Okay. I’m guilty. I don’t write much any more. The question is why. The answer is simple. I had to go back to work. I now work seventy hours every two week pay period.
Not only that I’ve gone back to school to become a certified Chaplain. I was ordained two years ago this month. It seems co-incidental that I would start my first class on the same date as my ordination two years ago. . . the 2nd of February.
God quickened to me to take the course when I saw it posted by a minister friend of mine. I don’t normally throw down money without a reason yet I did. This 18 week course is more important than money. My wife always gets after me about my seeming obsession with money. I guess there is a hint of reality to that. You see, I was born poor. Very poor. I don’t intend to go back there. God has given me everything we need to live so I don’t worry about it as long as I know He has things in control and He assures me what I’m doing it right. I do have to be a good steward of what I’m given. If not I’m being wasteful. That’s all I’m saying about this.
Chaplaincy certification is another step up the ladder in the calling upon me. I have no idea where this will lead. I just move forward and expect God will open more doors for me to walk through in the summer of this year. We’ve only gotten through the Introduction, Hospital and Hospice Care portions so far and having been in a hospital setting for twenty-eight years I understand the workings of this type of environment. I have an open door to Navy Chaplains. I’ve volunteered in the local civilian hospital via the Hospital Auxiliary for a couple of years. But I don’t want to make a decision of an avenue of chaplaincy yet, because another portion deals with prisons. I headed a prison ministry out of my church for a couple of years coupled with the Yolk Fellow Ministries as well as having my guys teach yet another night with the Warden’s permission. There is so much a Chaplain can do I want to hear all the avenues I can look into. I don’t want to pass up any of the other possible opportunities that God may speak to me about.
I turned seventy years old last October and was starting to feel like there was no where to go, but this has changed my perspective. I feel a fresh breath of life to continue on.
On another note, my wife has been attending to ministry school as well and will be ordained tomorrow morning. We have come a long way from our beginnings going on twelve years ago at this time. I never dreamed this would be were we are today back then. We only knew back then we were in love and it was solid and even though we made mistakes back then we came to grips with them and made good out of a bad situation from those days. She and I will jointly be ordained ministers of the Christian faith and it amazes me where God is taking us.
If anyone reading this feels like you have no direction in life, yet you’ve been asking God for it, I can assure you it only takes a flash of light in your spirit like came before Paul. Something like that will forever change you mind and heart. Don’t give up. Move forward and direction will come to you. I guarantee it. God can’t give you direction if you’re not moving. Once you start moving, God will take the wheel and turn you the right direction. Let it happen.
I look forward to more years of active ministry. Something my dad would be blown away about. He didn’t believe I’d live past age sixty. I’m over ten years past that. And I’m still moving forward. Any you know why? Because I’ve always been open to God and He has proven Himself strong on my behalf no matter how far or how close I am to Him.
I’m convinced you can feel a million miles from God and you can turn around and run square into Him. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. He loves you and is highly concerned for you. Even when you fail. You see, He knows the end from the beginning and He’s convinced you are worth His while. Heads up. He’s got your back, your front and side too if you must know.
At this point in life I find myself with a peculiar thought. I turned seventy years old this year. May dad passed away at the age of sixty.
This being the last day of 2020 I look in retrospect of his speaking to me when I was in my thirties that I would not live past sixty as all men of our generations of family died before that age. I refused his speech by declaring I was not into buying his words.
Now that at the end of 2020 and being seventy years old the thought came to me of a conversation we might have now. That with me being seventy and him being in his early fifties at the time he told me this.
What would I tell him? How would I tell him? First of all I knew he missed his calling to be a minister of the Word. I confronted him of this revelation and he admitted it with the answer “I never even told your mom”. He was answering by asking a question without asking, so to speak. I told him God revealed that to me. We never spoke of it again.
But now, at my present age, I would tell him as a much younger man than I at this point that all that was required of him was to answer that calling on his life and he would have lengthened his years.
I have nothing to hide any more. Two of my brothers are half-brothers. My dad fathered a child by a young girl that frequented our house with her girlfriend. Those particular issues still haunt me. I thought my family was a solid Christian family. I had to live to be much older to find out these things.
I lived a life married to a woman I know now I likely should have not married. We parented two wonderful sons that are productive citizens of this nation. They don’t feed off of others. They make their own way and so far as I know have had very few troubles with their marriages.
They don’t talk to me since their mom and I split. Their wives consider me an abomination to them. They literally don’t know all the details and I won’t go there in this writing.
I remarried, since, to a woman I met some twelve years ago now. We’ve been married now for about five and a half years. I could not ask for a more generous, loving, intelligent woman. She loves me with all her heart and she is all I need just a notch below my need for God.
I would tell my dad I love him, but I can say that in all things I knew his battles in life. I fought them as well, but I answered the call of God on my life and I still minister when called upon. In fact I will be up for the service next Wednesday evening. The title of my message is “The Simplicity of Salvation”. This will not be the last and only place I will minister this particular message. I feel it is for another church body as well. In fact it may be for several churches.
My dad needs to know he could have overcome his fear of public speaking. I would have to tell him there are depths to scripture that would conquer all his foibles. His biggest fear of God not furnishing him with the needed abilities to minister the Word effectively would be a minor detail in just a short time as he studied.
I feel our conversation would be like I tell anyone that lacks confidence. I constantly tell my wife she is smart, curious and lets no stone go unturned. I would tell my dad the same and that he only lacked the ability because of the lack of confidence. I know it’s hard to overcome for the majority of people. But it CAN be done. I have developed a lifestyle of overcoming by looking at circumstances as challenges. No matter how defeating circumstances can seem, with the right approach in Godly principles, they can be utterly defeated. I wish my dad had learned that.
He was duped by the enemy of his soul and when tempted fell harder than I did, yet he tried to get up, but could not in the end. I have fallen hard as well, but I continued to get up and still I refuse to lay down to that enemy.
With my wife at my side, a good Pastor to seek guidance in, and a church full of believers to hold me up, my faith that God will raise me up more and more as the days pass until I live forever in His sight. This body of mine can pass away, but it’s only my shell to live in. I will live forever before Him and He says I will have a new body in resurrection that will be immortal.
My dad, hopefully, found out before he passed that he was forgiven and accepted it without doubt and some day we can start a new conversation of untold proportions.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through (by means
of) him might be saved. – John 3:16-17
Begotten – single of its kind, only – Anyone ever bought a “one of a kind”? What is the value?
Perish – to destroy fully – no confession of faith. Set aside for those that did not receive their “gift”.
Everlasting – without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be
Saved – deliver or protect, heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. – Luke 17:15-18
Healed – to relieve (of disease):–cure, heal,
And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole. – Luke 17:19
Whole – Same word as“saved”4982
When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. – Matthew 15:30
Saved – deliver or protect, heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.
Let’s go back to Everlasting for a moment. How long is that? I state above it is without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. – Jeremiah 1:5
Everlasting (another word is “perpetual”) has new meaning in John 3:16. God has always known you. Can you imagine that God knew you in the beginning? He lived in an eternal realm.
You are without beginning or end and it is more well known through our pronunciation of faith in Him. God has always known you. In forgiveness, you have been given a new lease on life through His purchase of you with His blood.
Once again with a bit more explanation:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. – Jeremiah 1:5
Salvation is an unspeakable gift:
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. – II Cor 9:15
Unspeakable – indescribable, no having the ability to expound upon
All we have to know is this:
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; – Romans 10:9
“And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; – Luke 12:8
and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Phil 2:11
Upon this confession the first Adam in you dies. The sin nature is gone. Then comes the training of the soul by the indwelling spirit to overcome sin in the believer’s life.
We are forever saved, yet only by the constant oversight of the spirit over our soul to confess and conform to the likeness of Christ until we defeat those sins entirely to no more sin in those areas. It’s called growth and maturity.
I heard talk of the Christmas tree. I’m not going to debate the issue of the tree as pagan or otherwise. What I did hear however is that the idea of the tree can be related to the cross in a sense that there were presents under the tree. When I heard this I also heard something else.
Below the “tree” or cross was a present as well. It was the blood that fell from our Savior as he hung upon it. I tie this with gifts as it were to the gift of life given us.
Have you gone to the tree and received your present? It’s been sitting there since the crucifixion of Christ. Waiting for you to go there and claim your gift. You name was written on that gift the day it was left there. It’s always been there. Waiting for you. Do you see it? It’s yours. Claim it by confessing you have a fallen nature and it needs His touch to restore that nature so that fellowship with Him is restored.
The first Adam lost that fellowship. Since that time God has laid out the plan to restore that fellowship with His creation. That plan is found in the Bible from Genesis 1:1 to Rev 22:21. In between God shows us the groaning of creation to come back to God, even though it sometimes might not have known this was what was needed.
God is searching for YOU to fellowship with. If you feel that is not to the level it should be, you should take a moment to search yourself and find that empty spot in your being and fill it with Him. Let God take control over your shortcomings, your aches, your pains, your anxieties. Even your fears. Simply take God for what He is and what He desires of you. Simple salvation. Complete surrender.
I have not written anything for some months now and I have reasons or explanations. I used to write to sort out my issues, but this time around I have had little to speak about.
I have reached the age of seventy. Another decade. I have written before of my dad’s pronouncement I would not live past sixty. Yet, here I am. Alive and well and have reached the goals that I put upon myself. Not I alone, but by God’s grace and setting up in His time. I did not buy into his family curse of no male Rowes lived past sixty. It was a true statement he spoke of, but I rebuffed him and said I live according to what God ordained.
I thank God every single day that I am still here with life and enough to keep me busy with physical activity and spiritual as well, as directed by Him.
Every step that has come to pass in my life has been by the recognition of others. Of course I did the requisite studies and practical use of such, but I never made a motion to promote myself. That is the honest truth. I’ve told God if I move up it will be on His command.
At the age of thirteen, I heard His voice tell me I would be a minister. At sixteen years of age I finally relented to Him in confessing my sin nature and gave my life to Him. Yet that took almost another decade to solidify into a firm commitment.
At twenty-six, I told God I will serve. All I wanted was to serve with a people that had the same drive as I did. He led me to a Pentecostal Assemblies of God church where He sat me for a season. Not long after I heard a deeper Word and sold my home and moved to a new area where I have lived for the last thirty-nine years. Thirty of those years I served in a very aggressive learning ministry that caused me to be pushed when I was slack and never let me be comfortable. This is where I went to school for ministry.
While there I was in the music ministry, ran the printing ministry, which was part of a larger ministry with a half million dollar a year budget. During that time I was ordained as a deacon and care pastor with my own small group of members in the larger body of believers.
I also was tasked to begin the networking of computer systems in the church in the early stages. I kept it simple, yet functional.
Then I crashed from overworking and lost my marriage to my own indiscretions and I fell out of the ministry. I fell into what was diagnosed as severe depression with anxiety attacks. During this time I met my now wife. A beautiful woman of many talents, intelligent, curious and as my brother described her as quirky. I’ll let that stay right there. The least I can say about her is she is the woman I dreamed about in my youth and I would have to say searched for all my life.
We married in 2015, on July 24th. We had already been walking together since 2009, but the walk with God began to intensify from this date. She got hungry for more of God and began to seek Him with a fervency that was unrelenting. Over the next two or so years we saw a strong reawakening in her life and mine.
Then after a church issue arose, God plucked us out and put us in the home church we are in now. In a few months the ministry recognized the call on my life and approached me about ordaining me into the ministry in all effects both by the government of the land and before God. This occurrence provoked my wife to want what she saw in me. She has now completed her second year of a three year study process towards her full ordination.
Here we now sit. Yet what I’ve learned from all my 70 years of life is this one thing. I answered the call of God on my life, yet I concede to Him as a vessel for Him to fill with what He wants to say. I have nothing of myself to say other than I love my Father. I have relinquished my rights to give an opinion of anything or want to.
I will speak as He gives me utterance, but I have no itch to scratch when it comes to ministering. When I feel the unction I will, but only then. Others can clamor to appease themselves of what they perceive as a Word from God, but is only their need to be seen and heard. If I never minister again I know this one thing. I have fulfilled my calling to the best of my ability. I know I’m not done yet. I just simply stand and wait for my heart to receive a Word and I will move forward with it.
Ooh, war Has shattered many a-young man’s dreams Made him disabled, bitter, and mean And life is much too short and precious To spend fighting wars each day War can’t give life It can only take it away Oh, war! (H’uh) Good God, y’all (What is it good for?) Absolutely (nothin’) Say it, again (War) Whoa (h’uh) whoa-whoa, Lord (What is it good for?) A-absolutely (nothin’) Listen to me! (War) It ain’t nothin’ but a heartbreaker (War) Friend only to the undertaker Woo! Peace, love and understanding tell me Is there no place for anything else? They say we must fight To keep our freedoms But Lord, knows there’s got to be A better way Oooh (War) God, y’all! (uh) (What is it good for?) You tell ’em! (h’uh) Say it, say it, say it (War) Good God (h’uh) now, h’uh FADES- (What is it good for?) Stand up and shout it (Nothin’!) (War) It ain’t nothin’ but a heartbreaker Ooh, war.
I can hear this song in my head from the days of Vietnam. People. War is hell. It destroys. It kills. Not only the body, but the minds of men.
Anarchy is becoming the normal day to day happening now. With anarchy comes war. sides become inflamed to the point anger takes hold and physical actions takes hold.
We are to the point the United States is attack from within by sources from all over the world that knew the only way to defeat us is to do it from within.
I fear for my sons and their wives and my grandchildren. I fear for everyone’s lives and families. This is not a joke. It’s not some conspiracy theory. It’s here. Christian folk will be beating the drums of “end times”. Some will probably say it’s just change. Some will follow it right to the cliff of death as lemmings.
I am prepared to deal with it as best I can. my neighbors are are fed up with the present situation. I would say there is a sleeping giant in the United States when awakened will open fire on these anarchists. The war will be on. Mark my words.
From my earliest years till I was around 25 or 26 I was instilled with the Rapture doctrine.
Then I happened by a Christian book store in Wilmington one day and while looking
through books on eschatology I found this little book that caught my eye. It had the overview of about seven different thoughts on the second coming. I thought this would be something interesting so I bought it and took it home only to get angry at what I thought were misrepresentations of scripture and dismissed it. Then when I was 27 I ran head-on into a man named Kelley Varner and his teaching on the radio title The Coming of the Lord in the Light of Present Truth. Once again I listened. . . and became angry. But this anger sent me on a journey of deeper study to prove all this nonsense as wrong. Several months later I came out of it a change man. God does not change, but we must be open to what God does not change about. We must change. My conclusion is not that there isn’t a Second Coming of Christ, but how this transpires. So don’t get me wrong to say that I don’t believe in Christ’s return from His heavenly throne. Quite the contrary. I do believe in his return. Yet far from what I formerly believed. Hal Lindsey has it all wrong.
I am reposting a blog post by Joel Killion, who I know, was familiar with where I came from as we both traveled in similar circles. He has the most detailed study that much resembles what I came up with in my study. Since mine isn’t in writing anymore, I endorse what he says in his writing.
The Rapture’s War on Our Union With God
Most Christians today are looking for an any-minute rapture that’ll shuffle them off this mortal coil, into the sky to be with the Lord in Heaven, or, in the words of John G. Magee, Jr., to slip “the surly bonds of earth” and “touch the face of God.” And while they hold to this hypothesis as a fundamental of the Faith, many are now waking up to something more.
Personally, I’ve never believed in the rapture (at least not as it is commonly taught) but not for the reasons you may think. Obviously, there are many reasonable arguments against it and, while I’ve studied them all, they are not the reasons I question it. Below, is a list of a few counterarguments to the rapture I’d like to highlight that includes a few additional points I’ve never heard addressed, at least not in the way I will. As you proceed, perhaps you’ll notice a theme that will draw you past the mere text into what I can only describe as the knife edge of “astonishment”.
Consider the following points…
Jesus prayed we would not be taken “out of the world” in John 17:15 and 20. As William Barclay’s Commentary says, “The first essential is to note that Jesus did not pray that his disciples should be taken out of this world. He never prayed that they might find escape; he prayed that they might find victory.” Jesus promised us that in this world we would face tribulation and that we can take courage (not “fly away oh glory”) for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Remember, God didn’t “rapture” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego before they were thrown into the fiery furnace but walked with them in and through the fire so that they were unharmed and emerged without even the smell of smoke on them (see Daniel 3:16-28). And also, God didn’t “rapture” Daniel before he was thrown into the lions den but preserved him so that he emerged unharmed (see Daniel 6:1-23). This reality of thriving in the midst of trouble is a theme throughout scripture and history.
2. The idea of being raptured so as to avoid tribulations of any kind stifles maturation, as James 1:2-4 (AMP) makes clear: “Consider it WHOLLY JOYFUL, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of ANY sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.” Of course, this is but one of many passages that affirms this point as a universal Kingdom principle.
3. A careful reading of Matthew 24:36-39 and Luke 17:26-27 shows that Noah and his family were “left behind” to inherit the earth, while the wicked were “taken away” and “destroyed”. By the way, Proverbs carries a consistent theme of the righteous remaining and the wicked being “taken” — visit my “Writings” page and click on “Christ’s Coming in Proverbs” for more on this.
4. The consequences of believing in a rapture are much more dangerous than not believing in it. Why? Well, the idea of leaving the planet (especially as it regards an any-minute, pre-tribulation rapture) disconnects believers — consciously, unconsciously or subconsciously — from their role and responsibility as “the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13), “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14-16) and the leaven of the Kingdom (Matthew 13:33), thereby disengaging Christians politically, culturally, economically, educationally, etc. While many are looking for future events to occur, Jesus has given us gifts, talents, abilities, and a purpose, calling us to be about our Father’s business (Luke 2:49; 19:11-27) so we can reign as kings and priests on the earth (Revelation 1:6; 5:9-10).
5. The rapture of the Church off the planet is not the historic teaching of the Church. In fact, it was unheard of prior to the 19th century and was popularized in the 20th century. To learn where the rapture-removal idea actually came from, click here.
6. The list of failed “end times” predictions, including the rapture, is enormous, providing a never-ending embarrassment to the Church. If the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” is true, who is infinitely shamed after being fooled 100s of times?
7. First Thessalonians 4:17 (KJV), which says that those who are alive and remain shall “…be caught up… in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…”, is not talking about being physically caught up into the sky or outer space. First, the Greek word for “caught up” (Strong’s G726) means “to seize” and is used in Acts 8:39 and Second Corinthians 12:2 where Phillip and Paul were both “seized” by the Spirit but never left the planet. Second, the Greek word for “clouds” (Strong’s G3507) speaks of clouds that can either be around us (see Matthew 17:5, Mark 9:7 and Luke 9:34-35) or above us (see Luke 12:54; 1 Corinthians 10:1). Third, the Greek word for “air” (Strong’s G109) in this verse is “(to breathe unconsciously, i.e. respire; by analogy, to blow); ‘air’ (as naturally circumambient)“. The word “circumambient” means “surrounding”, speaking of the air all around you right now as you read this, the same air you breathe (respire) unconsciously all the time, that you inhale and exhale (Note: The higher you go, the thinner this kind of air gets, meaning there’s none in outer space.). This is the same “air” the anti-Paul mob in Acts 22 was throwing dust into (see verse 23); the same “air” Paul referenced in First Corinthians 9:26 that fighters use for shadow boxing; the same “air” Paul said we speak into (1 Corinthians 14:9). (To dig deeper into this word, click here.) So, “the Lord in the air” means this is the same air God IS IN RIGHT NOW — think about that! Note: There are only two Greek words for “air” in the New Testament. The first (Strong’s G109) was covered above. The second (Strong’s G3772) is ouranos, which means “(…the idea of elevation); the sky; by extension, heaven (as the abode of God); by implication, happiness, power, eternity; specially, the Gospel (Christianity):—air, heaven(-ly), sky.” (To dig deeper into this word, click here.) This is the same “air” the birds fly in (Matthew 8:20) and the same “air” we observe weather in (Matthew 16:2; Luke 12:56). Clearly, the Greek understanding of “air” is much more involved than its English counterpart. Why have we assumed First Thessalonians 4:17 is talking about being taken into the sky above us (ouranos) instead of into the air all around us and in our lungs (aēr)? How many other beliefs do we have based on transposed definitions? To dig deeper into First Thessalonians 4:13-17, view this PDF and/or video.
8. “Throughout the universe, there is no such direction as ‘up.’ If the American and Australian saints were simultaneously caught ‘up’ (vertically), the Church would go flying off the planet in all directions.” (From “Whose Right It Is” by Dr. Kelley Varner) With that said, doesn’t it seem odd that our omnipresent God, Who is everywhere at the same time — an eternal characteristic of Who He is that makes Him, in part, so omnipotent (all powerful) — is somehow everywhere except on earth so that we have to leave the planet to go to where He is?
9. Why do we need to be raptured up into the sky or outer space to be with God when Christ is “WITHIN and AMONG“ us (Colossians 1:27 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition), Jesus (and all the fullness of God IN Him (Colossians 1:19)) is IN us (John 6:56; 15:5; 17:23, 26; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Revelation 3:20) and WITH us (Matthew 28:20), the fullness of the Godhead is IN us (John 1:16; Ephesians 1:23 and 3:19; Colossians 2:9-10 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition), and the Kingdom of God is IN us (Luke 17:20-21)? We are God’s home (John 14:23) and temple (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16). Thanks to Jesus’ Finished Work, God’s ageless desire to dwell WITH us (Exodus 25:8; 29:45), to tabernacle with us (Ezekiel 37:27), to walk IN, WITH and AMONG us, so that He can be our God and we can be His people (Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 31:1), has been fulfilled (filled to the full).
10. Why do we need to be raptured up into the sky or outer space to be with God when we are already IN and WITH Jesus where He is (John 17:24; Acts 17:28; Ephesians 2:6-7; Colossians 2:9-10; 3:1-3; Revelation 3:21)? Indeed, we are IN the Lord (Acts 17:27-28; Ephesians 2:21), IN the Father (1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 John 2:24), IN Christ Jesus the Lord (Colossians 2:6-7), IN Jesus Christ (1 John 5:20), IN Christ, IN God (1 John 4:13-16) and WITH Christ IN God (Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 3:3). Please excuse my redundancies here, but perhaps the New Testament is redundant for a reason.
11.We don’t have to die or be raptured to “go to Heaven”. Why? For three reasons: (1) John the Baptist preached “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1-2). (2) Jesus Himself preached “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:14-15; 12:28, 34; Luke 11:20; 21:31). Then, (3) Jesus told His disciples, as well as the 72, to preach “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7; Luke 10:9, 11). Indeed, the Kingdom of God arrived to Jesus’ generation before they expected it (see Matthew 12:28 in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition), which begs the question: Since Jesus said the Kingdom “cometh not with observation” (King James Version) and “does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display” but is within us and all around us (Luke 17:20-21 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition), could it be that we too need to “repent” (change our mind and think differently) on this matter? Why do we keep hearing teachings and ideas that present the Kingdom as a literal, physical place in some distant location in the future, instead of bringing its spiritual reality near as John, Jesus, the disciples and the 72 did? Didn’t Jesus rebuke the religious leaders for shutting up the Kingdom of God against men, for refusing to enter themselves while keeping others out who were trying to enter? (see Matthew 23:13) And didn’t He encourage us to press into and receive His Kingdom as a child? (Mark 10:14-15; Luke 16:16; 18:16-17) [For a deeper study on the present reality of God and His Kingdom within us, click here.]
12. While religion isolates the Glory of God to sacred spaces (i.e. church buildings), the afterlife, and/or future “end times” events like the rapture or second coming of Christ, “the whole earth IS full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3 KJV). The discerning know this is true. Like Jacob in Genesis 28, who, after a heavenly encounter, recognized and acknowledged a rock in the desert as “the house of God” and “the gate of Heaven”, the discerning have embraced the world around them as being filled and flooded with the Sacred Presence of God Himself. And, inasmuch as they are present in each moment, they sense this reality everyday. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10 KJV) is their prayer and portion, regardless of what comes against them or surrounds them or seeks to harm them. “As He is so are we in this earth” (1 John 4:17 KJV) is who they are because Jesus said so, not because they feel it or because they’re having a good day but because He said so.
Perhaps you’ve noticed a through-line (namely in points 7-12) — that this idea of a rapture into “heaven above” puts distance in our minds and hearts between us and the Lord, Who made us one with Him in every way (To see just how united you are to Him, please click here.). So many of our songs and sermons affirm that God is near and yet also communicate a desire for Him to come, unintentionally producing a duality and cognitive dissonance (double-mindedness) that, on the one hand, breeds confusion and, on the other hand, neutralizes and even robs us of our intimacy, identity, freedom, confidence, meaning and authority in Him. Our whole existence as the Body only works as long as we are one with our Head, and disconnection destroys us, just as a physical body dies when separated from the head.
The belief that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father in Heaven is absolutely true but, as you’ve seen, Heaven is within and all around us. So then, when we talk or sing about God and Heaven as being physically somewhere above us, while pointing and/or looking skyward (with some even claiming God and Heaven are near or beyond the Milky Way), longing dreamily for that day when we will “go to heaven”, it seems we need, as John and Jesus said, to “repent” (change the way we think about this).
Personally, anytime I hear something that puts any sort of space between God and His people, I balk — it’s almost like a physical pain shoots through my chest and makes me want to shout in protest with tears. Jesus’ death rent and tore down every veil and wall between Him and us and yet we keep repairing them, without knowing what we’re doing to ourselves.
As the Holy Spirit renews my mind to see just how near He is, life, in general, becomes much more meaningful and manageable as we walk together (within each other) through the ups and down of daily life. His whispers and nudges upgrade me every time. Whether I’m at work, on the road, at home or anywhere else, being conscious of just how truly WITHIN me He is empowers me to love, to be patient, to be kind and to forgive, regardless of what I’m dealing with. And when I lose sight of His nearness, it’s amazing the transformation I encounter when I let Him turn my mind back to this reality that’s so much more than a mere concept (Romans 12:2).
Our beliefs determine our behavior. What we think dictates our words and actions. To the degree we believe God is distant, our communication and conduct will be influenced. Insofar as we think the Kingdom is inside and all around us, we will be enhanced in how we live and express Kingdom realities in everyday life.
Think about it, if all you’re senses were quickened right now to see and feel God and all the glories of His Kingdom within and all around you, just as Elisha’s servant’s eyes were opened in Second Kings 6, you would be immediately transformed in your thinking, which would change how you talk and behave. Everything about you would be different. With all the assumed distance gone between you and Him, all the aloofness, stiffness and restraint within you would be gone as well [Note: “Aloofness, stiffness and restraint” are actually synonyms of “distance”.].
When Elisha prayed for his servant, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see”, he immediately looked around and saw the hills full of the hosts of Heaven (2 Kings 6:17).
And this has been my prayer – a prayer I hope you will pray as well.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Bless you.
Here are some quotes that have really affirmed this truth inside me…
“Earth is crammed with heaven and every bush is aflame with the fire of God! But only those who see take off their shoes. The rest just pick the berries.” Margaret Browning
“The great illusion that we must all overcome is the illusion of separateness… [the only task of true religion is] to reconnect people to their original identity ‘hidden with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3:3)… Disconnected people will do stupid things. But it is the state of believed or chosen autonomy that must be addressed; it is any life lived outside ‘the garden’ that is the core and foundational meaning of sin. We cannot ever get worthy, but we can get reconnected to our Source… Sin is primarily describing a state of living outside of union, when the part poses as the Whole. It’s the loss of any inner experience of who you are in God. That ‘who‘ is nothing you can earn or obtain. It’s nothing you can accomplish or work up to. Why? Because you’ve already got it. The biblical revelation is about awakening, not accomplishing. It is about realization and not performance principles. You cannot get there, you can only be there, but that foundational Being-in-God, for some reason, is too hard to believe, and too good to be true. Only the humble can receive it, because it affirms more about God than it does about us… Union with God is really about awareness and realignment, a Copernican revolution of the mind and heart that is sometimes called conversion. (Sixteenth-century Copernicus, of course, was the first to claim that the world revolves around the sun, not vice versa, a truly shocking revelation!) From conversion, that deep and wondrous inner knowing, a whole new set of behaviors and lifestyle will surely follow.” (Page 29-30 of “Things Hidden” by Richard Rohr)
“Heaven is filled with absolute, perfect, confidence in God. This world is filled with absolute mistrust. And you and I will always reflect the nature of the world we are most aware of. What you live conscious of is what you will reproduce in the world around you. I try to live in such a way that nothing ever gets bigger in my awareness than my conscious awareness of the presence of God in and upon me. I don’t care what the problem is; if it’s an international crisis or a personal issue, the moment that problem gets bigger than my awareness of the presence of God on me, then I will live in reaction to a problem.” Bill Johnson
“For the believer, most closed heavens are between the ears.” Bill Johnson
“God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other… God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
“When Christian’s say the Christ-life is in them… when they speak of being in Christ or of Christ being in them… they mean that Christ is actually operating through them, that the whole mass of Christians are the physical organism through which Christ acts, that we are His fingers and muscles, the cells of His Body… Christians are Christ’s Body, the organism through which He works. Every addition to that Body enables Him to do more. If you want to help those outside, you must add your own little cell to the Body of Christ Who alone can help them.” C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
I’m a bit disturbed over people who seem to criticize various Christian groups or ministers.
No doubt there are charlatans out there that are fleecing the flock, so to speak, but I am amazed at the attacks on each other that occurs.
If there are churches that hold “healing and prophecy schools” and charge $5k to attend are worthy of looking into.
Bethel Church may well be skirting along the edge of a redefined sort of Tarot Card reading in the Christalignment teachings and practices. But I’m not going there.
Hillsong has gone through controversy as well with Frank Houston and sexual misconduct. This was thirty years prior to 2016 as best as I can tell. What has he done since then. Did he come clean before God and the people? I don’t know.
Vertical Worship leader James MacDonald was accused of a gambling problem. He was in with Moody Bible Institute and was released to a Sabbatical of an undetermined amount of time to my knowledge.
Elevation leader Steven Furtick has been accused of projecting a cult-like leadership. I have to ask what his church leadership is doing about it? Does he not answer to someone?
Now take River Valley Worship and I find no controversy with this church. Are they good or just not yet accused of something?
The title of this post isn’t to demean or prove anything wrong on either side, but I have a huge question. If these churches indeed have controversy, why have others pointed fingers of condemnation at them and not tried to rectify the issues first hand with these entities that claim such large audiences?
I was once a member of a church that had a strong leader. He was an only child and I would have to say he must have gotten pretty much anything he wanted as a child. His dad died from heart disease when he was a lad. He taught in a school for ministry, had an honorary doctorate that was given after many years of service. He was truly a great teacher and preacher, but he was not a “people person”. This got him into several controversies over his time in ministry.
People in this small town in which I live prayed for a man of God to come lead them and he was the one who showed up. When I met him he appeared aloof, caustic, yet very intelligent and knowledgeable about scripture. However his knowledge crossed grain with me and made me angry.
This anger put into me a strong desire to learn the word to prove him wrong if for no other reason. You see, I was a Hal Lindseyite and was well read in the works of John F. Walvoord and his son concerning the Rapture doctrine. This was my main falling out with this pastor. He had a different view of scripture on eschatology. I don’t want to belabor this subject here.
The church the people and he formed became controversial almost from the start and people in the town considered it a snake-handling cult simply because the building that was built had no windows except stained glass in the doors. They also accused this pastor of doing away with the second coming of the Lord. I beg to differ. He did not say even once there would be no second coming. He had a different approach. And to level that playing field a bit, before I met him I found a book on eschatology that thoroughly went through at least seven different views of the second coming. Safe to say we all agreed that there is a second coming.
I will adamantly tell you God placed me in that church for thirty years. During that time I studied in their school for ministry for at least four years and was in the worship team for twenty-five of those years. Enough of that, though. Suffice to say, I’ve had my share of short-comings as well as some of the other leadership there that I eventually became a part of.
BUT! The difference comes that when something wrong happened there was mediation of each and every situation with a fair hand. Why do I say this?
Our pastor was even involved with Chapel Hill Harvester Church and Bishop Earl Paulk. I know of the sexual misconduct he became embroiled in, but the matter came to a boil when lies and deceit became the order of the day to cover up what was going on. The Bishop ruined himself even after several pastors and counselors tried to restore him. Here’s the kicker. Christians should forgive.
If the offender continues to be unrepentant, then leave it before God. God’s principles of the kingdom that were set up in times past will take care of the unrepentant heart. Bishop Paulk died a miserable death at the age of 81. I don’t gloat over the judgement he received. I mourn for the loss of a soul that God had favored so highly yet brought himself to naught.
I look back at the about instances of these mega-ministries and certainly there may have been fault, but why do Christians eat their own? Do they not know it is only right to confront these issues and deal with them properly? Instead I see condemnation thrown around with no mediation. He who is without sin cast the first stone. And before going on a brother in Christ, first get the log out of your own eye before tackling splinters in another’s eye.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.” Proverbs 9:10-11
This subject must be first described in a positive sense. The reason for saying this is because we first have to create a reverential knowledge of God.
The word “Yiraw” translates to “fear (of God)”, respect, reverence, piety revered
The positive sense gained from this shows us that when we develop a healthy respect for God it becomes the open door for us to walk through into wisdom. This wisdom is described in this passage as “in a good sense”, skillful, wisdom with prudence and ethics.
Three things can be seen out of this type of fear.
Knowledge of the Holy One – Understanding
Wisdom, I feel, actually comes with age or growing into maturity. The trial and error time of life as we begin our walk is where this starts. It is the time when we learn principles, but have yet experienced the reality of those principles.
Wisdom is gained by falling down, finding out why, getting up and going on with an intact reverence for God who will guide us as we continue to walk. As we do so our knowledge of Him increases and the by-product is understanding.
Other things build upon this learning. Faith and trust become foundational to our walk based on our time of growing. Oh, we have faith in the knowledge of our salvation, but that is just the beginning. It starts there as faith, then to greater faith and yet greater faith
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”– Romans 1:17
Righteousness in the Greek word here implies the condition that is acceptable to God. This acceptance is marked by integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting. One part of the definition states that it comes by observance of divine law, but I was hazard a thought that it’s also a doing or obeying of those divine laws. In doing so one is approved of or acceptable of God.
How else can this be obtained without a proper reverence (fear) of God? Once again reverence opens the door to wisdom. Wisdom opens the door to knowledge and knowledge is the beginning of the growth of faith from it’s point of origin in salvation. The more we understand who God is will determine yet one other aspect of life.
In all of this, He will lengthen your days. I can say this is an actual working part of my life. In spite of my falling downs in life, I continued to get up, brush myself off and start walking yet again. You can too.
If you’ve fallen down, most of the time it comes from taking your eyes off of Him. He has strengthened you with wisdom and knowledge to know Him better and find that the faith He puts in you is sufficient to overcome all the negative connotations of another type of fear.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. – Luke12:32
In this verse we find there is a connotation to reverence, but there is also a note of to fear (i.e. hesitate) to do something (for fear of harm) We do honestly have a fear of the unknown. It’s a natural thing to do so by way of our soul, but God is speaking through His Son that He desires to give us the Kingdom.
To possess the Kingdom we must alleviate our fears of the unknown and activate our faith that grows from our wisdom and knowledge of our Father. We must not dwell on failures of the past and look forward to what God has fore-ordained for us to achieve. Possession of the Kingdom.
Negative fear has no part in yours or my life. Ongoing maturity in the spirit is the time of solidification of negating that type of fear. On a sliding scale of negative fear to positive fear (reverence) we should be progressing daily as we gain this knowledge of our Father through His wisdom endowed to us through faith in Him.
God is a loving God. He’s done all for us when His Son went to the cross, died and was resurrected for all of our shortcomings. Then He forgot them as though they never existed. We have freedom from the fear of His wrath. As long as we honestly do our very best to please God, just get up when we fall down and walk again, He will be pleased with you and accept you into the beloved.
I can’t express how much of the negative fear the world spews out is such a false narrative to life. It can so easily be overcome by looking to Him. He’s our fortress. Run to him when you sense you need help against the enemy of your souls.
The tag line on my email says it all. . .
There’s a place where fear has to meet the God you know. – Casting Crowns
All my life I thought I had things figured out. But of late, I’ve found yet another level of this life that God has opened to me. I’m at a point where I’m separating myself from what I used to think about what it is to be a Christian.
I talk to God constantly and in these times He has turned leaf after leaf of understanding to my mind. It has revolutionized my thinking with a whole new paradigm.
I can’t measure what other people’s experiences are with their realization and acceptance of salvation. All I can vouch for is mine. I feel if in some way I’d like to share what I’m feeling and yet I feel a bit inadequate to put down into print or verbalize.
When I was about sixteen, God undoubtedly wooed me to give Him my heart and accept his gracious redemption of my soul. From then till I was about twenty seven I squandered it while still knowing that at the age of thirteen I was told by God I had a calling to the ministry. At this latter age, after suffering what is now known to me and a time of depression I gave my heart afresh to Him.
This time in my life was a supernatural time for me. For whatever you believe I don’t have words to tell you different. Only what I know and believe to be true. On March 13th 1977 after asking God if it was real my Baptist mind wanted to know about the baptism in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. He answered my request.
Looking back now I see who I was as a candidate for the calling upon me. Young and crying fresh from the womb of life as it was to the life it was to be. Too young to know. Too young to know any better. So began my life-long journey to become what I thought God wanted me to be.
Many trials and testings are too numerous to mention in one setting. In a nut shell, I slowly declined over the years from fervency to failure. It hit me at the age of 56. Tired, broken and destitute in body, soul and spirit. By the time I reached 58 my first wife and I had separated and I was alone in a psychologist’s office suffering from severe depression. I’d completely lost my way.
BUT God. He’d not given up on me. Up out of the ashes of the old me began to rise a new person. The things I had done wrong slowly began to right themselves to what has resulted in a totally different person. It was my Jacob experience.
And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. – Gen 35:10
I had been called by my middle name all my life as “Larry”, but during this time of change I became know by all as “James” or just “Jim”. My old self had died. This is the new me.
My remarriage has been an integral part of my healing process. Ever since my separation she has been by my side encouraging me and loving me unconditionally. I’d never experience that kind of love before. Even from most Christians.
There has been one example after another since 2009 that has proven God was in the molding of the new me. My wife and I went to a church together for a while. This first church we attended together was where we got married. The second church we thought was home, but it turned into a disaster in the leadership and we left. God directed us to where we are now and He told me this is where we shall remain til the end of my days.
Since being in the church I’ve become recognized for the calling on my life and was ordained. My wife asked to join me and is attending a school to become ordained in a couple of year. This isn’t happening for me to see my end any time shortly. God has given me many more years to proclaim His goodness.
Lately, I’ve found God and me talking more. I thought prayer was a whole different thing than what I’m finding. It used to be more like a boss and employee type conversation, but at this point in my life I’ve found myself in a much deeper intimacy talk with my Father. Actually you would think me crazy, but we talk, cry and laugh together. Sometimes I’ll ask if “this” is okay and He’ll automatically say “yes”, “no” or “what do you have to say about it?” The latter is because He knows I already know the answer. I suppose you get my drift, so to speak.
Also, this church has given me a much stronger sense of foundation in Him. My surety of salvation is at its strongest ever in my entire life. My love for others has increased in multiples. I can honestly say I love other people more now than ever before. I also see more hunger in most everyone in this church than any other. There is only about two hundred of us, but we have a large heart.
Those of you reading this should earnestly seek to be more intimate with God. He’s not a mean ole God waiting to smack you on the back of the head and send you to hell for the last mistake you made. He’s a loving God. He laid out a plan for you to live eternally.
But, you say, what about judgment day? The only judgment that will condemn ones self is they bring that upon themselves by not accepting Him as their Savior. He completed the old law and instituted the new law. Accepting that new age of salvation of salvation from 2000 years ago is all He needed to do. Jesus said it all in three words. “It is finished”. Salvation was what was wrapped up in a gift to you by his shed blood.
All you have to do is accept that gift and walk as best you can in His righteousness. Whenever you fall down, get back up wipe yourself off by asking Him to help you with your shortcomings by acknowledging you were wrong and He is just to put His arm around you and help you along.
I’ve given up on Him years ago for a time, but no more. My mind is stayed on Him. Let that be your testimony as well. He’s my Rock, my Fortress and my Salvation.
Let’s see, I’ve had the Red measles, Black measles, German measles, mumps, chicken pox, my mom told me the docs told her I also had a mild case of small pox and an assortment of other diseases. I almost went deaf from a mastoid infection when I was seven. My mom was totally deaf in her left ear from something of the same.
I’ve had a cardiologist tell me I’d had a heart attack and yet another told me he thought I’d had a stroke. Those two as it turns out I have a normal heart nor did I have a stroke.
Now my brain could be called into question for simply thinking the way I do and say, but no, I didn’t have a stroke. The world will try to give you most any disease imaginable. I used to have high anxiety over it, but not any longer.
I’ve out-lived all my family, save my youngest brother who just turned fifty. There were seven of us.My dad even tried to tell me I’d be dead before or by sixty years old. I’ll be seventy this year. Still going strong.
Why am I saying this? Because this latest fiasco upon us does not put fear in me. Heck I was even in Germany when there was a major outbreak of Cholera to the south of where I was stationed.
The world is a no different today than it has been through time. These past few decades has made people soft. I don’t know what will happen to these last couple of generations. There are some good people out there, but they’ve not experienced what we old folks have endured.
I could ramble here and talk about living in a house with no plumbing and an outhouse and no TV and such, but I leave this for some other time.
I just know this one thing. Since God directed Libby Lewis Rowe and me to Kingdom Culture Church I’ve experienced a whole new level of understanding and felt the foundation under our lives becoming more solid as we move forward. That my friend is where you know you are answering God’s calling and election and making it sure. My mind is stayed on Him. Our trust is in Him. Tests are simply making this more true now than ever before.