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Anchor our Soul

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure
(Hebrews 6:19)

Do the ‘worries of this world’ seem to constantly discourage you? Feel like your responsible for a great weight that’s just too heavy to lift and yet your suppose to carry it? Feel “breathless” from having to push ever thing ‘up hill’? I think sometimes we all feel that way. According to Scripture, this world is a tough place for the just and the unjust. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to eliminate all the “weights” of this life. But knowing that, I’m still encouraged. Why? Simply, because I’ve learned that we can depend on God to do the ‘lifting.’

This world’s a mess and we can’t fix everything that’s wrong with it. We can’t take away everything that puts pressure on us. The Bible says it’s a world that’s upside down, a fallen world. We’re all little alien creatures crawling around in it. Well that might be an exaggeration, but I do know this ‘present darkness’ can’t be made perfect without the total and complete intervention of God! Now we can cry, whine, faint, scream and be frustrated, but because we have the presence of the Spirit of God among us and the expectation of Christ coming, we do not grow weary.

When will that happen? Well, I can’t give you the day and time. But God will do it, and while we “tip-toe” our way through this ‘mine field’ called life, some day the road will be made straight and the mountains and the valleys will yield their ‘labor’ to Christ’s return. How do I know that? Well, in Scripture, God consistently ‘created’ something new out of something old. He isn’t coming back to just repair this earth; He’s coming to “re-construct” this earth. That will not be the first time. There’s some consensus that we’re a part of a “Creation” that was made from an old creation described in Genesis 1:1. In chapter 3 of 2Peter, the author speaks of a ‘Pre-Adamite’ world, a world that had been completely and utterly destroyed by water covering the earth. (Gen. 1:2, Ps. 105:5-9, 2Pet. 3:4-6) (evidenced by the fossil records) “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” it was the “world that then was” mentioned in Peter’s writings. The text clearly shows that the original creation “became” void and in ruin. (Isa. 14: 12-14, Jer. 4:23-26) (Ezek. 28:11-17 provides a ‘history’ for Lucifer’s kingdom on earth before the days of Adam) Apparently, Lucifer ruled that world, having been placed here in his “perfect state.”(Ezek: 28-11-17) But as ‘satans’ do, he destroyed that creation of God.

In “the world that is,” God took the “matter” of that first creation and “reassembled” it into the ‘cosmos’ we live in now! [Adam was asked to “replenish the earth” implying that it had to have been “plenished” prior to Adam.] The “material” of that first heaven and earth had become empty, waste, desolate and “void.” It supported no life, maintained no light. In an act of God, Elohim “Moved” on the earth and “Spoke” into the earth and a ‘re-ordered’ heaven and earth resulted. That’s our present world, the one you and I have to deal with each day.

God has never created anything that was not perfect! But, for some reason (probably the angelic rebellion when a third of the angelic opposed God) the first creation lay in ruin. In our Creation, man who was created “upright” (Eccl 7:29) also fell from a perfect state with God because of the influence of that same Lucifer. Man became dead and darkened (Eph 4:18). In the first creation, the entrance of “light” shone on the ruin and a re-constructed heaven and earth was made. (The original language suggests that God created the present heaven and earth, not from nothing, but from something that was already present. Similarly, in our covenant, man – with the entrance of “light”- is recreated into a new creature. That’s the nature of God. Taking old stuff and making it new, but new in every way! This new creature is what we are if we have accepted Christ; we are still walking around in old material but we are a new creation! We’re not the same creature any more.)

Some day, this earth will change. This old stuff will be ‘reorganized’ by the Spirit of God. A new Heaven and Earth will be made. We’re not going to change this old place and make it into a new place. We live in a ‘rebellion zone’ and it will have to be completely changed by The Father. God will literally enter the picture again and this old creation will give way to a new one. According to Revelation, there will be no more sea, no tears and fears, no worry, no death, no pain or disease, no more curse, no night, no need for a candle, no sun… “Behold”, God will make all things new. (Rev. 21 and 22) The entrance of Christ will shine on this “ruin” and nothing will be the same as it is now.

The Word came unto Jeremiah saying, ” Go to the potter’s house…” There Jeremiah sees the potter make a vessel on the wheel but the vessel was marred and, as seemed good to the potter, he made another. This is Jehovah, speaking and teaching that His way is not to repair or mend the vessel that’s become marred but to make an end to it. He makes a new thing in its place. When a vessel was marred it was not thrown away, the clay was crushed and returned to the wheel and the work began again. In that case, God would not mend the “marred” nation of Israel, but would make a new nation in which He would put a new Spirit and write His law on their hearts.

Today the whole world groans and travails for this new creation, a new heaven and earth. Scripture speaks of a time that would have so much pressure that should He not return “their hearts would fail them”. Just as man, dead and darkened, awaits God’s hand, so does this present ‘cosmos’. Man is marred and alienated from the Life of God. But God will not fix or reform him; He will “re-create” him. He will make man a glorious body and place him in a glorious place. When the Kings failed, God inserted “The” King. The old Covenant was weak and satisfied no Holy God. It was not faultless (Heb. 10:1-23) and God did not amend it. He did away with the old and made a completely new Covenant.

We can improve our education system, we can develop the arts, and we can spend lots of money on government programs and on ourselves. We can make many political promises, we can discover and solve medical mysteries but the marred things of this creation will not “cut the mustard” for God. We can work hard to change the existing minds of men and streamline the organizations of our cultures but it will take the entrance of Christ to shine on this ‘ruin’ to change the present order to a perfect future. We’re to stand, to resist, we’re to hold on, but we will never be able to take away the “faults” found in this marred world. But God’s third creation will be found perfect.

I think we’re standing at the threshold of seeing a house “not made with hands”, a dwelling place populating a new heaven and earth. A moment when the earthly will become glorious. Someday a new thing will come out of this old thing! Because of Christ, the weight of this creation is bearable, but unavoidable just the same. Nations fight, people build on the coast, earthquakes take homes and lives, sickness is to be overcome but has not disappeared, one sickness may be conquered only for another to be found. In this creation we will see trouble but our hearts are to have visions for the future time when God will move on the darkness and deadness and make a new place in the standing of this old place. That will happen, not because we finally accomplished it, not because we over-powered it. In fact, it will never come by our might — but only by His Spirit! A Scott Krippayne song lyric comes to mind, ” No matter how the driving rain beats down on those who hold the faith. A heart of trust will always be a quiet peaceful place.” We are able to Rest here. We can find Peace here in this mess. Not because we’ve changed everything in this life to our way, but because Christ offers a Peace that passes this world’s troubles and a promise to ‘shine’ into the next.

Dad Ain’t Mad

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

Out On A Limb with: “Dad Ain’t Mad”

When I was a young boy one of the things that quickly “set me off” was to talk terrible or begrudgingly about my dad. Now I know everything about my father wasn’t perfect and some of the things said, to some extent about him, might even be true; but I still didn’t want you “talkin’ that way” about him. Being “earthly” he was as much human as spiritual, and that human part came with flaws. But don’t talk bad about him in front of me! If you do I’m going to “take you on” about it! You see I knew my dad, and I understood his heart and purpose in life. What I believed and said about my dad made a difference in how close we were and how much I put trust in him to be “my dad.”

I’m using the reference to my father to begin a conversation about hurricane Katrina and about the comments being made from many people I meet each day. You see people are talkin’ bad about Dad (the Heavenly One). Now I recognize that believers are entitled to see the Gospel in their unique way and sometimes the expressions used in our conversations aren’t meant the way they sound. Let me run an example by you. “God sent judgment on those people (New Orleans)”. Well, let’s see if that “washes” as they say. If I told people that, I would be saying “My God,” “Our Father,” sent a “mighty wind” to kill thousands of mothers and fathers, babies, the elderly, the rich, the poor, evil people and good people, believers and unbelievers. Churches were destroyed and businesses were shut down. Hospitals lost electricity; doctors were stranded from their families. Police and soldiers risked their lives to help the helpless. Homes, hotels, banks, warehouses, post offices, government facilities, dentists, physicians, pastors, children, schools, orphans, nursing homes, water facilities, sanitation facilities, clinics, pharmacies, grocery stores, over 10 Christian radio stations silenced, jails, courts, cars, buses, trucks, retirees, employees, family pictures and keepsakes, all family possessions, roads: all destroyed…. The tears, the disease and the hurt multiplied by the thousands, perhaps millions of people. Raping, robbing and looting! The hours, the days, the weeks, the months of relocation. And, by hitting just east of the center of New Orleans, the “wind” took out neighbors in Mississippi and Alabama (but left the French Quarter and Bourbon Street pretty much in tact)! There is ninety thousand square miles of destruction. Perhaps as much as 120 billion dollars will be required to clean up and set up “Orleans” and the surrounding area once again. There is an economic “ripple” where everyone in this country will have an increase in their financial burdens and stress. Does that sound like our Father? Is He a God who would give a stone rather than bread?

Folks, unbelievers are listening to us! Is this the God we tell them about? Is that the same God that asks the weary, the poor, and the troubled to “come unto me”? I just can’t talk about “Dad” that way. In the earthly, we’d convict that kind of father of child abuse. Yet in the Heavenly, we paint the Father with sweeping accusations of grief and “never bat an eye.” We plant his “fingerprints” all over New Orleans and never think a thing about it.

There’s a point in time and Scripture that something unique happened. It’s identifiable with the separation of the old and the new covenant. There, a “wrath” was poured out and a righteous anger was displayed ON JESUS as he hung on the cross. The entire wrath of God was pored out on him in that one moment. Our chastisement was upon Him. A solemn oath was given when the Father accepted the blood and death of Jesus as a substitute for OUR deserved wrath. Jesus took it all for us! And even though we might deserve a terrible wrath from a Holy God, that wrath has already been spent on Jesus on our behalf! (Isaiah 54) [“…now being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5:9) “…reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the Word of Reconciliation.” (2Corinthians 5:19) “…He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities”. (Psalm 103:10) “…He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the Righteous in Him (2Corinthians 5:21)]

By Law, we’re all guilty. Bottom line: believers are not justified by the Law. Only through the Grace and Mercy of God can anyone stand justified. In some sense, this whole country, any one of the states, all the cities and each American deserve a “wrath” because of our actions. And, if guilty of one, we’re, by nature, guilty of all. We’re all qualified for wrath apart from the blood and resurrection of Jesus. It’s grace we receive not justice! Heaven forbid we receive for what we do! For each of us, there would be a little burned up spot right where we stand if we got what we deserved! We must remember we’re reconciled by His life not our life.

That’s not to say that what we do doesn’t matter! Sure it does. We can’t avoid or choose the consequences of our “sinning,” and there will always be consequences! In this earth, a rule has been written in the Creation: you reap what you sow! That’s the way the world works. It was God’s great Wisdom that “clued” us into the knowledge of that, forewarned us of that. I’m afraid our harvest will be great. We’ve sown rebellion and “self-righteousness” for many years now and I expect that the fields are “heavy” with that crop. But, choosing to separate ourselves from Him doesn’t bring His wrath. Sin brings forth “death” (barrenness) as a consequence for those actions. We live in “calamity” when we choose against Him rather than for Him. Loving the Darkness brings it’s own judgment. The Father, in His Love, has tried to share that wisdom with us from the beginning of His Creation.

I understand I’m not right about everything I believe concerning the Gospel. And, if I’m wrong somewhere, then perhaps I’m wrong about this. But, I will enter into the Father’s arms declaring His great Love and Grace and not His Wrath. He so loved that He gave, and He gave while we were still in our sins! He gave in a time of our un-righteousness!

According to Scripture, a double-minded man should expect nothing. I’ve made up my mind about the Father. He’s trying to find a way to deliver people in New Orleans rather than trying to find a way to create the scene I listed earlier in this letter. Where’s God’s Glory in the pictures we’ve been seeing? I can’t say those things about my Dad and I object to painting a picture of Him like that to unbelievers. God is good and no evil dwells in Him. According to 1Corinthians 13, God is Love and Love is defined as not thinking evil and not returning evil for evil. If God “hurricaned” New Orleans, then we should embrace it. We should shout for Joy about it. We should ask God to send more. We should not build up what He has torn down. If we can’t do those things, then lets not blame Him for those things. In this world there is trouble, but He came for this reason: that we might overcome the world! He’s delivering Hope and Love and offering deliverance. For God is Good! Period! He is a God of Mercy not Misery.

I greatly benefited from my “knowing” my dad’s heart. I knew how he thought and trusted what he did for his family. My perspective of him, how I viewed him, made a huge difference in the intimacy I experienced with him. Because I knew he cared about me, loved me, worked hard to provide a place for me, I “understood” him and never doubted that he would only do the best for me. When things happened to me that were troublesome, I never had to try and figure out if they were from him or not; I knew they were not from him.

I’m never suspicious of the bad things we see being from God. I won’t say that about Him because I really believe “Dad ain’t mad”! He is well pleased with Christ and I am in Christ. “Peace on Earth and Good Will toward all men,” signed The Father.


Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

Been thinkin’ about that “Shuttle thing” for a few days. Did you see that “back-flip” from 200 miles above earth? It seems man has always searched the “heavens.” Depending upon who’s doing the looking, the stars are either magnets drawing the creature to the Creator or they’re evidence, used by the secular folks, to prove an “un-intelligent creation.” We’ve used them to predict the future by “sorcery.” However, they are used by believers to verify the hand of God. The debate between these two “camps” is compared in Paul’s first chapter of Romans. There, the unbeliever disputes the Creator and at the same time the Believers find an easy answer to where we came from, where we are at and where we might be going. For those opposed to the Father’s Love, well, they’re left to a deprived mind and unnatural inclinations and, as the Word declares, “are without excuse.” Being “without excuse” because the creation is clearly seen “being understood by observing the things that are made.” The invisible is clearly shown by the visible, God clearly shown by His “handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)

When believers see the “heavens,” we find a confidence and confirmation for our faith. We can go even further than that; we know that The Father has named each individual star. Even today, celestial maps show the names from early biblical text: Arcturus, Orion and Pleiades. In what some scholars believe to be the oldest book of the Bible, the book of Job instructs us that God “spreadeth out the heavens and commandeth the sun.” (Job 9:9, Job 38:31-32) From the very earliest writings, what the Shuttle and others before have been observing is a witness to the presence of God to all who “choose to believe.”

Abram (who later was to be referred to in Scripture as Abraham) was from Ur of the Chaldees. He was from a cult of “moon-worshipers.” He looked to the stars for answers. Some four thousand years ago, while searching the sky, Abram found the “Big Answer,” the Creator of the skies! For us today, the witness found in the heavens offers a “fingerprint” of God’s handiwork and easily identifies intelligent design. While we travel the heavens finding what believers trust is the evidence of God, others scoff and assume the heavens to be a Godless space.

There’s another space I was reminded of while watching all the attention paid to NASA last few days. The space I’m referring to (as opposed to the vastness of Creation) is some of the smallest space we can image. Yet this smallest of spaces, contains the Spirit of the Whole Creation. All the imagination and wisdom of the Creator has been place uniquely in the Creature’s heart. The majesty found in the vastness of space is surpassed by the tiniest human heart.

Paul reminds us we don’t have to “ascend to Heaven” for our contact with God, rather, the Word of God is near, even in our mouths and our hearts. (Roman 10) Our God is not to be contacted in the hugeness of the heavens. No long distance calling here. Paul writes of a God that has “been made unto us Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption” and lives inside our lives each day. (1Cor. 1)

It’s that small space that reveals the glory of God just as profoundly as the spaciousness of the heavens. There’s a story about Alexander Solzhenitsyn I have always found encouraging. He was a prisoner in Russia’s Gulag for many years. His is a story of backbreaking work and slow systematic starvation. He eventually became a profound author (winning the Nobel Prize of Literature 1970) and a strong believer. He inspiringly wrote of the human experience. (“We have placed too much hope in political and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life.”) The story: One day, the hopelessness of his situation was so much to bear that he felt no purpose in fighting on concluding his life could make no appreciable difference. Solzhenitsyn laid down his shovel and walked slowly to a work-site bench. He knew full well that to do so would result in a terrible beating and possibly death by the prison guards. He had seen that happen many times. As he sat waiting, head down, exhausted, he felt a presence. Lifting his eyes, next to him sat an old man with wrinkled skin and an expressionless face. Hunched over, never speaking a word, the man drew a stick through the sand at Solzhenitsyn’s feet. As Solzhenitsyn stared at the outline his entire perspective shifted. The old man had drawn a cross in the sand. It changed Solzhenitsyn’s perspective and life forever.

We may search for Him in the sky or we may search to disprove Him in the sky, but the human heart still can respond to one small “sign” in the sand. It’s easy for believers to find him. It has been suggested that the complexity of the universe confirms an obvious witness of God. Some have said that to have a “faith’ that there is no God is akin to believing you could take a bunch of watch parts into a cloths dryer and tumble them, have a watch “pop out.” The probability of “no God” requires a profound faith in nothingness, and that in the middle of a very orderly universe.

Though we may search for Him in the sky, we will eventually have to come to the knowledge that His Spirit lives within the nearness of our hearts. The Spirit of the Creator of the whole universe is within your very breath. He has taken a “residence” there and is always home, never on vacation. You don’t have to get out the telescope, no need to hope your prayer will “travel there.” He’s “Johnny on the spot” right where you are, being in where you are. We should remember that occasionally, He came “upon” David. Once in a while, He came “upon” the priest. Every now and then He came “upon” the Prophets. Comparatively, He profoundly came and is living and never leaving “within” the smallest of space, within you!

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