PO Box 3425
November/December Issue 2006 - Volume 25 Number 6
I Liked the Old Paths
were at home,
were at work,
went into the army,
sisters got married BEFORE having children!
did not pay,
people knew the difference.
children were polite.
wore the jewelry,
Men wore the pants.
looked like ladies,
looked like gentlemen,
children looked decent.
loved the truth,
hated a lie.
came to church to get IN,
to get OUT!
crying sounded sincere.
divorce was unthinkable.
flag was honored,
God was welcome!
read the Bible in public,
preached from house to house.
be called an American was worth dying for,
be called a Christian was worth living for,
be called a traitor was a shame!
was a personal word,
was an unheard of word,
abortion was an illegal word.
preached because they had a message,
Christians rejoiced because they had the VICTORY!
preached from the Bible,
sang from the heart,
sinners turned to the Lord to be SAVED!
new birth meant a new life,
meant a changed life,
Christ led to eternal life.
a preacher meant you proclaimed the word of God,
a deacon meant you would serve the Lord,
a Christian meant you would live for Jesus,
being a sinner meant someone was praying for you!
were based on the Bible,
read the Bible,
churches taught the Bible.
were more interested in new converts
new clothes and new cars.
the Holy Spirit was respected.
was where you found Christians on the Lord's day
than in the garden,
the creek bank,
the golf course,
being entertained somewhere else.
still like the old paths the best!
Old Paths" was written by a retired minister who lives in Tennessee
& sent by Clay Masters of Roswell, NM)
the Wrong Way? God Allows U-turns"
2:21-24-21: “And everyone who
calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. 22
Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited
by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you
through him, as you yourselves know. 23
This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and
foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by
nailing him to the cross. 24 But
God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because
it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”
2:36-38-36: “‘Therefore let
all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified,
both Lord and Christ.’37 When
the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the
3:17-20-17: “Now, brothers, I
know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through
all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped
out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20
and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you--even
26:20: “First to those in
Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles
also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their
repentance by their deeds.”
6:31-34-31: “So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall
we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father
knows that you need them. 33 But
seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be
given to you as well. 34 Therefore
do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day
has enough trouble of its own.”
A U TURN--JESUS NEVER LEAVES YOU, HE IS ALWAYS THERE FOR YOU.
1:21-22-21: “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so
prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what
was born in 1725, and I died in 1807. The only godly influence in my life,
as far back as I can remember, was my mother, whom I had for only seven
years. When she left my life through death, I was virtually an orphan.
father remarried, sent me to a strict military school, where the severity of
discipline almost broke my back. I couldn't stand it any longer, and I left
in rebellion at the age of ten. One year later, deciding that I would never
enter formal education again, I became a seaman apprentice, hoping somehow
to step into my father's trade and learn at least, the ability to skillfully
navigate a ship.
and by, through a process of time, I slowly gave myself over to the devil.
And I determined that I would sin to my fill without restraint, now
that the righteous lamp of my life had gone out. I did that until my days
spirit would not break, and I became increasingly more and more a rebel.
Because of a number of things that I disagreed with in the military,
I finally deserted, only to be captured like a common criminal and beaten
publicly several times.
enduring the punishment, I again fled. I entertained thoughts of suicide on
my way to Africa, deciding that would be the place I could get farthest from
anyone that knew me. And again I made a pact with the devil to live for him.
through a process of events, I got in touch with a Portuguese slave trader,
and I lived in his home. His wife, who was brimming with hostility, took a
lot out on me. She beat me, and I ate like a dog on the floor of the home.
If I refused to do that, she would whip me with a lash. I fled penniless,
owning only the clothes on my back, to the shoreline of Africa where I built
a fire, hoping to attract a ship that was passing by.
skipper thought that I had gold or slaves or ivory to sell and was surprised
because I was a skilled navigator. And it was there that I virtually lived
for a long period of time. It was a slave ship.
went through all sorts of narrow escapes with death only a hairbreadth away
on a number of occasions. One time I opened some crates of rum and got
everybody on the crew drunk. The skipper, incensed with my actions, beat me,
threw me down below, and I lived on stale bread and sour vegetables for an
unendurable amount of time.
brought me above to beat me again, and I fell overboard. Because I couldn't
swim, he harpooned me to get me back on the ship. And I lived with the scar
in my side, big enough for me to put my fist into, until the day of my
board, I was inflamed with fever. I was enraged with the humiliation. A
storm broke out, and I wound up again in the hold of the ship, down among
the pumps. To keep the ship afloat, I worked along as a servant of the
bruised and confused, bleeding, diseased, I was the epitome of the
degenerate man. I remembered the words of my mother. I cried out to God, the
only way I knew, calling upon His grace and His mercy to deliver me, and
upon His son to save me. The only glimmer of light I would find was in a
crack in the ship in the floor above me, and I looked up to it and screamed
for help. God heard me.
years passed, I married a childhood sweetheart. I entered the ministry. In
every place that I served, rooms had to be added to the building to handle
the crowds that came to hear the gospel that was presented and the story of
God's grace in my life.
tombstone above my head reads, "Born 1725, died 1807. A clerk, once an
infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was by the rich mercy
of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and
appointed to preach the faith he once long labored to destroy."
decided before my death to put my life's story in verse, and that verse has
become a hymn.
name? John Newton.
hymn? “Amazing Grace.”
grace, how sweet the sound
saved a wretch like me,
once was lost, but now am found,
blind, but now I see.
grace that taught my heart to fear,
grace my fears relieved.
precious did that grace appear
hour I first believed.
many dangers, toils and snares,
have already come.
grace hath brought me safe thus far,
grace will lead me home.
‘NEAR LIFE’ EXPERIENCE”
people have had a “near death” experience and most are glad to relate it
to you. They take as many forms
as there are people who tell them. I
certainly do not wish to take issue with any of these, since they are so
personal and subjective. Instead,
I wish to talk about some Biblical characters who had a “near life”
a “near death” experience someone comes very close to death, maybe even
slightly across the line, but then comes back to this earthly life. A “near life” experience is the mirror image of that.
Someone who is “dead in sin” comes ever so close to life eternal,
maybe even catching a glimpse of it, but is then drawn back into the world
of the walking dead.
rich young ruler comes to mind. His
story is found in Matthew 19, Mark 10 and Like 18.
He was seeking eternal life, came to the only source, asked the right
questions and heard the right answer, yet went
12:42 “Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.
But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for
fear they would be put out of the synagogue.”
Apparently the rich young ruler wasn’t the only ruler that came
close to life but remained among the walking dead.
can forget old trembling Felix? Acts
24:25 “As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment
to come, Felix was afraid and said, ‘That’s enough for now! You may leave. When
I find it convenient, I will send for you.’”
So close to life and yet he remained in death!
26:28 “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a
Christian.’” This may be
the most famous near life experience recorded in Scripture.
anyone you know having a near life experience?
Could they perhaps be the one who meets you in the mirror?
Paul’s prayer is our prayer: Acts 26:29 “I pray God that not only
you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for
have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” - Jesus
Lockney, TX Bulletin