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Wingless Angels and Their Poetry

Copyright © 2019

by
Jim Kerwin

Title image for the article 'Wingless Angels and Their PoetryHere's a fresh view of Luke 2…1

Ah, Christmas! What for others is a time of joy is for me a time to remember and mourn my felonious and heretical past life. The felony? Kidnapping. The heresy? Thinking that I could save God’s Son, Jesus. But like Saul of Tarsus, “I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in…” well, not “unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:13), but because I was an innocent five-year old. I guess I need to explain.

Coinciding with my short career in crime, [continue reading…]

Holiness: Preparation for His Coming

Copyright © 20191

by
Percy Gutteridge

The Consummation of Advent

Photo of a hand pointing to the rising sun on the horizonIs your heart ready for the Second Advent?2

We are coming into the great season of Advent. Advent means arrival or coming — the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. In a previous article (This Shall Be a Sign Unto You) we dealt with the sign — learning what the sign was, and the significance of the sign that the angel mentioned to the shepherds. Now we want to look into the consummation of Advent — what it all leads to — the end of time and the last things. That means we must consider the Second Advent, that is, the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus, the hope of the Church, and our trust that it’s drawing near. That coming, when He, the [continue reading…]

God’s Bounties Should Make Us Bountiful

Copyright 2007, 2019 by Jim Kerwin1

A chapter from the book
Sunnyside Papers: Inspirational Sketches
from God’s “Book of Nature”

by
Isaiah Reid

Title image with the words 'God's Bounties Should Make Us Bountiful' overlaid on a photo of many colorful vegetables.Bountiful, yes — and thankful!2

It is November.3 We have had an old-time Iowa fall. The charming weather has been just like a northern Florida winter, save the softness and balminess of the air. But doubtless for Iowa, the atmosphere we have had is better for us than that in Florida would have been. What is all right for one part of the country is not always the best thing for the other. Certainly, our fall has charmed everyone; and could it last, no one would care to go to California or to [continue reading…]

Greater Works Than These

Copyright © 2019

by
Jim Kerwin

An excerpt from the forthcoming book
The John the Baptist Experience

Leaping deer, a photo by jmrocek, under license from 123RF.com at https://www.123rf.com/profile_jmrocekIn prophecy, when do deer walk
and when do they leap?1

When the imprisoned John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to Jesus, he had one question in mind: “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” (Matthew 11:3 nasb2)

Jesus didn’t answer them directly at first. He believed in “show and tell,” and Luke tells us what John’s two disciples saw with their own eyes:

At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind.

Luke 7:21

With the long day’s ministry over, the Lord approached John’s two representatives.

Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, [continue reading…]

God’s Standing Orders for Spiritual Warfare

Copyright © 2014

by
A. David Armstrong III,
Commander U.S. Navy (ret)

Words from a Warrior

Photo of a U.S. Navy warshipHave you read the Captain’s standing orders?1

I offer the following thoughts learned through many years of military service, and through many years as a soldier in the army of my God. God in His infinite wisdom often uses that with which we are most familiar to instruct us. Since the principles of warfare are deeply ingrained in me after many years as a Navy officer, God has utilized that experience to give me insight into spiritual warfare. God also has made us [continue reading…]

The “Judicial Adventures” of Paul the Apostle

Copyright © 1994, 2019

by
Jim Kerwin

A Look at Roman Law in Acts

“Moving in a Roman World”

The student of the New Testament is con­stant­ly made aware that he is moving in a Roman world,”2 and awareness of the Roman en­vi­ron­ment is the first step toward un­der­stand­ing its significance and influence on the second volume of Luke’s magnum opus and on the life of Paul. By providing the serious Bible student a primer of [continue reading…]

The Original Aromas of Christmas

Copyright © 2018

by
Jim Kerwin

Burning frankincense, image used under license from https://www.123rf.com/profile_fotomemAll our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King!
1

Your dieting resolve may be challenged as I enumerate the following list: pumpkin pie, gingerbread, Christmas cookies, roasted turkey and stuffing, eggnog, hot apple cider with cinnamon. Those are all holiday edibles, but I mention them not so much for their waistline-destroying properties as for their aromas. I can quickly add to the list of Christmas aromas from non-edible sources: the fragrance of a fresh pine tree, wreaths of pine branches, and seasoned oak burning in the fireplace. I would even add the tantalizing scent of “chestnuts roasting on a open fire,” but then we’d probably be back to derailing ongoing diets.

Those of you outside North America no doubt have your own aromatic reminiscences of Christmas. In any case, if you’re like me, you have a sort of mental database of aromas, of scents, of fragrances that you associate with Christmas. In fact, if one of those aromas registers on your nostrils, it may trigger events from your childhood, or certain Christmases that were special, or maybe certain Christmases that were difficult. I can’t think of another holiday that has such fragrant associations.

Decades ago, over the Christmas holiday I was on a short-term missions trip to India. On Christmas morning I arose before dawn to [continue reading…]

This Shall Be a Sign unto You

Copyright © 20181

by
Percy Gutteridge

Image of the manger copyright by www.LumoProject.com, licensed exclusively by FreeBibleimages.org for teaching purposes only; used with permission according to license terms.“This shall be a sign unto you.”
But what was the sign?2

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because He was of the house and lineage of David:) 5to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.” 16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

Luke 2:1-18

As we read through Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus, we discover a key theme of the Christmas season. It’s the message that the angel gave to the shepherds. The fact that an angel said it underscores its importance. He said:

“And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

What is the significance of this sign? If God took the trouble [continue reading…]

The Powerful Message Behind Jesus’ First Sermon

Copyright © 2018

by
Jim Kerwin

The Importance of Context

a scroll of the Hebrew scripturesWhat is “the acceptable year of the Lord”?1
 

Every time there is a “first” in the Scriptures, it is good to take note of it, because often the Holy Spirit is laying down a special foundation, or principle, or doctrine. I believe this is true in the case of Jesus’ first recorded sermon, which is found in Luke chapter 4.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me
because He anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed,
19to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

Part of what I teach leaders when I come to Latin America is the importance of context when they are reading and studying and teaching and preaching God’s word. The two most important points are these:

  1. Every time we come to the Scriptures, as we are reading we must ask ourselves, “What is the context of this verse, this passage, this chapter, this book? What is the context within the text, and what are the historical, cultural, and original language contexts? What do I need to know to fully understand the passage like the first readers did?
  2. The greatest context is that of the entire Bible, which is why I encourage all Christian leaders – indeed, all Christians – to read through the Bible cover to cover at least once every year.

Let’s think about the context of Jesus’ message in Luke 4. In the previous chapter, Luke 3, Jesus was water-baptized by John; immediately the Spirit of the Lord [continue reading…]

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (Part 5)

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

by John Wesley

Part V:
Advice to the Sanctified

Section 25 (continued)

Question 29: Can those who are perfect grow in grace?

Answer: Undoubtedly they can; and that not only while they are in the body, but to all eternity.

Question 30: Can they fall from it?

Answer: I am well assured they can: matter of fact puts this beyond dispute. Formerly we thought, that one saved from sin could not fall; now we know the contrary. We are surrounded with instances of those who lately experienced all that I mean by perfection. They had both the fruit of the Spirit, and the witness; but they have now lost both. Neither does anyone stand by virtue of anything that is implied in the nature of the state. There is no such height or strength of holiness as it is impossible to fall from. If there be any that cannot fall, this wholly depends on the promise of God.

Question 31: Can those who fall from this state recover it? [continue reading…]

Earth’s Most Powerful Preacher

Copyright © 20111

by
Percy Gutteridge

Psalm 19

  1. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.
  2. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge.
  3. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
  4. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
  5. Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race.
  6. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hidden from the heat thereof.
  7. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
  8. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
  9. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
  10. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
  11. Moreover by them is your servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
  12. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.
  13. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
  14. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Who Is Earth’s Most Powerful Preacher?

Silouhette of a preacherWho is earth's most powerful preacher?2

Let’s consider the question, “Who is the most powerful preacher that God has ordained on earth?” And understand that I’m not talking about a human being. I am not going to pick out one of today’s famous evangelists or ministers and say, “This one is the most powerful preacher,” because none of them has the worldwide audience or impact of God’s sovereign choice. So then, let’s refine the question and ask, “What is the most powerful preacher that God has ordained on earth?” as we examine potential candidates.

The Sun?

How about the sun? Is the sun earth’s most powerful preacher? Our Scripture passage says that the sun is really a preacher; it comes out of its chamber as a bridegroom. It comes up in the morning and goes down at night, going right over the whole circuit of heaven, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. It preaches of light, it preaches of energy, it preaches of power, it preaches of judgment, it preaches even of love. It preaches also of life, because there would be no life without the sun. The sun preaches to us about so many things.

But men don’t take any notice. In fact, some foolish people [continue reading…]

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (Part 1)

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

by John Wesley

Part I:
Historical Background
of the Teaching

Section 1

What I purpose in the following pages is, to give a plain and distinct account of the steps by which I was led, during a course of many years, to embrace the doctrine of Christian Perfection.  This I owe to the serious part of mankind; those who desire to know all the truth as it is in Jesus.  And these only are concerned in questions of this kind.  To these I would nakedly declare the thing as it is, endeavouring all along to show, from one period to another, both what I thought, and why [continue reading…]

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (Part 2)

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

by John Wesley

Part II:
The Teaching Explained

Section 17

On Monday, June 25, 1744 our first conference began, six clergymen and all our preachers being present.  The next morning we seriously considered the doctrine of sanctification, or perfection.  The questions asked concerning it, and the substance of the answers given, were as follows:—

Question: What is it to be sanctified?

Answer: To be renewed in the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness [Ephesians 4:24].

Question: What is implied in being a perfect Christian?

Answer: The loving God with all our heart, and mind, and soul (Deut. vi. 5). [continue reading…]

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (Part 3)

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

by John Wesley

Part III:
Tares Among the Wheat Contrasted
with the Wonderful Testimony of Jane Cooper

Section 20

In the year 1762 there was a great increase of the work of God in London.  Many, who had hitherto cared for none of these things, were deeply convinced of their lost estate; many found redemption in the blood of Christ; not a few backsliders were healed; and a considerable number of persons believed that God had saved them from all sin.  Easily foreseeing that Satan would be endeavouring to sow tares among the wheat [Matthew 13:24-30], I took much pains to apprise them of the danger, particularly with regard to pride and enthusiasm.  And while I stayed in town, I had reason to hope they continued both humble and sober-minded.  But almost as soon as I was gone, enthusiasm broke in.  Two or three began to take their own imaginations for impressions from God, and thence to suppose that they should never die; and these, labouring to bring others into the same opinion, occasioned much noise and confusion.  Soon after, the same persons, with a few more, ran into other extravagances,—fancying they could not be tempted; that they should feel no more pain; and that they had the gift of prophecy, and of discerning of spirits. [continue reading…]