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The BIBLE VIEW #887 — Christmas

In This Issue:
Was Jesus Born on December 25?
An Opportune Time
Jesus Came Anyway
The First and Last Time He Comes

Volume: 887     December 5, 2022
Theme: Christmas

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View 16+ years of printable, free BIBLE VIEWS at https://openthoumineeyes.com/newsletters.htmlMake as many copies as you need and use them in your ministry, nursing homes (large print version available), Sunday school, deaf ministry, bus ministry, and church bulletin insert. 


Was Jesus Born on December 25?
Rev. Alexander Hislop

Many Christian holidays have their true meanings, and even the time they occurred altered by false religion’s influence.  Christmas, unfortunately, is one of those days.  Although Christ was definitely born on this Earth, and all the Bible says about Him is true, false religions and their effort to get people to accept their false teachings successfully merged their doctrines with those of Christianity.

Here is some of the history behind how December 25th was adopted to be the day of Christ’s birth, according to Rev. Alexander Hislop’s The Two Babylons:

“ … The festivals of [Catholic] Rome are innumerable, but five of the most important may be singled out for elucidation: Christmas day, Lady day, Easter, the Nativity of St. John, and the Feast of the Assumption.  Each and all of these can be proved to be Babylonian.  And first, as to the festival in honour of the birth of Christ, or Christmas.

“… How comes it that the festival was connected with the 25th of December?  There is not a word in the Scriptures about the precise day of His birth or the time of the year when He was born.  What is recorded there implies that at what time His birth took place, it couldnot have been on the 25th of December.

“… At the time that the angel announced His birth to the shepherds of Bethlehem, they were feeding their flocks by night in the open fields.  Now, no doubt, the climate of Palestine is not so severe as the climate of this country; but even there, though the heat of the day be considerable, the cold of the night, from December to February, is very piercing and it was not the custom for the shepherds of Judea to watch their flocks in the open fields laterthan about the end of October.  It is in the last degree incredible that the birth of Christ could have taken place at the end of December.

“… the celebrated Joseph Mede pronounces a very decisive opinion to the same effect. … At the birth of Christ, every woman and child was to go to be taxed at the city whereto they belonged, whither some had long journeys, but the middle of winter was not fitting for such a business, especially for women with child, and children to travel in.  Therefore, Christ could not be born in the depth of winter.  Again, at the time of Christ’s birth, the shepherds lay abroad watching with their flocks in the nighttime; but this was not likely to be in the middle of winter.  And if any shall think the winter wind was not so extreme in these parts, let him remember the words of Christ in the Gospel, ‘… pray ye that your flight be not in the winter … (Mat. 24:20)’.  If the winter was so bad a time to flee in, it seems no fit time for shepherds to lie in the fields, and women and children to travel in.”

 “… Indeed, it is admitted by the most learned and candid writers of all parties that the day of our Lord’s birth cannot be determined and that within the Christian churchno such festival as Christmas was ever heard of till the third century, and that not until the fourth century did it gain much observance.

“… How did the Romish Church fix December the 25th as Christmas day?  Why, thus:

Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen, at that precise time of the year, in honour of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal adherents of Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ.  This tendency on the part of Christians to meet paganism halfway was very early developed, and we find Tertullian, even in his day, about the year 230 AD, bitterly lamenting the inconsistency of the disciples of Christ in this respect and contrasting it with the strict fidelity of the pagans to their own superstition.

“… Upright men strive to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, the apostasy went on, until the church, with the exception of a small remnant, was submerged under pagan superstition.  That Christmas was originally a pagan festival is beyond all doubt.  The time of the year, and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origin.

“Also, in Egypt, the son of Isis was born at this very time, ‘about the time of the winter solstice.  The very name by which Christmas is popularly known among ourselves — Yule-day — proves at once its pagan and Babylonian origin.  ‘Yule’ is the Chaldean name for an ‘infant’ or ‘little child’;  and as the 25th of December was called by pagan Anglo-Saxons, ‘Yule-day’, or the ‘Child’s day.’  The night that preceded it became known as ‘Mother-night,’ long before (380–362 BC) they came in contact with Christianity.  This sufficiently proves the real reason December 25 was selected.”

“Christmas is a time for ‘giving up’ sin, bad habits, and selfish pleasures.  Christmas is a time for ‘giving in,’ surrendering to Christ and accepting Him as King.  Christmas is a time for ‘giving out,’ real giving and not swapping.”
Author Unknown

An Opportune Time
Oliver B. Greene

Christmas is a depressing time for many people.  An article written by a director of the California Department of Mental Hygiene warned, “The Christmas season is marked by greater emotional stress and more acts of violence than at any other time of the year.”

Christmas is an excuse to get drunk, have a party, get something, give a little, leave work, get out of school, spend money, overeat, and all other excesses.  But, for the real church, Christmas is an excuse for us to exalt Jesus Christ in the face of a world that is at least tuned into His name.

The message of Christmas is that the visible material world is bound to the invisible, spiritual world.” — Author Unknown


Jesus Came Anyway
Oliver B. Greene

Sherwood Wirt captured the mood of that first Christmas in this description, which he wrote in a Christmas card: “The people of that time were being heavily taxed and faced every prospect of a sharp increase to cover expanding military expenses.  The threat of world domination by a cruel, ungodly, power-intoxicated band of men was ever just below the threshold of consciousness.  Moral deterioration had corrupted the upper levels of society and was moving rapidly into the broad base of the populace.  Intense nationalistic feeling was clashing openly with new and sinister forms of imperialism.  Conformity was the spirit of the age.  Government handouts were being used with increasing lavishness to keep the population from rising up and throwing out the leaders.  Interest rates were spiraling upward in the midst of an inflated economy.  External religious observances were considered a political asset, and abnormal emphasis was placed on sports and athletic competition.  Racial tensions were at the breaking point.”

In such a time, and amid such a people, a child was born to a couple who had just signed up for a fresh round of taxation and were soon to become political exiles.  The child born was called, among other things, Immanuel, God with us.

Selfishness makes Christmas a burden; love makes it a delight.”


The First and Last Time He Comes
Oliver B. Greene

The Lord Jesus Christ, whom we exalt especially at Christmas, is not just a baby in a manger.  He is not a character in a children’s story.  He is far more.

  • The first time He came, He came veiled in the form of a child.  The next time He comes, and we believe it will be soon, He will come unveiled, and it will be abundantly and immediately clear to all the world just who He is.
  • The first time He came, a star marked His arrival.  The next time He comes, the whole heavens will roll up like a scroll, and all the stars will fall out of the sky, and He will light it.
  • The first time He came, wise men and shepherds brought Him gifts.  The next time He comes, He will bring rewards for His own.
  • The first time He came, there was no room for Him.  The next time He comes, the whole world will not be able to contain His glory.
  • The first time He came, only a few attended His arrival — some.  The next time He comes, every eye shall see Him.
  • The first time He came as a baby.  Soon He will come as Sovereign King and Lord.

“The hinge of history is on the door of a Bethlehem stable.” 
— Ralph W. Stockman

The BIBLE VIEW #886 — Friends

In This Issue:
Friends   Dear Liberal Friend
Friendly Advice
A Friend
The Unfailing Friend

Volume: 886     November 28, 2022
Theme: Friends

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Friends
Bill Brinkworth

The right friend will build you up.  A wrong friend may destroy you.

Many will have their plans and lives changed because they picked the wrong friend or gave a friend the wrong priority in their lives!  Some do not even know what a true friend is.

Here is a short study on what the Bible says about a true friend:

Friendly all the time!  A true friend loves us during the hard times and the good.
Proverbs 17:17-18 “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.”
Proverbs 27:10 “Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.”

Friendly first!  A true friend is friendly first, rather than waiting for others to approach him.  Proverbs 18:24 “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

Friendly giving!  True friendship is given and not bought.  You cannot buy true friendship.

Give, and you may get a person you can trust and like.  Do not be friendly to earn friendship, though.  You cannot make someone your friend.
Proverbs 19:6 “Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.” — but not true friends!

Friendly honest advice!  A true friend tells what they believe is best for us because they care about what happens in our life.
Proverbs 22:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
Proverbs 27:10 “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.”

False friends are like vermin that abandon a sinking vessel or like the swallows that depart at the approach of winter.
True friends are like ivy that adheres to the tree in its decay.  They are also like the light of phosphorus: brightest in the dark.”  — Unknown


Dear Liberal Friend
Bill Brinkworth

I am so sorry about how our friendship has turned out.  I was excited when I learned you were a “Christian.” Fellowship and friendship with another of like faith are important to me.  However, I quickly realized that your definition and my definition of being a “Christian” were completely different.

When one says they are a “Christian,” I assume their thinking and lifestyle would be aligned with the Bible.  Your “Christianity” is not what is described in my Bible.  Most of the time, you did not even want to discuss God’s Word.

When the conversation led to spiritual things, you quickly went on the defense and accused me of judging or else argued the doctrine.  We have spent more time discussing “what the Bible really means,” as you keep saying, rather than agreeing on the things of God.

My other friendships with Christians have never been this strained.  It has always been easy and perfectly natural for my other friends and me to talk about the things of God because we are interested in them.  You, obviously, are not.

I may not have been saved as long as you have been, but I know that the Bible teaches that a Christian should live differently than the unsaved.  You seem to be very comfortable dressing like the world, talking like the world, acting like the world, doing things the world does, and going to places where the unsaved go.

Your philosophies are often identical to what the ungodly world thinks.  It’s hard to tell any difference between you and the lost.  I am not comfortable doing many of those things, and I believe some of them are against what God teaches in His Book.

The consequences of worldliness and its sin are some things from which I was saved.  The world is losing and not heading for Heaven but is going to Hell.  I have no interest in thinking and looking like the losing side.

Before I was saved, I did not have the joy or peace I do now by obeying the Lord.  Being more like Christ is far safer, peaceful, and biblical.

Clearly, the Bible tells us to talk to others about Christ so they can be saved and have the promise of Heaven.  Proverbs 11:30 says you are wise if you do this.

You have ridiculed and tried to stop me from witnessing to others.  No, I don’t think it “is pushing God’s Word down their throat” by telling them.  If someone didn’t tell me how to be saved, I would not be.  I would feel very selfish if I didn’t share salvation with others and would be disobedient to God’s biblical commandments if I did not.

When I do witness to others, I often hear the word “hypocrite.” The unsaved world knows how Christians should live.  They have seen many call themselves Christians, and people see they do not live the way they should.

After seeing more living the wrong way, they quickly assume that all Christians are hypocrites and living the wrong lifestyle.  I certainly am not perfect and am still growing spiritually, but the people they are referring to are not people like me, but are people like you.

I love being saved.  It is exciting to know that Christ died for all my sins and paid the price for them so I could go to Heaven.  I owe Him so much.  My desire now is to live for and serve Him.

Your liberal theology and lifestyle are doing much to harm and weaken the cause of Christ.  It is giving those trying to serve and live for God a bad name.  Your lifestyle is hurting the testimonies of those trying to live right.

Sadly, I think it is time to part as friends.  No, I don’t believe myself “holier than thou.”  I know what I was and can fall back into my old ways.  I am concerned that your disobedience may rub off on me.  Association with your unchristian lifestyle will also hurt my Christian testimony.  I desire to be more like Christ and have that reputation, so our fellowship will have to stop until your lifestyle becomes more Christ-like.

Regretfully,
Bill

Insomuch as anyone pushes you nearer to God, he or she is your friend.” 
— Unknown

Friendly Advice
Bill Brinkworth

  • WAIT on the right friend.  Do not settle for the first acquaintance that comes around just because you are lonely.
  • Pick a friend you look up to, not down to, or the relationship may hurt your walk with Christ.
  • Pray about the friendship.  Ask God how you can be a better friend, not just how that person can meet your needs.
  • Be honest with your friend.  If they dislike the real you, or the truth, they are not the right friend for you.
  • Friendship is not popularity!  Acquaintances are not necessarily friends.
  • Stick up for a friend.
  • Never put a friend down in front of others!
  • Be a friend to someone that you feel needs one!  They are often the most grateful and the most loyal!
  • Obey your parents’ discernment about friends.  If they say to stay away from a certain person, obey them!
  • Marry a friend!

A true friend never gets in your way except when you are on the way down.”— Unknown


A Friend
Author Unknown

When troubles come, your soul to try
You love a friend who just stands by.
Perhaps there’s nothing he can do,
The thing is strictly up to you.
For there are troubles all your own,
And paths the soul must tread alone,
Times when love can’t smooth the road,
Nor friendship lift the heavy load.
But, just to feel you have a friend,
Who will stand by until the end,
Whose sympathy through all endures,
Whose warm handclasp is always yours,
It helps somehow to pull you through.
Although there’s nothing he can do.
And so, with fervent heart we say,
“God bless the friend who just stands by.”

They who have loved together have been drawn close; they who have struggled together are forever linked, but they who have suffered together have known the most sacred bond of all.” — Author Unknown

The Unfailing Friend
Author Unknown

The friendship of Jesus is lasting.  Other friends may grow old and cold.  It is not so with the company of our Saviour. 

Other friends may misunderstand us.  Jesus never. 

His love is the same in our youth as in old age.  The friendship will instead grow stronger as we get older.

If you have lost what to you seemed everything, if you find yourself friendless and alone, despised and forsaken, seek to get acquainted with this most lovely, dear and precious Friend — Jesus.

The BIBLE VIEW #885 — Thanksgiving

In This Issue:
First Thanksgiving Proclamation
1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation
In Everything, Give Thanks!
Mother of Thanksgiving 

Volume: 885     November 21, 2022
Theme: Thanksgiving

Sign-up at https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/a26cc9M to receive the DAILY VIEW devotion.  The daily e-mail includes a KJV chapter, a short devotion on something taught in that chapter, and more spiritual food for the hungry soul.  Start your day with some good news from the Bible!

View 16+ years of printable, free BIBLE VIEWS at https://openthoumineeyes.com/newsletters.htmlMake as many copies as you need and use them in your ministry, nursing homes (large print version available), Sunday school, deaf ministry, bus ministry, and church bulletin insert. 


First Thanksgiving Proclamation
William Bradford, Governor of the First American Colony, 1623

Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.

Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

William Bradford
Ye Governor of Ye Colony

Thanksgiving is a time when the world gets to see just how blessed and how workable the Christian system is.  The emphasis is not on giving or buying, but on being thankful and expressing that appreciation to God and to one another.  — John Clayton  


1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

WHEREAS, It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor;

WHEREAS, Both the houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

George Washington – October 3, 1789

“The worship most acceptable to God comes from a thankful and cheerful heart.  — Plutarch 


In Everything, Give Thanks!
Author Unknown

‘Mid sunshine, cloud, or stormy days,
When hope abounds, or care dismays,
When trials press and toils increase
Let not thy faith in God decrease —
“In everything, give thanks.”


All things we know shall work for good,
Nor would we change them if we could;
‘Tis well if only He command;
His promise will ever stand —
“In everything, give thanks.”


He satisfies the longing heart,
He thwarts the tempter’s cruel dart,
With goodness fills the hungry soul,
And helps us sing when billows roll.
“In everything, give thanks.”

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” — I Thessalonians 5:18


Mother of Thanksgiving
Author Unknown

President George Washington proclaimed the national observance of Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, November 26, 1789.  After a few years, presidential proclamations lapsed.  Although most New England communities continued the observance faithfully, they did not always celebrate at the same time.  In other parts of the country, the holiday was frequently overlooked altogether.  Nobody appeared to care very much whether the day was observed except a woman named Sarah Josepha Buell Hale.

Mrs. Hale was a widow with a will.  When her husband died, leaving her with five children, she went to work.  This took several varieties of courage, for Mrs. Hale was a great lady of an old New England family of important ladies and gentlemen.  Several of her peers did not approve of a lady working beyond her home.  Others were especially outraged at the nature of their kinswoman’s job.  Mrs. Hale became editor of the periodical “The Ladies’ Magazine.” 

Mrs. Hale had a rare editorial writing gift.  She began an editorial campaign for a national set observance of Thanksgiving Day.  For twenty years, she wrote scores of editorials on the subject.  Men, as well as women, read them.

One man who read them was Abraham Lincoln.  In 1864, he declared that thereafter, by annual presidential proclamation, the last Thursday in November should be a national Thanksgiving Day.  Since then, every president has followed his suggestion.

After President Lincoln acted, Mrs. Hale was called “Mother of Thanksgiving,” a title by which she deserves to be remembered.

“Count your blessings, not your problems.— B. B.


“You Should Be Thankful.”
Author Unknown

A train was crowded, and many were standing in the aisles and on the platforms.  They took that opportunity to express themselves by complaining to the railway company.  Some moaned they had been standing for three hours.

At a station, others came aboard, one of whom was an invalid and had to be carried on.  As the passengers made room for him, one repeated his complaint, “Yes, we’ve been standing here for three hours.”

The invalid looked at him and quietly said, “You are fortunate.”

They were tired, but the invalid’s rebuke changed hearts.  The complaining stopped, and many silently counted their blessings.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done…”
Words from the hymn “Count Your Blessings, by Johnson Oatman

The BIBLE VIEW #884 — Spiritual Remodeling

In This Issue:
Just A Piece of Stone?
Inward Changes
A Notable Conversion

Volume: 884     November 14, 2022
Theme: Spiritual Remodeling

Sign-up at https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/a26cc9M to receive the DAILY VIEW devotion.  The daily e-mail includes a KJV chapter, a short devotion on something taught in that chapter, and more spiritual food for the hungry soul.  Start your day with some good news from the Bible!

View 16+ years of printable, free BIBLE VIEWS at https://openthoumineeyes.com/newsletters.htmlMake as many copies as you need and use them in your ministry, nursing homes (large print version available), Sunday school, deaf ministry, bus ministry, and church bulletin insert. 


Just A Piece of Stone?
Bill Brinkworth

Weeks of visiting different marble quarries finally paid off.  After examining many blocks of the art material, the sculptor finally found the stone for which he was looking.  Arrangements in the office were made, and the rock was promised to be delivered the following week.

When the delivery was made, the hefty piece was hoisted off the truck, loaded on a dolly, and wheeled into the artist’s studio.  There it stayed, as it was viewed, admired, and studied for imperfections by the stone carver.  Days later, a rough sketch was drawn on the piece of stone to give the sculptor an idea of what material was to be removed.

Soon, the hard work began.  A small, pneumatic hammer banged away, removing large chunks of the unwanted material.  The floor was quickly littered with marble waste.

After the course outline was followed, the tedious, detailing handwork began.  Day and sometimes night, the sculptor chipped off the unneeded rock.  Slowly, the block took on a form of a man.  A face, appendages, and clothing were slowly revealed on the once shapeless block of stone.

Patiently, weeks passed until finally, the sculptor stepped back and viewed the finished, polished piece of art.  Hard work transformed the once unformed piece of marble into a work pleasing to its craftsman and many that would view the artwork for decades.

In like matter, God can masterfully and slowly transform any willing person for His admiration and use.  Many may see the person as a hopeless case.  However, despite the imperfections He knows about, God has great hopes for what He can make of the person. 

When a person sees oneself as flawed with sin, having little hope in this life or the next, and trusts Christ as Saviour,  the Master steps in.  He sees what the person could be and patiently chips away, if the person allows, and transforms that creature into something the Creator, person, and society admires.

Usually, after a person is saved,  guilt from sin is the first sign of salvation.  After admitting and trusting God to overcome that iniquity, God begins the patient process of removing that transgression and others from the believer.

One by one, sin’s hold on a person is released as God helps dispose of the unneeded sin-caused flaws.  Outward and inward iniquities are slowly removed.  Some may have a more stubborn hold on the converted life than others.  At times, the iniquity’s removal may even be hurtful when it is pried from a life, but God’s handiwork continues.

Some cannot stand the strain of having sins removed from their lives.  Too often, many disallow the elimination of the clinging iniquity.  Although the Master Sculptor patiently waits, he urges the believer to allow Him to remove the hindering imperfections. 

After it is clear God’s convicting voice is ignored, the Master often halts helping the one that has rejected Him.  His disrupted handiwork too often remains unfinished for the rest of that person’s life because of his refusal to allow God to continue His work in his life.

Others are more willing to be changed by their Master.  The sinners know that their attempts are often futile, and they need the Perfect One’s assistance. 

Those that allow God to remove what He knows will hamper His use and their “beauty” slowly becomes what their Creator desires.  At times, His changes are painful as they are removed, but the trusting heart of the believer knows that His God knows best and willingly endures the changes. 

Once thought unfit, blemished, and “unusable,” God’s creation takes on a new form and usage.  Selfishness is redirected to others’ needs, and conscience-nagging sins are discarded.

As the Master removes the unneeded ”baggage,” the once “hopeless case” is now being used by Him. Completion of small tasks given to the Christian-under-construction proves the believer’s allegiance.  Since the child of God has proven faithful, more opportunities of service are entrusted to that believer.

The believer’s obedience to studying and obeying God’s Word soons qualifies him to teach a Sunday school class.  Witnessing to others and showing God’s way to Heaven has proven him fit for a bus ministry, enabling him to win others to the cause of Christ.  The reward for the Christian’s obedience is more work for the Master.

Days run into weeks; months turn into years, and the trusted believer is still faithfully at His God-assigned tasks.  Yes, there were times he did not feel like teaching his class, but still, he labored at the ministry.  Souls were told of salvation, and many saw God’s glory in the changing and using the once imperfect person.  

If one looks closely at the creature God changed, some scars from past sins may remain.  However, God looks past all those and sees how the person has become a masterpiece for His use.

God desires to be allowed to have the same liberty in your life.   Will you admit your imperfections and let the Master Sculptor change your life?  He is willing and awaits your reply!

“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?  Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?  21  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour.”  Romans 9:20-21


Inward Changes
Bill Brinkworth

Repentance is the “… pain, regret, or affliction which a person feels on account of his past conduct…” (Noah Webster, 1828).  This sorrowful attitude over one’s sins was a vital part of John the Baptist’s ministry and is essential today when one is saved from the eternal wages of one’s iniquities. 

Although a repentant person will change one’s behavior, just changing conduct alone will not save anyone. If a lifestyle change were necessary for salvation, those acts would be a type of good work, and no good deed can save anyone from the eternal wages of sin (Ephesians 2:8-9).

John, the Baptist, illustrated that a broken heart over sin would produce a better life when he spoke to four types of people:

  • To the religious but not righteous, John told them that if they were convicted over their sins, they would prove it by a lifestyle that would show “fruits” from their inward changes.  Their changed heart would change how they lived, and others could see what the changes had done in their life (Luke 3:8).
  • To the common people, he told them that a giving attitude would show a changed heart (Luke 3:11).  John must have known that they were covetous of the things of this world and that they were not trusting God daily for their needs.
  • To the publicans, he also said there would need to be some changes in their lives. Publicans were notoriously dishonest tax collectors. John told them their spiritual remodeling should include honesty (Luke 3:13).
  • To soldiers, John did not tell them to quit the army. He told them their change of heart would include halting unnecessary violence, lying, and dissatisfaction with their salaries.

A changed, repentant heart is proof of one’s salvation. The areas John said should change in lives over 2,000 years ago should still change when one’s life is altered by salvation today.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” II Corinthians 5:17

“You cannot repent too soon because you do not know how soon it may be too late.”  — Fuller


A Notable Conversion
C. H. Spurgeon

A jail chaplain once told me about a surprising case of conversion in which the covenant of grace was the chief instrument of the Holy Spirit.  My friend had under his charge a man most cunning and brutal.  He was repulsive, even in comparison with other convicts.  He had been renowned for his daring and the utter absence of all feeling when committing acts of violence.

Several times the chaplain had spoken to him but had not succeeded even in getting an answer.  The man was sullenly set against all instruction.  At last, he expressed a desire for a specific book, but it was not in the library.

The chaplain pointed to the Bible, which was placed in his cell, and said, “Did you ever read that Book?”

He did not answer but looked at the good man as if he would kill him.  The question was kindly repeated, with the assurance that he would find it well worth reading.

“Sir,” said the convict, “you would not ask me such a question if you knew who I was.  What have I to do with a book of that sort?”

He was told that his character was well known to the chaplain, and for this reason, he recommended the Bible as a book that would suit his case.

“It would do me no good,” he snapped, “I am past all feeling.” Doubling up his fist, he struck the cell’s iron door and said, “My heart is as hard as that iron.  There is nothing in any book that will ever touch me.”

“Well,” said the chaplain, “do you want a new heart?  Did you ever read the covenant of grace?” The man answered sullenly by inquiring what he meant by such talk.

The preacher replied, “Listen to these words, ‘A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.’” (Ezekiel 36:26)

The words struck the man with amazement.  He asked to have the passage found for him in the Bible.  He read the words again and again.

When the chaplain came back to him the next day, the wild beast was tamed.  “Oh, sir,” he said, “I never dreamed of such a promise!  I never believed it possible that God would speak in such a way as that to men.  If He gives me a new heart, it will be a miracle of mercy, and yet I think, He is going to work that miracle upon me, for the very hope of a new nature is beginning to touch me as I never was touched before.”

That man became gentle in manner, obedient to authority, and child-like in spirit from then on.  He was a new creature.

“Too often, deathbed repentance is burning the candle of life in the service of the devil and then blowing the smoke into the face of God.”  — Billy Sunday

The BIBLE VIEW #883 — Enduring!

In This Issue:
Not Much Has Changed!
I Won’t! 
What Did They Do?

Volume: 883     November 7, 2022
Theme: Endure!

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Not Much Has Changed
Bill Brinkworth

The battles and challenges Christians face today are not much different from those early Christians encountered.  Little has changed.

Although people today see themselves far advanced from their early predecessors, there are remarkable similarities between New Testament and today’s Christians.  They are similar because of man’s consistent-through-the-ages sin nature,

Paul warned Timothy (I Tim. 6:20) to keep far away from the doubting, faith-challenging science.  It attempted to challenge what God would have His people believe by faith.
“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:” I Timothy 6:20

The “science” Paul referred to here was not so much the “science” we recognize today.  “Science” in I Tim. 6:20 referred to man’s knowledge.  It was intellectualism that challenged a Christian’s faith and beliefs.

Many today also believe that “knowledge” is superior to what God’s Word declares.  However, the Bible refers to it as “fables” (I Tim. 1:4), “vain (empty and pointless) jangling” (I Tim. 1:6), “profane and old wives fables” (I Tim. 4:7), and “vain babblings” (II Tim. 2:16).  God wants all to know that man is not as wise as he thinks he is. 

Man’s intellect continues to question and challenge creationism, the existence of God and His involvement in His creation, life after death, and God’s Word is preserved and is still with us.  That we’re-smarter-than-God attitude is still doing all it can to question and ridicule Christianity’s principles and beliefs.  However, despite incorrect thinking, God’s way will “work” with modern man.

Early Christians also had to deal with unbiblical religion and traditions.  Today’s Christians are still dealing with false teachings.
“… ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.” Mark 7:8  Also: Mat.  15:2, Mat.  15:3, 6.

It is man’s philosophy, mixed with God’s way, that waters down the truths and power of God’s commandments (Mat. 15:6).  Man’s ideas and beliefs that contradict the Word of God have often weakened Christianity.  To make it even harder to live the Christian way, those who call themselves “religious” or “Christian” often become stumbling blocks and the enemies of true Bible-believing and obeying Christians.

Man, then and today, still has to deal with immorality.  Saints in Sodom and Gomorrah had to deal with homosexuality, as do today’s Christians.

False worship was just as big a problem in the Old and New Testament times as we are experiencing.  Idolatry was just as much a shock to Paul as it is to modern believers when people are seen praying to idols, some even professing to be Christians.

Ungodly leaders have also been a hampering and discouraging force that opposed the open practice of Christianity.  Early Christians faced the government’s controlling arm under Roman rule.  It was that reign that martyred thousands of Christians on Roman crosses, in their fires, and other tortures.  Old Testament saints faced similar torment from the pharaohs, Shalmanesser, Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, and countless other unrighteous rulers. 

Many today vote for government officials.  The “rulers” that get elected are often not leading their people in the way God would have them govern.  The government’s support of abortion, welfare without working, paying for illegitimate births and birth control, and diseases contracted from sinful behavior are some proofs of ungodly governmental authority.

It is not much easier to live a godly life today than in yesteryears.  The world and its often ungodly practices, beliefs, laws, and temptations have always been a barrier to those committed to obeying God.  Very few times in history has the world been a comfortable environment to live the way God would have all to live. 

Hiding behind the excuse, “Well, it was easier for earlier saints and Christians than today,” is not true.  There always have been difficulties and challenges for those living God’s way.

It is the individual Christian’s responsibility to choose correctly.  Decide to reject man’s philosophies, traditions, and what is popular to fit in. Determine to trust God’s way of salvation and walk the narrow way God expects the believer to follow (Mat. 7:13-14).  Difficulties may arise in pleasing God but obey Him, no matter what.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

“If you can get along with the world, then you are out of step with God.”
— Dr. Harold Sightler


I Won’t!
Author Unknown

I want to let go, but I won’t let go,
There are battles to fight,
By day and by night
For God and the right,
And I’ll never let go.

I want to let go, but I won’t let go,
I’m sick ‘tis true;
Worried and blue,
And worn through and through,
But I won’t let go.

I want to let go, but I won’t let go,
I will never yield;
What, lie down on the field
And surrender my shield?
No!  I’ll never let go.

I want to let go, but I won’t let go,
May this be my song,
‘Mid legions of wrong;
That I may never let go.

The man who wisely said, “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead,” should have added, “Be sure you’re wrong before you quit!”


What Did They Do?
Bible Readings for the Home1

  • When beaten by the Jewish rulers for preaching Christ, what did the apostles do?1
    “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” Acts 5:41
  • After receiving “many stripes” with their feet made fast in the stocks, what did Paul and Silas do while in prison?  1
    “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” Acts 16:25
  • When Jesus was nailed to the cross, what did He say?
     “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.  And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” Luke 23:34
  • Even when persecuted, what are we told to do, and why?
    “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.  Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” Luke 6:22-23
  • What assurance is given that the child of God may bravely endure every trial and hardship of life?
    “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
  • How constant should our rejoicing be?
    “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”  Phil.  4:4

1Bible Readings for the Home, Sothern Publishing Association, Nashville, TN, 1943, Page 574-575

“Build your nest upon no tree here; for you see God has sold the forest to Death, and every tree whereupon we rest is ready to be cut down.  We must flee and build upon the Rock.  Jesus is that Rock.” — Rutherford, 1661

The BIBLE VIEW #882 — Reaping What Was Sown

In This Issue:
What Did You Expect?
The Crossroads
Poor Taste in Clothes
The Stone Inside

Volume: 882     October 31, 2022
Theme: Reaping What Is Sown

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What Did You Expect? 
Bill Brinkworth

Truths in botany can apply to our lives, as well.  One principle in the science is that one gets what is planted.  If one plant marigolds seeds, one gets marigolds.  If tomato seeds are planted, one certainly would not expect a crop of corn.  This law of “sowing and reaping” can be applied in our lives:

  • If one spends most of one’s life doing what is selfishly wanted, can one be expected to get the blessing of God in one’s life?
  • If one does not pray, read the Bible, does little that is spiritual, and purposely avoids doing what one knows God wants one to do (going to church, reading your Bible, praying…), why does one get angry and blame God when something terrible happens in one’s life?
  • Why does one curse or get angry with God for not answering the one requested prayer in many years?
  • If one never got saved, why would it be expected one will go to Heaven rather than Hell? 
  • Why would one think one’s opinion or philosophy was more important than what God thinks or says, and He will change everything He has said just because of one’s thoughts and beliefs? 
  • If one lets their children do what they want and certainly did not encourage them to live the way the Lord tells them to, why would anyone blame God (or a church) when something terrible happens to them or their lives are headed in the wrong direction?
  • If one allows their children to attend a secular school that teaches evolution, elevates ungodly lifestyles, mocks God, allows the children to be exposed to ungodly examples and philosophies, why would one be surprised that their life turns out to be ungodly, unfruitful, and unhappy?
  • If one allows one’s children to listen to music encouraging ungodly lifestyles, allows them to view television and movies that advertise sinful behavior, or hang around children that have ungodly lifestyles, why would one be surprised that their future lives are ruined by their wrong decisions?
  • If one avoided studying, cheated when possible, and avoided many learning situations (playing video games or watching TV rather than studying), why would one be surprised that one did not pass into the next grade or have problems learning?
  • If one does not take care of one’s health, why is God blamed when one is sick?
  • If one succumbed to the sins of smoking, drinking, or drug taking, why is one surprised that one has an addiction, one’s body has reaped the havoc of the sin’s participation, or one has a ruined life because of the sin’s side effects?
  • If one covered up what was happening in one’s life with lies and deception, why would one be surprised that people in one’s life do not trust or “just don’t understand you?”
  • If one sinned and broke laws in the past, why would one be surprised one is in jail or facing some other punishment?
  • If one cheated God by not tithing (Malachi 3:8-9) and giving to Him in the past, why would anyone be surprised their financial situation is not blessed by God?
  • If one spent money one did not have, why would anyone be surprised one’s debts are high?
  • If one “shacked up” with a boyfriend or girlfriend without marrying them, why would one be surprised that the romance with that person is in turmoil or has failed?  Does one think God was going to bless such a relationship?
  • If one looked at or flirted with other women or men, even though married, why would one be surprised when one finds themself in an adulterous relationship?
  • If one allowed their eyes to see ungodly pictures or movies, why would anyone be surprised when one has wrong thoughts and commits sin?

If you purchase, plant, and sow iniquity, sin is what you will reap!
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7

Would you prefer a more joyful, God-directed life?  If so, then plant the right things in your life.  Plant a God-approved spiritual crop!
“For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”  Galatians 6:8

 

The Crossroads
Author Unknown

He came to the crossroads all alone,
With the sunrise in his face;
He had no fear of the path unknown,
He was set for an ambitious race.

The road stretched east, and the road stretched west,
The “Signboard” showed which way was the best;
But the boy turned wrong and went on down,
And lost the race and the victors’s crown,
And fell at last into an ugly snare
By choosing wrong at the crossroads there.

Another boy, on another day,
At the selfsame crossroads stood,
He paused a momemt to choose the way
Which would lead to the greater good.

The road stretched east, and the road stretched west,
But the “Signboard” showed him which way was best.
And the boy turned right and went on and on;
He won the race and the victor’s crown.
And came at last to the Mansions fair,
For choosing right at the crossroads there.
For choosing right at the crossroads there.

“I find the doing of the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about His plans.”  — George MacDonald

 

Poor Taste in Clothes
Wings

In the spring of 1924, I assisted Pastor N. E. Norwood in a revival meeting at Fort Ogden, Florida.  Driving along the highway, we passed a gang of convicts working on the road.  They were clothed in stripes, and I remarked to the pastor that I didn’t like their clothing.

“If I had the selection, I should have selected a different suit.”

“Why,” he answered, “they don’t select their suits, do they?”

“Oh, yes!” I answered.

“Well,” he said, “I didn’t know that.  I thought the state selected their suits for them.”

“No,” I replied, “Every man selects his suit.  Those fellows knew the penalty of violating the law before they committed the acts.  They made their choice.  They selected their suits.  They are wearing the “clothing” of their selection.”

What suit have you selected: the black stripe suit of shame and dishonor or the “white robe of righteousness?”

The Stone Inside
H. A. Ironside

I was talking to a group of little boys and girls in a Sunday school in San Francisco.  “How sad to know, each time you say ‘No’ to the Lord Jesus, your heart gets a little harder.  If you keep saying ‘no,’ the heart gets harder and harder until by-and-by God calls it a heart of stone.  If you persist in disregarding His grace, you will die in your sins.”  I pleaded with those boys and girls to give their hearts to Jesus in their early days.

There was one dear little tot there, only five years old.  Her mother brought her to Sunday school and then took her home.  The little one was thinking of her dear father, who never went to hear the Word of God.  When she got to the house, she darted into her father’s arms and said, “Daddy, Daddy, feel your heart!  Is it getting like stone?”

He said, “What are you talking about?”

She said, “Well, the man at Sunday school said if you say ‘No’ to Jesus, you will get a stone inside.  Oh, Daddy, I hope you haven’t for if you have, you can’t be saved.”

The father growled to the mother, “What have they been telling this child, anyway?”

Then the mother explained a little more fully, and he saw tears in his wife’s eyes and felt the arms of his little girl about his neck, and heard her saying, “Oh, Daddy, don’t go on saying ‘No’ to Jesus.”

He looked up and said, “Well, I think I had better settle this.”  He got down on his knees and yielded his life to Christ.

“There is a God-created vacuum in the heart of every man, which cannot be satisfied by any created thing, but only by God the Creator made known through Jesus Christ.”  — Blaise Pascal

The BIBLE VIEW #881 — Our Heritage

In This Issue:
So Great a Heritage
Soldier of the Cross
History of Early Christians
Singing If You Can

Volume: 881     October 24, 2022
Theme: Our Heritage

Printable versions of The BIBLE VIEWs can be found at https://openthoumineeyes.com/newsletters.html. FREE versions include ones designed for church bulletin inserts/ handouts and a large print version!

View 16+ years of BIBLE VIEWS at https://openthoumineeyes.com/newsletters.html.


So Great a Heritage
Bill Brinkworth

Christians today, both in America and throughout the world, have so much for which to be grateful.  Our faith, Bible, doctrines, and freedoms were obtained at high prices paid by our Christian predecessors.  It cost many of them their lives and much suffering, yet we take for granted what believers of the past had to pay dearly for and place little value on our heritage.

Christians should be expected to face persecution, as its leader, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, also received much.  His righteousness and exposure of false religions were so grievous to the followers of man-made worship that they ensured the Saviour was beaten, ridiculed, mocked, and eventually nailed to a cross.  If God allowed His Son not to escape the world’s wrath and hatred for the things of God, Christians should also expect it.
“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord.  If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;….” John 15:19-20

We get upset if someone makes a joke about our faith or even scoffs at us.  Most of us today have little understanding of what Christians before us suffered for their beliefs.  Here are some reminders of the sacrifices and suffering early Christians faced for their faith and godly lifestyles:

  • The first followers of Jesus ran for their lives as they were pursued (Acts 8) for believing and professing that Christ was risen (Acts 4:2-3) and was their Saviour.  It was not unsaved, but the religious, that often initiated much of their persecutions even before A. D. 30.  
  • Saul, before he was saved, took part in the killing of the first martyr for Christ, Stephen.  Saul, later renamed Paul, watched as the godly preacher was stoned to death.
  • To believe Jesus Christ was the long-awaited Messiah cost many much in the early churches.  It cost them their belongings, reputations, livelihoods, imprisonment, and even their lives.
  • The apostles were persecuted for their beliefs, and most died because of them.  Paul, who once led the slaughter against Christ’s disciples (Acts 9:1, 2), faced imprisonment, beatings, stonings, and persecution (II Corinthians 11:25) after being saved and becoming a faithful follower of Christ’s teachings.
  • The persecution of Christ’s followers continued after the death of the apostles.  Foxe’s Book of Martyrs describes many of the barbarous atrocities done against believers.  He reports they were tortured, boiled in oil, cut in half, thrown to the lions, burnt alive, mocked, enslaved, and other unimaginable atrocities. 

    For what crime were they killed?  It was for the “crime” of believing, standing for, and following the teachings of God’s Word.  In many cases, their demise could have been avoided by a simple, verbal recanting of what they believed.  They did not even have to believe what they said.  It would often have sufficed their tormentors if they had just said that “Jesus was not the Son of God,” that they did not believe in the Word of God, or that the false ‘church’ persecuting them was the ‘one true church,’” and their lives would have been spared.  However, their faith meant everything to them, and many died for their convictions.

Millions of men, women, and children died for their faith in the past.  The walls of Rome’s catacombs and other hidden places reveal how many lived and died in fear of being caught and tortured for their beliefs.  Many had to worship in secret places for fear of being killed or imprisoned for attending a church service.  

Landmark’s Baptist College’s collection of ancient Bibles has a Bible with fire-scorched pages.  It was plucked out of the flames that burned its owner.  He refused to denounce his faith in Christ and His Word, and the man was burnt to death.  Today, his Bible is preserved as a reminder of what Christ and His Word meant to some and how many died for reading or living God’s way.

With the freedom that most have today, many professing Christians do not live for Christ, let alone die for Him.  It is easy to attend a nearby church, yet countless excuses are given by those not attending. 

Most households contain at least one copy of the Word of God.  However, few have bothered to read it.  Baptistries are now heated and always available, yet few follow the Lord in believer’s baptism.  Although we are quickly losing our religious freedoms in the United States, it is still possible for a believer to obey the Lord’s command and tell others how to go to Heaven, yet few do.

What does your faith in Christ mean to you?  Does God’s Word mean so much that you read it faithfully and would not sway from its teaching?  Is the price Christ paid on the cross for our salvation so precious to you that you are determined to live for Him, no matter the cost socially or monetarily?  Are the Bible’s truths so important to you that you share them with others no matter the cost in time, money, or others’ opinions?

We are nearing an era’s end when many lived their faith in Christ and shared it with others without paying a high price.  However, because many have not stood up for their beliefs and freedoms, the ungodly are taking away those liberties.

For most of us, compared to what our predecessors have paid for their religious convictions, the cost to us has been minimal.  That fact may change shortly.  Will you be willing to pay the price for your faith, no matter what it is?  Many say they will die for their faith, but for most of us, God only requires that we live for Him. Are you living boldly for Him today?

“You cannot win without sacrifice.”   — Buxton


Soldier of the Cross
Isaac Watts, 1762

Am I a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own
His cause, or blush to speak His name?

Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease?
While others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?
Are there no foes for me to face?

Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?

Sure, I must fight if I would reign:
Increase my courage, Lord;
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.


History of Early Christians
Excerpts from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

  • Stephen: “… He was cast out of the city and stoned to death.”
  • About two thousand Christians, with Nicanor, one of the seven deacons, suffered martyrdom during the “persecution that arose about Stephen.”
  • James, the son of Zebedee, the elder brother of John: “… beheaded ….”
  • Philip: “… He was scourged, thrown into prison, and afterwards crucified.“
  • Matthew: “… was slain by a halberd in the city of Nadabah.“
  • James, the Less: “… At the age of ninety-four he was beaten and stoned by the Jews; and finally had his brains dashed out with a fuller’s club.”
  • Matthias: “… He was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded.”
  • Andrew: “… He was taken and crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground.”
  • Mark: “… Mark was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria, at the great solemnity of Serapis their idol, ending his life under their merciless hands ….”
  • Peter: “… Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.”
  • Paul, the apostle: “… gave his neck to the sword.”
  • Jude: “He was crucified at Edessa …”
  • Bartholomew: “He was at length cruelly beaten and then crucified by the impatient idolaters.”
  • Thomas: ”… preached the Gospel in Parthia and India, where exciting the rage of the pagan priests, he was martyred by being thrust through with a spear.”
  • Luke: ”… and is supposed to have been hanged on an olive tree, by the idolatrous priests of Greece.“
  • Simon: “… preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain, in which latter country he was crucified ….”
  • John: “… banished him to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. … He was the only apostle who escaped a violent death.”
  • Barnabas: “… his death is supposed to have taken place about A.D. 73.”

“And yet, notwithstanding all these continual persecutions and horrible punishments, the Church daily increased, deeply rooted in the doctrine of the apostles and watered plentously with the blood of saints.”

Sincerity is the salt of the sacrifice.  Without it, the offering can never be acceptable to God.” — Spurgeon


Singing If You Can
Author Unknown

God never would send you the darkness
If He felt you could bear the light;
But you would not cling to His guiding hand
If the way were always bright,

And you would not care to walk by faith,
Could you always walk by sight?
Then nestle your hand in your Father’s,
And sing, if you can, as you go;

Your song may cheer someone behind you
Whose courage is sinking low;
And, well, if your lips do quiver,
Be encouraged; God loves you so.

The BIBLE VIEW #880 — Their Last Words

In This Issue:
The Last Words of Pastor James Gerven
The Death of Chloe
The Last Words of George Roberts
Thomas Paine’s Last Words
The Last Words of Richard Hooker
The Dying Words of Earl of Chesterfield
The Death of A Young Man

Volume: 880     October 17, 2022
Theme:  Last Words

Printable versions of The BIBLE VIEWs can be found at https://openthoumineeyes.com/newsletters.html. FREE versions include ones designed for church bulletin inserts/ handouts and a large print version!

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* The following accounts are edited from: Ingram Cobbin, Dying Sayings.  London, England,  Frederick Westley, 1828. *


The Last Words of Pastor James Gerven
Ingram Cobbin, Dying Sayings

James Gerven was a pious, ingenious minister, a popular writer, and was born in 1714… He died in 1758, being forty-four years old.

As death drew near, he said, “Here is the treasure of the Christian.  Death is reckoned in this inventory, and a noble treasure it is.  How thankful I am for death, as it is the passage through which I go to the Lord and Giver of eternal life!  These light afflictions are but for a moment, and then comes an eternal weight of glory.  Oh, I welcome death!  Thou mayest well be reckoned among the treasures of the Christian.  ‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’” (Philippians 1:21)”

“What will be your last words?  Will they be of excitement and expectation or fear and trembling?” — Bill Brinkworth


The Death of Chloe
Ingram Cobbin, Dying Sayings

… Before us was the struggling, agonizing, dying Chloe, inwardly burning to death with the raging fires of inflammation.  Her mind was most anxious about the terrors of her approaching end.  She felt the horrible consciousness of being unprepared for the solemn exchange of worlds.

A minister had prayed with her, but no relief was found.  The mother prayed, but overflowing tears from distress and terror were all the help she could give the child, who was sinking in despair.

Attendants were weeping, but none of them could help the dying girl.  She did not pray for herself, while her cries for prayer to save her from Hell were incessant.

She was asked, “Chloe, will you now accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your only Saviour from sin and Hell and submit your soul into his hands for salvation?”

With a faltering voice, she answered, “No, I cannot!”

Astonished at the answer, she was asked, “Why are you not willing, and why can you not now, with your dying breath, accept Christ for salvation?”

With the clear appearance of being in full possession of her rational thinking, but with a feeble and tremulous articulation, she continued, “It is too late….”

Will any who read this account neglect preparation for eternity?  Are you ready when it is your time to leave this world?



The Last Words of George Roberts
Ingram Cobbin, Dying Sayings

Pastor George Roberts experienced God’s converting grace in early life and devoted himself to Christian service.  He came to New England in 1790, where, through much opposition and suffering, he labored with outstanding success.  Through excessive labor and toils, his health failed, and being unable to perform ministerial duties, he moved to Baltimore….

He died in Baltimore in Christian triumph, being eminently sustained in his last conflict.  “His last hours,” said his son, “were triumphant, though eminently painful physically.  For twenty-four hours before his death, he had violent convulsions every ten minutes….”

… He was distinguished by the evenness and quiet of his temper and frame.  A night or two previous to his death, I urged him to quiet himself and offered, as a reason for it, the possibility of his disturbing the neighbors.

He immediately replied, “Be quiet, my son.  No, no!  If I had the voice of an angel, I would rouse the inhabitants of Baltimore to tell them the joys of redeeming love.  Victory, I have victory!  Victory, through the blood of the Lamb!  Victory through the blood of the Lamb,” were the last sentences trembled from his dying lips.

His death was a triumphant testimony!  Only the power of salvation can enable the soul to triumph when the body sinks into the tomb….

“This world is the land of the dying; the next, for the Christian, is the land of the living.”   — Author Unknown


Thomas Paine’s Last Words
Ingram Cobbin, Dying Sayings

Thomas Paine, a political writer and deist, was born in Norfolk, England, in 1737 and died in New York on June 8, 1809.  He was seventy-two years.  This unhappy unbeliever died in great misery from the consequence of his disgusting vices. 

He became an outcast from all respectable society.  He was said to have been irritable, vain, filthy, malignant, dishonest, and drunken.  Mr. Cunningham said, “Few men have been more bountifully favored with the gifts of nature and expansion of intellect than was Thomas Paine.  His essays on the political rights of man stand as a lasting monument of his genius and exhibit a mind girded with strength.  Yet even though he had outstanding success and acknowledged ability in effecting a political revolution, he revolted against God and common sense… He shut his eyes against rational evidence, denied the truth of Christianity, and became a skeptic.  This infatuated infidel was left to the fruits of his doings.  He degraded himself and died a fool….

Frequently, in his last distress, Mr. Paine called out, “Lord Jesus!  Help me.”

His doctor, Dr. Maiiley, asked him whether, from his calling so often upon the Saviour, if it was to be inferred that Thomas believed the Gospel.

He replied, “I have no wish to believe on that subject.” He expired in great agony.  Such are the fruits of infidelity.  How many, like Paine, were disloyal to God and were ruined?

“Some die without having really lived, while others continue to live, in spite of the fact that they have died.”  — Author Unknown 


The Last Words of Richard Hooker
Ingram Cobbin, Dying Sayings

Richard Hooker was born near Exeter, England, in 1553.  He possessed great learning, sound judgment, and distinguished himself by the book The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. 

He was a meek, pious man and spent his days laboring to promote the glory of his Creator and the happiness of men.”

He died in the forty-seventh year of his age.  Before his departure, he said, “I have lived to see that this world is full of confusion and disorder.   I have been long preparing to leave it and gathering comfort for the awful hour of making up my account with God, which I now apprehend as nearby.  By his grace, I have loved Him from my youth, feared Him, and labored to have a conscience void of offense toward my God and all men.”

At another time, he said, “God hath heard my daily petition…  From this blessed assurance, I feel the inward joy the world can neither give nor take from me.  My conscience beareth me this witness, and this witness makes the thoughts of death joyful.  I could wish to live to do the church more service, but I cannot hope for it, for my days are past as a shadow and will not return.”  Shortly after uttering those words, he went home to be with God.”
“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord….” (Rev.  14:13)  It shall be well with the righteous.


The Dying Words of Earl of Chesterfield
Ingram Cobbin, Dying Sayings

The Earl of Chesterfield was one of the most accomplished scholars of his time.  He sought all the world’s pleasures and informed us he enjoyed them.  However, he lived and died like a fool.

Though learned, polite, and witty, he was full of deceit and opposition to God.  He said, “My reason tells me I should wish for the end of life, but instinct makes me take all the proper methods to put it off.  This innate sentiment alone makes me bear life with patience!  I assure you, I have no hope, but, on the contrary, many fears from it.”

Poor man!  Is this all the comfort thou hast derived from all his accomplishments?  What a confession from a deathbed!  He added, “I can hardly persuade myself that all that frivolous hurry and bustle and all the pleasures of the world had any reality, but they seem to have been the dreams of restless nights.  Ah!  They can render no support to the dying soul.  They truly now appear like ‘dreams’ and were not important.”

The Death of A Young Man
Ingram Cobbin, Dying Sayings

In the summer of 1817, a camp meeting was held in East Hartford, Connecticut.  About eight thousand people were present, and about one hundred were saved.

The Rev. D. Dorchester, when recounting the meeting, said, “… A young man, about eighteen years of age, attended the meetings.  On Sunday evening, the Lord wrought powerfully among the people.

“Some of the young man’s associates sought and found the Saviour… Entreaties, expostulations, and tears urged the boy, but all in vain!  His reply to them was, ‘I will wait till I get home.’”

“He started for home with his mother.  At about five o’clock, he arrived within a few yards of his father’s house when suddenly he sprang from the wagon.  He exclaimed, “Mother, I am dying; I am dying.  I shall not live for one hour!  O, that I had sought salvation at the camp meeting!”

“A physician was called immediately, but his efforts were in vain.  Death had planted the arrow that no human hand could extract.  The boy’s skin soon assumed a purple hue.  His friends could only wait with anxiety and hear, with the most painful sensations, the regrets the boy uttered.  The next day, he breathed his last.”

Procrastination was the thief that stole the young man’s opportunity to be saved…. 
“(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” II Cor. 6:2

THE BIBLE VIEW #879 — Grace

In This Issue:
Abounding Grace
What Is Grace?
Grace Is Sufficient
Grace  Day by Day
In the Nick of Time

Volume: 879     October 10, 2022
Theme:  Grace

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Abounding Grace
Jay and Linda Aarseth, Missionaries in Thailand

Faith.  Trust.  Trusting not by what is seen, but by faith.

I thought I understood ‘Hope.  I have read many accounts of courageous men and women who have lived these simple words and made them embraceable.  We long to be able to follow their example of godliness and strength if we are ever called upon to do so.  One day, those words became our exam.

My husband, Jay, and I had been missionaries in Guam for five years.  We were in love with the church and the people and had never enjoyed the ministry more.  God had blessed us, and we were content, then a dreaded middle-of-the-night call came.

Our pastor reached us with news that our youngest daughter and her children had been in a house fire.  Our hearts pounded as we tried to secure our home in Guam and acquire tickets to the States, a task not easily done on such short notice.  We did not know the full extent of the injuries sustained until much later that day.

Three flights and 18 hours in the air separated us from the facts.  We thought the very worst.  Visions of burn victims flooded my mind’s eye and kept me nauseous and weak.  However, God gave me rest and quieted my soul in a way I had never known.

Our pastor met us in Atlanta with a car for us to drive to Augusta, where Lindsay, our daughter, and her two children had been flown via helicopter from Chattanooga, TN.  Our oldest daughter, Jessica, and her husband met us at the burn unit.  They tried to gently prepare us for what we would see.  We donned the sterile garb, scrubbed ourselves, and entered room #1.  As it turned out, Emma had been burned over 65% of her body, Lindsay 53%, and Ewan 45%.

Jay kept me from collapsing.  The three of them were swollen beyond recognition and their bodies were connected with tubes and staples. 

“God?  Faith?  Trust?  Hope?”  I had never known a time that I could not pray, but there were no words.  I didn’t need any.  God provided every ounce of emotional strength and physical ability I needed.  My heavenly Father was there!

My grandson, Ewan, was taken to Heaven three days after his arrival at the burn unit.  His little heart could not sustain his physical trauma.  Lindsay and little Emma, age 4, spent the next 62 days in ICU.  Both underwent miraculous skin grafts and rehabilitation.  Lindsay was in a drug-induced coma when Ewan died.  She had to be told of his death upon awakening. 

Day after day, I sat in the waiting room waiting for my 15 or 30-minute visit with each of my girls.  In the hours in between, I watched for others who were there because their loved one was also on the brink of death.  We sat with many family members who looked just like we did.  “Can anyone live through such a trauma?” I wondered.

The doctors said, “Yes.”  I did not see how any length of time could heal what I saw lying in those hospital beds.

I sought family members of other ICU patients and shared God’s grace and peace with them.  For 62 days, that waiting room was my mission field.  I cried and prayed with others as we shared a common pain.

I could write volumes about the love and compassion of those God sent our way.  My pastor and his wife were unbelievably supportive and compassionate.  They found a hospital in Chattanooga to hold our Ewan’s little body until Lindsay recovered enough to make arrangements for his burial. 

We did not know from day to day if Lindsay or Emma would survive.  God was there, though; I cannot say more.  He was everything we needed at every moment of every day.

Many more battles and trials followed.  I suppose there will always be pain and scars for my girls.  They are walking testimonies of the goodness of God, and they both allow their scars to speak of the Lord’s faithfulness.

I will never be the same.  My God had comforted me and helped me to grow.  He had given us a comfort wherewith we may comfort others.

Now we walk with a genuine sense of faith.  We have learned what it is to trust with no reservations and to believe in His goodness because He cared so tenderly for each of us during those awful days.

We can now embrace whatever He allows in our lives as having been filtered through His hands.  Such beauty has erupted from those ashes.  To God be the glory; great things He has done!

“’Grace’ means undeserved kindness.  It is the gift of God to man the moment man sees he is unworthy of God’s favor.” — D. L. Moody


What is Grace?
Noah Webster, 1828

Grace is:

  1. Favor; goodwill; kindness
  2. The free, unmerited love and favor of God
  3. Favorable influence of God
  4. The application of Christ’s righteousness to the sinner


Grace Is Sufficient
Author Unknown

“… My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” II Cor. 12:9
Booth-Tucker preached in Chicago one day.  Out from the crowd, a burdened toiler came and said to him, before all the audience, “You can talk like that about how Christ is dear to you and helps you, but if your wife was dead, as my wife is, and you had some babies crying for their mother who would never come back, you could not say what you are saying!”

A little later, Booth-Tucker lost his noble wife in a railway wreck.  The body was brought to Chicago and carried to the Salvation Army barracks for the funeral service. 

After others had conducted the funeral service, Booth-Tucker stood there by the casket, looked down into the face of the silent wife and his children’s mother, and said, “The other day, when I was here, a man said I could not say Christ was sufficient if my wife were dead, and my children were crying for their mother.  If that man is here, tell him that Christ is sufficient.  My heart is all broken; my heart is all crushed; my heart is all bleeding, but there is a song in my heart, and Christ put it there.  If that man is here, I tell you, though my wife is gone and my children are motherless, Christ comforts me today!”

That man was there, and down the aisle he went and fell beside the casket, saying, “Verily, if Christ can help us like that, I will surrender to Him.” 

“The Law detects.  Grace corrects.”   — Author Unknown


Grace
Author Unknown

He giveth more grace when burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction, He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance;
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done;
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources;
Our Father’s full giving has only begun.

His love has no limit; His grace knows no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.

“Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God.”  — Oswald Chambers 


Day by Day
D. L. Moody

A man can no more take a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough today to last him for the next six months.  Nor can he take sufficient air into his lungs to sustain life for a week to come.  We must draw upon God’s boundless stores for grace from day to day, as we need it.

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”  Matthew 6:34


In the “Nick of Time”
G. Campbell Morgan

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
I am never tired of pointing out that the Greek phrase translated, “… in the time of need,” is a colloquialism of which the “nick of time” is the exact equivalent: “… grace to help in ‘the nick of time.’”  God can give us grace just when and where we need it.

You may be attacked by temptation.  At the moment of assault, you look to Him, and grace is there to help in “the nick of time.”  No postponement of your petition until the evening hour of prayer, but there in the city street, with the flaming temptation in front of you, turn to Christ with a cry for help. The grace will be there in “the nick of time.”

“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace.” 
— Martin Luther 

The BIBLE VIEW #878 — Sin’s Consequences

In This Issue:
Why Is Society A Mess?
Sliding Down Sin’s Slippery Slope of Ruin

Volume: 878     October 3, 2022
Theme:  The Consequences of Sin

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Why Is Society A Mess?
Bill Brinkworth

For centuries, America has had the liberty to have free speech. People could, without fear, voice their opinions. Churches unashamedly preached what the Bible said. Most clearly knew what was right and wrong, as it was taught and practiced in homes, schools, government, and churches.

Although free speech was a taken-for-granted freedom, some areas of wrongdoing were taboo. Those actions were not even mentioned because the majority knew right from wrong.

Slowly, a change happened. Since radical, immoral opinions and behaviors were not usually accepted, outcry, when they did occur, was minimal.

Since there was little resistance to once unaccepted thoughts and behavior, more realized they could break moral barriers and get away with voicing and living the way their lusts and likes lead them. As more vocalized once unaccepted practices, more heard and contemplated the once forbidden sins. Soon, radical behaviors, beliefs, and opinions spread throughout the country.

Boldness to commit once ridiculed and unthought-of practices spread from one to another. In time, degraded morals spread through the land like a plague. No longer was homosexuality, drug use, deserting families by divorce, lying, politically controlling school children’s upbringing, abortion, breaking laws, and doing whatever felt good even questioned. In many places, laws were ignored to further allow what was once shunned to continue. Sin rampaged throughout the nation.

Since the nation’s morality change was gradual, an entire generation became accustomed to the new “morality.”  When that group became parents, they were not troubled when their children also accepted and even practiced the new standards.

Many were busy with their lives and earning an income to obtain what they wanted. Those who did remember what used to be right and wrong made little outcry about the changes in society.

Pulpits that once boldly blasted what God’s Word clearly defined as sin hesitated in reminding their congregations of God’s standards. Worldly brain-washing continued, and churches seldom opposed the new “normal.”  Over time, few ministries remained to remind people of God’s standards.

Confusion about what was “right” and “wrong” became cloudier. People with lifestyles that would not have been acceptable decades previously became leaders, teachers, preachers, and socially recognized “heroes” of the changing society.

Over decades, those with millennia-held biblical standards were now the social outcasts. A growing majority now looks down upon those that will not tolerate or accept sin. What once was recognized as iniquity has become acceptable, and “good” is now seen by many as “bad.”

Names were created to negatively label those that would not accept the new “morality.”  Those adhering to biblical morals were now branded as “hateful,” anti-politically correct, anti-environmental, ignorant (because they did not think like the masses), social terrorists, and many more demeaning titles.

Freedom of speech is slowly removed from society. Some that hinted at holding onto past social beliefs are now having their employment threatened, dismissed from schools, not allowed in certain sports, and castigated from even vocalizing their opinion. 

Pressures to make more conform to the new morality is even spreading throughout the world. The growing insistence on rejecting the old morality is not unlike the Nazi movement before World War II.

Unstopped, this growing out-of-control movement will further divide and destroy freedoms all take for granted. Changing centuries of beliefs and practices will probably not be diverted by any political or public outcry.

Those that discarded and disobeyed God’s Words have suffered a significant loss while on this Earth and will face devastation in eternity. No nation or people has ever prospered when the commandments of God were not obeyed.
“And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20

There is still hope, however, if only for individuals. That hope is to recognize what is right and wrong. Society’s definition changes constantly and cannot be relied upon. However, there is a source God labored to save that identifies truth and what is right and wrong. It is His Word, the Bible.

It has been the guideline for previous millennia. Guidance from it has improved lives, even those that many thought had no hope. Families have been reunited after adhering to its laws. Those with no hope have gained insight and flourished. Nations abiding by His commandments have prospered and been blessed. Obedience to God’s commandments is the only solution for improving the current “mess” in society.

In your lifetime, have you seen how our society is degraded? Common sense is no longer common. Right is wrong, and wrong is right. Good is now evil, and evil is now acceptable. Most likely, there will not be a great revival changing the minds and actions of multitudes, but you can change.

Dive into the Bible. Find what God defines as right or wrong. Follow His way no matter if it is unpopular or the price you may have to pay to do what God says is “right.”  Living God’s way is the only hope we and our society have!
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Sliding Down Sin’s Slippery Slope of Ruin
Bill Brinkworth

Sin’s unrelenting temptations often push one into a position that often cannot be escaped. Romans 1 details a terrible, downward spiral in which many find themselves. Many find out too late that one sin leads to another and that no one gets away with iniquity’s dreadful wages.

The seven-fold decline described in Romans 1 started when people did not recognize and honor God for His creation. All around them were the glorious things that only God could have made:  innumerable stars, an Earth that has all the necessities of life, life itself, living creatures that do remarkable things, man and all he can do, and flowering and food-supplying plants.  

Many, as also happens today, explain away God’s marvelous handiwork with their imaginative ideas and theories of how they think those things came to be. God is not given credit for what He has done, and they certainly are not thankful for what He did.
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:21

Because God’s wondrous works are explained away with concocted myths, fables, and the theory of evolution, a person can become unthankful for what God has done. Eventually, foolish hearts are darkened and hardened to hear and understand God’s truths. Many ruined lives find themselves without answers, a hopeful future, and the guidance and protection of an all-knowing, wise, and loving God. People often do not even recognize their depraved, weak conditions.

In many situations, since humanity often measures themselves by their standards or compares themselves to others, one often thinks he is intelligent and successful. However, what is considered wisdom in one’s eyes may be foolishness in God’s.
“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” Rom. 1:22

However, man’s decline rarely stops there. Since one does not have God to worship, obey, and follow, one often creates his gods to worship. Sometimes it may involve worshipping a man-made idol, as in idolatrous religions. Others worship the creation rather than the Creator. The Earth is reverenced, as are animals, trees, etc.
“And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” Rom. 1:23

When one finds oneself at this stage of depravity, one usually justifies there is no God or that He does not need to be heeded. The sins of those rebellious often increase. One sin usually leads to others, and the rest of the Romans 1 verifies this. Verses 24 to 31 list at least 27 sins that resulted from the original sin of not glorifying God and all He has done.

The description of man’s sinful decline mentions three times that God “gave them up” and “gave them over” to their sins. Those words in those phrases mean “surrendered.”  

God saw that their mind was set on “doing their own thing,” not on acknowledging Him and not obeying His commandments. God then took His guiding, protecting hands off them and let them face the consequences of their sin. They wanted their sinful lifestyle, so God “surrendered” them to the wages of their unrighteousness. How hopeless, vulnerable, and lonely it would be to have the great God give up on helping and protecting a person, yet this is a reality for many.

The progression of unrighteousness described in Romans 1 explains why sin is rampant worldwide. In their early youth, most look around and feel what they see, hear, and feel can only be there by some creative Hand.  

As they get older, soon that feeling is explained away. God is forgotten, and the regression to a life devastated by sin results.

God may have every reason to take his guiding, protecting hand off lives because of their sin, but He is still a loving and forgiving God. There is always an opportunity to recognize the true, living God again, ask His forgiveness, and turn back to what was once believed. One can get back to having Him direct and help one through life, no matter how far down sin’s spiral one has plummeted. There can be hope!
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9

Everybody, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences.
Robert Louis Stevenson