Archive for the ‘Faith and Works’ Category

The Church A Temple

 
Today, the church is in view as an organization whose members also must complete “chores”, menial tasks, “grunt work,” and suffering.  The church is a temple that serves as a dwelling place and a place of worship.  One of its mottoes is: “No Cross; No Crown.”  While many aspire to battlefield glory, the triumph of heaven over Satan, and eternal victory over Death, Poverty, and Suffering, the continuing work of the church must be acknowledged as discovery, growth, and the “doing of simple things well.”  A fighter in the “Yahoo! Answers” forum who uses the ID “Norfolk&Chance” (Level 4 with 4,149 points, a member since September 03, 2017) posted the following:

 

Does going to church feel like a chore to you?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:  and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.  For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  (Hebrews 10:  22-26, King James Version,  KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  The Pattern To Follow? (01/19/2018); Standing On The ABCs? (11/09/2017); …Gathered In My Name (05/29/2017); Working to Pay GOD? (02/23/2017); Salvation By Faith Alone? (01/19/2017); Good Christians and Church? (10/19/2016); Church Attendance and Inheritance (09/11/2016); Skipping Church A Sin? (11/17/2015); Saul of Tarsus (03/26/2014); The Nature of Scripture (03/27/2014)

 

“Norfolk&Chance”, the process and eternal purpose of the church are to transform hearts and minds.  Here are some ideas I would like to share as a follower of Jesus Christ:

The church is both a membership organization, and a gathering of those having spirit content imparted from the makeup and substance of GOD.  As a sacred body bearing the image of GOD and Christ, the church is an authentic representative and spokesperson for divinity.  Even so, while still on the earth, the church must use forms and practices that are recognized as institutional, material, secular, and social.  Multiple cycles, recurring patterns, and regularities appear that are to establish and promote features for continuing exchange and interaction such as balance, completeness, focus, godliness, divine order, sobriety, and stability.

Tasks in the church that may seem menial and small are to be met with the same attitude shown by the Apostle Paul, a tent maker, who understood that a single stitch to hem a cloth is a very small thread, yet, every stitch must be carefully put into place.  The place where a stitch is dropped becomes the point of weakness where the hole opens that allows dust, light, sand or the wind to enter and destroy all of a person’s belongings.  Works of personal ministry offered exclusively to the membership should not be thought of as more important than the duties for recruiting new members, and shared as outreach to those not yet believers.  The soul-winning work of the church uses many simple things to convey things that are profound.  Thus, the work of setting up or taking down folding chairs, preparing and distributing boxes of envelopes to be used for regular offerings, and cleaning the pews following a service all contribute to displaying inseparable aspects of the Spirit imparted from GOD.  Included are divine faith, gratitude, holiness, hospitability, humility, longsuffering, wisdom, and wrath against sin.

Those who are “born again” must also “grow up again,” and become mature/ripe for harvest by the Lord at his Advent (also called, his appearing; the Rapture; the Second Coming).  All must endure “growing pains,” life challenges, hardships, and suffering on the earth as part of their transformation to exist as immortal, incorruptible companions of GOD.  The Spirit imparted by GOD operates to correct and disentangle developing believers from the many errors, false hopes, and relationships in ones life that are vain (lacking sacred substance).  Consider again the following that uses language from the Bible:

(1.)  Proverbs 11:  29-31, King James Version (KJV):  29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind:  and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.  30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.  31 Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth:  much more the wicked and the sinner.

(2.)  James 5:  19-20, KJV:  19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;  20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

(3.)  2nd Corinthians 6:  14-18, KJV:  14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.  18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, Jude 1:  21-25, KJV:  21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:  23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.  24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,  25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

Signature Mark
THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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The Shield of Faith

 

Today, a reply is shared on the character and nature of faith as well as on the practice of  Christian believers praying for “more faith.”  Prayer fosters the development of spiritual consciousness; and is a turning of ones awareness and self-will away from the operations of sin to exist having oneness without sameness through the active presence who is GOD.  Often, healing, miracles, signs, and other sacred events thought to be answers and outcomes that follow prayer also may appear following periods of fasting, re-dedication, praise, sacrifice, and unselfish service.  The sacred process of prayer is best understood as the emanating and receiving of sacred substance more than one of dialogue and verbal exchange.  Believers must experience a joining with divine person more than multiple language events to make detailed confessions of need, register complaints, or make requests to satisfy fleshly desires and lusts.  (It is written:  Romans 8:  26, King James Version (KJV):  26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:  for we know not what we should pray for as we ought:  but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.)  For developing believers, prayer should result in assurances and acceptance of divine decisions, rulings, and warnings that can be discerned within their own circumstances and life events.  Prayer will not change, influence, or manipulate the immutable, incorruptible mind of divinity; however, the natural law that governs cycles, episodes and mechanical process can be suspended, or applied in rarely seen and unique combination.  Because angry decisions announced by GOD also are proclaimed in language that is “conditional”, and that may state specific criteria that will trigger the occurrence of a divine deed, prayer can change conditions and levels of readiness among men such that GOD will delay, “repent” and “reschedule” the expression of his wrath.  It requires faith to ask for “more faith;” the great need, then, can be for ability to correctly direct, recognize, and respond to faith that already is in place.  Thus, it was the faith Abraham displayed that GOD acknowledged as his righteousness, and not Abraham’s circumcision.  A fighter in the “Yahoo! Answers” forum using the ID “Dan” (Level 3 with 1,906 points, a member since October 27, 2012) posted the following:

 

Praying for more faith?

I’m not a christian, but I recently came across the idea where some christians pray for “more faith”. Could someone explain this to me?

From an agnostic position, this seems kinda silly as I would like to operate on more evidence (which seems impossible) and less faith. Having more faith that the moon is made of cheese seems to do nothing to make the moon more likely to be made of cheese — yet there’s a definite practice of christians praying not to have wishes granted, but to experience yet more faith because it is through faith they can achieve great works (mustard seed stuff).

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  (Ephesians 6:  10-17, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Knowing What To Believe? (12/31/2017); The Answer From GOD (05/19/2017); The GOD Who Answers? (04/04/2017); Divine Delay and Prayer? (03/22/2017); Teach Me To Pray (03/21/2017); Simple and Mature Faith (09/05/2016); The Silence of GOD (01/31/2016)

 

“Dan”, GOD is a spirit, yet, in academic and worldly settings, we often speak of divinity as though the Creator is one of us—another individual who is carnal, material, secular, and social.  Among mature Christian believers, “faith” may be understood as an aspect of the full, inseparable spirit content (where you find one, you find them all in varying proportion) that is imparted from the makeup of divinity when a sinner repents and turns to Christ to become “born again.”  Included are faith, forbearance, forgiveness, holiness, joy, longsuffering, lovingkindness, personhood, righteousness, wisdom, and wrath against sin.

Water baptism depicts the unseen sacred process wherein the inborn spirit dies, is buried, and is raised from death.  A “developing believer” results who is a new creation through Jesus Christ, a child of GOD, and a joint-heir with the saints of the kingdom.  All Christians are to display their own endowment of the seed from GOD (one might say, their divine DNA).  Those born-again also must “grow up again,” and become mature by answering life challenges and “growing pains” along with the shared hardships and suffering of life on the earth.

Faith that is a spiritual gift is provided and received as a “double portion,” or second outpouring of divine inheritance.  Petitions and requests ought be made through prayer that faith within the church as a body be edified (built up), nourished, and permitted to complete its purpose and work of salvation without interruption.  Faith must reside within all leaders and on every level throughout the community of faith (e.g., choir members, deacons, parents, prayer warriors).  Faith is not a “coin” for acquiring and purchasing things we may covet and desire that are in the world (e.g., the house, the car, the good job, the spouse).  Faith does not have measurable dimensions (e.g., amount, depth, height, length, weight), for  faith is a spirit substance.  With this in view, as little faith as a mustard seed is not diminished in its divine authority and power.

Because our growth as believers does not go forward unopposed, we speak of the “good fight of faith.”  Certainty, holy boldness, and duration are established through the operations of faith; and our capacity to remain focused having godly expectation (we say, hope) is buttressed and reinforced.  Consider again the following that uses language from the Bible:

(1.)  1st Corinthians 12:  1-11, King James Version (KJV):  1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.  2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.  3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed:  and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.  4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.  6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.  7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.  8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;  9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;  10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:  11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

(2.)  Romans 4:  3-12, KJV:  3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.  4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.  5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.  6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,  7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.  8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.  9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.  10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.  11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised:  that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:  12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

There is a lot more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually understood.  (For example, (3.)  Ephesians 2:  8-10, KJV:  8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.  10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

 

Signature Mark
Washington, DC

angels-unawares

 

Today, reply touches on church attendance, hospitality, security, and Christian social gatherings.  The church is cautioned to minister and serve showing balance and wisdom.  Even for angels there are conditions, criteria to be met, and standards that must be addressed both for access, and for continuing relationships with divinity and with the people of GOD on the earth.  While the church desires to welcome repenting sinners, there are many to whom her doors should not open.  The process among those within the church is one of embracing godly change as well as rejecting long-cherished and hidden sins.  Those operating with the mentality of slaves, who are ignorant of family, home and heartfelt love, will mistakenly enter the church seeking freedom to “be themselves” (i.e., express or justify their own anger, bitterness, fear, rebellion, and self-will).  Hospitality is the display of divine lovingkindness along with acceptance, forbearance, humility, sharing, and unselfishness.  The church is like a fountain pouring forth grace, forgiveness, hospitality and mercy for all who will draw near; yet, some will display no gratitude, will despise mercy, and dare to poison the waters.  There are that come in to challenge, defy, and undermine all divine order.  Saying this another way:  Many otherwise pleasant strangers, who are not members of the church, suppose that it is “a  mother-load” that may be exploited, mined, and held for ransom.  One of the fighters in the “Yahoo! Answers” forum who uses the shared ID “Anonymous” (no profile information shown) posted the following:

 

Why do some Christians say that not all people are welcome to Church?

I hear from Street preacher say that sinners are not allow, they have to stop sinning

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;  How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.  These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.  But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,  Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  And of some have compassion, making a difference:  And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.  (Jude 1:  17-23, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Called To Serve Unselfishly (07/06/2017); The GOD Who Answers? (04/04/2017); How Can Christians Believe? (08/12/2014); The Sin of Pride? (08/13/2014); (Philosophical Questions? (04/17/2014); To Accomplish A Sacred Goal (04/18/2014); Arguing Against the Bible in Church? (02/18/2014); Snake Handling? (02/19/2014); A Spirit Church? (04/04/2013); My Brother’s Keeper (04/05/2013)

 

“Anonymous”, those who serve the Lord must develop discernment and prudence, however, not for the administration of power and great wealth.  Within most communities of faith, sound decisions must be made for the application and distribution of limited resources.  Because they often are poor, nonviolent, lowly and meek, many have practiced robbing and terrorizing communities of faith.  Church gatherings to welcome the active presence of divinity have always been subject to interruption and intrusions by agents of the devil, disbelievers, persecutors, those possessed with demons, and other challengers.  The church even has been outlawed, driven underground, and forced to meet in secret for praise, prayer, and study of the holy writings.  A person might think, therefore, that alertness, armed response, fund-raising, security, and vigilance would be primary issues.  However, more important are the issues of anointing, repentance, sanctification (i.e., being set apart for exclusive service to GOD) through fresh endowments of the imparted Spirit, and the fulfillment of end-time prophecies that speak to the return of Jesus Christ.

Correctly understood, church congregations are “private” and intimate member organizations (like families and households).  Communities of faith should not be thought of as groups whose main focus is providing public assistance, charity, emergency response, and social welfare services.  Because they are those repenting in Christ, many seek to avoid becoming “entangled” in the World again, and turn away from such activity as amusement and entertainment, financial investment counseling, lending, and political advocacy.  Healthy Christian assemblies require from their members such elements as accountability; confession; commitment; continuing change, discovery, and spiritual growth; financial support that is reliable and stable; longsuffering; lovingkindness; obedience to by-laws, covenants, and sacred standards; respect and response to assessments, critiques and evaluations (i.e., judgment) from the leadership/membership; the development of trust; the resolution of conflicts and settlement of disputes by applying sacred law; truth-speaking; and becoming ripe (mature) for harvest to meet the Lord in the air (we say, Advent, his appearing, the Rapture, the Second Coming).

Among Christians, the church should be understood as the new creation by Jesus Christ; and is an assembly of created beings and living creatures whose inborn spirits have been altered through operations of GOD spoken of as death, burial, and resurrection.  Those “born again” (we also say, adopted through the Spirit) must “grow up again,” and become mature sons and daughters of GOD while living on the earth.  Developing believers all receive spiritual gifts to unselfishly serve divinity, however, there are many different responsibilities and roles they will fill.  Diversity will always appear within the church, for members are like the limbs of a single body having different abilities, authority, gifts, knowledge, levels of maturity, etc.  Included are clergy, disciples, prophets, spokespersons, and stewards.

Consider again the following admonitions and warnings that many regard as hard, yet, righteous counsel for believers:

(1.)  Matthew 7:  6, King James Version (KJV):  6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

(2.)  Romans 6:  3-6, KJV:  3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:  that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:  6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

(3.)  2nd Peter 2:  20-22, KJV:  20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.  21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.  22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and made a part of our own developing belief.  (For example, (4.)  2nd Timothy 3:  1-5, KJV:  1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:  from such turn away.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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jesus-at-the-temple-by-brian-jekel

Jesus at the Temple by Brian Jekel

 

Today, counsel on accepting baptism is shared with a teen whose parents are atheists.  Baptism does not make a child an adult.  Baptism is a beginning or “first step,” and is not the completion or finish of the full journey that is salvation.  Youth often are centered in self-discovery, personal growth and risk-taking that make them less effective as workers within a sacred body.  Because young people often are drawn to Christ having fervor, passion and zeal, they also are to be cautioned and exhorted to acknowledge their continuing need for spiritual growth.  In addition to practicing patience and longsuffering, developing believers must learn to prefer the tested and tried principles, actions, and decisions that have been effective for the survival of the church; and, as much as possible, youth are to prepare themselves and focus on the coming of Christ in place of popular culture, politics, or current world events.  Children are to behave with humility and meekness in the family and shared home; they are to avoid presumption, and always value sharing with their parents.  A young writer at “Yahoo! Answers” using the ID “Anonymous” (no profile information appears) posted the following:

 

How to tell my parents I want to be baptized?

Hello, I am 16 years old and I have been going to church on my own for awhile. I’ve accepted Christ many years ago, and I’ve gotten to where I feel the need to be baptized and show it. The thing is, my parents are atheists. They allow me to go to church, they’ve bought me a bible, and they know about when I got saved. Since this is public though, I don’t know there reactions and honestly, I don’t even want to tell them (I’m not ashamed of who I am and what I believe, it just feels very awkward and they’re always surprised I chose this) Honestly, this is probably something I should tell them though, so how would I go about it?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit:  for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.  (2nd Corinthians 3:  5-6, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Standing On The ABCs? (11/09/2017); Accepting Christ, Accepting Change (10/20/2017); Becoming Joined To GOD (10/13/2017); Caution! Work In Progress (10/19/2017); The Water, The Fire (10/10/2017); Christ Now or Later? (10/08/2017); Rebirth, Growth and Transformation (09/29/2017)

 

“Anonymous”, before making your decision, you first may want to consider what commitment you are asking your parents to make; what challenges or changes you should alert them to; and the demands for sacrifice that they will have to face.  Young people also are cautioned to keep in mind that genuine and mature love always entail accountability, commitment, putting aside ones own desire and will in obedience and sacrifice along with restraint.  Water baptism depicts the death and burial of ones inborn spirit, and their resurrection from the dead by receiving a fresh endowment of divine life essence (we say, breath, spirit, Word) from the makeup of GOD.  Those who are “born again” are to “grow up again” meeting life challenges and “growing pains,” displaying divine spirit content, acknowledging sacred law, serving unselfishly without complaint, and even enduring suffering, here, on the earth. 

Believers are to become mature/ripe for harvest (we also say, his appearing, the Advent, the Rapture, the Second Coming).   Sinners who come to Christ begin their eternal life by undergoing permanent changes in their character and makeup through operations of the Holy Spirit, a transformation that will be completed (we say, they will be perfected) as they meet the Lord in the air at his return.  For developing believers, therefore, salvation unfolds through discovery, edification, gradual growth, praise, prayer, other  sacred practices, and worship.  Because salvation is part of a full revelation of GOD as well as a transformation for mankind to exist as life companions to immortal, incorruptible divinity, believers are encouraged to understand that they themselves are to be offspring of GOD and a new creation.  Believers are to maintain a consciousness that they are the members of the body of Christ (the church) and saints within the kingdom of GOD.  They are to continually display the inseparable aspects of imparted Spirit that include balance, completeness, gratitude, faith, holiness, longsuffering, lovingkindness, wisdom, and wrath against sin.

While teens remain in the home of their parents as dependent children, it is more correct that they delay making life decisions that are divisive of the family as a unit.  Through their pleasant attitudes and conduct, the young may be vessels of ministry who “silently” bestow and demonstrate the benefits from Christ without also creating conflict, pressure, and hostility against others.  Consider again the example of the Lord, and the following counsel from the holy writings:

(1.)  Luke 2:  42-52, King James Version (KJV):  42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.  43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.  44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.  45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.  46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.  47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.  48 And when they saw him, they were amazed:  and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.  49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?  50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.  51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them:  but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.  52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

(2.)  Romans 6:  3-6, KJV:  3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:  that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:  6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and made a part of our own spirit makeup.  (For example, (3.)  Acts 20:  32, KJV:  32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

 
THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

 

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boy-on-books

 

Today, reply is shared with a believer who wants to stand on faith without having to respond to preachers and holy writings.  GOD in the heart and in the understanding should appear as unselfish service within the church and the larger community.  A sinner may come under conviction following experiences of consolation during bereavement, deliverance or healing, yet, their “faith” may be characterized as “dead”, because it does not bear divine fruit seen with such “works” as church attendance, being baptized, mentoring as “godparents”, regular prayer, and repentance.  While any number of simple encounters may begin ones new life with Jesus Christ, the salvation of GOD through the Son is not “loaded with options,” or offered like buffet items that one may pick, choose and fit together in accordance with their own appetite, desires and lusts.  For Christians, faith is never “blind”, “undefined”, or according to an individual’s private opinion.  The meaning, process and substance of faith are defined by GOD in keeping with sacred law, divine order and godly practices (we say, sacraments).  Thus, for developing believers, there are specific eternal points of sacred knowledge to be received along with predetermined gifts and operations of the Holy Spirit as well as a broad range of challenges, sacred expectations, permanent changes, and even sufferings that identify the children of GOD upon the earth.  A fighter at “Yahoo! Answers” with the user ID “jay” (Level 1 with 90 points, a member since November 08, 2017) posted the following:

 

Ok I have god in my heart not from any book not from any preacher but from an event that happened. So my question is what’s wrong with that?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works:  shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well:  the devils also believe, and tremble.  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  (James 2:  18-20, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  GOD Is Imparting Truth (10/30/2017); Undergoing A Sacred Transformation (10/24/2017); Actual Utterance From GOD? (08/11/2017); Separate Yet Not Alone (06/28/2017); The Cross and Creation (03/24/2016); About Deluding Yourself? (09/22/2014); Family and Beliefs of Children? (08/29/2014); Stories Repeated in the Bible? (08/30/2014)

 

“jay”, in the same way young ones learn to recite the ABCs, yet, still are unable to read and write without further instruction and practice, converts and sinners who have an experience that turn them to GOD also need further nourishment and structure.  Believing in Jesus Christ may begin as an independent and personal commitment that, on surface, does not involve anyone else.  It is their individual choice and decision; and how, when, and where they display or express their belief is up to themselves, and no one else.  However, “exclusive devotion” that shuts others out is not according to the plan of GOD for mankind’s redemption and salvation through the Lord.

Just as infants are dependent and must be born into families who will nourish, protect, and support them until they become capable of maintaining themselves, sinners who become “born again” believers are to be embraced within the family of GOD.  Along with other developing believers, those who will be known as disciples of Christ are to be provided with such blessings as comfort from GOD through fellow-believers; “sacred” instead of secular knowledge; correction, explanations, and guidance in agreement with godly standards; opportunities for unselfish service to GOD as well as experiences of shared praise, study, and worship.

In the same way  young love is distinguished from teen-aged infatuation by accountability, commitment, and restraint, mature members within the body of Christ (the church) and those who are true saints within the kingdom of GOD will be distinguished by the display of their own divine spirit content (the image of GOD).  Included will be faith, holiness, longsuffering, lovingkindness, meekness, wisdom, and wrath against sin.  It is only out of love and because of their correct understanding that believers fully embrace “organized religion.”  Consider again the following that uses language from the Bible:

(1.)  2nd Timothy 3:  14-17, King James Version (KJV):  14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;  15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

(2.)  Romans 8:  5-9, KJV:  5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:  for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

(3.)  1st Corinthians 12:  12-18, KJV:  12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body:  so also is Christ.  13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  14 For the body is not one member, but many.  15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?  18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and made a part of our own spirit makeup.  (For example, (4.)  Ecclesiastes 12:  10-14, KJV:  10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words:  and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.  11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.  12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished:  of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.  13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:  Fear God, and keep his commandments:  for this is the whole duty of man.  14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

 

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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Fall of the Spirit

THE FALL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ON THE HOUSEHOLD OF CORNELIUS

 

Today, reply is on whether water baptism and the falling of the Holy Spirit both are needed for a sinner to be saved.  Water baptism, preaching the Gospel, repentance, and other “good works” serve as visible actions and events that  crystallize and focus the operations of spirit content from the makeup of GOD that must reside within a new believer.  As vessels of divine spirit content, developing believers should demonstrate and display sacred knowledge, divine inheritance, eternal purposes, and personal relationship as joint-heirs with Jesus Christ and the sons and daughters of the Creator.  The fighter at “Yahoo! Answers” using the ID “GRANNY NORINE” (Level 1 with 56 points, a member since May 16, 2014) posted the following:

 

Why Did “The Holy Spirit [Just] Fell On Them As Peter Began To Speak” (Acts 11:15-16) IF Water Baptism SAVES?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  (Ephesians 2:  8-10, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Sacred Baptism, Divine Resurrection? (09/14/2017); Holy Fire From GOD? (04/27/2017); Receiving The Holy Spirit (12/08/2016); Cornelius, and Prayer By Sinners? (03/09/2015); The Fire From GOD? (06/22/2014); Origin of Baptism? (06/22/2013); Money-changers in The Temple? (06/23/2013)

 

“GRANNY NORINE,” despite that their properties seem to make them opposites, emblems of both fire and water are used to convey understanding of our salvation.  The present salvation is conditional and temporal (i.e., it will last only so long as certain criteria are correctly met), and requires the further fulfillment of multiple promises, prophecies, and sacred operations.  Included are resurrection of the dead, Advent (we also say, his appearing, the harvest, the Rapture, the Second Coming), the completion of mortality among the living, the conclusion of final judgment, and the total elimination of death and sin using the Lake of Fire.

Simply “believing” can be discerned as an emotional and intellectual act that of itself has no saving power, and is vain (i.e., lacks the inseparable spirit content imparted from the makeup of divinity such as faith, holiness, longsuffering, wrath against sin).  Thus, separated from the full doctrine and sacred context for meaning and value, there is continuing error when reading the Scriptures to say that baptism and believing are enough to establish a sinner in new life.  Within the context of sacred doctrine through Jesus Christ, “believing” has been given a new definition, and we must be careful to “rightly divide” (i.e., correctly acknowledge its new expression and focus).

Questions about the correct order and sequence for receiving water baptism, gifts for ministry of the Gospel, and the endowments of the Holy Spirit that permanently are to indwell the believer have continued since the days of the early church.  Where baptism may be understood as a ceremony for spiritual cleansing and renewal, it is yet an act of choice and human will.  The appearing and works by the Holy Spirit should be acknowledged as entirely on the basis of sovereign will, and determinations that result through divine process.  Thus, before anyone was baptized, and just as the apostle who had been summoned began to preach his sermon, Cornelius, a non-Jew, with his family, friends, and entire household were baptized with fire.  The attendance of Peter in the home of Cornelius was not to bring or deliver the Spirit to his household so much as to witness and authenticate their experience was the same as what occurred on Pentecost.

Salvation is not a “one-time” event, and must unfold for a believer through revelation that includes discovery, gradual growth, learning, maturing, and undergoing permanent change.  Baptism also signals a joint work of flesh and divinity wherein a sinner’s inborn spirit undergoes death, burial, and resurrection as a seed and offspring of GOD.  Consider again the following:

(1.)  Romans 6:  3-7, King James Version (KJV):  3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:  that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:  6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

(2.)  John 1:  10-14, KJV:  10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

(3.)  1st Timothy 2:  13-15, KJV:  13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.  14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.  15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

(4.)  Mark 16:  14-17, KJV:  14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.  15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (5.)  Acts 19:  1-7, KJV:  1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,  2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.  3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.  4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.  5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.  7 And all the men were about twelve.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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give-receive

 

Today, reply is to a teen on giving as a sacrament and sacred discipline within the body of Christ.  The questions I respond to in this sacred writings blog usually are taken from an Internet site that serves as a public forum.  While the writers there often are insulting by accusing divinity, making use of sarcasm, or even deliberately blaspheming, many pose questions very close to those I once asked as a young Christian believer, and that continue as hidden, suppressed and unasked among some who are long-time church members.  In the church, giving is a duty, an obligation, and a privilege that further establishes sacred balance, interdependence, maturity, and stability.  Money may serve as an emblem and token for a broad range of offerings that include allegiance, effort, esteem, labor, possibilities, reverence, and amounts of time.  Abundance and plenty promote confidence, joy, and security; and giving expresses eternal purpose and love by adding and imparting value to the beloved.  A fighter at “Yahoo! Answers” using the ID “Anonymous” (no profile information appears) posted the following:

 

Why is money even a thing with church?

I know I’m only 15 and Adults think teenagers don’t know anything, but this time I think it’s the adults who are blind. Recently I stopped going to church with my mother because I started to find the collection bowl for God’s offering and the pastor’s offering offensive. I mean like what does God want with money? Nowhere in the bible does God ever ask us to render money unto him. So I ask the office lady at my Church what happens to the money collected as the Church and she says “Electricity, water, upkeep and other programs like the deconess breakfast don’t pay for themselves.” I then ask her why the pastor needed an offering and she said “The pastor is a hardworking man and we have to give what we can to help him out.”

At this I ran out the church with my head sweltering. I mean why would we call an offering that’s going to the church bank account an offering to God? It smells heavily of bait & switch. And then why would we give the pastor ANYTHING? A priest is supposed to spread the word because God commands his heart, not to line his wallets. To that end I thought priest were supposed to live a humble life never accepting money for themselves? It makes it seem like Church is more a business than a school of God. I don’t think money should have anything to with Church because it brings greed and corruption.

Update: @Anon It’s obvious you don’t either, seeing as you failed to elaborate on your general remark.

Update 2: @James We’re not in elementary. There is no need for name calling. I’m just trying to figure out the heart of this dilemma.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.  Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house.  Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal:  The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?  Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly,  And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron.  And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the LORD, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite.  Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD:  and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.  (1st Chronicles 29:  2-9, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  What Does Divinity Want? (03/13/2017); Fundraising A Sacred Practice? (01/01/2017); About Giving to GOD (12/13/2016); More On Sacrificial Giving (11/03/2015); A $1,000 Dollar Seed? (11/02/2015); Christ Receives the Tithes? (08/04/2015); A Price for Religious Liberty? (06/30/2015); On Being Good Stewards (12/17/2013); Traditional Marriage? (12/18/2013)

 

“Anonymous”, here are some important ideas for developing believers.  Giving within the church to the church is a work of faith.  Correctly understood, sinners become members of a church so they may be continually and regularly nourished and supported while they are being permanently changed and transformed through divine operations by the imparted Spirit of GOD.  Many of us have experienced and participated in programs offered by Christian congregations and assemblies of faith as aspects of our own family life, and a special form of inheritance from our parents or other caretakers.  In many cases, such beginnings have been only carnal, material, secular, and social.  Thus, we repeatedly hear, You must be born again.  There must be the death and burial of the inborn spirit, with resurrection having divine DNA, so to speak.  Well-meaning, yet, vain (lacking spirit substance) practices often are brought into the place for service and worship as though the church is only another community recreation center.  Thus, it is difficult to apply discernment (i.e., correctly recognize and respond to spirit content from the makeup of GOD that will appear within sacred events, oneself, other persons, prophecy, the holy writings, etc.).

In the same way obedience—putting aside ones own will to carry out and perform the will of another—is one of the most recognizable expressions of genuine love (and so is acknowledged in the vows of holy matrimony), other unmistakable marks of mature love among Christians are accountability, commitment, continually acquiring sacred knowledge, and outpourings of gratitude, respect, and thanksgiving.  The Holy Spirit must impart inseparable aspects of divinity to those who are “born again,” and they must “grow up again” enduring challenges, “growing pains,” and even suffering with Christ.  Included are faith, holiness, joy, hope, meekness, lovingkindness, wisdom, and wrath against sin.  Because every believer does receive some measure of fresh spirit content, believers are accounted as a new creation through Jesus Christ having oneness without sameness.  There can be great diversity within a congregation, for all do not have the same level of knowledge, maturity, and willingness to unselfishly serve.

Salvation is carried out and completed through divine operations, rather than through application of finite tools such as feelings, intellect, logic, philosophy, and science.  Sin opposes the continued existence of divine law, the Law Giver, and the Creation grounded in sacred law.  Because the living accept sin as natural, normal, and in no way contrary their own makeup, sin may dominate awareness and self-will (willpower) within created beings and living creatures.  Sin can not influence or manipulate the divine will; thus, the living are granted fresh endowments of divine will to reinforce their character, focus, and process when identifying and resisting sin.  Through the Spirit, giving, stewardship, and other forms of service are aspects of sacrament (sacred practice), and are no longer inappropriate, irritating, and upsetting.  By continual practice, the discipline and order within the community of shared spirit is to become “second nature” like breathing in and out.  Consider again the following:

(1.)  Proverbs 19:  16-18, King James Version (KJV):  16 He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die.  17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.  18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

(2.)  Proverbs 19:  22, KJV:  22 The desire of a man is his kindness:  and a poor man is better than a liar.

(3.)  James 2:  14-19, KJV:  14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?  15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,  16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?  17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works:  shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well:  the devils also believe, and tremble.

(4.)  1st Corinthians 9:  11-14, KJV:  11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?  12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.  13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?  14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (5.)  1st Chronicles 29:  10-18, KJV:  10 Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation:  and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.  11 Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:  for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.  12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.  13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.  14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.  15 For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers:  our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.  16 O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.  17 I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things:  and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.  18 O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

 
THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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