The Days That Are Ordained

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Godly“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way.

“When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.

“I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.” (Psa 37:23-25)

 

Journal,

While the background for this entry draws on my walk with the Lord, it is my wish that readers see their own walk with the Lord.

Every believer’s life is distinct, and is put in place by the Lord Himself. There are no big ‘I’s’ or little, ‘You’s.’ There are only callings and placements. And all placements relate to the purpose of the kingdom of God.

My calling is as a minister of the gospel. In this case I must line up with the apostle Paul, who said,

“For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.

“For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.

“What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.” (1Co 9:16-18)

I’ve preached the gospel from age 24 to almost age 74 (next month). But I’ve been aware of my call to the gospel ministry ever since early childhood.

I’ve pastored, evangelized, preached in theaters, in store fronts, off the back of trucks, in nursing homes, on the streets, in jails, in mountain villages, and city churches, In banana plantations, in brush arbor revivals, in tent revivals, in seminars, on the radio and tv, and in various states and countries —

Then came the internet. I now have over 700 Bible studies available from my on-line internet Journal.

Looks like I would eventually run out things to share – But that is not the way it works.

Studies archived here: http://buddymartin.net/blog/500-2/

Actually it goes deeper. This is where I need to make something quite clear about God’s new covenant people. It is all about the kingdom of God’s beloved Son.

Here is a brief explanation -

We Are a Prophetic People

In the former testament the only ones who generally heard directly from God were the prophets. (Sometimes a priest or a king.) A prophet was known as, ‘the man of God.’

God spoke to the prophet. The prophet spoke to God. It all related to the ‘knowing’ aspect in the prophet’s life. To know the Lord meant that the prophet had entered into fellowship with the Lord and acknowledged God’s claims over the prophet’s life. That very same idea carries over into the new covenant people of God.

The new covenant people of God have a prophetic bearing in them that needs to be said. When God spoke to Jeremiah, He spoke of the unique relationship His new covenant people would have with Him.

“They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jer 31:34)

Jesus clearly stated that all his sheep would know His voice. He actually described the new covenant people in prophetic terms, when Jesus said,

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.‘ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (Joh 7:38-39)

The term prophecy speaks of a flowing forth for God. It is a spiritual telling, and not necessarily a ‘foretelling.’ New Testament prophecy centers more on a ‘forth-telling.’ We are enabled to speak forth the life-giving story of the cross. On the lips of God’s new covenant people would be found life. 

I said all that to say this -

The way you prove that you are a new covenant believer, is that you carry in the deep of your heart the seal of faith. In this seal is the life of God’s Son, which means that you have a personal ‘knowing’ the Lord relationship, that you hear from Him, that you talk with Him, that you have entered into fellowship with Him and that you acknowledge His claims over your life.

Do you measure up as a new covenant believer?

OK, now let’s talk just a bit about …

 

Seeing Through the Veil

There is a need to open our eyes – This has a lot to do with what ‘growing in faith and in maturity’ means. Listen to Paul’s prayer -

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.” (Eph 1:18-19)

Yes, that is what David prayed.

The Psalmist desired to look more deeply into the Lord’s affairs of life. David knew that God’s heart could be found in the sacred writings. He knew that the Bible came from the mouth of God. Actually if you truly wish to hear from God, you must begin with His Word.  

Did David see into God’s heart? Absolutely! David saw how the Lord was so involved in his life, that even his very days had been ordained of God.

The Psalmist said it this way,

“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Psa 139:16)

The apostle Paul had this to say,

“But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood … “ (Gal 1:15-16)

Then we have the Lord speaking to the prophet Jeremiah -

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer 1:5)

Yes, indeed, the Lord saw …

 

Our Failures and All

I must say this up front. In spite of all the preaching that I’ve done, I’ve also had my measure of failures and struggles, sin battles, and spiritual warfare. I’m sure that I done more than my share of hurting others.

And yet, even out of all my failures and struggles and sin battles, the Lord has faithfully seen to my restoration.

Did not the Psalmist say, “When he [God's people in total] falls, he will not be hurling headlong, because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.”

Then I must add this -

Does the Lord ordain our failures and struggles and sin battles? No. The Lord never leads us into sin.

However, all our failures and struggles and sin battles are figured into our account beforehand. And the account was settled long ago. The Lord saw to it all that at the cross.

The Lord took our failures and sins with Him to the cross. In turn He gave us both His victory and His standing with heaven. This applies to all believers. 

Perhaps this is why God allows failures in our lives. It is His purpose for His people that we all have compassionate hearts. When we can identify with failure, then we can also identify with the victory that the Lord gives to all His children.

On the issue of ministry, do I get tired? Sure. This old body isn’t as spry as it once was. Nor do I preach as much as I use to. But the truth be known, I never tire of sharing the gospel.

Jesus is as real to me today as when I first met Him personally. Yes, salvation involves a personal meet with Jesus Christ. 

All this brings me to back to a covenant that the Lord drew me into some long years ago. Yes, the Lord drew me. 

 

Entering a New Stage

As I share at this point, there is another important thing to be said. When the Lord begins to separate one of his people for a kingdom role that He has ordained for them, this is not about being a rebel. Nor is it about how special this person is above others.

Paul said it well enough -

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:26-28)

So, what is it about? It is more about the believer taking on the heart of Jesus. It is about the furtherance of the kingdom.

Listen to Jesus:

“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (Joh 5:30)

Did you catch it? We are not to act on our own initiative. We are to seek God’s will in all things.

And so a new stage was coming into place.

The last revival was completed. I was tired. My family was tired. It was then that I felt in my heart to lay down the full time ministry and tend to the cares of my family. So I went back into the business I was most familiar with, insurance. This was 1971.

The next three years proved to be crucial. While My love for the Lord and for His Word never abated, this time was necessary as a time of preparation for another phase of ministry. Yes, it was ordained of the Lord.

Something special was taking place. It was as though my heart was becoming one with the Lord.

I realize this may sound. But it is very Biblical. Jesus spoke of this oneness of heart -

“[Father] I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (Joh 17:20-23)

For three years the Lord was preparing me for another advance in kingdom work. My heart was being stirred by the Lord. Then the time came.

 

Renewing My Covenant With the Lord

In 1974 – It was time for my covenant with the Lord, to be awakened. Here is a heart summary of a covenant that the Lord drew me to –

“Lord, I am ready. I will go anywhere you want me to go, preach anywhere you want me to preach, do anything you want me to do. I only ask of you two BettyMe1978 - Copythings. One, don’t send someone to tell me what you want me to do. You tell me personally. Secondly, I must have my wife.”

That was my covenant. It had always been my heart covenant with the Lord, but our times are in the hands of the Lord.

And none of this was one-sided.

Yes, the steps of the God’s people are measured by the Lord, much more than we know.

And so the story goes. It is always …

 

Step After Step

Perhaps it is enough for me to say that after my covenant was reawakened with the Lord, very soon my next step was put in place.

That morning I was singing to the Lord, when Jesus spoke these words, ‘Go home!’ 

That was thirty-nine years ago. God’s ‘go home’ sent us to pastor a beautiful country church, and from that church our directions were to raise up a ministry for training disciples, known as ‘Christian Challenge International.’

There is no need for me to continue with my story. You have your own steps to walk in.

But if you would like to know a bit more about the Martin family, you can view these journal entries -

The Martins - http://buddymartin.net/blog/jubilee-cd/ 

My Story - http://buddymartin.net/blog/testimony/

Christian Challenge - http://www.christianchallenge.org/

In the meantime here is a song that will help you identify with what a true walk of faith is all about, and what I wanted you to hear in this entry.

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In Christ always,

Buddy

Seek For the Ancient Path

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Ancient path“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.

“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.

“The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

“For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” (Psa 1:1-6)

 

Journal,

One of the most interesting books in the New Testament is the book of Acts. Acts has a primary focus with regard to the emerging Christian movement from its Jewish matrix into a redemption movement to all the nations. It is all about, ‘For God so loved the world.’

Acts is also about ‘putting on Christ.’ The message of salvation in Acts is a constant with regard to salvation. The beauty of Acts is also found in its Hebrew thought form. This is why I’ve designed a series of studies to help believers uncover the treasures of this book.

The studies are not a commentary on each Scripture. The focus is allow believers see how the ancient faith unfolds into the work of the cross. (Acts covers 35+ years of early church history.)

Go to: http://www.christianchallenge.org/hebraic-foundations/Acts/index.shtml x x

 

Now with regard to the ancient faith let’s use Psalm 1, as a backdrop. This Psalm sets the tone for the entire book of Psalms. It encapsulates the heart of a true walk of faith with the Lord, and is replete with prophetic insights of God’s Messiah.

 

Seeking the Ancient Path

To appreciate the depth and beauty of Psalm 1, we must approach it from a Biblical-Hebrew perspective. To the ancients, religion was defined as an individual walking the road of life. The believer’s relationship is with God. Torah (God’s Word) is the road map. Thus we hear David say, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105) crown_of_thorns_cannon

How does the ancient walk carry over into the new covenant? The ancient faith is fully realized in Jesus Christ. The Lord said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

When Jesus said, ”I am the way”, or made reference to, ”broad is the way,” these terms were familiar to the Jews of His time. There has always been but two ways. You have the way of the righteous. Or you have the way of the wicked.

And so Psalm 1, and the Sermon on the Mountain are similar. Psalm 1:1, says, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.” The very first thing Jesus says on the mountain is, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

Then we have this characteristic of the righteous man and woman. The righteous person delights in truth. Psalm 1:2, says, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” 

The righteous person loves the truth. His bend, pleasure, and delight is towards Torah (God’s Word.) When Jesus said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied,” it is very likely that His Jewish audience would be reminded of Psalm 1.

The thing to understand is that God’s written Word is a living Word those who believe. It is full of wisdom and power. It works itself into our very nature and spreads its healing love throughout our being.

This is why the apostle Peter said, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” (1 Peter 2:2)

Peter was speaking of our attitude towards God’s Word. Just as an infant instinctively seeks its mother’s breast for nourishment, new covenant believer instinctively seeks the nourishment of God’s Word. 

Notice that Psalms 2:2 says, “In His law he meditates day and night.” Here we need to bring out the Hebrew. The word for meditate is ‘hagah.’ This word means to mutter, to emit a sound, to speak in undertone. To the ancient this word meant to articulate with God from the heart.

It is not uncommon to hear a believer saying, ‘Thank you, Jesus’, in a low tone. He is not trying to impress anyone. This is a natural outflow of a heart that is filled with the love for Life. To love Life is to love Jesus.

A dove coos. A lion rumbles. We pour out our heart with quiet talks to the Lord throughout the day.

Then we see the characteristic of the righteous man in Psalm 1 – “He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season.”

But for the ungodly, there are three words describe the ungodly man. “Wicked.” “Sinner.” “Scoffer.” Wicked is from a root word which means to be agitated; confused; in motion; restless. The wicked are ethically loose & unstable.

In another Psalm we read, “God makes a home for the lonely: He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” (Ps68:6)

alfred-gockel-lost-in-the-desert-i

Lost in the desert of life. A parched land.

Psalm 1, ends with, “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” 

The Hebrew term for knows, ‘yada’, is a very strong word. It means to watch over; be deeply involved with. The righteous man walks with God. The righteous man is always watched over by the Lord God. This is true Biblical prosperity.

The righteous shares the joy of walking with God. while the sinner is agitated and confused. The sinner has no one but himself.

There has always been but one path for the righteous. The righteous path has always been a walk with the Lord. And when Jesus came into our world, the path of the righteous is summed by Jesus; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.”

To complete this study let’s take one more look at how the righteous man’s delight is in the Word of the Lord.

 

A Love for God’s Word

The righteous man understands that the written Word of God and the spoken Word of God are always in one accord. God did this on purpose, simply because many spirits will try to speak into our lives. Therefore God gives us two safe guards for our walk with Him. Every child of God is given the Holy Spirit as a testifier to truth. Every child of God is given the Scriptures by which the Holy Spirit teaches us God’s ways. Cf. John 16:13-15; 2 Timothy 3:16,17. (Place your cursor over the Scriptures and they will appear.)

The working principle of faith always begins with learning to rightly divide the written Word of God.  Ignore this beginning place and you subject yourself to all kinds of interferences in your faith walk, including your own emotions, and desires.Cf. 2 Co. 3:3-6,18.

Those who get in trouble spiritually are almost always those who place esoteric experiences above God’s Word. While dreams, visions, and prophecies, can play a part in our walk with the Lord, nothing is ever to take the place of learning truth from the sacred Word of God. It is a love of truth (a delight in God’s Word) that will put the believer into a true faith walk. Cf. Jeremiah 23:20,22,28,29; John 14:15,23,24.

Think about these things. Do you truly love God’s Word? Do you love it enough to set aside all other voices and learn to listen to Him alone?

What is the ancient path really all about? Let the prophet tell us –

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.

“His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity. Therefore He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has borne a child.” (Mic 5:2-5)

Take time this song by ‘The Isaacs’, titled, the Living Years. It will touch the memories of your heart.

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In Christ Always,

Buddy

 

What About the Gift of Tongues

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Stand by me“And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, ‘Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?’” (Act 2:6-8)

Journal,

Sometimes people will ask what our position is on speaking in other tongues, or do we even believe in speaking in tongues. The answer is simple – Of course we do.

At the same time, I believe it is important to have a better understanding on how the gift of speaking in other tongues took place in the early Church.

Once we have a clearer picture on what the Bible actually teaches, then we can decide for ourselves what place speaking in tongues would apply in our time. In this study I am not telling anyone what they need to believe. Each person can decide that for themself. 

This entry is an update on a study that I provided almost four years ago, entitled, ‘The Corinthian Dilemma – The Demise of a Church.’ 

As a beginning place, I would like to look back once again on …

The problems at Corinth

Why does it seem that the Corinthian Church had all these problems with speaking in tongues and other spiritual gifts, yet you see very little about these issues with other churches?

There were so many problems at work in the Corinthian Church that it would take too much effort to try to address them all. However, a primary concern was with the gifts of the Spirit. There is a reason for this. (Speaking in tongues simply means to speak in a foreign or in another language.)

The Christians in Corinth were in a particular situation that was unique to them. Less than 50 miles across the Corinthian Gulf was the city of Delphi. To the Greeks, Delphi was considered the center of the earth. There was a stone set in place that was called the navel of the earth.


 Earlier myths include traditions that Pythia, or the Delphic oracle, already was the site of an important oracle in the pre-classical Greek world (as early as 1400 BCE) and, rededicated, served as the major site during classical times for the worship of the god Apollo after he slew Python, “a dragon” who lived there and protected the navel of the Earth. “Python” (derived from the verb pythein, “to rot”) is claimed by some to be the original name of the site in recognition of Python which Apollo defeated. – Wikepedia

Delphi had the Delphic oracle, which belonged to the Earth goddess, and was supposedly guarded by a serpent, Python. (Keep the serpent Pythonic spirit in view.)

At the Delphi temple they practiced a pagan glossolalia or speaking in tongues, but not in any language that could be understood. This influence of the pagan glossolalia was strongly felt not only in Corinth, but also in the entire Grecian world. (You can study this in most encyclopedias.)

The way the oracle worked was that a male prophet at the temple would receive a question from an inquirer. The question could be personal, or about government affairs, or whatever.

The inquirer would be brought into the presence of a young woman priestess of Apollo who was said to have a “pythonic spirit.” The young woman would speak in unintelligible utterances, often fall out in a frenzy, supposedly through the spirit of Apollo in her, and the prophet would interpret the message.

Paul encountered this Pythonic spirit in Philippi.

It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination [puthõna] met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling.” (Act 16:16 NASB)


The Struggle with Delpha

It is important to understand that Paul never took away from a gifting from God about speaking in other languages. (And neither do we.)

The problem seemed to be that certain ones who had been to the Delphic priest were beginning to show up in the congregation, and very likely, even some of the priests and priestesses were entering.Delphi

The Christians would have been considered a threat to the Delphic oracle. In addition the Corinthian believers may have felt like they were in competition with the Delphic oracles.

This was probably why Paul had to deal so much with the issue of speaking in tongues with the Corinthian church. You don’t find it in any of the other churches.

If you read the Corinthian letters with this background in mind, it will help you appreciate some of the things Paul is addressing. Listen carefully to the language:

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led.” (1Co12:1,2.)

 

From this we can assume that perhaps some of the Corinthian believers had been led astray by taking part in the Delphic oracles. It was the spirit of divination that had led them astray. (Keep in view the term, ‘led astray’. We are going to see it again in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.)

Again:

Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is accursed’; and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” (1Co12:3)

Someone was speaking by a unknown spiritual power that declared Jesus was accursed. Paul’s contention was that the Holy Spirit would most certainly not say that Jesus is accursed.

There is a vast difference between Jesus being accursed and Jesus taking the curse of the Law upon Himself at the cross. But these false outbursts of prophecies were leading the people astray.

Now a crucial question.


Can a person confess the wrong Jesus?

For someone to truly make the confession that Jesus is Lord, would be an act of the Holy Spirit.

However, is it possible to confess a Jesus who is not the Jesus of the Bible? Is it possible to receive a spirit other than the Holy Spirit? Is it possible to speak in a tongue that is not of God? IsTongues it possible to be led astray by a false gospel?

It was happening in Corinth. The people were being led astray from a true walk with the Lord, and it all centered on supposedly spiritual gifts, and false prophets, and a false gospel.

 

You must decide if that very thing can happen today -

Listen to Paul:

“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (2Co11:3)

Remember the term, ‘led astray.’ There it is again. Paul used it in both letters. In this second letter, Paul is coming even more strongly against the people being led astray.

Notice the background of being led astray is still the ‘serpent.’ ‘Led astray’ is the Greek word, phtheiro, which means to corrupt or spoil. The corrupting is a spiritual deception.

This word is used in Rev19:2, where it says …

“He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting (phtheiro) the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bondservants on her.”

Now take note of how Paul shows how this corrupting influence can work in a Christian group. He said,

“For if one comes and preaches another Jesus who we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted you bear this beautifully” (2Co11:4)

The Corinthian group was coming under the influence of the occult. There is no other way to explain an involvement with a different Jesus, a different spirit, and a different gospel.

You may think this is hard to do, but Church history has proven that this has always been a real danger for believers.

Did the Church at Corinth ever revert itself? Who knows – We do have a promise that the Lord will not lose any that belong to Him. 

Did not the apostle tell the Corinthians to examine themselves to make sure they were in the faith. Check Up

 

Time for a check up

And here is where we need to use caution. Paul did not say that these elements of prophecy and speaking in other languages would be ‘destroyed.’ 

There is no question that the Lord can speak to us through others. But to go about seeking a prophet today can do much damage to a believer’s walk with the Lord.

I realize everyone has their own thoughts, opinions, and experiences. But in the study of Scriptures, it is important not to let our experiences decide what we believe. We must learn to be true to the Scriptures.

Everything I have shared in this entry is for educational purposes. My advice to believers today is to stay on guard against any form of occultism. Familiar (pythonic) spirits love to enter congregations and play off as being from the Lord.

Perhaps Paul gave us the best warning of all. Listen to it once again –

“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
(2Co 11:3)

Note the key words: Simplicity and purity of devotion.

Finally – I have two recommendations. I began this study with a quote from the second chapter of Acts. The whole of this chapter is often overlooked by some teachers that wish to make ‘speaking in other languages’ the lesson in place, at the expense of what is actually happening. Take time to read the entire chapter. You may be surprised. 

Secondly – You must decide for yourself, if some of what is called speaking in tongues today fits the Bible description of tongues, or is it possibly more in line with the Delphic description.

Am I coming against all speaking in tongues today? Certainly not. So, once again, do we believe in speaking in tongues. Of course we do.

My point – Don’t check your brain at the door.

But what do I know? I’m just a old-time, guitar playing, country preacher.

Here is song you may like by Skeeter Davis, titled, ‘Daddy Was an Old Time Preacher Man.

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May the Lord’s blessings rest upon you and all that is yours,

In Christ always,

Buddy

A Father’s Unconditional Love

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Love Without Conditions“Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.” (1Co 13:8-10)

 

Journal,

This entry includes a writing from a brother in the Lord, about the Bible story of the prodigal son. (Or, so it is often called.)

When the brother shared his writing, it impressed me deeply. I asked permission to use his writing on my journal. His request was that it be shared as anonymous. The brother wanted the Lord to receive any credit given. And that is what I will do

However, in providing excerpts from what he had written, I am including some of my own thoughts in the form of sub notes. (Sub notes will be this color.) 

I’ve also made grammatical adjustments where needed.

Listen carefully with your heart and you will hear some very special things about our heavenly Father’s love.

A Father’s Unconditional Love

Every time I read this parable I’ve always concentrated on just one son. I’m not trying to take anything away from the remarkable event that took place with the youngest son coming to repentance, but there is so much more to this parable than what meets the eyes.

This parable is actually a love story. It is a story of the unconditional love that a father has for his children.

That is what I want you fathers to focus on. In this parable the father’s unconditional love can be overlooked by what is taking place between his two sons, and especially in regard to his youngest son.

Note: The background for this story had to do with the religious Pharisees and scribes, and the tax collectors and sinners who were listening to Jesus speak. In the parable of the two sons, you may wish to guess which son the Pharisees represented, and which son the tax gatherers and sinners represented. 

Let’s follow the story.

Luke 15:11-12 “And He said, ‘A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me. So he divided his wealth between them.”‘”

This parable is called the prodigal son because of its focus mainly on how the young son squanders his inheritance. Prodigal means: wastefully extravagant.

But the name given this parable can be misleading, because this parable is not just about one son, but two sons. It is about a fathers unconditional love for them both.

Like I said – It is truly a love story.

So the youngest son decided to ask his father for his share of the inheritance. By inheritance, the son literally means his portion of all the father owns in life, that is, the portion of his father’s estate that would legally passed to him upon his father’s death.

What the youngest son is basically telling his father is that you are dead to me. It is a completely selfish, self-centered act. It shows no regard towards the father. It is utterly disrespectful and shameful.

By making this request while his father is still alive would mean that the younger son wishes to completely disassociate himself from has father. The only thing that could be even more surprising is when the father agrees to the request.

Note: During the time of Jesus, many of the Jewish people had become disenchanted with the religious system. It was these very people that crowded around Jesus. The Lord ate with them, visited in their homes, allowed Himself to be reached by all, including prostitutes and even lepers. This is the reason that the religious Jews accused Jesus of being a friend of sinners. Aren’t you happy about that.

Think about it – The younger son asking for his share in the father’s estate while his father is still living, tells us that the younger son is unhappy being under his father authority, and he wants out.

It’s no different with some of us. Some of us are unhappy under the heavenly Father’s (talking about God) authority, so we rebel against it. In other words we want out.

If the father denied the request and the younger son stayed, then we must consider for a moment what kind of relationship the father might have had with his younger son.

Think about it – By asking his father for his share of the estate while his father was still living, it showed that he did not care about his father. He would have been there in body, but not in spirit. He likely would have rebelled against the father at every chance he got.

The father would have had his son by his side but knowing all along that the son did not want to be there, and that he probably hated him.

The father might of had no chance of reconciliation with his son.

So what does the father do? He pleases his son and agrees to allow the separation the son requests.

Note: Keep in mind that the younger son was still the father’s son, regardless of the role in life that he would choose. It is here that we see how the wisdom of God works among His own children. Although the love of God never leaves us, yet it is from His very love, and His wisdom, that He allows us room make our own choices in life. Does the heavenly Father know something that we do not know? Did the father know that the son would return. — Just something to think about –

The father shows unconditional love for his son and did the one thing he could do, if he wanted to keep a chance for reconciliation with his son. He gave the son the freedom he demanded.

God does the same thing with us. He gives us the freedom we demand.

In Luke 15:13-16 it tells us the youngest son gathers up his things and leaves.

And in Luke 15:17-19 it tells us that in the youngest son’s desperation, something remarkable happened. He came to his senses.

Just as Romans 2:4 tells us that the kindness of God leads us to repentance, we seen this in Luke 15:18 that the young son’s, father’s kindness is on his mind.

So what does the youngest son do? He returns to his father and expressed sincere repentance.

Luke 15:21 “His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’”

But the father was hearing none of that. The father accepted his son joyfully and the son regained his entire claim to sonship with the father,

Luke 15:22 “His father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet.’”

The father places on the son, symbols to show that his son has been restored, a robe, a ring, and sandals.

And what did the son do to earn it? Nothing of course. And what do we do to earn salvation? Nothing.

Note: Are you getting the picture? The son is a son is a son, regardless of his circumstances in life. This son did not need to earn his father’s love. Neither was this son placed in a lower category of being unworthy of being once again in his father’s house. 

The son had done nothing more than to have a change in heart. He made a conscious decision to repent.

Brothers, up to this point I have talked only about the youngest son and the father’s unconditional love he had shown him. Let’s move on to the oldest son.

Luke 15:25-27 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and asked one of the servants what was going on. ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the calf we were fattening and has prepared a great feast. We are celebrating because of his safe return.”

This text gives a picture of a son working overtime to please his father, going overboard to show his faithfulness and willingness to work hard to earn his father’s love.

Look at the text it says that the older son was in the fields working. This is interesting, since we already know that this is a wealthy family with plenty of hired servants. So why was the older son investing his time working in the fields? They would have had servants over other servants doing the work.

Is that not what we do sometime? If we aren’t careful we can find ourselves just like the oldest son trying to work our way to salvation, when the work has already been done for us by the work of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins.

When the oldest son learns that his father has shown grace and mercy and loving-kindness towards his wayward son, he becomes angry.

Luke 15:28-30 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve worked hard for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the finest calf we have.’”

What you see here is a clear case of jealousy, envy, and hated that he throws his younger brother. The oldest son was just as selfish and self-centered as the youngest son was.

Did you notice some of the important details in that conversation? Take notice. I have served you all these years. I have paid careful attention to all your commands, and what you give Me in return? Not even a young goat so I can celebrate with my friends.

Then the father tells the older son, why are you complaining? Why do you feel shortchanged? You always had access to all that I had; you could have received all that I could give you.

In other word the father was telling his oldest son he never had to earn his love. It has always been given to him freely.

Just like the oldest son, some of us do not realize that we don’t have to work to earn our Father’s love (talking about God). His love is always there and He freely gives it.

Like the oldest son, some us never see the Father’s love as being freely given because we are to busy trying to earn it.

If you truly love the Father, the work you do will be out of love for the Father, not so that you can earn the Father’s love.

The father in this parable is a picture of God. All those who will one day be redeemed, must begin as lost sinners.

In this parable the two sons represents the lost sinners of the world. One comes to his sense and realizes he need a savior, and one who thinks he’s good enough and can work his way to salvation on his own.

Brothers, this parable is a picture of God’s unfailing and unconditional love and His desire for repentance of sinners and His redemption of the lost.

Can you see how this parable represents a love story, the story of God the Father’s unconditional love for his lost children.

God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son John 3:16.

Did this writing give you something to think about?

Are there other lessons we can learn from the story of the two sons? Actually the brother who wrote this had more to say. I simply desired to use that part that spoke the strongest to the love of a father.

There is a message I wish to leave with you. In this case, the younger son still rests at the heart of the story, at least for me. So, no matter where life has taken you, remember the Father’s love will always be there.

Think on these things, and take time for this song, by David Lennard.

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Your friend in Christ,

Buddy

God’s Voice Over His Children

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Prayers

Journal,

Jesus did not come into our world to give us another religion. We as humans have done that very well on our own. We love to run about declaring how our religion is the true religion.


What a dismay it is when we look to religion rather than why Jesus came into our world. 

Jesus came to bring us into the Father’s heavenly family. 

So, what is the Scriptural evidence that we are in the family of God?

There are several evidences, however, a primary evidence is the evidence of having heard and in continuing to hear and continuing to know the voice of the Shepherd. (Only Jesus can speak to us with the heavenly voice.)

 

If You Have Heard His Voice

Let’s begin with a portion of Psalm 95:

“Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

“For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah … “ (Psa 95:6-11)

This Scripture part is important in that it is directly quoted in the book of Hebrews. Hearing the voice of God has always been the keynote of our relationship with heaven. You can trace this through the Scriptures from the beginning.

And so, now take note to these witnesses:

“When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers. (Joh 10:4-5)

And again,

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (Joh 10:27-28)

Now pay very close attention to the following witness:

“I HAVE OTHER SHEEP, WHICH ARE NOT OF THIS FOLD; I MUST BRING THEM ALSO, AND THEY WILL HEAR MY VOICE; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.” (Joh 10:16)

Did you notice what the Lord said about the other sheep? All God’s people will hear the voice of the Shepherd.

 

What Distinguishes a True Christian

One question remains. Have you heard the voice of the Shepherd? You must decide for yourself if you belong to the family of God, and if you are truly Christian. (Christian is the family name.)

Throughout the earth today, the Lord God is speaking to the hearts of many. This is especially true with regard to the world of Islam. According to a major Muslim cleric, literally millions of Muslims, especially in Africa, are becoming Christian.

God is speaking to these people in dreams and visions, and in personal visitations.

Now, with regard to the other sheep, please take time for this video of how a militant Islamic extremist came to know Jesus personally. It may give you pause for checking your own Christian credentials.

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In Christ Always,

Buddy

Life is Not a Bed of Roses

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Mountain Railroad

 

Journal,

Some years ago a movement began that captured the attention of many believers. The movement originally took up the name, ‘Neo-Pentecost.’ Eventually the term, ‘Charismatic,’ became the norm. At the beginning it seemed that the movement was a fresh breath from heaven.

However, the movement had a dangerous side that was not easy to recognize. The teachings had a subtle way of subverting Scriptures. Many church leaders failed to realize just how misleading the teachings were and are.

Man was being glorified in place of the Lord. Pride was taking the place of humility.  

The teachings were essentially earthly and man-centered, with a strong appeal to egotism and self-importance.

The allurement was hard to escape. To this day so many fail to recognize the snares. I guess it comes back to people believing what they want to believe.

But why do not the leaders see this evil at work? Do not the leaders have ‘cautions’ and ‘checks’ in their own spirit?

I’ve been a minister of the gospel nearing fifty years, and I’ve had my share of failures. But one thing the Lord had always done for me – He gives me intuitive warnings when evil is at work.

Then I call to mind something the prophet Jeremiah said about God’s ancient people -

“An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?” (Jer 5:30-31)


Whatever Ever Happened to Repentance

Before I call attention to repentance, let me make an observation of something else Jeremiah said about God’s people loving it so.

Today the response could be,

‘Well, that was back then. We are an enlightened people. We are under the new covenant. We could never be in the place of loving false prophets.’

Let’s take closer heed to something else the prophet had to say. (Pay attention to the highlights.)

“The anger of the LORD will not turn back Until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart; in the last days you will clearly understand it.

“I did not send these prophets, but they ran. I did not speak to them, but they prophesied.

But if they had stood in My council, then they would have announced My words to My people, and would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds.” (Jer 23:20-22)

CrownDid you catch it. Both statements by Jeremiah are addressing the same issue. Many who take the name Christian, love the false prophets. The love has to do with these soothsayers always declaring peace and victory over the people.

What do false prophet rarely preach? They do not preach repentance.

And so, we have arrived. What do we know about the crucified life?

Repentance and turning from sinful living is not the message heard in the false movement. Rather than turning from the world, the door had been opened for the world to take up residence in the church.

For many, the idea of seeking to live a holy and separated life has disappeared into the dust barrel of yesterday.

Even the word ‘repent’ has lost much of its meaning. In our way of thinking it simply means, ‘to be sorry’. That is not what the Biblical term means.

We sorrow over bad things happening in our lives. Our sorrow is generally over what we’ve been caught at. The Biblical term, repent (metanoeite), means to change your attitude and conduct. Change your way of thinking and turn from your mode of life.

This is why John the Baptist told the Pharisees and Sadducees to ‘bear fruit in keeping with repentance’. They had to prove by their thinking and doing, that they were turning away from their sinful and prideful way of life.

What ever happened to repentance? It was no longer needed.

The message, Jesus loves us just as we are, has replaced God’s call to change our thinking, and to turn from our sinful life style. Sin is no longer sin. Certainly the Lord loves all of humanity, but He does not leave us as we are. 

Without repentance, we continue to live an adulterous life style because, ‘nothing could ever separate us from the love of God.’ And the church becomes filled with the spirit of adultery.

Do you see where the twisting takes place?

Scriptures are twisted to mean something they do not mean. Scriptures are distorted and removed from their context.

Jesus said, ‘Unless you repent, you will perish.’

But it doesn’t stop there. The teaching takes up with …


You Can Create

The teachings center on an earthly prosperity message and the making of confessions. Included is the projection that believers can do everything that Jesus did.

Then the phrase, ‘We are little gods’, became a catch-phrase among popular TV preachers. Of course that teaching filtered right on down the line. After all, if these popular TV preachers can teach it, then it must be true. 

The idea was that God wanted to fill our coffers with silver and gold, that we would never have to worry about any struggles in life. Why, we could just confess into existence anything that we wanted.

By the way, guess whose coffers were being filled.

It goes like this – If Jesus could do it, then we could do it. All we had to do was to call those things that be not, as though they were. The moniker for this became, ‘Name it. Claim it. Frame it.’

What many did not see was that the Lordship of Jesus Christ was being undermined. If we can do everything Jesus did, why do we need Jesus. One very popular Charismatic minister made these statements:

“Don’t say you have Jesus. You are everything he was, is and shall be.”

He also had this to say:

“When you say, ‘I am a Christian, you are saying I am a little Messiah walking on the earth. May I say it? You are a little god running around.’”

[You may want to take time for this study: http://buddymartin.net/blog/the-father-of-all-lies/]

How could all this happen? It is like…


The Frog in the Kettle

Perhaps you’ve heard the analogy of putting a frog in a kettle of cold water and turning on the burner. The frog is not concerned. Being in water is his natural state. What he doesn’t know is that the water is going to kill him, and the frog will be no more.

I realize all this may seem facetious, but it is not without cause. What happens over time, is that some start waking up and finding that life can be filled with struggles, and you can’t simply confess them away.

People find out that we are not little gods on the planet, that we are in great need of an everyday Lord and Savior. Sometimes life can be pure hell. None of this takes away from, ‘Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.’

People began to find out that maybe we can’t do just everything that Jesus did; that maybe only Jesus can do Jesus things; that we need to look to Him, believe in Him, walk with Him, receive from Him, trust His oversight of our lives, and believe in all that He provides for us.

Some are also finding out that maybe daddy and mama had a pretty good grasp with their ole timey-way of serving the Lord. (They may not have been right about all their understanding of the Bible, but they had heart.)


The greatest loss is what Jesus treasured most

What has this modern movement stolen from the church? The missing element today is our loss of, ‘the fear of the Lord.’

Why would I call this what Jesus treasured most of all? Listen to the prophet Isaiah -

“The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. and He will be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is his treasure.” (Isa 33:5-6)

And again,

“The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD … (Isa 11:2-4)

What does the fear of the Lord mean? The fear of the Lord takes in both love and respect and faith and trust. It means that we love God above all else, and we seek to do His will. It means that we know in our hearts that God is true and that His Word is divine.

The fear of the Lord is what puts wisdom into a believer’s walk.

The fear of the Lord is what causes us to turn from evil.

The fear of the Lord is what will keep us from being destroyed in a judgment to come.

Yes, I well remember when certain modern-movement teachers would make fun of the church songs we sang as children. What they should have noted is that those old songs came out of our God fearing experiences of life, when He stood with us in our time of need.


Time is Short

You see, life will not always be a bed of roses. It may actually be more like a mountain Sunsetrailroad.

I am just an old time country preacher, counting close to seventy-four years of age. Nor do I regret sharing any of what I have shared. What do I have to fear? 

And, yes, I firmly hold fast to the security of believers. Yes, I truly believe that we are overcomers in Christ Jesus.

And, yes, I also hold fast to God’s call to seek a life of holiness.

And, yes, I believe the time is short. It may not be for me to be here at the second coming of Jesus, but I will surely be with Him, one way or another.

So, why not take time for this mountain song that your grandparents use to sing. Maybe it has a message for you.

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Always in Christ,

Buddy

The Prince of Preachers – And Israel

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“Some think that this descent of the Lord will be post-millennial — that is, after the Spurgeonthousand years of his reign. I cannot think so. I conceive that the advent will be PRE-millennial — that he will come first; and then will come the millennium as the result of his personal reign upon earth. But whether or no, this much is the fact, that Christ will suddenly come, come to reign, and come to judge the earth in righteousness.” [from Justification & Glory MTP Vol 11, Year 1865, pg. 249, Romans 8:30 (age 31)] - Charles Hadden Spurgeon

Journal,

After Jerusalem underwent a judgment in 70 a.d., and Jews found themselves under bonds of slavery and dispersed in the earth, a trend began among some to proclaim that the Church had totally replaced Israel. This teaching became more pronounced over time, and especially as the Roman Catholic system emerged as a power structure in the earth.

Of course not all the early Church writers accepted that premise that the Church had totally replaced Israel. In fact, most of the earliest Christian writers fully believed that a day would come when a nation called Israel would reappear on earth.

Take note of several earl Church writers _

#1) Reference to Papias cited by Eusebius (Papias was a disciple
of the Apostle John and a friend of Polycarp; 60-130 ad); “Among
these things, Papias says that there will be a millennium after the
resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be
established on this earth.”

#2) Justin Martyr (c. 160); “There was a certain man with us,
whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, who
prophesied by a revelation that was made to him, that those who
believed in our Christ would dwell a thousand years in Jerusalem.”

#3) Hippolytus (c. 205); “The Sabbath is the type and symbol of
the future kingdom of the saints, when they shall reign with Christ
after He comes from heaven, as John says in his Revelation. For ‘a
day with the Lord is as a thousand years.’”

#4) Tertullian (c. 207); “We do confess that a kingdom is promised
to us upon the earth, although before heaven. Only, it will be in
another state of existence. For it will be after the resurrection for a
thousand years in the divinely-built city of Jerusalem ‘let down from
heaven.’”

#5) Victorinus (c. 280); “The true Sabbath will be in the seventh
millennium of years, when Christ will reign with His elect.”

#6) Lactantius (c. 340); “Back then a mortal and imperfect man
was formed from the earth, so that he might live a thousand years
in this world. So, now, from this earthly age is formed a perfect
man. And, being quickened by God, he will bear rule in this same
world through a thousand years.”

#7) Irenaeus (c. 180); “The predicted blessing, therefore, belongs
unquestionably to the times of the kingdom, when the righteous will
bear rule, after their rising from the dead. It is also the time when
the creation will bear fruit with an abundance of all kinds of food,
having been renovated and set free. … And all of the animals will
feed on the vegetation of the earth. They will become peaceful and
harmonious among each other, and they will be in perfect
subjection to man. And these things are borne witness to in the
fourth book of the writings of Papias, the hearer of John, and a
companion of Polycarp.”

#8) Commodianus (240); “The Amen sends flames on the nations.
And the Medes and Persians burn for a thousand years, as the
apocalyptic words of John declare. After a thousand years, they will
be delivered over to Gehenna. And he whose work they were is
burned up with them.” 


The Message Carried On – Israel will be a nation

There have always been notable preachers who carried a prophetic insight, knowing that a nation called Israel, would reappear on the earth in order for God’s work of redemption to be fulfilled. Charles Hadden Spurgeon is one of those notable prophetic preachers.

Some may wonder who this man really is. Not so with most studied preachers today. Charles Hadden Spurgeon was penned with the name, ‘the Prince of Preachers.’

Not many people realize that Charles Hadden Spurgeon (1834-92) has more material currently in print that any other Christian author living or dead, and remains the single most published author in terms of volume in English history. [Eric W. Hayden. "A Collection of True and Unusual Facts About Charles Spurgeon."]

It is no wonder that Spurgeon was called, ‘The Prince of Preachers.’ I became acquainted with Spurgeon’s preaching early in my calling, with just one volume of his sermons. (C. H. Spurgeon had 67 volumes of sermons published.)

It is impossible to read anything of Spurgeons’, that will not deeply affect your thinking. So it was with me. One of my greatest revival messages was based on Spurgeon’s sermon, ‘Miseries, Messengers or Mercy.’ (By the way, my ministry spans close to 50 years. Age 24 to almost 74.)

Of course I am not here to extol C. H. Spurgeon, but to draw attention to this man’s prophetic insight into not only the gospel, but also for his insight into God’s plan of redemption.

Here are some insights to be appreciated:

“We shall at once profess our attachment to the pre-millennial school interpretation, and the literal reading of those Scriptures that predict the return of the Jews to their own land.” (Jerusalem Which is Above, Sword and Trowel, [August 1866])

And when a great many notable writers of his time were declaring that there would never again be a nation of Israel, Spurgeon had this to say -

“There will be a native government again; there will again be the form of a body politic; a state shall be incorporated…” (Spurgeon, “The Restoration and Conversion of the Jews,” MTP, 10:426.)

Here is a summary of Spurgeon’s beliefs about Israel -

  • Israel as a nation will come to faith in Christ.
  • Israel will have a national or geo-political identity.
  • The political system will be a monarchy, “a king shall reign”
  • Israel will be in the Promised Land
  • The borders will correspond to the promises given to Abraham and David.
  • Israel will hold a special place among the nations in the millennial kingdom.
  • However, Israel remains spiritually part of the church.
  • There will be a national prosperity that will be the admiration of the world
  • That the prophecies of the Old Testament should not be handled in a non-literal fashion.

For my part, I’m pretty much with Charles Hadden Spurgeon, in saying,

‘Whether or no [PRE-millennial], this much is the fact, that Christ will suddenly come, come to reign, and come to judge the earth in righteousness.’

Now, if you do not think that the Jewish world has no concern with Jesus Christ, take time for these quotes from well-known and greatly respected Jewish men of yesteryear.

Beginning to See Jesus

The Jewish philosopher Martin Buber wrote:

From my youth onwards I have found in Jesus my great brother. That Christianity has regarded and does regard him as God and Savior has always appeared to me a fact of the highest importance which, for his sake and my own, I must endeavor to understand…I am more than ever certain that a great place belongs to him in Israel’s history of faith and that this place cannot be described by any of the usual categories.”



Albert Einstein observed:

As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, bEinsteinut I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene…No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus.  His personality pulsates in every word.  No myth is filled with such life.”



The former president of Hebrew Union College, Rabbi Kaufman Kohler addressed Congress in 1893 in the following fashion:

No ethical system or religious catechism, however broad and pure, could equal the efficiency of this great Kaufmannpersonality, standing, unlike any other, midway between heaven and earth, equally near to God and to man…Jesus, the helper of the poor, the friend of the sinner, the brother of every fellow-sufferer, the comforter of every sorrow-laden, the healer of the sick, the up-lifter of the fallen, the lover of man, the redeemer of woman, won the heart of mankind by storm.  Jesus, the meekest of men, the most despised of the despised race of the Jews, mounted the world’s throne to be earth’s Great King.”


 

Becoming Christian at a Rapid Rate

I was reading the Jerusalem Post, when an ad jumped out at me. It was by a Jewish rabbi who was coming against Christian missionaries. I thought, ‘What a strange thing for an Orthodox Jewish rabbi to say.’


See what you think. Here is the ad - 

What Are We Doing Wrong, and What are They doing right?Rabbi Tovia Singer

Why Have more Jews Converted to Christianity in the Last 19 Years than in the Last 1,900 Years? - Rabbi Tovia Singer – Jerusalem Post 

If I were a Jew reading this ad, I would not concern myself with buying Tovia’s ‘anti-Christian’ tapes. I would want to know why more Jews have converted to Christianity in the last 19 years than in the last 1900 years?

 

Let’s see if we can put a face on this. 

Moses reaches across history, and speaks of their scorning the Rock of their salvation; that they would be scattered among the nations. Then he says,

“In the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice.” (Deu4:30)

Hearing the voice of Jesus is the very key to redemption.

Now we come back to our original question. What relationship does the Christian  have to the Jewish race? The answer is that God’s redemption plan unfolds itself around this people.

Think about it for a moment – Where did the new covenant have its inception? Did it begin in Rome? Did it begin in China? The new covenant was put in place in Jerusalem.

Where does it complete itself? According to the prophets, according to the apostles, and according to the Lord Himself, the new covenant will complete itself in Jerusalem. It makes a full circle back to its beginning point.

The prophet says that when the Lord returns, His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. (Zech14:4) The Mount of Olives is just east of Jerusalem.

 

The Wounded and Pierced Messiah -

The pierced Messiah is a major theme of prophecy. Isaiah 53 and Zechariah 12, contain the clearest statements in who the Jewish nation will turn to in the second coming of Christ.

Zechariah said the Jewish people will see the pierced Messiah, and ask where he got those wounds. It says their eyes will be opened and grace will be poured out on them.

Paul said to the Gentiles believers,

“I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery so that you will not be wise in your own estimation that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, etc.” (Rom11:25,26)

Paul cautions the Gentile branches not to exalt themselves over the Jewish branches that have been broken off. He reaches into the distant future to explain a mystery. One day, he says, after the gospel has penetrated all the nations and the full measure of salvation has been preached among the Gentiles, an interesting thing will happen. The Jewish people are going to turn to Jesus with a full heart. 

With this the prophets agree. God speaks through Hosea, saying,

“I will go away and return to My place until the acknowledge their guilt and seek My face.” (Hosea 5:15)

What guilt must they acknowledge? They will acknowledge that the Man of the cross was and is the true Messiah of Israel, the Lord God revealed in the Son.

At some point in redemption history all the nations are going to make a stand against Jerusalem. It is in this time frame that the Spirit of grace will once again be poured out on Jerusalem. Zechariah 12:9, says - 

I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.”

So again, what relationship does the Church have with the natural race of Abraham? Paul said,

From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.” (Rom11:28)

Strange isn’t it. What other reason can there be for this strange attraction Christians and Jews have for one another?

Rabbi Tovia said it well enough, ‘More Jews are converting to Christianity in last 19 years than in the past nineteen centuries.

What did Moses say in this regard? He said,

“When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice. For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.” (Deu4:30,31)

The greatest friends of Israel today are evangelical Christians. We know that one day the promise will be fulfilled when, ‘All Israel will be saved.’

Yes, Indeed – One day that nation in the middle east called Israel, will call upon the Lord Jesus.

What think ye?

In Christ always,

Buddy

DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME

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God Calling“Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Isa 55:6-7)

 

Journal,

Most of us older folk will well remember Rex Allen. He was known as the Arizona Cowboy. Rex became a movie star and a singer. He began quite young, playing the guitar with his fiddle playing father.

Rex typified the ‘cleaner’ old days. Rex Allen, was one of the singing cowboys along with Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, who personified the clean-cut, God-fearing, American hero of the wild west.

Of course those days are long gone. The world we live in today is growing steadily darker. (I’ll come back to Rex Allen a bit later.)

Should we be surprised that the world is growing darker? Not really. The Bible plainly lays out that the closer we get to the coming of the Lord Jesus, the more upheavals will be seen on planet earth. These upheavals will affect all strata of earthly meanings, from that of nature itself to all of human existence.

I believe we have already entered into what the Lord Jesus, spoke of as …

 

The Beginning of Birth Pangs

Women are well acquainted with the issue of birth pangs. Once they begin there is no stopping. They steadily begin and then become more rapid and with increasing strength. According to the Lord, it is these pangs that will be the strongest witness that a birth is about to take place.

Listen to the Lord:

And Jesus began to say to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads you. Many will come in My name, saying, “I am He!” and will mislead many.

“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines.

“These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them.

“The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.” (Mar 13:5-10)

Here the Lord gives a synopsis that reaches across the age. Some of what He shares speaks directly to the earliest Jewish Christians. Some of what He shares has to do with the ending of the age of grace as we know it. (Known as the church age.)

The one thing we may question has to do with, ‘You will be flogged in the synagogues.’ We know this actually happened to the earliest Jewish believers, including the apostles. But what relevance does it have to the ending of the age?

Think about it. Who are the most hated people on planet earth? It is the Jew first with the Christians holding second place. But why are these groups so hated? It is a spiritual issue. Satan knows that his time is short. He also knows that God’s plan of redemption wraps itself around these two groups.

This is why I have often told people to keep your eyes on Jerusalem. It ends there. Satan knows that he has to control Jerusalem. As for the hatred, take note of how the nation of Israel is surrounded by multiplied millions of people who have been poisoned with a ‘Jew-hatred’ philosophical system.

Where the Bible describes the ending battles of the age, it all takes place over Jerusalem. Do not think for a moment that all the bloodshed of the middle east has no meaning.

Listen to what the Lord has to say through prophet Zechariah [I will skim portions of a longer prophecy]:

“… Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him,

“Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah.

“It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.

“In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD before them.

“And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” (Zec 12:1-11)

Some may wish to argue that the Lord is not talking about the second coming of Jesus, but rather the first coming. Others like to argue that this speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem, in 70 ad.

I believe neither of these premises. The Bible describes the second coming of Jesus, as being the Savior of Israel. Listen to the apostle Paul [Again in portions of a larger reading.] -

“For if their [Israel's] rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.

“For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?

“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery–so that you will not be wise in your own estimation–that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,

THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.

“THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.

“From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Rom 11:15-29)

This bring us to another issue that is capturing the hearts of people, all over the planet. 

 

What About the Blood Moons

I really haven’t taken much of a look into what is written about the blood moons. Whether they are signs or not, I don’t know.

What I will say is that I am without question that we are in the wrap up of the age. In my opinion the birth pangs have already begun.

Perhaps my stand in all this accord with an ancient Jewish instruction that goes like this:

“If there is a sapling in your hand when one says to you: ‘Behold, the Messiah is coming!’ finish planting the sapling and then go and welcome the Messiah.”

My advice to all believers is simple – ‘Go about your business. The Lord has all of this under control. Jesus said that when we see these things happening, we are to lift up our heads. Our redemption is quite near.’

OK …

 

What About Rex Allen

Back to Rex Allen. I used him as an attention grabber.

On the personal side, the reason I’ve always loved Rex Allen is because of a record I had of him singing, ‘Cattle Call.’ (Recorded 1949) Would you believe I learned how to yodel, and began playing the guitar, by listening to Rex. (Probably his most famous song was titled, ‘Don’t Go Near the Indians’.)

However, there was another song that Rex Allen sang that should touch the heart of every ‘straying’ child of God. It is titled, ‘Wasted Years.’ This song was taken up by many gospel singers and groups. The reason is you can hear the voice of our Father in it.

The original song was an appeal to the straying child of God, to return to the Father. It really touches one’s heart.

Yet, a later song was written with the same title, ‘Wasted Years’. It is in this song that you hear the voice of the straying child of God, coming back to the God of his or her youth.

As a minister of old (nigh fifty years), I look at those who have strayed from their first consecration to the Lord, and it grieves me deeply. So many have mixed their lives with worldly ideals. They went astray from the holy things of God for the dregs of worldliness.

But it is never too late.

And so, take time for this later song. If you are one of the straying children, let this song be your own response to God.

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In Christ always, 

Buddy

The Story Behind the Story

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Where Does a Story Really Begin?

We are about to celebrate our 38th Christian Challenge Homecoming Jubilee. What a story to be told.

When we Christian believers wish to write about our ventures of faith, how do we even find a beginning place. Our entire life has been one great adventure with the Lord Jesus. After all, the Bible says that God knew us before the foundation of the world. 

Now that I wish to share some things about a ministry known as, ‘Christian Challenge International’, I still wonder where the story of Christian Challenge actually begins. But since we are celebrating our 38th Homecoming Jubilee, perhaps it would be good to find one spot to work from.

And so I begin – Christian Challenge held its first service on March 9, 1976. But for an earlier beginning place let me reach back to 1975. 

 

IT HAPPENED FRIDAY MORNING, JANUARY 17, 1975  –

It was during my morning devotion. As I was playing my guitar and singing the Porter Wagoner song, ‘Peace on Earth Begins Today,’ I heard these words, ‘Go home.’

When God speaks, you listen and obey. Betty and I took our children out of school and headed north. (We were living in Lafayette, LA. North was Central Louisiana.)

All I had was two words. ‘Perhaps the Lord wanted me to go to churches that I had held revivals in, and share BettyMe1978some of my testimony.’ That was not to be the case.

We left our children at my sister’s home. Across the road from her was a church that we have ministered in. But it seemed odd. The lights were on and it wasn’t a service night.

Betty and I quietly sat in the back. What I did not know was that the church had recently lost their pastor. They were in prayer, asking the Lord to send them their new pastor.

Then it happened – The minister who was helping them, recognized me and said, “Brother Martin, would you like to share anything?” (I still did not know what was happening.) I simply said, “Brother, I don’t know why the Lord sent me, but I am here.” (A near quote.)

A holy hush. Then I heard weeping in the congregation. The Lord was bearing witness to their pastor.

In looking back, I was glad the Lord only gave me two words. I had no want to pastor again. Yet little did I realize is that this was a major step to another ministry the Lord would commission me to raise up, a ministry called ‘Christian Challenge International.’

What I have found through time is that every step of faith we make, is largely to prepare us for the next step in our journey of life.

My pastorship of that beautiful country church was only for a year and a half, but that year and a half was crucial for me and my precious wife, Betty. It had to be one of the most loving churches in God’s many flocks. The older folk were like grandfathers and grandmothers to us.

I spend countless hours, pouring myself into God’s Word. The Lord was opening my eyes to so many treasures in His sacred writ. All this had to do with the Lord preparing my heart for another venture of faith. But here I must add another story behind the story.

So, let me reach further back still. It took place several years before this time.

 

I FELL IN LOVE WITH AN OLD BOOK -

When the Lord, brought me into His kingdom, in 1964, He did something that set the musical note for my walk with Him. He gave me an intense love for His Word. (Some people search the Scriptures to confirm what they want to believe. Not so with me. I search to Scriptures to see what the Lord wants me to believe.)

I don’t need to skip around to find something interesting to read. That old book is filled with wonderful secrets. I know exactly what Jeremiah felt when he said, “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.” (Jer15:16)

Actually, Betty finally asked me to stop giving my Bibles away. Because of all the notes that are written in them, she wanted me to save them for our kids. (Sometimes wish I had kept them all – Alas, I felt a need to help someone along the trail of life. Bible and MusicBut I do have several saved.)

So why do I use the term ‘musical note’ in describing my Biblical walk with the Lord? The primary reason is that God has taught me to how to recognize His voice in the Scriptures, and it is like music in my soul. (Yes, the Bible is full of music.)

But there is something else equally important with regard to God’s old Book. (Besides the music.) The Bible is always unfolding its secrets. The unfolding of God’s Word is for all His children. David said, “The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psa119:130)

Well – If I have peaked your interest just a little, then do this. You can pray this prayer now -

“Lord God, please open my eyes to see wonderful things in Your Book. I ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son.” (Psa119:18; Mat7:7)

See what I mean. You begin with the now, and you keep reaching back. Where do you even find a stopping place?

Well — If you are truly interested, let me let me share more light on the story behind the story.

 

Things That Add to the Story

Perhaps you would like to know a bit more about the Martin family. This video has to do with my and Betty’s 50th wedding anniversary. It reaches far back in time.

 

Then there is the number one entry on my blog. It has to do with ‘My Story’. I never mean this story to dishonor my church background. All I can say is that every believer’s walk is intensely personal. We each can only walk in what the Lord has called us to walk in.

My Story: http://buddymartin.net/blog/testimony/

 

Then there is this, especially for country music lovers.

When the Lord spoke to me these words, ‘Go home,’ I was singing a song by Porter Wagonor, titled, ‘Peace on Earth Begins Today.’ Perhaps the Lord will speak to your heart.

Here it is:

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See what I mean.

There is no stopping place. The more I reach back in my life, the more I see the hand of the Lord.

Just one more tidbit – This happened before I entered into a knowing relationship with Jesus Christ.

When I left my last ship in the Navy, I said this to my fellow crewmen: ‘I am sick and tired of this life. I am going to find me a good woman, and settle down.’ 

Was God in that? No one can convince me otherwise. In looking back it was as though the Lord gave me words to speak over myself. Did it happen?

There would have been no Christian Challenge International, had not the Lord given me my wife of His own choosing. My wife is the most loving and caring person I have ever known. And I’m so glad that our three children have so much of Betty in them. 

How easily I could have shared the bigger story of my ‘God-ordained’ marriage to a beautiful Christian girl, and how this was also arranged in time. But, you have your own story.

So – Has not your walk with the Lord been truly an amazing venture of faith.

In Christ Jesus always,

Buddy

 

It Was Never About Hate – It Is About Heritage

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Black Confederate Soldier

 

“Nothing fills me with deeper sadness than to see a Southern man apologizing for the defense we made of our inheritance. Our cause was so just, so sacred, that had I known all that has come to pass, had I known what was to be inflicted upon me, all that my country was to suffer, all that our posterity was to endure, I would do it all over again.”  — President Jeff Davis, C.S.A.

 

Journal,

As for the Civil War, I don’t know of a Southern person today who would argue that slavery was ever right. It is certainly not my purpose in this entry to justify slavery in any case. I merely wish to speak just a bit about our Southern heritage.

However, it is important to understand that the civil war was not simply about slavery. The primary issue was a states rights of succession. The right of succession was placed into the American constitution. 

And, believe it or not, the civil war also had to do with heritage and culture. 

This is one reason that so many blacks and whites in the South today, resent the pictures that are being portrayed of our Southern culture. These sordid portrayals are made by people who do not understand the love that Southerners have for their culture. There are no racial lines when it comes to being Southern. 

Actually people from the north do not yet understand why the South is so distinctively different from every other Black Confederate Soldier3part of the nation. Yet Northerners by the droves are moving to the south, and it has nothing to do with the weather.

Something is drawing them. What is it?

Could it be because Southern women are prettier? (Don’t go there – I’m just kidding.)

Did you know:

(1) The first state to choose a black governor was Virginia, that is Doug Wilder in 1989.

(2) According to census, hundreds of thousands of blacks are leaving the North and coming South. Many are returning home and to a culture that they love and appreciate.

(3) Race relations in the south have always been better than those relationships in the north. Take note of where almost all the riots are seen. This should tell us who is really having a race problem.

Let me bring it a little closer to my home state of Louisiana.

Did you know:

(1) The word “Dixie” comes from currency issued by banks in Louisiana. The ten-dollar note was labeled “Dix,” French for the number ten. The notes came to be known as “Dixies” by the English speakers, and the area around the French parts of Louisiana came to be known as “Dixieland.”

(2) In my hometown, Pineville, Louisiana, we have a black mayor, and yet our population is predominately white. Across the river is Alexandria, Louisiana, with a white mayor, yet their population is predominately black. Does that suggest anything?

(3) Louisiana is also very unique in that we are pretty much the blending pot of the south. We are red, black, white, creole, Cajun, Spanish, German, red bone, and anything else you can throw into the mix, and we are downright proud of it.

What does that tell you about Southern race relations?

But why…

 

Why is the South so Distinctively Different

I would suggest that a primary reason the South is so distinctively different is because we are essentially a Bible loving people. Let no one fool you, there is a genuine Bible belt in the United States. That Bible belt is made up primarily of the old South.

The South is almost a nation within a nation. Bible Belt

How does being in the Bible belt affect the southern culture?

When it comes to respect for your elders, to general friendliness, to caring for your neighbor, to a love for family and tradition, to church attendance, we are all cut from the same clothe.

And by the way, who ever heard of Northern gospel music?

By the way, did you know that Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, had never been to the South and had never even seen a plantation and how they were run. 

There is one Scripture that sets the stage for why the South is so distinct in our Christian heritage. Yes, it does come back to the Bible belt.

Listen carefully:

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” (Gal 3:27-29)

There is so much I would like to share about our southern heritage, but perhaps I should let some of our black brothers tell the story from their own view of the south. They can do it better than I can.

This first video clip is of a former NAACP president of Asheville, NC  –

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The next video is, “Behind the Dixie Stars”

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In Christ always,

Buddy