Sunday, June 25, 2017

SEVEN FAMOUS BIBLE VERSES. #1: ALLEGORY, "THE FIRST BIG LIE"

"Indeed, has God said...." (Genesis 3:1b)
We westerners are prone to appropriate nice sounding Bible verses, in order to make them mean whatever we think they should mean. The more incredible of these verses become marketing sensations on t shirts, plaques, key chains, mugs, bumper stickers and more.  Even non-believers may find these items appealing and purchase them to use. In fact, non-believers and the majority of Christians all have the same favorite verse. (That verse is Matthew   “….judge not less ye be judged”...more on that, next post.)

Ignoring the strange humor of an atheist, agnostic or professing Christian quoting the King James Bible, is there any basis in truth for the potential misuse of a portion of a verse or passage? Human beings, including even those of us who are Biblically grounded, are error-prone. That is to be expected since only God is perfect. However, intentional misuse of Scripture began the Fall of Man and brought sin into this world. So for the next several posts, we will look at some of these more prominent verses, with an eye to discerning if their usage in modern times is appropriate, or hopelessly out of context.

Here is the first misquote of all time and the Greatest Lie ever told. This is the Lie not just heard around the world, but one that ricocheted into Heaven, thereby causing the Son of God to stop off the Eternal Throne of Heaven and give His Life on a Cross. The Lie led to the Lord leaving Heaven and lowering Himself, in order to lay waste Lucifer and his schemes of death.

WHAT LUCIFER SAID THAT GOD SAID:
Genesis 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

WHAT GOD ACTUALLY SAID:
Genesis 2:15-17Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."

HOW DEVIOUS WAS THE LIE? READ:
The devil, very slyly twisted the direct command from God here: ""Indeed, has God said...."
The first instilling of doubt or manipulating the Word of God is this "you know God didn't really say that and what I THINK it really means is (fill in the blanks)!" Unfortunately, the majority of this world - both Christian AND non-Christian do NOT believe the accurate, literal Word of GOD to be true, so they buy any allegorical interpretation as "truth" when the opposite is true. 

Allegory is a personal "interpretation" of what a person "thinks" another said where self-opinion drives the message rather what the document or the literal truth is. Sadly, almost all mainline protestant and other liturgical traditions treat the Bible as a fable of moral or inspiring stories only, rather than the inspired God-breathed Word direct from Heaven. The modern evangelical and mega-church movements have also strayed mightily, just like the rich Laodecian church of the Book of the Revelation, which had the facade of being followers of Jesus Christ, but not the heart and commitment necessary for this to be true.

Allegory is basically untruth....or the Big Lie. It detracts from the True Message of sin, the human condition and the repentance or turning from that sin.
Allegory, the Big Lie, belittles the Spirit of God Who hovered over the unformed planet and spoke both directly from Heaven or through His prophets.

Allegory disparages the King of Heaven, Who stepped off the Throne and did not consider His equal status with God the Father, a thing to be grasped, but humbled Himself in the form of a man. He did this to teach, submit to the Will of the Father ("But Mine, but Thine will be done") and was nailed to a horrid Cross to die and rise again that we may live.
Allegory distances us from the plain-speaking, honest and loving GOD Who wishes to have relationships with His created children by saying to THESE SAME CHILDREN - YOU AND I - THE SAME THING SATAN SAID TO EVE "Indeed has God said....?"
Allegory destroys the Road to Salvation for all who follow and preach it.

This is the Biggest Lie mankind has ever listened to and bought. This Big Lie, from the serpent who launched Allegory as acceptable to teach the Word of God, will lead and has led, untold billions into eternal separation from God and Heaven. Do not be caught in that trap. God has always spoken in simple terms. He all the work Himself. All any human has to do is receive and believe, because it is by the Grace of God we are saved, through Faith and Forgiveness.
(Photo taken of a stream high atop Pine Mountain, Georgia)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

NOW, FAITH IS: PART 3 - "WE BELIEVE THE INVISIBLE..THE INVINCIBLE...THE INEVITABLE"

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible (Hebrews 11:3)
It takes more faith to be an atheist than it does to be a bible-trusting and believing Christian, or follower of Jesus Christ.

To be an atheist means a person has to not just deny their existence but every single thing around them.
To be an atheist, a person has to ignore not just the incredible skies, galaxies and heavenly systems above them, but the rivers which flow into the sea which never overflow.
To be an atheist, a person has to set their entire brain and mind aside and believe one day, nothing existed that there was a huge “big bang” and order came from utter darkness or some such evolutionary fiction.
To be an atheist, a person – some of them so-called scientists who will never okay an experiment, in their own labs, without observing and testing it – have to set their minds, soul and more aside to believe a walking, thinking, feeling two legged human being was a fish or a monkey who “evolved’. Again, this without any scientific proof or their so-called “missing link”.

As an example of inconsistency and worldly folly, let us take the example of the iPhone. It took the Apple Corporation and Steve Jobs, its co-creator, years to come up with a small hand-held computer with and App on it that functions as an actual phone. The majority of the iPhone is a combination of camera, computerized chips which communicate with satellites and applications which bring in all kinds of social media…and more. All of this required fine detailed work of sometimes years, from technicians and high end computer programmers. Not one thing was released that did not past quality control and specifications. Even after the units go public, constant work has to be done by the Apple programmers and techs to maintain their iPhones and their operating systems. Modern men will pay such intense details to these sort of things, but the things which really matter – human life, nature, the galaxies and universe in addition to all matters concerning daily life on planet earth.

Romans 1:18-23
says the following "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.


For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

We, who are embedded into the Kingdom know the Truth about Creation. Even if the mechanics are not available to be shared, on this side of Glory, the Holy Spirit within us testifies to the Author of Creation - Yahweh - Jesus, the Son of God. Anyone who denies these Truths, will do well to consider the passage from Romans 1:18-23 and ponder the Coming Day of The Lord, when all will be judged and answered.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

KEVIN'S KORNER: "THE PLACE WHERE PAIN HEALS"

Kevin DeVries is a great adventurer, a confident man of God, father and conference speaker. Many may know him as the Lead Explorer who led the expedition up Mt. Arafat as documented in the 2015 Movie "FINDING NOAH". Kevin is also the founder and director of the nationally recognized GRACE EXPLORATIONS ministry.

His articles speaks to so many issues which can transform the heart of any man, woman or young person who is in the distress in our fast moving, loveless society. His articles will be posted here and on an associated website: Business Men In Christ, and all will be linked to the Grace Explorations site, so that the ENTIRE article will be available to digest and process.


The first in these series of articles is "THE PLACE WHERE PAIN HEALS". Read on and then click on the link below to continue into the full presentation. Countless video teachings and more are available at Grace Explorations. The sheer power and content of these teachings will bless you.

THE PLACE WHERE PAIN HEALS

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. – Psalms 46:4 Many wonderful things were revealed to me during a recent, significant season of healing in my life. One of those “wonderful things” is the metaphor of a river and four healing streams found in Genesis 2. My prayer is that you will find the healing that Christ offers to your pain. I invite you to travel alongside me as we continue to explore God’s magnificent healing and grace. –Kevin DeVries

A RIVER AND FOUR HEALING STREAMS

Eden exists. 
It is a true place unknown to any map except the heart. A river runs through it to feed four healing streams. 1 Where these four streams converge and compliment each other, healing happens. We live in an age of trauma that has exiled us from our hearts as our home. Overcome with grief and regret, we’ve hung our unhappy harps on trees2 that grow as gallows along a river of bitter tears that hurts, but never heals. Alongside this river are forgotten fields that remain forever foreign to our original glory and design. We awoke one day and could no longer find our way home to where our hearts truly belong – Eden. Desolate deserts of pain have devoured Eden’s delicate dream. The garden where hearts once laughed and played has become a wounded wasteland. And where wounds linger, lies live. Lies that lead us to cover and wound others and ourselves with the deep shame of self-hatred. Something is terribly wrong with the human heart. Our home (where our heart is) has become a haunted house. An invisible war in the heavens is being waged in a battle for beauty; the human heart; the “priceless pearl” that plunders hell to populate heaven.

Is there a way back to Eden? 
If Eden exists as an echo of eternity experienced on earth, how do we experience the river of Living Water and its four emblematic streams of healing? Can we eat from a Tree of Life growing beside this river that feeds these streams and can its leaves, rustling with the rumor of a King’s return, still heal nations that are numb with the nameless numbers and frightened faces of the living dead? 3 Since time can only tell what eternity means to say, what would it say to our shattered selves? If we silence our shame and remember our original glory, we might hear these words echo from hallowed halls into our hurting hearts:

There is a way back to Eden. 
Healing happens where Living Water flows. Where eternity lives in our hearts, we thirst for living water. Deep down, we long for water to flood and heal every secret chamber where pain lurks and lingers in lands where love and laughter are lost. Dark places where trauma hides, frozen in fear, from the voice that calls us out of the shadows by our true and noble names. Places where pain is ever present despite the passing of time. Healing flows through not one but several streams. In my own experience, I believe exempting one stream tends to compromise the whole. Wholeness is achieved when sin is forgiven AND shame is healed. If we seek the cure from sin through sin management, it only leads to shame mismanagement, and we never heal. We continue to hurt others including ourselves. Hurt people hurt people, as the saying goes. Apart from God’s grace, we can only give away what we have first received. Providentially, pain redeemed as purpose, can drive us into secondary worlds to drown us in dreams of a primary world more real than our own. Northrop Frye said, “The real world is beyond time but can be reached only by a process that goes on in time.” Here are four streams fed by a river that helped my healing process in time as they flow from their ultimate source in eternity: 

1. CHURCH - Ephesians 5:25–27 Of all streams mentioned here, only the church and Christ spring eternal because the church is the immortal Bride of Christ. We are the church - His Immortal Bride. Never confuse Christ with the church. The church is made of imperfect people – you and I. The church is not perfect. Only Christ is perfect. Though the church has wounded many, far more have found healing in her waters. The church is the stream that provides corporate celebration and communion, which our hearts crave. We enter His gates and glory with praise and thanksgiving. We enter Christ wounds into wonder through our pain and trials. The church is a powerful portal to another dimension where wounds are healed with weapons of wonder. The church is a hospital for sick people just like us. If you fail to appreciate the role of the church in your healing process, you deny yourself the fair and tender love only the Bride can give, and you’ll only know the fierce and tough love of the Bridegroom. Just like a patient needs a doctor and a nurse, a child needs a father’s time and a mother’s nature to fully mature. Love is best when it is both both intimate and intense. Though a man or woman reigns and rules in a glorious garden, it is not good for either to be alone. The Church is there to be a place of belief AND belonging for us.

However great the mystic marriage between the church and Christ truly is, it is still not enough to meet all your needs. Where church should be an expression of a sacred romance, our commodity driven culture has turned it into a service station where we get our weekly “faith fix.” If you believe church attendance alone will change you into someone you want to become, you will be disillusioned and join the unsatisfied ranks of the un-churched. There are other streams your wandering heart must seek to escape wounded wastelands and enter a field where a feast awaits your famished soul. Professional counseling is a muddy stream that will humble you before it heals you. Without this stream, we can become emotional dwarves; stunted, immature images of our former shimmering selves masquerading as self-righteous, spiritual giants standing on a heap of human wreckage our own wounds have wrought. We must wade into these murky waters if we ever hope to be cleansed of our pain that has left our unfeeling hearts numb with the modern day leprosy that plagues saint and sinner alike – Shame.

2. COUNSEL – Proverbs 15:22 Often at odds with the church, biblically based, professional therapy is needed as much as godly, pastoral care. Due to the many roles most pastors must play, they are the first responders and primary care providers of your spiritual health. Recovery from trauma is akin to safely detonating a bomb. It requires a special set of skills, nerves of steel and steady hands. Annual check-ups require a family doctor. Heart surgery requires a heart surgeon. More complicated cures require more specialized counseling. Sick bodies need doctors. Hungry sheep need shepherds. Sick souls need soul doctors – Christ-centered counselors.

After years of untreated trauma, my life was simply not working anymore. Church attendance alone was not able to penetrate the inner darkness I was living in. I was beginning to feel more like a wounded animal lurking in the shadows than a human that once sought the Light. I hated myself, and what I had become. My wounds were haunting me. I was a fugitive running from my past leaving a blood trail everywhere I went for the hounds of hell to follow. And like a wounded animal, I was angry, alone and afraid and lashed out anyone that dared rescue me. I was especially leery of counselors. I was too proud to admit I was sick and too sick to admit I was proud. One day I discovered we are only as sick as our secrets so I began to tell all my secrets to a counselor until I was no longer sick. Along the way I discovered godly counselors do not just treat the problem, they help people transform with truth. Christ-centered counselors help us understand a key truth:

You are not a prisoner. You are a patient. 

You are no longer a prisoner punished with pain. You are a patient perfected with pain for a redemptive purpose. The pain you feel is so you can heal. You cannot heal if you cannot feel. The goal is progress; not perfection.....

Article Published by Consent of Kevin DeVries and GRACE EXPLORATIONS
Book Kevin Here.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

NOW, FAITH IS, Part 2: "DIVINE ENCOUNTERS - TRANSFORMED LIVES"

"For by it the men of old gained approval" (Hebrews 11:2)
The title of this series on Hebrews Chapter 11 is “Now Faith Is….”. Apart from the theological definition of Faith in verse 1, Faith is also keeping Faith with the Holy One of Israel. By that, we mean that we glorify our heavenly Father and the King Who sacrificed for us – Jesus Christ – by the way we live our daily lives.  Contrary to the world’s beliefs, the devil is never in the details. God is. 

God is the Author of everything. He is the Pioneer of Perfection and the Purest of them all. He is the High Priest of Heaven and the King of the Universe. There is no daylight between Him and the One of  kind (“Only Begotten”) Son. They, who created everything, every cell in the human body, even atom in the air and every head of cattle on a 1000 hills, deserve our respect, awe, worship and complete Trust, in obedience.

So knowing the incredible, incomparable, inerrant God Who swears by His own Right Arm, since there is no one greater by whom He can swear, it behooves His Elect – the men, women and children called by the Name of Christ (aka Christians) – to live up to and glorify His Name. We do that by keeping our collective and individual noses clean as the Body of Christ.

Hebrews 11 talks about many honorable men and women throughout the Bible who are not named, in THIS chapter, as members of the Heroes Hall of Faith. We all know about Abraham, Moses and Daniel. But who are the someone lesser known ones whose impact changed the course of event and led to the fulfillment of God’s plan all along. There were men like Boaz (Ruth  ) whose honor and kindness towards two widows – one a pagan from Moab who decided to follow Yahweh and a bitter widow named Naomi, was symbolic of Christ like qualities.

Boaz is called a “Kinsman Redeemer”. This man enhanced the reputation of God – the most Holy, loving and kind God of Heaven. We read about it here in Ruth 3:9, "'Who are you?' he asked. 'I am your servant Ruth,' she said. 'Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.'" In the Bible, a Kinsman Redeemer is a male relative described in the Law of God, who is willing to deliver, rescue in time of danger and vindicates a person or relative as Boaz did for Ruth, the daughter in law of his relative Naomi. Who does this sound like? Jesus! He is our Kinsman Redeemer who did all of this and more!

There are other people who did not make the cut in the Hall of Faith later on in Hebrews 11. One of them is, of all people - the brutal Babylonian king and fearsome monarch Nebuchadnezzar! Even before God humbled this extremely proud man, who made others bow to a gold statue of him, Nebuchadnezzar had a fore-taste of what was coming his way. In Daniel 3:28-30. he suddenly proclaimed “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside[f] the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.”

He (the king) then said this in Daniel 4:1-2 "King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! 2 It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me. How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.

Not long after Nebuchadnezzar made this statement, he went back to his proud and egotistical ways! One day he was boasting about all that he had built and done in life to make Babylon the greatest city in the world, when the Lord struck him down and humbled him. God made this once proud king like an animal in the fields, for seven long years.  At the end of it, instead of becoming bitter and angry like most people today would, during long periods of testing and tribulation, Nebuchadnezzar proclaimed the God of the Jews, Yahweh the One True God and said this in Daniel 4:34-35 "At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

This king's reputation was one of a brutal killer but when he turned his nation to Yahweh, he is forever remembered in time as one who turned his nation for a generation, to the God of Heaven. There were many more in Scripture. The rebel prophet Jonah, even though he kicked against the goads and whine endlessly, stayed outside Nineveh until he died. We know this because people from the terrorist state destroyed his tomb in Mosul two years ago! Jonah was revered by people of Islam apparently, as well.

In Romans 16: 13, we read this seemingly insignificant verse: "Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine." Most people will fly right back that name - Rufus. But who is he really? Read Mark 15:21 here: "And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross." The son of the slave whom the Romans commanded to help Jesus carry His cross was now a huge evangelist alongside God's former rebel chosen one - the Apostle Paul. Simon of Cyrene had a close encounter with the Cross and Jesus Himself, Whose blood was all over that Cross, which Simon helped carry, and it changed Simon's life and his family's as well.

In all of this, we see evidence that “men of old gained approval” through their Faith in God.  While Rufus had a story book beginning as the son of the man whose dad is forever listed as he who help Jesus carry the Cross to Calvary,  others like Nebuchadnezzar had horrible beginnings and even terrible impact on their people, but found themselves humbled, forgiven and saved by the Grace, Love and Mercy of God. But examples of men saved by the Power of God, in both the New and Old Testaments, had to come to that point in their own lives – on their own. Judas is 100% proof that people of any age, can hang around the best preacher and minister and/or ministry in the world, and still be lost and go to eternal separation from God (Hell). God has no grandchildren, only children and disciples who follow Him. So it was it was with Rufus, who grew up in the church and Nebuchadnezzar, whose God was himself!

There is nothing new under the sun and what the men of old knew, and what has been true always are the following facts:
- Faith is a gift from God. Nebuchadnezzar saw this with his own eyes and then became the biggest evangelist in the Middle East with the prophet Daniel at his side.
- Faith is personal. The children who grew up in our churches still have to believe, repent and accept Jesus Christ as Lord, just like Rufus the son of  Simon the Cyrene.
- Faith is the key to all workmen and women, who serve the Kingdom of God (through Christ) in order to show ourselves approved before God and man.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

NOW FAITH IS: "EIMI"....LITERALLY - JESUS (Part 1)

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" Hebrews 11:1
There has never been a more hopeless time, for most people, as it is right now – this day and age. Apparently no age group is exempt. However, it appears that the current crop of young people thirty years old and younger are the most lost, directionless and hopeless. We can point fingers at who is responsible, but the underlying cause is still a lack of Faith.

The current preponderance of Fear, a tool of the evil one of old (the devil), has accomplished its set purpose – the act of driving most of this world away from Holy God! The majority today mock God. They put every other thing else above Him. Even professing Christians are some of the leaders in this Fear Factor which distances from Faith and the Father from the Flock. The statistics do not lie. Over 90% of youth leaving North American colleges leave their “faith” behind. Only 4% of millennials have a Biblical worldview. Adults are not much better. Only 10% of adults have a Biblical worldview. These numbers are from the 2017 Barna Research survey which finds only 46% of Americans professing to be Christians. When these numbers are actually drilled down to who believes the Bible as the very Word of God, only 30 million of the 100 million souls calling themselves Christians are actually heaven-bound, born-again believers! This is both unbelievable and extremely scary.

Why is a Biblical Worldview important to Faith and does it mean that only 10% of adults are solid Bible-based Christians? What is FAITH anyway? Aren’t there many “faiths” so how can Christianity be the ONLY one?

1. A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW - This is the belief, confirmed by the Holy Spirit of God Who lives in every true Christian that God is the Author of Creation. It is the belief that all 66 Books of the Bible are the inspired and inerrant Word of God, which speaks of the Power, Presence, Exclusivity and Holiness of the Great God of Heaven and that Jesus Christ, His only one of a Kind Son, is the Lord, Savior and Judge of all.  The Biblical Worldview holds that the devil is real and Salvation through Christ is the only way to Eternal Life in Heaven. The Biblical Worldview believes the Bible contain the very words of life, which are essential to daily living. Only 10% of Americans believe this and even less Canadians, Europeans and Brits. In the persecuted parts of the world, those numbers are flipped, wherever there are believers.

2. FAITH IS....the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. This is PURE Holy Spirit inspired Bible from Hebrews 11 and was written for people who were in trouble, fear and doubt just like today. It was written before the Roman General Titus completely took down Jerusalem in 70 AD. These were the first generations of Christians after the Resurrection of Christ who had lost both their Apostolic leadership, and by then, the Head of their great Church - James, the half brother of the Lord. They needed a reminder of their true hope. They needed encouragement. God gave them the Book of Hebrews.

But LOOK closer at what the Lord really said here:
NOW FAITH IS - In the original Greek language, the present tense active word "IS" literally connotes "BEING". It is where we get the phrases like "faith is" or "I AM....Who I am"!! When Jesus said in John 8:58 "Before Abraham was, I AM" He said "Ego Eimi" (I Am in Biblical Greek). When Jesus said in John 14:6 "I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE". The original words were "EGO EIMI".

Eimi is being...the state of being. Jesus IS, WAS and always WILL BE. He is also the foundations of Faith and Scripture - direct from God - tells us this Truth EXPLICITLY. When we as Christians, get this right - that our Faith IS all about AND IS Jesus, we are already winners. 

Because we grasp the state of Being, that Faith/Jesus is, we have the Assurance or Hypostasis....an original Bible word which means we have legitimate standing to the Hope of Eternal Life! Here is the progression so far: Faith, being in Jesus, brings the true hope of Glory to our souls.and there is a valid legal covenant with Heaven for our final destination - Heaven

If there is a caveat in all of this, it lies in the word "CONVICTION" (Hebrews 11:1b) or "elegxos" meaning internal confirmation.Here is the one place we must take our stand, namely, that our Faith is Jesus and IN Jesus Alone.

3.   EXCLUSIVE FAITH - Christianity IS the only faith, in a sea of false narratives, systems and religions. Why? It is not just the false religions of no heaven or hell, or 300 million gods etc etc....it is the fact that no other "faith system" has the Foundation, a Man Who rose from the dead and was seen by 500 people in one city, in one month. Secondly, no other religion has as its core, the unique paradigm of Faith being both a Person and a belief and relationship with that same Person. This Faith is a relationship where the one who believes (us) enters into this eternal covenant with eyes wide open and our minds and intellect intact. Faith is Jesus, the Author, Perfector and Creator - the Great I Am, "Ego Eimi".

Thursday, May 25, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW -"BLOSSOMS OF FAITH" (AMAZON PRIME VIDEO ORIGINAL) #INSPIRING #WARM AND #RECOMMENDED

There is nothing more beautiful than to see true healing, saving Faith bloom out of the depths of personal disaster and tragedy. This is precisely what the producers - Theatre X Entertainment -  the Amazon.com Prime Video movie (45minutes)  “BLOSSOMS OF FAITH”, accomplished in their original production.  Theatre X Entertainment are Christian movie producers and On Demand distributors of their own movie projects. Follow them here on Instragram, Facebook and Twitter.

Most of the reviews done and posted here are from a “consumer” point of view, not a film critic. What we look for where is primarily message, then the presentation of that message as well as the production quality. After two viewings of “Blossoms”, I must tell you that it is easy to become very fond of the character played, expertly, by New Jersey actress Kelly Madan. While Kelly may be a relative newcomer and not known in the usual Pure Flix, Christiano or other Christian movie production company realm, she is easy to emphatize with, extremely believable, humble and likeable, as lead actress on the film.

The intense and fast moving story revolves around the young widowed mother (Madan) who is about to be married and is just having a family moment with her beloved older sister Maria and her two young daughters. Suddenly Maria collapses, suffers a massive stroke and is in a coma after emergency surgery. The major portion of the movie then takes place at her bedside with Betty (Kelly Madan) sitting at her bedside, in shock, pain and completely distraught.
As her sister’s condition worsens, and a priest shows up to perform the “last rites”, it is now obvious that death is imminent. Losing her first husband and now in the immediacy of her beloved Maria passing into glory is just too much for this young single mom, who feels alone, abandoned and lost.  At times like these, no amount of comforting clich├ęs and platitudes from a member of the clergy will reach out and soothe the heart of a person in distress like this. Sure enough, Betty made a spur of the moment to give up her faith in anger and disappointment in God.

Numbness in the soul usually follows someone who has given up on God and there is no difference here…..that is, until circumstances down the hall of the hospital wing, brings our main character face to face with the Truth of the Source of Grace, Mercy and Love - Jesus Christ!

Monday, May 22, 2017

GOD'S CREATION: - THE COLORS OF SPRING 2017

 


PSALM 8

Lord, our Lord,

How excellent is Your name in all the earth,

Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants

You have ordained strength,

Because of Your enemies,

That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.


When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,

The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
 
What is man that You are mindful of him,

And the son of man that You visit him?
 
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.



You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;

You have put all things under his feet,
 
All sheep and oxen—

Even the beasts of the field,
 
The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.


Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth! 


(Credit: Bible Gateway - Psalm 8 above)
(Photos by Bernie on iPhone 5S)

Friday, May 19, 2017

WORD OF LIFE, PART 22: "CONSUMING FIRE AND ZEAL - MY DELIGHT"

Psalm 119 is an epic in the entire God-given, God-breathed Scriptures. It is not only the longest chapter in the Bible (176 verses) but one of the few chapters of Books of Scripture which covers every range of the Human Condition imaginable.  All sections of each portion of eight verses are sub-headed by a letter of each of the twenty two letters in the Hebrew Alphabet.  Now that we are at the end of our incredible journey through the entire 176 verses, which served up a cornucopia of such rich goodness, we can see the Person of Jesus Christ from beginning to end! 
THE ORIGINAL HEBREW FROM GOD TO MOSES, GENESIS 1:1


In fact, one of the Name of the Lord of Hosts is “Alpha and Omega” or “The Beginning and the End” in the biblical Greek language. The original paleo Hebrew of the Creator of all things is “Aleph Tav” . In theology terms, it is known as the Signature of God and is immediately evident in the very first verse of the Bible – Genesis 1:1, where the Holy Spirit says "In the Beginning created God Heavens and Earth". The English translation does not do it justice, but nevertheless, the “Aleph Tav” – the Great I am, the Beginning and the End because He is Eternal – is right there. "Aleph Tav" is circled in RED and cannot be translated.

"They will look on Me whom they
 have pierced "- Zechariah 12:10
In case there is any doubt, the SIGNATURE of God is found again in Zechariah 12:10, where He says "I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn". Here the un-translatable Aleph Tav is found AGAIN to emphasize that Scripture is talking about Jesus (the red arrow).

There was never any doubt that the entire Bible is all about Jesus, even without His bold signatures seen here as examples. However, Jesus Christ is not just a letter of the Alphabet. The two letters, represented here in Psalm 119 as the Aleph (first eight verses) and Tav (these final verses) are a reflection of one of His Mightiest Attributes. John 1:1 tells us Jesus is the WORD Who became flesh.  1 John 1, Jesus is called the “Word of Life”. On the way back to earth in Judgment and Victory in Revelation 19:13,  He is called “The Word of God”. When we read the Scriptures, we are reading BOTH the Word of Life, the Words of Life AND the Word of God. When we study the Law, we are studying Life, as the Law giveth Life. It is not a bunch of legalistic jargon but the parameters to keep us from hurting others, ourselves and the Holy Name of God. So when we see the Laws of God and His statutes magnified in the verses of Psalm 119, we have the explicit power words from Heaven right before us. It should behoove us to take them, well, as “Gospel”!

Psalm 119:169-176
Tav.
169  Let my cry come before You, O Lord; give me understanding according to Your word.
170  Let my supplication come before You; deliver me according to Your word.
171  Let my lips utter praise, for You teach me Your statutes.
172  Let my tongue sing of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness.
173  Let Your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen Your precepts.
174  I long for Your salvation, O Lord, and Your law is my delight.
175  Let my soul live that it may praise You, and let Your ordinances help me.
176  I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments.

When Yahweh spoke to Solomon at the dedication of the incredible First Temple in Jerusalem around 832 BC, Almighty God gave Solomon and option of ANYTHING he could wish for, and God would grant it. Solomon prayed for nothing else but “BIYN” – a discerning (wisdom with feet) mind. At the start of his life as King, Solomon also had the major component of wisdom – the Fear of the Lord. Verse 169 is an significant acknowledgement of the Power of God (read “respect, awe, fear”) from one who is wise enough to seek the counsel, love, protection and Grace from the Lord, for in this case – discernment. In a world where true wisdom is so rare, the there is a huge caveat to the dispensation of Discernment by the Holy One of Israel. This caveat is the umbrella under which the attributes of such a recipient of this special portion of Grace stand.

A full comprehension brings us to a large and awesome view of the One True God. Job 42:2a recognizes the omnipotence of Almighty God when Job says “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted". In light of this, we look at the final eight verses of Psalm 119 and what they light up in the lamps of our very souls. This can only occur due to the confirmed Power, Majesty and Grace of God Himself.  

Verse 169 - I believe. I call on God. He answers me. I fear Him. He opens the eyes of my heart.
Verse 170 - I believe. I pray with persistence and faith in the hearing of those prayers. God will deliver, according to His Plan, Purpose and Timing.
Verse 171 - I believe. Therefore, I worship, praise, lift up the Name of Jesus as Lord and bow down before Him, to the glory of His Name. For His Name is a strong and mighty Tower and His Name brings me wisdom.
Verse 172 - I believe. I sing because Your Spoken Word, through the Scriptures always proclaim directly from Heaven, that which is pure, fair, righteous, honorable and good - because God is Good. He is Sovereign.
Verse 173 - I believe. Therefore I know He will be with me. His ministering angels are at the ready, when we call and even when we do not even know we are in need of divine protection. This is easily confirmed in the testimony of every true follower of Christ. He watches over us, because we chose to obey when He called us to Salvation, Transformation and Sanctification.
Verse 174 - I believe. Therefore I must draw closer to the Flame. Our God is a consuming Fire and zeal for His House, His Truth, His Word, His Way should, would and will always invade and reside in every part, portion and fiber of my being.
Verse 175 - I believe. Therefore my soul is alive with life and hope and faith and power and fearlessness. But my soul also resides in the eternal realm right now! In addition, the laws and commands of the Lord, which are for my protection and for a good life, have now become a delight to keep and walk in daily! Our consciences are clear and hearts testify to this truth.
Verse 176 - I believe. Even when under duress, stress and my life is a mess...or need to confess, God shows up and gives His best. When I stumble, He keeps me from falling. When I fall, He reminds me of my calling. When I hurt, He sends a healing balm. When I try to run from Him, He pursues me as His law is written in my heart. This is WHY I can never walk away from Him, nor do I want to, deep down inside. This is WHY I love His law. This is why I will never forget His Law, His Commands and His Word of Life - because they are embedded in my very spirit and I will testify to Him, until my final breath, to the Praise and Glory of His Name. Amen and amen. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

WORD OF LIFE, PART 21: "REAL HOPE COMES FROM HERE"


Previously, (Part 19, verses 145-152) we looked at how the Lord set up the

mechanism of addressing the deep matters of the Soul. Depression is nothing to be trifled with, but the Bible has the answers. The key to discerning is the wisdom of the biblically wise and experienced who are continually in sync with the Holy Spirit and can expound on the Words of Scripture, which were designed for the Soul.

There is no one more perfect and full of insight on the Human Condition than the Creator Who made us. He knows the end from the beginning and everything in between. One day when we get to heaven, it will be even more incredible. It is only then we will fully comprehend why our Heavenly Father sent His One-of-a-kind (Begotten) Son- Yahweh, the Lord Jesus to become like us, so His divinity can address our hurts and needs from first-hand experience. There is nothing, nowhere else in this entire thing called Life and the Universe, which is even close enough to spell the word “compare”.


So when the Lord teaches on the downer of a topic like Depression, He also shows us the way out. The way out is Hope. Hope is always there. However, there is a mechanism which the man, woman and child of God can access to easily grasp this Hope! This Hope is found in a renewed spirit, a restored heart and a right perspective.  In my upcoming new book, based on the actual Prayers of the Bible, we go deeper into the Divine Plan and Purpose of Prayer, by using the actual words of Scripture, in context, to accomplish that. But for now, there are several key points we can discern from these next eight verses of Psalm 119, which will help the lost, hurting and those in despair.

Psalm 119:161-168
Shin.
161  Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of Your words.
162 I rejoice at Your word, as one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and despise falsehood, but I love Your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous ordinances.
165 Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.
166 I hope for Your salvation, O Lord, and do Your commandments.
167 My soul keeps Your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies, for all my ways are before You.

The Oracles of Hope:
Verse 161 is proof that the truly born-again has a heart and mind stayed upon Jehovah, fully resting in Him and NO ONE - no king, commoner or in-between, can remove us from Him. We have an eternal promise which will overrule death, because this world really has not power over us, except in a temporary sense. So be encouraged - we have already won!

Verse 162 shows a person in distress, yet, such a person rejoicing in the Word, Power and Promises of God in the Scriptures because the Holy Spirit testifies they are true. Right off the bat, this is no minor thing or anything to be trifled with.

Verse 163b shows from WHERE this Hope comes from. That is, “loving God, His Bible and the Word Who became flesh – the Lord Jesus Christ”.

Verse 164 is explicit proof that a person grounded in Truth (of Scripture) will be full of non-stop praise and worship! Our life, our demeanor, our self-discipline and witness are also testimonies to the Resident Power within us – the Spirit of the Living Christ!

Verse 165 is an ABSOLUTE GUARANTEE to those who believe God. Why? Because we are the ones who have the True Inner Peace with passes ALL understanding! The world cannot get us! We start hospitals and risk our lives for those who hate us and forgive those who trespass against us! Why? Because we have the Pax Domine – the Peace of God in Christ.

• Verse 166 is another absolute guarantee.  We all know what the Rapture of the Church is.  That is the time when the Living and the dead in Christ rise up at the Trumpet Sound when Jesus sends His Angels to bring His children home to heaven. That Final Rescue has been longed for by man since Jesus ascended back in to Heaven in Acts 1:9-11 and with every believer since. That Final Rescue is one day closer each day as there IS  a real timeline to events prophesied in Scripture. That Final Rescue will only be for those who obey God, love God and commit their entire lives to Him as Lord, Savior and Master.

• Verse 167 shows the reason we follow the Words of Scripture so closely, or at least try to, since we really cannot do this under our own power. We could, should and would want to be like Christ for one simple reason – He first loved us. There was nothing lovable about us in in our makeup and sinful life that will appeal to heaven to have mercy, love and compassion on us. It is ONLY Grace that we did not die in our sins and get dispatched to hell, as most of mankind was/is/will be. It is only God’s Love, which even when we were yet sinners, sent the Son of God (Jesus) to die on the Cross for us. We love Him and want to be like and obey His Word, not just because He saved us from Hell, but because He restored us to right standing before Him (justification)…..because He is maturing us in Him (sanctification)….to one day allowing us to spend eternity with Him (glorification). WOW!

• Verse 168 brings us to a major acknowledgement of one of the major Attributes of God – His Omniscience (all-knowing). The sooner people understand not just Who God is but How all Powerful and incredible He is, the better for us.  Our view of God determines the permanent condition of our souls, our standing before God and our effectiveness as His people. The more we study His Word, are obedient to the Holy Spirit, wonder at His Universe and love Him, the more we will come as close to a true knowledge of the Almighty, this side of Heaven.