Devotion: The Vine

May 15, 2016

 

Devotion

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. KJV John 15:5

 

 

My son cut down five tall walnut trees and built a rail fence around a section of our backyard. He left the bark; giving the fence a rustic look. Not long after the fence was up we noticed new growth on some of the posts. One in particular has at least ten new branches growing. The walnut tree obviously had so much sap in its core that it has caused new life to spring forth, even though the tree itself is dead. Think about that. Isn’t that how the Lord has set us to live in Him. His grace courses through our being; through our veins and arteries to our very soul. It is that life giving substance (grace) that causes us live in HIM, though we are dead. ( I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live John 11:25). The grace is there. We do not have to earn it or work for it. It will carry us through life and keep us connected to Him as if we are a new growth of His love.

 

Prayer:

Father God thank you for your life giving grace that sustains us in your kingdom and is always sufficient enough.

(c) 2016

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YOU CAN’T SEE HEAVEN FROM HERE

May 7, 2016

It has been nine years since my husband and I lost our youngest child. Nine years and soon it will be ten. I remember thinking years ago, “I don’t know where he is.” The thought pierced through my brain over and over again reflective of the agony my soul was feeling. The pain and sorrow was so great that my mind was just fog, floating freely where my logical thoughts used to be. Hearing those words repeating in my head just added to my torment.

I knew in my heart that my son was saved. I knew the word said that to be absent from the body was to be present with the Lord. I knew Craig had given his life to the Lord and yet, I could not see where he was. I could not see heaven from where I stood.

For a newly bereaved parent you can’t go through a day without wondering where your child is and what he is doing? If you are a believer you imagine your child happy and fulfilled, surrounded by the loving arms of the Lord. You can see it- in your imagination. Sometimes that is not good enough. Sometimes, you need assurance that what you imagine, what you believe, is true. You are placed at a point in your life when your faith is tested beyond breaking. Believe and stand by it or doubt and suffer from it.

It does not seem fair that when you are at your lowest point in your life, your faith is tested so greatly. You are weak, you can barely get up in the morning, you want to be with your child and for many parents, you want to die. How in the world are you going to face this test when you have no strength?

I kept telling myself, “He is fine, he is with the Lord and He is the happiest he has ever been.” It helped to repeat those words, but I still could not see Heaven from here. I needed to experience that with my five senses. I needed to know beyond a doubt. I needed the Lord to show me.

I am not alone in my feelings. I have meant many Christians that have experienced the same wonder, the same agony. It does not mean we are not strong Christians. It does not mean that our faith is less than it should be. It means we are suffering, we still love the Lord and still believe in His promises, and our faith is being tested beyond our wildest dreams. Many people will experience loss but few will truly know the sting of death and the victory. It is not a place that any parent wants to go. It is not a place you can ever imagine until you are there.

There comes a time when pain is so overwhelming that you can no longer feel. Imagine a physical pain in one part of your body. It overcomes your whole countenance. You struggle with the agony of the pain and don’t realize that in the midst of your pain, your other body parts are numb; they don’t exist because the pain is too intense to allow any affection for the rest of your body. This is how your spirit feels when it lies in agony. You don’t feel the sun on your cheek or a gentle hand on your shoulder. You can’t receive the words of encouragement from loved ones or the soft voice of God in your heart. Oh, He is there and so are you, but pain has taken over and all you can do is cry out, My God, My God Why hast thou forsaken me. I don’t say that with any disrespect toward my Lord. No one has ever suffered as greatly as Him. We can’t embrace His suffering but what we find in our lives is that it sometimes feels like abandonment, and we just can’t see Heaven from here.

 

(c) 2016


HE LEFT HIS FIRST LOVE

May 7, 2016

HPIM0834You have heard the scripture, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” NIV Rev 2:4

The Lord is speaking to the church of Ephesus, but long before this revelation, was a man who left his first love and the result brought destruction to his life and everything around him.

When Adam was created by Elohim and placed in the garden he developed a relationship with the Father that we can hardly imagine. He walked every day with the living God. They talked and listened to one another. God taught Adam what he needed to know.

Elohim saw that Adam needed a helper so He created Eve. At this point Adam had already named the animals and gotten to know them. There was no cycle of life. No survival of the fittest. Each being lived in harmony with all of creation. All was as God intended it to be.

Adam and Eve seemed to hit it off pretty well. Adam felt a closeness to Eve that is mentioned in Gen. 2:23. He describes Eve as the bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. You really can’t get much closer than that.

You know the rest of the story; Eve found her way to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and was tempted by the serpent. The bible doesn’t say much about what lead up to this event. We know that God gave the pair free will to decide for themselves what they will do. Just as the angels in heaven had the choice to decide who they would follow, so did Adam and Eve.

No sin had been committed before the pair ate from the tree; however, something took place for them to follow the sinful path that they did. Look at the story and it makes sense when you factor in the moving away from God to other pleasures. For Eve it was what the serpent offered her; wisdom, knowledge and power. Remember, she was a help mate to Adam. She was second in charge, not first.

Adam had a life before Eve. He had a relationship with Elohim yet; he left his first love and focused on Eve. In Gen 2:24 it says that because the woman was taken from man he shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife. That is exactly what Adam did however; he put Eve above his father. He did more than just cling to Eve; he made her his first love and turned away from his Lord.

When Eve offered Adam the fruit the bible does not record any objection from Adam. He took it and put it to his mouth and ate of the fruit knowing he was going against his God. He appeared to do it without any hesitation. He followed Eve when he was supposed to lead. He got his priorities out of order. There is a saying; God first, then family and country. Sounds about right except Adam did not do that, and so we find ourselves living in a world full of sin and destruction.

When Adam was told not to eat of the tree he was told why. The Lord told him he would surely die. The Hebrew word for die is (matoth) which means to die, kill or execute. Interesting that the word can mean execute because that is what happened. Adam’s SIN executed the spirit within Adam. Adam was a living soul but he had a spirit. When he died his spirit left him. What happened at this point? He no longer had a spirit or glorified body. He had a fleshly body; one that was as corrupt as the sin that defiled it. Everything changed. No longer could he walk in the garden with his Lord, but he could no longer live in a place made for perfected man.

God is a spirit and we are told the only way to communicate with Him is through the spirit. “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” NIV John 4:24

Adam would learn the hard way how to find his way back to God. He would suffer the consequences of his sin in a harsh way. He left his first love and now he was dead and all the earth was cursed because of his and Eve’s actions. Makes you wonder if they didn’t look up at the stars at night and talk about what they had done and reminisce about the garden. Adam did not die until eight generations of descendants were born. He was 930 years old. Imagine the stories he passed down to his offspring which included; Seth, Enoch, and Methuselah, the oldest recorded human in the bible and the grandfather of Noah. Methuselah died the year the flood happened. Firsthand accounts of the beginning of creation were made all the way down to the flood. You have to ask how could the world become so corrupt when the first man lived through eight generations, a man who walked with God and knew Him? Perhaps, seeing the decay in the generations was felt horrifically by Adam since he knew it was because of him that man was born with a nature to sin.

Eve is not exempt from the whole issue of death and corruption. In fact, she sinned before Adam. If Adam had left his first love, Elohim, then Eve must have done the same. What caused her to be enticed by the serpent and to be drawn to the tree in the first place? The pair had a spirit, they had a perfect body and they were void of a nature to sin, yet they did. They had one thing that existed with the angels and that was free will.

One third of heaven decided they would follow Lucifer instead of El Shaddai. No one knows exactly what that number was but any number was too many. It is a mystery how it all came together, but sin entered heaven and then it entered the world. It was in the garden because the serpent was there. It was confined to the tree of knowledge of good and evil, yet Eve found it and pursued it. She did just what the angels did as she was tempted by the master of sin. She went looking for answers, she went looking for something she did not have or thought she did not have. She went looking for perhaps, independence from God. She had a motive and she had a will and the serpent used them both against her. She had already placed something above God whether it was Adam or self, she left her first love as well as Adam did.

Once God is no longer first in your life, you face temptations that you never thought were possible. Your focus changes, your will becomes more lustful instead of His desires. This is usually where we start out in life. Moving forward from salvation toward making God your first love is what we do as a new born-again Christian. It is the spirit drawing us toward Him and placing Him always before our face.

Adam and Eve began their lives with God as their first love and they went forward into the darkness of sin and laid out the path for the rest of mankind.

Praise our Lord God Almighty that He did not give up on us. He made a way when we didn’t deserve it. He loved us so. He gave the sacrifice for us so we could walk in the garden with Him once again. He came to us in the flesh; in a miserable world of vile, gross and disgusting sin, and let it fall on his shoulders so we can be with Him. He made the way because our sacrifice could not touch it. There was nothing we could do to correct the mess we were in.

There is only one thing for us to do now. Make Him our first love, forever. If you want to be with Him after this life, you need to make Him first in this one.

 

(c) 2016


Emotional Range-Separation From Land etc.

November 30, 2015

Potomac Park Camp 1946

July 25th

EMOTIONAL RANGE-SEPARATION FROM LAND ETC.

 

If you know something about conditions in your local church you can’t help if you hit on it. I’d rather not know a thing. Some will come and say, “Did you know so and so?”

God doesn’t put any testing or proving on us unless we are qualified; built up in the faith. He has first given us the word to do something with it. If not accepted-truth-something in our nature will deteriorate and be destroyed. I know what God is doing with me. I like to know a little bit about this strange being or personality. I am a trinity. I am more than that. We react continually to the thought processes. I have a mind and I must think right thoughts. Think on these things. For as a man thinketh in his heart-so is he. God makes his approach through it. Study to show thyself approved-apply yourself. Jesus dealt with the emotional side of people mostly.  The general approach is to the heart where they lived. In the four gospels He continually deals with love, hatred, jealousy, (make a study of that). Man is an emotional creature and out of order. I have an intellectual life which He is dealing with and an emotional. Power to say you will become the whole determining factor.

I don’t know which day or hour I was saved or where, but in interim of several months. I don’t make patterns, everyone is different. You are either a saint or a sinner. There has to come a place of real decision. You have had to give individually your assent. Our lives are reckoned according to our wills and spirits before God. God judges us by the choices we make continually-we may know yards of truth and not know at all. Therefore knowledge was not enough to qualify him in the realm of heaven. The thief on the cross-got as far as paradise, that’s all. The thief had not had time to build up and qualify; making him capable for that fellowship God would have with him in heaven. God speaks about an abundant entrance. Only the applying of the blood will never qualify you.

God can take an individual and so work upon him without destroying his individuality or personality; he becomes a living miracle. Some have an emotional temperament, others stoical. You can’t judge people whether they are expansive in their emotional by that, it is no price on spirituality at all. Some can get blessed in their emotional range, doesn’t mean that they are holier than all. Some people get blessed so they shout, sing and dance, no sign you are spiritual. God doesn’t care how much you can get blessed at all. He looks right past that, He knows that I not the measuring rod-where you live and what you are, it is lower than this, it is in here, down several inches below-in my heart where I have made choices and decisions for Him.

Here I am Lord-yes Lord. We are not living on how much I know about Jesus, but it is in the YES LORD!

Don’t be confused and robbed, don’t get it confused with the emotional-the emotional is only the effect because you had an experience. Will you be obedient to the thing I’ll ask you to do? Faith-command, launch out into the deep. The Lord has a miracle for you and you are still standing there reasoning with Him. Peter reasoning with Him; “I fished there all night, etc.” Natural man first, then that which I spiritual. Faith can only exercise where everything in the natural is out of reason. We try every last thing before faith. He has a right to shift that boat. Don’t stay by the shore. It involves a process of separation. Separated from the people-already in the boat. (It is a )marvelous place to get out with the Lord in a little boat even though it tips. Be thankful; just stay in that little boat. For a little while you can detect some people on the shore. That is grass. All flesh is grass.

Later on…? Certain flowers were grass. When that boat gets out far enough and you say all flesh is grass—that is a separation. I believe in the fellowship, by and by God lets me know they are human too. Separations may be even from the legitimate human relations. He is getting us ready for the miracle.

Heavenly, beautiful visitation will involve just those that are in the boat. Where are you taking me-out in the deep? You rest in the negation; in your will and obedience, in your surrendered will. Separation begins with a child of God when coming out of the world. Move in disciple fellowship.

Multitude-believers-disciples-apostles.

If you wish to be a disciple do thus and so; another separation. If you will come into a disciple relationship you have to separate from legitimate things. You already hate the world, flesh and the devil. Here is something else. That which would mar and hinder the effulgence of the light. If you walk with God He is going to separate you more and more.

Five years ago you were different, you can’t do them now-anything that blurs or hinders or mars; you turn-hate it, but for what it will do… You don’t hate your father and mother because of what they are to you, but because of what they can do to hinder your best for God.

More and more of a separation as you go on, deflected Jesus from the cross. If it deflects, hate it, anything. Separation from people, world, nature, things, principles, persons, whole set-up, hate it, reject it, separate from it. Move out into an entirely new atmosphere, go out into the deep. I determine and you determine how deep you want to go by what, by how far you are separated. Just as far as you go deeper it will get. What will determine it-just how far I am separated. Just as deep as I want to go.

*Brazen laver not measured-you determine it all.

The net is livelihood.  It threw your life right overboard. Nature. Holding on with your fingers. You say you have to be practical. Blessed opportunities, developments you never dreamed of, took you all this time to get them. Had enough for all fishes. Something to give to all. More abundant, exceedingly more than we can ask or think.

*The Brazen Laver is second of two objects located in the Tabernacle’s Outer Court. It represents baptism. (Looks like a cup used to wash the hands)


My Dragon Slayer

July 2, 2014

Will you be my dragon slayer Lord
Take this grief and make it a servant instead
Cause my heart to lean on you and not be afraid
Carry my spirit above the clouds with you
And never let me doubt your loving arms around me

You can be my dragon slayer Lord
Keeping the grief in a place where it belongs
Never forgetting where it is, but at your side
I can stand in the face of the dragon
And know that my Lord goes before me

You are my dragon slayer Lord
Cradling me in your arms of comfort and mercy
Lifting me up from the ground and placing me by your side
Where I find peace and warmth in your light
You are my dragon slayer Lord

(c) March 2012 Vickie Van Antwerp


Mormon Cult Controversy

October 10, 2011

The Book of Mormon. Another Testament of Jesus...

Image via Wikipedia

While the news media is busy trying to get the Republican presidential candidates to comment whether they believe Mormonism is a Christian religion or not, it would help if the public and the media understood some facts.

The subject of Christianity and protecting those beliefs are really not a concern of most news establishments. That is evident in the coverage most Christian venues get from reporters. To think that all of a sudden reporters care about a particular Christian belief is really stretching their motives. They are looking for something that can be used against any Republican candidate today, tomorrow and certainly during the election against Obama.

Christian belief is based on one incredible fact; Jesus Christ is the Savor of the world, and all that believe in him will be saved. Mormons belief Jesus Christ is the Savor, the Son of God. Leave it at that and the answer to the question everyone keeps probing about is satisfied.

Many Christian denominations have differences of opinions on doctrine. Most of it is not earth shattering and really does not set them so far a part. Cults on the other hand, have certain aspects in common with each other that contradicts Christianity. They are; the focus on another person that started the religion as in the case of Joseph Smith founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon), and additional writings that are accepted as the word of God such as the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine of Covenants written by Joseph Smith or transcribed as claimed by the religion.  These factors are what Gov. Perry’s pastor was referring to when he called Mormonism a cult.

I hope that the Republican candidates can continue to stay away from the traps that the news media tries to set for them on this issue. Christians understand both sides, non-believers never will.

Credentials

The author is a past member of the Mormon church.

 


Is the Left Getting Too Radical?

October 3, 2011

Tea Party Protest, Washington D.C. September 1...

Image via Wikipedia

Is the left getting too radical? The Tea Party is accused by the left of being far-right radical terrorists. It is a good way to shock people into believing words that have no basis of fact. Use extreme words to describe a group of people or a law or action that you disagree with,  and people will follow behind you without question.

Bev Perdue, governor of North Carolina, recently stated, “I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that,” Perdue said. “You want people who don’t worry about the next election.”

Once the statement hit the news and the outrage was heard across the country, she quickly muffled her statements by saying she was only kidding. Of course she was only kidding, or is this kind of language a growing trend among liberal politicians and celebrities?

Maxine Waters, congresswoman from California, stated last week, “I’m not afraid of anybody,” the California congresswoman told constituents in footage that appeared on ABC affiliate KABC in Los Angeles, not backing down from comments made about President Obama earlier in the week, This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned — the tea party can go straight to hell.”

Nice talk for a representative of congress that is supposed to represent ALL of the people. I guess Ms. Waters doesn’t understand the constitution and the part about freedom of speech.

Sheila Jackson Lee made it clear that she wants the right media and bloggers to “shut up and stop playing racial politics.” After giving this eye-opening statement she made it known that Obama’s Buy American plan should only include buying from African American. She also advocates that the jobs bill should serve African American contractors.

This is the same congresswoman that asked NASA if the Mars rover recorded footage of the American flag that our astronauts placed there. This question has to leave people wondering how this woman ever get elected. Maybe congress should study American history and the constitution before continuing in their positions.

Maybe the liberal stage is the one getting too radical. A movement seems to be taking place to silence anyone that disagrees with liberal thinking. More and more people are openly advocating violence against conservatives, Tea Party members and christians.

Rosanne Barr is just one of the many celebrities to voice her political opinion about the horrid capitalism of America. Never mind she has made her millions through capitalism, but her hatred for bankers is just overwhelming. She told a Russian TV host that she believes  rich capitalists should be placed in re-education camps and if they do not conform, the guillotine should be implemented. She also believes that anyone making over 100 million should have to give the rest of their wealth to the government. I guess she makes under that amount.

Is this America? That wonderful land where hard work was rewarded and you could speak out without fear of imprisonment? What is happening to this country? A huge shift is coming about. Socialism, progressiveness and communism is growing and with it comes hatred for economic classes and religion. A person does not have to look far in the past to see what this type of mind-set breeds. It is a sheer hatred for others which breeds violence, which breeds destruction.

There is an irony to much of this. It is hypocrisy. The rich are in the streets protesting capitalism like Michael Moore and Susan Sarandan. Funny, they enjoy the riches of capitalism yet they don’t anyone else to have it.

As the presidential election draws closer, I am sure we will hear more outlandish speech and threats from the far left directed at conservatives and the Tea Party. Words are spoken from the heart. What dwells there is what made some of the worst,  notorious,  evil leaders in history. We should not take words so lightly because they are the prelude to action.

One of the best things we can do as Americans is to remove those from office that try to destroy our constitution and quench free speech. You will recognize them by the venom that comes from their mouths.  Send a message to the politicians at the voting booth and send a message to the celebrities by refusing to support their movies, books and products. If they hate capitalism and America so much, then don’t have to participate in it. They are called hypocrites for a reason.

References

http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/perdue_suggests_suspending_congressional_elections_for_two_years_was_she_serious#ixzz1ZIdRpsgA

http://dailycaller.com/2011/08/21/maxine-waters-the-tea-party-can-go-straight-to-hell/#ixzz1ZIeoAXwe