It will go down in history as perhaps mankind’s most bizarre year. Never has the entire globe in unison shut down because of a virus. Restrictions in travel, work, recreation, size of gatherings etc., have ruined businesses, increased the number of suicides and deaths for those with other ailments who cannot be hospitalized, amped fear to unprecedented levels, and created a huge divide in opinion over what should or should not be done. Meanwhile political unrest, rolling waves of violence, storms and disasters add to the cacophony of 2020.
Mike Courts purchased two books and sent them to me, The Book That Made Your World and This Book Changed Everything, both by Vishal Mangalwadi. I’m more than half-way through the first book and am thrilled by the research, clear logic and superb writing by Vishal in establishing how the Bible created the soul of western civilization. It is a potent testimony to why it is critical that we accurately understand history. Furthermore, it gives a warning shout to what is happening today by liberals and radicals engaged in a concerted effort to revise and rewrite history to their own liking and agenda so as to undermine our nation’s constitution and way of governance founded on Biblical principles.
Ezra 4:19,20--I issued an order and a search was made, and it was found that this city has a long history of revolt against kings and has been a place of rebellion and sedition. Jerusalem has had powerful kings ruling over the whole of Trans-Euphrates, and taxes, tribute and duty were paid to them. (NIV)
The word history, used in both Ezra 4:15 and 4:19, is translated by the combination of three Hebrew words, yôm, min, and ālam which when combined mean long history. The people who inhabited Israel during Judah’s time of exile, were not happy with the resettling of Jews and their rebuilding Jerusalem. Therefore they sent a letter to King Artaxerxes from the “region west of the Euphrates River” (4:11), warning him of Jerusalem’s history of sedition hoping that he would issue a cease and desist order. The king decreed that a search be conducted and, after hearing the city’s history, ordered that the rebuilding should stop until he issued a further decree. It was a discouraging blow to the Jews that fortunately was overturned later by King Darius (6:8-12).
I cite this passage to show that even those who resist God understand the value of understanding history and to their credit at least were honest in applying it. If we don’t know our true past or the role of the Bible in shaping who we are today and teach it to our children, we are doomed to fall to the ideology of those who reshape education and define values. It would seem that very few people invest the time to truly research and understand history as Mr. Mangalwadi does. Ironically, his book is dedicated to the “Honourable Arun Shourie, member of Parliament and Former Minister to the Government of India for his criticisms of the Bible which prompted Mangalwadi’s search for truth and the writing of his book.
If history matters, clearly understanding history really matters! Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of his day for not knowing and for not correctly understanding Scripture (Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:24) as it related historically to Him and to God’s plan. Our challenge is to know God’s Word and to understand it’s power yesterday and relevance today. If we fail in this we lose the ability to shape tomorrow. May we say with the Psalmist, “I consider days of old, years long past” (Psalm 77:5). The Apostle Paul advised, “For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures” (Romans 15:4).
The people are the ultimate guardians of their own liberty. History, by apprising them of the past, will enable them to judge of the future. It will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men.—Thomas Jefferson
©2020 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
Hebrews 13:8,9--Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Don’t be led astray by various kinds of strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established by grace and not by foods, since those involved in them have not benefited.
Stan* came over to my house. Earlier he sent me an email stating that he and his wife would not be attending our small group. But I wanted at least a chance to get to know him so I invited him over to chat. During the course of our conversation Stan said he and his wife were having a difficult time finding a church to attend in Colorado Springs because of theological differences. When I asked him what that meant Stan said that they did not believe Jesus was God. Therefore, church leaders were not comfortable putting them in a leadership position. He further elaborated that 95% of Christians mistakenly are taught and believe in Jesus’ deity. No wonder they were having trouble finding a church home!
Have you ever been in a situation where no matter what action you took nothing good was likely to happen? We call this “stuck between a rock and a hard place.” In 1917 a lack of funding caused by an earlier banking crisis led to a dispute between copper mining companies and mineworkers in Bisbee, Arizona. The workers, some of whom had organized in labor unions, gave their company management a list of demands for better pay and conditions. Management refused their request and many workers at the Bisbee mines were forcibly deported to New Mexico. “Given that the mineworkers were faced with a choice between harsh and underpaid work at the rock-face on the one hand and unemployment and poverty on the other” this is probably the source of the phrase.
The word eristicis of Greek origin and refers to those who argue simply for the purpose of winning, regardless of the reason. The word animus comes to us from Latin and means strong dislike. We know this as animosity. While these two words share nothing in common, I believe that the former can lead to the latter causing the two to become intricately linked.
Colorado’s intent is to have an honorable justice system. Judges are elected differently than politicians running for office. They are rated on merit and then voted for by the public every four or six years. By using this kind of system, judges remain independent from special interest groups and earn their keep through their job performance.
Sitting in the courtroom and listening to the judge emphasize the importance of listening and truth-telling, I could not help but feel gratitude for the opportunity to perform my civic duty. For the first time in my life I was called to serve on jury duty. It was an enlightening time learning how Colorado’s justice system is set up. Unfortunately, it did not last long. The court case to which I was assigned involved a company of which two other prospective jurors and I belonged. We were instantly released from duty and sent home.
Psalm 86:11—Teach me Your way, Yahweh, and I will live by Your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear Your name.
King David’s prayer request is one of my favorite passages in the Bible and was my key verse for 1994. When we break it into its natural three phrases there is so much we can apply.
It is impossible: to fly with only our human body; to please everyone; to live perfectly; to know everything; to escape aging; to run faster than every animal; to swim across the ocean; to be invincible; and, to list everything that is unattainable. Because of impossibilities we are weak, vulnerable and headed for judgment. But, because of possibilities, the same reality holds true.
Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational, wrote a New York Times Bestseller entitled The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. I listened to Dan speak at a conference for senior leaders at West Point, NY and was fascinated by what he shared. He made a powerful case for how common cheating and lying is in our society and throughout the world.
Proverbs 4:14,27—Don’t set foot on the path of the wicked; don’t proceed in the way of evil ones . . . Don’t turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.
Acts 15:13—After they stopped speaking, James responded: “Brothers, listen to me!”
Does it surprise you that the leader in the church after Jesus returned to heaven was not one of the eleven apostles? Wouldn’t it seem like the requirement for membership to the Jerusalem Council would be three years of faithful service under the Master? If Jesus said He would build His church upon the rock, and that rock was Peter (Mat. 16:18), why was James the one who rendered judgment as the leader of the Council (15:19-21)?
What Christian is not frustrated in trying to live a godly life? Why is it so hard? For starters, we are flawed. We enter the world dripping wet with a sin nature and from the very outset need God’s grace. A baby’s temper tantrum was not learned behavior it was already ingrained. We grow up enamored with the world’s offerings—what man is not drawn to lust after a sensual woman or woman drawn to the need for security? We are stubborn, preferring to do what we want. It is completely counter-culture to pursue holiness. There is nothing easy about achieving purity and we are quickly frustrated by adversity, failure, and the clever attacks of Satan who will do all he can to disrupt us from fellowship with God.
Kevin and I prayer walk an asphalt trail that is about 3/4ths of a mile around a church, a wooded area and large field. This morning I noticed big paw tracks from a dog that extended for quite a ways along the trail. If I was trained, I could tell by the size of the prints the approximate size of the dog that left its mark. Instead I could only see the obvious—a dog walked in a muddy field and then wandered across the path we were walking.
Recently I finished reading a book called Key To Yourselfby Venice Bloodworth. It was recommended to me by a very nice man who felt I would find it to be inspiring. What I found was that it was immensely dangerous. The book could be summarized in a four word sentence near the beginning of the book, “Psychology is the answer.” Published in 1952, the book is a primer for New Thought. Dr. Bloodworth’s contention is that we are all part of God and “your future is entirely under your own control.” What we need is to harness positive thinking which will then reap positive outcome. The reason we suffer ill fortune is because of the negative energy and thoughts we generate in our minds. “If the state of your health or finances is not all you desire, you must look within yourself for the cause.” Later she writes, “Ignorance of the existence and power of the subconscious mind is the cause of all failures and near failures in the world.”
Kathleen and I are trying to find the right company to help us refinance our home. Each of the four brokers we spoke with gave us compelling reasons to refinance with his or her particular company. We were uncertain as to who was really giving us the best option. Finally, we sat down with a broker in his office and listened as he explained why his option was the best for us. Before he went into his pitch he told us about his family and about a solar energy project he was working to help people bring their energy costs down. At some point in the meeting, I distinctly in my heart “heard” the Lord tell me that this was the man who would help us refinance. It was sort of a surreal moment. Yet, I instantly had peace about our choice and course of action.
In reading through the Bible in 2009, my selected theme was truth. Earlier this week, Chris primed our pumps asking us what truth is. I am going to finish off the year sharing what I learned from this vital Biblical topic hoping that it encourages and challenges you as much as it did me.
Psalm 85:11—Truth will spring up from the earth, and righteousness will look down from heaven.