By Pastor Bill Daniels
What follows is a collection of things written over the years for the back page of our weekly church bulletins. Thus the title. The thoughts expressed herein have largely arisen out of my study of God’s blessed Book of books and preparations for the teaching of it. Though the expression of thoughts are my own, the seeds of many of them have been collected here and there from men much smarter than myself. What you will find here are brief efforts at conciseness dealing with scattered subjects. I present opinions I sincerely believe to be consistent with God’s own heart. Not a word was written in bitterness, though I recognize some folks may deem some of these views harsh or “judgmental”. You decide for yourself. Please allow me to challenge your thinking. I write to help not to hurt. Like the surgeon’s scalpel, sometimes what is most helpful to us cuts and hurts at the first before its healing effect is seen. May the Lord be our Teacher, and may we be genuine listeners to the details of what He’s saying to us.
The Counsel of the Ungodly
Signs of Imbalance
God is Holy God is Love
Is this God’s way, or man’s unenlightened method? Is it our duty to dress up the true religion of Christ in a form we consider more acceptable to the unbelieving world? Are we to compromise with paganism or just preach Christ? This same method is still evident in the like of “Christian” rock, rap, and discos, leading only down to greater compromise. “We preach Christ crucified . . . unto the Greeks foolishness.”
On Public Debates with Heretics
In Mark 8:10-13 the Jewish leaders came to Jesus, again demanding a sign from Him, that He “prove it!” concerning who He is. The Lord simply refused them, turned, and sailed away. Indeed the Lord resists the proud, giving grace only to the humble. From all coming to Him with an arrogant “go ahead, convince me!” sort of attitude He simply walked away. They demanded proof of divine presence with no real givenness to the divine. In the same way some demand proof of God’s presence in His divine Word, with no givenness to the true God of the Word. From such we are wise to simply walk away!
Again, in John 10:24, the proud Jewish leaders demanded a clear statement from Jesus whether He is the Messiah or no, which He denied them. Why did they want such a statement anyway? Because they suspected it true? Because they leaned toward belief in Him? More likely they sought cause to express their rejection in stoning Him. (Jn. 10:31). Jesus saw no need to supply further proofs to such rejecting hearts. Despite the impatient, pushy demands of those leaders, and despite their position as those who thought they deserved some explanation, Jesus simply refused. Christ’s identity was all quite clear already. The same applies today with modern Christ-rejecters who demand opportunity to debate the merits of God’s truths.
Contrast Christ’s clear self-revelation to the woman at the well (Jn. 4:25-26), for there was one with a heart to believe. And consider His blessing on Peter when he resolutely declared Jesus to be “the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the Living God” (John 6:67-69; Matt. 16:15-20). For truly seeking hearts Jesus has time and telling revelation. For rejecting hearts, demanding proofs they do not really want, He offers neither time nor further revelation.
“If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God” (John 7:17).
We Believe Another Book
How are we to respond to those who just believe another book (Muslims, Mormons, Hindus, etc.), and even those who pervert God’s words (New World Trans. of the Jehovah’s Witnesses)? It’s a tough one, for they all tend to say the same things Bible believers say in support of their books. “If you claim the right to believe as you wish, so do we. Prove that we must hear your Bible over the writings we’ve chosen!”
In answer consider the Lord’s prophet, Micaiah, counsellor before King Ahab. God gave to Micaiah the daunting task of contradicting Ahab’s 400 lying “prophets”. In the poignant throne room scene described in I Ki. 22 the king’s prophets were unanimous in their counsel insisting “the Lord has spoken by us!” But Micaiah’s response exposed them for liars, proclaiming himself God’s true spokesman. And he was right! And then, when challenged by those offended “prophets”, God’s prophet was faced with the same demand we face with those believing another book. “Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak to you?!” (vs. 24). “Where do you get off, saying you have the true Spirit inspiring your words and we don’t?” The answer of God’s man was quite simple and instructive. Essentially, “You shall see when it comes to pass, in your coming moment of realisation and terror” (vs. 25). Micaiah did not feel the need to lay out reasons why his words were to be accepted as God’s over the contrary counsel of the “other book”. He made no attempt to convince them or to prove the “other book” wrong, for it seems he knew they already knew. He just said, “God in time will show where lies the lie, and will vindicate me when my words come to pass.” It was the indisputable argument of fulfilled prophecy, which only the Bible can claim. What God says comes to pass!
As well, when a man found himself in hell, in Luke 16, and pled with Abraham that one might return from the dead to warn his yet living brothers, the answer of Abraham there speaks volumes (vs. 29-31). Abraham explained that it’s quite enough that men have access to the words of Moses and the prophets. He allowed for the need of no additional proofs, and implied that it’s a matter of the heart, not of the head. For those who “hear not Moses and the prophets” will refuse the most miraculous influence or argument.
This other book business is just another expression of man’s wilful independence and pride. For it is God Himself who confirms that all who follow any other way or book, other than His, are fools (Luke 24:25) and condemnable, following lying spirits. By faith in God’s words we are confident that God will display this in time, and that the Spirit of God is already convincing the unsaved of these truths, and that the truth of the Word of God is already shining brightly enough to leave every man without excuse for rejecting the true Book, and the true God of the Book.
“If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God” (John 7:17). The willingness to do brings the knowing of the true.
One Christian’s Answer to a Muslim
Please allow me to take you to the core difference between the religion of the Bible and every other religion, including your own. The Bible describes the God who is holy, absolutely pure, without the least toleration of sin. As well, the Bible constantly affirms the sinfulness of all men, with hearts not only wicked but “desperately” so (Jer. 17:9). The vast gulf between holy God and sinful man is utterly unbridgeable from man’s side. Herein lies the great difference. Your religion offers a blessing from your Allah that is attainable by your righteous actions of following steadfast in his teachings and obedience. The Bible presents the God so holy, and human sin so evil, it is impossible for man to make amends with God by doing good. It’s too late! His evil and sin-defiled heart already stand in the way. No amount of good deed can atone for evil. Except man’s sin be put right and pardoned there is no hope! And there is no hope in man for that vital work.
God has long ago established the principle that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22). In God’s reckoning death is sin’s due. That’s what Jesus was all about. God sent His own Son to die in man’s place (for God does indeed have a Son, as Psalm 2 makes clear). Jesus allowed the punishment and death due to man to fall upon Himself in the suffering of the cross. He was not weak. He allowed what happened there in grace, that He might carry the power of sin away in death, that He might rise in victory over death forevermore, and that all who stand with Him might not bear their own judgment for their sin. Now through faith in Jesus Christ, a soul finds forgiveness in the only way he can, not by his earning, but only by receiving it from God.
This does not make a Christian free to sin. It makes him a loving, grateful child of God, who is learning to choose not to offend his holy heavenly Father by his sin anymore.
Evolution and the Bible Married?!
Some thoughts for those confused souls who want to believe both the Bible and evolutionary theories, thinking long ages of evolution can somehow be married to Bible truth.
Bible – Creation is a finished event, for “He rested from all His work which God created and made” (Gen. 2:3; Ex. 20:11), and “the works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Heb. 4:3).
Evolution – “Creation” is an ongoing progression, for the development of all things is still becoming, a matter of natural processes which can be studied in operation now.
Bible – God created plants and creatures to reproduce “after his kind” (10 times in Gen. 1). “After” – each new generation following the last in a fixed kind of flesh. “His kind” – each differing “kind” a different kind of flesh (cf. I Cor. 15:39).
Evolution – All comes from common flesh or ancestor. And there are no fixed boundaries of flesh kinds, for flesh is ever in a flux of continual development.
Bible – All of God’s works are according to ordered plan (Isa. 46:11; Eph. 1:9), “decently and in order”, for He “is not the author of confusion” (I Cor. 14:33, 40).
Evolution – All developed through a meandering trial and error, hit and miss process of random mutations with no apparent ordered design or Designer.
Bible – Man brought death into existence, through sin, “for since by man came death” (I Cor. 15:21; Rom. 5:12).
Evolution – Death brought man into existence, the fossil record presumed to show “millions of years” of life and death until man’s eventual development.
You cannot believe both I’m afraid, for these two views are clearly contradictory, proclaiming one or the other a lie.
“Choose you this day whom ye will serve”
Headaches of Science
One of the many headaches evolutionary “science” faces is that when life forms begin to show in the fossil layers, they come in with a rush and with great complexity, rather than the slow rise from scarcity to abundance and from “simple” life forms to complex, as the evolution model would expect. Could the model perhaps need adjustment? Of course the biblical model suggests that the fossil records were laid down by Noah’s Flood. This would imply an abundance of complex life forms from the first sedimentary layers, as the record shows. Would it not seem that the Bible model is more likely correct? As well, when the Lord spoke all sea creatures into existence on the 5th day of His creative week, saying in Genesis 1:20, “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life”, He filled the waters with an abundance of life at that point. The terms mean what they say – “bring forth abundantly” – abound, teem, swarm. He filled on the 5th day the waters He separated out empty of life on the 2nd & 3rd days.
Be not faithless but believing my friend. Don’t let your courage be bludgeoned into close-mouth quietude by the scorning “oppositions of science falsely so called”. It’s all too evident that “in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”. And it is equally evident that the Lord then later destroyed most of life on earth, because “the wickedness of man was great”, laying down the fossil record. Those records, which science so foolishly misreads, record far more than God-rejecting men care to admit. They ensure man’s own ultimate doom at the hands of that One willing to “destroy man whom I have created.”
One is sometimes given the impression by evolution’s defenders of a relatively complete array of transitional forms with a few elusive missing links. How convincing were it true. What has actually been found in the fossil records is relatively minor changes consistent with what we see within species today, i.e. physical differences in people of differing race, physical variations within canine, equine, bovine, etc. – movement within phyla, but not from phylum to phylum, from “kind” to “kind”. And then these trivial findings are speciously extended into the hypothetical in an effort to cover for the yet missing, really significant and essential transitional forms so vital to the theory of evolution. This combined as well with a white-knuckled grip on homology as further “proof” of evolution. One wouldn’t need homology if palaeontology proved the point. There was a day when such an approach might have carried more weight, back when relatively few fossil forms had been discovered, and the scientific community was electric with anticipation of what would be found when more fossil evidence was produced. And indeed there has been a veritable landslide of fossil discovery and research in recent decades, motivated partly by the earnest effort to find transitional forms. But, alas, the defenders of evolution still just don’t have anything more of any tangible significance. They are still conjecturing fins to feet. They are still hypothesizing scales fraying into the complex structure of feathers. Where are these transitions?! With all of the evidence that has come in, they would have found them by now . . . if they existed. Logically we must assume that the majority of fossils would be made up of such transitional forms from phylum to phylum were the theory of evolution true. And yet palaeontology just cannot find these genuinely convincing transitions! Indeed, they never will, because they simply are not there!
Evolutionists continue to imagine the wonder and intricacy of the eye or the brain developing in a universe where the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is apparent to all. They cannot explain why the earliest geologic layers suddenly show complex life forms. Self-evident it is that the theory of evolution is simply not logical. The evidence does not match the theory. The less biased can easily see this. Oh I wouldn’t claim to be unbiased, but certainly less biased than the evolutionist, and less desperate too.
How right Peter was when writing of latter-day “willing ignorance” (II Pet. 3:5). For the willingly ignorant, evolution is a has-to-be, despite the facts. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:22).
Why the Question?
Why would we raise a question mark over the historical and chronological truthfulness of Genesis 1-11? Few people in possession of the facts question the truth of Bible history back to the life of Abraham anymore (Gen. 12), thanks partly to the work of archaeology. So why would we view Genesis 1-11 any differently? The manner of writing of these questioned chapters is the same as in the rest of the book. Chapter 11 merges easily into chapter 12, suggesting no distinctions between the portions. The only factor leading people to doubt these earlier chapters is that they appear perhaps a bit harder to believe than the later chapters of Genesis in the “light” of science. Should ease of belief factor in our acceptance of Scripture portions? And if the historical truthfulness of Gen. 1-11 is in doubt, why does it seem that neither Jesus nor the gospel writers knew that? Jesus quoted from Gen. 1 & 2 in Matt. 19:4 & 5. In Jn. 8:44 He referred to the fact of the fall, found in Gen. 3. Jesus pointed to the events of Gen. 4 in Luke 11:51. Need I continue? It doesn’t appear that Jesus even suspected what the terribly smart of our day are so easily preaching.
Letter to the Lonely Lost
I hear you say that you’re not lonely. Yet I think I’m hearing a lonely person in you? You’ve asked me to pray for you and this I will do. But I will pray that you might find what I have found, and what I know you are needing, indeed crying out for in the depths of your being.
Many years ago I was a lonely young man. Until one day I discovered something absolutely stunning, that the God of heaven, the Creator Himself wished to be my friend! But the reason He could not be my friend was because my sin stood in the way. I learned that He had taken steps to deal with my sin, at great cost to Himself. He had sent His own Son Jesus to die in my place, to take the punishment I deserve. And now, if I would just believe on Jesus, call on Him, cry out to Him, receive Him, God would actually pardon my sin and make me His own child!!! And so at last there came a moment when I knew I must have God’s pardon. And I cried out to Him for His help, and confessed before Him that I am a miserable sinner deserving His anger and judgment, and asked Him please in His mercy to forgive my sin because of what Jesus did for me. And my friend, I was saved in that moment, forgiven by God, and I knew it! From that day God is now my Father and is always with me! I talk to Him and He speaks to me through His Word, the Bible. He helps me in my walk through this life, as if a child walking beside his loving father, holding his hand. And I live without fear of death anymore. For I know to die will be for my soul to be with Him. May the Lord lead you through to the life and love I’ve found in Jesus Christ. For my God wishes to be your friend and Father too.
“As many as received Him [Jesus], to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born . . . of God” (John 1:12-13).
Rejoicing in Jesus,
Your Concerned Friend
Somebody Died for You
You’re walking to school, and you’re in a hurry. It has just been one of those mornings. Your mum was angry and you’re running quite late, so you’re thinking more about speed than caution, and about the trouble you’re likely to be in when you get to school. You’ve already realized that, in your hurry, you forgot to pick up your lunch when you left the house, but it’s too late to go back and you’re bugged about that too. And so you’re quite distracted as you walk along, but you’re not thinking about how distracted you are. You’re thinking about all the things you have to think about, when, without really thinking about it, you step off the pavement to cross the street.
And as you step out into the street, suddenly you remember that in the back of your mind you’ve been hearing the droning sound of a motor getting louder. But you didn’t really think about that until the moment you stepped off the pavement. But that thought suddenly snaps to your complete attention with the terrifying sound of air brakes fully applied on the street behind you. And you quickly turn your head to see over your backpack, a big truck coming right at you!!
Now our thoughts at such times can flash through our heads with incredible speed. People tell of their whole life flashing before their eyes at such moments. And in that blip of a second several thoughts zip through your mind all at once. In an instant you recognize that there is no chance of your getting out of the way of that oncoming truck – too close! too late! And in that same moment you know that there is no way that truck is going to be able to stop in time – too big! too close! too fast! too late! And with sudden desperation you catch your breath as it dawns on you that you are going to be hit! And there’s no escaping it! In fact, because of the speed and size of that horrible monster coming at you, you’re going to be hit badly!
And just then, almost in the very same moment that these thoughts are flashing through your consciousness, just as a thousand screams begin to rise in your throat, you’re suddenly hit from the side with such a tremendous thump that you’re knocked flying into a heap back onto the pavement, with the sickening sound behind you of a dull smack and grunt – something like the sound when you pop a big paper bag full of air.
As you quickly pick yourself up from the pavement, breathless and fearful that you might be hurt, you’re distantly aware that the truck has rolled on past and is grinding to a stop a little ways down the street. Your first thought being that you were actually hit and thrown by the truck, you’re quite amazed to see that you don’t seem to be injured at all!
And then, another sound suddenly captures all of your attention. A sound you’ll never forget! You hear a strange sort of groaning, rasping breath behind you on the street. And you quickly turn to see the most unbelievable sight. There you see the crushed and battered body of a man, lying in an unnaturally twisted sort of way, there on the street where you just were. And it’s like you’re in a dream as you find yourself walking over to the mutilated form of that man, wondering how in the world he got there? And what could have happened to him? And knowing that it must have been that truck that made such a mess of his ruined body. You’re vaguely thinking these things when suddenly you realize that the man is looking at you – and looking at you with something so out of place in his eyes, something quite unexpected. He’s looking at you with compassion, with such unbelievable love and concern in his eyes. And as you stand there dazed, stunned with it all; the twisted body of a man here on the street, and with what life is left in him, he’s looking up at you with such genuine compassion. It just doesn’t make sense.
That’s when you realize that he’s trying to say something to you, but he’s able to speak only very faintly. And so you bend close to hear him, with an awful sick feeling rising in your stomach. And he’s saying (gasping) with his last breath, “ . . . saw the truck coming . . . no time to shout . . . pushed you out of the way . . .”. And then you saw. You were looking into those eyes of compassion, and you saw as his life slipped away from him, and you knew that he was gone. And you were left standing there on the street over a dead man, as people began to run up to you. Oh the shock as it all came clear to you in that moment of dawning, that this man – this incredible, caring man – had seen you thoughtlessly step out into the street, and had seen the truck coming at you, and had reacted in a moment and dove across in front of that truck, and had hit you with enough force to push you out of the way, before he himself had been hit and killed – instead of you – instead of you! And now you’re standing there looking down at his dead and destroyed body. This one who gave his life for yours! And you know that you’ll never be the same. You know that if he had not done what he did, sacrifice his own life, it would be your twisted and broken body lying there on the street right now!
And then a wave of nauseated anguish sweeps over you as you look down on that blessed, broken man – as you realize that it’s your fault, your thoughtless stupidity that caused the death of that incredible, caring man. And you want more than anything else in life to say, “Thank you, sir! Oh thank you for saving my life! Oh I’m so sorry!”
“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
What Jesus Christ the Son of God did for us is much like this man in my story. He did die in your place and mine. Even when we hated Him, when we deserved His wrath, when we were not good, but sinners against His perfect nature! And because He rose from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father, you and I can say “thank you!” We can say “I’m so sorry for putting you there!”
Have you ever done that? Have you turned to Him with thankful, sorrowful, repentant heart and received Him as your own Saviour from sin?
I’m a Raindrop
I was sitting and watching the rain lightly fall, and I got to thinking of those little raindrops. As we know, each one is a collection of water formed around a dust particle in the moist atmosphere of a cloud. Then it falls from its misty place, bringing the benefit of water to earth. A bit of a dirty start, yet how vital for life those blessed drops.
My thoughts then went to how I’m like one of those little raindrops sent and spent for earth’s benefit. My life was like a dust particle, a little insignificant piece of dirt. From dust the Lord formed man, and in the filth of sin was my existence. Until Jesus found me, and I was born anew by faith in Him. Then He began to change me, filling my heart and mouth with His reviving, life-giving words, turning my life to something useful. Now I too am sent to earth, to be spent in bringing His benefit to man.
There’s not much good this one little drop can bring. But when sent with enough fellow drips the Lord can make a proper shower of us, a shower of blessing, yea storming the earth with the life-giving truth of His eternal words.
“The mouth of the righteous is a well of life” (Prov. 10:11)
Book of Life
Commonly arising in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is reference to the heavenly record called “the book of life”. This book appears to be a roll of those who will enter the eternal rest and joy of God’s presence. In fact, the Great White Throne judgment of those eternally lost will be based on names not found written in this book (Rev. 20:12 & 15, twice repeated for emphasis).
As early as Exodus 32:32 Moses suggested to the Lord that he be blotted “out of Thy book” for the sake of his disobedient people. The Lord responded, “Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book”. This seems to imply that all names begin there, some later blotted out when confirming their souls in sin. The same is implied in Psalm 69:28, when David prayed that his enemies, “be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous”.
Other portions speaking of this book include Daniel 12:1, where the future deliverance of the Jewish remnant is prophesied, even “every one that shall be found written in the book”, and Luke 10:20, where Jesus encouraged joy in His disciples since their names were “written in heaven”. Compare as well Phil. 4:3 & Rev. 13:8; 17:8; 21:27.
Christ’s assurance that the names of the overcomers will not possibly be blotted from the book of life in Rev. 3:5 presents a problem for some, since it seems to imply potential loss of salvation, that the names of some could be blotted out. It’s important to recognize here that Christ’s words are more assurance of eternal security, than inference of insecurity. To be fair, this is only an assurance of names not possibly to be removed, proving the possibility of gaining such security without threat of removal. ’Tis a word meant to release not increase anxiety. Compare a similar form in John’s words elsewhere in Jn. 6:37 & 10:27-30.
But again, there is difficulty in concluding whether names are written in when saved, or all names begin in the book of life, only to be blotted out when a soul is confirmed as certainly lost. Jesus Christ “tasted death for every man”, thus perhaps leaving every man with the tentative entry of his name in the book, its continuance there to be confirmed by his response to the gospel offer of salvation in Christ. It seems that all the saved, at the moment of their salvation, find their names confirmed as irremovable from the book.
To make our continuance in salvation in any way dependent upon our good deeds is to speak of salvation by works. But God speaks of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, and “that [salvation] not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). The apostle Paul’s confidence for eternity was not in his own keeping, but in the Lord, who “shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom” (II Tim. 4:18).
Hell is Real
In our study of Revelation 14:9-12, that fearful announcement of doom upon all who worship Antichrist in the last days, we are confronted with a graphic description of hell. Consider;
The agony of hell (vs. 10) – Torment “with fire and brimstone”. Jesus said the same of the perishing man in Luke 16, “in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments” (vs. 23). The man himself titled his eternal abode “this place of torment”, expressing the main feature of the place! Compare the phrase so common in Matthew’s gospel, “gnashing of teeth”, describing response to extreme pain. There can be no fair questioning of the actual, unimaginable agony of hell.
The eternality of hell (vs. 11) – “For ever and ever” is literally “into the ages of the ages”. Hell’s torments are no momentary thing. No sudden and complete annihilation out of existence and sensibility. No Catholic purgatory, coming at last to a hoped for end. Compare Christ’s repeated reference to the same, “where . . . the fire is not quenched” (Mk. 9:43-49).
The constancy of hell (vs. 11) – While the redeemed find “rest from their labours” (vs. 13), those who perish will never again know even a moment’s rest. Only unrelenting anguish of soul. No hope, no help, no horizon. A one-way track of horror, hatred, heartache, and hurt extending into the vast and ageless expanse of eternity!
The reality of hell – Fools mock belief in a literal hell. With broad brush of deceit liberal “scholars” think to whitewash over such difficult assurances from God, denying the obvious reading. There can be no question that a real hell is clearly taught in the Bible! Jesus said more about hell than all other New Testament contributors combined. The answer is not to deny, but to allow such truth to lead us to a proper response. To attempt to bring temporary comfort to our hearts by explaining away God’s truth is to play the fool.