Aging, Humility, and Immortality

Immortality Road

The aging of our physical bodies humbles us and brings us low. The decades crumble us down, and the years of storms and winds weather us. We sense a melting back into the earth like the old adobe walls of a Santa Fe cabin, left open to the elements. It is only the joy and laughter and love that once abode inside those walls that make it all mean something.

It is a lot like God’s Spirit as He inhabits His people, bringing love and joy into our hearts during our brief sojourn here on earth.

We bear the burden of aging that we might walk more humbly before our Maker. Speaking of the Spirit, He said through His apostle Paul that “we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.” Our finite, mortal bodies at present actually…

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Nuggets – Holy Conversation

Holy Conversation
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.” (2 Peter 3:11)

The picturesque phrase “holy conversation” occurs only twice in the New Testament, both in Peter’s epistles; one in his very first chapter, 1 Peter 1:15, the other in today’s verse. The other is, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” This distinctive King James rendering does not really mean “clean speech” but assumes the older, more precise meaning of “conversation,” namely “behavior,” especially behavior that involves other people. The Greek word translated “holy” primarily implies “dedicated to God.” Thus, holy conversation simply means living in such a way that our entire manner of life is oriented to honor God and to influence other people to honor Him.

These two exhortations of Peter tell us why we should live this way. The first incentive is simply the holiness of God Himself: “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). We have become children of God through faith in Christ, and we should therefore behave “as obedient children, not fashioning [ourselves] according to the former lusts in [our] ignorance” (1 Peter 1:14).

The second incentive given just before the words of today’s verse is the ever-imminent return of Christ, following which, eventually, “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:10). Incentives, both past and future, are thus given for holy living in the present!

Eight of the 13 occurrences of “conversation” (Greek anastrophe) are in Peter’s epistles, stressing his vital concern that Christians ought to demonstrate “all holy conversation and godliness” in their lives. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – The Indwelling Christ

The Indwelling Christ
“And they glorified God in me.” (Galatians 1:24)

One of the greatest doctrines of the Christian faith is the amazing truth that the Lord Jesus Christ indwells each believer through His Holy Spirit. “Christ liveth in me,” said the apostle Paul (Galatians 2:20), and, since that was true experientially as well as doctrinally, he could invite people to see Christ and hear Christ and follow Christ by seeing and hearing and following him. This might seem incredibly arrogant if it were not real.

He could say, for example, that “it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me” (Galatians 1:15-16). And he could say, as in today’s verse, that those who heard him “glorified God in me.” He also commanded, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:9).

The Lord could say to His disciples, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9), and no one thinks it inappropriate because He fully manifested the heavenly Father in word and deed. Similarly, Paul said that “the truth of Christ is in me” and referred to “Christ speaking in me” (2 Corinthians 11:10; 13:3), noting that Christ was “mighty in me toward the Gentiles” (Galatians 2:8).

This was not boasting, for Paul acknowledged that “in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (Romans 7:18). Still, he was bold to exhort, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Now the same Spirit of Christ who dwelled in Paul also indwells all true Christians, for “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9). We should be able to say with Paul, in practice as well as theory, that “Christ liveth in me.” HMM

From the Institute of Creation Research

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Nuggets – God’s Everlasting Covenants

God’s Everlasting Covenants
“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” (Genesis 17:7)

The phrase “everlasting covenant” (or “perpetual covenant”) is used no less than 16 times in the Old Testament, plus once in the New Testament. It always refers to a covenant promise of God to man, made in grace, for only He can make an everlasting promise.

The first everlasting covenant was made with Noah (Genesis 9:16), a promise never to send a worldwide flood again, sealed with the sign of the rainbow.

The second is recorded in today’s verse and was God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants. The promise was to give them “the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8), and the seal was to be the rite of circumcision.

Many of the “everlasting covenant” promises have to do with Israel. Some were stated unconditionally, but others were “broken” because of man’s rebellion against God’s covenant terms. One of the latter was the covenant of the Sabbath. “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath . . . for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed” (Exodus 31:16-17).

The last reference is the most important of all: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21). HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – Jesus and the Flood

Jesus and the Flood
“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:38-39)

The Lord Jesus Christ not only believed in the special, recent creation of all things by God (note Mark 10:6-8), but also in the worldwide Flood of Noah’s day, including the special preservation of life on the Ark. The Flood in which He believed was obviously not a “local flood,” for He compared it to the worldwide future impact of His Second Coming.

Neither was it a “tranquil flood,” nor a “selective flood,” for Jesus said, “The flood came, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:27). It is clear that He was referring to—and that He believed—the Genesis record of the great Flood! There it says that the whole earth was “filled with violence” (Genesis 6:13), having first been filled with people, and that the resulting world-cleansing deluge was so cataclysmic that “every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth” (Genesis 7:23). Indeed, “the flood came, and took [literally ‘lifted’] them all away.”

This is what Jesus said, and what He believed, and therefore, those who are truly His disciples must also believe this. The destructive effects of the Flood can still be seen today not only in the biblical record, but also in the abundant evidences of cataclysmic destruction in the rocks and fossil graveyards all over the world. To refuse this evidence, as do many modern intellectuals, can only be because they “willingly are ignorant,” as Peter said in referring to this testimony (2 Peter 3:5). HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – Cities of Refuge

Cities of Refuge
“Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge.” (Numbers 35:14)

When the Israelites entered the promised land, God told Joshua to provide six “cities of refuge” into which those who had slain someone could flee for refuge until a trial could ascertain the facts and render a proper verdict. As such, these cities are a type of Christ, through whom “we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18).

The names of the six cities are given in Joshua 20:7-8 as Kedesh, Shechem, Hebron, Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan. The meanings of these names seem planned especially to foreshadow this spiritual application.

Kedesh means “holy place,” and Christ in the New Jerusalem is the ultimate refuge, for “the Lamb [is] the temple of it” (Revelation 21:22). Shechem means “strong shoulder,” which answers to the “strong consolation” we have in Christ when we flee to Him for refuge.

Hebron means “fellowship,” and we who have come to Christ have been “called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). Bezer means “strong hiding place.” The Scripture assures the believer that “your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).

Ramoth means “high place,” and when we are hidden in Christ, God also has “made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). Finally, Golan apparently means “enclosure for captives,” and this would speak of our being set free from sin and death to become captive to Christ. “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive” (Ephesians 4:8). Thus, the cities are appropriately named both for their immediate purpose and as a picture of Christ as the Savior of sinners. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – Incorruptible Things

Incorruptible Things
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers.” (1 Peter 1:18)

Not all the wealth of the world can redeem a single soul, for gold and silver are merely corruptible elements in a world under “the bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21). Everything in the physical creation is decaying and dying. In fact, one day all these “elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). Even the very seeds that transmit life are “corruptible seed” (1 Peter 1:23), and all mankind is “corruptible man” (Romans 1:23). Modern science recognizes this universal principle of decay as one of its most basic laws—the law of increasing entropy.

Even in this corruptible world, however, some things are incorruptible. There is the “incorruptible . . . word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23). Even though “heaven and earth shall pass away,” the words of Christ “shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

We are redeemed, not by silver and gold, but “with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19). God Himself is the “uncorruptible God” (Romans 1:23), and He has “begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (1 Peter 1:3-4). We work, not as others “to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible” (1 Corinthians 9:25).

Finally, these dying bodies will themselves be redeemed, “for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:52-53). HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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ATB 28 Shadow

Growing up I can remember many summer days playing outside.  This was during what today would be considered the dark ages.  Days as a child without say the internet, video games, and on some occasions no television.  Quite often in sharing these stories our children today will look at us like we must have truly be deprived of what life was really all about.

During those days it seemed that no matter what the weather, we were outside.  Blazing heat, or rain, we were outside. Looking back I can recall so many different things.  Those memories grow more precious it would seem with each passing day.

One memory in particular that continues to resonate with me is that of playing outside during that time of the day when as you were walking you would glance up and see your shadow.  As a child I always found myself trying to figure out how to outrun my shadow.  And of course as time went by, it dawned on me that no matter where I went, my shadow was with me.  A shadow that was with me and stayed with me no matter what or where I would go.

To fast forward to these days of my life, I find myself thinking about shadows once again.  To this end I am drawn to the words of Psalms 17:8 which ask to keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me in the shadow of your wings.

Each and every day, from the moment that I wake up until the very minute that I go to sleep it is my prayer to remain as the apple of God’s eye.  And just as important, I want to know that I am hidden under the shadow of his wings. For we know that as we dwell in the shelter of the Most High we will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

Just as I was a child, to my utter amazement I find now that no matter where I go, the shadow of God is with me.  Through the good times as well as the bad times his shadow is there.  For through it all, he has been our help, and thus in the shadow of his wings I will sing for joy.  How precious is his lovingkindness, for surely the Lord is our keeper.

I am reminded of an old gospel standard, God Has Smiled On Me. What stays with me from this standard are the lyrics that state that God has smiled on me, he has been good to me. He is the source of my joy, he fills me with his love.

The Shadow of his presence, the shadow of his love is where I long to be.  My desire is for each and every day of my life to be under the shadow of God.  To know that no matter what may happen, he is with me always.  Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in you.  And in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge.

To God Be The Glory

Alan T. Black


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Nuggets – Everlasting Contempt

Everlasting Contempt
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2)

Some claim that the Old Testament knows nothing of a resurrection, but this promise of God clearly refutes such a notion. Not only will some be raised to everlasting life, but some to everlasting shame and contempt!

What a bitter end this will be for those who now look with contempt upon the Bible. The Hebrew word translated “contempt” is used only one other time, in the very last verse of Isaiah, but is there translated “abhorring.” “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh” (Isaiah 66:24).

There is probably no doctrine of the Bible more hated by unbelievers than the doctrine of everlasting punishment. It was this teaching (not the imaginary evidence for evolution) that turned Charles Darwin away from God. Nevertheless, it was verified by Christ Himself. “It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where . . . the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:47-48). Christ will say to the “goats” on His left hand, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: . . . these shall go away into everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:41, 46). Paul also warned that those who “obey not the gospel . . . shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). Everlasting contempt, everlasting fire, everlasting punishment, everlasting destruction—these await all who reject God and His saving word, through Christ. How much better to “awake to everlasting life”! HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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