Can We Rely on God in Difficult Times?

Job 13:15

June 26, 2022 by Adrian Rogers

Few, if any, have ever had the trouble that Job had. But in the midst of his broken-heartedness and bewilderment, Job made one incredible statement: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15a).

God is necessary. We could not exist without Him. But the great question is, “Is God enough?” God brings blessings but also allows troubles. Can God be trusted in our troubles?


Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them….Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? …You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person” (Job 1:6-12, fragmented).

The devil could not believe that Job loved God simply for who God is—there had to be some ulterior motive.

If you can answer “Yes” to these three questions, you have the kind of faith that Job had.


First, Job lost his finances. In one fell swoop, his flocks and herds were taken away. (See Job 1:13-17.)

Then, he lost his family. “While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you’” (Job 1:18-19)!

But the devil was not finished.

“So Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!’ And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life’” (Job 2:4-6).

Now Job was covered from his head to his feet with huge boils that wracked his body with fever and pain. (See Job 2:7-8.)

Three friends came to give Job comfort. Some comforters! One of them, Eliphaz, said, “Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off” (Job 4:7)? That is, “Job must have some secret sin.”

The philosophy is that you only suffer because you have done wrong. But it isn’t so. Some of God’s choicest saints have suffered. They had not done anything wrong. Some were given faith to escape; some were given faith to endure. (Read Hebrews 11:32-40.)

Faith is not receiving from God what you want; faith is accepting from God what He gives. Job said, “‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.’ In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong” (Job 1:21-22).


What about when we suffer, and nobody cares?

Job’s three “friends” did nothing but criticize and give platitudes. “My relatives have failed, and my close friends have forgotten me” (Job 19:14).

Even Job’s wife did the work of the devil. “Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips” (Job 2:9-10).


Remember, you understand why this was happening—that God was allowing Job to be tested, to show that he would not fall.

But Job had not read the Book of Job. He was in absolute darkness.

“Even today my complaint is bitter; my hand is listless because of my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat! I would present my case before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments” (Job 23:2-4). Job is saying, “God, you owe me some answers. What is going on?”

God does not tell us “why.” Many of God’s saints have gone into deep darkness and do not know why.

Isaiah asked, “Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely upon his God” (Isaiah 50:10).

All great Christians have talked about “the dark night of the soul.” They are obeying God, then darkness comes that they cannot understand. Isaiah says, when that happens, “rely upon your God.”


God finally spoke, but He did not answer Job’s questions. He taught Job three things:

1. God is sovereign.

God said to Job, “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2). That is, “Job, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:4-7)?

God is saying, “I have a right to do as I wish.”

2. God is sufficient.

When Job finally sees God in a new light, he says, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You” (Job 42:5). By his trouble, he has gone from mere theology to a personal relationship with God. God will be nearest and most precious to you when you are suffering, forsaken by friends, and in darkness. God is not only necessary; God is also enough.

3. God is sympathetic toward His people.

The book ends this way: “And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before…Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:10,12a).

God takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servants. But you had better get the faith of Job and say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15a). Man that is born of woman is full of trouble. You will have trouble, whether you are a Christian or not. But Christians have the answers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Persevering Love: How To Survive the Tough Times

By America’s Family Coaches June 6, 2022

persevering love

If you want to safeguard your marriage against the storms and struggles of life, if you want a deeper bond and a richer friendship, you need the third secret to a lasting love: persevering love. It’s the kind of love that triumphs over trials and grows stronger when you are most vulnerable.

Persevering love doesn’t just hang on through calamity by its fingernails; it hangs in there and thrives. It’s the kind of love described by the apostle Paul: “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Persevering love bonds husbands and wives into lifelong friends.

Persevering Love Requires Total Commitment

Photo by  Justin Follis  on  Unsplash

From what we have witnessed and experienced, the starting point for persevering love is an all-out commitment to each other. It’s the tough stance that says, “Our marriage is bigger than any issue. No matter who or what is arrayed against us, we will stand together. Neither of us will ever go through a trial alone.”

Persevering love doesn’t say, “I’ll stick with you because I have to—because I promised to” but, “I will hang in there with you because I care for you more than anything in the world.”

Have you committed yourself 100 percent to endure together whatever life may throw at you? How are you demonstrating that commitment in the face of life’s problems and pressures?

Persevering Love Requires Unconditional Acceptance

The unconditional acceptance of persevering love says, “No matter how good or bad you look, no matter how much money you earn or lose, no matter how smart or feebleminded you are, I will still love you.” That’s the stuff of our wedding vows—for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. Persevering love chooses to continue loving even when life dumps on us a world of reasons to fall out of love.

Persevering Love Requires Deep Trust

Persevering love is the product of deep trust between husband and wife. Trust says, “I will depend on you to guard and protect my heart and my life, to fight beside me always.” You may need to trust a lot of people to pull you through a crisis. But more than anyone else on earth, husbands and wives should rely on each other.

King Solomon wrote, “If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble” (Ecclesiastes 4:10). The wise king continued, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Although these verses do not refer specifically to the marriage relationship, they do reveal that a trust-based relationship, especially one that is “triple-braided”—such as husband, wife, and God—is tough to beat. When you face pressures, allow them to bond you together and build your friendship instead of pull you apart.

Facing trials requires a depth of trust that doesn’t grow overnight. This is why the trust of persevering love grows richer over time, as you each prove yourselves trustworthy to the other. It may be true that trust begins to build during courtship, and your commitment to trust may be inherent in your wedding vows. But complete trust is established over time and under the pressure of daily life.

Read Next on Thriving Marriages When Little Fights Become Big Problems

Persevering Love Requires Endurance

Every kind of trial—emotional burdens, financial difficulties, spiritual questions, physical pain, relational stresses—presents a new opportunity for a husband and wife to persevere. Commitment helps you stay connected to each other through trials; perseverance is the determination to outlast the problems, to help each other get to the other side. Think of the intimacy and friendship that can develop in your relationship when you are committed to persevering through every trial.

Persevering Love Requires Abiding Faith

If marital love is to endure life’s pressures, it needs to be grounded in a sincere, abiding faith in the God who designed marriage. Any of us can stubbornly pursue a lifestyle that our culture deems important and live independently of God. Sometimes a severe trial moves us to let God have his way with us and to see what truly matters in life. We often don’t really appreciate the important role faith plays in our marriage until a crisis forces us to throw ourselves on God’s mercy.

Faith is such a vital facet of the marriage relationship and such a source of strength for building a lasting love.

Persevering Love Requires Diligent Preparation

Anyone who lives near a hurricane zone knows that the time for action is long before the storm hits. Once the wind is wailing, the surf is boiling, and the rain is coming at you sideways, it’s time to head for cover and hunker down. It’s too late to board up the windows, buy drinking water and batteries, and add flood coverage to your homeowner’s policy. The time to prepare for a hurricane is during the calm between the storms.

When it comes to marriage, all of us live in a hurricane zone. And since the pressures, crises, and tragedies of life seldom blow in with advance warning, it is during the calm stretches of life that we must get ready for them. Persevering love is founded on the devotion and friendship a husband and wife build before the storm strikes.

If you and your spouse find yourselves in one of those lulls between storms, rejoice! And while you are rejoicing, take the opportunity to prepare for stormy weather ahead. Now is the time to shore up your marriage. Work on a Bible study together. Take a second honeymoon—or third, or fourth. Read some good books on marriage enrichment and discuss them together. Attend a Christian marriage conference. Seek out a biblically based Christian counselor, and ask him or her for pointers on how to deepen your friendship.

The more you invest in your marriage between the storms, the better prepared you will be to endure the storms together—and even come through them stronger.

*For more about how to unlock the biblical secrets to a marriage that stays vibrant and strong for a lifetime check out our book 6 Secrets to a Lasting Love in our online bookstore!

VIDEO How Overturning Roe Has Exposed Lies, Ignorance and the Manipulation of You – Mayra Flores -Harmeet Dhillon

How Overturning Roe Has Exposed Lies, Ignorance and the Manipulation of You

By Michael Robison June 25, 2022

The nation erupted in cries of joy and tears of frustration on Friday when the ruling from Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was delivered, overturning the 1972 Roe V Wade ruling on abortion. 

In his opinion, Alito highlighted many rights and freedoms expressly given to the American people. He also pointed out that the Court was returning the power to the people to influence the future. 

But, Friday’s news revealed a deeper issue in America. It highlighted the presence of pure ignorance and the absence of personal responsibility. The headlines, statements, social media posts, protests, and broadcasts highlighted a problem infecting the nation faster than the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Democrats, celebrities, and the mainstream media have led the way as they continue to decry the ruling, calling it a revocation of the Constitutional rights of the American people. Many claim Alito’s ruling diminishes such rights and freedoms. 

Former Disney Child Star Selena Gomez amplified this narrative on Friday, posting on Twitter that she felt rights were being removed. 

TRENDING: MUST SEE VIDEO: Day 1 of the Abortionist Insurrection – Democrat Leaders Lead Calls for Mass Violence, Violent Mobs Terrorize Communities, Crack Heads

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also shared this misinformation when she said, “American women today have less freedom than their mothers.”

If you read the opinion issued by the Court, those claims can be refuted and clarified as an act of empowering the American people, despite claims from President Biden and others.

Alito said, “Roe was on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided, Casey perpetuated its errors, and those errors do not concern some arcane corner of the law of little importance to the American people. Rather, wielding nothing but “raw judicial power,”… the Court usurped the power to address a question of profound moral and social importance that the Constitution unequivocally leaves for the people.” 

It was his way of pointing out that the Court was not the arbiter of access to life-altering decisions such as abortion, nor the body to determine the right to oversee such choices. The Court decided to return the right of people to govern such things within their state of residence, powered by the impact of their votes. 

Alito clarified this by saying, “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

Alito goes on to clarify that in returning to the basis of the Constitution if the Court is to uphold the right of abortion, it then forces a specific theory on the question, what is life? 

“Our opinion is not based on any view about if and when prenatal life is entitled to any of the rights enjoyed after birth. The dissent, by contrast, would impose on the people a particular theory about when the rights of personhood begin. According to the dissent, the Constitution requires the States to regard a fetus as lacking even the most basic human right—to live—at least until an arbitrary point in a pregnancy has passed. Nothing in the Constitution or in our Nation’s legal traditions authorizes the Court to adopt that ‘theory of life,’” Alito stated.

He noted that neither the Constitution nor any legal tradition allows the Supreme Court to adopt a “theory of life” which would constitute the exact moment a fetus is declared a person. In essence, the Court does not want to be tasked to hold to a moral position that requires them to determine if a specific life does or does not have value. 

RELATED: Radical Squad Member Cori Bush Speaks At Pro-Abortion Rally – Protesters Claim Abortion Is ‘An Act Of Love”

Alito clearly stated throughout his opinion that the “theory of life,” or the decision of when a life becomes viable and eligible for rights, is not defined nor supported in the U.S. Constitution. 

“We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.”

Despite Alito’s clear and defined details, the government and the media continue to push a narrative that says that abortion is a “constitutional right.”

On Friday, President Biden made the false claim while addressing the nation, spreading misinformation and stoking heavy emotional responses from Americans. 

Others claim that this ruling is nothing more than a gateway to end access to contraception, same-sex marriage, and other rights. While there is never a guarantee that those rights would not face opposition in the Court, Alito addresses these concerns directly. 

Robert Reich, a professor at Berkely, amplified those claims that the removal of other rights will directly follow this ruling. 

Alito refutes this directly within his written opinion. 

Alito writes, “Finally, the dissent suggests that our decision calls into question Griswold, Eisenstadt, Lawrence, and Obergefell. But we have stated unequivocally that ‘[n]othing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.’ We have also explained why that is so: rights regarding contraception and same-sex relationships are inherently different from the right to abortion because the latter (as we have stressed) uniquely involves what Roe and Casey termed ‘potential life.’”

He clarifies that the ruling that overturned Roe V Wade was based upon the term potential life. Alito makes clear again that the Court is not willing to accept a position as a demigod responsible for adjudicating what constitutes the beginning of life. 

Others claim that Court’s ruling removes power from women, demeaning their value and authority over their bodies. California Congressman Eric Swalwell tried to allude that the ruling set women’s rights back 50 years! 

Congressman Adam Schiff said, “The Court’s decision to overturn Roe endangers women everywhere, by taking away their right to make their own health care choices.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Alito writes, “Our decision returns the issue of abortion to those legislative bodies, and it allows women on both sides of the abortion issue to seek to affect the legislative process by influencing public opinion, lobbying legislators, voting, and running for office. Women are not without electoral or political power. It is noteworthy that the percentage of women who register to vote and cast ballots is consistently higher than the percentage of men who do so.”

Throughout the entire opinion of Roe, Alito is clear that his intent, along with the other Justices, is to return the power to the citizens of the United States. He is returning the Constitutional right to vote, lobby, and legislate at the state level. 

The delivery of this ruling and the public response have exposed a problem with most Americans. That problem is evident at every level, from the government to the media, with celebrities and the general public. There is general laziness that pervades Americans. Very few have been willing to read the ruling or the rulings that this decision affects.  

The lack of moral foundations, and a missing sense of honor for others, have empowered those in Washington, on television, and in leadership to take advantage of the people. They can create headlines, publish ideas and spark a national debate that is a departure from the truth and far from being anchored in facts. Sadly, the American people have allowed them to abuse that weakness in order to remain in power. 

This ruling is not a reduction of rights and freedoms; it is an empowerment of the people and a return to the Constitutional foundation on which this nation was built. 

Harmeet Dhillon Gives a Pragmatic Legal Perspective on Supreme Court Ruling

June 24, 2022 by Sundance

Ms. Harmeet Dhillon appears on the Tucker Carlson show to discuss the Supreme Court ruling that sends the issue of abortion back to the individual states for determinations of legal issue by the legislative bodies closest to the people.  {Direct Rumble Link}  Dhillon provides a clear-eyed and pragmatic review of the Roe -vs- Wade case nuance overall.  WATCH:

WATCH: New Congresswoman Mayra Flores Celebrates Overturning Of Roe In English And Spanish — “Somos Pro-Vida!”

By ProTrumpNews Staff June 25, 2022

The GOP is the Pro-Life party.

Mayra Flores, the first Mexican-born woman elected to Congress celebrated the overturning of Roe v Wade during a speech with her GOP colleagues.

“Hallelujah, I woke up this morning praying for this and I never thought that it would happen. This was a big win not only for South Texas because we are Pro-life…Somos pro-vida…but it is also a big win for our country. If we want to see a real change in bringing crime down we need to raise a generation to respect life.”

TRENDING: MUST SEE VIDEO: Day 1 of the Abortionist Insurrection – Democrat Leaders Lead Calls for Mass Violence, Violent Mobs Terrorize Communities, Crack Heads

She called the ruling historic and pointed out that the “Constitution never created a right to abortion.”

In typical Democrat fashion, they have already started smearing her.

Breitbart reported:

Texas Democrat Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who’s running against Republican Rep. Mayra Flores — the first Mexican-born woman elected to Congress — in November, resorted to “sexist” and “xenophobic” attacks against the newly sworn-in incumbent.

Newsweek’s Adrian Carrasquillo noted that he wanted to “cast himself as the traditional Texan in the race” while degrading Flores as “an immigrant outsider.”

Gonzalez, fighting to be a member of Congress after November, claimed that he also supports “God, family, country” and “come[s] from a patriotic family,” saying, “I wasn’t born in Mexico, I was born in South Texas, the son of a Korean war veteran.”

The congressman went further by saying, “I didn’t come here through chain migration, I didn’t come through asylum or amnesty or whatever.”

RINOs are losing – Pro-MAGA Republicans are winning!

Gutfeld: Guns are in the Constitution, abortion is not


AUDIO America, America! Why Should God Shed His Grace On Thee?

By Rev Bill Woods

Psalm 9:17The wicked will go down to the grave. This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God.

Judges 3:1-2 These are the nations that the LORD left in the land to test those Israelites who had not experienced the wars of Canaan. He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle.

Judges 17:6:  21:25In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

No nation has ever been as blessed and successful as The United States of America.

God has blessed Our Nation because it was founded upon principles found in the Bible.  Our laws were based on God’s Laws found mostly in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

Even early school textbooks were steeped in Christian Catechism, scriptural quotes, and morality found in the Word of God.

In 1959, Madelyn Murray O’Hair challenged the rights of the school system to teach her son, William, to pray and read the Bible in public school.  She didn’t want him exposed to such futile nonsense.

At first nobody took her threat seriously.  They thought she was just a whacky old dame!

She pursued her “cause” all the way to the Supreme Court and finally, in 1963, prayer, Scripture, and God were kicked out of public schools. 

What’s ironic — despite her efforts to shield William from God, he became a

Christian and eventually a Baptist pastor! 

He also serves as chairman of the Religions Freedom Coalition, a non-profit in Washington D.C. that fights for the rights of Christians in Islamic and Communist countries.

He founded a printing press to produce Bibles in Russia shortly after communism collapsed in the old Soviet Union.  His Mom would be so proud!  NOT!

He says he is trying to atone for his mother’s successful effort to get prayer banned from public schools.

I remember a time when Madelyn and her husband had a fight. He beat her up and broke her arm! A lot of pastors wanted to send him a “Thank You” note.

Since our Nation evicted God from school and public forums, we’ve been on a downward spiral.

Crime has increased, divorce has increased, sexual sins have increased bringing

more adultery, fornication, gay lifestyles, disease, unwanted pregnancies,

People used to leave their doors unlocked and never worry about thieves breaking in.  In fact, they could leave their keys in their cars with no concern.

Children could play outside and be perfectly safe.

Drivers could stop to help people on the road with little concern for their safety.                    

The Judd’s: Grandpa tell me ’bout the good old days.

Grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days
Sometimes it feels like this world’s gone crazy
Grandpa, take me back to yesterday
When the line between right and wrong
Didn’t seem so hazy

Did lovers really fall in love to stay
And stand beside each other, come what may?
Was a promise really something people kept
Not just something they would say
Did families really bow their heads to pray?
Did daddies really never go away?
Whoa, whoa, grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days

Grandpa, everything is changing fast
We call it progress, but I just don’t know
And grandpa, let’s wander back into the past
Then paint me the picture of long ago

Did lovers really fall in love to stay
And stand beside each other, come what may?
Was a promise really something people kept
Not just something they would say and then forget
Did families really bow their heads to pray?
Did daddies really never go away?
Whoa, whoa, grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days
Whoa, whoa, grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days


Did families really bow their heads to pray?
Did daddies really never go away?

Today we have shootings at schools, factories, post offices, court rooms, churches, restaurants…………….It’s not the guns!  It’s demented people on the rampage!
Drive-by shootings for the sport of it. 
We must worry about rapes, home invasions, arson, murder……
It’s certainly not the same America I grew up in……When people honored God and attended church and sin wasn’t flaunted in or out of the closet!  
America was the greatest Nation on earth --  the envy of the world.
Everyone pulled together for a common cause and enjoyed living decently, we were a Great Nation!
Today we’re confused about morals and decency — SHACKING UP together is just natural!
Our younger generations don’t appreciate or even know their heritage.
We’ve been invaded by people with no understanding about our history or culture.
Because we threw the Bible out immigrants are bringing their religions in, we must let them practice their Godless religions, but we better not tell them about Jesus!
In 2013 the SUPREME COURT RULED Section 3 of DOMA (DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT) unconstitutional clearing the way for GAY MARRIAGE!  It was ruled that denying recognition of same-sex marriages is a violation of the Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendment.
Many Old-line denominations have “liberalized” and are insisting pastors and churches perform weddings for gay couples or get sued for discrimination. 
Some local congregations, especially those designated as "Welcoming churches" in the American Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, Methodist, Episcopal, and Brethren/Mennonite denominations, may consist of a majority of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender members.
There’s big push in society to legalize sin.  We don’t like being told, “NO!”
The mood of the day is Hedonism: “If it feels good, do it!”
In many churches “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere!”
Pope Francis is saying that Good Atheists will be welcomed into Heaven!
LISTEN TO ME:  There’s only One Path to Heaven and His Name is Jesus Christ!  
John 14:6--Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
YOU CAN’T LEAVE GOD OUT OF SOCIETY AND EXPECT ANYTHING BUT CRIME AND CHAOS. (Seattle, Portland, Chicago, and most major cities).

Because we’re afraid of offending someone’s culture, religion, or “Sexual Orientation” we’ve fallen into the trap of Judges 17:6 and 21:25 – “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.”

It didn’t work then -- it won’t work now!
There will be a lot of confused people at God’s Judgement Seat waiting to enter Heaven and told to go to Hell!  
Too many modern pastors are “tickling ears” rather than preaching the Gospel Truth!  And people are following them on the “Broad Road and Wide Gate” right into an Eternal Hell!
Unless America turns back to God, “we’ve bought the farm!”………………..
What a sad commentary when our Supreme Court Judges can’t discern Right 
from wrong, immorality from morality and 9 people can override the votes for 
common decency.
The last Judge appointed to the Supreme Court can’t even define what a woman is!
At least today they made one right decision.  They outlawed abortion as a Constitutional Right.  However, we can expect violent demonstrations from people who put more value on convenience than on life!
God warned -- 2 Thessalonians 2:11 -- In the last days people will be deceived and will believe a lie rather than truth.
America has weakened because we’ve dismissed God and bought the Big Lie.
By the way, the United States is not a Democracy like Nancy Pelosi and our Democratic leaders would have you believe.
We are a Republic!

The key difference between a democracy and a republic lies in the limits placed on government by the law, which has implications for minority rights.

Both forms of government tend to use a representational system where citizens vote to elect politicians to represent their interests and form the government.

In a Republic, a constitution or charter of rights protects certain inalienable rights that cannot be taken away by the government, even if it has been elected by a majority of voters.

In a “Democracy,” the majority is not restrained and can impose its will on the minority.

Most modern nations—including the U.S.—are Democratic Republics with a Constitution, which can only be amended by a popularly elected government.

This comparison therefore contrasts the form of government in most countries today with a theoretical construct of a “pure democracy”, mainly to highlight the features of a republic.

Simply put:  The Government can’t arbitrarily just take away my Amendment Rights on the whim of a political party!  Thank God for that protection!

History’s proven a republic is always temporary in nature; it simply can’t exist as a permanent form of government.  A republic will continue to exist until voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.
From then on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury - the result: every republic will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) usually followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years.  (This year the U.S. celebrates 246 years).
During those 200 years nations progress through the following sequence:
From Bondage to Spiritual Faith
From Spiritual Faith to Great Courage
From Great Courage to Liberty
From Liberty to Abundance
From Abundance to Complacency
From Complacency to Apathy
From Apathy to Governmental Dependence
From Governmental Dependency back to Bondage
I’m not sure we can turn this Nation around — we’ve ignored God far too long and we’ve let every evil perversion into our society.
Not only have we let down on our God-given Heritage and morals, but we’ve also compromised to the point the average American thinks “God,” is a swear word or a word to punctuate their language……………
Another problem is our enemies want to destroy us.
The Muslims attacked our Nation on September 11, 2001, and we practically   
embraced them calling them “A Religion of Peace.”
Ill-informed people believe they serve the same God that Christians do. — NOT SO! Allah is not Jehovah!
I warned of the Muslim threat – let’s look at other SIGNS OF THE END TIMES:
President George W. Bush, President Obama, and now President Biden have pursued a globalist agenda to create a North American Union, effectively erasing our borders with Mexico and Canada.
The hidden agenda behind these administrations is to have open borders.
Secretly the Bush Administration pursued a policy to expand NAFTA (North American Free Trading Agreement) established in 1994, under Clinton.
Our government tried to force us to be a World Region not a Sovereign Nation.
The U.S. has been the leading World Power among nations.
Since 2005, there’s been a concerted effort to repeal or do away with U.S. sovereignty to the North American Union – a new economic and political entity quietly forming much like the European Union was formed.
In March, 2005, President George W. Bush, Mexican President Vincente Fox, and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin committed their governments to a path of cooperation and joint action.
The Simple plan was to erase the borders.
Form a North American Region as part of a One World Order.
That’s why the borders aren’t secured.
That is why Trump pushed for building a wall!
Don’t count on it!
We’ve strayed too far and ingested too much anti-God garbage and there aren’t enough praying Christians that even care.
We’ve been like that frog placed in cold water then brought to a boil.  We didn’t pay attention to what was going on while we could.
What Then?  Should we just give up and accept defeat?
No!  We should salvage our families and get as many others as we can to turn 
back to God. 
2 Chronicles 7:14==Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
We need more prayer!  We need to witness more and trust God to use us for His Work.
God is a God of miracles -- we can leave a swath of righteousness across this sinful and corrupt world in which we live if we turn back to God.
Ezekiel 22:30“I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.”

Benjamin Franklin spoke to the Second Continental Congress (1775):

“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?  We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord builds the house they labor in vain that build it.’ 

I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel:  We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages.  And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments of human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move—that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business…………”

That doesn’t sound like our national leaders who allowed Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Shintos and every kind of God-defying religion to come together for a “National Day of Prayer and Repentance” right after 9-11.

The reason that the desired “Revival” was so short lived was because of God’s First two Commandments:  “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

The “NATIONAL DAY OF ‘CONTRITION AND REPENTANCE’ PRAYER MEETING”  held September 14, 2001, at the Washington National Cathedral pleading for God’s intercession was a farce!  God would not share His Power to heal a nation with all the other gods represented that day!

The religious leaders trying to lead a day of repentance were Ecumenical and included every true and false religion.  That negated the desired success because God will not share His Glory!

Winston Churchill:

“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

Is that what we’ve allowed America to become today!

God forgive us for not letting HIM continue to lead us in righteousness!



You ask:  What can I do about it?  I don’t have the influence to change things!

I am only one, but still I am one.

I cannot do everything, but still I can do something;  and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.   –Edward Everett Hale




Only the peace of God enables a life of faith

by Nehemiah Hephzibah on June 16, 2022

Some willfully sinful believers claim to have inner peace. Is it peace? Or a lull before a life-storm?

Sadly, those who do not repent get pushed towards rejecting the true Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.

Not all who are quiet have peace.

Let that sink in.

Every other peace, apart from Christ, is blindness or numbness caused by Satan. Deceived, we move away from the whole truth. We move into indifference for specific scriptures, followed by a total lack of love for God’s word.

Today, social media is replete with false Christians claiming to leave Christianity because God’s word is outdated. The truth is, they never knew the living, unchanging, everlasting God!

Peace of God delivers you during trials and temptations

  1. Abraham held his peace when he took his son to the mountain to sacrifice.
  2. Joseph had inner peace during the 20 years of bondage.
  3. King Solomon’s kingdom reigning in peace throughout is a result of God’s wisdom.
  4. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood in the fire. They remained in the peace of God.
  5. Daniel had inner peace. Despite standing inside a den full of hungry lions.
  6. King David held his peace when his own went against him.
  7. The apostles peacefully went through persecution meted out in them.

In each case, the peace of God brought clarity and courage to the lives of faith heroes. The peace of Christ enables the righteous to examine his ways daily.

Faith-life can only stay preserved in the peace of Christ. Before Jesus ascended, He left His peace so the disciples could wait in obedience and receive the power of the Holy Spirit.

Dear brother, and sister, devour the Word to fill your heart with peace. Pray, so you get filled with God’s love daily. Inner peace in Christ will become a natural phenomenon.

The day is near when Jesus will come. Be ready to welcome Jesus, our Bridegroom. Praise God, and Amen.

An Appeal To The Body Of Christ

March 27, 2020

[John 10:10 NKJV] “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Friends, this is an appeal to the body of Christ. We have seen the work of the thief, who comes to steal, kill and destroy. Most of us are in locations where there is a partial/complete lockdown and as the body of Christ we aren’t even able to come together as one, let alone do the good works that God created us to do [Ephesians 2:10].

Think of a human body completely dismembered with each part torn away from each other. How can such a body function. This is exactly our situation today with the Corona Virus placing us all in isolation and we can no longer gather together as one. We can no longer function as a body. This is certainly not what God wants and I would like to make this appeal to you that whilst you are isolated and unable to gather together, there is one thing we can do. Let us in unison gather our voices together and cast out the thief who does not belong in our midst. I would like to suggest that we set up a time that is most convenient for us and our friends/relatives/fellow church members and though we cannot gather together in one place, but we can let our voices be heard in unison and cast out the thief out of our midst.

Those who are near to my location (Pune, India), I desire that we take a few minutes daily at 4 pm (IST) and use our voices collectively wherever we are and speak/pray/sing so that we let the enemy know exactly who we are (yes, the body of Christ). If you feel you do not know what to speak/sing/pray, ask the Lord to guide you and be led by His Spirit, (do not let your words be vain repetitions – [Matthew 6:7]) all you would need to do is just lend your voice and do not just think out your prayer/song/words. For the Lord created the universe by His spoken word and not just by His thoughts.

We are made in the image and likeness of God and we ought to let our voices come out of our mouths and see this thing happen. We can release life and destroy the works of the enemy through our words [Proverbs 18:21 & 1 John 3:18]. We may be alone isolated in our respective homes but in Spirit we can come together as one body and can release the power of God through our voices. So, let us come together in Spirit at 4 pm IST (or a time convenient for you and your family/friends) daily and let us destroy the work of the thief.

[2 Chronicles 5:13-14 NKJV] Indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever”, that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.

VIDEO God Smiles, Children Live, Roe v Wade Overturned


By Cassandra Fairbanks June 24, 2022

The Supreme Court has sided with the state of Mississippi and overturned Roe v. Wade.

The opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito.

Alito asserted that Roe was “egregiously wrong” and “on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided.”

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote. “Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”


Laws related to abortion will now be returned to the states to decide.

Justice Alito  added that the Roe court “usurped the power to address a question of profound moral and social importance that the Constitution unequivocally leaves for the people.”

“It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” the ruling stated.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan  filed a joint dissent.

“Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens,” the dissenters wrote.

The case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was filed after Mississippi enacted HB 1510, the Gestational Age Act, in 2018.

The law banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, except in medical emergencies and in the cases where there was severe fetal abnormality.

Jackson Women’s Health Organization provides abortions up to 16 weeks and filed a lawsuit immediately after the law went into effect.

The abortion clinic was successful in the lower courts and injunctions were put in place to prevent the law from being enforced, based on the 1992 decision in Casey v. Planned Parenthood, which barred states from enacting abortion bans prior to fetal viability.

Mississippi took the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that both Roe and Casey should be overturned. They cited evidence that fetuses can feel pain as early as ten weeks. Oral arguments were made before the court in December, 2021.

On May 2, 2022, a draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to Politico. In the opinion, he wrote that “it is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

The leak prompted a wave of protests and backlash against conservative justices, including the firebombing of pro-life pregnancy centers and a foiled assassination plot against Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

BREAKING: Supreme Court Overturns Roe

By Dale Chamberlain June 24, 2022

Photo by Adam Szuscik (via Unsplash)

On Friday (June 24), the United States Supreme Court ruled to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, thereby revoking abortion as a constitutionally protected right and sending the decision on abortion legislation back to the individual states. 

The 6-3 decision came as a break from nearly 50 years of legal determinations by SCOTUS, who had previously reaffirmed the Roe decision in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision. 

A great deal of anticipation has surrounded the announcement of this ruling, which came in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization regarding a Mississippi law that bars most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, as a leaked draft of the opinion written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito in May indicated a possible victory for the pro-life movement.

Later that same month, Democratic senators presented a bill that would federally protect abortion rights, thereby codifying Roe, but it was ultimately struck down by a ​​49-51 vote.  

RELATED: In Wake of Roe’s Possible Overturn, Differing Visions Within Pro-Life Movement Come Into Focus

Had it passed, the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) would have provided federal protections for abortion rights up to the point of birth, striking down regulatory laws surrounding abortion at the state level. Every Republican senator voted against it, and Democratic senator Joe Manchin crossed party lines to join them.

“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” the SCOTUS opinion reads. 

The opinion goes on to say that the “critical question is whether the Constitution, properly understood, confers a right to obtain an abortion,” arguing that the Casey decision “skipped over that question and reaffirmed Roe solely on the basis of stare decisis,” that is, the established legal precedent of Roe.

In response to the news, pro-life advocates took to social media to express gratitude and celebration.

RELATED: Biden Says a ‘Child of God’ Has a Right to an Abortion; Psaki Calls Mohler’s Opposition to Roe ‘an Outlier Position’

“This is a great day for American justice. A grievous wrong has been corrected. This ruling was decades in the making, through long and patient legal, political, and cultural advocacy,” tweeted journalist and legal expert David French. “But this fight is not over. Far from it. The struggle to build a culture of life continues.”

“Our work now is just starting: we must help and support moms, dads, and babies. Love them all—and in so doing making abortion unimaginable,” said Karen Swallow Prior, Research Professor of English and Christianity & Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and long-time pro-life activist. 

Director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement Daniel Darling said, “Today is a great day in America. After almost a half century of relentless advocacy on behalf of the most vulnerable members of our society, this is the beginning of the end of abortion in America.”

Nevertheless, pro-choice advocates are anticipated to protest, and some are fearing that those protests may turn violent. 

RELATED: SBC Messengers Long Resolved To Overturn Roe v. Wade

“The Department of Homeland Security is communicating with Catholic Churches and pregnancy centers, telling them to be prepared for a ‘Night of Rage’ by pro-abortion groups pledging ‘extreme violence’ the night of the Dobbs decision,” tweeted Lila Rose, president and founder of Live Action, a pro-life advocacy group, on Thursday. 

Since Justice Alito’s opinion draft was leaked, churches and crisis pregnancy centers have experienced an uptick in protests and vandalization. Pro-choice activists have also protested outside the homes of Supreme Court justices, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh even becoming the subject of an assassination attempt. 

RELATED: After Roe: A New Frontier Awaited by Christians, Ed’s Comments in USAToday

“Their threats will not win. The pro-life movement is stronger than ever: determined to care for both mother & child, to provide the networks of support that young families need, & to fight for legal protections for the preborn. We will not back down. We will not be intimidated,” Rose went on to say.

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”Psalm 139:13-14  

As we move into a post-Roe v. Wade world, I urge you to remember who you are as God’s own handiwork. You are wonderfully created in the image of the God of the universe, and He breathed the breath of His life into you! 

Your life began at conception, and God loves you with an unfathomable, profound love. 

As Christians, we stand up for life and stand up for those who do not have a voice. We speak on their behalf and say, “This is not right. We have to have justice” 

I pray that as you explore CBN, you will come to a fuller understanding of all the treasures God has for you… blessings that began the very first moment of your life. 

LIFE is God’s beautiful gift to each of us.
Gordon Robertson President and CEO, CBN

Hannity: According to Democrats, America is in peril

Trump, Clinton Tackle Abortion in Final Debate


LIVE STREAM from Outside the Supreme Court – Radical Left is Screaming with Rage

Nice place to live. Illegals get driver license  and the abortion clinics will welcome all.

VIDEO Karen Swallow Prior: How the Church Should Move Forward Now Roe Has Been Overturned

By Jessica Lea June 24, 2022

Karen Swallow Prior
Photo courtesy of Karen Swallow Prior

Dr. Karen Swallow Prior is Research Professor of English and Christianity and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is the author of several books, a prolific writer, and gives frequent lectures and talks on her work. Karen has been active in the pro-life movement for several decades.

Key Questions for Karen Swallow Prior

-Tell us about your work and experience in the pro-life movement. How have you seen the movement change over the years? 

-What was your initial reaction when Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion was leaked, indicating that Roe would be overturned? And what do you think now in this moment?

-How would you suggest we simultaneously advocate for a holistic approach to life and also advocate for the unborn?

-What is your hope for what churches will do now regarding the unborn? 

Key Quotes From Karen Swallow Prior

“I entered into the pro-life movement and became passionate as an activist and wanting to overturn Roe, but sort of not really thinking it would ever happen, it was just so entrenched in our culture. I mean, abortion just had a hold on our culture. And it still does.”

“I was convinced, even if I wouldn’t live to see it, that abortion would eventually be seen for the barbarism and the injustice that it is. And just simply overturning Roe versus Wade won’t do that alone. But we know that the law is a teacher. The law does cultivate attitudes and opinions and values and even forms our imagination. So if we do come to a place where more and more states protect the lives of the unborn and support women who are in these pregnancies, then I think we will have the world that all of us really dreamed of, even if we didn’t know it would really happen.”

“We have to think about how we apply our pro-life ethic, not just in general, but even in in the kinds of of difficult circumstances that the law will have to take into account.”

“​​I’m seeing that that the pro-life position has been almost assumed within the church community for 50 years without us really having to think about how to change the law because we haven’t had the opportunity. We’re going to have to educate ourselves quickly and thoughtfully and not just rush to put legislation in place that would be disastrous or uninformed or medically irresponsible.”

“We must also think about why we think that innocent unborn children’s lives should be protected. It is because they are made in the image of God. Well, so are the lives of immigrants, refugees and others who might be inconvenient to us…if we are going to oppose the taking of of innocent unborn life because that life is made in the image of God, then we do need to be prepared to think about other policies.”

“We still need to have these Sanctity of Human Life Sundays. We still will need to have crisis pregnancy centers. We still will need to support women making these decisions. I think that there’s just so much more power and possibility in these opportunities because we have the chance not only to save the lives immediately in front of us, but we also have the opportunity to change people’s minds and to enlarge their imaginations.”

Pastors need to know that in survey after survey, young people in the church still are just as pro-life as they have been for decades. Even as they tend to develop more progressive views, the pro-life issue remains pretty constant.”

“We need to show the biblical principles and the application of those in our society that undergird the pro-life position in such a way that the next generation sees that this doesn’t arise out of just a hatred of women or disdain for sex or judgment of people who are caught in these situations.”

“The church had to grapple with slavery. The church has had to grapple with violence toward indigenous peoples. We have not passed a lot of those tests. But here we have another chance to take a test about our beliefs about human life.”

“With Roe versus Wade being out of the way, then we actually don’t have to worry about the politics as much, at least not in in that respect. I think in my experience, most Sanctity of Human Life Sundays are focused on our local pregnancy help centers. They will still be needed. They will be needed even more.”

“I think it begins with teaching young men and young women when they are still teenagers that human life is not only sacred, but that they are part of a community that would welcome new life no matter what the difficulty of the circumstances are. So that even before a crisis occurs, these young people know they are part of a supportive community that will help them and that values life even more than all of the costs and the inconveniences that come.”

“Men should be held to account. They should be responsible, they should be brought into the picture in whatever way is warranted by the situation, [assuming he is] a not a criminal, not an abuser. There are other kinds of accountability that should be required then. But if it’s just a normal situation and the couple is struggling, then the man needs to be brought into the picture as well. It should not all be born by the woman.”

“We can’t really treat abortion as an issue in isolation because it has to do with what we believe about sexual ethics and what we believe about marriage and what we believe about about family. It’s all of those things together.”

“Yes, there’s something to be thankful for, hugely thankful for. But it really is just the beginning of a new opportunity for the church to address this issue in a meaningful way.”

“I think we just have to embody what we say we believe, which is not about oppressing people. It’s not about stripping freedom from people. It’s about a love of human life and a love of human flourishing and a desire to see all human beings live as long as they can, because they do bear the image of God. And if we really believe that, then that will come out in our posture and our words and our attitudes, even in the face of this anger and fear and hostility.”

Mentioned in the Show

Check out Karen’s website
Follow Karen on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

Antiabortion advocate worked for years to overturn Roe, but worries over next steps” by Michelle Boorstein in The Washington Post

Being pro-life means caring about all of human life. That includes being pro-refugee.” by Ed Stetzer in Vox


VIDEO I Am the Bread of Life

John MacArthur  Dec 22, 2013

We have been studying together the Gospel of John, and just going through verse by verse, paragraph by paragraph.  Typically, when we come to Christmas Sunday, I stop whatever series I’m in and do a special Christmas message.  I’ve done that for 40 plus years with an occasional Sunday prior to Christmas when we stayed in the series because there was something in the text that connected to well with Christmas.  And that is the case this year.  So, we’re going to look at John chapter 6 today, John chapter 6. 

I looked ahead a few weeks ago and just kind of planning and anticipating what I might present to you, and I began to carefully prepare reading through John 6 for our regular studies.  And it struck me that this would be a very powerful and wonderful and helpful text to stay in.  So, for the last number of weeks, we’ve been working our way through John 6, and we’ll continue to do that, and when we pick it up again after the holidays.  But I want to draw your attention to the sixth chapter of John, and particularly verses 32 to 59 where our Lord gives this great sermon on, I Am the Bread of Life.  He repeats that several times.  I am the Bread of Life.  He is the true Christmas bread. 

Bread is starting to pile up at the McArthur house, I will admit.  Every Christmas this happens to us.  We get it in the mail.  We get it from FedEx.  We get it stuck on the porch.  We get it from folks at the church.  Last Sunday I went home with bread in two arms, and there’ll probably be a little more bread today.  And that’s good by me; I love bread.  We get bread in boxes.  We get bread in cans.  We get bread in paper bags around Christmas, so it’s like a maniacal carb experience [laughter] to consume all this bread, but I’m a bread lover. 

There’s something about Christmas and bread I guess just in a general sense, and you might wonder, where does that come from?  Why is there so much interest in bread around Christmas?  Well, it does have some interesting history.  It really does.  If you’re from Germany, you’ve heard of stollen, S-T-O-L-L-E-N, which is a German Christmas bread that was first prepared in 1545 for the Council of Trent.  And since then, has been the standard traditional Christmas bread baked and consumed by German folks around the world.

If any of you come from Poland or more of Eastern Europe, you may know about oplatki, which is a Christmas bread that the Polish launched in the tenth century.  And it’s still being prepared every Christmas. 

Now, for all of you Italians, you know about Panettone, Panettone bread.  Panettone comes from two words, the Italian word for bread is “panne” and “Tony” is the Italian word for the guy who fixes your car.  [laughter]  So, you’re not buying that?  Actually, actually, back in the 15th century, the 1400s, there was a baker by the name of Tony.  That’s where it came from.  And he wanted to impress the king because he wanted to marry his daughter, so he baked some bread.  Hence, Panettone bread.  I don’t really think that’s the best way to impress a king about what you might offer to his daughter.  I don’t know how well it all came out for Tony.  [laughter]  But Tony made a mark on history because if you go into any Italian market or almost any market, you find a section with Panettone. 

Interesting to note also that the word “Bethlehem” in Hebrew means “house of bread”, “house of bread.”  So, bread has been associated with Christmas.  In this chapter, the sixth chapter of John, however, we find the true Christmas bread who is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.  And I’m going to do something this morning that I rarely do, and that is to cover a rather extended portion of Scripture.  So this will be an experience that you cannot count on ever happening again.  [laughter]  I want to read this great sermon.  It’s one great sermon starting in verse 32 of John 6.  “Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.  For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.’ Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, always give us this bread.’”

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.  But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.  All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.  For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose none, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.’”

“Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, ‘I am the bread that came down out of heaven.’  They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?  Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Be not grumbling among yourselves.  No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.  It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.  Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.  Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.  I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.  This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.’”

“Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, ‘How can this man give us His flesh to eat?’  So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.  He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.  He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.  As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.  This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.’  These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.”

A shocking day toward the end of the Galilean ministry of Jesus as He taught the Jewish people in the synagogue at Capernaum.  The most compelling statement around which all of this is built is the repeated statement, “I am the Bread of life.  I am the Bread of life.”  That’s His claim, verse 32, verse 33, verse 48.  This is the first, by the way, of 7 “I AMs” in the Gospel of John, in which our Lord takes the tetragrammaton YHWH, the verb “to be” in Hebrew, the name of God who is the I AM that I AM, and applies it to Himself and adds a metaphor.  “I am the Bread of life.  I am the Good Shepherd.  I am the Vine.  I am the Way.  I am the Truth.  I am the Life.  I am the Resurrection and the Life.”  All of those I AMs are efforts on the part of our Lord to make clear that He is one in the same as God.

This is the first of those seven I AMs, in which He takes the name of God, and in this case applies as He does on several of those occasions, a metaphor to explain something about His nature and His work.  Now, you have to understand how monumental this sermon was given in the Capernaum synagogue.  He’s talking to Jewish people, and He presents this powerful claim that He has come down from heaven.  And that they have to eat His flesh and drink His blood if they want to have eternal life.  Now, the Jews all understood the issue of eternal life, life in the Kingdom, life forever, life in heaven, life with God, blessed life, joyous life.  They understood that.

Jesus is saying, “I and I alone are the means by which that eternal life can become yours.”  This is a long passage, but it can be easily divided into two very familiar components.  And that’s what we’ll do this morning.  It’s full of repetition because it was so stunning and, remember, they were listening.  And repetition is even more important to an audience that is listening.  And so John records a fullness in this sermon that we don’t always find in the Gospel record became this is such a stunning claim.

We’re going to see Him saying the same things over and over and over so that they might register with His listeners and with us.  The two parts that we need to look at here, very simple, divine provision of the bread, human appropriation of the bread.  Divine provision of the bread, human appropriation of the bread. 

You need to have your Bible open and you need to be looking at your Bible because we’re going to be looking for those two elements in these verses.  This is going to be more like a Bible study than a sermon.  I can’t preach a sermon on a sermon.  This is a sermon.  I can’t make metaphors on metaphors.  This is a metaphor.  So, we’re going to take it at face value and see if we can’t examine it.

To say that He is bread is to use really a metonym for food, nourishing food that gives life and sustenance.  Jesus used the word “bread” to refer to that when He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone.”  Bread, then, was simply a word that encompassed all nutritious food.  Jesus is saying that, “I am your food.  I am your true soul food.”  First of all, let’s look at the divine provision of the bread.  This is God’s side here, the divine side, the heavenly side.  God’s provision. 

Several features are indicated here about God’s provision of this bread.  First of all, this bread is divinely preexistent, divinely preexistent.  And I want you to watch this because this is why this works so well as a Christmas section because it continually repeats the reality of the incarnation.  Let me help you to see that.  Look for the phrase, “came down out of heaven.”  You will find it, for example, in verse 32 at the very beginning of the message. “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.”

Verse 33, “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven.”  Verse 38, “I have come down from heaven.”  Now, he switches from the metaphor, the bread has come down, and applies it to Himself and says, “I have come down.”  Verse 41, there’s a lot of shock about that, but I just want you to notice they understood exactly what He was saying.  The Jews are grumbling because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.”  In verse 42, they are wondering how this man whose parents they know can say, “I have come down out of heaven.”

Verse 46, again says, “Not that anyone has seen the Father except the One who is from God.”  He has come down out of heaven.  Verse 50, “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven.”  Verse 51, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven.”  Verse 58, “This is the bread which came down out of heaven.”  Every time you see that, and it’s repeated again and again, you are hearing a statement affirming the incarnation of a preexistent person.  He didn’t come into existence.  He came down out of heaven.  Anyone who claims that falsely is a lunatic or a deceiver, who would have a hard time convincing people.

Over and over and over Jesus speaks of His preexistence.  John began his Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God,” the Word meaning Christ.  Therefore, Christ was there preexistent with God, coexistent with God, self-existent with God eternally.  You cannot ever reduce Jesus to a created being.  Yes, His body was prepared by God for Him, but as a person He is the eternal Son of God.  He existed everlastingly in the presence of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.  He is God of very God.  That’s why John 1:14 says, “We beheld His glory and it was the same glory as the Father.” 

If you go back to John, chapter 3, there’s a helpful statement our Lord makes in the conversation with Nicodemus.  He says, “No one has ascended into heaven.  No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven,” and who is that?  The Son of Man.  I think of that verse every time I see another silly book about somebody who went to heaven and came back.  No one has done that.  No one has ascended into heaven and come back to teach us.  Paul, you say, is he an exception?  Absolutely.  He was caught up into the third heaven.  He came back.  He didn’t tell us anything.  He said, “I can’t even speak of the things that were there.”  The saints that came out of the grave at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, we don’t know who they were.  We don’t know where they went.  They certainly did not deliver any messages from heaven.  Those exceptions prove the rule.  Nobody goes into heaven and comes back to instruct us. 

Back to verse 46.  “Not that anyone has seen the Father except the One who is from God.  He has seen the Father.”  I remind those people again.  You did not go to heaven and you did not see God, and you do not have a message for us.  That is exclusively the right of the Son of God, the preexistent one.  Don’t believe lies about people going and coming from heaven.  Don’t buy those silly books and waste your time.  No one, not even the most holy saint has gone up to heaven to bring the Word of God down to us.  The only One who has come from heaven is the One who was always there.  The only One who has brought us heavenly things is the One who descended from heaven, namely the Son of Man. 

This is the claim that Jesus makes repeatedly in John 8:42.  Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me for I proceeded forth and have come from God.  He sent Me.”  Which means that He existed in the presence of God from all eternity.  In the thirteenth chapter of John’s Gospel, and this is so foundational, I want it embedded in your mind.  John 13:3, “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God.”  That’s the night of the upper room discourse with his disciples, that great thirteenth chapter begins with the declaration that Jesus has come from heaven and is going to return there.

In John 16, verse 28, Jesus says, “I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world.  I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.”  In the seventeenth chapter and the fifth verse, “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”  Eternity past.  Verse 8, “For the words which you gave Me, I have given to them, and they have received them, and truly understood that I came forth from You.  And they believed that You sent Me.” 

The first thing then to understand about the divine provision of the bread is that the bread was preexistent.  The bread was eternal.  Jesus is not a created being who came into existence like you and I do at the point of conception.  He always existed as God the Son.  So there is divine preexistence.  In the coming of the bread, secondly, there is divine purpose.  There is divine purpose tied to the eternal preexistence of the Lord Jesus Christ is the reality that He came because the Father purposed for Him to come.  It’s not casual.  It’s tied up in divine planning, and I can show you that.  It’s such a clear statement repeated again and again that it’s unmistakable.

Verse 32 at the end of the verse, “It is my Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.”  Verse 33, “The bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven.”  It is there called the bread of God.  It is God who sends the bread.  The bread is God’s to start with to give.  Verse 38, “I have come down from heaven not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”  Verse 39, “This is the will of Him who sent Me.”  Verse 40, “This is the will of My Father.”  And again in verse 57, “As the living Father sent Me.”  So you have here divine preexistence and divine purpose.  The Father sending the Son.

Now, it is not only the coming of the Son of God that the Father purposed.  That’s kind of a general reality.  That is true obviously, but it is more than just a general reality that God sent his Son and sort of let things then happen whatever way man would decide they would happen.  Not so.  God not only purposed to send His Son, He purposed what His Son would accomplish when He arrived.  The specificity of it is in verse 37.  “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and him who comes to Me, I will certainly not cast out.”  Verse 39, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given me, I lose none, but raise Him up on the last day.”  Verse 40, “This is the will of My Father.”  Again, verse 44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise Him up on the last day.”

And this is consistent with Old Testament prophesy.  Verse 45, “It is written in the prophets and they shall all be taught of God.”  Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.  Now, are you starting to see the plan?  God purposes to send the Son, and then God purposes to draw certain people to the Son.  The Son receives the people, keeps the people, raises the people from the dead to fulfill the Father’s plan.  It is not a plan to begin something.  Listen, it is a plan to complete it.  It is the plan for the complete glorification of those the Father draws. 

Jesus made statements that affirm this in His ministry, such as in chapter 10, verse 29, “My Father who has given them to Me.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”  Are you starting to see the picture?  The Father draws, the Father gives, the Son receives, the Son keeps, the Son raises, and no one can snatch whoever is in the Father’s will and the Son’s hands out of his hands.  This is crystal clear. 

Chapter 17 again, that great high priestly prayer of our Lord, verse 2 says, “Even as you gave Him authority over all flesh,” meaning the Son, “that to all whom you have given Me, He may give eternal life.”  Verse 6, “I manifested Your name to the men whom you gave Me out of the world.  They were Yours.  You gave them to Me and they have kept Your Word.”  Verse 9, “I ask on their behalf.  I don’t ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.”  Then verse 24, “Father, I desire that they also whom You have given Me be with Me where I am.”

Over and over again, “You gave them to Me.  You gave them to Me.  You gave them to Me.  They were Yours.  You gave them to Me.”  How did they become God’s?  By divine election.  He chose them before the foundation of the world, wrote their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  In time, He draws those who belong to Him by His own sovereign choice.  He draws them to Christ.  Christ receives them, Christ keeps them, Christ raises them.  That resurrection is not merely a spiritual resurrection; it’s a physical resurrection as well.  In the last day, they are resurrected.  So that is the diving purpose, from election to resurrection.  It starts when God determines who is His, and it goes through the drawing and the receiving and the keeping and securing and ultimately gathering into heaven and even raising from the dead.

Verse 45 is a very important verse, often overlooked I think.  It’s a quote from Isaiah, Isaiah 54:13.  “It is written in the prophets and they shall all be taught of God.”  The only way anybody can come to the truth is if God is his teacher.  “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.”  People don’t come to God under the powerful sway of human reason.  The preacher is not the means.  The preacher is only a tool to present the truth.  The drawing is divine.  The Father is the true teacher.  The Father is the instructor of the heart and the mind.

So we have this bread, preexistent, this bread that is provided for those who are within the purpose of God.  So the bread comes down from heaven, comes to earth to fulfill the will of the Father; not just in a general sense that His will was to send.  His will was to send His Son and then by means of His Son, draw – give to His Son, and ultimately bring to eternal glory spiritually and in resurrected form.  That’s the full picture.  Understanding this bread then, divinely preexistent and fulfilling divine purpose.

Thirdly, in looking at God’s provision, divine promise.  Divine promise.  Why do we want this bread?  Well, what does this bread do for us?  Well, what does Christ do for us?  Why is He important?  Well, go back to verse 33.  “The bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven and gives – ” what?  Life to the world.  Life, zoe.  Not bios, not biological life.  Zoe, spiritual life.  That’s why He came.  The promise connected to the bread is spiritual life.  And He is the only bread of God, the only living bread, the only bread of life, the only one who has come down, the only source of life for the whole world.  Notice please, the phrases that are used to describe this. 

In verse, well, how many verses have we seen?  Verse 32 and 33 talk about the bread that comes down and the bread that gives life and then we don’t go very far until we hit verse 35 and again, “I am the bread of life.”  And then verse 40, again we see, “This the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have – ”  Now life is expanded with a descriptive, “ – eternal life.”  Eternal life.  Now, we’re talking about eternal life.  Verse 47, “I say, he who believes has eternal life.”  Verse 50, “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven so that one may eat of it and not die.”  Not die. 

Verse 51, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever, and the bread which I give,” again he says, “I give for the life of the world.”  It’s life and it’s eternal life.  Verse 53, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.”  54, “He who eats My flesh, drinks My blood, has eternal life.  And I will raise him up on the last day.”  Life, life, life, life.  Eternal life.  Verse 58 at the end, “He who eats this bread will live forever.”  How is this possible?  Because of verse 56, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him.”

How do we get eternal life into these mortal bodies?  Because we come into real union with Christ.  Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ.  Nevertheless, I live yet not I, but Christ lives in me.”  “He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit.”  We are one in Christ.  And so His eternal life is in us, granting us eternal life.  Really incredible promises.  Jesus repeated those same promises a number of times about His union with His people.  For example, in that upper room the night of His betrayal, He says in John 14:20, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father and you in Me, and I in you.” 

Do you know that if you are truly regenerate and you belong to God through faith in Christ that the eternal life which you possess is the eternal life of Christ in you?  In you.  And as we read in John 10, no one is powerful enough to break that union.  That’s the security of every believer.  So, divine promise.  What’s the promise?  Life.  What kind of life?  Eternal life.  What is the source of that eternal life?  A union with living eternal Christ. 

We don’t follow just the teaching of a noble religious leader.  We’re on our way to death unless He lives in us, unless His eternal life takes over.  So the bread of life is heavenly bread.  The Lord Jesus Christ comes from divine eternal preexistence into time and into space to fulfill the divine purpose of the Father, which is to provide salvation for His chosen people.  That salvation is dependent on a union with Christ that is a true spiritual reality and is why we live forever. 

And it culminates in a resurrection.  Several times Jesus says, “I’ll raise him at the last day.  I’ll raise him at the last day.  I’ll raise him at the last day.”  It is a union that will not only be a union in spirit, but it will be a union in spiritual body.  Philippians 3, “We will have a body like unto His glorious body.  We will reflect His glory.  We will be made like Christ when we see Him as He is,” right?  This is what it means to be a Christian.  It’s not following the teachings of a man.  It’s having His life in us.  This is the work of God.  This doesn’t happen unless you’re taught of God, as verse 45 says.  This does not happen unless God the Father draws you. 

You say, “Well, what are we supposed to do?”  Well, that’s just one side of this amazing duality.  That’s the divine provision.  Let’s talk about the human appropriation.  What’s our responsibility?  Sit around hope it happens?  No, no.  In the wonderful mystery of salvation, we are commanded to appropriate this bread.  Please notice in verse 34, the Jewish people who were listening to Jesus said, “Lord, give us this bread.”  Most likely, they were talking about the physical bread because He had been creating food for them.  They wanted the bread that would satisfy their constant hunger physically, but Jesus isn’t really talking about that.  He’s talking about Himself as the bread they really need.

So in verse 35, He says, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to Me.”  Isn’t that interesting?  “He who comes to Me.”  You just said, “Nobody can come unless the Father draws him,” and yet here it says, “He who comes to Me.”  So the first requirement is to come, to come.  Yes, verse 37 clarifies, “All that the Father gives Me will come, and the one who comes to me, I will not reject.”  Not so much because the person is of value, but because the gift of the Father is of value.  So the first thing is to come.  And since no one can know whether they’ve been chosen, the message is far and wide to be preached to the ends of the earth telling sinners to come, to come, come. 

Secondly, to look.  Notice verse 40, “This is the will of My Father that everyone who beholds the Son,” everyone, everyone.  There aren’t limitations here based upon our understanding of the doctrine of election.  All who come, all who come, anyone who comes, I will not reject.  Everyone who beholds.  What does the word “behold” mean?  It’s a Greek verb, theoreo, which basically means to look at intently, to scrutinize, to study, to gaze on.  It’s not a passing glance kind of word, not just a brief look.  Very strong word.  In fact, the same verb, theoreo, is used in John 8:51 for a statement about seeing death.  Seeing death means experiencing death.  I t is also used, the same verb, in John 17:24 where Jesus says, “I want them to come to heaven, those who believe in Me so they can see My glory.”  That means full exposure, full experience. 

So, what is the human’s responsibility?  Our responsibility laid out for us in a series of commands and invitations, come, come.  Come to Me, come to Me.  And when you get there, experience it, gaze at it, scrutinize it, look carefully, thoughtfully, see who I am.  A lot of the people who were listening to Him in the synagogue that day had done just that.  They had come to Him, and they had attached to Him.  They were following Him.  They were watching Him.  They were listening to Him.  They were scrutinizing Him. 

So you come, you look, and you look carefully at Jesus.  But there’s another word that’s really the critical word.  Look at verse 35, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to Me will not hunger and he who –” and here’s the word, “believes in Me.  He who believes in Me.”  Verse 40, “This is the will of my Father that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life.”  Verse 47, “I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 5:24 says the same thing.  The theme verse for the whole gospel of John, “These things are written that you may know that Jesus is the Christ, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing have life in His name.”  It’s about believing. It’s about believing.  Another way to understand it would be John 1:12, “As many as received Him.”  You have to come.  You have to look.  You have to be exposed to the truth, but you must believe.  Going back to the metaphor of the bread, go to verse 50, and from verse 50 on is really the closing invitation of this sermon.

“This is the bread which comes down out of heaven so that one may eat,” and now we’re back into the metaphor.  Believing is eating.  Taking in, receiving, appropriating.  Verse 51, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.”  Verse 57, “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.”  Again, verse 58, the end of the verse, “He who eats this bread will live forever.”  I mean this is a powerful metaphor that everybody understands.  You have to take Me in.  It’s not enough to come and listen.  It’s not enough to admire to get some kind of information.  You have to eat.  You have to appropriate.  You have to receive Me.  That’s our responsibility.

Since we don’t know who God has chosen, we can only know we have all been held accountable to come, see, and believe.  Believe what?  That I am the bread.  He says that over and over, “That I am the bread that came down out of heaven, that I am the bread that came down out of heaven.”  So it starts with believing in the person of Christ, okay?  Believing in His preexistence, His incarnation, God in human flesh, believing in the person of Christ.  But let me tell you something quickly, believing in the person of Jesus Christ as the living bread is not enough.  Not enough.  Something else.

You not only have to believe in Him as living bread, you have to believe in Him as dying blood.  What?  Verse 51, “I am the living bread.  I came down out of heaven.  If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever.  And the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”  Now, he’s talking about giving up His life.  Very specific terms.  Verse 53, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourself.”  54, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life.”  Verse 55, “For My flesh is true food and My blood is true drink.”  Verse 56, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me in and I in him.” 

I have to tell you, this is so shocking for the Jews in the synagogue that day that I’m surprised there wasn’t a riot.  Leviticus, first of all, Leviticus 17, Deuteronomy 12, Deuteronomy 15 forbids Jews drinking blood.  So this is just – this is, if nothing else, really insensitive.  But He’s not really talking about drinking blood.  This is, of course, a chapter that has been mutilated by the Roman Catholic Church, and they have used this to develop the Mass where Christ is re-sacrificed again and again and again.  And you eat His flesh and drink His blood, just exactly what He’s not talking about.  Blood is simply a metonym for His death, as it is throughout the New Testament.  So what is He saying?  You must accept the person that I am and the death that I died.

You can believe in Jesus as the preexistent Son of God who came into the world and is the source of eternal life, but unless you believe in His sacrificial death, you cannot be saved.  You cannot possess eternal life.  As bread, He nourishes.  As blood, He cleanses.  Blood, then, speaks of His death.  These Jews had a big, big problem with this issue.  The idea that their Messiah would die as a sacrifice, a huge problem for them.  They were utterly unwilling to accept that.  Even the disciples struggled with that, right?  When Jesus said, “I’m going to die,” no, no, no, no Lord.  Peter says, “No, no,” and Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan!”

And it was only after the resurrection that He met them on the Emmaus Road, took them back to the Old Testament to show them from the Old Testament the Messiah must suffer and die.  And when they went out to preach in the book of Acts, they were preaching to the Jews initially the Messiah had to suffer and die.  He had to be the divine Lamb providing the atonement that satisfied the wrath of God for His own.  Again, we don’t worship a noble human teacher.  We worship God in human flesh.  But we don’t worship Him just for the nobility of His divine teaching.  We also worship Him as our sacrifice for our sins who died in our place. 

You have to be able to eat His flesh in the sense that you take Him as the one who nourishes the soul.  And you have to be willing to drink His blood in the sense that you accept his sacrificial death.  This is all way too much, way too much for Jewish people to handle, and you can see their reaction later in the chapter.  It’s just over the top.  Verse 52, they can’t even get to the part about eating His flesh, let alone the part about drinking his blood or accepting His death.

And so in verse 60 saying they were having difficulty with this, “Jesus conscious that His disciples grumbled at this said to them, ‘Does this cause you to,’ what? ‘stumble?’”  Well, what was he talking about?  The blood.  Are you stumbling over the fact that you’re going to have to accept My death?  The answer to the question is yes, that’s why the apostle Paul said that the cross, the preaching of the cross, I Corinthians 1, to the Jews is a stumbling block, a stumbling block.

So, as a result, verse 66, “Many of his disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.”  They came, they looked, they believed.  Maybe they could eat the bread part, maybe they could accept who He was.  The blood?  Too much, too much.  But this is what is necessary to appropriate the bread.  So Jesus is the true Christmas bread.  To believe in His person, to believe in His death is to receive eternal life. 

So Jesus said to the Twelve in verse 67, “You don’t want to go away also do you?”  Simon Peter answered for all of them, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have words of eternal life.”  And then this, “We have,” What? “believed.”  “We believe it all.  We know You are the Holy One of God.”  The Jews were grumbling.  All the way back in verse 36 Jesus said, “I said to you that you’ve seen Me.  You’ve come.  You’ve looked, and you don’t believe.  Verse 41, he says, “They’re grumbling,” John does.  Verse 42, they’re still grumbling.  Verse 43, Jesus says, “Stop doing it.”  Verse 52, they’re arguing, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”  Verse 61, even the disciples are grumbling.  Verse 66, they leave.  Vacate the synagogue, leaving only Peter and the Twelve who believed. 

Just in conclusion, a few things to think about.  Eating is necessary.  If you want eternal life, eating is necessary.  You can’t just come.  You can’t just admire.  People do this all the time, all the time.  Oh yeah, I have a lot of respect for Jesus, a lot of respect for Jesus.  You can’t just come and admire.  You have to eat, which is to believe fully.  But eating is in response to hunger.  So, the people who eat are the people who are what?  Hungry!  What is hunger?  It’s the aching of the heart of one who knows he’s empty.  That’s the work of the Holy Spirit to make the heart hungry.  That’s where the Father starts to draw.  The hungry heart sees the bread.

And, by the way, eating is personal.  It’s not a group event.  You can all go out to dinner, but the food has to go in your mouth.  Lots of people can do lots of things for you.  They can come over and change the curtains, fix the room.  People can do a lot of things to help you.  You have to eat.  You can’t do that by proxy.  Eating is necessary.  Eating is in response to hunger.  Eating is personal and eating is transformational.  If you don’t eat physically, you will die.  If you eat, food you take in transforms you, and that’s what Christ does.

I don’t know what kind of bread is at your house, but I hope you’ve all partaken of the true Christmas bread.  Let’s pray together.  This has been such a wonderful day and it’s not over yet as we again celebrate tonight, but Lord we thank You that Your Word is so powerful and so clear and so consistent.  Its divine authorship is unassailable.  Thank You for giving us the truth.

I pray for those who are here who maybe have come, looked, or are looking, but haven’t believed, received, eaten, accepting Christ not only as the bread that nourishes the soul, but the blood that cleanses the soul.  May nothing about the gospel be a stumbling block, but may the gospel be a welcome message fully embraced.  May it be today that there’s some persons who’ve heard this who will eat, who will receive Christ as Lord and Savior and receive with Him the eternal life.  We thank You that we are secure in that life because if we do believe, if we do come, it’s because You’ve drawn us.  Father, You’ve given us to the Son, and you blessed Son will keep us and hold us and raise us at the last day.  We thank You for the glory of the gospel and the opportunity we have to celebrate it again today. 

Father, now we ask that You would do Your work in Your way.  Father, draw many to Yourself.  We give You praise for privilege, undeserved, unearned, the gift of grace that has granted us salvation when we were Your enemies.  We thank You, Lord, that You once made us desperately hungry and then You showed us the bread of life, Father.  And we learned from You as You taught us and You drew us.  We thank You that Christ received us and holds us until the resurrection when we’re fully glorified in Your presence forever.  Thank You for this great truth and may it ring in our hearts as we celebrate in these days of Christmas.  We give You praise, in Christ’s name. Amen.

“Not By Might, Nor By Power, But By My Spirit”

DECEMBER 29, 2019

Editor’s note: The following is extracted from Sermons, by Rev. William G. Neville (published 1908).

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” — Zech. iv. 6.

The immediate reference of this text is to the rebuilding of the temple. The people had been carried captives to Babylon. While they were away their sacred edifices had been destroyed by the enemy. Upon their return from captivity, under the leadership of Zerubbabel, they determine to rebuild the temple. But they are few and weak; and their resources are scant and limited. Under these adverse and discouraging circumstances, God comes to them with words of cheer and encouragement. “Not by human might, nor human power; but by the might and power of God’s Holy Spirit.

But the truth contained in the text has a much wider application than to the context. This truth applies to all church work, and to all individual Christian work in the church.

In order to illustrate and enforce this truth, I desire to use the incident of Gideon and his three hundred against the Midianites as recorded in the sixth and seventh chapters of Judges.

Great hordes of Midianites had invaded the land; they had pillaged the country and had subdued the people. The Israelites were discouraged and almost ready to give up in despair — they were so few and weak in comparison with their enemies. But God had before them a great history and a magnificent destiny. So he calls Gideon to the work of subduing the Midianites. God, in his providence, had prepared the work for him, and then he calls him to the work.

So God calls men oftentimes to a special work, not by an audible voice every time, of course. God works by secret operations and internal influences to bring to pass his plans and purposes. “Like Cincinnatus at his farm, and David among his sheep, and Cromwell in the flats of Huntingdonshire, and Washington on his plantation in Virginia, Gideon was quietly doing his humble task, not wishing or dreaming of a wider horizon or more conspicuous work, when the summons came to him, the divine Voice that dragged him from peaceful privacy and thrust him to the front.”

So God calls each one of us to a work in the church; not to such a great and conspicuous work, perhaps, but to one just as far-reaching in the sweep of its influence.

In the incident before us, there is much to be learned by the church in this day.

I. God’s ways are not man’s ways. God says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” This is clearly illustrated in the case of Gideon’s conflict with the Midianites. He had sent out a call for volunteers to march against the Midianites, in response to which thirty-two thousand reported. A small number this seemed to be, to march against the Midianites, who were as the grasshoppers for multitudes. But God says there are too many — they can’t gain a victory till the number is reduced. “The people are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands.”

Strange, from man’s point of view! Those who are conducting a campaign in an army want as many men as they can get. You remember how it was in the late war. The South, towards the close of the war, had to call for volunteers from among the old men and boys who had been exempt before this. They had to contend with such large forces on the other side that they needed more men. And at last the South was overpowered — not really conquered. As a rule, however, numbers have a great deal to do with the final issue in the contests among men. “Some cases there are in history where a general has proved victorious when fighting with only one-tenth, or even a smaller proportion to the numbers of his opponent, as in the case of Miltiades at Marathon, Themistocles at Salamis, Clive in India, and some English generals, in both North and South Africa, at the present day. But the circumstances in these cases were exceptional, and do not invalidate the maxim, that a successful issue is not to be looked for by employing a very small force against one that is very large. Leonidas and his three hundred Spartans were all cut to pieces at Thermopylae, notwithstanding their deeds of incredible bravery.”

But in the case of Gideon’s army, God says there are too many. Before they can gain the victory, the number must be reduced, not increased. A process of rejection and selection must be applied, so that the number may be reduced. The men are to be tested, and those who do not come up to the required standard are to be rejected. Two tests are applied:

1. A proclamation is issued ordering all the fearful ones to depart from the army. All who are really afraid to stand before the enemy must leave the army. This carries away 22,000, leaving only 10,000. This was a wise move, though at first it may not have seemed so, because, if the fearful had remained, they would have been really a hindrance, instead of a help. In the midst of the battle they might have produced a panic, and, in this way, have caused them to lose the victory. The conflict was to be a hard one; they were contending not only against a great host, but against an army that stood upon victorious ground. Hence they needed only brave men. The 22,000 fearful ones could not be depended on. The army was better off without them than with them.

So in the Christian warfare, there is a pressing demand for only brave men. We are fighting against principalities and powers. The cause in which we are engaged demands men of true courage and Christian bravery. Men of this stamp have always been the ones who have really helped the cause. All others, the fearful, those who have been afraid to stand against the enemy, have been real hindrances.

2. Second test. God said, Too many yet. So he instructs Gideon to test them again. Bring them down to the water, and every one that lappeth with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, shall be chosen. All the others shall be rejected. Perhaps you have seen the dog running along by the water, or through the water, and catching it up as he goes with his tongue. He has no time to lose. He takes water, not simply to quench his thirst, but principally to help him in his chase. So with these men.

This test reduced the number to three hundred. No doubt God put it into the hearts of these three hundred to take their water as they did. They were picked men. They were not chosen at random. “And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you.

Why was this test made? To teach us that those who have their own ease and comfort at heart more than the cause in which they are engaged, are not suitable. Such men cannot make good soldiers. They must be willing to forego personal pleasure and endure hardships. This is the rule in all war, but especially in Christ’s war. His cause demands an unreserved consecration of all we are and all we have. When we enter this war, it should not be for personal ease or self-promotion; but we must be willing to endure hardness as good soldiers of the cross.

Those who come into the church for mercenary ends are real encumbrances to the cause of Christ. They are obstacles in the way, just so much dead weight which the church has to carry. They are parasites, drinking the very life-blood of the church.

This method of reducing the number in the army is God’s way and not man’s way. Men, as a rule, lay great stress on numbers. And let me say just here, that this policy has been ruinous and disastrous to the best and highest interests of the church. Have not men, in their inordinate greed for numbers, brought thousands into the church who have not been brought to Christ? Hence the church has been burdened.

This is not God’s method. Here he inaugurates a revival of religion through Gideon; but it is very unlike the modern methods of many so-called revivalists. God’s method of beginning a revival is to commence in the church; reduce the number; take away the rubbish. Many things standing in the way, enter the heart and the church upon a mission of destruction. Destroy every thing that is in the way.

God looks more at the heart than at the outward appearance. He prefers quality to quantity every time. God preferred the three hundred to the thirty-two thousand and could do more with them.

This truth is illustrated in the case of Samuel going to the house of Jesse to select a king from among his sons. Eliab is brought out — a handsome, fine-looking fellow, king-like in appearance — there must be royal timber there. Even Samuel was taken in by his appearance. He said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before me.” But he is not the one God wants. All the rest, except David, are brought out; but no king is taken from them. Then David, a stripling of a boy, is brought out, and he is selected. Why? Because God was looking at the heart, at the intrinsic worth. He knew what was in David. “Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” So with the three hundred.

II. Why did God reduce the number?

1. To destroy their pride. To keep them from putting too much stress on numbers. “And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.” It is natural for men to lay great stress on numbers. This was David’s great sin against God in numbering the people. There was no sin per se in numbering the people. This had been done under God’s direction; but when it was done for vain glory and to display the strength of the people, then it was contemptible in the sight of God.

In the case before us, God wanted to take all the pride and self-confidence out of Gideon’s heart and the hearts of the people. And when the number was reduced from thirty-two thousand to three hundred, this end was certainly accomplished.

2. To remove every obstacle that was in the way. The fearful ones would be in the way; twenty-two thousand obstacles, burdens. So they are removed. Those who were not willing to deny themselves were in the way — nine thousand, seven hundred encumbrances, drawbacks; so they are taken away.

The three hundred brave, self-sacrificing, self-denying, consecrated men were really more efficient than the thirty-two thousand. God could do more with the three hundred than with the thirty-two thousand.

So with the church; ten active, earnest, consecrated members are better than one thousand careless, indifferent, worldly members. God can do more with the ten than with the one thousand. The real strength of the church does not consist in the number of her members, but in the character of her members. One Elijah was infinitely stronger than four hundred and fifty of Baal’s priestsOne Hezekiah was infinitely mightier than one hundred and eighty-five thousand of his enemies. One consecrated man of God is infinitely mightier than all of God’s enemies. One reason why the church is not victorious a great deal oftener is because there are too many — such as they are. The indifferent ones are just so many stumbling-blocks, both to the active members and to the outside world. The church needs to be purified by God’s process of rejection and selection. If the Church of God were to march forth in her grand work with a consistent and consecrated membership, her progress in the world would be simply irresistible.

3. To teach them that they were entirely dependent upon God for victory. If they had gone against the Midianites with thirty-two thousand men and gained the victory, then they might have taken the glory to themselves. But when they had only three hundred to go against one hundred and thirty-five thousand — when they were victorious with this handful of men, then they would know that God had gotten them the victory. This would lead them to look to God at the very beginning and all the way through. This is the lesson which God purposed to teach them. “And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred that lapped will I save you.”

There is no more important lesson for the church to learn to-day than this — that she is absolutely dependent upon God for any real success in the world. This is the great lesson for the church in every age. God said to his ancient people: “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!”

The church is entirely dependent upon God. He would have us to know our own weakness and the weakness of all human help. For, until we realize this, we will never look to him for strength. Paul said: “When I am weak, then am I strong.” So with each disciple. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”

III. Gideon’s preparation for his great work. The record says: “The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon.” God prepared the work for Gideon, and then he prepared Gideon for the work. God selected Gideon for this work because he was equal to the occasion; Gideon arose to the level of the crisis, because he was prepared for the work. The Spirit of the Lord had come upon him. As we would say, he had received a baptism of the Holy Spirit.

What did this involve?

1. Consecration. Embracing: being, doing, suffering. Entire consecration of body, mind, soul — time, reputation, friends, property — all. This was required, and Gideon reached the mark.

So ought every one who names the name of the Lord to do. The Christian enters into a solemn and sacred covenant to be the Lord’s forever.
“The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon.”

2. Service. Gideon put into execution his promises; he used the means at his command. He went forward in the face of many difficulties and reached an exalted plane of sacred service and heroic endeavor.

So should it be with every child of God. Each one of us should lay out all of his strength and energies in the service of God.

“The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon.”

3. Prayer. Gideon communed with the Lord before he went into the fight, and he certainly did afterwards. The Spirit of the Lord comes in answer to prayer. “If ye then being evil,” &c. And the continued presence of the Holy Spirit is conditioned upon our communion with God. If we would be. equipped for the conflict that is before us, we must abide at the mercy seat. “The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon.”

4. Faith. This was the controlling factor in Gideon’s career. His was a strong, abiding, persevering, conquering faith. His name has been written in the catalogue of the heroes of faith by divine inspiration.

To conquer, we must have faith. This is absolutely necessary. We must have faith in our cause, faith in our Leader, and faith in our final victory.

IV. The encouragements God gave him. God gave him a pledge of victory. Gideon said his family was poor and obscure. But God chooses the weak things of the world, &c. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” God worked two miracles to encourage him and to assure him of success.

So, we have all of God’s promises to encourage us; we have all of Christ’s miracles to assure us of success. We go forth in no uncertain conflict. If we will rely upon God and do what he tells us to do, there can be no doubt about the final issue of this contest. If we are on God’s side, we are just as strong as God himself. He can use simple means to accomplish great results. He is not dependent on numbers, nor human might and power. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Really, God is above all means. He uses them, but he is not dependent on them; and this fact teaches us that he can use weak means to accomplish great results just as well as strong ones. The walls of a city fall down flat before the blowing of a few rams’ horns. A thousand people are slain with the jaw-bone of an ass. God chooses the weak things of the world, etc.

And this is why faith is such a mighty factor in this great work. Faith works through God. True faith, therefore, is just as strong as God; it is omnipotent. Christ says: “All things are possible to him that believeth.”

What is the great need of the Church? It is not eloquence and learning in the pulpit; it is not earnestness and liberality in the pew; it is not elaborate and artistic music; it is not handsome edifices and lofty spires. However desirable and useful these things may be, they are not the great need of the church. The great need of the church is spiritual power, power from on high, power of the Holy Ghost.

This is a sine qua non with the church. It matters not what the church may have, without this she can never win the world to Christ. She may bring the world into nominal connection with Christianity without this; but without this she can never bring the world into a saving union with the Lord Jesus Christ.

The need of the Holy Ghost in the operations of the church has been admirably illustrated by Mr. Arthur in his “Tongue of Fire.”

“Suppose,” he writes, “an army is settled down before a fortress of granite, and told to batter it down. We ask them how they are going to do it. They point to a cannon ball. We reply: ‘There is no power in that. It is heavy; weighs perhaps a hundred-weight; and if all the men in the army were to throw it against that fortress, it would make no impression.’ ‘No,’ they say, ‘look at the cannon.’ Again we reply: ‘There is no power in that. It is a beautiful machine — nothing more.’ They bid us next look at the powder, and once more we reply: ‘There is no power in that. A child may spill it, a bird may pick it up.’ ‘Yes,’ they add, ‘but put this powerless powder and that powerless ball into that powerless gun, and then apply one spark of fire; and, in the twinkling of an eye, that powder will become a flash of lightning, and that ball will become a thunder-bolt, and will smite as if sent from heaven.’ We have in our church machinery, instruments for pulling down Satan’s strongholds; but, oh! for the baptism of fire. Oh! for the baptism of the Holy Ghost!”

Oh, for the Spirit’s power and presence! There are many in the church who do not seem to feel the need of the Spirit’s power and presence, because they do not know, his mission and his work.

Without this power of the Spirit, the church’s work can never be successful.

How can we get this power?

1. By united effort.
2. By prayer.

Brethren, will we have it? We can’t succeed without it. If we would do any effective work in our hearts, or in our homes, or in our church, or in the community where we live, we must have this power of the Holy Spirit. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”

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