“And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.” (Acts 1:19)

 

Never was a tract of land more fittingly named than Aceldama, an Aramaic word meaning “field of blood,” for it had been purchased with blood money, “the price of blood” (Matthew 27:6). The purchaser had been Judas (through the “executors” of his estate, as it were, following his suicide), but the blood he sold, to acquire the price of the field, he had deemed “innocent blood.”

The miserable thirty shekels of silver which consummated this transaction was the price of a slave in ancient Israel (Exodus 21:32), but this slave was none other than God incarnate, so the thirty pieces of silver—the price set by the religious leaders of Israel—was the price for the sale of God.

The prophet Zechariah, more than 500 years before, had acted out a prophecy of these strange events: “So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver . . . a goodly price that I was prised at of them” (Zechariah 11:12-13). Next, according to both prophecy and fulfillment, this blood money was cast down in the temple and then used to buy the potter’s field (Zechariah 11:13; Matthew 27:5, 7-8).

These and many other such details in these accounts constitute a remarkable type and fulfillment of prophecy, and thus a testimony of both divine inspiration and divine foreordination. But, more than that, it is a striking picture of the price of our salvation, for the “field of blood” typifies that great field is the world (Matthew 13:38) and Christ is the man who, searching for “treasure hid in a field . . . sold all that he had, and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44). All that He had—the very blood of His life—was willingly shed that we, dead in sins and hidden in the world, might be “purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

THE MOST VALUABLE AWARD

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8

 Henry C. Morrison, after serving for forty years on the African mission field, headed home by boat.  On that same boat also rode Theodore Roosevelt.  Morrison was quite dejected when, on entering New York harbor, President Roosevelt received a great fanfare as he arrived home. Morrison thought he should get some recognition for forty years in the Lord's service.  Then a small voice came to Morrison and said, "Henry you're not home yet."

 In the 1980 Boston Marathon, a young unknown runner named Rosie Ruiz was initially declared the winner in the women's division of the 26-mile race.  An investigation followed and it was discovered that this was only the second marathon in which she had ever run, she had no coach, she trained on an exercise cycle (others did 120 miles of road work per week), and she had not been seen by any of the other women runners in the race.  It was speculated that she probably rode a subway for 16 miles to get near the finish line.  Rosie was disqualified and lost the reward not just the prize for finishing first, but the more lasting satisfaction of attaining a difficult goal.

 Be thinking of the following:

          What was the Apostle looking forward to?  A crown. This crown was not a crown worn by royalty, but by winners. It was made of gold and costly Jewels but from a twisted stick, possibly an olive branch. Its value came from what it signified not what it cost.

1) Its Honesty

The Bible is painfully honest. It shows Jacob, the father of its "chosen people," to be a deceiver. It describes Moses, the lawgiver, as an insecure, reluctant leader, who, in his first attempt to come to the aid of his own people, killed a man, and then ran for life to the desert. It portrays David not only as Israel's most loved king, general, and spiritual leader, but as one who took another man's wife and then, to cover his own sin, conspired to have her husband killed. At one point, the Scriptures accuse the people of God, the nation of Israel, as being so bad they made Sodom and Gomorrah look good by comparison (Ezekiel 16:46-52). The Bible represents human nature as hostile to God. It predicts a future full of trouble. It teaches that the road to heaven is narrow and the way to hell is wide. Scripture was clearly not written for those who want simple answers or an easy, optimistic view of religion and human nature.   

2) Its Preservation

Just as the modern state of Israel was emerging from thousands of years of dispersion, a bedouin shepherd discovered one of the most important archeological treasures of our time. In a cave of the northwest rim of the Dead Sea, a broken jar yielded documents that had been hidden for two millennia. Additional finds produced manuscripts that predated previous oldest copies by 1,000 years. One of the most important was a copy of Isaiah. It revealed a document that is essentially the same as the book of Isaiah that appears in our own Bibles. The Dead Sea scrolls emerged from the dust like a symbolic handshake to a nation coming home. They discredited the claims of those who believed that the original Bible had been lost to time and tampering.

3) Its Claims For Itself

It's important to know what the Bible says about itself. If the authors of Scripture had not claimed to speak for God, it would be presumptuous for us to make that claim for them. We would also have a different kind of problem. We would have a collection of unsolved mysteries, embodied in historical and ethical literature. But we would not have a book that has inspired the building of countless churches and synagogues all over the world. A Bible that did not claim to speak in behalf of God would not have become foundational to the faith of hundreds of millions of Christians and Jews (2 Peter 1:16-21). But with much supporting evidence and argument, the Bible's authors did claim to be inspired by God. Because millions have staked their present and eternal well-being on those claims, the Bible cannot be a good book if its authors consistently lied about their source of information.

4 )Its Miracles

Israel's exodus from Egypt provided a historical basis for believing that God revealed Himself to Israel. If the Red Sea did not part as Moses said it did, the Old Testament loses its authority to speak in behalf of God. The New Testament is just as dependent upon miracles. If Jesus did not rise bodily from the dead, the apostle Paul admits that the Christian faith is built on a lie (1 Corinthians 15:14-17). To show its credibility, the New Testament names its witnesses, and did so within a time-frame that enabled those claims to be tested (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Many of the witnesses ended up as martyrs, not for abstract moral or spiritual convictions but for their claim that Jesus had risen from the dead. While martyrdom is not unusual, the basis on which these people gave their lives is what's important. Many have died for what they believed to be the truth. But people do not die for what they know to be a lie.

5) Its Unity

Forty different authors writing over a period of 1,600 years penned the 66 books of the Bible. Four hundred silent years separated the 39 books of the Old Testament from the 27 of the New Testament. Yet, from Genesis to Revelation, they tell one unfolding story. Together they give consistent answers to the most important questions we can ask: Why are we here? How can we come to terms with our fears? How can we get along? How can we rise above our circumstances and keep hope alive? How can we make peace with our Maker? The Bible's consistent answers to these questions show that the Scriptures are not many books but one.

6) Its Historical And Geographical Accuracy

Down through the ages, many have doubted the historical and geographical accuracy of the Bible. Yet modern archeologists have repeatedly unearthed evidence of the people, places, and cultures described in the Scriptures. Time after time, the descriptions in the biblical record have been shown to be more reliable than the speculations of scholars. The modern visitor to the museums and lands of the Bible cannot help but come away impressed with the real geographical and historical backdrop of the biblical text.

7) Its Endorsement By Christ

Many have spoken well of the Bible, but no endorsement is as compelling as that of Jesus of Nazareth. He recommended the Bible not only by His words but by His life. In times of personal temptation, public teaching, and personal suffering, He made it clear that He believed the Old Testament Scriptures were more than a national tradition (Matthew 4:1-11; 5:17-19). He believed the Bible was a book about Himself. To His countrymen He said, "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life" (John 5:39-40).

8) Its Prophetic Accuracy

From the days of Moses, the Bible predicted events no one wanted to believe. Before Israel went into the Promised Land, Moses predicted that Israel would be unfaithful, that she would lose the land God was giving her, and that she would be dispersed throughout all the world, regathered, and then re-established (Deuteronomy 28-31). Central to Old Testament prophecy was the promise of a Messiah who would save God's people from their sins and eventually bring judgment and peace to the whole world.

9 )Its Survival

The books of Moses were written 500 years before the earliest Hindu Scriptures. Moses wrote Genesis 2,000 years before Muhammad penned the Koran. During that long history, no other book has been as loved or as hated as the Bible. No other book has been so consistently bought, studied, and quoted as this book. While millions of other titles come and go, the Bible is still the book by which all other books are measured. While often ignored by those who are uncomfortable with its teachings, it is still the central book of Western civilization.

10 )Its Power To Change Lives

Unbelievers often point to those who claim to believe in the Bible without being changed by it. But history is also marked by those who have been bettered by this book. The Ten Commandments have been a source of moral direction to countless numbers of people. The Psalms of David have offered comfort in times of trouble and loss. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount has given millions an antidote for stubborn pride and proud legalism. Paul's description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 has softened angry hearts. The changed lives of people like the apostle Paul, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Newton, Leo Tolstoy, and C. S. Lewis illustrate the difference the Bible can make. Even entire nations or tribes, like the Celts of Ireland, the wild Vikings of Norway, or the Auca Indians of Ecuador have been transformed by the Word of God and the unprecedented life and significance of Jesus Christ.

If you do see the evidence for the God who revealed Himself to us through His Son, then keep in mind that the Bible says Christ died to pay the price for our sins, and that all who believe in Him will receive the gifts of forgiveness and everlasting life. The salvation Christ offers is not a reward for effort but a gift to all who in light of the evidence put their trust in Him (John 5:24; Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8-10.

 

If you lived during the fifties and if you happened to be hooked on country music, in all probability you became familiar with an old country doctor who lived and practised in a small town in the western U.S.A. Not only did Doc Brown make a significant contribution to society by engaging in his medical profession, but, as he worked among the people he loved, his services were rendered at a pitifully small fee, making plain his real reason for living.

DOC BROWN The problem was, even at this nominal charge, there were many who could not pay. He simply wrote I.O.U. on all such accounts and hoped for a brighter day. That day of improvement did not arrive. In it's place came the time when he would have to move from his office on Main Street and take up his practice in a tiny room over the livery stable. One kind town person cared enough to remove Doc's sign, modify it and nail it to the door of the livery stable. It now read: "Doc Brown has moved upstairs".

 Nobody lives forever; not even this gentle man who had given so much of his life in service for others with small remuneration. Doc Brown died. The wagon loads of mourners moving along behind the casket must have stretched down the road a quarter of a mile. As the preacher completed his kind and true words at the grave side, not a dry eye was to be seen.

 It seems that as death was approaching, the doctor, knowing that these folks would never be able to cancel their debts, wrote across each I.O.U., "Paid in full". As might be expected, money for an elaborate headstone with appropriate epitaph was not available, so the towns people did what they thought was fitting. They placed the old doctor’s sign at the head of his grave. Passersby would now know for certain, "Doc Brown has moved upstairs!" The inference that this wonderful man went to heaven is not to be questioned by anyone. The suggestion as to the reason behind his "going to glory," does come under scrutiny.

 If Doc Brown "Moved Upstairs" then ---
  •  He must have had the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus. It alone is the "power of God for salvation." (ROM. 1:16). It tells of a man "who knew no sin," yet, because we are sinners, God "made him to be sin on our behalf, that we might be the righteousness of God in him." (II COR. 5:21).
  •  Doc Brown must have lived long enough to accept by faith the grace of God. The gospel tells of a gracious plan by a great God who gives grace to all who ask, seek and knock. This must be received by faith (see JOHN 3:16 and EPH. 2:8). Faith is the natural response of a humble seeker for truth.
  •  This kind, country physician obeyed the gospel. If he is now with God then this is a fact, since Jesus is the "source of eternal salvation to all those who obey him." (HEB. 5:9). Obedience to the good news includes doing all the Giver of that good news requires in His Word. To be remiss in this area spells destruction (see 1 PET. 4:17 and 1 THESS. 1:18).
  •  Old Doc Brown was baptized in water. Jesus only promised salvation from sin (thereby making one a subject for heaven) to those who both believe the gospel and are baptized (see MK. 16:15,16). The Ethiopian nobleman, after having this life giving message revealed to him, asked, "Here is water, why can't I be baptized?" (ACTS 8:36). The element needed for this baptism was, as he said, "water". (see also ACTS 10:47).

 Since Doc Brown "moved upstairs,"  

  • His "move" came as a result of atonement and not attainment. "Jesus paid it all."
  •  The gospel that was preached to him bore fruit for it alone is the "seed of the kingdom" (see LK. 8:11).  
  • The response made by this fine man culminated in his "burial and resurrection." He was "raised to walk in newness of life." (see ROM. 6:1-7).

 The same medicine prescribed for Doc Brown by our Great Physician is available today. Would you consider these important facts?  Do not trust in your own good deeds to move you "upstairs". Heaven is a matter of atonement and not attainment. Without Jesus in our lives we have nothing to offer to God. With him, there is nothing we do not have to offer.  

LETS ALL MAKE PLANS FOR THE BIG MOVE

 

What’s in a word, especially a small word? Sometimes, plenty! Let’s see just how important a three letter word can be to our eternal spiritual salvation.

Our English dictionary gives us 22 different meanings for the preposition “for.” New Testament Greek uses different words to describe various shades of meaning, yet all are translated “for.”

Three of these Greek words have direct links to our salvation.

HUPER, Jesus is my substitute. He says of Himself, “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”-John 10:11. In Bible times the shepherd’s life was so entwined with his sheep he literally smelled like them. His job was to care for and protect his sheep at all costs. The committed shepherd would fight with a wild animal or a thief who attempted to harm or steal his sheep. One of the most helpful verses is I Timothy 2:6. It tells us “Jesus Christ…gave his life as a ransom for all.” Another verse that speaks directly to our subject is I Corinthians 15:3. “Jesus died for our sins…”

Using the analogy of a ball game, we could say “Jesus went to bat for me.” This happens frequently in real games. A runner gets hurt on the base-path and another player takes his spot in the batting lineup. We sing it this way: “There was One who was willing to die in my stead, that a soul so unworthy might live.”

This word “for” tells us that Jesus is our one and only Saviour.

THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER’S HAND

Twas battered, scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
 
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who will start the bidding for me?
A dollar, a dollar”- then “Two” “Only Two?
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
 
Three dollars once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three----” But no,
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
touchmastershand
Then wiping the dust from the old violin, 
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As sweet as a caroling angel sings
 
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, “What am I bidden for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.
 
“A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three thousand , once; three thousand twice;
And going, and gone!”  said he.
 
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand
What changed its worth?” Swift came the reply:
“The touch of the Master’s hand.”
 
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scattered with sin,
 Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much lie the old violin,
 
A “mess of pottage,” a glass of wine;
A game-- and he travels on.
He’s “going” once, and “going” twice,
He “going” and “almost gone.”
 
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul, and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.
 
-Myra Brooks Welch
 
 
 
 

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by
describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall!

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.’

Epilogue:

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.

‘Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present .’

The origin of this letter is unknown.

 
Several years ago a group of salesman went to a regional sales meeting in Chicago. They assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for supper on Friday night. One thing led to another and the meeting ran overtime. The men had to race to the airport, tickets in hand. As they barged through the terminal, one man inadvertently kicked over a table supporting a basket of apples. Without stopping they all reached the plane in time and boarded it with a sigh of relief. All but one. He paused, got in touch with his feelings and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned. He waved good-bye to his companions and returned to the terminal. He was glad he did. The ten year old girl was blind. The salesman gathered up the apples and noticed that several of them were battered and bruised.  He reached into his wallet and said to the girl, "Here, please take this ten dollars for the damage we did.  I hope it didn't spoil your day." As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered girl called out to him, "Are you Jesus?"  He stopped in mid-stride... and he wondered.

I’ve never had that particular case of mistaken identity. Have you? Why would anyone think a person was Jesus? Could the answer be captured in words like, kind, considerate, helpful, other-people centered? We could easily pick Jesus out of a crowd. The same statement should be true of a Jesus-like person. He would be doing something nice for someone who needed it. You could hear him using kind words while others passed judgment. He would be searching for opportunities to help, not trying to find ways to avoid being inconvenienced.

The Jesus person would not be so concerned what others thought that he would feel compelled to choose the politically correct clubs and company to be associated with.

Are you Jesus?
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