Sunday, April 30, 2017

More than a Collection of Books Volume 5

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Romans is a clear exposition on the sinner’s lost condition
And God’s redeeming grace in providing eternal salvation,
New believers identify with Christ as the Holy Spirit enables
Mature believers gain ground in the doctrinal and practical.

1st Corinthians shows some problems in the early church
And the Apostle Paul’s handling in the Spirit’s light,
In this book as well is the greatest essay on love
As well as the gifts of the believers as given from above

2nd Corinthians is generally perceived as a difficult book
Appearing rather personal and seemingly from the heart,
These difficulties do not obscure the essential basic truths
And once one decides to study he’ll learn that from the start.

The epistle to the Galatians fulfills a critical role
And clears the air between the law and the gospel of grace,
It is an effort to save Christianity from a sect of legalism
That renders it mere form with grace removed without a trace.

Ephesians is a sermon on how a believer should behave
Cognizant of the investment God made in him by Christ,
The riches of God’s grace, the forgiveness of his sins
And much more is the believer’s through Christ’s sacrifice.

Philippians describes the simplicity of the early church life
The hallmark of which is unity through humility,
Jesus is held up as the epitome of such an attribute
As he suffered death upon the cross in ridicule and agony.

In Colossians the Apostle Paul counteracts some errors
By highlighting the Person and work of the Lord Jesus;
Gnosticism, Legalism and Mysticism were rife
But Christ sufficiency in the believer was the essential thrust.

In 1st Thessalonians unbelieving Jews accused believers
For having turned the world upside down
Sanctification, love and hope are some of its several themes
The Christian life and the day of the Lord are others that abound.

2nd Thessalonians enlightens about the day of the Lord
And some believers then felt his return was imminent,
They had become idle and particularly fearful
And setting the record straight became Paul’s intent.

1st Timothy is a classic manual for an aspiring pastor
And sets out the Christian’s standard for required behavior,
False teachers to be silenced and give thanks to God for grace
Apostasy and the love of money should not be taking place.

2nd Timothy is the call to a life of enduring fidelity
This was the admonition given by Paul to young Timothy
For some had departed from the faith and also from the truth
So the Apostle saw the need to warn of the coming apostasy. 

Stewart Russell © 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

More than a Collection of Books Volume 4

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Nahum prophesied against the great city of Nineveh
That the God of the nations the Assyrians disclaimed
Was the sovereign controller of all human destiny
And even the greatest world power must submit in shame.

Habakkuk, known for ”the just shall live by faith”
Is perplexed that Judah is not punished for her iniquity
The Lord uses the Babylonians to punish Judah
Whereupon Habakkuk questions God’s use of the enemy.

Zephaniah tells of God’s determination to execute judgment
On Judah and Jerusalem because of idolatry,
His message to Judah is a call to repentance
But woe is pronounced on Jerusalem for its treachery.

Haggai’s call was for the people to rebuild the temple
Instead they were taken up with their own affairs
Again he encouraged them giving assurance of God’s presence
The glory of the future temple will be greater he declared.

Zechariah using highly symbolic language in his visions
Predicted the overthrow of the Gentile world powers,
He speaks of Messiah’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem
And his return when he makes Mount Olive his tower.

Malachi like Nehemiah highlighted similar problems
Like withholding the Lord’s tithe and intermarrying,
He records Jehovah’s last pleading with His people
Then the prophetic is silent until the Baptist’s coming.

Matthew is a portrait of Jesus depicting him as King
Hence we find a link to King David in his genealogy,
Greater than Moses or Solomon, Lord of the Sabbath
He who was called King of the Jews is King eternally.

Mark is a portrait of Jesus portraying him as Servant
Unlike Matthew’s genealogy his references did attest
John the Baptist, God himself and God the Holy Spirit
To serve and not to be served was what he did the best.

Luke paints a portrait of Jesus much alike that of a Man
Hence another genealogy going right back to Adam,
He wept as he stood before the tomb of a very dear friend
And showed his humanness in Gethsemane as the Father planned.

John, most difficult for some, portrays him as fully God
Consider Thomas’ acknowledgement: my Lord and my God
Base on the miracles he did and the very words he spoke
One of two verdicts remains; Jesus is either God or a fraud.

The Acts of the Apostles as it is more appropriately called
Takes it from the life of our Lord in the Gospels
Through Pentecost and the miraculous birth of the church
And provides the link between the Gospels and the Epistles. 

Stewart Russell © 2017

More than a Collection of Books Volume 3

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Isaiah, the New Testament book in the Old Testament
Fixes its gaze on the suffering of Jesus Christ
It cites Israel’s sin, judgment, repentance and restoration
And also details the extent of the Saviour’s sacrifice.

Jeremiah sometimes called the weeping prophet
Demonstrated concern for Israel’s spiritual decline,
He prophesied against the evil kings of Judah
And often his prophecies were accompanied by signs.

Lamentations is an expression of Jeremiah’s lament
At the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian intent
To make captives of its inhabitants and lay it a waste
And their eventual reduction to a state of disgrace.

Ezekiel prophesied of Jerusalem’s impending siege
Of a rebellious people subject to God’s judgment,
He used visual aids having been commanded to be mute
And prophesied of God’s promise to preserve a remnant.

Daniel was one of those who was carried to Babylon
That kept his identity in spite of his name change,
He took a firm stand against Babylon’s idolatry
And determined regarding God he’d never be estranged.

Hosea was commanded to take a wife of whoredom
To demonstrate God’s love for backsliding Israel,
This prophecy illustrates what words could not do
Concerning the amazing grace God extends to his people.

Joel prophesied the outpouring of God’s Spirit upon all flesh
To which the Apostle Peter referred on the day of Pentecost
The key phrase of the book is “the day of the Lord”
Reminding believers whatever the challenge all is never lost

Amos at God’s command left his flock for a while
To deliver a specific message at Bethel,
He ministered in an age of affluence and moral laxity
When superstition and idolatry were a way of the people.

Obadiah like Jude consists of a single chapter
That prophesies against the descendants of Esau,
They had rejoiced over the destruction of Jerusalem
And this disrespect for Israel seemed to be the last straw.

Jonah called of God to be a witness to the Gentiles
Was jealous that to Nineveh grace should be extended.
While fleeing to Tarshish he was swallowed by a fish
But God ordered it so that that was not where he ended.

Micah is quoted in the book of Saint Matthew
The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah
But against a dark and worldly background
He prophesied wrath against Israel and Judah.

Stewart Russell © 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017

More than a Collection of Books Volume 2

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2nd Kings continues along this track
And shows the spiritual decline of the leaders,
It chronicles the miraculous ministry of Elisha
And the captivity of Israel and of Judah.

1Chronicles starts out with the genealogies
From Adam to Abraham and Abraham to Israel,
Its focus is spiritual rather than historical
While appearing to repeat 1st and 2nd Samuel.

2Chronicles continues from 1st Chronicles
With a coverage similar to 1st and 2nd Kings,
Of Judah’s nineteen kings seven were good
None of Israel’s twenty rulers for God ever stood.

In Ezra is the account of King Cyrus’ decree
To build a house for God at Jerusalem
Fulfilling the utterance of Jeremiah’s prophecy
Of the return of the exiles from Babylon.

Nehemiah highlights the rebuilding of the wall
And the registration of Jerusalem’s population,
The religion of Jerusalem is revitalized
As it undergoes a complete reformation.

Esther highlights an historic segment of the Jews
Found no where else in all of Scripture,
Her coming to the kingdom for God’s unique purpose
Improve the Jews’ lot and radically change the picture.

Job presents a tutorial in patient endurance
As he contends with his friends about his affliction,
Ignorant of God’s permission for Satan to test him
The experience gave him a Divine education.

The Psalms are often called the Psalms of David
But only seventy-three are considered Davidic,
The book may be divided into classifications
Which include History, Prophecy and the Messianic.

Proverbs differentiates between wisdom and folly,
It distinguishes the fool from the wise,
Its wise sayings came from God through Solomon
And such wise counsel we should never despise.

Ecclesiastes highlights the many vanities of life
And supplies instruction for living under the sun,
The foolish have their way and so too the wise
But the wise will be the victor when life’s day is done.

The Song of Solomon is the most exquisite song
And its refrain resounds with the theme of love,
It is said to represent Christ’s love for his church
Though preceding the time of his coming from above.

Stewart Russell © 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

More than a Collection of Books Volume 1

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The books of the Bible comprise one Book
Which is the God-breathed Holy Word,
Holy men wrote as God had inspired
Though many still consider this absurd.

How men think is not the principle thing
It’s still the Best Instruction Before Leaving Earth,
The Bible I mean; you had better get one
For in it you can find your rebirth.

Genesis is the book of beginnings
That tells of the creation of the world,
Of humanity’s fall and redemption’s plan
And ends with the death of a man.

Exodus is the coming out of Egypt
And a forty years trek in the wilderness
Arriving near Canaan after most had died
Only Joshua and Caleb had passed that test.

In Leviticus God gives his law to His children
To govern their sacrifices and festivals,
The Sabbath also is instituted
As the mark or sign of God’s people.

In Numbers there is an ordered census
Including the numbering of the tribes,
The Israelites had moved from Sinai to Moab
Where a second census was prescribed.

Deuteronomy is a re-statement of the law
To give direction to the new generation,
Moses passes on the leadership to Joshua
Then climbs Pisgah for his pending graduation.

Joshua continued where Moses had left off
And presided over the conquest of Jericho,
After a great defeat in the campaign at Ai
He conquered the lands where his feet did go.

Judges demonstrates God’s strength
Particularly in the light of human weakness
And each of these leaders that He used
Showed it was God who passed the test.
Ruth is the love story of a Gentile girl
Who was married to a prominent Hebrew man,
What is significant with this Old Testament book
Is Boaz and Ruth’s role in the redemptive plan.

1st Samuel chronicles the acts of two kings
King Saul is the first and king David’s the next,
It begins with Samuel’s birth and childhood
Then the acts of those kings both bad and good.

2nd Samuel is dedicated to David the king,
Part one records his victories and conflicts,
Part two shows his defeats when out of God’s will
And his consequent punishment when he slipped.

1st Kings tells of the close of king David’s stint
And of the golden reign of king Solomon,
The dividing of Israel into North and South
And of the successive kings of those kingdoms.

Stewart Russell © 2017


Saturday, April 22, 2017

In the Valley of Decision

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In the valley of decision
And you don’t know where to turn
Two signs along the way
Will help you the path confirm.

Some say there are three
But I believe there are only two:
Two answers from the throne
That come to me and to you.

You can disagree if you like
But read on and you will see
There are only two responses,
I repeat, just two and not three.

But how can we simplify
All of life’s hard decisions
And trivialized them as it were
Into two straightforward positions?

Well it is not so straightforward
But it comes right down to two
However difficult your decision
Concerning everything in your view.

Often there is a lot of clutter
That first must be cleared away,
Much of it is our own desire
And really not what God has to say.

But when we come to His perspective
And we put our will behind
It is only then that we realize
There were two answers all the time.

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It is somewhat like the traffic lights
There are amber, red and green,
Three colours but just two options,
Aha! Now you see just what I mean.

Red says that you must stop
 And green says continue on your way
But what does amber say to do?
“Wait”, I am sure is what you would say.
But how would you wait at a stoplight
If the light was showing green
And then proceed if that light was red
You would just create a scene.

So when it comes right down to it
Only two options you need consider:
Should I go or should I stop
Whether it’s red or green or amber.

You see amber really means to stop
If you are there at the traffic light
And if it catches you on approach
Stop is the option that is also right.

So that in truth and in fact
Amber indicates that we should stop
And that reality re: the traffic lights
Also pertains to our life’s lot.

God has overview of life’s decisions
He sees the outcome before we do,
He knows the end from the beginning
All of life’s future is within His view.

When we perceive that He says, “Wait!”
That’s another way of saying “No.”
To consider such as the answer “Yes!”
Is clearly not the way that we should go.

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There’s no need to belabour the point
The options are only “Yes” or “No”,
“Wait” is a figment of our imagination
When in the future we intend to go.

Remember God is the one in control,
He determines when it’s yes or no,
He has no need to say to us to wait
For He says a thing and it is so.

Remember too it is He who orders
The steps of the righteous man,
Commit your decision making to Him,
Let His “Yes” and “No” be your plan.

Stewart Russell © 2017