The Exorcism Of The Evil Within

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On a moonless, stormy night 200 years ago, four men stood on a grassy knoll overlooking the North Atlantic and peered seaward at a ship’s light glowing in the blackness. One man paced back and forth, leading a horse with a lighted lantern tied to its nodding chin. Soon, a short distance at sea, the ship would go aground and be wrecked by pounding water. Eventually the sands would hide the wreck, but not before every last thing of value had been taken by these men – who made their living as wreckers. This describes one of many instances that took place near what is now called Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. They say that some 2,300 ships lie buried in this graveyard of the Atlantic. Some by accident, but most of these ships found their death through treachery.

Those forces that come at us, the world and it’s many crafty lies along with the devil and his schemes, are spiritual wreckers – wreckers who come to wreck and destroy the souls of Christians. When we talk about the world, we are talking about a system of thought, the lifestyle that stands in opposition to God. We have immoral pressures, pressures on the mind, pressures on our lifestyle that come to us from all angles.

The Gospel of Mark, unlike the other three gospels, go directly to the heart of Jesus’ ministry. Mark opens with Jesus being baptized by John. Then takes Him through the temptation. From the desert we find Him in Galilee, by the Sea, calling His disciples. The central location of His ministry is not Jerusalem, nor is it Nazareth, it is Capernaum.

The odd thing about the way that Mark opens this book is that we see the human character in is raw form. There close to Capernaum, Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James and John to be His disciples. All Jesus does is to say, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Right there they drop everything and follow Jesus. They left their families, their boats, everything. One has to ask why these four individuals? No formal education. No public experience. Plus they smell bad. But they follow Jesus, there is something in their hearts that Jesus likes.

In reading the Scriptures I find two great forces for good in human experience: the “fear” of God and the “grace” of God. Without the fear of God I should not stop at doing evil; the fear of God restrains me from evil. Without the grace of God I should have no desire to approach positive goodness. The one is a deterrent from evil; the other an encouragement to good.

Now look at the contrast, after calling these four disciples, Jesus goes into the synagogue in Capernaum. Here is where I expected Jesus to find His disciples, not at the fishing docks. The synagogue is the church. It should be full of good and righteous people. People who want, and do, live as God called them to live.

He began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” Can’t you just imagine how everyone took that? Ever been in a service where they spoke in tongues? “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

Do you see the paradox of Mark’s writing? We don’t expect to find Christians down by the sea, but in fact we find the best Christians by the sea. We expect to find Christians in the church, but in fact we find the possessed. Most of the evil in this world does not come from evil people. It comes from people who consider themselves good.

A little bit of hell spilled over on the world because two people believed in a false prophet. After many years of anxious waiting for an heir to the Russian throne, Tsar Nicholas II and his German wife, Federovna, were blessed with a son. However, their hopes for the future were cruelly crushed six weeks later when doctors discovered the infant had hemophilia, an incurable blood disease that could kill at any moment. All of his short life was to be lived in the shadow of terror, with death stalking every footstep. This tragedy introduced into the royal family one of the most evil men who ever lived. In those moments they turned to Gregory Rasputin, a religious mystic of questionable credentials, later known as the mad monk of Russia. Invariably, he would pray for the boy and there would be a marked improvement. Even today doctors are at a loss to explain how these healings took place, but history testifies to them. Always, Rasputin would warn the parents the boy would only live as long as they listened to him. Rasputin’s power over the royal family became so great that he could, with a word, obtain the appointment or dismissal of any government official. He had men appointed or dismissed on the basis of their attitudes toward himself rather than their abilities. Consequently, the whole Russian government reeled under the unwise counsel of this evil man. Seeds of revolution were planted and watered with discontent. It erupted into the murder of the royal family, internal war, and the communistic takeover.

The key to any exorcism is correctly identifying the unclean spirits.
Always the evil spirits that Jesus confronted, knew who Jesus was, and that He had the power to destroy them. We expect to find evil out in the cemetery where the demonic is found. Not in the church!

We have lost our concept of sin, Capernaum had lost its concept of sin. To the majority of people the word “immorality” has come to mean one thing and one thing only….A man may be greedy and selfish; spiteful, cruel, jealous, and unjust; violent and brutal; grasping, unscrupulous, and a liar; stubborn and arrogant; stupid, morose, and dead to every noble instinct-and still we are ready to say of him that he is not an immoral man.

I am convinced that evil is still prevalent in the world. Even the Church continues to struggle with unclean spirits. Whenever a church is burned because of racism, unclean spirits need exorcised. Whenever churches refuse to consider a minister because of gender, unclean spirits need exorcised. Whenever a church is not an open, inviting congregation, unclean spirits need to be exorcised.

Sometimes we may even unconsciously encourage unclean spirits to enter our place. By neglecting to read our Bibles. By failing to take time to pray. By paying to much attention to people’s pedigree. By worrying too much. By neglecting to resolve differences. By our inability to live with diversity. By neglecting to tithe.

When Jesus called those disciples, He said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Remember, Jesus calls disciples! He doesn’t say think about. He says “follow” me.

I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost…I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in the same place, but it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in…it’s a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. I walk down another street.

The Inspiration Of Scripture

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A wife said to her husband over breakfast, “I had a dream last night that you gave me a pearl necklace. What do you suppose that means?” “You’ll find out tonight,” the husband said. And sure enough, that evening he gave her a copy of a book entitled Interpreting Dreams.

Paul says to the young Timothy, “All Scripture is God-breathed….” Some translations say, All scripture is inspired by God….It is divine inspiration that gives the Bible its authoritative character. The Bible is filled (Old and New Testaments) with the phrase, “God says.” Jesus when placed under temptation quotes scripture, thus relying on the authority of scripture.

In the world that we presently live, it is healthy to have a certain amount of skepticism. Because ultimately the question is, “How do we know that it is the inspired word of God?” That is important because I need to know what is God’s word as opposed to something someone has written and tells me that it is God’s. The Book of Mormon starts off with the words, “a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible.” The Catholic Bible has a section between the Old and New Testaments that we protestants don’t accept, called The Apocrypha. David Koresh, called himself a prophet, and therefore his writings and his teaching were “inspired.”

I think that as Christians we sometimes do ourselves an injustice with our “blind faith.” God never called upon us not to use our intelligence. Faith is consistent with intelligence. Faith stands scrutiny. I used to think that I had to defend the Bible. I don’t have to defend the Bible. The Bible is not what is sacred, it is the God that the Bible tells about that is sacred. And the truth can defend itself. When Paul defines faith he writes, (Hebrews 11:1-2) Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. No where does he call on us not to use our God given intelligence. No where does he call on us not to question. A healthy faith questions! John the Baptizer when in prison sends word to Jesus, “Are you really the Christ?” This is the man who baptized Jesus.
This is the man who saw and heard the voice of God. When Paul defines faith, he does so in a historical context. This is what the ancients were commended for. We know their faith by their life’s actions.

How does the believer know when something like the Bible is truly the “inspired word of God?” There are four principals that I think help us to discern what is or is not inspired.

One: who wrote the book or letter? The reason that we have the 66 books in the Bible that we do, out of the 100’s of books and letter reported to be inspired, is that we know the authorship of these 66 books. Here in Second Timothy we know that it was Paul who wrote the letter. Paul understood the importance of authorship. That is why Paul makes a case for his Apostleship. True inspiration comes when the seeking mind of the Christian joins with the revealing Spirit of God. We don’t look for a Christian writing from a non-Christian source. Peter wrote: 2PE 1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Two: is it consistent with the rest of scripture? We will always find scripture in harmony with itself, it never clashes. We know that this passage out of Timothy was written about the Old Testament not the New Testament. When Paul writes, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. The New Testament did not exist. The Old Testament found its final form around 100 B.C. The New Testament did not come together until around 367 A.D. The fathers determined what could be included in the Bible by looking at who the author was. One question was always asked, “did it agree with Christian teaching?”

Three: has it stood the test of time and history? Jesus said, MAT 5:18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Has history proven or disproven the story? The wonderful thing about the Bible is that history has always proven it to be true. Nothing has been proven to be wrong. Moses said, DEU 18:22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him. ROM 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Four: what does the Holy Spirit tell you? Paul says, EPH 1:17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. Just before the death of actor W.C. Fields, a friend visited Fields’ hospital room and was surprised to find him thumbing through a Bible. Asked what he was doing with a Bible, Fields replied, “I’m looking for loopholes.” As Gary Redding points out, “There are no loopholes. The Bible is the Word of God. It tells us how God feels about us and it tells us how to be saved. It tells us how to live under God’s authority. On those issues the Bible is very clear.”

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We express our sorrow to Karl, Steve and Jenny in the death of Vicki Reust.  Vicki died Sunday evening from cancer.  Her memorial service will be at Hillside Christian Church on Saturday (January 23, 2016) at 2:00 PM.I1755

Glimpses Of What Will Be

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Some people have simply stopped expecting. They have accumulated enough of life’s disappointments to become afraid to dream, to reach, to stretch, to broaden their horizons. But God wants to free us tomorrow; He won’t allow us to blame yesterday. Neither will He allow us to cast blame on anything or anybody who seems to restrict our tomorrows.

I have people who will ask, “Bill, how can you go on?” How can you not? Sure it has been disappointing and it hurts. But when I wake up in the morning, I say “thank you God for a wonderful day.” Because Vickie didn’t get well, doesn’t cause me to believe any less in miracles.

Setting in a prison cell in Rome, knowing his death was near, Paul writes, For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. In other words, the Christian cannot lose! If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far… Tomorrow, is set by Christ, only God knows.

Years ago a thunderstorm swept through Kentucky at New Castle where my forbearers have lived for generations. In the town, the wind blew over an old apple tree that had been there as long as anybody could remember. We all grieved to lose the tree on which I and many of my friends had climbed as a boy and whose fruit we had eaten all our lives. A neighbor came by and said, “I’m really sorry to see your tree blown down.” “I’m sorry too,” said my friend. “It was a real part of our past.” “What are you going to do?” the neighbor asked. My friend paused for a moment and then said, “I’m going to pick up the fruit and burn what’s left.” That is the wise way to deal with many things in our past. We need them to learn their lessons, enjoy their pleasures, and then go on with the present and the future.

About half way through the three years of Jesus’ ministry we find what we call the “transfiguration.” Jesus and the Disciples have been in the area of Caesarea Philippi. On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. It is important to know that because Peter’s great confession took place at Caesarea Philippi. “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” His ministry is beginning to take hold, they are understanding.

One week later, Jesus, along with Peter, James & John, go up on a high mountain. Probably, Mount Hermon. Hermon stands about 9,200 feet above sea level.

There he was transfigured before them. To be transfigured means to be changed or made over! Sometimes we want to look different, so we have a makeover. The wife comes home and the husband doesn’t even recognize her. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. We have to ask, “what change was made?” The Jesus that came down off of Mt. Hermon, appears to be the same Jesus that went upon the mountain. There appears to be no lasting change in Jesus’ appearance. There is no radical change in His style of ministry or the message that He is bringing. The purpose of the transfiguration appears to be “empowerment.”

There are two types of empowerment – one is for Jesus and the other is for the Disciples. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Of the three gospels that the transfiguration is recorded in, only Luke tells of the conversation. LUK 9:31 They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Jesus needs encouragement. He is God, he knows all things, except the “day and the hour” of His return. He knows all about His death. This is how the divine is encouraged. Elijah and Moses lifting Him up and encouraging Him. Elijah didn’t die, but went to Heaven in a chariot. Moses dies, but his body was taken by Michael.

The second empowerment comes to the believers. We don’t know the future. We don’t know what we face tomorrow. And it is precisely for that reason that we must be encouraged. Peter, James and John would all be at the center of what was to take place in Jerusalem.

Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. All of us need to be strengthened at times in our lives. Here the disciples have heard Jesus talking about dying. It has been a difficult two years of ministry. “Teacher, it is good for us to be here, we need it.”

Let us put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) I would be frightened too. The two most important people in Israel’s history are here. The question that is raised is, “how do they know it is Moses and Elijah? The divine mystery of God – that sustains all believers!

Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” The cloud is the presence of God – the same God who’s glory so filled the Temple that it was like a cloud. The cloud was the presence of God as the children of Israel wondered in the desert for 40 years. The same cloud that covered the top of Mt. Sinai. And then God speaks, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” These are the same words that the believers hear at Jesus’ baptism. Here is God! God is present!

Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. Was it real? It lasted only a few minutes but it was heaven. They tasted heaven and it uplifted them.

Don’t ever stop expecting! Do not stop dreaming, or stop reaching, or stop stretching, continue to broaden your horizons.

Is There Only Salvation In Christ?

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People have always been in a search of salvation. Our ultimate goal is to go to Heaven – what steps are necessary to do that? We often ask the question, “Are you saved?” If we have been brought up in the Church we understand the question. If we have not been brought up in the Church we don’t understand. Saved from what?

The simple answer is “Hell.” None of us what to go to Hell. We struggle with our own mortality and finally when we come to the conclusion that there is life after death, we have a choice to make. For there are only two choices, Heaven or Hell. The only thing worse is not having any choice.

Scripture and tradition habitually put the joys of Heaven into the scale against the sufferings of earth, and no solution of the problem of pain which does not do so, can be called a Christian one. We are very shy nowadays of even mentioning Heaven. We are afraid of the jeer about “pie in the sky,” and of being told that we are trying to “escape” from the duty of making a happy world here. But either there is “pie in the sky” or there is not. If there is not, then Christianity is false, for this doctrine is woven into its whole fabric. If there is, then this truth, like any other, must be faced.

It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to. John was baptizing with a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. Can we trust someone like John? He wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.

When God created humanity, He created humanity to be like Himself, sinless. But God’s creation was not to be sinless. The Apostle Paul tells us, 2CO 5:18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.

There have been four stages to God’s plan to save humanity.

1. Conscience: (Genesis 2:16-17) And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” What was the real temptation? Would they be dependent on God for all their knowledge? Or would they be independent from God? No innocence was to be found in man. Salvation was found in being dependent upon God alone! God gave humanity the freedom to choose between good and evil. We choose evil. In the middle of this God sent the flood and destroyed humanity and started over, only to find failure again.

2. Promise: If you can’t count on a person’s conscience to do the right thing, then we try a covenant (agreement) or promise. (Genesis 12:2-3) “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Now, all the Jewish people have to do in return, is worship and serve God. Salvation was found in keeping the promise. After 430 years they are not keeping their promise.

3. Law: God sends Moses and the Law (expectations) are written down. Ten simple moral laws written into the heart of every believer. If a law is broken, then a sacrifice is required for forgiveness. HEB 9:22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. For 520 years the Law stood firm! The Laws continued to be broken and the sacrifice forgotten. What was the plan of salvation – keep the Law and live.

4. Grace: We could not depend on our conscience. We could not depend on keeping our promise. We could not keep the law. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God changed the whole course of expectation:
Salvation was now not to be found in human expectations, but in divine expectations. (Ephesians 2:8-9) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. The Law demanded that we earn the right to come to God. Grace is a free gift. FORGIVENESS is man’s deepest need and God’s highest achievement. Salvation is found in the one who gave the gift, Jesus! JOH 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (NIV)

Are there other ways to God? Yes, there is a conscious, a promise and a law. You can depend on your conscious, but the first time it lets you down there is no redemption. You can promise God that you will serve Him and only Him. But when you break your word, who will forgive you. You can keep the law and not break a single law. But what happens to your salvation when you cannot keep the law?

Then we understand why we confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and proclaim him Lord and Savior of the world!

Foolish Promises

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Tommy La Sorda tells the story of a covered wagon traveling west, a group got caught in a blizzard in the mountains. One man told his best friend, “I ain’t gonna make it, Joe.” “Sure you are, Al.” “No, Joe, I ain’t. So I want you to promise me something.” “Anything, Al.” “Promise me that when you and little Joe get there you’ll name a town after me.” “Sure, Al.” At this he turned to Little Joe and he said, “Little Joe, will you remind your pa to name a town after me?” And Little Joe replied, “I promise, Mr. Buquerque.”

Wife: “George, you promised you would be home at 4:00. It’s now 8:00.” George: “Honey, please listen to me. Poor ol’ Fred is dead. He just dropped over on the eighth green.” Wife: “Oh, that’s awful.” George: “It surely was. For the rest of the game it was hit the ball, drag Fred, hit the ball, drag Fred.

As we read the story of Jephthah we think of George. How foolish our promises and the things that we swear. There is no doubt that God had blessed Jephthah as a great general. He conquered 20 towns. Now Jephthah owes nothing except maybe a “thank you” to God. Jephthah is a man who has pulled himself up by the bootstraps. Born to a harlot. Never having a real home because of his illegitimacy. But he sees himself as a leader and gathered a group of “worthless fellows.” Here is an opportunity to redeem himself.

And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” Human sacrifice was forbidden by Law. What did Jephthah think would come out of “his house?” When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.”

Clearly the greater faith is found in the daughter more than Jephthah. “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised….ISA 11:6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.

I want you to understand the background so you can understand the importance that God places on promises. Why doesn’t Jephthah just break his foolish promise? The people will understand. However, to the Hebrew, your word is your life.

Two shipwrecked sailors had been adrift on a raft for days. Desperate, one knelt and began to pray: “Oh Lord, I know I haven’t lived a good life. I’ve drunk too much booze. I’ve lied and cheated. I’ve done so many things I’m ashamed of, but Lord, if you’ll just save me, I promise…” “Hold it,” interrupted his shipmate, “don’t say another word! I think I just spotted land!”

Jesus said, “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your `Yes’ be `Yes,’ and your `No,’ `No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:33-37)

Sam Findley decided it was time to retire from the garment business. So he called in his son Mervyn and gave him the news and a bit of advice: “Son, it’s all yours. I’ve made a success of this business because of two principles reliability and wisdom. First, take reliability. If you promise goods by the 10th of the month, no matter what happens, you must deliver by the 10th. Even if it costs you overtime, double time, golden time. You deliver what you promise.” Mervyn thought about this for a few moments and then asked, “but what about wisdom?” His father shot back: “Wisdom is never making such a stupid promise.”

Our salvation is no better than the word of God. We know that we have salvation because God promised us salvation. God is as faithful as His word. JAM 5:12 Above all, my brothers, do not swear – not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.

The Bible is clear, do not make promises, oaths, pledges, etc. However, if we do, and there is no sin in making a promise. As a Christian we are obligated to keep the promise. It is a sin to make a promise and then not to keep the promise.

Vows made in storms are forgotten in calms. Manley Beasley tells the story of a friend who had a rescue mission. He prayed, “God, I need two hundred dollars. Oh, God, I need two hundred dollars.” So this fellow said to him, “Why don’t you get scriptural in your praying? Why don’t you ask God to open your eyes to the fact that you have already got it?” He replied, “Don’t you think I’ve got sense enough to know that if I already had it I would know I had it.” The man said, “Well, obviously, you don’t. One day he finally got down on his knees and prayed the different prayer, “Now, Lord, if I’ve got something and I don’t know I’ve got it, would you please open my eyes and let me see it?” He got up off his knees and walked to the window. Now, he had owned this piece of property he was on for six months. There were twenty men that he was feeding every meal. The men were just walking around out there on the grounds. He kept watching and noticing that they were reaching down, picking up, and cracking something. All at once he looked up and right there on the chapel side of that building were two of the largest pecan trees that you have ever seen. Those trees were just breaking down with pecans. Then it hit him that on the property there were not only two pecan trees, there were seven. He got those men and started shaking those trees. He did not weigh the pecans but took them down to the market and said, “How many do we have here?” The man said, “Two hundred dollars worth.”

A Peanuts cartoon pictured Lucy and Linus looking out the window at a steady downpour of rain. “Boy,” said Lucy, “look at it rain. What if it floods the whole world?” “It will never do that,” Linus replied confidently. “In the ninth chapter of Genesis, God promised Noah that would never happen again, and the sign of the promise is the rainbow.” “You’ve taken a great load off my mind,” said Lucy with a relieved smile. “Sound theology,” pontificated Linus, “has a way of doing that!”