Sunday, March 31, 2019

Resting In Him

"And the Lord said, My Presence shall go with you,
and I will give you rest."
Exodus 33:14

A trail leads through the forest in the foothills of Jerusalem, between Srigim/Li'on and
Tel Azeka, where David, the shepherd boy who would one day be king of Israel,
 encountered and slew the Philistine giant, Goliath.
Photograph credit: ARYEH GREEN


Dost thou not understand, My child,
Why clouds o'ercast the sky?
That without rain no rainbow bright
Could be, and flow'rs would die?

So in thy life, My precious one,
Shall I send only sun
To wither, scorch what dormant lies;
And little raindrops shun?

Come lay thy weary head and rest
Upon My breast-nor pine.
This is from Me; I know what's best
Thy beauty to refine.

Just trust Me when through paths unknown
I lead-perchance with pain.
Lean hard, my child, take thou My hand;
Some day I'll make it plain.

There may be mountains rough and steep
There may be valleys lone,
There may be jagged rocks, or thorns.
But thou art ne'er alone.

For I'll go with thee every step;
Thy pain and grief I'll share.
So lean the harder, child of Mine.
I've placed the burden there.


"Behold, the Lord's eye is upon those who fear Him,
who revere and worship Him with awe, who wait
for Him and hope in His mercy and loving-kindness."
Psalm 33:18

"Resting In Him"
Cornell K. Wilmoth

Fifth Sunday Meditation: By The Water And The Blood

"Moses wrote all the words of the Lord. He rose up early
in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain
and set up twelve pillars representing Israel's twelve tribes.
And he sent young Israelite men, who offered burnt offerings
and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord.

And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and
half of the blood he dashed against the altar.
Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing
of the people; and they said, "All that the Lord has said we
will do, and we will be obedient."

And Moses took the remaining half of the blood and sprinkled
it on the people, and said, "Behold the blood of the covenant which
the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words."
Exodus 24:4-8

"For the life, the animal soul, is in the blood, and I
have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement
for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement,
by the reason of life which it represents."
Leviticus 17:11

"Who is this Who comes from Edom, with crimson-stained
garments from Bozrah (The sheephold)  in Edom? (red).
The One Who is glorious in His apparel, striding triumphantly
in the greatness of His might?  It is I, the One, Who speaks in
righteousness, proclaiming vindication, mighty to save!
Why is Your apparel splashed with red, and Your garments
like the one who treads in the winepress?

I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the peoples there
was no one with Me. I trod them in My anger and trampled
them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled upon
My garments, and I stained all My raiment."
Isaiah 63:1-3

"I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd risks
and lays down His own life for the sheep."
John 10:11

"My sacrifice, the sacrifice acceptable to God is
a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart,
broken down with sorrow for sin and humbly
and thoroughly penitent, such, O God,
You will not despise.
Psalm 51:17

All are justified and made upright and in right standing
with God freely and gratuitously by His grace, His
unmerited favor and mercy, through the redemption
which is provided in Christ Jesus.

Whom God put forward, before the eyes of all, as
a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood, the cleansing
and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation
to be received through faith.  This was to show God's
righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He
had passed over and ignored former sins without punishment.

It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time,
in the now season, that He Himself is righteous and He
justifies and accepts as righteous those who have true faith in Jesus."
Romans 3:24-26

The Water Of Life
Yongsung Kim

"Then they took him (Joseph) and cast him into the
well-like pit which was empty; there was no water in it."
Genesis 37:24

"As for you also, because of and for the sake of
the covenant of the Lord with His people, which was
sealed with sprinkled covenant blood, I have released and
sent forth your imprisoned people out of the waterless pit."
Zechariah 9:11

"Wait and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters;
and he who has no money, come and buy and eat!  Yes, come,
buy priceless spiritual wine and milk without money and without
price, simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing."
Isaiah 55:1

"They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion
and shall flow together and be radiant with joy over the
goodness of the Lord-for the corn, for the juice of the grape,
for the oil, and for the young of the flock and the herd.
And their life shall be like a watered garden, and they
shall not sorrow or languish anymore."
Jeremiah 31:12

"Now on the final and most important day of the Feast,
Jesus stood, and He cried in a loud voice, If anyone is thirsty,
let them come to Me and drink!  They who believe in Me,
who cleave to and trust in and rely on Me as the Scriptures
has said, From their innermost being shall flow continuously
springs and rivers of living water.

But He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who
believed, trusted, and had faith in Him were afterward to receive.
For the Holy Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus
was not yet glorified, raised to honor."
John 7:37-39

"For whatever is born of God is victorious over
the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world,
even our faith.

"Who is it that is victorious over the world, but they
 who believe that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is He Who came with water and blood, His
baptism and His death, Jesus Christ the Messiah-
not in water only, but by the water and the blood.
And it is the Holy Spirit Who bears witness, because
the Holy Spirit is the Truth.

So there are three witnesses in heaven:
the Father, the Word (Christ), and the Holy Spirit,
and these three are One;
and there are three witnesses on the earth:
the Spirit, the water, and the blood;
and these three agree, are in unison;
their testimony coincides."
1 John 5:4-8

"And He further said to me,  It is done!
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the Beginning and the End.
To the thirsty I Myself will give water
without price from the fountain springs
of the water of Life."
Revelation 21:6

Only Jesus
Casting Crowns

Friday, March 29, 2019

On My Mind: Why The Old Testament Is Important

"Do not be conformed to this world, this age, 
fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that
you may prove for yourselves what is the good and
acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing
which is good and acceptable and perfect,
in His sight for you."
Romans 12:2

I was quite surprised by the remarks made by popular Georgia
evangelist, Andy Stanley, who claimed that Christians today should
"unhitch themselves" from the Old Testament in regards to their faith.
His sentiments are nothing new.

Stanley is the senior pastor of the North Point Community Church
in Alpharetta, Georgia.  He is also the son of Dr. Charles Stanley,
the founder and senior pastor of In Touch Ministries in Atlanta.

In comments made during a sermon to his congregation last April,
 Andy Stanley said that while he believes the Old Testament is "divinely inspired"
it should not be "the go-to-source regarding any behavior in the church".

While Stanley used passages from the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Acts,
which describe how the early church decided that Gentiles, or non-Jewish believers,
did not need to observe Jewish law to become Christians, in his letter
 to Romans, the apostle Paul explains the purpose of the Law, which
was to recognize the nature of sin, or rebelliousness against God.
Paul also reveals that those "under the Law" can never be
justified by following it.

"For no person will be justified, made righteous, acquitted, and 
judged acceptable in His sight by observing the works prescribed by
the Law.  For the real function of the Law is to make men recognize
and be conscious of sin, not mere perception, but an acquaintance
with sin which works towards repentance, faith, and holy character."
Romans 3:20

Paul goes on to say that "now the righteousness of God (in the Person
of Jesus Christ) has been revealed independently and altogether apart
from the Law, although it is attested by the Law and the Prophets.
Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with
personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ the Messiah.
And it is mean't for all who believe, For there is no distinction."
Romans 3:21-22

Andy Stanley claims that many Christians are turning away from
the faith because of certain passages in the Old Testament.  He argues
that the early church moved beyond the Old Testament for the sake
of the newly converted Gentile or non-Jewish believers.

While both Peter and Paul argued with their fellow believers in
Jerusalem, some of whom belonged to the sect of Pharisees which
still adhered to the Law of Moses regarding circumcision, when 
the Lord gave the Great Commission to His followers, saying,
"Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"
His listeners were all Jews like Himself.   Their only witness
of Christ apart from personally knowing Him, was to be
found in the Old Testament because the New Testament
was, at that time, yet to be written.  These missionaries of the early 
  church were not only schooled in the Law, but used the revelations of
the Old Testament prophets, like Isaiah, to witness to their
fellow Jews that Jesus Christ is their long-promised Messiah.

Stanley claims that Jesus is the New Covenant and this fact
does not need to be propped up by Jewish scriptures.  He also asserts
that, "The Bible did not create Christianity."   However, in the
Book of Acts Chapter 11, when Barnabas went looking for
and found Saul in Tarsus (the apostle Paul) and brought him back to
 Antioch for a whole year the early church assembled together, and 
instructed a large number of people, and it was in Antioch
"that the disciples (most of whom were Jews) were first called Christians."
(Acts 11:26)

Saul, who became the apostle, Paul, was later separated from
the rest of the brethren and sent to preach the Word of God concerning
the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God,
not only to the Gentiles, but also within the synagogues
  of the Jews.  Paul and Barnabas later continued
 on to the island of Cyprus and later on to Antioch in
Pisidia.  "And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue
there and sat down. After reading the Law and the Prophets,
the leaders of the worship sent to them saying, Brethren,
if you have a word of exhortation or consolation or
encouragement for the people, say it."
(Acts 13:14-15)

So Paul rose and spoke to the assembly, saying,
"Men of Israel and you who reverence and fear God, listen!"

The apostle then went on to declare that the God of Israel,
had selected their forefathers and made their people great and
important in the land of Egypt and later brought them up from
slavery and across the wilderness to their own homeland in Canaan.
God gave them judges and the prophet, Samuel.
He gave them kings, first Saul, then David, the son of Jesse,
whose descendants brought to Israel a Savior in the Person
of Jesus, according to His promise.

Christ came but those who dwelt in Jerusalem did not
know or recognize Him, nor did they understand the utterances
of the (Old Testament) prophets concerning Him, in which
they would sentence and condemn Him to death.
But God raised Him from the dead, thus fulfilling what was
written in the second Psalm, "You are My Son; today I
have begotten You, caused You to arise, to be born;
formally shown You to be the Messiah by the resurrection."
(Psalm 2:7)

Stanley asserts, "Your whole house of Old Testament cards
can come tumbling down" and yet, in his oratory at Antioch the apostle
Paul built a solid foundation of faith by using the relevance of the Old Testament.
 And, whereas Paul, like all of us, was not an eye witness to Christ's resurrection,
we who believe rely on our faith in the Holy Scriptures, which
is, more simply put, taking God at His Word.  All of it.

Furthermore, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
While he does not elaborate on these certain "behaviors in the church"
it seems that Andy Stanley is insinuating that our relationship with God is
more important than recognizing and renouncing sin in our lives. 
 And yet, it is sin which hinders our fellowship with Him.

For example, in the Old Testament, adultery and homosexuality
are condemned under the Law.  Those accused of these offenses
were often put to death.  While no longer considered capital
offenses today, both homosexuality and adultery are still
considered grievous lifestyle choices in the sight of God.

Even believers who do not struggle with these issues are
sinners who fall short of the glory of God.  This said, while there
is abundant mercy and forgiveness and healing found in Jesus Christ,
and we are washed clean from the stain of sin through His
precious shed blood, there has to be an awareness, not to
mention a willingness, on the part of every true believer, to
turn away from sin, or what Paul called, "..the renewal of your mind."

Part of this renewed way of thinking comes through the careful 
and diligent study of and meditation on God's very own testimony,
  as He speaks to us in both the Old and the New Testaments 
of the Holy Scriptures.

The Apostle Paul
Gustave Dore

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

They Rode The Wind

"The Lord will keep your going out and
your coming in from this time forth and forevermore."
Psalm 121:8


The eddies swirl in the treacherous ford,

And the clouds gather dark ahead;

And over the plain, where the sunlight poured,

Scarce a gleam does the pale moon shed.

Pony Express
N.C. Wyeth

The pony drinks, but with gasp and sob,

And wan is the man at its side;

The way has been long, past butte and knob,

And still he must ride and ride.

Now the cinch is drawn and the plunge is made,

And the bank of the stream is gained;

Eyes study the darkness, unafraid,

And ne'er is the good horse reined.

And the hoof-beats die on the prairie vast,

To the lone wolf's answering wail-

Thus the ghost of the Pony Express goes past

On the grass-grown Overland Trail.

"And I'll praise you in this storm,
And I will lift my hands
that You are who You are
No matter where I am..."

Praise You In The Storm
Casting Crowns

"The Pony Express"
From "Out Where The West Begins
And Other Western Verse "
Arthur Chapman
American writer and poet

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Girl Of Enghelab Street

"It is a crime to remain silent in the face of evil, it is said.
Thus, I am speaking up and urging other good men and women
to raise their resonant voices while they can before they are
brutally silenced by the ever-creeping Islamofascism."
-Amil Imani, Iranian-American writer. 

The woman seen in the photograph below is Vida Movahed,
a 31 year old resident of the nation of Iran, who made headlines around
the world a few years ago, with her courageous stand against the tyranny of Islam
 by defiantly removing her hijab in public. She was later arrested and taken 
 into custody by the authorities.  Under Islamic law, women in
Iran are required to wear a head covering in public or face possible
arrest and imprisonment.  It is often difficult to believe that
this is an actual requirement under the law in a nation where
only fifty some years ago women freely wore bikinis while
sunning themselves and swimming on public beaches there.

31 year old  Vida Movahed in protest (left) and with her little daughter (right).

Since her arrest various news reports claim Vida is "in the custody
of the Ayatollahs", which I believe means she could be languishing within the
 hell-hole of an Iranian prison in some undisclosed location, or, she is possibly dead.

Although while researching this post I have heard other reports
claiming she has since been released and has gone into hiding from
the authorities, these reports cannot be verified.
As of this time, Ms. Movahed remains missing.

Yet, like those who have stood up to evil and oppression whom
have gone before her, what Vida Movahed did remains a haunting
memory, especially in the minds and hearts of people everywhere
who truly yearn to live in real freedom and peace.


So-called "feminists", or scores of American-born women, who have always lived
in, and taken advantage of the our vast freedom and privileges, have chosen to ignore
the terrible situation of their Iranian sisters in favor of marching around while
desecrating our glorious American flag by wearing it as a head scarf! in
support of Sharia (Islamic) Law being implemented here!

Got Sharia?
Are You Serious?

The great William Shakespeare once said,
"All the world is a stage...all men and women merely players."
These American women parading before the cameras for their
'cause' demanding 'equality' and 'reproductive freedom', etc. while
demanding Sharia Law are the worst bunch of phoneys and
cowards I have ever seen. These women do not care about
 real women's healthcare or even about other women, especially
females in the womb who are yet to be born-if they get the chance.
These women are nothing more than bad actors, everyone of them.

Meanwhile, half a world away, this courageous young Iranian
woman and mother to a little girl, put on the performance of her lifetime,
taking a stand against the draconian laws and conditions in her homeland.
Hers was not a stand  for her own selfishness, but to highlight the
 ingrained oppression and abuse of women under Islamic Sharia Law.

Perhaps her courage will resonate with those in the West
who are paying attention to the subtle but steady encroachment
of Islamic influence here.  But more than this, Vida Movehad bravely
stood in that public square not only to represent the face of
 the oppressed female population of Iran and other Muslim
 nations, but for what must be her great motherly love
 for her little girl, risking her own life in the greatest
 hope that one day her daughter will live in and will
experience the freedom that we in the West so easily
take for granted, within her own nation, and among her own people.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Fourth Sunday Meditation: Consider The Lilies And Stop Worrying

"Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations"
Psalm 90:1

Crown Anemone
The "lilies of the field"

"And why should you be anxious about clothes?
Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly
how they grow; they neither toil or spin.
Yet, I tell you, even Solomon in all his magnificence
was not arrayed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which
today is alive and green and tomorrow is tossed
into the furnace, will He not much more surely clothe
you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own.
Sufficient for each day is its own trouble."
Matthew 6:28,29,30,34

Theology Of Flowers

"Why are you so anxious?  Take a lesson from the wildflowers.
They neither toil or spin, yet even Solomon in all his royal glory
was not arrayed like one of these.  And if your Heavenly Father
gives such attention to the appearance of flowers, many of which
grow in unseen places, surely He will attend to you too.

So take a deep breath. Don't let worry blind you to God's
ongoing care; don't live like those without faith.
You have a place in your Father's heart;
you have a share in His house above.

See the Lord as your Dwelling Place in all generations;
behold His unchanging glory despite the fleeting
shadows of this world.

We must first look to the Eternal to rightly see the finite;
we must look upward before we look downward.
As we contemplate God's eternality and power, we
realize the wonder and sanctity of our short time here.

The Eternal is our refuge,
our "dwelling place in all generations"
and that means in the present generation as well as
 on the other side of fleeting appearances of this world.

When we pray to God as,
 "Avinu She-bashamayim"
"Our Father in Heaven"
we are calling to
 "the One who is in the midst of
the waters of Life."
Revelation 22:1,3

The psalmist says: "I shall not die but live."
Psalm 118:17

In order to live, you must give yourself to death;
but when you have done so, you discover that you are
not to die, but to live.

Here, "giving yourself to death" means surrendering
to God's will, accepting the yoke of Heaven, and
trusting in His governing "flow" over all of creation.

This is the deeper meaning of "baptism", as we are
immersed into God's care for our lives.

Yeshua gives us abundant life.

The bloom of every flower is by eternal purpose, and not one
common sparrow is forgotten by your Heavenly Father.
Luke 12:6

God's irresistible providence comprehends and orders
all things, from the realm of the subatomic to the cosmic
motions of the heavenly bodies.

The Lord is the Center of reality:

"All things were created by Him, and for Him, and in
Him all things hold together."
Col. 1:16-17

In light of this, the 17th century theologian Blaise Pascal 
 asked, "What is left for us but to unite our will to that of
God Himself, to will in Him, with Him, and for Him
the thing that He has eternally willed in us and for us?"

In other words, what else can we do but learn to trust, accept,
and to say "yes" to life-even if at times we may feel like
strangers in exile?

 All our days are ordained; recorded in God's scroll.

Therefore, may God, "teach us to number our days to get
a heart of wisdom." 
Psalm 90:12

So, don't lose heart, friend.  He who cares for you is a
good Shepherd and you shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

"Theology of Flowers"
A teaching by John J. Parsons
Zola Levitt Ministries
(July 2017)

Beginning in the month of January and lasting through March,
God carpets the barren places of the Negev Desert region in Israel
with beautiful red Anemone, which are called Kalaniyot in Hebrew.