Monthly Archives: January 2018



William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

The church of the Living God at Ephesus played a prominent part in the initial spread of Christianity as well as in the makeup of the New Testament. The book that bears its name features some of the best loved verses in the Bible.
The church was born in an idol worshipping city, creating significant, violent protests, yet it was a tremendous work of the Apostle Paul, who went out of his way to pay it one last visit near the end of his free ministry. It was also home to the ministry of Aquila and Priscilla, and a preaching station of glib Apollos.
It was this writer’s delight to visit the ruins of the ancient city which still bears ample evidence of its early prominence, including remains of winding streets, shops, libraries, homes, and huge storage facilities of grain. There are also remains of city laws engraved in stone in prominent places. Indeed the ancient amphitheater that hosted a protest crowd of some 50,000 in the days of Paul is there together with remains of an ancient church house and deep water baptistery. There are also prominent brothels, speaking to the sensuality of the idol worship so prominent, water cooled houses, epicurean regurgitation stations, and other indicators of material excesses of the day.
Again, the church is directly addressed in Revelation chapter two. The underscored criticism of it is that they had left their first love. Commentators, and other theologians have conjectured just what that means, and often skewed it to their own thinking more than to contextual evidence.
It is abundantly clear that the church, and indeed the entire city suffered from devastation of disease and earthquakes, yet the ruins of what once was remains. Evidence abounds that what happened to the church at Ephesus is what continues to happen to churches throughout the age: they left their first love, and their candlestick was removed, even though they may have continued to operate religiously for a time. What is that first love? The same that we all have. It is love for the God of the Word, of whom we want to know more from our spiritual birth onward. Carnality often deals that a mortal blow. Do you love the Word more than this material world? How much time do you spend with it?

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Joshua 24:19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.

20 If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.

21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.

22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.

23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.

24 And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.

25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.

27 And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.

How often do we commit ourselves to God without giving much thought to what we say?

Joshua gave a WARNING. Ye cannot serve the Lord: for He is a Holy God. Do we forget His Holiness? He called for Moses to remove his shoes for he was walking on Holy ground. Once again the same command was given to Joshua to remove his shoes. The saying “fools rush in where angels fear to tread” is a true saying. The reverence and worship of God are neglected today. Let me do a rephrase of the last sentence. The reverence IN the worship of God is neglected by some today.

Joshua’s warning contained an element that some ignore today. God is a JEALOUS God. In the Old Testament, the exact dimensions for each item of worship were laid out meticulously. The very act of worship was laid out in detail. We are in a day and age where each person wants to worship in their own way and disregard Gods way. This is called will worship. I will worship the way I want to and disregard Gods way for us to worship.

Joshua says God WILL NOT FORGIVE. Will full sins and transgressions, God will not forgive. Give some serious thought to this. Now some may not like this but willful sin and transgressions will be punished. Willfulness is sin. It reveals a stubborn and rebellious nature. Rebellion is something that God hates. We really need to examine our attitude and make sure we are in the will of God.

God will do you HURT. Punishment does hurt. There are things that happen to us that we might never relate to the punishment of God. God uses things in our life to punish us. Gods punishment can be devastating. When we commit to the service of God we need to do things Gods way and be faithful in service.

Ye are WITNESSES. We commit to God and become witnesses to what we have committed. Could that be the reason that not many respond to an altar call today? If they make a commitment before others there is a Church full of witnesses.

Would it be wonderful to have a Church of brokenhearted people walking the aisles to commit themselves to the Lord?

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Joshua 24:15 – 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.

Whom to serve. That is a question that some people answer without giving much thought to. There are those that serve the world and say they are Christians. Having been saved for many years, I struggle with understanding this. Do they believe that simply existing that they are serving the Lord? Do they think that cussing and drinking and fighting are Godly things of service? Do they think that talking about others and carrying tales is a Godly pursuit? Do they think that when all is said and done, God will say, I was only kidding when I said to believe on My Son for everlasting life. Come on up here I will take you wrapped up in your wickedness and sin.

You WILL chose whom you will serve. By doing nothing, you have chosen death and hell. By repenting and receiving Jesus as Savior, you have chosen life everlasting in the presence of Jesus. Yet this choosing says nothing about service. Service is the willingness to do the Masters bidding when we have enlisted in His service. There are those that are saved and there are those that are saved and serving.

There are what is called nominal Christians. They are the ones that are Church members and occasionally engage in serving. Most times they allow things of the world hinder their service. I had a Church member tell me one time, “preacher, all of these people around here know we are here, many have been in this building before. Why should I invite them? I am going to heaven, it probably will be by the skin of my teeth.” This man could restore an old pickup truck meticulously. The bodywork he did on this truck was astounding. Yet his idea of service was to be at church faithfully. He was faithful to be there every time the doors were open but that was the extent of his service. He was a nominal Christian.

The idea of service means to sacrifice. Present our bodies a living sacrifice. That means doing things that are inconvenient. We should always remember the great commission and what it means. Constantly carry the gospel to a lost and dying world.

Let us choose to serve Christ.

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The One Thing Technology Cannot Do


bedroom seat

Sunday afternoon my husband came into the room where I was seated and handed me the Parade Magazine from the Sunday paper.

“Here’s the invention that will answer many church go-er’s prayers!”

It was this…

crock pot

It’s a WiFi-Enabled Slow Cooker!  Now if you’re in church and the preacher is going a little longer than you’d anticipated and the pot roast you put in the crock pot is going to be ruined, you can change the setting or stop the cooking process to ensure you will not be having a burnt sacrifice for Sunday dinner!

“We’re living in the day of the Jetson’s, Hon!” my husband touted as he made his way out of the room.

It’s unbelievable, isn’t it when you think about all the things technology can do?! A camera in the fridge can let me know if I need more milk.  Alexa, is ready at our beck and…

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Joshua 3:4 “… for ye have not passed this way heretofore. “

Our life is a path that we have not traveled before. There are others who have gone before us. Some are blessed with parents who have learned the pitfalls and the traps that would befall us on this dangerous journey. This journey is not for the faint of heart because of the perils that lie on each side of the path.

We are prepared by parents. God has blessed babies with parents. Parents are to prepare their children to live in a world that can be cruel and harsh. They are to be teachers that show maturity and common sense. They are to warn children of wrong paths. They are to teach children the work ethic to survive, manners to be able to get along with others and morals to live a life not besmirched with scandal and shame. Much of this is lost today because respect is not taught anymore. Manners have deteriorated. Parents are not teaching like they used to do.

Gods Word is a lamp unto our feet. Where parents fail or children rebel, there is the Word of God. Gods instruction manual is the Bible. It lays out the safest and best path for us to follow. It gives us a way of living that we are to pursue.

I find it amazing that parents that claim to be saved will find other pursuits for their children. They will teach them to allow activities such as ball games and otherworldly activities to take top billing from God. If we love our children we will make the house of God and worship more important than any social event or activity. Our desire is that they are saved. There is nothing in this world more important than having a lost child under the influence of the preaching of the Word so that they might be saved. Some parents are condemning their children to hell and calling it love.

God has prepared the way for those that are saved; whether raising a family, looking for employment, relations with others or living life to the fullest. We should study the Word and find the path that God has put before us.

May we learn obedience instead of rebellion. May we find that path where God has gone before us and smoothed the way so that we may have a rich life-giving abundant glory to God.

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Joshua 22:20 – Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? and that man perished not alone in his iniquity.

There are times when we get belligerent and say, this is my life, I will live it the way I want and I am not hurting anyone else.

This is absurd and selfish reasoning. There are those all around us whose lives are intertwined with ours in some way. Our personal lives and friends we have are affected by the things we do. Our work lives leave a mark on those we work with. Even when we try to get away from family others are affected. No man can live only to ones self.

Achan took that which was Gods. Achan had no intention of involving others in his thievery and sin. Yet his sin was found out and his whole family was touched in a terrible way because of his sin.

Family will be the first to be touched. Fathers and mothers never get past the love, concern and care of children. What a child commits as an act of sin brings grief to the hearts of parents. Brothers and sisters are touched by lives of brothers and sisters that walk a wrong path. All in the family are touched in one way or another.

Where God directs us, we are to be an influence to good. We are in a sea of people to show them what is right and what is wrong. We are to witness to them about a Savior that forgives and cleanses us of all sin. We must realize that when we are saved, we are not left in the same life style we have been living but we are transformed and have a new life that is abundant. Achan caused his family to be stoned to death.

Let us not harm or condemn our family because of the lusts of the world. Let us cause our family to rejoice in the life that is lived in Jesus Christ.

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William Andrew Dillard

In the state of New South Wales, Australia, several miles out of the city of Sydney, lies a national park called Three Sisters, so named after three rock columns that rise 3,000 feet above sea level.
Visiting the park a number of years ago, an open air train ride took us to the floor of the great canyon which is comparable to the Grand Canyon in the U.S. Upon returning to the top, a cable car with a glass bottom offered us a ride across the top of the canyon. From that vantage point, one could see the interesting canyon floor thousands of feet below. However, as the car came to about the halfway crossing of the vast canyon, a strong wind began to cause it to swing sideways. It was scary and doubtless unsafe. The conductor immediately apologized for the canceled trip putting the car in reverse motion. No one complained. It is indeed scary to be in an unsafe environment even if only for a short time.
It may seem redundant, but it is unsafe not to be saved, and to be saved is to be safe!
When God brought the Hebrews out of Egyptian bondage, He reminded them when they had safely crossed the Red Sea, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.” 
Exodus 19:4. Truly, when things appeared to be impossible, the safest place for the Hebrews was under the direct leadership of Almighty God. It is still the absolute best place in the whole universe to be.
The prophet Isaiah reminded his people, and us, too, “ But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Isa. 40:31.
In God, one is safe, and it is never dangerous to be safe! How different life is for the unbelieving world. Men see ways that appear right to them, but the end are the ways of death. It was in such a fleshly minded environment that Jeremiah cried out to his people who were about to go into Babylonian captivity: “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” 
Jer. 17:5.
The world cries “Peace and Safety, Peace and Safety!” It eludes them. Wise are those who hear the words of 
Isaiah 57:21, “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”
David said, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD only makest me to dwell in safety.” 
Psalm 4:8. In whom are you trusting for safety?

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Joshua 14:12 – Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.

At the age of 85 years old, Caleb makes a request of Joshua, “give me this mountain.”

There was no DOUBT and no back up in Caleb. He was confident in the Lord. He wasn’t expecting the Lord to do all the work by sending fire down from heaven or opening the earth and swallowing all the people that lived on that mountain. Caleb was a doer. We need to turn our doubt into doing. We need to yoke up with the Lord by prayer and ask the Lord to give us this mission field, this field where our Church is. We need to exercise our faith in the promises of the Lord that if we will go weeping, bearing precious seed, weshall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves” with us.

Caleb said to Joshua, I am as STRONG this day as the day I was sent. Then he said his strength is for war. It is truly a battle we are engaged in. Often the thought is present that if we will present ourselves in a way that is appealing to the world, the people will flock to our door. Caleb knew he could not offer cookies and milk to entice these people off the mountain. He knew there was not one appeal that would cause these people to depart. We are in the same situation. We have a battle before us, not to entice the lost to Christ, but to battle the evil forces of darkness by the strong application of the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to convict. Only the Holy Spirit can win the battle and the war. Our purpose is to speak the Word of God.

There was no FEAR in Caleb. He first saw the Anak as a spy for Israel. He saw they were giants. Yet there was no fear. He came to the mountain and with God on his side conquered the great walled city of Hebron. The scripture says that the cities were walled. No doubt the taking of the city of Jericho had proven that God was able to take down walls and give victory. We often fear the field that we are in. We make excuses about how hard and difficult the field is. I have no doubt about difficult fields. But is anything too hard for God?

Let us without DOUBTINGing STRENGTHEN ourselves in the Lord and as FEARless warriors take on the sin of the world.


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Joshua 5:13 – 15 – And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?

14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

15 And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

You are in the presence of God. This is a Holy Place. Take the shoes off your feet. This is the second time we have heard this. Moses was told the same thing. Why did Joshua fall on his face? He had just challenged God’s messenger. Joshua had a reverential fear of God and thereby Gods messenger. Joshua had served Moses and shown respect for the man that God has chosen as leader of the nation of Israel. Through this relationship he learned to truly reverence God. Some today are so nonchalant about their relationship that they refer to God as the man upstairs. This is disrespectful. I do not believe that people truly understand the Holiness of God.

Joshua was ready for a message. The mere presence of Gods messenger caused Joshua to look forward to a message from God. How often do we come in the presence of God and say preach to me the Word of God. People are the same as they were in years gone by. Study church history and you find that in the 1700s wicked men came to a preaching service with every intent to break it up. They would bring items to throw at the preacher. Rocks, rotten tomatoes and other items were used. If that did not break up the preaching, they would attack the preacher and beat him with fists. They did not want to hear Gods Word. Today, we have those that claim they have been born again, yet do not want to hear Gods Word.

Strong preaching against sin is not popular today. Preachers are not attacked with tomatoes, eggs and fists. Yet the attack is still there with ridicule, character assasination and innuendo. These days preachers are modifying messages to make them appealing. Samuel, under the direction of Eli, told Eli all that God had revealed to him, even the death of his two sons because of their wickedness. Eli replied, it is the Lord: let Him do what seemeth Him good. God spoke and Eli accepted. Services are being changed to make them more appealing.

Let me give you my thought. The gospel preached and sin condemned, and the Holy Spirit convicting is enough so that you could hold the service under a shade tree and that be acceptable. There is a holiness about worship and being in the presence of God. If our worship is acceptable to God, we never have to proclaim, “the Holy Spirit showed up today.” Every service should have the presence of the Holy Spirit if our worship is accepted.

Let us get ready for WORSHIP. Let us make our worship ACCEPTABLE TO GOD and not about our preference. Let us come into His presence with FEAR AND TREMBLING.

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Joshua 4:20-22 – And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?

22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

Monuments are built upon events. These events become a narrative about history. Here are monuments for the children of Israel. These monuments are designed to cause children to ask questions. This gives the opportunity to tell children the story of deliverance, provision and protection. This would be a story of victory and set backs and murmuring and complaining and forgiveness.

While we travel the highways of this great nation there are monuments that tell of events, historical events about an event that took place there. I enjoy stopping to read about the events. This reveals the fabric of our nation. Monuments in our lives reveals our fabric as a person. Was it the world or Jesus that brought us to the person we are? Our monuments, the moments of life that shaped us reveal a dependance upon the world or trust and faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ.

We need monuments in our lives so that our children will ask us what does this mean. Our salvation is a memory that should be a monument. Our children would then ask, why do we do this or that, we can answer based upon our salvation and the will of God in our life. We could the tell them of their need to be save. These are monuments and should not become idols of worship.

We should build monuments to salvation so that our children and loved ones will know how to be saved. We should build monuments about baptism so that others know the proper candidate, authority and mode. We should build monuments about the Lord’s Supper so our children and others know that it is only for Church members of the local Church. We need to build monuments about the Church and how it is local only.

We should build monuments of our lives that are a testimony and a witness to our children and others. These monuments should be a legacy of our faithfulness to the Lord.

Let us go build Godly monuments.

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