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A Balm in Gilead; or, Help for the Hurting

First Harvey, now Irma pounding, lashing, and flooding, leaving many homeless. Further west, wildfires raging, leaving behind smoldering ruins and crackling cinders. It’s as Jesus said the end time wound be, like the days of Noah and Lot all at once. In between, we have an ongoing resurgence of wanton murders, mayhem, violence, racism, oppression, wickedness, and a dizzying array of madness. Take your pick. Whether natural or man-made, trouble is on the rise, and with it all kinds of hurt for our hearts.

I have certainly experienced worlds of untold trouble in my life. I feel like I have had enough trouble for several lifetimes. Whatever trouble you may now be facing, I am extremely sorry. My heart and prayers go out to you. I know the feeling. There’s an old Negro spiritual entitled, “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” Truth!!! But to name just a few…

• I went to jail (I was eventually acquitted, but thanks to sluggishness and unrighteousness in the system, it was for a good while — almost six [6] years). 

• I was committed to the mental hospital – for a good long stay.

• I had an extended encounter with homelessness.

• I got rejected by most of my old friends.

• I had some serious marital conflicts, with many periods of prolonged separation – even an intermediate time of divorce.

• I went into a period of prolonged depression.

Can you say, “Why, God,” with me? Still the half has not been told. My heart has been broken to pieces countless times, especially over some of the heartlessness, cruelty, and abandonment of those that I love. So, if you are going through trouble today, I hope you can believe that there is someone on earth who understands how you feel.

Let me say this to you. I have learned a pathway to healing and restoration of heart. I want to recommend it to you. 

#1)  Weep Yourself Sufficiently
There’s an old song entitled, “Cry Me a River.” The “Why’s?” of life are really only rhetorical and emotional. They are the soul’s way of saying, “Ouch, God! That hurt!!!” Our hearts are really not expecting God to give us a detail account of what He is doing in our life at the time. Crying freely is the heart’s way of staying open and honest before God. The tears that follow, let them flow. I cried for a week when my baby daughter was fatally injured, and the Devil had framed me for that. Tears do release certain biochemicals from the body. The expulsion of those is vital for the our emotional stability and balance. So, if you have been really hurt by whatever, first, just cry yourself a river. 

#2)  Trust God Infinitely
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that ALL things work together for GOOD to them that love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Believe this wholeheartedly. Confess that continually, but especially when life deals you it’s cruel blows. This is the most supreme show of faith and confidence in God. GOD IS indeed sovereign over all things. Everything moves by His power. All things work together for our good, because that’s how God is working them. There’s absolutely nothing in the recipe of life that not for our good — NOTHING!!!

God is cooking up a PERFECT HEART — yours. We are a bunch of tough nuts. My wife likes to say, “There’s not a nut too hard for God to crack.” Please understand, when we joyfully talk about going to the next level, what we are really talking about is God conditioning our hearts to experience a whole new depth and dimension of His righteousness and glory. Going to another level, then, is “a heart thing.” And getting there requires God to put our hearts through the paces that Christ’s heart lives at. And, the word says that He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief… despised and rejected” (Isaiah 53:3). I am sorry if this knowledge disappoints you, but this is pure, unvarnished truth. If we are to mature to become like Jesus, our hearts MUST be softened, being made to know some of the emotional wounds of our Lord.

#3)  Praise God Unconditionally
Hebrews 13:15 says, “Let us therefore offer to God CONTINUALLY the sacrifice of praise; that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.” A great evangelist, RW Shambach, used to say, “Shout Hallelujah anyhow!!!” God is worthy! He has shed Christ’s blood so that we may have a very happy ending, no matter what this chapter of life holds. So, the gospel song says, “Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well. It is well, with my soul.'” 

Now then, my friend, if you will do these three things in the midst of your trouble, you will pass the test. And, in time your trouble will pass too, leaving you with a heart that is more like Christ’s than ever before. You will then find that you can see God’s glory more clearly, hear His voice more distinctly, and feel His Spirit more tangibly than before. God will have turned up the volume on His Word another notch. His presence will be sweeter, at least, until He takes you up another rung.

 

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The Party’s That-away!!!

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“Truth & Dare” is retiring, but the party’s not over. Hooray !!!  We’ve made our last new post here. It will still serve for an archive site. But, we invite you now to head on over to our new site for great posts of information, illumination, and inspiration. If you haven’t already joined us there, from now on we’ll be on WordPress at: newjosephblog.wordpress.com.

Or, you can join us on Facebook at:   https://www.facebook.com/TheNameMostHigh/

Also, on our group page:   https://www.facebook.com/groups/HighPraiseWordCenter/

You can even submit a post yourself for publishing on our group page, and join in the mutual encouragement and edification. Everything at these sites is for the growth and advance of Christ’s children and His kingdom. So, what are you waiting for??  Head on over!!!

We’ll meet you there.

Looking for Somebody?; or, Not I, Said the Cat !!!

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By Joseph Diop

Copyright © 2017 by Joseph Diop

“’Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle!’ And she began thinking over all the children she knew that were of the same age as herself, to see if she could have been changed for any of them…” (She lists her friends and decides that she is not either of them)… “Who am I then? TELL ME THAT FIRST, and then, if I like being that person, I’ll come up: if not, I’ll stay down here till I’m somebody else” –but, oh dear!’ [she] cried, with a sudden burst of tears… (Having been first stretched tall like a giant, then suddenly shrunk to the size of a mustard seed)…`I wish I hadn’t cried so much!’ [she] said, as she swam about, trying to find her way out. `I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears!’”

The foregoing quote is from, “Alice in Wonderland,” the popular novel by Lewis Carroll, published in 1865. Though it is classed as “nonsense literature,” what it treats here is anything but nonsense. For it attempts to address the age-old question, “Just who or what am I?” The Bible itself first raises this most fundamental of all issues, when it asks,

“What is man, that You are mindful of him? and the son of man, that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:4).

The inability of people to come to a satisfactory understanding here, however, does accounts for all the insane, nonsensical, sad, and desperate behavior in the world. For, without being able to answer this question, man is truly lost.

My wife had a divine vision one day. She saw this generation of young people on horses galloping down the freeway in a massive gang. They filled the highway, and were headed fast together on their way. My wife asked, “Where are they going, Lord?” God said, “They don’t know. They are just going.” Isn’t that sad? But, without knowing who or what they are, they (and we all) are like a vehicle without a destination, a tool with no job to do, a representative with no commissioning authority, and an individual with no purpose. Trying to come to know who we are by comparing ourselves to others, is as vain, futile, and depressing as Alice learned it is. We either loom huge like giants, and in our minds are bigger than life. Or else, we seem as tiny and insignificant as specks. Looking at others makes our minds play tricks on us, and puts us on carnal footing as infirm and unsafe as quicksand. But, God gave us the sure and eternal answer early on in the very first chapter of the first book of the Bible. Like Alice requested, “Tell me that first.”

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion…” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:26,27.   Amen.

Did you catch it? “Man” is the one and only creature on earth created in the image and likeness of God. Wow!! What a legacy!!  Brothers and sisters, we are the only beings on earth created to show the rest of the creation what God is really like!! I heard a word from God one day. God said, “You can sum it up this way, ‘Man is a MANifestation of God.’”  That’s no play on words. That is just words playing their role to make plain and clear the glory of God. Man was created to be a MANIFESTATION of God. That is what we are. And, as importantly is the who. Jesus quoted it.

“I have said, Ye are gods; and ALL OF YOU ARE CHILDREN OF THE MOST HIGH.” Psalm 82:6

God’s children we are, made to manifest his glory, showing forth his power, and being filled with His love. One day, as I was in the Spirit, God just literally downloaded the following chart into my mind. As God’s children, we are beings of a seven-fold nature, each facet of our being playing a specific and vital role.

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If you can accept it, then you will see that we have purpose galore. If you can believe it, then you can receive that as your destiny. If you can put on this truth, then you will be robed for battle with the devil’s minions, whenever they try to fill you with either pride and high-mindedness, or either discouragement and depression. Knowing the truth about who and what we are is the “first thing” that we must embrace, if we are to become fully what we were created to be in the first place  –  EXACT  MANIFESTATIONS OF GOD — HIS  BELOVED  CHILDREN  IN THE  WORLD.

 

 

 

 

 

A Father’s Guarantee

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“Behold, what amazing love the Father has lavished upon us…” 1John 3:1

A “blessing” is a good word spoken by the mouth of God, which causes His glory to be manifest in our lives. That good word guarantees us all-encompassing health, success, and prosperity, along with His peace. (Because of His purpose to grow us up into the image of his Son, Jesus Christ, that blessing cannot at all times and under all circumstances be interpreted and reduced down to mean “having lots of money and stuff”).  Considering its glory and effect, nothing else in this world is to be coveted more than God’s blessing.   Selah. Maranatha. Amen.

 

Light ‘Em Up; or, The Fire Next Time !!!

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By Joseph Diop

Copyright © 2017 by Joseph Diop

“Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”  (Jeremiah 23:29).  If you really want to be changed into Christ’s image, then just get into God’s word day by day. You’ll have the hammer of God in your soul, and the fire of God in your spirit. You cannot help but to be changed. The word itself will break up all that needs to be broken up, and burn up all that needs to be burned up.  Fight for establishing a regular time in the word every morning. It will be like a beachhead for your war on the devil, and like a high place for gaining a tactical advantage on evil. It will be a sure weapon and faithful ally. The scripture says,

“Sanctify them through thy truth. The word is truth” (John 17:17). If you really want to be separated from your sin, then the word will do the trick. It is God’s sanctifying agent. A good acronym for TRUTH is:

The * Right * Understanding [of] * THings

If you want to get your mind right, then fill it full of God’s word. When you understand the word, you understand God’s perspective on things, and you understand His will and purpose for your life. There’s nothing more powerful in this world than a man or a woman with a divine purpose active in their life. And, as you grow strong in the Lord, He will speak of you this way:

14 “Wherefore thus saith the Lord, because you speak this word, I will make my word in thy mouth fire and this people wood, and it shall consume them…  20 Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms… 5 They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation…” (Jeremiah 5:14; 51:20; Isaiah 13:5).

Do you know the principle behind having visions of the Lord? The principle is this: “What you see is what you get.” Well, I have had a vision of the Lord, and that vision was awesome, fiery, and mind-rending. In it, I saw a vision of Christ Jesus the Lord, and he was… “The Eternal Word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God – Consuming Fire !!!”  So, I can promise you that it is true. If you get filled with the word, then the Lord one day will transform you into a fiery, spiritual weapon in his arsenal for his warfare on the world, the flesh, and the devil. He will purge you, sanctify you, and refine you yourself, first of all. Then, He will turn around and use you to do the same in the lives of others. The word promises,

In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left… (Zechariah 12:6).

So, get ready. The fireworks are about to begin!!!

 

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not…; or, Am I a ‘Son’ ???

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By Joseph Diop

Copyright © 2017 by Joseph Diop

 

Life can be very scary and uncertain sometimes. It can be very puzzling, especially in terms of our interplay with the LORD God our Father. All the drama, the intrigue, and the suspense of life can be summed up in the fact that we have a very sovereign God, who controls all things, and who seems to like to deal with and work through us creatures who are weak, frail, and finite. Sometimes we find that we are not even in control of the one thing we are always supposed to be in control of – our own behavior. Sometimes, we find ourselves in need of praying that prayer King David taught us, when he was fingered by the prophet Nathan for adultery and murder,

 

Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me… 11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Psalm 51:5,11

 

So, the question is, at what point can a Christian know that his soul is secure and that he/she is bound for heaven in the end, no matter what? How do we escape that uneasy, unwelcome, and troubling feeling of eternal UNCERTAINTY, considering all our stumbling, misdeeds, shortfalls, and let’s be plain, all our sinfulness? By virtue of our own rotten human nature, no matter how hard we try, at times we just get tangled, twisted, and tossed about by sin. This was certainly Paul’s experience (Romans 7:7-25).  So, let’s look very briefly at this issue from the two distinct points of view – God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility.

 

First, realize that God is sovereign in the affairs of salvation, as we dealt with in the previous article, “Pen Me In in the End…” http://wp.me/p4eK9Z-Bs.  And, God is faithful. There is a doctrine floating around in the Christian camp called “Eternal Security,” which attempts to offer Christians escape from the pressures of uncertainty by reducing God’s part down to this simplistic formula, “Once Saved, Always Saved.” That statement falls short of the volume of the teachings of scripture however, simply because it does not start at the right point in the process. (So, the apostle Paul said, “Work out your own salvation with FEAR AND TREMBLING” Philippians 2:12.  Therefore, that sense of uneasiness is not a dirty thing. It’s essential to the process. Scripture says, “The FEAR of the Lord is clean, enduring forever” Psalm 19:9). The scripture places the point of certainty much earlier in the process.

 

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to HIS PURPOSE. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Romans 28-30

 

So, the actual links in the process of salvation are:

 

GOD’S PURPOSE (1) → God’s foreknowledge (2) → God’s predestination (3) → God’s call (i.e., the preaching of the gospel) (4) → God’s justification (what we refer to as, getting “saved”) (5) → and, God’s glorification, which is the end result of the process (6).

 

The problem with “Eternal Security” as it is commonly presented, is that it presents the “salvation” of man, step five (5), as the root and foundation of the process and of our assurance, when there are four (4) earlier steps that are most decisive to the outcome. And, all those steps lie totally out of the scope of human knowledge or temporal confirmation. They fall wholly within the domain of God’s sovereignty and control, which we shall sum up under the heading of God’s “election.” And, that is why Peter said,

 

And beside this, giving ALL DILIGENCE, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge… But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to MAKE YOUR [OWN] CALLING AND ELECTION SURE: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (1Peter 1:5-11 brackets mine)

 

So now secondly, we must realize that we are forever responsible to be DILIGENT as far as our soul’s ultimate salvation is concerned. At no point can we escape the drama of it all, by just taking our eternity for granted. God alone sees the end from the beginning, and knows what souls shall make it from the start of our salvation unto the end. Ultimately, in the realm of time to which we are confined, our assurance is a rooted in the hope and faith of the believing heart. Of that root system, Hebrews says,

 

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil [of eternity]” (Hebrews 6:19, brackets mine).  Furthermore, Paul explains,

 

1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  Romans 5:1-5

 

Ultimately then, assurance of salvation is negotiated between the individual human heart and the Spirit of God. It is a function of the enduring hope and faith of the heart, sustained and grown throughout time. That faith is maintained through grace by God’s eternal love, the bestowal and receipt of which is the very “PURPOSE” (Romans 8:28) for which we were created. That ‘purpose,’ as you recall, was step one (#1) of our salvation process. You may be sure that if you can CONNECT AT THE HEART LEVEL WITH THE LOVE OF GOD, and maintain that connection throughout all the many ups and downs of life, then YOU WILL most definitely BE SAVED.

 

The love of God will never, ever let you down. As 1Corinthians 13:8 assures us, “Love never fails.” Like King David, even in the most desperate of times, when we are utterly guilty and stained before God, that love connection in our hearts will make us come out with the most gracious prayers and supplications. Those, God will always recognize as being consistent with his own eternal grace and purpose. God will respond with downloads of the abundance of his steadfast love, and your heart will grow yet to another level of capacity to always believe in His faithfulness. May you be filled with grace, peace, and assurance as you grow and produce fruit in our heavenly Father’s love. Selah. Maranatha. Amen.

 

KNOCK ON WOOD; or, “Am I a Numbskull, or What???”

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The testimony of our Lord is that we don’t always understand things as well as we like to THINK that we do. As a young minister, I use to expend a whole lot of time and energy desperately trying to understand even the most basic concepts of our faith. “I must be the stupidest Christian in the world!” I sometimes thought to myself, because the doctrine of the gospel did not come easy to me. As a matter of fact, it seemed quite hard, almost impenetrable. I was blind, and I knew it. So, progress in understanding things was very slow – at snail’s pace. I give my testimony of this in the article, “THE GOOD NEWS FOR DUMMIES, LIKE ME !!! http://wp.me/p4eK9Z-6o

Then, eventually as I grew and became acquainted with the messed-up condition of the church, I concluded, “Hey, they don’t really understand either! If they did, they would be in much better condition than they are.” So, all the scholars, degrees, and Ph.D.’s in the kingdom, didn’t really seem to avail much in the way of knowledge. But, that was little comfort to me, since my own blindness weighed heavily on me, and kept me from seeing the glory of my God clearly. Then, I began to find scripture after scripture that seemed to indicate that this blindness was just the common condition of mankind. For example, it says,

The Lord said, “MY PEOPLE are foolish. They don’t know me. They are stupid children. They don’t understand. They are skillful at doing evil, but they don’t know how to do good.” Jeremiah 4:22 ERV

And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. 1Corinthians 8:2

Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. 1Timothy 1:7

In other words, they don’t understand what the heck they are talking about. They don’t have a clue really. If you want to make real progress in understanding the word, you have to take a precept approach. That means that you have to take the time to rightly define all the terms you use to talk about your faith, so that you build a house of correct understanding. The word itself says that this is the right and necessary approach.

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little… But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and FALL BACKWARD, and be broken, and snared, and taken. Isaiah 28:10, 13

So, the word solemnly warns that failure to take a precept approach will eventually lead to a bad backslidden condition. Precepts are basic building blocks of right knowledge. They are the A.B.C.’s — 1,2,3’s — doe-ray-me’s of the faith. They provide essential definitions of elemental concepts. So, today, I give you just three precepts that will help you get started. There are some good precept ministries out there, but I feel personally led of the Spirit to share a few of my findings here with you. Meditate on these. Plug them into your understanding and Bible study, and see if they don’t help your understanding. Selah. Amen.

FAITH – heart-level connectedness between God and man

POWER — the ability to force changes and rearrangements, at will

IMAGINATIONS — the thoughts of the heart projected onto the mind’s visions and cognitions