Monthly Archives: May 2015

I Stand Amazed

The impact of Jesus on our world has been nothing less than astounding. H. G. Wells once said, “I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.” No one single individual has impacted the world more than has Jesus. We often sing the words, “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene.” There are number of reasons I stand amazed at Jesus.

First, I am amazed at His personal character. After Mary and Joseph had returned to find Jesus, whom they had lost track of, “after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers” (Luke 2:46-47).

Even at a very young age Jesus had a purpose in life and went about fulfilling that purpose (Luke 2:49). Far too many young people today, however, are listless, wandering about aimlessly without any purpose in life. This is also true of many adults. Jesus, however, left us a beautiful example by living a life resisting temptation without sin, He suffered and was persecuted but never lost sight of His divine mission.

Second, I stand amazed at His mighty works. All that ever became acquainted with the life of Christ attest to His mighty works (Matt. 13:54; Mark 6:2). Even His enemies could not deny His power and miracles and had to falsely attribute the ability to another source (Matt. 12:22-27). These miracles were a confirmation of His identity as the Son of God (Heb. 2:2-4). The greatest of all these miracles was His own resurrection which proved Him to be the Son of God with power (Rom. 1:4).

Third, I stand amazed at His doctrine. When people heard Jesus speak, they were amazed at His doctrine (Matt. 7:28). Just compare Jesus’ teaching to other religious leaders in the world. Buddhism teaches that when bad things happen to people it is karma and you should not interfere with it. Mohammed said to “slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war” (Sureh 9:5). But Jesus said “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). Jesus said love of God and neighbor fulfills the law (Matt. 22:37-40; Rom 13:8).

Fourth, I am amazed at the salvation He offers (Matt. 19:25). Why would the Lord die for a sinner like me? Why would He suffer the indignities, humiliation and torture He suffered for all of us while we were yet His enemies (Rom. 5:6-10). Even more amazing, once forgiven, our sins and iniquities He will remember no more (Heb. 10:5-18).

I agree with a certain J. Sidlow Baxter on this point: “Fundamentally, our Lord’s message was Himself. He did not come merely to preach a Gospel; He himself is that Gospel. He did not come merely to give bread; He said, ‘I am the bread.’ He did not come merely to shed light; He said, ‘I am the light.’ He did not come merely to show the door; He said, ‘I am the door.’ He did not come merely to name a shepherd; He said, ‘I am the shepherd.’ He did not come merely to point the way; He said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’”

I stand amazed in His Presence.

Eric L. Padgett

Beneath The Banner of the Cross

In the news recently, there have been several reports of people disrespecting the American flag. In fact, there seems to be a trend in a certain segment of our culture nowadays to manifest a flagrant disregard for the institutions which have been the foundation of this country. Much of this attitude has been brought about by our educational institutions abandoning their charge of teaching our history and, even in some cases, teaching our children that America is to blame for all the ills in the world.

Some will say that the flag is nothing but a piece of cloth. It is true that the flag is made up of cloth but I would suggest it is something more than mere cloth because it stands for an idea. If someone wanted to burn or stomp on their own clothes or some useless rags, that is their choice. But the flag stands for high and lofty ideas and that is what makes it important. Of course, it is only important to those to whom those ideas it stands for mean something.

As Christians, we march under a greater flag, a divine banner. The Psalmist stated, “Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth” (Psalm 60:4). We often sing the words, “There’s a royal banner given for display to the soldiers of the King. As an ensign fair we lift it up today, while as ransomed ones we sing. Marching on! Marching on! For Christ count everything but loss. To the King of kings, we’ll toil and sing, beneath the banner of the cross.” In the hymn “Stand Up! Stand Up for Jesus” we sing “lift high his royal banner, it must not suffer loss.” We march under that holy and royal banner of the cross of Christ.

Isaiah described a time when God would raise up an ensign, or banner, out of Jesse which the Gentiles would seek (Is. 11:10). This prophecy spoke of Christ (Rom. 15:12). Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so was the Son of man lifted up (Num. 21:8,9; John 3:14).

Isaiah (62:10-12) described it this way:

Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highways; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.

Matthew quoted this passage and applied to the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem just before His arrest and crucifixion (Matt. 21:4,5). Over the New Jerusalem flies the Royal Banner of Christ!

But as in the world, so in the church, there are some who hold disdain for that holy banner. In the world there are those who would remove every vestige of memory of Christ from our culture and bully Christians into submission or out of our society. In the church, there are those who would change the charge under which we march as soldiers of the cross. They won’t preach Christ and Him crucified but prefer some worldly philosophy or some newly imagined sociological theory. They seek to entertain and get along with the world instead of teaching it the Truth or warning it of the coming Judgement. In this, they show just as much or even greater contempt for the Banner of Christ as some do for the flag of the United States by trampling upon or burning it.

Instead, let us march boldly under the Banner of the Cross, lifting it high. Let us preach in the name of the Lord the truth that saves. “Over land and sea, wherever man may dwell, make the glorious tidings known; Of the crimson banner now the story tell, while the Lord shall claim His own Marching on! Marching On! For Christ count everything but loss. For the King of kings we’ll toil and sing beneath the banner of the cross”

Eric L. Padgett

Thou Art The Man

It is a terrible thing to be accused of something bad, especially when the accusation is false. The resulting damage to one’s reputation and life can be devastating. As Raymond Donovan, former U. S. Secretary of Labor, once asked after being falsely charged with a crime, “Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?” How many people’s lives have been ruined because someone carelessly or, even worse, maliciously, spread a lie about someone else. But there is something even worse than this–when the charge is true and it comes from God!

David was the recipient of just such a charge. Nathan the prophet came to him and described an incident in which a man, who had many flocks and herds, took the only, precious lamb which another man possessed to serve it up to a stranger that had come his way. David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man who would do such an evil and selfish thing as this. But what David did not realize was that Nathan was describing David’s actions in other terms. When David pronounced punishment on the person he believed Nathan was describing, Nathan told him plainly: “Thou art the man.”

Sometimes we fail to see the wrong we do when, in principle, it is the same as what we condemn in others. The apostle Paul, for instance, sated, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things” (Rom. 2:1). The Jews, who had condemned the Gentiles as being evil, did many of the same things as they did, all the while professing to be following God. It was not that the Gentiles were not evil, its just that the Jews were also sinners (Rom. 3:23).

When Ahab, the evil king of Israel, charged Elijah with troubling Israel, Elijah responded by saying “I have not troubled Israel; but thou and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim” (I Kings 18:18). Elijah was telling Ahab, “Thou art the man.” There are those in the Lord’s church today who likewise accuse those who contend earnestly for the faith of troubling the church by being “church police” when in reality it is they who trouble Israel, the Lord’s church, by not zealously following God’s will.

Many in the religious world are confident that they are doing the will of God and boast of their good works. But Jesus said many will make this claim on the day of judgement saying “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (Matt. 7:22). Then He will say to them, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:23). Jesus will, in effect, say to so many, “Thou art the man.”

We tend to think of others as the ones committing sin, as the ones who speak unkindly, as the ones who lie, as the ones who accommodate doctrinal error, as the ones who cheat, as the ones who harbor ill will, as the ones who slander, and so on, when, in fact and/or in principle, we are equally guilty. Let us examine ourselves (I Cor. 11:28), prove our own selves (II Cor. 13:5) and take heed lest we, thinking we stand, fall (I Cor. 10:12).

David committed a series of horrible trespasses against the Lord and his fellow man, but he had the right attitude when he was confronted with his sin. He said “I have sinned against the Lord.” (II Sam. 12:13). He acknowledged his sin and was resigned to the punishment that was meted out to him by God. May it never be the case that the Lord can say to us, “Thou art the man.” But if He does, may we have the heart of David and acknowledge our sin and repent.

Eric L. Padgett

So Dear To Me, My Mother

The Bible tells us to honor our mothers (Ex. 20:12).  I realize some families may be broken and the mother or father may not be there for their children.  But in God’s idea family, the mother is an essential component of a strong family and supplies necessary guidance for her children.  There are many ways to honor our mothers, but I offer this simple poem in honor of my mother.   I hope it will honor your mother, as well.

So Dear To Me, My Mother

So dear to me, my mother is, more precious than pure gold,
Without her kind and gentle heart my own would be left cold.

So dear to me, my mother is, to me her youngest boy.
And every day because she cares, I’ve known so much more joy.

So dear to me, my mother is, her smile glows like the rays,
Of the sun that shines its light on happy, summer days.

So dear to me, my mother is, her voice flows like the breeze,
When I hear her sing those hymns like “Precious Memories.”

So dear to me, my mother is, and nothing could replace,
The joy I feel when ere I see the beaming of her face.

So dear to me, my mother is, this angel from above,
Sent to teach me of respect, humility and love.

So dear to me, my mother is, my eyes oft flow with tears,
When I consider all she’s done for me throughout the years.

So mom, to me you are so dear, I mean it when I say,
I love you very much, dear mom and Happy Mother’s Day.

copyright 2015 Eric L. Padgett