Just You & Me, Lord–The Sequel

Me: “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector’” (Luke 18:11).

You: How did you answer yourself?
* * * * * * * * * * * * *

You: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Eliajah: “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

You: [still small voice] “Yet I reserve 7,000 in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal …”

Me:   Whew! That’s a comforting story about Elijah. To think that today there are 6,999 others around that I don’t know about!

You: Sometime let’s talk about Deuteronomy 12:30-31.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Me: Churches and religion are so corrupting.  I don’t want any part of it!  I’ll just worship you … at home alone.

You: Sorry, We’ve had enough of that sequel!   It was on a Pentecost which we observed last Sunday that I started both my Church in the wilderness (Exodus 20) and my Holy Spirit-led Church (Acts 2), and you need to assemble at the times I said—and did as an example for you (Hebrews 10:25).

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Just You & Me, Lord

Me:   We have a great relationship.

Me:   I’ll be faithful to this new truth you’ve shown me.

Me:   Nobody else will listen.  Their sins keep them from seeing it.

Me:   Help me to be strong in the face of all this rejection.

Me:   They stopped growing.

Me:   I’ll go it alone until you revive your Church and Work.

Me:  They say it’s all about me.

Me:   Nobody else thinks like I do.

You:  You’re right about that.

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Holodeck Not Needed to Visit God’s Throne

Faced with mounting intergalactic pressure, Captain Jean-Luc Picard retreats to the Enterprise’s holodeck and the next thing you know he’s toting a six-iron at the O.K. Corral and relaxing with Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid.

The first episode with the holodeck by name occurred in The Next Generation’s episode “Encounter at Farpoint.” For the ultimate encounter at far point, wouldn’t it be great to have an episode where the holodeck takes somebody to the third heaven. To God’s glorious throne ruling supreme over the universe in all its resplendent glory!

No, it wouldn’t be great because the second commandment warns against making an idol “in the form of anything in heaven above” (Exodus 20:4).

Paul said he knew a man in Christ who went up there—whether in body or vision, he didn’t know (2 Corinthians 12:1-4)). Paul’s only description was “Paradise” and the words he heard were “inexpressible” and “not lawful for a man to utter.”

Good thing for us that Jesus revealed to John a biblical holodeck so that we can rightly picture the throne room of heaven.   Here’s Revelation 4:4-8 from the Living Bible:

“I saw a door standing open in heaven … oh, the glory of it!—a throne and someone sitting on it!

“Great bursts of light flashed forth from Him as from a glittering diamond, or from a shining ruby and a rainbow glowing like an emerald encircled His throne.

“Twenty-four smaller thrones surrounded His, with 24 Elders sitting on them; all were clothed in white with golden crowns upon their heads.

“Lightning and thunder issued from the throne, and there were voices in the thunder. Directly in front of His throne were seven lighted lamps representing the seven-fold Spirit of God. Spread out before it was a shiny crystal sea.

“Four Living Beings dotted front and back with eyes, stood at the throne’s four sides.” The four were in the form of a lion, ox, face of a man and flying eagle. “Each of these Living Beings had six wings and the central sections of their wings were covered with eyes.”

Gene Roddenberry would never do justice to this!   Forecasters predict that a holodeck can be a consumer-ready product by 2024—just nine more years!  But why wait?

ENGAGE, MR. SULU!  Here’s the main point that could right now lift your prayers like it’s doing for mine:

When you pray—and you find your mind on the unmade bed, the crooked painting on the wall, the peeling ceiling, or your purring cat Josie wanting your attention—don’t start talking until you can visualize the Supreme Beings of the universe in this glorious setting just waiting to listen to you!

ENERGIZE, DATA!  My second point is to empower your prayers by claiming God’s amazing promises.

God the Father says:

My door’s open!  My Son opened it for you! He’s sitting here at my right hand (Colossians 3:1).  By His blood poured out for you at His death He ripped the veil covering the earthly Holy of Holies from top to bottom like a piece of paper! (Hebrews 10:19-22).  We’re talkin’ the veil 60 feet long, 30 feet wide, 4” thick, made of 72 squares sewn together, so heavy that it took 300 priests to hang ‘em!

My beloved sons and daughters, just come in my Son’s name and authority.  Quote us John 14:14 because He said if you ask anything in His name and according to His will, He will do it!  If He’s too tired, I’ll do it! (a chuckle reverberates across the crystal sea of glass).

The ultimate power of the universe—my Holy Spirit—which was given on Pentecost in 31 A.D. and which we celebrated yesterday, is here for your asking!

Here’s another amazing scripture you can quote to us:  God can do “exceedingly above anything you ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

On your knees is the most powerful position in the universe because with me “all things are possible.” Whatever takes place up here trumps anything going on down where you are.

The High Priest used to come once a year, on the Day of Atonement—why don’t I hear from you more often!

Hey, trekkies, what’re you waiting for?   Who needs Scotty … beam on up!   Spock’s dead but you can mind meld with me!   Go boldly where no man has gone before “to the throne of grace, that [you] may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)!

My Door’s open!   Visualize my throne room of the universe that you are privileged to access.   And come claim the power you need.   Privilege and power!

Who needs warp speed, we’re so near.

Just come up and talk!

_________
FUN FACT: You’re used to ringing a bell to open a door. Beneath my throat sways a flap of skin called a bell. Try to ring that and let’s just say I won’t be adoring you!

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Carcasses & Eagles … What’s It Got to Do with This Sunday?

Have you seen the curious sign?  The one on the I-70 stretch between the Colorado-Utah border and Green River?  It says “Watch for eagles on highway.”

In years of traveling that section, I’ve seen only big black crows swooping down for road kill.  My wife thinks there is an eagle preserve nearby.

More baffling is Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:28: “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”    The Greek word PTOMA means “dead body.”

What in the world was Jesus talking about?

One margin note says “The spiritual application here is that, where moral corruption exists, divine judgment falls.”  I’m sure that’s true but what’s that got to do with what Jesus said!  Just as good a guess would be to say it refers to saints flying into the wilderness on jet wings and their carry-ons!

The Bible explains itself—here a little, there a little, like a jigsaw puzzle (Isaiah 28:13).

The big piece:  Isaiah 40:31 compares God’s faithful people to eagles.

Jesus was once again using a remez—a phase that would make His hearers think of something earlier from the Word of God.  They would think back to Job 39:27-30.

Like eagles, God’s faithful people will mount up at His commands (1 John 2:2-4, 5:3, Revelation 14:12, 22:14).  They will abide on the Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4).  The prey they seek afar off is that of Matthew 6:33).

Of special note is verse 30: “and where the slain (Hebrew CHALAL = “pierced to death body”) are, there is she.”

In context, Matthew 24:28 and its similar scripture in Luke 17:37 are in chapters about the coming Kingdom of God, the events immediately preceding Christ’s second coming and the first resurrection.

Jesus is the pierced body, resurrected after being a carcass for three days and three nights.  For 40 days after His resurrection He appeared to His faithful people and, like eagles, they gathered around Him.

The most important gathering will be at the first resurrection.  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 gives the triumphant news that at the seventh trumpet the saints will be caught up together in the clouds and forever be with the Lord!

But what is the relevance of eagles gathering around the body today?

Pentecost this Sunday, May 24th celebrates the start of the Church of God, His body, to carry out the Work of God in announcing the coming Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14).

This biblical Holy Day teaches about the first fruits who “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Revelation 15:4).  Eagles going where He is!  Jesus is going … with His body the spiritual Church, which He is still head and leader of (Colossians 1:18).

At the end, will we know the difference between His Church and the great mystery church, and between the false prophet and the returning Christ?  Warns the Bible, most will carry on as in the days of Noah … and become carrion.

Wake up, moose!  Wake up eagles!  Where the body is, gather there.

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Click It, Ticket or Lick It

Seat beltClick it, Ticket or Lick it!

Nationally, 87% of drivers and passengers wear seat belts. For Colorado in 2014 the compliance percentage was 82.4%. Sadly, for Pueblo nearly 30% of drivers don’t use seat belts.

Last year in Colorado, 156 people who died in crashes were not wearing a seat belt. This was over half of the 308 passenger vehicle fatalities.

Consequently, Pueblo is launching a special effort through May 31 to crack down on this problem. Fines will range from $30 to $100.

Will the fear of ticket convince someone to click it? When the fear of death doesn’t deter them?

To find out why people refuse to wear their seat belt in spite of dire consequences, I thought I’d interview survivors of crashes left to lick wounds.

“I can’t stand being confined,” hollered a man with arms and legs intermingled among branches of an Elm tree about 30 feet up.

“That strap across my chest is so uncomfortable,” moaned the young woman laboring for breaths with two punctured lungs and three broken ribs.

“I wanted to lay down in the back seat for a nap,” whispered a teen just before he lapsed into a coma.

“Nobody tells me what to do,” roared a man with both ears slashed and bloodied by a windshield so that he can’t hear.

“It takes too much time to buckle,” blurted the saleswoman as she began her six months of rehab.

“It won’t happen to me,” laughed the man whose left side of his body was ripped off by the mangled car frame but he’s all right now.

A ticket? Lick wounds? You’d think we’d just click it!

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Does God Play Piano?

Piano on waterHe doesn’t play second fiddle to anything.  But what about piano?  Does God tickle the ivory?

John 1 reveals to us that God and the Word lived together for eternity as spirit beings before they created anything wood and ivory.  But there’s not one word about what they did to entertain themselves before they decided to reproduce themselves.  The baby grand they had in mind would be the ones Adam and Eve would create that would eventually become resurrected sons and daughters in their family and kingdom.   The Baldwin was Samson after one too many visits to his barber.

Am I the only one surprised that nothing is said in the Gospels about Jesus or His disciples doing anything musical except for singing a hymn to end Jesus’ last Passover (Matthew 26:30).  Jewish weddings featured singing and dancing but if there were a piano bar at the one in Cana, Jesus was too busy keeping it stocked to have time to play!

OK, close the lid on the jokes, but there’s no question, God and the Bible play up music.

Job 38:7 states that at creation “the morning stars sang together.” And ever since people have touted the unequaled majesty of angelic choirs.   Revelation 14:2 notes “the sound of harpists playing their harps” at God’s heavenly throne, and warns that seven special angels will blow a mean trumpet.  In our musical world today, harps and trumpets accent the band, but a choir director wanting accompaniment wants a pianist.

God called David “a man after His own heart” (Acts 13:22).  It was David’s skillful playing on harp (1 Samuel 16:16-18) that got him hired to be Saul’s special servant.  When king, David established 24 groups of musicians for special service with “harps, stringed instruments and cymbals” (1 Chronicles 25).  Psalms mention praising God but never with a Steinway.

We know that God treasures music so much that at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, the moment God chose to enter was not when Solomon spoke but when the instrumentalists and singers made “one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD” (2 Chronicles 6:13).   How this should inspire a choir and ensemble!   How important is congregational singing!

We know God is not limited in sound by human ears.  Physicist Janna Levin says the universe has a soundtrack and black holes “bang on spacetime like a drum.”  Amazing!  But a NASA YouTube “concert” leaves me jittery!  Quick, I need to hear Roger Williams playing “Autumn Leaves”!   God speed the day when everybody can assemble at the speed of thought in September in the Adirondacks for an outdoor concert!

One day Beethoven will play again and with his ears unstopped!  How about “Moonlight Sonata” on the moon!

How could “pleasures forever more” (Psalm 16:11) not include the glories of piano mastery by the likes of Arthur Rubinstein!

Can you even begin to imagine the incredible sounds that are going to awe the universe after God resurrects all the greatest musicians and singers of all time, and then gives them godly mind creative power with angels as backup!

If somebody can’t locate a Steinway, here’s hoping God will indulge me the pleasure of creating one.  And a second for Ferrante and Teicher!  Oh, why not, throw in a cello so the Piano Guys can join the eternal jam!

I can’t wait for lessons from Burt Bacharach!

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Mom Never Made Spots on Others

Facebook is full of Mom pictures and tributes today. My Mom died in 1975 just a few days short of 50 years old. I didn’t cry much then because she was in so much pain and suffering from cancer.

What should Jessie Ellen Curry be remembered and praised for? Far more than supplying me with security from knowing my mother’s maiden name.

I praise her for being hard working, devoted and loving to her family and God fearing. She faithfully loved one man, and her three daughters and son have all lived solid lives without drama and still love each other. What better tribute to Jessie Ellen Curry could there be?

She grew up in a soddy house in the Colorado drylands, ventured to the big city of Las Animas and found work in the laundry and dry cleaners. It became her life when she married the owner.

My mother’s speciality was dry cleaning spotter. She had to blot out whatever spots customers brought in on their clothes and make them new again. Lipstick, blood, grape juice, crayolas—whatever!

Mom tried to keep herself unspotted from the world.

But even more worthy of praise, she never made spots on others.

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