Little Children and The Kingdom of God

But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD BELONGS TO SUCH AS THESE. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

Lord Jesus to the parents of the little children- Luke 18: 16-17 (emphasis added)

This morning the pastor shared this Scripture in his sermon and it reminded me of the following statement by the commentariat Matthew Henry:

“The Holy Spirit is given to us to make us like little children.”

What a great truth to live by. May we become like little children in our relationship with our Heavenly Father; trusting, believing, receiving from and loving Him, as little children in relationship with their earthly fathers.

Carl

He Is Able

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory BLAMELESS and with GREAT JOY, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Emphasis added)

If that does not bless you, the Amplified Bible says:

Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight]–

To the one only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory (splendor), majesty, might and dominion, and power and authority, before all time and now and forever (unto all the ages of eternity). Amen (so be it).

May God’s word lift you from the earthly to the eternal, heavenly today, fixing your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (I Peter 1:13)

May Great Joy in-Christ be yours no matter what the world and the devil throw at you. Blessings to our brothers and sisters over-seas who are in the thick of the fight. God has not forsaken you but is pouring forth grace upon grace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit for you.

Carl

Surprise Divine Encounter

Last week we had the pleasure of visiting with good friends who took us to a wonderful museum and arboretum. After walking through the gardens we entered the museum and were greeted by an elderly, stately gentleman who gave us a brief orientation.

As we finished viewing the first wing, I encountered the gentleman again. I took the opportunity to ask if they had any toothache trees in the garden. I wanted to show our friends this tree that was used to treat toothache pain prior to modern medicine. He said he did not know.

As we continued to talk it became apparent that we were Christian brothers. Then to my surprise he said he wanted to show me something. He reached into his coat pocket and brought out a folded piece of paper. On it was written I Corinthian 13 from the King James Version. He was memorizing this Scripture while he was guarding the collection. He began to share what the Holy Spirit had shown him about “charity” or love through his memorization work.

It was one those unique moments when you encounter someone you have never met before yet, you seem to have known them forever and the conversation flows without reservation or uneasiness. All because Jesus is Lord and because of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

This surprise meeting was so encouraging and edifying to me. To find a total stranger, who seemed like a long-time close friend, that believed that God IS, that He exists, and therefore, he treasures what God has said so much that it was important to hide it in his heart that he might not offend Him.

Though he has never seen God the Father or Lord Jesus in the physical, his memorization work is an expression of his love for Them. The following scripture describes this faith and it’s result:

“….though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls…” (I Peter 1:8-9)

May you have great rejoicing with joy inexpressible and full of glory as you walk by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, believing in the Father and the Son! May you have many divine encounters that strengthen and encourage you.

Carl

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman At The Well

The following poem was written by my precious wife after hearing our son preach on John 4: 1-43, Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. May it minister to you. Carl

A Woman in a Far Away Town

She came to the well at midday

When the women of town were at home,

No judgement, no stares, no whispers were there,

Just the Samaritan woman alone.

No friends to walk with her to Jacob’s well,

No kindness to come alongside,

Always alone to finish her chore,

Five husbands, yet still not a bride.

She had never wed the man in her home.

She lived with him outside the law.

With her head hung in shame, she stood at the well,

Bucket in hand, with water to withdraw.

Standing near her, she saw a man at the well.

A Jew who could not look or dare speak.

She sought to ignore Him and finish her work,

Until he asked, “Will you give me a drink?”

A Jew asked a favor? This surely can’t be,

Yet with kindness He continued to say,

“If only you knew the Gift of God,

Living water I could give you today.”

Jesus had compassion and revealed who He was.

Told of her history and present day sin.

Never shamed her or judged her in any harsh way,

Because of this, she led many to Him.

Oh, that we could look past the stains others wear

And the shame of bad choices in life,

And offer God’s grace and an encouraging word,

Not judgement and stares filled with strife.

Let’s put on compassion and walk in His love,

Let’s build up and never tear down.

Let’s remember His love He so freely shared

In that long ago, far away town.

Nelda Johnson

THE IMPERSONATOR

IMG_0586

At this moment I am sitting in my yard listening to a flock of blue jays squawking in the woods. They discovered a four or five foot pine snake in a tree and, surrounding him, are making a terrible racket to scare him off. In the photograph above, the snake is impersonating a tree limb by stretching himself between the two small, limbless tree trunks. He is lying still, patiently waiting for a bird to land so he can inject his poison.

This scene calls to remembrance another snake that uses deception. The Apostle John described him like this:

“… the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world…. ” Revelation 12:9

This snake disguises himself as “truth” through various false religions. Since he deceives the whole world, he is a pro at “blending in the surroundings” and mixing his lies with the “truth”, in order to ensnare the unwise and unsuspecting.

But, no fear disciples of the Lord Jesus, the word of God and the Holy Spirit will guide you through his “garden”, that is, this world. Therefore:

“Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in your faith and in the knowledge that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.”    I Peter 5: 8-9

Carl

Ignorance Is A Terrible Thing

One evening last week, we went outside to check on a juvenile Goldfinch that was asleep on top of the bird feeder. Little guy was fluffed up with his head tucked behind a wing, a miniature ball of feathers. We didn’t know if he was sick or had one too many sunflower seeds. When my wife made a squeeky noise, he opened his eyes and stared at us for three or four seconds before taking to the wing. Seems he was just napping.

As my wife started watering the petunias in the window boxes, I stood by the car surveying the trees and the surrounding woods. Suddenly, without any words or thoughts, I became aware of how blessed I was that I did not have to fear the evil spirits in the woods.

What? I realize this is a strange statement but let me explain.

I had recently viewed the testimony of Chief Shoefoot, a former Yanomami shaman or witch doctor, who Christ Jesus had set free from bondage to the evil spirits that dwelled in the Amazon jungle. As I stood on the driveway that evening, I was reminded of an article in National Geographic, which related how primitive tribes lived in constant fear of the evil spirits that dwelled in the jungle, constantly trying to appease them. Since I had been exposed to the truth in the Holy Bible, thank the Lord, I did not need to fear the kingdom of darkness around me.

Anthropologists say that missionaries should leave these remote tribes alone and let them live as they have for thousand of years. Chief Shoefoot does not agree with them. He said he never wanted to return to his former life. He had experienced what 2 Timothy 2:25-26 revealed:

[25]…if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, [26] and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Ignorance is a terrible thing. The powers of darkness take advantage of ignorance. Ignorance about God Almighty and His ways, about His Son, Jesus, and about what God did for lost mankind through Jesus’ Cross and resurrection. Ignorance about His Holy Spirit and how He comes alongside the believer to comfort and help him.

The jungle dwellers and all men deserve a chance to hear the truth that sets man free from the domain of darkness.

Colossians 1:12-14 says:

[12] giving thanks to the Father….[13] For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, [14] in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Let us offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for the knowledge of the Truth. The revelation of His Truth is contained in the Holy Bible. How I thank Him for using men and women, who believed the Holy Bible, to establish our country. And let us be faithful to share with those who are still ignorant about God’s wonderful Son, Jesus Christ, mankind’s Messiah.

Thank you for your time.

Carl

Relics Anyone?

When Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire recently, it was reported that early in the fire they were able to move religious relics to safety. You may be asking “What are religious relics?” The following from Martin Luther (1897) by Miss Whately throws light on this unbiblical practice in the 1500s (AD):

In those days of superstition and ignorance people were taught that holy men could perform miracles, cure the sick and even raise the dead. Therefore, they often gave large sums of money for part of the leg or arm, even the tooth of a saint. These relics sold for very high prices, and, indeed, a great part of the wealth of the church [Roman Catholic Church] came from selling of relics. Some of the most precious relics were said to be a part of the cross upon which our blessed Lord was crucified, and the crown of thorns which he wore when the people mocked him…. They also pretended to show some of the hay in which Christ lay in the manager in Bethlehem, and the head of John The Baptist, though it is well known, from history, that the Saracens [Arabs and Muslims] opened his tomb and burned his remains to ashes. (Page 49-50)

We see that a religious relic was, and still is, body parts of the people the church considered holy and items supposedly associated with the Lord’s life on Earth. In the Middle Ages, whichever church had the most religious relics was considered to be the holiest. Martin Luther, being a Catholic Doctor of Theology who started reading and preaching the Bible, knew that relic veneration was not of God and was not based on biblical truth. Like indulgences, he knew it was a money making racket. He tells the following curious story about a relic:

A German, making his confession to a priest in Rome, promised to keep secret whatsoever the priest should impart to him, until he reached home. Whereupon the priest gave him a leg of the donkey on which Christ rode in Jerusalem very neatly bound up in silk, and said, ‘This holy relic on which the Lord Christ did sit, with his sacred legs touching this donkey’s legs.’

Then was the German wondrous glad, and carried the said holy relic with him into Germany. When he got to the borders, he boasted of his holy relic in the presence of four others, his comrades, when, lo! It turned out that each of them had likewise received from the same priest a leg, promising the same secrecy. Thereupon all exclaimed, with great wonder, ‘Oh, had that donkey five legs?

Page 50: The Story of Martin Luther edited by Miss Wheatley (1897)

The spiritual gloom created by the teaching and commandments of men produced this erroneous practice of relic veneration ….and they both are going on today.

Jesus Christ said,

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32

May His word set you free from the religious teachings and commandments of men.

Carl