“Roll Away the Stone” Chapter 17 Palm Sunday

Zechariah 9:9

The Coming of Zion’s King  

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

“Who is this Jesus person?” “What’s all the fuss about?”

Asked a wealthy merchant of Jerusalem, as a cloud of people, and multitudes of “Hosanna” shouts burst through the eastern gate of the city.

“He’s a great prophet” A bystander told him.”A prophet who has done many great miracles in the name of Yaweh.”

“Ha!!! Prophet?”  Retorted the merchant. “Riding a donkey?”

On February 15, 519 B.C. a young Israelite was awakened from what he described a trance, by an Angel of God. His name was Zechariah, and was given eight revelations while yet under Babylonian captivity. These visions, and message the Angel delivered, were not just words of the coming remission of God’s judgement, and freedom for physical Israel’s 70 years of enslavement, but, also a heralding proclamation to the world. A message of hope, salvation, victory, and finalized deliverance from the universal law of sin and death.

Though the book of  Zechariah, including the vision Zechariah was given that night, entails  earthly kings of  power storming the land on colorful steeds, the spiritual message within the book was veiled. And, sadly, for some, without God-given spiritual discernment, still remains shielded today. The real hero in the prophetic vision wasn’t to show on the scene for another 500 years… Not riding a war-horse, or taking land, and spoil, by means of corporal shield and sword, but Instead, He came saving souls, with the sword of a Holy Spirit. An unshakeable passion of  faith, on the most humble beast of all.                                                                                                                                  On the back of a baby Burro.

                             

                                Matthew 21:2-5

                             The Royal Welcome

When they neared Jerusalem, having arrived at Bethphage on Mount Olives, Jesus sent two disciples with these instructions: “Go over to the village across from you. You’ll find a donkey tethered there, her colt with her. Untie her and bring them to me. If anyone asks what you’re doing, say, ‘The Master needs them!’ He will send them with you.”

This is the full story of what was sketched earlier by the prophet:

Tell Zion’s daughter,
“Look, your king’s on his way,       
poised and ready, mounted
On a donkey, on a colt,
foal of a pack animal.”

John 12:13  

 So they took palm branches and went to meet him. They were shouting,

“Hosanna!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord,
the king of Israel!”  (The Message )

I saw a message on a Church marquee sign today that read: “Easter is not a Dead Issue.” And though we could argue about the word “Easter” and its origin. Or, the exact time, and date of the “Resurrection” of Jesus Christ, until the day of His return. I pray instead, if only for one day, if not, a complete Holy Week, we stand together, united in praise…

Because, one thing I believe anyone who knows the Lord Jesus will have to agree on, is, it must have been an awesome sight to behold; The Triumphal Entry. But, the most important Triumphal Entry of our personal lives…is the Day He Enters Our Hearts.

paulwillis-2013 ©

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Image#3  By Jeanie Belgrave

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“Roll Away the Stone” Chapter 16

Are we being a Barnabas to our sisters, and brothers, in the family of God? Are we being a Barnabas even to our natural family members when they’re in need of encouragement? Maybe they did wrong. Maybe they’ve made some bad decisions in life that brought shame to the family. But, does constant chastisement, and nagging, on how bad one has lived their life ever help change a person, or help them to see the error of their ways? Or, does it take love, and gentle directive nudging?

Sometimes, of course, there is a need for confrontation, and speaking the truth to a person in tough-love, but then comes a time for encouraging, and disciplining that person in ways that are not accusative, or condemning . Saul, of Tarsus, for an example, was a very astute man of his day, in the eyes of religious law. Sadly, though, like many of today, he was over zealous in how he saw God and His work. Many extremist of the Mideast, Fareast, and even here in the  U.S. will take a person’s life in a second, and even take their own life thinking they are doing God a great service. The Bible, of course, tells us this type of behavior will be common in the last days.

They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.                                 John 16:2

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.            2 Timothy 3:1-5

This behavior isn’t limited to the Muslim religious extremist, it’s right here, even among some so-called Christians. Even as far back as the Crusades men went out for the wrong reasons, taking lives and thinking they were doing God some great service. Here in America, people have bombed abortion clinics thinking they were doing God a favor. And it’s not just in the abortion clinics by any means. Two years ago, a Dr. who was well-known as an abortion, or, right to choice advocate was senselessly gunned down. Taken in the prime of his life by one who thought he was doing God a favor. Not in his clinic, But, in His CHURCH!!!!!

(May 31, 2009, George Tiller,)

Now. Getting back to Saul. So extremely zealous in believing the things he was doing to Christians was all for the Glory of God, that he went to the high priest asking to be deputized, as it were, legally sanctioned to go out, capture, beat, and imprison, any and all Christians he came across on the way to Damascus. But, as we read, in Acts Chapter 9,  Saul met with a greater authority. He met the “True High Priest,” on the road to Damascus,and was given a much higher appointment than that of  a deputy enforcing the “Religious Laws of Man”. Saul met his divine appointment when he met JESUS the Christ!

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

In other words, Jesus was saying.  ” Saul, you are defeating your own purpose, and persecuting those you should be encouraging”.

And he (Paul) trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.                                                    Acts 9:1-6

Now we know this was a very humbling experience to say the least for Saul. He was blinded by the Light of Jesus’ exuberant manifestation, and led by the hand to Damascus where all he did for three days, and nights, was pray. He wouldn’t eat, he couldn’t sleep. He just prayed.

This was no covert operation Saul, of Tarsus had been on in the taking, and imprisoning of the saints of God either. Saul, of Tarsus was a dreaded, and greatly feared name, when heard, or  mentioned,  among the disciples of the Lord as we see in Acts 9:13. After Jesus told Ananias in a vision to go to straight street and “lay thou hands on and anoint one Saul of Tarsus”, Ananias retorted : ” Lord, I’ve heard so much of what this man has done among our brethren. Are you sure this is what you want me to do Lord, this man may just cut off my headstone me to death”. (Paraphrased)

Our loving savior Jesus, assured Ananias it was what He desired for him to do, as Saul was a Chosen vessel for the work of the Lord. After which, Saul was a born again, filled with the  Holy Spirit of God, baptized, new man in Christ, (Now called Paul, ) and went out almost immediately after Ananias laid his hands on him, and the scales fell from his eyes, and began reaching in the synagogues that Christ was the son of God.

Nonetheless, just because we know all of this, do we think he no longer had guilt to deal with over the things he had done? Of course he did. In fact many believe this guilt, and lack of self forgiveness was the very thorn in Paul’s side, which the Bible tells us clearly, in Paul’s own words, buffeted him till his last letter to Timothy, before being killed.

The Bible tells us, of this thorn in Paul’s flesh, that he asked the Lord to remove it three times. Gods only response was:  “My Grace Is Sufficient”. And, seeing as Paul was known to pray for three days at a time, those three times of his imploring God to remove the thorn could have been three different occasions in prayer equaling nine days or more. So. If the Great man of God, Paul, who wrote 13, and some say 14 books of the Bible needed an encourager to help keep him from falling into despair even after seeing Jesus the Christ, in a great vision of light on the road to Damascus. Then who are we to not be an encourager to our sisters, and brothers? Knowing that we need encouraging many times our selves, even if a person has fallen, or caused shame, or less than perfect in his, or her, walk with the Lord, if God says His Grace is enough, then who are we to cast stones of discouragement and doubt at that person?

I’ve personally heard several sermons, preached by two different preachers, both saying “the Church has taken this Grace thing just a little too far”, and both times, in both services I said to myself ; (and wanted to stand and shout it ) Maybe you’ve taken yourself too far preacher! But, brothers, and sisters, if God says ye are saved by His Grace, then the only thing I’m taking from the Grace God has given to another person, is my hands off.

The Church needs more Barnabas’

We need to edify our sisters, and brothers. We need to bring them up when they are down. The Bible tells us that we are to glory with one another in our mountain top experiences, and mourn together in our valleys. I believe for a man, or a woman, to be truly born again we are to see a change in the way we feel toward other people in their hardships, and pain, even in the midst of our own mud bogged pain filled situations of life. We need a Barnabas, and we need to be a Barnabas . The only way the Church I believe will ever come together again in one accord is to learn this lesson from the great book of Acts, and to learn to apply it into our daily interactions with our brothers, and sisters, in Christ.

Now Paul wasn’t the only one who had doubts. Can you imagine the thoughts of the disciples of the Lord the first time Paul showed back up in Jerusalem? Can you imagine the fear, and hatred, and total distrust the disciples must have felt toward a man who stood firm as he held the coats of those other Pharisees while they cast the stones that killed Stephen? And only the Lord knows what other things he had done…In the Name of the Lord, of course.  Or, at least, that he thought was a great service to the Lord, according to his Religious schooling of the time. These things could have not been easy for even Paul to forget, and no doubt were on the minds of all the other disciples.

Paul needed someone. Paul needed Barnabas. We need a Barnabas, we need to be a Barnabas. We need to be a comforting, welcoming, soul warming glimmer of light for the Lord, in someones life, and not a flashing red, flag of condemnation.

Now, Barnabas had a divine calling as well. He was born on the Greek Island of Cyprus to a Jewish family, and the Bible tells us if we go back a little further in the book of Acts:

Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.                                                                                   Acts 4:36

Here we see that Barnabas was already being prepped to help encourage the Jew whom God had chosen to be the “Minister of Salvation” unto the Gentiles. The Church Needs More Barnabas :

Here’s what the Bible says Barnabas did first among many other things concerning Paul.  Straightway Paul preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. 25Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. 26And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. Acts 9:20-26

When the religious leaders got wind of what Paul was up to they were furiously indignant, and out for more blood. This time, Paul’s blood. Here was a man hunted by his own people,  once in the same mind-set with, and same erroneous belief of who God was, now willing to die for what Jesus had shown him an opposite cause. He knew, however, that he wouldn’t die this day, as God had told him of the things he would suffer for Jesus’ name sake before he would deliver the message of the Gospel to Rome.

No, the time was not yet come, and he knew what he was supposed to do, and whom he was supposed to be with. But, they did not trust Paul at all, and Paul understood that. Paul really suffered in his mind, and heart, over the things  he had done in his past to people he wished now he could bring back, love, edify and encourage. But,that was as impossible as becoming one of the close-knit disciples of the Lord must have seemed to him at that moment. When, right before his eyes, Gods wonderful plan continued to unveil its self:

But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. ( After this the Bible tells us ) Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.  Acts 9:27-31

Without Barnabas standing up for Paul, the likelihood of him becoming accepted among the disciples was not good. In fact, one could have just as easily torn him down, assassinating the chance of a changed character, as many times today we are prone to see. Peter was not even about to come around such a man as this, had it not been for Barnabas.

So, the same choice is ours to make. God already ordained us to be an encourager, yet He also has given us a choice. Ruth, had Naomi, David, had Jonathan, Job, should have had three close friends who sat at his side, and suffered along with him as he was so painfully scourged physically, and spiritually, but, instead they accused him, and pointed a self discerning finger and made his pain even worse. But, what did God have to say about it?

And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.

So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.

And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.                                 JOB 42: 7-10

Who will you be? ..an Eliphaz, a Bildad, a Zophar?  Or will you choose to be a Barnabas?

She Sails Fare Another Day

To those who sit in darkness; 

Waste deep in the drink of woe.

The light you bring shares life;

A beacon of  glimmering  hope.

You carry the torch not for selfish gain; But, foundering ships avail.

Stranded aground, gurgling sounds, off starboard in the Captains gaze…

Hips be lifted, beams a shifted; Hoist the mainsail Maties!!!

She Sails Fare Another day.

©paulwillis-2013

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‘Roll Away the Stone” Chapter 15

Why does God allow adversity? That’s a question we’ve all asked at one time, or other, in our lives. We don’t even have to be a child of God to ask that question. It seems, in fact, the number one most pondered question of all times when it comes to the quest for the meaning of life. It’s also the most widely posed question among all diverse groups who seek the meaning of life. Atheist, use it to try to prove their claims that there is no God. Agnostics, use it to try to balance the teeter tottering split rail fence rung their indecisive minds spin from possibility, to possibility, on. And, we the children of God, ask it many times from the midst of our own anguish filled tumult, and tragedies.

As hard as it is for us to accept, or, even contemplate when we are experiencing such life altering circumstances, the answer boils down to one thing.  “Faith.”  How much do you believe God’s word? Do you really believe God allows adversity in our lives to prepare us for something better in life, as His word so often alludes to?

Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.  Psalm 66:12

Or, do we instinctively assume the Devil is behind all adversity in our lives? Although Satan may be used by God in inflicting the adversities he has devised in one of his whiles against God’s children, it is never Satan who is behind the final outcome.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

When we face struggles in our life, God may only be trying to get our attention. He may be trying to teach us something, or just strengthening our faith. One thing is for sure. If you are facing seemingly bad circumstances in your life as a child of God, God has something good in it for you. Once we come to realize this, and begin to respond to those difficulties rather than ask why, God’s purpose behind our sufferings begin to show.

 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.                       Romans 12:2

The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.                                                       Psalm 34:22                       

Adversity is something none of us are immune to. The question, however, in our hearts, and minds, when adversity comes knocking should not be ..“Why does God allow this”? But, how do I best respond to it. If we get buried in the all too overwhelming questioning of why such a thing is taking place in our life, we may just miss the lesson, or message, He is trying to get us to see .

One great Biblical example that comes to mind is Joseph’s life changing dilemma of being thrown into a pit by his brothers, and then sold into slavery by some passing Midianite  merchants, to later become the Governor of Egypt as part of God’s plan to one day rescue Joseph’s family, (the seed of Jesus ) from impending famine. Joseph could never have fulfilled God’s plan in all of this had he broke down in total despondency, and defeat. But, Joseph never blamed God. Though he may have had moments of wondering, and even asking God why. Sooner or later, he used the adversity as a starting point to carry on what he knew (By Faith) was a plan devised by God. How can that be? You may ask. Because, Joseph had long since succumbed to the realization that God was with him… Joseph rested..  In the Finished Works of God.

 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.                               Genesis 50:20 

Am I saying that God is the author of all our sufferings? Not at all.

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
He never promised we would not suffer adversity. But, He does promise a perfect peace, and unexplainable joy from the hope He gives us deep down inside. The trials, and tribulations,  we go through here in this present life on earth? Maybe some of it is to keep us from being satisfied with what this world has to offer. Which all too often, because of abounding worldly evil, and selfish rebellion to God’s moral standards, includes suffering and pain. The next time you find yourself struggling with something heartbreaking, or too hard to understand, instead of complaining, or asking why▬ strive to be closer to Him. Because here, now, and forever. That is the absolute best place in the world to be.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.                                          Revelation 21:4

Dandy Lion, Your Seed Has Been Received

 

Like a Dandy Lion;  Seeds blowing in the wind…
We are here for a moment..
Blown asunder… Our stems bend…Ashleyp915
Floating gracefully our sprites do list…
All hollowed wonder, pondering the mist…
It comes as freshness. Replenishing our slumber. No longer a need for us to wonder. Peace and lighted wings of fire…Do you think He’ll let you fall?  Rest natural child..the Super-Natural Father has a plan. He’ll inform you. He has control of it all.  And in all. Peace.  You’ll see, has no end.

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“Roll Away the Stone” Chapter 14

God is a paradox in many ways to our finite understanding. Which in part could be why there are so many denominations or “Faiths” as the Church world has rationalized the term through the years. If so, that could only mean that God offers, and expects, more of His ways to be understood by His children. Wouldn’t it? It isn’t God’s fault. If God wants us more united, (and heaven knows we should ), as He tells us in His Word, it’s hard to imagine we all have the same love letter from God right in front of us. How can there be so many different interpretations of the same Bible that plainly states it is of no personal interpretation? The problem then is an individual one more than a church issue.

Notwithstanding, Satan, the accuser of the brethren, clearly working the onset, and fanning the flame of many disagreements leading to church divisions, the final fracture of the congregation falls on people who by not hearing from God take it upon themselves to part ways. When most church schisms spring from semantics of one verse, or just one word, it has to boil down to individual, personal, interpretation. A deeper, more attentive, relationship with God is the answer. The beauty of it for us today, unlike the Israelites who wandered around in the desert for 40 years instead of crossing into their promised land in the eleven days the trip should have taken, is that Jesus has provided us a perfect opportunity to commune directly with our heavenly Father. We have no excuse for wandering around aimlessly, when He has already paid the price with His precious life, and walks with us every step of the way. All He ask is that we believe in Him. And love Him.

Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:         Psalm 95:10       

So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.      Hebrews 3:19

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.

 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.   Isaiah 43:18-19

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.       John 6:35

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Matthew 23:37

WHERE ARE YOU?

You wonder sometimes why no one ever shows; You’ve created such wonders, a place for them all to go. Hard to imagine, what else they expect to find out there;When you’ve given all they’ll ever need, in one place for all of them to share. There’s devotional time, insight, forums and news; Yet the flock remains scattered, as words in a library, among books too numerous to choose.There’s creation, drama, action, and love; sea shores, mountain tops, even fire from above.There’s conquest, chivalry,  sermons and prayer;Yet, still I am alone it seems, for in my quiet time, I alone am there.Now, this may seem selfish, to those of you reading;

But, fear not, do not think it just I pleading.

Tis  not a letter from me to intrigue you;

But from my own daily forgetfulness to spend time with God;

These are words I hear, Softly, lovingly: “ My son”. ” Where are you” ?

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“Roll Away the Stone” Chapter 13

We’ve all heard that undeniable “Inner Voice” as almost a shout in our spiritual ears; “Don’t Do it”, or maybe, ”Do This.” By undeniable I’m speaking of that voice we as children of God “Know” without any doubt at that moment it is the voice of God! ( And We Know We’d Better Heed His Voice ) Many times, though, most of us who know Jesus as our Lord, and Savior, have sought and awaited for what seemed an eternity to hear God’s voice in answer to a particular question, or prayer in our walk with Him. Nothing seems more frustrating to a believer than not hearing God’s voice while seeking an answer to a question, or guidance from Him for a certain direction in life. A big part of the problem is not taking time to listen, thereby giving place for the all too many other voices, or ..”thoughts”to fill our heads. When this happens we may actually be hearing the answer from God, yet can’t distinguish, or put our finger on which is His voice or answer. God’s Word tells us in many places that the answer is to “Trust” Him. By doing so, from my experience, dedicating time with God, and waiting in trust that He is always on time with His answers with our best interest at heart, doesn’t leave any room in my head for collective static, or interferences. Staying plugged into God clears the airways so that I hear no other messages but His.

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 40:31

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               THIS CROSS SAYS GOD LOVES YOU

 But, can He forgive me for wrecking my life, and hurting my family for so long? Asked the young man holding a gun to his own head. Yes, said the cross, God loves you.

But, can He forgive me for hurting so many people for so long, and the things I stole from them? Asked the thief. Yes, said the cross, God loves you.

But, what about all the scars I’ve left on my body? Asked the young girl as she slashed another bloody lesion on her leg. Yes, said the cross, God knows the hidden scars you are trying to cut away from within your soul.

But, what about the times I cursed Him, and swore there was no God? Asked the broken-hearted atheist. How could He ever love, or forgive me? A broken leg heals easier than a broken heart, said the cross:  Matthew 11:28
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

But, surely, He can’t love me; said the lady with the aborted child running across her broken heart, spirit and mind for the past twenty years. Yes, said the cross, your child is with God now, only waiting and praying for you to come to Him as well.

But, none of this makes any sense at all;  Said the philosopher, there is no logic in it to be found. Man’s logic is not God’s logic said the cross: Isaiah 55:8
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. Oh this is all just a lot of foolishness. Said the philosopher. Yes, the cross replied;     1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto those which are saved it is the power of God.

But, I have studied in the most prestigious Universities, and learned from the greatest professors among man, the philosopher retorted. Of course, said the cross;  :1 Corinthians 1:21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used foolish preaching to save those who believe. In fact, the cross said:

1 Corinthians 1:27
Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.

As the philosopher sat back down, an IRA gunman stood in his place with gun in hand, and tears in his eyes and said; I have always thought I was doing God a great justice by fighting for my cause, but, standing here before you, I am suddenly overcome with the realization that I have taken the lives of countless innocent people, for a cause that never really made sense. Surely!!; The gunman said. You’re not going to tell me that God still loves me, and will forgive me for taking those people’s lives… Are you?

The cross leaned out, touched the man over his heart, and whispered into his ear: On this cross, the world killed the Son of God, and the Son said just before He died:                                        

 Luke 23:34“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”.    

Roll Away the Stone Chapter 1

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“Roll Away the Stone” Chapter 10

                                                        
           He is like a tree planted beside streams.
       A tree that produces fruit in season
          and whose leaves do not wither.
               And what it produces thrives.

A well cultivated field will grow what the farmer intended it to grow. If one is in the Word of God, who planted us to begin with, and keeping in good company of fellow flowers, and not the weeds, they will absorb the sustenance of living waters, and grow as a tree planted by the waters of a river bank. This of course is not to say that we are to live separate from, or alienate the rest of the world, but only that we are separate in the way we live.

We also have a hope for a future existence long after this present physical life. A life increasingly better, and more abundant. Not just a temporal here today, gone tomorrow.  But we have been given this choice of eternal security, as a gift. And we live among others in this world who need to know Gods grace as well.

Just as weeds grow among flowers, we live among some not yet in the light of God’s love. How will they know of it, if all we do is attend church, and church socials, geared only to edify those already in the church?

Matthew 5:14
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

All too often though, we as the children of God can allow our selves to become shaded from His light by becoming entangled with artificial intrigue, and deceptive lures of the adversary. Like a corn plant, that would otherwise be producing goodness for the world to seek as nourishment, stooping to admire the deceptive beauty of a morning-glory flower only to become wrapped, and smothered by its suffocating vine, so could it be in the life of a child of God.

All hope is not lost if this happens, however. For just as the farmer can prepare the field, before a wild-flower like the morning-glory can completely take over, He can also plow and hoe the weeds away from the corn. The child of God is exactly like the corn plant in that situation. But, without the love and caring actions of the farmer, we will soon wither away and die. The Word of God is what we need to inhibit and reverse any harmful effects of such life stealing substances, and influences in our lives as children of God.

If one has withered somewhat, or drifted away, all we have to do is reach out for the farmers loving hand. Although you may feel it will depress you if you read the wrong verse, or chapter, of His Word, when you are feeling down, the truth is, maybe you have only drifted from the nourishment that keeps us from withering in our spirit, but have not yet become entangled. I have drifted at times and felt the same thing about getting back into His word, but thankfully, our Father God will not leave us to wither away.

If  He finds even the slightest ray of hope in us, like a tiny sprig reaching out from the dead crusty hardened trunk of a tree not planted on the banks of a flourishing river, God’s Word will bring water to us. Or, if  a bird has taken the seed and dropped it on rocky, non-productive ground, He will bring the water to us through His Word, and continue to shine His light on us until the rivers of living waters are once again flowing from within us to other needy plants, and flowers, in the Garden of the Lord. Read His Word written just for you, and share the blessings of goodness it produces with all the world.

 I will be like the dew to him;  He shall grow like the lily, and lengthen his roots like Lebanon.                                                                                                                                                       Hosea 14:5

The first thing a Christian must learn to do to enable God’s gift within us to produce noticeable fruit, is to learn to rest secure in “The Finished Works of Jesus” on the cross for us individually. According to God’s Word, (Many examples including Moses) one can become saved and live a life of struggles and never reach the “Kingdom of God,” or, “The Promised Land” until the day of Jesus’ return. How sad that would be for a child of God.

Jesus already suffered and died, to purchase with His own blood, abundant life for us to enjoy here and now. In other words, the Kingdom is at hand, and we must seek what ever it takes to receive and walk in that promise from Him. What is it that we must seek? How do we rest? For me it is to seek His face. This may sound a little too cliché to many, so I’ll put it this way. It is basically impossible to think of Jesus and the things He went through for us, while thinking of sinning at the same time. Of course, we can shut the thoughts of Him out of our hearts, and minds, and do the thing the adversary has tempted us with. Thankfully, we don’t have to though, as along with eternal life, and reconciliation to our heavenly Father, Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection has given us power to overcome sin.

This of course is not to say I am perfect, or have reached the place of a completely sinless life. But, my rest is in what He has already done for me. Just as the flower, or corn plant, in the garden springs forth life and love in response to the light giving, warm and loving sunshine, the more we drink in the water of His Word, the more love we produce. Not only do we produce good fruits for others around us, but we also develop much more love for Him. Respectively, from His nurturing love for us, and our growing love for Him, we begin to produce nourishing fruit, both physically, and spiritually.

Until Jesus comes back for His children, we will not all be completely sinless. But, from glory to glory, because of His love for us and our growing love for Him, we instinctively DO  Sin less.

© paul willis-2013

Flower Image From Dodo278

You Saw it coming

You Saw it coming, I Saw it go…

I was younger then. Foreknew what I Saw, but in verity, still don’t know.

Only knew then…   I Saw it go. 

Before you Saw it coming,  I’d begun to See a light.

For the Sake of all concerned, you Sacrificed the happiness of one.

I never Saw it coming…barely even knew I was there.

A child, just learning what happiness might be,  gifted ponies taken by three, and painted carrousel figures never making their rounds.

You Saw them coming…long after I Saw them go.