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Calling all our LGBT loved ones and friends.

Tired Cowboy

Copyright © 2014 by Joseph Diop

LGBT, or not to be. That is the question. Does that little boy in our opening photo have a decision to make about his sexual orientation? Does he really have a choice in the matter? Ever take a look under the hood of a fine, new automobile – check out its horsepower? See what makes it run?   Well, as promised, its time for us to do that on the LGBT matters of our present day. I promised a treatment of the subject, which is not your typical “homophobic rank.” With all the love I can muster therefore, here’s my effort.

For all who are not initiated, LGBT is the politically correct way of referring to all whose sexual orientation is not ‘straight’ heterosexual. With all the hub-bub surrounding the current Winter Olympic games in Russia, I’ve  even heard there’s a class of LGBT known as the ‘Intersexual.’ In all honesty, I have no idea whatsoever what that means. But, LGBT addresses all who are not considered straight.

I know off the top that my treatment and views on the subject will not be acceptable to all. With such a hotly contested and controversial subject to address, I’ll be doomed if I do, and doomed if I don’t. I could just play it safe and sidestep the issue altogether. For several reasons, I have chosen not to do that. The first of which is that it would be a cowardly thing to do. This issue touches a nerve that goes throughout the entire warp and woof of America — of the whole world. I would immediately consign myself to the ranks of the irrelevant if I said nothing about the subject. If I claimed to be an ambassador of Jesus Christ and of God Almighty — a representative voice of Absolute Truth, and I do — simple professional integrity demands that I weigh in on the subject. And, if people want to know, “What about that?;” and they do, then I am compelled by duty to speak out on the subject.

Secondly, matters of sexual orientation are indeed replete throughout the Bible. And either directly or indirectly, Jesus DID comment on it. If anybody tells you otherwise, they are either outright lying to you, or are grossly misinformed, or are simply woefully ignorant to the facts. So, unless I planned to leave a gaping-wide hole in my Biblical commentary, I have to speak about it.

Thirdly, and most compellingly, I have personal loved ones and friends who are LGBT. You gotta love your own blood, and your own dear friends. You’d have to be a really cold, callous, misfited, and crude son-of-a-gun not to love them. People who have shared your life, love, affections, and upbringing have got to play a key role and have a big influence on your cultural mindset and your points of view. And so, an heroic approach to living demands that I take a stand on these issues, for better or worse.

I foresee addressing these LGBT issues in at least three (3) separate but related articles. So, stay tuned. In this post, let me begin with the story of one of my dearest relatives. All the names in these posts will be fictional. For anonymity’s sake, I’ll change their names, but otherwise leave their stories intact — true, faithful, and as accurate as possible.

Let’s begin with Kevin. Kevin and I are about the same age. Growing up, on visits to one another’s homes, Kevin was not only a playmate, but also my first cousin. As we were coming up, early on Kevin showed signs of being different. He was not much into ‘boy’ things. He hung closely to our other female cousins, and didn’t usually bother playing touch football, or baseball, or any other masculine things with us boys. Later in life, I found out that I should not have expected him to. Indeed, a key member of our family had provided us with an insightful prognosis on Kevin very early in his childhood development. Let me tell you about that.

When Kevin was only about three (3) years old, he was visiting at our grandparent’s house. My grandmother, being an extremely wise, perceptive, and spiritual woman, did not let much, if anything,  pass her unnoticed. It was during that visit that she gave my mother, Bernice, a call on the phone. “Bernice, Bernice,” she said, “Kevin broke his wrist!” Now, my mother was a Registered Nurse. So, naturally supposing that grandmother was calling for some medical advice, mom responded: “Mama, that’s terrible! Did you take him to the doctor yet to get a cast put on it?” To which grandmother replied, “Ahh, Bernice, that’s not what I’m talking about. Kevin is [LGBT] !”  

I remind you, Kevin at this point was no more than about three years of age. He was only a stone’s throw from the womb. He hadn’t had a chance to make a choice in the matter. So, exercising but a little common sense, that tells me that SOME individuals are indeed born that way.

I realize fully that there are some conservative and evangelical camps in the Christian faith that will deny that point of view to their dying breath. Simply because, the Bible quite apparently holds that the LGBT lifestyle is a ‘sin.’ God could not have possibly therefore ‘created’ them in that condition from birth. They deduce, “The LGBT lifestyle is a mortal sin — an offense leading unto eternal death and damnation.  Holding God responsible is simply unthinkable!” If I didn’t know better, if Kevin was not my own dear proof to the contrary, then because I too believe God’s word, I might be willing to believe that. But, for me, Kevin helps me see that there is a built-in fallacy to that argument.

Admittedly, this is just one perspective belonging to a born-again Christian, who is a lover and promoter of gospel truth. So, please excuse me here, my LGBT friends, while I address my fellows in the Bible-believing camp. You know, kids are born with all other kinds of mortal, life-threatening, morbid, and ‘abnormal’ conditions. There’s spina bifida, heart diseases and malformations, cleft lip or cleft palate, mental retardation, and all kinds of behavioral disorders. There’s Asperger Syndrome, convulsions, and movement troubles. Some examples of “birth defects” that affect the nervous system include Autism, Down syndrome, and muscular dystrophy. And then there’s blindness, deafness, cycle cell anemia, and on and on and on. A child can enter this world with any variant or number or these afflictions. Do we say, “God created them with way?” Does not this discussion rightly begin with the universal and primeordial fall out and collateral damage of sin itself?  Is it not true that if sin had never entered human existence, then man would have continued to live in a disease-free, paradisiacal state?  But sin in general, entering the realm of human life, opened the door for all kinds of misery, destruction, sickness, disease, and even pre-mature death, which can and do indeed grip some young souls o’er ever they exit the womb.

Now, I fully realize that most of you who are LGBT do not consider your orientaion abnormal. You’ve come to accept your orientation as normal as any other. But, bear with me here for a moment. I am addressing all those who do not. I’ll get back to you LGBT readers later.

Dare I say here; yes, dare I say that even various forms and expressions of  LGBT lay hold on infants before they are ever born? Furthermore I say, that it is incumbent on those of us who are born-again Christians to fulfill our roles and duties as priests for them, in order to lay hold on God’s power and His infinite mercies; and so, to deliver them. We cannot be content to merely rail away at them and to watch as indifferent bystanders, whilst any of them perish.

But, let’s get back to Kevin’s story for a moment. When we reached high school, a female cousin of ours had a birthday party. All the kids were dancing and having fun. A mutual aunt, Estelle, noticed Kevin dancing the night away. She became outraged when she observed that he was “dancing like a girl.” She immediately grabbed Kevin and pulled him to the side, telling him to “Stop that immediately!” Of course, I can’t imagine the shame Kevin must have experienced at that moment. Even for the most experienced of us, some things are just beyond the pale of our personal experience and comprehension.

Still fuming, Aunt Estelle immediately got on the phone and reported the matter to Kevin’s mom, Aunt Queen. On hearing the report, she broke down into a spell of crying, sobbing, and grief that lasted for the balance of the evening. During that time, Aunt Queen, who is a Christian, reported that God himself spoke very clearly to her heart, and told her not to judge Kevin. In ministering to her grief, God consoled her heart. Furthermore, He breathed life onto some words of the Bible that shed light and confirmation that she was in no way to accuse him. God assured her that He knew all about Kevin’s condition. Now, when I asked her recently if she recalled that passage of scripture, she said that she no longer remembered it. And, its just as well. You know how easily we take scripture passages and enshrine them as proof texts for all kinds of things. But like the apostle Paul’s mysterious and unidentified “thorn in the flesh,” God will minister grace and consolation to our hearts in many different ways and with many different passages from the Bible, regardless of what our ‘thorn’ may be.

Eventually, as this biographical sketch goes, Kevin “came out” of the closet. That as you might expect, caused even more trauma for the family. Kevin had come home from college that year, when he dropped the bomb on his parents. Then he proceeded to go up and down the block, announcing the news to all the neighbors from house to house.  This floored, stunned,  and saddened his father, Uncle Horace, beyond all measure. But being the true dad that he was, his grief was only exceeded by his undying love for his only son. Years later, Kevin moved to San Francisco. And when he wanted to bring his gay lover home for a holiday visit, his father suffered him to do so.  He did this over the objections of other family members. Even though his father held classic Christian beliefs, his father’s heart could not bear to turn his son away, even with his gay lover in tow. He loved his son. Home was still home. Love, love, love. The things we do for love. The things we endure for love. Who can argue with love? The Bible does say, “the greatest of these is love” (1Cor 13:13).

Now, I am not finished with this subject; no, by no means. But, I will put a comma on my comments here until another day. Do not assume that you know where I am coming from, or where I am headed. My cousin, Kevin, even to this day resides in San Francisco and is a member of the LGBT community. But, I have not closed the book on him or what God will do with his life — pitiable ‘homophobe’ that I am.  Kevin’s parents, Aunt Queen and Uncle Horace, still love him and pray quietly for him after all these years. They live with a settled and tangible hope. I still love Kevin just as much as I did when we were kids and he was my playmate. He’s my cousin. Blood is thicker than mud. And, being the concerned family that I am, still today I cannot talk about Kevin without getting a lump in my throat. He’s my cousin. I love him. How can I not?

So, I’ll close here with a humble and needful bow of my knee to the mystery of God at work here. There are in this life a million and one things that we cannot explain. To me, Kevin’s life is one of them. But what supercedes the mystery shrouding things here are those attributes which the apostle Paul said are still abiding; “faith, hope, love; these three…” (1Cor 13:12). And, if you have an LGBT mystery in your life, may these three sustain you too.

Do any of these LGBT issues have you confused?  Don’t be confused about where you are going to spend eternity. Like Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). If you have the slightest doubt at all about your eternity, then right now consciously pray this prayer, and for the first time know for sure that if you died today you would go to heaven. Come now, this is no time to be shy or ashamed. So now, whether you are a rank sinner, or an ardent church-goer who’s not sure about your salvation, or an LGBT individual, pray this prayer and be sure once and for all.

Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open my heart and life now to receive you as Savior and Lord. Come in and take control of my life. Give me your Holy Spirit. Come and make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen.

 

Did you pray that prayer? Then, on the solid-rock foundation of simple child-like faith, I now pronounce you a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Mark this date on your calendar. It’s the first day of your eternal life. Congratulations! And welcome to the family.

 

For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000. 

If you are already a Christian, but are in need of repentance and rededication, then pray this prayer,

Lord Jesus, please forgive me for not serving you the way that I should. I open up my heart now, and give you full access and control. Have your way, Lord. Cleanse me from my all sin and idolatry. Fill me with your Holy Spirit again. Renew me, Lord. Make me the kind of person and servant I ought to be. Amen.

For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000

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Behold, his mighty hand !

nustar-hand-of-god

Copyright © 2014 by Joseph Diop

The credit for this image, called the “Hand of God,” goes to NASA/JPL-Caltech/McGill. However, the creation of this phenomenon itself, and the sign that it portends, belongs to God Almighty alone. It is the sign given to the prophet Elijah. Let me explain.

Nasa’s NuStar Telescope took this dazzling image, seen for the first time by the public, in January 2014. However, 2,000 years ago, Jesus announced,

“There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and IN THE STARS.” Luke 21:25

This will be our first installment on promised blockbuster prophetic insights. This message is a public service announcement of the kind we are accustomed to hear on TV: “We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this…” This is an authentic sign from God. It forebodes both good news and bad news. How so? Some will be singing “O Happy Day,” while others will tune up with “Highway to Hell.” This sign marks the beginning of exactly polar opposites in experiences for the people of earth. It all depends on whatsoever your works deserve. You are going to get your “just desserts.” Jesus declared, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”  Revelation 22:12

Celebration or lamentation, which shall it be for you? That hand in the celestial clouds is saying, “Behold, it’s either pay day! Hallelujah! Or, “It’s payback time ! Woe is me !!!” Your own karma has now come to catch up with you. I would quote from that old song by the Temptations,

So, fee-fi-fo-fum. Look out baby, ’cause here I come…(Get ready ’cause here I come) I’m on my way. (Get ready ’cause here I come).. So, Fiddle-de-dee, Fiddle-de-dum. Look out baby, ’cause here I come.

But, I won’t quote from that song, because then, I’d have to change the words a bit, to, “Get ready, cause here I AM.”  But, let’s rewind a bit. I’m getting ahead of myself here. I was going to share with you how this is the sign of the prophet Elijah. So, let’s slow our roll and get back to that.

The prophet Elijah was a bit of a Lone Ranger; a kind of “Last Man Standing” among the prophets of his day. Singlehandedly, he had stopped the rain in Israel for 3-1/2 years, and harnessed the attention of a hen-pecked king, named Ahab. He had defied the evil queen, Jezebel, brought down fire from heaven, and faced down four hundred-fifty (450) prophets of Baal. Then, he  executed them. Now, after turning the hearts and minds of the Israelites back to their God, he was in the process of initiating Israel’s rains again. Elijah did the praying, while he had a servant dispatched to check for signs from heaven of the returning rain. That’s when the heavenly omen appeared.

And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, “Behold, there ariseth a… cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand.” And [Elijah] said, “Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down that the rain stop thee not.”  1 Kings 18:44

There you have it. A cloud “like a man’s hand.” Anthropomorphically speaking (speaking of God in human terms), this hand IS God’s hand. And Elijah’s faith said, in so many words, “Here it comes! Tell the king he’d better hurry, or he’ll surely get caught in the rainstorm that’s coming !”

Or, as they used to say on the TV show, “Laugh in,” ”Here come de judge !” This visitation is going to prove to be a perfect dichotomy of fortunes for the people of earth. By this sign, Elijah knew that good news had come for those who had prepared themselves.   As it is written,

“Says the Lord of hosts,… I will… open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it’”  ( Malachi 3:10).  Is that not good news? Does it get any better than that? But then, there’s the reverse.  Indeed, this sign is a coin with two distinct sides.  As the prophet Isaiah said,

10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. 11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.    Isaiah 3:9-11

 

And again, in Isaiah 65:12-14, the prophet said,

 

12 Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not. 13 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: 14 Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.

 

And, in the Apocalypse itself, the book of Revelation, it says:

The people of the world were angry, but now is the time for your anger. Now is the time for the dead to be judged. It is time to reward your servants, the prophets, and to reward your holy people, the people, great and small, who respect you. It is time to destroy those people who destroy the earth!”  Revelation 11:18 (Easy-to-Read Version)

 

So now, this sign says that this is a time for rain. That is a time for rewards, that is for “blessings from heaven” for the children of God who have been faithfully and patiently serving him. But, it is also a time for revenge upon those who have totally been a part of the world’s great problems — for those who through their unrepentant and unrighteous behavior, have helped spread trouble and misery on earth.

 

I have saved the most dramatic declarations until now, the statements clearly outlining what this sign means in the end time. The prophet Isaiah has a saying, which he periodically repeats like a mantra. “His hand is stretched out.” To be more exact, foretelling of calamities, disasters, and tragedies that God is going to inflict on the earth, with retribution for their impenitent and multitudinous sins, the prophet says,

 

For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

 

Read it with your own eyes. He says this in Isaiah 5:25; 9:12; 9:17; 9:21; 10:4; and the grand finale in 14:27. But, the prophet Isaiah is not alone in employing this device. The prophet Amos has a similar such mantra of his own. No less than eight (8) times, spread throughout the book of Amos, he uses this idiom;

“For three transgressions… [of various named peoples] and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof.”  Amos 1:3; 1:6; 1:9; 1:11; 1:13; 2:1; 2:4; 2:6.

“Doom and gloom! Doom and gloom!” you say. But I say, ‘Nay!’ Have you forgotten so quickly that God said he was going to simultaneously bless the righteous overwhelmingly? But, at the same time He affirms that He will punish the wicked. God is going to make it rain abundantly. Upon the righteous, blessings. But, “Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.”   Psalms 11:6

It is going to be a “gay ol’ time” for those whose works merit the positive promises of God. For them, it’s going to be an early, real-life Christmas. Or rather, more accurately I should say, for them it’s nothing less than the celebration of “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9; Matt 22:1-2).  It’s the time when God is going to make the first to become last, and the last first (Matt 19:30; 20:16; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30). For them, He is going to reverse every curse. For them, He is going to (to use a hip-hop expression), “Flip the script.” So, will you be shouting and rejoicing, or weeping and wailing?  It all depends on the works that you’ve been doing when God suddenly shows up in your life.

I can’t help but close with this little insight from the Psalms. There, in Psalm 77:14. it says,

Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.

In a manner of speaking, that is announcing that God travels incognito. You’ll never see Him coming. You’ll never know which way He is coming, or how He’s traveling. For that matter, you’ll never be able to predict in whom He’ll show up. Do you recall this story? He said that He may show up as those who are “down and out” — as those who are down on their luck. He may appear as the poor and needy, the naked, the outcast, the one who is sick, or the one whose face is splattered all over the evening news — in legal trouble? (Matthew 25:31-46).  And, by the time you recognize him, He’ll suddenly be right in your face. Jesus described the unexpected coming of that suddenly undone effect, “as a snare” (Luke 21:35). Then, it will be too late to change your behavior. It will be too late to ask for forgiveness or pray the Sinner’s Prayer.

That’s why Jesus had his own mantra along these lines, which He repeated frequently. He said over and over in various ways, “Be ye ready also” (Matt 24:44).  And He said, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour [or in what form, for that manner] your Lord doth come” (Matt 24:42; Rev 3:3, brackets mine).

For all this, his hand is stretched out still.

_______________________________________________

 The scripture says quite solemnly, “Prepare to meet thy God” (Amos 4:12).  Are YOU prepared? If you were to die today, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven? Or, for sure, to hell? Either way, this may be your very last chance to accept Christ’s great offer of amnesty to those who will repent and accept him as their personal Lord and Savior. Perhaps, you are one of those who has been in the Church and actively serving for many years. But, you know, being in the Church no more makes you a Christian than being in the garage makes you a Rolls Royce. Being in Christ, not being in the Church, is what makes all the difference in this world, and in the world to come. Like Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:1-21). So, if you’ve been serving in the choir, on the usher board, or on the deacon or deaconess board for many years, there’s no time like the present to pray this prayer consciously, and for the first time, “make your calling and election sure” (2Peter 1:10). Either way, for heaven’s sake, I now invite you to pray this prayer with me:

Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open my heart and life now to receive you as Savior and Lord. Come in and take control of my life. Give me your Holy Spirit. Come and make me the kind of person you meant for me to be. Amen.

 

Did you pray that prayer? Then, on the solid-rock foundation of simple child-like faith, I now pronounce you a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Mark this date on your calendar. It’s the first day of your eternal life. Congratulations! And welcome to the family.

 

For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000

 

If you are already a Christian, but are in need of repentance and rededication, then pray this prayer,

Lord Jesus, please forgive me for not serving you the way that I should. I open up my heart now, and give you full access and control. Have your way, Lord. Cleanse me from my all sin and idolatry. Fill me with your Holy Spirit again. Renew me, Lord. Make me the kind of person and servant I ought to be. Amen.

For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000

Speaking of Blessed Events !

birthday party

I’ve been sidetracked for few days in a very arduous, but worthy endeavor — burning the candle at both ends for a while. And with this story, I am going to have to give away a few clues to my real-life personal identity But, I knew I was going to have to own up to it one day soon anyway. I’ve been very busy helping to host a 90th birthday celebration for my dear, sweet mother. Yep, and it was a doozy.

 Because reaching one’s 90th birthday is such a significant and blessed event, I am going to take you into our grand celebration to experience a little bit of it with our family and friends. I prepared a written review of the celebration and activities, which was circulated as a public service to those who had attended, and for the benefit of those who could not attend. So, come on. Join us, as we commemorate this joyful occasion.  I’m only going to give asterisks in place of our names, to protect our identities until the  day of the ‘unveiling.’

___________________________________________

The Bible asks the searching question, “Who can find a virtuous woman?” (Prov 31:1).  Every time I hear that question, I feel like a kid in school, who wants to raise his hand and shout: “Uuh! Uuh! I can. I can. I’ve found one right here, my own dear mother, B***** *****.” Well folks, the verdict is in from many witnesses: “Well  *****, we all concur.  After much inspection and investigation, we find that B***** ***** is indeed a virtuous woman.” Shucks, even my dear departed Dad, ***** ***** has left for us a witness, which echoes from heaven throughout our times. He once said to my mother, B*****, you’re the best Christian I know.”

 On yesterday, Saturday, January 25, 2014 we held a 90th Birthday Celebration for her at the church fellowship hall. The theme for the occasion was “It’s all about the bling !” because my mother is known far and wide for dressing to the hilt, and adorning herself with the finest of sparkling jewelry. The party was well attended by a host of relatives from near and far, and by good friends. It was a joyous occasion. We all had a good time, giving our one big “group hug” to my mother. We also had a great ‘after party’ gathering at my mom’s house that was equally a joyous celebration. The house was filled with a great gathering, and full of joy and laughter. The whole affair was just phenomenal. I have to thank my sister, ***** *****, and my adoptive sister, K**** *****, for planning and coordinating the entire event. Below, to continue to celebrate Mom, and to further commemorate that joyful event, I share the prayer, which I do believe that the Lord himself did inspire for the occasion.

 Opening remarks:

(You know, when my sister asked me well in advance to give the prayer and grace for this occasion, I said, “No problem.”  I thought initially that I’d just do like we preachers always do; which is, I’d just step to the podium, breathe in a little Holy Spirit inspiration, and then exhale a fully anointed prayer. But the Lord tapped me on the shoulder early this morning and said, “Son, that just won’t do.” I said, “Why, Lord?” And he said, “Consider the style, the flash, the flamboyance, the glamour, the utter splendor of the one you are celebrating.” Then He said, “Son, this is no time to wing it. This is a time to BLING it!!!”

So, I must confess to you that the prayer that you are about to hear is from a little divine inspiration that has been PRE-RECORDED !”)

Mom’s 90th Birthday Celebration Prayer

O Lord God our Father, and precious Lord Jesus Christ, on you we now call, for you are One who, like David said, “Preserves his saints,” and “lifts up our heads above our enemies all around.” You are the One who is excellent in Majesty, who has robed yourself with light, as with a garment. You are the One, who as my grandfather, H**** *****, used to say, “Sits high and looks low,” and who like Mary said, “puts down the mighty from their seats, and exalts those of low degree.”

Lord, we come today to give thee thanks and praise for the long life of YOUR daughter, and our mother, sister, and friend, B***** *****. Lord, we acknowledge that she is a very great gift from you, and we say “Thank you, Lord.”  We thank you for gifting her to us and making her what her very own name implies. You named her ‘B*****,’ which means a “Sojourner through life.” For, you have caused her life to span from early in the 20th century until now, the time of what we call “The Joshua Generation.”  You named her ‘*****,’ which means, “A Tower” – a strong watchtower of virtue and wisdom. You named her ‘*****,’ which means, “Gaining a Divine Perspective.” And, you named her ‘*****,’ which means, “A Full Count of the Cost.”

And, you have brought her on this great sojourn, from the very lap of her freed-slave grandparents, W**** and *****, until this blessed time; an hour when even a Black man in America can, like President Obama said, live the “Dreams from [his] Father.” 

We give thanks, because You have made her a true and radiant Crown Jewel of thy goodness; and, as one brother said, “A Prolific Ambassador of Peace;” one who carries herself, conducts herself, and dresses herself in a manner fit for a king, even the King of Kings, which is you, O Lord Jesus Christ.

Lastly, Lord, we give thee thanks, because you have made her to be the real deal, a daughter who lives out the true calling of her faith. She is one who is the same in secret as in public, who rises early in the morning to pray and spend time alone with God, who visits the poor and needy and helps them, who shows love and kindness to all people without discrimination, who is a true nightingale to those who are sick and infirm, who rises up early, lives industriously, and is in every way, a virtuous woman: a mother to many and to all who would call Jesus their Lord and Savior – a true “Mother in Zion.”

Yes Lord, we thank you for having one like her in our midst. And, we thank you that we all could be here at this time to celebrate that she is ninety years young.

And now, O Lord, we give thee thanks also for this food which we are about to receive. We ask you to sanctify and bless it for the nourishment, enjoyment, and benefit of our bodies.   In Jesus’ name we pray. And, let us all say together, Amen.

 

Do you anticipate living 90 years like Mom? Are you ready to leave this world at any time if you don’t?  Suppose Saint Peter met you at the pearly gates, and asked you, “Why should I let you into my Lord’s Heaven?”  How would you answer him? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to tell him something like, “Come on, Peter. Outta my way! You know I’m a member of the royal family.”

If you haven’t already, then pray the following suggested prayer, and you will be just that — a member of the royal family of God and of His Majesty the King, Jesus Christ our Lord.  And, going home to heaven some day, will be a joyfully anticipated blessed event. It will be an occasion to celebrate too.

Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open my heart and life now to receive you as Savior and Lord. Come in and take control of my life. Give me your Holy Spirit. Come and make me the kind of person you meant for me to be. Amen.

 

Did you pray that prayer? Then, on the solid-rock foundation of simple child-like faith, I now pronounce you a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Mark this date on your calendar. It’s the first day of your eternal life. Congratulations! And welcome to the family.

 

For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000

If you are already a Christian, but are in need of repentance and rededication, then pray this prayer,

Lord Jesus, please forgive me not serving you the way that I should. I open up my heart now, and give you full access and control. Have your way, Lord. Cleanse me from my all sin and idolatry. Fill me with your Holy Spirit again. Renew me, Lord. Make me the kind of person and servant I ought to be. Amen.

For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000

Do You Hear What I Hear? The Grand Finale

Copyright © 2013 by Joseph Diop

We’ve come down to the number one, single-most, consequential factor in hearing the voice of God. Are you ready for this?

The single-most, consequential factor in hearing the voice of God is this: You have to WANT to hear it. You have to be WILLING to hear it. You must exercise your FREE WILL, and CHOOSE to hear from the Lord.

That’s it. Listen to this diagnosis by the Lord Jesus Christ, found in Matthew 13:15 (NKJV):

For the hearts of this people have grown dull.  Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed, LEST THEY SHOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I shouldheal them.’

Jesus was aware that not everyone listened with their ears open to the him. He knew that most of the people in the crowd were radical draft dodgers, as far as the call of God was concerned. So, that’s why over and over and over again, Jesus punctuated his sermons with these telling words, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” No less than eight (8) times in the gospels, Jesus uses this expression. And an equal number of times, eight (8), Jesus uses it in the Book of Revelation.  He uses it once after each of his messages to the seven churches, and once again in the very middle of Revelation 13, where he describes that very dreadful and terrifying entity called, the Beast, who causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads (Revelation 13:16).

The point is that you have to have a heart for God to even care about what he has to say. The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. An unwilling heart IS a deaf ear. It’s not that we don’t hear from God, but we won’t hear from God. (Won’t, as in, are not willing to).  Actually, that’s not technically accurate. To tell the truth, God does speak to us all the time, and we certainly DO hear his voice.   God is Almighty. When he wants be heard, no one can stop him. And even though we may not be willing to acknowledge him, we certainly do hear him.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.   (Hebrews 4:12, NKJV)

There is no hiding place from the word of God. He knows where you live. He ferrets out your thoughts. He pinpoints your motives. There’s no place in your human soul where you may take refuge from the mighty voice of God, when he wants to talk to you. The succeeding verse to that verse above says,

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.   (Hebrews 4:13,NKJV)

This reminds me a true story from my youth. When I was just a young boy, I’d be sitting in front of the TV, watching whatever. And, at times my mother would call me, presumably to do something or other. She’d call and call, but I wouldn’t flinch. I keep right on watching whatever I was watching. I didn’t want to be disturbed. One day, my mother had had enough. Not knowing whether or not I really had problems with my ears, she marched me right down to the audiologist (that is, the “ear doctor”) for an examination. When the ear doctor took me back to the test booth to conduct the ear test, he said, “If you hear the beep of a tone, raise your hand. Even if you THINK you hear a tone, but are not sure, raise your hand. Well, that exam was a piece of cake. It was like a game to me. So, being but a youth, and being truly clueless to the ramifications, at the sound of every beep, I raised my hand. I raised my hand, and raised my hand, and raised my hand like a fool, until the test was over. Then came the verdict.  And the condemnation was pronounced. The ear doctor came out and said, “Mom, get out the switch. That boy can hear a pin drop in the middle of the ocean.”  Well, the jig was up. My cover was blown to smithereens. From then on, I either had to acknowledge my mother’s voice, or suffer the consequences.

So it is with many of you. But, God is calling you, one last time. And, you’re either going to have to acknowledge him, or suffer the consequences.


Today, we are going to let the echoing voices of the prophets of old give that timeless invitation to discipleship.

(Moses):  I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live.   (Deuteromony 30:19).

(Joshua): But if you don’t want to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Even if you choose the gods your ancestors served on the other side of the [ocean] or the gods of [the world’s ungodly people] in whose land you live…  Joshua  24:15  (GOD”S WORD Translation, brackets mine)

(Elijah):  Then Elijah talked to them. “How long are you going to waver between two opinions?” he asked the people. “If the Lord is God, follow him!   But if [the god of material security] is God, then follow him!”  (1Kings 18:21, The Living Bible, brackets mine)


(Isaiah):  If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land. But, if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.    (Isaiah 1:19-20)

Finally, we are going to give the last word to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.

(Jesus): Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man HEARS my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and dine with him and, he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

The fate of your soul is now in your hands. You have heard the call given from generations past to generations present. What is your answer? Stop. Think long and hard before you move away from this page without giving the appropriate response! There will never be an hour more filled with the grace of God than this moment. This day, God is calling for FINAL answers. Today, God is like the host of that popular game show, “Who wants to be a millionaire?” After the contestants finish mulling over all the alternative answers and selects one, then the host says, “IS THAT YOUR FINAL ANSWER?” Then, the contestants must finally take a stand on one choice forever. They must make up their mind. To let the buzzer sound without giving a response would be unthinkable. To let time pass, while doting endlessly over the choices, without making up their minds, would be ludicrous and humiliating. They don’t have all day. The clock is ticking. You don’t have all day. The clock is ticking. You only get one choice. You must make up your mind once and for all.  If you say, “I’ll wait, and make my decision tomorrow,” then God says, “I’ll take that as a ‘NO !!!’”  The scripture says,

In an acceptable time have I heard you.  And, in a day of salvation have I helped you. Behold, NOW is the accepted time. Behold, NOW is the day of salvation. (2Corinthians 6:2; Isaiah 49:8)

Behold.  Behold!  BEHOLD!   This is your hour — as that great evangelist Billy Graham would say — your “Hour of Decision.”

The scripture says,”He that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).  I urge you now to acknowledge the voice of God. And if you are ready and willing to respond, pray the suggested prayer.

Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open my heart and life now and receive you as Savior and Lord. Come in and take control of my life. Give me your Holy Spirit. Come and make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen.

 

Did you pray that prayer? Then, on the solid-rock foundation of simple child-like faith, I now pronounce you a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Mark this date on your calendar. It’s the first day of your eternal life. Congratulations! And welcome to the family.

 

For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000

If you are already a Christian, but are in need of repentance and rededication, then pray this prayer,

Lord Jesus, please forgive me not serving you the way that I should. I open up my heart now, and give you full access and control. Have your way, Lord. Cleanse me from my all sin and idolatry. Fill me with your Holy Spirit again. Renew me, Lord. Make me the kind of person and servant I ought to be. Amen.

For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000

Aside

Do You Hear What I Hear? Part II

Copyright © 2013 by Joseph Diop

Yesterday, we showed how that the call to discipleship of Jesus Christ is exactly like the call issued by the armed services of the United States, especially the Marine Corps. There is a call to sonship, salvation, and glory, yes. But there’s equally a call in this mortal life to share in Jesus’ suffering. Don’t believe that? Let’s let the word speak for itself today. It says:

 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;  Having the same conflict…  Phil 1:29-30

 We must through much tribulation (that is, big troubles) enter into the kingdom of God.  Acts 14:22c

If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.   2Tim 2:12

Remember, if we have the right expectations from the beginning, we are much more likely to get right results. But if we don’t have the right expectations, then in crunch time, we are almost certain to wither, and fall into disillusionment.  Listen well, and consider. Here are the words of Jesus Christ. This is his actual call to discipleship.

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me, For whoever will save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life will save it. For what advantage is it to a man if he gains the whole world and lose his soul” (Luke 9:23-26).   “Try hard [Strive; Exert yourself] to enter through the narrow door, because many people [I tell you] will try to enter there, but they will not be able”   (Luke 13:24 Expanded Bible).  “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus. He turned to them and said, ‘If people come to me and are not ready to abandon their fathers, mothers, wives, children, brothers, and sisters, as well as their own lives, they CANNOT be my disciples.  So those who do not carry their crosses and follow me CANNOT be my disciples.’”   (Luke 14:25-27 God’s Word Translation)

Did you catch that Marine Corps recruiting move in that last verse. In Luke 14:25, it says, “Large crowds were traveling with him.” Did he rejoice, and say, “Come on along. The more the merrier.” No !!! He looked back and knew that whole crowd did not have what it takes. And he knew he had to thin out that crowd. So, he laid out to them just how high his bar of service and sacrifice actually was. He spelled out the requirements so clear and plain, so that the many people in that crowd would not waste their time and his. What he said in effect was, “Listen, guys. I’m only looking for a few good men.”

Now, those are the true words of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior, and King. Those are the actual recruitment requirements for our Most High and Holy Commander-in-Chief himself. Where are the words of privilege, self indulgence, social advantage, and easy believism? I tell you, they are nowhere on Jesus’ lips. Jesus calls us to a life of service, sacrifice, struggle, and suffering. And then afterwards comes the crown, the robe, the scepter, and the glory. As one great man of God, John Wimber, once said, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go there the hard way. But, that’s the only way to get there.”

So now, what does this have to do with our original issue about hearing God’s voice? Everything, and then some. Because, the scripture says, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” (Heb 4:7 NKJV)  “For who were the people who turned a deaf ear? Weren’t they the very ones Moses led out of Egypt? And who was God provoked with for forty years? Wasn’t it those who turned a deaf ear and ended up corpses in the wilderness? And when he swore that they’d never get where they were going, wasn’t he talking to the ones who turned a deaf ear? They never got there because they never listened; never believed…”  (Heb 3:15-19, The Message Bible)

Now, why would anyone turn a deaf ear to God? People turn a dear, because they are holding something back from him? They set up a wall in their hearts. They set up boundaries in their hearts to protect their precious idols from the Lord. Anything that is more dear to you than God is an idol. Either a loved one, or money, or possessions, or a comfortable lifestyle, or a career, or a sense of self-preservation can cause people to set up a barrier in their heart.  And that is turning a deaf ear to God. It’s self-imposed deafness. And the heart IS the ear of the soul. And if that describes you, then you are not yet fit to hear from God.  Listen to the Lord’s indictment of men who behaved this way. From Ezekiel 14:1-9, we learn:

1Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them? Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Every man of the house of Israel that sets up his idols in his heart, and puts the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and comes to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourns in Israel, which separates himself from me, and sets up his idols in his heart, and puts the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and comes to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself: 8 And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

So, the very first thing that you must do to attain to abundant life, become a laser-guided missile in God’s hand, or to become a junior version of Jesus, and become a manifestation of “the word made flesh” is to get a change of heart. That’s what the Lord means byrepent.’  That’s the first step. And you don’t just decide to give up any old bad habit or vice that you choose. True repentance goes down to the root of your whole scheme of behavior and orientation to life. What you must change is  your determination to serve yourself and decide that you are going to serve God — you are going to do whatever He wants you to from day to day from that point onward. You’ve been your own boss up until now. Like the poem, Invictus, says. “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” Well, true repentance means that you are going to fire yourself, and get Christ at the helm. And, you are going to trust and obey him with everything in your life, holding nothing back. You are going to trust and obey Him, even if it means your death.   A spirit of SELF-PRESERVATION can be one of the most deadly and devastating idols that exist. You must get self off of the throne of your heart.

That’s how you can get the wax out of your ears. That’s how your deaf ears will hear again. So, if you are a believer, you have to come to a change of heart. Change your mind about holding out on God. Ask God to forgive you for holding things back from him, and ask him to give you a whole new start. You can pray a pray like this one:

Lord Jesus, please forgive me for holding [name that idol specifically to God] back from you. I open up my heart, and give you full access and control. Have your way, Lord. Cleanse me from my sin of idolatry. Fill me with your Holy Spirit again.  Make me the kind of person and servant I ought to be. Amen.

And if you are presently not a believer, but want to be, then please pray the following prayer:

Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open my heart and life now to receive you as Savior and Lord. Come in and take control of my life. Give me your Holy Spirit. Come and make me the kind of person you meant for me to be.   Amen.

Did you pray that prayer? Then, on the solid-rock foundation of simple child-like faith, I now pronounce you a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Mark this date on your calendar. It’s the first day of your eternal life. Congratulations! And welcome to the family.

This day, is the first day of a sweet but challenging journey. Your training in hearing from God starts today. If you complete the training, you will be one of few who do.  God bless you, and Godspeed on your journey.

 For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000.

Do You Hear What I Hear? Part I

Copyright © 2013 by Joseph Diop

In our previews for today’s post, we asked the scintillating questions, “Do you know how to hear from the living God? Would you like to lay hold on the ‘abundant life?’ Would you like to become a ‘Spirit-filled’ believer? Would you like to be described as a ‘laser-guided missile’ in the hand of God?’ Or, how about learning how to attain to a life where you are classed as one who has become, like Jesus, ‘the word made flesh?’”

Are you fit to hear from the Lord? That is the question? You see, the voice of God is as free as the air we breathe. It comes as freely as the rain. It flows as easily as the waters of the rivers, and is as abundant as the sands of the sea. So, why are the masses of people not experiencing it that fully? Well, because they don’t have the spiritual fitness. They haven’t honed their spiritual faculties to be attuned to him as they might have, if they spent more time at it. A skill that is as rewarding as this, with the promises as great, and a potential payout as huge, does require a little time and effort. Don’t you think? Many physical fitness promotions that you see on TV, promise to help you reach your goal. They show you these great looking bodies, and tell you what its going to take.

One TV infomercial for a popular workout says, “I knew it would produce insane results in 60 days, but I wasn’t sure if anyone was brave enough to try it. Turns out…there are a lot of crazy people out there. Crazy enough to actually enjoy doing the world’s most insanely tough workout. To like the feeling of being drenched in sweat…of going balls-to-the-wall for a full 45 minutes of muscle-searing exercise. Is INSANITY hard? Oh, yeah. It really IS the hardest workout ever put on DVD. It’s totally crazy…but it’s going to get you crazy-good results.”

Oh, I love a man who tells the truth. He describes his workout as “insane,”  “world’s most tough workout,” “muscle-searing,” “hard,” “the hardest workput ever put on DVD,” and “crazy.” And he says, “but I wasn’t sure if anyone was brave enough to try it.” Now why would anyone want to get involved with anything so difficult as to be labeled upfront, “INSANITY?” They do if for the insanely fantastic, really amazing, richly rewarding, deeply satisfying, readily apparent RESULTS, of course — results they can show to the world.

Excuse me here, folks, but I’ve always felt that the modern Church has done a grave disservice to the world. We’ve pitched the world’s greatest life, the universe’s greatest God, and the world’s greatest payout (eternal life), as an all too cheap and come-easy affair. We’ve made it sound so easy that God would call it false and deceptive advertising. We’ve reduced the gospel of Jesus Christ down to nonsense that comes across like this: “Come to Jesus, and you can indulge yourself, deny your cross, and follow the dream in your heart.” And, “It’s just a name-it-and-claim-it affair.” We promise almost serendipitous results (as in, to experience good fortune by chance). The way we come across is like, in the words of that old, Hollywood ballad, “Well the first thing you know [you’ll be] a millionaire,,, Kin folk [will say]… Californie is the place you oughta be…[you’ll be loadin’ up your truck…and  you’ll move to]  Beverly…(Hills that is, swimming pools, movie stars).”  (from The Beverly Hillbillies)

But, in reality, that fantastic ability to hear the voice of God is part and parcel of a total long-term, dedicated spiritual workout, spiritual fitness regimen, spiritual diet, and spiritual endurance training that does not come easy. Understand; the voice of God does come freely. But the personal ability to hear it perfectly, so as to be heir to a life that over the long haul, you can describe as the “abundant life,” and the “Spirit-filled life” does NOT come easy. And attaining to a life, where you can be described as a “laser-guided missile in the hand of God” takes some militarily-like training and dedication. And to get to where you can look and feel like another Christ-approved version of “the word made flesh” takes a whole lot of endurance. I ain’t pullin’ no punches or tellin’ no lies. Jesus said, “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:14 NKJV)

Personally, I think that the good old military recruiting slogans are much more apt for the call of the gospel and the Christian life. “Be all that you can be.” “It’s not a life. It’s an adventure.” And the Marine Corps flat got it right. Here are a few slogans I gleaned from various recruiting ads and commercials. Listen, and say ‘Amen.’

“Many will hear the calling. Few will earn the title. The transformation is forever.  Men who know the meaning of honor. There are those who dedicate themselves to a sense of honor.. And a life of courage… And to a commitment to something greater than themselves… If you complete the journey, you will be one of the few…”

Hallelujah! And, ‘Amen.’ Now that, my friends, represents the real spirit of the calling of Jesus Christ. If you start with right expectations, you can hope to achieve right results. But if you’ve been duped by thinking that the Christian life is going to be a flowery bed of ease, you’ll be offended, and deeply disappointed. You will say, “I didn’t sign up for this.” Perhaps, you will echo the words of a man whom I heard say one day, “Man, things have gotten so bad since I accepted Christ that I’m thinking about going back Satan’s way.” Oh, well. Let’s hope that’s not you.

…………………….

I’m going to break here, and pick up tomorrow. We’ll tie this in with what it takes to become highly skilled in hearing from God. If you’re not already a follower of Jesus Christ, then get a head start on tomorrow’s lesson by signing up today. Here is the prayer leading to salvation. And here’s the prayer of enlistment.

Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open my heart and life now to receive you as Savior and Lord. Come in and take control of my life. Give me your Holy Spirit. Come and make me the kind of person you meant for me to be. Amen.

Did you pray that prayer? Then, on the solid-rock foundation of simple child-like faith, I now pronounce you a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Mark this date on your calendar. It’s the first day of your eternal life. Congratulations! And welcome to the family.

For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000.

Truth & Dare: What’s that ‘About?’

Today, I started to do a follow-up on my appraisal of the condition of church today, from my blog,  “A Fulcrum for Refreshing;” hereafter, called “The Assessment” (published on January 14th).  And I will do that, I promise, just not today. Today, I felt led to lay out before you my blog’s guidelines for commenting on any subject. These are my rules of engagement in the blogosphere; a kind of setting forth of my faith and practice of viewing things. It explains how I come by my points of view, a “What We Believe” statement, of sorts. Hereafter you won’t have to ever ask, “Where’s this guy coming from?” After reading this, you should never have to ask, “Where did THAT idea come from?” I want to be fair and honest here, and lay ALL my cards on the table. These are my rules of blogging, and my expectations for my readers and followers — believers and non-believers alike.

First, I assert that this blog has been commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ. In plain language, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit TOLD me to start this blog. As far as humanly possible then, I will strive to represent God’s point of view faithfully. Secondly, I believe in the Holy Bible, as the only objective source of truth; the only OBJECTIVE source, I say. That’s different from saying, “It is the only source of truth period.” And where necessary and appropriate, I will reference the scriptures (that is, cite chapter and verse)  for my reading public, so that you may objectively evaluate the truth and validity of my points of view.

We are, however, not quite as rigid as some of our conservative Christian brothers. The Bible is not our only source of truth, because we believe in the living, eternal God, who speaks to the hearts of individual people, and who reveals his glory progressively. It’s not that the Bible is not the sole and sufficient guide for human living. It certainly is. But man’s understanding and man’s faculties could never stand the whole load and weight of God’s glory being revealed all at once. (See the Apostle John’s experience, and the prophet Daniel’s, for examples. Revelation 1:12-17; Daniel 10:7-15). So, man’s capacity for accepting the fullness of the knowledge of God, is therefore growing. And it is growing to the point that one day, the Bible says, “the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). Does not the scripture exhort us to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?” (2 Peter 3:18)  And, does it not tell us that we have been given the 5-fold band of teachers, 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph 4:13-15).

Some of my conservative brothers would say, “Revelation ended with the apostles. The Bible has a front and back cover now.”  But I say, “That’s absurd.” If by revelation (what was eventually set in writing as the holy scriptures) you mean, the God-breathed, Spirit uttered, and sovereign words of God, then consider.  Does not the Bible say this? “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen” (John 21:25). So we have a God who likes to act on behalf of man so very mutitudinously, John the Apostle said that the whole world could not contain all the books to give an account. And, if his historical acts were so many, then his eternal words are even more so. Does it not say, How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand.” (Psalms 139:17-18)  So, God not only likes to work on our behalf, but according to Psalms 139:17-18, he likes talking to the heart of man even more, comparing his words thereto to be “more in number than the sand.” And of the sand, the Bible says, it is literally “innumerable” (Heb 11:12). Innumerable means absolutely more than can be counted. It means too many to affix a numerical value to.

Now take that figure, innumerable, (we’ll call that “R,” for innumerable) and multiply it by, what? Multiply it by about 7+ billion souls alive today. That’s quite an astronomical figure. And even if we take into account that previous generations were less populous than ours, you still get the picture that this is astronomical. You may say,” But most of those were unbelievers. God doesn’t speak to unbelievers.”  But I say, God indeed speaks even to unbelievers. Even If his only words to them are,” I am God. Jesus is my son. I love you. Jesus died for you.  Therefore, repent. Believe. And be saved.” Now, I can hardly imagine that any Evangelical Christians would doubt that God from time to time does speak those words directly to the heart of the unbeliever. And hey, God’s words ARE God’s word.

Now again, take that astronomical figure we got from above (R7,000,000,000), and multiply that by the number of generations of mankind that have lived these past 2,000 since Christ. Let’s see. Counting a generation, as the Bible does, as forty years, then we come up with about 50 generations. Right? So, now we multiply 50 times (x) the innumerable words of God. That’s R7,000,000,000 x 50. That’s innumerable times 7,000,000,000 times 50. Wow! That number somewhere along the way approaches infinity. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that the product of that multiplication is a few more words than the Bible contains between Genesis and Revelation. As a matter of fact, one online resource puts the number of words in the King James Authorized version as 783,137. §   That’s not even close!!!

My contention then is simply this: without putting artificial limits on God’s word, let’s test and prove all things by the words of scripture. If a view point lines up with scripture, then we know it’s sound. If it doesn’t, then we have solid grounds to reject it. But by all means, don’t dispute it if you’ve not thoroughly checked it out. Like the scripture says, He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.” (Prov 18:13)

So, what am I saying? My viewpoints are genuinely from a Christian worldview, but not all of them are the norm. Not all of them are the traditional byline.  God does often talk to me in my heart. The Bible call this RHEMA (Rom 10:7), and imparts thoughts to my mind that He Himself has inspired. And to the best of my ability, being human, I plan to represent those ideas to the world in this forum. And, my invitation to all people is that you simply listen with and open heart and mind. If you be a noble-minded believer, do like the citizens of Berea did, after they heard the apostle Paul. They “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). And if you are presently not a believer, but are on a genuine and zealous search for truth, then simply ply my words to everything else you know to be true and honest. I promise always to strive to true and honest. Truth has a way of proving and confirming itself; that is, to all who really love the truth.

Do my viewpoints come from God? Do they really represent TRUTH? Here’s my DARE.  I don’t care.   Search the scriptures.  Search your heart.    Then, YOU  be the judge.

 § To see this number and other interesting facts of the Bible, go to: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110605132525AAEi5wS

(Hereafter, the bulk of this post will appear in the ‘About’ section of this blog site.)

Preview: Upcoming attractions !! 

My next blog will be entitled,Do you hear what I hear?”  It will be a discussion about Rhema, God’s Word to the individual human heart; absolute truth invested directly in living vessels — into common, flesh and blood carriers like you and me. Don’t miss it!