7000 Men

America’s Destiny, Part II-Chapter 6

by on Jan.26, 2015, under America's Destiny

CHAPTER 6, THE PRUNING OF AMERICA. JUDGEMENT BEGINS WITH THE CHURCH

Let’s say for the moment, my insistence in Part I as it stands is summarily true; the prophet Isaiah (chapter 18:1-3) was indeed speaking of America. Most Americans are a curious people…and with an attitude. In my experience, once they determine a thing, the concept of “get it done” permeates. And whereas with things we don’t understand, we usually ignore, because we’ll pick it up on the way. But when it comes to God, we cannot ignore Him…though in some cases we’ve tried to put Him on a shelf (He doesn’t fit by the way). Now we have to allow ourselves to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. God doesn’t fit the cathedral shelf we set Him on. When He chooses to be known, He cannot be ignored. Today we’re watching some of that come to pass!  End time prophecies are being fulfilled as we speak.

One of the reasons God chose America’s is because of her peculiar mindset; for Americans are generally searchers of truth, and impatient with bullies.   We may be slow making up our collective mind, but as history proves, once determined, Americans are all the way in. No cost is too great to pay, no life too dear to sacrifice. After the World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Europeans and Asians speak their own languages because of America’s sacrifices. In America, a thing is done because it is the right thing to do. That’s the way God thinks…and by some curious mix, that’s the way America thinks…in spite of the liberal media and their adjusted “news”, and “history”.

We come then to the understanding we do have to allow our personal thinking to be expanded when we speak of God, of things spiritual, and of His Bible. No it doesn’t read like, or compare with any other book on earth, or of any religion. Yes its scriptures are true whether or not someone does or does not personally choose to buy into them. The Bible is the foundation of all things right. No, not everybody can understand it for it does not fit increasingly narrow “educated” human self-centered perspectives, but understanding always comes second to faith. We believe first, and then we see. Humor me for the moment…you can hit your “delete” button at any time, but if you live in America, it is to your advantage to be aware of what the Bible says is coming, and thereby avoid some really tough situations that are already in progress, and will most likely come to completion in your lifetime…possibly as soon as this afternoon!

OF PROPHETS AND FOOLS

Prophets and fools share the concept of making of incredibly profound statements. The difference is the former’s assertions come to pass, the latter’s statements end up discarded beside the road. Isaiah was no fool, though He was killed by those to whom God sent him to (and after the spiteful deed was done, those who killed him, made a nice tomb for him. Figure that!) The truth he spoke and wrote lived on, spite of human failure. Question is, can the present generations handle truth, or will we make the same errors our parent’s parents made? America is going to bepruned.

Yes, the second part of Isaiah’s prophecy references a pruning that is going to take place in America. No, unless you are a baby Christian you most likely will not be “raptured up”-and-therefore-this-scripture-is-meaningless-to-you…in fact, if you are presently, and choose to continue in the “rapture” mindset, you will most likely find yourself on the wrong end of the pruning process, and that doctrinal theory will have to (at best) be painfully removed from you, so you might possibly survive to become a fruitful believer.

“For thus the Lord has told me,
I will look from My dwelling place quietly
Like dazzling heat in the sunshine,
Like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.’
For before the harvest, as soon as the bud blossoms
And the flower becomes a ripening grape,
Then He will cut off the sprigs with pruning knives
And remove and cut away the spreading branches.
They will be left together for mountain birds of prey,
And for the beasts of the earth;
And the birds of prey will spend the summer feeding on them,
And all the beasts of prey will spend harvest time on them.”
(Isaiah 18:4-6)

I became a Christian in August 1970, and have read the Bible nearly every day since then. If I understand this right, and I believe I do, these scriptures speak of something akin to judgment. While it’s not the only judgment, this one has to do with a specific people in America. The apostle Paul, writing to the Hebrews said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again “The Lord will judge His people.” (Deuteronomy 32:35, Hebrews 10:35) Apparently, most if not all God’s judgment at the end of this age begins in the Church, and that includes the shepherds. Jesus spoke in the same terminology Isaiah spoke, concerning the Vine,

“I am the true vine and My Father is the vinedresser.Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it that I may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me.”

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”

“If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.”

“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do what I command you.”

“No longer do I call you slaves; for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give you.” (John 15:1-16)

REGARDING FRUIT THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF

There is every kind of fruit in nature, from apples to walnuts, from pineapples to raspberries, from breadfruit to strawberries. The fruit of marriage is children, and fruit from the garden includes everything from potatoes to broccoli. But the fruit spoken in the gospels of Jesus Christ, both good fruit and bad fruit, are described in the book of Galatians,
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy; outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:16-26)
So what is a pruning, in terms of the subject here? How does it work, and why is it necessary?  What does it mean to “prune” something?

Jesus spoke often to His followers of spiritual principles, in the vernacular of His time and His place on earth. The Middle East at that time was very much an agrarian society; lots of flocks and herds, grains, and olive gardens, and vineyards; most people ate simple foods and drank simple drink. When He spoke in terms of grape harvest for instance, everyone in that world understood and made the connection. Today the spiritual principles are the same, but the only ones who really understand the language are grape farmers. The rest of us drink wine, but most of us are ignorant of what it takes to produce it, and few are those able today to really make the connections that Jesus made so plain to the people of His time!

Let me give an example;
Jeff Cox is the author who of a wonderfully informative piece called “From Vines to Wines”. It’s a contemporary guide to ordinary people who want to grow their own grapes and make their own wines. He even takes the reader back historically to before Jesus’ time, before Moses. The Bible reference is Numbers 13:23-24 to a grape now known as Syrian. He does a thorough history on early-to-present, European and American wine making. Nearly anyone can make a good wine, but some basic principles must be followed, from the procurement and planting of the vines, through the planting, cultivation process, to harvest, to pressing, to aging and bottling, and down even to recommending the serving of different types of wines with different types of foods. He makes a complicated endeavor into something easily understood.
The part I’d like to clue into is the pruning process, for the subject of this piece is the pruning Isaiah referred to (the pruning of America). Jeff describes different types of care for different types of grapes, but the principles are the similar, though at times adjusted for different grapes.

There are generally two separate prunings necessary for a fruitful harvest. At one point the grower begins in the winter (on a 3-5 year old plant) after a harvest, then a frost, grape vines are cleaned up so only one or two single vines from the root to the tips remain to endure the season’s end. All leaves and last years’ fruiting canes/branches are cut off the vine, and are carefully removed from the vineyard, and burned in a furnace; this is so that in the composting process, fungus spores from the old growth do not return to infect the sensitive new growth.

Winter finally ends and with the spring and sunshine, sap begins to flow and the first blush of foliage shows on new-growth canes which grew after last year’s harvest. Already the vintners begin to prepare for the first pruning. It takes place after the tiny buds begin to show on the last year canes. The buds become new branches on which are seen leaves and flower buds. The flowers buds will in time look like a knot of grape-seeds, or grape-nuts as they are called. (Would you believe that’s where Grape-Nut cereal gets its name?)

Before they flower and at the determination of the master of the vineyard, the workers go through again and carefully cut away from the vine and branches every branch which does not have a cluster on it, and extra leaves not in immediate proximity of a cluster. Sometimes clusters growing too close together need to be thinned also. It seems severe, but absolutely does have a purpose. All prunings are again carefully gathered and removed from the vineyard, to be burned in a furnace, again with care of fungal spore, which would terribly devastate the new beginnings, and the year’s harvest.

As the season continues, the main grape-vine root system gathers moisture and minerals from the soil, and the leaves gather carbon from the sunshine, the plant turns these ingredients by process of photosynthesis into food for the vine. The first place the sap is sourced to, is new vegetation; leaves first (for more photosynthesis of course), and then secondarily what is left goes to the grape clusters, where it is stored. Photosynthesis is similar to plants, as breathing oxygen gases is to humans. But here is where a knowledgeable grape-farmer’s hand is necessary; the only two resulting “fruits” of the grape vine are the leaves, and clusters of grapes. A vine can only produce so much sap, and both leaves and fruit end up competing for the valuable food sap. The leaves almost always win.

If things are left to their own resources, the leaves of the vine get large and heavy, even too much so, and drop off, creating residue for mold, again a danger to the harvest. The grape clusters, instead of being full and juicy, only come to a fraction of potential size, with most of the grapes never reaching maturity. Therein is the reason for the second pruning.

The second trim of the season comes when the master sees the individual grapes of the clusters are about the size of a pea, and at that time he orders his laborers to work again. He will show them what he wants, and they will carefully start at the root of the vine, checking each branch for fruit. First, every new branch which has no fruit cluster is removed from the vine. Second, on the branch around each cluster are allowed to remain either five or seven leaves (according to what the vineyard master is looking for in the harvest; either abundance or a particular quality of taste). The plant is allowed enough leaves for photosynthesis (so many leaves per cluster?), but all other foliage is removed from the vine, and carefully burned in a furnace. The result of this pruning, since the leaves are now limited, is the sap goes the only other place it can go; to the grape cluster. They fill out large and firm, both abundant and sweet. Pruning vines is complicated by type of grapes, and what the vintner wants to see in his harvest…quality, or quantity, or a balance of both.

There’s considerable hand-work to a vineyard, and skilled workers are the only ones allowed therein. Grapes also have to be protected from birds and other predators by netting and fences, and from certain grasses and weeds which affect taste in the grape. Jeff noted that the best of all grapes grow in rocky soil; the roots go deep for minerals and moisture, sometimes hundreds of feet deep in older established plants. Different parts of a field produce more prolific, or sweeter tasting wines, and usually that part of the field is hand-picked first, for a special gift-wine (more on that later). The directional layout of the vineyard in relationship to the sun is tremendously important, as is regular and measured water in drought season. Without water, measured according to needs of the vine, soil type and dryness, it’s a poor harvest. Too much moisture is the other side of that coin.

In a nutshell, that is something of what everybody understood in Jesus’ time, and when He told the parable of the man who had two sons, and individually he sent them to work in his vineyard (Matthew 21:28-31), not only was the parable understood, but it was also understood the two sons had to be very knowledgeable and skilful vintners. Jesus point in the story is “which son did the will of his father,” in terms of who enters into the Kingdom of God…the one who does what his father gave him to do, or the one who was well-intentioned but never got there? Jesus was speaking to His followers then, and to the Church today!

PRUNING THE CHURCH IN AMERICA

In terms of our original prophesy from Isaiah; a pruning in America… has to do first with believers who are part of the Vine. Secondly it has to do with the shepherds (pastors). (Jeremiah 23:1-13, Ezekiel 34:1-23)  If it was a matter of merely some sort of vindictiveness or I had a axe to grind, it may be put off, but both these scriptures begin with the phrase, “Woe to you shepherds…”  These prophecies have never come to pass in church history yet.

Some followers of Jesus are fruitful…in this case having to do with the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…some are not, and produce only fruit of the flesh…. The judgment…pruning… is of Christians who actually claim to “believe” in Christ, but wont follow His instructions. For pastors, those who refuse to preach the Bible, for sheep and goats, those who refuse to follow Biblical instructions.  In Jesus’ own account, are branches removed for lack of fruit…since I’ve brought it this far, I have to ask the question…is there time for us to repent and get it right, before being pruned away and cast into a furnace of fire? Can’t happen you say? Come on! Get off your doctrine, rise up and read the Bible! Some denominational leaders claim such a thing cannot happen to believers, but in making such a claim are ignoring the scriptures and literally calling Jesus Himself a liar. Are you going to be so attached to such a “leader” as to be blindly drawn into the furnace with them?

OF SHEEP AND OF GOATS, LEAN SHEEP AND FAT ONES…

Jesus spoke of this end also in terms of another agricultural parallel; sheep and goats. In Matthew 25, He spoke a parable describing believers as His flock, in which there are both sheep and goats. The whole chapter actually describes separation of two kinds of people, some foolish, and some prudent. “The kingdom of heaven is like…” ten virgins and their lamps waiting for the bridegroom, five wise, five foolish; of three servants given sums of money to trade with until their master returned from a journey, two wise, one foolish; and of a flock of sheep and goats which were separated from each other at the end of the day. Jesus came to save the world, not to judge it. But He will judge His own!

In each case the prudent ones did as their master required. In each case the foolish ones did not listen…and for whatever reason, did not do what the Master instructed. In each case the prudent were rewarded, and the foolish ones were cast out into a furnace of fire! Read it yourself. At the end of the chapter He makes sure everybody understands saying, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Pretty serious stuff here and generally excluded from the “happy-gospel.” Can you or I choose to ignore this?

I am not by nature a negative person. But I care enough to get loud about something when it’s not right. I’ve waited for those more learned and more spiritually minded than me to speak up, but they don’t seem to be doing so. Let me tell you of a true story, an incident in my life I’ve never forgotten, and a thing I really believe applies here.
I was at that time a young man with a wife and three kids. I was working construction 12-16 hours a day (including travel), and had been putting 64- 70 hours on the job. I had been on this schedule for 6-8 weeks at the time, and walked daily at the point of near-exhaustion. I drank coffee by the gallon, and fast-food food on the go, whatever was available.

In all this, still trying to keep my family together. One fall morning I staggered to the truck about 4:00 AM, and noted the fog was so thick it was going to affect my travel-time. There was an acrid something in the air, but I could neither see anything, nor was I cognizant enough to identify it. I strapped in, and it passed with the miles, and the fog finally cleared about an hour down the road. I remember a state trooper pulled me over and issued a speeding ticket, just about the time the fog began to clear.

When I returned home that night my wife asked me if I knew about the fire…
“What fire?”
As it turned out, the house across the back yard from us, and across the street, had burned to the ground, killing two elderly brothers who lived there. The news commentator indicated firemen estimated it must have started about 4:00 AM…about the time I’d left for work! I sat stunned, for I’d spoken to those guys several days prior, and since then I’ve long wondered if I had just been able to gather my senses enough to go looking for the source of the smoke. Maybe I could have banged on the door to awaken them, and they’d have lived…?

You might say I am banging on America’s door… “Wake up! Wake up! American Christian, your house is on fire!” Is it time to care about the inconvenience of people’s feelings of being disturbed from their sleep, in a house filled with smoke?

There is a curious thing about Bible scripture; it is true whether or not anyone buys into it. Concerning eternal judgment I have found these four things so far,
“The Lord shall judge His people.” (Hebrews 10:30)
“But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world.” (I Corinthians 11:31-32)
“The saints (true believers) will judge the world.” (I Corinthians 6:2)
“Do you not know we will judge angels? How much more, matters of this life?” (I Corinthians 6:3)

AMERICA, AMERICA

Let’s say for the moment, my insistence in Part I as it stands is summarily true; the prophet Isaiah (chapter 18:1-3) was indeed speaking of America. Most Americans are a curious people…and with an attitude. That’s good! In my experience, once they determine a thing, the concept of “get it done” permeates. And whereas with things we don’t understand, we usually ignore, because we’ll pick it up on the way. But when it comes to God, sometimes we need a jab in the ribs, for we cannot ignore Him…though in some cases we’ve tried to ignore Him. He doesn’t stay ignored by the way. Now the best we can do is to allow ourselves to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. God doesn’t fit the cathedral shelf Western Denominational Christianity has set Him on. When He chooses to be known, He cannot be ignored. Today we’re already seeing some of that!

One of the reasons God chose America’s is because of her peculiar mindset; we may be slow making up our collective mind, but as history proves, once determined, Americans are all the way in. No cost is too great to pay, no life too dear to sacrifice. After the World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Europeans and Asians speak their own languages, because of America’s sacrifices. In America, a thing is done because it is the right thing to do. That’s the way God thinks…and by some curious mix, that’s the way America thinks…in spite of the liberal media and their adjusted “history”.

We come then to the understanding we do have to allow our personal thinking to be expanded when we speak of God, of things spiritual, and of His Bible. No it doesn’t read like, or compare with any other book on earth, or of any religion. Yes its scriptures are true whether or not someone does or does not personally choose to buy into them. The Bible is the foundation of all things right. No, not everybody can understand it for it does not fit increasingly narrow human self-centered perspectives, but understanding always comes second to faith. We believe first, and then we see.

Humor me for the moment…you can hit your “delete” button at any time, but if you live in America, it is to your advantage to be aware of what the Bible says is coming, and thereby avoid some really tough situations that are already in progress, and will most likely come to completion in your lifetime…possibly as soon as this afternoon!
Prophets and fools share the concept of making of incredibly profound statements. The difference is the former’s assertions come to pass, the latter’s statements end up discarded beside the road. Isaiah was no fool, though He was killed by those to whom God sent him to (and after the spiteful deed was done, those who killed him, made a nice tomb for him…figure that!) The truth he spoke and wrote lived on, spite of human failure. Question is, can the present generations handle truth, or will we make the same errors our parent’s parents made? America is going to be pruned.

ISAIAH’S PROPHECY ABOUT AMERICA

Yes, the second part of Isaiah’s prophecy references a pruning that is going to take place in America. No, unless you are a baby Christian you most likely will not be “raptured up”-and-therefore-this-scripture-is-meaningless-to-you…in fact, if you are presently, and choose to continue in the “rapture” mindset, you will most likely find yourself on the wrong end of the pruning process, and that doctrinal theory will have to (at best) be painfully removed from you, so you might possibly survive to become a fruitful believer.

“For thus the Lord has told me,
I will look from My dwelling place quietly
Like dazzling heat in the sunshine,
Like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.’
For before the harvest, as soon as the bud blossoms
And the flower becomes a ripening grape,
Then He will cut off the sprigs with pruning knives
And remove and cut away the spreading branches.
They will be left together for mountain birds of prey,
And for the beasts of the earth;
And the birds of prey will spend the summer feeding on them,
And all the beasts of prey will spend harvest time on them.”
(Isaiah 18:4-6)

I became a Christian in August 1970, and have read the Bible nearly every day since then. If I understand this right, and I believe I do, these scriptures speak of something akin to judgment. It may be not the only judgment, but has to do with a specific people in America. The apostle Paul, writing to the Hebrews said, “Vengance is Mine, I will repay.” And again “The Lord will judge His people.” (Deuteronomy 32:35, Hebrews 10:35) Apparently, most if not all God’s judgment at the end of this age begins in the Church, and that includes the shepherds, and the flock. Jesus spoke in the same terminology Isaiah spoke, concerning the Vine,

“I am the true vine and My Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it that I may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me.”

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”

“If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.”

“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do what I command you.”

“No longer do I call you slaves; for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give you.” (John 15:1-16)

There is every kind of fruit in nature, from apples to walnuts, from pineapples to raspberries, from summer-squash to strawberries. The fruit of marriage is children, and fruit from the garden includes everything from potatoes to broccoli, from tomatoes to beets. But the fruit spoken in the gospels of Jesus Christ, both good fruit and bad fruit, are described in the book of Galatians,

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”

Wait for it, here it comes,

“Now the deeds (fruit) of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy; outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:16-26 italics mine)

So what is a pruning, in terms of the subject here? How does it work, and why is it necessary?

 

To be continued…

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America’s Destiny Part I Chapter 5

by on Dec.16, 2014, under America's Destiny

Part 1, Chapter 5. The Destiny

 

“Alas, oh land of whirring wings, which lies beyond the rivers of Cush,

Which sends envoys by the sea, even in papyrus vessels on the surface of the waters.

Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people feared far and wide,

A powerful and oppressive nation whose land the rivers divide.

All you inhabitants of the world and dwellers on earth,

As soon as a standard is raised on the mountains, you will see it,

As soon as the trumpet is blown, you will hear it.

(Isaiah 18:1-3)

 

You’ve probably already put it together already; the final verses of this portion describe the peoples of this nation. America has always been a melting-pot. It’s made up of “Native” American, English, French, Portuguese, Greek, German, Russian, Jew, Polish, Indian, and Syrian, Canadian, Mexican…try to find any nation or peoples of this world that is not represented here! Most all have suffered oppression in their old country, and fled to America for relief. It is well-said that everybody who lives in America is either an immigrant from somewhere else (including “Native Americans”), or children of parents who immigrated from somewhere else. All these, by means of being American, are invited to be part of the inevitable American Destiny…to be an envoy to the rest of the world.

Is it worth the cost to pursue God’s plan for this nation…America’s destiny? America; You have to answer that question!

It’s your life; but let me encourage, so you can examine clearly, that you to momentarily separate from yourself that Western Denominational-ism into which empty philosophy is kneaded, like yeast into bread; a pocket-full of Bible-scriptures which uses empty philosophy and the traditions of men as filler. The Jewish Pharisees of Jesus’ time tried that…it didn’t work then, and it doesn’t work now in Western Denominational Christianity. (Matthew 16:6, I Corinthians 5:6-7)

Choose instead that which is pure and wholesome and right and true!  Choose the Bible.  Would you make an investment with your hard-earned money in something that is doomed to failure? All philosophy is man-made, and at the end of anyone’s life who has built on it, is utter failure. Philosophy by definition is the love of the knowledge of all things both good and evil. It had its beginning in the Garden of Eden at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was adjusted through Egyptian, Persian, Greek , and Indian Philosophy; it accepts all religions, gods, and spirituality, but leaves God Almighty out of the picture (as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden). Wouldn’t you do some investigating first, before you invest your life in it? So also, why would you make a commitment with your life to something as foolish as today’s religions which teach it?

Eliminate for the moment all pagan religions, liberalist mind-voids, and those “religions” which have to do with either the Prince of Persia (all things Islamic), or the Prince of Greece (all things democratic), both of which are not really religions at all, but heavily funded politiks pushed by power and money grubbing puppets. Both are coming to a screeching halt at the end of the age (Daniel Chapter 7, 8, 10).   Bypass those “Christian” religions (denominations) with their pocketful of scripture verses blended into empty philosophy, and their pick-and-choose- mentality (regarding what they choose to believe of the Bible scriptures).  According to the Bible all these are destined to self-destruct. Their pastors at the end of this age are to be removed and replaced with shepherds after God’s own heart (Jeremiah 23:1-6, Ezekiel 34:1-13, 16, warnings which begin with the phrase “Woe to you shepherds…”)

So for yourself, why not instead invest in a life-time relationship with God Almighty? Why not be part of the answer to this world’s problems…God’s answer! Be an envoy of the kingdom of God, and of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

He has already made the promise, and as long as man has been on the earth, God’s promise is, and remains, “I will never desert you, nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5-6) He also promises those who walk in His ways, His personal hand will extend into their lives. Jesus the Messiah put it this way, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33)

Are you anxious about the loss of your country, Americans? You should be. So follow the instructions! Does the wild, criminality of bloody Islamic slavery of your women and children (following your beheading) concern you? Follow the instructions! Are renegade politicians troubling to you? Follow instructions! Does the tyranny of Liberalism in your children’s schools raise the hair on the back of your neck? Follow Biblical instructions!   Repent and return to the Most High God. He has a Judge who will fight for you! His name is Jesus Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. To Him, every knee will bow, and every tongue confess (Philippians 2:11)

Even Liberalism, Socialism, Communism, Mohammedanism, and every form of Democracy will bow the knee to Him!

What He requires of American believers is consistent with all we’ve spoken of so far,

“Alas, oh land of whirring wings

which lies beyond the rivers of Cush,

which sends envoys by the sea, even in papyrus vessels on the surface of the waters.

Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth,

to a people feared far and wide,

a powerful and oppressive nation

whose land the rivers divide.

All you inhabitants of the world and dwellers on earth,

as soon as a standard is raised on the mountains, you will see it,

and as soon as the trumpet is blown, you will hear it.”

(Isaiah 18:1-30)

America is a peculiar nation, a melting-pot of all the peoples of the earth. In the process they have become what others look to see as a powerful, even an oppressive nation, a nation tall and smooth, a nation feared far and wide. (see Wikipedia, the United States of America).

If as I insist, that Isaiah spoke of America’s future, then he indicates, “as soon as a standard (Jesus Christ) is raised on the mountains, you will see it, as soon as the trumpet is blown (the Gospel of peace) you will hear it.”

America the nation is simply an extension of individual Americans. It has nothing to do with any Hollywood stereotype, political hype, or a certain type of government. It is all about people who have an individual relationship with God, and those non-believers who are content to live around them! If Individual American Christians are an envoy fruitful in presenting the Gospel to their families and to those within their sphere of influence, then America the nation will reflect that same characteristic, and will be fruitful as an envoy in presenting the Gospel of forgiveness of sin to the rest of the world.

What happens next? There is, according to the same prophet, an incredible pruning that must take place in America, in order for her to be fruitful in this end of the age. Just as any vineyard, to be fruitful and profitable every vine must be pruned for maximum harvest, so must America be pruned. So shall that take place soon.  Although it may be painful, it’s for good and not evil. As a matter of fact, it is written,

“Therefore just as the tares (weeds) are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will be cast into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matthew 13:40-43)  Who…or what…is going to be pruned from America?  We’ll look at that.

God’s kingdom is coming to earth!   For that to happen, there is a heaven-ordered pruning coming to the Christian Church in America.  Following that, to America itself.  (Although there is scriptural evidence that these may take place simultaneously).    Like it or not, you’ll probably see it in your lifetime!

To be continued in…America’s Destiny Part II

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America’s Destiny Part I, Chapter 4

by on Nov.23, 2014, under America's Destiny

Part 1, Chapter 4. What happened?

 

Western Christian Denominational-ism is dying.  That covers most of Western Christianity.  It is not age-related, or a natural death, but rather a heart-disease.  Back in 2007 Alan Deutschman wrote what started as a sensational cover-story for a magazine but quickly evolved into a book titled “Change or Die”.  He noted that although we all have the ability to change our behavior, we rarely ever do.  In fact, the odds are nine to one, he says that, when faced with the dire need to change, we won’t.  “From patients suffering from heart disease to repeat offenders in the criminal justice system to companies trapped in the mold of unsuccessful business practices, many of us could prevent ominous outcomes by simply changing our mindset.” (Copyright 2007, by Alan Deutschman, HarperCollins Publishers Inc)

From nearly every medical journal, findings are most people who suffer from degenerative heart disease, can change the eminent outcome of physical degeneration, by making difficult and enduring changes in eating habits (eliminate sugar, refined foods), and combine proper diet with sensible exercise.  So also can Christians change the outcome of the precarious, desperate, edge-of-the-cliff balancing act the Church is experiencing.  The vultures are already circling.  They know a good meal when they see one!   It is a personal thing for believers, a simple choice between the Twinkie-and-sodapop-smorgasborg of the Happy-gospel on one hand, or returning to the Bible and the Holy Spirit on the other.  Change or die!

Use the example of parents as an envoy, for whom it’s a simple-but-daily-choice between being best friends with their children, or turning off television and computer so as to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  The outcome is spiritual death, or life, for the child. Talk to any parent who has missed the mark!  You cannot wipe away their tears.

For those to whom the impending death-throes of Christianity might be meaningful, a turn-around is not only possible, but highly desirous.  The apostle Paul in a letter to the Roman Christians cried out to those of his generation, that a change of mindset was in order,

“I urge you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)  Where only God can change our mind-set, so many Christians have completely dropped the ball, and walked away from the game!

Many Christians in Western Denominational-ism are waiting for the return of Jesus…so that He might accomplish…the very thing that Jesus Himself commanded His followers to do; “Go into all the world…make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15-20).  Yet I had a woman tell me she could not take the gospel to work with her, for fear she would lose her job (at a large insurance company).  She dropped the ball at that point, I don’t know if she ever picked it up again.  She is not alone.

There is an utter lack of understanding on all levels of Western Christianity, of the concept of forgiveness; of being an “envoy” or “missionary”.  It is first and foremost a personal, individual thing.  Secondly it’s the resultant mindset of an individual whose sins are forgiven, and who must by the nature of that incredible circumstance, tell everybody else about it!

Show me any religion on earth in which any man’s personal sins are forgiven and removed from him as far as the east is from the west? (Psalm 103:12). There is no other name on earth that has been given to us for that kind of salvation! Only Jesus the Christ!  I personally was born and raised in religion; I went to confession, did all the sacraments, went to mass and communion faithfully once a week for all my life.  Yet I laid on the ground and sobbed unabashedly…when I was finally, totally forgiven of all my sins…the day I called on Jesus.  He forgave me!  He removed my sins as far from me as East is from the West!  I was, and am, forgiven.  What an incredible experience!

Religion?  Under Buddhist thought, there is no such thing as sin, yet even the proponents of that mindset ache for God’s forgiveness and are astonished when it happens.  No Muslim on earth can ever have his sins forgiven!  Not even if he dies a martyr and goes to “heaven.” Search the Koran, there is no such thing therein, not at any cost.  Yet in Jesus Christ the same man can find forgiveness, peace, and purpose that the sword can never bring.  There is not a man or woman who lives, who does not innately sigh for right standing with God.  No business man can give enough of his wealth to be forgiven.  No religion on earth can mete out forgiveness…not for any price.  Not for any penance or punishment!

Forgiveness for sin is something only found in the blood of Messiah Jesus.  For those who are forgiven?  Show me a man or woman whose sins are forgiven them who does not, with that forgiveness, and from that time on, bear an incredible responsibility!  That responsibility is given by none other than the One who forgave and removed our sins from us. He put it in the following eloquence;

Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20, see also Mark 16:15-20)

A phenomenal thing takes place when the staggering overload of sin is released.

“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”  In the forgiveness of sin, an impossible, life-killing load is dropped.  Then Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.  For My burden is easy, and my load is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

The forgiven one’s sphere of influence as an envoy may be “out there”, on the other side of the sea, or it may be here, at work; in construction, in the medical field, in the police station, or in a court of law. It may be in food production, or food preparation, it may be driving a semi, or as a farmer, a teacher, a soldier, sailor, marine, or airman, a nurse, a stay-at-home Mom, a functional Dad…wherever a person finds him-or-her-self, whatever the personal sphere of influence, a Christian who has been forgiven their sins is an “envoy sent by the sea, even in papyrus vessels on the surface of the waters.”(Isaiah 18:2)

“Even in papyrus vessels on the surface of the waters.” The scripture often speak in parallels and allegories. Yet it always explains itself. In this case speaking “on the surface of the waters,” the waters are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues (Revelation 17:15). Papyrus is a reedy plant about three feet long first found lining Egypt’s Nile River. In its reed form it was in those days fashioned into soles for sandals; or as material for light boats; the hollow reeds were bundled together and tied with cordage and ropes, to float. Problem was, if it was a long or perilous journey, such a boat fell apart. Eventually as better materials were found for boats (and the sailors got tired of swimming home) papyrus was abandon for that usage, and instead used as parchment for business and academic purposes.

As a boat, it was make-shift and temporary at best, for as the hollow reeds filled with water, they expanded enough to break the cordage used to bind it together. In time, hot sun, and with rough usage (salt-water, storms and so forth) the reeds themselves tended to melt and become a paste…good to make paper, but leaving much to be desired in making a boat. The point is it is generally seen in the Bible reference here that if someone was sent by papyrus vessel, it was basically a one-way trip. Thus an “envoy sent in a papyrus vessel” was sent for life…his or her mission being permanent; it did not include a come-and-go sense to it. A likeness to this is found in a parent’s mission as envoys toward their children. It is for the long haul. The job is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Any vacation includes the kids. When the children mature and leave home successfully, the mission in a real sense is (finally) functionally over! But ask any grand-parent; is it ever truly finished?

Some things about God’s kingdom seem rather harsh. Parenting according to Him is serious business; there is tremendous responsibility with intimate privilege in marriage. Where we often fail…yet He usually allows room for repentance. A Christian parent, in God’s economy who will not accept the responsibility to pass scriptural instruction on to their own children, is simply not an envoy (as the Bible uses the term), and not fit therefore for the kingdom of God. That is God’s judgment, not mine, yet parents are challenged in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible, (Ezekiel 34:20-23, Matthew 25:31-46, Ephesians 5, 6) to bring their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord! These New Testament verses even speak of “eternal punishment”…to those who appear to be Christian and refuse to fulfill the destiny they are called to! Not a popular part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ today, but very serious business to God!

I don’t know about you, but to me that is an incredible responsibility, it’s scary, with a daily regimen!  Sometimes I felt like nothing I ever did with my kids…was right…for they seemed to resist me at every turn!  But undertaking the responsibility is my part.  Bringing things to fruition is God’s part.  Take the step!  He seems to start sustaining His own from the time the decision is made.  But there is a time-frame involved.  No one knows it but Him.  Is it time to repent? Do we still have time? That’s your call and mine…between an individual and the Holy Spirit. Yet you and I after repenting, and if there is still time, can possibly still mount up today and fulfill our destiny!  God blesses the work of our hands, not our mental assent or intentions.

There are curious parallels between American Christian Denominational-ists today, and the Jewish people of Moses’ time. God from the time of Moses intended for the entire Jewish nation to be a peculiar people[1]; a nation of priests to the rest of the world; to represent and to demonstrate God, in word and in lifestyle, to those nations around them…

But God never got His nation of priests from the sons of Israel, rather only a single tribe of priests…and that not to the world, but only to the restive, stubborn tribes of the sons of Israel.[2] Still, as there is no shadow of change in God; and therefore no change in His ultimate plans…in a remarkable way a remnant of the Jews and of the Goyim (Gentile) America is destined to play a part of God’s extraordinary end-time plan. He will have His nation priests which according to the Bible will include both Jew and Gentile believers.[3] Talk to Him about it, read the Bible, it’s His Word!  Has He called you to that envoy-function?  Why else would you be reading this?

America has always had a curious effect on the rest of the world. Except in the academia-brain-washed, Hollywood-infected minds of the present generation of young Americans, this nation is seen by the rest of the world as the last bastion of true freedom left on earth. On the Statue of Liberty (which was a gift from France to the people of America)  for instance are inscribed lines from a poem written in 1883 by Emma Lazarus. Her parents, Moses Lazarus and Esther Nathan, were originally Sephardic Jews, a family which emigrated from Portugal who made the long, hazardous trip to New York during the American colonial period.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, the      wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,     I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

In its entirety her poem is called,

 

“THE NEW COLOSUS”

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lighting, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ Cries she

With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”

Some say the Statue of Liberty is a depiction of the Bride of Christ, the wife of the Lamb(Revelation 19:7-9) by means of similarity of function.

Foreigners rarely (at first) understood the true freedom that so many Americans quietly held. They could hear the stories of the freedom and even prosperity of those who held it. And they could only surmise (at first) this richness was simply a result of starting anew in a place where oppressive taxation and tyranny was not allowed. Never mind true riches come from right relationship with God, and not all riches have to do with money. Not all who came to America in poverty ever came into right standing with Christ, for not all American Christians before this generation, have fulfilled their destiny as an envoy of God’s kingdom. Some former immigrants rose to the top devoid of any moral structure, to the point today, many wealthy Americans having “drunk the Kool-aid” are of the understanding that if a thing is profitable, it is therefore legal.

America has always been seen a place of incredible opportunity, kept (I propose) for her ultimate destiny. Although from the beginning the lords of Colonialism came…and went…although the great Money-Barons shouldered roughly in to take advantage…although self-serving politicians then and now make their wealth by scheme and deceit…although mighty corporations trample rough-shod over anyone in their way of profits (including their own), although tyranny without…(Islam), and tyranny within…(Liberalism), and governmental tyranny in all its forms comes and goes…America lives on. Why? Not because it is a Republican democracy, not because it’s a super-power, but because America…well, it’s a thing of the heart that is right with God.

Christian Americans innately know they have a destiny to fulfill…even when they are not presently, actively involved in it!  That destiny has to do with rightness, and in truth, the only righteousness that will stand up under the deception of evil always has to do with Jesus Christ. That’s why America has stood so far, and if she survives the present, that’s why she will stand at the end of the age we live in…to fulfill her God-given destiny…to send envoys in papyrus vessels on the surface of the waters!

If America does survive the holocaust of evil spewed out upon her from within and from without, it is because the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.[4] If Americans are not indeed overcome by the devilish disgorgement of the liberal academia and boastfully liberal media, it will be because they are called to have faith…in Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah of Jew and of Gentile (and that includes all the Arabic peoples). The Koran claims Arabs are/aspire to be sons of Abraham…if they are ever to attain to being sons of their father, then they must worship the same God Abraham worshiped. Abraham worshiped Jesus…by means of Melchizedec, the priest of the Most High God. (Genesis 14:18, Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 6, 7, 8. Key on Hebrews 7:8)

So also (in a time of incredible tribulation) a remnant of the Jews at the end of this age will be given a Spirit of grace and of supplication, “so that they will look upon Me whom they have pierced (Jesus Christ); and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a first-born,”[5] Truly God did not leave a vacuum on the earth the Jewish peoples were supposed to have filled! America has for a time, taken the place of the Jew in abstention, to be like, and perform the function of a nation of priests to the rest of the world.  It’s a God-thing, and the prophet Isaiah spoke of it nearly eight hundred years before Christ!

Heaven itself has kept Goyim (Gentile) – America, and for its own purposes, just as it has kept a remnant of the children of Israel for its own ultimate purposes. Man-made religion has come…and will go to its end; for it is all man-made. See Genesis 11:1-9, the Tower of Babble was the first of myriad man-made religions. It is my contention that the newest religion on earth must be called “Christian Denominational-ism”; though a solid case may be made by calling it what it has always been, “Nicolaitan-ism”(a plural Greek word meaning “Victory over the Laity” See Revelation2:6, 2:15-16) and which is designed by Hell itself to fracture the one Body of Christ.

So far, unrecognized for what it is, it has done exceptionally well.  One would be hard-pressed in Western Christianity to find any church that does not divorce it self from God’s word and substitute a leaven-of-the-pharisee mixture of random Bible verses and philosophy (human tradition).  We’ll look at that in detail in Part II, but for the moment, simply read I Corinthians, Chapters 11 through 14;  the apostle Paul’s instructions for order in the Church.  Denominational-ism divorces itself from that part of the Bible.  Is the human wilfulness of religiosity too strong even for God?  I think not!  It will change, or it will die by fire.

Daniel 12:7, describes an incident at the end of the age, where the “hand” of religion must be shattered (including Jewish, Christian para-religions). What is then left on earth is either genuine personal relationship with God through Messiah Jesus, or darkness. America’s destiny is to shine light in the world’s spiritual darkness. That destiny is first and foremost a personal thing; because if there is a vertical relationship between a man and God Almighty; then there is also a horizontal one, between a man and his neighbor. Its a matched pairing of relationships that becomes a corporate thing…the true Church; with both Jewish and Gentile believers.

God and His plan for His creation…lasts forever.  As long as it has existed, America has always been a haven, a refuge for the wretched, tempest-tossed rest of the world.  At the end of this present age, and with the beginning of the new, America’s destiny will be more fully seen.  Yet none of it is either a political thing, or “churchy” (as today’s denominational church understands it.)   It always has been and always be, a personal choice.  God doesn’t change; man therefore must change…and return to the God who created and placed him in the Garden of Eden.  God has a destiny for the man He made…and has redeemed…through the incredible sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, death, and resurrection.  There simply is no other way for man to return to God.  Man-made religion and God-less philosophy has always been a dead-end road.  At the end of this age we live in, according to the Bible-scriptures, both will meet their end in a lake of fire.  We’ll examine this more thoroughly in Part II.

All this is a powerful order! Are you interested in getting it right? Can you, an individual American rise to your personal destiny? If you can, then America can rise to hers! Begin by repenting of your sins! Turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness, and receive the Holy Spirit! Read the Bible thoroughly and often; for what it is…the Blueprint of Life. Not as though it were simply a classic, but read it as God’s plan for relationships…between God Almighty and man…between a man and spouse…between a parent and children…between a man and neighbor. Come on guys! All other options, all other religions have already been tried…and simply do not work! All other options are actually going to be destroyed…why be part of that? Let me show you a better way!

Begin by shining His light in on your own heart, and from there into your own sphere of influence. Make ripples in eternity.  Be an envoy of the kingdom of God!

 

[1] Exodus 19:5

[2] Exodus 19:5-6

[3] Deuteronomy 10:15, Isaiah 43:20f, I Peter 2:9-10

[4] Romans 11:29

[5] Zechariah 12:10

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America’s Destiny Part I, Chapter 3

by on Nov.23, 2014, under America's Destiny

Chapter 3, A National Destiny?

Long before the founding fathers pounded out the Constitution of the United States on the anvils of their hearts; and many centuries before William Penn made covenant with God that America would always be a place where free men might worship God without coercion by sword or bayonet; nearly 800 years before Christ, a young prophet named Isaiah had visions of the nation now called “America”.

It is a stunning description of the curious Americans, and of their destiny. Apparently (as Isaiah’s prophecy goes) not all Americans will partake of their providence, but those who do…will always be remembered, and be fruitful, before God and man. These will accomplish mighty things in their time on earth by fulfilling their destiny. Those who don’t? In the vernacular of my generation; “they’re gonna be smokin’, man!” In the words of the Bible (same prophecy) there is a pruning which we shall examine in Part II; what or who gets pruned and why. In it, everyone that is fruitless (according to that prophecy) gets cut away. It is quite severe, but what is left is a vine ready to be prolifically fruitful!

It might sound strange to say it, but Isaiah probably didn’t understand everything he saw in his visions; how could he know, they didn’t have the technology then we have now. But in the late 8th Century before Christ he obediently penned the following description of the vision, which is divided into 3 subject-descriptions; the first portion portrays the personal character, the generosity, and purpose of the curious human-God encounter called “America”. The second depicts a severe pruning that must take place in order for them to be as productive as they are called to be in their time. The third part describes the incredible fruitfulness that follows the pruning (as a vineyard is pruned); and a first-fruit gift suitable and pleasing to the owner of the vineyard Himself! We’ll cover the first segment here, and the other two in second and third episodes.

Isaiah begins simply,
“Alas, oh land of whirring wings
Which lies beyond the rivers of Cush,
Which sends envoys by the sea,
Even in papyrus vessels on the surface of the waters.
Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth,
To a people feared far and wide,
To a powerful and oppressive nation
Whose land the rivers divide.
All you inhabitants of the world and dwellers on earth,
As soon as the standard is raised on the mountains, you will see it,
As soon as the trumpet is blown, you will hear it.

For thus the Lord has told me,
‘I will look from My dwelling place quietly
Like dazzling heat in the sunshine,
Like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.’
For before the harvest, as soon as the bud blossoms
And the flower becomes a ripening grape,
Then He will cut off the sprigs with pruning knives
And remove and cut away the spreading branches.
They will be left for the mountain birds of prey,
And for the beasts of the earth;
And the birds of prey will spend the summer feeding on them,
And all the beasts of the earth will spend harvest time on them.

At that time a gift of homage will be brought to the Lord of hosts,
From a people tall and smooth,
Even from a people feared far and wide,
A powerful and oppressive nation,
Whose land the rivers divide–
To the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, even Mount Zion.”
(Isaiah 18:1-7)

Bible prophecy is always three-dimensional; for it draws from God’s plan revealed in the past, it addresses the then-present, and it speaks to the future. Isaiah in his time lived through the reigns of at least four, possibly five of the kings of Judah. He prophesied to them, advising separation from neighboring nations and their gods, and a holiness and singleness of mind toward God Almighty. Like most bible prophets, he was killed by the religious and civil leaders of those to whom he was sent.

None-the-less his writings and his visions from God survived, and gave direction for righteousness for the Jewish people and their king then-present, and he also gave a portal into the future of men; not just the Jews to whom he prophesied, but also much of the rest of mankind. They addressed the need for a personal and corporate alignment with God Almighty. The extant conjecture here is the visions Isaiah received effect us today and have to do very intimately with America, at the end-of-the-age we presently live in.

If one reads the bible merely as it has long been presented by academia (as though it were simply another classic among the immortal writings of men), scripture can have absolutely no meaning other than as a set of possibly moral or motivational stories. But if one is transformed by the renewal of the mind (Romans 12:2) so as to understand it as the word of God Almighty, then it is an inspired thing, a thing of the Spirit; a blueprint for life; then it feeds the human spirit, and provides a magnetic true-north from God’s Spirit to the spirit of man.

Isaiah actually described the character, the personal nature of many Americans,

“Alas, oh land of whirring wings (airplanes)
Which lies beyond the rivers of Cush (Ethiopia, to the west),
Which sends envoys by the sea, even in papyrus vessels on the surface of the waters…”

Let’s pause here and more fully understand several of the words used, for what is presented is older than semantics, and way beyond mere word-for-word exchange in language translations down through the ages,

“alas” is a lamentation, woe, a time of troubles; the prophet personally felt the angst of the tribulation he prophesied would come, and which we live in today.

“envoy”(tseer), is sometimes poorly translated “ambassador” (a rendition which incomplete and therefore leaves much to be desired). In its original language it had nothing to do with politics. This word, in the best conversion of the early Hebrew-to-Aramaic/Greek-to-English is proposed, and is taken from the three root words involved; envoy…tseer: (From The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible);

a hinge (as pressed in turning);
also throe (as physical or mental pressure);
also ambassador (as sent to those involved in idolatry).

Now before putting those derivative word-meanings back into the biblical context; a hinge has only one purpose; to carry the weight of a door. The apostle John left no doubt as to what the door is…it’s a living entry point of God’s house; Jesus Christ! John quoted Jesus Himself saying,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:7-9).

That concept stands diametrically opposed to the current of society, and yet it does not bend under pressure. There is only one front door to God’s house , just as there is only one front door to yours! Anyone tries to come in the back door or at night gets hammered!

The root word throe (as physical or mental pressure), has to do with a person(s) who is /are in deep doo-doo. A New Testament word used that is remarkably similar is “tribulation”, used 4 times in the Old Testament and twenty-two times in the New Testament. The list of possible meanings in both Hebrew and Greek are the same in every usage; a tight place, trouble (a pebble in a shoe), an opponent (as in crowding), an adversary, distress, a foe, anguish, persecution. The apostle Paul said, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) In context, Paul is saying we cannot enter God’s kingdom without experiencing some sort of distress or hardship…by our human nature we don’t even seriously look at such a thing unless we are over our heads in misfortune!

The third root word of the term “envoy” means then; an ambassador (of the kingdom of God); and in the ancient, incredibly descriptive bible-languages it has the flavor of one sent to a people who are in trouble; the kind of trouble that is the result of idolatry of some sort. The envoy brings succor from the heart of God whose concern is those peoples who suffer under the hand of the idols they worship, bringing replacement of truth for that idolatry, and thereby relief from that trouble. The prophets Jeremiah, and Obadiah spoke of “an ambassador sent among the heathen.” (Jeremiah 49:14, Obadiah 1:1)  They speak of that part of America described herein.

A “heathen”, as the word is used in the Bible is simply one who does not know God Almighty, who worships other gods (Buddha, Allah, empty philosophy, nature, money, business, or self, to name a few). God Almighty is the one Who has arranged life such that He simply cannot be known except by those who walk through the front door of His kingdom; the person of Jesus Christ. No, all gods are not the same, though they do exist, some more powerfully than others. There is only one God Almighty.  (See for instance references to “the Prince of Greece”, and “the Prince of Persia” throughout the book of Daniel; gods presently in authority on earth who’s ruler-ship comes to an ignominious end at the end of the age we presently live in).

Sorting this out, the envoys (in Isaiah’s vision) are sent from America in this case, as representatives of the kingdom of God on earth, ambassadors who carry the incredible treasure of Christ within them , who are sent to places in the world in which cultures are plowed up by various tribulations. Sometimes we call these people “missionaries”, yet the subject here is much, much deeper than the way piteous Denominational Christianity uses that term; instead, in God’s heart it’s a mind-set peculiar to all Christians. America’s functional destiny has always been to produce and send these envoys not only within its own population, but out to the rest of the world, and to finance their efforts. We’ll return to this subject shortly but let’s take another look at America first.

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America’s Destiny Part I, Chapter 2

by on Nov.18, 2014, under America's Destiny

Part I, Chapter 2, What’s America got to do with it?

11/18/2014

 

America in a large part is a nation made up of Christians, and many others who are content to live among Christians. Concerning the others, who have found there is a natural prosperity that follows in the wake of forgiveness of sin, and a genuine relationship with God; a time of choice is come. There will be no more fence-sitting at the end of the age. It’s always a personal choice. Given a choice of decadence and poverty (for the two go hand-in-hand), or righteousness and prosperity (also a paired function); which would you choose? There is no righteousness outside of Jesus Christ. True wealth as we shall see in Part III, has purpose, and it doesn’t suit well on a God-less one. Solomon, reputed to be the wisest king who ever lived noted, “As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion. The desire of the righteous is only good, but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.” (Proverbs 11:22-23) For a while, it’s a free country…for a short while, your choice. Best shot is to repent before Jesus!

America, this is serious stuff!  I am reminded of a time during the Vietnam War; we were about to engage in a serious combat situation, in which the 173rd Assault Helicopter Company; in our combined function as helicopter crew-members was going to make each of us incredibly vulnerable, both as we approached the landing zone with a full load of troops, and as we departed empty, (if we survived) to return for the second, and third loads.

Our XO (the Executive Officer leading the flight) was briefing his crews about an hour before departure.  He encouraged us to fly according to our training, and whenever the unknown or unexpected arose (seemed like it always did), to “do whatever it takes to stack the odds in our favor”, not only to survive as a company of individuals, but determined to accomplish the mission goals, regardless of the cost.  As I recall in retrospect, we took some serious hits on that mission, but recovered all downed crew-members, overcame superior numbers and armament, and yes, we did accomplish, even surpassed mission goals!  Today I have the incredible sense of deja’ vous.  At this end of the age…been there, done that before!  Can Americans “stack the odds” in her favor?

Many of the American people understand prayer, spite of whether they are part of Denominational Christianity or not.  Many have found Denominational-ism to be what it is; a many-faceted fracture of the one Body of Christ, sort of like safety-glass when it breaks, it turns into something which looks like rock-salt.  It has degenerated into simply an effective version of the Enemy’s divide-and-conquer scheme.  Truth be known; America and her people are actually described in the Bible, and have a God-given, God-described purpose…she has always had one…even as the Jewish people have always had one.  Although America the nation was at the first started down the right path, somewhere along the line (possibly in the last 75 years?) she seems to have jumped the rails.   America desperately needs effective prayer which only you (Joe and Jane Christian) can provide!   Just as parents of a child who was called and chosen of God…have to get serious with God concerning their lost one…to bring that one back (and God will answer that prayer if you are serious!), so also America needs spiritual help to return to her destiny.

Having a pre-determined future, a single-minded resolution determined by God, is something unusual, just like the Children of Israel of Moses’ time.  The Jewish people of old were predetermined by God to be a “nation of priests” to the rest of the world (Exodus 19:5-60).  Problem is they never entered into God’s plan for them.  They chose instead to be like the nations around them, from that time to the present! What does God do?  He never quits!  Rather, he offers it (life eternal) to the next generation!

The Jewish people today have surpassed most inhabitants of the earth in many ways.  They are some of the most sensibly prolific, technically educated, tactically ready, fruitful people on the face of the earth.  If there is a more learned people in the philosophies of men, I do not know of them.  Yet in spite of their God-call; a function to be (in addition to all those things) a nation of priests to the rest of the world; they stubbornly refuse the Crux of life; to acknowledge their own Messiah.  Instead they, as their parents before them,  have retreated into religion!  It is the most devastating loss the world has ever experienced.  America, tragically, is following them.

Eventually God will have what He wants.  The hair on the back of my neck arose yesterday when I read from Zechariah, who prophesied about the same time as Daniel the prophet, something that is happening today (11/2014).  “And it will come about in that day that I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.  And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, like the bitter weeping over a first-born…In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity.”  (Zechariah 12:9-10, 13:1)  If those prophecies effect you like they effected me, you won’t want to read the next chapter, Zechariah chapter 14!

Free-will is God’s invention, and down through the centuries since Moses, though the Jews generally would have none of it, still the gifts and calling of the Lord are irrevocable!  They will come around, or at least a remnant of them will! (See Romans chapter 11, Zechariah 12:9-19 thru 14;1-21)  They certainly have been stubborn for a long time, but my money’s on God to win this one.   Think not?  This is not my opinion, it’s the Bible, both New and Old Testament.  No one can add or subtract from God’s word without paying a terrible price!  By the end of this present age…well, read the Bible!

In the same fashion as the Jewish people, America today, despite being side-tracked from her God-given destiny, has been given over to be harassed by her enemies for a time.  As we speak, America is dangling over a hell-fire, like a hot-dog on a stick.  The heat of the fire already is beyond comfortable…our enemies are already within the ruins of the hedge of protection (the Constitution) God placed around America…the very one we ourselves have allowed chopped down!  As we speak, self-serving individuals in nearly every position of federal and state government, impose utter destruction upon America, even from the highest offices of the land!   Like the Jews of old, America has forgotten her God.  Are you squirming in your seat yet, or are you still in denial?  Unless we grow up quickly, it’s going to get worse…on an exponential basis!

Today many of the officials in the Executive, the Judicial, and the Legislative branches of government are enemies of all that is right, good, wholesome, and true.  Indeed both domestic and foreign enemies act against this country, not only from without, but from deep within; from academia, from Hollywood, from corporate business, came a cancerous hell on earth to this country; because so many American people have chosen that which glitters, and have forgotten their God.  Those who do have a claim on salvation, who once were the prayer-hounds of heaven, have today become lap-dogs to the self-serving, the gates of Heaven no longer rattle, for these no longer pray effectively!  Nor do Americans bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  No one else but Mom and Dad can do this!

It has always been true; Christians are always one generation away from God-less-ness.  One generation away from losing the hedge of protection God puts around His own!  If Christian parents for instance do not pass on the instructions of the Bible to their children, but leave this to church or public schools, their children will not/cannot follow in their parent’s and grandparent’s footsteps concerning God.  So it is in America, that is exactly what we have done, and is one of the reasons we have been given over to our enemies.  Is that forever?  That is entirely up to you.  Will Americans repent, and return to the Lord our God?  I have!  Will you?  Is there still time?

America’s borders have been intentionally opened by our own God-less politicians to specific foreign and domestic criminals, by invitation…and many of these are even financed entry using tax-dollars!  A national gang-rape is in progress upon the person of America!  It is incredibly similar to what happened to the Old Testament Jews…every time they forgot God, and chased after something else, or some other god, He sent prophets first to warn them,  and then when they killed the prophets sent with correction…God allowed their enemies to capture, and rule over them with force and severity…until they repented!

Curiously, throughout the Bible record, whenever the Jews turned, asked forgiveness and returned their hearts to God, He sent a Judge to save them from their enemies.  Will that happen for America?  Will America repent and return to the Lord?  Is there any salvation for America?  I believe He has a judge waiting in the wings for just such an occasion, and I believe many Americans are sensible enough to take Him up on it!  According to the Bible prophets, God Himself has provided a way where there presently is no other way for America to be rescued from her enemies, and from those Liberals who howl over her pending complete and utter destruction!  But America must return to her God and His destiny for her.  Curiously, that has to begin at home; in my home, and in yours!

American Happy-Gospel-Denominational-Christian churches have long ago “killed” the prophets God sent to warn them, having denied them the right to exist.  Most of the American and Western Christian-shepherds have had their ears stopped up (in Seminaries and Bible-Schools) so they can no longer hear God’s word!  What is left, since “surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets”?   (Amos 3:7)

It is written;
“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  (II Chronicles 7:17)

God doesn’t change, His word was true then, and it is true now.  Will you take Him up on it?  Look at the “if-then” clause in that promise!  “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

One of our found fathers wrote; “The only thing needed for tyranny to succeed, is for good men to do nothing.” (Edmund Burk, 1780)  Dare to be good!  Dare to wear the God-given righteousness of Jesus Christ.  “Go swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people feared far and wide, a powerful and oppressive nation whose land the rivers divide.”  (See if they still have the balls to do rightly!)  God didn’t create this incredible people to be lap-dogs to moneyed morons!

 

JWV 11/18/2014

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America’s Destiny Part I, Chapter 1

by on Nov.17, 2014, under America's Destiny

America’s Destiny- Part 1 (11/14/2014)

Chapter 1, The Beginning, for me, of New Understanding

 

I have long suspected there is something peculiar about America, the nation. She has an incredible calling, yet to be totally fulfilled. It startled me to realize it was characteristic of this nation when as a young man I first watched the gut-wrenching sacrifices my fellow-soldiers made during the Vietnam Helicopter War. Having survived that now, the longer I live in this country, the more I am sure of it. America contains a very large population of a peculiar people; who, having lived in a genuine personal freedom, are willing to live, even give their own lives, so that others might have a similar opportunity.

That is not just an American military thing; though that certainly does describe many of those incredible guys, but it’s a life-style…call it a mind-set. For certain it is seen in many of the country’s civilian population, possibly more so, but it is most vividly seen in the military. It is not gender or race specific, but a selfless, a very becoming attribute peculiar to all who live it. I became a Christian shortly after returning home in 1968; at the time searching for answers for why so many of my friends and acquaintances were maimed in body, or soul, or had died. Had they lived the sacrifice…and some even died in vain?

What was the inner drive that so disturbed me? For me it was kind of a guardian sheep-dog thing, an instant stirring to go head-to-head with any societal wolf or bully encountered. May be I’d missed my calling and should have been a cop? It seemed a most natural thing then, even as now, to so protect another, even to die in the process. (This is no idle boast, I came home wearing two Purple Heart decorations). Surely this was not a natural thing…at least so I was told…in trying to come to grips with PTSD. I rejected the bottom-feeder concept my generation tried to convince me of; somehow this had to be of a higher order than that. I never did anything I, or my parents would have been ashamed of over there. But something came alive in me, despite the ridicule from fellow students at the university.

Seeking to identify it, I studied hard, reading avidly; surely the answer had to be in faith? Searching in each of the major religions of the world; Bhuddism, Shinto, Hindu, Islam, Catholicism, Judaism, English Christianity, and Western Christian Denominational-ism, each time I examined the life-style of those who espoused the religious conviction.   Show me something genuine that made a difference! I was disappointed in the end, all religions seemed to have a single common denominator; a curiously similar philosophy, which seemed to replace unadulterated God with something ritual; a man-made “improvement”. Does that sound strange? Nobody likes to admit being deceived. I certainly didn’t. We’ll look at how deeply philosophy, which Jesus Christ called “the leaven of the Pharisees,” has puffed up the bread of life. It’s a startling, revolting revelation! I had to get beyond religion, and into genuine faith.

Someone gave me a Bible, and as it fell open to a page on which I read, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do what I command you”. (John 15:13-14)   It was Jesus Christ speaking of His own phenomenal sacrifice, but I could identify with it! I thumbed to another page and read the in book of Isaiah (this is back in 1970) something jumped off the page at me and literally shouted to my heart, “Look! This describes America…and her destiny!” I’ll show you in a moment, but stood astounded, for I had found meaning for life itself. Though it was personal at the time, I knew it was hope itself…maybe I and my friends hadn’t wasted our lives in that cursed war anyway!

I’m not sure I can prove it to you, simply because I don’t know if you’re seriously searching as I was, but the principle that surrounds the passage in the book of Isaiah describes a particular people and their relationship with God.  Its a vision and prophecy about America, and today it being made personal, affects a positive outcome in most all of my prayer-requests (for things I need, large of small, but have not the resources to acquire). I did find faith; in Jesus Christ, and in the relationship with God that followed, well…

Let me show you what I mean. I’m serious about prayer, always have been. I just didn’t know how; it’s nothing to do with the ritual thing, which (at least for me) seems to bounce off the nearest cloud, but about daily, personal relationship with God. I was astonished to discover God is just as serious about that relationship as I am. Long story short, now I get most of my prayers (for real, genuine relationships and substantial things) answered. Does that make me special? No…unusual may be, but it does mean I walk in faith…and here’s a bit about how I do it, maybe it’ll help you. Maybe I can help explain faith to you. It’s mostly hard work getting prayer answered, but when He does respond, well…God is astounding! He seems to have an unlimited supply of healing, of provision, of real working answers to human problems, and doesn’t mind sharing. But He is actually looking for a return on His investment! In fact, He pursues those who love Him, so as to give good things to them!

Once a person gets on God’s wave-length, the news-flash is that He absolutely knows how to get your attention! Let me give you an example. I’m on a fixed income, and on January 22, 2014, I was living pretty much hand-to-mouth, and well over my head with debts incurred in the process of staying afloat. So, remembering how He had helped me in smaller ways before, I started praying that I could pay off my truck (which I owed $28,000 on). I prayed every day for eight months, and that according to Mark 11:22-25 (the mountain described being my debt). Later that same year on September 4th, 2014, I received from out of the blue…first a letter from my insurance company, with a phone number to call, then a check from them for a bit over $32,000…which neither they, nor I knew they owed me until they had audited my account. A week later I sent a certified bank-draft for the pay-off of my truck, and not only that but I deposited the federal and state taxes. Today I have the title in hand, clear of all liens!

Effective prayer is like that; as long as I put first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…all these things shall be given to me. That’s His promise! (Matthew 6:33). Pretty simple really, and even if it sometimes seems like hard work; if I do my part, and do what He says to do, then He does His part! He makes a way where there is no way, and in my experience He never does it the same way twice.

Nothing about God is cheap, He doesn’t have a “made in China” sticker on Him. Nor is He a tight-wad, nor does He tell any lies. If He said it in the Bible, then that’s the way it is (regardless of our doctrines or opinions), He is true to His word, and is incredibly generous that way. But if you’re not serious about Him, forget it; go play religion somewhere. This is about personal relationship! Yet all He has ever required of me, since Jesus first whispered my name (back in August 1970), was that He would be allowed to change my character, and change the way I think…about life, and about Him. The point I’m making is God is not dead, nor is He an absent Land-Lord. But He is absolutely holy, and does have to be approached in a way that is specific, and pleasing to Him! He is not a one-God-fits-all-religions sort, as some confused minds think.

Nothing of relationship with Him happens by osmosis, though it did begin when I was first born-again. After that it’s been one day at a time. Oh by the way…He doesn’t fit in anybody’s religion-box…not mine, not yours, not even any great religious leader’s box, nor does He fit in anyone’s handy-dandy denominational kit!  He’s simply too big. One of the humorous parts of life is listening to priests and preachers sometimes spend their entire lives trying to get Him to fit into one…that might be today’s most accurate definition of “religion”!

Personal relationship with Him is on another level. It may be you’ve not experienced that yet. I certainly hope you get to; it’s a most wonderful encounter! He has forgiven me my sins, healed me when I’ve been sick or injured, He gave me a nice home, provided my every need, healed my broken heart multiple times, and five years after my first wife (of 39 years) died, He gave me a new excellent wife that is just as incredible as Susan had been! He drew back my kids (a work in process) when they went their own ways! He is so incredible He has kept me through my war-time PTSD! Besides that He never accuses (though I’m sure He may be disappointed in some of the decisions I make), but He always lifts me up, (I dare to think) so that He can guide me to attain the phenomenal plans He has for me! I simply do not know how or why I survived before I knew Him! His plans for me are a whole pot-load better than anything I can dream up for myself and all I have to worry about is one day at a time. I do what He puts in front of me, today, and He gives me peace!

Lovely, incredible, astounding peace!   Does it sound like I am bragging? I’m not! Well, bragging on Him maybe. I just wish everybody could experience that kind of relationship, if you’re not already. What about you…are you ready for that sort of thing yet? Are you ready to increase the intensity of the relationship with Him you might already have? If so, you’re going to have to let Him transform the ways you presently think!  (Romans 12:2)  That’s true no matter how long you’ve known Him!

Think about it, if the first day of salvation is the first day of eternity for you and for me, and we get to spend eternity learning about Him, isn’t it reasonable we ought to get on it… to mature from no matter whatever position we presently occupy? Let’s get it on!

My present mind-set is I pray every day, expecting answers, yet I always have make it personal; to align my-self with His promises, and often have to wait on Him…searching…letting Him re-arrange some part of my character, or deal with a related situation or person. Some would say, having never experienced such a relationship of answered prayer…you can’t tell God what to do. That may be, but balance that with the concept that He wants you to be both involved, and effective in your prayer-life with Him. So is it impossible to learn something new about Him? It is if you continue in your past experience! Have you no sense of adventure? Get some courage…you may be pleasantly surprised. Getting your prayers answered is rather like sky-diving…a most exhilarating experience!

Effective prayer works whether for an individual’s need or for a family need or a national destitution. A person can pray (He wants us involved in the answer!) and get answers concerning anything that goes on within your sphere of influence; for personal things, or for friends or acquaintances at school, or work; or you can pray for your nation, and learn to expect the same kind of incredible results. All it takes is to align yourself with His written will…read the Bible…its good for the soul! Not my will, not my way, not in my time-frame…but His…yet he knows my needs! It gets better. King David described it in one of his psalms;

“Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him and He will do it. And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday.”                       (Psalm 37:3-6)

Let’s broaden our perspective a bit, because this kind of a relationship with God has a purpose, a place, it is the beginnings of an incredible destiny for those who walk in it. America’s true purpose is found here!

As we speak, Biblical end-of-the-age prophecies are coming to pass. In Part II of this series, we’ll look at several nationally recognized characters in positions of national leadership today, whom the prophet Daniel described nearly 600 years before Christ. To be specific, it’s about a presently seated president (its 2014), and a former Secretary of State; both gone renegade! If you’ve never read these prophecies…well…they will certainly add tremendous motivation to your prayer! To say the least, end-time prophecies are uncomfortable…to expand that is to understand, world-wide, we are presently entered into the great tribulation Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24!

Sound pretty wild? It’s true! Read the Bible. While that doesn’t fit some long-proclaimed denominational doctrines (theories) concerning “the end-times”, it certainly does fit the Scriptures! Even haughty human religious doctrines have to bow the knee to Jesus Christ…all of them do. And that they will do, before the end of the age we presently live in. Please have sense to extricate you from them, for all human doctrine shall burn in a hell-fire. Those who teach these human inventions will have to answer to God Almighty, for changing His word into something it is not! It’s a terrible thing to fall into the hand of the living God.

In all effective prayer, a human need, whether individual or corporate, must be attached to one of God’s promises in the Bible (there are actually thousands of them, not just the ones about salvation!), but for each of those promises, there is what I have to call the “if…then” clause to it. Somewhere close to the promise, God says in effect, “If you do this…then I’ll do that!” A simple example; in John 15:7-8, Jesus said, “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” That’s not been your experience? Read on! Put your thinking cap on, for you’ll also have to figure out what He meant when He said, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in me.” Simply put, not everyone shall believe…but can you?

What does it mean to “abide”?  For those who choose jump over personal, mental stumbling-blocks, to believe Him, answer that question (simply read the six verses previous to that promise), follow the instructions, let go of your own personal time-frame, and you shall have whatsoever you ask for! Many preachers say that that doesn’t work, or infer the laity is too dumb to understand God’s words; but that has merely been their own personal sad experience. Mine is different…I choose read the promises, to believe, to pay the price, whatever that is, and I get my prayers answered.

I do have to get on God’s time-frame, and discard my own, but the wait is certainly worth it!   All God’s promises are like that. For me, the only prayers that don’t get answered are those I give up on…sometimes I get discouraged and quit praying…and confessing the answers. But that was mostly times past. In baseball if you hit over a .310 average, you’re a heavy-hitter. What’s your prayer-average? Right now mine is about .900! Care to up your batting average? I am making some pretty heavy duty statements here, and hope you will have faith. What do you have to lose?

Some people have never experienced being part of effective prayer and in an undeveloped way might say, “Well, God will take care of me, He always does.” That’s good! It’s a fair statement of faith.   It’s OK for a babe in Christ to look at things that way, and perfectly natural. What child does not go running to Mom or Dad when they take one of life’s tumbles? But sooner or later it’s time to pass through the baby-steps and adolescence of the Christian experience and into a more wonderful fullness of Christ. God eventually expects His sons to act like…well, with a measure of maturity. My dad used to tell me, “Grow up, son! Act your age! Eventually I did, and became a man. Genuine relationship with God is like that.  Grow up!

God often encourages young Christians by putting us in a challenging situation (or more likely we get ourselves there and He has to rescue us), and simultaneously giving us His own Holy Spirit, who teaches us to pray effectively. Thus by involving us in the prayer-process He changes the challenging situation to something of wonder and personal growth. He does that because He has a function and purpose for you. He wants you to grow up and take your place along with His mature sons! The apostle James described this very thing,

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that I might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”                               (James 5:16-18, I Kings 17:1f, 18:1f)

James, a mature Christian, described Elijah, another mature Christian, who was involved as a prophet for the Jewish people in his day. He was demonstrating reality to a Jewish king who was leading the children of Israel in the wrong direction. The path they were hell-bent to walk on was removing God’s blessing from them! They were bringing curses upon themselves for leaving God’s purpose for them.

The prophecy and vision was God’s purpose and plan for Elijah…so extend that…what is God’s plan for you? Can you get our head around it? Go ahead…ask Him! Get over the picayune-sh way you presently think. Being picayune means “tending to fuss about unimportant things and to be childishly spiteful.” (Encarta Dictionary: English (North America)) Most American Christian Denominational Churches specialize in things that are unimportant to God and irrelevant to the rest of the world! How to fix that? Repent! Return to the Bible! Servicing commercial holidays is a dead loss, a picayune existence for one of God’s sons. Read the Bible and find out what is important to God. Put your energy and resources there!

As Jesus said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.” (Matthew 6:33)

Maybe you are a Christian who has been called to pray, and have seen some answers to prayer, but would like to do better. Maybe, having been used by God for some particularly wonderful thing, you’d hope to be useful to Him again! Who wouldn’t? This piece will help you do that, if only to challenge the way you presently think. Didn’t the apostle Paul speak to the Romans “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)  God loves fruitfulness in His own beloved sons!

All you have to do is take what I’m telling you back to the Bible and see if it is so, for God is absolutely constant. So also is His word constant. If what it says is true, then apply it to your life, if not, then simply let it go! But it is the truth…it’s that simple…and it’s that hard. What have you got to lose? Let me describe it to you…it’s the most incredible adventure any human can enter into…an adventure custom designed by God Himself…for you! He loves you so much, He is going send His own Holy Spirit to personally lead you every step of the way. His promise is He will never leave you, nor ever forsake you! (Hebrews 13:5) Can you handle that? Let religion; a trifling, small-minded, fussing-match go where ever it goes.   You personally examine what it means to have a personal relationship with Almighty God! Simply ask Him. Let Him reveal Himself to you in His Bible!

There are many Americans who know deep down inside them, there is something special God put there, but somehow it’s never come to the surface. There is a certain sort of American Christian who has answered the high calling, and spends a significant amount of time communicating with God. I’d like to help increase the prayer-effectiveness of these unusual men and women of God. I’d like to call on these to join together in unity; in spirit and in Biblical truth, for there is tremendous effectiveness in numbers…in unity (see Matthew 18:18-20). Yet this is as rare as the fragrant anointing, the perfumed oil that Moses anointed Aaron and his sons with, to be priests of the most High God. It is rare for brothers to dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1-3). It is the sweet fragrance that emanates from Christ Jesus in you! (II Corinthians 2:14-16) Especially non-believers notice it!

It’s like the phenomenal characteristic of compassion. If you were to try to describe Jesus Christ with one single word, compassion would probably surface in nine out of ten times. If you know Him, did He not have compassion and forgive your sins…and remove them from you as far as the East is from the West? You were a slave to your sins! Now you are free. Is that not compassion? What then, if that same characteristic of Christ is found in you? Is it not compassion when you notice someone (say a single-parent) from where you work is sick at home, and you know they have kids? Is it not compassion if you make a large pan of lasagna, and take it to their home? Can you do that? Of course you can! That is the sweet fragrance of Christ Jesus in you! Without speaking a word, you have fully preached the Gospel to that one. Simple kindness, yet it’s one of the incredible fruits of the spirit. It has long been lost to Western Christian Denominational-ism… traded off instead for a Sunday morning and Wednesday night “worship service”. What a pathetic swap! It’s no wonder the Church is dying in America!

At the present rate, in a few years, 50% of the Christian churches in America will have an onion placed on top where the cross used to be. Islamic Mosques will cover this land; for Christians stubbornly refuse to read the Bible and do what is says to do!  Here in America there is a famine on the land, not a shortage of bread and water, but of hearing the word of the Lord. People stagger from sea to sea looking for God’s word, but they cannot find it! (Amos 8:11-12)

In my book and experience if we humans are willing to seek His face and listen to Him, and actually do what He says, then He’ll show us how He wants us to pray, and effective prayer has profound stimulation on an individual…or upon a nation.  America itself is in grave, near-fatal danger, and needs your effective function, and prayers! Want to argue religion? Take it somewhere else, I’m not interested. I found God, and He is incredible! He changes everything around me, because of the blood of His covenant with me.(Zechariah 9:11-13)   He’ll do that for you! That relationship always…always has a place where the rubber meets the road. It always has to do with people! Most often it has to do with non-believers…people in the market-place, where you work, or play, or go to school!   Let go of the Sunday-happy-gospel, and take the Jesus’ compassion-gospel to work with you!

Most genuine Christians in this age we live in are actually enrolled in the Holy Spirit’s school of prayer; learning how to be either effective, or more effective. The wonderfully curious part is that we, at this time, get to learn how to be effectual by dealing with problems in our lives…those things close to home…even in our own families, and spheres of interest. What works in our families…well, it also works “out there”!  When we are effective with little-but-important things, we will also be effective with major items that are just as important but on a larger scale.   But just as individual Americans have a God-given destiny to fulfill (yet can refuse to be part of it) so also America the nation has a God-given destiny to fulfill, and she also can choose not to be part of it! Islam waits in the wings, if we choose the latter.

Want to see God’s plan for America come to pass instead?  It’s going to take some considerable input from you.  If you are a Christian, then Christ live in you.  Prove it!  Effective prayer brings Christ to the surface.  You…make ripples in eternity!  Want to be part of the most incredible mystery of the ages?  That is…”the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has been manifested to his true believers, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of  the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  (Colossians 1:26-27)

 

To be continued…

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On Tribulations II

by on Nov.28, 2010, under Sonship

TRIBULATION

Though many of us grew up in the age of reason; we presently find ourselves in the age of knowledge. It is normal that whenever we have to make an intelligent decision about something, we read up on it, we “Google” it, we search out information. Sure there is faulty “Information” out there, but however far down the rabbit-hole we choose to chase the truth, we are today able to do so. The scriptures themselves declare in the last days, “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Dan 12:4) Most assuredly we live in a time frame of an incredible spectrum of knowledge.
Let me therefore pose a question. Can we as intelligent beings also search the Bible today for spiritual knowledge and fresh truth, or are we forever chained to lifeless religious tradition and doctrine? It is deeply unsettling for some; most especially those who are tied to these things. Let’s look and see!
Strongs Analytical Concordance is a simple, 6 1/4 pound resource book for the languages and words used in the Bible. You can also Google www.biblegateway.com and find similar information, perhaps not to the same extent, yet in many languages and Bible versions. In any case the word “tribulation” is used four times in the Old Testament, and 22 times in New Testament.
From Strongs;
Hebrew: 6862, “Tsar” From 6887 Narrow, a tight place (usually trouble), a pebble (as in a shoe), an opponent (as crowding ), adversary, affliction, anguish, close, distress, enemy, flint, foe, narrow, small, sorrow, tribulation, trouble.
Greek: “thlipsis” from 2346- pressure, anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble.
OT:
Deuteronomy 4:26-30 “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you shall surely perish quickly from the land where you are going over the Jordan to possess it. You shall not live long on it, but shall be utterly destroyed. And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you shall be left few in number among the nations, where the Lord shall drive you. And there you will serve gods, the work of man’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. But from there you will seek the lord your God and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in tribulation and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice.” (for the Jews, t— was the result of following after other gods. Parenthesis are mine, and typical throughout.)
Judges 10:14 “Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.” (t—the result of following after other gods)
I Samuel 10:19 “But you today rejected your God, who delivers you from all your calamities and your tribulations; yet you have said, ‘No but set a king over us!” Now therefore present your selves before the Lord by your tribes and by your clans.” (God delivers from t_)
I Samuel 26:24 “Now behold, as your life was highly valued in my sight this day, so may my life be highly valued in the sight of the Lord, and may He deliver me from all tribulations. (God delivers from t_)
NT:
Matthew 13:20-21 “And the one whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; yet has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or tribulation arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.” (t_ results when our hearts are in conflict with the word)
Matthew 24:20-21 “But pray that your flight may not be in winter, or on a Sabbath; for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.” (great t—the result of a whole culture being deceived [see verse 4])
“Matthew 24:29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (t—purifies for what is to come. See context)
Mark 13:24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the havens will be shaken.” ( t—a fire that purifies, see context)
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (Conforming to the world results in t_)
Acts 14:21-22 “And after they (Paul & Barnabus) had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.’” (t—is a fire that purifies a believer to enter into God’s kingdom)
Romans 2:9-11 “There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to every man who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.” (t—is the result of doing wrong, for both Jew and Greek)
Romans 5:3 (2x) “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (suffering from t—results in a more excellent character)
Romans 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’” (t—cannot separate us from God, rather it drives us back to Him)
Romans 12:9 “Let love be without hypocrisy, Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” (believers are to persevere through and overcome ¬¬t_ )
II Corinthians 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our tribulation so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any tribulation with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” (God comforts and guides us when we suffer through t—and turn to Him for direction)
II Corinthians 7:4 “Great is my confidence in you, great is my boasting on your behalf; I am filled with comfort. I am overflowing with joy in all our tribulation.” (Paul is joyful that t—is cleansing the Corinthians from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness within them. See context)
Ephesians 3:13 “Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.” (t—used here as “afflictions”; like “t-“ only suffered by Paul in order to bring the gospel to the Ephesians)
I Thessalonians 3:4 “For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer tribulation; and so it came to pass, as you know.” (Paul and Timothy suffering t—for the sake of the Thessalonians to be able to bring the gospel to them)
II Thessalonians 1:4 “Therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and tribulations which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.” (t—endured in coming out of the world into the kingdom)
II Thessalonians 1:6-10 “For after all it is only just for God to repay with tribulation those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.” (t—[vengeance this time] comes to those who do not know God, and those who refuse to obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; everlasting destruction this time, away from the presence of the lord and from the glory of his power)
Revelation 1:9 “I, John, your brother and fellow-partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos, because of the word of God ant the testimony of Jesus.” (t—common to all those in the kingdom of God. It produces perseverance)
Revelation 2:9 “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” (T—experienced by the body of Christ)
Revelation 2:10 “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (T—as a testing, a trial of believer’s faith)
Revelation 2:22 “Behold I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.” (t—as a result of a godless lifestyle, same as in the Old Testament)
Revelation7:13-17 “And one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘These who are clothed in white robes, who are they, and from where have they come?’ I said to him, ‘My lord, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne shall spread His tabernacle over them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.” (T—believers suffer going through the “great tribulation”)
Conclusion; according to the Bible it is…
From Strongs;
Hebrew: 6862, “Tsar” From 6887 Narrow, a tight place (usually trouble), a pebble, an opponent (as crowding ), adversary, affliction, anguish, close, distress, enemy, flint, foe, narrow, small, sorrow, tribulation, trouble.
Greek: “thlipsis” from 2346- pressure, anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble.

1. Pressure applied to those called and chosen, for choosing instead to live outside God’s plan and in sin, in both the Old and New Testament, and for both Jew and for Greek.
2. It is trouble that believers all experience, which brings about perseverance in the heart of the believer.
3. It is also an end-time, punitive vengeance that God uses on non-believers, and those who choose not to live according to the word.
4. When believers suffer tribulation, it cannot separate them from the love of Christ.
5. The apostle Paul suffered it to bring the gospel to the Ephesians and the Corinthians.
6. It is by tribulations we enter the kingdom of God.
7. Tribulations arise when our spirits are in conflict with God’s spirit.
8. Tribulations shall be great on earth at the end; Christians shall be on earth then and will suffer along with the rest of the world, for the singular purpose to bring them into sonship and the kingdom of God. (see the Greek, Revelation 13:17)
9. In the world we have tribulations, but Jesus has overcome the world.
Many of us (myself included)have at one time or another bought into religious doctrine that has left us with the idea that believers do not have to suffer tribulation, even “the great tribulation”; however as we just read from the Bible verses, the scriptures simply do not read that way.
What therefore are we to do?
It is apparent that whenever we come from a mind-set that is contrary to God, or slip into such a thought-pattern as we walk out our lives, we experience tribulations. It is not without purpose! God treats us as His own sons, and disciplines us for the sake of righteousness. The verbiage in Romans 12:2 indicates that we have to allow the Holy Spirit to change the way we presently think, to the way God thinks; “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of our mind, that you may prove the will of is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
It is a no-brainer that what God is showing us here is the tribulations His sons endure are not a punishment, but rather a discipline. The cross was punishment. Tribulation is discipline by a loving Father, visited upon a beloved son; from whom He requires maturity. It is what Jesus had to endure before He went to the cross, and it is what we endure as God prepares us to inherit the kingdom of God! Let’s look at that very thing in Hebrews Chapter 5 and Chapter 12.

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On Tribulations I

by on Nov.28, 2010, under Sonship

A Treatise on “Tribulation”, and on “Being “Caught Up” 10-18-10
Jim Visel
The term “tribulation” is a very controversial subject in Western Christianity. Some say “yes”, believers experience it, others say emphatically “no”, Jesus paid the cost, and therefore believers do not have to experience the big “T”. Hand in hand with that in some minds, a curious conundrum peculiar to Western Christianity; is it a pre-tribulation rapture, a mid-tribulation rapture, a post-tribulation rapture? There are spin-offs even to those theories, because the term “rapture” is not found in the scriptures at all. How much is human invented “doctrine” and how much is bible? How do you tell the truth?
Most theories that endure do so because they seem plausible to some in high places, even though impossible to prove. The theory of Evolution is one of these; no one has ever proved it, though it’s taught as truth in the public school system. What is gained by maintaining it? What is gained by discarding it and choosing a reasonable alternative, such as Intelligent Design? Is it a political issue? After reading both, it takes more faith for me to believe the former than the latter. It seems like an easy choice, but for the politics of it.
There is a similar puzzling phenomenon in Christianity; theological theories, often just as laden with miscalculation as the concept of evolution, have been maintained down through the years; and seem to become concretized as denominational thought-patterns, and some of those traditions have become sacred by means of repetition. Sometimes when a question of faith is raised concerning one of these, it gets a reaction as though the veracity of the Bible itself were being attacked. Is the God who says, “Seek My face,” unable to handle honest scrutiny? Or is it the “doctrine” is at risk?
One of the differences between religion and a personal relationship with God, is religion holds certain mindsets and things to be “sacred” and untouchable, when in fact, God commands His creature to search Him out. As a matter of fact, He is delighted by our queries! When it comes to the Bible, which He authored through 66 different writers, believers are more and more seeing the necessity of being knowledgeable as to what it says. In fact the times we live in require it.
The concept that His written word is His written will, is often used by Spirit filled pastors and teachers. To say the least; if a disciple of Christ doesn’t test things according to the entire word of God, he falls prey to the god of Ignorance, who tends to play tricks on a lazy mind; which in turn tends to trust things as they stand, simply because a trusted someone preaches it. The apostle Paul had something to say about that.
He had been preaching the word at Thessalonica, and was not well received. When he went to Berea, he said of them “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11 KJV). In Western Christianity today we have in the past tended to file things according to doctrine and denominational understanding, and leave the work of studying the word to pastors. Paul, however encourages us here to study the Bible ourselves, and to test every teaching by God’s word.
Doctrines get confusing, and I don’t think God is the author of confusion. In light of the many recent decades of Christian census depletion, especially in America, it might be good to examine how we stack up against what God requires of us, and how effective we actually are–or aren’t. Personally I feel that in terms of representing the Body of Christ to the rest of the world, we spend way too much time on dead-end church political mindsets, and not enough time taking the Gospel into the market-place.
In a recent discussion on the subject of church mindsets, a friend volunteered to search the scriptures, “proving” the doctrine of rapture. I was surprised to receive an e-mail several hours later with a scanned copy of over 50 verses upon which his denomination claims undeniable proof of it.
It took me several days to look up each one, carefully noting the verbiage and context of the verses, and I was quite disappointed. There was one verse that had to do with being “caught up” (I Thessalonians 4:17), all the others had to do with things in the end times, but totally ignored the four other times the term “caught up” is used in the bible. We’ll look at those shortly, but it was really a stretch to make the verses forwarded to me into something as cut-and-dried as the doctrine of “rapture” is held by some. It puzzled me that my friend, usually articulate, would buy into such a curious mind-set. In fact, I have stopped just short of amazement, how many Christians actually blind faith this one! Has the god of repetition bewitched so many?
There is something missing in systematic theology (an academic source of many church doctrines), which attempts to translate the Bible into language of religious and philosophical principles. It seems that “Doctrine”, has become something different than the term used 56 times in the Bible, (where both the Hebrew and Greek use the term “right instruction”). Doctrine to Western Christianity seems to have become a belief system where a verse taken out of the Bible, wrapped in a pre-conceived idea, and taught as though it were an absolute. It’s easy to file things that way.
One theologian used sophisticated language to describe doctrine as, an objective acknowledgment of propositional truth based on a true understanding of God’s word. Really! God is that small that He can be put in a box now? Sounds a bit out of place, and more in line with a political scheme dragged in as baggage from the Age of Reason! It is estimated there are over 39,000 different denominations in Western Christianity? In fact, as incredible as that number is, I believe it is a bit short.
Today we seem to have a “pick-and-choose” mentality when it comes to things spiritual. It’s as though there is a huge smorgasborg of spiritual dishes to choose from, and if we are not satisfied with what is taught in one church, we simply move to the next one, until we find a menu that better suits our personal belief system! Many believers seem to buy into the cultural concept that each one is master of his or her own ship, and as prevalent as that cultural more is, it has bled over into the Church. Today (under denominationalism) we have very little of the foundation that the apostle Peter spoke of (I Peter 2:1-10).
Quietly, subtly, without fan-fare, Denominationalism has become an avante gard religion in its own right. It has almost completely fractured, and replaced the one body of Christ.
When I was first saved during the “Jesus Movement” of the early 1970’s, I was encouraged to read the Bible daily. I noticed the more I read it, the more it resembled a blueprint such as I used to build every kind of commercial building; churches, schools, temples, bridges, highways, earthen structures such as dams and ponds, etc. Now, 40 years later, the Bible not only resembles one, I believe it is actually where the concept of blue-printing comes from. Everything about the structure to be built is drawn in the prints and accompanying specifications; from the soil structure under the footings, to the type of roofing used, and everything in between! Every item used in the construction is called out (and signed by all parties involved) before the first spade of dirt is turned.
Such is that incredible book called the Bible. In spite of our personal and corporate spiritual failures, that dusty old book remains not only a blue-print of relationships; but describes rapport between God and man; between an individual and spouse and children; between man and his neighbor. The Bible describes not a system of religion, but God-designed truth that applies to every area of life, and the foundational principles for approaching and understanding the doings of mankind; all written down for instruction in human righteousness that brings an individual into an arena that pleases the very Creator of all things.
The Bible makes all things simple. Let me give an example. We spoke at the beginning of “tribulation” and of “being caught up”. Both of these have become knotty religious doctrines. But let’s do a simple word study and see what the bible actually says about these things. It’s really not that difficult, but religion and human nature have made it so.

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Why Is The Church So Puny? We Eat Leavened Bread!

by on Feb.04, 2010, under Sonship

At a recent gathering of eagles I fielded a question I am using today as the title to this post, and what I believe the Spirit answered there, I would like to share here.

In a large part, the Church has become irrelevant to society (that was the subject of discussion) because of what it eats.  An example; just as an individual who makes a diet of carbohydrates,  junk-food and sugar-saturated drinks becomes obese and often suffers from Diabetes-type diseases, so also does a believer become spiritually ill whose spiritual food is largely made up of human invented doctrine.  Unfortunately in much of western Christianity, doctrines take precedence, and the continuity of the entire Word of God is generally ignored.

Doctrine, as the Bible uses the term, has to do with correct teaching; sometimes the term “traditions” is used.  But James admonishes that teachers in the Body of Christ are judged more severely (James 3:1) than others.  Unfortunately, when a teacher is unsure as to God’s meaning of something in the word, and yet for whatever reason opines as to what a particular verse in scripture means, if extreme care is not practiced; it happens (even at the highest theological levels of Christianity) there is a blending of either past or current cultural thought–and God’s word.  That plays into a human weakness; who doesn’t like difficult things sugar-coated?

To the extent we err in this way, whether on an individual or corporate level, at the least we fall terribly short of God’s wonderful plan for us.  (See Jeremiah 29:11-14). And at the worst we approach the place where the same prophet voiced, “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” (Jeremiah 23:1)  But you exaggerate! you say.  No, actually it is no exaggeration,  but the truth.

Doctrine, as we most often use the term today, is something that is taken from the Bible, often a particular verse or two, wrapped in a preconceived idea  (usually something culturally acceptable), and taught as though it were truth.  In time these “doctrines” become denomination-ally sacred, and by means of repetition,  therefore become immune to reason, and to what the whole of Bible scriptures actually say.

Much of the fractured Church today is divided along doctrinal lines, as opposed to the one body of Christ, which is instructed by the entirety of Bible scripture.  Within the one Body of Christ, which has no denominator, the scripture becomes multi-dimensional;  with no division/no denomination.  It is a living Word which is served as spiritual food by the Holy Spirit according to what an individual can handle, whether milk or solid food.  God is incredibly wonderful!

The “doctrine” issue is not something new.  The  Jewish leaders had a similar problem in Jesus’ time.  Once He said to the disciples, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 6:6)  At first His followers thought He was speaking with reference to their shortsightedness; they had forgotten to bring bread along on their journey, but he said again;

“How is it that you do not understand I did not speak to you concerning bread?  But beware of the leaven (yeast) of the Pharisees and Sadducees?”

Yeast of course is put into bread dough to change the result from a flat, cracker-like bread to a raised, puffed-up food that becomes more palatable to most people.  I noticed from a personal perspective that it also has certain less-than aromatic side-effects, until it is fully digested in my system.  While that is sort of a tongue-in-cheek observation and maybe that is more than you needed to know, eating that kind of food does have it’s own sort of “equal and opposite reaction”.  So it is in the spiritual realm–with human invented doctrine.  It is a major problem in western Christianity today; in fact, our doctrines have become chains to us believers!

Let’s go back into history and see if we can see where this phenomenon came from.  In Jewish religious circles, shortly before Jesus time, there was a highly educated individual, a Hellenistic Jew named Philo.  Education is not without it’s own shortcomings;  one might ask, “What is truth?”  Well, Philo’s background discipline was Greek Philosophy, which is actually the most godless of all religions.  His main claim to fame was a massive exegesis, a commentary on the Old Testament (similar to the Bible Commentaries commonly used by pastors and teachers today), in which he argued a logically attractive and academically persuasive case; cleverly blending the teachings of Greek philosophy with the writings of Moses and the Prophets.

In Israel two of the most famous groups of thought of Jesus’ time, who had bought into Philo’s thought pattern, we know from scriptures as the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  Jesus called their teaching “leaven” or “yeast”, in that their type of knowledge puffs a person up, and nullified the Word of God.  He chastised them,

“For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’, and ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.’  But you say, ‘Whoever shall say to his father or mother, “Anything of mine you might have been helped by has been given to God,” he is not to honor his father or his mother.”  And thus you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.”

“You hypocrites (actors), rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me.  But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.” (    )

Today we have a similar problem in western Christian Churches.  Much of Denominational Christianity has bought into exegeses (commentaries) similar to Philo’s.  Peruse any Bible Commentary today and you’ll find that for each Bible verse “explained”, there are most often several, and as many as half-a-dozen opinions as to the meaning of the verse in question.

For instance, concerning the doctrine of “Rapture”; there are generally tree different thoughts concerning this; Pre-tribulation rapture, Mid-trib, and Post-trib.  See the previous post on this blog called, “On Getting ‘Caught Up'” .  The doctrine has long divided the Body of Christ, and today functions as a spiritual chain around the necks of believers!  Is that really the question at all?  My question is; is there a “rapture” as western Christians have been led to believe, and that by doctrine?  Or does the Bible actually have something else to say?  While I am convinced because I know the difference between what the doctrines say and what the entirety of scripture says, many cannot say that!  That is to our shame that we are so ignorant of the Bible!

Is that what God had in mind when He had it written; confusion?  While there are things that are not to be known until the end-times (Daniel 12:9), and places where things are difficult to understand (John 6:60, II Peter 3:14-16).  The apostle Peter admonished concerning the Scriptures, “But know this first of all, that no  prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (II Peter 1:20-21).  The point is, God had something specific in mind when He had each verse written, and that is so, even if we do not yet fully understand.

When we add our cultural thoughts to God’s word, we can NEVER understand, for we have added “leaven” to God’s word!  Likewise if the sum-total of our relationship with God is stained through a pastor or teacher, and their relationship with God is tainted with denominational leaven, where does that leave us?

No, but our individual relationship with God is first and foremost a personal, vertical thing.  “My sheep know My voice…” (John 10:27)”..and another’s voice they will not follow.”  Similarly then as we meet together and share, “each one having a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation.  Let all things be done for edification…” (I Corinthians 14:26).  Notice that he is not addressing the pastors and leaders here?  He speaks specifically to the whole church, and holds the common ordinary “lay-person” responsible to do this as well as the pastors/teachers.  If we can do that, then in meeting as part of the Body of Christ, that incredible individual relationship with God becomes horizontal (with our brethren) as well.

The problem is, in the denominational leaven of our churches, we have ignored these scriptures and there is little or no place for an individual to share these incredible life-experiences!  In fact, our doctrines separate the leadership from the laity; where the scriptures do not.  (See the term “Nicolaitan”, which means “victory over the common people”, in Revelation 2:6, and 2:16.  Historically it was a heresy which among other things, elevated the leadership to a position that Jesus never intended).

The Body of Christ is puny today, without strength or relevance to the rest of society, by means of what we eat.   Our bodies can tell us the difference between eating “something”, and taking nourishment.  When we need water or nourishment in the physical realm we eat and drink.  There is also a spiritual side of the Human Being that is designed to be fed as well.  What we feed it determines our spiritual strength, and by design, both our bodies and our spirits are designed to accept certain varieties of foods, physical and spiritual.  There is what we might call “junk-food” in both realms.

In a recent article featured in USA TODAY (Thursday, Dec. 10,2009) “Mixing Their Religion–Many Choose Their Faith From A Spiritual Buffet”;  the author quoted comments from, among other sources, the PEW Forum on Religion and Public Life.  In the article the observation was made that at least 35% of Evangelical Christians, and 19% of Catholics not only hopscotch across denominational values, but als0 seek spiritual needs met in eastern religions including Buddhism and those of India.

Also quoted was a 30-year United Church of Christ pastor, recently retired, who had studied in a Hindu ashram in India, and who practiced Zen meditation and Christian contemplative prayer.  The comment at the end of the article was that in the goulash of beliefs in western religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam is “What do you believe?”  In the eastern religions the question is “Do you know God?” which is much more experience-based.  The point was made by this particular pastor; “However you meet God is wonderful.”

My question remains; What are Christians eating spiritually?  Religions are no different today than they were when Jesus came to earth.  Mixing religions also is nothing new on this earth.  But what is good and wholesome and true?  Just as one has to pick and choose among all the “refined” foods found in a store for nourishment, so also we must ask about all the “spirituality” out there; What is from God and what from man?  To the extent that we add our culture to the purity of God’s word, we have a  carbohydrate-heavy,”junk-food” mixture.  Sure we have the freedom to eat whatever we choose.  But if we are to ever attain to the plan God has for His sons, we must, in the spiritual realm, feed on His word alone.  With the “refinements” removed, it is more than sufficient!

Whenever we listen to a teaching, we are admonished by the scriptures to test the spirits of it (I John 4:1).  The apostle Paul said of the Bereans that “None were more noble than these, for upon receiving a teaching, they would take it back to the Scriptures to see if these things were true.”

Are you personally familiar with the Bible Scriptures?  It is much to your advantage to be so!  Read two chapters in the Old Testament and one chapter in the New Testament every morning, mark the spot and return there the next day.  In about a year you will have read the entire Bible, then start all over again.  Your character will have so changed in that year that it will seem as though you are reading a whole new Book the second, and third time around!  It will work like that for as long as you live!

You will also find that you are no longer a weak, puny Christian, but vigorous and bold to take the Testimony of Jesus into the marketplace!  We are indeed what we eat.

JWV

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The Age Which Is To Come, and the Sons of God

by on Nov.02, 2009, under Sonship

We have looked previously at Bible prophesy concerning the “end times”, which sometimes is called “the end of the age”.  Today we’ll look at the age which is to come, following the culmination of the one we are presently living in.  There are some references you can peruse in your bible, or go to www.Biblegateway.com, if you don’t have one yet. Trust me, you are going to want to have one).  I believe we are in a transition between two ages!

For those who do have some familiarity with the Scriptures, the apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesians after he had established a church there said, “And raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:7).  There are several other references to the age, or”ages to come” as seen above, in Matthew 12:32, and Hebrews 6:5 ( both of which were stern warnings concerning those who blaspheme or lie about His Holy Spirit, and concerning those who once receive the Spirit and taste the good things of the age to come, and then fall away from that life).

There have been a number of “ages” mentioned in the Bible, and in all of them, there is very little to be able to delineate between one age and the next; for there was no flash of lightning and thundering of the heavens (most generally) to mark that some great thing had passed in the Spiritual realm.  It simply happened and you almost have to look back at history to see that something incredible took place.

THE EARTH’S  “AGES” AS THE BIBLE DESCRIBES THEM

The first age was from Adam to Moses.  It might be described as the age in which there was no law, for the Ten Commandments had not been given yet.  Men were judged by God according to what they could see of Him in all of nature.  Romans 1:18-24 speaks of this.

The second age started from Moses, through whom God gave the Ten Commandments.  Actually there were many hundreds, even thousands of these laws, but generally they are condensed down into ten principals.  God set a societal standard and people after that were judged accordingly.  Righteousness (and a healthy society) was determined by keeping God’s laws.

That age of the law ended with John the Baptist, who ushered in the Messiah Jesus, and the age of grace.  Jesus was the High Priest of a new order of things, in which the old priesthood that came with the commandments changed, as did the law also.  Paul again quoted the Old Testament prophets who wrote of this change;

“Behold, days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;

Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt;

For they did not continue in My covenant, and I did not care for them, says the Lord.  For this is the covenant that I will make with the

house of Israel and the house of Judah after those days, says the Lord;

I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them upon their hearts.  And I will be their God and they shall be My people.

And they shall not teach every one his fellow citizen, and every one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me,

From the least to the greatest of them.  For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”

“When He said, ‘a new covenant’, He has made the first obsolete.  But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.”

(Hebrews 8:8-13)

Simply, the age of the old covenant with the Jews was over.  They did not keep it, and indeed were unable to keep it (by God’s design).  For when God gave the law He designed it in such a way that it pointed to mankind’s desperate need for the promised Messiah, for forgiveness of sin; and that is only found in Jesus Christ.

The new age  or “new covenant” (for it is a covenant by and with God Himself, and concerning mankind) in Messiah Jesus is usually called the age of grace.  It was pronounced by repentance of sin, of forgiveness of those sins, and an infilling of the Holy Spirit of Jesus in the believer.  The Holy Spirit changes believers from the inside out!  The Old Testament prophesy above describes this perfectly.  It is taken from Jeremiah 31:31-34.

We have spoken in previous posts here of the season of the end of this present age of grace ( most especially in “Introductions”, “Sons of God,” and “Sons of the Times”), if you’d like to review or are new and would like to catch up, please do.  Like all the ages previous to this one we live in, it also has an end.  But where to from here?  Bible prophecy reveals that also.  It is incredibly interesting to us, because we are living the season of the end of one age and the beginning of another one!  Quite literally, we are living in the transition period.

THE AGE TO COME

The age to come encompasses and follows the season that the Bible refers to as “the end times”, and it might be described as an age in which the Sons of God begin rule in some very real fashion upon the earth, with a “rod of iron”.  This can be most easily be seen in Revelation 2:25-29, where Jesus Himself says,

“Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.  And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations;

and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father;

And I shall give him the morning star.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

While we may not at this time have much of a frame of reference with which to understand fully what is being said here, and mostly these Scriptures are ignored by the present church.  Yet  it is part of the Bible, and therefore something Christians (and the rest of the world) are going to experience.  Do we dare to use the same terminology that Jesus Himself used?  “To those who have an ear”, we are in this present day in an amazing  period.   The dictionary describes “transition” as a development that forms part of an ordered progression.  It is a time-frame which the Almighty Himself has ordered, and describes in the Bible.    During this time, what the Scriptures refer to as the “saints,” “true believers,” “sons of God” are being revealed!

THE SAINTS, OR GOD’S SONS, IN THE AGE TO COME

Quietly, without any Hollywood fanfare, they are being shown to be what they are, by what they do.  What they do, is in obedience to the Father.  We spoke of this previously, so will not detail much at this here.  Go back and pick up from the beginning of these easy to read posts.  Simply put, Jesus described them this way,

“If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.  By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”

“Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.”

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.  This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.  You are My friends, if you do what I command you.”

(John 15:7-13)

It may not be the best likeness out there, but is the best I have, it is as simple as those incredible American military men and women who, having lived in a land of freedom, are not too proud to go overseas and fight against evil men who have long enslaved others within the dominion of their own evil.  These quiet individuals, where ever they have gone, have fought, suffered incredible wounds and sometimes died, so that others might live.  These too have over the years besides the sometimes intense fighting, built, or re-built the infrastructure of the nations they’ve been sent to defend; roads, bridges, schools, fresh water, sewage, electrical power, business, functional police departments, and government.  It seems the news of these things never get as far as America’s media, for generally it’s not sensational enough according to existing media standards.   But the quiet job they have done and continue to do is a lot like what the sons of God are opening up into!  And that (what they do) for God’s own, is in whatever and wherever their sphere of influence takes them.  They might be nurses, cops, firemen, tradesmen, paramedics, veterinarians, truck-drivers, house-wives or whatever.  Wherever they go, they take the gospel of the Kingdom of God with them (to the market-place) in deed and in word.

And wherever they go, God sets these; His sons and daughters, in a place where (usually one-on-one), someone is ready to listen.  The Holy Spirit arranges such that someone’s hungry heart is open and in the ensuing conversation the gospel is passed, in word and in deed.  Effective prayer takes place, and a life is changed forever; the enemy loses one, and the Kingdom of God gains one!

Romans 8:18-39 describes in some detail this hope and interaction;

“For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.  And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body….”

The truth of the matter is, if you summed up all the best of what world has to offer, it is at best a ruin, for it was built in fallen state, and mankind is a fallen race of people.

GOD’S SONS, REVEALED NOT IN “CHURCH” BUT IN THE MARKET-PLACE

While the Sons of God are, and are to be the revelation of God on the earth, (“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27) there is an opposition: The opposite side of the coin is the best the world presently has to offer, and it is also described in Scripture; that by one single word.  That moniker in Biblical terms is “Babylon”.  See Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51, and Revelation 18 in the Bible.  In both places it describes the entity as–well, if you look on all the earth today for a likeness of this, the only thing that fits is the international corporate business structure!  In both accounts in the Bible the prophecies concerning Babylon indicate it is going to be destroyed.  That happens within the time-frame of the transitory time we presently live in.

It doesn’t take much to see, “Babylon” today is dying.    Those in the highest places of the corporate structure know this.  The unspoken fear is, there is nothing out there to replace it.

Simultaneously, the sons of God are being revealed (and this by what they do).  God’s sons and daughters are walking out the Gospel, not in “church”, but in the market-place!

Daniel prophesied of this time in the 6th century BC.  In chapter 7 he accurately described the major nations on the earth today; the United States, Russia, China, and the International Corporate System.  Of these, he predicted that all dominion would be taken away from the first three, yet an extension of life was given to them for a period of time.  Of the fourth “kindom”, it was slain and fed to the burning fire.  (We looked at this in some detail in a previous post “What’s a Son of God Do?”)

During this present season the passing away of “Babylon” is tremendously evident in the United States, where all the wealth of this nation seems to have fled to China.  Their GNP has grown at a rate of more than 10% each year for the past ten years.  They will soon pass the USA in wealth, numbers of individual millionaires and billionaires.  Presently it seems that the Chinese (since the last monetary crisis and failure of banks in the US) are the majority that are buying up the stocks and banks in America.  What they don’t realize is their problem; that they are tied to the same international banking system the United States is.  Most of the wealth of the United States has simply been transferred to China.  For the Chinese it is a new experience, but two things they might not understand.  The new-found financial strength China has come into is being spent in a large part in the Chinese military.    Curiously enough it appears that plays directly into some other Bible prophecy; from the east (across the Euphrates River)has to come an army of 200,000,000 men, who have a date with destiny on a plane called Armageddon, near  Jerusalem.  (see Revelation9, Zechariah 12-14, Joel)  If God allows, we shall examine this in a future post.

The Russian military also seems to have a date with destiny; “on the northern slopes of the mountains of Israel”.  See Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39.  While these events are part of the end times they are here mentioned only as part of the unsettled economic and political environment that we may see in the near future as Babylon dies.  These both play a part when the nation of Israel come to “look upon Him whom they have pierced, and mourn for Him as for an only son.” (Zechariah 12:9-10)  At that time all that is left of Israel will take their place as sons of God, just as is happening to the Christian Gentiles.

Until now, the United States military has provided an umbrella of protection for the nation of Israel.  The unfortunate part of that is that until these nations (Russia and China) come against Israel, the Jewish people cannot see Jesus.  They are blinded to Him, even as the prophet Isaiah spoke of (Isaiah 29:10-14).  They have been reluctant to come (for they both want to control the Middle-East oil) for fear of US military might.  We live in curious, and perilous times!

BIBLE PROPHESY

Returning to Daniel chapter 7,  he prophesied Jesus would be brought before the “Ancient of Days” and to him would be given a kingdom, and all dominion (that same dominion which had been taken away from the four “kings” [the United Stated, Russia, China, and Babylon] as we saw previously).

“And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.  (Daniel 7:14)

A few verses later it explains the vision of the four “kings” from whom all dominion was taken, and then it says, “But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.” (Daniel 7:18) What a statement!

It’s what the Bible says!  It’s not a matter of “my” interpretation, or “your” interpretation of what the scriptures say, for we are bound by the apostle Peter’s admonition, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”  Our problem in western Christianity is that we simply are unfamiliar with the prophecy of the Bible Scriptures, and are all too eager to dismiss anything which does not fit within the narrow confines of our personal doctrines.

The same thing we read before in the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans chapter 8 about the sons of God, is here expanded upon.  It continues on,

“Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.”  (Daniel 7:27 )

The thing is if we have an ear to hear, and eye to see (in the spiritual realm), “Babylon” is dying (present tense).  If we have an ear to hear, and eye to see, God’s sons are rising (present tense) and being revealed.  If we as individuals are going to survive, we have to come out of Babylon so that we do not partake of her sins and destruction!  (Revelation 18:4)   Also, since Babylon is dying, we can no longer think in Babylon-ish terms, and in the ways of Babylon.  That part of our education which has in the past serviced Babylon is not going to help us any more, because God doesn’t think that way.  If we are to survive, we have to change the way we think to the way He thinks!

OUR PRESENT WAY OF THINKING TRANSFORMED!

The easiest way to do that is to walk in the admonition found in the New Testament;

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of you mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:2-3)

We need to think like God thinks.  That happens as we read the Bible!  If we do not read it, we cannot know either what is to come, or what God’s plans are for His own.

Are you going to survive what is to come?  I am!  Not only that, I am looking forward to the most exciting adventure that awaits the Sons of God on this earth.

“For well I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for your welfare and not for woe.  Plans to give you a future and a hope.  When you seek me, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me, and I will change your lot”  (Jeremiah 29:11-14).

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FIRST FRUIT And The SONS OF GOD

by on Oct.05, 2009, under Sonship

First Fruit

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.  For we are the fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.  And who is adequate for these things?”  (II Corinthians 2:14-16)

God placed in the Church teachers to instruct the babes in Christ, to read the Bible as the blueprint of their lives; how to relate to God, to spouses, to children, to  neighbors, and toward civil authorities.  However, Jesus instructed that ultimately for believers, God Himself is their  teacher, through the Holy Spirit, who is within.  That is not call to make light of either teachers or of the Scriptures (for both are a necessary part of Spiritual sustenance).  But on a day-to-day basis, His Spirit within speaks constantly, and wherever a Christian goes, He goes, for by heaven’s design, they (we) are His home, the temple of the Holy Spirit.

In this light I asked Father once to explain the verses above, and He did so by way of invitation.  Susan and I were invited out to the farm of a friend who was a professor of agriculture at a local university, whose specialty had to do with orchard-things like tree-fruits, berries and such.

While on a tour of the place we couldn’t help but notice the incredible fragrance of ripening fruit.  Since he was a Christian brother, I asked him about the term “fragrance” as in the verse above, and also the term “first-fruit” as the Bible used it.  “And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the spirit…” (see Romans 8:23, Exodus 23:16, James 1:18, Revelation 14:4)  His eyes lit up and he related a most phenomenal lesson.

“When you travel down to Florida to the citrus groves, there is a certain time in the growing season that every orchard-ist waits eagerly for; the appearance of first-fruit.  At any time before this, one may walk between the trees and notice that each tree is covered with large green base-balls, be they grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, nectarines or whatever.  Get up on a ladder and they stand row upon row as far as the eye can see sometimes.”

“But the moment comes, when from that ladder, you can spot a single ripened fruit; though it may be the only one on the tree!  A short distance away there is another one on another tree, and not too far away, another.  The reason it is such an exciting time for the farmer is because those “first-fruits” are the sign that the rest of the harvest is about to ripen almost overnight!”

“The first-ripe fruits give off an ethylene gas that cannot be seen or heard, but most certainly it can be sensed by our olfactory nerves.  You may have noticed the smell of vine-ripened tomatoes?  It’s the same thing and they smell wonderful.  In the food industry, however, many producers pick tomatoes green and hard, because that way the shelf-life is extended.  Later in the warehouse, just before shipping to the the grocery markets, the green tomatoes are sprayed with a commercial version of the ethylene gas which causes the packaged fruit to ripen – sort of.  In the store they are easy to tell; partially red, still hard, and when you get them home, they simply do not have the taste of naturally-ripened tomatoes.  It’s a clever idea, but suffers somewhat in the translation.”

Then he led us to a certain tree which was at that time covered with nearly-ripe peaches.  Looking carefully he reached up and picked one, cutting it open and slicing it for us to sample.  It was a white peach and so-o-o-o sweet.  “This beauty” he continued, “is one that most every peach farmer keeps for his own use.  You do not even need sugar to can it, as sweet as it is!”

“Why don’t you see it in the stores?” my wife asked (she did all the grocery shopping).

“That’s another good question!  This kind doesn’t have first-fruit, and it ripens over a three or four week period of time.  You cannot do that commercially for you have to get the laborers in and out quickly to maximize profit, if there is any.”

“We Christians need to understand something.  That sweet fragrance of the first-fruit is a spiritual thing, almost like the gas, you cannot see it, yet in a sense, you can.  The fruit is described in Galatians, chapter five; bad or rotten fruit is immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery…envy, drunkenness, and so forth (see Galatians 5:19-21).  Good fruit is ‘…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things as these there is no law'”. (Galatians 5:22-23)

“I think,” he continued, “that the church as a rule, has it all wrong.  You cannot ‘go to church’ and give off the scent of Jesus Christ, which is what love, joy, and peace, really is.  You rarely see miracles happen in “Church”, but rather they happen most frequently out in the market-place.  No, but you are the church.  When you wake up in the morning, you are the church.  Go to bed at night and you are still the church.  In the work-place, you work shoulder to shoulder with a person you have to be patient with you are church, or if you are faithful to your spouse when a good-looking person of the opposite gender walks by and gives you the eye…, well, people watch you when they know you are a Christian.  You are the Church 24/7/365 days a year.   The first-fruit is there in you or it’s not!  And it is a daily choice we make.”

“Do you see it?  When you have the fruit of the Spirit of Jesus in you; love joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, you give off the sweet fragrance of Christ to the people around you.  They recognize it for what it is and without you saying a word, it causes them to “ripen”.  Whether in a short time or down the road, they will someday know that they have experienced a contact with God, through you!  That’s what it means when the scriptures say that “Christ in you is the hope of Glory” (Colossians 1:27).

“The sweet fragrance of Christ in you is, to the hard unbeliever, just like the ethylene gas is to the rest of the hard, green fruit!  Does that make sense?”

I nodded thoughtfully, and determined to take this home and live it.

Some years later I was remodeling an aging mall in our home town.  The time came I called the boss and asked him to send me another carpenter on the following day.  “Can you use one today?” he asked?

“Sure, send him out!”

I was up on the roof working on skylights over the commons area when Rick showed up.  Rick was a large, tough man, who had previously done prison-time.  He also had a great and peculiar sense of humor, and was particularly proud of his twin daughters, whom his mother was helping him raise.  “Well, there went the neighborhood, I’m your new carpenter!” he grinned as he padded up.

We talked a bit, about the job, what I wanted him to do, and caught up on the doings of common acquaintances.  He floored me with his next question.  “Jim, I’ve got a question; what is it about you?  I’ve been watching you for almost five years now.  All the Supervisors of this outfit are different, but you…well you…you’re different!  You are always at peace.  It’s not like you don’t have problems, but you never lose your cool.  Nothing ever bothers you…you just take it all in stride.  What is is about you?  What kind of sauce are you on?”

I knew of course what he was talking about but said, “Well, I really don’t know what you are talking about Rick.  Unless it is that one day about 25 years ago, Jesus Christ whispered my name, came into my life, forgave me all my sins, and now lives inside me.  Is that what you see?”

Ricky actually paled.  I don’t think I could have hit him any harder with a baseball bat.  “Yep, that’s it!  Well I better get to work…”

It was a curious conversation and neither of us pursued it.  Several weeks later, his mission accomplished on the site, I sent him back to the office, and off to another job.

About six months later, I again called the office for a carpenter and a couple of laborers to prep for a concrete pour.  Guess who showed up again?  Although we had about 20 skilled craftsmen, it was Ricky who walked up.   And the conversation took up where we had left off more that six months earlier.

“Hey Jim, just so you know, this weekend, I’m going to do something I really don’t want to do.  I’m going to walk down the aisle at church.”

“Well congratulations, Ricky, you’re finally going to get married again!”

“NO WAY, no, nothing like that!” His great grin sparkled.  “But I promised my Mama two things; first as long as she was alive, I would never do anything to go to jail again, and second,  someday I would walk down the aisle with her and get saved.  She’s getting older and not doing too well, so I’m going to do that with her on Sunday!”

I looked at him with astonishment.

“Just so you know, I had to see Jesus Christ in someone else that was a man.  You got it, Jim, He is all over you!  I gotta have what you have.  I got to have peace!”

I grinned but have to admit, tears began to float when I turned away.  Did this have anything to do with “first-fruit?  I believe it actually did!

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.  For we are the fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.  And who is adequate for these things?”  (II Corinthians 2:14-16)

Monday morning Ricky showed up 45 minutes before work, sat in his truck reading a brand-new Bible.  He had a gospel grin on him and has not been the same since!

JWV

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God’s Mature Sons and America!

by on Sep.15, 2009, under Sonship

America is no stranger to adversity.  Neither are most Americans.  One has only to look at history to see what happens when you back Americans up against a wall.  Check out the last several hundred years and the wars we have been involved in, and count the dictators we have unseated.  But today our enemy is not “over there”.  Rather it is within.

Up until recently, a generation being about 40 years,  most Americans have had a very strong foundation upon which to base and build.  That same foundation being what was to the rest of the world, an incredible base of relationship with God.  And it has been until more recent generations, the basis upon which most all decisions, political, military,  social, and economic, were decided in this country.

According to the Department of Commerce’s US Statistical survey, most Americans today are Christian or Jewish, and with a Judeao-Christian ethic (about 70 %, with those of Jewish faith at 2% of that).  Minority religions  are still what they are (a small minority); and may I include the extremely tiny but very vocal liberal broadside media with all their opinions within this terminology? I am also including most of our educational processes when using the term “media”). If you wonder about that statement, simply turn on the television, or open a newspaper or magazine, and search for any conservative opinion.  That which was once “conservative” has been beaten down, watered down, and is at best a “plausible denial”; they are simply non-existent any more.  America’s children as a rule are being trained by a liberal media and education, and taught to believe in nothing–except possibly themselves.

Today the term “God” is used (in the media) to describe any spiritual understanding of any kind; “Allah” though he is (according to the Bible) a “prince of Persia” {Daniel 10:13, 20}) is actually a spiritual being worshiped by many as “God” though he is not God Almighty.  Muslims live and die in fear, and can never experience forgiveness of sin.   Buddhism (a vague state of being to be attained to) finds it’s focus for most adherents in a stone statue of an individual that is to them “God”.  Two major “Gods” of today, but what has happened to the genuine, American, apple-pie and motherhood, day-by-day relationship with the Almighty God?  Is all this gone?  It would appear that is very close to the truth.

But the largest religion in America presently is evangelistic Christians.  With very few exceptions this 68% of this once-great country believes in something advertised by many churches as teaching “based on the Bible”.  By and large, most of the faithful of that persuasion have absolutely no clue as to what the Bible says, but only certain differing doctrines.  Rather that particular faith has lost what their grandparents had in terms of relationship with God and today buy into “doctrine”, or human invention which is merely a dead-bones skeleton of something the scriptures say.  Can these bones live? the prophet was asked.  “Only you know” he replied.

Before I retired from the construction industry, one of the last jobs I held was the supervisor of a Life-Safety Building Contract in which four schools in one district were simultaneously remodeled (new roofs, new mechanicals, windows, doors, ceilings, kitchens, baths, etc).  Monthly, there was a meeting of the principals of the contract including the Architect, General Contractor, all the various sub-contractors, and the School District Supervisor, in which scheduling, payment, safety, and contract issues were addressed.  I got to know the School District Supervisor  (as a friend), and once asked him, “What is the most pressing issue that you have and presently face concerning your students today?”

The gentleman had started 30+ years ago as a math teacher, and had worked his way up to his present position.  He thought for a while, pushed his plate away, and spoke seriously, with a glint of moisture in his eyes.  “In the last twenty five years Jim, I have watched as every five years or so, the measures of scholarship and the scores for student application to college have been devalued in the public school system.  Today we have to graduate young people who cannot read, who cannot write, and who cannot do the simplest arithmetic problem.   What they do know is that their middle name is “God” and the world owes them a living that is going to be handed to them on a silver platter, simply because they exist!”

I looked with astonishment at this passionate individual who loved his job, the students, and his fellow teachers.  I looked at a man who was frustrated by the system that he had to work in.  “Jim, how can I retire and leave them to the wolves?”  He left then, without another word, floating on his emotions.  I had pricked this very unusual man’s  heart, and was myself unable to speak for some time.  The last of my own children had just left home some weeks before, and I swallowed hard.  Could they survive?  What has happened to our children, who have been educated by “the Media?”  I know for a fact every Christian value that my wife and I instilled in our children was undercut and ridiculed by the public school system.

So what has America become?  There is an uncanny description of the American Denominational Religion described in the Book of Revelation.

It is written;

“The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this;

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot.

So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’

And you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,

I advise you to buy gold from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments,

That you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed;

And eye-salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore and repent.

Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door,

I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me.

He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on my throne,

As I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

(Revelation 3:14-22)

Americans are no strangers to adversity.  But can they find their way back to Jesus Christ, and to the one God Almighty, who holds out his hand and says,

“Well I know the plans I have for you, for your well fare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope…And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for me, when you search with all your heart.  And I will be found by you, declares the Lord…”  (Jeremiah 29:11-14).

You cannot open the Bible to any book of the Old Testament and not find a place where the Jews of old did exactly the same thing that America is presently doing; turning away from God.  Every time, God sent prophets to warn them to return to Him.  If they did return, He blessed them.  If they did not, He let them be captured by their enemies and forced to a life of slavery.  America’s enemies?  They presently occupy the highest offices in the land.  What do you suppose the prophets are (or should be) saying to the people of this country?

If they will not say it for fear of offending somebody, then I will, for I am long past caring about such things.  Repent therefore, and return to the incredible relationship with God that your grandparent’s generation had…and were blessed for!  May be the face of God will once again shine upon you!  Read the Bible for yourself!  Don’t let your relationship with God be strained through your pastor!  It’s a personal thing between you and God!  Your grandparents did it–you can do it!  Be a son of God! (Romans 8:19-39)  Seek His face today!  Wise men still do.

JWV

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On Getting “Caught Up”

by on Aug.25, 2009, under Biblical Truths

There is probably no doctrine more ferociously divisive in the Christian Church than the concept of “Rapture”.  The term actually must called extra-Biblical, that is, not to be found in the Bible.  So I’d like to take a look at where the concept came from, rather, if we can, be as the Apostle Paul admonished his spiritual son Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15)

Jesus put together one body of Christ, and all Christian denominations effectively separate or divide that one Body.  Such divisions are shameful at best, but trying to reverse it and having unity at the cost of truth is equally so.  Generally we deal with this doctrine in one of two ways; 1st to accept it unconditionally because it is what is being taught, or 2nd to put it on the shelf, not understanding it well enough to take a stand on it (after all, it is “end-time” stuff, right?)

Actually there is such a theological fog around this particular doctrine that we wonder, as Pilate asked before he judged Jesus; “What is truth?”

What exactly does the scripture say?

One of the easiest ways to understand something in the Bible is to do a word study, and see how a thing is used in context.  And probably one of the best tools for that is a concordance; like Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.  In some ways like a dictionary, it goes into the meaning of the original verbiage, as best the language scholars understand.  Not generally given to opinions (as theological Bible Commentaries are), the Concordance generally gives an exhaustive understanding of the meanings of words in the Bible.  (There’s a simple one in Biblegateway.com, click on “Passage Lookup”, although it is without the language study.)

The words “caught up” from whence the term “rapture” is politically sourced, is used only five times in the New Testament.  Each time the Greek word “harpazo” (har-pad-zo) is used, which is taken from a root word meaning “to take for one’s self, to prefer–choose.”  It is used  variously “to seize–catch (up, away), pluck, pull, take by force.”

It is a curious precedent and used two times in the Old Testament, Genesis 5:24, where “Enoch walked with God, and he was not for God took him.”

The second time in the Old Testament is  in II Kings 2:12, where the prophet Elijah was taken up to heaven in front of his replacement, Elisha.

A third account(s) is given in the New Testament; Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, Acts 1:9-11, where Jesus Himself was received into heaven after speaking for the last time to His followers.

But let’s peruse the context, how the term “caught up”; the Greek word harpazo is used( five times) in the New Testament.

A DISCIPLE NAMED PHILLIP IS “CAUGHT UP”

The first one is found in Acts 8:26-40.  A certain disciple named Philip was told by the Holy Spirit to go join a chariot in which an important Ethiopian official (who had been visiting Jerusalem and was traveling back home).  On the way he was puzzling over a certain passage from Isaiah the Prophet.  After Philip had joined the chariot and explained the scriptures and answered the official’s questions, they stopped at some water, Philip baptized him,  “And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away; and the eunuch saw him no more, but went on his way rejoicing.  But Philip found himself at Azotus; and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities, until he came to Caeserea.”

THE APOSTLE PAUL IS “CAUGHT UP” (x2)

The next two are found in II Corinthians, where the Apostle Paul is giving an account of a personal experience of this type.  “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body I cannot tell, or out of the body I cannot tell;  God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.  And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell; God knows:) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which is not lawful for a man to utter. ”  (II Corinthians 12:2-4)

CERTAIN BELIEVERS ARE “CAUGHT UP”

The fourth account is also given by Paul to the Thessalonians, and is the primary source of the political doctrine of the “rapture”.  “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.” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

We’ll look at the fifth account of being “caught up” momentarily, but first let’s summarize a bit.

TRADING SCRIPTURAL TRUTH FOR DENOMINATIONAL DOCTRINE AND TRADITION

Taken by itself, as an official denominational doctrine the “rapture” produces a most unfortunate fruit; causing many Christians to sit on their hind ends, waiting for the experience to happen.  As opposed rather our instructions from Jesus Himself that we be effective and relative in our individual spheres of influence.  Possibly it was never meant to do that, by those pastors and teachers who hold it so dearly, but simply look at the life-style of those who buy into it!  No judgment, test and see!  Observe!  Generally the doctrine produces a fruitlessness in the life of the believer!  Why?  Because the specific Scripture verse is separated out and made a doctrine.  The best it can be is skeletal, lacking biblical substance.  It causes a precarious and  unbalanced understanding in light of the rest of the Bible.

Rather let the whole of the Scriptures speak!  If every account of the end-times is taken into consideration (including this one, and hundreds of others), an incredible tapestry is unfolded and set on display for all who have eyes to see.  The mistake we have made, is to put our weak and puny human doctrine and traditions before the word of God.  We have so seriously erred!  We stand before God almost as the Pharisees of whom Jesus said; “thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down…’ (Mark 7:13)

Correcting ourselves, while we cannot at this time cover all of the end-time scriptures; it’s a season, remember, one which includes certain saints ruling with Jesus for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4).   But let’s take a look at two other verses that are part of this end-time scenario.  The first is from Daniel chapter 7, in which the entire chapter describes this season, and chronicles two incredible things; 1st that all dominion, all authority, and all rule is taken from the nations and kingdoms of the world, and given to Jesus, who receives the kingdom of God.  The phenomenal corollary that follows, is that He in turn gives all His dominion, and the Kingdom to His sons, saints, true believers!  Please don’t take my word for it, read it for yourself. We have spoken in other posts here about God’s sons, and their function of ruler ship over the nations in the end-time season.  That does not fit with the skeletal, dry-bones doctrinal concept of “rapture”, but it certainly does fit the Bible!

The second part of that is the last time in the Bible-scriptures where the term “caught up is used”.  It’s found in Revelation 12.  In the simplicity of these scriptures seen clearly is found an incredible description of the function of the sons of God in this end-time season!

A MALE CHILD “CAUGHT UP” TO GOD

“And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.  And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.”  (Revelation 12:4-5)

Often times when these particular scriptures are taught on, human doctrinal tradition describes the woman here as the virgin Mary, and the male child as Jesus.  But such is not the case.  We shall talk about this more in depth, if God allows, but the woman here is the Church, and the term “male child” is a synonym for young believers or “babes in Christ” who, being at that time immature, are caught up protectively when Jesus returns with his angels and fire (II Thessalonians 17-10).  Yet these also are predestined to rule the nations with a rod of iron, even as Jesus does!  In  verses following (Revelation 12:14-17) the woman, after she gives birth to the male child, is given “the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for…(3 1/2 years)… away from the presence of the serpent.”  (parenthesis in the quotation are mine)

Whenever the scriptures speak of a desert or a desert experience, it has to do with burning, a maturing, a growing up, a transformation in character.  Here it is that all the divisions (denominations) in the Church must fall away in the blistering heat, leaving only the single Body of Christ, or the Church!

Following that in Revelation 12, verse 17 is an account of “the rest of her off-spring” (mature sons of God who fight the good fight) “who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”  These are mature Christian sons and daughters of God who stand tall in the fight against the enemy, devastating Satan wherever he dares to show his head!

No, the doctrine of “rapture” as it is taught today is a serious error.  Being “caught up” as the Scriptures show it, is for those who have completed their mission on earth, and God takes them to heaven, as He did with Enoch, Elijah, and Jesus Christ Himself.  It is also for certain people that God takes into the heavenly realm, as He did with Paul, to enable him to explain spirituality to believers (Paul wrote most of the New Testament as part of his experience herein).  And what we gather from the Scriptures by revelation we can see that being caught up is also for what the Bible calls “babes in Christ” who would be unable to withstand the terrible fire of Jesus’ return.  God’s mature sons are to rule and reign with Jesus.  Biblically it is not their function to be caught up  (see Romans 8:18-39).  All creation waits anxiously for the sons of God to be revealed!

These are revealed simply by what they do.  They may be housewives, or construction-craftsmen.  They may be waitresses, or businessmen, they may be nurses, or technicians, they may be secretaries or motorcyclists, doctors or lawyers; no matter, these walk through their world, through their sphere of influence with the incredible gospel of peace.  They walk in obedience to the Father doing the deeds that Christ role-modeled for them saying, “Truly, truly I say to you he who believes in me the works that I do, shall he do also; and greater things than these shall you do, because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12)  Quietly, without Hollywood fanfare, men and women of God take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the street, to wherever they work, play, or go to school.  And He makes a way where there is no way!  In their own way and according to their own gifts they feed the hungry, pray for and heal the sick, they break every yoke of bondage.  In a word, they kick the devil’s butt!

These are God’s incredible sons and daughters.

JWV

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What’s A Son Of God Do?

by on Jul.30, 2009, under Sonship

The Bible tells us that there is a specific purpose and function that a son of God is to carry out.  Simply put (and from the scriptures of course), it is to rule.  It is an incredible responsibility–and privilege!  We are all children of God, but we are not yet all sons of God.  Mature sons function in obedience to the Father!

“Nevertheless, what you have, hold fast until I come.  And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.”  (Revelation 2:25-29)

The main thing that saints or sons of God do is to rule and reign on this earth; presently by effective prayer, in a way that changes crisis situations into something that aligns more with God’s written word as found in the Bible scriptures.  (see Romans 8:18-39 for a comprehensive explanation).  The entire creation longs for the sons of God to be revealed!

While this doesn’t fit easily within the most popular Christian denominational doctrines today, it does fit the times, and it does help us understand a small part of God’s plans for the fallen race of mankind.  Denominations (divisions) of the Body of Christ are going to die when what the Scriptures refer to as “Babylon” dies (See the previous post, “What’s Prayer For?”).  What’s left after that, for Father said He was going to “remove sinners from the earth”, are common ordinary people who have never heard the gospel before.  They remain because God wants His house full!   Those who shall rule at that time are variously called by the scriptures as “saints”, “over-comers”, or “sons of God”.

If you are uncomfortable in regards to your relationship with God, or your lack thereof, may I make an urgent suggestion that you begin reading the Bible and doing what it says to do?  How much time does this world have left?  Or can I make it more personal; how much time do you have left, inasmuch as your next breath is in God’s hand?  Given the curious times we presently live in, sometimes referred to in the Scripture as “the tribulations”, or the times of trouble, the clever thing to do is to listen to what Jesus spoke of; knowing the end of the age, by the signs that we see (Matthew 16:3).   Only a foolish person can, upon reading descriptions of these times written in the Bible (and comparing it to today’s present troubles) dismiss it all with a summary wave of the hand.  Let’s take a for-instance.

BRINGING ANCIENT PROPHECY INTO TODAY

In Daniel chapter 7 there is a phenomenal description of the United States (Dan 7:4), of Russia (Dan 7:5), and of China (Dan 7:6).  Generations previous to the past two understood these descriptions and used them frequently in political cartoons; the USA depicted as Uncle Sam, Russia as the Bear, and China as the black leopard or dragon.  They (previous generations) seemed puzzled by the “forth beast” (see Daniel 7:17 which explains a bit of the verbiage used by the Holy Spirit here), because the international corporate system at that time was just a seed; and (the forth beast of this chapter) did not exist to the extent that it does now.  It did not have the power or authority that it has today, “making alterations in times and in law”.

Long story short, Daniel records something that he saw in visions, but did not fully understand.  Yet it was so real to him as to scare the bejeebers out of him, and became one of the reasons he wrote the vision down.  It also became part of the Bible.

Of the first three “beasts” (or “kings” as verse seventeen explains) it is written of the USA, Russia, and China, “as for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.”  Dominion has to do with ruling over one’s self, and as you can well see, America’s dominion has already been taken by the great international corporate system, and many of our state and federal government officials have “drunk the kool-aid” and bow the knee to that entity.

There is also an incredible description of the liberal media written here (see Daniel 7:8, 11, 20-21, 25) “a small horn…a mouth uttering great boasts”, and which makes war on the saints.   It “the small horn”, is described as part of the forth beast, and in it’s time, it is “destroyed and given to the burning fire.”  (I wonder what CBS, and CNBC, etc are going to think about that?  Is it hot under your collar yet?)

Following that is a chronology (in Daniel 7) in which Jesus is presented before the Father in the heavenly realm; and to Him was given all dominion (recently taken from the first three “beasts” and given to the forth beast, which is destroyed by fire).

BIBLICAL FIRE!

Speaking of fire here, I’d like to pause to reflect on another Scripture verse which speaks of Jesus’ return; “…when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction (that’s a long time), away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed–for our testimony to you was believed. ” (II Thessalonians 1:7-10, italics mine)

All of this and much more take place in “the end times”, or at the end of the age, which we appear to be living in.  I described previously that “the end time”  is more of a season than a specific day.  While these are spiritual things taking place, they do have their physical outpourings.  We”ll touch more on that shortly.

Again in the book of Daniel, chapter 7 (it’s not long, but is jam-packed with information), to Jesus is given a kingdom which will not pass away, an everlasting dominion which will not be destroyed.  Has this already happened?  How many of you are already part of His kingdom?  Then is written probably one of the strangest verses in the Bible; made more curious inasmuch as there is little frame of reference in the physical realm by which to understand, but only the scriptures;  for Jesus then turns and gives all of His dominion to…His saints!

Saints!  Overcomers! True believers!  Sons of God!

“But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.” (Dan 7:18)

“I kept looking and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.” (Daniel 7:22)

“Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One;  His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.” (Daniel 7:26-27)  Also see Romans 8:18-39, Hebrews 12:5-8, and Revelations Chapters 1,2,3.  What an incredible story they tell, and they are not fairy-tales!

WHERE DID YOU GET WHAT YOU BELIEVE?

Now there are a lot of Christians who believe a lot of extra-Biblical stuff about heaven and hell, earth, life and death.  I recently read a certain pastor’s comments about when death comes, that for a trillion years believers are going to live in heaven.  And do what? may I ask, sit on a cloud, play a harp and eat pork-chops?  You think there is something for you to rule over up there?  You can think that if you want, for a short time America is still a “free” nation, and the thought-police haven’t been given their jack-boots and batons yet.  But it does not match up with what the Bible speaks.  God’s sons, the saints, are to bring heaven to earth by effective prayer, according to Jesus’ instructions (See Matthew 6:10).  Most of us know the context of that concept as a prayer we call “the Our Father.”

God’s purpose for man has never changed…not even when the first woman was deceived, and her husband purposefully sinned, unable to trust God for the outcome.  While that needs to be gone into, it’s for a later time.  For now if we simply understand that God does not change, nor has his original plan for Adam changed, even though sin changed the environment of the earth.   God always meant for Adam to rule;  and after Jesus’ death purchased a peculiar people from amongst the gentiles, for His sons to rule, and that with the nature of Christ within them.  So it is in these times; do you have ears to hear? Do you have eyes to see?  Do you have a heart to understand?  Are you presently a son, or getting there?  God has called you to a whole lot more than what denominational Christianity has taught you!  Read the whole Bible!

There is so much to learn and so little time!  Read Daniel chapter 12, and you’ll begin to get a bigger picture.  Did you know that not only are God’s sons (that’s you!)  to “rule” in these times, even to replacing the presently and frequently AWOL civil authorities?  But a time is coming when He is going to raise the dead in Christ to help you in that function!  If you put aside all previous understandings (and miss-understandings) of the end times, vs. God’s written plans for His saint/sons, what will be revealed to you is phenomenal!  That’s a big order for all of us have our own personal sets of beliefs, but read the Bible in a vacuum, so to speak, and don’t try to make it fit withing the tiny realm of your belief system!  Start from the beginning, and read all of the scriptures!  You’ll find those that speak of these end-time things (there are many hundreds, thousands of them), and an incredibly wonderful picture is revealed.  I don’t mean trying to squeeze everything into a human invention like “rapture”, but if you can imagine yourself doing such a thing, stand next to God and look at it from His perspective!  According to God’s word, redeemed mankind is given to rule over the gentiles, until they are saved that is, and they allow the Spirit of Christ to rule from within themselves also!

How do you rule?  Well, it begins with a personal relationship with the Father, through Jesus Christ.  If you can’t handle that, well, you’ll have to answer to Him for why His Son Jesus died in vain for you (John 3:16).  Following that is a transformation (Romans 12:2) “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”  That means to start thinking like God thinks.  Remember this is a kingdom, not a democracy.  Opinions don’t count in a kingdom; neither yours nor mine.  How about the process of  becoming a son of God?  It usually requires fire…hard times (see Hebrews 12:4-13)!  Are you still here? or are you planning on getting “raptured” out?  Getting caught up is for babes in Christ, not for the mature saints and sons of God!  Before I left home, my dad used to tell me, “Son, grow up!  Act your age!  Be a man!”  Somebody meaningful needs to tell that to the Church!

Heck, until they show up, I’ll do it—“Church!  Grow up!  Act your age!  Be a man or woman of God!  Let go of your Walt Disney doctrines and minuscule understandings!  Read the whole Bible!”  (May I suggest daily reading two chapters in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament, mark it and continue from there tomorrow?)

Read the parable Jesus told of the man who had two sons, and he told them both to go work in his vineyard.  One did, and one didn’t.  Which one was “the son?” (Matthew 21:32).  Jesus compared the church leaders of His day to the disobedient son of the parable, and that tax collectors and whores would enter the kingdom of God before they did.  Can you on the other hand do what He says to do?  The prerequisite for that is knowing the sound of His voice  (John 10:3-5).  Are you (Joe or Jane Christian) like one of these sons?  Which one?  You don’t have to answer to me, but you do have to answer to Him!

Are you still here?

PRAY!

Let’s talk about communicating with God.  Some people call that “prayer”, and it is the way Jesus ruled while He was on earth (He is more than our Savior you know.  He is also our role-model!)  There is a curiosity about Jesus’ prayers.  They were always attached to something previously written in the Scriptures.  In the Bible are thousands of promises that God makes.  All of those promises have an “If…then…” clause to them.  Take a simple one; it has to do with God’s blessing upon his sons;

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this, says the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until there is no more need.”  Do you see the “if…then…clause?  If I tithe my income, which I do, then He will open up the windows of heaven and pour out blessing upon me until there is no more need.  He is doing exactly that!  I do my part, and He does His!  This principle applies to any problem-situation that you can possibly find yourself in, somewhere in that incredible Bible you’ll find at least one promise that God makes concerning it.

Speaking about problems, and lets look at a serious one that affects all of America;  lets talk about politics now.  Not only that, let’s talk about what the Bible scriptures call Over-comers, saints, or God’s sons, and their function in such an arena.  No matter what the political situation America is in presently, and no matter how serious the problems are mounting up against this nation, you can make a difference.  While we all talk about some of the wildly incredible new bills presented by the President, that are being considered by congress, do we talk to God about them?  Seriously now!  I am talking about praying like Jesus prayed; sometimes up all night.  Let me ask you a personal question; do you know what the Bible says about the times we presently live in?  If you are not familiar with them, given the phenomenal descriptions given there, about things and times we are presently living in, isn’t it time you did?  Not only are these things prophesied, but also written therein are God plans and answers to those situations that He showed the prophets would happen!

Are you still here?  Daniel described a king who would rise in the “end times”; and there is an uncanny likeness here to our presently seated United States President.

“And in the latter period of their rule, when the transgressors have run their course, a king will arise, insolent and skilled in intrigue.  And his power will be mighty, but not by his own power, and he will corrupt to an extraordinary degree and prosper and perform his will; He will destroy mighty men and the holy people.  And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; and he will magnify himself in his heart, and he will destroy many while they are at ease.  He will even oppose the Prince of princes, but he will be broken without human agency.  And the vision of the evenings and mornings which has been told is true; But keep the vision secret, for it pertains to many days in the future.” (Daniel 8:23-26)

Now you can blow that off if you choose, but look!  The book of Daniel was written in the 6th century B.C.  We live in what was at that time–their future. On the President’s “Health-Care Bill” that is presently before congress, on page 425, the government will require everyone who is on social security to undergo a counseling session every five years with the objective of explaining to them just how to end their own life earlier.  Euthanasia?  Most Americans wanted change, but for the better!  Are you kidding?  Add tax-payer funded abortions to that also.  So we Americans become accomplices with the executioners of the unborn by paying taxes?  (see www.fredthompsonshow.com,  also see http://www.defendyourhealthcare.us/Fred Thompson: Interviews.  And again, http:www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmmiwHw8bNg.

According to statistics in page 221 of Newt Gingrich’s “Real Change”, for AIDS/HIV patients in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties in Florida, medical bills to tax-payer funded Medicaid alone were over $487 million for just six months.  Think about it when tax-payers get to foot the bill for all AIDS/HIV patients in the United States, 24/7/365!  This also is part of the new “Health Care Bill” presently before congress.  The founding fathers of this country designed checks and balances into America’s government.  Given that election-year is coming up for many senators and representatives, do you think they might start listening to their constituents?  Do you think God might open their ears if you prayed effectively for them?  Would you also seriously consider communicating to them in some meaningful way?  Some of these political leaders are simply needing to be replaced, but it is also an incredible opportunity for prayer for their repentance and salvation.  God listens to people who pray according to His word you know!  Jesus admonished His believers, “Hold fast what you have until I come…” (Revelation 2:25).  It doesn’t say anything anywhere about giving your country over to the enemy!  He tells us to hold fast!  That requires effort!

So where does a son of God come in here?  The Bible scriptures give perspective and dimension to life and to prayer.  If God assigns you to pray for the salvation of the unrepentant leaders of our country, then do it!  If He tells you to pray for the removal on one, then take the verse where it says “Let his days be few; Let another take his office.” (Psalm 109:8)  Can you find the courage as a son of God to pray God’s words back to Him? and to continue to pray until He changes the situation?   God establishes civil authority.  God also must then correct those servants in civil authority of His who do not walk in His authority.  Most especially so when His appointed “Ambassadors for Christ” (II Corinthians 5:20) return to Him in prayer, and ask for His instructions as to what to do!

We are talking about praying to God Almighty, as the Bible scriptures enjoin God’s sons to do.  It is to the same God Almighty who says of Himself;

“He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.  Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble.  To whom then will you liken Me that I should be his equal? says the Holy One.  Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing.”  (Isaiah 40:23-26)

A self-motivated fool will take things into his own hands, but a son of God will take a problem-situation and put it directly into God’s hands!  That is what effective prayer is all about, and that’s what a saint, an overcomer, a son of God does!  He rules with a rod of iron (Revelation 2:25-29).  God is not made in our image, rather we are made in His.  A believer is effective in his or her prayer only inasmuch as that prayer agrees with God’s long-ago written plans for mankind, found in the Bible.

JWV

7/30/09

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What’s Prayer For?

by on Jul.20, 2009, under Sonship

The only thing needed for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.  (Edmund Burke)

Do you ever talk to God?  Does He ever talk to you?  If you haven’t experienced that yet, how would you like that in your life 24/7/365?  America is in serious trouble.  So is the Christian Church.  It’s time for the sons of God to take their place.  It’s time for genuine, effective, long-term prayer-people to stand and take their place!

Some people call talking to God “prayer”.  I have that in my life, and I work hard at it, listening, talking, listening, asking; communicating.  It’s as Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice, and another’s voice they simply will not follow.”  Now I am no collar-tailed preacher, never went to seminary.  But I believe I know more about the Bible than many preachers I’ve ever met!  I doubt I’d let my daughter marry one if she brought one home.  I feel sorry for most of the pastors and preachers I’ve met.  They simply do not know what the Bible scriptures say.  Not only that, but they have to one day answer to God for their short-coming.  That’s a pretty heavy-duty statement, but look!

I love God, Jesus Christ is my big brother, and because of Him I have lived an incredible life!  Married to a most phenomenal woman, had three kids that have each gone through their hard times, and I’m very proud of them, and I’m now at age 64, starting a whole new life.  I walk-run 4 times a week; 4-6-8-10 miles, work out on the Bowflex the other three days, and work my 7.5 acre “ranch” the rest of the time.  Prayer to me is an incredibly wonderful relationship with Father God.  Several times a week we even have a beer together!  But I am only one person who prays intensely every day.  One person in a combat situation against hundreds, thousands, does not go very far.

Strange as it may seem to “religious” people, effective prayer is the most wonderful, powerful and encompassing function any son of God can experience!  Related more to marching-orders than being a spiritual weapon, prayer is–like a weapon–effective only in the hands of a person trained in it’s use.  In the hands of a master, it’s deadly powerful.  Jesus walked in it every day (sometimes He spent the entire night in prayer with the Father), and with it He changed the environment of a fallen race; He opened the locked doors to the kingdom of God.  Then He went to sit down with the Father, where presently He calls for His disciples to do the same thing He did while He was here on earth!  As distant as that seems in the Christian church today, let’s look at things the way things are for a moment.

In any fine house, when you come in the front door, there is usually a foyer.  Beyond that is a great-room, to the right a dining room, to the left a guest bathroom/ bedroom, and ahead to the right a spacious kitchen and food preparation area.  Continuing on through and to the right is a hall-way leading to the rest of the house; the master-bedroom is on the left, and a staircase both up and down, and straight ahead the laundry-room, and so forth to the rest of the living areas.

In today’s Christianity (at least in America), most believers never in their lifetime, ever seem to get past the foyer of the kingdom of God.   Christians are generally not relative to the world they live in, though they already have both authority and power to change the entire world around them (by effective prayer).  After 36 years a Christian, I believe the reason they don’t is simple; many believers absolutely do not read the Bible on a daily basis.  Nor do they pray effectively.  Those who do, lead an extraordinarily, effective life!  Those who don’t…well, look at the world today!   We have been budgeted by Father to be extraordinary.  He is imploring you today, “Please do not be common!”  Jesus said, “Greater things than these shall you do because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12)  Truly, He meant every word of that!

The statements I’ve made above are not judgmental; no condemnation,  but rather an observation from one who has been “in the field”, praying effectively for over three decades.  I know what effective prayer is because I work at it–every day!  I do what Father assigns me to do.  Am I perfect and a finished product yet?  Not a chance!  Every day I have something new to learn.  But long ago I set my mind to know God’s ways!  He abundantly reveals them to those who seek Him, for He wants us to walk in them!  He wants you!

I recently shared several days of fellowship with a man who was at one time one of my gun-ship pilots in the jungle-combat of Vietnam (I was a crew-chief-door gunner).  While I was both pleasantly surprised and pleased to see that he had become a Christian, I was also tremendously disappointed to see that he had drunk the kool-aid, so to speak, when it came to his mindset as a believer.  He can’t wait to be caught up in the “rapture” and be gone from the earth.  It is a defeated attitude in which perfectly healthy (not wounded) Christians turn their backs to their enemy, take themselves out of  the battle, and sit waiting…for Jesus to come back and do the very job that He commanded His followers to do!  Satan, their enemy usually leaves them alone when believers get like this, because they are absolutely useless in the kingdom of God, and no threat to him.

Defeat and woe don’t fit very well on a man who had so courageously faced a genuine enemy and overcome time after time after time in Vietnam.  I know, because he flew my ship often!  This one had guts!  We faced the “bear” together!  This man I so often admired, looked up to, and followed, going head-to-head in a helicopter gun-ship into enemy fire time, after time, after time.  Outnumbered, out gunned, but never out-classed, we were by that very enemy fire, forged into a team of incredible courage!   What happened?  This man had never turned tail, from anything, not ever!  I know!  Why then should such a steel-hearted, brave son of America do a 180-degree turnabout, a complete change his entire personality?  I think it’s because this one, since he became a Christian, has not read the Bible.  Therefore he cannot pray effectively!  He got his “beliefs” from some very deceived pastors and teachers.  I don’t hold it against him, it’s not even his fault.  He is still my friend.  He just believes what he was taught, and that by people who should know better.  And pastors and teachers should know better!

Courage does not grow on trees, and sometimes it is difficult to come up with.  It’s an exchange of your life for another person’s life.  But what goes on in the physical realm does not always carry over into the Spiritual realm.  (“The weapons of our warfare are not physical, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” II Corinthians 10:4)

What my friend  does “know” about the end times is simply a misunderstanding of God’s word.  I have long thought, but never voiced,  that some well-meaning but genuinely deceived men of the cloth in high places (Bible Colleges and Seminaries) have turned their students into misinformed shepherds, who know how to run a business, but not the Church.  Who are studied up in psychology, philosophy, and other religions, but fall way short on God’s incredible plans.  Any first-year Christian can read the first two chapters in Genesis, and the last two chapters in Revelation, and know a lot of God’s plans.  But few believers seem to be able to read!  It seems that many of these (shepherds and pastors) are familiar with maybe a dozen “classic” (and very basic) scriptures, but ignore the rest of the Bible!  (See Jeremiah 23:1-5)  “Woe to the shepherds…!”

“Dead” sheep are the result of ignorant pastors.  The battle-field of the world is littered with dead sheep carcasses, yet who cares?  Who will be the good Samaritan?  Are you such a one in your marketplace?

Many of us Christians are not very courageous. There is little or no victory in our lives. The Bible says that God gave the earth to man to rule over (Psalm 24:1-2, Psalm 115;16).  It doesn’t say anything about Christian believers walking about, defeated, with their tails between their legs.  Yet that accurately describes many believers today.  You think not?  Look at your own life.  What do you struggle with?  The answer to every problem you can get yourself into is found in the Bible.  Will you simply apply it?

Part of effective prayer is like being in spiritual combat, and it is not without things that have to be overcome; just as in physical combat.  Let me give you a physical for-instance.  During the Vietnam war, from our base-camp in Lai Khe, South Vietnam, our Assault Helicopter Company was on call 24/7/365 for whatever the infantry we were supporting needed; taking them out into the field, supplying food, water, ammunition, medical evacuation, bringing them back in, and so forth.  Often we would have to shoot our way into their LZ (landing zone) to bring their resupply materials, and shoot our way out as well, for those incredible infantrymen were almost always surrounded.  We typically flew from 8 to 12 hours a day, and once back “home”,  then the crew-chiefs and door-gunners had from 4 to 12 more hours of maintenance every night getting our helicopters ready for the next day.  Then sometimes we had to do a midnight medivac of some unfortunate grunt out in the jungle, to get him to the hospital!  Getting him there we did, or died in the process!

We did it, flying right into the jaws of hell itself and spitting in the devil’s eye, because our incredible pilots figured out some way to get us back out of there.  Sometimes at night the enemy would sneak up close enough to our base-camp to barrage us with .82mm mortars or sometimes the huge Chinese-made rockets.  As fearsome as the rockets were (about 10 inches in diameter, and about 6 or 7 feet long), the Vietcong were more than excellent with their mortar-tubes.  They could hand-feed 30 rounds into the piece within 60 seconds.  By the time the last one left the tube and they folded up and disappeared into their tunnels and surrounding jungle, the first round hit the ground (us)…followed by 29 “friends”.  While there wasn’t much sleep on those nights (and sleep was already in short supply for the air-crews), it wasn’t something that caused us to fold up our tails and whimper, no, but rather we would most often scramble a light fire team of gunships to go after them! Our job was to retaliate, and we did!

God’s sons must have the same attitude when it comes to effective prayer.  Wake up sons of God!  The whole of creation waits anxiously for you to be revealed!  (see Romans 8:18-39), www.biblegateway.com.

A VISION

Bringing this to a very real point; the church is presently in a spiritual battle.  And like America today,  it (the Church) is in very serious trouble.  If this country lasts another five years, it will be solely by the grace of God.  The enemy is “inside the compound”, as we used to say in Vietnam.  It may be those difficulties are so large as to be irrecoverable at this point, depending upon how God’s sons react to it.  This morning as I left for my 8-mile run, I was praying, and was given a vision.  In it I walked into a battle-field littered with dead bodies as far as the smoke would allowed me to see.  There was a sound in the back-ground that made my skin crawl and the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  It was a deep, guttural chortling, followed by an almost-silence in which something was being torn, and eaten.  Something large was feeding upon the dead, and it raised it’s head to look (see Revelation 12:9).  In it’s sickening mirth it saw, but ignored me.  Ravens and dark vultures were everywhere, clacking, eating, squabbling, gorging themselves.  What it (the thing) was looking at shocked me even more than the blackened bloody ravages of the field.  For what was in the meadow ahead was incomprehensible.

There was a beautiful church building.  An exceedingly large one.  The parking lot was full of “successful” cars, and they shined spotlessly.  I drifted in the front door, and there was…quiet… too much quiet!  There was a choir in the background all dressed in beautiful robes, each member holding an open book, every mouth opened, singing faultlessly, beautifully.  I watched, fascinated as they mouthed the words to some wonderful old song; bass, tenors, altos each in their excellently conducted turn.  But curiously there was no sound coming from any of them.  The audience watched in rapt attention, obviously taken in by the whole thing, but what were they listening to?  I got down close to look, thinking maybe I had gone deaf, and there was still no sound, nor were they hearing it, but only pretending to.  Each seemed afraid of…his neighbor???

Presiding from a throne to one side was a white-haired older gentleman in a purple robe trimmed in grey.  He too “listened” in rapt attention, and watched approvingly.  At a given sign, unseen by any but the choir, they folded their books and each in order vacated his or her place and disappeared through an opened door to the side.  The one on the throne rose and took his place at a podium, opened a huge book of his own, and began to read…yet nothing, no sound emanated from his mouth.  I got close enough to him, right in front and was able to lip-read, but there was no sound.  He “spoke” for exactly 40 minutes, at which time he closed the book, spread his arms over the audience in a blessing, gestured dramatically, and abruptly left the room, his robes sweeping behind him.

The audience then, row by row, seemed to awaken, furtively stretched and yawned, quietly filed out, some one nodding to another, none speaking.  Robert’s Rules of Order to perfection.

They got each one in their own “successful” car and left without a backward glance: and even though the gory battle-field came to the edge of the parking lot, they did not “see” it.

The only sound as I drifted back out over the emptying parking lot, was that horribly familiar, choking cackle from the torn field ahead.  It was now as though I had stepped out of a dome of silence, and sound started again.  I looked and the slug-looking thing was holding up a body-part and laughing: laughing hysterically, maniacally, horribly.  It grew to a crescendo of wild, lunatic madness, and it was as though I had just been taken into it’s confidence and shown it’s crowning master-piece.  The thing belched, swallowed, and slithered from the bloody field across the now-empty parking lot and disappeared into the immaculate building, leaving a trail of sludge behind it.

Shivering horribly, I wondered what had I just seen in the spirit?

As I ran, for some time I was troubled and tried to put things into prospective; for the spiritual dream has to have a relationship to something physical on the earth.  Somewhere in 40 years of construction experience, 36 years of functional Christianity, twenty-four months of intense combat, there had to be an answer.  What was God showing me?

Eight miles and two hours later, I returned to my starting place, and stumbled a bit coming up the lane.  But these few things were now clear in my mind;

1.  A church that doesn’t take the gospel to the field (the market-place) is nothing but a religion.  It won’t last in the coming storm!

a)     A christian who leaves that (taking the gospel to the market-place) for a pastor to do is just as ignorant as a pastor who tries to take a “churchy” thing to the market-place.  Neither of them work very well.  Both tend to dishonor the Lord Jesus Christ, for His instructions to his followers were simple, and very personal; “Go into all the earth, and preach the gospel to all mankind.  Making disciples of them, baptizing them…”  The operative here is “you”.  You go into all the earth!  You preach the gospel!  You take it to work with you.  Demonstrate Christ to your peers and seniors.  I know it can be done because I did that successfully for 40 years in my marketplace (the construction industry).  While I never preached on the street-corner, or left tracts in the bathroom, whenever someone who worked for me or with me had a problem of some kind, it most often became an entry point for the gospel.  No one ever criticized me for it because my bosses always made money on my jobs.  A functional Christian is like the goose that laid the golden egg, and the boss knows it!

b)     A Christian who believes the building is the church simply does not read the Bible.  Such a one has no “eyes to see, nor ears to hear”.  How is such a one to answer God on judgment  day for that?  A believer’s main function is to take–and demonstrate the gospel “out there”, and then disciple those whom he introduced it to.  The Pastor and teacher’s  function is to instruct in how to accomplish that!  That is what the Bible says, and church tradition does not usually align with that.  Nor is there any place for a functional believer to input in Church; “when you gather together, let each one have a psalm, a hymn, a teaching a revelation…” (I Corinthians 14:26)

Never before in the history of the world has the Bible, God’s Instruction Manual, been so available to so many, and in so many languages.  Never before in the history of the world has the Bible been so ignored…especially so by Christians! If you think that is not a problem, look at it this way.  Jesus said, “If My word abides in you, and you abide in Me, ask whatever you wish and it shall be done for you.  By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples”. (John 15:7-8)  According to the Bible, you (Joe and Jane Christian) already have the power and authority to change anything in your sphere of influence,  by effective prayer.  So how are we Christians going to explain that to the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah” (He is not coming back as the Lamb of God you know, but with angels and flaming fire.   See II Thessalonians 1:7-9), when He comes?

Given that promise, why, if Christians are indeed praying effectively, is the world in such a mess?  But if on the other hand I actually do that in my market-place and you do that in yours, and every other Christian does that in every place of their sphere of influence, then what will happen to the world around us?  There will be a new heaven and a new earth!  Yet we deceive ourselves with foolish doctrine that is only made up of extra-Biblical understandings, and bits and pieces hodge-podged together as someone pulls it from the context and pages of scriptures.  If we stick our tails between our legs and wait, truly defeated, for “Jesus to return”, what have we accomplished, except to encourage the enemy to boldness!  Read the whole Bible!  We are to occupy and stand up to and defeat the enemy at every turn until Christ returns!

Look at the result of these two shortcomings (ignorance of the Scriptures and lack of effective prayer)!   Jesus Himself said it; “The thief comes only to steal, to kill, and destroy;  I have come that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.”  Well, the thief is here.  He is stealing.  He is killing.  He is destroying.  Christians have the ability to change all that, but have we’ve signed a “peace-treaty” with the devil.

Edmund Burk was right.  “The only thing needed for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.”  God’s sons are good men and women–where are they?

Come on guys!  Get a new life!  You may be only one person, but look at it from Father’s perspective; You are one person, a son of God!

JWV

(To be continued)

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On Being A Hero

by on Jul.14, 2009, under On Being A Hero

Several years ago, my daughter came home with a certain young man and said, “Daddy, there is someone I’d like you to meet!”  Something about what she had just said had a resonance to it that got my immediate attention and I looked long and hard at him.  Inwardly I cringed, for somehow I knew I was about to lose someone I cared for very deeply.

Several weeks later she and I went out to dinner to talk about it.  “Why did you pick this one?  What does he have in him that you want to spend the rest of your life with him?”  She was silent for a long time, poking at her salad.  Finally she put her fork down and looked at me.

“Because Daddy, he is the closest thing I could find to being like you!”

It took a moment for those words to sink in.  I was stunned, and my eyes flooded.  The years of her young life flipped in my mind’s eye like the pages of a picture-album; the day she was born, the move to Urbana, Illinois from Dayton, when she fell off the horse (into a thorn bush), dancing with her daddy at a friend’s wedding (with her standing on my shoes), her first prom, teaching her to drive the car.  Now…a wedding?  What were her chances…no, what were their chances of still being married in five years, ten years down the road?  Now it was my turn to put down the fork, and we shared a long, almost poignant look–that included all of these things.  “Congratulations, Heather!”

That was two years ago, and she and Thom yesterday celebrated their anniversary.  I took a deep breath and adjusted my daily prayers for her to include the new direction, knowing that life is rather a fragile thing, lived one day at a time, without any promises of tomorrow.  Only that if there is one, marriage is a dual promise that the today s–and the tomorrows that do come–are shared experiences.  It seems as though life is made up of every choice made and it’s resulting outcome.  How to make right ones?  One choice at a time, and that one day at a time!

What is a hero?  Can we call these a role-model?  A role-model with all the hopes and dreams of one who recognizes both responsibility and genuine love; a parent, older brother or sister, an uncle/aunt…you’ve probably experienced something like this in your own life!  It simply doesn’t happen without a shared life-experience, and it’s a lot like being a Dad or Mom.  I am a combat veteran, and a decorated one at that.  It’s not boasting, but experience.  I do not know why I am still alive: sometimes I ask Him that.  Someone asked me once after I had given a talk on some of those experiences, “What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever been involved in?”

I was quiet for a bit, and in the longer silence after my answer, you could hear a pin drop.  “Being a Dad or a Mom; sticking with it for the duration, no matter what.  That’s my idea of real, genuine courage!  They know the cost, and refuse to quit, in spite of all.  They are in it for the long haul.  Quitting, though the temptation is sometimes there, is not part of the equation.”  Strangely enough, someone stood up and started to slow-clap, and what followed was a standing ovation.  There was not a dry eye in the place when I sat down (including my own).

Where am I going with this?

Being a son of God, no matter the gender, is a lot like that.  The commitment is for a lifetime.  Unlike a diet, which has a beginning and an end, son-ship is forever, and according to the Bible it passes through death, for according to God’s word there, Jesus is going to return with many thousands of His holy ones; those who have gone before (Jude 14-15).  No, these in this reference are not angels, which He is also returning with (II Thessalonians 1:7-10), but resurrected saints; sons of God who are to return with Him for a specific purpose.  What purpose?

In the book of Revelation, and chapter two, an incredible prophesy is give by Jesus Christ Himself, “Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.  And he who overcomes, and he who keeps my deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:25-29)

Sons of God are given to one day rule the nations, and that not without authority and power.  Are you called to be one of these?  Not on your own, but “with Christ in you the hope of glory”?(Colossians 1:27)  It’s going to cost you.  Maybe it already has.  Sons go through fiery experiences with the Father, that the Bible calls “tribulation”.   They come out on the other end, thinking like God thinks.  Their minds are transformed (see Romans 12:2).  God’s sons are not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of our minds.

No, I didn’t lose a daughter.  Yes I did gain a son!

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Sons Of The Times

by on Jul.07, 2009, under Sons Of The Times

Everyone has heard the expression, “Sun is red the morning, sailors take warning. Sun red at night, sailors delight.”  I’d guess no one knows how long it’s been around, but long enough that it’s referred to in the Bible.  Jesus alluded to it once while chastising the religious leaders of His day.

“And the Pharisees and Sadducee s came up, and testing Him asked Him to show them a sign from Heaven.  But He answered and said to them, ‘…’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”  (Matthew 16:1-4)

Some days later, Jesus’ apostles queried Him about the sign of His coming and the end of the age, and He described those in some detail (Matthew 24:1-51).  Dust off your Bible, or go to www.biblegateway.com and read it for yourself; for it describes today!  It’s an apocalyptic time of wars, and the rise and fall of certain kings and kingdoms, of famines, and tremendous numbers of earthquakes, false prophets, and hard times in general.

There have always been difficulties on this earth, they seem to go with the territory; world wars, tsunamis, hurricanes, and famines scattered here and there, but you’ve got to admit, possibly never to the extent as what the scriptures describe under the “end time” season, until today!

Look for instance in the Book of Daniel, chapter 7, verses 8 and 10, and see if those don’t describe today’s liberal media.

Read (again in the Bible) Daniel 8:22-26, and see if those verses do not describe the presently sitting president of the United States!

The Book of Jeremiah was written even earlier, the late 7th c BC, early 6th c BC; and in chapters 50 and 51 it describes the destruction of ancient Babylon and the deliverance of Israel, then in captivity.  Or does it?  For the apostle John, nearly 700 years later wrote almost a word-for-word description of the same thing (Revelation 18)!  By that time ancient Babylon was long gone.  Though he calls it “Babylon”, what was he really talking about?  If you search the world over today for something that both of these prophets are describing, the only thing that fits today–is the international corporate structure.  An incredible likeness is depicted here!

Today the CEO-corporate structure is dying from the inside out, and the thing the big boys know that no one is talking about is…really most everybody knows it…there is nothing in place to replace it!  Or is there?  We today live in times prophesied of long ago.

In the Old Testament, the prophet Daniel uses a curious terminology describing a principle that in the end, the heavens do rule on earth.  Is he saying that such things as the seriously eroding corporate structure will topple and be replaced by a heavenly one?  Look and see!  This particular incident had to do with a king who prided himself over God, and how God corrected him.  The very thing many individuals do today:  does it follow that an individual, or corporate correction is forthcoming?  I believe there is!

“This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers, and the decision is a command of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whom He wishes and sets over it the lowliest of men…and in that it was commanded to leave the stump with the roots of the tree, your kingdom will be assured to you after you recognize that it is Heaven that rules.”  (Daniel 4:17-26)

It was a serious rebuke, especially given the infraction.  The king became like one of the wild cattle, eating grass in the fields for seven years before his mind was returned to him and he repented.  Even so, Jesus used similar terminology when He instructed His followers to pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hollowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”  (Matthew 6:9-10)

One of the most curious things about God is although it always was His to rule creation, by means of His ownership of creation.  Yet early on He gave it to man to rule on earth (see Genesis 1:24-31, Psalm 24:1-2).  God doesn’t change, “there is no shadow of changing in Him” (James 1:17).  Neither did His plans for man to rule on the earth change, even though sin changed the entire environment; “The heavens are the heavens of the Lord; but the earth He has given to the sons of men.”  (Psalms 115:16).  It took Jesus’ death on a cross, and his resurrection to reverse the process of sin in those who receive that salvation experience!  Those who do are to be called “sons of God”, though some are presently called “babes in Christ”, who must grow up.

The season of what the Bible calls the “end times” is a time of accounting between those who presently rule in any capacity, and God Himself.  Jesus’ return is not going to be as the Lamb of God, but as the Lion.  Have you ever heard a lion roar?  We are going to!  “…when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  And these shall pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed–for our testimony to you was believed.” (II Thessalonians 1:7-10).

God still intends to rule the earth through the hearts of His sons.  We’ll talk about that more, but for now, that has always been His plan, and still is.  That man presently rules, and mostly in his still-sinful state is not hard to see; simply look outside and see what many have done to destroy everything and everybody over which and whom they can find the power to do so.  But it is not with the heart of the Father that man sinful man does this, and it shall not continue.  Therefore God is presently in the process of accomplishing two incredible things;

1.   To raise up for Himself what the Bible refers to as mature “sons of God”.

2.   To prepare those sons in a furnace of affliction, to rule the nations, and that “with a rod of iron” (see Revelation 2:26-29).

These are not my ideas, and nothing I dreamed up.  These are the principles of God’s present, ongoing, and Bibliographically documented Master-plan.  No priest, prophet, king, president, speaker of the house, attorney general, or federal judge can change that or stop it.  No senator nor representative can stop it.  Not all the money in the world can buy Him off.  “The silver is Mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of Hosts”.  (Haggai 2:8).   If a man has it for a short while, in the end, it all goes back to God.  No one can take it with them.  In the end, God will have His way, and if we resist?  Well, while we’re still breathing, we still have a little time to get it right.

Being a son of God is a thing of the spirit which has an interface in the physical realm.  In some ways it’s not too far off of being a United States Marine.  I saw a bumper-sticker recently on the car of the young wife of a deployed Marine.  It said simply, “When Marines die, they go serve in Heaven.  Who else can God trust?”  Sons of God are kind of like that!

JWV

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Sons of God

by on Jun.28, 2009, under Sons of God

Recently during a flight lay-over in Atlanta, I read an article in one of the major news-magazines with a title similar to this one.  While I have no desire to debate the concept of that moniker with the author, I have to remark she took a lot of license in the use of it, describing anyone with a religious mind-set, no matter the persuasion, as a son of the Most High.   It’s rather like calling a dog a cat, or an apple a rock.   America is for the moment at least a free country, and while it remains so, freedom of speech is still a sacred thing.  The concept seems most often abused by the liberal media who have drunk the Kool-aid; whining from a “victim mentality” (to anyone who will listen) as Ann Coulter aptly describes, while in reality pushing an agenda of oppression.

God gets blamed for a lot of things He has no part of.  It’s kind of like calling a terrible storm an “act of God”.  Is it?  Society today has a curious way of looking up to over-educated fools, as though their opinions are somehow in a different classification than their own.  Opinions are like tail-pipes; everybody seems to have one.

Personally, I like to take my life-cues from the bible scriptures.  In 36 years of being a student of Jesus Christ, the word of God (the Bible) has never failed me.  This is from a life-time of personal testimony and experience; it’s not a bookish opinion.  Married for 38 years to the same incredible woman, with whom I raised two daughters and a son, all of whom I am intensely proud, we built our lives together.  We chose to live through our problems instead of separating and trying to circumventing them.  We found that no matter the scope of the situation, it was never too big for our God.  With Him, problems eventually became a stepping-stones, and we found that as Jesus said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5-6, He was quoting from the Old Testament’s Joshua 1:5).  Together we not only survived as a family, but prospered in the process.   Please understand when I speak of prosperity I speak of much, much more than simply financial wealth.

My son commented to me one day as I dropped him off at high-school.  He had recently gotten his driver’s permit, so he was driving the truck, and he shut the ignition off before he shouldered his books.  “You know dad, in my class there are 365 kids, the same number as days in a year.  As far as I know, there are only three of us in that class who have their original parents, and are not from a broken home.”

I looked at him incredulously, “Is that some kind of a joke?”

“No Dad, that’s the way it is.  You and mom are different.  I’m proud of you.  All my friends wish their folks were back together, and they always comment on it.”

Can I tell you about goose-bumps?  This happened to us in one generation?  What had we lost as a people?  I believe we Americans exchanged a relationship with God for religion; pretty, sterile, ritualistic, and relegated “church” to Sunday (or Sunday and Thursday night).

So what exactly is a son of God?  Let’s take a cue from the scriptures, (Matthew 21:28-32)

Jesus spoke an incredible parable of a man who had two sons.  The dad came to the first and told him to go work the day in his vineyard.  The young man said he would, but somehow never seemed to get there.  The man also went to his second son and told him the same thing; to go work in the vineyard.  This one told his dad he was too busy, and had something else to do.  Later, however, his conscience got the best of him, and he repented and did as his father had told him.  Then Jesus asked a curious question; “which one did the will of the father?”  Jesus was asking “which one was the son?”

The answer of course, was not the one who spoke an intent, but the one who did what his father asked him to do.  Jesus was head-to-head with and speaking to the religious leaders of his day, and told them that whores and tax collectors would get into the kingdom of God before they did.

The point is that my wife and I learned the vineyard our heavenly Father given us to work in was at that time; our family.

I used to think Jesus was a loose cannon in the society He lived in.  But such was absolutely not the case.  He was very much a Son connected to the Father, and in that He becomes not only our personal savior, but our role-model.  Forty times in the Gospel of John He made the following similar statements; “I came not to do My own will, but only the will of the Father.”  “I came not to do My own deeds, but only the deeds that the Father gave Me to do.”  “I came not to speak My own words, but only the words the Father gives me to do.”  In my bible, the Gospel of John is forty pages long, so what do you thing He was trying to say?

What is the vineyard the Father has for you to work in?  I’ll bet it’s not in some distant lost land somewhere, but rather you’ll find it within your present sphere of influence; where you work, where you play, your family, your friends.  What is going to be your answer to Him when you get that nagging feeling that’s what He is telling you?  Jesus Christ died and paid the terrible price so that you could have that kind of relationship with your heavenly Father.  Can you handle that?  Can you be a son?

I recently had the wonderful experience of spending the weekend at an old friend’s house, celebrating his son’s wedding.  As a matter of fact, there were three of us there who served in a certain combat helicopter company in Vietnam.  All three of us suffered injuries and had shared some really volatile but rewarding times together.  Here we covered a lot of territory going back 40-some years.  During one conversation, Bud said,”I don’t know were you guys are spiritually, but it is my understanding if we don’t do the things that Jesus did, then we have completely lost our perspective of religion.”   I couldn’t agree more.

Jim Visel

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INTRODUCTION

by on Jun.19, 2009, under Introductions

Introduction

I am a craftsman.  More than that, an artistic one.  I love building things!  Everything I’ve built in the past 40 years; whether a school, university building, church, temple, restaurant;  was and is done in such a way as to give honor to the name of Jesus Christ.  When I grow up, I want to be just like Him!

Look at the things Father-God has built; they are astounding.  Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful things He designed and put together is woman.  There is no form on earth that ever drew a man’s attention more quickly or more positively than that.  Think God is not an architect–an artist–an engineer?  He is incredible.  No building or bridge or highway that man ever created even comes close to that!  And relationship?

No political organization ever came close to that which Father desires, and will have, with and among His sons and daughters.  Yet many even of God’s children are “babes in Christ”, and not yet able to have the kind of relationship that He wants.  Oh we have religion!  But we have little or no relationship.  Never before in the history of the world has God’s Word, the Bible, been so available to so many.  Never before in the history of the world, has the bible been so ignored!  Yet it is the blue-print and specification manual for life itself; for relationship between God and man, between man and woman, and between man and his neighbor.  Everything that God has done, the ways of God today, and everything that He is going to do, is written in those blue-prints.  Yet we are a nation of ignorant people.

I intend to change that!

Even among Christian denominations, different churches buy into maybe ten or twelve classic scripture verses, and the rest of the scriptures of the Bible?  Well they don’t seem to see the light of day.  Go to any church today and see if the pastor doesn’t pick out a single verse of scripture and spend no more than 45 minutes slicing, dicing, and cutting it up into a baby-food diet.  Where a baby in the spiritual realm does need milk and not solid food, does not the word encourage us to grow up and eat solid food?

Christians today do need to be mature sons and daughters of God; given the times and situations that we live in.  Yet many of us never get beyond the milk-toast!  (See I Peter 2:2, I Corinthians 3:2, Hebrews 5: 12-13)  Some say we live in what the scriptures call the “end times.”  If this is so, and given the things that are scheduled to take place during this season, is it not time to grow up?

If you find yourself lacking in that area, may I suggest that you begin every morning with a continuing chapter from the old testament, and one from the new testament?  Ask God to send his holy spirit to teach you during that time.  Personally I’ve been doing that for 36 years.  It’s a living word, and it never is monotonous or out of touch.  It fits today!

Jim Visel

6/16/09

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