A Name Change At Your Heavenly Arrival !!

The Wind Words Blowing

ARE YOUR EARS AWAKE AND ARE WE LISTENING?

Revelation 2:17 The MESSAGE:

“Are your ears awake?  Listen, Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.  I’ll give the sacred manna to every conqueror; I’ll also give a clear smooth stone inscribed with your new name, your secret new name.”

Revelation 2:17  The AMPLIFIED Bible:

“He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).  To him who overcomes (conquers).  I will give to eat of the manna that is hidden, and I will give him a WHITE STONE with a NEW NAME engraved on the stone, which no one knows or understands except he who receives it.”

The “WHITE” or “CLEAR SMOOTH STONE”–

The object, the stone, is given to those in the assembly who “conquer” or “overcomes” the pressures and temptations of the world.  There are many differing interpretations on the one hand, but that doesn’t mean we are hopeless in our efforts to attempt to understand what JESUS meant in the above Scripture passage.

I’ve been reading in the Book of Revelations of late and when I read Revelation 2:17, the Holy Spirit whispered…You need to stop here and meditate on the words, to grasp their full meaning.”  And of course as the WORD Detective, I began my investigation of the evidence presented in the Bible (God’s WORD).  I found that being somewhat cautious in my studying, and avoiding dogmatism; regardless of whichever view I lean towards, on how I embrace the new and secret name in eternity (the “This” or “That’s”) was my ultimate goal.

THE “WHITE STONE”:

In the Greek language, the word used for WHITE is “leukos” = “a light, bright, brilliant from whiteness [dazzling white].”  Several years ago, I noticed my wife was gazing intently in a jewelry store window along Front Street.  There in the display case was a gold necklace with a brilliant OPAL in the center mounting (Opal is her favorite gemstone).  It was glistening in the natural light, to the degree that it even caught my eye and I am definitely NOT the jewelry type.

She never said a word except, “Okay, let’s keep window browsing down the street’s storefronts.  That doesn’t cost us anything.”  The more I thought about the brilliant stone, the more I contemplated over purchasing the necklace.  Well, to make a long story short…I purchased the necklace for my wife; and not because of it’s brilliance.  I didn’t even think much about the value so much as I did about how much I loved her.  It became a special LOVE GIFT and because it was given in LOVE, many other since have recognized and admired the brilliance of the stone.

Other Viewpoints.

Some recognize the “white stone” signified acquittal by a jury, as over a “black stone” which pointed to the quilt of the defendant.  Others point to the pagan religious people who would carry a stone with them with the name of their particular deity engraved upon it.  If this is the background of our Lord’s reference, then “the written name will be that of God or of Christ,” as in Revelation 3:12 (cf. 14:1; 19:12).

The point is then an allusion to ancient ideas; the power of divine names.  To know the name of a deity was to possess a claim upon his help: “having the POWER of Christ to save and protect is exalted over that of His pagan rivals” (Colin Hemer, 99).

I could go on listing options on the meaning of the “white stone”.  But I want to give you the view I think is the Scriptural evidence being the most likely accepted.

WHITE STONES were often used as tokens of membership or tickets for admission to public festivals.  If THIS is the background for the referenced verse, the  WHITE STONE may be a symbol for the believer’s, the over-comer’s admission to the Messianic Feast in Revelation 19.

It is “white” in order to display the righteousness of the “over-comers”; those who are granted entrance.  NO GATE CRASHERS HERE!  As we read in Revelation 19:8 the invitation presented is granted to the Bride i.e., the Church:

She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen,

dazzling and white (“leukos”)–

for the fine linen is (signifies, represents) the righteousness

(the upright, just, and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God)

of the saints (God’s holy people).

THE BRIDE (the Church)

Little wonder, then, that John goes on to write  “Then [the angel] said to me, Write this down: Blessed are those who are summoned (invited, called) to the marriage supper of the Lamb”  (Revelation 19:9a).

I’M CAPTIVATED BY THE “NEW NAME” WE WILL RECEIVE:

The name that is written on the stone “that no one knows except…”  (Revelation 2:17b).  The words point to the prophecy given in Isaiah 62:2:  “and you shall be called by a new name” and in Isaiah 65:15, “…another name.”

A Question About Our New Name.

The question is whether this “new name” given to the over-comer is Christ’s or the individuals.  Although the first alternative is certainly possible, I’m inclined to think the “new name” in verse 17, is one given uniquely to each individual believer in Jesus Christ.  I also believe through my study,  it “symbolizes the individuals entry into a new life, status or personality…The thought may then be compared with that of 2 Corinthians 5:17”  (Hemer, 103-04).

In other words, because we’ve become believers in JESUS, we’ve become “new creations.”  It’s only fitting then, each one receives a “new name” suitable to their position in and with our relationship with JESUS.  That doesn’t mean the old or original name, given to us by our parents or the world is bad or to be thrown away.  Rather, one’s name in biblical times typically signified or point to ones character or calling or function:

Abram to Abraham, “father of a multitude.”

Sarai to Sarah, “princes.”

Jacob to Israel, “prince of God” (or also “he who struggles with God”).

Simon becomes Peter, the “Rock” (or more properly “stone”).

God is making a point about the individual concerned (memorializing their spiritual accomplishments and their spiritual potential, and His blessing on them).

Today We Name Our Children For Different Reasons.

Often we name our children, hoping their name might inspire confidence and perhaps power.  We might name our son “Gregory” rather than “Gomer” (for anyone reading this blog has a son named “Gomer”, I’m not making fun of the name); or a daughter “Wendy” rather than “Winnie Mae” (I can get away with that one since “Winnie Mae” was my aunt’s name).

All this to say that God will re-name each of us in accordance with the transformation of our nature in the likeness of His Son, to reflect the new and altogether unique identity:

“We are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven”  (Philippians 3:20).

My new name, like yours, will be suitable to the new heavens, new earth in which I’ll dwell, a place where evil and error are not present.

THERE IS EVEN MORE TO THIS “NEW NAME” THAN MERELY NEWNESS!

The “new name” that’s given is a name that “no one knows” except for the individual “who receives it.”  Pet names between a husband and wife are given to each other in private.  My wife has an affectionate name for me that no one else knows but us!  It’s just between the ones who are the “giver” and the “receiver” in an intimate relationship.

Your TRUE IDENTITY with God is REFLECTED in Your New Name.

This new identity transcends any shame or regret or disappointment wrapped up in who you are now.  There is a very private and personal place of intimacy with Him which brings hope and freedom and joy.  None can touch or steal it.

The apostle Paul said it best–“…your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3 b).  Then Peter repeated much the same thing in 1 Peter 1:4:

“[Born anew] into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay [imperishable], unsullied and unfading, reserved in heaven for you.”

“Did I Missed Something in the Verse–How About the “HIDDEN MANNA”?

Although the emphasis I’m placing on Revelation 2:17 is about the meaning of our “name changing” on our heavenly arrival, I’ll briefly touch on the meaning of the “hidden manna.”

Some believe this is a reference of the manna being hidden in a jar; in the Ark of the Covenant.  But I think it’s more involved.  If JESUS is the manna, the “Bread of Life”, perhaps the point is–all that awaits us in Him is “hidden.”  It is reserved and kept safe and guarded against all possibility of loss! so that we might celebrate its certainty and the assurance of what God has promised, that He will provide!

Remembering An Old Chorus to a Hymn:

A New Name in Glory by C. Austin Miles

There’s a new name written down in glory,

And it’s mine, O yeas, it’s mine.

ANY GUESSES WHAT YOUR “NEW NAME” WILL BE?

JOY Is The Flag Flying Over My Castle

“JOY is the flag that flies over the castle of our hearts announcing that the King is in residence today.”  ~ William Knight.

A REVELATION:

I and my wife are die-hearts when the Olympic games come every four years and the XXX Olympiad in Great Britain was no exception.  We spent hours watching American television commentary on the variety of events presented.  But what I really enjoyed was seeing London’s historical landmarks and the surrounding countryside.

I particularly was interested in one historical fact and custom: When her Majesty the queen was in her residence, the royal flag was raised and flown over the castle signifying her presence.  Now this detail might be ‘old hat’  to the native citizens but to an uninformed American…it certainly was revelation to me!

The Revelation to John:

“Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who reads aloud [in the assemblies–the church] the word of this prophecy; and blessed are those who hear [it read] and who keep themselves true to the things which are written in it [heeding them and laying them to heart], for the time [for them to be fulfilled] is near”  (Revelation 1:3 AMP).

HAPPINESS IS AN ILLUSIVE THING:

Happiness or JOY is hard to hold on to at times with all the things that are happening around us and our family.  Tim Hansel observed,  “If you have to move even ten inches from where you are now in order to be happy, you never will be.”

Another writer spoofed,  “You should do something every day to make other people happy, even if it’s only to leave them alone.”

It might surprise you some that The Book of Revelation begins with the word BLESSED=Makarios- Greek word, meaning “large, lengthy” and hence denotes “to pronounce happy, blessed.”  You might be thinking right now, How in the world can this prophetic book make us happy?  One answer might be because it reminds us that our King is on the throne!

Believers Should Be Joyous/Blessed By This Book.

“John to the seven assemblies (churches) that are in Asia: May grace (God’s unmerited favor) be granted to you and spiritual peace (the peace of Christ’s kingdom) from Him Who is and Who was and Who is to come, and from the seven Spirits [the sevenfold Holy Spirit] before His throne.” [verse 4]

“And from Jesus Christ the faithful and trustworthy Witness, the Firstborn of the dead [first to be brought back to life] and the Prince (Ruler) of the kings of the earth.  To Him Who ever loves us and has once [for all] loosed and freed us from our sins by His own blood.” [verse 5]

(Revelation 1:4-5 AMP).

Because it’s God’s revelation.  God speaks to His Church in His Fullness:

GOD THE FATHER IS,

THE ONE WHO IS !

THE ONE WHO WAS !!

THE ONE WHO IS TO COME !!!

Literally our Father is,

THE ONE BEING

THE ONE WHO ALWAYS WAS and…

THE ONE WHO KEEPS ON COMING TO BE !

Back to (verse 3) for OUR RESPONSE–

God has revealed Himself in His fullness and His church responds with JOY (v.3).  OUR JOY (blessedness), comes from understanding and practicing what God has to say about Himself.

We are BLESSED when we read the words.

The word READ comes from the Greek word anaginosko (Vine’s COMPLETE Expository Dictionary).  It primarily means “to know certainly, to know again, recognize.”  In the little Dutch town I live in: Lynden, Washington USA, there is an old saying “If you’re not Dutch you don’t know much.”  I know and certain that no matter what the weather is like tomorrow, the sun will certainly rise!  That is anaginosko!

The word is often used in the New Testament in reading the Bible in PUBLIC WORSHIP.  1 Timothy 4:13, the apostle Paul says,

“Till I come, devote yourself to [public and private] READING, to exhortation (preaching and personal appeals), and to teaching and instilling doctrine.”

This isn’t READING for the sake of just reading.  Years ago in the public school system, we had a Weekly Reader program that earned points for the most books read.  Since volume was all that mattered, most students picked all the short books that a person could find.  They weren’t reading for understanding.

Christ’s Church is BLESSED in reading His words carefully.  In the same way we are BLESSED when we HEAR the words.  That WORD means to hear with understanding:

“This is the reason that I speak to them in parables: because having the power of seeing, they do not see; and having the power of hearing, they do not hear, nor do they grasp and understand.  [13] 

In them indeed is the process of fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, which says:  You shall indeed hear and hear but never grasp and understand; and you shall indeed look and look but never see and perceive.  [14]

For this nation’s heart has grown gross (fat and dull), and their ears heavy and difficult of hearing, and their eyes they have tightly closed, lest they see and perceive with their eyes, and hear and comprehend the sense with their ears, and grasp and understand with their heart, and turn and I should heal them.  [15]

But BLESSED (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are your eyes because they do see, and your ears because they do hear.  [16]

Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous men [men who were upright and in right standing with God] yearned to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”  [17]

(Matthew 13:13-17 AMP).

The MESSAGE wasn’t just for His disciples!

We in the church are also to keep those things which are written in our hearts.  The church at Sardis READ and HEARD God’s Word but failed to keep it (Revelation 3:3).

The emphasis of the words are two-fold:

1.  UNDERSTANDING.

2.  CONTINUATION.

ALL 3 words are Present Participles–

We are BLESSED and full of JOY if…we keep on reading, hearing, and keeping of these truths.

JOY IN KNOWING HIS PURPOSES [verses 5b-8].

His Purpose in the Past (VERSE 5):

“To Him Who ever loves us and has once [for all] loosed and freed us from our sins by His own blood.”

Not only is God’s character revealed here but so is His PURPOSE:  CHRIST LOVED US!  Jesus is the picture of God’s love for us:

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even]

gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in

(trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him

shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have

eternal (everlasting) life.

For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to past sentence on)

the world, but that the world might find salvation

and be made safe and sound through Him.

Matthew 3:16, 17

Comprehending, Understanding the Extent of God’s Love for us.  (Ephesians 3:17-19 AMP):

“May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts!  May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love.  That you may have the POWER and be STRONG to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it].  [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!”

After reading those verses in Ephesians, if that doesn’t make you joyous, then you must be dead!  You better pinch yourself just in case.

HIS PURPOSE IN THE PRESENT  (VERSE 6):

According to the words in Revelation 1:6, Christ Jesus has made His Church “kings and priests.”   TRUE BELIEVERS should be happy by this knowledge!  If you are lacking confidence in your faith right now, being a king or priest in God’s Kingdom NOW…should make you want to scream and shout with self-confidence.

Matthew Henry says this about Christians, overcomers:

As kings, they govern their own spirits, conquer Satan, have power…

with God in prayer, and shall judge the world.

He hath made them priests, given them access to God, enabled them

to enter into the holiest and to offer spiritual and acceptable

sacrifices…and for these high honours and favours they are bound

to ascribe to Him dominion and glory for ever.

HIS PURPOSE IN THE FUTURE (VERSE 7):

Christ is returning for His Church!  The timing might be debated but the FACT of His coming back is not debatable!!  Why is He returning for His overcomers?  Because we know He loves us; He washed us from our sins, made us a part of His Kingdom and we will gladly receive Him.

Christ’s Church.

We look forward to Christ’s return because His revealing will be our revealing:

“The Spirit Himself testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.  And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also; heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.  [But what of that?]  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!”  (Romans 8:16-18 AMP).

We know JESUS lives inside of us and we will live forever but the world can’t see that.  How BLESSED will be that day when what we are on the inside will be revealed to ALL the world to see on the outside.  While the Church is BLESSED with JOY by the thoughts of Christs’ return.  The LOST WORLD will mourn with His return because they rejected Him (Revelation 6:15-17).

Does the thought of God being with you bring you JOY or FEAR?  Your answer to the question reveals what your RELATIONSHIP to Him is.

One Final Question to Ask.

Are you finding JOY in your walk with God, or are you chasing happiness in the things that you can never truly be satisfied with?

PRAYING With Our GOD-given AUTHORITY – (PART II)

QUIT BEGGING:

Christians spend a lot of time and effort learning about PRAYER.  But sometimes this can often seem like a waste of time.  UNANSWERED PRAYER can be a huge source of frustration with many believers.  Part of the problem is the misunderstanding of the way that PRAYER works.

Misguided prayer is a major cause of distress and one of the most serious problems at hand… is that Christians often pray trying to change God’s mind.  They are concerned about a problem in their society and ask God to act and change the situation.  If nothing changes, their prayers turn into pleading and in some circumstances, even begging.

In PART I, I pointed out Our God-given AUTHORITY when we pray.  I also pointed out as Christians, we have different spheres of AUTHORITY.   Also, the effectiveness of authoritative praying can RELEASE ANGELS and DEAL WITH SPIRITUAL FORCES OF EVIL.  I gave SOLUTIONS to three problems; the evidence of how the devil can gain AUTHORITY here on earth.

ONE KEY TO THE KINGDOM:

JESUS spoke to Peter about the keys to the kingdom in the gospel of Matthew:

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven”  (Matthew 16:19).

JESUS was not giving Peter AUTHORITY over the church but explaining the way PRAYER AND AUTHORITY work hand and hand.  He repeated these words, so they must be important and not just to Peter.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you forbid and declare to be improper and unlawful on earth must be what is already forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit and declare proper and lawful on earth must be what is already permitted in heaven.

Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and everything] they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven”  (Matthew 18:18-19 AMP).

Gathering and Agreeing in PRAYER

I wrote a blog sometime ago regarding “binding and loosing” with a title:  BINDING and LOOSING is like Eating Soup with a Fork.  I believe now, that here in these last two verses quoted, JESUS adds to the meaning with–TWO or THREE people on earth coming to an agreement over something going on; in giving their Father in heaven AUTHORITY to do it!

BINDING and LOOSING; this is the KEY TO THE KINGDOM.  It is how we use the binding and loosing in prayer.  It doesn’t make the prayer more convincing by just saying the words.

We can BIND up heaven by failing to pray, as without our AUTHORITY God cannot act.  On the other hand, by praying correctly, we can release the POWER of heaven to work on earth.  My new found understanding of “binding and loosing” became an eye-opener to me personally.

JESUS CONFIRMS THE NUMBER – (verse 20).

JESUS confirms the number of people needed to release God’s power on earth.  Two or three people, gathered together in agreement can and will give God AUTHORITY to act.  We do not need hundreds of people praying, trying to persuade God.  We just need two agreeing with what God wants to do.  They have sufficient authority.

I like the Amplified version of Matthew 18:20 when they add:  harmonizing together, make a symphony together.  Have you ever heard of a symphony of two or three?  Well, now you have it!

Simeon and Anna.

These two people in the Bible had sufficient authority to allow God to send JESUS as Messiah.  You don’t like that example?  Well, try the next example.

Eli’s Agreement with Hannah.

AGREEMENT gave God AUTHORITY to open Hannah’s womb; for Samuel to be born (1 Samuel 1:17).

SOMETIMES STRONGHOLDS GET IN OUR WAY:

The enemy’s suggestions will be made by a person with authority in our lives such as a parent or a teacher.

He will never amount to anything.

When we buy into the devil’s lies and start declaring it in agreement, the devil has established a STRONGHOLD.

When growing up into an adult, I heard my mother confess:  “My grandmother had mental problems, my mother had dementia and I will too.”  At the age of 92, my mother died of Alzheimer disease.  She had all her life declared in agreement with a lie!

The GOOD NEWS!

We can prevent negative thoughts; which then become spiritual strongholds by speaking words of truth to nullify their power.

God loves me and created me

for a unique purpose.

The most powerful stronghold of the devil is the LIE; that he is still the “prince of this world.”  This WAS TRUE before the CROSS, but JESUS’ death and resurrection destroyed his power on earth:

“Now the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world shall be cast out (expelled).” ~ John 12:31.

“The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done].” ~ 1 John 3:8 AMP.

PERSISTENCE Is The KEY to Successful Resistance.

PERSISTENCE will never persuade God to change His mind.  BUT it will wear down the enemy and force him to surrender.  When we reject the enemy’s first attack on us, he will come back with another: doubt with more and more doubt; unfaithfulness with more unfaithfulness.  If his first suggestion does not cause us to worry, he will just try something else.  Satan had three going against Jesus in the wilderness before he gave up.  So with us…he will keep going on for quite a while against us.

We don’t need PERSISTENCE to change God’s mind on a given matter.  Like JESUS, we will have to persist in the TRUTH; the Word of God to wear down the enemy.

Do you find yourself, as you read this blog in the wilderness?

SUBMISSION IS ESSENTIAL:

Now a lot of people have a difficulty with the word SUBMIT.  Have you noticed in marriage ceremonies today, the words of submission have been considered antiquated?

SUBMISSION is very important to the Christian life.  Unfortunately it has become a tool for Christian leaders to control their people.  The real purpose of submission is different from what we normally understand.

God has made us free, so another person can only have AUTHORITY in our lives if we give it to them.  We give another person AUTHORITY in our lives by submitting to them.  This is so important for effective prayer.  By submitting to each other, Christians are giving other Christians authority.  Ephesians 5:21 states:  “Be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

When we SUBMIT, or as the Amplified translation says, “Be subject to…” we are giving them AUTHORITY; it’s enabling them, letting them pray to God on our behalf in releasing the Holy spirit to work in our lives.  It also allows them to resist evil on our behalf.

The more I submit to Christian friends or elders, the greater spiritual authority they will have to resist any evil that may be attacking me.

The RELATIONSHIP Between Spiritual Authority and Submission.

This concept is sometimes hard to understand.  We often ask other Christians to pray for us but it doesn’t seem to have much effect.  The REASON is–they lack the authority in our lives.  But they can’t have AUTHORITY if we don’t give it to them!

Modern day Christians want to be independent and become unclear about what it means to be in SUBMISSION.  I know this all to well down through my work life, parenthood and my Christian experience.

By being ambivalent, it leaves us vulnerable to spiritual warfare; because no one has authority to stand with us in resisting the attack of the enemy.

IDLE WORDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF SUBMISSION:

We should be careful in speaking to others about people who have submitted to them.  If people with authority speak NEGATIVE WORDS about a person who has submitted to, it gives evil forces permission to attack that person.

By agreeing with lies from the enemy, Christian leaders can give the enemy power.  If the leader says to his wife,  “Bill has always had a problem with authority in his life, and he always will!”; his words give a spirit of rebellion, permission to attack that person.

Careless Words Are Serious.

They’re serious because they become PERMISSION SLIPS!  Many Christian leaders, elders and parents would be embarrassed on that day when they realize the effect of their casual words they spoke about another; about those who were submitted to them.  They will be shocked when they see how evil spirits used their words as permission to attack someone who TRUSTED in them.  I’m sorry to say that I am one.  And I have sincerely apologized to my adult son for the words that I spoke about him in his teenage years.  At the time, I had given the enemy power to attack him which became a greater impact on his life.

“WAS THIS STUDY JUST ANOTHER STUDY ON PRAYER?”

I certainly hope not.  For praying in the WRONG WAY in our prayers won’t be answered.  I’ve presented two parts on the RIGHT WAY and the WRONG WAY to prayer.  Praying in the wrong way isn’t a problem if it occurs occasionally, so don’t be too hard on yourself.  But it’s dangerous if it happens too often.

Frequent Failure In Prayer Leads To Disappointment.

It tarnishes the human spirit and if we don’t deal with it, it will develop bad attitudes which then destroys our FAITH IN GOD.

When fervent prayers go unanswered, we get offended and start saying negative words about God:

God does not care about me.

God cannot heal everyone.

Miracles don’t happen to me.

THESE STATEMENTS ARE NOT TRUE!

They may be an expression of our pain and disappointment, but if we keep speaking in this way, we are insulting God’s character.  When JESUS came to Nazareth, people were amazed at Him, but their amazement soon changed with expressions of doubt:

“Is not this the Carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?  And are not His sisters here among us?  And they took offense at Him and were hurt [that is, they disapproved of Him, and it hindered them from acknowledging His authority] and they were caused to stumble and fall”  (Mark 6:3 AMP).

Their statements were true, but it represented a distorted view of JESUS.  They gave too much emphasis to their own experiences and too little to God’s promises.  JESUS didn’t meet their expectations and were disappointed in Him.

The Scriptures say they had taken offense:

“And He was not able to do even one work of power there, except that He laid His hands on a few sickly people [and] cured them.”

And He marveled because of their unbelief (their lack of faith in Him).  And He went about among the surrounding villages and continued teaching.”

Mark 6:5, 6 AMP.

Offense led to unbelief which shut down the POWER of God.

Learning How To Pray Effectively:

We don’t want to fall into offense, so learning how to pray correctly is really important.  Instead of pleading with God, we should learn about AUTHORITY and how we can use what is God-given and use it to set the POWER of the Holy Spirit free!  THAT, my friends will accomplish God’s purposes on earth!

PRAYING With Our GOD-given AUTHORITY – [PART I]

MY FOCUS:

My focus  in this particular blog is to bring attention to our PRAYING; not to change your mind about praying.  That well may happen, but as The WORD Detective, I’ve only presented the evidence brought forth in God’s WORD (The Bible).  This conversation may be a new understanding about prayer to you, it certainly was to me before I had the TRUTH.  So be prepared for possibly an exciting new approach to PRAYING With Our GOD-given AUTHORITY (PART I  and PART II).

DANIEL’S PRAYER:

“O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and look at our desolation’s and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You for our own righteousness and justice, but for Your great mercy and loving-kindness” ~ Daniel 9:18 AMP.

I’ve been reading and meditating on God’s word in the Book of Daniel lately and when I came to this verse [not for the first time], I had made a note at the end of verse 18 which read:  “WHOA!”   At that moment, Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit and said, ” Stop right here and think about those words Mel before going any further.”  So, my heart-felt investigation began on effective PRAYER.

Now I’ve done many studies on PRAYER in the past, even written blogs concerning our praying, but this time, the emphasis was much deeper.  Had I forgotten about PRAYING in our GOD-given authority?   Was it far more important than the numbers of prayers for effective results?

OUR GOD-GIVEN AUTHORITY–this PRINCIPLE will get your attention!

“God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have COMPLETE  AUTHORITY…over all of the earth and over everything…”  (Genesis 1:26 AMP).

DESPITE MAN STUFFING THINGS UP…

God will not act on earth without getting permission from a human with legitimate authority on earth.  In understanding our roles as praying believers in Christ, this is an important principle.

God will not act on earth unless a human

gives Him permission to act.

Here Is What Happened In The Beginning Of Mankind [Old Covenant]:

1.  God gave man AUTHORITY over everything on earth (Genesis 1:26).

2.  Man in return gave his God-given authority to the enemy (Genesis chapter 3).

God Has Taken Back His Given Authority Through His Son [New Covenant]:

1..  JESUS defeats the enemy (Satan) on the cross; death, burial and resurrection.  Satan doesn’t have the authority any longer (Matthew 28:18).

2..  JESUS now returns to man God’s authority with the POWER of the Holy Spirit to direct us!  (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 10:17-20; John 15:7)

WHAT IS AUTHORITY?

Authority is delegated power; dunamis in the Greek language, where we get the English word–DYNAMITE.

In Kenneth Hagin’s book, The Believer’s Authority (page 10), he uses the illustration of describing what AUTHORITY is:

Policemen who direct traffic during the rush hour just raise their hands and the cars stop.  These men don’t have the physical power to stop the vehicles if the drivers choose not to stop.  But they don’t use their own strength to stop traffic; they are strong in the authority that is invested in them by the government they serve.  People recognize that authority and stop their cars.  Blessed be God, there’s AUTHORITY that’s vested in us by the Lord Jesus Christ!”

WHEN WE PRAY–

When we pray we are not asking God to change His mind.  We are giving Him the AUTHORITY that He needs to take action on earth.

Now in giving God permission to act, we need to know what He wants us to do and the FIRST PART OF PRAYER is:

— LISTEN TO HIS VOICE.

— FINDING OUT HIS WILL.

Once we know what He wants to do, we can give Him permission to do it!

This is the second important principle:

Prayer is finding out God’s will and giving Him

AUTHORITY to do it!

PRAYER gives the Holy Spirit permission to do God’s will–He cannot act without getting permission from a human with AUTHORITY.

When we pray for something, we are giving the AUTHORIZATION that He needs to act on earth to accomplish God’s purpose!

DECLARATION beats BABBLE:

Understanding the nature of prayer changes the way we pray.  FIRST of all, it means we are to stop BABBLING on.  LONG PRAYERS…change nothing!

“And when you pray, do not heap up phrases (multiply words, repeating the same ones over and over) as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their much speaking.   

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask.”

(Matthew 6:7-8 AMP)

Babbling On In Prayer is a Waste of Time.

According to Jesus’ words in Matthew, God already knows what we need; we don’t have to persuade Him.  We PRAY to give the Holy Spirit FREEDOM TO ACT!

Now after JESUS made this statement, He gives an example of the way we should pray. 

The second clause of the Lord’s Prayer is not a petition or a plea but a DECLARATION to what should happen.  Translated literally, it reads like this:

God’s Kingdom, Come!!

God’ will, Let it be done on earth!!

These words are closer to a PROPHECY than an actual PRAYER.  They are a DECLARATION calling the Kingdom of God into existence.  This is how we should pray.  Declaring God’s plans, we give the Holy Spirit permission to bring them into being.  By announcing the kingdom, we ALLOW Him to do God’s will on earth.

So if that is really the way we should pray, why aren’t we doing so…right now?

AUTHORITY IS ESSENTIAL!

AUTHORITY is more important than numbers of times we pray for effectiveness.  Here’s another PRINCIPLE TO WRITE DOWN:

We can only give God permission to act on earth

in situations where we have authority.

Every Christian has different levels of AUTHORITY; spheres of activity effects our authority in prayer:

Christian parents have authority in their family so they can give God permission to work in their family.

Employers have authority over their businesses so they can give God authority to work there.

A king has authority in his kingdom so he can give God permission to work in his kingdom.

Elders have authority over people in their care (church assemblies), so they can give God authority to act in their lives.

When people ask us to pray for them, they are giving us authority in their lives to speak to God on their behalf.

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE:  Hannah and Eli ~ 1 Samuel 1:9-18:

Hannah had submitted to Eli and so Eli had AUTHORITY to agree with her prayers.  If she had not submitted to him, his agreement may not have meant anything.  Two or three people with earthly authority over a situation will be more effective than hundreds who have no authority.  This is the reason why Christians should take up positions of AUTHORITY that they are offered.  Given AUTHORITY  in the world gives a Christian wider and broader authority in prayer.

ANGELS:

Our prayers also release the angels to do God’s work here on earth.

ANGELS are spiritual beings that can pass between heaven and earth.  They are limited physically and can only be in one place at a time.  On certain occasions, angels can take on human form as you will soon read in Daniel.

They receive their instructions from heaven and carry them out on earth.  Once they come to earth, they can sometimes lose their connection with other angels and become uncertain about what to do.  In this situation, they listen to the prayers of the saints to find out God’s will.  When they hear Christians praying God’s will, they are able to implement it.

I might add here, we should NOT PRAY to angels.  We don’t need to address them directly, because they are listening to our prayers, then rush, even “fly swiftly” to our sides when we pray it.

The Results of Daniel Speaking With His Mouth in PRAYER:

[19] O Lord, hear!  O Lord, forgive!  O Lord, give heed and act!  Do not delay, for Your own sake, O my God, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.

[20] While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication (my need, my desires) before the Lord my God for the holy hill of my God–

[21] Yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the former vision, being caused to fly swiftly, came near me and touched me about the time of the evening sacrifice.

[22-a] He instructed me and made me understand…

(Daniel 9:19-22 (a) AMP).

WOW!  WOW!!  Now you can see how AUTHORITY spoken in prayer is effective!

DEALING WITH SPIRITUAL FORCES OF EVIL:

“Put on god’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able to successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and deceits of the devil.  For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood but against despotisms, against powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere”  (Ephesians 6:11-12 AMP).

Another aspect of PRAYER and AUTHORITY is human sin giving the devil authority on earth.  It also seemed to give him some authority in heaven.  He was able to go into the presence of God and make accusations against people who sinned.

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came

to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan

(the adversary and accuser) also came among them.”

THE BOOK OF JOB 1:6

Satan didn’t have authority to attack Job, he had not sinned; but if anyone had sinned, Satan could ACCUSE them and demand the right to do them harm.  His name means “accuser.”

JESUS’ Death On The Cross.

When Jesus died on the cross, He eliminated the accuser’s AUTHORITY; if he accused any of God’s people (born-again believers), Jesus can say,  “My blood covered sin, so it does not count.”  If you are an off-duty policeman and try to stop traffic without your government supplied uniform, no driver will respect or adhere to your authority; you will more than likely be run over.  But with that uniform on…your authority is recognized.  Therefore, when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are now given a ‘BLOOD UNIFORM’, giving you AUTHORITY in this realm.

The Archangel Michael

SATAN has lost his authority and thrown out of heaven (Revelation 12:7-9).  This is not a future event.  It happened when JESUS ascended into heaven from death on the cross (Revelation 12:5).

Unfortunately, Satan is a CHEAT and a liar.  God respects human authority and Satan has none, but, he will seize power even without authority.

SOURCE OF AUTHORITY:

I uncovered evidence that the devil can gain AUTHORITY on earth in three different ways:

1.  When people with authority on earth fall into sin, they surrender their authority to him.  The more authority one has, the more harm is done.  Kings and politicians are releasing authority to evil all over the earth [I’m not going to get political here today and mention names. You can fill in the blanks yourself].

2.  If Satan can deceive Christians, believing that he has not been defeated, then he gains huge authority in their lives and levels of influence.  This successful tactic is used with many Christians who believe the devil still rules on earth.  It’s a terrible lie that is paralyzing the church all over the world.

3.  Satan will often just squat in a place with no legitimate authority waiting until someone with legitimate authority forces him out.  This too has been a successful tactic employed by Satan.

THERE ARE SOLUTIONS!

SOLUTION #1.  To pray for the people in authority to come to FAITH in Christ.

When they believe in JESUS, authority comes with them!  They will have  AUTHORITY to release God’s POWER in their spheres of influence and Satan will have lost his ground.  Until that happens,  a lot of cities and nations will FAIL because the people with real authority in these places invite the forces of evil back by default, quicker than we can boot them out.

SOLUTION #2.  For Christians to have their eyes opened.

When the Church understands the devil has been truly defeated, then his ability to OPERATE on earth will collapse and GREAT THINGS WILL HAPPEN!

SOLUTION #3.  PRAYER is the solution to the third problem.

Since the CROSS, Satan has been a trespasser with no legitimate authority on earth.  Did you notice I said “legitimate authority”?  PRAYER is standing with other believers to force the devil to flee from places of authority where he is squatting as a trespasser.

SQUATTERS and TRESPASSERS are not intimidated by court decisions.  Usually they stay right where they are, until the police come with a court order to force them to leave.

PRAYER is enforcing a court order against the enemy.  THE CROSS was a legal defeat for the devil and praying Christians enforce the eviction notice against the evil powers: “the despotisms…against the master spirits who are the world rulers of this present darkness” (Ephesians 6:12).  You can fill in the names if you like.

INTEGRITY in a World of Change!

EVIDENCE FOUND IN THE “DIGGING”:  [Daniel 5:1-30]

INTEGRITY with CONSISTENCY–

One of the hardest aspects in living your life is INTEGRITY being consistent.  But first, let me give a secular definition of the word, then we will getter a better meaning set in our minds:

INTEGRITY:  A concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes.  In ethics, INTEGRITY is regarded as the honest and truthfulness or accuracy on one’s actions.  INTEGRITY can be regarded as the OPPOSITE of hypocrisy”  Quoted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

With all the problems we face throughout our lives, no wonder many fail to act and react consistently in each situation.

In this blog, I will continue my detective work; digging in the Biblical evidence contained in The Book of Daniel Chapter 5. 

DANIEL is now approximately eighty years old.  He would be considered by all standards in any society as a senior citizen.  But Daniel is again going to show each one of us that he is a man of integrity by living out his life according to his beliefs at the ripe old age of 80 years, like he did in his teens!  Can I get an AMEN if you are a senior citizen?

Enter…THE PROBLEMS:

The kingdom had changed and he finds himself in a world that had passed him by.  At one time, Daniel was the head of all the magicians, sorcerers and it now seems he is almost forgotten.  You might even say that Daniel is like many of our senior citizens today; even in our neighborhood churches.

The World HAS CHANGED!

It has gotten faster in almost every way.  Seemingly more violent and people’s problems seem to be more extreme and the consequences more dire!

While connectivity IS AVAILABLE to everyone, at any time through the internet and cell phones–many feel unconnected and alone.

Daniel Found Himself In A Similar Position.

—  He was still in a foreign land.

—  God had not miraculously delivered him to Jerusalem.

—  He was out of the loop, a Jew in Babylon.

—  His position of authority had changed.  He had not been called on to handle the situation.  Nor had he been invited to the party.

Tom Shrader, a lead teaching Pastor in Arizona says,

“The number one problem facing seniors today is apathy”,  The unwillingness to get involved in a “new world”.

THE EARTHLY KINGDOM WAS IN TROUBLE!

Sounding familiar to today’s world of current circumstances?  Belshazzar assumed the authority of king and the enemies were literally knocking at the front door (the gates) of this massively fortified city.  The city was strong but the kingdom was weak.

Rather than seeking GOD’S FAVOR, repent of his ways, Belshazzar throws a party exemplifying PRIDE in giving the annual kingdom banquet for all nobility:

“BELSHAZZAR THE king [descendant of Nebuchadnezzar] made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and he drank his wine in the presence of the thousand”  (Daniel 5:1 AMP).

PRIDE LEADS TO SACRILEGE:

Not only was the king’s PRIDE on display before the other party goers at the height of out-of-control revelry but Belshazzar calls for the temple goblets.  Now these goblets were not the run-of-the-mill drinking cups.  The temple goblets that were called for were used in the honoring of the Lord God!

It was the ultimate in arrogance and pride.  Indirectly, the king was placing himself above God Almighty and thumbing his nose at God!

The Party’s Over!

God miraculously stops the party at its high point.  Looking at the Hebrew construction of the sentence indicates, at the very instant of drinking from the goblets and praising false gods, the finger appears to write on the wall:

[5]  “Immediately and suddenly there appeared the fingers of a man’s hand and wrote on the plaster of the wall opposite the candlestick [so exposed especially to the light] in the king’s palace, and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.    [6]   Then the color and the [drunken] hilarious brightness of the king’s face was changed, and his [terrifying] thoughts troubled and alarmed him; the joints and muscles of his hips and back gave way and his knees smote together”            (Daniel 5:5-6 AMP).

The Climax Is Building to a Boiling Point Now!

The party comes to a halt as the king was so filled with PRIDE and ARROGANCE and suddenly, he was now reduced to fear and trembling.

Imagine for one moment here, as drunk as they all were, the fingers, not the whole hand but the fingers of the living God begins to write on the wall by the lamp stand.  Belshazzar was literally changing colors while trembling before their eyes.  So much fear, he lost control of his lower body according to the original Hebrew.  In other words, the king probably just wet, peed his pants before all who had come to “party on”!

The King Needed A Solution…Now!

“The king cried aloud [mightily] to bring in the enchanters or soothsayers, the Chaldeans [diviners], and the astrologers.  The king said to the wise men of Babylon,  Whoever will read this writing and show me the interpretation of it will be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold put about his neck and will be the third ruler in the kingdom”  (verse 7 AMP).

I notice a footnote at the bottom of my Bible while studying this week concerning the words written on the wall in verse 25:  MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

“For many people it may be difficult to understand why all the wise men, the magicians, the soothsayers, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers were unable to translate a few simple words, especially when Daniel’s prescribed education in languages was the same as their own–and he had no difficulty translating.  The answer is that any wise man who was present there probably could recognize the four inscribed words, but only the uncompromising man of God [man with INTEGRITY; a man of CHARACTER]–who knew God through daily fellowship and communion with Him, who was dedicated to Him that God could speak to him and through him–only such a man could tell what the words really meant. Blessed are those who dare to be a Daniel.

THE PROCLAMATION:

Daniel was a man of integrity even though he was in his 80’s and semi-retired, and God was going to use him in a powerful way; to touch the life of the king AND his nobles.  His reputation was preceding him.

The Queen Remembers–(verses 11-12).

Daniel again was called in to interpret the writing where others had failed.  Much like king Nebuchadnezzar’s last prophecy, this one also contained BAD NEWS for the king [Daniel 4:31-33]..

Daniel begins with a relevant history lesson concerning the past king and Almighty God.  He reminds king Belshazzar that the lesson he was going to lay on the king was not about him but about God.(verses 18-23).

One of those great moments occurred that Daniel had earned by being faithful to God all those years.  He was still a great man of INTEGRITY.

Daniel had shown over the years his character qualities of perseverance and consistency which are essential to all of us today in a life of integrity.

“INTEGRITY” RE-DEFINED AS A REFERENCE FOR WHAT’S COMING!

INTEGRITY equals soundness and wholeness and is often applied to a structure or a physical object such a girders in a bridge; an engine block; or a piece of pottery.  As we will soon see, INTEGRITY can be applied to people also with positive and negative results.

What happens if a bridge or a piece of pottery looses its integrity?  It collapses!  Can you visualize this same flaw happening to people in the world of change?  People collapse, societies collapse, churches close and all because of a flaw in the structure of INTEGRITY.

How Daniel Spent His Life:

Daniel spent his life telling people, not what they wanted to hear but what they didn’t want to hear.  Daniel wasn’t an “ear-tickler”!  Nor is the WORD Detective (Mel Thompson)!!

“Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me (the king) that they might read this writing and make known to me the interpretation of it, but they could not show the interpretation of the matter.  [16] But I have heard of you, that you can make interpretations and solve knotty problems.  Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of god put around your neck and shall be a third ruler in the kingdom”  (Daniel 5:15-16 AMP).

Now that my friends, even by today’s standards was a heck of a reward.  Purple cloth was a rarity and I’m sure gold had a higher value then…than perhaps today’s current value.

So the king is telling Daniel…”So here’s the deal Dan. Translate the message and your promotion and worth is on the way.”  And the Daniel response?

[17]  “Then Daniel answered before the king,  Let your gifts be for yourself and give your rewards to another.  However, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation.”

THE BAD NEWS!  “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPARSIN”

Daniel proceeds to give the king the BAD NEWS; Daniel’s prophecy is about to hit the fan!  (verses 26-28).

In short, the king was to die and his kingdom divided.  The man of INTEGRITY tells it like it is by faithfully delivering the news.  That kind of news isn’t what anyone wants to hear from anybody.

We live in a society that says, “don’t make waves”; “be politically correct.”   The refrains of modern societies come at a high price.  The PRICE TAG IS….the TRUTH!  [Read 2 Timothy 4:2-4].

Daniel made waves and didn’t care to be politically correct.  He gave the TRUTH that might have cost him his life.  He was again, a person of integrity.  Have I driven the point home by now in your reading today?

THE PRICE:.

“Then Belshazzar commanded, and Daniel was clothed with purple and a chain of gold put about his neck, and a proclamation was made concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom”  (Daniel 5:29).

Contrary to the offer made by the king in verse 17, here, in verse 29, the king gives Daniel his earthly reward as the result of the message rather than a bribe to give the message  It was Daniel’s INTEGRITY on display.

Daniel again was promoted not because of his relationship with the earthly king but because of his long-time relationship with his Heavenly King; promoted because of his faithfulness to God.

And Belshazzar’s Reward?

The king had been living his life arrogantly, ignoring the Most High God even though his father (Nebuchadnezzar) had proclaimed His greatness openly.  Belshazzar chose to rebel and sin instead of repent and obey.  THE RESULT WAS DEATH!

“During that night Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans was slain,  And Darius the Mede took the kingdom; he was about sixty-two years old”  (verses 30-31).

THE NEW TESTAMENT REVEALS THE  SPIRITUAL CONSEQUENCE:

Romans 3:22-23 reveals,  “the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah).  [And is meant] for all who believe.  For there is no distinction,    Since ALL have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.”

Romans 6:23 says,  “For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Choices to make as the world is speeding up and not slowing down.  A CHOICE of FAITH, GODLY RELATIONSHIP, ETERNAL LIFE, or a life of SIN, DEATH FOR AN ETERNITY? 

“I NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT INTEGRITY?”

What Does the Bible Have to Say About Our Integrity As “Born-again” Believers?

(10) Reasons to ponder, about your own INTEGRITY:

1.  INTEGRITY means treating people fairly and honestly:

Leviticus 19:35-36; Deuteronomy 25:15; Proverbs 16:11-13

2.  INTEGRITY is giving your word and keeping it!

Exodus 8:28-32

3.  INTEGRITY will protect you.  Psalm 25, David prays that integrity and uprightness will protect him.  How can it?

“Let INTEGRITY and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for and expect you.” ~ Psalm 25:21.

Proverbs 2:7-8; 10:9; 11:3; 13:6

4.  INTEGRITY is more valuable than riches.

Proverbs 28:6; Daniel 5:17

5.  The Lord will test and judge your INTEGRITY.

1 Chronicles 29:17; Psalm 7:8

6.  It may be difficult to maintain your INTEGRITY in a changing world.

Job 2:3, 9; Proverbs 29:10

7.  The Lord hates lies and lack of INTEGRITY!

Zechariah 8:16-17

8.  Your character can be corrupted by the bad company you keep.

1 Corinthians 15:33

9.  INTEGRITY will be rewarded.

1 Kings 9:4-5; Nehemiah 7:2; Psalm 41:11-12

10.  Your INTEGRITY should set an example.

Titus 2:7

I’ve Shot Myself Over 78,000 Times!

If you stumbles across this blog today, wondering about the HOW s and the WHAT s behind the title, let me tell you about a part, a big part of my life, over the past 54 years.

That’s right, I’ve actually shot myself over 22,000 times within that fifty-four year time frame.  I’ve became a Type I Diabetic right after I turned sixteen years of age.  I’ve been shooting up with a syringe (the current vernacular) of insulin 4 times per day, every day of those 54 years.  Not counting how many times I’ve pricked my fingers with a lancet to test my blood-sugar daily.

HOW AND WHEN IT ALL BEGAN:

At the age of 16, the last thing that you want noticed was bringing a bottle of soda in a brown paper bag to a dance party at one of your friends patio parties.  I remember telling a girl that I was sweet on in 1958, while slow dancing, “To Know, Know, Know Him…” that I was a Diabetic, I was quite surprised to hear her reaction to my embarrassment, “SO!”

I was born and raised in Southern California where the weather benefits teen-age get-together s at a moments noticed.  In 1958, the only diet drinks available (“sugar-free”) were in plain, green colored, pebbled glass bottles.  I even remember the name: So Cal Beverages.  It took up about two feet on the grocery shelf compared to twenty feet of low-sugar drinks today, and at first, the only flavor was sparkling lime.

Now to bring this refreshment to the party, explaining to my friends mom what was in the bag, she was nice to me and promptly put the bag and bottle safely in the refrigerator; not to embarrass me in any way. Every now and again, when the 45 record was changed on the player, I would sneak back to the kitchen a grabbed a swig from the bottle in the sack. And you know what, to this day, I don’t think anyone knew, except for Jerry’s mom and dad; Mel Thompson was a DIABETIC!

Now in today’s society, being a Type II Diabetic seems to be the “social disease” of America.  I have often said to my wife that they should give Type II Diabetes a different name.  The symptoms might be similar, but that is where the comparisons stop!  With proper weight management, correct eating habits and proper exercise, the patient can see the disease even disappear.  With my type of Diabetes (Type I, or “Juvenile diabetes”), there is no cure.

Insulin was not discovered until 1922 by the research scientists, Banning and Best.  I remember telling my grandma after the doctor’s diagnosis of diabetes, “Grandma, it’s not fatal unless you don’t take care of yourself.  So stop worrying!”  You see, grandma only knew that anyone she had known in the past who contracted DIABETES–DIED!  I told her that my doctor said, “If you take care of yourself Mel, you will probable live a longer life than a non-diabetic who never takes care of themselves.”

Explaining My Malady to my Future Lady and Wife to Be:

In 1964, I met a Pagan: no, I know what you’re thinking.  “She wasn’t a Christian?”, and you are right she wasn’t and I wasn’t either.  PAGAN was her maiden name: Dianne Pagan.  Are you smiling…?  Her dad’s full name was, Joseph Archangel Pagan.  Now that’s… funny!

Trying to make a long story short, in the dating process, I explained to her with some trepidation, she was about to marry a diabetic.  Was she frightened, worried about her future, her security…?  None of the above!  In fact, I had to tell her, although the disease was not supposed to be passed on directly to our future children (was supposed to “skip a generation or more”) there still was the possibility.

Well, we got married in September of 1964 with our first child, our daughter Karen within the next year.  Then another daughter, Kristin and then on my turning of 28, a son named Kevin was born.

Why am I giving you all of these details? 

At the age of 4-1/2, Karen became a diabetic and at the age of 6, Kristin also became a diabetic.  Out the door went the “skip a generation” theory!  So now instead of dealing with (1) diabetic in the family [ME!],  there was now a grand total of three Type I Diabetics in the Thompson household!  Blood testing, shots given, (my wife gave them to our daughters) until they could handle it all by there selves.  I remember Karen asking at the age of eleven if she could go to school camp this year; and her mother said, “When you can take your own shots, then you can go.”  After her mother’s conditions, Karen went to school camp that year!  We raised independent children,  That’s good…and bad!  Another blog maybe.

IN THE PROCESS OVER THE YEARS:

In August of 1972, Dianne and I both accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior together–the same night on our living room couch.  Now the word FAITH was somewhat unfamiliar to us both.  I thought LUCK and FAITH were synonymous.  Three of us in the family were DIABETICS; that took shots everyday of the year, took blood test a gazillion times a day and IT IS WHAT IT IS–DEAL WITH IT mentality.  The three of us were just UNLUCKY, that’s all!  And that was just a fact in our lives.  We DO know how to deal with it!  But there have been many a bumps in the road over the years and without our FAITH, my daughters, my wife and my FAITH in the future outcome, we would not have been able to handle the disease.  GOD IS ABLE however!  Thank you Jesus!

Through it all, I have come to realize that by my God-given FAITH; God takes care of us if we let Him, and after 54 years of being a diabetic, shooting myself over 22,000 times, God has a specific plan for me while going through life with this disease.  Now I’ve discovered part of His plans, but I’m still discovering all of His surprises He has in store for me and my adult daughters.

TRUSTING in the Absence of Understanding:

I wrote a piece about three men, who were about to be sentenced to death in a fiery furnace [Daniel 3] that contained three little words that jumped off the page:  “BUT IF NOT”.  That’s POWERFUL!

“If our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, He will deliver us out…  BUT IF NOT…”

A QUESTION I HAVE ASKED OVER AND OVER…”Is my FAITH big enough?”

Now I’ve been to healing rooms, asked God directly in supplication and intercession, for a cure for myself and my daughters. I was told once by one intercessor, “Your CURE is on its way!”  It’s a good thing that as a mature Christian today, I don’t walk in luck…”I walk by FAITH and not by what I see.”

Now the apostle Paul had a malady of some sort, some say “macular degeneration”, maybe even partial blindness, but whatever, Paul said that God had not remove the thorn from him and inferred…”BUT IF NOT…”

My FAITH IS BIG ENOUGH to make a difference!  My FAITH is carrying me through it all, even with the side effects of the disease:  7-Way open heart by-pass surgery in 1998, Med-One coming to the house in the middle of the night because of Insulin Reactions [low blood sugar].  They knew me so well that we were all on a first name basis.  But even through the events, God has brought me through every time.  God wants me where I am; to teach, expound on, His Word as the WORD Detective and I will serve Him until He calls me home!

I hope this shorter than normal (from https://theworddetective.wordpress.com blog) will encourage you in your time of need, frustrations and ill-health, or someone who you know that is going through it all.  If nothing else, you have gotten to know me a little better.  Thanks for taking the time to read my story!

TRUSTING in the Absence of Understanding

Entering the FIERY FURNACE

A FIRE IN THE FURNACE–Daniel Chapter 3 [READ]:

When you read my opening remarks, you might think I’m questioning GOD’S POWER…but please bear with me as you read my thoughts and insight given from God’s Word.  You don’t have to agree with me, but listen carefully for a softly spoken word from God’s Spirit regarding CONFIDENCE in the fiery trials.

How Does One Cope Before Entering The Fire?

I’m concerned we’ve heard so many messages about God’s…

– Miracle working power

– Healing power.

– Providing power.

– Delivering power.

Sometimes we just take for granted that GOD WILL…

– Heal every sickness.

– Meet every financial need.

– Open every prison door.

– Put back together every broken marriage.

BUT, sometimes,

– God doesn’t heal!

– God doesn’t come through with a miracle!

– God doesn’t repair a broken home!

– God doesn’t provide financial relief!

Some Unpopular Questions Must Be Asked:

WHAT WILL YOU DO IF THE ANSWER IS NO… OR NOT NOW?

WHAT WILL YOU DO IF GOD DOES NOT DELIVER?

WHAT WILL YOU DO IF GOD DOES NOT HEAL?

Sometimes we are so conditioned to the FACT that God will say YES, we don’t know how to react in our lives when He says NO!

If that has been your experience, make note to the FACT, and say…

I KNOW GOD CAN HEAL!

I KNOW GOD CAN PUT MY HOME BACK TOGETHER!

I KNOW GOD CAN PROVIDE MY FINANCIAL NEED!

BUT IF NOT…

I’LL STILL LOVE HIM!

I’LL STILL TRUST HIM!

I’LL STILL SERVE HIM!

WHAT I DO KNOW IS GOD CAN!

BUT, if He doesn’t, I’ll still SERVE HIM!

DANIEL CHAPTER 3…THE STORIES ARE VERY FAMILIAR:

You’ve probably heard this preached from the pulpit many times.  The fourth man and the fact that He is still in the furnace, just waiting for US when are going through the fiery trials.

The courage of (3) men who gained the favor of God through separation.  And the furnace designed to destroy, actually delivered them through it all.

BUT in my reading this past week, something in particular jumped off the pages of my Bible that I never noticed before.  Does that happen to you too sometimes?  You’ve read the same passage over hundreds of times, but this one time…Wow!  It’s like a refreshing breeze blowing through your house on a hot sultry day.

“But if not…”  (verse 18).

It’s a simple statement, one consisting of only (3) words, speaking volumes about the character of these young men.  They said WE KNOW…

–  GOD IS ABLE to deliver us in the fiery furnace.

–  GOD IS ABLE to send angels from heaven to bear us up out of this crowd.

–  GOD IS ABLE to kill each and every one of our persecutors if He so chose.

We know that the same GOD that opened up the depths of the Red Sea so our forefathers could walk through on dry ground can also keep us from a measly old furnace!  We know that our God is able to deliver us, Oh king.

“BUT IF NOT”… WE STILL TRUST HIM!

The statement of GOD IS ABLE was made BEFORE they knew what the final outcome would be!  For all they knew, they were writing their own death sentences and they would wake up in glory, praise God!

BUT, it’s as if the men were saying:

“Oh king, just in case we die in this furnace of fire and don’t get the chance to tell you again, let us make ourselves crystal clear:  WE WILL NEVER BOW DOWN at a graven image.  WE WILL NEVER SERVE your gods.  WE WILL NEVER FORSAKE our experience!  And, WE WILL NEVER TURN OUR BACKS ON GOD!  We don’t know what’s going to happen in the next 5 minutes, but let’s just say right now,  GOD IS ABLE, “But IF NOT, we will still worship Him!”

YOU OUGHT TO GIVE OUT A SHOUT RIGHT NOW!

–  I DON’T KNOW WHAT TOMORROW HOLDS!

–  I DON’T KNOW IF GOD’S GOING TO HEAL ME OR NOT!

–  I DON’T KNOW IF GOD’S GOING TO MEET MY FINANCIAL NEED OR NOT!

Your question to me right now might be the same one I’ve asked myself during times of trials:  “WHERE IS YOUR CONFIDENCE GONE?”  And my answer to self is…

But, Satan, just in case I don’t get another chance to tell you this, let me say it one more time:

I KNOW GOD’S ABLE BUT

IF HE DOESN’T, I STILL WORSHIP HIM!

Scripture tells us that Satan is a LIAR, the father of lies.  He wants to destroy your CONFIDENCE in Christ.  So, if you are going through a “fiery trial” right now, the devil often wants to destroy your confidence.  God IS able but…  There’s where our confidence is revealed.

BUT…If You Die In The Furnace…?

That’s okay because I’ll just wake up shouting in glory!  Let me tell you Satan one more time:  “I will TRUST HIM NO MATTER WHAT TOMORROW BRINGS!”

THE DEDICATION OF JOB [The Book of Job]:

Job had to be the most confused man on the planet.  The Bible says Job loved God and hated evil.

He was well-respected in the religious community and beyond.  The greatest man in the entire east.

He was the poster boy of the godly life and a man who pastors would love to point to in counseling their congregation on the benefits of godly living and godly giving.  Sounds great doesn’t it?

But, in a few days time everything changed without reason; without warning, without a change in Job’s lifestyle…the floor caved in.  In fact, the entire house collapsed!  But he didn’t curse God; he didn’t back-slide; Job was just doing what was right.  He was still loving God and hating evil.

And then one day…MORE BAD NEWS!

–  The Sabean s took his oxen–your trusted car got stolen!

–  The Chaldean s took his camels–your wife’s car was stolen too!

–  A tornado destroyed his home with his wife and his kids inside.

–  His health failed–lost his Health Insurance to boot!

–  His wife turned against him.

–  His buddies tried to encourage asking what he’d done to deserve all of this.

Now Job would have loved to answer his well-meaning friends but he didn’t have a clue:

HE WAS FRUSTRATED…

HE WAS CONFUSED…

HE WAS ANGRY…

HE HAD EVERY OTHER EMOTION YOU COULD EXPECT…

But, in all of his trials, ONE THING NEVER CHANGED:

“In all this Job sinned not nor charged God foolishly” ~ Job 1:22.

AND IF THAT WASN’T ADMIRABLE ENOUGH…  It really amazes me about Job’s experiences with God.  One day as he was sitting, scraping his boils (and I had plenty of boils when I was 12-13 yrs old), searching his soul for answers, trying to figure it all out, He most likely was asking himself these questions:

1.  What happened all of sudden?

2.  Why it all happened?

3.  How long would it go on for?

And then his friends dropped by to comfort him.

And the general topic of conversation…more question marks!

“Job, doesn’t it anger you when God won’t speak to you in the middle of this mess?  Doesn’t it just get your goat when God won’t at least explain Himself to you?  Don’t you ever get upset and question God?”

And this is what Job said to his friends seated in the circle…

Gentlemen, I won’t lie to you, I’d love to speak to God and ask Him, ‘Why me Lord’?  I wish there was a go-between to put his hand on our shoulders and take counsel with God Almighty.  But, I can’t do that because God is not a man as I am that we can discuss such things.  But, you know boys, I’ve been sitting here in silence thinking and do you know what the only thing that could be worse than what’s already happened?  That would be IF God:

–  Personally stepped out of the heavens,

–  Rode down here on His white horse,

–  His flaming sword in His hand,

–  And He looked me in the eye and …

–  Drove that sword right through my heart!

And guys, just in case that does happen to me, in case I don’t wake up to see the sun rise in the morning–let me say right here, right now for the record:  THOUGH HE SLAY ME, YET WILL I TRUST HIM!  I know God can turn any situation around today bur if He doesn’t…I STILL TRUST HIM!

How is that for CONFIDENCE?

FAITH IN THE FACE OF FIRE!

I can remember when I was 7 yrs old, standing in the doorway and watching for my dad to come home from his job.  He was a FIREMAN for the City of San Diego and mom and I were awaiting his entry after his working a 24 hr shift.

Often, when dad would come home, he would have been on an early morning brush fire in the surrounding canyons, not having the time to shower at work, coming straight home from the fire.  He would smell of smoke so strongly, you would know ahead of time as he walked up the steps…dad had been on a brush fire.  His hair smelled smokey, his uniform smelled smokey, even his skin gave off an aroma of “smoke.”

But this morning was very different from normal.  An unrecognizable, uniformed fireman walked down the main walk to our apartment and mom knew, there had been an accident.  He informed her that dad was severely burnt from a fuel tanker overturn on the highway.  As several firemen were washing the gas off the roads surface, the gasoline was ignited by some friction and my dad, along with several others had been entrapped within a circle of fire.  They had two choices:  run through the flames before the tanker truck exploded or die while trying.  By running through the fire they suffered second and third degree burns on their hands and faces.  Dad was in the hospital but he would survive the fire along with the others involved.

“And the satraps, the deputies, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered around together and saw these men–that the fire had no power upon their bodies, nor was the hair of their head singed; neither were their garments scorched or changed in color or condition, nor had even the smell of smoke clung to them”  (Daniel 3:27 AMP).

When mom and I arrived at the hospital and the floor that the burnt firemen were being treated, we walked right by where dad was lying; he had to speak, “I’m over here!”  His head and hands were completely bound with bandages, with eyes, nose and mouth openings.  We never would have known he was in that bed if he had not spoken.

In Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fiery experience, all the kings men knew that they had been freed through the fire.

Andrae Crouch wrote a song years ago that every member in the church would sing almost weekly.  It was patterned after two verses in Psalm 18:48, 49:

I thank God for the mountains,  And I thank Him for the

valleys,  I thank Him for the storms  He brought me through;

For if I’d never had a problem I wouldn’t know that

He could solve them, I’d never know what faith in God could do/

CHORUS:

Through it all,  Through it all,  I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,

I’ve learned to trust in God;  Through it all,

Through it all,    I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT “THROUGH IT ALL” :

“Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.  And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity).  And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.  Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy spirit Who has been given to us”  (Romans 5:3-5 AMP).

A New Source Of Fellowship Is Revealed:

MAKE A NOTE:  THERE WAS A FOURTH PERSON IN THE FIRE!

“Behold, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they were not hurt!” (verse 25).

The identity is not certain:  some say it was an angel while others say it was a Christophany (preincarnate appearance of Jesus).  Which ever, it came with a suggestion of a closer communion and fellowship with God in the midst of the fiery furnace; the circumstance they found themselves in at the time.

Over comers:

So our trials can bring us closer to God and we have a new sense of freedom!  The three men entered bound but were set free (Daniel 3:23-25).

They were presumed to have been destroyed which enabled them to be set free.  Jesus Himself promised:

“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God; he shall never be put out of it or go out of it, and i will write on him the name of My God…”  (REVELATION 3:12).

“HE WHO OVERCOMES (IS VICTORIOUS), I WILL GRANT HIM TO SIT BESIDE ME ON MY THRONE, AS I MYSELF OVERCAME (WAS VICTORIOUS) AND SAT DOWN BESIDE MY FATHER ON HIS THRONE”  (Revelation 3:21 AMP).

A NEW OPPORTUNITY REVEALED–Daniel 3:30:

“Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.”

PROMOTION after RELATIONSHIP–  Just as Joseph, who in his trials from slave to steward; from prisoner to Pharaoh’s second-hand man!  So our FAITHFULNESS in trial leads to greater things [Matthew 25:21; Revelation 2:25-27].

And let’s not overlook the most important outcome: GLORY TO GOD!  The praise rendered by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon in verse 28, 29.  What kind of FAITH do we have?  Is it like…,

A spare tire: used in case of an emergency?

A wheelbarrow, easily upset and must be pushed?

A bus, ridden only when it goes our way?

It becomes…TRUSTING in the Absence of Understanding.  And I hope if you find yourself in the midst of a “fiery furnace”, the outcome will bring with it a new promotion.