Andy Hollifield 6-13-18
Isaiah 54:10 For the mountains shall depart , and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
Most of you have heard by now about plans for another Asheville historical landmark to be removed. I usually try not to get too political or offensive towards any ones ideas. Matters of scripture are not open for debate as far as I am concerned because God’s laws were written in stone by his finger at one point and then given to Moses. I am not attempting to be political while writing. It is no secret that in the southern region of the United States, any statue or memorial that offends various groups is being attacked and removed regardless of their historical significance. Some of these, such as the Vance Monument honoring former governor Zebulon B. Vance of Weaverville, are not only a memorial to his accomplishments but have also become part of the heritage of residents of this county. There has been some talk of having it removed because of some of his ideas and actions that are unacceptable in our time but were the norm in our region in his day. The other landmark I am referring to is Chief Pontiac, the Indian statue on the hill in front of Harry’s Cadillac in Asheville.
I remember from my earliest years, when we would get to come out of Herron Cove in Weaverville to Patton Avenue, we always wanted to see the big Indian. Two wide-eyed little boys with their eyes fixed on that majestic statue and craning our heads to see him until we were out of sight. It may just be a silly childhood memory to some but to a lot of us in Buncombe county and all around western North Carolina, he was a must-see attraction when we came to town. He ranked right up there with the Beaucatcher Tunnel, the Rec Park, and the Asheville Zoo. The reason for the possibility of him being removed is because an employee at Harry’s made an offensive comment to someone and they complained. Even though the public poll taken by WLOS-TV resulted in 94 percent of respondents wanting Chief Pontiac to stay while only 6 percent want him taken down, he appears to be headed for his demise. Out of those 6 percent, I would be curious to know how many are native to western North Carolina.
As disappointed as I am about parts of my heritage being stripped away, it got me to thinking about some things that will never be removed. There have been a lot of changes since my childhood days and even churches and worship has changed. It seems to be less important and more “worked up” than what it used to be. Some things haven’t changed though. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” I am thankful that he has never changed. God, speaking of himself in Malachi 3:6 said, “For I am the Lord, I change not…” “His mercy endureth for ever” is a phrase that is used 41 times in the bible and 33 times in the book of Psalms alone. I am glad it is more than just a phrase but it is a promise. Exodus 19:9 declares “The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.” He will never be voted out or change based on public opinion. The words “for ever” are used 392 times in the bible. It would appear that God specializes in forever. Daniel 7:14 speaks of the Lord’s dominion and kingdom being everlasting and shall not pass away or be destroyed. In verse 18 Daniel says that “the saints of the most high shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, ever and ever.” In 1 Thessalonians 4:16 the bible says that the Lord will return for us and “…the dead in Christ shall rise first” and verse 17 says “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Verse 18 says “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Here are some more words that should bring you comfort. Did you know that the word “eternal” is used 47 times in the bible and only 2 of those are in the Old Testament?” You realize what that means don’t you? The other 45 were written directly to us! Also, 30 of those say either “eternal life” or “life eternal.” The others talk about eternal inheritance, glory, redemption, salvation, purpose, things, house, and his Spirit and power. There are three that speak of eternal damnation, judgment, and fire. John 3:15 says, “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” The offer is repeated again in verse 16 where it says “everlasting life.” The word “everlasting” is used 97 times and 15 of them speak of “everlasting life.” In 1 Peter 5:10 the bible says, “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
I hope these words have been a comfort and blessing to you. In this ever-changing world we live in, we can be thankful that we have a never-changing God that has given us never-changing promises and has never-changing mercy and salvation. All of these good things from God are things that will never be removed. As Peter said, there will be some suffering. Although the world is topsy-turvy and filled with uncertainty in our day, my prayer is that God will strengthen and settle all of us in the midst of all of the change around us. Jesus said in Luke 21:28 “And when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!