Archive | October 2016

Burdens and Plans

This time of year matches the mood of so many of us – often because there are “loud voices” calling on us to look to the right and to the left, that only want us to notice and be afraid of or depressed about the darkness … But that is not the only thing to look at!

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Dwelling in His Infinite Love

While contemplating the following passage earlier today, I came to the conclusion that “worldly security” is an oxymoron

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Ryle Had It Right

“Let it be a settled resolution with us to ‘keep our hearts with all diligence,’ all the days of our lives. (Prov. 4:23.) Even after renewal they are weak. Even after putting on the new man they are deceitful. Let us never forget that our chief danger is from within. The world and the devil combined, cannot do us so much harm as our own hearts will, if we do not watch and pray. Happy is he who remembers daily the words of Solomon, ‘One who trusts in himself is a fool.'” (Prov. 28:26.) ~ J.C. Ryle

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

The “heart” is not a blood pumping organ in the middle of your chest. It is the core of being, and without regeneration and the path of the cross, it cannot be trusted. This is one of the chief differences between Biblical Christian teaching and New Age thought which encourages people to “follow their heart.” This idea has infiltrated the churches to dismantle the truth of our need of the Savior. Ultimately it will lead you astray and entangle you in many a snare.

Been there, done that. Thank you, Jesus, for Your Holy Spirit’s power to deliver from darkness and deception.

Lord, Lord

There are implications to the Gospel… grace is not simply “fire insurance” because you make a mental assent to Jesus Christ…

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Peace Among The Pieces

So much of life does not seem to “fit”. So much seems to be so fragmented these days. It doesn’t seem to stack up. We try on our own to put the fragments back together, as if to find peace among the pieces, as if sifting among several thousand pieces of unmatched puzzles, which all have been jumbled into a big box and shaken up, will bring any answers at all. Yet the solution may not be necessarily complex…

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The Holy Spirit’s Anointing

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To be “anointed” in simple, general terms means to be chosen for a specific divine purpose. That is what the word “Messiah” means, and comes from the Hebrew word “Yeshua Ha Mashiach”, Jesus the Messiah. Our Greek word “Christ” means The Anointed One, or the chosen one. So when we say “Jesus Christ” we are honoring His name and His title, His office of the one Savior and Lord of humankind – “Jesus the Anointed One”.

When the woman anointed His feet with expensive ointment as He reclined at the Pharisee’s table at dinner, and Judas whined (!), He said, “Leave her alone, for she has anointed me for My burial.” (See the full account around Mark 14:7-9) That is yet another sort of anointing.

During Jesus’ last supper with His disciples, right before His arrest and crucifixion, He tells them (Jn 16:7-15) “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”

This is an amazing truth. He’s saying that if He did not die, rise up again from the dead, and ascend into heaven, that His Holy Spirit could not be poured forth – because in Him all the fulness of the godhead dwells! God’s intention was to pour out essentially Himself upon human beings, to make Himself one with us through the Holy Spirit! In Joel 2:28,29 – the prophet says, “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” One does well to study that entire book and chapter to understand the context. Peter then states at the 1st Pentecost (Acts 2) that this event – the outpouring of the Holy Spirit – was the

beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy from Joel 2, and the onset of the age of the church – the body of Christ.

Colossians 2:8-10, Paul says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, which are based on human tradition and the spiritual forces of the world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity dwells in bodily form. And you have been made complete in Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” This involves the mystery of the Trinity – God is One, but God is also Three in One – Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit. So you might say, He could not pour out His fulness upon those chosen for the “mission” of the church. This is why the church is the very “body” of Christ on earth – made up of those called to it and anointed, or chosen.

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples made by human hands. Nor is He served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” (Acts 7:24, 25) And 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 – “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body”.

God made us to indwell us, to be one with us. When we fell, He redeemed us with the Blood of Jesus. Then He “sanctifies” us – sets us apart as He comes to indwell us by the Holy Spirit. He wishes to make His home within us, and He asks us to abide in His love. We cannot take it for granted, but must nurture this bond with a life of prayer, and the study of His word – where He reveals Himself and teaches us. It is the most amazing life!

Jesus invites. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13) (The sense of the “ask, seek, and knock” means keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking… persist!) It is a life of continual surrender to the love God wants to pour into us – His very own presence, so that we may, in essence, be the parts of Christ’s Body here on Earth.



Hear ye, hear ye!

Oh, for goodness sake, America, wake up! Especially the religious component looking to Trump to be the savior of the USA, the Lone Ranger who comes riding in and single-handedly cleans up the nest of vipers!  Certainly that cleanup is something that needs to happen on an unbelievably large scale. However…

What amazes me about this phenomenon is that – in a nation that is supposed to be comprised of Constitutionally minded, thinking individuals – how so many simply are looking for a “king” or some  leader- figure to save the union, that nation which is to be of, by, and for the people. Didn’t we give up fawning over royalty right around 1776? Or did we?

Well, of course. That’s the easy way out. The king will make it all better. So, let’s go back to having a king, or even a queen this time around.

I cannot believe the foolish direction this has gone, especially with the arrival on the scene of “prophets” and “seers” (Seers and roebucks? Sorry, I could not resist. Oh deer!) claiming to have visions and prophecies about Donald Trump being God’s man of the hour.

Who knows that this isn’t some sort of mass mind control? I’m more inclined to believe that than to believe in the idea that The Donald is going to make America great again just because he says he will. Who would not like to believe that? I’d like to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny too, but…

I also don’t think I need to go into the obvious facts of her history that make Ms Clinton an undesirable choice in this election. Clearly a moot point. However, will Mr. Trump be the go to guy that single-handedly does the hokey pokey and turns it all around?

This mindset simply reveals that the Trump phenomenon may be the buy in of masses of people who, although they have access to all the information the Internet contains, simply swallow what the press feeds them without question. It is no different than what happened with Obama eight years ago, where most simply were voting against two terms of George Bush, and a smooth talking Mr. Slick comes out of nowhere at the opportune moment – where he tells people exactly what they want to hear.

I have the feeling that we’re about to be duped again. Why?

It is because, from the Christian perspective, “righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34) Prayer, repentance, a return to morality, seeking the Lord with the whole heart, humility and surrender to the mind of Christ… This is what it is going to take! We reap what we sow. Integrity of the Judeo-Christian ethic was basically the glue that held us together and was essentially taken for granted up until a relatively short time ago. Perhaps that was the fatal mistake – that we assumed that our fearless leaders would always be a cast of characters like Andy, Barney, and Aunt Bea – who had our best interests at heart and could be trusted in every and any circumstance.

But one morning we woke up and realized that Mayberry was a deserted ghost town.

The kingdom of God (where God reigns in the heart as the only King worthy of our devotion and trust) is righteousness (1st in the lineup), peace, and joy! How much of that do we see these days? To bear this fruit of the Spirit, there must be an absolutely fool proof connection between the Vine and His branches.

This is what the “prophets” ought to be proclaiming – repentance! Not promoting a mortal man who happens to be rich beyond the imagination of most of us who is going to be the savior of the USA.

Who knows? He may be well intentioned. He also may be our best shot at this point where our backs are up against the wall. From that perspective, Mr. Trump could be God’s offer to us. I won’t marginalize that possibility. Yet neither will I endorse either candidate.

Might God also be telling us, “OK, people. Here it is. I’m giving you one last chance to make your course corrections by giving you a leader who can stand in the gap for awhile. You must understand, however, that it is not all up to him, but you are going to have to do the rest of the work, seeking first My kingdom and My righteousness, and by walking in that uprightness in the fellowship and power of the Holy Spirit! Otherwise your country is going to go the way of other nations and empires from time immemorial who did not heed My will or walk in My ways – nations which left behind the power and protection of My Grace and fell in with thieves and robbers. They left Me out of all their thinking and doing. They made many gods for themselves, including the god of self indulgence and self will. Is this going to be your choice?”

Before America is made great again, she is going to have to become godly again. It must begin in the house of God, among those who are called by His Name. And there’s a big difference between being the people of God and playing church, along with adding a little “prophetic” woo woo. We must – perhaps for the first time – understand what it means to be “one nation under God”, instead of a “phenomenation” swayed to and fro by forces we have yet to acknowledge, let alone comprehend or combat skillfully with spiritual weapons of warfare on those levels.