Archive for the ‘Faith’ Tag

MAKING A CASE FOR OLD TESTAMENT WRITERS   1 comment

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This is from Oluwadunni’s Blog:

The Christian faith is fraught with many questions and arguments relating to doctrine, one of which is the seeming conflict between the Old Testament and New Testament, especially pertaining to the character of God. Many think the God of the Old Testament is angry and fearful while the God of the New Testament is loving and merciful, which begs the question, “So did God change?”

In an attempt to resolve this argument, there is a school of believers that posit that some authors of the Old Testament did not have a complete revelation of God, thus they sometimes failed to present a correct image of God, filling in the blanks with their own ideas. The teaching is often characterized by negating Old Testament passages that attribute inflicting death, plagues or some adverse circumstance to God.

This teaching, though well-intentioned, finds no support in Scripture and is flawed for reasons I will outline below.

The Old Testament Is Inspired Too

The major flaw of this line of thought is that it forgets that the Holy Spirit is ultimately the author of the Bible, and thus negates and assaults the doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy of the Word of God. This doctrine teaches that the Bible was totally inspired by God through the Holy Spirit working in human beings, and is consequently inerrant, that is, true and trustworthy. This doctrine finds support in two main passages:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” – 2 Timothy 3:16

“for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” – 2 Peter 1:21

“All Scripture”, that is the Old Testament and the New Testament, (and in fact, when that letter was written, the Old Testament was the only part of Scripture in existence), was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Every word that was written was intended to be there by the Holy Spirit who superintended the process. If Scripture expressly records that “the Lord killed him”, as in the story of Er & Onan, or God shut someone’s womb, as in the story of Hannah, then we must take these words as inspired by the Holy Spirit. Consequently, to argue that the author was wrong to say that God shut Hannah’s womb or killed Uzzah for touching the ark, as God could not truly have been responsible for those acts, is to cast doubt on the divine authority and veracity of God’s Word. The implication is that the process of writing Scripture was tainted by man’s inclinations and limitations, thus exposing Scripture to errancy. If Scripture is truly inspired by the Holy Spirit who is perfect, shouldn’t the Holy Spirit be able to ensure that the authors only recorded what was true, free of error and portrayed the correct image of God? Undoubtedly, the human aspect of the writing of the Bible means that the styles, personality and cultural influences of each author seeped into the text (and same is true for the New Testament); however, I believe God, in His Sovereignty, did not allow this taint the truthfulness and reliability of His Inspired Word. Moreover, this school of thought opens the door for all kinds of subjective interpretations as one is forced to wonder what parts of the Old Testament correctly portray God and what parts do not, ultimately leading to cherry-picking.

A common rebuttal is that the people of the Old Testament did not truly know or understand God, neither did they have the full picture of Him, as the image of God is fully revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ, hence Old Testament authors inadvertently portrayed a distorted image of God. This is not altogether correct. Here, it is important to distinguish between the sacred writers of the Old Testament and the people of Israel. The people of Israel were constantly rebellious and unfaithful, and did not know or understand God’s character. Right from when God delivered them from Egypt, and led them into the Promised Land, till the lifetime of Jesus, they were a stiff-necked people whose eyes were blind and hearts were hard. For example, in Numbers 14:3, the children of Israel murmured against God saying, “Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?”, depicting a lack of knowledge of God’s faithfulness and goodness. Similarly, God, through the prophet Jeremiah, said concerning them, “For my people are foolish, they have not known Me….” (Jeremiah 4:22). Jesus himself gave the same report about the Jews saying, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29)

However, among these people, God revealed himself to some select few, upon whom was His Spirit. These were priests, judges, kings, prophets – people who had faith in God and were commended for it as shown in Hebrews 11:39, some of whom are the inspired writers of Old Testament books. Through his prophets, He issued messages to the rebellious and disobedient people of Israel that they may know Him, however they did not heed their words. So, although the children of Israel did not know God, did not obey Him nor listen to His messages issued through His prophets, the inspired authors were people of faith who knew God, to the extent that He spoke to them and revealed Himself and His will to them. Of Moses, God Himself said, “I speak to Him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and He sees the form of the Lord.” (Numbers 12:8; see also Exodus 33:11; Deut. 34:10). In fact, the psalmist says, “He made known His ways to Moses, his acts to the children of Israel” (Psalm 103:7); the Israelites merely saw God’s powerful miracles, but to Moses, He revealed His character. Isaiah had such a powerful vision of the Lord that he became aware of his sinfulness (Isaiah 6:1-5). Ezekiel had several visions of God that could barely be put into words. And although, David did not traditionally appear to be a prophet, the New Testament affirms in several passages that many of his psalms were prophetic.

How then could these saints of old go beyond the revelations of God shown to them and include their own notions about God, bearing in mind that their prophecies were often given in first-person as God Himself speaking? No, the Bible does not say so, Jesus did not say so, the apostles never taught so, and it is presumptuous to say so. In essence, although the OT revelations are fragmentary, the Old Testament authors portrayed God as He revealed Himself to them, within the confines of human language, exactly as inspired by the Spirit, and these portrayals are true and do not contradict the image of God that Christ presents – because Christ is present, though veiled, in the Old Testament.

It is unarguable that, in Christ, God reveals Himself in his fulness. The Apostle John writes, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth…. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. (John 1:14, 18) The writer of Hebrews also says: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…” (Hebrews 1:1-2). To borrow the words of Jamieson Fausset Brown, “In Christ, the revelation of God is full, not in shifting hues of separated color, but Himself the pure light, uniting in His one person the whole spectrum.”

Thus, one of the things Christ did here on earth was manifest the character of God to mankind. A.W Tozer puts it this way: “Christ walked with men on earth that He might show them what God is like and make known the true nature of God to a race that had wrong ideas about Him.” Did these wrong ideas emanate from Old Testament teachings about God’s character? No, because the inspired Word produces no wrong ideas about God. The wrong ideas the people of Israel (and humanity) had about the character of God was because of their lack of knowledge and understanding about God, ultimately traceable to the sin-nature that is alienated from God. Heb. 1:1-2 evidently tells us that God spoke through the prophets first, the same prophets that the people of Israel did not listen to, same prophets they murdered (Luke 11:47-49). The purpose of Jesus’s coming was to embody and fulfill the prophecies, not to negate them.

If we deeply study the teachings and life of Jesus, we will find that He never invalidated what was written in the Old Testament about God’s character nor did He depict a different character from what was written about God in the OT; what He did was reveal that character and establish God’s perfect standards of righteousness and holiness, revealing the inadequacy and imperfection of the permissive and provisional Law given by Moses under the old covenant, in making a man pleasing to God.

Who Defines Good and Evil?

Another flaw in this teaching is its subjection of the Uncreated God to human and simplistic notions of good and evil. In its human understanding, it says, “killing is evil; God is good and does no evil; therefore, God did not kill”, failing to understand that what constitutes evil is not just the act, but the intent, the disposition behind the act, and that God transcends our own fallible views of what is good and evil. Aren’t there unbelievers who think, “How could God give up His Son to die? That’s evil.” Yet as believers we understand that God gave us His son and Jesus offered up Himself because He loved us (John 3:16, Romans 5:8) This shows us that what humans consider to be evil and what God considers to be evil are not the same. Yet, God remains the epitome of all moral excellence.

Rather than refuse to confront seemingly uncomfortable and unsettling portrayals of God in the Old Testament by presuming the writer was mistaken, we must take the written Word as it is and ask ourselves, “The Bible records that God did this and this, why did He act that way and what does this tell me about the nature of God?”

In every passage where it is recorded that God killed persons or sent a plague or delivered the Israelites into the hands of their enemies, it was preceded by a narration of the people’s iniquity and sinfulness. We see statements saying their acts “displeased the Lord” (See Gen. 38:10, Numbers 11:1, 1 Chron. 21:7) or was “evil in His sight” (Gen. 6:5, Num. 32:13, Judges 2:11). And so, we see God’s righteous judgment against sin/evil, and not an evil or malicious God going on a killing spree out of hatred for man or for morbid pleasure. We see an absolutely holy, just and perfect God who detests sin and must deal with sin decisively, because sin corrupts, pollutes and degrades His creation. God’s wrath stems from His holiness and His desire to preserve the spiritual wellbeing of His creation. This was why none of the people who rebelled against God in the wilderness made it to the Promised Land; only their children “who had no knowledge of good and evil” did (See Num. 32:13, Deut. 1:35-39). It was to preserve the moral health of His chosen ones in the “good land” they were about to possess. God’s holiness and righteous judgment, therefore, does not negate His goodness and love. The wrath of God does not reflect poorly on His loving nature. Is he truly a good and loving God if he allows sin and its evil consequences persist?

A correct understanding of these Old Testament passages actually enables us new creatures in Christ appreciate the redemptive and saving work of Jesus. It is that very wrath we see in the OT that Jesus saved us from. Just like the people of Israel, we had the sinful nature and were ‘children of wrath’ (Eph. 2:3) By the sacrifice of Jesus, the Lord laid on Him all our sins and the wrath of God was satisfied (Isaiah 53), ushering us into the dispensation of grace where forgiveness is available for all. And for everyone who believes in the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have right standing with God and are saved from the wrath of God stored up on the Day of his righteous judgment upon the children of disobedience (Rom 2:5, Eph. 5:6). This is the true basis for our unshaking assertion that God will not kill or inflict calamity on anyone because their sins have been paid for by Jesus Christ; God has poured out mercy and grace upon humanity through Jesus Christ, and is patiently calling on mankind to be reconciled to Him (2 Corinthians 5:19). These passages also give us an in-depth understanding of how much God hates sin, that we may walk in a manner pleasing to him. This was the emphasis of Paul in 1 Corinthians 10 – “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” After an exposition of the presence of Christ in the Old Testament, Paul cited examples of the Israelites’ sin from Exodus & Numbers, affirming the authority of Old Testament Scripture; if the writer was incorrect to attribute the punishment the Israelites suffered for their sin to God, the Holy Spirit would have moved Paul to say so. But he says, “But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness”, confirming that they were judged by God for their sin.

Apart from God’s holiness, the Old Testament also establishes God’s sovereignty. God is the Source of all life and can determine when life begins and ends (See Psalm 90:3) So, when you say Hannah was wrong when she prayed, “The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up” (1 Sam. 2:6), you focus on a myopic view of God’s goodness and lose sight of a precious truth: God is sovereign and all-powerful. God Himself had said earlier through Moses, “Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.” (Deut. 32:39). Jesus teaches this same truth about the Father: “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:5)

It is important to note that the aforementioned passages refer to physical life. People have defended this teaching with John 10:10 saying, “It is the Devil that kills, steals and destroys; Jesus only gives life.” And to that, I pose this question: “when God told Adam and Eve that they would die if they eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, did they die physically?” They suffered spiritual death, and Jesus died and was raised to life that we may enjoy spiritual/eternal life; this is what He meant when He said “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” And for everyone who believes in the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are quickened and made spiritually alive with Christ (Eph. 2:5). John 10:10 must first be understood in the spiritual sense: Satan seeks the separation of man from God so he brought about spiritual death, he stole man’s authority and power, but Jesus has destroyed his works. Undoubtedly, Satan, being the evil being he is, also wreaks havoc by causing physical death and all kinds of calamity, but God is ultimately in control of all life. That was why God could expressly command Satan not to take Job’s life (Job 1:12)

Conclusion: There Is No Conflict

So how do we reconcile the revelation of God in the Old and New Testament? Well, the error is in thinking that there is a conflict, that the Old Testament only portrays God as a God of anger and judgment, while it was first in the New Testament, through Jesus Christ, that we come to know God as a God of mercy and grace. Before time even began, God has been and will always be merciful and good. The Old Testament narrates many instances where God withheld his anger and showed forgiveness (Exodus 32:14, 2 Sam. 24:16, 1 Kings 21:29, Jonah 3:10), and contains symbols of God’s mercy that would later be fully fulfilled in Jesus Christ. For example, after exacting judgment on Adam and Eve for disobedience, God made garments for them and clothed them (Genesis 3:21); also, when venomous snakes bit the Israelites due to their rebellion, the Lord instructed Moses to make a bronze snake and hang it on a pole, so that whomever is bitten can look to it and live (Numbers 21:8-9). Here are some OT verses that speak of God’s mercy and grace:

“And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin…”– Exodus 34:6-7
“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” – Psalm 86:15

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” – Psalm 103:8-10

“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” – Micah 7:18-19

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23

“So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.” – Joel 2:13

In Jesus Christ, we see all these Scriptures fulfilled. We see the actualization of God’s mercy, goodness and love towards humanity.

And here are New Testament verses that speak of God’s justice and judgment, apart from those earlier cited.

“Therefore, consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness…” – Romans 11:22

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” – 2 Corinthians 5:11

“For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” – Hebrews 10:30-31

It is evident that God is portrayed as kind, loving, gracious and merciful, alongside the portrayals of His holiness, righteousness and justice in both the Old and New Testament. He is revealed as truly in the Old Testament as He is in the New Testament; both unify to reveal God and His Son, Jesus Christ, in fullness.

We must be careful not to have a one-sided view of God that fits our own mold of what He should be. As believers, we study the Old Testament in light of the New Testament, and we do this without sitting in judgment over what has been written or objecting to what we erroneously and fearfully think paints God in a bad light. He does not need you to make him look good; He is good in Himself. The Bible reveals many attributes of God and they are not inconsistent with each other at all. As Tozer writes, “Between His attributes, no contradiction can exist. He need not suspend one to exercise another, for in Him all attributes are one.”

I implore us to take time to study all the Scriptures stated here, even as we maintain an open, humble and teachable spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us understand His Word and guide us into all truth. Amen.

*All A.W. Tozer quotes are from his book The Knowledge of the Holy.

The Man Christ Jesus
Enoch:  The Seventh from Adam
Time, Timelessness and Jesus Christ

Growth in the Storm   2 comments

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This is from the blog A Word in Season:

“And when they were come into the ship,
the wind ceased.”
Matthew 14:32

For the disciple of Christ there is purpose in the storms of life. God’s design for His Own is never random and without intent. Nothing is haphazard or arbitrary. The storm in which the disciples found themselves was intended to enlarge their comprehension of the majesty of Christ.  It was also an opportunity to experience this wonder in their own lives. The main beneficiary of this “lesson” was Peter. Peter had a desire to identify with the living Christ; his heart was not content in seeing Jesus walk upon the water! There was an inherent need within him to walk as Christ walked; to step into the storming seas of life because faith propelled him. True Faith can never find contentment in seeing Jesus only. It will inevitably compel the one in whom it resides to invest in the experiential life of identification with Christ.

The wind will cease, and the storm will become calm once the vital lesson is learned! How glorious is the inspired Word of God: “and when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased”! Let the “they” impact our hearts and stir our souls to greater faith and larger living. When Jesus and Peter step back into the boat, Peter is not the same man he was moments before. His understanding has been transformed by stepping out of his current knowledge of Christ into a larger revelation of the power of Christ.

The storms of life are designed of Him to not simply be endured, but to be the very instruments of our enlargement and growth. While many cling to the “safety” of the boat there are those who see Christ upon the waters and have the passion to walk as He walks, to overcome as He overcomes; to know within that a greater life is available. May the Lord work within us that faith that sees beyond the confines of our experience and propels us to walk outside the scope of human possibility.

“If it be thou, bid me to come”
Matthew 14:28

Jesus has one response to such faith:

“Come…”
Matthew 14:29

Brian Troxel

Reality & Doctrine, Obedience & Faith   Leave a comment

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This is from the blog Words from the Crucible:

The convenient divorce of reality from doctrine inevitably leads to the abandonment of both; and now what passes for either one of them is merely the imaginations and philosophies of man thinly veiled in biblical terms. But the doctrine of Christ is derivative of His very person; it is the expression not merely of an intellectual framework but rather of the Life of He who desires to be at work in both our thoughts and our actions by His Holy Spirit, that we may walk by such faith which through obedience increasingly lays hold of the reality of knowing Him.

When many don’t get the answers they want, or the answers don’t seem to be coming, they just settle for their own vain notions and move on – as though forgetting that God has anything to do with it (even though they’ll still claim they are being taught by Him.) But the realities of God as expressed in scripture will not be truly seen and walked in without the patient and confident faith which makes decisions and actually does things based upon what is yet unseen – and even as of yet, unconfirmed – except by the Still Small Voice.

God desires to have a people so given over to Christ their Shepherd that when they open the bible, every word they read would not be a far off mystery, but rather an ever clarifying revelation of that in which they have already allowed His Spirit to begin leading them. For a witness is not only one who has heard; but one who has also seen, looked upon and handled the Word of Life, who is Christ Himself, the treasure in these earthen vessels.

“…And we are witnesses to these things, and so is
the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

(Acts 5:32)

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

…But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
(James 1:5-8, 22)

A Dream about Donald Trump   53 comments

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Donald Trump

Dreams from the LORD 2011-2016
25 May 2016

Last night I had a dream where I was driving this tractor-trailer.  Sitting in the cab of the truck with me was Donald Trump.  We were hauling heavy equipment.  We couldn’t find a place to park the tractor-trailer, so I drove to this lot next to this job site and parked it there.  I told Donald Trump that I had parked trucks there before.  The owner of the lot walked up to our truck and I asked him if I could park our tractor-trailer there for a short while.  He said it would be all right to park it there for a few days.

Another dream about Donald Trump:

Dreams from the LORD 2011-2016
20 September 2016

Last night I had a dream where I saw Donald Trump dressed in a business suit sitting comfortably on top of this bed. He was surrounded by many people—they looked like reporters. Trump was casually talking to the reporters.

I believe this dream means that Trump will easily win the election in November.

_____

A Dream About Trump & Protesters

Last night I had a dream where I saw Donald Trump standing on a large rock or boulder. Surrounding him were protesters with signs. While I did not see what the individual signs were saying, I did get the sense that they were statements and accusations against the president. Then I saw a whirlwind come out of nowhere. I watched as it picked up the protesters along with their signs and spun them around. President Trump, however, was not affected and stayed standing on the large boulder. When the whirlwind dissipated I saw that the protesters signs had disappeared and also their clothing so that they were naked as well. Now instead of protesting and hurling accusations at the president they were desperately trying to cover their nakedness but not succeeding.

As with any dream I post, take this to the Lord in prayer. [24 October 2018]

–Tony Puccio,
from the blog My Dreams and Visions

_____

Revd John Kilpatrick: apolitical prophecy in His Presence
As regards Leaders . . . “the Lord looketh on the heart.”
Dream regarding United States election–Call to Prayer!
God and Donald Trump (Nita Johnson)
Vladimir Putin on Barack Obama
A History Lesson: Colonel Isaac Barre
Quotes from Thomas Jefferson
Some Quotes from Range Magazine
The Trump Paradigm
This Video Will Get Donald Trump Elected
Exposed
Reuters cuts feed just as Donald Trump is being blessed by Bishop Jackson
Trump Chosen by God To Stop America’s Destruction
Donald Trump and Henry Gruver prophetic vision!
John Paul Jackson and President Donald Trump
Perry Stone–Why They Hate Donald Trump
Lance Wallnau–Prophetic Word on Donald Trump
Dr. Ben Carson:  “I’m Proud to Support Donald Trump”
Donald Trump for President
Donald Trump is a Friend of Israel
Hillary Clinton in JAIL
Two Dreams with Donald Trump
God appoints our leaders, including Donald Trump
Prophetic Dream of Obama Scheme Against Trump
The Snare of the Fowler
The Genius of Trump’s Tweets
A ‘now’ word on President Trump from the UK
TSR 168:  Exclusive Interview with Mark Taylor/ Donald Trump:  A Man Sent By God
A Bald Eagle, a Black Cat and a Nation
The Fighter
Why Disrespecting the President Will Bring Punishment from God
A Dream About Trump & Protesters
The Death of Hillary Clinton
RIPPING HISTORY:  Nancy Pelosi Broke the Law during State of the Union
Robert Henderson’s Four Dreams about President Trump

[Donald Trump is a combination of Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, General George S. Patton and Ronald Reagan.]

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George S. Patton at the Virginia Military Institute, 1907. Patton looks like Donald Trump.

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Healing and the Breaking of Generational Curses   6 comments

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Dreams from the LORD 2011-2015
27 December 2015

Early this morning I had a dream where I was going on some trip.  I was with two guys and we were riding in this pickup.  We stopped at this cafe and I met this man with a grotesque, deformed head.  He approached me and I put my hand on his head and prayed in tongues for less than a minute.  All of a sudden, his head was normal—he had been healed.

Then his mother walked up to me and she also had a grotesque, deformed head.  I laid my hand on her head and I prayed in tongues for a short while.  Her head was also healed of its deformity.

I believe this dream is about healing and the breaking of generational curses.  A key thing in this dream is that both the son and the mother approached me expecting to be healed; they had faith to be healed.

Obedience:  The Bondage Breaker

Posted December 28, 2015 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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Forks in the Road   9 comments

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This is from the blog Touching the King:

Late evening on 3rd November I sat quietly before the LORD and He showed me three visible roads that forked off a main road. The picture the LORD gave me was very clear He spoke to my heart in all seriousness. His mood somber for a critical juncture is approaching for many.

The LORD said that the party of blessings which has centered on things of this world has for the most part shipwrecked the church. He showed me this picture to share with those who have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches at this time. The emphasis is not hearing with your ears but with the Spirit. God is Spirit.

The LORD showed me this picture because He knows the spiritual climate that is ahead and it is a warning.

Here is the picture I saw …. I will describe it as best I can ……

I saw three roads. One was very obviously the wide road to destruction but the middle road which I felt equals middle ground are those who sit in churches but in fact sit on the fence of any real commitment to following Jesus Christ. This road is easy too and demands little of sacrifice. Most will now know this as churchianity but even this does not describe the deception as many still call themselves Christians this incorporates many different denominations.

Then I saw a very small rough track with small bushes as though in the countryside. It seemed authentic. It wasn’t hidden as such but it had the appearance of humility a road less traveled in the worldly sense. This road the LORD said is one of the most deceptive roads for Christians. No worldly goods, quite bare and again the appearance of humility. But the LORD emphasised that this too is not the track to following Him as the humility is false, very deceptive. Many well-known preachers of godly renown are on and have been on this path such is the deception. The truth of this path which for many believe is right is wrong. If God told you the truth you wouldn’t believe Him unless you walk very closely to Him, such is the deception.

Then the LORD showed me another track and this was not visible to the human eye in any way. This is a spiritual path that is opened up to us if we walk literally by faith and not by sight. It is very unseen by us but seen by God. This path is not shown beforehand to any Christian until the Good Shepherd guides you by His Voice and He says ‘Walk in it’. I have seen this path myself in a vision the LORD gave me many weeks ago. I have seen it in the spiritual but not as yet in the material. I know it is coming and I am myself having to wait for the LORD. I’ve already been rescued from many paths some in the churches. God will show you as you seek Him on this. I am testing every spirit daily from the LORD.

The LORD showed me that an absolute test of obedience is so essential at this time. Hearing His Voice alone out of the many Christians and Christian preachers is essential as all are not of the LORD. This unseen road is the narrow path and it is very steep and is following Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. It is not of this world at all even though many true believers are still in the world.

The LORD spoke that it is essential to wait for His voice patiently. He knows you are tired and weary but keep very close to Him through prayer and His Word in stillness.

What church is NOT   6 comments

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What Church is NOT: Reviewing Some Basics
By Roger Thoman

Church, by definition is not a building, not a place of worship, not an organization.

As Neil Cole likes to say: “We are the church.  Where we go the church goes.”

“God does not dwell in temples made by human hands.”  Stephen, before being martyred.

Church is not a come-and-sit service to attend.

“The church’s true nature is best seen by the life that Jesus modeled: he took the life of the kingdom everywhere that he went—out into the world that he was ministering to.”  Roger Thoman

Church is not a passive gathering where some participate and others just listen.

“The bleachers are beginning to empty as 707 million action-oriented Christians start to pour out onto the playing field and discover the joy and challenge of every-member ministry.”  Jim Rutz

Church is not a professionally-led entitity.

“In the New Covenant we do not need a human priest (pastor) to mediate or pray for us as we now have a High Priest as our mediator…  Having a pastor as our priest violates our own priesthood as it leads to hierachization, compartmentalization and fragmentation and makes us lazy laity… Priests do not lead worship but the Body of Brethren (Body of men, women and even youth) minister to each other.”  Victor Choudhrie

Church is not a business.

“In the first century in Palestine Christianity was a community of believers. Then Christianity moved to Greece and became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome and became an institution. Then it moved to Europe and became a culture. And then it moved to America and became a business. We need to get back to being a healthy, vibrant community of true followers of Jesus.”  Priscilla Shirer

Church is not a club that isolates from the rest of the world………………………….

Read the rest of the article here at SimpleChurch Journal and post your additions.

Called Out:  Now What?

The Early Christians Were Intensely Christ-Centered   11 comments

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This is from the blog Called Out:  Now What?

The Early Christians Were Intensely Christ-Centered

by Ray Spellbrink

The early Christians were intensely Christ-centered. Jesus Christ was their pulse beat. He was their life, their breath, and their central point of reference. He was the object of their worship, the subject of their songs, and the content of their discussion and vocabulary. The New Testament church made the Lord Jesus Christ central and supreme in all things.

The New Testament church had no fixed order of worship. The early Christians gathered in open-participatory meetings where all believers shared their experience of Christ, exercised their gifts, and sought to edify one another. No one was a spectator. All were given the privilege and the responsibility to participate.

The purpose of these church meetings was twofold. It was for the mutual edification of the body. It was also to make visible the Lord Jesus Christ through the every-member functioning of His body. The early church meetings were not religious “services.” They were informal gatherings that were permeated with an atmosphere of freedom, spontaneity, and joy. The meetings belonged to Jesus Christ and to the church [Ed: the people]; they did not serve as a platform for any particular ministry or gifted person.

The New Testament church lived as a face-to-face community. While the early Christians gathered for corporate worship and mutual edification, the church did not exist to merely meet once or twice a week. The New Testament believers lived a shared life. They cared for one another outside of scheduled meetings. They were, in the very real sense of the word, family.

Christianity was the first and only religion the world has ever known that was void of ritual, clergy, and sacred buildings. For the first 300 years of the church’s existence, Christians gathered in homes.

On special occasions, Christian workers would sometimes make use of larger facilities (like Solomon’s Porch [John 10:23, Acts 3:11] and the Hall of Tyrannus [Acts 19:9]). But they had no concept of a sacred edifice nor of spending large amounts of money on buildings. Nor would they ever call a building a “church” or the “house of God”.

The only sacred building the early Christians knew was the one not made with human hands.

The New Testament church did not have a clergy. The Catholic priest and the Protestant pastor were completely unknown. The church had traveling apostolic workers who planted and nurtured churches. But these workers were not viewed as being part of a special clergy caste. They were part of the body of Christ, and they served the churches (not the other way around). Every Christian possessed different gifts and different functions, but only Jesus Christ had the exclusive right to exercise authority over His people. No man had that right. Eldering and shepherding were just two of those gifts.

Elders and shepherds were ordinary Christians with certain gifts. They were not special offices. And they did not monopolize the ministry of the church meetings.

They were simply seasoned Christians who naturally cared for the members of the church during times of crisis and provided oversight for the whole assembly.

Decision making in the New Testament church fell upon the shoulders of the whole assembly. Traveling church planters would sometimes give input and direction. But ultimately, the whole church made local decisions under the lordship of Jesus Christ. It was the church’s responsibility to find the Lord’s mind together and act accordingly.

The New Testament church was organic, not organizational. It was not welded together by putting people into office, creating programs, constructing rituals, and developing a top-down hierarchy or chain-of-command structure. The church was a living, breathing organism. It was born, it would grow, and it naturally produced all of what was in its DNA. That would include all the gifts, ministries and functions of the body of Christ. In the eyes of God, the church is a beautiful woman. The bride of Christ. She was a colony from heaven, not a man-made organization from earth.

Tithing was not a practice of the New Testament church. The early Christians used their funds to support the poor among them, as well as the poor in the world. They also supported traveling itinerant church planters so that the gospel could be spread and churches could be raised up in other lands. They gave according to their ability, not out of guilt, duty or compulsion. Pastor/clergy salaries were unheard of.

Every Christian in the church was a priest, a minister, and a functioning member of the body.

Baptism was the outward expression of Christian conversion. When the early Christians led people to the Lord, they immediately baptized them in water as to testimony to their new position. The Lord’s Supper was an ongoing expression whereby the early Christians reaffirmed their faith in Jesus Christ and their oneness with His body.

The Supper was a full meal which the church enjoyed together in the spirit and atmosphere of joy and celebration. It was the fellowship of the body of Christ, not a token ritual or a religious rite. And it was never officiated by a clergy or a special priesthood.

The early Christians did not build Bible schools or seminaries to train young workers. Christian workers were educated and trained by older workers in the context of church life. They learned “on the job”. Jesus provided the initial model for this “on-the-job” training when he mentored the Twelve. Paul duplicated it when he trained young Gentile workers in Ephesus.

The early Christians did not divide themselves into various denominations. they understood their oneness in Christ and expressed it visibly in every city. To their minds, there was only one church per city (even though it may have met in many different homes throughout the locale). If you were a Christian in the first century, you belonged to that one church. The unity of the Spirit was well guarded. Denominating themselves (“I am of Paul”, “I am of Peter”, “I am of Appolos”) was regarded as sectarian and divisive (See 1 Corinthians 1:12)”

I do believe these are some of the aspects of God’s vision for His church. Remember, the goal in our lives and in our church should be the absolute centrality of Jesus Christ. Nothing less will suffice.

We need more revolutionaries today who will stand against the religious system of our day. I encourage you to catch the vision God has for His church! The freedom His plan and will brings is beyond words! Let’s “buck the system” and seek a complete upheaval of those church practices that are so engrained in our churches today that are contrary to biblical principles. Let’s build on the right foundation – Jesus Christ. Anything less results in defect.

Let’s return to Bible basics and New Testament Christianity where Jesus is Lord!

BE A REVOLUTIONARY!

Until next time, enjoy the journey!

_____

“If someone proved to me that Christ
is outside the truth, and that in reality the truth were outside of Christ, then I should prefer to remain with Christ rather than with the truth.”

–Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Christian History

The Butterfly Effect   1 comment

buterflies

This is from the blog See, there’s this thing called biology . . .:

The butterfly effect is this idea that suggests that a butterfly fluttering it’s wings
on one side of the world, has the ability to impact the weather on the other side of the
world. It speaks to the inter-connectedness of us all and points to the fact that for
every action there is an equal reaction. The theory was received with some mockery,
became a thing of myths and urban legends, and eventually became accepted
by science itself.

Ideas like the collective unconscious and the butterfly effect demolish the belief
that a man can be an island unto himself, orbiting his own little planet and creating
his own little reality. Instead, everything in the world, including us, exists in a
kind of symbiosis, and the tiniest little thing we do, like a butterfly fluttering
it’s wings, has an impact on the world around us. Every kind word spoken has the
power to alter the fabric of the universe, to change someone’s destiny, to rewrite a
story. So does every cranky word, every famine, every war…..oh crap……

When I first learned about the butterfly effect, I had an anxiety attack, which
eventually progressed into a full blown existentialist crisis. One of the fun
things about being a Christian is that you can have a good existentialist crisis,
stare into the abyss, let go, free fall…and you’ll land in hysterics about three
feet down at the foot of a King. Plunk! I’ve done it so many times, I imagine the
angels just roll their eyes and say, “it’s that crazy woman again, questioning the
nature of Creation. Must be a girl thing. Seems to be some part of their design.”

At least that’s what happens when you’re a Christian and have the Lord’s favor.
If you don’t have His favor, you may well plunge into the abyss and the angels
watch you go by in a free fall and sing, “wheeeee, look at that one go!”
I have no idea and no desire to find out. It’s a long way down to the bottom
of the abyss.

We really do create reality for ourselves and for those around us. Everything we do,
no matter how small, has an impact on those around us and on those not around us, and
on those yet to come. People are far more important, far more valuable to the equation,
than most of us realize. Every single one of us, every word spoken, every breath we take,
every thought we have, alters the very fabric of the universe.

It’s a huge responsibility, enough to trigger a good existentialist crisis, and
underscores the profound implications of the Greatest Commandment.

Our lives really are the greatest love story ever told and we are called to live them
as if we are all madly and passionately in love with every breathless moment. As if
that is not the most awesome thing ever, our lives are only the first chapter.

truly, madly, deeply

Contrary to Common Sense   8 comments

oswaldchambers

Oswald Chambers, 1874-1817

“We hear it said that Jesus Christ taught nothing contrary to common sense: everything Jesus Christ taught was contrary to common sense. Not one thing in the Sermon on the Mount is common sense. The basis of Christianity is neither common sense nor rationalism; it springs from another centre, viz. a personal relationship to God in Christ Jesus in which everything is ventured on from a basis that is not seen.”

–Oswald Chambers

_____

“One must be a great man indeed to be able to hold out even against common sense.”
“Or else a fool.”

–Fyodor Dostoyevsky

_____

“The warrior of God is not the man of muscle and a strong jaw, but the man of un-utterable weakness, the man who knows he has not any power; Jacob is no longer strong in himself, he is strong only in God, his life is no longer marked by striving, but by reliance on God. You cannot imitate reliance on God.”

–Oswald Chambers