Georgetownrose

…from glory to glory

Archive for the month “October, 2016”

The Door Opened…

On the eve of All Hallows Eve, this is my second attempt at putting to print the thoughts swimming in my little grey cells…

 As I was studying some historical/cultural background of the exile of the Jewish people in Assyria and Babylon, I found some interesting and spine-tingling revelations. Among many things, like the correspondence of the pagan festivals to the change of seasons, was the Babylonian roots of many of the modern pagan observances…

220px-callanish_standing_stones_1One of the most unnerving finds was the pagan belief that at this time of year, between the end of summer and the start of winter, the earth’s energy forces become aligned in such a way as to allow the door to another world to open; hence, the expectation of any number of restless souls to go on a “walk-about” whether for evil or for hope of some good thing—but mostly, being restless as they are, none of the living believe it could be for anything but some ghoulish obsession…

 In our spiritual climate of the 21st Century, there are many who give no credence to such “primitive” beliefs; they only use them for entertainment purposes, like time-traveling stories into the ages of history. Somewhere in our imaginations lives the “what if?” about crossing that threshold into another world.  But there are many who give credence to these age-old beliefs, and use these beliefs to practice at gaining power of all kinds over all things on this planet by the favor of their gods. The reality of that fact of life ought to be something to make us uneasy; after all, pagans have the sense to realize they are not the ones who are in control of this world. Nevertheless, they believe they know how to manipulate the “graces” of their gods to obtain power to control what they seek to control…

I am not going to get into any details about the bizarre practices I discovered are at work in our “enlightened” age. What is priority in my notes here is to find a way to express what came to my mind as I was researching and realizing the significance of this particular time in the pagan calendar. At the heart of Hallowe’en is what I shared above about the opening of earth’s portal to another world. It reminded me of something in Scripture about how the Door to Another World will open; that Door is the one that is the veil that shields humankind from the unmasked gaze of the Lord of all creation. The apostle John wrote of the entrance across the threshold of that doorway of the Lord Jesus Christ in all His refulgent, terrible glory and power—not Mary’s little lamb of Bethlehem…

 The first chapter of the Book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ (that’s the full name of the Biblical book) was a giant reality-check for the apostle John…

 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last…’ Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.

–Revelation 1.9-17

There are no images to adequately communicate the terror of seeing the unveiled gloryyeshua-shekinah of the Lord of all creation–the One who comes to judge all the other gods of mankind’s fabrications…

Those other pagan religions may be older than what is recorded in the Bible; but the God of all creation is older than those pagan religions…They are counterfeits conjured by the adversary of God to confuse and deceive the rebellious hearts of mankind…

In our world, there  many things which unsettle us and cause us fear. On All Hallows Eve, it’s fashionable to play at laughing about the things we think are not real, that we think have influence on our world–kind of like whistling the dark…

So, I’ll stop dancing around the subject and tell you straight: The Lord Jesus will return to tear the veil between the worlds. That prospect and its implications ought to give us all pause to feel unnerved; for the Scriptures remind those who will heed:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of Holy One is understanding.

–Proverbs 9.10

We know not the hour when that doorway will be opened. If the God of all creation so ordains to make sport of pagan “wisdom” concerning the earth’s energies at a given season, it would not be the first time in human history He has done so…

So, while you delight in your spook fest this year, remember that you’ve been told.

 ‘And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.’ Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.  ‘I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.’

–Revelation 22.12-16

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Faithful and True…

On this evening before the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles, I am deep into the prophet Hosea, preparing for our little ones Sunday School. The one thought that keeps emerging in my little grey cells is that there is only One True God. No other God loves the way the God of the Bible loves. No other God than He has ever provided the way of grace and mercy and forgiveness for our rebellion against Him…

Hosea’s message was a call to Israel to come back to the only True God whose holy love, mercy and grace are true and faithful. Hosea’s life was an example to Israel of the faithfulness of the One True God. Hosea’s name means “salvation…”

jesus-faithful-trueMany hundreds of years after Hosea lived, God sent His Son Yeshua. His Name means “God is Savior.” Hence, Hosea 13.4 “…for there is no savior besides Me.” Hosea paid a high price to bring Gomer back to him; Yeshua paid the highest price to bring the mercy, grace and forgiveness of a Holy God to sinners–peace with a Holy God through Messiah Jesus alone…

Lord, the One who is called Faithful and True, please grant the same grace to other rebels that You have shown to me while I was in deep rebellion against You…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Elijah on Mt. Horeb…

…Listening for God’s Voice…

Recently, I had the blessing of introducing our church’s younger children to the encounter between Elijah the prophet and God on Mt. Horeb…In 1 Kings 19, Elijah had run a marathon to escape the fury of queen Jezebel; she was livid, nearly apoplectic,  when she heard her husband Ahab’s tale of how the God of Israel had literally outmuscled all Jezebel’s favorite idols and made 850 prophets of these false gods look like simpering idiots on Mt. Carmel. Elijah was the agent of the Lord who facilitated the exhibit, and also meted out subsequent execution on 400 of those false prophets. As a result Jezebel was not only angry with her husband, she also declared all-out war on Elijah with a vow to murder him at the first opportunity…

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Elijah on Mt. Horeb

Having escaped Jezebel’s wrath, Elijah found a tree under which he could collapse his weary, frightened, discouraged bones. In his bitter dismay about the response of faith among the Israelites who witnessed God’s unmistakable presence on Mt. Carmel, Elijah wanted God to let him die… An angel of the Lord visited Elijah, comforted and fed him, bidding him rest awhile…

 Upon regaining his strength, Elijah traveled 40 days and 40 nights, over roughly 280 miles of wilderness to find a cave on Mt. Horeb. Again, he prayed, pouring out his grief about the leadership of Israel, their hatred for the Word of God and their fondness for all the atrocious customs attendant to the idolatry of the pagan world…Again, Elijah asked God to let him die…

tornado-storm-wind-rotation-whirlwind-willywillyAs I thought about whether God was grieved in His own Spirit for the very issues which grieved Elijah’s soul, I realized that the way God expressed His own grief at that encounter with Elijah was first with a whirlwind…

But His voice was not in the whirlwind…

tumbling-rocks-earthquakeThen God expressed His grief in an earthquake…

But His voice was not in the earthquake…

Finally, God expressed His grief in fire…fire

But His voice was not in the fire…

At last, God spoke to Elijah in a whisper—when all the grief was vented in rushing wind, shaking of the earth, and the roar of fire—and nothing was left but quiet…so quiet that Elijah was now sensitive to hear that still small voice of God’s comfort and counsel and encouragement…

Over 2,000 years ago, God sent His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, to speak to the people of Israel and He was overheard by the Romans who carried news of the teachings of the new Jewish Rabbi all over the Roman world…During that period of the Roman Peace, there was sufficient quiet to hear God speak through Messiah Jesus…And no enemy from within the Church nor any foe from without has succeeded in silencing His voice…

Hebrews 1.1-2 tells us that God spoke in former days through the prophets, but now in these last days, He has…

“…spoken to us through His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds…”

Among the multitude of thoughts with which my little grey cells swim, this is what occurs to me as I think on this encounter with Elijah: there are so many expressions of woe and travail in creation around us; we have the whirlwinds; we have the earthquakes; and we have the fire, to name a few. My question was this, “Lord, what will You do to make it quiet enough for people in this culture of constant racket and babble to hear Your voice?” His answer came so gently…

the assurance that He will make it so…

“Be still and know that I AM God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46.9-10

Ezekiel’s Vision: The Restoration of Israel…

Bible Address: Ezekiel 36.22-32

How thorough is this restoration!

  • God promises to lead Israel back into the land He promised her, to gather her from the nations to which He scattered her in her state of rebellion against Him…

  • God promises to sprinkle clean water on her to cleanse her from all her rebellion and idolatry

  • God promises to give her a new heart and put a new spirit—His Spirit—within her and cause her to love Him and adhere to His ways

  • After this work of spiritual restoration, God promises that they will dwell in the land promised to them and be God’s people; and then the land will multiply its yield and increase and the trees will be fruitful, with no threat of famine…

This is a work of environmental restoration which comes from the hand of God when Israel comes into the knowledge of her redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ; when Israel looks upon Him whom we have pierced and grieves for Him as for an only son…when Israel recognizes that Jesus is the Holy One of Israel…How great a Yeshua! How great a Salvation!

And then all creation will rejoice, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 8.19:

“For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God…”

Many observe how Israel now blesses the world through their perseverance, inventiveness, scientific contributions, humanitarian ministries, etc. And these, for the measure of their restoration to the land, are blessings and wonders. But this is not the fullness to which Ezekiel speaks. This current state is welcome, to be sure, but it is merely a shadow, a wee foretaste, of what God promises when Israel finally comes into the fullness of faith in Christ.

In that day all creation will finally shake off the corruption and death which came upon it by the sin of man…creation finally rejoices when the prodigal sons of Israel at last return by the sovereign grace of God and behold the Lord Jesus…

Let us who now enjoy the grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus harbor no delusions of entitlement; God declares that He will not do this for the sake of Israel, but for His holy Name’s sake, which the nations have scorned because of the rebellion of the people God chose to exalt Him (Ezekiel 36.22)… Hear this, Church…

There are no photographs or images to adequately picture this. And the apostle Paul says that “eye has not seen…nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2.9-10)…

Think about it! Wake up those little grey cells in your God-given brain! The promise of God to the prodigals of Israel in Ezekiel 36.28-30 is a promise which is full and final—no interruptions; no need for military defenses or barriers for protection or fickle political alliances. It is a promise for full restoration of the land–no pestilence; no parasites; the abolition of genetic modification and pesticides to enhance the production of the fields and the trees; the perfect balance of creation—it all comes after the ultimate return of the prodigal remnant of Israel to behold and embrace Yeshua (Ezekiel 36.25-27,31)!

Awakening to the implication of Ezekiel’s vision I am more earnestly praying for the salvation of the Jewish people, because:

“… if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!”

Romans 11.12

Pray for the salvation of the Jewish people and for the Peace of Jerusalem…Psalm 122…

“Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good.”

Psalm 122.9

Weak Days & New Beginnings…

Lately, I have been having an onslaught of weak days—feeling tired, floundering, losing interest in ordinary things, overwhelmed, even a little sick…wondering greatly what has attacked me, as if knowing the “WHY” or the “WHAT” would give me the rational strength from within to effect my healing and release from the weight. News flash! I looked and there was no strength from within…

So, I started talking it out with the Lord; and in my conversation with the Lord, I have had to confess my rebellion, my “I don’t want to do ‘it;’ I don’t feel like ‘it’…” a pattern of thought which I have allowed myself to entertain for far too many days and nights…

Well, I figured I  needed some sanctified cognitive behavioral therapy…

By God’s grace, it occurred to me to just stop for one moment and challenge that repetitive thought pattern, wondering why indeed I would permit that to have its way in my sanctified mind, instead of calling out to Jesus to touch me and make me want to do “it” (whatever “it” I am refusing to do in the ordinary life and my dusty existence). The current catalog of “its” for which I have lost my rhythm and interest include simple things like making decisions, a reasonable appetite, making healthy meals, knitting, a daily walk, simple sewing projects and writing…

I am reflecting on why this sudden relapse into the old patterns of thought, old habits, which seemed to flee from me in the springtime of this year…I remember that then I began a new beginning of seeing the matchless grace of Christ, how sufficient His grace is for me, how perfect His strength is made in my weaknesses…and blessed release from old habits, enjoying a new beginning…

Just now, I am realizing in my heart—not just an intellectual kind of recognition—but down in my kishkes—that this discipline in my walk with Jesus is a seasonal kind of experience…Well, duh! (I don’t know why that is so mysterious a concept to get into my grey cells and remember; perhaps, the influences of this culture)…

I find that I am constant and seemingly unchallenged in my commitment to a new beginning for a period of time. Then, without warning, I am prone to fall away—my thinking skips beats; the focus I once enjoyed without a grievous effort has now, of a sudden, become a constant, unyielding struggle to regain.  I lose my former breath which once fed my soul and filled me…and I realize I need another new beginning…in my weakness I need another healing touch from Jesus…

So here is a new season, the Feast of Trumpets, the Days of Awe and Remembrance…a wonderful and timely moment for another new beginning…to remember that the grace of Messiah Jesus is sufficient for me, for His strength is made perfect in my weakness 2 Corinthians 12.9

god-strength2

All I need to do is call on Him to make me want His strengthening grace to do what He has formed me to do from the womb…This is the discipline I dare not forget or fail to recognize from season to season …

Beloved, if you are going through this kind of season, may God grant you the grace to recognize it for what it is; and by His grace, may God bring you to Him to find the truth that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient for you, that His strength alone is made perfect in your weakness. By this may He grant you a new beginning…

Which Miracle is Bigger?

2 Kings 5.1-20: the days of the prophet Elisha and his encounter with the Captain of the Syrian army–Naaman the leper…

Wondering which miracle of God is bigger:

 

storyofnaaman_14

that He so thoroughly cleansed and healed Naaman of his leprosy…

OR

storyofnaaman_2

that He preserved the knowledge of His great sovereignty over all things in the heart of a little Israeli lass taken as a slave to serve in a pagan culture…

Makes me adore Jesus more and cling to His promises that “the gates of Hell shall not prevail” against the Body of Christ in any age on this planet…

O Lord God of Israel – Jonathan Settelsnapshot2

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