All posts by Douglas Thomas

Yahweh Likes Unity

When our Father does something in the earth, it is with the agreement of at least a prophet through whom He reveals it (Amos 3:3,7; Genesis 7, Genesis 18:16-25). Yahweh submitted to human agreement and influence when He intended to destroy Sodom in Genesis 18:32 & 19:18-22. He honored Abraham’s desire that the city not be destroyed except according to Abraham’s protocol. Lot was told that until he was safely out of Sodom, the destroying angel of God could do nothing in the city.

When Yahweh intended to destroy Nineveh, He sent Jonah, a prophet, to announce it. He had difficulty getting agreement out of the prophet. Finally, when the prophet went to the city and announced their doom, the people of the city agreed with God about their unrighteousness, let Him change their hearts, and thereby turned God’s destroying hand away from themselves.

It made the prophet angry when his declaration of the intentions of God were not fulfilled. He was still disagreeing with God, but the agreement of the people of Nineveh caused God to side with their submission and to extend mercy to them rather than destroy them. He found agreement in the earth and it made Him happy. He moved toward the agreement even though it meant moving away from His prophet.

King Encounters Prince

Acts 16:16 is the beginning of a set of power encounters between Yahweh and a principality called “python” (Strong’s NT4436)  that was given power by humans over the area of Delphi.

Paul & company launched a congregation in the home of newly converted Lydia. Paul cast a demon from python out of a girl who was being used as a slave to make money from spells and telling fortunes (Strong’s NT3132). This public display of power over a semi-local “deity” caused the local principality to move first in the slave’s owners, then a “multitude,” then the magistrates, who commanded their subordinates to beat Paul and Silas, and finally the local jailer, who chained and stocked them as an on-going torture.

Paul and Silas responded to the on-going opportunity to display Yahweh’s power by praising His name loudly through the night. Yahweh responded to the on-going praise by shaking the prison until all of the prisoners were freed. The next group to experience freedom during the shift of power was the jailer and his family.

The magistrates, having discovered that they had been frenzied into an illegal public beating of two Romans who had not been tried for a crime, tried to quietly release them from the jail. Paul demanded that instead, they publicly escort them through the streets of the city to Lydia’s home. They submitted to the King and did so.

The letter to the saints in Christ Jesus in Philippi, with the overseers and servants (Philippians), was written later by Paul to the congregation that grew in this freshly plowed and planted soil. It is worth a fresh read with this history in mind.

Where’s That?

I am working on a paper that I think will be titled “How to Use the Bible.” The chapter I just finished doing the research for is maybe going to be titled “The Value of Context.”

Through the years of being me, I have frequently been asked, “Where’s that in the Bible?” That’s a valid question if you really are interested in discovering something new. The people Paul encountered from Berea didn’t believe him, so they went to the Scriptures to seek the Truth. They didn’t just brush over their notes from seminary and brush him off as a heretic, which did happen to him frequently.

An accusation I have frequently encountered has been, “You’re taking that out of context.” I have used that one myself on days. While listing the subjects I felt I should deal with in this paper, I had a vague memory of some times in the Scriptures that I had looked at a Scripture being quoted in the New Testament and thinking that the place being quoted said something different. 

So, I  looked at all of the over 250 New Testament quotes of Old Testament Scripture,  and looked at  sometimes as much as 30 verses of context in the OT Scripture.  It took a few months.

7 times, a New Testament writer said something like, “The Scriptures say…” and what they were calling “Scripture” was not the Old Testament. One of the quotes was from the book of Enoch. 8 times, the statement being made in the NT is taking the OT passage completely out of context.

Please pray me through creating Life-giving teaching on how to handle these facts related to the most important book ever.

 

Surrendered

There are times when, tired of fighting, or fearing, or suffering pain or insult or accusation, we just would like to see the end of the story.

When fighting a cancer, or an antagonist, or any other enemy, we seem sometimes to simply be losing the battle. Especially on the days when our advisers seem to be the grandchildren of Job’s friends, and suggest that we take what we deserve and die, it is hard to stay engaged in combat.

Sometimes we don’t have a clear idea of what the prize is that we are losing our lives over. The reasons to feel justified in quitting can make up a long list at times.

No enemy of Yahweh’s is worthy of our surrender, however. Even if they really are capable of taking us out for some reason, like the three Hebrew boys, we need to say, “Even if Yahweh doesn’t deliver us, we are not bowing to your stupid idol.”

Make a decision and be determined that you will never surrender to anyone but Yahweh. He is worthy of complete and constant surrender – forever. His enemies and ours deserve a fight to the death.

Be strong and very courageous, no matter whom or what you are facing. Yahweh Sabaoth, the Commander of the Armies of Heaven, is with you.

He is not planning to surrender, and no one is expecting Him to.

Values – Foundations

Your Life grows up from or is choked out by the Values that are at the Foundation level of what you allow in your space. The three Values that make up the Foundation of your life are IMPOSED, COSTLY, and FRUITFUL.

The FRUITFUL Values are those actions that are what you are ordained to be involved in by the Spirit of God. This is the place where you get to do ministry. If you want to have good health, exercise or eating good food fit here. Rest. Study & preparation for your calling. Spending time with people who love and build you up.

The IMPOSED Values are the demands placed on you by your responsibilities to people who are dependent on your for their provision and/or protection. Children or elderly parents. People you mentor or pray for. These are valuable to you because the relationship is valuable to you.

The Costly Values are bad habits like laziness and addictions. They are values because they demand resources that are valuable. If I am addicted to food or porn or drugs or Facebook, those addictions demand that I spend time and/or money and/or energy on them.

When I am following the leading of the Spirit in my schedule and budget and heart and mind, He leads me into a balance of the FRUITFUL and the IMPOSED – I serve the people who depend on me, but with limits on the resources they can consume. I sometimes say “no” to them. I deliberately clear space on the Foundation for the FRUITFUL Values. I am sure that their demands are given priority when distributing the resources. I pull up the weeds in the COSTLY space so that I can make room for FRUITFUL and IMPOSED Values.

Just creating cleared space at this Foundational level of my life is sufficient for growth in that area. Time spent with Jesus alone will bear Fruit. Time spent on the people I am responsible for will manifest Jesus to them and bless them. Unattended, uncontrolled, those demands will take more and more space. I have to be in the Spirit when I decide what to do with them. Stuff grows out of the Values without much effort. The effort is keeping the FRUITFUL space clear of the other Values.

The COSTLY demands must be continually fought and un-funded. I have to take the whole land for the Kingdom of God.

Failure to Act

Romans 7:15-25
15 For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. 19 For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me. 21 So I discover this principle: when I want to do good, evil is with me. 22 For in my inner self I joyfully agree with God’s law. 23 But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.
(from Holman Christian Standard Bible® © by Holman Bible Publishers.)

When we decide to change our behavior, but don’t quite change it, we usually fail in 3 ways: Forgetting that we changed our minds when the opportunity to change arises; Failing to act because we don’t see the opportunity until it has passed; Failing to maintain the mindset that the new action is best while we are deciding what to do when we encounter the opportunity.

We need to decide clearly WHY we have changed our minds and somehow remind ourselves what the reason is when we have the opportunity to get it right.

We sometimes can simply decide ahead of time when or where we will do the new thing – schedule it, and then our mood or energy level won’t talk us out of it. It becomes important.

Examination

When someone forwards an email to me that contains astonishing information that doesn’t seem possible, I search for the title on a site like Snopes.com to get an opinion about its validity. If it is a hoax, I copy the URL of the page where I found the debunk and reply to the person with the correction. If they continue to send me things that are not true, I “reply all” to their mailing list the correction and I am usually removed from the list.

Humans like to find “evidence” that supports our presuppositions. We like to continue not to believe ideas that conflict with what we already believe. We don’t throw away our favorite beliefs easily. We look at things written by people who disagree with us without any intentions of being swayed to change our minds. We listen to evidence that we are wrong with a thousand filters cleaning up the information so that we don’t have to change our minds. We don’t even really listen.

If we tried to prove our accepted beliefs were not true, it might be a good exercise. We would learn how to better defend our point if we actually prove that we were right. We would be able to improve the accuracy of our beliefs system if we find we were even partly wrong.

Humans hate checking their work. We hate having to examine what we believe in order to perform well or state truth. Truth is worth working hard to obtain and to maintain.

What’s New?

David was a man of vision and purpose. He wanted to build a temple for Yahweh, but his God didn’t want him to do it, so he made the design and gathered the materials and handed it all to Solomon. Solomon took the assignment, but after he completed the project, he had no personal purpose for his life.

Some people say he wrote Song of Songs in his early adulthood, Proverbs later, and Ecclesiastes in his late years. In his late years, I believe that he was very carnally minded. Up until the last chapter, Ecclesiastes is some of the bleakest, most faithless and hopeless literature available.

Some people like to quote his mis-statements “everything is futile” and “there is nothing new under the sun” as if they are part of the wisdom of proverbs. They are, however, not truth.

Yahweh’s mercies are new every morning. So new, we don’t always recognize their form. He is doing a new thing – will you notice it? (Isaiah 43:19).  If you are in Christ, everything is new (1 Corinthians 5:17).

Solomon became lifeless in his mind because he became purposeless in his life. He drifted away from Yahweh and His words because his life had no meaning. It can happen to us if we don’t pursue His word and His Spirit and become who He sees us to be.

Come To God

From Psalm 66                  The Music is HERE

Shout to God with joy, all the earth!
Sing His name – the name of Jesus!
Sing glorious praises to God, all the earth –
Lift up the name of Jesus!

Your works are awesome,
Your power is great
Your enemies fear You!
All the earth will worship and praise You.

Come, all you people,
To our awesome God!
His power is great,
So His Kingdom will last forever.

Come, be refined, Like silver in fire.
Be baptized in water and the Spirit of Life.
Come and hear Him – Listen to God.
Be cleaned by His blood, And offer your prayers.

©2004 Douglas Thomas

Ghost Stories

Almost all kids love a good ghost story. They love hearing them and then telling them. We need to get better at telling them the best ones we can come up with.

Of course, our favorite ghost is not Casper. Our favorite is Holy Ghost! You should have some good stories to share with younger believers. There are lots of awesome ones in the Book for days when you don’t have a fresh one, but pay attention to the new ones He gives you so that you can hand them down.

Psalm 71:15-19
15 My mouth will tell about Your righteousness
and Your salvation all day long,
though I cannot sum them up.
16 I come because of the mighty acts of the Lord God;
I will proclaim Your righteousness, Yours alone.
17 God, You have taught me from my youth,
and I still proclaim Your wonderful works.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
God, do not abandon me.
Then I will proclaim Your power
to another generation,
Your strength to all who are to come.
19 Your righteousness reaches heaven, God,
You who have done great things;
God, who is like You?
(from Holman Christian Standard Bible®  ©  Holman Bible Publishers.)