The Real Resistance Required

Whether it’s politics or race or religion or anything else, humans not ruled by Christ are tools of the spiritual opponents of Christ; never His equal but demonic delinquents throwing tantrums. Only Christ in Christ’s people through Christ’s power doing Christ’s will can defeat them.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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You, too!

I was reminded today that I am more Chaplain than civilian though I don’t fit in with either. I’m like the ugly duckling, set apart.

When I get to Glory because of what JESUS did for me I don’t expect to be in the crowds of heroes of the faith who are praised for all the great things they did in His Name. When all the accolades are given, all the brilliant glorious crowns awarded to others, and the LORD says “Enter in!” to all the great heroes of the ages, He won’t be looking at me.

But I will be happy when He looks back at me in the corner, the proof of His absolute Grace without merit, and says “You, too, Paul. You, too.” #GraceAlone

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The Breastplate of Belief

The Breastplate of Belief

I noticed something very interesting this morning. In our Bible study on Ephesians 6 yesterday at lunch we mentioned the full armor of GOD and the breastplate of righteousness (Eph 6:14). But in Thessalonians, Paul calls it the “breastplate of faith” (1 Thess 5:8).

Uh oh! Was Paul having a senior moment?

Not so fast! As I was praying about it I suddenly remembered what the Bible says about Abraham. (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3) “Abraham believed GOD, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” The word for “believed” in Romans is literally “had faith”, a derivative of the Greek “pistis” (faith).

There is no mistake. Just as GOD gives us righteousness in JESUS because of what JESUS did and for nothing in ourselves, the faith that results from the free gift of faith GOD also gives us is a righteousness that shields our hearts from the attacks of Satan like the breastplate protects the heart of the warrior.

And yet, we must remember, “If I have all faith…yet have not love, I am nothing.” 1 Cor 13:2 (ASV)

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I Wish I Were

I wish I were right where I am and who GOD made me to be.

I wish I were right where I am and who GOD made me to be.

I don’t need more money and I don’t want a Honey ’til Heavenly Father gives her to me.

I don’t need the beach because it’s in my reach until I’m there whenever I dream.

I wish I were right where I am and who GOD made me to be.

I wish I were right where I am and who GOD made me to be.

Don’t want to be rude, but you can keep your food. Your burgers and your hot dogs and such.
I have my fill by living in GOD’s will. His goodness tastes like manna you can’t touch.

I wish I were right where I am and who GOD made me to be.

I wish I were right where I am and who GOD made me to be.

I don’t need the movies because I have my memories
And all of the adventures star me.

I’m satisfied because JESUS died and His Life is all that I need.

I wish I were right where I am and who GOD made me to be.

I wish I were right where I am and who GOD made me to be.

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Christian Cowardice

Christian Cowardice

Christians, don’t pray for Manchester. Don’t pray for Paris or any of the hundreds of places where Moslem terrorists are killing people and destroying lives and history. Pray for yourselves. Because it is your cowardice and fear to confront the evil behind the murders, including the murders of members of your own Christian Body, that lets it continue.

While you condemn crotch grabbing and money making in your ivory towers Islam is poisoning minds. Demon worship is spreading like a fire because there is no Christian fire to counteract it. While you pray for murders your apathy caused, souls are going to Hell. Anarchists spread lies and destroy the history of the United States in exactly the same way the terrorists are destroying sites of cultures they disagree with oversees. But your fear of being called racist keeps you silent.

Evil is running rampant, babies are murdered, false witness is spread and judgment is coming because you and I, we, are cowards. JESUS says He is coming in judgment and asks almost mournfully whether He will find faithfulness to Him when He returns. Where will we be? On the front lines fighting evil with the Gospel, getting souls to JESUS and saving souls through Him? Or peeking out the curtains while adding the latest cutesy avatar on Facebook “Pray for (insert name here).”

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”
Rev 3:15-17, NIV

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Christian Community

Christianity doesn’t so much measure competency (since one can’t create Spiritual gifts) but measures the expression of the grace that is given. Christian community is a group gathered to glorify God by constantly giving out the grace of the gifts GOD gave each member. Paul Villano #quote

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The Eternal Engine

So far we’ve discussed how you can separate the good feelings you had from being in love, etc. from the cause of those feelings. Rather than feeling pain at the memory of lost love you can realize that the effects and euphoria of love are gifts still literally engraved in the wrinkles of your brain. By remembering the euphoria as a thing in itself, like a beautiful seashell apart from the creature that secreted it, you can maintain the euphoria of love and release it at will with only your will as the new cause. You are your own emotional engine.

But what if you could hook up to an eternal engine? What if there were a lubricant that never needed replacing? That renewed rather than causing friction and overheating?

The only thing better than being your own emotional engine is having an eternal emotion engine for your good. Eternal, all powerful control over emotions and a constant source of peace and joy available at will.

Christians have such power available to them. By disconnecting from other people, places and things we are dependent upon for such feelings we are free to become our own emotion engines. But that is not enough. Buddhists separate themselves from “the world” but rob themselves by the connecting to nothingness. They seek neither pleasure nor pain but absence. But Christians refuse to discard the joy of life because of pain. Instead they rewire their brains to concentrate on the good, peaceful and joyful not only for now but throughout eternity. This isn’t possible in themselves so they put their trust in JESUS.

When we trust JESUS as our Ultimate Cause we are no longer limited in the effects. We aren’t dependent on having to disconnect from other causes because once we trust Him His Holy Spirit assists us. The Blood of JESUS from the Cross is the lubricant that never causes friction or the stopping of our joy. We collect the seashells of uplifting emotions and experiences looking past the creature that secreted them and to JESUS the Creator of the creature. And of us. And of all things, including Love and Joy.

We have His finished work applied to us, so anything that causes ill emotions are disconnected, all painful causes are overcome, and everything in Life becomes filtered through His Blood and empowering. We are connected to Christ not only for daily power and joy, which we can have at will by the remembrance of it, but for eternity.
The past pain is gone. The brain is rewired to think of past pleasure as gifts we retain and the Cause is Christ. And we are empowered, “supercharged” for eternity as well. Knowing we are forgiven and “rebuilt”, as it were, new creations of the Creator, we have the added power and pleasure of His promises.

JESUS endured crucifixion because He saw through the Cross like a window to Home. And by disconnecting from our former causes and reconnecting to Him as our Eternal Cause we see through His eyes.

We now see (as much as possible while in flesh) the Eternal Now, like a child looking through a toy telescope seeing what he was told more than what he sees. We see what we can perceive of what JESUS promises Glory with Him is like. And the Holy Spirit within us at the moment of trusting JESUS for our past, present and future, makes us see Home.

Connected to JESUS we are empowered at will to have all of the joy we have experienced in life still in our memories, disconnected from any Cause but Him. We are energized by the Holy Spirit to strain our eyes forward to the holiday Home in eternity out the window of our classroom of lessons in this life. And we can have temporal and eternal joy in Him anywhere and any time for the asking even in the most painful circumstances, knowing eternal joy is a moment away.

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Embracing the Effect

Causation (Cause and effect) applies Spiritually and emotionally as much as it does in physics. It even applies to love.

Cause and effect. You respond to a romantic interest in physical ways. Hormones get activated which stimulate the brain into wonderful sensations. The more you love and are loved the more stimulated you are. Your brain reacts to the cause of the Beloved with the effect of making you feel happy emotionally.

Those who are in love notice the truth of the statement “Everybody loves a lover.” As the Beloved makes you feel loved those loving feelings cause you to be more loving to others. You project those feelings and become the cause of those effects in others. You may even find that once you are in a relationship after a “dry spell” other possibilities suddenly appear. “Everybody loves a lover” and being loved allows you to project love and create love in others.

The end of love causes withdrawal. The endorphins that drove our feeling of joy we define as love subside and it feels like the oxygen has been drained from the room.

What if you could divide the effect from the cause? What if you could generate those same emotions, stimulate those same hormones, cause the same effect of being in love without the cause?

You would rewire your brain to feel love and produce loving feelings. You would be the cause of love in others. And you would be the object of the effect you caused in them.

Rewiring your brain makes love your default status with your own thoughts as the cause. The more you experience it from within and from others the deeper that rut gets until feeling all of the joy of love is your default state. And it is the cause of your own feelings of love for self and others, answered by the love of others but not dependent on it because your mind is your own love generator. The effect is a perpetual embracing of the effect of love, with yourself as the cause.

#CauseAndEffect #Love

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Coming Into the Kingdom

Coming into the Kingdom

Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) gave Christianity a tough time in his humorous stage shows and writings. It wasn’t true Christianity he mocked but its hypocritical, stodgy practices.

Clemens not only wrote about Tom Sawyer. He was Tom Sawyer. And he didn’t tell the half, such as his prank on friends…and enemies…of dropping watermelons on their heads from upper windows, nearly killing them. Huck Finn was no imaginary friend but a true friend of another name.

So to the muddy-footed boy those black-clothed preachers who equated melon dropping and dirty feet to being the devil were silly. And lace-bound aunts who thought shoelessness in church was damnation yet gossiped in the pews were irrelevant. That was the “Christianity” Clemens loathed.

But we know Clemens was a Christian at heart, or at least aspired to be, because one of his greatest stories, The Prince and the Pauper, explains the Gospel so well.

Young Tom Canty, a very poor beggar boy mistreated by his evil father, goes to King Henry’s castle to beg food and is discovered by young Prince Edward, his same age, who insists Tom play with him by exchanging clothes and discovers they look like twins.

Tom and Edward role play but when Edward goes outside for a moment he is mistaken for the beggar boy he appears to be and beaten away from the castle grounds despite his protests that he is their prince.

Tom, dressed as prince, is treated as if he is the missing Prince Edward and mistakenly made king when King Henry dies. All comes right in the end thanks to the discovery of the royal seal, which was hidden where both boys corroborated, proving their story of having played together, innocently exchanging places.

What better fiction to reveal the greatest Truth of all time? The King of Kings, GOD the Son, exchanges places with the least worthy sinner of all, me… for example. He, JESUS, gives me His purity so I can be with Him in His kingdom. All by making Himself the poor but pure pauper, sinless, yet abused and beaten until He returns to His rightful place through sacrifice and putting himself at risk to correct the wrong humanity has done. In the end, King and servant live together in joy in the kingdom, as we’re told that the worst sinner will be with Christ because Christ’s sacrifice as pauper gave the right to see Him as He is. That kingdom that began when the King lived among His citizens, the pauper Kings who know and love JESUS and serve Him among His people.

The way JESUS tells His followers to pray is to make them pauper Kings, serving Him by loving others and letting them know how to get back to Him on His throne. To make His kingdom come on earth by their representing Him and it among the masses. For the Father’s will to be done by His children pointing others to Him to bring them Home to the throne with them by pointing them to Him.

Sam Clemens knew that. He wrote about it. And I hope he is enjoying his King in the Kingdom today. And we Believers are pauper kings for JESUS, telling others about the new Life He has given us by taking our place and sealing us with His royal seal, no matter how muddy our feet were.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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Finding Our Father

Finding Our Father

I have probably spent over a thousand dollars for books over the last few years pursuing three advanced degrees. And yet just two words anyone can read for free in any library or online or in a dusty Bible somewhere in their home contain more theology and more wisdom and awe than all those books. Those two words are impossible to buy with money or to earn with muscle or mind. They are two simple words spoken by JESUS when teaching those who want to follow Him how to pray: “Our Father.”

When JESUS permits, even commands, those who follow Him to address GOD as “Father”, he reminds them of an ancestry they had available but put aside. GOD as Father was not mentioned in Scripture until GOD Himself tells David that it is Solomon, David’s son, who will build the temple David had hoped to build. And GOD says He will be like a Father to Solomon. David explains in his psalms that GOD is father to him and to all those who love and follow Him. But by the time JESUS is teaching His followers how to pray the Jewish people call themselves children of Abraham and David but not of GOD.

JESUS is calling them back to the Father, GOD. But as He explained to Nicodemus, there is only one way back: to be born again, through Him. As they were born from the womb of their mothers they must be born again through His Body given for them. His Holy Spirit must conceive the new birth in them so Christ Himself could live in their hearts. Then they could call out to GOD as their Father, as they were always meant to do.

The way the phrase “our Father” is worded in the sample prayer JESUS gives is better translated “Father of mine.” It is totally personal yet with the understanding it applies to others who are also followers of JESUS and children of GOD.

At the same time, JESUS reminds them that their Father is in Heaven. Followers of JESUS are children of the Heavenly Father. Their Home is His kingdom not those they try to build in their lifetimes. He is LORD above all, and as such He is to be obeyed and loved and followed before all. He is to be “hallowed”, adored and respected. Anything to do with Him, with His nature or character summarized by His Name, is to be respected and recognized as worthy of praise.

JESUS calls us now as He called followers then to pray by first recognizing GOD as our Father in Christ. Respectfully, acknowledging His greatness, and free to say anything our hearts are troubled over.

JESUS shows us how to find the Father through Him. We can climb into the lap of the King on His throne and whisper what’s bothering us in His ear. We can respectfully and lovingly pour out our heart to the One Who gave His Son to make us His children along with Him.

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭ESV

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