Thursday, August 28, 2008

When you do it NOT to the least of these ....


I have a dear sister whom I met some months ago while participating on an Internet forum. We found God had placed us on the same path of total surrender unto His Will. Also it became evident that we both had been given hearts that cried out to God, "what ever it takes Lord! I care only to be filled with your holiness and love and be brought into the very image of your precious Son, Jesus."

A few days ago my friend and sister Eliyah, who goes by the forum user name "Heavenly Spy" shared some time together on a fundamentalist Christian forum made up of people that had been bound by the demonic doctrine of "Hell, a place of eternal torment." It was a wondrous experience as God showed Himself mighty through our messages proclaiming "His enduring and loving mercy extended to all men." We used scriptural support along with recorded church history for all we shared and before long it became clear to these, that desired to send most of mankind to Hell, that they had nowhere to hide their horrid doctrine of "eternal torment." Hell, had been clearly shown to be a pagan myth promoted by carnal men to control other men through fear.

Today Eliyah shares some of her experience on that forum some days ago. She also shares other insights regarding this damnable doctrine of eternal Hellfire. I thoroughly enjoyed her message and especially her "black sheep" analogy. I believe you will too.


When you do it NOT to the least of these....

When you do it NOT to the least of these.... Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. ( Matthew 25:40-46 King James version)

And, answering, the King shall be declaring to them, 'Verily, I am saying to you, In as much as you do it to one of these, the least of My brethren, you do it to Me.'
Then shall He be declaring to those also at His left, 'Go from Me, you cursed, into the fire eonian, made ready for the Adversary and his messengers. For I hunger and you do not give Me to eat; I thirst and you do not give Me drink; a stranger was I and you did not take Me in; naked and you did not clothe Me; infirm and in jail and you did not visit Me.'

Then shall they also be answering, saying, 'Lord, when did we perceive you hungering or thirsting, or a stranger, or naked, or infirm, or in jail, and we did not serve you?'

Then shall He be answering them, saying, 'Verily, I am saying to you, In as much as you do it not to one of these, the least, neither do you it to Me.' And these shall be coming away into chastening eonian, yet the just into life eonian. (Matthew 25:40-46 Concordant Literal N.T.)

These scriptures I saw in a new light today. For I saw that I had been guilty of exactly what the Lord said "As you did it NOT to one of the least of these, ye did it not unto me."

What did I not do?

The Lord recently took me on another SCOUTING adventure...this time to a fundamentalist forum. I was STUNNED to hear so many RABID and VENOMOUS comments made to me in regards to my views of the ERROR teaching of 'everlasting torment'.

The Holy Spirit gently revealed to me that this was a "LOOK BACK" to my very own heart and what it too has spewed forth in the past.

The HOLY SPY took His heavenly spy and allowed her to see her own heart and the damage that had been wrought to it and others through the belief in this demonic doctrine.

I am truly humbled and in much sorrow...and deeply repentant.

It was just a little over 3 years ago that both my husband and I sent out Christmas cards with a 'salvation message' that warned of Hell if one did not repent and give their heart to Jesus....yep, I know what you are thinking...gee, I bet that was a real MERRY Christmas for the one receiving the card! ohhhh I am humbled today.

Both my husband and I have had our eyes open to so much over the last 4 about alot of shaking going on! Truly at times we felt like a pin-ball too. For just when we would learn about one error we then would SWING way over to the other side so that we would not be deceived only to find out that we had jumped from the frying pan into the fire!

A whole lotta shakin' going on...this was the song sang round our house I am sure by the angels!

Getting back to the scripture I shared I have always viewed it more from a literal perspective but today I saw through the lens of DIVINE interpretation.

Who are the strangers that are hungry, thirsty, naked, sick and IN PRISON? These strangers are those that Christendom says are the residents of HELL, and since churchianity believes that the majority of people will end up in hell...these strangers are also the majority of the world. My thoughts of those that went to Hell were 'Well you reap what you sow...they rejected the Lamb and it is deserved....God is Just and past finding out....His ways are higher than my ways...blah, blah..."

I see now that my thoughts were of a critical and judgemental spirit of which is rooted in pride. Pride says, "I was the one who gave my life to the Lord."...nope!.... For TRUTH says."He chose me and I did not have anything to DO with it at was His grace alone and I was chosen to be the recipient of His wonderful grace". I had no understanding that the 'creature was made SUBJECT TO VANITY"...couldn't help itself...and that it is only BY HIS GRACE that I am what I am. The 'real good news' as my brother John and sister Joian love to say is that eventually ALL will be saved in due time...each man in his own order. That means the entire WORLD...past, present, and future. The whole world IS CHOSEN for his wonderful grace...and every man, woman, and child will also be able to say...."It is BY HIS GRACE alone that I am what I am".
So it is with deep thanksgiving and humbleness of heart that I give thanks to the King of Glory, for He has delivered me of those critical, haughty, judgemental, & unloving thoughts and washed my mind in His BLOOD. I praise you Lord!

The Lord showed me many times that this scripture was a TEST in my own life...and I FAILED miserably! He then showed me that this forum was to make right what I had made wrong so many times in the be the advocate for the be the advocate for the CLOTHE with the truth all those precious babes that are asking tough questions instead of feeding them the same old empty and false man-made teachings.

To feed the hungry of heart that have been waiting for someone to come in and SET THEM FREE from all the crap of the PRISON of the carnal mind and reasoning. To love and comfort all who are SICK of feeling like they are the crazy person in the group, the black sheep. These are those that have never been satisfied with the Harlot system and have seen its corruption and yet when they bring their questions up to the elders they are told to submit to their HEAD (pastor), and warned not to become rebellious. Their genuine questions are shot down and they themselves are told to stop being a trouble maker..and when the questions persist they are given the left foot of fellowship.

I am reminded by the comments of a wise therapist..."the black sheep are the HEALTHIEST members in the entire household...for they are the ones that see all the DYSFUNCTION and point it out to everyone and this makes the unhealthy sheep angry so to discredit the healthy sheep it is stamped with the label 'black sheep'". Is it any wonder that most of the psyche hospitals are filled with these BLACK SHEEP...for they were really the healthy ones that were made crazy by the unhealthy ones. Unfortunately, it is the same unhealthy sheep that say "Hell is from God"... while the black sheep say "that doesn't sound like a God I would want". Jesus himself was looked upon by many as the black sheep, for he was ever pointing out the dysfunction of the religious leaders of his time....that bad Jesus the trouble maker....but for others Jesus was the PURE SPOTLESS WHITE LAMB that would take away the sins for the WHOLE WORLD! Glory to His most wonderful name!

So it was with great joy that I was shown that I now was able to do some good UNTO the least of these my brethren ....for I now see that I was ministering unto HIM.

Did I pass the test?? Well, I hope I did...and yet I also realize that I could have done a better job on the test...for there were times that I did not always respond as Stephen or Jesus..."Father forgive them for they know not what they do"....

HOLY SPY scouted out my land....and revealed to me that I have a good land but showed me that the soil needed some DUNGING...and this is why He took me to the fundamentalist site...for sheep make good DUNG...and this was for HIS GOOD and HOLY purposes so that HIS LOVE CROP can finally grow!


This has been my prayer for as long as I can remember..."Lord fill me with your love'..."I just want to BE your love"....

I am now on my journey for this glorious harvest and I am truly humbled.

Tears rolling now.

What a Saviour! What a LORD!

I worship you my beautiful Yahshua.

Eliyah/ Heavenly Spy


Tuesday, August 12, 2008


The Journey

In my dream I see the lone figure of a man following a road. As the sun sets beneath the hills, a city comes into view. Nearing it, the traveler sees what appears to be a large group of churches. Spires and crosses pierce the skyline. His pace quickens. Is this his destination? He passes an imposing structure, a neon sign flashing “Cathedral of the Future.” Farther on a floodlit stadium supports a billboard boasting that a fifty thousand people crowd into evangelistic meetings there three nights a week. Beyond this, modest “New Testament” chapels and Hebrew Christian synagogues cluster together on the street front.

“Is this the City of God?” I heard the traveler ask a woman at the information booth in the central square.

“No this is Christian City, “she replies.

“But I thought this road led to the City of God!” He exclaims with great disappointment.

“That’s what we all thought when we arrived,” she answers, her tone sympathetic.

“This road continues up the mountain, doesn’t it?” He asks.

“I wouldn’t know, really,” she answers blankly.

I watch the man turn away from her and trudge on up the mountain in the gathering darkness. Reaching the top, he starts out into the blackness; it looks as though there is nothing, absolutely nothing, beyond. With a shudder he retraces his steps into Christian City and takes a room at a hotel.

Strangely unrefreshed, at dawn he arises and follows the road up the mountain again; in the brightening light of the sun he discovers that what seemed like a void the night before is actually a desert, dry, hot, rolling sand as far as the eye can see. The road narrows to a path which rises over a dune and disappears. “Can this trail lead to the City of God?” He wonders aloud. It appears to be quite deserted and rarely traveled.

Indecision slows his steps, he again returns to Christian City and has lunch in a Christian restaurant. Over the music of a gospel record, I hear him ask a man at the next table, “That path up the mountain, where the desert begins, does it lead to the City of God?”

“Don’t be a fool!” his neighbor replies quickly. “Everyone who has ever taken that path has been lost… swallowed up by the desert! If you want God, there are plenty of good churches in this town. You should pick one and settle down.”

After leaving the restaurant, looking weary and confused, the traveler finds a spot under a tree and sits down. An ancient man approaches and begins pleading with him in urgent tones, “If you stay here in Christian City, you’ll wither away. You must take the path. I belong to the desert you saw earlier. I was sent here to encourage you to press on. You’ll travel many miles. You’ll be hot and thirsty; but angels will walk with you, and there will be springs of water along the way. And at your journeys end you will reach the City of God! you have never seen such beauty! And when you arrive the gates will open for you, for you are expected.”

“What you say sounds wonderful,” the traveler replies. “But I’m afraid I’d never survive that desert. I’m probably better off here in Christian City.”

The ancient one smiles. “Christian City is the place for those who want religion but don’t want to lose their lives. The desert is the territory of those whose hearts are so thirsty for God that they are willing to be lost in Him. My friend, when Peter brought his boat to land, forsook all and followed Jesus, he was being swallowed by the desert. When Matthew left his tax collecting and Paul his Pharisaism, they too were leaving a city much like this to pursue Jesus out over the dunes and be lost in God. So don’t be afraid. Many have gone before you.”

Then I see the traveler look away from the old man’s burning eye to the bustle of Christian City. He sees busy people hurrying hither and yon with their Bibles and shiny attached cases, looking like men and women who know their destiny. But it is clear they lack something which the old man with eyes like a prophet possesses.

In my dream I imagine the traveler turning things over in his mind. “If I do go out there, how can I be sure that I will really be lost in God? In the Middle Ages Christians tried to lose themselves in God by putting the world behind them and entering a monastery. And how disappointed many of them were to find that the world was still there! And the people here in Christian City who are preparing to go to some jungle or a neglected slum, maybe they’re coming closer to what it means to be lost in God. But then, a person can travel to the ends of the earth and not lose himself.”

The traveler turns again to see the old person starting up the road for the narrow path down to the deserts edge. Suddenly, his decision mobilizes him and leaps to his feet, chasing after him. When he catches up, they exchange no words. The ancient man makes an abrupt turn to the right and guides him up still another slope which steepens as it rises toward a peak shrouded in a luminous cloud. The climb upward is very difficult. The traveler appears dizzy and begins to stagger. His guide pauses an offers him a drink from a flask hanging over his shoulder. Panting, he drinks it in great gulps. “No water ever tasted sweeter than this,” he says with great feeling.

“Thank you.”

Now look there.” The old man points beyond them to a vista not nearly as monotonous and desolate as it had seemed earlier. The desert below has taken on many colors and gradation. In the far distance blazing light is throbbing and moving on the surface of the horizon like a living thing. “There is the City of God! But before you reach it, you will have to pass through those four wildernesses you see. Directly below us is the Wilderness of Forgiveness.” The traveler notices small, dim figures making their way slowly in the direction of the city, separated from each other by many miles.

“How can they survive the loneliness?” Asks the traveler. “Wouldn’t they benefit from traveling together?”

“Well, they aren’t really alone. Each one of them is accompanied by the forgiveness of God. They are being swallowed by the desert of the Lord God’s vast mercy. The Holy Spirit is saying to them as they travel, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ They are made whole as they travel.”

Just beyond there is an expanse of blue. “Is it sea?” Inquires the traveler.

“It looks like water, but it’s a sea of sand. That’s the Wilderness of Worship. Here, look through these glasses and you will see that people are walking there, too. Notice how they begin to group themselves here. They are having their first taste of the joy of the City worship. They are discovering how they were made for the worship of God. It is becoming their life, the white-hot source of everything they do.”

“But don’t people also worship back in Christian City? What’s so special about that wilderness?”

“Worship, that is true worship, can begin only when a life has been utterly abandoned to the desert of God’s presence. Out there the heart begins to worship the Father in spirit and truth.”

Looking beyond the blue wilderness to where the desert rises in red and fiery mountains, the old man explains to the traveler that among those reddish mountains is the Wilderness of Prayer.

“Passing through that wilderness travelers find it necessary to turn away from every distraction and concentrate on prayer. They quickly learn that there is no possible way for them to survive but by crying out to God continuously. By the time they reach the outer extremes of that wilderness, prayer is their consuming passion and their supreme joy. It appears at first that the City of God is just beyond the Wilderness of Prayer. But there is one more wilderness hidden by those mountains, which you will pass through before you reach your destination. It is simply called the Harvest. You’ll know it when you reach it. And beyond the Harvest is the City itself. Your name is known there. Your arrival is awaited with eagerness. Come, let’s begin our journey.”

“Nightfall doesn’t seem to be a particularly propitious time to begin a journey like this,” he says.

“Don’t go back to Christian City,” the old man exhorts, gazing at him earnestly.”

“Not even at this hour? That way I could get a good night’s sleep and start first thing in the morning,” the traveler adds hopefully.

“But your rest is out there,” he urges. “Walk on now, into the desert. The Holy Spirit will help you. Don’t be afraid to be lost in God. You’ll find your life nowhere else.”

"Escape from Christendom" by Robert Burnell ( Originally Published by Bethany House Publishers in 1980 ) The rest of this writing can be viewed at at an acquaintance's blog. I hope you read on, as we must escape the clutches of modern day Christendom and embrace Christ Jesus, who has been lost in what has become dead religion. It is time to come out of the organized gatherings of Babylon, that we might avoid sharing the BLEEP's fate which is inevitable destruction.

This is the link to the rest of Burnell's message and I pray you read it all the way to the amazing finale. I believe it will change your life as it did mine.

Monday, August 11, 2008


How few believers understand that Heaven is not a place we go to after our physical death. When ever we touch God's Eternal Love we enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Surely, we should be entering into Heaven more fully with each succeeding day as Christ draws us increasingly into His presence. For me prayer has become a wondrous experience where often I am drawn out of the boundaries of time and space and into His Eternal and Glorious Love. Tonight I share with you a message by Sparks along with a favorite saying I formed out of a writing by Teresa of Avila. I pray you are often tasting of the sweet wine of His Love.

"I have loved thee with an everlasting love." You can never translate that word "everlasting" into English. It simply means that you have got into the spaceless, boundless realm, you have fallen out of time to where time is no more. You have gone out into that mysterious something where nothing can be taken hold of as tangible, it is all beyond you, beyond your grasp, beyond your calculation, beyond your power to cope with it and bring it into some kind of dimensions. That is the word: beyond you, beyond your time, beyond your world, beyond all your ways of thinking and working. "I have loved thee with an everlasting, timeless, spaceless love." Did you notice the alternative marginal reading to the phrase? "Jehovah appeared of old unto me"? It is, "from afar appeared unto me" - outside of our world altogether. He says, "I have loved you with a love altogether outside your dimensions of time and space." T. Austin Sparks

In the inner wine cellar I drank of my Beloved,
and, when I went abroad through all this valley
I no longer knew anything,
And lost the herd which I was following.

I no longer tend the herd
Nor have I any other work
Now that my every act is love.

St. John of the Cross



Each of us must ask ourselves if we are feeding today's religious machine that is full of death and corruption. The dieing system with it's counterfeit fivefold ministry Is being replaced by Christ, who dwells within each of us. The Kingdom of God and all ministry is being shared by the unction and recognition of the Holy Spirit in each of us. The dual hierarchical chaste system in which the clergy has ruled over the laity and usurped Christ as the one and only mediator between man and God is on it's last legs and God's voice is being heard by many as they flee the clutches of the Babylonian religious BLEEP. My friend have you heard His clarion call to "come out of her."

And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a habitation of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury." And I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues."

Revelation 18:2-4:

The word 'church' does not come from the Greek work 'ecclesia'(called out). The word ‘church' is a direct decedent etymologically of the Greek word ‘kirke'. In Anglo Saxon it's the word ‘Circe'; she was a character of Greek mythology who was the daughter of the sun god, who was banished to the island of Aeaea. She had the power to turn men into animals and if you look at church history for the last 2000 years, you will see the "apostate church" has ......... Well, you get the picture.

Many of us are coming to know that church is not a place. It is a state of being which God has wrought in us that should be changing from glory to glory by the Lord's Spirit.

This message(below) which I read this morning speaks clearly to the corrupt and wanton system most call "church." Truly, we can liken this "counterfeit bride" to an ever devouring and insatiable religious machine.

Dismantling The Religious Machine
by Chip Brogden

Machines are used to do repetitive or difficult work more quickly and efficiently, giving people more leisure and free time to pursue something besides work.

Once upon a time a group of people saw that a machine was needed to make something hard and difficult more easily done. They put their heads together and came up with a handy little machine called “Religion.”

The Religion Machine would make life easier for everyone they said. With the Machine, we don’t have to waste precious time relating to a real God Who loves us. The machine would take these complex processes and break them down into a simple three-step process that anyone could follow, reducing God to a faceless, personless ideology of good works. The result would be a mass-production of religious people who all spoke, thought, acted, and believed the same way.

Things went very well for a while. The Religion Machine worked just like it was supposed to. Churches were built, movements were started, crusades were held, programs were implemented. The inventors congratulated themselves on making Religion so efficient.

But you and I know that machines require a lot of maintenance. Parts have to be replaced. People wanted the Religion Machine to be bigger, better, and faster each year. Research and development expense was incurred, testing expenses, raw materials and warehousing. The Religion Machine had to have qualified people to work on it, qualified people to run it, qualified people to supervise the people who run it, and so on.

With all the improvements and modifications to the original design, the Religion Machine got so big that they had to house it someplace; now they had factory overhead: the property, the specialized plant equipment, the electrical and water requirements, more work crews, the support staff, the management, still more parts, upgrades, routine maintenance, all the hidden costs associated with keeping the Machine running.

No one knew just how big the Religion Machine would get. The inventors would have never dreamed that their little invention would one day turn into a big business, but it did. People picked up their families and moved to live and work close to the Machine. There’s money there, a chance to get ahead, a chance to settle down, a nice place to raise their kids. The Machine is a boost to the local economy because it produces jobs and goods. It’s in everyone’s interest to keep the Machine running along.

The people took great pride in their work. Take a drive with them to any part of the country and they would point to the impressive array of expensive church buildings, sprawling seminaries, and mega-church outreach centers. “We helped put that one together,” they’d say. “Thank God for the Religion Machine! How did we get along without it before?”

But there’s another side to the story. Oh, the work is simple enough. “Do what you’re told. Push this button, pull that lever, flip that switch.” Keep producing, keep the Machine running. But there’s a human toll being exacted on the people who are running the Machine. Just another cog in the wheel, they begin to stop thinking for themselves; they depend on the supervisors to tell them what to do. They go home tired day after day (their busiest day is Sunday). They always work overtime and their family life is non-existent. Even when they’re home they think about work. Production is the name of the game; keep the Machine running no matter what; produce more with less.

People always get injured on the job. It’s hot, dirty work. And noisy. The Machine makes so much noise that all the workers eventually develop acute hearing loss. The light is so dim that the employees have become very narrow-eyed and squinty, not able to withstand bright light. But somehow the security that comes from getting paid each week is more important than the side-effects. So the work goes on.

Besides, where else could they go? What else could they do? Financial commitments based on that paycheck have been made: houses mortgaged, cars financed, durable goods charged. If the Machine stops running, the paychecks stop coming, and it means bankruptcy for the workers and the community. So on and on it goes.

Every once in awhile a pay raise comes. Some live long enough to retire, but most of the workers die young from stress, are injured on the job and permanently disabled, or have nervous breakdowns. But no matter what, the Machine kept running.

Then the unexpected happened.

The Religion Machine used a synthetic, man-made oil for fuel to keep it running.

The oil ran out. The Machine ground to a halt.

The workers were in a panic. No more fuel? How would the Machine run? What about their job? What about their paycheck? Who would take care of their families?

"What about natural oil?" someone asked. No that wouldn’t work. They tried that years ago. Genuine oil would not run the Religion Machine.

The supervisors cursed and swore. How could they get the Machine running again?

There was only one thing left to do.

The doors were locked, and the gates closed tight. Armed security gathered the workers together and had them form a line leading up to the top of the combustion chamber, the fiery inferno which fueled the Religion Machine.

One by one they were cast into the fuel tank. The Machine sparked and began to hum again.

"More people! We need more people over here!" Like lambs being led to the slaughter, the deaf, dumb, and blind workers were pushed over the precipice to be used as fuel for the Religion Machine. Next it was their wives, husbands, children, parents, brothers, sisters, all thrown alive and screaming into the Machine. The houses and cars, the clothing and jewelry, the furniture and possessions were all confiscated and dumped into to the Religion Machine to add more fuel for it to run.

At last everything that could be used for fuel had been used. It would not be enough, and it had all been in vain. Once again the Religion Machine ground to a halt, and no one was around to start it up again. The supervisors went out into the community to try and recruit new workers, but after hearing what had happened to the last shift no one would take the job.

Today those supervisors are dead and gone. The Religion Machine was dismantled by the townspeople, the parts scattered to the four winds, never to be assembled again.

The problem with the Religion Machine was that it started out as a neat invention designed to help people, but it wound up hurting them. The Machine was made for man, but soon man lived for the Machine and became dependent upon it.

Once upon a time another group of people saw that a machine was needed to make something hard and difficult more easily done and give them more leisure time. They were even more talented, technologically advanced, and affluent than the first group of inventors. So they put their heads together and came up with a handy little machine called “American Christianity”...

Let us go home to our families and seek Christ afar away and free from the glamour, glitz and ceremony of the false church. The writer of Hebrews tells us correctly that Christ is to be found outside the gate and afar from the camp.

Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. Hbr 13:12,13

Jesus also spoke of this hour and day which all of us must face.

"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." John 4:23,24

I pray your "hour cometh" and you and your family find the safety and liberty of worshiping and walking with our wondrous Christ, free from the bondage of feeding and being devoured by that awful deceitful machine.


Sunday, August 10, 2008


How often when in the midst of our studies and searchings of the deep and hidden things of God are we reminded of and brought back to the simple truths of of God's love. Such is the case for me tonight as I remember once more the far reach of God's love in His seeking me out when I was lost. This remembrance causes me to pause and thank Him once again. I pray after you read this short story and accompanying poem you also might find pause to praise Him who is worthy of all praise and glory.

My friends, no one will ever out run Jesus. Jesus will follow a man everywhere and eventually demand his heart's surrender. Jesus is the Good Shepard.

"One night in Melbourne, Australia I had been engaged in writing in a newspaper office. I had been asked to write something for that paper, and I had written it for God, and for the people. It was very late. I came downstairs, and stood out in the cold night air for a moment, with bared head. I was looking up at the stars from the quiet, silent street. A little way off was a great thoroughfare where the people were coming out of the theater, and were crowding the street. I was in a quiet part of the street, standing there thinking what way I should go home; whether I should take a cab or whether I should walk.

"I was enjoying, for a moment or two, that cool, fresh air, when I heard a clear and beautiful voice say to me, 'Good evening, sir.' I turned around and saw the lovely face of a very beautiful girl. I said, 'Good evening,' but I trembled as I said it; because I knew at once what kind of woman she was. Yet she did not seem to be deeply stained with sin. 'Good evening,' she said; and I again said, 'Good evening,' and that was all. She said, 'Will you go home with me?' And then, having silently prayed, I turned to her and said, 'Home with you?' 'Yes.' 'Where is your home?' So she told me. 'Oh, no,' I said, 'that is not your home. Your home is the house of her which is the gate of hell. The dead are there. If I went home with you I should share the fate of all who enter there, unless God delivers them. But will you go home with me?' She was trembling violently, holding on to an iron post with a ring at the top of it, and her fingers were grasping the ring. 'Home with you?' she said. 'Yes, sir, but where do you live?' I said, 'I live on earth, but my home is in the heavens. Oh, won't you go home with me to heaven, I will take you to a lovely woman tonight in Melbourne who will be as kind to you as to her own daughter.' She then knew that she had spoken to one who was a child of God.

"I am sure that she had not been long in sin. She opened her eyes wide and held up her hand, and I will never forget her cry - 'It is too late. The waters have gone over me. It is too late,' and with that she darted away. I went after her, but she was lost in a moment amidst the great multitude that was surging up and down the streets. 'Too late! The waters have gone over me.' I went home that night with these words ringing in my ears: 'Too late! Too late! The waters have gone over me.' I said, 'It is not so, God; we shall search for that woman in this city until we find her.' And blessed be God, today that woman is living a holy and happy and virtuous life" J. A. Dowie

"Where are you going Shepherd?
To find My sheep.
How far will you go?
As far as My sheep.
How far may that be?
To the world's end.
How long will you seek it?
Until I find it.

When you find it,
will it come to you?
No, it will flee from Me.
Where will it go then?
To the rocks and the sand.

When will it stop?
When it can run no more.
What will you do then?
Carry it home."

The scriptures tell us this Shepard that hung on the cross will not lose even one sheep. Oh, how shall we not weep as we learn of His great love toward us.




Then I realized how bitter I had become, how pained I had been by all I had seen. I was so foolish and ignorant. I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you are holding my right hand. You will keep on guiding me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do. Psalm 73:21-28


BABY MOSES, tucked away in his cradle, floating on the water, {cried}. Was it God's will, or the baby's will?

It was a cry that originated in heaven. The king's daughter was attracted. The child's life was spared. He entered a palace and eventually became the greatest leader of men this world has ever known. He was entrusted with the commandments; he talked with God on the mountain top.

Is any adopted son of God restless or over-anxious? Then let him think of this minute event and its consequences, and let him watch for the Divine Hand in even life's smallest events.

Here lies peace. John the Baptist arrived exactly on time to behold the Lamb of God, and be labeled the greatest of all men born among women. Saul was at the right spot when our Lord Jesus visited him.

All is of God. Life's minutest circumstances are under His control. Therefore, be anxious for nothing. He knows. He loves. He cares. One Captain is competent enough for any ship. We are all only passengers.

Our Lord has an eternally deep rudder and nothing shall deter His purposed path of Love that will gather together all of creation. May we find rest in the wondrous tandem of His Love and His Sovereignty.

One ship, one Captain. And aren't you glad!



Friday, August 8, 2008



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 uttered.
And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8

The nurse was gently holding my hand as she guided me across the room to where Gabriel lay in the warming bed. I was blinded by the torrents of tears that fell from my eyes and stained my shirt. As we came to the little enclosed bed she released my hand, and after handing me some tissue to wipe my eyes ,whispered, “go and ahead and hold his hand.”

As I held Gabriel’s small hand, and my tears dried, I was struck with how beautiful his head and face was. He was so much prettier than my first son who had been born some two years earlier and as a matter of fact he seemed to me, to be the most beautiful new born I had ever seen. Diminutive but, oh my, so perfectly formed. I spent a few minutes in prayer and quietly told Gabriel how much I loved him before the nurse said it was time to take him to the nursery where they would make him comfortable.

In all my years I had never felt so let down and confused as I had a few minutes earlier when Gabriel had first appeared from the birth canal. It was obvious God had not answered our prayers as I first gazed upon our baby. He was just so very small and so very quiet.

My wife, Cathy had unexpectedly begun to dilate two weeks earlier and after hearing the pessimistic prognosis and receiving some drugs from the physician she was instructed to go home and to bed with the slim hope that she might possibly carry the baby to full term. Full term meant four more months. We began to pray every day along with our church for a miracle and it seemed our faith grew stronger with each day that passed. Our pleadings with God turned into thanks for a healthy baby we knew was in the making. It was however, not to be.

Now two weeks after our visit with the doctor our hopes and seemingly our prayers had been dashed. After they wheeled Gabriel out to the nursery, I held my wife’s hand and we talked softly and shared our disappointment intermixed with a new flood of tears. After a bit they came to take Cathy to her room in the maternity ward and I went out to find a quiet corner in an adjoining hall. I had never felt such dark oppression since I had come to know Christ. I was bent low in my spirit as doubts of a loving and faithful God filled my soul. It seemed God’s consoling spirit was no where to be found when a brother from the church silently came into view.

It was my good friend Mike, and because he was a physician he was making his rounds at the hospital that evening. As our eyes met tearfully I cried out to him, “why?”. He said nothing but only laid his hand on my shoulder and prayed for a short moment in tongues, by the utterance of the Holy Spirit. Immediately the looming black clouds of depression left my mind and there was miraculous a bubbling new joy and hope that entered me. I immediately knew there was a fresh presence of God with Cathy, Gabriel and myself and his joy would somehow be expressed in this seemingly dire situation.

In the hours and days that followed my wife and I would come to marvel at God’s goodness and grace manifested toward us. An hour after Mike had prayed for me, Cathy and I were allowed to hold Gabriel for a few minutes and express our love to him. The staff made Gabriel comfortable in the remaining few hours he lived.

God continued to bless us the next few days as a mortician friend donated a small Styrofoam casket and another allowed me to wallpaper his bathroom in exchange for a small engraved headstone. The small burial was just amazing as a few close friends and family gathered to give praise for a little life that seemed so brief but yet so full in it’s expression of God’s blessed grace and love.

I will never forget the life changing power and love that was extended to us in the blackest of moments as a dear brother prayed in the tongues. Truly God’s Holy Spirit interceded and was exercised in groanings too deep ever be uttered.

Gabriel was certainly an angel like his namesake and he wonderfully shared God’s message of love with Cathy and myself.

Twenty three years after this miracle I love my Lord even more than ever,


Note: Two years after Gabriel’s birth, Cathy and I would be blessed with the arrival of a little girl, Erin. Cathy had the same problem with this pregnancy and was diagnosed with what is termed an “incompetent cervix.” She again began to abort in her mid trimester of pregnancy but through an amazing miracle her obstetrician caught it in just a nick of time and operated to sew her cervix closed. She was bedridden for five months and with much prayer and God’s enduring grace a healthy eight pound Erin was born. Today she is the apple of my eye and will be entering med school next year with hopes of a career in healing.


Thursday, August 7, 2008


One of the most overlooked and most important of all scriptures in the Bible tells us of the state we were created in. This state works all the way from Eve's enticement to the very ends of my self and your self. All our doings were foreordained by God and try as you will, He knew before hand the path you would take and thus He made provision beforehand. What a mighty God we serve!

Rom 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

Some translations render this thought "the creature was made subject to futility"

"How great is our futility/vanity," you might ask
My friend it is total and this is confirmed with God's prescription even before the "creature was made." Before there was even man, Christ was crucified that He might lift us from our futile state. Before their was a problem there was a solution. Such are the ways of our magnificent God.

Rev 13:8 ........the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

We all must come to see the vanity of our ways and our view of our futility is only as great as our view of His omnipotence. Eventually we will come to see ourseves as naught and Christ as All. Such is the path of each man, each in his own order.

Have you failed in bearing your cross? Surely you have and if you have not, you have not born it at all, for even Christ fell beneath it. Brother's and sisters, cross-bearing ends in nakedness ...... not a self-disrobing .....not a nakedness of our own choosing, but a nakedness brought by life's challenges and at the hands of others. We shall be stripped by nature and by our fellow human beings and put on display for the world's scorn. Jesus Christ is our pattern and to name ourselves Christian is to walk with and in Him. The organized church for the most part soft peddles our salvation but I dare say the first century believers knew the cost and so shall we that truly know Him.

We will suffer and we will be blessed in this life. We will suffer and be blessed by life's occurrences and even at the hands of others and all that comes our way is sovereignly directed that you and I might be made perfect through His grace. All is to bring you and I to nought that Christ will reign as the All in All. Oh yes, we must fall and suffer to see our weakness .............. "when we are weak He is strong." Yet some (and I have been there and still am on occasion) still want to lend our strength to carry that which cannot be carried ........ only One could carry it and He was and is God come in the flesh! And Glory Be! ......... today God through Christ has come in you and me!

Those are a few of my thoughts on God's sovereignty and let me also say that I was excited the other day to discover an author and teacher that carried this same message into the early part of the last century. This by Allan Burns is one of the most wonderful writings I have ever read on the subject, both for it's beauty of language and profoundness of content. I pray it blesses and changes you, as it did me.

God's Sovereignty
by Alan Burns

Part One
"GOD over all." Here is another gentle emphasis on the divine supremacy. First we have had a picture of what Paul would have done if he had been running things. He would willingly be accursed for Israel. Now the gentle impetus of the inspiring Spirit carries his vision to the fact that it is God who is running the universe, and if he once was willing to be accursed, he now wills that God should be blessed. God's plan and purpose was more perfect than his. He who was over all was able, because He was over ALL, to turn Israel's failure into His own success. If He was over all then there could be no such thing as failure from His standpoint. If He was over all then even Israel's failure to respond to this eightfold blessing was part of His purpose. If He was over all He who allowed Israel to stumble was able to raise them up again in His own likeness.

But the ground of His praise is not in the present but in the future. If it were merely in the present it would have been "God over all be blessed." The ground of praise lies in futurity "in the ages." It is as if Paul says, "We look at the present and see failure. We look at Israel and see gloom. But we look on and we see the ages, and up and see God over all, and gloom becomes glory and the thought of curse is changed into tribute of blessing." Much of the "vision" that we read of in current theology is the vision of a cross-eyed man. Orthodoxy, as it exists today, cannot help but make us squint. So we have, been trained to view creation as God's grand experiment. An experimenting God! But this loathsome thought is nursed in the bosom of theological culture, and we who have imbibed its virus have therefore read this sixth verse as if it were a consoling reflection on the part of Paul that despite the failure of that experiment on Israel as a whole, it was not a total failure. "Not as implying that the word of God had altogether failed." If we hold this dishonoring idea we shall have an impression in our minds of God's relation to creation as like that of the owner of a worn out automobile--continually tinkering with it in order to make it go. We would suggest that the right way of reading this verse is "not as implying that the word of God has fallen at all." "And God said, light be, and light was." Genesis one gives us a graphic picture of the efficiency of the word of God in the world of matter. It is not less efficient in the world of mind. It never fails.

How this verse suggests to us the assurance of Isaiah 55: 11! If it has accomplished fully the purpose of God, then God never meant to save the nation, as a nation, at that time. If it had been sent forth to save them all, and had come back with but a little handful of souls, did it accomplish that which God pleased? You see it is the idea of the dilapidated auto again. But the Word of God has never been compelled to go to the garage for repairs!

In Abraham we have a concrete exhibition of Free-will and Sovereignty. As an Arminian he did the best he could: tried to help God out of His difficulty--and produced ISHMAEL! Free-will has filled the world with Ishmaels. When a Christian leaves his appointed sphere of simple witness, and takes a hand in politics to help repair the world, he is marrying Hagar. When he thinks he is called to victory instead of perpetual defeat; and when he thinks the puny might of man can effect what the power of God may alone accomplish--he is marrying Hagar. O beloved reader if "Jerusalem above is the mother of us all," is it not also true that Hagar has been the wife of us all, and Ishmael our offspring? Arminian "ability" was the father of Ishmael, but it took divine sovereignty to produce Isaac from that which approximated physical death.

How powerless the creature is is again emphasized by Paul in the eighth verse. "Children of the PROMISE." The law is a demand--"thou shalt." The Gospel is a promise--"I will." The law was given simply that it might turn us upside down and knock the Arminianism out of us. When it has done so, and when we have taken the law itself into the presence of God, asking Him in grace to turn its precepts into prophecies, its gloom is transmuted into glory. "Thou shalt have no other gods" is a dazzling forecast of that future day when Israel shall really know Jehovah.

And now Paul, still keeping in mind the unfailing potency of the Word which ever accomplishes the pleasure of the Almighty, defines the word of promise in relation to Isaac. "According to this season I WILL RETURN." While God is away, and a state of separateness exists, Hagar is taken and Ishmael born. Man makes a botch of things while God is away. Sin entered while God was away. The serpent spoke, Eve listened, and Adam fell while God was away. Sarah suggested, Abraham hearkened, and Ishmael was born while God was away. But--and this is the quintessence of the gospel, and the hope of Israel and mankind--"I will return."

"I will . . . and Sarah shall"--blessed mingling of promise and prophecy. But notice the wording "according to this season." I know not just what the allusion may be. It may be physical, but it probably transcends the merely physical. At the very least it suggests that there is a schedule according to which God acts, and He always acts according to schedule. Prophecy is God's time-table of history and God's trains are never late. There is a right time for God to act, and the ripe-time is the right-time. God never harvests the crop until it is ripe, and his harvests never rot ungathered in the field--"according to this season I will return."

In verses five and six Paul's allusion to the word of God was preceded with a reference to the ages--the hours on the dial- plate of Time. God's clock of the eons, in which the centuries are as moments, is never fast and never slow; nor does it strike outside the appointed hour. "In the fullness of time" Christ personal was born into the world (Gal.4:4). "In the fullness of the seasons" the world of redeemed creaturedom with Christ personal its appointed head will round out to maturity the proportions of Christ mystical--creation's goal. In the fullness of the seasons "God will return," and rehead the Universe in Christ (Eph.1:11.

Arminianism, however, is one of mankind's perpetual diseases, and so we find it thriving lustily in Abraham's descendants who had not learned Abraham's lesson in regard to Hagar. Verse 11 gives us "not of works" and Jacob evidences this. "Jacob have I loved." Why? Analyze him and his history, and find me some reason why you should love him; then analyze him again and tell me the reason why God should love him. Perfection cannot love imperfection: Righteousness cannot love unrighteousness. How then, and why, did God love Jacob who was neither right nor perfect? Here we are touching on the mystery of the gospel. Was Jacob's character so like God's that that was the reason of His love? Think then, if you can, that the God you bow the knee to is merely a Jacob drawn to the scale of the infinite! Well may you shudder at the thought.

The answer has really been given already in the case of Isaac "I will return and Sarah shall." God went away, and Jacob wriggled and plotted and planned, just as Abraham did, in relation to Hagar and Ishmael. God went away, and Jacob tried to help God along by buying the birthright. But God in effect said, "I will return...and Jacob shall."

Well may we contrast the divine promise in Genesis 28:12-15 with Jacob's in verses 20-22. Jacob's was a promise with an "if." God's contained no "if."--and if it had it would have been no promise to frail, erring Jacob. Look up Genesis 32 at your leisure and see what happened when God returned. Then Jacob came to an end of his Arminianism, and clung with a broken thigh to One who would give a blessing that could never be earned.

In Genesis 32 Jacob becomes Israel. In Romans 9 Israel has become Jacob again.

Part Two
"NOT OF WORKS." Not occasioned by effort, physical or mental. Not purchased by deed of hand or heart. Not to be won by a nod of the head or a movement of the will. Not conditioned by the taking of an attitude. Not subject to the saying of a word, or the thinking of a thought. Channelled thru the will, the emotions, the mind, if you like, but not conditioned by them. In God's economies these creature powers act as operating means, though none of them may ever be an effecting cause.

"Not of works"--good, bad, or indifferent. Not of attempt, effort, or intention. How can a deaf man "hear?" How can a paralyzed man "come?" How can a dead man "will?" Human sweat can never earn divine salvation. Human agony can never earn divine repose. Humanity cannot raise itself by tugging at its religious bootstraps.

"Not of works" would sour the sweetness of Heaven itself to a legal soul, and transform Paradise into a Hell to every Pharisee. Much rather would such an one spend an eternity lauding the excellence of one meritorious act of his own than a single moment in self-forgetful wonder at the marvels of the Omnipotent's handiwork! "Not of works" constitutes Heaven's highest glory to the humble soul. It adds melody to its music, and increases the rapture of its joys. If the glory of the Lord so fills the house that the priests may not stand to minister in the Presence, much less may the Pharisees strut and plume themselves where sinless angels veil their faces and adore.

"Where then does the action of my will come in?" Read it again (Rom.9:11). Note how it says nothing whatever of your thinking, your intending, your willing, or your purpose, but "that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works." "Oh, then it is a matter of what God wills?" Yes, now you have it. It is God's intention, God's will, and God's purpose, not yours at all. "Then it is not of me at all?" Read it once more, "not of works, but of Him that calleth." It is not "of him that listeneth," as if the "listening" to the call was a purely human thing entirely "free" and under no determination whatever. The calling includes the listening. The "will to listen" is "of Him that calleth." "He maketh the deaf to hear." Thus it is that when He works He at once places a negative between His working and all fancied human ability-- "not of works."

"Not of works . . . Jacob." That proves it, doesn't it? We have already considered the marvel of God's love to Jacob. We should not, however, be guilty of the grave error that has disgraced so much of our thought on this subject, by thinking that God went out of His way to specially hate Esau. Nor, on the other hand, should we imagine for a moment that He had to force Himself to love Jacob. Humanity does that. Deity never. There is no compulsion in His love. There is no venom in His hate. The simple difference between God's relation to Jacob and to Esau was that He looked upon Esau as He was, and He looked upon Jacob as He was to be. He regarded Jacob in the future tense, whereas for the time then being He chose to regard Esau in the present tense alone. It was not a mechanical love in the one case, and a mechanical hatred in the other. His love to Jacob and His hatred to Esau both flowed freely and naturally from the perfections of His Being. His love was not weakness, nor was His hatred wickedness. His love for Jacob, and His hatred for Esau were both of them exhibitions of His justice. He did not lower the laws of His righteousness in order to love Jacob, nor did He make them more drastic so that He might hate Esau the more intensely. He hated Esau because He was a loving God! Nor would He be a God of love except He hated everything that was not good for Esau, and as long as Esau, was allowed to cling to those hateful, hurtful things, so long did he thrust himself into the sphere in which God's anger burned. Love must hate all that which challenges its authority. And all this is really anticipated by Paul when he queries, "Is there unrighteousness with God?" "Far be it," cries the great apostle as he flings the base suggestion aside. "No, no," he would say, "He is righteous when He loves, He is righteous when He hates, in all that He does He is the God all holy. God may have hated Esau, but He did not make him hateful. This on the principle that while you have to grow roses, orchids, and other flowers of fragrant bloom, weeds grow themselves. No one has ever had the slightest trouble in growing weeds. But before God could love Jacob He had to do a lot of gardening.

Nor need we hesitate to recognize the fact that if it is not our listening but God's calling, not our working but God's willing, then why He should choose to give this one and not that the listening ear, or work His will in one and not another is an enigma which human reason is not able to solve, and which divine revelation does not offer to explain. So we are prepared for the way that Paul gives mere prying curiosity a stinging slap in the face. Nor, indeed, was this Paul's, but God's rebuff to mere idle questioning. Why I, should have been born in the nineteenth century and not in the first; why I should have been born in America and not in the wild mountains of Afghanistan; why I should have been nursed by a Christian mother instead of a cannibal one; these are alike the workings of that "purpose of God according to election." "It is not of him that willeth." I chose neither the twentieth century, the American continent, nor the Christian mother. I didn't will them. I didn't work for them. God willed them, and I'm here. The same God who wills generation wills regeneration; and my being in Christ is no more a matter of my willing than my being born in America is, or was, a matter of my choosing.

We should not think that any one moment of time can tell all that may be told of God. The full scroll of all the ages alone will suffice to reveal the eonian God. The volume of a solitary era can never reveal what takes the whole library of the eons to make plain. So if we read in an introductory chapter that God hated Esau, we learn in a later, fuller one, that He loved the world, and so He must have loved the man He hated. Though the waves may roar on its surface, the ocean is untroubled in its unfathomed depth. Nor could Esau, nor Pharoah, nor Nero, nor Judas work or will themselves out of that cosmic love, any more than they could either work or will themselves into it. God hates, but He is not hatred. He both loves, and is Love. We may attempt to state the difference between His love and His hatred thus: His hatred is dispensational, His love is eternal; His hatred is as temporary as is the sin that calls it forth, and on which it rests; His love is as eternal as the righteousness on which it feeds. Hatred is a passing phase: Love an eternal revelation. Jacob have I loved for ever, but Esau have I hated for a time.

But if Jacob was a vessel of mercy and Esau a vessel of wrath we have the same vivid contrast shown in God's word to Moses, and His message to Pharaoh. He speaks of mercy to the one, and of wrath to the other. Here Moses is the vessel of mercy and Pharaoh the vessel of wrath. What Moses willed is not of sufficient consequence to have passing mention in this fifteenth verse. Four times over God says "I will." "I will have mercy...I will have mercy; I will have compassion...I will have compassion." You can't squeeze man into it sideways. Its language is foolproof. It locks my willing and my listening outside. It evicts everything except myself as the passive, inert recipient of undiluted grace.

It would seem as if the main purpose of our institutions for training theologians was to impart an ability to dilute scriptures like the seventeenth verse with a stream of apology and equivocation. They cannot be said to justify their existence. But, theologians notwithstanding, let us note that God's will is just as prominent here as it is in the case of Moses. "For this cause I have raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, that my name might be declared." And the absolute control of the All-Ruler is shown by the kind of illustration chosen by Him to illustrate His supremacy in the sphere of will. As clay in the hand of a potter so is man in the purposes of his Maker. Does the illustration prove more than our creeds allow us to think, or teach? The solution of the difficulty is simple. Either cut out God's illustration, or man's creed. One must go.

But while we note the variety and difference that exists here, we should not overlook the fact that, vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy though they be, both vessels are made by the Potter "out of the same lump." Thus Esau and Jacob, one "loved" and the other "hated," were "out of the same lump." Moses before the throne, a servant of God, and Pharaoh upon the throne an enemy of God were, both of them, despite the differences that lay like yawning chasms between them, "out of the same lump." A certain unity lay back of, and beyond, the differences which were developed in the two kinds of vessel. How such a simple phrase can puncture the bombast of human pride!

In the verses that follow, where the contrasting divisions of the human race into Jew and Gentile, are referred to, it is well to remember that such distinctions can be traced back, past their differences, to a common source and a common humanity in Adam. Both Jew and Gentile, though one be nationally a vessel of mercy and the other a vessel of wrath, are ultimately "out of the same lump." And not only so but the vessels of wrath at one time become vessels of mercy at another; and those who were vessels of mercy then become vessels of wrath now. This seems to be purposely shown in the fact that whereas in chapter nine the Gentile Pharaoh's heart is hardened, in chapter eleven (v.25) the position is reversed and while the Gentiles become vessels of mercy it is now Israel's lot to be "hardened." That God's final purpose in His universal pottery is not to make some "vessels of mercy" and some "vessels of wrath" is clear in 11:32 where His declared will is not to have mercy on some but on ALL.

In chapter ten (v.12) Paul reverts, it would seem, to the same thought. All national and moral difference between Jew and Gentile is brushed aside. "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek." Why? Because they are "out of the same lump." That, too, is the lesson of this epistle's earlier chapters where, as regards sin, as here in regard to grace, the same phrase summarizes the historical lessons of racial degradation.

"There is no difference" (Rom.3:22). Man is levelled as concerns both guilt and grace. Social class, intellectual attainment, and national distinction are alike annihilated by the "no difference" of holy writ. The very figure of the clay from which the potter molds his vessels suggests to us the truth of man's earthly origin. "Dust thou art." Potter's mold! Yes, and in that handful of red earth which the mighty Potter moulded into human form, in that "same lump" lay, dormant and potential, the myriad varieties of saint and sinner alike. Moses and Samuel and David the king were there. There also Isaiah, Daniel and Jeremiah. There the Twelve, with the heroes and martyrs of the early church. The fools and the philosophers of all earthly time were there. The heroes and the cowards, the noble and the base, monks and martyrs, pirates and priests lay waiting the moment when they would be molded into the part they were destined to play in the drama of the ages.

And thus is there "no difference." But if all have come "out of the same lump," this involves the added thought that the vessels, however much they differ, are all made by the same Master Potter. "For the SAME LORD over all is rich unto all that call upon Him." The Potter is the Lord of the Clay. At least in Scripture He is; but in theology the clay is the lord of the Potter, if indeed it needs a Potter at all when it becomes what it wills and wishes to become! The vessels are out of "the same lump," and they have the "same Lord." Glory to His Name!

Is not this idea also in the background of chapter eleven? There we have two trees; one "good" and the other "wild;" one a "tree of mercy" and the other a "tree of wrath;" nevertheless, as both vessels are out of the same lump so also are both trees, despite their difference, olive trees. One is a "good" olive tree which we presume, like all good olives, has become so through cultivation; the other has simply been left to itself. So was Israel in Egypt no different physically, morally or spiritually from their Egyptian masters, and we can find as little reason for loving whining, murmuring, and rebellious Israel, as we can for loving their father Jacob in an earlier day. But God put Israel under "cultivation." This was the Master Gardener's pleasure as making one vessel a vessel of mercy was the pleasure of the Master Potter.

Just one more scripture in the eleventh chapter which reminds us of the Potter in the ninth. "For if the firstfruits be holy so ALSO IS THE LUMP." Not some of the lump but "THE LUMP." Vessels of wrath do not constitute the "firstfruits." Pharaoh is not a specimen of the art of God. "Christ the firstfruits." Is He holy? Then "if the firstfruit be holy, the lump also is holy." But did He enter into and become part of that same lump?" "As the children are partakers of flesh and blood he also himself took part of the same." The art of the Master Potter is shown in the firstfruits Christ, and in Him is exhibited the goal and the destiny of the human race.

Beyond the mystery of "the lump," we have the still deeper mystery and truth of man's origin as sketched in that miniature Bible of Romans 11:36. "Out of the same lump" may humble us in the dust. "Out of the same God"--we bow in adoration before our heavenly Source. We are not merely one with the clay, one with our fellow-creatures that the same Artist-Lord has formed from the same material as ourselves but--surpassing wonder of wonders--we are one with the heavenly Potter Himself.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

OUR GOD "The Restorer"

Wow, it seems as the Father has turned His attention to me. My, it has been a long time since I have felt so strongly His love as I do this morning. It is as though my whole being tingles with His touch and then softly melts as I feel His heart.

My friend, Joian and I were visiting earlier in the evening and were talking about all things God, as we usually do. We were sharing about how our "revelations" of God and His Kingdom are really but "remembrances" of who we were in Christ before the foundations of the world. This is part of our restoration and it comes precept upon precept until we see God and ourselves as we eternally are.

One of my favorite pictures of God, is as "the Loving Restorer" and in this post I want to share a beautiful account of three parables Christ taught. Please note at the close of this author's message (below), that after the prodigal is ministered to, the father must then turn his attention to the unhappy elder brother. Ever restoring, is our Father and until the last has found his or her place resting peaceably upon His bosom He will not cease. I pray you can see your self, your neighbor and even your enemy as the lost sheep, the lost coin, the prodigal and the elder brother. Who of us at one time or another does not feel slighted like the elder brother. Never fear however. He will eventually turn His attention to you and that is why we love and share Him.


"The Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin"

I'd like you to think about these two parables of Jesus, and the reason why is because most of the time we get the parables of Jesus wrong. We pick them up, and we think that Jesus is telling us what we ought to do. You know, they're sort of lessons in loveliness. If we can master the lesson in the parable, we can turn out to be perfect peaches or something else. But the point is that parables are not first of all about us. The parables of Jesus are first of all about how God works in this world - the mysterious, strange, bizarre, odd way that God deals with us, because the parables are very strange things. Jesus is a genius of story-telling, and what you have to watch most of all with Jesus in his parables are the small twists, the little turns and the details you don't notice. I can have read a parable for twenty-five years, preached on it twenty-five times, and in the twenty-sixth year all of a sudden see something I never saw before; and it has been buried there all along.

So I'm going to start in on the parable of the lost sheep. This is in the 15th chapter of St. Luke's Gospel. And that chapter, incidentally, contains three parables about lostness: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son, the great parable of the prodigal son. The first thing that Luke says when this parable begins, is that the tax collectors and the sinners were drawing near to Jesus to hear him. The scribes and the pharisees grumbled about this. They complained about this and they said, "This man welcomes sinners, and he eats with them, and therefore he's a bad person."

Now, obviously Jesus, by many people's minds, was thought to be a perfect candidate to be the promised Messiah who would fulfill God's will for Israel and do all sorts of wonderful things in the world. People like the scribes and the pharisees didn't think that Jesus was much of a Messiah candidate if he could associate with tax collectors and sinners. Tax collectors were mostly crooks in those days, and sinners meant what it means now. Everyone's favorite sin is something sexual, and the sinners most likely were prostitutes. Jesus spent a lot of time welcoming those people, eating with them, talking with them, visiting them, and otherwise consorting with them, so they didn't like this. It's apropos of this remark: "This fellow eats with sinners and welcomes them!", that Jesus tells the parables of lostness.

"I want you to imagine that you have one hundred sheep," he says to the pharisees and the scribes around him. "I want you to imagine that you have one hundred sheep and that you lose one of them. Now, wouldn't you, therefore, go out after the lost one until you find it?" Well, what's the real answer to that question? The real answer to that question is "of course not." Nobody in his right mind who's in the sheep business has one hundred sheep, loses one, leaves the ninety-nine to the wolves and the coyotes, and goes chasing off after one. You cut your losses, forget about the lost sheep, and go on with the ninety-nine. So Jesus' question is perverse. It's odd. It's ironic. Who among you would do this? Who among you wouldn't go out and do this? Everybody wouldn't! They wouldn't go out and do this sort of thing. And, therefore, then he says, "And when you find that, what would you do with the sheep if you'd actually done this?" You would put the sheep on your shoulder, and then notice what Jesus says. He doesn't say, "Then he goes back to the ninety-nine and gives this little sheep back to his mother sheep," or something else. What Jesus says is that he puts the lost sheep on his shoulders and goes to his house. He goes home.

In this parable, Jesus never goes back to the ninety-nine sheep. The ninety-nine sheep are a set-up. Jesus has divided the flock into one sheep and ninety-nine sheep, and he's not trying to make two different groups. You know, ninety-nine who don't get lost, and one who does. I think the real meaning of the one and the ninety-nine is that the one lost sheep is the whole human race as it really is. And the ninety-nine "found" sheep who never get lost are the whole human race as we think we are. And the ninety-nine; therefore, are not a real piece of business in this. The one lost sheep stands for all of us, and this says that the only thing the shepherd—God, the God character—is interested in, is going after the lost, and, if necessary, the shepherd will go out of the sheep ranching business to find the lost, and God, therefore, will go out of the God business, of the business of being the kind of God we turn God into the God who's a bookkeeper, the God who's the divine infinite "watch-bird" who's keeping records on everybody, and if you don't do it right, he's not going to bother with you anymore. That's the business that God goes out of when he goes after the lost because he only wants to come and find sinners. He doesn't want anything else. And then Jesus asks the last question in this one, and he says, "I say to you that there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." The proof of this is, of course, did you ever meet any of those ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance? No, you didn't. There isn't one in the whole world. So this proves the set-up that Jesus is only interested in finding the lost; that God, in Christ, is only interested in finding the lost.

Now, he follows this parable up with the parable of the lost coin, and Jesus changes the image. The God character in this parable is not a shepherd. It's a woman. It's a very strange woman. As the shepherd is sort of crazy to go chase one sheep and leave ninety-nine to the wolves, so this woman is even crazier. It says this woman has ten coins, and I like to think, just to bring it up to date, that what this woman has is ten Susan B. Anthony dollars in a nice wooden case with red velvet lining and little recessed partitions for each of the ten Susan B. Anthony dollars. And every morning she gets up, and she looks in there and pats them and polishes them and puts them back down again. She gets up one morning, and one of her precious Susan B. Anthony dollars is missing so what does this woman do? She is as crazy as the shepherd, if not crazier, because she stops her entire life. She stops anything she had to do that day. She stops whatever housework she was going to do, and she lights a light, and goes into all the dark corners. She sweeps, and sweeps, and sweeps, and looks under everything for the whole day until she finds this coin. And what does she do when she finds it? Interestingly enough, like the shepherd Jesus never says she puts it back in the box. It says she gets on the phone to her friends and her neighbors and says, "Come on over, I'm going to have a party. I found my lost coin."

And now I'm sure that these friends and neighbors say, "Gertrude, you found a coin, right? And we're supposed to come?"

She says, "Yes. I have cream soda, and I have ring dings, and you're going to come over, and we're going to celebrate my lost coin."

Certainly they'd say, "Yes, Gertrude, we'll come." But they are not that enthusiastic. But the point is, she is. And this woman proves something. In the lost sheep, you can develop some pity for the poor, little lost sheep. You can feel bad, you know, that it’s injured or hurt or fearful and all that. But you can't work up any pity for a lost coin. A lost coin never knows it's lost. One place is as good as another. The point is that what these two parables put together say is that what governs God's behavior to us is not our sins. It's not our problems. It's his need to find us. These parables go by the need of the finder to find, not about the need of the lost to be found. That's obvious. We always knew that. We could have gone to our graves knowing that. The great thing is that the universe is driven by the need of the finder to find all of us in our lostness. And that, of course, is the beginning.

And the last of the three parables in this chapter is the lost son, which commonly goes by the name of the prodigal son because we misname these parables. Interestingly enough, obviously this parable should be called the parable of the forgiving father. Now, what I want to do is set-up the parable a little bit, and tell it to you quickly. I'm not going to go through the whole thing, just because I hope it's familiar. But a man has two sons, and the youngest son comes to him and says, "Father—Dad—put your will into effect and split up the entire inheritance right now between me and my brother." You know what that is in so many words? That's: "Drop dead, Father." He's suggesting that the father put his will into effect. And the father does it. He gives all the cash that's loose to the younger son. He gives the entire property, like South Fork, in "Dallas,"—some big spread—to the elder brother, and the father sits on the porch for the rest of the parable, at least for a little bit of it, and retires from things.

The younger son takes the money and goes to a far country. He has wine, women, and song; blows all his money, ends up feeding pigs, and sits there and says one day, "Oh, as I think of my father's servants, they eat better than I do. I'm going to go home, and say, 'Father, I've sinned against heaven and against you. I'm not worthy to be your son. Make me a hired servant.'" Now, that is not a sinner who was repentant, yet. Because what he's said: "Father, I'm a no-good son," and "Father, I've sinned against heaven and before you," is true. That's fine. That's pretty good for repentance. But "Make me a hired servant" is not a repentance. That's a plan for life. That's a plan to con his father into accepting him back instead of coming back as a no-good son. So he comes home. He comes down the road and when he's a half mile off, his father sees him. He runs down the road, falls on his neck and kisses him, and after the forgiveness and the father's kiss, the son makes his confession. He says, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I'm not worthy to be your son." And he leaves off the hired servant business. The father then goes immediately to the thing that ended the other parables. He goes to the party. He calls for the rings on his fingers, the shoes on his feet, and says: "Kill the fatted calf, and let us eat and be merry. My son was dead, and he's alive, was lost, he's found." And they have a party, and there's music and dancing and everything else. Then Jesus brings in the other lost son. He's the ninety-nine. He's the nine other coins in the box. He thinks he's found. He comes in, and he's whining.

He says, "All these years I have been such a good boy, and done your will and done all these wonderful things, and you never even gave me a goat to have a party with my friends. But when this son of yours who has wasted his substance with whores comes home, then you give him the fatted calf." And he won't go in. What this son has done—though he thinks he's a found character and he's a wonderful bookkeeper and has got everything else right—what he has done, is come into the courtyard of the house, with a party inside, and he has brought hell with him. He is the hell of his own bookkeeping, the hell of his own complaining. He has brought hell with him.

What does the father do? The father's the God character. What does the father do? The father goes out into the courtyard once again, like the shepherd, like the woman, to seek the lost. The need of the finder to find. He goes out there, and he talks to his son, and he says, "Look, son, Arthur, everything I have belongs to you. You could have had fatted calf three nights a week if you wanted. All you had to do was build the stalls. You have the money. You have no imagination, Arthur. You know what I would like you to do, Arthur? I would like you to shut up, go inside, kiss your brother, and have a drink." And the wonderful thing about this parable is that Jesus, genius of a storyteller that he is, has ended it so that it doesn't end.

At the end of the parable—suppose you saw it in a film—you have the music and the sounds of the feasting and the laughter inside the house. You have the father and the elder brother standing in the courtyard, and the way the film ends is, it ends with a freeze frame: father, elder brother, joyful music over in the back. And for two thousand years this has been read in the church, every year people have read it in the Bible endlessly, endlessly. For two thousand years, that's where the story has ended. It has never ended. The father always seeks the lost son, and the lost son is not just the prodigal, it is at the end, the prodigal's already found now, he's home free, but the other one is not, because he won't come into the party. Consequently, the other thing you could say about this, it's not only for two thousand years that that parable has stood with that freeze frame, it will stand there forever because God will forever stand. We say Jesus, between when he died and when he arose, descended into hell. He descended to the lost. This is the last truth of the parable of the prodigal son, that for all eternity God still seeks those in hell. If I go down into hell, Thou art there with me. We cannot get away from the love that will not let us go because God, who in all these parables represented by the shepherd, and the woman, and the father, never ceases to seek and to find the lost.

Robert Farrar Capon


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Where is the Lord Taking Us?

I was over on the Jack Gray's Blog today and saw this picture he had drawn and scanned onto his blog site...Something the Lord had him draw depicting where he was being taken some years ago....I loved the simplicity of it....and understood I am at the beginning of living in the reality of it.....This drawing and the scripture he shared would have been a welcome confirmation that I was hearing the voice of the Lord some six years ago. That's when I first climbed over the church walls....on my trip into the wilderness...into his arms.....

Where is the Lord Taking Us? Some years ago, as I was seeking to understand and praying about what the Lord was doing with us in separating us from the institutional church, I got the picture above. It may help some of you, as it enlightened me, as to the direction in which Father was taking us. The upper part of the first section of the picture represents the existing situation where churches are enclosed in denominational walls and divided from each other. In the lower part I tried to illustrate the word from the Lord which initiated our move out. As I explain in the first part of “My Search for the Church” that word was that if we wanted Church Father’s way our ways would have to die and be buried so that He might resurrect it according to His will. Perhaps now I would add a picture of some simply escaping over the walls to look for a better way. In the second section is reflected what is the experience of many when they come out. They find themselves very alone and isolated. Why should this be? In Hosea 2:14-20 is the key. In that passage the prophet describes a wilderness experience in which he acts with great compassion and love to win the soul to a deep intimacy with Himself. It concludes with the moving words, “And I will betroth you to me for ever; I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord.” With that threefold vow the believer is bound to His Lord in love and is drawn to know Him in an experience deeper and more real than ever before. We must not fear that wilderness, but gladly permit the Lord to have his way. In the third section I see little groups, twos and threes of these wooed believers informally coming together to interact in fellowship together whether in homes, around the meal table or somewhere in the open air or a restaurant. They are not in any religious organization. As expressed by Zechariah they are “Villages without walls.” When they are together their conversation is about the Lord. The prophet Malachi pictures such groups in 3:16-17, “Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another; the Lord heeded and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the Lord and thought on His name. They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act.” In the fourth section we see God’s ultimate purpose as all these villages are bound together, not with the ties of institutions, but in a living body. No humanly devised walls now separate. The only wall is the presence of God around the whole as expressed again in Zechariah 2:5.and He alone has the glory within. (Grey)



Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Heb 13:13-15
A brother in Germany sent this to me this morning and I thought it a good thought with which to begin the "JACKSON HOLE & CHRIST" blog. Many of us have come out of the organized church even decades ago. We have met Jesus outside the gate and afar from the camp and we have been revived. We now know our Lord as we never did, when we attended meetings in buildings and allowed men in raised pulpits to usurp Christ our worthy Priest and everlasting King.

"Church as we know it is over. He is about to wrestle control of His own church from the carnal hands of insecure, angry, controlling and legalistic men and women and build His own church, just as He promised He would.

Church as we know it is passing away. The thing we have called church is but a dim shadow of the life-giving, empowering wholeness of that for which Jesus died, rather, rose from the dead to lavish upon mere mortal men.

We have asked for wealth when He wanted to give us nations. We focused on our healing when He wanted to make us healers. We have searched for mercy and compassion when He had called us to carry those same treasures to a dying world. We are self-examining when He wants us to be pouring ourselves out so others can find Him.

There is no doubt. The self-centered, need-oriented, program-driven, growth-addicted destiny-snatching, dream-killing counterfeit is about to be replaced by His church; a company of loosely connected people held together only by the bonds of love. This people is the Christ-centered, Kingdom-declaring, light-shining heart throb of God Himself. His people hear His voice and respond with joy and anticipation, not fear and uncertainty. They are a devil-ignoring, life-giving, God-honoring group of worshipers whose greatest fulfillment in life is to be called to His service by the gentle sound of His voice.

This church understands that the hands Jesus will stretch out to heal will be her hands. They know they are His hug, His smile, His encouraging word and the world's only hope of glory.

The solution is clear...You are the church that Jesus Himself, is building!"
Don Nori

If you need a hug, a smile, some encouragement or hope. We hope you continue to visit "JH & Christ"

In His Sweet Lord Jesus,

Jack Hennessey