Mitch Thinking, “Am I To Old” to Believe in God? What do you think.
Mitch Thinking, “Am I To Old” to Believe in God? What do you think.
Please leave a comment as to the way you would explain sin. I will followup in a few days discussing “Cursing” and “Sin”.
2013 ending, and now the new adventure begins. What are your dreams as for as service to God and His people?
My first effort will be to pause, listen to the Spirit of God speak to me. I will listen as I am praying to God through Jesus Christ via the Holy Spirit, seeking His mission for me. I will seek God’s direction as we begin to grow Faith Hope and Love Ministries. I think of 1 John sharing in detail and depth the Love of God for us.
May the grace and love of God embrace each of us, and I pray that we will allow the LOVE of Jesus Christ will radiate from our being. God Bless and Happy New Year.
WHAT NOW? Can I Find Spiritual Insight during this Season?
November and December of the year is the most depressing time for me. Yes I do know it should not be, but it is! For me, I am not really depressed, but as I see the Thanksgiving doings, family, friends I feel an emptiness that is carnal and human. Dad deceased, Mom , brother and sister and cousins are busy with their families. Mrs. Jan and I often feel that we are celebrating alone. Yes Mrs. Jan is from Wyoming and we are now in North Mississippi, so we together (married for 48 years) make plans to try to celebrate Thanksgiving, and I say to her, lets keep it simple. This year we celebrated four thanksgiving meals with four diverse people’s. Yes, much food, lots of love, and sharing. Yet I had to dig deep within myself to find the blessings. Blessings indeed were there and Jan and I smile as we hold each other more tighter, and drift off to dream land with a warmth in our being. Yes! Jesus Christ via God sent the Holy Spirit to give us all the warmth we can handle.
Christmas day is approaching. A day set aside to celebrate and rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ. It warms the human Mitch to see all the lights, the sounds, the presence being made ready for loved ones. It all so grieves my heart as so many different groups and people try to diminish and even eliminate the words “Jesus Christ” and what He stands for.
I ask everybody that is a believer and Christian to pause and pray that the Holy Spirit will give all of us strength to share the true story of Jesus Christ and the Gospel.
Blessing for this season.
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Brethren have often suggested that there are five steps to salvation. Continue…
Assurance of the Resurrection 2 Cor. 5 ….
5 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
SOME DAyS PRAYERS ARE ANSWERED By: Mitch DeCanter
As you read this short commentary, understand it is written with a HEARTFELT knowledge of God answering prayers as we are humans wish. This is personal and real.
It was a Tuesday during the month of October 2013 in North Mississippi. The sun was warm and welcoming, with a light Western breeze tickling the leaves on the great old oak tree. It is a tree on the corner of my property, perhaps near 100 years or more, standing as a strong soldier giving me pleasure of shade, protection, and the show of leaves falling to the ground.
The setting is very peaceful, and welcoming. I go to the deck in the back yard, a freestanding deck build about 3 1/2 years ago. I remember that date because I was driving a nail when the pain started and stopped my actions. A successful 4 by-pass surgery and months of healing. Oh the heart was fine, the important arteries were full of diabetes inflammation. So the battle to live and stay around for my wife and friends continue. Oh don’t pity me, praise God and Jan and I enjoy every moment together claiming the truest sense of love. We hold each other as if there is no tomorrow, and indeed we know there are no promises for this flesh, but for our souls. We are very sure and do not doubt that when we go “absent the body, we will be present with God” and that’s when I will be normal. Standing in His presence with a smile in my being.
Wow, got off the current story for a moment. Tuesday, a warm beautiful day: In the afternoon, I became tense, agitated, and shaking. Felt fine, so I went out to the deck, set and reviewed the lesson for the upcoming Faith Hope and Love Ministries meeting. My body settled down, and we had a wonderful spirit filled meeting. Everybody was drinking in the Holy Spirit as it ministered to our individual needs.
The session is over, Jan and I go into our home to relax and go into the evening of sharing with each other. As suddenly as the winds cease blowing I was in the bathroom throwing up with extreme force leaving me weak and a bit confused. We first though it was food poisoning. Being diabetic I knew not to ignore, but to start checking levels and blood pressure. The high blood sugar level alone did not alarm me, However the high blood pressure and pulse rate did set off the alarms. The levels and rate continued and even climbed, so we made an appointment with my Dr., with is a good practice when something very much out of the normal starts.
After sharing all details with my Dr. she wanted to do an EKG test, which is fine with me. She showed me some new and different readings and called the Cardiology department in the hospital, shared what she was seeing, where the Cardiolog admitted me on the spot for test. A heart look-see was completed with good results.
On the way to the procedural department, I saw a mortuary person with a body leaving the hospital. I had lots of feelings as I considered that this one did not make it for whatever reason. For a moment I allowed myself to consider the negative possibilities, but quickly turned my mind back to Jesus Christ. I had already made peace with Christ and had received revelations that everything would be just fine.
These feeling were because I could feel the prayers from far and wide. Therefore, sometimes prayers are answered. This time prayers were answered in my favor and I live for another day. Praise God for the prayers…
FAITH HOPE AND LOVE MINISTRIES BAPTIES
Our new card for Faith Hope and Love Ministries, your comments welcome to improve…
full of Spiritual excitement being encouraged and love by Mrs. Jan.
excitement, proud and loving mom encourages.
our most mature believer enjoys the moments when a child of Jesus Christ starts their new walk in life.
raised to a new life in Christ.
bAPTISM AT FAITH HOPE AND LOVE MINISTRIES
Several months ago during one of Faith Hope and Love’s Tuesday night meetings, a young lady, perhaps 22 years old bust out, “I want to get saved and right!” As the leader, teacher, Minister of this group, I was overwhelmed with Spiritual Excitement! However, it was my responsibility to go through a process of insuring that she knew what she was asking. Did not take long for her to make us all know and feel through the Holy Spirit that the young lady had through “repentance and asking Jesus Christ for forgiveness, and to come into her being!” What a thrilling moment in the Ministries of Faith Hope and Love Ministries. Most importantly, we have a new sister in Jesus Christ and she is growing.
Now, she has asked to be baptised. The wait I think has been a growing time for this woman, and I am honored to Serve Jesus Christ in baptizing this young sister. Since Faith Hope and Love Ministries is not affiliated with any Church or Denomination the woman is being baptised into the Christian Family as a Believer and disciple. God Bless us all Tuesday night September 24, 2013.
WANTING TO UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF FAITH
By: Mitch DeCanter
Why do I want to have a better and clearer understanding of FAITH? I think it is because most often quotes Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” and following. The two words substance and evidence has always left me missing the concept of faith. Yes, I understand the words, but what do they mean in the context of understand FAITH. Thus the quest to gain a clear explanation of faith begins again.
What does the word faith mean?
Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension and not proof.
On the words and concepts ‘faith’, ‘faithfulness’, ‘believe’ and ‘believing’, in the Bible and especially in the New Testament.
The saints’ faith had very little to do with how the word “faith” is used in the religious language of our day. Their faith did not consist of “believing in God”. For them, it was a matter of putting their trust in God and his son Jesus and relying on them, and being their faithful servants. That is the matter of faith, “in a nutshell”.
Where English translations of the NT have “faithful”, the Greek text mostly has pistos which indeed meant “faithful” (trustworthy, reliable, true).
In the passages where many English bible-versions use the verb “to believe”, the Greek NT text has for the most part pisteuô. In old Greek, that verb meant such things as “to trust” and “to rely on”, and, “to entrust something to another” and “to be entrusted with something”.
A friend’s son shared this with me, John Clark When I was a child, my father’s faith in The Lord had left an impression on me. If there was ever a situation that he was fearful in I never saw it. He would always say his trust is in The Lord. And he showed me that God loves us. Now that I am a father I try to instill in my boys the same level of love and faith my father did with me. Once I became a father I truly began to understand how much The Lord loves us. He gave his own son, his only son. To save us from hell. That’s love. That’s where my faith comes from. My faith in God cause he loves us so much he sacrificed his love His heart His son for us.
Morality! Do Christians Need To Understand?
During the last Faith Hope and Love Ministries meeting, a young man asked us a direct question, “what does morality mean”? The use of that word had pasted by several moments, but a simple answer was given. Yet, it seems that the fellow was still trying to process the word “Morality”.
Karl this post is dedicated to you for your use and to share with anyone you may desire.
It seems that a good definition of the root word moral is in order:
mor·al (môrl, mr-)
1. Of or concerned with the judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character: moral scrutiny; a moral quandary.
2. Teaching or exhibiting goodness or correctness of character and behavior: a moral lesson.
3. Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous: a moral life.
4. Arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong: a moral obligation.
6. Based on strong likelihood or firm conviction, rather than on the actual evidence: a moral certainty.
1. The lesson or principle contained in or taught by a fable, a story, or an event.
2. A concisely expressed precept or general truth; a maxim.
3. morals Rules or habits of conduct, especially of sexual conduct, with reference to standards of right and wrong: a person of loose morals; a decline in the public morals.
Just from this definition, there still leaves room for most to individually understanding the word. It seems that we must be taught and given understanding of MORALs by our parents, school teachers, and most importantly our church. The church seems to be the best place to gain a understanding of MORALS and Morality from a Christian Understanding. It should start in the early formative years. Colossians 2:6-22 is a very good Bible passage to start with.
People discuss morality quite often and many of our actions are based on assumptions about morality. I will discuss the meaning of “morality” within ordinary language and illustrate the difference between morality and everything else by comparing moral and non moral standards.
What does “morality” mean?
Morality involves what we ought to do, right and wrong, good and bad, values, justice, and virtues. Morality is taken to be important, moral actions are often taken to merit praise and rewards, and immoral actions are often taken to merit blame and punishment.
What we ought to do
What we morally ought to do is what’s morally preferable. It’s morally preferable to give to certain charities and to refrain from hurting people who make us angry; so we morally ought to do these things.
Sometimes what we ought to do isn’t seen as optional. Instead, we often think we have moral duties (obligations). It might not be a moral duty to give to any charities, but it seems likely that we often have a duty not to hurt people.
Nonetheless, what we ought to do doesn’t just cover our obligations. It’s possible to do something morally preferable that’s not wrong. For example, we can act “above the call of duty.” Some actions are heroic, such as when we risk our life to run into a burning building to save a child. Some philosophers call actions that are above the call of duty “supererogatory” rather than “obligatory.”
Something is morally right if it’s morally permissible, and morally wrong if it’s morally impermissible. For example, it’s morally right to help people and give to certain charities, but morally wrong to kill people indiscriminately.
Good and bad
“Good” and “bad” refer to positive and negative value. Something is morally good if it helps people attain something of positive value, avoid something of negative vale, or has a positive value that merits being a goal. For example, food is good because it is necessary to attain something of positive value because it helps us survive; and our survival could have positive value that merits being a goal. Something is morally bad if it makes it difficult to attain something of positive value, could lead to something of negative value, or has a negative value that merits avoidance. For example, starvation is bad because it could lead to suffering; and suffering could have negative value that warrants its avoidance.
Something has “instrumental moral value” if it is relevant to achieving moral goals. Food is instrumentally good because it helps us achieve our goal to survive; and starvation is instrumentally bad when we have a goal to avoid suffering, and starvation makes it more difficult for us to achieve this goal. http://ethicalrealism.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/what-is-morality/
We take some of our goals to be worthy as “moral goals” for their own sake rather than being instrumental for the sake of something else. These goals could be taken to be worthy for having positive value (or help us avoid something of negative value)—what Aristotle calls “final ends” or what other philosophers call “intrinsic values.”
Imagine that someone asks you why you have a job and you say it’s to make money. We can then ask why you want to make money and you can reply that it’s to buy food. We can then ask why you want to buy food, and you can reply that it’s to survive. At this point you might not have a reason to want to survive other than valuing your existence for its own sake. If not, then we will wonder if you are wasting your time with a job. All of our goals must be justified at some point by something taken to be worthy as a goal for its own sake, or its not clear that any of our goals are really justified.
Final ends – Final ends are goals that we think are worthy. Pleasure, survival, and knowledge are possible examples of goods that should be taken to be promoted as final ends. Some final ends are also meant to help us avoid something of negative value, such as our goals to avoid pain and death. The goals of attaining these goods are “final ends.” It is possible that final ends are merely things we desire “for their own sake” but some final ends could be better and of greater importance than others. Aristotle thought that our “most final end” or “ultimate end” is happiness and no other good could override the importance of happiness.
Final ends seem relevant to right and wrong. It seems morally right to try to achieve our final ends because they are worthy. All things equal, it seems morally right to try to attain happiness and survive.
Intrinsic values – Intrinsic values are things of positive or negative value that have that value just for existing, and some philosophers think Aristotle’s truly worthy final ends have intrinsic value. The main difference here is that final ends could merely be psychological—what we take to be worthy goals, but a goal has intrinsic value only if it really is worthy. Some people might have “final ends” but actually be wrong about what goals are worthy of being final ends.
We can desire intrinsic values “for their own sake,” many think it’s rational to often try to attain things that are intrinsically good, and whatever is intrinsically good is good no matter who attains it. For example, if human life is intrinsically good, then survival is good for every person.
Intrinsic value plays the same role as final ends—we think it’s often morally right to try to achieve goals that help people attain intrinsic goods and we morally ought to do so. However, intrinsic values can conflict. If pain is intrinsically bad, that doesn’t mean we should never allow ourselves or others to experience pain because there might be intrinsic goods that can be attained as a result of our pain. For example, homework and learning is often painful, but the knowledge attained can help us live better lives and could even be intrinsically good.
Justice refers to our interest in certain ethical issues such as equality, fairness, and merit. It is unjust to have slavery or to have different laws for different racial groups because people should beequal before the law, it’s unfair, and racial groups don’t merit unequal treatment before the law. It is just to punish all people who break the law equally rather than let certain people—such as the wealthy—break certain laws that other people aren’t allowed to break. Additionally, it’s unjust to punish the innocent and to find the innocent guilty in a court of law.
Some people are better at being moral than others. It’s important that we know the difference between right and wrong, attain the skills necessary to reach demanding moral goals, and find the motivation to do what is morally preferable. For example, courage is a virtue that involves knowledge of right and wrong, skills, and motivation. Courage requires us to endanger our personal well being when doing so is morally preferable, to have skills that make it possible to endanger our personal well being in many situations, and the motivation to be willing to endanger our well being when we ought to do so.
Praise and blame
We often think that moral behavior merits praise and immoral behavior merits blame. It often seems appropriate to tell people who have done good, such as saving lives, that we appreciate it and that what they are doing is good; and it often seems appropriate to tell people who have done something immoral that we don’t appreciate it and that they did something morally wrong. Additionally, it generally seems appropriate to hold people responsible for their actions and let them know that their actions could have been different.
Reward and punishment
One way to hold people responsible for their actions is to reward and punish them for their behavior, and this often seems appropriate. We could give gifts or return favors to people who help us, and break our friendship or ignore those who do something immoral. For example, a company that scams people should be held responsible and punished by consumers who decide to no longer do business with that company.
Sometimes punishments could be severe and could seem immoral in any other context. For example, it might be morally justified to throw murderers in prison even though it would be an immoral example of kidnapping and imprisonment in many other contexts. We can’t just throw anyone in prison that we want.
Moral and nonmoral standards
Not everything is morally right or wrong. Sometimes something is entirely nonmoral and irrelevant to morality—such as standing on your head or counting blades of grass. One way to clarify what “morality” refers to is to compare and contrast it to nonmoral things that are sometimes confused with it.
What we morally or nonmorally ought to do
We don’t just talk about right and wrong, good or bad, or what we ought to do in moral contexts. This is because there is both moral and nonmoral instrumental value.
Moral instrumental value – We ought to do what is necessary to attain moral goals. For example, we morally ought to get a job and buy food to stay alive. It’s morally right to get a job and buy food, and food has moral instrumental value insofar as it helps us attain our moral goal of survival.
Nonmoral instrumental value – Not all instrumental value helps us achieve moral goals. We can also have personal goals that have (almost) nothing to do with morality. For example, I might have a goal of standing on my head and taking gymnastics classes could be what I ought to do to achieve this goal. The right thing to do to be able to stand on your head is to take gymnastics classes, even though it has nothing to do with morality. Additionally, some instrumental values could even be immoral. For example, I might have a goal to murder someone and I could say I ought to use a gun if that’s the best way to murder someone. That’s not to say that I morally ought to murder anyone.
Etiquette tells us how to be polite and show respect within a culture. Etiquette tells us not to chew our food with our mouths open, to open doors for people, and not to interrupt people who are talking. Sometimes being rude and impolite can be morally wrong, but the fact that etiquette and morality sometimes overlap doesn’t mean they are identical or that etiquette is always relevant to morality. First, etiquette tends not to be serious enough to be morally relevant. Burping in the US is considered rude, but it would be strange to say it’s ever morally wrong. Second, it’s often morally right to be rude. Many people think that questioning someone’s moral qualifications and moral opinions is rude, but it’s often the morally preferable thing to do because it’s essential that we have the best moral opinions possible and sometimes it’s a good idea to help people improve their moral opinions. The importance of helping people be moral can override the importance of showing the superficial signs of respect assigned within a culture. Such signs of respect are often arbitrary and can conflict with more important ways of showing respect—such as the respect we show people when we assume that people have a concern to morally improve themselves.
New International Version (NIV)
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ.
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh[b] was put off when you were circumcised by[c] Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you[d] alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.[e]
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.
We have been set free from “human traditions” of the olden days by Christ’s appearance and gift of salvation, so all we have to live by is Him and His law, which is summed up by Love the Lord and Love others as yourself. So, the process in making these decisions would be the law, approval and opinions of other humans, and what the world sees as “the right thing”.
Christian morality is forgetting what people say and turning your heart fully to God! He holds the answers and is willing to give them to you if you truly seek. A lot of humans will have right, Godly answers, but a lot won’t. So in making a christian decision, you must show discretion when asking humans. But ALWAYS go to the Word of God and pray for His guidance. So in making a Christian moral decision one must read the Bible, listen to God, and evaluate the affect it will have on your Christian walk and the affect it can have on others who see you, who claims to be a Christian, acting. Because, believe it or not, others are watching and we have to be on our guard to show them God’s love and righteousness. But don’t freak out too much if you mess up, that’s why Jesus died!
ANOINTING! With prayer!
Recently in a Faith Hope and Love Ministries meetings, we had a special time of ANOINTING prayer with oil. I noticed several looking very confused with questions and I did tell them that I would do a lesson on the subject of anointing and anointing prayer with oil. Thus here it goes.
The first question I would ask is what does the word “anointing” mean in the spiritual sense.
Question: “What is the anointing? What does it mean to be anointed?”
Answer:The origin of anointing was from a practice of shepherds. Lice and other insects would often get into the wool of sheep, and when they got near the sheep’s head, they could burrow into the sheep’s ears and kill the sheep. So, ancient shepherds poured oil on the sheep’s head. This made the wool slippery, making it impossible for insects to get near the sheep’s ears because the insects would slide off. From this, anointing became symbolic of blessing, protection, and empowerment.
The New Testament Greek words for “anoint” arechrio, which means “to smear or rub with oil” and, by implication, “to consecrate for office or religious service”; andaleipho, which means “to anoint.” In Bible times, people were anointed with oil to signify God’s blessing or call on that person’s life (Exodus 29:7;Exodus 40:9;2 Kings 9:6;Ecclesiastes 9:8;James 5:14). A person was anointed for a special purpose—to be a king, to be a prophet, to be a builder, etc. There is nothing wrong with anointing a person with oil today. We just have to make sure that the purpose of anointing is in agreement with Scripture. Anointing should not be viewed as a “magic potion.” The oil itself does not have any power. It is only God who can anoint a person for a specific purpose. If we use oil, it is only a symbol of what God is doing.
Another meaning for the word anointed is “chosen one.” The Bible says that Jesus Christ was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit to spread the Good News and free those who have been held captive by sin (Luke 4:18-19;Acts 10:38). “
because he has anointed me
to aproclaim good news to the poor.
bHe has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and crecovering of sight to the blind,
dto set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 eto proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” “38 how oGod anointed Jesus of Nazareth pwith the Holy Spirit and with qpower. He went about doing good and healing all rwho were oppressed by the devil, sfor God was with him.”
After Christ left the earth, He gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16 ”16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another dHelper,6 to be with you forever,). Now all Christians are anointed, chosen for a specific purpose in furthering God’s Kingdom (1 John 2:20). “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
So anointing with oil was and is still a practice. It seems to me that the practice is not done so very often, but I do feel that we still should be doing ANOINTING.
Sunset, Let the night be beautiful
The hand of God creates the most pleasing view the eyes can take in. That view leads to the Spiritual Heart and with a prayer in your being one can feel the awesome presence of God within our being. That Spirit that God gave is lifted up, and we praise God for His Spender.
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[a] is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
WE PRAY IN FAITH, BUT PART OF FAITH IS HOPE AND ACTIVE EXPECTANCY. FAITH IS NOT ASKING AND DOUBTING OR ASKING AND BEING AFRAID; IT IS NOT ASKING AND WORRYING. FAITH ASKS AND BELIEVES THAT GOD IS WORKING AND IT EXPECTS AND LOOKS FORWARD TO THE ANSWER WITH JOY.
I believe it is time for us to move off the milk of the word, and to study deeper into God’s mind and heart. ”Study to show yourself approved.” Study requires reading God’s word, listening to the Holy Spirit, and to be still and KNOW!
A Voice Giving Blessings
It came from the silence of my mind as Jan and I walked the Park streets at Piney Grove in North Mississippi. July 20th, 2013 before the night time could come. As we walked and as we often do, we each were in our own mind thinking and meditating on spiritual matters. I was so deep that I was not aware of anyone else alone the way. In fact, I was somewhat in a peaceful trance of appreciation for the life and blessing that God has given Jan and me during fourth eight years of marriage. These thoughts were pleasant and mixed in the second channel, praying that God would lead me into a subject and material to present at our next Faith Hope and Love Ministries group meeting.
It was suddenly and alarmingly joyful and movement stopping, the voice on my left “I am blessed”! It seems to me that my right foot stopped in mid air as I turned toward the sound. My eyes feasted on the face of a man that was smiling with love and joy coming from his face. Before I could stop myself, I was walking up toward the fellow camper, and his welcoming expressions of what I can imagine would be very much like Jesus Christ’s warmth of “I care for you” eased my approach.
We both seemed to be blessing each other spiritually as the dumfounded small talk started. It did not take long for both of us to openly share that we were Christians and believers of the Gospel. As we shared we both soon shared that we were servants of Jesus Christ and that we both were preachers. Our spiritually blessings to each other had to soon end. Tony asked how we could keep in contact. I shared with him, because he had to rush breaking camp, to come by our camp site number 35 and I would have my information written out for him.
Back at our camp site, Jan and I continued to make ready for our supper meal. I did take a moment and write on a pad our names, address, email, phone numbers and etc. and laid the note aside. As we started to sit down to eat, Mrs. Jan said honey look! It was Tony and his wife, a very attractive and sweat lady, coming to our picnic table. Of course we stopped our meal preparation and had the most pleasant visit. Tony had to get his camper hooked up so that they could get back to his church and be ready for Sunday services. With reluctance he parted, it was an immediate emptiness.
A spiritual blessing to us form just two words, “I’m blessed”! I received from someone else the blessing that I teach about very often in our Faith Hope and Love Ministries meetings. “TAKE TIME TO ALLOW THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST TO FLOW FROM OUR BEING, OUR FACE AND OUR EYES”! The blessing to me was that someone else blessed me with that principle.
Tony, may it be that God will allow you to continue blessing people and you will be bless spiritually by continuing giving the LOVE of Jesus Christ..
Your comments are welcome!
In my previous post When To Listen To The Holy Spirit I went into great detail and depth trying to explain “What Is The Holy Spirit”,
While the general concept of a spirit that permeates the cosmos is a general feature of most religions (e.g.,Brahman in Hinduism and Tao in Taoism and Great Spirit among indigenous peoples of the Americas), the term Holy Spirit specifically refers to the beliefs held in the Abrahamic religions.
For the majority of Christians, the belief in the Holy Trinity implies the existence of three distinct holy persons being one eternal Triune God. Although the New Testament does not have a formal doctrine of the Trinity and contains no discussion of the Trinity as such, it speaks of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.”
Well today I am sharing blessings of listening to the Holy Spirit, or following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Let me say that I think every person can understand when the Holy Spirit is active and communicating with our flesh person. I am not sure we all know when the Holy Spirit is leading, unless we take time to be in tune with God via the Holy Spirit. Yep! I agree that is up to be another review in the future.
Blessings! as a servant of Jesus Christ a Minister spending the last quarter of his life following the commission of Matt. 28:19 – 20, specifically “making disciples” via ministering the word.
Perhaps the biggest blessing is having someone partner up with a ministry effort who is spirit led and has great love of Jesus Christ that encourages and support my personal efforts. The encouragement of someone that has made a 100 percent effort of getting their life and being in tune and syn with God, gives me blessings Spiritually when they seriously ask us very serious questions, and then began to comprehend. It’s the spark in the eyes, the look of contentment in their face telling me that the Holy Spirit is communicating with them.
The list of blessings can grown when we take a moment and open our heart and minds and Spiritual Ear and eyes in a general social conversation. When in that that conversation the Holy Spirit moves and causes them to “feel” something (Power of the Holy Spirit) radiating out of our being, and they cause the conversation to turn Spiritual. Perhaps the person is a seeker, or has lost their spiritual direction. Whatever, it is a blessing beyond my words to explain. Then again, the expression of HOPE comes into their face and eyes.
I HAVE FOUND IN MY 69 YEARS OF MY LIFE THAT WHEN WE ARE SERVING JESUS CHRIST IN FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST, WITH SINCERITY WE HAVE BLESSING SPIRITUALLY, ECONOMICALLY, MATERIALS, AND PLEASURES OF LIFE.
GOD IS GOOD, GOD IS DEAR, I AM BLESSED. AMEN!
My partner shares: http://enrichedspirituallife.com/crystal-scott-michael-shares go read and follow her links.
When to listen to the Holy Spirit, is always! What is The Holy Spirit? It would seem that if you the reader of this article is a believer, a Christian then you have been using this term for some time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Spirit Wikipedia shares this:
While the general concept of a spirit that permeates the cosmos is a general feature of most religions (e.g.,Brahman in Hinduism and Tao in Taoism and Great Spirit among indigenous peoples of the Americas), the term Holy Spirit specifically refers to the beliefs held in the Abrahamic religions.
For the majority of Christians, the belief in the Holy Trinity implies the existence of three distinct holy persons being one eternal Triune God. Although the New Testament does not have a formal doctrine of the Trinity and contains no discussion of the Trinity as such, it speaks of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament the doctrine never becomes a “tritheism“; it does not have three Gods or even two. The Shema of the Old Testament[Deut. 6:4] belongs to the New Testament also: “The Lord our God is one”.[Mk. 12:29] Christian denominations that do not share this doctrine and designation are referred to as Nontrinitarians.
For the majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit (prior English language usage: the Holy Ghost from Old English gast, “spirit”) is the third person of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and is Almighty God. The Holy Spirit is seen by most Christians as one person of the Triune God, who revealed His Holy Name, YHWH, to His people Israel, sent His eternally begotten son Jesus to save them from their sins, and sent the Holy Spirit to sanctify and give life to His Church. The Triune God manifests as three persons (Greek hypostases), in one divine being (Greek: Ousia), called the Godhead, the Divine Essence of God.
Even this explanation does not yet fill my thirst for understanding The Holy Spirit. Since I do understand that the Holy Spirit does reside in my being should that be enough. For me it is enough, but my searching of the depth of understand is not at peace with just this.
The Holy Spirit is the third person in the Trinity. He is fully God. He is eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, has a will, and can speak. He is alive. He is a person. He is not particularly visible in the Bible because His ministry is to bear witness of Jesus (John 15:26).
26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father,that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,
Some cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses say that the Holy Spirit is nothing more than a force (Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, pp. 406-407). This is false. If the Holy Spirit were merely a force, then He could not speak (Acts 13:2); “2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” He could not be grieved (Eph. 4:30); 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.and He would not have a will (1 Cor. 12:11).
The truth is that the Holy Spirit is a person the same as the Father and the Son are within the Trinity.
How to listen to the Holy Spirit:
If you are a person who knows about the Trinity, how well can you say you know God the Holy Spirit? Do you recognize Him? Are you conscious of this Third Person sent by the Father and the Son? Have you experienced His presence? Do you know how to listen to Him?
Up until about fifteen or twenty years ago, I thought everyone was like me in regard to listening to the Holy Spirit.
I had been taught about the Blessed Trinity-God the Creator, God the Redeemer, and God the Sanctifier-when I was quite young. Since I did not like to read I would rather sit and listen to God. I began to dwell on the thought of the trinity and I implored the Holy Spirit to enlighten me on this mystery. From these beginnings, over seventy five years ago at the age of five, listening to the Holy Spirit has become very natural for me.
I have become convinced that most people fall into one of the following categories: 1) those who do want to listen to the Holy Spirit; 2) those who do not know how to listen to the Holy Spirit; 3) those who do not believe that it is possible to listen to the Holy Spirit. (Edward V. Whalen Apostle of the Holy Spirit.)
Yep, listening to the Holy Spirit comes in steps. I like to think it is one step at a time because understanding comes with studying our Bible, and seeking understanding. I feel that our minds is a stumbling block, because one cannot think in just scientific logit! We must release control over our understanding to the Holy Spirit to begin to listen. Sure it would be easy to listen if we heard audible words. I can testify that when we listen God will speak to us by the Holy Spirit from His Word. One time I became to desperate to know what God wanted me to do, and I pleaded with God to give me an answer even if it was in a dream. God via the Holy Spirit did answer the 1st part of what he wanted in a dream. I can only remember His words “Mitch I want you to leave this place, I have something else for you to do!” I had to wait for several more weeks before He spoke again. Fact is that God did speak, and I am now trying to follow his command, thus Faith Hope and Love Ministries. I do encourage you the reader to seek to hear the Holy Spirit, that is when PEACE begins…
Today while I was having coffee, an older gentleman that I have known for several years spoke with me. Yes nothing new there, however the tear drop in an 88 year old friends eyes did grab my attention and heart. As he spoke, sharing about how immobile his wife of 64 years has become, he began reflecting. I watched fear come into his face as he shared his concerns about where the United States is going.
Observably this man is an educated and deep thinker with Godly Spiritual values and high morals. He said to me, “Mitch, where is this country going?” Considering his state of being, tears and fears, I was moved to try to hear his heart cry. Very simply, the 88 year old is feeling that the country is going to demolish itself, and I add just like Rome did.
I ask everybody, every Christian, every Believer to continue to lift the leaders of this country up in prayers, and rebuke Satan. Yes we all need to try to find our real values and let us start today.
Satan Attacks By Mitch DeCanter
Wow! can this be happening? For the last several days I have been on edge, easy to get excited (even anger). It seems that since the funeral of one of my uncles I can’t get by blood sugar to settle down. Physically my doctor or medical team is very excited that I am health wise in very good condition. Yes that is a blessing, but some discouraging moments have existed in the Faith Hope and Love Ministries.
The Faith Hope and Love Ministries is in the process of teaming in with a new church growth effort. The first attack on the group was that one young and in discipline became challenged by the behavior of a mature woman. Yes the woman has been disruptive but I never felt that it was anything to be concerned with. Humans sometimes show out. During our last meeting while each and everybody was sharing their concerns and ask for prayer, the preachers wife had very heavy heart concerns for the condition of the united states. The disruptive lady chooses this to show out again but in a big disruptive way. During the greeting time, she grabbed my attention and through gritting teeth said “politics has no place in a church meeting”! Wow! I was shocked and reverted to a skill that I learned many years ago of not reacting or continuing a conversation at that time. The preacher who was teaching the lesson for that night was able to overcome the shock and did a wonderful job of teaching about relationships.
The disruptive lady through jesters and actions let it be known that she was “Mad”. She rushed out the door, I followed on her heels, and tried to speak with her. She turned her back on me and stated again, “Church is no place for talking politics.” She then rushed off in anger. All I could do was say a silent prayer for her.
Before anyone jumps on me and supports the woman, which would be OK, you need to know that the preachers wife never talked politics, just her concerns. The next morning I have coffee with the preacher and his wife because I wanted to insure that they understood that the womens comments did not represent Faith Hope and Love Ministries. And for your information: Faith Hope and Love Ministries is not a church, and until we associate with the new church work does not have any denominational ties, but try to follow the Bible Scriptures on worship if a study can be considered worship.
So importantly the preacher has spent the entire night as had I in seeking understand from God. We both agreed ed that Satan was Attacking because Faith Hope and Love Ministries is in fact touching lives and Satan just does not want to see the work move and grow.
I FOUND THE FOLLOWING ON http://www.godresources.org/blog/0-2/7-2/four-facts-about-Satan-attacks/ I trust the information because it makes sense and much scripture reference is given.
Satan attacks us through our flesh which is programmed to desire the pleasures of sin and independence. Romans 7:18-20 says, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”
And in Galatians 5:17-18 we read, “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.”
Our inherited nature is programmed to enjoy sin, to be self-centered, and to seek independence from authority. However, our new creation is in Christ and is programmed for holy living! Although the old nature has died, the old program is a permanent part of our body that cannot be erased or changed. It can only be overridden. We must learn to reject the old evil impulses and choose to follow the Holy Spirit and our new nature.
Satan attacks us through the world system which brainwashes us to accept its false philosophies. First John 5:19 tells us, “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”
We live in an evil environment. The world system is under the control of Satan. He uses illusions, distorted values, and false hope to obtain our allegiance. Peer pressure, fear of rejection, and persecution ensure our compliance. But even though we reside in enemy territory, Christ lives within us, and he exposes the lies and deception of Satan. Jesus is the inextinguishable light that permeates the darkness. He is the King of the universe. He is far greater than Satan who reigns over this doomed kingdom.
But who do we choose to listen to and consequently follow? As we renew our mind with God’s truth we will be set free from a deceptive world system that wants to keep us in bondage. We choose to follow Christ!
Satan attacks us through our flesh and the world system. He also attacks us more directly through evil spirits whenever he has the opportunity. These evil spirits seek to deceive, afflict, and enslave us. Satan has a great hatred for God. But he is powerless against the Almighty Creator.
Satan is constantly looking for ways to harm Christians. He uses fear to induce panic into his victims. His demons manipulate the thoughts of those who are ignorant of God’s truth—luring them into the open, out from under God’s protective covering. They use every possible ploy to snare their prey and keep them in bondage. Then, they systematically go about destroying the helpless believer.
Psalm 34:7 tells us, “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”
Satan only has access to us within the limits God has set. He is not an equal who rivals God. He is only a rebellious creature whom God is using to fulfill His eternal purposes.
Sometimes God permits Satan access through His hedge of protection to test our faithfulness. When we look at the life of Job, we see an example of Satan working in someone’s life in this way. “The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger” (Job 1:12).
We can also permit Satan access through God’s hedge of protection by our willful disobedience. The book of Ephesians warns us against this kind of behavior. “When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath—your exasperation, your fury or indignation—last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil—give no opportunity to him” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
Any unresolved sin gives Satan an opening to attack us. And by condoning the sin, over time he is even able to establish a beachhead within us. From there he can then launch more attacks to gain even more access to our life. When we tolerate sin in our life we are providing Satan with a key for access through the hedge of protection God has placed around us. We provide Satan the very bullets he can use to injure us.
God is our protector. In Psalm 91:4, we read, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” It is very dangerous to treat sin lightly. It is the poison our enemy uses for our destruction. But God will protect those who remain faithful.
James 1:13-14 warns us, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”
Temptation isn’t sin—it only arouses our interest in sin by making it look so attractive. Jesus experienced intense temptation but never gave in. Now He wants to help us to also have victory over temptation. We are to withstand temptation when we are tested so we can grow spiritually.
James 1:2-4 encourages us with these words: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Temptation becomes increasingly strong the longer you wait before turning your back on it. It’s like standing on the peak of a mountain as you are tempted to go down one side into the valley of sin. The further you walk down the one side of the mountain in the direction of the sin, the more difficult it is to climb back up that slope so you may get to the side of holy living. Usually when a person doesn’t resist the initial temptations, they will continue down the slope until they finally have crossed the line into the valley of sin.
For example, assume someone is attracted to unwholesome movies. For them the temptation may be when they are choosing to expose themselves to movie ads. Once they see an appealing ad, it may be just a matter of time until they have rationalized seeing the movie and are then watching it.
It is important to live our lives not so close to the line of sin that it is easy to step over!
Satan tries to control your perspective, manipulate your thinking, and exploit your foundational desires. He has several different tactics that he uses to prevent Christians from fulfilling their God-given destiny. These are some of the tools of his trade.
He has many variations for the implementation of each scheme. And it is not unusual to discover a number of these ploys at work simultaneously within the same situation. Subtlety can greatly increase the effectiveness of schemes, scams, and con games. That’s why Satan usually works behind the scenes where his involvement will be undetected.
As Christians, we need to be alert and aware of Satan’s tactics. We must depend on the Holy Spirit to help us discern what Satan is trying to do in our current situation as he attempts to defeat us. Second Thessalonians 3:3 reminds us, “But the LORD is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”
I wonder if the disruptive lady will ever know how she is allowing Satan to use her for his purposes?
From time to time this one word comes to my attention. Today I listened to a sermon on the subject. It was noted and I cannot disagree but that more than 60 percent of the people on a street could not testify to the validity of the word Rapture being in the Bible! Of course this grabbed my attention, and seems that I could not prove that the word Rapture is recorded in the Bible either, so I found the following article: By Mitch DeCanter
Rapture (Source, just off the internet?)
The rapture is an event that will take place sometime in the near future. Jesus will come in the air, catch up all Christians from the earth, and then return to heaven with the Church. We believe this event will take place before the tribulation.
The teaching of the rapture is most clearly presented by Paul in the first books and Thessalonians and Corinthians: (Notice the writer is using the word “teaching”, but does not prove that the word rapture is in the Bible)
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thes. 4:16-18). (This is what I have always understood to be the RAPTURE)
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:51-53).
In these passage Paul informs his readers that living Christians at the time of the rapture will be reunited with those who have died in Christ before them. In 1 Thes. 4:17 the English phrase “caught up” translates from the Greek word harpazo, which means “to seize upon with force” or “to snatch up.” This word is used 14 times in the Greek New Testament in a variety of ways.
Sometimes the New Testament uses harpazo with the sense of “stealing,” “carrying off,” or “dragging away” (Matthew 12:29; John 10:12). It also can have the meaning of “to lead away forcibly” (John 6:15; 10:28,29; Acts 23:10; Jude 23). However, for our purposes, a third usage is significant. This usage is that of God”s Spirit carrying someone away. We see this usage illustrated in Acts 8:39 where Philip, upon completion of the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch, is raptured or “caught up” and divinely transported from the desert to the coastal town of Azotus. Similarly, the church will, in a moment of time, be taken from earth to heaven. It is not surprising that contemporary author Hal Lindsey has called this unique event “The Great Snatch.” (1)
People who like to figure these things out claim that “the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52) is about one-thousandth of a second. When Paul says that all Christians who are alive at the time of the rapture will be changed “in a flash,” he uses the Greek word atomos, from which we get our word “atom.” The rapture will take place in the smallest division of time- one “atom” of time. In a flash, every living follower of Christ will be gone. (2)
There is wide agreement among those who study Bible prophecy that several passages of Scripture teach a future resurrection of deceased church members, a sudden gathering of those who are still alive at that time, and a “catching away” of these people into heaven. This expected “catching away” is usually called the Rapture. Some call it the Rapture of the Church. But while there is wide agreement that the Rapture will happen, there are different opinions about when it will happen in relation to the Tribulation Period. Most experts believe the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation Period. Their belief is called the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Theory. A small minority of experts believe the Rapture will occur at the middle of the Tribulation Period and their belief is called the Mid-Tribulation Rapture Theory. Another group believes the Rapture will occur at the end of the Tribulation period and their belief is called the Post-Tribulation Rapture Theory. (3)
Rapture critics like to claim that the word “rapture” is not located in the Bible. It may not be in the King James, but the word “rapture” is found in the Bible, if you have the Latin Vulgate produced by Jerome in the early 400s. The Vulgate was the main Bible of the medieval Western Church until the Reformation. It continues to this day as the primary Latin translation of the Roman Catholic Church. It was Protestants who introduced the word “rapture” into the English language from the Latin raeptius. It was Jerome’s Vulgate that translated the original Greek verb harpazo used by Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in 1 Thes. 4:17, which is usually translated into English with the phrase “caught up.” The leading Greek Lexicon says that harpazo means “snatch, seize, i.e., take suddenly and vehemently.” This is the same meaning of the Latin word rapio ”to seize, snatch, tear away.” It should not be surprising to anyone, that an English word was developed from the Latin which we use today known as “rapture.” (4)”
Well there we go, the bible can be complex, but I consider it to be written as it is for God’s own intentions. I believe we need to be learning and receiving the word of God by Spiritual Insight not worry about ……
Farewell to the Rapture (N.T. Wright, Bible Review, August 2001. Reproduced by permission of the author)
Little did Paul know how his colorful metaphors for Jesus’ second coming would be misunderstood two millennia later.
The American obsession with the second coming of Jesus — especially with distorted interpretations of it — continues unabated. Seen from my side of the Atlantic, the phenomenal success of the Left Behind books appears puzzling, even bizarre. Few in the U.K. hold the belief on which the popular series of novels is based: that there will be a literal “rapture” in which believers will be snatched up to heaven, leaving empty cars crashing on freeways and kids coming home from school only to find that their parents have been taken to be with Jesus while they have been “left behind.” This pseudo-theological version of Home Alone has reportedly frightened many children into some kind of (distorted) faith.
This dramatic end-time scenario is based (wrongly, as we shall see) on Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians, where he writes: “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of an archangel and the trumpet of God. The dead in Christ will rise first; then we, who are left alive, will be snatched up with them on clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
What on earth (or in heaven) did Paul mean?
It is Paul who should be credited with creating this scenario. Jesus himself, as I have argued in various books, never predicted such an event. The gospel passages about “the Son of Man coming on the clouds” (Mark 13:26, 14:62, for example) are about Jesus’ vindication, his “coming” to heaven from earth. The parables about a returning king or master (for example, Luke 19:11-27) were originally about God returning to Jerusalem, not about Jesus returning to earth. This, Jesus seemed to believe, was an event within space-time history, not one that would end it forever.
The Ascension of Jesus and the Second Coming are nevertheless vital Christian doctrines, and I don’t deny that I believe some future event will result in the personal presence of Jesus within God’s new creation. This is taught throughout the New Testament outside the Gospels. But this event won’t in any way resemble the Left Behind account. Understanding what will happen requires a far more sophisticated cosmology than the one in which “heaven” is somewhere up there in our universe, rather than in a different dimension, a different space-time, altogether.
The New Testament, building on ancient biblical prophecy, envisages that the creator God will remake heaven and earth entirely, affirming the goodness of the old Creation but overcoming its mortality and corruptibility (e.g., Romans 8:18-27; Revelation 21:1; Isaiah 65:17, 66:22). When that happens, Jesus will appear within the resulting new world (e.g., Colossians 3:4; 1 John 3:2).
Paul’s description of Jesus’ reappearance in 1 Thessalonians 4 is a brightly colored version of what he says in two other passages, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 and Philippians 3:20-21: At Jesus’ “coming” or “appearing,” those who are still alive will be “changed” or “transformed” so that their mortal bodies will become incorruptible, deathless. This is all that Paul intends to say in Thessalonians, but here he borrows imagery—from biblical and political sources—to enhance his message. Little did he know how his rich metaphors would be misunderstood two millennia later.
First, Paul echoes the story of Moses coming down the mountain with the Torah. The trumpet sounds, a loud voice is heard, and after a long wait Moses comes to see what’s been going on in his absence.
Second, he echoes Daniel 7, in which “the people of the saints of the Most High” (that is, the “one like a son of man”) are vindicated over their pagan enemy by being raised up to sit with God in glory. This metaphor, applied to Jesus in the Gospels, is now applied to Christians who are suffering persecution.
Third, Paul conjures up images of an emperor visiting a colony or province. The citizens go out to meet him in open country and then escort him into the city. Paul’s image of the people “meeting the Lord in the air” should be read with the assumption that the people will immediately turn around and lead the Lord back to the newly remade world.
Paul’s mixed metaphors of trumpets blowing and the living being snatched into heaven to meet the Lord are not to be understood as literal truth, as the Left Behind series suggests, but as a vivid and biblically allusive description of the great transformation of the present world of which he speaks elsewhere.
Paul’s misunderstood metaphors present a challenge for us: How can we reuse biblical imagery, including Paul’s, so as to clarify the truth, not distort it? And how can we do so, as he did, in such a way as to subvert the political imagery of the dominant and dehumanizing empires of our world? We might begin by asking, What view of the world is sustained, even legitimized, by the Left Behind ideology? How might it be confronted and subverted by genuinely biblical thinking? For a start, is not the Left Behind mentality in thrall to a dualistic view of reality that allows people to pollute God’s world on the grounds that it’s all going to be destroyed soon? Wouldn’t this be overturned if we recaptured Paul’s wholistic vision of God’s whole creation?  Tim F. Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind (Cambridge, UK: Tyndale House Publishing, 1996). Eight other titles have followed, all runaway bestsellers.
 See my Jesus and the Victory of God (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1996); the discussions in Jesus and the Restoration of Israel: A Critical Assessment of N.T. Wright’s Jesus and the Victory of God, ed. Carey C. Newman (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999); and Marcus J. Borg and N.T. Wright, The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1999), chapters 13 and 14.
 Douglas Farrow, Ascension and Ecclesia: On the Significance of the Doctrine of the Ascension for Ecclesiology and Christian Cosmology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999).