The Once-Agains

Jesus claimed to be The Son of God to crowds of people who constantly weighed and tested His Word.  Today humans still ask for credible proof that Jesus is The Son of God.  Once again, His true followers can only point to Bible scripture for Truth and to one word – “Listen”.

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Suggested Bible reading: John chapter 10

This scripture is all about God’s Promises to three different groups of people.  Picking up the story in John 10:22, the season is winter around the time of Hanukkah, or the Festival of Dedication.  Jesus is walking through Solomon’s Colonnade in the Temple, surrounded by people.  The throng is three camps combined:

  1. One camp contains true believers
  2. The second camp is sprinkled with noncommitted followers and some seekers.  They are leaves blown by the Jesus-is-in-Town-Wind.  They are not entirely innocent.  They desire to be witnesses of Jesus’s demise (should He blunder).   It is the “Where’s the popcorn?” movie crowd.
  3. The third camp is made up of doubters, deceived Pharisees, and Satan’s own: those following primarily to challenge Jesus.  I call these “THE ONCE-AGAINS”:

24bHow long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.

Here is a magnificent example of how perfectly Godlike Jesus is.  He testifies to all three groups at the same time with the same words- and Jesus says what He means and means what He says:

26But you don’t believe Me because you are not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to My Voice; I know them, and they follow Me.

So, Jesus answered the questions on the hearts of all three groups in two simple statements.

Watch now: Jesus goes on to powerfully state the most reassuring scripture in history for true believers and for seekers alike.  It is the oft-quoted “eternal security” scripture straight from the mouth of Jesus.  Notice that He ends His testimony with an even more powerful statement directed to THE ONCE-AGAINS in verse 30:

28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from Me, 29for My Father has given them to Me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30The Father and I are One.

31ONCE AGAIN the people picked up stones to kill Him. 32Jesus said, At My Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone Me?” (emphasis added)

33They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”

Well, isn’t that exactly the same silliness going on in the earth today? Instead of reverancing their Powerful and Majestic Creator, people are not listening to the true message of Jesus.  THE ONCE-AGAINS (the lost) continue in their blind  rejection of Jesus as the Promised Savior.

Jesus patiently responds to the crowd in verses 34 – 38, and

39ONCE AGAIN they tried to arrest Him, but He got away and left them. 40He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. (emphasis added)

Isn’t that just like Jesus?  He leaves the city, leading a few chosen out into the country for some peace and quiet.   For reflection at the river.  The River of Life.

Yes! And the Bible states that many people follow Jesus there, and believe that He is their Messiah.

Why?  Because John the Baptist did not perform signs and wonders.  That was reserved for Jesus’s ministry.  But some of them get to thinking about the testimony of John once they are away from that mind-numbing distraction of THE ONCE-AGAINS:

41beverything he (John the Baptist) said about this Man has come true. (Italics added)

THE ONCE-AGAINS (those who refuse to believe that Jesus is God) are like  wolves in the sheepfold that scatter and devour the flock (John 10:12). They mimic their true father of lies (Satan).  They mock, scorn, and deny all that is Truth.  They still plot to persecute believers worldwide with murder, imprisonment, and unspeakable torture.

Our Almighty Father Above All, I thank You today that Jesus, Your Son, is sitting at Your right hand at Your throne in Heaven.  And that while He walked this earth He gave testimony to all who would listen the Words that You told Him to speak.  Thank You for Your promise to never lose a single sheep who sincerely follows Jesus. Thank You for defeating the agenda of Satan  at the cross of Calvary.   Holy Spirit, help me to be gentle in my dealings with the lost for Jesus’s sake, and for theirs. May everyone who hears Your Word listen and respond with repentance and take into their hearts the love of Jesus that abides within us for eternity. Help us to understand Your Holy Message as we study Your Word each day – In the Powerful Name of our Blessed Lord Jesus, Amen.

Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” ~ John 11:40

Another powerful “eternal security” Bible scripture is found in Romans 8:38-39.

Thank you for following

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Invisible Army

Perry Stone claims that an invisible army greatly influenced the election of Mr. Trump as President of the United States in 2016.  Just who is this army?

2bNow teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. 3Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. ~ Apostle Paul in 2Timothy, 2:2b-3 NLT

Christ’s Invisible Army should be visible, but in America, it is difficult to recognize these days.  What would it look like if we could see it?  I suppose the army would consist of good soldiers.

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Hmmmm … is there a teaching somewhere in God’s Word about this?

Well, Paul goes on to say:

4Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer (Jesus) who enlisted them. 5And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. 6And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. 7Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand these things. ~ 2Timothy 2:4-7 NLT (italics added)

Have soldiers in Christ’s Invisible Army used verse 4 as an excuse to let this nation decline into immorality and godless shame?   Good Christian soldiers are not ashamed to pray for America, or even to possibly:

15Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive His approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. 16Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. 17This kind of talk spreads like cancer. ~2Timothy 2:15-17 NLT

So Christ’s Army should not look like an apostate church.  It would not spew forth wicked argumentative speech (like reality TV); or believe that “anything goes” or that “all forms of religion lead to God” (New Age).

1You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! ~2Timothy 3:1-5 NLT

One would hope so!

 23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24A servant (soldier) of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. ~2Timothy 2:23-26 NLT (italics added)

We have religious freedom in this nation (so far) and do not suffer persecution for our faith as do our brethren in other parts of the world.  Yet I hear that more believers in America are afraid to share the Good News than those across the seas who are losing their heads for not denouncing their faith in Jesus.  Believers in the United States need to become Christ’s Visible Army.  That means:

10Willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen. 11This is a trustworthy saying:

If we die with Him, we will also live with Him. 12If we endure hardship, we will reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will deny us. 13If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is. ~2Timothy 2:10-13 NLT

Who are we, Church?  Are we visible or invisible?

Thank you for following God’s Holy Word and

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It Takes Two

Read John 8:1-20

Now Jesus was teaching at the temple in Jerusalem early in the morning when those pesky scribes and Pharisees interrupted Jesus with a test to discredit Him in front of the crowd.  The scribes and Pharisees unceremoniously tossed a woman accused of adultery into the midst of everyone sitting there, demanding that she be stoned according to the law; but then asked Jesus what He would do.  It was an obvious set-up.

Jesus wrote with His finger on the ground as He replied that the one without sin should cast the first stone.  Sheepishly they retreated one by one into the shadows without further condemnation of the woman.  Jesus conversed with her and then told her to go and sin no more, saying that since her accusers had left, He did not condemn her either (it takes two witnesses).

Of course, this was not going the way the religious leaders had planned; so here they came again and Jesus was ready for them:

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” ~ John 8:12 NKJV

Ah-HAH!  They thought He was caught red-handed in a blasphemous lie.  Jesus was alone and no one there could back up His claims to be the promised Messiah. 

The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.”  Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. And yet if I do judge, My judgement is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.” ~ John 8:13-18 NKJV

No matter what Jesus told these scribes and Pharisees, they were so blinded to the truth they didn’t know whether they were coming or going; much less believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah.  Nor did they know the Father who had sent Him.

Nevertheless, Jesus gave them two witnesses – Himself and the Father.  I can’t imagine two greater Witnesses to the truth than Jesus and our Almighty Father God, but it was completely lost on His accusers.

Very First Thing | 2018

The first thing I do every New Year’s Eve is to make resolutions to do a bunch of good stuff in the coming year.  Then the very first thing I do after New Year’s Day is to NOT do any of that good stuff.

Why is that?

I’m pretty sure it’s because I am trying to do good stuff by my own will-power (slow learner).  Anyhow, it’s past time for me to get off that yearly merry-go-round and give it all over to the God of Second Chances.  Shame on me for forgetting the important stuff

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” ~ Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV

Still… traditions die hard, so the very first thing is a prayer:

“Lord, my New Year’s Resolution for 2018 is to walk pleasing to You this coming year.  I trust You, Father God, for what You prepared for me beforehand. Thank You, Jesus, for the greatness of Your power to keep me as I should be, regardless of my own shortcomings. Amen.”

The very next thing is,

Happy New Year 2018! 

God’s blessings to all in Jesus Christ

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“For He Himself is Our Peace,“ ~ Ephesians 2:14a NKJV

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The Glory of Christmas

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day, in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”

And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.

Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. ~ Luke 2:8-20 NKJV

As I am telling you now.

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

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Angel of the Lord visited the shepherds and informed them of Jesus’ birth, Bethlehem, Church at the Shepherds’ Fields
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Random Ramblings: December 23, 2017

Sometimes the holiday excitement gets a bit weird. I prefer the old fashioned Christmas message told straight up.

TLP

Season’s Greetings to One and All!

You may have noticed recently that like many other bloggers I’ve been on a holiday break the last few days, and I wanted to let you know that this will continue over the coming week as well. She Who Must Be Obeyed has informed me that we will be on the road over the next week visiting locations in multiple states for the holidays…

That takes care of the general ‘housekeeping’; there is a matter of urgency I wanted to mention:

You’re not going to believe this, but yesterday morning I was listening to the news on the radio and I heard that there is going to be a local event today (December 23) in a certain town. I don’t recall what the event was, sadly, because my mind was blown at the way they gave the date. Did they say “Saturday” or the…

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