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Benno Zuiddam

 

 

Hello everyone       This is not the editor...                                 from the Editor 

 

Everyone is  inclined to make excuses for their actions which makes them feel that they are not as bad as they really are. 

There is an old saying which contains much truth, “He that excuses himself, accuses himself.” Excuses are very often called 'lame' because they are very weak and unsatisfactory. 

There is a story told of an Italian Duke who visited Spain. 

 While he was there, he visited some prisoners who were 

forced to row the large galley boats which was a very 

 cruel system of punishment.  In honour of his visit, the Duke was asked to pardon one of the prisoners. 

He asked each man what he had done and did he deserve to be punished.  Each man sought to excuse himself.  Some said they had been falsely accused and were innocent, others blamed some other person, or had some other excuse. 

At last the Duke asked one man did he deserve to be punished?  He replied, “My lord, I am being justly punished for my crimes. I needed money because I was hungry, so I cruelly robbed a person, but I cannot complain, I deserve my punishment.” 

“You rogue!” said the Duke, tapping the man on the shoulder with his rod, “what are doing here among all these innocent men?  Get out of their company right away.”  The  man was  immediately released, while those who excused themselves were left to serve their full sentence.   

God commands us to sincerely acknowledge our sins unto Him and pray for forgiveness.   

“He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13. “If we confess our sins,  He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1. John 1:9. 

 

 

 Philosopher confounded 

 

A young man went to a famous University.  He was an excellent student, but soon he began to doubt the Bible, then he concluded that there was no God, in fact, he thought  God was only a word. 

After a time he returned home and was invited to visit some friends.  There he met two young girls who were reading a book.  He asked them which novel they were reading.  They replied that they were reading a Christian book. 

“Then you believe that there is a God?”  The young man asked.  The girls were astonished and replied, “Do you not believe it?”  “I used to believe, but after studying in the University, I am convinced that there is no God.” 

One girls replied, “I have never been to University and studied  the subjects you have.  Can you tell me which existed first, an egg or a hen?”  “I really don't know why you ask this question;   

but it was the hen that existed first.” 

“Then, there is a hen which did not come from an egg?” 

 “No, sorry, I was wrong, it was the egg which existed first.” he replied.  “Then there was an egg which did not come from a hen?” she replied.  The young man was confused.  She continued, “I see sir, that you do not know whether the egg existed before the hen, or the hen before the egg.”    He replied, “Well, then, I would say the hen existed first.” 

“Very well, there was a hen which did not come from an egg.  Tell me now who made this first hen, from which all other hens and eggs came from?”  The young man was offended and  objected saying, “I am not a poultry farmer.” 

The young girl continued, “Well, since you do not know, permit me to tell you. He who created the first hen or the first egg, is the same One who created the world, and that is God.  You cannot explain the existence of a hen or an egg without God, and yet you hope to be able to explain the existence of this world without God.” 

The young man became silent for a moment, then he quietly took his hat and left the house.   

People often think that they are very wise and yet deny that God exists, then they imagine all kinds of foolish ideas to explain how the world an all things came into being.  The Bible clearly tells us, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” Genesis 1:1. 

A drink of cold water 

A young English woman was sent to France to attend a Huguenot Christian school in Paris.  A few days before the dreadful massacre of St Batholomew's Day (August 23-24, 1572) when many thousands of French Protestants were murdered.  Just before this terrible day, she and and some companions were taking a walk in an area where guards were stationed. 

Suddenly a soldier asked the ladies if one of them would bring him a drink of water.  He said he was feeling very ill, but he was not allowed to leave his post to get a drink. 

The ladies ignored him and walked on, but the young English woman had pity on him and went and procured a drink of water and brought it to the soldier.  He was very thankful and asked what was her name and where she lived; she then told him. 

When she joined the other women, they complained how unwise she was to  give him a drink and especially to tell him her name and where she lived. 

But this was the means of saving her life.  During the night of the dreadful slaughter, this soldier was so grateful that he planned a way to save this young woman. While all the other people in the house where they were staying, were murdered,  she was spared and delivered from danger. 

While we should always act wisely in all that we do, we should always be ready to show kindness and sympathy to those in need. 

 

The difficulty of reading prayers 

One young man became convinced that the  prayers recorded in the Bible were  read and not spoken by the person praying.  He believed this was so because they seem to be so well worded and said such wonderful things that no one could pray them by himself.  He became so sure in his own mind that no one could convince him this was not true. 

At last he went to see a learned man, Dr. Chapin, to tell him what he believed.  Mr. Chapin listened to his theory, then said, “There is one question I would like to ask you, ' Who held the lamp for Jonah when he read his prayer inside the whale's belly.” 

The young man became very silent and soon dropped his odd theory.   

 

 

 

Doubter convinced 

For many years many sailors believed that there was a dangerous reef in a certain part of the Mediterranean Sea, but some sailors questioned whether such a reef existed at all. 

One man who was the Captain of the boat, The Thetis, decided to search for this reef.  He sailed one way and another in the area, but nothing was found. He then declared that there was definitely no dangerous reef in that vicinity. 

But one man who was on that ship was not convinced; he obtained another vessel and set out to carefully search.  He had a very definite plan and sailed  methodically over the area where the reef was said to exist.  After a time, he discovered a reef of rocks.  Her reported his findings to the Admiralty and they were inserted in the charts.  He received high recognition for his discovery. 

When the previous Captain heard of the discovery, he refused to believe it; in fact he mocked the report.  Two years later he was sailing in the same area, when it was reported to him that they were near the reef.  He laughed and said he had proved that it did not exist.  He had just sailed over the reef as he thought when there was a great crash and the ship began to founder.  With great difficulty most of the people on board were saved, but he was not rescued,  A great wave engulfed the ship and it went down immediately taking the unbelieving Captain with it.   

Many people, like the Captain,  refuse to believe the warnings of God's word, that there are great dangers they should avoid, and of the wrath to come upon those who do not repent and believe the gospel. However God's judgment will come upon them suddenly but surely and they shall be convinced when it is too late. 

 

The unforgiving Knight 

 

During the Middle Ages there were many knights, who often fought against each other. One one occasion a certain knight learned that a neighbouring knight, who was his enemy, planned to travel past his place.  He would not be prepared for battle, so this was a good opportunity for him to attack and defeat him. 

The knight mentioned his plan in the presence of his chaplain, who tried to persuade him not to carry out his plan to attack his enemy.  The good man tried to explain to him the sin that he was going to commit, but it was all in vain. 

At last he said, “My lord since I cannot persuade you to give up this plan of yours, will you at least let us pray together before you carry out this attack?” The knight consented,  and the chaplain and he knelt together in prayer.  Then the chaplain said, “Will you repeat after me, sentence by sentence, the prayer which our Lord Jesus Christ taught to His disciples?” “I will do it.” replied the Knight. 

The chaplain said one sentence at a time, and the knight repeated it, until he came to the petition, “Forgive us our trespasses (sins) as we forgive them that trespass against us.”    

The knight remained silent. “My lord, you are silent.” said the chaplain “Please repeat the words after me, 'Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us.” 

  “I cannot” replied the knight. “Well, God cannot forgive you.  The Lord Himself has given this prayer.  Therefore you must either give up your revenge, or give up saying this prayer.  To ask God to forgive you as you forgive others while you are planning to take revenge on someone who has offended you,  is to ask God to punish you for all your sins.  Go my lord, and meet your enemy  and God will meet you on the great day of judgment “ 

The determination of the knight was broken.  “No.” he said, “ I will finish my prayer, ''My God, my Father, pardon me; forgive me as I desire to forgive him who has offended me; and lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.”  “Amen!” said the chaplain in a loud voice.  The knight was delivered from taking revenge and had learned an important lesson about forgiving others from the Lord's prayer. 

The Lord Jesus said,  “If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Matthew 6:14-15. 

Following the wrong light 

The captain of a steam-ship 'The Great Britain' was deceived by a light on the coast of Ireland which he thought was the one to guide ships through deep water.  As a result, the ship sailed on to rocks. 

He had checked the shipping chart and he was on the lookout.  But he mistook a light for the correct light that was  to guide ships.  So his ship was sailed onto rocks and completely wrecked.   

 

There are many lights which claim to direct us in the right way in our life.  Some of these lights are human theories on how we should live and what we should believe.  Some of these lights seem to show us a pleasing course for our lives. 

But there is only one true light to guide us.  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world, he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. 

Christ, The True light guides us in a safe, sure way that leads to heaven and glory.  But the ideas and theories of men will ultimately lead us to ruin, and eternal separation from God. 

The way the Lord directs us is recorded in His word, the Bible. In it we find the 'path of life' and are warned of every false and evil way.    

 

Church bones? 

Churches often have members which may be compared to five bones. 

Some are “Wish Bones” They always wish that others would do the work that needs doing. 

Others are  “Jaw Bones”. Those who do much talking but very little else. 

Some are “Knuckle Bones”. They are quick to pick fights and to knock what others do. 

Some are “lazy Bones” There is much they could do, but they do not . 

But others may be called “Back Bones”  They are the hard workers in the church and help carry the load of responsibility.   Which kind of Bone are you?. 

 

The Conversion of Noah Webster 

 

Noah Webster (1758-1843) was the writer of the well-known 'Webster's Dictionary.'  He grew up in a Christian family and regularly heard God's word preached by a faithful preacher, Mr. Moses Stuart.   But Webster felt that  it was not necessary to be converted and have faith in Christ.   

Mr. Webster's wife was a sincere Christian; when his two  daughters were aged 16 and 14, they both became concerned that they were not saved and did not know the Lord.  Their concern was very obvious to Mr. Webster. 

He wrote a letter to the minister telling him that his daughters did not need any change of heart as they were good enough.  He told the minister that he did not want him to talk to his daughters any more about salvation. 

Mr. Webster decided to send his eldest daughter to visit some friends, hoping that it would change her interest.  However, while she was away, the Lord graciously drew her to Himself and she was saved. The younger daughter, who remained at home, was also saved and found peace in Christ.      

The change in her life was very clear to Mr. Webster; he realised that he had never experienced such a change.  He now began to be troubled about his spiritual state before God.  For days he shut himself in his study reading his Bible, seeking to know what it said about his condition before God.  At last he sent for Mr. Stuart and told him that he realised that he was a sinner without any excuse.   

He soon found peace by believing in Christ alone; not long after his conversion he confessed his faith in Christ in his church.  His two daughters confessed their faith as well. 

Noah Webster lived to the age of eighty four years; His testimony at the end of his life was: “I have not one small doubt or fear.  I know whom I have believed (Christ) , and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him till that day.”  2 Timothy 1:12.    

 

Never leave Christ out 

People regularly need to hear of the way of salvation through Christ.  This does not mean that the other truths of God's word are to be neglected, but salvation through the grace of Christ should be preached clearly and often.  This is because life is very uncertain, and because people often presume that they are saved because they attend a place of worship. 

This truth was brought home to a faithful preacher on one occasion.  A man who had attended a service on the Sunday, and seemed to be in good health;  died that very night. 

The preacher was shocked; then he began to wonder if his sermon mentioned anything about Christ being the Saviour of those who trust in Him?  He read through his sermon notes to see if he had said anything which might be blessed by God to a person who was not saved. 

He found that his sermon contained instruction for Christians, but there was not one word that told an unsaved of their need to trust in Christ.   

 The preacher was very distressed and asked God to forgive him, and he promised the Lord, that with His help, he would always include some word which may be blessed to a lost sinner. 

The apostle Paul tells us that when he preached at the city of Corinth, he, “determined not to know anything among them but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2. 

 

Praying and waiting 

Some people's prayers resemble the mischievous tricks of children, who knock at someone's door and then run away. 

They often knock at God's door of mercy in their prayers, and instead of waiting for an answer, they forget all about the things they asked God for.  They act as though God would never answer their prayers. 

We are told in Ephesians 6:18  “Praying with all prayer...and watching thereunto with all perseverance.” 

A sad request 

A young man was very troubled in his life; he had thoughts about God and the judgment day, which worried him.  When he looked at his life he saw that it was not right, and remembered that he would one day die and give an account for his sins. 

He longed to be free from all these troublesome thoughts and to have peace in his mind.  He then went into a quiet place and deliberately asked God to leave him alone and to take the Holy Spirit away. 

This was a dreadful prayer to make, and it was answered.  He arose from prayer and all his concerns were gone.  He felt that he was free to live as he pleased and to enjoy himself. 

For the next twenty or more years he lived a very happy life, but he became sick and knew that he would die.  He spoke to a friend of his, “I know that I shall soon be in hell. Nothing can save me.  My doom was fixed when I asked God to leave me, and yet I am not worried about the future.” 

 

In Job 21:14 we are told of those who say unto God, “Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways.”  When they hear about God and are troubled about their sins, they harden their hearts and ask God to depart from them. 

Sometimes God is merciful to those who pray foolish prayers and changes their evil hearts, but there are occasions when He leaves them to their own evil ways and they become more and more set in their evil ways and hardened against the Lord and His word.  He gives them what they desired and they have no one to blame but themselves. 

We should always be careful not to pray in such a foolish way, but to ask God to be merciful to us.  Even if a person is delivered from their concerns  for a time and can live as they please, they still have to die and meet God. 

 

The pleasures of sin only last for a season,  but the results of those evil will last for eternity.  It is far better to go weeping and troubled into heaven, than to go laughing and happy into hell forever.  Believers in heaven shall have everlasting joys, but sinners in hell will have everlasting pain and remorse. 

 

 

The effects of sin 

 

A Painter wanted to paint a picture of Innocence.  After he had thought much about this picture, he chose a young boy named Rupert.   He was kneeling beside his mother, his eyes were turned toward heaven, his hands pressed together, his face was peaceful, innocent and devotion. 

The artist was very pleased with his painting for he had taken great pains to produce it.  He hung it in his studio where everyone could see it.  He named the painting 'Innocence'. 

After many years and the painter was now an aged man, he still admired this picture of Innocence. Often he thought that he should paint a picture which contrasted with his favourite portrait.  He sought for some time to find a picture of Guilt, but he could not find one. 

At last he decided to visit a neighbouring jail so see if he could find a suitable character.  He entered into a dungeon, where he found a man lying on a damp floor  bound with iron chains. His body was wasted, his cheeks were hollow, his eyes were red and sunk.  He showed every sign of sin and misery. He cursed and swore continually – here was just the character the painter was looking for. He was able to paint a picture of the ruined man named Randal.. 

Now the two portraits, Rupert and Randal hung side by side in his studio 

But who was young Rupert, who knelt beside his mother in meek devotion?  And who was Randal that lay chained on the dungeon floor, cursing and blaspheming?  Sad to say! they were the same person, only his name had been changed.   

He had been led by evil companions into the paths of sin,  then he went deeper and deeper into evil, and his life was destroyed by bitterness and crime, until he was cast into prison. 

 

 The bright, innocent face of Rupert had become darkened by guilt and shame.  The change was not only outward for all to see, but his heart which once was filled with joy, now was filled with hatred, corruption and crime. 

Sin is our great enemy; it leads to destruction and misery, not only in this life but in the life to come. 

 

Prof. Dr. Benno A. Zuiddam