Monday, March 29, 2010


There was a popular song back in the 1970’s with that title. It was written in 1970 by Hoyt Axton, and originally sung by Three Dog Night, the Australian group. Elvis Presley had a version of it that I remember. He sang it in live concerts. The lyrics indicated a fascination with the beauty, and intrigue of the Spanish nation, and its women, and a curiosity to go there on the part of the singer; yet, in the song, he never got there. I always thought I would like to go there, and although I have been in England and France, that is as close as I have come so far in my life of 67 years.

Paul the apostle planned to go to Spain. “Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come unto you” (Romans 15:24). This was his human plan, but in God’s purpose he met a detour. The ultimate detour was to Rome where Paul was executed. We may think an apostle would know whether his ambition would come true or not, but Paul did not. Was God’s purpose thwarted? Was Paul’s life cut short (other than in a human sense)? No! Emphatically no! Remember “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27), and “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way” (Psalm 37:23). God had a purpose in Paul dying in Rome, and not on the isle of Melita when the viper bit him (Acts 28:1-6), or in Jerusalem (Acts 23:27), or Lystra when he was stoned (Acts 14:19). We can see some of His purpose in the thriving early church there in Rome. There were in subsequent years, many others executed there for Christ’s sake. There were many Christians in that empire then, and many more martyrs after the Roman church became the heretical Roman Catholic church with all its corruption.

Yet in the early days the gospel spread from there, as it had from Jerusalem earlier. God had a purpose in Paul not getting to Spain, but Rome instead. Paul had wanted to see Rome also, but I see nothing to indicate he expected to die there; at least not at first. Later, as he was under imprisonment, he knew he would not get to Spain, for he told Timothy “For I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (II Timothy 4:6-7). Some scholars speculate that Paul did get to Spain between his two Roman imprisonments, but there is no mention of that in scripture. I believe if he had, we would have been told about his work there as we were regarding Philippi, Corinth, and even Rome. He likely never made it to Spain. I may never get to Spain either, but if I can have a testimony similar to Paul at the end, I won’t care. Follow Paul as he followed Christ. (I Corinthians 11:1).

Friday, March 19, 2010


This article is by my son, Mark. He is one of the preachers at our church here in Georgia. I published it a couple of years ago, but I thought it so relevant for where our nation is at this very moment. We are in deep trouble as a nation. Perhaps America is on the way down. At least it is likely to never be again the America we once knew. What is the reason? It is SIN as Mark details in this article. A nation that has consented to abortion for over 30 years, and many other sins deserves nothing else except judgment. Each of us as individuals have to account to Almighty God. May Hehelp us!

My thoughts have turned this week to Isaiah 59:1-4 "Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity."

God was telling Israel through Isaiah that it was not the fault of God that their prayers were not being answered; it was because of their unconfessed sins. God had hidden His face from them to cause them to feel the shame of their sins. This is certainly in agreement with David's words in Psalms 66:18 "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: "

It is apparent that the sins that God referred to in the life of Israel were sins that they had given a place of honor, reverence, or respect. These were their "pet" sins. They were the ones that they did not care for God to touch, or rebuke them for, yet the Lord told them that as long as they kept these sins He would not be their help. They must turn and repent of these sins before they could expect God's blessings.

I want to encourage each of you to read the context of Isaiah 59 to get a feel for the sins that God was talking to them about. The truth of these words is certainly applicable to us today. As the people of God, we have the responsibility to make sure that there is nothing between us and Him, nothing to bar our hearts from communing with His heart, and certainly nothing that will keep Him from hearing our prayers.

It is time to be honest with ourselves and with God and not trust in the vanity of our own ways.

In the words of the well-known hymn:

Nothing between my soul and the Saviour,

naught of this world's delusive dream:

I have renounced all sinful pleasure,

Jesus is mine, there's nothing between.

Nothing between like worldly pleasure;

habits of life, though harmless they seem,

must not my heart from Him ever sever,

He is my all, there's nothing between.

Nothing between, like pride or station;

self or friends shall not intervene;

Though it may cost me much tribulation,

I am resolved, there's nothing between.

Nothing between, even many hard trials,

though the whole world against me convene;

watching with prayer and much self-denial,

I'll triumph at last, with nothing between.

Nothing between my soul and the Saviour,

So that His blessed face may be seen;

Nothing preventing the least of His favor,

Keep the way clear! Let nothing between.

Words & Music: Charles A. Tindley, 1905 Link:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Here is another good meditation by my friend William F. Bell. I hope it speaks to you. cw

How deceived the religious world is, which thinks "the gospel" is something we are to DO! But the Bible declares that "the gospel" is what Christ has already DONE! "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (satisfaction) through faith in His blood" (Romans 3:25). We are not told to "make" propitiation ourselves to God, but the gospel "sets forth" Christ alone as having done this "for us."

The way to heaven is not our works or obedience, our prayers or Bible reading, our giving or self-sacrifices, but the only way is through the "propitiation" of Christ on Calvary's cross. He Himself is our "mercy seat," and His "sacrifice" alone has appeased God's wrath and justice -- and not anything we do or sacrifice or give.

And the only way we can know for sure that we are among the "justified" and the "redeemed" is by being "created in Christ Jesus" by the "workmanship" of God Himself in His grace and mercy (Ephesians 2:10). It is never by our obedient works or actions (including our repentance or faith), though this "creation" in Christ is "unto good works." Not "by" but "unto." Grace alone puts us in Christ, therefore all the boastings of men in their works are "excluded" (Romans 3:27). Grace crowns all the work of God, so God alone gets all the glory in declaring "His righteousness" through the blood of our Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ.