All posts by Douglas Thomas

Sheep Nations

I looked at 18 translations, and all but one translated Matthew 25:31-46 as saying that when Jesus sits as King on the throne of His glory, the nations will be brought before Him to be judged. One translation said “the people of the nations.” Many times in the New Testament, the word “ethnos” is translated “Gentiles,” and many others it is translated “nations.”

Almost always, when I have heard people teaching on this section of Scripture, the application is that Jesus is going to judge individuals. I have done it myself. What if He was prophesying that He is going to judge nations, though? What if He is going to judge how much governments and cultures have been influenced by His Kingdom, and by His values?

If that is true, we need to be invading governments, and every other source of influence over the cultures and activities of the nations, with believers who can bring His teachings and His influence into them. We could be very encouraged by the power those positions of influence have had over the culture of the United States as people led by unclean spirits have imposed a shift of values that include sexual perversions, witchcraft, and other anti-Christ practices and beliefs.

If they can do that, we can do it better.

 

Beware the People of Keilah

In 1 Samuel 23:1-14, the story is related of Yahweh instructing David and his 400 man army to go to a village called Keilah, to save them from Philistia. They were obedient, and they delivered the people of Keilah from the Philistines.

When Saul heard that David was in Keilah, he sent all the soldiers he could gather to kill David. David inquired of Yahweh whether it was safe to stay in the walled city. His response was that the people would hand David over to Saul. My guess is that Yahweh knew before He sent David to protect them that they would have a greater fear of Saul than a desire to bless David, but He still sent His servant to bless them.

That is typical of the sacrifice He made of His Son as a Servant. The difference develops when David was allowed to leave, but Jesus was required to stay and be tortured to death. Even for the sake of those who were sent by the same spirit that ruled Saul, believing that they could destroy Him, because He was a threat to their rule.

Don’t expect everyone you bless to appreciate it. Don’t expect to be honored by the people your God calls you to serve. Serve Him. Bless Him. Be honored by Him (Psalm 91:14-16.)

Causing a Disturbance

C. T. Studd, missionary to China and Africa, said:

“Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.”

Asking for Help

In 2 Kings 1, Elijah was instructed to intercept a group of people who had been sent by the king of Israel to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, about his physical condition, since he had been injured. He wanted to know if he was going to die. Elijah sent him a prophecy from Yahweh: “Yes. You are going to die. Did you send to inquire of Baal-zebub because there is no God in Israel?”

In 2 Chronicles 10:13 & 14, the writer commented after recording the details of Saul’s death, that the reason he died was because he inquired of a medium instead of Yahweh. That event is described in 1 Samuel 28.

Some people have estimated that the annual income of businesses such as 900 number psychics and local palm readers exceeds 12 billion dollars a year. Many of those people are being paid and consulted by Christians. Every believer has an audience with the Living God by His Spirit any time, day or night. Beyond that welcome, He has given prophets and people who receive from His Spirit words of knowledge and words of wisdom to the Church.

We have no excuse for either staying ignorant or consulting demons for advice. He wants us to know what He wants us to know more than we want to know it. It takes faith, but it isn’t out of reach.

Ask; Seek; Knock. Know; Find; Enter.

The Cost of Awesome

Being who Yahweh says you are is costly. How ever much you have, usually.

If you see an astonishing musician speaking through an instrument or singing beautifully, it generally has cost them their lives up to that point to be there being awesome. A world-class athlete pays for the glory of the trophy with her/his life.

Nothing that you have is worth more than what your awesome God wants you to trade it in on. Redeem your life for a valuable prize today (Matthew 13:44-46).

Pecking Parties

When I was a child, my father had about 600 chickens that he kept so that he could sell their eggs. They were not free range, but caged in pairs. When he was a child, his family had chickens free around their home. There were places built for them to roost, where their eggs could be gathered, but they were free to find food wherever they could.

One thing he told me was an advantage to having them in small groups in cages was the prevention of “pecking parties.” These could kill almost an entire yard flock of birds. They happened when one bird saw a bit of blood on another bird, which could happen as two birds struggled over a bug or other food.

Nearby chickens, seeing the blood, would peck at it, making the injury worse. The commotion could quickly escalate into further injuries on other birds, and further involvement drawn by the increase of blood. The mob mentality would prevail until the strongest or fastest were left in a situation of stalemate.

This happens among humans perhaps more often, and sometimes just as brutally. We citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven are called to defend the injured, though. We are empowered to protect, to heal, to bring peace. Even when the injured have attacked us.

1 Corinthians 13 is informative to people who are members of the Church with regard to what their treatment of each other looks like. The last verse of chapter 12 describes chapter 13 as “a more excellent way…”

Eyes Wide Open

Elisha was the son of a farmer until Elijah invited him to follow him in the work of being a prophet (1 Kings 19:15-21). Elisha became his servant then. When Elijah was taken to heaven, Gehazi became Elisha’s servant. He was not called to prophesy. He seems to have simply been an employee, based on some of his actions when financial benefits were available (2 Kings 5:20-27).

When Elisha’s prophetic work stirred up the king of Aram by consistently revealing to the king of Israel what his plans were in the war they were fighting, the Aramean king discovered that Elisha was living in Dothan, and sent his army there by night to capture him (2 Kings 6:8-14.)

Gehazi went out the next morning, he saw the Aramean soldiers surrounding Dothan. He went to Elisha, thinking that he was informing him of the invasion. Elijah’s response was “Don’t be afraid – there are more with us than with them.” He then prayed that the Lord would open Gehazi’s eyes. Gehazi could then see warriors of fire surrounding the Arameans (2 Kings 6:15-23.)

If anyone would be potentially disqualified to receive revelation from the Spirit of God, Gehazi might be one. Still, a request that he could see in the spirit was answered. You are qualified to receive revelation. You are a family member to Yahweh. Born of Him, therefore able to see the Kingdom (John 3:3.)

Ask that you might see with spiritual eyes wide open. Expect it.

Praying the Kingdom Comes

Around 650 AD, Muslims finally prevailed in their attempts to conquer Persia. Their “evangelism” then included an invitation to become servants of Mohammad’s allah, or to be infidels subjected to a tax called jizya, or to be enslaved, or to be killed. Descendants of Persia still don’t consider themselves to be Arabs, and have their own version of Islam, setting them at odds with many Arabic Muslims.

For about 25 years leading up to 1978, Iran (part of what was Persia) was ruled by a king (“shah”) who led the nation to prosperity and freedom that was unmatched in the Middle East. He was displaced by a coup that seems to have been created by his socialist/communist enemies, and his government was replaced by a dictatorship ruled by Muslim clerics. There is currently brewing in the nation an apparent revolution, whose cries include “We don’t want an Islamic Republic.”

After World War II, Japan’s leadership requested through General Douglas MacArthur that the Church would send missionaries to their people to introduce them to Jesus. The church’s response was predominantly “That is too dangerous.” Japan is currently one of the most difficult nations in which to attempt church planting.

Pray that the Kingdom of God will invade any governmental vacuum that appears in Iran, as Godly people give leadership under His guidance. Pray that the Church of Jesus will invade any vacuum that an uprising against Islamic oppression might create.

Perfecting the Broken

Paul wrote to the Galatian congregations that if they encountered a person who had failed, whether intentionally or just through weakness, by implication of the word used to describe the error, the spiritual among them should restore the person, being humbled by their own weaknesses and iniquities:

Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you won’t be tempted also.
(Galatians 6:1 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

The word translated “restore” in that place is also used in a blessing near the end of Hebrews. There, it is translated, “equip,” (or “perfect” according to footnote)”: Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—with the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip [perfect] you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
(Hebrews 13:20-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

I infer from that context that restoring failures means a bit more than letting people keep coming to our meetings…

A Gossipless Life

I have talked with many people who think that gossiping is lying about people. That activity is better described as lying, though. Gossip’s meaning  may be understood through a couple of several proverbs that mention it.

A gossip goes around revealing a secret,
but the trustworthy keeps a confidence.
(Proverbs 11:13 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

A contrary man spreads conflict,
and a gossip separates friends.
(Proverbs 16:28 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

The one who reveals secrets is a constant gossip;
avoid someone with a big mouth.
(Proverbs 20:19 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

The power that is required to be able to control my tongue is great. When I refuse to speak secrets just because I know them, covering someone’s weakness or failure, I will be blessed. Never forget that Canaan was thrown out of the land by Israel as a fulfillment of Noah’s curse of Ham for uncovering his nakedness. (Genesis 9:20-27)