Lot had to choose, and so do we. “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan” (Genesis 13:10-11).
When we have ascended the hill of YOUTH and tried to get a bird’s eye view of the plain called LIFE, we find three main roads that lead to it and through it.
1. The WAY of the WORLD. It offers prospects of wealth, pleasure, and ease. However, the conditions are that we must accept the world’s standards and values, and acknowledge her ruling on all questions of conduct.
2. The WAY of SELF. In this there are no restrictions; unhindered ‘self-expression,’ and every choice and action are dictated by self-interest.
3. The WAY of CHRIST. It may be a difficult path, one of reproach, self-denial and loss. Yet, it is the way of peace and joy; of purpose in life which is really worthwhile; of friendship and a great future reward.
I am writing this page from Nassau, Bahamas. For many years I have been able to visit this corner of the Caribbean, and with full permission distribute gospel literature and calendars in the government schools. In this way, thousands of young people over the years have been reached with the gospel, and many homes have had the printed Word, from the literature taken home by the boys and girls.
It is a great thrill to have a little part in this work of the Lord, here in this corner of the Caribbean. This would never be allowed in Canada where I come from, as we have really become godless in the past few years. So we pray that the door of opportunity will remain wide open until the Lord comes, and pray for much blessing. Remember too, that wherever you are today, there are opportunities to serve the Lord and speak for Him. You don’t have to go to the foreign mission field. The word to all of us today, is, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35). That means, no matter where you are!
“And they that passed by railed on Him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save Thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; Himself He cannot save” (Mark 15:29-31).
There were many things said of the Lord Jesus in mockery that were blessedly true in reality. “He saved others; Himself He cannot save,” is certainly one of these statements. There were at least three reasons why the Lord Jesus could not save Himself and come down from the cross.
1. To fulfill the Old Testament prophecies concerning Himself. “That the scripture might be fulfilled” (John 19:28).
2. To accomplish the Father’s will. “This commandment have I received of My Father” (John 10:18).
3. To have His own with Him forever. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24).
The day I am writing this calendar page is the day after I viewed a home in northern Saint Vincent West Indies, where a teenager was killed. The youth was about eighteen years of age. Here is how the story was related to me.
It was Christmas Eve, and the rains came so heavy and so fast that it caused great flooding and landslides. As the dirt and rock cascaded down the mountain in the middle of the night a family escaped from their home that was directly in its path. However, the young man realized he did not have his cell phone, and thinking he had enough time to retrieve it went back into the house. The sad result is that he perished in a tangled mass of concrete, corrugated steel, wood, and household items.
“How tragic,” you say. But this incident is symbolic of many who are going into a lost eternity as they seek to hold on to something they consider valuable in this world. The Lord said: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul” (Mark 8:36-37)?
There is nothing in the world worth hanging onto in exchange for eternal salvation and the joy of knowing Christ.
A. To apostatize, or become an apostate, is simply to “fall away” or to deliberately give up what a person has once professed. The Bible speaks of it in this way: “The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Peter 2:22). Note, both of the animals mentioned were unclean under the Old Testament law. It is not a true believer backsliding and falling into some sin, from which the grace of God can restore them, but a definite giving up of the profession of Christianity. Scripture holds no hope for such. “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6).
Though the word “apostasy” does not occur in the King James Version, the Greek word occurs several times, from which the English word is derived.
“Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God” (Daniel 6:4-5).
Daniel’s coworkers were jealous of his reputation and testimony. And as to finding something they could accuse him of, their conclusion was about the equivalent of someone saying today: “The only thing we can find against that person is the fact that they are a Christian.”
In this connection I saw a motto on a bulletin board in a home where I was visiting, and it asked the following question:
If you were arrested for being a Christian,
Would there be enough evidence to convict you?
As you go about from day to day are you marked by those who know you as being a follower of Christ? The early believers were. “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).
“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:22-24).
God honors tireless service! An unwearied continuance in well-doing! A great many young people like to be engaged for a time in the Lord’s work from love of activity or other reasons. But quiet, patient, ongoing, faithful obedience, notwithstanding human praise or blame, is what the Master values. An older brother in Christ related the following story to some of us when I was a young person.
“After a gospel meeting I went back to pick up my Bible which I had forgotten. An old man was busy picking up the hymn books. He looked up as I came in and said, ‘I always have lots of help giving out the hymn books, but I always find myself picking them up alone.’”
Yes, we are more anxious to do a service that is readily seen, but don’t forget, the Lord sees and will greatly reward the less-noticed work. “Thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:4).
I spend a lot of time in the Caribbean. Here we try to make Bibles accessible and affordable to the average person. Sometimes this means selling them for literally pennies on the dollar, or in other words, far below cost. I guess that’s why the following article caught my eye:
In the reign of Edward I of England (1272-1307), the price of a Bible, copied by hand in writing, was 37 pounds and a day-laborer’s wage was 3 and a halfpence. Accordingly, the purchase of a Bible would have been the wages of over 15 years. Today a Bible can be bought for a couple of dollars or less. We found one book store which would not sell Bibles, they only gave them away. Millions of copies are distributed free every year.
This means that the responsibility of having and reading the Bible was never so great as today. We often find those who are able to buy a Bible for the first time. They often have tears in their eyes as they make their purchase. And yet I wonder how much you and I really value the Word of God?
“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker” (Psalm 95:6).
When we think about the awesomeness of God our Maker, our reaction should be to worship and bow down in His presence. He made us and He sustains our life. Paul said, when preaching on Mars’ Hill, “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed any thing, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:24, 25).
Yet, more than this He has provided salvation for us through the work of the cross. He has saved us by His grace and a work of His Spirit. He has a home prepared for us in heaven, and has promised to come Himself and take us to that home. His love is great and He is the God of the universe. He became a man so that He could redeem us to Himself and enjoy our company now and forever. Remember that as you worship Him today. He is worthy of all worship! “Worship thou HIM” (Psalm 45:11).