Joseph Scriven story

Well, we have worked on this story for several years, and finally got an edition finished and on the website! Joseph Scriven was an obscure man, but what a testimony he left behind! Because he was willing to stay in his small corner, seeking to exemplify an unselfish and holy life, quietly performing important feats of help to the poor and widows, he left a lasting impression on not only the farming community where he lived, but in the legacy of that private poem for his mother known as “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Almost every week this hymn is requested by those that attend our little chapels, and now the folks have the story to go with it.

We hope this story will help our brethren in Christ! The links are:

Joseph Scriven life story

What a Friend We Have in Jesus hymn story

Rev. Cleavant Derricks

Well, we finally got back to our hymn story research and writing! The work finished today was a borderline project, since the author was a little wilder in his music of later years than is really honoring to God. He went the way of John Peterson and others like them.

At any rate, the songs Rev. Cleavant Derricks wrote in the 1930’s when things were rough for people in America everywhere, were well received and encouraging! Cleavant worked hard to bringing out a strong proper rhythm, simple wording that is easy to remember and follow, and lively tunes with strong bass parts. He was a prolific writer of songs when he started out and then lost the enthusiasm after serving in World War II as an Army music director.

He decided to settle down and become a Baptist preacher, but his singing kept on going, but not in prestigious or notable churches. Finally in financial straights, he contacted a music producer, asking if he could sell some new songs he would work at writing. They instead did two record albums with him, supplying some much needed income, which was even more important, because it turned out he was dying of cancer.

To use the information in bulletins or other articles for church use, just eliminate the parts not wanted. I have paragraph starts in hopes I will eventually find out more information and be able to expand what was written.

The new article is: Rev. Cleavant Derricks, gospel song writer and Baptist pastor.

God’s Clearing of the Earth

Isaiah 24:1 talks about how God is going to clear off the earth on His Day! The terms have been translated in the terms of one who loves the world, the buildings, the people, the temples, the immoral artwork, the general glitter and glamour of amusements and entertainments.

But there is a holy and pure view of such things and the way things are today cannot be left with a pure and holy society. They must go! The filth and immorality of mankind have polluted the earth, the ground, the waters, the seas, and the atmosphere. The skies are filled with useless debris that governments and mega-businesses use in all kinds of evil snooping and entertaining.

So, God announces that He is going to empty things out! He is simply going to clear away the detritus and pollution so that there will be a fresh and clean earth on which to build a proper way of life.

The first action word of “laid waste” is actually to empty something out. It is to take the contents of something and dispose of it, or pour it away. It is similar to taking some kind of awful drink and flushing it down the toilet. It is the purging of the earth of everything so that it is fresh and clean and ready for use.

The next action is that of making it “waste” or open. It is the removal of all the clutter that abounds on the earth so that it is open and cleared of junk. It is speaking of the removal of the buildings and contents as well as the huge expanses of buildings and clutter that mankind puts on the earth and covers the land. We make the best of soils useless by covering it up and hiding it under monstrosities. The land needs a complete clearing by God so that mankind can begin to live as He desires in an uncluttered, calm, quiet and holy atmosphere, free of immorality, temptations of every type and endless attempts at programming and brainwashing that goes on all the time in a city.

The next action is to twist the surface and distort it so that it does not have the old landmarks and buried filth of this world. The earth had one huge upheaval in Noah’s day that turned the earth upside down and crushed almost all evidence of the world before the Flood of Noah. God will do this again, removing the foundations that have been dug and uprooting the diggings and underground systems that exist. God will in essence plow up the world and plow under the cities so that they are no longer around to be found.

Then the last action will be to scatter away the people that lived in an area. The worst thing that could be done is to allow a civilization to rebuild. Evil kingdoms of the past have been destroyed for the good of all mankind. Usually their own depravity brings on plagues and a lack of an ability to withstand attacks of all kinds. This leaves them susceptible to destruction, but the ruins entice stupid people to try to rebuild the old gross societies and once again establish that which God destroyed. God will not only turn the land upside down and inside out, but He will drive the few survivors away from the area, so they have to become established in a new areas, without the cohesion and support that mankind tends toward from the times of Cain and then the Tower of Babel.

So it is not so much that God is going to destroy everything, but the words indicate He is going to open things up and clear away the junk that we are surrounded with everywhere! Sure, if you love the filth of this world, you would call it ruined and lost, but if you love God and want the best for mankind, you will call it opened up and cleared away! You will call it fresh and clean. You will call it a new heaven and a new earth!

See the verse and the subjects, words and place in the timeline at Isaiah 24:1 in the Prophecy Guide.

International Trade

The United States has been hammering out Free Trade Agreements with all the nations of the world for many years. It does not matter what presidential administration is in power, the same work goes on under Democratic or Republican presidents and gets ratified in the Senate by majorities. Each time a Trade Agreement has passed, there has been severe cuts in American jobs and benefits.

While the few that know about the agreements say they boost the American economy and provide jobs, the opposite has in fact happened each time. While fat cats in politics and international corporations get fatter, the results for the average American citizen is never good. The agreements guarantee the American people will be stuck buying goods that do not meet up to American standards and large numbers of jobs will move to foreign lands.

The Bible consistently has a term for these arrangements. It is called political prostitution. It is never called anything else. There is no other way to describe it, other than harlotry. The American dream used to be autonomy. Presidents and Congress people would promise to make the United States independent of foreign goods and supplies. That promise is no longer even mentioned. Politicians today are hell-bent to prostitute our country, and don’t even lie about it to be elected!

What is wrong with international trade? People pay in two countries for the desires of a few people to get filthy rich for doing nothing. Just like a pimp beats, tortures, and abuses his prostitutes, these politicians and corporation owners do the same to the common worker. They force people to make goods for a nation they hate, and they force production for little or no reasonable wage.

Do we need these trade agreements? The answer is a loud No! The only time these agreements are needed is when a product is not worth exporting or importing. When America was a God-fearing country, they built the best wagons in the world and every nation sought after American carriages and wagons. They were tough, stylish, and inexpensive, even after paying shipping costs. There was no real prostitution, because the Americans were earning good wages and the foreigners were paying in gold backed currency. Things were on a level playing field.

But things can go wrong. Politicians will use good things happening to try to tap into the revenue stream to rob the worker to give to the destroyers and wasters. They will use government to regulate and destroy anything done in free enterprise to bring it under socialist-communist controls. So, a loyal good relationship that extends to foreign lands by a person in America, will be seized at to turn it into a prostitution arrangement headed up by pimps and politicians for the “common good” which is just the cover for gangster government.

New Year Bible Reading

Well, the Biblical new year has already started! It took us extra time to make the conversions to get the Bible reading schedule online, but it is finally working again!

It is exciting to do things God’s way! All around the globe we are hearing about the spring thaw and blessings and everyone is feeling as if the new year has arrived, in spite of the calendars they use! God says that this is actually when the calendar is supposed to begin and it used to be that most calendars started around this time. Of course politics and cultic religions always have to mess with things that work to force their own ways upon people, in hopes they will forget God (yes Roman Catholic leadership included), so calendars have rejected this wonderful time of spring for the start of the new year and even the Jewish calendar starts their new year in the fall, just the opposite of God’s command! Interesting.

So, we again persist and resist the world wide trend and go with a Bible reading schedule that follows God’s instructions for the first month and the first day of the month. It is thrilling reading the old diaries of the early Christian Americans that sought to remove all forms of idolatry from their lives and so could not use the day or month names in their diaries and businesses records. They too had to simply call things what they were: “Third month, 2nd day of first week” etc. Of course they used the spring time as the first month as do we on this Bible reading schedule.

If anyone wants to join us, we use Skype each day and could easily add you to our family readings. It would actually be fun to have others join us and expand our “family.” Just email us, and we will make the arrangements. We meet each day at 7:30 pm Pacific Time Zone. It works out great for those east of us in the later time zones, since it tends to be later for them and easier to do.

Anyway, join the reading program at the very least! Would to God that all who profess belief in the name and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ would read the Bible with us each day! The world’s system would be on shaky ground!

Berean Bible Heritage Bible Reading link

Sailor Lifestyle Condemned

Today’s verse is Isaiah 23:4 which is badly translated, glossing over the potent condemnation of the life of sailors. Specifically, the port city of Sidon will be brought to utmost shame and ruin, as the fortress of the sea condemns the port for not promoting family morality.

The life of a sailor has historically been one of gross immorality and anti-family morals. Not only is the man of the house gone (and now women) and temptation to do wrong the norm among peers, but those at home are tempted to violate marriage and morals. God designed that a family be made of a woman and man working in harmony following His Word, and children experiencing the promotion of high moral values like virginity, education, sharp mental acuity, and clean moral values and manners. With either the man or woman being away, this will not happen properly. There will be distortions and lack of balance in the home.

Specifically condemned is the fact that sailors are not there when childbirth happens. Childbirth is a long process that starts a year before birth (and longer), and becomes more intense after pregnancy. Things culminate with the painful birth process for the couple, which is followed by months of sleepless nights and worry, and intense labor to see the child gets a good start in life. The life of a sailor boycotts this whole process.

Next, a sailors life does not build capable, strong, ethical, moral young men. It builds the opposite. Boys enamored with the sea spurn education, moral values, honor of authority, dignified demeanor and conduct, and above all, God. Living at sea does not produce sound, great young men.

Next, a sailor’s life does not promote virginity, and high feminine values among girls. Instead it promotes prostitution, alcoholism, promiscuity, and everything contrary to an elevated and honored woman. Girls instead are demeaned and nothing more than sex toys, and feminism is promoted rather than godly womanhood, and motherhood.

The result of a life that is dependent on the sea is a broken down town, where crime and corruption is rampant, and where children are not raised, but instead left to their own devises or the controls of a government that will not discipline or allow proper familial love to be applied. The end result is a lawless and deadly zone that has to be completely obliterated to preserve human life and dignity.

It is interesting to note that the great sea fortresses are the ones that speak this shame on the port. Even today when the ships are actually floating cities with every possible human want supplied, promiscuity reigns supreme even on military ships. Now with women sailing with men, there is no limit to the adultery and broken lives that come from being a sailor, or navy person. Disease and uncleanness abound even on the most “sterile” of ships because of filthy sexual habits of those on board. Then when on land, it pours over like never before in unabated lust and destruction, all enhanced by drugs and alcohol.

God hates the filth that sea living has generated, and will bring an end to it all when the Messiah returns to this earth. Will you be one of those who will die at sea or in port? Flee such a life!

Privileges to Active Commandment Doers

Revelation closes with Revelation 22:14 that makes no exceptions to keeping God’s commands, Christ’s instructions, and New Testament teaching.

A person has to be found actively doing the commands of all Scripture in order to have privileges in the New Jerusalem. These are people that make the teachings and laws of God relevant to today through their careful observance of them, and practices each day. They are people that actively study the instructions to make sure they are following them correctly.

Where does that put the person today that just said the sinner’s prayer, but continues on living how they please, except maybe attending a church service now and then? Where does that put the person that goes to some church that does not teach the commandments of God and holy living?

Frankly the sinner’s prayer or some momentary assent to Christianity carries no meaning. Baptism by immersion is a good start, but even that does not save. It takes a lifestyle I don’t see among those that profess to be Christians and sure of a seat in the theater of heaven. Christians really approach Christianity as a sign on the dotted line membership application, and then don’t think they need to do anything to prove their membership from then on.

The Lord Jesus’ last words to us is to make sure we are obeying all of the Scriptural commands so that we have the privileges of access to the Tree of Living and also be allowed to enter the Gateways to the New Jerusalem. Those that do not make a lifetime proof of their salvation do not have these privileges, and frankly, they don’t have a place in heaven either.

Christianity takes work and there will be clear evidence of the rejection of the immoral, unethical, unholy life of the world. There will also be a clear rejection of the world to those that follow the faith of the Scriptures. Acceptance by the worldly is proof there is no change in the heart and lifestyle. It is also proof there was no salvation.

Automatic Moral Growth

Revelation 22:11 puzzles some people, but it is really very simple in the Greek and other languages. The point is that people are not morally static in their development. A person’s character develops one way or another all the time. We have the ability to shape our souls to either be holy, righteous, honorable, pure, clean, etc. or to shape ourselves more and more in dishonesty, harmfulness, evil, filthiness, morbidness, sadness, etc.

We do not stay at one level and freeze ever! We are always moving toward the image of God-likeness (godliness) or away from God (eternal damnation).

Our souls are always moving, they do not sit still. A person that lies, starts out with little lies, and if let to get away with it as a child, grows to an adult that is a chronic liar and frankly cannot tell the truth. Only God can break such a trend, but it is with much effort that it gets changed. Otherwise the person will grow in impudence to the point he becomes a monster.

This is frankly the major reason God shortened man’s life from the 1000 years He first gave to just a 10th of that. A millennia of developing corruption is simply too much.  The path of our life is set early on in life, and very little changes after that.

Hence the old proverb to train children in the way they should go, and they will be the same when they are older. Training is not easy, and is harder than parents think. Training is a consistent lifestyle day in and day out. It is a disciplined life. An undisciplined child will be even more undisciplined in adulthood. It is just a fact of life.

But there is good news. A person that applies themselves to being holy, when young, will grow in holiness throughout their lives. As they mature, they will be more holy. As they age, they will be even more holy.

So what about the people that were “holy” in adulthood, but are perverse in old age? I would say they were corrupt in adulthood and only had the airs of holiness, but inwardly they were quite sinful. As they aged they lost the ability to hide their true condition, and the real inner person shows. They lived a life of shameful degradation, and not true holiness.

So, in Revelation, the warning is given as to why there is a Heaven and Hell. People increase in the moral condition they choose. A wicked person continues to become more wicked even after death. There is only one place such a soul can go. They cannot be in heaven, because such growth cannot be tolerated. They must be placed in hell, and isolated and uncomfortable so they cannot harm others. They must have their bodies removed, so they cannot harm themselves. They must be suspended forever in torment, to control the development of the prison they have locked themselves into for eternity.

A person that is holy, pure, totally observant to the laws of God and His Word, are those that will grow that way forever. They will continue to devote themselves to the study of Scripture and the carrying out of God’s instructions. They will be useful servants to God for eternity. God thus rewards them for their pure lifestyle and has great benefits for them.

The world’s society is so harmful to holiness, it is amazing God does not strike us all down now. The word used is Unjust for the first horrible condition. This is a person that literally rejects the law of God and goes their own way. Such a person is harmful, hurtful, wrong, and committed to being unholy. The Old Testament as well as the New Testament explain what it means to be clean before God. There is a certain type of clothing and clothing style that will be worn. There are only certain foods that will be eaten and all others prohibited. There are daily devotions and prayer times that will be observed unconditionally. There are all kinds of things to learn to do and be, but they cannot get started, if we are “unjust.”

For a case in point. Women of the world want to dress like men, go where men go, do what men do, and act like men act. They were created to be beautiful and supportive creatures, not calloused, single, man-acting, man-hating beings. Men wear pants, so women insist on purging all dresses and wearing the blue jeans men wear, but as tightly as possible. That is something they can change. Women cannot normally have beards, so they insist that men shave so they have woman like faces. Men are to have short hair, so women cut their hair short so they can be free of their beautiful hair which was to serve as a covering for them. On it goes, and there seems to be no end. The result is a whole bunch of orphans roaming the streets, not being raised by anyone, and so destroyed in mind and body by adulthood, they cannot hold a job to support their lifestyles. They expect society to provide their wants and wishes.

The cycle keeps doing downhill every year as corruption increases. It gets so bad that God has to step in and completely destroy whole cities and regions to halt the evil.

We must make the right choice each day and hour! Not doing so harms our future and ourselves!

The “Wood” of Life

The thoughts come from the study of Revelation 22:2 in the Prophecy Guide.

This one got me thinking all day. The leaf and fruit bearing stake in heaven is commonly called the “Tree of Life.” But the word for “tree” is not used. Instead it is a stake, or piece of wood, generally prepared to be burned. In other words, it is a chopped or cut piece of wood!

Those that try to grapple with this unexpected choice of Greek words usually go to the cross, and try to say that the cross is represented in heaven, but it is alive and bearing fruit and leaves. This may be true, but it is based on human reasoning and not on any specific Scriptures that I could find.

I cannot get away with the comparison to Aaron’s rod that budded. When Moses’ and Aaron’s leadership of Israel was questioned (not a rare thing unfortunately), God decided to give Israel a clear and unmistakable sign that He had divinely appointed them. In short, the cane Moses used, not only blossomed and bore almonds, but it did so overnight. It was a cane that was several years old, and thoroughly dead, but it was fruitful from being in God’s presence.

Next, we are not told there is any soil in the New Jerusalem. Soil is something that is on earth. Trees on earth need soil to grow. However, these trees are in heaven and probably do not need soil, since all the energy they need is present in the air. They also do not need to be rooted down to survive the storms of the earth. Can you imagine having a tree that can be moved very easily? Now that would be something only Heaven could have!

Could it be that John was trying to make sure we got the message that the “Tree of Life” is just a stake that has leaves and fruit? The need of shade is a foreign concept in heaven. We would not need the protective canopy of a large tree to survive the summer days there.

If God was giving us a taste of the benefits of living in New Jerusalem, by showing what happens when a piece of wood is put in God’s presence, then if we needed the fruit of Life or healing leaves of Life for the people on earth we care for, all we have to do is get a piece of wood and collect the fruit and leaves from it.

I cannot wait to see this amazing board in heaven!

New Jerusalem living

Today’s thoughts come from the study of Revelation 22:3 in the Prophecy Guide.

What a place to be! God’s throne will be there and Christ’s throne as well! Those that live there will have ready access to the throne and will also serve as representatives of God, being there enables them to see first hand how God handles things, so they can emulate Him in the areas they work.

There will never be the delivering to destruction in New Jerusalem. If you are there you are “safe” from the curses of anyone. No one will be able to declare you are to be delivered to destruction. It just will not be done!

Next, the slaves of the Lord Jesus will be paid! There will not be any forced service, but service done for the Lord will be rewarded. This puts things into perspective today. Are we willing to serve the Lord without pay, just because we love God will all of our being? Are we willing to follow His plan today, just because we cannot stand living any other way? Such people are bound for the New Jerusalem, where the dedicated to God live, and where, although slaves to God, because of redemption, they are paid slaves! They have an income from the service they perform! Our work for God is a form of worship, so we are paid as if we were priests of God.

If you are not preparing for eternity, please get serious today. Every day we are not given over to learning to serve God here, is another day lost to eternity. Prepare to be a citizen of the New Jerusalem. The benefits far outweigh the discomfort.