THE LAMB OF GOD…

 

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! -John 1:29 NIV

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Last night, as my son and I said our bed-time prayers, we were entreating the Lord for one of our loved ones, and one of my friends.  They both were taught the things of Jesus, but have deliberately chosen to  walk away from the Truth and go their own way.

As we prayed for them, my son stopped and said, “Your friend is more lost than ….. (our loved one!).   At first, I agreed with him because of the things she now practices,  but as I thought about that I retracted my statement.  I explained to my son in this way…

“Say your home is right here ** ….and you are only one block away from it, but you’re walking in the dark, you can’t see, … you’re lost.  Then, let’s suppose that your brother is five miles from the house; he’s walking in darkness as well and can’t find his way home either…he’s lost too.  The point is this, You may be closer to home than him…but you are both still lost!  Like the old song says, ‘Almost…but lost!’ ”  When you’re speaking of Heaven- there is no “Almost.”  You will either make it there, or you won’t. If you don’t KNOW Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior,  He will have no choice but to say “Depart from Me…I never knew you!”

I tell you this, because Jesus IS the Sacrificial Lamb of God!  He IS the Way, He IS the Truth, He IS the Life, and you’ll never reach “home” unless you call on Him and repent of your sins! 

Come to Him…call on Him!  He’s waiting with arms open wide to receive you!

Anita

REFUSING TO FORGET

Here’s another good one from T. F. Thompson-Hard Times Ministries.

There is good advice in this article!  Take heed-for remember, Jesus Forgives, and FORGETS our past; our wrongs against Him are buried in the deepest sea, never to be remembered against us anymore…forever!  We’d do well to do the same with those who wrong us! -anita

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Over the years, I’ve heard people say that they were willing to forgive but refuse to forget.  Without cutting hairs on this topic, it seems the sea of forgetfulness is a good as any virtue offered the Christian.

Most certainly, I would hope Jesus ‘forgets’ my sins or at least doesn’t judge me eternally on the basic of my faults.  In other words, addressing people as such:  He told a lie, therefore he is a liar.  This type of logic covers a host of sins and bad behaviors.

For some reason, and not to my amusement, it is generally believed that a good person can go bad overnight and that it is almost if not impossible for a bad person to turn good. Of course, a deeper inspection of this introspection would reveal the negative thinking and the obviously flawed thinking behind it.

Most of this hinges on memory.  We judge others based on how others have ‘wronged’ us and vow to protect ourselves in the future.  NO one is going to contest your need for protection, but at times we take this way too far.

I know some compulsive people who have all the wrongs against them down to the year, month, week and day of occurrence. In the details of any conversation, these incidents come up again and again with a seemingly newness to them. In other words, the ‘victim’ experiences the emotions over and over again—to the point that healing can never take place.  These people are infused with hurt and pain.

Thus, I think for some people that they can’t and won’t forget and some can, but refuse to make the effort to try.  Anyone can see the damage as a result.

In this way, forgetting and forgiving go hand in hand.  Here, the two must meet—otherwise a person is stuck in a quagmire of emotion. My experience teaches me that even for those who are active, who are sincere in forgiving require years to overcome the damage.  But overcoming is exactly our task, for it is probably most impossible to minister to another if we are forever foraging back into our own pain.

Reaching out to others requires a risk.  The risk is necessary in order for both parties to grow.  Insomuch that Jesus reaches out to us daily, we must do the same for others.  All of this involves loving the unlovable.  Without this it is impossible to truly love. Forgiveness begins with forgetting—at least forgetting so new memories may be established.  The new memories, good memories are those worth remembering forever.

T. F. Thompson

 

CONFESSIONS OF AN AMERICAN CHRISTIAN HOME – OWNER

Here is a really good one from Agent X -Fat Beggars School of Prophets!  This really hit home with me.  We must decide what matters more…”stuff” or souls. Thanks for the reminder, X! -anita

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Confessions of an American Christian Home-Owner

“Why did I keep the car?” – Oscar Schindler

You know that scene near the end of Schindler’s List as the Allies are liberating camps in Poland and Schindler bid’s his Jews goodbye?  As he makes his farewell statements, he breaks down confessing how much money he wasted and regretting how many more lives he could have saved?

Schindler, according to the movie – after watching three full hours of unflinching Nazi horror, breaks down in tears and bemoans the fact that he did not sell the car.  If he had, he could have saved 10 more lives.  His lapel pin could have purchased two.  And as the world is changing from darkness to light before his eyes, he laments how much he wasted on himself.

This post is my Schindleric confession – my practice run for the Great Day of Judgment when the King separates the goats and sheep (Matt. 25:31-46).  Like practically every American Christian I know, I will be reduced to throwing myself on the mercy of the court.  When the King calls forth the sick, the prisoners, the homeless and questions them about whether I showed charity, I will be hanging on every word!

But if I take a page from Oscar Schindler, perhaps I will confess my wayward home-owning like this:

What I Could’ve Done…?

…closets…  I had closets.  So many closets.  Walk in closets.  Even had a storm-shelter closet.  A closet in the garage.  I could have prayed in my closets (Matt. 6:6), but I did not.

… and the kitchen, the dining room, the china cabinet, and all those dishes.  Oh, how I complained about washing those dishes.  A table that would seat eight, and yet we ate in front of the TV or at the drive thru.  I could have thrown parties – and I did!  But I invited my rich friends as I tried to impress them with my wealth!  But I could have thrown Luke-14 parties and invited the sick, the lame, the blind and the poor!

… the guest room… Oh my God!  The guest room.  How much did we spend on the Amish-made quilt with the matching drapes, and of course we had to send off to Singapore for those delicate doilies we placed on the night stand to decorate a room only five guests slept in for the last 27 years!  And then when the kids left for college one-by-one, their rooms opened up too!  They resumed their lodging at the holidays for a few years, but once married, they began staying at the Marriot whenever they came home to visit.  And night after night those guest rooms went empty while Jesus slept on the street across town.  We could have invited those cold, lonely human beings to join us for the night, or we could have hosted foster children, but obtaining a cabin in Ruidoso somehow seemed better at the time.  What was I thinking?

I was thinking of the Jones’s and how to keep up with them, and of living the American Dream.  I was thinking of myself, and I forgot Jesus.  I am so sorry.

I was an idolater.  I told my friends and family that I was committed to following Jesus, that God, the Father, was my God, but really I worshipped at the altars of Mammon (money), Aphrodite (sex), and Mars (power).

MONEY, SEX, and POWER

Money.  I could never get enough money.  Everything, it seems, begins and ends with money.  Money was my alpha and omega.  Money was my highest ideal and my bottom line.  Yes, I loved money.  I even chose a college education I hoped would earn me more money.  I was addicted to money and could not imagine a day without it.  I really thought money made the world go round while I looked down my nose on people who did not have it and did not know how to worship it properly.  Yes, when it came to money, I was a… a… LEGALIST!

And then I bought a house.  I shopped for a mortgage that would get me more house for less money so that I could keep more of it for myself.  I wanted a nice house.  I wanted to live on the nice side of town and send my kids to the best schools. And I did.  And when I saw my neighbors (the Jones’s) purchasing golf carts to use dumping the trash or rolling around the neighborhood, I had to have one too.

I drove a 4X4 truck with a big V-8 engine that sucked gallons of gas to the mile, and my wife drove the oversized SUV.  And we usually went to church in separate vehicles.  But at least we showed off our nice cars down at the fancy church that recently moved out to the white-flight side of town and constructed a million dollar, stained glass sanctuary in an effort to keep up with the Baptists.

All of this costs money.  Lots of money.  And we worked long days and weekends to ensure we had it all covered.  But when the Jones family, next door, put in new landscaping, it seemed like we had better do it too.  And we shopped around and found a service that employed illegal aliens for $5/hr, and that is how we afforded it all.  And then we put in a pool out back, which of course meant we needed an 8 ft. fence instead of the 6 ft. fence we had at first.  And that seemed to cut into our giving at church a bit for about a year, but when the pastor delivered a rousing sermon on tithing, we managed to get that back on track.

But then there was the sex.  And isn’t that why you go to so much trouble to get the money?  You want a hot wife, no?  She wants a rich man!  (I know that.)  But then the first wife and I didn’t work out so well, so I had to leave the first house to her and start again.  But fortunately the business took off a couple years after that, and I got a trophy wife and a bigger house.

The ex-wife and I still go to the same church, but we can no longer tolerate each other as a family, so at least I only have to see her once a week.  Meanwhile I am getting a good deal out of the hot, young thing I traded up for.  Except that I need Viagra to keep her happy, and well, she is just way more energetic than me.  And I am really not into the same music and all.  So, I guess as long as I am confessing… I might as well admit that I spend a lot of sexual energy on the internet and cable TV.  Have you seen those ads for the sex toys they send to your house in discreet packaging?  Well, its true.

And my wife… well… she does seem a bit obsessed with her appearance, alright.  The shoe rack in her walk in closet is enormous.  I can’t count that high.  And her vanity is full of high end cosmetics.  She is planning for surgery to fix her neck and nose next spring.  Personally, I think she looks great, but the pool boy made a remark about it to her, and she can’t let it go.  In fact, come to think of it, he seems a bit aloof around me since she brought that up.  And well, actually, I did have a tryst with that babysitter one night a few years ago.  (She was eighteen, I am pretty sure.)  So, I really can’t complain about it.

You know what?  That’s enough about sex.  I will get in trouble if I tell all….  Any confession I make about myself implicates others who don’t want to be outed.

Finally, I will confess my worship of power.  And I can’t help but think of my three-car garage right off the top.  Yeah, I usually drive the 4X4, even though it’s a gas guzzler and even though there are no trails or mountains between home and work.  But we have a classic Corvette under a cover in the third stall.  That thing is a treasure.  I got it up to 134 mph once.  That’s power!

But really, the ironic thing is that we have a “Welcome” mat at our front door.  But it lies really.  It lies because the little home security sign in the flower bed lets you know that you are, in fact, not really welcome.  Again, I think of those guest rooms going empty night after night while Jesus sleeps on the streets, and I wonder if a homeless person walked by my house, what would suggest they are welcome here?  Because the “Welcome” mat rings a little hollow, huh?

We have a flag pole out in the front yard too.  Yeah, we blend our Christianity with our patriotism and fly the flag of apple pie and American freedom.  Ole Glory brings a tear to my eye, even when Jesus can’t.  We even sacrificed a child to Moloch, I mean, homeland security, when he joined the United States Marine Corps.  We mix the humility of Jesus carrying a cross with American Pride as if the two belong together, and thus we worship at the altar of power with all we’ve got.

And honestly, that 8 ft. fence turns our castle into a fortress, really.  And we protect the place with a Glock 9 mil, security cameras, and a security service with a 4 minute response time.  Yeah, when it comes to owning a home, we definitely worship at the altar of power.

Rich Man and Lazarus

In Luke 16, we get the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (the beggar at the rich man’s gate).  They both die and enter judgment appropriate to their lives.  If the rich man had taken a page from Oscar Schindler, then maybe – just maybe – he could have redeemed himself.  But when he passes the point of no return, he begs that he might send word back to his brothers who are still living in the excesses of wealth.  He is not given that chance, but in this post, I am given the chance he was not.

There are sins that, though not inherent to it, go with home-owning like peanut butter and chocolate.  Being a home-owning Christian in middle America is ripe with idolatry.  I will come clean, finally, and confess, that I have done wrong.  And if I, like Oscar Schindler, can come to my senses and measure the car in lives lost, I find that I have been a murderer who can only throw myself at the mercy of the King.  And if there is still time, maybe – just maybe – I can move into the House of God.

In My Father’s House there are many mansions (John 14:2).  Oh, how I long to go there.  Oh Jerusalem, our feet shall stand within thy gates! (Psalm 122:2).

What if, and I am just spit-balling here, what if the house I live in is God’s house after all?  What if he is the Master of the house where I live?  Is such a thing possible?  Oh, how blessed I would be!  What would it look like if that grand place were His and not mine at all???

May the servant not be found sleeping when the Master returns! (Mark 13:32-37).

Agent X

LILY

 

I’m not sure if I’ve posted this before, but it is an Easter poem I wrote back in January of 2008.  I was thinking about the events that took place;  I closed my eyes and thought about the day of the Crucifixion…and then the Resurrection; how the earth itself mourned the death of the Creator.

This is a little on the abstract side of writing.  It’s a story of a flower that awakens early in the Spring, only to find she’s been moved from the garden to the hill of Golgotha and is about to witness the Crucifixion of her Creator. -anita

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Tremble before Him all the earth!  Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad and let them say, “The Lord reigns!”  Let the sea resound, and all that is in it.  Let the fields be jubilant and everything in them.  Then  the trees of the forest will sing…they will sing for joy before the Lord. – I Chron.  16:30-33

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‘Neath a blanket of glimmering, soft, snowy white

The naked trees sleep peacefully through the long Winter’s night.

 

The flowers sleep also, as they dream of Spring

When the sky will be blue, and the grass will turn green.

 

Then Spring dons her bright robe of emerald-green,

As nature awakens from her long, cold dream.

 

Lily stretches and yawns, then bursts forth through warm ground.

As birds upon wing, their sweet songs resound.

 

She’s looking for Daffodil, Violet, and Rose

In the garden so fair where they slept in repose.

 

But to her complete dismay, she awakes all alone

To the snap of a whip, and a shuddering moan.

 

She’s not in the garden…she’s been moved, far away

To a desolate hill, where the sky’s turning gray.

 

Two men hang already, on crosses nearby

for crimes they’ve committed, they’ve been sentenced to die.

 

Bewildered, and shaken, Lily looks all around

Then she turns to the right as she hears a loud sound.

 

Another man with a cross, trudges slow up the hill;

His face soft and kind, yet determination of steel.

 

He walks with a purpose, despising the shame…

But He was born for this moment; it’s the only reason He came!

 

He stops for a moment, and looks in Lily’s direction.

His gaze focused full, soft eyes make a connection.

 

Why!  She knows this man!  Its Jesus, The King…

The Creator of all…even her!  Everything!

 

How could this happen?  What could He have done?

And, what’s wrong with those soldiers?  Don’t they know He’s God’s Son?

 

She knows He is innocent of all He’s accused,

Yet He’s broken and battered…He’s beaten and bruised!

 

His eyes are all-knowing as He searches her heart.

He knows every room there, every secret, each part!

 

He knows she’s bewildered, confused, and afraid

By the things that she’s seen.  Her mind is reeling, and dazed.

 

So He bends down, fingers touching her petals so pure…

And in His eyes, she can see, Mankind’s long needed cure!

 

One drop of His blood falls, and stains her robe of pure white;

Then He picks up His cross and willingly marches towards His plight.

 

She marvels at His will…His tolerance, so great!

Why!  He could call 10,000 angels to come to His aide!

 

But He takes every jeer, every slap – all the loss;

He’s determined to die…up there, on that cross!

 

And as He hangs there, stripped naked between Heaven and earth,

He cries, “Father! Forgive them, for they don’t know My worth!”

 

He says, “It is finished.  What is lost, shall be found!”

Then He closes His eyes; Lily hears no other sound.

 

Then Nature mournfully speaks out loud, as the trees bow themselves to the ground;

The Sky cries great tears, for the Creator is gone…God’s Son, has kept His vow!

 

The Earth shudders, and shakes.

Lightening flashes, Thunder breaks.

 

The Sun is black now, and refuses to shine;

And the Wind, mourns and howls and plaintively whines!

 

As Lily stands all alone, she takes the scene in…

The Creator, God’s only Son, has died for all of man’s sin!

 

Night soon draws neigh, as Lily waits in the dark.

She sees them take His body down, and watches them depart.

 

She hears He’s been buried in a rich man’s borrowed tomb;

The all is quiet, she’s all alone, hoping morning will break soon.

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Three days have passed, and the Sun just rose.

He’s been entombed, in quiet repose.

 

But a new day has dawned!

The victory over death has been won!

 

For a voice calls out, ringing loud and clear…

It falls ever joyous on Lily’s ear!

 

“He has risen…Just like He said!  He is alive…no longer dead!

He has for sin with blood atoned, now sits with God on rightful throne!”

 

All the flowers of the field rejoice, for a new day is born.

There’s no time for sadness…that time, has gone!

 

He was dead…Now He lives!  Earth, bless His name!

Praise God, for sinful man He came!

 

Anita Mondragon  -January 2008

 

 

 

 

WHEN JESUS SAW THEIR FAITH…

 

Mark 2King James Version (KJV)

And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.

And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.

And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.

5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,

Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?

10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)

11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

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A dear friend of mine and I had a brief discussion on the above passage yesterday.

Sometimes, we struggle so much with our own problems…our own demons,  that we grow weary…our Faith declines, and depending on how long we’ve been praying and not receiving the answer we’re looking for-our Faith becomes almost non-existent.  We begin to “accept” our fate.  I know…I’ve been there!  I lived my life-or rather, existed in that state for fifteen years.  We believe God for our eternal salvation, and almost everything else, but OUR problem…this ONE thing that never seems to have a solution, in our eyes becomes too great…even for Him.

This is when other Believers need to come to the aid of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We need to lift them up before the throne of God, and because of OUR faith, they will be delivered!

In Exodus 17:11 – 13 it says this:  So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. 12But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. 13So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.…

I want to pick out a few words from the above passage.  The first word is Amalek.  In Jewish folklore the Amalekites are considered to be the symbol of evil. … According to the Hebrew Bible,

We all know that God wants His children to live an abundant life; a life without worry, poverty, sickness and disease.  If Believers are struggling with any of these things, be sure, they are from the devil – NOT from God!

Next, I want you to notice that the battle went on for so long that Moses got weary…he was tired!  He could not hold his hands up without help.  When our problems become so great that we have difficulty in lifting our hands to praise the Lord, we are in desperate need of help from our brothers and sisters in Christ!

Now, look at this…they put a stone under him so he could sit down.  There are many scriptures in the Bible that talk about us as Believers needing to stand firm on the Solid Rock…the Rock of Ages…Jesus, the Cornerstone!

But look at the rest of the story.  Aaron and Hur supported his hands-one on the left, one on the right, they held him steady until the sun went down.  They stood beside him in the battle until it was over!

And then look what happened…the Amalekites were defeated with the edge of the sword.  We defeat the devil with the Sword of the Lord which is the Word of God…the Bible!

Look back over your life for a moment.  How many times were you in deep distress, and a pastor deacon, layman, or a friend in Christ came along side and prayed for you…daily held you up before the throne of God, stuck by you till the end?  Thank God, I had several folks stand by me, encourage me until the end of my trials!  Had they not been there for me…the devil would have won the battle I was going through, for I,  in myself was too weak to fight.

Be sensitive…look around.  Do you see one of your brothers or sisters struggling with something?  Lift them up in prayer to the Lord; then go to them, encourage them, FIGHT WITH THEM against the evil that is coming their way!  In Jesus Name…

Anita

 

AHA! …or DO YOU GOT YOUR EARS ON???

Have you ever had an “Aha!” moment with God?  I myself have had many!  Some of those moments came while I was reading something-usually the Word of God, and a light seemed to come on.  Some were when I heard some words spoken by others more wise than I and at other times, I’ve had these enlightening, mind-blowing moments watching a movie, most of which were non-religious.

Like a miracle from God, these moments seem to come when my Faith is waning.  See, God can speak through ANY circumstance; the Bible says, “He (God) uses the foolish things of the world, to confound the wise.” – I Cor. 1:27

The sad thing is, these “Aha!” moments seem to dwindle as quickly as they appear!  And yes…just like the Children of Israel, I soon fall back into my rut of disbelief and doubt regarding  what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do-even long after I’m gone!

We read the miraculous deeds of God in the Bible, and shake our heads when we read on and discover the same folks that stood in awe of the miracles, are now complaining and standing in unbelief of what God can and will do for them.  Remember the parting of the Red Sea?  You would think that this particular miracle, in and of itself would never be forgotten, and that knowing this…seeing this occur, would surely outweigh any future unbelief; but not so!

We, in this day and age, look down the end of our self-righteous noses, and judge the Children of Israel for their lack of devotion to God Almighty, because after all…look at the many times He delivered them with visible miracles, yet they doubted! “How ridiculous!” we scream, and go on to say how, “If God did a miracle like that for me…I’d never forget!”

But we do forget.  From one trial/deliverance to the next, we forget how God brought us out…rescued us…took us through.

It’s time to stop doubting!  Time to look for the “Aha!” moments that God has for His Believers!  He’s talking all the time, but we aren’t listening.  Turn on your radio!  Listen for the voice of God!

God says….  “BREAKER, breaker…do you got your ears on?”

That’s when we should respond….  “That’s a big 10-4 Good Daddy!  Over…” and wait for God’s instructions!

Over and Out!

Anita

 

ROW, ROW, ROW YOUR BOAT…

Do you ever find yourself tired…weary?  Do you feel at times that you are the only one in the boat, rowing towards the shores of Heaven?  I must confess that I do have these feelings from time to time.

I look at folks around me that are in the boat-on their way to Heaven, but they don’t seem to be rowing as hard as I am!  I don’t “row” to keep my Salvation, I “row” because Jesus has saved me from an awful fate, and I am forever grateful to Him for being rescued; but I am also tired, and in need of encouragement!

But God’s Word says:

“Let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, IF we faint not.” -Galatians 6:9

I read this little poem-I don’t even know who wrote it, but it gave me the strength I need, just for today!  It says this…

“Don’t stop praying, but have more trust;

Don’t stop praying; for pray we must;

Faith will banish a mount of care…

So don’t stop praying!  God answers prayer.” -Unknown

So, for today, I will keep my armor on…hold my sword, and be ready to strike the enemy should he come calling; and, while rowing, however tired I may be, I will look for lost souls upon life’s troubled sea, and be a life boat for those sinking in the waves of despair.

Anita

 

ARE YOU LOST?

“In ALL your ways acknowledge HIM, and He will direct your paths.” -Proverbs 3:6

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Are you lost?  Only you can answer this question.

Some of you reading this, know that you are lost.  You don’t KNOW Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.  You have not as yet asked Him into your heart and life.

Others of you reading this DO KNOW Jesus in a personal way; but life has you distracted…you go down every rabbit trail that comes along-searching for something.  You’ve forgotten your first love…your relationship with Jesus Christ!

Jesus stands with His arms open wide, ready to receive you.  Ready to save the one that does not KNOW Him as yet; and ready to take back the one that has strayed.  He’s waiting to forgive anyone, and everyone that comes to Him with a repentant heart!

The word, Acknowledge, means to:  accept or admit the existence or truth of. accept. grant. allow. admit. concede. confess.

Are you ready to accept Him?  Are you ready to admit His existence?  Admit that He IS the Truth?  Grant Him entrance into your life?  Allow Him to lead you?  Concede that He IS The Son of God Almighty?  Are you ready to confess your sins and accept His Salvation?
If your answer is “Yes!” , then He will direct all your paths!  Call out to Him, trust Him, then follow Him with all your heart!
Anita

THE WORDS OF MEN

Here’s a blog from one of our new followers-Hard Times Ministries, T.F. Thompson.

Pay attention…this is good! -anita

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The Words of Men

Apparently Jesus was really upset with the Talmud.  The Talmud, up to that time had been a handbook if you will of instructions from elders about how to practice their faith. During this time, more emphasis was placed on people and what they had to say, rather than scripture.

Truly Christians don’t follow the Talmud, but we have a host, in fact a full arsenal of man-made instruction in the form of books, videos learning tapes and seminars and sermons.

We follow gimmicks of: Prosperity teaching:  Faith Healers, Positive Thinking Gimmicks, Name it, Claim it charlatans and a cast of thousands.  We have everything BUT God’s word.

Most sermons find some mechanism to bypass the words of Jesus.  They’ll begin with some promise in the Old Testament, teach about how God zapped the enemies and then jump off into a tangent into the Book Of Revelation, once again illustrating where God is Zapping someone.

This is all done at the expense of overlooking the very words that Jesus commanded us to follow.

If preachers preached Jesus we would be required to obey the words of Jesus.  NO, we are too much into understanding, into feeling good, being forgiven, being blessed or feeling guilty—anything but following the words of Christ.  Heck, Jesus didn’t ask us to feel good about what we are doing, simply to obey it.  Examine what he says to the priests of his day.

 

Matthew 15:2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. 5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Jesus was really big on this. In John 8:44 he says:

44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

We are no different for we speak of how great our Lord, Jesus is and then make excuses as to why we are not that way.  We are not that way because we refuse to be.  Lacking the truth, we speak of alone any other lines, denying the fact we are the same as the ones Jesus met up with in his day and time.

And so then, how do we change?  We change by doing it one step at a time by obeying exactly what Jesus told us to do.  Begin with service to others and continue.  You’ll find the need to listen more to Jesus and less from men.  The truth will set you free.

T. F. Thompson

LOOKING FOR JESUS IN THE POOR

I saw this post on Fat Beggars School of Prophets.  It was posted last year by Agent Z.  Since The Gathering will be going to the Rescue Mission downtown at the end of this month, I thought we all needed a reminder of our “mission”…the mission that God has given to every Believer.  Jesus said, Mark 16:15-16 (KJV)

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

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Looking for Jesus in the Poor

“To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless” (I Cor. 4:11). Is Paul describing himself and his friends as a homeless community? When was the last time your Bible class considered that Paul might be homeless? Open the eyes of our hearts Lord, we want to see the Matthew-25 Jesus.
Homelessness has become a growing problem in the United States. Every day it is becoming more pervasive. People in worn down clothes, selling newspapers are a common sight in Lubbock, Texas on any given Sunday. If you look hard under overpasses, you will undoubtedly see a bed roll or a bundle of clothes. Homelessness is hard to miss in Lubbock and yet people do. This is not just a problem in Lubbock. Go to any major city and you will find a similar pattern. Somehow, it is still a topic that makes affluent Christians uncomfortable.

When the issue is brought up in church, the congregation tunes out. The youth group takes out their phones and new parents fall asleep. When a homeless person visits they catch many of the members making wide arcs around them as to not be caught in a conversation. Why? We treat homelessness like a virus we might catch. Maybe the stench of mildew and body odor will rub off on us if we hug them like we do Brother Jack and Sister Jill. Or maybe we will be convinced to get involved. If we don’t know the homeless person’s problem, then maybe there is no problem. If we don’t know the homeless person’s story, we can just assume that they are addicted to some kind of drug or alcohol or negative lifestyle that has dropped them into the situation that they deserve. Spiritually it is easy to see a homeless person and think that they deserve to be in their position. The fact is most homeless people are not bad people. Why would God let a good person be homeless?

The answer to this question is God uses these people, who have been humbled in drastic ways to open the eyes of those of us who haven’t. Many times working with these people I notice that they help me to find Jesus alive in my heart in new ways. God has used the people that I am supposed to be ministering to, to minister to me.

Intellectually, homelessness is a hard topic to digest. The issues are complex. How do people end up in their situations? Financially, what happened to get them to such a low point in their life? Why don’t homeless people work harder to get out of their situation? These questions dominate. After just a short discussion with a few people it is easy to find that while some are there due to their own incompetence as a member of society many of them are there because of a series of events that they could not control. A work injury that led to a job loss that led to a divorce and a loss of the home. Though it seems like a specific situation, many people end up homeless due to similar circumstances. After such a huge downturn it is hard for a person to feel like they can get back on their feet. Unfortunately, people don’t understand how to help. With no clear way out and no one willing or able to help them a person gets stuck in their position. It’s a vicious cycle that, without the intervention of a merciful, loving God, will never end.

Homelessness and its ministry has been a growing part of my life. I have gotten to see a whole new side in myself and people who used to seem beneath my contempt. I have been able to see that we share what is important: Jesus. I once was blind (by denial and contempt) but now I see. Paul became all things to all people to help us see Jesus, one of those things was homeless.

Agent Z