Monday, August 4, 2014

The Book About Me

The Bible is not meant to be read in third person.  It is meant for us to apply it to ourselves.  We are to put ourselves in the place of each situation and, as a consequence, allow our lives to be changed, strengthened and made to be acceptable in the eyes of Jesus Christ.

When I read of the flood of Genesis, I am as Noah who received the astonishing revelation and who was challenged to work to prepare an escape for myself, my family, and my world.  I also am a son who worked at the bidding of his father and who inherited the vision and also the salvation that resulted.

When I read of the faith of Abraham who followed the call of God, and the continuing revelation and direction of God, which invited the blessing of God, it is for me to insert myself into that entire account of faithfulness.  His disappointments are also mine as well as the profound and perpetual blessings.  

When I read of Joseph, I am both Joseph beloved and Joseph hated.  I also see myself in the place of temptation, being maligned, imprisoned, forgotten and then also elevated.  I am to be one who is the salvation of many and the forgiver of those who meant evil.  It is not just a story of Joseph.  It is meant to be my story and your story.

The Bible is a book about me.

I am present at the crucifixion.  At times I am part of the accusing crowd, and at other times I am the one who carries His rough cross.  It is all my story.  I flung dust and epithets, and I heard Him say "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  I, at other times, am the one identified and admonished to "behold my mother."  I have been everywhere on that hillside.  I have been the one on the right side and at other times I have been the one on the left of the cross in the center.  There are times, when I read the precious unfathomable account, that I am to be the One in the middle.  I identify with Jesus himself and, in a minute measure, feel his suffering and pain.

I am Peter casting nets.  I am Peter walking on water;  Peter with the sword;  Peter denying that I know my Lord;  Peter being included in the gatherings of the visitation of the resurrected Christ.  I am Peter, the preacher at Pentecost.  And at Pentecost I am also part of the crowd.

I am a saint at Corinth, and again at Ephesus, and again at Philippi.
I am Jude with an agonizing, burning message of warning to the church.
I am the aged, frail in body, strong in spirit, apostle John on Patmos seeing, hearing and writing revelation given to me, for me, and for generations to come.  

I am the first to cast his crown at the feet of the Lamb on the throne in that Holy City.  I am part of that great multitude that no man can number.  In my heart and in my devotion, I am one who is closest to the throne.

The Bible is my book.  It is my story.  I no longer view it from a distance, nor is it a third person article fit for filing on a shelf.  It is my book.  It is my hope.  It is my life.  It determines what I do, where I go, what I say, what I think, what I hope for.  

It has led me to look for a blessed hope:   "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.    Titus 2:11-14  

The Bible is a book about me.  It is my strength and my hope from Genesis 1:1 through and including the last "Amen" of Revelation.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

“The Axe Head Is Sunk"

There must be a test before there can be a testimony
A problem precedes praise.
A want or worry often precedes worship

II Kings 6:1-7
   The Sons of the Prophets that followed Elisha needed more space.  "Let’s go and build a cottage where there will be more room.  A Bible School."  Every one wanted to be near Elisha the prophet.  The sons of the prophets flocked to him.  They leaned in, craned their necks and stretched their hearing so as not to miss his instruction, counsel, and prayers.  Every one coveted to dwell with him and be near him.  "We need space."
   They did not ask for someone to send for great cedars or beautiful stones to build a great edifice.  "No, we will work.  We will each take a part in it.  We will all do our part to build a simple place where we can be together and there will be room for all of us.  If all of us work, there will be room for all of us."  They expected no help from the government since Joram and his mother, Jezebel, the wicked queen were in control of Israel.
   "Elisha, will you go with us?  We need your counsel, oversight, and guidance, and  direction.  We will do the work."  “I will go” replied their honored mentor.

   The young men worked diligently.  They were poor men who had set aside any focus on prospering in any trade or other ambition.  One young man had borrowed an axe.  With energy he swung the axe at the base of a tree.  On the back swing, the axe head flew off the handle and into the Jordan river.  The deep swift water immediately welcomed it, swallowed it, and buried it somewhere in its dark torrent.
   The young man ran to Elisha. . . “Alas my master!  It was borrowed.  If it was mine I could more easily handle the loss.  But it belonged to someone else.  I cannot repay my debt.  What shall I do?!!"  It was a time of despair for a Bible School student.  It was a hopeless time.
   "The axe head is sunk.  It was borrowed.  Forget about it.”

Other Bible scenarios.
– Eve had eaten of the fruit.  "It’s out of the garden for us.  We must leave our home.  Close the door.  Hope is gone.  We cannot go back.  Sin now separates us from God."

– A thousand years passed.  There is great sin in the world, and the only one left who is righteous is Noah and his wife and three sons and their wives.  A total of eight.  "We may as well close the doors on any hope for a future for the world.  Just one family, that's it!  Its just us.  There is no one else.  Zero fellowship.
What hope is there?"

– Abraham, a 'father of many nations' had no child.  Then he has a miracle child.  And now God wants him back.

–  "We thought Joseph was the answer", they all said.  "Now we are all prisoners.  Slave laborers.  We should have left sooner, while the leaving was good."

–  "The axe head has sunk.  It was borrowed."

–  "Haman is building gallows to hang righteous Mordecai.  What can we do"???

– "Lazarus is dead."  Jesus plainly said so.  By now he has decayed.  By now he smells.  “Jesus, they are three of your closest friends. .. Lazarus and Martha and Mary.   Now Lazarus is gone and Martha and Mary do not understand.  They sorrow.”

–  Peter had rejected the Lord and denied him.  It was over.

–  Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Ghost.  In the center aisle of church.  Right in service.
What havoc this will cause this newly established church now.   "We may as well close the doors.  Both of them died right in church.  The publicity will ruin everything."

–  There is controversy in the New Testament church between the Jews and Gentiles.  Give it up.

–  Paul is shipwrecked on an island.  (Malta) He was bitten by a snake.  He is sure to die with everyone watching.

–  John is alone and old.  He is on another island.  He is there for the Lord’s sake.  His brother died long ago and there is no one left of the ministerial brotherhood that had followed their Lord long ago.  It is so lonely.

     Why does it so often seem that whatever we do for the Lord’s sake hurts???
     Or it costs us friends and family and the conversation we used to have around a table of plenty.

A testimony follows a test.
Praise follows a prayer request.
Worship follows close on the heels of worry and want.

Let's go back to the beginning. . .
-- "Alas, my master, the axe head is lost.  It is in the water.  It is precious.  It was borrowed."
Testimony:   The prophet commanded it to swim.  2 Kings 6:6 - 7

-- Eve had eaten of the fruit.
Testimony:  But in the Garden of Eden, God himself provided a covering and a solution for sin, shame and separation.

-- A thousand years passed.  There is just one righteous family left.  That’s it.  What hope is there?
Testimony:  God Spoke to the righteous man, and gave him a plan.  For any who would believe and enter.

-- A 'father of many nations' had no child.  Now there is a miracle child.  And now God wants him back.
Testimony:  But God provided a ram to take the place.  Offer it in the place of your son Isaac.  I will keep my promise.

-- "We thought Joseph was the answer.  Now we are all prisoners.  Slave laborers.  We should have left sooner while the leaving was good."
Testimony:  God again provided a lamb.  When things got desperate.  He provided a “pass over”.

-- "Haman is building gallows to hang righteous Mordecai.  What can we do?"
Testimony:  God tweaked the story a little and allowed the roles to be changed.  ( He can do that.)  Haman hung on the gallows he build for Mordecai.  The entire nation was spared.

-- "Lazarus is dead."  Jesus said so.  By now he has decayed.  By now he smells.
Testimony:  Beyond the end of the end was the beginning.  "Loose him and let him go."  Lazarus was reunited with his grieving sisters and the sorrow ceased.

-- Peter had rejected the Lord and denied him.  It was over.
Testimony:  The angel said. . . “go tell the apostles and Peter that Jesus goes before you into Galilee: there you will see him, as he said unto you.”   And later Jesus asked. . . “Peter, do you love me?  Feed my sheep.”

-- Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy ghost.  "What havoc this would wreck upon the church.  We may as well close the doors."
Testimony:  But fear fell on the church and the church grew.  Power and authority made itself known and the church grew in a new dimension.

-- There is controversy in the New Testament church between the Jews and the Gentiles.  "We may as well give it up.  This will never work."
Testimony: Men were anointed with answers then, that are the lifeline today.  Answers to each realm. . . both Jews and Gentiles.  Apostles wrote specifically to them in words that are golden words of counsel and understanding for us.  The churches grew in each direction.

-- Paul is shipwrecked on an island.  Bitten by a snake.
Testimony:  He shook it off into the fire and natives waited for him to die.  He did not die.  Jesus was glorified in his ministry because of the notable miracle.

-- John.  Alone and old.  On another island.  For the Lord’s sake.  His brother died long ago.  "Such a failure" so many would say.
Testimony:  But revelation came that specifically describes what we are looking at today when we read the news.  We know what to expect because of that lonely man who dared to worship in the spirit on the Lord’s day.  He called it “the testimony of Jesus Christ”.  (Rev. 1:2)

So, what is your issue today?  What is your problem?  The axe head is sunk.  Irretrievable.  It was borrowed.  Is it possible that He wants you to have a testimony also?
Did He ever promise that you would never have a difficult moment, or day, or week, or a grievous period of heartache or conflict?

It is impossible to have a notable miracle without a problem in which to birth it.  It is impossible to have a dynamic testimony of the greatness of God without a tough time first.

Bow your knee one more time.  Express your determination to be faithful to him.  Then stand with lifted hands and confident worship.  I will bless the Lord at all times.  His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  Bless Him before the reply.  Keep pressing.  Keep praying.  Stay faithful.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What About The Cross?

  The account of the last week of Jesus’ life is profoundly moving to those who read it.  The details of the events that take place are complex, and every moment is of great importance.  There are no insignificant actions and there are no unimportant words.  Anyone who reads the account, without a previous bias, must find it impossible to regard it as just another fictional story.  For even those who might approach it with skepticism, there is such an appealing testimony of the evidence, that it leads many to "doubt their doubts".
Consider just a few of the obvious details:
  Jesus, the friend of the friendless, was betrayed by a friend.  He had just dipped his hand in the same Passover dish with Judas before Judas immediately rose and left the group.  Judas went out, and it was dark. Very dark. Such a dark moment in history it was.
  It is doubtless that many of those whom Jesus had healed, or fed miraculously, were in the crowd that saw him crucified.
  He who had never ridiculed any man, was subject to intense ridicule by men who were themselves rough and cruel.
  He was given vinegar and gall to drink when he was thirsty - although he had offered living water to an outcast.
  Many of the same people who had hailed him as king on Sunday, were there when he was crucified within the same week.  We read that the crowd chanted, "crucify him, crucify him!"  We do not read that any in the crowd cried, "release him, release him!".   Pilate, the Roman governor, asked, "why?!  What evil has he done!?"  The crowd cried louder. The vote was not even close. There is no record of dissent.
  The one who was innocent was the one who was in the center between two known, and self-proclaimed, thieves.  They proclaimed their own guilt, while at the same time proclaiming Jesus’ innocence.  They knew the score.  Yet Jesus, being in the middle, was promoted as the worst of the three.
  One of the thieves who was guilty, and knew he was guilty, complained of his own deserved judgment.  Jesus, who was innocent, and knew he was innocent, forgave his accusers.

  Having started to consider this marvel of grace, I invite you to read for yourself the four accounts of his betrayal, sentencing, ridicule, and crucifixion in the gospels.  It is impossible to even think of writing in a blog the full account of the crucifixion and the resurrection and include the pathos in its detail.  Simply read what is written for yourselves.  I encourage you and challenge you.  Put the facts together. Consider the details.

Then we might ask ourselves some questions:
  You may ask yourself the question -- "if this is just a story, WHY would anyone make up a story like this?"
  Or further -- "If this is not true, then how did it remain a preserved account of fiction (so-called) for two millennia?" "If it were not true, and if it is simply a fable, why has it remained guarded, sacred, and unchanged?"
  Or try to answer the question in your own mind --  "If it is not true than why didn't it simply fade away as all other fiction or gossip or false advertising?"
  Ask yourself -- "Why has this account moved so many millions to weep, and to identify with Jesus, and share in it, as though we were somehow personally involved... we who live in such a distant time and place?" "How is it that this singular life in history still calls and draws people from every nation, language, color, and experience to Himself and we still respond?"  We are still drawn to this solitary life. We still walk in His steps.
  It simply IS true.  And we WERE involved.  We ARE involved.  It is the most horrific, yet the most glorious, event in history.  Heaven trembled and the sky darkened.  The earth heaved and shook in shame.  Graves opened and dead men walked.  They testified to the fact that THIS ONE, who had just died, would forever change the region of death and even the realm beyond.
  No other sinless One has ever lived.  No other sinless One has ever come with the sole purpose to live and give, to suffer and die.  It is the most powerful event in history and its effect reaches beyond the realm of time.  It reaches into the "forever of each and every one of us". 
  The cross on Calvary’s hill is the axis upon which the world turns.

  I have more questions in my mind:
  “If this account is not true, then how is it that so much effort and energy is expended on trying to prove it to be false?  Why would those who refuse to believe it, spend so much time and effort to dismiss it?  Why not just ignore it?  Why not just ignore those who are called Christians and let them (us) do their (our) thing?"  It appears to me that the antagonism against Christianity is one of the greatest testimonies to the truth of the birth, life, ministry, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and imminent return of Jesus Christ.  We are well beyond the time when we can ignore the antagonism of the spirit of "anti-Christ" in our present world and in our society and even in our neighborhoods today.

  If the cross of Jesus Christ was fiction or a non-event;
  If the resurrection of Jesus Christ was make-believe or wishful thinking;
  If the outpouring of the spirit of God on the day of Pentecost was an easily explained and isolated phenomenon;
  If Jesus' followers after his death were willing to also die for him, and yet the testimony they held is somehow a contrived story;
  If it is all fiction;  THEN why the contention and the continuous challenge to those who still choose to follow Jesus Christ?

  No, this is not a made up story. It is the factual account of the outpouring of grace from God to man. You and I are the reason for it all.  Those who refuse it will never be truly able to dismiss any event of the Bible as fiction or fable.

  WE . . . each and every one of us. . .believe it or not. . . will ever be forced to reconcile ourselves to the ONE who is the central character of it all.  Jesus Christ.  The Lord of Glory.  The Only Redeemer Ever.  The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.  The perfect sacrifice.

  His life was not taken from him.  It was given by Him for our sakes.  Nothing!  no "reason", no explanation,  no wishful thinking,  can ever take away the truth of the greatest sacrifice the world will ever know.
  The cross on Calvary's mountain -- where the Only Saviour Ever gave Himself for the sin of all mankind -- will never be explained away.  Nor will it ever be possible to explain away the resurrection.  Nor will it ever be possible to pry the hope of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ from the hearts of those who have met Him in the kindness of his ministry, in the passion and fellowship of his suffering, in the glory of his resurrection, and in the joy of his salvation.

No one can remove the assurance of salvation from the soul that has tasted of this heavenly gift.

Monday, February 17, 2014

If Jesus were inclined to blog, here is what I think He would say:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you       falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

By the way, this is what He did say.  You will find it in Matthew 5:3-16.  He did continue to speak further, but if we can get this much, it will be a good start.  At least that is my opinion.

Blessings on you today.   D.J. Hilderbrand

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


To the Church:  
   A praying church is a church with staying power. Nothing eternal can be achieved without spiritual intercession. To say that we live in important days, and that we are facing critical situations, both locally and worldwide, is an understatement. Our world needs us now.

   In the economy of God, the altar of sacrifice was the central and significant item of furniture in the tabernacle and the temple. Without it there could have been no worship of sweet smelling incense. God’s plan has always been the altar, and God’s program has always been prayer. We do not dare think that we have a better plan, or that we have a better program.

   Together, let’s renew our efforts and our zeal for the altar and for times of prayer. Come when you can. Pray as long as you can. Pray sincerely. Pray fervently. Pray for each other. Pray for our missionaries and pastors everywhere. Pray for our country. Let our neighbors, and those that pass by the church, see people coming and going at all times for prayer. Let them see the glow of God and the peace of His presence as we leave.

"Units of prayer combined, like drops of water, make an ocean that defies resistance." E.M. Bounds

pastor hilderbrand

Thursday, May 31, 2012

1Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

Sorrow goes farther backwards than regret.
We all have regrets. I wish I would have. I should have.  If only I had done this or gone there, or said this. . .

Sorrow dwells longer in the past than regret.Sorrow builds a dwelling place in the past and says, "this is your address". Have all your mail delivered here on Regretful Lane in a house called Sorrow.

Sorrow also looks into your every tomorrow and reaches farther and farther into you future and begins to steal not only your past , but your tomorrows and tomorrow’s hopes.

Sorrow steals hope and preaches a continuous message:  "there will never be any change. Things will always be the way they have always been."

The apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Ghost, commands. . . sorrow not. Concerning them which are asleep in Jesus, I would remind you of our hope.  Do not dwell in the ancient history of your lives or the lives of those you love.  Do not build a house of Sorrow on Regretful Lane.

OUR HOPE that is founded and anchored in the unchangeable, unmoveable, forever-settled promise of the Word of God. . .

I remind you of hope:  It is a hope of an assured future without regret, sorrow, or shame.  If you have been living on Regretful Lane, change your address.

1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words
We shall FOREVER be with the Lord.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Honor in high places

I recently had a longing to hear the sounds of noble speech.  Too much of the current content of radio takes its toll on the human spirit.  I remembered listening and watching portions of the funeral service of President Ronald Reagan, so I went to "you tube"  and searched for Prime Minister Mulrooney from Canada.  I remembered listening to his tribute to our President.

 I watched and listened again to his uplifting and honoring message that day in that service where he elevated his friend -- our departed President.  Both the eloquent words and the dignity, as well as the marvelous voice of the Prime Minister were captivating.  So noble were the memories.  So honoring were the comments.  So encouraging were the images that were brought back to my mind.

I also remembered the Prime Minister of England, Margaret Thatcher.  What a dynamic and forceful lady and leader she was.  On that day of the funeral she could not speak in person due to personal health issues.  She had taken the time, however, to pre-record a video of her tribute to her friend and compatriot -- our president.  The video tribute which was shared was astounding and outstanding.  I watched again that video which was played at the funeral.  It was a captivating memorial given by one great leader to another. 

I began to search for the evidence of why President Reagan was so honored by his friends, and even those who had been his foes in politics and on the world stage.  I watched his speech given in 1964 and another given at the Republican national convention in 1980.  I wished as I watched and listened. . . "is there anyone in leadership today that could, and would, stand up and communicate these same principles as he did?"

 I feel that his success was a composite of many good things.  He loved his country.  He had high morals.  His self-deprecating humor made you feel that you knew him personally.  He stood his ground on the issues that really mattered.  He called things like they were, and his enemies became his friends.  He was not afraid to talk about God and made frequent references to the Bible.  He was real. 

He fought against many of the precise issues that are again being dragged through the cluttered streets of our public forum today.  Government intrusion, socialism, over-regulation, spending, the economy, and etc.  I noticed however, that where he used the term "billions" we now use "trillions".
This blog really isn't about a man, however. . . it is about honor.  I pray that we haven't totally lost our sense of propriety and honor and Godly morality in the realm of our political leadership. 

It doesn't take much searching in the books of the Kings and Chronicles to see that God very much weighed and counted the actions of kings.  He saw the direction and measured the response of the leaders of nations.  He heard what was whispered in the bedchamber.  He knew what the thoughts of men were.  He still does.

There were times when God sent a prophet to face a king with correction and warning.  It may have been a story of a lamb to a king who had sinned.  It may have been a prophet with another copy of the Word delivered to a king who had burned the first copy.  It may have been the hand of God himself writing the summary of a kings life on a wall for all to see.  God knows the thoughts and intents of the heart.

May God give us leadership that is in tune and in touch with higher things; leadership that has a sense of what is noble and just and pure; leaders that are not afraid to humble themselves in the presence of God and humbly ask for guidance.  We need it so much today.