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In this blog, I share what the Lord shares with me. I reference scripture a lot in support of what is being said. I realize that what is in each entry is NOT a complete 'word' (discussion) on what is being said, but is rather enough information to stimulate our spirits to dig deeper (remember the Bereans Acts 17:10-11) thereby gaining a fuller understanding for ourselves.

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Saturday, October 26, 2019

10-26-2019                       Who do we Represent?

                                             The lion of Judah?

Who do we represent?  Whose ideals do we reflect?  Our speech reflects our heart (Matt. 12:34).  When we look in the mirror, whose ideals do we reflect?  What does our heart have to say?

The sixties were and represented a dramatic time of change including styles of music, but changes in the music actually was kicked off in the fifties.

In 1954, Bill Haley opened the door for multiple variations of music which included “Soul” ‘Folk Rock”, the “Beach or Surfin’” sound (the Beach Boys), “Rock a Billy” to go along with already existing “Pop”, “Rhythm & Blues” and “Country”, jazz, blues and what was left of the ‘big band’ era.  Though Bill Haley ‘started’ the move with “Rock Around the Clock”, other artists emerged taking the limelight perhaps the most notable (until the Beatles era) being Elvis Presley.  Those early R n R songs were framed by the sounds of country, blues and gospel with a little jazz tossed in for good measure.  It shouldn’t be any wonder that those new sounds quickly overshadowed the current ‘big band’ sounds and pop with a liveliness that reflected the heart throbbing pulse of the Pentecostal churches of the day.  

Over the years Father has blessed me with many “song poems”.  Actually lyrics only, but tunes from those early years danced in my head as I was jotting down those lyrics.  In fact, Father even asked me at one point “What would some of those songs sound like had those early rock ‘n’ rollers sang to Me instead of the world?  So many of those song poems (Father gave me) were penned with those old tunes as a guide for the flow but written about or glorified the Lord or our relationship with Him.

Generally speaking, most music is good.  When it generates true love, peace, joy or hand clapping and toe tapping.  That’s a good “swing”.  But when it generates sexual gyrations, violence or negative attitudes, then it’s not so good.  Unfortunately with most music, the lyrics also do make a difference.  What is the song singing about?  What emotions does the song stir up within us, musically or lyrically?  When those lyrics encourage us to do harm to ourselves or others, when it encourages us to act immorally or contrary to God’s love - not cool. 

We know that the authorities over us don’t always do the right thing, but when lyrics tell us to retaliate rather than pray for those men and women whom God has set over us, we need to rethink our position.  After all, Father encourages us to pray for those in authority over us so it will be well with us (1 Tim. 2:1-3) and not just the leaders we like.  Remember, David would not lay a finger on king Saul (though Saul was messed up by an evil spirit) because he recognized that Saul was God’s anointed (1 Sam. 9:26 – 1 Sam 10:1, 1 Sam. 24:4-7).  God put Saul in authority over Israel.  So,Yep, I’m including the protest songs of the ‘60’s  and ‘gangsta rap’, which came later, and the like on the ‘nono’ list.

Father tells us to do that which edifies (especially the body of Christ) (1 Corinth. 10:23-24, 32:33 [OK, go ahead and read the verses in between, too!]). 

Now, in considering others, we can’t forget about ourselves for without a relationship with the Father (through Jesus Christ), it would be difficult to interact positively with those around us.  Yet, when we do interact with others, we should consider what results those actions might bring and those results should be positive. 

Our words change the atmosphere around us.  Whether we sing or listen, our music (instrumentally and lyrically) can impact things around us spiritually which in turn impacts the natural world.  How did God create everything?  He spoke words.  God created by speaking words (Gen. 1:1-31).  Then, The Holy Spirit (the breath of God) put those Words into action (moved across the face of the waters – Gen. 1:2). 

Think about movies.  The background music helps set the tone or the mood for the scene.  How many loves scenes have the heart-thumping music of the chase scene from Bullitt?  How often has anyone seen a scene where the monster is attacking and the background music is “Maria” from West Side Story?  Music is a mood inducer or changer. 

Just as God spoke, His breath came out and He moved the atmosphere to bring things into existence.  Hold your hand in front of your mouth and breathe out.  Feel the blast of breath?  Just like a stone tossed into a still pond, the impact of our breath causes a ripple in the atmosphere which continues to grow until that impact fades out.  How far does it go?  At least as far as the nearby ears.  Beyond that?  I don’t know.  Should we yell loud enough, people within a city block can hear us, but those across town will have no clue.  When God spoke, He moved the atmosphere.  I speak in the past tense, not that God has stopped speaking and moving the atmosphere but when He created all things, it happened some time ago.  And He’s still doing it today.  We just have to listen.   Through our speech, God has also given us the ability to move the atmosphere – for good, or for bad.  When we speak negatively, those negative words do impact the atmosphere, negative things will happen around us.  When we speak God’s love – that love moves the atmosphere and impacts those things around us positively.  Just look around at the world.  Which do you think is being spoken more often?  Do you think maybe we need to speak more love?  I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed for myself and others (even when they weren’t aware) and yes, I pray aloud (it moves the atmosphere).  After a time, Father will show me how He is answering those prayers.  Our words do impact the spiritual realm and then the spiritual realm impacts the natural realm.  Sometimes we see an answer almost immediately and sometimes it takes a while, but the world around us is changed by what we speak.
And don’t forget, the music we listen to can be a mood changer.  David played his harp before king Saul, the evil spirit which inhabited Saul, departed (1 Sam. 16.23).  When David played, Saul had peace.  So, not only do our words affect the atmosphere, so does our music.  What we put into our spirit gets buried into our heart.  What’s in our heart will eventually come out of our mouth (Mark 
7:20-23).  Music and words should be done, not to tear down, rather to edify.

So, what does all this have to do with ‘who’ we represent?

Back in 1970, James Taylor released a song called “Steamroller”.  A bluesy tune making fun of some of what was being put out at that time.  In his ‘live via satellite’ concert, “Aloha from Hawaii” (1973), Elvis Presley ‘covered’ that song but called it “Steamroller Blues”.  That’s how I became aware of it.  Father took the same song, using the same blues flow and theme from Elvis’ rendition (construction equipment) and produced a song-poem for me, a piece He called “I represent the Resurrection”.  Can you imagine, a song about steamrollers and steam shovels in respects to the resurrection?

A little more background.  I about croaked when Carmen (a noted gospel singer of the ‘80’s & ‘90’s) did a rap song in the mid ‘90’s.  How could a Christian sing rap?  With the right lyrics, no problem.  Father had been showing me about the variety of styles of our music since the ‘80’s and how many different styles of music can be used to glorify Him – even rap.  Conclusion?  There will be many styles of music when we are with Jesus in eternity, but not all will make it in.

Father has shown me that a broad spectrum of music can glorify Him, even some of that early rock ‘n’ roll which was supposed to be the devil’s music.  Grant it, some did morph into that which was not so good.  I say this because it surprised even me that Father could take a song like ‘Steamroller Blues’ and use it to glorify Him.  It wasn’t that there was anything evil about the song, but again, construction equipment? 

After being a Christian for a while, Father made it real to me that as a Christian, I represent Jesus in this world (2 Corinth. 5:20).  Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus lived in Bethany, just outside Jerusalem.  Lazarus had become ill and died so Martha, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went out to greet Him.  When she had come to Him, Martha said “Lord, had you been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus said “Your brother shall rise again.”  Martha countered “I know, in the resurrection at the last day.”  Then Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life …” (John11:1-44).  So, if I represent Jesus in this world and Jesus is the resurrection, then I represent the resurrection – as all believers do!  What does our reflection show.  When we look in the mirror, do we see more of Lucifer or more of Jesus?  When we speak, do our words tear down or edify?  The more love we put into our hearts, the more love will come out of our mouths.

I’d like to talk about “I Represent the Resurrection” for bit.   

The song makes four statements:

1)         Because I follow Jesus, I represent the resurrection
I represent the resurrection because, in this world, I represent Jesus and Jesus IS the resurrection and because I have the Holy Ghost inside and Jesus is with me every step of the way, I can be like a steamroller, rolling right on over what Satan sets before me.

            2)         Jesus is the resurrection (let there be no doubt)
Like a steam shovel, Jesus has already ‘dug’ our way out of hell.  Giving our lives to Jesus qualifies us to represent Him in this world.  Let’s live like we understand this.  All we have to do is open our heart up to Him and let Him guide our steps. 

3)         We (all believers) represent Jesus, therefore the resurrection and this becomes more real as we walk in unity.

If you can envision it, Father has us in a huge cement mixer.  Cement is made from heating a mixture of limestone, shells, and chalk or marl combined with shale, clay, slate, blast furnace slag, silica sand, and iron ore to which water is then added to make it fluid (to pour).  When it dries, it’s a pretty solid chuck of ‘stuff’.  Father is bringing us (many components) into unity, making us one heart, one Spirit, one body, our unity.  He’s not building a mega church, but bringing many aspects of the body to the realization that, though we are unique individually, we function as a whole (body).  Working as individuals together to accomplish God’s will.  Father says this is not just each individual within a specific fellowship, but that each fellowship has a specific role and needs to interact with other parts of the “body” (other fellowships) to be fully effective.  Because man had become single minded (or focused), ‘all on his own’, (so to speak) and started building the tower at Babel to reach God, God confounded the language, so that they could not all communicate together to accomplish their task in unity (Gen. 11:1-9).  Man can accomplish things without God. What can the church, with God, accomplish when it works in unity?

4          Finally, the fact that we represent Jesus as the resurrection, we need to bring it home, make it up close and personal.  Not just singing about Jesus, but making it first person by singing ‘to’ our Lord and Savior.

All too often, we sing or speak about the things God does for us.  Too many times we sing or talk about God.  We put Him in the ‘third’ person.  Period!  But how often do we get up close and personal with our creator?  I mean, thank Him for what He does for us (me) personally?  Thank You Lord for doing ‘this’ for me!  When do we sing to God, or truly before Him?  If it were just Him and us?  “To God be the glory for YOU have saved me.”  Not saying we can’t share things with the world, but God looks for a relationship.  Remember the old movies where the gal is leaning out her bedroom window or on the balcony and the guy pulls out his ukulele or guitar and starts singing to her about his love for her?  He’s not singing about his love for her to a tree.  He’s expressing his love to her! 

God gives us so much, simply because He loves us.  Are we too good to give back to Him?  Singing to Him.  Dancing before Him, doing things for him (helping others).  What we do for the least in the kingdom, we do for Jesus (Matt. 25:40). 

When I worked for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), I gave my job to God.  I quit working for the FDA and started working for God.  I still worked my FDA job, I still had FDA bosses, but let Jesus become my supervisor.  When we pray or talk, do so as if God were right there in front of us, eyeball to eyeball (so to speak)? 

Father wants us up close and personal.  His desire to walk with us, as in the garden when He called for Adam and Eve.  The indication was that this was something He did regularly, not just the one time to ‘catch them in the act’ (Gen. 3:8).  Abraham was called the friend of God (James 2:23) and God spoke with him (Gen. 18:1-33).  God spoke to Moses as a friend, face to face (Exod. 33:11).  Yes, these were two great men of God.  Study them and discover why He called them ‘friend’.  Where is our relationship with the Lord?

You say “OK, OK, I get the picture.  You said God gave you a song.  So where’s the song?”  Can’t print it out because it’s unpublished.  I don’t mind someone else taking the credit, I just don’t want them blocking me from enjoying it.

However, I did want to let you know that there are a lot of ways we can praise God as we reflect our love for Jesus.  Be open and ask yourself “How do I feel, when I hear music?”  What kind of words come out of my mouth?  It can get you excited for the Lord.  It can bring you peace.  It can even be ‘just relaxing’ as long as it’s Father who gets the glory.  But more than that, it should be up close and personal.  Don’t be afraid to identify with our heavenly Father.

Our lives and living should reflect the same.  What we put into our hearts and let out should be the same and reflect God’s love.

What we put in will eventually come out.  When we look in the mirror, do our lives, our speech and our music reflect who we represent?  Actually it does, whether we realize it or not.  Bad or good.  The question is “just who do we represent”?  The enemy (Mr. negativity) or Jesus (Mr. Love and Peace)?


Saturday, October 12, 2019

10-12-2019         The Wedding Feast

John 2:1-10

And the third day there was a marriage feast in Cana of Galilee and the mother of Jesus was there.
          And Jesus and His disciples were invited to the marriage.
And when the people wanted wine the mother of Jesus said to Him “They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her “Woman, what have I to do with you?  My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants “Do whatever He tells you.”

There were six nine, gallon stone water pots, similar to the ones the Jews used in purifying water.

Jesus said “Fill the pots with water.” And the servants filled them to the brim.
Then Jesus said “Draw the contents out and carry it over to the governor of the feast.”  And they did so.

When the ruler of the feast tasted the water which was made into wine, he didn’t know where it had come from, but the servants knew.  So the governor of the feast called the bridegroom over.

And said to him “At first, every man sets forth the good wine until all have drunk much, then they serve the lesser quality wine.  But you have kept the good wine to serve last.”

Consider that, for us, the wedding feast represents today’s church. 
When Jesus first preached the kingdom of God to men, His word was the good wine which is normally served first. 

After people have drunk much wine, their taste buds are dulled and they are getting a bit tipsy, no longer do people care about how the good the wine tastes just that it keeps the “buzz” on.  They just get drunker.  But, when Jesus turned the water into wine, it was better than the first wine served.  This was like comparing Thunderbird (the cheapest wine we could get when I was growing up) with Dom Perignon (one of the more expensive wines available).  For today’s church, the really good wine is yet to come.

When Jesus walked the earth, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples (Acts 2:1-16) and their carrying the Word to the people WAS the original wine.  That original wine lasted through several generations (don’t know just how many) and for a while, disciples actually lived in the love of Jesus. 

But, as time pressed on over the centuries, the Word of the Lord became watered down.  That is bits and pieces of the gospel began to fall by the wayside.  As the influence of the apostles and original disciples became a more distant memory and as the church continued to spread throughout the land, the ‘tares’ started invading the field (Matt. 13:24-30).  Things that were not of God came into the church subtly and were probably not even noticed and started growing.  Spreading throughout the congregation(s). 

In the “History of Christianity” (Zondervan 1973, 1978 & 1984), the spread of Christianity came with many variances.  Many did hear about God’s love.  Other times, Kings ‘got saved’ and, thinking Christianity was a good thing, made decrees that their people do the same.  Some of those decrees came under the penalty of death – confess Jesus or die. 

Between 325 AD and 480 AD several councils were held to determine what we should actually believe (church canon) and just exactly who was Jesus.  Was He God or was He man?  Finally, in 450 AD, they issued the Nicene Creed which is a summary of our beliefs.  Yet, another adjustment came in 480 AD.  However, since that time, the meaning of the creed has been subject to man’s interpretation and man, being man, hasn’t always done such a good job.  But, God always has His number (1 Kings 19:18), so the light, though dimmed in many places, never went out.  Unfortunately, many of those ‘dimmed light’ concepts are what have carried on through the ages watering down or confusing until what we have today. 

As more and more ‘ancient’ documents are discovered, what is referred to as the majority text has emerged.  As it turned out, majority rules.  Passages were in our ‘original’ texts, which were not mentioned in newer discoveries.  Because everybody didn’t say “it”, “it” may not be important.  King James version of the bible has italicized text.  These are words added by the translators for clarity, though not in the original text.  So, italicized or otherwise, some of these passages and those, not in the majority of documents, have been removed from more modern translations just adding to today’s confusion and arguments as to which bible to use.  However, to our advantage, the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth (John 16:13).  As an example, we can take the Living Bible (which originally was a paraphrase) and start learning the Word of God, but I have observed that more and more people are coming back to King James for deeper understanding. 

But, as I said, the light never went out and Father kept a flicker glowing.
Over the ages, the “good wine” (words of Jesus) served first has become a lesser quality wine as man has diluted it with his own ‘water’, human inspired, interpretation.  It went from Dom Perignon to Thunderbird.  Still wine, but no where near as good.

BUT, now, Father is preparing to serve the ‘latter wine’ which will be better than the first.  OK, OK, don’t get me wrong here.  Nothing we can do will ever supersede Jesus, but since the apostles were no longer around, this “new wine” will certainly be a whole lot better than the Thunderbird wine which has been served over the centuries.

Father is bringing His love back – bigtime!

In our passage, John speaks of Israel.  Yet the situation can certainly apply to today’s church.  Over the years (& centuries) look at how the power of God’s Word has been changed to suit man’s concepts.  The bible was written by man so how can we know that it is really the “Word of God”. right?  We know God spoke through the mouth of His holy prophets (Luke 1:70) and Timothy tells us that all scripture is given by the inspiration of God for doctrine, evidence, correction and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 2:16).  So we know that God (Himself) inspired the authors of the bible.  And we must consider, not just the authors but we hope the translators of the bible as well (though this may not exactly be the case) have followed the Lord’s lead.  Yet, the enemy continues to dilute the Word of God in his attempt to keep us from a full relationship with Father. 

So which bible?  Though watered down, many of today’s bibles are good for getting started.  Once in our church’s bible study, we compared New International (NIV) with King James KJV).  We discovered that portions of the passage in KJV were not in the NIV text.  However, NIV did footnote most of those missing passages (“some versions say”).  As we grow and we hunger for greater understanding, the Holy Spirit will lead us into other, more complete translations or reference books (commentaries, etc.) to increase that understanding.  Key words: Holy Spirit will lead.   Key thought: we need to listen.

Now, let’s change direction a bit. 

Look at today’s church.  How many pastors are committing adultery?  How many pastors are cheating the people so that they, themselves, may look prosperous?  After all, God prospers those who obey Him, right (Deut. 11:13-27)?  Some pastors just can’t “wait” for God’s blessings so they prosper themselves.  But consider, through lying, cheating and stealing, the world also can prosper – for a season.  Do we follow God or the world? 

Many in the church are committing fornication as well as single pastors.  Most understand adultery but just what is fornication?  Even Webster’s defines fornication as a sexual relationship between two unmarried people (and we wonder why STD is so widespread).  Surely this isn’t going on in today’s church.  But, bear in mind, the list Paul shares with us about who will not enter into the kingdom of God is longer than just adulterers and fornicators (1 Corinth. 6:9-11).  Man does not face any new challenges today (1 Corinth. 10:13).  Even in the church.

Jeremiah tells us that evil will break out upon the inhabitants of the land and God will bring judgment against the people for forsaking Him, burning their incense to other gods and worshipping the works of their own hands (Jer. 1:14-16). Of course, Jeremiah is speaking of Israel, but how different are we today?  We’ve twisted God’s word to suit our own purposes.  Isn’t it interesting, we are quick to blame God for the bad things in our lives but seldom give Him credit for the blessings that do come our way.  And in twisting the meaning of His Word, we worship the works of our own hands.  Israel did it and so do we.  We may not make a golden calf and worship it, but we do put other things ahead of God, Who created all things (???).

But, take heart.  Father has been in the business of resurrecting His church. 

For those who have been in the church for a while, we probably have heard about the ‘valley of dry bones’.  When I was younger, that was the main text for evangelists.  God put Ezekiel in a valley full of dry bone and had him speak out three commands.  The first was to command the bones to come back into proper alignment, connect with sinews, be covered with muscle and finally skin.  This is supposed to be a body, a church, to praise our Father.  BUT, there’s no life in this body.  So Ezekiel commands has breath from the four winds come into these bodies which are slain and breathe on them so they might live – and it does.  BUT those (now living) bodies complain “Our bones are dry, we are lost and we are cut off for our parts”.  THEN the final commandment Ezekiel repeats Gods words and says “I will bring you up out of your graves, fill you with My Spirit and put you in your own land and you will know I said and I did it! (Ezek. 37:7-13)”

Initially, the church had the apostles and their letters teaching them.  Then the apostles were gone and their letters started fading out.  For centuries, the people’s only exposure to the bible was ‘in the church’.  They had to go to the church to read the bible and even then, their exposure was most likely simply listening to the priest’s message.  Jerome translated Greek and Hebrew texts into Latin, which was published in 405 AD – the Latin Vulgate.  Rome was still the prominent force in the world and they spoke Latin.  Around 1400 AD, Father inspired John Wycliffe that each man should have his own bible, written in a language he could understand.  In his own language.  So Wycliffe, being a priest in England, translated the Latin Vulgate into English.  So, between Jerome and Wycliffe, the Latin Vulgate was the bible.  Mind you, Guttenberg’s moveable type printing press didn’t come along for another fifty years (1450’s), so any of John’s work was by hand.  I don’t think there were very many English bibles available for a while.  Then, in the early 1500’s, the Spirit impressed the  same idea, as well as the 95 Theses, onto Martin Luther.  And this move, of course, sparked the Protestant Reformation.

In the 1700’s, 1800’2 and 1900’2 God introduced several “awakenings’ which were intended to draw man into a closer relationship with Him.  This included the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in modern times through the Pentecostal churches.  Hmmm. I wonder if the designation “Pentecostal” came from the original outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon man on the day of Pentecost 2000 years ago? (lol)

Today, Father is preparing another major thrust into the lives of men with another, “big time” outpouring of the Holy Spirit (the latter rain).  He is preparing His army (even now) to go out and bring man into even a closer relationship with Father through His love.  Read the book of Acts and see what happened with the early church.  Jesus said that when the Holy Ghost is come upon us, we shall do greater works than He did (John 14:12-17).  Jesus healed the sick, caused the blind to see, cast out devils and raised the dead.  What things greater than these can we do?  I don’t know.  But I do know that there will be a whole lot more believers doing what Jesus and His disciples did, this time around.
This is not just a global outreach to the world, but a wake-up call to His church to get back on the right track.  Father wants the body of Christ ready for when He does return.  And the body has some “right tracking” to get back on.  God is building His love in the hearts of His children even now.  Over the next several years, it will become even more evident, more intense, as He brings us to this next outpouring of the Holy Ghost.

The early church had a taste of the new wine in the beginning with Jesus and the apostles and early disciples.  But that Dom Perignon morphed into Thunderbird as man continued to drink.  Now, the time is approaching for Super Dom Perignon to be served.

Couple the water into wine from the wedding feast, the fact a time is coming when man will do “more than Jesus” and Father will pour His Spirit out upon man so that there will be no doubt as to our relationship with God – all adds up to something pretty awesome peeking around the corner.
We will know that God is God because God is love and we will be living in the love of God.