Isaiah manuscript

Friday, July 27, 2007

I Still Speak

Though changes can be disappointing, and I do miss blogging, I am connecting with people through God's ministry, Standing In the Gap. To help some of those touched by SITG with their faith walk, I am writing Bible study letters to encourage them to read God's Word and hear Him speak. Since these people are just getting back on their feet, they do not have computers. Good old pen and paper is the way to reach them. Also benefiting, the U.S. Postal Service! I hope yunz in Pittsburgh will check out the website, a work in progress. Standing In the Gap is serving your area, closing the gap between God's Church and the hurting.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Secret's Out

April question: Can God be reduced to a force of energy as described in The Secret?

Realizing the smallness of this voice, I am praying some honorable preacher or two will speak out against the humanistic blasphemy of
The Secret, which is apparently gaining momentous acceptance among the herd. It would be a consolation to be talking about the unchurched, Bible disbelieving souls but due to the decrepit broken horrors of the fall of the House of God, there are churched “believers” who will be absorbed into this latest false religion. I have probably already lost a couple of readers because of my forceful, blunt attack! I wonder how I will talk to my friend who loaned it to me without offending her.

Why can I only think blasphemy? Why am I so haunted and troubled, days past watching
The Secret? Because I know who God is. Many believe we can not know Him. He is too Big and Mysterious. God is revealed and we can spend a lifetime getting to know Him by His Spirit, in His written Word, and most of all, by observing closely the life of His Son. Few have dedicated entire lifetimes to knowing God. We can know so much more than anyone cares to admit. If we confess that He is knowable, suddenly we are accountable and our efforts are indeed pitiful.

First revealed as a plural, relational Being in the Creation chapters of Genesis, we know the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are eternally One God in Three Persons. The earliest author, Moses, knew way before First Christmas…Jesus was, is, and is to come. David Baron, in his commentary on Zechariah, a 1918 publication, wrote, “And so it is always: in all His relations and dealings with Men, both in mercy and in judgment, it is God in Christ who acts.” (p 380)

God flat out told us, man is made in His image. He thinks, feels, creates, and in our small, limited human form so do we. He is jealous of other gods that man created because He is it! In relationship with us, like a marriage, He requires that we honor that He is the One True God to be loved with our whole heart, whole mind and whole strength.
Enter Beckwith, Canfield and Vitale, etc. saying men can think and feel things into being, by law of attraction. You could categorize this passionate fantasy or vision (BTW, that’s the BIG SECRET!) as prayer, as they eventually do in the end. Truth be known, prayer does not force God into anything He does not want to do, anything outside His purpose. Thus, God says NO. And what a terrifying world we would live in if we DID run the show! I rest in the fact that it is God who has ultimate control. God is not a child spoiling Santa Claus.

Allow me to refresh you memory as mine was yesterday. Jesus did not think and feel His own human desire into being. Quite the contrary, His prayer was, “not My will, but Thine be done.” Look at the contrast. God’s will is not necessarily our own fleshly desire. Because Jesus was living the human experience—He finally could understand the conflict human beings live with every day. Will I do what I want or will I serve God’s purpose? Will following God’s will bring me pleasure as the conveyors of The Secret promise? No. Nor will following our own. So what IS the secret to happiness?

God way is not always a path of joy. Much hardship, struggle, and outright self-denial is at the core. At some point, there will be peace and joy in knowing God’s pleasure. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” What Jesus went through for us in His last day on earth—unspeakable torture---no one could label as a JOYFUL experience. Enduring love and power brought Jesus through His toughest obedient act—for your sake and mine. For God’s sake. Certainly not the Son of Man’s sake. There was no trace of self-satisfaction, self-fulfillment, self-anything. It was the single most selfless act in history! The me-generation that is embracing the Babylonian’s well kept Secret has no idea what it means to carry your cross.
Be not assuaged.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Isaiah 52 and 53

Previously, "The Jewish Element" talked about the High Priest emerging from the Temple's Holy of Holies, the room of God's Presence. It was always a question whether the priest could survive, as in LIVE, to tell the people of God's mercy in accepting their animal sacrifice for their sins. WAS IT PERFECT ENOUGH?
Clothed in white linen, as the High Priest of Leviticus 16:3-4 was instructed, Jesus was buried and on the third day, rose from the grave to assure the world of God’s sealed approval. THE GREATEST SACRIFICE HAD BEEN PERFECT ENOUGH! Jesus Christ, the Messiah, had been led out of the city to a hill in the wilderness because He is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (~John 1:29) in the very same way an animal had been taken out of Jerusalem year after year on the Day of Atonement as an act of removing the people's sins, at least for a while. This time, the Scapegoat took them away forever, if you can grasp it.

“As many were astonished at You—His appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and His form beyond that of the children of mankind—so shall He sprinkle many nations…
"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed…
"Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush Him; He was put to grief; when His soul makes an offering for sin, He shall see His offspring; He shall prolong His days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. Out of the anguish of His soul He shall see and be satisfied; by His knowledge shall the Righteous One, My Servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and He shall bear their iniquities.” ~Isaiah 52:14-15a; 53:4-6 and 10-11 (NASB)

Ye are forgiven, only believe. Put on His robe of righteousness and strive to sin no more. Amen.

“Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
~Jesus Christ (Luke 24:39)

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Jewish Element

The surest confirmation that Christ’s physical return to life is part and parcel of Christianity’s foundation is, as always, the fulfillment of Hebrew prophecy. I had mentioned previously, the annual observation of the Day of Atonement, which is a time of repentance and the hope and assurance of forgiveness. There is no record that I know of about the number of times, if any, the sacrificial sacrifice was rejected by God. The point is, on this day of solemn humility and complete vulnerability to God’s justice, the people had to wait and watch in fear and trembling to see if the atonement was “good enough” for God’s holy standard.

If you haven’t been reading Exodus and Leviticus lately, you might forget the fastidious details in instruction for the priest, his clothing of white linen, cleanliness involving the bathing of his whole body, the animal sacrifice which had to be perfect, without blemish inside or out, the way to touch the animal (on its head), kill, and dispose of its remains, sprinkling and pouring of the blood, how to place the sins of all the people on the head of a second animal, escort it into the wilderness as the scapegoat, “taking away the sins” (not “of the world” YET)… If the priest, his clothing, his adherence to exact instruction as to what to do inside the Tent of Meeting and the Holy of Holies, if the animal was in any way imperfect, if ALL was not acceptable to God, the priest and quite possibly the observing crowd outside would be struck dead. After all, to enter the holiest place meant entering into God’s dwelling. So serious was this that a rope was tied to the High Priest’s ankle, just in case since no one else dare enter therein! He also wore bells on the fringe of his robe for the people to hear when he moved, or not hear, if he didn’t.

Can you imagine the tension when there was a long pause in the priest’s movement? This was not simply a matter of the moment. Physical life and death were not the only concern. If the priest offering the atonement died, even if the people lived to tell, they would be living under the tremendous burden of their guilt, sins unforgiven, for God as they knew Him was fearsome, unapproachable in Righteousness, quick to impugn, chasten and set things aright. The inkling of God’s grace, its foreshadowing, was in the type of Christ who was their High Priest, emerging from the Temple, sacrifice accepted by God, this year’s sins forgiven. Hallelujah! Such joy, we have difficulty understanding, such is our state of casual acceptance, as we live every day under God’s grace. Our plight of ingratitude could very well be worse than Israel’s limited understanding of God’s character. God has been fully revealed to us, with every mercy being shed upon us, only for us to trample them with our next transgression. Gracious God, help us.

Christ came forth, ALIVE from the grave indicating to our fullest measure of understanding, our High Priest’s blood sacrifice was pure and holy, acceptable to God in the spiritual realm.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Resurrection Power

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1Peter 1:3

March question: Is it important whether Jesus Christ was spiritually raised to life or completely and physically?
The “bones of Jesus” has revived once again the question of Jesus’ actual resurrection from the dead, grats to
Discovery Channel and that movie director guy. The claims do not warrant time nor space here but because of it, I had the above question posed to me. Had I not been studying the Tabernacle Bible Study, I would have still been confused by the importance of ANY resurrection of Jesus. Christian teaching emphasizes the cross and the blood being crucial to our salvation. To read scholars’ idea that without the RESURRECTION, we are doomed to experience the merciless wrath of God, I was stymied. WHY the resurrection? Any past conclusion was contrived, not Bible-based. I figured it was the fame factor—how long would Jesus have endured the masking of time and twisting of truth if history had not revealed His last and greatest miracle? Had Christ remained dead, our collective memory would have distorted (even worse than it has) and perhaps completely forgot His incredible life and teachings. How MORE likely is it that we would have obliterated our salvation by His blood? As one author writes, “If Jesus Christ had not clearly—and unequivocally—been raised bodily as the permanent conqueror of death on behalf of the human race, we would never have heard of Him.”

Though this might be true, the picture I now have of
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, has revealed so much more than reasonable-ness. I said, “more than reason”. The supernatural power of God’s teaching and revelation does not remove our ability to think and piece God’s Truth into our reality which is His Creation! I often review the necessity to take ALL of God’s Word as reliable truth at Christianity Is Jewish, the other blog. Therefore, the first reason to accept the bodily resurrection of our Savior is because God has said so, repeatedly, in His Holy Word. Thomas was allowed to touch Jesus’ resurrected body. John and two others ate food with Jesus. The tomb was EMPTY with the grave clothes left in the position they had been worn. Jesus walked and talked with believers on the road to Emmaus. They did NOT recognize Him and assuredly, there was nothing unusual about his appearance. He was NOT a ghost! As soon as we reject any one of these events, we are taking god’s Truth into our own hands, raising ourselves above God and shredding His Word for our convenience, to fit our small, pathetic minds.

The shock portrayed when the empty tomb was found had nothing to do with Jesus’ resurrection. Mary wanted to know what “they” had done with the body! The disciples believed Jesus’ lifeless body had been stolen. They were not convinced of His living body, the First Fruit of the coming harvest, because such a preposterous idea had never entered their heads, EVEN THOUGH JESUS TOLD THEM HE WOULD LIVE AFTER HIS OWN CRUCIFIXION. Their minds could not conceive the thought. Seeing was believing. Not a ghost, Christ was risen in the flesh, regenerated.

The toying with the generation of life in Genesis to a smaller, more palatable miracle called evolution—creation over billions of years, is very much the same as the meltdown of this true resurrection miracle. If faith shrinks down to fit the creation story into natural form, it is inevitable that faith will not be satisfied by the limiting of Christ’s power to re-create Himself, in Spirit, Mind, and Body. It truly is the foundation for the hope of Heaven…the New Earth…a physical existence. The argument could be made that just spirit resurrection is still a supernatural belief. So it is. Left with only two choices if you are going to believe the Easter story to be true, many will choose spirit resurrection. After all, it is “easier”. Or is it? I have never seen a ghost or a resurrected body!

“Therefore My heart is glad and My tongue rejoices; My body also will rest secure, because You will not abandon Me to the grave, nor will You let Your Holy One see decay.” ~Psalm 16:9-10

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Photocopy Relationship

In your loneliest time, have you desired someone’s love, wishing that somehow you could MAKE THEM love you? We women can become obsessed with our appearance, in hope of making someone love us. But surely we know that THAT is not love. Love is a choice made from the innocence of human need and attraction. We are loved and do love for who we are. Anything else is manipulation.

We must CHOOSE God. So back to God’s ability to take on evil, as in unholy thought and behavior: He never leaves us without the responsibility to make choices. Do we love Him or not? There is clear evidence: seeking to see Him, hear Him, know Him, trust Him, talk to Him, obey Him, do for Him…this is love. His promise in return: “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and the door shall be opened unto you.” ~Matthew 7:7
In answer to my friend’s proposal, God CANNOT consume HIS OWN REJECTION (SIN), by drawing it in—NO. Denying God His desire for us to FREELY love Him is what puts us out, beyond His reach, past the boundary of His protection. If God COULD drag people in, kicking and screaming, they would be slaves to a tyrant! Those are just the facts of reality. God is not some cosmic projection of our minds…He is very realistic, personal, genuine.

You women, or men, with possessive mates KNOW what I’m talking about. With trust gone out the window, relationships are no longer grounded in love. They are barely relationships at all! God sees the heart and He KNOWS who trusts Him. Jesus DID come to “take away the sins of the world.” Now the ball is in our court. (Make a note: God has not dropped the ball so that this notion of God’s holiness swallowing evil will just “happen”. That triggers a vision of the beatnik era: “What’s hap’nin?” : D Yeah, it’s not like that. Death, swallowed by the Risen Christ, still packs a wallop for the one who rejects God at His Word.) True, honest relationship can be nothing other than give and take. Our existence in relationship with one another is a photocopy of God’s hope for relationship with us. Parents love when their children talk with them, women love for their husband to trust and honor them, children yearn for attention and praise from their parents, men are lonely and need friendships… respect for who they are. Honesty and trust that those around us won’t trample our emotions when we let them show…real needs of real people. Do you see the resemblance? Prayer…praise…thanks…trust…God wants what we want!

In His image, we see God in these truths. In the same way that WE WILL NEVER be able to make someone love us, NEVER get beyond our vulnerability because even a shell of denial can be broken,--in this way, God is bound. God is limited. God is fragile…so easily hurt.

In everything that God IS, God remains omnipotent. He is boundless in love and compassion, waiting for His creation to turn back to Him. He is perfectly just to satisfy the seeker and discern the fraud.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sheer Logic

“You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with You, the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in Your presence; You hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men, the Lord abhors.” ~Psalm 5:4-6

“’Has not My hand made all these things, and so they came into being?’ declares the Lord. ‘This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at My Word.’” ~Isaiah 66:2

It is Christ who mediates for those who love Him. He has turned over the keys of the Kingdom to His Church so that what is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven; what is bound on earth is bound in heaven. What exactly has saved us from what Psalm 5 displays as God’s total rejection? Christ’s blood, shed for you, supernaturally. In whatever capacity that we are able, trusting in God’s truth IS our salvation. Am I dancing around Jesus’ claim to be the Way? His very next words are, “[I am] the Truth…” If you believe God’s truth, you believe in Christ, and visa versa. There is no separating the two. To reject God’s Holy Word, which is waiting on many a shelf to be read, is to deny His Truth and trustworthiness. Tell me this; if your dear friend wrote a book all about their personhood and how he/she had reached out to you over the years, the times you had spent together, good and bad…How could you face this friend if you didn’t read the book, AT LEAST once? God’s story in a book about these very interrelational episodes with US! How can we NOT read it when we are so, so blessed to have it?

Jesus, the Word, Logos: root of Logic. He IS the Way, the Truth, your Life. Take hold of it!

The Living Word, Jesus the Messiah, saves. If you believe and if you are seeking God, how on bloody earth can you not read the exposé? True revelation of God’s continual effort to draw His creation back home via Christ, His Son, is found only in the Holy Bible. (THAT should draw some ire if ANYONE is reading!) In the beginning, Jesus lived as a promise, then as a Son of Man, and finally continuing to live in history, in Spirit and in Truth. ALWAYS, there have been believers. The Centurion, the woman who argued with Jesus, “Even the dogs get crumbs under the table”! Some have not been exposed, yet as soon as they heard or saw, they recognized His love, His authority, His power. So how can we cope with loved ones and acquaintances who have surely loved God as Jews, who have never met Christ? How can God be loving, yet judge their limited view—our boundless God? Yet the truth remains, God is bound by His own essence. He cannot do evil, for instance. It is only one more step in your belief to know, God cannot keep evil near Himself. My friend remarked to me, “God’s holiness will consume or envelop evil.” This is a picture of God pulling sin into Himself. This is also how I picture the Cross of Christ. Jesus in the flesh kept evil for a time BUT He was required to leave His Father in heaven to do it! Please hear me out. God’s way to salvation, most assuredly, must involve choice.

I will elaborate next time.