JohnSWilson3 Blog


“To Him Who Sits On The Throne” by Acappella
June 30, 2013, 3:12 am
Filed under: 1B Favorite Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

This song helps me to see the importance that when brothers and sisters gather together it is “to him,” it is “to Christ.”

2 Corinthians 5:15 says “He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer TO and FOR themselves, but TO and FOR Him Who died and was raised again for their sake.” (Amplified Bible)

DeVern Fromke in his book “Ultimate Intention” says “it is a vastly different thing to experience the radical working of the Cross, which liberates one FROM the old center of self, and TO a new center revolving around Him.” May everything we do and say be “to Him who sits on the throne.”

“To Him Who Sits On The Throne.” Words by Acappella.

To him who sits on the throne
and to the Lamb
Be praise and honor and glory and power
To him who sits on the throne
and to the Lamb
Be praise and honor and glory and power
For ever and ever
For ever and ever
For ever and ever

(repeat)

To him who sits on the throne
and to the Lamb
Be praise and honor and glory and power
Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen

Scriptural Reference:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” Revelation 5:13b

from: http://lyrics.wikia.com/Acappella:To_Him_Who_Sits_On_The_Throne

you can hear the song at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgECtWyBZA0.



Review of “God’s Favorite Place On Earth” by Frank Viola
June 24, 2013, 3:09 am
Filed under: 2A - Book Reviews

I am thrilled that Frank has updated his out of print book “Bethany: The Lord’s Desire For His Church.” (1)  I definitely love the update from the older e-booklet version that is no longer available and its synthesis from Jesus Manifesto (2) with Frank’s other writings. In 2009 Frank’s little booklet inspired me to see “church” in a whole new light, one that was centered on Christ as Head of the church practically and not just in theory. But “God’s Favorite Place On Earth” is far from being an updated version of the older booklet, it really has been remade.

I enjoyed reading the dialogue and story of Lazarus, it is really inspiring! There were times that the vivid images that Lazarus gives brought me to the point of tears and a fresh joy in our Lord. The story of Bethany written like this gives one the sense of a play with varying acts. In each ‘act’ Frank describes the story through the eyes of Lazarus. He then gives the “sacred text” that describes the story from the Bible and provides a section of application called “walking it out.” In this section of “walking it out” you can hear in his words the voice of experience, Frank has “been there done that.” In true fashion Frank does not hold back on the “gore and glory” one will find when we learn to live by Christ’s life together. I thought that one of the most important sections was “Blessed Are The Unoffended” involving dealing with criticism in the body of Christ. Additionally, in the back of the book Frank has a “talking it over” section that gives questions that groups can use to discuss that ‘act’ in the Bethany story.

Frank has been able to take the genesis of what T. Austin-Sparks wrote in 1933, “Bethany: The Lord’s Thought For His Assembly,” (3) into a spiritually and emotionally electrifying read that includes timeless and timely experience and application vitally important to the body of Christ today. As Frank says “the earth awaits a group of Christians in every city who will receive Him again utterly and completely.”

Frank brings out the stories of Bethany to show God’s desire, His thought, His heart for a people who together receive and appreciate His Son. When His people learn to be a Bethany they have learned to live by His life together and there will be “cleansed lepers, resurrected humans, transformed servants, extravagant worshippers, brothers, sisters, fathers, and disciples all sitting around a table where Christ is the Head – feasting, fellowshipping, and rejoicing with Him.” They are “a group of followers who will enthrone Christ as absolute Lord over their lives…who stand for and submit to His headship…who will sit under the Lord Jesus Christ and esteem Him above all else…who will give themselves fully to Him and to one another…who are willing to ‘waste’ their lives on Jesus…both individually and corporately. The earth awaits such a group.” Wow! And we can be part of what God desires!

The stories of Bethany are stories of how the body of Christ properly receive and appreciate her Lord. Each time Jesus visited the family of Martha, Mary, Lazarus, and Simon with His disciples Frank shows that the church is in training on what it means to gather around her Lord, to give a place for Jesus to lay His head. The time around the Lord together will not only bring joy and awe it will include conflict with our souls, with our selfish desires and as we learn to live by Him Christ will have the supremacy, He  will find “that which His soul longs for,” and will find His favorite place on Earth. May we be a Bethany for our Lord.

(1) “Bethany: The Lord’s Desire for His Church” was a 24 page e-book first published by Frank Viola, in May 11, 2007.
(2) “A House Of Figs,” Chapter 9 from Jesus Manifesto. By Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, 2010. This chapter has 19 pages and is an overview “of the outstanding features of Bethany, all of which depict what the Lord is looking for in every city across this planet.”
(3) “Bethany: The Lord’s Thought For His Assembly.” By T. Austin-Sparks, 1933. (28 page booklet from Witness and Testimony Publishers) http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/000422.html

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0781405904/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img



Radioactive
June 17, 2013, 5:16 pm
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes

“Radioactive” is a song by Imagine Dragons. This song seems to be pretty popular and I have to say it gives one an “earworm” that sticks in your mind. The lyrics bring images of today’s genre of post apocalyptic themes, such as zombie stories and movies, especially with the recent movie World War Z. I am not into zombie stories or movies, horror movies were never something I liked. I grew up dreading going to bed at night because of the nightmares I had while asleep, not realizing it was a symptom of my obstructive sleep apnea. Guess I had enough horror in my life from the dreams. Thankfully, after my wife telling me about my loss of breathing at night I went through the sleep study process and diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and now use a CPAP machine every night. What a relief, I no longer have nightmares.

I say all this because a few weeks ago with some brothers and sisters while speaking of the garden in Genesis the thought came to mind that, while others have this idea of some future zombie apocalypse in reality it occurred in the garden when man decided no longer to follow after God. The result was that man and women died spiritually, but was still alive physically. A “zombie” living in the flesh having lost God’s original purpose of life by, in, and through Him.

Going back to the song you can see many imagines portray the zombie life. This could be said for many songs that bemoan the fleshly life.

This life without Christ, this zombie apocalypse is a life of woe, a life without hope. A life without hope, without meaning, gives an impression that all there is to life is “ash and dust,” having to work hard to make ends meet, “by the sweat of your brow.” And if that is not enough, the work we do often hurts others and our environment. We’re “radioactive,” bringing death to ourselves and others and this world because of living by this flesh. There is no rest for the weary when living by the flesh. It’s as if we are in a “prison bus,” working while in bondage, not enjoying the fruits of our labor. It’s all pointless. Life seems like a zombie apocalypse. We’re trying to wake up, but don’t know how. We know that in our “bones,” somewhere “inside,” that there must be something else, something that can give us hope, give us meaning, give us rest.

The solution is that life, real life, is only found in Christ Jesus our Lord. Only He can bring us out of the “zombie” life and into the real life, His life. My brother Peter saw the movie “Warm Bodies” and, like him from the previews, he saw that only in Christ, hearts warmed by the love of His bride, can men and women overcome the “zombie” life. I did not see the movie so Peter will have to do a blog on it. We have to wake up, but only Christ can do this. Only in Him can there be a “new age” a new “revolution.” In Him life returns back to the garden, no longer feeding off of “brains,” e.g. the knowledge of good and evil, but feeding from the tree of life, the life of Christ with one another. By faith, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, we receive His life, His Spirit deep inside ours, and from day one He begins to do His inner work His way through us so that He shines His life in, to, and through one another as we love one another deeply from the heart.

While we live in this world of the “zombie apocalypse” we will still have trouble, perhaps even more so because of His life. His love, His life is hated. Self despises being under the headship of Christ. But He alone gives real hope and real meaning to our lives because He is Reality. For those who have believed, we have His life in us. His life of love desires to shine brightly for all to see so that all may be awoken from the dead and saved. Let us not fall back to that old “zombie” life, that system that only feeds the flesh, without hope and meaning, and grow in His life of love together.

For the lyrics to “Radioactive” see: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/imaginedragons/radioactive.html

For a video of the song see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybirL3EtMb8.



Ancient Proverbs
June 14, 2013, 2:47 am
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes

Each school year I provide a quote for the week for my students to write in their time trackers/planners and to think about during the week. I have a set of quotes from certain authors along with some proverbs that I share as a quote for the week throughout the school year. As proverbs they “express some obvious truth or familiar experience” and for my students focused primarily on learning and character. Below are the proverbs that I share with my students each year:

Book of Ecclesiastes

A good name is better than fine perfume.

For wisdom is protection as money is protection.

Wisdom makes the wise man stronger than ten rulers of a city.

Book of Proverbs

Happy is the person who finds wisdom and gains understanding.

Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do! And whatever else you do, get good judgment.

Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich.

The one who follows instruction is on the path to life, but the one who rejects correction goes astray.

Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to those who search for it.

To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.

From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward.

Truth stands the test of time; lies are soon exposed.

Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.

Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper and be satisfied.

Pride leads to arguments; those who take advice are wise.

Those who respect advice will succeed.

The wise look ahead to see what is coming.

A wise person is hungry for truth, while the fool feeds on trash.

For the poor, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.

The tongue that heals is a tree of life.

Pleasant speech increases learning.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb; sweet to the taste and health to the body.

A joyful heart is good medicine.

Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Listen to counsel and receive instruction so that you may be wise in later life.

It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute.

The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit.

The one who guards his mouth and tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

He who gives an honest answer gives a kiss on the lips.

A word spoken at the right time is like golden apples on a silver tray.

A wise correction to a receptive ear is like a gold ring or an ornament of gold.

Trusting an unreliable person in a time of trouble is like a rotten tooth or a faltering foot.

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.

Oil and incense bring joy to the heart, and the sweetness of a friend is better than self-counsel.

As the water reflects the face, so the heart reflects the person.

The one who trusts in himself is a fool, but one who walks in wisdom will be safe.

The ants are not a strong people, yet they store up their food in the summer.



“…whom I have handed over to Satan…”
June 7, 2013, 9:23 pm
Filed under: R - First Letter to Timothy

Paul is his first letter to Timothy, his apostolic apprentice, exhorted him about “holding on to faith and a good conscience.” We are in a battle, a spiritual battle for life, spiritual life, whether Christ’s life will have ascendency over and through our soul and physical life or we let our soul and physical life take charge, subduing the Spirit of Christ. Paul then warned Timothy of “Hymenaeus and Alexander” who for some reason had rejected this exhortation “and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.”

God does not give up on His children, even for those who for some reason had given up on Him, had fallen back to living by the soul and the lusts of the flesh. In these extreme cases God must take drastic measures and through His body must finally hand “them over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.” I am not sure if anyone knows for sure what handing someone “over to Satan” really means. Perhaps it is different for every application. It could be treating “them as you would a pagan or a tax collector” as Jesus exhorted when dealing with sin in the ekklesia in Matthew 18:15-17. Ultimately I think it is handing them over to the consequences of their living by their soul life. From those consequences perhaps the eyes of these may be opened, like the parable of the lost son, to recognizing that they have not been living by Christ, realizing the wonderful riches in Christ, and turn back to Father.

I have to share a funny story. In a gathering we had a few weeks ago at our house our cat, Patches, came into the house with a lizard in her mouth (she loves reptiles for some reason). She would let it loose and then play with it and snatch it up again, finally killing it or letting it go and it finally died somewhere (we find dead lizards under things every now and again). Well, it just so happened that at this gathering we happened to be in 1 Timothy and the thought that came to my mind and shared with the group by way of example was “if you blaspheme the brothers and sisters you will get handed over to Patches.” It is perhaps not too far from reality.

May God do whatever it takes for His brothers and sisters to live a life of love, “from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

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