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June 25, 2018
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From the Pulpit, 6-9-18

This article was published June 9, 2018 at 5:00 a.m.

Sparks from the Gospel Anvil

Matthew 5:8

Sight is the most vivid of all our senses. We are all conscious of the difference it makes to our realization if we have seen for ourselves.

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We may know much of people and places without having seen them. Faith and love may be given to those whom we have not seen. With the aid of photography, we can bring the ends of the earth to our feet, but however familiar we may have become with a place by such means, there is a new realization when we stand and look at a mountain range or standing on the sandy beach. We hear or read of some thrilling event and our hearts are stirred, but it is another thing to have been there and seen it. Sight in our faith makes exactly the same difference as it does in other things. It gives a new sense of certainty, and a more vivid consciousness of spiritual things. The Lord Jesus Christ declared that no man hath seen God at any time. When Moses prayed that he might see the Divine glory, Jehovah replied, “Thou canst not see my face: for man shall not see me and live”. God is a Spirit; invisible and intangible. And yet men are commanded to seek His face that they may live. All through the history of the world men have been seeing God. They have found Him in nature and in history, discerned Him in those to whom they have ministered and for whom they have suffered, and have communed with Him in the exercise of worship and prayer. In these words of Christ there is the promise of vision; not merely proofs and signs of His presence, or communications from Him, but the open vision of God. The promise is not future but present. Stephen, Paul, Peter and John beheld His glory, and so may we. It is only through Jesus that we can come to the Father, but He undertakes to reveal Him to those who come to Him. He makes atonement for sin and restores men to God.

Lt. Charles Smith is commanding officer of the Salvation Army of El Dorado.

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Ancient Words: Walk to Emmaus, A Walk with Samson

Samson was not a perfect man. He had flaws with women which would dominate the news of today and he would kill other men over a promise kept. Imperfect as Samson was, God chose Samson to be a Judge and ruler over Israel. Samson, the very imperfect one, would fulfill God’s perfect plan for his chosen nation and for continuing the perfect scarlet thread weaving itself over time to the Messiah. Angels ruled over Samson’s parents—ruled in announcing the birth of this anointed baby son whose strength would be un matched: Judges 13:1-5 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth.

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The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”

Colorful is to say the least about Judge Samson! Besides his female escapades, Samson brings us stories about killing a lion with his bare-hands, eating honey from a dead carcass, catching 300 foxes and lighting up their tails, slaying a thousand men with a donkey’s jawbone. A beautiful Delilah seduces Samson to reveal his mighty strength’s secret toward his life’s end. In turn, he is captured and tortured but with eyes gouged out, his strength returns for him to bring down the temple of Dagon with 2 hands….and 3,000 Philistines on the roof of the temple, killing more in one setting as he died than he killed in his life time.

Samson was made mention in the Hall of Faith Fame of Hebrews 11—and no doubt Jesus spoke of Samson on his way to Emmaus. The mighty strength of Samson, even with the ups and downs, was used by God to relieve the Israel nation of oppression by the Philistines under his 20 years of leadership. Samson would not have hadd a chance to be chosen as President of our country today—-or would he? When God decides who rules the nations of the earth, there is no power or force strong enough to abort his good and perfect will: Romans 13:1-4 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. All things are possible thru Christ’s strength!!

Scott Johnson is pastor at East Faulkner Church of Christ and author of the BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to brgbible@gmail.com.

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