Worship Is The Door

JOY PEOPLE - CREDITS - darker


Worship: it’s the door to peace, power, and pleasures for evermore. Jonah found worship to be his most powerful help in getting back into God’s grace. When he’d deliberately disobeyed the Lord and ended up in the belly of a big fish at the bottom of the sea, he came to his senses and realized how foolish he’d been. When he looked around, everything he saw told him there was no hope for rescue– or any kind of future. But he knew that there was still a God who wanted to save him. So he turned his attention away from his circumstances and away from his own disobedience. Instead, he focused on his God and began worshiping Him. Shortly thereafter, he was cast out of the fish onto dry land, and he got a second chance to live the successful life God has always wanted for him.

Habakkuk found that worship was his most power friend when he looked all around and found that the trees weren’t bearing fruit, the flock weren’t bearing offspring, and everything looked like there was no hope for the land of Israel. But, knowing that salvation from all that looked hopeless lay in His God – and that what God’s Word said was more real and more reliable than what he saw in the natural – He worshiped God and called for the rest of the nation to do the same – knowing that as they worshiped, they were releasing God’s hand to bring life and productiveness back into their situation.

And talk about power in worship: let’s not forget Paul and Silas, in the depths of a Philistine prison, who decided that nothing in their circumstances could outweigh the loveliness and the faithfulness of their God. As they chose to worship Him, rather than bemoan their current, temporary physical situation, the power of God moved with such force that it broke up the earth and the building where they were being held captive. And not only were they set free – but the jailer and his family were liberated from their hell-bound lives into a blessed relationship with God for eternity.

Eternity is what it’s really all about. God wants us to have blessed lives while we’re on this earth, but He’s even more concerned that we have the blessing of living and creating with Him for all of eternity – enjoying the priceless, indescribable pleasures that we find in His presence. Psalm 16:11 tells us, “ … in Thy presence is fullness of joy. At Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Worship heads us in the right direction for eternity. But while we’re here on the earth preparing for that eternity, as we worship Him, God says (Psalm 22:3) that He will literally inhabit our praises. And were He is, we’ll experience peace, power, and pleasures forevermore.

 

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I Am My Beloved’s

 

HEART RIVER TRQUS BRIGHT“I am my Beloved’s, and His desire is toward me”  

(Song of Solomon 7:10)

Jesus loves you, and His desire is toward you. That word toward is very significant here, because most people who love someone have a desire for them — rather than toward them. And, in truth, Jesus does desire to have you for His own, but that’s only so that He can give you everything He is and everything He’s accomplished for you. He wants you to have everything He has. And He’s already paid the price for you to possess it. You don’t have to do anything to earn all that He has for you. The only requirement on your part is that you receive Him into your own spirit (your own heart) and make Him Lord of your life. Once He’s in that position, He can begin pouring into you all that you need and all that will make your life blessed and successful now — and throughout eternity.

In Ephesians, chapter 1, the Word of God tells us that God accomplished total victory over every force of evil through Jesus’ work of redemption, and when He raised Jesus from the grave, He gave Him absolute, eternal power and authority over every person and thing in the entire universe. Then the Word says that when God did that, He was exercising the “greatness of His power toward us.”  It was all done for us. You see, God’s power is always moving and working to bring us good. It’s always toward us. The truth is that if you become a child of God — by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord — you just can’t get away from God’s power working good for you.

Men and women for generations have sought high and low for some kind of religion that would satisfy them. They’ve studied one religious system after another and experimented with their various tenets and practices. But not one — not one single religion on the face of the earth — can offer man a total deliverance from his own base nature and from the evil that exudes from that nature. Not one of those religions can offer a fresh start, free of charge, and a nature purified and changed into the nature of the God who created us in the first place. Every religion out there tells us that we, somehow, have to do something, to earn a better life and a better eternity. We have to work at it, and then may not obtain our goal in the end after all.

But Christianity is NOT a religion. True Christianity is simply the Father God loving His own children, and being loved by them. It’s a family, pure and simple. Every parent who is worthy to be called a parent is constantly aware that he loves his child more than his own life, and his constant desire is toward his child — to meet his needs, heal his wounds, and bless him with gifts. And God is no different. That’s His desire as well. And through Jesus, the first Son, He calls all of us into His loving arms, desiring us to receive His love and become sons and daughter as well, so that He can exert His power toward us for good.

If you know this wonderful Father, you know what I’m talking about. But if you do not yet know Him, today can be your day. He already loves you, His desire is already toward you. Call out to Jesus and let His exceeding great power work a total regeneration in you today — and for eternity.

 

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Killer Storms Are NOT From God

Clouds & Sky 129The state of Florida, as well as the whole southeastern coast of the United States has been preparing this week to face one of the most horrendous storms in the century. Our Gulf Coast — particularly Texas — is currently trying to recover from a storm almost as devastating.  I have friends and family in both places, and their well-being is a priority in my heart. I live in the Heartland of the United States. Most years during the spring and fall, when our seasons undergo a major change, our section of the country, along with the section to the south and east of us, experiences frequent occurrences of severe weather. In recent years, there have been some devastating storms that brought hundreds of deaths and destruction to massive portions of the Midwest.

When horrific events like these killer storms develop, there are a number of people who automatically suppose that God is behind those events — or that He deliberately allows them as a way of teaching or punishing the people on earth. Nothing could be further from the truth, and in response to a number of misguided comments on that subject, by both Christians and non-Christians, I am posting this article in an effort to clear the record and bring to light the truth — both about devastating storms and about God.

Jesus said, in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.”

And there you have it, friends. Those words say it all. That one statement by Jesus gives us the definitive answer to the question of whether hurricanes, tornadoes,  and other “killer storms” are from God.  Do they kill?  Do they destroy?  Then according to Jesus Christ Himself, they are not from God.  Where do they come from?  They come from an aberration and twisted use of the natural elements that is orchestrated by Satanic power in operation on this earth.

God made all natural elements, including the elements of weather, to be a blessing to man.  And even in Psalm 8, He tells us that man is to rule over “all the works” of God’s hands.  But man rebelled against God and His purposes in the garden, and listened to Satan instead.  His actions in response to Satan put man in a position of subservience to the devil, and that sin opened the door to a curse that would effect all of the created earth. (Gen. 3 / Rom. 8).  When man gave Satan the right to operate in this earth, Satan then moved into a position of being able to take hold of any of the natural elements, adulterate them, twist them, and use them to inflict evil upon mankind — and the planet itself. He operates this way on a regular basis and then tries to convince the world that God causes it all. That’s Satan’s M.O.

However, that is not the last word in the story.  God’s Covenant with man — which He calls a “covenant of peace” (Is.54) — restored man’s right to rule over the elements again — only through that covenant — and to take authority over those demonic powers.  Even in the Old Covenant, the Lord expected His faithful servants to know how to use that authority over the natural elements.  When Jesus is with His disciples in the boat, they are all still living and operating under the Old Covenant with God. But notice that when they are struck by a severe storm (Matt.8), He tells them that they are showing a serious lack of faith in responding in fear rather than authority.  He finally stills the storm for them, but at the same time, He asks them “Where is your faith?”

Please note that He did not say, “God sent this storm as judgement for the evil that’s been going on.”  Nor did He say, “God is sending this storm to test your faith.” We can’t believe two contradictory things at the same time, friends. We either believe these horrible storms are from the hand of God — or we believe Jesus and recognize them as an evil that we are supposed to take authority over.

As part of the New Covenant, Jesus literally bought back man’s right to govern in the earth as He was intended to do.  We as believers are made the Body of Christ, and since the government is now upon His shoulders – His body – us – we are supposed to be “governing.”  (Is. 9).  The devil still has the right that man gave him to operate in this earth, but we now have absolute power and authority to bind his power and activity wherever we will make the effort.

Since the finished work of Jesus, we are now literally in the highest position of authority on this planet.  Philippians 2 says that every created thing — in heaven, on earth, and under the earth — must bow its knee to and obey the name of Jesus Christ.  Do we believe that?   Ephesians 1 says that Jesus reins over all principalities and powers and that He is the head of His body – which is the Church.   If we are His body, and all things are “under His feet,” then all things are under us as well.  Do we believe that?   Jesus made it so clear: “Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you.”

We now have the blood-bought spiritual authority living in us to take command over every natural thing.  All natural things were created by a Spirit God, and they will respond to the commands of the Spirit God in us.

What do we do with that authority?  In Mark 11 — as well as several other scriptures in the Gospels — Jesus says that if we will speak to a mountain or a tree and tell it to move, and not doubt in our hearts, but believe that it will come to pass, we will have what we say.  And He clearly demonstrated that the same action works with a storm.  Do we believe Him?

Unfortunately, some Christians seem to think that all natural calamities are some kind of judgment from God.  There will certainly come a time for God’s judgment to be unleashed — at the end — but that time is not now, if we are to believe the commission of Jesus Christ to His church.  Jesus said twice in the Gospel of John that He did NOT come to judge the world, but to save it.  He then told His disciples, and all of those who would become disciples, to follow His specific examples and continue to carry on that work of taking the Gospel to the world.  That being the case, we need to get into agreement with Jesus and say God is not judging right now; He is delivering the grace and mercy of the Gospel of salvation. 

HOWEVER: We do need to be aware that when a nation or a people deliberately throw God’s Word in His face and deliberately take a stand or practice things that God clearly says are against Him and His ways, they are literally opening the door to an attack from demonic power.  When we do those things, we set ourselves up for that attack — even invite it.  God isn’t sending it, but it will come.  But even in that kind of situation, God has repeatedly shown mercy and turned destruction away from people — even in the Old Covenant — because faithful believers prayed and took a stand of faith.

Many times in my own life, I have experienced the power of God’s Word and the name of Jesus Christ taking authority over destructive storms, and as a result, I’ve seen those storms dissipated, turned away, and or destroyed.  Many other believers have experienced the same thing.  And yes, I’m talking about deadly tornadoes and hurricanes as well as severe thunderstorms.

But when you are facing a huge battle, sometimes you need a huge, united front to win.  The need in this nation is for a strong united front of faith on the part of the Christian believers to stand in authority against these deadly storms and weather systems.  This whole massive movement of deadly, destructive weather is nothing but a spiritual war being waged by demonic forces, using natural elements.  We must learn to recognize it as such and command the demonic forces to take their hands off — and command those elements to obey the purposes of God in the name of Jesus Christ.

Come on, Church!  Rise up and take your authority! If true believers in this nation will unite in faith, take a strong stand on God’s Word, and take authority over these destructive storms in the name of Jesus Christ, the storms and elements of weather have no choice but to obey.

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‘Repaired By Love’ – Now in Paperack on Amazon

A story of the redemption of two men who had given up hope of ever having a life worth living. A story that will warm your heart and inspire your faith in the amazing power of God’s love:

REPAIRED AMAZON COVER - BLUE TEXT - FRONT - framedTall, with handsomely chiseled features and the bronzed skin of his Cherokee ancestors, Lionel Butler has caused more than one girl’s heart to flutter. But he never takes much notice, because he’s convinced he’s destined to be a bad husband and father. He’s also turned his back on the God his mother served, and since her death, he’s convinced he’ll never be a believer.

But when he meets Kana Wallace, a devout Christian, his surprising feelings for her force him to stop and re-evaluate his reasons for a lack of faith. Kana Wallace never dreamed the day would come when she was faced with the need to choose between a man she loves and her promise to God that she would never commit herself to a relationship with an unbeliever. Will prayer and faith be enough to keep these two troubled people from making the biggest mistake of their lives?

Available in paperback or digital HERE.

 

 

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Making God Happy

CHURCH PEW - bigger.deep sepiaThere are a lot of religions in this world, and I’ve studied most of them. To my knowledge there is no religion — other than Christianity — that guarantees us an eternity of constant joy, freedom, and peace with our Creator unless we work at it and expend ourselves to earn it. All other religions require man to DO something to acquire the state of eternal bliss that we’d all like to look forward to. Some require more than others, but not one — other than Christianity — offers us that blessed eternity free.

Of course, in actual fact, Christianity is not really a “religion.” It’s simply a Father and His family. And since the eldest Brother of that family (Jesus) was willing to step down from His throne, come to earth and live a perfect life for every one of us, then go to the cross and pay the price for our rebellion and sin, all of the earning of salvation has been completed and is done. We are free to simply accept the finished work of Jesus on our behalf and receive Him as Lord of our lives. We don’t “work” for our salvation. We “accept” it as the free gift that it is. And once Jesus is truly Lord of our lives, suddenly doing the things that please the Father becomes a joy and delight — not an enforced duty.

And when we finally get to know the real God and our hearts yearn to make His heart happy, we find that there is very little on His list of what He’d like to have from us.

Here’s God’s list. Here are the 3 most important things that He wants from us.

1.  Love Him.

2.  Trust Him.

3.  Spend time with Him in conversation and fellowship.


No pain; no strain; just loving our Father and hangin’ out with Him.

Have a happy day making God happy today!

 

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The Lord Giveth; The *Devil* Taketh Away.

JOB COVERIt’s been years since I focused an article on my book about the Biblical book of JOB. My original book was only 53 pages, with an online appendix of more detailed explanations about some points. However, I’m now in the process of moving that online appendix into the printed book (in preparation of a new edition that the publisher will offer on Amazon later this year), and I thought it might me a good time to offer some of the material again as a regular post on here. So today I’m posting the “Introduction” and “Chapter One” of the book.

Now, let me begin with this word of warning:
The following book is radical. It will force the reader to take a long, hard look at what he genuinely KNOWS about God, as compared to what long-held traditional doctrines and translations have TOLD him about God. If you let yourself become offended or frightened by what you read in the first several pages and quit reading, you’ll lose out. Only by reading to the end can you fully understand the powerful truth that’s related here.

I’m not the only Bible teacher who knows these truths or who shares them. However, in the whole scheme of things, there are very few of us, and as a result, there are millions of people the world over — both Christians and non-Christians — who have a sadly impaired understanding of this book.

So as you begin, be prepared to think and pray — and to be set free to move up to a new level of relationship with the Creator and Lord of the universe. (If you’d rather not have to think and pray right now, you should read something else.)


THE LORD GIVETH – THE DEVIL TAKETH AWAY: Looking at Job Through Jesus

(Copyright © 2010 Sandra Conner)

INTRODUCTION

Years ago, a seasoned Bible scholar stood before a class of eager young men and women who were training for ministry in the Kingdom of God. He asked a simple question, which shocked some, challenged others, but held the attention of all. The question: “How Christlike is your God?”

I never knew this man personally, and I learned of his challenge to this group of budding ministers only a few years ago. But it touched a very deep chord inside of me, because during my 40 years of ministry, the one over-riding desire in my heart has been to teach in such a way that I could help people see the truth about who God is and what He feels, thinks, and desires. I learned at the beginning of my ministry that there is only one way to understand God as He really is, and that is to understand Him through Jesus Christ — not through my own thoughts and experiences — not through the doctrines of various denominations or cultures — only through Jesus Himself.

St. Paul, in writing to the church, expressed his deep concern — to the point of fear — that the young Christians were being drawn away from looking to Jesus Christ as the only clear and true representation of God and His will in their lives. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve, through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:3).

I experience the same fear for people today. There are so many teachings, translations, traditions, and doctrines (inspired by that same serpent) that have taken scriptures out of their context as part of the entire Word of God and twisted them in order to explain God according to man’s limited understanding and experience. Man has tried to make God like man — rather than looking at Jesus Christ and staying focused on Him until man becomes like God.

The Lord has had me teaching these truths for decades now, and with respect to the book of Job, I have seen these truths set hundreds of people free from their false ideas of God as some ogre who can’t be understood, and who is just waiting to slap them down with some horrible problem or torment. The Lord dealt with me for years to get these truths into book form, and I lagged in my obedience. Finally, He managed to convince me that I was overdue in that obedience and that He was sorely disappointed. Needless to say, I got this book together in record time.

An editing friend of mine, after reading it, said to me, “You sound rather combative in several parts of the text.” My answer: “Yes, I am combative, because this is a war. I’m fed up — and God’s fed up — with people believing things about Him that are not true. I’m at war against the lies of the enemy that have become embedded in the Body of Christ over generations. This is no time to be tentative or wimpy about what’s being said here.” I’m grateful beyond words for all the people who have realized a new, fear-free relationship with God through these truths, and I offer the book here on this site in an effort to help even more.

Now back to the question I mentioned at the beginning of this introduction: “How Christlike is your God?” It is my prayer that this simple question will serve as the standard of measure for every sincere Bible teacher when evaluating any and all subject matter relating to God and His Word. And to that end, I have dedicated this book.

CHAPTER ONE: REALITY OR MYTH?

It’s a well-known, well-worn story. In fact, it’s safe to say that most people in the world have heard it at least once, and often repeatedly:

In the early days of human history, there lived a man by the name of Job, who was “perfect” and “upright,” and who served the great Superbeing of the universe faithfully. The devil went before this Superbeing one day, and Superbeing decided He’d like to prove to the devil just how much greater He was than His adversary, so He picked on Job and decided to use him to prove His point. He taunted the devil with these words, “Have you considered my servant Job — how good he is and how faithfully he serves me?”

The devil knew Job was faithful, and he could see how much Superbeing loved Job, so he did a little taunting of his own. He challenged the Superbeing with the accusation that Job served Him only because he was blessed. The devil dared the Superbeing to take away Job’s blessings and inflict him with pain and grave loss – just to see if he would still be faithful.

Superbeing took up the challenge and, insisting that he would be proven the winner in this contest, he gave the devil free rein to do anything he wanted to do that would hurt Job — except to take his life. In effect, He said, “No matter what you do to him, he will still serve me. You’re free to do anything you want except kill him, and I’ll prove to you that he will still be faithful to me.”And in the end of the story, Job is proven faithful and receives multiplied blessings for proving the Superbeing right and the devil wrong.

Wow!   What a story!   The superpowers of the spirit realm seeking to glorify themselves – taunting each other over which one had the most faithful followers. And subjecting those followers to severe, heart-rending trials in order to prove their boasting true.

Yes, it’s an amazing story, but it’s not a unique story at all. It is exactly like the ribald stories told of gods and goddesses throughout Greek and Roman mythology: You know Zeus, Jupiter, Poseidon, etc. — the powers of the heavens vying with each other for glory and using their subjects like pawns on a game board to prove one deity more powerful or more glorious than the others.

These religions are replete with tales of how their “gods” treated their subjects in exactly this demeaning way. They made sport of them in order to manipulate each other and feed their own pride.

Wait a minute: Was Job dealing with a god just like those of the Greeks and Romans?

If Bible readers believe the story of Job as it has been incorrectly translated and handed down traditionally through several generations, they would have to answer “Yes.” They would have to believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – Jehovah – Jesus Christ – is just as selfish and capricious as the deities of the Greeks and Romans.

That being the case, students of the Bible are then faced with a very unwelcome question: Is this traditional story of Job and the kind of God it portrays a true story, historically accurate and trustworthy — or is it just another myth?

The answer is simple, yet complicated. The “true” story of Job is indeed a “true story.”

But this story that has been incorrectly translated from the original language and then handed down for generations is another entity altogether. Made up of one part fact, one part mythology, and one part man’s endless effort to make his God out to be just like himself, it is nothing but a myth.

Are you afraid to read further?  Don’t be. You’ll be glad you kept going.

At this point, many readers will close this book and never look back. Those readers will relegate the author to the long historical list of heretics and continue to walk in the fantasy of the Job story they have always been taught. It’s the story they are comfortable with. As long as they hold to that story, they don’t have to study the Word of God more closely or think deeply and seriously for themselves about what kind of God they have.

But, more importantly, those readers who fail to give themselves a chance to learn the truth will continue to suffer the loss and destruction that are inevitable when people believe lies about God. Because in their failure to understand the truth about this story, they fail to understand their God.

He is a God who has victory for them over the evil in this world. But they also fail to understand that the same devil whose lies were accepted by man at creation is also the one who has added the lies to this story. He is the same devil who inflicts evils on human kind; and it is of paramount importance to him to keep men believing that these evils come at the will of their own God.

And herein lies the crux of the matter. The majority of people who consider themselves Christians on the earth today don’t actually know their own God very well. They know what other Christians have told them. And many of them believe what their own imagination tells them. So they frame God with their own understanding rather than with the revelation of the Spirit of God Himself or with the mind of Christ.

But somewhere deep down inside many of those Christians is a nagging little question that keeps coming back to ask of the traditional Job story, “What’s wrong with this picture?” Or if the spirit is really brave, it will sometimes even ask, “Is this really the kind of God I want?” Or braver yet: “Why is my God an inflicter of pain and suffering when I would never do that to the people I love?”

HERESY!  The cry goes up immediately when such questions are given their rightful place. It’s the cry of so many who consider themselves “watchmen” of God’s reputation. As soon as anyone asks a question – or offers some answers – that might cause them to have to reevaluate what they have been accepting for generations, these “watchmen” cry out against it, instead of giving the Lord a chance to renew their minds.

So only the spiritually brave Christian will continue into the deeper channels of this book. Only those who want to know in their own hearts that they have asked those necessary questions and found the answers for themselves. But for those few who are brave enough to continue past this point, the rewards will be worth it.

As much as the church likes to sweep such questions under the rug, the truth is that they do exist. Many Christians manage to beat these questions down until they convince themselves that they really do accept this kind of God. They convince themselves that a Father who deliberately inflicts hurt and pain on them can actually coexist with the loving, merciful, healing Jesus they met in the New Testament. But the naked truth is that those questions still exist — and rightly so.

Because rather than those questions being the result of heretical thinking and rebellion against God and His Word, they are actually the promptings of His own Holy Spirit inside of us, trying to get us to put forth the effort to find out for ourselves what kind of God we have.

And it doesn’t really take all that much effort. It requires no superior intellect to see that there’s nothing holy about the kind of behavior attributed to God in this story. The very word holy carries in its meaning the essence of being “perfect in goodness and righteousness.” Such capricious, self-centered behavior as that portrayed by the traditional teaching of God in the story of Job cannot fit that definition. Furthermore, there is no faithfulness in that kind of behavior. And the Word of God makes it quite clear that, second to holiness, God’s primary nature is best described in the attribute of faithfulness.

Even those people in the world who desire no relationship with Jesus Christ generally accept the fact that a god of any religion is expected to be better in character than his subjects. And, particularly where Christianity is concerned, a poll of thousands of people who do not even attend church regularly, will show that the vast majority of those people, when they hear about God or think about what He might be like, expect Him to be extraordinarily good and trustworthy.

They hear Christians talk about their God as a loving father, so they expect that He would act in accordance with that identity. They expect that He would never be guilty of any acts of molestation or abuse. And, in truth, those people, who have no God of their own, when they consider whether they need a personal God, are positive they would want one who is kind, compassionate, honorable and dependable.

But then they hear the church tell the story of Job — in the old traditional version — and they recognize that the God in this story is not what they thought God was at all. Sometimes, they even decide that they already have enough problems in this life, and they certainly don’t need a God who will inflict more pain and suffering upon them.

More than one Christian who has tried to witness to an unbeliever has been challenged with this problem. Those Christians are asked why an unbeliever should consider that his life will be any better if he comes into relationship with a God like the one commonly depicted in the story of Job.

Reverend Kenneth Copeland, of Fort Worth, Texas, has shared the story more than once of a Japanese minister who came to the United States many years ago to attend Rhema Bible Training Institute in Broken Arrow, OK, under the ministry of Copeland’s mentor, Kenneth Hagin. Copeland says this minister told Reverend Kenneth Hagin that, after WWII, the Japanese people were open to accepting the Christian God of the United States because He was the God of the nation that had defeated them. They believed their own gods had failed, so they wanted to learn about the God of the Christians.

The Japanese minster said, “But when we studied it out and researched it a little bit, we couldn’t figure it out. All we could find out was that your God would make you sick and take everything you had away from you – and every time you tried to serve Him, He’d knock you back down on your face. So we didn’t want him. So we just kept on serving our old dead gods, knowing it wasn’t any good, but we were in the habit of it.

“But when I heard someone preach what you folks are preaching, I got over in the New Testament and read it for myself, and I found out that all that junk we had heard wasn’t in there. When I found out that God is love and that Jesus of Nazareth loved me without any reservations, even when I was a sinner, now that’s the God I was hunting for all the time.”

At that point, the man and his wife accepted the Lord, came to the United States to be trained for ministry, and went back to Japan to win the people of their own nation to the Lord.

One of the most troubling facts about erroneous stories from the Bible being told repeatedly for generations is that the world then picks up those stories and repeats them. They may not believe the Bible per se, but they believe that Christians believe the stories are true – which means that they believe their God is like the God in the erroneous stories.

The odd thing about that situation is that unbelievers seem to be able to recognize immediately that there is something seriously wrong with the picture portrayed by those stories. One excellent example of what often transpires in the minds of unbelievers was depicted quite accurately in an episode of a very worldly television cartoon series entitled South Park, produced by Comedy Central Productions.

Now, the author of this study of Job is not suggesting that the South Park cartoons are acceptable fare for recreational TV viewing. However, viewers of the series have noted and commented specifically on the fact that one particular episode accurately described their personal reaction to the traditional story of Job. And that reaction is worth noting.

In this episode (“Cartmanland,” Air Date: July 21,2001), one of the young characters, a Jewish boy named Kyle, has renounced his faith because he feels he has suffered so much pain and injustice that there cannot really be a God. While he is lying in a hospital bed because of an injury he has sustained, his parents come into the room and talk with him. When he learns they want to tell him a story from the Bible, his reply is that he has had enough of the Bible. It hasn’t gotten him anywhere, and he doesn’t want to hear anymore.

His parents insist that he will feel differently when he hears the story of Job. They relate the story this way:

“Job was a great man. He was blessed with ten lovely children, a wonderful wife, and many friends.

“He was a godly and a good man and fed the poor. He was the most upright and honorable of men and every day he praised God.

“But one day Satan went up to heaven and talked to God. … And God said to Satan, Have you seen Job? He is a great man, and he praises Me every day.

“But Satan said, ‘Oh yeah, he only praises you because you gave him so much. If you didn’t give him those things, he would curse your name.’ To which God said, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll show you, Satan. I’ll take those things away from Job and he will still praise my name.’

“And so God had a bunch of barbarians come in and slaughter Job’s ox and donkeys and murder all his workers. Then God sent his fireballs from the sky and killed his sheep and the rest of his employees.

“And then, as Job’s sons and daughter were eating, God sent a mighty wind to collapse the house and crushed and killed them all.

“Job was terribly upset, but he fell to his knees and said, ‘The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away,’ and he praised God’s name.

“So then Job got painful sores all over his body. He was in terrible, miserable pain all day every day, but he still kept his faith. God said to Satan, ‘See, I told you. Job still praises me. ‘”

Kyle’s reply is, “That’s the most horrible story I’ve ever heard! Why would God do horrible things to a good person just to prove a point to Satan?”

His father answers, “Oh … uuh … I don’t know.”

To which Kyle responds, “Then I was right …. There isn’t a God.”

Now, some people’s response to this conversation will be to say that the cartoon version says that God Himself did all those things to Job, but what the Bible really says is that Satan did all of them — at God’s invitation. Which means???

If God invited Satan to attack Job so unmercifully, when He could have kept him from doing so, that makes Him just as guilty as if He had executed the blows Himself. And where the Christian mind is sometimes so set in tradition to the extent that it is willing to accept this picture of God, the unbeliever’s mind is still open and free to recognize clearly that it is God who is the real perpetrator of harm here. And why would that unbeliever ever want to submit and subject his life to such a God?

If the body of Christ is ever going to win the world to Jesus Christ, they must find a way to help that world understand that the God they see in Jesus is the one and only God, the God to whom they can turn for salvation. Which means that the church is going to have to learn the truth about the God of Job.

So, if this story as it’s traditionally told is a myth, what is the real story? In the remainder of this book the true story of Job and his God will become clear. And as it does, the reader will find that Jesus meant exactly what He said, when He promised: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

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Daily Post Prompt: Purple – the Royal Color

PURPLE EQUATION 2

Christ’s blood seeped from the puncture wounds the thorns produced around his head. His blood ran freely from the scourging that tore apart his back and torso. It gushed from his side slashed open by the soldier’s spear. His bright red blood mingled with death’s morbid, black shroud that afternoon on Calvary’s infamous hill.

But during the somber three days following that seemingly fatal failure, that precious red blood inundated the black of death — mixed with it and overcame its fearful depths — and thus created the regal color of victory. And purple reigns forever, the color of royalty upon the throne of the universe. Salvation is complete.

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Today I’ve chosen to post the same response to the prompt on both this site and my “Happy Wordcrafter” site. So if they look identical, you’re right: they are.
To participate in the prompt visit
Daily Post.

 

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Daily Post Prompt: Simple

HEALING HAND - DARK SEPIA - FEATHEREDThe simple truth is that God loves you. The Creator of the universe – the one who created you – loves you beyond a level that words can describe. He sent Jesus the Christ – His own son – to live the perfect life that none of us could live in our own strength. And when He had fulfilled the perfect life of obedience, Jesus then took all of our disobedience onto Himself — and the curse which came on us as a result of disobedience — and died in our place.

But that’s only half the story. Because He rose from the grave with brand new life, which He had paid for by His sacrifice. And the Word of God guarantees us that when Jesus the Christ came out of the grave, we came out with Him as far as God was concerned. And if we will simply accept the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf – by accepting Him as Lord of our lives – we will step right onto that state of righteousness and eternal life that He bought and paid for. (Ephesians 2: 4-6; Colossians 1:15, 18-20).

Yes, the simple truth is that man does not need any “religion” that gives him a bunch of rules and regulations that he must obey in order to “earn” some kind of peace in the life after this short earthly sojourn. All the “religions” of the world tell man that he must somehow manage to “measure up” to some kind of mystical standard in order to have a chance at life after death. And some of those “religions” require man to accomplish major feats of warfare and brutality against others in order to have a chance at eternal bliss.

But, dear one, the great truth is that Christianity is NOT A RELIGION.  It is simply a Father and His family. Father God, with His first son Jesus Christ, and all the brothers and sisters who were conceived and born into that same family by receiving Jesus Christ into their lives and making Him Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 3: 13, 26-29).

We are the desire and the delight of the God of the universe, and despite what some religious dogmas and traditions try to teach, that same God loves you more than you can possibly understand, and He wants to bless you with every conceivable blessing at His command – if you will simply believe it and receive.


 

To take part in the ‘Simple’ challenge, visit here.

 

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Daily Post Prompt: Crossing –This Year Let’s Cross Some Lines

I originally wrote this article a few months ago, but it fits the prompt today so perfectly, I decided it was worth taking a second look at as we enter this new year.


 

do-not-cross-line-darker

Did you ever face a situation as a kid where one of your antagonists drew a line in the sand and said that line represented a boundary you were not to cross? You were required to stay on your own side of the line, and if you didn’t, there would be serious negative repercussions? “Don’t cross that line, or I’ll beat you up.”

Well, you know what? That’s still happening to the Body of Christ in this world. The devil is consistently drawing lines in the sand, and we’re afraid to cross over them. To use a more Biblical analogy, we can say that the enemy establishes his gates of authority in our lives, and we’re afraid to break through them.

During the time of Jesus’ ministry, the gates of a city represented, not only the places of entrance and exit, but also the place of legal authority. Major decisions and legal transactions were commonly made at the “gates of the city.” And certainly the gates, being part of a protective wall, were the main elements in the security of the city.

When the devil sets up his “gates” – his places of entrance into our lives — he does so in order to set up his own “seat of authority” and to try to be in control of those areas. The gates may be in the form of disease in our bodies, drug addiction in our children, pornography in a spouse, loss of a job or source of income, unsaved loved ones. Those gates may be political or legal actions that change the tenets of our cities or nations. They may be roots of strife and jealously that spring up in the midst of a congregation of believers.

But whatever form those “gates” take, the Lord has instructed us that we are to overrun those gates and demolish them in His name. His intention is very clear when He speaks in Matthew 16:18 : “Upon this rock, I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” That promise actually goes all the way back to Abraham. And just as Jesus came to fulfill all the rest of the Old Covenant – ushering in the New – so He fulfilled that part of the covenant promise as well. God told Abraham that he would “possess the gates of his enemies.” (Genesis 22:17 ). He repeated that promise to Isaac as well, because the promise is part and parcel of the Covenant as a whole.

Jesus came to provide the avenue through which all those promises would be passed down to everyone who would follow Him. And under this new Covenant, now that we have been born again into a new species and are actively members of the Kingdom of God, the power to execute those promises is far superior to what Abraham had. He was constrained to the natural world, with intermittent help from the spirit realm. We, on the other hand, have our life in the spirit Kingdom of God on a constant basis and can make use of the powers from that realm at will.

So how do we find ourselves so often in the position of standing there looking at a line drawn in the sand (disease, addiction, poverty, etc), feeling that we are imprisoned by that line and required to suffer behind it – not being able to cross over it into victory? The Word of God provides the answer. First of all, it tells us clearly that we can submit to God and resist the devil, and he will most assuredly flee from us. The Word also tells us that “greater is He that is in us than he that is in the word. It further guarantees that faith overcomes the world (and all the world throws at us.) The word “salvation” alone covers every possible need we could have, and Jesus has already done all the work of providing that complete salvation for every man, woman, and child on the earth who will believe.

But right there is the root of the problem, beloved: it’s with that word “believe.” The simple truth is that we – the Church – do not truly believe God’s Word. And one of the main reasons we don’t believe it is that we don’t know what it says – because we don’t read and study it for ourselves. We don’t spend hours reading, meditation, and praying over the Word to receive revelation. If we did, and we truly believed what it says, we would speak and act accordingly. And our first action would be to step across that line the devil has drawn at our feet.

Are you tired of living in the prison behind that line? Most of us are facing a number of those lines in our lives. It’s past time we got fed up with being in prison and, instead, got “fed-up” (filled) with God’s Word. Once we get enough Word activated in us that we are willing to pick up our feet and march over those lines, we will live our lives in victory on every level. Because after crossing one of the devil’s lines and realizing that we really are free, and he truly is defeated, we will find that crossing over the rest of those lines is much easier.

Are you ready? Here’s the battle plan:

1. Fill up on God’s Word. Toss out everything that contradicts it.

2. Concentrate on that Word until it is the most real thing in your life.

3. Then Step Over the Line into your victory through the name of Jesus Christ.

 

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