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Lowell Brueckner

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The Angel of the Lord Appears

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An expository study of Zechariah 1:7-21

The first vision

For your own profit and better understanding, may I suggest that you read our text first, then go on to peruse my comments with the open Bible handy. In this way, you will see exactly to what I am referring. This is the way that a Bible study works and the idea is to perceive what the Author, the Holy Spirit, wanted to share with His prophet, Zechariah, so that he would write His thoughts, first of all, for the benefit of the people of his day. Then, as He knew perfectly well, these words would be transferred through the millenniums until they found the people, who would experience personally their final fulfillment.

The angelic patrol

Three months after the Word of God came to Zechariah, which would be in the month of February, the 11th month of the same year, 520 B.C., of the reign of Darius, the prophet had his first vision (v.7). Although these visions occurred in the night, they were true visions and not dreams. Zechariah mentions various times that he consciously ‘lifted his eyes’ (v.18; 2:1; 5:1; 6:1). In 4:1, the angel awakened him from sleep, so that he could see a vision and in 5:5, he commanded him to lift his eyes. Zechariah writes of eight visions. 

In order to know the significance of the visions, he asks ten questions. Blessed is he that asks questions, for he will receive answers. The mysteries of the Kingdom of God are made known to such people (Mt.4:10-12). There are many, who are interested in having experiences, but to Zechariah, the experience was not as important as the significance. He wanted to understand what God was doing in his day, knowing that it also had future significance. We have a prophet in Zechariah, who marked the coming of the Messiah in a distant future. He asked and we benefit, because he not only shared the things that he saw, but joined them to the answer given him. 

The Stricken Shepherd

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God is pleased with His plan of salvation, because of the victory that only this plan could obtain to justify many and bring them to a perfect salvation… sure, great and strong. We must be careful not to subtract any glory from this salvation by emphasizing too much the part that pertains to man. It may become an ineffective “salvation” (here today, gone tomorrow), depending on man’s faithfulness. In this prophecy, we learn an essential doctrine: Salvation is of God.   
 
An expository study, verse by verse of Zechariah

The Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief” Isaiah 53:10 

Chapter 13

Who caused Christ’s death?

“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the man, My Associate… Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered…!” (v.7) We don’t have to have any doubts about Whom this prophecy refers, because Jesus quoted it: “Jesus said to them, You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, I will strike down the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered” (Mt.26:31). Jesus knew that the prophecy of  Zechariah was to be fulfilled that night. God spoke in the last times by His Son (He.1:1 & 2), but the Son said that His doctrine was not His, but the Father’s (Jn.7:15 & 16). Therefore we have a perfect oneness between the word of Christ in the flesh and the prophetic word, ordained by the Father.

The Lord of Hosts is commanding the death of His Son… “Oh sword, awake… strike!” We need to understand that He Who caused Jesus’ death was, principally, the Father. He must know and believe this emphatically. In no way was Jesus the victim of wicked men. All was part of the plan of God, since before the foundation of the world (1 Pt.1:19-20). The central verse of the gospel is “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”. He came to the world to die at the command of His Father. Peter wanted the Jews to recognize their guilt in killing their Messiah, but he also gave them to understand that there was a greater purpose behind this act: “This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God…” (Acts 2:23). As in the case of Joseph and his brothers, although they were wicked and guilty of all his suffering, Joseph caused them to know that behind all of it was a greater and nobler plan. It was to save lives and further the eternal purpose of God (Gen. 45:5-8; 50:17-20,24). He is the Lord of Hosts.

The Second Coming of Christ

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It’s quite appropriate on Christmas Day, don’t you think, to look ahead to His second coming? There’s quite a difference! He came as a baby, laid in a feedbox in a stable for animals. He returns with His armies as the King of Heaven, descending upon the Mount of Olives. As His feet rest upon it, the mount splits in two, opening up a valley in the middle, which extends to the east. His people escape from Jerusalem and the world’s forces, led by antichrist.


An expository study of Zechariah, verse by verse,
chapter 12:9-14 and chapter 14:1-5

The Battle of Armageddon (Rev.16:16)

“and they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon”
(Hebrew: Har signifies mountain and the name is Magedon)

Chapter 12

God Himself, creator of man, will deal with him in His time (v.1), joining all nations in the battlefield of Armageddon, under Mount Megiddo in the Valley of Jezreel, 60 miles northwest of Jerusalem. This valley has a tremendous history of battles. An expert declares that he doubts that there is another part of the world, where so many have occurred. Here are some that are mentioned in the Bible: Judges 5:20 y chapter 7; 1 Samuel 31:1-13; 1 Kings 18:40; 2 Kings 23:30; 2 Chronicles 35:20.

This is the scene of the war on the “great day of God”. From there, the battle will spread over a great part of Israel. Zechariah’s account is of the principle and most important part… the attack on Jerusalem (v.2). There, outside the city, blood will flow like a river (Rev.14:20). It may surprise us how many portions of Scripture tell us of this “day of the Lord” (Ps.2:1-9; Is.66:15-16; Joel 3:12-21; Mt.24:29-51; Mt.25:31-46, 2 Thes.1:6-9; 2:8; Rev.14:20; 16:12-16; 19:11-21).

The prophet speaks of world-wide opposition, in which the nations of the earth will no longer tolerate Jerusalem… mainly because in that time, the Jews, who have made a pact with the antichrist, will refuse to worship him. “I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples” (v.3). The difficulties within the city and the “offenses” (such as we hear in the news at this moment… civil rights, war crimes, etc.) become intolerable for the “united nations”. In this prophecy, they will join for the last time against Judah and Jerusalem.

According to the purpose of God, they will join to be destroyed (v.9), and He will come to save His people, who will find themselves in the worst of scenarios; two thirds of them will die (13:8) and one third will be greatly refined and tried (13:9). At that point the will call upon the name of the Lord and thus recognize their Messiah.

Latter Rain

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Zechariah 10 has to do with the return of the Jews to the Promised Land. God has “hissed” for them and they have heard and responded (v.8). Millions have arrived and continue to arrive. How the world and the devil hate the Zionist Movement! Chapter 10 tells also of the people who have no true shepherd: “My anger is kindled against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders”. Jesus wept over the flock that was as sheep without a shepherd. They had governors, but no true shepherds…

This article challenges God’s people concerning their understanding of the Bible. Matthew refers to the abomination of desolation and says, “let the reader understand”. Do you understand these things? I have heard some remark, “Bible understanding is for the teachers and not for everyone.” I have also heard about those, who “know a lot about the Bible, but don’t live it”. Forget this kind of thinking! They are really only excuses to cover ignorance and we have no need to hear them… Truthfully we seldom hear Bible teaching. What we generally hear from the pulpit are ideas, related to a theme, and the one who is sharing finds verses to back those ideas.

The Latter Rain

An expository study of Zechariah

“Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.”   James 5:7

Chapter 10

Ask!

Merry Christmas, 2014!

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The time for buying, preparing and sending Christmas cards goes by too fast. It’s a shame, because we really enjoy those seasonal tasks and, of course, we enjoy receiving them even more. At least, by means of this blog, Margaret and I can send you our most sincere wishes that you would have a most meaningful Christmas… to all those who read the articles, listen to the audible messages and the few videos that we offer, many blessings throughout the season!

With those greetings, I want to attach two articles concerning Christmas that we offered a couple years ago. I hope that they will help you to celebrate the birth of Christ. One comes to us from the past, well over 200 years ago and the other is from a contemporary, John Piper. We will finish with the powerful lyrics of Charles Wesley, expressed in his carol, Hark the Herald Angels Sing. We begin with George Whitefield (1714-1770), such a distinguished man of God in church history, who not only had a favorable opinion of Christmas, but also strongly believed that Christians should celebrate it.

The Introduction to Zechariah

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An expositional Bible study


How privileged we are! God has surrounded us with divine riches for our good! The treasure over all others is His Word, for which He has endowed us with the supernatural faculty to be able to grasp it. He has given us the mind of Christ, which is governed and guarded by the Holy Spirit. To be illuminated concerning spiritual, heavenly things is a great work of the triune God. We also have the opportunity to learn mutually from each other, sharing what we have received, and for me it would be a pleasure to leave you with some things that I have learned while studying the first verses of the book of Zechariah. Would you like to study this book verse by verse? There is simply no question that an expository study is the most profitable approach to studying the Word and the best way to deliver a Bible study is to explain verse by verse what the Scripture presents. We really do not have enough of that kind of teaching.

The name Zechariah means “the Lord remembers” and that name would serve as title for the book. Israel has been in captivity for 70 years and now the Lord is bringing them out of that situation and helping them to return to their land. Zechariah was the son of Berechiah and the grandson of Iddo. He may have been only an infant when he returned from Babylon with his grandfather. We know nothing of his father. Possibly, he died when Zechariah was very small, but his grandfather, on the other hand, is mentioned in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ez.5:1; Neh.12:4, 16). Often in the Bible a grandfather is presented as the father of a certain person, so that it is not unusual that Zechariah is sometimes called the son of Iddo.

Haggai and, Ezra were contemporaries of Zechariah. Esther was queen some years later than the events that took place in this book,  and Nehemiah rebuilt the walls still later. Lastly Malachi prophecied. Zechariah, as his grandfather Iddo, was a priest, but to become a prophet is not something, which can be inherited from ancestors or from belonging to a certain tribe; it only happens to someone to whom the Word of God has come.

Grace, Grace to It!

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 An expository study
with some comments on Revelation 11:1-15

Zechariah 4:7-14

The great mountain of opposition is always there to hinder the work of God (v.7). In this case of the reconstruction of the temple, we see it clearly in Ezra 4. But in chapter 5, in obedience to the Word of God, the work is begun anew and, in chapter 6, Darius made an edict, in which he prohibited any interference in this work, but God’s people know that it was only in compliance with the Word of God (6:14). The word was detained for a while, but had to be completed, because what is of God is never left half done.

Faith (Mt.17:20; 21:21) removes the mountains of opposition (2 Co.10:5; 2 Th.2:4). So that the work of the temple can begin and the first stones of the foundation be laid, the mountain must be made a plain. If the plan of God is followed, He removes the obstacles. Who are you, oh great mountain? It may be great, but soon and easily, it will fall and there will remain no evidence in its place. And how will it be done? Well, as Zerubbabel and Joshua moved forward (by faith – Ezra 5:2), the obstacles were removed before them. They began to work before the edict of the emperor arrived with permission to proceed.

In our days, we are witnessing the final installment of this prophecy, as the nations oppose Israel and especially its temple (Be sure that you are on Israel’s side, or you will be resisting the fulfillment of a prophecy that is well over 2,000-years-old!).  The opposition will be dissolved, when the Messiah returns the second time. All Israel will be saved (Jer.51:25; Dn.2:34, 45; Ro.ll:26). The word of the prophet is essential here, because by human power there are no guarantees, and at times, no possibilities, but the Word of God assures that it will be finished. Christ, the living Stone, comes again to take His place.

By My Spirit

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Zechariah, chapter four, verses 1-6. An expository study

Jonathan Goforth (1859-1936)
The heart of every Christian should burn with a longing to see a pure moving of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, many are more interested in what man can do for them. Jonathan Goforth, the great missionary, who saw revival in Mongolia and other parts of China, made the following comments in his book, By My Spirit, after attending a worldwide missionary convention:  Never have I experienced such keen pain and disappointment as I did that day. Of the many who addressed that great missionary gathering, not more than three emphasized God the Holy Spirit as the one essential factor in world evangelization. Listening to the addresses that day, one could not but conclude that the giving of the Gospel to lost mankind was largely a matter of better organization, better equipment, more men and women… the dethronement of the idol of ecclesiastical self-sufficiency was apparently too great a price to pay.

A Vision

The angel didn’t talk to Zechariah in a dream; he woke him in order to speak to him (v.1). It is not my intention to say that God never speaks by dreams, because the Bible gives us examples, in which He does, but they always take place in extraordinary situations. In this book we read of various visions and angelic visitations, but remember that God is giving revelation that will form part of the Bible and, in Zechariah’s case, he is prophesying of the coming of the Messiah and of events related with the end of this era. The book will instruct millions of people in the entire world for many centuries. More than being an extraordinary message, it is unique and inerrant, perfectly inspired by the Holy Spirit.

The Vision of the Flying Scroll

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Then again I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, a flying roll. And he said unto me,
What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole land: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off on the one side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off on the other side according to it.  I will cause it to go forth, saith Jehovah of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name; and it shall abide in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.                                   Zacariah 5:1-4

Up to this point in his first four chapters, the message of the prophet was full of consolation and hope for Israel. He prophesied that God had prepared destruction for her enemies and promised protection for her future. God would dwell among them and the Gentiles would be drawn to her, as well. He saw the purification of the high priest and learned of a Unique Stone, a Servant and a Branch, who would take away sin from the earth in one day. In the last chapter, he received a message for Zorobabel that stated that the Holy Spirit would do a supernatural work to reconstruct the temple.

Nevertheless, the message would not be properly balanced, if it did not also present the curse upon those, who persisted in their evil ways; God also cares for them. They will be excluded from the blessings to come. So that none will be deceived, along with the promise of forgiveness for the repentant sinner, the Scriptures guarantee with solemn certainty that “no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God… because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Eph.5,5,6) and “those that practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal.5:21). “The cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars” (Rev.21:8), will be excluded. 1 John 3:8 proclaims: “He that practices sin is of the devil”.

What is Spiritual Power By A. B. Simpson

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A. B. Simpson was founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, a movement which was dedicated to taking the gospel to the far ends of the world. This is the movement, to which A. W. Tozer belonged and, in fact, Tozer wrote Simpson’s biography, Wingspread. My father also belonged to the C&MA and loved to read Simpson’s Christ-exalting books.

His message wonderfully echoed the cry of the Apostle Paul, “Not I, but Christ in me”. One of Simpson’s many hymns was entitled simply, Himself: “Once it was a blessing,” the hymn stated, “now it is the Lord… Once for gifts I wanted, now the giver own, once I sought for healing, now Himself alone.” A. B. Simpson’s love for Jesus drowned out all else and left him with a single passion… Christ alone! Oh God, give us again preachers and hymn writers like this man!

What kind of man could inspire hundreds of missionaries to go to most of the countries on this planet with the message of salvation? Well, a guest in Simpson’s home got up at 4:30 a.m. and walked out of his room into the hallway. He noticed that the door to Simpson’s office was ajar and light came from the small opening. He heard weeping and looking through the crack, he could see Simpson standing above a large globe of the world, embracing it, his tears falling upon the countries below his face. Read the following from this godly man…

What is spiritual power? First, it is the power which convicts of sin. It is the power that makes the hearers to see themselves as God sees them, and humbles them in the dust. It sends people home from the house of God not feeling better but worse; not always admiring the preacher, but often so tried that they perhaps resolve that they will never hear him again. But they know from their inmost soul that he is right and they are wrong. It is the power of conviction; the power that awakens the conscience and says to the soul, “You are the man.” It is the power of which the apostle speaks in connection with his own ministry: “by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

I Am the True Vine

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Some key thoughts in this article: The fruitful branch is trimmed drastically (vines more than trees) and pruned close to the vine… If the church would submit to such pruning, it would completely wipe out traditionalism… The pruning process removes distance (from Christ) and indirect connections are eliminated… Dependence on a program competes with dependency upon Christ alone… Success is not the same as fruit bearing… Material that the Holy Spirit uses to teach His people is Bible material… To pray without ceasing means that we are to habitually practice praying as Jesus commanded us to do: “When you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret” (Mat. 6:6)… His love is not humanistic and it is not, primarily, humanitarian. It exists and functions to give glory to God…

From Gardening Know-How: When it comes to pruning grapes, the most common mistake people make is not pruning hard enough. Light pruning doesn’t promote adequate fruiting whereas heavy pruning provides the greatest quality of grapes.

John 15:1-11

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” If we understand biblical principle, then it will not be hard to see that Jesus is saying that He is exclusively the only true, legitimate vine that exists. The best that all the vines in the world’s vineyards can do is to portray the characteristics of this vine.

Billy Graham about disciplining children

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If you fail to discipline your children… you are sinning against God.

Billy Graham: “Many of our educational leaders sneer at the old-fashioned idea of God and a moral code. Movies feature sex, sin, crime and alcohol. Teenagers see these things portrayed alluringly on the screen and decide to go and try them. Newspapers have played up crime and sex until they seem glamorous to our young people.” One of the fundamental problems, according to Rev. Graham, is the failure of parents to fight “the Devil in the home” through discipline and, as a result, “children are allowed to go wild.”

“Parents must spend time with their children, set a good example for them, discipline them, and teach them to ‘know God,’” said the pastor, who has five children and 19 grandchildren. “If you fail to discipline your children, you are breaking the laws, commandments and statutes of God,” said Rev. Graham.  “You are guilty,not only of injuring the moral, spiritual and physical lives of your children, but of sinning against God. The Bible says that if you fail to discipline your children, you actually hate them.”

Not by Brawn by J. Vernon McGee

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Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of Jehovah unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts.                                                                                                                                Zec 4:6 

You could characterize the greatest national force the world has ever seen with one word: power! Rome was the greatest power machine the world has ever seen. The legions of Rome marched on every frontier. They were invincible and victorious. But one day they took into custody a Man who seemed to be very weak. Pilate said to Him, “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” The Lord Jesus answered, “You would have not power over me if it were not given to you from above.”

Today we have a perspective on that. The legions of Rom have marched into oblivion. As Kipling said, “The tumult and the shouting die, the captains and the kings depart.” They are all gone. But the gospel of that Man who died on the cross is still being carried by weak men to the ends of the earth… by men who are as weak as you and I. This death was a victory.

God is not impressed by brawn and a display of muscle. The church goes forward today like a little Samson shorn of its locks of power. It parades up and down, boasting of its accomplishments, and, like Samson, it does not know that the Spirit of God has departed from it. The thing that makes this so tragic is that the church could go forward like a little David with a simple slingshot of the Holy Spirit, to meet the enemy with all of his stratagems, and come away with a victory!

Oh how we need the power of the Holy Spirit! God’s work in the world is not done by brawn. It is accomplished only by His Spirit.

Doctrine Number One: The Bible is the Word of God

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Before anyone can profit from the riches of the Christian life, that person must obtain the firm conviction that the Bible is the Word of God. There is no way to enjoy, learn and grow in faith without this truth burned into his heart. In the book of Acts we read again and again that the apostles and other evangelists went from one place to another, preaching the Word.

We need to believe that the Bible is the Word of God in order to form the foundation upon which we can build our lives. We must be convinced that the Bible is the maximum authority that decides every question that has to do with Christian living. In the first place, we will take into account the Old Testament, because it forms the basis for the New Testament. For this reason, no Christian can say that he understands the New Testament, if he has not studied the Old. He cannot have a clue about many things that Jesus and His disciples taught.  

Who Should We Listen To?

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I will not try to hide the fact that one of my favorite authors, if not my favorite, is A. W. Tozer. There are several reasons for this. First of all, Tozer belonged to the same denomination, in which I was raised as a boy, so I especially appreciate some of the truth that they emphasized (just to mention two favorite verses… “Christ in you, the hope of glory” and “not I, but Christ in me”). Secondly, Tozer lived near enough to this generation to speak of trends that are still in the forefront in our day and he knew where they would lead us. Above those two reasons, Tozer had a gift of expression, when he spoke or wrote about God and His Son that warms my heart more than any other writer. Of course, I consider the material of many more authors to be valuable. We need the body of Christ, the saints of all ages, which comprise the Church, whether they are alive or have already passed on to Glory. We only see a small part of the whole spectrum of truth. Others in our day see other things, and down through time, men of God saw gems of scriptural truth, which can enrich us today. We need to read good books… lots of them! The people of God have always done that.

At the same time, I find things in which I disagree with Tozer, although they are not many and certainly not vital matters. I mention Tozer, because you will see that I have presented some of his thoughts previously and I want to do some again. Here are some things that Tozer had to say concerning loyalty and following man. Tozer was a pastor, principally in two churches in his lifetime, one in Chicago and the other in Toronto, so he is speaking on this subject from a pastoral standpoint. He always pointed his people to Christ alone:

In Rut, Root or Revival, chapter five, he said: “Faith in Jesus is not commitment to your church or denomination. I believe in the local church… I believe in the divine assembly. We ought to realize that we are, as a group of Christians, a divine assembly, a cell in the body of Christ, alive with His life. But not for one second would I try to create in you a faith that would lead you to commit yourself irrevocably to a local church or to your church leaders.”

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

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Before you read this article, you might want to refresh your mind concerning our topic by reading John 10.10-21.

I am giving classes in Spanish over the radio on the Gospel of John and having studied it with intensity again, I have seen that it has a purpose of taking us into intimacy with God. It shows us the fountain of intimacy is found in the Father and the Son and Jesus prays to the Father that we might enter into the same oneness and the same love. In this passage, we see the intimacy between Himself and His disciples by illustrating it to us, using the example of the Good Shepherd and His sheep.

If we are very familiar with portions of the Bible, such as this one, there is a danger that it may no longer impress us, or surprise us, as it did when we first read it. We must be careful that we do not lose the wonder of the gospel and the wonder of the One, who is its chief character.  I remember the one time that I visited Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, when John Piper was pastor. He preached that day on Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation for all those who believe.” He taught that the gospel not only affects the unbeliever, but it continues to move the believer all his life and on into eternity. Then, we sang the last verse of the old hymn, “I Love to Tell the Story”. That verse states, “I love to tell the story, for those who know it best, seem hungering and thirsting, to hear it like the rest…” Before us now is Christ’s teaching about the Good Shepherd and His sheep and it may be new for some and for others very familiar, but let us all give it our full attention.

I can never forget the time that we were driving through Mexico on the main highway between Saltillo and Mexico City. For some reason, traffic began to slow in the open country and soon we came upon a scene that was horrible and unforgettable. Strewed across the highway were five or six sheep, bloody and dead, and among them, lying still, was the little shepherd boy. Yes, in many rural families in Mexico, it was the youngest boy, who watched over the sheep, while the bigger fellows tended to more important things.

Thanks to All


I want to express my gratitude to all those who visit this blog, whether it be for the first time or if you have come regularly, perhaps from the time we began in 2011. I have tried to be responsible and careful with all that I have presented, things that I believe should be beneficial to disciples in this 21st Century. Together with the Spanish blog, we are coming close to 75,000 visits from many parts of the world. Included are places I’ve never visited and from which I know no one. Welcome!

It is my desire to do everything I can to help others along this Christian way, especially through such precarious times. I hope that you are edified as you read the articles, and that they give you greater longings than ever to keep moving along en route to glory. You will not read long here before you notice spiritual “anti-virus” material, because I feel it is a necessary part of my ministry to warn younger or newer Christians of the great dangers that they will encounter in Christian circles. For many years I have had opportunity to be in contact with Christians from different backgrounds and denominations from a good many parts of the world. I have also tried to be informed on church history, as well as the actual situation, in order to speak with some authority, at least, about where we stand today.

A few days ago, for instance, I saw a very short video, then read an article about what took place in a meeting attended by tens of thousands of people. Victory Osteen, the wife of the famous pastor, Joel Osteen, gave a short address, which I would call an attempt to get God to buy into her extreme egotism. Don’t worry, he won’t! But this is a little taste of her view and Joel’s, for sure, of Christianity: "I just want to encourage every one of us to realize: When we obey God, we're not doing it for God…  We're doing it for ourselves.  Because God takes pleasure when we're happy… So I want you to know this morning, just do good for your own self… When you come to church, when you worship him, you're not doing it for God, really.  You're doing it for yourself, because that's what makes God happy.  Amen?" And, of course, all the Osteen disciples said, “Amen”. I won’t bother you with any more of that anti-biblical and humanistic heresy. Let it be known that there are many Christian leaders, who recognize it as such. Albert Mohler, a seminary president protested and Steve Camp defined that talk as “the old sin of idolatry… it’s not about God, it’s about us.” That’s what it is and we’d better believe it.

The Gospel of Intimacy

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“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”  John 15:15


It seems evident to me that from the time that God’s Spirit brooded (Heb. râchaph) over the surface of the waters (Ge.1:2), God purposed to create a being, with whom He could be intimate. He expressed it in the profound communication that exists in the trinity: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (1:26). After the travesty that outweighs all others that ever occurred, God walked in the garden in the cool of the day and called to Adam, “Where are you?” (3:9). Adam’s relationship with his Creator was overshadowed by a thick cloud, because of his disobedience, and he hid in fear and shame.

  Can anything be done to remedy an act of rebellion against the supreme authority over the universe, whose command cannot once be slighted in the smallest measure? Is there a way to erase a blemish caused by sin and the following, innumerable offenses by Adam and his descendents against a thrice-holy God? The problem of the ages could only be resolved in the mind of the Omniscient, and the means would be accomplished through his beloved and only Son. Therefore, the eternal Son of God stepped down from His unfathomable glory and became Man, with one purpose in mind and that purpose was to reconcile man to God. It would be accomplished through the sacrificial death of this God/Man. Peter sees it and teaches us: “Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God…” (1 Pt.3:18). The purpose was reconciliation.

  This was the desire and design of the Spirit of God behind the writing of a unique Gospel, different from the three wonderful accounts penned previously. He prepared an author and preserved his life, after all his fellow-apostles had given theirs in martyrdom. Sixty more years were required to equip and endow him with the wisdom to proclaim a Gospel of restored intimacy between God and man.

  This writer was the former fisherman, John, who called himself the disciple that Jesus loved. He was the one, who reclined on Jesus’ bosom after the last supper.

On Receiving Admonition by A. W. Tozer

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“Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice..”  Ecc 4:13 

from the book, “The Root of the Righteous¨ chapter 7,  by A. W. Tozer

Don’t think that Tozer chose this text, looking for a sermon for his Sunday morning service in his church, or that he prepared it for preaching in one of the annual “Councils” (as they called them) of his denomination. That is, he wasn’t motivated by an urge to have an interesting text to catch the attention of the thousands of people attending from all parts of America and representatives of various parts of the world.

We lived within 300 miles of Chicago, where Tozer was pastoring a church. I was only 19-years-old when Tozer died and I don’t remember ever hearing him in person, but I have read every book I could find of his and listened to dozens of his tapes. My dad heard him on various occasion in these “Councils”, that I mentioned, or in pastoral conventions, because he belonged to the same denomination. Also, I communicated for at least ten years personally, by letters and by telephone with a good friend of Tozer, Leonard Ravenhill. Len preached in Tozer’s church, prayed alone with him and considered him his mentor.

No, from what I know about Tozer, he didn’t write this chapter because its theme would fit nicely into his book. He wrote it because he knew personally some of these “kings¨, just like the one described in Ecclesiastes, and I suspect that he found some of them in the organization that he belonged to. Tozer had enemies, who didn’t like him, because he brought to light the situations that he knew on his back doorstep. I had a friend, who was a student at a Bible school under the same denomination. Tozer came to talk to the students at the school’s “spiritual life week”, and afterwards was severely criticized by some of the professors.  

A Small Tribute to Marvin Doxtator

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This weary world with all its toils and struggles
May take its toll of misery and strife
The soul of man is like a waiting eagle
When it’s released it’s destined for the skies.

The Marvin Doxtator family 
I want to say a few words about a man that I'm proud to say was my brother-in-law, Marvin Doxtator. On Thursday, October 2 at 5:15 P.M., with his family gathered around him singing, Marv, at 89 years of age, left this weary world behind. At the instance his soul was released, it honed in on its destination.

Marv’s father, mother, and grandfather found the Savior, when he was a boy. He had the privilege of observing the difference, when parents are rescued from sin and their house becomes a home. So Marv, seeing that reality, turned to Christ, when he was young. Others of his relatives and family came in later and set their sails on the easterly course that harbors
 in the New Jerusalem. 

Dad’s Slides

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(Click to enlarge photos)
Last summer I bought a converter on-line that converts slides into digital photos. The main reason that I wanted it was to preserve my dad’s collection of slides taken of his work among the Native Americans. Some of them have already been destroyed by dampness over the years.

Somewhere close to 1950, a blind youth by the name of Norman gave Dad the 35 mm. camera and projector specifically for this work. Norman was one of the unsung heroes of the faith that you will meet in heaven. He was 18-years-old at the time and already an ‘A’ student in the University of Wisconsin. I remember when he stayed at our home for a time and the picture that is fixed in my mind is of Norman
Mrs. Christen and her daughter
reading his Braille Bible in our living room. I need to search for the slide that my Dad took of Norman, sitting on the foundation of a church that Dad was building in Oneida, Wisconsin, while ministering to the Oneida Natives. Hopefully, it is still in good condition. Norman is the reason that these slides are available.

I do have on hand a slide of another unsung hero… Mrs. Christen. In the 1930’s, my parents, who had never been exposed to the gospel, moved next door to Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Christen. They observed the uniqueness of this couple, something in their very persons, beyond what they said and did. Through them my parents came to the Lord in 1935. Some of you may know the story from reading my book, What Our Hands Have Handled. No slides would have ever been taken by my dad, who became a missionary to the Native American, had it not been for the Christens. I am so happy that I can share them with you.

New Standards and Teachings

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New Standards

Let me name a few practices, popular in our times and often found in the church, which are directly forbidden by the Scriptures:

1.      Strong drink… Proverbs 23:31 “Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly, In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast.” They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.” Godly wisdom describes here intoxicating wine, the hangover, delirium, confusion, sickness, numbness to pain, and lack of good sense experienced by the drinker, which ends by the onset of addiction. One of the most misunderstood issues concerns what the Bible teaches about wine, claiming that it gives license to moderate drinking. It doesn’t. An interpretation to any portion claimed by those who imbibe, contradicts this clear commandment to not even look at wine, when it is in an intoxicating state. The Bible doesn’t contradict itself. The word juice is only used once in the whole Bible, and most of the time, wine, especially new wine, means nothing more than grape juice. I understand, by those who have investigated, that processed wine in Bible times was so lightly fermented, that one could not hold enough in his stomach to become intoxicated.

Our son-in-law, daughter, and granddaughter were in an accident, in which the driver, who hit their car and was killed, had well below the legal limits of alcohol in his blood, but he had had just enough to sway his judgment. His wife and parents claimed that he was a good and cautious driver. A man told me of a friend of his, with whom he played chess. His friend would always beat him, unless he could persuade him to have a couple beers before the match.  That would be enough to dull his competitor’s mind and give him the edge.  

Pictorial of Our Trip to the USA

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(click on photos for larger view)
 This beautiful swing was hand made by the congregation at Swanton Christian Church and given to Dan and Shelley during Pastor’s Appreciation month. I quickly adopted it for my breakfast and devotions in the mornings. This was taken on our first morning in Vermont. We had flown on July 22, Vigo-Madrid-Lisbon-Newark-Montreal. Dan met us and drove us across the border and home. Dan asked me to share in the adults’ class for Sunday School and in the morning meeting.

Traveling with Dan’s family to the Midwest via Canada, Upper Michigan Peninsula, across Wisconsin and into Elk River, Minnesota to visit Mike, Rachel and kids. Mike co-pastors in St. Michael at Connect Church. (St. Michael is not named after Mike). A great bunch met for a mid-week service and on Sunday morning the church was backed through the foyer to the back door. Our visit really wore Mike out… 
 
Not far below this article, I reported already on this blog about the two yard meetings in Finley and Aneta, ND, while we visited with Tom and Raquel and their children. Raquel reports that the unusual hunger for the Word of God continues there… something that is really astounding to me. From Finley, we drove over to Cass Lake, MN, and visited one of my boyhood homes from 1955-57, when my dad directed Mokahum, a Native American Bible school. Our son-in-law now teaches there and our daughter and her family live within 50 yards of our old home. I did 

The Lord’s Day

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“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day”   Rev. 1:10

Early the first day of the week
Let me begin this study by sharing with you the observations of some that I consider the best commentators. I refer continually to their material. I want you to see the unanimity of their views on John’s statement on the Lord’s Day, which is quoted above. I provide this without an application or challenge. I prefer to leave it in your hands and to leave you in God’s hands concerning this subject.  

Barnes:
On the Lord’s day - The word rendered here as “Lord’s” (κυριακῇ  kuriakē), occurs only in this place and in 1Co_11:20, where it is applied to the Lord’s supper. It properly means “pertaining to the Lord”; and, so far as this word is concerned, it might mean a day “pertaining to the Lord,” in any sense, or for any reason; either because he claimed it as his own, and had set it apart for his own service, or because it was designed to commemorate some important event pertaining to him, or because it was observed in honor of him. It is clear:
(1)   That this refers to some day which was distinguished from all other days of the week, and which would be sufficiently designated by the use of this term.
(2)   that it was a day which was for some reason regarded as especially a day of the Lord, or especially devoted to him.
(3)   it would further appear that this was a day particularly devoted to the Lord Jesus; for: (a) that is the natural meaning of the word “Lord” as used in the New Testament; and (b) if the Jewish Sabbath were intended to be designated, the word “Sabbath” would have been used.

New Role Models

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For those, who haven't seen the following on Facebook, I present it here. It's about role models with false doctrines, who stand for family values and morality, but who cannot lead people to a living Christ who is the only one, who can produce those values in lives.

Some new role models for conservative "Christianity" are a Mormon candidate for president, a Seventh Day Adventist doctor, who spoke up to Obama at a prayer breakfast, and an author and pastor, and an extremely popular family on TV, who believe in baptismal regeneration (Church of Christ). Deception and total apostasy are coming in hard and fast. I can only hope that the people who are dearest to me will take notice. I don't hold a lot of hope that anything outside of genuine revival will change the general trend. Have you seen the movie "Time Changer" which warns of those who preach morality, but cannot present a divine and living Christ, without whom morality and family values can never produce better morality and family values? They simply lead to a lifeless, religious substitute that, in the end, leaves people more ungodly than ever.

A Hunger for the Word in North Dakota

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A yard meeting in Finley, North Dakota
Awaiting the arrival of various members of our immediate family for a visit beginning Sunday, August 3... the families of Dan, Steve and Mike... Raquel (our daughter) and Tom announced a meeting that would take place in their backyard on Monday evening. To be honest with you, I didn't expect much of a response. My experience with spontaneous meetings, not supported by churches or organized groups, has been that they are seldom successful. 

You have to understand that we are talking about a village with about 600 inhabitants and that this entire area of North Dakota is sparcely populated. However, the people did respond and about 60 people attended.

More importantly, the way they reacted to the presentation was so positive. A widow of a former pastor of a church in Finley told me that the preaching reminded her of her late husband. One lady returned to her house very excited, determined to do the same thing for her vicinity... on their small buffalo and horse ranch. Her husband began to call neighbors and relatives. He invited them to an open air meeting, in which singers and a preacher, whom he'd never met, were going to take part (he was not in the Monday meeting).  He confessed that he'd never felt so out-of-control before, as he did in this situation. It happened that the Holy Spirit was in control. Last Saturday, again the people came. Something very special is happening! There are people who are hungry to hear the truth boldly proclaimed!

You Must Be Born Again! Part V

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VI. The last Adam – (In this portion, I want to let the commentators speak to show that the New Creation takes place in and through Christ. As Adam was the first creation, Christ is the last, the progenitor of a higher position and quality of life for the human race. He lifted man above the place given to Adam in the beginning. God never goes backward, but continues His perfect purpose until He brings it to its fullness or maturity.)

Barnes…  The second Adam, or the “second man,” (1Co_15:47). That Christ is here intended is apparent, and has been usually admitted by commentators. Christ here seems to be called Adam because he stands in contradistinction from the first Adam; or because, as we derive our animal and dying nature from the one, so we derive our immortal and undying bodies from the other. From the one we derive an animal or vital existence; from the other we derive our immortal existence, and resurrection from the grave. The one stands at the head of all those who have an existence represented by the words, “a living soul;” the other of all those who shall have a spiritual body in heaven. He is called “the last Adam;” meaning that there shall be no other after him who shall affect the destiny of man in the same way, or who shall stand at the head of the race in a manner similar to what had been done by him and the first father of the human family. They sustain special relations to the race; and in this respect they were “the first” and “the last” in the special economy. The name “Adam” is not elsewhere given to the Messiah, though a comparison is several times instituted between him and Adam. (See the Supplementary Note on 1Co_15:22; also Rom_5:12, note.) 

You Must Be Born Again! Part IV

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In the last section we studied about the new creation and then about being partakers of the divine nature. We continue now by considering how the individual is a partaker and then how the church as a body demonstrates the divine nature. 

Once again, we look to some men of God to help us get a better understanding of the new birth. I have added my thoughts concerning it. You may copy this article unto your computer and add your own. Please study carefully this extremely important subject and let it motivate you to call upon God for a fresh demonstration of His power in granting new birth to people in our generation. They must be born again!


A. On a personal level. Gal.2:20 (KJV)… “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Paul is talking here again of the new birth, the resurrected life in Christ. First, however, he speaks of a crucifixion, which he experienced and he is referring to his old self. Christ not only took sin to the cross, but also the old man, the fallen nature of Adam. “Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with” (Ro.6:6). This gives further proof that a person, who is born-again, does not continue to walk in sin. And now, according to God’s desire, the characteristics of His Son shine through, because actually He lives within. I hold to the King James translation here, that the faith is not in, but of the Son of God. We will look at this more thoroughly later.  

You Must Be Born Again! Part III

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 We continue to study the new birth. There are very few other Bible studies that are as important as this one is. In this part, I have quoted much from what others have written. We have to be ready to learn from others, because there is so much more that we need to know about this subject. I have written my part and I invite you to add yours in a notebook or on your own computer. The new birth is what marks true Christianity and distinguishes it from that which is only religious. We must see the hand of God working and the life of God demonstrated in that which is true. I hope that you will profit from and enjoy this study...
 
IV. A new creation. A New Man through the New Birth. Eph 4:24… “Put on the new man, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” He is a new man… Scofield  “and is a new man as having become a partaker of the divine nature and life, (2Pe_1:4) and, in no sense, the old man made over, or improved.

After receiving the forgiveness of sins, a man receives a new nature, which is compatible with God’s. In that state, he is brought into reconciliation with God and a new, friendly relationship begins. Paul describes this transformation, which occurs in any and every one, in every place at any time, regardless of his race or nationality; this is what will happen: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature (some versions put, a new creation… a better translation); the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Co.5:17). If this transformation does not happen, that person has not been born again and there is to be no assumption that he is a Christian and that his sins are forgiven. He must be born again! No human being can help him into this birth. It is a miracle, which only God can do.

Unconditional Love?

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I wish that I could ask each one who pronounces the words, “unconditional love”, what that expression means to him. Sometimes you hear it mentioned, “God’s love is unconditional; He loves and doesn’t ask anything in return.” When it is interpreted this way, I have a problem with the term. It’s possible that the person who makes that statement has not thought this matter through and ignores the importance of its significance.  

Now, it is very true that the story of our spiritual life begins with the love of God: “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ”  (Eph.2:5). He loved when we were incapable of loving Him. It was His goodness that led us to repentance, and it was His Spirit, who gave us ears to hear His Word. Only for that reason we were able to believe. We are saying the same thing, when we claim that we are saved by grace alone.  However, it is not the same to say that we are saved by grace, as it is to say, “His love is unconditional and He expects nothing in exchange.” He loved us, when there was nothing to love, but His love demands a response; that is, His love demands conditions!

The development of an expression like this one has a history… a history filled with repetitions. Soon, the whole world is speaking of “unconditional love… unconditional love… unconditional love”. The expression becomes popular and totally accepted among Christians. Truthfully, it is a very attractive term, especially to the sentimental person… and many judge things according to their feelings and not according to their biblical value. Many live their entire “Christian” life that way, satisfying their emotions, without wanting to think clearly about biblical truth. For that reason, many terms arise which lack Bible support or, at least, many people interpret them in an unbiblical manner.

You Must Be Born Again! Part II

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  I'm sorry that I have waited so long to put in the second installation to the study on the new birth. I hope you will join me and my outline and add your own thoughts to this subject. I'll help as much as I can and we are looking to some outstanding Bible teachers to give us their observations, as well. Please enjoy and may God give us all light to view one of the greatest themes in the Bible.




 III. The doctrine of the Apostle John.

A. In the introduction to his Gospel:  John 1:12-13: “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”  In contrast to those, who did not know or receive Him in v. 10 and 11, this birth comes in conjunction to those who do receive Him (accept, rather than reject) and believe in Him. They believe that it is true, but also they believe it to the degree that they place all their trust in Him. Here, it means, that they trust His person. Then, there is a very strong statement made insisting that God must bring about this birth, which has absolutely no human element involved. There is a triple denial of anything that man might do to participate in this work.

Before the Supreme Judge, Part Three

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This is the last part of an excellent tool for evangelism. It deals with the following issues… Condemned by our genes… The only remedy… Your debt has been paid!... The need to be born again… God promises a new life… A future without end… What are you waiting for?

If you want to give people something of value to read, you can receive this and two other installments in the form of a small book. Simply write us at loelmarga@telefonica.net . A tract is all right, in order to get someone’s attention, but it gives little information concerning salvation and the reason why it is needed. This little book will inform them clearly about the righteousness and the love of God. I really wish that many, who have a desire to evangelize, would use it.


Condemned by our genes


The Word of God says that the human being is dead in trespasses and sins. That is, as far as God is concerned, he cannot move a toe in His direction, nor lift a finger to help himself out of his sinful state. No human being on his own initiative can ever launch an exploratory trip in an effort to rediscover his Creator and he is absolutely helpless in reference to God.

Adam and Eve are the source of all human nature and so, naturally speaking, we have no other forefathers than they and possess no other genes. According to human possibilities, we can be no more than they were. If they fell into a hopeless state of sin and were  separated from God, then we fell, as well, and if they were condemned to death, that same condemnation rests upon us. Though we have not chosen this state, we surely have inherited it, just the same as we have not chosen the family in which we were born or the color of our skins, eyes, etc.

For that reason, modern teaching about picking up broken pieces and starting over are foolish and unbiblical. They are bandages applied to a corpse. There is no fixing the ruined nature of Adam. In order to be free from sin, we must be free from the old sin factory of adamic nature and receive a new one.