“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our Elohim and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:27
If there is one thing that has always been in the forefront of my faith it is to take care of those in distress. i won’t list the times here as this isn’t about ringing my own bell just simply that even with all i can point to i still feel as if i need to do more. The other day i was talking with some folks and as we talked life and such we got on the subject of foster care. i have done foster care several times and it is an incredible opportunity to show the love of Elohim.
Even if you are unable to take in children, you can support those that do or as i discussed with this couple; Most of these kids when taken from home to home pile all their belongings in trash bags. What if the next time you replace your luggage you take a suitcase down to the foster care center and donate it to a child. Instead of them feeling as if all their worth is garbage they can have some sort of dignity.
It’s not just here but i try to be aware of my friends, especially those that are single mothers. What do they need? Money to help their kids play sports? A bill that is due and you can see their stress? i will often donate to support their children’s sports or pay a bill for them. These aren’t huge but they are helpful. It doesn’t require a lot just awareness. Be aware of those around you. i don’t always give but what i do is seek the Holy Spirits direction and remain open to His leading.
i just want to encourage you in these days of uncertainty, inflation is on the rise, and the cost of living is a giant stress. Those in need now are really going to feel the stress before some of us do . . . Be aware, be kind, be giving, love those around you the best you can. “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our Elohim and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself untainted by the world.”
“Now, therefore, fear YWHW, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river and in Egypt. Serve YWHW! And if it seems evil to you to serve YWHW, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve YWHW.” Joshua 24:14-15
This is my yearly appeal to you out of love, walk away from Easter and all of its pagan roots. We know it to be true that Yahshua fulfilled the Passover. John the Baptist declared on the river’s edge, “Behold, the Lamb of Elohim, who takes away the sin of the world!” Yahshua is the final Passover Lamb, we should be honoring that and not the combination of a pagan festival mixed with the richness of the Feast of Elohim that tears the vale and covers us in righteousness, cleansing us from our sin.
In Emperor Constantine’s letter to “all those not present at the council,” following the Council of Nicea wrote how it would be better to separate from Jewish custom. He called out the Jews for killing Yahshua and in many instances called for anti-Semitism. For instance, he wrote, “We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews.” He goes on to say, “They do not possess the truth in this Easter question; for, in their blindness and repugnance to all improvements, they frequently celebrate two Passovers in the same year. We could not imitate those who are openly in error. How, then, could we follow these Jews, who are most certainly blinded by error? for to celebrate the Passover twice in one year is totally inadmissible. But even if this were not so, it would still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communications with such wicked people [the Jews]. Besides, consider well, that in such an important matter, and on a subject of such great solemnity, there ought not to be any division. Our Saviour has left us only one festal day of our redemption, that is to say, of his holy passion, and he desired[to establish] only one Catholic Church.”
The question of whether or not Constantine truly converted to Christianity or not has been debated for centuries. However, we do know for a fact that rather than adhere strictly to Christian tradition and belief; for the sake of the unity of the empire, he combined the festal days of paganism and Christianity. His disdain for the Jews as represented in his letter, and his lack of judgment in establishing a new religion where we see the combination of paganism and Christianity should certainly call into question our adherence to these traditions.
“When Adonai your Elohim cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? —that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship Adonai your Elohim in that way, for every abominable thing that Adonai hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. Everything that I caommand you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.” Deuteronomy 12:29-32
i want to make a clarification here about Constantine’s reference to two Passover’s, clearly he was unaware and sadly none of the scholars of his day enlightened him. In Numbers 9 we read of some men who were cerimonially unclean and therefore unable to bring the sacrifice of Passover. They inquired of Moses and Aaron on what to do. YWHW told Moses to give this instruction: Numbers 9:10-11 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, if any one of you or of your descendants is unclean through tourching a dead body, or is on a long journey, he shall still keep the Passover to YWHW. In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight they shall keep it. . .”
Concerning the idea that Passover or any of the Feast of Adonai are strictly Jewish, i present Leviticus 23:1-2 “Adonai spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, these are the appointed feasts of Adonai that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are MY appointed feasts.” Clearly they are HIS feasts, much like the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.
Finally, let me close with this, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Messiah Yahshua. And if you are Messiah’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:23) Passover this year begins at Sundown on Friday April 15, in line with Good Friday services, however, the tomb would not be discovered empty until Tuesday morning fulfilling the three days and three nights. Often Easter and Passover do not line up and occasionally are off by a months time. Although this year is very close in timing i will refuse to attend any church that is honoring Easter, hosting an egg hunt, or in any way mixing pagan tradition with this most Holy of Feasts, Passover.
“For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 1 Corinthians 7:19
For all that was taking place in Corinth at the time. For everything that Paul was addressing. i don’t think, although it appears a footnote, that his mentioning the commandments is a small matter. It wasn’t about ritual; it wasn’t about Abrahamic Covenant or Mosaic Law; it was instead a call to obedience to God through His commandments. Specifically, The Ten Commandments.
In the full context of what Paul was addressing, we find that he was qualifying the new believer. This is no small point either. However, you came into a relationship with Jesus, remain. If you were circumcised, then remain; if not, don’t seek it out. If slave, don’t concern yourself with freedom; if free, don’t seek to be enslaved by man. Instead, both should consider it a joy to be now a slave to Christ, obedient to the one who calls us out of the bondage of sin into a life made free in Christ Jesus.
Yet, one point in this, “but keeping the commandments of God.” What are the commandments of God? Here, specifically, The Ten Commandments. That’s right; Paul qualified his remarks by stating it should be our concern to follow the commandments of God. Paul didn’t seem to think it was too much for the new believer to find himself a slave to Christ and a subject to the Law of God.
1. Have no other Gods before me. (How might we put other gods before the Great I AM? Could it be in our traditions steeped in pagan practices?)
2. Do not Worship any graven image. (This one is a bit more speculative on my part, but could it be our adoration for electronics, or even perhaps the use of statues within Catholicism?)
3. Do Not Take the Lord’s name in Vain. (Beyond a curse word, this also implies the use of the Lord’s name to make a statement more impactful, “The Lord told me!” Be careful, my friends, on how you use the Lord’s name!)
4. Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep it Holy. (Certainly, this doesn’t mean any ol’day of the week. Clearly, a day was chosen. History reveals to us that Jesus observed the Sabbath, what we refer to as Saturday. It is clearly written here, to remember it and keep it Holy . . . yet so many dismiss this commandment with ease, why?)
5. Honor your father and mother. (This is more than a child being obedient, this is a grown child caring for his elderly parent. It goes far beyond simply obeying your parent as a kid under their roof).
6. Do not kill. (This is about cold-hearted murder, don’t confuse the issue with self-defense).
7. Do not commit adultery. (More than a physical relationship, this is also emotional, Jesus talks about adultery of the heart through the lust of the eyes, or inappropriate texts, etc.).
8. Do not steal. (When having a peaceful protest, it still isn’t ok to loot).
9. Do not bear false witness. (Beyond lying, this is also gossip that is based on rumor and not fact. Be careful what you say and of whom you say it).
10. Do not covet. (Be content. Live in the moment. Don’t concern yourself about how your neighbor lives; concern yourself with your relationship with the God of the Universe, one day, you will meet Him and receive either reward or condemnation).
“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 139:16 ESV
”Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass.” Job 14:5 NASB
“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:27 NASB
A glimpse into the knowledge of Creator God, He has ordained our days. His knowledge supersedes our own in every way imaginable, and this includes knowing the exact amount of days we will walk this earth. Worry will not add any time; knowledge will not add any time; in fact, nothing we can do will add a day to our lives. You might say a good diet, exercise, or just healthy habits, in general, will add to our lives. But not in the book, not in God’s knowledge.
i am not discouraging good eating or healthy habits, i am simply pointing out that God already knows, has already counted, has already ordained our days. It is, however, within God’s power to add if He so desires, to our days, as we read: “Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, “Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David, I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.’” Isaiah 38:1-5 NASB
So why am i writing this? What is my reasoning? We have a tendency to assume or believe that we are in control of our days and that we always have tomorrow. But we are not guaranteed tomorrow. As we read in Luke, “And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’”
The most important thing you can do isn’t a good diet or exercise. It isn’t financial security or healthy habits. The most important thing you can do is prepare your heart, soul, and mind. Life has always been spiritual, we are spiritual beings, and the battle we fight is spiritual; worship is spiritual, yet Satan is actively attempting to distract us with physical things and making it seem as if physical things or physical appearance will be what makes us happy. i assure you, we find our happiness, not in the physical realm but the spiritual.
You will never be satisfied with the things of this world. The word is clear, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:33-34 ESV
So, if you were to die, if God were to require your soul tonight, do you know where your soul will go? You can have the assurance of tomorrow in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Word says, “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:13 ESV) There is no secret initiation, just simply: “But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with your heart, you believe and are justified, and with your mouth, you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:8-10 Berean Study Bible
You see, God so loved the world that He made a way for us; we only need to respond in faith, repent of our sins, and seek first His Kingdom. If you want more information or have a question, please don’t hesitate to comment below or reach out via messenger on our Facebook page, Coffee with Jesus.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
i think we need a reminder of something. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) This is as true today as it was when Peter wrote it, and as true as: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say,’” (Genesis 3:1) Not only is he crafty, he is the father of lies. If you are a true born-again believer, he knows who you are, and he hates you.
There is a fascinating book within scripture that has many difficult sub-stories within the main story, and that is Job. There is much we could talk about, but i would point you to the beginning and the interaction between God and Satan, Job 1:6-12. Consider the entire context but for emphasis, let me share what Satan already knew of Job. Verse 9 “Then Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.’” Truly Satan did know all there was to know about Job. Consider also this passage from Acts 19:15 “But the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” The spirit was talking to itinerant Jewish exorcists; they were not followers of Jesus.
Although Satan will use the non-believer for his purposes, he doesn’t, nor do his minions know them. They don’t care to know them. However, if you are a child of God, you have a target on your back, and i can assure you, Satan and the fallen ones know exactly who you are and want nothing more than to see you fail. They will stop at nothing to accomplish their mission. They have crept into the Church, they have crept into the family, they have crept into governments, and their mission is to devour the children of God. To usurp the authority of God, and we can read in Revelation, they will stop at nothing to accomplish their goal.
Indeed, we must be vigilant, sober-minded, watchful! “Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. . . . praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me . . .” (Ephesians 6:13,18,19a)
We are living in a world that seems to be run by fear and an overwhelming belief that people are too dumb to think for themselves. i have recently been “fact-checked” for a couple of cartoon posts. That’s right, cartoons. If you need to be told that there is some hyperbole associated with a cartoon, perhaps you are as dumb as these fact-checkers think you are! i, on the other hand, have more faith in your intelligence.
Did you know that the Pharisees fact-checked Jesus during His time? “21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.” Luke 5:21-25
Here is another example: “22 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw.23 And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.”25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.” Matthew 12:22-27
No one wants to consider opposing views because it calls into question their understanding. Pride is a significant factor in one’s ability to hear and at least try to see another’s perspective. i am reminded of my grandfather’s advice to me when i was younger, “Don’t ever think that you know everything so that you remain teachable. But, you need to know your stuff too so that you can discern truth from lies.” Being open to others’ ideas doesn’t mean you have to believe them; however, it will give you several things. One, it will provide you with perspective. Two, it will provide you with empathy. C, it will allow you a voice. No one enjoys talking to a know-it-all.
This is where Jesus’ examples are relatable to today. Jesus’, responses were in both cases, educational. He didn’t scream or silence them; He simply showed them. They had every opportunity to believe, but their pride got in the way of genuinely seeing who He was. Let us not get so distracted by our current world that we forget who Jesus is or that we are to be living examples of faith. We need to be open to the opinions of others while at the same time understanding not only God’s Word but also the definitions of science. Silencing the voices of opposition is what the Pharisees did . . . we cannot fall into that trap.
Adventure through life like it’s a parable. What is a parable, you ask? Well, simply, it is a story with spiritual meaning or application. Imagine, if you will, every situation, every conversation, everything you read or watch, becoming a parable. It can if you simply ask the question, “what does Jesus want to say to me through this . . .?”
“He put another parable before them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown, it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’” Matthew 13:31-32 ESV
This is obviously talking about how the Kindom of heaven may have small beginnings but grows beyond what one would expect. Life is a bunch of mustard seeds. Every word you speak. Thought you think. Choice you make. These seeds grow. It is why it is essential to choose your words wisely, be quick to listen, and slow to speak. It is why we need to take every thought captive and bring it before the Lord that we not be ruled by our limited understanding but by the Truth of God’s Word. It is also why we must choose wisely, be doers of the word; whatever we do in word or deed should glorify God.
Could you imagine the impact one could have if they started to think of everything they do as the beginning of a parable? Considering what a word or action would later produce is kind of common sense, but sometimes although the idea is there, the actual thought is not. You might say it would be too much pressure. i disagree. i view it as an adventure! It’s like one of those old choose your adventure books. You read a little and then your character faces a choice. In the book whatever you choose, you turn to a particular page and continue the story, some outcomes are good and some are not so good. However, unlike most choose your own adventure books, most of our day to day choices are redeemable. That should give us some hope.
i have been living this parable life idea now for some time, and i can honestly say that my life has become a great adventure! i don’t always make the right decision, but i am constantly learning and growing and experiencing life with a desire to have the mind of Christ, the hands and feet of Christ, the words of Christ, the love of Christ.
Join me in my adventure in being a living parable.
It has been somewhat challenging not to read Christain books. i usually alternate between a good, who done it, mystery novel, or just a novel based on somewhat real life, and a book on spiritual formation from a Christian perspective. However, since the beginning of this year, i have cut out all of the latter and have been focused on a biblical foundation to my understandings rather than the interpretations of someone else. i will look for insight as needed or perspective from others, but i have cut out reading extensively on one subject. That isn’t to say i won’t ever again, just not in this season.
i want to focus on Scripture and allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. i know a novel concept. Yet, so few dive into this idea of coming to Biblical truth by simply reading the Bible and seeking wisdom and understanding or interpretation from the pages of God’s Word. After all, Paul writes to Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
Therefore, i have deemed 2021 my year to set aside all my favorite Christian authors and seek wisdom from the purest source, the Bible. With some helpful commentaries or specific short writings but from several perspectives and interpretations to gain perspectives i may not have seen before with the understanding the Biblical text will determine the outcome of what it says . . . if i cannot make sense of a passage in the pages of Scripture, i will sit in it, pray through it until it is made clear. Knowing, however, that there are mysteries and that at present, i am looking through a mirror dimly.
Meanwhile, i am also enjoying my reading of secular novels. As i turn the pages and enter into the life of the characters, i ask myself, “how would i respond, or what would i do given the circumstances presented?” Or “how would i reach this person with the Gospel?” i am not a fast reader, so the fact that i am on my fourth novel this year is awe-inspiring for me. my current book is going to be very interesting for sure and will be a great source of inspiration as i turn the pages of Scripture in order to seek ways to present the Gospel to Edward, the main character. Who often says, like SGT. Joe Friday, from the old TV series Dragnet, would say, “Just the facts, ma’am.”
One of the verses that have spurred this idea or venture on is found in Amos 8:11, “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” i think we are living in similar days now. Now because i have a desire to understand Scripture and to know God, just not know of Him, i am searching Scripture as a miner seeks after gold, and silver, or as Indiana Jones, hunts down treasures.
i hope that my journey inspires you. That you are encouraged to seek the Truth of God through the pages of His Holy Word, with the filter of the Holy Spirit. John records Jesus saying, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26) Why do i find it essential to have a personal understanding, one based on Scripture first, confirmed by the Holy Spirit . . . because difficult times are upon us, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Finally, let me remind us of Jesus’ words during the sermon on the mount, Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide, and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
This is the question of the ages. It has been asked by every generation and sought after in every corner of the mind. It has been pursued in others, in governments, in teachers, in books, in science, and it has become relative. “My understanding of the word does not agree with yours.” This quote was taken from the dictionary definition, and it is perfectly fitting.
When i was in the 2nd grade, my teacher and i did not see eye to eye, not just because i was four feet shorter than her. She tried to get me to see her truth, but i just wasn’t able to understand. my brain wasn’t clicking on all cylinders at the time. In fact, my brain really didn’t turn on until halfway through my freshman year of high school. i was reading at a 3rd grade level at that point. It was then that some very caring educators took me under their wing and helped expand my ability to learn.
Through some very clever tactics, i was sent to “help out” at an elementary school. Much like the movie with Adam Sandler, called Billy Madison, they started me out in kindergarten. By the end of the year, i was helping out in the 5th grade, and my reading comprehension was on par with my peers. Now the movie came out in 1995, and i was a freshman in 1988, so it is fair to assume, although i wasn’t seeking the family fortune, this movie was based loosely on me . . . just kidding, but true story as i see it. And just like the dictionary definition, my truth here isn’t reality at all regarding the movie. We must get past perceived truth to know Him who is Truth.
This was the error the Pharisees and Sadducees had in the time that Jesus, The Truth, walked humbly and taught strategically. Their perceived truth trumped actual truth, and that misunderstanding lead to a prideful heart. We must learn in humility and beware of deep-rooted leaven. Jesus, in teaching His disciples, again and again, emphasized the need to beware of the teachings of the “religious.” Specifically, here in Matthew 16:5-12, we read:
“When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, ‘We brought no bread.’ But Jesus, aware of this, said, ‘O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? DO you not yet perceive? DO you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Of the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Because of my personal experiences, i am drawn to the word, understanding, more perhaps than others. And when Jesus asks, “How is it that you fail to understand . . .?” It causes me to sit up and take notice. The majority of these men were not formally educated; they were simple, blue color fishermen. Yet, even they had to be emptied of perceived truth to be filled with The Truth. And in a day in which we see many turning to false truths as Pual warned Timothy.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4
We must do our best to seek The Truth, as in “I Am the Way, The Truth, and The Life (John 14:6). We can’t stop at the question itself as Pilate did, “Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’” After he had said this, he went back outside . . .” (John 18:38)
We must be Bereans when it comes to the Scriptures, to seeking truth and The Truth. We must be eager to learn, yes, but we must also be keen to search the Scriptures daily to see whether we are being taught truth. The world is an uncertain place, and as we get closer to the return of our Lord Jesus, there will be more and more false teachers and doctrines of demons. Therefore we must be diligent in our pursuit of The Truth.
“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11
Why is it so important to seek the truth?
”For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.” Matthew 24:24-25
When i was a kid growing up, from 12 to 18, i lived in a place known simply as the canyon. The canyon consisted of several campgrounds and homesteads; Follows Camp, where i lived, Camp Williams, was just up the road. Between the two was Whispering Rivers, which was more of a homestead. These were located up East Fork Rd. West Folk had Crystal Lake Campground as well as a State Park with camping sites. Throughout the canyon were trails, old abandoned gold mines, seasonal waterfalls, and swimming holes dotted the East Fork headwaters of the San Gabriel River. To this day, i am friends with many of those who made up my extended childhood crew, the canyon kids, as we were known.
Follows Camp was host to many significant camping events each year; my favorites were the Blue Grass Festival, hosted twice a year, once in the Spring and again in the Fall. The Renaissance weekend was another favorite, and of course, as a teenage boy who wouldn’t like a weekend packed full of other teens? That weekend was known as the fishbowl; among my friends, to everyone else, it was PWP, Parents without Partners.
Each weekend brought new people, new stories, and cherished memories. Yet, all of this pales in comparison to the family that was the canyon. i could tell countless stories of how families’ needs were met; people came to the support of others as they could; for the most part, people knew and would do anything for each other. Of course, we had our gossipers, our trouble makers, and the like, but even they had their place . . . good and evil.
This leads me to the idea of community and what the Body of Christ should look like; with all of its imperfections, Follows Camp was a greater community than that of the modern Church. That is a sad statement and even a more tragic reality. In Acts, we read about the early church; it definitely wasn’t perfect either. In fact, after reading about how great it was, we read about its flaws as well. So looking for a utopian society on earth isn’t what i am talking about . . . it is, however the target we should all be aiming for and then relying on the Word of God for governance and justice.
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47 ESV
And from Colossians . . .
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (2:6,7)
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (3:1,2)
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (3:23,24)
Finally, from Revelation 3:8-11,
“I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.”
The remnant of the church needs to come together. i don’t know what that looks like but it needs to start in homes, with like-minded people, and soon!