The forty-day period preceding Easter or Resurrection Sunday when Jesus resurrected from the dead is referred to as Lent in the Christian religion. It begins on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 and is also referred to as Ash Wednesday. On Ash Wednesday, individuals are called to remember that we were created from the dust of the earth, and many will wear symbolic crosses made with ashes on their foreheads. Whether or not you wish to have ashes on your forehead, I encourage everyone from any religion or spiritual practice to join with us during the forty-day period of remembrance that is Lent leading up to Resurrection Sunday. The ashes may remind us of our origins, but Resurrection Sunday celebrates God's promise of a resurrection and of eternal life for all who genuinely believe in the promise. The promise is for all of God's people. In Acts 2:40, the apostle Peter pleaded with his listeners saying, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." I make the same plea to you.
God's promise is linked to a concomitant promise on our part to allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse and purify us. In response to God's promise, we are required to focus on repentance from sin and transgressions, and on spiritual cleansing. Irrespective of your faith, religion or spiritual practice, you can accept Jesus as your Messiah and inherit God's promise of eternal life. So, for the next forty days, join with us in prayer, fasting and spiritual cleansing. For Christians, avoid the kiddie version of repentance, such as fasting from movies, and decide to take things to another level. Instead, repent of gossip, slander, hatred, jealousy, immorality and greed. Focus on the spiritual cleansing, such as was done by Jesus when he fasted for forty days just prior to the commencement of his earthly ministry.
To assist you on your journey of repentance and as a complimentary gift to all of my Blog subscribers and visitors, you may download a pdf or a .mobi version of my book, The Holy Spirit of God. The book is available free of charge to anyone from any religion or spiritual practice. Download it today and begin Lent with a new perspective. Visit http://www.RebekahIsaac.us and choose a pdf or a .mobi free download of the eBook.
Living is a natural occurrence in which we awaken each day and proceed to do what we did on the previous day, perhaps with a few changes and embellishments, perhaps with a special event or two, and perhaps with an anniversary celebration of an occasion of significance. But living by God's standards is not an ordinary occurrence. In fact, it is the most extraordinary, supernatural event of all time. God's way of living is not repeating what we did yesterday, and enhancing it with a few embellishments. His way is equivalent to creating a new masterpiece every day. Every day, by God's standards, should be powerful and eventful. Every day should be a unique and special occasion. Compared to God's design for life, our current life is equivalent to being asleep.
When we know the life that God has planned for us, it can be difficult to live this life fully. We instead enter into a waiting mode in which we are waiting to live. There are three methodologies for living each day to its fullest potential. First, we begin the day by asking the Holy Spirit of God for a list of all the things that God would like us to accomplish on that day. Pray in the Spirit about each item on God's list. Second, we carefully live through and prayerfully perform each item. Third, we ask the Lord at the conclusion of each day whether there was anything on the list that we could or should have done differently. Devoting at least a part of each day to doing what God would have us do adds a powerful dimension to a day that otherwise would be ordinary. It ensures that we are not merely waiting to live.
When the status quo threatens to consume each day, one is compelled to make a desperate attempt to break away, and to forge a new path. The status quo is synonymous with stagnation and with the stillness of death and decay, whereas movement signifies life. It often is extremely difficult to break out of the status quo. As an insect in the grasp of a giant tarantula, it sucks the air out of you and with it, your capacity for movement. But the Holy Spirit of God that is in you can maim the status quo and reduce its tentacles to dust. He can set you free.
There will come a time when the Lord God Almighty sounds the alarm and calls the elect to safety. The elect will be the disciples who believe in his promise of a resurrection, received the indwelling Holy Spirit, allowed the Holy Spirit to cleanse and sanctify them, and repented of every sin, transgression, or violation of spiritual law. Because of their repentance, they will be sufficiently clean that the Holy Spirit of God will be capable of connecting them to an anchor from heaven to enable them to be raptured.
Those who are not sufficiently cleansed will have difficulty attaching because they will be of a different energy. It would be equivalent to trying to connect a tail to a head. The anchor will be for the disciples with a teachable spirit such that they are willing to have the Lord God Almighty teach them about what violates spiritual law. They will have understood the need to learn from God in the same way that a child learns from its parent and teachers.
When the rapture happens, no one who is anchored to the earth will be taken to safety. The raptured will be those who are anchored to heaven. The anchoring of disciples will have occurred in advance of the rapture. It will be equivalent to an automatic switch that activates when certain conditions are met. Those conditions will be the antichrist's decision to implement certain policies in regard to the people of God, and in response, the people's cry for help from God. Their collective cry will activate God's rescue mission. Those who are anchored to the earth will be unaware of the antichrist's decision. They will be engaged in matters that are divorced from God's kingdom.
As of today, Satan already has recruited more than one hundred million (100,000,000) people to join his chain gangs (Revelation 9:16).
A chain gang is a group of people who have been chained together physically and forced into an association with one another because of their indebtedness to a superior authority. Their association is not by choice; they are compelled to associate, and to obey every order given to them by the superior authority. Their options are either to die at the hands of the authority, or to surrender to the authority. Chain gangs have no freedom of choice. They cannot independently decide to move in a direction other than the direction in which the entire gang is moving. And nor can they influence the gang to move in a specific direction of their choice.
When a chain gang has served and fulfilled its purposes, the entire gang is usually destroyed because communication between gangs is strictly prohibited. Often, each gang is treated differently and subject to different privileges from other gangs. That separation is never broken.
A chain gang can never exist either in heaven or in God's millennial kingdom on earth because it is anathema to the freedom enjoyed by God's people. No one can ever be compelled by God or by any of God's people to do something that they would prefer not to do. Freedom of choice is a hallmark of God's version of discipleship and anything to the contrary is a dangerous aberration.
The use of chain gangs are Satan's principal method of operation. He divides his forces of evil into different work categories, depending on the nature of the evil they are required to accomplish. When their work has ended, the human forces of evil are destroyed because none are ever permitted to live beyond their time of useful work. His purpose for recruiting humans is to use them to accomplish what demons cannot accomplish, then destroy them and populate the earth with demons.
One wonders whether there are any who truly understand what it means to be a family. I myself sometimes have difficulty understanding the truest concept of family. So, when God tells us that his kingdom should be as a family of brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, the concept eludes us. Families are too varied and too complex in their configurations to enable us to conceptualize the sense of unity that God expects and intends that we should create as disciples in his kingdom. We need to move beyond humanity, and look instead to other elements in nature that most clearly exemplify the concept of family.
Think of a forest, for example, that consists of one hundred trees. Some of the trees are full grown, others are young trees, and others are mere saplings. Between the trees are weeds of every kind. The trees are unmovable in their relationship to each other, unless they are cut down or destroyed. They never try to move to the front of another tree, nor do they ever try to undermine another tree by toppling it over. They share the nutrients from the soil, each getting as much as it needs in relationship to the other trees. They also offer shade if another tree cannot receive direct sunlight. When their leaves have served their purpose, they release them to the soil to be recycled for the benefit of all.
Trees "know" that they can be uprooted at any time. Thus, when they aspire to reach new heights, they know that they must send their roots deeper into the soil. Some of the sturdiest trees have roots that, in length and depth, surpass their height. Similarly, anyone who aspires to enter the kingdom of God should know that they too can be toppled and uprooted at any time, and their singular defense strategy should be deeper spiritual roots, a deeper and more abiding faith in God, and a relentless pursuit of righteousness. Then they can be guaranteed of God's protection.
Family in the kingdom of God is an unbreakable bond. You will never have an opportunity to change your mind about the need for the relationship, to get a divorce, or to move to a distant city. You always will be in relationship with each other, growing and changing as circumstances demand, and drawing closer to each other with every new challenge. That is God's concept of heaven on earth, and that will be the reality in his millennial kingdom.
As I read again the daily Blogs I wrote and posted during the month of April 2016, it seems clear that at the time, I was feeling the intensity of the spiritual battle waging around us. The Blogs seem to be more intense than they are today. They also appear to be longer. Of course, the spiritual war is still waging, even more violently than it did in April 2016, but perhaps my response to it has become more tempered. If you have read the April 2016 Blogs, they are worth reading again, or for the first time if you have never read them. They will help to realign your thoughts and responses to our daily news feed. They also will help you to surrender to God's perfect will, to know that he is in control, and to decide whether or not you wish to align with him.
When a war is waging, one feels compelled to respond in kind, either defensively or by strategizing an appropriate offense. Yet, God calls us to be peacemakers and he drew no distinction between physical wars and spiritual wars. Being a peacemaker does not mean surrendering to opposing forces, nor does it mean switching to their side. You always are required to focus on and maintain your sense of self, your purpose, and your intended result throughout any peacemaking endeavor. In a spiritual war, the terms of peace may be more difficult to negotiate, however, when the Holy Spirit is involved, you always will achieve a flawless result.
Wars of every kind involve a spiritual component that must be separately and directly examined and analyzed. Spiritual peacemaking must take into account that the devil and his cohorts are not logical thinkers. They are motivated by fear, greed and enmity, and all of their actions emanate from these three emotions. Thus, a peace accord with opposing spiritual forces requires that you maintain authority and control over their actions. Separate them from the circumstances in the same way that you would separate two three-year old children who are intent on clobbering each other. First identify the demonic spirit or the evil spirit that is responsible for the offending action by calling to them from your heart, in the language of the Spirit, then ask the Holy Spirit that is in you to give them "timeout" by speaking this intent in the language of the Spirit.
A few years ago, Wellington boots became a popular item. They are worn primarily in inclement weather to keep the feet warm and dry. They also are worn as a fashion statement at any time of year. Wellington boots are among the most enduring styles, having first been popularized in the early nineteenth century. When wearing Wellington boots, you can be certain that your feet will remain warm and dry.
The indwelling Holy Spirit of God is equivalent to a spiritual Wellington. He covers you with his protective cloak and ensures that your soul remains free of corruption. He guarantees you eternal life as long as you promise never to remove your protective cloak or to cause it to become irrelevant. The cloak becomes irrelevant when, despite its covering, you engage in actions that defeat its purpose. It would be similar to pouring water into your Wellington boot, yet expecting it to keep your feet warm and dry.
When you are not certain of what direction to take in regard to your spiritual life, the very least you can do is pray in the Spirit, read the Book of Psalms, read the Book of Proverbs, or read the New Testament. Keep moving until God points you in a new direction, directs you on an area of needed repentance, or shows you an area of needed growth.
Rarely does anyone win a Pulitzer prize for writing which consists of argument, analysis and logical reasoning. Pulitzers are for those who create stories, or explain and report on facts. Yet, it seems that merely expounding on what already is known is less of an accomplishment than bringing to light the secrets of the universe through logical reasoning and exposition. What is known is available to all, but what is unknown entails the additional element of discovery.
Perhaps future Pulitzers will reward a more profound form of creative writing that aims to reveal deep truths and sustainable solutions to the many problems plaguing our global community. Perhaps also future Pulitzers will focus on writings that result in peace accords, or an end to world hunger, or an understanding of our collective history as human beings. When our reward systems are designed to encourage a greater focus on our highest ideals, more individuals will be motivated to devote their mental energies to these lofty goals. As we begin to walk more steadfastly in the light of God's love, we will discover that sustainable solutions to every problem we encounter lay just beneath the surface of our existence.
Pulitzers are one of many coveted rewards for excellence in a given field. Their level of prestige makes the Pulitzer Board uniquely positioned to lead the way in rethinking and reinvisioning our system of rewards. In the health care field for example, instead of devoting billions of dollars to studying the human genome for the purpose of creating new, unique and personalized medicinal concoctions, we instead would offer equal incentives to natural healers who trust the liver's function as the body's healer and regenerator. I am confident that when all hands are on deck and all input is welcomed our lives would be transformed., our cities would be transformed, and our world would be healed.
Every once in a while, God sends a recipe to someone who delivers it exactly as it was sent. The greater likelihood is that they will fiddle with the ingredients and produce something other than what he intended. One of my favorite recipes from heaven is chicken consomme. This is supposed to be a clear broth with nothing in it other than chicken, preferably without the skin. There are now several versions of chicken consomme, some of them including ingredients such as carrots and egg whites. Whatever ailments may exist in your physical form, I invite you to take a cup or two of chicken consomme every week. I have given this recipe to a long list of people who achieved outstanding results for everything from diabetes to chronic heart ailments to wrinkles. Hallelujah, Amen.
The idea that with God, "anything goes," is not a fathomable concept. We think of God as someone with a long list of rules, and an equally long list of all the things he considers evil. The list of rules he purportedly created to make it impossible for anyone to have a fulfilling life, and the list of evil things are what any "normal" person would deem to be "fun." This is the lie that Satan has perpetrated.
What the world needs to know is that the list of evil things were created by Satan. God merely warns you about them because they are the elements of destruction. They ensure that everything they infuse eventually will turn to dust. In contrast, the elements that God created, such as love, all sustain life. Not only do they sustain life, they also promulgate and propagate life. Without them, our world would cease to exist.
When God created the world, he intended that everyone should be free to become the very best version of the person whom he had created them to be. Within the infinite varieties of characteristics and personality traits, there is one best version of every person. That best version is revealed not when they choose to be or to become someone with certain qualities and characteristics, but rather, when they allow their personalities to blossom and unfold into their truest identity.
It is worth noting that none of the personality traits that we would consider negative, such as greed, selfishness, arrogance, selfish ambition, timidity, pride and bigotry, are traits that came from God. These are the traits of demons whom Satan uses to contaminate the purity of God's creation. If you struggle with any of these traits, you cannot bring them into the kingdom of God. Now is the time to crucify them.
Those who wish to express their love for someone usually have little or no difficulty doing so. They know that they must spend time being with the person and getting to know them. They also know that they must communicate regularly with them in order to build a solid foundation for the relationship. A relationship that is built on a deep and abiding friendship has a stronger likelihood of surviving long term. God wants you to focus on building a deep and abiding friendship with him that can last for all eternity. That can happen only if you devote time to the relationship, and only if you truly desire to become one with God. God already has made his love known and it is now your turn to choose whether or not you will reciprocate.
When someone decides to plant seeds there are several steps they must take in order to prepare the soil. They must remove the weeds and the stones, they must plow and aerate the soil, and they must ensure that it has sufficient moisture and nutrients to support the growth of seeds.
Kingdom planting requires the same degree of care. For every person with whom one chooses to share the gospel message of redemption, spiritual preparation is an essential component. One must help them to remove distractions to enable them to focus on the message. One also must ensure that they begin to engage in a regular practice of communion with God through prayer and Bible reading because the soul's nourishment comes from daily communion with God. A soul that receives its daily nourishment always will grow and produce a harvest from any and every spiritual seed.
When a farmer contemplates seeding his farm, he thinks very carefully about the type of crop he would like to grow, then chooses the seed that has the capacity to offer the best yield of that crop at the harvest. He would consider it unthinkable to plant tomato seeds when he is seeking a harvest of apples. He also should consider it unthinkable if the planted seed is incapable of producing crops with reproducing seed. In that scenario, he would have a harvest of undesireables that, thankfully, would be incapable of continuing the reproductive cycle.
When God contemplated seeding his kingdom, he wanted a people who would never betray him, who would love as he loves, who would lay down their life for others, who would be kind to the downtrodden, and who would reproduce in accordance with their mission. He wanted a kingdom full of kingdom-minded people.
The concept of death is one that most people have come to accept as an inevitable subset of life. They prepare wills and make elaborate plans for that day that, to them, is a foregone conclusion. Our God is the author of life. He died on the cross at Calvary in order to guarantee us eternal life. If we have difficulty believing that simple truth and beginning to reorder our lives toward eternity instead of toward death, then perhaps we should rethink our worship.
The seven churches described in Revelation 2 and Revelation 3 of the Bible are an interesting mixture. They range from the "Church in Philadelphia" that had never denied God's name, to the "Church in Laodicea" whom God was about to spit out of his mouth. Laodicea had a complex series of problems. On the one hand, God considered them a faithful and true witness of his Word and identified them as the ruler of his creation. But God also challenged them for becoming lukewarm, for allowing their physical wealth and possessions to blind them to truth, and for rejecting the cleansing from the indwelling Holy Spirit of God who alone has the power to clothe our spiritual nakedness.
At the time that the Book of Revelation was written sometime during the first century, the Roman Empire was the ruler of God's creation. Historically, that identifies the "Church in Laodicea" as a Roman Catholic church of the first century. The church had a divided spirit that sought to worship God while allowing aspects of humanism to seep into its doctrine. That it ruled God's creation was a source of pride that created a conflict with the concept of Godly submission. The result was that the Church in Laodicea stopped giving the indwelling Holy Spirit to its members, yet were confused as to why they all appeared naked in the realm of the spirit.
Today, the spirit of the Church in Laodicea continues to have a corrupting influence on Roman Catholic doctrine as well as on the doctrine of virtually every Protestant church. At various points in our history, God has sought to point us back to the basics, to the core doctrine of Christianity and of discipleship. He again seeks to focus our vision on the original goal post, and on our only source of power for the times in which we live--the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. Everything that is built on a physical foundation eventually will disintegrate into dust. It is only when we build on the foundation of the unadulterated Word of God that what we build gains the capacity to endure for an eternity.
Yesterday's Blog discussed what it meant to be Anglican or to have Anglicanism as part of one's heritage. The Blog by no means suggests that everyone should become an Anglican. In fact, God loves diversity in our manner of worship, does not expect that everyone should begin to worship in the manner of conservative Anglicans, and does not intend that anyone switch from their current religion or denomination in order to become an Anglican. He does however expect that everyone should be as committed to being on his side doctrinally as the most committed Anglicans who began the movement away from Catholicism and its commitment to Papal leadership. While he loves diversity in the manner of worship, he abhors doctrinal diversity.
To God, there is one doctrine of salvation that should form the core of every religious practice from Judaism to Buddhism to Catholicism. He is one God, has one creation, one message of redemption given to the Israelites, one Messiah birthed by Israel, and one manifestation given to the church through the power of the Holy Spirit. When he returns to establish his kingdom, he returns to his entire creation, to whomever desires to welcome and receive him.
Being Anglican is not the same as being Catholic, or Methodist, or Presbyterian. Anglicanism was never meant to become a denomination. It was a way of being that sought to acknowledge God as the Supreme Creator of the world, and humanity as his creation. When Anglicanism first came into existence, it was a movement that sought to reconcile Almighty God with his creation. Catholicism had begun to shift control over human actions and beliefs to the Catholic Pope. Anglicans insisted that only God should have power and authority to decide between differing factions and diverse opinions. The Anglican movement recognized the Supremacy of God, the changing nature of human interactions, and the power and authority of God to always be the reconciler, the judge, and the ruler of his creation. Anglicans stood on the side of God.
As some of you may know, I grew up in a very conservative Anglican church. I was Christened as an infant, later baptized, Confirmed at age eleven and a half, after which I took my first taste of Holy Communion, all at the same church. Being Anglican is part of my proud heritage, so it irks me when others profess to label Anglicanism in ways that seem to contradict the Bible. Recently, I heard someone describe Anglicans as moderates. That is far from truth. A moderate is another word for someone God would describe as lukewarm (see Revelation 3:16). On the contrary, Anglicans have been the lifeblood of every major shift away from humanism and lukewarmness, and toward a more honest and robust relationship with God.
Having a friend who understands what it means to commit to a relationship is always an ideal situation. They are often loyal and trustworthy, and when circumstances go awry, they are the least likely to abandon the relationship. Hopefully, from their perspective, you are the same in your relationship with them--you are loyal and trustworthy, and not likely to ever abandon your relationship with them.
When God promises to never leave you nor forsake you, he expects you to make the same level of commitment to him. He expects reciprocity. He also expects that if you ever decide to abandon your relationship, you first will discuss the matter with him to determine whether or not there is any other option. Abandonment is never an option if you take into account all pertinent facts and circumstances. For everyone who genuinely desires to preserve their relationship with him, he always provides a way out of every problem or circumstance that poses a threat to the relationship.
A few days ago, I indicated that the seventh trumpet described in the book of Revelation will sound in a matter of weeks and will mark the end of the age. The end of the age does not mean the end of the world, however. It marks a transition similar to the historical transition period between the end of the Babylonian Empire and the beginning of the Medo-Persian Empire. Often, these transitions were bloody conquests fueled by the conqueror's greed and thirst for power, but this transition will be different.
In this instance, the conqueror is the Holy Spirit of God who, just prior to 70 A.D. when the Jerusalem temple was destroyed, began the peaceful conquest of the hearts and minds of humanity. He urged willing surrender to a God of love, and a journey toward wholeness that had never before been experienced.
If the coming transition is anything other than peaceful, it will not be because of the Holy Spirit of God. Today, almost two thousand years after his journey began, he continues his peaceful conquest of the hearts and minds of humanity. His purpose is to demonstrate how wide and deep is the love of God. When his current mission comes to an end, the kingdom of God will have been established in the earth.
Walking into a new situation generally causes some degree of trepidation. You are concerned about the requirements and the expectations, as well as your ability to meet needs. It is similar to walking into a dark room and not knowing the location of the light switch. God knows exactly what you are experiencing. It is for that reason that this Blog exists--to shine his light into the darkness.