GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 608 • January 27, 2021
IF THE NEXT ONE WAS TO BE YOUR VERY LAST ONE …?
There’s a game called “What if it was your last one.” It’s a fun game to play. “What would you do, say, or want if it was to be your very last ___?” You can put anything you want in the blank, if you are asking the question. People usually put some shallow, superficial, or frivolous thing there. Nobody really wants the game to be heavy and serious. The fact that anything might really be your last in any category is a thought that may seldom cross one’s mind. We don’t want to think of anything as being the last we will have. Perhaps we should think about it more often. Continue reading
I heard a commercial last week from a major news network advertising their special coverage of the President elect’s inauguration.
The special coverage’s title so happened to consist of words from the American pledge of allegiance: “One nation: Indivisible.”
I don’t know about you but to me it sounds like the special coverage’s title included a colon because an ellipses would’ve made it too easy to see the one being forgotten.
Maybe the coverage’s title was a harmless coincident with no ill-intent that intentionally forgot to include the words “under God.” And maybe the warning about “having one foot on a banana peel and one foot in the grave” isn’t worth remembering either … right?
“The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.” (Psalm 9:17 ESV)
#news #judgment #God
Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
The Lord who commands armies will be exalted when he punishes, the sovereign God’s authority will be recognized when he judges. Isaiah 5.16
When the Israelites were leaving Egypt, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he went after them with his armies and chariots to bring them back to serve him as slaves. The Israelites were going out defiantly, Exodus 14.8. When they looked up and saw the Egyptians coming, they were terrified and cried out to Moses, fearing they were about to die in the desert.
Moses told them not to fear. The Lord would fight for them. So they marched across the Red Sea on dry land. Pharaoh and his army were destroyed by God. Exodus 14.18 reads that the Egyptians would know that God is Lord when he had gained honor because of Pharaoh. Indeed, when it came time to take the Promised Land, the people there were afraid because of all that they had heard regarding God and his people.
It is sad that in Isaiah, it was the Israelites that God was about to bring judgment upon because of their sin. Isaiah 5.24-25 states that they had rejected the law of the Lord who commands armies and spurned his commands. The Lord was furious with his people.
Another time of judgment is coming when Jesus shall return. He warned against rejecting his words for those very words came from God and would judge at the last day, John 12.44-50.
We have the opportunity to know what shall judge us. We know that the words that Jesus spoke will be used. We will not be excused because of ignorance, Acts 17.30. Let us be prepared to give answers for our hope, 1 Peter 3.15.
#risingjoy #Isaiah #judgment
Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
But, according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness truly resides. Therefore, dear friends, since you are waiting for these things, strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish, when you come into his presence. 2 Peter 3.13-14
In this corrupt world in which we live, it is hard to imagine a place where righteousness resides. Peter has just written in the verses before these about the destruction of the earth and heavens. Yes, it is coming. The day of God will arrive. Peter asks the question about how we should conduct ourselves in view of this future event. One can deny the fact that the day of God’s judgment is coming. However, that will not stop it from happening. It will keep me from being prepared when it does arrive. When I believe what the Bible says I can look forward to the place where righteousness resides. God has promised new heavens and a new earth. It will not be this earth transformed. It will be a new place that God has prepared for those who love him and obey him. Peter then writes to his readers to strive to be at peace as we wait. It is not something that comes easily. In the first place, we do not like to wait for anything. We live in a time where instant gratification is the norm. I want it and I want it now. The verb strive suggests that it takes effort. Some things do not just happen. Peter also writes to be without spot or blemish when we come into his presence. For the person who has been washed in Christ’s blood through baptism, it is still necessary to continue in his teaching. I cannot go through the act and then return to my former way of life. Here again, an effort must be made. An effort must be made to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus so that we are not led astray by false teachers who do not teach the truth according to the scriptures. Only then can I have peace in the midst of a corrupt world.
#risingjoy #2-Peter #judgment
“Indeed! All lives are mine – the life of the father as well as the life of the son is mine. The one who sins will die.”
God gave man life, breathing into him at creation. All belong to him, and he will judge all. No one can assume that right. God knows what each one deserves.
How we blame others for our sins! v. 3. But we will answer for what we have done. God cannot be deceived by our games.
#votd #Ezekiel #judgment
“If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that when you assemble it does not lead to judgment. I will give directions about other matters when I come.”
1 Corinthians 11.34
Meals eaten with the Lord’s supper, as Jesus ate with the disciples at Passover, became a motive for division. Paul puts a stop to them.
Abusing and disobeying God’s laws leads to a sentence of condemnation. We must be careful to follow the Lord’s model of faith, practice, and work.
#votd #1-Corinthians #judgment
“Wail, for the Lord’s day of judgment is near; it comes with all the destructive power of the Sovereign One.”
The Lord would bring destruction upon Israel for the nation’s disobedience. He would send pagan armies against them. The prophets urged repentance, since judgment would be swift and sure.
Time is short. Prepare to die. The opportunity is now. No one knows his hour. Change your life. Commit yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ. In him only is salvation.
#votd #judgment #Isaiah
“They ate until they were stuffed;
he gave them what they desired.
They were not yet filled up,
their food was still in their mouths,
when the anger of God flared up against them.”
The psalmist told things that fathers were to tell their children, so that they would keep God’s commandments. Because God chose a people did not mean that they could do what they want. On the contrary!
Our desires may be killers, not only because they bring bad consequences, but also because they bring upon us God’s judgment. The church must learn from Israel’s history.
#votd #desire #judgment
“…the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from their trials, and to reserve the unrighteous for punishment at the day of judgment,”
2 Peter 2.9
Peter assures his readers that the Lord will act, both on their behalf and against the unrighteous. One entails the other.
What kind of reaction can we have toward this double-sided truth?
#salvation #judgment #VOTD
“He will reward each one according to his works: eternal life to those who by perseverance in good works seek glory and honor and immortality, but wrath and anger to those who live in selfish ambition and do not obey the truth but follow unrighteousness.”
Paul’s concept of faith takes in one’s works toward God. Eternal life is for those who persevere in good works, not of merit, but of faith.
Works that are good are defined by God, not by man. Those who do good works are in contrast to those who do not obey the truth. What is it we should seek that Paul describes as “glory and honor and immortality”?
#judgment #God #VOTD
“At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (Acts 8:1 NKJV). Saul of Tarsus “made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison” (Acts 8:3 NKJV). God does not promise Christians that no evil will happen to them. David rightly prayed: “Give them according to their deeds, And according to the wickedness of their endeavors; Give them according to the work of their hands; Render to them what they deserve” (Psalm 28:4 NKJV). The Apostle John “saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held” (Revelation 6:9 NKJV). God promises Judgment to come.
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.
“All the sinners among my people will die by the sword—
the ones who say, ‘Disaster will not come near, it will not confront us.’”
Many rebellious people among the Israelites denied the prophet’s message of judgment for the nation’s sins.
Even today some deny they will reap what they sow, or that Jesus will return to judge those who do good and who do evil, Gal 6.6-10; Rom 2.4-11; 2 Pet 3.3-15.
#denial #judgment #VOTD
“Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth” Isaiah 2:19.
Judgment’s coming! That’s not a popular subject today. It’s not a popular subject in any age. It certainly wasn’t popular in Isaiah’s time of the eighth century B.C. when people lived and worshiped whatever and however they wanted. But, a just God warned of judgment then just as He warns now. For Israel, they were brutally overrun by the Assyrians, never to return to the promised land, the promise of which their conduct had spurned. For us, many will deceive themselves into believing that they are heirs of the promise of eternal like only to find their conduct has spurned heaven. Isaiah was Israel’s ‘fire and brimstone’ preacher at a time when the people only wanted to hear sermons of God’s great mercy and love. The ‘fire and brimstone’ sermons of a century ago are rarely heard today, but God is still a just God and still warns us of judgment through His Word. Perhaps the themes of Isaiah are exactly what we need to hear to once again become a prepared people.
Are you ready for that Day to come?
#judgment #Isaiah #prepare
“Having heard everything, I have reached this conclusion: Fear God and keep his commandments, because this is the whole duty of man. For God will evaluate every deed, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
The book sounds like an adolescent trying out all kinds of ideas. God lets us see Solomon’s experiments in life.
Solomon’s life started out well and went downhill. His book starts at the bottom and finishes at the top.
#VOTD #fear-of-God #judgment
That might be an appropriate title for chapter 16 of 1 Kings: “From Bad to Worse.” Abandonment of the Lord produced debauchery, murder, division, idolatry. The chapter shows divine justice being carried out in the midst of a nation’s perfidy. Here are a few lessons from the chapter. Continue reading