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Archive for the ‘Edifying’ Category

Well-made movie, with great cinematography.  Educational, with loads of facts, illustrations, and locales.

Whether you’re a believer or not, this film tells a lot about how the scientific left (my term) rules “science.” Actual science starts with an idea, then seeks to test whether or not that premise is true. For hundreds of years, the “scientific” elite have instead begun with a philosophy, and any theory which does not match their view is ridiculed, and its proponents banished from the public eye. In much the same way Galileo was persecuted by the religious for his theories, today those who posit that (still unproven, by the way) Evolution makes no scientific sense and has no proofs are ridiculed and persecuted.

That said, this film is not going to convince an unbeliever to cross the road to belief. That takes an epiphany, a Saul-of-Tarsus moment, which is spiritual in nature, not logical and based on proofs.

Watch on Netflix

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Part-time Christians

Part-time Christians.

We wouldn’t call ourselves that, surely, but how true is it of us?

Not only are we born into this world, but with each succeeding generation, there is “more world” to be born into.  Our dependency upon the technologies from our workaday worlds — sometimes a fascination with the technology itself, sometimes simply a means to an end — often replaces what should be time given to introspection, family, and to quietly seeking God (to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt) with more works: “doing stuff for God.”

Indeed, if others are to be brought into and sustained in the Kingdom of God, we should be “doing something” toward that end, but are we?  To borrow from Pastor Forbe Carlson, “Just enough is not enough.”

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What follows is excerpted from a recent message from my pastor:

There is not one child in here, between First and Twelfth Grade, that should have anything that allows them to access the Internet, that they can carry around and destroy themselves with.  Shame on you!  For not hearing…and hearing…and hearing.  A voice has stood up and been crying—a clarion call—“The sword of the Lord!”

“I’ve got it.  My kids can handle it.  I can handle it.  It’ll never happen to us.”  How are you supposed to flee youthful lusts when Dad is putting it in your hand?  How are you supposed to shun the very appearance of evil when Dad is buying it and putting it in your hand?  Why?  “Because everybody else has it.”  How do you keep your young men from ‘going down to the corner,’ when Dad drives them down there and puts it in their hand?  It is tragic.  It is sad.  The reasons we tell ourselves, to justify—and the reason is because we don’t want to abstain, because we don’t want to discipline our lives to be true caretakers and overseers and guides of our children.

It exists in some of your houses, and the same things that we’ve spoken and spoken and spoken to, that were ignored, your time’s coming—if you don’t change.  You’re not immune.  And I’m just crying out to you with a heart that’s broken.  So I admonish you:  It’s obvious you don’t listen to me—but at least get quiet and see if God might give you some good guidance, and see what He has to say about your home and this generation.

But what we’ve told you has been the Word of God, and we’ve given you these principles.  So, we’re not going to say, “You can’t do this,” and, “You can’t do that.”  Flee youthful lusts.  Shun the very appearance of evil.  Come out from among them.  And touch not the unclean thing.  All of these principles.  Go overboard, if you need to, in running in fear from the world, the leaven, the seductive power of Satan—for ambition, the lust of the eye, the lust of the eye, the pride of life, of accomplishment, position, possessions.  Don’t you want to be one of those, ultimately, of whom the world isn’t worthy?

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The other day I saw a comment on my Twitter feed.  It didn’t, for some reason, link to the original post that began the kerfuffle to which I arrived.  The most vocal commenter was ranting about biblical tongues being no more than a distracting, self-induced, self-aggrandizing gibberish, while some others tried without success to reason with the critic.

Later on (while mowing and praying, actually), I formed a general mental retort to that critic; However, a Scripture popped into my head which, in turn, popped my “bubble,” so I purposed to check my Bible (always a good place to start!), which I did that evening.

This took me to First Corinthians 13 and 14, but let’s begin in Acts, Chapter Two, which the critic used as her sole basis for her rant:  (NKJV used except where indicated.)

 “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language” (Acts 2:4-6).

Her reasoning, based on this single passage, was that anyone within earshot should understand someone “speaking in tongues,” and since she didn’t understand it, it must be fakery.

Rather than here quote huge portions of Scripture, I’ll point you to it and “let your fingers do the walking,” as the old ad used to say.

There are distinct instances of tongues: first, that initial physical evidence of having been filled (or baptized with) the Holy Spirit—separate from the Holy Spirit being received upon being born again. The first is the result of seeking the infilling, Luke 11:13; the other is received at the new birth (John 3:6, 14:16). Second, there is the use of said language to edify oneself (1 Corinthians 14:4), giving personal, private praise and thanks to God.  Lastly—and the critic apparently experienced a misuse of this—is a “message” in tongues given aloud in a gathering of believers. Such a prayer (for that is what it is) must always be directed toward God, and must always be followed immediately by an interpretation so that the assembly may be edified. I repeat: tongues, in whichever situation, is always directed Godward – it is never a message to the flock or to an individual. (1 Corinthians 14:1-33).  That is something else entirely, into which I will not delve here.

One more thing.  Speaking in tongues is always the initial, physical evidence of being “baptized” in the Holy Spirit.  The Scriptures clearly state this in every instance but one, where the language strongly implies it:

“And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee” (Acts 8:18-22 KJV).

How did Simon perceive they’d received the Holy Spirit?  I have bolded the word “matter,” above. This is the key.  This word is, in the Greek, logos, or “something said.”

I hope I have given some of my readers food for thought.

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This is a letter to the body from a family in our local church assembly:

Dear Family,

She had blood work done on Monday. Our faith was hoping for a positive report,
but in the natural we were discouraged because she has not been feeling well the last few weeks. She has also been experiencing many physical, emotional, and spiritual attacks … it’s been a battle. But God has been so incredibly faithful through it all.

In addition to the liver function tests,  she asked the doctor to retest the Autoimmune function panel. Last February while in the hospital, she tested positive for an autoimmune disease…more specifically Autoimmune Hepatitis (Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver). The liver biopsy done in May, confirmed the Autoimmune Hepatitis and showed continuing and extensive damage to the liver.

However, the autoimmune function panel from Monday came back completely NORMAL – saying she has NO autoimmune disease anymore.

And the liver function tests are the BEST they have ever been!!

To explain it a little better – her liver function results should be under 30.  When she was admitted to the hospital last February, her counts were about 1,000 (according to the doctor she was in “end stage liver failure.”)  This past year, her liver has continued to function and symptoms subsided without the use of the steroids and immunosuppressant medication.  However, her liver levels have stayed dangerously elevated. The hepatologist told us repeatedly that he has never seen anyone come back from end stage liver failure without the use of high dose steroids and immunosuppressants.

In November, the UVA hepatologist told us that her liver levels were going back up and her liver was failing again.  At that point, he told her she had 1-2 years max to live (unless she started the steroids and immunosuppressants) and she would definitely need a liver transplant within the next year.

BUT GOD.

Her liver function results on Monday (remember, the normal range is under 30) were 36 and 43!!!!

We still need to see those numbers COMPLETELY normal and stay normal, but there is absolutely no other explanation for this other than GOD.

WE GIVE HIM ALL THE GLORY FOR THE THINGS HE HAS DONE.

Thank you for your faithful prayers, intercession and encouragement on our behalf.

We love you all.

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Two weeks ago, the Holy Spirit moved upon hearts in one of our church services.  This is a transcript of what one young woman openly shared with the congregation during that visitation:

I couldn’t sleep last night.  God was dealing with me.  I agonized for hours, not knowing what or how to pray, not knowing what Father wanted to say to me.  All I could do was cry.  All I could say was, “What, Lord?” No answer.  I started declaring great statements of how I want to live for Him and love Him etc., and in the middle of my Peter-like statements and pride, He asked me a question.  He said, “But do you want to die with Me?”

I could not answer for a while.  I was so stunned and horrified as I saw who I really was.  I am critical, judgmental, unforgiving, jealous, covetous, and fearful.  It’s not the first time God has showed me this, but I saw it how He saw it.  I was physica1ly ill.  As God encompassed me in his great love and forgiveness, very sheepishly, but with all my heart, I answered him. “Yes, Lord. I want to die with You.”  God began to speak to me. This is what He said:

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).

We say we want to live for Him
But we won’t die with Him.

We say we want to be filled with His Spirit
But we don’t want to be empty.

We say we want to be clothed in His righteousness
But we won’t be stripped bare, with our hearts exposed before Him.

We say we want to be great for God
But we CAN’T STAND to be nothing and small in our own eyes.

We say we want to move in His power
But we don’t want to be weak.

We say we want compassion and boldness
But we don’t want to be a fool.

We want to sit in heavenly places
But we won’t sit at His feet.

We say we want to abide in Him
But we won’t come out from among them.

We say we want to go forward with God
But we won’t turn and repent.

God loves us and He wants to give us the kingdom, but how can He if we will not humble ourselves? We must humble ourselves before Him. There is no other way.

If we will not pay the price, if we won’t sell all to purchase that pearl of great price, then we are only religious, Jesus is no longer precious to us. He is no longer real to us.

Do we want to be glorified, or do we want God to be glorified? Do we want dead works, or do we want fruit that remains?

We say we want to go where He wants us to go. There is only one place He is leading, and that is the cross.

From the greatest person to the least, every single one of us, from the one with the most perfect pursuit, to the utterly lost among us, we should all be trembling at the word that has been coming to us for months and months. Every one of us fall so far short of the glory of our Holy Father. All of us should be crying out for the searchlight of His Holy Spirit to shine into every crevice of our being, that we would fall on our face before Him and allow Him to bring a fire so hot into our soul, that we will NEVER again be the same. That God would be great in this place, and in each one of our hearts. That we would be nothing and that He alone would be glorified.

Dear God let it start with me …..

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Moved?

I inadvertantly saw a brief portion (I could bear to watch only seconds, and thankfully it has been removed) of a video showing “Pakistani Islamists” beating with sticks a domesticated dog which was hung up by a harness. My emotions were instantly torn between heartbreak for the dog and seething hatred for its tormentors. The face, the eyes especially, of one of the torturers made me think of a demon in the third panel of Bosch’s triptych, “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” which depicts a (Dante’s) Inferno-like punishment for past sins.

That, in turn, made me think that even now people are tormented – in their minds, their bodies, their souls – by Satan’s “henchmen.”

It has been said, with respect to a lack of compassion for the lost, that “our eyes are dry because our hearts are dry.” If I but look upon those who do not have faith in Christ, should I not feel for them as much as I did for the animal? Should I not seeth with hatred for the devil’s minions under whose power these folks unknowingly (for the most part) find themselves? Should I not at the very least speak to them, pray for them, and see them illuminated and given the opportunity for freedom?

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:36- 38).

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