Friday, September 30, 2011

Life's Not Fair!

Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals 

Esther 3:1 "After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him."


Life's Not Fair!


Life isn't fair. Have you noticed this fact? Actually, I'm glad it is not! I am glad that God is in control, not the events of life or happenstance. Though you will not find the name of God written in the book of Esther, God is imprinted on every page, every chapter, and every verse. You can't find a more obvious example of God's providence than the story of Esther!


Sometimes it seems like life is governed by impulsive, undiscerning authorities. Such was the case in Esther's day. King Ahasuerus loved Esther and gave her his kind favor, yet he also was kind to the wicked Haman who desired to slaughter an entire race of people! As you may know, the position of queen wasn't exactly like winning the lottery; it didn't end so well for the previous woman! It would have been easy for Esther to see life as cruel and unfair and governed by impulsive authorities. Have you ever felt the same way about your life?


Sometimes it seems like life is governed by random events. Things just do not seem to have rhyme or reason. The book of Esther is full of what seems like random events. Esther "just so happens" to be chosen by the king, Mordecai "just so happens" to save the king's life, and Haman "just so happens" to be near the king's court when Mordecai is rewarded. Can't you see how Esther could have viewed her life as a series of random events? Does your life ever seem this way?


You do not find God's name one time in the story of Esther. You may not see His name, but you can see His face on every page! What seemed like the random events and selfish wishes of an impulsive leader were all in the hand of God. Life isn't fair. It wasn't in Esther's day, and it won't be today. Even when you cannot see God in the events of your life, you can know that He is in control. When life is out of your control, you can know that God is in control of your life. When you get to the end of the story in Esther, you can't help but see the providence of God. While you do not know the end of the story of your life, trust the God that made this world and made you!




Prayer Requests: 

1. Service tonight in Nashville, TN

2. Ranch evangelists preaching this weekend in Beloit, WI; Franklin, TN; and Saginaw, MI



Looking for more devotionals?  Visit the archives here

Bill Rice Ranch | 627 Bill Rice Ranch Road | Murfreesboro | TN | 37128

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Quotes of the Week

Get in the Book, stick to the Book, until the Book sticks to you. - Norris Belcher

Sooner or later in life, we all sit down to a banquet of consequences. - Robert Louis Stevenson

The logic of our founders went something like this: Do you want to be free? Then you need a republic. To have a republic you need to have a moral people. To have a moral people you need to have religious teaching. - Peter Lillback

Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. - John Adams

When Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand... as long as I am prime minister, whether it is at the UN or the Francophonie or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost. Not just because it is the right thing to do but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israeli mob tells us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are a threat to all of us. - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

As the great English writer George Eliot predicted over a century ago, that once established, the Jewish state will “shine like a bright star of freedom amid the despotisms of the East.” Well, she was right. We have a free press, independent courts, an open economy, rambunctious parliamentary debates. You think you guys are tough on one another in Congress? Come spend a day in the Knesset. Be my guest.

Courageous Arab protesters, are now struggling to secure these very same rights for their peoples, for their societies. We’re proud that over one million Arab citizens of Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades. Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights. I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of one-percent are truly free, and they’re all citizens of Israel!

This startling fact reveals a basic truth: Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what is right about the Middle East. - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


LUKE 9:37-62

Pastor Rick Jackson


1. Lack of Faith [v. 1, 37-41]

2. Lack of Dedication [v. 41, Mark 9:29]

And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

3. Lack of Humility [v. 46-48]


1. The Power to Deliver [v. 41-45]

2. The Pattern of Deliverance [v. 46-48] Die to self to have power with God

3. The Purpose to Deliver [v. 49-56]


1. When Housing means more than Honoring Him [v. 57-58]

2. When Family means more than Following Him [v. 59-60]

3. When Focus is on our Wants rather than His Will [v. 61-62]

Monday, September 26, 2011

What People Need

Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals 

Nehemiah 8:8 "So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading."


Recently, I was reading through a book I had previously read, and there it was. I was absolutely shocked! I could not believe how much of my brilliance was plagiarized in just one chapter! "I said that! I thought that!" Well, the reason I was shocked-and shouldn't have been-is that all of that information had been locked up in my head from ten years ago!


Isn't it amazing what is in our heads? What we read, what we hear, and how we process the information has a bearing on who we are. Nehemiah 8:8 tells us that Ezra and others rightly divided God's Word ("distinctly") and explained what it meant. God's Word does make sense! The Bible is not inspired because it makes sense; It makes sense because It is inspired.


What became of this "preaching service"? The people understood the Bible! People need to hear from the Word of God, not some contemporary writer, however good he may be. People need to hear from God. Notice that these folks gave time and place to the Word of God. They gave a good part of the day to stand outside and listen to the Bible! Do you give time and place to the Bible? If you are a preacher or Sunday school teacher, do you give time to the Word of God in your sermon or lesson?


Take the Word of God, read it, and explain it to people. The best way to defend the Bible is to use It! Tell people what the Bible says! There is a place for being a good communicator and telling attention-grabbing illustrations; but at the end of the day, any merit to what you say has to be found in God's Word.


I have found that the more time I spend actually thinking about what I've read in the Bible, the more I glean from reading, and the more I have to give others. At the end of the day, what people need is what God has said. Give the Bible time, place, and reverence. When God gives you opportunity to teach or preach the Bible, remember that people need to hear from God!




Prayer Requests: 

1. Revival service tonight in Nashville, TN

2. Recruiting of college summer staff today and tomorrow




Looking for more devotionals?  Visit the archives here

Bill Rice Ranch | 627 Bill Rice Ranch Road | Murfreesboro | TN | 37128

Sunday, September 25, 2011


LUKE 9:26-36

Pastor Rick Jackson

I. THE GLORY TO COME [v. 26-29]

1. The Master of Glory [v. 26]

2. The Mention of Glory [v. 27]

3. The Meaning of Glory [v. 28-29, II Peter 1:16-18]

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.


1. The Weightier Speakers [v. 30]

2. The Weightier Topic [v. 31, Heb. 12:2]

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3. The Weightier Time [v. 32]


1. Speaking from Ignorance [v. 33]

2. Speaking from Heaven [v. 34-35]

3. Speaking from Silence [v. 36, Habakkuk 2:20]

But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.
Zephaniah 1:7 Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.
Zechariah 2:13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.


LUKE 9:1-26

Pastor Rick Jackson

I. THE SENT ONES [v. 1-10]

1. The Sending of the Apostles [v. 1-6]

2. The Perplexity of the People [v. 7-9]

3. The Report to the Saviour [v. 10, Romans 14:12]

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
1 Peter 4:5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.


1. The Desire of the Twelve [v. 11-12]

2. The Decency of the Saviour [v. 13-16]

3. The Delight of the Diners [v. 17]


1. Secure in their Knowledge [v. 18-22]

2. Secure in their Mission [v. 23-25]

3. Secure in their Mandate [v. 26]

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Question of the Week: How can we defend the Christian faith in today's world?

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April 23, 2011

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Q: How can we defend the Christian faith in today's world?

Ken Ham answers: Recently, we began providing free audio downloads (and you can also listen to them online) to a number of the main presentations I give at conferences, in churches, schools, etc. These are similar to the presentations I was not allowed to give at a recent homeschool convention.

The first talk we provided was The Relevance of Genesis.

Today, we are providing you with a presentation entitled How to Defend the Christian Faith in Today's World.
Here is an outline of the talk:
  1. The issue of origins science is different to that of developing our science technology. When we are discussing origins, we are trying to understand what happened in the past to bring the present into being. When we are developing technology, we are gaining knowledge through our five senses (based on repeatable testing).
  2. Creationists and evolutionists, Christians and non-Christians, all have the same evidence when it comes to the topic of origins. The origins battle is not the evidence as such, but how one interprets the evidence of the present in relation to the past.
  3. Ultimately, there are only two starting points to develop a way of thinking about the universe—God's Word or Man's word.
  4. The two starting points result in two different ways of thinking and thus differing interpretations of the same evidence in relation to the past
  5. The word "science" basically means "knowledge." We can gain knowledge by observation, which in science is called operational (observational) science. We can talk about knowledge concerning the past and origins, which is called historical science. Most people don't understand the difference between historical and operational science. Secularists tend to mix the two together and call it "science," which is why so many people are easily led astray concerning the truth about origins.
  6. Romans 1:20 is an "intelligent design" verse, but the intelligent design movement is not a Christian movement.
  7. Christians have by and large been indoctrinated to believe there is a "neutral" position when arguing about origins, Christian morality, etc. Many have given up their starting point, thus allowing the starting point of Man's word to overpower the culture.
  8. Because there is no "neutral" position, Christians need to once again stand boldly and uncompromisingly on God's Word. Christians need to honor God's Word—"Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17).
  9. Christians will continue to lose ground regarding the creation vs. evolution issue in schools, the Bible in schools, Christian symbols in public places, abortion issue, "gay" marriage issue, and so on—unless they stop trying to act "neutral" and begin to stand for biblical authority.
  10. The collapse of the Christian worldview in our Western world is related to the fact that the various cultures have changed starting points—from God's Word to man's word—and become more consistent in building their worldview on man's fallible word.
  11. The Bible makes it clear that hearts and minds change cultures, but many Christians have spent millions of dollars trying to change the culture through legislation, which is not working.
  12. Christians have by and large allowed the secular world to capture the hearts and minds of generations of the kids, and they need to be taken back and given the right foundation of God's Word.
You can listen to the audio of this talk in MP3 format online, or download it for free.

News to Note Quick Look

The mother tongue?: Two separate linguistics studies provide findings consistent with a biblical worldview. Read more.

Not-so-ancient algae: Tiny fossils of algae found at the edge of Loch Torridon in Scotland have been hailed as evidence that life evolved in freshwater and on land a billion years ago. Read more.


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A Question of the Week: Why build an Ark?

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September 24, 2011

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top leftIn this issue . . .

Q: Why build an Ark?

A: With the announcement of the Ark Encounter several months ago, Answers in Genesis received numerous letters questioning our next major project. These are some of the common objections:
  • Why spend so much on an Ark when starving children could be fed in third-world countries?
  • Why not give the money to a Christian school?
  • Why not spend the money on looking for the Ark?
  • Why not give the money to other ministries?
Certainly some of these are sincere questions and should be addressed. Why not give to the poor? Well, we encourage people to share with those in need, and many Answers in Genesis employees and supporters do. But if Christians give to the poor, would that negate the need for other giving?
When people say the money donated for the full-size Noah's Ark should be spent instead on feeding the poor or giving to another cause, they are essentially arguing that no money should be given to building the Ark Encounter.
However, we can't think of a more effective way to share the gospel with many millions of people today than by using an Ark.

Continue reading to see how the Ark Encounter fulfils the great commission and is desparately needed in today's world.

News to Note Quick Look

Fuzzy fossils: Both dinosaur and bird feathers revealing the stages of feather evolution have been found in Canadian amber, according to a report published in Science. Paleontology graduate student Ryan McKellar surveyed 4000 pieces of amber and found eleven with feathery, hairy, or fuzzy inclusions. Read more.

Dark matter's shadow: Current big bang cosmology may be in for an overhaul, of sorts, suggests cosmologist Carlos Frenk. Speaking at the British Science Festival, Frenk revealed that the Virgo Consortium's computer simulations of the formation of dwarf galaxies don't match up with observable facts. Read more.


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Friday, September 23, 2011

To Give or Get?

Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals 

Nehemiah 5:19 "Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people."


Reading Nehemiah chapters 5-6 are kind of like reading Nehemiah's personal diary! He says in the last verse of chapter 5, "Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people." That sounds pretty bold, doesn't it? He was asking God to notice the good that he had done!


In our world, we are a little more sophisticated about this matter. Instead of going to God about it, we hint to other people and fuss when they don't notice! Was Nehemiah being selfish? Was he complaining to God? Remember this fact about Nehemiah: he was a giver. No one needs more than the person who is giving. When you give more, you need more. When you need more, you can receive more.


Nehemiah's very honest request to God was based on his dependence upon God. There was a certain amount of desperation when he prayed, "Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands." As adults, we generally do not ask for help if we can keep from it. If you never think you are lost, you will never stop and ask for directions! (I've heard of such things happening...)


Sometimes, like Nehemiah, I remind the Lord that there are certain things I wouldn't need if I wasn't doing what He asked me to do! Some days I need patience that I wouldn't otherwise need if I wasn't helping His people. Some days I need wisdom that I would not otherwise need if I wasn't responsible for His Ranch here in Tennessee. I'm sure there are similar needs in your life each day.


Only people who receive help can give it. When you get the help you need from God, you will have the help you need for others. Getting help from God begins with an openness and honesty before God, coupled with humility and dependence. Follow the example of Nehemiah and ask God for what you need to do what He has called you to do.




Prayer Requests: 

1. Revival services this weekend in Kodiak, AK

2. Ranch evangelists preaching this weekend in Petersburg, IN; Clio, MI; Camp Verde, AZ; Nashville, TN; and Forsyth, GA




Looking for more devotionals?  Visit the archives here

Bill Rice Ranch | 627 Bill Rice Ranch Road | Murfreesboro | TN | 37128

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Quotes of the Week

People who want to avoid the truth about themselves can always find something in the preacher to criticize. This is one way they "justify themselves." - Warren W. Wiersbe

It has pleased God to honor our faith, because faith is that which honors Him. Faith takes Him at His Word, and counts the things which are not as though they were (Rom. 4:17). But it is not faith that does the work. It is but the means which God uses to unloose His unlimited power. Faith is the hand which lays hold of Omnipotence. - H.A. Ironside

I hear people say, "I do not like that preacher because he is too intellectual and his tone is monotonous." And the same folk say, "I do not like that preacher because he pounds the pulpit and yells at the top of his voice." The problem is not with these two types of preachers. The problem is with the spoiled baby who complains. That is what the Lord said in His day [Luke 7:33-35], and it is still applicable today. - J. Vernon McGee

God is not the author of confusion but He's not helpless when it occurs! - Clyde Box

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


LUKE 8:22-56

Pastor Rick Jackson

I. OVER NATURE [v. 22-25]

1. The Will of God is the Place of Peace [v. 22-23a]

2. The Will of God Doesn’t Mean a Lack of Storms [v. 23b]

3. The Will of God is the Presence of the Saviour [v. 24-25]

II. OVER DEMONS [v. 26-39]

1. The Devil’s Business [v. 26-27]

2. The Demon’s Nightmare [v. 28-32]

3. The Humans’ Capacity for Evil [v. 33-39]

III. OVER ILLNESS [v. 40-48]

1. A Father‘s Little Faith [v. 40-42]

2. The Saviour’s Knowledge [v. 43-46]

3. A Woman’s Great Faith [v. 47-48]

IV. OVER DEATH [v. 49-56]

1. The Word of Encouragement [v. 49-50]

2. The World’s Derision [v. 51-53]

3. The Word of Authority [v. 54-56]

But God

Days of Praise
But God
September 21, 2011
"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." (Galatians 4:4-5)
God makes all the difference! There was a time when the whole world was in bondage to sin and death. But God!
"But . . . God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, . . . To redeem them that were under the law," and because He did, "the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Romans 8:21).
There was a problem, however, for every man individually was still a lost sinner, deserving to die under the righteous and well-deserved wrath of a Holy God. But God!
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). He died for us, suffering in our place, because He loved us. The issue is not yet settled, however, for how could a dead redeemer ever complete the work He was sent to do? But God!
"But God raised him from the dead" (Acts 13:30). The price for sin was for ever settled and done, so that God, in full righteousness and in mighty power, could raise His beloved Son, alive forevermore.
Yes, but we ourselves are still sinful--still dying. Our very nature keeps us still in bondage to sin, even though the price for our deliverance has been fully paid. But God!
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ. . . . For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8). We cannot fully understand. But God does not require us to understand--only to believe, and receive. HMM
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