Jesus, our Way

I am grateful for Jesus, our way.

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3

Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”’” 2 Samuel 7:16 (Samuel speaking to David; Jesus is the fulfillment.)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6

Me:Good morning Father!

ABBA:Good morning Jon!

Me: Thank You for the promises You have fulfilled in Jesus!

ABBA: There is an aspect of Jesus being the way that I want you to consider more deeply. Obviously, Jesus’ death in your place paid the legal debt you owed because of sin. (Death because of sin announced in the garden – Genesis 2:17; explicitly countered in Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ) He is the way to escape the deadly consequence of what you have done because He already endured your just deserts.

Besides that, I want you to think of “way” in the sense that Robert Frost used it in his verse about his travels. I want you to think in terms of the process of life, one thing leading to another; one day’s choices building on the decisions laid down the day before to stand as the foundation supporting today. When Jesus said, “I Am the way”, he also meant that His life is our highest example. He marks the way in the manner that a path guides our footsteps to the destination that He intends. A path does not guide one who does not walk on it. Remember Frost’s line, “ And looked down one as far as I could; To where it bent in the undergrowth;”. Reaching the destination requires continuing to put one foot in front of the other until the end of the journey is attained. In just that way, every step in your life is under your control. You can follow Jesus in the way, or you can turn aside and trudge into the woods. It is really always up to you, step by step, choice by choice.

The truth (I Am the truth) is clarifying. As the refiner’s fire causes the dross to rise to the top so it can be removed, walking with Jesus in the way does that sort of purification. When the scripture says “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2, it is speaking of choices you make about that to do with your mind. Here is a signpost along that path: Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. – Philippians 4:8; with the transformation noted in Romans 2:12 as a result and abundant life as the destination of this way (I Am the life).

Me:Thank you Father! I love You!

ABBA: You are welcome! I love you!

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Polarization

Mahaska Morning

I am grateful to have the opportunity to commune with You, Holy Spirit!

‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’ – Jeremiah 29:11

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. – John 16:13

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
The enemy, I know, is constantly waging a propaganda war, detracting from the message of Truth and hope. He even has his mouthpieces spouting that their particular lie is the truth, that we should be incensed about whatever they are harping about and revolt against that which, I can often see, is proceeding according to Your plan.

Holy Spirit:
This is not new. It has been this way since he showed up in the garden to tempt Adam and Eve. Jesus spoke of it in Jerusalem:

You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. – John 8:44

Those who will turn their hearts to Me and put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6) will be able to extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one by the shield of faith. As the schemes of the devil progress, you will continue to see stronger polarization in beliefs. I am watching over My Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). I say I am working a plan to provide for your future and to give you reason to hope. Have I not said it, and will it not come to pass (Numbers 11:23, Psalm 33:9, Isaiah 55:11)? Those who are open to Me will have the opportunity to walk in the Truth that I Am revealing to them constantly.

Those who reject My voice, will be like those Jesus was speaking to in John 8. Their hearts are hardened. This was predicted:

“Son of man, you are living in a rebellious house. They have eyes to see but do not see, and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious house. – Ezekiel 12:2

Me:
Thank You Holy Spirit! Thank You for Your guidance, for revealing the truth and the promise of the future, for giving hope! My faith is in You, God, for You are good and nothing that stands against You will prevail! I love You!

Holy Spirit:
You are welcome! I love you!

Grateful for Wrath

A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

It seems Jesus used some harsh words, calling the Pharisees “whitewashed tombs”, “hypocrites”, “brood of vipers”, and other such things.

Which stirred up anger.

Resulting in His crucifixion, according to the eternal plan of the Father.

And resulting in the written record of unmistakable condemnation of the hypocritical behavior of the religious leaders.

Satan is also known for wrath, but of a different sort.  There is no turning away or appeasement of Satan’s wrath. He is consumed and identified by it (Revelation 12:12). The Pharisees were channeling it.

Most Bible verses containing the word wrath refer to God’s. God’s wrath is against evil. Satan’s wrath is against God and those who are His.

The Greek is instructive. ὀργῆς (orgēs) wrath – intrinsically/settled and constitutionally opposed. (As used in Revelation 6:16 of the Lamb.)

Ours is usually of a lesser sort. [F]or the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. James 1:20

As you see from the Greek, God’s wrath – His opposition to evil – is precisely because He is good. He cannot be good and wink at evil¹. We visualize wrath from our own experience with anger, which unredeemed, is based in fear, and certainly not of God. His wrath and righteousness are not mutually exclusive, but complementary and protective (of us, for example).

Satan’s wrath fits the same definition but is pointed in the opposite direction; he has become constitutionally opposed to good.

Me:
I have not (ever?) meditated on Your wrath, Father. Probably, I should have. I thank You for Your wrath. I am grateful that it is Your nature to oppose evil – the corruption of Your creation under the influence of sin. I love you! Thank You for Your wrath! Thank You that Jesus bore Your wrath on my account!  It was right that You oppose the evil I have done. Sometimes mindlessly, always selfishly, never justifiable.  It was pure mercy that He bore my penalty.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

[1] Phrase remembered from C. Spurgeon?

Released!

I am grateful for the rain on this spring day, preparing the soil to support the season’s new growth.

For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence. Psalm 91:3

Changing minds and hearts is often a slow process. Changing my heart and mind is a slow process. My enemy may lay traps for me in my circumstances, to be sure. But more insidious are the snares laid in my own beliefs that as yet have not been conformed completely to the truth. I thank You Holy Spirit that You are come to guide into all the Truth (John 16:13) and that the Truth is setting me free (John 8:32). What a powerful Agent of Deliverance You are!

 

placard1
Placard at Fort Sevier, renamed Fort Bruce, renamed Fort Defiance

 

bigGun
Big gun, with my Sweetie for scale

Training

Park at center of Gwinn, MI

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  –  James 1:2-4


 

I would tend to think of “testing of my faith” being perilously close to “struggling with doubt”.

However, the Spirit – who is sent to guide us into all the truth –
prompts me to think of it more this way: If I have no trials, how would I know that I have faith that holds steadfast under strain?  I would become spiritually flaccid without any opportunity to exercise my belief in Him.  As for endurance, when one first starts to exercise, he is very limited as to what he can do.  After much practice, though, staying power vastly improves.  “Trials” are testing experiences that are more than we have tackled before.  As our physical muscles were designed to improve with increased training, so our spiritual muscles with increasing trials.

Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Sign in Park

Rejecting Poison, Accepting Healing

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (Romans 12:4-5)

 

15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 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. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. (1 John 4)

 

Me:

Good morning Holy Spirit!

 

Holy Spirit:

Good morning Jon!

 

Me:

These two passages are all over that mysterious spiritual transformation whereby we become one with You and with each other. It is so different from the spirit of division and dissension that the enemy has been working so hard to foment among all. I lament the complicity of the news media and even the downward-accelerating effect of so many negative voices that make use of the various social outlets available to everyone on the Internet. These seem to be whipped into a froth with anger and worry and even despair. So contrary to Your message!

 

Holy Spirit:

Consider these words of Paul: (Philippians 3:17 – 4:9)

Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

I Am telling you what you need to know and to do to counter those tactics of the enemy, of which you lament. Healing of wounded relationships does not take place by changes to society, but by love and by making peace between two, as this example given of strife between Euodia and Syntyche. Society is made better when the two of them return to love. This strength is not in them, or in you. I Am near. Let your requests be to Me. Let your attitude be marked by thanksgiving. The change will be so striking that it will not be comprehensible by human understanding.

 

About that media. Whatever you fill your attention with gets control of your thoughts and attitudes. The message of the enemy is destructive by design. How much poison do you think it is prudent to ingest? You will hear his message, for it is pervasive. [They sharpen their tongues as a serpent; Poison of a viper is under their lips. Psalm 140:3] Do not volunteer your time to it. Do not fear it either, for that is part of his purpose, to engender fear. He feeds on it. When you hear the negative message, recognize the source and that is simply not the truth. I Am true. My Word is true. Fill your attention with that, and peace will be yours and you will then not be weakened by a steady diet of poison.

 

Instead, see yourself with this calling: These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues;they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17-18) The prevailing “tongue” of the media is like George Orwell’s “new speak”; designed to control by lies. Your new tongues shall not be so, but shall be truth and light and love. Speak these things and live. Rescue the perishing by the truth. Free the captives with the Word. Look to Me and be empowered.

 

Me:

I am continually rendered in awe of You, Holy Spirit! Thank You for your encouragement and for Your healing Word. I love You!

 

Holy Spirit:

You are welcome! Walk with Me and take My Word upon your lips and keep My vision before your eyes and in your heart!

Truth vs Death

1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.  6  This is the one who came by water and blood Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9 We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

 

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

 

Me:
This passage contains yet another of those affirmations that You are One; Father, Son, and Spirit. Jesus said I Am the truth (John 14:6), and here, John is pointing out that You are the truth.

 

Holy Spirit:

Remember, Jesus also said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; (John 14:16)

 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

 

The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting. (Psalms 119:160)

 

Truth is corrupt in the earth. Even the understanding of what truth is, has become corrupt. Every man goes his own way, thinking he gets to choose what he will believe to be true. He is even taught to think, “what is true for me”. There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:2) The ones who teach this relativistic abomination are not of Me. There is an accelerating move in the world to revise history. The truth is often uncomfortable. It does not support the lie that man has become more enlightened and has evolved into a state that does not need a redeemer. The truth is often uncomfortable. It points out that it is you that needs to change, without regard to what the other fellow is doing.

 

Note carefully how this Word in 1 John 5 connects Truth and Life from the positive side, while Proverbs 14:2 explains the consequences of not taking the Way of Truth.

 

Me:
Thank You, Holy Spirit! I love You explanations and Your exhortations! I love You!

 

Holy Spirit:

You’re welcome! I love You!