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But, God!

I slept to 9am, bricked in front of Facebook, listened to more of the teaching from Hixon, TN on DVD, and washed a boatload of dishes the dishwasher failed to do.

But the most interesting part of today was a science experiment I conducted to clarify in my mind something I wanted to share here.  Nothing earth shaking, nothing new.  I wanted to see just how fast the drop of soap, in this case Dawn dish liquid, dispersed a slick of vegetable oil.  One drop sent 3T of oil scooting 360 degrees at lightning speed.  I was intending to use this as an illustration of what happens when certain people walk in a room or what happens when certain conversation topics rise in a group setting.  It took a different turn.

As I played with the oil and water and watched how it reacted both on its own and with my interference, I saw other illustrations.  There are many allegorical directions to go, but the one that most impressed me was a comparison to the body of Christ at the end of this church age.  Scripturally, oil is almost always a picture of the Holy Spirit, but not here.

I slowly drizzled 3T vegetable oil 10-14 inches above the surface of the water in a medium sized mixing bowl, creating multiple glistening balls dancing and swimming in the purity of clean water.  In seconds the oil reached the surface and merged into one 3 inch diameter circle.  My fingertip could chase it, break it into many parts, and almost convince it to blend with the water, but when I removed my finger, it gradually merged its multiple orbs into a single unit within minutes.

One drop of Dawn sent it flying, stopped only by the bowl itself.  The soap sank to the bottom, gradually dissolving but remaining a blue blur.  Gradually the oil slid its way back to the center to close any opening, to take total control of the surface, the blue soap no longer an interference. But the quality of the water was compromised by the soap.  There was a gap the oil couldn’t conquer.  I gently drizzled more oil into it. Three circles floated to the edge of the mother ship, touched but couldn’t merge.  Neither would they become one with each other but remained independent, apparently a film from the tiny drop of soap keeping them apart.  This alone could illustrate how denominations are similar but separate, unable to become one. Wheat and tares? But that’s not the picture I ended with.

Oil and water moves pretty slowly, it’s monochromatic and I’m not, so I set the project aside while I continued rewashing the dishes.  Hmm, what would happen if I dropped in more soap? Nothing.  You’re kidding me.  The first drop broke up the whole party single-handedly but subsequent drops, single or in rapid fire merely plunged through and bolted for the bottom leaving only a cloudy ring marking their impotence.  Weird.

I fixed some crackers and cheese, checked Facebook again, resumed the dish washing process, then checked the oil vs. water to see that the oil had clouded, consumed the former independents, and left an opening the size of a child’s thumb within which were several very tiny oil bubbles.  I wiped the counters, but when I came to the bowl to empty it out, I saw that the oil was compromised again, mottled with what looked like dirt, and had succeeded in totally covering the surface, its original goal.

I picked up the bowl to empty it when I thought I’d interfere one last time.  I did what I do best — stir things up.  Although the blue liquid soap had appeared to fade to nothing, it had instead permeated the water under the oil.  I wonder if I would let it sit overnight, the oil and water would have merged into a single substance, bad water or bad oil, neither of them useful.  So I swished the whole thing into a frenzy of suds.  The water was a cloudy blue, the suds fluffy, the oil apparently absorbed.

I swished, wiped, dumped and rinsed in scalding clear water until the sides of the bowl squeaked clean.

Although many illustrations can be drawn, I’ll use my first impression. I saw the bowl as the bride of Christ, the clean water her pure faith, faith that remained pure through persecution.  Along came Constantine who declared Christianity legal and commanded the persecution cease.  The oil was the healing salve that appeared to be productive but soon covers her in complacency.  The soap represents compromise that clouds her thinking and threatens to ruin her image and effectiveness.

But, God.  Do you love it?  But, God steps in.  He stirs, He shakes, He turns and  transforms her weaknesses to strength, scrubs and rinses her in hot water creating a squeaky clean, pure and spotless bride who will meet her Groom in the air and rule with Him forever.

The times are frightening.  Terror, food shortages, debt, and more can and may create a perfect storm.  If it’s prophecy, in Perry Stone’s words, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Note: God can. He can adjust His timeline. He can pause prophecy!! Whether your storm, our storm, is prophecy or a temporary bump, remember that phrase — But, God….!

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What’s your passion–interest–hobby–ministry?

Do it! Go for it! Love it! Perform with excellence! (I sure hope it doesn’t involve sin e.g. pornography. Yes, Virginia, even looking is participating. It is sin)

Jesus told us to occupy until He comes again.  But He needs you to know He wants to use your passions, interests, etc.  If your ministry is outreach, may your heart remain on fire.  If your heart leads you to study in the Word to uplift and instruct The Body, share with me.  The Body is composed of many members none of whom can perform well in all areas but can be excellent in one or a few — the heart and the liver function differently but both are necessary.

There are many things to do for mankind requiring different levels of character components. “Feed my sheep” but are we to feed them with the same food the same way over and over? Is variety a spice in this case?  For example, in the field of medicine, a researcher whose passion is analysis through a microscope likely makes a lousy pediatrician, an area that requires specific people skills.  However, they depend on each other to paint the portrait of excellent care for the patient.  The same is true in the church. Within the Body, there are those whose function(s) — foreign mission giving, the food line at the homeless shelter, sequestered studying or one that can be the most mis-interpretive of character, The Watchman, warning of Jesus’ return and the signs of His coming — are equally vital to the spread of the gospel.  That last one can really tick people off and produce the most vicious hateful flack of ginormous proportion even from within the Body. “You have no love!!”  Be strong! You may appear to lack the sweeter fruits of the Spirit but God knows your heart and motives.  Stay the course He’s called you to in the face of critics who don’t like to hear they’re in sin who must attack you to justify their actions and those on the inside who believe their ministries are more important or relevant than any and everyone else’s.

In the church body, in the church building, God uses the music program as a carrot to lure the unsaved — emotion is not a bad thing when God is using it.  When the visitors become Be-Backers and want to learn more, God uses the teachers who may or may not be able to carry a tune in the proverbial bucket yet their hearts burn for analysis of The Word to transfer Truth to power in those whose passion is to witness.

You get the picture? God can use you where you are. But, what if what you’re interested in, the thing that is your pastime pleasure, doesn’t appear to have anything to do with faith outreach or church involvement?  God can use that too.  I think of a conversation in the movie City Slickers.  They were sitting around the camp fire.  The men were talking baseball statistics.  The lone female couldn’t understand.  Her conversations were about relationships, what’s working, what’s not.  She asked how baseball stats could be so important that that’s all they talked about.  The response was from a man who had nothing in common with his father. The relationship was pain.  But they both liked baseball.  They had something that allowed conversation, a conduit for communication, their only link to each other.

One of my passions is my genealogy hobby.  If anyone wants to talk to me about it, I have information on the ancestors that is a testimony.  Their stories and circumstances are a testimony of my tree to  me. God can use them still, through me but only if I share.  In today’s world, online networking is hot e.g. Facebook.  You’re reading another form — blogging.  God can use it if your heart  burns for outreach.  It’s a colossal waste of time if it’s purely personal fluff as in “look at me, look what I did today.” May I suggest that after a weeks’ worth of commentary, your readers have a fair glimpse into your heart.

Matthew 28: 19-20, known as The Great Commission is stated in the KJV as “Go.”  The original language is more correctly translated as “As you go..” or “going.” This was such a relief for me.  The Bible college I went to in Minneapolis was primarily a missions training school.  I honestly felt that because I didn’t hear a voice saying “Go to Africa!!” I was an abysmal failure as a Christian. But when you know not every Christian is suited for foreign missions, and Jesus knew that, you can joyfully pursue what He want you to do where you are and let Him direct your steps, not necessarily trips to faraway continents.

As you go — to work, on the highway (don’t forget God’s a mind reader), in the church lobby, at the grocery store checkout lane, on Facebook, around the family holiday dinner table — make disciples, teaching His commandments according to Matthew 28: 19 and 20 all the way to the end of the age.

You will be persecuted by those to whom the Truth is offensive.  But Jesus chose the foolishness of preaching to draw men to Him. “In this world you will have trouble.” Yeah, no kidding.  Be strong.

Anybody is somebody who is serving in the house of God, working in the body of Christ.

Making a difference

I hope this makes the rounds. I found this on Larry Who’s site on my side bar, who moved it from someone else’s on his.

Many times we think we need a pulpit, or that our talents are too small.  Maybe we struggle that we don’t have time. Or are afraid of rejection.  That’s a biggie with me.  I want to minister at a distance.  Do watch all the way to the 8:48 of this visually charming and moving video.  I hope you at least mist up.

I’ve heard of this man before, can’t remember where.  But now, he’s on my site and I will be referencing on Facebook as well.

I heard in passing and I stopped to listen

When you confess your sins as a forgiven Christian, the forgiveness is instant.  Forgive yourself and go on.  God does not remember sins that have been washed in the shed blood of the lamb. (John Hagee)   So why do I carry the rotting corpse of guilt? Because I feel like such an idiot for committing the stupidity in the first place.  The truth is that I really am an idiot when I know this stuff and insist on penance at which point I am moving into pride, my behavior declaring God’s plan of forgiveness on the cross wasn’t good enough.  That just gave me a headache. Forgive me Lord.

I heard in passing the TV set a good one from someone I hadn’t heard before, can’t remember his name but couldn’t drag myself away from the curling iron long enough to surf for a substitute so I half listened until he said something about salvation evolution. I stopped to listen.  He asked if I believed people were saved gradually or if each one of us needs to make a from-darkness-to-light decision.

Do I believe we grow into salvation or do we grow in faith from accepting salvation? What does the seed that is witnessed into my mind grow into? The seed of knowledge grows toward a decision, one that has to be made consciously.  I’ve said it before — does sitting in a garage long enough turn you into a car?  Salvation cannot be applied onto anyone.

At some point you turn from your wicked ways.  The point at which you have wicked defined for you and have the consequences of wickedness clearly stated if you don’t turn from sin, is when you decide to repent or not to repent, which is “turn.”  The One you turn to is not just critical, it’s the point as opposed to “turning over a new leaf” on New Year’s Day.

Maybe you can’t pin the sticker on the calender.  Maybe one day you had an epiphany and acted on it in prayer without thunder. Maybe you were so close that the transition from pre-dawn to light wasn’t that long a ride.  But you did cross over.  Jesus is the source of the salvation.  The Word, the work of God’s Holy Spirit, and personal contact through prayer is the means by which we grow in faith and learn to walk deeper and deeper in Him.

You can attend church for years.  I heard sermons from womb to knees.  But Mom could not paint me with salvation, feed it to me or dress me in it.  All she could do was force me to be there and pray I listened.  I had to reach a point, an actual point in time, when I reached out and I received the gift.  I opened it.  I exercise it.  Me.  Knowledge may have soaked in —

I knew who Jesus was and all about Him but did not know Him until I decided to know Him.

He’s always there, does not go away, holds me, watches me, teaches and disciplines. He gives me the choice to stay or leave, to contact or not to contact Him. I grow when I choose contact, to stay.

The TV preacher asked me if I believed in evolutionary — gradual salvation.  No. I don’t. You’re dating or you’re married. You can even be engaged but you’re still not a bride until you’re a bride and you’re still not married until you take the vows. “I take Thee, Jesus … ” You’re pregnant or you’re not. This is the scariest verse in the Bible:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then will I tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”                                       —- Matthew 7: 21-23, NIV.

“Knowing” in the original language means “intimacy.” “Never knew” means “You and I did not have an intimate relationship”

Comment on Purity

I saw in the first line “After they (the enemies) have been destroyed before you,” in Brother Finto’s post.  What strikes me is that the enemies have been destroyed.  All gone.  B’bye.  Not a threat.  Beaten. Dead. Out’o’here.

So what was it that endangered their souls if the enemy was history?

Human nature.  Natural rebellion. Independent spirit.

The scripture tells us that when Jesus comes back there will be 1,000 years of peace under His authority and rule. He will rule with a rod of iron.

Rule? Rule who? Us? Didn’t we just get immortal bodies? Iron? Why does he have to rule?  And why iron?  Isn’t the enemy tied up in the abyss?  There’s no more evil influence, so…. If it’s true that all sin and sorrow is because “the devil made me do it”, what’s the problem?  The lion will lie down with the lamb, etc. etc.  I’m confused.

If there will be people left over from the chaos of the tribulation, they’ll know Jesus is Messiah.  They’ll comprehend that Jerusalem is the capital, that the Jesus they thought was anything from a myth to a nice guy is not only real, He’s back, He’s in charge and He’s not the woosie they envisioned.  Their nature will still have independence.  They’ll still remember Earth and the prism of politics before Millennium.  Chances are they’ll be stricken with The Lot’s Wife syndrome and want to look back, analyze, and like the Hebrews who grew weary from the plenty of free food straight from heaven that they didn’t even need to grow, weed, or harvest, the survivors of the worst destruction of humans on earth will need serious redirection and education.

“Gee, we really thought socialism would work this time.”

I have a shocker for you.  It will.  Not through mankind’s self serving greed, but only under God Himself in the form of the risen Lord Who once lived in a physical body in the midst of the dust He created.

Add to this concept the thousand years of generations from the surviving mortals.  These will be brand new generations who will live in peace with nature, who won’t know danger from man or beast, who will not fear.  Finally, utopia.  Eventually, as it is written, a final generation will rise in its pride and independence with a last stand against the Lord they will see as having them on too tight a leash.  That last generation of rebels will be the final rebellion and it won’t be as ugly as Armageddon.  I have a hunch they’ll fall faster than they rise.  I have a hunch all Yeshua has to do is glance at them as He did when He landed on the Mount of Olives. They’ll be as toasted as the Antichrist was and as quickly.

And then the final White Throne judgment, the new heaven, the new earth, the new Jerusalem forever and ever.  Praise and glory be to God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.

Purity

How do we keep our minds pure?  Where do we find purity?  Where do we find the shields we need to keep the worms of sin out of our hearts and minds?

The preacher reminded us that if we took it seriously, we learned what we needed to know in our first year of Sunday school in the song, “Be careful little eyes what you see.  Be careful little tongue what you say.  For the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful.” Be careful little feet, little hands, little ears.

That isn’t just for pre-schoolers.  That’s basic Bible for our entire lives.

Input, output.  Data entry, data retrieval.  What you see is what you think.  What you say can slice whole groups of people including loved ones with your words.

What’s your favorite media?  What genre do you choose? “I filter out what’s not appropriate, a trap of sorts.”  Tell me how that’s working for you. Your dreams will tell you what’s in the mind’s storage closets.  Your laugh button will tell you what you tolerate.

Is it time to haul out the Holy Drano?  Is it time to swap filters? I’m not aware of any scripture that indicates God winks at anything.  We are responsible for our own actions and choices.  Holiness in not laid on us.  Righteousness is through the blood of Jesus.  Holiness is grown in us.  We can stunt it.

Don Finto of The Caleb Company wrote the following on his blog site by the same name.  You can go to his site through the link or read below. Brother Finto is a very wise man.

Dangerous Curiosity

I was reading through the “Parasha” reading last week (available here) (R’eh: Dt. 11:26-16:17), and happened upon a word from the Lord that brought clarity to a danger we face: unholy and dangerous curiosity.

Moses is encouraging Israel in their devotion to the One True God and the danger of involvement with false gods who would lead them into disobedience and the evil consequences to follow. During the reading I happened upon this remarkable phrase, “After they (the enemies) have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods.”

“Ensnared by inquiring about their gods?”

“Ensnared by inquiring!”

Some things we need not know. We have no need to know the ways of sin. Curiosity can open the door for inquiry. Inquiry can open the door for attraction. Attraction can open the door for participation.

My thoughts went to Eve in the Garden.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food
Curiosity: “I wonder how it would taste?

and pleasing to the eye,
Attraction: “I’ll just look at it for a while, no need to touch it, but I’ll look. No real harm done in looking.

and also desirable for gaining wisdom…
Desire: “Why should I not know the ways of the other side? What harm does that do? That would make me wise. Perhaps I could even help others if I knew more about what is drawing them away from God?”

…she took some and ate it.”
Participation and the evil consequences of sin.

How many are ensnared into sexual sin by wondering what it is like? How many are lured into a life of drug addiction by wanting to know what it’s like to “get high?” Curiosity, inquiry, attraction, desire, participation with its evil consequences.

An interesting little sideline: I opened the Nashville Tennessean’s Sunday edition this morning and noticed a small side bar at the top of page one, “Nudists Strip Down, Shed Stereotypes,” reference page 1D.

My first impression was, “How gross! Who are these people? What would it be like to be in a nudist colony? Why would that appeal to people?”

My immediate secondary reaction was to turn to page 1D and find out more about this bizarre community.

But I had read the “Parasha” reading this week, and reconsidered my curiosity. Why did I need to know? Why should I even read more? Of what use would it be to me as a servant of the Most High God?

“Ensnared by inquiring!”

Be aware! Live as a faithful servant of the One True God! Lift high the Name of Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah and World Redeemer. Meditate on Him. Praise Him. Exalt Him.

What’s your sign?

Not talking about the zodiac.

Preach talked about the mess in the church body.  What’s your sign? What’s your mess? Messy people, messy issues.  The phrase “nobody’s perfect” is like a rock being turned over to look at the reason why we have messes, why nobody’s perfect and exactly how imperfect the messes are.

If we  could see a yellow caution sign floating over your head, what would be written on it? Is it bold type? script? tiny font or huge? neon? flashing? rotating? What if your most dominant negative personality trait(s) that drives your relationships was advertised on a caution sign so the world would know what to expect from you and how to relate to you?

Life is messy.  People are messy.  It’s a potential mess to deal with people’s messes let alone my own.  How convenient it would be to have a sign to read before I stick my foot in something disgusting.

As Preach preached,  I was madly drawing little caution triangles and filling them in on the back of one of my several medical bills that mysteriously found their way into my Bible filing system.  Here’s a few of the characteristics I thought it would be useful to know about someone before I even open my mouth with a how-do-you-do.  Let me remind you, we’re concentrating on the messy characteristics that cause trouble.

Know-It-All, Oh-So-Important, Shields Up, Smug, Childish, Blank, Clingy, Apathetic, Dry Humor, No Humor, Odd, Weird, Witty, Dull, Sharp Tongue, Flippant, Confused, Needy, Clueless, Arrogant, Unfeeling, Contrary, Cryptic, Perpetually Crabby, Nag, Rebel, Touchy, Perfect, Proud, Doubter, Lemming, Weepy, Shallow, Sponge, Sieve, Argumentative, Cold, Loud, Victim, Professionally Depressed, Martyr, and my most recent favorite — Happy-Dappy- Clappy, aka Pollyanna.

When you know your sign, or more to the point, when everybody knows everybody else’s caution sign, the Body can figure out how to deal, knowing when to walk on eggs with that one, bring along source references for him, stand back 10 ft from them, have non-stop hugs ready (actually, I like that), bring tissues, wear your helmet, and the beat goes on and on and on and on.

This is not good.  This is not right and it is definitely not productive when you consider these two things —

1. Jesus prayed we’d all be one

2. The fields are white with harvest

We’re living in the last days, time is running out, and we’re trying to figure out how to deal with each others’ personality glitches.  I keep coming back to something I heard Joyce Meyer say with one hand on hip and the other hand pointing toward the camera, “We need to get over our sweet little selves!  There’s work to do!”

Milk…meat…milk…meat….hm….let me think.

The Body is the hospital in which we are to be healed from the  dysfunction that grips us, through the Holy Spirit of Jehovah God.  Once you reach the point where you understand what your problem is – no, not issue, I said problem! We’ve got serious problems!  Issues get to cuddle under the blankets in the crib, problems demand resolution.  We are not commissioned to help everybody feel comfortable and all feely-fuzzy.  When you analyze your caution sign, and you figure out how your problem became a problem, you are at that point to recognize the need and source of correction and that would be God.  Then you have reached the point at which you no longer have an excuse, no longer have an excuse, no longer have an excuse, to continue in the non-productive, self centered flaws that have so far resulted in your negative behavior up to that point of revelation….  In other words, grow up and trash the banky and the binky… you go to the hospital for prayer, teaching in the word, fellowship in love…

So that we will be united in faith and purpose, to grow up and out of our mess so that we can reach out as a team, arm in arm, with one mind, turning our flaws outward into talents, and fulfilling God’s plan for salvation for all we touch.

The church body cannot continue to coddle and cradle each other for fear of offending each other, afraid that somebody will have feelings hurt and expect to be productive.  I hurt easily.  But, more and more, I hear “suck it up.”  Well! How do you like that? I walk on eggs too, but I hear “suck it up, Buttercup.”  It’s just not fair. But it is Life.

It makes me think, am I reaping the consequences of my poor decisions from the past or is somebody else sowing seeds from which they’ll reap in their own lives later?

Time is short.  Our 401k accounts will be dried up.  It will be against the law for Christians to pray in public, and has already started in our schools where our children are being trained. Our healing will default to faith in Jesus.  Period.  No doctor options because some form of socialized medical care will be passed this year and no matter what is cut or adjusted, it will deteriorate rapidly against us.  Not convinced that we need to get over some stuff that’s weakening us? For cryin’ in the proverbial beer, the New World Order is crouching in the bushes.  We won’t be hiding out in our church buildings forever.

The flaps are down, people! We need to learn to forgive quickly without discussion, love without conditions, learn with openness, and receive correction from each other and Holy Spirit like steel on steel polishing off the warts we don’t need.

The world is looking for solutions to problems, not a bunch of judgmental, whiney hypocrites unable to function any better than they do.

Hey, Preach! How do you preach to all that personality diversity?

Loudly, fearlessly, tirelessly.