Tag Archives: God’s Word

The Christian Message

“The Christian message is not an inclusive message that embraces all religions; it’s not a message that there are many paths to the same place. The Christian message is summed up in the brave words of Peter before the Sanhedrin: “Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11–12).”

Michael Youssef, Jesus, Jihad and Peace: What Bible Prophecy Says About World Events Today

Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!

Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!

(J.C. Ryle, 1816-1900)

“Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!” Hebrews 13:9

Many things combine to make the present inroad of false doctrine peculiarly dangerous.

There is an undeniable zeal in some of the teachers of error–and their ‘earnestness’ makes many think they must be right.

There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge–and many imagine that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe guides.

There is a general tendency to free thought in these latter days–many like to prove their independence of judgment, by believing novelties.

There is a wide-spread desire to appear tolerant and liberal-minded–many seem half ashamed of saying that anybody can be in the wrong.

There is a quantity of half-truth taught by the modern false teachers–they are incessantly using Scriptural terms and phrases in an unscriptural sense.

There is a morbid craving in the public mind for the more sensational and showy–men are impatient of inward, invisible heart-work.

There is a silly readiness in every direction to believe everybody who talks cleverly and earnestly–and a determination to forget that Satan is often “transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

There is a wide-spread ‘gullibility’ among professing Christians–every heretic who tells his story plausibly, is sure to be believed. Anyone who questions him, is called a bigot and a narrow-minded man.

All these things are peculiar symptoms of our times. I defy any observing man to deny them. They tend to make the assaults of false doctrine in our day peculiarly dangerous. They make it more than ever needful to cry aloud, “Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!”

An ignorant laity will always be the bane of a Church! A Bible-reading laity may save a Church from ruin.

Let us read the Bible regularly, daily, and with fervent prayer, and become familiar with its contents.

Let us receive nothing, believe nothing, follow nothing–which is not in the Bible, nor can be proved by the Bible.

Let our rule of faith, our touchstone of all teaching–be the written Word of God!

“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word–it is because there is no light in them!” Isaiah 8:20

Are You Hungry?

Are you hungry?

from Spurgeon’s sermon, “BREAD FOR THE HUNGRY”

We should come to hear the Word, like baby birds in the nest— when the mother-bird comes with the worm, they are all stretching their necks to see which one shall get the food, for they are all hungry and want it.

And so should hearers be ready to get hold of the Word, not wanting that we should force it down their throats, but waiting there, opening their mouths wide that they may be filled, receiving the Word in the love of it, taking in the Word as the thirsty earth drinks in the rain of heaven.

Hungry souls love the Word.

Perhaps the ‘speaker’ may not always put it as they may like to hear it, but as long as it is God’s Word, it is enough for them.

They are like people who are sitting at the reading of a will— the lawyer may have a squeaking voice, perhaps, or he mispronounces the words, but what does that matter? They are listening to see what is left to them.

So is it with God’s people. It is not the preacher, but the ‘preacher’s God’ that these hungry ones look to.

Why, if you were very poor, and some benevolent neighbor should send you a loaf of bread by a man who had a club foot, you would not look at the foot, you would look at the bread.

And so is it with the hearers of the Word– they know if they wait until they get a perfect preacher, they will get no preacher at all, but they are willing to take the man, imperfections and all, provided he brings the Master’s bread.

And though he be but a lad, and can bring but a few barley loaves and fishes, yet since the Master multiplies the provision, there is enough for all, and they feed to the full. 

Suck The Honey Out Of It!

Suck the honey out of it!

Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Minstrel”

It is wonderful the effect of a single verse of Scripture when the Spirit of God applies it to the soul.

What power would come upon the soul, if we would grasp a single line of Scripture and suck the honey out of it till our soul is filled with sweetness.

Bible reading…

Bible reading…

by Thomas Brooks–

“Remember that it is not hasty reading, but serious meditation on holy and heavenly truths, that makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul.

It is not the mere touching of the flower by the bee that gathers honey, but her abiding for a time on the flower that draws out the sweet.

It is not he that reads most, but he that meditates most, that will prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest, and strongest Christian.”

Read Your Bible!

Read Your Bible

by Spurgeon

You know more about your ledgers than your Bible; you know more about your magazines and novels than what God has written; many of you will read a novel from the beginning to the end, and what have you got? A mouthful of foam when you are done. But you cannot re ad the Bible; that solid, lasting, substantial, and satisfying food goes uneaten, locked up in the cupboard of neglect; while anything that a man writes, a best seller of the day, is greedily devoured.

“I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.”
Job 23:12

The Power In The Scriptures

“I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.”

R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord

Why I Believe the Old Book

Why I Believe the Old Book

Charles Naylor, 1920

Do I believe the old Book? Do I really believe it? My heart answers that I do. The deepest consciousness of my soul testifies that it is true. I will tell you some of the reasons why I believe it.

The Bible is the oldest, and still the newest, of books.

God’s book written in the rocks is old, exceedingly old — but God’s book the Bible reaches back still farther. It goes back not only to the “beginning” of this terrestrial world, but into eternity. From past eternity, its majestic sweep covers the whole range of being and reaches into the future eternity. It is, in fact, the book of eternity, and within its folds lie the grandeur and sublimity of the great unknown future.

It never gets out-of-date. Other books have their run of popularity and are forgotten — but the Bible never grows old. No matter how familiar we become with it, it is ever new. To the Christian, it never grows stale — but is always fresh and always satisfying. It ever reveals new depths that we fail to fathom, new heights that we cannot scale, and new beauties that enrapture our vision.

We read it over and over, and repeatedly we see new jewels sparkling within its pages — jewels that delight the eye and reflect the mind of God. From it, refreshing waters break out where we least expect them — and our souls are refreshed like a thirsty man who suddenly finds water on the desert. We may have read a text a thousand times — yet when we look at it again it opens up and presents to us a vista of marvelous truth of which we were before entirely unconscious.

What other book can do these things? When we read a book written by man, however interesting it may be, it soon loses its interest and its charm. We do not find new beauties in it as we do in the Bible. Its treasures are soon exhausted — but the Bible is ever new!

I do not believe that the Bible is man’s book nor that it could be man’s book. Its depths are too deep to come from the heart or mind of man; its heights are too great for him to reach; and its wisdom is more than human. It can only be divine.

The Bible is the most loved of all books.

Wherever the Bible goes, people learn to love and to treasure it above all other books combined. It is the one book that people love — it is the treasure that people hold fast even at the risk of their lives. In past ages when wicked rulers tried to keep it from the people, they could not. At the peril of their lives, people would have it. They underwent dangers and tortures, and shrank not from anything — that they might possess this wonderful book. It is not for what it claims to be — though it claims much — nor for what men claim for it — but for what it is to the individual himself that it is so dearly loved. There is that in the Bible which endears itself to the human heart — and no other book has that quality. Other books are enjoyed and admired and praised and valued — but the Bible, in this respect, stands in a class by itself.

The educated and the ignorant, the high and the low, all races in all climates, when they learn to truly know the Bible, and when they submit themselves to the God of the Bible — learn to love it and to delight in it and are enriched and blessed by it; and because I too feel this deep love in my heart for the old Book, I believe it. I believe that, in some way — it was made for me by One who knew my needs, and that it corresponds to the very essence of my inner self. I could not love it as I do, if it were not God’s book and if it were not true.

The Bible is the most hated of all books.

Not only is it the best-loved book, but it is also the most-hated book. No other book has had so many, nor such bitter enemies. I suppose more books have been written against the Bible than against all other books combined! Men do not hate Shakespeare nor Milton nor Longfellow; they do not hate works on science nor philosophy; they do not hate books of travel or adventure or fiction; they do not hate the other sacred books of the world; they hate only the Bible!

Why this hatred? It can be only because they find in the Bible something that they find nowhere else. What they find there is a true picture of themselves — and the picture is not pleasant to look upon. So they turn away their faces and will have nothing to do with it except to vilify and condemn it. They deliberately misrepresent it and write falsehoods about it. They satirize and ridicule it, using all sorts of weapons and all sorts of methods to combat it, and for only the one reason — that its truth pricks them in their consciences, and they can by no other means escape from it!

It is judged by a standard far more stringent than any other book. No critic would think of treating any other book as he treats the Bible, nor of requiring of any other book what he requires of the Bible. The more men hate God — the more they hate his Word. This has a deep, underlying reason — that the Bible is God’s book, and that in it there is so much of God himself.

The Bible has withstood all assaults.

But though so bitterly assailed through all the ages — the Bible has withstood the assaults of all its enemies and stands victorious still! The Greek philosophers, with all their skill, were vanquished. The greatest intellects of modern times, find themselves baffled before it. The sharpest arrows that unbelief could forge, have not pierced it. The assaults made upon it — have resulted only in the destruction of the weapons used. All through the ages countless theories — religious, philosophic, scientific, or other — have been used against the Bible, only to fall in ruins at last before it and to be rejected even by those who once advocated them.

The Bible endures an amount of criticism that no other book could endure — and instead of being destroyed, it is only brightened and made better known. Could any error endure what the Bible has endured, and live? It is the law of nature that error is self-destructive — but that truth cannot be destroyed; and according to this law, the Bible must be true because of its indestructibility.

The Bible tells me of myself.

My deepest emotions and longings, my highest thoughts and hopes, are mirrored there — and the more settled inner workings of conscience are there recorded. It speaks to me of my secret ambitions, of my dearest hopes, of my fears, of the love that burns within me. My desires are pictured in the Book — just as I find them working in my heart. Whatever picture it draws of the human soul — I find within myself; and whatever I find within myself — I find within its pages; and thus I know that it is true. No man can know me as the Bible knows me — nor picture out my inner self as the Bible pictures me. And since no work of man could correspond with my inner self as the Bible corresponds with me — I know that it did not come from man.

The Bible is the book of conscience.

It is as a mirror into which every man, when he looks, sees himself! It speaks to his conscience, not as a man speaks — yet with a potency unknown to any other book. It is preeminently the book of the conscience. Other books appeal to men’s consciences — but not with the appeal of this book. Other books mirror men — but not like the Bible. In the silent watches of the night, in the lonely depths of the forest, upon the expanse of the sea, or wherever man may be — how frequently is it the case that this book speaks into his conscience in a silent yet thundering voice — and before it, he is awed and silenced and oftentimes terror-stricken. It speaks to the conscience as only God can speak — and therefore it must be God’s book.

The Bible gives comfort and hope.

To what book do those in sorrow turn? To Voltaire? to Ingersoll? to any other skeptic? Do they turn to science or philosophy or poetry or fiction? There is but one book which is the book of comfort. The sad and desolate heart turns to its pages — and as it reads, the consolation of the Holy Spirit, which fills the book, comes into that heart, and it is comforted. It is as the balm of Gilead. It is as a letter from home to the forlorn wanderer. It is as a mother’s voice to the child. Friends may speak words to comfort us — but they cannot comfort us as does the Book. Its words seem to enter into our innermost sorrows with a healing touch. God is the God of all comfort, and it is the comforting God in this comforting book who comforts the soul.

It is also the book of hope. Sometimes man despairs, and he looks here and there for hope, finding none — but there is one book in which hope may always be found. It always has something to offer him to inspire hope with new courage. Therefore it is the hope of the hopeless. In the troubled soul, it brings a calm — brightening dull eyes and causing them to look beyond. It lifts up the bowed head, strengthens the feeble knees, renews the courage, and takes the sadness out of the voice. It is therefore truly the book of hope!

The Bible is the book of the dying.

A soldier, desperately wounded, lay in a trench. The shells were bursting around him; the bullets and shrapnel were whistling through the air; the roar of the guns shook the ground. He was going down into the valley of the shadow of death. Knowing that he must pass over to the other side, he reached into his pocket with his little remaining strength and pulled out his New Testament. Handing it to a comrade he said, “Read to me.” His comrade opened the book and began to read, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God — trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” A smile overspread the face of the dying soldier as he listened to the words amid that solemn and terrible scene. He closed his eyes and lay quite still smiling, then he murmured, “It is well.” And with a smile still upon his face, he passed across to the other side of the river of death.

For what book do the dying call? For just any book? What words do they wish to hear in the final hour? There is but one book for that hour. There is but one book which can throw light into that shadowy valley. That is the Bible. It is the book of the living and of the dying — the book of the sorrowing and of the hopeless. It is just such a book as the loving Father would give to the children whom he loves! It meets their needs in all the details of their lives as only God could meet it — and therefore I can only believe that it is the book of God.

The Bible contains the only answer to the enigma of life.

The “why” of life is found nowhere else. Other books tell us many truths about life — yet its depths and meaning find expression and answer in only one book. The Scripture interprets life; and he who reads the interpretation, knows that it is true because it is the story of himself, and in himself is the witness of its truth. Men have sought everywhere for the secret of life and the things that pertain thereto — but everywhere, except in the Bible — they find only darkness and obscurity and uncertainty. The Bible, however, speaks in no uncertain terms. It speaks the language of him who alone knows the only answer to the enigma of life. If we reject its voice — then we are left in a tangled maze, out of which we cannot find our way.

The Bible outlives all its critics — and is triumphant, when they are long forgotten. It has many times been pronounced dead, but still it lives. It has been called foolish — but its power is not dissipated. It has seen all antagonistic theories of the past, one by one, destroyed and rejected — but it still stands in spite of the critics, in spite of its enemies! Those who anchor their faith upon it — need not fear what voice is raised against it. Neither need they fear what weapons are brought to bear upon it — for it is truth, and those who fight against it fight against God and are themselves ruined!

The Bible is adapted to all people of every race and climate, to the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant. Of no other book, can this be said. It is the Book of books — the book of God! In it God speaks! My inmost heart knows that it is the voice of my Beloved, and leaps for joy!

A Caged Lion

“The gospel is like a caged lion,’ said the great baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon. ‘It does not need to be defended, it simply needs to be let out of it’s cage’ Today, the cage is our accommodation to the secular/sacred split that reduces Christianity to a matter of personal belief. To unlock the cage, we need to become utterly convinced that, as Francis Schaeffer said, Christianity is not merely religious truth, it is total truth- truth about the whole of reality.”

Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity

Man-Made Ministers!

🤔My Thoughts… 

Wow…Spurgeon, the prince of preachers really doesn’t mess about!

Man-made ministers!

From Spurgeon’s, “The Two Effects of the Gospel”

The ministry has been very often degraded into a ‘trade’.

They are ‘selected by man’, they are crammed with literature; they are educated up to a certain point; they are turned out ready dressed; and persons call them ‘ministers’.

I wish them all God-speed, every one of them; for as good Joseph Irons used to say, “God be with many of them, if it be only to make them hold their tongues.”

Man-made ministers are of no use in this world, and the sooner we get rid of them the better.

The biggest loser!

The biggest loser!

There are usually two sides:

the one dangerous—the other safe; the one is uncertain—and the other is sure.

It is always the wisest—to be found on the safe side!

Look at the unbeliever:
He denies the Bible to be God’s book.
He walks by his own reason.
He gratifies his senses and his lusts.
He lives in sin.
He must soon die.
He has no Savior.
He has no true hope.

If the Bible is false—then he is safe; BUT if the Bible is true—then he is damned forever!

He is certainly not on the safe side!

There are many things in the Bible which he does not like.
He is prejudiced against it.
It never prophecies good concerning him—but always evil.
It requires him to change his present sinful course—but he loves it.
He loves sin—and the Bible condemns it.
He gratifies the lusts of the flesh—and the Bible bids him to mortify them.

In a word, there is as much opposition between the Bible and him—as between light and darkness, holiness and sin, truth and error. Therefore he hates it!

At the best, with him all is uncertain, unsatisfactory, and vexatious.

He is certainly not on the safe side!

Now look at the true Christian:
He believes the Bible to be from God. He has examined it. He has evidence of its inspiration in his heart. He fully believes it.
What the Bible says of himself as a sinner—he knows to be true.
What it says of Jesus as a Savior—he has proved to be a fact.
As guilty—he has applied to God for pardon, and obtained it.
As impure—he has sought the cleansing operations of the Holy Spirit, and has experienced them.
His guilt is gone—therefore he has no slavish fears.
His soul is justified—therefore he has peace with God.
He approves of the inspired precepts—and regulates his life by them.
He carries his cares to God—and is sustained under them.
He realizes that God is his Friend, his Father, and his everlasting Portion.
He is peaceful.
He is often happy.
To him death has no sting—and eternity has no terror.
He knows Jesus as his Savior—and trusts in Him.
He knows God as his Father—and walks with Him.
He knows the Holy Spirit as his comforting Teacher—and listens to Him.

He is, perhaps, more tried than the unbeliever—but he has supports, consolations, and pleasures—of which the unbeliever knows nothing. He lives to bless others, to honor God, to prepare for a glorious immortality.

He would not change his worst day—for the unbeliever’s best day!

He is on the safe side!

If the unbeliever should be right—then the Christian is no loser.

But if the Christian is right—and he is—then the unbeliever is the biggest loser—an infinite loser!

Reader, on which side are you? There is but one safe side.

There is no safety for a sinner now—but at the Cross!

There will be no safety at death and judgment—but in Christ!

He who is on the safe side now—will be on the safe side then!

There will be no changing sides then!

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit upon His glorious throne! All the nations will be gathered in His presence, and He will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at His right hand—and the goats at His left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father—inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world!’ (the safe side) Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones—into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons!’ (the perilous side) And they will go away into eternal punishment—but the righteous will go into eternal life!” Matthew 25:31-46

(James Smith, “The Safe Side!”)

Such weather vane preachers are worthless!

Such weather vane preachers are worthless!

A weather vane preacher is any preacher who changes what he preaches or how he preaches when the wind changes direction. The preacher who alters his message or his method because of the ever-changing advice, counsel, and opinions of men is not a leader, but a follower. Such weather vane preachers are worthless! They only do harm to the souls of men, and they need not preach at all. True, gospel preachers are pillars in the church of God — not puppets in the hands of men.

“On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths!” 2 Timothy 4:2-4

(Frank Hall)

Feeding Sheep, or Amusing Goats?

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Feeding Sheep, or Amusing Goats?

An evil is in the ‘professed’ camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted Christian can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years this evil has developed at an alarming rate. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments!

The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel’.

No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people, or because they confronted them? The ‘concert’ has no martyr roll.

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the apostolic Church to the world? “You are the salt of the world”, not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out, not swallow.

Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His teaching, He would have been more popular. When “many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him,” I do not hear Him say, ‘Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!’

No! Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them!

In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the ‘gospel of amusement’. Their message is, “Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them… Don’t touch their filthy things…” Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, ‘Lord, grant unto your servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are’.

No! They did not cease from preaching Christ. They had no time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down; that is the only difference from today’s church.

Lastly, amusement fails to effect the end desired. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God’s link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts!

The need of the hour for today’s ministry is earnest spirituality joined with Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.

Archibald Brown, “The Devil’s Mission of Amusement” 1889

Wisdom from Above

Holy Bible Verse

James 3:13-18 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Wisdom from Above

13 Who among you is wise and intelligent? Let him by his good conduct show his [good] deeds with the gentleness and humility of true wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be arrogant, and [as a result] be in defiance of the truth. 15 This [superficial] wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly (secular), natural (unspiritual), even demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder [unrest, rebellion] and every evil thing and morally degrading practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure [morally and spiritually undefiled], then peace-loving [courteous, considerate], gentle, reasonable [and willing to listen], full of compassion and good fruits. It is unwavering, without [self-righteous] hypocrisy [and self-serving guile]. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness (spiritual maturity) is sown in peace by those who make peace [by actively encouraging goodwill between individuals].

Saviour, Sobbing & Sharing my Testimony ~ Amazing Grace

Grace logo

I was asked by our Minister Nik if i would share my Testimony in yesterdays parade service. The theme was ‘Faith through Adversity’, Nik said “i can ask you some straight forward questions, it will only take about 5 minutes(or so we thought)” “Yeah, ok, if you think it will help?”.

Sunday 8th May 2016…

Walking into the church building Sunday morning, it was quite full, as it was parade service, the scouts and other uniformed groups were there, but Nik found us seats at the front, then showed me up the steps and where i’d stand to speak, after testing the microphone i remembered the steps and sat back down. 

As i’m blind, i can’t use any notes, so i spent a little time trying to etch some answer headings into my mind, hoping i’d not veer too far off track. I then prayed that i’d use this time to Glorify Him, as i talked about the Truth that sets us free, and how i’m not ashamed of the Gospel, it’s the power of God unto Salvation to all who believe…please make it real(be careful praying this).

It;s time…

Steve, we are looking at people who have showed faith in difficult circumstances and I have asked you to share some of your story with us.

Many people here, even those who have seen you around at various church events may not know that you are blind.

My Testimony…

Nik stood next to me at the microphone and started with the first 2 questions:

Have you always been blind? How and when did you loose your sight?

I explained i’d been fully sighted until i was 24, and after 2 brain haemorrhages(March 2000) that burst my optic nerve, i’m now registered blind and have Severe Hypertensive Retinopathy.

“How did that change your life?”

I said “I can only scratch the surface this morning, but if ever you see me walking around here or in town, please ask me anything. But now i’ll try and sketch you a quick picture and give you a flavour of what happened…”

“I went to the gym 6-7 days a week, played football most evenings and was quite violent, acting the tough guy.  I wasn’t a Christian, i hadn’t been born again, or even been inside a church building…so… as i stepped out of the eye consultants office after being told i’d be blind for the rest of my life, i collapsed on the floor crying out….and this was the easy bit”.

“Following this was pure isolation… all my football mates left me, i lost my job, my car…everything, i was completely broken, and on top of that i was left to my acusing thoughts “Nobody wants you, you’re useless now, unwanted, rejected, unloved and unlovable!!”

Suddenly…

It was about this time where my mouth was silenced, an image of Jesus in Glory(Revelation 1) filled my mind, it was so clear(not blurred by my blindness) I could see His flaming eyes of judgment…then…the image changed, it was Jesus on the cross, now His eyes were filled with Mercy, Compassion & Grace, and while looking down straight at me he said “I did this for you, so that you can live. I…LOVE…YOU!!!

I started sobbing uncontrollably…i’d never sobbed like this in my entire life, and it took a couple of minutes for me to try and start talking again….but more sobbing…i was completely undone.

I knew He’d given His life so i could live. He’d come down so far to save me it is immeasurable. His blood washed me clean, white as snow. He’s forgiven me all my sins, past, present and future, and there is no more condemnation for me(or you), it is finished!

I’d been  praying for so long for God to “Break my heart for what broke His” and sang the songs many times, but never had i caught a glimpse of the true cost of His Love, and His free gift of Grace to those who Repent and Believe in Him. I knew He wanted me to share the True Gospel to people listening(and now reading), as it alone is the only Hope. It is the Power of God unto Salvation for anyone that believes.

Still sobbing, i continued…

My every word was a different pitch but i said “My pit was so dark, my accusing thoughts were too heavy, and this led to a daily cycle of waking up and trying to kill myself…failing, which made me feel worse…then drinking so much i could drown them out for the rest of the day, until i woke the next day, then it started again. 

I didn’t have the strength to kill myself, and i didn’t have the strength to live…i was without God, and without Hope!

Nik, who’s hand was rested on my shoulder asked question 4 “I know you were deeply unhappy at the time, what changed that?”

The world followed it’s pattern and sent me to Counselling, then Psychotherapy & finally Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, they didn’t work, they all had no answer for me, they couldn’t reach far enough down to pull me out. I needed a Saviour, I needed the light of the Gospel! 

The Good News & Lovely Sarah

Meeting Sarah changed my life! I have no idea how she’s put up with me. She’s  been so patient and long suffering as i tried attacking her Faith and this Jesus! But she kept on loving me. Sarah always seemed to have a rock she was standing on no matter how bad things got for her, she always had this Blessed Hope that i didn’t,

Jesus worked through Sarah to shine the light of the Gospel, the Good News i was dying for.

Words failed me as i was trying to describe how much i love Sarah, so when my mind filled with thoughts of how far we’ve grown together in love…i broke down again. 

I then wanted to talk a little of what John Wesley describes as “Prevenient grace”, but the sobbing was still making me pause every few words, but mentioned Jesus doesn’t want to see anyone perish, but he pursues you, He loves you and wants to save you, and no matter how bad or hopeless you think you are, He’ll keep coming with His free gift of Salvation!

Nik asked Question 5 “some people would say that your life must be worse now, would you agree with them?”

I’d gone way over my time slot, and i was almost pulled away from the mic as i was so overwhelmed…BUT i knew these tears were not about me, or my losses. I had 1 focus and that was to share the Truth that sets us free. I had no feeling of sorrow or pain. I knew it must have seemed like this to the congregation, and i thought they’d stick me in a counselling room when i’d finished!

The Holy Spirit was filling me like never before, and made the Power of the Gospel so real to me i almost exploded.

I continued “I wouldn’t agree with anyone who thinks(or measures) life by how good our circumstances are. I’d lead them to 2 Corinthians 4 & 5 where it talks about living by Faith, not by Sight, and now that we are born again in the Spirit, we should walk by the Spirit. Not living for things that are seen which are temporary(like my sight loss), but living for the unseen which is Eternal”

“I used to hate this song, but now i’d play it every service if i could…have you heard Amazing Grace, the Chris Tomlin version? If you pass me in the street you’ll normally hear me singing or humming these words:”

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see. My chains are gone I’ve been set free. My God, my Saviour has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns. Unending love, amazing grace”.

Nik then walked me back to my seat next to Sarah. The church was completely silent, it had been silent since i first started sobbing. I could feel Sarah was upset as she didn’t react for a while, then she said “People kept on running up and passing me tissues”. Nik sat down next to Sarah, and Sarah said “You’re not borrowing him again to speak”. 

After the service people came over and said they really connected with the things i said, although i think everyone thinks i’m back in dark depression again.

He showed me the reality and Power of transformation in His Gospel, and how vital it is to share it, as Jesus is the  Way, the Truth and the Life and no-one gets to  the Father but by Him. He’s the forgiver of Sins, breaker of chains, and the only Salvation for Eternal Life in Heaven.

John 3:14-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but[a] have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

I felt i needed to share this post to try and explain a little more of what was happening to me, and maybe reach out to someone who is struggling with the creeping death called Depression,or who is just simply lost and without Hope.

Related Posts:

My Testimony

Captivity of Negativity

God’s Word

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“I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.”

R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord

Your Rock Is Christ

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“Believe God’s word and power more than you believe your own feelings and experiences. Your Rock is Christ, and it is not the Rock which ebbs and flows, but your sea.”

“Your heart is not the compass that God steers by.”

Samuel Rutherford

Ignorant Of The Scriptures

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“Why is it so hard to get people to study the Scriptures? Common sense tells us what revelation commands: ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’–‘Search the Scriptures’–‘Be ready to give to every one a reason of the hope that is in you.’ These are the words of the inspired writers, and these injunctions are confirmed by praising those who obey the admonition. And yet, for all that we have the Bible in our houses, we are ignorant of its contents. No wonder that so many Christians know so little about what Christ actually taught; no wonder that they are so mistaken about the faith that they profess.”

William Wilberforce, Real Christianity

The Wasteland Wanderer & The Power Armour Of God

A screenshot of a Brotherhood of Steel member in power armour stood in a apocalyptic background

 📖 Verse 4 2day ~ Ephesians 6:10-18

 The Armour of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Wasteland Wanderer… 

With the recent announcement of Fallout 4 (released nov 2015) there is a lot of buzz about armour, especially the “Brotherhood of Steel” power armour (my fave). 

Every time i read or hear about power armour or surviving in the wasteland, i think of putting on the full armour of God. 

There is no way at all i’d step out into the wasteland without armour, only the foolish would do that. So why do we think we can stand firm against the dark forces in this world (the true wasteland) while forgetting to equip God’s armour??

Easily defeated…

How easy we make it for the evil one and his dark forces to defeat us without any fight at all. We need to put on each piece carefully and securely making sure it’s pulled tight with the belt of Truth, so we can be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 

A little about Fallout 4… 

Fallout 4 takes place approximately 200 years after a war over resources that ended in a nuclear holocaust in 2077, roughly the same time of events of Fallout 3. The setting is a post-apocalyptic retro-future, covering a region that includes Boston, Massachusetts and other parts of New England known as the Commonwealth.

The player faces all kinds of moral choices, situations, people, mutants and feral l ghouls (and worse), As you encounter more powerful enemies without much armour yourself, you keep wishing that you will find the location of the power armour. The game (like life) is full of choices,  you can choose to do good or you can choose to do bad, and the consequences of these choices send ripples throughout the game and change the way people receive you. 

Each choice determines your destiny!

Putting on…… 

 For us to stand any chance of surviving against the devil’s schemes, powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, we MUST choose to put on the spiritual armour. Unlike the game we know the location of this armour is in prayer. 

 

Ready…..Aim..…Pray!

 

I’m writing this post to urge you to pray on the spiritual Armour of God Ephesians 6 (as listed above). Take a moment and carefully consider the power, purpose and reality of each piece as you put it on. Whether you pray this prayer or a prayer like it, make it a routine that you take seriously.

🙏 Prayer 4 2day! 

Lord, please help me today put on the Full Armour of God so i can stand firm in this spiritual warfare.

Help me put the Helmet of Salvation on my head that I might always remember I am saved, and who I belong to, that my mind is guarded in Christ Jesus, and that I may have the mind of Christ and that I may think the thoughts of Christ and reject all others that flood my mind daily.

Help me put the Breastplate of Righteousness on so that I may walk about in Righteousness and others may see your Righteousness in me, and that my heart is guarded in Christ Jesus, and that I may have the desires of Christ and reject all others.

Help me keep the Belt of Truth securely buckled on my waist, that I may always be secure in the knowledge of the Truth, always speak the Truth and especially…live the Truth.

Help me fit my Feet with the Readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace, that I may stand firm in the Gospel, and spread the Gospel of Peace wherever I go.

Help hold the Shield of Faith with which to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one, strengthen my arm and help me hold it high, that I may use it to protect myself, my family, my household and those under my care, and help me use the Shield of Faith to press ahead and push forward for the kingdom of God.

And Lord, help me take up the Sword of The Spirit which is the Word of God, and use it every day, help me us it to protect myself and others from the evil one through the power and authority of Your Word, and to strike the hearts and minds of those who do not know You calling them towards repentance and salvation, help me use Your Word – the Sword of the Spirit – to cause those who know you but are backslidden to repentance, obedience and service, and to help awaken those who know you, but are asleep so they may obey and serve you, and please help me use your Word to bring, encouragement, strength and wisdom to the Remnant of God through your Word.

Help me serve you this and every day. Please use me Lord. These things I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

God’s Power

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“I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.”

R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord

A Still Small Voice

A screenshot of logic pro of an audio track being boosted using the Automation Tool

Today i’m editing audio interviews Sarah has recorded for the latest CD version of RNIB’s Outlook magazine. As i was using the automation tool (see above) to boost a part of Sarah’s voice, i instantly thought of the still small voice of God speaking to Elijah. 

1 Kings 19:12 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

12 and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 

I started thinking that its so easy for us to try and amplify the “still small voice” to align it with our noisy and busy lives, to try and keep doing everything we want to do and God will bless it anyway. We become so arrogant in our will, that we think we can manipulate God into fitting in (and agreeing) with our purpose driven lives, after all we are doing it for Him aren’t we?!

Are you bombarding God with foolish rantings, or are you ready to slow down and listen to His still small voice?

Prayer For 2015

Prayer Logo

Lord, I want to know You more. Deep within my soul I want to know You. In the name of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I ask that You would stir up this desire I have to be intimate with You. I depend on You today, and every day this year, to reveal Yourself to me in any way that You choose.

Holy Spirit, please take the powerful, unchanging truths of Scripture and make them alive in fresh new ways each day of this coming year.

Heavenly Father, I praise You that You have given me the Living Word – Your words – through which I can hear from You and experience You. When it comes to my Bible, focus my heart on my relationship with You moment by moment, rather than my reading habits over the course of a year.

I ask in Jesus name, Amen.

Under The Word

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The church is always to be under the Word; she must be; we must keep her there. You must not assume that because the church started correctly, she will continue so. She did not do so in the New Testament times; she has not done so since. Without being constantly reformed by the Word the church becomes something very different. We must always keep the church under the Word.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Christian Living

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“There is nothing which I know of which is more unscriptural, and which is more dangerous to the soul, than to divide doctrine from life… The reason for this is that if your life and your mode of living is not the outcome of your doctrine, it is not Christian living; it is something else.”

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans – The Gospel Of God

Following Jesus

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“In teaching people what it means to be a Christian, we spend much of our time and effort bringing them to a point of belief without clearly calling them to follow. We have taken “believe” and we have written that in capital letters with bold print: BELIEVE. But everything that has to do with following has been put in small print: follow.”

Jesus doesn’t hold back with Nicodemus.

Following Jesus would require a commitment that would cost Nicodemus a great deal….In fact, it’s true throughout all of Scripture….Following Jesus isn’t something you can do at night where no one notices. It’s a twenty-four-hour-a-day commitment that will interfere with your life. That’s not the small-print–that’s a guarantee.”

Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus

Moral Benefits Of Wisdom

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Proverbs 2:1-6 New International Version

Moral Benefits of Wisdom

My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,

2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—

3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,

4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,

5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.

6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

In Full View!

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Proverbs 5:21 (NIVUK)

For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
and he examines all your paths.

This Proverb instantly reminded me of how alert Bruce used to be. If you tried to sneak anywhere (no matter how quiet you think you’re being) he’s stood watching you! 😀

Bruce Sneaky

⇧ Bruce catching me thinking i’m sneaking up the stairs while he’s asleep! 

The World’s Value System Or The Truth Of God’s Word

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“What most of us do not realize is that we are being transformed in our thinking all the time—either by the world’s value system or by the truth of God’s Word. The world’s values bombard us daily with thousands of messages on billboards, in movies, songs, video games, and television programs that all reinforce a worldview that tells me life is about “me.” Life is about what I can get, what I can achieve, who I can impress, what I can possess, where I live, what I drive, how much education I have, how much money I make, who knows my name, and how successful I am . . . and the list goes on. By contrast, God uses His Spirit, His Word, nature, great books, and the authentic community of fellow believers to remind us that life is about “Him.” And life in Christ is all about what I can give, who I can love, how God can use me, how significant and accepted I am regardless of what I make, where I live, what I drive, or who knows my name.”

Chip Ingram, True Spirituality: Becoming a Romans 12 Christian

Biblical Truth

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“Don’t believe something just because you want to, and don’t embrace an idea just because you’ve always believed it. Believe what is biblical. Test all your assumptions against the precious words God gave us in the Bible.”

Francis Chan, Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We’ve Made Up

Members Of God’s Holy Family

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Ephesians 2:17-22 The Voice

17 The Great Preacher of peace and love came for you, and His voice found those of you who were near and those who were far away. 18 By Him both have access to the Father in one Spirit. 19 And so you are no longer called outcasts and wanderers but citizens with God’s people, members of God’s holy family, and residents of His household. 20 You are being built on a solid foundation: the message of the prophets and the voices of God’s chosen emissaries with Jesus, the Anointed Himself, the precious cornerstone. 21 The building is joined together stone by stone—all of us chosen and sealed in Him, rising up to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In Him you are being built together, creating a sacred dwelling place among you where God can live in the Spirit.

The church is not a building constructed by humans but a divine institution, built on the living Stone, Jesus. He’s the strong, foundational building block of the church, and his followers are living stones who are being built into a spiritual house. 

As one of the many little living stones in the church, remember that each diverse stone has great worth to Jesus and to his body. When you’re tempted to ignore your need for others or to discount those who aren’t like you, remember that each stone is balanced by all those around it, and all rest on the living Stone himself. 

Quote from:NIV Devotions

A Few Birds & Sea Creatures

Genesis 1:21-22 The Voice 

God: 20 Waters, swarm with fish and sea creatures. Let birds soar high above the earth in the broad expanse of sky.

21 So God created huge sea creatures, all the swarm of life in the waters, and every kind and species of flying birds—each able to reproduce its own kind. And God saw that His new creation was beautiful and good. 22 And God spoke this blessing over them:

God: Be fruitful and multiply. Let creatures fill the seas. Let birds reproduce and cover the earth.

In Flight

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DSC00320

D2X 6738

D2X 6744

D2X 6745

A black and white close up photo of a ducks head

Seal

Turtle

See also Blind Photographer

Planting Seeds

Growing Strong B W

 ⇧ Photo taken with iPhone 5s ⇧ 

The image above is a photo i’ve just taken of a mystery plant (i’m not sure what it is?) that was grown from a random seed that was given to each of us who attended our evening service about 2 months ago. Richard (one of our Ministers) was preaching about the sower and during the talk gave us a seed to hold and think about what beauty could lie within even though it seems like a dead seed at the moment. He then asked us to plant it when we got home and just see what happens. As i was playing guitar during the service, i just put the seed into one of my many pockets in my cargo shorts. By the time i got home i totally forgot it was there. It wasn’t until about a week later when i remembered and hoped it was still there, it was and Sarah & i quickly planted it into it’s own little pot.

After 4 weeks there was still no sign of life and just a pot filled with soil……..then overnight (to our amazement) it seemed to just shoot up and this is how it’s getting on now after about 5 weeks! 🙂

 Parable Of The Sower

Matthew 13:3-23 The Voice 

3 And so Jesus began to teach. On this day, He spoke in parables. Here is His first parable:

Jesus: Once there was a sower who scattered seeds. 4 One day he walked in a field scattering seeds as he went. Some seeds fell beside a road, and a flock of birds came and ate all those seeds. 5 So the sower scattered seeds in a field, one with shallow soil and strewn with rocks. But the seeds grew quickly amid all the rocks, 6 without rooting themselves in the shallow soil. Their roots got tangled up in all the stones. The sun scorched these seeds, and they died. 7 And so the sower scattered seeds near a path, this one covered with thorny vines. The seeds fared no better there—the thorns choked them, and they died. 8 And so finally the sower scattered his seeds in a patch of good earth. At home in the good earth, the seeds grew and grew. Eventually the seeds bore fruit, and the fruit grew ripe and was harvested. The harvest was immense—30, 60, 100 times what was sown.

9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Disciples: 10 Why do You speak to the people in parables?

Jesus: 11 The knowledge of the secrets of heaven has been given to you, but it has not been given to them. 12 Those who have something will be given more—and they will have abundance. Those who have nothing will lose what they have—they will be destitute. 13 I teach in parables so the people may look but not see, listen but not hear or understand. 14 They are fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy:

You will listen, but you will not understand;
you will look, but you will not see.
15 The people’s hearts have turned to flab;
their ears are clogged;
their eyes are shut.
They will try to see, but they will not see;
they will try to hear, but they will not hear;
they will try to understand, but they will not comprehend.
If they, with their blindness and deafness, so choose, then I will heal them.

16-17 Many holy prophets and righteous men and women and people of prayer and doers of good have wanted to see but did not see, and have wanted to hear but did not hear. Your eyes and ears are blessed.

18 This is what the parable of the sower means. 19 It is about the kingdom of heaven. When someone hears the story of the Kingdom and cannot understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away whatever goodness and holiness had been sown in the heart. This is like the seeds sown beside the road. 20-21 You know people who hear the word of God and receive it joyfully—but then, somehow, the word fails to take root in their hearts. It is temporary. As soon as there is trouble for those people, they trip: those people are the seeds strewn on the rocky soil. 22 And you know people who hear the word, but it is choked inside them because they constantly worry and prefer the wealth and pleasures of the world: they prefer drunken dinner parties to prayer, power to piety, and riches to righteousness. Those people are like the seeds sown among thorns. 23 The people who hear the word and receive it and grow in it—those are like the seeds sown on good soil. They produce a bumper crop, 30 or 60 or 100 times what was sown.

Our Father in heaven plants many seeds in order to ensure that some seeds bear fruit. The final harvest, however, is worth any amount of hard work.

Bad Boys Of The Bible: Abimelech

Bad Boys of the Bible

Abimelech

Judges 9 The Voice

1 Abimelech, the son of Jerubbaal, went to Shechem to the clan of his mother.

Abimelech (to his mother’s family): 2 Go, and say this so that all the leaders of Shechem can hear you: “Is it better that 70 sons of Jerubbaal should be your rulers, or only one of them?” And remember that I share your own bone and flesh.

3 So Abimelech’s mother’s kinsmen went out and repeated these words to the leaders of Shechem, and they were favorably disposed toward him because they said, “He is our brother.” 4 They gave Abimelech 70 pieces of silver out of the treasury of Baal-berith, and he used the money to hire some reckless and worthless men who followed him and did his dirty work.

5 He went to his father’s house in Ophrah and killed all 70 of his half-brothers, the sons of Jerubbaal, on one stone. (Only Jotham, the youngest, was left alive, because he hid.) 6 Then all the leaders of Shechem and Beth-millo came together and crowned Abimelech king by the great oak tree at the pillar in Shechem.

7 When Jotham was told what had happened, he climbed to the top of Mount Gerizim.

Jotham: Listen to me, all you who are the leaders in Shechem, so that God may listen to you.

8 The trees once decided to go out
and anoint a king to rule them all.
They said to the olive tree,
“Reign over us.”
9 But the olive tree refused, saying,
“Should I stop producing the rich oil used to honor both gods and mortals so I can stand and sway over the trees?”
10 Then the trees went to the fig tree, saying,
“You come and reign over us.”
11 But the fig tree refused, saying,
“Should I give up my sweetness and stop producing my delicious fruit so I can stand and sway over the trees?”
12 Then the trees said to the grapevine,
“You come and reign over us.”
13 But the vine refused, saying,
“Should I stop producing the wine that cheers both gods and mortals so I can stand and sway over the trees?”
14 At last the trees came to the worthless thornbush, saying,
“You come and reign over us.”
15 And the thornbush said to the trees,
“If in good faith you want to anoint me as your king,
then come and take refuge in my shade (of which there was precious little).
But if you haven’t come in good faith, then let fire come from my brambles
and burn down the cedars of Lebanon.”

16 Now if you have made this decision to crown Abimelech king in good faith, with sincerity, have acted honorably toward my father Jerubbaal and his family, and have treated him as his actions toward you deserve; 17 you know how my father fought for you, risked his life for you, rescued you from the hand of the Midianites. 18 But now here you are, rising up against my father’s house, killing all of his sons, 70 of them, on one stone; and you have made Abimelech, the son of my father’s slave woman, king over all the leaders of Shechem, simply because he is your kinsman. 19 Well, I say, if you have acted honorably toward Jerubbaal and his family, then now may you take joy in Abimelech, and may he take joy in you.

20 But if you have not acted honorably, then may fire come out of Abimelech and burn up the leaders of Shechem and Beth-millo. May fire come from you and burn up Abimelech.

21 When he had said these words, Jotham fled for his life to Beer, where he stayed because he was afraid of his brother Abimelech.

22 Abimelech was king over Israel for three years. 23 Then the one True God sent an evil spirit to stir up dissension between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem. Consequently the leaders of Shechem acted with treachery against Abimelech; 24 and all of this happened so that the brutal murder of Jerubbaal’s 70 sons might be avenged and their bloodguilt laid upon their brother Abimelech, who had ordered their deaths, and on the leaders of Shechem who had lent their strength to his cause.

25 As a result of their new hatred for Abimelech, the leaders of Shechem began to ambush travelers along the mountain roads, robbing everyone who passed by, and these robberies were reported to Abimelech.

26 When Gaal, the son of Ebed, arrived in Shechem with his family, the leaders of Shechem trusted him. 27 After they had been in the fields, gathered the grapes, and trampled them for wine, they celebrated a festival in the temple of their god. While they ate and drank, they insulted Abimelech.

Gaal: 28 Who is this Abimelech, and who are we here in Shechem that we should serve him? Didn’t the son of Jerubbaal and his deputy, Zebul, serve the men of Hamor, Shechem’s father? Why then should we serve him? 29 I wish this people were under my command! I would get rid of Abimelech. I would tell him, “Go ahead. Call out your army!”

30 When Zebul, who governed the city, heard what Gaal, the son of Ebed, said, he was furious. 31 Secretly he sent messengers to Abimelech.

Zebul’s Message: Here’s what’s happening: Gaal, son of Ebed, and his family have come to Shechem, and they are igniting the city against you. 32 You should go by night with your troops and lie in wait in the fields. 33 Then in the morning, when the sun comes up, march on the city; and when Gaal and his forces come out to defend it, you can deal with them.

34 Abimelech and his troops prepared to do just as Zebul suggested. Four companies of men waited for morning. 35 When Gaal, the son of Ebed, went outside, stood in the gate of the city, and looked out, Abimelech and his troops rose from their hiding places to attack.

Gaal (seeing them): 36 Look, Zebul, people are coming down from the mountaintops!

Zebul: It’s just the shadows on the mountains. They must look like men to you.

Gaal: 37 No, look! One company is coming right down the center, and another company is coming from the direction of the fortune-teller’s tree!

Zebul: 38 Where are your big words now? Where is the loudmouth who said, “Who is this Abimelech, that we should serve him?” Aren’t these the men you insulted? Go on, fight them!

39 So Gaal gathered the leaders of Shechem, and they fought against Abimelech’s forces. 40 Abimelech overwhelmed Gaal and chased him and his men, many of whom were wounded and fell along the way as they retreated, all the way to the gate. 41 Abimelech remained in Arumah, and Zebul threw Gaal and his people out of Shechem.

42 The next day the people of Shechem went out to work the fields. After hearing this news, Abimelech 43 took his troops, divided them into three groups, and set an ambush in the fields.

When he saw the people emerge from Shechem, he ordered his troops to attack them. 44 Abimelech and his men captured a forward position at the city gate, cutting off any retreat. Then the other two companies of Abimelech’s men swept down on the people trapped in the fields and cut them down. 45 Abimelech continued his attack all day long, until he had captured Shechem and killed everyone in it. Then he demolished the city and scattered salt over the place where it had once stood.

Abimelech here carries out a devastating act in antiquity that ensures the death of an agricultural area, both food and water sources, for subsequent generations.

46 When those leaders inside the tower of Shechem heard this news, all of them entered into the stronghold of the temple of El-berith. 47 Abimelech learned that all the leaders were in the tower, and 48 he took his men up Mount Zalmon. There he took an ax, cut a bundle of firewood, and hoisted it atop his shoulders, ordering his men to quickly do the same. 49 When they had all cut and loaded their wood, they followed Abimelech back to the stronghold, where they piled the wood against the walls and set fire to it, killing about 1,000 men and women inside the tower of Shechem.

50 Next, Abimelech went on to Thebez. He laid siege to it, captured it, and 51 discovered that in the city was a strong tower where the leaders and men and women of the city had locked themselves in to escape and had climbed onto the roof. 52 So he stormed the tower, ready to burn this tower as he had the other. 53 But this time as he approached the entrance, a woman dropped an upper millstone upon him, crushing his skull.

Abimelech (to his armor-bearer): 54 Take your sword and kill me. I won’t have anyone say that I died like this—killed by a woman.

The young man killed Abimelech with the sword.

55 When the people of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they all went back home.

56 So God avenged the evil that Abimelech had committed against his father by murdering his 70 brothers, 57 and the evil of the leaders of Shechem God brought back on their heads; everything happened just as Jotham, son of Jerubbaal, had prophesied when he cursed them all.

More Bad Boys Of The Bible

Bad Boys Of The Bible: Doeg

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Doeg

1 Samuel 22 The Voice

9 Doeg the Edomite stood among Saul’s servants.

Doeg: I saw the son of Jesse when he came to Nob to speak with the priest, Ahimelech son of Ahitub. 10 Ahimelech asked the Eternal One questions on David’s behalf, gave him provisions, and even gave him the legendary sword of Goliath the Philistine. 

Saul (to Doeg): 18 Carry out my orders. Turn around, and kill these priests.

So Doeg the Edomite attacked them. That day he turned and killed 85 men who wore the priestly linen garment. 19 Then he went after Nob, the city of the priests, with his sword and utterly destroyed everything he found there—all the men, women, children, and infants. Doeg even turned his blade against the oxen, donkeys, and sheep. 20 Only Abiathar, son of Ahimelech, son of Ahitub, escaped, and he fled to David for protection. 21 He informed David that Saul had massacred the priests of the Eternal.

Psalm 52 The Voice

Psalm 52 recalls the callous way Doeg and Saul put to death the 85 priests of Nob (1 Samuel 22:6–19). The psalm ends with a memorable image: the one who keeps faith with God is like a lush olive tree cared for in His garden. While those who do not trust in Him are snatched up and torn away, those who do right will flourish under His care.

1 Why do you boast of all the trouble you stir up, O mighty one, when the constant, unfailing love of God is what truly lasts? 2 Have you listened to yourself? Your tongue is like a sharp razor, full of lies that slash and tear right to the soul. 3 You’ve fallen in love with evil and have no interest in what He calls good. You prefer your own lies to speaking what is true.

4 You love words that destroy people, don’t you, lying tongue? 5 You won’t be smiling when the True God brings His justice and destroys you forever. He will come into your home, snatch you away, and pull you from the land of the living.

6 Those who are just will see what happens to you and be afraid. And some of them will laugh and say, 7 “Hey, look! Over there is the one who didn’t take shelter in the True God; Instead, he trusted in his great wealth and got what he wanted by destroying others!” 

8 But my life is abundant—like a lush olive tree cared for at the house of the one True God. I put my trust in His kind love forever and ever; it will never fail. 9 Because of all You have done, I will humble myself and thank You forever. With Your faithful people at my side, I will put my hope in our good reputation.

We Aren’t Trying To Please Everybody, But God

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1 Thessalonians 2:4 The Voice

but as we have been approved by God and entrusted with the good news, that’s how we are telling the world. We aren’t trying to please everybody, but God, the only One who can truly examine our motives.

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