The cutting edge of Christian affairs

Posts tagged ‘Christianity’

Ouch!!!; or, “Is There a Doctor, in the House?”

img_20170212_045202_364

 

“Did you know that it’s true, that for me and for you the world is a ghetto?” So in 1972, said the group appropriately named “War.” Closer to present, we are told “It’s a jungle out there, disorder and confusion everywhere… Better pay attention or this world we love so much might just kill you.” That’s from the theme song of “MONK,” the TV series debuting in 2002 about the loveable, OCD “defective detective.”  And from the world of blues, pop, and Rock and Roll, take your pick. There’s a million and one songs all decrying relationships gone bad, saying in essence, “You done me wrong! Now, life ain’t worth the living.”  So, it’s unanimous. Everybody with a heart in this world, knows what it’s like for that heart to be broken. Nobody makes it out of this world without a heartful of wounds, bumps, bruises, and scars.

 

By Joseph Diop

Copyright © 2017 by Joseph Diop

 

This is perhaps one of the greatest mysteries of Christian faith and existence. God, our heavenly father, through crushing trials, tribulations, and afflictons, actually works out the greatest blessings to be found in this life. How can that be?, you say. Well, because it opens the way for the eternal love of Christ, who died for our sins, to gain access to the hearts of others in this world, through us. He first ministers his love for us in the midst of our heartaches, then he ministers that love through our hearts to others. Love in, love out, makes for a much better world. Love begets love begets love – God’s winning formula.

 

In this world, our Lord Jesus did not have a good experience. Like so many poets, lyricists, and commoners like me and you have all well observed, life can deal us some knockout punches – some of which feel like they’ve knocked the life clean out of us. Listen, and take fully to heart, what the word foretold of Christ’s experience in this world.

 

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted [for his own faults].

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him…

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted…

14 As many were astonished at thee; his [appearance] was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men [i.e., his body was so mangled]… (Isaiah 52:14)

He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living…   Isaiah 53:3-8, brackets mine

 

Yes, Jesus got a raw deal in this world. Life was not at all fair to him. People did him wrong in the here and now. He was tried by Govenor and Judge Pilate, questioned by him, then officially aquitted of all charges and even publicly pronounced “Not Guilty.” But then, for the sake of political expediency, He was put to death anyway. Who ever heard of such a thing?  The last the world saw of him, he was being executed like a common criminal, horribly tortured, and spitefully taunted while hanging from a cross. Then, he died following a loud and anguished cry from his cross. And thus, he did not make it out of this world without the scars to show what he suffered. Scripture records,

 

“And one shall say unto him, ‘What are these wounds in thine hands?’ Then he shall answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’”  Zechariah 13:6

 

Have you ever been wounded by your friends? When the people that you love and that are supposed to love you deal you a hurt or betrayal, they strike you where no other can strike you –  in the very core of your heart.  Those are the ones that go most deeply. Those are the wounds that are felt as the sharpest pain. I think it is most telling that the word leaves us a clue to the real nature of Christ’s suffering. It says,

 

“[God] shall make his SOUL an offering for sin.” Isaiah 53:10

 

It says, Christ’s “SOUL” was the real offering. In the Bible, “soul” is more closely identified with the heart than with the flesh. His body suffered, yes. But, more to the point, it was his heart which endured the premiere suffering. Rejection, spite, hatefulness, treachery, disloyalty, verbal and emotional abuse, betrayal: these all were what Jesus experienced during his brief sojourn through this life. And, we come to find out that even in his resurrection body and in heaven, where only love, and joy, peace and understanding abide, these have all been memorialized in his body. Again, the scripture records in John 20,

 

20 And when [Jesus] had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

 

Scars do not form on a corpse, but on a living human being. Likewise, when God is in our hearts, our wounds in life only make way for the resurrection power and presence of God to form an eternal scar in its place, thus exposing the life of the God whose presence has now taken over within us. That holy and internal scar over our hearts is nothing short of the glory of the indwelling God, welling up from within to combat the damaging effects of this world. A body that does not form such scars has no life, and no power to offer others. If you are to be a maximum blessing to others, you must have some scars and STRIPES on display in your life to offer the hope of God to others. The abiding presence of the scars only memorialize the holy and boundless love existing behind them. The scripture said of Christ, “With his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).  Every good Christian soldier ought to be worth his STRIPES.  “S.T.R.I.P.E.S” really are:

 

S piritual, T estimonies, R eporting, I ndividual, P ainful, E xperiences, &  S uffering

 

So, take the time and the mind to understand this: the resurrection power to heal and recover us of all our heart wounds in life, is really nothing less than the abiding, living presence of the eternal God within us. Scripture says,  “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).  He responds to all injurious and painful experiences in our life, by proportionately increasing the fullness of our knowledge of his love for us. And that abiding love in us, is what attracts and helps with the healing processes of others, as well. As the word records in Romans 5:3-5 (brackets mine),

 

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad [that is, administered throughout abundantly] in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

 

Finally, the scripture asks the searching question, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” (Jeremiah 8:22).  The old negro spiritual jubilantly responds: “There is a balm in Gilead, to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.”  Yes, there is a doctor in the house – the Chief Physician, Dr. Jesus.  And, there He administers a balm abundantly – the love of God our Father. That loves gives us wholeness, soundness, comfort, clarity, peace, perspective, and a generalized feeling of wellbeing. If there seems to be a problem with the healing, then we have either one of two problems. Either we have not allowed for enough time, or we have not applied the right mind. But you may be sure, there is a doctor in the house.

 

Perhaps, your heart too has been battered and bruised in this world. I would be surprized if you say that it hasn’t taken some hard knocks. Well, if it has, or even if you just want to have the doctor in residence and on call, then I have just the words you need. Please pray the following 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 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

For more inspiration, go to:  www.facebook.com/newjudah2  .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 1. My Revelation Visitation; or, Out of the Fire!!!

Copyright © 2015 by Joseph Diop

 
Absolutely mind-rending!!! I would have to spend a little time in the mental hospital after this. The Lord said, “It’s going to take you about five (5) months to get back to normal.” That’s what God said to me following a divine visitation that I experienced in December of 1991. And, after you read this brief account of that visitation, you’ll understand why. Before now, I have never shared this experience with anyone other than my immediate family members. But, the Lord said to me, “Now is the time!!!”

I awakened to consciousness and self-awareness in a very dark place, like waking out of sleep in the middle of the night, in a room with no windows. I was alone. I was aware of being surrounded by heat. The heat was pervasive, but it did not make me feel uncomfortable. Then, in front of me, at a distance, light began slowly to emerge. It first appeared as a brilliant, narrow, horizontal strip, spanning my field of vision. It began to expand, downwards and upwards. As the lighted area increased, I could see the heat in it. It was being manifest as dancing waves, like sunshine rising from hot pavement, making the light appear to be fluid. The light also had a kind of thickness to it, which reminded me of the concept of plasma that I learned about in college physics — pure electromagnetic energy, like white lightning.

Then, I looked. And suddenly, I saw across the threshold of the darkness into the light, a person. It was the Lord Jesus Christ. He was standing upon a luminous orb of this plasma. His feet were resting firmly on it. The radius of the orb was about one-third of His height. And, He appeared to be the size of a normal man.

We fixed eyes on each other.  Turning His head, He directed my attention over and away to see the wonder of what He had just created. It was the pristine planet earth — oceans blue and beautiful — spinning in place, and suspended in a sea of the darkness of space. As I beheld, I realized that somehow I was in orbit far above the planet, watching it rotating beneath me. It was spinning in my direction, in a counter-clockwise fashion. I saw all the oceans and land masses. I recognized all the continents in their places. It was so beautiful.

I just watched the breathtaking sight for a minute or two, before realizing that I had started feeling intense heat. Only then, did I discover that I was in orbit without any vehicle to carry and cover me. I was enclosed in nothing but my body of flesh, gliding on the wings of the Holy Spirit. I was now feeling the friction of the earth’s atmosphere. And boy, was the heat ever getting to me !  So, I cried out to the Lord, “The heat!  I can’t stand it! I can’t stand it any more!!”

Suddenly, I was transported from flight, and found myself back in my room, lying on my back on my bed. At that instant, I realized that I had been in a visitation with the Lord God of creation, and had seen a vision of the Most High. It was a waking visitation, not a mere dream. And, for a reason unexplained, I lifted up my voice to the Lord then and said, “But, I still want to see Jesus !”  Instantly, I was beamed back into my orbit above the earth, and saw it spinning again towards me. This second time, there was an additional feature to my vision. One by one, I saw the famous, historical, covenant sons of God.

First, I saw Adam emerge from the left, from the darkness of space, descending to the earth, and landing in his time and place in history. Next, I saw Noah. He descended to his time and place in history. Then, I saw Abraham. After him, I saw Moses, then David, then John the Baptist, then Jesus. After Jesus, I also saw the apostle Peter. Each man in turn had emerged from the darkness of space, and landed in his own time and place in history. I was a bit puzzled, though. I had expressly asked to see Jesus, but I was also shown, apparently without any differentiation, the seven other Biblical personalities, as well.

Again, I started feeling the heat. It got so hot, that I complained once again, “It’s too hot! I can’t stand it !!” Once again, I found myself instantly back in my flesh-and-blood body in my bedroom. I felt seriously dazed and disoriented by the experience. Though I was back now in my body, I was experientially in some kind of twilight zone — as it were, floating between two worlds. In this place, somehow, somewhere along the way, I felt that I had been abandoned by God — forsaken. I felt absolutely friendless. Looking out through the sliding-glass door across the room, all I could see was nameless faces of people sneering at me. They peered in at me with disdain. I was being utterly ostracized, humiliated, and rejected. They held me in contempt. I felt like dung. My Bible was lying next to me on the bed. I took it in hand, and tossed it toward the foot of the bed, hoping that it landed on the floor. Then, I said, “That Bible got me in this mess!”

As I lay there, I could feel the after-effects of the great heat. I felt the very fluids inside my head boiling. I could see and smell the gases from that boiling coming out of my nostrils. I could tell that my state of mind and emotions also had been negatively affected, inasmuch as my normal self-expression was exaggerated. I felt slightly off — call it “manic.” I wondered how long this would last. Then, the Lord spoke to me and said, “It’s going to take about five months for you to get back to normal.”

After subsequent consideration, I realized that the dark place in which I originally awakened was the mouth of God Almighty. I had been allowed to be a witness to the beginning — the very Genesis 1:1 beginning — when God first opened His mouth and spoke the world into existence. The luminous, heat-filled plasma that I had seen was the Word of God. The orb underneath Jesus’ feet also was the Word, out of which He created the universe, including planet earth. The intense heat was God’s very person. The scriptures tell us, “Our God is a consuming fire” (Deut 4:24; Heb 12:29). Thus, my visitation with Him involved the experience of that sweltering, hot environment. The heat that I experienced in the atmosphere above the earth bespeaks the trial, tribulation, and persecution that we must experience in the world as we grow in the Lord and sojourn through this life. The word tells us, “Through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). And, “All who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2Tim 3:12). The anointed men of God I had seen were the pillars and axes upon which the very dispensations of history and divine purpose had been established.

There is much more to be expounded from this visitation, which will perhaps be unfolded later. Sufficient for now, is what is contained in this first rendition of that account.

Are you ready for the Lord’s coming?  The Bible says, “For our God is a consuming fire”  (Heb 12:29; Deut 4:24, 9:3). Every single soul must pass through the fire. Will you be refined and saved, or will you be burned and lost???  (Heb 12:18-29). Now is the time for you to make sure. It only takes a humble heart’s prayer to make that eternal difference, my friend. So, if you want to be ready, then take a moment to pray the following, simple 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 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

5-4-21-2016

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

Do You Hear What I Hear? Part III

Copyright © 2013 by Joseph Diop

We’re closing in now on the primary secret in hearing from God. In today’s lesson, you’ll see just why there’s so much fear and consternation about the subject. On yesterday’s post, we left off with this verse:

So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  Romans 10:7

In this verse, the word for ‘word’ in the text of the original Greek, which is the language of the New Testament, is ‘rhema.’ A rhema word is a heart-heard word. It is a word from God, so it is just as true as the words of the Bible. Elsewhere in the Bible, the word used for ‘word’ is logos. ‘Logos’ is the universal, eternal, and always true word. It is the objective and perennial truth. But, God has to communicate with me and you in individualized situations in order to give us personal and immediate light, guidance, revelation, and counsel. So, God speaks rhema words to us individually, so as to give us fresh, relevant, and timely direction.

He tells us individually where he wants us to go — when and why. He communicates who he wants us to see — when and why. And he tells us what he wants us to say — to whom, when, and why. He leaves nothing to chance that he does not speak to us about. He doesn’t always give us much notice, but you can be sure that he will direct your life down to the most minute detail.

God’s will is not always the same for everybody at any given place and time. That’s what makes our lives unique and special. That’s why rhema words often seem so arbitrary. There’s often much confusion and distrust over rhema words. That’s where your personal faith comes in. You simply have to know that you know that you know what God has spoken to you.. These heart-heard words can be easily disputed and outright contradicted by others. If someone doesn’t like your words or your course of action, they can even call you a heretic and persecute you for believing in the rhema words. We can often find it next to impossible to prove rhema words to others. But, we must continnue to believe in them nonetheless. That is the essence of faith. Our very eternal life could depend on this. Sometimes, we can only point to Biblical precedents. At any rate, we want to perfect our ability to hear these rhema words accurately.  And as we do, the light of God’s glory will shine ever brighter in our lives.

Here are a few lines from a poem I wrote years ago about God’s rhema word.

Now, let’s explore the word of faith, the gift of Abraham; Who heard the oath and promise and inherited the land.   

An oath is a word that God says he’s going to do. And the oath becomes a promise when the word is heard by you.

If you believe, you will receive. If you doubt, you’l lose out.   

Everthing that God has promised, he’ll be faithful to perform. Just hold fast through your trials. Don’t faint out in the storms.

In the fullness of God’s time every word will come to pass.  Just let your heart be never troubled, and your hope will surely last.

Are you still with me? Still interested in learning how to hear from God yourself? We’ll, now that we spelled out the requirements, and explained explicitly the commitment level  involved; stick around.  In TRUGHT & DARE, we’re going to tell you lots more about what this journey is all about. So, become a regular follower. Faithfully apply these principles in your life, and we’ll get you there. But, if you haave not yet signed up for this faith enterprise, then first get connected with the Lord. Here’s a suggested prayer.

Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my heart and life, and receive you as my personal Lord and Savior. Come in and take full 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. This is the first day of your eternal life. Congratulations! And, welcome to the family.

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

If you are already a Christian, but have not been living up to par, and you want to get back on track, then here’s a suggested prayer for you.

Lord Jesus, please forgive me for not serving you as I ought to. I confess that I have sinned and fallen short by… [name that sin or fault specificly].  I open my heart now and give you full access and control. Lord, have your way in my life. Fill me with your Holy Spirit again. Renew me, Lord. Make me the kind of person and servant you want me to be.

Now, you’re back on track!  Praise the Lord!

For 24-hour prayer, 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.

Eyes Wide Shut


Yesterday in my introduction, I gave seven sever problems in the church; problems which were causing its growth and development to be dwarfed. Instead of being this radiant tower of grace and virtue, transforming our culture and times, the church has become more like a functionally-challenged runt. Those problems were: gross materialism, traditionalism, paganism, commercialism, political correctness, a general spiritual malaise, and an epic spiritual identity crisis.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no idle complainer or useless wrangler. I’m in the trenches every day, trying to turn this situation around. Why? Because, I love the household of God.  Like that old hymn used to say: “I love thy kingdom, Lord, the house of thine abode, the church our blest Redeemer saved with his own precious blood.”  I’d literally give my life for her. But, hold on, Jesus already did that!  So, all I’m trying to do is to ply my gifts and mind as opportunity avails itself, to help turn things around — to get this ol’ “Ship of Zion” shipshape again. You with me, mate?

Starting with the fact that she’s got an epic identity crisis, I want to tackle these seven maladies she has, one at a time. Yep, let’s start with last things first. This is a gi-normous problem!  It can’t be overstated. Like a comely old lady with Alzheimer’s, she doesn’t know who she is. This is what my very first blog post was all about. Let me stop here and say, if you haven’t read that post, You Talkin’ to Me?, then stop here and do so. Because without that information, everything else I want to say, will be pretty much a wash. It will be trying to decider a cryptic text without the code, trying to unlike a safe without the combination, or trying to open a locked door without a key.

The Bible itself is like a coded book. It can be read and enjoyed by the average believer on many levels. It has gotten many a novice traveler safely to Jordan’s shores. But this is a new age with new challenges. This is the most hopelessly confused generation there ever was or could be. We are like a generation whose eyes are wide shut. And we don’t even realize we are stumbling in the daylight as if it was midnight. And without the knowledge imparted by my first blog, the scales won’t begin to come off your eyes. And the cultural blindness, which is on the eyes of the church, can’t be lifted. So hopefully, to save both me and you a little frustration, I’ll let you take the time to read that. Then, I’ll be back.

You can find the title, You Talkin’ to Me?, under my disctinctive catergory, “Christian Dynamics,”  from the Reader home page, WordPress.com. Or, move your cursor over the blog title, Truth & Dare, click on it, and afterwards  scroll down. Or, simply click on the following link: https://newjudah.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/you-talkin-to-me/

A Fulcrum for Refreshing: The Accessment

I’m here to stir the Church — the sainthood of Jesus Christ — back to its holy senses. In my considerable number of years on my Christian journey, I have been an integral part of mini-churches, medium churches, and mega churches. They all have one thing in common, the need for refreshing — a total re-immersion in truth. With rare exception, their spiritual virility has been stunted from gross materialism, traditionalism, paganism, commercialism, political correctness, a general spiritual malaise, and an epic spiritual identity crisis. I want to serve as a fulcrum for returning to what we are called by God to be, “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, [and] a peculiar people” (1Peter 2:9). My express desire is to bring God to people, to bring people to God, and to bring God’s people together. If you feel the same way, then I invite you to follow me as I journey onward in my quest to please, model, and glorify Jesus Christ. I’ll give you my name soon. But for now, you may refer to me as newjudah, or JEDi, an acronym which has special meaning to me.