Archive for July, 2020

Over the years I have sought to do my best to share what I have continued to learn from Scriptures. I have also attempted to model them as best I can in light of my own circumstances. I have done so because I have a firm conviction and passion concerning them. I trust that you have sensed how important these matters are to me.

I do not, however, expect any adherence to my personal understanding from those with whom I fellowship. I have no requirement that others believe what I believe, or practice what I practice. I simply desire that each follow the Lord out of a pure heart of personal faith.

Even if your own studies and convictions lead you elsewhere, I heartily welcome your fellowship. This is because there are greater principles that have preeminence – pure grace, unconditional love, genuine acceptance, individual faith and personal liberty.

Paul clearly taught that two men with opposite beliefs and practices (even if one may be “weak in the faith”) could both live their lives in honor to the Lord. Doctrine is not the basis for fellowship, nor dis-fellowship.

Now, this doesn’t mean that we could always walk with others in all things, but it does mean that we can support and encourage others to be faithful to the Lord based on the understanding that our Lord gives them.

While I trust that you will give my writings thoughtful and prayerful consideration in light of God’s Word, they are by no means the standard of faith.

I appreciate any light or insight that you may be able to share with me – one member of Christ’s body to another. We are fellows together: let us encourage and help one another.


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Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith you stand (II Corinthians 1:24).

It has always been our desire to bring joy to your lives. We have no desire whatsoever to “have dominion over your faith.” The beginning of divine joy is found in freedom from domination over faith. We are the helpers of others’ joy as we assist them in their freedom from religious domination.

Paul teaches us that it is “by faith you stand.” The cycle of joy begins with freedom from religion, and finds its completion in standing “by faith.” We finish the cycle of being the helpers of others’ joy by supporting them in their own personal faith given to them by God.

To be a joy-helper, we must allow others the freedom to follow their own God-given faith. This is because greater principles deserve  preeminence in our hearts – the principles of pure grace, unconditional love, genuine acceptance, individual faith and personal liberty.

Helping others in their freedom from religion, encouraging them in the freedom to follow their own hearts of faith wherever God may lead them, will enable us to be “helpers of your joy.” It is the object of our life and ministry to bring joy to others – real joy, Divine joy.

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I’m not a “natural” reader. It’s always been one of my weaknesses. On first thought it seems odd that God would, in my weakness, make me both an incessant reader and writer. Of course, then it is not so strange, since this has often been His M.O., using men in their weaknesses.

God has birthed the reading and writing of my life out of passion, not natural ability. I read because I have an insatiable hunger to learn of Him, and a ceaseless motivation to write because of a need to remember what I have learned, and in turn, a heart-felt desire to share it with my family and loved ones. Thus, the underlying thrust of my whole life seems caught up in words: reading and writing them.

Now, I don’t read for entertainment purposes. This is by no means meant to be the slightest reflection on those who do. After all, if reading was someone’s real quality, why wouldn’t they read for entertainment? Perhaps I even “envy” those who do.

I don’t read for entertainment for two main reasons, the first being my before-mentioned weakness for reading. Secondly, since I read substantially for non-entertainment purposes, when it comes to relaxing, I actually need a break from reading. Perhaps that makes sense; regardless, this is who I am, who God had made me to be.

As a result, I really enjoy television, movies and music. I use them to relax. Granted, it seems to me that the more programming that is available, the less quality material there is worth watching. I don’t mean to be critical, because this is all partly based on my own personal preferences. What one is enthralled with I might find miserably boring, and vice-versa. What one of us would value as a great movie, or a good program, others would see as a waste of time. I suppose any particular movie or show is enjoyed and appreciated by someone, if not just those who found the satisfaction in producing it.

In this issue’s article, Interpreters of Culture, we deal with the divine value which is inherent in culture and see how Paul made wonderful use of it. In subsequent editorials I plan to highlight some of the movies, television shows and music that I have really enjoyed, and I will share the small glimpses of God and His truth that manage to make their way into them.

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Awake, O harp and lyre, I will awaken the dawn! (Psalm 108:2, Rotherham Emphasized Bible).

Among the many divine roles of David was that of psalmist. He was one of the composers of Israel’s sacred music. God had this masterful musician and songwriter up early; his job, as it were, was to “awaken the dawn.”

For decades I’ve had an affinity with David. Although, unlike David, I’ve no musical or lyrical abilities, it’s quite common for me to awaken hours before dawn with a pressing sense of divine urgency and purpose. With no clock beside me, and without any alarm, I’m up, fully awake, passionately eager for what Father has in store for the day.

Though not awaking each morning at the same time, today I was up at 3:30, and yesterday, before 4:00. My early rising has little bearing on the time of my evening retirement. I can normally be quite productive throughout the day on as little as four hours of sleep.

Funny thing, after all these years, by bedtime on some nights I tell myself, “I’ll rest a little longer in the morning.” Regardless, I regularly find myself up early – thankful and excited to begin the day.

I share this with you so that you may know a little of who Father has made me. If this was not part of the norm built into me by God, I can’t even imagine where I’d be today. The many years of morning solitude have been graciously granted to me as invaluable time to study and write. Without these added hours I wouldn’t have a hint concerning the many wonderful truths Father has taught me over this journey that I began as a zealous young churchman so many years ago. Neither would there be the numerous books I’ve written, nor the many volumes of this Bible Student’s Notebook. I’ve come to be extremely grateful for the very cycle of my days – a truly humbling experience.

Man’s goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way? (Proverbs 20:24).

A man’s heart devises his way, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).

I remain your servant.

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