If you are staying at home on Sunday morning because your church is temporarily closed down or you don’t attend a church at all, here is a great sermon for your listening pleasure. I say, “listening” because it is not a visual video, as many that I put on my blogs, but simply a recording.
This message is given by Thomas Whartenby, who was brought up as a Roman Catholic… has been the minister of Galax Presbyterian Church for forty plus years and is a Vietnam veteran. His wife, Mary Elizabeth, is the church organist and choir director. Their ministry is in a small community situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, USA.
I was privileged to include him in my book, Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge.
Why is it important to hear Dr. Whartenby’s message?
As a people and a nation, we are extremely self-centered. Yes, there are many caring people among us, but as a culture there is much to be improved. I can only speak for our country, but I would guess that it might be the “new normal” for most of the world. Of course, included in this, is the added pressure of isolating and how to take care of OURSELVES when there is such a need to reach out to others. We are warned nationally and locally about “distancing,” which only makes self-centeredness more prevalent. It is hard to know when to think of SELF as far as health is concerned and believe that we are doing it for others. The problem is that the “others” don’t know that our standoffish actions are for them.
As we look at history, much of “what’s in it for me” has come about with the industrial revolution, increase in technology, ability to hear and see through the media an emphasis on having more and more. Life has become a rush to acquire, get ahead, and forget about what is really important. Patience is a long-lost virtue.
We want things and service NOW...no waiting! Almost everything we do is “How does it effect ME?” In some cases, it is how can I get something for nothing? Our young people and children, unfortunately, are modeling these behaviors and attitudes.
The Holy Scripture has something to say about this problem. Dr. Whartenby, “Tom”, gives a fresh understanding of why we want self-gratification. He puts in modern terms thoughts that make sense to all of us.
It will be worth your time of 30 minutes to listen. I am including this link for those who believe that we all need a new look at what this title means….IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT US.
Who was Isaac Watts? An English writer and theologian, beloved for his talent for writing poetry and songs, he became famous during the early 19th century. Even at an early age, he was know to use his ability to rhyme quite readily:
Watts was once asked why he had his eyes open during prayers, to which he responded:
A little mouse for want of stairs
ran up a rope to say its prayers.
He received punishment for this, to which he cried:
O father, father, pity take
And I will no more verses make
In later years, Watts wrote some of our most loved hymns:
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,
Joy to the World
Our God, Our Help in Ages Past
He also wrote a book on logic. At his death, Isaac Watts’ papers were given to Yale University in the Colony of Connecticut, which nonconformists (Puritans/Congregationalists) had established. (Wikipedia)
Mixed with Holy Scripture, these are the words that Isaac Watts wrote in one of the most loved Christian hymn.
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
by Isaac Watts
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
Acts 5:30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.”
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Luke 9:24-25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?”
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
Luke 21:3-4 And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.”
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Matthew 27:29 And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
About Jesus in Psalm 22:16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
About Jesus in Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
John 19:2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him;
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Revelation 5:12-13 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”
Love so amazing, so divine,
Ephesians 3:19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. (Taken from “Scripture and…” blog)
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
Beautiful music for your pleasure…with the first hymn by Isaac Watts.
Turn up sound and move the red line completely back to the beginning.
Numbers have great meaning for all of us. We remember the number of our street address, zip code, social security and phone numbers…even if we have trouble recalling the exact date numbers of important events. The same is true in the Holy Scriptures. Numbers have meaning.
Having read the first chapter of Matthew, I noticed that it took 14 generations from the time of Abraham for God to bring His Son Jesus, the Messiah, into the world. I’m not certain why that number stood out to me, but I decided to look up the meaning of the number 14. I wanted to find out what it meant in the Biblical sense, rather than those who study numerology or try to read the stars. Here is what I found:
“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.” Matthew 1:1 – 17
Number 14 is a symbol of salvation and rescue. Jesus finished his life in flesh on 14th day of first month, and made his sacrifice for the sake of all people. Number 14 is a double of God’s power and completion. Matthew 1
The 14th day of the month was the start of Passover or when Israel as a nation was started. Most references to 14 in the Bible are about a Passover that was being celebrated. Exodus 12:6
The Ultimate Sacrifice: On the 14th day of the first month in 30 A.D. Jesus Christ, God manifested in the flesh, the only begotten Son of God the Father, and the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world, was crucified as the perfect sacrifice to save mankind from sin. Jesus’ death on Passover completed His ministry in the flesh.
Seven represents completion – thus 7 + 7 = 14, indicating a double completion…Jesus’ ministry in the flesh was completed. Jesus sacrifice of Himself ended or fulfilled the need for animal sacrifices, which the Jews had been doing to cover their sins. (from Bible Study online)
If you had no thoughts about the number 14 until now, it will probably go without saying that you will notice this number more in your everyday life. Regardless of numbers, it is important to see that God’s importance on numbers and their meanings only shows us the perfection numerically or scientifically that He shows in His creation and His perfect plans given through the prophets.
What were God’s scientific plans when creating life?
Group 14 (IVA) | | Group 14 of the periodic table is often referred to as the carbon group. It is located in column 14 of the periodic table and houses the elements carbon, silicon, germanium, tin, lead…Many molecules contain carbon. In fact, there is an entire field of chemistry that deals with carbon-containing compounds, known as organic chemistry. Pure carbon can manifest in multiple forms such as diamonds, graphite and graphene, and Bucky balls (fullerenes). When mixed with iron, steel is formed. An isotope of carbon, carbon-14, is used to date organic specimens. Carbon is also used in semiconductors and resistance heaters. Carbon is the fundamental element in all Earth-based life. (from Chem Teacher)
Here’s one for all you people who love tattoos: “The tattoos of Otzi the Iceman, a 5,300-year-old corpse found frozen in the Alps, were inked from carbon, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Small incisions in the skin were made, and charcoal rubbed in, perhaps as part of an acupuncture treatment.” (from Live Science)
Nearly 10 million carbon compounds have been discovered, and scientists estimate that carbon is the keystone for 95 percent of known compounds, according to the website Chemistry Explained. Carbon’s incredible ability to bond with many other elements is a major reason that it is crucial to almost all life. (Live Science)
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
One who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days. Micah 5:2
I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots. Psalm 22: 14-18
THE NUMBER 3: “‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2:19-21).
“‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was THREE days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’” Matthew 12:38-40
This number 3 is repeated throughout the Bible as a symbol of completeness. God’s attributes are three: omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. ... On the third day, the earth rose from the water, symbolic of resurrection life.
The number 3 is also powerful in that it denotes the Godhead is a trinity … God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
THE NUMBER 7: The number 7 is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual). It derives much of its meaning from being tied directly to God’s creation of all things. … The word ‘created’ is used 7 times describing God’s creative work (Genesis 1:1, 21, 27 three times; 2:3; 2:4) God also rested on the 7th day from all his work and he saw that it was “good.”
However, we look at numbers, we may find them of interest but God wants us to leave His timing of events in our futures up to Him. He has told us to fear not, to trust Him and not predict the future on our own. Some people have tried to prove to the masses that they had figured out God’s timing. They think their great minds have somehow received a revelation. They even circled a number on their calendars to when Christ will appear once again as a 2nd coming to the earth. Really?
There are certain to be some even today, who are predicting with our world-wide virus, trashing of cities and continued wars, that the end is certain to be near. Even some clergy are telling people to “store up…at least for three months…as if they are certain that the great trials of the end days are upon us. They are probably going my this verse of Holy Scripture:
“Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Matthew 24
As far back as the 1844’s there was a real person, William Miller, who believed that he had calculated the END and Christ’s coming again.
This is their story:
“Tens of thousands of people in Massachusetts expected the world to come to an end. They were followers of William Miller, a man who claimed to know the date of Jesus’s second coming. Many “Millerites” sold all their possessions to prepare for the day when Christ would return to earth, gather them up to heaven, and purify the rest of the world in an all-consuming fire. As the date approached, a great comet blazed across the Massachusetts sky, and the number of believers grew. On October 22nd, the Millerites donned white robes and climbed mountains or trees to speed their ascension into heaven. (Miller went on a speaking tour about his prediction…gaining between 50,000 and 100,000 believers.) ….
As the year of the expected apocalypse neared, believers in the prophecy began to give away their belongings, abandon their crops, and sell their land. In the town of Harvard, one man sold his cows at great sacrifice because there would be no one to care for them when he was “gone up.” Women in the Worcester area cut off their hair, removed the ruffles from their dresses, threw or gave away their jewelry, and, in some cases, everything they owned. Others broke up all their furniture declaring that they would no longer have use for tables or chairs or beds. Wanting to be suitably attired for heaven, Millerites made long white garments for themselves that they called their “ascension robes.”…Believing that Christ would return on a mountaintop, they climbed up Mt. Wachusett to await the coming of the Lord. One respectable but arthritic old man from Harvard who could not make it up the mountain stationed himself at the very top of the tallest apple tree in his orchard and waited out the night. In New Bedford, a whole family perched on the branches of an apple tree dressed in their white robes.” When the prophecy failed, most abandoned Miller’s apocalyptical teachings and returned to their original churches. (Mass Moments)
The Holy Scriptures tells us the truth about the coming again of Christ?
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 2nd Timothy 3:1-5
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray... Matthew 24
We have one good friend who likes to ask “WHY? HOW CAN THAT BE? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?” when studying the Holy Scriptures or doctrines of the church. There is nothing wrong with questioning. This is how we grow in our faith.
The video below may help answer the questioning of the intellectuals, engineers and all other inquisitive people like ourselves, concerning one scripture, Mark 13:32. This is when Christ says “only the Father” knows the day or the hour…not even the angels or God’s Son. He doesn’t mention the Holy Spirit, but says “ONLY THE FATHER” knows, which would also indicate the Spirit also did not know. He is speaking, of course, about the coming TRIBULATION on the earth and/or THE COMING AGAIN OF CHRIST. Actually, we all have many questions concerning faith and the future. I agree with my husband when he says, “I don’t know…I’ll just ask when I get there.”
God does not give us a NUMBER or DATE for the end times, also known as The Tribulation, or His coming again! He only asks us to watch and be ready in our hearts.
“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32
Video: Turn up your sound
As a Christian author, it is my joy to share a book that I have recently written. My latest devotional book is called Around the Corner.
The reason for that title is because throughout my life there have been surprises “around the corner” that have given me inspiration and understanding of people throughout the world. These stories, events and thoughts are what I want to share with my readers.
Divided into 31 days, the daily reading has not only stories of adventures, joys and “Things that I have learned”, but also Scripture readings and prayers. It also includes some of my original art and photography, which also are my creative thoughts.
It is my hope that you will enjoy Around the Corner, in book form or on Kindle, for your inspirational reading. If you like either, please pass this blog post onto your friends and family.
Click here: Around the Corner…paperback edition
Psalm 46: 1-3
God is our hope and strength,
a very present
help in trouble.
Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be
and though the hills be carried into the midst of the
Though the waters thereof rage and swell,
and though the
mountains shake at the tempest of the same…
Prayer for Comfort and Hope
Grant unto us, Almighty God, in all time of sore distress, the comfort of the forgiveness of our sins. In time of darkness give us blessed hope, in time of sickness of body give us quiet courage; and when the heart is bowed down, and the soul is very heavy, and life is a burden, and pleasure a weariness, and the sun is too bright, and life too mirthful, then may that Spirit, the Spirit of the Comforter, come upon us, and after our darkness may there be the clear shining of the heavenly light; that so, being uplifted again by Thy mercy, we may pass on through this our mortal life with quiet courage, patient hope, and unshaken trust, hoping through Thy loving-kindness and tender mercy to be delivered from death into the large life of the eternal years. Hear us of Thy mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord – Amen.
Prayer written by George Dawson
Concert Music in Honor of those whose lives were taken.
Perhaps one of the most quoted verses of the Bible is John 3:16.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. That whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
At this Advent season, we realize that for anyone to give their only son to save another person is an unthinkable thing to do…yet, God did it.
To be in the world…to know the world…to have been part of creation, yet comes to the world to be the sacrifice for all sins of the world, God gave His only Son.
Why? Because He loved the world….His creation. A most profound thought!
He sent Him in the world…not to condemn the world…but that the world might be saved. That means you and me. No matter what your faith is; has been or if there is no faith, I would ask that you seek Him this holy season. Call upon His name and He will answer you. As strange as it may seem, I find seclusion in my shower to be the best place to pour my heart out to God. Give it a try.
Jeremiah 29:11 The Holy Scriptures
“ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Click Here (Turn on sound and enlarge)