FIRST-TRUMP#top..........Sound the alarm in Zion..... ...........................

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. A Priest sounds the alarm on a shofar

 

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DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS

18And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. (Luke 12:)


We all have dreams and aspirations. We might not all work at them, but we all have them and hope somehow they will come our way and be fulfilled.

What are your dreams and aspirations? What is it you hope to accomplish or make of yourself during this lifetime you have been given? Come on now, give it a shot; there must be some thing you want most out of life.

Some of us when asked this question draw a blank. Nothing comes to mind that you want more than anything else; and of course, chances are you will receive just what you hope for - nothing.

Others hope for happiness, or a good life, or a nice house or job. Others may have such goals as getting an education or marrying well. Nothing beyond the temporary and immediate has been considered.

Other people may hope to win the lottery and live in comfort the rest of their life not having to do anything but what they want to do.

Then there are those who work hard at fulfilling their dream, whatever that might be, and by doing so very likely find themselves moving closer to their goal year by year.


But let's say you have very high goals set for yourself and you are not merely hoping to fulfill them, but you are investing all your time, your energy and your finances at obtaining that goal. You are dedicated and determined to reach your goal.

Perhaps, if your field of endeavor is music, you hope to make a name for yourself and become self-sufficient in your area of interest. Or perhaps you have even higher goals and want to be the best known musician, or the wealthiest musician in your field. Or maybe you want even more, and that is to be the richest person in the world.


But, let's take this a step higher. Maybe you are not so concerned for yourself, but rather your goals and aspirations have to do with other people. Maybe you are a teacher and want to make sure your students receive the best education they possibly can.

Or maybe you are a parent and you are sacrificing everything to assure health and happiness for your family.

Let's step it up a notch and suppose you are a doctor or a nurse and you are willing to venture into dangerous foreign lands in order to give adequate care to the poor of that country.

Or maybe you are a scientist and you are spending your nights and your days trying to find a cure for cancer so millions of people may live.


These certainly are worthy goals and aspirations. But are they the highest we might aspire to?

If we are but a man (or woman), a descendant of Adam and Eve, then I should certainly have to say these are, if not the top aspirations, then right up there amongst those that are.


Our goals and aspirations tell us, and the world who we are. Those with no goals but to satisfy themselves become just that; nothing. If our life is filled with filling our own lusts then we become like a vacuum sucking up all the best only to be lost in our nothingness as best, and a bane on society at the worst.

Read a "T" shirt or a bumper sticker. Usually these will tell you what that person's life is all about; or at least tells you what they want you to think their life is about.

But, that is reading other people. How can we know what we are all about? How can we determine what is the most important element of our life? Can we look at the bumper sticker on our car, or read what is written on our "T" shirt? Unlikely. Chances are the bumper sticker came with the bumper when you bought the car, and the "T" shirt is one you Aunt Maud or your wife gave you for you birthday.

Consider a sports fan. Is there any doubt as to their burning lust? Have you ever seen or talked to a Raiders fan? Have you ever considered the consequences of disagreeing with one of them?

Someone who is truly dedicated is an obsessed person. All they think, eat or talk about is that which they are interested in. Trying to talk to them about anything other than their "First Love" is just wasted breath. This type of dedication and fanaticism is a fast train to success, or the nuthouse, if not both.

But, even so, it is this kind of drive that gets us moving, and keeps us on the track we have chosen.

Do you have this kind of dedication? Are you possessed by any such spirit of interest and achievement?

Should you be?

As a Christian there is a higher goal we are expected to reach for. And, as in the list above, so there are different levels to which we may obtain the expectations (that is the goals) laid out for us in the Bible.

Perhaps, as a Christian you have set as a goal for yourself to dedicate your life to serving your church. Maybe it's the prayer chain you dedicate your time to. Or it may be that you are a Sunday School teacher and you take your position very seriously, even to giving private tutoring for those who are shut-ins or in the hospital (I wonder if anyone is doing this? I've never heard of it if they are. Sound like a good idea?).

Perhaps you have a heart for the poor and the hurting, so you dedicate your time and your resources to bring the Word of the Lord to the downtrodden as you help them fulfill their needs.

Then again, maybe you are reaching for the stars and are a Minister with a heart-felt desire to feed your flock with the very best service and sermons you are possibly able.


Now, along with all those fine occupations above, let us add yet another element to your dedication. You know that doing good for others is a fine thing. You know that showing compassion to the body of the church and to your neighbor is not only worthwhile and fulfilling your role as a Christian, but is an essential step in becoming like Jesus, which is your ultimate goal. You know, and have been told many times that the very best a person can be, is to be like Jesus. There is no higher aspiration.

In order to be just like Jesus you study every move He made, and you even learn to talk like Jesus using terms such as "thee" and "thou" and "verily verily." And just to make sure you are perfectly identified with Jesus you wear a long white bathrobe wherever you go and carry a Bible in the crook of your arm.

And if the above were not enough, you find that when you pray for the sick, they are often healed of their infirmities. You find that you are so much like Jesus that there are many people, especially Pastors who believe you are Jesus having returned to set up His Kingdom.

No one, at any time in history has ever been more like Jesus than you are. You have reached the ultimate goal that anyone could possibly set for themself. Isn't that right?


No!


1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (1Cor 13:)


21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Mat 7:)


2I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 6But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. 7He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Rev 2:)


36Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Mat 22:)


Today I was thinking about what makes the difference between a "Christian" and a "Spirit-filled" Christian. My thoughts were directed by a question asked me by a friend as we talked about the subject of being a Christian and the differences in the churches.

I told her that she is one of the very few people I know who truly has the Holy Spirit, and I have earnestly been seeking to find others who have.

Her comment to me was: "Why Me?"

I had no reply, other than the probable fact that she felt just that way. I find myself thinking the same thing quite often: "Why Me?" With all the fine people I see all around me, all doing wonderful things for other people and having such great personalities and all; why should God pick me to bless with His Spirit? I can only say, as I have said so often in these pages, that God chooses those who look down on themselves as He did (choose) so often in the stories related in His Word.

The Why part I do not have a definite answer for; but for the What Happens because of it I do have an answer. At least I have an experience that I can relate to you as a possible What Happens.


Obsession. I have always been an obsessive person, which says nothing for me one way or another. Obsessive behavior can either be for the good or for the bad, depending on what a person is obsessed with.

When I was obsessed with art or writing or bicycle riding it was neither good nor bad; it was what I would call a neutral obsession.

But there have been obsessions in my life I have to admit were very unfit at best, and dreadful at their worst. Thankfully those are behind me now, but they still nag at my soul and keep me humble. Perhaps that is my "thorn in the flesh" I must bear in order to keep me from exalting myself.

Since receiving the Holy Spirit I have a new obsession. All I want to think about, and write about, and talk about is Jesus and the Bible. Of course this drives many people away - but not those who also have the Holy Spirit. I find that when I am with them, all we talk about has to do with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

I should clarify: not all people who spend a lot of time talking about Jesus have the Holy Spirit, but I find these are trying to find, or to understand Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Oddly enough, I find very few (in fact, none so far) Pastors and Elders who desire to talk about Jesus or the Holy Spirit when they are not serving in their official capacity. They talk about football, or the news, or the church, or other things of everyday life. In other words, they can not be distinguished from the World, except when they are expected to be different.

Once many years ago I was in a Pastor's house (in who's mind I was a dreadful sinner, which I was) for many days and nights He had a library full of wonderful Bible reference books I would have dearly loved to have browsed through and read. I was never allowed in the room, nor did he at any time even mention the name Jesus outside of church (except, as so many do, ask: "Are you saved?" whatever that means to the person asking the question). He took me to a ball game, and we talked about a few things other than Jesus. But I was a new Christian with a thirst for God - this Pastor, and his missionary wife had no Living Water to offer me.


As I considered what I want most in my life, I thought about things that might satisfy me. Maybe I want to be happy; or to be well liked; or to have a nice place. None of these things matter to me. Well, maybe I want to be especially good; to be taken up to Heaven when I die; or maybe to rule and reign with the Lord during His kingdom. No; I neither particularly desire eternal life, nor to rule over people, nor to spend Eternity in blissful self-serving as is pictured in so many doctrines of the world. If I die and remain in the grave, or have to be judged unworthy and return to death, that's nothing less than I deserve.

So, if none of these things that the churches use as "bait" to get the people in is what I want; then what do I want?

I am fortunate. Inside of me is a little valve that opens when I hit on Truth, which makes it difficult for me to deny truth when I find it. That valve is my tear ducts; I cry.


I have written elsewhere about my experience going from church to church trying to find the Holy Spirit in any of them. On my first venture out, having been to two different churches and two different services; I came home and cried bitterly.

I recognized that Jesus, although they talked about Him, was not invited into any of the services. The meetings were for people to gather together, not to be with God.


8Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. 9Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; 10And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? 11Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? (Jer 7:)


14Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. 15And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. (Jer 7:)


30Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD. 31And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. 32And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. 33And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them. (Ezek 33:)


I felt cheated. But more than that, I felt sorry for the Lord. I know that sounds weird, but it's how I felt. Jesus came down here and shed His blood for us and the best (in my experience) He gets for it is a bunch of dead churches that only want to be satisfied and to have their own desires fulfilled?

I want Jesus to have place wherein He can live here on earth. Some where! I know He has other places, other "tabernacles" that are serving Him well. There must be! But I don't see any of them.

So, what do I want most of all? It's not much that I have to offer, but I offer this old tent, worn, battered and falling down as a place for him to do with what He will. I have no skills, no money, no social standing, very little knowledge of His Word, nothing with which to make use of. But like the little Dutch boy, maybe there's a small leak that needs plugged that I can be used for. Whatever, that is what I want. I want to be used, whatever that might entail.


15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (Rev 3:)


1And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 3So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. (Rev 17:)


1And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. 7How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. 8Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

9And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, 10Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. 11And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: 12The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, 13And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. 14And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. 15The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 16And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! 17For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, 18And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! 19And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. 20Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 21And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. 22And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; 23And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. 24And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. (Rev 18:)


Do I think I am one of the Super Saints and that I am going to be taken into Heaven and wave to all the "heathen" as I pass over their burning bodies? It sounds like this is what I believe; but it isn't.

I see myself as inadequate. I am trying as best as can with what little resources (in my person, the Lord has supplied me with many fine resources otherwise) to do what I feel I am supposed to do. But I believe I am failing miserably. I think He picked the wrong person. I think regardless how well I might be doing or have done in the recent past, I will fail miserably at the end.

You see, I do not have much confidence in myself, and I have a past to warrant such an attitude. I know, and often tell the Lord, that if I am going to endure to the end - He is going to have to lift me above my nature, because my nature is to backslide into becoming self-serving.

As you can probably tell, I do not believe in the theory of "Once Saved Always Saved," or "Eternal Salvation." For my sake, as well as yours I hope I am wrong; but I see little evidence of such in God's Word, and a tremendous amount of evidence and example showing just the opposite.


[For further reading on this subject, see: Just Like Jesus and You Are What You Eat.]


 

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