Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
I am awed, really, how God is faithful to reinforce the messages He is strengthening in my life. This verse in Ephesians is a mighty example. I tend to get discouraged when I try to communicate truth I find helpful into the lives of friends who are engaged in self-defeating thought patterns and clearly suffering. I am dismayed when it seems my attempts fall upon deaf ears and the troubles of my friends persist. I find myself feeling that there is something I have failed my friend in; some way I have let him down. I stumble into the same trap that Moses did when he argued with God that he wasn’t articulate enough to carry the message (Exodus, chapters 3 & 4).
Of course, it is easier for us to recognize these patterns in others than in ourselves. The things we believe that are not true and that lead us to trouble are not easy to root out precisely because our internal filter (belief system) is contaminated by the lies we believe. These beliefs seldom bear scrutiny in the light of day. They are more like an unconscious subtext running subliminally in the background. Some of them may have come into existence when we were mere “infinks”*, when we didn’t know any better.
Better, I would meditate on verses like Ephesians 3:20 until the truth of it is fully ingrained in my heart that it is God, and God alone, who is able to do exceeding abundantly above anything I would even conceive of. Meditate until I can stand without wavering upon the truth that He is already at work in me to accomplish things that are hard to believe. Impossible, in fact, in the natural realm. The believer ALREADY has the Holy Spirit dwelling on the inside. What is left is is the transforming of the mind to align with this truth (Romans 12:2). In that way – meditating on these powerful truths in scripture – these failures to grasp the truth in daily life can be rooted out. In me. In my friends. In You. In Power.
Eat your spinach, you no good infink. Eat it. EAT IT. Eat it.
I am grateful that You made it clear that a thankful heart is part of the wisdom of living a wise and sober life in the power of Your Spirit!
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
See then that ye walk circumspectly1, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Me: Good morning, Father!
Abba: Good morning, Jon!
Me: How are the days evil, Father, since we are also told to rejoice for this is a day that You have made? (Psalm 118:24)
Abba: I have made the day. Who else? In the beginning everything I made was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Consider these passages and see that the evil in any day did not spring forth of My choosing:
Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Who devise evil things in their hearts; They continually stir up wars.
Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, Who spreads strife.
The one who is in Christ, however, is called to His work:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
And part of His work, in which you are called to continue, is this:
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
1 John 3:8
That is why the word in Ephesians 5:16 says “Redeeming the time”. In so far as it depends upon you (Romans 12:18), you redeem your day from evil. What depends more upon you – what do you have more control over – than how you engage the time allotted to you?
Men must choose: walk in faith in Me, in what My word has asserted is true, or cower in fear according to the lies of the devil.
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
1 John 4:18
Me: Thank You Father! I love You!
Abba: You are welcome! I love you!
1 Circumspect: careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences; prudent (Merriam-Webster.com) [Latin circum – all around, in a circle; spectat – look.]
Father, I am grateful for today, for today’s opportunities, for its promise, for Your creation of it, and for Your presence in it.
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Me: Good morning Father!
ABBA: Good morning Jon!
Me: Rejoice now, wait-and-see for tomorrow? No boasting?
ABBA: Boast not of self.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
Here is a list, containing reference to boasters. See what company it keeps:
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
If, instead, you speak truthfully of Me and of My workmanship in your life you will unleash My power for good.
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
These things apply to you as an individual. Individuals make up families, organizations (from churches to governments), to all of society. I Am able to make the difference between health & joy and rot. The choice is yours.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. – Exodus 15:26 KJV
Me: Good morning Father!
Jehovah Rapha: Good morning Jon!
Me: This part of your nature, stated in Exodus 15, certainly seems little understood in our day.
Jehovah Rapha: Many have been inoculated with naturalism, now believing that-which-is came in to being by chance through eons of random processes. Plus, the prophets of fear are peddling hopelessness and fear over the very air that I made to sustain you.
I created you with a marvelous “immune” system make you able to withstand and fight invaders too small for you to see. It works without you having to think about it. But what you think – what you believe – certainly does affect its effectiveness. If you are filled with hope because of confidence (faith) in Me, it works best. If you are stressed because of fear and doubt and worry and negativity, it will be suppressed. The channel of fear into your life generally has an off switch. I recommend that you use it. If it comes person to person, consider that interaction an opportunity to counter fear with the truth. In so doing you will help the other one as well as yourself. What keeps coming out of your mouth is very important (Mark 11:23 KJV).
One of the points of fear that is coming out is that the virus making its rounds now is “novel” and you therefore do not have immunity. However, I made your immune system to learn and remember. Otherwise, vaccinations would be useless. Those who are already compromised in some way are said to be at greater risk. This should be common sense. They are already weakened by some issue and have not been walking fully in My promises, usually for a long time. The medical profession would call their condition “chronic”. Notice the root of the word is from khronos – time.
Me: None of us have been successful at walking in all that You have said, at least not on our own. We did not fulfill the requirements of Exodus 15:26.
Jehovah Rapha: I Am the One who knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Nothing surprises me. I Am Jehovah Jireh – your provider. As I provided the sacrifice for Abraham (Genesis 22:14), so I have provided My Son Jesus as sacrifice for your sin. He Himself has said that there is none righteous except God (Mark 10:18). As you are in Him, consistently walking in the Spirit that I have given to empower you, you become righteous in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). He has fulfilled the requirements of Exodus 15:26 on your behalf, if you accept that He has and choose to abide in Him (John 15:4). Is this the hallmark of your life? I know that it is. Many, though, only call on me in times when they are already in trouble. Trouble in mind, trouble in body, or trouble in circumstance. It is harder to exit the mire than to avoid it. They want something from from Me when they call rather than to be in My presence. I desire fellowship with you. That is why I Am redeeming you and you are to walk in that promise. What do you think? If you draw near to Me, will evil like the surroundings?
Me: Thank You Father! How much better to run into the shelter you provide and avoid all kinds of trouble. How much better to enjoy health and peace and all of your mighty promises to those that truly love you! I do love You!
Jehovah Rapha: You are welcome! Thank you for spending this time with Me! I love you!
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24 King James Version
(The featured image taken outside Larry Pearson’s metal shop in Radcliffe IA.)
I used to write a politically-oriented blog because I care deeply about the country that I live in. I care about the Constitution that our founders have left us. I believe the Bill of Rights is an awesome expression of the grace we have enjoyed as a people. I am passionate about trying to help elect those who care about these things too. I care about those who have served in various ways to secure and protect the freedoms that we hold dear. Those traditions go back to the very beginning.
I served six years on active duty in the US Navy myself, longer ago than I usually admit. The “featured image” for today is of one of the ships that I served on during a transit near a typhoon that was churning things up in the western Pacific (photo credit – Ralph Turner) . But I don’t limit my honor to those with military service or to our elected officials, or even to our brave first-responders, who are using their specialized skills and regularly putting their lives on the line on our behalf. As heroic as all those are, who selflessly do these important jobs, I also recognize that the mom and dad who are doing their best to instill a sense of duty and service and love of others into the next generation are also on the front lines doing work that is critical to our survival as a nation.
Today, I spent the afternoon driving around rural Iowa, delivering some last-minute materials that will be used in the caucuses in my Iowa county on Monday night. I hope the turnout is better than the one we saw last year. There was a blizzard, and it was an “off” (non-presidential) year. Perhaps folks wonder, “What difference will it make?” To me, the difference is that I meet with my neighbors and together we show that we care enough to show up. The sacrifices we make to get together are so pale when compared to those who suffered the brutal Winter and supply crisis at Valley Forge (1777-1778) with General Washington. Or how will we compare our time of discussion to the withering fire faced by those who fought their way ashore at Omaha Beach? No, ours seems like a minor contribution. I take it as important in preserving our freedoms for the next generation, none the less.
You might wonder, since this is a passion that I freely own, why I gave up my political blog. The reason is fairly simple, and it was voiced by John Adams, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” I came to realize that as a nation, while we must work within our political system to do what we can, our fundamental dilemma is a spiritual one. Our diminishing state of spiritual existence probably helps explain the explosion of laws and bureaucratic regulations that have been passed to try to restrain us. Alas, the long line of legislators that we have had since our founding apparently felt the simple and direct Constitution had to be supplemented. The word “religious” used by Adams may not have exactly the same connotation in our day, as it did in his, but unless we return to our mooring as “one nation under God” as our Pledge of Allegiance has it, we will remain adrift and headed for the shoals of destruction – and all those regulations will not save us.
I am grateful for
the fascinating uniqueness of every person. You, our Creator, are
I Am … A new
2 Corinthians 5:17
is the fifth entry on Christy Mitropolous’ artwork.)
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Me: Good morning
Jesus: Good morning
Me: I want to ask a
Me: I was grumpy and
surly last night. Even working outside on a gorgeous spring evening,
I seemed incapable of proper appreciation.
Jesus: You were
preoccupied with comparing your performance at work against your
perception of the many demands on your time. You scarcely notice the
extra-special sunset I created. Have you thought about why having
more to do than you can focus on causes you stress? One of the people
you met with yesterday about the likely impact of changes to an
electronic controller published an email naming you an expert on the
subject at hand.
Me: The guy who
actually made the changes was out sick. I knew the details because he
reports to me and had graciously kept me involved because he
recognized the stakes were high, business wise. But to your question,
I feel like a juggler who is struggling to keep all the balls in the
air. The last act of my day at work was fielding a question from my
manager, who asked me something I had not had time to study. I had no
Jesus: When I was
“in the flesh”, so to speak, I answered such a question, about
the consummation of all things.
I said, “But about
that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the
Son, but only the Father”. Mark 13:32
My point is, there
are things it is not up to you to know. Or do.
I am glad that you
recognized your attitude was not right yesterday and then brought it
to Me. If your peace is disturbed, it is a red flag that something in
your beliefs is not founded on the truth that I Am in control and
that I Am willing to guide you through. You have a tendency to think
“new creation” implies final perfection. What it means is
because the power of sin is broken in Me, there is the possibility. A
baby is a new creation, who has a lifetime of learning and
development ahead following the process of becoming
(v21) what he is created to be.
I am grateful for more Spring-like weather! Time to rake the gravel out of the grass from plowing the driveway last Winter!
The fourth statement
on Christy Mitropoulous’ artwork is:
I AM – A slave to
righteousness. Romans 6:18
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Me: Good evening
Jesus: Good evening
Me: My wife reminded me of Jim Richards’ definition of righteousness, as living the way things ought to be (I’m paraphrasing).
Jesus: When you were
living the way you thought things ought to be, you were not
righteous. Finding out My definition of the way things ought to be
and living according to that in the power of the Spirit is the way to
be free from enslavement to sin.
Me: I have had large
swaths of my life when I agreed your way was right, but still did not
or could not follow it.
Jesus: Yes, mere
agreement will not suffice to transform your life. What was the word
Paul used as an indicator?
Jesus: The proof is
in the outcome. Obedience is a verb. Agreement is a position.
Change requires action. Obedience in your own strength is works, and
as you know from experience, you will ultimately fail. Obedience
operating in My strength, in the grace I have extended to you, is
key; I will never fail you.
The other day, in a
meeting with friends, you observed that the trajectory of your life
had gone from a steady downward spiral to one that was consistently
upward. There are many ways to describe the divide Paul is speaking
of in this passage. It all comes down to this: will you walk with Me,
or not? Many think this means asking Me to walk with them. That is
not the way to freedom either.
For sin shall not
be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Me: Good afternoon
Holy Spirit: Good
Me: This third statement on Christy Mitropoulous’ artwork is one that my natural mind resists as presumptuous. It says, “Hey, wait a minute! I (insert reference to last bad attitude or hurtful thing I did here) and I clearly miss the mark of God’s best regularly.” I therefore have to get hold of those thoughts and compare them closely against the message of the gospel to bring them into subjection to the truth.
Holy Spirit: That is
certainly one aspect of the necessary work of correcting things you
have come to believe that are just not true. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
says, For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to
the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but
divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are
destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the
knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the
obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience,
whenever your obedience is complete.
some things about this passage:
Every thought matters.
The notion that only what you do outwardly matters is as false as
false can be. (See Matthew 15:19 or Mark 7:21)
Men’s ideas are one of the things that stand against true
knowledge of God.
Men are proud of these ideas.
Getting your thinking straightened out is a war.
It is a desperate struggle.
Life and death are at stake.
I Am providing the power you need to break the strongholds of wrong
It is My power, the power that created the cosmos and all its
Correction takes time.
Not because I have yet to provide a way, but because of your
ability to apply yourself to the process, to do battle in your
spirit and reconcile yourself to the truth.
I remember that word “master” also came up with regard to sin in
the early chapters of Genesis.
Spirit: Yes. Cain had some trouble with his thinking. He did not
master it, and he killed his brother Able while he was still
operating in self-centered anger.
4:7 “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And
if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire
is for you, but you must master it.”
point of Romans 6:14 is that those who are in Christ because they
have accepted the salvation purchased by His death for their sin are
free from the power of sin. That is, sin’s power over them
is broken. There are many passages of scripture that attest to this.
Before we look at some of those, note the difference in the message
to Cain and the one to believers (after the cross).
To Cain – “you must master it.”
To believers – “sin shall not be master over you”
is the grace that has been extended to you.
1:29 — The next day he
saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who
takes away the sin of the world!
8:34 — Jesus answered
them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the
slave of sin.
6:23 — For the wages of
sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ
Jesus our Lord.
8:6-8 — For the mind
set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and
peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for
it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not
even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot
10:10 — for with the
heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the
mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
2:12-13 — So then, my
beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only,
but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear
and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and
to work for His good pleasure.
out your salvation with fear and trembling. Take this work
seriously. Think of a demolition expert working to diffuse a bomb;
he wants to get it right. Your life is at stake too. This passage
does not mean that the basis of your salvation is your works. The
basis of your salvation is the completed work of Christ. The work
this passage is referring to is the same work as 2 Corinthians 10:5;
the work of aligning your beliefs, and therefore your thoughts, and
then therefore your actions to the Truth, which is Christ. Neither
are you to attempt this on your own. I Am here to help you.
Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!
Spirit: You are welcome! I love you! Here is some more help:
4:12 — For the word of
God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and
piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints
and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the
on how I Am providing guidance to sort out what you believe and how
that affects what you end up doing.