The Trip So Far

09/05/2019

Who He Is

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 11:03

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” [Luke 9:20A; NLT]

In the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, we have a question Jesus asked His disciples. He is still asking it today – of us.
I trace my Christian credentials to the Spring of 1972, and this morning as I was meditating on this, several unsettling thoughts got stuck in my mind. As I thought back on my new birth during the Charismatic Movement, I found myself praying about the widespread arrogance I cannot avoid seeing in myself, and in many others. I asked God this question: “How is it that the blood of Jesus Christ has produced so much religious arrogance in me, rather than humility?” Closely following that question was another: “And how have I sinned so much and loved so little – since I believed?”
Back when I was still wet behind my Christian ears, I heard a lot of teaching about who I was in Christ, and I still hear it today. Yes, it is important to recognize and appreciate, some would say acquire, this knowledge of how God views His children, but it is not of prime importance, and taken one-dimensionally, can easily lead to religious arrogance.
It is much more important that I realize Who God is in me, than who I am in Him, and that’s the revelation the apostle who penned half of the New Testament had when he kept lowering himself in the eyes of his readers. God, and the revelation of God, was of prime importance to Paul, and much more so than who he was in God.
In short, we’ve been systematically trained to focus on ourselves, and how easy it is, considering how self-focused we are by nature. Receiving one-sided teaching like that has been like eating donuts, while passing up the meat and veggies we should have been eating. Donuts are fun to eat, but if that’s all we’re eating, we will be full of ourselves, i.e.: full of empty calories.
One of the problems with arrogance is that it’s so difficult to see in ourselves. It hides well, and often hides well in plain sight as it rubs shoulders with peers that share the same arrogance. Paul the apostle valued knowing Who God was above any other treasure, and as he pressed into God, his own stature was systematically minimized, in spite of his worldly, very impressive credentials. Paul was not exhibiting false humility when saying he was the least of the apostles; he was being honest. He realized something we know, but often fail to apply: ‘He must increase, and I must decrease.’ The Charismatics had it backwards, and often, still do.
Who is God in me? I’m literally dying to know, and so are you. It’s time we’re running out of.

John

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08/27/2019

What Is Prosperity?

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 13:26

I suspect ever since the first gold bar rolled out of the mold, we’ve misunderstood and mishandled prosperity, and it is simply because we misunderstand the Creator of it.
Going back to the last time God said, “It is very good.”, we are presented with a picture of two people who had enough of everything. They had enough health, happiness and the prospect of unimpaired longevity, yet they buggered it all up because they didn’t understand prosperity, and I suspect most of us still don’t get it.
The so-called Prosperity Gospel has made a very few people rich, but on the backs of millions of people naively nursing the false hope that they too, will share in the “riches”. That is a classical example of a great religious pyramid scheme. God gives us “stuff” for the same reason we give stuff to the earthly children we love, and no parent “owes” it to his kids to make them prosperous. God will never, ever, be our debtor, no matter what we do to “earn” it.
The Bible clearly teaches us that to know (intimately know) God is true prosperity, and all other prosperity is simply entrusted to us as stewards of God’s provision. Ultimately, the difference between what we need and the sum of what we’ve been given, should probably be considered subject to God’s will, and rightfully expendable. However, since the great garden debacle, we’ve been hoarding and saving to pay for our innate distrust of God.
To be short and to the point, real prosperity comes to us from God only as we give ourselves to Him – for His use only. That’s the true exchange, and it is eternal; everything else that is countable is temporary, and ‘temporary’ is pretty short.
I’m rich because I know God. I’ll be more rich as I get to know Him more intimately. All of our money will die with us, and all of the stuff we’ve hoarded and protected will end up in the ungrateful hands of other ignorant people.
I’d rather have the riches I can take with me, for it’s sure, I can’t stay here.

John

08/23/2019

Simple As One, Two, Three

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 09:37

Human beings were created to be image bearers of their creator God. This should be common knowledge among Christians as it is very foundational to their identities. Our human spirits were formed at our creation, and were united with God’s Spirit as He blew His breath into Adam’s nostrils. No really, it’s in the Bible, and is found in Genesis. My point is that our spirits were never designed to stand alone, but were made to be united with God’s Spirit. And that’s why Adam came alive, or else he would have bounced up from the dust before God breathed on him.
At the beginning, Adam’s spirit was joined with God’s Spirit, but when he sided with his wife against God, his spirit died. He didn’t cease to be alive at that moment, but his spirit, created to be joined with another spirit, broke away from God and joined to Satan’s spirit. Adam’s spirit died right then because it was transferred from God’s Spirit, which is Life, to Satan’s spirit, which is death.
There are currently, three spiritual origins: God, Satan and man. All three entities have their own spirits, and mankind will individually have to choose which spirit to join themselves to, God or Satan, for again, man’s spirit was not created to be alone.
Each of these three entities, God, Satan and man, have spiritual power to some dimension. The power of God’s Spirit is the power demonstrated at creation, and fully able to have brought into being things which originated only in the mind of God. This is an ongoing big hurdle for evolutionists, for they stumble when Christians say God created something from nothing. Evolution truly has no beginning because even if we believe in it, at some distant past place, there must be some sort of something, for nothing in their worldview, can arise from nothing.
The power of man’s spirit is lodged in mankind’s will. We can will to do a thing, and then do it. Even God won’t trespass human free will, which should indicate that if it’s that important to God, we should take careful note of it. There’s a popular worship song that credits God with being “unstoppable”, but that is not completely true. Yes, His overall plan for the universe will in the long run, prove unstoppable, but in the near distance, man’s free will can indeed “stop” God, for God’s Spirit will not trespass.
Satan’s power lies somewhere in between God’s and man’s, and he counterfeits God’s power at every opportunity, but it is only counterfeit. At his creation, Satan was not given the power to re-create. This has two obvious implications: he is only a created being, like us, and is not a “god”, which would grant him claim on divinity, and it gives away his motive when he had his angels mate with human women, because only God and humans can re-create, and Satan wanted to re-create physical offspring of his own on the earth. In short, God and man creates and Satan destroys. Simple.
In Exodus we can read how the magicians of Egypt could copy many of the divine signs that Moses demonstrated before Pharaoh, but only up to a point, and then the magicians told Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God”. They could not go farther with their copycat signs or they would have. They, rather than Pharaoh, realized they were beat.
I believe that Satan has the power to bring fire on the earth from the mid-heaven, and I believe that’s where the fire and brimstone originated when it fell on Sodom and Gomorrah, similar to what happened to Job’s sheep in Job 1:16, just another example of Satan unleashed.
The prophets of Baal were conversant with the concept because they fully expected their god to burn up their offerings as they danced around their altar in front of Elijah (1st Kings 18:25+). Elijah’s actually performed two miracles at that time. He not only brought fire down from God, but did it after having prevented it to come down from Satan. Elijah only allowed God’s power to be displayed, and he shut down Satan as he did so.
There are among us, those who want to handle supernatural power, and they would sacrifice nearly anything to get it. But we do not get to ‘handle God’s power’, only God does that, and while He’ll work with and through man, He will not share His rightful claim to His Glory, and we usurp claim to what is rightfully only His, we stand on very dangerous ground. We are never to lay claim to God’s glory any more than the moon should lay claim to sunshine.
It’s all as simple as one, two, three.

John

08/12/2019

Resonance

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 13:28

Ref:
“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” [John 3:8 NASB]

For some months now, I’ve felt in my spirit that a shift was coming to the churches in America. Frankly, it made me nervous, and was a little like waiting for the earthquake during “earthquake weather” (Californians will understand).
Today, however, as I was fixing lunch for me and my feline companion, I was meditating on what I thought I heard the Spirit say several days ago concerning home churches, and a strong, unexpected feeling of freedom rolled over me, and joy flooded my heart. All I could do was shout, “I am free!!” It’s hard to explain, because I’m describing an experience that I had, and perhaps you have not….yet.
I do not market myself as a prophet, nor do I have any aspirations of being held up as one, but sometimes I actually do dare to believe that I’ve heard from God, and this morning was one such time. As such, I’m going to go out on a limb and proclaim publically what I believe I have heard. And as with anything like this, you be the judge – from God or not? For just me, or does it apply to others?
So here’s what I’ve been hearing:

• The Holy Spirit is ordaining the exponential spread of home churches.
• They will be small, neighborhood gatherings, and the people will passionately seek the Lord and His presence, giving Him free reign to act through the gifts of the Spirit as distributed by Him, unhindered by administrative “protocols or traditions”.
• The Holy Spirit will show incredible power through regular “nobodies” and glorify Jesus and His Kingdom without the lifting up of “special” church leadership or ministries.
• The true Body of Christ will be openly brought forth and manifested, and all things will be tested and judged against the Word of God.
• There will be order in the houses, and the holiness of Almighty God will be present.
• The home churches will not be motivated by money or fame, but they will be rabid about only one thing: establishing, maintaining and increasing intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ, spilling over into radical, holy lifestyles.
• Concurrently, regular denominations and non-denominational church leadership will continue to entertain and tickle the ears of those who want to be comfortable in their spiritual poverty, excited by the emotion-based (soulish) services, and willing to pay good money for it.
• Many of the mainline churches will become enemies of the home church movement, and those churches will think they do God a service by encouraging persecution of “those radicals”. In doing that, they will fulfill biblical prophecy. (Matthew 25: 1-12)

In short, the true Bride of Christ is going to be brought forth by the Holy Spirit, and will spontaneously spring into view through home-based congregations all over this country. This movement will not be stopped, but rather it will function as God ordains, and will be incredibly powerful in the gifts of the Spirit.
That’s what I’m hearing, and that’s what I’m proclaiming. I have no idea how long this will take to be verified, but at this time, I feel certain it will be.
He is preparing the Bride of Christ, and the so-called, regular churches will find themselves fighting God as they fight against this move. God will un-fund some churches and leave others in place to sharpen the anointing and trust of His Bride, and the faith of God and the genuine unity in the Holy Spirit will finally be manifested on the earth.
But I could be wrong……you judge.

John

08/02/2019

Elk Meadow Days

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 11:59

I put on a music set I have on my playlist entitled, Sounds Of The Rocky Mountains, and for some reason it put me back in Estes Park in May, 2004….
I have had such a rich life of memories, and sometimes I can just soak in them; this morning is such a time. Can I share some of them with you?
On April 27th, 2004, my wife and I left the Kansas City area, bound for Colorado in our fifth wheel trailer. I thought we were headed to Steamboat Springs, and had told all our friends to look for us there. We had been planning to leave Kansas since before I “retired” on April 12th, and we were filled with a sense of adventure as Kansas also retired in our rear view mirrors.
After a very full day of driving, we settled in for the night at the Loveland (Colorado) RV Park, right on Highway 34, just a few miles west of I-25, figuring to leave the next day or the day after, for Steamboat Springs. However, as the new day dawned I felt in no hurry to leave, and instead wanted to “unwind” from a twenty-five year career just over, and the RV park was quiet, peaceful and shady. We stayed for two weeks.
One of our first adventures involved a baby Great Horned Owl that was lodged in a tree adjacent to our fifth wheel. He was a real beauty, but the adventure part of the adventure began when he fell out of the tree and took refuge under our trailer! Not knowing what to do, but having enough sense not to touch him, we called a raptor rescue place in Fort Collins, and they sent a man down to take care of the baby owl. I remember the man throwing a towel over the owl, who was nearly crow-size and covered with fluff, and I wondered why he was so careful, until I heard the baby’s beak snapping away under the towel! It would have been a costly mistake for me to have tried to put a hand on it!
Within a few days I went into a very dark valley of depression, something I had not expected. Up until that experience I had heard of men having to battle depression upon retirement, but never gave it much credence. It was a very dark, almost two week long valley when I made the decision to pack up and get going. I remember getting into the cab of the truck and starting the big diesel engine, but then I just sat there… My wife asked, “Aren’t you going to drive?” And what came out of my mouth was, “I can’t go to Steamboat Springs.” Asking why not, I told her that I just could not, and that it “felt” like we’d be driving into a dead end alley. I just could not do it. We talked for a few minutes and finally I said, “Let’s go up to Estes and see how it feels.”
Driving due west on Highway 34, right through the middle of Loveland and on up Big Thompson Canyon, we arrived in Estes Park about noon, but I remember what I felt and said when we cleared the gateway rock outcropping that overlooks the town. As we drove around a sharp, right hand corner, Estes suddenly sprawled out before us, ringed with snowcapped mountains, and I said, “We’re Home!”
We stayed that night, and for the next five months, at an RV park on the west edge of town. It was just a few miles from the south entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, and was situated right on the road that splits off to the YMCA Of The Rockies. It was named Elk Meadows RV. I suppose it’s still there to this day. And right there, our Estes Park adventures were born.
As the months passed, we were engaged in studying for our upcoming real estate license exams during the day, with hiking and exploration in the afternoons. But in the evenings we would walk the roads that circled the RV park, and on those roads and fields there were herds of elk. One night, as darkness began to fall, we were walking alongside the National Park Service maintenance garages and had to take refuge in the bed of a park service pickup truck, as an entire herd of elk surrounded us as they grazed through! They were close enough to reach out and touch! I can’t begin to describe the sweetness of that memory!
May might be considered early Springtime in Estes Park, which is about 7700 feet above sea level, and some pretty serious snow storms can come up suddenly, all the way into early July, some years. There was the night I had to rush out of the camper and hook up the truck to give us more stability from the incredible wind and whiteout snowstorm that had suddenly engulfed us! By noon the next day, the snow was completely gone. It seemed, even at the time, that every day came complete with it’s own adventure. But O how we loved it!
As the summer actually began, we started to make friends with a seasonal group of other campers, and they were an incredibly unique and pleasantly eccentric bunch, every one of them! That, by the way is a prerequisite for residency in Estes Park. Estes is not your “normal” town, or at least it wasn’t in 2004, and we were pleased not to contribute more normalcy to it; rather, we fit right in. Today, I miss it so much!
Elk Meadows RV had a building on property near the office that was used as a community building of sorts, and we learned that some of the seasonal residents of Elk Meadows held an informal chapel service for the other campers on Sunday mornings. As our new friends, Tom, and Jane his girlfriend, Gary and his wife Ellen, Jim and his wife, and Henry’s wife the piano player, were the pillars of this “church”. We were invited to join with them early in our residency, and the next Sunday we wandered down to the meeting hall. To this day, I’d give up the rest of my life to re-live those days!! They were THE BEST!
Of course, the piano was old and cranky sounding, but no one cared. It was more like a holy party than “church”. The attendees were campers and families from all over America, and the songs we sang from the loose-leaf songbooks were usually old camp meeting songs, and the beauty of the songs was the hearts of the singers, so it didn’t really matter how well they were sung. The “sermon” was usually a simple message birthed from a few scriptures everyone knew. It was clean, pure, simple and good. I even got to “preach” one Sunday! And I have to say, I experienced true worship for the first time in Elk Meadows RV Park. After the service, all the “staff” would meet at a local restaurant to eat and talk. I’d give up the rest of my life to re-live those days!
I really had no destination in mind when I began this piece, but as I wrote about the chapel services, my spirit began to cry, and I could feel the tears somewhere inside. God was so much in charge of our lives back then, and we were so completely cast upon His grace. Those days were so full, so simple and uncomplicated. I suppose we were busy, but at the same time life seemed so restful, and each day really was packed with adventures.
So here’s my prayer for all of us today:

For you – may you (re) discover the simplicity of God. May you be covered with His quiet, rest-filled presence with expectation, and may He show you the utter simplicity of His heart.

For me – Lord, if I live long enough, please consider taking me back to Colorado.

John

07/26/2019

Order In The House

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 09:16

Order In The House
7/26/2019

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” [Genesis 3:16; ESV]

Many moons ago, about the time dirt was discovered, I grew up in a house ruled by women. This matriarchal pattern had been the norm in my family for at least two generations when I was born. For some reason, I was never able to give in to this prevailing pattern, and for as long as I can remember, I resisted it. Consequently, I believe that’s why my mother always referred to me as her “bad boy”. Because she said it so lovingly, I never realized at the time what a curse the title contained. But as a direct result of growing up in that matriarchal environment, I’ve been sensitive to it ever since.
Matriarchal dominance is not God’s created order. I’m not debating whether men and women were created equal, and I’m not attempting to build any kind of case for male dominance, I’m simply stating that even though both men and women were created in the image of God, with no inferiority implied whatsoever, differing roles were assigned by God from the very beginning.
When babies are born with two heads, we call it a birth defect, and try to fix it. When families have two equally authoritative heads, it breeds strife from the top down, and breeds confusion in the children. These households are out of order. Sadly, I see way too much matriarchal influence, and in fact dominance, in nearly every area comprising American society.
The other day, I sat in a waiting room in a discount tire business, and as usual, the environment was replete with a television blaring blather from the wall. As the man who had preceded me was engrossed in the media garbage, I was victimized by the meaningless content of the programs. Then a commercial came on, and in it were a husband and wife. The husband was trying to fix some simple problem in the kitchen with no success. Finally, the woman (hero) in the drama, stepped up and deftly fixed the issue, as the man stood around looking completely helpless. Coming up next was another commercial featuring another helpless male with his woman companion coming to his rescue.
To be candid, I wonder if most men in our American media depictions, do anything more than bring a penis to the party! Now look, I’m grateful for smart, capable women; I married one, but I’m sure that many American families resemble what I saw on that television, and that’s a big problem.
When our families are out of order with the proliferation of passive males, so are our governments and churches. Far too often in this country, women rule the roost. I even had a pastor who once told me with regard to his own family, “When mama’s not happy, no one is happy.”, and frankly, considering his supposed “calling”, I was stunned by what he said (admitted)!
Let’s be honest for a change….the women’s movement was never really about “equality”; it was all about dominance, and we see it in almost every headline we read. Men don’t know how to be men in 2019, and haven’t known how to be men for at least two generations. Who’s going to teach them Masculinity 101, their mothers?
Sadly, the churches often have what are labeled, “Men’s Conferences”….they would have been totally redundant one hundred years ago, but today, they almost make sense. But to be fair and balanced, we usually have “Women’s Conferences” too, in belated and ongoing attempts to “empower” women. Granted, many women need deliverance from their “worm” mentality, but shouldn’t that ministry arise from the men in their lives?
I call them “Girlie Men”, and I see them everywhere. I see these travesties of emasculation in almost every area of life now. Television is full of them, as is Hollywood and the Left Coast. Are there any decent, real masculine role models currently living in New York City? From what I’m seeing every day, I’m hoping they just keep flying over middle America – we’ve got our own Girlie Men; no need to import any more. Worse, Girlie Men raise Girlie Boys, and this dreadful cycle infects another generation…
I’m old fashioned enough to believe that men and women were created for each other – and they purposely weren’t made alike. They were created to be complimentary, not competitive. My mother on her best day, was never the father I needed, and he was a terrible mother.
Many men run away from their family responsibilities and bury themselves in their work, or their alcohol, or their porn, or their other women, etc. Perhaps they don’t understand what they were created to be, but they know enough to understand they aren’t allowed to be men at home. They are out of order, and they have a generational sickness we are ill-equipped to treat. I see a generation of teenagers obsessed with hand-held electronics, legends in their own fantasy minds, bearded wonders skateboarding to nowhere…what could go wrong? Who is left to protect this country? Who is left to lead it? “Tomorrow’s leaders, today” don’t look very promising to me.
We don’t have social programs adequately addressing the emasculation of our men, and our churches are merely reflections of current society, rather than the pragmatic reflections of God’s order they were meant to be. Our governments are staffed with ambitious, overly press-conscious women, who are leaders because no one else stepped up to bat. All this, and worse, is infecting our society like a cancer, and we are being taught to cower and bend to these false gods. This genuflecting is now considered “normal” to most Americans.
In his late eighties, with my dad in an assisted living apartment and my mother parked in a locked-down Alzheimer’s ward across campus, he once admitted to me that he was deathly afraid of making my mother angry! Even at that late stage of his life, he was still tiptoeing around her….(and he wasn’t even entirely sure she knew who he was!). I blurted out, “My gosh dad, she’s an eighty year old woman, what are you afraid of?!” My old dad had been systematically trained to cower before femininity. He learned it at home, and he practiced it after he had his own family. And now it makes sense to me that he earned his living on the road as a salesman, and it makes sense why he said he was a manufacturer’s rep because he wanted to be “his own boss”. That’s how he escaped female domination at home. Now that’s sad. I still wonder who he was, really.
As Christians, we are obligated by our covenant with God to raise our children with His values and in His ordained order. If we do not, this parental generation will accrue judgment to themselves for their disobedience, and very likely forfeit some of the blessings God wants to bestow, and the next generation will, in all likelihood, lose, rather than gain ground for the Kingdom.
God’s not limited….and we probably weren’t His first choice anyhow, but we can be if we step up and put our houses in order.

John

is

07/18/2019

“In The Name Of Jesus”

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 13:51

Ref:
John 14:13,14; 15:16; 15:23,24
1 Corinthians 11:23-30

I believe one of the major reasons we have credibility issues in the church, (I hope that’s not news to you), is because many believers don’t really understand what it is they say they believe, yet they sincerely become adept at using Christianeze to cover up their ignorance. There can be grievous consequences, as ignorance breeds contempt, and contempt is not only deceitful and subtle, it is dangerous.
When we tie off our prayers by glibly stating, “..in Jesus’ name”, without realizing the importance of what we just said, we do not necessarily honor God simply because we used those “magic words”, in fact, quite the opposite.
If I, my earthly father’s son, tell you something “in the name of my earthly father”, you can rightly assume I have been given the authority to use the family name to conduct business. If however, an unrelated stranger were to use the same language, you could question him along the lines of what the demon said to the sons of Sceva in Acts 19:14, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” In other words, the demon was telling them he did not recognize their authority to invoke the name of Jesus.
The obvious point I’m trying to make is that using the name of Jesus is a right and an honor given to those who are in a blood Covenant relationship with God the Father, through the ratification of the covenant by the Son, Jesus.
I believe that to ignorantly cast around Covenant terms as if they are magic words, or no more than a common, religious way to end our prayers, does not necessarily honor the covenant, nor serve as a trustworthy way to know if the person praying is even a part of the Covenant. God knows the difference, and apparently, so do the demons.
I mentioned ‘grievous consequences’ in the opening paragraph. In 1 Corinthians 11:27, the apostle Paul writes:
‘Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.’ And it gets worse, as he states in verses 29 and 30:
‘For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep (i.e.: have died)’.
Using the name of Jesus is a only a privilege of Covenant people. Taking the sacrament of communion is also a Covenant privilege. For at least one Person, the Covenant was expensive, and I think that to dishonor it through ignorance cheats us, potentially endangers us, and does not bring honor to God in front of those heavenly witnesses who can rightly judge whether or not we have the God-given authority to exercise those privileges.
Using ‘the name of Jesus’ is serious business. It is to God, it certainly is to demons and it should be to us.

John

07/15/2019

Relief From The Storm

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 12:07

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. [Isaiah 60:1-2; ESV]

Several thousand years ago the prophet Isaiah recorded what we have in our bibles in chapter 60, above, and I love the way the eternal God can utter words through His prophets that are at the same time, contextual and timeless.
With regard to this specific prophecy, it would appear that the prophet is indeed speaking about our current time, for day to day we are inundated with dark, and darker headlines of increasingly portentous events. As such, it is easy to get into mental habits of prioritizing current circumstances ahead of our faith.
Every day I check the internet to see just who is at war with whom, and what new horrific event occurred, and I’m always amazed at the increasing depravity of mankind. I don’t often read the stories; the headlines are bad enough. Just when I think I’ve heard it all, it astounds me again. The bar just keeps getting lowered!
After awhile, I succumb to a feeling of general heaviness, like living under a perpetual cloudy sky, and after reaching a certain place in my mind, God reminds me Who He is, and what little I am responsible for. Today, for instance, I was wallowing in the slough of despond that I’ve been stuck in for several weeks, when I got the idea I should simply begin to worship Him. No real reason other than that He is worthy, and so I began…I didn’t get but a few sentences into it when I heard this in my mind: ‘Yours is the Kingdom.’, and this partial verse from Matthew 6:13 blasted the clouds of my cloudy day! God’s words do that, you know. It doesn’t take much, and sometimes He doesn’t even complete His verses, but the result is always freedom. Here it is:
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ [Matthew 6:13; NASB]
So for me, and maybe for you if you want it, the good news in these dark times is the unchanging, unalterable fact that the Kingdom of God belongs TO HIM, and that’s good news indeed. Nothing on earth, no matter how dark, no matter how perverse, sick or twisted, can change that fact. And nothing on earth can wrestle the Kingdom from the King of Heaven. It is firmly and forever His. We may share in it by His grace, but it belongs to Him…
….just like we belong to Him.

John

06/29/2019

Covenant???

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 11:34

6/29/2019

Contrary to popular Christianeze, God is limited in His interactions with mankind…He’s limited by His Word, and He did it to Himself. The fact, and it is a fact, that most often we only take Him at His Word when it is comfortable or convenient for us to do so, hinders Him not at all; it hinders us. And all through His recorded Word, God interacts with us through covenants.
If I were all powerful, all knowing and possessed eternity at my fingertips, and I told you that I would only interact with you through my covenants, wouldn’t you want to learn about them so you could access my provisions for your life? And it makes perfect sense; I wouldn’t dream of relocating to France for the rest of my life without learning the language. The language of God is called Covenant Language, and it would behoove us to learn about it.
I recall the man who was improperly dressed for the wedding in Matthew 22:11-14:

“But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few [are] chosen.” [Mat 22:11-14; NASB]

The ‘wedding clothes’ in the parable is a picture of the righteousness of Jesus, the Son of God, who is the Groom in this story, and that critical garment is only obtained by being in covenant with God the Father. No covenant; no garment; no garment = outer darkness, i.e.: eternity without God. Our covenant status is absolutely critical, and it’s critical right now and forever.
So why is the topic of Covenant so under-taught amongst us? Good question. Salvation, a topic we do hear a lot about, is solely a product of Covenant – so why is it not taught that way? No covenant = no Salvation; I would consider it important!
The ongoing availability of healing from God to His children is a product of Covenant. Remember the ten lepers Jesus cleansed in Luke 17:11-19? Only one returned to give Him worship, and he was the only one of the ten to whom Jesus said, “..your faith has made you well.” I’m always left wondering how long the other nine men were able to keep their healing(s), because the ongoing blessing is a covenant issue. How often do we seek healing, but not the Healer, in covenant?
In 1st Corinthians 11:23-29, Paul the Apostle teaches about the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. After saying he received his authority to teach by direct revelation, he says in verses 27 – 30:

‘Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason, many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep (in death).’ [1Co 11:27-30; NASB]

However, when we take The Lord’s Supper at church, we focus on forgiveness of others….good, but not good enough. Even unbelievers can learn how to biblically forgive. Paul is teaching here about Covenant, and examining ourselves to make sure we are still within it. He is saying that our ongoing participation in our covenant with God is critical to our physical (and spiritual) well-being. And I always wonder why have we focused on what is not specifically taught in this important passage, and not focused at all on what is? I think we are Adamically geared backwards from God – a product of Eden. But we take this twistedness even further – we turn the sacrament into a function of the religion we’ve instigated, while still ignoring the covenant it is supposed to affirm.
Over the years and due to the steady accumulation of various infirmities, I’ve discovered that my relationship with God, within and only within His Covenant, is the one rock I can hang onto in the chaos of affliction. And this is just not any old covenant…it is a holy Blood Covenant. ‘Holy’ because Jesus ratified it, and a ‘Blood Covenant’ because in order to bring it into being, it cost Him all His blood. And to God, and indeed even the pagan societies that preceded the advent of Christ, Blood Covenants were always considered the most binding and serious life-long covenants that could be enacted, and in short, the provisions were always, “My blood for yours.”
When Jesus shed His blood on the cross, He brought about a most holy, Blood Covenant, and that covenant binds us by blood to God the Father and God to us by blood, forever. As far as God is concerned, the Blood Covenant enacted and ratified by Jesus, is our only valid reason for us to consider ourselves members of God’s eternal family, because the blood that brought that covenant into being is eternal.
And that’s precisely why, and only why, we say we have ‘eternal life’. I’d say it’s important.
So again, why don’t we hear more about this? Good question.

John

06/18/2019

Die Offs

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 10:19

A time to give birth and a time to die; [Ecc 3:2 NASB]

In my life, it seems that the Grim Reaper is again at work. Every so many years he sweeps through and harvests some more of my friends and acquaintances, or others that have some part in the fabric of my life. The die offs seem to come in waves, as do infirmities. King Solomon stated that there is a time to give birth (and to live), and a time to die, but I’m sure he was writing that within the context of a “normal course of events”, or it would have been phrased, ‘An untimely time to die’. Death is natural in this dark world, but death from murder is not a natural death for God’s children.
The Bible states that one of the reasons Jesus came to earth was to show us the active will of God, and to provide us with an example to follow in our lives. As such, Jesus dived into His ministry by delivering human beings from demons and healing them from sicknesses and infirmities. In other words, it was obvious from His ministry that Jesus was showing us it was not God’s will that we be dominated by any form of sickness and disease. So why is it that so many church-goers don’t get it? There can only be two reasons: ignorance of God’s demonstrated and written word, or willful unbelief.
Not too many years ago I had a good friend (I thought), who by his own admission “had diabetes”. Whenever I heard him state that he ‘had’ diabetes, I always thought that in actual fact, the diabetes had him. Finally one evening after a bible study, he said he ‘had’ diabetes once too often, and I piped up, “Would you like to be healed from it?” His girlfriend, later his wife, who excelled at wearing the pants in the family, took extreme offense, and said loudly, “No!”, and from that time on she saw to it that our friendship was over. She even took some effort to herd us apart if we just happened upon each other in neutral environments. (By the way, that’s a great example of “Christian witchcraft”).
Biblically speaking, none of us has the authority to avoid ultimately dying. As long as we’re alive, we’re facing death at the end of it, but as Christians, Jesus made it quite clear we could refuse to be murdered, and sickness to any degree, is incipient murder. In fact, sickness is incipient murder even for unbelievers, they just don’t have the authority to refuse it.
If your doctor says you have cancer, for a child of God (not necessarily a church-goer), the obverse is the truth – cancer has you. Cancer is caused by a malignant being under the direct control of Satan, and he’s out to take advantage of our biblical ignorance and unbelief, and he’s good at doing so.
So here I am once again, outliving some more of my former associates and friends. The Reaper is harvesting (i.e.: murdering) once more. “Good” Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, AG, Episcopalians, and many other sects are currently being pilfered by the Reaper, and for the most part, it goes uncontested by the victims.
I’m thankful for doctors, but my trust is not in them, although I hope to find good ones as needed; my trust is in God, namely, Jesus, Who alone heals and restores. Anything less than Jesus is just management.
And let’s be honest, many do trust in Jesus and they die anyway. I can’t pretend to know why, but what offends me is the ones who simply give up and say thoughtless things like, “Well, it must be God’s will…” That kind of capitulation should offend any real Christian because it flies in the face of why Christ came and what He did. Our ignorance is killing us, and it offends me.
I’m sure many will disagree with me, and that’s their right, but personally, I think every sickness, every disease, every germ and every other killer, ultimately has roots in Satan and his demonic hosts. Even a cursory reading of Jesus’ miracles of healing will find deliverance from demons intertwined. We stand a much better chance of survival by resisting an evil personage, than we do by just hoping we’ll get lucky and live.
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was so we, as His covenanted people, could live out our natural, God given lives serving Him, not dying untimely deaths and succumbing to murder.

John

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