Posted by: jiminmontana | January 28, 2013

One Thought to Memorize

If there was just the one sentence in the Bible to memorize, it would have to be the last two verses of Jude.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling and present you blameless before the Presence of His glory with great joy — to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Lord be glory and majesty, and dominion, and authority — before all time, now, and forever.  Amen!    — Jude 24-25  (Jimbo’s translation)

I start each day with that thought.  I speak it quietly and know that I have gotten my day started off right.  There are no images to use on this post because none exist which can correctly represent what this passage is intending for us to try to imagine.  (1 Cor. 2:9)

Here is a link to the root words for a proper study of the passage.  I base my quote on the ESV* with one slight change.

FALLING

The only word that I have changed has to do with the idea of “stumbling” or “falling”.  It is an uncommon word and only appears in the Bible in this one place.  It’s most tight translated as “to exempt or preclude the possibility of falling down”.

If — IF you are placing trust in the Lord, anything that He desires is fully possible.  Through faith in Him and by allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to empower you, you are precluded from slipping, stumbling, or falling.  Or — OR you can strike out on your own in your limited ability and run the serious risk of making a fool of yourself and defaming the Name by which you are called.

“I can do all things through Him who strengths me.”  (Phil 4:13)  I can love my wife (even on a bad day), I can honor a morbidly hurtful politician who is tearing down our cultural foundations, I can bite my tongue when a retort is deserved . . .   I can bless the person who is actively working to do me harm — who mistreats my child.  ALL things.  ALL.

BLAMELESS

The Blood of the Innocent God-man blots out every sin and fault.  His wrongful death ruined the Grave.  The Value of His infinite worth is able to overwhelm every wrong that be committed throughout history and make ALL of us fit for citizenship in God’s Heaven.

PRESENT

Yeshua is alive today as our High Priest, but He will return to take the Bride to the Father to personally introduce Her on that glorious Day.

GLORY – with GREAT JOY

At the Tabernacle, Moses and the few elders met with God and the glory surrounded them.  In their sinful condition, they were filled with awe and fear.  The high priest could enter the Most Holy Place only one day per year where the Shekinah glory was manifest.  Because the anger of the Lord might break out against this sinning mortal, stringent protocol was established to make the man as “right” as possible.  He had to be “clean” in every way or he could die in the Presence.  Bells were fastened to the hem of his robe so the people outside could hear him move.  A strong rope had been tied around his ankle to tug his corpse out of the Presence, lest any trespasser enter and be also slain.

Here is Isaiah’s testimony about the time when he was taken before the Presence:

Then said I, Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

Because of the Victory of Messiah, we are encouraged to enter into this Presence “boldly” — not cowering.  Not with trepidation, but with “great joy“.  Here is another rare word in Scripture.  Hebrew calls this the “oil of gladness”.  The idea is that a person cannot experience more joy than this.  Exultation.  It is to this Joy that you, Believer, are predestined.  Rather than being dragged into the Presence of Holy God in fear of death as was poor Isaiah, you will enter the Presence of God in all His unapproachable light, having been “conformed to the image of His Son“, in all righteousness.  (Romans 8)

But, as it is written, “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9)

AUTHORITY

. . . to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, be glory and majesty, and dominion, and authority — before all time, now — RIGHT NOW — and forever.  Amen!

In this thought, you are having your own personal mini-coronation of Messiah on the throne of your life.  Both the Father and the Son are honored in this.  Although we are quick to think of Jesus when the idea of “Savior” comes to mind, it was the heart of the Father to send the Son to do the work of Salvation.  Salvation is the “Family Business” of Heaven and you are an adopted son or daughter — sharing in the work, the fellowship, and the family fortune!  We yield to the authority of the One who deserves to rule our lives — the One who will bring us “great joy”.

For some reason, it helps me to add those two words “RIGHT NOW”.  You?

————————-

*I refuse to utilize the NKJV (my personal boycott) because that translation continues to perpetuate the significantly-erroneous treatment of Genesis 12:3 — God’s blessing to Abraham and the Jews.  The Replacement Theologians linger and stink the whole thing up!  Boo!  Hiss!   

Long live Christian Zionism!  

Posted by: jiminmontana | January 25, 2013

Southern Cornbread

These ignorant Northwesterners keep ruining cornbread by putting sugar in the recipe!  That’s like an Italian chef watching you cook a pound of pasta in a quart of water!  It’s just wrong, so stop it.

And it’s hard to get good cornmeal up here — it’s just too cold to grow corn.  I suggest that you order 10 pounds of yellow cornmeal every year from the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, TN.  Put it in a well-sealed container and store it in the freezer — and be blessed.    http://www.old-mill.com/

My favorite preparation of cornbread is in the form of little corn cobs.  This pan will last 3 lifetimes — if it never rusts.

Product Image

Here is a link where the pan can be bought for $6.  Go to a Crackerbarrel restaurant if you want immediate gratification @ $15.

Ingredients

1.5 C cornmeal

0.5 C flour

1 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1.5 C buttermilk

————-

2 T shortening, melted

0.5 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

Process

Use one measuring cup throughout the process, being a 1/2 Cup measurer.  Mix the dry ingredients above the dashed line.  Make a hollow place, add eggs and beat the eggs into the mix.  Add buttermilk and mix in well.  Let sit for five minutes to hydrate the meal.  Needs to be almost runny like cake batter, add a dab more milk as needed.

Get your dry iron skillet hot over medium low heat — about 40% of the stovetop’s heat range.

Add shortening and leavening agents to mixture.  Mix well.  Have butter on hand while cooking.

Pour 1 Tbs. oil onto skillet and follow with a half cup of mixture immediately.  It will spread out in a circle about 7″ in diameter and start to crisp on the edges.  When it starts to bubble on top, count 1.5 minutes and loosen edges with spatula to flip.  This first bread is often wasted — finish cooking it and allow its heat to keep the following pieces warm.  If darker than golden brown, reduce heat so cooks more slowly.  Cook all the rest.

As each one is being finished, place a pat of butter on top, flip again and melt all over by swishing around in skillet.

Alternatively, use a cupcake muffin mold for small pieces of cornbread.  In a hot oven (400), heat the muffin pan.  Add 1 tsp olive oil or shortening and let that heat.  Pull out pan and quickly load with cornbread mixture and return to heat until golden brown – should be hot enough to bubble immediately.  With the corncob stick cast iron form, get it to 400 degrees in the oven, add shortening to melt and then add the mixture — not too much.

Because there is no sweetness in the recipe, it goes great with chili and other highly-spiced entrees.  If you like it sweet, serve warm on a heated bread plate with butter, honey, or molasses.

It is less time-consuming to just pour the mixture in a cake pan and let it bake.  That is not considered Southern hospitality at a proper table where guests are appreciated.

Posted by: jiminmontana | January 25, 2013

Passover Event in Helena

Last year we had a really good Passover event at Hannaford Church.  This year, we’ll be hosted at Mountain Family Fellowship on the north side of Helena.  The rotisserie for roasting lambs will fire up at 8 am on Sunday, March 24th — Palm Sunday.  A great time for fellowship and enjoying the depth of our heritage in the Faith.

All info is at the dedicated website for the event — go to http://helenapassover.wordpress.com  

Protected by the Blood

Protected by the Blood

Register by making a comment there.

 

 

 

Posted by: jiminmontana | January 6, 2013

PyreDoodle Puppies Need a Home

We have two puppies which are half Great Pyrenees and half Standard Poodle.

All the info is at     http://pyredoodles.wordpress.com

These will be 100 pound dogs with are intelligent, gentle, and hypoallergenic.  Enjoy the pics.

Thing 1 and Thing 2

 

Posted by: jiminmontana | December 5, 2012

AutoZone fires the employee who thwarted a robbery at work

Chivalry may not be dead, but it is being killed slowly in our “civil”ization called America.

A veteran of the Air Force was fired after chasing off a serial armed robber at his place of employment.  The “Fake Beard Bandit” has pulled off some 30 robberies in the area and had taken down the store once before.  However, the company’s zero-tolerance policy against guns at work required that the employee permit the robber to potentially murder everyone in sight rather than deal with the unpleasant situation effectively.

LINK to the local TV website with video

These are strange times when the heroic actions of a citizen will guarantee harsh recompense.

No one needs to give you permission to do the right thing.

The sheriff even commented that robbers now know that they are free to hold up an AutoZone with relative impunity.

I just went to the AutoZone website and let them know that O’Reilly’s is just down the street.  Click here to send them the message.

The City Council of Helena, MT is considering a new ordinance which would grant SPECIAL RIGHTS to people with Gender Identity Disorders (GID).  This will impact employment, housing, and public accommodations.  Yep, a dude will be able to poop in the Ladies Room at your job or church with the full protection of the law — or linger in the girl’s changing room.  It will be a CRIME to “discriminate” against a transvestite wanting to “help” at your church’s Nursery or Children’s Ministry.

It's a Boy!

It’s a Boy!

Coming to Your Town SOON

Check out my blog    WhatHelenaValues.org   for all the info.  Since lawmakers at the State level throughout the nation have said a big “Hell No!” to this crazy talk, the plan is to push this through on the local level.  YOUR CITY is going to be hit with this — if not already.

Posted by: jiminmontana | November 2, 2012

Pomegranate Glaze and Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Pomegranates are in season now and I hope that you will enjoy this recipe for a graze that works great on chops.  This recipe is my own with inspiration from a recent study of the use of pomegranate in Scripture.  Love it.  Enjoy.

Sauce works for about four servings.

Ingredients

1 large pomegranate — remove seeds as at this link — crush seeds and strain out the juice.

8 oz light corn syrup

2 Tbs apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbs sugar

1/4 tsp red pepper

To make barbecue sauce rather than glaze, add 2 Tbs tomato paste; any more will overwhelm the pomegranate flavor.

Process

Collect seeds, crush, and strain the juice.  Reduce to about half over medium heat in sauce pan.

Remove from heat and stir in dry ingredients to dissolve.  Add corn syrup.  Return to heat and stir constantly while returning to boil.  Boil slowly for 3 minutes.

Brush on lamb chops after half cooked on grill.

Save some sauce for the table.

Posted by: jiminmontana | September 7, 2012

Democrat VOTER FRAUD on national TV

The Democratic Party has proven that they intend to defraud even their own members of their voices at the Democratic National Convention  Here is a link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST-eE4Ud7nw

The fervor was regarding the President’s intention to include the word “God-given” in the DimParty platform and to state that Jerusalem be considered the capital city of the Nation of Israel.  This change required a 2/3 vote to pass, but the NO votes outnumbered the AYE votes.  The Democratic Convention Chairman took the vote THREE TIMES — each with the same embarrassing result — “NO!” being shouted by most delegates at the convention.

Then he stated that the amendment had passed!

This is how the Dim leadership mistreats its own people — defrauding them of their votes — on national television in front of the entire world.  They do what they want, voters be damned!

Do you really think that YOUR vote will count in November?  When it is being counted in a closed room with no cameras and no public scrutiny?  I think that this election is already in the bag and America will be treated to a second round of precipitous ruin by those who currently hold power.

I hope that I’m wrong.  Pray for our nation!

Itinerary with links to maps:

  • Monday, 7 pm at Mountain Family Fellowship.  Located just north of the NW corner of Sierra Rd. and Montana Ave. at 6145 North Montana Avenue  Helena, MT 59602
  • Tuesday, 10:00 am at Helena Christian School.  3384 Canyon Ferry Rd, East Helena, MT 59635.  Students and their families are invited.
  • Tuesday, 11:30 am at Chili’s Mexican Food Restaurant.  Pastors and community leaders who intend to stand with Israel are invited to this complementary luncheon.  Supported through CUFI (Christians United for Israel) — we had excellent attendance with timely and relevant content earlier in 2012.  Buffet starts at 11:30 with speaking to begin at noon.  RSVP is required.  Send email to connect@healthysoulsofhelena.com 

  • Tuesday evening, 7 pm — Helena Middle School auditorium.  1025 N. Rodney Street.  map link to auditorium street view
  • Wednesday, 7 pm at Carroll College — see the map to the Lower Commons here. – building #4 on Carroll’s map called “Campus Center”.

About Irving Roth

Irving Roth is the Director of the Holocaust Resource Center at the Temple Judea of Manhasset, New York.

Holocaust Resource Center

He is the former education director of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Nassau County, Florida.

The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida

An internationally known educator and speaker, Mr. Roth has endeavored to teach people about the Holocaust and the lessons that can be learned from his experience as a survivor.  The content of his message has been termed “crucial” and “spell-binding”; his ability to communicate “captivating” and “unforgettable”.  Come to hear and experience the wisdom and message of a man who has overcome one of the last century’s greatest traumas when he visits Helena this fall.

Through his participation is programs such as Adopt-A-Survivor, in which young people “adopt” a Holocaust survivor and learn from his or her experiences, and the March of the Living, Mr. Roth has worked to ensure that an atrocity like the Holocaust never happens again.  Many people throughout his community owe their knowledge of the Holocaust to Mr. Roth.  He has been the recipient of many, many awards and accolades for his life work which is to promote a more accepting and diverse world.  His life-mission to make the world a better place for all human beings has earned Mr. Roth the Spirit of Anne Frank Award.

On a personal note, I am so glad to be a small part of bringing Mr. Roth to our community and boosting his reception.  Please pray that his time here is meaningful.  Moreover pray with me that Mr. Roth will know the God of Israel through the Son of David, Jesus the Messiah.  He is Yeshua Ha’mochiach.

LINKS

Link to news station overview of Mr. Roth here.  2 minutes

Following is  a link to Mr. Roth’s Testimony.  80 minutes on YouTube.

Link to his revisiting of Auschwitz – 8 minutes

Jerusalem Road — using only “Old Testament” Scriptures to explain the troubles with Humanity and G-d’s plan for Redemption, this set of verses is a Messianic-Christian response to the popular “Romans Road” which uses only verses from Romans, the Apostle Paul’s book to the Church in Rome.

Posted by: jiminmontana | September 7, 2012

Tombstone reads “Nigger”

I grew up in Tennessee — between Nashville and the Kentucky border on a farm which had been in the family for eight generations.  My mother and father are buried in the small family cemetery there with my father’s kin.  The cemetery faces exactly east so that those who are interred there can properly respond to the Coming of the Lord.  Although I live in Montana now, there is a plot reserved for my corpse next to Mama (should I so desire to be buried there).  There is not much room left for plots inside the cemetery fence, but my wife could also fit.

family cemetery under the Hackberry trees, going back to early 1800’s — the tops of  family tombstones are visible

Outside the ornate wrought-iron fence (thickly coated with black lead paint), you can find another cluster of headstones, none of which are standing upright.  Behind the family plots are the buried remains of the slaves who lived and died on the farm.

Because their markers were not protected from the “beefs” that roam the fields, their stones have laid flat now for at least two generations.  Their stones are small — maybe eighteen inches tall (if they were standing) and not deeply engraved.  The bodies of those buried there in the early 1800’s are surely very decomposed and the inscriptions on their stones are nearly vanished, but as a boy I could make out the single word on one of the slave’s headstones.

Growing up in the South in the late 20th century, I was not entirely sheltered from the cruelty of “racial” bias.  I recall being with Mama in the car going home at about the age of 5 when we were required to stop so that a Klan march could proceed on the north side of town.  It was on the road between Dad’s favorite liquor store and the GM dealership owned by our neighbor: a sweet old man who seemed to live on, forever.  It was the same road which the Union Army traveled during the Civil War on their way to sack Nashville.  I was amazed to see mostly fat men wearing white sheets and pointy hats carrying signs and acting very oddly — aggressively walking down the middle of the highway.  I asked Mama what was happening, and she said, “Trash.  Just white trash — full of hate.”  I had to know, “Hate what, Mama?  What do they hate?”  With hot eyes and through clinched teeth she said, “Colored people.”

Klan march in Macon around that time

All I could think of was the singular colored person who I really knew — and that was Miss Cassey, the aging black woman who came to our house several days a week to clean up after us and help Mama with the chores.  Miss Cassey was a widow lady who lived “across the tracks” in the government housing called “The Projects”.  I learned much later that there was a “White Projects” and a “Black Projects”; they were in two different areas of town.  The parade was very near to the “White Projects”.

“Black Projects” where Miss Cassey lived — note the uncommon absence of trees due to the lack of ownership, being obvious even from Space

Cassey always seemed tired to me.  She moved slowly and deliberately, never wasting a motion.  She had a rich alto voice and would quietly hum gospel hymns that I knew from church.  She would sing quietly when Mama was out of the house.  Very “black” and bluesy sounds — she was the only source of such music to my otherwise segregated ears.  All the rest of my young life experience was entirely “white”.

Hot Wheels 100% 1956 Chevy Orange / Black

Cassey drove an orange and black 1956 Chevy for the 15 years that I knew her.  When I won a bobble head tiger at the county fair and I was pleased to give it to her.  She had me put it in the back window of her huge car where it remained for at least a decade.  I noticed that the colors of the orange and black tiger were more and more faded every time I put the bobble head back on – permitting it to bob about as the car jostled down the street.

Mama’s mother, “Mom-mee” (not sure how to spell that), warned us that we ought not let a “nigrah” in the house — that’s how it was pronounced — “nig-rah”.  The excited, shrill voice just knew that Cassey would “rob us blind” and “steal the silver”.  That seemed absurd to me, even when I was pre-school.  Cassey loved me.  She was the only person who ever talked to the Lord about me in my presence.  When she gave me a bath as a little boy, she would say something like, “Lord, bless this child and keep him sweet.  Save him, Lord, and keep him on the right track.”  As I think about it, she rarely spoke directly to me — maybe once or twice a year.  And I knew that she loved me.

Mama recognized a man in the parade and rolled down the window to shame him.  The name of the fellow meant nothing to me then so I do not remember it, but Mama said, “I know that’s you ___  _____ and I think what you are doing is contemptible!  Disgusting!”  The man in the white sheets gave her a mocking, highly flourished bow as if he was the star of some play at the curtain call.  She gnashed her teeth and we never spoke of it again.

My paternal grandfather was wet-nursed by a young black woman at the turn of the century.  Although slavery had been abolished for a generation, the blacks who stayed in the area found it practical to maintain friendly relations with their former owners.  And Tennessee slavery was not like the slavery portrayed on most television documentaries, especially in the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee.

In flat areas where row crops are still the norm — places like Alabama and Missouri — slaves were used like we use tractors today.  With thousands of acres of cotton, beans, or corn, slaves were very numerous:  stored in rough quarters, chained, fed poorly, and treated without human compassion.  By comparison, in the hilly areas like the Smokey Mountains, slaves were scarce because there was little farmland to be worked.  Our family’s farm, in the Middle of the state and full of “rolling hills” offered farming opportunities only for animal husbandry and “patch crops” like tobacco and vegetable gardening.  With only twelve flat acres here and eight flat acres over there, the several slaves that lived on the farm at any one time had diverse skill-sets and were much less likely to see abuse or neglect.  Although they were certainly considered to be chattels, they were not entirely dehumanized.  The slaves did live in separate quarters to be sure, but they attended church with the family and some were educated to read, write, and do very basic math.  But the one headstone that could still be read after many decades in the elements had one word inscribed, and that was all.

At the age of ten or twelve, I was on the horns of a painful dilemma.  Do I remove the stone with the ugly word and simultaneously eliminate the only remaining evidence of that person’s existence?  Do I leave the word over him — and is that my tacit approval of the sin?  I walked away conflicted.  Destroying a stone could not erase the past; it could not destroy the ugly feeling inside me.  The tombstone still reads “Nigger”.  Some sins are etched in stone.

Slave quarters in Virginia

The school I attended had several other students with my surname.  Only one of them was white.  Ironically, he was arguably the worst offender of God and man in the entire school as he was often in the newspaper for some crime or other through the years.  The others were all very black; none of them would have claimed a Scott in their ancestry.  My mother suggested to me that most of them were descendants of those slaves who were buried behind the family cemetery, having retained the family name.  Each one was friendly to me; I recall one younger boy saying with a big smile, “We have the same name!”, not realizing that our history likely went back generations, albeit separately.  At his happy statement, I remember the twinge of discomfort that went right through me to my ethereal roots — complex discomfort with hints of pain and apprehension and sorrow in the mix.  It was a creepy shame of which I was not guilty, yet it lingers because I somehow cannot feel innocent.

I do not remember that black boy’s full name, but I am absolutely certain that the epitaph on the tombstone could never define him.  That his long forgotten grandfather was covered by that slur — is today still covered by that slur,  carved on stone as though to define him eternally before his Maker — it burns me like a small cinder from Hell.

God, help us!  The river of blood spilled in our Civil War has not washed away the harm — not even now.  How I wish that the first black President of these United States had been a success!  How I hate it that racists throughout our land can point to him with their low expectations fulfilled in his monumental failure as our President.  I wonder what profound resolution could be fostered had a Walter Williams or an Allen West been the first black President.

When I was in college, I clearly remember being told that the ultimate goal for social issues is this:  that men and women could interact with one another and not notice what ethnic group the other person is — that we would totally forget about those differences.  Since I was only learning how to think at the time, I knew that what this “professor” was saying was messed up, but I could not put my finger on the flaw in his thinking.  Today I know that we are to not deny the existence of those differences, but are to enjoy those traits which make each one of us different and unique.  Each person has a unique voice with which to praise his God and Maker.  Each person has a unique experience through which he or she comes to understand the joys and the sorrows in that particular life; those experiences become a part of the human equation in the fabric of a shared history.  We do not each receive the same potentials, but we do all have the same destiny.  The Throne of God is both the Mercy Seat and the place of inflexible Justice, but we will each experience that Throne in either one way or the other.  Each one of us is on the docket and the date is set when every life that ever breathed will meet there as a contemporary.

The day is coming when I will hear the voice of my Believing mother sing again — still with a thin quality, I wonder?  What will it be like to hear her worship without reservation?

The day is coming when “Miss Cassey’s” big, black, alto voice will be heard — fully expressed, I am certain.

——————

An interesting read on the end of Slavery in Tennessee from that era = “The End of Slavery in Tennessee

Front Cover

Booker T. Washington’s crucial and disregarded wisdom to those emancipated slaves in “Up from Slavery“. (Link to free ebook)

Posted by: jiminmontana | September 4, 2012

“2016, Obama’s America” the Movie

This documentary has gotten loads of bad press by the mass-media, primarily because this film vets the man — something the MSNBC and CNN crowd refused to do in 2008.

obama movie 2016

Wikipedia link here — movie review

Our President was not raised in the farmlands or even the suburbs of middle America.  He was raised in Indonesia and Hawaii, the later being one of the least patriotic of our United States.  Hawaii remains the only hotbed of anti-Colonialism in America with a significant presence of anti-Americanists in the native people.

While being raised in an environment which is steeped in anti-American sentiment is significant enough, Obama was profoundly influenced by Frank Marshall Davis, a card-carrying member of the Communist Party in America, being member #47544.  Their relationship was that of mentor to pupil, with Barack being under Davis’ influence for eight years.

While I am aware that our nation will get the governance that it deserves, it is my family’s hope and prayer that America does not deserve another round of Barack Hussein Obama and his handlers.

Following is the link to Alan Caruba’s Jan. 2, 1010 blog about the origins of our current President.  It has been incorrectly tied to the WSJ, which is unfortunate, but the blog remains a fantastic resource and is highly recommended.  Link to “Obama’s Make-Believe Life

Remember to VOTE on November 6th — VOTE ANGRY!

Posted by: jiminmontana | July 10, 2012

Old Souls and the Spirit: Seeking the Breakthrough

Following are the notes from a sermon I delivered on Sunday, July 8th, 2012:

About Me:  Sinner, Redeemed, Southerner, Bible reader, Faith, interacted with God at age 10. Biology degree.  Grew up in the Church of Christ:  Holy Spirit not permitted there — Angry people who knew a lot about the Bible, but had no transcendent Power to be godly in life = much frustration and anger.

Quandary: How can a Christian person be rotten? If God is real and if Christianity is real, why does Christianity seem to fail in various people in various ways? I had enjoyed that early initial interaction with God that made it personal to me. Convinced later by prophecy that this Bible thing is real – the Bible is the only source of Revealed Truth delivered to us from the God who precedes us in time – for me, the hundreds of prophecies that have already been fulfilled was ample proof that this Bible is the Word of God. So why is the Church full of people who can be so nasty? So immature? Now, the best people I have known are mature Christian people, but why aren’t more Christians like Christ?

Gandhi of India was asked the question, “What’s the biggest obstacle to the Gospel of Christ in India?” He answered with one word: “Christians.” Christians have always been the biggest obstacle to the fulfillment of God’s plan for this planet. Christians like me. How is it that I can be so confounded? Why is it that I can thank God in the morning for all the Good that He has done me despite myself and then have the nerve to draw a hard line with my wife that afternoon. I can go to bed at night acutely aware of the true fact that I deserve to spend eternity drowning in a black Lake of Fire far from the Presence of God and His Grace – and spend hours the next morning hardly even aware that every breath is a gift and every moment is an opportunity to love others and receive their love and to be about the real Business of the Kingdom. Rather than being an example of godliness in the real world, if I am not careful, I can become a cautionary tale.

David: Think about good King David. What a great man of God who wrote the Psalms. Fantastic.

Complete this phrase:  “David & __________.” (Goliath)

Again, “David & ___________.” (Bathsheba)

Isn’t it true that some people who really are Saved by the Blood of the Lamb ought not tell anyone?  You see a bumper sticker about Jesus on some maniac’s car who runs you off the road and you want to scrape it off with a screwdriver.

I grew up knowing that the Bible is True and completely trustworthy. I grew up knowing that the God of the Universe is both Powerful and Kind and that He sees me and loves me. Yet I grew up keenly aware that the Church and more than a few Christians are a mess. WHY?!

While thinking about this makes us uncomfortable, the good news is that the solution is easily discovered. It’s right there in Scripture. The truth is this: Christianity has not been tried and failed. No. Christianity has been attempted and found difficult and abandoned at various places along the path toward maturity. What the World needs is MATURE men and women of God who will CONSISTENTLY deny their own selfish interests and allow the God of the universe to live through them on a daily basis. That is what will save our nation. That is what will save your neighbor and your neighborhood.  We need more Believers who keep the garden of their lives well-tended — Believers who do not reserve a plot for weeds.

I am here to make a case. Maybe you didn’t believe me before, but I am a Sinner. Maybe I can’t be trusted to tell the truth for five minutes. So read your Bible. Know what the revealed Truth of God says and believe that. But I confess that I do have an agenda and I am going to press toward a goal today – and I do that without apology.

My goal is to flesh out HOW a sinful person like each of you and everyone you know can become a MATURE man of God. HOW a baby Believer can get beyond the dirty diaper stage of infancy and walk with God as a full-grown daughter of the King. A champion. One who lives in righteousness. One who is entrusted with the Power of God.

Key Verses and key concept:

Luk 9:21 NKJV – And Jesus strictly warned (his disciples),
Luk 9:22 NKJV – saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
Luk 9:23 NKJV – Then He said to [them] all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Luk 9:24 NKJV – “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.

What does that mean, that you have your own cross to carry through life daily as you follow Christ?

First, everything goes back to the Garden. Everything. Let’s start with the Garden of Eden.

Every day, Adam walked with God in the cool of the evening. He had eaten from all the trees in the Garden, except for two. One tree was forbidden. All the others were available to the Man. One tree represented Rebellion against the Ways of God – by eating that fruit, Adam could sever himself from dependency upon the God who made Him. It would mean no more walks in the cool of the evening – that relationship would be altered.

Up to that point, Adam was totally innocent and pure, but he did not POSSESS Holiness as something which flowed from his own character. He did not own that Virtue as his own possession.

Day after day, Adam had the opportunity to eat from the other special tree in the Garden, the Tree of Life. But he chose not to do so. You see, the Man had not yet made up his mind. To eat from the Tree of Life meant that Adam would have made the decision to permanently bind himself to the Lord and to forgo the option of pursuing his own way of life. Despite the fact that God walked with the Man daily and proved His Goodness and Wisdom to the Man over and over, the Man was not ready and never became ready to accept the deal that God was offering until it was too late. Then, when it was too late, that initial offer was no longer available to him.

God had warned them about eating from that Tree which represented Independence from God saying, “In the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die.” So, answer this question: When Adam swallowed the fruit from the forbidden tree, did he fall over dead? No. He lived, it seems. Yes? OK.

So, did God lie? Was it a good lie? A WHITE lie? Was it a needful lie, being God’s way of withholding a harsh penalty? No, God cannot lie.

Num 23:19 ESV – God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

The moment that Adam ate the fruit which his wife had presented, he did die, but it was not evident in the physical realm. There is a spiritual realm – it is the other side of reality. Everyone you know is made in the image of God. You are not God and you are never going to become God or become a god. But you share a quality with God in that there is a part of you which is spiritual. There are so many things that you cannot perceive with your senses, yet they are real.  Spiritual things, by definition, are not perceptible with the senses.

The problem is that when the Man ate that fruit of rebellion against the God who made him, Adam ruined that spiritual part of himself that was able to get plugged into the Life of God. He could have chosen otherwise. In common terms today, Adam could have plugged into the Tree of Life. But he chose to plug into the Tree of Death and it fried his system. Adam got harmed in a way that he could not fix. Adam died in his spirit. His human spirit was ruined that day.

But in the physical world, he lived. Adam lived on as a natural man with a ruined spirit. He no longer had a healthy human spirit to impart to his children. Cain was born with a ruined spirit – his father gave it to him and could do no better. Abel and Seth were also born with ruined human spirits. Noah was a second Adam, as it were, and although he had turned to the Lord as a sinner, he still had received a ruined human spirit going back to Adam and was destined to die. Each one of us received a human spirit from a human father which goes back to that Original sinner in the Garden. We are naturally born UNPLUGGED from the Lord, unplugged from eternal Life in God.

This explains why Messiah had to be born of a Virgin. In the fullness of time, God sent His Son to be born as a natural human being, yet having his natural human spirit fully alive and innocent. Having no human father, the Spirit of God had mysteriously caused him to take on human form. This was always the plan of God; it was an end-run around the problem of inherited sinfulness in the natural world.

And here is the Gospel message. That this one man, Jesus (Yeshua) would be born as the Son of God, yet fully human. He lived under the Law of the Jews and was totally obedient. He never did anything to violate the Law, because his human character was rooted in the Character of God the Father. It was natural for Jesus to eschew sin and do what was Good. And He lived a full life as an innocent Man despite the Sin around Him. At the age of 30, He presented Himself to God as an obedient Son and the Holy Spirit fully inspired Him to do ministry as the ultimate Man of God. Jesus took on a role which the Bible calls being the “Last Adam”, in that Jesus would bring an end to that woeful condition that you and I and every baby born today will share. Having lived the Perfect Life of – not just Innocence – but having waged war on the Serpent and having been Victorious over the World, Sin, and the Devil, Yeshua was hated by those sinners He had offended. Both the leaders of the Jews and the local leader of the Gentile world conspired to kill Him and to torture him to death.

Scripture says, hundreds of years before the Crucifixion, that it “pleased God” to harm Him. There was no other way for us to be reconciled to God.

There is a limited number of sins in the world. Of all the lies that have been told, they can be counted. Of all the murders throughout the centuries, they can be numbered. I think of the gas chambers in Europe and the estimated 6 million Jews who died in the last century – they can be counted. I think of Chairman Mao in China killing an estimated 60 million of his own people – their bodies could be counted and the heart of God is broken with each tear-filled face that falls headlong on His Creation. But there is a number assigned and sin is finite and limited.

But the value of Jesus cannot be measured. God the Father has not enough words to express His love for Jesus. The infinite Worth of Messiah is able to atone for each and every sin – for each and every sinner. You do not have the power to overwhelm His Life of Goodness and Obedience.

At the Crucifixion of Jesus, there was one too many deaths in the world. It is as if the Justice of God had been broken in the World. Here was the One Man who had lived a sinless life of devotion to God the Father – slain. Killed horribly. That’s not Justice.

But Jesus had laid down His Life so that we could take it up. Being Wrong, the Grave could not hold Him. His Presence there killed the Grave and Jesus is alive forevermore.

Because His Life was so Good and His Death was so Wrong, His Life is able to overflow to you. He has made the way for you to plug into the Tree of Life. He is that Tree of Life. But you have to accept the deal. Back in the Garden, Adam had a choice before him. Which tree would he choose? His choice affected you from conception in the womb. He doomed you. You were not born into this world with a healthy human spirit. But Jesus has died and risen from the dead. He is the answer to our human condition. He is alive today before the Throne of God the Father as our great High Priest, making intercession for those who have placed their hopes in Him.

Do you believe that? OK, so why is the Church still rotten? It’s not totally rotten, thank God, but it does have a few issues, yes? Why?

Hbr 4:12 ESV – “… the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hbr 4:13 ESV – And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hbr 4:14 ESV – Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
Hbr 4:15 ESV – For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Hbr 4:16 ESV – Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

“the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit.”

The Word of God is able to separate your soul from your spirit. You have a spirit. You have a soul. They are not the same thing. God is keenly interested in separating the two. And it sounds painful. There is a sword involved.

We humans are made in God’s image, but God is spirit and not physical. We have a spirit, we have a soul, and we have a body. To separate any of those three elements from a person is to kill him.

Luk 9:23 NKJV – Then He said to [them] all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Luk 9:24 NKJV – “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.

There is a sword involved in this. There is a cross involved in this. When you turned to the Lord and trusted in Him to make you right before God and get you into God’s Heaven, were you aware that there would be a sword involved? Did you understand that there would be a cross with your name on it?

When Adam ate that fruit of rebellion, he did die in his spirit. But his body and his soul continued to live for years and years. So, what is the soul?

Your human soul is the seat of all of your natural desires and concerns and thoughts and feelings. In Greek, it is the “psyche”. It is your psychology. It is the source of all of those character traits that make you proud. It is the source of all of those character traits that make you ashamed. It is natural and has a natural life that is all its own. Your soul can live completely apart from God and be happy in its selfish existence. And your soul can do good in the world. I have known many unRedeemed people who can be sweet and helpful and kind – they can do good things like cure disease at the hospital and raise children to be good citizens. They have powerful souls that are not steeped in sinful behavior. Others are not so praiseworthy.

Adam died immediately in his human spirit, but he died progressively in his human soul, then ultimately he died in his human body.

Cain leading Abel to his death

He died progressively in his soul. Before eating the forbidden fruit of Independence from God, Adam was totally innocent day after day. Did he know how to cuss? Did Eve ever go to bed with a black eye or a busted lip? Of course not. That’s ridiculous. But in time, all of the hurtful things that we humans do to one other became a reality. Over time, Adam learned how to sin more. His sons made advancements that were built on their father’s progress in sin. Over time, Adam became more and more depraved. Adam died progressively in his soul until he finally died and was buried.

Yeshua Messiah has reversed this process for us. When you accept God’s deal for Salvation in Jesus, your human spirit gets plugged into the Throneroom of God. On that day, in that moment, you are declared to be Justified by Holy God – all of the Virtue of Jesus is imputed to your account. Scripture says that you are legally married to Messiah, and that makes you as if a daughter-in-law to God the Father. As His Bride, all of the rights and responsibilities of that lofty position are yours.

But just the day before, you were a hooker or a drug addict or a con-artist. Or maybe you were just a fibber who only occasionally deflected from the truth when the cause was “worthy”. Ideally, you come to the Lord as a young person – a child – who has a very short list of sins. Come to the Lord early, before your soul has become full of sinful habits and foolishness. That person has a real advantage. Nevertheless, the Lord is glorified in a unique way by each unique life that comes to Him.

But all of us have a defect in the soul. Jesus is alive and giving us the power to progressively cure our souls. The soul needs to be Saved also, and we call that Sanctification. It is always a process. The spirit is saved in the blink of an eye when you are Justified and declared by God to be just as Righteous as Jesus Christ, His Son. But the process of Sanctification, the salvation of your soul, will be an ongoing process every day of your life until that blessed day when you meet the Lord and He graciously makes you whole in every way. In that day, you will OWN the same character that Jesus owns. In that day, you will be without one wrinkle of sinfulness. Virtue will belong to you. Your soul will be pure – absolutely pristine. God will restore your soul. When others meet you, they will be interacting with a person they can trust completely. Others will not have any dread of you. You will be able to extend love to others and receive love from others with out any fear of harm.

You will not be misunderstood or taken advantage of. When I think of that Age to come when Sin and sinfulness is no more, that’s one of the things that I try to imagine – what will it be like to interact with other people in mutual purity?

The human soul is not to be despised.  Made right, your soul can be a wonderful and powerful thing — lovely.  The Lord is in the business of “restoring” you soul.  Unfortunately, that will include the (painful) removal of all that is not righteous.  Like making a clay pot from common soil, the initial clay that comes out of the earth has impurities (pieces of rock, both large and small) which need to be picked away before the clay can be formed.

So, how is the soul perfected?

First, as stated before, you have to accept God’s deal. Don’t just believe that Jesus was the solution to human misery and alienation from God. You don’t just look at a parachute and say, “That thing can save my life if the plane runs out of gas.” That is not enough. You gotta put on the parachute. You have to “put on Jesus.” You have to realize, “This plane is gonna hit something hard. Soon.” All of your focus becomes directed at that parachute and getting yourself into that. That is how to come to the Lord. “I realize that this World is just about ruined and I want to get signed up with God and His Salvation right now.”

You put on the parachute, you tighten the straps, and you bail out of the plane before it crashes. How do you bail out of this crashing plane called the World?  How do you “eject”?

Did you know that this planet is currently managed by Satan and his devils?

1Jo 5:19 – “the whole world lies under the power of the evil one.”

You and I were born as citizens of this World which Satan is developing into his own evil image. There is progress, yes. And the Snake from the Garden is growing up to become the Dragon of the apocalypse.

You bail out of this crashing World-system through submitting to water baptism.

The Devil can’t read you mind. He doesn’t truly know that your commitment to Messiah is real until you are baptized. In doing that, you have told the World and the Devil that you are no longer a citizen of this doomed World-system. You have switched allegiances. To the Devil, it is a symbolic drowning, yet you come out of the Water as his resurrected enemy. You expatriate yourself for the Kingdom of God that is coming. The Kingdom is here and it is also coming. And you demonstrate that you are a citizen of what God is doing. From that day on, the Devil sees you as if you were a monster — a creature that has died to his realm, but is still alive and dangerous to his domain here on earth.  With the Holy Spirit of God knit to you and giving you eternal life today, the power that is available to you is beyond comprehension.

The first step is to take God at His word and accept “the deal” that Jesus offers through His death and resurrection. Then you demonstrate that you really are a part of all that through a symbolic drowning and resurrection. God will honor your obedience by sending His Spirit to first “SEAL” you for Heaven and then to start “welling up” inside of you.

Act 2:38 ESV – And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Then there is a third step which is more of a life-long process of maturing in the Lord. We are all born as babies. Babies are cute, so we love them, but they are a lot of trouble. Natural-born babies are a big responsibility and they make messes and offer very little to us in return. Same with new Believers: they are cute and we love them for the potential that we see and because they are part of our forever family. But they are troublesome and a lot of responsibility. They need to be cared for and offer very little in return. Ask any pastor and he will confess that many days are hard going.

However, growing up is the goal. That takes four things: Scripture, Prayer, Fellowship, and Worship. Later, the believer will add the fifth crucial stage, which is a ministry that brings others to Salvation in the Lord.

But listen to this, almost everyone who turns to the Lord will begin the maturation process, but will get stuck along the way. Everyone will pick one means of grace that they like and avoid one that they don’t like as much. One person will prefer to read Scripture, but will tend to avoid prayer. One will do just the opposite. I know a man in town who can pray in such a way that you feel God’s presence drawing near, but he won’t go the church – and he’s a mess. His personal life is a mess because of choices and preferences that keep him confounded.

So what is God going to do about that? Is a good and loving and wise Father going to allow one of His children to flop along for years and years in a state of foolishness and error? No. A good father steps in and takes action and gets that child’s attention. And the Lord does that with a heart FULL of Love and Compassion. At first, the Lord is very gentle – every time He begins to correct a wayward son or daughter with tender mercies and wooing – sweet words and kindnesses meant to draw the son back to wisdom. Gentle affections meant to win back the wayward daughter.

Soft wooing cannot go on forever. In time, while the Lord is trying to correct the wayward souls of his children and bring them back into alignment with His perfect will, it will definitely seem like pure punishment being doled out – wrecking the lives of the disobedient.

Jhn 12:24 ESV – Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Jhn 12:25 ESV – Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Let me alter the English words for “life” as they are found in the original Greek text here and see if it won’t clarify what I said earlier about the difference between the soul and the spirit.

Jhn 12:24 ESV – Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Jhn 12:25 ESV – Whoever loves his psyche loses it, and whoever hates his psyche in this world will keep it for eternal zoe.

Jhn 12:25 ESV – Whoever loves his soul’s life loses it, and whoever hates his soul’s life in this world will keep it for eternal spiritual life.

(see blueletterbible.org link)

The Lord Messiah is making the point that you and I are like a seed. For the seed to germinate and grow up into a mature plant, a part of the seed has to cease to exist. The life of the seed is inside in the embryo, but it is walled off from the world by the seed wall, also called the seed coat. That seed coat is usually very hard and protective and covered on the outside by a waxy substance that keeps the seed from going bad. The seed wall keeps moisture out. But what is important to the life of the seed is that the waxy coat keeps just a little bit of moisture inside the seed to keep the living embryo of the seed alive for many months, even years, of dormancy. And this works really well as some seeds can be stored away for many years and still germinate. Only God can make a seed.

I grew up on a working farm where we raised corn and soy beans and other crops. After harvest each year, we carefully held back about 5 percent of the crop to be seed for the next year. But the seeds that you buy from professionals have been treated in a way that may surprise you.

A seed merchant takes seeds from the best plants in the garden and dries them out. Some seeds need to be frozen for several weeks as in Winter. After that, something weird is done to the seeds. They undergo a process called SCARIFICATION. The seeds are damaged on purpose.

individual seed being scratched

Often, the seeds are blasted through a tube of compressed air and made to collide with sandpaper or a large steel file that scrapes off a part of the seed wall. Sometimes they are treated with acid.  Without this damaging process, many of the seeds would not germinate when planted. But having been damaged, water is able to penetrate the seed and make the seed grow into a new plant.

That is how we Redeemed saints are. We are like the seed in that we have spiritual life inside us. You who have trusted in the Lord’s provision for your salvation, you have received all of the Holy Spirit that you need to grow into that mature man or woman of God. Inside of who you are, the Holy Spirit has given you complete spiritual vitality, but it will likely seem to be in dormancy. Maybe there is a tingle of God doing something inside of you, but most new believers do not have much more power than a new baby in a crib. And that’s a good start. Normal. But it is not good to be in that same condition ten years later as is the case with so many people who really are Born Again. The seed wall of the soul has to be damaged.

Look at what it takes to get a poor avocado seed to germinate. You practically have to torture it — crucify it. You take the avocado seed in one hand and you stab four wooden toothpicks into it. Then you soak it half-way in water for several weeks. And as the young tree grows, the seed cracks in half and diminishes until it disappears.

The water that germinates the seed is the Word of God, inspiring new growth. Eph. 5 shows this:

Eph 5:25 ESV – “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
Eph 5:26 ESV – that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
Eph 5:27 ESV – so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Christian maturity cannot be accomplished without regular watering with the Word. But when you and I wall off the Lord with our over-grown souls, then you can know with certainty that He knows how to damage our soul-life in a way that will compel us to yield to His influence.

Again, when Peter first preached the Gospel message in Jerusalem after the Lord was resurrected and ascended back into Heaven, this is how he ended that message:

Act 2:38 ESV – And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

You who have trusted in the Lord and have been baptized have received the Holy Spirit into your human spirit. But that Holy Spirit may be stuck in a state of dormancy because of the powerful life-force of your natural soul. The soul must be peeled back so that the spirit can break forth with new life. Remember Hebrews 4:12

Hbr 4:12 ESV – “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit”.

The Lord is intent to see that the power of your natural soul does not live forever to confound the spiritual life that’s inside of you. We see that the Lord who can speak so sweetly to us can also wield a very dangerous sword with the same Word.

When we present ourselves to the Lord, we bring to Him all of our talents and abilities. We bring to the Lord our character and we point out what we are good at and where we may have a flaw. And what does He do every time? He expresses His appreciation for this offering and then – He breaks what we bring to Him to pieces!

How did the Lord feed the 5000?

Jhn 6:8 ESV – One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him,
Jhn 6:9 ESV – “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”
Jhn 6:10 ESV – Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number.

Luk 9:16 ESV – And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.
Luk 9:17 ESV – And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

So, here is a little boy with some pitas and dried fish. He hands over his lunch to Rabbi Yeshua. Jesus says thank you for your gift, Jesus prays in thanks to the Father above, and Jesus begins to tear the lunch to pieces.

Dismay. Jesus, I trusted you with my lunch. Jesus says, keep on trusting me. You say, “No no Jesus; you are doing it wrong!  You are tearing up my lunch.”  You say, “Jesus, I brought my talents and abilities to you, and I don’t like the way that things are going now.”  But when it is all over, everyone around will be totally blessed and there will be plenty left over. It will all work out, but the process will often be disturbing.

Hebrews 4 has the idea of a sword cutting one part of you away from another part. That is disturbing. Tie it in with the OT idea of animal sacrifice by the Jewish priesthood. You and I are to be living sacrifices to God:

Rom 12:1 ESV – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

1Pe 2:5 ESV – you yourselves are like living stones being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Today, we live in a time when no one sacrifices animals to God, but there was a time when this was a daily occurrence. And the flesh of the sacrifice was always, always, always rubbed with salt before it was roasted on the altar.

Ezr 6:9 ESV – And whatever is needed–bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests at Jerusalem require–let that be given to (the priests) day by day without fail,

Lev 2:13 ESV – You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.

Eze 43:24 ESV – You shall present (your sacrificial offerings) before the LORD, and the priests shall sprinkle salt on them and offer them up as a burnt offering to the LORD.

Sacrifice of the Soul

These sacrifices are showing us that it is our natural strengths and talents that must be offered to the Lord. And it is always a true sacrifice in that it is painful for us to give our powers to the Lord in that He always cuts our talents – our souls – into pieces and rubs them with salt. Salt in a wound is very painful – it seems cruel. But when the natural strengths of our soul-life are entrusted to the Lord and broken by Him, the spirit life can break forth and bless many.

Remember Mary’s famous gift to the Lord just before He would be tortured to death as our Redeemer:

Mar 14:3 ESV – And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.
Mar 14:4 ESV – There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that?
Mar 14:5 ESV – For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii ( a year’s wages) and given to the poor.” And they scolded her.
Mar 14:6 ESV – But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.
Mar 14:7 ESV – For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me.
Mar 14:8 ESV – She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial.
Mar 14:9 ESV – And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

Luke informs us that Simon was a Pharisee and that the woman was a known sinner – a prostitute. John informs us that the woman was Mary Magdalene and that her alabaster flask contained about a pound of nard. Moreover, John includes a precious word, and I quote John 12, verse 3: and “the whole house was filled with the fragrance of her perfume.”

You see, Simon was a leper and lepers stink like rotting flesh. But he was a godly man who was concerned about what was happening with the People of God in his day and age and he was being gracious to the Lord and the Lord’s friends. Everyone in the house was quietly, graciously enduring the stench of his protracted death. Trying to enjoy their food, perhaps struggling to swallow each bite.

Enter a street walker, Redeemed by the Love of the only good man who has ever lived – the only Good man she had ever known. Let me suggest to you that she had not squandered all of her money. Some had been saved and some had been spent to buy for herself this powerful perfume which she kept in a lovely alabaster flask. She had a lifetime supply and she used it to overwhelm the odor that was associated with her profession. This flask of perfume had been the savior of her senses. She was not going to need that anymore.

alabasteron

In this impassioned moment of adoration, the woman was not composed. She did not have the control needed to open the flask with care and her alabaster vial was broken to pieces. She would not need it anymore. She did not hold back one bit of what she offered to the Lord. He was pleased. He defended her from men who would have thrown her back to the streets. And the whole house which had been stinking beforehand was filled with the lovely fragrance of her gift.  And the sound of her sobbing.

You have a lovely thing within you that needs to be released, but that can only be accomplished if you will permit your lovely flask to be broken to pieces. Your talents are wonderful and powerful and praiseworthy. But take them to the Lord knowing full well that He is going to break them. Your natural talents are not eternal. What the Spirit of God has brought into your innermost person is eternal. Your eternal reward is based on how much of that spiritual power you allow to break forth into the World. Knowing that it will cost you. But please be assured that you will receive back much more than you offer to the Lord. You attempt to bless the Lord and you do, but in breaking your gift He multiplies it. Those around you are blessed. And God gives you buckets so that you can gather up all the multiplied PIECES of your broken soul. Trust the Lord. He knows what He is doing when he scarifies you – when He brings the sword and the salt and a cross with your name on it.  This is His miraculous way of making you more than you are today.

Psa 23:1 KJV – [[A Psalm of David.]] The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want.
Psa 23:2 KJV – He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
Psa 23:3 KJV – He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Take up your cross and follow Him. Trust and obey. Your maturity in this life and the reward you will receive in the next age are based on your willingness to bring your soul to the Lord, knowing that He will multiply your offering through a shocking process of breaking. We need this. But know that He will also restore your soul to righteousness.

OK. I have made my case. Let me end with a more thorough reading of Peter’s letter to his beloved congregation in 1 Peter 2. Remember that he is writing to true Believers and he is warning these Christians to not be living as foolish evil-doers, but to mature in obedience to God’s perfect will.  When Peter mentions “the emperor”, remember that he was speaking of leaders who would persecute Christians to death with devilish cruelty.

1Pe 2:1 ESV – “put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
1Pe 2:2 ESV – Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation–
1Pe 2:3 ESV – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1Pe 2:4 ESV – As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,
1Pe 2:5 ESV – you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:6 ESV – For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
1Pe 2:7 ESV – So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
1Pe 2:8 ESV – and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
1Pe 2:9 ESV – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1Pe 2:10 ESV – Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1Pe 2:11 ESV – Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
1Pe 2:12 ESV – Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
1Pe 2:13 ESV – Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,
1Pe 2:14 ESV – or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.
1Pe 2:15 ESV – For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.
1Pe 2:16 ESV – Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
1Pe 2:17 ESV – Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
1Pe 2:18 ESV – Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.
1Pe 2:19 ESV – For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.
1Pe 2:20 ESV – For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.
1Pe 2:21 ESV – For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
1Pe 2:22 ESV – He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.
1Pe 2:23 ESV – When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
1Pe 2:24 ESV – He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
1Pe 2:25 ESV – For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

—————

special thanks to several older brothers who have preceded us to the Throne in Glory:   Watchman Nee, Charles Spurgeon, Charles Scofield, and  and Dr. Adrian P. Rogers.  Also Dr. Chuck Missler, Dr. Bill Giovannetti, and other teachers of Scripture who have had an eternal  influence upon thousands.

Posted by: jiminmontana | May 29, 2012

Read “The Harbinger” by Jonathan Cahn

This book is PROPHETIC of where the USA is today in God’s Plan and why America is going to continue to suffer God’s chastening into the future.  Buy HERE.  Facebook link is here.

For a quick overview of the points made in the book, click the link below and you will find that the “coincidences” are too strong to ignore — also includes photos of the actual events and objects covered in the book.

http://www.stevequayle.com/News.alert/11_Prophetic/110909.Watchmen.pdf

The point of it all is that 9/11 was the first warning to America that we must return to the God who created this nation, or face increasing disasters.

More info here.

Read this book!  Send this info to those you love.  The time is now.

Posted by: jiminmontana | May 28, 2012

EvangeCube Rocks!

Check out EvangeCube.  It’s a GREAT tool for helping you to share the Gospel with strangers.  Kids really like it.  Cost is $8 and is made to last for 5000+ testimonies.

http://www.e3resources.org/

Image 1

Posted by: jiminmontana | May 22, 2012

Messiah: the “Last Adam” and “Second Man”

In Genesis, we see that the Lord made everything about the universe to be GOOD. All of the physical realm was entrusted to the First Man who went about bestowing NAMES upon the various aspects of Creation. To name a thing is to exercise dominion over a thing. When the working day was ending, Adam walked with God at dusk and gained new insights and planned for the next day; Adam was both dependent upon God and without Sin: he was innocent and dependent.

But there was an Enemy with him in the Garden. One who would not be dependent and who was no longer innocent. He set himself free from the limitations of God’s ways and inspired Adam to join him. The result is all the hurt and pain of all the generations since.  The snake has bitten us; the venom has done its work.

Scripture refers to Messiah in two ways that must not be confused. He is called both the LAST ADAM and the SECOND MAN. The first title marks Jesus as the one who paid for Adam’s mistake. The second title marks Jesus as the beginning of a new race – people who are the opposite to Adam in many ways. The First Adam had lost to the Evil One and earned the condemnation of God the Father. The Last Adam came as though a son of Adam, suffering all that any natural man could, yet without Sin – beyond Innocence, Jesus had PROVEN Virtue, PROVEN Dependency, PROVEN Merit in His own personal Goodness. As the Last Adam, He gathered together ALL of what was due to the Sinner (speaking in global terms throughout the Ages). He gathered all of that Woe together in His Perfect Life and extinguished the Wrath of God in His own Life of Virtue. The Last Adam died so that the First Adam could be forgiven and live, despite his sin. Despite having opened the door to every cataclysm, war, famine, earthquake, crime, and calloused neglect of the eons. Solving that problem is what the Last Adam has done for us.

The Christian must go beyond that. As Wonderful as that is, we must go beyond that, because the Scripture goes beyond that. We serve a God-Man who raised Himself from the Grave as the SECOND MAN. He is the firstfruits of a NEW RACE. The new race is not like the old sons of Adam. Jesus is not to be resurrected alone and in isolation as the one-and-only glorified Son of God. I understand that it is difficult for us, being yet Sinners, to hear this, but the fact that we do not internalize all the truth of Scripture is WHY we have so much failing and weakness in the Church today – striving, divorce, addiction, worldly sorrows. In Romans 8:29 we read of “many brethren”; in Hebrews of “many sons”. From the point of view of the Lord Jesus it is “brethren”; from the point of view of God the Father it is “sons”. Both words in this context convey the idea of maturity. God is seeking full-grown sons – full-grown daughters; He wants them to share His glory as sons and daughters of the King. That is the explanation of Romans 8:30: “Whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Sonship — the full expression of His Son — is God’s goal in the “many sons”.

And Sons are meant to exercise a righteous dominion over Creation – at this time. Like Messiah, we are to be about “our Father’s business”. Now. You are the Body of Christ – here – in the World. Jesus was Ascended into Heaven so that YOU might enjoy this momentary opportunity to be about your Father’s business. As a son. As a daughter. The Garden has been ruined, but the Sons have been raised. New sons. A new race. People who were born spiritually dead, but have been born again. With a new spirit. With a Power which naturally-born people do not have. The World which the Enemy is building will be brought to naught; the Kingdom shall prevail.

As a Christian counselor or mentor, the power of the Resurrection must be our daily bread. God has made ONE WAY for you and me to exercise righteous dominion and it will always be through total dependency on the Wisdom of God and the Power of Resurrection. Sharing this with others is a big part of the Great Commission – “making disciples” is more than learning doctrine. It is the doctrine of living, not with just new insights, but with Resurrection Power. Nothing else will “turn the world upside-down” or set the lives of the people we love right-side-up.

These are some insights I have internalized from Watchman Nee’s “Normal Christian Life” as mentioned in the former blog.

Posted by: jiminmontana | May 8, 2012

The NORMAL Christian Life – beyond “AVERAGE”

It’s my intention to read Watchman Nee‘s superlative book “The Normal Christian Life” every year.  (click the link for the pdf download)

When I told my son (age 18) that it is a profound book, he thought that the title did not sound very interesting.  And that is exactly Nee’s point.

God wants it to be NORMATIVE that his saints enjoy and wield the supernatural Life-power of the Resurrection in daily living.

This book is a study in Paul’s letter to the saints in Roman, only some of whom had a Jewish upbringing.  Romans is Paul’s most complete delivery of the Gospel message — unlike letters to the Corinthian church wherein Paul is seeking to resolve their specific troubles as a fledgling, struggling congregation.

Key points in “Normal” are the distinction between how the Blood of Messiah has dealt with the sins (plural) of the Believing saint and how the Cross has dealt with the sinful nature of the saint: his sin (singular).  Fleshed out are the concepts and distinction between Messiah as the “Last Adam” versus the “Second Man”.  Nee’s key point is that it Christian life can and ought to be hallmarked by the EVIDENT reality of the Holy Spirit working His ministry “out of” (Greek, “ek“) and through the life of the individual.  Also, that the distinction between the human SOUL of the believer is quite divisible from the human SPIRIT — that our souls are so often “over-developed” that the spirit is disengaged from harmony with the Spirit of God.  And, just as needful to the Church today, Nee articulates that the Life of Messiah is never complete in the individual, but always in the Corporate union of Believers as the “Body of Christ” here on earth.

Nee had a significant impact on China.  Sadly, some of his closest supporters there took offense to his secular prowess in business affairs — as though he ought ONLY be a minister of the Gospel, somehow operating without funds. The Communist revolution in China which followed was also against all such Capitalists and Nee was thereafter imprisoned until his death.  Without Nee at the helm of the ministry he had organized, his followers did stray into some theological backwaters which, although not heretical, were not helpful or Scripturally-sound.

That being said, the books which remain (being compiled from sermons and his study notes) are a blessing to the Church forever.  Other texts which will bless you deeply are his treatment of Ephesians in “Sit, Walk, Stand” and his caution against “carnal Christianity” in “Love Not the World“.

I have the small book on my bookshelf. I have “Normal” in my Blackberry and plan to never delete it.  Other fine eBooks (including the other Nee books mentioned in this blog) are available HERE.

Posted by: jiminmontana | May 7, 2012

Onion Rings, a “beyond restaurant-quality” recipe

These may be the best O-rings you’ll ever have.

All the work can be done a day or two ahead!  The coating will work great on just about anything.  I’m allergic to shrimp, but wifey said that this process makes the best fried shrimp she has ever had.

Sweet walla wallas

There are two things that MUST be done to get good results.  First cut the rings, separate them, and SOAK them in cool water for at least an hour.  Soak them for 24 hours for best results.  This allows the sulfur (sulfenic acid) to rinse out and is CRUCIAL to good, sweet onion flavor.

How to avoid the “onion tears”

Second, coat the rings at least an hour before frying them.  This allows the buttermilk to seep into the dry ingredients — otherwise dry flour will fall off into your expensive oil and ruin it quickly — and the food will be better if done correctly as well.

It’s good to have the garlic and spices in the buttermilk away from the heat so as to not burn and become bitter.

Finally, use olive oil for good health.

It’s Biblical.  God would not authorize olive oil if it would hurt you.   Conversely, He forbade anyone to eat the animal fat from the sacrifices in the Torah because He knows that is bad for you. (Lev. 4: 19)

INGREDIENTS

1 or 2 very large sweet onions – 5 inches in diameter –  1 pound or more in weight each

3 Cups all-purpose white flour

1 Cup corn meal — Mexican corn MASA is best since so finely ground (masa harina de maiz)

2 Cups buttermilk

2 teaspoons salt

1 Tbs garlic (granulated) powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

enough high quality virgin olive oil for frying — at 1 inch deep or better

PROCESS

Peel the onion.  Slice onion into rings that are 3/4 inch thick.  Separate the rings in each slice.  Soak the rings in cool water for an hour to a day to remove the sulfenic acid that will make the onions bitter.

Put 2 Cups buttermilk in a small bowl.  Add garlic, pepper, salt, and cumin.  Mix and let sit.  The garlic adds flavor that will enhance the sweet onion flavor.

Mix the flour and corn meal (masa harina de maiz really is the best) in a mid sized bowl with 1 teaspoon salt.

Wet one ring at a time in the seasoned milk, then dredge in flour mixture.  Knock off extra flour back into bowl.  Go back to the milk and let extra drip off or shake a bit.  Place back into flour and cover and press the ring lightly with flour to coat.  Shake off extra flour.  Place the ring in the top corner of a cookie sheet.  Repeat and lay successive rings overlapping each other like a stack of coins that has been tipped over.

Refrigerate the rings for at least an hour so that the milk will seep into the flour and very little of the dry flour is evident. Cover with wrap if to be more than an hour or two wait.

Take the food out of the fridge an hour before cooking it so that you will not chill the oil and make the food oil-soggy.

Heat oil to 340 degrees or so.  (Low quality olive oil will smoke at 350 degrees.  High quality will smoke at 390 or so.

Place the rings in the oil only when it is HOT — that way the heat cooks a shell on the outside to keep excess oil OUT of the food.  The temperature will drop significantly when the food goes into the oil, so keep the heat going.

After about three minutes, turn over the rings with tongs.  May be done in 2-3 more minutes.  Place on paper towels to absorb excess oil and serve promptly.

Enjoy —  and thank the Lord for all good things.

When the oil cools, use a funnel to put back into the original container and mark on it with a Sharpie pen — used on DATE.  Particles will settle and you’ll discard the last bit when reusing the oil.  I put mine in the  fridge and reheat within a month or discard.

Posted by: jiminmontana | April 20, 2012

A short study of God’s Blessing over Abraham from the Hebrew

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. (2) And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. (3)  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

— Gen 12:1-3 English Standard Version

Let’s focus on verse three. (click the hyperlink to get the original language with definitions — so easy!)

Most translations of the Hebrew get this “parallelism” wrong.  They wrongly translate the idea as “those who bless you I (God) will bless.  Those who curse you I (God) will curse.”    Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Here is a screenshot of the link above just to make certain that you see this.  It is crucial to see this!

screenshot from blueletterbible.org

 .

The Hebrew is written to be CONSPICUOUS in that the one word pops out at the reader.

It is NOT:

barak barak.       arar arar.

It IS:

barak barak.      qalal arar.

Strong’s word h7043 has the following meaning (again, blueletterbible.org)

Hebrew word qalal defined

.

God says that those who bless Abraham (and his “called/summoned/named” progeny through Issac*) — they shall be blessed.

But those who mess with Israel shall be cursed.  Here is a list of things that will get you or your nation cursed by God if you treat Israel or Jewish people in the following manners:

trifle with Israel or Jews

treat Israel or Jews as though she were of little account

treat Israel or Jews as though she were insignificant

to lightly esteem Israel or Jews

treat Israel or Jews with contempt or dishonor

to rattle Israel or Jews

to curse or besmirch Israel or Jews

to be impatient (swift) with Israel or Jews — to rush her along

——————————-

In Zechariah 2: 8, God says that those who mess with Israel have poked God in the eye!  You do not want to do that!

Rather, know that the Lord has restored Israel as a nation.  We are in the very last days of this era.  When Messiah returns, not as the suffering Lamb, but as the Lion of Judah, the prophecy of Jeremiah will be realized:

And this city (Jerusalem) shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it. “Thus says the LORD: In this place of which you say, ‘It is a waste without man or beast,’ in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man or inhabitant or beast, there shall be heard again the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD: “‘Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!’ For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the LORD.  “Thus says the LORD of hosts: In this place that is waste, without man or beast, and in all of its cities, there shall again be habitations of shepherds resting their flocks.  In the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the Shephelah, and in the cities of the Negeb, in the land of Benjamin, the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, flocks shall again pass under the hands of the one who counts them, says the LORD.   “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.   In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.   In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’

Jer 33:9-16 ESV

 Let this be the prayer of all those who love the Lord and His special People, the Jews.

————————————————-

 * “called” :  The descendants of Abraham who have been summoned by God are through the line of Issac exclusively; not Ishmael, the son of slavery.

Gen 21:12 ESV – But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy (Ishmael) and because of your slave woman (Hagar, his mother). Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”

This word “named” in the ESV is a fair choice.  The Hebrew word means to be “called, be proclaimed, be read aloud, be summoned, be named”.

 Just like the Church, Israel and the Jews are the “called-out” people whom God has elected.  God has put His Name upon us.  We are His heirs, joint heirs with the resurrected Messiah who is the “firstborn of many brethren.”

Posted by: jiminmontana | April 19, 2012

Returning to our Roots

My closest Jewish friend, Marc, let me borrow a powerful book which I demolished in a day.

I strongly encourage you to get a copy of “The Messianic Church Arising!” by Robert Heidler.

2011_1221_06

Cost with shipping is $16 and it’s out of print.  Worth every dime.  Here is the best priced link to order it:

http://www.elijahshopper.com/Messianic_Church_Arising_p/bk-rhe001.htm

If you want to spend $5 more and support a Messianic Christian organization, go to this link:

http://www.messiahsgifts4u.com/products/b67.html

Posted by: jiminmontana | April 18, 2012

CUFI – Christians United for Israel meeting was GREAT

Randy Neal, the Western Regional Coordinator for CUFI spoke in Helena on April 17th.

Randy Neal

He is a fantastic communicator with a crucial and compelling message.

Go to CUFI.org and sign the petitions to STAND WITH ISRAEL.

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