Sunday, April 30, 2006


God Lives Here Now

Not to dwell on the negatives as I continue the focus in on contemporary Christianity but I have a confession. The outstanding, outlandishly different, sacrificial Christian is a rare bird, at least in these parts, nearly extinct. I would love to tell you I’m such a bird but, well, I can’t…without lying. Convicted, I’m changing real slow like. But my feet are not there yet. My mouth, my hands, my to-do list are feeble. This involves a strict scriptural diet while I work at surrendering my actions to Christ. What I am trying to say is, the salt of the 21st century is trying to play catch-up and many are using too much salt in the attempt! Moral decay, held at bay in centuries past by Christian salt, got the edge in the 20th century. The organized church did so very little. Nominal Christians in effect had become uneducated in the Word, thus unholy and disconnected, impotent in both the God connection and world involvement. The confession came first so that no one would misconstrue this as finger pointing.

Evangelicals are now in a frantic hyper-mode. The Light is so dimmed; nary a person can see to read their Bible with the exception of those whiz-by types that quote the text like high-speed internet on an outdated computer. It is too much, too soon. Christians are often bright and cheery! The question we must all ask, “Does it illuminate God’s Truth and shine compassion into dark places of hopelessness and despair? Does it draw people toward their Savior?” (Strobel, Lee; God’s Outrageous Claims; p. 72)

I have a friend who seeks for God. She hasn’t found the God in Genesis to Revelation but she knows I hold back and says she appreciates it. This is when God is needed as the light and sound Man. There is no way to know how much spotlight or dimming you need when you’re on stage. It is a humbling realization…if we Christians ARE God’s revelation in these difficult days…I mean, if we are IT, had we better not begin right now to grasp this responsibility as most serious, most holy. It is encouraging, indeed, to hear the comments from friends affirming this.

El-Shaddai, our Almighty God, has spoken. He has raised from death His only Son. Is this true? Then who needs any more grandstanding than that? God sent the Holy Spirit to indwell the body of Christ, the Church—the real, True Church. God lives here now! God’s prophecies have ended…He gave us the Plan from start ot finish. What else do we need to know? Is He Real, concrete, and Alive—in this precious hour of life? Only as real and alive as you and me, Christian. Pray for Anonymous who wants supernatural proof of God. Don’t we all? And let us be concrete. How are you representing Christ this day to make Him a supernatural presence? “God chooses to be a power-sharing God” (Strobel; p. 89) when we choose to climb the mountain, looking up and reaching for the next crag…hoping to touch His Hand with our grasp. Sometimes we do.

Obedience is crucial to power-sharing. When I take on God’s will, every time, I feel His approval and know He is holding me up. Now some would say that is in my head, not real. But His Voice, messages in nature, in coincidences, in His teaching and profound wisdom when it overlaps miraculously. These affirmations and clarifications are because He wants me to be like Him. The wisdom ain’t mine, to be sure! He shows me I’m on the right track. It happens when I am obedient. Christian friends have shared this serendipity experience. Many leaders/authors speak of it. I read a lot of encouraging books, of which there are thousands. It is not an always thing and that could be me. But as the remnant, seeking God’s will, bursts out of the shadows of an ailing church, let the miracles begin. And please, dear God, let Your lost lonely lambs see. Our Shepherd Lives.

Next time, Standing in the Gap, a ministry just for these.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


We Are Weak But He Is Strong

Things changed when God moved in! God worked externally in Daniel’s day. Now, He works in us. How pathetic is that, you say! Before I bumble my way through this post, one thing must be understood: God Himself does not change. His power has not diminished in any way since Old Testament times or when He was with us, Immanuel; He is still with us and that in its self is a supernatural occurrence. The miracle is seen in a civilization where education, medical care, charities, the arts and sciences advanced from a Christ-following social structure. The miracle is in the development of free nations rooted in Judeo-Christian law. There are clouds of witnesses in mission fields worldwide, End of the Spear types of miracles. Just as Hebrew children were coached in their faith, we are responsible for learning and teaching the real, true evidence, the faith building stories. Besides the Biblical testimony of prophecies coming to fruition, even in modern history, there are concrete proofs among the truly obedient, the remnant of faithful followers.

So where are they? Jesus told His followers they were going to be salt and light. I love Lee Strobel’s section title, in God’s Outrageous Claims, “Salt That Stings, Light That Glares”. Lee Strobel comes from an atheist experience. He has seen Christianity from the outside. About Jesus’ plan, Strobel writes, “What an outlandish idea --that frail and fallible, timid and tongue-tied, insecure and inconsistent people like you and me would be the main purveyors of the monumental news that can change people’s eternal destinations. It was a high-stakes strategy. And the results have been…well, let’s admit it: a bit mixed.” (Emphasis added) He is so right. Our representation of Jesus becomes less and less salty, dimmer and darker. Our witness inflicts pain…the salt stings; the flashlight sized light glares in the outsider’s eyes. Why?
Christians are a mixed bag of the true and the fake. Not fakers, I mean misguided. Dr. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge makes several good points in his recent re-release of Why I Believe. Aren’t Christians generally considered a safe group? Don’t fear levels drop a few notches when someone pulls out a Bible? Yet visions from history flash blindingly, the injustices inflicted by Christians in power. Was it really Christian doings that sentenced so many to death in Spain or was it the true Christians being sentenced by their refusal to bow to such heretics…a la Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego! It was not Christ-like for Church leadership to play God as if Judgment Day was a day of their choosing. Christians aren’t always Christians. As the churches have stressed more “what God can do for you” and less “what can you do for God?”, Christian professors have become less obedient, less Christ-like, and much less miraculous.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


God Is Able, but He Might Not

Daniel missed the event everyone was talking about in Babylon.
“Did you hear what happened to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? Their God saved them from the fire! Not a hair on their heads was burned; I hear their clothes didn’t at all smell like smoke!”
“Yep, I saw them! It’s true…they weren’t even singed. The fire never touched them!”
Here is a time and place in history when God was obviously real and acting in BIG, supernatural ways. It’s like Elijah’s showdown with Baal, and David’s miracle confrontation with Goliath; it is Moses and the Egyptians at the Red Sea all over again. How do you think these three had such courage to face their deadly punishment and to stand firm in their faith? It wasn’t because Daniel had told them how great God is! It wasn’t because they led disciplined lives under Hebrew law. Witness and discipline has severe limitation. No, most likely it had to do with faith building throughout childhood as they heard the stories over and over of their heritage as God’s Chosen. A new believer is vulnerable if all they know is what someone told them yesterday or what God did today.

God had saved Israel with supernatural intervention—That is, outside of scientific observation. Perhaps they had not witnessed any of these events firsthand! And it wasn’t that these three friends of Daniel were counting on the super powers God had displayed to save them now. The understanding was, “Even if God doesn’t spare our lives, we refuse to bow to your fake god statue!” They simply knew with all their heart, mind, and soul that God is real and living, One awful God to be feared. Prayers were their native language because they knew, “Our God, whom we serve is able to deliver us…” even though He might not. These three young Jewish men had no idea if their confrontation with false religion on this day was going to be an epic moment. They didn’t seem to care, did they? There was nothing said about the God of Israel showing Babylon and their king that “Jehovah God is the One, True God!” The goal in pure simple form was, “We will worship no one, nothing but the God of Israel!” But God used this amazing display of loyalty to put on a fantastic show! It turned an entire kingdom upside down in an instant. Bam!

Is this the kind of firework theatrics Anonymous (from a previous comment) is looking for? The commenter is asking for a supernatural exposition of God’s Reality. I honestly don’t know if we will see God’s power in this way any time soon, and I have reasons for the dubious attitude.
As any regular reader knows, I don’t like to 'babble on' for too long and I have much to say so, the reasons next time…

Friday, April 21, 2006


God's Dictatorship

“’Son of dust,’ [God] said, ‘you live among rebels who could know the truth if they wanted to, but they don’t want to; they could hear Me if they would listen, but they won’t.” ~Ezekiel 12:2

“Whoever is wise, let him understand these things. Whoever is intelligent, let him listen, for the paths of the Lord are True and Right, and good men walk along them. But sinners trying it will fail.” ~Hosea 14:9

The Creator-Redeemer distinction, III:xix:15, states, “There are in man, so to speak, two worlds, over which different kings and different laws have authority. Through this distinction it comes about that we are not to misapply to the political order the gospel teaching on spiritual freedom…” (Addressing anarchy, Christians are not free from civil law restrictions simply because they are obligated only to God under grace). By the same token, without actually quoting Calvin, the idea is we are not to misapply to the spiritual order any political enforcement of spiritual submission (speaking here of tyranny, such as conversion by force). This was understood clearly by our Founders as termed in the First Amendment as “Freedom of Religion”. Discipleship and other matters of conscience, “inward integrity of the heart” (section 16), are submitted to in the spiritual kingdom alone. But Calvin explains, “there is a twofold government in man, the second being political.” (15) Calvin is stressing here how the two spheres are not to cross one another but he later points out that they are not in conflict! The crux of the matter is, Christian dominion, while attempting to civilize men under God’s political law, is virtually a free theocracy. People fear God’s rule more than men’s! Go figure! God will never force Himself on anyone, spiritually; His political sovereignty does not intrude on that principle. The Sovereign God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in fact, MANDATES THE PRINCIPLE OF FREE WILL! GOD’S DICTATORSHIP IS FREEDOM AND PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS IN THIS LIFE!

This said, a Christian theocracy, if you’ll pardon my french, pertains to the social benefits of decent, civil behavior while maintaining free conscience in worship. Calvin elaborates in Book IV:xx:1 &3—
“But whoever KNOWS how to distinguish between body and soul, between this present fleeting life and that future eternal life, will without difficulty KNOW that Christ’s spiritual Kingdom (inward) and the civil jurisdiction (outward) are completely distinct.” (1)

“[Civil government] does not merely see to it that men breathe (air), eat (bread), drink (water), and are kept warm (sun) {note that all these provisions are from nature and nature’s God}…when it provides for their living together (free enterprise; work obtained freely)…but it also prevents idolatry, sacrilege against God’s Name, blasphemies against His truth, and other PUBLIC offenses against religion from arising and spreading among the people; it prevents the public peace from being disturbed; it provides that each man may KEEP his property safe and sound; that men may carry on blameless intercourse (conversation, okay?) among themselves; that honesty and modesty may be preserved among men. In short, it provides that a public manifestation of religion may exist among Christians, and that humanity be maintained among men.” (3)

For the Libertarian, Calvin reiterates in section two, government is “to adjust our life to the society of men, to form our social behavior to civil righteousness, to reconcile us with one another, and to promote general peace and tranquility [among men]…those who take THESE from man deprive him of his very humanity.” For the Socialist/Marxist thinker, “But it is the part of a godly man to realize that free power in outward matters has been given him in order that he may be the more ready for all the duties of love.” (III:xix:12) Calvin devoted two sections in the same chapter to the importance of Christian freedom—4) Freedom from the constraint of the law establishes the true obedience of believers, 5) [It] makes us capable of joyous obedience!

So while the Redeemer part of governing allows freedom to worship or not, as one chooses, the Creator’s portion of men governing men’s affairs provides for their living together, emanating humane behavior under God, whether you believe in Him or not. It requires a distinct separation of rule. Jesus, our Redeemer gets the former; all men under our Creator God get the latter as a provision for our happiness and safety. I sincerely hope someone would explain this to Michael Newdow and the commenters at Questions and Answers who believe God and morality should have nothing to do with law despite Wayne’s valiant attempt at explaining that THEY DO!
Excuse me while I don’t think those ideas written in the sixteenth century are archaic. Retrievable? Maybe not but I consider that most unfortunate. These ideas are wholly Christian/Jewish, found in our Holy Book, laws from God. Leaders would dare not call it theocracy but it frustrates me that many deny outright the truth of the matter: Christian theocracy will never force conversion. The moment it does, it will stop being Christian, under God, and the Second Amendment should kick in. But then, I’m not sure it shouldn’t now. Perhaps another post, another time, on the right to resist.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


To the Making of a Safe, Civil Society

“For if you don’t write it, they will claim I never warned them. ‘Oh no,’ they’ll say, ‘ you never told us that!’” ~God to Isaiah (30:9)

Ugliness will sprout from freedom of choice along with the noble. Law is a necessity…so how far MUST law intrude into society’s freedoms? At what point does freedom of public behavior bring a society down? I feel compelled to plod on in John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, especially since reading the very long string of comments at Questions and Answers on the art of lawmaking!

What John Calvin calls “freedom in things indifferent with proofs from Romans 7-9” (Calvin’s Institutes, III:xix:7-9) are to be matters of conscience—in short, questions of our material handlings; luxury, gluttony, the use of God’s gifts. Freedom on this personal level is of no harm to a free Christian society because Christians are led to use discretion as they grow in Christ. I am drawn to this section of Calvin’s writing because of the socialistic/Marxist trends among Christians to force society to live temperately with taxation and redistribution of wealth, AKA the welfare state.

What I can’t grasp in section fifteen is Calvin’s alluding to the temporal matters as political after he so carefully placed things indifferent under matters of conscience earlier. Not even church law inflicts temperance or lack thereof as a punishable offense. Our choices of food, clothes, and how we bestow love on our neighbor are issues of temporal earthly life but political government? Am I wrong to say no Christian governing body deals with these outward but personal disciplines? Calvin even goes into a long dissertation on how, if we give up fine wine, then we will eventually be tormented with guilt over cheap wine, leading to the evils of grape juice or fine water! (Sec. 7) The same could occur with giving a man your cloak, but he later needs your car! Shall we offer the house when he goes bankrupt? Issues arise about whether you love your neighbor AS YOURSELF or if asceticism has overtaken your joy of life. Homes have been given away out of generous hearts, but it is not a right or wrong deal that can be applied in civil law. In much of our daily choices of temperance, we must rely on God’s voice and not the guilty pleas of Satan, much less the orders of men.

Bottom line, not all things of this earthly life are suited for political rule. Christ’s Kingdom is HERE and has been ever since the sign was posted, King of the Jews. It is most definitely a private, unseen governing between God and the hearts of men! Human government cannot touch it! “You have no authority over Me-- My Kingdom is not of this world.” ~Jesus

The remainder brain hurts!

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Esaias Speaks In the Desert

Isaiah’s prophecy of chapter 53 has been the topic here and here in Christianity Is Jewish of how the Lamb was to come. It is Easter in a forecast hundreds of years ahead of the storm. The story of the Ethiopian man in Acts 8:27-35 brings the point right off the page, like an arrow through time. Philip was led to speak with the man sitting in his chariot reading, as it turns out, Esaias. Imagine a real life witness moment like this one! The man reads a prophecy he can’t quite grasp and along you come with the Gospel of Jesus bursting with newness and life! “Oh yeah, that has just happened, last month! The Messiah has come just as Esaias said! Funny you would be reading the prediction out here in the desert!” When Philip asked him if he understood, the Ethiopian answered, “How can I, except some man should guide me?” Wake-up call, Christians! You and I are that man or woman NEEDED to guide the seeker in the desert. Not many, if any, are plowing through Isaiah just wishing they had someone who could explain it! How awesome would that be? But even in this crazy hodge-podge of philosophy, nihilism, “create your own religion”, or Darwinian atheistic science, Isaiah has a few knock-em-dead words for sharing the Gospel. I mean, KNOCK ‘EM DEAD!

“For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” ~2Corinthians 4:11

“I have been crucified with Christ: I myself no longer live…” ~Galatians 2:20

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Lambs Without Blemish

The Law—instruction from God—was spoken by Moses in Egypt. The Lambs for Passover must be without blemish. Jesus is widely accepted by writers of various beliefs as an astonishingly holy man, with a super human wisdom and integrity. Dr. Kennedy details some quotes in Why I Believe. No other man who has ever lived is viewed in this way, which is to say, seemingly perfect. Jesus dared to look His accusers in the eye and ask, “Which of you convicts Me of sin?” (John 8:46)

Isaiah described this phenomenon of the Passover Lamb without blemish, “He had done no violence, neither was there any deceit in His mouth.” God was communicating, offering a way to understand the Plan of Salvation. Through His written Word, God reaches out still. “Seek and you will find Me.”

As good as Jesus would be, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.”

I put all the Hims, His’s, and He’s that refer to Jesus in red so you can follow this mishmash of pronouns! Sometimes, the He's are interchangeably applied to Jesus or the Father to stress "I and the Father are One". (John 10:30) That's a guess. An example is, "He shall see His seed". God will see His posterity, the spiritually born, OR the Father will see His Son OR the Son will see the seeds of His Offering. Either way, this sacrifice was going to be BIG, producing a harvest for God's Eternal Kingdom because HE shall prolong HIS days as the FIRSTFRUIT of the harvest to come. (This concept is made more clear by the "Feast of Firstfruits" in Feasts of the Lord, at Zion's Fire and also Paul's mention of it in 1Corinthians 15:20 & 23.)

One thing I noticed as I was typing, the tense changes from past to future, and finally, to present perfect tense, which indicates so perfectly an action that began in the past but continues in the present or is completed at the present! When I read that definition in Writers Inc, my heart did leap! Jesus didn’t just do this amazing thing so long ago! He is still “pour[ing] out His soul unto death” for all of us here on earth today! He still rescues us from our fate, anyone who will claim His righteousness, the Gift that our Savior, Yeshua, still gives right now! Anybody out there want to live the PERFECT LIFE?

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away (died!); behold, all things have become new.” ~2 Corinthians 5:17

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Come, Let Us Reason Together

Is God such an unreasonable authority? Or is it mankind that moves beyond reason? I heard a snippet of Michael Newdow debating from his atheist point of view in “The Great Debate: Atheism/Christianity” sponsored by Church Communication Network, Inc. He was arguing that morality (law) is common sense. We learn not to kill each other because “someone will kill you”, as in, get even. The premise is amazingly inept even among reasonable men…God was no doubt laughing (or crying). Tell that to the Waodani tribe of End of the Spear fame or the rising number of youth street gangs. They know beyond reasonable doubt that revenge is the name of the game in rivalry. They even know extinction is not out of the question as they kill each other at astonishing rates. Reason cannot alone stop them. God alone can and does. There is a supernatural event which no one sees, Christians aren’t very good at explaining, and so few understand.

The stories never make the headlines and when End of the Spear made it into theatres across the country, the hordes stayed home. Dr. Kennedy calls this supernatural event “imputation” (he speaks King James-ese). Christ’s Righteousness, imputed onto Christians who have committed to a new life in Him. Old habits die hard and there are ugly Christians everywhere crawling the earth, but supernatural changes are not unheard of in Christian circles. Christians love to tell their story. Unfortunately there are few platforms for public sharing. Truth of the matter is, most Christians don’t even get to give their testimony in church! Maybe Bible studies groups. Crazy, ain’t it? But for a fact, some astounding turnabouts have been written down and published.

Those who have been imputed, or regenerated, are perfect on an unseen spiritual level but that change should not go unnoticed in this life. A true Christian’s choices, attitudes, and actions are beyond reason, beyond the world’s natural, common sense. The human condition and Satan’s various techniques can guarantee Dr. Newdow’s rationale for man’s goodness has glitches. Our eyes and ears see and hear the glitches everyday. Men will never reason their way to utopia or anything close. Living hell is more like it. This is not just a misconception of atheists. The idea that man is innately good is EVERYWHERE believed and taught.

God has offered the reasonable answer to man’s spiral of confusion. Why DO we need God’s laws? Oh, I don’t doubt we could figure out a few do’s and don’ts on our own. We are made in His image after all so we create and reason similarly! We also put selfish gain and revenge, pride and fear ahead of fairness, goodness, justice, love and self-control! It is NOT only that we need God’s Law; we are nothing without the spirit by which, with which the law is given: Perfect Love. To understand and obey God’s commands is the ultimate goal! We can’t do that! We can hope for the desire, have patience in the failures, trust God for victory through us. Human knowledge is folly without the reasoning and wisdom God bestows upon the faithful, supernaturally. --Amen.

Isaiah 29:14—“Therefore, once more I will astound those people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish; the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”
“The Lord is the strength of His people, a fortress of salvation for His anointed one. Save Your people and bless Your inheritance; be their Shepherd and carry them forever.”
~Psalm 28:8-9

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Free-will to Make Choices

“Come now. Let us reason together, says the Lord” ~Isaiah 1:18
“If you eat [the fruit] from the Tree of Conscience, you will be doomed to die.” ~God (Gen. 2:17)

Genesis 3:1, Satan blindsides Eve with, “Really? None of the fruit in the garden? God says you mustn’t eat any of it?”

The words spoken here are the same tempting thought we fight with in this century. That GOD of yours is SO EXTREME! You mean He won’t let you have ANY FUN? NO FUN in your WHOLE LIFE? So first, Satan brings in the picture if God as thoroughly unreasonable…a tyrant. Even though Eve KNOWS God personally as a reasoning, fair Ruler Who is not in fact trying to starve them out, the seed has been planted.

Then Satan waters the seed by hurling the accusation which Eve CANNOT refute based on her LIMITED experience. “That’s a lie! …”You’ll not die!” (3:4) God is a liar!

In freedom, Eve could not rely on human reasoning alone. She needed to trust her heart. God was hoping she would trust Him as her heart was being opened for trial. Under an oppressive ruler god, Eve’s heart could never be tested for loyalty to her King and Creator. Terror would rule her decisions. A previous post on Christian freedom explains further. Fear the Lord, the Judge of all. But our fear is a personal choice in obedience because of God's mercy, not soul shattering fright of a dark figure haunting our every quaking choice. God stood back and watched Eve. He was rooting for her, “C’mon girl!” If Eve had cried out to Him, “Lord, what should I do?” He would have been there slapping that snake around like the worm he was! God is our Hero. Our Help in time of trouble.

In freedom, God has established a means for us to govern ourselves. The God of Light, and Hope. and Love tells us He is also the God of Righteousness. In love, the first Adam was directed. In obedience, the second Adam (Jesus) loved. God desires for us to love ourselves, taking care…and to love our neighbor as ourselves. God’s law is good and right. Perfect. Pleasing.

“Jesus said… ‘You are truly My disciples if you live as I tell you to, and you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.’” ~John 8:31,32

In free society, there is openness to sharing needs and abundance, but never evenly…freedom is sloppy, says Steve Forbes as quoted in Imprimis last month! Freedom and strength are symbiotic. You must be strong to be free. You must be free to be strong.

I'm on a roll so stop back soon for more of this stuff.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Isaiah's Prophecy Continues

“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.”

Now Jesus, the Shepherd, is the Lamb. I can remember my astonishment as a child that Jesus didn’t answer His accusers. Why didn’t He explain who He was? He was brilliant with words; He could have defended Himself! It was years later that I realized the whole scenario was prophesied! The Messiah to come, as told to Adam and Eve, as promised to Abraham, as repeatedly pointed to by every little lamb brought for sacrifice, was presented to the immortal Jewish Nation, through Isaiah’s words, as the Lamb.

“The good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” In exactly the same manner the ram was given as a substitute for Isaac on Mount Moriah, the Shepherd was willing to be the substitute Lamb for the lost grafted in “peoples of the earth”, blessed through Abraham’s seed that is Jesus, the promised Anointed One.

Christianity is Jewish; the roots of a solid faith go deep into Old Testament revelation. Take up the roots and the Church is not nourished. It is shallow and withered. Imagine Isaiah’s pondering as he pens these words: “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken.” Note well, a substitutionary death is being described to the people who every year gathered for the Day of Atonement (Tishri 10, Yom Kippur). “And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was there any deceit in His mouth.”

Anyone who has actually given the Gospel a chance and read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, or at least has heard the story, might experience the light bulb effect here. “Oh yeah, that’s Jesus!,” say you and then remember Isaiah lived and wrote centuries prior to the first Good Friday.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Cloudy Days 2

Paul Little repeats the promise, “God ‘wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.’” (1 Timothy 2:4) “That some men are not reborn”, he continues, “is not God’s lapse.” We can verify the words of Jesus, “These are the scriptures that testify about Me; yet you refuse to come to Me to have life.” ~John 5: 39-40

But, c’mon! The contradiction apparent jumps right at you when you read one page later in Know What You Believe, “It is true that no one believes on the Savior unless God the Holy Spirit convicts him.” All right, stay with me while I fly back to Genesis. You do believe in the literal curse on the earth, right?

Under the curse, we have bad things happening here. Earthquakes, pesky weeds and tares, drought, a storm of the century like Katrina, disease and even though the sun is beautiful today, we got clouds here. Why? Numbed out, hardened people are part of it. Why? As in all the disastrous tragedies where no fault can be found, we want to blame Satan or God! To blame Satan is to diminish God’s power. Satan no doubt did it but God had to let ‘im. To blame God because we know He is able, in His sovereign power, to stop the mayhem is probably the more accurate course. It is the truest, most difficult of all tests…will we remember our place?

The Almighty God, Creator of all we are and know, blesses us as He wishes. My own take on it is we have much for Him to teach us, including patience, appreciation for everything He is and does, humility to let Him BE. Withheld mercy is not out of some cruel, sadistic motive! On our level of history, the Cross, in fact, is not withheld from anyone. As soon as you realize there is NOTHING stopping you from accepting Jesus Christ as your own Lord of living, the Messiah of all people, you will know you are a chosen child of God. So is God being cruel and unfair? It is a daunting obstacle that God does not soften all hearts toward Him. The only way to get past it is to get to know Him, to know that He hurts over every proud, hard-shelled, stubborn person who just won’t bow. He anguishes over the deceived and misguided. As I have gotten to know the Living God over the years, I become more certain that ALL He does has divine purpose which can only be traced to a Loving, Righteous Savior.

Simple people can survive nicely on the God of nature. They can know Him by looking around on one of those rare sunny days or a beautiful, fluffy white covering of clouds, or a grand scene of majestic grandeur anywhere on earth. I suspect if you have read this far, you are not willing to remain on that level. I will not concur that God’s Word is secondary to our faith. The fact is, we are not created simple creatures. We are complex, intelligent and certainly can understand God’s teaching. It’s high time we learn it.

No one can come to me unless the Father Who sent Me draws him.” ~Jesus, John 6:44
If He is drawing you in, hear Him, I pray. There is no such thing as, “He isn’t drawing me to Himself.” At the first thought of the possibility, He is doing just that--guaranteed!

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Cloudy Days in Pittsburgh

Out of my deep, questioning as I gazed into yet another cloudy sky, there came a beautiful picture of what God was trying to teach me. There are an inordinate number of cloudy days in these parts and Pittsburghers pretty much learn to live with them; the complaints are simply our way of sharing in the misery. We long for a sunny bright day about now. And we expect it! I don’t really know why except the facts of past experience teach us to.

Christians come to expect God’s gracious Spirit during a lifetime too. And we do bitterly complain when it seems evident a certain person is never going to give their life over to Christ. WHY? GOD, WHY? We can hardly stand the waiting and we would never, never accept that the Son won’t shine in their life one day! On some blessed occasion, the Bright and Morning Star will rise on their awakened soul! But why do we hold out hope? Paul Little quotes Charles Simeon in Know What You Believe, “The wonder is NOT that He [God] withholds mercy from some, but that He should be gracious to any.”

This is the most difficult teaching in the Bible, because ultimately it leads to the reality that God judges those whom He did not elect. (You cynics out there are not wrong in fact, only in response) So please, I am not being glib when I make the comparison to climate. The vision is sincerely like opening the windows in a musty room that first warm day! Nearly all Christians I know would keep the windows shut on the subject and as my brother called it, “You’re getting into the minutiae.” But because this very thing is what turned me from faith for years and I know for a fact it is what keeps many a tender heart away from God, I consider it gargantuan!

Are we not blessed beyond measure that we have life and blue-sky days at all? Supposing chronic clouds could be our fate; are we not the wiser if we dwell on God’s gift, though the sun might be shining in Hawaii and not here? Or do we weakly go the human route, thinking only about our gloomy veil and how could God do that?”

It is distressing that we have closeted the whole mess, as a Church. Some go where men fear to tread, like Paul did:

“…we do not use deception, nor do we distort the Word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly, we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” ~2 Cor. 4:2

Curiously and succinctly, this verse prepares us for the zinger, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they CANNOT see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” ~V. 3&4

Okay, so here Satan is the guilty one but if you are someone of the belief, “God could top that!” because our God is, was, and always will be bigger than Satan, well then we are still left with a dilemma.

Sorry about the cliffhanger; there’s too much for one post. Rambling to be continued.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?