1 Timothy 2:1-4 (ESV) “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
Paul wrote this when Caesar enslaved hundreds of thousands, murdered Christians and insisted on worshipping idols, including himself, or be tortured to death. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, commanded prayer for the Romans in authority. Not if you like them but because it is GOOD and pleases JESUS.
Donald Trump is the President-Elect and is probably more vulnerable to assassination and other works of the devil against him than anyone since Lincoln, and for the same reason.
I am no fan of Obama but pray for his salvation and leadership because the LORD commands it and because the future of the United States depends on peace. And peace improves the sharing of the Gospel. When the Israelites were taken into captivity every prophet including Daniel was told to work for the leaders and the welfare of Babylon.
You are commanded as a Christian to pray for President-Elect Trump and Vice-President Elect Pence and the peace of the United States. Period.
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Come to Christmas
One of my favorite Christmas carols is “O Come All Ye Faithful” and it turns out that is exactly what Christmas is all about. From the moment of His birth through His Life on earth to His death and Resurrection the message of JESUS has always been “Come and see.” Not to Santa Claus. Not to a sale or a party. But to a feeding trough. To a star-lightened path. To play “Follow the Leader” as a disciple of JESUS on earth. To a Cross. And Home to Glory. It has always been “Come.”
I noticed this when reading about how JESUS called the apostles. He literally said “Come, follow Me!” It’s shouted the way we say “C’mon!!” today! JESUS literally shouts “C’mon! Follow Me!” and the meaning is to follow behind like children playing Follow the Leader and not wanting anyone left behind.
The angels called the shepherds in the fields to come meet their true and eternal LORD. He is JESUS, GOD the Son, wrapped up as a baby in flesh and blankets. A star called “C’mon! Follow me to your only true King!” to members of another culture, across borders and into eternity. JESUS calls His disciples into the great Follow the Leader adventure, trusting Him to lead them to His cross and through it. And Christ calls “C’mon!” for us to fall into line and follow Him as our Leader today, taking up our own crosses on the way.
Christ is calling: “Come to Christmas! Follow Me through the story of My birth through My perfect life given up for you. And come through death into the eternal Life I bought for you with mine!”
We have botched up our lives like ripped up wrapping paper trying to wrap life up our way. Following JESUS with our lives, leaving behind our attempts at living our way, giving Him the gift of our hearts for all He has given us, is everything.
If you are already a Christian come and enjoy it. Even if you feel like you fell out of line, get back in!
If you are new to following JESUS, come along quick!
Come to Christmas! C’mon!!
“While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”
Matthew 4:18-22 ESV
You should be reading two things on Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving passages from the Bible (the last few psalms are good) and William Bradford’s “Pilgrim Plantation” (It’s public domain and a free download but you should keep a print copy because the Revisionists will get rid of it eventually).
The Revisionists will tell you the nasty white people came and killed off the peaceful Indians for food and in prejudice and from disease. But the truth, as Bradford’s eyewitness testimony shows, is that the Indians killed the white men out of terror and once they found out they were kind asked their help and protection from other Indians who stole their food, enslaved or killed them. There are a lot of similarities between struggles between the idol worshippers and the people of GOD in the Bible and in Plymouth Plantation. And in today’s culture.
Give thanks today for those brave men and women who thanked GOD for His mercies which include the promises for eternal Life. May we enjoy the same and share them in His peace. And may we praise our mutual Savior JESUS Christ with those brothers and sisters from Plymouth Plantation at Home with Him.
PEOTUS* Trump makes a good point in his Thanksgiving address. The Nation needs to heal. And healing takes time.
Up until now I’ve been thinking of those who still support the corruption his election prevented as immature and Spiritually blind. And they are both. But they have also had a worldview amputation, of sorts. They’ve had their sense of entitlement to get what they want at the expense of others cut off.
Those with amputations still suffer with phantom feelings in the extremity that was cut off. They itch in feet that are no longer there. They hurt in fingers that are gone.
Those striking out with lies, riots and other actions against Trump are toddlers who are terrified of no longer being able to control and manipulate as they did. They are toddler amputees. So they rage out in tantrums and destruction.
The answer with toddlers and amputees is a combination of compassion, education, training and discipline. The question President Trump and patriots face is how much of those qualities it will take to keep the protestors against their own good from harming themselves or others.
*President Elect of the United States (I know! It was a new one for me, too!)
#Trump #NotMyPresident #Petition #ElectoralCollege
If you really want to know (and you should) the heart and mind of President-Elect Trump and how he will lead, listen to the audiobook “The Art of the Deal.” I emphasize the audiobook because it is very “dense.” Unless you have a degree in business, finance, contract law, etc. most if it will be meaningless. But if you listen to the audiobook you will catch key things Trump reveals about himself, knowingly and unknowingly. And he knows it. Because this is Trump from 30 years ago but he knows we will listen to see what he reveals about himself. So during the election he added a foreward in his own voice (most of the book is not). He is already a step ahead.
Trump hasn’t changed except, hopefully, in one fundamental way. He was and is a genius. Business, strategy, finances, behavioral psychology. He knows it all. The question is whether he is an evil genius. Whatever your worldview, you had better hope and pray the Christian leaders are right and he is a new Christian.
GOD is playing chess with the world. Depending on our reaction to GOD as nations, Trump could very easily be Constantine or Anti-Christ. It’s all about archetypes. Trump is Esther’s Ahasuerus. Many Christians (including me) recognized Trump as being Nebuchadnezzar or Cyrus, an unlikely leader GOD uses to protect His people in spite of themselves.
If Trump had lived 1000 years ago he would be Caesar. If he were Julius, there would be a Brutus. If he were King Richard the Lionhearted he’d have a King John. He builds monuments and names them for himself. There will always be someone trying to bring him down. But his aim will always be to win. Always. By any means necessary. And that’s scary.
I’m glad I didn’t listen to this during the election because it would have terrified me. The terrifying things are Trump’s two key traits:
Everything he does is based on his enjoyment (he says if it’s not fun it’s not worth doing). He trusts his “gut”…a lot. And his gut has been wrong.
Those are not traits you think of immediately for the guy who could start a nuclear holocaust. But I still would have voted for him because he is the king of resilience and that is comforting. He always anticipates the next move. He has a plan B through Z and when Z is done he can convince you that it’s a glorious day to die. So enjoy it.
There’s a scene in the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” where a knight is left in the road with just his head and torso and blood spurting out of where his arms and legs should be. He is still shouting to his long gone attackers, “Come back! It’s only a flesh wound!” That is Donald Trump. Even if there were nuclear war he would get whatever glowing parts of his anatomy together, yell “It’s only a flesh wound!” and keep fighting. You want him fighting for you not against you.
Will GOD use him to lessen the judgment coming on the earth or trigger it? I believe the former but he has all the traits to make it the latter. Yet he is still the best option we have. It all depends on the Mercy of GOD, the response of Trump, and our prayers.
The Gratitude Gear
Thanksgiving is here but folks may be feeling more guilt than gratitude. Sure you can say you’re thankful for what you have. But something in your heart feels guilty for not being grateful, even being resentful, over something you no longer have or never had. That’s when you need to engage the Gratitude Gear.
You never hear about gears anymore, those wheels with little “teeth” sticking out that fit into the “teeth” of another gear so that moving one moved another. But gears literally moved most mechanics in the world not so long ago, from your watch to your toys to weapons to the machines you depended on to eat.
The Gratitude Gear works the same way. When you start feeling more guilty than grateful or more thoughtful about what you don’t have than thankful for what you do, you need to clear your gears. Your cogs are clogged. And the biggest symptom is that you are not doing anything for anyone else to be thanking GOD for you.
The Apostle Paul describes this as the “indescribable gift.” You might think this gift is that JESUS has given you eternal Life. And that is the main gear. But that’s not the inexpressible gift. You might think it’s the Grace of GOD that blesses you with so much in this life as well as giving you eternal Life. And that is another gear driven by the gear of Salvation. But that’s still not the greatest gift.
The greatest gift is that the Gear of Salvation moves the Gear of Eternal Life which engages with the Gear of Grace which works on the Gear of Your Heart IN ORDER TO MOVE SOMEONE ELSE to gratitude to GOD for YOU. That leads them closer to JESUS to be moved closer to JESUS, the Gear of Salvation, themselves.
Paul is writing to Christians and encouraging them to give gifts to help other Christians. He explains they are not to give out of compulsion but to check themselves. The blessings we are given are meant to be passed along…to engage the lives…of others like gears. We can gauge our relationship with JESUS by our record of giving to others.
Giving to others does not CAUSE our relationship to JESUS or even improve it. But if our heart cogs are clogged by not giving to others it’s a sign we are not meshing with JESUS enough. We are not allowing the reality of the power of having eternal Life change us. Because, when we do, that drives our power to give and do for others.
The inexpressible, joyful gift is that someone is closer to eternal Life thanking JESUS for you and wanting the love they see in you. It is driven by the love of JESUS in you doing good for them because you have Salvation, eternal Life, and gratitude to JESUS for it.
“You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”
2 Corinthians 9:11-15 ESV
Longer Than Life
Unless there’s some kind of mental impairment, every living creature from the microscopic to the majestic will literally do anything in its power to live. Nothing is as precious as one’s own life. Including the lives of others. Or so we think in a natural sense.
So when David is hiding out in the wilderness trying to avoid being killed, how can he possibly be praising GOD and say “Your Lovingkindness is better than life”? Even if GOD were keeping him alive by GOD’s Mercy and Goodness, how can those things be better than the life they protected?
Only because David had supernatural Life. GOD gives Life beyond our natural lives into eternity If we will accept it. And GOD’s Lovingkindness transcends the barrier between them like standing with one leg in a hallway and one leg in a room.
JESUS says there’s no greater love than giving up one’s own life for someone else. He knows our lives are our most precious gift and literally practiced what He preached by giving His Life for us. In His Lovingkindness JESUS, GOD the Son, suffered against sin for us as we refuse to do, died for us after living a perfect life, and took all of our wrongs on Himself to make us right with the Father. He did this because He knew loving us to Eternal Life was more important than a life of a few years.
David looked forward to a promised Savior we now know is JESUS. Just as the Lovingkindness and Mercy of JESUS allowed Him to look through the temporary Cross and see eternal joy, David could see through the doorway of death and saw the Love and Mercy of GOD on the other side.
We have that same opportunity in JESUS far better than David did. We can know the Savior, JESUS, David hoped for. We can trust Him for Life and Love and Mercy longer than our lives on earth. And we can experience Eternal Life that is better than our earthly life. It is life in the Love and Mercy of GOD with Him now and forever.
How we should praise Him like David and with David! We can! And we will!
“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.”
Psalms 63:3-4 ESV
Going Not Getting
Every human being is like a child waiting to get what they want for Christmas. We’re not even sure what we want. But we want it to be good!
So when even Christians read a verse about GOD “doing abundantly more than we ask or think” we think, “Great! GOD is going to use some way I can’t even imagine to get me what I want!” But that’s not what the verse means and it’s less than GOD wants for you. GOD doesn’t want you to have a thing or circumstance that will be gone too soon, like a Christmas toy that is wished for all year then broken in an hour. GOD wants to change you and enable you to go and be His Presence in someone else’s life. He wants to give you a reason for living and power for living and going and doing more than you imagine possible. And it would be impossible without Him.
Ephesians chapter 3 in the Bible lays out how all this was done. GOD chose to show Who He is through the Jewish people. Then He decided to give His eternal Life to His people. But more than that He chose to use them to show Who He is to all people, everywhere for all time. More than that He chose to give His people eternal Life beyond death. More than that He chose to do all this through GOD the Son, fully GOD and fully man, sacrificing Himself on behalf of His people.
Not even the most powerful Spiritual beings other than GOD Himself could imagine this. And yet He chose to use the most unlikely people…a murderer of GOD’s people, the Apostle Paul…me…you…to tell others about all this so they can meet JESUS, GOD the Son, and find eternal Life in Him for themselves. And in that finding, to go in His Power to be the unlikely Presence of GOD in other lives the same way.
The Holy Spirit is able to use you in ways above anything you can imagine to reach people in ways above anything you can imagine in ways you wouldn’t dare ask or think of. Beyond anything angels good or bad expected. Forever. And all you must do is give yourself to JESUS Who gave Himself for you.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV
Laughing at Losers
I admit it. I have a very low tolerance for lack of logic, incompetence and stupidity. I have the Spiritual gift of Disparagement which is using ironic “put down” humor to make a point and reprove others (which is actually a Spiritual gift). The LORD uses this quite a bit in the “Old” Testament and New Testament, both directly or through others (most notably the Apostle Paul).
Democrats who lost the recent Presidential Election are a prime target. Like two-year-olds they throw tantrums. And although they are incited to do so, many really are stupid enough to hate what is good for them and insist on what harms them, like toddlers screaming themselves breathless and going hungry or vomiting rather than eating what is healthy before sweets.
This is not just a political issue but a Spiritual one because the “sweets” Liberal losers throw tantrums for are all evil: murdering babies, lies, lawbreaking, hatred of GOD, and perversity. Christians should reprove them. But we must be careful not to overdo it.
My big sister tried to force me to eat peas by making me sit with them in my mouth until I did. I never ate the peas. I just gained a revulsion for them. Now I can’t eat what I’m sure is healthy food without being nauseous.
We Christians are challenged by Jude in Scripture to make those killing themselves with their contradictory, illogical Spiritual choices of what harms them in sweet sin choose the Spiritually nutritious Gospel though it may not always be tasty. And we must do it without making the Gospel repulsive.
“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”
Jude 1:17-21-23 ESV
This clip from the new movie “Arrival” is a perfect example of the destruction of society: Truth is irrelevant. Only one’s opinion matters. But the fact is that Truth is everything and JESUS Christ is Truth. #Arrival #Truth https://youtu.be/Ffzv6pC5P3I