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Episode 3. My REVELATION Visitation: The MAN-O-MANifestation

Manifestation

Copyright © 2016 by Joseph Diop

This is the tell-all. Well, at least, I am about to lay on the table a short version of my tribulations in Dallas, Texas, which I underwent to arrive at this point in my spiritual journey. All subsequent to a holy visitation which I received in 1991, and ordained by God, this is my first-hand account. Truly I have seen the glory of God. And like the apostle Paul, I’ve got the stripes to prove it. Many will doubt, but if you have a faithful heart, you too will see by all this that God is indeed God, and He is always faithful.

To pick up where I left off in the last episode of my story, here is the intermission:

“Little did I know that in a few short years, I was going to have that fateful showdown with the devil play out in real life, on the plain of actual flesh-and-blood events, with the whole world looking on. And, that meeting would comprise my Job-like trial. Then, I would draw the dreaded card which reads, ‘Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass ‘Go.’ Do not collect $200.00.’”

Before I proceed, I want to affirm what the Lord and his apostles teach about tribulation, lest some novice think I had done something wrong to go through such troubles. Beginners always assume that. But, Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation…” (John 16:33). Apostle Paul said, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope…” (Rom 5:3-4). Apostle James said, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (Jas 1:2-4). Apostle Peter said, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1Peter 4:12-13).

 

It is unanimous then: tribulation is just a natural and integral part of the Christian experience. And, as my long-time pastor used to say, “If you live long enough, trouble will come.” And, man, did mine ever come! It was not as a result of any supposed terrible or hidden sin, as many of my friends had supposed. In my case, there had been false reports circulating about marital infidelity. All those were lies of the devil – just grist for the rumor mill. Because of the false report that had been told to them, those who knew me believed that I was being chastened for sin. But, no such thing had happened, in my case. But, I did have common sin to say grace over. As the scripture says, “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee; our secret sins in the light of thy countenance” (Psalm 90:8). God was looking at the hidden faults OF MY HEART — things that I myself did not even know about at the time — and that was enough for him. God was pruning me down to the bone — to the very core of my being. And, tribulation was his tool.

 

Dallas was my crucible – a place where I could go through all my necessary trials, away from my family and support system. I had moved there in 1988 on command of the Lord. I had a few short years to get established there then, Wham! First, was a string of encounters with the police. They were initially just domestic calls – squabbles in my household. I was even usually the primary caller. But, I was a slow learner. I had to end up being arrested a few times before I caught on. In those days, the police would not help you, if you were the man. When they got to your house, if you were the male there, it was you who were in trouble. So, I ended up with a few misdemeanors on my record, all from the misguided notion that if there was something going wrong in my house that wasn’t godly, the DPD would help me straighten it out. Boy, was I wrong! And, they would usually charge me with misdemeanor assault. Never mind that they knew full well that I had not actually assaulted anyone.

At the same time, I began what was to be a cycle of episodes of homelessness. This was mainly because my wife and i had a dispute, and she’d ask me to leave, and i had no money at the time, and no where else to go. I remember the first time, when I did have a little money.  I had called the police, because we had a certain house guest, who had violated a cardinal rule of my house. When the police came, my wife sided with the guest. So, I had to go. I said, “Wait a minute. I pay the rent here. This person is a non-compliant guest. And, I have to leave?” Yep. So, I had to spend that night in a hotel. I was lucky that night. A few years later, I would be unemployed with no money. Then, I would have to spend the night out under the stars, or in a homeless shelter. I was in the back of a squad car in handcuffs one time early in those years, before I asked the crucial question to the officers. “This is not right,” I said. “Whenever I call you guys for help, you always arrest me.” The officer confessed, “Well, Mr. Diop, it may not be right. But, the judge has ruled that whenever we answer a domestic call, someone needs to leave to keep the situation from escalating. So, since the man is the strongest, the judge said, take him.” Like I said, I was a slow learner. I needed to have it spelled out to me like that.

 

During my episodes of homelessness, I both learned and personally experienced another great hidden truth. God sovereignly weaves our life’s missions and spiritual growth experiences seamlessly and quietly into the fabric of our personal lives, such that without the ability to see your life through God’s own eyes, the average onlooker does not have a clue as to what God is doing in your life. That’s why Jesus said, “Judge not according to the appearance” (John 7:240). That’s the mistake Job’s friends made. I was right there in my own skin, hearing the voice of God, and trying diligently to follow his every command. And, many was the time I had to ask myself with a perplexed mind and heavy heart, “What’s really goin’ on here?” My longest leg of homelessness lasted two full years. During that time I literally checked into every homeless shelter in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. But, I was not just down on my luck. These were actually God-ordained missions. I had work to do among the persons experiencing homelessness: teaching, preaching, encouraging, helping, praying, witnessing, communing with them, going through hardship with them, and executing intermittent strategic prayer initiatives.

 

Before every episode, God would give me a title to that mission, an appropriate scripture passage, a Biblical paradigm, a theme song, and a mission payout. For example, one mission was called “White Siege.” The mission song was “Cat’s in the Cradle,” by Harry Chapin. One mission was called “Philadelphia Freedom,” and its theme song was the one by the same name by Elton John. One mission had as its scriptural prophetic paradigm, “Fire on the Mountains.” Looking casually at my life in Dallas, the popular conclusion might be, “What a train wreck!” And, if you held that opinion, you would be woefully wrong. The Lord had given me a specialty in what the Holy Spirit called the “U3 Ministries,” for: Urban, Underground, and Undercover Missions. At one point, I joined a church in the heart of downtown Dallas, and became a consultant and worker in their ministry to the homeless. I had learned the heart, hopes, and needs of the homeless very well. I had experienced their burdens and heartaches first-hand. Right before God told me to move back to Birmingham after 28 years, He told me I had earned my PhD, for: Perseverance, Help, and Deliverance.

 

From 1991 to 2008, in all, I was involved in about 20 or so encounters with the police, in none of which was I guilty of having committed a crime. Well, at least, nothing that was a crime on God’s books. My only crime was being a man trying to maintain standards of righteousness and true holiness in my house. Find that hard to believe? Well, let me tell you about the big one – the closest thing to a truly justified arrest. In December of 1991, I experienced a bout with mental illness. You may recall, that’s when I had this great, divine and fiery visitation. I had to take off work six full months on mental disability leave. When I returned to work, I found that the psychiatric drugs I was taking really interfered with my ability to fulfill my duties. So, I got off the medication so I could focus. Everything seemed to go just fine for six full months.

 

Then, I had what the doctors described as a massive bi-polar attack with psychotic features. The tragedy in this was, I was at home caring for my two small daughters at the time. One was two and a half years, and one, April Yadah, was only 11 weeks old. I was giving a bath to April when it struck. To make a long and sad story short, when I came to my right mind, I noticed that my little girl was having trouble breathing. So, I hurriedly called 911. She was taken to emergency. A couple days later, I was arrested on a charge of felony Injury to a Child. I was facing thirty-five years to life in prison. My bond was a quarter of a million dollars. My face and the sad story was plastered all over the evening news. I was eventually acquitted of those charges with a verdict of Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity, and placed on an involuntary commitment to a State Mental Hospital for treatment, therapy, and evaluation. But, my odyssey was to last almost six years, in which time I was repeatedly shuttled back and forth between the state hospitals and the county jail. In this, my civil rights were repeatedly violated. I was no longer a suspect nor convict, but only a patient. Yet they issued bogus bench warrants and hauled me back to jail every time I had a doctor’s appointment with a court appointed forensic mental health expert. Who ever heard of having to go to jail, just because you have a doctor’s appointment?

Needless to say, this whole thing was a very devastating and trying experience for me and my family. A few days after the beginning of the incident and my arrest, April passed away. She expired in the hospital in my wife’s arms. My wife and family buried April. I could not attend the funeral, being in jail. For a while, I could not believe this was happening to me. I asked the proverbial “Why?” a thousand times. It was a total Twilight Zone experience. In jail, I cried for a whole week. After the seventh day, the Lord spoke to me, and changed my spirit of mourning to a sober attentiveness. He had some serious work for me to do, witnessing and ministering to my fellow inmates. And, this would be my preoccupation for the next number of years, until my release.

 

I was very busy for the Lord. I started my first church in the County Jail as an inmate. Every soul that came into my tank had the claims of Christ’s gospel presented to them. At one point, 20 out of the 24 men in my tank belonged to my church. It was glorious. We had worship service six days a week. Every evening after chow we had the floor rocking with the glad songs of praise. I was their live-in pastor and spiritual mentor. I had a vibrant jail ministry, and it was an “inside job.” Those men could not have possibly shown me any more honor than if I had stepped into the tank as a visitor wearing a clergy collar and minister’s garb. But, there I stood among them wearing the common white, jail jumpsuit just like them with big, bold, black lettering on the back, which read “Dallas County Jail.” But, that did not stop God’s anointing in my life. And, men were steadily being saved, redeemed, built up, and delivered. My hospital experiences involved a lot of leading Bible studies and disciple-making also. So, the sum of my time in Dallas is this:

 

I am a living witness that God is God, and that He is God all by himself. It is God who stands behind all the scenes of life: commanding, controlling, orchestrating, resolving, and directing ALL things for his glory and for our good. I have seen, like the old saints used to say, that He will be “a doctor in a sickroom, and a lawyer in a courtroom,” and “He WILL make your enemies your footstool.”

 

This was my personal and customized version of “great tribulation.” The scripture says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you, and you will glorify me” (Psalm 50:15). But, you need to call upon the Lord BEFORE any such troubles come, because the scripture also says,

 

23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. 24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no one regarded… 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me. Proverbs 1:23-24, 26, 28

 

If you know that now is a good time for you to call on the Lord, if you see the signs of the times, heralding the coming of the end, 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 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

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 all my 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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!

You Talkin’ to Me?

Copyright © 2013 by Joseph Diop

It is widely believed that Old Testament belongs to the study of history, and so often we treat it as such. If we are to believe the words of Romans 15:4 and 1Corinthaians 10:6-11, then our thinking has to be dramatically reoriented. Listen:

4For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for OUR learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.   Romans 15:4       And,

6Now these things were OUR EXAMPLES, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.  7Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for OUR ADMONITION, upon whom the ends of the world are come.  1Corinthaians 10:6-11

The fact is that their experiences – those of Isreal and Judah of oldwere very real and very personal, but what is also just as true is that God was using them to speak directly and presently to us. Using historical characters as object lessons, He was teaching us and driving home points to us in a living and powerful way. There’s no other mode of teaching so real. So, yes; God was speaking to you and to me, through the scriptures of the Old Testament.

Therefore, we should no longer say things like, “This passage is speaking to Israel, and therefore has an application not directly bearing on us, but we can take something from this.” Instead, with new understanding and firm resolve, we should say, “The lessons in this passage are directed to us today, and we must either learn them, or face the same fate as the people whom we are studying.”  It is said, “Those who don’t learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”

The Word records that God delivered the words of the Law (and all subsequent scripture too, for that matter) to His people, and that “…[they] received the living oracles to give unto us(Acts 7:38). Both Old Testament history, as well as the prophecies they contain, are meant for us in the church age. This truth is contained in the sermons of the apostles and their epistles. For example, consider this sermon Peter preached at the Temple when the lame man was healed.

24Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. 25Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. 26Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. Acts 3:24-26

Peter here says unequivocally that Samuel and all the prophets foretold of these days. Which days? These days—the days right now. These are the days of the apostles and onwards, the days since Pentecost, the days called the “church age.” Furthermore he says, “Ye are the children of the prophets.” Who? “Ye are.” Again, to whom is he speaking? Peter is addressing a generation of believers and potential disciples of Jesus Christ. We are believers and active disciples of Jesus Christ. Peter was talking to them and to all who would follow, until the end of time. And he tells us that we are “children of the prophets.” How so? We are their children, because like the prophets, we also believe in God. Like the prophets, we have the Holy Spirit. Like the prophets, we also are inheriting the kingdom of God. Like the prophets, we also are subject to persecution, because of our faith (Mt 5:11-12). And like the prophets, the words which they believe, “belong unto [us] and to our children” (Dt 29:29). When the prophets spoke about the children — God’s children — their words were spoken to us and about us. For we are God’s children — without differentiation, without distinction, and without prejudice. That’s why the scripture says:

27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.   Gal 3:27-27         It also says,

10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Col 3:10-11

This is true, because being children of Abraham is not about race, but about grace. It was never about flesh, but about faith. We are Abraham’s children, because we have the same believing, faithful spirit as Abraham. He was “the father of many nations” (Rom 4:17). Since the spirit is supreme, that makes us both children of Abraham and also of the prophets. Peter said,

39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Acts 2:39

For sure, we are a generation “afar off,” but we too have been called through the gospel. So, as the apostle declared in his preaching, “the promise is unto [us] and to [our] children.” What promise? The promise of the gospel. And whatever promises were spoken to the prophets, or to the priests, or to bygone righteous souls, or to their kings, belong to us. The promise of the indwelling Holy Ghost, and every word that has proceeded out of the mouth of God from the beginning of the world until now, belong squarely to us.

Now then, we are faced with a great identity crisis in the church today. We are confused. We know that we are children of God. What we don’t know is that we are the selfsame children that the prophets were speaking to and speaking about in the Old Testament. We think somehow that we are a different group. The Jews are “God’s chosen people.” And we are not Jews, so we think. Well then, who are we? Let’s define ‘Jews’ the way Apostle Paul defined Jews.

28For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Roman 2:28,29

So then, true Jewishness is not at all about the flesh, but about the spirit. Our old Gentile hearts were circumcised by faith in Christ Jesus (Col 2:11). When that happened, we became new creatures (2Cor 5:17), who are children of God. And the children of God are referred to as “God’s chosen people” — chosen through the election of grace (Rom 9:11). Listen to Peter again.

9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:  10Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.    1Peter 2:9-10  Hallelujah.  Amen.

So then, we now are “chosen. And we enjoy all the same privileges and promises of God as do all of his chosen people. There’s no segregation is God’s house. There’s no Jim Crow among his chosen. There are no second class citizens in God’s kingdom. There is no “back of the bus” with regards to the covenants and promises of God. Neither does being a fully-enfranchised American make any difference or give any special privileges, where the things of God and His kingdom are concerned. You are either a saint, or you ain’t. It’s just that cut-and-dried. We are all one in Christ Jesus. And we ‘chosen’ are without distinction or racialism—no Jew and Gentile here. Therefore, we must stop thinking of ourselves as ‘Gentiles.’ For there are no Gentiles in Christ, the Word says. Neither are there Jews in Christ, ethnically speaking; for in Christ there is only “One New Man” (Eph 2:15). This is a vast subject, and all-encompassing. Let us bring here the all-encompassing knowledge of Apostle Paul to bear on the subject.

11Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  17And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21In whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Eph 2:11-21

Let me recapitulate what the apostle has just said. We used to be called Gentiles, but no more. Now we are considered “fellow citizens with the saints” (vs 19b),1 and of the “commonwealth of Israel” (vs 14b), and of all who were before us, including all the prophets, priests, and kings. We are now genuine members of “the household of God” (vs 19c). And along with every believer who has ever lived, we are “built together for a habitation of God through the Spirit— [the Holy Spirit]” (vs 22). Jesus has ‘abolished’ (vs 15a) all former distinctions in his own body. The apostle says, Christ “hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us” (vs 14a). And now, we are one people—a very fortunate people— who “have obtained mercy” (1Pet 2:10c).

(1The letters a,b,c designate the relative positions of the phrases of the verses from Ephesians 2:11-21)

And Paul declared that this was a great mystery in times past, which he endeavored to expound with all the gifts and power of the Spirit of God working in and with him.

3How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:  Eph 3:3-6

Now, children, we can begin anew to study and to learn from the books of the Old Testament. We can listen with fresh ears and fully attentive minds. Now, we will find the messages contained therein real, relevant, and crucial for our own days and times, because they are indeed aimed at our days and times. These messages are, in fact, speaking expressly to us. They are only using the experiences and lives of historical figures and times as a medium. Let me here reiterate the main point of this all by citing once again the main scripture.

4For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for OUR learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.   Romans 15:4       And,

6Now these things were OUR EXAMPLES, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.  7Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them… 8Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed… 9Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them… 11Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for OUR ADMONITION, upon whom the ends of the world are come.  1Corinthaians 10:6-11

We, the Church, the people of the New Testament – including all Jewish believers – ARE the people upon whom the ends of the world are come (1Cor 10:11). Essentially, this then is a great ‘Gotcha!’ moment. This is like Nathan the prophet, sent to finger David for his dastardly deed concerning Uriah the Hittite, using a story about a third party to illustrate the heinousness of the offence. Seeing that we have convicted the people of old for their habitual sin and rebellion, God is now saying to this generation, “Thou art the man!” Thou art that “disobedient and contrary people” (Rom 10:21 NKJV). Or, concerning the word that is good and the promise that is desirable, know now that when God says, “They… are my people” (Eze 34:30), the ‘they’ is US

Therefore, however and by whatever name God refers to or addresses his covenant people, we are included. As it is metaphorically explained to all gentiles in the New Testament, “You were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature  into a good olive tree… some of the branches [were] broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree” (Romans 11:24, 17). So, we who were gentiles ethnically, have been grafted into God’s covenant people. And, God addresses us by a number of covenant names, including but not limited to: Israel, Judah, Zion, Jerusalem, children of Isreal, my people, daughter of Zion, Jacob, and etc. GOD is the God of Israel then, now, and always (Ex 3:15). And, if the Lord is now your God, it is only because you have now been “grafted into” his covenant people through Jesus Christ.

God’s Word remains unchanged throughout all ages. And now, with fresh mind and understanding, let us hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. For this generation – you and me today – are the target audience of all the scritptures are saying. So yes, children,    God is  talkin’ to us.