicing.

Some persons sigh, “I just love Jesus.” If you do, notify your face.

Joy is the banner that flies over the castle of the heart when the King is in residence.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2: 8, 9).

Christmas was the time of Christ’s birth. He was the gift, salvation embodied. For the gift to be yours, you must receive it.

Three responses are potential. They are:


Which are you?

Do you rank among those who say there is “a” Savior or perhaps even Jesus is “the” Savior?

Can you truthfully say, “Jesus is MY Savior?”

“The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23a).

Happy Are Those Who Engage in Thanksgiving

I TIMOTHY 2: 1 – 4

JESUS CHRIST paused at the grave of His dear friend Lazarus and in essence prayed, “Father, I thank you for the death of My dear friend Lazarus…”

Talking to God the Father is therapeutic. With this in mind, one who walked closely with the Lord exhorted his young colleague and, through his inspired writing, us, to make it a practice to talk to the Lord. Four types of such engagement with the Lord are encouraged.

A. SUPPLICATIONS (I Timothy 2: 1a)
This means to recognize a need and ask God to meet it. It arises from a sense of inadequacy and inability to meet a need. It is a request made of God to meet the need.

B. PRAYERS (I Timothy 2: 1b)
This word means to draw near to God and pour our heart out to Him. It is a general term for worship of the God whose name is hallowed.

C. INTERCESSIONS (I Timothy 2: 1c)
The word was used to refer to the authority to enter into the King’s presence and submit a petition on someone’s behalf. It reveals we have personal access to God and personal confidence we will be received and heard.

D. THANKSGIVING (I Timothy 2: 1d)
This is an expression of gratitude not only for blessings bestowed and prayers answered, but for the very privilege of praying. It is the spirit in which all prayer should be offered and life lived.

Jesus told of ten men who were healed of the dread disease of leprosy. Only one turned back to say thanks. Would our present conduct indicate we would have been one of the nine or the one out of the nine?

We live in a society of ingrates. When was the last time you saw anyone bow and pray before a meal in a public place? Do you regularly thank God for all things?

A prominent criminal lawyer, Sam Leibowits, was responsible for sparing 78 men from the electric chair. Not one ever thanked Him. Daily our Lord spares us. Do we thank Him?

I read recently of a man who tried to stab his wife to death. Though he stabbed her several times he botched the job and then got sorry for her and took her to the hospital. Doctors waged a battle to save her life and were successful. After her release from the hospital she died from a blood clot in her lungs. The husband sued the hospital for $2.5 million.

Did you read of the two Texas Good Samaritans who came upon a wrecked car that was on fire? They managed to free one of the two occupants and drag her to safety. Bystanders estimated they had about 80 seconds to think and act. The car exploded before they could rescue the second person. She suffered serious burns and is suing the rescuers for not getting her out first.

Do some of our responses to the Lord indicate similar ingratitude?

Columnist Billy Rose wrote an unbelievable story of ingratitude during his brilliant career in the 40’s and 50’s. ”

It was a cold German night when a little German soldier walked out on the bridge. The wind sliced through his dirty uniform. He looked down into the river. The water was red, as red as the sun going down behind the Bavarian hills. “Why not?” he mumbled. “Germany is dying. Why not die with her? A car rumbled over the boards. He pressed against the guard rail as it went by. There were French soldiers in it. He started walking again. Then he stopped. Where was he going? To Munich? What was in Munich? More gray faces. More beaten people. The Oberleutnant had said, “Go home.” No papers. No train ticket. Just “Go home.” Thousands like him were on the roads. Feet wrapped in rags. Hungry. Sleeping anywhere. Stealing.

The little soldier turned and looked back. He was alone on the bridge. On the far bank the sun caught a bit of metal. Someone was fishing. Someone in a long coat. The man on the bridge closed his eyes. He rested his hands on the rail. It was cold. Then he jumped. As he hit the water, there was a great roaring in his head. A roar like a crowd shouting his name. He felt his boots carrying him down. And down. When he opened his eyes a strange face was looking down at him. “Easy.” He was in a kitchen. The strange face smiled. “Get this inside you,” it said, “You’ll feel better.”

The soldier took the cup in both hands. He saw an oven and by the oven his uniform drying on a chair. “Lucky I was on the bank when you went under,” chuckled the stranger. “You’re the only thing I caught today.” The soldier pulled the blanket up around him. “Got to be too much for you, eh?” the fisherman went on. “A lot of our men feel that way. But it’s no good. There’s too much work to be done. You look weak. Why don’t you stay here tonight?”

The soldier got up and started putting on his clothes. “If you’re going to Munich,” said the man in the kitchen, “maybe I can help you. I have a friend there. I’ll give you a letter to him. What’s your name?” The soldier handed him a damp identification card and went on dressing. Out on the road, he looked at the letter. Under the date, December 21, 1918, it read:

‘Dear Benjamin,
As a favor to me would you please give food and lodging to this young man until he can find work? His name is Corporal Adolf Hitler.
Your friend,
Israel Cohen'”

Hitler, instead of showing his thankfulness, became the dog to bite the Jewish hand that fed him. Our rejection of Jesus Christ and/or our disobedience of Him is even more reprehensible and unforgivable.

There are times our prayers go unheard. The Psalmist reminds us of this: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18).

Amos lived in an evil but religious society. During the week they practiced their injustices and other unrighteous acts. On the Sabbath they came together and made demonstrative sacrifices and sang praises to the Lord. In response God said:

“I hate, I despise your feast days, And I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, Nor will I regard your fatted peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5: 21 – 24).

Their day of their sacred assemblies was very popular with the people. They regularly gathered in large numbers and went though the motions with deep feelings. However, their worship was sterile.

God would not accept their “burnt offering.” This was an offering totally consumed by fire. It was intended to be a gift to the Lord to attract God’s presence. It was rejected.

God rejected their “peace offering.” This was a fellowship offering. It was to symbolize a harmonious relationship between the people and God.

Even the harmonious songs of praise were not acceptable.

Amos used images to show the error of their popular concept of the Day of the Lord (Vss. 18 – 20).

One was of a man who ran from a lion only to run into a bear. The other was of a man who ran into his home seeking security and was bitten by a snake.

As these people sought protection, so the Israelites gathered in their sacred assemblies. Like those who sought safety only to encounter another judgment, so these faithless people seeking refuge in their assemblies were finding the judgment of God on them. Before their worship, praise, and thanksgiving could be accepted, they needed to practice two things during the week.

God requires “justice” and “righteousness” in the lives of people before their thanksgiving is acceptable. This means thanks giving must be preceded by thanks living. II. FOR WHOM WE ARE TO DO IT
If you believe the Bible when it says (1) God loves all people and (2) that Jesus died for all people THEN You should pray for ALL people == friends and opponents.

As with all elections some rejoice and others have remorse. Regardless of who wins, someone loses. Pray for both but particularly for the one who assumes authority over you.

Governmental positions of authority have their origin with God: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For  there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1).

God uses leaders. He either uses them as a channel of blessings or as an instrument through which to judge and punish His people. God not only disciplines individuals, He does nations, also.

Take heart from Proverbs 21: 1: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

God doesn’t get voted out. He doesn’t even get voted on.

“That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (I Timothy 2:2).

In an orderly society persons must voluntarily submit themselves to authority or anarchy results.

Sometimes the people work against this. Sometimes despotic leaders work against it. That gives us all the greater reason to pray for them.

As Samuel said, “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you.”

1. “There is one God” (Vs. 5a)

2. “One Mediator” (Vs. 5b)
A mediator is one who goes between two parties to restore their relationship. To do so he must be equal with both parties.

That is why there is “one” Mediator, Emmanuel, “God with us.”

3. “One ransom” (Vs. 6)
The Greek word translated “ransom” is ANTILUTRON.

“Anti” implies substitution, in place of, or instead of.

“Lutron” stresses the price to be paid for the one to be released.

The provision was universal, “for all.”

It is actually only for those who accept God’s conditions, who are described as – – – “The Son of Man came to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20: 28). The “many” is a reference to all who receive Christ.

The price is noted: “We have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of our sins” (Ephesians 1:7).

Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: 50th Anniversary Celebration

FEBRUARY 22, 2004

JESUS CHRIST said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13: 5.

Our beloved Lord has been and is creatively at work in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Our every attainment enabled by Him gives us cause to – – – –
“The Lord is my helper.”
It is He who has blessed and honored this organization in the past.
Years ago a commitment was made by those who held in trust this organization.
The commitment was to affect the community not reflect it.
Knowing that divine operation often waits on human cooperation persons committed themselves to that end.

Across America dynamic persons aglow with zeal have faithfully served our Lord under the banner of FCA in arenas where the church is barred. Marching in cadence with the heartbeat of Calvary they have won many victories. The legion of loyalists who have ministered faithfully have given us an admirable legacy.

Jesus who spoke the Universe into existence and then walked across a bit of real estate in Asia Minor with a cross on His back has enabled our every victory. The praiseworthy past He has enabled is prologue to a promising future.

Our past should well be encapsulated in I Chronicles 29:11:
“Yours, O Lord is the greatness, the power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, And you reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.”

Our theme for summer camps this year is a dramatic statement made by Jesus Christ.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

If we believe that and proclaim it we will be among the most criticized non-PC people in America. We should not marvel that there is only one way. We should rejoice there is a way. In order to have the courage of our convictions we need to know who said that. Who was Jesus? John 1: 1 states: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Logos was the Greek term translated “Word” and is a reference to Jesus Christ. To know the meaning of a word it helps to know how it was used at the time employed. About the time of the writing of the gospels the philosopher Philo used it to mean “all that is known or knowable about God.” That is Jesus, He is all that is known or knowable about God because He was God.

In the Greek text “In the beginning” literally means, “Before time began to begin the Word was.” He is eternal. There never was a time He wasn’t and there will never be a time He isn’t.

Skeptics scoff at the idea of Him being God and being with God the Father. Positionally He was with the God the Father. In essence, that is, His nature was God. Muslims ridicule Christians as having three gods. They quote, “Hear O Israel your God is one God.” Indeed, the tri-unity is one. As H2O in a liquid state is water, in a gaseous form is vapor, and in a solid form ice. In all three-forms it still is H2O.

One God can be illustrated by there being one bunch of grapes consisting of three grapes. There is one bunch consisting of three. Place three matches together and strike them. There are three matches but one flame. So the Godhead, the tri-unity, is three in one.

The Trinity should never be spoken of as God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The name “Son of God” confuses some who question who was Mrs. God? The title is not used in the sense of progeny. In a good big unabridged dictionary you will find one definition of “son” to mean “one identified with a cause.” For example, there is an organization named “Sons of the American Revolution.” They are descendants of those associated with the revolution. Jesus was the “Son of God” in the sense He was associated with God the Father positionally and in essence, that is, His nature.

He who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Me” was God. Again the structure of the Greek text is important. It means, “I, and I only, always am the only way….”

Scripture identifies Him as God. Of Him it is said, “Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God” (Romans 9:5). Colossians 2:9 reveals “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” I Timothy 3:16 magnifies this fact: “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified by the Spirit, seen of angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, and received up in glory.”

Who was? God was. When and how was all this accomplished? In the person of Jesus Christ. Who according to this was Jesus Christ? God!

If you are to defend the statement: “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father except through Me” you need to know by whom and with what authority it was said. Download these texts on the mainframe of your mind and never delete them.

That gives us cause to – – – – –
Christ furthermore said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5.)

His abiding presence gives us cause to celebrate the present. He has proven Himself to be a faithful and true companion God. He has shown the ministry of FCA His divine good pleasure. All we celebrate has been made possible by His grace working through His faithful servants. That is what we celebrate.

He who has been with us said: “I will never leave you…”
That is a forever never with no exceptions ever. The statement in the Greek text consists of five compounding negatives. These are synergistic negatives. That means these negatives are not just added to one another but they are multiplied by each other. That is very strong. It means: “I will never, no not ever, no never.” Linked with the little Greek word “leave,” aniemi, means: “I will never, no not ever, no never leave you behind, abandon you, give up on you, or send you back.”

He further stated: “Nor forsake you…” Forsake comes from the Greek word encatalipo meaning “never cause you not to survive, or leave you helpless.”

Combined that means, “I will never, no not ever, no never leave you behind, abandon you, give up on you, send you back, nor cause you not to survive, or leave you helpless.”

The statement begins with “I,” meaning Christ, and ends with “you.” This is an I/thou relationship. It is a promissory note that can be cashed innumerable times. Notice who said that: “He Himself said…” Jesus said it. Who is He? Romans 9:5 says, “He is over all, the eternally blessed God.”

Appropriately we call Him Emmanuel, meaning “God with us.”

Titus 2: 13 urges us to be “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

A rule of Greek grammar confirms “our great God” and “Savior Jesus Christ” is a reference to one person. Thus, our great God is our Savior Jesus Christ. Acts 20: 28 further confirms this by referring to “the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

Whose church is it? God’s.
How did He get it? He purchased it.
With what did He purchase it? His own blood.
When did God shed blood? On the cross of Calvary in the person of Jesus Christ, God the Son.

An embryo does not get any blood from the mother or the father. It manufactures its own blood. The red blood that dripped on the gray stones of Calvary was the blood of God.
Christ said, “I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16: 18).

The gates of the city were where the elders of the city gathered to make plans. Thus, Jesus was saying, “Let the devil and all his demons plot and plan how to stop me but they can’t stop me from building my church.”

It is important that every Christian closely identify with a local church and serve the Lord therein. The FCA Mission Statement notes: “To present to athletes and coaches, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church.”

Jesus loved the church enough to give Himself for it. We should love it enough to give ourselves to it.

Do you ever feel so weak you can’t carry on? Do you ever feel all alone? Do you ever feel you don’t know what to do? The next time you feel so weak you can’t go on remember He who is omnipotent, all powerful said, “I will never, no not ever, no never leave you behind, abandon you, give up on you, send you back, nor cause you not to survive, or leave you helpless.” The next time you feel all alone remember He who is omnipresent, all present said, “I will never, no not ever, no never leave you behind, abandon you, give up on you, send you back, nor cause you not to survive, or leave you helpless.”

When you feel you don’t know what to do, remember He who is omniscient, all knowing said, “I will never, no not ever, no never leave you behind, abandon you, give up on you, send you back, nor cause you not to survive, or leave you helpless.”
To those without knowledge of what to do: He Himself, the all knowing God said, “I will never, no not ever, no never….”
To those all alone He Himself, the all present God said, “I will never, no not ever, no never….”
To the weak He Himself, the all powerful God said, “I will never, no not ever, no never….”
That is a forever never with no exception ever. Never includes right now. Regardless of how you feel He is available right there with you.
Practice the presence behind the promise. Remember, He Himself who said it was Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. There never is a time He isn’t with us and there never will be.
That will enable you to celebrate even when weak, all alone, and don’t know what to do.

As a result you can confidently – – – –
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

We must so commit ourselves as to meet the challenges offered by our increasingly secular society. Today’s evangelists are secularists who preach immorality. Our decadent society has turned back to the gods of decadence.

We face a culture defined by:
Low commitment level
Improperly defined tolerance
A low moral base line.

As we face this challenge we must stay focused on our Master and the mission on which He has sent us. Constantly practice the presence behind the promise. Every blessing we have enjoyed has come from Him. He who has blessed us is – – – –

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.”
Yesterday, He was the Redeemer on earth.
Today, He is the intercessor in heaven.
Forever, He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the eternal blessed God who is over all.
It is He Himself, the all knowing, all powerful, all present God who said, “I will never, no not ever, no never leave you nor forsake you.”
We must perennially practice the presence behind the promise.
He had the authoritative right to say, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Not my favorite theologian, Fredrich Nietzche, in his work “Beyond Good and Evil” wrote: “The essential thing “in heaven and earth’ is…that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and always has resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth while.” That has and must define FCA, a long obedience in the same direction.

“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13: 20 – 21
Dr. Nelson L. Price