Present Truth Articles Online
“Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:2) I pray that you are doing well today. Please forgive me for the long delay in getting this paper out. I wanted to share with you some of our experiences while we were on the road last month. Please see page 8 for this report. We will not have a Crossword Bible Study this month, but we will try to have one for you next month. The Lord willing, we will continue Waggoner’s study on Romans next month.
In this Issue
by Alonzo T. Jones
by Aland Ashton
by Curtis Kline
by Lynnford Beachy
The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection (Part 2)
by Alonzo T. Jones
(We are continuing a series of studies on Gods plan of salvation as revealed in the sanctuary. We pray they will be a blessing to you. Editor)
Chapter 3—Christ as Man
Christ’s likeness to God, as set forth in the first chapter of Hebrews, is only introductory to the setting forth of His likeness to men, as in the second chapter of Hebrews.
His likeness to God, as in the first chapter of Hebrews, is the only basis of true understanding of His likeness to men, as in the second chapter of Hebrews.
And this likeness to God, as given in the first chapter of Hebrews, is likeness—not in the sense of a mere picture or representation—but is likeness in the sense of being actually like in very nature—the very “impress of His substance,” Spirit of Spirit, substance of substance, of God.
And this is given as the preliminary to our understanding of His likeness to men. That is to say: from this we are to understand that His likeness to men is not merely in shape, in picture, or representation, but in nature, in very substance. Otherwise, the whole first chapter of Hebrews, with all its detail of information, is, in that connection, meaningless and misplaced.
What, then, is this truth of Christ made in the likeness of men, as given in the second chapter of Hebrews?
Bearing in mind the great thought of the first chapter and the first four verses of the second chapter,—of Christ in contrast with the angels, higher than the angels, as God,—we begin with the fifth verse of the second chapter, where begins the thought of Christ in contrast with the angels, lower than the angels, as man.
So we read: “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus,…” (Hebrews 2:5-9)
That is to say: God has not put in subjection to the angels the world to come, but He has put it in subjection to man—yet not the man to whom it was originally put in subjection, for, though it was so, yet now we see it not so. The man lost his dominion, and instead of having all things in subjection under his feet, he himself is now in subjection to death. And he is in subjection to death only because he is in subjection to sin, for “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12) He is in subjection to death because he is in subjection to sin, for death is only the wages of sin.
Nevertheless, it stands eternally true that not unto the angels hath He put in subjection the world to come, but unto man. And, now, Jesus Christ is THE MAN.
For, though this dominion having been put in subjection to man and though now we see it not so, though man was given the dominion over all, and now we see that dominion lost to that particular man, yet we do “see Jesus,” as man, come to regain that original dominion. We do “see Jesus” as man, come to have all things put in subjection under Him.
That man was the first Adam; this other Man is the last Adam. That first Adam was made a little lower than the angels; this last Adam, Jesus, also we see “made a little lower than the angels.”
That first man did not remain in the position where he was made, “lower than the angels.” He lost that and went still lower and became subject to sin and, in that, subject to suffering, even to the suffering of death.
And the last Adam we see in the same place, in the same condition: “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death.” (Hebrews 2:9) And again: “Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all OF ONE.” (Hebrews 2:11)
He which sanctifieth is Jesus. They who are sanctified are men of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples. And one man sanctified out of any nation, any kindred, any tongue, or any people, is divine demonstration that every soul of that nation, kindred, tongue, or people might have been sanctified. And Jesus, having become one of these that He might bring them to glory is proof that He is one of mankind altogether; that He, as man, and all men themselves, are “all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Hebrews 2:11)
Therefore, as in heaven He was higher than the angels, as God; so on earth He was lower than the angels, as man. As when He was higher than the angels, as God, He and God were of one; so when He was on the earth, lower than the angels, as man, He and man are “of one.” So that just as certainly as, on the side of God, Jesus and God are of one—of one Spirit, of one nature, of one substance; so, on the side of man, Christ and man are “of one”—of one flesh, of one nature, of one substance.
The likeness of Christ to God is in substance as well as in form. And the likeness of Christ to man is in substance as well as in form. Otherwise, there is no meaning in the first chapter of Hebrews as introductory to the second chapter—no meaning in the antitheses between the first and second chapters, and the first chapter is out of place and empty, as a basis of introduction to the second chapter.
Chapter 4—“He Took Part of the Same”
The first chapter of Hebrews reveals that Christ’s likeness to God is not simply in form or representation but also in very substance, and the second chapter as clearly reveals that His likeness to men is not simply in form or in representation but also in very substance. It is likeness to men as they are in all things, exactly as they are. Wherefore, it is written: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1-14)
And that this is likeness to man as he is in his fallen, sinful nature and not as he was in his original, sinless nature is made certain by the word: “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death.” Therefore, as man is since he became subject to death, this is what we see Jesus to be, in His place as man.
Therefore, just as certainly as we see Jesus lower than the angels, unto the suffering of death, so certainly it is by this demonstrated that, as man, Jesus took the nature of man as he is since death entered and not the nature of man as he was before he became subject to death.
But death entered only because of sin; had not sin entered, death never could have entered. And we see Jesus made lower than the angels for the suffering of death. Therefore we see Jesus made in the nature of man, as man is since man sinned and not as man was before sin entered. For this He did that He might “taste death for every man.” In becoming man that he might reach man, He must come to man where man is. Man is subject to death. Therefore Jesus must become man, as man is since he is subject to death.
“For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:10) Thus, in becoming man, it became Him to become such as man is. Man is subject to sufferings. Therefore it became Him to come to the man where he is—in his sufferings.
Before man sinned he was not in any sense subject to sufferings. And for Jesus to have come in the nature of man as he was before sin entered, would have been only to come in a way and in a nature in which it would be impossible for Him to know the sufferings of man and therefore impossible to reach him to save him. But since it became Him, in bringing men unto glory, to be made perfect through sufferings, it is certain that Jesus in becoming man partook of the nature of man as he is since he became subject to suffering, even the suffering of death, which is the wages of sin.
And so it is written: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same.” (Verse 14) He, in His human nature, took the same flesh and blood that men have. All the words that could be used to make this plain and positive are here put together in a single sentence.
The children of men are partakers of flesh and blood, and because of this He took part of the same.
But this is not all. He also took part of the same flesh and blood as that of which the children are partakers.
Nor is this all. He also Himself took part of the same flesh and blood as that of which the children of men are partakers.
Nor yet is this all. He also Himself likewise took part of the same flesh and blood as that of which men are partakers.
Thus the Spirit of inspiration so much desires that this truth shall be made so plain and emphatic as to be understood by all, that He is not content to use any fewer than all the words that could be used that just as, and just as certainly as, “the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same” flesh and blood.
And this He did in order “that through death He might… deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Verse 15) He took part of the same flesh and blood as we have in the bondage of sin and the fear of death, in order that He might deliver us from the bondage of sin and the fear of death.
And so, “Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.”
This great truth of the blood-relationship, this blood-brotherhood of Christ with men is taught in the gospel in Genesis. For when God made His everlasting covenant with Abraham, the sacrifices were cut in two and He, with Abraham, passed between the pieces. (See Genesis 15:8-18; Jeremiah 34:18, 10; & Hebrews 7:5, 9.) By this act the Lord entered into “the most solemn covenant known to the Oriental” or to Mankind,—the blood covenant,—and thus became blood-brother to Abraham, “a relation which outranks every other relation in life.”
This great truth of Christ’s blood-relationship to man is further taught in the gospel in Leviticus. In the gospel in Leviticus there is written the law of redemption of men and their inheritances. When any one of the children of Israel had lost his inheritance or himself had been brought into bondage, there was redemption provided. If he was able of himself to redeem himself or his inheritance, he could do it. But if he was not able of himself to redeem, then the right of redemption fell to his nearest of kin in blood-relationship. It fell not merely to one who was near of kin among his brethren but to the one who was nearest of kin who was able. (See Leviticus 25:24-28; 47-49; Ruth 2:20; 3:9, 12, 13; 4:1-14, with the marginal readings.)
Thus in Genesis and Leviticus there has been taught through all these ages the very truth which we find here taught in the second chapter of Hebrews—the truth that man has lost his inheritance and is himself also in bondage. And as he himself can not redeem himself nor his inheritance, the right of redemption falls to the nearest of kin who is able. And Jesus Christ is the only one in all the universe who is able.
But to be the Redeemer he must be not only able, He must be a blood relative. And He must also be not only near of kin, but the nearest of kin and the nearest of kin by blood-relationship. Therefore, “as the children” of man—as the children of the one who lost our inheritance—“are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same”—took part of flesh and blood in very substance like ours and so became our nearest of kin. And therefore it is written that He and we “are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call us brethren.”
But the Scripture does not stop even yet with the statement of this all-important truth. It says, further: “For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren” (Hebrews 2:16, 17), whose blood-brother He became in the confirming of that everlasting covenant.
And this He did in order that wherein “He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18) For He was “touched with the feeling of our infirmities;” being “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) Being made in His human nature in all things like as we are, He could be and He was tempted in all points like as we are. The only way in which He could possibly be tempted “like as we are” was to become “in all things” “like as we are.”
As in His human nature He is one of us, and as “Himself took our infirmities” (Matthew 8:17), He could be “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” Being in all things made like us, He, when tempted, felt just as we feel when we are tempted, and knows all about it, and so can help and save to the uttermost all who will receive Him. As in His flesh, and as Himself in the flesh, He was as weak as we are and of Himself could “do nothing” (John 5:30); so when He bore “our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4) and was tempted as we are, feeling as we feel, by His divine faith He conquered all by the power of God which that faith brought Him, and which in our flesh He has brought to us.
Therefore, His name is called Emmanuel which is “God with us.” Not God with Him only but God with us. God was with Him in eternity and could have been with Him even though He had not given Himself for us. But man through sin became without God, and God wanted to be again with us. Therefore Jesus became “us” that God with Him might be “God with us.” And that is His name, because that is what He is. Blessed be His name.
And this is “the faith of Jesus” and the power of it. This is our Saviour—one of God and one of man—and therefore able to save to the uttermost every soul who will come to God by Him.
Chapter 5—“Made Under the Law”
“Christ Jesus,… being in the form of God,… emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5-7, R.V.) He was made in the likeness of men, as men are, just where they are.
“The Word was made flesh.” (John 1:14) He “took part of the same” (Hebrews 2:14) flesh and blood as that of which the children of men are partakers, as they are since man has fallen into sin. And so it is written: “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made… under the law.” (Galatians 4:4)
To be under the law is to be guilty, condemned, and subject to the curse. For it is written: “We know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that… all the world may become guilty before God.” This because “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:19, 23; 6:14)
And the guilt of sin brings the curse. In Zechariah 5:1-4, the prophet beheld a “flying roll; the length thereof… twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits.” The Lord said to him: “This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth.” And what is the cause of this curse over the face of the whole earth? This: “For every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it.”
That is, this roll is the law of God, one commandment being cited from each table, showing that both tables of the law are included in the roll. Every one that stealeth—every one that transgresseth the law in the things of the second table—shall be cut off as on this side of the law according to it, and every one that sweareth—every one that transgresseth in the things of the first table of the law—shall be cut off as on that side of the law according to it.
The heavenly recorders keep a faithful record of our sins, indicating on the roll that pertains to man the particular commandment that is violated in each transgression. And that such a roll of the law does go with every man wherever he goes and even abides in his house is plain from the next words: “I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by My name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house.”
And unless a remedy shall be found, there that roll of the law will remain until the curse shall consume that man, and his house, “with the timber thereof and the stones thereof:” that is, until the curse shall devour the earth in that great day when the very elements shall melt with fervent heat. For “the strength of sin” and the curse “is the law.” (1 Corinthians 15:56; Isaiah 24:5, 6; 2 Peter 3:10-12)
But, thanks be to God, “God sent forth His son, made… under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.” (Galatians 4:4, 5) By His coming He brought redemption to every soul who is under the law. But in order perfectly to bring that redemption to men under the law, He Himself must come to men, just where they are and as they are, under the law.
And this “was made.”He did, for he was “made under the law;” He was made “guilty;” He was made condemned by the law; He was “made” as guilty as any man is guilty who is under the law. He was “made” under condemnation as fully as any man is under condemnation because of his violation of the law. He was “made” under the curse as completely as any man in the world has ever been or ever can be under the curse. For it is written: “He that is hanged [“on a tree”] is accursed of God.” (Deuteronomy 21:23)
The Hebrew makes this stronger still, for the literal translation is: “He that hangeth on a tree is the curse of God.” And this is exactly the strength of the fact respecting Christ, for it is written that He was “made a curse.” Thus, when He was made under the law, He was made all that it means to be under the law. He was made guilty; He was made condemned; He was made a curse.
But bear in mind forever that all this He “was made.” He was none of this of Himself, of native fault, but all of it he “was made.” And He was made it all for us: for us who are under the law; for us who are under condemnation because of transgression of the law; for us who are under the curse because of swearing and lying and killing and stealing and committing adultery and all the other infractions of the roll of God’s law that goeth with us and that remaineth in our house.
He was made under the law to redeem them that are under the law. He was made a curse to redeem them that are under the curse because of being under the law.
But for whomsoever it was done, and whatsoever is accomplished by the doing of it, there must never be forgotten the fact that, in order to the doing of that which was done He had to be “made” that which those already were for whom the thing was done.
Any man, therefore, in all the world, who knows guilt, by that very thing knows also what Jesus felt for him and by this knows how close Jesus has come to him. Whosoever knows what is condemnation in that knows exactly what Jesus felt for him and so knows how thoroughly Jesus is able to sympathize with him and to redeem him. Whosoever knows the curse of sin, “the plague of his own heart,” in that can know exactly what Jesus experienced for him and how entirely Jesus identified Himself, in very experience, with him.
Bearing guilt, being under condemnation and so under the weight of the curse, Jesus, a whole lifetime in this world of guilt, condemnation, and the curse, lived the perfect life of the righteousness of God, without ever sinning at all. And whenever any man knowing guilt, condemnation, and the curse of sin, and knowing that Jesus actually felt in His experience all this just as man feels it; then, in addition, that man by believing in Jesus can know in his experience the blessedness of the perfect life of the righteousness of God in his life to redeem him from guilt, from condemnation, and from the curse; and to be manifested in his whole lifetime to keep him from ever sinning at all.
Christ was made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law. And that blessed work is accomplished for every soul who accepts of that redemption.
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” (Galatians 3:13) His being made a curse is not in vain: it accomplishes all that was intended by it in behalf of every man who will receive it. For it was all done “that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Gal. 3:14.
Still, whatever was intended by it and whatever is accomplished by it, there must always be borne in mind by every soul the FACT that, in His condescension, in His emptying Himself and being “made in the likeness of men” and “made flesh,” He was made under the law, guilty,—under condemnation, under the curse,—as really and as entirely as is any soul that shall ever be redeemed.
And having passed through it all, He is the author of eternal salvation and is able to save to the uttermost from deepest loss all who come unto God by Him.
(To be continued)
(This article was taken from pages 17-39 of the book, The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection, by Alonzo T. Jones. Some editing has been done for this publication. Editor)
Fundamental Principles of Health
by Curtis Kline
Exercise Part 2
Last month we talked about the importance of exercise. This month I would like to talk about the right kinds of exercise and also some dos and don’ts. So let’s start with the good types of exercise, then we will get to those that are not so good. worse. First off let’s start with gardening. Gardening is one of the best forms of exercise. It is done usually in the open air and sunshine. It requires many different types of movement. It requires strength at times and also provides the body with a sense of satisfaction of accomplishment. Done properly gardening also provides us with the proper nutrition to put on our tables.
Before going further please notice carefully that when God’s eight laws of health are practiced properly and combined as they should be, there is a synergistic effect on the system, and the benefits are reaped to a much higher degree than practicing any one by themselves.
Another great exercise is walking. Walking, done properly, exercises almost every muscle in the body. Walking should be done outdoors optimally on a hilly terrain. This will allow for a better cardiovascular workout, and the peaceful environment will put the mind in a better condition. Walking should be done with the body erect and the head up and back, taking deep inhalations with the lungs.
Gardening and walking are in my opinion the two best forms of exercise when done properly. Other good exercises (when done properly) can include aerobics, calisthenics, biking, hiking, canoeing/kayaking, rebounding, and mild non-competitive sports. Although these can all be good, none can give you the sense of satisfaction as gardening. Being able to cooperate with God in providing for our own sustenance and also for our community simply makes gardening the best of the best. This is very biblical, for this is the very first employment God gave to man. Although he changed the conditions it was still for man’s good after the fall.
I would like to touch on one more form of exercise that I do not recommend; that is running. Although running is probably better than not exercising at all, there are many disadvantages that come with it. First of all, running is very hard on the joints. The constant jumping up and down on the pavement causes many joint problems. Also running is very hard on the system. It takes the heart rate up to levels that are above that recommended and puts too much stress on the entire system. The more you run and the further you run the worse the results. If you are currently running all you have to do is start power walking, it is far superior to your health than running is.
What is the optimal frequency and intensity of our exercises? I believe one should have at least twenty minutes of good exercise per day. We should also be careful to practice moderation and not take exercise to the point where it puts stress on the body, as mentioned above concerning running. Signs of stress include, but are not limited to, lightheadedness and exhaustion.
I would like to close with some thoughts about what might take away from the desired results of exercise or may even be flat out detrimental. Exercise should be done outdoors whenever possible. Before signing up at a gym to exercise please consider some of the following. Indoor air is not of the same quality as outdoor air, and all outdoor air is not the same either. Country air or air around large bodies of water is optimal, while city air is polluted and to be avoided. The bigger the city, the more cars and factories, the more polluted is the air. Also, gyms usually play music that is detrimental to the health. Most beat-music goes against the natural biorhythms of the body and cannot be recommended. This is why you don’t find drums in God’s services in the Bible. Also all the mirrors in the gym tend to lead towards vanity and pull our thoughts away from our Creator. For these reasons, and more that are not mentioned, I cannot recommend gyms for exercise, except in rare cases where these problems do not exist.
I hope now that all of us can see the importance of exercise and some of the dos and don’ts. Until next month, may God keep you according to His will. (1 John 3:2)
(The above article was provided by Curtis Kline, Director of Ministry of Healing and Restoration, Canvas, WV. For more in-depth information he can be contacted at (304) 872-4463 or firstname.lastname@example.org. While we believe the principles in this article can be helpful, we are not responsible for any negative effects resulting from the use of remedies or recommendations herein. Use them at your own risk. Editor)
How Good is the Truth, if Nobody Knows it?
by Aland Ashton - Lima, Peru
Dear brothers and sisters. I pray to our Almighty Father in heaven, through His only begotten Son, for you to have wisdom and discernment to understand this article.
I am writing this, as a report from Peru and parts of South America, where we distribute tracts. As we approach the end of days, it is very important to know the word of God for humanity. It is written that God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Psalm 119:105) So I ask myself, “How can human beings walk without the word of God?” “Are they walking without light or knowledge?” The prophet David wrote, “Thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness.” (2 Samuel 22:29)
Recently, I got up early in the morning and earnestly sought God. (Job 8:5) I pleaded with our heavenly Father, How good is the truth, if nobody knows it? Later, around 10:00 a.m., I sat at the porch of our house and saw people going by in every direction. My question was. Do they know God? Do they have relationships with God? Do they know His truth? Do they know the way of salvation? What do they know? Some of them wear rosaries on their necks, others wear or hang crosses around their necks or in their cars. Others go by and make, what they call, the sign of the cross in front of their faces, and they continue on their way. The word truth in the Spanish dictionary (La Real Academia Españòla, 1984 Edition) means, the conformity to fact or reality. God said, “My people perish for the lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6) God wants more knowledge to come to the human race. As it is written in 1 Timothy 2:4, He wants all humanity to be delivered and come to the full knowledge of the truth. So this truth can only reach the whole world through the ones who know it; those to whom the truth has been revealed.
My brethren, it is sad to see this world heading for ruin. Peru and South America are like Roman Catholic factories. Here, the Catholics use the misery of people, and the charity given to them as a means to gaining and owning the minds of the people; promoting their self destruction.
We are here in Peru by the will of God. He is keeping us here in Peru for the purpose of spreading His truth by going out on the streets with tracts. Sometimes it is hard to go into wealthy neighborhoods when we know that rejection is more likely, because they are totally controlled by Roman Catholics. Most people have been raised in Catholic traditions and educated in Roman Catholic schools.
We are thankful for the power of God’s presence in giving us words to speak so that the tracts reach people’s hands with acceptance. We see God’s power at work to rebuke the unclean spirits through prayers. (Matthew 10:1) We rejoice when we see the tracts reach people of every social condition and when we see the faces with expressions of thankfulness for the truth that feeds their minds. We praise God when we hear the ring of the doorbell or the knocking at the door when people come to request a copy of the “The Trinity Doctrine” pamphlet. We know that only the truth will set them free. (John 8:32)
So, to the saints I say: “Knowing the truth for ourselves will not do any good if we do not share it.”
Sometimes when we are riding on the bus or visiting the market people do not have the time to listen to us preach to them. Everybody is in a hurry or busy with their own things. But, through the tracts the word of God can reach them and inspire them to seek or read more. If we pray and seek God’s anointing, we can reach the people! People will take a tract and then we can let go, let God. Fulfil the word to invite people to the kingdom of God and then let the love of God be poured upon them, by you being the instrument of God.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:13-15)
Look at your feet and see how beautiful they are when you put a tract in the hands of those who know not God which allows the truth to reach their hearts.
How sad it is when there is no support to continue in the battle, or when your ammunition is finished. How long does Argentina have to wait for the truth to reach them, or Chile, Paraguay, Ecuador, etc. (Matthew 24:14) Why do we feel so good to do so little, when we can do so much more? I thank God for the saints, who support our work in Peru. I want to let you know that if in Peru and the forgotten cities of the Andes and the Amazon, if someone knows the truth it is because God inspired you to help. God bless you and keep you. (Numbers 6:24-26)
(Aland Ashton writes from his home in Lima, Peru, where he publishes and distributes tracts, and feeds orphans. Please keep him and his work in your prayers. You may contact him by e-mail at: email@example.com, or by postal mail at: Avenida Nicolas de Ayllon No. 737, Correo Central de Chaclacay, Lima 8, Peru. Editor)
Southeastern Trip Report
by Lynnford Beachy
As mentioned last month, my family and I planned a trip to the southeastern part of the US during the entire month of February. We had been anticipating the trip for a long time and were anxious to visit our brethren around the country. While we were preparing to go on this trip, my sister graciously offered to let us use her late-model, large cargo van to go on this trip. After prayerful consideration, we took her up on her generous offer; it worked out very nicely. We were able to put a bed in the back, as well as a closet for our clothes, and a seat for our children; it all fit very well. We were extremely thankful for the use of this van. We packed the van with our things and a few boxes of literature, and we were on our way.
Roan Mountain, Tennessee
Our first stop was Roan Mountain, Tennessee. On January 28 we had a wonderful Sabbath with Pastor Malcolm McCrillis and the church there. Even though we had been to this church many times, there were several people there whom I had never met previously. It was nice to have had the opportunity to meet them for the first time. Some of them had come up from Asheville, North Carolina, and they expressed their desire to host meetings in Asheville which have been planned for the early part of July. We will update you on these meetings in upcoming issues of Present Truth.
After a dear sister shared a good Sabbath School lesson on the sanctuary, I shared a study on faith, and continued the message after lunch. After the meetings I answered questions, and then spent a wonderful evening in the McCrillis home.
On our way to our next meetings we visited some brethren in Greeneville, some of whom we had not seen for several years; it was very nice to see them again. We were not able to see as many people as we would have liked, but it was encouraging to see how the Lord has been working with those whom we were able to see. Some of them had not attended church services in years, but their courage was still good.
In Cookeville we were able to visit an elderly brother who has been living alone for many years without any fellowship. We all really appreciated our visit together. We tried to visit sister Kathi Thompson who had been sick for some time, and just got out of the hospital. We had not seen her for more than eight years. She was not up for a visit, but we were able to talk on the phone and have prayer together. She was of good courage despite her difficult circumstances. Please pray for her speedy recovery.
We arrived in Nashville in time to prepare for our evening meetings. DeeDee Herrman had prepared for the meetings and had invited several people to attend. It was designed to be an outreach for new believers. Our meeting the first evening was only attended by a few brethren, all of whom had been in the message for years, so our first meeting enabled us to cover some often-overlooked principles of righteousness by faith. A man was planning to come with his family, but he had trouble with the brakes of his car and could not make it. I spoke with him, and offered to help with his mechanical troubles. He gladly took me up on the offer, so the next morning I met him near his home to work on the brakes. We had a nice visit together, and I left him with some literature. Our meetings that evening were canceled because most of the people were not able to come due to difficult circumstances. We tried to make some visits that evening, but it did not work out, so we departed for our next destination.
David Adkins was kind enough to arrange a meeting place and to be in charge of the preparations for the meetings in the Chattanooga area. There was some trouble in getting a meeting place in Collegedale, where we wanted to hold the meetings, but a few days prior to the meetings the Lord provided a meeting place in the home of some believers who host meetings in their home every Sabbath. I had not known there was a group of believers in Collegedale. I was thankful for the privilege of meeting these brethren who had just recently learned the truth about God and His Son.
A professor and his wife invited my family and me to eat dinner at their home before the first meeting. We had a very nice time together, and the food was delicious. After dinner we traveled together to the meeting place.
I was happy to see a nice turnout to the first meeting. I had not met any of them before, and it was refreshing to see so many warm, smiling faces. The meeting was on the love of God, and it went well. I was happy to learn of this group of believers who have been having home church for several months.
The following day, which was Sabbath, we had meetings all day. I shared on the sonship of Christ, the one God of the Bible, and righteousness by faith. The meetings were well received. In the evening two brothers came by for a one-on-one study on these subjects, so I sat down with them, and we opened the Bible together. They endeavored to show me that God is made up of three persons. We spent over two hours studying together, but unfortunately it did not seem to be very profitable, except for planting seeds. I am encouraged by Pauls words, I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. (1 Corinthians 3:6) I pray that God will give the increase to these seeds. They were given copies of Gods Love on Trial, as well as some other literature. Many of the others were glad to receive this literature as well.
I was very thankful for my lovely wife, Kendra, being with me at these meetings. She was able to visit with people and encourage them, while I was visiting or having studies with others. She ministered in ways that I couldn’t have, as well as blessing us by sharing her musical talents with us. I thank the Lord for a good wife; she really shined at these meetings. It reminded me of Aquila’s wife, Priscilla, helping when they “expounded unto [Apollos] the way of God more perfectly.” (Acts 18:26) Paul recognized their value, and asked them to accompany him on part of his journey, after which he said that they were his “helpers in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 16:3; see also Acts 18:18.)
After the meetings, we were invited to stay the night with the professor, and we had a wonderful visit together. It was a pleasure to get to know him and his wife. They are very nice people.
We were also able to visit my wife’s brother and some of her childhood friends. We left them with some literature and prayer.
Our next stop was to visit some believers in the Birmingham area. Some of those whom we had planned to visit had circumstances come up that prevented our visit. We were able to visit a lovely family in Birmingham who have been in the message for about a year now. It was encouraging to see how the Lord has been working with them. The father, Erwin, has been studying his Bible a lot, and has written his thoughts down on marker boards which he displayed around the room to teach his family. He is preparing these things so he can teach others also. Please pray that the Lord will work with him to prepare him for this effort and grant that many will learn the truth through his work. Our children really appreciated playing with his well-behaved children.
Our next meetings were held in the church where Charles Wheeling pastors, who is an independent minister who has been publishing books for many years and sending them all over the world. I had never met Charles before this, but a man who attends his church asked him if I could use his facilities to hold meetings. He graciously allowed us to use his facilities on Friday evening and Sabbath afternoon, but he said he would be using the church on Sabbath morning.
We arrived for the meeting on Friday evening, and only a few people were able to come out, including Pastor Wheeling and his wife. I was very glad to meet Charles and his wife. They are very kind-hearted people. His first statement to me was “You’re with Smyrna Gospel Ministries. I wish I had known, I have been on their mailing list for years.” Then he offered me to cancel the meeting that night, since there were so few out, and he would let me have his Sabbath morning meeting. The Sabbath school teacher was there and he offered me to take his slot the next morning as well. This was a very generous offer, and they seemed genuinely happy to allow me teach the whole day on Sabbath.
We returned the next morning, and there were approximately 50 people in attendance, all of whom I was meeting for the first time, with the exception of the family from Birmingham whom I had met earlier in the week, and Brother Walter Kohler and his wife, who had arranged the meetings. It was a blessing to meet so many new people. I informed Pastor Wheeling that the subject of the Trinity doctrine would probably come up in the meetings, and asked if that was okay. He said that the trinity is a false doctrine, but that he did not see it important to make an issue of it. He said I should feel free to share whatever is on my heart.
I shared on the love of God in the first meeting, demonstrating that the real issue between God and Satan surrounds the character of God. Satan says that God is no good and tries to get the whole world to believe this. Christ came to reveal that God is good, that He loves us and wants us all to be saved. In the second meeting I shared on the sonship of Christ. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the presentations in the morning. Everyone in the church was given a copy of Gods Love on Trial as well as some of our other literature.
After a tasty lunch I shared a message on the death of Christ, showing that the Son of God died completely for our sins and that He relied solely upon His Father to raise Him from the dead. It went very well with only a little opposition. Pastor Wheeling was not able to attend this meeting, but his wife was there, along with most of the people who had attended in the morning.
In the second afternoon meeting, I shared on the one God of the Bible. Pastor Wheeling was able to attend this meeting, but many people had to leave early, so it was not as well attended. There was some opposition to the message, but it was clear to most that there is “one God, the Father,… and one Lord, Jesus Christ,” who is “the Son of the Father in truth and love.” (1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 John 1:3)
My wife was a real blessing at these meetings as well, ministering in ways I could not have done alone.
I was very glad to have had the opportunity to meet Pastor Wheeling and his wife. They are very friendly people, and I appreciate the work they are doing to publish good Christian books and make them available at low costs.
Phenix City, Alabama
Our next meetings were held in a church in Phenix City. The church building was nicely built, and our hosts were very kind to us. We felt right at home. We had two evening meetings, focusing on the love of God and the only true God of the Bible. Each night I had the pleasure of meeting several new people. The Lord blessed in the presentations, and a few heard the message for the first time. Our oldest son, Josiah, volunteered to distribute Gods Love on Trial to everyone in the church.
While we were in Phenix City, we were able to make a few visits, and several books were distributed.
Alabama and Georgia Brethren
We left Phenix City to visit some of our dear friends on the Georgia/Alabama line. We were privileged to hear some of the stories of their mission trips to South America. They have children very close to our children’s ages, and we had a wonderful, spiritual time together. We were all encouraged by the visit.
Our next scheduled meeting was at a drug rehabilitation center in Pensacola, Florida. A few days before we were supposed to leave for Pensacola, we received word that about half of the residents at the center had a bad case of the flu, and Chaplain VanOrd did not want to expose more people to the flu, so he canceled the meetings. We were saddened by this, but could see the Lord’s hand in it all. This freed us up to visit some brethren in Georgia whom we had planned to see between our Florida and South Carolina meetings. I could see the truthfulness of Paul’s words, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God,…” (Romans 8:28) As it turned out, our time in Florida was so limited, there was no way we would have been able to visit these dear brethren at a later time, so the Lord worked this out too.
Our friends in Georgia also have children near the same age as our children, so we had a wonderful Sabbath together with more children than adults. We had church in their home, and it worked out very nicely. We focused a lot on the children. Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:14)
On our way to the Florida camp meeting, we stopped to see some of our brethren in the northern part of Florida. We had a very nice time with them. Even though we were going to be seeing them at the camp meeting in a few days, it was really nice to get to visit them in their home. We had good time together.
We were also able to stop and have dinner and fellowship with some of my wifes friends from school. We left them with a copy of Gods Love on Trial, and continued our journey to the camp meeting. By this time we had almost run out of literature, but fortunately we had reimbursements coming to the Florida camp meeting, sent by my diligent secretary, Ruth Ranieri, by way of our dear sister Ann Ford from Smyrna.
Florida Camp Meeting
The camp meeting was very nice. There were nearly 100 people who came out for the meetings. I was glad to be able to meet some of them for the first time. It was also very nice to see several people from our Smyrna chapel who had come down to the camp meeting. We missed them a lot, so it was refreshing to see them again. They stocked me up on literature for the rest of my trip, for which I was thankful. David Clayton and Howard Williams, along with several others came up from Jamaica.
The main topic touched upon by most of the speakers was righteousness by faith. Many things were discussed during the presentations, primarily, our complete inability to do good without Christ, and our need to be born again so Christ’s life can shine out from within. Jesus said, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.” (Matthew 7:18; 12:33) It was refreshing to look at some of these topics again.
A nineteen-year-old son of one of the local speakers had almost died in a car accident a few days before camp meeting. It was miraculous how his life was spared. Looking at the car after the accident, it is hard to believe anyone could have survived that crash. After the camp meeting some of us went to the hospital to visit him and have prayer with him. I shared with him how the Lord miraculously turned my life around when I was 19, and I encouraged him to dedicate his life to God. Please pray for this young man’s total recovery, but most importantly for his salvation.
We traveled down to Miami with the Jamaican brethren, and had a meeting in Miami with some of the brethren who were not able to come up to camp meeting. We tried to fill them in on some of the things they missed at camp meeting.
While we were in Miami, we visited my youngest brother and his wife. They were expecting a child, but shortly after I left Florida I got word that they lost the baby. Please pray for them as they go through this difficult time.
Providentially, at the same time we were in Miami, another one of my brothers, from Indiana, was visiting Miami, so we were able to see him as well.
From there we went over to Naples to visit my mom. We stayed two nights with her, and studied the Bible together. From there we headed north and stopped to see a dear man I had not seen in nearly ten years. We had a very nice visit together, and then we continued to St. Petersburg, where we had dinner with my oldest brother, and then we had a wonderful visit with another family nearby. We met them at camp meeting for just a few moments while they were there, so while visiting their home we were able to get to know them a little bit. It was very nice.
The following morning we visited my wife’s aunt and uncle, and left them with some literature before making our next stop to see my wife’s step brother and their family. They have been believers ever since I gave them a book at one of our family reunions.
Our time in Florida was too brief, and we were not able to see as many people as we had hoped to see, and those whom we did see, we could only stay with them for a short time. We regretted this, but we had to make it to our next destination.
Charleston, South Carolina
Our next scheduled meetings were held in a retired living center in the Charleston area. We stayed in the home of Jerry Zuk. He and his wife are very sweet people, and made us feel right at home.
The meetings went very well. Several of the people I had never met before. There were a few people who came in from the retired living center, or who were visiting, and hearing the message for the first time. The meetings were advertised to be on the love of God, righteousness by faith, end time events, and answers to Bible questions. The Lord really blessed in these meetings, and several people seemed to really appreciate hearing these things for the first time. I was really glad to be able to visit these brethren.
By this time in our trip, we were eager to get home; we had been on the road for over five weeks. Before we went home we had a couple stops to make in North Carolina, where we visited more of our brethren. The first stop we made was to a family who have young twins about the same age as our youngest child, and we were able to have a nice visit together. I had not seen them in a couple of years, so it was very nice to see them again. After a nice discussion on the Bible, we we stopped by Dr. Herb Coles health food store in Hickory, North Carolina. We had not seen him for nearly five years. They have a church that meets in the back of their store each week. Herb requested all the copies of Gods Love on Trial that I had left, so he could distribute them in his store. I told him about our upcoming meetings in Asheville in July, and he wants us to come to his church and hold meetings there also while we are in the area.
We had a very nice visit with Doctor Cole, and then we headed back home, where a lot of very special people in our home church, and a lot of work was awaiting us. We are very glad to be home.
As I look back over the trip, I can see the hand of the Lord at work. I am very happy about the new people who were able to hear the truth about God preached for the first time, as well as other vital truths. I am encouraged to see the faithful souls standing for the truth even though they have so much opposition. Please pray for all of these brethren, that they will hold fast to their confidence unto the end.
As noted in last month’s paper, we are praying about getting a converted bus to allow us to make more of these trips, and to alleviate many of the difficulties encountered on these trips. While we were on this trip, we definitely saw the benefits that an RV or converted bus would provide. We had put a bed in the back of the van, and used it somewhat on our trip, but in the cold weather it was more harm than good. On one occasion our children had gotten sick with a cold, and after staying in the van, the cold weather aggravated it. We had to stay warm and isolated from others for a few days to get over the sickness and to prevent spreading it to others. Fortunately this was at a time when we did not have any scheduled meetings. On our trip we ended up staying in hotels many nights, several nights we were able to stay in the homes of brethren, and a few nights we were able to stay in the van. Meals were a difficulty as well, which having a kitchen would greatly help. But one of the most important reasons for a bus is to provide a stable environment for our children, where they can sleep in the same bed each night and have a place they can call home while we are on the road.
There was some confusion about the bus project as printed last month. Some have indicated to me that they thought the price for a converted bus would be very expensive. It is true that a new bus conversion will cost from $200,000 to over $1,000,000. But an older model, used bus can be acquired from between $15,000 to $50,000. The one pictured in last month’s newsletter is selling for $17,500. There are several reasons why we are looking into a bus as opposed to a regular RV. The main reason is durability. RVs are designed for weekend getaways, and should last for up to 200,000 miles. A coach bus, on the other hand, is designed for cross country, continuous use for millions of miles. People who do similar ministry have told me that they have tried everything else, and that a bus is the only thing that works. The fuel efficiency and initial cost of either a bus or an RV is very similar, so it just makes sense to get a bus. I just wanted to clarify this for our readers.
Please keep this project in your prayers, as well as all of the upcoming meetings. We hope to be seeing you soon at one of these meetings.
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