“Modern” Idols and a Remnant

I am grateful for Your direction and reassurance!

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16

1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
2 And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
5 Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:
6 Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay (heavy debt)!
7 Shall they (creditors) not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee, and awake that shall vex thee, and thou shalt be for booties unto them?
8 Because thou hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee; because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein.
9 Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil!
10 Thou hast consulted shame to thy house by cutting off many people, and hast sinned against thy soul.
11 For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.
12 Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity!
13 Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity?
14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
15 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!
16 Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the Lord’s right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.
17 For the violence of Lebanon shall cover thee, and the spoil of beasts, which made them afraid, because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein.
18 What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?
19 Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.
20 But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.

Habakkuk 2

Me: Good afternoon, Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good afternoon, Jon!

Me: It seems the instruction you gave to Habakkuk to write what You told him for later and for others, was very good.

Holy Spirit: It is a way of respecting what I Am telling you. The one who thinks he will remember all later deceives himself. This, he would know, if only he looked at how his remembering has worked in the past.

Me: Then Your word is not like the manna which was to be gathered only for the day, and spoiled if the direction was not followed to consume what was gathered? I have heard preaching that says the gathering of manna was meant to teach that we are to have to have a fresh conversation with You every day.

Holy Spirit: You are to have a fresh conversation with Me every day! However:

For,“All flesh is like grass,
And all its glory is like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
And the flower falls off,
But the word of the Lord endures forever.”

1 Peter 1:24, 25

I asked Habakkuk (and you) to write down what I Am telling you to make it more permanently available to you. You are flesh, and do not always understand Me at first. If you go back and look at what I have said to you earlier in light of what I have told you later, I Am able to reveal both error and incomplete understanding. Habakkuk was called as a prophet. Whereas, you are not. Yet, I Am watching over My Word to perform it. (Jeremiah 1:12)

Me: Most (all?) of the prophets spoke of the iniquity of the people, serving idols instead of You.

Holy Spirit: Yes. Has the iniquity of the people changed? Do not many serve idols to this day? If anything, they are more proud; they serve their own appetites and stop their ears to all that I Am saying, all the while claiming that idol worship ceased with antiquity. In fact, they are more corrupt; serving only self and thinking not of another.

The Old Testament prophets spoke under the Law. You understand that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law:

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.

Romans 13:10

The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:8

Do you yet love as Jesus loves?

I am no longer going to be in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, so that they may be one just as We are.

John 17:11

The glory which You have given Me I also have given to them, so that they may be one, just as We are one;

John 17:22

Are you seeing unity, or division?

And knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and no city or house divided against itself will stand.

Matthew 12:25

Do not despair that many are not seeking Me. Have I not proved that I will work with the remnant? And, that it is My work to change hearts of the willing?

In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, since otherwise grace is no longer grace.

Romans 11:5, 6

Me: I pray you will help us consider what idols we have put before You and help all to lay them down, seeking You and Your righteousness! Let us individually be restored to You that we might together be all that you have desired!

Holy Spirit: I will help any who humbles himself enough to consider.

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!

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The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

PS: About the First Amendment Tablet on the Newseum building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. : Bizjournals

The featured picture is simply one I captured on December 12th. In no way am I suggesting that our (US) Constitution or Bill of Rights is an idol. These are not things we should lay aside. Ever. Rather, these truths have always been properly understood as the intention of God concerning the liberties He bestows on His children because we are made in His image and He is constrained only by His own word and by His perfect nature.

Spiritual River Meditation

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

Revelation 22

Revelation 22:1

Consider that this flow coming forth from the throne of God is the Holy Spirit.

‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land
And streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring
And My blessing on your descendants;

Isaiah 44:3

but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

John 4:14

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

John 7:37-39

The leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations. The leaves of a tree drive the take up of moisture through the roots via transpiration. Thus the leaves are filled with the life-giving Spirit. David got a glimpse of this. The Psalms open with it.

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Psalm 1

Are you a Jesus-believer? Is His name (His infinite nature and limitless love and flawless character) foremost in your mind? Do you need healing from anything? Are you discouraged? Need rescue from just feeling parched in your spirit? Let me encourage you to put your vision to work. Close your physical eyes. In your mind’s eye, see the clear flowing River of God. Let your heart be fully involved and your faith be sure:

See yourself wading into this River of the Spirit. Yield to the feel its crystal-pure current cleansing you – Jesus has paid with His human life to purchase your forgiveness. You need only accept this Gift by faith. Press forward into the flow. Deeper and Deeper. Feel the embrace of the purifying stream. Do not worry that the water should close over your head. The Holy Spirit is the very breath of God. What could be better to fill your lungs? It was His Breath that put life in Adam when he was formed from the dust. Commit to be One with the River, let its Waters be One with you. Enjoy the delight of His presence! Rejoice in the Blessing of His provision for your deepest need!

See His perfect provision as yours! Repeat as desired. No negative side effects! Eternal rewards…

Just the Beginning…

3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Matthew 24

Actions for us:

Take heed that no man deceive you.

See that you are not troubled.

Endure.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
Iowa Christmas Tree, Washington D.C.

Love: Power to Change the World!

Are you a believer in Jesus?

If so, here is a verse to challenge your status quo:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

John 14:12

Here a flat statement in the scripture of Jesus’ purpose:

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

Do you suppose Jesus’ works, spoken of in John 14:12, might be associated with His stated purpose? Can you imagine any aimless works of the perfect Son of God?

Do you want to know what the works of the devil look like? See Romans 1:18-32

How can we have the power to combat this evil onslaught?

Consider this – God is sovereign. By that, I mean that He is bound only by His own word and his own nature. He cannot violate His own nature or His word and still be the God described in the Bible. I do NOT mean, as some do, that the sovereignty of God decides everything. I believe He has given us free will. One reason is that love does not function under coercion. When the scripture says we are made in His image (Genesis 1:26), we might understand that God has free will and He made us after the same pattern. How might we know? The strongest scriptural evidence I can cite is 1 John 4:8, which says that God is love. That is, love is his very nature. I believe He gave us free will that we would not be precluded from relating to Him in love. However, we misused our free will and followed a twisted lie about Him instead of having faith in His perfection. This choice gave the devil access to the things we were given to rule over in the beginning (including our selves). Can you say “diabolical plan”? We continue to reinforce that capitulation every time we choose to operate in our “own” will, instead of God’s revealed will. (Matthew 7:21, 26:39) We all know from painful experience the difficulty in subjugating our stubborn self will.

But God… provided a solution to our dilemma. Jesus went to the cross and voluntarily bore the penalty of our sin. If we can accept the completeness of this selfless act and lay down our impotent self efforts, we can find freedom:

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

John 8:36

The power to operate in freedom comes from the indwelling Spirit of God, whom Jesus sent:

Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 14:7

How can we know if the Spirit of God is indwelling and we have yielded to Him (rather than continuing to habitually yield to our “old man”)?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

Remember that free will? Here is some really good news:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

I believe 1 John 1:9 is talking about transgressions of the believer who has lapsed into “walking in the flesh” or the unregenerate part of our nature, instead of the part of us that is saved (the Spiritual part, look back at John 14:17). Further, we don’t have to contest the free will of others to defeat the works of the devil in ourselves! All it really takes is to recognize we are displaying traits in the list in Romans 1:18-32 and not the ones in Galatians 5:22-23. If we do, we can pray something like: “Father, I am walking in the flesh again and not in the power of Your Spirit. Thank You that Jesus has paid the price of His life to break that bondage! Please help me to consider myself dead to these things, but alive to your Spirit. I want to do that which is pleasing in Your sight!”

Do you want to make some real change in the world?

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 18:19

I Am the Truth

He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. Deuteronomy 32:4

Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Psalm 25:5

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Psalm 51:6

He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. Psalm 57:3

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah. Psalm 60:4

Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. Psalm 31:5

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Luke 23:46

Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.

I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.

Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.

Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps. Psalm 85:7-13

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31

How we need you in us! Let us testify to Your Truth by every word and act. Amen

Power that Works

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Ephesians 3:20

I am awed, really, how God is faithful to reinforce the messages He is strengthening in my life. This verse in Ephesians is a mighty example. I tend to get discouraged when I try to communicate truth I find helpful into the lives of friends who are engaged in self-defeating thought patterns and clearly suffering. I am dismayed when it seems my attempts fall upon deaf ears and the troubles of my friends persist. I find myself feeling that there is something I have failed my friend in; some way I have let him down. I stumble into the same trap that Moses did when he argued with God that he wasn’t articulate enough to carry the message (Exodus, chapters 3 & 4).

Of course, it is easier for us to recognize these patterns in others than in ourselves. The things we believe that are not true and that lead us to trouble are not easy to root out precisely because our internal filter (belief system) is contaminated by the lies we believe. These beliefs seldom bear scrutiny in the light of day. They are more like an unconscious subtext running subliminally in the background. Some of them may have come into existence when we were mere “infinks”*, when we didn’t know any better.

Better, I would meditate on verses like Ephesians 3:20 until the truth of it is fully ingrained in my heart that it is God, and God alone, who is able to do exceeding abundantly above anything I would even conceive of. Meditate until I can stand without wavering upon the truth that He is already at work in me to accomplish things that are hard to believe. Impossible, in fact, in the natural realm. The believer ALREADY has the Holy Spirit dwelling on the inside. What is left is is the transforming of the mind to align with this truth (Romans 12:2). In that way – meditating on these powerful truths in scripture – these failures to grasp the truth in daily life can be rooted out. In me. In my friends. In You. In Power.

Eat your spinach, you no good infink. Eat it. EAT IT. Eat it.

Poopdeck Pappy: Robert Altman’s 1980 Popeye movie

Reasons to Rejoice!

I am grateful that You made it clear that a thankful heart is part of the wisdom of living a wise and sober life in the power of Your Spirit!

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30

That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:12-14

See then that ye walk circumspectly1, not as fools, but as wise,
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Ephesians 5:15-20

Me: Good morning, Father!

Abba: Good morning, Jon!

Me: How are the days evil, Father, since we are also told to rejoice for this is a day that You have made? (Psalm 118:24)

Abba: I have made the day. Who else? In the beginning everything I made was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Consider these passages and see that the evil in any day did not spring forth of My choosing:

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Genesis 6:5

Who devise evil things in their hearts; They continually stir up wars.

Psalm 140:2

Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, Who spreads strife.

Proverbs 6:14

The one who is in Christ, however, is called to His work:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 14:12-17

And part of His work, in which you are called to continue, is this:

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

That is why the word in Ephesians 5:16 says “Redeeming the time”. In so far as it depends upon you (Romans 12:18), you redeem your day from evil. What depends more upon you – what do you have more control over – than how you engage the time allotted to you?

Men must choose: walk in faith in Me, in what My word has asserted is true, or cower in fear according to the lies of the devil.

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.

John 8:44

Compare this:

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

Psalm 28:7

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

1 John 4:18

Me: Thank You Father! I love You!

Abba: You are welcome! I love you!

1 Circumspect: careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences; prudent (Merriam-Webster.com) [Latin circum – all around, in a circle; spectat – look.]

As the Deer…

I am grateful that the creation itself tells us of You! That it speaks plainly of Your majesty, and of Your magnificent nature, that You are an infinitely competent Creator!

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

Psalm 42:1

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

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

I took these pictures with my phone on the way in to work one recent morning before I got to the pavement. In the this one, the deer that was leaping in the first snap is now peeking back at me over the little hill on the left.

One of the Hebrew names of God is transliterated as Jehovah Shalom, meaning God our Peace. Praise His Holy Name!

Boasting – more than annoyance

Father, I am grateful for today, for today’s opportunities, for its promise, for Your creation of it, and for Your presence in it.

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

Proverbs 27:1

Me: Good morning Father!

ABBA: Good morning Jon!

Me: Rejoice now, wait-and-see for tomorrow? No boasting?

ABBA: Boast not of self.

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

Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10

Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

James 3:5

Here is a list, containing reference to boasters. See what company it keeps:

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Romans 1:28-32

If, instead, you speak truthfully of Me and of My workmanship in your life you will unleash My power for good.

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Ephesians 4:15-16

These things apply to you as an individual. Individuals make up families, organizations (from churches to governments), to all of society. I Am able to make the difference between health & joy and rot. The choice is yours.

Me: Thank You Father! I love you!

ABBA: You are welcome! I love you!