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!

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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.

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Love and War

The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.

Exodus 15:3

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

Revelation 17:14

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.

Revelation 19:11-16

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1 John 4:8

Are these statements about the nature and character of God incongruous?

Linked from https://www.ushmm.org/

Many persons in the armed services, law enforcement personnel, fire and medical first-responders, even parents; any whom have stood in the gap to protect others against the onslaught of evil unleashed in the world has no problem answering that question. Love is, in fact, the most effective motivation. Love enables one to look malevolence in the eye and stand for what is right and true, whatever the personal cost. The cost may not be trivial:

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13

Peter learned that it takes more than passion to walk the path of sacrifice.

Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

John 13:37-38

We have to pick a side. This is war, after all.

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

1 John 3:8

1 John 3:8 does not mean we do not sin or have lost the capacity to sin. Those who are in Jesus have been redeemed from the controlling power of sin (as long as we desire to be). Surely you can see that if I sin, I am not carrying out the mission of the One described in the passage above from Revelation 19. What am I doing then? Aiding the enemy, making myself less fit for service to the King. Remember? This is war. Such transgressions start to have the stench of treason.

What are we to do? One thing, is recognize we have been issued state-of-the-art equipment. Put it on.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6

A soldier needs to know his mission. Not just generally, but the details of it. Generally, we get the gist of the mission from the written word. Are you in it enough to know the mission outline? The details come through our relationship with the Living Word. We have cutting-edge communications. Are we listening?

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

John 15:14-15, 16:13

We have a Faultless Example; understanding the enemy, communicating constantly with the Commander, encouraging His troops, faithfully executing the mission through giving in the power of love, whatever the cost.

7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10 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.
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12 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.
13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 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.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

John 10

Liberty!

I am grateful for the gift of salvation, believing that You empower me to become more like You!

[For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Ephesians 2:8;

Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. John 4:10;

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12]

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

from James 2

Me: Good evening, Jesus!

Jesus: Good evening, Jon!

Me: I have read this passage out of James 2, thinking that James felt that works were preeminent in the life of the believing. That works are evidence, – a litmus test – as it were, of the fidelity of a disciple’s walk in You. It seemed to me to be an outpouring of a lifelong adherence to Judaism as it was practiced by the Pharisees in Jame’s time.

Jesus: Do not miss the earlier unmistakable reference that James made in verse 12:

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” Compare Galatians 5:1 to see what he was talking about:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

James is simply exhorting to consider carefully whether your faith is placed in Me, resulting in a changed heart and changed works or in some idol (self is a common one) resulting in nothing. This is worth constant attention: are you in Me and I in you? If you are, the works will follow of themselves, as Mine do also. In fact, the works that will flow out of your life will be mine. You may walk in them freely.

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. John 8:36

Me: Thank You Jesus! I love You!

Jesus: You are welcome! I love you!

Finding

I am grateful for Your faithfulness!

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Isaiah 55:6

Me: Good evening, Jesus!

Jesus: Good evening, Jon!

Me: May You not always be found, Lord? Are you not always near?

Jesus: I may always be found by the one who desires to find me:

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

Prior to the end, Perception of My presence is up to you. What do you call someone who goes where he is unwelcome?

Me: Intrusive? Unsought? Annoying?

Jesus: Do you think I will win any hearts, if I Am those things?

Me: Not the way You made us.

Jesus: That is right. “Unsought” is the test I use to know if I Am welcome with anyone. I seek a loving relationship with you. I could dominate I chose, but that is not why I made you. Nearly everyone knows someone who is insensitive to social cues. Even though they mean well, they may be seen as selfish and intrusive. Why? Because they are self-focused. You know I Am not like that.

Me: Why do you say “Perception” of Your presence?

Jesus: I am, of course, omnipresent. My existence everywhere and (every-when) is a feature of My nature. David knew this:

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139: 7-16

For those who desire My company, as David (sometimes) did, I Am ever there for them. For those who do not, My presence is not obvious. The part of man that was made to perceive spirit did die in the Garden. It it only restored with the new birth when one chooses to answer My call. Then one can hear my voice. Here is an example of some who did not even when they could see me physically:

Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

John 10:24-31

I promised My presence through Moses at the threshold of entering the land I swore to Abraham. Moses related it to Joshua in the hearing of all the people.

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Deuteronomy 31:6,8

I reinforced that promise to Joshua directly. This is who I Am.

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Joshua 1:5

To the disciples and all who would follow, I reassured of My closeness.

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Matthew 28:20

My invited presence is the key to a successful and joyful life.

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Hebrews 13:5

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Isaiah 55:6-13

Though I allow a relationship with Me to be optional, none should think that it does not matter at the last.

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Revelation 3:14-22

Me: Thank You Jesus! Thank You for helping me to dig into these passages to hear what You are saying about them! I am blessed indeed to have Your promise to be with Me! I don’t know how those who do not know you, navigate their days. I love You!

Jesus: You are welcome! I love You, and I love that you love being with Me!

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