Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Not Forsaking

 

Today, reply is on differences between attending church and the gathering of believers in the setting of hospital, military, or private chapels.  Some think of the church as being the HQ (headquarters) while the chapel is a small outpost where you seek emergency assistance, field medicine, and crisis support only when there is a crisis back home.  The church is taken to be “family”, and the chapel is dealt with as “institution”; yet, GOD has not commanded it be so.  A prayer offered on the battlefield can be heard of GOD and answered the same as a prayer offered from the sanctuary of a local congregation.  However, the one setting has been cleansed, consecrated, and set apart for the specific purpose of prayer, not for combat, conflict, or dying.  GOD does not change from setting to setting.  Even so, the content of prayer in different settings are likely to be different; and the context, pressure, and urgency for truth are not the same.  Also, participation often is passive, rather than active from setting to setting.  The sheep who appear with one shepherd are being led to nourishment, pasture, and water, rather than like those having a second pastor, being put to work as mules, oxen and other livestock in ministry and service.  The offerings from multiple diverse settings can become confused, defiled, profaned, and made worldly.  The primary benefits one receives by regular, intimate assembly with other believers include the physical appearance of spiritual substance, that things promised and prophesied are made actual and present, and that otherwise secret portions for those in close relationship are shared from the divine abundance and plenty.  A writer in the “Yahoo! Answers” forum who uses, the ID “David” (Level 1 with 205 points, a member since December 15, 2012) posted the following:


What’s the difference between a “church” and a “church service”?

I’m in the Navy, I’m from Ohio. I am a nominal Catholic. My roommate is from Georgia and he’s a Southern Baptist.

He’s really religious. But he doesn’t go to chapel on Sunday mornings. He has found a civilian church off base that he attends.

I asked him why he doesn’t attend chapel on base and he said “Because it’s not a church, it’s just a church service.”

I’m like…. what’s the difference?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  One Lord, one faith, one baptism,  One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.  Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.  (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  (Ephesians 4:  4-15, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Standards For Godly Behavior (02/01/2018); Attending Church a “Chore”? (01/23/2018); Free Speech in Church? (12/18/2017); Bereavement, Death and Suffering (11/10/2017); As An Anointed Body (10/04/2017); …Gathered In My Name (05/29/2017); The Quality of Life? (03/29/2017); Become Like Jesus Christ? (10/27/2016); Good Christians and Church? (10/19/2016)

 

“David”, consider the following:

1.  Differences between attending chapel and attending church with a local congregation go beyond simple considerations such as the size of the crowd, the inclusion of women and children, the time involved from start to finish, or the specific messages that are preached.  On surface, it’s like the distinction between celebrating a birthday at home with family and friends as opposed to having a party with a group of guys and gals at a local bar.  You could have some fun, yet, its overall meaning and value would feel different.

2.  No one can speak in place of your roommate to explain his feelings and thoughts, however, many Christian believers would be willing to share the doctrines and teachings that are the framework for their faith, or express their understandings to discharge their duty as a believer to share personal ministry.  To avoid bias, human error, and the misinformation that comes through pride, many would share selected verses or passages from the Bible.  

3.  The church as a collective, and every individual who exists as a “born again” believer are to be understood as the new creation put forth by Jesus Christ.  All who make up the church are vessels of divine substance (we say, breath, life essence, spirit, Word) imparted from the makeup of GOD.  Believers are to display divine content (sacred DNA, so to speak) as sons and daughters of GOD.  Included are faith, forbearance, holiness, longsuffering, lovingkindness, meekness, oneness without sameness, wisdom, and wrath against sin.

4.  The world fosters and provides things that are carnal, material, secular, and social.  Influenced by the world, church services do not meet many spiritual needs, and, therefore, may be experienced as disjointed, separate episodes.  By contrast, a stable congregation offers elements of balance, commitment, continuity, insight, maturity, and restraint as well as the broad range of opportunities for regularly giving, sacrifice, and service that further immerse believers within, and join believers to the active presence who is GOD.

Acknowledging that the chapel is no less part of the full body of Christ, there is far more to be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example,

(1.)  Romans 12:  1-5, King James Version (KJV):  1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  2 And be not conformed to this world:  but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.  4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

(2.)  1st Corinthians 12:  12-13, 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.

(3.)  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.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

 

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THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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Photo used announcing Sunday, October 22, 2013 “Friends and Family Day” at Victory Family Church (Belleville, Illinois).  All were encouraged to make a special effort to invite someone to this special service.  Jesus said to look up for the fields are white unto harvest.  Copyright © 2013 David Harbison Ministries

 

Today, focus is on the pattern that believers are to follow when sharing ministry with sinners.  I’m sure the Apostle Paul would say, the pattern to follow is the resurrection of Jesus.  It is written:  Philippians 3:  7-14, King James Version (KJV):  7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:  for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,  9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:  10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;  11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.  12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect:  but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.  13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:  but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,  14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  The church is not looking to amuse, entertain, or have a “battle of wits” against disbelievers, infidels, and those having the anti-Christ spirit.  The followers of Jesus, made in the image of GOD, are to know the “spirit ye are of” and convey divine love by showing compassion, impartiality, and restraint, not by calling down fire from heaven.  That said, the divine work given the church to carry out is not the practice of condemning, identifying, labeling, and punishing sinners.  When acknowledging the universal needs for redemption and salvation by saying “all have sinned and come short,” the church also may say, There are only two kinds of people in the world, penitent (those who regret and sorrow for their sins) and impenitent sinners (those who practice iniquity, refusing to change and abandon sin).  On surface the people in the two groupings are identical, and can not be consistently, correctly distinguished apart except by operations of the Holy Spirit (we say, discernment) wherein ones own spirit content from the makeup of GOD is used to recognize and respond to the spirit content residing within events, other persons, prophecy, the holy writings, etc.  The church is to avoid the errors that come by pronouncing final condemnation on others, making false accusations, and promoting the “work of the Devil” (e.g., character assassination; deception and lying; imposing and presuming on others; slander; usurping sacred authority and dominion).  The focus of the church always should be clearly presented as nourishing spiritual growth and reconciliation.  A writer in the “Yahoo! Answers” forum using the ID “– John –” (Level 1 with 2 points, a member since October 24, 2007) posted the following:

 

Should christians occupy themselves with people who are sinning, but who are not followers of the christian faith?

What is the correct approach to this?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.  Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.  And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal:  that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.  (John 4:  34-36, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  The First To Help? (12/22/2017); Called To Serve Unselfishly (07/06/2017); Reconciliation Provided By Christ (05/30/2017); Resurrected With The Lord (04/16/2017); Believers Are To Love (12/07/2016); About Revelation not Punishment? (11/25/2016); Instruments in His Ministry? (10/07/2016)

 

“– John –”, many decisions on the work of the church must be made in accordance with swiftly changing opportunities and possibilities.  Consider this:  In the same way the church is a body made up from many different members, there are multiple ministries, streams of truth, and practical works that make up what the church achieves and represents.  The  confirmed, full members of a church congregation may be thought of as a household, family, or kinship group where, in place of blood, all are connected by their life essence (we also say, breath, spirit, Word), their own word of promise, their eternal purpose, and their shared oneness without sameness imparted from divinity.  Assignments to carry out and complete the many works accomplished through the church sometimes may be made by the clergy, those in the institutional structure, and those filling leadership roles (e.g., prayer leaders, those in the music ministry, parents, teachers in Bible study classes).  However, operations by the Spirit of GOD are the primary process that determine the spiritual gifts a member will receive, in what location they may serve, and the peculiar needs they actually are equipped to address.

As sinners who are made to be a new creation through Jesus Christ, all who become “born again” are to continue on the earth as “developing believers” who also must “grow up again” and become mature for harvest (we say, his appearing; the Lord’s return; the Advent; the Rapture; the Second Coming).  It is the complete ministry to mankind from divine fullness (we say, the GODhead; the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit) that was demonstrated by Jesus Christ that the church as his consort and bride continues to manifest during his physical absence from being on the earth.  Thus, included among the works of the church should be creating new assemblies, baptism, evangelism, exorcism, exposing sin (rather than exposing members to censure), forgiveness, healing, pastoral counseling and personal ministries (for example, to couples, families, newly weds, those returning from prison, youth), praise, prayer, proclaiming doctrine, recruiting new followers, revival, giving of thanks, worship, and preparing to acknowledge Christ at his coming.

Guided and assisted by the imparted Spirit, each member of the body may display the active presence of divine fullness, and respond to the needs of others through their own lifestyle and daily routine.  The church is to further generate divine order; therefore, its members may not operate as completely autonomous, separate and independent, or “loners” having no accountability to others who also are the people of GOD.  The outcomes for the workings of the church are derived from irreversible commitment, interdependence, “repentance not to be repented of,” and cooperation with the Holy Spirit (also called, the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Prophecy, the Spirit of Truth).  Consider again the following that uses language from the Bible:

(1.)  Luke 14:  25-27, King James Version (KJV):  25 And there went great multitudes with him:  and he turned, and said unto them,  26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.  27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

(2.)  Romans 15:  15-22, KJV:  15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,  16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.  17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.  18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,  19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.  20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:  21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see:  and they that have not heard shall understand.  22 For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.

(3.)  Luke 16:  22-31, KJV:  22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom:  the rich man also died, and was buried;  23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.  25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things:  but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.  26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed:  so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:  28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.  29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham:  but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.  31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (4.)  1st Corinthians 12:  4-13, KJV:  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.  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.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

 

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THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

Holy Matrimony

 

Today, holy matrimony within the church body, fornication, and divorce among Christians are topics.  The outcome of divorce is to be peace.  As a sacred practice (we say, sacrament) within the church, holy matrimony addresses more than the happiness, love, and prosperity of a single couple.  There are issues of eternal life, family stability, godliness, new creation, oneness without sameness that should appear throughout the assembly, and developing believers becoming ripe for harvest by the Lord at his appearing.  In sanctifying Israel as a covenant people and nation belonging to GOD, Moses introduced divorce to release women from the abuse they were suffering in marriage.  In the early church, believers are encouraged to marry and avoid fornication; however, during times of persecution, unmarried believers are counseled to remain single.  Divorce is not automatically a condemnation of ones spirit content and divine makeup.  Even so, in addition to situations of adultery, divorce also may be a remedy where a wife hinders her husband’s prayers, nags, practices idolatry, irreverence, prostitution or witchcraft, and is a “stranger” outside the covenants of GOD.  The annulment of holy matrimony through divorce acknowledges that the holiness of the Lord is profaned.  Divorce is mistakenly taken to be a form of excommunication; yet, the disunion of joined spirits is only accomplished through the operations of divinity.  Among those commanded to “love your enemy,” divorce separates and denies a couple a right to cohabit; however, it does not remove their duty to acknowledge accountability, or to continue showing forbearance, forgiveness, and respect.  A writer in the “Yahoo! Answers” forum using the ID “East” (Level 1 with 116 points, a member since September 06, 2015) posted the following:

 

Why do Christians not frown on divorce?

In the Bible, Jesus Himself says that you should not get divorced except if your spouse was unfaithful, and that marrying a divorced person is adultery.

Why do Christians focus on so many “values” issues but not divorce?

I’m asking as a Christian. I will ignore answers that bash Christianity.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.  The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts.  And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.  Yet ye say, Wherefore?  Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously:  yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.  And did not he make one?  Yet had he the residue of the spirit.  And wherefore one?  That he might seek a godly seed.  Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.  For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away:  for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts:  therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.  (Malachi 2:  11-16, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Conforming to Divine Standards (06/18/2017); Marriage Is A Sacrament? (06/11/2017); The Wife of Your Youth? (12/22/2015); Dating and Worship? (09/11/2014); Quality Time Together? (09/12/2014); GOD and Adultery? (06/11/2014); A Hardened Spirit? (06/12/2014)

 

“East”, the future soundness of a marriage relationship can not be predicted; however, by following familiar and fixed patterns (e.g., ABC), we can have a sense of sequence and what else may be on the way (XYZ).  Many mature Christian believers regard divorce as a peculiar divine judgment intended to resolve ongoing and recurring conflict between two or more spirits that have been joined through the sexual intercourse provided to consummate marriage.  The application of divine law for the settlement of disputes comes into view.  Where marriage is only a carnal and social institution, marriage comes under the jurisdiction of civil law, family courts, and the oversight of the community-at-large and the general public.  Law enforcement and the courts become involved to establish equity regarding such issues as joint financial obligations, credit ratings, custody for the children, the disposition of ownership for jointly held property, and domestic violence.

Even where young adults and their parents are careful to practice discernment during the dating and courtship phase of relationship and trust-building before emotional, psychological, and sexual commitments are made, correctly apprehending the spirit content and eternal purposes within another developing believer is not a simple process.  There are many subtleties (i.e., barely visible differences; hidden shifts in meaning, quality, and value), and the candidates for holy matrimony often are driven by finite human tools such as intellect, secular knowledge, and romanticism.  Sexual joining may occur through behavior that appears innocent (e.g., kissing (oral sex), holding hands), because joining occurs on multiple levels, and is not just “physical”.

Fornication (the defilement of ones inborn spirit by sexual partners who may not be physically present) can result in a couple being bound to, or dominated by strangers, and those whose spirit makeup are not compatible.  Where she has had 6 partners, 7 will be joined to her mate; where he has had 7, 8 will be joined to her; and, where the Spirit of Christ does not reign and rule over the conjunction of 15 spirits, expressing such elements as disposition, inclinations, and moods can regularly display anger, confusion, fear, and self-contradiction.  More than this, where the 6 each have had 5, and the 7 each have had 5—do the math!  And their partners may have had multiple partners.  (Many think this may have accounted for the demoniac who told Jesus his name was Legion.)

Where couples who are learning and growing as individuals do not, in fact, grow together in the same direction, with shared goals and experiences of new knowledge, divorce may become necessary for the sake of conscience, and for the sacred commitment to Christ.  Thus, in counsel through the Apostle Paul, it is written:  1st Corinthians 7:  10  And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, let not the wife depart from her husband:  But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband:  and let not the husband put away his wife.  12 But tot the rest speak I, not the Lord:  if any brother have a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let her not leave him.  14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband:  else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.  15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart.  A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases:  but God hath called us to peace.

There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and made a part of our own developing belief.  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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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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Today, thoughts are shared on divine abundance and plenty as well as America’s annual harvest celebration, Thanksgiving Day.  One of the fighters at “Yahoo! Answers” who uses the ID “Anonymous” (no profile information appears) posted the following:

 

What are you doing to be thankful for Jesus Christ and all the wonderful things he has done on this great day of thankfulness?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.  And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.  Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared:  for this day is holy unto our Lord:  neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.  So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.  And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.  (Nehemiah 8:  8-12, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  One Root, One Harvest (11/12/2017); Gratitude Appears By Grace (09/11/2017); …Gathered In My Name (05/29/2017); About the Second Coming? (01/18/2014); Unprofitable Servants? (01/19/2014); Are Holidays Bad? (11/16/2013); Denying GOD by Eating Shrimp? (11/17/2013)

 

“Anonymous”, here are some thoughts I would like to share:  For many mature Christian believers abundance, plenty, and outpourings to express gratitude are manifestations that make us aware of the unseen active presence who is GOD.  The imparted Spirit from GOD that appears to reveal the fullness of divinity (we say, the Godhead) and establish rebirth in water baptism also generates consciousness of healing, hope, joy, a lawful reward for ones labor, and the return of Jesus Christ (we say, Advent, the harvest, the Rapture, the Second Coming).  In Bible days, the times of anointing to sanctify and consecrate kings and priests, in-gathering and sheep-shearing were experienced as days of harvest celebration and thanksgiving.  Even so, because harvest is a season, not merely a one-day event, those who labor receive accord, cooperation and harmony (we say, fellowship, teamwork), resources for the cancellation of debts, the dispelling of fear and uncertainty, times of rest after reaping as well as refreshing, resolution of conflict and reuniting within the family.  Thanksgiving, therefore, is anticipated, occurs, and is acknowledged throughout most of the entire world at the same (and overlapping) time, and so is understood to be a season of Peace.  Surely, as encouragement to those who labor in the Lord, the following prophecies to comfort, edify, and exhort are written:

(1.)  Psalms 100:  4-5, King James Version (KJV):  4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:  be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

(2.)  1st Chronicles 22:  14-16, KJV:  14 Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the L
ORD an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight; for it is in abundance:  timber also and stone have I prepared; and thou mayest add thereto.  15 Moreover there are workmen with thee in abundance, hewers and workers of stone and timber, and all manner of cunning men for every manner of work.  16 Of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number. Arise therefore, and be doing, and the LORD be with thee.

(3.)  1st Chronicles 29:  20-22, KJV:  20 And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the LORD your God. And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the LORD, and the king.  21 And they sacrificed sacrifices unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings unto the LORD, on the morrow after that day, even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel:  22 And did eat and drink before the LORD on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto the LORD to be the chief governor, and Zadok to be priest.

There is far more from our Creator and Savior that could be shared and shown acknowledging this day (for example, (4.)  2nd Corinthians 4:  13-18, KJV:  13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;  14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.  15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.  16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.)  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

 

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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