A Marriage Made in Heaven

metMercy and truth have met together” (Psa. 85:10)

“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, and great in mercy” (Psa. 145:8).

“Sanctify them by your truth.  Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

kissedRighteousness and peace have kissed” (Psa. 85:10)

“For all your commandments are righteousness” (Psa. 119:172).

“The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ” (Php. 4:7).

bride of Christ“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.  And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Rev. 19:7-8).

“That you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).

“And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

Truth shall spring out of the earth” (Psa. 85:11)

Sherwin logo“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”  (Isa. 11:9).  Like the paint covers the earth in the Sherwin Williams logo!  When Jesus Christ and His Bride the saints assume rule during the Millennium on this earth, the world will at last know peace!  When Jesus Christ reigns, it pours!

Book of Life Ad“And righteousness shall look down from heaven.  Yes, the Lord will give what is good; and our land will yield its increase.  Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway” (Psa. 85:11-13).

“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6).

God’s last Holy Day, Pentecost on June 9, pictured those  called to be the firstfruits Bride of Jesus Christ.  God’s next Holy Day, the Feast of Trumpets on Sept. 30, celebrates the coming resurrection of those saints to rise up in the air into the clouds to meet the returning King of Kings and marry Him.

That is truly an event not to miss!   Mercy.  Truth.  Righteousness.  Peace.  Jesus Christ and His wonderful attributes He shares with us and creates in us.  They’re the way down the aisle.

map 100 countries Isa. 5511

Happy? Great! But Godly Joy Is What We Really Need

happiness sunflowerSaturday night my wife and I are driving away to go bring one of our daughters back from Evanston, IL (just north of Chicago) to Denver.  Having her closer and easier to visit [only two hours away] will make us happy!  Another daughter will stay there, and that makes us happy too.

We will be on this road trip for almost two weeks, and I won’t be able to follow the Internet so easily.  Whew, that will probably lead to happiness!

I don’t know if I will be posting anything to this blog while we’re on this two-week trip.  Maybe we could all use a break!  But you can just follow the instructions below to access the Archive with about 300 posts on every subject of interest.  I’ve already posted “My Kind of Town” [about Chicago] twice so I’ll spare you repeating that!
happy way

Alas, we won’t be going through Wyoming.  Are we doomed to never find happy?  I’d rather have

Godly joy

McConaugheyHave you seen the video by Matthew McConaughey about happiness vs. joy?  I liked his point that happiness is result-oriented and temporary, but joy is a constant.

Yes, godly joy is of the Holy Spirit (1 Thes. 1:6).  It’s the second of the nine fruits of the Spirit, second only to love (Gal. 5:22-23).  Spirit is eternal.  If we’re privileged to have godly joy, we can have it forever!

God, both the Father and Jesus the Son, are love (1 John 4:8).  They are also joy!  As well as the other seven fruits.

Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith and our joy, “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Heb. 12:2).  What was “the joy set before Him”?  The joy of seeing you and me in the Kingdom of God as glorious, radiant spirit beings of the God Family!  The joy of fulfilling the compact—the plan—He and God the Father devised before even time began.

joy vs. happiness

Happiness is an emotion.  “Hap” means “chance”.  It’s the root of conditional words like happen, happening, haphazard, happenstance.  Happiness depends on something good happening—or you can wind up hapless!

Haagen-DazsFew things make me as happy as eating Haagen-Dazs chocolate-chocolate chip.  But it’s not one of their featured flavors anymore and what happens when I’m ready to splurge and the store is out of that flavor!  “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but … joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17 New Living Translation throughout).

Godly joy is unconditional.

It’s not dictated by circumstances or people or physical developments

“Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord” (Php. 3:1).  Paul uses the theme of rejoicing nine times in this prison epistle.  Yes, he was writing about godly joy from prison!

We can have godly joy even when there is “a time to weep” (Eccl. 3:4).  Jesus was called a Man of Sorrows and He wept over Jerusalem.  We must rejoice with those who rejoice but also weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15).  It should be obvious that

The only source of godly joy is God!

“God is the source of joy” (Psa. 43:4).  And God has anointed Jesus Christ, “pouring out the oil of joy on you more than anyone else” (Psa. 45:7 NLT).  It’s through their Holy Spirit that God shares and communicates their godly joy to us.

I hope God is working and dwelling with you, leading you to the point where the Father and Jesus Christ will be actually living in you via the Holy Spirit (John 14:17).  The way to godly joy passes through repenting, being baptized, and having a true minister of God lay hands on you where you receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).  Don’t let anyone fool you:  you must repent and you must be baptized and you must have hands laid on you where you receive the Holy Spirit.  Only if God is either working with you or dwelling in you can you have godly joy.

Building the Family of God adThe e-Book to the right took me over a year to write and is the most important information you will find in this blog.  If I’m not able to post anything during this two-week trip, how about claiming the godly joy available in it!  You don’t have to read it all in one sitting.  You can download it and read it at your own pace.

In His final prayer—the real Lord’s Prayer—Jesus prayed for you and me “that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13) through His word of truth.  He made it possible for His joy to remain in us (15:11) and “be full.”  Now!

May we ask every day for God’s Holy Spirit of joy and the other eight fruits (Luke 11:13).  God says He is happy to oblige!

map 100 countries Isa. 5511

 

How to Solve a Difficult Celebrity Cipher

Let’s Solve One Together So You Can See How to Do It!

“How to Solve a Celebrity Cipher” showed how to solve this popular newspaper puzzle when it has:
♦   A one-letter word, which will be either “A” or “I”
♦   A contraction
♦   A four-letter word starting and ending with the same letter, which will likely be THAT
♦   A four-letter word with the same second and fourth letters, which will usually be HERE or WERE
♦   A four-letter word with the same first and third letters and the same second and fourth letters, which would usually be MAMA, PAPA or GAGA

If you find one or more of those clues in a Celebrity Cipher, it’s usually pretty easy to solve.

So what do you do with a Celebrity Cipher that has none of those!   Such as this one [©2019 by NEA, Inc., dist. by Andrews McMeel Syndication 7-12].

“GIXTDO YGCKMD KCAMFGTDO NCSFG PCTDO,

DMXMS OTXM RE,

IDP FSV DCF FC BMF IDVCDM PCND.”

—GISSV SMIKCDMS

Make a copy for yourself and

Follow along in the steps below to solve it with me

  1.  Always start with “TODAY’S CLUE”—R=U.  This clue is usually crucial to solving the Celebrity Cipher and will often enable you to guess the word.  It’s easy to see that RE will be either “UP” or “US.”  There is no other E in the cipher and I refrain from guessing unless I have to.
  2. But now what do you do?  If the first word were followed by a comma, you could figure it’s an adverb ending in “LY.”  But we don’t have that!  So, again, what can we do next?  Appropriately, this cipher is looking a little difficult!
  3. Look for a three-letter word following a comma.  A three-letter word will often be “THE” or “AND,” and a three-letter word following a comma will likely be “AND.”  Let’s try IDP=”AND” and see it the three letters seem to fit in structure and content with the rest of the cipher.  No red flags so let’s go on!
  4. Three words end in TDO with the D=N.  We have to be a little daring if we’re going to solve this cipher, and a good guess would be TDO=”ING.”
  5. Seems to be working!  Because PCTDO is “D_ING” and would be “DOING.”
  6. PCND is “DO_N” and would be “DOWN.”
  7. DCF FC is “NO_ _O,” and seeing which one letter of the alphabet makes best sense to complete the two words, it’s obvious the two words are “NOT TO.”
  8. IDVCDM is “AN_ON_” and would be “ANYONE.”
  9. BMF is “_ET” and in context would be “LET.”
  10. FSU is “T_Y” and in context would be “TRY.”
  11. KCAMFGTDO NCDSFG is “_O_ETHING WORT_.”  The second word is obviously “WORTH,” and the first word obviously would be “SOMETHING.”
  12. DMXMS OTXM is “NE_ER GI_E”and would be “NEVER GIVE.”
  13. Going back to RE, we didn’t have to guess, in context it must be “UP.”
  14. GISSV is “_ARRY” and must be “Larry” or “Harry.”  The first word of the cipher also leads with a G so the two words must be “HAVING” and “HARRY.”  Besides, the celebrity’s last name has already filled in completely as “REASONER” and most of us have heard of HARRY REASONER.
  15. The final word YGCKMD in context must be “CHOSEN.”

CONGRATULATIONS!  We’ve solved this difficult Celebrity Cipher as a good reasoner without harry guessing!   Hope this inspires you to have fun solving other Celebrity Ciphers.  I’ve only come across one that I couldn’t crack!

“Having chosen something worth doing,
never give up,
and try not to let anyone down.”—Harry Reasoner

map 100 countries Isa. 5511

 

New Understanding About God & the Word

Here is an exciting piece of new understanding

about God and the Word and how they lived up until the time they formulated their plan for reproducing themselves.  Note that I said new understanding.  Not new truth because it has been plainly written in the Bible all this time.  Nobody else … nothing else … was around to provide fake news!

John 1John 1:1 reveals the truth that God and the Word were two God Beings without a beginning.   “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  God and the Word just always were.  Both uncreated.  Both self-existing.

Note that there is not a word here about God being in authority over the Word.  But when I was taught the foundational exciting truths of the Bible 49 years ago, I was taught that God was in authority over the Word so that there would be “government of God” in a hierarchy.

Recently I heard a sermon stating that God and the Word had to be equal or the Word’s willingness to be slain as the Lamb of God would have been meaningless.  What’s the big deal if the Word was expected to submit and become the human!

My mind resisted because of what I’d always been taught by teachers I respected.  But I continued to ask God to show me His truth and I thoroughly studied the question with an open mind to be like the Bereans (Acts 17:11).

“Equal with God”

Thank God, He showed me when I looked up an obvious scripture on the subject:  Php. 2:5-6.  “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God …”  The NLT puts it “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to …”

God’s Word is truth (John 17:17)!  And there it was, saying what it always has said:  “equal with God.”  I had always read it as “equal with God who was in authority over Him.”

In John 5:18, the Jews understood that Jesus’ statements were “making Himself equal with God.”

So the truth is that God and the Word were equal when they formed their exciting plan of salvation to reproduce themselves with potentially billions of God Beings to expand their Family and Kingdom.

This new understanding opens up exciting concepts!

Free moral agency is a cornerstone of God’s plan

It started with God and the Word having free choice just like we humans would be given.   Jesus said He laid down His life for us by His own volition—“I sacrifice it voluntarily” (John 10:18)—not because God being greater would have compelled Him to do it even if God hadn’t actually pulled rank and forced Him to.

Jesus’ words in His real Lord’s Prayer of John 17 have even more depth of meaning:  “glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (v. 5).  God and the Word so loved each other that they were of “one accord, of one mind” (Php. 2:3), in lowliness of mind each esteeming the other as better than himself, looking out for the interest of the other (vs. 3-4).

God and the Word can teach us about true humility because they
model it. They do not think of themselves more highly than they
ought (Rom. 12:3). Imagine that because they are the highest!

At some point, however long it took them, God and the Word formed their plan of salvation to the minutest exquisite detail including what role and tasks each of them would handle.

They formed a new relationship for the rest of eternity!

A family relationship where God would become the Father, the Word His Son, and Jesus willingly chose to become a bondservant to the Father (v. 7),  happy to have the Father greater than He, for the joy of bringing many sons and daughters to glory (Heb. 2:10).

They pledged individually that each would do His part to make the plan surely succeed (Isa. 46:9-10).  So while Jesus would be facing the pulls of human nature tempted by the wily satan in all points like as we are (Heb. 4:15), where just one sin would ruin the plan and result in eternal death for Jesus and us humans, it was certain He would succeed because He and the Father were totally committed to it!

God and the Word were both love, joy and all the other seven fruits of the Holy Spirit.  They were always full of wisdom and unchanging character.  But they were

yellow pencilsNever yellow pencils

They were two Beings with unique personality!  God was happy to rule the universe from the third heaven, manning the throne, overseeing the whole plan.  Seemingly more of an adventurer, the Word was happy to roar about the universe in His gyroscope portable throne, come wrestle with human nature, thoughts and fears, take on the Pharisees and satan,  die an excruciating death and actually be nonexistent for three days and three nights, because He knew the Father would restore Him to glory and together they would complete the plan!

Building the Family of God adFor divesting Himself of His divine privileges to be the captain of our salvation, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Php. 2:9-11).  Surely the Bible features Jesus more throughout its pages.

What a plan!

What a God!!

Both of them!   May we fully appreciate their awesome plan even more than ever.  And be motivated to more faithfully choose by our own gift of free moral agency, in each daily decision, to yield ourselves to their Family and Kingdom!

map 100 countries Isa. 5511

 

 

The Only Way to True Freedom

Betrayed by those he trusted, William Wallace has one final moment to recant in front of his cheering enemies.  But the hero of the 1995 Oscar-winning movie “Braveheart” musters up all of his remaining strength and instead cries out “FREEDOM!” before his head is chopped off as his wife welcomes him in vision.

fireworksToday America celebrates its birthday and salutes its freedom and liberty.  Too bad for all of you from other countries?

No, because the only way to true freedom is through God and living His way of life.  If you are reading this blog, God is calling you and you can be one of the “few who find it” (Matt. 7:14).

David rejoices that God frees us from all our fears (Psa. 34:4).  You don’t need psychological fluff because “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18) and God wants to give you this agape love.

James tells us to look into the “perfect law of liberty” and continue in it (James 1:25).  The only thing done away will be those who do not love God’s Bible and law and regularly study it and live it!  Are we working with God to have His law written in our hearts and minds! (Jer. 31:33).

God led Israel out of slavery, with the symbolism being led out of slavery to Pharaoh (satan) and Egypt (sin).

Paul said to each of us who read it and apply it to ourselves:  “Do you not know that to whom you

Book of Life AdPresent yourselves

slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16).  And leading to freedom!  True liberty!

Patrick Henry cried “Give me liberty or give me death!”  Actually, spiritually that’s our two choices with eternal consequences.  Let’s choose liberty!

Today, to which are you presenting yourself? (Deut. 30:19-20).

map 100 countries Isa. 5511