Friday, July 27, 2007


Forgotten But Not Gone

I am writing these days for Standing In the Gap in various capacities, the more exciting task being a Bible study letter and encouragement for some of the people being served through our ministry. Hard to believe how SITG has grown since October of 2005. Officially a nonprofit, we are able to reach out to the homeless, the hurting, and some who have reached their point of desparation and are looking up the steep incline to a new life. I am also working some hours for money! God willing, I will finish Christianity Is Jewish. Just not today! God's blessings to you as you live for HIM! In the meantime, Pittsburgh, check out the brand new website, still in the making, for your toddling ministry. We are serving YOU!

Monday, April 23, 2007


It Is No Secret

The Secret, the craze of the year attempts to empower mankind once again to create our own utopia. The only reason we haven’t thus far? Well, it’s been a secret! But NOW, in the last throws of the Enlightenment, the age of reason, with its last gasping breath, reveals all! But you mustn’t just know it, explain the gurus; you’ve got to feel it! And to be sure the Christian Left doesn’t feel left out, god is eventually introduced as the energy or force that brings it on. You know, the heavenly bliss of all your dreams come true!

Edith Schaeffer has a refreshing take on these age old ideas, going back to the Tower of Babel version of man’s attempt to reach god-status. Her suggestion, if you care to read on, is to take an eraser to the blackboard of life’s’ teacher notes and begin to consider the idea that if God IS our Creator and if we ARE made in God’s own image, THEN logic allows for His desire to and success in communicating with us, out of His sincere love for us, in a way that we can understand. His revelation of true Truth, I acknowledge, comes in a variety package but, since we are dealing with words here, I am advocating God’s written Truth.

There is a difference between Beckwith’s path to joy and God’s. In fact, they are diametrically opposed. Has man been able to bring about his own peace and happiness—simply by his own vices? For that matter, have Christianity’s armies made considerable progress either? Granted, Dr. Kennedy’s books, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? and What If America Were a Christian Nation Again?, written with Jerry Newcombe, display the great strides in man’s accomplishments when given God’s purpose and Spirit. Accepting our need for Him and relying on His direction and strength assuredly brings a civility unsurpassed but utopia? Let’s face it, we’ve never come close. After all, we are a fickle bunch and the fall repeats itself interminably. Beckwith would say we forgot the secret. God knows we so shamefully turn from Him and His ways. We try to drive ourselves, turn to our ways, and feel the dream! So The Secret goes. God says, “Look to Me, acknowledge Me and I will show you things you never imagined.” (Loosely Jeremiah 33:3) It’s not look to yourself and it’s not “live the dream”, in earthly or materialistic terms. Jesus offers “life more abundant” to which Kennedy and Newcombe’s research attests.

Does The Secret ever credit Christ, the Living Word, for the redemption of anything and everything good in this life? Is it Christ in us who makes God’s purpose of redemption possible at all? The Secret blatantly encourages man’s purpose—which, defined, means self-purpose. The irony is, in the beginning of the DVD, the secret is said to have been known by the Babylonians. Of course it was! They were truly ignorant of the purposes of God—defined: selfless surrender to God’s good, perfect, and pleasing will.

The distinction between these two paths is defined as sacrifice and the absence of it; outward vs inward focus, looking up humbly instead of self aggrandizement, pleasing God, not YOU, for we cannot make ourselves happy. History is our witness. With God, the road will surely have rocks and snares just the same but peace will be in knowing it’s the right one. Do not be deceived by what looks like a smooth ride. Key to choosing is found in God’s road map. The Bible offers the wisdom to discern God’s pleasure, which surely will bring you joy in the morning.

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” ~Proverb 4:18

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” ~Psalm 5:3

“Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” ~Psalm 30:5b

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Choose Who It Is In the Details

Remember Isaac? The ram appeared as a substitute sacrifice for Abraham’s son. God’s Son is become the Substitute as He climbs the same geographical location, Mt. Moriah. The time and place are epic for the Lamb…foretold by ancient history when Israel’s father, with Isaac, and Israel’s founder, at the first Passover, painted the future Messiah’s atoning death. This alone should be enough for the faithful to recognize Him and yet, God threw in a bonus—the detailed picture by Israel’s prophet Isaiah.
“Assigned a grave with the wicked (between two thieves)…and with the rich (Joseph of Arimathea) in His death” ~Isaiah 53:9
“They divided My garments among them and cast lots for My clothing.” (Another portrait from David’s Psalm 22:18) John records the conversation among soldiers at the Cross, “Let’s not tear [the garment that was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom]. Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” ~John 19:24

The detail is astounding. Jesus, even as pain gripped Him, cried out the first words of David’s prophetic Psalm 22. Do you actually believe this was manipulation? David wrote the song something like a thousand years prior. I’m sure Jesus was busy spinning conspiracy to mislead the world with a firm nudge toward David’s word painting of the Passion. Truth is, the Son was speaking the Word, expressing the agony of David’s poetry, and His own. Okay, you suspect the gospel writers of producing a yarn. Surely someone would have pointed out the lie by blurbing such things as, “He never said that, and they didn’t cast lots, His robe WAS torn and His bones WERE broken”…refuting the fulfillment of Psalm 34:20! Rome would have been all over it. John clearly reminds everyone willing to hear, in his gospel, the prophet Zechariah predicted, “They will look on the One they have pierced.” Sure enough, a soldier was making certain the Christ, Son of the Living God, was dead when he indeed pierced Him. (19:34) No one ever denied that these things happened. And the rest is history.
Conspiring? More like retiring. His followers were tired and forlorn. Plotting and planning? Do you hear them saying, “We should get ready for the resurrection celebration bash on Sunday!” NOT! AS far as they knew, IT WAS OVER. They felt like their guts had been ripped out, heart and soul. Did they even notice the quaking earth, the opening graves, the dark sky? Did anyone tell them that day how the veil to the Holy of Holies had been torn beginning at God’s end, the top and going down? The Day of Atonement was not like THIS—no hope could be mustered. These sorely dejected people didn’t even know to be watching for the High Priest to emerge from the Temple! Much less Christ from the grave! There was fear among the followers. A few had the semblance to arrange the Master’s burial. There was no wondering if the sacrifice had been acceptable! WHO KNEW the mission was accomplished?

But the life of Christ, His blood offered on the Bronze Altar of the heavenly Temple by Jesus, the High Priest, WAS sufficient, ample, satisfactory; Himself without spot, Ha Meshiah sealed the deal! One moment in eternity—Mel Gibson’s attempt to capture the enormity with the drop from Heaven to Earth, in slow, epic motion, provides a visual but can we wrap our small minds around it?
“…without holiness, no one will see the Lord” so come “to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” ~Hebrews 12:14 & 24 (Abel, whose sacrifice was acceptable to God and whose blood was shed for righteousness’ sake: Abel’s blood did not get Abel into heaven. Christ’s did.) Praise be to God. AMEN.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


The Afikomen

Jewish tradition, from what I’ve been told, includes a little game played by the children at the Passover celebration. There are three flatbreads in a layered pillow (compartments) and the middle one, the afikomen, is removed and hidden for the young ones to find. When it is found, it is taken, broken, and eaten by every person at the Seder, Passover meal. Messianic Jews teach this broken wafer without yeast to be symbolic of the Christ—the One of the Holy Trinity which was parted from the One and only triune God. The separation is not like three people going their separate ways. I feel certain it was more akin to a Siamese twins surgical separation, atleast experience-wise. But okay, think divorce or death. The suffering was excruciating for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for they are not three individuals in any sense we can understand. They are ONE. “I and the Father are One,” Jesus stated. (John 10:30) If you can grasp that, it is no big deal to add a third person: “…but if I go, I will send [the Counselor] to you.” ~Jesus (John 16:7)

This was no ordinary death, even apart from the torturous cross. Someone recently asked me if Jesus had free will or if He was on auto-pilot in His own will to obey. Was there true struggle or was He so sold out, going to the Cross was second nature? I believe as Mrs. Schaeffer does, that there was real pain in the decision and the choice was truly crushing because of 1) the humanity intertwined with Jesus’ Being, and at the same time, 2) the interconnectedness of God’s three manifestations. A question remains in my mind. How is it that God the Father and Holy Spirit did not die along with Jesus in a sort of symbiotic way? Yet if God died, what was sustaining Life on earth? In fact, I don’t believe God the Father stopped existing, nor Jesus, the Son. They were separated due to Christ’s spiritual death alone and Christ died because of the separation. Who can understand it? But I digress.
I have a scene etched in my mind from The Passion where Satan tells Jesus He can’t take on ALL the transgressions from all people in all of time. Satan is sure it can’t be done. Though trying to trip up the Son of God, it brings clarity to the feat of Christ—from a spiritual perspective, it is tantamount. We only see the blood and gore. What was REALLY going on when Jesus suffered and died? Furthermore, to take the question to a whole new level, did Jesus KNOW what to expect in terms of spiritual consequences to His obedience? I believe He did. He could see the unspeakable ugliness, the blackest of horrors, the darkest of places, all cruelty, betrayal, selfishness and oppression pouring down painfully onto His own soul, body and mind, drowning His own spirit unto death. Words fail here but think on your own deep hurts, betrayals, times of loneliness, and magnify them by all of human experience, include whatever significant time we have left and there you have it.

And so Jesus is asking His Father “Isn’t there any other way?” I have asked the question myself. My son has asked it of me. Surely the all-powerful God of the universe COULD HAVE done it SOME OTHER WAY! To prove to a doubting world that THERE WAS NOT ANY OTHER WAY, God brought His beloved Son into the equation saying, “Look! If there were, don’t you think I would have done it?!” He gave us His Son because this act was something we could grasp. WE have sons, or at the very least a soft spot for children. It is a love like no other. Our hearts bleed when our sons and daughters go off to war. We pray, we cry, we ache for their mothers and fathers. God knew that even in our hideously feeble condition, most anyone feels the irreplaceable value of the young.

Do you see our personal God? He created a personal universe for personal relationship! It is awesome! As it is, we are broken because of sin, selfish desire: Our relationship with the Creator God, our interpersonal relationships, our separation from nature, and the ever increasing evidence for our harsh, isolated estrangement from ourselves. Who isn’t in counseling these days? Um, the rest of us who need it! Ultimately our longing for relationship with God, and no less with each other, is only satisfied at the Cross.
“The world has been prepared [to understand] as the years of ‘unfolding’ took place, with a continuity which showed that IT HAD to be the death of a lamb, and that there was NO OTHER LAMB sufficient to care for that need, except the Lamb of God.” (CIJ; p 149)

If that sounds ludicrous, you need to start back at Genesis. Edith Schaeffer explains the ‘unfolding’ in her 224 page book. You can’t start reading at page 149 and expect to get it! God’s history lesson is layered according to what the collective knowledge could understand. He has gradually revealed Himself, His plans for us, His desire to love us and be love by us. He is truly a good God, ever-faithful and true.
The Messiah: Betrayed: Silent: Alone. This is what we can see…the visible history. What we cannot see is the Son’s separation from the Father as a result of self-driven humanity’s refusal to turn again to God, to life surrendered to His good, perfect and pleasing will. We must accept the mystery of why God simply cannot bear the presence of sin.
“But your iniquities have separated you from you God; your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear.” ~Isaiah 59:2

It is unimaginable what this was like for the Father and His Son. The spiritual realm, unseen history, is intriguing but not to be grasped by human minds.
Oh, BTW, afikomen is actually a Greek word, meaning I came. (Howard/Rosenthal; The Feasts of the Lord; p 61)

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Jewish Passover

The timing of Jesus’ death is so perfect, it could either sway you to one or the other side of the line Edith Schaeffer has as a running theme in Christianity Is Jewish. You could believe with increased conviction because God’s amazing sovereignty shines through the fact that the Lamb of God was slain at Passover, fitting with the foreshadowing of the coming Messiah, Whose blood would protect the trusting, believing sons of men from death. This Passover Feast was different because this time, the blood of the Lamb would be painted on the door frames of hearts, shielding the believer from the angel of death, forever…thus the first Communion: Eat the bread representing Christ’s broken body; drink the wine as a symbol of the blood of the new covenant.

“As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, you show forth the Lord’s death until He comes.” (Again) ~1Corinthians 12:26

Here’s the rub. As I understand a recent commenter of Jewish descent…the timing is SO perfect, it reeks of fraud and conspiracy. Sincerely, human beings, particularly as a group/nation/religion, could never, never pull off such a perfect scheme. Don’t forget…this is NOT a fairy tale. Much of the historical data and archeological finds are perfectly in line with the events recorded in the gospels.

The very reason for this blog is to show over and over the hundreds of puzzle pieces that fit regarding the Old Testament Messiah concealed (yet promised) and the New Testament Messiah revealed (derived from a St. Augustine quote: OT is the NT concealed, NT is the OT revealed) All things told, if there is any conspiracy at all, it is a supernatural one. Men would blow the cover, make mistakes, and with the numbers of enemies actually trying to do just that, surely it would have gone amuck. But instead, many died in god-forsaken ways because they refused to change their story. It can only be true.

The Lamb was sacrificed at a perfect time--Jewish Passover. “For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.” ~1Corinthians 5:76-78

Friday, March 23, 2007


The Substitute

The other blog, God Still Speaks, is discussing this month, the bodily resurrection of Christ Jesus, Messiah, Lord of Life, spurred on by “the bones”, this year's controversy and ensuing questions posed to this writer. Is the Resurrection literal? How important is it that Jesus rose from death in every way, not only in ghostly fashion?

Mrs. Schaeffer, Christianity Is Jewish, writers, “We can be shaken by the enormity of [Jesus’] drawing the [line] between those who receive Him and those who do not, and by the clarity with which He points to bodily resurrection.” (p 143)

“But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.” ~Jesus (Matt. 26:32 and Mark 14:28)

Does this sound like a spiritual event or more likely a space/time announcement? Seems so concrete, like, “I’ll meet you by the water fountain at 3”!

“Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished. For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated and spitted on;
“And they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death, and the third day, He shall rise again.”
~Jesus (Luke 18:31-33)

“Behold My hands and my feet, that it is I Myself; handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have.”

THEN “He said unto them, ‘Have ye any meat?’ And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb
And He took it, and did eat before them.”
~Luke 24:39, 42-43

“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” ~Jesus (John 2:19)
“…He spake of the temple of His body. When therefore He was risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this unto them; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.” ~John 2:21-22

Just as there would be complete restoration of the Temple--the same Temple--in Jesus’ illustration (“I will raise IT up”, not another one), there were no remains of Jesus’ body because one and the same body of Christ was wholly restored. Hallelujah!

“I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes IN ME will live, even tough He dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will NEVER die. Do you believe this?” ~Jesus (John 11:25-26)

Jesus illustrated and narrated the resurrection power of which He spoke as they rolled the stone away from the tomb of Lazarus:
“Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You ALWAYS hear Me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here; that they may believe that You sent Me.” ~Jesus, praying (John 11:41-42)

God has used beautiful word pictures to demonstrate things of the spiritual realm throughout history. Here is a picture of a picture—Jesus says, “I’m saying this to reveal You. It is John, the document’s author as God’s instrument, revealing Jesus…Who is in turn revealing the Father! Why did Jesus do this? I see it as a picture of how God has operated in establishing relationship with His dearest creation: Mankind. The Father reveals Himself to us in recorded historic episodes of life.
Of course, Jesus is REALLY speaking with the Father in time and space and yet, the purpose goes SO MUCH further! He wants it to be clear to the observing crowd, this is a forecast type of His bodily return to life. Listen, “You see, My friend Lazarus? That is not a ghost. He is physically alive. Coming soon: THE MESSIAH RESURRECTED—THE NEXT EPISODE." (Wait for THE FINAL EPISODE: SECOND COMING! An In-the-Body Experience!)
Jesus pointed toward a physical afterlife, to be sure. He turned heads. His message loud and clear, “To anyone with ears, let him hear.” I AM THAT I AM sent Me “that ye might have eternal life.”

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007


When Jesus Spoke, People Listened

“We need to sweep away the hindering dust and smog which has been put between the Old and New Testaments…Today, the thing of first importance is to believe the writings of Moses—really believe they are true; then, in Jesus’ own teaching, we are prepared to believe His words.
Those that say nothing matters but Jesus, and think of Him as appearing out of nowhere two thousand years ago as a floating mystical happening to be followed, like a ghostly gleam, have not listened to Jesus Himself when He says, ‘But if ye believe not [Moses’] writings, how shall ye believe My words?’” ~John 5:47 ( Schaeffer; CIJ, p 143, emphasis mine)

At God Still Speaks, the other blog, I refer back to the law and procedure of the High Priest and Tabernacle sacrifices in Exodus and Leviticus, which is a type and illustration of God’s pinnacle sacrifice of His only Son. On the road to Emmaus, do you realize what Jesus “chatted” about with two of the apostles? Not the weather or last night’s episode of Lost! “He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the Prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.” ~Luke 24:25-27

Jesus spoke truth, one hundred percent, every last word. “…No deceit was found in His mouth.” ~1 Peter 2:22 (Peter quoting Isaiah 53:9)

John records his teacher’s accusing words to the Pharisees: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. For he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe Me not.”

You see, there is no gray. You believe all Jesus has said or none. If you believe only parts, then you also believe He was capable of lying (or the writers got His words wrong, but then, what’s the point of believing anything written about Him, if we have no idea what is accurate?) In either case, how or why do you believe any of it? If you don’t believe Jesus Christ is the Way and only way to the Father, then why do you believe at all? What is it you believe in, a liar or a distorted story?

One thing to be sure of, relativism, half-truths, personal truth cannot abide with the words spoken by Messiah. There is Truth and there is non-truth. If He spoke Truth saying, “No one comes to the Father but by Me”, then the opposite MUST NOT be true: “Some come to the Father without Me.”
“Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” ~John 1:12

How many Jews realize Jesus’ entire ministry was directed toward them, Israel. As Mrs. Schaeffer points out…they would recall Isaiah 40:11—“He shall feed His flock like a Shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” The Jews would remember as Jesus spoke these words to them:
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall anything pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and nothing is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” ~John 10:27-30

His words divided the crowd! Listen: “…and I lay down My life for the sheep.” “I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.” (John 10:17 and 18)
Some considered it blasphemy from a raving lunatic!
Some believed.
All were Jews.

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