Sunday, July 30, 2006

Intersection of Eternity

In the early morning of April 21, 2006 in the town of Brandon, Florida, a group of relatives headed back from Tampa International Airport to get ready for a wedding. At approximately 3:00 A.M. a drunk driver ran a red light and instantly killed three of the people who had arrived for the wedding. The next day the Lord gave me this perspective.

II Cor.4:18 - While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

As the clock went past midnight the day changed from April 20, 2006 to April 21, 2006. For three people it was just another day. They saw themselves in the mirror as they got ready; they saw the plane as they boarded; they saw the seats, the passengers, and the attendants; they saw the clouds and sky; they saw the ground and the approaching airport; they saw their loved ones; they saw the car as they entered; they saw the road they were traveling; they saw the night lights and buildings; they saw all the things that they expected to see as they continued in their Mercedes toward their home. But at the intersection of Parsons and Lumsden they did not see what was waiting...ETERNITY.
Eternity had been waiting at that intersection since the worlds were made. There were no signs, no lights, and no warning. There was no time to prepare except whatever they had prepared in the years beforehand. They did not ask for it and they did not want it, but eternity sets its docket without earthly input and its dayplanner is set by God Himself. Somewhere and someday on this earth eternity waits for you and me. There is no more important day than the day we escape this human form and walk into eternity, all of us. It is the fearful mystery that has haunted mankind since Cain murdered Able, and Adam's smell of death still wreaks throughout the human race. We must all die and the time is set.

Heb.9:27 - And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment...

But at the very instant of death one of two things happen to every person's spirit. Either they are escorted into the presence of Christ forever, or they are dragged into the dungeon of the damned forever. This is not being melodramatic, these are the only two violent choices. And if this is the absolute truth, what else matters? Yes, it is a total "put all your eggs in one basket" commitment and eternity will issue the consequences at the appropriate moment. How can you and I know that we are true followers of Jesus Christ and that at our eternal moment we will be escorted into His presence? Spurgeon said, "It is dangerous to rely on some former day as your conversion, you should always be turning to Christ daily". What did he mean? Many Christians will tell you "I got saved on such and such a day" no matter how their walk with Christ is today. Millions are risking their eternity as they have been told at some point they are saved simply based on a prayer they repeated. Do you believe that more people who believe they are saved will be lost or more people who don't know they are saved will be saved? Do you believe that those three souls who met eternity in Brandon would have appreciated being seriously warned the day before?

II Cor.5:11- Knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men...

Jesus warned us all " What should it profit a man if he gained the whole world and lose his own soul?". What our Lord was saying is clear, there is no more important pursuit than eternal life which is in Christ Jesus. Everything, including most of the church, is screaming "This Life!", when in reality that is a Satanic ruse constructed to set all of our eyes on ourselves which is humanism in its purist form. That is the wide gate that leads to eternal hell. Are we not frightened? Have we no fear? How many people have you dealt with lately that are afraid of winding up in hell? Everything is motivation, success, finances, energy, mind control, positive thinking, and the things of the Spirit are passé. The church world doesn't even believe in hell anymore, even the ones that have it as a tenant of their doctrinal statement. Look at the different churches, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Pentecostal, and all the other flavors of the evangelical Ferris wheel and drive your car to a different church for the next three months and park outside their front door on Sunday morning. As they leave the service do those people ever look like they are concerned with people going to a fiery eternity? What we do is what we believe, everything else is religious babble. There are people who live within walking distance of where you and I live who will die in some accident in the next three years and we sit and watch TV while they slide unsuspecting into eternal damnation. And do you believe as Wesley did, they might have been saved if they had been told. Even if you don't believe that do you believe that God still wants you to witness with Holy Spirit power and abandon? We all do, we all must. We, my friends, desperately need a fresh baptism of fire fresh from the same altar where the seraphim brought a live coal to Isaiah's lips and cleansed him.
The time for lukewarmess is gone and the time for earthly games is over. Away with this man centered "what Jesus wants to do for you" teaching and let us return to the Scriptural teaching of "what Jesus wants to do with you". The Lord of the Harvest wants to fill us with His Spirit but He cannot do that until we allow Him to empty us. Don't you long for more than the perfunctory and lethargy of our present "Spirit filled" lives??? We've defined being Spirit filled as avoiding the temptation to curse at the car that cut you off. What? How demeaning to the power of the Spirit. Some unsaved people don't curse and that's our measuring stick of being filled with the Spirit? Watch the lemmings enter and exit church buildings as predicable as the rotation of the earth. Read the book of Acts and are we not hungry as we watch the Spirit of God perform Christ exalting works of wide and varied natures. But read more carefully, they are always praying, fasting, and seeking God's face. Did God just do that for those early Christians or is He waiting for His people today to "humble themselves and pray, and turn from their wicked ways..." ? Like Samson, can we not cry out "only this once, O Lord" and then "stand still and see the salvation of the Lord your God!". Was the last of the cup of prayer and fasting consumed in the 1800's and is the cup empty now? No, never. God has said:

Is.41:17-18 - When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water an the dry land springs of water.
Lk.11:13 - If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?

Whoever is on the Lord's side must rise in full armor and "speak the truth in love". There is little time, and eternity now is preparing a soon coming day in which the whole world will meet at one final intersection. At that moment the things that are unseen will materialize and faith will become sight. How much that drives us now will matter then? As we try to change the moral ambiance of this world we are losing "sight" of the "unseen", and like construction workers sleeping while the sign that they should be holding that says "BRIDGE WASHED OUT" lies face down on the ground, we continue to shirk our clear commandment straight from the lips of the Redeemer Himself! Eternity stalks the entire planet, and I am convinced that if we could bring ten people back from hell, and give them another chance, their uncontrollable and single-minded message would seem abrasive and unsophisticated to us believers who are so enamored with this life. You see, they would have seen what we don't even wish to imagine. I am a nobody, but you have heard the truth...

Seeking Jesus II

Everything in the Scriptures is written for a reason. In Luke chapter 2(vs.41-51) there is an account of Mary and Joseph, as well as their 12 year old Jesus, leaving Nazareth and going to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. Only the men were required to go, but Mary made the pilgrimage as well (reminiscent of Hannah). The Feast itself lasted seven days, and the trip took approximately 2 long days from Nazareth to Jerusalem. As the entire large company left to return to Nazareth, Mary and Joseph accidentally left Jesus back in Jerusalem assuming He was with a relative. After a day's journey they realized their mistake and returned to Jerusalem to find Jesus. They found Him in the Temple asking and answering questions with the most learned theologians. They then returned to Nazareth together.

Lk.2:45 - And when they found Him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking Him.

Let's put the whole event in perspective against the general backdrop of today's experience both collectively and personally. Think about it. Joseph and Mary took TWO WEEKS every year and went to Jerusalem. Not as a vacation, not on a cruise to see the Holy Land, and not continuing to earn a salary while they were there. They lost two weeks of wages, and the journey was approximately 60 MILES of walking over hard terrain with no accommodations (bathrooms, showers, restaurants, walk in clinics, hotels). And the entire trip was spiritual, not sentimental. It was an incredible sacrifice unto Jehovah.
Which of us would do such a thing today? Which of us would take two weeks out of our year, sign over our paycheck to missions, and walk two days to and two days back from a secluded camping place to do nothing but seek God? No recreation or traveling, just seeking Jesus. We would all think we were being punished by God.
OK, now they have observed the Passover, and they are leaving Jerusalem without Jesus. Hmm...religious people leaving the church and leaving Jesus behind, does it bring up any present day parallels? Let us not assume that all the people that made that trip to Jerusalem were completely motivated by a desire to seek and please God, no, many had long since settled into a stagnant and cultural observance that Paul describes as "Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof". Look at today. So many "professing" (whatever that means) Christians continue to "go" to church, even give, maybe even serve in some capacity, yet their secret Spiritual life has long since died out and they are sadly just "going through the motions". Many, if not most, evangelical church goers have spent as much quite time in prayer and Scripture devotion this week as has Hugh Hefner (whoever he is). How do we know that? Because we all have experienced that on some level and we know that it is a war to remain intimate with our Lord and we do not sense the spirit of urgency among believers today about their devotional life!?

LK.2:46 - And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the Temple...

Now Mary and Joseph return to Jerusalem and they search for THREE DAYS. How many of us can claim we have searched for Jesus for three days? One Day? A half an hour? This three days just adds to their inconvenience, but they are motivated by their love for Jesus. Motivated by their love for Jesus? Whatever does that mean in today's Spiritual world? Excluding the "inconvenience" of getting up early on Sunday, where is the sacrifice? Food, clothing, money, sleep, entertainment? No, we believe today that God wants us to have all those things and that we are to give out of our abundance - never sacrifice. What do you think Mary and Joseph AND Jesus were doing on their way to Jerusalem? Praying, reading the Scriptures, and preparing their hearts for worship. What do we do before church? Most people barely make it to the building on time, much less pray, read the Scriptures, and prepare their heart for worship. So if we are not sacrificially preparing our hearts and seeking God early on Sunday mornings before corporate worship, can we assume that Sunday is an anomaly and Thursdays are better? Tuesdays? Saturdays?
The great preacher, Savanarola, refused to preach unless he was filled with the Holy Spirit. This would sometimes make the congregation wait and pray (good for them) before he would come out and preach. One time in particular he sent a deacon out to inform the people that he would not come out of his prayer closet until God filled him with the Spirit. The deacon dismissed everyone with prayer and asked everyone to pray. He told them that as soon as Savanarola came out he would call the church together. THREE DAYS later, the word was sent throughout the community, the preacher was coming out to preach. The church overflowed with believers and non-believers alike waiting to hear this "eccentric" preacher. As Savanarola preached the Word of God, the anointing of the Holy Spirit was so strong that believers repented, scores were saved, and revival broke out throughout the community for almost a year! (As a side note, Savanarola was martyred - by the Roman Catholic Church!)

Lk.2:48 - And when they saw Him they were amazed...

Mary and Joseph were amazed at the 12 year old Jesus. How amazed are they now, in 2006, while they bow before the risen Christ in worship and adoration? That's right, Mary and Joseph are right now worshipping their Lord and Savior! Do you ever wonder why we are moderately moved by worship in church, and when it's over we all return to our homes (Nazareth?), change our clothes, and return to our former lives unchanged? Because of the Industrial Revolution we have whittled Sunday morning down to a couple of hours of (in order of length of time) 1. Preaching - 2. Singing - 3. Bible study - 4. General talking - 5. Announcements - 6. Offering - 7. Parking - 8. Greeting - 9. Bathroom - 10. Prayer. The description out of the Son of God's own lips "My house shall be a house of prayer" must have been a cultural issue that is irrelevant today. I wonder what would happen if we all refused to leave the church building until we were filled with God's Spirit, and were AMAZED at Jesus? You know what? It might take THREE DAYS! But, sadly... we don't have that much time to donate to Jesus, we have places to go and people to meet and, anyway, I got up and came here, doesn't that count for anything?

No, I'm sorry, it doesn't. Your dog could come to the church building.

I truly believe that we have over the centuries lost what Jesus had planned for the church gatherings. Act chapter two clearly states that the early believers were "continuing daily" not just two hours a week. And in Acts 4:1 "Peter and John went up together into the Temple at the hour of prayer". They observed the Lord's Supper every Sunday, they ate together every Sunday, they learned doctrine every Sunday, they spent much time praising God every Sunday, and they spent a significant time in prayer every Sunday. And they gathered at the Temple many times during the week to pray and praise. So when we arrive at the building that we now mistakenly call "the church", and after two hours we meet up with others at a local restaurant and spend more time eating than we have praying, how can we genuinely expect the Lord to move in power in our midst? And we have even morphed into asking "How was the service" to which the usual answer is "It was good" followed by another question "What did he preach on? and the answer is whatever the topic was. And Monday morning arrives and everyone does the same thing they did last Monday morning and the community is oblivious to the fact that yesterday thousands of believers claimed to have met with the Creator which by any standard SHOULD CHANGE US. One hundred men and women attended the first church service on the Day of Pentecost and while in "prayer and supplication" they were changed by God's Spirit and THEY CHANGED THE WORLD. And today MILLIONS meet in church buildings and come out unchanged and unmoved and the whole process is indistinguishable from a crowd returning from a sporting event, a lot of people traveling back from where they came from looking, talking, and acting the same way they did when they went. Most of us know more Bible than the original one hundred and twenty ever knew but something is missing. Let's keep denying it and nothing will change. But if, by God's grace, we start a journey of repentance that "Brings forth therefore fruits meet for repentance" (John the Baptist) than maybe a Sovereign God would graciously fill us with the power of His Spirit and people would take notice that we "have been with Jesus".

Lord Jesus, it is almost an insult to ask you to help us seek You, but we are honest before You because You know all things. We love You but we are not "diligently seeking" You. You are the only One who "makes all things new" and we need a fresh visitation of Your transforming Spirit. People are changing You, dishonest preachers are using You, movements are leading people away from You, but we not only want to remain faithful doctrinally with Who You are as revealed only in Your Unchangeable Word, we want to SEEK YOU and to intimately "Know You in the power of Your resurrection and the fellowship of Your sufferings". Lord, never let us be satisfied with just having pure creeds, give us an insatiable thirst to FOOLOW HARD AFTER YOU, so that "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God".


Seeking Jesus

Matt.6:33 - Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness...
Col.3:1 - If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above...

Seek? Things above? What does the Holy Spirit mean by "seek"? What "things above" are we to seek? Well these deeply Spiritual questions require perspective to fully allow the Spirit of God to rend our hearts and fill us with His desire.
The second chapter of Colossians deals with the stale, perfunctory, and structured worship of Christ that some of the believers were practicing. Paul says that everything is nothing but a shadow and Christ is the substance, the reality. Here the Scriptures prepare a corrective teaching by showing that a life of structured earthly observances and habits is nothing before God our Savior. Translated into today's Christianity God is saying that doing the same thing every day; doing the same thing every Sunday; doing the same thing at night; going every week with little or no private devotion to the Lord Jesus but "going to church" on Sunday is worthless in God's sight.
How many believers have slumped into a tired and predictable walk before God that centers around work, relaxation, entertainment, and some religious activity. What are we seeking? What does it mean to seek? In Lk.15:8-9 Jesus tells the story of the woman that loses one of her ten silver coins "seeks it diligently till she finds it". Hebrews tells us that God "is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him". What does it mean to seek diligently? We understand what diligently means but what does it mean to diligently "seek"? If your dog got out and was lost how would you and I seek our dog? Would we go out if it was raining to look for him? Would we get in the car and go all over the neighborhood? Would we get up the next morning and go out and look again? If you still could not find him and you had to go to work would it be on your heart during the day and after work would you quickly go home and look again? Is that what it means to seek something that is precious to us?
Seek is different from just believe. Seeking emanates from a burning heart, a hungry Spirit. A hungry man goes into the kitchen and opens as many cabinets and as many refrigerator shelves as necessary in order to find something that satisfies his hunger. A Spiritually hungry man goes into the Spirit and continues to seek that which feeds his hunger and ministers to his burning heart, he cannot stop seeking, it is part of him. He seeks and finds, seeks and finds, it is a Spiritual cycle that both satisfies and creates new hunger. Are we seeking? Does this burning heart speak to us all day long? Do we come home knowing we must fulfill our earthly responsibilities, but inside we are hungry to get alone in the Spirit and seek, even if it means staying up late and laying aside the weights of this world?
Oh how our Father loves us to seek Him. Fasting, praying, the Word, meditation, and a burning, diligent heart that seeks the face of Jesus Himself. Let us be honest before our Lord, He has a theological place in our lives. Another words, we believe in Him but we do not seek Him. Even the religious part of our lives are mostly taken up with activities. Church going, singing practice, Bible learning, phone talking, internet ministry, and many other religious activities consume our Spiritual lives, which are all good, but not at the expense of seeking Him. The Scripture commands us to "seek those things which are above". What things? Angels? Gates? No, the things of the Spirit and primarily Him. Not just believing in Him, but diligently seeking Him. Consumed by His presence and being changed from glory to glory. It is possible to seek Him and experience His presence for an hour. I suggest an hour because it seems like a year in our fast pace culture that we so easily get caught up in and severely neglect the deeper life of "Thy face, Lord, will I seek" (Ps.27:8).
We live in the age of utilitarian Christianity which pursues, preaches, and teaches what God can do FOR you. We do not hear much about ministering TO the Lord, waiting ON the Lord, or seeking His presence. We spend more time in the car on our way to the church building than we do in deep, time consuming, seeking of Jesus Himself. As a matter of fact the church by and large does not even believe in deep, penetrating, time consuming seeking of God's presence and face. We believe in the omnipresence of God and that's good enough for us. We preach more than we pray; we study more than we pray; we sing more than we pray; we plan more than we pray; we fellowship more than we pray; we have lost the desire to seek God, but of course we have redefined the term so as to salve our conscious, haven't we? Maybe I'm wrong, maybe we are all spending quality time in our prayer closets seeking the very heart of our Savior. Maybe our inner beings groan and burn with a fire to meet Christ in a deeper and more intimate way and it is our time consuming passion. Maybe we have to find time to read about the burgeoning humanistic movements because we are so engrossed with seeking our Lord in personal prayer and worship. Maybe even church people think we've gone off the deep end because we can't get away from the invisible and powerful pull that keeps drawing us day and night to seek His face in new and boundless ways that have separated us from the pull of this world. Maybe we all are individually fasting and desperately begging God for a revival which now will come together and reveal our enormous Spiritual lives that nobody saw. Maybe...maybe not.
I speak from within the crowd as one who longs to go into deeper waters. I feel the pull, He feels the resistance. You know what, though? I truly believe I've reached a point in my life that I really don't care much about this world. Little by little by God's grace I can feel my inner man changing. All of it, from entertainment to sports to money, let it all fall by the wayside and let us seek our Majestic Lord and Savior and press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus! Seek Him - Seek Him. Close your eyes and feel the Spirit calling, "Come and dine". You will not spend that kind of seeking time with Him until you first hear the Spirit calling. Go ahead, keep making love to the "beggarly elements" of this world and like potato chips you can't stop. It will not materialize in our lives by "turning over a new leaf" or by making up our own mind to change. No, but if once, just once, you listen to the Spirit and He connects with your heart and you hear His call as a personal revelation, and if you will surrender by faith to that call, He will plunge you into a world that you can't even put into words, you and I will never - never - be satisfied with anything else but the "rivers of living water" that God will gush from our innermost being. Wow!
So go ahead, same old, same old. 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - same deal "since the fathers slept". Some are tired of the predictable Sunday morning marionette show manipulated by the organization of man. Well intentioned but dry as toast. We're no better. Let's get on our face, Spiritually and physically, and seek the face of God and tell God we aren't moving until we get even a little glimpse of His tangible Presence. Pursue Him like gold, search under His wings, and "look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal".

Lord Jesus, we've been in Martha's kitchen working for You but we've neglected You. Spirit of God, help us to release this passing world, remove our aprons and put on prayer shawls, and walk out of the kitchen and into the sacred room of Jesus' presence and sit at His wonderful feet, listening to every Word that proceeds from His mouth, inquiring in His Temple, awed by His Person, and diligently seeking to fully embrace our Savior and Lord, and transformed by the glorious reflection of our Master, Jesus the Christ.

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. Ps.27:4

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Our God Reigns

Is.52:7 - How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Oh yes, evil seducers wax worse and worse; homosexuality has become accepted; pestilence looms worldwide; wars and rumors of wars; the love of money captures hearts; men boast in themselves; and the gospel is so attacked from the left and diluted on the right. But never forget...Our God Reigns!

Ps. 146:10 - The Lord shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations.

I know, it's real bad. The entire world like a ship in a storm heaves from side to side and still men believe they can steady this ship of sin. The United Nations meets and fools give foolish speeches to other fools while fools interpret foolish words so all the fools can hear. Legislation is passed to control morality by some of the very immoral men who practice the behavior forbidden in the legislative paper that could best be used in parrot's cages. But never forget...Our God Reigns!

Ps.83:18 - That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth.

Judas, Pilate, Caesar, Herod, Mohammed, Buddha, Kahn, Alexander, Napoleon, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Hussein, and all the other human monsters that traversed through history wreaking havoc on the human race. The Spanish inquisition, the Black Plague, the Holocaust, Rwanda, Sudan, and massacres by the thousand both known and hidden have openly revealed the depravity of man. But never forget...Our God reigneth!

Is.24:23 - Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients gloriously.

The Word of God is attacked, burned, ridiculed, ignored, debated, mocked, changed, divided, modernized, culturized, doubted, blasphemed, misinterpreted, confiscated, outlawed, and debased. Jesus is ridiculed, camouflaged, feminized, humanized, cursed, banished, made relevant, made irrelevant, laughed at, scorned, blasphemed, and rejected. But never forget...Our God Reigns!

Ps.99:1 - The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble...

The rich get richer, the cults grow rapidly, hearts become cold, pleasure is sought, the wealthy fare sumptuously while Lazarus starves, the intellect is paramount, right is called wrong, wrong is called right, bigger and bigger barns, and even in the House of God entertainment rules, Christians seek and find themselves, excusing and accusing one another, truth vacillates, relevance is the supreme methodology, and the historic bedrock of church teaching has been cast upon the theological compost heap and replaced with a new, vibrant, and energy filled theology that carries with it a promise of a new day in Christ that will draw men to Jesus through the successful and monetarily blessed lives we live. And except for an ever shrinking pocket of believers the gospel has had an extreme makeover that the church fathers, the revivalists, and the reformers would pronounce "anathema maranatha". But never forget...Our God Reigns!

Ps.93:1-2 - The Lord reigneth He is clothed with majesty: the Lord is clothed with strength...Thy throne is established of old, thou art from everlasting.

What if one trillion spirits of anti-christ roamed the earth at will, and sin was not only practiced it was the law, and no one believed in even the existence of God. A million pedophiles out of control - indiscriminate murders by the millions - homosexual marriages by the millions - multiplied numbers of billionaires - violence against children - violence against women - violence against the elderly - violence against Jews. But never forget...Our God Reigns!

Ps.47:8 - God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of His holiness.

And in the end it will get incredibly dicey. There will be major discoveries in evolution by science, falsely so-called. There will be enormous miracles that cannot be disputed. There will be fearful signs in the heavens that men will translate into superstitions about God. There will be medical breakthroughs that claim can add many decades to our lives. There will be new and abundant forms of energy. There will be a global feeling of oneness and love that exposes anyone who disagrees as uncaring and archaic. Weapons that will surpass anything known heretofore will astound the imagination and create a constant fear which will be manipulated by powerful men. But never forget...Our God Reigns!

I Ch.16:31 - Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigneth.

All the religions will come to a deeper understanding, tolerance, and even unity in their quest to follow God in all his or her forms. The Bible will be thought of as wonderful and helpful literature as long as you retool many parts that bring it into modern times. They will make a new Scriptures that combine the Koran, the Talmud, the writings of Buddha, the writings of Confucius, the Apocrypha, the Book of Mormon, and yes, the Bible. Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, and Jesus will be considered as having the same message. And a man will arise who has an incredible sense of leadership and is all things to all men. He will be deeply loving and people will be drawn to him unexplainably. He will be very religious and will openly profess that God is our hope and God lives in all of us. The whole world will go after this man and he will be able to solve the world's greatest problems and bring all nations to an unparalleled unity. But never forget...Our God Reigns!

Mic.4:7 - And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion henceforth, even for ever.

The stars could fall from the heavens and the sun be extinguished but Jehovah would still reign! Every person could die at once and when the dust settled Satan could be sitting on a throne surrounded by every demon in hell but it would not slightly alter God's reign. How could that be? How could all these things take place and God still reign??? Oh yes, in all circumstances Our God Reigns. Just remember all the apparent evil victories are hollow illusions that can never move the immutable and glorious truth of the eternal Word of the Living God. We must never, ever trust our senses but wholly and forever trust the Word of God completely and exclusively. Our eyes can see lies as truth, our ears can hear deception as truth, our feelings can experience falsehoods as truth. The only unchangeable and everlasting truth is the Word of God no matter who says otherwise, no matter what appears before our very eyes, no matter what we hear as convincing, and in the end God and His Word will stand alone as the only unbroken chain of truth throughout all of history. And as history and the universe are both rolled up as a scroll, and the Lamb of God whose name IS the Word of God is the exalted center of everything forever, all those that are His will get down on one knee, then both, then as one we will stretch out with both hands before us in utter prostration and He will receive ALL the glory and all of heaven will proclaim that which was, is, and always will be true.


Rev.19:6 - And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I Pet.5:5 - ...Yea, all of you be subject one to another and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble.
Clothed with humility. What a phrase and what an exhortation. Not just humble but clothed with humility. How many of us are actually "clothed with humility" which is tangible to those around us? The word in the Greek is a combination that doesn't easily translate, suffice to say it full indicates the spirit of Phil.2:3 - ...but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.". This is very difficult when you consider our preference for ourselves, both overt and hidden. We are such despicable creatures to think anything of ourselves in the light of God's grace. But I have discovered something as I've perused the internet during the last year.
There seem to be such distinct pockets of Christian thought and truth. Not just slight differences of insignificant doctrine, no, these are major differences that impact the very dogma of the gospel itself. And I, being an old fashioned Armenian(if you don't know what that means don't worry about it) am drawn to most of the reformed writings because these new breed Armenians have long since discarded Wesley for a hedonistic, humanistic Biblical interpretation of the Christian life and the gospel itself. The falling away of the church has broken my heart and I not only do not feel comfortable with them, as you can tell from some of my writings I speak out against this worldly and selfish spirit. What we see today is a complete departure from most of church history and the study and meditation on the Scriptures is a thing of the past as well as any deep, meaningful prayer life. We have become Babylonians that reject the God of the Bible while still using lightly some of His vocabulary.
But I want to address something that has become more and more evident among the reformed(et. al.) group with which I feel so much more Scriptural kinship in spite of the free will difference. In these circles there is some wonderful and poignant warnings and Scriptural alarms that God is using to bring some sheep to rethink their positions and lifestyles. I have been so edified by the pleading about humanistic preaching, worldly music, compromised evangelism, careless lifestyles, unscriptural affiliations, and doctrinal tolerance of even heretical gospels and non-Christian religions. Most of what is addressed is so needed for millions to hear.
But one thing that seems to be missing in all of us is a substantive sense of humility. Being used of God as a "watchman" doesn't absolve us from realizing our own need of a deep and searching revival and surrender. When you visit many blogs you will notice that any devotional posts get the very least among of comments while the most vitriolic garner comments hot and heavy. Why? The despising of certain issues about the falling away elicit the deepest and most energetic reactions, while seeking the very face of the Savior through brokenness, prayer, and fasting are only rarely addressed. And so many seem to have it completely figured out even going so far as to disparage great men of God such as Wesley, Moody, Torey, Ravenhill, and their absolute favorite whipping boy Finney. Now there is no room for a "be careful of this theology", no, it is a complete and utter dismissal of all their ministries usually based on their unreformed theology. When one reads the incredible accounts of revival under Charles Finney they are either lies or wonderful moves of God's Spirit. Oh yes, when Finney left revivalism and delved into theology he was out of his calling and morphed into some crazy teaching, but that doesn't discount his ministry in the northeast that still bears fruit today. And his call to discipleship was one of complete surrender that at times was thoroughly legalistic, surely not liberal and bears no resemblance to today's evangelical world. This is one example of the exclusive spirit that sometimes prevails among some circles.
So OK, you can still retain Finney for your convenient figure of a heretic but let me ask you is there much addressing of the powerless state of the reformed movement? Why has this seeker/purpose/emergent spirit spread like wild fire? Where is the power in those of us who grieve over this departure from God's Word? We can hide behind our theology but the truth is who spends hours a day on our face before our Lord begging Him for power to intercede on His behalf? Where are the corporate prayer meetings that substantiate the fact that we really believe that God is our only hope? Why is there more announcements than prayer even on Sunday mornings? Where are the elongated seasons of fasting both personally and as believers together? We pat ourselves on our theological backs with our "high view of God" but that doesn't translate to a high view of prayer and fasting. Who among us is so disturbed by what is happening that we rise early and cannot fall asleep at night due to intercession. When was the last time you noticed someone (the preacher?) weeping uncontrollably over the sins of the people as well as theirs? Private tears of repentance? The entire world lies in the wicked one, headed for an eternal torture of unfathomable proportions, and we are tearless? And if we spent as much time in prayer as we do researching the internet would revival be possible? And in many, many ways we who by the grace of God have been awakened to the Spiritual departure, we are the most culpable. To whom much is given much is required and the creative, purpose driven, seeker sensitive, relevant, and culturally persuasive ministries seem to have more power (however human) than those who hold the truth. Do we have no brokenness? Are we so smug that the Spirit cannot hold the mirror of His convicting Word to our faces and instead of seeing Rick Warren we sometimes see us? Do we glory in the complete sovereignty of Almighty God or do we sometimes glory in the fact that WE believe in His sovereignty?
Much talk, and true, but little prayer. Is it time to call a solemn assembly? If our brothers were thrown in jail would the church find the power to begin to pray day and night as in Acts? Walk around the Biblical schoolhouse and visit the classrooms. Grace IV - full. Sovereignty IV - full. The Falling Away IV - full. What is Wrong with Anything IV - full. Biographies IV - full. Prayer 101 - there is plenty of room, it is an elective. Fasting 101 - you can audit this. Humility 101 - We no longer offer this course due to lack of interest.

Even in the face of obeying the calling of your Spirit...never let us stop seeking you preeminently to turn the bit in our own hearts to follow hard after you clothed in humility and energized by your grace alone.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Covenant Scars

II Sam.9:3 - And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show kindness of God unto him?

The story of Mephibosheth does not begin with King David and his compassionate invitation to this crippled son of Jonathan. As Saul watched David head out toward Goliath in the power of the Lord, he saw David slay that uncircumcised Philistine to the glory of God, and as David cuts off Goliath's head Saul inquires, "whose son is this youth?'.(I Sam.17:55) So Abner took David before Saul with Goliath's head still dripping in his hand and asks, "Whose son art thou?', and David still covered in blood and the anointing of God's Spirit replies, "I am the son of thy servant Jesse, the Bethlehemite". Now not long after David, by the power of God's might, had slain Goliath, Saul had heard people singing "Saul has slain his thousands but David his ten thousands" and envy had risen in his heart. From that moment on Saul sought David's life. But nothing happens by chance and nothing, I mean nothing, happens outside the watchful eyes of the Shepherd of the Universe. We surely don't know fully what will happen but we are commanded to keep our eyes on our Guide, our Shepherd, He has everything in His care and control. Saul is no match for the Heavenly Father and David is well taken care of under His shadow.

As Saul ordered everyone to seek David's (I Sam.19:1) life the Lord stirred up the love He had put in Saul's son, Jonathan, for David. Jonathan went to David and informed him of his father's plot. Oh yes, our allegiance is to God Almighty but sometimes Jesus Himself told us that there comes a sword in the midst of our families. When I came to Jesus, my family had major issues with my conversion. I attempted to be gracious, but my loyalty was totally to my Lord and Savior and not my family who I still loved. Jonathan, moved by God's Spirit, had befriended David and not only told him of the death plan, but Jonathan would watch his father and continue to communicate with David. Jonathan even convinced his father to give up his plan which would be temporary. So when Saul resumed his evil plan, Jonathan called his friend David into a field and it was there that Jonathan made a covenant with David. Now the Hebrew ceremony of covenant involved cutting the right wrist of both men and as they joined their wrists and mingled their blood the covenant was sealed.

Now Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth who had been dropped by his nurse as she fled during a time of war and he had been made lame. After Jonathan's death David asks his servant if there are any heirs of Jonathan's and his servant informs him of Mephibosheth. David immediately calls for him and as Mephibosheth bows before him David proclaims "he shall eat at my table". The King's table? Lowly Mephibosheth? Why? Maybe the kindness of David and maybe because his heart was after God. But there is a stronger reason. Picture Mephibosheth sitting down at David's side struck with awe and humility, he had never been in David's house much less eating at his table. King David looks deep into Jonathan's eyes and says, "Welcome my son, the son of my friend Jonathan, here, eat and be full from my hand". As David lifts the bowl and extends it to Mephibosheth his right wrist peeks out from his sleeve and there it is, the scar. What scar? The scar that remembers the covenant that was made with Jonathan by blood and an oath. It was this covenant that King David remembered when he called for Jonathan's son. Not just to feed him out the back stoop with the leftovers, oh no, he eats at that King's table. Because David had given his word and his blood and he was eternally in a covenant relationship with Jonathan and his descendants.

I want you to picture a King's table, not an earthly King, but a Royal King of Kings. Now this King has called for the lowly descendants of Adam who had been irrevocably crippled through their father's fall. He calls for them and those that hear His voice come and like Mephibosheth they bow in humility and unworthiness. Why would this King call for us? We are worthless and rebellious dogs who don't even deserve scraps, what does this King want with us? The King, with the voice of many waters, says, "Come and dine at My table!". How can it be? We cannot imagine such unbridled grace, glorious and without earthly reason. To be in His presence is unthinkable, but to dine at His table is past finding out. As we sit as His invited guests an angel loudly proclaims,
"Blessed are they which are called unto the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!".

The King looks at us and says, "Welcome my sons, I have desired to eat this supper with you from before the foundations of the world. And I, the Royal Bridegroom, take you as My Bride - Forever. Eat and be full from My hand." And as King Jesus hands the bowl to us his wrists peek out from the brightest of robes, and all of heaven look in wonder and amazement. The angels, the seraphim, the cherubim, Michael the Archangel, Gabriel the Archangel, and most of all us. You and I now see in person the scars that purchased this very Marriage Supper for us. There they are, our righteousness; our entrance way; our redemption; our only glory! I have a difficult time not thinking that at that moment the entire table will fall to its knees in worship before the Passover Wounds, scarlet and crimson, embedded forever in the Lamb so that forever we will remember that

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Betrayal

Lk.22:47-48 - And while He yet spoke, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?

Now no one believes Judas was a true believer. He is even called the "son of perdition" and after he committed suicide he wound up separated from God forever. What a tragic disgrace. Jesus had shown Judas amazing love and compassion. Judas had seen miracles and ridicule, and he had seen Jesus endure persecution without sin. He had heard deep and moving messages from God by God in the flesh. He had lived with the Son of God for almost three years and had felt His powerful love and His words of redemption, but in the end, Judas betrayed Jesus. Leading a mob he had led them to where Jesus prayed and had forever symbolically betrayed the Christ and sealed it with a kiss.
Betrayal is a deep wound of the heart. Many a person has known the emotional savagery that accompanies betrayal. A husband or wife. A son or daughter. A friend, a brother, a father, a mother, a preacher, a relative, someone that was trusted and even loved. It is one thing to feel the sting of someone's sin and even someone who we know and love. But betrayal is when someone sins directly against a person or persons who have loved and trusted them and most times they've sinned specifically with the treasure, whether emotional or material, that was given to them as a token of love and trust. What makes Judas' betrayal so striking is that he did it to the Lord Jesus Himself, delivering his shocking betrayal in person upon the stage of Christ's final prayer closet, and capturing its evil in an outward act of love, a kiss.
Let's remember, though, that Judas was never a true believer. His following of Jesus was based on a power trip mixed with a monetary self aggrandizement. To put it succinctly, Judas followed Jesus for what Jesus could do for him but he had never met Jesus Spiritually and in essence his whole life had been a betrayal.

But today there is an unfolding revelation of a monstrous betrayal that eclipses what Judas has done.

Judas never received eternal life. He never was filled with the precious Spirit of God; he never felt the infinite grace of God; he never had God's Holy Word in its totality; he never allowed God's redemptive love to gently capture him; he never was powerfully changed into a new creation; Judas never saw the cross as the complete sacrifice for his sins; Judas never experienced any of these, the most precious treasures of our Heavenly Father,...but we have.
We, the Bride of Jesus our Bridegroom, beautiful in His sight as He waits in heaven's glory for the Father's blessed direction to come and bring us to His eternal dwelling place, we are committing a monstrous betrayal. How could we? How could we walk away from our Beloved and go whoring after this wretched world? How can we have no time for Him and claim we're followers. Followers of what? Sports? TV? Careers? Houses? And here it comes, bow down in reverence, money - the Queen of earth. Give her our time, robe her with our joy, honor her with our thoughts, adorn her with our appetite, divorce in her absence, exalt her with our buildings, worship her in daycares, bless her with our worry, and now watch her as she regally strolls down the church aisle, ascends to the platform, and reigns from the pulpit in all her splendor. She knows exactly what her subjects want to hear and she doesn't disappoint their anxious ears. "God wants to bless you, it is why He exists", she begins. "So ask this rich jesus into your heart, clean out your baskets, and get ready for material blessings that will satisfy all your lusts". She continues as the congregation is riveted, "God wants all of you to be Abraham, not Paul. Joseph of Arimathea, not Stephen. Solomon, not Jesus. God wants to collect a small entrance fee and then all of you can have me and I will make you happy".
The evangelical church that lives in America is actively and openly betraying her wonderful Savior. Cults by the hundreds. Mormons, Jehovah's Witness, Christian Science - birthed right here. But the monstrous betrayal that is unfolding before our eyes is the taking of the cross of Christ, and like ravenous vultures, picking what we want from His suffering frame and leaving the rest. We don't want sacrifice, we don't even want moderation. We don't want hours of agonizing prayer meetings as if someone was bound for hell. Throw about a half an hour of worship on Sunday at the Savior and shout, "Take it or leave it!". We have not just secretly and discreetly committed adultery against our Lord, no, we have brought our harlot into our Lord's house, dressed her in religious clothes, carried her into the bedroom, and told ourselves "This is what God wants, He gave me this cultural whore to enjoy! Praise His name!". And pimps by the thousands stand behind pulpits, take your money, and give you the whore of your choosing. You want success? Take her, she's yours. You want health? She is dying to meet your needs. You want self esteem? Go ahead, ravage her. You want purpose? Undress her where you stand. You want a makeover? She's ready when you are. You want financial blessing? Look no further than the cross. You've mistaken it for a place of sacrifice, but look a little further and see it's a Christmas tree ornamented with as many $100 bills as you can pick off, try to avoid the blood stained ones, they're a little tacky.
A little strong? You wait until we all stand before the absolute Holy glory of the Risen Lamb of God Almighty and at that first moment my words will seem tepid, and I myself will feel as if I was watering it down. I already know I'm not completely surrendered. We will immediately realize we had been playing games with our Lord and King for our own comfort and pleasure.
Revival, please Lord, revival. For your glory alone.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Messenger - Saved From Hell

Joseph's eyes were already opened when he at once began to see through them. The harmonic sound of a wonderful worship song filled his ears and immediately he was acclimated to his surroundings, he was in the middle of a Sunday morning church service and they were singing "Worthy is the Lamb" as an offering of praise to Jesus. Suddenly all the hours, days, months, and years of torture came up before him and he was overwhelmed with a sense of the presence of his Lord and Savior Jesus Himself who had just moments before delivered him, saved him, and placed him among this gathering of believers. The song went along, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain" and as he sung that chorus over and over he began to enter further into an uncontrollable gratefulness which led him to start to openly and loudly shout "halleluiah's" toward heaven and directed at the Lord Jesus Himself. Images like an out of control slide show were passing through his mind and heart - the darkness of hell against the light of heaven; the hideousness of Satan against the beauty of Jesus; pain indescribable against joy unspeakable; eternal damnation against eternal life; despair, despair, despair verses hope, hope, hope. He fell to his knees in the church aisle just as the ushers reached him, and as they attempted to escort him from the service he just kept shouting "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for me! Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for me!".
It was like a blur as he ended up being led into the parking lot. But every time Joseph tried to regain some composure the open torture of the Lamb of God on the cross would again crystallize in his heart and mind and he would fall to his knees beside his car crying out in brokenness and adoration, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for me!". As the ushers threatened to call for an ambulance he finally assured them he was alright, it is just that "You wouldn't understand". As he drove away he pulled around the corner, parked the car, and began to sob uncontrollable tears of joy and freedom. Only he could ever know what he was experiencing having been set free from the deepest and darkest captivity a soul could ever know. A Scripture burst into his heart, "When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with singing, then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them". Through tear filled eyes he lifted his head and sang "Praise God from whom all blessing flow, Praise Him all people here below, Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts, Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost".
It took about two hours before Joseph finally could calm down and stop shouting praises to his Savior, but after all didn't the heathen once shout, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians" for two hours? This was no dumb idol, this was the King of Kings! The Lord had arranged everything for Joseph and he somehow knew where his house was and who his friends were. It was if he had stepped back into a life he knew even though it was brand new. As he entered his living room he fell to his knees again in prayer, begging and entreating God for divine direction as he set out to be nothing more and nothing less than God's messenger. He had a personal testimony that would be between him and the Lord, but by God's grace he had some personal experience which God would use to resurrect the eternal truths of His Word that had grown dead and stale to even God's people. As he labored in prayer it became clear that even though he had experienced the fires of hell, he was just beginning his relationship with the Lord Jesus. He had a lot to learn and much studying to do in God's Word in order for him to be most effective and glorify his Deliverer on earth. Fasting and prayer, fasting and prayer, and as the day closed Joseph put his head on his pillow and drifted off into a much needed rest.
In the morning, as Joseph opened his eyes, he again acquainted himself with the Spiritual reality of his escape from hell and the message he wanted desperately to spread as quickly as possible. He once again spent some time in prayer and adoration, and he felt led to start memorizing this Word. It was Monday morning, where should he begin to share the unction he had burning inside him? The church, that's where he would begin. As he pulled up to the same parking lot he had left just yesterday he noticed several cars already there. They must be here for prayer, he thought, but as he walked toward the office doors he could see some activity inside the church building.
"Good morning", said the cheery receptionist. "Hello, I would like to see the Pastor".
"Oh, I'm sorry, the Pastor usually doesn't come in on Mondays, is there something I could help you with? Perhaps the Associate Pastor?"
"Sure, OK. Thank you".
Joseph was led down the hall to the Associate's office and he introduced himself. He was very friendly and even recognized Joseph as the man that had to be escorted from yesterday's service.
"Well, I'm sorry about that but you have to understand I just became overwhelmed with praise for the Savior that has saved me from hell. Do you really understand what hell is and the everlasting punishment that is taking place as we speak?".
"Of course", said the Associate.
"Well excuse me for saying this but how can you be so subdued if you really know what Jesus delivered you from and what others are facing? Is the burning building across the street more real than hell to you and me, and if it is, how do we know we really believe it?
"Well", said the Pastor, "I believe the Bible teaches it, it is clear from the New Testament".
"You know what, sir", observed Joseph, "I believe you do believe the Bible teaches it. But do YOU believe it?"
"Yes, I do".
"Then prove it to me. Prove it by your actions that you believe that there is a literal, burning hell where people right this second are being tortured beyond our ability to fully comprehend, and that there are people, friends, relatives, and strangers all over this town that are on their way to that place forever - FOREVER - never able to escape. Now what have you done this past week that someone could say your behavior approaches substantiating your belief in that place?"
"I witnessed once", he replied almost apologetically.
"You witnesses once, that's it? So if the burning building across the street still had six people inside you would feel that telling one of them in a calm, systematic, and non-confrontational approach would prove you believed that house was on fire and there were precious people inside who needed to run for their lives, after all, you shared that with one of them? And do you think that kind of behavior would convince those inside who were still unaware of their predicament that what you said was true?"
"I guess not, if you put that way".
"Well how else should I put it? There is no other way to put it! Don't you see, the millions of Christians that stream into worship centers like yours DON'T ACTUALLY BELIEVE IT EITHER - AND IT IS HORRIBLY - HORRIBLY TRUE!! My advice to you, sir, is take your Bible, get alone with God, and ask Him to light a fire of true faith that will actually show the glory of God in your life. Don't let Him go until HE CHANGES YOU!!!"


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Messenger - I

I would like to preface this next series of writings with an explanation. For several years I have from time to time been prompted by the Holy Spirit concerning a question that the Lord used in my own life as well as give a perspective on the Spiritual condition of His church. I do not claim to have any apostolic insight, nor do I claim, God forbid, to be anything special aside from the grace of God. But this is a serious fictional story based on Biblical truth but incorporating a hypothetical that I believe will impact those of us who dare to meditate on its implications.

Lk.16:30 - ...but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

In Luke 16 the Lord Jesus tells of a story about a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. Lazarus ends up in Abraham's bosom which we understand to mean heaven, and Lazarus winds up in a place of torment which we understand to mean hell. Now the rich man's desire and petition to Abraham was to send Lazarus to his house and witness to his five brothers so they would not wind up in hell. After Abraham tells him that his brothers have Moses and the prophets, the rich man despairs because his brothers obviously won't listen to them. The rich man then says something both prophetic and revealing, he tells Abraham that they would believe someone who resurrected from the dead, an obvious reference to the Risen Jesus. Abraham rightly explains that they won't even believe that witness.
Now I have wondered what would a person be like in this earth if he was allowed to come back from the dead. Take this vision a little further, what would someone be like if after he had spent 50 years in hell, God pulled him out and gave him another chance? And upon the first moment free from hell this person immediately placed his faith entirely on the Lord Jesus and became a follower of Christ, but he retained his memory of the place called hell. I want to explore the convicting possibilities about what this person would be like here on earth after being given a chance to escape hell after enduring it for 50 years not expecting to ever be released.
Think about what his life would consist of in light of the memory of this unimaginable place of torment. Would these relevant sermons that appeal to the fleshly desires of this life minister to him? How would he feel about the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? So consider this little fictional narrative as a sort of a parable surrounding the life of a man called Joseph.
It was July 19, 1956 and Joseph passed away at 9:18 P.M. due to a sudden and massive heart attack. Without a mental process and without any conscious transition, Joseph's awareness was instantaneously transferred from the natural to the world of eternity. Now without adequate correlating senses and experiences that are easily translated into human communication, his journey must be described with earthly terms, but let no one be misled, his 50 year passage to the second death was more real than anyone can go through on this earth. The instant Joseph opened his eyes after being separated from his body of flesh he instinctively recognized where he was - hell. It seemed he had unlimited recollection and recognition which far surpassed his capacity on earth and he quickly felt an unorganized myriad of emotions. Fear, hopelessness, helplessness, and a perfect sense of pain that kept him on the edge of unconsciousness yet he never could pass out. Writhing in a supernatural distress which brought about voluntary and involuntary screams, foreign to his memory but seemed native to this environment, but delivered absolutely no comfort and, in fact, those around him screeching out the same desperate howls only added to the entire atmosphere of tangible panic. Two thoughts intertwined his mind - this cannot go on forever - and - this will last forever. The ever present sense of falling kept him reaching out for something, anything to stabilize him, and yet it was absolutely black. Burning, burning, burning. How could he keep burning with such intensity without being consumed?
He could make out billions of different voices in the pitch black torment with each and every damned soul screaming with vibrating intensity no matter how timid they may have been in life. Some were yelling with remorse and some were calling for mercy. Some hollered that there must have been some mistake and some were calling on God. Many millions were cursing and blaspheming and billions called on Allah to save them while tormented demons laughed in wicked taunting. Millions cried out that they had a chance and others cursed their relatives who never warned them. He heard demons preaching mock sermons about a thousand different earthly subjects and then they would laugh and remind them where those sermons got them. "You all are great successes and very prosperous now, aren't you", yelled out Lucifer himself. All the while Joseph himself was in such pain and fear he could hardly remain attentive to what was happening because of the total panic and distress pulsating through this new cursed body he now had. And the overarching and inescapable reality that was present with him at every moment was that he was here FOREVER.
He wished a thousand times a second for his death but it only added to his hopelessness, and the futility of everything permeated every single moment as it did everyone else. Filled with the most unsatisfied and vicious hatred for everything he writhed inside and out. And after all these experiences and a million other horrors, he was excruciatingly teased by one demon who reminded him that "You've only been here five minutes!". Now this revolving cycle of torture, pain, and anguish continued unabated for fifty years. For fifty eternity filled years Joseph experienced the death bed of God's wrath and punishment - without dying. Relentless. Powerful. Damnable. The ever burning fires of God's wrath continually stoked to insure there was no vacillation in the intensity of the glorious retribution from the Everlasting Holiness of the Lawgiver and profoundly executed upon the "vessels of wrath".
Now after fifty years had passed with Joseph tormented beyond what could have ever been believable to men still in the world, God decide to allow this one man to have one more chance to place his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, be rescued from this awful place, and return to earth for ten more years as a witness before being taken to heaven forever. Of course, given the slightest opportunity, Joseph immediately placed his entire life upon the Lord Jesus Christ and he was born again. It is against this personal history that we now join Joseph as he is given ten more earthly years, born again now, but retaining the memory of the last fifty years in the place we know as hell but he once knew as home.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Year of Jubilee

Lk.4:18-19 - The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.


If we could study for a billion years about the Spiritual correlation between the earthly Year of Jubilee given to Israel in Leviticus 25 and the Spiritual Year of Jubilee embedded in the person of Jesus our Lord we would only scratch the surface of the glories of His eternal grace. Every seventh year Israel was commanded not to plant or harvest or do any work for their earthly sustenance, and God promised that what they would harvest on the sixth year would cover them for two years by His provision alone. Just as they had not been allowed to gather manna on the seventh day and God still was faithful in His provision, here they would be taken care of by Jehovah-Jireh without even the help of man. The Lord God would prove over and over to them, their children, their enemies, and the whole world that there "is no God like Jehovah".
Can you imagine the conversations around the table of Godly families during that seventh year? The father might ask his oldest son, Son, who provided this bread that we are eating tonight. We did not harvest any grain, where did it come from?". And the oldest son would answer with confidence in front of all his siblings, "The Lord God has provided for all of us, Father". The Father turns to his youngest son and inquires, "Son, why did God provide for us in this way?". The youngest son straightens up and says with a squeaky voice, "The Lord provided for us because we obeyed His Word that we should not work on this seventh year". And the Father goes on, "So when Abraham went to sacrifice his son Isaac, did he know God would provide a ram instead?". "No", said the Father's daughter. "But God knew and Abraham trusted God", she testified. "Last question", said the Father, "So do we have to see the seventh year's harvest before we know the Lord God will provide?".
"No!", shouted the entire table, "We can trust the Lord our God to always provide for us!". "Amen", finished the Father.

Now the cycle of the seventh year was observed for seven times until the 49th year. On the 48th year God had promised to bring a harvest that would provide for two more consecutive years, the 49th and the 50th. This 50th year was called the Year of Jubilee and sometimes referred to as the Acceptable Year of the Lord. In this year not only would God provide food for the family miraculously from His mighty Hand, but He commanded other things to be observed. On that 50th year all property that had been purchased during the previous 50 years was returned to its previous owner. All the debtor's prisons were opened and the captives set free. All loans that were not paid off were to be forgiven. The principle was that all bondages were to be broken and there would go throughout the nation a permeating sense of liberty that cause great joy and thankfulness.
But here in Luke Jesus opens the Scripture and proclaims that the Acceptable Year of the Lord is fulfilled in THEIR ears on THAT day. They must have wondered what could He have possibly meant. Jesus not only came to bring in the year of jubilee, He WAS the Year of Jubilee. As a side note, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Liberty"(II Cor.3:17). The Holy Spirit brings liberty in Jesus Christ and the Scripture declares that "the Lord IS that Spirit"(II Cor.3:17). By the way, how many days after the resurrection did the Holy Spirit come? Fifty.
When a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ and becomes His follower he is immediately inhabited by the Holy Spirit. The Scripture plainly declares that "he who has not the Spirit" is none of His, so all true believers are inhabited by the Spirit Himself which in a eternal mystery is Jesus Himself. This means freedom from the justice of an angry God. Our debt has been paid, our crimes forgiven and we are set free from sin's eternal prison. We get so callous sometimes that we lose the "Christmas morning" joy that should grip our souls every time we pause to again realize we have been made free. And "He who the son sets free is FREE INDEED!". Have you ever seen a movie where a prisoner who has spent the better part of his life behind bars takes his first step through the gates to freedom and he draws a deep breath of exhilaration and exclaims "I'm free!". It's the same air but it's a different spirit in his mind and heart. Take a deep breath, if you are in Christ you are free from the penalty of sin - FOREVER. None of this purgatory nonsense, God doesn't play games with the power of His Son's blood, we are eternally free!
And we are not free because we craftily found a way around our sentence. We didn't talk our way out of it or plead ignorance, oh no, we were caught absolutely dead to rights with all the evidence for the entire universe to examine and we felt ourselves justified in our actions. The vilest of creatures who trampled on the holiness of God, we deserved a billion hells. The angels probably thought us to be the worst of all God's creations, after all, we were made in the Father God's image and we had taken His image and dragged it through the filthy rags of our own disgusting self righteousness and as a race did open despite unto the Spirit of grace. But now as believers we were free. I said as "believers". Not climbing up St. Peters on our knees; not by feeding the poor; not by giving money; not by obeying the ten commandments; not by Baptism, fasting, communion, church membership, not by self flagellation, not by a trillion of the most self sacrificing, loving, and well intentioned good works. No, simply by repenting of all that and bowing our hearts and placing our entire faith on the Lord Jesus Christ we are now free.
And now I am a debtor of love. All my sins have been paid for through the complete sacrifice by God's own Son and I owe nothing. I will never owe anything...EXCEPT...I willingly owe Jesus Christ my life and I am a prisoner of His love to me and my love for Him. It is a love that the world can never understand and they sometimes mock. It is a prison without bars and without a warden. Actually it is a prison unlike anything the devil can ever offer. Sumptuous meals, heavenly accommodations, warm in winter, cool in summer, open sunlight, clothes of white, enjoyable labor, divine reading material, and a death sentence followed by a life sentence. The door is never shut but I would never think of leaving, for I am His forever and grateful to be His prisoner. And oh yes, there is one thing about my cellblock that surpasses all else:

He is here with me always, even unto the end of the world.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

You Must Be Born Again

Jn.3:3 - ...Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

A definite and non-compromising statement straight from the lips of the Incarnate Word of God Himself. Jesus did not say you must be white, or you must be black, or you must be red, or you must be yellow. He did not say you must be intelligent, or you must be uneducated, or you must be heavy, or you must be skinny. The Lord did not say you must be Baptist, or you must be Catholic, or you must be Hindu, or you must be Muslim. He did not insist that you must be rich, or you must be poor, or you must be successful, or you must have a great heritage, or you must have a humble beginning. Jesus did not insist that you must be an American, or you must be an African, or you must be a Jew, or you must be a Gentile. He did not say you must be a Democrat, or you must be a Republican, or you must be an independent. He did not say you must be good, or you must follow the law, or you must have a good heart. He didn't say you must know Greek, or you must know Hebrew, or you must be a Biblical scholar. He did not say any of those things as an indispensable qualification for seeing the kingdom of God.

But He DID say that you MUST be BORN AGAIN. He did not say that being born again is the best way, or the easiest way, or the hardest way. It is the only way to see the kingdom of God. Of course Nicodemus asked in disbelief, "How can a man be born when he is old?". Jesus then makes the distinction between the fleshly, earthly birth and the Spiritual, heavenly birth. The sinful and prideful heart of man has a hard time understanding the difference between the works of man and the work of God. The church over the last two millennia has attempted to mesh and blend the two. Some have said, "You must be baptized to be saved". Others, "You must speak in tongues to be saved". "You must be good to be saved". "You must join the church to be saved". And on and on go the list of grave clothes disguised as "good works" that man has used to try and please God enough to let us into the kingdom of God, all of which are nothing more than outward proofs of our sinful depravity that have kept us from entering God's kingdom since the moment Adam put the forbidden fruit to his lips. Feed the poor, assist the sick, care for the widows, take in the orphans, and all the other stereotypical boy scout badge achievements not only do not qualify anyone to enter the glorious kingdom of Almighty God, they do not even help in any way. There are NO good works of man at all when it comes to pleasing God. You cannot go around what the Savior Himself proclaimed, "You must be born again.".

So, if we must be born again to get to heaven, the kingdom of God, would it not seem imperative that the followers of Jesus Christ, who have been born again, teach and preach this truth boldly, clearly, and without compromise? Then why has this term and teaching been relegated as a fringe issue in ecclesiastical circles? Ask the average church member what does "born again" mean and listen to what people will tell you. You will get a array of earthly answers that usually center on "accepting" Jesus as Savior, and usually the "sinner's prayer" is the vehicle that people will claim got them born again. OK, now I recognize that by God's grace He can and does sometimes use less than theologically perfect presentations of the gospel message, and there are people who do get born again when responding to an "accept Jesus into your life" invitation. Nowadays He almost has to since the born again message is a Biblical museum piece, outdated and non-relevant. But there is something that should concern us all that is in concert with the continuing slide of the clear gospel message, and that is the incredible changeless and fruitless professions that are routinely accepted as genuine "born again" experiences.

The Biblical models of the born again conversions are people like Peter, John, Matthew, and Paul. Sinners whose eternities were miraculously changed, and the change was substantiated by the outward revolutionary changes that happened to their outward lives. And what was the reason for these changes? When a person is convinced that they are sinful and will not see God's kingdom, and when by the Spirit of God they are awakened to the fact the Jesus paid for their sins upon a cross, and through God's gift they believe that Jesus is their Lord and Savior and they set out to follow, obey, and worship Him forever, they are at that moment inhabited by God Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit. Now usually this new born believer does not understand all the theological truths of what has happened to him, but one thing he does know is that "once I was blind but now I see!". When I was born again in 1975 I could not have explained to you in precise Biblical terms what had happened, but I knew that Jesus was my Lord and Savior and that I would never be the same again. Yes, I knew that I was going to heaven one day, but the immediate reality was that I was not the same, I was changed. I was not going to a church at that time. I had become a follower watching television and subsequently committing to follow Christ on a mountain overlooking New York City.

I suddenly wanted to read the Bible, and since I had no guide I bought a King James Bible and would read the words in red because I knew they were the words of Jesus. I started to pray and especially for the lost relatives I lived with. I wanted to listen to Christian radio, and back then I would listen to a man just read the Scriptures. I wanted to know other Christians and find a church. Not long after my conversion I gave up smoking, I stopped going to the movies(can you imagine?), no cursing, of course no drugs or immorality, and I became consumed with testifying about Jesus and what had happened to me. I was by no means perfect, just as I am far from perfect now, but what I am saying is I was changed, I was born again.

Someone once asked D.L. Moody if he could only preach on one verse what would it be? He replied, "You must be born again". They asked him why and he said "Because you must be born again!". Where is the desire for God's Word in the lives of people that claim they are saved. It has to be an organized, creative, relevant, and an exciting discussion of a part of the Bible for some to even stay awake. The days of people reading and meditating on His precious Word in private are for the most part in the past. And the church has to have a big, widespread "Baptism Day" in order to entice people to come and be baptized camouflaged by a host of others so they won't feel embarrassed. Prayer? The average church doesn't even have a weekly prayer meeting but they have a class on finances. Most of the new "converts" hardly pass the "turn over a new leaf" test, much less being born again. Oh there was a time in the church when a person's life was dramatically changed when he became a follower of Jesus Christ. There was a time when a preacher would call for a person to "forsake all and follow Christ".

The numbers are growing, the commitment is dwindling. I can only say to those "evangelical" mobs that live in pleasure, love questionable entertainment, enjoy the upbeat, flesh stroking "messages", but never weep, never read, never pray, never witness, never sacrifice, never fast, and whose lives are absolutely consumed with being an American earthling -



Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Spirits of Antichrist

II Jn.7 - For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This a deceiver and an ANTICHRIST.
I Jn.4:3 - And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the spirit of ANTICHRIST, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
I Jn.2:18 - Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many ANTICHRISTS; whereby we know that it is the last time.

There is coming, and maybe is alive today, a man who is called the Antichrist. But never think that until he comes the spirits of antichrist do not roam the earth deceiving millions, who deceive others, who all lose their souls. I believe that when the Antichrist(man of sin, son of perdition) reveals himself, he will be inhabited by Lucifer himself, who actually is THE Antichrist.
Antichrists are spirits. They are strong and deceptive spirits that emanate directly from Lucifer himself. These spirits are not sent to tempt men to lust, or steal, or lie, or any other sins of the flesh. No, these demonic spirits are sent to attack the core of our faith. They blaspheme the Son of God Himself, and they attempt to subtly lead men to embrace a loving, caring, wise, rich, but false christ. They are intelligent and love to seduce the mind of men, which man idolizes. If they can't get men to outright reject the true Jesus, they lead them to create, from their own well meaning designs, new oxcarts in which to present the true Christ. In so doing we have created a host of followers of the oxcart and not followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now if you are wondering about the oxcart reference, read II Samuel chapter 6 and see that God had commanded His ark to be carried by the Levites with stakes, above the earth, not on an oxcart no matter how well intentioned. The obvious analogy is that we must present the Lord Jesus with the stakes of His own Word, and not the earthly oxcart of "enticing words of man's wisdom"(I Cor.2:4).
Let us not kid ourselves, these spirits are extremely vicious and their goal is to spread a theological venom that kills the soul and enlarges the mouth of hell. They operate without much opposition in this present world, and since the church by and large has long since stopped "trying the spirits" they have infiltrated the church. Like a chess match gambit they sacrifice activities, buildings, growth, popularity, and other facets of many evangelical churches to concentrate on their primary target - THE MESSAGE! They present themselves as conservative politicians, relevant preachers, ecumenical priests, false prophets of the health and wealth movements, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Christian Scientists, Moonies, and thousands of other insidious movements that unknowingly espouse "doctrines of devils". Many of whom "promise them liberty", but in so doing we now have an incredible mixture of professing believers whose love for the things of this world engulfs any real Spiritual appetite for cross bearing sacrifice, and whose time is spent primarily on getting and enjoying things at the expense of getting alone with the Master and Savior they verbally profess. Most professing believers spend more time going to the bathroom than with Jesus. And to add to the heart breaking scenario, Jesus still waits and calls for us with an unrequited love.

I Tim.3:13 - But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

When you examine all the categories I mentioned concerning these spirits of antichrist, what common thread emerges? They all have changed or watered down the Scriptures and furthermore they don't even realize it. That's the nature of deception. They are deceived and are deceiving others, teaches the apostle Paul. And immediately following that statement Paul teaches Timothy(and us) the preeminence of Scripture in verses 15-17.

I Tim.3:15-17 - And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Tampering with the Scriptures, and by connection Jesus who IS the Word, is the spirit of antichrist. These spirits go throughout the world whispering the serpent's question "Hath God said?". Now we have seen the obvious work of these seducing spirits in the cults and the denominations that have wandered from believing the Word of God, but there is an emerging group of believers who are becoming alarmed at the deception that now has a foothold in evangelical churches. Some of these people and preachers love Jesus, but they have been deceived into believing that you bring God's Word down to your life instead of your life up to God's Word. They take "their audience" into focus as they prepare their message, contouring their words to go out in the parameters of the culture, rather than adhering to the only admonition they have from the Lord - PREACH THE WORD. This movement in its many shapes is mostly heralded by young preachers who have little or no historical reference points by which to compare and test the Scriptural direction of their method, however sincere. In today's ecclesiastical community, Moody, Finney, Calvin, Wesley, and most of the former men of God would never be called to pastor one of these churches. Their messages would not minister to our American culture.
Let me humbly explain generally how it works. Hypothetically a lost person asks " Do you mean Jesus is the only way to heaven? I don't believe that.". The relevant preacher answers, "Yes, but you don't see the whole picture. Jesus can help you with your life. Money problems, marriage problems, addictions, Jesus can help you with all those problems in your life. Now, do you want to accept him into your life?" And many times the lost person replies "OK", and then is led in a prayer. No mention of sin, repentance, judgment, hell, followship, or count the cost. And to top it all off, after the man mumbles a "sinner's prayer", we immediate assure him of his eternal destiny. On the basis of a few repeated sentences we speak for the Holy Spirit and pronounce him "saved". Wow. And we criticize the priest for pronouncing the person "forgiven" in the confession booth. I know because I am guilty of it, and I know I will see people at the Great White Throne judgment who, as they are cast into the lake of fire, will be able to look at me and say "You told me I was saved!".
Now I know that is an oversimplification, but I believe it accurately depicts much of the way Jesus and His salvation is presented. And we are so used to it we do not even recognize the breathtaking deception inherent in such a witness. I have many, many times used a similar presentation to lost people both one on one and in the pulpit for the expressed purpose of getting people to "get saved". I have come to believe that this is the spirit of antichrist at work and I also reject any spirit of self righteousness that Lucifer wants me to embrace. The only, and I mean THE ONLY, reason I see any truth is by God's grace. Left to my own devices I would have, in the words of the father in Mary Poppins, "a ghastly mess!".
My heart is heavy both for the growing deception I see and the indictable disproportion between what I see and the dearth of appropriate Spiritual repentance on my part. I really believe the massive, attractive, insidious, and organized deception of the spirits of antichrist cannot be overstated. They have been dispatched to cover the earth with the admonition from Lucifer "Hurry, our time is short". You might think that this is some kind of melodramatic fiction, but it is more real than you and I could ever imagine, and these spirits by the tens of millions are everywhere. They will be in the church you go to this Sunday no matter where you go. "How come I never hear about them"? Because preachers don't even know they are there! Charismatics see demons under every rock and Baptists don't see any, all while the inconspicuous angels of light move around undetected. I also contend that no one can see the full extent of what is happening, and we are all under some of the unseen influence of this last days assault. Here is what I believe these spirits are trying to accomplish in those who DO see a Scriptural shift:

They try and create a spirit of superiority. There are being somewhat successful.
They get us to talk a lot more than pray. They are being enormously successful.
They get us to feel antagonistic to other believers. They are being successful.
They get us to disproportionately look at others and not ourselves. They are being enormously successful.
They get us to read the Scriptures looking for more evidence to substantiate our contentions rather than for personal reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. They are being enormously successful.
They get us to sacrifice the love of God on the altar of truth. They are being successful.

Oh yes, these spirits of antichrist are working ever minute of every hour of every day. How many hours of every day are we praying? You don't think you are deceived? That in and of itself is a layered deception. Here is a challenge that I have agreed to let the Lord do in my life. For the first month of 2006 I want the Holy Spirit to completely cleanse me of "all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord"(II Cor.7:1). There are four things that must happen for the Lord to be able to do that in my life. First, I must sacrificially set aside hours to pray. Early, late, whatever time. It has to be daily and sacrificially(which means cutting way down on entertainment, etc.). Secondly, I must consume the Word, sacrificially. I have read the entire book of Philippians in less than 1/2 hour and so can you. That's just a glimpse into what I should be able to consume daily. Thirdly, I must fast. Jesus, OUR MASTER, said that after He went back to His Father we should fast. We should - we must - I must. Can you guess what the fourth thing is? My tongue. The Scripture clearly teaches that whoever doesn't control his tongue, his religion is useless. Hopefully the first three will give the needed power to accomplish the fourth.
I never want to get to the place that as God opens my eyes to the deception of the spirits of antichrist in others, I neglect to see that in me! So let us continue to expose these wicked spirits as they infiltrate the church, but at the same time let us lay ourselves on the altar of Almighty God and under the mighty Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, may we die to anything that is not Christ and daily rise to newness of life.

May our Savior break open the alabaster box of our lives and permeate the kingdom of this darkness with the saving fragrance of His Dear Son!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Spiritual Astronomy

I watched a PBS program on TV the other night. It was from the 90's and the panel included Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawkings, and one other scientist. Most of the discussion centered on the material universe, but there was a segment that dealt with the existence of God.

Of course none of the men were religious, much less believers in Jesus. They dealt with the existence of God in the abstract, and pretty much just philosophically mused over the prospect. They all agreed that, like Einstein believed, God was the sum total of all the laws governing the universe. In other words, whatever could be observed and understood about the universe was God. A form of pantheism.

It was nice to hear none of them deny the existence of God. By the very definition of "creation", there has to be a "creator". But the existence of God is a no-brainer(I'm sure they would strongly object to that description). The Bible calls the person who denies God's existence a fool. The elephant in the room that they all ignored is that the observable universe is only observable because it reveals itself to us.

Being an amateur astronomer myself I have seen people misunderstand the nature of the observation of the material universe. We cannot observe anything unless it comes to the earth. The telescope only collects the light that has made its way to earth, it cannot go out from earth to observe. All the rays, waves, and light are only observable as they reach us. If an object does not give off or reflect light we cannot know it exits except by observing objects around it that do.

Well, there you have it. The principle was right in front of them and they did not make the connection. We could never know God unless He reveals Himself to us. Furthermore, He must reveal Himself to us on a level that we can understand; that our "Spiritual telescope" can observe. Not just so the left-brained intellect can understand, but that the uneducated can grasp also. Somehow the Creator was going to have to take the infinite complexity of His own nature and reveal it in the most simplistic way, and without compromising His intrinsic essence.

I realize that is a little heavy, but I hope you won't miss this glorious truth. How was the Creator going to condescend to reveal Himself to an incredibly primitive and sinfully blind creation? The most unimaginable and eternal mystery of all, GOD WOULD REVEAL HIMSELF TO US AS ONE OF US!! We could never Spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, or materially ascend to God, so God came down to us. But how do we collect all that revelation and observe it?

All of us can observe the moon, several planets, and approximately 2500 stars just with the naked eye. Many Christians go through life in the Spiritual universe just observing whatever they can see as they go. But when an astronomer wants to observe distant stars and galaxies, he must pinpoint his telescope in a certain direction, offset the rotation of the earth, and leave it in that direction for several hours. The correlation between astronomical observation and Spiritual observation is obvious.

Pinpoint your Spiritual telescope toward Jesus, through the lense of His Word, collected(understood) by His Spirit, and experience the knowledge of Him. Not just a cold, scientific knowledge of Christ, but an accompanying intimacy that transcends the senses and the intellect into a Spiritual revelation that not only brings us into a closer relationship, but changes us into the very likeness that we are observing - HIM. Jesus said,"Learn of me". Paul prayed,"that God would grant you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him". Paul again,"To know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings...". The writer of Hebrews, "Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith".

By the way, if you really begin to take this Spiritual astronomy seriously, make sure you offset the rotation of this world. It will blur your view! PTL-Rick