Posted by: actstwo | September 2, 2014

AN ON PURPOSE EXISTENCE

The Bible’s first statement is an authoritative statement of fact; “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That statement is not asking for approvals or debate, it merely states a matter of fact. Yet, from time immemorial, it has been debated, scoffed at, ridiculed, intellectually reasoned over by many and simply believed by some.

As to the beginning of the universe, of all things in existence, there can only be three proposed explanations as to that beginning. One, that nothing interacted with nothing to make something, an explanation, that is ludicrous and not worthy of contemplation. Two, that the universe had a beginning void of personality, a random, by chance, interaction of matter (which, by default, demands at least some things already being in existence which causes yet another explanation of their existence) or, three, it had a beginning of a personal naturesome intellect and power which existed that caused its creation—which is the the Bible’s declaration of Genesis 1:1.

The universe is therefore either one devoid of intellect or it is one alive with personality and being. If the universe is absent of intellect and owes its existence to chance and randomness then one is left with no logical reason as to why there exists a human species that is flooded with thinking, acting, communicating, loving, hating, feeling and having ideas with the ability of choice and creativity. It would be like a fire developing in an airless and substance free universe. Those that ascribe to a beginning of an impersonal universe are left with a meaningless existence of mankind.

However, since the universe had its beginning with a Personality—Someone Who both had a purpose for its existence and the power to which bring it into existence—then we are left with the realization that our lives do indeed have purpose and meaning both to us and to the One Who created all things. This awareness is what causes the springing forth of thoughts such as; “Who am I?”, “What is my purpose?”, “Is there life after death?”, “What is life really all about?” which otherwise, such thoughts, in a universe of chance would have no value in any proposed answers to such questions. 

“In the beginning God…” In the beginning a thinking, feeling, loving, communicating, God. A universe created by Someone for someone — a people-oriented universe. Man created in the image of that Creator — meaning that the creature would be like his Creator — having the ability to think, feel, love and communicate. The reason man can have compassion is because it existed first in his Creator.

The child may ask his father, “Who made the house we live in?” To which the father might answer that before there was a house there existed first an idea in the mind of a builder of the house and then that builder brought together the necessary materials for its construction and then applying his idea he used his power to build the house. The house had a personality behind its existence — a personality with an idea.

“In the beginning was the Word…” The Logos, the idea. “And the Word was God.” The divine Architect with the power to bring it into existence.

Part 1 of An On Purpose Existence

Posted by: actstwo | February 8, 2010

Open My Eyes…..

Revelation vs Discovery


Discovery—a baby suddenly realizes that the waving object in front of his face …. Is a part of him!

Revelation—a darkened area of the mind is suddenly flooded with light!

Discovery—coming to know that which was previously unknown via the senses or through another’s explanation of their knowledge—a knowing that is cultivated.

Revelation—coming to know that which was previously unknown beyond the senses or another’s explanation of their knowledge—a knowing that is transplanted rather than cultivated.

The Bible has many instances of both discovery and revelation (as defined above) happening to various individuals within its pages. While the two seem to be synonymous yet they have very different affectations, at least in the Biblical and spiritual sense. The dividing line between these two methods of obtaining knowledge is thin indeed but there is a very definite division none the less.

One Biblical example of someone experiencing a discovery can be witnessed in Adam. Adam, through the operation of God, becomes a living soul—he “awakens” in a world where he and everything else in it is new—Adam “learns” or discovers his world mainly through his senses—his observation teaches him many things about the world he inhabits—his taste, smell, touch and hearing also combine to future his education of his world.

Adam also is our earliest example of a man experiencing a revelation. Adam, it is apparent, not only has physiological abilities but a divine revelation also transplants a complete language into his mind—he is able to converse with God with a God-given language (a language he was not taught). All future offspring of Adam and Eve will acquire language through discovery, not revelation—they will learn via another’s (their parents) knowledge.

When the Bible speaks of something being “revealed” it can be either discovery or revelation that is being addressed—only the context can determine which of the two is meant. Some things that are revealed are time determined knowledge—things that come to be known with time—while other things are revealed as a special act of God in the mind. The word “mystery” in the Bible is often speaking of that which is hidden until its unveiling in the future—this is a time dependant discovery. Rom 16:25 “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.”

The things that are “revealed” to the mind of man by the Spirit are true revelations. We see these revelations in the sudden transplanted knowledge in the identity of God as the One and Only—Jesus Christ! “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Gal 1:12 “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

It is important to note, however, that usually a revelation is many times prefaced by a desire to know and a study in that area of knowledge—God seldom drops a revelation into a mind that is not thirsting for divine understanding. This is why hunger and a desire to know are paramount ingredients which invites sometimes a divine revelation.

In the gifts of the Spirit it is apparent that the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge are seen as divine instruments that come into action when the Spirit activates them within the mind. These revelations are vital to the welfare of the church and for its perfection. One must not always assume that he has all the answers—but God does—and God can divide severally as He wills.

As preachers it is still our call to discover—to learn and to hunger to know—and if there be need of a divine revelation—God will supply. Paul still gives us the charge—study to show thyself approved—a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. In other words, concentrate on learning—and He will supply the revelations as needed.

Eph 3:3-5 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

__________________
Posted by: actstwo | January 31, 2010

The Ocular Has Overtaken the Oral

Pastor James L. Groce – Molino, FL

Few today can recall the “Fireside Chats,” as they were fondly called, between then president Franklin Roosevelt and the American public. During the tremulous times of a second world war and a great depression the radio voice of FDR was a vital connection between a worried and shell-shocked people and their government. While watching the faces of other family members huddled around a common radio receiver America listened to the amplified words that helped to make sense of the present hour in which they lived. Yes, they “listened.” The oral message was vital and was appreciated. The only view of the speaker’s image was what the mind conjured up from pictures from daily news papers—but that was sufficient—because the message was the important thing not the image.

Today, my how things have changed! The present generation of Americans is no longer attentive to the oral message of things but rather to the ocular image of things. It is no longer, “What did he say?” but rather, “How did he look?” In the political arena, for instance, the “look” is far more important to the coaches of their student clients than the message that those students supposedly believe. It is now not so much “what” they say but “how” they say it. Anyone that truly “listens” to the palaver of today’s political proponents know that what they hear is hardly deep enough to warrant hip waders and is about as substantial as a whipped cream dollop. The “viewers,” however, are mesmerized by the style and pomp of political actors that chant catchy slogans. Those same eyes take in all the falling balloons and glittering confetti showers and waving banners and colored lights and think “Wow! What a winner!” And pity the poor guy (or gal) who even dares to come across as average because when the ballots are tabulated—the ocular stars always win. Those captive to images cast ballots based on how candidates make them feel—they vote for slogans, a smile, perceived sincerity and attractiveness. They no longer “listen!”

The culture of illusion is here (a product mostly achieved via television media) and it does not just inhabit the political stages of this world, no, it is very much alive amid the church world also. We witness regularly the spectacles that are sweeping over many oneness platforms which display more for the eye than the ear. A trip to some “youth explosions” will not only convince the doubters but will also dismay them as well. Smoke machines that blow out vaporous fogs to intermix with the sweeping flashing lights while a choreographed team of “worshippers” dressed in ridiculous attire are strutting their stuff. Indeed, in Pentecost, the ocular has overtaken the oral. And the crowd goes wild.

The spectacles do not, however, end with just the young because it is becoming the “in thing” in nearly every church endeavor imaginable—dramas and all kinds of eye-pleasing antics are parading themselves down Gospel Avenue and the crowd seems to love it. Preaching isn’t spared from this ocular disease either—because who wants to just “listen” anymore? The cry is “give us entertainment or we will look elsewhere.” Aimee Semple McPherson seems to still be active—or at least her spirit is going strong in 2010!

Fellow preachers, we are living dinosaurs in a world of glitz and glamour, we who still place the emphasis on “hearing” rather than on seeing are antiques but take heart because we are still proponents of “Hear O Israel.” Be not dismayed at the clamor being caused by the stage hands that are setting up their next spectacular and awesome “throw down church” service where the barely clad are brazenly glad. It was God’s chosen method to save those that believe by preaching. Preaching that uses words to reach the heart and not the eye; preaching that is said to “cry aloud and spare not;” preaching that was to detail through speech, that is easy to be understood, the ways of a just and almighty God; preaching which stirs the inner man through the inner ear; word preaching sir!

Thank God for the preacher who still preaches like a dying man to dying men!

Posted by: actstwo | January 23, 2010

The Cuckoo Syndrome

There is a bird, the cuckoo, who is a common in England and many other parts of the world. The first sign of spring is that bird’s call. The cuckoo never builds its own nest. When it feels an egg coming on, it finds another nest with eggs and no parent bird. The cuckoo lands, hurriedly lays its egg, and takes off again. That’s all the cuckoo does in terms of parenting. (We have a lot of cuckoos in our society today!)

The thrush, whose nest has now been invaded, comes back, circles, and comes into the wind to land. Not being very good at arithmetic, it can’t imagine why it immediately begins to list to starboard. It gets to work hatching the eggs. Four little thrushes and one large cuckoo eventually hatch. The cuckoo is two or three times the size of the thrushes.

Mrs. Thrush, having hatched the five little birds, goes off early in the morning to get the worm. She comes back, circles the nest to see four petite thrush mouths and one cavernous cuckoo mouth. Who gets the worm? The cuckoo.

Guess what happens. The cuckoo gets bigger and bigger; the little thrushes get smaller and smaller.

To find a baby cuckoo in a nest, simply walk along a hedge row until you find little dead thrushes. The cuckoo throws them out one at a time. Here’s an adult thrush feeding a baby cuckoo that is three times as big as the thrush.

The tragedy of the out-of-balance preaching and ministry is that a tangent will have future disastrous consequences because unbalanced lives will devour the life of the things that we should have nourished and protected… prayer, worship, devotion, godliness, etc. etc. We must be careful to “declare the whole counsel of God.” That’s why there is still a five-fold ministry in God’s church today.

Posted by: actstwo | December 22, 2009

THE SEARCH FOR WORDS

“The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.” Ecc 12:10

It’s such a popular axiom that the often expressed phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” has almost gained gospel status and a chorus of deafening “amens!” usually accompany its vocal expression (strange none seem to stop to consider that it took words to make it known). However, upon due consideration, that phrase is in direct opposition with the Biblical premise of preaching. As a matter of fact, it is not “A picture is worth a thousand words” but rather “It takes words to make a picture,” especially in spiritual matters—and this is what preaching is all about—searching for acceptable words.

In an “eye-candy” world such as we live in today it is no wonder that the popularity of true preaching wanes. A generation accustomed more to the eye gate than the ear gate expresses little admiration for the vocally propagated gospel–ear splitting crescendos of music (so-called) yes—but not heart smiting credos of gospel preaching. Therefore it is understandable (not condoned, however) why so many churches have entered the “visual-extravaganza” realm with eye pleasing demonstrations of what they deem to be evangelization. Poor misdirected souls!

The preacher that does not have a constant searching for “acceptable words—even words of truth” has not only greatly misunderstood the call of God but also has perverted that call to venture beyond the vocal, as the primary element, into the glittering world of the visual. The first and foremost duty of the preacher is to “preach the word—in season and out of season” and to do it “instantly” or as the first response.

This “seeking out acceptable words” is the primary objective of any true God-called preacher. To seek it out through study and prayer—to have his heart, head and spirit filled with words when he mounts the sacred desk—this is what preaching is! A dog that cannot bark cannot be excused just because he can do a few visual tricks. God called men to preach—words!

Preacher, don’t be intimidated by the status quo of today’s “show and no tell” follies. Keep searching out acceptable words—even words of truth to fulfill your calling!

Posted by: actstwo | December 21, 2009

All Men Are Liars

Consider:

Psa 116:11 I said in my haste, All men are liars.

While the Psalmist speaks in haste stating that all men are liars it appears that even when spoken with due consideration and patience that the statement still holds true – all men are liars.

While that can be hotly and puritanically debated – I think the statement still holds true.

All men are liars – some on purpose and others unknowingly – but all men are liars.

If a lie is a deliberate assault on truth or if it’s a case of speaking without full knowledge that causes a mis-apportion of truth – a lie is still a lie and truth is truth.

The caustic kind of purposeful misrepresentation of truth is the kind of lying we deem to be despicable and yet we should realize that many times we formulate conclusions many times which may not contain the entire story even though our motives may be pure — we being human still falter at the collection of all truthful aspects of life’s situations.

All men are liars – some by choice and others by simply being human.

No wonder we are told in Rom 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

It is impossible for God to lie ….. but us mere humans must be aware that our weakness is not only in purposeful telling of untruths but it also includes our lack of full knowledge that causes us to see and think, and eventually speak, untruths — because all men are liars–even the best and most pure among us. Therefore, above ALL men, we must say a resounding “Amen!” to the God Who cannot lie — because man shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God.

While there is a vast difference in a purposeful “Liar” (which will have their part in the lake) and someone who is just frail human flesh that seldom sees all things as they really are and speaks incompletely….. it is still true in a sense that “all men are liars.”

What do you think?

Posted by: actstwo | November 24, 2009

The Times Demand Men!

MEN TO MATCH THE TIMES
By James Groce

Irving Stone created an interwoven pageant of historical stories of the great westward drive which, in a few rousing decades, settled a continent and gave the United States dimensions of which its founders hardly dreamed. Stone titled his work, “Men to Match My Mountains” which was taken from the poem “The Coming American” by Sam Walter Foss [1858-1911].

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Posted by: actstwo | November 17, 2009

Questions W/O Answers

GOD MADE SOME QUESTIONS WITHOUT ANY ANSWERS

It truly seems that God made some questions without any answers for their mate,
Yet men seek, and even invent, answers to questions which are never complete nor are succinct.
 Indeed, the angels must look on in wonderment at the portrayal of men’s versions that can never sate
“I have light,” says one man and wonders why his fellow mates continue to think his answer indistinct.
 
Life, as God designed, has those places where man is left speechless
And all the wonderings of the human mind are left adrift amid a fathomless sea.
Yes, there are those moments in life that beg for an answer but God chose to leave it answerless.
 
Why did He make it so—to create questions that have neither conclusions nor even a key?
Could it be that the Master chose in His Wisdom, in order to manifest His glory
Created some questions in life that plague and confuse a man,
So that men would come to realize that in some things the answers are not in their inventory
And would begin to seek the One Who holds everything in His hand?
 
 
Sometimes the answer we need is not found in the hearing of great explanations
But in those times the answer we need is the sense of a great shadow of peace
That assures us rather than answers us and puts an end to fearful argumentations.
This must be why God made some questions without answers of release.

– Jlg – 09

———-

Posted by: actstwo | November 10, 2009

A Rising or A Setting Sun?

I am made to wonder, after reading several books on the founding fathers and their original feelings and thoughts concerning the Constitution, if those men would be both amazed and indignant about how their child has been transformed into some kind of weird and grotesque creature bearing little resemblance to the innocent and bright-eyed babe they once swaddled in their own fortunes and lives?

It is so very akin to how we witness the transformation, in our own day, of Biblical principles that have been knocked to every corner by cultural expediencies and compromistic jugglings by men who love appeasement more than atonement. How we have seen the plain and straightforward principles of holiness yanked apart at every seam in order to make a new garment to scarcely cover the ugliness of flesh approval. Tossed about and dissected until the resulting misapplied and abused doctrines of godliness are little recognized by those that once knew her well.

Court upon court, in our democratic process, has choked, eviscerated, maimed and drained the life blood from the very veins of “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” What those original signers of the Constitution had in mind when they had completed their manifesto, no doubt, bears little resemblance to how those same statutes appear today.

Man in his never ending quest to make the letter fit the man rather than the man made to fit the letter have, for all practical purposes, not only suffocated the once viable principles but have in most cases reversed their original intent. This also we have witnessed in the church world.

 The Constitution, when it was signed, Benjamin Franklin, the well-travelled bard of early America who invented everything from the lightning rod to a method of playing glass as a musical instrument, and who once represented the American colonies as their resident envoy in London, commented that he wondered if a carving on the back of the Chair occupied by the President of the Convention. “I have often wondered at length if the sun on the back of the President’s chair is rising or setting. Today I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is a rising and not a setting sun.”

 But, could it be, that today….. that it is a setting sun?

 

Posted by: actstwo | September 10, 2009

Captives or Captors

One of the bestselling books of the past, first published in 1952, was The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Peale, drawing his inspiration from Emerson and William James, is considered by many to be the founder of today’s human-potential movement. While Peale’s work does draw on some spiritual principles it remains almost entirely a work concerning the natural ability of man rather than a work of the Spirit.

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