Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

John 17: 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

1 john 2: 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, [even] eternal life

1 john 5: 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son

1 john 5: 20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, [even] in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life

One individual bless his soul tried to argue that eternal life had nothing to do with salvation.  Clearly his impression of eternal life was somewhat disjointed.

 There are a number of commonalities with all these verses.

    1. First He has given us (past tense) eternal life.
    2.  It was promised
    3. To have eternal life is to know God and Jesus Christ.

The word to “know,” in John 17: 3 is ginōskō and in the Strongs ( 1097) is carries these meanings

1) to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel

a) to become known

2) to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of

a) to understand

b) to know

3) Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman

4) to become acquainted with, to know

 Some comparisons with other Greek words from the Strongs concordance

See Definition for ginosko G 1097  (Currently Viewing) See Definition for eido  G1492  See Definition for epistamai  G1987  See Definition for suniemi  G4920

       G1097 – a knowledge grounded on personal experience

       G1492 – to see with the mind’s eye, signifies a clear and purely mental perception

       G1987 – a knowledge obtained by proximity to the thing known, cf. our understanding

       G4920 – implies a native insight, knowledge gained through the five senses

Now eternal life is coming into direct contact with God.  This is more than just an intellectual knowledge about God, but a direct knowledge that comes from God. It speaks of an intimacy that can only come from having a direct relationship with God. Now before we receive eternal life we are dead spiritually and to all extend alienated from that life.  Now when someone comes into a darken room and switches on the electricity, the lights come on, and all the electrical equipment begins to buzz.  What made the difference the electricity?  No the man who flicked the switch.  Suddenly that which was dead and lifeless suddenly comes to life. So when we are grafted into the source of all life which is God we become alive spiritually.  But this is more than a mere connection with a lifeless object this is being connected in fellowship and intimacy with the very source of creation.  The fundamentals of the gospel are that we who were dead are now made alive.  Suddenly we begin to have an understanding of eternal things.  We begin to marinate the nature of God into our being.  We begin to have an understanding of things which previously were impossible for us to grasp.  Suddenly we begin to have new desires and hopes and dreams.  Suddenly what once gripped us begins to fall away.  Those habits that once enslaved us begin to die and drop from our lives.  We really do begin to be new creations in God.  Over time we grow both in intimacy and knowledge of God.  Not as one who would gather information from a mere instruction manual but as one who is in direct contact with God.  The term fellowship becomes both real and intimate.  We grow in our desire to express our thanks in worship and communion with him.

We were once in darkness but when God switches that spiritual light ON , you very being becomes alive.  You slowly begin to understand things which previously simply did not make sense.

One man tried to argue that Obedience is a requirement of salvation, that somehow Faith plus works has to go together in order to achieve salvation. 

As I pointed out to him he has to work grovel strive and possibly endure purgatory  to earn his salvation.  Otherwise he has to work towards his goal, But the Christian because he has salvation works out from his salvation.  The fruit he bares is fruit that is produced by being in connection with the source of all life.  Fruit has no means of growing but must depend on the source he is attached to.  If you have to work to be grafted in then you cannot produce what that tree offers.

The same man tried to argue that the Christian has to feed on the Eucharist and thus eat Jesus physically in order to gain life .  But true life is way beyond that concept.

What we feast on is God himself.  We are drawing from his life blood.  His life courses through our being. His holiness and purity impacts upon our souls.  Ours minds begins to chew on his word.  We love his principles.  Jesus said his meat and drink was to do the will of the Father and we can truly say our meat is to do the will of our saviour.  His will become our meat and drink.   We are nourished every time we are in fellowship with him.  We grow and expand in intimacy as we grow to know him in all his fullness.  We begin to see things from his perspective.

2 Cor 3: 17- 18   Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord

As we look upon the one who saves us we are changed by his spirit into the same image.  Growing and maturing with the same glorious nature as Jesus. 

There are times that I feel that I am looking from the other side of eternity and looking back at what is a rerun of time.  From Gods own perspective.  Seeing although darkly the glory that will be seen.  There is a liberty and freedom that is as light as breathing air, and air almost intoxicating with the presence of the living God. 

Jesus used very simply teaching methods. 

The door, the way, the shepherd, the bread, the logos, the rock and water.

 That we might be able to grasp the spiritual dimension that all was centered on Jesus.    

John 10: 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly

1 Peter 1: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Eternal life is not simply the duration of life, but a quality of life we will enter into.  Whilst we may only touch upon that life now, the fullness of that expression is fully expressed in a city with no need of a sun or a moon because God himself will dwell with his people.  He will be the light of that city.  We will live in the very presence of life joy and peace in all its fullness.  And best of all we will be able to give expression to the life we have received.

Or as the old expression says about having your socks blown off, well prepare to lose them.  The best is kept to last and no one is going to be disappointed.

 

Worship should be like breathing its life.

Ex 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name [is] Jealous, [is] a jealous God

In the Old Testament God set out before the people of Israel precise and detail instruction concerning the tabernacle. Every detail had to be exact, and every measurement precise. Then God laid out how and who could approach his presence. This means that No one was under any illusion about the sanctity and holiness of the tabernacle. It also means a man could only approach God on Gods conditions. When two sons of the High priest tried to place any old fire on the altar, and therefore break those conditions it was met by death. You did not trifle with God blueprint.

When we come to the New Testament we have similar instructions on how to approach God. The details were laid out for us by Jesus. The conditions of which he met by becoming the sacrificial lamb. The burn offering that was consumed on the sacrificial Alter. The curtain that separated priests and God was torn in two signifying that the access to God was now open. The way to approach God was precise and clear. God laid out the conditions and we have to abide upon those conditions or else.

In the Old the temple was a place of separation, in the New we become the temple and the place of unification. The Old it speaks of alienation and in the new a place of friendship. However the condition upon which we draw nigh is still according to Gods precise blueprint.

Mat 6: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Many approach God by any means available. Roman Catholics flock to give praise and veneration to Mary. believing that she can intercede in a way they cannot. They make a great effort to separate that they only venerate Mary as opposed to worshipping her. Yet the word venerate is simply another word for worship.

The heart very often cannot make such theological distinctions.

THE MIND AND WILL TURNS WHERE THE HEART LEADS. WHERE YOU HEART IS THAT IS WHERE YOU’RE WORSHIP WILL BE.

On the subject of worship someone puts it like this

Worship is a dialogue in which God and God’s people speak with one another. We listen as God speaks to us in scripture, as the word is preached, and as Christ’s presence comes close to us in Holy Communion. We respond to God’s love with our praises, our prayers, and the offering of our whole selves. When we gather for worship we desire to discern God’s will so that we may carry it out in daily life. To worship is to acknowledge God’s worth in acts of praise as well as in daily life.http://www.baptist.org.uk/what-is-worship.html

This explanation is good, but I still feel that there is more to define worship than just this comment. In many churches worship is simply what we do on a Sunday when we stand to sing and in some churches even to dance. But is there more to worship? How do I know if I am worshipping what is right?

Definition of worship from a variety of sources.

Worship is the thank you that can’t be silenced” – Max Lucado

Worship is the gift of participating by the power of the Spirit in the incarnate Son’s communion with the Father.” ~ James Torrance .

Be The Change Worship helps break down the barrier between man and God allowing him to minister to us and change us from the inside out….

WORSHIP is: Our response both personal and corporate to GOD- for who HE is! and for what HE has done! Expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live.Louie Giglio

Personally define it as… ‘True worship is an all-consuming, Spirit fuelled, truth filled response to the revelation of God.

John MacArthur, Jr. is absolutely correct when he says: “That consuming, selfless desire to give to God is the essence and the heart of worship. It begins with the giving first of ourselves, and then of our attitudes, and then of our possessions — until worship is a way of life” (The Ultimate Priority, p. 14).

Now all these definitions are good but do they say really what worship is.

What worship is not?

Worship is not having a good time, although it can and is enjoyable. Worship is not having a me time. Something which I derive pleasure because it satisfies something in me. Not does it necessarily something which God demands. Nor is it the scraps that we feel we can throw at him. Something that passes the time before the minister comes out to preach.

How worship is described.

Worship by definition is derived from the Old English worthscipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship — to give, at its simplest, worth to something. So what we place before all else as our greatest of worth is what we inevitable give as worship

Worship must be freely given as an expression of gratitude to one who becomes highly favoured in our sight..

BLUE PRINT!!

Worship has to be based on the same precise instruction as God lay down with the tabernacle. Nothing has been left to chance. God’s blueprint is exact and it works according to the makers plan.

Rom 8: 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

1 Cor 2: 10 But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

Rom 8: 26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Our worship of God has to start with the reality that as the temple of God, he now dwells within the believer. In so doing the ministry and work of the HOLY SPIRIT is to bring about a desire plan within our lives.

This is where it starts. We have the spirit of God dwelling within and it his ministry to make real our fellowship with God and to bring us into a place of communion with the living God. Because he can express who God is he is more than able to reveal God to us. The Holy Spirit helps us express ourselves to God. He is the one that brings up beyond the veil, into the holy place and finally into the holy of holies.

Eph 1: 3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ:

In many occasions we just don’t know what to pray. Yet we know that the Holy Spirit helps us with groaning which cannot be heard. We yearn to give a closer and more glorious expression to our prayer and worship. Catholics look to Mary to intercede for them and yet as we see it is God himself who working within. It is he that is actually the one who does the interceding on our behalf. What more can we hope for when God moves on our behalf to help give expression to what we desire. We have this interaction between God and the believer that gives expression and reality to our worship. We have before us the precise blueprint and instruction as to Gods New Testament Tabernacle. He says come boldly to the throne of God

Heb 13: 10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle

The priests were allowed to partake of the altar, but even they have no access to this altar of grace.

The door is open and the welcome sign has been put out. The invitations have been sent. Who will come and enter the holy of holies. Who will enter into the place where God resides, the throne room of heaven. Who will willingly freely and openly give worship to this holy God?

The light has dawned and we refuse to go back into the darkness. We now rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of Glory. Everyday becomes a challenge and an opportunity to express that worship in what we do and what we say.

But things don’t finish there because we also have a high priest Jesus Christ who intercedes on our behalf, so that we have both the Holy Spirit and our High priest ministering to make things work. What more can we have on our sides. But it does not stop there because the father also is out there batting and cheering for us .

Gal 4: 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father

Rom 1: 7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called [to be] saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ

2 Cor 6: 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

So now we even have the father working to bring his plan to fulfilment. Now at this stage if you get the revelation you should be jumping fences with the reality of all this.

How can we do anything else but give up our time and space to worship one that is so glorious. Now worship comes because we come into the reality and appreciation that this is HOOOOOOOW much God was worked. He went the extra miles to bring us sinful creature into the very presence of purity and holiness. Now I believe there is a connection between our worship and holiness, because as we give up our worship we enter into a place of holiness. In that place we are touched and changed by it. We should come away with a deeper sense of the glory, the holiness and purity of God. You cannot come into the throne room and not be changed. When the priests did service in the tabernacle they were forever changed by it. It is not about me and mine , but about coming to appreciate more of him. It has been found that when men experienced the living God, in times past their lives were never quite the same again. So our worship should bring us into contact with God and he with us. That fellowship should have an impact on us. Now I love to worship because I don’t just get a kick out of it. But I do it because I have grown more and more to appreciate what God has done.

From the moment we are saved the work of the Holy Spirit is to make alive that relationship with God and to point us to Jesus.  In return he points us to God as the all and in all.  The process of revelation of worship and desire is already put in place.  There is no need to worship or seek another.  The Helper has come and he will guide teach and comfort us.  He becomes the impious, the spark that light up our lives and make worship of God real and dynamic.   He helps us to give expression of our worship to God.  You see a finite being is not omnipresent and cannot take on such a role.  God however is more than capable of doing it.  The believer becomes the temple in which God can now dwell in all his glory

When People talk about having to go through Mary or some other saint all it tells me is that they have no knowledge of the life that God offers them.  When someone tells me that they have to labour and struggle to be accepted by God, it is simply saying they just don’t know God.

An electrical appliance can sit on a shelf all day long and it will be as dead as the day it was placed there.  You can take it down and move it around and it will not react or perform its given duties.    But the moment you take the lead and plug it into a source of electricity, that dead appliance becomes alive.  It starts to do what it was manufactured to do.  The difference is that it is now attached to the source.  One minute it was just a dead piece of equipment and the next is alive because it is plugged into a source it recognises as life.  That is also the same with human beings.  We can put on religious attire.  Attend church and sing a few songs.  But our lives are the same going out as when they went in.

John 17: 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Does an apple grow on its own or because it is attached to a source which will nourish it, feed it and make it grow.  On its own it will dry up shrivel and rot.  It has to be attached to a source of life that will make it grow and blossom.

Eternal life is not just the duration of life which we will have, but the very quality of life which we enter into now. 

1 John 5: 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

Not if, but , maybe but has given us eternal life.  The moment we are connected to that source things begin to happen.  The moment we get grafted into this glorious and wondrous source of LIFE things begin to change.

All the filthy words we once enjoyed spewing out now become ugly and disgusting. We suddenly find that what we once loved begins to change.  Those filthy habits now become a source of grief.  Attitudes change and we begin to focus on things which we know will please God.  That trashy music that once spoke of sex and drink suddenly begins to have no appeal anymore. 

We begin to learn from God himself on what pleases him, what he enjoys and what makes him tick.  There is a tremendous buzz in worshipping him.  This is not merely a physical emotion, it something deeper.  It’s something which comes deep from within our very being.  We become “ALIVE”.   It becomes fun to be in the presence of God and delight in what pleases him.   We develop a love for Gods word and hold it up as precious.  The very idea of going to another for intercession on our behalf is foolishness.  Why when we are connected to LIFE itself.  When we are openly welcomed into the very presence of God himself, when you realise that you have the ear of God another does not matter.  When you are connected to the one who give LIFE then everything else is just mere imitation.  When a Christian begins to know God he becomes ALIVE.  Now we begin to hear from God. Glimpses of what is to come, realities beyond what we see physically.  Understanding of things we never knew existed.  We begin to go beyond this realm of life to see the life which is to come. We jump for joy unspeakable and full of glory.  We long to be fully clothed in that reality which God promises, because we are convinced that there is more than what we see now. We long to enter fully into that resurrection experience, and to be fully conformed to the image of his son. 

Believe when I say we become a privilege people and glorious people because we can touch the source of all joy and peace.  To look and wonder at the graciousness of God.  I who was dead and separated from God, alienated from the life of God.  Now understand what we are connected to is not an inanimate object but GOD himself.  To a person in whom all our dreams are fixed.  He becomes more than a mere object of some unrelated being somewhere in the cosmos.  He becomes friend and companion on our journey.  It is a Journey which we share together.  Whatever this life throws up with all its hardships, sufferings, highs and lows we know he will never leave nor forsake us. There is a peace which does indeed go beyond what this world can give because it is a peace we can be secure in.  There is a security that what we have committed to him, he will bring to the shores of eternity.    You begin to love as God loves.  Try and grasp this for a moment.  We begin to love as he loves.  Now it’s not me trying to beat myself into loving what God loves, but it’s a process of growth.  We are becoming more and more like him in his nature.  We love what he loves and hate what he hates.  We enjoy loving as he does.  This goes beyond mere formality religion or ritualism, but a growing and maturing.  We may glimpse something of the final product but it still remains a shadow through which we peer but not quite the fullness of it.  But we are persuaded that it will be fully glorious and mind blowing.  Beautiful in its completion.  What I can say we will not be disappointed in any way by the final result.  Not only because of the upward relationship but the relationship as believers will have with each other.  Now that will be glorious indeed.  No suspicions or mistrusting or wars or doubting the other intents.  No arguments over what meant by someone’s words. 

God bless!!

Mack Wolford died after being bitten by a rattlesnake

The Modern practice of modern snake handling goes back to around 1910.  However the history of snake handling goes back even further as present day Indian snake charmers would testify.   It is reckoned that by the 1020 all Holiness and Pentecostal churches had rejected the practice.  However the practice has continued.  Official figures on how many churches are involved vary from anything from 40 to 100.  So the basic truth of the matter is that no one really knows for sure.  Different states have different legislation to ban the practice.   

The law on this matter in the USA varies from state to state.  This web site gives an interesting look into the legal side of this matter.  http://yeltsin.tripod.com/law/law.htm

When people use the term Christian in the same sentence as the Appalachian region they most always think of snake handlers.  The verse they always point to is from Mark Gospel.

Mark 16: 17-18 And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Whilst American does not openly condemn the practise per say and thus avoid being accused of stopping religious freedom, they will prosecute the ownership selling and possessing of illegal reptiles.  In the hope that if can curtail the flow they can curtail the practice.

 This was done with a Pastor Coots from the Full Gospel Tabernacle in the name of Jesus in Middlesboro, after a Tennessee woman died after being bitten by a rattlesnake during one of his services.

The report reads:

“The pastor of a Kentucky church that handles snakes in religious rites was among 10 people arrested by wildlife officers in a crackdown on the venomous snake trade.

More than 100 snakes, many of them deadly, were confiscated in the undercover sting after Thursday’s arrests, said Col. Bob Milligan, director of law enforcement for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.

Most were taken from the Middlesboro home of Gregory James Coots, including 42 copperheads, 11 timber rattlesnakes, three cottonmouth water moccasins, a western diamondback rattlesnake, two cobras and a puff adder. “

Whilst snake handling is bad enough but to have them in under the same roof as your wife and kids is reckless indeed.

Another  reports states:

Some believers also drink poisons during as strychnine or gasoline in accordance with the five signs. Serpent-handling began in the Church of God around 1910 and is practiced by about 2,000 people throughout parts of West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. It is illegal in all states except West Virginia. But experts say the practice is declining.

“When you see it done, you cannot believe your eyes,” said the Rev. Bill Leonard, a professor of church history and religion at Wake Forest University and a scholar of snake-handling congregations.

“They know what the dangers are and they play gospel roulette by doing this, “Leonard told Discovery News. “They pick up the serpents in all kinds of ways, often more than one in their hands.”Leonard estimates between 75 and 100 people have died over the past century of snake handling. He says families who belong to these congregations believe their faith will keep them alive, that’s why they don’t have snake venom anti-toxins available should something go wrong.

In a more recent report of a Pentecostal Pastor

 “A Pentecostal pastor famed for handling snakes during church sermons has died after being bitten by a rattlesnake.

Mark “Mack” Wolford, 44, was well-known across the US state of Virginia for his lively church services, which included handling dangerous snakes in a ‘test of faith’. But the pastor died after being bitten by a rattlesnake he had owned for years, mirroring the death of his own father in 1983. Holding an outdoor service in which serpents where passed around among church members, Wolford was bitten in the thigh by a yellow rattlesnake as he sat on the floor next to it. The service was quickly disbanded as the pastor was taken to family member’s house to recover, but he later died in hospital from poisoning. Wolford had been bitten on three previous occasions, but did not seek medical attention as he regarded the injury as a test of faith. “He helped me to understand the faith instead of just documenting it,” photographer and eyewitness Lauren Pond told the Washington Post. “He was one of the most open pastors I’ve ever met. He was a friend and a teacher.” “I didn’t see the bite, I saw the aftermath” she added. Source http://uk.news.yahoo.com/pastor-killed-in-rattlesnake-attack-during-church-service.html

However at what point does faith become presumption?

The last hundred years has seen a recorded history in deaths which were directly associated with “faith” teachings.  A faith that was not based upon Biblical faith but an ideology that tempts God.  Presumption would be a better term to use.  No where are we encourage  to prove our faith by taking up snakes, or drinking deadly poison.  The practicality is that if you happen to be bitten, or drink poison then and only then we can have faith to believe God for intervention.  The fact that this ideology went so far as to see ill patients refusing basic medications or rejecting any hospital care, because that would be seen as a lack of faith.  As if God was at odds with medicine, many would lay in their beds dying when a simple prescription from a doctor would have cured them.  The accusation is that if you died then you simply did not have enough faith is an excuse that just does not cut it.  True faith trusts God in the situation, it does not demand that we put ourselves in the situation.  Nor does it demand that God gets us out of the situation .  Whilst I have no doubt that Gods grace does indeed intervene, it does not mean that we continue down a road with the full knowledge that one bite or the rejection of basic medical help is somehow a sign that we don’t trust God.  Sometimes Medicine is Gods way of intervention.

On one snake Handlers web site the whole premise of handling snakes becomes the basis as to who is saved and who is not.  Otherwise if you don’t handle snakes or are afraid to do so, then your not a true believer.  Here is what he had to say.

“To me, you are not a true Pentecostal or Holiness believer if you reject the handling of serpents. Don’t waste the Lord’s time professing to be a believer in GOD if you can’t follow his commandments”

So faith alone is no longer good enough we must now add works by handling snakes and drinking poison.  I am sure the people who died in Jones town might have thought the same.  They all died when they drank poison.  Where in scripture are we told to prove our faith by handling snakes and drinking poison?

“ Acts 28: 5 is a loop hole for all Christians, who are too scared to handle serpents and drink poison as instructed in Mark 16: 17,18. They use “reasoning” that implies that they will handle a serpent accidentally, but not deliberately. GOD doesn’t REASON. Satan does REASONING – not GOD”

Now reasoning is unbiblical according to this proponent of the teaching?  Don’t think about the consequences just do it.  Reasoning that the whole idea is dumb is really satanic.  Is reasoning at odds with scripture or is blind faith the new revelation?

 Is 1: 18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool

NO God gave us the ability to reason and work through an issue.  The very fact that so many of these snake handlers have died following such practices , only shows that there has to be more too it.

Mark 16: 18 has become the in Manuel to prove ones faith in the same way as tongue did in Pentecostalism.  Yet Tongues has become one of the most counterfeited gifts in the 20 century. In fact in some Pentecostal circles the ability to speak in tongues became the proof that you were saved.  The many who found themselves unable to do so were seen as second class Christians. 

The fact of the matter scripture makes it clear that not everyone has the gift of tongues.  Not everyone has the gift of healing and I suspect even fewer have the gift to handle snakes either.  The Bible remains strangely silent on this matter. Acts 28 where Paul is bitten by a snake is the only example in scripture, and no where  are we told that this was some special snake handling service.    No where else do we even see any of the apostles having snake handling services, or scouring the landscape for venomous snakes to prove that they were saved.    The same proponent pointed to Moses as being the first to handle snakes, but it must also be noticed that he was also the last.  There was no scriptural evidence or mandate for any priest or prophet to prove or validate his claims by having a snake handling service.  It must also be noticed that it was not Moses ability to handle the snake, but the miracle that his rod changed into a snake and ate the rest. 

There is a way that seemeth right but it is the way of death.

Outwardly Islam and Catholicism appear to be vastly different religions, however in reality they are both inspired by the same spirit.  Both hold to a religious and a political agenda.  Both have persecuted Christians over the centuries.  Both hold up cities Mecca and Rome as the centre of respective devotions.  Neither of which are mentioned as such in the Bible, if any both cities were centres of pagan worship.  Both hold to prayer beads and holy water as a means cleansing.  Both have been knows to use means of self harm as a means of mortification.  Both have a variety of expressions within their respective  religions, and yet both  look to individual men as the source of their inspiration.  The pope in one and Muhammad in the other. When in weakness both claim to be peaceful and ecumenical, However when in prominence will establish their own version of sharia law and will have no hesitance in imposing it upon all.  Both have used violence to push their agenda.  Both boast of the final victory of their religion against Biblical based Christianity.  The Christian always points to Jesus, whilst both Islam and Catholicism will point to a religion, an institution and everything but Christ.  For the Christian the Bible is the final authority on any matter of faith life and doctrine.  Catholics however will hold up their traditions which inevitable circumvent the very scripture that would give them light.Both give a fleeting gesture of believing in the Bible, However in reality deny it.  Both use the cloak of religion to mask their ungodliness.  Paganism is accepted and mixed in with it.  Whilst Moslems will circle the hajj and kiss the black stone in pilgrimage, so Catholics will make pilgrimages to sites of Mariology and kiss her idols.

Both it appears have a fascination with Mary, although unlike Islam Catholics will worship her as a queen of heaven.  However both recognised Mary as a women blessed “above all women”, rather as the scriptures says from “among women”.

Both have a devotion to a finite creature, Mary in Catholicism and Muhammad in Islam.  Neither can see past their idols.  Both accept these finite creatures as the perfect example to humanity, and when scripture and History shows otherwise they choose to reject historical and Biblical truths.  Whilst both reject that they actually offer such worship, both in practice and reality they most certainly do.    

Both have priests that issued anathemas and fatwas at all who would disagree with their views.  Both are steeped in a works mentality of good works which they hope will tip the scales on the last day in their favour.  Both have a form of purgatory, for the Moslems it’s a life in the grave and for Catholics a period of continuing punishment in a place of suffering.

When faced with the open invitation to approach God openly and freely, both inevitably will seek means far removed from God.   Both are steeped in rituals and methods which the Bible never mentions. 

Both have boasted that their writings can only be truly understood in a language which few can read.  For years Catholicism tried to keep the Bible written in Latin which even the priest could barely understand.   Many Catholics simply do not know Biblical history, which saw papal decrees on the burning of those who did translate the Latin into the common language.

Both like to claim that they were the light of civilisation, or as one Catholic recently boasted that the Bible was given to humanity by the Catholic Church.  Yet he forgot that the Old Testament was written and kept for hundred of years prior to the existence of the Catholic Church, and recognised as scripture even in the times of the apostles.  The Catholics look to their church as the author and interpreter of scripture, the Christian however looks to Jesus and the Holy Spirit.   

For the Moslem Jesus is demeaned as a mere failed prophet, and in Catholicism Jesus is reduced even further to a cookie which men eat.  Neither have a true relationship with Jesus.    When Offered a crown by God both are too busy looking elsewhere to accept it.  The saddest reality is that both are comforted in their religion, their sins are excused in their penances, kept in the dark concerning their real condition.  Whose trust is off men rather than that of God.  However unlike Islam Catholics are tied to the priests either though confession and penance or the need for their priests to magic Jesus into a cookie.  No cookie no Jesus.  Which is why the priests have such a hold over their congregations.

I was recently introduced to this character on a Youtube video. Alan John Millar aka self-proclaimed Jesus Yeshua. Now Millar believes himself to be the reincarnation of Jesus, and his wife Mary Luck the reincarnation of Mary Magdalene. They are the leaders of a movement called THE DIVINE TRUTH, a movement that is seeking to sweep many into their mystic fold. The question is how does Millar compare with the Jesus of the Bible? In a time of discontentment with established  religion such messianic figures appear to be making great strides. Is there any possibility that this Jesus is indeed the Jesus of the Bible? Well let’s look at the facts.

Miller has boasted of travelling to the United Kingdom, Sweden, Greece and the USA and Heligfjall, northern Sweden in order to promote his message. He also claims to be a medium and channels a number of spirit conversations. His website contains numerous references to such talks.

All quotes come from the Divine Truth own website http://www.divinetruth.com/

Many spirits follow me around constantly waiting for an opportunity to talk to me. Some of these spirits wish to express their anger and rage towards me, some wish to find out why they are in a dark condition emotionally and spiritually, and some wish to help the furthering of Divine Truth on earth. Some are our friends from our past 2000 years of life whom we enjoy talking to…..

I have had literally 100’s of conversations with various spirits, and many of these conversations do not get recorded, as they happen in an ad-hoc manner, and I also only post them with the permission of the person doing the mediumship as well, and if they are relevant to more than just Mary’s or my own life…..

Miller has even been in touch with Plato and Aristotle. He has even helped Gandhi who needed some help from Miller to do with emotional Injuries, holiness and sexuality. There simply seems to be no end to the number of spirits cueing up to speak to Miller

WHEN ASKED ABOUT MIRACLES?

When asked about miracles he states:

The truth is I did perform many miracles I healed sight of people who are blind and the so-called resurrections from the dead.”

If he had performed such miracles then people would have heard. It is also interesting that he used the words “I DID many miracles”, does that mean he has ceased to do all these miracles. It seems so, maybe he just forgot how to do them? It is interesting that he lays claims to have resurrected the dead. Notice the words he used “SO CALLED”. Well either he did or he did not, If he did then that would be a resurrection. So it would not have been a “so called” resurrection, Jesus made the statement I am the resurrection and the life, he did not add I am the so-called resurrection and the life. This is one Jesus (Miller) that does not really know who he really is. His use of words reveals his insecurities. Because he knows as we all do that this is NO Jesus

DID JESUS WELCOME SUCH INTERACTION WITH SPIRITS?

Mar 1: 24-25 Saying, Let [us] alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.

Now it seems when Jesus met with people who were dominated by evil spirits he rebuked them, told them to hold their peace and delivered those who were held captive by these spirits. Miller on the other hand welcomes such spirits. Even inviting them to attend his conferences and openly admits to recording some of these conversations

Ahhh, his first contact with you, yes, he came because we invited a group of spirits to one……………..of our sessions in Australia About four and a half thousand spirits or so came, but, there was a group of spirits who came over the preceding day, one of them was this man Albert.

Jesus never invited spirits to join in with his daily talks; In fact the Bible makes it very clear that such interaction is forbidden. Why go to a spirit when one can go to the creator off all things.

The true Jesus makes it clear that there is no communication from the spirit world. Luke 16: 26-31

Isa 8: 19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead

1 Tim 4: 1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Here is a few statements that Miller has made about himself :

Just before I remembered the full details of my life in the 1st century and in the spirit world…. I have written about the things I remember, and will be doing more of this as time goes on. I have also written about the Truth about reincarnation……….

Since my return to earth, I have also had to work through many emotions of despair, sadness, grief, guilt, frustration and loneliness, and, through this process I have come to understand human life much better than I did when I was on earth 2000 years ago……

So this Jesus claims he has a better understanding of life that the first century Jesus?. What does the Biblical Jesus have to say?

John 2: 24-25 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all [men], And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

I think he had more than enough knowledge about what it’s all about. So Miller statement is false.

I recognized that the Messiah would be the same as any other person, with the exception that he or she would be the first person to enter into a condition of a true sonship with God, or at-onement with God through the reception of God’s Love into the soul, which would transform the soul. Once I discovered this process in the 1st century, I called it “becoming at-one with God” or “being Born Again!”…….

It is not important to us whether you believe we are Jesus and Mary, but it is important, should you wish to experience bliss and happiness, and gift of immortality that each child of God receives when they become at-one with God, to at least investigate, and consider experimenting with the teachings presented here………

Miller’s attitude is that if you don’t believe that he and his wife really are Jesus and Mary , that’s ok, but Investigate Consider and Experiment with what they are offering. The fact that such experiments are based upon their identities as Jesus and Mary does indeed have an important significance. For if they are frauds then what they have to teach must be seriously in doubt. As we have looked at Millers message it is predominantly anti scripture.  It should not be missed that Miller places himself at the centre of his teahings. For without his help who will find the secret to his entering in to at-onement with God.  An open contradiction on his part.

Gal 1: 7-9 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Paul makes it clear if there is another gospel, even if it is claimed to have come by the hand of some angel then it’s under the anathema of God. Now has Jesus ever said “Ok you don’t believe I AM but just carry on with what I have taught you”. No, he makes it clear If you love him follow him. Unless his disciples were clear about who he was they could not follow him. Jesus places his credentials before his disciples so there is no doubt and if there is no doubt about the man then there is no doubt about his message,

MILLERS GOSPEL.

REINCARNATION INSTEAD OF RESURECTION: Who needs a resurrection if life is a continual progression or evolution towards being one with God? AT-ONEMENT INSTEAD OF ATONMENT: Miller rejects any concept that one creature can atone for another. Yet the whole of Gods word is written and lays down principle upon principle on why there had to be atonement. Being BORN AGAIN is nothing more than being ONE WITH GOD. Man at the end becomes his own god. As the old song goes all we need is love, for Miller the hook that pulls people is to get in touch with love. People are easy persuaded by a feel good message of peace and tranquilly. It becomes what the Bible calls Lovers of pleasures rather than a lover of God. It’s the SELF doctrine. What makes me happy and content? What “I” choose to believe in. What makes “me “comfortable? The focus becomes self. The means upon which “I” can work towards my evolution of becoming one with god.

What makes Millers Gospel so dangerous is that it promises a second change to life that the Bible makes clear does not exist. Who wants to come back to have another go at this life.  But also if reincarnation is true then there is no judgement to fear.  If there is a hell as one of Millers conversation takes him, then Miller is on hand to show how a soul can escape such imprisonment.  So he then becomes a saviour not just in this life but also in the spirit world.  Through his secret knowledge (Gnosis) one may cut through this endless cycle of death and birth to achieve full At-onement with God.

THE PRAYER TO THE DIVINE MOTHER.

The web site offers up set prayers that people can use and this one is to the Mother goddess

My Mother, Who is in Heaven , I recognise that You are All Holy and Loving and Merciful, and that I am Your child, and not the subservient, sinful, and depraved creature that false teachers would have me believe. I know that I am the greatest of Your creations, and the most wonderful of all Your Handiworks, and the object of Your Great Soul’s Love and Tenderest Care. I know that Your Will is that I become at-one with You and partake of Your Great Love which You have bestowed upon me through Your Mercy and Desire that I become, in truth, Your child through Love, and not through the sacrifice and death of any of Your Creatures.

I just can’t help be reminded what Jesus prayed when asked by his disciples on how to pray. His words were “our Father which is in heaven”, there is no mention of praying to anyone else let alone some DIVINE MOTHER.. Yet we see Miller offering up what even Jesus himself never did. However the Bible has this to say about this so-called DIVINE MOTHER.

Jer 44: 19 And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?

Jer 44: 23 Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day.

The Bible makes it clear that offering our prayers to some divine mother is a sin. Miller seems to be lacking this bit of knowledge as well.

Miller also rejects the need for a sacrifice to atone for sin, despite the fact that the Bible is full of instances where God commands it. To believe that anyone who opposes his view is a false prophet should make anyone question “is he wiser than even God”.

The prayer to this DIVINE MOTHER also boasts of a pride that has the one praying boasting that he is the greatest of Gods creations.   Hmm where do we have that bit of boasting coming from?

Is 14: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Satan desire was to exalt himself and become like God, and yet what do we see the example of the true Jesus?

Phil 3: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Miller may be pushing for exaltation but the true Jesus took the place of humbling himself.

Phil 2: 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

So even here the whole idea of boasting does not exist. Miller may claim to having some convenient memories of Jesus, but he is definitely no Jesus.                                                    

REINCARNATION

Reincarnation is a common belief of pagan religions such as Druidism, Spiritism, Theosophy, and Eckankar and is found in many tribal societies around the world, in places such as Siberia, West Africa, North America, and Australia. In a 1981 Survey in Europe 31% of regular churchgoing Catholics expressed a belief in reincarnation. Geddes MacGregor, an Episcopalian priest who is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a recipient of the California Literature Award (Gold Medal, non-fiction category), and the first holder of the Rufus Jones Chair in Philosophy and Religion at Bryn Mawr, demonstrates in his book Reincarnation in Christianity: A New Vision of the Role of Rebirth in Christian Thought, that Christian doctrine and reincarnation are not mutually exclusive belief systems. Reincarnation is an intrinsic part of many Native American and Inuit traditions.

The idea of reincarnation is accepted by a few Muslim sects, particularly of the (Ghulat), and by other sects in the Muslim world such as Druzes. Historically, South Asian Isma’ilis performed chantas yearly, one of which is for sins committed in past lives. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reincarnation

So is it any wonder that Millers gospel is so appealing to so many. Why he is winning converts among the local Australians.

The fact that the Bible makes it clear that Jesus was indeed both God and man is basic to the scriptures, but then you cannot have a God being reincarnated again and again. That just would not fit comfortably with the topic of reincarnation. God cannot evolve and yet within reincarnation is the belief that a person is on a journey of evolving and by following Millers guidance, one can finally enter into the realisation of being son of God. So for Miller to believe that he is Jesus he would have to dispence with the fact that Jesus was also fully God. Therefore there has also to be the rejection of Jesus deity.

Ecc 3: 20- 21 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth

Whilst the Body may return to the ground the spirit of man goes upward . It does not use the term reborn or even reincarnated into another body.

Heb 9: 27-28 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

NOTICE IT SAYS “ONCE TO DIE” , NOT TWICE OR EVEN THREE TIMES OR MORE.

When Jesus told of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man we have this account.

Luke 16: 26-31 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that [would come] from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

If all they were unwilling to hear from the writtings of Moses and the prophets, then there was no chance of having someone come along and tell them. Lazarus was clearly not going to be reborn to even tell the man brothers about the rich man. Personnaly I doubt if Lazarus even wanted to come back. It looks to me that he was enjoying the place he was now in.

1 Pet 3: 19-20 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water

These spirits were those who were imprisoned in Noah’s day. They are still there thousands of years later. No reincarnation for them.

Otherwise there is no coming back and no communication with the dead, yet for Miller like all reincarnation beliefs it a matter of a journey that leads to nirvana or bliss. Miller believes that he has found the secret in how to achieve the goal. Naturally the sinfulness of man simply does not come into it. The Bible however again disagrees with Miller on this subject.

Rev 19: 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

These two got themselves thrown into the lake of fire. Yet after a thousand years what do we find?

Rev 20: 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever

These two despicable characters are still there. No reincarnation for them either. So there is no evidence that any reincarnation happens

Rev 20: 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection.

If this lot did not live again for a thousand years until the final judgement then there was no reincarnation for them either. They stayed dead.

The worst part of the whole theory of the reincarnation is the cycle of endless death and rebirth. Having finished one journey one is thrust into another. Who is to say that the next life will be far worse than the previous?  Sounds more like hell to me!!!

MANS SINFULNESS.

Is 64: 6 But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Rom 3: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Miller claims that anyone who preaches that man is sinful is a false prophet, and yet as we can see from just two verses that man is indeed a sinful creature

I thing God knows a bit more than Miller does. So Miller statement is false.

Atonement rather than at-onement

“Your child through Love, and not through the sacrifice and death of any of Your Creatures.”

Miller rejects the cross but does the Biblical Jesus agree with this?

Luk 22: 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

Mar 9: 31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day

JESUS WAS RESURRECTED AND THEN TAKEN UP TO HEAVEN. BEING REINCARNATED HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. WE EVEN KNOW WHERE JESUS IS AT THIS PRESENT TIME.

WHERE IS JESUS RIGHT NOW?

Now if Jesus was resurrected and now stands at the right hand of God, then he did not die to even be reincarnated. It does not matter what memories Miller thinks he has, they are not from Jesus.

Mar 16: 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

Prophesy of Isaiah 53 says he was offered up for the sins of others. This was fulfilled as it was stated. It seems that the Jesus of the Bible knows a bit more than Miller does. So Miller statement is false.

HE SITS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD.

Col 3: 1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God

BY THE BOOK OF COLLOSIANS HE IS STILL SITTING THERE.

Rev 5: 13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

BY THE END OF THE AGE IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION HE IS STILL SITTING THERE. So Miller statement is false.

HOW WILL JESUS RETURN?

Acts1 :11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

So we even know how Jesus would return, the same way as he went up to heaven. So reincarnation is out. Unless Miller can show that he descended physically upon the earth as stated by the Bible, which would mean he would not have a father or mother in this life. Yet we know who his parents are. So Miller statement is false.

Will Miller one day die? Like all reincarnation teachings it is based upon the principles of evolving from one life to another through the process of death birth and eventual decay.

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus who was not made after the carnal law lives forever after the power of an endless life. Otherwise he will never die. He remains a priest after the order of Melchisedec because he does not die or grow old. But continually stands to intercedes on behalf of his people.

Heb 7: 16 -17 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life, For he testifieth, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

If JESUS did not die then he cannot be reincarnated, and that makes whatever Miller had to say false

WHAT MILLER HAS PROVEN?

Luk 21: 8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am [Christ]; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

Mat 24: 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Mat 24: 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, [he is] in the secret chambers; believe [it] not.

It would seem very strange if reincarnation was ever a fact why would Jesus makes it very clear that if someone comes along claiming to be Jesus >>>> WE ARE NOT TO BELIEVE IT>>> Jesus calls these people FALSE CHRISTS, FALSE PROPHETS. Is it by any coincidence that Miller like many cultic leaders always build in secluded places?

SO AGAIN MILLERS BELIEFS ARE WELL AND TRULY FALSE.

1 cor 10: 19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I [say], that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

Paul says that an Idol is nothing, but often behind the idol are spirits that promote it.  These spirits go out to deceive minds and hearts to bow down before such images.  Having debated with many I am persuaded that at times we are actually talking to minds that have been ensnared by demons, and in some cases we may even be speaking to the demons .  These poor people are held captive until they are loosened.  As long as these minds are held captive debating with such people becomes nothing more than an exercise in frustration and exhaustion.

We must grasp the reality that the battle must first be won on the spiritual plain long before we engage in a VERBAL DEBATE. 

That’s why we see such anger and rage in many religious cults.  Demons don’t mind people arguing and striving, working for their salvation.  Because they know it will fail.  How often have you answered a questioned only to find the same questioned being asked coupled with the argument to show them scripture that proves your point?  The very fact that you have probably spent almost twenty minutes posting such scriptures seems to go unnoticed.  The reality may be that they have not just read them, but they are unable to grasp them.  The Battle is truly a spiritual one.  Those who worship at such altars are held captive by the god of this age.

2 Cor 4: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Eph 6: 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].

There can be no greater reality than the fact that we are living in enemy territory, and we are called to overcome all resistance to the knowledge of Christ.  Now I am not talking about running up and down the street with communion bread or staking out a given territory, with the sole belief that we can expunge a local demon from a given area.

What I am talking about the personal overcoming of all resistance starting with us.  We need to grasp the reality that there are forces that do pose a threat and if not to us most certainly to those who stand outside of the grace of God.  Who would do their best with subtle temptations and skill to avert our gaze from the one who is glorious in holiness?   These spiritual forces cannot harm or injure us, but they pose enough a nuisance to remind us that we may be in this world, but we are certainly not of this world.  We overcome because we stand in the strength of another who overcame and was victorious.  Our greatest need is for spiritual eyes to discern and see through the masquerade and subtle deceptions which such spirits orchestrate

2 cor 2: 11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices

Paul the apostle was a man skilled and knew of the devices that such spirits used.  Sadly for many we can find ourselves at such a disadvantage.  It is only in the midst of such conflict do we begin to grasp such realities.  Whilst we can say that we know how the book ends and we win.  The road that leads to the end of the page is one that is minded with conflicts and resolve.   In time we do indeed begin to see through the cloak of darkness and the many deceptions which are fostered by evil spirits.   As we begin to see through the cloak of deceptions their hold will be broken.  The darkness expelled by the light of the truth.   

Whether we like it or not we are very much in boot camp, being trained to take a higher resolve than we see in this life.

1 John 5: 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith.

It is that faith that is grounded and settled in Christ Jesus.  A resolve that refuses to question the integrity and love he has for us.  The willingness that says we are prepared to trust.  We don’t see the full picture which his canvas is painting; we may only see an edge; a glimmer of colour here and there.  What we are persuaded of is that the fullness is both glorious and truly mind-blowing, a portrait truly spectacular in all its radiance.  Men whose lives were alienated from God are now being changed into the likeness of his son.  In this no works can perform, no rituals keep, no struggle achieve.  But an inward change that slowly and gloriously transforms us by the inner working of his Spirit.  For the one who established the foundations of the earth is truly working in us to establish the foundation of the sons of God.

Men view greatness by  the strength to command armies to conquer and subdue their enemies. Greatness is when one man knocks another out in a boxing ring. Greatness is when an individual receives accolades and fame from his public. But few recognize greatness when one man is taken, beaten and his life taken like some common criminal.

To a Moslem the concept of a prophet  allowing himself to be taken and brutally beaten and killed at the hands of his enemies is profoundly a sign of weakness and defeat. To them such an act is inconceivable. To them having armies conquer the unbelievers and have them forced to their knees in subjugation is more understandable.

The Bible however has this to say.

1 Cr 1:25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

Men deem humility as an alien concept unfitting for those destined for greatness. The washing of anothers feet the station of a meager slave, unfitting for one deemed great in the sight of man. Pride refuses to contemplate that such actions is both glorious and great. Yet we see that Jesus humbles himself to wash the feet of those who would soon deny he  existence.

By one single apparent act of weakness in laying down his life and surrendering it to his enemies, he conquered more than any general could ever have imagined. By that one single act he won the hearts of more than any general or conqueror in history could inspire. He faced death and defeated its hold. The accuser of the brethren was sent spoiled and naked before the victor. Unlike any other general who died this man Jesus remains forever King of KING and Lord of LORDS.

When conquerors subdued nation they could boast of making those nations their slaves, but they could never boast that they have won the hearts of those they conqueror. The enmity endured longer than the life of the conqueror, but this man Jesus by his death turned the hearts of his enemies into his friends. He won what force of arms could never do, the love and respect of those whose hearts he touched.

Generals may boast of their technology, their arms, and their weapons, Jesus simply by nothing more than his spoken word did more than all the boasting of dictators and generals. He convicted illuminated inspired and brought the revelation of his father into the very hearts of those who listened. He changed their lives and empowered them to further his kingdom. He brought hope to the hopeless, brought sight to the blind and opened minds that were closed.  Hearts that were once hardened now rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Rome with all its might, who subdued kingdoms, terrorized and brought to heel the infidels. Kept its boarders safe from the barbarians, and yet could not stop the simple proclamation of the gospel. The apparent weakness of the message was still greater than Rome.

Atheism may boast of its rejection of religion. Its humanism and evolutionary concepts and yet they have no answer to life basic questions as to why we are here. They can formulate how life works, but they cannot answer why we are here. God alone has given that answer.

Politicians may boast that they have the well-being of their voters. Yet the reality is that they are faced with an ever-growing problem that has them stumbling from one economic crisis to the next.  Economics that turns dark-haired men in office one day to white-haired by the time they leave. Resources are faltering, technology can’t keep up and the economics of the nations are in a meltdown.  God answer to mans dilemma is still in a lowly man who rode on a donkey, on his way to Golgotha cross. His resources will never falter, His wisdom has no ending, his plans will never fail, and his strength will never weaken. He continues to snatch the lost from the edge of the abyss.

What greatness can be seen when a conqueror makes his enemies his friends, no his brothers and sisters and welcomes them into his family. What men could not do with a gun and a bomb God did with one single act of LOVE!!

 

I watched a program the other day on people who become hoarders.  This is when people cannot give away anything, refuse to throw anything out and the property soon fills up to the point where even the residents of the house can barely move.  The phenomenon is even being recognised as a mental illness.  People are unable to move on because in many cases they actually suffer from depression.  They become miserable because of the conditions they find themselves under and become even more depressed. These people need professional help to move on and get back on their feet.

Now on a more practical sense as humans we do become attached to “things” which we acquire in this life.  They do form a sense of comfort to us.  Having things is not wrong and this article is not meant to deride people who have things ornaments and keep sakes, because we all have things that we treasure and hold unto. 

This article is about the spiritual realities that can resemble the same phenomena.

As humans we are being called to move on in the things of God.  Simply treading water is not an option.  Sometimes there are things in our lives which hold us back from moving on in the things of God.  There may be things which we hoard like sinful habits and thoughts which do not glorify God.  Past experiences which make it difficult to appreciate God as a Father.   We all have a past and for some the inability to leave behind the past becomes a hindrance to moving on.  If God has forgiven our sins then the past should not be a reason to hinder us from moving on.  The sad part is that in many cases it does.  We are by nature a broken people.  Born and shape in iniquity, and as such we are not a whole people.  We come to God with a whole load of baggage, and God slowly over the years encourages us and helps us to unburden, so that we can run the race God wants us to run.  But letting go can be just as hard as any of those who hoard property.  But there is a sense that we need to let go of those habits which grieve and cling which the Bible calls the old nature.  It’s that part that is still connected to this world.  God desires a spiritual people whose interests are not of this world, but of the next.  I am not talking about the practicalities of helping people in this world, but of leaving behind all the guilt and insecurities which would hold us back from becoming the people God wants. 

James 4: 1  From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Long before the phenomena of hoarding was recognised the apostle James speaks on a similar vein of thinking.  The gospel offers up a very practical application that there are indeed conflicts within our lives because we hold unto things.  Wars erupt because our flesh wants to hold unto areas that grieve and separate us in our relationship with God.  

The apostle Paul shares this very intimate part of his life.

Rom 7: 14-20  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that [it is] good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me

Rom 7: 24-25 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death. thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Man is not simply a soul but he also has a body that was by nature part of the fall.  The consequences were dramatic and tragic.  That body was sold into a sinful pattern because of the fall.  We sin because we are sinners.  This frame is still very much part of this fallen world and as such is motivated by that fallen condition.  Paul lays his heart bare and while he does actually state what his dilemma is we can most surely relate to his frustrations.  His soul has been redeemed, his spirit renewed, but his body has yet to put the new immortal imperishable and glorious attire.  We remain in this frame until we are either resurrected or the rapture.  We long as Paul does to be clothed with the imperishable.    In the mean time there are conflicts within us which move to and fro.  Desire which need to be overcome and practices to lay down and shame and guilt to be left behind.. 

Gal 1: 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.

I hope like Paul we can testify that what we were we are no longer.  What we will become is the hope we press forward to.  If that means empting and leaving behind what holds us back then let us do so.    The professional help that we need comes from God who is on help to deliver us from our wretched condition.    It is he who will empower us to move on.  To have the strength that says we are called to overcome.  We may not have arrived but the main thing is that we are progressing towards the goal.  We may be oppressed but we can be assured that we cannot be possessed.  We know conflicts and wars but greater is he that is within us than he that is in the world.

1 John 2: 14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him [that is] from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one

1 John 4: 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

We can rejoice because we know how the book ends, and we know we can be part of that great crowd that gathers to rejoice in the sweet victory that says we overcame.  Despite all the sufferings, the pains, the hardships we endured.    With Gods help let us lay down what hinders us and move on to perfection.

One day we will arrive!!!

Num 5: 8 But if the man have no kinsman to recompense the trespass unto, let the trespass be recompensed unto the LORD, [even] to the priest; beside the ram of the atonement, whereby an atonement shall be made for him

Prov 23: 11 For their redeemer [is] mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.

Is 44: 6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I [am] the first, and I [am] the last; and beside me [there is] no God.

RUTH 3: 12 And now it is true that I [am thy] near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I

Moslems will often hold up Ezekiel 18 in a vain attempt to prove that one man cannot pay for another mans sins.  Yet all Ezekiel. says is that every individual will stand before a holy God to be judged for his own sins. 

The fact of the matter that there is a provision in the law for redemption by another and he is called the kinsman redeemer.   The story of Ruth makes this clear.

The conditions are:

This person must be willing and have the ability to redeem, which means he must be free of the debt upon which he is called upon to pay.  He must also have the resources to pay it.   He must be related to the person upon whom he is to redeem.

Now as man is sinful and falls far short of what is prescribed, he is therefore unable to pay the debt which is owned.  So his need is for someone who is KINSMAN who is free of this debt who is willing to pay what we cannot.  Jesus became like unto one of us a human in order to fulfil the requirements of the law.  But he had to come in a way that made him perfect and sinless.  Muhammad was born of a natural birth and therefore a sinner, as we all were.  Jesus was born of a virgin and therefore sinless.  The only part that Mary played was the feeding of the foetus in her womb.  Jesus was born of Mary but not from Mary, which made him unique.  Thus free from the debt we all carry.  Now that debt which we own now reads

PAID IN FULL NOTHING MORE TO OWE.  “

 Jesus was also God manifested in the flesh.  So he was also in the position to redeem all those who came to him.  Jesus made it clear that he had the desire to pay the price and lay down his life.  Because he came as a human he was in a position as a human to play the part of our kinsman.

The one who was offended decides to become the one to pay the debt that was owed. 

When the reality hits that the debt we owe was paid for by Jesus we should jump  and dance with  joy.  But he does not leave it there.  When a person is born again he becomes a changed person.  God never leaves us where he found us, in the dirt and in a mess.  He lifts US up and cleanses us down, clothes and transforms us.   We are made acceptable in the beloved.  We are welcomed at his banqueting table and his banner over us is LOVE.   Now we become part of his family and welcomed into his home.

The greatest thing of all is that he knows my name, he knows me personally and he knows where I live.  Think of it the God of this whole universes calls me by name.