Thursday, February 25, 2010



This one goes back about 30 years I guess. I have published it before (not sure where), but it is one of my favorite writings by W.F. Bell. It has so much relevant truth that is not preached much in our day. I think it will speak to you if you will read it carefully. I know that I have been frustrated recently, likely so Have you; but God hasn't.

"He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise." (Job 5:12)

"The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to naught. he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. “(Psalm 33:10)

What kind of God do you believe in? Is He the God of the Bible, or the "god" of your own imagination? Is He all-powerful and able to carry out His purposes and desires, or is he a weakling that is constantly being defeated by his rebellious creatures? Does your "god" ever get frustrated? If so, let me tell you of my God, One who frustrates others, but is never frustrated Himself!


Webster's Dictionary defines "frustrate" as meaning: "to balk or defeat in an endeavor; to induce feelings of discouragement in; to bring to nothing; to make invalid or of no effect: NULLIFY, THWART, FOIL, BAFFLE, BALK, CIRCUMVENT, OUTWIT."

With these definitions in mind, is it really possible for Almighty God to be frustrated? Certainly not! Positively no! Let the thought be forever banished! If God could be frustrated, He could be deposed from off His throne. But, praise His adorable name, that shall never be! See Psalm 66:7; 97:1; 103:19.

The word "frustrate" is used only twice in all of the Bible (KJV) and the word (frustrateth) occurs only once. Let us look at these verses: Ezra 4:5 - "And hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius the king of Persia."

Here we read of certain "adversaries of Judah and Benjamin" (Ezra 4:1) desiring to bring to nought the efforts of the "children of the captivity" in the rebuilding of the Jewish temple at Jerusalem. These enemies of God "weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose." (Ezra 4:4-5) Were God's people defeated in the rebuilding of their temple? We know that they were not. Here then, is a good illustration of what "frustrate" means.

Galatians 2:21 - "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."

The Apostle Paul declares that he does not "make void" or "set aside" the grace of God, by preaching "righteousness by the law." He says that "Christ died without cause," if men are made righteous before God by the law." "No," Paul says, "it is God's grace that saves us, and I do not make grace of none effect by preaching that righteousness comes by the law, for then Christ would have died a meaningless death." Here again, we have the definition of "frustrate."


Isaiah 44:25 - "That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish."

In this verse Jehovah reveals Himself to be the "Frustrating God." In the context of this passage God is revealed to be the Creator and Redeemer (verse 24), as well as the Frustrator, Confirmer, and Performer (verses 25-26). In other words, God is Sovereign over all His creation. Concerning the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity, Jehovah says to Jerusalem, "Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof' (verse 26).

God said "of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall he laid" (verse 28). It is also stated that God "will dry up thy rivers" (verse 27). What kind of God is this? Does this sound like a frustrated God? Notice please, all of the "shalls" and wills" of these verses. God truly does as He pleases, only as He pleases, and always as He pleases. See Psalm 115:3; 135:6; Matthew 11:25-26.

God has never been defeated in anything He has purposed to do and never shall be. Nothing God has planned and purposed can be nullified or brought to nought. Listen to the testimony of Holy Scripture: "The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand ... For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back? “(Isaiah 14:24 & 27).

"...My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure" (Isaiah 46:10).

"And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? ... Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase" (Daniel 4:34-35 & 37).

"...For who hath resisted His will?" (Romans 9:19).

Thus, God is designated as the One who "bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought (frustrates their intentions): he maketh the devices of the people of none effect (defeats their purposes)" (Psalm 33:10). Yet "the counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations" (Psalm 33:11). What a contrast is made in these two verses! The Lord is "The Frustrator," but men are "the frustrated."


Men throughout history have made great plans to do this and that, but God has foiled them and their plans. Once Sennacherib, Assyria's wicked king, when desiring to capture Judah from King Hezekiah. "wrote also letters to rail on the Lord God of Israel, and to speak against him saying, As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people out of mine hand, so shall not the God of Hezekiah deliver his people out of mine hand" (II Chronicles 32:17). How easily did the Almighty frustrate Sennacherib and his armies, however! God sent an angel that slew 185,000 Assyrians in one night. After Sennacherib fled back to Nineveh and was worshipping "in the house of Nisroch his god," two of his own sons "smote him with the sword" (II Kings 19:35-37). Has this God of the Old Testament changed? Let him answer for Himself: "For I am the Lord, I change not" (Malachi 3:6).

Countless others have schemed and devised plans against God and His people, but to no avail! Look at Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Hitler, and the modern Arab nations. Here is a declaration to you, dear reader, that God cannot be defeated or disappointed. The sovereign will of God is both unbendable and irresistible. He has no trouble whatever with even you! If you are not broken now by His grace and power, one day you will be crushed by His wrath and justice. See Matthew 21:44. All men are mere clay in the hands of a sovereign Potter (Romans 9:21-23). This Imperial Lawgiver has the right to either save you or destroy you (James 4:12).

God nullifies others, but is never nullified Himself. He thwarts, but is never thwarted! The Almighty foils, but is never foiled! He baffles men, but is never baffled by men! The Lord outwits His enemies, but is never outwitted! The King of Kings and Lord of lords is never frustrated! Let us rest our lives in His omnipotent hands. Let us rest our souls both for time and eternity, in His sovereign will. What better place of safety and security could there possibly be in these crises times?

"To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen." (Romans 16:27)

"God makes what use He pleases of men, of mighty men, of those that act with the greatest freedom; and, when they think to do as they please, He can overrule them and make them do as He pleases. Nay, in those very things wherein they are serving themselves, and look no further than that, God is serving His own purposes by them and making them to perform all His pleasure. Rich princes shall do what poor prophets have foretold" (Matthew Henry).

Saturday, February 13, 2010



“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:1-3).

“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever” (Revelation 4:6-8).

In 1826 an Anglican minister in England named Reginald Heber penned the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy, which very likely was based on these words found in the book of Isaiah, and the book of Revelation. Most of us who are Christians have sang these words before, or at least have read them. But, do we know what they mean?.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity.


Somewhere in my modest library (or stored in a box in the storage shed), I have a book once owned by this godly brother Reginald Heber with his signature affixed. I haven’t been able to locate it, but it is here somewhere! Without a doubt, if he did nothing else of value in his life, he wrote a classic, God honoring hymn. I love it, and love to sing it. It seeks to glorify this awesome God. Awesome is the word some of the more modern translations use to describe Jehovah instead of the word often misunderstood by moderns; terrible in Deuteronomy 7. I still prefer the KJV, which states the following: “Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible” (Deuteronomy 7:21). Moses said this to the children of Israel when instructing them about their enemies lying ahead in the promised land. They were not to be afraid of men.

Why terrible? The Hebrew word yare (yaw ray‘)used here means to fear, to revere, to frighten, to be had in reverence (Strongs). It is used 29 times in KJV-1611, e.g. Nehemiah 1:5; Psalm 68:35.(Some other readings:ESV-2001=awesome; Geneva-1587=dreadful; YLT-1898=fearful; Tyndale-1534=terrible). He is a God to be feared. We must recognize Him as awesome, even terrible. You know one major thing wrong with people today? There is no fear of God before their eyes. They fear many things, but they do not fear the Eternal God who has power to cast them into hell.

Holy is the Hebrew word qadosh, and that word and variations of it are used many times, e.g., Isaiah 6:3, and “Holy and Reverend is HIS name”(Psalm 111:9) . Reverend is the same Hebrew word rendered terrible in Deuteronomy 7:21. So to call a man reverend is a misunderstanding of the word to say the least. We wouldn’t say “We welcome as our speaker tonight Terrible John Piper, or Terrible R. C. Sproul or Terrible John MacArthur”, would we? Perhaps there are some preachers we could say that about using the word in its more understood modern definition: “Hard to bear; shocking; horrible; of very poor quality.” Ironically, the number one definition in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary is; “Exciting terror; fearful; dreadful.” That is so correct for the majestic God of the universe, but not so for any mere man. He is a mighty God and terrible, as Moses said. (He actually saw this at the burning bush, and when Jehovah told him “Thou canst not see my face, for there shall no man see me and Live” (Exodus 33:20). As Isaiah indicated when he fell at his feet as a dead man in Isaiah 6. As John did when he saw the risen Jesus Christ in Revelation 1:17. As Saul of Tarsus realized when he was knocked down on Damascus road. (Read Acts 9:4). To them, He was this terrible, or awesome, majestic God to be feared.


But what about the word “holy“? A.W. Tozer has a very good perspective on it.

“Neither the writer nor the reader of these words is qualified to appreciate the holiness of God. Quite literally a new channel must be cut through the desert of our minds to allow the sweet waters of truth that will heal our great sickness to flow in. We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of. God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainableHoly is the way God is. To be holy He does not conform to a standard. He is that standard.” –A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy. (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1961), pp. 104-5. Of course, this means as the standard of holiness, nothing else can be holy that is not directly associated with God. When He speaks of His holy mountain, it is only holy because he is there. The holy vessels of the tabernacle, only because God has pronounced them to be so. The same with holy angels; holy because the have been pronounced so, and they abide in the presence of God. Reginald Heber was right; only Thou (God) art holy.

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” ( Isaiah 57:15). His name is holy and He is high and lofty; above all. The place He abides is holy also, only because He is there.

“But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him” (Habakkuk2:20).


This “God is three persons” is unique. There is none beside Him. He is so unique that even the greatest theologians struggle to describe Him. Our concept of the Trinity is mysterious to us at best, but how else can we describe a God who has revealed all through scripture that He has manifested himself as three persons? Manifested is the exact word that John using in describing Christ’s revealing Himself to man as God. Read 1 John 1:1,2 for yourself and see what I mean. And it is fitting to mention in this study that He also manifested Himself as the Holy Ghost. Again, because God is a Spirit, and He is the Holy Spirit.

There is no other god that is holy, simply because there is no other God! Jehovah is the true God. These other man made idols of wood, metal, rock or stone are “not as our Rock.” They can’t even move by themselves! They have to be propped up by man. As in the case of the Philistines’ fish god, Dagon, they can be knocked over and broken. Jehovah even made Dagon a mere stump, and Jehovah needed no one’s help! (See 1 Samuel 5:4).

We can’t call a man a “holy man” by nature either, for there are none. The only way a man can have holiness is if God makes him attain to it. None do so perfectly in this life. But He does say to us “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy”(1 Peter 1:16). He also tells us “Abstain from all appearance of evil”(1 Thessalonians 5:22). Of which says one: “ This is the sum of all: for he which can abstain not only from evil, but from the appearance of evil, is so perfect as a man can be in this sinful life.” (Henry Smith, Puritan, 1560- 1591; “England’s silver tongued preacher”).


I believe we have sufficiently established from God’s word that He is holy; that He is singularly unique; and that He is mighty. Let us look as Reginald Heber did at another attribute of this holy God. He is merciful. Oh how I thank Him that He is merciful! If He were not a merciful God, as well as a mighty and holy God, where would I be? Where would you be, friend? I tell you where; we would be in hell, or at least on our way there. “The wicked shall be turned into hell”(Psalm 9:17a). As it is written, there is none righteous, no not one”(Romans 3:10). “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Yes, no hope for any of us who were all born in sin if this merciful God had not before the foundation of the world decreed in mercy that the lamb of God would come and give His life a ransom for many.(Revelation 13:8).

Yet, so many in our day refuse to acknowledge God, or receive his mercy.

What does merciful mean? In the New Testament there several variations of the word mercy. One that comes to mind is found in Luke 18:13 where the repentant publican (tax collector) does this: And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” This man knew he was a sinner, and knew enough about the law of God, the priesthood and the mercy seat to say these words. What he was asking God to do was to propitiate; to atone for; make reconciliation for his sins at the mercy seat. He was a Jew, and the procedure was to present an offering for sins at God’s altar. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin”(Hebrews 9:22b).

In Hebrews 7:27 we are told that our Lord Jesus has shed His blood in one offering of propitiation that satisfied God’s justice forever, never to be repeated. All those who are brought to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour partake of this mercy.

In Ephesians the word mercy is used in the sense of compassion, tender mercy in showing what God has done for his people. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:4-9).

God is “rich in mercy”, and exceedingly rich in grace (unmerited favor). He is not a hateful tyrant. He has shown mercy and grace to millions. Have you repented of your sins and begged for His mercy like the publican of old did? If not, why not? Maybe you have tried before and failed. That doesn’t matter! Come to Him in sincere repentance and ask His forgiveness, receive Christ as your Lord and saviour, and upon the authority of God’s word, He will forgive you.

Seek His mercy and grace. It is so interesting that in the bible, and the Webster’s Dictionary, mercy means the same thing. “In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being. (Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary).

Tuesday, February 02, 2010



“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” 2 Timothy 3:12). In my previous article I spoke about Paul when he proclaimed “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain"(Philippians1:21).Read all the biographical accounts in Acts, and even the letters of the Apostle Paul, and you will find that he knew how to live for Christ, and he knew how to die for Christ. He has told us that the true Christian life is no easy life. No bed of roses! There are at times heartache, suffering, and even death. In the West we haven’t seen as much of that as they have in places like the Communist countries, the Muslim countries, or even the Hindu countries. This is likely because of what went on in generations before. England, America and other western nations had the solid Christian influence of previous years. This is especially true of America, which the founders intended to be a Christian nation. If you don’t believe that, read the Mayflower Compact: The obvious witness of early American patriots like John Bradford, John Winthrop, John Witherspoon, Patrick Henry and many others. Now, whether this nation or any other was ever in reality a Christian nation is perhaps debatable, but the intent and influence was definitely there.

In our day we have indeed reached the time that the late Francis Schaeffer labeled the Post-Christian Era. There are still elements of the true Christian faith here, and many true Christians still are active here. But the public sentiment is expressed in everyday life through the media and the entertainment industry with its passion for extreme violence, and sick humor, thriving in a culture of nakedness, adultery and fornication. We can readily see that the USA is not generally a godly nation. Not any more! Almost all our politicians, and many others in the public eye give lip service to Christianity, but the “proof in the pudding” reveals a different character. This is not just the liberal Democrats I am referring to, but many “Conservative” Republicans as well. When we see what is going on in Washington these days, we have a tendency to look for a knight on a white horse to save us from all the corruption, yet look closer and we are disappointed. Mr. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, a fiscal conservative, may be in some ways much better than Ted Kennedy. Yet he is weak on the moral issues. Many years ago he posed nude in Cosmopolitan magazine. He is “Pro-choice (which really means pro death). Abortion on demand is not the most compelling issue of our time for most Christians. Perhaps it should be. Do you mean we have sat back and done little, or nothing while 50 million unborn babies have been murdered in America alone since 1973’s Roe vs. Wade decision ? And we want God to bless us? And if we are not speaking against these murders and doing what we can legally to stop it, can we call ourselves true Christians? May God help us, for only He can.

Paul, Peter and the early Christians knew persecution because they were on fire for Christ. Many paid for that with real fire--at the stake! I’d tell you to buy a Foxe’s Book of Christian Martyrs and read some of the accounts of Hus, Ridley, Latimer and others who were tortured and killed, but you likely will not find that book in your average Christian bookstore. You will likely have to order it online to obtain it. In more recent times, what about martyrs like Watchman Nee in China; Ivan Moiseyev,Aida Skripnikova,and GeorgiVins in the Soviet Union; Richard Wurmbrand, Nicolae Moldoveanu, Simion Motz and László Tokés in Romania; Haralan Popov and Stefan Bankov in Bulgaria. There are books about most of these available today. But persecution by communists is not all in the past. In China today, now, in 2010, Christian rights attorney Gao Zhisheng is still being tortured, whereabouts unknown. This imprisonment has lasted so far for 359 days. Read about him: .There are many others. There is already much harassment, and even some religious persecution in the USA, not yet to the extreme of some other places, but if this “progressive” liberal, God hating crowd stays in power, believe me dear friends, there will be more persecution. Are you ready for it? I know some would rather I did not mention these things. That is “the ostrich mentality”. Sure, I’d rather just preach the gospel, but my freedom to do so, and yours, is in peril. I know God is sovereign, but we are accountable.

Expounding a bit more on 2 Timothy 3:12, we see that Paul said “all who will (or desire), to live godly shall suffer persecution.” Note: he did not say they might, he said they shall, which means they will. Maybe you say “I am a Christian and I have never suffered persecution.” Examine yourself dear ones. Are you really desiring to live godly? Are you separated and unspotted from this world? Remember in 1 John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” So many professing Christians in our day are no different from the world. They balk when you say that, but it is true. They go places where true Christians should not, they partake of things true Christians would not, and love things true Christians could not. Is this you? Do you watch the increasingly filthy, and disgusting modern movies, and TV shows filled with nudity, adultery and fornication? Do you attend a church where Christ is not preached, where the Bible is not believed; where everything under the sun is promoted rather than Jesus Christ? If so, GET OUT! If you are a true believer you must, and find a Christ centered church.. We are too late in history to play church.

Paul told the church at Philippi that suffering was to be their lot, as it was his: “ For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me” (Philippians 1:29-30). Following our main verse it says “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” 2 Timothy 3:13). Live godly, and persecution will come in some form. The good Bible commentators express this, but I think Matthew Poole (1624-1679), summed it up best:Such is the disposal of Divine Providence, such the malice of the men in the world, that though not every individual person, yet it is the usual lot of them who will keep a pure faith and a good conscience, to suffer persecution in some kind or other, either in their persons, or reputation, or estates. Men may live profanely, or may be morally honest men, and be safe enough; but if they will profess faith in Christ, or love to him in keeping his commandments, they will be exposed to troubles: the world will not endure men to live in peace, that will not live as they live, and believe as they believe.”

Published by Charles Woodruff- email: