Saturday, September 28, 2013

FAITH vs. LOGIC: Compatible or Contrary? Part One

It has been asserted by non-believers in God and the Bible that the Christian faith is illogical and that any who would adhere to such foolish beliefs is a unthinking, irrational person that cannot prove anything they believe, logically speaking. 

This begs the question, is logic something in opposition to, at variance with, adversarial in nature to faith? Are they, in a sense, polar opposites? Or is logic something that may be employed by the Christian or even one who is endeavoring to discover truth and is seeking out the validity of Christianity? 


One may speak of logic, reason, propositional truth and wisdom as well as philosophy and these are in many respects interrelated. Of wisdom, the Bible has much to say (especially considering the books of Psalms and Proverbs – often called the Books of Wisdom): 


JAMES 3:15-18 

15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 
18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.


The Greek word used here and in every place in the New Testament for “wisdom” is sophia, which is the basis of the world philosophy (phileo itself being a word meaning ‘love of, or for’); thus philosophy is a “love of, or for wisdom”. 
According to James there are two sources for wisdom: the earthly which according to this passage is quite inappropriate, and in fact, sinful for any disciple of Christ to adhere to. The other source for wisdom is “from above”; that is, divine wisdom as granted by God (See also 1 Corinthians 1:17-31; 1 Corinthians 2:1-7, 10-16; Romans 11:33-36). 
It is divine or godly wisdom (and its twin, discernment) that brings to us spiritual understanding and perception, much as Peter received when the LORD Jesus asked him, “Who do people say that I am?” Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 

MATTHEW 16:17 

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven

This author would like to declare up front that by no means am I suggesting that logic is in any way a substitute for faith, or that a person may come to salvation by anything other than faith. 
Yet faith is certainly not “blind faith” or irrational or a ‘leap in the dark’ sort of thing; it is not trusting a source that is questionable or uncertain. 

There are predications that support reasons why biblical faith is rational and believable, and by no means illogical. This article will explore the applicability of logic and reason as something anticipatory to faith, when once the Bible is rightly perceived as a reliable, trustworthy Book. 

This is the very basis for apologetics (In 1 Peter 3:5 the word “reason” in the Greek is apologia): giving sound reason and argument in defense of the veracity of Scripture, and having laid down such a foundation for those who would oppose such reason and argument and answering such oppositions to the objector’s satisfaction may then proceed onto the Gospel. 

This is why apologetics (of which there are three primary methodologies: Presuppositional, Classical and Evidential) is sometimes referred to as ‘pre-evangelism’. 

From C.A.R.M. we have the following: What is Apologetics: An Outline.


Scripture is abundantly clear on salvation by faith alone which requires believing in the veracity of God’s Word (See Rom. 4:3-5): 


HEBREWS 11:6 

6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

1 PETER 1:5 


Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time

And also take note of this verse:

2 TIMOTHY 3:15 


And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

It states clearly in this epistle of Paul to Timothy that the source of wisdom (sophia) is derivative of the Holy Scriptures; this would entail that wisdom which is “from above”.

The Holy Scriptures are recognized as the inspired Word of God (2 Peter 1:21). In the first chapter of John’s Gospel we read:

JOHN 1:1-5, 9-10, 14 


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
2 The same was in the beginning with God. 
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 

9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 

14 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.


It’s most interesting that the word for “logic” in the Greek is logos, which we recognize as the word used in most every instance where “the Word” refers to God made flesh or the Holy Scriptures inspired by the Word Incarnate, that is, Jesus Christ. 


The term logos specifically defined in Strong’s Concordance is: 

“Something said (including the thought); . . . also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension, a computation, specially (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (i.e. Christ): - account, cause, communication … doctrine … reason, reckon … saying, speech, talk … treatise, utterance, word, work. 

“Of speech: a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea . . . the sayings of God, decree, mandate or order, of the moral precepts given by God, OT prophecy given by the prophets . . . declaration, aphorism, a weighty saying, a dictum, a maxim; discourse – the act of speaking … doctrine or teaching, narrative … its use as respect to the mind alone; the mental faculty of meditating, reasoning, calculating, accounting … 

“In John’s Gospel, denotes the essential Word of God, Jesus Christ, the personal wisdom and power in union with God, His minister in creation and government of the universe, the physical and ethical, which for the procurement of man’s salvation put on human nature in the Person of Jesus the Messiah, the Second Person in the Godhead, and shone forth conspicuously from His words and deeds.”


Again, the differentiation between the two sources of wisdom (reasoning) is plain: the wisdom of this world which ultimately is a satanic (“devilish” according to James as quoted above) philosophy and that wisdom from above which comes through the Word, the Person of Jesus the Messiah, the Second Person of the Godhead. There are then three sources of wisdom ([logical] reasoning): God, the world system via Satan, and the mind of individual human beings*.


On the matter of the human mind: 

(* Spiritual discernment is God given and is that which can discriminate between these various sources; 1 John 4:1).

There must be a distinction made between a philosophy and, or science of logic and the nature of logical thinking from a logical mind which all human beings, to one degree or another possesses. 

God is indeed a God of order; all of nature on the macrocosmic and microscopic levels testifies of order and exemplifies a rational (non-chaotic) procession and function of all creation. 
Likewise God created the mind of man and has given him the capacity to think, to reason, and express logical, ordered thought. 


Both the physical creation and the mental faculties of the human mind however have been disastrously affected by the destructive force of sin that entered into the Human race at the fall of Adam. It is because of this that such schools of philosophy and science that pursues truth are tainted, flawed and predisposed to reject the truth of God’s Word in favor of seeking out, discovering and adhering to truth of a subjective, rather than an objective nature; one that esteems the wisdom of man as greater and higher than anything from a ‘religious book’: 


ROMANS 1:21-22 

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools


Rather than appealing to any science or philosophy of logic of the formal kind (which in today’s society tends to be prejudicial of the Scriptures), we would find logic of the informal kind (critical thinking) based on reasonable premises and arguments that are provable and are open to examining the Scriptures for themselves in order to verify (or not) their claims. 

How is logic then defined? Here is one (among many) answer: 

‘The term "logic" came from the Greek word logos, which is sometimes translated as "sentence", "discourse", "reason", "rule", and "ratio". Of course, these translations are not enough to help us understand the more specialized meaning of "logic" as it is used today. 
‘So what is logic? Briefly speaking, we might define logic as the study of the principles of correct reasoning.’ 

‘So what are these principles of reasoning that are part of logic? There are many such principles, but the main (not the only) . . . [principle] in logic are principles governing the validity of arguments - whether certain conclusions follow from some given assumptions.’ 

Cited from the following source: What Is Logic? 


One form of logic is to propose an argument and to ascertain its validity by positing two or more premises that are assumed to be valid (Presuppositional Logic), and to derive from them a valid conclusion. These premises may be assumed valid as a priori (valid by rational deduction rather than by experimentation and, or research, which is defined in logic as a posteriori). 


In order for the conclusion to be valid, the premises must likewise be valid; if all premises are valid except for one, the conclusion’s validity may either be in question or be invalidated altogether. 

The Word of God contains precepts and propositional truth, and if we use these as premises and can demonstrate their validity by reason, then any conclusion we acquire from them by argument will then be valid. 


For an example, skeptics and non-believers have long disparaged the Bible for its propositions that are seen as antiquated, such as the idea of geocentric astronomy – that is, that the sun, stars, moon and planets revolve around the Earth. 


PSALM 19:1, 4-5 

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 
4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 
5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. 
6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof


The term for “heavens” and “heaven” (in verse 1 and 6 respectively) is from the Hebrew word shamayim which can refer either to the atmosphere where clouds and meteorological phenomena occur or the realm of the celestial (outer space). 

Science has determined that geocentric astronomy (that the sun, moon and stars revolve around the Earth) is fallacious; that rather the heliocentric model is the correct one; that is, all celestial planets and moons and other objects revolve around the sun. 

Therefore, they cast aside the Bible as fallacious because it seems to support geocentric ideas. However if one examines the Scripture in Psalm 19 closely, it presents two perspectives: 

Verse 1 demonstrates the perspective of the sun as seen from the Earth, that it does seem to travel across the sky from sunrise to sunset, and returns from where it started to make another revolution. 

Verse 6 however reveals the perspective that the sun is not central, but is itself traveling “from the end of heaven and his circuit unto the ends of it”. 

We know that the sun, like all the stars in our galaxy, is revolving around the central core of the Milky Way.

Another example: primitive man had believed that the Earth was flat, and that it traveled through the cosmos on four celestial elephants, that themselves stood upon a celestial tortoise. Yet the Bible itself declares that the Earth is round (Isaiah 40:22) and that it is suspended in space (Job 26:7): 

Thus this antiquated book of ‘irrational ideas’ is quite accurate when it addresses the subject of our physical universe. If it gives an accurate and truthful perspective on astronomical properties and concepts, could it also be accurate and truthful in other areas? 


To learn more about how Science and the Bible are not at all adversarial, but that true and objective science validates, not vilifies the Bible, look at these sites (Note: This author does not necessarily agree with all assertions made on these sites):

Evidence For God From Science
Institute for Creation Research 

Specific to the issue of apologetics, here is an ICR article by Dr. James J.S. Johnson: Understanding Effective Biblical Apologetics 

Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry 

And of course there is Christian Apologetics Research Ministry or CARM


Here is the end of part 1; as the LORD and time permits, I shall continue with this article in part 2 and perhaps a part 3 in order to address this issue of Faith vs. Logic. 

Until then, may the LORD keep us in His grace, guide us with His wisdom, and enable us to walk in His truth!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

BOUNDARIES ARE A GOOD THING – The Testimony of Kathleen Scuteri

Any one who knows me, knows that I love to hear the testimonies of saints and how they came to know the LORD; how He delivered these lost souls from sin and death and hell and transformed sinners into saints.

Such is the testimony of one Kathleen Scuteri, a beloved daughter of the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords JESUS CHRIST, a veritable Princess in the Kingdom of God! And like all of us, her transformation is not yet complete - there is still work that the LORD has to do in us; nonetheless, we are considered by God the Father as His children, through the grace of our LORD!

Take the time to read this marvelous testimony and praise the LORD for what He has done in the redemption of yet another soul!


By Kathleen Scuteri –

At the end of a post-abortion counseling class, our lesson was to draw a picture of ourselves, as we saw ourselves now at the end of a long, very difficult journey through our past. After many weeks of dealing with the truth of what we had done, repenting and receiving forgiveness from God and forgiving ourselves, I drew my picture.

In the picture I was in an enclosed place with a fence all around me with the perimeters clearly seen, with one gate that was open. There were shackles and chains that had fallen off of me and they lay at my feet. After time was up and we had to show the others in the class our drawings, as I showed mine, they sort of gasped.

With a curious look on their faces, they asked, “why do you see yourself like that?” Meaning why did I see myself within those boundaries. The following is my explanation.

 I had backslid for a few years in the early 90’s as the “dog returned to the vomit” of my previous years before salvation. Before receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and becoming born again in 1977, I started going bad when at 15 years old, my mother left my stepfather and once again I was a child from a broken home.

We moved to a different town. The guys in that town, just entering puberty were as we jokingly called ourselves, “little N.Y. city wild”. Lacking morals, and into sex, drugs and rock and roll. I managed to steer clear of them for about a year. When I started hanging out with them, my life began to take a downward spiral.

Just before my 15th birthday, I realized I was pregnant. Scared to death, not knowing what to do, another month went by before I finally told someone. A friend took me to Planned Parenthood. They did a test on my urine, and confirmed my predicament.

After I sat and cried for a while, a kind lady explained to me that it was only a blob of tissue, it could be removed and after a couple days, everything would be fine. She said because I was a minor, I would need to get my parent’s consent for the operation. I absolutely dreaded telling my mother, completely dismissed telling my father.

After another few weeks went by, every day was a nightmare of throwing up quietly so Mom wouldn’t hear me and knowing I needed to tell her anyway. I didn’t know about the “blob” growing to the point when the “simple operation” could no longer be done. The “blob of tissue” was growing and forming and could no longer be removed by suction.

By the time I finally told my mother and after experiencing her shock and horror, her scream and anger, we went back to Planned Parenthood; they explained I would need to have a saline injection and go into labor and deliver the fetus. They never called it a baby. So they scheduled the abortion for me. My mother paid for it, which at the time I was young and stupid and didn’t realize she couldn’t afford it but somehow came up with the money because any other consideration or option was out of the question.

In fact, continuing with the pregnancy, giving birth and placing the baby up for adoption was never mentioned, not by Planned Parenthood, not by my mother. The convenience of sweeping my trouble under the rug so no one would know was, well just too convenient ---for them. My mother drove me to a hospital a few hours away, the only one closest to us that did abortions. I was 15, I was scared, but I believed the lie that in a few days, “it would all be over”.

I had a long needle inserted into my abdomen, and a saline solution was injected into the amniotic sac. And then something was done to cause me to go into labor a few hours later. I cannot describe to you how utterly lonely and frightening that experience was. My naivety and trusting in adults, did not prepare me for the nightmare.

When it was time for delivery, the nurse draped sheets over my legs so that I could not see the “blob of tissue” when “it” came out. That was probably the only thing that was spared me, not seeing my dead fully formed baby with its skin all burned from the saline fluid. But when it was all over and my mother was allowed to return to the room, I wept and cried and began the mourning process that unbeknownst to me would never end, not ever.

In a whole life time.

Was I initially crying because I had let them kill my baby and I knew it was a baby? Deep down, yes. But I think it was also because I was only 15 and it was very traumatic. I was not allowed to think of “it” as a baby. So I pushed and stuffed the intuition of the truth way down into the depths of my soul. It began a killing process within me.
As I struggled to forget the pain, physical and emotional of that day, I quickly turned to doing more drugs and drinking more alcohol to numb myself. The guys were always there to take advantage of that. After several lame attempts at suicide, it was just before my 20th birthday, my teen years had come and gone and I was now a hardened, cold, drug and alcohol addict.

I didn’t know about anyone wanting to rescue me out of a life of shame and misery. All I wanted was an end to the pain and loneliness.

It was one night after I had seen my boyfriend with his arms around some other girl at my father’s house, after a day of pushing down emotions and a couple beers, I just couldn’t do it anymore.
At the table surrounded by family and their friends, I started to cry. I got up, walked in the living room, stared out of the picture window at the black night and felt the blackness and darkness in my own soul. I wanted to talk to someone, anyone who would listen; someone with a sympathetic ear and a warm hug.

I thought maybe Dad would do that, so when he came into the living room where I stood, he asked me what was wrong. With a choked up voice and tears streaming, I said I needed to talk to him. He said he had company and could I come back tomorrow. I left his house determined to end my life.

I got in my car and headed to a road on the hill that overlooks the lake. I felt a presence in the car with me, urging me on. “Do it, do it, you’ll finally have the peace you want. It will all be over.” At about 90 mph, I jerked the steering wheel over to the right into the guard rails.

When the seconds of jolting, metal screeching, and spinning stopped there was nothing but silence; it took me a few seconds to get my bearings. Did the car go over the cliff? Was it hanging over the edge about to go over? Why wasn’t I dead or for that matter even hurt?

I opened the car door and gingerly stepped out onto the pavement. The car was heading in the opposite direction, in the middle of the road with the passenger side all smashed in. There were several guard rails down.

Two weeks later, after getting yelled at by my father for wrecking my car and doing such a crazy thing, enduring my mother’s stares of disbelief on her face. Not being able to talk to anyone about my aloneness, my shame, my misery, I went to see a psychologist at my mother’s prompting.

They took me back through my past, put a bandage on my wounds and sent me home. Was there an entity from the dark side urging me on, whispering in my ear to just “do it” the night I tried to kill myself via car over the cliff? Was there an intervention from heaven via angels who prevented the car going over the cliff?
I can only tell you this, I know God is real.

I wrote a letter to a guy who had lived in my town whom I had heard tried to commit suicide. However he had found something or someone and his life had turned around. He wrote back to me. This was a letter that so completely and utterly influenced my life that I will never forget it or him, and I will always be grateful for both.

It contained the gospel of Jesus Christ. How God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him, Jesus, would not perish but have everlasting life. God loved me! He gave His life for me, and if I would repent, turn away from my sins, believe in Him and receive Him as my personal Lord and Savior, I could become born again. I could have a new life, be set free!

Not fully comprehending but knowing it as truth, I prayed one night in my bedroom. I cried out to God and told Him I was sorry for all the wrongs I had done and asked Him to come into my life and be my Lord and save me.
The weight on my shoulders that had been there for 5 years lifted off. The tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy.

The chains fell off, I was set free! The very best way I can tell you how much I love the Lord for saving me, I who was forgiven much, and who loves much (Luke 7:47) is to use the words of King David as recorded here is Psalm 116:1-19.

I wept when I first learned this Psalm because I feel as if I could have written it myself:

I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
2 Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.
3 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.
4 Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. 5Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
6 The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
7 Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.
8 For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
9 I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
10 I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:
11 I said in my haste, All men are liars.
12 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
14 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
16 O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.
18 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people,
19 In the courts of the LORD'S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.


The weeks and months that followed that glorious night of prayer and repentance and being forgiving, feeling God's acceptance and love, I had a hunger to read the Bible. I found scripture passages that spoke to the depths of my being and I was able to understand for the very first time in my life all that Jesus went through for me!

This scripture passage in Isaiah was and still is one of my favorites. It was a prophetic scripture that foretold about Jesus' coming to the earth. When I read it, I know He came for me, He died for me, He loved me while I was yet a sinner. He chose me, and I will be eternally grateful.

The Suffering Servant

ISAIAH 53:1-12

1 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 6All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
10 But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

The boundaries that I began this story with are self imposed. They are a good thing. Mine might be different than yours. The chains are gone, and the shackles that held me are loosed. I am free.

But I have a will. God gave each and everyone of us a free will because He didn’t want robots. When I overstepped my boundaries in 1993, and backslid after a few years of pastors and church, backsliding and falling into sin, I returned to the worldliness and every thing I had known before.

It took me a few years to go from bad to worse, to then repeating the frightening feeling of not wanting to live anymore and wanting to take my own life. The shame was unbearable; I felt I was too dirty that even God didn’t love me anymore. I was wrong.

The very minute I chose to return, to make that very first step back to the Father, knowing I had it better in His house, He met me. He was there, with open arms. He led me home. Now I am free. I am free to choose to stay within the perimeters He told me I need. My daily prayer is “Oh God, do not let me wander away.”

I have learned to recognize when I am moving to that open gate, getting too close, pushing the limits. If you do not know what your boundaries are, I strongly urge you to ask God. He will show you what they are.
For some Christians, if your like me, it’s worldly music, drugs and/or alcohol, and not staying within the confines of my own thinking.

If you have read my story and you do not know this Jesus who has set me free, but there has been a stirring in your soul, know that He is there, He is waiting for you to respond. You are not too dirty; there is nothing you have done that His blood cannot wash clean. He loves you, He died for you, He wants to come into your life and be your Lord and Savior.


He wants to give you new life, in Him. He wants to set you free. Just ask Him, He is only a prayer away. May God Almighty give you grace and mercy as you turn to Him. In His holy name, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Too Late For Annie, by Petra 

 Also FROM The MIND of FIRE: Lamentations of a Young Death

Monday, July 15, 2013

Another Smoke Signal - End Of Fallen History; ETERNAL LIFE FOREVER

What's your favorite novel? TV show? Movie? Music Album? Video Game?

How do you feel when you reach the end of it and its all over? I just got done with a TV series on dvd, and the last 2 hour episode left me feeling sad, and tearful (Yeah, I'm a sentimental ol' mush).

I can remember as a child, my Dad would scold me because it was getting on into the night, and I kept feeding pieces of wood to the fire in the fireplace. Seeing the flames diminish, and the light from the fire getting dim, I felt sad - like the fire was dying, and I couldn't bear to see it go. So I kept feeding it; and when the flames sprang up with new life, I felt elated.

But my Dad got his way eventually and I stopped. I remember going to bed before the fire died, just so I wouldn't see it happen.

I never had a lot of friends growing up; the few I did have, when it came time for them to move to a different part of town or even a different part of the country, on the day they were to finally leave, I'd make myself scarce.

I absolutely hated good byes. I still do. Good byes are a kind of 'death in miniature' and they are painful and leave an emptiness inside the heart. Death itself is like this.
There is something deep within our hearts that revolts against this thing that we call death. It's objectionable. Unfair. It robs us of those we love, and we resent the fact that they are taken from us.

ROMANS 6:23a
For the wages of sin is death;

SIN is the great robber of life . . . the life that is granted to us by the one that created both it, and ourselves. It is sin that separates us from a Holy God (ISAIAH 59:2) Who cannot touch sin, Who can have nothing to do with those who are tainted with sin. Separation from the only source of LIFE by definition is death.

It happened the moment that the woman's hand reached out and plucked off that fruit, from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and ate of that which God forbade (GEN 3:6-10), and in so doing, failed the test that God established for her and her husband (JOHN 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.).

That is what commenced the awful regress of God's beautiful creation going awry and falling into ruin. This is the state of reality in the world in which we live. It's astounding to think about really: the fact that we have no idea what living in a world without sin is like. Such a thing is totally foreign to us; we've been born into a sinful world, grown up in it - we've known nothing else but this condition of corruption. We have never breathed the atmosphere of undiluted and Divine Holiness.

And this will continue unabated for as long as Satan remains in charge as "the god of this world" (1 COR 4:4). 

From the moment baby Cain drew in his first breath, until the last human being (whoever that may be) gasps their last with their tired, old lungs and everything in between - there have been beginnings and endings. 
Such sorrow and heart ache and sufferings in injustice and oppression that have laid souls down in despondency and hopelessness - and the joys of new beginnings - a marriage, a birth, a new home, a relationship restored anew: all of these will know its beginning and its ending.

ROMANS 8:18-23
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

I find myself groaning a lot more these days, not because I'm in a 51 year old body, but because I'm in a 51 year old body that is cursed with sin, in a world sold under sin, but the situation is not hopeless - there is every cause to rejoice!

ROMANS 6:23 has a second half to that verse!
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This life eternal is like nothing we have ever experienced before in all of our natural lives! Once we entered into the Kingdom of God (JOHN 3:3-5; 1 PET 1:23; 2 COR 5:17) via Jesus Christ our LORD, the course of our life was drastically, dramatically, demonstrably altered by Deity!

We were delivered from the curse of sin; 'reconnected' as it were to the source of Life by its Author (HEB12:2; JOHN 14:6) and now our course is heading deeper and deeper into the Kingdom of God, which we know the taste of even now, by the Spirit that dwells in our hearts (ROM 8:9-11).

While it is true that the darkest, most heinous hour that mankind has ever known or ever will know on this planet is yet ahead of us, we as saints of God have that eternal vision that sees past all of that, and with the eyes of faith behold that kingdom which God has prepared for those that love Him (1 COR 2:9-10)!

And at the time appointed by the Almighty, He will take hold of this old universe by the corners, and fold it up and cast it away forever! All of the stories, all of the history, all of the art and literature and music, as well as every act perpetrated by fallen man, whether for noble purpose or ill - shall be washed away in a fire storm of universal proportions...

2 PETER 3:10-11
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

We shall witness God with the power of His spoken Word create the new heavens and the new earth (2 PET 3:13)! With glorified eyes that shall see far, far more than these natural eyes of ours and we shall perceive the wondrous, miraculous acts of God's creative artistry!

On that day, every sorrow shall be forgotten, every pain dismissed, all of our burdens laid down and we will taste the fullness of eternal life, coursing through our glorified bodies with the power of God (1 COR 15:42-44)!

GETTING REAL ABOUT THE RESURRECTION

We shall be reunited with family and friends that have received eternal life through Jesus Christ our LORD, those who have long ago passed, as well as some recent ones only just departed. There will be NO MORE GOODBYES! No more tearful, hurtful endings that leave us empty and despondent! This woeful life won't even be so much as a half-remembered bad dream!

REVELATION 21:3-5
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

There will only be our ABBA Father, and the LORD JESUS CHRIST, as well as our Paraclete - the Holy Spirit - and all the hosts of angelic beings - and all the saints from the very beginning to the very ending.

And forever and ever, without END!!! . . . we shall worship the LORD as the living music of heaven resounds through our very beings and perpetually exalts the Name of our God, for His Glory and Grace!

REVELATION 7:10-12
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

We shall explore the new world (new as in, not like the old one but new; but rather new and different than the old!) that God has prepared for us; and even more glorious, we shall explore the eternal and never ending and exceeding riches of God's grace towards us (EPH 2:7)! 

So let us have hope: and keep it deep within our hearts by faith! The end of fallen history, chained to the bondages of sin and death is coming to a BLESSED END!
And ETERNAL LIFE that we experience in our hearts already will be a readily realized reality when once we see our LORD face to Face!

See also:  BEHOLD I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A PASSIONATE THIRST FOR GOD

The LORD Jesus has declared in the Word that if any one should thirst, they were to go to Him and from Him they would receive the Living Waters flowing (literally "gushing, torrential") out of his heart ("belly"):

JOHN 7:37-38
37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Elsewhere the LORD spoke of the blessedness of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled:

MATTHEW 5:6
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

We understand that to thirst for righteousness is to thirst for the LORD God, Who alone may be called the Righteous One Who is the Holy Servant of the Father (ISAIAH 53:11). People the world over since time began have sought to satisfy the thirst and hunger to fulfill the vacancy that we all sense deep within our hearts - that which the KJV classifies as a "vanity" within (ROM 8:20) and the LORD Jesus told us that whoever would seek to satisfy these inner longings of the spirit with earthly things would "thirst again" (JOHN 4:13).

Yet the world keeps on trying - pursuing relentlessly the pleasures of this world in all their sensual varieties. Some dream of winning the lottery, and living on 'easy street' which entails the "broad way that leads to destruction" (MATT 7:13); others seek out assortments of drugs to get that euphoric high, which enables them (temporarily) to achieve a care free happiness that allows them to forget their burdens and problems and pain - for a while anyway. "Sex and drugs and rock n roll is all my body needs" is the lie of that particular song we've all heard.Others seek out satisfaction in marriage, and family; those who have the 'single-time blues' believe that if they were only married - THEN they wouldn't be lonely and know satisfaction and fulfillment! And while God Himself stated that "it is not good for man to be alone" (GEN 2:18) ultimately, the satisfaction of the heart can only be truly filled (to overflowing) with His own Person!

There is nothing, absolutely nothing physically in existence in this world that can satisfy the longing of the heart, that spiritual aspect of man, for we indeed are a three fold being: body, soul and spirit (1 THESS 5:23; HEB 4:12) and to satisfy our spiritual hunger and thirst with physical things is more bizarre than trying to feed your houseplant a rib eye steak, or feed your dog with bird seed!

Job declared,

JOB 23:12
12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Note what this saint stated: "more than my necessary food." Or in other words, food that is required in order for him to survive! Job was saying, I'd rather starve to death than to not have Your Word O LORD!
This is one of the reasons why we as Christians fast sometimes when we pray; its a means to show the LORD our earnestness and intense desire for Him and His will for our lives - that we fore go any and all distractions and needs, including our necessary food, so that we may fully attend to Him!

There is but one who can bring contentment and fulfillment in our lives, and that, by indwelling us with Himself. The apostle Paul told the saints at Colosse:

COL. 1:27
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

The indwelling Christ, in the heart of the believer! This truth is spoken of everywhere in the Scriptures:

JOHN 14:20
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

JOHN 17:23
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

GAL. 2:20
20 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.

See also: EPH 3:17-19; 1 JOHN 3:24; and REV 3:20.

So once we know the indwelling Christ via the spiritual rebirth (JOHN 3:3-5; 1 PET. 1:23) then we never, ever thirst again, right? Well, not exactly . . .
If we lapse into the flesh, we may (temporarily) thirst once again for the things of the world, just as in type, the children of Israel who were once liberated from Egypt, sought to return there for the "leeks and onions" (could you imagine their breath??) and the 'spice of the world' (Egypt) as it were. 

Yet if we are true children of God, the LORD will not allow us to remain in such a state, but will chasten and rebuke us as necessary - consider what He did for the prodigal son: He sent a famine to the entire land in which he dwelt, just to scourge this one son for his own good (HEB. 12:11) and to work righteousness into his life!

Such good saints who find these pulls, struggles and temptations within themselves will know satisfaction at the Hand of the LORD, from themselves!

PROVERBS 14:14
The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.

Yet what of us who are walking in the Spirit, not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh (GAL. 5:16-17), will we never know thirst again? The Word declares after all, that if we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we SHALL be filled, right?

Correct, and so as we indeed walk in the Spirit, we will in fact be filled and no longer empty, no longer desiring the things of this world - however, I don't believe this means we won't continue to hunger for GOD, a hunger to know Him more and more - the vast, eternal depths that is Christ!

Of all the New Testament saints, I think most agree that the one that was closest to the LORD was Paul; if any one would be content with his relationship with Christ, it would be him! And yet, what did he declare to the saints at Philippi?

PHIL 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;

Say, what Paul? That you "may know Him"? Don't you already KNOW the LORD Paul?
Obviously the apostle knew the LORD, so what he meant was, that he may know the LORD to greater and greater depths, because elsewhere he says, 

EPH 3:8-9
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Such is the love of Paul for the LORD, his thirsting, his longing for his Savior and most intimate Friend that he would much rather depart this world and be with Christ "which is far better" (PHIL 1:23).

David would be the Old Testament saint I would choose for the one that was so very intimate with the LORD (a very close second, if not someone tied for number one position in my mind would be Moses who spoke to the LORD face to Face); yet likewise David, who knew the LORD, said:

PSALM 42:1-2
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

And again, the Psalmist said:

PSALM 63:1-8
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

We saints are on a spiritual journey, traveling on this 'Road of Righteousness' with our Chief Companion - the LORD Jesus Christ Who is our Guide "even unto death" and beyond (PSALM 48:14; ROM 5:17; 6:4), and as we proceed in life, as we yield to the LORD and allow His work of sanctification and holiness to transform us - so that we become more like Him, we know greater depths of satisfaction, contentment, fulfillment, love and truth, grace and peace as NOTHING else in all creation can provide! And this leads us to greater and more intense desire - TO KNOW HIM MORE!

We Christians sometimes ask one another, "How is your walk?" meaning, how are you progressing in your life with the LORD? What depths have you uncovered of those "unsearchable riches" that are in Christ? Walking requires one step after another, and likewise by steps of faith (2 COR 5:6-8), we progress to know the LORD.

Another way of explaining this progression, advancement, maturity is explained by Peter:

2 PET 3:17-18
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

We certainly have no desire to fall from a steadfast walk, but to remain resolute, stable, steady and advancing in our knowing the LORD, that is "growing in grace and the knowledge of our LORD" - and this is the means by which we become intimate with another person - by spending time with them, by communicating and communing with them in fellowship, learning of them so that we "may know" them, just as Paul stated in regards to Christ.
Thus its important that we keep the lines of communication with the LORD open, via His Holy Word - by which He speaks to us, and by prayer - the means by which we speak to Him in confidence, approaching the Holy Throne of grace (HEB. 4:16)!


This is not a head-knowledge sort of thing; someone once reminded me that "the Bible is not a text book for the purpose of scholastic endeavors". I agreed, and responded, "its a love letter, written in the blood of the Lamb!"
Certainly there is legitimate scholarship and studying the depths of Scripture to procure 'the meat of the Word' and the myriad of doctrinal truths necessary for living for Christ (HEB. 5:14), but with the higher calling involved that entails knowing Christ Jesus on a personal level.

There is coming a dreadful day for those who claim to be believers and followers of Christ Jesus; on the day that these will see our LORD face to Face and even call Him "LORD" but His response will be: "I never knew you, depart from Me, you that work iniquity" (MATT 7:22-24)*. Since God knows everything we naturally assume that the LORD knows who these people are, but what this speaks of is not cognitive awareness, for "all souls" belong to the LORD Who created them (EZEK 18:4), and it stands to reason, those He creates, He knows; no, what is spoken of here is the sense of "approval, recognition as belonging, to know in an intimate manner".

[* Its vital to understand that to hear the Word of the LORD (that is, to acquire understanding by the Spirit) and yet to not obey the Word of the LORD shows a lack of love and obedience on our part, and we must then question whether or not we really DO know the LORD. This does not suggest that someone who slips and falls into sin is in such a condition, but rather, one who consistently walks in the flesh and not in the Spirit - having a practicing lifestyle of sin and disobedience to the Word without ever being convicted for such; this individual must question their relationship, and likely a lack thereof, with the LORD. See JOHN 14:15; MATT 7:24; see also: JAMES 2:18]

Likewise in this same manner are we to "know the LORD" and we rejoice in the truth that one day, when once this old universe is wrapped up by the hand of the Almighty and tossed aside like a worn out table cloth and replaced with an entirely NEW Heavens and Earth (ISAIAH 65:6; 2 PET 3:13; REV 21:1) that all those that will dwell upon the Earth will know the LORD, and His righteousness - the knowledge of the LORD will fill the Earth as waters cover the sea (ISAIAH 11:8-10; JER 31:34; also HEB 8:11)!! I can't wait!!

So may we continue and press on in our passionate thirst for God; that we may progress, and grow and even thrive in our relationship with the True Vine as a branch that abides in the LORD Jesus Christ:

JOHN 15:1-10
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

For those who perceive that they have slipped from a close and intimate walk with the LORD, may I encourage you to read the following article and prayerfully consider what must be done to rekindle the fire and the passion for the LORD God, our Redeemer!

WANTED - RIGHTEOUS RAIMENT

MAY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST BLESS US WITH A GREATER, MORE INTENSE, WHITE HOT LOVE AND ZEAL FOR HIM THAT WILL CONSUME ANY REMNANTS OF WORLDLY DESIRES, PASSIONS, LUSTS FROM OUR BEING, LEAVING ONLY THAT WHICH JOYFULLY SURRENDERS THE HEART IN A LIFE LONG, MOMENT BY MOMENT WORSHIP OF SWEET FELLOWSHIP WITH OUR LORD AND SAVIOR! AMEN!