Posts Tagged ‘spirits’

Today, response is shared for a discussion on paradise, purgatory and teachings within the Scriptures on the place and state of the dead.  Principles for answering supposed contradictions found in Scripture as well as differences among accounts and doctrines are considered.  Linjo Eveline who participates with me in THE BIBLE STUDY GROUP (a Public Group on Facebook presently having 19,656 members), invited comments by sharing a presentation that included the following at about 11: 41am on August 18, 2015:

 

please borthers and sisters l realy wish to know if there is a place call PURGATRY where if u die with sin u will stay there then ur family will pray so that God should fogive your sins?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  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.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.  (1st Thessalonians 4:  13-18, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  The Living Baptized for the Dead? (03/27/2015); Like a Thief? (12/01/2013); Only While We Live? (12/02/2013); Reveal Himself To All? (12/03/2013); The Dead in Christ? (11/18/2013); Too Much Holy Spirit? (11/19/2013); Ghosts (09/02/2012); About Conversion (09/03/2012)

 

Linjo Eveline, be encouraged!  Holding to the principle that there are no contradictions within the Scriptures, believers still can identify differences, near repetitions and shifts that many take to be errors.  The Bible must be read with an eye to divine intent and eternal purpose.  Every attractive and pleasing idea may not be appropriate, for the holy writings contain many subtleties (i.e., barely visible differences; hidden shifts in meaning and value).  Those who exaggerate the significance of discovered differences often become excited and seek to discredit and dismiss the entire Bible.  Examples even are seen when a simple change in spelling occurs as with “Esaias” instead of “Isaiah”, “Cora” and “Kore” instead of “Korah”.  It is not that differences do not appear, rather, it is that—because our salvation is through grace, by faith, and not by works—discovered differences are often irrelevant, and not significant.  This truth also applies when considering differences among long-held doctrines and traditions such as those regarding the place and state of the dead.

The references to the bosom of Abraham and Paul praying for the dead are unfortunate, for they encourage ideas regarding the state of the dead that are in conflict with other teachings presented from the Scriptures.  For example, the state of the spirit separated from the body is indirectly described in the account of Saul using the witch of En-dor as a medium or vessel to contain the spirit of the prophet Samuel.  As surely as it is written, the dead praise not GOD, and lose all concern and interest for the things of the earth, spirits separated from flesh as living souls no longer may display character and personality they showed when living, and can not know or predict the future.  In the instance of Saul, Samuel repeated things that had been proclaimed while the prophet was alive that, in fact, had addressed Saul’s future.  Where touching a dead body renders a person unfit to participate in the community of believers, surely, having contact with a “dead” spirit renders a living person defiled.

Many of us assume that the spirit of a dead person remains in the coffin, and with the cadaver of the deceased.  However, when a spirit is separated from its body through death, the spirit does continue to exist.  The Scriptures only state that the spirit returns to GOD who gave it; and does not provide detail on an area or gathering place for spirits.  In accounts we have been given, there is no indication that spirits separated from flesh (many say, ghosts that exist through death and natural processes) roam the earth as do Satan and his followers (spirit beings created by divinity).  Thus, in the account of a man who ran amok among the tombs and had  a legion of unclean spirits, these were not spirits from the deceased; and the devils were not willing to inhabit the corpses buried there.

That a spirit can exist without a body is further shown by the account in Revelation where John of Patmos reported hearing souls beneath the altar in heaven that cry, “How long, O Lord, holy and true dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”  These are described as having been lifted from the earth, and are understood as having gone through the complete process of their own final judgment; yet, they are not in full resurrection, and are awaiting the return to their physical body.

Many believers want to avoid the anxiety, depression, emotional pain, fear, and multiple errors that result by exaggerating our focus upon damnation, death, the dead and dying.  These are more likely to affirm that there is a spirit realm that compares to the spheres of life created for those upon the earth, and within heaven.  These unknowingly alter the teachings from the Apostle Paul that discuss resurrection and various differences in flesh and glory.  For the Christian believer, release from despair, gloom, morbidity, and pessimism are accomplished primarily by concentrating on the divine proclamations, promises and prophesies regarding our redemption, our salvation, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, his harvesting all believers from the earth as well as life in New Jerusalem and upon the earth made new.

There is much more that could be said, that should be carefully weighed, and spiritually taken into account.  (For example, we agree, one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one GOD and Father of all.  Yet, just as the harmony and peace of the church as the body of Christ does not result from believers all wearing the same type of clothing, having the same employer, or sharing the same marital status, unity in Christ is not an outcome of believers all agreeing on every question and topic, all ministering (e.g., hospitality, preaching, teaching) to others in the exact same way, or all placing the exact same emphasis upon the shared doctrines.  Disagreement with continued respect and diversity are  important to the fullness and richness of the church as a living expression of divinity.)  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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Scripture points are shared, today, on the full participation of divinity in putting forth Creation.  Many aspects of eternal being remain holy, sanctified and separated from created beings and living creatures.  Those that have been made known are like shadows that outline and suggest a full material substance, and should be regarded as “the tip of the iceberg,” not the complete presentation of all there is.  Thus, without going beyond the holy writings, many believers also consider the idea that those of heaven who may have been present at the creation of earth were the Father, the Son, the holy angels, the 24 elders (e.g., Revelation 5:  14, 11:  16 and 19:  4, King James Version), various sacred beasts, and the seven Spirits of GOD (see Revelation 3:  1, 4:  5 and 5:  6, KJV).  One of the fighters at “Yahoo! Answers” using the ID “Anonymous” (the usual profile information withheld) posted the following:

 

Why does God take counsel with Himself, when he finally creates mankind.?

“God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness’” (Genesis 1:26).

LET THERE BE LIGHT.
LET THERE BE ANIMALS
LET THERE BE VEGETATION

LET US MAKE MANKIND IN OUR IMAGE

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:  all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  And he is the head of the body, the church:  who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.   And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:  (Colossians 1:  12-22, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  The Glory of GOD? (06/23/2015); Divine Purpose? (01/08/2015); The First Book of the Bible? (11/20/2014); The Beginning of Wisdom? (11/21/2014); Made in the Image of GOD? (10/09/2014); All Who Read Convert? (10/10/2014);  The Image of GOD? (10/10/2013); Embodied Afterlife? (10/11/2013)

 

“Anonymous”, the Creation is understood among mature Christian believers as a complete expression to reveal the authority, character, makeup, nature, eternal purpose, and sovereignty of divinity.  Consider again the following:

(1.)  Genesis 1:  1-3, King James Version (KJV):  1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  3 And God said, Let there be light:  and there was light.

(2.)  John 1:  1-3, KJV:  1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 The same was in the beginning with God.  3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

(3.)  Romans 1:  18-20, KJV:  18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

(4.)  Colossians 2:  8-12, KJV:  8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:  11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:  12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

(5.)  Ephesians 1:  10-12, KJV:  10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:  11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:  12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

(6.)  Acts 17:  28-30, KJV:  28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.  29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.  30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:) 

Again, there is far more to be said, correctly understood, and spiritually taken into account.  (For example, (7.)  Proverbs 15:  21-22, KJV:  21 Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom:  but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.  22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed:  but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

Today, points are shared on how to answer a friend trusting you with their testimony that GOD has spoken to them during prayer.  The writer at “Yahoo! Answers” using the ID “learning2liveagain” (Level 2 with 611 points, a member since December 13, 2009) posted the following:

 

What would you do or say If a close friend of yours told you while praying that God spoke back & had a long talk with him.2 nights in a row?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  We are of God:  he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.  Beloved, let us love one another:  for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.  Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  (1st John 4:  6-16, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  How GOD Answers Prayer? (01/09/2015); 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); Mockers in the Last Days (11/14/2012); Thoughts Upon A Warrior’s Fall (11/15/2012)

 

“learning2liveagain”, here are a few points provided through the Spirit of Prophecy to Christian believers:

(1.)  Where your friend shared a personal account (we say, testimony) given by GOD, and chose to speak with you about it, their confiding in you (we also say, confessing) expresses many different motives that may require clarification.  They may be simply seeking to share something they regard as special.  They may be responding in obedience to divine law, commands that were given, the spirit of zeal that is imparted from GOD, and other aspects of unseen truth.  They even may be seeking the unique affirmation and agreement only you may supply that comes from your sacred knowledge and experiences of divinity.

(2.)  The assembly of believers that we call the church is usually the best place to look for companions who have experience that correctly details, explains and focuses spiritual events in a way that permits a person to take action for proper spiritual benefit to themselves as well as for unselfish service to others.

(3.)  A person becomes obligated by a spiritual experience to learn, grow and share in new ways.  It is correct to turn to those who encourage your development by listening, good counsel, and sharing sacred practice (e.g., prayer, Bible study, singing spiritual songs, worship).  No one invites derision, mocking, and scorn.  Where you can not say “I love you” by restraining and suppressing insulting and negative responses, it is better to admit your unfitness to give spiritual counsel, and acknowledge that the spirit content you bring to your friendship is lacking in imparted substance from GOD.

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually understood.  For example, (4.)  Expressing your care for a family member or loved one also includes sharing admonition and cautions (we say, warnings).  Consider again the holy writings, 1st John 4:  1-3:  1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God:  Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:  3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God:  and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.  Love has spoken.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

Today, more is shared on human history and the divine provisions for redemption and salvation through Jesus Christ.  The operations of GOD for the preservation of mankind have been ongoing from before Creation.  GOD is a spirit who has always existed containing all the elements and materials for action, authority, awareness, change, context, exchange, interaction, life, person, possibility, power, presence, relationship, revelation, and will.  GOD is immutable and does not change; however, at different times, different aspects of GOD have been revealed using position, rank, continuity through reproduction, revival, and unbounded diversity.  At the beginning of this Creation, GOD appeared only as an active spirit having no measurable or visible form (we say, invisible, known only by operations seen through things visible).  By the knowledge granted to mankind as the revelation of divinity (devices and mechanisms to know, recognize, and respond to the active presence of GOD), we now can understand that the existence of created beings and living creatures have been emanated from GOD as peculiar self-expressions taking the form of material objects and as spirits (e.g., angels, animals, devils, humans, sacred beasts).  All spirits are not alive, yet, they may exist just as all objects are not alive (a cup, a spoon, a cadaver); and all spirits are not eternal, some are like the angels (who are not immortal and endure only at the discretion of GOD), others being temporal are just like mortal man.  There is now no physical place (we say, hell) or sphere of life and death in existence where devils rule without GOD, and may continuously torment mankind.  The  salvation provided through Jesus Christ is a process of life experience, and is distinct from other dispensations by divinity.  Those who died before the advent (we say, coming) and birth of Jesus had opportunity to receive the Savior as a divine hope, an eternal proclamation, and a sacred promise.  In this way, the ancients are the same as those who die (we also say, the “dead in Christ”) before his second advent to harvest the earth.  There has always been a sacred inheritance for the offspring of Adam, even after the loss of trust and the “fall” at Eden.  Atonement and propitiation for sin have always been  extended to the sons and daughters of Adam along with a priesthood upon the earth that foreshadowed GOD appearing in flesh as Jesus Christ.  In harmony with mankind’s dependence upon the frameworks of time and space (less relevant to spirits), the living record through patriarchs, covenant, divine law, the kingdom, Incarnation and revelation are now expressed as time-sequential events.  While the divine process for salvation has employed thousands of lives over the course of thousands of years, only one figure appears for the indispensable atonement, Jesus Christ.  Consider again the following:

 

THE BATTLE AXE:  The Ones Not Knowing Jesus? (12/11/2014)

Psalms 102:  19-21, KJV—For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth;  20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;  21 To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;  22 When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.

Psalms 115:  16-18, KJV—The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s:  but the earth hath he given to the children of men.  17 The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.  18 But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD.

Ecclesiastes 9:  4-6, KJV—For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope:  for a living dog is better than a dead lion.  5 For the living know that they shall die:  but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.  6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

Romans 8:  5-15, KJV—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.  10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.  12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die:  but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

1st Peter 1:  3-12, KJV—Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,  5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:  7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:  8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:  9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.  10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:  11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.  12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Matthew 9:  13, KJV—But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice:  for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Romans 2:  11-16, KJV—For there is no respect of persons with God.  12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;  13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.  14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:  15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)  16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

1st Corinthians 3:  11-18, KJV—For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest:  for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss:  but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.  16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.  18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

Matthew 12:  6-12, KJV—But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.  7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.  8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.  9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:  10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.  11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?  12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

Acts 4:  8-12, KJV—Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,  9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;  10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.  11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.  12 Neither is there salvation in any other:  for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Hebrews 10:  6-17, KJV—In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.  7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.  8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;  9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.  10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:  12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;  13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.  14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.  15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us:  for after that he had said before,  16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;  17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

James 2:  26, KJV—For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

1st Peter 4:  6, KJV—For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

Ephesians 2:  1-10, KJV—And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.  4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:  7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God:  9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.  10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

1st Timothy 2:  1-6, KJV—I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

John 8:  34-45, KJV—Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.  35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever:  but the Son abideth ever.  36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.  37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.  38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father:  and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.  39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.  40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God:  this did not Abraham.  41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.  42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me:  for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.  43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.  44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own:  for he is a liar, and the father of it.  45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

2nd Timothy 1:  8-10, KJV—Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner:  but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;  9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,  10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

1st Peter 3:  18-20, KJV—For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:  19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;  20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

Psalms 104:  1-9, KJV—Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.  2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment:  who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:  3 Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters:  who maketh the clouds his chariot:  who walketh upon the wings of the wind:  4 Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:  5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.  6 Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment:  the waters stood above the mountains.  7 At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.  8 They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.  9 Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

Jeremiah 23:  5-8, KJV—Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.  6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely:  and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.  7 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;  8 But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.

John 10:  7-16, KJV—Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.  All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers:  but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door:  by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:  I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  I am the good shepherd:  the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.  But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth:  and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.  The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.  As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father:  and I lay down my life for the sheep.  And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:  them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 

Hebrews 10:  19-27, KJV—Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,  20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;  21 And having an high priest over the house of God;  22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)  24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:  and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.  26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

2nd Chronicles 15:  1-9,  KJV—And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded:  2 And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.  3 Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.  4 But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.  5 And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries.  6 And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city:  for God did vex them with all adversity.  7 Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak:  for your work shall be rewarded.  8 And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD.  9 And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon:  for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.

Romans 3:  9-26, KJV—What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;  10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.  13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:  14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:  15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:  16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:  17 And the way of peace have they not known:  18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.  19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law:  that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:  for by the law is the knowledge of sin.  21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;  22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:  for there is no difference:  23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;  24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;  26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness:  that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Ephesians 1:  3-11, KJV—Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:  4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:  5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,  6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.  7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;  8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;  9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:  10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:  11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

1st Peter 1:  18-25, KJV—Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;  19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:  20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,  21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.  22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:  23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:  25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC