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”.

Kenai Baseball Field

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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I wish this site could have been named Importantstuff.love!  since I know that God so loved the world, that  Jesus gave His life so that every single person could be redeemed from the wrath to come.  canstockphoto14841253

 

 

 

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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Last Thing

There’s one last thing I need to do with Dad’s New Testament Bible.  It’s time to put it away.  Dad’s testimony is posted in several articles on this blog and will hopefully be read by many people in the coming years.  It hurts my heart, but the binding is pretty much shot.

Dad's Soul Winner's Bible

If I do this now, perhaps Dad’s great-grand kids will be able to investigate the message Dad left inside before the pages disintegrate.  It sure surprised me when I found it.

 

Dad's Bible Portrait

Sorting out the loose pages, I decided the last thing for me to do is the old-fashioned remedy – no, not duct tape!  A hair band will do fine –

 

Dad's Bible Banded

at least for now.  God’s Word lives on inside its covers and it is up to my Father in Heaven whether to use this relic as a witnessing tool in the future – or not.

The last thing left now is what some call closure.  I just chalk it up to another crying day in a tough but victorious year in our Lord Jesus:

“Thank you again, Dad.  The last thing you accomplished posthumously with your little Bible was this quote from page 381”:

For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before Him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. ~ Hebrews 4:12-13

Hollis10
Dad’s New Testament Page 381

So hey!  It looks like God is still using Dad’s Bible to send His message out; and it’s not the last thing.

It’s a heart thing.

 

 

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Life’s Reflection

Is my life reflecting God’s Word?

“This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” ~Titus 3:8 KJV

Father, please forgive me for my thoughts, words, and actions which are unprofitable, vain, or an obstruction to the reading, understanding, and acceptance of Your Word.  In the Name of Jesus, our blessed Yeshua Messiah, amen.

 

Beyond 2016

This month there will no doubt be hundreds if not thousands of reviews written about 2016.  I am not about to throw my hat into that ring, but wish to show support for the brethren who have already summarized the year’s events from a Christian perspective.

2016 was full of end time prophetic markers with Israel occupying the center of world attention once again.  While thousands of Christians suffered horrific persecution at the hands of radical Isis and other terrorists, many western evangelicals focused their attention primarily on the U.S. Presidential election.  Muslims are increasingly convinced that their long-awaited Imam will appear on the world stage soon.  Some fear that we are on the verge of the Gog-Magog War, or WWIII.  Evidence shows that more Jews are accepting Jesus as their promised Messiah, while other Jews are becoming more excited that their long-awaited non-Jesus messiah is coming soon.   Intricate preparations are being made as even the Israeli police seem to believe the Messiah is coming soon.

Another article by Jan Markell, Top Bible Prophesy Stories of 2016, sums up the year 2016 pretty well with eighteen Biblical end time prophetic events.

But why do so many people of diverse faith believe that we are on the verge of a world-changing event?  And if so, “Why is any of this relevant to me?” you may ask.

I just felt like pointing out that while many Christians may be focused on New Year’s Resolutions, politics, or faith seminars, some Christian leaders remark that the church is lukewarm and not actively supporting Israel; nor is it overly concerned with preparations for the imminent return of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

What do you think?  What is beyond 2016?

Silver – Not Gold

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” ~ Psalm 12:6 KJV

Purity is absolute:  Pureness means flawless and undefiled.  God’s words are Truth.  They can be tested for eternity and never change.  God wants us to know that we can rely on His words.  God’s words stand up to any test.  God’s words are a testament to who He is.  That is clearly understood by man, as throughout history, even an imperfect man is known by whether or not he keeps his word:

“For I am the LORD, I change not: ….” ~ Malachi 3:6 KJV

Properties of silver:  The more times heat is applied to silver, the more pure it becomes.  This is true of any metal such as gold. Why does King David describe the words of God as being pure “as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” instead of gold?  Well, not all silver is pure silver unless the impurities are removed by the process of smelting.  The heat of a furnace (or crucible) extracts silver or gold from the slag (bronze, iron, lead, or tin), leaving the desired metal in its pure state – undefiled.  Only silver that is refined in a furnace of earth (in those days) seven times is pure enough to describe God’s words.

The number seven: In God’s Word the number seven is known to be symbolic of completion; i.e. the priest sprinkled the blood of a bull before the Lord seven times at the veil of the sanctuary in the tabernacle (Leviticus 4:6); the leper was to be sprinkled seven times for cleansing from leprosy (Leviticus 14:7); the Israelites marched around the city walls of Jericho seven times before the Lord caused the walls to fall, giving His people a complete victory over the Canaanite city (Joshua 6:4) – it was the first battle victory of many  to follow that enabled God’s chosen people to inhabit the land that God had promised to them.  God’s words are complete.  They are final and unchangeable.

Value of silver:  We understand that gold is more valuable than silver even today – just as it was in the ancient world.  So why not describe God’s words as being pure as gold instead of pure as silver?

Durability:  Who was David’s audience?  A people whose economy was based upon silver currency would understand the high value placed upon silver as a traded commodity and also its availability to the common people in everyday life.  God inspired David around 800 B.C.E to describe His messages to man in common terms that man could understand across the millennia of time.  Even today silver is more commonly minted as coinage than is gold, so the average person is more familiar with its monetary value than gold.

Most coinage is silver, since gold is softer than silver.  Gold is good for beating into stunning and valuable temple ornamentation or jewelry, but its soft properties do not meet the standards of coinage. It is so awesome that God’s Word never fails to explain His messages to man in terms that man can best understand.  God’s message here is to the ancient generations of Hebrews living during King David’s rule of Israel.  Yet it is also easily understood in modern times.

Silver as a symbol: Silver symbolizes wealth and position.  Palaces, temples, kingly furnishings and other royal objects of wealth have been adorned or traded in silver.  One example given at the link below of traded silver is that of Solomon’s Egyptian chariot bought with 600 shekels of silver (I Kings 10:29).

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Old Israeli Agora Shekel Coin

The smelting or refining of silver as well as the trading of silver assigned a symbolic value to the virtue of wisdom for the Israelites:

“For You, God, tested us; You refined us like silver.” ~ Psalm 66:10 NIV

“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” ~ Proverbs 3:13-14 NIV

God’s Promise and our hope:
“So that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” ~ Hebrews 6:18-20 NASB

Prayer:  Abba, Father, thanking You today for drawing us a picture using silver to explain how Your words are pure, absolute, complete, lasting, valuable, and worthy of our attention.  We accept Your words as holy and full of wisdom.  Help us to remain faithful to read Your Word, the Holy Bible, daily; and keep Your words in our hearts.  Give us opportunities to share them with others, and to apply Your words to our lives.  In the Name of our our Redeemer Jesus, King of Kings and LORD of Lords, Yeshua Messiah. Amen.

Further information on the values of gold and silver to the ancient Jewish people can be found at The Library, Encyclopedia Judaica: Metals & Mining.
Feature Photo courtesy ©Can Stock Photo Inc/HOMONSTOCK
Old Israeli Agora Coin photo courtesy ©Can Stock Photo Inc/asafeliason

When Nothing Makes Sense

When nothing makes sense, we can completely trust that God is in control of all that matters.

Reading scriptures Habakkuk 1-3:

The prophet Habakkuk lives in a time around 600 B.C., when Babylon is about to invade Judah.  He is extremely troubled about the time in which he lives.  For him, it is the end times.  Christ followers believe that we also live in the end times.  Habakkuk questions the Lord in chapter one about world evil much the same as believers do today:

How long, Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but You do not save? ~Habakkuk 1:2 NIV

God gives Habakkuk a revelation in chapter two – just as the Apostle John was given The Book of Revelation in the New Testament by Jesus Christ – the last book of God’s Word, our Bible:

Then the Lord replied, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay… Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” ~ Habakkuk 1:2,3,5 NIV

As I watch what is going on in our world today, and the perplexing changes taking place in the nations, I am utterly amazed, just as the Lord predicted.  Nothing makes sense anymore, except God’s Word.  We must continue to watch, wait, and pray for strength like Habakkuk.

Easier said than done.  Watching the world crumble is heartbreaking.  Waiting does not mean we should complain as we wait.

Prayer: Forgive my impatience, Father, and replace my complaints with faithful expectations from Your Word. Nothing makes sense anymore but I will rejoice and trust in You. Help me to glorify You with a willing and cheerful heart for your service as I stand watch. Prepare me in Your strength with courage to face battles yet won. May I run with the fleetness of the deer as a herald with Your revelation given to a lost world and seek Your Presence at all times.  In Your Son Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.

The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him. ~ Habakkuk 2:20 NIV

If you are seeking God’s Truth, His Word has the answers.  If you have never trusted in Him, click this link.