May, 2014 - The Value of the Word
Every church or ministry should have a reason for its existence. Many years ago, when Billie visited a jail for the first time, she was asked by an inmate why she came to the jail. Her answer was that Jesus had sent her to show that He cared and loved them. And from that day in 1986, this ministry has become one of teaching God’s Word, and always being careful that the teaching is without error. This is why we share the wonderful messages by Dr. Scott.
There was a period of time in my life when I was desperately looking for someone to show me “the way.” I wondered, what should I do to know God? No one told me that all the answers were in the Bible, but then I should have known that for myself. In reality, though, we all need a teacher and pastor, someone to point out the way and to help us better understand God’s Word. And as is obvious, that is not easy to find.
We have been doubly blessed by good, honest, truthful teachers. Billie, by her life, taught much about God’s love. Dr. Scott left us the wisdom God had given him thru his video recordings and books – thousands of messages. And I do not have the words to tell you how “lucky” I feel to be able to tune in to Pastor Melissa Scott at any hour, day or not, and be able to hear the truth.
Dr. Scott often spoke of how we were chosen OUT OF those who were not chosen. I used to wonder about that statement because it seemed so unfair of God. But then Jesus said that “many are CALLED but few are CHOSEN” (Matthew 20:16). Why is it that we wonder? Could it be because few WANT to be chosen? This could be compared to the call to serve our Country. In a sense, as a citizen we are all called to serve our country. This is especially true in countries like Israel. But when there is a war or draft, few want to be chosen to actually serve.
In John 6:65, Jesus said, “Therefore said I unto you that no man can come unto Me except it were given him of my Father.” So the power and ability to come is not there unless you are chosen by God in the first place.
We won’t judge anyone. God knows the heart. Rodney and I still read all the letters out loud to each other, and of course we are happy to see some serious interest in learning God’s Word and gaining some spiritual growth. That’s what it’s all about.
However, this month we removed a few names from our mailing list, because of obvious lack of interest, and also not replying after being warned that this would happen. God’s Word is precious and should never be taken for granted. I feel a great gratitude to the men who gave their lives so that we might have the Word of God.
So if the Word is not valued as the great eternal gift of God that it is, then we believe it should no longer be offered, unless we hear otherwise. Jesus, speaking in the picturesque language of the Bible, tells His disciples: “. . . and whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them” (Luke 9:5).
During one of the Sabbaths in Antioch, Paul and Barnabas used the example set by Jesus: It was when their message faced opposition from the Jews. The Jews rejected what Paul and Barnabas were preaching, and so they turned to the Gentiles. The last part of Acts 13 says that “ . . . the Jews stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. (Verse 50)
The next verse says: “But they [Paul and Barnabas] shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium” (verse 51). They simply moved on down the road to another city. God deals with the rest.
This is what we mean when we say that “the Bible confirms itself.” Not only did Paul say it, but Jesus said it, too. And as Dr. Scott used to say, “when God repeats Himself, you better pay attention.”
Our flocks in early April
Question: I would like to know God, and I have asked Him to reveal Himself to me, but nothing happens. No lights have gone on, no messages in the sky, no sudden revelation. It seems to me that if God really existed, He would want us to believe in Him, and He would therefore do something tangible to let us know He exists. Is it wrong to ask for some unmistakable evidence of God’s existence?
Response: No, and the evidence is all around you – more than you need. The kind of evidence you seem to be hoping for, however, wouldn’t help at all. Suppose some message with your name in it suddenly appeared in the sky. How would you know that God put it there? Suppose right now you heard an audible voice saying loudly, “I am God! Worship Me!” What would that tell you about God – and how would you know He had actually spoken?
In fact, God has spoken to you. The design of the universe is a message from God telling you of His existence as Creator and of His infinite wisdom and power. Those things that you value most highly and that you know in your heart make life worthwhile – love, joy, peace, moral purity, goodness, truthfulness, justice, kindness – tell you of God’s character. Your conscience tells you that you are morally accountable to God, that you have violated His laws and have fallen short of His perfect standard. Your conscience also tells you that there is no way you can make up for having broken God’s laws. You can’t buy Him off with sacrifice, prayers, good deeds, or ritual.
Suppose you got a speeding ticket. Would you waste your time telling the judge that you’ve driven that stretch of highway within the speed limit more often than above it? Would he let you off under the theory that your “good deeds outweigh the bad?” You know that won’t work with any earthly judge, and it certainly won’t work with God.
Would you tell him that if he lets you off this time you will never break the law again? You know what the judge would say: “If you never break the law again, you’re only doing what the law requires. You get no extra credit for that. It doesn’t make up for having broken the law in the past. The penalty will have to be paid as the law prescribes it.” You know it’s the same way with God.
-from the June, 2013 Berean Call
Must I Believe God Exists Before I Seek Him?
Question: In my daily Bible reading, I came across a verse that really puzzles me: “Without faith it is impossible to please him [God]; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Rather than God revealing Himself to a seeking heart, it sounds as though one must already believe in God before seeking Him. How can that be the case?
Response: Would someone seek God if he didn’t already believe He existed? It would be a waste of time. In fact, everyone, including you, knows that God exists.
The true story is told of a London street preacher who announced to his audience that every atheist was a fool because the Bible said so. A well-known atheist in the crowd shouted back at him that it was a slanderous insult, which he took personally, and that he would sue the preacher for damages. The preacher responded, “It’s not slander to tell the truth.”
The atheist countered, “And it’s not truth unless you can prove it! You’ll have to prove in court that I’m a fool, or I’ll take every pound you’ve got!”
“I don’t have to go to court to prove it,” said the preacher calmly. “You say you’re an atheist?”
“Yes, and not just a casual one. I’ve spent my life proving God doesn’t exist. It’s a pernicious myth!”
“Spent your life proving God doesn’t exist, have you?” replied the preacher. “Tell me this: if a man who spends his life fighting against something that doesn’t exist isn’t a fool, who is?”
-From the July, 2013 Berean Call
“A Higher Power by Whatever Name?”
Question: Why are Christians so adamantly opposed to the many other concepts of God that are honored in other religions? I agree with what Vice President Al Gore said at the 1993 Presidential Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C.: “Faith in God, reliance upon a Higher Power, by whatever name, is in my view essential.” Think of the unity there could be if religions would stop quarreling and honor all concepts of God in an open-minded and brotherly fashion!
Response: Yes, think of the unity there could be if we would all agree that two plus two equals five – but that wouldn’t make it so. A “Higher Power?” How high? Higher than what? And what does this mean?
With all due respect to you and the Vice President, what you both purpose is completely irrational. Furthermore, you aren’t being “open-minded and brotherly,” as you think you are. By insisting upon the acceptance of any “Higher Power” and thus any god, you thereby refuse to honor the one true God or even to admit His existence . . . Alan Bloom’s book The Closing of the American Mind point[s] out that “openness” has become the new fad in America, especially in education. Every idea must be respected, nothing can be wrong, and no one should be “put down” by suggesting that someone might be in error. He explained that Americans have in fact become so open to everything that they have become closed to the idea that something might be right and something else wrong. The closing of the American mind . . . by openness! In much the same way, you and the Vice President have become so open to every god that you are closed to the possibility that there just might be one true God and all the others false.
To Create the Universe Requires Definite Qualities
The fact is that no thinking person can embrace just “any god” as the Creator of this universe – and there must be a Creator. The logic of our own existence and the incredible design and structure of the universe around us force us to certain conclusion about God. Based upon such conclusions we must reject any concept of God that violates these requirements. It isn’t true that “any god” will do. And no “power,” no matter how “high,” could create the universe and mankind in it. Only a personal God of infinite power, wisdom, and love could do so.
Certainly, no one could reasonable attribute the creation of this universe to some idol made by human hands out of clay or wood or stone! . . . Who could possible believe that an idol, which itself was made by human hands and has to be carried about, had any power at all to do either good or evil? Yet the majority of mankind down through history has trusted in idols. Even in today’s supposedly modern world, with radio and television widely publicizing the amazing advancement of science, several billion people still worship idols . . . Such misplaced trust leads to spiritual darkness and bondage.
-From the February, 2013 Berean Call
Contradictory Concepts of God – Which is Correct?
Question: The oldest and most popular concepts of God are either pantheism, the belief that everything (i.e. the universe) is God, or polytheism, the belief that there are many gods . . . Why is the Bible so adamant against these beliefs, and why does it so severely condemn what it calls the pagans who have . . . held these beliefs . . . long before Jesus Christ came along?
Response: Pantheism is really the same as atheism. Obviously, if everything is God, then nothing is God, because the very term has lost any meaning. Pantheism leads to numerous contradictions: God would be the emptiness of a vacuum as well as the substance of matter; He would be sickness as well as health, death as well as life, evil as well as good. Furthermore, if the universe itself is God, then there is no outside reference point from which the universe can be evaluated and given purpose and significance. Nor is there any hope of changing its downward course or that of mankind.
Nothing has meaning or value in and of itself but only as some personal being has use for it and values it . . . A car has no meaning in itself, no purpose unless there is someone to drive it. The most costly diamond ring has no value unless there is someone who wants to buy and own and wear it, and so on. Obviously, what is true of every part of the universe is equally true of the whole.
-From the April, 2013 Berean Call
Must We Become Experts on All Religions?
Question: Since there are so many sacred books of various religions, all of which claim to be true, how can anyone be sure that the Bible is the true Word of God without first examining all the others? Even though another sacred writing might be mostly false, couldn’t it still have enough truth in it to make it worth the time and effort to examine all religious writings?
Response: That philosophy leads to liberalism’s conclusion that there is no definitive truth and no conclusive answer to any question whatsoever. For example, how could one be certain that two plus two was only four without first examining whether it might not also be three or five or six or seven or every other number? Since numbers are infinite, one would never come to the end of the search. So it is with religion. No one could live long enough to examine every claim of every religion that has ever existed. Nor is such an effort necessary.
Thankfully, truth is not arrived at by a process of elimination. The fact that two plus two equals four and only four can be proved without looking at every other number. And so it is with the Bible: its validity can be determined from examining it alone.
-From the April, 2014 Berean Call
Printed with permission from “The Berean Call.”
Prayer Requests for May, 2014
For Robin Harris’ Dad (Oklahoma) who needs a kidney transplant; and also for his aunt Rose (Muskogee, OK) who recently suffered two strokes.
For Judy Oakley’s granddaughter (Lincoln, Arkansas), who has a breathing problem.
For Gary David & His family (Oklahoma): His wife, Shelly needs to find work; and his daughter, Brooklyn suffers from anxiety and adhd.
For Ponnell Buchanan (Illinois).
For Paul Jones (Menard, Illinois), that he gets to visit with his mother.
For Willie Scott (Grady, Arkansas), that he gets his good time back.
For Michael Small’s Mom, Suzanne (Illinois).
For Willie Harper (Joliet, Illinois) & family, & Ella Watson.
For Frank Williams, Jr. (Death Row, Grady, Arkansas). His new trial has been set for July.
For Anthony Grayson (Elmira, New York), that his health gets better, and that he finds legal assistance.
For Mike Long (Larned, Kansas), for health.
For Sister Ann & the Carmelite nuns in Little Rock.
For Freddie Lee Lott (Robinson, Illinois), to stay “cancer free.”
For Robert Heffernan (Grady, Arkansas), that DNA evidence in his case will be tested.
For Pastor Scott & her ministry in Los Angeles.
For all of us at Wingspread.
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