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.

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.

Enablement

I am grateful for a sunshiny day!

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

1 John 3:18

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

John 4:23-24

Me: Good morning, Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good morning, Jon!

Me: I wonder, when I read this passage, if You intend us to understand not love JUST by what we say, but to back it up by what we do. And, why does it say “neither in tongue” after saying “in word”?

Holy Spirit: Jesus, as always, is your example. You know that He loves by the proof of His (voluntary) death in your place. You can see from these verses that He was careful to tell you that He is your example:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. John 13:34

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. John 15:9

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. John 15:12

For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. John 16:27

Further, consider the reason the passage tells you to love in deed and in truth. I Am the truth, this passage is referring to (John 14:6). Unless you are enabled by My power, you will not manage to love in deed for your own efforts will fall short. Remember Jesus’ own prayer in the garden for the strength to carry out the Father’s will on the night before His crucifixion (Matthew 26:36-46).

Except by Me, you will not be able to love God any better than you can love others. The kind of love that is required it My love:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

John 4:23-24

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!

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

I Am the Truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boasting – more than annoyance

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

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

Psalm 118:24

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

Proverbs 27:1

Me: Good morning Father!

ABBA: Good morning Jon!

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

ABBA: Boast not of self.

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

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

Ephesians 2:8-10

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

James 3:5

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

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

Romans 1:28-32

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

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

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

Ephesians 4:15-16

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

Me: Thank You Father! I love you!

ABBA: You are welcome! I love you!

Kingdom of God

I am grateful for Your faithfulness!

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:33

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 2:14

Me: Good morning Father!

ABBA: Good morning Jon!

Me: Jesus told us in Matthew 6:33 to seek first Your kingdom. How does one do that?

ABBA: It would be beneficial for you to look at what the scripture says about My kingdom. How does one recognize it?

Me: Sounds like a good idea, of course.

ABBA:

5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

from Exodus 19 (please read all)

For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

Leviticus 11:45

I Am the Lord. The citizens of My kingdom are to listen to My voice, do what I say (from the heart, for what I say is from My heart and is good).

[My] throne … is for ever and ever: the sceptre of [My] kingdom is a right sceptre.

Psalm 45:6

I Am equipping them to be as I Am. In fact, if you try to be as I Am in your own strength, you will surely fail. I created you to abide in Me (John 15:7). I send My Spirit to guide you (John 16:13). Your fleshly desire to be an independent agent is of the evil one. Do not entertain his lies, which are designed to get My children to defect from My kingdom.

I Am the Truth. Those who would worship Me must worship in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) What is worship but acknowledging My sovereignty in My kingdom and your proper relationship with Me?

27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.

from Psalm 22 (please read all this Messianic Psalm)

In My Son Jesus, I Am making a way, a way for salvation available to the ends of the earth, to any who will receive Him:

28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40 (also Messianic – read it all, if you please)

Strength in Me is the lot of those who tarry with Me, strength not known even in the youth of men. In Me, they are changed:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2

Such are the laws of My kingdom, written in the hearts of My children, every one doing My perfect will because it is right, not out of fear of retribution, but for love (1 John 4:18).

[My] kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and [My] dominion endureth throughout all generations.

Psalm 145:13

The decay that has entered the world and all flesh through sin is defeated in My kingdom. My kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 3:2

None may enter without repentance. And the time for that is now (Joel 2:1):

At that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:17

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3

The downcast shall give up their depression, for My children walk in light and joy.

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:10

Those in My kingdom always do right, no matter the cost.

Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:19

Woe to those who obfuscates the truth, but blessed is he who shows it by word and deed.

“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:20

It does not matter what men deem acceptable. I Am judge.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

Matthew 7:21

Lip service does not bring change, but My will is a transformation:

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

John 7:38

I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;

Matthew 8:11

I Am not willing that any should perish.

2 Peter 3:9

And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

Matthew 10:7

Those who are after My own heart want the best for everyone and make the most of the time they are given.

Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Matthew 11:11

For even John had doubts relating to being able to distinguish between My eternal promises, the power of the Spirit, and the merely temporal things affecting the flesh.

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.

Matthew 11:12

Those who would, enter the kingdom by seizing upon the chance with everything that is within them.

Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. Matthew

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Matthew 13:11, 1 Corinthians 2:9

There is definitely more to the kingdom than meets the eye, for the eye has never seen the things of the Spirit.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

John 14:2-3

There are many wonderful surprises ahead!

Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field…

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Beware of the deceptions of the enemy, clearing away the resulting destruction of sin requires hard work and patience. His work tends to have residual effects which have to be battled long into the future, like tares[1] shedding seeds in a field of wheat. As Jesus’ explanation to the disciples makes clear, you must endure the children of the devil with you until I come for you. My fervent desire is that some of them will listen to you, turn, and come to Me. They can be transformed from tares – which only look like wheat until they begin to produce their toxic fruit – into real wheat by My power. Do you not realize that since the fall all were sprouted as tares? Corrupt men reproducing after their kind:

[Note 1: Tares: the bearded darnel, mentioned (only) in Matthew 13:25-30 . It is the Lolium temulentum, a species of rye-grass, the seeds of which are a strong soporific poison. It bears the closest resemblance to wheat till the ear appears, and only then the difference is discovered. It grows plentifully in Syria and Palestine. – from https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/tares/]

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Psalm 51:51, 1 Corinthians 6:11

He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Matthew 13:3-32

From the smallest start, work in the kingdom becomes great. I Am the Lord. Did not the Ransom of mankind spend His first night in a manger as a helpless infant?

He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”

Matthew 13:33

Never underestimate the effect your words may have when you encourage another to seek life in the Son.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Matthew 13:44-46

There is nothing in the physical realm which compares to the riches of the kingdom, which I Am.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; Matthew 13:47-51

Matthew 13:47-51 (please read)

I Am going to sort the good from the bad. I Am a righteous judge.

And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

Matthew 13:52

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

Matthew 16:19

Even so, your body, mind and emotions will respond (transform to be conformed) to My Spirit as you bring them into subjection by your own choice.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:1-4

Little children are guileless, loving, and humbly accepting their parents.

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves… So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Matthew 18:23-35

Forgive. It is the way of the kingdom. All the ways of the kingdom are My ways. My nature and character are the nature and character of the kingdom. Be holy, for I Am holy. This is your kingdom calling.

Me: Wow! I had not noticed lately that Jesus had so much to say about the kingdom of heaven. Thank You Father! I love You!

ABBA: You are welcome! I love you!

Dear Reader,
Thanks for hanging in there if you have read this far! Here is an earlier post about Covid the Cat (today’s Featured Image) and how he came to be with us.

Also, if you don’t really care for the King James version of the scriptures, I understand. They take some getting used to. I am using the KJV because it is the only version that is in the public domain (not under copyright). Please feel free to follow along in whatever version you choose! I guarantee you will benefit from the comparison anyway. – Jon

Mortal Fear Antidote

In times like these, or any other.

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.)

Reaping the Whirlwind

Two and a half years ago I wrote a blog post called Subsidized Vandalism about the extensive new wind farm being put in near us by MidAmerican Energy. I won’t rehash that original post here. The link above will open it if you like. I took the featured photo for this post down the road from where I live on Sunday this past week. You may have heard about the “wind waste” problem related to aging wind farms. Did I mention this one is less than three years old?

I believe we are charged by God to be good stewards of His creation, though I have witnessed much done by men that has proven to the short sighted and destructive. Some short sighted and destructive behavior can easily be attributed to me. If one hangs around me long enough, though, I will be heard to say that failure to “count all the beans” if a fatal economic flaw in many projects. I would be hard pressed to imagine an undertaking where that ill wind blows more faithfully than in the wind-energy industry.

I understand that many are being – how shall I say this? – proselytized by the climate change religion whose preachers assert that we have been much worse than poor stewards of creation; but predict with certainty in their voices that we are on the verge of destroying the earth’s ability to sustain us. The preachers are often in our schools; that particular religion is apparently OK within those walls. The motivation is usually held to be greed, rather than pure malice. Those who live where there is public transportation may blame drivers of cars. Those who need a car to get to work may blame eating meat. The point seems to be that someone must be to blame. I suspect ignorance is the most prevalent root cause of casting blame. Any climate change non-believers must endure attempts to shame any who are capable of such, into giving assent to any effort that can be remotely classified as “green”. We have to save the planet at all costs, after all.

Once one discounts the existence and promise of the Creator, it becomes easy to let fear consume all hope and believe the (carefully crafted and oft repeated) propaganda that we are feeling the breath of the mercenary evil who have set themselves over us and backed us up against the final precipice of doom.

I might as well own it. You can probably tell by now, anyway. I am one of the “deniers” that drive the fearful-of-climate-change-due-to-man to distraction. There are many reasons that I take this stance. Some of them are even based on science. However, the most powerful is a promise that I find in scripture. (At least I admit that mine is a religious argument.) The promise was made to Noah after the earth was destroyed by flood. In Genesis 8:22, we find this:

“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”

And in Romans 3:3-4

What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written:

“So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”

I trust God with my future. You can trust Him with yours. As a Christian, I don’t even worry about the case where earth “ceases to endure”. I have other promises of my continuance and that of anyone who believes in the One who has made it possible for us to get past anything (Romans 8:38-39). I “get” that those without belief in God persist in hopeless worry. If that was my state, I would never risk getting into a car.

Enough of owning my view on climate change. Let me get back to the rant at hand.

The best numbers I have heard is that break-even for a wind turbine is around twenty years; roughly the maximum lifetime. The numbers the industry cites in public statements, however, are more like one to two years to profitability. Of course, that includes the subsidies and many other shenanigans. It is maddeningly difficult to get a straight answer about the economics. I do know that here in Iowa there are plans to raise our electric rates to subsidize more wind farms. Why, oh, why would that be necessary in a profitable industry? Iowa wind power has now exceeded 42% of total generated power in the state. We Iowans are apparently all-in.

I started this rambling post to complain about the use of material that is not economically recoverable to manufacture the massive blades. The solution of the wind industry to this problem is to plow up large swaths of western prairie to bury them, where they will never decay while the earth endures. How green does that seem to you?

Lest you come to the conclusion that I am blowing wind waste all out of proportion here are three links to articles in publications that are usually willing to go way out on the limb of veracity to be supportive of anything “green”. If you read these, you will see that even they have a hard time putting a good spin on the waste generated by the wind industry. In the Des Moines Register article, you will see that MidAmerican is creating a great deal of this waste by reworking ten-year old windfarms to install bigger turbines. I would liken this to an individual trading in a vehicle for which he still owes more than its value.

It takes a big rug to sweep all the waste under.

https://www.npr.org/2019/09/10/759376113/unfurling-the-waste-problem-caused-by-wind-energy

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-02-05/wind-turbine-blades-can-t-be-recycled-so-they-re-piling-up-in-landfills

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/agriculture/2019/11/06/few-recycling-options-wind-turbine-blades-head-iowa-landfills/3942480002/

Stubborn

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

Isaiah’s Commission

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

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

Jesus’ Explanation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!