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Monday, May 31, 2010

I was there. I saw it all happen.

I had a friend from the North Country, and his name was Stephen; and because he proclaimed Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God, he was led to the market~place and stoned...

And when Stephen fell to earth he outstretched his arms as if he would die as his Master had died. His arms were spread like wings ready for flight. And when the last gleam of light was fading from his eyes, with my own eyes I saw a smile upon his lips.

It was a smile like the breath that comes before the end of winter for a pledge and a promise of spring.

How shall I describe it?

It seemed that Stephen was saying, "If I should go to another world, and other men should lead me to another market~place to stone me, even then I would proclaim Him for the truth which was in Him, and for that same truth which is in me now."

And I noticed that there was a man standing near, and looking with pleasure upon the stoning of Stephen.

His name was Saul of Tarsus, and it was he who had yielded Stephen to the priests and the Romans and the crowd, for stoning.

Saul was bald of head and short of stature. His shoulders were crooked and his features ill~sorted; and I liked him not.

I had been told that he is now preaching Jesus from the house tops. It is hard to believe.

But the grave halts not Jesus' walking to the enemies' camp to tame and take captive those who had opposed Him.

Still I do not like that man of Tarsus, though I have been told that after Stephen's death he was tamed and conquered on the road to Damascus. But his head is too large for his heart to be that of a true disciple.

And yet perhaps I am mistaken. I often mistake.

When you think that you are right, you could be wrong. And when you think that you are wrong, you could be right...

This particular post is for believers, not non-christians. Every time we intimate that the horrible murders and assults taking place nowadays in our public schools is an inevetible result of our forbidding any mention of the cross our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in those schools, we are quickly met with the incredulous response, " How could a loving God allow this to happen to innocent people just because we don't allow Him in our schools anymore?" It's sort of a "God, protect us from evil, but don't have Your people push Your Word or Your will on us!" It makes no sense, yet we expect that from a society of lost individuals today.

But how about today's twenty- first century American Churches? What is it that squelches a genuine move of God right here, where we claim to allow The Lord free reign in the midst of His people? We know that for the most part, He seems to be waiting for us to simply let Him move, yet we're perplexed that He doesn't. We act as if everything's OK, even though we know it isn't. We continue on, not daring to mention the 'elephant in the room', for fear that we may discover we're not where we ought to be insofar as our passion for the Living, risen Christ is concerned. Do we love Him and do we love one another? Jesus Himself tells us that these are the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22: 36-40).

I had a phone discussion with Pastor David Sloane earlier today concerning what has happened among the Body of Christ over the last forty or so years, especially how it relates with the way things were back in the heyday of the "Jesus Movement". We both notice, as may many of you who come to this website, that we as a body are no longer concerned with following Him completely in the spirit of agape love. We'd rather put forth our own 'programs', as it were, and believe that God will bless our efforts, but God forbid that we should get our hands dirty!

Pastor Sloane has told me that when the hippies started coming to Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, California (in droves, by the way!), there was a problem that some in the Church brought to Pastor Chuck Smith. These hippies were not wearing shoes- "They'll ruin the carpet!" What did Pastor Chuck do in response to the concern- kick them all out until they agreed to put shoes on? No- He replied, "Then we'll tear out the carpet!"

Now, THAT is the response of a man who loves his Lord and who loves people! Human beings- dirty, barefoot and all- were more important to him than carpet. Is that how we are today? How about the way we look at ministry? There is certainly nothing wrong with biblical education- we need to, indeed we must be- students of the Word of God. But are we looking to the Word and its Author, or do we find ourselves adulating preachers who have such great credentials (education-wise)?

I'm just curious here. Would you rather hear a well known, extensively trained preacher expound to you from the Word of God, or would you prefer to listen to a man or woman who was not so secure in themselves, but who desperately wanted you to receive from God?

When you prefer the presence of those who want God's will more than anything else, then you are in a position to know Christ more passionately. But be warned- things may get a little messy. You may be brought out of your comfort zone, but you'll be blessed beyond words!

I want to get back now to how things have changed among the Body of Christ over the last few decades. When the 'Jesus Movement' was in full-swing, Christians from all denominations, all walks of life, all educational backgrounds were forced to look at things a little differently all of a sudden. Many were offended at the audicity of these young believers who wouldn't even cut their hair or wear shoes, who nonetheless were street-witnessing, telling everyone they came into contact with about their Savior.

Who were these sloppy upstarts? Why would anybody listen to such unknowledgable bums, when there were well dressed, confident, respectable preachers to hear instead?.....Others- like Pastor Chuck Smith- looked beyond things like physical appearence, affluence and social standing, and MINISTERED to them! ....

And the Jesus Movement spread like wildfire, as people were reading their bibles, adoring their Savior, having bible studies, and bring countless others into the Kingdom by the power of His Spirit. Today, we bring in consultants and conduct classes on how to attract people, grow our churches and market our 'product', the Gospel- AND WE WONDER WHY GOD STEPS BACK, why He doesn't move in our midst as He once did!

Where are the believers- preachers and laymen alike- who absolutely crave the will of God- who so desire His presence in our midst that our own methods and programs are no longer attractive to us? I believe that looking to, and depending on God Himself for His Holy Presence, for ministry- for our very life- is the major difference between what was once the thrust of the Gospel, and much of what passes for ministry today. Those silly, dirty hippies were just naive enough to believe that, as they sought CHRIST HIMSELF, He would honor them with Himself. And He did! Today we can still see the fruit of their labors.... Beloved, think on these things.

En Agape,
Jim Ewing

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Day Ten
The Illegal Trial Of Jesus Christ
Changing The False Accusations
Location:

People's Court

Shekinah Fellowship

Room 101

Ms Suzy, Jurist in this court room:

When Jesus was forcibly hailed before the Sanhedrin for "trial," we note that there had not been any charges preferred against Him. Therefore, until some kind of a criminal offense had been first made against Him, He was unlawfully required to be there. It would be just as absurd a proceeding as if a group of soldiers and citizens had captured an individual and then brought him before a criminal court to be tried when no compliant of any kind had been registered with the court!

The high priest and the scribes engaged in a brief conference, checking to determine if their "false witnesses" had been notified to be before the court, to testify against Jesus. Having determined that they were present, Caiaphas called upon them to make their accusations. Here is what then happened:

"At last come two false witnesses, and said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the Temple of God, and build it in three days."

Such a statement as that never fell from the lips of the Christ! Here are His exact words, on that subject, as related by John:

"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."

These two characters, in testifying against the Master, had purposely, corruptly and deliberately perverted the true language of Jesus in order to make it appear that He had actually threatened to do physical violence to the Temple of God. Such might be expected to come from those whom the high priest himself had denominated as false "witnesses!"

Jesus was, of course, referring to His Own Body as the "temple" which they had boasted of soon destroying. He was merely saying that, in such an event, He would raise His Body in three days. John gives the same explanation:

"He spake of the temple as His Body."

Regardless of the efforts to distort the words of the Christ, we find that the two witnesses were not in agreement as to their attempts to quote what each claimed to have heard Jesus say. And so, the testimony broke down, and the false charges had to be abandoned.

Up until this time Jesus had not spoken a single word. He gave evidence of His great contempt by His majestic silence! Indeed, even the hot~headed raging of the high priest failed to extract a single expression from the mouth of their prisoner. They were filled with consternation. How, they reasoned, would they be able to make Him talk. Then, like a flash, a clever thought was born in the warped brain of Caiaphas. He rushed from his seat, toward the body of Jesus, and in a loud and angry tone, exclaimed:

"I adjure Thee, by the Living God, tell us, art Thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?"

That was the one question which Jesus would answer, readily, even though it would of necessity, be the affirmation of His Divinity- and His condemnation- and death. So, without a moment’s hesitation, and in a clear and distinct tone, the Master replied:

"I Am, And ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of Heaven."

Not only did He tell them that He was indeed the Son of the Blessed, but that, after they had taken His life- as He well knew they would- they would see Him, after the resurrection, being lifted upon clouds into Heaven where He would be seated at the right hand of His Father, God Almighty!

The admission of this great truth greatly intensified the anger of the high priest, and he began tearing his robe, while stating to the other members of the Sanhedrin: "What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy! What think ye?"

Being of one accord, they replied: "He is guilty to death!" What a trial! What a spectacle to behold! What a scene in the Jewish court, dedicated to the scared cause of liberty and equality and justice! What an indictment could be made against such rude, preposterous outbursts of hatred and cowardly conduct! There we see the presiding officer of the high court of the Jews personally making the accusation of "blasphemy," and then concluding himself that the court had no need for witnesses!

What was it the members of the court heard? Only the expression of truth- an admission by the Christ that He was the Son of God! And for having spoken the truth, they pronounced, unlawfully, the penalty of death! They knew that they had no such authority, for their Roman conquerors had stripped them of that power, years before.

They all condemned Jesus to be worthy of death! Because, as they said, He was guilty of blasphemy! Was the Christ guilty of blasphemy? An absurd inquiry! Nowhere could there be found any authority, anywhere, to make what Jesus had said the basis for such an accusation.

"Blasphemy" consists of cursing God. We have the benefit of a Biblical definition of that word, as found in the Revelations of John:

"And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacles, and them that dwell in Heaven."

The accusation of the high priest was the utterance of a frenzied and prejudiced mind, amounting to nothing more than an illiterate conclusion!

Now we observe them taking the tired and sleepy Christ, before the break of day, to the palace of Pilate, the Roman Governor. Their purpose in doing this was to get Pilate to quickly and summarily approve of the supreme penalty that they had unlawfully imposed upon Jesus. They were hoping for an informal hearing, that they might begin their execution. But the Roman Governor was not only impatient but without affection for the Jews and their numerous religious controversies. He entertained no love for them whatever, and did not wish to be bothered with their many bickerings and disputes which, he felt, they themselves should settle. As soon as Pilate learned of their presence at the palace, he met them at the entrance gate, and said:

"What accusations bring ye against this Man?"

It was then that they replied with an air of snobbery and presumption:

"If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up to thee."

Pilate told them to "take Him and judge Him according to your law."

Quickly realizing that they could not, lawfully, condemn one to die by the judgement of the Jewish courts, and doubting that Pilate would approve of their finding Him guilty of blasphemy, they made up an entirely new charge-without a moment’s notice to the prisoner or anyone:

"And they began to accuse Him, saying, we found this fellow perverting the Nation, and forbidding the giving of tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ a King."

Jesus remained silent before the Governor of Rome. Well did he know that the charge of having "perverted the Nation and forbidding the giving of tribute to Caesar" was false to the very core. Therefore, Pilate marveled greatly that the Christ said not a word! Then Pilate took Jesus into the judgement hall, and said unto Him: "Art Thou the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered him:

"Sayest thou this thing thyself, or did others tell it thee of Me?"

Pilate then wanted to know what Jesus had done. And He answered:

"My kingdom is not of this world: If My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is My kingdom not from hence."

Pilate soon became thoroughly convinced that Jesus had done no wrong; that the accusations made against Him were without foundation in fact, and he brought the Christ back to the high priest and his followers, and made this solem announcement:

"I find in Him no fault at all!"

That was a verdict of acquittal-a judgement of the Roman Governor that should have effected the release of the Prisoner. And it was the one verdict that fell hard upon the ears of the bewildered enemies of the Master. Having heard it, they seemed stunned and in a quandary. Then they came fourth with an entirely different accusation-this was the third-when they told Pilate this:

"He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place!"

That last charge, while entirely false, was their clever way of telling Pilate that Jesus was from Galilee. Being a Galilean He would have to be tried before Herod, king of Judea. So, Pilate sent Him to Herod, who was in Jerusalem at this time.

It was noteworthy that there was a decided departure from the original charge lodged against Jesus before the Sanhedrin. For the Sanhedrin found Him guilty of "blasphemy." But when He was hailed before Pilate, they changed the charge to that of treason, and then to sedition. The Christ was guilty of neither.

Let us note what took place before King Herod, the reprobate:

"And when Herod saw Jesus he was exceedingly glad: for he was desirous to see Him for a long Season, because he had heard many things of Him: and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by Him."

Herod the murderer of John the Baptist, was still conscious of his wrongdoing in that respect, and was certainly unwilling to have his official acts, regarding the Christ, reported to his political boss, the Emperor of Rome.

Instead, then, of conducting what might be considered a serious and dignified examination of the complaints made by the Jews, Herod concluded, in his semi-drunken condition, to make sport of the Prisoner, in the hope of amusement for himself and the members of his court.

"Then he questioned Him in many words; but He answered him nothing."

Jesus was well acquainted with the character and reputation of this unfit king, Herod, who had, shortly before, sent a messenger to the Christ threatening to have Him killed, unless He left the country. But Jesus stood still there like a brave soldier, and answered him nothing!

And that same group of His enemies stood by, vehemently accusing Jesus before the King. Through it all, the Master maintained a majestic silence, as if ignoring the proceedings completely. It is highly probable that Jesus, being well versed in the laws of that day and time, felt that Herod had no right to question Him at all.

"And Herod, with his men of war, set Jesus at nought, and mocked Him, and arrayed Him in a purple robe and sent Him back to Pilate."

Once more we see the Christ standing before Pilate. By now Jesus was enveloped in fatigue, from loss of sleep and lack of food and rest. Pilate appears irritated. He frankly tells the high priest and the others there that they have done a vain thing. Here are the words, on that occasion:

"Ye have brought this Man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined Him before you, have found no fault in this Man touching those things whereof ye accuse Him: No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto Him. I will, therefore, chastise Him, and release Him."

What had Pilate just said? Once more, for the second time, he found Jesus guilty of no wrong-and reminded the mob that Herod had done nothing to Jesus. But, said Pilate, before I release Him, I will chastise Him! Since Pilate had said that Jesus was innocent of those charges made against Him, then for what earthy reason should the Christ be "chastised"? It was nothing less then a cowardly subterfuge. He thought that if Jesus were scourged, that would pacify the demands of those evil-hearted demons. But they were greatly dissatisfied with Pilate’s decision, and showed their anger in no uncertain manner.

Still seeking some way to get from under the burden of the situation, and, at the same time, trusting that he might appease the high priest and his followers, Pilate then proposed that, since it was the custom, during the Passover Feast, to release any prisoner they desired, he said to them:

"Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered Him."

Here was Pilate placing the self-confessed seditionist and murder beside the sinless Christ, and asking that wild mob which of the two they preferred to be released! Pilate had hopes, though faint, that they might have a change of heart. But not that crowd, for murder filled their hearts, as they remained determined to take the life of Christ!

What a compromise to offer-what a proposal to be made by the Roman Governor to a mob of angry Jews!

"But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus."

Here,again, we see the scheming Annas and his common son-in-law, Caiaphas, urging the mob to call for the release of Barabbas. Release Barabbas-so that they might destroy Jesus! What a wild scene! What a disgraceful picture!

"The Governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you!"

They said "Barabbas!"

Pilate, somewhat exasperated and impatient, said unto them:

"What shall I do with Jesus which is called Christ?"

Why, oh, why, ask such a question! What had Jesus done? Pilate had repeatedly said he was not guilty of any wrongdoing. What he should have done with Jesus was to release Him. But he was afraid to do so, afraid of that band of Jews whose continued anger he sought to avoid.

"They all said unto Him, Let Him be crucified!"

Pilate ignored the plea of his wife to "have nothing to do with that just Man." He called Jesus back into the inner court of the temple, to question Him further, but Jesus remained silent, as before. Then Pilate, for the third time, said he found no wrong in Jesus. Then the Jews cried out:
"Away with Him, Away with Him, crucify Him!"

Yes, it must be admitted that while Pilate sought several times to release Jesus, he just didn’t have the courage of his convictions. He was, truly, a coward!

Then Pilate said to them:

"Shall I crucify your king?"

The mob, quick to respond, said "We have no king but Caesar."

Sensing that Pilate feared them, because of his dread that they might report him to the Emperor, placing his job in jeopardy, they hurled the defiant threat toward Pilate:

"If thou let this Man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend; whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar."

That did it! Those last remarks placed the pallid flag of fear into the face of Pilate, and he gave in to the demands of evil men. He deliberately ignored all sense of justice and sacrificed his self-respect to quite the howls of a raging mob!

"Then released he Barabbas unto them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the Governor took Jesus unto the common hall, and gathered unto Him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped Him, and put on a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying: Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head. And after that they had mocked Him, they took the robe of from Him, and put His own raiment on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him."

Therefore, with no friend near who was willing to speak a single good word in His behalf; no friend there to protect Him in His legal rights, Jesus was led away by the fiendish and cruel mob, in preparation for the great ordeal-death, alone, on Calvary’s cross!
This final word:

The record reflects that, through it all, the Son of God never once made a single murmur or compliant over the many insults heaped upon Him. No, not even when they crushed the crown of thorns so deeply into His precious brow that His eyes became filled with blood! Yes, He was brave enough to bear it, alone, in the true spirit of voluntary submission. He knew that He was then carrying out the will of His Heavenly Father, and fulfilling the prophecies without neither counting the cost nor complaining of the great pain! And the true measure of that pain and that anguish, which He silently bore, for the sins of mankind, is far, very far, beyond the pale of human imagination!
John 4:24- "God is Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth."
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Now, here is a verse that we all know and can easily quote, but so few believers seem to know just what it means. I want to cut to the chase on the subject of idolatry, not because it is a characteristic of a lost and dying world, but because the Church herself is presently so involved in it.
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I do not want you think that I like 'picking' at faults among the Body of Christ, because I don't, and I do not believe in seeking out problems just to have something to write about. The fact is, though, that many, many of today's Christians have such misconceptions of the nature of God, that they do not realize that we require the leading of the Holy Spirit- even in terms of how to worship our Lord. Because of these misconceptions, believers (and non-believers as well) will often reach for 'tangible' objects to worship in place of our Holy God. Sometimes this is done with the best of intentions, but it is idolatry nonetheless, and must be thoroughly avoided.
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There is absolutely no substitute for the living God in the lives of believers, and we must see that. Not our own ideas of God, not 'images' of Him, but Almighty God Himself- as He IS, not as we would have Him.....

The Israelites had such a tough time just being without Moses for a few days that they managed to convince Aaron to "make us gods, which will go before us" (Exodus 32:1-6). A golden calf was the pathetic result. What an insult to our Holy, Righteous God! You would think we'd have learned over the years that only God could satisfy our spiritual hunger, yet history is replete with examples and stories of people attempting to reach God in their 'own way', completely ignoring the fact that "God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth".

I believe that the Lord has hidden the arc of the covenant purposely, for He knew that if it had been found, generations of people would have worshipped IT instead of HIM...

The shroud of Turin is a prime example of believers worshipping something other than Christ. So what if it is genuine? He's not there! He's not in the empty tomb either, and there's nothing sacred about a tomb, no matter who was laid in it.....

Did you know that Adolf Hitler searched for years for the spear that pierced Jesus' side? Why? Did he think that it would somehow bless or protect him? It was a stinkin' spear, for goodness sakes! ...

Do you remember the big movie, "The Robe"? If not, you can probably guess what it was about. But the robe that Jesus wore had no power- HE had power. Why has that always been so difficult for the Church to understand? I'm so glad that there were no cameras in the days when Jesus walked the earth, for if t here had been, then photos of the Savior would have been worshipped, sold, looked to for help, and put in peoples' tunics for good luck- and you know that!

I've previously mentioned that there are people in certain countries who actually whip and even allow themselves to be nailed to a cross for a while during 'special' times of the year in order to get closer to the Lord. What a ridiculous display of unbelief! Why is it so hard to believe that HE took our punishment, and that none of our own efforts are of any value whatsoever? We believe the Gospel, yet we feel that we must add this or that to it, don't we? It's so difficult and so cutting to our pride to simply believe and receive what our blessed Savior has done for us, so we look to other things to make us 'spiritual' IN ADDITION to the cross and resurrection. How can you truly adore Him when you can't even believe Him?....

2 Corinthians 5:19 "...God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." Now, what does He desire that our response be? The next verse tells us- "Be ye reconciled to God." So simple, right? Then why do we insist on adding to His wonderful work? When you attempt to add to the cross and resurrection, you take away from them. When you try adding to God's grace (and there are so many ways that we try), then you take away His grace, because you refuse to see that HIS work is complete and quite sufficient to have dealt with your sin FOREVER. That refusal, beloved, is IDOLATRY, and it is a stench in the nostrils of God! Stop trying- start believing. Seek HIS face. Worship HIM in Spirit and in truth. Adore Him and only Him.......

I'm going to leave you with a beautiful scripture from the psalms. "When thou saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek." (Psalm 27:8)...Make that your prayer as you worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

God bless you,
Pastor Jim Ewing

Friday, May 28, 2010


Caiaphas, The High Priest
Principal Characters Involved Against Jesus

Day Five (Continues)

The Illegal Trial Of Jesus Christ

Location:

People's Court

Shekinah Fellowship

Room 101

Ms Suzy, Jurist in this court room:

Ms Susy adjust her glasses and walks to the center of the room. She calmly begins her dissertation of the moment...

Of all the men mentioned in the story of the trials and subsequent crucifixion of the Christ, it must be admited that Caiaphas, the high priest, was the most despicable. And, in making this appraisal of him, we are not unmindful of the treachery of the great betrayer, Judas Iscariot. To be sure, the high priest was even more corrupt.

For eleven years, from 25 A. D. he remained in that lofty position in Judea; and was at all times completely devoid of ethics, honor, fairness, and common decency! And his close friendship with Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, was grounded upon the proposition that they had this much in common- a deep hatred for the Christ, whose teachings they scoffed with an abiding venom. Both were political cowards- men who dreaded the thought of having their heads removed from the public trough!

As the presiding judge of the Jewish court, called the Great Sanhedrin, he was required to take a solemn oath, under the existing Jewish laws, to at all times assume an attitude of impartiality toward every accused person brought before the court; and to manifest complete indiffrence as to the results of any trial therein; that he would not serve as the presiding officer should there arise a case in which there existed enmity toward the accused.

But not that fellow! Being unable to restrain himself, and hide, to some appreciable degree, his deep prejudice toward and hatred of Jesus Christ, we find him even before the arrest was made, conspiring to murder Christ- and seeking false witnesses to appear before the court, against the Master! And that is not the end to his corruption. Next we note that he, the presiding judge of the court, personally makes the charges against Jesus of "blasphemy," and then has the gall to announce, in open court, that there was no need for witnesses! Then, as furthur evidence of his utter unfitness and complete lack of judicial temperment, he begins to tear his own garments from his shoulders to his waistband.

Matthew records how Caiaphas conducted himself as the presiding Judge of that court:

"Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying: He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard His blasphemy! What think ye? They answered and said: He is guilty of death!"

When Jesus replied to the direct inquiry as to whether He was the Christ, the Son of God, and gave an affirmative answer, He was denounced as a blasphemer. Utterly ridiculous!

And, with the open approval of this same high priest, the members of the court, in complete disregard of existing laws, deliberately and cowardly spit into the face of Jesus,

(Jurist pauses with tears in her eyes and obviously choked up with emotion)

and buffeted Him; and others smote Him with the palms of their hands, saying:

"Prophesy unto us, Thou Christ, who is he that smote Thee?"

And with all of that display of rage and temper and ill-will, the high priest was not yet contented. He can now be seen leading the bound and bleeding Christ over to the palace of Pilate, in the dire hope of obtaining a speedy approval of their unholy and unlawful verdict that the Christ should die, because of the accusation of blasphemy! And, before the procession starts upon its journey for the second trial, they place a sharp crown of thorns upon the head of the Master and strike Him several blows upon the head, so as to insure the deep imbedding of the thorns into His precious brow. Hence, He is led to Pilate, because His eyes are by now filled with blood!

What a judge! What a trial! Somewhere, in the old Jewish law, there is this wise and true maxim: "A desreputable and corrupt judge is to be no more respected than the sweat from the blanket of a jackass!"

Indeed, Judas Iscariot betrayed his best friend for filthy silver- and in full remorse, hanged himself- but this Caiaphas committed the greater sin. He utterly and forever discraced the high office of high priesthood through his cowardly and vile conduct as the presiding official in the supreme court of Jewry! Moreover, he became a deliberate law-violater in the following respects:

1. He knew that his heart was filled with poisonous enmity for the Master, but continued to serve and to preside at that trial, after having taken an oath that he had no such enmity toward the accused.

2, His oath to be fair and impartial was made a mockery when he admitted being a party to the corrupt conspiracy with Annas and Judas to have Jesus betrayed into the hands of His enemies, in the nighttime.

3. He raped the law when he personally preferred the charge of "blasphemy," after Jesus had merely admitted being the Son of God!

4.He winked at justice and blinded his eyes to fairness and decency when he went out in search of those "false witnesses" to testify against the accused, in his own court.

5. Being learned in the law- which was a prerequisite to his assuming the duties of that high office- he pretended ignorance of the law which required the production of two witnesses, whose testimony must be in agreement, as to all material details embracing the charge against the accused.

6. He ignored the Jewish legal mandates that no trial be had at night, nor during the feast of Passover; or on a Friday!

7. It was he who called for the vote of the death penalty, and unlawfully recorded it, when the Jewish law, with which he was entirely familiar, prohibited the imposition of the sentence of death. The Roman conquerors had, long before, denied them such authority.

8. He painted a picture of bestiality and contempt by deliberately tearing his own robe in the court room, and then permitting his cowardly cohorts to spit into the face of the prisoner; to strike Him, and ridicule Him with other modes of cruelty, such as forcing into His brow that thorn-covered crown-as a symbol of Kingship.

And it was he who, before Pilate, raised the loudest voice for the release of Barrabas, and for the demand that Jesus be crucified. Still not appeased, he gave minute directions to the Roman soldiers for that commission of furthur acts of brutality while Jesus was prostrate and suspended on the cross!

One can easily get a mental picture of the smirking countenance of Caiaphas as the Christ begged for a few drops of water to cool the raging fever of His parched throat, and received, instead, a sponge soaked in vinegar, while awaiting for his helpless victim to give up the Spirit!

How do you suppose that the high priest really felt on that Friday afternoon, on Calvary's hill, when, standing at the foot of the cross, he heard fall from the lips of the dying Christ that sincere and fervent prayer for forgiveness- upon the premise that His murderers knew not what they were doing?

And what reaction, if any, did Caiaphas have when the earth began to quake, and the lightning began to strike, and he knew that Jesus had died- and he heard one of the murderers, a Roman soldier, say:

"Truly this Man was the Son of God!"

The world will ever remember, with justified disgust and contempt, the sad spectacle of that vicious, immoral, cruel, inhuman, cowardly, prejudiced, unfit, disreputable "judge" of the highest Jewish court who delighted in leading the frenzied mob in its base acts of brutality and cold-blooded murder!
"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn from you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth He it by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith?"-
Galatians 3:1-5....

Let's talk a little bit of basic Bible doctrine here, OK? Justification by faith alone is as wonderful, yet simple a truth as there is in all of scripture. Think about it- You were separated from your Creator by your sin. You were helpless to do anything about it. God took the initiative in bringing you back to Himself by giving you His only Begotten Son as a propitiation for your sin. The word 'propitiation' means that Christ's death not only completely satisfied God's justice, in terms of the penalty for all of your sin being absolutely and totally paid, but also completely satisfies His wrath. It was all placed on His Precious Son.....

2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." The sinless Son of God died on a cruel cross, then rose from the dead. Your sins- all of them- were taken away, and you were guaranteed eternal life by His very resurrection! Now what do we have to do in response? Does God intend for us to jump through some impossible hoops to somehow prove that we're worthy of His love and life? Nope- let's go back just a few verses in 2 Corinthians- It's so simple that we often trip over it! "....

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19)." OK, so what is our response to be to the God of all creation? The end of the next verse says simply, "BE YE RECONCILED TO GOD." How about that? There's nothing that we need to DO, we must simply agree with God that we are lost, and cannot help ourselves, and thus must rely ENTIRELY upon the death and resurrection of Christ. As you do that- fully and completely, with no attempt to help God out with your own 'works', you'll find yourself looking up often, and thanking and praising your Savior in utter wonder of His unfathomable Love, rather than constantly asking Him to keep on forgiving you, as if He hasn't already done so.....

The problem with the Galatians (in our first portion of scripture here) was that they began listening to and following the teachings of the Judaizers (Jewish Christians who taught that certain parts of the Law must still be observed by Gentile believers in order to be truly saved) who would visit churches that the Apostle Paul had founded, and attempt to refute the pure Gospel which he preached.

Of course, Paul forcefully defended the Gospel against this aberrant teaching, and while we would all like to think that we would do the same, in reality we still seem to think that Christianity is part Christ, and part our own works or effort. Just listen to believers as they talk about their walk with Christ- In many of us, there is a lack of depth, a lack of thankfulness, and a rather high opinion of ourselves- despite what God has clearly declared about our condition.

You know, you can almost smell self-righteousness. It has an unholy stench to it, a filth, a putrid stink. It is a rare Christian today who possesses the fragrance of the Rose of Sharon, who truly knows that it is all Jesus and none of themselves. These kind of believers exist, to be sure- but you have to look awfully hard to find one. When you do find one though, it is a beautiful breath of fresh air, and well worth the search, for in them, you will see Christ!

Our Savior longs to be seen and known in us- His beloved bride. It is all about allowing Him in- to the exclusion of everything else. Beloved, who or what do you want to present to this lost world- you, or the Law.....or Christ?

En Agape,
Jim Ewing

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Lucifer's Sin...

Admittedly, there are matters in the Scriptures difficult to understand. One of these, certainly, is the reason for the sin of Lucifer. Doubtless, both he and the angelic host were endowed with a free will ( Free moral agency). Yet, how it is possible for him, a being "full of wisdom" and "perfect in his ways" to sin so grievously against God is one of the major mysteries of all time.

A striking passage in Isaiah 14:12-17 seems to suggest the sinfulness of Satan and the enormity of his rebellion against God:

"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

"For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north;

"I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

"Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

"They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;

"That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof, that opened not the house of his prisoners?"

The beginning of Isaiah 14 has to do with the restoration and blessing of Israel and the world. Suddenly, however, the spotlight is turned upon the underlying cause of sin and suffering, which is embodied in the person of Satan. He is addressed as "Lucifer," meaning bright and shining one.

Some Bible scholars believe that this Isaiah passage is prophetic, from the point of view of that coming time when Satan will come to know the full punishment of the wrath of God for his rebellion and transgression against His throne.

The particular interest of this passage lies in the minute examination of the innermost heart of Satan. Here is the key to his sin. Here exposed are the motivating forces which caused his mutiny against God.

We must bear in mind that this rebellion occured long before the time of Adam and Eve, apparently long prior to the period when the earth lay "without form and void" (Gen. 1:2). Open conflict raged between Satan and God, in heavenly places.

The character of the sin of Lucifer may be divided into five parts, all progressing from the lesser to the greater. Essentially, the nature of the sin was the desire for self-will. Lucifer wanted his own way instead of the way of God. Essentially, this is the root of all sin.

In striking contrast to this was the will of the Lord Jesus Christ when He came into this earth. During His ministry here, He declared His desire for the Father's will rather than His own.

The diffrence is sharply outlined when we note that Lucifer five times used the declarative statement, "I will." Against this we note our Saviour's earnest words, "Not as I will, but as Thou wilt"; "I come...to do Thy will, O God" (Matt. 26:39; Heb. 10:7 ).

It seems evident that the commission of Lucifer had been to direct the angelic hosts in their various tasks over the universe. His was also the high honor of guarding the throne of God. Yet, this did not satisfy him. As the scripture outlines Lucifer's sin, the desire of his heart seemed to be to rise to ever greater achievements, even to displacing God from His throne. (Sounds like "Suvivor" huh? You know with all of the competition and deceit stuff...)

Note that the first "I will" suggests that Lucifer coveted permanent residence in Heaven ( Isa. 14:13). The next "I will" indicates that he wanted precedence above all of God's creation. The term "stars of God" evidently refers to similar mighty angelic creatures, such as the archangle Michael and the might friend of Israel, Gabriel.

The third "I will" of the devil reveals that this creature sought even further recognition and exaltation in a particular part of heaven known as the "mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north." Perhaps it was in this place that the very high throne of God was located.

All of this wickedness led on to its inevitable conclusion. Lucifer, so generously endowed with beauty and wisdom, would not be satisfied with anything but the highest honor. He wanted to "ascend above the heights of the clouds." In fact, he plotted to be like the Most High. In this aspiration lay a naked desire to dethrone God, for no one can be like the Most High without displacing Him.

Although hidden in the heart of Lucifer, these virulent ambitions were known to God, before whose eyes all things are "naked and opened" ( Heb. 4:13). Swift judgement followed. Lucifer was cast down from his high position to become Satan, the deceiver, the adversary, the archenemy of God and the people of God. His final doom is sealed, but the execution of that eternal sentence awaits the time and place appointed by God.

Day Five (Continues)

The Illegal Trial Of Jesus Christ

Tiberius Caesar, The Roman Emperor

Location:

People's Court

Shekinah Fellowship

Room 101

Ms Suzy, Jurist in this court room:

During the time of the trials of Jesus, Tiberius held the high office of Emperor of Rome. He had appointed Pontius Pilate to the office of Governor of Judea.

It is interesting to note that, under existing Roman laws, any Roman citizen, having been found guilty of any offense, in any court in that country, had the right of an appeal directly to the Emperor. We remember that the famous convert, Paul, was given this privilege after his conviction. But since Jesus of Nazareth was not a Roman citizen, he did not have this right of appeal, even if He had had the opportunity to do so, after His unlawful "trials" before the Sanhedrin and before the Roman Governor, Pilate.

The Emperor, in reality, played no significant part in those trials of the Christ; but it will be well to keep in mind that he had the unquestioned power to summarily remove from office this man, Pilate, whom he had appointed to serve in his stead as procurator or Governor. And, being a political puppet of the Emperor, we will note that Pilate was sorely afraid of his political boss in Rome, and kept constantly on guard so that he might not offend the man who was responsible for Pilate's appointment.
It seems to me that Jesus taught the best sermon was the one that is lived, not spoken. The world and many within "the church" see Christianity as a "RELIGION", and although you can look at it from that perspective, the "real" Christianity is a life-style that is rooted in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; not adherence to a code of laws as was the case in the Old Testament. The best way to witness is to live what you believe, and be familiar enough with God's Word so that you can show anyone who asks about the "difference" that they see in you. It is not enough to simply tell someone what you believe based upon what you have heard someone else say; a Sunday School teacher, a Pastor, and Evangelist, a friend, etc. I dare say that most church members would be hard pressed to provide Scripture references for their beliefs, let alone be able to explain the plan of salvation or other basic doctrines of the Christian faith.

To compound the problem there are the differences in denominations that all claim the Bible to be the inspired Word of God and their basis for faith and practice (or at least part of the basis for their faith and practice), yet their interpretations vary widely, even within a denomination. No one in their own power can "tell" anyone else what the Word of God says, nor does anyone have a mandate from God to do so. It is our job to be prayed and studied up such that we can be empowered by the Holy Spirit in all humility to be the "light" and testimony for Jesus Christ, especially within our own families; because that is the hardest place to maintain our testimony; with those who see us, not at our "Sunday" best, but as we truly are: sinners saved by grace.

Pray for your family members. Read and study God's Word so that you will be equipped to explain not only what the Bible says, but what it doesn't say, which is sometimes far more important. Make sure that your life is right with God and that your "light" is shining brightly. And most of all, wait upon the Lord to provide you with the right time and place to share your faith, your beliefs, and your understandings; always ready, willing, and able to listen to the questions and objections that someone else may raise about your faith, the Bible, Christianity, etc. There are plenty of people out there who have been misinformed about what it truly means to be "Christian"; about what the Bible says and teaches; about the relationship of Christianity to other world religions. God tells us in His Word to develop the Christian characteristics of love, humility, patience, mercy, etc., the very characteristics of Jesus' life. His Holy Spirit will take what feeble attempts we make as a testimony and witness, and honor them with the fruit that sometimes we are all too often so impatient to harvest.

Author:
Daniel Hopkinson
As only our God could do it.

Faith~ fullness
Psalm 36:5Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.
Psalm 89:1I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 89:2For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.
Psalm 89:5And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.
Psalm 89:8O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?
Isaiah 25:1O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.
Lamentations 3:23They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


"Mr. Underwood was not ever a part of CC, but he was part of the Jesus Movement. He examines the concerns of how a movement for passion for Christ evaporated into conflict and competition. He compares the Christians in the churches of Asia Minor with today’s believers who have been sidetracked by the same tactics Satan used to neutralize that revival."
http://www.amazon.com/Reborn-Be-Wild-Reviving-Radical/dp/1434700178
What would you do if someone did this at your church... during one of your sermons?

Has anyone ever had a heckler while you're preaching? How did you handle it?

Lucifer's Sin...

Admittedly, there are matters in the Scriptures difficult to understand. One of these, certainly, is the reason for the sin of Lucifer. Doubtless, both he and the angelic host were endowed with a free will ( Free moral agency). Yet, how it is possible for him, a being "full of wisdom" and "perfect in his ways" to sin so grievously against God is one of the major mysteries of all time.

A striking passage in Isaiah 14:12-17 seems to suggest the sinfulness of Satan and the enormity of his rebellion against God:

"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

"For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north;

"I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

"Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

"They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;

"That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof, that opened not the house of his prisoners?"

The beginning of Isaiah 14 has to do with the restoration and blessing of Israel and the world. Suddenly, however, the spotlight is turned upon the underlying cause of sin and suffering, which is embodied in the person of Satan. He is addressed as "Lucifer," meaning bright and shining one.

Some Bible scholars believe that this Isaiah passage is prophetic, from the point of view of that coming time when Satan will come to know the full punishment of the wrath of God for his rebellion and transgression against His throne.

The particular interest of this passage lies in the minute examination of the innermost heart of Satan. Here is the key to his sin. Here exposed are the motivating forces which caused his mutiny against God.

We must bear in mind that this rebellion occured long before the time of Adam and Eve, apparently long prior to the period when the earth lay "without form and void" (Gen. 1:2). Open conflict raged between Satan and God, in heavenly places.

The character of the sin of Lucifer may be divided into five parts, all progressing from the lesser to the greater. Essentially, the nature of the sin was the desire for self-will. Lucifer wanted his own way instead of the way of God. Essentially, this is the root of all sin.

In striking contrast to this was the will of the Lord Jesus Christ when He came into this earth. During His ministry here, He declared His desire for the Father's will rather than His own.

The diffrence is sharply outlined when we note that Lucifer five times used the declarative statement, "I will." Against this we note our Saviour's earnest words, "Not as I will, but as Thou wilt"; "I come...to do Thy will, O God" (Matt. 26:39; Heb. 10:7 ).

It seems evident that the commission of Lucifer had been to direct the angelic hosts in their various tasks over the universe. His was also the high honor of guarding the throne of God. Yet, this did not satisfy him. As the scripture outlines Lucifer's sin, the desire of his heart seemed to be to rise to ever greater achievements, even to displacing God from His throne. (Sounds like "Suvivor" huh? You know with all of the competition and deceit stuff...)

Note that the first "I will" suggests that Lucifer coveted permanent residence in Heaven ( Isa. 14:13). The next "I will" indicates that he wanted precedence above all of God's creation. The term "stars of God" evidently refers to similar mighty angelic creatures, such as the archangle Michael and the might friend of Israel, Gabriel.

The third "I will" of the devil reveals that this creature sought even further recognition and exaltation in a particular part of heaven known as the "mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north." Perhaps it was in this place that the very high throne of God was located.

All of this wickedness led on to its inevitable conclusion. Lucifer, so generously endowed with beauty and wisdom, would not be satisfied with anything but the highest honor. He wanted to "ascend above the heights of the clouds." In fact, he plotted to be like the Most High. In this aspiration lay a naked desire to dethrone God, for no one can be like the Most High without displacing Him.

Although hidden in the heart of Lucifer, these virulent ambitions were known to God, before whose eyes all things are "naked and opened" ( Heb. 4:13). Swift judgement followed. Lucifer was cast down from his high position to become Satan, the deceiver, the adversary, the archenemy of God and the people of God. His final doom is sealed, but the execution of that eternal sentence awaits the time and place appointed by God.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010



I've touched on this subject in the past, but I wanted to dig just a bit more into it at this time, because I feel that too few Christians today realize that they are unique in God's eyes, and that ministry- both to the Body of Christ en masse and to the lost- is for every one of us, not just pastors, evangelists and missionaries.

We ought never lose sight of the fact that God does in fact have a detailed calling on the lives of each one of His redeemed. Please understand that I am talking to believers now. I've shared God's Word with the saved and the lost alike, and of course everybody is welcome on this website, but this is a word specifically for the born again Christian, and particularly those of you who may wonder if God has any serious use for you, in terms of going out into the world and making a real difference for the Kingdom. Let's understand then-here and now- that the Almighty God, Creator of all that exists- both seen and unseen, and Savior of the world, has YOU in mind now.

Are you interested in being a precise, specific and effective instrument in the hands of God? Well, if you are, then you must know that you have that interest, that desire, that passion because He has thoughtfully and deliberately placed that desire in your heart....Do you LACK that passion, that sense of Divine purpose? If so, then you most likely have allowed yourself to become a 'victim' of the rough circumstances in which the Lord has placed you. Oftentimes a believer will then slowly become bitter and angry, lose interest, and eventually feel that he or she has no real worth as far as God is concerned- and NOTHING COULD BE FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH! You simply need that stony shell (the one you've allowed to grow and cover your heart through the months and years) to be broken- because, believe me- there's a heart underneath that shell that beats, pounds, yearns after its creator! He made you that way. You are no exception- We ALL go through pain, hurt and disappointment, and we tend to grow spiritually cold and indifferent as a result, but God resides in your heart, and- yes- he has a purpose for YOU.

As you seek His face earnestly and by faith, He will break that thick, hard, unconcerned shell that covers your God-seeking heart, and replace it with a smooth, silky transparency that will allow your heart to respond quickly and joyfully to His every Holy prompting....So whether you recognize His gentle wooing, or are disturbed by your apparent lack of concern, the answer to your situation is the same- Seek His face with all your heart! Psalm 27:8- "When Thou saidst, 'Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, 'Thy face, Lord, will I seek'."

This is what God desires, and this is what He has put into YOUR heart to desire. If you will seek Him in earnest, you will come to a clear understanding of where He has placed you in the Body of Christ, and when that happens, you'll never be shaken from it.....

I spoke with pastor David Sloane some time ago at length about God's calling, and we shared our amazement at how God has called the both of us- David to a powerful prophetic ministry, and myself, to a healing ministry. David, being a prophet, has admittedly faced derision and open nonacceptance (much like Jesus did during HIS earthly ministry) at various places within the Body of Christ. None of it, however, has squelched or diminished his calling. Why? Because he was called of God, and he could no sooner turn his back on his calling than he could stop breathing (read the apostle Paul's epistles!). That is what the Lord's call will do in the life of a yielded man or woman of God!

I must add that brother David Sloane has also known much effectiveness and success in his endeavors as well (as did Paul). I have witnessed the Lord's anointing on his life, on pastor Tilson Shumate's life, and others- and as differently as God will use various people, and as unique and diverse as their callings are, you will recognize that it is the same Spirit working in all of them, when it is in fact God doing the calling.

Whether you are a pastor, a missionary, a real estate agent, a painter, or a mailroom clerk, God is faithful, and He will bring you- as you seek Him with all your heart- into the place which He has had for you since before you were even born. Don't doubt that for a moment!

En Agape,

Jim

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

This kind of jumped out at me as I read Jim's teaching above.

"...then you most likely have allowed yourself to become a 'victim' of the rough circumstances in which the Lord has placed you."

Just today I heard a teacher on the radio say that the trees that are positionally on the mountain where the storms are the worst tend to be the strongest.

God has a plan and a goal for each life. Not in a robotic sense but in such a way that you retain your autonomy as a person. God the Master Creator nudges circumstances to custom tailor our progress in the Christian life. And it is not always easy.

Joseph finds his betrothed is pregnant and he had nothing to do with it, what would people think. Then he has to go to his home town to register with his very pregnant wife and there is no where at all for them to stay because of the crowds coming in from the surrounding countryside. They end up in a cold cave on a hillside with livestock and everything that comes with livestock. One can only imagine what went through young Joseph's mind. "O man this is not at all what I expected from God, I should have had better accommodations then this."

Moses is told to go back and set his people free and Pharaoh ends up making their lot in life all the more hard. They now, as a result of Moses following God's calling, have to make bricks with out hay or straw. Moses surly wondered "Why Lord, Why? And then he follows the pillar of fire and ends up in a dead end canyon with a sea on one side and the Egyptians on the other. Not an easy position, and you know there were those who were of a mind that Moses had goofed up big time and their doom was eminent. So Moses does the only thing he can think of, he drops to his knees and starts to pray. He is suddenly interrupted by the Master Creator Almighty God, "Hey Mo, what are you doing! Get up man and part the sea, now is not the time for prayer, it is time for action, get going dude!"

John the baptist lost his head because he obeyed and preached in the wilderness.

And let's not forget the apostle Paul. Stoned and left for dead because he obeyed and spread the gospel message. Ship wrecked because he obeyed and spread the gospel message. Bound in chains because he obeyed and spread the gospel message.

God knows what it takes to build up those whom He calls and it is not always what we think it will be like. Things will at first appear to be totally out of control with no seeming solution in sight.

"O God, O God, help!!!"

But you know if we remain strong and of good courage the corner we find ourselves backed into will get rounded by the Lord and we will slip right out. Whishhhh...

Come on, you know the program of God and how it works.

Proverbs 25:4Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.

Isaiah 1:25And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:

1 Peter 4:12Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

I love that, "...as though some strange thing has happened unto you." Is not that what we always first think of when things get out of our control? It is always our knee jerk reaction at first.

You know Joseph at first reacted in the same way when he finds his woman in a state that normally indicated betrayal. You know that Moses felt initially that things were not right, this is not a great position to be in, between the Egyptians and the sea with no apparent way of escape.

I wonder how many of you out there today are finding yourselves in positions that are uncomfortable and not at all what you expected? Feeling like somehow you 'missed it' and God isn't there.

God is custom tailoring ways and situations that will ultimately result in His plans and purposes. But we do get a part to play. A relational interaction with our Savior. Sure things may look bleak and stagnant. Sure the checking account is way overdrawn and bills are due and stacking up.

But who is our God? Is He still upon His throne? Is His hand so short that He can not save?

Now I did not say this nor did some slick TV evangelist, Jesus Christ said it and He ment it:

Matthew 17:20And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Mark 10:27And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

Luke 1:37For with God nothing shall be impossible.


If you are facing some hard things right now. Things that for you are way impossible with no solution in sight. Take heart. Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is all powerful and all knowing. He sees your plight, He knows.

Go to Him, petition Him, and then start to be strong and courageous as you begin to determine that you will now begin to trust in Him and cling to Him like velcro and rely upon Him to see you through.

Because I know that He can and that He will. Because God is still upon His throne!

David Sloane
The Lord apprehended this silly twenty year old (me) from the 'world' back on Januatry 4th, 1975. I started going to an Assembly of God church right away, so the gifts of the Spirit and the teaching thereof were with me right from my spiritual beginning. I was baptized in the Holy Spirit three weeks after my conversion, and my hunger and thirst for Christ really took off. I wanted to learn as much about my new Savior as I possibly could, and I was in the Word often. Me- this brand new christian, just desiring to soak up all that was available to me from the Lord. Most believers will relate to what I'm saying. Those of you who were involved in Shekinah Fellowship way back when will CERTAINLY relate, because you in particular were privy to an incredible phenomenon that not all believers were blessed enough to have witnessed. You all experienced the increible power of the Holy Spirit in a supernatural way, first-hand...

I was among the fortunate ones to have witnessed this Glory shortly after my salvation, having gone down to the Los Angeles area (where I'd previously lived) from the northwest to visit family and friends, and finding my way to Angelus Temple to see Brant Baker and Shekinah Fellowship. Brant and Shekinah also came up to the Seattle area a year later for a number of meetings, so I was especially blessed by the continued moving of God in the world in the present, by His Spirit. It is something that has stayed with me ever since.....

After a few years though, I began to listen to some very good, very learned, and respected radio teachers who, for a time, had me rethinking my whole Pentacostal experience. Now, I've shared a bit of this in a previous post which I entitled, "Confessions of a Gift Despiser", and I don't want to repeat it all here (please look it up in the margin and read it), but I feel that there's more for me to share than I did in that particular post, which just touched on the subject. Incredibly, I slowly began to allow myself to believe that God had moved, that He had already spoken, and that the gifts of His Spirit were for a previous generation, one that did not have the completed canon, and that since we now have His complete Word, there was no more need for the 'gifts', especially since I'd seen so many fleshly abuses of those gifts....

As I shared in my previous post, after a few more years (despite being in the Word a lot), I began to become lonely for His wonderful Presence, I started pining for that 'reality', that intimacy, and eventually moved back in my heart to where I belonged...

It amazes me now that I could have ever have turned away from His supernatural moving among and upon His people today, in THIS VERY HOUR, yet I did. I now know that the Lord used this entire protracted experience to show me how I must- how WE ALL must- continue see king the very presence of the Lord, that we must ACTIVELY 'covet the best gifts' (I Corinthians 12:31), for He, the ultimate Gift, is the giver of these wonderful and necessary gifts. Now, I know for a fact that even some former Shekinah Fellowship members have let go of what they once knew as reality and deemed precious- I know because I've corresponded with them. Yet I can fully relate- if I hadn't gone through this whole thing myself, I would have thought that walking away from the belief in this Present Glorious Holy Ghost Power was impossible! Well it's not, and as believers who genuinely desire for God to continue moving in and through us, we absolutely MUST continue to cultivate this supernatural relationhip, to seek HIM and all that He has for us....

He hasn't gone anywhere- He's still here- and because of that fact, His gifts are still here- tongues, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, discerning of spirits- DO WE NOT NEED THESE TODAY?...

Don't settle for the dry, brains-only, academic brand of Christianity. That only satisfies the mind- you might do well on a test or quiz, you may win a blue ribbon- but you're spirit won't be moved at all. You can't have a relationship with book learning, or with your great knowledge of the original Greek text. These things are fine, but don't neglect HIS desire to move and do what He desires to fully do in you. If you already have, then return to Him! There's so much more of Him than we know! He waits for us...

En Agape,
pastor Jim
A few months back, I got a visit from a Jehovah's Witness. Now I was in a bit of a rush, awaiting the arrival of some friends, but I didn't want to just say, "Sorry, I'm not interested", so we spoke briefly. I asked him to keep the discussion to one subject only (the deity of Christ), as I knew that J.W.'s like to take people through a confusing maze that frustrates most Christians, bouncing form subject to subject.

He agreed and, while I found his arguments to be of course faulty, to my surprise I genuinely liked him as a person, and told him so- it was the doctrines that he preached that I abhorred. After that, I began to wonder, 'How many Christians know-from scripture- the fact that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is in truth Almighty God?

I even heard a clip form a TBN broadcast in which an 'evangelist' had the ignorance to day, "Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus actually say that He's God!" Years back, I learned a few things from Dr. Walter Martin, the ORIGINAL 'Bible Answer Man' on the subject, and I want to share them with this audience, lest there be any confusion about Jesus Christ's deity.

We need to understand- again, from scripture, that Jesus is in fact Jehovah (YHWH). Isaiah 7:14 and 8:8, prophesying about Messiah, refer to Him as "Immanuel", translated 'God with Us' in Isaiah 8:10. Let's go to Isaiah 44:6, "Thus saith the LORD (-All caps in Old Testament translation of LORD is literally YHWH, the Name so Holy that they would not even translate it literally) the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of Hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside Me there is no God". Now we'll move to the New Testament, to John 8:57-59, "Then said the Jews unto him, thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him..." The Jews knew full well that the title, 'I AM' was a designation of deity, and of deity only, having the same meaning as 'The First and the Last, 'Alpha and Omega', and 'Beginning and the End'- all titles for 'ALMIGHTY GOD', so they intended to stone Him to death for 'blasphemy'......

Let's look now at some excerpts from Revelation 1. " I...heard behind me a great voice...saying, "I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last"...And I turned to see the voice that spake with me....And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, "Fear not; I am the First and the Last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore..." (Now,due to time constraints, these are only excerpts, so please read the entire first chapter of Revelation).

You can plainly see whom the resurrected Jesus Christ is claiming to be. Dr. Walter Martin once told of how a former Jehovah's Witness came to him and admitted that there was one scripture that frustrated him to no end while he'd been a J.W., and it finally helped to bring him into the truth of Christ's deity. Dr. Martin was curious and asked, "What scripture was it?" The man replied, "Hebrews 1:6.-...when He bringeth the firstbegotten into the world, He saith, 'And let all the angels of God worship HIM'."

The man went on to say that Matthew 4:10b states clearly, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him ONLY shalt thou serve..', and it suddenly all made sense to him- Jesus Christ HAD to be God in flesh, for His Holy Word is clear that only God is to be worshipped! The man became a Christian, and a staunch defender of the faith, as most of those who come out of cults are....
It is so important that we as believers know what and why we believe- to realize just Whom Jesus is, and why He is deserving and worthy of our praise, and all of our devotion! It's all in God's Word- Immanuel, God with us- Praise His Wonderful Name!

En Agape,

Jim Ewing

Monday, May 24, 2010


The Holy Spirit! The power of the Highest. He is with us. He guides us. He shows us things to come. Join Bayless Conley as he shares how we can be born of the Spirit and filled with the Spirit.

Video:
Totally FREE computer operating system "Ubuntu."
http://trendsponder.blogspot.com/2010/05/ubuntu-is-hot-new-computer-operating.html





As a Christian painter, naturally I would want to paint God creating Adam. And I did.

"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Isaiah 55:11
Sure I can paint pictures of God all that I want. No matter how good of a painting that I create, it can never do what sharing from God's Word can do.

Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

How many times are we guilty of trying to use our natural talents to do what only the Word of God can do? Have you ever found yourself trying to witness to others and you get frustrated, not knowing exactly what to say or how to approach the other person? So you don't even try.

Years ago I found that if I would just be honest and up front, I would see the desired results in my witnessing to others. I stopped trying to figure out what to say. I just would tell the person that I was a Christian and that I wanted to share Jesus Christ with them. And then I would ask them if they minded if I shared from the Word of God. Not once did anyone forbid me.

So I would read from the Word of God the scriptures that pertained to man's sinfulness and his need of the Savior Jesus. After reading through the path of salvation I would then ask them if they were ready to invite Christ into their life. Almost always they were ready. The power of God's Word is very real and very active.

1 Peter 4:11If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

When you are reading from the Word of God to others, keep it in mind that you are an 'oracle' of God. His spokesman to that person. Have confidence in His words as you read them, knowing that they are a Living Word. Words that are fully able to do what we of our own selves are incapable of doing.

We can talk about God and Jesus all that we want to. It is only the Word of God that will deeply penetrate into the core of a person. And it is only the Holy Spirit that can convict and convince anyone of sin and their need of the Savior. We might convince someone that they are wrong, but we of our own selves can never convince someone of sin.

When we try to do the work of God's Word or the work of the Holy Spirit, we are blowing it big time. Why not let the Word of God, coupled with the Holy Spirit do what only they can do.

Give up the frustration of trying to be skilled and what ever we think we have to be to do the work of witnessing and let the Word of God and the Holy Spirit do it all. Just be real and identify who you are and what you want to do. So simple that children have done it.

The more that you do this and see the fruit of it, the more you desire to do it. Lonnie Frisbee was obsessed with witnessing on the streets because he told me, "I am good at it." He used the Living Word of God. He always would start out by quoting Jesus, "Jesus said" and then he would tell what Jesus had said.

Evangelism is not something you will be able to do in heaven. Only now, while you are on this side of heaven can you do it. If you have not done this before, at first it is ackward and somewhat intimidating. But as you continue in your honesty and usage of God's Word, you will start to see the fruit and when you do, it will inspire you to continue.

Proverbs 11:30The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

Philippians 2:16Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

James 5:20Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Pray, asking God to lead you to those whom He would have you to share His Word with. Then go out with a sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit, expecting a 'divine~appointment.'

Isaiah 43:10Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen...

God Himself says to you and I:

Isaiah 44:8Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

We have the truth. We know that there is only the one God in whom there are three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

They will back us up as we go forth to share the Word of God with others. If you are not doing this, then you are missing out on one of the most powerful and exciting experiences we Christians can have.

David Sloane

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Wonderful Creation We Are


8 Videos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNOLEQwKlF4&feature=related
Psalm 139:14
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

This is the bitter reality of the American present, a period in which big business has cemented an unholy alliance with big government against the interests of ordinary Americans, who, of course, are the great majority of Americans. The great majority of Americans no longer matter.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/22/opinion/22herbert.html?hp

(Drill baby drill...hows that workin out for ya...)