Friday, October 27, 2006

the real war of the worlds

Steven Speilberg recently did a re-make of the old sci-fi classic WAR of the WORLDS, based on the book by H. G. Wells. In this remake, we see a far more graphic, realistic portrayal of an invasion of Earth by hostile alien forces intent on exterminating mankind from the planet and taking it for their own. Of course, this is just make believe . . . isn't it?
In a manner of speaking, yes; it IS after all science FICTION. However the idea of taking this world by force and controlling it and its population has long been the mission and intent of a being far more lethal than the aliens portrayed in this (or any) film.

The person of Satan, a spirit being of enormous intellect and power, a purely psychical non-corporeal being whose malevolence is as immense as his blinding pride which brought about his own fall from his heavenly domain to begin with.

The agencies under Satan's command as the god of this world are those by which, though unseen (a power group that in fact H.G. Wells was a part of), are weilding the reins that are steering our world into a total socialistic world government. All of this is leading up to the time in which the Beast as spoken of in the book of Revelation, will rule this world, and eventually bring the servants of the god of the world (fallen mankind) into an actual conflict with the GOD of the UNIVERSE: the LORD God who became flesh and blood, entering this world to bring salvation and redemption for all who would be free of the enslavement of sin, Satan and the heinous destiny that global societies are plummeting towards.

In the WAR of the WORLDS film, the aliens used the blood of their human victims to reshape our Earth into a domain more suited to their own needs. Yet the LORD Jesus Christ provided His own blood to recreate us, into new creations, infused by His Holy Spirit and ensured of the glorious destiny that will bring us out of this earthly existance and into His eternal reign, free from any evil rebellion or conflict perpetrated by fallen angels and mankind.

And yet here we are today, engaged in a reality not wholly physical, and yet not wholly spiritual either, but both, enmeshed for the time, on a stage being played out before us. This conflict between good and evil, God and Satan, and the souls of all mankind between them: either being drawn into the kingdom of heaven, or else being bound all the more resolutely in the kingdom of darkness.

And YOU and I are in this conflict; we can have an effect on those around us. The War that will culiminate at the end of this Age, started at the very beginning when Lucifer said "I will . . ." (Isaiah 14th ch.) and it rages on. Yet its the saints of God who're able to rejoice in the Truth, that when this rebellion has run its terribly temporary course, all will be set right again, and remain true on its irrevocable course in peace, righteousness and love.

Therefore REJOICE and maintain hope, for the victory in this WAR of the WORLDS has already been decided; the victory secured by our LORD Jesus Who Himself won the conflict on the Cross, and NOTHING can ever change this TRUTH. Hold fast to this glory and grace, maintain the high altitude of Holy Conviction, persist in the Proper Perspective as revealed in prayer and by His Word!

1Cr 15:57 But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1Jo 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith.

 

Saturday, September 2, 2006

LEAVEN, FOWL & GLOBALISM REBORN

Gods admonition to the post-flood civilization of man was to go forth and be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth (Gen. 8:16-17; 9:1). Then in Genesis ch. 11 we have the people of the earth, rather than spreading out to replenish the earth as God instructed, rallied together and decided to build a tower in the plain of Shinar, that is the location of Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon, or today's Iraq.

"And the whole earth was of one language..." there was a unity in the communication among the early civilization of man. "Let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven; let us make us a name lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth." Had they been scattered, they would have been in obedience to God's command, but instead they incorporated.


When they said "...a tower whose top may reach unto heaven" I see the same boast as in Isaiah 14:13 "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north"


It was probably around this time, as in former times, that people began to "call upon the name of the Lord" (Gen. 4:26). The Hebrew word "qara" can mean "to cry out for help, but it can also mean to roar, to cry violently". This doesn't sound at all like people supplicating or praying, but in a manner inconsistent with humbleness, to speak against or defy the Lord.

There was unity in their politics and religion for they built a city, and a tower (and the tower was for a very explicit purpose, that is a religious icon to 'reach heaven' not merely physically, but in a spiritual sense). There was unity in their ideology: an anti-God mind set that acted in defiance to God's will.

The leader of this city-state was Nimrod, whose name means "rebellion" or "the valiant". He was "a mighty hunter before the Lord." The word "before" means "face to face" but not in the sense of friendship, as was the case with Moses and the LORD, for they spoke as friends, face to Face. This meaning intimates a confrontational stance, to be against another. This idea is consistent with this passage.


When the LORD came down and visited Bab-el (literally"tower of God" but which god?) He said, "Behold the people are one, and they have one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do."


The LORD realized that this was not a good development; here was an early example of the 'Human Potential Movement' an atheistic, humanistic force in our world today that wants to glorify man as the Supreme Being in the universe. In such a situation, corruption would set in, and because of their unity, there would be no one left untouched by this satanic taint. Seeing how He only just wiped the slate clean with the Flood, the LORD decided to then confound the languages, thus exciting a move towards nationalism, that is, grouping of peoples in accordance to nation, specifically in this case, tongues.

This is the same idea of having a single paned window as opposed to a multi-paned window. If the single paned window gets hit with a rock, you have to replace the entire window. If its multi-paned, then you only have to replace the smaller panes that were damaged. By compartmentalizing people according to nations, each was given a chance to form a good relationship with the LORD, and stand as an example to other nations as how the LORD will deal with those whose hearts are directed towards Him. This would later become the purpose of GOD forming the nation of Israel.

I remember seeing a poster for IBM: It was a picture of a tower, the lower half being archaic, and made of stone (looking like the tower of Babel itself) and the upper half was a very sophisticated communications network, with a complex array of antennae. Below this image was the phrase: "We Are Undoing The Babel Effect" that is, IBM was working at unifying communications globally via computer technology.

And so we see the world over, endeavoring to become global in every way: politically, economically, religiously, socially, etc. Looking at the way things are, I'd say they've just about achieved it (not quite, but almost!).

I want to focus at this time on the religious unity. I believe the Bible speaks of the Last Days being a singular, global, world empire whose primary components will be one government and one religion.

The powers that be desire a unity and thus a kind of peace; what they will get is NOT unity, but rather, merely uniformity. Unity can only come from the many agreeing together to form a singularity via cooperation and shared ideas, values, morals and ethics. Uniformity can only at best coerce via power and force conditioned behavior and responses which is neither volitional or cooperative.


Yet the world will achieve a unity in the sense that their pride will be glorified in the satanic age to come. The world leader, the Beast, will herald his reign with the emblem of 666 (six being the Biblical number for man [Adam was created on the sixth day]), glorifying man in his sinful rebellion against the LORD.


In order to achieve religious uniformity then, the people of the world must be forced to conditioned behavior and responses conducive for a world religion. Religions must be perceived to be equally viable, and a 'sameness' must be realized.


One so-called 'religion' stands alone however: Christianity.


Its the Christian faith that declares that the Bible is itself the only revelation of GOD to the world, and its the only Holy Book that can prove it by declaring the future before it occurs; this is known as prophecy, and is not so much a predictive phenomenon as it is the foretelling of GOD's plan for the ages, as it involves two persons: the LORD Jesus Christ (whose testimony is the spirit of prophecy) and secondarily the person/nation of Israel.

Christianity alone declares that Jesus Christ is the very embodiment of GOD, made flesh:

John 1: 1-3, 14

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

1 Timothy 3: 16

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

In order to achieve religious uniformity all religious distinctions must be eliminated. Jesus Christ cannot be declared to be God made flesh, and brought down to the level of any other religious founder, whether you speak of Mohammad, Buddha, Krishna, and a host of others. In New Age circles, they separate the Person of Jesus from Christ: that is, that the 'Christ-Consciousness' indwelt Jesus at the Baptism, but then left at the crucifixion! The 'Christ-Consciousness' is a part, they say, of every one and will be supremely revealed (in an even greater way, than was with Jesus) in a coming world leader!

The Bible cannot be allowed to be declared as the authoritative, singular revelation of God, but brought down to the level of other religious books.

And so the world is working its will, pressing into the church, bringing us to compromise and conformity to its own ideals. The deity of Christ is assaulted every day not just by the world, but by the so-called church! The Episcopalian church had convened a counsel recently where they declared that Jesus was NOT deity!

The many translations of the Bible might, on the surface seem viable, but if one does some careful research, you will find that every modern translation comes from what's known as the Westcott and Hort text, which itself is based on ancient manuscripts developed primarily by Gnostic's and religious bodies opposed to Biblical Christianity. Westcott and Hort themselves were liberal theologians who despised the King James version and its plain declaration of Jesus Christ, GOD the Son, and His atonement of sinners by His blood, and of His coming Kingdom. (For information on this, visit the web site www.twft.org and call the 1-800 number inquiring about pastor Chuck Smith's two part teaching called "The Foundation of the Word".)


Yet there are even more blatant translations that are clearly blasphemous, such as The Message Bible, and the Renovare translation of the Holy Scriptures. The Renovare Bible was developed by the Renovare Institute founded by Richard Foster (author of "Celebration of Discipline"); the objective of The Renovare Institute is to shift the Christian church from a biblical foundation to a foundation of New Thought (New Age) philosophy!


The LORD Jesus said to His disciples "Beware of the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees", that is the false doctrines that they uphold and teach (Mt. 16:6, 11). The LORD Jesus also gave this parable about leaven:


"Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened." Matthew 13:3


There are some that want to interpret that parable as the church spreading out and filling all of the earth with the gospel, but if you know anything about leaven from the scriptures, leaven is always a type for sin, specifically pride, and for false doctrine (which is based on the pride of man: exalting man's wisdom above GOD's).


Interesting thing about leaven (we call it yeast): I used to work for Pizza Hut, and we had color coded rubber spatulas designated for sauces and for yeast mixtures (for dough). We could never use these spatulas indiscriminately, because if we used a yeast spatula for sauce, even if there was just a tiny speck of yeast left on it, it would contaminate an entire 5 gallon jug of prepared sauce in less than a day!

Leaven can spread and grow at an alarming rate, and soon it effects everything. This is why we are admonished to holy living via the power of the Holy Spirit and GOD's grace: any small pocket of sin in a corner of our lives will inevitably spread to contaminate our entire lives!


The Kingdom of heaven, Jesus said, is like this woman adding leaven to the three measures of meal. The Kingdom of heaven, infested with pride, sin and false doctrine??


That same chapter (Matt. 13) from vs. 3 on, the LORD Jesus speaks of other parables regarding the kingdom of heaven.


In the Sower of the seed, He mentions the fowls of the air that come and snatch the seed (the Word of GOD) and prevent it from taking root in the lives of people. Both leaven and fowls are agents that disrupt and destroy the growth of GOD's Word in our lives. Fowl are often referred to as the agents of the enemy, as early as the days of Abram who was instructed by GOD to prepare a covenant agreement re: His promise that of Abram, He would make a great nation and give him a land "flowing with milk and honey" that is, Israel. While preparing the sacrifices, as you may remember, the fowls of the air came, and tried to snatch away the slain animals, and Abram had to chase them away (Genesis 15:11)!

In the book of Revelation we see the culmination of this enforced world religion, bereft of any Christian truth, but rather inundated with every false religious persuasion that Satan has ever conceived. And this world religion harks back to its roots: BABYLON . . . "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." Rev. 18:2

We can not allow any corruption into our lives and we must stand fast against the onslaught of the enemy. Contrary to popular movements in ecclesiastical circles today, doctrine IS important, and the only way we can keep the unity of the faith is by the WORD of GOD and the Spirit by which that WORD has been conveyed to us.

"Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Eph. 4: 3

Note that we are only to keep, not achieve! You can't keep something that you don't already have! Thus all this talk about unity among churches (and religions) are nonsense; re: the church we already HAVE unity, and re: the world's religions, we are to remain separate, for Light is to have no fellowship with darkness!

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" 2 Cor. 6:14-15

I believe that the church here in America will be plunged into the furnace of affliction that has been bearing down on the church all around the world since its conception!

Therefore as followers of Jesus Christ, we do well to hold fast the pure doctrine of the WORD, and remain faithful (even unto death) in our proclamation of JESUS CHRIST, our LORD and SAVIOR, the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE by WHOM ALONE we have access to the FATHER and ETERNAL LIFE!

Remain steadfast in the pure doctrine of the WORD, and faithful to the LORD Jesus Who is our faithful High Priest! And remember: NOTHING that we suffer for the Name of Christ will be forgotten before the throne of our loving Heavenly Father and amply rewarded!


"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 2 Cor. 4: 17


May the LORD JESUS CHRIST BLESS YOU WAY TOO MUCH!!!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

CAN I GET A WITNESS?

"Everyone turns to someone at some point in their lives: a brother, a father, a god, and asks: why am I here? for what purpose have I been created?"

Spock, from Star Trek: The Motion Picture



"They say the owl was the baker's daughter. M'Lord, we know what we are, but not what we may be!"

Ophelia to the King of Denmark, Hamlet


"Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit."
King Solomon, from the book of Ecclesiastes 2: 17

The following is my own personal testimony:

I was born on August 27th, 1962. I was supposed to be born sometime in October, but there were complications in birth, and my mother had me early. I was nearly 2 months premature, with a host of problems which might have meant my death, as well as that of my mother. Years after the fact she told me that she never felt the presence of God more than at that time in the delivery room (even though she was not yet a Christian).

There were some surgeries performed on me for various things. I had a hare lip that required sewing, and later there was some exploratory surgery done to my right ear to see if they could remedy a problem concerning an 80% deficiency of hearing. They couldn't.

Due to some spinal difficulties I required intensive physical therapy to strengthen my back, so that I wouldn't require crutches or a wheel chair. Still I had painful back issues through much of my life.

Growing up in the love of my parents and family invested in me a happy childhood and I was a very happy child, unaware of my physical deformities as being anything abnormal. When the time came for me to start attending school my mother had no small amount of anxiety, for the school I required was for special needs children, and was clear across town. She fretted that I would be scared, make a fuss, cry and plead with them to not leave me alone in that huge strange building, known as Percy Hughes School.

On my first day, they drove me there, and when we parked, I climbed out of the back seat, slammed the car door, and marched up the steps of that place, far ahead of my parents, even opening doors for them, and strutted down the corridors as if I owned the place!

Because all of the children there were special needs, I didn't stand out, and I made friends readily. One of my best friends name was Scott: he had one leg that was shorter than the other, and was slightly afflicted with palsy. Robin was the name of my first girlfriend: she required hearing aids and a brace on her right leg. We all got along very well, and helped each other with our various disabilities, never daring to make any one feel uncomfortable or 'different'.

I attended Percy Hughes for the first 3 yrs. of my schooling. By the time I was ready to enter 3rd grade, it was determined that I was ready for 'normal' school. It was then that my very private hell began.

I was shocked and stunned, and deeply hurt that kids would maliciously point out my deformities and mock and laugh at me. Because of my mild temperament and a very willing disposition to make friends, I tried to overcome their tendencies by sharing things, and being overly friendly.

They willingly took what I shared, but when the cookies or whatever were gone, so was their friendship. The ridiculing persisted with every passing day, and done with the finesse and intricacy of a dance, so as to carefully avoid being caught by any of the teachers.

I was never a fighter, so when I was bombarded with these tribulations, I simply withdrew into a shell. Where there were kids willing to be my friend, these were ostracized and excluded from the others. Eventually many of them turned cold towards me, not wanting to be so isolated. There were those precious few that remained faithful however, and if not for them, the entire experience would have been intolerable.

Its difficult to articulate why I didn't simply complain to my parents. They certainly would have done something about it had I spoke up; I just didn't. Having it pointed out to me that I was ugly, I was afraid to draw attention to this fact to my parents: somehow I felt this would dishonor and embarrass them.Its amazing how children will do things out of a desire to protect their parents.

Because of this incessant ordeal, I didn't excel scholastically, being a very average C student. I was good in Art class however and I did have a passion for reading. My father wasn't the most communicative parent, and I think he wasn't sure how to nurture any of his children (probably because he didn't receive much from his own father?); and my mother was an alcoholic. Thus both parents merely told me to do my best in school and that was that. C average all the way.

I also took an interest in church: we were Roman Catholic in my family, and I remember the very first Mass I attended. I couldn't have been more than six years old: my parents dressed me in my finest and my father and two brothers left for church (my mother stayed home).

The entire experience with the candles and incense and robe draped clergy and boys, ringing bells and Latin expressions fascinated and mystified me. There was a priest that looked like he was eight feet tall who read out of a book and when he concluded, he declared: "This is the Word of God."

I sat there with my mouth gaping. The small child that I was wondered: "How did they get Him to write that!?!" When I got home I told my mother that I heard the Word of God read today! And she said we had the same book in the house. I acquired this family Bible that was easily almost half my size, and settled it on my lap, poring over its pages. I asked my mother what the words in red meant, and she told me those were the very words of Jesus. My tiny fingers gently swept over those words in a reverent awe only a child could express...

Sometime between childhood and teenage years I caught a life-threatening case of pneumonia that landed me in an oxygen tent in the hospital; and as at birth, I was miraculously spared from dying. I remember my mother telling me that God allowed me to live for a reason!

Try telling that to a child sometime, and it will definitely leave an impression! I was quite eager to discover what this reason was!

There isn't a teenager on the planet that isn't self-conscious and feeling inept, clumsy or inadequate at some time during their development. I was more so due to my appearance. I was labeled with "Franky" (Frankenstein) and "Rocky" obviously a reference to his condition AFTER one of Balboa's boxing matches. That hurt almost as much as seeing the boys and girls get paired up, holding hands, giggling, cuddling and looking so happy together.

I distinctly remember one student saying this to me in Jr. High: "Fire, if I were you, I'd do myself and the world a favor and kill myself." By this time I had built up a pretty tough exterior and thought I could withstand the jibes and taunts. 
I guess I was wrong.

I hated school, I hated life, I hated this body and this face I was given. I hated everyone who was so mean spirited that they seemed to go out of their way, just to take a verbal stab at me.

There was a day when I was at the library and I noticed a section of considerable size under the heading of "Occult literature". Having an interest in the spiritual, I looked into some of these books. There was also a Mail Order Book Club in English class where I could purchase other books on occult materials, books on ESP, spiritualism, etc. I voraciously devoured everything I could get my hands on. Because I had a loathing for my physical being, there was a deep yearning in me for things spiritual in nature.

I quickly found myself immersed in witchcraft of the Babylonian tradition. I had an understanding that all spiritual beliefs and secret knowledge began at the tower of Babel, so by going to the source I would acquire the deepest of knowledge. It was a fast and deep spiral downward! 

I had such experiences that convinced me of the reality of the spiritual realm, and because I knew it to be real, I falsely assumed that it must therefore be the truth. I could use such abilities to bring harm to any that tried to hurt me. As a solitary witch (those who didn't associate with others in the Craft in a coven) I felt that I didn't need any one, nor that I wanted any one. 

Most people were beneath me, banal and stupid, and unwise in the world of spiritual power. In denying my need for others, convincing myself that I was better off without them, I became a hard, embittered, vengeful person. I realized the futility of life, as every life inevitably ends in the grave. Whether I acquire all my dreams, obtain riches in money, material possessions, family and friends, or I end up homeless on the streets: either case ends up at the same place at the end. "All that lives, must die." as Gertrude said in Hamlet.

I also experimented with some drugs (as any witch will tell you, they play an integral part in much of the occultic world). After dabbling in such things for a period of a few years, one day I had a very bad reaction to some drugs that was obviously laced with some dangerous substances. Not long after I had this terrifying dream:

Making a longer story somewhat shorter, the dream was me getting sliced in half by a tank-sized hearse with a razor bumper in the front and a demonic chauffeur behind the wheel. When I woke from this dream/vision I truly believed I was dead until I snapped out of it. Instinctively I knew that this dream was linked to my involvement with the occult: that if I continued down this path, it would mean my death.

Frustrated with life, getting no answers, and certainly seeing no reason at all why God should allow me to live, I started on a tirade, blaspheming God and angrily accusing Him of maliciousness.

"Why did You make me like this? Why didn't you just let me die at birth? Why put me through all this (censor)? What am I some sort of cosmic joke to provide You with some laughs?? What is it You want from me? What is this big (censor) reason for me being alive??"

A still small voice was heard in my heart that simply said "Turn around." I did and saw that old Catholic family Bible. I rejected any impulse to pick it up, dismissing religion as a childhood thing that was no longer relevant to me. I went to my room instead and stayed there until bed time. 

Next morning, I got a bowl of cereal, and grabbed that Bible after another prompting from that still small voice, and began thumbing through it in my room. I thought I remembered hearing that if you wanted to start reading the Bible it was always good to start with the Gospels, so that's what I did; I started with Matthew.

I grabbed a notebook and began jotting down thoughts related to what I was reading, and in a couple hours I had devoured several chapters. Time flew by until my mother came home from work. She popped into my room and asked what I was doing. She was slightly taken aback from my sudden interest but seemed pleased as well.

My parents noticed that my Bible reading didn't wane with the passage of time, rather it seemed to grow: so much of it I didn't understand, but the parts that I did (or thought I did) provoked me onward, trying to unravel its more mysterious elements. It was that Christmas, back in '79 that my parents gave me my own personal Bible called The Way, A Living Bible Paraphrase Roman Catholic Edition. I know some of you may be cringing right now at the mention of a 'paraphrase edition' of the scriptures, and I'm cringing right along with you, understanding that paraphrase editions are not credible for accurate Bible reading and study. At that time however, it was easy reading so the LORD used it for my sake. Today I only study from the King James (referring to other translations in select cases): All I knew was that the Bible was presented to me in language that I could readily understand.

My Bible reading sky rocketed. Having left behind the occult and drugs, I sought then to return to the 'strait and narrow'. I became a Minister of the Eucharist at the Mass, and I volunteered to help around at the church, and as some of the priests saw that I had some artistic ability, I would make up banners, drawings, paintings for various functions. I tried to help any I could, and present myself as a pleasing servant of the LORD. Between the Bible reading, and prayers (formal sort) and my services, I began to feel a tugging at my heart and believed that I was being called to the priesthood.

And yet no matter how hard I applied myself, no matter how diligent a study of God's Word, no matter how fervent my prayers and service, there was still a gaping vacuum in my heart, and an overwhelming conviction of inadequacy. Basically, no matter how I tried to be good, I was convinced that I was bad: nothing I did could approve me to God, earn His praise or guarantee me a place in heaven when I died. When I tried to prove myself a selfless servant, the Spirit of the LORD (though I didn't realize this was His doing at that time) would convict my heart and enlighten my understanding: 

'You only helped that person out to try and make yourself look good, to earn points for what you believe will gain approval with the LORD!'

I was miserable. I felt as though I hit another road block in life; trying so hard to gain spiritual truth and discover my 'purpose in life' only to come to a grinding halt. Winter turned to Spring and Summer quickly approached. It was 1980 now and I graduated high school with hopes of going to a community college in the fall, and build myself up scholastically (having only been a C student for my entire schooling). After sharpening myself educationally I would seek to go on to University and then on to seminary to become a priest.

School was finished, summer vacation began, and I was no closer to getting my answers than at any time before, or so it seemed. It was on a particular morning, the 20th of June, that I picked up my Bible that lay on the floor next to my bed, and continued to read from St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, ch 4.



ROMANS 4:1
"Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What were his experiences concerning this question of being saved by faith? Was it because of his good deeds that God accepted him?"

This passage leaped off the page at me: the very thing I was attempting to do myself! I eagerly read on:

ROMANS 4:2-5
"If so, then he would have something to boast about. But from God's point of view Abraham had no basis for pride at all. For the scriptures tell us that Abraham believed God, and that is why God cancelled his sins and declared him "not guilty. But didn't he earn his right to heaven by all the good things he did? No, for being saved is a gift; if a person could earn it by being good, then it wouldn't be free--but it is! It is given to those who do not work for it. For God declares sinners to be good in His sight if they have faith in Christ to save them from God's wrath." 


Did you ever read something that you didn't understand at all? So you simply re-read it, believing that understanding will come, right? I did that, a few times, and each time it became more and more mystifying to me. How could heaven be free? You have to earn your way there! God isn't just going to give such a glorious reward away without it being paid for!

But then the LORD brought to mind all of the pertinent verses I had read up to this point in my Bible reading. Each one seemed to supplement what I was pondering in this chapter of Romans. It was then that the Holy Spirit turned on the light, and it came to me very much like that: with the instantaneous flicking of a light switch, I suddenly understood. I remember physically gasping with the shock of this realization:

Jesus hung on the cross, not just for the sins of mankind in general, in some ambiguous deed for all of us: He died specifically for my sins. The very condemnation that God was to pronounce over all mankind for our sins and transgressions was laid upon Him. He suffered the wrath of God's Holy Judgment against sins committed by us individually. Because our sins were washed away by His blood, He then was able to dwell in us, grant to us eternal life, empower us with the ability to live before Him in righteousness, with His promise to bring us to heaven when we die, there to bask in His glorious presence with infinite joy and peace and love!

I was so thoroughly humbled by this startling revelation, that I could scarcely believe it! 'Who am I that You should do this for someone like me, Lord?' I remember asking. That still small voice came to me once again:


"Because I love you, Jim." Those soft words, that almost palpable embrace of warming love shattered my hard, vindictive heart. I burst out sobbing, and instinctively raised my hands in the air and said this simple prayer:
"Lord, if this is the reason for my life, my purpose which You have for me, then take me, I'm yours!"


Some people receive the LORD and its a quiet, but quite real conversion. Like a softly glowing candle lit to flickering life; others get fireworks and fanfare. I got the latter, lol! 
It was like a bolt of lightening consisting of utterly potent love and joy and ecstasy. Gone was my black, moody disposition; gone was the guilt and the shame; gone was the fear of death and judgment; gone was the sorrow and turmoil! In their place was joy, freedom, confidence towards God, peace and contentment, love from the LORD Who was now my heavenly Father! And here was the Lord Jesus: My new Lord, Savior, Friend! FRIEND! I couldn't imagine having a friend like this! In the poverty of friendship throughout my young life, this One Friend tipped the scales so dramatically as to shatter the scales themselves!

It no longer mattered to me what people thought of me, what they would say to me, how they would try to mock and shame me. It was irrelevant now because of my new Friend Who would always be with me, always be faithful, would always love me, and be on hand whenever I was in need; this One who would share in my joys and sorrows, and walk with me in my triumphs and tragedies!

I remember springing to my feet and shouting, "I'm saved!" Which must have scared the berjeebers out of the postman who walked by my window just then! I remember laughing with fulsome joy, then weeping with humble gratitude, then laughing again, and weeping. It was a rather emotional scene, that!

Looking over the 26 years of my salvation, I can see many times when I failed the LORD, and as I've often said, if I ever failed in anything (job, hobby, etc) as often as I failed in my Christian walk, I would have given up whatever it was a long time ago. Today however, I am still a Christian, despite my failures, despite my unfaithfulness, despite my outright disobedience at times: I am a Christian still only because of the LORD's faithfulness to me! All to His glory!
Let me close this with one of my life verses, from Philippians...

PHIL 1:6
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

I pray that this testimony has been a blessing and an encouragement to you! Please feel free to share this with any one you know who might like to read it. And may the LORD Jesus Christ bless you all WAY TOO MUCH!To read the continuation of this testimony please click on the following link:

can i get another witness? part one

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Another Smoke Signal: QUESTIONS

We all know about questions; we ask them because we lack information, we seek counsel, we want to hear the sort of answers that will reassure us, comfort us, strengthen our security, and for a host of other reasons.
We ask questions because answers don't come readily in life and all too often it seems the universe gives them up grudgingly.
There are some who have grown so tired of asking questions, for want of significant and fulfilling answers, that they boldly declare that "there are no answers!"

Has it ever occurred to you, that nothing has ever occurred to God? God is THE one and only, original "KNOW IT ALL" and to such a Person, questions are superfluous.

Yet God has asked questions in the BIBLE.

He asked Adam, "Where art thou?"

He asked the two angels who accompanied Him on the way to Sodom and Gommorha mm or ha: "Shall I hide from my friend, Abraham that thing which I do?"

He asked Moses at the burning bush, "What is it that you have in your hand?"
He asked one of His disciples where they could get enough bread to feed the multitudes.
Later, He asked Saul why it was that he persecuted Him.
Yet God needn't have asked such questions of these men, and the many questions He did ask others in the scriptures, was for the purpose of drawing attention to something, to lead a person towards a certain point that God wanted them to consider.

Yet the questions that we ask, particularly of people whom we respect spiritually, such as our pastors, elders, and those who have known the LORD for many more years than we have, we ask because we are mystified concerning God and His ways. Indeed, doesn't the WORD itself say that His ways "are past finding out"? For as the heavens are above the earth, so are His thoughts above our own.

He is infinite, and we are finite. He exists outside of space and time while we dwell within these restraints and have done so ever since our conception. And while we are in this world, we see things spiritual as in a glass darkly, but once we "shuck off this mortal coil" as Hamlet said, we step out of finite time and space, and shall see our LORD face to face; on that Day we shall know (the LORD) even as we are known (by Him). See 1 Cor. 13:12.

Once we are with Him, in the fullness of the glory of God's kingdom, all questions will vanish away like smoke in a gale force wind, they shall be consumed like paper in an inferno, they shall melt like snow on a furnace.

Basking in the very presence of God we will no longer have the itch, or sometimes the torture, of unanswered questions.

And yet while on this earth, during this life, questions arise, and it is right that they do so! For it is not only important to ask questions, but also to know the reason why we ask them; in order to obtain the right answers we must ask the right questions.

I'm so well reminded of my own personal encounter with the LORD, my spiritual experience of being born again in Christ. My testimony is on this BLOG for any to read who care to do so (entitled, "CAN I GET A WITNESS").

It was during this time in my 'B.C.' days, that I asked many questions that none had answers (to my satisfaction) to. Why am I here? What is my purpose in life? What significance will there be to my life? What will happen to me after I die? What is the plan that God has for me? How can I be assured that when I face Him, I will be granted access to heaven, and His Divine approval? And the big whammy of a question: How can I become righteous in the eyes of God??

Do you have someone that you know who is not yet saved? Do they shun and even ridicule the answers that you seek to provide for them? It behooves the saint to pray, and ask the LORD to 'plague' the minds of the lost with QUESTIONS. For its in these that the Holy Spirit can begin to do His work. Yet as an effective beginning as this may be, the primary school master that teaches the sinner of their need of a Savior has been, and always will be the Law of God.

Questions have answers, and its in answers that we discover truth, and those of us who know the LORD Jesus Christ, know in fact that He is the Living Embodiment of Truth, He is Truth made flesh.
Ultimately any question worth asking regarding this life will inevitably find its answer in the Person of Jesus Christ, the LORD of all.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

REFUGE - Psalm 91


Psalm 91: sixteen verses that are power-packed with reassurance, peace, inspiration, and comfort. We talk about "all the comforts of home" and certainly our home is a type of refuge; yet our ultimate Refuge, the One and Only genuine Refuge that we will abide in for all of eternity, is the Lord Jesus Christ.


In today's world there are dangers abundant; not to say that in days gone by there weren't any; obviously since the curse of sin this world has been a world of danger, tragedy, sorrow and woe.


It seems however that in today's world, these dangers have multiplied exponentially. Dangers both seen and unseen; dangers that we feel powerless to defend against. Whether you're talking about terrorism, NBC warfare, avian/swine flu, the diminishing of our constitutional rights in this nation, the potential initiative against the church by leftist powers in this country, sudden tragedy in the form of diseases and cancers, the violence of a society where assault, murder, rape are prevalent . . .


Are we tempted to barricade ourselves in our houses yet? heh


Where's the place we can reside and find a certain safety, a safe haven, a refuge? vs. 1 of Ps. 91 states: "He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."


To "dwell" means to "sit down, to set, to remain, to stay" One could say in a modern colloquialism: "to hang out". This ought to be our position and attitude regarding the LORD. He is our ever present Companion and Comforter (You thought just the Holy Spirit was our Comforter? Not really, ALL Three Persons are referred to as our Comforter!). Jesus is our Comforter, as He spoke of the Holy Spirit as "another Comforter" And in 2 Cor. ch. 1 it talks about "the God of all Comfort" and you could easily think of God the Father (as any good Father will) comfort us in the way that only He can!


What does it refer to as "the secret place of the most High"? Well the Hebrew word for 'secret' is: "cether" and it means "to cover, covering, hiding place, shelter, secret place"


That term "hiding place" is also used in the Psalms: Psa 32:7 Thou [art] my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah."


The Lord is our Deliverer, and when it comes to our security, He has us covered!


"I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge, and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust."


The Psalm goes on to say that He is our Deliverer and He indeed delivers us from these things listed here: the snare of the fowler, the noisome pestilence, the terror by night, the arrow that flies by day, the pestilence that walks in darkness, the destruction that wastes at noon day.


It states that we will be covered by His wings, and His Truth shall be our shield and buckler.


The entire Psalm is one huge solace, and comfort and source of Truth in God's ability to provide and protect.


He states that no evil shall befall us, nor any plague come near our Dwelling. He will give us His angels charge (talk about body guards!). We will tread without harm, upon the lion and the adder and the dragon,


But what about all those Christians that suffered terribly (and do even today) such horrid persecution, torture, tragedy, mortal diseases and illnesses? How were they delivered from such things, when one considers how awful they suffered!


Remember that the LORD Jesus Himself is our Dwelling, and that His grace is by far sufficient for these things; while He suffered alone the ugliness and cruelty of the cross, and the ruinous ravages of the sins of the entire human race which were laid upon Him, He told us that He would never leave us nor forsake us! Not ever! Not even our darkest hour, when it (only) seems that He has left us . . .


Recall the famous poem "Footprints"? Remember what the LORD's answer was to the questioning Christian? "MY darling child, I love You and would never forsake you. During your times of darkest trial, when you saw only one set of foot prints, it was then that I carried you."


He will be there to minister to us, and openly invites us to abide in His covering, sheltering grace that is a mysterious secret to those in the world! And its during such times of trial and suffering that we gain a far far more intimate knowledge of the LORD than we ever could by any other means! This is what Paul was speaking of when he wrote about "the fellowship of His suffering."


Phl 3:10 "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death"


Some might see this as our entering into the suffering that the LORD suffered upon the cross, and yet when you consider all the things that He suffered there, while pierced through His hands and feet, it was the agony and anguish of a sinful race, parted from a Holy God, and all that that entails. As a result of Adam falling into sin, the pandora's box of sorrow and suffering was opened. If not for sin, there would be no sadness, no disease, no strife in war and crime and violence; there would be no hate, malice, torment and death.


So as we endure such trials and pains and shocks as mortal coil is prone to in this fallen world, know that the LORD has gone before you, has tasted fully for you that bitter, bitter cup, and will share in this dark time of life, just as you will share in His peace, His joy, His grace and His love!


I believe that we as the church, the body of Christ, as represented here in America, we would do well to meditate on this Psalm during the days, months and years ahead, for we certainly shall know difficult times in this nation. May I encourage you in this, to read, meditate, ponder, study and share the treasures contained in this passage with saints that you know and love!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

As Weird As Rain












In the Genesis account, we understand that the world was arrigated by a mist that arose from the ground, creating a very heavy dew, and thus, plant life flourished. Rain was something unheard of in the experience of early mankind, according to the Bible.
Gen 2:6
"But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground."

When the pronouncement of the flood came, and Noah preached the destruction of the world by water, I'm sure he was met with jeers and exclaimations of dire unbelief! No one had ever SEEN water falling out of the sky before, and yet despite their mockery and unbelief, the rains came (the flood was not created merely by rainfall, but also the water channels beneath the surface of the earth erupted like geysers (Gen. 7:11).

God's judgment arrived on schedule and despite the preaching of Noah, lasting well over a century (remember people in those days lived a very looong time!), no one repented of their sins and sought sanctuary aboard the ark. I realize that there are many who scoff at the existance of an ark, and of the reality of the Flood account, and I will not address this issue at this time, but perhaps in an installment forthcoming I will.

Of all the billions of people (some estimate that the pre-deluvian world held anywhere from 2 to 6 billion inhabitants), only eight people were saved in the flood; one person was actually saved FROM the time of the flood, and that was Enoch, who was translated (taken up) by God and never seen again!

Now you and I today take rain for granted; when we see it falling, we aren't alarmed, or suprised, or think that it's some bizarre phenomena. We accept it as a normal experience of our every day lives.


And yet the Word of God declares of another event which will herald the destruction of the present world, and this event is scoffed at, ridiculed and mocked with just as much passion as the people of Noah's day did with the idea of rain.

This notion is called the rapture of the church.


I realize that there are many today who don't believe in a rapture of the church; they say such a thing is unbiblical, and you can't take such a thing seriously, as even the very word 'rapture' doesn't so much as appear in scripture!



Well, it does appear in scripture, but you have to be reading the appropriate version in order to see it. In the KJV, the word "caught up" (found in 1 Thess. 4:16) is expressed in the Latin Vulgate as "rapturos" which is of course latin for "rapture".


These people are also more often than not post-tribulationists; I myself believe in a pre-'Daniel's 70th week' rapture; that is, I believe the church will be raptured before that last 7 year period of Daniels prophecy as recorded in ch. 9:22-27. This doesn't mean however that I believe the church (esp. here in America) will have smooth sailing until the rapture! I firmly believe that its quite probable that the church will undergo some extremely difficult times prior to the coming of the Lord as a means of purifying and preparing the body of Christ for the Bridegrooms Return!


Post-tribulationists like to say that the notion of the rapture isn't biblical, nor was it taught by the church fathers, and was an unknown concept until the days of J. Darby of the 19th century.


The notion of the LORD's return to earth, to dispossess the world of its evil rulers was not a very popular idea during the days of the Roman Empire in 300 AD, and beyond. Christianity had become legal during the days of Constantine, and two Emperors later, it actually became the state religion! Yet corruption soon set in, and as a result, the escatological views of the Coming Christ who will rule and reign had to be revised.

The Roman Catholic church held an amillenial view, that is, that Christ wasn't literally coming and setting up His rule on the earth, but that we the church (representing Christ) will rule over all mankind. For the better part of 1.5 millenia the Roman Catholic church has held this view and this popular perspective dominated the people for the greater part of her history.

During the Protestant Reformation, they cry went out, "sola fide!" that is, salvation by faith alone in the finished workof Christ whose atonement was sufficient for the souls of mankind, an atonement made by the shed blood of the Lamb of God. And yet when it came to escatology (the study of last things, that is, of last days prophecies), they carried on the same amillenial views of the Roman Church. So you can see that for 75% of the churches history, the amillenial view was held preeminently.

This does not however mean that this view is biblical.


Remember how I stated earlier that there were 8 people who were saved in the Flood? One was saved FROM the time of the flood - Noah and his family had to endure the Flood, but were saved in the midst of it. The same cannot be said of Enoch however: he was taken out before the flood even began. Indeed, he was saved from the time of the flood!

There are many phrases that are used to describe the time of the tribulation period: its called Daniel's 70th week, the time of Jacob's Trouble, and the Wrath of the Lamb, among many others.


In Romans, Paul the apostle used the word "wrath" in referring to this time:

Rom 5:9 "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."


Note that is doesn't say saved "in, during, through, in the midst of, etc" but "saved FROM wrath" which means we, like Enoch, won't be here when once this judgment begins.


Another point to be made regarding the rapture: most post-tribulationists like to refer to such passages that speak of this supposed 'rapture' as being the resurrection. There is a problem that they never seem to address: in order to be resurrected, you have to be dead first. No one was resurrected by Christ who hadn't died first! One might say, yes but these were merely raised from the dead, they weren't truly resurrected, because eventually they died again, still possessing their natural bodies. In the resurrection of the church, we will be given new bodies that will never know corruption!

Ok, granted: what then about Christ Himself, the "first fruits of them that slept"?
1 Cor 15:20 "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept."



His is indeed a glorified, resurrected body, that shall never die for death has no more dominion over Him! Yet the Lord Jesus was surely dead before He was resurrected. The point remains clear, in order to have a resurrection, the prerequisite is that one must first be dead.


In both passages that describe the rapture, there are those elements of the church that are indeed dead, and resurrected; yet in these passages there are also those who are yet alive, that are not asleep (the biblical term for saints of Christ who have died, is that they "sleep in Christ" for truly they are not dead in the same sense as the wicked; for one day [as with anyone in the natural who sleeps] they shall be awakened at the trump of God).


The two passages that I refer to are 1 Thess. 4:16-17 and 1 Cor. 15:51-54

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 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. " 1 Thess. 4:16-17


"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." 1 Cor. 15: 51-54


Note the underlined portions of the verses above: in both cases it speaks of those of us who are yet alive, of those who are not sleeping (dead). This transformation thus must involve something like, but not exactly the resurrection: the end result is the same, yes: our glorious transformation and the redemption of our bodies. Yet the starting point is different: the ones who are dead are resurrected, the ones who are yet alive are raptured!


There is a greek word used in the Bible, and it's "maranatha" and it means "til the LORD comes". Its a word of hope and joy for those of us who are saved, but its a word of dread and judgment for those who are lost (see 1 Cor 16:22).


It's an interesting point of fact that any time one nation declares war on another, one of the first political moves that it makes is the removal of their ambassadors from that foreign land with which they will soon be at war with. The Bible speaks of us Christians as God's ambassadors in 1 Cor. 5:21, and thus at the rapture, God's ambassadors will be removed, taken up from out of the earth. And after that, the time of the Wrath of the Lamb will occur in that horrific period of seven years.


Judgment is coming on this earth, this is a certainty; and with the same degree of certainty, millions of Christians world wide, both living and dead, will one day vanish without a trace from this planet: this will be a singular sign of the judgment that will immediately follow.

It surely will be a weird event; as weird as rain!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Take His Word For It!

Consider how GOD honors His Name: for His Name is HOLY Indeed! At the Name of Jesus Christ EVERY KNEE shall bow and EVERY TONGUE confess, that He is LORD! Yet there is something that GOD exalts above even His own Name! His WORD! PSALM. 138:2.
Review PSALM 119 and you will see over and over again the Psalmist addresses the WORD of GOD. Here are a couple verses from that Psalm for your consideration: 

"Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever." vs 160 "I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil." vs. 162 "I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word." vs. 147

GOD created the heavens and the earth, and on the third day (yes a 24 hr period!), He created all vegetation: 

GEN. 1:11-12 

"Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass and herb yielding seed after his kind and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed wsa in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good." 

Seeds are awesome lil gizmo's don't you think? Think about it, these are tiny little capsules that contain all the genetic information to produce another of its kind, in exactness and in the order that GOD has preordained. Lets say we have a seed from an apple tree. That seed, planted in the ground will germinate: with some sun, water and nutrients from the ground, it will sprout a root, and a stalk, eventually growing into a mature apple tree, producing fruit of its own, each apple containing more seeds to make more trees, fruit, and seeds.
Amazing, the order and creativity of our LORD!

In Luke's gospel, ch 8, the LORD Jesus speaks of a parable, of the sower. He tells us that the seed is "the Word of GOD" vs. 11. And like the seeds of the trees created in Genesis, this seed, the WORD of GOD will produce after His own kind once it is planted in a receptive heart and flourishes. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we get the seed of GODs Word into our hearts and once it takes root, we become little gods, after GODs own kind!

There is only One GOD: 

DEUT 6:4 

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD" and He is represented in Three Persons: 

1 JOHN 5:7 

"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."

No, we don't become little gods, but as we take GOD's Word into our lives, we DO become godly! Contained in this seed, the WORD of GOD is all that JESUS our LORD is in His nature, in His integrity, in His Wisdom and Instruction, and most of all, His LOVE! We read, meditate, receive revelation and instruction, guidance, counsel and conduct ourselves in the way of the LORD and enabled to do so by the indwelling Holy Spirit, and we are then transformed by the renewing of our minds into the very image of Christ.
What sort of fruit can we then expect? Well, lets have a look! 

GALATIANS 5:22-23

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." 


and... don't forget 1 COR 13:1- 13, the Love chapter. Consider these verses and note that when you replace the word "love" with "JESUS" its a perfect match. What happens when you replace that word "love" with YOUR name? If you're anything like me, you realize you have yet some growing to do still! And how!
and also: 

MATT 5:1-16, these characteristics can by and large be applied to the LORD Jesus as well. Of course not everything here is a perfect fit, for our LORD is not spiritually poor at all, but He DID become poor so that we could be made rich. The LORD certainly never thirsted for righteousness on His own behalf, for thats a part of His integral nature. Yet He does thirst for righteousness in us!

These various passages quoted above are what I refer to as spiritual barometers; every so often its good to take inventory and measure up where we are at in our spiritual walks. Don't despair if you see you are lacking a lot, because the LORD is faithful to complete what HE has started. Are you saved? Born again? Is Jesus Christ your LORD and SAVIOR? Then you are HIS responsibility, and He has promised us He will finish what He started (I can start a zillion projects and not ever finish ONE! Thats not like GOD at all!) PHIL 1:6.

The goal which the LORD will actualize in the lives of all His saints is summed up in the verse, 

EPHESIANS 4:13 

"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ"
The Word of God will not return void: 

ISAIAH 55:11 

"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 

And just as surely He will bring to pass the world scene, as proclaimed in prophecy, so He shall complete that work in us which He has promised in His Word.

The Word of God is an invaluable resource; it is the only source of Truth provided in this universe. When it comes to Truth, God has the monopoly and its contained in the Holy Bible. There are no other alternatives, despite what the 'ecumenically correct' one-world religionists would say. If you want Truth, you must seek it in the Word of GOD, for as its been said: "If you're searching for truth, don't look within yourself... you're the one who's confused!"

Now you realize a significant aspect of the spiritual war we are in, for the Truth as it is written in GOD's Word is surrounded by the deception, deceit and lies that permeate this world, the ruler of which is Satan, "the Father of Lies". If you have any doubt, visit a college campus today, and sit in on one of the lectures of any professor: they will tell you that "truth is relative" or even "truth does not exist."

I beg to differ, Jesus Christ, The Word made flesh, is the quintessential embodiment of the Truth, and He is Alive and Well! Hallelujah!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Price of Blood




Gold. Diamonds. Silver. Emeralds. Bronze. Opals. Precious commodities that connote wealth, affluence, extravagance. What makes these materials of value and great worth?

Part of it is scarcity. The less there is of something, the more its worth. That's why various kinds of wood are generally valued less than metals of the finer sort.

Another factor in appraising that which is valuable is demand by way of desirability and attractiveness.
Yet what is THE most valuable commodity there is in all the world? In all the universe?


To answer that, one must consider what is the rarest substance there is, and how much of a demand there is for that substance.
Consider the spiritual values that the BIBLE deals in, most especially where the righteousness of the souls of men are concerned. Rom 3:10 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:"

ISAIAH 64:6
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."


There is not a single individual within all the realm of humanity that is righteous, and before God, our very best morality, ethical standards, and nobility are wretchedly pathetic and deficient of any value. With the exception of one individual:


The LORD Jesus Christ!
He and He alone is righteous before the eyes of the Holy God of creation. He is the spotless and holy Lamb of God! He and He alone could stand before GOD and claim that He fulfilled the Law in every respect of conduct, action, word and thought!


MATT. 5:17
 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."

Compare this to what the Word says about the rest of us where the Law is concerned!

ROM 3:20
 "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin."


Imagine in the teeming oceans of humanity, this one drop alone possesses pure and holy blood! The value of this innocent blood would literally be inestimable! How utterly precious before the eyes and heart of the Father this Man is!


And yet the blood of Christ was shed! This precious, pure and chiefest of goodly commodities was poured out freely on OUR behalf! This blood, spilled over us, cleansing us from our sins, washing us pure of iniquities, removing every indelible stain and ruin that marred our souls, seemingly for all eternity!

1 JOHN 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 

1 PET 1:18-19
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 

There is so much talk about "self-esteem" these days, and yet if we only understood the value that GOD places on us, how He esteems us so greatly, NOT because of our inherent worth, but because of the worth He has invested us with by the precious blood of His Son!

Now consider this: The LORD Jesus Christ told us that there are few that make it into heaven, for the way is narrow; many are those that go into perdition, for that way is wide and easy (MATT. 7:13-14). So of ALL of humanity, only a comparative few actually receive the salvation and redemption that GOD offers through the life and blood of the LORD Jesus Christ, GOD the Son.


Thus because of our rarity, how much MORE are we valued by the Father! Christian, if you are feeling worthless, and unworthy, if you think you will never amount to anything in the Kingdom of God, if you believe that the LORD looks upon you disparagingly then reexamine what has been done on YOUR behalf!

Consider the acronym for G.R.A.C.E. (G.ods R.iches A.ttributed at C.hrist's E.xpense) given freely to YOU! You wear the righteous garb of the LORD Jesus! You bear upon your brow the Holy Writ and the Seal of God's Spirit in your own spirit!



When GOD sees you, He sees someone whom His Son purchased Himself with His own blood, and stands as righteous as the LORD! This is something done apart from your own efforts, something attributed to you without any works accomplished through spiritual sweating, and grunting and exhaustive exercise and the hollow tenacity of human frailty to live holy in ones own strength!

Scripture says, "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins." No common blood was shed for you, but the greatest treasure in all the world below and in heaven above! Sins are washed, inquities cleansed, unrighteousness scoured clean, and with these all the penalties of eternal death and hell are done away. In their place: righteousness, holiness, sanctification, purity. These cover us as we are found "in Christ"!

Now smile child of God! Rest assured, that you, as you are now, bathed in the blood of Christ, are approved by your Father! And you are as esteemed by God the Father as He esteems His only begotten Son, the LORD Jesus Christ!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

War Objectives

Wars have been fought ever since Cain slew Abel. After that mono e mono, they've become more sophisticated and deadlier, but reasons for such conflicts haven't changed all that much. Wars have been fought for possession of land, for political and religious reasons, for resources.

The church, the ecclesia of the LORD Jesus Christ are also called upon to wage a war, but for entirely different reasons:


Incidentally, if you are a Christian, yet believe you are NOT in any sort of conflict with Satan's kingdom, or do not wish to be engaged in such, a word to the wise is in order . . .

When Jesus was tempted by Satan during his 40 days of prayer and fasting, one of the temptations he hit our LORD with was "All these kingdoms and the glory of them will I give to you, for they are mine to give to whoever I will, if you will bow down and worship me." Interesting to note, the LORD Jesus never disputed Satan's claim of ownership over this world. Later on, Jesus refers to Satan as "the prince of this world" LUKE 4:5-8; JOHN 12:31; 14:30;  16:11;  Paul refers to Satan similarly in EPH 2:2 and later he speaks of him as "the god of this world" in 2 COR 4:4.

There is no doubt that we, the church of the LORD Jesus Christ, the saints, the body of Christ, are on enemy turf! We are the light of the world, opposing the darkness of this age, and Satan will not take such an invasion lying down! Indeed, Peter tells us that he is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 PETER 5:8).

So, like it or not, if you are saved, you ARE in the very midst of a great spiritual battlefield: you have two options: become a casualty or get in the fight!
There are no neutralities on a battle field!

But going on, about the obejectives that's been passed down to us from HQ - the very THRONE ROOM OF GOD! -

Our objectives in this war are three fold:

1) The salvation of enslaved souls, chained in sin and death.
2) The sanctification of our own souls, allowing God's kingdom to reign more fully in our lives.
3) That God would be glorified as the only God above all powers, including Satan's.

In this First Objective, we who are the soldiers of the Cross and guardians of the Gospel, desire the deliverance of souls that are presently bound and blind in the kingdom of darkness.

Due to the fact that they are now children of disobedience, children of wrath, children of the devil (some might object to this statement and insist that we are ALL children of God as is commonly believed, and yet JOHN 1:12 states clearly that "...as many as received Him (Christ) to them He gave the power [ability, right, privilege, authority] to BECOME the children of God, even to them that believe ON His Name." emph. mine), Satan himself rightfully claims ownership over them, and their release is certainly something that he objects to with the greatest of vehemence!

Any time you share the Gospel with a lost soul, you are threatening to diminish the citizenship of Satan's kingdom by a factor of 'one'. If you don't think THIS is spiritual battle, you better re-examine the issue!

The souls of men are precious in the eyes of the LORD, for He is not willing that ANY should perish but that ALL should come to repentance! See 2 PETER 3:9

To what extent has the LORD gone to in order that these souls would be secured, safely delivered from hell, and granted all preparations for heaven?

The most beloved verse in all of scripture -


JOHN 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For all the lost souls that have ever been born, every single one of the trillions that have existed on this wayward planet, including those who are now alive, and even those who've yet to be born: the LORD Jesus Christ came down from the glorious perfections of purity and heavenly bliss and blessing . . . and purchased our salvation with His own blood!

And this gospel is our primary weapon in the arsenal of the Almighty, which He has entrusted to us, in this Christ-centered campaign of war!

To declare God's TRUTH and LOVE in His plan of redemption, and shining the glorious light of His Gospel in this fallen world, burdened with oppresive darkness, remember the G.O.S.P.E.L.

G.OD's

O.MNIPOTENT (All powerful)

S.ALVATION

P.ROCLAIMING

E.TERNAL

L.OVE/L.IFE!


The Omnipotence of God is His means and abilities to see that His will is accomplished.

The Love of God is His motive and heart's desire in the salvation of souls snared under the overwhelming power of blinding sin.

And so we must likewise arm ourselves with these; that is, we must by the power of the Spirit of God obey His will in all things, and acquire God's heart of love for the unloveable sinner (which we once were ourselves and would remain so, but by the grace of God).

Not by our power, but His; not by our own human love, but by God's own love, must we so engage in this warfare for mankind, against the great enemy that surrounds us in this world.
The Second Objective in this war is to keep ourselves in the love of God, and respond in kind by keeping His commandments, and fulfilling His will.

I personally believe that once a person genuinely receives Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit is granted as an earnest (EPH 1:14), one can never lose that salvation. I believe Satan realizes this as well, so he cannot rob a saint of his eternal life. What he can do is attempt to make a child of God ineffective, essentially making him an unviable worker and warrior in the Kingdom of God.

The enemy can accomplish this by getting us to live our lives dominated by the flesh, and disobedient to the LORD by not yielding to the Holy Spirit; walking in the flesh* (living for and gratifying self). Thus by not fulfilling the will of the Spirit, we are in opposition to how we are to conduct ourselves as in . . .  

GAL 5:16

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Thus some saints are shipwrecked, or made castaways (1 TIM 1:19; 1 COR 9:27).
* Remember to spell flesh backwards and set aside the 'h'; you get the word 'self'. Now add the 'h' which stands for 'human' and you get a good picture of what 'flesh' means primarily, in the scriptures.

I also happen to believe that God is NOT a God of second chances! He is a God of innumerable chances, that is, He is abundantly willing to forgive and wipe the slate clean, and begin again with the repentant sinner. What we have to remember, if and (more likely) when the enemy ensnares us into a compromised situation, is 1 JOHN 1:9: Lets read that one now: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Thus the admonition that we hear so regularly by our pastors, teachers, counselors: "Keep short accounts with God!" When you fall into sin and transgression, don't wallow in the guilt for this is what Satan would have you do; by this means he is able to beat you down, condemn you, keep you from the grace and forgiveness, from the opportunity by which God can and will forgive you! Anytime I feel condemned, even after I confess my sins, I like to read ROMANS 8, particularly from vs 32 on, but really the entire chapter is spiritual dynamite for demolishing demonic condemnation!

The Third Objective: Is the Glory of God! God is worthy to be extolled, worshipped, exalted, revered, honored and submitted to not only because of what He has done for us (the CROSS), but also for Who He is: that is, His integral nature of love, holiness, purity, justice, mercy and grace, all knowing and all powerful.

Satan hates God and resents that He is so worshipped, and craves such worship for himself. Its seldom seen as a form of spiritual warfare, but worship certainly is, as this is something our enemy is oppossed to, and desires to draw us, the church, away from.

Therefore it behooves every saint to make one's life one that is God-centered in worship according to the Spirit, and to the Truth, to be engaged in, not just in assembly, but privately as well!

God inhabits the praises of His people, and His people obtain a clearer view of God and all His ways through worship. Worship is a kind of window, a 'portal into the very domain of heaven', and we commune with God during such sanctified activity.

The glory of GOD is further revealed when a soul is regenerated and the Spirit of the KING sets up His throne, in residence upon that soul's heart! Its been said before, that "God doesn't save us, merely to get us into heaven, but also so that He might get heaven into us", that is Christ in you, the hope of glory COL 1:27.

The last entry I made entitled MARCHING ORDERS, I addressed issues of spiritual warfare, and the armor of God. With that and with whats written above, the Christian warrior can be fully equipped to handle the battle: for the battle is the LORD's and by none other than the Holy Spirit and His power (ZECH. 4:6)!

On the issue of prayer: one other thing: there can be no victory in any military engagement without proper coordination of the forces to bear, and this can only be accomplished by efficient communication with HQ; in other words at no time whatsoever before, during, and after engagements are we to lose contact with the Captain of the LORD's hosts (The LORD Jesus Christ) through prayer. We are to consult Him in every regard, concerning all aspects.

Once the smoke clears, and it's seen that the enemy is indeed defeated, the need to remain in touch is even greater: for we are at our most vulnerable when we have attained the pinnacles of victory. Satan will have one ace in the hole to throw at us when we achieve victory: spiritual pride!

Next time, I want to talk about the preciousness of GOD's Word and the Blood of the Lamb in this warfare we are engaged in!

NIKAEO AIONIOS AVRAS!

brother James