Building A House: Journal – Part 8

Home Builders Prayer

We will tell of Your unfailing love; We praise You, Abba, for all You have done for us. You have richly blessed Your people because of Your mercy and constant love. (Isaiah 63:7)

Thank You, Abba, that You are the builder of our home, for You are the builder of all things (Hebrews 3:4), we acknowledge and praise You, so that You will keep our path straight (Proverbs 3:5-6) and so that we do not labor in vain. (Psalm 127:1)

 


 

 

It is happening. I cannot say it has not been stressful, but it is happening.  Some say, "if a marriage survives the building of a house, it can survive anything." Yep. The Lord is helping us through it though, and we are blessed to have great workers and faithful prayer warriors.

Teach us to number our days so we can apply our hearts to wisdom. (Psalm 90:12) Let Your pleasantness and favor be upon us and You establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:17)

Keep us filled with your Holy Spirit so that justice will dwell in the wilderness, And righteousness remain in the fruitful field. The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. Thank You, Abba, for allowing us this home, a peaceful habitation, a secure dwelling place, quiet and restful, even if hail comes down on the forest, And the city is brought low in humiliation. (Isaiah 32:15-19)

 

In the photos above we have the construction of a basement room and here we are pouring concrete into the insulated concrete forms. Boom!

Below is the finished first section of walls, piers and a couple of pretties from the garden.

Protect us and our workers, with Your wisdom and understanding, so that we will use discretion to be mindful of the cost and to prepare accordingly in finding and securing the proper materials and labor for establishment. (Proverbs 2:11, 24:3,7, Luke 14:28) Because we have made You, Adonai, Most High, our habitation we know that no evil will cause us to fall, neither will any plague come near our dwelling, for You give Your angels charge over us to keep us in Your ways. (Psalm 91:9-11)

We know that You, Adonai shall supply all of our needs according Your riches in glory by Yeshua Ha Mashiach. Now to You, our Abba, Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Philippians 4:19-20)

The Problem of Evil and Suffering: Part Two – The Dilemma of Choice and the Beginning of Sin.

In the very first verse of scripture, Genesis 1:1, Moses wrote that God created the heavens and the earth. As the creation story unfolds, God calls forth light and darkness; day and night; the sun, moon and stars; the earth and the seas; the plants, and all the living creatures that swim, walk and fly; and he brought forth the first man and first woman.
“God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31a ESV).
In the paradise he made for human beings to occupy, God’s creation was only good.
“And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9 ESV).
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying ‘You may surely eat of every tree in the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat…” (2:16-17a).
When God gave Adam the first rule, he also gave him the first “choice” – to obey or not to obey. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was just like any other tree in the garden, as long as Adam obeyed God’s only commandment, and did not taste its fruit. As long as Adam’s choice was to obey God, the creation surrounding Adam remained very good.
But when Eve and then Adam chose to disregard God’s commandment and partake of the only thing in the garden that was forbidden them, the paradise that God created for them was lost and they fell into another world. They could no longer live in a reality where everything was only good, because suddenly, within them now resided not only the knowledge of good, but also of evil.
As soon as Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit, they realized that they were naked, and for the first time they experienced shame, and hurried to cover themselves.
Then they heard God walking in the garden, and for the first time they experienced guilt, and rushed to hide.
When God asked them what they had done, for the first time, they pointed fingers of blame.
Scripture says that the tree from which God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It wasn’t that the tree bore “evil fruit,” but that eating the fruit from that tree would give the eater a specific kind of knowledge.
Can you see that once Adam and Eve made the choice to disobey God, the knowledge of evil entered their hearts and sin itself immediately began to multiply? 
As they moved further into sin, they moved further away from intimacy with God until it became necessary for God to remove them from their original location.
Paul wrote about his personal struggle with sin in Romans chapter 7, and The Message translation puts it this way:
“Don’t you remember how it was? I do, perfectly well. The law code started out as an excellent piece of work. What happened, though, was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of ‘forbidden fruit’ out of it. The law code, instead of being used to guide me, was used to seduce me. Without all the paraphernalia of the law code, sin looked pretty dull and lifeless, and I went along without paying much attention to it. But once sin got its hands on the law code and decked itself out in all that finery, I was fooled, and fell for it. The very command that was supposed to guide me into life was cleverly used to trip me up, throwing me headlong. So sin was plenty alive, and I was stone dead. But the law code itself is God’s good and common sense, each command sane and holy counsel” (Romans 7:8-11).
God specifically cautioned Adam that on the day he ate of the forbidden fruit he would surely die in Genesis 2:17, and Romans 6:23 confirms that the result of sin is death.
When satan, the enemy of our souls, deceived Adam and Eve into breaking God’s only commandment, he seduced them and all the generations after them into a condition of “sin-death” that has corrupted everything around us. As a result of their choice to disobey God, Adam and Eve were banished from paradise into a world that was ruined and broken by sin.
That is the world that we occupy today.
It is not the world that God originally designed to house his creation. However, it has been allowed to continue by God, in order that we would have a classroom within which to learn the knowledge of both good and evil and the struggle that exists between them as two opposing principles.
Shortly after the fall, Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. In the course of time, both sons of Adam brought offerings to the Lord. God accepted Abel’s offering but rejected the offering of Cain, and Cain was very angry (Genesis 4).
God said to Cain, “…’Why are you angry…? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it’” (4:6-7 ESV).
Soon afterward, jealous Cain murdered his innocent brother Abel.
This pattern of God presenting mankind with a choice between good and evil and the tendency of human beings to reject God’s will and choose evil has repeated itself since the time of the fall.
Over the years I have heard people respond to the question of why God allows sin and suffering with the answer that when God created human beings, he created us with free will so that ultimately we could make the choice to love and obey God of our own volition and not as automatons. God endowed us with free will, so that we would use our free will to choose God’s way over satan’s way. And this answer is true. God did endow us with the power to choose, and his desire is for us to choose him out of a pure heart.
However, we must put that understanding in context.
Because of the choice made by Adam and Eve and their subsequent fall, every human being since then has been born into a world that is designed to highlight the struggle between good and evil.
Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit because they wanted something that they did not have, and that something was knowledge. The knowledge not just of unpolluted good, but the knowledge of both good and evil. Therefore, in response to their desire for that knowledge, God created this world to be a classroom and in this classroom the knowledge we gain is not just an idea or a concept. In it we come to understand the interplay of the forces of good and evil through hard-won experience. Because the knowledge that Adam and Eve chose to pursue was real, the experience required to gain it must also be real and therefore we experience the effects of sin directly.
But please keep in mind that even though the world we occupy is broken and the lessons are difficult, God has not left us alone and he hasn’t left us as orphans. He knows that in this world we will have tribulation, but he has already given us his plan to overcome the world and he helps us to endure through trials and suffering.
“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG).
We will continue in Part Three.

The Problem of Evil and Suffering: Part One – It’s Ok to Have Questions.

One of the big questions people ask about God is “Why does a loving God allow pain, suffering and evil to exist in the world?” Or, when faced with an insurmountable tragedy a suffering person may ask, “Why did God allow this to happen to me and my loved ones?”
Why do bad things happen to good people? And why don’t bad things happen to bad people? Where is God when bad things happen? Can an all-powerful God still be loving when he allows people to suffer?
Beloved Friends, it isn’t wrong to ask these kinds of questions. God wants us to come to him and ask about everything that concerns us. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8 ESV).
God wants us to seek him and he invites our questions. Even the hard ones. He not only wants us to ask and seek but when we do, he also wants to give us answers. Most often his answers come to us as direct revelation through his Word. Sometimes he reveals his truths through pastors, teachers, friends and counselors. Many times, his answers unfold only through time and experience and require the application of our patience to bloom into wisdom. As we mature, we realize that God’s answers are deeper and wider than we ever imagined as over the years he reveals more and more of his character to us.
In this series, we will explore some of these difficult questions, and the plan that God put in place from before the beginning of the world to help us cope with suffering in our lives today.
As Jesus said to his disciples, “…I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world” (John 16:33b MSG).
Please stay tuned for Part Two.

The Food Processor – Biblical Worldview – Part 4

Political Food

Oh Dear Lord, just the thought and I need a snack and a nap. Do not worry, beloved ones, we are going to keep this simple and straightforward.  Our United States Constitution tells us so very much. Before we talk about its uniqueness, I would like to say this, that because of sin, there will never be a perfect system of government until Jesus returns to set up His kingdom here on earth.

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace (within). In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~Jesus, John 16:33

Here in the United States the Declaration of Independence is the basis of our Constitution. So what is Biblical about it? Here is the truth statement:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Remember our Source: Jesus is the Creator, He is the truth, (John 1:1-5, 14, John 14:6) and He is our food processor.

Rights Come From Our Creator

First and foremost, we are all accountable to God our Creator whether we believe in Him or not.  If He is not our Source then no one has rights of any sort. If we declare that they come from any other source then they can be taken away at any moment.

The statement of truth mirrors the Ten Commandments that tell us how to love and give honor to God and to love and respect people (Exodus 20). The product of this perfect formula is Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness/Joy. 

In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. ~1 John 5:3-4

Sovereignty

We are discussing the Declaration of Independence. We are our own nation, separate from others....and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries (borders) of their habitation, ~Acts 17:26

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance. ~Psalm 33:12

Life

We can have neither liberty nor the pursuit of happiness without life.

If life is not held in high regard by a nation, then no one people group will ever be safe.  “You shall not murder (take an innocent life away),” says it all, but in case we want to know how much one life is worth, King David, a man after God's own heart, expressed it so well, For You (God) formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are Your works; My soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; In Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. ~Psalm 139:13-16   I shudder to think what happens when we disregard this.

 

Liberty

A nation whose law is based on Judeo-Christian law, such as ours, is the most free that any nation will ever be when it is lived out correctly and righteously. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law. ~Galatians 5:22-23

One cannot be free, if one cannot live in an environment of safety. Safety from crime, from slander, from slavery, from governmental tyranny, etc. This means we must lawfully pursue justice. It also means that those who come here from elsewhere do so legally with the intention of obeying our laws after they get here.

It is sin and the pride of sin that causes corruption and iniquity eventually bringing about tyranny, oppression and lawlessness in a nation. Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness ~1 John 3:4

...law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers ~1 Timothy 1:9

So what about individuals who are not Judeo-Christian? It is true that one in this country should be forced to be such. God's love is not about force, if it were then it would not be love, however, laws exist to protect individuals from harm and God know better than anyone how to do so.

 

The Pursuit Of Happiness

One should not be hindered in their pursuit of the best that life has to offer, to live, to work, to be educated, to play, to rest, etc. Keep in mind that pursuit does not mean being given for free. The more successful people have opportunity to be, the more they can choose to bless those around them who are in need. Those who steal, intimidate, slander and stir up covetousness and strife are a hindrance to this pursuit.

Yes, there are selfish and self centered people who do not help others. So what did Jesus have to say about this? Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But He said to him,“Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?”And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” ~Luke 12:13-14

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~Matthew 6:19-21

Does it always work out fairly? Not necessarily. There will always be those less fortunate or poor. They are an opportunity for giving help (John 12:8, Deuteronomy 15:11). Not everyone gets paid the same wage for the same work (Matthew 20:1-12). We are commanded not to envy.

Turning Point

We are at a crisis turning point in the nation. We have an opportunity to live responsibly, being true to our constitution that is based on the Source, so that we can live free and safe or we can give in to the world "beast" system and allow lawlessness to take over. In the past we have been a leader among the nations where at least some of the other nations made an attempt to follow our example. Without The Source - Yeshua/Jesus, lawlessness will prevail, but only for a season. For His followers, all of this should affect our choices for future leadership.

Prior to Jesus' return to the earth there will be lawlessness and utter chaos, there will be a brief but false worldly peace under the anti-Christ and then complete tyranny and much death. But God will bring judgment upon the lawless and He will judge the nations accordingly. That is why now is the time to come to Him whether or not the nation does also.

A Year of Blessings!

All of us here at Speak Comfort want to say thank you so very much to you, our readers, who fellowship, worship, and study with us. Our first year has been wonderful because of you.  We love each one of you. It is such a blessing and privilege to be part of your lives in this way.
My precious friend Jeanette and I could not have built and tended this beautiful site without our extremely talented web development team. We thank God for their expert help every day. We are constantly amazed by everything they do behind the scenes to make this work.
Our aim and prayer are to bring you the best possible content.  We hope to create some wonderful additions during the next few months, so please stay tuned!
Above all else, we give praise and thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for every blessing that he pours into every one of our lives. Our desire is to serve you for his glory.
We pray for you every day, in Jesus’ name!
The Lord bless you and keep you;
 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26 ESV)

How to Thrive Through the Struggle: Have a Snack and a Nap.

Elijah is one of the most famous prophets of the Old Testament. 1 Kings chapter 18 tells the story of how he called on God to defeat the prophets of Baal who served the wicked Queen Jezebel and King Ahab. When Elijah called on God saying, “’Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back [to you]’” (1 Kings 18:37 ESV), God sent fire from heaven to obliterate the altar Elijah built on Mount Carmel while all of Israel stood by, amazed.
After this great victory which caused the Israelites to abandon pagan worship and proclaim “’The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God!’” (1 Kings 18:39 ESV), the enraged Jezebel vowed to murder God’s prophet. Exhausted from his mighty labors, Elijah fled into the wilderness and hid himself under a broom tree, crying out to God, “…’It is enough, now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am not better than my fathers’” (1 Kings 19:1-4 ESV).
Have you ever been so worn out from serving that even after experiencing a wonderful success you were just too tired to go on and felt that you wanted to quit? Have you ever cried out to God and said, “Lord, I love you, but I just can not handle another thing”? Or maybe simply cried out, “Help me, Jesus!” when you felt you couldn’t manage to take another step in the direction the Lord was leading you?
If so, Beloveds, you are not alone. Think of Elijah, who suffered from prophetic burn-out; Naomi, the mother-in-law who wanted to change her name to “bitterness” (Ruth 1:20); John the Baptist, losing his cool before he lost his head in prison (Matthew 11:1-6); and Martha, who worked her fingers to the bone, threw her sister Mary under the bus and fussed at Jesus for being so hard to serve (Luke 10:38-42). Even Solomon, the most powerful king and wisest man in the world, wrote the book of Ecclesiastes to remind us that though there is a time for everything in its season, nevertheless life is full of vanity and there’s nothing new under the sun.
But listen, here’s how God responded to Elijah’s desperate plea:
“And [Elijah] lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’ And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again” (1 Kings 19:5-6 ESV).
God sent an angel from heaven with a hot meal and plenty of fresh water, and after Elijah ate and then slept for a while, God sent the angel again…
“And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, ‘Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.’  And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God (v. 7-8).
Beloved Friends, God knows that there will be times when the journey is too hard for us to manage. When the broken roads we sometimes travel seem too long and full of potholes, God wants us to come to him to be nourished and refreshed.
Our Creator knows that it’s important for us to make time to eat and rest. We need spiritual food that we find in the Word of God, and we also need earthly food. We need spiritual rest and we need earthly rest.
As Jesus walked beside the sea of Galilee, a great multitude of the lame, blind and sick came to him to be healed. “Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way’…and Jesus said to them, ‘How many loaves do you have?’ They said, ‘Seven, and a few small fish’…he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over” (Matthew 15:32,34,36-37 ESV).
Of course, this story of the miracle of Jesus feeding four thousand men, in addition to women and children, with just a few loaves and fishes is a Bible study all its own. But notice here that Jesus took the earthly bread that his followers brought to him and through it manifested heavenly food for the crowds. Jesus pulled bread from the storerooms of heaven to feed his people. God sent an angel with bread and water to feed his prophet Elijah.
God is the source of our heavenly food and our earthly food, and he wants to provide for us everything we need to strengthen us for the journey ahead. He knows that earthly life can be difficult and that sometimes it is too hard for us to handle.
But Jesus said, “I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”
Jesus is the Word of God, and the Word of God is fresh bread and pure water, straight from heaven, that nourishes our souls and our spirits.
God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, and he gives us all good things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).
So when you feel exhausted, like Elijah; or you’re starting to feel a little bitter, like Naomi; or you want to blame everybody around you because you’re working too hard, like Martha, it’s time to stop, eat a good meal and get some rest. Then pick up your Bible and let God feed your spirit. Jesus doesn’t want to send us away hungry. He wants us to be strong and rested for the journey, because he doesn’t want us to miss out on any of the treasures that he has hidden for us along the way. After all, Elijah ultimately got to take a ride in God’s chariot (2 Kings 2:11).
But even with all the miracles he witnessed, what he really needed to keep going was a snack and a nap.

Speak Comfort: One Whole Year!

Wow!

It is hard to believe

it has been a whole year up and running

for Speak Comfort.

Special thanks to all of you readers, prayer warriors,

and to our amazing support team!

God is so Good!

Now to Him Who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen ~Ephesians 3:20-21

The Food Processor – Biblical Worldview – Part 3

Spiritual And Cultural Food

My surprise as well as yours. This is what the Lord said to do next. A close relative sent me some awesome photos from a trip that I just had to share with you. They fit both subjects, spiritual as well as cultural. Ya'll already know I am all about God and Art together.

The photos are from Leonard Kight's Salvation Mountain  in the desert near Niland, California. He passed away in 2014 at the age of 82 after spending 14 years of his life creating this monument to Jesus.

Spiritual Food

There are many great teachers and we have been blessed not only with a choice of churches, but also with the internet we have access to just about anyone we would like to listen to. It is like a virtual salad bar. But with that comes our responsibility to use Godly wisdom and discernment to avoid being influenced by false teaching. So listen to the teachings, but always process that food through the Source.

For since there is jealousy and strife among you, aren’t you worldly and walking in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos, or your favorite Bible teacher or your denomination,” are you not mere humans? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? And what is your favorite Bible teacher? Servants through whom you came to trust—and to each as the Lord gave. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow. Now he who plants and he who waters work as one, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. ~1 Corinthians 3:3-9

In other words, God's Word, the story and teachings of Yeshua (the Source) is more important than who you follow here on earth. So stay studied up in the Word, pray for wisdom and discernment and...when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine (in The Word) and declare it to you. ~John 16:13-14

Cultural Food

Culture: the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group. 

Culture is how we celebrate life. We have grown up in a time when culture rules and sadly the negative kind tends to govern us more than we realize. The music we listen to, the movies, games, television and sports events are all influencers which also need to be processed through that perfect Source.

Even though we live in a modern world, The grass withers, the flower fades, But the Word of our God stands forever. ~Isaiah 40:8    Jesus said, “if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out." ~Matthew 18:9   This means we must make every effort to avoid activities that lead us in the wrong direction and we must be able to personally discern those areas for ourselves with the help of the Word and the Holy Spirit.

Negative culture is impossible to avoid, but what if we put our focus on creating and and using our gifts to glorify God and influence the culture around us as part of the command to go and make disciples of all nations? (Matthew 28:19-20)  And on top of that we have His promise that He goes with us.

Moses, as commanded by God, commissioned artisans Bezalel, Oholiab and others to build the wilderness tabernacle and all of its furnishings and vestaments. Later on, Solomon comissioned the most skilled artisans using the finest of materials to build the most impressive temple of all time for the worship of God, Most High.

Scripture is filled with singing, praising, dancing and lamenting so beautifully. David played the harp to soothe the rage of King Saul and later he danced and rejoiced before the Lord. He used his soulful creativity to write the Psalms which are so incredibly inspiring to us. So even when we sing, and make art about life in general, the Source should be our guide.

Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. ~1 Corinthians 10:31

Helpful  And Inspiring Links:

Leonard Knight And His Technicolor Mountain

Lance Wallnau: Access To High Places  A great talk by Lance discussing Christian culture being a liberating force in a society versus the manipulating force of negative culture.

Hebraic War Dance

Beckah Shae: Heartbeat

How to Thrive Through the Struggle: Keep Your Lamps Filled With Oil.

The twenty fifth chapter of Matthew’s gospel begins like this: ‘“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise”’ (v. 1-2 ESV).
Doesn’t that sound like the beginning of a very exciting story? It certainly is, and one of the things that make this parable of the wise and foolish virgins especially thrilling is that Jesus told it to his disciples as an illustration of what he had prophesied would happen at the end of days as told in Matthew chapter 24.
Even though because of the chapter headings the prophecy and parables seem to stand alone, they are really part of one continuous dialog. The parables that Jesus taught in Matthew 25 were told to illustrate the prophecy recorded in Matthew 24.
Notice that verse 1 of chapter 25 opens with the word “Then.” This indicates that Jesus is prophesying not only about his own time, but also about a future time. These parables in fact were written as a warning and admonition not only to Israel of Jesus’ day but for the Church in ours. They provide us with a roadmap for behavior as the Body of Christ in the final days of the 2000-year Church Age.
 Jesus begins the parable of the wise and foolish virgins by telling us that all the virgins were going to meet the bridegroom. The Church Universal is the Bride of Christ as described in Ephesians 25:22,28b, 32: “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior…He who loves his wife loves himself. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (ESV). Therefore, the Bridegroom that the virgins in the parable were waiting for was Jesus, himself.
He recounted that the five foolish virgins had their lamps but took no oil with them, but the five wise virgins had flasks full of oil for their lamps (25:4). Proverbs 20:27 tells us that the spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, but it isn’t really the lamp itself that illuminates, but the flame, that is fed by the oil that is in the lamp. The lamp is a vessel for the oil, and the oil provides the fuel for the illuminating fire.
The Church is the vessel that is intended to be filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit that sustains the passionate flame of God’s love for his eternal Bride.
“As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’  But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’  And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut” (Matthew 25:5-10 ESV).
The foolish virgins didn’t understand that they couldn’t “borrow” the Holy Spirit from the wise, nor could they “purchase” him in the marketplace. They had not personally received the infilling of the Holy Spirit directly from heaven, and so their lamps were going out. They couldn’t sustain the fire of their love for God “with their own oil” or in their own strength.
“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you’” (25:11).
After the Last Supper and before his arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus told his disciples that he would send another Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, to abide with us forever. He also stated that his disciples would know the Holy Spirit because he would come to live within us, but that the world would neither receive him nor know him (John 14:16-17).
When we become fascinated by and filled with the things of the world, we don’t leave any room in our lamps for the Holy Spirit, and without his abiding presence, the blaze of God’s love cannot continuously burn within us. Our spirits are simply too weak to sustain the fiery power of his love for us. We must have the Holy Spirit, married to our spirits, so that our lamps are continuously filled with precious oil.
The parable concludes with Jesus instructing his disciples to “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (v. 13).
We don’t know the day or the hour that the call will sound that the Bridegroom is coming for his Bride. But even if that call comes in the middle of a dark night, and even if we have fallen asleep while we are waiting if we are filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit, when the Light of the World calls us home we will be ready to meet him.

The Food Processor – Biblical Worldview – Part 2

Informational Food – Journalism

I will get back to Spiritual and Cultural Food, but I talk about them regularly and feel that this is of critical importance considering all that is going on in the world right now. It is so easy for us to be slack in setting the Source (Jesus) aside when we consider Journalism and Politics, but as believers, we absolutely must process through Him. 

 Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us,  just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed. ~Luke 1:1-4

Luke was not only a physician, he was a journalist. He interviewed eyewitnesses and carefully wrote an orderly account of all relevant details. This is journalism at its finest and even better with the help of the Holy Spirit. He did not have an agenda, he just wanted to know the truth and to share it with others.

It is a shame that mainstream media sources who are owned by corporations try to suppress  and ban citizen journalists from giving their own orderly accounts. It tells me that mainstream media is controlled, they have an agenda and they have much to hide from us. It is even worse that they feel it is their duty to tell us how to think about the information that they share. That is not an orderly account.

Truth has no agenda. For believers in Christ, all information needs to be processed through the Source/the Word/Jesus and we must always pray for wisdom and discernment. Disinformation does exist, but we have the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.

Here are some useful questions we should ask ourselves when we hear the news: Is it true? Maybe I should do some extra research. Is it helpful? Are we in danger? How are my family, community, and/or country affected? Is an opinion included along with the information? Is there an agenda that is being propagated? Is it slanderous- meant for unfairly discrediting a person? Does the Bible have anything to say about it?

It is okay for a journalist to share an opinion, but it should be stated as such. Name calling and defamation of character are slanderous and are a sign of irresponsible reporting. God hates slander and so should we, especially against those with whom we disagree. We should also use our wisdom and discernment to separate ourselves from the opinions of others before making our own opinions. "The facts, ma'am, just the facts." ~Joe Friday, Dragnet

Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, And whoever spreads slander is a fool. ~Proverbs 10:18

The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered. ~Proverbs 11:9

Just for example, I would like to show the difference between useful information, opinion and slander: 

Useful, logical and factual information: 

1. A crime was committed yesterday at such and such a place. Several suspects are in custody. Details will be given as the scene unfolds.

2. .....ism is an ideology founded on a set of beliefs such as....

3. Historically, this kind of action has been disastrous, therefore it would be reasonable to consider a different way next time.

Opinion:

1. It would be a good idea to create a law that would........

2. So and so would make a great/terrible leader, because.......(factual details are important here)

Slander:

1. So and so is a racist and is unfit for his/her position.

2. People who support this person are deplorable.

"When we truly believe that some people are monsters, that they fundamentally are less human than we are, and that they deserve to have less than we do, we ourselves become the monsters." ~Andrew W. K.  My Dad Is A Right-Wing A-hole

Political Food is next, so put your big girl britches on.

Photo by Headway at Unspalsh