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An Intercessory Prayer for the People of the United States of America

A Reason for the Lord to Have Mercy

October 12, 2000 From The Scholars Corner
[For use in corporate or personal prayer]

“O Lord, how can your people know the way, when their leaders lead them astray?”

Photo by Ric Rodrigues on Pexels.com

As Moses stood in the gap when your people had departed from your ways, worshipped a false god, and had fallen into immorality [Exodus 32-33], so now I stand today to plead the case of your people:

O Great Father, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Author of Life, Giver of the Holy Spirit — have mercy upon us.

We confess that we have sinned against you in so many ways that if we were to number them, many books could not contain the record. If you were to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the earth, you would be entirely just in your judgments of us because our sins are many. We have turned from your Word; we have pursued pleasure and not righteousness; we have been cowered by the threats of the enemy; and we have longed for the praise that comes from men rather than prefer the praise that comes from God alone. Forgive us, Father, for turning away from you towards this world and its false affections. We have many idols. We are guilty and without excuse, O God. But for your sake and for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us.

Lord, though you would be just to destroy us, you have called us to be a kingdom of priests to intercede on behalf of the world. Therefore, Lord Jesus, Father Almighty, Gracious Holy Spirit, I now plead the case on behalf this people.

Look, O Lord, upon the people of this nation. They are like sheep without a shepherd who have been scattered among the hills by the roar of the lion and the prowling of the wolf, [Ezekiel 34, Zechariah 10]. False teachers have arisen in the midst of the flock to betray and deny your Word. They all claim to be speaking in your name, and the sheep are confused. These “teachers” have taken the seat of Moses and put on the garments of the priest, but they have counseled with a council of lies – to the end that even the leader of this nation is surrounded by those who claim to speak for you, yet who also say it is all right to destroy the littlest ones who rest within the womb.

Is it any wonder, Lord, that your people are scattered, when wolves have entered the fold and put on sheep’s clothing in order to lead your people astray? How can the people know the truth when even their pastors and priests mislead them? The people are scattered and confused because they have not heard your voice through the shepherds, O Lord. They have not heard You speak with One Voice. They have heard the arguing of the scribes but not the Teaching of the One who has Authority.

Come therefore now, O Lord, and stand in the midst of your flock [Micah 5:4], to shepherd them, that they may have a choice, hear your word and obey it! Have mercy upon us, for your Name’s sake, Lord Jesus — that through us you may be exalted in the earth – that the shout of joy and the cry of “deliverance” may yet again be heard in this land! Let your Name be exalted with thanksgiving and showered with a chorus of praises because of the victory you work on behalf of your people! Let it be so, Lord, and let it be told among the nations!

Father, there is yet another reason to have mercy upon this people: for 40 years, a generation, a foreign king has oppressed them and has forced alien laws upon them. And for 40 years, frog mouthed spirits have been loosed against this people to indoctrinate them with the law of this king. These spirits have used gossip, intimidation, propaganda, and have disheartened your saints with a cascade of lies. All manner of things have been spoken against your people, falsely, because of you O Lord.

Hear, O Lord! It was not by the will of the people that you were dethroned. They did not remove you from the schools of this Land. They did not vote you out nor desire it; it was forced upon them. They desired their children to be taught of you, but it was forbidden. It was not by consent that they were forbidden from praying or speaking your Name in the schools of this land, yet they were impelled to attend these schools through the economics of the public purse. It was not with but against the will of the people that your Commandments and your Word were taken from the public places in our Land. When the people desired to acknowledge you and your ways, it was declared illegal. No Lord! It was by the oppression of a foreign king, who threatened this people with lawsuits and imprisonment if they disobeyed, that these things happened. This arrogant king, the devil himself, passed his laws through the courts to oppress your people. Your people did not choose these laws, Lord. Even today, if the people were free, they would choose today to acknowledge You as the only for sale God, Sovereign Lord, and Leader of this nation. So, Lord, have mercy upon your people and rescue them from this foreign power and its evil ways.

Lord, it was not by choice nor by vote nor by Constitution, that murder became a right protected by the laws of this land. Even today, the majority of the people are against abortion for any reason, but their will has been thwarted continually by the courts of this foreign king. When they try to pass laws restraining the evil, their will is overturned. It was not by choice that parents were deprived of the right to intervene and even know of their children’s situation. It was not by vote, O Lord, that the perversions of lust became protected privileges of the state. The people of this land did not will these things. It is true, Father, that we allowed it, and for that we are guilty, but we did not choose it, it came upon us. Have Mercy, O God and deliver us, that we may again worship you freely and acknowledge your Name and establish your will by the laws of our Land.

Father, remember the sacrifices of those who tried to stop the murder of little ones made in your image – the murder of those waiting to be born. When some of them, your Church, took to the streets to raise up a cry of “repentance” and issue the prophet’s warning of “injustice,” we were arrested and thrown into prison. Some were stripped of property; others treated like criminals and members of organized crime. Even the right to freedom of speech was taken away to protect the murdering spirit reigning through the courts of this foreign king. And when the rest of your people saw what happened, they were afraid to speak out. They were scattered. Forgive us Lord.

But remember also, Holy Spirit, how for 40 years, those who believe your word, and who have upheld your truth and your values, have been subjected to a catalog of lies from the mouth of the frog like spirits of deception. In the media, the mouthpiece of this alien king, evil is called “good” and good called “evil.” License is promoted as liberty, and respect for life is vilified. Promiscuity is rewarded and purity is disdained. Those who want the freedom to pray, worship you, and acknowledge you as the Only true God and Savior are called “oppressors” and “intolerant.” Those who honor your Name and your Righteousness are called “bigoted” and “mongers of hate.” This did not happen just once, but daily. Just as your people in Egypt were subjected to the slavery of making bricks with straw under the taskmaster’s whip, so your people today are subjected daily to the whip of your enemies, who use the power of public slander to castigate and threaten.

Yes Lord, we have bowed under the whip. We have eaten at the fount of pornography and promiscuity, and we have fallen prey to the flood of lies, and for that O Lord, we are guilty. But we did not choose these things; they came upon us. The temptation of lust became our daily bread, and the false heralds of “freedom” declared it “good” for us. The courts of this alien king also declared that unholy and sinful temptations could not be censored or removed from the eyes of the people. The courts equated the freedom of worship with the license of sin. And daily, the assault upon our senses increases.

Yet in all this, the media still does not represent the majority of the people. The media serve the interests of the powerful few who intimidate even the legislators through a barrage of lies. The media do not reflect the will of the majority, Lord, yet constantly they try to manipulate the populace to uphold the values of this alien king. And your people are weakening, year by year, under the onslaught of the power of these lies. Your people are getting used to their slavery, Lord. Let us not become comfortable with slavery!

Therefore, O Lord, though we have sinned and surrendered to the powers of this age, we beg of you to have mercy upon us. For the sake of your Son Jesus, forgive us and deliver us from the oppression of the enemy, and restore our freedom, that righteousness may again reign through the will of the people over the courts and laws of this land. Give us courage and boldness to stand for you. Let our only King be Jesus, and may Jesus reign as King over this Land once again. Lord, we cannot save ourselves from this situation. Only You, O Lord, can deliver us.

Therefore, we beg of you Lord, Come! Give your people One Voice. Draw out from among your people the false shepherds and the wolves. Make a distinction between the true and the false, so that the people may clearly see —who is on the Lord’s side. Give authority and power to the shepherds who uphold your Word. And let the Spirit of unity and agreement reign in the true Church — that the world may know the voice of the Lord and discern it from the devil and his lies. Stand O Lord, in the midst of your Flock, this people in the United States, and gather them unto yourself. And then O Lord, Lead them that we may know your victory on this earth!

Father, hear us, for we ask this all in Jesus’ Name and for his sake.

Amen.

Prayer by Jefferis Kent Peterson

May be freely copied and distributed.

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JEWISH VERSUS WESTERN CONCEPTS OF TIME

A Teaching on Time and Typology

THE JEWISH CONCEPT OF TIME

REPEATING PATTERNS -CYCLES & TYPES: THE STUDY OF TYPOLOGY

THE WESTERN CONCEPT OF TIME IS LINEAR

Modern historical chronology sees time as a linear progress from beginning to end; from Big Bang to the End of the Universe; from Genesis to Revelation. This idea from western rationalism, evolutionary theory, and scientific measurement has led to some non-biblical ideas such as the inevitability of human progress and enlightenment…. Forgetting that sinful human nature does not change through time, only individuals are changed when the human heart is renewed by Jesus Christ. In the early 1900’s they called this the Social Gospel Movement: theologians believed we could fix the human condition with social programs and government actions. WWI put an end to that theology, but today, we see an atheistic version of this belief in the perfectibility of mankind through laws and government programs. But we also see how this attempt to fix human nature with government programs and laws has failed.
The root of the error here is believing that people are basically good, instead of what the bible says: we are basically selfish and sinful, unless redeemed by Jesus Christ through faith in His Name.

Western Chronological Timeline
Western Chronological Timeline
Timeline of Star Wars
Star Wars Timeline

THE HEBREW CONCEPT OF TIME IS CYCLICAL – PATTERN THAT REPEATS.

• In Jesus’ day, the Jews were looking for signs that would identify the Messiah. He was to be a King like David, a Prophet like Moses, and a Priest like Aaron. He had to have all three characteristics. • ““The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—” (Deuteronomy 18:15, ESV) • “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’” (Deuteronomy 18:18–20, ESV) “So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.” (John 6:30–36, ESV) • The irony here is that Jesus had just fed the 5,000 in the wilderness (not counting women and children, according to Matt 14:21). The problem was that the Jews were looking for an exact repetition of manna, and did not see what was obviously right in front of their eyes!

Rabbi Avraham Goldhar compares the Western notion of time to the Jewish concept and explains how the difference between them impacts one’s relationship to a holiday. With additions by Scholars Corner.

TYPES AND PATTERNS

  • Because time is a repeating pattern to the Jews, with changes, time is like variations on a theme. You still recognize the tune even thought it has modulated. • “Now if he (Jesus) were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.” (Hebrews 8:4–6, ESV) • “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:11–12, ESV)

WHAT IS A GOSPEL? THE WORD MEANS ”GOOD NEWS”

  • The Gospels were written to prove or show that Jesus was the Messiah. But in what way were they trying to show Jesus as the fulfillment of a prophet like Moses, a king like David, and a priest like Aaron? They did they by using types and examples from the Torah and Joshua, to show how Jesus was not just like them, but the fulfillment of them. The Gospels were written as evangelical tracts with a lot of theology written in to them.
    • It is important to remember then, that because they saw time as cyclical, they were not trying to write a strict linear chronology like we do in the west. They were using the events of Jesus’ life to show why he is the Messiah.

THE GOSPEL OF MARK

• Papias was Bishop of Hierapolis in the first century and knew the apostles: “Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses, so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely.”

So we see here that strict chronology was not the central concern of the way they wrote. That is why we see slight differences in the arrangements of the stories in the Gospels.

MATTHEW USED THE EXODUS AS HIS MODEL

  • While all the gospels are very united on the Passion of Jesus at Passover, they differ on their arrangement of the events of Jesus’ life on earth. Matthew wanted to show how Jesus was the fulfillment of Torah and based his gospel on the pattern of Exodus. Here are parallels Matthew points out:
    • Moses was rescued from death, hidden from the decree by an evil Pharaoh – Jesus was rescued from the slaughter of innocents ordered by evil King Herod.
    • Moses was 40 days on the Mountain top – Jesus was 40 days in the Wilderness
    • Moses gave the Ten Commandments and gave the Laws from Holy Mt Sinai – Jesus preached “The
    Sermon on the Mount”
    • Matthew also uses other parts of scripture like the Psalms and Isaiah to show how Jesus fulfilled the types: being born of a virgin and entering Jerusalem on a colt.

LUKE USES DEUTERONOMY AS HIS MODEL

  • In Deuteronomy 5-6, Moses reiterates the Ten Commandments and rehearses the Laws of God on the plain – Luke 6:17-49 records Jesus Sermon on the plain. He did not record the sermon on the mount.
    • Obviously, there are many other parallels and other scriptures used to show Jesus as the Christ. And Jesus’ own words testify to his nature.

JOHN USES GENESIS AND JOSHUA TO REVEAL JESUS

  • John compares Jesus, the Word of God, to the Word spoken at beginning of Creation by God in Genesis one and John 1. He declares that is Jesus, by whom and through whom all things were created. “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3, ESV)
    • Jesus is the Divine Word of God. The Logos, in Greek, means the not just the Word but the reason behind all things and for all things. Jesus is the Reason, not just the reason for the season, but the reason for All Life.

JOHN USES JOSHUA, AS HIS MODEL AS WELL:

JOSHUA IN HEBREW IS YESHUA, YESHUA IS THE HEBREW FOR THE NAME JESUS

JOSHUA = YESHUA = JESUS

JOHN ALSO SHOW HOW JESUS FULFILLS THE FESTIVALS

  • Jesus fulfills Passover in his death and resurrection at Passover.
  • Jesus fulfills Tabernacles in John 7-9, which has the festival of lights:
  • Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”” (John 8:12, ESV)
    • Drawing of water: “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ”” (John 7:37–38, ESV)

Just as Joshua led the people across the Jordan River to bring the people of God into the Promised Land, John records Jesus crossing the Jordan River, on his way to certain death in Jerusalem, to deliver the people of God from death to life; into the promised land of the Spirit. Jesus is on the other side of the Jordan River but returns (John 10:40) to raise Lazarus, knowing from then on they will try to kill him.
• “So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.” (John 11:47–53, ESV)

CONCLUSION – THE PATTERNS OF THE OT FULFILLED

• We see how the writers of the New Testament saw Jesus as the fulfillment and completion of the Torah, the Holy Scriptures, the Psalms, the Prophets, the prophecies, and the Covenants of God. They saw Jesus everywhere in the scriptures as foretold if not in literal words, then in the patterns of God’s movements in the past. And they wanted to prove that Jesus is the Messiah by pointing out how the types and patterns were repeated and fulfilled in Jesus.

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There Are Only 2 Races of Mankind

Our Unity Is Greater than Our Divisions

I have been the only “white-boy” pastor in an all-African American church. I was born a gentile, but by faith I am also a son of Abraham. I am grandfather to my Hispanic grandchildren. I have a mixed-mutt Anglo-Swede-German-Celtic and who-knows-what-else of a heritage. I have brothers who are Asian and Native Americans. Our church is a beautiful melting pot of multi-ethnic souls. In the world, there are only two races of mankind. However they are not races based on skin color or ethnic origin. The two races of mankind are those who in God and those are not. If you are in Christ, we are of one blood and we share God as our Father. We are blood brothers in Jesus. We are family. We are one.   

Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

Historically, there has always been hostility between peoples of different tribes, tongues, religions, and colors. In Israel, in the Temple, there was a low wall called a “soreg” beyond which no non-Hebrew could go on pain of death. Within the wall, closer to God’s Holy Presence, only the covenant people could go. This wall created hostility between Jews and non-Jews; it was an exclusion zone that created a second class of citizens. It wasn’t racial, it was ethnic and religious. But still, there was a separation …that is until Jesus came.

“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” (Ephesians 2:11–16, ESV)

Jesus came to unite all people of good will into one family with God as our Father. Therefore, anyone who is in Christ is my brother or sister… no matter what your skin color, tribe, or language. We are one family of one blood and we are all brothers: black, white, brown, red or yellow or anything in between.We all have God as our Father, and we are part of the royal family as princes and princesses of the King of King. We share a royal bloodline. There is no room for hostility between us because we are all sons and daughters of the King. We share in His Glory and participate in His Divine Nature through the wonderful gift of His Holy Spirit. We share a common destiny and we share a common hope and we are called to a common purpose: to love one another and to have compassion on the lost. Paul says this:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:28–29, ESV)

All inequality is banished in Jesus. All pride of position or of natural birth is excluded, for we all come to the Throne of Grace as children. The sharecropper’s son and the financier’s daughter are all equal in His eyes. So yes, there is hostility between the races. Those not in Christ, not in God’s family, often hate those who are one with Him. Jesus even said this would happen to our race: 

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.” (John 15:18–21, ESV)

Even though we must endure racial hostility for His name’s sake, those of us who are in Christ Jesus are called to love one another and love even our enemies. We are to reach out to those who do not know the beauty and goodness of the God who loves them. Until they are in Christ Jesus, they are still outside the wall… a separate race, who do not have God as their Father. Fear and anger are their masters, and they have not experienced the love and peace they long for in their hopes for a better world. They want perfection, but without a change in their own hearts, they are only adding to the flames of a hostile world. 

For those of us who love one another, let us pour water on the scorched earth of their hearts and show them that to truly love others, they must first receive love from the God who loves them. When they are healed, they can be part of the solution in a world rocked with hatred and violence. 

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John’s Use of Genesis

If you enjoy word search, crosswords, sudoku, and scavenger hunts, you would love seeking out hidden treasures in scripture.

 John’s Use of Genesis  —-

And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”” (Matthew 13:52, ESV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” (John 1:1–18, ESV)

The “Word” in Greek is Logos, and it means more than just a word; it means the reason for being, the meaning of things, the purpose of life, when it is ascribed to Jesus. The Hebrew scholars, when translating the First Testament into Greek, used the word Logos for the word “Dabar” in Genesis. We see that when God said (debar) “Let there be light,” the word for God’s spoken, creative word, is the same word used to describe the Son of God, through whom the hole universe was created and in whom the whole universe holds together. (Colossians 1: 16-17)

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:1–10, ESV)

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life (logos of life)— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:1–4, ESV)

The 3 Temptations

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” (Genesis 3:1–7, ESV)

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ” And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’ ” And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and “ ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ” And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.” (Luke 4:1–15, ESV)

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15–17, ESV)

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Breaking Bread in Our Homes… Passover 2020


We are in a season where we are separated and have to have communion with our families in our homes, which is like the time the Hebrews were hiding in their homes during Passover, as the last plague in Eqypt took the first born children of the Egyptians. Their covenant with God was made by the blood of a lamb placed upon their doorposts. We too have a Lamb that was slain whose blood is placed upon the doorposts of our hearts. 

Acts 2: 42-47. 1 Corinthians 11: 17-26. Communion is a Covenant Between you and God, not a Temple Sacrifice. It was celebrated in each family home, just as Passover had been. Our Communion with Jesus should extend to care for our neighbors… those hungry and without.

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The Gospel of Suffering

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8, ESV)

reprinted from The Scholars Corner

There is a Gospel of Prosperity going around that is true in part but which the “unstable twist to their own destruction.” The problem with the emphasis on prosperity is that it is unbalanced when there is no recognition of the role of suffering in God’s plan for our lives. We see that even Jesus, though having never sinned, was made perfect through suffering. If he was perfected by suffering, can we expect any less for ourselves?Christ Crucified

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 5:7–10, ESV)

Now it is true that God wants us to prosper:

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 John 2, KJV 1900)

But we may want to ask first, what does it mean to have your soul prosper? My definition of material prosperity is “having everything you need to do what God has called you to do.” That is not about money, it is about the means to accomplish God’s calling on your life. Do you think God wants you to fulfill your destiny? Then, Yes, he wants you to prosper. So, if material prosperity is the means or the tools by which you offer service to God, that is one thing. But the prosperity of your soul is an entirely different matter. And this scripture implies that material prosperity and health are tied to the prosperity of your soul.

So, how does God prosper your soul? You may not want to hear this, but he often prospers your soul through suffering. In fact, he may cause suffering to perfect you in love like he did Jesus! Now, I am not talking about physical illness. Jesus never gave someone a disease and said “this is so God can teach you something.” Rather he healed everyone who came to him, and since Jesus is the perfect image of the Father, he represents the Father’s perfect will for his children. Jesus proclaimed healing as a sign of the kingdom (dominion/rulership) of God (Luke 10:9). If healing is a sign of God’s will being done on earth, then sickness is part of the devil’s will to “kill, steal, and destroy.” It happens where God’s dominion is not fully established, but it is not God’s will.

No, the suffering I am talking about is persecution, rejection, perhaps even physical pain at the hands of others, and death:

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it” (2 Timothy 3:12–14, ESV)

Why would God use persecution and suffering? Suffering can make us more like Jesus. How does that work? When Jesus was faced with the crucifixion, he prayed to God to get out of it.

“…saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’” (Luke 22:42, ESV). Jesus was able to surrender his own will, wants and desires to follow the will of the Father. It was not easy, but he learned through sacrifice and in that perfect submission, he was “made perfect.”

We also struggle to do God’s will and not our own. We too must learn to sacrifice our self-will.

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:16–17, ESV)

We all deal with the problem of self-interest and the desire to protect ourselves. But how is love perfected in you if you always get your own way? It is only when your will is crossed and you don’t get your way that you learn to love beyond yourself. And how will you learn to love your enemies unless you run into them?

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also… And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” (Luke 6:27–33, ESV)

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:46–48, ESV)

Can your soul prosper from persecution? Yes. Think of those being put in prison in China for their faith, or those being murdered in Islamic countries for their faith… Are they not prospering in their souls for their faithfulness to Jesus? So, it says in Revelation of the martyrs:

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” (Revelation 12:11–12, ESV)

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11–12, ESV)

What I am saying is that God uses suffering to conform our character to the likeness of Jesus. By learning to love those who hate you, and by learning to not respond in kind, our rough edges of selfishness are chipped away.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:28–29, ESV)

I was a pastor of a rural church in Pennsylvania. I tried to keep everyone happy and if people were unhappy, I thought there was something I was doing wrong. I had some insecurities and felt I had to defend myself from rumors and gossip. What I did not realize is that I had a “man-pleasing spirit.” One day, the Lord asked me “Wouldn’t you lay down your life for my children?” I resolved to participate in a non-violent sit in at an abortion clinic. The church, upon hearing of my participation, promptly asked me to resign. I knew I had done what the Lord had asked, so the people were not upset with just me, but with the Lord as well. From that time on, I no longer cared what others thought of me. I knew I had done with what God had asked, so they had a problem with God, not me. Before, I would say, what’s wrong with me, but after that I would say, what’s wrong with you? That man-pleasing spirit was broken. God used the rejection of an entire church to heal me of my need for man’s approval. Don’t get me wrong, I still like approval, but I don’t need it. Also, through this process, the Lord taught me how to forgive a lot of people.

We are being conformed to the image of Jesus by God’s plan for our lives, even when that includes rejection by, or suffering for, others. Jesus loved those who hated him and if we are to become like Jesus, we are to learn to do the same.

Just as Jesus suffered to redeem us all, God might also use your suffering to reach others by your example with the love of Christ. Suffering for innocence’s sake may cause the conscience of the abuser to be pricked, or it may cause those standing by to have sympathy for you for the injustice. If you respond with the love of Jesus towards the oppressors, it may work to their salvation. Isn’t it worth it to lay down your life so that another may not face eternal judgement? How great is your love? If you can love like Jesus loved, is not your soul prospering even while you suffer?

Another way God uses suffering, distress, and difficulties in our lives is to teach us to turn to Him and learn to trust him in all circumstances as the Sovereign God over our lives. This happened to Paul. You would think an apostle did not have to learn that, but not only was he persecuted, he also despaired of life itself:

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.” (2 Corinthians 1:8–10, ESV)

When we cannot control our circumstances and when things get out of our hands, we have no choice but to turn to God and cast our cares upon Him, because nothing else is working. This can be a loss of a job, divorce, children turning away, or the death of loved ones. We are not masters of the universe, and despite our best efforts, we are not in control. At such times we recognize our mortality and dependence upon God as Sovereign of the universe, and if things are out of our control, they are not out of his. That is not to say that everything that happens is God’s will, because people are evil and do things that God does not will, but it is God’s will for us to respond with forgiveness towards others and to turn to Him in times of turmoil.

Most of the examples of suffering in Scripture say that we will share in the fellowship of Jesus’ suffering when we endure rejection and persecution for the sake of His Name. The question for us is: are we willing to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow him? Jesus said unless we are willing to do that for him, we cannot be his disciples.

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34–38, ESV)

Suffering causes the character of Christ to be formed in us. By it we learn obedience and to sacrifice our selfish ways, we learn to love others, even those who hate us, and we learn to trust God in all circumstances. By it, our souls prosper as we reflect and magnify Jesus through our lives. Such prosperity may lead to material wealth, or it may lead us to prison. But in any case, it will lead us to great rewards in heaven, including the gratitude of many souls saved through our labors, if we remain faithful. And that is a prosperity that will never end.

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Transgenderism is a Religion and its Enforcement Violates the First Amendment.

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Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. – The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

The attempt to force a transgender ideology upon schools and governments is a violation of the First Amendment in three ways.  

First, it is an attempt to establish a religion. Transgenderism is a belief that is not upheld by science. A person claims to be transgender by identification, which is an mental or emotional attachment to an idea. The person who claims to be a female, but is in fact a male, is denying the scientific fact of biology, genetics and DNA. Whatever they may “feel,” it does not make it a fact or true.  I may feel like a 6-foot Chinese woman who is excellent at basketball. I may identify myself as that, but it does not make it true. It is a belief system, an ideology, and mental/emotional feeling.  Since it is not based in the fact of biology, it is a belief system, and hence a religion.  In addition, mutilating the body and taking hormones does not change the DNA or genes of biology; any more than cutting off one’s leg makes one a donkey.

Therefore, for the public school system or the state to impose such a belief system on the community, it is a violation of the establishment clause, and creates a religious test for employment.

Second, the attempt to force others to conform to some complex forms of “politically correct” speech, is a violation of the second clause by prohibiting the free exercise of religion, as well as third, suppressing the freedom of speech by refusing to allow people to speak correctly of scientific facts, but forces them to verbally uphold an ideology or religion.  

The move to control people’s speech to fit an ideology is more than just an attempt to create respect; it is an attempt to enforce endorsement of a belief system. Therefore, it is a violation of the religious freedom of teachers, state workers, and the public at large; and it is not acceptable under the terms of the First Amendment.

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Chinese Persecution of Christians

“The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers”

The Chinese government has become increasingly totalitarian, demanding that the Christians put loyalty to the state above loyalty to God. What is going on with Xi and the communist party is starting to remind me more and more of the Empire and him as Darth Vader in Star Wars.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/china-orders-churches-to-promote-the-chinese-communist-party-or-else_3197447.html

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Being Made Righteous by God

from The Scholars Corner

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:17–21, ESV)

Since, therefore, we have now been made righteous by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” (Romans 5:9)

A little exercise of confession:  you are God’s righteousness.

Confession of Sin: Father, I have sinned against you in thought word and deed, _(confess silently whatever your conscience bothers you about now)  __  Father please forgive me.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, ESV)

If you have been cleansed from unrighteousness, what does that make you??

REPEAT AFTER ME:  I have been made Righteous by the Blood of Jesus. I have become the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. Therefore,  I AM Righteous.

How do you FEEL??? Do you feel righteous? Or like a sinner?

If He says you are righteous, you are! For whatever God says is: He said light be and it was. His Word cannot come back to him void. It doesn’t matter how you FEEL. You many not feel righteous, that doesn’t matter. You are his righteousness in Jesus Christ.

Who Lives in You?

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11, ESV)

Did God give you a dirty Holy Spirit? Or did he breath into you His HOLY Spirit. Who lives in you? Is God righteous? If he who is righteous lives in you, what does that make you? Not in your flesh but in your spirit? Your new nature; your new man?

The Battle is in the Mind and for the Mind.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2, ESV)

The Devil constantly lies to you and tells you that you are not righteous, that Jesus’ work on the Cross and his blood had no effect on you. He reminds you of your past. He wants to rob you of your relationship with Jesus so that you will be ineffective.

And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”” (Hebrews 8:11–12, ESV)

If God doesn’t remember your sins, for those of you in Christ (born again), they don’t exist. Jesus became your sin on the cross. In God’s eyes, your sins never happened. They were placed upon Jesus AS IF He had done them!  You have nothing to be ashamed of before God. You are declared innocent of all charges. You are HIS righteousness for His Glory! He has made you the Emblem of His Name; His signet ring impressed upon the earth!

Background: Courtroom vs. Father and Children  EO vs RC

In Greek, the word we translate as justified, also means be made righteous and found innocent. It means to be in right relationship with God. Latin Rome tended to look upon these passages in a juridical (legal) context, but the Greek Orthodox church sees justification as a relationship with God without the hindrance of sin. We are no longer enemies; we are friends on good terms. We have fellowship with each other.

For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to righteousness and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:17–19)

Jesus died to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Through confession of sin and rebirth by the Holy Spirit, we are given the gift of unmerited favor and given the righteousness of God so that all our sins are washed away and in God’s eyes, it is as though we have never committed any sin. Jesus took the blame as if he had committed our sins and not us.

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Boomer Replies to #OkBoomer

I hear “Ok Boomer” is a dismissive insult to ideas or views that a younger generation does not want to hear, address, respect or debate. The old term for that was “whateverrrrr” So, I thought, what could a baby boomer (hence the term “boomer”) say to someone of that mindset. And I thought of a few. Please feel free to add your own.

#OkTriggerBait

#OkSafeSpace

#OkHappyPlace

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