Friday, December 31, 2010

Mind Control

Days of Praise
Mind Control

"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart." (Ephesians 4:17-18)

A question that troubles many Christians is why most highly educated leaders in science and other fields--even theologians--seem to find it so difficult to believe the Bible and the gospel of Christ. The answer is in the words of our text: They are "alienated from the life of God" because of self-induced ignorance. It is not that they can't understand, but that they won't understand! They "walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened . . . because of the blindness of their heart." They don't want to believe in their hearts, therefore they seek an excuse not to believe in their minds. They are "men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith" (2 Timothy 3:8).

The sad truth is that Satan himself controls their minds. They may be ever so intelligent in secular matters, but the gospel, with all its comprehensive and beautiful simplicity, remains hidden to them. "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not" (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

Is there a remedy? Yes. "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). In this verse, the word "thought" is the same as "mind." The weapons of truth, of prayer, of love, and of the Spirit can capture even such minds as these! HMM

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Perfect Gift (December 30, 2010)


The Perfect Gift
Isn't it ironic that the more we have access to, the further we are from finding the answer to our loneliness? We are like little Andrew surrounded by Christmas gifts. Minutes after the gifts have been torn into, poor Andrew sits staring at the wall, saddened at having exhausted so much in so little time.  Likewise, having tasted of every new experience that has come along, we too wonder, like Andrew, where all the promised fulfillment has gone.

Our world has seen many advances that offer the promise of a new day.  First, we live in the age of communication. Never before have we had such means to transmit content or create desire.  Yet even with such capacities, the walls between races, cultures, and generations still stand.

Second, we live in the age of technology.  But it has delivered a bill of goods for which the cost exacted is the loss of peace of mind.  Each new invention was supposed to save us time.  Yet less time is spent in building relationships while more is invested in the trappings of our "conveniences."

Third, medicine has vastly improved our lives, and yet we have lost the definition of life itself.  How we have changed!  To the ancient of old, said C.S. Lewis, the question was how to conform the soul to reality, and the answer was in virtue and wisdom.  But to the contemporary modern, the question is how to reconfigure reality so it conforms to our passions.  Some change, isn't it?

Fourth, human sexuality has never been more studied and pandered to in public, yet we have never been more confused about what is right and good.  Young minds are exposed to sights and sounds that foster cravings that no human experience can match or placate.

These advances have not been able to soothe the cry of loneliness heard from millions of hearts, have they?  If the answer lies not in a computer or a medicine bottle, where can we go? 
"Every good and perfect gift is from above," the Christian Scriptures tell us, "coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows."  The God of these Scriptures is the Giver of life.  His presence is our consolation.  His mercy is our salvation.  His glory extends immeasurably beyond all of our faltering answers and fleeting solutions, and yet, His love is extended to each of us personally.  Let us not be like little Andrew surrounded by gifts but not knowing joy.  Go to the Giver, who alone gives us perpetual wonder and fulfillment.


Ravi Zacharias is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
Copyright (c) 2010 Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Pastor Rick Jackson

Some years ago a Jewish Rabbi wrote a book entitled “Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?” after his 14 year old son died. Of course, the theme is older than that by thousands of years but there are several things that should cause us to realize the question ought be, why do good things happen to bad people?


1. All of Us Are Sinners [Rm. 3:10, Ecclesiastes 7:20]

For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.

2. All Sinners Owe a Sin Debt [Rm. 3:23, Ezekiel 18:20 \]

The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

3. No Sinner Can Save Himself of Any Other [Rm. 5:8]


1. The Ultimate Saviour- God Himself [Acts 20:28]

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

2. The Ultimate Sacrifice- Christ Paid Our Hell [Is. 53, 2 Corinthians 5:21]

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

3. The Ultimate Salvation- Ours for the Asking [Jn. 1:12, Revelation 2:11]

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
1 John 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.


Since it has no bearing on us attaining Heaven why should we live right? To ask the question shows the old nature is still active within our bodies. But the answer is easily obtained.

1. The Creator Has Every Right to Expect His Creation to Obey Him [Mark 1:27]

And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.
Mark 4:41 And they feared exceedingly °, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

2. The Redeemer Has Every Right to Expect His People, Property and Purchased Possession Obey Him [1 Corinthians 6:20]

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
1 Corinthians 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

3. The God of Heaven has Promised a Blessing though It May Not Be What We Expect [1 Samuel 12:14]

If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God:
Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
Acts 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Quotes of the Week

All that tread the globe are but a handful to the tribes that slumber in its bosom. - William Cullen Bryant

It has been said that death comes equally to us all and makes us all equal when it comes. - Dr. James Ray

This the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it, or use it for good, but what I do today is important because I am exchanging a day in my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving behind in its place something that I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, not loss, good and not evil, success and not failure, in order that I shall not regret the price that I have paid for it. - Samuel F. Pugh

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Trinity in Ephesians

Days of Praise
The Trinity in Ephesians
"There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians 4:4-6)
Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus is surely one of the most profoundly doctrinal--yet intensely practical--books of the Bible, and it is not surprising that the doctrine of the tri-une God breaks into his message so frequently. For example, note Ephesians 2:18: "For through |Christ| we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
More often, however, it appears not in a succinct formula like this, but rather in interconnected references to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, always implying that each is deity, but never that they are three different "gods." Paul prayed that "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him" (Ephesians 1:17).
He also prayed "unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . That he would grant you, . . . to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith" (Ephesians 3:14, 16-17). Thus the believer is "filled with all the fulness of God" (v. 19).
We are exhorted to "grieve not the holy Spirit of God, . . . even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:30, 32). And "be filled with the Spirit; . . . Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:18, 20).
There are others, but note especially our text, speaking of our unity in Him and His tri-unity in us. "There is . . . one Spirit . . . One Lord, . . . One God and Father of all, who is above all |i.e., the Father|, and through all |the Son|, and in you all |the Spirit|." All this is a magnificent mystery, but a wonderful reality! HMM
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Sunday, December 26, 2010


JOB 38:39-39:30

Pastor Rick Jackson


1. The Lair of the Lions [v. 39-40]

2. God Hears the Ravens [v. 41]

3. The Application by Jesus [Luke 12:22-25]


1. The Hill Dwellers [v. 1-8]

2. The Untamable [v. 9-12] “Unicorns”=wild aurochs- a type of wild ox thought to be extinct

The wild-ox called re'em (Strong's # 07214) in the Bible (Numbers 23:22 and 24:8, Deuteronomy 33:17, Job 39:9–10, Psalms 22:21, 29:6, 92:10 and Isaiah 34:7) is occasionally associated with the aurochs and has incorrectly been translated as "unicorn" in the past (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Entry for 'Wild Ox', Copyright, 1939, by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.).

Julius Caesar wrote about aurochs in Gallic War Chapter 6.28, "...those animals which are called uri. These are a little below the elephant in size [should hgt.=6‘6“], and of the appearance, color, and shape of a bull. Their strength and speed are extraordinary; they spare neither man nor wild beast which they have espied. These the Germans take with much pains in pits and kill them. The young men harden themselves with this exercise, and practice themselves in this sort of hunting, and those who have slain the greatest number of them, having produced the horns in public, to serve as evidence, receive great praise. But not even when taken very young can they be rendered familiar to men and tamed. The size, shape, and appearance of their horns differ much from the horns of our oxen. These they anxiously seek after, and bind at the tips with silver, and use as cups at their most sumptuous entertainments." [wikipedia]

3. The Bird Brains [v. 13-18]


1. Horses for Competition [v. 19-25] a competitive spirit

2. Homes for Hunters [v. 26-30]

3. Heavenly Caretaker- The Application by Jesus [Mt. 10:29-31]


Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Pastor Rick Jackson

If you try to boil Christmas down to 3 basic ingredients in a general sense I think you would find those ingredients to be The Gifts of Christmas, the Spirit of Christmas, and the Celebration of Christmas though not necessarily in that order. Even the world acknowledges these 3 aspects but we Christians hopefully lean toward a more spiritual version. In answer to the question, Every day can be like Christmas. The Gifts, the Spirit and the Celebration of Christmas can continue.

I. THE GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS [2 Corinthians 9:15]

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

1. God Daily Offers Salvation

Isaiah 49:8 Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

2. God Daily Gives [Psalm 68:19]

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

3. God Daily Hears our Prayers [Psalm 86:3]

Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily.
Psalm 88:9 Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.

4. God Daily Gives Us Bread [Matthew 6:11, 33-34] Give us this day our daily bread.

5. God Daily Speaks Through the Gift of His Word [Pr. 8:33-34]

Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.


The cheerfulness, the joy, the love, the peace on earth… [Gal. 5:13-26] Not only can we have it- we are commanded to have it!


1. Giving & Receiving [v. 14-15]

2. Singing [v. 16]

3. Decorations [v. 17]

What better decorations than letting our light shine [Mt. 5:14-15]

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

And to let our life be decorated with good works [v. 16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

So Christmas can be celebrated on a daily basis. As Ebenezer Scrooge said in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in repentance, “I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.”
And Dickens closes by saying, Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all and infinitely more… and it was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!”

Saturday, December 25, 2010

QUESTION OF THE WEEK - Was Jesus really born of a virgin?

Answers Weekly | newsletter archives | contact us
December 25, 2010

a weekly look at

top leftIn this issue . . .

Q: Was Jesus really born of a virgin?

A: With the sale of over 80 million copies of The Da Vinci Code book and a blockbuster film, the question is constantly raised: Is Jesus Christ really the Son of God, or was He just another human, but a better one?
The deity of Jesus (the assertion that He is both God and man) is so vital to the gospel that, if not true, there is no hope for salvation. If Jesus' deity were not true, it would take the good news out of the gospel and make the story of Jesus a greeting card, and nothing more.
The Virgin Birth is a miracle. The Bible gives no details, scientifically, of how God did it. But what He does tell us is that it was by the power of the Holy Spirit. God came over a human womb, and a child was conceived—a child who was 100% man and 100% God, with a human mother and God as His father.

Continue reading for a breif synopsis of why the Messiah had to be born of a virgin.

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Posts of Christmas Past

Friday, December 08, 2006
ROMANS 14:1-12

Rick Jackson

There was an interesting letter on the editorial page of the Bradford County Telegraph last year (12-1-05). A lady, whom to my knowledge I do not know, wrote,

The following is "Just My Opinion" but I would like to know - "What do you think, are you willing to change?"

My answer is “no”. I am not willing to change because of someone’s opinion. I am willing to conform to the Word of God. Romans 3:4

What is wrong with Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus on his "real" birthday? Why don't Christians just let the world have their "Happy Holidays" their "Santa Clauses," their lighted trees and all the other traditions" that go with Dec. 25? Guys, believe it or not, this is not the day Jesus was born and I can tell you exactly when it was.

It will take a major portion of this sermon to discount this statement But let’s see how her opinion continued.

It was Tishri 15 (that is a Jewish feast day, their New Year or Rosh Hashanah). Jesus fulfilled every one of the Jewish Feast Days. On the exact days those feast happened, in the time of Jesus, those feast were fulfilled. The only feast left to fulfill is the Feast of Trumpets, and that is the Rapture.

There is not one hint in the Scriptures that Jesus was born on Rosh Hashanah. There would have been a lot of Jewish rituals going on during that time and none is indicated by either Luke or Matthew. Matthew’s silence is deafening since his purpose was to present Christ as the King of the Jews and this would certainly have bolstered that claim.

Now, do you understand why the Shepherds were out watching their sheep by night? It was not cold weather in September.

Dr. Mark Cambron, respected Bible scholar had heard this unsubstantiated claim that it is too cold for the sheep in December. We must remember Israel is not North Dakota or even Ohio. Dr. Cambron was at the shepherds’ field in Bethlehem one Christmas eve and noticed there were shepherds present. He asked them, “Why are sheep here and not in folds. Isn’t it too cold?” They replied, “This is when the grass grows best, so we graze here!” Then he noticed the grass was indeed thick and over knee high. Hearsay destroyed by eyewitnesses!

If Christians go to the "real" birth of Jesus and celebrate it, then all those people who are fighting over not having "their" symbols displayed, or the ACLU fighting to eliminate every thing religious, would perhaps stop. No other religion will be allowed to put up their symbol on our special day.It doesn't belong to them, it belongs to the Christians.

That’s a rather naïve view isn’t it? II Th. 1:4, II Tm. 3:11-12

See, right now, they are telling us that Dec. 25 does not belong to Christians, it belongs to those who worship Santa Clause. And you know what? They are right. Separating the two times of the year, would also help teach your child the truth about Jesus, especially if you are a Christian.

I never had a problem teaching my kids the truth about Jesus or Santa. Dt. 6:4-7, Eph. 6:4

See, here is the Christians problem (as I see it). We have put our Lord and Saviors birth right up there with "pagan" beliefs.

Actually Satan constantly tries to get people to believe his lie rather than God’s truth. Jn. 8:44

Does God approve of this? Does God back us in our efforts to keep Jesus as our symbol for this paganism day of worship?

Does she really believe we shouldn’t worship Jesus on any day someone else has set aside for paganism? I worship Jesus on Dec. 25th, July 4th, October 31st and every other day of the year!
Jn. 4:24, Rm. 14:5

Now, if you want to support Santa Clause and all that goes with it, I see no problem with that, but just remember - this is not the birth of Jesus. Don't let the attributes of Santa Clause become the same as Jesus' attributes.

Which is it? Does she have a problem with it or does she not? I personally have a problem with it. Is. 42:8, I Cor. 2:8, Ps. 24

Separating of the two times, will put a stop to this.

No. It won’t. Why would it?

The Jewish celebration on or near Dec. 25, called Hanukkah (celebration of lights) has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. Now, I know this is not pagan; this is a true event for them, the Jews. But it is still not Christmas.

Celebrating God’s light is closer to Christmas than Rosh Hashanah. Jn. 1:1-5, 9-12, 8:12, 9:5

Here is my second problem I see with the Christian community. They are not willing to make any changes, even if it is making a change for the "truth."

Her truth or God’s truth? She hasn’t proved anything. “My problem” “Christian community” Who’s that?

They would rather sit right where they are and let the ACLU and all the other religions of the world dictate to us, about the birth of our Savior; and send money to organizations to fight to keep Dec. 25 for Jesus.

I haven’t sent anyone any money. But if I did it would be to preserve our right to celebrate Christmas in a Christ honoring fashion.

If this world's system eventually gets to the point where there is no "Merry Christmas" and it all becomes "Happy Holidays," guys, don't panic, just remember: It isn't the birth of Jesus any way. Just my opinion.

The last three words are the truest thing she has said in her whole letter. The rest reminds me of the Texas longhorn… a point here and a point there and a lot of bull in-between So can we pinpoint Christmas to December at least. Let’s see.

Bible fact # 1 In I Chr. 24:1-19 David organized the priests for the Temple. There were 24 orders for the 12 months, two orders per month (v. 18-19). Note in the fourth month, the latter part of the month is the order of Abijah (v. 10).

Bible fact # 2 In Ex. 12:2, 13:4 God says the month Nisan is the first month of the Jewish calendar. Nisan falls in our Mar. /Apr. which puts the order of Abijah in our July.

Bible Fact # 3 Zechariah was serving in July. (Lk. 1:5-7) Not yet 50 but advanced in years (people age differently, in US pioneer days the average lifespan was 35). Luke 1:8-23. He went home in August and John the Baptist was conceived in August or September (1:24). Her first month would be Sept. or Oct. Her 6th month would be Feb.-March. (1:26-36 Mary conceived in Elisabeth’s 6th month so her first month would be March-April. Count it out. April, May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., December.

Late December is when the shepherds are out in their fields to watch their sheep by night. The night the angels came. Luke 2:8-15. The night, Christ was born. I for one am not going to let the Devil steal my Christmas.

1. Worship in Spirit and truth Jn. 4:24

2. Be fully persuaded in your own mind. Rm. 14:5-6

3. Whatever ye do, do it unto the Lord Col. 3:17-25

ROM. 14:5

Rick Jackson

Last week we saw in the Bible that Jesus WAS born in late December, maybe even Dec. 25th! This week we look at a few other criticisms of Christmas. Had they put as much work into studying the matter out as they do criticizing they would know the answers themselves. It seems the only exercise they get is jumping to conclusions. Let’s examine some of their complaints and answer them with more Christmas facts!


1. Jeremiah is not talking about Christmas trees [Jer. 10:5-15] He is referring to wooden idols, carved by men, overlaid with gold, etc.

2. Christmas trees are actually Christian.

John R. Rice recounts the origin of the Christmas tree.

In the 8th century a missionary named Boniface went to Germany to preach Christ. The Germanic tribes worshipped the oak tree as a symbol of deity. Boniface told them it was a poor symbol for God since it sheds its leaves and appears dead in winter. He told them the tree that should remind them of God was the evergreen. Always green and thriving.

Christmas trees became popular in England primarily through the influence of the German-born, Prince Albert, husband of England’s Queen Victoria. In America the trees were introduced by German immigrants in Pennsylvania.

3. The tree reminds me of Calvary [Gal. 6:14, I Pt. 2:24]

4. The light on top reminds me of Jesus. [Jn. 8:12, 9:5, I Jn. 1:5]

5. The other lights remind me of Jesus’ word [Mt. 5:14]

II. Critics say giving gifts has become too commercialized.

It can be but need not be. [II Cor. 9:15, Jn. 3:16, Rm. 6:23, 12:6, Acts 3:6 ]

What are we doing to aid the critics? What are we doing to silence them?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mary and the Grace of God

Days of Praise
Mary and the Grace of God

"And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God." (Luke 1:30)

This announcement by the angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary, that she had been chosen as the mother of the coming Savior, contains the first mention in the New Testament of the Greek word for grace (charis). Mary was chosen, not for anything she had done, but because she had "found grace."

In a remarkable parallel, certainly implying divine inspiration, the first mention of "grace" in the Old Testament is also associated with the coming of a new dispensation in God's dealings with men. "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD" (Genesis 6:8).

Just as Mary found grace, so Noah had found grace. Grace is not something one earns or purchases; grace is a treasure that is found! When a person--whether Noah or Mary or someone today--finally realizes that salvation is only by the grace of God, received through faith in the saving work of Christ, he or she has made the greatest discovery that could ever be made, for it brings eternal life.

But there is an even greater dimension to the grace of God. When we do "find" grace, it is actually because God in His infinitely precious grace has found us and revealed to us the Savior of our souls. Just as God found Moses in the desert and found Paul on the road to Damascus, then saved and called them to His service, so He finds us, and then we also find His saving grace.

Mary's discovery of God's grace in salvation, through the coming of the "seed of the woman" into the world, is revealed in her Magnificat: "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour" (Luke 1:46-47). This could well have also been the testimony of Noah long ago, and it surely should be the testimony of each of us who has found grace today. HMM

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010



Adapted by Rick Jackson from an unknown source

I’m looking forward to this Christmas in Heaven,

A glorious wonderful day!

I will stand with the saints of the ages,

Who found Christ, the Truth, and the Way.

I will sing with the Heavenly choir,

Just think! I who longed to sing,

And oh, what celestial music

We will bring to our Saviour and King.

We will sing the glad songs of redemption,

How the Redeemer to Bethlehem came,

And how they had called Him Jesus,

That all might be saved through His name.

We will sing once again with the Angels

The song that they sang that blest morn,

When shepherds first heard the glad news

That Christ, the Saviour was born.

Oh Dear Ones, I wish you to know

No Christmas on earth can compare,

With all the rapture and glory,

We’ll witness in Heaven so fair.

You know how I always loved Christmas,

It seemed such a wonderful day,

With friends and loved ones around me,

The children so happy that day.

Yes, now I can see why I loved it,

And oh what joy it will be,

When you and my loved ones are with me,

To share in the glories I’ll see.

So dear ones on earth, here’s my greeting,

Look up till the day dawn appears,

And oh what a Christmas awaits us,

Beyond all partings and tears!

But it’s only for those who respond,

To the invitation so gracious and true,

From the crucified, risen Saviour

Who did this all for you!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Origin of the Races

Days of Praise
Origin of the Races
December 21, 2010
"These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood." (Genesis 10:32)
This is the concluding verse of the tenth chapter of Genesis, known as "The Table of Nations." It tells us that all the original nations of the world were formed from the descendants of Noah.  The basis of this worldwide division was their dispersion at Babel (Genesis 11:9), "every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations" (Genesis 10:5; see also 10:20 and 10:31). Lest anyone think this list of original nations is simply folklore, he should remember that William F. Albright, probably the greatest archaeologist of the twentieth century, called it "an astonishingly accurate document." Many ethnologists still speak of Japhetic, Hamitic, and Semitic peoples and languages.
But what about the origin of races? One searches the Bible in vain for this information, for neither the word nor the concept of "race" appears in the Bible at all! There is no such thing as a race--except the human race! Skin color and other supposed racial characteristics are mere recombinations of innate genetic factors, originally created in Adam and Eve to permit development of different family characteristics as the human race was commanded to multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28; 9:1).
"Race" is strictly an evolutionary concept used by Darwin, Huxley, Haeckel, and the other nineteenth-century evolutionists to rationalize their white racism. But from the beginning it was not so! "God that made the world and all things therein; . . . hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:24, 26). "Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?" (Malachi 2:10). HMM
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Monday, December 20, 2010

The Way People (Don't) Think

I was at a gas station just the other day and the vehicle in front of me had two contradictory bumper stickers on it.

One said, "Co-exist". You know which one I mean? The preachy one where all the letters are made to resemble the symbols of the various world religions. The idea is, "We (or you) are all worshipping the same God so we should co-exist. Sounds good right? Not necessarily.

In the first place we all already coexist. I'm here, you're here- we are coexisting. Hitler coexisted with Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill- not peaceably mind you, but they all existed at the same time- hence, they coexisted.

Now perhaps the bumper sticker meant that all "religions" should co-exist peacefully. That is basically impossible. I don't mean that all religions should arm their adherents with guns and shoot anyone not of their persuasion but the very basis of their beliefs preclude they cannot agree theologically speaking. Nor should they.

Truth has never been able to coexist peacefully with error, falsehood and lies. To do so Truth would cease to be truth. The nature of truth is to be free from falsehood. Darkness and light cannot coexist, truth and untruths cannot coexist, what concord hath Christ with Belial?

"Oh no," someone is thinking about now, "He quoted from the Bible. He is intolerant." No more intolerant than those who are against me quoting from the Bible. It is amazing how intolerant the "tolerance" crowd really is toward true Bible Christianity.

When I was in high school a friend and I were discussing the need of the United States having a military. She was of the opinion that the United States should disband all their military and the U.S.S.R. would then do the same. I opined that if the U. S. was to do that it would not be long before we were learning to speak Russian. She responded that violence is never the answer and I countered that sometimes you must violently defend yourself or others. The argument went back and forth until in frustration this young lady reared back and said forcefully, "Violence is NEVER the answer!" while she struck her fist solidly and forcefully on my chest!

Yes, you read that right, the peaceful, "violence is never the answer" girl hit me! It was not to accentuate her point, she had merely lost control of the argument, her position and herself. I blinked several times, looked down at my chest and back at her and gave the satisfied grin of one who knows he just won the argument. And though I did not respond in violence we both realized that point was made- being able to defend yourself against physical assault is a necessity to a nation as well as to an individual.

Whilst I certainly do not think we should start a Christian holy war against those who disagree with us I do believe we should stand up for what we believe and the right to express it as given in our constitution. Freedom of religion not freedom from religion. Strangely enough the crowd that strives to strike fear in peoples hearts claiming we wish to establish a theocracy [which is patently false] they ignore the fact that others wish to do that very thing, have said so publicly and often, and shown it by their actions [remember 9-11?]. The Obamanation continues...

This same car had another bumper sticker on it that called for the use of coal to stop completely. Coal can be used cleanly now but they didn't ask for that- they wanted it stopped now and forever! Makes one wonder why they cannot coexist with the pro-coal crowd.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Science--True and False

Days of Praise
Science--True and False
December 19, 2010
"And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." (Genesis 2:9)
It is significant that the first reference to "science" in the Bible is in connection with the tree of the "science" of good and evil. The English word "science" comes from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge." In both Old and New Testaments, "science" and "knowledge" translate the same Greek and Hebrew words respectively. Science--properly speaking--is what we know, not naturalistic speculation (as in evolutionary "science"). Adam and Eve knew a great deal about God and His creation, and all of it was "very good" (Genesis 1:31); they did not need to have a knowledge of evil, and God warned them against it (2:17).
But they partook of the evil tree anyway, and therewith evil knowledge entered the hearts and minds of mankind. Throughout the long ages since, true science has been of great good in the world and false science has wrought great harm. The apostle Paul has warned us against it: "Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called" (1 Timothy 6:20). In the context of the times, Paul was specifically warning against the evolutionary pantheism of the gnostic philosophers.
In contrast, the final climactic reference in the Bible to knowledge is Peter's exhortation to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge" (Proverbs 1:7), and in Jesus Christ "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3). Therefore, let us resolve to eschew the knowledge of evil and grow in the knowledge of Christ! HMM
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Question of the Week- What are Fringe Issues?

Days of Praise
Fringe Issues
December 18, 2010
"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient." (2 Timothy 2:24)
One of the plagues of modern-day Christendom is that many take up side issues and deem them all-important--a point of separation between them and other Christians. Health foods, dress codes, and church constitutions are not unimportant, but Christians can hold different opinions and still be walking with God. Note the scriptural admonitions: "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace |i.e., primary issues|; not with meats |i.e., fringe issues|, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein" (Hebrews 13:9); "foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes" (2 Timothy 2:23).
On the other hand, there are many scriptural commands to hold "fast the faithful word" (Titus 1:9); to "keep that which is committed to thy trust" (1 Timothy 6:20). Many of these points of "sound doctrine" (Titus 1:9) are absolutely essential, such as the deity of Christ, the authority of Scripture, salvation by grace, the resurrection of Christ, and many others clearly and specifically taught in Scripture. Perhaps the rule might be, if it's an essential doctrine, teach and defend it at all costs; if it's a secondary doctrine, teach it in "meekness" and love (2 Timothy 2:25). But if it's a fringe issue, avoid strife over it, allowing brothers to exercise their freedom.
Is creationism a fringe issue? No! Few doctrines are so clearly taught in Scripture. Is it crucial to salvation? No! But it is essential to adequately understand the great primary doctrines for it is foundational to them all. Furthermore, it is the subject of origins which the enemy has identified as a major battleground, vowing to destroy Christianity over this issue. Here we must stand, if we are to guard our faith. JDM
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Cursed or Blessed

Days of Praise
Cursed or Blessed
December 17, 2010
"Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD." (Jeremiah 17:5)
Jeremiah provides for us a striking contrast between the selfassured humanist and the one who has placed his trust in God. The man who looks to his own abilities or those of others to save him in time of trouble is "cursed." His existence will be one of futility, just as is that of a parched desert plant (v. 6). Why? Because his "heart departeth from the LORD" (v. 5), the source of strength and salvation.
Actually, Jeremiah uses a play on words here. The two words for "man" in our text are different: the first means "warrior" or "strong man," and the second a "normal man." The warrior who should be strong is cursed because he is trusting in one who is weak; in this case, any other man's wisdom or might, or even his own strength, when overestimated. What sense is there in that?
In contrast, "blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD" (v. 7). "He shall be as a tree planted by the waters, . . . and shall not be careful |i.e., anxious| in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit" (v. 8). Why? Because his "hope the LORD is" (v. 7). Here again we see the warrior--one who might be considered strong--trusting solely in the true "strong man," the Lord.
It is a tragic fact that even many Christians fall into the mindset of the autonomous humanist and attempt to live their lives (even "the Christian life") under their own power. Do we trust in our own feeble power or in the Lord? Every heart, whether humanist or Christian, "is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (v. 9). Make no mistake! "I the LORD search the heart" (v. 10); He knows our inner motives. Let us recommit ourselves to trust in the Lord and make Him our hope. JDM
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Everything You Need

Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals 


Luke 2:30-32  "For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel."


Who is Jesus Christ, the child spoken of in Luke 2?  He is everything you need--for life and for today.  Like many of the Gospel accounts of the Lord's birth, you will find several names for Christ in Luke 2, all of which are important.  In verses 25-33, you will find five names:


1.  "the consolation of Israel"--The word consolation means comfort. These people had been waiting on God's comfort for centuries!  The wonderful truth is that Christ is comfort, and He can be your comfort today.


2.  "the Lord's Christ"--The word Christ means "anointed one."  Luke 4:18-21 tells us that Jesus was anointed to preach the gospel.  Jesus Christ is God's "anointed One," and the good news of salvation is found in Him!


3.  "the child Jesus"--The word child reminds us of the amazing miracle of God's incarnation. That is, God in heaven took on human flesh.  That is amazing!  The God who cannot be contained by the world He made contained Himself by being born. 


4.  "thy salvation"--Salvation is not a "thing"; it is a person.  In other words, salvation is not found in a creed; it is found in Christ.  Jesus Christ is God's salvation!


5.  "a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel"--These names refer back to the words all people at the end of verse 31.  "All people" means both Jew and Gentile.  I am so glad that Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life" for Gentiles as well!  He is the Light of the world!


Luke 2 reminds us that Jesus Christ is everything you need for life and for today.  The Lord Jesus was God's comfort, His Christ, but yet a child.  He is God's salvation, and He is the Light of all the world for both Jews and Gentiles!  During the Christmas season, I hope you will be reminded of exactly who Jesus Christ is.  He is everything you need for life and for today!


Looking for more devotionals? Visit the archives here
Bill Rice Ranch | 627 Bill Rice Ranch Road | Murfreesboro | TN | 37128

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quotes of the Week

Our churches do not superstitiously observe days, merely as days, but as memorials of important facts. Christmas might be kept as well upon one day of the year as another; but there should be a stated day for commemorating the birth of our Saviour, because there is a danger that what may be done on any day will be neglected every day. - Samuel Johnson

It is reported that a young boy went with his parents to the Mall during the holiday shopping season (I expressly did not say Christmas shopping season, since I see no connection between Christ and the year-end spending frenzy that characterizes American culture). He saw a long line of children with their parents, waiting excitedly and expectantly for a chance to sit on Santa’s lap. The boy in absolute but profound innocence asked his parents, “Where’s the line for people waiting to see Jesus?”

Good question. -Doug Kutilek

A genius is one who shoots at something no one else can see - and hits it. - Author Unknown

Lots of people talk to animals. Not very many listen, though ... that's the problem. - Benjamin Hoff

The bureaucratic mentality is the only constant in the universe. - Dr. McCoy, Star Trek IV

This next year, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union address occur on the same day. As Air America Radio pointed out, "It is an ironic juxtaposition of events; one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication while the other involves a groundhog." - Unknown email source

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


MATTHEW 1:18-25

Pastor Rick Jackson


There are many miracle births in the Bible but only one like this.

1. As revealed in Genesis 3:14-15]

2. As revealed in Isaiah 7:14

3. As revealed in Jeremiah 31:22

How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.


1. The Defeat of Satan [Gn. 3:15]

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

2. The Salvation of Souls [v. 21, Luke 19:10]

3. The Fulfiller of Prophecy [v.22, Acts 3:18]

But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.


1. God with Us [Is. 9:6]

2. The Word made Flesh [John 1:1-15]

3. The Fullness of God [Jn 1:16, Colossians 1:19, 2:9]

For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Degrees of Punishment

Days of Praise
Degrees of Punishment
December 14, 2010
"But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you." (Matthew 11:22)
The subject of eternal hell is so repugnant to the modern ungodly world that people desperately search for some scientific rationale to justify their rejection of God's Word. Charles Darwin was an example. He became an apostate from Christianity, not because of his scientific "discovery" of natural selection, but because of Christ's teachings that unbelievers (including his own father) would end up in hell.
Nevertheless "the fearful, and unbelieving . . . and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8). These are words from God Himself!
But is there no difference in the punishment of, say, blaspheming and wicked unbelievers and the mere careless unbeliever? Yes, there is. As Christ said, the idolatrous inhabitants of Tyre would have repented if they had seen His mighty works, but the Galileans of Chorazin and Bethsaida who had seen His miracles and heard Him preach had not. Consequently they will suffer more.
Similarly, He said concerning those who would reject the gospel preaching of His disciples that "it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city" (Matthew 10:15). The wicked populace of Sodom, "giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh," will suffer "the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 7), but even greater punishment awaits those who willfully reject God's love in Christ.
There will, indeed, be degrees of punishment in hell, but they will be determined largely in proportion to degrees of "light" rejected. This is an unwanted--but urgently needed--message in these last days! HMM
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