Don't Let Anyone Get Your Goat

Written by Jesse Spurlock and published in The Oklahoma Baptist January 2016

S. S. Kresge, the brilliant founder of stores, never received a college education, but worked hard, put his faith in God, ultimately became a multimillionaire and gave millions away for good causes.  When asked the secret to his success, he stated, "I worked hard, I put my trust in God, and I never let anything get my goat."

His reply was interesting to me because of his giving God credit, but his term, "never let anything get my goat", also was intriguing to me.  I'v heard that phrase much of my life, but do you know how that phrase started?

Years ago when people owned racing horses, they wanted their horse to win the race.  They knew that the only way the horse could win was for it to be very well rested the night before.  One way to get the horse to rest and be completely relaxed was to put a goat beside it.  the goat would lie down so relaxed and comfortable that the horse would do likewise.  Other competitors would run in and steal the goat.  The episode would get the horse so agitated that it couldn't win the race the next day.  There's not a lot of nice things said about a goat, so it's refreshing to know that the above store puts them in a favorable light.

My experience with goats was with a short stint with the Oklahoma City Stock Yard.  One duty was to clean the pens.  The only pens that possibly stunk worse than pigs were the goat pens.  An older man and I were cleaning the goat pen.  Gasping for air, he called them "Stinking Old Judas Goats".  When I asked, he explained that a Judas goat is a trained goat used in general animal herding.  The Judas goat is trained to help with sheep.  The goat would lead the unsuspecting sheep to the slaughter house, while it's own life would be spared.  I really doubt the goat actually knowingly betrayed the sheep like Judas did with Jesus, but the title "Judas" seems appropriate.

Of course, sometimes people call an old man an "Old Goat".  The background of that is also interesting.  Years ago goats were raised to help clear the farm hillsides and brush areas.  The goats would chew through fences and get themselves tangled in an awful mess.  When help came they were stubborn and fought against it making matters worse.  So people started calling other people "old goats" when they were too unruly to stay out of trouble and to stubborn to accept help when it came, and instead tried to fix the problem themselves and making things worse.

In sight of the negative view of a goat, God used two goats to picture Jesus Christ as our scapegoat in our salvation.  The description of the scapegoat is found in Leviticus 16.  It required two goats.  One would be sacrificed and the other, called the scapegoat, would be led into the wilderness to be released never to return.  This offering pictures what Christ was going to do with on sacrifice in Salvation.  Both goats represent Christ.  He was sacrificed for our sins and he also carried our sings away never to be remembered anymore.  Jesus truly is our scapegoat when it comes to our sins.  He paid our sin debt by his death, but he forever took away the penalty of our sins by His resurrection.

Posted on January 18, 2016 .

The Prophecies of Jesus

Written by Jesse Spurlock and published in The Oklahoma Baptist December 2015

 We will celebrate the birth of our Savior this year, Friday December 25.  I was surprised a couple of years ago when Pope Benedict declared in a book that we don't celebrate the correct year of Jesus' birth.  I thought everyone knew that!

The Pope has determined Jesus was probably born a couple of years before the traditional date.  From the outcry, you would've though that this was a new revelation.

I don't know when I first heard that the year of Jesus' birth was off by about four years.  Supposedly Usher made a mistake when he calculated Jesus' birth, but even after the "error" was discovered, people disregarded that finding and continued the traditional dates.

Also, there's good evidence that Christ was not born in December, but more likely in the Spring of the year.  But as far as most Christians are concerned, December 25 is the date of Christ's birth, regardless of what the Pope says.

Benedict may be the Pope, but I suspect we will be celebrating December 25 as Christ's birthday as long as there are Christians here.

Personally, I don't know that it makes a whole lot of difference WHEN we celebrate the birth of Christ, as long as we celebrate the fact he was born.

The only thing I really know about it is that Jesus was born at exactly the time God intended and for the exact purpose God intended.

Galatians 4:4 states that, "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."

The Bible does give a lot of prophecies about the birth of Christ and His life, but nothing about the year He was born.

A weatherman once boasted, I'm right 90 percent of the time - 10 percent of the time.  That's a humorous but ridiculous statement, but unfortunately some people resort to that type of double-talk to cover up a poor record in life.

The Bible's prophetic record, as opposed to the weatherman, is truly accurate.  The Bible declares:

The Lord Jesus Christ was born in the city of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), at a time specified (Daniel 9:25).  Infants in Bethlehem were massacred as prophesied (Jeremiah 31:15).  Jesus went down into Egypt and returned (Hosea 11:1).  Isaiah foretold Christ's ministry in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2).  Zechariah predicted His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a colt (Zechariah 9:9) and His betrayal for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13).

David had never seen a Roman crucifixion, yet in Psalm 22, under divine inspiration, he penned a graphic portrayal of Jesus' death.

Isaiah 53 gives a detailed picture of our Lord's rejection, mistreatment, death and burial.  These few prophecies (and there are many more) should impress us with the reliability of the Bible and the reality of Jesus as the Messiah and our Savior.

Since these predictions have all been fulfilled, let us also accept with confidence what the Bible says about the future.  Jesus was born exactly as we are told He would be.  He also lived a sinless perfect life, as we were told He would.  He died on the cross for our sins, exactly as we are told He did.

Truly, Jesus is the reason for the season.

Posted on December 15, 2015 .