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Friday, November 7, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mr. Graham

Today is the 96th birthday of world renowned evangelist Billy Graham. I would like to wish him a wonderful 96th and thank him for being a stalwart beacon of truth for over 70 years.

Graham has preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to more people than any other person in history. Yet he never strayed from his roots in the mountains and foothills of North Carolina. His log home near Montreat and Black Mountain, NC, still serves as "home" for Mr. Graham. It is the same mountain log home that was built shortly after he and his wife Ruth were married. The home was to be a haven of rest for the evangelist in those brief periods when he was not traveling and preaching.

Today, Graham is a member of the First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, SC, which is located not far from the mountains of North Carolina. Two years ago, Graham's "Living Room Crusade" was billed as his last. The Graham organization blitzed the airwaves on radio, TV, and the Internet with the Gospel message as only Graham can deliver it.

Although his physical maladies have intensified due to his age, his mind is still sharp as can be. Who knows. Graham may well do another Living Room Crusade before he is forced to quit.

A very happy birthday and a hearty "thank you" to Billy Graham on this special day!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Voices calling me...

Not all of the "voices" one hears within indicate psychosis. Only a doctor can determine such a thing by making a definitive diagnosis. Other "voices," however, can be quite legitimate, particularly when one is speaking symbolically. Often Christians will describe their spiritual experience of being led by God in symbolic terms, such as, "God told me to do thus and so..." or "God spoke to me..."

Naturally, even those "voices" need to be checked out by scripture. God speaks primarily through His word, the Bible. God is not going to tell someone to do anything that is contrary to His will and His Word. But if our experience is consistent with what the Bible teaches about God's guidance, then those "voices" within are not to be ignored.

A song came to mind the other day that loosely illustrates this concept. The composer of the song obviously was so deeply in tune with God and His will that he sensed things that many people just never quite get. So close was his walk with God, in fact, that he sensed his time on this earth would be drawing to a close in the near future.

I have thought about this song often since I first heard it in the mid 1970s. It is an old Florida Boys song, and if memory serves me it did not list the composer's name but was in the "public domain." It has the sound and feel of a haunting bluegrass melody, an old Gospel song in country style. On the Florida Boys recording, the only accompaniment they used were the bass guitar and one acoustic lead guitar. This made the words even more gripping and moving.

I don't necessarily think I am on my way to glory very soon, but I do find myself thinking about the voices of people I miss who are already there. Sometimes it seems I hear those voices clear as a bell, although it has been years, even decades since they walked on this earth. The fact that one day I will be with them in a place the Savior has prepared for us is not a sad thing. It is a glorious thing.

Here are the lyrics to the song, "Voices Calling Me."

I hear voices far off yonder calling me
Voice that I used to hear they seem to be
Then I look around and see there's no one so it must be
Voices yonder, up in glory, calling me.

Calling me, calling me, voices in that far off somewhere calling me
One of these days I'll off and fly, then I can answer here am I
I hear voices, up in glory, calling me.

Maybe friends who used to sing along with me
Who have now gone on and crossed that rolling sea
Friends from every land and sea
Joining in glad symphony
I hear voices, up in glory, calling me.

Calling me, calling me, voices in that far off somewhere calling me
One of these days I'll off and fly, then I can answer here am I
I hear voices, up in glory, calling me.

Soon I'll leave you here and join that singing band
Praising Jesus in that far off gloryland
Soon I'll spread my wings and fly
Bid my friends on earth good bye
I hear voices, up in glory, calling me.

Calling me, calling me, voices in that far off somewhere calling me
One of these days I'll off and fly, then I can answer here am I
I hear voices, up in glory, calling me....

(Special thanks to Les Beasley, Glen Allred, Buddy Liles, Derrell Stewart, and Jerry Trammell who blessed us with the vocals on  this song).

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Seven Things the Resurrection Proves about Christ

Good evening, my friends. The following is the outline to a recent Bible study I presented. The text is from the Gospel of John chapter 1, which you will find quoted below. After that you will find the outline. My title for the study was "Seven Things the Resurrection Proves about Jesus Christ."

 

You are welcome to use the outline for Bible studies, Sunday School lessons, or other programs that require you to teach the Bible. Be sure to give credit to the author in spoken or written reproductions of this outline. Other than that, there are no copyright restrictions at all. I hope you and those who hear you teach will be blessed.

 

John 1

King James Version (KJV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Seven Things the Resurrection Proves about Jesus Christ.

Christ was raised from the dead as the Bible teaches in the New Testament. In light of that fact, there are certain facts about Christ that are confirmed. Some of those facts, at least seven of them, are found here.

1. The Bible is the written word but Christ Himself is the living Word. He was with God in the beginning and participated with God in the creation of the world. As the 2nd person of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), Christ is co-equal with God the Father.

2. In Christ is the gift of life, eternal life, that begins now and extends beyond this life into the next. All who come to Him in repentance and faith are given this life.

3. Christ is the light that shines forth the word of hope into a world of darkness. The world is held hostage by darkness and spiritual death. The forces of evil, all embodied in Satan, hold sway over most of the world. But Christ shines light into that darkness wherever that Holy Name is uttered, preached, and taught. Like vermin flee when the light is turned on, evil and its darkness flee when the light of Christ is shined on it.

4. Many in their ignorance turn Christ away. Their eyes have been blinded by the forces of evil. Even Christ's own people, the Jews, turned him away, except for a few. The world as a whole continues to turn Him away to this very day. Evil and darkness hate the holiness, purity, and light that Christ brings. Thus, Satan doubles his efforts to blind the eyes and deafen the hearing of most of the people of the world. He knows that if they come into contact with that light and life, his domain of evil begins to shrink. Yet after 2000 years of this opposition, the Gospel of Christ still stands. Nothing has been able to stamp it out. This, in itself, is a miracle.

5. Christ is so powerful that anyone who comes to Him in faith, receiving His offer of life, hope, forgiveness, and love, will become sons of God, children of God, born into God's family where a different path is followed. Multimillions of changed lives through the centuries have proved the power of Christ to change lives no matter how hopeless they may seem.

6. Being "born of God" and not of man is often called in Christian circles, "the new birth." Jesus said, "You must be born again." This new birth is not a physical birth but a spiritual one. And only Christ can give it through the power of a loving God who wishes to redeem His imperfect creation.

7. This living, breathing, eternal Word (Christ, the Son of God, 2nd person of the Trinity) became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ and lived and taught among us. He was able to feel our pain, our hopelessness and despair, and the temptations we face, because He was a man. But because He was also God, the God-Man, He could show us the way to new life and hope. Further, He died for our sins, taking our punishment for us. And then He rose from the dead victorious over the grave. This way we as human beings could experience His glory, His grace and truth, up close and personal. He lived and moved among us, and we saw Him, experienced Him, and beheld His eternal glory.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

He is not here, for He's risen!

Happy Easter to all of you.
Our Lord does not remain in the grave, but He lives! He is alive. He lives forevermore. Death could not defeat Him!

Here is a treasure that captures perfectly the message of this most holy day. "Then Came the Morning" by the Cathedral Quartet, featuring the great Glen Payne.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday, 2014

Today Christians all over the world mark the day Jesus Christ was crucified for the salvation of the world, to all that believe in Him.

Here is the story of the crucifixion from the pages of the Bible:

Luke 23: 33 - 47

33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.
36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,
37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.
38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This Is The King Of The Jews.
39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Who Will Sing One Song For Me?

Oft I sing for my friends
When death's cold hand I see
But when I am called
Who'll sing one song for me?

I wonder who
Will sing for me
When I come to cross that silent sea
Who'll sing for me?

When friends have gathered round
And they look down on me
Will they turn and walk away
Or will they sing one song for me?

I wonder who
Will sing for me
When I come to cross that silent sea
Who'll sing for me?
(from an old Bluegrass gospel song by Flatt and Scruggs, written by Carter Stanley).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Little Faith

For your spiritual strengthening and hope...
The Florida Boys sing "A Little Faith."
More about this over at The Liberty Sphere.