“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!

===

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…

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

Freedom’s Source

I am grateful that my freedom comes from You.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Luke 11:13

Me: Good evening, Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good evening, Jon!

Me: We met with the Tea Party group today and talked about how readily people laid down their freedom to assemble together and to to pursue their pursuits. Really, to pursue Your pursuits.

Holy Spirit: There was a bit of imprecision in that gaze backwards.

Me: In what way, Holy Spirit?

Holy Spirit: You were told that by giving those things up temporarily you could help save the lives of the vulnerable. No one wanted to put others at undue risk. As good citizens, you complied with the instructions you were given (with great emphasis on how critical they were). I told you in the scriptures to obey those who rule over you. (Romans 13) In that same chapter, you find this verse:

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Romans 13:10

It is only as the situation with Covid-19 unfolded, that you realized that much of the information that was given at first was mere guesswork, followed by fearful speculation, followed by manipulation by those with agendas aimed at control which was itself aimed at grasping power. Power at terrible expense to many, I would add.

Me: Hardly any of us want to be responsible for the sickness or death of another. We hear of ones who have died. Most imagine them innocent victims of random illness. There is little recognition that we are all appointed to die on account of the wages of sin is death and therefore our own doing. The only question, really, is the precise time of death. The ones aiming at control certainly never mentioned the name of Jehovah Rapha, lest hope derail their plans.

Holy Spirit: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23

If one knows Me, then he knows that not even death will separate from Me. It is My perfect love that cast out fear.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18

Your freedoms are from Me. They are not granted by any government. You need not fear those who can only kill the body. (Matthew 10:28)

Me: I wouldn’t consider myself brave enough to face the power of the government the way Jesus did.

Holy Spirit: He was looking ahead to His death when He spoke the words of Matthew 10:28. You are not trapped by the empty naturalistic dogma that has enslaved many, for you believe what I say to you.

It is only the most evil who would use the love you hold for others as a weakness to be manipulated. He does this because he does not understand the very power of the love he would use to control is Me, and I will be his undoing. Blinded by his rage, your enemy does not even recognize he is attempting to lay hands on Me. Imagine his surprise when his scheme goes wrong.

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!

Law and Unfailing Love

I am grateful for Your grace.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1f

Me: Good evening, Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good evening, Jon!

Me: Holy Spirit, I kind of get the “law of sin and death”; that under the law no flesh is justified. But I am puzzled that this passage in Romans 8 talks of “the law of the Spirit and of Life in Christ Jesus”, as compared to “the law of sin and death”.

Holy Spirit: What puzzles you?

Me: I suppose I generally think of the law as prohibitive. Speed limits, prohibitions against theft, assault, murder, and mayhem. How does the law of the Spirit fit with that?

Holy Spirit: What about the law of physics, biology, chemistry? What do they do?

Me: They describe how something works. If we can observe that something always works the same way, given the conditions, we classify it as a law.

Holy Spirit: My Word never fails. It always works the same way. The laws spoken of in Romans 8 are spiritual laws. They are more sure than they laws of physics, biology, and chemistry, as understood by men.

Me: In that sense, then, “the law of sin and death” is not prohibitive, but instead describes how sin works?

Holy Spirit: You are made in the image of God; you have free will. I have simply told you how sin works (what it pays and the predictable outcome), as I have told you how life in Christ Jesus by My Spirit works.

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!

Conformed to Christ’s Sufferings?

I am grateful that Jesus endured such suffering on my behalf, taking on Himself the penalty that is justly due to me.

Colossians 1:24

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in [literally “of”] Christ’s afflictions. NASB

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: KJV

Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. NIV

https://biblehub.com/interlinear/colossians/1-24.htm

Me: Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good Morning Jon!

Me: When I read that passage in Colossians 1:24 in the NASB it sounds like Paul was saying there was something lacking in Christ’s afflictions that Paul had to finish filling up. I know there was (is) nothing lacking in Christ’s afflictions because He said “It is finished” from the cross (John 19:30). It gets better if one puts in the footnote version of “of Christs afflictions” instead of “in Christ’s afflictions”. It seems to me with the NASB, the literal thing that they put in the footnotes is usually better than the thing they put in the text instead. [I don’t know why they do that.] How could anyone who knows You at all think there could be anything lacking in You or in what You do?

Holy Spirit: It is true that there is nothing lacking in Christ’s suffering. He is the faultless Lamb of God, a perfect sacrifice. His offering is more than sufficient to atone for your every sin. Your sense of My nature not lacking in anything is correct. What did you find when you looked at the interlinear rendering on Bible Hub?

Me: It seems much clearer that Paul was talking about filling up in himself what was lacking in his identification with Jesus in His suffering (or passions) for the church. I got more of a sense that he wanted to be conformed to the Image of Christ in himself (Paul). I know there are other places that the scripture talks about being conformed to the suffering of Christ. I don’t yet have a good sense of how that should work in my life. I would say that compared to Your promises and grace that any suffering that I have had to endure has been negligible!

Holy Spirit: Consider what it says in Romans 8:

11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Me: I pray you will help me learn these things from the heart.

Holy Spirit: Jesus prayed that you and He would be one. From the heart. That is what these things mean; one in heart, seeking the same purpose, operating in the same love and power.

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I pray you will help me grow in this oneness! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I Am and I love you!

Prove

I am grateful for Your many hope-giving promises!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. – Ephesians 1:3-4

Me: Good afternoon Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good afternoon Jon!

Me: Every spiritual blessing seems pretty inclusive.

Holy Spirit: They include Me in you, as you are in Christ.

Me: That seems the zenith of all possible blessings, to be joined with You, Almighty, Omnipotent, and Holy, Holy, Holy!

Holy Spirit, I think of the many times I have heard teaching that God cannot look on sin. Some even explain that is why Jesus was said to ask why the Father had forsaken Him on the cross as He bore our transgressions and diseases (Matthew 27:46). This teaching that Jesus was expressing that He felt abandoned has always bothered me, but I can’t really mount a cogent argument against it, except that it seems so contrary to all of Jesus’ assertions of His unity with the Father. Plus, there are these passages that speak directly to Your nature on this matter:

The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8

… teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20

Holy Spirit: I would remind you that We came to the garden for a walk with Adam and Eve after they disobeyed the one direction that they were given. Do not think that We did not know of their sin (Isaiah 46:10). The scripture also records Our conversation with Cain after he murdered his brother. As for Jesus, He was not abandoned by the Father, nor did He think so. Accusing words with that meaning would never cross his lips for that was not in His heart that day any more than it has been on any other day.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

He was quoting the beginning of Psalm 22. The passage was well known to those around Him. He was reinforcing that He is the Messiah. Think of His disciples dismayed and dispirited, thinking this was the end of the promises He made and their relationship with Him. Read Psalm 22, and you will clearly see. Those too blind to see, misinterpreted His words at the time (Matthew 27:47). His words were directed to those not too blind, who would be drawn to understanding that this His crucifixion was the very fulfillment of the graphic prophecy written in the Psalm.

Finally, He was raised in power on the third day. Not what you would expect of one who had lost faith in the Father, even momentarily, at the end of breath.

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! That helps a lot!

Jesus told the rich young ruler that there is none good, except God alone (Mark 10:18). The the verse in Ephesians says we ‘would be holy and blameless before Him’, when does ‘would be’ mean?

Holy Spirit: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2) Why do you suppose that verse includes the word ‘prove’?

Me: From Merriam-Webster: Prove (some aspect of every sense applies)

When I design a new electronic system, I have it subjected to a whole suite of tests to “prove” that it performs as required in all foreseeable circumstances and environments in which it is intended to be used. I watch its behavior under all the stresses to which it is subjected. Until all that testing is accomplished, there is a risk that I only think I have a robust design that will perform the functions it was designed for, when it is called upon.

Holy Spirit: In other words, you prove by testing that your work is not flawed and there is therefore a firm basis to place faith in it.

My work is perfect. It includes my design of you – in My image – and like the things you design, the things I Am giving you to do.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

My image is like My design requirements for you. The difference in you and your electronic device, is that I have also given you free will because My will is unfettered by anything but My own choice. You therefore have the ability to embrace My design and provision (and Truth) or to ignore My guidance and go off in a way that seems right to you. If you do go your own way, it is the equivalent of your device being proved not to conform to the design requirements, and requiring correction to cause it to conform.

There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25)

“[I]n Christ” is key. Ephesians 1 verses three and four each say it once, as does Ephesians 2:10. Consider how often Jesus, as your example, stated His unity with the Father: John 10:30, 14:7, 14:9, 17:21 and 17:23. And, there is this verse in Colossians 3:14 explaining the power behind how this works:

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. I Am Here to help you. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. – Galatians 5:16

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!

Stubborn

Me: Good morning Holy Spirit! I am perplexed by the way You told Isaiah to deliver a message (chapter 6) that Jesus later quoted in Matthew 13 to explain why He taught in parables.

Isaiah’s Commission

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9 He said, “Go, and tell this people:

‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.”

Jesus’ Explanation

13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,

‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
15 For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Holy Spirit: Good morning Jon! Part of the problem being addressed is willfulness. In your idiom, one might say “he didn’t want to hear it”, or some such expression implying a closed mind or heart. How does that work out in practice? The message being delivered is contrary to the belief or desire of the recipient, so he discounts it entirely.

Jesus taught in parables because they were stories that were easily remembered and contained a somewhat oblique example of the truth that He wanted to teach. This approach at least has a chance of getting past the mental defenses of the willfully disobedient to get some level of consideration. An important aspect of a parable is that it is about someone other than the hearer; it is not a direct challenge to his mistaken beliefs. Nor is is an override of the choice of the individual. He may take it or leave it; spend time musing about it, or not.

You were created with the ability to filter the information you perceive, to categorize, to make judgments as to its value and to remember what you consider important. Control of this process is mostly subconscious and is regulated by your beliefs. Filtering of information was designed to be subconscious. If it were not so, it would increase the burden instead of easing the work the attentive part of the mind must do. Taken together, your beliefs and understanding of your environment is sometimes called your worldview.

Looking inward, people have beliefs about themselves. The same filtering of perceptions takes place related to self and to one’s behavior. For example, if you believe “I’m a good person”, your are less likely to be able to determine if criticism of your behavior is valid than if you believe you are good insofar as you are submitted to the leading of Christ. No one is harder to correct than the person who is completely convinced he is right.

Me: Of course, I believe He is good, and what I do is good if it is of His leading. (Mark 10:18, John 15:5) Still, I recognize that I sometimes have a negative script running in my head. At least I may recognize it if it rises to the level of consciousness or if negative emotions get egregious enough to bring it to the forefront.

Holy Spirit: That is why the scripture tells you to be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). And you know from the process of learning anything difficult, that takes time and repetition. You should also recognize that as you have submitted to My leading that negativity has greatly diminished over time.

Me: You could remove it in the twinkling of an eye.

Holy Spirit: My way assures that it is obvious that it is your choice.

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!

Love Eternal

I am grateful for the love of God.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. – 1 John 4:10

Me: Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good morning Jon!

Me: My gratitude about the love of God is not just that the love of God is affirming. I believe I understand better now that God will not condone the things I do that are not good for me; good for me in the sense of making me better able to carry out my life commission from Him and resulting in the most benefit to me in this life – I can observe this over time – and in the life to come, as I understand His eternal viewpoint. Any understanding I have is because of Your revelation, of course! I am certainly grateful for that!

Holy Spirit: Jesus knew the Father loved Him. He knew also the love of the Father for you. Had he not laid down Our omniscience to become fully man, He would have been able to look down through the generations and feel His own love toward you, specifically. No matter about that, because I revealed it to Him in principle in the same way you conduct yourself in love toward great grandchildren not yet born.

Yet I know you realize, as much as you know, the hard path that Jesus took in carrying out His own life commission, the express plan of God for your salvation. He even said that there is no greater love, than that a man lay down his life for his friends – then ones he is charged with protecting (John 10:11 & 15:13). This plan was from the beginning, as all the scripture testifies. Jesus grew into this love over time, though he arrived in the normal way of men, as a needy infant.

In particular, I want you to see that Jesus did not say, “I will lay down My life for you if you will agree to dedicate yourself to following Me”. No, He laid it down for “whosoever will” (Mark 8:34, Rev 22:17 and many other verses). In these same verses, it is clear that though He did not condition His actions on your response, your benefit – or lack of it – depend upon your choice.

Jesus had a choice as well. It was for love that he wrestled with that decision in the garden, ultimately resigning Himself to serving you in death (Matthew 26:36-46). The death He died, was the one you had accrued to yourself. And do not think I Am speaking only of the physical realm. In this matter, the spiritual realm is supreme for the physical will pass away, but the Spirit is eternal:

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:11-14

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love you!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!