Articles published before July 1999

Below is a summary of articles written by Elder Neil Phelan for the Malvern newspaper. They are numbered according to publication order. To see the complete article simply click the title. You can also jump to other newspaper article collections using the menu on the left or search for words in the Google search engine. Soon we will complete a topics page, to help you find articles that way. 

#1 In the Beginning (continued)

"IN THE BEGINNING"

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"-GENESIS 1:1

When someone asks me where they should begin their study of the scriptures, I have learned from experience to tell them: " In the beginning of the Book; at Genesis 1:1."  The reason I emphasize "from experience" is because I have learned that any person who is unwilling to acknowledge God as an all-wise and sovereign Creator will have little success with the rest of the Book.  They may as well close it and stop there if they are unwilling to believe the first verse of His book.  

Because of its vital role in the heart and actions of the believer, the Devil has bent all his power and energy, in every age, to raise a question of doubt concerning God as Creator.  It is like the farmer with the watermelon patch who couldn't keep the kids from stealing them at night.  So one evening he put up a sign in his patch which read, "There is one poison watermelon in this patch."  To his dismay, he returned the next…

#2 In the Beginning (continued)

"IN THE BEGINNING"(Continued)

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"-GENESIS 1:1

Satan's attempts to challenge Genesis 1:1 is not a challenge of modern science or even from the enlightened philosophers of the 1900's.  As Solomon said, "There is no new thing under the sun."  In Acts 17, almost 2000 years ago, Paul encountered "certain philosophers" at Athens who are referred to as the "Epicureans".  This was one of their schools of modern philosophy who followed the teachings of one Epicurus.  Do you know what that taught at this modern, up to date school?  They taught that the world was not created by God, but rather through a fortuitous concourse of atoms, of various sizes and magnitude, which met, and jumbled, and cemented together, and so formed the world.  Today, Satan still whispers this lie into the ears of those who oppose Genesis 1:1 and there are still those around who will believe it.  But the fatal flaw to this theory is the same today as it was in Paul's:…

#3 In the Beginning (continued)

"IN THE BEGINNING"(Continued)

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"-GENESIS 1:1

Genesis 1:1 not only declares God as Creator, it is also a statement which places all of humanity accountable to God for their actions:  it involves morality.  In a nutshell, this is the heart of the issue: morality.  Satan knows that if he can flatter man into thinking he has discovered evolution, and if this theory is placed in the minds of men, they will sooner or later begin to act like the creatures they think they evolved from.  This is quite convenient, because man, by nature, does not like to answer to any one for any thing.  He wants to be his own god, make up his own rules, and live by the standards of his own choosing.  A number of years ago, Sir Julian Huxley, the most prestigious evolutionary scientist of the world at that time was asked: "Why do you think that evolution caught on so quickly?"  His reply: "We all jumped at the Origin(of the species) because the idea of God…

#4 In the Beginning (continued)

"IN THE BEGINNING"(Continued)

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"-GENESIS 1:1

Genesis 1:1 is also one of the deepest theological statements in all of the Bible.  The first verse of the Bible declares that God is self existent.  In other words,  He has no beginning or end...He has always been.  This, in itself, is mind boggling to earthly creatures who live in a world marked with time.  Therefore, "In the beginning" does not declare the beginning of God, but rather, the beginning of God's creation: the beginning of time.  God, the Creator, was there, self existent, self sufficient.  He began time, and when time is no more he will remain to be the same God He was before creation, "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God"- Psalm 90:2.  The very word "God" is extremely expressive.  In this verse, the word God is translated from the old Hebrew word 'elohiym', which…

#5 In the Beginning (continued)

"IN THE BEGINNING"(Continued)

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"-GENESIS 1:1

God has many methods of communication.  One that I enjoy every day is God's creation.  Just as an artist speaks with his brush, a writer with his pen, a musician with his instrument, God speaks to us every day through His creation.  David wrote, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.  There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard"- Psalm 19:1-3.  

When we look up into the glittering heavens and behold the splendor of the countless planets and stars, God says, "Behold my glory".  The chirp of the redbird, the cry of the great eagle, the bloom of the flower and the buzz of the bee "sheweth his handywork."  And what handywork it is.  Who,butGod could make a flower or a bee?  Is there any wonder why we enjoy God's creation so much?  It gives a spring to our step and…

#6 In the Beginning (continued)

"IN THE BEGINNING"(Continued)

CREATED FOR GOD'S PURPOSE

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"-GENESIS 1:1

Why did God create the heaven and the earth?  Why are we here and what is our purpose?  In Revelation 4:11, John writes, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."  In one short statement, John not only declares the Lord as the creator of all things, but he also shares with us the purpose of His creative works: "for thy pleasure".  All of God's creation was made for His pleasure.  Therefore the purpose of our existence is plain: to please the Lord.  

Naturally speaking, whether it is a spark plug for a car, a tool for a job, an instrument for a procedure, or a weapon for warfare, it has a designated purpose.  When misused, it will probably become damaged and unprofitable for its intended use.  Many times, we become damaged, discouraged, despondent, frustrated, and…

#7 In the Beginning (continued)

"IN THE BEGINNING"(Continued)

OPPOSITIONS OF SCIENCE

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"-GENESIS 1:1

Scientific evidence, when accurately observed and presented, will always agree with the Genesis account of creation.  But there is a branch of science that has always been dangerous to Christianity.  While it claims to be in opposition to Genesis 1:1, Paul says that it is not opposition at all but rather, "falsely so called", because all true science must agree with the Creator of all things.  Paul wrote to Timothy, "keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called"-I Timothy 6:20.  The apostle's warning to Timothy is contemporary for every Christian in 1998.  Avoid false science!  It is easily spotted.  It is any science that  disclaims God as the sovereign creator of the universe.  Its intent is to dethrone God and His Christ in our hearts and set man up as master of all creation.  Since…

#8 In the Beginning (continued)

"IN THE BEGINNING"(Continued)

OPPOSITIONS OF SCIENCE

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"-GENESIS 1:1

Another area in which many scientists disagree, not only with the Bible, but also with one another, is the age of the earth.  Have you noticed their discrepancies?  One dinosaur book will say that the earth is several millions of years old, another will say billions.  Why can they not agree?  Because they really do not know.  But God does.  He was the only living being present when He spoke it into existence.  I'm sure that if man had been present, he would try to take partial credit for God's creation.  

By His infinite wisdom, God has preserved a ticking clock to mark time for us until Christ returns.  He has preserved it for us so that we may "avoid oppositions of science".  What is this clock?  The Bible of course.  Just as we can glance at our watches and measure hours, the Bible allows us to measure centuries...millenniums.  

God created the universe in six literal…

#9 In The Beginning (continued)

"IN THE BEGINNING"(Continued)

OPPOSITIONS OF SCIENCE

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"-GENESIS 1:1

Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, and more dinosaurs.  It seems they are everywhere.  In books, on television, in the movies.  Theories about when they roamed the earth, how they lived and why they became extinct have intrigued both adults and children for centuries.  But have you ever heard anyone talk about dinosaurs that actually saw one of these great creatures?  

When my children began to ask me about dinosaurs I began to pray for a Biblical answer and God introduced me to a person who had actually seen not only a dinosaur, but also another creature more awesome than the dinosaur.  His name was Job.  His record is indelibly inscribed in God's perpetual record, the Bible.  And, here again, we find that God has miraculously preserved his words to enable believers to "avoid oppositions of science" concerning these great creatures.

When God answered Job out of the whirlwind he…

#10 In the Beginning (continued)

"IN THE BEGINNING"(Continued)

OPPOSITIONS OF SCIENCE

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"-GENESIS 1:1

Another area in which false science disagrees with the Bible is in the area of genetics.  The whole theory of evolution revolves around this science.  It will stand or fall upon this science alone.  If  modern man evolved from lower life forms then they are genetically linked.  But the first chapter of the Bible reveals some laws of genetics that diametrically oppose the false theory of evolution and these laws have proven to be accurate for about six-thousand years.  

In the first chapter of Genesis alone, God uses the expression "after his kind" or "after their kind" no less than ten times.  What does this mean?  Genetically speaking, it means that God created all species of life on earth and they are only capable of reproducing after their "own kind".  In other words, you can't cross a dog with a cat and get a "dat".  It just will not work genetically.  Notice God's…

#11 In the Beginning (continued)

"IN THE BEGINNING"(Continued) with OPPOSITIONS OF SCIENCE

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"-GENESIS 1:1

About 5,000 years ago, the greatest catastrophic event this world has ever experienced occurred.  This one event affected the climate, the vegetation, the habitat and the strata of the whole surface of the earth.  This event was, of course, the great flood.  

Denied by many scientists, the great flood has left indelible imprints upon every section of the world.  It is the only logical explanation to the marine fossils found at the tops of the mountains.  It is also the only logical explanation to the vast number of fossils found beneath the earths surface.  The truths that God has preserved for us in the Bible concerning the events surrounding the great flood will give believers substantial evidence to expose numerous theories of false science or "oppositions of science falsely so called"-I Timothy 6:20.  

The great flood was much more than a casual rainfall. …

#12 In the Beginning (continued)

"IN THE BEGINNING"(Continued) with OPPOSITIONS OF SCIENCE

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"-GENESIS 1:1

Evolution, or the false science of evolving, comes from the word "evolve" which claims that the universe has slowly, over a process of millions or billions of years, been unfolding from a state of disorder to a state of order.  But God, and the believer's textbook declares that the earth, the universe, man and all of His creation is not evolving, but rather "waxing old", degenerating, reeling and rocking from a state of peace and order to a predicted end:  "And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;  And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail"- Hebrews 1:10-12.  The Lord created it all, and like clothing, it is waxing older,…

#13 In the Beginning (continued)

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"-GENESIS 1:1

How  is man supposed to understand that "God created the heaven and the earth"?   Is he expected to comprehend this declaration through data collected by sophisticated satellites; by the astronomer's telescope; by NASA's discoveries; by statistical data compiled by modern computers; by the archaeologist's spade; or by the intelligence of educated men?  No.  In fact, none of these methods will ever bring any information before mankind that will enable him to believe the simple statement, "God created the heaven and the earth".  God did not bury His mighty works of creation in an avalanche of conflicting data only to be discovered one day by advanced mankind.  God's people have believed in His creative fiat for thousands of years and the only way anyone ever has believed, or ever will believe, that God created the heaven and the earth is through faith: "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word…

#14 In the Beginning (continued)

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"-GENESIS 1:1

It is possible for one to be a creationist concerning nature, but an evolutionist when it comes to spiritual things.  It is by faith that we see God as the sovereign creator of both worlds: the natural and the spiritual.  

When God created man, He did not ask man's opinion.  Adam was passive when God formed him from the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils.  God needed no assistance.  All of nature was passive.  The birds, the fish, the earth, there was none of it.  God spake and it was done.  But what about regeneration, the new birth, when one of Adam's race, made of clay, is born of God's spirit?  Does this evolve over a process of time?  Does man assist God in this miraculous change?  Is it procured by a series of religious exercises?  What does God say about it?  

By faith we believe God's sovereign declaration of this creative fiat as well: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a…

#15 The Gift

"THE GIFT"

"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift"- 2 Corinthians 9:15

Undefinable by the mortal tongue the gift was given.  From heaven to earth, from glory to a sin cursed world, the gift would descend.  Without tinsel or ribbon, no gift has ever graced the halls of humanity as the gift of the Christ child.  The gift was not for pomp or show, the king was not invited, lowly shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night, they would witness the gift, a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a lowly manger.  This was no ordinary babe.  Verily man, verily God, Mary held within her arms her own Saviour, the Creator of all worlds.  Is not the gift unspeakable

Every gift has its price.  The unspeakable gift cost the Father an unspeakable price: His only begotten Son.  It came from the heart of a loving God.  Who could comprehend it?  Even in its price, the gift was unspeakable.

But the gift was not appreciated.  As a babe it was hunted by kings and…

#16 A Thankful Heart

"A THANKFUL HEART"

"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift"- 2 Corinthians 9:15

Paul's epistles abound not only with doctrine and practice, but also with thanksgiving unto God.  In his epistles, Paul uses the word "thanks" 24 times; "thank" 11 times; "thanksgiving" 7 times; and "thankful" 2 times.  Thrice beaten with rods, stoned once, in stripes above measure, in prisons frequent, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in weariness and painfulnes, in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness(2 Cor. 11:23-27), Paul remained positive, thankful to God for all of his blessings.  As we read his epistles, we hardly read a line or two before we find Paul bursting forth with a heart full of thanks.  With all of our blessings today, should we not be thankful as well?  A thankful heart is an evidence of grace, a mark of Christianity, a token of divine favor.  A thankful heart is more than saying "thank you", or "I appreciate that", it is a mindset, an attitude, a way of life, the emblem…

#17 A Word for Our Youth

"A WORD FOR OUR YOUTH"

"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth"  -Ecclesiastes 12:1.

Remembering is a challenge for each of us every day.  I usually carry a pocket full of notes to remind me of my daily obligations.  Many times I forget to look at those very notes.  It seems that we are prone to remember the things that do us the most harm, the things that we should forget, and forget the things that would do us the most good, those things that would bring us joy.  In computer terms, each day we should purge our hard drive of harmful information and run a scan disk, placing usable blessings before our eyes.  But of all the things we should remember, the Lord, our 'creator', should be at the top of our list.  He should be remembered in every thought(Psalm 19:14), in every word(Psalm 19:14), in every action(II Cor. 5:10), and every place that we go(Psalm 1:1).  According to Solomon, the time that this discipline should begin is "in the days of our youth."

The book of…

#18 The Counsel of a Friend

"THE COUNSEL OF A FRIEND"

"Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart:  so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel" – Proverbs 27:9

When the dark day of adversity nocks a our door there is nothing better than he hearty counsel of a friend.  Solomon has compared this sweet cordial to that of a special fragrance that brings back precious memories, causing the heart to rejoice.  While some have suggested that in the day of adversity all a person need do is pray and read the Bible, Solomon, by inspiration, tells us there is more.  Though it is true that many answers may be found only in prayer and reading the Bible, there remains to be that irreplaceable element that God has afforded us, a flesh and blood companion who puts his trousers on as we do each morning, one who can not be replaced by a king or his ransom.  That person is defined by inspiration as a friend!

A prize was offered some years ago for the best definition of a friend, and this was the one which received the…

#19 Knowledge and the Church

"KNOWLEDGE AND THE CHURCH"

"And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs"- Eccles. 12:9

Ecclesiastes, the book from which our passage is found, means "one who calls people out; a gatherer of the people".  The purpose of the calling out, or gathering together, was to impart knowledge, Godly knowledge.  This is a church scene.  That is why Solomon refers to himself as "the preacher".  He taught the people knowledge.  

The whole book of Ecclesiastes is a sermon.  Solomon's God given job was not to give his opinion, nor was it to tell people what they wanted to hear by tickling their ears(II Tim. 4:3).  His job was not to devise programs and schemes to pack the house for the sake of money and numbers, nor was it to schedule entertainments to tickle their fancy.  His job was the same as the preachers' of 1999.  Tell the people what God had revealed to him.  Give them Godly knowledge

#20 Skillful Living

"SKILLFUL LIVING"

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven"-Eccles.3:1.  

Again, we draw from the catalogue of Solomon's wisdom as he observes life "under the heaven."  Solomon had learned that wisdom is more than knowledge.  He had learned that wisdom was using the knowledge that God had given him properly, at the right time, and at the right season; knowing when to do what.  This is 'skillful living'.  

The word "purpose" carries with it the thought of 'desires and passions', those we will experience as we sojourn "under the heaven".  These are the every day desires and passions of the heart, mind and the soul.  Solomon had learned that his passions must be tempered by the word of God.  He must learn behavior.  He must learn to think and respond unlike the world.  He must learn to control his life, his passions and his desires according to wisdom.  He speaks of "skillful living".  

Solomon begins his examples by teaching us that there are many…

#21 The Testimony of a Christian Grandmother

"THE TESTIMONY OF A CHRISTIAN GRANDMOTHER"

"When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also"- 2 Timothy 1:5

Some time ago, this true testimony was shared in a local church by a sixty year old man of faith: "When I was a small child an older lady in the community was concerned about the spiritual welfare of my brother and me.  This kind lady would come to our house on Sunday mornings, wake us up, wash our faces, get us dressed and take us to church.  My mother and father did not attend church.  After a period of time, my mother began to get up and go with us.  Finally, my father recognized the importance of family worship, and he, too, began to attend the Lord's house.  Today, I have the special blessing of sitting in the Lord's house with my whole family.  The older lady was my grandmother."    

Timothy's grandmother was such a woman, a woman of faith.  Other than being…

#22 The Testimony of a Grandfather

"THE TESTIMONY OF A GRANDFATHER"

"By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff"-Hebrews 11:21

The last words of a dying man are not easily forgotten, especially when they come from a loving parent or grandparent.  Among the Hebrews, the blessing, in the form of a prayer, was frequently the last earthly experience between children and parents.  The purpose: "That it might be more attended to and regarded, and more strongly impressed upon the mind."  We have known of some who used this moment to make unreasonable requests, but Jacob was wise: he "worshipped".  Their mode of worship at this moment was prayer, a prayer to Jehovah beseeching Him to bless the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh.  These boys were his grandsons.  Here we discover "THE TESTIMONY OF A GRANDFATHER."  

The importance of grandparents and the role they play in the life of their childrens' children is invaluable.  While we considered the role…

#23 The Importance of Hope

"THE IMPORTANCE OF HOPE"

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen"-Hebrews 11:1.

God has supplied his children with many beautiful graces.  One of the most important of these is "Hope".  While the world has its definition for hope, the hope that God promises is far better.  The hope of the world is based upon conjecture.  "Perhaps" or "maybe" are terms that describe the way most people use the word hope today.  But the "hope" that God supplies his children with is much more substantial.   Since "faith is the substance of things hoped for", the ground for Biblical hope goes through faith, back to the one who has made the promise: God.  Hope goes beyond the believing of the promise to the anticipation of the promise fulfilled.  Therefore, hope is the anticipation of the promise coming to pass; the longing for promise; the desire to enjoy the fulfillment of the promise; the "I can't wait until it gets here".  Biblical hope is strong, resolute, and…

#24 A Word to the Father

"A WORD TO THE FATHER"

"And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord"-Ephesians 6:4

One of the greatest responsibilities placed upon a man's shoulders is that of becoming a father.  When these little ones come into the world, our first response is joy, mingled with a little fear, for before us lies a lifetime commitment.  Every man should consider this responsibility solemnly before he brings a child into this world.  

As a father, let me be the first to tell you that I have made a lot of mistakes.  In this business, as with any other, we learn as we go.  I have heard it said that children do not come with an owner's manual, therefore trial and error is the best we can do.  But amidst the advice of the Dr. Spocks, the televisions talks shows, and the trained professionals, I have found a source of accurate information that has proven to be invaluable for the novice I feel so keenly to be.  This "owners manual" comes from…

#25 Riches and Faith

"RICHES AND FAITH"

"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich"- 2 Cor. 8:9

The false prophet will tell us that faith and riches go hand in hand.  If we have enough faith, we will have enough money.  If we can't pay our bills, and live as we would like, it has nothing to do with our slothfulness, or our extravagant spending.  It is just a personal problem with our religion and our faith.  And if we will send our money to him, he, as well as his ardent supporters, will pray for us, that we may have every thing our heart desires.  What a contrast we find in this mind-set as to that of Jesus who "though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor".

The mind-set of the first Christians was not centered upon material things.  Their hearts and their souls burned for the honor and glory of Christ.  I don't find them all wealthy people, but I do find their faith intact.  They did not…

#26 Accepted in the Beloved

"ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED"

"To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved"- Ephes. 1:6

Legends have it, that centuries ago there stood a great city by the name of Troy.  The city was surrounded by impregnable walls.  For ten years the mighty Greek warriors assailed the city to no avail.  Finally, one Odysseus ordered his men to build a great wooden horse, large enough to contain several of his most valiant men.  Late one night, the great horse, containing its precious cargo, was left just outside the gates.  The next morning, in sight of the whole city, the remaining Greeks set sail in what the Trojans thought was retreat.  Thinking the horse was an offering of the gods, the Trojans accepted the gift, pulled the horse into the city, closed the gates, and held their victory celebration.  But that night, while the Trojans slept, the Greek warriors crept out of their hiding place, opened the gates to the city, and let their comrades in.  Thus, the…

#27 Candles

"CANDLES"

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven"-Matthew 5:14-16

  In His sermon on the mount, Jesus used one little word to describe what His disciples were to be.  Simple were His words, yet profound was their meaning, so profound we could spend a lifetime meditating upon them. They were to be Candles.  All his listeners knew what a candle was.  It was a common household article in that day, a source of light in every home. When they descended the mount, they saw themselves in a totally different light.  They saw themselves as "Candles" in a dark world.  

Left to itself, a candle is a passive thing.  Until it is chosen by the divine hand and set on fire by His Spirit, all it can do is occupy space.  But…

#28 He Hath Chosen Us

"HE HATH CHOSEN US"

"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love"- Ephesians 1:4

There is no scripture in all of the New Testament that sinners will find more comfort in than the first chapter of Ephesians.  It is a hiding place, a city of refuge for the afflicted soul.  And one does not have to be a theologian to understand the simple truths that Paul sets before the believing Ephesians.  These simple truths place our feet on solid ground, on the rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ.  If we ever forget who we are, where we are going, or who saved us from our sins, let us remember "he hath chosen us."

According to the apostle Paul, I did not choose God, He chose me.  The Pharisee will not rejoice in such a doctrine, for he has made the mark, he is righteous in his own eyes.  But a bankrupt, guilty sinner will find great comfort in such words. 

 The old hymn, written by Josiah Conder, expressed it this…

#29 The Name of the Lord

"THE NAME OF THE LORD"

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe"- Proverbs 18:10

Solomon observed the name of the Lord as a strong tower, a place of comfort; a place of deliverance; and a place of safety.  He saw it as a place where one could ascend, and from its many parapets, view the surrounding world and yet be safe from the world.  Since God is so great, it is impossible for us to know everything there is to know about Him.  But by way of word picture, His glorious works and attributes are displayed by His many titles and NAMES.  As we view this tower, we find a parapet for every challenge and obstacle in this life.  By faith, we must ascend, daily, within this strong tower and enter into our parapet of need.      

In Genesis, chapter 22, God appeared to Abraham as Jehovah-jireh.  This glorious attribute of God reveals His ability to provide for His people what they cannot provide for themselves.  As Abraham and Isaac ascended Mt. Moriah,…

#30 THY FIRST LOVE

"THY FIRST LOVE"

"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love"- Revelation 2:4

Perhaps the pastor of the Church at Ephesus thought things were "in order" at the Church he served until one day he received an epistle from John written to all seven of the Churches in his area........and he read these words: "nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love."

It would not have been such an awesome statement had the letter been written by a fellow minister or from one of his members.  But the admonition was from a much higher source: "I"(Jesus) have somewhat against thee."  Though the letter was from the pen of John, its author was the head of the Church; the One who walks amidst the seven golden candlesticks: the Church in ever age.  The problem at Ephesus was clearly defined: "You have left ME".

As a CAT scan penetrates every fiber, looking for abnormalities and deadly cancers within the body, He whose "eyes were as a flame…

#31 Walk About Zion

"WALK ABOUT ZION"

"Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.  Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following"  Psalm 48:12-13

One of the greatest blessings that we may enjoy in the church of Jesus Christ is the grand and glorious doctrine that He gave us.  As cities are known by their stately structures, so the church by her stately doctrines.  The Psalmist encourages us to "Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.  Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following"- Psalm 48:12-13.  These bulwarks and palaces do not speak of the physical edifice that we meet in, but rather, the glorious doctrines that we greatly rejoice in.  We are encouraged to mark them well, consider them and teach them to our children.

  The doctrines of the church are simple enough that children may comprehend them and yet deep enough to rejoice in throughout eternity.  A…

#32 It is Written Again

"It is Written Again"

"Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God"-Matthew 4:7

Our message today centers around one of the greatest battle scenes in history.  This battle is not fought with bombs and missiles.  It is fought with a weapon more powerful than all of these, the most powerful weapon found upon the face of the earth: "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God".  The battle is between the Son of God and our arch-enemy, Satan.  It is recorded for a purpose.  As a general learns his enemy by studying their techniques in battle, so may every believer gain insight unto Satan's methods by observing his attack upon the Son of God.

The most dangerous mistake that a general may make is to misjudge his enemy's arsenal.  And so it is with this battle for truth.  Though it may come as a surprise to some, we must realize:  Satan knows scripture and he can quote it with precision.  In this particular battle, Satan quotes Psalms 91:11,12 with…

#33 Your Adversary

"YOUR ADVERSARY"

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour"-1 Peter 5:8

Have you considered your "adversary"?  He doesn't want you to.  He doesn't want you to know that he really exists.  He would have you go merrily on your way, while he walks about, lurking in the shadows, destroying families and lives.  If you love the Lord, I can assure you that he has his eye upon your and yours.  He has sized you up and is at this very moment hatching some diabolical plot to destroy your life, your testimony, and whatever good that you may accomplish in this life.  Jesus described him as a "liar" and a "murderer"(John 8:44).  Considering his fitting titles, you have probably read or heard of some of his work over the past few weeks which is only a sure testimony that He is alive and active.  Have YOU considered YOUR "adversary". 

Peter knew a lot about him.  He, too, had been caught unaware by this hideous monster.  That…

#35 Mothers, The Heart of the Home

"MOTHERS, THE HEART OF THE HOME"

"Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord"-1 Samuel 1:20

It is at this time of the year that we focus our attention to that special person in our life that has meant so much to us all: our mother.  We all have but one.  While the Bible does not mention mother's day, it does say a lot about mothers and we find no greater example in all of scripture than that of Hannah, a godly mother.  

We say "godly" because this is the attribute most profitable to motherhood.  It is not her looks, her knowledge, her social status, her wit, her friends or her wealth, but rather those graces which flow from God, the giver of every good and perfect gift.  If we were to take a poll of every child, and ask them which attribute of their mother was most treasured, I believe this attribute would be found to be most precious.  It is here that we…

#34 The Goodness of the Lord

"THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD"

"I had fainted, unless I had believed to seethe goodness of the Lordin the land of the living"-Psalm 27:13

Faintness of heart is a common infirmity.  He who slew Goliath was subject to its attack.  It is that time in which we are ready to give up.  Everywhere we look, we see evil and fear has griped our hearts.  The straw that broke the Camel's back is added to our affliction and we are inclined to say, "Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!"-Psalm 120:5.  Let us be honest.  We all walk through the dark valley and have depressed spirits from time to time.  This is nothing to be ashamed of.  But let us not dwell there.  Let us rise once again with renewed freshness, with hope in our hearts, believing that we shall "see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."  This was David's hope.  Let it be ours.

God's goodness has always been a strength to His own.  With a view of His goodness, Moses received strength to go on. …

 #36 "THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE"

"THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE"

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:  Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it"-Matthew 13:45-46


While there are many blessings to be enjoyed in the Lord's kingdom, there is one treasure that sets it apart from all others, and that is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  His is he 'pearl of great price'.

In 1905, a man by the name of Kokichi Mikimoto changed the pearl industry forever.  He developed the art of cultured pearls.  Before that time only royalty could afford them.  Wars were fought over them and kingdoms established by them.  Montezuma's hoard of pearls attracted the eye of Cortez as much as his gold.  Rumors of pearl treasure in Britain prompted its invasion by Julius Ceasar.  According to one story, one Maisie Platt swapped her Fifth Avenue mansion for a double strand of pearls valued at $1.2 million that Jacques Cartier dangled before her.  The…

#37 The Peculiar Work of the Comforter

"THE PECULIAR WORK OF THE COMFORTER"

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment"-John 16:7-8

The scene we have before us is a dear one.  Jesus is giving his apostles their last instruction before He will be crucified.  He is reminding them that His departure is "expedient", necessary, for the furtherance of His kingdom.  And when He departs He will send them another teacher, the third person of the Holy trinity, the Holy Ghost: the "Comforter".

Just as Christ had His work concerning the salvation of His people, so the Holy Ghost has his peculiar work.  This work was magnified on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost was poured out in great measure.  But His work continues today in the hearts and lives of God's people, "For the promise is unto you, and to your…

#38 I Believe in Angels (part 1)

"I BELIEVE IN ANGELS"Part 1

"For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both"-Acts 23:8

Do you believe in angels?  If you do, I want to tell you that you are in good company.  The apostle Paul, a Pharisee, divided the council of Pharisees and Sadducees over the question of angels and the resurrection.  Knowing that the Sadducees did not believe in either, Paul reasoned and said: "For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both"-Acts 23:8.  Paul confessed both: the resurrection and angels.  I don't believe in U.F.O.s, life on other planets, cities at the bottom of the sea, in reincarnation, or evolution.  But I do believe in angels.

The Bible gives us insight into at least three types of angels: the Cherubim; the Seraphim; and the unnamed variety referred to simply as 'angel'.  Consider the splendor of the scene as the 'angel' spoke to the shepherds and said, "Fear…

#39 I Believe in Angels (part 2)

"I BELIEVE IN ANGELS"-Part 2

"For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both"-Acts 23:8

Inhabitants of a spiritual realm, unobserved by the natural eye, except when they desire to be seen and heard, we will find our angel friends.  In that unseen world, they are busy creatures delivering messages, assisting God's people in battles, and supporting and strengthening the hands of those who labor for God.  

Jacob observed angels in the waste howling wilderness, "And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it"-Genesis 28:12.  Here we have a beautiful picture God's providential hand, involving Himself in the affairs of this world by His angelic host.  I am made to wonder how many events in the history of man have been carried out according to God's design and purpose by the labors of these creatures.

One attribute that humans…

#40 A Closer Walk with the Lord

"A CLOSER WALK WITH THE LORD"

"How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin"-Job 13:23

Even in the midst of his great trial, Job would seek a closer walk with God.  If his suffering was due to sin, Job was honest about it, he wanted to know.  And here we learn from a faithful brother as to how we, too, might walk closer to the Lord.  We must approach One who knows our own hearts better than we do and ask, "How many are mine iniquities and sins?  make me to know my transgression and my sin"-Job 13:23.

It was Amos who asked, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"-Amos 3:3.  Of course, the answer is "they can not".  Therefore, a closer walk with God requires agreement with God.  We must be in agreement with Him concerning sin.  Not only the sins of our society, but those personal sins that war against our own soul.  We must ask and then agree with the answer that He reveals unto us, taking them to the throne of grace where forgiveness is…

#41 Stay at the Altar, Blessing will Come

"Stay at the Altar, Blessings Will Come"

"But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John"-Luke 1:13

It had been about four-hundred years since the ink had dried from Malachi's pen.  It had been that long since the voice of a true prophet had been heard in the streets.  There was no open vision; no verbal instruction from Jehovah: the heavens were brass.  The priests had corrupted themselves, their traditions had paralyzed God's people.  There was a spiritual famine, and to make matters worse, it was during the ministration of a wicked king: "in the days of Herod."  If there had ever been a time win which God's people should be discouraged and name their children "Ichabod", this was the time.  But even in the midst of discouraging circumstances there remained a faithful few who had not deserted the altar.  Among those was a faithful husband and wife named Zacharias and Elisabeth.

#42 Encouragement

"ENCOURAGEMENT"

"And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God"  1 Samuel 30:6

Here we find one of the greatest battles of David's life; a battle that every Christian will face: a battle against discouragement.  David's plight is not so different from our own, for we, as David, face many discouraging circumstances in our lives, circumstances in which there is no earthly help.  God has so preserved David's experience to teach us a lesson we should never forget.  Our greatest source of encouragement comes not from this world, "David encouraged himself in the Lord his God."

It might seem strange for a man such as David to become discouraged.  After all, David had gained many signal victories in hi life.  David, as a young lad, stood before the Philistine giant, Goliath, and won a great victory.  He had heard the encouraging…

#43 Our need of Grace

"OUR NEED OF GRACE"

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."- Revelation 22:21

While the Old Testament ends with the word "curse", what comfort we find in the closing words of the New, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."   It so pleased God to end the divine cannon of scripture with a short prayer which means so much to us: our need of God's grace.  As John's petition still lingers for us before God's throne, let us examine our personal need of God's grace today. 

Grace is the granting of blessings that are undeserved and unearned.  In short, grace is unmerited FAVOR from a loving Father.  Every blessing that the poor sinner will receive is a product of God's amazing grace and flows through the fount of every blessing: Christ.  While in nature we observe those who are favored with beauty; intelligence; musical skill; or athletic ability, grace ascends into the spiritual realm.  One has likened it to the rain that nourishes the trees, flowers and…

#44 From Law to Grace

"FROM LAW TO GRACE"

"But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter"-Romans 7:6

A Pharisee of the Pharisees, Paul knew what it was like to worship under the old law service.  But in Romans, chapter 7, he gives his experience of coming from law to grace.  And what was it that brought about this change?  He met Jesus!

Under the law service, Paul had seen the priest rise up and echo forth a string of "Thou Shalt Nots" while giving the people the opportunity to present their sacrifices.  But how much better was grace.  Being delivered from the eternal consequences of the law, Paul was thankful to worship under the gospel dispensation, to "serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter."  When he could admit that he had fallen short of the requirements of the law and point to one who had kept the law for him, Jesus, the friend of sinners.  This is coming from law to…

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