Devotion 1: If God loves me, why am I hurting?

With this post, I am beginning a series of devotions. I intend to post them daily. The first series will be drawn largely from my book If God Loves Me, Why Am I Hurting? The devotions are brief, consisting mostly of readings from the book. I pray they will be a blessing to those who view or listen to them.

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Should we write in our Bibles?

Writing in new Bible

Over the years, I have met a few people — very few — who were convinced they should not write  in their Bibles. Perhaps they thought the inspiration of Scripture prohibited human intrusion, even in the margins. Or maybe they simply wanted to preserve the pristine condition of a new Bible.

On May 16, 2019, I posted an entry on this blog titled “One of My Greatest Regrets.” It described my inability to locate my grandfather’s “nuts and bolts” Bible, a Thompson Chain Reference Bible he had read and used so frequently that the pages were falling out. He solved the problem by fastening it together by drilling holes through it which he secured with nuts and bolts. I wish I could find it, not merely for the sake of novelty, but so I could read his personal notes written in its margins. He was, after all, the first of four generations of preachers.

Also in that May 16, 2019 post, I described my intention to leave behind for my descendants a personal Bible that included my notes written in the margins. For some reason, I did not think as I was writing that I have already done this to a certain degree. This is because I wrote the study notes for Psalms, Proverbs, Hebrews, James, I Peter, II Peter and Jude in the Apostolic Study Bible. I also possess numbers of Bibles I have used over the years that include my handwritten notes.

I included in the earlier post pictures of a new Bible specifically designed to be written in. The picture above shows some of my first use of this edition of Scripture. In order to avoid bleed through when highlighting, I am using Prismacolor Premier pencils in canary yellow [PC916]. For the notes, I use the Uni-ball Signo Ultra Micro 207 pen. The pencils can be purchased at Hobby Lobby or on Amazon. The pens are available in office supply stores.

As you can see in the picture above, my current project is focused on the witness to Jesus found in the Old Testament.

I do believe in writing in my Bibles. My experience is that if I don’t make notes of the insights that occur as I study, these insights slip away. It is a sign of respect for Scripture to do what we can to retain the treasures that open to us as we read God’s word.

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A tree of ice.

After freezing rain, this tree behind our home is covered with ice. This reminds me of a portion of our Lord’s answer to Job: “From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth? The waters harden like stone, and the surface of the deep is frozen” (Job 38:29-30, NKJV).

An ice tree

One of the Hallel psalms reads: “He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? (Psalm 147:17, KJV).

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A book rediscovered.

A few days ago, as I reviewed some of my class notes from “Theology of the Tanak” in my Th.M. program at Western Seminary, I noticed I had written “GET THIS BOOK” by the title A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, written by Bruce C. Birch, Walter Brueggemann, Terrence E. Fretheim and David L. Petersen (Nashville, TN: Abington, 1999).

I had purchased the book and read a few pages, but somewhere along the way it was replaced on my reading list by other volumes that were required by various professors. But now, with the luxury of reading what I want to, the capitalized words GET THIS BOOK drew me back, and I started again, from the first page.

I’m sure I will disagree at some points, but so far, my reading has been richly rewarded, and I recommend this treatment of Old Testament theology.

Okay, I’ll go ahead and say it: GET THIS BOOK!

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A “Watch Night Service” Memory

accuracy afternoon alarm clock analogue

It was sometime during the 1950s, and I was probably around eight years old. My father, Glen Segraves, was pastoring a church in Rector, Arkansas, and he had taken my mother and me to the Watch Night Service at the Bible Hour Tabernacle in Jonesboro, Arkansas, where the pastor was T. Richard Reed.

I had never before attended such a service. My concept of time was just forming in regard to the passing of years. I had nothing with which to compare a “Watch Night Service.” All I knew was what I heard the adults say.

For some reason, I thought when a new year began at midnight, there would be a visible manifestation of the change.

Nothing happened, except I vaguely remember hearing the church bell ring.

At some point after that, my father thought he would have a Watch Night Service in Rector. It was his first time to do so. As I remember, the service began at 8:00 p.m. and lasted, of course, until after midnight.

Dad was never what has been called a “long-winded” preacher. His theory was that if a preacher couldn’t say everything he had to say in twenty minutes, he was preaching too long.

Maybe he didn’t stop to figure out how many times he would have to preach during that four hour service. When a church has a small membership, it doesn’t take long for everyone to sing every song they know, to testify about every blessing they can remember, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and to wash one another’s feet.

I don’t remember whether he ever held another Watch Night Service.

But since I am now seventy-three years old, I have gained a keen appreciation for the passing of years. Of particular interest to me are the words of Moses in the oldest psalm in the Psalter: “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. . . . So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:10, 12, NKJV).[archive]

A New Year’s Resolution

Psalm 73

When I began a twelve month sabbatical from Urshan Graduate School of Theology [UGST] on July 1, 2017, my intention was to work on the second volume of my commentary on Psalms, titled The Messiah in the Psalms: Discovering Christ in Unexpected Places. The first volume, covering Psalms 1-72, was published in 2007 by WAP Academic, a division of Word Aflame Press.

The goal of finishing this project still lies before me. I have completed Psalms 73, 74, 78, 110, and 132, but I still have seventy-two psalms to go.

It is not that I have neglected Psalms since 2017. I taught a week long course on Psalms in 2018 at the French Bible Institute in Melun, France. Then, I taught a full semester course on Psalms for UGST in 2019. I also taught eleven lessons on Psalms at The Sanctuary UPC in Hazelwood, Missouri, where Susan and I are members.

In the midst of these events, I have collected a substantial number of volumes of the latest research on the Book of Psalms for consultation as I continue my work.

I intend during 2020 to make substantial headway toward completing volume two. If I can finish an average of one psalm per week, I would still have another twenty psalms to go at the end of the year. This is an ambitious goal, and I’m not sure I can achieve it.

In addition to the work I have done in Psalms since going on sabbatical, my newest published book titled Looking Forward: A Clear View of Biblical Prophecy was published in 2017 by Word Aflame Press. The Spanish translation was published in 2019.

I submitted a 275 page monograph titled “The Holy Spirit: An Apostolic Perspective on Pneumatology” to the Pentecostal Publishing House in April 2019. It is currently being edited, and it should be published before the 2020 general conference of the United Pentecostal Church International. This work discusses every mention of the Holy Spirit in Scripture.

In addition to these writing projects, I have written seven articles for publication in the Pentecostal Herald and Pentecostal Life magazines: “The Everlasting Father,” “The Seven Motivators,” Yahweh, Jehovah, and Jesus,” “Bumper Stickers,” “God Chose a Day of Rest,” “You Already Know Some Hebrew,” and “Marriage Without a Helpmate?”

For The Discipleship Series, I have written eight lessons. Four are in a series on “Reflecting God’s Character.” They are titled “A Hearer and a Doer,” “Refusing Prejudice,” Controlling the Tongue,” and “Patient Endurance.” Another four are in the series “Hope for the Last Days.” They are titled “In Like Manner,” “As in the Days,” “Staying Ready,” and “The Best is yet to Come.”

For the adult level Sunday School literature published by Word Aflame, I wrote ten lessons: “The Better Plan,” “The Better High Priest,” “The Better Sacrifice,” “The Better News,” “The Ministry of Prophecy,” “Walking in the Light,” “Rejecting the World,” “Fight the Good Fight of Faith,” “Life and Hope,” and “The Role of the Prophet and Prophecy.”

Over the past three weeks, I’ve had the privilege of hearing the lessons “The Better High Priest,” “The Better Sacrifice,” and “The Better News” taught in the adult Sunday school class by P. Daniel Buford and Harold Jaco at The Sanctuary.

I taught the Easter 2019 Sunday school lesson titled “No More Questions,” based on Psalm 110, at The Sanctuary. Other teaching I have done for an adult class at the Sanctuary since July 2017 includes twenty-one lessons on the Holy Spirit and two lessons on the Book of Daniel. I have also taught two lessons on spiritual gifts to the Hyphens.

Finally, I taught the Purpose Institute course “The Oneness of God” at the PI campus in Jonesboro, Arkansas in September 2019 and stayed over to preach for pastor Darrell Runyan on Sunday morning.

Retirement, anyone?[archive]

My response to a critique of my article “Marriage without a Helpmate?”

My article “Marriage without a Helpmate?” appeared in the January 2020 issue of Pentecostal Life. Shortly after the magazine’s release, I received an email from Jason Weatherly with an attached critique of the article. I composed a response to which Jason replied. After further discussion by email, Jason and I agreed it would be a good thing to post his original critique and my response on my blog for interested readers. His critique is posted on Jason’s blog (theweatherlyreport.blogspot.com), followed by a post titled “Further Clarity on My Review of ‘Marriage without a Helpmate.'”

Jason and I are acquainted. We are both instructors for Purpose Institute. He is currently studying for the degree Master of Divinity at Urshan Graduate School of Theology, from which I retired as professor emeritus on July 1, 2018.

Neither of us wish to debate by blog, and we anticipate our current posts will be the final ones relating to my article.

If you wish, you can read Jason’s critique and my response below. Several of my comments are too long to be contained within the comment box that comes up at first. When you see a small black triangle on the right side of the page beneath a comment, click on it, and the entire comment will open.

To open the document, click on the link below.


Jason Weatherly vertical comments


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