the kingdom of the cross

​we drink the cup and eat the bread
to remember Him risen who once was dead

under the water and up again
symbol of death and life in Him

these two we do because we boast
not in kingdom come but the Lord of Hosts

His kingdom is here and great reward it may be
but the blood is our passion as it was for He

lions with lambs and justice prevail
but we are hidden behind the veil

justice? equity? I count them as loss
the good news of the kingdom is the good news of His cross

once being dead but now made alive
I know nothing among you but Jesus Christ and Him crucified

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grafted by love

love the root
good works the fruit
Tree of Life is He

spared the flood
by precious blood
Calvary’s tree makes free

abiding in Truth
cherish the root
grafted in Him we be

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Our Minds Are Futile

How did you “learn” Christ?

I keep going back to this passage in Ephesians 4:17-24

“17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[a] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

If I asked you, “How did you learn Christ? How did you come to know Jesus as Lord?”

What would you say?

Did you study the Scriptures and come to know the Living God?

Or did you hear His voice and believe it?

“39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” – John 5:39-40

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” – John 6:26

“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life…” – John 6:35

“63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” – John 6:63

“47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God.” – John 8:47

“27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” – John 10:27

“17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:17

“3 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by[a] the flesh?” – Galatians 3:1-3

“22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” – Galatians 3:22

“12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” – Hebrews 3:12-15

“2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.” – Hebrews 3:2

“20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20

Our minds are futile, we must have the mind of Christ. Our intellect is of no benefit at all. In fact, it must be crucified on the hill called “Skull”.

We know Christ because we hear his voice in our spirit and believe it and are born again taking on the mind of Christ through our resurrection from the dead.

We must be renewed in the Spirit of our minds, the flesh is no help at all. Our intellects are flesh.

Hear his voice and believe it.

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The Great Physician

19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them,
    and delivered them from their destruction.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man! – Psalm 107:19-21
 
About a month ago Henry was horsing around on his bed and he let’s out a holler like he was in serious pain.  Turns out he had a q tip in his ear… while jumping around on the bed, and he punctured his ear drum.
 
So we take him to the doctor and the doctor says the ear drum is about 50% perforated.  He explained that he would need to take some ear drops to prevent infection but that we should give it some time to see if it healed on its own.  He said normally with this big of a hole they don’t tend to heal up on their own but that they require surgery and the implantation of a new ear drum.
 
So it’s been about 4 weeks and Kitty was speaking with an ENT that she works with and he got a little frustrated about what he other doc had said.  He went on to adamantly explain that a 50% perforation will never heal on it’s own and tat Henry will require surgery, guaranteed, and that it’s something he specializes in.  He was incredibly kind and offered to have Kitty bring Henry in for a free examination (the other exam was going to cost us another $400) and then he’d let us know what the best next steps would be.
 
This morning before I left for work Kitty and I prayed over Henry laid our hands on his ear and asked the Lord to heal his ear in Jesus’ name.  To heal it completely and totally so that no surgery or any other medical treatment would be required.
 
So just before lunch Kitty called me to let Henry give me the update and the boy says, “God healed me!”  His ear is fine.
 
Kitty explained that the Doc looked in his ear and that his face was in shock, he said, “it looks like there’s never been anything wrong with his ear”.  Kitty replied, “shouldn’t there be some scar tissue at least”.  Doc said, “yes”.  Just to be sure there wasn’t some kind of small hole that they couldn’t see visually they did another test that examines pressure in the ear to see if there truly is any kind of hole whatsoever.  No pressure loss, no hole.  His ear is totally and completely healed.
 
Kitty asked about a audio hearing test and the Dr seemed unconcerned and said we don’t need one, the ear looks 100% fine.
 
Jesus is the great physician.  He hears our prayers and he heals us from our hurts.
 
But he doesn’t just heal our physical bodies, he does a lot more than that.  He heals our spirit from the condition it’s in.  Our condition is that we are dead because of sin, our spirit has already died and one day so too will our physical bodies.  But if we will hear (with spiritual ears that God grants us!) the good news of Jesus Christ crucified and risen for the remission of sin, and in hearing the Word of God, repent of our sin and believe on the Lord, then he will heal us completely from our sad state of death.  We will be set from from the penalty of sin and he will progressively grant us freedom from the power of sin and one day he will even set us free from the very presence of sin.
 
The Lord heals and he does so to the uttermost.
 
I pray that if you would hear this good news today that you would repent (changed your mind concerning your sin) and believe (have faith) in the good news of Christ crucified and risen for the remission of sin.  I pray that the Lord would heal you from your sickness, granting you total and complete victory over any disease, deficiency and even death, in Jesus name.  Amen.
 
 
 
PS. I took this picture of Henry’s ear about a year ago. And his right ear is the one that was hurt. But that being said, I saved this thinking, “one day I think I’m going to want to share this”.
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Hear and Obey

The following is a story from the Facebook Page “Accepted By Grace” by Jeanette Kelley and I thought it was worth sharing here.  Here is a direct link to Jeanette’s blog if you’re interested in visiting it as well.  I pray this blesses you.  Accepted By Grace Blog

Isaiah 65:24 :- “Before they call, I will answer.”

This is a testimony written by a doctor who worked in Africa.

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator). We also had no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in.

Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). “And it is our last hot water bottle!” she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

“All right,” I said, “put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm.”

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten -year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. “Please, God” she prayed, “Send us a hot water bottle today. It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.”

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, “And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know You really love her?”

As often with children’s prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say “Amen?” I just did not believe that God could do this.

Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren’t there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses’ training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas – that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the…..could it really be?

I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, “If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!”

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, “Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she’ll know that Jesus really loves her?”

“Of course,” I replied!

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God’s prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator.

And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child – five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it “that afternoon.”

“Before they call, I will answer.” (Isaiah 65:24)

When you receive this, say a prayer. That’s all I ask. No strings attached. Then just send it on to whomever you want to – but do send it on.
Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost, but a lot of rewards. Let’s continue to trust in God with all our heart. What a faithful God we serve.

 

This is a really great story. I’ve heard countless stories like this through out my life. Stories of God’s divine providence working in ways that illustrate so clearly his omnipotence, omniscience and most of all his omnibenevolence.

What I think is really worth noting in this story though is the part where the sender of the package “heard” God and “obeyed” him.

This was a very specific prayer request. There’s no Bible verse to turn to here, no chapter and verse that applies to this situation. But the living God, the Holy Spirit spoke specifically to a person, they heard his voice, believed Him and obeyed Him and their faith was honored by the Lord.

THIS is the normal Christian life. Hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord. This is what it means to “abide” in Christ.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema, that which is uttered by a living voice) of Christ.” – Romans 10:17

“Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” – John 18:37

“24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” – Mark 4:24-25

“26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” – John 14:26

“12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” – John 16:12-15

“20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[d] 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us[e]—eternal life.

26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” – 1 John 2:20-27

“20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” – Revelation 3:20-22

Anybody else have a story like this? Something where you know you heard the Lord speak to you and you obeyed his voice? And then he showed himself to honor your faith? Would love to hear it if so!

Grace and Peace to you in Jesus name.

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Jesus was a socialist? Or something else entirely?

I recently had this exchange with a friend on Facebook and I thought it might be worth sharing here.

My friend:

“Jesus was a socialist.”

My Response:

“Re: Jesus was a socialist.

Tell me more. Why do you believe that? Maybe you’re right. I don’t think you are but I’d be curious to hear why you believe that.

I assume you’re thinking of the whole “do unto others” command and the fact that his disciples shared all that they had in common with whoever had need, no?

I can see why people would look at the church in Acts (after Jesus ascended) and think that. But I don’t think there’s really much evidence to support that claim.

I would argue that Jesus is something wholly different.

He is a dictator. In the truest sense of the word. He dictates to the creation. It’s a one way communication.

He is an autocrat with only a Father that he submits to.

More accurately he is a Monarch. He’s not only a king but The King. By his own confession to Pilate at his trial (if you can call it that) he admits as much.

His rule is total, completely, without question. His commands are not optional but dictates to be followed, ultimatums to accept without question or reservation.

He also happens to be entirely benevolent. Supremely kind and undefinably gracious to his subjects.

His rule is perfect, no one has ever, at any point had anything on him. He is without question, perfect in all his ways and judgments.

But again he is a King, and he demands that all his subjects, rather the whole of creation, acknowledge him as sovereign and obey his commands or else wise perish.

The King, has rebels throughout his kingdom, he offers his subjects terms of peace. And the terms are exceedingly gracious. He calls them to repent (change their mind) of their rebellion (sin) and believe that he has already paid the just price for their lawless deeds by dying on the cross.

What’s more, he proves his dominion and ultimate power over all creation by resurrecting from the dead.

And now he patiently waits. Sending the Holy Spirit into the world to convict his subjects of their sin, to grant them repentance and belief in the good news of his atoning death.

But he doesn’t wait forever. He will return. And he will bring his recompense (repayment) with him.

I could start listing verses from scripture from Genesis to Revelation to support this if you care to see what I mean but I’m on my phone and it’s a little difficult.

Anyway, that ain’t a socialist. That’s a king.

The church is so often misunderstood to function in some worldly capacity but that’s not at all what it is. It’s not socialism, it’s not capitalism, it’s is a theocracy with Jesus Christ as absolute sovereign. His people did those things because he commanded them to. He commanded them to love one another as he had loved them. No greater love does a man have than he lay down his life for his friends. He calls us, his people, the rebels from before, his friends.

Jesus ain’t no socialist friend. He is a really, really, really good King.”

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A Strong Delusion

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. – 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians are incredibly interesting.
 
In both First and Second Thessalonians Paul addresses the eventual return of Jesus Christ for his people, the church, and what will happen before he comes to take them home.
 
In Second Thessalonians Paul says two things that have always struck me as particularly odd.
 
First, he mentions the coming of the “lawless one” being by the “activity” of Satan and that it will come with “all power and false signs and wonders”.
 
What do you believe these things will be? What kind of power, false signs and wonders to you think Satan is going to use to deceive so many?
 
Second, he mentions “God sends them a strong delusion”. So God himself will be sending unbelievers a strong delusion. The word delusion here in the Greek is “plane” and it means, “πλάνη plánē, plan’-ay; feminine of G4108 (as abstractly); objectively, fraudulence; subjectively, a straying from orthodoxy or piety:—deceit, to deceive, delusion, error.”
 
So God will be deceiving or deluding those who refused to love the truth. What has the Holy Spirit said to you about this? What do you hear him reveal to you about this delusion?
 
Grace and Peace to you in Jesus name.

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