Sunday, January 01, 2012

The Cross

The Cross: Should We Remove It?
Painting by gWinship  2011
The Cross

Paint For Pain... and Pray
When injured nearly nine years ago, I discovered that if I positioned a certain way on the floor and painted, the pain seemed 'distant'. So, I sporadically started painting again after years gone by. Eventually, a few years later, there was less uncontrolled pain and less need for medication. When this particular painting was started I was determined not to use any narcotic medication in the cold winter months last year. There's a boatload of personal symbolism in this painting... I am extremely reluctant to share any of my works in public.

Many of my paintings have been given away to family and friends who expressed a liking. Shockingly, some are hanging in their homes and others are rightfully buried in a closet.There is no offense in that. This is not a new profession for me but a confession. More important to me is the pain associated with professing Jesus Christ and the cross.
I like to call Him, Yeshua HaMashiach Adonai (The LORD Jesus Christ).

What is the intention of the heart?

There will be much "I" talk in this posting with the hope you might relate to my own experience with the cross.

Boldly did the prophet Isaiah write concerning "that day" of the Lord:
O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD. For you have rejected your people, the house of Jacob, because they are full of things from the east and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines, and they strike hands with the children of foreigners. Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots. Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made. So man is humbled, and each one is brought low-- do not forgive them! Enter into the rock and hide in the dust from before the terror of the LORD, and from the splendor of his majesty.
(Isaiah 2:5-10)

Rather than horses and chariots, I often think motorcycles and cars. I worshiped my old 57 Chevy and was nearly wiped off the face of the earth in a motorcycle crash. And on the farm I'm convinced my horse had it out for me. My brothers and I rode in a horse-drawn two wheel buggy. It was terrifying when the horse was spooked. That was then. 

The day I bow down to anything I have made or what another has made, according to the prophet speaking the Word of God, is unforgivable. That seems serious. Sometimes it seems writing can be a trap for vainglory. But there is the cross and a need to ponder. 

Why are some churches taking down the cross? 
Is it foolishness to them? Does the cross offend?

More Than A Carved Idol Of Wood

Nearly anything created by man seems to be promoted, in some fashion, for profit. That includes wooden, silver, golden necklaces, ornaments, grave markers and on and on... all fashioned in the form of the cross.

Back in 1971, after my tour in Vietnam, when awakening to the reality of my own depravity, I read the Word of God with fear and trembling. Lesson learned: It is foolishness to think you can 'work it out' on your own or that mankind can fix it with words or a little pill.
(Sidebar: I love the Vietnamese people; all people actually; more on that below) 

I couldn't fix myself or anyone else, for that matter, when it comes to the spirit and heart. Our medical  team restarted many hearts with medication and compression's, and yes, some where literally raised from the dead. As you know,  I'm talking about the most inner heart of man. Only Christ can raise the spiritually dead. Again, this blog is pointing you to the Great Physician, Jesus Who is the Word of God. Please forgive my wordiness. I tend to get excited to the point where 'editing' means adding for clarity, not deleting for your reading pleasure.You are witnessing my own cross.

Clearly, the day is coming and is even upon us, when speaking about the cross, sin and the need for repentance will be outlawed, as in some nations. Such laws represent Satan's last stand to prevent salvation for that one last one Jesus is seeking in this last hour. In some circles, what God has said is considered "hate speech" or "politically incorrect". As soldiers in times past, one thing we were fighting for was the freedom of speech for the Vietnamese people and the preservation of our own in a free world. Satan has other plans. I do not desire to evoke contention but bashing followers of Jesus Christ, even by so-called "post-modern" churches has become fashionable. That's another post, the Lord willing. After all is said and done, we will learn war no more.

Since when does politics rule over God? That's laughable to the Creator of all things and at HIS appointed time, He is coming as fire to repay His enemies. He planted the nations and their leaders for His purpose. Like the painting depicts, there is one side of Jesus we should prefer to be on. In the meantime, pray for those in authority, especially in the body of Christ. Leaving the message of the cross is leaving the Way to eternal life.

My first witness of Jesus in the 70's was met with laughter and scorn. I recall the pain. Another time I was beaten by two thugs while witnessing to another man. A gun was shoved in my face on another occasion and many other confrontations have not only "I" but many others have endured.  Let's just say, it was worth it. Some know what I mean by that. To God be the glory.  Lesson learned: Fear no man. 

We all have our cross to carry... each according to the purpose of God. As I type, Christians are being beaten, tortured and killed. Others are alone, abandoned by family and former friends because of their testimony. Great is their reward in heaven. Pray for them. The world seemingly does not know nor care.

You see, persecution can give a believer great pause when it comes to being a light in the world. I recall my own fear as I stepped "out of the boat". A true follower of Jesus just doesn't fit in. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit is given to those who ask. That's another post, the Lord willing:  the sower of seed. Be of good courage. The joy of the LORD is our strength.

Becoming a follower of Jesus is not always a "goody two shoes" easy walk in the park. But finding the Lord of lords and King of kings is worth the seeking and serving. Yes, it is a narrow road and sometimes rocky but God strengthens the weak who seek Him. I can hear Him say, "Come home son." "Come home daughter."

In short, the world system hates the followers of Christ and His cross. Jesus said it would be that way. Have you been abandoned? There is a sincere love among brothers and sisters of the faith. It is wholesome and real. That is the true mark of a son or daughter of the Most High God, there love for one another.

LOVE: Read 1st Corinthians chapter 13. Good 'review'.... faith hope and love.

God knows all things, past, present and future. He knows your thoughts. He knows the number of hairs on your head, and in my case, He subtracts daily. Perhaps I should start saying, "He adds daily." 
He is indeed the Almighty God and the world would do well to fear Him now, rather than later.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

What did Jesus say about the cross?
Why Satan Hates It

The word cross can be found 28 times in the King James Bible. Some versions use the word 'stake' or 'tree'.

 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. "Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 
(Matthew 10:38-40)

Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 
(Matthew 16:24-27)

The cross... what did Paul write?

 I implore you to read the whole context... the entire Word of God, for that matter... it is life; a life saver from what is coming upon this earth...

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  (1 Corinthians 1:18-24)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives."  (Hebrews 12:1-6)

Look, I am a simple man and God does not need me to defend Him. However, He is my Father and the world has chased after every evil under the sun since the beginning. There are those that have no fear of God. 

As for me, I fear God and do love people; enough to let them bleed, vomit, spit, punch, and every other event imaginable that frequently occurs in a major trauma center... And for some of you that have read this far, I love you enough to warn with the Truth. I came out of the worldly trappings and the light in me seems brighter each day and I can say, "I hate the darkness" without reservation. 
Am I tempted? Yes. Am I a sinner? Yes... but I am thankful that the Lord corrects me as a loving Father should. He is the good Sheppard, our Father in heaven... the only true God. He hates evil and will repay.

Come to the cross. Consider the substitution; the price God set for our purchase from the evil one in this evil world. Read the Word of God. If you have never read any of the Bible, start in the gospel of John; I'm confident Jesus Himself will clearly speak to your heart through the Spirit of Truth.
Jesus may be saying to you, "You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free."
Free from what?... sin and death... sorrow and pain... He has done it for so many and is waiting for you.
Jesus also said, "Let him that is thirsty, come and drink freely."... drink in the pure Word of God. 
As for me, I am thirsty for righteousness knowing full well it is Jesus the Righteous One I seek... and Him alone.

Need a Bible?.... several free ones online
Search or blue letter bible... blue letter has an audio reading also...  
I like e-sword dot net  It is free and in many languages. 
Some publishers of the "latest and greatest versions" can be purchased through a link on e-sword

I grew up with Elizabethan English... old KJV. 
In here, the 1919 ESV is palatable to most readers and free. In old posts dating back to 2005 various translations were used. 
Unfortunately, copyright laws are laborious and as a two figure typist without an administrative assistant. :)
Enough said. Again, forgive the "I" first person business: we must become less and Jesus become more...

Thank the LORD Jesus for the cross... He willingly did it for you and me.
Bless those, Father, who love the salvation provided by the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God on a cross.
In Jesus Name....
Shalom... Peace

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Year And Renewed Faith

Photo by gWinship 2005
"Come quickly Lord Jesus"

Much has changed in recent years. I certainly have. 
Perhaps you are a new follower of Jesus of Nazareth. 
Or a follower faced with desire and an urging to use the gifts God has given.
Maybe you're one who's been bullied... 
...a soldier who can't recognize home...
...a stranger in need.
Regardless of who you are it is my prayer that you will be blessed greatly in 2012 and forever.

Hold On Dear Child Of God

I have three great sons married to wonderful women. I have four grandchildren and one on the way. I have a great granddaughter. That's wonderful you say. Yes, indeed it is but words don't tell the whole story. I have three living brothers and a sister. How wonderful, you might add. Again, words do not tell the whole story. I'm inviting each of them to view this feeble effort of mine and critic it. I love them all so much... more than they might know. I must add this: Many people are burdened and torn from past failures in relationships. I will address that in another post. 

If I told you the whole story, you might want to stone me. 
You see, I am a sinner saved by grace through trusting my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So what's the problem and where are you going with this?, you might ask. My family is loving, kind but they know my past.
And some certainly do not agree with my faith. This is not about me... it's about our souls and the destination of our very beings. I do hope you each are reading the Word of God and have a good Holy Spirit filled pastor. I am not a pastor. I am not the Messiah. I am not a prophet, though I asked for the gift of prophesy.
I am a simple man who has the undeserved blessing of having my sins washed away by the blood and crucifixion of my Lord Jesus Christ. He paid the price for all my sin. Jesus is the only righteousness in me. 
Please read on...

If you are not familiar with the real Jesus, I encourage you... no, beg you to look and see what is written concerning God's love and care for you. 
Perhaps you are lonely this new years eve and even thought you should end it all. As a retired ER professional I beg you to reconsider such an act. There is a God that loves you and understands everything about you and what you've been struggling with.
Please read on... there is a Helper waiting for you. 
I'm also a Vietnam veteran and can tell you, drugs alcohol and all... I understand some things that others may not. Send me a line... no need to be ashamed... I believe I have the Spirit and that someone has been led here to read these words. Continue with me, soldier. There is a war going on in the heavens.
May God encourage you. 
I want to share some scripture you may not have thought of in sometime or never read at all.

The Good News
Jesus said, "I Am The Way, The Truth, and The Life.
No One Comes To The Father But Through Me."

Well, agree or not, that's very clear. I will not argue with God.

Most of us have heard of or actually read the "address" John 3:16. Some have just seen it on signs at sporting events. And some have never heard of it at all. Here it is along with a few other Words I believe we all should hear from God, Whom I love to call Father...  Jesus said the following...

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God." 
(John 3:16-21)

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." 
(Matthew 11:27-30)

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. 
(John 5:24)

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 
(John 6:63)
How Can One Be Saved?

The follower of Jesus named Paul wrote the following:

But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." 
(Romans 10:8-13)

Well... it is midnight here... I told the Lord I'd post at midnight...
Happy New Year to all who read.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Two Makes Ten

photo by gWinship 2007
Scripture from "Complete Jewish Bible"

The Law for sons of God
Jesus (Yeshua [Yah-shoo-ah] in Hebrew) said:


And the second is like it: 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
(Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV)

Let's do it... however, "...of myself I can do nothing but I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me."

Drink freely and eat... the Bread of Life is in the Word of God... the Bible... Yes... READ IT!