“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

That special one

“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7).
I have a special page in my Bible that I prize very greatly. No, not a special verse or chapter or book of the Bible. A page. It’s page 225. You see, page 225 in my Bible has ripped loose from its binding. Over the years of reading Revelation, which I’m trying to write a book on, this page that starts the last book of the Bible took too much abuse. It’s taken 20 years to make the book. That’s at least 15 years of using my current Bible, and 15 years of looking at Revelation 1:1 and onward.
I was sad when I first saw the page start to tear, and I was careful to treat it gently to prevent it fully tearing completely. But, in spite of my efforts, it came loose a few years ago. Now I must baby it for the rest of my life. It isn’t just one of 99, it’s one of 240.
I can’t just get rid of my Bible so that I can have a new one with all the pages. That would be cold-hearted. My Bible is the small pocket size and we go back a long way. I’m attached to this Bible; and there are probably many other reasons to keep it that I won’t bore you with.
But, I can’t buy a new Bible just like it because World Bible Publishers stopped printing this particular Bible. It’s “The World’s Smallest Bible”, and fits in my pants pocket or suit coat breast pocket. This Bible has been friend and counselor to me, a minister to my many bouts with doubts and fears and stresses. I have invested into it much more than the original $35.
Added to our attachment, I know where everything is in it. What I mean is, that even if I haven’t memorized a certain verse/chapter, I can look through the book where I think the verse is located and I know where to look on the page. Genesis 32:24-32 where Jacob wrestles with Jesus is on the left-hand page, right-hand column, close to the top.
John 3:16 is on the right page, left column, top. Philippians 2:5 is on the right-hand page, left-hand side, at the bottom, etc. For part of my manuscript on Revelation I needed to refer a lot to the book of Jeremiah, and it’s a pretty sizeable book. Knowing the position of key verses on their pages helped greatly to revisit those verses for their anti-type symbols in Revelation. So, even if I don’t know exactly where the verse is in a book, I can flip through the book, and usually find the verse by looking for its placement on the page.
It’s like people who know everything that’s on their desk at work or like the stuff in a boy’s bedroom or the pieces/parts in a dad’s work shop. Mom better not go in to organize or clean it up, or she would cause a disaster. Likewise, I know where everything is in my Bible and I don’t want to get confused with another Bible’s different placement of verses.
I’m dependent on my little Bible, and maybe that’s not healthy. I feel like David putting aside Saul’s sword and armor when it was time to fight Goliath. He hadn’t trained with them. “David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them.” (1Sam. 17:39). My little Bible is like my little sword. No one sees it coming. It’s my Stiletto or Derringer.
And page 225 is indispensable. It has all of Jude on it, and all of Revelation chapter 1. Jude is only one chapter, but its packed with really good stuff.
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3).
“I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” (Jude 5).
“Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (Jude 7).
“Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” (Jude 9).
“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (Jude 14,15).
“And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” (Jude 22,23).
“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 1:24).
The whole epistle of Jude is power-packed with important statements and warnings. Jude certainly backs up the other epistles that saw the great falling away of the apostolic church taking place before their very eyes.
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 4).
“Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.” (Jude 8).
“But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.” (Jude 10).
“These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” (Jude 12,13).
So, page 225 means a lot to me, and I always carefully turn it. Every time I pick up my Bible, no matter where I plan to go in it, I always first check to see if page 225 is nicely in its proper place, or sticking out where it might get damaged further. Its edges are already getting tattered. It seems invariably every time I open my Bible, I must push the page back in a little to allow the pages above and below it to protect it from the world. A couple of times with my Bible open, wind has almost taken it away with an unexpected gust. Now, I use a rubber band to ensure that my Bible doesn’t open unintentionally. I must have all my wits about me whenever I open my Bible. My most precious page might leave me for good.
Page 225 has become my baby. I treat it so much more tenderly than the other pages. I have to because it is the most vulnerable. It’s the most susceptible to being lost. I couldn’t live without page 225. It has much more intrinsic value than the others because of its lack of security. So it gets ten times the attention and care than the others. It’s the same principle, of which the apostle wrote,
“Much more those [pages] of the [Bible], which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: and those [pages] of the [Bible], which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [pages] have more abundant comeliness.” (1Cor. 12:22,23). We bestow upon them much more abundant love.
We have special loved ones who are more fragile and flimsy than others. They need more gentle treatment than those who have had a childhood full of acceptance that built them up to be strong. A mother’s soft love might have been lacking, or a dear father’s strong leadership. Maybe assistance was missing from more difficult facets of education; or maybe drugs were used to fill in the childhood lacks. Maybe education and life’s troubles put the Creator far away.
Such a person’s delicate condition needs all the understanding and grace and carefulness possible. That is what Jesus did.
“A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” (Isa. 42:3).
“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.” (Isa. 40:4).
 “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa. 11:9).
“And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me.
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!...
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven.
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.” (Matt. 18:5-7,10-13).
“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7).


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