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Doing the Impossible

Saturday, April 06, 2024

Doing the Impossible

Wade Webster

The Bible is filled with what seem to be impossible situations.  Just consider a few of them with me.

Defeating a City by Marching Around It’s Walls

The first city that Joshua and the Israelites encountered when they entered the land of Canaan was the walled city of Jericho.  The walls of Jericho must have been very intimidating.  They were tall and thick.  Getting past these walls must have seemed impossible.  However, God had a plan.  The Israelites were to march around the walls once for six days. Then, on the seventh day, they were to march around the walls seven times, blow horns, and shout (Josh. 6:1-5).  From all human vantage points this plan seemed impossible.  However, it worked just as God said it would. 

Three Hundred Soldiers Against An Innumerable Host

Gideon started with thirty-two thousand soldiers.  That number must have seemed like a drop in the bucket in comparison to the Midianites.  After all, the Midianites were like grasshoppers for a multitude.  Amazingly, God thought that Gideon’s forces were still too many.  He did not want the people to think that they had succeeded by their own power.  God instructed Gideon to reduce his ranks by letting the fearful go home.  Probably, to his amazement, twenty-two thousand went home. (Judg. 7:1-3). Gideon was now left with just ten thousand to face the Midianite hoard.  God still thought that Gideon had too many men.  Next, God proposed a water drinking test to eliminate a few more.  Those who lapped water like a dog were kept and the others were sent home.  When all was said and done, Gideon was left with just three hundred men (Judge. 7:4-7).  The situation from all human vantage points was impossible.  However, with God’s help, Gideon was going to gain a great victory.

Slaying a Giant with a Slingshot

As the youngest of Jesse’s sons, David kept his father’s sheep.  One day, Jesse sent David to check on two of his older brothers who were soldiers in the army.  When Jesse sent David to check on his brothers and to bring them things from home, David overheard a challenge being issued to the army of Israel by a Philistine bully named Goliath.  The challenge left the soldiers of Israel shaking in their boots.  Standing roughly nine and a half feet tall, no soldier in Israel felt capable of meeting Goliath in the proposed contest.  Amazingly, David volunteered.  His offer to fight was met by the disdain of his brothers, the doubt of his king, and the derision of Goliath.  David was small and young.  Goliath was huge and a man of war.  Goliath was heavily armored.  David had no armor.  Goliath had a huge sword.  David had a small sling.  From all human vantage points, the situation was hopeless.  However, God gave David the victory (1 Sam. 17). 

Taking the Gospel to the Entire World

Jesus told His twelve disciples to take the gospel into all the world and to preach the gospel to every creature (Mat. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15-16). The task must have seemed impossible.  How were so few supposed to take the gospel to so many?  Yet, that is what God said.  The gospel that was first preached in Jerusalem was going to go to the utmost part of the earth (Acts 1:8).  Although taking the gospel to the world must have seemed impossible, the disciples got bust and did it.  To the Christians in Colosse, Paul wrote, “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;” (Col. 1:23). 

With God all things are possible (Mat. 19:26).  God never requires of man that which cannot be done.  He always supplies His people with what they need (Phil. 4:19).

Would You Ever Bring Yourself to Do This to Jesus?

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Would You Ever Bring Yourself to Do This to Jesus?

David Sproule

Paul In Luke 7, Jesus was invited by a Pharisee named Simon to eat in his home.  While Jesus sat at the table, “a woman in the city” entered the scene.  If it were not for this woman, we may not even have the record of this dinner, for the woman and Simon’s response to her are the whole focus.

First of all, think about what this woman does when she is in the presence of Jesus.  She would have known that she was not a welcome guest on this occasion, but nothing was going to stop her from getting to Jesus.  She had prepared for this encounter by bringing “an alabaster flask of fragrant oil” (7:37).  This was not a chance meeting.  She thought ahead.

When she arrived, she “stood at His feet behind Him” (7:38).  She was not presumptuous enough to stand in front and make herself the center of attention.  Instead, her humility focused on the feet of Jesus, which would have been tucked behind Him as He inclined at the table.  This woman desperately wanted to be in the presence of Jesus, but she did not feel worthy to be there.

What did she do at the feet of Jesus?  She was “weeping, and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil” (7:38).  The verb tenses in this verse denote ongoing action—she kept on weeping, washing, wiping, kissing and anointing.  It was not a quick “one-and-done” action but something she kept repeating.

Go back and read the last three paragraphs.  Make the application.  Could you…Would you have done this?

But, here’s the question.  WHY was she doing this?  Simon the Pharisee accused her of being (present tense, right now) “a sinner” (7:39). 

However, the text does not support her still bearing her sins.  The Holy Spirit tells us that she “was a sinner”—a past tense verb (7:37).  Simon used a present tense, but the Holy Spirit used a past tense.  Who are you going to believe?  Her sins were in her past.

Jesus emphasized this further when He used a different tense regarding her sins.  The Son of God told both Simon and this woman that her sins “are forgiven” (7:47-48).  By using the Greek perfect tense, Jesus emphasized that her sins had been forgiven in the past and the result of that forgiveness was still ongoing in the present.

So, back to the question.  WHY was this woman doing this?  Jesus gives us the reason: Her sins had been forgiven!  Brethren, what do we humbly do for and to Jesus as a result of Him forgiving us of our sins?  Have we lost sight of how precious and powerful that gift is?  May it never be!

Bible Vegetarians

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Bible Vegetarians

Wade Webster

Paul Harvey, the great radio personality, once quipped, “Vegetarian is an old Indian word for ‘doesn’t hunt well.’”[i]

I like vegetables, but I am no vegetarian.  I like meat – all kinds.  I like beef, pork, chicken, fish, and squirrel.  You didn’t expect the last one, did you?    Did you forget that I grew up in rural Alabama?

I’m convinced that there are many Bible vegetarians today.  There is no meat in their diet.  As you know, the Hebrew writer spoke of the meat of the word.  We read, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:12-14). There is no meat in their diet because they don’t hunt well.  They do not search or hunt through the Scriptures as they should.  Jesus declared, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).  Had the Pharisees truly searched, they would have known that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah (John 7:52).

In contrast to the Pharisees, the Bereans were great hunters.  Of them, Luke records, “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” (Acts 17:11).

What about us?  Are we Bible vegetarians? How well do we hunt? To Timothy, Paul wrote, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

If we are searching the Scriptures as we should, there will be plenty of meat in our diets.  In fact, there might even be some squirrels.  Don’t knock it until you have tried it! It tastes kind of like chicken.

[i] Wait, Marianne. Laughter:  The Best Medicine.  Pleasantville, NY:  Reader’s Digest Publishing Company, Inc., 2006, p. 204.

God Is

Saturday, March 16, 2024

God Is

Wade Webster

Sometimes, it is good to be reminded of who God is.  It helps us to love Him, fear Him, trust Him, and worship Him. 

Gracious - 2 Chronicles 30:9 - For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him.

Mighty - Job 36:5 - Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom.

Great - Job 36:26 - Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.

Holy - Psalms 99:9 - Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.

Merciful - Psalms 116:5 - Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.

Righteous - Daniel 9:14 - Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.

Jealous - Nahum 1:2 - God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.

Faithful - 1 Corinthians 1:9 - God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 10:13 - There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

True - John 3:33 - He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.

2 Corinthians 1:18 - But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.

Able - Matthew 3:9 - And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Romans 11:23 - And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graff them in again.

Romans 14:4 - Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

2 Corinthians 9:8 - And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

A Consuming Fire - Deuteronomy 4:24 - For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

Hebrews 12:29 - For our God is a consuming fire.

Light - 1 John 1:5 - This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Love - 1 John 4:8 - He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1 John 4:16 - And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

The Worst Deal Ever Made – Part 2

Saturday, March 09, 2024

The Worst Deal Ever Made – Part 2

Wade Webster

The worst deal ever made involves the soul.  It involves trading the soul for the world.  Jesus asked, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mt. 16:26). If someone offered you every house, every car, every boat, every plane, every acre, every diamond, every ruby, every sapphire, every pearl, every oil well, every business, and every dollar in the world for your soul, would you take it?  If you accepted the offer, you would live to regret it.   Your soul is worth more than all those things combined.  Yet, as you know, countless people trade their souls for the world every day.  In the first installment of this study, we noticed the first of three reasons.  Trading your soul for the world is the worst deal ever because the world is passing away.  In this installment, we will notice two additional reasons.

The World Cannot Satisfy

Trading your soul for the world is a bad trade because it involves trading your soul for that which cannot satisfy.  In the long ago, through the prophet Isaiah, God declared, “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness” (Isa. 55:2; cf. Lk. 15:11-14).  In like manner, Solomon wrote, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity” (Eccl. 5:10).  Man’s eyes are never satisfied (Eccl. 4:8) and his appetite is never filled (Eccl. 6:7).  He can always see something else that he wants (Prov. 1:8; 27:20; Hab. 2:5-9). The world is like saltwater, it doesn’t quench thirst.  It only magnifies it. Only God and His word can really satisfy man’s thirst. 

In His discussion with the Samaritan woman, Jesus explained the difference between well water and living water.  Well water, even that drawn for Jacob’s well, does not satisfy.  A person has to return every day to draw again.  However, living water satisfies.  Jesus declared, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst ; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14; cf. Isa. 58:11). Thankfully, the Samaritan woman found this living water.  However, others like those of Jeremiah’s day foolishly traded this water for that which could not satisfy.  They bought into the devil’s lie and traded their soul for the world.  Through Jeremiah, God declared, “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13).  They traded a fresh, flowing fountain for a broken and empty cistern.  How foolish! 

The World Cannot Be Taken With You

Trading your soul for the world is a bad trade because what is obtained in this world cannot be taken with you when you leave.  Paul declared, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Tim. 6:7).  When we die, we are going to leave behind what we have stored up here.  Solomon, an extremely rich man, understood this truth.  He wisely declared, “As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labor, which he may carry away in his hand.  And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath labored for the wind?” (Eccl. 5:15-16; cf. Psa. 49:17).  Solomon knew that what he had accumulated on this earth would be left to the man that came after him (Eccl. 2:18-19).  Sadly, others like the rich farmer, missed this truth (Lk. 12:16-20).

Wise is the person that understands that we came into this world with nothing and that we will leave with nothing.  As you know, Job clearly understood this.  When he lost virtually all his material possessions, he declared, “Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). Clearly, Job’s treasure was not laid up on this earth.  His treasure and his heart were in heaven (Mt. 6:19-21; Col. 3:1-2).

The devil, the great deceiver, is trying to get us to trade our souls for the world.  For sure, he is a smooth salesman. As He did with Jesus, he will show us “all the kingdoms of the world” and “the glory of them” (Mt. 4:8).  If we are not careful, we will be taken in by his subtle sale’s pitch.  We must not be ignorant of His devices (2 Cor. 2:11).  If we will look at things closely, we will see that the deal that Satan is offering is a very bad deal.  Why would we trade our souls for that which is passing away, for that which cannot satisfy, and for that which cannot be taken with us?

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