What did this look like? Did Jesus actually pray for people in Nazareth and nothing happen? Did he make an attempt to do a mighty work and fail, because of the peoples’ unbelief? Or does it mean he knew their hearts and did not even attempt a great miracles except for healing a few sick folks?
The Pulpit Commentary seems to imply the former, “This is a remarkable expression. He could do no mighty work there. The words imply want of power – that in some sense or other he was unable to do it.”
I believe gifts of healing should be active in the church today and elders ought to lay hands on the sick and anoint with oil and pray the prayer of faith. When I pray for miracles or attempt to heal a few sick folks, I don’t get any better results than Jesus had in his hometown. But I don’t get discouraged out of obedience to God I press on and try again in the next town or situation.
A big part of the New Testament records the many miracles and healings which Jesus and the Apostles did. But isn’t it interesting that there is this record when even Jesus did not perform as well as he would have liked?
January 4th, on my 76th birthday, I am meditating on David’s mighty men, his army of rebels.
2 Samuel 23:9-10: “Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: 10 He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.”
The men of Israel were so dismayed by the forces of the Philistines that they retreated. But Eleazar of old heard the call, the same call which I answered 47 years ago, “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?”—Psalm 94:16.
Eleazar stood his ground that notable day with David and the other two men of renowned against the intimidating advancing army of Philistines.
Eleazar cut down the Philistines one by one until there was none left to fight him. Afterward, the other Israelites came back, but only for the plunder. When they found Eleazar, his arm was so exhausted from the battle; the blood on his hand had congealed to his sword and it had to be pried loose. His hand was also likely cramped from holding so tightly to his weapon for so long. Through the heat of the battle, as tired as he was, he was not about to drop his sword.
Since I took up the Sword of the Spirit in 1972, I have never put it down in the midst of the battle. It has become stuck to my hand and I wield it against the multitudes of students daily. I meditate about its truth and teach and proclaim it daily.
Bro. Jed & Co. are going forth to fight the Philistines with the Sword of Truth, knowing that we are not simply battling against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers and the rulers of darkness, which captured our universities generations ago. Victory is ours! Defeat is unthinkable.
Christian warfare is a fight to the finish. David said that the righteous “shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing”–Psalm 92:12–14
With the passing of the years, I am asked ever more frequently, “How much longer are you going to preach? When are you going to retire?”
I reply, “Retirement is not in my plans; I intend on continuing as long as I am able. I want to die standing, wielding my sword.”
We encourage others to join us and we are thankful for those who have partnered with us to keep us supplied on the front-lines of our battle between good and evil, right and wrong, truth and error, God and the devil. We are determined to be successful or die trying. Should we succeed in saving the multitudes, we will probably have hordes of Christians, who will then want to join us to make disciples for their organizations. Our purpose is to raise an army, who will love righteousness and hate iniquity.
Later, Eleazar, as part of the Three, broke through Philistine lines to Bethlehem to get a drink for David from a well near the gate while they were encamped in the Cave of Adullam, but David poured the water out as a drink offering saying, “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?”—2 Samuel 23:17
We don’t need hordes to retake the campuses for Christ; we require a dedicated few, like the Three, who go forth with the water of life in jeopardy of their lives. Join us in prayer, financial support or even actually on the battlefield–if you dare. Join the Church Militant!
Please consider sending a special gift of $76 to The CMUSA in celebration of my 76th birthday.
A constant theme of the traditional Christmas Carols is the joyous news. How can men of good will be in a state of depression, when the news of “peace on earth and good will towards men” has been broadcast by angels?
Are not angels still “bending near the earth” to communicate with men on clear nights, when their thoughts are directed above instead of below? Our concentration should be on eternal matters, especially during this season of Advent.
The peace that the angels proclaimed does not mainly speak of a lack of strife between nations but it sings of an inner peace within the hearts and minds of the faithful. There is little that we as individuals can do to stop nations at war. But we do have the choice of striving to make peace with those within our family, social and business circles.
On a clear night as you lay your head in “solemn stillness,” remember that to hear the joyful song and to be jubilant we need to also be solemn, serious, and in earnest. In the midst of our joy over our salvation, the blessed will mourn over the lost state of a Christ rejecting world. But it will be a comforting joy, found on the hope of Christ’s second advent.
The joy of the Lord is not light or frivolous, but a state of mind of gladness and blessedness.
Hearken unto the voice of your conscience. Is there anyone against whom you have ill will? If so, the unforgiving spirit can rob you of your joy and peace.
Are you warring against the convicting power of the Holy Ghost? Surrender to him now! He is a “all gracious King.”
Finally, at Jesus second coming, he will bring peace between the nations and the “whole world will send back the song, which now the angles sing.”
Gladly, we do not have to wait until an obscure future date. Sing now! Get out your old hymnal and sing back, this glorious song of old. Sing it over and over until you are refreshed from your state of gloom.
Alas, I know of no new song that comes close to capturing the glory that is Christmas as “It Came Upon The Midnight Clear,” written 169 years ago.
In 1739, Charles Wesley published the hymn, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing!” One verse of the carol says, “Joyful all ye nations rise.” Nations rise and fall according to what they do with the gospel, which the angels heralded.
America joyfully rose out of the darkness of heathenism to become the mightiest nation ever, because of men, who first gave “glory unto the new born king,” instead of temporal kings.
Some call into question America’s Christian heritage, because they primarily associate our founders with political and secular fathers like Franklin, Washington and Jefferson, instead of men of great faith, like Methodist preacher, George Whitfield. He came to America from England in 1740 and preached up and down the colonies and became a leading light of the First Great Awakening.
Whitefield’s popular hymn book, A Collection of Hymns for Social Worship (1753), which went through dozens of editions, included, “Hark the Herald Angels sing. Whitfield and his travelling companions were known for singing on public roads as they journeyed from town to before the Revolution.
The father of American Methodism, Francis Asbury, was commissioned to America by John Wesley in 1771. After the Revolution, he became known as “the prophet of the long road.” On horseback he rode the circuit up and down the newly formed states with the Bible in one hand and the hymns of Charles Wesley on his tongue, including “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” He established Methodist churches, which were instrumental in making America great in the first place. Asbury was one of the leaders of the Second Great Awakening.
Other evangelical preachers, many of whom like Whitfield and Asbury preached outside, were instrumental in laying the Christian foundation of America. They are rarely given the credit they deserve as founding fathers. Certainly, they were not Deists. Whitfield and Asbury were two of the best-known men of their times. Whitfield reached celebrity status.
“Hark! The herald angels sing.” Hark means to listen carefully. It is a strong word that we rarely here anymore. Herald angels are messenger angels. Herald is another word, which has fallen out of popular usage with the demise of city newspapers. Today, the favorite media term is breaking news.
The publishing angels proclaimed the birth of the new born king, which is the most important event of history; it was an announcement of peace to a world in strife, a promise of tender mercies to minds tormented with guilt.
“God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” —2 Cor 5:19
With the herald angels, disciples of Christ are commanded to preach the message of reconciliation between God and sinners; whereby sinners are transformed into saints.
This hymn is more than a Christmas Carol; it is an Easter hymn; it heralds, “Christ has risen with healing in his wings!” When men make peace with God through repentance and faith in his death and resurrection, distressed minds become serene.
Few heard the multitude of the heavenly host singing that night, because few were carefully listening. Anxious souls, hearken to those that Herald the truth, then your mind will experience a tranquility, which no medication can provide.
“Join the triumph of the skies.” Hark and Sing your way to a perfect peace this Christmas season, mediate and pray over the words you are singing. Then tell the world, that “Christ is born in Bethlehem!” Hark, then herald the good news!
Before the faithful go into all the world to preach the gospel, we must first come to Bethlehem to adore or worship the Incarnate Christ, the Babe, born this happy morning.
Babies are weak and dependent creatures. Isn’t it astounding that our Savior is represented first as a child in a manger, born in obscurity? Lastly, we see him apparently in defeat, weakly hanging from a wooden cross on a mount for every eye to see.
God said to Paul in his suffering, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”–2 Cor 12:9.
The world wants power to escape weakness in ease and comfort, but the faithful are offered power to endure weakness in love and hope. Jesus ultimately triumph over suffering and death, when he rose from the dead on the third day.
For good mental health we cannot give into our fears and anxieties, or even necessarily count on God in this life-time to deliver us from terrible trials and distresses. The faithful should glory and be take pleasure in their infirmities, knowing God’s grace is sufficient to carry us through the difficulties and disappointments of life.
This Christmas morning join the choir of angles and the church triumphant in singing, “Glory to God, Glory in the highest.” Especially those that may be depressed, “sing in exaltation.”
Sing, sing, sing, until you have the victory!
Eusebius taught, “The Creator of all things has impressed a natural law upon the soul of every man, as an assistant and ally in his conduct, pointing out to him the right way by this law; but, by the free liberty with which he is endowed, making the choice of what is best worthy of praise and acceptance, because he has acted rightly, not by force, but from his own free-will, when he had it in his power to act otherwise, As, again, making him who chooses what is worst, deserving of blame and punishment, as having by his own motion neglected the natural law, and becoming the origin and fountain of wickedness, and misusing himself, not from any extraneous necessity, but from free will and judgment. The fault is in him who chooses, not in God. For God has not made nature or the substance of the soul bad; for he who is good can make nothing but what is good. Everything is good which is according to nature. Every rational soul has naturally a good free-will, formed for the choice of what is good. But when a man acts wrongly, nature is not to be blamed; for what is wrong, takes place not according to nature, but contrary to nature, it being the work of choice, and not of nature.”–The Christian Examiner, Volume One, published by James Miller, 1824 Edition, p. 66
Thus, Eusebius confirms that the doctrine of original sin, or an inherited sinful nature did not come into prominence until Augustine (354-440), who developed his doctrine in his controversy with Pelagius (360-418), who was defender of the historical, traditional, rational, intuitive, and scriptural view of free-will, which was the prevailing view of the church until Augustine.
With the Christmas Carols, we can sing our way out of depression. This Advent season don’t allow yourself to be overcome by depression and anxiety.
This hymn dates back to at least the 16th Century:
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay;
Remember Christ, our Saviour,
Was born on Christmas day,
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
comfort and joy,
According to Merriam Webster, “rest” used, as a verb means “to free from anxiety or disturbance.” The definition of “dismay” is “to cause to lose courage or resolution (as because of alarm or fear).”
Satan goal is to “to kill, and to steal and to destroy” by tormenting men with “mental disorders” even to the place where they lose the will to live. Christ came into the world that “we might have life and life more abundantly.”—John 10:10
The Incarnation of Christ bodes tidings of comfort and joy. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter in times of life’s struggles and challenges; he brings joy as opposed to sorrow.
Students scorn me for suggesting one can overcome “chemical imbalances” by singing.
Well, there is something else required; you must sing from your heart (will), not simply from you mind or emotions. Simply believe!
Resolve to have peace of mind!
In my unqualified support of President Trump many unbelievers and even many Christians have claimed I am hypocritical and inconsistent in holding him up as a brother in the Lord, while I daily condemn sin on campus. They just don’t see how Trump can possibly be regarded as a Christian.
I fear that if they were actually well read in evaluating David’s reign as King, they might well question whether David was a true believer. Most Christians are familiar with the Acts 13:22, where God says, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.”
However, God’s judgment of David’s character seems inconsistent at times. A less known evaluation of David says, “But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, You have shed blood abundantly, and have made great wars: you shall not build a house unto my name, because you have shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.”—1 Chronicles 22:8
God considered that David had unnecessarily resorted to war, death and destruction in upholding his Kingdom.
In Gary Greenberg’s book, “The Sins of King David,” the author claims, “David was a corrupt and ambitious mercenary who committed treason against Israel by working with its enemies to seize the throne from King Saul; an ambitious and ruthless politician who initiated, sanctioned, or condoned murder and assassination as a way to eliminate political rivals, royal or otherwise; a Philistine vassal who used an army of malcontents to terrorize and conquer the Kingdom of Judah while Saul was still on the throne; a usurper who went to war against Israel after Saul’s death and imposed himself as king over the nation of Israel by military force; a cruel and unjust tyrant who used foreign mercenaries to centralize power under his direct control and who oppressed the people of Israel with high taxes and forced labor; a military imperialist who waged wars of conquest against his neighbors and exposed the peaceful Israelites to military counter-attacks that left many dead, wounded, or widowed.”
David’s many enemies would have agreed with Greenberg. On the other hand, most serious Biblical students would not be as critical of David as Greenberg is. But for those who judge according to outward appearance and do not judge righteously (John 7:24) upon learning more of King David’s monarchy would likely think he is a candidate for Hell. Many contemporary Christians would not accept King David as a man having the Spirit of Christ, if they really knew all the facts. He did not seem to exercise the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount.
On several occasions David turned the other cheek towards Saul, but with other enemies he could be quite vindictive. His many imprecatory prayers in Psalms do not measure up in the judgment of many Christians to loving your enemies or the principles of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Of course, we all know of David’s adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband, Uriah, by sending him to the front lines of the battle to be killed.
Some may be familiar with David pride, which led him to do a census of Israel, which resulted in God bringing terrible judgments on the people of Israel. The Chronicler considers this sin to have been so bad that the devil himself was behind the census.
David was a weak father, who failed to discipline his children, which resulted in the rebellion of his son, Absalom. David had multiple wives, which resulted in much conflict within his family. Yet, even those who are aware of the faults and failures of David and his sins still regard him as a heroic example of the faith as does the N.T. Book of Hebrews.
What are we to make of the evaluation of 1 Kings 15:5? The scripture says, “David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”
Notice there is no mention of David’s adultery nor of him numbering Israel. Could it be said that God had forgotten David’s failures and transgressions because of David’s deep repentance? However, his sin against Uriah was so grievous it was still on God’s mind.
After Jesus had forgiven the woman caught in adultery, he said to the Pharisees, “You judge after the flesh, I judge no man.”—John 8:15. There is too much pharisaical judgment against Trump. The pharisees judged by human standards, they did not look beneath the surface and learn to judge righteously.
David’s transgressions in his personal life, some of which carried over into his public life as is virtually inevitable with Christian rulers such as David and Constantine the Great, may not measure up to what men generally expect out of a Christian in our time, nor does President Trump’s life seem to be on the level of the Sermon on the Mount.
President Trump should be judged by a righteous judgment not by hypocrites with a self-righteous censorial spirit, whose overall lives often do not reach the standard by which they are judging others.