By Him All Things Consist

I am grateful that You have already given everything needed for life and godliness!

But he answered and said, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:4

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

2 Peter 1:3-4

Me: Good evening, Jesus!

Jesus: Good evening, Jon!

Me: Thank You for a pleasant day traveling toward home with You and Jeannie!

Jesus: You are welcome! Happy to be along!

Me: I cannot imagine a way to thank You enough for Your promises! The bonus of being a partaker in Your nature seems to eclipse all the promises individually, and even taken all together, as great as they are!

Jesus: If you are filled by my Holy Spirit, how could you be otherwise than a partaker of My nature? My divine nature is My Spirit. Likewise, My Spirit in you is My divine nature.

What you have lacked in understanding stems from the view that My Spirit is ethereal in the commonly held sense of no substance discernible by the physical senses. My Spirit is ethereal, in fact. But unlike the common conception, the mighty flow of My Spirit powers the entire created heavens and earth, the spiritual realm as well as the physical; giving form and substance and energy beyond the ability of man to conceive.

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Colossians 1:16-17

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 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 2:4-10

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

Jesus: I’m glad you liked My revelation to your heart! You are welcome! I love you!

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com

Gripe Not

I am grateful that You are the Sovereign of the universe, and I am not.

Me: Good evening Jesus!

Jesus: Good evening Jon!

Me: I was reading Step Four in the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelves Steps and Twelve Traditions book, and it was talking about various character defects as examples that they might help one learn to examine them. It sort of jumped out at me that this sentence was one of those hit-the-nail-on-the-head moments:

… griping that others failed to recognize my truly exceptional abilities?

While the authors didn’t also mention the desire to say, “I told you so!”, they could have. Then the thought came that You had many fail to recognize Your truly exceptional abilities. Yet, I’m sure You never griped about it and I can’t think of an instance of You telling an individual that they had been warned after things went wrong. What is the secret to being at peace about such “votes of no confidence”?

Jesus: Have you noticed that you do not also have a tendency to analyze ways in which your own shortcomings contribute to various problems, especially failing to help those you are responsible for adequately prepare to meet what is expected of them from those with higher authority in the organization? I know that the items that progress into crisis mode are most evident once someone in authority begins to express they view it as a problem. But as a manager (technically) responsible for directing the work of another you would do well to help them with your experience. I know the “chain of command” that is referred to in military service is often violated in private business; your protege’s get directions you hear nothing about unless there is some kind of trouble. Meanwhile, you tend to assume all is well, whether there is a storm brewing, or not.

I know the end from the beginning. Do you ask Me about these things, and what you should do about them? Recognize My truly exceptional ability to help! I ask My Father about everything. Then I do what He tells Me. This is the answer to your question about how I remained at peace. It is faithless to gripe about things you have asked Me to help with. If you have not, it is because you have asked not.

The best kind of discernment, is My discernment. I will help you with insight into the unseen. I know the thoughts and intents of the heart. Just ask.

Recognize, also, that I chose a few to disciple. These were generally not among those casting no-confidence votes, though they were all works in progress; as are you. This is the secret to multiplying the exceptional abilities that I Am giving you. Seek Me. Listen carefully. See clearly. Be diligent. Abide in Me. Keep My love for you and for your charges in mind. Love them in the power of the Spirit.

If you find you have detractors, so do I. Do not blame them. Pray for them. They are being used by the accuser, almost certainly without consciousness.

Me: Thank You Jesus! I love You! I ask you to help me make a habit of seeking You about these situations. I have so much I need to grow in!

Jesus: You are welcome! I love you! I am helping you grow. I Am the Vine.

Garden Trouble and the Cure

I am grateful to have the red-skin potatoes and new asparagus in the ground.

And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

Genesis 3:9

Me: Good evening, Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good evening, Jon!

Me: I reckon the Father knew exactly where Adam was.

Holy Spirit: Far more precisely than Adam knew where Adam was. Did you wonder why sin caused Adam to “hide” though he had never hidden before, never experienced sin before, never even been harshly corrected? He was taught by Me. He communed with Me in all My fullness. That should be enough to convince you that knowledge, even knowing perfectly, is not a defense against the possibility of sin.

Me: Why did these new behaviors develop?

Holy Spirit: What was the tree that they had eaten of? The tree of the knowledge of good and evil:

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 2:15-17

Also, what did the Father say at the end of His work on creation?

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 1:31

Consider that until Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying the one prohibition that was given (for their own good, and the good of all that would follow) there was no accomplished evil in the world to know? There was obviously some in the spiritual realm. They believed the deception of the serpent that God failed to have their best interest at heart. Sin entered the world though their choice to disobey. One of the most noticeable evils was the doubt that entered them about the nature and character of God. The effects of their sin that caused them to “hide” presented many facets. They did not want to admit to their sin. They did not want to see the Father, for they understood He knows all. At least they would have understood, except one of the fundamental processes of sin is the shifting of one’s focus to self. They were ashamed. That negative emotion had not existed before in the world. They were afraid. God had revealed the consequences beforehand, though they had never seen either physical or spiritual death and did not know what it might look like. Do you know, they did not immediately recognize the void where their spiritual connection to Me had been?

And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

Genesis 3:10

Fear had not existed in the world up until then either. Not by any of its names: neither by dread, nor anxiety, worry, terror, fright, horror, alarm, panic, trepidation, agitation, consternation, dismay,distress, angst, unease, disease, apprehension, suspicion, distrust. You get the idea. There is plenty of it now.

Much later, Jesus would point out that this death was the aim of the evil one.

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.

John 10:10

Their innocence was stolen, as was their peace, joy, and unfettered fellowship with Me. Death entered the creation. The “very good” perfection was destroyed.

However, Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

John 1:12

You should understand from these statements about Jesus that this “destroying” is not the same in nature as the devil’s brand. It works by making it possible for each one to accept Jesus’ atonement for their sin and thereby choose to be saved from their sin and the attendant death and decay that had been operating.

Jesus works in the lives of those who choose Him at the heart level. He sends Me to guide into all truth. In Jesus walk on the earth, some expected a political movement to set things straight: oust the Romans, restore Israel to sovereignty. Jesus did not choose that method then. He does not choose it now. The devil is defeated in his schemes when a person chooses to follow Jesus, depends on His power, and resists the devil so that his temptations get no traction. One adoption at a time.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

2 Timothy 1:9-11

And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Hebrews 2:15

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!

Purple Iris with Dewdrops

Noise Cancelling

Though the world makes a lot of noise, I am grateful that Your promises are sure and are peace.

As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

Ecclesiastes 11:5

Me: Good morning, Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good morning Jon!

Me: I need You. All that You have created is marvelous, and reflects Your nature and character. But the effects of sin have allowed noise and confusion to take the center of the stage. You are perfect and reveal all truth. Yet seemingly endless outlets push lies for the advancement of agendas that are not of You. The effects of sin in me do not help the situation. Help me to lay down self will and mindless reactions out of habit. Help me to keep Your awesome promises in mind always.

Holy Spirit: Those things that you ask are part of Jesus’ promise to you that I Am sent to guide you into all truth. Consider this –

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Luke 21:36

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

1 Timothy 6:5

I Am faithful to make a way for you to withdraw from the evil din for a while to seek Me. I will will be met by you, even as now. I will strengthen you. I will refresh you. I will uphold you. I will remind you of My love.

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!

Needlepoint by Rhonda Lisauckis

Elect

Elect. There is a word that is prone to raise the dander of various Christ-believers and the very foundation upon which others choose to mark their position. I think I will go out on a limb and cite what I believe Jesus is saying to me about it through the scripture. Come along, if you dare. Even the mildly curious is welcome!

May I start with 1 Peter 2:6? My takeaway in a spiritual nutshell: Jesus, the I AM incarnate, is the elect. We are/may be elect only so far as we are in Him. Let us read the first ten verses of 1 Peter 2, placing our targeted verse in context.

1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

1 Peter 2:1-10

About verse 8, which most translations have as something similar to the KJV, the translation as “appointed” escapes me. I admit it. The Greek ἐτέθησαν thus translated is used one other time, in Acts 7:16 in Stephen’s account of Jacob and his being laid to rest.

If I were doing the translating (which I am clearly and admittedly unqualified to do), I would have leaned toward the last words in 1 Peter 2:8 being “to which they were set”. From which, I would have understood the meaning to be “set in their ways, or fixed in their understanding”, i.e. as the result of their stubbornly-held anti-Jesus belief. To me, this interpretation of verse 8 squares nicely with Jesus’ statement, “According to your faith be it unto you.” upon healing the blind (Matthew 9:29). It is ironic that one of the aims of King James in wanting his own translation of the Bible, is that it not be so… Calvinistic. I get the sentiment. Calvin was living in Geneva and heavily influenced early English translations.

https://biblehub.com/interlinear/1_peter/2-8.htm

I invite you to prowl around relating to this passage at Bible Hub for yourself. You too, can become an unqualified researcher of the Scripture in the original languages. If you are one who leans toward idolizing Calvin, I urge you to reconsider the merits of being known by any name than Christ’s. But, I digress.

In Titus 1:1-2 – Paul gives his own conversion as an example of election as of (according to) the saved-by-faith-in-Christ, thereby amplifying that election (ἐκλεκτῶν) is simply imputation of the elect nature of Jesus into the life of the believer by faith.

Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Titus 1:1-2

Let me say, as an aside, that godliness is not powerless man trying to act as God acts; rather, omnipotent God acting in the heart of yielded man.1

Luke 18 contains two parables I would like us to look at, dear reader. The first mentions the elect (v7) being quickly answered by God. Jesus, then asks the rhetorical question, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (v8). To me, this reinforces the link between faith in Jesus the Elect and our election by virtue of being in Him, if so we (choose to) be.

1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Luke 18:1-8

Isn’t it handy for a parable to open with a direct statement of the object lesson to be remembered?

The second parable is of the tax gatherer and Pharisee praying; Jesus is asking his hearers, “Who was justified?” Verse 9 explains (before the story) this parable is against those who are trusting in themselves and despising others. Seems to me this parable has a direct application to any who presume salvation because they are raised in a Christian home, a member of any particular denomination, or whatever human “election” criteria one can devise to view themselves as therefore “in”, while others are, by inference, “out”. Not different than an Israelite believing himself “in” by birthright as a “son of Abraham”.

9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Luke 18:9-14

There you have it. My understanding of election as intimate communion with Jesus, who is THE Elect. Thank you for reading to the end. Please do not saw off the limb I am now out on. I am only trying to help those who would draw closer to the Elect.

1 When I use the word “man” in the absence of a definite article, I imply neither sex, as this is the way the language has traditionally been used. I find the modern he/she/whatever approach clumsy and frankly, an affront to a right understanding of the creation by His Unmistaken Majesty. You may now visualize me dismounting my soapbox.

Jesus’ Self Talk

I am grateful for You, Jesus!

1 Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.

2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.

3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

Hosea 6

From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Matthew 16:21

Me: Good morning Jesus!

Jesus: Good morning Jon!

Me: Jesus, most of Hosea is calling Israel and Judah to task for their idol worship and wrongdoing. Yet right in the middle of all that there live these three verses that open chapter 6. Is that the way that You knew that You would be raised up on the third day? Was this a message left to Your human self to prepare Your heart for the sacrifice You would make for us?

Jesus: You have heard the question posed, “What would you say to your future (our younger) self?” You have read of My struggle with consenting to My impending death in the garden (Matthew 26). I tell you that I was strengthened by this passage in Hosea, and with it I strengthened My disciples that they would know what was coming (or at least remember that I had told them when things occurred just as I said).

Me: What about the part of the passage about You coming as the rain? The later and the former rain unto the earth?

Jesus: The farmer knows the benefit of the former rain to sprout the seed and the latter rain to complete the growth of the crop to its full yield. Even so, the one who receives Me shall sprout unto new life, and the one who endures in me shall be brought into full fruition.

Me: I have to recognize, Jesus, that had I been able to go back and speak to My former self, I would still have been full of rebellion and willfulness, serving self with as much vigor as any Israelite ever bowed down to a lifeless image. There has never been a time when I did not need You as my Savior.

Jesus: I had to accept the passage in Hosea by faith, even as you must walk by faith.

Me: I am glad to know that, Jesus! I love You!

Jesus: I am glad to show that faith to you. I love you!

Night Fire

Ark

I am grateful for for the transforming power of Jesus. For left to our own way, we get something else:

God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Genesis 6:5

Me: Good evening Jesus!

Jesus: Good evening, Jon!

Me: I am also grateful we were able to make the trip to visit the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum with the grand kids last week. I pray they will continue to think about what they saw and let it soak in.

Jesus: It was a good investment in them.

Me: We are so very broken if we are not in communion with You. And now that we have Your saving grace and power available to us, I am saddened by how many choose their own way instead. I have had periods in my own life where I was choosing my own way – and suffering the negative consequences of those decisions – not as though I can stand in judgment from some lofty vantage point. It is as if the incredible sacrifice You made to save us is of no interest. I have friends whom I try to point to You, yet they continue to struggle with the consequences of bad choices. They may know a little about You, but they do not really know You. You remain just a character in the book, I suppose. I know myself how subtle errors in thinking (well, maybe not so subtle) can derail our ability to accept the intimacy you offer. We fail to take Romans 5:6 seriously: For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. We know we are sinful and imagine we have to clean ourselves up before we will become acceptable to You. Never mind that is You who enables any real change.

Jesus: I gave you a gift at the Ark Encounter last week, to be standing behind the Asian couple reading the display about there being no place for racism in Christianity. Did you see their delight at reading the message that all are descended from Adam, and from Noah and that the notion of race is a false construct?

Me: Yes! Thank You very much for that! The husband kept saying, “Makes sense!” They even turned to me and shared their joy at considering the truth of that fact, though I was a prefect stranger to them, in that moment they apparently felt the kinship and wanted to share their excitement! Because of their speech, I don’t think English was probably their first language. Yet the recognition of the truth was all over their faces!

Jesus: And at the Creation Museum you were standing next to the black woman who was looking at the display of brutal treatment that has accompanied slavery: shackles, pictures of awful scars from beatings, and separation of families on the auction block. Again, with the message that there is no place for such in Me. You could tell she was moved by the consideration of it. Did you know that she could tell the same about you?

Me: I wasn’t aware. I did say to her that it was clear why You called us to be one in You. How could it be that slavery has been excused? That mistreatment of others for any reason has been excused?

Jesus: I know you know this passage. It applies here.

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Proverbs 14:12, 16:25

Some justified slavery because the Bible speaks of slavery and because it has been prevalent down though history, they reasoned, being sovereign, I must have condoned it. They did not know Me, as you say. Nor did they believe me when I put the world into their power. Instead, men promptly began handing over their authority to the devil.

Me: Thank You for talking with Me Jesus! I love You! Thank You again for all the gifts!

Jesus: You are welcome! I love you!

Ark Encounter

Sovereign of Time

I am grateful for Your self-sacrifice Jesus!

Me: Good evening, Jesus!

Jesus: Good evening, Jon!

Me: I have long had a sense, Jesus, that You are “outside” of time. But that does not seem quite the right perspective.

Jesus: I Am the Sovereign of time. I Am the Alpha and Omega; the Beginning and the End. I Am the Life. I Am the Author. I Am the Finisher. (Genesis 1:1-3; Exodus 3:14; John 11:25, 14:6; Revelation 21:6)

For by [Me] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by [Me], and for [Me]. Colossians 1:16

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Isaiah 46:10

And sware by [Me] that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as [I] hath declared to [My] servants the prophets. Revelation 10:6-7

Me: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

… Holy, holy, holy, [are You, O] Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of [Your] glory! Isaiah 6:3

Oh Lord! Please!

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/01/22/statement-from-president-biden-and-vice-president-harris-on-the-48th-anniversary-of-roe-v-wade/

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/individual

I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. Psalm 22:10

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:14

Lord Jesus, I ask You for protection for the little ones, who yet have no voice to speak for themselves, who have no option to flee. My heart is heavy and my sorrow is great. No euphemisms can assuage what I know deep inside. Hear my cry, for I am without words.

Black Wallpaper · Pexels · Free Stock Photos
pexels.com