The Seasons Change, God’s Word Doesn’t

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As I stepped outside this morning, I was greeted by nature’s gentle breeze.  I looked around and I couldn’t help but see the vegetation changing, leaves falling, squirrels harvesting, and simply the arrival of a beautiful new season; fall is here. The nature and the power of God are yet again on display for all men to see.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time,” Ecclesiastes 3:1.

It’s so awesome to see things change. This is the nature of life. Times change, trends change, people change, and today, we can clearly see that the seasons change.

Friends, I will tell you, one thing that does not change, is the inspired, unadulterated, Word of God. As people of God, we must continue to accept it, proclaim it, and defend it despite the ever-changing trends of this world.

 “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever,” Isaiah 40:8.

I’m reminded of a time in Scripture in Acts 5, when the Sanhedrin Council, Jewish religious leaders, tried to hinder the word of God from being preached.

Christ’s apostles were doing great signs and wonders, prompting great crowds. As a result of this, the Jewish leaders became envious and had Christ’s apostles arrested and thrown into prison.  During the night, however, an angel of the Lord came and released them and the next day the apostles were again found in the temple preaching and teaching Jesus.

The Council was perplexed at this, and once again had them questioned. When asked why they continued to speak of this Jesus, the apostle Peter declared that they must obey God rather than men and that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of the world.

At this statement, the scriptures say the leaders became envious and wanted them killed.

Right at the point of execution, a well-respected Pharisee, named Gamaliel, stood up and told the Sadducees to hold off. He reasoned about men who claimed to be from God, but were eventually killed, their followers were scattered, and their messages came to nothing.

Gamaliel continued to say that if this message Peter and the apostles were preaching is of man, it too will come to nothing, but, if it is indeed from God, it will not be overthrown and those who attempt to silence it may even be found opposing God.

Friends, the fact that we, some two thousand years removed  from this declaration are still preaching, teaching, worshiping, and serving the same Jesus Christ means we can know for certain that this plan and this undertaking of the apostles and the early Christians has certainly not been overthrown and is truly inspired.  For this reason, unlike the seasons, we can know for certain that the word of God will never change.

By Timothy G. Ruffin

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A Lifetime of Rest

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Not only is today the last day that it is socially acceptable to wear the color white, but today is Labor Day. This first Monday in September is a National holiday that provides many American citizens a break from the rigors of work and school and allows them to spend this day resting and doing whatever they please.

It’s always nice to have a break, because quite frankly, life is hard; there are bills to pay, kids to raise, jobs to attend, and classes to pass.

Aside from the physical, mundane aspects of life, Christians are engaged in spiritual warfare. The devil is constantly trying to tempt us, discourage us, and keep us off course. Juggling the routine aspects of life while trying to flee from sin can be pretty laborious.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just have a lifetime of rest?  I’m happy to tell you, we can.

I’m reminded of the words of Jesus.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,” Matthew 11:28-29.

Our Heavenly Father has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to give us what no one else can give—rest from the burden of sin. In order to obtain this rest, Christ tells His disciples in the above passage to “learn from Him.”

We learn from Jesus by being absorbed in His word.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” 2 Timothy 2:15.

Those who are absorbed in the word of God will learn truths that will comfort, encourage, strengthen, and protect them from both the physical and the spiritual burdens of life.

If we are daily meditating on, consumed in, and are practicing what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise, we will be lavished with God’s peace and love (Philippians 4:8-9). God’s peace is greater than what any National Holiday or employer can provide; this is a peace which brings forth a lifetime of rest and true happiness.

By Timothy G. Ruffin

With God’s Word

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Do you want God to speak to you?  Would you want to hear the audible voice of God? Maybe sometimes we wish God would speak to us audibly. We want to hear His voice. After all, there are certain preachers who claim that God speaks to them. They say, “God told me this,” or “Jesus was speaking to me the other day.” Wouldn’t it be great if we could all hear God?

Or maybe we feel like our circumstances and difficulties are so unique that only direct audible speech could guide us. We have tough decisions to make and wish God would shout from on high and tell us exactly what to do.

Yet, I highly doubt those preachers actually hear God’s voice. Some of them are truly hucksters and liars; others are likely just overanxious leaders thoughtlessly using charismatic jargon.

Furthermore, I don’t think we would necessarily enjoy God speaking to us audibly. The Bible talks about people God spoke to directly and they did not like it very much.

For one reason, God’s voice was a terrifying experience. Folks are fond of the Elijah story where God spoke in “a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). We figure we could handle that. But that is more the exception than the rule. God spoke to Job from a whirlwind (Job 38:1; 40:6). In the book of Job, great winds blew over houses (Job 1:19)! We forget God spoke on Mount Sinai and that the Israelites did NOT want God to speak directly to them (Exodus 20:18-21). Similarly, at the voice of God, men fell down afraid (Matthew 17:5-6) and even mistook His voice for thunder (John 12:28-29).

Secondly, when God spoke to people, He did not talk to them about what they wanted to talk about. He said what He wanted to say. He told Abraham to start moving cross-country without naming a destination (Genesis 12:1). The Bible does not indicate that Abraham had been praying about making a move in his life. Or God directed Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac (Genesis 22:1-2). There’s no way that had been a question on Abraham’s heart! Job faced terrible circumstances and he thought he was ready to demand answers from God (Job 23:1-7). But once God started talking, Job could only cover his mouth (Job 40:4). God was not inclined to answer a single one of Job’s complaints (Job 38-42).

No, God does not speak to His people audibly today. And since God is all-wise, I’m going to say that is not a bad thing. Know that God has already spoken to you! He speaks to His people every day and any time of day through His Word, the Bible. God speaks through the Scriptures, the Bible. The 66 books of the Bible (39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament) are inspired – God breathed!

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work,” 2 Timothy 3:16.

The 66 books of the Bible are not called inspired because they are in the Bible. Rather, they are in the Bible because they are inspired. The Bible is the collection, or library, of Scripture – God-breathed writings.

There is no other God and there is no other Scripture. The Bible is God’s revealed truth, His revealed will for our lives.

With God’s word, we are shown our world, how to understand it, and how to operate in it correctly. With God’s word Christians receive their standard for Faith and practice. With God’s word we have guidance for our lives: knowledge, wisdom, and counsel. With God’s word the great questions are answered: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?

Not only this, the Scripture is the standard we are given whereby to judge anyone who claims that God is speaking audibly to them (1 John 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 14:37)! Great care and discernment is required when listening to anyone who claims that God is speaking to them.

As we read the Bible, study it, meditate upon it, and devote our heart to it, the Holy Spirit works through the word in our lives. The word of God is the Spirit’s sword, after all (Ephesians 6:17). It is living and double-edged (Hebrews 4:12). When we take it up, it is He who wields it to

  • pierce our hearts
  • slay sin, error, and doubt
  • wage the great war for the souls of men against the evil one

Instead of waiting for thunder, read your Bible. The Bible is God’s true, constant, accessible, and near voice in our lives. Let’s start every day reading it. And let’s be sure to launch out on a new week with God’s Word.

By Andrew Roberts