Friday, September 9, 2016

They Shall Not Hurt Nor Destroy In All My Holy Mountain

September 11, 2001, I'm live on the scene in New York City. It's a cool, crisp day with clear skies. It's the second day on my new job. I'm reporting for training.  I'm headed to Fifteenth Street and Eighth Avenue; that's where our training facility is. I've been hired to oversee the investment services for two bank branches of a large well known bank in New York.

It's about 8:30 am. I'm just sitting down to read the newspaper after a long commute from Long Island by train. A few minutes later someone yells, "A plane crashed into the World Trade Center!"

Those of us who are sitting down relaxing, jump up and run to the windows. We're in a high-rise office building with large glass windows. I can see lots of dark smoke coming from one of the towers. There's a large screen TV in the room, and it's turned on to CNBC. The CNBC anchors are reporting on the story. We hear them say that it was the North Tower that was struck, and speculation begins.

Suddenly, someone yells, "Another plane!"

We look on with horror as a commercial jet emerges from the sky, and roars toward the South Tower! Someone yells out, "No!"

Within seconds a huge fireball erupts from the explosion, as the jet disintegrates. 

It's quiet.

Were the events on 9/11 the wrath of God being poured out on sinners? No, I don't believe so. This was man living outside of his true image in Christ. This is man being duped! This is the human race not understanding what God has done in Christ - how God has taken all evil, hatred, perversion, and sin upon himself, taking it to the grave, and destroying it: and how we have been united with him dying to the old life of violence, and rising to the new life of peace, and love.

At times, throughout Scripture, we see the wrath of God displayed in his love. God's love opposes all evil, He opposes everything, and everyone who is bent on hurting, and destroying. The prophet Isaiah records,

"They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain (Isa. 11:9; 65:25). 

The book of Genesis tells us that God destroyed the earth with a flood, because humankind had perverted the earth with violence.

Now the earth was corrupt [destroy, ruin, decay, spoil, pervert] in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence [wrong, cruelty, injustice]. 12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.

17 Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you; (Gen. 6:11-13, 17-18).

When the disciples of Jesus asked him what will be the sign of his coming, and of the end of the age, he said his second coming will be just like the days of Noah.

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 37 For the coming of the Son of Man [his return] will be just like the days of Noah. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be (Mat. 24:36-39).  

The Apostle Paul writes:


Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord (Rom. 12:9). 


The Apostle Peter tells us:


"Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:3-7).



The Apostle John writes:



" And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth” (Rev. 11:18).


God's love is expressed in his anger toward all evil, violence, and everything that opposes his love. God is recreating all things in Christ Jesus.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 8 But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:1-5, 8).

God is love, and his wrath is included in his love. He will not let anything hurt or destroy. His love opposes violence and evil. The first things passed away, including the nature in man that exhibited violence, and corruption. God is recreating humanity in Christ Jesus.

God's fervent anger, his wrath, is against all evil. He is against anything that would oppose the intimacy and union that he has with us in Christ Jesus. Jesus has embraced the wrath of man, and the wrath of God so as to destroy sin and death. We are awaiting the full manifestation of the kingdom of God, and his love for humanity, on earth. As the prophet Isaiah records God saying,


"They shall not hurt, nor destroy in all my holy mountain!"



Notes:   The underlined sections are my emphasis. Scripture references are New American Standard Bible (NASB). Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation 



























Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Bible: Holy, Inspired, and Inerrant or Just Another Book?

This post is part 2 of the series. To read part 1, use this link: http://brotherjoeradosti.blogspot.com/2012/04/just-what-is-purpose-of-bible.html

There are many hard sayings in the Bible, but does that prove that there are errors in the Bible? Because we read something in the Bible that doesn't fit into our paradigm, does that mean it's not true? Additionally, how can we know if the words written in the Bible were accurately preserved? After all, we can only guess as to when the New Testament was written, and we argue about who the authors are.

Jesus said, "unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves." Afterward, many of his disciples turned from following him (John 6:53-63).

Jesus hard sayings didn't change the fact that he is the Messiah, the Christ. Neither do the hard sayings throughout the Bible change the fact that the Bible is holy, and inspired; the word of God that points us to the Living Word - Jesus, our Savior, Lord, and King.


Jesus thought fulfilling the Scriptures was important for his mission. Why would he be concerned about fulfilling the Scriptures if it was just another "uninspired" book?

Mat. 26:54 "How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” (Scripture references are NASB and the underlined words are my emphasis).

Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Mark 12:24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?"

Mark 14:49 "Every day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me; but this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures.”

Luke 4:21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Luke 24:25-27 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;

John 13:18  I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’

Having a high Christology doesn't lessen the importance of Scripture; it makes it more important.

The apostle Paul believed all Scripture was inspired by God.

2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

Paul referred to the Scriptures when he told the story of Jesus.

1 Cor. 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Paul asks, "What does the Scripture say?" (Romans 4:3; Gal. 4:30), because what the Scripture says is important.


The apostle Peter tells us that some will distort the Scriptures (or lessen its importance, saying it's uninspired).

2 Peter 3:16 as also in all his [Paul's] letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, [We've probably all been unintentionally guilty of distorting the Scriptures to fit into our own theological framework. Even the best theologians and scholars get it wrong.] as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

One final thought, if we don't believe that God can accurately preserve the Scriptures, how will we trust that God will raise us from the dead?











Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Ragamuffin Vegetables







My leftover 'ragamuffin' veggies. 

I recently reaped the remainder of my garden's spring harvest.  I grew beets, turnips, lettuce, radicchio, basil, and artichoke. I was a virgin at growing artichoke, and they didn't fare well through the wet and hot summer here in Kentucky. The other vegetables thrived, but a few were certainly not the most stout plants I've seen; however they were still edible.

As I placed some of the leftover vegetables in a bowl to wash them, I thought about when Jesus broke bread for the crowd that was following him. Jesus had been healing people of various diseases, and crowds of people followed him because of the miracles that they had witnessed. After multiplying a couple of pieces of fish, and five loaves of bread enough to feed the crowd, he said to his disciples, "Gather up the LEFTOVER [RAGAMUFFIN] FRAGMENTS so that nothing will be lost" (John 6:12 NASB throughout, last part, my emphasis).

Why was Jesus so concerned about leftover pieces of bread and fish?  The gospel writer John tells us that there were twelve baskets of leftovers - one for each of Jesus' disciples. So maybe Jesus was teaching his disciples to focus on others before themselves. We know that they were at times bickering about who among them was the greatest, and Jesus told them that the greatest is the one who is the servant of all.

But I believe the most important reason is found in what Jesus said. "For the [TRUE] Bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives LIFE TO THE WORLD [ragamuffins and all] (John 6:33). "This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should LOSE NOTHING, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the LIFE OF THE WORLD" (John 6:39-40, 51).

Heaven and earth is interwoven in the True Bread, Jesus. There are no fragments of bread [ragamuffin pieces] outside of the True Bread.

Yes God loves everyone that might be considered a 'ragamuffin,' a 'loser,' and the 'leftovers' of society.

We're all God's children - that's the reality, despite what we might believe of ourselves, or what others may think of us.  






Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Being A True Friend

Kids sometimes can exhibit irrational behavior. After all, they're children learning to become mature adults. But when a young boy or girl throws tantrums and gets upset easily and often, it can be difficult for the young child to maintain friendships; and he or she can soon be labeled as an outcast. Once an outcast, a feeding frenzy can develop, and the other children can begin to tease the child, and talk negatively about him or her.

When we become adults, our fears and weaknesses don't automatically disappear. Our closest friends are aware of our struggles. Some of our challenges maybe easily observed by others. Sometimes people who know us will talk about our difficulties or differences with others. That can ostracize us and leave us feeling lonely.

While I was out shopping the other day, I was chatting with a cashier that was from Germany.We were talking about friendships. She said to me, "My really good friends I've known for twenty years. They know the good and the bad, and they keep their mouths shut."

On the way home, I stopped to fill up my car with gasoline. While I was pumping gas, two men who were close by were having a conversation. The one guy had his boat on a trailer, and was putting fuel in it. The other man who was nearer to me, on the other side of the gas pumps, asked him, "Have you been out lately?"

"No, I  haven't had the time. I don't want to put anything ahead of church." Then he asked the other man, "Have you seen Jimmy?"

The guy who was across from me pumping gas into his car said, "I can talk to him for a bit. But the guy's juiced up all the time."

"Yep," said the other man, as he was fixing the nozzle of the hose back onto the pump. "I try to stay away from him. I can only take so much of the guy."

Jesus didn't run from people with behavior problems. He embraced them right where they were. In one instance, Jesus crossed the sea to heal an outcast that was living in caves (Mark 5:1-20).

In Christ, we can experience our deepest intimacy - intercourse with the mind, and the spirit. Before Jesus was crucified, he said to his disciples, "In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you" (John 14:20 NASB).

In Jesus we see our oneness. We come together to encourage one another, not to destroy each other.

We all need people that believe in us. When we come to love and accept one another in our brokenness, that's when we become true friends.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Living in the Spirit Realm

You say you have problems? You're unemployed. You have relationship problems. You have been diagnosed with cancer. Your loved one passed away...

While driving home from Long Island the other day, I was thinking about some of my friends and family members who have asked me to pray for them because they are facing some seemingly hopeless obstacles in their life. I also started thinking and praying about some of the hurdles that I'm currently facing in my own life.

The apostle Paul wrote that we are seated with Christ in the heavenly realm above the seemingly hopeless problems of the flesh; above the traumatic circumstances of this world (Col. 3:1-4; Eph. 2:5-6). We don't look up to or at our problems, we walk above them. We look down on them, knowing that from the heavenly realm, they are obscure and infinitesimal compared to the eternal life of love that we have in Christ Jesus. Even though we rest in Jesus (Mat. 11:28-30), we go forward in Him walking (Gal. 5:16; Eph. 2:10) not according to the dead man, who is no longer in motion, but according to the Spirit man, who lives, and breathes the abundant fragrances of love. We share in the divine life. We participate in Christ's life (spirit life, spirit man or life in the spirit). Walking is our participation in the Christ life. It is a restful walk, not a fretful walk.

Since we reside in Christ, the supernatural is a natural occurrence. I don't even like to refer to the supernatural as supernatural. I suppose if we are looking at a supernatural occurrence through our natural eyes we will call it supernatural. Yet if we look upon the supernatural in the spirit realm, that is through Christ, as he lives in us, and as he works in and through us, then the supernatural becomes the natural.

Jesus faced many seemingly hopeless circumstances when he walked in person on the face of the earth. In one instance there wasn't enough food to feed the five thousand plus that had gathered to be with Jesus. Philip thought that he needed a lot of money to feed them. But because Jesus lived in the spirit realm, he simply gave thanks, broke the  five loaves of bread and two fish, and the people ate as much as they wanted. They even had leftovers (John 6:1-13; Luke 9:12-17; Mark 6:33-44; Mat. 14:13-21).

In another instance Jesus healed a man who had been blind from birth (John 9:1-11). Finally, Jesus showed that death was likened to sleep in the spirit realm, when he raised a man named Lazarus from the dead - even while he was decomposing in his grave (John 11:1-44).

Solution? Christ lives, and we live in him not apart from him! Problems solved. Amen.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

"Touched by the Hand of God" To Be Revised

Why another revision? Because some of the readers of the book have asked for more. I want to touch more lives with my story. “Touched by the Hand of God” was only a prayer journal in 2002. It was my way of expressing my thoughts, fears and anxieties as I tried to figure out why my world was cascading down upon me. Since then my understanding of God and his creation has changed dramatically! I feel like I’ve been wearing my underwear inside out, or worse, wearing my pants without my drawers – and it just doesn’t feel right! I’m also going exclusive on Amazon Kindle; for three reasons: to keep it simple – the Kindle App is easy enough to download and Prime customers can borrow my book for free. Unfortunately, even though Smashwords was the first place I published, not many people have accounts there and most people have never heard of Smashwords. As far as Nook Publishing at Barnes and Noble, it just wasn’t happening for me there. Additionally, I’ll be correcting the formatting errors, which were supposed to be corrected with the last revision, but somehow a lot of “kinks were left in the garden hose.” I may have some other surprises as well, we’ll see. I will probably post some parts or chapters on my blog and ask for your contributions and critique. I hope that some of you will take the time to do so. I do have a target date of Sunday, Aug. 31and my goal is to make it free for all my Facebook, Touched by the Hand of God Community and blogger friends a week or so before 9-11.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Grace is Like...

My two dwarf spruces
 
I love my two dwarf spruces. They’re called dwarf but they will still grow about ten feet tall. I enjoy stooping over with my face slightly above the top of the tree and taking a deep breath to inhale the fragrance of Christmas. Christmas was always extra special when my father brought home a live Christmas tree. After all if Christmas was a celebration of a real Savior, it just made sense to have a real tree. I took the one on the left home about five years ago and planted him in this spot. He has grown taller and fuller. I purchased his little brother about a year later and put him in a pot by my front door. He was doing fine for the first year. Then I noticed some of his little green needles started turning brown. At the advice of a friend, I added a little organic fertilizer to the soil and kept a close eye on him.  

The winter came and left and spring had arrived. I purchased a bigger pot for my little tree and relocated him to his new home. Several weeks went by and the little guy’s brown needles became a gaping wound. I knew if I didn’t act quickly he might not make it through the summer. I took him out to where his big brother was planted, and after I dug a hole large enough for his roots to spread out, I put him in it and filled the hole with topsoil.  

I talked to him every day. I told him he was going to get bigger and stronger like his brother and that I couldn’t wait for the day when he was big enough for me to dress him up for Christmas. I could swear I saw the sadness in his little face disappear and as it faded away he smiled and his sagging brown branches seem to reach out towards me.

In the days that followed my “boy’s” health improved. I noticed new life springing up as light green needles started appearing throughout his withered little frame. I told him how proud I was to have him and that I was delighted that his health was improving. I knew it wouldn’t be long before his wounds were completely healed. Soon new branches would replace his dead limbs. I told him how sorry I was for putting him in a pot. I knew that it was only in freedom that he could truly be who he was created to be. That pot wasn’t a healthy home for him; in fact it had been a place of captivity. But I could tell my little spruce loved his new home. His big brother was right alongside him and the sun beamed upon him from sunrise to sunset. I made sure that he had an ample supply of water. He is so happy now that he is living in freedom. He is getting stronger and healthier with each day. Not only does my little spruce look and smell like Christmas, he also sings the “Hallelujah Chorus.” I just might have the only singing Christmas tree in the whole wide world! 

 
My little spruce back to health and living in freedom
God made his creation to work in harmony. The sun, soil and rain provide the environment for my two dwarf spruces to live in freedom. It all works by God’s grace. I got in the way of God’s grace by bringing my little tree into captivity, an environment that got him sick and would have killed him. But my little spruce taught me a lesson in freedom.  

Grace is like: Christmas & a live Christmas tree; Romeo & Juliet; Jack and Jill; David & Goliath;  Bonnie & Clyde; Batman & Robin; Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers; John, Paul, George and Ringo; Sonny & Cher; Simon & Garfunkel; Laurel & Hardy; Moe, Larry & Curly; Abbott & Costello; Spanky & Alfalfa; Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis; Cheech & Chong; Lucy & Charlie Brown; Dumb & Dumber; hamburgers & french fries; steak & mash potatoes; spaghetti & meatballs; fish & chips; peanut butter & jelly; salt & pepper; 

heaven & earth; Adam & Eve; God and man…