All posts by Monty

Be Reconciled to God

For when we were yet without strength (spiritually dead), in due time Christ died for the ungodly (you & I).

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Much more then, being now justified (acquited) by his blood (death), we shall be saved from wrath through him.

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. Romans 5:6-10

But as many as received him (Jesus Christ), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: John 1:12

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:8-13

My Sister’s Graveside Service 1-27-2023

My Shared Memories of Suezette’s Life

Earliest memory (pre-school) – I locked my older siblings; Suezette, Sherry, and Dan out of the house (on the farm east of Climbing Hill) and then I hid. I don’t remember why, but there had to be a good reason. When they found a way into the house and found me hiding in a corner behind the bed, they dragged me out. Suezette and Dan held me down while Sherry spanked me!

One year at the Iowa State Fair, Suezette wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel. It was so tall that from the top seat you could look down on the roof of the grand stands. As they started and stopped the Ferris Wheel to load the seats, the seats would rock back and forth and you felt like you were going to fall out. I didn’t trust the cross bar so I was hanging on to the arm rest and seat back for dear life. When I glanced sideways at Suezette, she was griping the crossbar with both hands and staring straight ahead. Scared to death! After surviving that experience, she never mentioned wanting to ride a Ferris Wheel again.

We rode a Log ride while visiting Sherry in Florida. Suezette had the front seat and got soaked. Her perm was hanging down on her head like little ringlets.

When supper was ready, Mom would have Suezette call me for supper. Susie would walk out on the front porch in our small town and let’er rip. Didn’t matter where I was playing in town, I could hear her calling me. I still can.

Long before Suezette was a Kansas Chief fan, she was a Bear’s fan. You didn’t dare say anything bad about the Bears. Of course, we did, and she would get fighting mad. I used to kid her about burning her KC Chief’s stuff when they weren’t playing well. On a couple of occasions I think she would have. One year at the State Fair I was able to get Ed Podolak to autograph a KC Chiefs hat for her. She was pleased to have it.

Susie had several elderly friends that through the years she helped out by doing errands like picking up their mail. They enjoyed coffee and card games together.

Suezette would give you the shirt off her back if she thought it would make you happy. She was eager to please, but vulnerable to some who might take advantage of her kindness.

She loved to go places…she was excited to go and excited to share what she did when she came home. You had to be careful about telling her someone was coming to pick her up. Even if it was five hours from now, she would be ready to go before you could say “Jack’s your neighbor”.

Suezette always seemed to have a camera. I remember her having the old flash type that would blind you. She also had a Brownie camera that I think she won as a prize. Later on, she had a Polaroid. She had quite a collection of family pictures. Among them were several photographs of the actor, Lee Majors (Big Valley TV Show Star). I thought he was a member of the family!

She had dreams…dreams of marriage to a tall dark handsome fellow.

Sherry related that one night in bed, during Junior High School, she found some lumps on her body. Thinking it was cancer Sherry pulled the blankets over her head and began to cry. Susie asked why she was crying and when Sherry told her, Suezette began to sing the hymn: “God Will Take Care of You.”

When my kids became too dignified to laugh at my corny jokes, she did.

Suezette learned to give orders during the last eighteen months that she spent at Pioneer Valley Living & Rehab. For the first time in her life she was not being told what to do or where to go. She would tell us what she wanted or needed and of course, we would get it for her. Dan was in her room one day searching through the dresser for something and she told him to leave her stuff alone and sit down! After her recent hand surgery her feet hurt so I was massaging them for her. After a bit she ordered me to stop: That’s enough! she said.

James 4:8a says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

When my family returned to Iowa in 1994, I was on a mission for God and our path led here. I had a burden for the rural people and a vision for how to carry it out. The timing of our coming was perfect,…for Suezette. God’s timing is always perfect. Mom and Dad both passed away within weeks and months of our arrival. Suezette was a dependant. She had lived with our parents her whole life and now they were gone.

Christians are not here on earth for our own purposes, goals and pleasure. We aren’t here to fulfill our own visions and dreams. We are here for God’s purpose and for His pleasure. After a time, it began to dawn on me that maybe we were here, in Iowa, for Suezette.

Suezette had special needs. She was a child locked up in an adult body. When both parents died – she became an orphan and has been such for twenty-eight years. Scripture says that, “pure religion and undefiled is to visit the widow and the orphan in their distress and to keep one-self unspotted from the world.” Suezette, the orphan, asked if she could call Deb and me – Mom and Dad. I couldn’t wrap my mind around that and we discouraged her from it. But you know what? God promised to be a Father to the fatherless.

As time went on, I realized that we weren’t necessarily in her life to help her, as much as God had placed her in our lives to help us. To help us learn compassion, humility and love…to be like Christ.

Our brother Dan would come to our house on a regular basis while Suezette was with us. He handled her finances and he came to collect her mail/bills and often brought her necessities like pop, snacks, candy, etc. I remember on occasion, seeing him bringing a basin of warm water to Susie and placing her feet in it to soak. After bit, on his knees, he would gently raise each foot and clip her toenails. Who does that remind you of?

You know, Suezette gave each of us opportunities to do something loving, something Christ-like; to do for someone what they could not do for us. To do something that they cannot repay. Anyone can do good to those who will return the favor, but not everyone can or will do something for those who cannot pay back the deed.

Suezette knew right from wrong and she had a conscience. There came a time when her conscience was so overwhelmed with guilt that she became broken and contrite.* Contrite means to become humbled by guilt and repentant over one’s sin. She came to Deb on her own initiative and spilled her heart out. Deb helped her take it to the Lord.

In her last months/years with us she read her Bible faithfully and listened to Bible teaching on the radio. Jesus said, speaking of the Scripture: “these are they which testify of me.” Scripture also says, “that no one can come to Christ unless the Father draw him/her. God the Father was drawing Susie to Himself. The redeemed heart longs for communion with God.

Is He drawing you?

Committal:

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3:19

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem entitled A Psalm of Life. The last part of the second stanza says this: Dust to dust was not written of the soul. The Apostle Paul reminds us: We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 2 Cor. 5:8

The second best thing that can happen to a Christian is death. The best thing is the rapture. The Apostle Paul writes about this “snatching away” in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and he leaves us with this instruction:

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (dead), that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep (dead). For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

*Psalm 51.

...let the word of Christ dwell (take up it’s life) in you richly…

Note: Suezette, eighty years old, was the eldest of six siblings. She passed from this life into the next on January 21st, 2023. This is being posted for family and friends that were unable to attend due to distance and weather.




Thoughts on the Source

The original writings of Scripture, written in Hebrew, Aramaic & Greek, were without error because they were God-breathed. Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. The nature of the original writings authored by the Holy Spirit is based upon the integrity and character of God. God cannot lie. His Word is truth.

Why emphasize the original writings? We emphasize them because Scripture emphasizes them. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. All Scripture is given refers to the original acts that gave us God’s Word. This is how it happened. The word inspiration means God breathed. God breathed out the Scripture as to source. That’s what the Bible says about itself. The original writings of Scripture were perfect because of their source.

Copies and translations of the original writings were the product of men, who are not perfect. Thus copies and translations are subject to man’s imperfection. This is an important distinction to make because we no longer have the perfect original writings. But we still want to know that what we do have is accurate and true.


How can we be sure then that we have God’s Word as it was given us in the original writings? Since the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, Bible scholars have been able to determine, through comparative studies, that the biblical texts we have inherited are accurate. *

It should be noted that Bible believers down through history have not required such affirmation. The just shall live by faith and they have. The Dead Sea discoveries came in God’s timing, affirming the faith of the just and exposing the foolish objections of unbelieving mankind.

There is a difference in meaning between original writings and original languages. The original writings are those writings which were originally penned by the prophets, by holy men of God, who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. We no longer have the original writings. Original languages are those languages used originally to record the Bible in writing.** These languages are still available to us today in copies passed down from the original manuscripts.

Keep in mind that there are good and bad translations of Scripture. The best translations are the word for word translations based on the original languages (see Which Bible?). The worst translations are those based upon what someone thinks the Bible says. Discernment should be exercised in selecting a reliable version of Scripture for personal study.

Note:

*Before the discovery of Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest available manuscripts of the Old Testament were dated from about 1000 AD.  After the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, we suddenly had OT manuscripts that predated Christ.  Comparative studies of these manuscripts by Bible scholars indicated that the oldest manuscripts in our possession prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls were 95% plus in accuracy.  The 5% or less discrepancy has nothing to do with Bible doctrine and can be attributed to scribal error and changed spellings.

**Scripture has not been handed down by oral tradition.  The Scriptures have been written and copied by those who believed that the Bible was exactly what it claimed to be……..the Word of God.  They treated it as such.  God worked through these people to preserve His Word.  Many paid with their lives.

The volume of manuscripts for the New Testament; some full, some partial, some in bits and pieces, have enabled Bible scholars to verify through constructive criticism the contents of each NT book.  In many cases there is more historical evidence to support Bible content, than there is for much of the secular history predating Christ.

…let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly…

Good

Good in Scripture is that which accomplishes God’s purpose.

They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Psalm 14:3

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. Psalm 34:10

…let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly…

Tell Us Plainly

When the Pharisees gathered round Jesus in the temple, they asked Him to tell them plainly who He was. He had already told them plainly who He was, but they didn’t believe Him. So Jesus told them if they did not believe His words, they should believe His works.

If you do not believe what the Bible says, then you should believe its works. So then, faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Everyone knows someone who has been born again, someone who has been saved, someone who has received God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as their only hope of salvation and their life was changed. Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. II Corinthians 5:17

The world is full of testimonials to the life changing grace of God bestowed on those who have received Jesus Christ as their only hope of salvation. Individuals from every nation, every tongue and race, and young and old alike on the face of the earth are living examples of a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Consider the works from those whose lives give testimony to the truth of the Bible.

A changed life is the work of Christ.

…let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly…

A Psalm of Life


Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
“Life is but an empty dream!”
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.


Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
“Dust thou art, to dust returnest,”
Was not spoken of the soul.


Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Finds us farther than to-day.


Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.


In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!


Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,–act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!


Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;


Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.


Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing
Learn to labor and to wait.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807-1882

Public Domain

Fulfilled Prophecy

THE MESSIAH

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
*

When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.
And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

Matthew 2:1-23

*The wise men from the east: how did they know One was born King of the Jews? They came to worship Him. How did they know He was diety? Could they have heard and believed Daniel’s prophecies?

…let the word of Christ dwell (take up it’s life) in you richly…

Come and Worship!

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.

Refrain:
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

Shepherds, in the field abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing;
Yonder shines the infant light:

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
Ye have seen His natal star.

Saints, before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear;
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear.

Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you; break your chains.

Though an Infant now we view Him,
He shall fill His Father’s throne,
Gather all the nations to Him;
Every knee shall then bow down:

All creation, join in praising
God, the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising
To th’eternal Three in One.

James Montgomery – Published 1816.  Verse 5 Anonymous; Courtesy of Timeless Truths Publications – Copyright © 2002-2020 Free Online Library

Why Did God Visit Man?

Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin? Proverbs 20:9

There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. Proverbs 30:12

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar. Psalm 51

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. I John 5:11-13

Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell? Proverbs 30:4

...let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly…

Born Again or Born From Above

Most of us know our physical birthday, not because we witnessed it, but because others witnessed it and recorded it. Our birth certificates record the year, the month, the day and the time of our physical birth.

In the same light, only God knows the exact time of our spiritual birth. I believe that the Book of Life in heaven will record the year, the month, the day, the hour, minute, and second of our spiritual birth, but even if it doesn’t, our all-knowing God is our witness.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: John 1:12

Being born again or born from above is a one time action in the past.* That one time action in the past is the moment that individuals by grace (God’s help and enabling) put our faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, trusting in His merit alone as our only hope of salvation. Salvation is a gift which results in forgiveness and eternal life. Eternal life begins when we are born from above.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:6

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. I Peter 1:23

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit (practice) sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin (practice sin), because he is born of God. I John 3:9

Being born again means that we do not receive salvation in bits and pieces. When we are born from above, we are born into God’s family which is a one time action in the past. We become sons and daughters of God. Our adoption is complete and final. Being born again is not a process, it is a one time action in the past brought about by hearing the Word of God and submitting to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.

And you hath he quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins; Ephesians 1:2

Note: A rather large portion of professing Christianity believes that salvation comes as a result of participating in ordinances and sacraments of the church. These righteous works are said to impart Christ to the participant and are believed to be various means of grace. The Bible embraces only one means of grace which is faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Believers trust His merit alone as our only hope of salvation.

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy (only given to the guilty) he saved us, by the washing (cleansing) of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified (acquitted) by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:5-7

Teaching and practicing multiple means of grace is the proverbial carrot before the horse. The participant is never able to come to assurance of salvation because his/her participation in the various means of grace ultimately decides who receives salvation, and who must continue to earn it through deeds of penance and time assigned in purgatory. This is works salvation.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

These things (the Scriptures) have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. I John 5:13

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. II Corinthians 5:8

…let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly…

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

*Whosoever is born of God doth not commit (practice) sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot (practice) sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. I John 3:7-10