Saturday, October 24, 2009

ESTABLISHING the WORK of our HANDS...



So teach us to number our days,

that we may apply our hearts unto Wisdom+.

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Return, O LORD, how long?

and let it repent THEE concerning Thy Servants.

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O satisfy us early with Thy Mercy;

that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

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Make us glad according to the days

wherein THOU hast afflicted us,
and the years wherein we have seen evil.

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Let Thy Work appear unto Thy Servants,

and Thy Glory unto their children.

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And let the beauty of The LORD our GOD be upon us:

and establish THOU the work of our hands upon us;

yea, the work of our hands establish THOU it.



Psalm 90: 12-17


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This lovely, inspired passage in the Psalms seems to be talking about The LORD JESUS CHRIST, the ONE+ Who+ was in the beginning with GOD, the ONE+ Who+ was known as Wisdom+ , the Daily Delight of GOD the FATHER in Solomon's writings (Proverbs 8:30).

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Let us ponder more closely the phrase: Establish THOU the work of our hands... in that last verse of this passage.

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We know what is the Work of the LORD'S hands, don't we?



Putting clay on the eyes of one born blind, touching the leper for cleansing, taking the damsel by HIS+ Hand and telling her to arise... We recall the scourge HE+ made WITH HIS+ HANDS of small cords and drove the money-changers out of the Temple. And the Greatest Work of all... yielding HIS+ HANDS to the nails of the Cross. This was the Work of our LORD'S HANDS.


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Yet, what exactly is "the work of our hands ?"

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Since this passage is spiritually-oriented, it stands to reason that "the work of our hands" should be considered spiritually-oriented also.
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Our Praying Hands

Hands clasped together in prayer... in worship, in thanksgiving, in supplication for friends and enemies... are working hands, in the eyes of GOD, are they not ? Do you suppose these "working hands" are more lovely to Our Savior+ than hands that, perhaps, are busy holding a deck of cards... ? Don't you suppose HE+ sees us using our hands for all manner of things, both good and bad ?
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Do we want The LORD to establish "the work of our hands" when we use our hands to lock our doors and perhaps slam things around in our irritation with someone, things, or life in general... when we don't get our way? Is that the fruit we want to be established? Is that the testimony we want to have established upon us?
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Our hands should be used for HOLY purposes. As John Michael Talbot sang, "These are HOLY hands."
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A second HOLY work our hands can perform is making the sign of the Cross. Our friends in the Roman Catholic branches have been making the sign of the Cross for a long time, but...



the sign of the Cross



did NOT originate



with Roman Catholicism .

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Making the sign of the Cross is recorded by Tertullian as early as the year 197 AD, so it must have been done before that year, at least.


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Here is what some of the writings tell us about making the sign of the Cross long before the Roman Catholics acquired it; they simply retained the Early Christian practices. [ All quotes are from David Bercot's Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, Scroll Publishing.]



From Tertullian ~


"At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at the table, when we light the lamps, when on the couch, on a seat, and in all the ordinary actions of daily life, we trace the sign upon our foreheads." (c. 211, Western writer, 3.94.95, )


From Lactantius ~~


" HE+ is the salvation of all who have written on their foreheads the sign of blood. I am referring to the sign of the Cross, on which HE+ shed HIS+ Blood... But I will show in the last book in what manner or in what region all will be safe who have marked on the highest part of their body this sign of the true and divine Blood+. " (c.304-311, Western writer, 7.129).


"While the Emperor Diocletian sacrificed, some attendants of his, who were Christians, stood by and they put the immortal sign on their foreheads. At this, the demons were chased away, and the (un)holy rites were interrupted. (c. 320, W, 7.304).


From Cyprian~~~


"Women did not benefit from that sign of circumcision. However, all are sealed by the sign of The LORD." (c. 250w, 5.510).


"Only those can escape who have been born anew and signed with the sign of CHRIST. 'Have no pity upon old or young. And slay the virgins, the little ones, and the women, that they may be utterly destroyed. But do not touch any man upon whom is written the mark.' What this mark is and in what part of the body it is placed, GOD sets forth in another place, saying 'Go through the midst of Jerusalem and set a mark (tau ... like a T) upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry for all the abominations that are done in the midst thereof.' This sign pertains to the passion and blood of CHRIST. Whoever is found in this sign is kept safe and unharmed."

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We who are NOT of the Roman Catholic persuasion might do well to reconsider the practice of the signing of the Cross as part of our daily routine during worship and prayer. The Early Christians seemed to think it was a valid and genuine use of HOLY hands.

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O, LORD, THOU+ Whose+ hands were Most HOLY, help us to sow to the Spirit always, and establish THOU+ the work of these hands... made HOLY by Thy+ Blood and Spirit. Then, may our prayers be set forth before THEE+ as incense; and the lifting up of our hands as the evening sacrifice.

<(((><

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In the name of The FATHER, Who created thee;


His+ HOLY SON+ JESUS, Who+ saves thee;


And The Blessed HOLY SPIRIT, Who sanctifies thee.


+ + +




Wednesday, October 21, 2009

GO YE THEREFORE AND...

TEACH , didaskO , all nations... ?
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NO,
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The LORD JESUS
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did not say that;
.
the translators said that.
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Our LORD said to
go to all nations
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and MATHATEUO them.
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That word means "to disciple".
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<(((><
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So, there IS a distinction, a difference in these two words which JESUS HIMSELF+ made during His+ last earthly words of instructions to His+ students... ???
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NO...
but rather,
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to His+ DISCIPLES.
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<(((><
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In those two last verses of the book of Matthew, the Greek (from Jay P.Green Sr.) accurately reads:
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Go ye therefore
and DISCIPLE (mathateusate) all nations,
baptizing them
in the name of The FATHER,
and of The SON+,
and of the HOLY SPIRIT,
.
TEACHING (didaskontes) them
.
to observe all things
.
whatsoever I+ have commanded you;
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and behold, I + am with you all the days,
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unto the completion of the age.
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Amen.
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So, dear friends, how does one make or become a disciple of The LORD JESUS CHRIST versus a student ?
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What is the distinctive difference
.
between
.
a disciple and a student ?

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<(((><
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Which are we ?
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Which should we be, after our baptism
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into CHRIST JESUS our LORD ?
+ + +

Friday, October 16, 2009

BLENDERS...

Blenders ... instead of CHRISTIANS ?

Are we blending into the world...

or are we a distinct people?

There are ways for us to measure ourselves.

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One of the first signs of a true disciple of CHRIST ~ one who applies discipleship to his own life ~ is the fruit that is growing quietly. The ripening and maturing of the fruit is visible to all who come near. Everbody notices it. The neighbors see it, the friends sense it, the children feel it, the husband or wife become slowly aware of it... everybody notices the fruit of discipleship.

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What is some of that fruit?

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Fruit that is Holy makes a distinction between the disciple and the world, which can be seen at a glance. For instance, one fruit of discipleship is the thought-life. Thoughts are made evident to others through conversation, or more apply put, perhaps, through those things NOT said nor discussed. The early Christians were distinct because of how they conducted their conversations ~ and the topics that DID NOT INTEREST them. [Now, that's a thought!]

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Thoughts are apparent through attitudes. Are we defensive? Ready to argue? Grim when things are done NOT our way? These are some of the measuring sticks to see if we qualify as disciples or spiritual babies.

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Discipleship will change all that. A disciple ~ a true disciple of CHRIST ~ will be so involved in CHRIST JESUS that earthly concerns will not matter too much anymore. PEACE will be one distinct fruit. Irritability will be gone with little effort, you see, when one's mind is on Spiritual things of The LORD. A disciple keeps his mind on things which The LORD deems important.

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Another measuring stick to see if we qualify as disciples of CHRIST is our visible, silent witness. Many people will not go into a church because they are afraid "they" will "GET" them ! [Who they is, is not quite clear... but to those who are afraid, they is real.] Supposedly, to be "gotten" by a church (?) means that some kind of discomfort is very real in the mind of that fearful person. So, how does one witness to such a person? How could one let him / her know that CHRIST is available to meet the needs of whosoever would come unto HIM+ ?

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<(((><

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Again, separation from the world is the rule to follow. How do we measure if we Christians are sufficiently separated? This one is simple: we use our eyes. While we are walking in the supermarket or across the parking lot, can someone SEE AT A GLANCE that we follow CHRIST? If not, then we must change our clothing so that a constant visible witness THAT MARKS US AS CHRISTIAN is evident, even without the spoken word.

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This is not radical: we all recognize policemen, firemen, soldiers, and ball team members AT A GLANCE, don't we? We recognize orthodox Jews and orange-clad disciples of an eastern religion at a glance. Even children in Britain and many other countries usually wear uniforms to school to set them apart.

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The early Christians dressed oftentimes to blend in with the earth, not the crowd. In other words, their simplicity and modesty and lack of adornment marked them as belonging to CHRIST. And they lived in a most pagan era!

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When we look over the playground, do our little boys stand out as CHRISTIAN by the way we dress them... or do they blend in with the crowd? Are our girls separated from the world SO MUCH SO that you can identify "those girls are from a Christian family" on the playground or in the neighborhood? We know of two families ~ one in Kentucky, one in Alabama ~ who are NOT members of a "group" which tells them what to do. But their walk with CHRIST is such that they dress their children so noticably Christian that anyone looking will know they come from a Christian family. And that simple fact opens up the doors for witness.

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Why is it important for the children to be dressed differently? One important reason is the witness for CHRIST: others who see the Christian children will come looking for their parents if they are spiritually hungry.

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The other important reason is that we are training the children, no matter how young, to be different from the worldlings... instead of blending in with the non-disciples. We train them to be comfortable with a separate identity.

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Yes, we can choose their clothes for them now, but we will not be able to choose the consequences for them later... if we train them up to enhance their "self" identity. Self expression instead of expressing CHRIST is the lesson the children learn, much to our regret in later years. Then we hear the parents' lament, "Oh, what have I done wrong?" And then, it is too late.

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<(((><

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Being conservative, decent, hard-working, and modest citizens of ANY country is not equivalent to being Christian. Many, many persons live and dress moderately. Many, many persons love their children deeply and work hard. They wouldn't even think of robbing a bank or committing murder.
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But... they bear no witness for CHRIST JESUS the LORD. In their public talk, walk, thoughts, attitudes, and dress no-one would run to them for spiritual help. No stranger laden with sin and dispair would even imagine that CHRIST may dwell in the hearts of the blenders.
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<(((><
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Instead, a person troubled over his spiritual plight would slip next to a priest, a nun, or even an Old Order Mennonite / Amish to talk with them about their problems. Why? Because they can identify them at a glance!
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The evangelical Christians who do know CHRIST JESUS simply are blending in with the majority of conservative society today. And the witness is greatly blunted, if not eradicated altogether.
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<(((><
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True, we may not be able to go to the far-out tribes in the Gobi Desert to witness for CHRIST, but we can do those little things at home and in the public ~ right where we live ~ to lift CHRIST JESUS up. The promise is certain because HE+ said it: If I + be lifted up from the earth, I + will draw all men unto ME+ .
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What, dear friends, is keeping us from doing that?
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Let us make a decided effort to discipline ourselves to separate from the world and its ways and learn to lift JESUS up as our LORD in everyday things, in everyday life... every day.
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<(((><
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Come out from among them;

and be ye separate,

saith the LORD,

and touch not the unclean thing;

and

I+
will receive
you.

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(The Apostle, 2 Cor. 6:17,

quoting the Prophet Isaiah )

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Shake loose the rocks; break up the fallow ground and the hard-packed soil. In our prayer closets, then, let us judge and measure ourselves lest we be judged... and found wanting in the balance.

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<(((><

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In the name of The FATHER,

Who created thee;

The SON+

Who+ saves thee;

and the blessed HOLY SPIRIT,

Who sanctifies thee.

.

Sister Judith Hannah + + +



Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Return to Discipleship...

A Return to Discipleship...
...is not an option.
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<(((><
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Discipleship is what keeps the train on the track. It is what keeps us moving forward, on toward CHRIST.
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Some Christian Believers have discovered discipleship through a submissive obedience to the leading of the HOLY SPIRIT. Others have stumbled across the necessity of discipleship purely by accident... when they have been frustrated with ~AND REJECTED~ their bone-dry "walk" with CHRIST. Still others have been pushed to it by sorrow, injury, illness, or handicap.
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One thing is certain: there is no growth without a determined, purposeful discipleship.
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WRONG.
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In all truth, there really is growth... but not towards CHRIST. The growth will be towards the world in dress and thought, towards secret and open indulgences of the flesh, towards deadness and numbness and coldness towards CHRIST. In our daily busy-ness of mind, body, and duties... is our on-fire effort going toward something(s) other than CHRIST ?
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Many of us have come so far from the old man. Is it worth losing what we have gained in CHRIST through so many tears and renderings of our flesh...
...to let it slip away
due to
spiritual laziness?
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Are we content with this ?
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Making the effort toward a determined discipleship is NOT SALVATION BY WORKS: it is simply staying on track towards The LORD JESUS our King.
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Now, here's the scary part:
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HE+ won't keep you on track...
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...unless you make the effort.
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<(((><
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And HE+ said to them all,
If
any man
will come after ME+,
let him deny himself,
and take up his cross daily,
and
follow
ME+.
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~ The Word of The LORD,
recorded in Luke 9:23
+ + +
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In the name of The FATHER, Who created thee~
The SON+, Who+ saves thee~
And
The Blessed HOLY SPIRIT, Who sanctifies thee.
.
Sister Judith Hannah + + +