Monday, December 29, 2014

Dec | 29 | Vanishing pride

CONFIDENCE

Vanishing pride

Habakkuk 1:12
Are You not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, You have appointed them for judgment; O Rock, You have marked them for correction. NKJV

I have said it before and I shall say it again: I am old enough to remember turning off the old black and white TV set and seeing the picture collapse into a bright dot in the centre of the screen before seeming to diminish and vanish into the infinite distance of the grey-green cathode ray tube. Distance has a vanishing point to our ever-searching eyes. As we stand on our own particular point on the time line and stare either as far back into time as we can see or as far into the future as our dreams or nightmares might carry us, we could also say that we peer from ‘vanishing point to vanishing point’, or as the Hebrew might express it: from everlasting to everlasting.

God is from everlasting. Like a large compass He stretches from the vanishing point to vanishing point and at each point along the line, He is fully present there, all at once, at the same time. Indeed, He is even before the historical eastward appearing vanishing point and after the westward disappearing future one, yes, God encompasses all and is in all. God is from the before beginning. He is from the East. He is the unchanging and ever certain light of the day and Jesus is His bright and morning star! What God has decreed, will come to pass. What God has covenanted shall not be broken. What God has declared will not be found to be a lie. Therefore, Habakkuk bases his incredulous intercession now on the tried and tested, proved and not found wanting, historical revelation of the very person of God Himself: Jehovah. Following this, Habakkuk also immediately testifies regarding the unyielding and holy nature of Jehovah and then wraps it all in the associative cry of his own dear heart. “Are You not from everlasting, O Lord MY God, MY Holy One?” As Matthew Henry intimates, Habakkuk might be saying: “We are an offending people and You are an offended God. Yet, we are still Your offended people and you are still our offended God.” I like that.

The Christian then may offend his heavenly Father, but He is still His heavenly Father to offend! Yes, the son may shame His heavenly Father, but He is still His heavenly Father’s son! Do you see this? So, at all points then, and in any situation and in any land, yes, the blood bought believer, no matter in what shade of darkness he might find himself in, can always say, “Are You not from everlasting, O Lord MY God, MY Holy One?”

We can and more than that, Habakkuk now intercedes with three most certain and fantastic, full faith declarations. Here they are:

  1. We shall not die. O Lord, 
  2. You have appointed them for judgment. 
  3. O Rock, You have marked them for correction.

Habakkuk sees the truth of the situation. God shall preserve a remnant. Israel shall not utterly be wiped from the face of the earth. Further than this, just as the Nazis found out, the proud judgment sword are also appointed themselves for judgment! Unlike Israel, they shall disappear forever! Indeed, in Germany of old, even the Swastika, that emblem of a once all conquering regime, eventually became that very mark of international contempt, which caused both the former wearers and its acceptable use, to be removed from history forever.

So shall God always deal In such a way with the proud people of this planet.

Listen:- The pride of your heart has deceived you, You who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, 'Who will bring me down to the ground?' Though you ascend as high as the eagle, And though you set your nest among the stars, From there I will bring you down," says the Lord. NKJV Obadiah 3-4

Pray: -  Lord, before you have to humble me, I humble myself before You of King of ages and Lord of all. Father, thank You that You are faithful and despite my waywardness and willfulness, You are still my Father and I am still Your son. So then O Lord might we always say from any pig trough: “I will arise and go to my Father and say, Father….”

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Dec | 19 | Do not cower to perverted power

ACTION

Do not cower to perverted power

Habakkuk 1:4
Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds. NKJV

http://www.66pictures.comSo here in Habakkuk, the strangling and setting aside of God’s law has not, I say, has not removed the nation's legal system. It has simply replaced it and replaced it with perverted laws, leading to a body of replacement legislation which is essentially there to shore up that society of God rejection, which is now become the solar system of the selfishness of the current elite, whoever they may be, in whatever political framework they manifest themselves in, from communism to fascism and every shade in between and beyond. When God’s law is rejected perverse judgments proceed. The removal of a death penalty for capital crimes; the legalization of murder in the form of abortion; the legalization of gay marriage and a thousand more besides, are all perversions, bent arrows full of self cursing which will always miss God’s mark. Christians cannot obey such legal perversion in any form and must stop cowering to such perverted power. In such cases of continued perversion, civil obedience simply becomes public affirmation of continuing sin. Tell me, how can Christians give such an approval to perversion?

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In the face of such perversion, I am not only approving of civil disobedience, I am commending it and recommending it. The Christian cowering to present perverted power must stop. Using all Biblically legitimate means, as individuals, we must personally stand against the going forth of godlessness even if our neck becomes hurt with the turning, our cheeks red with the slapping, yes, even when our feet pulse with the pain of yet another extra mile and our coatless back is wet with the cold dew of another morning without a roof.


Now then, when we then unite and organize ‘illegal’ civil disobedience, reminding ourselves that in standing against perversion we shall break their godless laws, I say their laws and not God’s laws, then such a so-called ‘illegal’ unity of resistance becomes a threat to present perversion and shall be attacked by them and in the attacking, their opening slander may eventually lead even to our slaughter. So let me cut to the chase: Should the Christian then be prepared for armed conflict?  

http://www.66pictures.comThere is only one arm that the Christian can Biblically introduce into such situations and that is ‘the arm of the Lord’ and the ‘arm of the Lord’ is none other than Jesus Himself. Jesus is the extension of God into all of our troubles and He is become our only shield and sword, and this outstretched arm of God in the flesh, shall truly save us from the slavery of all perversions. So, in our so called  ‘illegal’ civil disobedience, we must trust Jesus to save us and fight for us. Be aware right now, that to introduce any other arms of flesh into such a sad situation will lead to destruction, and you shall have on your hands: anything from what shall be regarded by the perverts, as guerilla-terrorist cells to even civil war. 9mm, you see, may be just enough in distance travelled to turn a nation to civil war. Be careful now. Be careful.

Governments must realize that legal authority does necessarily correlate with righteous rule and the continued rulings of blind unrighteousness will  lead to eventual unruliness in a disenfranchised people. As a parent of society then, elected or otherwise, Governments must not provoke their children to wrath.

Here in Habakkuk, God is now rolling up His sleeves and baring His arms, for God’s answer to the perversion of His holy law in Israel is the Babylonians. Here they come now!

As for you dear reader, look around you now. What might be God’s answer in your own nation of perversion?

Listen:- If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:18-21 NKJV

Pray: - Father, we shall be subject to governing authority, but not sin and not to unrighteousness and not to evil. When we find ourselves in such unhappy tension, teach us to pray and then will You come and take vengeance upon our hateful enemies. Amen and let it be so.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Dec | 15 | ‘Drinking down the damage’ or, ‘The Habakkuk conundrum’

BECOME

‘Drinking down the damage’ or, ‘The Habakkuk conundrum’

Habakkuk 1:1,2
The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw. O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, "Violence!" And You will not save. NKJV

Violence, is that same crime which filled the earth prior to the judgment flood. (Genesis 6:11), and it was the ground upon which God both justified and brought His global cataclysmic judgment. Habakkuk understands that God abhors such cruel wrongness, such inhuman injustice and undiminishing unruliness, and therefore, he has pounded God’s ear with the fact of its rising presence every single day, yes, he has testified to a wobbly and insane society all drunk on drinking down damage. So are all the nations who forget God: Drunk with sin. So are all the nations who reject and eject the laws of the Most High: They are drunken nations, pig like, full of demons, all racing and screaming toward the narrowed edge of a drowning cliff. 

Habakkuk was perplexed not only at God’s unwilling ears, but at His lack of providing deliverance from such drunken damage. Where was the desert wandering Shepherd when they needed saving from the bullying grabbers of the waters of life? Why had God seemingly gone AWOL? Why is He an absentee land lord ? Why is God obviously so uninvolved now in the lives of those He supposedly loves? Habakkuk, you see, is now with boundary broken frustration, angrily knocking on God’s door! Yes; with great respect. Yes; with great fearfulness. But in any event, when God’s door opens, the prophet himself is going to hand the Most High a summons, demanding Him to explain Himself!

God will open the door to Habakkuk, however, He shall completely ignore the warrant in the prophet’s hand, and in the so doing, turn the chattering and chimp like prophet into a hind, and lead him up to the heights, to witness sights unseen and lay silent his summons and all the summons of the ignorant who ask God the wrong questions!

So then dear friends, in our everyday life, what do we do with this ‘Habakkuk conundrum,’ when God seemingly refuses to act in accordance with His character; when God refuses to save from violence? (And by the way, this of course is the central theme of the prophecy.) Well, we go knocking on God’s door. And when He comes to answer us, He shall ignore our misplaced questions and transform us into another animal, taking us on a journey of true seeing and faithful understanding.

God has no problem with chattering chimps or angry chumps knocking loudly on His door. However, be aware, that God’s Theology is often Therianthropic, and so the next time you look in the mirror, the man you once thought you were might well have disappeared completely!

Sometimes, often times, God ignores and side steps our questions that He might then take us on a journey, which will in turn, both change our perspective and our very being, forever!

Listen:- The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. Habakkuk 3:19 NKJV

Pray: -  Lord, please hear our knocking and come to Your door. Lord, please answer our questions and if not, transform and set our feet on the heights of Your land, our land, my land, that I might behold the wonders of the Lord and goodness of God and so be satisfied. Amen and let it be so.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dec | 13 | How to get God’s ears to wiggle once more

CHANGE

How to get God’s ears to wiggle once more

Habakkuk 1:2
O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You,"Violence!" And You will not save. NKJV T

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So, Habakkuk is tired of his desperate and repetitious double barreled prayer for mercy and deliverance. However, there are two further parts to his three sectioned open question to God, that second part being: “O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear.”

Now, we know that God knows and hears all things, but this ‘not hearing’ here, is in fact a ‘not responding to calls for mercy.’ Yes, it is not only a recognition of the un-cupped nature God’s right hand from His once leaning over head, but a testimony of the erecting of the high gates of indignation around the once warm entrance to the ever loving wiggling of the rabbit ears of God. Interestingly, these high barred gates of indignation now set up around the ears of God, have all been cast in the forges of their own rebellion and UPS shipped to heaven on the back of a ‘poo-brown’ truck called ‘arrogance.’ The new covenant good news is this: that ‘Repentance’, that armored car of God’s grace in Christ Jesus, can bust open those gates of God’s indignation forever!

http://www.66pictures.comSo, if you are groping in a noon day discomfort: repent of your sin.
If you find yourself itching in uncomfortable situations:  Repent of your sin.
If the scabies of your disease is being picked at and pointed at by mocking onlookers:  Repent of your sin.
If there is a shudder of coming judgment reverberating through your being:  Repent of your sin.
If the cold loneliness of your situation is drawing you at last to the warmth of God’s midnight fire:  Repent of your sin.
If you have woken up naked in a pig trough tonight:  Repent of your sin.
If the silence of heaven is making the ears of your heart twitch and wiggle like a nervous rabbit, yes, if you are ungodly this day AND YOU KNOW IT, then my friend, there is hope! Repent of your sin.

Listen:- For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. Romans 5:6-9 NKJV



Pray: -  Turn up the freezer Lord. Make it cold outside Your Kingdom. Make the darkness grip our being and press us tight like the icy pressured depths of the black ocean floor. Open our ears to the howl of the circling wolves and fill us with a drawing fear, that all who are lost would be pulled and pushed to the welcoming orange glow of the courtyard fires of Your midnight love. Have mercy on us O God, have mercy on us before our self made gates surrounding Your fiery indignation are closed forever to those outside. Amen and let it be so.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dec | 09 | It’s coat hanger time!


FIGHT

It’s coat hanger time!

Philippians 2:12-16
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. NKJV

http://www.66pictures.comI am a ‘Fundamentalist’ and I am an ‘Evangelical,’ and this double descriptive nomenclature cannot be pronounced today by many without the accompaniment at the very least of a sneering spitting. Sometimes I feel that two pieces of paper have been stuck to my back. The one piece between my shoulder blades says: “Ignorant and Simplistic Bible Believing Bigot” and one in the small of my back which says quite simply: “Kick me!”

I am neither a clever man nor a learned one. I am a poor literate and an observer of humanity and of Christians and the Christian church in particular and have noted, quite pragmatically, that our understanding (study) and experience of God (life), that is our practical day to day Theology can be seen through the four pains of a cloudy window labeled: Evangelical, Catholic, Liberal and Charismatic or as John Wesley purported: Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience. These four panes of my cloudy window are ‘Welsey’s Quadrilateral’, being not only prescriptive as to how our understanding and experience of God should be molded, but actually descriptive of how just about everyone arrives at their experience of understanding and experiencing God anyway!

http://www.66pictures.comNow then, the unwisely chosen double edged scalpel of ‘rightly dividing the Word of truth’ has always been mainly and mostly ‘tradition’ and ‘reason’ and I see tradition as not only encompassing the teaching of the early church fathers and the great reformers of the church, but also including even our own cultural history and influences like our family, and more importantly, those turbulent window pane splattering seeming ‘new traditions’ which are today putting more mud on that fourfold orifice of light than they do clear away the dust. In other words, ‘tradition’ is also that which is being talked of and proposed today. The seeming new trinity of traditions, (maybe we should use the words ‘latest’ or ‘resurgent,’ for is anything really new?) of homosexual ‘accepting’ Christianity, of conditionalism with respect to the eternality of hell and of universalism with respect to the ultimate salvation of all, have, like Drake’s fire ships, sailed into the anchored and sleepy armada of Evangelicalism under the pink pennants of post modernism and therapeutic Christianity and caused such a blaze among us that the window pane of Sola Scriptura, that primary prism of all the men of absolute, seems to be fractured with long and creeping spider cracks and ready to disintegrate and fall in pieces out of its hot, bubbling and paint peeled panel. These are troubling times. Haven’t they always been?

Might I suggest that if ‘experience’ is the horizontal plane of a coat hanger upon which I might hang the trouser of my suit and ‘reason’ and ‘experience’ are the two connected diagonal sides upon which I might slip my jacket, then that fourth plane, cork screwing out of the apex of my triangle, is the firm hook which hangs all my clothes in the wardrobe of God Most High, and that hook is Scripture, without which, all our clothes lay dirtied on the floor.

Tradition, reason and experience, though an integral part of all our hanging days, must come under and connect to the Scriptures; must be brought into shape by them, be held by them and have their trueness judged by them. There are three pre-requisites to counteracting error and one solution to the same: Time, talking, a table top and an open Bible. Friends, now is not the time for silent withdrawing, but rather, it is the time for talking, it is the time for disputing, it is the for the clash of foreheads, it is the time to put your big boys pants on and start contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. It’s coat hanger time!



Listen:- Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. Jude 3 NKJV Pray: Father, open our hearts, open our minds, open our Bibles, open our mouths. Amen and let it be so.

Pray: -  Father, open our hearts, open our minds, open our Bibles, open our mouths. Amen and let it be so.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dec | 07 | 'Young, Reformed and Restless?'

OBEY

'Young, Reformed and Restless?'

Psalms 71:17-21
O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come. Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, Shall revive me again, And bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness, And comfort me on every side.


I am writing today’s Bible insight from a position of someone who is ‘Old, Misinformed and Tired’ and I also suspect, that I am part of an increasingly large camp of believers who is still waiting for that rising ‘new generation’ of superstars to come and ‘shake the earth once more.’ Listen; it just ‘aint happening.

I am way past believing that God, like some lecherous old geezer, is always looking for younger models to have His way with. Does that offend you? Well, let me tell you that I am offended at being treated as a cast off from the great works and purposes of God just because some older guy with a goatee who hides his supposed wisdom with hair dye, says otherwise. Listen: if I am alive; God has use for me. Listen: if I am willing to pay the price; God has use for me. Listen: if I am rooted in His Word; God has use for me. Listen: if I don’t have my own shining and enameled teeth; God still has use for me. Listen: if I don’t look like a stud; God still has use for me. Listen: I don’t need a new tattoo; I don’t need to grow some freaky facial hair; I don’t need a new vocabulary, a new book or an app of my own to be used by God; I don’t need some new leather wrist strap, or a string of plastic neck beads; I don’t need to smoke the odd cigar or surreptitiously sup on artesian ale while lying on my mission finance application form; I need to know the Lord and so much so that my face shines with heaven’s glory and my words pack some dynamite!


You have probably spotted that I am tired of hearing about the reformed the young and the restless, and all the glories that the new generation will usher in. Lord! ‘Conform’ us to Your Word. Lord! Let the youngsters get in line for we the older are pressing ahead to the finish line. Old war horses maybe, but we know that our time is running out and so we are galloping harder still. Restless Lord, restless! Lord, today I pray that you will put a bomb in the boomer generation! Listen, I tell you, if you are older, you have probably been very mis-informed. God is not over with you! I am tired of hearing this. Get up….even if it does take a little longer….get up and get involved in the work of the Lord. God gave older people hemorrhoids for a reason you know, so they wouldn’t just settle down and sit on it! Look you, it’s time to get re-tyred! It’s time to get up and get on with it.


Listen:- My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits. I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. Psalms 71:15-16 NKJV

Pray: - O God, do not be far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! Let them be confounded and consumed Who are adversaries of my life; Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor Who seek my hurt. But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. (Psalms 71:12-14 NKJV)

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Did you know that we are preaching from each of the 66 Books of the Holy Bible in the 66 Most Influential Cities of the 250 Nations of the World? That's 16,500 cities which will hear a solid prophetic message from each book of the Bible over the next 25 years! Do you want to be part of this? Then please go to www.66Cities.TV to find out how.







  

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Jul | 30 | 28 People Crushed to Death! 8 Million More Blinded!

DANGER

28 People Crushed to Death! 8 Million More Blinded!

Acts 5:35-39
And he said to them: "Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it — lest you even be found to fight against God." NKJV

When writing this insight, I had recently come back to the ‘Kingdom’, the Kingdom of Fife in particular. For me, it has been a circuitous thirty four year spiritual route from being found by Christ in the Naval Dockyard area of Rosyth, to now, whilst typing, being here once more staring out of my window across these same waters now in Kirkcaldy bay, right across the Firth of Forth toward Edinburgh.

Early this afternoon, my wife and I mounted one of the ‘Paps of Fife’ (which is a wonderfully old fashioned turn of phrase, and by the way, means exactly what you think it means), East Lomond it was, or as it's also known, Falkland Hill, which is some 1512 ft above sea level. From the heights, I breathed in such a view of the Kingdom below me, that it made me drunk with wonder. It was beautiful but bracing, and so we descended to Falkland Palace below and the Lomond tavern in particular, where, whilst being surrounded by pictures of Robert The Bruce, William Wallace and the ‘We shall never surrender’ portraits of the defeat of the English at the battle of Bannockburn, I washed down a Scottish Steak Pie pub lunch with some foreign ale. It seems that we Scotts are always deceiving ourselves. Now, warmer and refreshed, we returned to Kirkcaldy where I continued my investigations of the Christian residents who had once resided in this ‘Kingdom’ here on earth.

Edward Irving, regarded by some as the forerunner of the British Charismatic movement, spent seven formative years here in Kirkcaldy and later returned to the long town from London in 1828 to preach at the parish church. It was so full of listeners that day, that the gallery collapsed and killed some twenty-eight people. Spurgeon of course, had a very similar tragedy in his own popular ministry.

Now I mention Irving in particular, because as a young converted sailor I often attended a reformed Baptist church in Edinburgh, which at the time had purchased and was meeting in a very small portion of an exceptionally large and then long defunct beautiful church building once used by a protestant Christian sect called the ‘Catholic Apostolic Church’. Long ago now, I remember being shown around the rest of the building, which was being used then as a warehouse for Banner of Truth Books, and whilst looking at the magnificence of the architecture and richness of the murals and stained glass, I remember asking what had happened to the congregation? “Oh,” was the disillusioned reply “they were just another group of liturgical Charismatic Christian fundamentalists looking for the imminent return of Christ. They disappeared when their own self appointed twelve apostles eventually died out.” These ‘Irvingites’, for that is what they were; these prophetic, apostolic, tongue speaking miracle working Christians, at the height of their short lived life, at one time numbered eight million souls worldwide! What made this man Irving so popular? What made the movement so materially prosperous? Moreover, most importantly, what made it, like so many other protestant sects, even like my own Countess of Huntingdon Connexion of churches, die out so very quickly?

In private, first note that Irving had a very affable likeable humorous personality. Publicly he was an ostentatious and charismatic extrovert, able to couple earnestness with stinging satire in stunning and pointed proportion. He was well worth the watching and well worth the listening to. Hence the crushing of twenty eight people due to lack of crowd control. Now, there was and is nothing wrong with this engaging type of personality and preaching, but it is worth noting that even though Irving was not a crowd pleaser, he was still most certainly a crowd puller. So then, let me ask, how many crowd pullers now occupy the pulpits and fading TV screens of our current modern mega churches? Remember, there is nothing wrong with a crowd puller, but please recognize that the propensity of the character and style of such a person can just as well be used to sell soap powder or start the Nazi party.

Second, note that Irving was no ‘mug’. He was an intellectual who became a mystic. He would have fit well with the goateed brigade of the post modern and emergent crowd that’s for sure. There is nothing new under the sun is there? Indeed, Irving was an intellectual who moved in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, advocated the centrality of the Scriptures, and church unity under the four fold gifting’s of Christ to the church. So far so good.

Thirdly, Irving was a millenarian believing in the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ to set up His Kingdom on earth. Indeed around the turn of the 19th century, (or the turn of any century it seems) these millennial teachings find many a listening and inquisitive ear. It’s the same today, and today especially.

Now then, though I do not sport the intellectual prowess of Irving, I am a millenialist. I also believe in the soon return of Jesus Christ, in the present fivefold gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as in the modern day presence of the gifts of healings and tongues. (Though, by the by, personally I have never seen a gift operation of the former and most of the latter which I have heard, is flesh.) Being then synchronized at many key points, what can I, what can we, learn from the swift disappearance of eight million similarly connected believers?

In summary, here are three things to ‘beware!’

First, though each day most certainly takes us a ‘days march nearer home’ as well as bringing the return of Christ that much closer, there are most definite signs of His coming which must all occur simultaneously before His return. In light of this, and of Christ’s statement on the unknowability of the date, it is wrong to set dates and timescale expectations of the return of Christ. As for me, I surely do expect Christ to return in my lifetime and I believe I have good reason for such an expectation. Yet, I could be wrong and in all likelihood, I probably am! This strange tension of uncertain expectation should be the mark of the true believer until the ‘signs of His coming’ all come about. Beware then of any man, or any group, that is moved from a preparing expectation to an assumed ‘certainty’ about such timescales.

Second, the Irvingites, all of them, were highly committed tythers. Regular giving to the local church is necessary for sure, so who can say anything against that? However, note that it was this regular and committed giving became the engine for the rapid growth of this mixtured movement of wonder and recycled heresies! It is right to give but there is power in the pound. You be aware then, of what vehicle that pound-empowered engine is driving and the direction in which it is going. Let each one of us examine the exit notes of our wallet, be they pounds, dollars or Euros

Lastly, the Irvingites had an astonishingly bold leadership. One aspect of the Irvingites was the restoration of the 'Apostolate of the twelve' as a precursor to Christ's second coming. Interestingly, Irving himself was not a Catholic Apostolic Church apostle, but the twelve who were, were deemed to be both unique and irreplaceable and so became the only people who could ordain priests. That being the case, there were no more ordinations after the last Apostle died in 1901 thus leading to the inevitably of the decline of the sect and the closure of most of its churches. Obviously, these twelve apostles, bold enough to announce even to Royalty and all high church authorities in the world of their own Divine appointment, were just plain wrong! They were deluded deceivers dressed in decorated man made vestments of high office. Beware then of other modern day self deluded deceivers, who sport charismatic personalities, large followings and have lots of money, who in turn focus on millennial teachings with a charismatic and prophetic spin followed by dodgy healings thrown in for good measure.

There is nothing new under the sun, and yes indeed, the old recycled ‘tut’ is coming around once more, only this time, the deceptions are set in glinting bleached white teeth.

Listen:- For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 2 Thessalonians 3:11-15 NKJV

Pray: - Father, we long for and look for the return of Christ our King and Saviour. Living in this desire, walking in this tension, when all is abnormal around us, even when the waves roar and crash against our own crumbling concrete walls, still keep us fixed in the cyles of normal everyday living, grounded in the truth of Your word, fixed, firm settled, solid, steadfast sure. Amen and amen.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Jun | 15 | True Paranymphonia and the prophets of darkness

CHOOSE

True Paranymphonia and the prophets of darkness

John 3:28-30E
You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent before Him.' He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. NKJV

At the date of my writing, 2014, ‘Forced Marriage’ in England and Wales has now become a punishable crime. There is however, a great deal of difference between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage and certainly in the ancient near east, and therefore in the Bible, it was the duty of the Father to arrange a marriage for his son, yes, it was the duty and the privilege of the King to arrange a marriage, to procure a bride for His Prince. “The kingdom of heaven” says Jesus, “is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,” Matthew 22:2 NKJV

Such an arranged marriage would have had a couple of Paranymphs floating around, one for the bride and one for the bridegroom, who would both be there to ensure the encouragement, safety, and smooth running of all things related to the bride and the groom of the wedding. The lately demised Western marriage ceremony once, even be it ever so poorly, reflected this in the presence of the Best man and his groomsmen, and the Maid of honor, or the Matron of honor, that Chief bridesmaid and her bridesmaids. That once majestic emblem of the union of Christ and His church has now received its final death blow and for now, the present manifestation of marriage now presents us with the stained white of a vomitarian monstrosity. The present offers us no true picture of that symbolic union, no, for these truer wedding pictures of a real mystical union, we now have to look to the past and look to the future.

The Scriptures consistently present the Church as the Bride of Christ, a chosen people betrothed to the Son of God. This is a great simplicity which has now become so corrupted, that we are, on the back of this corruption, and from the source of a very different spirit, now being presented with what is in effect another Christ and another Gospel. ( 2 Corinthians 11;1-4)

True ministers of the Gospel cannot make a marriage out of monstrosity. Let the devil have as many midnight ceremonies as he might, but the true ministers of light cannot get involved in this, and all who do, show themselves to be nothing but the blinded ministers of darkness, heretics, wolves in sheep’s clothing, emissaries of Satan, even though they tote a Bible and once called themselves Evangelical. True Christians must separate themselves from such dangerous compromiser's, from such prophets of darkness, from those repenter’s from the light, from those embracer's and therefore promoters of corrupting darkness. Come out from among them and be separate.

The promotion of unbiblical gender roles within the home and the local church, the acceptance of homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle and along with it, the attempted forcing of the acceptance of same sex marriage has now finally split the church and separated the true believer from the charlatan. I say again then, let the devil have as many ceremonies as he will, but let the church be sanctified, let the church be holy, let the church be separate from any and all maligning of this so heavenly ‘type’, this marriage of one man to one woman, in enduring respect and sacrificial love.

John felt honored to be the friend of the groom. He was happy to be so. When you stand for Biblical marriage, know too that you are honored for being a friend of the groom. Rejoice in this. I say again, rejoice! All monstrous marriages, both taint and decrease the depicted glory of Christ which should enfold such a holy union. Decide today whether you shall increase spreading darkness or increase the light of Christ.

Listen:- Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21:2 NKJV

Pray: -  Father, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this age and of spiritual wickedness in high places. So then O Lord, be true to Your heart and to Your word, and bring them down our God, yes, bring them down to the pit, even to everlasting chains where they shall wait for the judgment of the great day. Amen and let it be so.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Jun | 14 | Dan’s refusal of God’s designer clothes

DARE

Dan’s refusal of God’s designer clothes

Joshua 19:47, 48
And the border of the children of Dan went beyond these, because the children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem and took it; and they struck it with the edge of the sword, took possession of it, and dwelt in it. They called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families, these cities with their villages. NKJV

Seven of the tribes had still not taken possession of their inheritance. The sent promised-land surveyors had now returned and the set boundaries of firm occupancy had now been set. God was saying: “Go fill the land. Go take your land.” Up to now they had not taken full possession. History would tell us that they would not. Why?

Well, maybe they were frightened? Maybe they were tired of war and conquest, of screaming and of blood? Maybe they were cowards? Maybe they just did not have enough faith and so maybe, they were content to become compromisers? Certainly Israel’s coming near history as portrayed on the book of judges would show them to be the latter. Even so, for now, God’s command and covenant remained sure. “I have given you this land, I am with you, so go in and take possession of it.”

With the Canaanite dooms-day document in his hand, Joshua, through the casting of lots, determined from God which were to be the boundaries of each tribe. Interestingly, it is ‘Desperate Dan,’ who, without any seeming retribution toward him or admonition regarding his actions, breaks out beyond his own allotted boundaries and possesses more than his God given allocation. Why? Because he wanted to? Why? Because he could? Is this the spirit of Caleb manifesting itself in the tribe of Dan? You know, “God is surely with me, so give me this mountain!” Unfortunately, no, it is not. All is not what it appears to be.

Now of course, it is true that Dan found their inheritance too small. Well, when you share your bed with an elephant, of course it is hard to turn over! And that’s just what happened with Dan. The bull elephant of the Amorite valleys said “Hell no! We won’t go!” And they did not: “And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountains, for they would not allow them to come down to the valley;” Judges 1:34 NKJV. Look now: Dan’s God was big enough to wipe clean the valley floor, however, Dan’s faith in their God and their own measure of fortitude in following His commands were not big enough to possess that which rightfully belonged to them, which, at the end of the day, still lay in the hands of their enemies. This lack of faith squeezed Dan’s shoulders together and so they turned from their God given possession toward some easier pickings.

It seems this ‘lack of faith’ in Dan festered quickly into continual compromise. So much so, that Dan is squeezed into the sea, its commerce and it’s conquest, and so much so, that Dan, some would say, becomes an unsealed and disinherited tribe. Now them without going into the controversies and complexities of the tribe of Dan and its ultimate end, there are two principles of great note for the would be ‘man of faith’:

First of all, remember that in sport, being praised for the winning of a national title is a great thing indeed, but then again, everyone knows you are not the world champion even though you could have been. Yes, it’s good to gain the lesser, but my friend, you have still lost the greater, and everyone knows it. The first principle then is this: Defeat can clothe itself in lesser victories. Yes, settling for less, can be dressed up in some surprisingly good looking clothes.

Secondly, those old sayings of rather of “better being a live donkey than a dead lion,” or of being a “large frog in a smaller pond” are the sayings of the ‘settling for less.’ Dress it up how you will my friends, but ‘getting by’ is how most people live. Now then, look where that has led the church, and God help us, the present Levi stock of shepherds, still earn their money by keeping things just ‘so-so’. Be honest, most of our shepherds are paid to put new springs on our wagon and keep them well oiled. I tell you, you will never hear talk of ‘courage’ from men or girls dressed like men, who settled for less and long, long time ago. Here is the 2nd principle then: Most never the raise the bar higher. Most settle for less than ‘everything’ and those that are ‘shooting high’ are those few that are truly 'counting the cost.' Are you 'counting the cost'?

Look tonight in your personal wardrobe. What kind of clothes are hanging in there? Are they designer labelled or just 'off the rack'? Dare to get 'everything' friends. Dare to follow God’s design for you. Dare to kick out the elephants. Dare!

Listen:- “…..Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:33-40 KJV

Pray: -  Lord, let me not settle for less, but allow me to live this life in the possessed fullness of Your so great promises. Grant me the gift of faith O Lord, and with it courage and strength and perseverance. Whatever the outcome, help me be part of that golden band, ‘of whom the world is not worthy.’ Amen and let it be so.

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Jun | 13 | The early day coffee shop of the Bright Morning Star

MASTERY

The early day coffee shop of the Bright Morning Star

Isaiah 26:8,9
Yes, in the way of Your judgments, O Lord, we have waited for You; The desire of our soul is for Your name And for the remembrance of You. With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. NKJV

I keep referring to this I know, but I am old enough to remember watching a black and white TV whose programming went on at a particular time and went off at another, the night time shut down always being preceded by a drum roll and the national anthem before the picture collapsed like a tiny star into a small dot at the center of the green cathode ray tube. I remember a time when the world was afforded time to contemplate and time to consider its purpose, its pleasures and its end.

By choice, practice and discipline, I am a 4:40 man. I rise each day at 4:40am. I enjoy these times of day for in the 21st century though many people love the night, very few folk love the mornings. Indeed, if you want to, you can feel the rising disdain for the day and the reluctance to embrace it, groaning together beneath a million shoulder tugged duvets. For me though, to watch the night plunge its hands into its trouser pockets and trudge home grumpily toward the West, kicking all the cans of the fading moonlight along its path as it winds its way through all the stuff the world has left lying around from the day before, is a great sight indeed, yes, it lends itself to some silent staring and coffee and contemplation. I have grown to love these morning times.

After writing a most moving departure note which he left to his wife, Jonathan Edwards, that ‘Great American Awakener,’ aged just 54 years, left this breathed out life with both an honest observation and a great expectation. He said: “Trust in God and you need not fear,” and more wonderfully, “Now, where is Jesus of Nazareth, my true and never-failing friend.” I love that.

In cities that never sleep, the reluctant mornings are still the best times of the day, when the world and its demands are diminished to a dot. They are times when the national anthem of heaven can still be so clearly heard, yes, they are times when you can rise from your own slumber and declare “Bring on the day for I trust in God and I shall not fear” yes, they are the quiet time of the coming day when you can brush your teeth, make your coffee, grab your Bible and your seat in your own quiet corner and say with expectant glee, each and every brand new day, “Now, where is Jesus of Nazareth, my true and never-failing friend.”

Discipline is a mark of true spirituality. Desire is a mark of what you consider pleasing, precious, valuable, and worthy. In these Lukewarm and tepid days, Christian conversation, especially amongst the remaining males of the church, is marked mostly with the absence of such a desirous looking for the Lord, and the fat flabbiness of a great spiritual lethargy. I tell you, tonight though, that if you want to be a muffin top man whose mouth is full of nonsense, then just sleep on my friend, yes, just keep on sleeping on.

Desire and discipline are covalent sparks. Choose one and you shall get the other. Man of God, I say choose one and you shall get the other! The morning hours await you and if you embrace them, they shall prepare you for the day and prepare you for heaven. Choose one by setting the alarm clock an hour earlier than usual. Do it now for I wonder if the resting God who never sleeps nor slumbers enjoys His own cup of coffee in the mornings and in the so doing, is always pleased to welcome friends to own His fresh morning table? Yes, I think the Son of God loves these early morning hours, indeed, isn’t one of His best and brightest names indicative of this?

Listen:- "….. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star." Revelation 22:16 NKJV

Pray: - “Now, where is Jesus of Nazareth, my true and never-failing friend.”

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Did you know that we are preaching from each of the 66 Books of the Holy Bible in the 66 Most Influential Cities of the 250 Nations of the World? That's 16,500 cities which will hear a solid prophetic message from each book of the Bible over the next 25 years! Do you want to be part of this? Then please go to www.66Cities.TV to find out how.