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

The Second Advent of Jesus, The Messiah

Part Two – The Second Advent of Jesus, The Messiah

Lord Jesus’ SECOND ADVENT is approaching. This is when He physically returns to the Earth.

When Lord Jesus read Isaiah 61 to announce that that He was the Messiah, He stopped half way through verse 2 where it says “to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord” and did not read the second half of the verse which says,

“And the day of vengeance of our God…” Isaiah 61:2b

If He had read the second part He could not have said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Because the second part has to do with His return to Earth as a Warrior King-Priest to reveal Himself to Israel and save them from the armies of all the nations of the Earth who will try to destroy her.

In God The Father’s plan, this day of vengeance had not arrived when Jesus was speaking in His hometown synagogue. By reading verse 2 and 3 we see what His Second Advent involves:

“The SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, FOR HE ANOINTED ME…TO PROCLAIM..

“…the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,

To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:2b-3

This section of Scripture reveals a SECOND ADVENT and reveals the specialized task the Messiah, Jesus, will perform as Warrior King-Priest:

  • …to proclaim…the day of vengeance of our God
  • to comfort all who mourn… in Zion
  • …giving a garland instead of ashes
  • …giving the oil of gladness instead of mourning
  • …giving a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting
  • He will make the people of Israel into oaks of righteousness
  • He will cause glory to rebound unto God, by the changes in the people of Israel.

The specialized task deal with two things: the day of vengeance and the salvation of Israel physically and spiritually. This is after the church as been raptured and almost at the end of the future Anti-Christ’s rule.

First, why the need to minister to the mourning?

The setting is the end of the seven years of tribulation and the Battle of Armageddon is ongoing. Armies from all the nations of the earth are besieging and close to overwhelming the defenders of Jerusalem. Some of Israel has fled to the wilderness (Petra), some have been killed by the invading armies and some are besieged in Jerusalem. Zechariah 13: 9 tell us that two-thirds of the people in Israel will die during this time but much of the Jewish population will have already fled to the safety of the wilderness. The one-third remaining in Israel will be refined or purified by the Lord.

It is my understanding that at that point in the battle, Jesus will physically set His feet on the Mount of Olives coming to help Israel and will reveal Himself to Israel. They will understand that He was their Messiah all along. This is why the Messiah’s specialized tasks mention mourning, ashes, and fainting. Listen:

Zechariah 12:9-14 NASBS

[9] And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. [10] “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. [11] In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo. [12] The land will mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself and their wives by themselves; [13] the family of the house of Levi by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself and their wives by themselves; [14] all the families that remain, every family by itself and their wives by themselves.

And again:

Ezekiel 20:43-44 NASBS

[43] There you will remember your ways and all your deeds with which you have defiled yourselves; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for all the evil things that you have done. [44] Then you will know that I am the LORD when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your evil ways or according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD.'”

Concerning those who have fled to the wilderness:

Ezekiel 20:33-38 NASBS

[33] “As I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out, I shall be king over you. [34] I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; [35] and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. [36] As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you,” declares the Lord GOD. [37] “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; [38] and I will purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the LORD.

Think about what this will be like? For the Jewish people to realize that Jesus of Nazareth was their Messiah all along. To realize that all the judgements that they as a people had endured over 2000 years could have been avoided. Is it any wonder that Ezekiel 20:43 says speaking about the Jewish people who realize this, “you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for all the evil things that you have done.” The shock of the realization and then the remembering of all they had done individually and nationally. It will be a time of “being stunned” by what is being revealed to each individual.

But…now we see the reason that the Messiah will comfort all who mourn in Zion, giving a garland instead of ashes and a mantle of praise for the spirit of fainting! Though this realization that Jesus is the Messiah will happen to the whole nation, it is through personal repentance and faith in Jesus The Messiah, that the Jewish remnant will be born again. That is what “…by themselves…” in Zechariah 12:12-14 means.

It will be a glorious transformation of Israel that will rebound to God’s glory!!!!!

Ezekiel 39:25-29 describes this time:

[25] Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name. [26] They will forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me, when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid. [27] When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations. [28] Then they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer. [29] I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD.

Isaiah 61: 4-9 describes what the Lord will do for Israel after they acknowledge Him and repent:

[4] Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations. [5] Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, And foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers. [6] But you will be called the priests of the LORD; You will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, And in their riches you will boast. [7] Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, And instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, Everlasting joy will be theirs. [8] For I, the LORD, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; And I will faithfully give them their recompense And make an everlasting covenant with them. [9] Then their offspring will be known among the nations, And their descendants in the midst of the peoples. All who see them will recognize them Because they are the offspring whom the LORD has blessed.

The second task of Jesus during His second advent is to proclaim the day of vengeance. To understand this let us begin with Isaiah 63: 1-6 which is a picture of Lord Jesus on this day. Note what Lord Jesus says in verse 4.

Isaiah 63:1-6

[1] Who is this who comes from Edom (modern day Jordan)

With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah (Petra),

This One who is majestic in His apparel,

Marching in the greatness of His strength?

“It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”

[2] Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?

[3] “I have trodden the wine trough alone,

And from the peoples there was no man with Me.

I also trod them in My anger And trampled them in My wrath;

And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments,

And I stained all My raiment.

[4] “For the day of vengeance was in My heart,

And My year of redemption has come.

[5] “I looked, and there was no one to help,

And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold;

So My own arm brought salvation to Me,

And My wrath upheld Me.

[6] “I trod down the peoples in My anger

And made them drunk in My wrath,

And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”

(Clarification added)

Did you notice in verse 4 that Jesus said the day of vengeance was in My heart? Remember in Isaiah 61:2b the Messiah would proclaim the day of vengeance? Here we have Jesus The Messiah proclaiming this when He physically comes to Earth to destroy all the armies intent on wiping out Israel and the Jewish people.

After the day of vengeance is finished, Lord Jesus will establish His earthly kingdom in Jerusalem for a thousand years. The new temple described in Zechariah will be built and from there He will rule all nations. Isaiah 61: 10-11 describes the Lord Jesus at this time:

Isaiah 61:10-11

[10] I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. [11] For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

After the thousand years, the end of time will come and the final judgement. Those who have rejected Lord Jesus will be sent to the place prepared for the devil and his angels forever, the ones they knowingly or unknowingly served/followed in their earthly existence.

The disciples of Jesus Christ will inherit a new heaven and earth where they will dwell forever.

Where will you be at this time?

So we have looked at the two advents of the Lord Jesus and the difference of each. We are in the first and the second advent is steadily approaching.

Even so, Amen. Come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20)

Carl

  • The Two Advents of Jesus, The Messiah

    Part One – The First Advent of Jesus, The Messiah

    When Jesus returned from the wilderness and being tempted by Satan, the Scriptures say that He came to His hometown Nazareth, in the power of the Holy Spirit. He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath as was His custom and He stood up to read. The scroll of Isaiah was given to Him and He found what we know as Isaiah 61 and read the following:

    Luke 4:18-19

    [18] “The SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, [19] To PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”

    and then He said this:

    “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4: 21

    This caused quite a stir in His hometown synagogue. Why?

    The Hometown Guy, which is what His old neighbors considered Him to be, had just informed the congregation that He was the Anointed One or Messiah that Israel had been looking for for hundreds of years. At that time Israel was looking for the Messiah to deliver them from Roman oppression.

    They could not receive this awesome revelation and ended up trying to kill Him by throwing Him off a cliff.

    Jesus had declared that He was the Messiah. The title Messiah refers to one who is anointed with oil, symbolizing the reception of the Holy Spirit, enabling them to do an assigned task (Vines). It refers to the consecration of someone or something to a specialized task (Moody).

    The Hebrew word for Messiah is masiah and in the Greek it is christos. In the English language it is christ. In English speaking cultures Jesus is known as Jesus Christ which means Jesus The Messiah or Jesus The Anointed One. The word “Christ”, emphasizes the special anointing of Jesus of Nazareth for His role as God’s Chosen One (Vines).

    Jesus fulfilled the two qualifications to be the Messiah: 1) the anointing of the Holy Spirit and 2) He was able to fulfill the specialized task.

    Please note that after defeating Satan’s in the wilderness, it is said that:

    “And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit…”

    He was “anointed with oil” so to speak; the Holy Spirit.

    Secondly, note that in verse 18 above that Jesus said “…because He [God The Father] anointed me to…” and then He read the specialized task that He was “anointed” to do:

    • to preach the gospel to the poor
    • …proclaim release to the captives
    • …recovery of sight to the blind
    • …to set free those who are oppressed
    • …to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord

    There is a spiritual and physical component to these task. He preached the good news of God’s mercy to those who realized they were spiritually bankrupt (poor) regardless of their financial status. He physically healed the eyes of the blind but He also opened the eyes of the heart (the understanding) of the spiritually blind. He set free people who were held captive and oppressed by sickness and disease. He also set free those who were enslaved and oppressed by the demons, held captive to do Satan’s will.

    So we see He had the qualifications of the Messiah: He was anointed because of the Holy Spirit and there were specialized tasks that only He could perform. All through the New Testament we see Him fulfilling these tasks thereby proving that He is the Messiah.

    He was the Servant Messiah who died for our sins and was raised from the dead and is seated at God’s right hand as I write this. The favorable year of the Lord has brought eternal salvation from the guilt and penalty of sin. By God’s grace we can be saved from our sins through simple faith in what Christ did on the Cross. During this “year” God remembered us Gentiles and made a Way for us to be reconciled to Him through the Cross of Christ. The Gentiles were welcomed into the kingdom of God.

    These are the days we are living in. Next time we will look at the yet-to-come second advent of the Lord Jesus. Hope you will join us for it. You will find it very interesting.

    Thank you for your time. I pray you were blessed by the Word of God.

    Carl