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The substitute preacher was one strange looking dude. I guess whoever arranges these things doesn’t much care what they look like. His hair was so white it left an image on your retina –it was done up like one of those Afro things, curly and fluffed up like sheep wool. His face … well, it kinda glowed. I guess it was an effect of the brightness of his hair.

This fella could preach, I’ll give him that. He knew that Bible better’n even Pastor Gifford, who’d been called away. The Reverend E.A. Soose was his name, and he definitely made an Impression on our church. Unfortunately, the impression he made had the congregation up in arms. First of all, he started right off callin’ us his church. “My church,” he’d say. Don’t know what gave him the idea that he was stayin’ — turns out he didn’t stay long.

He got off on the wrong foot right away, preaching out of the book of Revelation. I mean, nobody could understand that book, not even Pastor Gifford. Reverend Soose jumped right into Chapter Two and told us that there wasn’t an early church and a modern church — just the Church, period. Said there was nothing new under the sun, and told us that Chapters 2 and 3 were written to us! Can you imagine? He said that parts of these chapters applied to everyone in the church in some way. Said that until the saints of God were perfected, this would be the case. Now, I didn’t have any trouble with this guy because I know where I stand.

Anyhow, he starts off with the church at Ephesus. Shows us the Lord’s praise for their hard work and perseverance, as well as their discernment. Seems they’d weeded out some false teachers. Then he says they’ve forsaken their first love and had better repent and begin to do the things they’d done at first. Made me think back to when I was first saved. Boy! You couldn’t shut me up! I told everyone I could what Jesus had done for me. I even got so wound up I laid hands on a few sick folks and saw ’em healed. That was back before I found out folks don’t like an oddball. I wondered if that was what the Lord was talking about.

I didn’t have a chance to wonder long, ’cause off he went in to Smyrna. No good news here. Seems the Christians had been discriminated against economically in addition to being physically abused. The Lord called them rich. Then, he tells them not to fear what they are about to suffer. He says some will be imprisoned and persecuted — even killed. Not the kind of thing want to hear. Seems, according to the Reverend Soose, that their pastor, Polycarp, was later burned to death. They’d given him a last chance to renounce Jesus; but he’s said something like, “I’ve served him all these years, and he’s been a good master. Should I deny him now?” Guess he earned that crown of life the Lord spoke of.

Now remember, the preacher had said that this stuff applied to us. So, looking down at us from the pulpit, all weird looking, those eyes just burnin’ into each of us, he started on Pergamum, where Satan has his throne, he said. Boy, was that place quiet! Faces all puckered up, too. The whole congregation, except for Annie Bates, looked like they’d been baptized in lemon juice! Annie was smiling! Can you beat that? Smiling and looking as peaceful as can be. Even when the preacher got to the part about holding to the teaching of Balaam. Seems folks had more or less decided that they could handle a little sin, but really got caught up in it. Got to going to the temple prostitutes, even. Doin’ adultery in the name of Jesus. And the Nicolaitans, who figured their spirit was OK, even though their flesh was trying every perverted thing that came down the trail.

Pastor E.A. Soose claimed that to tell a homosexual, “Now that’s all right –God understands,” is a lie that will send the teller and the tellee straight to Hell. . Now I can see that. You give God an extension cord that’s male on both ends (or female on both ends) and he’s gonna want it made right.

By this time, folks were leaving at a pretty good clip. I reckoned I’d stay — if only ’cause I wanted to see where he was headed.

He didn’t pay no nevermind to those huffy folks. He kept on into Thyatira. He was saying that those rolks put up with a woman who called herself a prophetess and who led church folks into sexual immorality and eating of food sacrificed to idols. Now, the Lord was going to cast her onto a bed of suffering and those who committed adultery with her were going to suffer intensely unless they repented. He reminded them, and us, that he, the Lord, searches hearts and minds and will repay everyone according to their deeds. Sounded fair to me. Though it didn’t Iook like too many folks felt that way. Now. the ones that were left mostly had their heads bowed.

The Reverend Soose had been talking kinda forceful until now. His tone softened somewhat as he read, “To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations … just as I have received authority from my Father.” Now to me, that sounds pretty good.

After a pause, during which some more folks left, their heads still bowed, he started on Chapter 3, the church at Sardis. Said that although they had a nifty reputation, they were really dead. Only a few would be counted worthy. Wake up, he said. Those who have not soiled themselves wouldn’t have their names erased from the book of life.

Y’know, I’ve been in many churches; but never had I heard that one’s name could be erased or blotted out. I wasn’t the only one who started listening more carefully.

To the church in Philadelphia he promised he would keep them from trials that would corne on the whole earth to test those who live on the earth. The word “dwell” in the Scriptures seems to mean those who settle and take up permanent residence. He said he was corning soon and to hang on to what they had. Son of a gun! Didn’t seem like there were any complaints about these folks.

Laodicea didn’t fare so well. Said he wished we were either hot, like a good cup of coffee, or cold like a cold drink on a hot day. Refreshing. But we’re not. Lukewarm like old bathwater and he’d spit us out of his mouth. We say we are rich and well off. He says we’re pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. Said to buy from him gold refined in the fire to become truly rich. and white clothes to cover our shameful nakedness, and salve to put on our eyes so we can see.

The Lord says next that he rebukes and disciplines those he loves, and exhorts us to be earnest and repent. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door. I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
With that said, the Pastor E.A. Soose stepped down from the pulpit and walked down the aisle, greeting the dozen or so of us who were left by name, and smiling. He stopped by Annie Bates and took her hand. She rose up, and hugged him. Then he turned and walked on out.

I sat for a while, ponderin’ just what I was going to do with what I’d heard. 1 figure that’s something needs doing. Then, I went on out the front door. I expected, I guess, for him to be on the front steps like Pastor Gifford, but he wasn’t there. 1 started down the steps and Annie Bates came alongside and patted my arm and said, “Ready, Jake?”

Ready? Huh. I hope so. I dearly hope so.

Now this 1 say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,’ neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Behold, 1 show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet: shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
– I Corinthians 15:50-52

©1989 Steven M. Scott

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Well-said!!

t2gospel

quicksand

The biggest roadblock to Jesus is some of the people who say they love him.  That’s not a slam or an opinion: just a fact.  Investigating the Christian faith is always mysterious (John 3:8,) but it can become unbearably difficult when I encounter church people who seem just as conflicted and unkind as my irreligious friends. The deficiency here is not that the Jesus Christ does not transform believers.  Rather, it appears that many church people have completely missed the core truths of his Gospel.  Let me share just a few examples of truths that could transform:

  1. Free is not the same as Easy.  One of the axioms of church life, at least in Protestant circles, is that Eternal Life is a free gift.  Without a doubt, that’s the promise of texts like Romans 6:23.  “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”…

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We have RE-gressed.

Every now and then I make a comment on someone else’s page that ends up more of an essay.  Well, I did it again tonight. The below statement was in response to a fake news story having to do with a Republican and Conservative Christian politician  talking about (shock, horror) the bible, and even (how could he!!) quoting from it. Of course from progressives you get the usual anti-Christian hate fest.  And so… I commented.  This is what I said:

“Trouble is once you get rid of everything Christian, you also get rid of all our morals, ethics and foundations too. We are founded on Judeo-Christian ethics – like it or not. And actually, those ethics and morals have been under siege post WW2 and really started to take hold during the 1960’s cultural revolution.

Questioning things are good. We should question things. However, EVERYTHING ended up being  thrown out… including our foundations, ethics, morals, the idea of traditional marriage, the traditional family, personal responsibility, and autonomy. And now…after multiple decades of throwing it all away, what we now have in the West is an amoral, decadent, nihilistic society that screams out for more govt, more laws and more restrictions and regulations to combat it.

Rejecting our Christian values has manifested itself in multiple ways: crime, violence, broken families, drug use, depression, suicides, mass shootings, meaningless and numerous sexual hookups, unwanted pregnancies and abortions, gender confusion, sexual confusion, self hate, feeling lost, having no sense of purpose or grounding, loneliness, feeling victimized, and fear.

In fact most of the problems today in our society are down to the fact that we as a society have vehemently rejected Christianity and those foundations. I know you don’t see the correlation. But it is there… and what I say is truth.

That’s not to say one has to be a full-on born again fundamentalist Christian to accept and embrace our foundational ethics and morals, but we really do need to find ways to stop hating it so much so our society can begin to heal and get back all that we’ve lost.

Social justice and moral relativity have shown themselves to be disastrous for our society and a VERY VERY poor substitute for our Christian roots. The reality of our disintegrating societies in the West is all proof of that. We have not PRO-gressed with all that questioning and rejecting. We have RE-gressed. I hope we can save ourselves from the soon to follow tyranny and the terrible destruction that comes with all that.

The bizarre thing is, most of your friends on the left DO actually sense something is very wrong in our world… but they have misdiagnosed the problem in thinking the fault is Christianity, Conservatives and of course Trump. Now, that all said, I’m now waiting, with much sadness, for all the insults which will now predictably be coming my way from all your progressive friends who are literally hating every word I just wrote.

By Julienne Davis, https://www.facebook.com/julienne.davis/posts/10156939696600097

Twitter: @julienne_davis

The Deep Magic

t2gospel

Deep Magic 2I don’t have to prod myself to remember that God is loving, but it’s essential to remind myself daily that God is holy. Everything about me wants a loving God, even my sin nature. (Especially my sin nature!) But it’s because God is holy that his love is not emotional or predictable. Holy is why I don’t understand God; why I deceive myself when I boast that I do.

My eyes don’t contain enough rods to capture all the detail and movement of the complex world we inhabit. Even if my vision was stronger, I’d need a much larger, very unwieldy brain to process all that visual data pouring in from all directions. That’s why my mind coaches my eyes, directing them to process only the things I’m looking for, the familiar, the resonant. I am blind to most things- like all those unusual colored automobiles I never…

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From: http://www.calvarytemplemiracles.org/suicide-deliverance-hope/

Part Two of her testimony on my previous post, which may be found at http://www.calvarytemplemiracles.org/drug-addiction-depression-suicide-hope/

I don’t think I really wanted to die. I needed hope.

I was desperate to get people to see how badly I was hurting. I wanted them to change, and in turn my life would change. I wanted love, peace and hope.  I wanted to live. All the things I had used to fill my emptiness were either gone or had lost their effect.  Popularity from my looks, the attention I got from guys, drugs, partying, relationships, none of it satisfied me and none of it was lasting.  I was trapped in despair and I came to a place of hopelessness that I had never known before.  I was sick of living.

I started making a real suicide plan.  One that would get the job done.

The only thing holding me back was the fear of dying. I thought maybe a new start was what I needed.  So, I moved down to Atlanta to live with my mom.  I met new people to party with and was able to distract myself for a while from the terrible ache in my heart. I was still trying to read the devotional books my aunt had given me over the years, so I would wake up, make my coffee, roll a joint and have my devotional time.

To continue reading, please click here:  http://www.calvarytemplemiracles.org/suicide-deliverance-hope/

 

Excerpt from:
http://www.calvarytemplemiracles.org/drug-addiction-depression-suicide-hope/

Click the above link to read the entire story.

The following is a testimony of deliverance and hope after multiple attempts to commit suicide:

I first heard about Jesus in Sunday School at 5 years old.

The teacher stood at a felt board with a cross and a heart.  She shared the simple story of how God sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. If we asked him into our heart, he would come in and he would save us and forgive us, and we could be in heaven with him when we died. I remember feeling like I was different from the other children.  I felt like I was dirty, and they all seemed so wholesome.  It became real to me that morning that Jesus loved me. That was the first of many times I would ask Jesus to come into my heart and save me.

I was not a happy care free child, always sad and anxious. I spent many sleepless nights crying and full of anxiety, praying to the Jesus I’d heard about at my grandparents’ church. Please keep my mom safe, and send me to live with her one day. And I would ask him to come into my heart and save me over and over.

By the time I was nineteen I would have tried to commit suicide three times.  As a teenager, I started drinking and smoking pot very heavily. There was not a day that went by that I didn’t get high. I got high when I woke up, I got high on the way to school. I would walk out of school during the day to get high, I got high after school, and I got high into the evening. My friends started calling me Cannabis. Most of them partied on the weekend just for fun, but I got high to survive the sadness and anger over my childhood. Getting high was an escape from all the bad feelings inside of me.

My life was going downhill and becoming more reckless.

To continue reading, click the link below:
http://www.calvarytemplemiracles.org/drug-addiction-depression-suicide-hope/

Waiters and waitresses (hereafter called “servers”) depend upon perquisites (tips) to make up for unconscionable wages and make their labors worthwhile. This creates a bit of a problem. You see, Management does not want, ever, to fire a server except for such flagrant behavior as would be provably illegal and let them, Management, off the hook for the state-imposed penalties for adding, even temporarily, to the unemployment rolls. Ergo, it matters little if you tell the dining room manager that your server smells, gets the order wrong, or simply is inefficient beyond belief.

The only way you are going to “correct” that server is to make the tip small enough to ensure they know you didn’t err, but wanted to send a message–to them.

You dare not write, as I used to, a note indicating the source of your displeasure, or any possible remedy they might apply to correct it. Surely, should you do this, you will find your note posted on every social media app, and you will then be harangued for your act of cruelty by hoards who believe the server is entitled to the tip. (They are not,  by the way; that is why it is called a tip or perquisite. It is, in effect, a reward for having left you as pleased as Punch about your dining experience–their part in it, anyway.)

Now, having upset you “entitlement” folks, I shall proceed while you wipe the spittle from your screens.

The biggest problem with servers (the ones I am talking about, not the ones who get it) is that they don’t think of you as patrons but as “you guys.” They will fit you in to their way of doing things. It is your job, now, to be understanding and patient…and patient…and patient…

They asked you if you wanted anything else, but you were supposed to say no. So, you asked, in ignorance, for some ketchup for your fries. “Certainly,” they reply, then wipe it from their mind. Next, your cup/glass is empty; the bottom has dried out while you hoped you’d be asked if you wanted a refill. Finally you’re asked. But instead of them going to fulfill your request, they take three orders, input them into the station, fetch bread and beverages for those diners, then pass back by, asking if everything is okay– while not slowing to hear any response.

Okay. You’ve given up. You’ve eaten your fries, cold, with no ketchup. You ask for a box for the leftovers, and the check. Now, this is the time for them to deduce that 1. you are ready to leave, and 2. that they should expedite this process so the table can be repopulated. Too much to hope for. Okay. Eventually, you get the box (after three attempts) and the check. You’re anxious to get going (you know the dog is at home with its legs crossed, needing to pee), so you have the credit card at the ready! “Here…” you say to their back. Nope, not getting it done. They’re gone again. You have the card in the holder, which you keep moving about, hoping someone will take it. E-ven-tu-al-ly, it’s taken, but it was too much to hope that they’d simply go directly to and from the register so you could be on your way. Minutes pass. (Now, this is where I begin the tip countdown from whatever I was willing to part with. Dollar a minute after the first one. That way, I have the meager satisfaction that I am exacting something in return for being made to wait yet again.)

That server isn’t going anywhere. Chances are, if you deign to enter that establishment again, that they or their clone (for they will have trained minions) will be “serving” you again. We have the “entitlement” folks to thank for this.

Oh, well. Happy dining!

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