Archive | April 2014

Angelic Sounds

Angelic Sounds

I just had to pass this along. Someone sent me this link this afternoon.

Not only does it seem to be something which helps focus us in prayer, contemplation, or meditation, but I found that it lifts the soul upward in awe and reverence into Heavenly places. How greatly this world needs its sense of awe and reverence restored! Better than anything, beautiful sacred music has the power to assist us in this.

I cannot help but believe that soon we will hear real celestial music, sung by angelic choirs, as Heaven’s reality overtakes this one!

May you be blessed by it.

Cross Purposes 26 / “Behold The Man!”

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“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

“Behold the man!” These words of Pontius Pilate seem to be a strange place to begin. “Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!” (John 19:5) But for some reason they have overtaken my mind the last several days.

The question is, what do I see when I “behold the Man”? It occurred to me that perhaps I ought to answer that as a sort of affirmative prayer…

Let this be my prayer, my affirmation wherein I stand, giving all thanks to You, oh Savior and Lord of all, that I may behold You first of all, myself within You in Your Passion, and You within me.

Soon comes the day, the Day of the Lord, when all things are accomplished and restored – the sons of God manifested, the Earth and all her inhabitants no longer under the dominion of evil. Then will be the reign of the Prince of Peace with the restoration of the creation, which has labored as a woman in childbirth, awaiting the revealing of the sons of God.

It took the Cross to begin this work. One by one. The old song asks, “Where you there when they crucified my Lord?” Each of us must understand the implication of this question.

This is the purpose of our faith – that the sons of God are restored and manifested, to be as Jesus was in this world, coming about through the redemption wrought by our Elder Brother Jesus Christ, walking the path of repentance and humility. It means that the Holy Spirit calls us to and keeps us in this His work by Grace through Faith. With the vision of faith, as we “behold the man”, we become in fulness what we already are in seed, as the acorn becomes the oak.

I see this depicted by the ancient symbol of Moses” serpent on the staff (Numbers 21:6-9), a type of the crucifixion of the “serpent” nature in us, and as we behold ourselves within His passion in the Cross, we are set free and healed. His heel was bruised, but the serpent head was crushed. Once and for all! And with Him I cry out in acknowledgment, “It IS finished!” This is where all true healing begins – as we behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)

And now I see, I know, and I understand that “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Let me live, Holy Spirit, ever in this vision, this truth, this reality – crucified, dead, buried, raised up and ascended – in Him, with Him, and through Him, in and by Whom we live, move, and have our being – to Whom belongs all might, power, and dominion, now and throughout all ages forever and ever. Glory to the Lamb Who was slain, the Risen Savior! Amen.

Happy Hundredth

 

I’ve just now penned my hundredth blog.

Simple as falling off a log.

To share a word brings happiness

So I’ll write on some more I guess!

Deep In The Heart Of Taxes

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Please read Matthew 15:15-22, emphasis on verse 21 – “Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

See also Matthew 17:22-27, emphasis on verse 27 – “…go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.”

Both of these texts are found in the book of Matthew, former Roman IRS agent turned Apostle.

It’s got to be the morning after. Or the week after. (Chafing, growling. The human side of this Messenger!) That day of infamy in April when We The Wee Folk discover that we’ve been smacked yet again with the obligatory fiscal two-by-four.

Hats off to all of you who got a refund. It’s not that way when your income is combined social “security” and part time self employment. At least not in my reality. It really is grossly unjust. And grossly illegal, per many.

I have a great deal of difficulty with this every year. Especially this year. We were smacked hard. You’d think that after all the required insurances (Medicare, supplemental, life, house, business, blaa, blaa, blaa!) as well as all the taxes already in place (sales, state, property, business, blaa, blaa, blaa!) that somewhere along the way we’d all wake up and realize that with all these legalized extortions in place, that somehow, some day, somewhere, someone would call an end to these ridiculous mafia-esque maneuverings!

Who are we working for anyway?!

Oh, I nearly forgot – the same gang that made the murder of millions of unborn babies into a legal holocaust over 40 years ago. Well, what a surprise. (See 1 John 5:19) No wonder it’s so hard to get anything done that’s right and just, with the banksters and bean counters running things.

This is certainly a hot button issue for a lot of people, whether you think income tax is a blessing or a part of the curse of a fallen world. I find myself not entirely surrendered to this annual crunch. “Obedient”, yes, as in dragged kicking and screaming. Surrendered, no. Guess I have some spiritual work to do in a lot of ways.

Then you also realize that, although your home is paid for, and appears to be yours on paper, there are still forces within the state that have the power to take it away if you are not fiscally compliant with property taxes (for school systems you never used due to sending your children to parochial school and home schooling combined), or any sort of taxes – even if it’s due to disability or some other pressing matter.’

The stark truth confronts you – we own nothing in this world.

Dear reader, please forgive me for this one; I’m shootin’ straight from the hip, but it was something that I had to take to the Lord in prayer because I have not been able to transcend or handle these pressing reactive emotions. The big folk get away with murder, without paying taxes at all in some cases, but it is We The Wee Folk who are oppressed beneath this Luciferian world system and agenda.

I guess this is God’s reminder that He is far greater than the challenges the world system throws at us, and He always makes a way through perceived impossibilities for us His children!  “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) He’s also reminding me that, although I feel like I’m just treading water, this all really is going somewhere, and that He’s actually still in charge!

Enter Matthew, tax collector turned disciple. Oh how I would love to see this kind of conversion and change of direction in certain government agencies. I wonder what would happen if en masse they walked away from their poker faces, spreadsheets, desks, and flack jackets and put their hand in the hand of the Man Who stilled the waters?

I’m so happy grumbling about this – an indulgence I don’t always allow myself. It’s admittedly hard to cut to the chase of why I’m writing this. But here it is. I doubt that my theology is perfect. I’m just sharing the Word of encouragement given to this imperfect relayer of messages the day after by the Comforter.

Essentially it’s this: Jesus may not be addressing directly the issue of whether or not it”s “right” to pay taxes, but the fact that God provides for all His children’s needs – even within the constrictions of this fallen reality, as we render unto God that which is God’s – ourselves!

In fact He has provided a Ransom through the blood of our Elder Brother Jesus Christ for our souls – so that at some point we will know freedom from this reality in Him – maybe even in the midst of this reality! … There must be some kind of message about that when Holy Week, Passover, and income tax day all fall in the same week.

He tells the religious leaders that whatever is Caesar’s should be rendered to him, as if just maybe that by surrender to the pecking order, in some way we’re submitting ourselves to God. And then when it came to the temple tax, he tells Simon Peter to go fishing. Lo and behold there is the proper coin in the mouth of the first fish he caught!

I’ll be honest with you; I have so much resistance to being taxed at every turn, it’s difficult for me to imagine my Lord recommending that we comply with Caesar, let alone the miraculous coin in the mouth of a fish to pay a “tax” required by one’s religion! It’s just about more than I can stand.

I understand that the Lord provides, even for income taxes, but I’m really having a difficult time with “the system” at this point. It’s so over the top!

I’m confessing my faults in this one. James 5:16. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Clearly it’s me, Oh Lord, standin’ in the need of prayer!

So, I’m asking you dear reader, will you hear the confession of my weakness, and will you pray for me? Can we pray for one another so that we may be healed?

And if anyone has some wisdom to share, please offer some comments, but all I ask is that you be gentle – and that it be wisdom, not reaction.

I now look forward to the day when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever, as King of kings and Lord of Lords, and the day when the “meek” shall inherit the Earth. We can take refuge and hope in His promises! To His name be all glory now and throughout all eternity! (Revelation 11:15. Psalm 37:11. Matthew 5:5)

Many thanks for listening, and may the blessings of the Omnipotent Father be ever with you.

PS:  Illustrated abstractly above by yours truly.

Cross Purposes 25 / I-Do-As-I-Please Christianity

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Dear Reader, before you embark upon these thoughts, please carefully peruse Psalm 1, and also 1 John 5:19.

Point for consideration:

”Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19 NASB.

Where is the confusion in this simple remark by Jesus? It seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? Or is it just that we think we ought to be entitled to “reinterpret” His directives, informed more by what we’d rather do, or what is politically correct (and doctrinally unsound), that brings us to the conclusion that the moral and universal laws of God do not apply to our Christian life?

Substitutes? Doctrines of cheap grace in the form of “all we have to do is believe” – making the cross, redemption, salvation, and sanctification ineffective? Another favorite: substitution of rituals for realities, memberships in a church as a substitute for the Divine Life of Christ within us?

The apostle Paul reminds us most sternly and without mincing words, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 1 Corinthians 13:5 KJV.

A few synonyms for “reprobate”: unprincipled, bad, wicked, rakish, shameless, immoral, degenerate, dissipated, debauched, depraved, knavish, lawless.

And does it need to be restated that, just because we have the “legal right” to do something, is it necessarily morally right or in our best interests?

Here’s how it’s supposed to work: “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 KJV.

Miracles beyond description happened through the Cross! One of the biggest of these is that the old reprobate me died there in and through Jesus!

When a Soul experiences this “death”, and a rebirth takes place, that Soul begins to experience freedom from sin and the passions of the flesh. What Jesus Christ did for that Soul now manifests in that Soul! An old life dies. A new life begins. He or she is no longer driven by a reprobate mind or behavior. He or she has been set free, having received in real time the “get out of jail free” card.

The thing is, we must then continue to walk free. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1. KJV.

Many of us have undergone this “conversion” experience, or begun it. That is what it means to be born again. It is very, very real. There is no more desire for sinning; one is no longer motivated by it.

That is why it is so difficult to understand where all this “liberal theology” comes from, with its anything-goes positions, that tells us we can go on sinning once we have realized that we have been set free from sin through the Lord Jesus Christ, and are now free to live the blessed life by the power of His Holy Spirit.

Anyone who has experienced this freedom no longer wants to sin and live a reprobate life. It’s that simple. Management, motivation, and mission have changed hands!

Churches, which are more politically informed than Holy Spirit and Word of God informed, should simply stop referring to themselves as “Christian”, for they are not living in the holy name of Jesus Christ, but are only profaning it before the world. They are politically correct in their “inclusivity” and support those agendas, but morally and spiritually bankrupt.

None of this carries any power of salvation, and it certainly does not promote any sort of Biblical sanctification. It is in fact complete “ignore-ance” of the Holy Word of God and the Holy Spirit, teaching instead that what is corrupt and defiling within a Soul is just plain OK, acceptable, and supported.

Those sticking to the understanding of the implications of the Cross have been accused any number of times of being “judgmental”, the favorite accusation of peddlers of New Age hedonistic nonsense, relativism, and the cult of self-will. God’s Word on the matter simply states, “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge; but he that hateth reproof is brutish.” Proverbs 12:1. KJV. The NASB take on it: “… But he who hates reproof is stupid.”

If God did not love us, He would let us wallow in our reprobate state, instead of making a way for us to come home to Him through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Where are the lovers of the knowledge of God? Where are they who yearn for His instruction? It seems we live in a world where much of the church has gone reprobate and stupid in its hatred of divine Wisdom and reproof!

Where is the salt of the Earth? Or are so many among us as salt that has lost its savor, always looking back and yearning for Sodom?

The purpose of the Cross and the shedding of Jesus’ Blood is so that we may be set free from self, sin, death, the world system, and the power of the devil – not so that we can get a free ticket to heaven while still wallowing in reprobate thinking and doing.

As far as the Cross is concerned, Jesus “nailed it”! It really is that simple.

It really is true that when we become Christians in spirit and in truth, we exchange our old reprobate life for the pure Mind and Heart of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are new creations, the old has passed away, all things are become new! We live increasingly according to the power of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing unloving or judgmental about that! (However, the “Luciferian programs” inside a person – a.k.a. original sin – can prompt a defensive posture, since it is the “end of the world” for the reprobate mind and the forces that drive it! What is passing away is certainly reluctant to surrender to its inevitable fate.)

Apparently some who are under the impression that surrender to the Cross is unnecessary have not bothered to read the Bible for themselves, come to know the Christ of Whom it testifies, nor allowed the Holy Spirit to lead them into the truth or bring to mind all that Jesus taught. If they did, they would not embrace the foolery that they have, nor would they be allowing politics to inform church beliefs and practices.

How theologians and ministers continue to debate against the simple Way provided through the Wisdom that is Jesus Christ, after over two-thousand years, seems rather baffling. You’d think they’d know better by now.

Who We Really Are!

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” (Psalm 8:3-5)

The psalmist gives us a little hint in the question brought up here, but the translation of his answer seems somewhat insufficient. So let’s take a look at the actual word here translated as “angels” in the KJV.

The best boosts in “self esteem” come right from the Scriptures. We’re informed that we’re made “a little lower than angels” in this text. However, it’s even better than that. The word is actually ‘ĕlôhîym (el-o-heem’) אלהים – “gods” in the ordinary sense, but specifically used in the plural as in supreme God, occasionally tied to the idea of magistrates! It’s the same word that is used in Genesis 1:1, as “God” creating all that is.

This is reaffirmed in Psalm 82:6 – “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” Jesus restates it in John 10:34 – “ Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” (It is well worth going to John 10 and prayerfully considering the context within which this is spoken and to whom it was said.) It is offered as food for thought.

Certainly this is no small matter. And it isn’t an appeal to spiritual pride. In fact it is quite humbling in a way – to realize the potential of the process of redemption, salvation, and sanctification set in motion to bring us from identity as sinners to identity as “sons of God”!

Romans 8:14-22 supplies some rather amazing insights regarding the need for this. Certainly personal redemption and transformation is a great part of the Divine Plan. Yet is also has “Cosmic ramifications” which supply the answers as to not only who we really are, but why we’re being restored from sinners to sons of God – our original estate. Creation itself eagerly awaits the revealing of the sons of God! Something is brewing which can only take place in the Cosmos that hinges on this revealing, and it is of enormous proportions – freedom from its slavery to corruption!

1 John 3:1,2 spurs us on. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

Our faith is something of a paradox, for we are indeed sons of God, having been created in the image and likeness of God. Yet it has been stated that the core and heart of this idea is that the image is intact, but it is the likeness which has become marred by sin. Consequently this is the part of the process whereby the likeness is restored. Hence when He appears, we shall be like Him and see Him as He is. When we experience this restoration, then we manifestly become what our faith tells us we already are.

This is the “vision” of faith, the restoration of “Godhood” – but in the form of godliness and humility (not god-like “powers” and pride). It is the reason to turn our eyes upon Jesus alone consistently, to love Him with our whole heart, soul, strength, and mind – in His humility. It is in awareness of this vision of who He is that we come to understand the vision of who we really are, and yet what we’re becoming, that our greater reality will materialize.

This in’t about “just us”, let’s remember; there’s the freedom of the entire Creation to consider, and a great unseen host of onlookers at the spectacle, while we are looking unto Jesus… “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1,2)