(Vespers: Evening devotionals)
1. (Verse 1:) "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." What does it mean to not walk in the counsel of the ungodly?—Don't walk according to their advice, right? "Nor standeth in the way of sinners."—Certainly don't stand, much less follow the way the sinners do things!
2. "Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful."—What does scorn mean? Scorning means to make fun of, sneer at & ridicule. Who do you suppose the scornful are ridiculing?—The Lord & us, God's children.
3. (Verse 2:) "But his delight is in the law of the Lord; & in His Law doth he meditate day & night." Sounds like the Family! PTL? What's the law of the Lord, David? His only law is...? (David: Love!) That's right!—And the Bible‚ of course, because the Bible is God's Word.
4. (Verse 3:) "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water." How do you think a tree like that grows, Davida, planted right by a river full of water? Do you think it grows pretty good? (Davida: Yes!)—Uh-huh! "That bringeth forth his fruit in his season." Fruitful? (Family: Yes!)
5. "In his season." Does that mean there are harvest times & particularly fruitful times? Not even women bear children every day‚ do they?—Not even every week or every month!—Usually not more than once a year. Nearly everything has its season.—Ecc.3:1. Every country has its season for harvest, so don't get discouraged when you're not having a big reaping.
6. A farmer is a man of great faith & patience! Farmers have vision‚ faith & patience because they know they have to do a lot of work first—plowing & sowing & watering & fertilising & weeding & tending the crop until finally they get a harvest, which is usually not more than once a year.
7. Well‚ is winning souls a little bit like that too? Don't we spend a lot of time plowing & sowing & watering with our tears & prayers?—Sowing the Word, plowing & preparing the ground for it‚ sowing it & watering it.
8. Weeding is very important too! Have you ever seen a farmer out there between the rows with his hoe? Do you know what a hoe is shaped like, David? It's actually a sharp-bladed knife with a long handle. The sharp blade is about four inches wide, with a handle attached to the top, sort of shaped like some brooms. And you go along between the rows of corn & wheat, etc., & go chop‚ chop, chop at the roots!
9. Nowadays they try to use all kinds of chemicals & defoliants, etc., to weed things that are probably poisonous to human beings & everything else. In fact‚ they tried to defoliate almost the whole country of Vietnam, a lot of it anyway!—Ruined thousands & thousands of acres that are no good for anything now!—Besides all the bomb craters all over that ruined the rice paddies! They deliberately tried to ruin & wreck the country! Think of it!
10. I look at the Americans today & I think to myself, "My God, what they are guilty of! What they have done to the World already, the countries they have ruined, economies they have wrecked, the people they have slaughtered!" Their cup of iniquity is almost full! The wicked also reap what they sow! There comes a time of reaping judgements for the sins of nations like that‚ & people too.
11. "He bringeth forth his fruit in his season"—so don't get discouraged if you're not always reaping! Our job is mostly planting, in fact, at WS mostly preparing the seed for planting. We don't even do the planting! We can do some of the watering—weeping & praying that the Lord will bless it—but we receive the seed from the Farmer, Jesus, & we pass it on prepared & packaged in nice little packages for the planters!
12. There are people who do the plowing & the planting, watering & weeding, handing out literature & the reaping. There's one who planteth & another watereth & another reapeth, but Who gives the increase? (David: God!—1Cor.3:6,7.) You're right! God is the One Who actually makes it grow. The increase means growing. So unless we pray the Lord will bless it & make it grow‚ then that's not fulfilling our full obligation.
13. "His leaf also shall not wither." First of all, what is our fruit? (David: Souls saved.)—Right! I've asked this of many church groups & you know what they said?—Love, joy, peace, longsuffering! That's what they thought, because they're not taught that they're to win souls & pray for souls.
14. What's the fruit of an apple if you plant it? (David: An apple!) And the fruit of a peach if you plant it is more peaches, right? So the fruit of Christians should be more Christians!—Not love, joy, peace & longsuffering! I've had them tell me that so many times it's unbelievable!
15. I said, "No, that's not your fruits!" That's the fruit of what? (Family: The Spirit!)—The fruit of the Spirit in you.—Gal.5:22,23. Of course it can result in your fruit. But except a seed or a kernel of grain fall into the ground & die, it abideth alone.—John 12:24.
16. If you keep a bunch of seeds just in the package & never get out the Word, it's just all by itself! But if you plant it, then what happens?—It falls to the ground & dies. In other words, you bury it—in a sense it dies—but it brings forth more fruit, everything after its kind.—Gen.1:12.—Unless they do some trickery of grafting or something!
17. Some smart-alecks have done this sometimes just to prove you can grow different kinds of fruit on the same tree, but you can't produce any kind of fruit that'll naturally grow a tree of all kinds of different fruits! If you just take any one of those fruits & plant it, it'll just grow apples, or it'll grow pears, or it'll grow peaches, whatever it is.
18. So if our fruit is souls, more Christians, what are our leaves? It says, "His leaf also shall not wither." We're just talking about one Christian standing by the riverside. When you picture a tree growing by the water, what do you suppose the "river of water" is? (Family: The Word.)—Right!—The Word watering the tree so it bears fruit & it has leaves. What are the leaves? (Family: Souls?) No, the leaves are not souls, they're not fruit.
19. Let's take an actual tree in botany, what is a leaf?—It's a little factory which carries on the process of photosynthesis, which is a process caused by the action of sunshine & the fluids in the leaves which produces chlorophyll, for one thing‚ which makes it green, & various sugars. It absorbs oxygen at night & it produces oxygen in the daytime, & that's going on all the time.
20. But the main process that it conducts is called photosynthesis, which is the manufacture of sugars in the sap of the tree by the aid of sunlight. Which does what? (Family: Feeds the tree.) Feeds the tree & produces... (Family: Fruit!) So if each little leaf is a factory which is not actually producing the fruit‚ but is producing the things that bear the fruit, what is it?
21. What about you? What are your leaves?—Think! (Family: Our works!)—Very good! Smart boy over there! Works! Factories are often called works, aren't they?—The iron works, the steel works, etc., right? They're little factories & they're the works.
22. Your works are your leaves! "His leaf also shall not wither" means your works are not going to wither, dry up & blow away! You're going to have good strong works that are going to last at least for the season. Your leaf, your works‚ shall not wither! They'll be fruitful works, works that will not be burned.
23. But a lot of people's works are going to be burned just like dry dead leaves when they face the Lord at Judgement! Even the Saved at the Judgement Seat of Christ‚ if their works are not of pure gold, silver & substantial metal, in other words real valuable works, but are just wood, hay & stubble, they're going to be burned!—1Cor.3:12-15.
24. What do you do with old dry leaves in the Fall when they fall off? (David: Burn them.) You burn'm! But if you're this kind of tree, your works will never wither, think of that! You'll be like those trees along the River of Life in Heaven that are constantly growing & bearing fruit all the time!
25. It sounds a little bit like a papaya tree! The trouble is, a papaya tree only lives about two years & only bears fruit about one year, but it continues to bear while it's bearing. There's constant fruit on it, from little tiny fruits springing at the top, to where the tree grows the fruit down below & gets bigger & has great big ones at the bottom.
26. You're like a tree planted by the water, think of that! Isn't that beautiful? Do you know a chorus about that? (Family sings:
"Just like a tree that's planted by the water,
I shall not be moved!
I shall not be, I shall not be moved!
I shall not be, I shall not be moved!
Just like a tree that's planted by the water,
I shall not be moved!")
27. "Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." We were discussing here the other night how everything we've laid our hands to has prospered! We haven't had any major defeat that hasn't worked out for our good! In the long run‚ everything worked out for good & taught us lessons that helped us learn a lot. PTL!
28. "Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper," think of that! Boy, that's a promise! If you're like this tree, everything you do will prosper‚ PTL? Think of that revelation I got in Portugal when I was wondering: "Lord, they say I'm not a good tree, I'm evil & my fruit's evil" & all that. (See ML #1376, "Fight Discouragement!") Well, they usually try to say our young people are okay, our fruit is good, but the tree is bad. But Jesus said that's impossible, an evil tree cannot bear good fruit!—Mat.7:18. So PTL!
29. And the Lord gave me that Scripture: "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life!" What was the rest of it? (Family: "And he that winneth souls is wise!"—Pro.11:30) Hallelujah! TYL! Have we won some souls? (Family: Yes!) Are you & I winning souls right now? Actually we are! We're a part of the team that's doing all this soul-winning!—Millions of souls every year! Think of it! Each one has their part, each one does their part.
30. (Verse 4:) "The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away." Did you see the baskets those girls were using to dance with in Sri Lanka? They were pretending to throw up the grain & the chaff together in the air & catch the grain in the basket again, & while it was in the air the wind blew the chaff away, the light flimsy stuff that's not good grain. The wind represents God's judgements, persecution, whatever. The ungodly are not usually persecuted, it's "they which live Godly in Christ Jesus" which "shall suffer persecution."—2Tim.3:12.
31. (Verse 5:) "Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the Judgement." "What do you mean 'the ungodly shall not stand in the Judgement'? I thought they were going to stand in the Great White Throne Judgement of God?"—Rev.20:11-15. They shall not stand in the Judgement. It means they're going to be knocked down, put down! They'll not be able to stand the judgements of God!
32. "Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous"—they're not going to be able to stand in the congregation of the righteous! Who are the congregation of the righteous? We got something very good about that today when we were going down the street here & the little Buddhist family in that little house there on the construction site were out there in the gutter burning incense & "Hell Banknotes" & little things just in a little box in the gutter. (Burning play money & other paper material idols in a ceremony to supposedly provide needs for dead relatives in the Spirit World.)
33. And as we passed by, we looked at them & nodded & smiled, & they all smiled real sweet & friendly. I thought, "Lord‚ they're such sweet people! I know they're not saved or they wouldn't be doing that, but surely there must be some provision for them!" And I immediately got a Scripture:
34. "It shall be accounted unto them for righteousness!"—Gal.3:6. Hallelujah! PYJ! It didn't say they would be saved, but it'll be accounted unto them for righteousness. In other words, they're trying to do the right thing & are good sweet people. God's Word says‚ "They that are without the law shall be judged without the law."—Rom.2:12-14. They don't know what the Truth is, what the law is, so they'll be judged accordingly.
35. "And they which knew not the Master's will," God's Word says‚ "& yet did things worthy of stripes, will be beaten with few stripes." But boy, I'll tell you, "they who knew their Master's will & did things worthy of stripes"—like the Americans & the churches & the Christians or people who pretend to be Christians—it says "are going to be beaten with many stripes!"—Those who knew the Word, knew the Truth & disobeyed it!—Luke 12:47,48.
36. (Verse 6:) "For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish." Does He know your way? Hmm? (Family: Amen!) TYL! He knows your way, in fact, it's sure. PTL! Amen? (Family: Amen!) Very sure. "But the way of the ungodly shall perish."
37. Just think‚ your way is going to last forever because it's the Lord's way! Praise God! It's not the way of the sinners, it's not the way of the ungodly. All that's going to perish & be blown away with the chaff in the wind of God's judgements. PTL! But our way, the Lord's way‚ the way of the righteous is going to last forever! Peter, you lead us in closing prayer.
38. (Peter: Thank You for Your wonderful Word & the encouragement it is, Lord, & the strength it gives us! Help us to be like that tree planted by the rivers of water & continue to keep us fruitful & in Thy Will. Thank You for all You've done, the many miracles, & how You have provided, Lord, not only for us, our personal Family, but for our Family all around the World! Thank You for a good night & bless us all & our Family everywhere‚ in Jesus' name.)—Amen! In Jesus' name.
39. As we pray together our little goodnight prayer: (Prays: "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.") Amen. God bless you all! (Sings: "I Shall Not Be Moved!") We'll have to teach that one to the children! God bless you all! This is what the churches call "Vespers"—a short evening devotional, a goodnight devotional!—Just a little prayer together & a little Word. Amen? Would you like to have this every night if we can? (Family: Amen!) Goodnight! GBAKY!