Divide and Conquer

Lady Justice, modeled on the Greek Goddess Themis, who was regarded as the personification of justice, has been depicted as blindfolded since the 16th century. Her blindfold represents impartiality. I believe this concept has found its way into the judicial systems of many societies because it is intrinsic to the character and nature of God and we are made in His image. Therefore, we have within us the same understanding of the rightness of impartiality in judgement. Listen to Peter:

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Acts 10:34-35

What American is unfamiliar with at least the beginning of the Declaration of Independence? Here too, the concept of equality is spelled out.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Second Paragraph of the Declaration of Independence

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1868, six years after the end of the American Civil War. The amendment clarified who is a citizen. Clearly the intent was to circumvent discrimination against former slaves. Two years prior, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 declared all persons born in the United States to be citizens, “without distinction of race or color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude”. Note, however, there is nothing in the language of the Fourteenth Amendment that identifies any class of persons.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1

Taxonomy is the formalization of a system of classification. Its very purpose is to organize living organisms by identifiable differences. The process has been applied to humans. There are at least eight levels: Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species. The graphic below is a partial illustration. The quotations above are all aimed at the tip of the inverted pyramid – Man (the species). That is, all of us.

Partial Classification of Man (my graphic)

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, continued with the approach of the Civil Rights Act of 1886. The newer act forbade discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin. It had the effect of creating “protected classes” of people. These acts came about because of general recognition of discrimination against some by business owners, landlords, even government officials, to name a few examples.

Additional legislation has been expanding “protected classes” ever since. Race, color, sex, religion, and national origin have been joined by disability/handicap, familial status, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and veteran status.

These additional classifications amount to subspecies branching out under the point of the taxonomic pyramid which have turned the figure into a pyramid resting on the roots of diversity.

It seems to me our forefathers had more wisdom than our later selves. The act of naming these subspecies in the law and making protected classes of them is antithetical to equal protection under the law. We did not need protected classes. We needed, and still need, equal protection under the law. It does not come by dividing us.

The Merriam Webster definition of “divide and conquer”: [Strategy] to make a group of people disagree and fight with one another so that they will not join together against one.

These problems are not accidental.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Withered?

12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:

13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.

14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;

16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.

17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.

19 And when even was come, he went out of the city.

20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.

22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

27 And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders,

28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?

29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.

30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.

31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him?

32 But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.

33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.

from Mark 11
Photo by Dave Meckler on Pexels.com

I sat with an acquaintance (who shall remain anonymous) this evening who was recounting one after another of the things he judged to be perpetually wrong in his life, voicing his anger toward this family member or that one, the failure of mental health people to help him, his various “diagnoses”, why others were to blame for Every. Single. Thing. I found only one thing he said that I agreed with: the failure of those working in the mental health profession to help him. The truth can set one free from all these maladies. Coping strategies are, at best, only learning to live with one’s demons. If one has been conditioned that error is truth and truth is error, well, the steering is going to be off. Neither mental health professionals, nor I, nor anyone else can force someone to walk in truth they have discounted. (Why that condition exists in this case is a long story.)

I did try to get this friend to agree to look at the passage in Mark 11, especially verses 23 & 24. If one has a mountain to move, what are his chances of success if he dissipates all his energy giving voice to his inadequacy and the impossibility of the task?

The passage talks about believing and not doubting. Doubting in this context is simply unbelief. Belief vs. unbelief. Verse 22 says “Have faith in God.” That is who we are talking about here. People who know God. This friend says he is in that category.

I am sure the fig tree in this passage serves as an object lesson for exactly how to have a withered life. (Hoping one would choose to avoid that end, of course.) Where is the wisdom in a man cursing his own existence? If one does so, while blaming God for not “fixing” it, what shall we do with that promise in verse 23 that says, “[H]e shall have whatsoever he saith”?

I have written extensively before about the value of lending one’s voice to the truth the scripture proclaims about the believer. That is, acknowledging who we are in Christ.

My unhappy and misguided friend is applying his energy rushing headlong in a diametrically-opposed direction. We would all still be on that path if we were unable or unwilling to believe Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin is sufficient. Something deep inside recognizes the truth that we deserve destruction, except we acknowledge the value He places in us. Redemption in Christ brings us into His glorious light, even from the deepest darkness.

Lord, please open my friend’s eyes, for things are possible with You which are impossible with men. I know also, that he is not alone. I know what it is like. I thank You for leading me away from cursing my own life with the lips you gave me to express gratitude and Your majesty, and to marvel at all You have made and continually sustain for our benefit. I pray these words might give guidance to any who need to find You and learn to say what You say. Blessing and not cursing.

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

Many may be Hypnotized in America

I am grateful to be off to spend more time seeking a deeper relationship with You!

These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.

He that saith unto the wicked, Thou are righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:

But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.

Proverbs 24:23-25

Me: Good Morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good Morning Jon!

Me: Holy Spirit, I just watched a video demonstration wherein Roy Masters hypnotized a man to do odd things, mostly to demonstrate to his audience that one can be made to do things when hypnotized that he would not normally do. The subject appeared perfectly awake some of the time. The odd thing that Mr. Masters had his guest do was put his shoes on the wrong feet, simply because he suggested that that they were uncomfortable the way they were. He then had the man examine how other people had their shoes on. What happened next was breathtaking. The man with his shoes on the wrong feet began to passionately implore the rest of the audience to exchange places with their shoes, that they might be more comfortable too.

It was not all nonsense. Next Mr. Masters told his subject to answer with complete honesty. Then he quickly discovered that the man harbored much anger and seething resentment toward his (now dead) parents for their treatment of him. To make a long story shorter, the man was able to forgive his parents and release his anger toward them. This was a great thing for the man and the emotional release was all but palpable. But the important issue for the rest of us came when Mr. Masters observed that the negative emotion (anger) was what made him susceptible to being hypnotized in the first place. Who among us does not have these negative emotions in play?

Holy Spirit, Mr Masters also mentioned that the (organized) communists are well versed in these techniques and employ them in a widespread manner and did not need a concentration camp to do it. Can you tell me more about people being hypnotized to carry out evil? I am thinking of those who support turning our nation to communism and are working on every front, from rioting in the streets and crying to stop funding law enforcement, to making evil decisions in the courts and legislatures. How often have I observed that a newly elected congressperson does not seem to last twenty minutes on capitol hill before they have gone to the dark side. Is hypnosis involved? Is there a way to guard against such attacks? I noted one other thing he said that rang a bell. He said, “Excuse making is incontrovertible evidence of one rationalizing illogical positions he has been hypnotized into”.

Holy Spirit: You already know that your spirit is redeemed because you have accepted Jesus. You know also that entertaining sin in your life still opens you up to the schemes of the devil. The more one toys with sin, the higher his risk. Mass hypnosis (to use that term for it) can easily be carried out over the television. I submit to you that the news media are not reporting much “news”, but are instead delivering commentary that has much in common with what you saw Mr. Masters do with his guest. The scripture gives enough guidance for resistance:

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

James 4:7

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

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:23

If you are allowing My gifts to be manifested and to increase in your life, all the more, the devil will not find a foothold.

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Ephesians 4

Encourage others to walk in the Spirit and let My character be that which comes out in them at all times.

It should not surprise you that if a believer habitually tolerates sin in his own life, he will be open to more of the devil’s agenda. Even more, the one who has clung to rejecting Jesus has no real protection.

If I am allowed to shine the love of God into a person’s heart; love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, self control, gentleness will be the light that drives out all darkness. (Ephesians 5:19-21)

Jesus knew the devil had largely succeeded in taking over the hearts of all. That is why He prayed from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

Me: Thank You Jesus! Thank You Holy Spirit! Preserve our nation, help wake up the ones who have been taken over. I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love You! Many are coming awake. Few know the full extent of the risk of straddling the fence.

Finale of the Musical In God We Trust at Charis Bible College on July 4, 2021

In God We Trust

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.

Ownership

I am grateful that You are over all and through all and in all! (Ephesians 4:6)

For this reason I bend my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner self, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church ἐκκλησίᾳ and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:14-21

Me: Good morning, Father!

Abba: Good morning, Jon!

Me: It is perplexing that the word “ἐκκλησίᾳ” is translated church when the word “church” is derived from a different Greek word.

I discovered the English word “church” is derived from the Greek “κυριακός” meaning “of the Lord” and “κύριος” meaning “one who exercises absolute ownership”. The Greek ἐκκλησίᾳ, on the other hand means “called-out ones”.

Abba: The sense of these definitions must be understood in light of My nature and the voluntary character of My relationship (or lack thereof) with My children. Surely you see that if the relationship is between us is whole – all that I Am meaning for it to be – then these Greek words would be synonymous. If My people who are called by My name voluntary placed themselves under My lordship, asking Me what is best and doing it wholeheartedly, what difference would there be between “called-out ones” and “of the Lord”? What if I was the Heart of their heart? What if they knew they are the apple of My eye?

pexels – Thanks to Tina Nord

However, these relational definitions are not what come to the mind of most who contemplate “church”. The true definition does not describe an edifice. True, Jesus is described as the Cornerstone, but mere brick, mortar, and glass are purely physical. I Am Spirit. You cannot properly relate to Me except by the Holy Spirit, as I Am desiring earnestly to enable you (John 4:24). The exercises that comprise most “worship services” can be written on paper for people to follow along. These are programs. They are not Spirit. A few manage to find Me anyway. These have the gift of managing to become still in the Spirit amid and in spite the din of the program (Psalm 46:10).

The Cornerstone is the Perfect Reference to the spiritual house that I Am building.

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church ἐκκλησίᾳ; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:15-18

Me: Thank You Father! I love You!

Abba: You are Welcome! I love you!

Resistance is Not Futile

I am grateful that You speak to us and have equipped us to hear, if we want to.

In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 56:4

Me: Good morning Father!

Abba: Good morning, Jon!

Me: I was reading in the beginning of the book of Job, the last day or so. There are these instances where You explicitly allow Satan to have his way with Job, or is it that You let him have Your way?

Abba: Does that seem out of character for Me? There is nothing I have made that I cannot use, even rebellious angels.

Me: It seems contrary to Your name as Jehovah Rapha that You would make Job sick, even using/allowing Satan to do it.

Abba: Then that would be an important issue for you to resolve, since the world is full of sick people. You often rightly say that sickness is of the Devil. That it came into the world by Adam deeding his authority over to Satan. That is why you see him on the earth:

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” Job 1

You see from the notes in your Bible and the interlinear part of BibleHub.com that the word translated “Satan” throughout this passage in Job is “adversary, one who withstands”. It is what he does. And surely you know the text in written from a human perspective. Satan did not have to appear in a particular location to speak to Me about what was on his mind, like the members of a human extended family assembling to talk or Job’s friends coming to see him. When the scripture talks about My sitting on My throne, it is a statement about my positional authority; not my physical location, since I Am everywhere all the time. I Am Spirit (John 4:24).

Think about what you know about strength training. Straining your muscles against a force that withstands or opposes your efforts makes them stronger. Straining your brain against a challenge makes it more able. Even fighting against a virus equips your immune system to overcome it if it attempts to invade again. Do any of these seem pleasant in the moment?

Me: No. If experience did not teach that these things bring improvement, my natural inclination would be to shy away from them at all costs.

Are you saying that we need Satan that we may resist him (James 4:7) to develop our “spiritual muscles”?

Abba: I am saying that I work all things for your good (Romans 8:28). Since Satan is your adversary, it makes sense for you to be strong in Me (Ephesians 6:10-18) and put on the full armor I have given you.

Me: Thank You Father! I love You!

Abba: You are welcome! I love you!

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

(Post featured image from Pexels, Fascia of the previous Newseum, mine. )

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.