Archive for the ‘Personal Testimony’ Category

Christ on the Throne

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Today, focus is on depictions of Jesus Christ shared by creative artists and painters.  Images can be very graphic and memorable that, in truth, are only intended to fuel the “lusts of the eyes.”  As believers in Jesus Christ, our discipline must become to “walk by faith, not by sight.”  I continue the  conversation begun with PTF, a writer at thoughts.com who commented on the photograph shown with (10/30/2016) Frequency of The Lord’s Supper? (see below) by stating: 

The photo by the way is the wrong depiction…he looks colored. There are actual true depictions of Christ Jesus.

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My reply was: 

Be encouraged! Many mature Christians believe as I do that no artistic rendering of Christ will be accurate and trustworthy as a tool for the church that is “realistic” and accurate in detail. At best, they “suggest” to a mass audience what the Savior may have looked like; and so eye, hair and skin color do not really matter. In the experience (some would say, prophetic vision) granted me through the Spirit of GOD more than 40 years (a generation) ago, neither his nor my skin color was an issue between us.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.  (John 7:  24, King James Version, KJV)


THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Law and Divine Process (05/28/2017); Divinity Must Be Proclaimed? (05/09/2017); Convicted By His Humility (09/10/2015); GOD Appearing in Dreams? (05/03/2015); Not Images Used in Worship? (09/14/2014); Death is a Divine Tool (09/15/2014); To See With New Eyes (11/06/2012); A Life Companion? (11/07/2012)

 

In my understanding, where we truly seek the Lord, our vision should be directed upward to recognize and respond to spirit content, rather than appearances, apparel, fantasies, and sentiments aroused (e.g., anxiety about judgment, bereavement, fear, friendliness, intimidation, sorrow).  Images that convey inseparable aspects and qualities from the makeup of divinity should appear projecting such substance as balance, holiness, humility, longsuffering, lovingkindness, peace, person, presence, wisdom, and wrath against sin.

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At one time, I avoided using all religious illustrations and photographs, here, because I felt they often foster unwanted conflict, controversy, disagreements, and fleshly errors.  Developing believers, who still lack the maturity provided by the Holy Spirit, tend to receive simple things (that in fact are profound) as final, “literal” and suitable for broader application and use than are fitting.  They even may respond displaying patterns that are little different from idolatry and false worship.  We find this is true whether the images presented are supposed to be of Jesus, his mother Mary, the apostles, or even “ordinary believers” within the church engaged in practicing such customary activity as praise, prayer, and the Lord’s Supper.

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Unlike Islamic believers, the followers of Jesus Christ need not hesitate to use drawings, images and photographs feeling that they blaspheme and offend divinity, or insult fellow believers.  There is no exalting of carnal reason, deceit, guile, and senses of the flesh (e.g., hearing, seeing, tasting, touching) above receiving imparted spirit content from GOD; and there is no unhealthy dependence on products from finite human imagination.  Sinners may approach the living GOD without fear of being rejected or denied on the basis of many features from the ministry of the Risen Lord that appear as his love for the Father, his reconciliation to sinners, his resurrection to serve as High Priest of the heavenly Temple and to preside as Judge over the Eternal Tribunals, his full embrace of the Holy Spirit, and his soon to be revealed ascendance to the Throne of Glory in addition to his rule from the Throne of Grace.  Going further, Christian believers may approach the Most High on the basis of their own faith received from Christ, their own meekness (i.e., willingness to learn and accept correction) received from the Holy Spirit; their own awe, respect, and reverence; their own willingness to be joined to Christ; their own willingness to obey; and their own willingness to trust.

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The issues of eternal life and spiritual growth should be a Christian believer’s continual focus.  We must choose what we say and see with a sense of its eternal meaning, quality, and value.  Our goal should be to prophecy, that is, to comfort, edify, exhort and nourish.  Thus, it is not a transgression of divine law, or a violation of genuine faith to carefully consider alternative ways of sharing the oneness without sameness that resides within us and around us as deposits of sacred truth.  Because through Jesus Christ we are called to “see with new eyes”, we even may behold and consume with the artist Salvador Dali, The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper as a spiritual act through visual behavior, not only as oral behavior, and a ceremony of eating and drinking.

Last Supper Dali

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, 2nd Corinthians 4:  17-18, King James Version (KJV):  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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Today, reply is on sharing personal testimonies acceptable in public forums during gatherings of the church.  The great hunger answered by the church is that her members experience the active presence who is divinity, clearly hear the voice of GOD, and apprehend the multiple expressions from his sacred heart and mind.  In the church, only those displaying the inseparable aspects of spirit content from the makeup of GOD (we say, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Prophecy, the Spirit of Truth) should be received, heard, obeyed, and respected as reliable sources of sacred knowledge and divine revelation.  When disputes arise within the community of faith, answers and responses should be made on the basis of doctrine, divine law, outcomes from deliberation by clergy and other leadership as well as from statements of confession, creed and policy that describe the shared commitment that should be seen among the believers.  Personal accounts, anecdotes, and eyewitness reports can be useful when clarifying needs for change, individual growth, and transformation; however, such finite tools can not replace rebirth, practice of the sacraments, preaching the Gospel, and regular study of the Scriptures.  The imparted, indwelling Spirit is, himself, the verdict (divine “sentence”), the “concluding statement,” and the officer (we say, executioner) charged to carry out all remaining tasks in the divine judgment focused on the proclamations and promises by the GODhead assuring eternal life (we say, the Testimony from Jesus).  One of the fighters at “Yahoo! Answers” who uses the ID “Anonymous” (no profile information appears) posted the following:

 

Why Mormon lesbian girl was interrupted in testimony in the Mormon church , why?

If the “god” of the Mormon church has ever allowed this kind of situation common among Mormons (practice of homosexuality without being expelled from the organization), why are Mormon leaders ashamed of an authentic and true testimony of a Mormon girl practicing This now? ….

what’s the problem? It is more proof of contradiction that lies in this organization!

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.  And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not:  I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus:  worship God:  for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.  (Revelation 19:  9-10, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Conforming to Divine Standards (06/18/2017); Divinity Must Be Proclaimed? (05/09/2017); The Testimony From Jesus (08/05/2016); Without Preaching The Cross? (02/21/2016); Denying Oneself (05/17/2014); From Such Turn Away (05/18/2014); Not A Matter Of Opinion? (04/24/2014); What Faith Makes Possible (04/25/2014)

 

“Anonymous”, men, women, and children all wrestle with conflicting desires and emotions that, as believers, we must suppress to avoid their becoming a burden to others, and a source of others having error and misdirection.  For those with mature understanding, a church is not an open or public forum provided to share secular instruction, or promote issues from popular culture, political trends, and social issues.  In addition to declarations of conviction through sacred events such as gatherings conducted for Baptism and Confirmation of spiritual faith and growth, adult believers enroll as members through written legal agreements (some say, contracts, promissory notes) that may include “confessions” and other statements of belief.  A member pledges to discharge specific duties that include regularly supplying financial resources.  While sanctions against disobedience/for obedience may not appear as within statements of law, rules and standards for discipline and order are expressly provided, outlined as “principles”, and strongly suggested.

All members—even minor children—are to regard the church as a location where the people of GOD are sanctified (i.e., anointed, made fragrant to Deity; set apart and prepared for exclusive service to divinity).  Because intense and troubling questions that pertain to life experience and human development will arise from many diverse causes and circumstances, it is the wisdom of the church to share only fixed, stable and tried responses that appear as doctrine, official policy, manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and the holy writings, rather than rely upon subjective and variable elements such as “individual conscience,” intellectual opinions, carnal reason, philosophy, and science.  Correctly understood, members will practice humility, disciplined self-expression, and share collective responsibility.  Often there must be “self-sacrifice” by practicing restraint and silence; a member is to defer and give place to the word from GOD through Christ and by the Holy Spirit.  Believers are to speak from duty (like it, don’t like it) what must be said, not merely “what I want to say.”  Elements such as controversy, divisiveness, exaggeration, extremism, hypocrisy and nonconformity are to be avoided along with self-promotion, showing-off, and vainglory.  Consider again the following from the Bible:

(1.)  1st Corinthians 1:  9-10, King James Version (KJV):  9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

(2.)  1st Corinthians 1:  18-21, KJV:  18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.  19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.  20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

(3.)  1st Corinthians 14:  26-33, KJV:  26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.  27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.  28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.  29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.  30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.  31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.  32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.  33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (4.)  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.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

 

 

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Today, focus is on proclamation and discernment as critical aspects of revealing divinity.  The name (we say, accomplishments, deeds, reputation, works) of GOD must be proclaimed by GOD, for thereby the living are instructed how to conceive and speak of immortal, invisible divinity.  When believers share personal accounts regarding their own experiences of growth in faith, and events surrounding their coming to a decision for commitment to Christ, only those still in error and spiritual confusion will condemn their testimony as “self-promotion.”  Those having discernment will acknowledge that otherwise unknown and unseen  operations of Spirit are being revealed; and the believer speaks in the integrity of an “eye-witness” who is under oath and sharing valid evidence in judgment through a verbal account.  A fighter at “Yahoo! Answers” using the ID “Anonymous” (Level 1 with 99 points, a member since December 27, 2016) posted the following:

 

Can I tell that you have Christ in you by your actions and not by you bragging about it?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:  and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:  and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  (1st Thessalonians 4:  15-17, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Genuine Spiritual Discernment? (03/27/2017); Blame, Sin and Salvation? (02/13/2017); What To Say To A Friend? (03/29/2015); Recounting Past Sins? (03/04/2015); Not A Matter Of Opinion? (04/24/2014); What Faith Makes Possible (04/25/2014); Recognizing True Prophets (05/02/2013); Jesus, A Party Animal? (05/03/2013)

 

“Anonymous”, GOD is a spirit who makes himself knowable, known, and “visible” to created beings and living creatures on the earth by using such tools as authority, awareness, person, and eternal purpose.  In addition to sacred operations whereby divinity is perceived or realized in ones consciousness as an active presence (we say, revelation), there must be divine instruction and sacred proclamation that, so to speak, “explain” what it is the living are hearing and seeing.  Through the announcement and declaration of the divine name, GOD himself introduces and supplies the necessary coherence, completeness, context, focus, fullness and readiness to receive sacred knowledge.

Correctly recognizing and responding to divinity requires “discernment” (ability to use ones own spirit content as a standard to identify deposits of spirit substance from the makeup of divinity that reside within events, oneself, other persons, promises, prophecies, holy writings, etc.).  Sinners become “born again” Christian believers through baptism by experiencing death, burial, and resurrection of their inborn spirit.  Inseparable aspects of divinity are imparted to indwell the sinner and serve as divine DNA, so to speak.  Included are faith, hope, joy, longsuffering, lovingkindness, meekness, wisdom, and wrath against sin.   Thereby,  the sinner becomes a new creation, a child or offspring of GOD, and a joint-heir of GOD with Jesus Christ. 

Those who are “born again” must “grow up again” and mature as vessels of divine spirit by meeting life challenges upon the earth.  Of course, believers are imperfect at first, and must develop by repeatedly proclaiming the word of GOD through specific sacred practices (e.g., baptism, fellowship, regular study, sharing personal testimony), and within their lifestyle and daily routines.  What appears as bragging, a personal account, or “showing-off” to those lacking discernment, in fact, is the proclamation of GOD, and the divine works in a believer’s own life.  Consider the following that appears in the Bible:

(1.)  Exodus 33:  17-23, King James Version (KJV):  17 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken:   for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.  18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.  19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.  20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face:  for there shall no man see me, and live.  21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:  22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:  23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts:  but my face shall not be seen.

(2.)  Exodus 34:  5-8, KJV:  5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.  6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,  7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. 8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.

(3.)  2nd Corinthians 4:  1-7, KJV:  1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;  2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:  4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.  5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.  6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (4.)  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.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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Focus is on whether America will truly achieve the racial justice and social harmony described by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. before his death in 1968.  Given that sin can not be eliminated without multiple interventions and sacred operations by divinity, there is the false appearance that crimes against humanity always will be present to plague mankind upon the earth.  Man’s salvation through Jesus Christ comes as atonement for sin, rebirth that provides spirit content from the makeup of GOD to the living as well as ability to more completely and correctly recognize, recover from, and resist the operations of sin.  Because Dr. King immersed himself in the human struggle against discrimination, hate, indifference, inequality, injustice, poverty, prejudice, racism against African Americans, and war many did not value his work for salvation as an agent of Jesus Christ, anointed to serve as a genuine Christian spiritual leader.  Even so, remembrance and respect for Reverend King also continues in obedience to commands written in the holy writings, for revelation and promises from GOD that are certain of fulfillment are at the core of what Dr. King preached and actively shared.  The writer at “Yahoo! Answers” using the ID “TodayInHistory” (Level 1 with 81 points, a member since April 03, 2017) posted the following:

 

Today is the anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King’s assassination. Do you believe his “dream” will one day come true?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.  But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,  Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.  And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.  Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.  And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.  For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.  And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.  And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.  But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest:  for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.  (Luke 6:  26-35, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Acknowledging The Precious Things (02/01/2017); Can Christians Be Racists? (07/25/2016); The Provision Against Racists? (01/19/2016); …Ears That Hear Not? (01/18/2016); Poem, 2015: MOONLIGHT (01/19/2015); Escape from Racism (10/24/2012); Christians Who Ignore GOD’s Laws (10/25/2012)

 

“TodayInHistory”, many mature Christian believers acknowledge the accomplishments and work of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. as having been that of an advocate for civil rights, an anti-war protester, a reformer, a social activist, and a supporter of Constitutional law.  On the surface, then, Dr. King appeared to have focused only on things carnal, material, and social.  However, Martin Luther King, Jr. is also to be respected as a modern-day prophet and spokesperson for both GOD and mankind.  In this role shared by many clergy, Dr. King declared promises from GOD that are certain to appear among believers as commanded expectation (we say, hope).  The servant of the Lord also performed what is called “prophetic demonstration,” shared “personal testimony” (we could say, eyewitness report), and imparted that vision from GOD that many call his “dream”.  Dr. King’s dream of unity was in accordance with divine promises and prophesies that include no less than the assembling of the saints of GOD following the second resurrection.  Testimonies are statements admissible as evidence and truth provided under oath during tribunal and judgment.  Visions are images and scenes provided as nonverbal revelation.  Such matter are intended for those firmly grounded in sacred knowledge, who also have spiritual discernment (ability to recognize the deposits of spirit content from the makeup of Deity that appear within events, oneself, other persons, proclamations, prophecy, the holy writings, etc.) , and who regularly display sacred content as “born again” believers.  Consider again the following from Scripture:

(1.)  1st Thessalonians 5:  11-13, King James Version (KJV):  11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.  12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;  13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 

(2.)  Revelation 2:  10-11, KJV:  10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer:  behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days:  be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.  11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

(3.)  Isaiah 65:  21-23, KJV:  21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.  22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat:  for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.  23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (4.)  Revelations 7:  9-10, KJV:  9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;  10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
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Today, a personal account is shared to clarify unanswered prayer and having a fruitful relationship with divinity.  As an American passing by the Russian embassy, I was asked by a staffer quarreling with a young, Vietnamese immigrant to assist the intruder who was making a disturbance on the sidewalk before their entrance, and refusing to leave the area.  The local police had been called, and unknown to him, he was being threatened with arrest, a beating, and even death should he continue to be defiant and emotional.  Earlier he had caused a scene at the White House.  He felt he had been acting within the law, and demanded the help of the Russians to exercise what he thought to be his new freedom—to marry the President’s daughter.  In the same way that young adult was not aware of his error and presumption, lacking sacred knowledge, many presume and behave as if they have the same access to GOD found only among mature Christian believers.  Receiving answer to prayer requires that believers have a correct understanding of their own needs as well as the provisions and terms of their relationship with divinity.  The holy writings also teach that many “know not what to pray for as they ought,” and the Spirit of GOD assists believers by making intercession with “groanings that can not be uttered,” yet, are understood by GOD.  The fighter at “Yahoo! Answers (India)” using the ID “lalita” (Level 3 with 1,618 points, a member since February 08, 2011) posted the following:

 

Why God never listens to my prayers and wishes???

Was I too desperate and greedy for asking just one simple wish? I didn’t ask for Diamond or 1000kg gold or 100000000 acres of land or royal chamber or life miracle? I only asked for student life abroad and that too got refused. I now know that I wasted my time on God and temples.why did I go to church,temples n prayed.i regret big.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness:  thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.  O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.  But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself:  the LORD will hear when I call unto him.  Stand in awe, and sin not:  commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.  Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORDThere be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.  Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.  I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep:  for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.  (Psalms 4:  1-8, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  The Quality of Life? (03/29/2017); Divine Delay and Prayer? (03/22/2017); Hope That Is True (02/20/2017); Are All Religions Acceptable? (01/11/2017); On Expecting Quick Results (11/07/2016); Correct in Only Your Mind? (05/04/2015); What To Say To A Friend? (03/29/2015)

 

“lalita”, here are some thoughts I would like to share:  One evening, on my way home from work here in Washington, DC, I was stopped outside of the Russian embassy by someone asking me to help a young Vietnamese who was confused, and about to cause an international incident by climbing the fence to demand a response from the White House.  Apparently, he had gone there earlier, demanded to see the President’s daughter, and had been arrested.  He was about to be arrested again, committed to an institution for psychiatric evaluation, and the police were on the way.

When I spoke to him, the man was not crazy or insane.  Every thing he had to say was intelligent and logical, however, it was based on error.  He explained that he came to America because he was told he could marry the President’s daughter.  Like many around the world, he believed that all Americans are privileged and wealthy, and that “the streets are paved with gold.”  I tried to help him understand that even arranged marriages require shared communication and exchange on the basis of an existing relationship with others.  You may not just “walk in off the street,” and announce to a stranger “I am taking your daughter to be my wife.”

Similarly, the process of GOD focuses on supplying believers with spirit substance and the things needed to serve GOD, rather than things carnal, material, self-serving, and social.  Many, lacking sacred knowledge and the necessary ongoing relationship with divinity, mistakenly think they may “walk in off the street” and demand, petition, or require divine blessings, gifts, and rewards that are earned only over time through sacred practices and works.  Sinners who correctly acknowledge GOD may be “born again” through operations of the Creator that make permanent changes in their spirit content.  Even so, they must “grow up again” to become mature by meeting life challenges upon the earth.  As those reborn from divine DNA (so to speak), the sinner becomes a son or daughter (we say, child, offspring) and heir of GOD.  As a new creation, the believer contains inseparable substance from the makeup of Deity that includes faith, forbearance, forgiveness, holiness, hope, meekness, wisdom, and wrath against sin.  More than this, they become accountable for duty, reverence, and unselfish service.

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, the Bible also teaches the following:  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.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFYICnBgWiE

Today, I share a personal reflection (account, testimony) trusting that, despite time and space, through operations of the Holy Spirit, blood and truth from the cross are flowing to here and now.  For many the huge issue of faith is whether we have the authority to command the will of GOD be done.  Often, for me, the great problem of belief is not having to accept what Christ and others acting in his name have done; rather, my issues of faith tend to be what I can or cannot do, have, and have not done.  After viewing the video someone sent to me at Facebook (use the link above to see “Child not walking healed by Him” shared by BN Tamil Christian Fellowship; published October 24, 2015), I cautioned myself to reflect carefully upon what I had seen.  I felt challenged to consider again Matthew 9:  5, King James Version (KJV):  5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?  The corollary immediately came to mind as well:  Whether is easier, to say, I believe Christ died upon the cross to release humanity from sin, or to say, I believe that the name of Christ has made a child able to walk?

The holy writings include a report that the apostles, John and Peter, responded to a beggar as they were entering the Temple in Jerusalem.  It is written:  1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.  2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;  3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.  4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.  5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.  6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.  9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God:  10 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple:  and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.  (Acts 3:  1-10, KJV)

Initially, forgiveness of sin and repentance did not impress me as the primary focus for either of the two healing miracles.  The healing of the child first appeared as an example of the divine ministry of exorcism; while the act of the apostles appeared as a further falling of Spirit blessing (we say, gifts), and Pentecost.  After some reflection I decided the two sacred events are one in their purpose and substance.  Both continue the revelation from Jesus Christ, and they both charge the believer to accept and receive him.  Consider again:  Mark 9:  37-40, KJV:  37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me:  and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.  38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us:   and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.  39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not:  for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.  40 For he that is not against us is on our part.

There is far more to be said, understood, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, 2nd Peter 1:  5-11, KJV:  5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;  7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.  10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure:  for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:  11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.)  Like arriving at perfection, arriving at peace is a process of gradual change.  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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     Lately, I have been thinking of my brothers from Theta Xi (qX) fraternity at Trinity College (Hartford, CT) and how, correctly understood, the operations of diversity establish unity where oneness does not have to mean sameness.  Just as the very words that bring us together also can separate us; what generates our independence can both enrich and impoverish us.  I received a letter from one of the brothers who is taking leadership to organize a reunion on campus for 2017.  In hoping to share something that could give him an “update” or quick picture of my present commitment to Christ, and changes in me from my post in Washington, DC that have been made over the years, I wanted to attach a file from the music ministry of Chris Machen, Bow the Knee, from the 1994 album God Is Able.  When I thought it might be too dramatic, and would raise the unwanted question, Why would a black man express himself using a white man’s music? I looked for something else that (1) would express belief, yet, (2) not deny my cultural origins.  I then attached two MP3 music files to my reply.  One was from the music ministry of Steve Amerson, I Will Follow, in the 1991 album He Is My Strength.  The other was from Wintley Phipps, No Need To Fear, in the 2007 album, No Need To Fear.

    Even though I was a member of Capitol Hill Seventh Day Adventist Church, I had never heard Pastor Phipps sing No Need To Fear until he shared it following a lunch-hour prayer meeting on the Senate side of the Capitol.  That was one of the experiences I cherish from that time in my life, along with daily being required to double check everything I would prepare as part of my work in the Library of Congress.  In developing personal standards for balance, self-discipline and spiritual maturity as well as for ethical and professional behavior, I have had to become alert to avoid conflicts of interest, misuse of employer (i.e., government) property and supplies, and conduct that would be seen as pressuring others regarding religious beliefs (i.e., proselytizing).  It was through the ministry and prayers of Pastor Phipps that I was reunited with my college sweetheart after many years of separation.  While I did think so highly of Pastor Phipps that, following worship one Sabbath, I introduced to him the woman I wanted to have as my life companion (we arrived late, and had to sit upstairs in the balcony, able to hear his preaching and singing, yet, unable to see him or be seen by him because he was directly beneath us); even so, I never sat down with either of them to share my personal testimony of having seen Jesus Christ.  (The first time I was able to share that witness after my own mother’s death was with the mother of another Trinity College classmate.)

    The idea of using music and recordings to express your own feelings, or to say what you otherwise could not say with words, was shared with me very early as I was growing-up.  My older sisters (who were also my first dance instructors) revealed that girls often rely upon the words in songs to crystallize their feelings and emotions.  As a radio announcer and broadcast engineer, I was able to share and demonstrate this to the Theta Xi brothers as part of our campus life through WRTC-FM, the Trinity College (Hartford, CT) radio station.  While I did understand then that hymns, psalms and sacred music could be used to express spiritual ideas, I would have to learn that, like preaching and the spoken word, believers are to use music and dance to prophecy (i.e., comfort, edify, exhort), and impart spirit substance from the makeup of divinity.

    When I wrote other of the brothers, I was not sure I should send more music.  I did not want to appear to be proselytizing, or sending out spam.  I thought, the focus should be upon reunion in a way that problems or wounds from the past not be obstacles to the future.  I chose to send only a brief note to one brother in Massachusetts; to a second from Florida, I chose to attach the qX award-winning contemporary blues classic Moonlight Over The Mississippi from the 2012 album ROYAL SOUTHERN BROTHERHOOD (2) by the Royal Southern Brotherhood (see it on YouTube performed for American troops stationed in Bonn, Germany @ https://youtu.be/NbNuvf8K_Yw).  When I wrote the brother who had been my roommate on campus, and with whom I had traveled to provide the play-by-play for broadcasts of Trinity football, I first chose to send an acappella selection that reminded me of the folk music popular during our campus years.  I shared from Glad, Be Ye Glad, in the 1998 album, Collector’s Series, Vol. 2.  Later, I shared “Moonlight” also. 

    “Moonlight” impressed me as having captured the Spirit of our good times together.  When I began at Trinity, the total of African and American blacks within a student population of some 1,200 was still fewer than 10.  My first exposure to New England college fraternity life, and the turning point that made me feel at home, would be a weekend when the Isley Brothers (You Make Me Want To Shout) performed at our campus on an outdoor stage.  Before graduation, Baby Huey from Motown, the Temptations, and B. B. King would also appear.  The men of Theta Xi were dedicated students, and all worked hard to maintain a high academic standard.  The bar for grades was set at B or better for every member of house.  We needed the rest and refreshing of party weekends and other activities away from books; and we were learning and growing at a time when self-discovery and self-expression also meant exploring jazz and rock’ n’ roll.  The Little Rascals introduced a song at our house, Gloria, that took us to a soaring height of unity when we all were dancing and began to sing with the band.  Yet, for me, only the Brotherhood has accomplished what the Rolling Stones hungered for, and worked to achieve with all their might:  being able to play the blues as Masters of the form, despite their being “white boys.”  At qX we were able to release one another, then, from the burdens of racial conflict, distrust, prejudice, and snobbery.  Together we were able to discover and practice the many shared aspects of “Soul” that GOD had placed among us.

    I was not alone seeking to explore what we then called “The Black Experience.”  African History and Black Studies were offered on campus; and an action group was formed to maintain dialogue on issues of race in America.  Yet, the needed focus and work to complete a doctoral thesis while still in undergraduate school—creating curriculum based on learning theory, and designing a school system that would address a range of specific needs and problems within African American communities—distanced me from the men of Theta Xi in many ways.  Later, my experience of Christ while in graduate school at the University of Chicago demanded that I make a full commitment to divinity that continues to set me apart from others.  Even so, when the brothers of Theta Xi come together in reunion, I hope to be there.  I expect we will gather as survivors, those who dreamed the dream; and by what we have endured, those who grasp forgiveness, gratitude, and those without a willingness to quit.  Should it ever happen, it can only be a gathering of those having an ageless spirit in brotherhood, and who still can celebrate with genuine affection, empathy, joy, and mutual respect.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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