NOT A COPY

JESUS PREACHED IN THE SYNAGOGUES.  THE PEOPLE CALLED HIM RABBI. 
As a Jewish teacher, it was more than probable that he followed the  Ritual of Worship traditional to their time including incense as did Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist. The Psalmist writes,  “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭141:2‬ ‭(niv)

The burning of incense AND the lifting of hands were symbols of remembrance and glory to The Holy God.  Those who worshipped false gods “copied” those who worshipped the one and true God.  


Those who are worshippers of “the false” take what is good, right and required, driving it into the ground, or over emphasizing it in their attempt to delegitimize the true and ordained. 


Do you want to really know Him?
Do you want Him to communicate with you?
Do you hunger for that secret place where you know and are known?


Throw away those old ways that muddy your conscience, that cause grief to Him, THEN YOU WILL “HAVE CONFIDENCE to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, … let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:19-22‬ ‭(niv)

Prayer ain’t CHEAP!

WITH A SNIFF OF DISDAIN, there are those who say if God can’t give me this or that, why should I believe. 

Our relationship to God is not a cheap “name-it-and-claim-it” exercise as you send moolah to that TV GUY (or gal) selfishly hoping to stick money in your own pocket. Prayer is not a fun-time giggle shouting  “gimme-gimme-gimme” to a celestial Santa Claus descending with his sleigh of goodies pulled by red nosed angels. 

TRUST AND OBEY MEANS WHEN THERE IS NO ANSWER IN SIGHT you tie a knot and continue to hold on!Paul and Silas faith-prayed and sang praises to God while confined in an underground dungeon. Suddenly a shaking of the earth opened their prison door. 

Elijah in I Kings 18 challenged king Ahab about  producing rain. He sent his servant out to look seven times to look, and on the seventh time the servant reported, “there is only a little cloud the size of a man’s hand.” Believing, Elijah shouted, “Save your confederate money boys ‘cuz da South’s gonna rise a-gin.” [ really? no.) But indeed he warned king Ahab to get ready because rain was on the way! (because of a small cloud the size of a man’s hand? YES!!)  BELIEF! TRUST! OBEDIENCE!

“ … he is faithful,” i.e, trustworthy ….
I John 1:9

SUPREME COURT 9

The Temple of NIKE (meaning “Victory”), was built close to the Parthenon in Athens, Greece about 410bc.  The Parthenon was built to worship the goddess Athene as a place to celebrate victory over the Persians in the 5th century bc.  There were some guys called “archons”who were elected and ruled the city government. When their term was over they became members of the Areopagus. 

The Areopagus was the “court” that ruled when Socrates was tried in 399bc making the trial one of the most important events in legal history.  For all practical purposes, it was a court. Here’s a “believe it or not” – there were 9 of them!  Nine has been acceptable for 2,420 years as the best and most workable number.  

Most developed countries have used nine (9) in their courts if they used a final arbiter or court.  In Europe some countries may use more, however, the decisions are usually settled in smaller committee(s).  

In American law, only when FDR tried to pack the court in the 1930’s has nine (9) been challenged.  FDR’s Vice President, John Nance Garner from Uvalde, Texas, split with him stating that being Vice President is not worth a bucket of warm spit. 

Most recently, the Democrat Party has toyed with the possibility of packing the court with their Party hacks by adding another 4, making 13 (thirteen?)!  It is clear that the purpose is not to clarify legal decisions, rather to ensure their Socialist idiology. To further ensure the outcome, they want to make Washington, D.C. a state as well as Puerto Rico, both of which guarantee Democrat Party rule forever. 

If one should study numerology, or simply study the uniqueness of the number nine, it becomes amazing how nine finds its way into mathematics, the Bible, astrology, and physics.  

I’ll leave it at that!

THE VIRGIN MARY’S PATH TO BELIEVING

The dark world of human forgetfulness ensures that most of us will be forgotten.  Few will visit our graves; perhaps family, but they, too, will only visit when passing through town and maybe not even then.  Many of us will pass into eternity with a heart crushed by disappointment, fear or embarrassment, perhaps all three.

The parents of that precious little girl named Mary are not even mentioned in the Bible.  They probably wanted it that way.  I don’t know.  Only ancient tradition tells us their names as Joaquim and Ann.  No one really knows.  They were probably a typical family of that day and age.  There may have been other children in their family with all the sounds of kids playing, running in and out, food cooking, doing chores.  Family.  Typical.  I really don’t know and neither does anyone else.  That family is lost; disappeared and forgotten.

Mary may have been around 12 years of age when she was engaged to marry Joseph, as was tradition in those days.  She was only twelve for Pete’s sake.  Twelve!   Yes, apparently her parents promised her to Joseph in marriage.  I would imagine that they were excited and happy.  This was normal back in those days. Joseph was a good man and they trusted him with their precious daughter.  To be engaged was a commitment almost like marriage, but without any kind of physical relationship.  Then the crash came!  I’m beginning to cry.  Can’t help it.  This father was caught between anger and disappointment.  The mother of Mary – unbelievably heartbroken.  Crying their eyes out, their bitterness most assuredly exploded and questioning God, “Why!  Why, O God!  We tried to do our best.   Where did we fail?  We gave her our all.  We tried to protect her and love her; now this!  Why?”

So now they separated themselves and their family from friends and relatives.  They hid.  They might have even moved away so that no one would know who they were.  Mary tried to tell her parents that an angel blessed her and that she was still a virgin and had not been intimate with Joseph.  There she was, pregnant.   If she had older brothers, they may have even slapped her around.  “You’re a virgin?  Do you think we are a stupid?  Get outta here!”

In the dark of night this family snuck away with embarrassment never to be heard from again.

But Mary knew the truth.

A few months before the surprise visit to Mary by the angel Gabriel, Mary’s uncle and aunt were visited by this same Gabriel – bizarre.   It’s possible Mary’s parents had heard of Elizabeth’s weird but wonderful pregnancy at an advanced age – we just don’t know.  At any rate, crazy things were going on around this time.

Mary’s uncle’s name was Zacharias and her aunt’s name was Elizabeth.  They were older, possibly older than her parents.  Godly people.  Zacharias was a priest in the tribe of Aaron and Elizabeth was also from the same priestly tribe. Mary’s mom and dad may have resented Zacharias and Elizabeth much like many in Israel today who have animas toward Haredi (Charedi) or Ultra- Orthodox Jews thinking they live off the hard work of the non-priestly class. “How can we continue to support these people?  They act like they are holier than us and we are required to listen to their moaning and groaning in the Temple.”

One day Zacharias was burning incense in the Temple.  By lot, this was his day to go into the inner sanctuary offering cataphatic prayer.  Cataphatic prayer is praying much like we do in church when we ask God of something, share our needs or praise God.  It is the type of praying done in the liturgy or with a prayer book.  Cataphatic prayer is sometimes used in a profane way, praying so that others will give praise to the one offering the prayer motivating people to say, “That sure was a wonderful prayer.  My-my. Didn’t he really bring the house down!”  Cataphatic prayer could be speaking words of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication to God.  It can be written and/or verbal. Most generally in Catholic and Orthodox traditions it is a part of the liturgy.   Zacharias  was dutifully ministering  the “liturgy” spreading incense when suddenly he slipped into apophatic prayer.

Apophatic prayer is how the Apostle Paul described the indescribable.  He wrote, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (I Corinthians 2:9-10kjv).  Paul also had that deep apophatic experience written in II Corinthians 12:2-5.  “Fourteen years ago I was taken up into heaven for a visit.  Don’t ask me whether my body was there or just my spirit, for I don’t know; only God can answer that.  But anyway, there I was in paradise, and heard things so astounding that they are beyond a man’s power to describe or put in words (and anyway I am not allowed to tell them to others).  That experience is something worth bragging about, but I am not going to do it.  I am going to boast only about how weak I am and how great God is to use such weakness for His glory.”

There are those who fake apophatic prayer by telling others how wonderfully their tongue has become and others who want to describe how that secret message had meaning by interpreting what the unknown prayer described.  In other words, they change apophatic prayer into cataphatic prayer so that they can stand up in church and tell others about their “secret” message.  On the other hand, Paul described that deep inner prayer as being beyond description.  My friend, Dr. Talmadge Johnson, wrote me of the Apostle Paul’s message. “In our humanness we on occasion go to prayer and we do not know what or how to pray.  “The Holy Spirit makes intercession for us with groans which cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26). In my opinion this is not a focus on an unknown tongue but a deep awareness that God knows our need and makes intercession for us.”

 O for that quiet place that only you and God know!  It’s not for others – only you and God.  No one else could possibly understand.

“There is a place of quiet rest

Near to the heart of God.

A place where sin cannot molest.

Near to the heart of God.”

(Cleland Boyd McAfee)

Growing up as a PK (preacher’s kid) gave me a knowledge of cataphatic prayer having listened to prayers from hither to yon.  I have heard simple prayers of thanksgiving for food and great prayers prayed before thousands designed to elicit shouts and praises from the masses.  I have crafted prayers for home, church, weddings and funerals.  But only when I fell on my face on raggedy carpet as a single father with two kids, no money, no job, embarrassed by gossip and having resigned as pastor of a growing church, crying my eyes out after being rejected for unemployment insurance did I experience that soul-searching, indescribable understanding of God as Spirit.  Only God and I knew this!  This is the first I have ever – ever – written about it!

“No one understands like Jesus;

He’s a Friend beyond compare.

Meet Him at the throne of mercy;

He is waiting for you there.”

(John W. Peterson, 1921-)

O, I have so much more to tell you about cataphatic and apophatic prayer, but as Jesus said in John 16:12, “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now.”

Here was Zacharias in that holy place when suddenly an angel – out of nowhere – appeared right in front of him at the altar.  There is so much more symbolism here; I can hardly write it all down.  But this I know, marvelous insights occur at the altar of God!

Worship Him! O, worship Him!

Open your heart in praise.

Speak with His loving Spirit

 His Spirit speaks today! 

Zacharias was terrified, but the very first thing the angel of God said to Zacharias was, “Don’t be afraid!”  Hallelujah!  When this happens to you, don’t be afraid. When God speaks He always says, “Don’t be afraid.”   He’s knocking at your door.  “Don’t be afraid.”

“Coming to Jesus my Savior I found, 

Wonderful peace, wonderful peace.

Storms in their fury may rage all around,

I have peace, sweet peace.”

(Haldor Lillenas)

These godly people, Zacharias and Elizabeth, were beyond childbearing age feeling that God had not blessed them.  Nevertheless, they kept praying for themselves as they led others in worship.  They knew that their worship of God was far more than getting things, even if it was asking for a child.  There in the inner holy place as he was in deep prayer, the presence of God was so pervasive, so real; he was lifted up into that secret holy place.  This experience was somewhat like that place Isaiah described:  “I saw the Lord! He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the Temple was filled with His glory. Hovering about Him were mighty, six-winged seraphs.  With two of their wings they covered their faces; with two others they covered their feet, and with two they flew.  In a great antiphonal chorus they sang, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is filled with His glory.’” (Isaiah 6:1-3lb)

The angel Gabriel gave Zacharias explicit instructions as to what was going to happen.  O my!  O my!  Even in this holy place with an angel of God laying things out in glorious detail, Zacharias had excuses for the possible to be impossible!  I’m telling you – when God speaks, we had better LISTEN!  Like a bolt of lightning Zacharias was shot through with a terrible and strange seizure so devastating he could not speak – all because of disbelief.  

Angels are not spirits in the same way the Holy Spirit is spirit.  Angels are created beings – created by God to do certain things.  They are not omnipresent, not omniscient, and certainly not omnipotent.  They go where the great God of heaven tells them to go and do what He tells them to do.   “The angel said, “I am Gabriel!  I stand in the very presence of God.  It was He who sent me to you with this good news!” (Luke 1:19)  Continuing on, the angel said, “Because you won’t believe me, you’ll be unable to say a word until the day of your son’s birth.” (Luke 1:20)

Because of his hesitancy, he was stricken silent – couldn’t speak a word – until after his son John the Baptist was born.  Elizabeth was thrilled, having become pregnant about 5 or 6 months before Mary became pregnant.

At about the 5th or 6th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, the same angel, Gabriel, visited Mary, a virgin.  She had already been offered to Joseph in marriage; engaged.  No touching.  No kissing.  No private time together.  No sex.  Tradition!  She was a virgin!  Sorry folks, if you can’t believe that, you can’t believe the first four words of the Bible either.  “In the beginning GOD!” (Genesis 1:1kjv)

There is nothing in holy writ that details the events surrounding Mary’s family and girlfriends – especially the boys.  Stop, and think about it for a moment.  Even in our day and age tongues start to wag and people smack their lips in hateful criticism and juicy gossip when an underage girl gets pregnant.  O my, and if one of our church girls gets pregnant out of marriage, …!   “Mercy me!  What was she thinking?”  Can’t you just hear it now?

It didn’t matter what other people thought.  Of course she was crushed by what her family thought of her.  She was a little girl.  She was human.  She was not a god, nor was she God in the flesh.   She was a virgin.  Period!  She knew.  I rather doubt that her mother had even discussed sexual relations with her.  If she had, it was probably couched in vague language of their culture.  I have no idea why God chose her.  Why not some other young girl?  I don’t know, and neither for certainty does anyone else.  But I know this, that same angel Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Favored one! The Lord is with you!”  This scared her.  What does this mean?  Mary was a little girl.  If a real live angel appeared in front of you or me I can guarantee you we would have trouble figuring it out.  So here’s what I can tell you with confidence, the angel said to her, “DON’T BE AFRAID!” (Luke 1:26-29)

The angel Gabriel declared her baby to be “the Son of the Highest; and  … He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever.” (Luke 1:32-33kjv). “Of His kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:33b(v.33kjv)  This was made clear to her that He would be the long awaited Messiah.

At this point a two-way communication takes place.  Mary is not praying to the angel as one would pray to God.  The angel is not being prayed to; he is simply doing what God told him to do.  He firmly states: “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you;” …  Let’s pause a moment and look at scriptural facts as reported in the King James Version, The Gospel of Luke chapter one.

  1. Mary was in Nazareth
  2. Mary was engaged to a man named Joseph
  3. Joseph was from the lineage of David
  4. The angel spoke to her saying she was highly favored
  5. He told her she would conceive a son
  6. She was to name Him Jesus
  7. He would be great, the Son of the Highest
  8. The Lord God would give Him the throne of David
  9. He would reign over the house of Jacob forever
  10. His kingdom shall never end
  11. Mary declared her virginity
  12. How would she get pregnant? By the power of the Holy Spirit and Power of the Highest.
  13. Mary’s Son shall be called the Son of God
  14. And verse 37 gave her a great promise: “FOR WITH GOD NOTHING SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE!” 
  15. Mary BELIEVED by saying, “be it unto me according to thy word.” 
  16. (v.38) She believed!

Here we have Mary believing the angel’s word.  Immediately she took off for her aunt’s house to a city in Juda, approximately 100 miles, by foot or donkey or something else; doesn’t matter even if it was a Mercedes or Ford.  She obeyed!   

In other words, in tough and uncertain days, possible abandonment or death, Mary believed and obeyed.  Mary surrendered her life to the Lord: “I am willing.”  In 1854 Pope IX declared the Catholic teaching that the very act of surrender to the angel indicated that Mary was immaculate, i.e. that she had no sin.  This was hotly debated in the Roman Catholic Church and following St. Thomas Aquinas was an open question until the declaration in 1854.  Although she was a virgin, she still had a need for the Savior.  There is no Scriptural basis noting that Mary was born without sin or was sinless.  Even Elizabeth reminded her, you are “the mother of my Lord,” and “you believed that God would do what He said.” (Vv. 43 & 45)  Mary was essentially an innocent child, but she had to make a decision to believe!  It was not until 1854 one thousand eight hundred and fifty four years after the birth of Christ – when Pope Pius IX declared with his authority – the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, meaning Mary was free of sin in giving birth to Jesus.  [Theology can be very confusing at times.]

And now the greatest praise and glorifying statement of belief ever heard – THE MAGNIFICAT!

     In Greek it is  Ἡ ᾨδὴ τῆς Θεοτόκου – the Song or Ode of Mary, Mother of God. 

“And Mary said,

‘My soul doth magnify the Lord,

And my spirit hath rejoiced in 

GOD MY SAVIOR.

For He hath regarded the low estate

Of His handmaiden:

For, behold,

From henceforth all generations

Shall call me blessed.

For He that is mighty hath done to me

Great things; 

And holy is His name.

And His mercy is on them

That fear Him from generation to generation.

He hath showed strength with His arm;

He hath scattered the proud

In the imagination of their hearts.

He hath filled the hungry with good things;

And the rich He hath sent empty away.  

‘He hath holpen His servant Israel, 

In remembrance of His mercy;

As He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, 

      And to his seed forever.’” (vv. 46-55)

Mary declared Jesus as:

  1. The Lord
  2. God
  3. Savior
  4. Holy
  5. Has a special name
  6. Gives mercy
  7. Eternal

All those close to these amazing events knew the truth by this time.  Zacharias, speaking of Jesus, clearly states that God “is sending us a Mighty Savior from the royal line of His servant David.” Luke 1:69)  He, Jesus, will “give light to those who sit in darkness … and guide us to the path of peace.” (Luke 1: 79)  He is reaffirming prophecies of the Old Testament (v. 70) and in v. 76 speaks of his son, John the Baptist saying, “you will prepare the way of the Messiah.”

For the next few months it’s hard to tell what all went on.  Matthew writes that Mary remained a virgin until after Jesus was born. (Matthew 1:25)  You can rest assured that things were going on with such glory and excitement that even Joseph was brought into the fold.  Remember, Joseph probably had his doubts at first, too.  Then, of course, they had to go to Bethlehem to pay their taxes.

The night Jesus was born was not one of sweet smelling hay and calm animals waiting in a zoo to be petted.  In fact, no one else would give these castaways a place to stay indoors.  No compassion for this pregnant 13 year old unwed mother!  Out they went into the stench of  animal excrement.

Surprise! Surprise!  A heavenly host of angels filled the sky where the shepherds were.  Can’t you imagine?  They were scared out of their gourds.   I don’t know if everyone saw it or not – doesn’t matter.  Isn’t it interesting, the first thing an angel said to them was, “Don’t be afraid!”  All through the Scripture, God says, “DON’T BE AFRAID!”  Then they started a song never heard before (Luke 2:14), 

“GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST,

AND ON EARTH 

PEACE,

GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN.” 

It took a long time for people back in those days to travel even 10 miles.  Now, can you imagine the “wise men” traveling about a thousand miles?  We don’t know when they began their journey from Persia or some other place in the Middle East but they sure wouldn’t bring gold, frankincense and myrrh unless something big was going on. (Matthew 2:11) They threw themselves down and WORSHIPPED HIM!  Who told those guys anyway?  Furthermore, these guys put themselves at the door of death by disobeying King Herod who then killed every little boy under the age of two all-around that area.

Another angel appeared.  This time to Joseph.  Let’s pause a minute.

ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT BY THIS TIME MARY DIDN’T KNOW WHO JESUS WAS?

            Yes sir!  She knew she had given birth to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

On the eighth day Joseph and Mary took the child to the Temple, following the Law of Moses, for circumcision.  During the ceremony, they named Him JESUS!  There happened to be a man in the Temple named Simeon who was a very devout man.  God had promised him that he would not die until he saw the Messiah.  When he saw Jesus, he took him in his arms, praying, and said, “I have seen him as you promised me I would.  I have seen the Savior you have given to the world.” (Luke 2:30-31)

Another lady named Anna was also in the Temple that day.  She was a regular there and prayed day and night.  When she saw Jesus she began to praise God going out into the streets telling everyone that she had seen the Messiah.

As it stands now in the list of events, we have Gabriel, Elizabeth, Zacharias, more angels, a heavenly host of angels singing, the shepherds, the wise men, Herod, Simeon, Anna plus Joseph and Mary certifying their belief in the Godhood of Jesus, the Christ.  And this list doesn’t even include all of those Old Testament prophets.

This entire story is about Jesus.  Nowhere is there the slightest indication by Mary or about Mary that she should be worshipped.  The only other place where Mary is mentioned in Scripture is found in Acts 1:14 where after apophatic prayer “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit,” Mary included!  The centerpiece of this marvelous story is JESUS!

My conclusion is this:

                  Mary is more blessed for having believed in Jesus than for being His mother!

”CANCER”

CRYING, “WHY? WHY?” Carole, my wonderful wife, was weeping and sobbing as she fell across me with deep convulsive shaking and tears. She cried out, “I just don’t understand.  I want to do so much, but why?“  Her CANCER is trying to crush her spirit. 

All I could do was to hug her with pathos & love.  Words were not adequate.  After prayer, and as she left the room it was my turn to bawl, sob & cry asking God, “Why?” Yes, there are more questions than we have answers.

I read a poster at the Kaiser Hospital, a wonderful medical facility, and here were some of the thoughts about CANCER.  IT:

  • cannot cripple love
  • cannot shatter hope
  • cannot corrode faith
  • cannot destroy peace
  • cannot kill friendships 
  • cannot suppress memories
  • cannot silence courage
  • cannot invade the soul
  • cannot conquer the spirit
  • AND CANCER CANNOT STEAL ETERNAL LIFE!!!

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;”

John 14:16 

“Peace I leave with you, … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

John 14:27

FRICTION!

THERE IS ALWAYS FRICTION IN RESISTANCE TO EVIL!  Less friction releases speed.  We promise God , ourselves and others we will not do something, or that we will do something else, but inevitably our human nature takes over. 

More than 200 people every single day die of drug overuse, and with  alcohol it’s hard to tell – probably more than we can imagine. 

Oppositional defiant disorder, another word for anger, with the need to disobey authority, is usually a part of the addiction.

Why are we wired to destroy ourselves? The medical community may say it’s because of genetics and the theologian will say it’s original sin.  Would I be amiss in saying it is both?

I will go out on a limb and say with some people the destruction complex, the tendency toward anger, rebellion, hate and addiction cannot be “healed.”  In my opinion the root cause is spiritual. Therefore, the center core of one’s heart must be addressed through the redemptive cross of Christ!

Yes, there is a place for medical science, techniques, education and support.  Definitely, there is a place for neuroscience in the treatment of neurotransmitters in the brain. “Devilish thoughts can manipulate the prefrontal cortex of the brain.  Transformations of the heart to render it transparent and forgiving can reveal changes in/to neurotransmitter functions in the regulation of brain chemistry .” (quote from Dr. Lanny Snodgrass)

 Some may say that knowing Christ is simply imaging, but those who have found the life-giving forgiveness and peace that Jesus gives will beg to differ. 

I’ve heard it said that anything, anything fun and pleasurable can be irresistible, so much so as to be addictive.  Jesus handled it this way without excuse: “You shall not tempt the Lord God.”  Most of us start to play tiddledywinks with temptation instead of crushing the devil’s lure at the very start.

Sin doesn’t start out with someone lying in their own vomit, nor fighting the stench of a venereal disease.  It usually starts in pleasure. Satan is an angel of light. Then he uses his technique to make toxic the prefrontal cortex of the brain disabling the ability to make rational decisions. 

“‘Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.’”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:13-14‬ ‭(msg)

It may seem to confuse, but Jesus said, “‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.’”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:34‬ ‭(niv)

FRICTION!

TRANSFORMED!

When Jesus said, “It is finished,”[τητηλεσται] (Jn.19:30) it meant that he voluntarily gave himself as a sacrifice to pay the eternal price for your sins and mine. He was not forced. He was not murdered. He could have called 10,000 angels.  He didn’t. He GAVE his life.  

“‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.’”

John 10:11 (ncv)

“‘Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?’”

Matthew 26:53 (niv)

It is over, never more to be needed.  It is completed, fulfilled, done, over!

The price for sin has been paid!

The forces of evil cannot make him back down or back out.  Christ Jesus, God being clothed in human flesh, gathered eternal love into his bosom, the love that overcomes evil, forgives and heals. 

“I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:15

“No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. John 10:18

Standing on the precipice looking down into the filth, the hurt, the tragedy of the hellish destruction sin causes, suddenly love appears in the form of the one who said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

John 10:10

Through his death and transformational love he was not exempt from suffering. He made it possible for our suffering to be transformational as well.

Things won’t always be hunky-dory

The LORD GOD DID NOT keep Daniel out of the lions’ den,  nor did he save Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego out of the fire.  

What GOD DID was …

… send HIS angel, and HE shut the mouths of the lions.”  Daniel‬ ‭6:22‬ ‭(niv)

AND, HE walked with the three Hebrew children in the fire – 

It shocked the wicked king and he said, “‘Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.’”

‭‭Daniel‬ ‭3:25‬

He will do the same for you!

When You Pray

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU PRAY?

You must be a “heart, soul, mind and strength” believer! THEN – 

  1. God listens!
  2. He helps you in your weakness
  3. The Holy Spirit intercedes for you with wordless groans. 

If and when you don’t know how to pray or “what [you] ought to pray for, the Spirit himself intercedes for [you] through wordless groans.” – Romans‬ ‭8:26‬ ‭(niv)

4.  And after all is said and done, the Holy Spirit answers you in ways far beyond your thinking.

🎼
🎶
🎹

“I need thee every hour,

most gracious Lord;

no tender voice like thine

can peace afford.

“I need thee, O I need thee;

every hour I need thee!

O bless me now, my Savior,

I come to thee.”

(Annie Hawks)