Monday, February 24, 2020

Healing: Making Excuses

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

I'm continuing to meditate on our brother Tim's series "To Live Is Christ."  As he writes there,
healing all comes down to "God's word and God's will:" and Tim powerfully affirms that God says
He desires to heal, and will.

Read here.

We probably all have people we're praying healing for: so this is God's good news to us !...if we
will receive it.

What's painfully clear is that we often choose not to receive it.  The first response of those who
hear that good news... including ourselves...is that it's "TOO good to believe."

I find it interesting that we justify our unbelief as "religious:" that if we are not healed it shows
that healing is not "God's will."  The scriptures Tim posted, showing what God says about that,
should emphatically convince us otherwise.

But most interesting is that our "religious" excuse lays claim to the greatest truth of "I AM"...
His absolute sovereignty.  We pride ourselves that our belief in God's sovereignty is so great
we can even forgive Him not doing what He says He wills to, and promises to.  Proud to show
our great love for Him, we want to give God an excuse for not healing.

Does "absolute sovereignty" mean God can choose to not heal ?  Of course.  But He says He
chooses to.

And let's be honest about our excuse.  We don't actually make it to forgive God (could anything
be more perverse than the idea we should, or have standing to, forgive God !?!?); we're actually
trying to excuse ourselves our unbelief.

Will we receive what our sovereign King wills and promises, when we entrench ourselves in a
dishonest (not to say "blasphemous") excuse for our lack of faith in Him ?

A father brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus, and the boy began "terrible convulsions"
in Jesus' Presence.  The father begged Jesus, "...if You can do anything, take pity on us and
help us !"

Jesus said, " 'If you can ?'  All things are possible to him who believes."  Perhaps our first prayer
for healing must be as honest and desperate as the father's plea to Jesus:  "Immediately the boy’s
father cried out and said, 'I do believe; help Thou my unbelief !'..."  (Mark 9:17-27)

That seems the first prayer we should pray for healing.  But we can't pray it until we stop deceiving
ourselves about our own unbelief.


                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Do-It-Yourself Prophecy

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

It's certainly not the full-blown charismata of "prophecy"...not the spiritual gift of devoted listening
to God, and being commissioned by Him, at the time He directs, to publicly announce His words
with a authoritative, "Thus sayeth the Lord God..."

But any Christian who truly knows God, and knowsHis ways in their reality, can, in some small part,
"predict" the future.  God will do what He says He'll do: and anyone who knows what He says He'll
do and believes Him, can "predict" it with complete certainty.

God says He will not be mocked.  When a self-exalting "son of the devil" (John 8:44) announces to
the entire world that Jesus' teaching is false, God will swiftly vindicate Jesus.

That much is certain.  The only question is how many spiritually-deceived Christians have gone over
to the enemy, and are standing with him when God pours out His wrath.


                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

Friday, February 07, 2020

False "Patriots"

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

I've often wanted to ask supporters of the current president, "Would you make a business-deal
with this man ?"  I presume most of those folks are smart enough to know better, and love their
money too much to want to lose it.

I've often thought I'd like to ask those folks if they'd want their daughter to marry the man.  I think
most of them probably love their daughter, and want her to be safe and happy; and would NEVER
want her to marry the current president.

Yet his supporters say they want the man to lead our country, set our nation's course, and determine
America's fate, because they "love" America.

The current president's supporters make themselves willfully blind to reality: but everyone who's less
self-deceived as they are can see that their "patriotism" is hypocrisy and lies.

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              









Satan Stalks the National Prayer Breakfast

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              


Date:  6 February 2020

Place:  National Prayer Breakfast, Washington, D.C.

Theme:  Jesus’ Teaching to “Love Your Enemies”

The current president says he doesn't agree with that teaching, and uses the occasion to attack and
threaten those he (in his self-proclaimed “great and unparalleled wisdom”) considers his enemies.

Christians, wake up !!  You cannot smile and applaud satan’s counter-“gospel,” like the “Christians”
in this photo, and claim that you are Jesus’ follower.

President Addresses National Prayer Breakfast

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

Sunday, February 02, 2020

The Wisdom of Timeliness

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

Derek Prince Ministries' letter this week, and Brother Derek's "legacy" teaching it introduced,
seemed so immediate and personal to me that I've been able to think of nothing else !

The teaching letter was on "reigning with Christ:" and after citing the scriptures which tell us
we will, Brother Derek talked about how we prepare ourselves for that high calling God has
prepared for us.

The first preparation was self-examination on this question: "Is God's Purpose Our Purpose ?"

I haven't read any further yet.  God impressed on my mind that that's not only a true teaching,
but also one I need to respond to now, before going any farther.  We have before us every day
the negative example on that score of "conservative Christians;" so God also impressed on me
that I need to examine all the ideas by which, and for which, I live and work.

(And "God's purpose" is of course the central point on which Brother Derek's seminal teaching
of 40 years ago, "Agreeing With God," was structured.)

So I've really only read in full the introductory letter.  And I note too that it offers another free
pamphlet of Brother Derek's teaching called "Take Heed That You Are Not Deceived."  Nothing
could be more relevant to my recent Bible-study readings and meditations on I John, and their
parallels in Matthew 24: for in the latter, Jesus' discourse on the end-times, and repeatedly
warns the disciples (and us) to not be deceived.

The introductory letter goes on to say the free pamphlet "...expands on one of Derek's key points:
developing a love for truth:"  which is probably my greatest touchstone of all.

Nothing could be more immediately applicable to this time than loving truth, and being on guard
against deception.

And the introductory letter mentions in passing a verse I'd never noticed, on "timeliness:"

Among those who joined David when he was hiding out from King Saul were the sons of Issachar,
"...men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do" (I Chronicles 12:32).

And that verse immediately resonated for me with Jesus' vehement words to the people of His time,
for their failure to understand the times, and what they should do:

"You hypocrites !  You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but
why do you not analyze this present time ?"  (Luke 12:56)

AMEN !! 

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
 



Saturday, February 01, 2020

Accountability

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

Musing about the Watergate hearings at the time they were happening, I became convinced that
accountability is a "Christian principle."  That was when I was a relatively-new believer.  Having
now spent almost a half-century in this walk, the way I'd put it is that accountability is inherent
in God's covenant with His people, sealed in Christ's blood.

But America's current rulers continue to show that they don't much believe in accountability.  They
certainly don't believe that the authority they hold is God's Authority, given to them by God, for
them to "minister" the same way God does: doing good to their people, and punishing evil-doers
(Romans 13:1-4).

What America's current rulers say they believe instead is that they are accountable to "the people"
of America.  Democracy, that "the people rule," implicitly denies God's rule, of course: but even in
that contrary human system of government, the traditional belief was that rulers must do good to
their people, and punish evil-doers.

And that is the covenant America's current rulers have taken an oath to perform.  Professing their
adherence to that human system, our current "conservative" rulers have extolled the traditionalist
principle that, in "government of the people," those who govern the people are accountable to the
people, to do the peoples' will.

But in the continuing impeachment trial, "conservatives" continue to show their hypocrisy toward
their professed belief.  Yesterday, by refusing to hear known evidence of their president's wrong-
doing, in his trial for wrong-doing; when over 70% of "the people" say that evidence must be heard.

It's clear our "conservative" rulers consider themselves unaccountable to God, claiming their authority
is not established by Him.  Clearly they don't hold themselves accountable to truthfully stating their
political principles.  And it's crystal clear they don't believe they are accountable to "the people."

Most clearly of all, they believe they are accountable to their president: a man whose belief is that he
is completely unaccountable.  Even more than his lackeys, the current president shows by his every
deed that he despises God's Authority, and recognizes none other over him.  Our "conservative" rulers
obsequiously demonstrate their absolute agreement with him.

The current president famously said during his 2016 campaign that "I could stand in the middle of
5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose voters."  His words evince two spiritual propo-
sitions, both false: that he is accountable to no authority, and he can consequently get away with
anything he chooses to do.  The current ruling faction continues to signal their full agreement with
him.

He and his current ruling faction will be greatly surprised, and very sorry, when they finally learn that
God says otherwise.  But I think it's notable too the contempt for "voters" ("the people") that the current
president showed in his comment: that Americans are either too stupid to know the difference between
right and wrong, or too morally neglectful to care.

I know some of the current president's voters.  And in this single comment, and this one comment alone,
the current president has told the truth.

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

Righteousness exalts a nation

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people.  (NASB)

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.  (NIV)

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.  (KJV)

Righteousness [moral and spiritual integrity and virtuous character] exalts a nation,
 But sin is a disgrace to any people.  (Amplified Bible)

Doing what is right lifts people up. But sin brings judgment to any nation.  (NIRV)

A nation is exalted by the righteousness of its people, but sin heaps disgrace upon the land.  (TPT)

Doing what is right makes a nation great, but sin will bring disgrace to any people.  (NCV)

Uprightness raiseth up the nation; sin maketh people into wretches.  (Wycliffe)

Living according to God’s instructions makes a nation great,
but sin colors those who commit it with disgrace.  (The Voice)

Doing right brings honor to a nation, but sin brings disgrace.  (CEV)

Justice exalts a nation, but sin is a people’s disgrace.  (NABRE)

                                                                                                     --  Proverbs 14:34

I often compare different translations of the Bible, even translations I don't use,
to get the full nuances of what God says.

But whatever translation a person uses, it's clear what God says makes a nation great.

Poor America !! . . . choosing to believe politicians' lies rather than God.


                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

Friday, January 31, 2020

Praying for Healing

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

Our good brother Tim in Australia has a life-threatening disease.  I ask everyone who reads here
to pray for his healing, and keep praying for his healing, every day.

Even more, I strongly urge everyone who reads here to read Tim's continuing series "To Live Is
Christ."  His meditations are at "Onesimus Files," the top blog in my recommended-link list, at
the upper right corner of this page.

I especially urge everyone to read his "To Live Is Christ (11). God's Clearly Stated Will." posted on
January 5th (https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/to-live-is-christ-11-testimony-6/),
where he cites the many scriptures which must be our basis for faith that God heals, and that He
desires to heal.

As Tim so rightly sums up the question of healing, it all rests on "God's word and God's will."  That
indeed seems to me exactly how real faith approaches every question and circumstance.

Tim's determination, faced with a life-threatening disease, was to read everything scripture says
about healing...a response to life-circumstances that should be every Christian's immediate response,
but seldom is.  The verse that first struck him was Phillipians 1:21, "For me, to live is Christ..."  Faced
with the immediate and literal life-and-death question of every human's life, Tim began what he calls
"a new faith journey," Tim started, and continues in his excellent series of meditations, with that
scriptural affirmation.

Before anyone who reads here prays for healing...their own or someone else's...I recommend, insist,
they read, and ponder, and re-read, Tim's front-line view of life and death, in scripture and prayer.

AMEN !!

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Righteous Lot

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

I'd really never thought of Lot as an exemplar of the faith.  He obviously
had his eye on his own financial advantage when his uncle Abram gave
him the choice of grazing-land (Genesis 13:1-11).  Although Abram was
his elder and his mentor, Lot was quick to grab the best-looking pastures.

It's unimaginable in our time, though not remarkable in the hospitality
ethic of his; but Lot also offered his daughters to the rape-mob demanding
he turn over his angelic visitors to them (Genesis 19:1-11).

And though Lot could truthfully later plead that he was stone-drunk when it
happened . . . we usually don't expect the Bible to hold up an incestuous father
(Genesis 19:30-38) as a role-mode.

But II Peter 2:7 does, calling him "righteous Lot."  That verse came to mind
when my friend Don and I were talking.

That passage even goes on to say Lot was an exemplar for Christians.

" . . . and if He rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the
depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among
them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless
deeds he saw and heard); if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue
the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the
day of judgement."    (II Peter 2:7-9)

Lot's righteousness was that he was "distressed" (the Greek is kataponeo,
"worn down," "exhausted") by the evil deeds of the "lawless" among whom
he lived.  It doesn't seem to have bothered his fellow-citizens all that much.

I doubt that's because every single citizen of Sodom roamed the streets all
night getting drunk and looking for a rape-victim.  Every society needs a core
of responsible fathers and mothers raising their families, working jobs, and
running businesses, to flourish.

Sodom undoubtedly also had civic leaders who shaped public opinion and
guided public policy.  They probably lamented the crime-statistics: but no
doubt they also boasted that Sodom's way of life was justified by the fact
it enjoyed more "freedom" than other cities.

Most people in Sodom probably accepted lawlessness as "just how Sodom
is," and locked their doors.  Like people today, they were willing to "go along
to get along."  Undoubtedly they prided themselves on being "good people,"
and nothing like the street-gangs.   But scripture attests that only Lot was
"tormented" to his soul by the cit's pervasive evil.

Lot's lonely righteousness was that he was deeply grieved by the lawlessnes
of his fellow-citizens...grieved as God Himself was grieved.  This scripture is
God's promise, exemplified in Lot, that He will still "rescue the godly" . . . by
whom He means those few (like Lot) whose souls like His are fiercely outraged
by the evil deeds of the lawless.

God's promise holds good today, for everyone whose heart is like His, and is
His . . . however few they are.

Amen !

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

Monday, January 20, 2020

Test Your Spiritual Discernment Here !!

                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                              

Reading I John, this series of verses caught my attention:

I John 2:18 says there are already "many anti-Christs" around us.

I John 3:10 says the children of God and the children of the devil "are obvious."

I John 4:1 says we should "test the spirits to see whether they are from God."

That set of scriptures sounds like a challenge: or rather, when God says it, a command.

Since I John is where God gives His main teaching about anti-Christ, maybe He wants us
to check and see if our spiritual discernment is functioning well enough to spot him.

Jesus told us in John 8:44 what's obvious about "sons of the devil:" like their father, they
love lies, and they love murder (and Jesus says in Matthew 5:21-2 that "murder" is angry
contempt for other people).

There's our spiritual check-list.

Of course, we should first run the test on ourselves:  do we love lies and murder ?  If so,
we have to repent before we presume to run that check on anyone elses' spirit.

O.K., done.

Now...looking around ourselves, testing in today's world to see if our spiritual discernment
is in working order...can we spot any of the "many anti-Christs" out there ?

It shouldn't be hard: as John rightly says, they are obvious.