Are We…

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

The story of the arrival of Covid the Cat. He was starving when he came in June of 2020. This morning he weighed in at 12.0#

Late this summer, Vander (below) showed up in the barn. We are nearly sure he is a sibling of Covid due the the apparent age and the similarity of facial markings and exactly matching colors. We don’t know if he had been fending for himself all this time, or was recently put out. He was pretty skinny. This morning, I weighed him at 12.6#.

Vander

You can’t tell in this right-side picture, but Vander has some tan tabby splotches on his back.

Mansions Above are not Real Estate

I am grateful, Jesus, for the place prepared!

1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

John 14

Me: Good morning, Jesus!

Jesus: Good morning, Jon!

Me: I thank you for Your prompting to investigate the Greek behind “mansions” in John 14:2! I have never lived in a mansion, and frankly, this passage has never resonated much with me, until now.

Jesus: Yes, many have not felt the desire to seek after a fancy place to call home. But as you found out, I was talking about the marvelous and unmatched privilege of you personally, permanently abiding in relationship with the Father, and with Me, and with the Holy Spirit; all the fullness of God. The culmination of my preparation occurred at the cross, as I told Thomas:

4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14

In fact, all the rest of John 14 consists of my efforts to get the disciples to look past the impending terror of the cross to the fullness of the abiding life that I Am making possible.

You should look upon the translators with grace. Words fail any effort to describe the majestic panorama of the union I Am promising and is growing even now.

Me: Thank You Jesus! Thank You! I love You!

Jesus: You are welcome! Welcome home! I love you!

Photo by u0414u0438u0430u043du0430 u0414u0443u043du0430u0435u0432u0430 on Pexels.com

Obedience to (Usurped) Authority?

I am grateful for Your faithful guidance, Holy Spirit!

1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Romans 13

I have probably mentioned it before. This passage has troubled me, since I first read it, many years in the receding past. I also can’t count the times I have been pointed to it by well-meaning Christians, telling me – no matter what – we are required to do what governing authorities tell us, because they are ordained by God. I have a few problems with this simplistic assertion. Let’s first admit that Paul, the author of the Roman Epistle, was no stranger to overbearing government, to Rome’s crucifixions and many other abuses. This passage was probably written eight to ten years before Nero’s worst treatment of Christians and it is not clear how much of Nero’s descent Paul was alive to observe. At any rate, there is little chance Paul was blindly optimistic about about all government. He was in prison for his faith, after all.

However, what type of government is Paul describing as “ordained of God”? Explicitly, one that rewards good behavior and punishes evil behavior; one who ministers the good of God and executes wrath upon the evildoer.

How, then, does a government that rewards or facilitates evil and punishes Godly behavior and conscience reflect on the Creator if we believe such a power is “ordained” by Him? If we believe such an interpretation, what does that tell us about the nature and character of the Ordainer? It took me a long while to recognize that the stance that any and all governing authorities are put in place by God is an outgrowth of the Calvinist theology that everything that happens is enforced by Sovereign God, conveniently absolving men of any responsibility and casting God as dictatorial and less than loving.

I digress. Don’t just think about our current government, rushing headlong to tyranny though it be. Consider also Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, to name a few recent examples. Did God ordain the torture and murder of more than six million Jews (and others) under the Nazis and their collaborators? By no means is the Holocaust the only example of government-sponsored genocide. Stalin may have outdone Hitler. The number of deaths during Chairman Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” tallied forty-five million souls between 1958 and 1961. I was between four and seven at the time, but I don’t remember anyone speaking of it.

No, I firmly believe the thirteenth chapter of Romans describes the proper function of government; that which God ordains. It does not follow that no other type of government can exist. Governors have free will, like all the rest of us. Malevolent behavior in government authority can exist as easily as it can in the heart of the individually governed. If we don’t believe that, then we have put 1 John 1:5 to naught:

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

1 John 1:5

A second point that I might make takes it stand, along with Peter and John, called before Annas the high priest and his cohort:

18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

Acts 4

One who resists the powers-that-be ought to never loose sight of the fact that the government “bears the sword”, as we read in Romans 13. That fact applies whether the government is of the God-ordained type, or the usurped-by-hell variety. Peter and John received a brutal beating (for which they rejoiced). There will be a cost for resistance.

Consider this passage from the Psalms:

4 For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. 5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. 6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; 7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; 8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; 9 To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord.

Psalm 149

That two-edged sword is a reference to the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). He who would resist had best be in constant, intimate communication with God. Consider the term “bind” in light of these words of Jesus:

“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Matthew 16:19

This is work to be done in fervent prayer, offered in full knowledge and conviction of the Word. In the end, we have the government we will accept. We will be victors, or we will be victims.

Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

On the other hand, if in the flesh we take a stand opposing government, we risk a perilous trap:

But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

2 Peter 2:10

Want to know how to pray? Proper government is available within. The immigration policy is straightforward and there is no waiting period.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 9:6-7

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Revelation 3:19-21

Will you open?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Something to Keep in Mind

According to a report by StatNews.com, two thirds of the members of Congress cashed checks from Pharma sources prior to the 2020 election.

For Iowa, the report lists $102,000 to Senator Joni Ernst, $32,500 to Senator Chuck Grassley, $1,500 to Abby Finkenaur, and $500 to Cindy Axne. These ties may help explain the response to those of you whom have written to your legislators about any concerns about medical mandates. If I were to paraphrase the tenor of the responses I received, “Thanks for contacting me. Were going to keep on doing what we have been doing.” How about you? Have these contributions damaged hearing in your representatives?

Check out the results for your own state.

Things of Him

Low in the west, crescent descends,
Red-tinged, yet ghostly pale.
On frigid air my breath depends,
Crystalline sharpness I inhale.

Gratitude fills my open heart,
God-flux saturates sight,
Distant canine does its part,
Punctuating chill air of night.

Evening “star” tracks along,
Myriad cousins glitter bright.
Crunch of frost an eerie song,
Retreating back inside.

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:

Romans 1:20
Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com

Reasons to Give Thanks

I am thankful for growth, that we are constantly being built up in You, more firmly established day by day.

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:6-7

Me: Good evening, Jesus!

Jesus: Good evening, Jon!

Me: There is a “therefore” in Colossians 2:6. What is that there for?

Jesus: That verse stands upon the whole chapter. Paul was exhorting the Colossians to look to Me for guidance and to be able to put aside those who were bent on introducing misleading doctrines (heresies).

Me: I see some specific examples enumerated in the chapter.

Jesus: What do you see? It will be beneficial to list them.

Me: O.K. –

  1. Comfort, overcoming disquiet
  2. Unifying love
  3. Faith/assurance in understanding (not tentative)
  4. Acknowledgment of the mystery of the Goddhead
  5. Treasure trove of wisdom and knowledge in God
  6. All the above as a guard against being misled or enticed into believing attractive error
  7. Order (I Am is a God of order, not chaos. )
  8. Steadfastness
  9. Faith (in Christ)
  10. Thankfulness/gratitude
  11. Wariness against deceit, philosophy, traditions of men and the world
  12. Recognition that Jesus is the exact (complete) representation of the Godhead
  13. Recognition that we are complete in Him
  14. Recognition that Jesus is Supreme over all powers and principalities
  15. Recognition that we are given power to overcome sin in Christ
  16. We are identified with Jesus in His death (to sin) and resurrection (to eternal life)
  17. In Jesus, the law and its condemnation was fulfilled and no longer contrary to us
  18. In Jesus, we have triumph over those (evil) powers and principalities
  19. We are not to submit to legalism, but see our whole existence in Christ
  20. Jesus nourishes and holds His body together and enables it to increase (if we are bonded to Him)
  21. Those identified in the death of Christ are not subject to the ordinances of the world as a way to serve God
  22. There ought not to be any pride in obeying the ordinances of the world

Jesus: What do you think now?

Me: There is an absolutely astonishing array of guidance, protection, wisdom, and promise to be thankful for in that chapter!

Jesus: Was it helpful to write down the points made?

Me: Yes, it was! Thank you! I love You!

Jesus: You are welcome! I love you!

Scattered Sheep

I am grateful for the endless nature of relationships; especially with You, God. No matter how I draw near, there are still mysteries and yet-undiscovered delights, heart-depths yet unsounded.

15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

1 John 2

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”

Mark 3

Me:
You made that passage come to my attention when we heard it during our workout this morning!

Holy Spirit:
I also made you think of this one:

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me .

John 17

Me:
Yes, Holy Spirit, You did. I believe You are telling me these are related to the so-called demise of the “church”.

Holy Spirit:
I Am. All three of these passages are related to the decline in the human-ordered organization that is the church. As you saw in the Greek for 1 John 2:15, “world” is kosmos and the literal meaning of kosmos is “an ordered system”. That is what the denominational “church” consists of. It is not the assembly that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 16. You can be sure of this, because the very definition of denomination is the differentiation of the values of each piece. (Think of the word when applied to different pieces of money.) This division is the antithesis of the unity Jesus was praying for (John 17:23). Therefore you surely know that these divisions are judgment and fulfillment of the truth that the house divided shall not stand.

Me:
Judgment against what, Holy Spirit?

Holy Spirit:
Because the denominational “church” is a construction of man, it is an edifice built to his vain imaginations of what he thinks I Am like and of what he interprets My Word to mean. It is the very definition of that which is of the world. I have only allowed them to build little towers of Babel, as I have no intention of allowing a unified human organization to exist under the heading of the church. They even dare to call each little fractured bit the “house of God”. Do not think that the size of each fragment is an indication the degree my favor rests on it. The larger ones simply have more passive sitters who wait to console their lack of oneness with Me with the speech of their hireling shepherd (John 10:12-13).

When the children of Israel stood before the mountain and saw evidence of My glory, they shied back and told Moses, you listen to God and tell us what He said. (Deuteronomy 5:7) Moses was a prototype of Jesus as Mediator. Now that Jesus has come, placing another as mediator is an affront to His sacrifice. I Am sent to guide each believer into all the truth. Take seriously this passage:

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

1 Timothy 2:5

Me:
I am grateful for our Mediator, and for You, our Guide! I pray You will continue to reveal more to me about the fulfillment of Jesus High-Priestly prayer.

Holy Spirit:
I will.

Me:
Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit:
You’re welcome! I love you!

Deratia

The Evil

Jesus, I am grateful for the things that You speak. They are truth and they are life!

13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. John 17

John 17

https://biblehub.com/interlinear/john/17-15.htm (link added 11/19/2021)

Me: Good evening, Jesus!

Jesus: Good evening, Jon!

Me: I take great comfort in Your prayer for us. Would You help me with the significance of praying to keep us from the evil?

Jesus: Does the specific article surprise you? I want you to realize that evil is cohesive in that it represents all that has diverged from Me and My nature (and therefore My plan) according to the choice I Am giving man and had given the angels before man. The fact that the evil is manifested in myriad ways does not detract from its unified characteristic. [Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.]

To say it another way, I AM holy. All that are not in Me and I in them are unholy. [Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2, 20:7, 26, 1 Peter 1:16]

Me: Thank You, Jesus! I love You! I am thankful that Your word is both true and sanctifying. Thank You for paying my ransom!

Jesus: You are welcome! I love you!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Conviction

I am grateful for the Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

John 1:1-5

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

Revelation 13:16-18

I am going to assume, up front, that no reader will be unaware of the use of an executive order by the White House to direct the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to create a so-called emergency temporary standard (ETS) to require all employers with more than 100 workers to show proof of vaccination or require masking and proof of negative weekly testing at the employee’s expense. If not, that ETS link will take you to the OSHA site.

I have been working to reconcile my understanding to properly address this threat to livelihood. One might think the answer is to go to work for a smaller enterprise, but the Executive Branch is signaling intent to extend to small business as well. The OSHA ETS is carefully written looking forward to that step. (One increment at a time, as always.)

You might ask, “Why have you cited the passage in Revelation 13 pertaining to the ‘mark of the beast’”? Do I think vaccine documentation fulfills the definition of the mark? No, I think it is apparently still short of the description laid out in Revelation. However, there are obvious components of that more intense scenario involved in this situation; prevention of trade (by deprivation of income), identification of individuals based on certain choices (impressed to make decisions contrary to the direction of God), and man as the apparent source, for starters.

I believe the current exercise has at least two purposes. The first is as a test: “If we run this up the flag pole, will the populace salute?” Failing the first test, the second purpose becomes more important – conditioning more people to incrementally surrender their personal sovereignty by continually elevating the level of coercion.

I work for an employer with a few thousand employees, so the first roll-out applies to me as it is now written. Employers are placed in an untenable position by prohibitive penalties for “violations”. An employer determined to resist on principle would be fined out of existence forthwith. Let us think about these penalties for a minute. In fact, let’s limit our gaze to the masking requirement for unvaccinated but weekly-tested employees. A single employee caught with only his nose uncovered could be considered in violation and subject the employer to a $13,653 penalty. Repeated or willful infractions have a 10X multiplier. Therefore, the second violation could cost the employer (who has been made responsible for enforcement) $136,530. That is for just one recalcitrant employee who – horrors, wanted to breathe better – out of potentially thousands. If this level of penalty is considered in conjunction with the near-real-time reporting requirement, one can easily see why an employer might start to use facial recognition/mask monitoring as a protection against this huge liability. What’s to recognize in a masked individual? Well, the forehead is visible. Hmmmm.

Because employers will be coerced (financially) to be agents of the government (OSHA), possible resistance will be mounted only by the individual. This is by design, of course. Imposing isolation has been the modus operandi for some time now. My belief is that these genetic therapies (propagandized as vaccines) are part of an evil affront to the created order. The gain-of-function manipulation that resulted in the virus itself is part of that. Sorry if you have taken the jab and that stance offends, but that is another entire discussion. So what about compliance with the smaller increment of masking-and-testing to keep working, buying groceries and utilities this winter?

The Holy Spirit handed me an epiphany a couple of days ago in the form of a question. Even if this tyrant’s edict via OSHA is merely a practice run in preparation for a time closer to the end or a diabolical barometer to determine if we are “there” yet, do I want to practice accepting a “precursor mark” to make it more likely that accepting the eventual “mark” will not look like a step too far?

I pray the ongoing legal challenges will prevail. God bless those who have started mounting them. I pray the courts are not all already too far around the bend. But a conviction has easily solidified in answering the Holy Spirit’s question to my own satisfaction. By the limitless grace of God, I am going to resist refuse with all that is within me by the power of God Almighty.

Lord, thank you that You are Jehovah-Jireh, God my Provider. In You I trust. I pray the ones implementing this evil will turn to You and repent. I pray the same for their abettors.

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com