What the Bible says about light and seed

The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.

The Good Seed and the Weeds “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Matthew 13:24,25.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I Miss You - A Coffee Shop Interlude


Written and Published by Jean-Louis Mondon in 2014 
French original text " Tu me manques" 2007. Composed for my sweet wife and inspiration as my faithful traveling companion along life´s journey.

I MISS YOU

I miss you
As the poet without his muse
As the morning coffee without a croissant
As the Frutti without Tutti
Woudn´t that be something?

I miss you
As a forest without trees
As an orchard without bees
 As lips without kisses
As alas, my arms weary
of not embracing you

I miss you
As a station without a train
As a goodbye, see you again
Without tears, nor handkerchief
 To dry them out

I miss you
As in nostalgia
With no object nor subject
Without a sunset 
As a backdrop
For your gracious silhouette
Fading away stolen innocently
From the empty hope chest
In the attic of my head

I miss you
As a gentle zephyr
In the midst of a raging tempest
As a mute on a trumpet
Announcing a welcome lull

I miss you
As a snow storm without
Oat flakes on a flowered table cloth
Instead of a white grave sheet
For a lonely breakfast
Spent in chatting alone
with a bouquet of bright pansies
In a long monologue
Without a friendly echo sharing
The memories of yesteryear

I miss you
Without fear of being wrong
Without worry of emotions
Nor the need to learn
To understand each other
Without reason, nor questions
At the dawn of our home coming
Dreamed of in the eternal kingdom
Of never again. 

Jean-Louis.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

What is so wise about a serpent?


Snakes lay low and blend into their environment.  They get the lay of the land, and figure out where their safety is.  They are extremely precise when they strike.  They wait until the optimum conditions are lined up, and time it just so. Serpents are wise enough to flee from danger.  Jesus said we are to be wise as serpents.

To be harmless as doves.  Harmless means honest, sincere, without guile.  Stick with truth, and don’t get drawn into debate.  Soar above the fray.

Be Sober: Serious, sedate, temperate and subdued, not excessively emotional, not extreme, or fanciful nor fearful.  Keep your “spiritual wits” about you.

Be vigilant: keep careful watch for potential danger and difficulty, watchful, awake, alert.
Walk circumspect: circum (around you) spect (mindful, thoughtful, attentive).  Don’t get so deep into anything to the exclusion of attentiveness to the bigger picture and what is going on around you.  Don’t let down your guard.

Those perilous times are upon us.  It is not just what we see happening on our streets, and in the news.  There is an intentional stirring up of  conflict and “precision strikes” being made upon our specific individual vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

It doesn’t get easier from here.  Hold on for dear life, trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding.  Acknowledge Him in everything.  If you are a stay-at-home Mom, acknowledge Him in your mothering, your “mundane” tasks of laundry, dishes, refereeing, shuttling.  If you are a businessman, acknowledge Him in your business.  If you are disabled, acknowledge Him in what He has allowed because He is wise and has a purpose in it.  If you are struggling and feel powerless, know that He allows it for the purpose of helping you rely on Him.  We don’t do it on our own, we pretty much have to be forced a lot of the time.

If you are prone to depression, be proactive in counter-acting negative thoughts and replacing them with scripture and thankfulness.  If you are sick and the medical bills are piling up, you can still be thankful if you have insurance that pays some of it, or for friends who care, or for the fact you are not as sick as you could have been.

If you are a pastor discouraged in your ministry, you can still rejoice in your own salvation and the knowledge that our redemption is near.

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness  ( both refer to sexual promiscuity) not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.

This weekend in our family, there was a lot of strife, contention, emotion, a lot of misunderstanding.  Satan is really good at that, but we have to be mindful of the fact he is always right there ready to exploit every emotion and sore spot and weakness.  We are feeling the evil move in, making it personal.  We are seeing the evil day come to hand.  It is going to be important to call on the Lord at all times and in all things, and when we let our flesh get the better of us, to repent right away, and not let anything fester.  If we hurt or offend, we need to own up and apologize, make restitution where possible.

I imagine you have noticed the same thing in your own household, or work environment, or church, even.  We should not be surprised and we can’t afford to fall for it.  Our battle is not with flesh and blood.  Yet we very often take it out on flesh and blood, causing injury and offense.

It occurred to me that this time as we are at the final moments, is a lot like when a woman goes through pregnancy, which for many of us, is pretty miserable for nine months, and yet when the term is up, you then have to “walk through fire” of labor and delivery to be done with it. There is no other exit. Can’t turn around, can’t take a detour or easier option.  Many women have been known to say “I can’t do it” when the absolute fact is that she will, she must and therefore, she can, she just doesn’t “feel” like she can.  It can be grueling and we have to accept that and prepare as best we can, and place our trust in what we have learned and done, and in the people alongside us who are there to help us get through it.  Don’t trust your feelings.  Don’t trust your doubts.  Don’t trust even necessarily your own eyes.  This is peak deception time.

I personally have many moments when I feel like I can’t face or endure something to get to the other side of this, to redemption, to release.  But now is not a time for giving up. See it through, faithful to the end, not perfect, not sinless, but repentant, humble, determined, leaning on the Lord, pressing into Him, knowing He is the stronger one in the yoke, and will not let us stumble and fall, but will enable us to go on as long as we are willing and as long as we desire to be obedient and to serve Him in whatever our situation or circumstances are.

It is like that time on the airplane when there is an emergency situation, and we are supposed to help the children and elderly and otherwise helpless, but we only can do that if we put on our own oxygen mask first. There comes a time when it is the real deal, that the flight attendants must necessarily cease to assist others and strap themselves in.
It is not selfishness, it is a matter of navigating the turbulence we are now firmly in the midst of. It is a time to keep short accounts and encourage others. It’s the last hour of the night shift when many are just waking up, while some of us have “labored through the night”.  
Those are our reinforcements, no our replacements.  All leave cancelled for the foreseeable future!

Remain vigilant with intense, unfaltering, wary watchfulness with an attitude of submission to the Holy Spirit to avoid unnecessary frictions, distractions, and sins.

Pray, pray pray.  If you don’t have a huge repertoire of scripture memorized, write them on cards and plaster them all through your house or work station, or carry in your pocket and refer to them often.

That old serpent, Satan, is a clever one.  He outsmarts us a lot of the time.  But when he comes around accusing, harassing, stirring up trouble, we can remind him of Revelation 20, verses 2-3 and 10.
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.“And  the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
This is the hard part. But it will all be over soon.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Ironside: What Does it Mean to Repent and Be Saved?


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

By Dr. Harry Ironside (From his book, Except Ye Repent)
More and more it becomes evident that ours is, as once expressed, an “age of sham.” Unreality and specious pretense abound in all departments of life. In the domestic, commercial, social, and ecclesiastical spheres hypocrisy is not only openly condoned, but recognized as almost a necessity for advancement and success in attaining recognition among one’s fellows.

Nor is this true only where heterodox religious views are held. Orthodoxy has its shallow dogmatists who are ready to battle savagely for sound doctrine, but who manage to ignore sound living with little or no apparent compunction of conscience.

God desires truth in the inward parts. The blessed man is still the one “in whose spirit there is no guile.” It is forever true that “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” It can never be out of place to proclaim salvation by free, unmerited favor to all who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. But it needs ever to be insisted on that the faith that justifies is not a mere intellectual process — not simply crediting certain historical facts or doctrinal statements; but it is a faith that springs from a divinely wrought conviction of sin which produces a repentance that is sincere and genuine. Our Lord’s solemn words, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,” are as important today as when first uttered.

No sacrificial observances, nor ritual service, nor works of law ever had any part in justifying the ungodly. Nor were any sinners ever saved by grace until they repented. Repentance is not opposed to grace; it is the recognition of the need of grace. “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” “I came not,” said our blessed Lord, “to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

One great trouble in this shallow age is that we have lost the meaning of words. We bandy them about until one can seldom be certain just how terms are being used. Two ministers were passing an open grocery and dairy store where, in three large baskets, eggs were displayed. On one basket was a sign reading, “Fresh eggs, 24 cents a dozen.” The second sign read, “Strictly fresh eggs, 29 cents a dozen.” While a third read, “Guaranteed strictly fresh eggs, 34 cents a dozen.” One of the pastors exclaimed in amazement, “What does that grocer understand ‘fresh’ to mean?” It is thus with many Scriptural terms that
to our forefathers had an unvarying meaning, but like debased coins have today lost their values.


Grace is God’s unmerited favor to those who have merited the very opposite. Repentance is the sinner’s recognition of and acknowledgment of his lost estate and, thus, of his need of grace. Yet there are not wanting professed preachers of grace who, like the antinomians of old, decry the necessity of repentance lest it seem to invalidate the freedom of grace. As well might one object to a man’s acknowledgment of illness when seeking help and healing from a physician, on the ground that all he needed was a doctor’s prescription.

Shallow preaching that does not grapple with the terrible fact of man’s sinfulness and guilt, calling on “all men everywhere to repent,” results in shallow conversions; and so we have a myriad of glib-tongued professors today who give no evidence of regeneration whatever. Prating of salvation by grace, they manifest no grace in their lives. Loudly declaring they are justified by faith alone, they fail to remember that “faith without works is dead”; and that justification by works before men is not to be ignored as though it were in contradiction to justification by faith before God.

We need to reread James 3 and let its serious message sink deep into our hearts, that it may control our lives. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” No man can truly believe in Christ, who does not first repent. Nor will his repentance end when he has saving faith, but the more he knows God as he goes on through the years, the deeper will that repentance become. A servant of Christ said: “I repented before I knew the meaning of the word. I have repented far more since than I did then.”

Undoubtedly one great reason why some earnest Gospel preachers are almost afraid of, and generally ignore, the terms “repent” and “repentance” in their evangelizing is that they fear lest their hearers misunderstand these terms and think of them as implying something meritorious on the part of the sinner.

But nothing could be wider of the mark. There is no saving merit in owning my true condition. There is no healing in acknowledging the nature of my illness. And repentance, as we have seen, is just this very thing. But in order to clarify the subject, it may be well to observe carefully what repentance is not and then to notice briefly what it is.

First, then, repentance is not to be confounded with penitence, though penitence will invariably enter into it. But penitence is simply sorrow for sin. No amount of penitence can fit a man for salvation. On the other hand, the impenitent will never come to God seeking His grace. But godly sorrow, we are told, worketh repentance not to be repented of. There is a sorrow for sin that has no element of piety in it— “the sorrow of the world worketh death.” In Peter’s penitence, we see the former; in the remorse of Judas, the latter. Nowhere is man exhorted to feel a certain amount of sorrow for his sins in order to come to Christ. When the Spirit of God applies the truth, penitence is the immediate result and this leads on to repentance, but should not be confounded with it. This is a divine work in the soul.

Second, penance is not repentance. Penance is the effort in some way to atone for wrong done. This, man can never do. Nor does God in His Word lay it down as a condition of salvation that one first seek to make up to either God or his fellows for evil committed. Here the Roman Catholic translation of the Bible perpetrates a glaring deception upon those who accept it as almost an inspired version because bearing the imprimatur of the great Catholic dignitaries. Wherever the [King James version] has “repent,” the Douay-Rheims translation reads, “Do penance.” There is no excuse for such a paraphrase. It is not a translation. It is the substituting of a Romish dogma for the plain command of God. John the Baptist did not cry, “Do penance, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Our Lord Jesus did not say, “Do penance and believe the gospel,” and, “Except ye do penance ye shall all likewise perish.” 

The apostle Peter did not tell the anxious multitude at Pentecost to “Do penance and be converted.” Paul did not announce to the men at Athens that “God commandeth all men everywhere to do penance” in view of a coming judgment day. No respectable Greek scholar would ever think of so translating the original in these and many other instances.
On the contrary, the call was to repent; and between repenting and doing penance, there is a vast difference. But even so, we would not forget that he who truly repents will surely seek to make right any wrong he has done to his fellows, though he knows he never can make up for the wrong done to God. But this is where Christ’s expiatory work comes in. As the great Trespass Offering, He could say, “Then I restored that which I took not away” (Psalm 69). Think not to add penance to this—as though His work were incomplete and something else were needed to satisfy God’s infinite justice.

In the third place, let us remember that reformation is not repentance, however closely allied to, or springing out of it. To turn over a new leaf, to attempt to supplant bad habits with good ones, to try to live well instead of evilly, may not be the outcome of repentance at all and should never be confounded with it. Reformation is merely an outward change. Repentance is a work of God in the soul.

Recently, it was the writer’s privilege to broadcast a Gospel message from a large Cleveland station. While he was waiting in the studio for the time appointed, an advertiser’s voice was heard through the loud speaker announcing: “If you need anything in watch repairing go to” such a firm. One of the employees looked up and exclaimed, “I need no watch repairing; what I need is a watch.” It furnished me with an excellent text. What the unsaved man needs is not a repairing of his life. He needs a new life altogether, which comes only through a second birth. Reformation is like watch repairing. Repentance is like the recognition of the lack of a watch.

Need I add that repentance then is not to be considered synonymous with joining a church or taking up one’s religious duties, as people say. It is not doing anything.
What then is repentance? So far as possible I desire to avoid the use of all abstruse or pedantic terms, for I am writing not simply for scholars, but for those Lincoln had in mind when he said, “God must have thought a lot of the common people, for He made so many of them.” Therefore, I wish, so far as possible, to avoid citing Greek or Hebrew words. But here it seems almost necessary to say that it is the Greek word metanoia, which is translated “repentance” in our English Bibles, and literally means a change of mind. This is not simply the acceptance of new ideas in place of old notions. But it actually implies a complete reversal of one’s inward attitude.

How luminously clear this makes the whole question before us! To repent is to change one’s attitude toward self, toward sin, toward God, toward Christ. And this is what God commands. John came preaching to publicans and sinners, hopelessly vile and depraved, “Change your attitude, for the kingdom is at hand.” To haughty scribes and legalistic Pharisees came the same command, “Change your attitude,” and thus they would be ready to receive Him who came in grace to save. To sinners everywhere the Savior cried, “Except ye change your attitude, ye shall all likewise perish.”

And everywhere the apostles went they called upon men thus to face their sins—to face the question of their helplessness, yet their responsibility to God—to face Christ as the one, all-sufficient Savior, and thus by trusting Him to obtain remission of sins and justification from all things.

So to face these tremendous facts is to change one’s mind completely, so that the pleasure lover sees and confesses the folly of his empty life; the self-indulgent learns to hate the passions that express the corruption of his nature; the self-righteous sees himself a condemned sinner in the eyes of a holy God; the man who has been hiding from God seeks to find a hiding place in Him; the Christ-rejector realizes and owns his need of a Redeemer, and so believes unto life and salvation.

Which comes first, repentance or faith? In Scripture, we read, “Repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Yet, we find true believers exhorted to “repent, and do the first works.” So intimately are the two related that you cannot have one without the other. The man who believes God repents; the repentant soul puts his trust in the Lord when the Gospel is revealed to him. Theologians may wrangle over this, but the fact is, no man repents until the Holy Spirit produces repentance in his soul through the truth. No man believes the Gospel and rests in it for his own salvation until he has judged himself as a needy sinner before
God. And this is repentance.


Perhaps it will help us if we see that it is one thing to believe God as to my sinfulness and need of a Savior, and it is another thing to trust that Savior implicitly for my own salvation.
Apart from the first aspect of faith, there can be no true repentance. “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” And apart from such repentance there can be no saving faith. Yet the deeper my realization of the grace of God manifested toward me in Christ, the more intense will my repentance become.
It was when Mephibosheth realized the kindness of God as shown by David that he cried out, “What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” (2 Samuel 9:8). And it is the soul’s apprehension of grace which leads to ever lower thoughts of self and higher thoughts of Christ; and so the work of repentance is deepened daily in the believer’s heart.
“Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream,
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.
This He gives you,
‘Tis the Spirit’s rising beam.”


The very first evidence of awakening grace is dissatisfaction with one’s self and self-effort and a longing for deliverance from chains of sin that have bound the soul. To own frankly that I am lost and guilty is the prelude to life and peace. It is not a question of a certain depth of grief and sorrow, but simply the recognition and acknowledgment of need that leads one to turn to Christ for refuge. None can perish who put their trust in Him. His grace superabounds above all our sin, and His expiatory work on the cross is so infinitely precious to God that it fully meets all our uncleanness and guilt.”

(Dr. Harry Ironside’s writings are in the public domain. You may read more articles by him at: www.harryironside.com).

Friday, May 26, 2017

The New Missiology – Doing Missions Without the Gospel


Republished from  Light House Trails Research
By Roger Oakland
Emergent Missiology

I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts.1—Brian McLaren
 
Emerging “progressive Christianity” is changing the way evangelical/Protestant missions is being conducted. The idea is that you can go for Jesus, but you don’t have to identify yourself as a Christian or part of the Christian church. This concept spills over into some missionary societies too, where they teach people from other religions they can keep their religion, just add Jesus to the equation. They don’t have to embrace the term Christian. At the 2005 United Nations Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, Rick Warren made the following comments to 100 delegates who represented various different religions:
I’m not talking about a religion this morning. You may be Catholic or Protestant or Buddhist or Baptist or Muslim or Mormon or Jewish or you may have no religion at all. I’m not interested in your religious background. Because God did not create the universe for us to have religion.2
While he did go on afterwards and say he believed that Jesus was God, the implication was that your religion doesn’t matter to God, and being Buddhist, Mormon, or whatever will not interfere with having Jesus in your life. Donald Miller, author of the popular Blue Like Jazz, puts it this way:
For me, the beginning of sharing my faith with people began by throwing out Christianity and embracing Christian spirituality, a nonpolitical mysterious system that can be experienced but not explained.3
In Erwin McManus’ book The Barbarian Way, he refers to “Barbarians” in a positive light and says that this is how Christ-followers should be:
They [Barbarians] see Christianity as a world religion, in many ways no different from any other religious system. Whether Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or Christianity, they’re not about religion; they’re about advancing the revolution Jesus started two thousand years ago.4
A May/June 2000 issue of Watchman’s Trumpet magazine explains what this new missiology really entails:
Several international missions organizations, including Youth With a Mission (YWAM), are testing a new approach to missionary work in areas where Christianity is unwelcome. [A] Charisma News Service report said some missionaries are now making converts but are allowing them to “hold on to many of their traditional religious beliefs and practices” so as to refrain from offending others within their culture.5
The Charisma article in which Watchman’s Trumpet reports elaborates:
“Messianic Muslims” who continue to read the Koran, visit the mosque and say their daily prayers but accept Christ as their Savior, are the products of the strategy, which is being tried in several countries, according to Youth With a Mission (YWAM), one of the organizations involved.6
The Charisma story reports that a YWAM staff newsletter notes the new converts’ lifestyle changes (or lack thereof):
They [the new converts] continued a life of following the Islamic requirements, including mosque attendance, fasting and Koranic reading, besides getting together as a fellowship of Muslims who acknowledge Christ as the source of God’s mercy for them.7
When one of the largest missionary societies (YWAM) becomes a proponent of the new missiology, telling converts they can remain in their own religious traditions, the disastrous results should be quite sobering for any discerning Christian.

Keep Your Religion, Just Add Jesus
In an article titled “Christ-Followers in India Flourishing Outside the Church,” the following statement is made regarding the research of new missiology advocate, Herbert Hoefer, who wrote Churchless Christianity:
In striking research undertaken in the mid-eighties and published in 1991, Herbert E. Hoefer found that the people of Madras City are far closer to historic Christianity than the populace of any cities in the western Christian world could ever claim to be. Yet these are not Christians, but rather Hindus and Muslims. In their midst is a significant number of true believers in Christ who openly confess to faith in fundamental Biblical doctrines, yet remain outside the institutional church.8
 Continue reading

Thursday, May 18, 2017

George Soros Surprise Coming

George Soros Surprise Coming: George Soros Surprise Coming, Move to Have Soros Charged with Treason and Sedition Gaining Support

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

U.N. Planned International Flood of Migrants

U.N. Planned International Flood of Migrants: U.N. Planned International Flood of Migrants, United Nations, Agenda 2030, Sustainable Development, Forced flood of international migrants, globe, obliteration, national borders, sovereignty

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Poor Wayfaring Stranger - Peter Hollens feat. Swingle Singers

A Capella at its best! Goose bumps and tears of joy galore. With family reunion soon to be attended with RSVP to invitation by King Jesus!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Distance, Separation and the Cure


Written and published by Jean-Louis Mondon - http://thelightseed.blogspot.com



“See. I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the heart of the children to their fathers: or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Malachi 4:5.

The ministry of reconciliation
“Therefore if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. As ambassadors committed with the ministry of reconciliation, as though God were making an appeal through us, we implore you on Christ‘s behalf:
Be reconciled to God."
2 Corinthians 5:17-20.

Distance and separation
And the space between ourselves sometimes is more than the distance between the stars. By the fragile bridge of the Servant's bow we take up the basin and the towel. Read more, The Basin and the Towel


Definition of “Far away” in The Fuegian language of Tierra del Fuego. A seven syllable word which means:
“They stare at each other, each waiting for the other to do what each wants but is not able to.”

One can appreciate the rich and insightful imagery of primitive language, but the question remains: Is it a matter of inability or unwillingness?
When the Lord Jesus was approaching the hour of His death, He himself prayed giving us a model prayer: “Father not my will, but yours be done”
What keeps us separated? Basically it is our pride and unwillingness to humble ourselves. We prefer to remain in a prison of our own making, when the key has been given to us that could release us from being captive to our own will and stubbornness.

Every argument won in a verbal conflict at the detriment of forgiveness and reconciliation ends up being one more brick we use in building a wall of separation protecting us from the very ones that Christ has sent our way to help them in their struggle to find forgiveness and freedom from spiritual captivity.
Every argument won ends up being one more shovel full in digging deeper the ditch of distance between persons whose ministry is to be a bridge builder, not a wall builder or a ditch digger.

The remedy
Do we have the key that opens the door onto light and life? Only God can give us this key to freedom.

Isaiah declares: “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
The fear of the Lord is the KEY to this treasure.”
Isaiah 33:6.

Do we need a sure foundation in our present time of confusion, perplexity, and contemplating our navel and worshiping the earth to find the solution with the greatest brains as guides in our cultures of death?

The Lord Jesus to John the apostle in Revelation chapter 3:7: “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”

There is a time and a season for everything under the sun, but Jesus is sending his servants to proclaim that "NOW is the day of salvation and that there is no other name under heaven but the name of Jesus by which man can be saved"
The only way men can experience real peace and reconciliation with others is to first be reconciled with God.

Oh, that we would heed the command of our Lord Jesus to build bridges and tear down brick by brick the strongholds in our hearts that we have erected patiently, day after day, month after month until it becomes the very fabric that makes up the callous covering of protection keeping other people from being welcome in our hearts.

So looking forward to this year´s Resurrection day celebration, this is my hope and prayer for the readers of this blog that do not know the Lord Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Be reconciled first with God through recognizing and accepting the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus for you, He brought peace to us who were enemies of God; receive the pardon and salvation that are already paid for by His blood shed for you on the cross and the free gift of eternal life available to all who humbly turn to His light and life from their slavery to sin.

If you already know the Lord Jesus, His peace to you and may His grace and love abide and rule in your heart as you seek to do His will, to be fruitful and keep looking for His soon return.

Heavenly Father, by your grace and the power of your love through your Holy Spirit, free the prisoners in our families, our churches. You alone can penetrate through and behind those brick walls and fill those ditches of separation. You alone can heal bitter, broken hearts and restore us to our call to love you and serve you as we obey your command to love each other sincerely from the heart and serve our brothers in humility and submission to your will and purpose in our lives.

His Name is a strong tower and we are victorious by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony that Jesus alone is Lord of Lord and King of Kings and worthy of our praise. Blessed be His holy Name. Amen.

Jean-Louis 14/4/2017 Edited and from previous posting 12/2009.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

EASTER: Fact or Fiction?

Reposted from omegaletter.com
In Defense of the Faith
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Brittney Gunter 

 
A trip through any big box store will alert you that the Easter season is quickly approaching.  Stuffed bunnies, egg-shaped chocolates, and all things pastel have taken over prime real-estate in the retail business.

Easter is the pinnacle event of the Christian faith.  The crucifixion, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is so critically important to Christian doctrine that if its basis is not found in historical fact, then all hope is lost.  Salvation does not exist.  Sins are not forgiven.  And the dead return to the dust from which they came with no one to rescue.  As the Apostle Paul put it, in 1 Corinthians 15:16-19, “For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins,” and we are a people to be most pitied.

So true, Paul. So true.
For skeptics and atheists, the Easter holiday is such an easy point to pick on and dismantle.  Didn't Jesus say he would be dead for three days and three nights?  Don’t Christians believe Christ died on Good Friday and rose from the dead on Sunday morning?  Can’t they do math?  There is no way to account for three days and three nights in the 39-hour time frame if we are to believe the scriptures.  This idea is so preposterous that many will then discount the authority and authenticity of the entire biblical revelation as myth and hoax. It even has some theologians scrambling to redefine days and times to make the biblical account fit into a 72-hour time frame.

Easter: the great Christian myth perpetuated by a sect of discontent Jewish men which has its origins in pagan mythology.  Sound likely?
Not so fast.
The forethought of the events that occurred during Christ’s crucifixion were, in fact, ordained by our Divine Creator from the beginning.  More simply stated: God knew what day and time Christ would die when He spun the earth in motion. It is God who formed the universe, placed the planets in their orbits, fixed the sun and other stars in their places, and determined the moon’s rotation.  It is God who determined that evening would occur before morning in all the days of creation (see Genesis chapter 1). It is God who uses His universe as both His blueprint and His timepiece to make Himself known to mankind. Careful and systematic examination of the scriptures reveal this divine forethought to us.  In order to gain a full understanding of the wisdom of God from creation to Christ, we don’t have to look much further than the Jewish calendar.

The Jewish Calendar is, in fact, God’s calendar.  It is not some predictable invention of mankind based on the lunar cycle with randomly placed events that have no true significance. God chose to reveal His timing to the prophet Moses.  He does this when He directs Moses to go back to Egypt and to demand the Pharaoh release the Hebrew slaves.  You know the story…there’s a famous Charlton Heston movie about it. Take a closer look at Exodus 12:2 where God tells Moses, before sending him back into Egypt, ‘This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.”

That month was the Jewish Month of Nisan, the first month in Israel’s religious calendar year.  It is the month that the first Passover would occur, where God would pass over the firstborns of Israel if they smeared their doorposts with the blood of the lamb.  It is the month that Christ would be handed over to the Romans to be crucified.  And it is the month that we will be focused on to determine if the contemporary Easter timeline has any basis in fact.

This month of Nisan was to begin with a new moon.  On the 10th day of the month, that is Nisan 10, the Israelites were to choose their lamb for slaughter.  However, they were not to kill the lamb until the 14th day of the month, or Nisan 14.  Then they were to smear the lamb’s blood on the doorpost, eat the lamb for dinner, and wait.  God had made a promise to them that death was coming to the firstborns in all the land, but if anyone did these things then he and his entire household would be spared.  So the nation of Israel obeyed and waited.  But Egypt did not believe and obey, and at midnight, the Lord struck down the firstborns of Egypt. Neither person nor animal was spared, all households experienced a loss.  Then, in the middle of the night, Pharaoh summons Moses and sends them and the whole nation out of Egypt. The full account is found in Exodus Chapter 12.

So the first Passover was a great success and God gave instructions to His people that they were to celebrate the Passover in the same manner every year so as not to forget the great work the Lord had done on their behalf. Nisan was to start the new calendar year.  On the 10th day of the month they were to pick a lamb.  They were to slaughter the lamb on the 14th day and eat it for supper.

Then on the 15th day of Nisan they were to hold a feast week, a 7-day festival called the Festival of Unleavened Bread.  They were also to hold a sacred assembly and do no ordinary work on the first and last days, or the 15th day and the 21st day of this holy week (like bookend sabbath days).  For a review of the laws of the Passover, take a look at Leviticus chapter 23.

Fast forward to the last week of Jesus’ life.  The events line up perfectly with the Passover observance.  Mark 14:12 says, “And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”  That day was Nisan 14.  Jesus is alive on the day the Passover lambs are slaughtered.  That evening Jesus would have the Last Supper with his disciples.  Remember the original Passover in Exodus chapter 12? It wasn’t enough that the lamb was slaughtered, but it also had to be eaten.  It was eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.   It was during this Last Supper that Jesus would symbolically offer the bread and the wine of the New Covenant, which represented his body and his blood being offered for our sake.

After evening comes, Jesus and his disciples proceed to the garden where he will be betrayed and arrested. Since Jewish days begin with evening (because God’s days begin with evening…remember Genesis?), the night Jesus was arrested began the calendar day of Nisan 15. He is taken to the Jewish Council to be be tried and condemned, although, the appropriate number of witnesses cannot be found and soon it is morning. That particular morning begins the Festival of Unleavened bread and there is a large Jewish crowd gathered for the sacred assembly. 

This poses a problem for the Jewish leaders who want to kill Jesus. To do so on a sacred holy day would break the law of Moses and leave them ceremonially unclean (see John 18:28).  Therefore, they craft a different plan and offer Jesus up to Pilate as one who is claiming to be King of the Jews. This charge would imply treason against Rome, a crime punishable by death.

Scripture indicates this day is also the preparation of day for the “high Sabbath” (see John 19:31).   Preparation days occurred on Fridays before the weekly Saturday sabbath. In Jewish tradition, a regular Saturday Sabbath would be certain to fall somewhere during the 7-day festival of Unleavened Bread.  When the Saturday Sabbath fell on an intermediate festival day, that is between the two bookend sabbath days of sacred assembly, it is called Pesach Chol ha-Moed Shabbat.  It would be a most holy day. Nisan 16 accounted for this day.  So when Jesus dies during the sacred assembly of Nisan 15, his body is quickly taken down before evening so it doesn't remain on the cross during the Nisan 16 Sabbath.

This brings us to our last Jewish calendar day of Nisan 17.  All four gospel accounts agree that Jesus rose on the first day of the week.  This gives us some very valuable information!  The first day of the week in the Jewish calendar is Sunday.  Jewish people are allowed to work for six days, but on the 7th day they must rest.  This 7th day has historically and consistently been observed on Saturday.  Therefore, Jesus definitely rose from the dead on a Sunday morning, the first day of a new week.

If we were to put these events on a timeline, the last days of Jesus’ life would look like this:
  • Thursday, Nisan 14 (lamb slaughtered and eaten): Jesus has Passover Meal with disciples
  • Friday, Nisan 15 (sacred assembly of festival): Jesus is crucified in view of the crowd
  • Saturday, Nisan 16: Jesus’ body lays in the tomb
  • Sunday, Nisan 17: Jesus is risen
But, wait…that still doesn’t account for three days and three nights, does it?
“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” -Matthew 12:40

Actually it does.
See, Jesus didn’t die for just Jerusalem.  He didn't even die for just those in Israel.  The often quoted John 3:16 tells us exactly for whom Jesus came to die, “for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus died for the world.  The whole world.  For all of time.  So that, whoever believes in him should not perish but will have eternal life.  Whoever.  That’s a very powerful and inclusive statement!  And if Jesus died for the whole world, when it was about 3pm in Jerusalem on Friday Nisan 15, then what day and time was it in the rest of the world?

Simply put, when Jesus gave up his life on the cross, it was the evening and the morning of Nisan 15 for the entire earth.  And there was evening and there was morning, the first day… Does that sound like a familiar verse?  It’s from Genesis chapter one.

When Jesus lay in the grave on Saturday, the entire earth experienced God’s calendar day of Nisan 16. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day…

When Jesus rose on Sunday morning, the entire earth experienced God’s calendar day of Nisan 17.  And there was evening and there was morning, the third day…

Jesus died and rose from the grave after 3 days and 3 nights, just as he said he would.  The problem with our understanding is simply our perspective.  We want to examine the events of Jesus’ crucifixion from man’s perspective, counting the hours and days that pass from the location of Jerusalem, but God’s ways are higher than our ways.  When we look at the events from God’s perspective, taking into account the days and nights the entire earth experienced during this time, the wisdom of God is revealed.

Of course, there will always be those who doubt.  Let’s remember, your very salvation is dependent upon your faith.  “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8.  If there were not an opportunity to have faith, then who could receive the gift of grace?  None.

But, for arguments sake, let’s just entertain for a moment that the story of Jesus is a hoax…. If so, then we have the mother of all conspiracy theories ever known to mankind!  The significance of that is so mind-blowing that it is impossible to believe. If the story of Jesus is a fairy tale, that would indicate that a sect of uneducated Jewish men rebelled against the Jewish religious establishment of the day.  This establishment was comprised of well-educated men who spent years and years studying and examining the scriptures.  Then, these ordinary men were able to concoct such an intricate story line that it fulfilled God’s timing all the way back to the book of Genesis.  It fulfilled Jewish law to the letter, right down to the events that occurred day by day. They would have had to understand the Jewish calendar, the Jewish law, the significance of each event, the symbolism…the list goes on and on.

You can’t simply write-in Jesus, as the Hebrew Torah and its laws have been so closely guarded by the Jewish people for thousands of years (who by the way, still reject Jesus). If the Hebrew Torah was re-written by unhappy Jews and pagan Greeks to incorporate a fake Jesus, then the Hebrew Torah should reveal an inconsistency in the fulfillment of its laws by the Christ.

The truth is that Jesus is real.  He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17. The reality is that the Hebrew Torah is our greatest witness to the work of Christ.

The cross of Christ was a predetermined event ordained by God from the very creation of the world. When God suspended the earth on its axis He knew the exact calendar day and time He would give His Son up for our sins.  He ordained feasts and holy days and events to foreshadow this coming.  Then, He gave all this knowledge to a people who wouldn’t even believe it.  About them, Jesus says this, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” Luke 16:31.

So, dear Christian, go your way and celebrate your Easter with passion and thankfulness. Your faith has healed you.  Let the mockers mock and the scoffers scoff, but do not be discouraged!  And when you have the chance to share the hope that is in you, do so with grace, kindness and great patience.  “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” 1 Corinthians 1:25

Pray fervently that all people will come to a knowledge of the truth of salvation. They don’t even understand what they don’t understand.

*Brittney Gunter is a long time friend of our Wendy Wippel.  Brittney is a freelance artist in Mississippi and spends much of her time helping in her community and abroad.  She and her husband are very serious Christians and wonderful parents to their children.


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