FATHERS AND SONS

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Early on January 19, 2012 I published a study about two sons.  Later that morning my father left his two sons after 95 years on this earth.  I served as a live in caregiver for a few years so now I will move on as Abraham did.  I have a father in heaven who will lead me to eternal life.  My father may not have found the fullness of relationship with our heavenly father, but he demonstrated fair treatment to the people in his life.  I will accept the assignment to share the eternal opportunity of life in Christ with whosoever is willing to come.  God will bring many brothers back together in his kingdom.  May we see you there when he raises us again to glory.

Clayton Luther, 95, passed away at home on 1/19/2012. A visitation will be at Bunker’s University Chapel, 3529 E. University Dr., Mesa, Monday 1/23/2012 from 6:00-8:00p.m. Clayton is survived by his sons John and David both of Michigan.
Visitations: 6:00PM to 8:00PM on Monday, January 23rd, 2012 at Bunker’s University Chapel
http://www.bunkerfuneral.com/ http://www.mapquest.com/maps?address=3529+E+University+Dr&city=Mesa&state=AZ&zipcode=85213
Bunker Family Funerals 3529 E University Dr Mesa, AZ 85213-8619

YOU HAVE MAIL

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RETURN TO SENDER 

The ark was captured by the Philistines, but they were not aware of the danger it presented to them.  They began to notice some problems.

And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod.  When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.  And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.  And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him.  Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon’s house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.  1 Samuel 5:1-5

An idol can’t stand on its own if it is out of balance, or if there is an earthquake.  Perhaps they thought this was a coincidence.  God is a great communicator though; they got the message.

But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.  And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.  They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither.  And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.  1 Samuel 5:6-9

Em´er`ods: Hemorrhoids; piles; tumors; boils. From The Free Online Dictionary.  They had pain with a return address on the message.  They knew the author of their pain, even if they didn’t share where it hurt.  The forwarded the message to another city and their neighbors knew their treachery.  Another city was so cursed, and voted to get rid of the object that exposed them to the God if Israel.

Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.  So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.  And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.  1 Samuel 5:10-12

People were dying of terminal hemorrhoids before they got the message, but it got through.  Now they have to figure out what to do about it.  They decided to return it with interest.

And the ark of the LORD was in the country of the Philistines seven months.  And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the LORD? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place.  And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.  Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords.  Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land. 1 Samuel 6:1-5

The Philistines may have heard a lot about the Jews and their God.  They knew they would be expected to make payment for their trespass.  They also knew about the mistakes of the Egyptians in dealing with Israel.  Their priests warned them not to repeat those mistakes. 

Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?  Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them:  And take the ark of the LORD, and lay it upon the cart; and put the jewels of gold, which ye return him for a trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it away, that it may go.  And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Bethshemesh, then he hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us: it was a chance that happened to us.  1 Samuel 6:6-9

Ahh…a test to see if God is real.  See which way the cows go and determine if God is guiding them or not.  The cattle moved out like they were guided by GPS.  God’s Personal Sign was exactly what they were following!

And the men did so; and took two milch kine, and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home:  And they laid the ark of the LORD upon the cart, and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of their emerods.  And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after them unto the border of Bethshemesh.  1 Samuel 6:10-12

So the ark made its way back to Israel, where the people were not expecting to see this object coming home on its own. 

And they of Bethshemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley: and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it.  And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Bethshemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone: and they clave the wood of the cart, and offered the kine a burnt offering unto the LORD.  And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD, and the coffer that was with it, wherein the jewels of gold were, and put them on the great stone: and the men of Bethshemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day unto the LORD.  And when the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day.  1 Samuel 6:13-16

So the Philistines saw the cart go to Israel, and knew that God had indeed been the one who afflicted them.  But the Jews of Bethshemesh were also to be reminded of the power of God.

And these are the golden emerods which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering unto the LORD; for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one;  And the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fenced cities, and of country villages, even unto the great stone of Abel, whereon they set down the ark of the LORD: which stone remaineth unto this day in the field of Joshua, the Bethshemite.  And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.  And the men of Bethshemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? and to whom shall he go up from us?  And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjathjearim, saying, The Philistines have brought again the ark of the LORD; come ye down, and fetch it up to you. 1 Samuel 6:17-21

The Law is still in place, and only the Levites can service the ark.  The  Bethshemites ask others to take this ark away.  Why did this all take place?

The Palestinians today live in the same areas among the Jews.  Israel is still not fully occupying the Promised Land.  Israel has not acknowledged their Messiah either.  They lost the ark because of the sins of the sons of Eli and because they took no action against them.  The ark was lost to punish them, but it also sent a message to the Philistines. 

God may not be able to deliver the fullness of blessing to Israel, but he is still their God.  No nation may exalt themselves against his promises to them.  Even the gentiles in Christ are reminded not to forget that we are grafted in to Abraham’s people.

THE COMING GLORY

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CUP HALF FULL OR EMPTY?

 

After God admonished Israel for the golden calf, he gave them some promise.  He would provide an angel to clear the way to the promised land.  But he assumed some distance to protect this rebellious people from his judgment.  

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it:  And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:  Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.  And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his ornaments.  Exodus 33:1-4

 

The late Dr. Ben David Lew published a bible that featured the Lord’s words in red in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament.  I do this here to illustrate his words also.

 

Notice that the people have a great promise, and they only hear the warning against their stubbornness.  It is as if they know they intend to rebel, and expect cursing instead of blessing.  At least they believe that God will keep his promises now.  The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom at least.  But they would not have God’s presence on their journey.  What a way to go to school! 

 

I find people willing to join a ministry, yet reluctant to commit to any actual participation.  They will begin the journey, and then panic at the edge of the Red Sea.  They will believe the evil report, and make plans to be rebellious.  They can hear the warnings, and yet resign themselves to their doom because they know the evil in their own hearts.  We know that we can not proceed on the strength of our own works. 

 

Do we still harbor our secret sins, even knowing that God sees our hearts?  And somewhere in this heart I know he will have a lesson plan waiting for that adventure too.  God has provided our need in lesson plans that will repair our weakness.  Oh man, school is not out forever!

 

Indeed, these people have the beginning of wisdom (fear of God), because they knew not to wear their ornaments.  The Lord soon told them not to wear these jewelry items.  They had taken a step closer.  Moses now asked God to step closer too.

 

And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.  Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.  Exodus 33:12-13

 

Moses again intercedes for the people in spite of their sin that has so angered God.  He also asks God to go with the people into the promised land.

 

And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.  For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.  And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.  Exodus 33:15-17

 

While he is asking such great favors, Moses gets a little bold and asks for something more than anyone has asked of God before or since.

 

And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.  And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.  And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.  Exodus 33:18-20

 

And so Moses saw a glimpse of the Lord’s back, as seeing his face would be too much for a man to survive. 

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.

And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.

Exodus 34:1-2

 

And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.  And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.  Exodus 34:5-7

 

This red text is again the Lord himself quoted here.  It is interesting to see that he calls himself both merciful and yet a judge of the guilty.  There is peace for the repentant, but not for ongoing sin.  We must turn from our errors to find grace.

 

And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.  Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.  Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:  But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:  For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:  Exodus 34:10-14

 

Association with the enemy will draw us into their errors.  Today idolatry is not always in the form of statues of false gods though.  We worship fame, fortune, and the body as well.  We must worship the creator, not the creation.

 

Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;  And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.  Exodus 34:15-16

 

Have we seen men and women giving worship to beautiful people?  Some take fandom to the point of idolatry.  Lavish praise is a warning of misguided worship.  But we can acknowledge the goodness being created in a person by the creator.  Those who receive praise should consider if it is honoring God, and not the mortal who is only righteous by grace.

 

The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.  All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.  But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.  Exodus 34:18-20

 

The first fruit is devoted to the Lord as an offering, or tithe.  In the agricultural economy the first born livestock is offered.  They might offer a lamb for the valuable donkey, but if not redeemed, that colt was to be killed.  The children were devoted to the Lord’s service too.  There was no place in the law for slacking on that which belongs to God.

 

Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.  And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.  Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel.  For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the LORD thy God thrice in the year.  Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.  The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.  Exodus 34:21-26

 

The rest of the Law was repeated and confirmed.  Victory over their enemies was conditional on their obedience.

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.  And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. Exodus 34:27-28

 

This time Moses must write the words himself, where the original tablets were written by God.  Those tablets were broken when Moses found the law being broken even before he was able to deliver it to the people. 

 

And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.  And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.  And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai.  And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.  But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.  And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Exodus 34:30-35

 

This discussion of the veil is revisited in the New Testament by Paul.

 

Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:  Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.  And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:  Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.  But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:  How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?  For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.  For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.  For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.  Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:  And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:  But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.  But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.  Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.  2 Corinthians 3:2-16

 

Now we are epistles, or letters.  We are a living bible of flesh, his words written in our hearts.  We are not super men, but depend on God as our source and strength.  Now the Word is a living spirit, not just dead words of law.  The law kills by judgment, but the spirit gives life by mercy and grace.  But if that dead law was powerful to make Moses radiantly glow, how much more powerful is the Living Word and Spirit of God?  The past law was glorious, but the power of loving mercy is incomparable.  In that day, the people could not understand or behold the brilliant glory of this revelation.  Because of his spirit living in you, now you are able to behold the wonder of this good news.  Now you too have seen just a shadow of the light of God’s appearance.  The Jews still only see through a veil, but will one day be restored to their Messiah and see him clearly.

A BRIEF NOTE

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These studies follow my own discovery of scriptures and the Arizona wilderness.  The photos are all here in Arizona.  The area closely resembles Israel and Egypt, and I took many retreats to areas that resemble the original settings.  I burned my passover lamb at Roosevelt Lake, which is nearly identical to the north end of the Red sea.  If you visit Arizona, contact me for a jeep trail, campout, or hike in God’s amazing creation.  Get ready to see the stars!

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T MINUS ZERO: THE RECEPTION STATION

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DOERS OF THE WORD; FIT FOR SERVICE. 

 A new soldier is taken to a reception station for reassignment to basic training.  Physical fitness training begins as soon as the bus stops.  When I was inducted into the US Army in November 1966, Fort Knox was a forbidding, cold, gloomy place.  Getting off the bus we were ordered to run everywhere by screaming NCOs.  There was a war on, and we soft civilians had to get military fit fast.  I think we may need this mindset for the Army of The Lord today.  It doesn’t have to be hard to do though.

 REBUILDING THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE BEGINNING OF ARMY LIFE.  This nation is in a crisis of physical weakness today.  I must include some exhortation to physical activity that helps bring the word to life.  Seniors can make a little effort to be good examples to our youth too.  The patriarchs lived a vigorous lifestyle, and we can have the same benefits today. 

THE TABERNACLE TRAIL is an idea for outdoor fellowship that offers fitness by walking with Jesus;   A WALKING BIBLE STUDY.  The concept is found in the Feast of Tabernacles.  It is an outdoor remembrance tour of the Bible.  If we have fun in fellowship, we can encourage faith for service.  Faith requires works, so health is a real need.  You may try this in your home church to bring lessons to life in camp.  But this can’t be just an outdoor club, so we need to get grounded in the bible first.

If we are to be the Army of The Lord in this service, we should do more than we did in the Army of the World.  So I propose to be Army of The Lord Strong; a commissioned officer to the Captain of the Host.  He called us to the Great Commission after all.  Our pattern then is to be like the military recruits, who train mentally, physically, spiritually, socially, and financially.  The bible provides this foundation.

Israel grew from physical labor, and an army builds strength in its recruits.  We are born and grow in the same sequence, so I am targeting easy steps to  physical fitness early in our development.  This has to begin with the simple step of walking.  For this goal Tabernacle Trails is to provide the scriptural basis for growth as we walk to health in every area.  Tips are available in The Fit Christian Magazine, a free award winning on line publication that I write for:  I am no superman at 64 years of age though, so expect an easy walk, not a drill sergeant march!

Israel was a nomadic family, moving often.  Jesus taught while walking about the land.  Outdoor ministry is appropriate to reach people and to help us experience the Bible in a real way.  Starting with one step at a time will transform the church into a real army.  And don’t consider age as an excuse either.  Abraham and Sarah were real people.  And I am going to show some great examples to you in this article too.  Today’s seniors are quite able to serve God by rebuilding the temple of the Holy Spirit too. 

SMALL BEGINNINGS…

Can you remember when you started your spiritual walk with Jesus?  Perhaps you had a problem or two.  Faith produces changes, and eventually manifests some rewards.  You began with faith, and now you see the fruit of the waiting.  Now you know what produces results.

Perhaps someone encouraged you.  Friends and pastors know what will happen if a prescribed course of action is followed.  Many witnesses have reinforced these expectations, so they urge you to try the formula.  The same thing happens in education, as we grow mentally, and in physical training.

 There is a similar process when we decide to start physical training for fitness.  It begins with an easy goal, such as walking.  I want to suggest that merely walking the dog is a step towards a rebirth, if done while walking with Jesus.  With a scripture for every week, a simple walk can become a journey to a new life. 

Sometimes the mind doesn’t absorb all of this fully.  When someone else starts training or learning, we don’t see much hope for them.  “What a sad sack!  Looser!”  Of course I know that you Christians always encourage faith in our friends and neighbors.  We remember where we were when the Lord found us!

He knew who we would become before we were conceived in the womb.  He has a special assignment that fits your gifts.  We need to discover our calling in Christ.  The exploration may lead down some blind alleys before we find the right one.  But every discovery may teach us to appreciate what others can do, even if we can’t match their contributions. 

Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 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 1:4-7

As a contract employee, I have often reached the time when my employers have had to end my job.  It is part of the job, to help solve problems of excess work and a short staffing.  I have also been fired a few times.  I am not always able to deliver what every customer expects.  We try to be sure our needs are matched, but it is often impossible to fill every requirement.  I have been strengthened to retain my self-esteem, and my humility, in the face of many rejections.  I know many strength athletes who had to overcome life issues on the path to their own training successes. 

 If you are young, or new to an experience, it is not easy to resist depression in the face of a perceived defeat.  We have an enemy who takes advantage of this.  There is a spirit who is called “The Accuser of the Brethren”.  That is the name and job assignment of Satan.  He is real.  Have you ever heard a voice that wants to make you dislike someone else, or even yourself?  Do you hear a voice that doesn’t like the worship music, or the preacher?  Guess who that is!

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.  Revelation 12:10

Your pastor is a professional, and he has seen more than one success story.  He has no problem prescribing a course of action, and expecting results.  Our un-saved friends may be tempted to sprinkle some humor in as they see you start yet another plan of self-improvement.  Or we may even find those who are working for their father, the Accuser of the Brethren.  Your father has a different vision, including the future.  What seems like an eternally slow progress to us is but an instant to him.  He is already there, waiting for you at the finish line.

A personal trainer has a similar goal to encourage your growth.  You can have the same negative comments in this rebuilding program as well.  God can help you visualize your goals in both areas of growth.  I know a few strength athletes and I know that many have learned to seek their strength in God first

IS LIFE OVERWHELMING US? 

Finances, family, and health issues may seem like too much to deal with.  We may need this message in America before we can contribute to changing the world.

PHYSICAL HEALTH CAN EASE MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL BURDENS. 

 God wants us to have a positive self image, and strength for the daily grind.  An exercise plan can be a simple walk or a major lifestyle change.  Attitudes and encouragement are important for either plan.

 We should have a vision of ourselves and others being the winners of “The Biggest Loser” TV show.  Look forward to a total makeover!  Everyone who can receive Christ can be more than conquerors.  You do not know who will respond to his name.  His sheep know their master’s voice, even if they are black sheep!

Your words can make the difference in the lives of others.  One night my wife and I were awakened by a late night phone call.  I answered, and a woman began a series of lewd sexual suggestions.  Instead of an angry response, I began sharing the gospel with her.  She immediately broke down in tears and apologized.  She promised to start going to church again.  I was stunned.  Why didn’t I expect the name of Jesus to have this power?

(Oh me of little faith!)

Your thoughts form you words, and need to be positive.  You need to have faith in yourself too.  You will be surprised at who gets discouraged around you.  Some of your fellow gym rats may seem way ahead of you in your eyes.  Yet under a heavy workload and high expectations, life gets heavy.  Personal loss and past spiritual wounds can be re-opened even during a great victory.  We never know when we can be able to spot a friend who has challenged a weight that doesn’t want to move. 

It’s OK to ask for help too.  The word says “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”.  That does not mean you can do whatever you please, but those things that are submitted to his word, with his help.  The walk is done in accordance with godly and government laws to strengthen us.  Authorities were ordained by God to protect us from drugs and immoral behavior.  Steroids are one example of false fitness; they destroy the body while creating an illusion of strength.  In full context:

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.   I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phil 4: 12-13

Paul had to be a prisoner of Rome to preach to its citizens along the way.  He could do mighty things only if he operated under God’s way of doing things.  Samson only had power when his body was the temple of the Holy Spirit.  The final words of Solomon pointed to obeying God as the sum of all wisdom.

Our example can include humility, confessing faults and asking for prayer and encouragement.  We can be accountable by being open about our lives.  Balanced training requires a trinity fellowshipFellowship with the Father in prayer, with Jesus in reading the word, and with the spirit in church attendance

When he was 12 years old, Jesus challenged the teachers in the temple.  He had solid biblical knowledge at that age.  He did not have any Sunday school classes in those days.  He probably learned from his father Joseph.  Much of that may have come while walking to work.  Jesus taught his disciples while walking around Israel.  We may be able to offer a similar outreach.

I want to present some ideas while walking with Jesus.  I want to make hiking in the local parks a way to share a few opportunities.  We can even take the dogs for a walk too, if they are not a distraction.   Think we can find some special surprises along the way to bigger adventures.

 Along the way I will share how others have been able to rebuild the temple of the Holy Spirit, their bodies.  Seniors?  I know of people who are competing bodybuilders in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and even a beautiful 86 year young woman!  We have resources to help us find better health at an easy pace.  Your self-improvement efforts can be a team effort for faster results.  I interviewed a church fitness leader in Tennessee who used canned goods for weight training, then donated those to the food bank.  Talk about multi-tasking!

 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.  Gen 12:4 (KJV)

And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.  The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.  Gen 12:14-15 (KJV)

Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?  Gen 17:17 (KJV)

OK, Sarah was ten years younger than Abraham, who was 75 on leaving home.  So Sarah was 65 years old when the Pharaoh found her irresistible.  Here are some modern day “kids” found on the internet:

56 years old:   MAXINE JOHNSON is a great trainer and a woman of faith

http://www.temple-fit.com/  http://www.maxinejohnson.com/

66 years old:  “OLD NAVY” Scott Hults is a retired Navy officer and also a godly trainer

http://bodybuildingsenior.com/bbs/

THE FIT CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE also offers family friendly tips on line.  Look it up!

www.fitchristian.com

Jesus learned while walking with his father Joseph.  We can learn by walking with Jesus.  Together WE CAN REBUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, and reclaim our generation for God…One step at a time! 

T MINUS ONE AND COUNTING: BOLDLY GO

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What lies ahead?

BOLDLY GO WHERE ONE MAN HAS GONE BEFORE…Yeshua!

 

Americans worry about China holding our economic future.  Worse things happened to Daniel as a prisoner of war.  He had Joseph to remember as an example of prosperity in prison, so he had confidence to prosper in Babylon.  Later he would witness the deliverance of Esther and Mordecai.  Then he discovered scripture about the release of Israel under King Cyrus:

 

Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;  I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:  And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.  For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.  Isaiah 45:1-4

 

Daniel lived in trying times, but he had evidence for confidence.  If we have those prophets and the teaching of Messiah, why do we fear?  Israel had friends they didn’t know about until they took time to pay attention to the prophet who spoke 150 years before their time! 

 

PLAYERS IN PLACE: SLEEPER CELLS

 

Modern Israel has seen help from unexpected sources.  Oskar Schindler was surrounded by Nazi leadership, and not an extremely moral person.  But he became a righteous gentile to the Jews he saved.  In his time Jesus pointed to a Samaritan who rescued a Jew too.  Saul was an enemy of the Christians until he saw the light of Yeshua.  God can turn your enemies into righteous friends in a flash. 

 

Missionary work is building Christian faith in places we do not expect.  Take care not to rail against our perceived enemies, because we do not see what God sees.  There are people positioned to reveal their light like the soldiers of Gideon.  This flood will not take us, and the enemy will have to find another avenue of attack.

 

And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.  And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.  Daniel 11:32-33

 

Are we prepared to instruct many?  Immediately after this flood event in Revelation 12, the dragon decides to make war against the woman.  In Revelation 13 we see the beasts empowered by the dragon.  There will be more adventures after that flood is ended.  How can we be among those who understand?

 

 

TURN OFF BALAAM

 

We need to learn from the battles of the past to win those of the future.  Balaam was an enemy who is named in both testaments for his treachery.  By tempting Israel to live in fornication he found their weakness.  That temptation to be like the world is still infiltrating the church today.  God has given us the power of the trinity to resist.

 

TURN ON THE TRINITY

 

1.  ET CALL HOME

Prayer is your relationship with God the father, it is not optional.  Be aware of others needs and respond with compassion.  You are to aim the artillery of Heaven.

 

2.  READ THE MAP

Jesus the son IS the word, so read him.  Then write him on your heart by good works.  Let the world read those works and believe.  The word is the battle plan and our commander.

 

3.  ENCOURAGE

The Holy Spirit builds you as you build others.  You will not relate to the Holy Spirit without serving your Christian brethren.  We need each other in close support.  Do not forsake the gathering of faith.

 

SEND TRAINED ARMIES OUTSIDE THE WALLS, BRING WOUNDED HOME

 

We should care about the wounded crying outside the wall of our safe fortress.  We need to venture out and bring them to safety.  We can report their needs to God through prayer.  Then they need healing and training for war.

 

PROSPER OVER DEPRESSION

 

We all need to grow mentally, physically, spiritually, socially, and financially.  Balance requires planning and perseverance.  The bible shows us how one man can become a nation with God.  He has given us a complete set of plans to build from.

 

CAREER KITCHENS, NOT SOUP KITCHENS

 

If we are to be the head, and not the tail, what do we have to offer?  We should offer more than a meal for the holidays.  We should be leading the community into new jobs. 

American industry is in trouble.  We have talented Christian retirees who can help.  We need leadership to lead the nation out of economic disaster and to create new jobs.  Seniors have income to live on while creating new businesses.  You can counsel and guide younger workers who want to keep their careers alive.  To do this you will need to have your own health, fitness, and personal affairs in good shape. 

 

 

BUILD THE WHOLE KINGDOM

 

We may think that we are weak against the many people of the world.  Perhaps we think the church is only strong here in America.  However the church may be strongest in the third world.  Persecution builds strong faith, so the Middle East may have the greatest faith with the fewest numbers.  Perhaps China and the Far East have greater numbers of believers than we understand.  Remember these in your prayers.

 

THE KINGDOM OF GOD HAS NO BORDERS

 

He is the King above all kings.  We may need missionaries from the third world to build our faith here in America.  I believe there will be righteousness revealed in many places considered to be our enemies.  Remember the Good Samaritan and Oskar Schindler, who both came from hated peoples. 

 

GIVE GOD A CHALLENGE; THE BIG JOB

 

Pray for police, intelligence agents, drug enforcers, border guards, judges and mayors who are being targeted today.  Citizens are being slain, tortured, and sold into sex slavery.  Children are being abducted and molested.  Every nation has public servants who earnestly desire to protect and serve their neighbors.  God honors all who try to do justice, even if they haven’t learned to call on Christ yet.  We can pray for victims of violence, and for those who would protect them.  We can pray in general terms for their support.  It seems overwhelming to pray about such a flood of sin, but we have a weapon.

 

PRAYER IN UNKNOWN TONGUES IS AN ASSET for the many threats around the world.  Since we don’t know what to pray in such a huge attack, the Pentecostal message may be a reasonable answer for such a time as this.  It is not hindered by our inability to identify every threat.  We can mount a preemptive strike to derail evil before it can get started.  We have the technology in prayer, in whatever form brings you comfort.

 

ARE YOU READY TO START?  JOIN ME IN A TOUR OF THE BIBLE to see how God has considered all of our needs and provided us the tools for victory over the enemy of our soul.  Participate in the exploits that God has predicted for the great adventure ahead of us. 

 

 

 

 

 

COUNTDOWN 02: THE EARTH SWALLOWS THE FLOOD

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When your boat seems small...

Consider this prediction that reveals events of our modern times:

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:  And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.  And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.  And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.  Revelation 12:1-5

I see this woman as the church, Israel, and she giving birth to faith in Jesus.  We know the dragon persecutes the church, seeking to prevent the birth of new faith.

 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  Revelation 12:6-9

Why would the church flee into the wilderness?  Evil did invade the churches in Europe in the dark ages.  Many nations harbored ungodly persecutions.  Struggles in the spiritual realm did not deliver us from this enemy yet.

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.  Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.  Revelation 12:10-12

We know that the Reformation brought many heroic sacrifices to purify the church.  Many innocent people were accused and slain for their faith.  The church did not fall to persecution though.  It will not fall during the present flood of sin either.  This leaves our enemy angry for his time is running out.

And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.  And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.  Revelation 12:13-14

This woman, the church, has found shelter in the wilderness we called the new world, the Americas.  What are the wings of the eagle?  Isn’t there a nation bearing the eagle as its national emblem?  Is it a nation that was home to the invention of aviation?  Isn’t this a nation that used that air power to deliver the church and Israel in two world wars and a cold war?  Two and a half times might be two hundred and fifty years. 

And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.  And the earth helped the woman, and THE EARTH OPENED HER MOUTH, AND SWALLOWED UP THE FLOOD which the dragon cast out of his mouth.  And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  Revelation 12:15-17

Well a flood of sin is sure on us today.  How can the earth open up to swallow a flood of sin?  There are Christians on every continent today.  Around the world there are enough righteous people to exert the influence of being good examples.  We cannot win many elections, as the bible tells us that there are few in number.   But we can pray and trust God.

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.  Matthew 7: 13-14

THE WORLD IS BEING FLOODED, with drug abuse, violence, and terrorism.  Lawyers conspire to rob retirees of their savings by forcing them into overpriced “protection”.  Investment and banking entities are destroying the finances of our nation, while industry sends jobs overseas.  Fornication is seen as being normal behavior.  Can we see the flood yet?  I believe the world will reject much of the rule of sin because of the influence of a few righteous souls in every nation. 

THE EARTH SWALLOWS THE FLOOD (AS WITH KORAH?)

Moses faced a rebellion led by Korah and many of the leaders of Israel.  God delivered them to destruction by an event similar to what may swallow the flood:

And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:  And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.  They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.  Numbers 16:31-33

The rebellion in our age is more widespread, and no single location is home to their sin.  The geological earth may not be called to swallow so many.  Perhaps there is another form for this deliverance from the people of the earth. 

GOD USES THE WORLD; NOT JUST ONE NATION.

Is it possible that THE WORLD (Earth) has enough believers now to limit this flood of sin?  If enough people show the gospel written on their lives, the world will be influenced.  Consider how much your day is ruined by one complainer.  Reverse that and multiply it to see what LOVE can do for everyone around it.  I think there is a response already being shown to the flood of evil. 

We have real disasters being reported daily.  Enemies bring “holy” war to us daily.  We have seen horrific deeds all around us in the desire to terrorize us.  Christians are being persecuted and executed in foreign lands.  But life is going on.  Courage from the martyrs and from those who close in to take their place holds the line.  Christian women have converted the cannibals who ate their husbands.  Being a christian requires courage.  Here are some modern warriors for our inspiration.  Remember, these are the examples of courage that consume the flood:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians

http://www.christianpersecution.info/  

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/02/02/christian-persecution-continues-amid-egypt-turmoil/

http://www.persecution.com/

http://www.persecution.org/2011/02/24/imprisoned-afghan-christian-released-from-prison/

http://euobserver.com/892/31848

http://www.christiannewstoday.com/Christian_News_Report_4850.html

And don’t think persecution is only overseas:

http://www.prayinjesusname.org/

This flood is not the end of the battle, but we can live to see the fulfillment of it being swallowed up.  We can do our part in the battle as WARRIORS INSTEAD OF WORRIERS; Thank God for those who value their faith even over their lives.  We have the armor and weapons of spiritual warfare.  FEAR NOT.

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