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Jul 31, 2019

The Amazing Word

“And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” -Jesus in Mark 14:9


Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, really is known throughout the whole world today wherever the gospel has been preached, taught, and read. She is known in the churches of the saints, in the homes of believers, and among the millions of readers of this amazing Word of God – not only this story of Mary anointing her Lord, but of her hosting Him regularly in her home and through the extraordinary account of Jesus restoring life to her dead brother. She is one of the personalities of the gospel who is introduced in the first four books of the New Testament portion of this amazing Word.
The New Testament is truly the perfect completion of the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament. It quotes the Old Testament quite frequently while proving the fulfillment of its many prophecies in the events of the New Testament. The New Testament is not understood apart from the Old, nor the Old apart from the New. The two testaments are a seamless part of the whole: God’s Holy Word.
The twenty-seven books of the New Testament were written down over approximately a short fifty-year period of time in the latter part of the first century, after four centuries of revelational silence from the concluding words of the Old Testament, written itself over a thousand-year period. Jesus was aware that the written New Testament would perfectly complete the Scriptures. He exhibited that pre-knowledge in making these comments about Mary and the memory of her pouring very expensive oil on His body in anointing her Savior.
So these twenty-seven books are the finishing of a story begun in Genesis. They complete the numerous prophecies of the Old Testament which left many wondering, “Will this really happen?” In turn, you then say to yourself that the predictions found in the New Testament will certainly come to pass as well! Everything predicted of the future in Matthew to Revelation has indeed come to pass already or will in the future. This is the very reason for you to spend quality and quantity time in these pages. You simply cannot retain it all without sparking your memory or through the discipline of thoughtful meditation.
It is not only the memory of Mary of Bethany we become acquainted with, but the memories of all the Marys and of the many characters spoken of in this gospel record which we know so well today. Consider all the people in the Bible whose lives are recorded for good or for ill and for your encouragement or rebuke, your nurture or admonition. These sixty-six books have been painstakingly and meticulously copied and then finally printed during the printing press era in nearly every language in the world.
The completion of this task has been perseveringly pursued by countless linguists in jungles, deserts, mountains, and islands. They have spent entire lives ensuring the written Word is translated and disseminated to all in every tribe, language, race, and nation on the face of the earth. It has been a torturous task reflecting enormous sacrifice and tedious labor but a most rewarding use of lifetime skills. Most of us have numerous copies of the Bible in our homes. This is something precious, not to be taken for granted. There is no excuse for you not to know its pages thoroughly, nor for you not to share its content with others.
The story of the Word is saturated with the supernatural, of course, but God has used countless servants from among His creatures as co-laborers with Him. This Word has been superintended by God from its conception to its final words in Revelation. Nothing could crush it nor extinguish it. Still there are far too many who ignore, avoid, and remain at an arm’s length from this Word of Life. Jesus, speaking of the whole, said His words are a light in complete darkness, they are living water in a parched land, and apart from them there simply is no life.
It is this Word which ties all of human history together, making sense out of the seemingly chaotic and disparate parts of a fallen world. Though nothing has been written since the first century, the message of the Word encompasses all the centuries of the modern era, primarily because it has steadily been preached and studied, and prominent historical figures in each of those centuries have made the Word their primary focus while shining its spotlight into the culture. The concluding material of Revelation then brings you right up to the consummation of history.
This is no dead book written by long dead authors, but a book which lives, whose authors also still live in the courts of heaven, and whose constant diviner, the Holy Spirit, indwells the saints living today. Many courageous martyrs have fought to defend this Word and promulgate its eternal message. None regret anything done by them unto death to forward its divine purpose. They celebrate in heaven their participation in its amazing story. It has always faced fierce persecution, and all the attempts to censor its message never triumph, for it is continually infused with staying-power by the Ever-Living One. As we read in Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever.”


“How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word! What more can He say than to you He has said, to you who for refuge to Jesus has fled?”
(First verse of an anonymous hymn from Rippon’s Selection of Hymns, “How Firm a Foundation,” 1787)
 


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Retro Alarm Clock Or Vintage Alarm Clock In Old Hand
Jul 24, 2019

Ready or Not…

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place…Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” -Revelation 1:1,3


I read an article the other day that was imagining the different manner of life which would be lived on the earth 5,000 years from now. I chuckled, wondering what possible earthly reason someone would take the time to write such an article.
I wonder what people are thinking when they, with some uncertain “scientific” projections, believe they must, by human means and at all costs, cool down the earth’s average temperature by some degrees or it will never survive. They attempt to do so by expending trillions upon trillions of dollars with an agenda which, after all that expenditure, is still quite iffy and will take centuries to accomplish, if at all. It is, of necessity, a very, very long-range view which takes no concern at all of the instruction found in Revelation, as though this book has nothing factual to do with the future of earth and its conclusion.
This is not to mean that we are not to be wise stewards of the creation. We despise pollution on the earth. The earth is our home, and as her stewards, we need to keep her clean, protected, and unpolluted. However, people are part of this creation also; our managing of the physical earth must balance with it a concern and care for the poor. The climate change agenda ignores and, consequently, harms the poor of this world, who God has given into your care.
Reading Revelation flies in the face of the climate change philosophy and its long-range thinking. When you read of the seals, the trumpets, and the bowls being expended on the earth by the One who made her, you understand His intent in her destruction by His judgment. The earth will not be destroyed by warming or cooling, but by the hand of the One who made her.
God can warm or cool the earth as quickly as He desires, which He who controls the processes of nature on His earth is doing now in introducing a most unexpected, by the global warning alarmists’ projection, present world-wide cooling.
Predicting the future is very much a “shot in the dark.” Weathermen have tried to accurately predict the weather for tomorrow and next week for a long time. They are getting better at it with newer understanding of weather science, but it still is not foolproof!
To predict 5,000 years or more, even a century, into the future without taking cognizance of Revelation is spitting in the wind. There are known astronomical laws at work in God’s universe restricting the life expectancy of earth and the longevity of a life-providing sun because the universe continues to rapidly expand. God’s universe is not static.
Needless to say, rather than predicting millennia into the future, you would do well to be aware of the signs of the present time which are found in John’s vision – particularly, as you carefully look at the characteristics of this age through the spectacles of the Holy Spirit in Revelation. John says its fulfillment is near. What does this mean today after 2,000 years of the coming of Christ, who gave this vision to John, being “near?” Saying that such proves it is not near puts your concern to be watching and ready into a serious state of lackadaisicalness. He Himself said, “Behold, I am coming soon!”
When the events prophesied in Revelation begin to blossom, there is a set amount of time before the earth is burned up and destroyed. Consummation occurs and human history comes to a screeching halt. A new age begins, then, after the Final Judgment is complete – a new age which has no end, according to the Lord’s own promises.
These are the facts revealed by Scripture, though we do not know the specific amount of time for all this to occur. But it is measured in years, not generations. Scripture speaks of these last days in which the anti-Christ is revealed and the tribulation occurs as one generation in which all which is predicted, including the great cataclysmic events, is accomplished. We are told that the tribulation is so absolutely severe that it will not be allowed to linger. After waiting two millennia for these days to begin, this time is very quick indeed.
I do not intend here to exegete all the “signs of the times” set forth in this Bible-closing vision, but rather point you to the Lord’s benediction, His blessing of those who read aloud the words of this book and keep what is written in it. What matter is it if, like me most likely, you do not live through to the consummation? You still should pay careful attention to knowing what is found here, discerning world events coming to pass in light of these Scriptures.
He comes, in any case, in the twinkling of an eye, like a thief in the night. At midnight comes the cry, and then every eye will see Him!
The battle cry of Revelation and Matthew 24-25 is “Be ready!” Be ready before He gets here, be ready at the start of those last days, be ready if you are alive at the Lord’s coming! All the lessons of Revelation amount to one consuming task: Make yourself ready to meet the Bridegroom!


“Wake, awake, for night is flying. The watchmen on the heights are crying, awake. Jerusalem, at last! Midnight hears the welcome voices and at the thrilling cry rejoices. Come forth, ye virgins, night is past! The Bridegroom comes; awake, your lamps with gladness take. Alleluia! And for His marriage feast prepare, for you must go to meet Him there.”
(First verse of Philip Nicolai’s hymn, “Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying,” 1599)
 


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53342244_7568d25266
Jul 17, 2019

Is It That Important?

Jesus asked, “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed, and walk’? -Mark 2:9


In this life, some people are the prisoners of physical maladies such as blindness, deafness, crippled limbs, incapacitating mental syndromes, debilitating, even lethal cancers, and beyond. You can only imagine the physical and mental challenges some face in living daily life with such illnesses.
Take Joni Eareckson Tada for example. Life as a quadriplegic has to be very painful and difficult. You need your body to even be living, and yet you are, so to speak, imprisoned by it because it doesn’t work the way it was designed to work.
The young men at the PAYH today struggle with the feeling that they are not really “free. They can’t just do things every day as they feel. They can’t decide to get up today and say, “I’m done with this, and walk away without some serious ramifications. However, their life is certainly not constrained by these same physical limitations, which if not miraculously healed, imprison them to the powerful constraints in their body.
If you are a paralytic, you need help from family or friends. Four friends, one on each corner of his stretcher, brought a paralyzed man to Jesus because they thought He could take away his inability to walk or use his arms with just a word. They had the ingenuity to go up on the roof of the home where Jesus was speaking to a crowd which overflowed the place. They removed enough tiles from the roof to form a hole large enough to lower the man to the floor right in front of Jesus.
They fully expected Jesus to say to him, “Be healed! and the paralysis would flee his body immediately. This is the very reason they brought him to Jesus, but Jesus shocked them when He said to this man, “Your sins are forgiven! They were surely thinking, “What? This is not why we went to all this trouble to bring him to You.
The Pharisees were the only ones to latch on to these “strange words, but they did. They surmised correctly, however, that only God can say this; only God has the power and authority to forgive sins! Therefore, since Jesus was a mere man, He was blaspheming God.
So, Jesus responded to their charge of blasphemy. He posed a question none of us answer accurately: Which is easier? To forgive sins or to heal from paralysis? Well, of course anyone can say, “Your sins are forgiven! because what do the people see immediately in this case? Nothing!
But you can do the miraculous, and they see a from-birth paralyzed man actually get up on his own two legs, pick up his bed with once paralyzed arms, and walk out of the place. Now, this is something for which to be amazed!
None of us are impressed by a cleansed heart we cannot in any case immediately see, but we are amazed by the tangible fact of seeing known long-term paralysis healed right before our very eyes. Only Jesus knew He had the power and authority to forgive sin and exactly what that forgiveness meant to this man’s eternity. Jesus then proved for this audience and His critics His ability to forgive sin thoroughly by healing this man physically.
Forgiving sins is infinitely harder, though, since only God can truly do it, and how absolutely it is necessary. Jesus was saying to those knowledgeable enough to know it, “I am God! Additionally, forgiving sins is infinitely more important than healing from paralysis! Paralysis in this brief life does not compare in one iota to a perfectly healthy life for eternity! Forgiveness of sin is completely necessary to enter heaven, to live in a new earth.
So what do you think about Jesus’ question? Seriously! What is the greater miracle? The forgiveness of your sin forever, or the healing of your body in this life?
If you have trusted in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sin, and you trust Him emphatically to really do just that, is He not your most prized possession? And the knowledge of complete and thorough forgiveness? Isn’t having Jesus dwelling in you the greatest thing in your life? Greater than any malady that you are faced with today?
If this is your case, then live it out. Prize above everything else the forgiveness of your sins. Treasure your salvation in Jesus above all.


“Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night. Thine eye diffused a quickening ray; I woke, the dungeon flamed with light. My chains fell off, my heart was free. I rose, went forth, and followed Thee. Amazing love! How can it be that Thou my God shouldst die for me?
(Fourth verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “And Can It Be That I Should Gain, 1738)
 


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Young Man In Glasses
Jul 10, 2019

Speaking in Riddles

“And when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parables. And He said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’ -Mark 4:10-12


Riddles can be so time-consuming to figure out. Unless, of course, you are one of those unique people who are attracted to solving every riddle you come across. Otherwise you won’t bother. Why not just speak in straight-forward language, you say? Isn’t this the purpose of language – to communicate, to be understood?
Jesus spoke in parables, many of which were just insolvable riddles to many of the people who heard them. One third of all Jesus’ public discourses were in parables. So at least one third of what He spoke was not understood by many of His hearers. Who were those who understood? And who were those who did not?
Jesus answered His disciples when they asked Him why He taught in parables which so many were oblivious to the meaning of. His answer was certainly not one you would expect. Jesus said He spoke in parables so that some of His hearers would NOT understand, unless they would understand, turn, and be forgiven. What? Did you read that correctly? What is Jesus saying?
He did explain that He spoke in parables because those who had been given the secret of the kingdom of God would understand and benefit from these parables, but those “outside would see and not perceive, would hear but not understand. Genuine disciples would truly benefit, but those who were not His disciples would neither understand nor profit from what those parables taught, and they would perish.
What is the purpose in this? Do we not want all hearers to understand these truths? Do we not want all hearers to not only understand, but turn and be forgiven? A vital part of being able to hear and understand is wanting to hear and wanting to understand. It is “I need to hear this, I must understand, and I will find forgiveness! Jesus wants His hearers to know that He came to save sinners but not those who consider themselves sinless, nor those who say they have no need of a physician.
The secrets of the kingdom are given freely to those who are hungry for and seeking the Savior. They are those who hunger for righteousness, as Jesus said in the Beatitudes; such are genuinely blessed.
Those who are only half-listening do not think they really need Jesus or think they are fine the way they are; they will naturally be very dull to spiritual truths. The parables of Jesus will be unimportant to them. The truths of the parables will not penetrate between their ears. Jesus gives understanding to those who hunger for it; those who do not remain oblivious.
Do you understand the parables of Jesus? If you are a student of His Word, you know of His explanations of the more difficult ones, and you have the spiritual insight to know and apply the truths which come from each of them – again, one third of all Jesus taught.
What Jesus taught in His parables are critical truths of your salvation, of being ready for His coming, of what you do with the gifts He has given you, of understanding the Great White Throne Judgment, of what you do with His Word…those things necessary to living Christianly and rightfully claiming your reward in heaven.
If you are bored by them, they will be impenetrable mysteries, insolvable riddles to you. But if they engage you, if they energize your will in hungering for understanding, Jesus by His Holy Spirit will enlighten you to understand the glories He wants you to see, even your own glory in Jesus.
You must ask regularly for enlightening by His Holy Spirit. “Open my eyes that I may see! Even if you are a long-time Christian, quite familiar with the Bible, continue to ask the Holy Spirit to energize your mind, refresh your thinking, and bring the knowledge of Jesus to you ever more intimately. Please remember this: “His mercies are NEW every morning.


“Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings; it is the Lord who rises with healing in His wings. When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again a season of clear shining to cheer it after rain.
In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue the theme of God’s salvation and find it ever new. Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say, ‘Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.’
(First and second verses of William Cowper’s hymn, “Sometimes a Light Surprises the Christian While He Sings, 1779)
 


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Paul-Pressing
Jul 10, 2019

This Month at PAYH: Monthly Newsletter, July 2019

The Strongest Man in History

Earlier this year, 4 strong men set out to attempt historical feats of strength in the series The Strongest Man in History. During their journey they visited Paul Anderson’s hometown of Toccoa as well as the PAYH campus in order to attempt several of Paul’s own feats, including his famous carousel lift. If you’re wondering how that went, you won’t have to wait long to find out – the series premieres tonight (July 10th)! Catch it at 10/9c on the History Channel.

Stories from the Home

New COO
The Strongest Man in HistoryPaul Anderson Youth Home is extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Colonel Ken Vaughn as its new Chief Operating Officer. Ken served 32 years in the army and has extensive experience in planning, operations, and training. He also commanded in combat as a Lieutenant Colonel in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2005. Ken worked and lived for a year and a half in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, developing the military history curriculum for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of the National Guard Command and General Staff College… [READ FULL RELEASE]
Bike Training
Bike TrainingBike training is over and the riders are resting up for the big week after completing a 100 mile “century ride last Friday. This Monday they’ll set out from Flagler Beach on their 500 mile journey that will take them through Ponte Vedra / Jacksonville, St. Simons, Savannah, Augusta, and Statesboro before they return to PAYH. To follow them on their journey, or to support them as they ride, visit our Facebook page or our website at payhbikeride.com
WLTZ Features Caden on Morning News
WLTZ Features Caden on Morning NewsOne of our riders (Caden) was interviewed by NBC affiliate WLTZ and told the network of his time before PAYH, his ongoing walk with the Lord, and his enthusiasm about the bike ride in general.
The segment aired yesterday (July 9th) and can be viewed on their website here.

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Hand holding lit sparkler in front of the American Flag for 4th
Jul 03, 2019

America’s Birthday

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory. -Revelation 19:6-7


Today is our nation’s birthday. Possibly you won’t read this Strength for the Day until days after, but you can still reflect on what the birthday of our nation means for you. Heaven, of which you are also a citizen, has no birthday which we are aware of, except when the first believer died or when Enoch “walked with God and was not. But the “courts of heaven as God’s abode, if you will, has no beginning and no end. However, for us there will be a transition from heaven to the new heavens and new earth when God creates it.
I imagine this is the merging of two spheres of abode into one. It is beyond us now what place of being the angels will live in the new heavens and new earth. The “courts of heaven, however, will be in the new earth because God has declared His dwelling will be with us.
Presently we live in a world still awaiting a consummation. Much is yet to transpire within her. A lot of it will be cataclysmic with the unveiling of Satan’s final onslaught. What place does the birthday of a nation have when it is currently dying before our eyes?
Historically, America has in many ways been a type of oasis in the midst of a fallen world, though certainly a real part of this sinful society and culture. While she has certainly been fallen herself, she has been an instrument of God for reprieve against many horrendous evils.
She has provided for the raising up of Christian mission throughout the world, the spreading of God’s Word in far flung corners of the earth. Trillions of dollars of resources to support the world-wide church have come from the pockets of believers within her borders. She has been a bastion of prayer warriors with their prayers going heavenward, uplifting the kingdom of God on this benighted sphere.
Of course, little of this has found its way into the national and international means of producing news. God’s truth is disseminated “under the radar, so to speak, reserved for the unveiling of the church’s inexorable march throughout Satan’s domain. “The gates of hell will not prevail against her, the Bible promises. We will not know of all God’s triumphs among the myriad members of His church until it becomes broadcast at the Great White Throne Judgment. Until then, we only perceive it by faith with attention to God’s written promises, not by sight.
What we celebrate this July 4th is God’s prodigious use of America as His instrument to accomplish His ends in the world. It is not as though He has not used His children in many places elsewhere to build His church and further His kingdom, but America has been used by God for a number of recent centuries before the Lord’s return to accomplish and defend His righteousness on the earth.
This is what you should celebrate today on July 4th. Celebrate what God has done in His use of America and through His use of those believing saints who have been privileged for a time to be citizens here. America will die with the fallen earth, but our home in heaven and the new earth will last forever. Men and women from every race, language, nation, and tribe will make up the diverse citizen rolls of those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. We will then be solely known as God’s forever family!


“The King there in His beauty without a veil is seen; it were a well-spent journey though seven deaths lay between. The Lamb with His fair army doth on Mount Zion stand, and glory, glory dwelleth in Emmanuel’s land.
(Second verse of Anna Cousin’s and Samuel Rutherford’s hymn, “The Sands of Time Are Sinking, 1661 and 1857)
 


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