Articles/Illustrations of Faith, Quotes, poetry and devotions…
Smokey Barn News Sunday October 26, 2014 Robertson County, Tenn.
“The Sunday Post” is a column comprised of articles of Faith, poetry and devotions…
The Bread Of Life…
Two learned doctors were angrily disputing the nature of food, and allowing their meal to lie untasted; while nearby, a simple farmer was eating heartily of that which was set before him.
Just so, the religious world is full of quibblers, critics, and debaters, who, like the doctors—argue over religious controversies, without profit either to themselves or others. Those are far happier, who imitate the farmer—and feed upon the Word of God, which is the true food of the soul.
Questioning with honesty and candor is not to be condemned, when the object is to “prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.” But to treat Scripture as if it were a football to be kicked from man to man—is irreverence, if not worse!
Study the Word of God; lay hold upon it, and spend your time in feasting upon precious truth! Reader, argue, if you please—but remember that communion with the Lord Jesus gives infinitely more enjoyment than disputing can ever afford you. Eat—don’t argue!
– C.H. Spurgeon
The Beginning & The End
The Bible is all one story. The last part of the last Book in the Bible reads like the close to the first part of the first Book of the Bible.
The first Words in Genesis: 1:1 In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Almost the last words in Revelation: 21:1 I saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The gathering together of the waters he called the sea. (Genesis 1:10) And the sea is no more. (Rev. 21:1)
The darkness he called the night. (Genesis 1:5) There shall be no night there. (Rev. 21:25)
In the day you eat thereof you shall surely die. (Gen. 2:17) Death shall be no more. (Rev. 21:4)
Genesis 3:14 the sun appears for the first time. There is no more sun nor moon for the Lamb is the light of it. Rev. 21:23 and Rev. 22:5
I will greatly multiply your pain. (Gen. 3:16) Neither shall there be pain anymore. (Rev. 21:4)
Cursed is the ground for your sake. (Gen. 3:17) There shall be no more curse. (Rev. 22:3)
Satan appears as the deceiver of mankind. (Gen. 3:1, 4) Satan disappears forever. (Rev. 20:10)
Man is driven from the Tree of Life. (Gen. 3:22-24) The Tree of Life reappears. (Rev. 22:2)
Man is driven from God’s presence. (Gen. 3:24) We shall see His face. (Rev. 22:4)
Man’s primeval home was beside a river. (Genesis 2:10) Man’s eternal home is also beside a river. (Rev. 21:1)
There is no devil in the first two chapters of Genesis There is no devil in the last two chapters of Revelation!
(Source: Halley’s Bible Handbook)
Can We Really Know?
How do we know the Bible is true? How can we be sure there is a God? Well, there are many ways we can know God’s Word is true, but one very special way is by examining the prophecies of the Bible.
Somebody with great wisdom once said that predictions are very difficult to make especially where the future is concerned. Any weatherman will testify to the truth in that statement. Yet the Bible is filled with prophecies. Over 1/3 of the Bible is prophecy. Twelve Minor Prophets, five Major Prophets, the entire Book of Revelation and countless passages in Psalms and elsewhere boldly tell us the future before it happens. A good set of encyclopedias and a Bible are all we need to verify fulfilled prophecy, but prophecy yet future must be accepted on faith. But future prophecies will be fulfilled just as the surely as the ones already passed. For instance for every prophecy that foretells the birth of Jesus Christ there are 8 that tell us He is coming again.
Bible Scholars have estimated that “more than a fourth of the Bible is predictive prophecy…Both the Old and New Testaments are filled with promises concerning the return of Jesus Christ. Over 1800 references appear in the Old testament, and seventeen O.T. books give prominence to this theme. Of the 260 chapters in the New testament, there are more than 300 references to the Lord’s return–one out of every 30 verses. Twenty three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event…For every prophecy of the first coming of Christ, there are 8 concerning Christ’s second coming.”
John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Matthew 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Many discount prophecy because it fits into no discipline of science or say that we cannot know for sure but as believers, if God said it, we should desire to know about it. God says there are things he holds secret but we do have 66 Books of revelation that we can know for sure with no doubts at all.
2 Timothy 3:14-17 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them];
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
John 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
God said in Isaiah that he sees and he knows the entire parade from beginning to end. He knows which float just passed, which float is right in front of Him, and which float is coming around the corner. You and I can only see what is passed and what is right in front of us. When we trust God we know which float is rounding the corner too. We can know a great deal about the future and it brings great comfort as well as great responsibility.
Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
God is going to do what He says. He always has and He always will. Jesus said in the New Testament that neither jot nor tittle of His word would ever fail. A jot is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet and can be likened to the dot on our letter “I”. A tittle is the smallest part of a Hebrew letter in the Jewish alphabet.
Matt 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Isaiah 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
So God’s Word is sure. Here are just three examples that testifies God’s word is true. A good history book or encyclopedia will also verify these truths.
Our first proof comes from the Book of Ezekiel in chapter 28. Please stop at this point and read this short chapter in Ezekiel. It has only 21 verses.
God made some very particular prophecies concerning Tyre. He said they would be besieged, they would be destroyed, the city would become a place to hang fishing nets, her walls and towers would be removed, the city would be swept clean like the top of a rock and her citizens killed by the sword.
click to view image larger
A close look at a map of the shore line of Israel will reveal a little bump or projection of land as it sticks out into the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a peninsula now but it used to be an island. When Tyre was part of the mainland Nebuchadnezzar tried for 13 years to break through their defenses and blunder the city’s great treasures. The people of Tyre knew they could not hold out forever and moved everything of value out to an island only a few hundred yards off the main coast. Nebuchadnezzar finally broke into the city only to find it empty. All the people and all the treasure had been moved out to the island and Nebuchadnezzar had no navy and no boats. Even if he had boats they would have been useless. The people of Tyre had put underwater barriers in place so that any boat would have been smashed trying to get to her by way of the seas. At this point it would seem the prophecies failed as the King of Babylon went home empty handed after 13 years of trying to take the city.
So is the Bible wrong? Were these predictions of God just inaccurate? Absolutely not, the story is far from over. After Nebuchadnezzar came another mighty conqueror, his name is Alexander the Great and he was called the great for good reason. It is true his navy could not get passed the underwater barriers but he was determined to get to that island and take it as his spoil.
Photo credit: anthropology.net Click To Enlarge
Alexander had an idea to build a land bridge or a causeway out to the island. He had his army pick up the rubble for the city left by Nebuchadnezzar and cast it into the sea. When that was done he had the men to sweep up even the dirt and dust from Tyre and finish the roadway out to the island. His plan worked and God’s Word was fulfilled. The city was destroyed and the towers fell. The citizens of Tyre died on the blade of the Greek soldiers and she has never been inhabited again. Oh yes, there is a city of Tyre now but it is not in the old location. The original location is used today by fishermen to hang their nets to dry.
Our second Example is the Golden Gate or the Gate that is called Beautiful on the wall of Jerusalem. It is also called the Eastern Gate. In its hay day the gate was covered with pure gold and when the morning sun hit that gate is was blinding and shown like the coming of God. Today the Eastern Gate is walled up and closed. In 1517 Jerusalem was conquered by the Ottomans under the leadership of Suleiman the Magnificent. The walls were repaired and the gates restored.
However, when Suleiman restored the Golden Gate word came to him that the Jews had a prophecy that one day their Messiah would come through that very gate. Immediately the gate was set aside and the opening in the wall was covered in heavy stone. Not only that, a huge cemetery was put in place outside the Eastern Gate. It was believed that a Rabbi could not cross a graveyard and so the wall and the graveyard together should keep out the Messiah, whoever He was. Today the Gate called Beautiful is still not in place and only the stone wall and graveyard can be seen. The last notable time the gate was used was on what we call Palm Sunday when the Lord Jesus passed through it on His way to the cross. Again Ezekiel gives us the details in what is today fulfilled prophecy.
Notice the cemetery and the stones that have the gateway blocked. All this was done to keep the Lord Jesus out. Do you think it will work? Me neither.
Ezekiel 44:1 Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut.
Ezekiel 44:2 Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut.
Our third and last example comes from the tiny Book of Obadiah in the Old Testament and again has to do with a city. This time it is the city of Petra. If you are an Indiana Jones fan you know that part of that movie was filmed in Petra. The picture below will bring it to memory.
Photo credit: Discover Lost City OF Stone http://www.balcanexpres.com/2012/08/discover-lost-city-of-stone.html#.VEwpfCJ4on0
Petra is in the land of Edom and is only accessible by way of a very narrow trail with sheer cliffs that rise hundreds of feet on both sides of the trail. According to Obadiah the city would be destroyed and never rebuilt. In spite of their boasts that not even the eagles can get to us, it came to pass. The city today stands abandoned. God’s Word is proven 100% correct once again! But maybe all these things happened by chance or accident. Could it all be just one big coincidence? What are the odds?
Peter W. Stoner held a PhD. in math and taught at Moody Bible College for years. He was also a great student of the Bible. He decided to take these three examples to figure the odds of these things actually happening. Now odds are figured everyday in gambling halls but there is a method. Let’s say a man going bald in his lifetime is one in ten. The chance of a man losing a finger in his lifetime is set at one in a hundred. The odds of both losing your hair and a finger then may be calculated as one in a thousand.
Dr. Stoner set his classes of math students to studying the prophecies presented above and being very conservative in their estimations a number was arrived at for all these three events coming to pass as God said it would. To round out the work Dr. Stoner included the odds of the City of Babylon being destroyed and never being rebuilt again. One interesting note is that the last man to try and rebuild that wicked city was Saddam Hussein. He tried to do something God said could not be done and he ended his days dangling from a rope.
Dr. Stoner came up with a very conservative estimate of these 4 prophecies coming true by chance at 1 in 2 followed by 18 zeroes. To try and wrap our brain around such a big number and illustration will help.
Photo credit: prophecyrevealed.com
Texas has about 1/4 million square miles of area. If you had 2 quintillion silver dollars you could cover the entire state of Texas to a depth of 35 feet. So the chances of the 4 prophecies coming true by chance are the same as having ONLY ONE silver dollar with a mark on it in the pile of 2 quintillion covering Texas.
Now if you would blind fold a man and let him walk as far as he likes and dig as deep as he wants in the silver dollars he has only 1 chance to pick up the one with the mark on it. That is the same chance of these 4 prophecies coming to pass. Yet the prophecies came true in every detail and this fact can be verified by any good set of Encyclopedias.
So…. you can see that God’s Word is true regarding nations and it is just as true regarding individuals like you and me. God says there is a Hell and there is a Heaven. We have already earned a place in Hell, but God has made a way for us to reverse course and spend eternity with Him in Heaven through his Only Son. But you will have to come God’s way. He gives us His Word and says ….Repent and be baptized and believe on the Gospel.
At the outset we said that fulfilled prophecy gives us great hope and comfort in knowing the future. It also brings great responsibility. What if late one night a cold rain is falling and a thick fog envelopes the highway. You slow down and by the grace of God you can see the bridge is washed out over the Cumberland River. Is it enough to just turn around and go home another way or must you stop and turn on your emergency flashes, and get out of your car to try and flag other cars coming down the road? No! You must warn people if it takes all night. Cars are piling into the river on the other side of what is left of the bridge. No one is there to warn them and they will be lost to the cold and swollen waters of the river.
You can do nothing to help the folks across the river but you can make a difference on your side. God tells us that we must warn as many as we can.
2 Peter 3:10-11 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness
Over 160 times the New Testament warns us about Hell. Would you not think me insane to travel a road with 160 signs telling me to get off this road or be destroyed? Turn around, repent and be saved. Come to Jesus right now, right where you are. He said all who come to me in faith believing I will in no wise cast him out.
Matt. 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
– Pastor Brown Sims
Salvation is through Christ. Saving us required Him to come to earth as a man and die in our place so that we might have our case legally dismissed from God’s courtroom. Our eternal fine/penalty has been paid by Another. The case against us is dismissed when we trust in the Savior.
Rom. 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Eph 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Verse 8 says salvation is a gift.
A gift cannot be worked for. It cannot be purchased. It cannot be stolen or attained in any other way or it ceases to be a gift and becomes a reward or something less than a true gift. A gift can only be received with an open hand and thanksgiving.
You may have seen a recent Smokey Barn News article about 2 1/2 month old “Baby Marion” who suffered a brain bleed and multiple seizures. Marion has had surgery and is now home. The Doctor says she has blood behind her eyes and will give 7-10 days to see if it clears up….if not they can clear the blood but the problem is that there might not be a response from the brain to the eyes….in that case there would be nothing they could do. Please continue to pray that she will start having a response from her brain to the optical nerves so she will be able to see. Prayers really needed……thanks for praying for our little Marion…she is such a trooper. God answers prayers……
– Grandma Mary Hester
Feel free to share your praise reports & prayer requests in comments below