AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: WHAT IS PEACE ANYWAY? BASENAME: what-is-peace-anyway DATE: Wed, 14 Jun 2017 23:58:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Song CATEGORY: Ministry TAGS: bible, biblical, children, christ, christian, christianity, church, darkness, divorce, easter, evil, experience, family, father, flesh, fox, george fox, god, gospel, harvest, holy, holy spirit, home, husband, jesus, jesus christ, joy, kingdom, knowledge, life, light, lord, love, man, ministry, paul, peace, power, praise, promise, quaker, quakers, reality, religion, son, spirit, strife, teacher, transformation, truth, union, war, woman, word, words ----- BODY:

In the late Sixties, early Seventies I was not a Quaker but a Hippie Wanabe. I loved love and peace. These ideals were easy principles to tout and to try to live by. The love and peace gospel, so to speak, was not only a shibboleth, but also a cudgel for assaulting those who didn't hear the gospel or declined its apotheosis. While Quaker was a faded word from grade school history lesson, love and peace brightened my mind with stupendous certainties of worldly love and peace if only everyone--meaning the enemy of hippies, i.e., straight people, and straight at that time meaning those who declined smoking pot and dropping acid--would adopt love and peace. I must have felt myself to be one of the chosen people because I loved everybody in abstract and believed in peace wholeheartedly.

As a wanabe hippiy I hitchhiked with a friend from Michigan to California and back more than one time. And while in California hitchhiked from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Berkeley and back. I hitchhiked by myself once to Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Los Angeles. The times were different then and people, by that I mean hippies, were truly peaceful and there were so darn many of us at that time (we were baby boomers) few nefarious actors could penetrate to spoil the flower girl's life. In fact I used to imagine these scenarios in which I was accosted by a man somewhat older than my 18 years who would do me harm and I able to convert him to love and peace with my persuasive gospel. I truly wanted to test my belief. I thank the Lord for sparing me, though I had no interest in Him then. Several years later I drove out to my favorite park in Fullerton, California to sit and contemplate whether God existed and came away with a decided no. 

I began to recognize the shakiness of the love and peace ideology when I was expecting my first baby and my husband was away all day. We lived in southern California; he drove the freeway everyday and I found myself fearing something happening to him. Then my son was born. I began to see my love and peace gospel had no foundation and those ideals were easier practiced in abstact than reality. I still championed the posters that glorifed love and peace in different ways, such as gentleness is strength. But the whole hippie thing began to show its true colors as a deceptive and destructive ideoloy. 

Three children later I wanted to relocate eastward, particularly Michigan, but my husband, being from Pennsylvania found employment there. We bought a home far west of Philadelphia. By this time my hippie days were uncomfortable memories, as I had started writing a fictional take on my life as a wanabe hippie in the era of love and peace, divorce and riots, drugs and rallies. I wanted to expose the truth of the hippies and counterculture.

I enrolled in the local college to improve my writing skills and engage in intellectual discourse. The college courses were not what I expected. Instead of reading novels to discuss the author's point of view and methods, we read novels to dissect his use of words. There was little intellectual discourse; and I, being a non-traditional student found that the traditional students cared only about finding out what they needed to know to pass the tests and exams. My writing did improve, though, and one other thing: concern for my children's souls. 

While I was still a staunch disbeliever in God and had been addament that no one should speak of God to my children, I began to consider that while I grew up in a family that didn't go to church, except for Christmas and Easter once in a while, I had benefit of a culture that was yet freely Christian in its thinking. That was not true for my children. It was wrong of me to deprive them of a choice to be Christian. Since someone recommended I try a Quaker Meeting, I took his advice. I knew nothing about Quakers; I just assumed there would be a Sunday School for them and they would learn about God, Jesus, and Christianity. And I would just be there at the church hiding in the back benches until they learned what they had to learn. When that happened we would depart, I having done my duty to them so they could chose for themselves whether to be Christian or disbeliever.

The Lord had something else in mind for me. My children were never really taught anything about Christianity--many of the people of Meeting being more determined than I as a disbeliever not to speak of God. But I sitting on the bench wondering how to pass my time waiting heard the story of Mary Dyer told by someone (I never knew who). Mary Dyer if you don't know was a Quaker woman who with three others died martyrs when they defied Massachusetts laws against Quakers, whom they considered heretics. Mary's story intrigued me. I wanted to know what this religion was that someone would rather die a martyr than be banned from directing people to their inward teacher. When I asked for the particulars of the religion, no one in that Meeting could tell me.

I had absolutely no religion, no knowledge of the Bible, and certainly no idea of God. All the people of Meeting had for me were some books that contemporary Quakers wrote for newcomers. I read these, finding them bereft of substance different from my own worldly views. What I read hardly seemed adequate to martydom. Despite my disappointment I allowed these books to be all there was and went blithely on my way until a seasoned Quaker woman stopped me walking down the aisle.

"Are you a seeker," she asked.

"I found what I was looking for," I said confidently. I don't recall whther we had anymore conversation, but my response to her question dogged me. I don't know whether it was a day or days before the Lord said to me in my disquietude, you're not a true seeker. Oh, I was broken and  shattered. I had never heard the truth spoken to me. It was the Lord in my day of visitation. He knocked on my door and I opened it. Praise be to my Lord forever and ever.

Becoming a Christian doesn't happen overnight. One can't reach the depth and breadth of the Kingdom quickly as newcomers. Too much of this world still drives us, still has its imprint on our brain; even so, we have little if any idea of our pending transformation. It is enough to embrace  the reality of God let alone the magnificence of his Being. This I can say from experience. I was many years in the wilderness, not even realizing that's where I was or cognizant of the Promise Land, to which I would go.

I knew the story of the Hebrews captive in Egypt pertained also to all humankind, for the Lord had opened that to me early on--one of the first of His blessed openings to me. But I was only freed from captivity not iniquity. When my husband divorced me, I was adrift in an ocean of darkness and scared. I kept separating God and my life in the world. I had no Meeting wherein anyone was more than a nominal Christian and they were almost non-existent. But I would go and sit in Meeting alone. The Lord never failed me. People did, but not the Father.

I remember a First Day message I spoke to the Meeting referencing Amnesty International. I declared none of us was free until all persons were free. When I rose to give the message I believed I was speaking from the Holy Spirit but inwardly feeling smug and triumphant in successfully expressing my solidarity with the Meeting. Later, I felt duped from my own conceit and worldly wisdom. At that time I wouldn't have perceived the Lord's reproof; I was unsettle nevertheless. The Lord had not provided me that message connected to peace. I was yet working to cleanse myself of my hippie love and peace conceit.

In fact I have never experienced the Lord opening to me a prohibiton of war, though such a prohibition is now the dominant "Quaker" doctrine. It supercedes, indeed crowds out, all doctrines relating to the Quaker religion. One would not be amiss to say Peace has become the Quaker religion; even more strongly stated, the Quaker God. 

Still, I am torn by the numerous Quaker peace admonitions--formal and informal--from George Fox, to John Woolman, to the disciplines. George Fox especially has influence on me, and John Woolman's spiritual exercises impressed desire to be like him, and the disciplines certainly weigh heavily on me whenever I hear them. Yet I can't bring myself to what the Lord has not opened to me. I understand, particularly George Fox as he is truly a preacher ordained by God, mentally Quaker peace doctrine, but I don't own it. 

When I first began reading the Bible daily and came to Jesus's sermon "blessed are the peacemakers...", I saw that statement as referencing those who point all to Christ and I still do see it that way. I must confess though, as I write, the Lord tendered my heart when I followed the Biblical reference to Ro. 8:14, but, without realizing it until now, was sent by the Lord to verse 8: "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."

That brings me to the carnal and spiritual divide, which is where I was headed from the beginning anyway. Paul writes in 2 Cor. 10: 3-6, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled."

George Fox writes to Oliver Cromwell, quite early on in his ministry, "...and to turn people from the darkness to the light, and to bring them from the occasion of ...war and from occasion of the magistrates sword, which is a terror to the evil doers who act contrary to the light of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is a praise to them that do well, a protection to them that do well and not evil. Such soldiers as are put in that place no false accusers must be, no violence must do, but be content with their wages; and the magistrate bears not the sword in vain.

From under the occasion of that sword I do seek to bring people. My weapons are not carnal but spiritual, and 'my kingdom is not of this world', therefore with a carnal weapon I do not fight, but am from those things dead[.]" The Journal of George Fox, J.L.N. p. 197-198

 What I hear both Paul and George Fox saying is that they are not against war. They don't seek to end war as we know it. In fact, they engage in war and happily so because they are doing the Lord's work. They have deadly weapons and use them to defeat the enemy. But man is not the enemy and their weapons are not carnal. Therein lies the difference between God's warfare and  man's warfare that employs not only tangible weapons but also psychological weapons that scar or destroy the mind of man. Which is to say, man's enemy is his fellow human beings.

There are plenty self-righteous persons who claim to own peace yet set their sights on fellow human beings they perceive to be an enemy. Which brings me to the openings I had of the Lord in the year 2016. The first was for me not to quarrel. To quarrel, he said, was to treat the other as lacking. The second was not to be political. To be political is to have an enemy. To be political defys union, particularly union in Christ Jesus. To be political is warfare. You can't claim peace yet be quarrelsome and/or political. The only way to disassociate from these fleshly lusts is through Jesus, who is the Light by which these things can be known.

What then is peace? Is it getting rid of the enemy that threatens life or the validity of dogma? This question pertains especially to those whose weapons are psychological. They tend not to recognize their warfare as evil, so it persists for a longer time. Yet, what is peace if it is not the absence of war?

Peace is the absence of strife. Only in union with Jesus Christ are we raised up to those Kingdom heights where we don't strive to overcome anger, hatred, dislike for brethern. We don't strive because the scales have fallen from our eyes and the light of love shines gloriously overall. Those we would have as enemies become the field to harvest. That harvest is a joy to reap as new souls step into the Kingdom in trembling awe. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanual shall come to you O Israel.

The Harvest is one of only two wars fought by man: carnal warfare and spiritual warfare. Harvesting is spiritual warfare, a wrestling "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." And to engage in spiritual warfare is being "strong in the Lord and in the power of his might" and putting on the whole armour of God. Eph 6: 10,12,13

 To be a soldier is to be a peacemaker if the choice is spiritual warfare. Time spent opposing man's wars prevents the harvest of souls and creates enmity.

Such is not Quaker.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: YOUR WORDS, LORD BASENAME: your-words-lord DATE: Wed, 17 May 2017 20:34:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: life, lord, words ----- BODY:

Your words, Lord, are nothing we can imagine for ourselves. Their depth and breadth goes beyond our ability. They're everyone's story and life. We see ourselves and those before us. 

Any words we manage on our own come not from us but this world. They're ugly, damning, destructive, dark waters flooding us until we cry out. 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Exodus 15:6,7 BASENAME: exodus-15-6-7 DATE: Mon, 15 May 2017 18:44:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god, jesus, lord, power ----- BODY:

"Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power; thy right hand O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy." Ex 15:6

Jesus sits at the right hand of God. The right hand is the hand of power. Jesus is exalted. 

"The right hand of the Lord is exalted. The right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly." PS 118:16

"And in the greatness of thine excellency though hast overthown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath

which consumed them as stuble." Ex 15: 7

Exodus Chapter 15 is very symbolic.

Own it!

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: HEAVEN ON EARTH BASENAME: heaven-on-earth-1 DATE: Fri, 12 May 2017 17:34:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ, father, fox, george fox, god, jesus, kingdom, light, lord, religion, samaritan, spirit, teacher, truth, woman, worship ----- BODY:

I wonder if heaven is like this: everyone plays games and no one cheats. No one even thinks about cheating. Cheating doesn’t exist.

And there are championship games but there are no prostitutes involved, no human trafficking; no sexual perversions at all. These ideas don’t exist in anyone’s mind.

There’s no anger over anything. No one has to be reminded not to be angry or reminded to be kind because anger and unkindness don’t exist in the hearts and minds of those who live in Heaven.

The above paragraphs are from 1st day, 4th month, 2017. Some weeks later, thinking on this same subject, I wrote the following paragraph.

In heaven, we won’t have to overcome anything, so we won’t be inventing things or making things to keep us warm or cool. We will enjoy the beauty and splendor of heaven which is an aspect of God. Its beauty and splendor will be so magnificent, we will want to own it and that which caused it.

This morning in worship I was reminded of something George Fox said more than once. The devil cannot get into God’s true religion: the religion he gave us when he told the Samaritan woman at the well: the hour is come, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth.

As Fox said, this true religion will keep you from the filth of the world. A religion that keeps you from uncleanness, Fox says, must be above the world. The devil can’t enter this religion because he is out of the truth.

The progression of my thinking recalled reading somewhere that Jesus said the kingdom of God was within us. [B]ehold, the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21

I’ve thought about the kingdom, too, and how we, walking into it, must learn the lay of the land. But this land is different. The Lord rather guided my contemplation as I considered all my above imaginings about what heaven might be like. If it’s in us, and Jesus is our inward teacher, our Light that informs us, then there’s no such thing as waiting for the day we die to go to heaven.

Christ can make us perfect, if we allow him, without spot, in this world. All the attributes I listed above exist in Jesus, and He is the one who perfects us, which is another doctrine the Lord opened to George Fox, which he shouted from the roof top. And this doctrine fits with “Christ is come to teach his people himself.” And he does. He teaches us the way to be if we allow him; if we own Him.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: I LOVE THE LORD BASENAME: i DATE: Thu, 11 May 2017 00:23:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ, comfort, excuses, fall, jesus, jesus christ, joy, life, lord, love, power, praise, spirit, vision, words ----- BODY:

Circa 2005

I love the Lord, he is my voice.

O Lord, I feel so closed to your presence, 

and yet I know you give me aid and comfort;  

I find joy, exhilaration, satisfaction, 

indeed power from your presence in my life.

I praise your gift--our Lord, Jesus Christ,

for he teaches me, counsels me.

He will not abandon me.

With him I can walk bravely,

confidently, righteously in this world.

So why then am I closed up like a house

at night against the cold and thieves,

or during the day against the heat and burglars?

I close my eyes to hear your voice,

and I fall asleep.

I open my eyes, yet fell dull.

My heart searches for the thrill of Your Presence,

the joy of Your Spirit with us, among us.

Why do I fold up like the fingered jewel weed

at the sound of some words from others mouthes?

Why aren't my ears open to the laments 

and entreaties of others?

Find me welcoming, Lord, and without excuses.

Let me speak of my love for the Lord

because He is my voice.

Without Him my words are like so many 

television shows and movies--

worthless and corrupting.

Without Him, my vision is blunted,

my hearing distorted, my judgment faulty.

Without Him I am not even one among the many

who are like birds lined up on a cable wire.

Without Him my presence fades

until not even my heart is heard.

I speak then of my love for the Lord.

He gives me everything.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: DID YOU HEAR WHAT GOD SAID? BASENAME: did-you-hear-what-god DATE: Wed, 10 May 2017 16:01:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: evil, god, man, righteousness, salvation ----- BODY:

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my rightiousness shall not be abolished. Isaiah 51:6

Did you hear what God said to Isaiah? "my righteousness shall not be abolished."  

Do you know what it means? It means that no matter the multitude of evil man creates, at some point God will annihilate it all.

Beware disbelievers. What is your foundation for disbelief?

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Worship BASENAME: worship DATE: Fri, 05 May 2017 19:46:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ, creator, faith, fox, friends, george fox, glory, god, good, grace, jesus, jesus christ, life, light, lord, man, power, satan, shepherd, sin, spirit, truth, understanding, waiting upon the lord, woman, word, words, worship ----- BODY:

The Religious Society of  Friends holds worship in silence, i.e., waiting upon the Lord. This worship is called unprogrammed because in the past some Meetings chose to perform worship in the style of programmed churches, such as Presbyterian and Baptist. Programmed churches rely on paid ministers to preach the words of God.

Friends unprogrammed meetings do not rely on paid ministers to feed the flock. Jesus said in John 10: 11a, 12:

"I am the good shepherd[.] But he that is an hireling, and not the sheperd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep and fleeth; and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep."

Unprogrammed Friends meetings wait upon their good shepherd to feed them.

Sometimes though I, who's only ever known unprogrammed worship, find myself turning the table. God is waiting on me because my mind is focused on something (or many somethings) else. Another distraction for me, or maybe it's not a distraction but rather spoiled-child demand, is treating my Creator as a bubblegum machine, wherein I drop in and he gives me a gum ball. (This is not a new admonishment for me.) When I wait without trying to hurry him I am humbled and exalted--exalted from his gracious openings given me. They are like precious jewels adorning me.

Beautiful and exhilerating is George Fox's exhortation from one of his sermons.

"Therefore to him that is the God of all power I shall commit and commend you, and to the word of his grace to establish you upon Christ Jesus. And therefore, every man and woman, come to know that you have received his faith, his spirit, his grace, his life, his light, and truth, growing up in Christ from whence this comes that bruises the head of the serpent and destroys him and his works, who is above all. Glory be to God forever."

That is to say that no one through nature has any of the attributes cited. Their only source is Christ Jesus, who so patiently tenders us. That, too, is why George Fox said  in his journal from the beginning of his understanding, "Then the Lord let me see why there was none upon the earth that could speak to my condition, namely, that I might give Him all the glory. For all are concluded under sin and shut up in unbelief, as I had been; that  Jesus Christ might have the pre-eminence who enlightens, and gives grace, and faith, and power."

Power to overcome Satan. Blessed is the Lord forever and ever.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A SMALL OPENING IN MARCH BASENAME: a-small-opening-in-march DATE: Fri, 28 Apr 2017 13:13:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: death, envy, lord, murder, satan, sin, sin and death ----- BODY:

Wow!

The Lord opened to me this morning how the songs of the world manifest Satan's captivity of mankind with themes of sin and death. Sin--sexual immorality, murder, envy, greed, selfishness, etc.

I could envision people slithering in their nakedness. Every generation clustered in the same cage, singing songs of the same theme, as though they have no escape. They lament their never-ending human condition, but revel in the hopelessness of it, as if belonging to a tribe.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: NEW TO US BASENAME: new-to-us DATE: Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:59:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god ----- BODY:

It isn't that things ever changed in the whole of the world. It's that our disobedience to God is new to us. 

addendum: It isn't that truth ever changed in the whole of the world. It's that our disobedience to God is new to us.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: May I Do The Work You Have Given Me BASENAME: may-i-do-the-work DATE: Sat, 08 Apr 2017 18:20:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: comfort, eternity, joy, light, lord, love, words ----- BODY:

Lord, may I do the work you have given me faithfully. I have said and written, I love the Lord, He is my voice. You are my words. I have nothing to say but that it comes from you. All my words in my days of apostasy are dust. In my days of apostasy I ate dust. But you, Lord, raised me up from the grave. You washed me in the softness of gentle rain. I knew your carress and welcomed it. I knew your love and reveled in it. You made me whole and worthy when I was timid and alone. 

Your love I craved to open to others. In my joy I shouted "Here is my Lord, Hear Him." In my urgency I wrote the story of my steps and missteps, so you will know He is salt and light. Come now! Come now! Don't delay, for every moment is a day without Him. Every day without Him is an eternity of sorrow. The sorrow of ugliness in a dying world with no hope of change. For change is in the Lord, not in the world.

Come, come now. Lord, I will quake in the fear of you when I stand before the dust eaters, but they will not be my stumbling block. For you are with me; your rod and your staff will comfort me 'til I dwell in your house forever.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: 4th month, 2nd, 2017 Message BASENAME: 4th-month-2nd-2017-message DATE: Thu, 06 Apr 2017 09:41:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: barclay, christ, christian, darkness, death, fox, friends, george fox, god, good, gospel, isaac penington, jesus, jesus christ, life, light, light and life, lord, prayer, quaker, quakers, religion, satan, truth, witness, words, worship ----- BODY:

Prior to attending Norristown Meeting I sat for preparation for meeting for worship. Starting with the brief prayer that my reading be profitable to worship that morning, I found myself unable to give way and instead waited. Here's why: the Lord opened to me my anger. In that moment of opening, He gave me words. This blog are the words.

Many who self-identify as Quaker are unaware that Quakers are Christian; so when a Quaker comes in the midst of them and speaks the things of God, as all Quakers do per the command of Jesus Christ, these nominal Quakers are incensed. They go so far in their indignation that anyone would speak the Gospel (which suggests to them to forgo their personal religion and seek Jesus Christ) that they willfully persecute the Quaker in their midst.

Granted, the persecution isn't yet of the caliber that early Quakers suffered. I say "yet" because the self-identified Quakers are blind in their darkness without Jesus Christ, but claim to hold the Light, as if it were a product to be purchased upon declaration of being Quaker. Their blindness in their darkness as captives (slaves) to Satan leads them to believe they are a loving, peaceful, caring, just, and good people. Without Jesus, they cannot see themselves as they really are: a political group with prejudice and agenda. With prejudice and agenda there are likes and dislikes. Those persons or entities disliked come to be seen as enemies. Enemies are to be done away with in some form. Persecution is one form. Ridicule another; banishment and death are the ultimate solution for those captives of Satan. And they justify to themselves their persecution, etc by saying to themselves the disliked one(s) deserves maltreatment.

All persons who do not own Jesus Christ in them are vulnerable to Satan's darkness unto their destruction. The Quaker message is and has always been to draw people out of darkness and to the Light and life, who is Jesus Christ. [Where there is no persecution]

I write this paper as a witness to the persecution I suffered from Red Cedar Friends Meeting in Lansing, Michigan. What was my infraction? Doing the will of the Lord who sent me there. They abhorred my messages of Truth and warned me against speaking them. They prevented me from attending meeting for worship. They finally barred me from the building they call a Quaker Meeting. I say they barred George Fox, Margret Fell Fox, Isaac Penington, Robert Barclay, George Whitehead, Mary Dyer, John Woolman, Lewis Benson, Terry S. Wallace, etc. from the Meeting.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Alpha Rooster BASENAME: alpha-rooster DATE: Mon, 20 Mar 2017 19:47:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: creator, god, knowledge, life, light, man, power ----- BODY:

There is no power other than God's power.

The heavens have no power. They act according to God's will. They don't act on their own. They respond to His commands.

The animals and plants, the oceans and tides, rivers and lakes, the rocks, mountains, hills, and valleys, have no power; rather all adhere to their Creator's commands.

The seasons, wind, heat, cold, the tempest, typhoons, tornados, volcanos; the rain and droughts, the clouds, sun, and moon, have no power. All subject to His will. 

Man has no power, either. But among all His creation, man only rebels against God, who loves him most of all His creation. 

Man is a creature of God's work, yet he struts like an alpha rooster intimidating his rivals for the hens. He has no power but he thinks he has knowledge, wisdom, and ability to be as God. 

At the end of his days, he sleeps naked.

"...[A]nd the life was the light of men." John 1:4

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: FREEDOM BASENAME: freedom DATE: Thu, 16 Mar 2017 09:55:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: bible, glory, jesus, joy, lord, love, praise, satan, song, spirit, the spirit, truth, veil, witness, words, worship ----- BODY:

I was thinking in worship how i've wanted to to be freed from the constraints of the dictates from other sources. and thinking, envisioning in my mind going outward to some place, some lonely place to be freed from the constraints, the dictates and the lord let me see that it's not outward, the freedom is not outward and the freedom is not inward. the freedom is in him. And when the bible says, Jesus says, the truth shall set you free, well he is truth and he sets us free, free from those dictates that come in the world, the physical world, that outward. and He frees us from the inward. He frees us to walk with him who leads us, who, in other words, he doesn't dictate to us we just follow him when we are with him, in him, when we come to him he, that is, that is we are free, free from all the dictates of the world, of others, of the inward voice that is from satan, from the outward voice of satan, from the inward voice of satan we are free from all of that and we, we're not confined to specific ways of doing worship, rather worship is in truth and spirit and we can worship him as the spirit moves us to worship him, to praise him, to sing a song of praise or love, joy to him, we can pray to him, we can witness to others about him, encourage others to seek him.

 

I copied the above from recording what the Lord gave me as I struggled with the veil that kept me from his presence. The last of the recording I declined to copy as Spirit moved me to worship. All glory to my Lord.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: WE HAVE IN US BASENAME: we-have-in-us-1 DATE: Mon, 06 Mar 2017 10:59:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: jesus, satan, teaching ----- BODY:

Do not try to reconstruct what was. We have in us the "What Is." 

Keep to the What Is. Keep to Jesus, His teaching, His way, His voice.

Know there are only two voices: His voice and Satan's voice.

Hear Him when He speakes to you; hear even the slightest breath of His voice. Hear it and heed it.

What is is where we must be. What is to be He will reveal to us, teach us to do, lead us to and through.

If there are fractures and crumblings, these things must happen. To mitigate the fear is to abet Satan. 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: FORERUNNER BASENAME: deception DATE: Fri, 03 Mar 2017 11:57:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ, disciples, faith, fall, family, father, fox, friends, george fox, god, good, good news, holy, holy spirit, image, jesus, jesus christ, joy, kingdom, life, light, lord, man, matthew, meal, poem, praise, prayer, quaker, quakers, satan, sin, song, spirit, teacher, the spirit, witness, word, worship ----- BODY:

Yesterday I wrote in my notebook this question: Can you imagine living in a place where there is no deception? I answered: That place would be God's Kingdom. I thought of it because in my brief, silent settling prior to worship, I saw this world as the deception it is. How did I surmise it's deception? Because of the worshiping of all its attributes.

This morning the Lord blazed my mind with His Spirit and opened to me that the deception is beliving this world is substance. The reason we need to be in the same Spirit as those who wrote Scripture in order to read them aright is because we first rely on worldly perception to open meaning. But if the world is Satan's overlay of God's Creation we can easily be deceived. Here's my own example from a passage in Matthew 9:12, which I wasn't reading this morning but the Lord had put in my mind: "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick."

That verse seems straight forward and you know he's referring to sinners, and we all have our image of sinners in mind with little thought about it. But the Holy Spirit isn't so dismissive. He opened to me that all are sinners who deny Christ in all His capacities. Such a statement might elicit a Duh response, yet, for the first time I saw Pharisees as sinners. Why had I not before? For the very reason the Lord had opened to me.

And so it was for me reading George Fox's VII Sermon in the New Foundation Fellowship publication, That Thy Candles May Always Be Burning, page 176. 'I am a forerunner,' saith John. "He runs before, mends the highway, cries: 'Good news!' lays the mountains waste, makes the crooked things straight."

Now those mountains laid waste I pictured as having their tops shaved off, until the Lord turned me back to the morning he told his disciples that if they had faith in God they could tell the mountains to go fall into the sea and what they ordered would happen, "it will be done for [them]." Matt. 11:23b. Then I pictured the mountain as being a travail few seekers wanted to tackle but that Jesus would make less daunting. Lastly, I saw the mountain as all who are sinners.

Would it strike you as odd that at the beginning of my worship this morning, after standing in the light of Jesus as a settling moment, wherein He had brought to mind again the literal idea of The Religious Society Cafe (which caused me to think of Friends of Red Cedar Friends Meeting) I wrote the following in my notebood: The people of Red Cedar Friends Meeting are those Jesus spoke of in Matthew 9:12, "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." The Pharisees saw themselves as whole.

"I am a forerunner," John said of himself. As a devout Quaker, am I not to be a forerunner? Am I not to be a physician to the sick Quakers and they inturn to be forerunners spreading the Good News and sending people to their free and true Teacher, Jesus Christ? 

I looked down to read the last paragraph of the page. George Fox, truly a man of God, spoke: "Now as to the light, it is the thing that many stumble about." I'm thinking: that's to other people. "Saith John in the  first chapter: 'There was a man sent from God to bear witness of the light that all through him might believe.' ...Saith he: 'In the beginning was the word ... 'and in him was life, and the life was the light of men...and this is the true light that enlightens every man that comes into the world.' ''

And I, in a sudden clearance of sight, wrote in the margin, Oh! The life is the light. Again you might think this is another Duh moment, but what seemed so obvious on the face of it actually manifested a depth I couldn't know on my own.  

Forget the politics. Nothing in this world is of substance save that which the Lord gives us to do. Early Quakers didn't have to wait or pray to hear what Jesus wanted them to do, anymore than we have to, because it was always in them to do, as it is in us, when they came to their free and true teacher. The life in their light quickened their spirit as like the birth of a new baby. Who doesn't want to shout joy? Who doesn't want to hasten family, friends, neighbors, and sojourners to a grand meal for the sole purpose of worshiping God, the Father? Who cares what their politics are, their hair, eyes, or skin color are, their height or weight are, their quirks or twitches are? Who cares their wealth or lack of it? For we are all equal in having committed the first sin: we made something else a god.

So bring on that meal seating everybody who comes soley to worship God. Roll out that Religious Society Cafe, where we praise God and the Spirit of joy serves glad tidings in word, song, poem, and prayer.

Be a forerunner crying Good News, Good Food, Great Joy.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: IN EDEN BASENAME: in-eden DATE: Wed, 01 Mar 2017 12:33:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: adam, faith, fall, father, god, holy, holy spirit, jesus, kingdom, lord, man, matthew, promise, salvation, satan, spirit, word ----- BODY:

Can it be that in the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve had certainty; that they didn't have to wonder about anything? That they knew everything and had no doubt until Satan caused Eve to doubt? And Adam seeing Eve had not physically died immediately from her disobedience determined there was nothing to lose in eating the forbidden fruit?

Can a consequence of the FALL be doubt, uncertainty, anxiety from not knowing what tomorrow brings? That faith in what the LORD says or tells us is all we have to go on? And if we doubt it is the Devil who has our ear, as long ago? 

Can it be that Jesus is the substance of Faith? In reading this morning Matthew 26:47-55 my earlier thoughts on Faith were apropos to the scene of Jesus's arrest. I write scene because (I printed in the margin: the play or drama must be performed according to script) Jesus said to the one who struck at the High Preist's slave and cut off his ear: "Don't you know that I could call on my Father for help, and at once He would send me more than twelve armies of angels? But in that case, how could the Scriptures come true which say that this is what must happen?" Jesus repeats the necessity that all that happened was "to make come true what the prophets wrote in Scripture."

I had read of Jesus's arrest many times but never before connected it with Faith. But the Holy Spirit opens to us what we are capable of receiving. So that connection with Faith is manifest in Jesus's assertion that he could call on his Father for help. Earlier while praying in Gethsemane, Jesus asked for the cup of suffering to be taken away. He wrestled with this desire. Was Satan with him at that time tempting him again? Just knowing that he could call on his Father makes it seem that he would be vulnerable to that temptation. Had Jesus allowed himself the benefit of being typically human, salvation of God's treasured creation would not have come about. As a man Jesus had faith in his Father's promise. It was his Father who gave him the ability to perform in that all to real drama of pain and suffering.

So now I understand Jesus being the author of our faith. It is he in whom we must have faith in every word that comes from his mouth. He is the certainty. He is the tomorrow we can count on. Faith in him is like being in His Kingdom and only visiting Satan's world to ransom his captives. These thoughts are new to me and I have to think about them, especially the Faith part, because I have wavered in my faith. But the Lord was speaking to me this morning and I can't help praising Him, thanking Him, loving Him and most of all, wanting to please Him.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Second Month Note Book Thoughts And Provocations BASENAME: second-month-note-book-thoughts DATE: Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:05:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: adam, chaos, christ, corruption, death, evil, fox, god, good, healing, jesus, jesus christ, knowledge, life, lord, man, materialist, matthew, mother, praise, satan, tree of life, truth, words, worship ----- BODY:

By eating came death; by eating comes life.

Maybe, when Adam and Eve ate from the tree in disobedience to God, they unleashed Satan? Maybe Satan was under control when he tempted them, knowing that if they disobeyed God he would be unleashed? Maybe Satan was like a virus and they facilitated his release to infect mankind? Maybe, Satan is mortal, too, but knew it, and wanting to be God, was then set, after Adam's disobedience, to get them to eat from the Tree of Life; but God intervened to prevent it and made it clear to Satan that he was mortal by telling him he would eat dust; in other words, he would eat his doings, i.e., evil--that he, Satan the source of death because he woult never eat from the tree of life. By tricking Adam and Eve into eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, he, Satan, became the incarnation of evil and never good, because that (Good) is God. (1st day)

You have an ordered world, Lord, not a chaotic one. Man makes chaos. Does man leading man create order? (4th day)

So, if you are about to worship but you're in dispute with someone, forgo your worship until you go and end the dispute, then return to worship. Matthew 5:23,24 (8th day)

Are we not living in the Tree of Good and Evil? That thought came to me in my sleep. (11th day)

We repair that which will wither and die. We heal those that will die anyway. That is the materialist's view. But Jesus Christ heals us of our corruption so that we will not wither and die. That's why Fox talked about the doctors not knowing healing. (16 day)

So many thoughts this early morning. While still in bed my thoughts were concentrated on ugliness of evil and whether there is any beauty in this fallen world, whether beauty was an illusion. What is beauty anyway? Is it material or spiritual? What of the people who live in an ugly environment? Do they see it as ugly since it's all they've ever known? Or do they see beauty in it in the way I saw beauty in the gown in Uganda in the movie The Queen of Katwe with its colors and innocense of simple pleasures?

But then what of the ugliness of human nature, like that of the ghetto areas where boys are destructive of all things that might aspire to beauty or present beauty? Trapped in such an environment, what is your mental state? Are you capable of imagining beauty or recognizing it? Are the people capable of creating a spiritual beauty in a place or condition where so much human ugliness permeates the environment?

I read the autobiography of Booker T. Washington, Up From SlaveryHis early years were lived in a one room cabin with a dirt floor, I believe. I think he and his mother and siblings slept on some thing like a palate. His mother's belongings were sparse. I'm not sure she had cooking utensils. I think Booker didn't know about beauty. He did know about the "grape vine," a source of messaging as effective as any nowadays. Booker T. went on to get an education after emancipation. He became a well-known and respected man worldwide. He knew beauty as his life increased in prosperity. (22nd day)

When I got up from bed a had a sense of anxiety and later wondered why, where did it come from, since I had slept somewhat well through the night. While sitting at the kitchen table the parable of the tars or weeds came to mind. I thought, this is what happened to me overnight. The enemy during the night sowed anxiety-laden seeds in my mind. I knew what to do when I realized what had happened. My attitude changed for the better. Praise be to my Lord, Jesus Christ forever and ever. You must come meet Him. (22nd day)

Would you say beauty is an aspect of Truth? (22nd day)

My Lord, my Lord, Praise be to thee. Thou is all and over all. Blessed is my Lord.

Jesus is substance. The substance of which everything is made. Man can create things, which are real enough, but the substance of those things he does not and cannot create. The substance of the things he creates he can't access for any of his purposes. The substance is immaterial. (25th day)

Like the woman who touched the hem of Jesus's garment, knowing with certainty that she would be healed from her affliction, we, too, can touch a piece of His garment and be carried along until we can walk with Him. (25th day) 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: CRUSHING THE HEAD OF SATAN BASENAME: crushing-the-head-of-satan DATE: Thu, 09 Feb 2017 13:00:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: adam, blood, christ, darkness, death, evil, father, fox, gentiles, george fox, god, good, holy, holy spirit, israelites, jesus, jesus christ, kingdom, life, love, man, rebirth, resurrection, satan, seed, sin, spirit, truth ----- BODY:

"I had known Stephens from a child, therefore I laid open his condition, and the manner of his preaching; and how he, like the rest of the priests, did apply the promises to the first birth, which must die. But I showed that the promises were to the one Seed, not to many seeds, but to the one Seed, Christ; who was one in male and female; for all were to be born again before they could enter into the kingdom of God." 

When I read the above sentences this morning, a deeper clarity came to me. I was sobered, being reminded that God made no promises to us Gentiles but to Jesus and realizing His great sacrifice for all humanity. That sacrifice is usually considered his physical pain and suffering, which description does make one cringe.

"Jerusalem, your immoral actions have defiled you. Although I tried to purify you, you remained defiled. You will not be pure again until you have felt the full force of my anger." Ezekiel 24:13

But when reading the above passage, the Holy Spirit opened to me a different take. What I saw was the full force of God's anger poured out on the shoulders of Jesus. That would give reason to his cry, "My God, my God, why did you abandon me?" because God's anger encompassed all immorality. If ever you have witnessed evil or read documented cases of it throughout history, you know in yourself the weight of its darkness.

As I contemplated that, I thought God could not pour out the full force his anger on humanity. He had done that once, destroying all but eight human beings in a worldwide flood, which He promised never to do again. Jesus had to be the surrogate for man, absorbing His Father's fury, which no other human being could withstand. So the plan and promises were made before the beginning. 

One of the promises to Jesus: "And it is the will of him who sent me that I should not lose any of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them all to life on the last day." John 6:39.

We owe our lives to Jesus. I know, you think, "He hasn't saved me and I'm alive." True, but contrary to evolution, which never created anything, man was made from dust and God's breath of life in him. When Adam believed Satan's voice over God's and ate from the Tree of Good and Evil, God cursed Satan: "From now on you will crawl on your belly, and you will have to eat dust as long as you live." Gen 3:14 GNB

God made Adam from dust. He was not living until God breathed life into his nostrils. Satan was living but through the curse he eats dust, which seems to me the same as eating death because dust has not the nature life. Because Adam opted for Satan's lie instead of God's truth, he opted for death.

As the saying goes, the wage of sin is death. And as the other saying goes: we have all sinned. In a way, we're crawling with Satan eating dust because we have not the legs to raise ourselves up. But here is the heel of the man raised up to bruise the head of the serpent, Jesus. He was born of a young virgin who remained virgin and the will of God. Untainted by dust, he is called the second Adam. He obeyed all His Father's commands, so remained spotless though Satan tempted him to eat dust too.

It isn't enough to say Jesus died for us. He was able to die for us because he didn't eat dust. Instead he ate the bread God gave him so he would remain spotless. When the Israelites ate manna in the desert they didn't remain spotless, as they disobeyed God's command to take only enough for one day. That is to say not a one of us can remain spotless from birth. But Jesus did remain spotless in following God's commands in order to carry out his great commission: to take the place of the sacrificial lamb used to cleanse the Israelites of their sins. When his blood was spilled God's wrath was appeased for all sinners.

We can't leave it there. Just spilling blood was not the plan because it would require repeated sacrificing every year, as no one is freed from Satan, only cleansed of their yearly sins. God's plan included resurrection of Jesus and rebirth for us, if we choose it. It isn't Adam and Eve eternal life, unless you opt for a lie. It is, we own the lie until we opt for Truth. 

That's why George Fox said all were to be born again before they could enter the kingdom of God. We must be raised up through Jesus Christ, who is the only man ever to follow God's commands. His obedience to the Father crushed the head of the serpent, which means Satan is defeated.

I admire the way Geoge Fox characterizes important doctrines. In his sermon from That Thy Candles May Always Be Burning, p. 150, he writes this about evil's defeat: "No apostasy can come there into this fellowship that was before he [Satan] was that hath darkened men from life and immortality. Here is life come again."

Do you see the love of God for you now?

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: HIDING OUR EVIL BASENAME: hi DATE: Thu, 02 Feb 2017 18:47:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: abortion evil tragedy ----- BODY:

When I was 24, maybe 25, living in California and in the military, abortion was in the news. I wrote a letter to the local newspaper in support of abortion. My reasoning was that a child unwanted would live a terrible life from mother-hate. The newspaper declined to print the letter because it was too caustic. I was incensed.

I'm reminded of a young woman friend I had in California before I joined the Air Force who was pregnant with her boyfriend's baby. She was about five months along. He wanted her to have an abortion. She didn't want it, which is why she was so far along. I can't remember the details but I think he wouldn't support her or maybe threatened to leave her if she didn't abort the baby. She had the abortion. I didn't see much of her after that. Either I went back to Michigan or the group I was associated with dispersed. I think about her now with sadness. I've learned that aborting a baby can be a life-long trauma for  the mother. I think back on how nonchalant I was then; truly not one capable of providing comfort or good advice. All I knew about life was what I heard from others, my age of course.

Just yesterday morning I for some reason thought about my great grandmother. She became pregnant by the son of a wealthy family she worked for. I'd known this story since I was a girl because it was my grandfather she birthed. Part of the story was how cruelly my grandfather had been treated by the man his mother married and had children with. Perhaps that's where the idea of an unwanted child living a terrible life came from. But I don't know that his mother didn't want him. The step-father didn't.

But what I was really thinking about recalling this family history is that I wouldn't have any history had abortion been sanctioned back in the day. Had my grandmother aborted her little boy I would not be. Which made me realize abortion isn't the loss of just one baby but of generations. So that statistic of a billion aborted babies since the 1920s is not an accurate count. One has to allow for the generations most of the babies would have spawned had they been allowed to live. It's very troubling and much more of a human tragedy than we are willing to admit. 

We hide our evil from ourselves by calling it good. My Lord, let us seek You that we might learn Your ways. Scour the ugliness from our minds that we might hear Your voice. You can make us clean if You want to, and You have said to us, "I do want to."

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: FORGO POLITICS HE SAID BASENAME: forgo-politics-he-said DATE: Thu, 26 Jan 2017 12:52:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ, christianity, excuses, experience, healing, jesus, jews, joy, knowledge, life, lord, love, man, merciful, prayer, stage, union, waiting upon the lord, worship ----- BODY:

Yesterday I wrote on my notebook calender "a glorious worship it was, too" expressing the joy the LORD gave me. Why the joy? He let me see that my hands clasped in iconic prayer mode focused my mind to hear His voice alone. For some weeks I had been fighting worldly thoughts invading my determined empty mind waiting upon the LORD. It's as if my empty mind kept sliding off into the ditch of worldly clutter. Who could hear His voice in that condition? But when I got on my knees yesterday and clasped my hands in prayer mode there was the voice of the LORD letting me know my struggle was ended.

Of course, I harbored a tinge of worry this morning that maybe, like a car breakdown, clasping my hands as remedy for this sliding would malfunction. I understood the LORD knew my thought, and I didn't want to doubt, but I couldn't help it. Coming to worship was akin to a test. I positioned my rocker, sat down, and clasped my hands to wait upon the LORD. It was a beautiful time: my mind focused on the LORD.

His voice came to me with this message: forgo politics. Imiages of Jesus among the people scrolled through my mind's eye. He was not political. The Pharisees and the rebels fighting Rome were. And I saw them as players on an alternate stage. But Jesus just walked in the world speaking to the Jews and others who sought to hear him and healing those who asked him.

Have you ever imagined the day when we live with the LORD? I have and its meaning is never having to think about loving another because that love will be an innate attribute. In my imiages this morning I saw the old priest in Les Miserables beloved by his parishioners and merciful to all, including the prisoner Jean Valjean. And I wondered, apart from Jesus, were such a man to exist would he have had to cultivate his love and mercy? More appealing was the idea that love and mercy were innate to his character. Jean Valjean had to cultivate them, as do I, which brings me back to politics.

A recent blog I wrote was on this same subject but a different angle, I think. My confession is that it's not easy to forgo politics and excuses are plentiful. But to be political is to adhere to a side. Yet the only possible side to take is Jesus' side, because he's not political. I know some of you will disagree with that statement and say, no he's political. Christianity is political. It's people who are political and they make things, life, political. So Christianity is not political but I hear plenty politicized Christianity.

Think back when you were a kid in elementary school. My guess is you didn't see anyone as friend or foe based on their political stance. If you're like me you didn't even know such a thing as politics. So there was a cohesiveness among the kids. That cohesiveness exists for everyone in union with Christ Jesus. Anyone can come into union with Jesus. In fact, He desires for all His creation to come into union with Him. 

To forgo politics is to forgo divisiveness. It is to look at others with eyes of delight. It is to look at others with suffering eyes knowing they are captive. It is to look at others with eyes of mercy when they are afflicted. It is to confer to others the love we, in union with Christ, have received so that they may experience the joy themselves.

As I said before, forgoing politics is not an easy path, but I'm going to leave you with a verse from this poignant hymn, O Come, O Come Emmanuel. The LORD also placed it in my mind this morning. "To us the path of knowledge show and teach us in her ways to go."

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: You Only Lord BASENAME: you-only-lord DATE: Thu, 19 Jan 2017 18:42:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Poem CATEGORY: Ministry TAGS: alien culture lord redeem, deceit, good, life, lord, soul, truth ----- BODY:

You can tell someone something

or they can tell you.

And what is told is true and good. 

But You only, Lord, can give substance to true and good.

You breathe its life into us

that we might see and know;

know in a way only you can impart.

 

The world is full of wisdom

that grinds night to night,

its lite of little stature;

its mouth of little heed.

But to tell the truth of it to another,

to plead its deceit 

is swimming where there is no water. 

You only, Lord, can cause rain

to flow like tears.

 

There is truth

filling what is empty.

Cry not for the Lord. 

He is here and brings with Him 

tender dew-like sweets 

melting in the mouth

flooding heart and soul.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Whence Come Thy Bread? BASENAME: whence-come-thy-bread DATE: Sun, 08 Jan 2017 18:58:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ----- BODY:

I had a glorious worship this morning though I was not in Meeting. The Lord blessed me with openings I didn't anticipate, but who can anticipate openings? And my blog is the only place it seems where I can share the bread the Lord feeds me. But who reads my blog?

I'm haunted by the urgency to harvest the vineyard: "When people come to witness the spirit of God and [to] feel that in themselves they turn out of the market and go to work in the vineyard." (The Lord Alone Was The Teacher, p. 63, That Thy Candles May Always Be Burning). No longer am I in the market but witnessing. Still, on the 14th day, 8th month, year two thousand eleven, my blog post stated this observation: "It is sad they (Quakers) have become so far removed from George Fox's preachings they don't recognize themselves in his admonishments. Yet they maintain the self-righteous attitude that they are "doing God's work" by supporting and financing worldly whims, such as environmentalism. Yet the Quakers can't bear to hear the words Jesus Christ and God spoken in their meetings."

I've been burdened with this urgency since I first believed in the year nineteen eighty six or seven (I didn't record it) though I thought of it then not as burden but bringing people to the joy of Jesus Christ. It doesn't matter what you call it, people who claim to be Friends (of Truth, the original name of "Quakers") don't want truth. They want, as I heard it stated yesterday by Ravi Zacherias, "spirituality without God." They love their divine; they love their freedom from God; they love their concerns, which are more politically than spiritually conceived; they love their values of love, acceptance, caring, tolerance, community, peace--except when they don't. Don't say God is he; don't say Jesus is the way, the truth, the life; don't say there's no evidence for the theory of evolution; don't witness truth, don't, don't, don't upset their rickety reality cart.

What did the Lord open to me this morning? I quote from Autobiography of George Fox, Chapter 6: A New Era Begins (1652) "As we travelled we came near a very great hill, called Pendle Hill, and I was moved of the Lord to go up to the top of it; which I did with difficulty, it was so very steep and high. When I was come to the top, I saw the sea bordering upon Lancashire. From the top of this hill the Lord let me see in what places he had a great people to be gathered."

I must have read this passage before in The Journal of George Fox, but, as with the Bible, a deeper meaning was opened to me today, probably because I've been wrestling with dark spiritual forces holding captive Friends meetings. I copied the last sentence of the above quote in my notebook and then wrote as the Spirit led me the following:

And gather them he did. And those people gathered are among the chosen people. They're not waiting for us to join them to complete the gathering or rather the Church. They are the Church, Christ's Church. The Church is open to all and all are welcome who will be gathered. But the gathering must be done in every time in which people live. Do we contempory Friends make that steep and high journey up Pendle Hill?

Returning to my earlier post I access freely the quotes from Paul. "Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him." Eph 1:5. This verse I believe informed Fox and early Friends regarding the Quaker doctrine of perfection. He goes on to say in verses 22-23, "God put all things under Christ's feet and gave him to the church as supreme Lord over all things. The church is Christ's body, the completion of him who himself completes all things everywhere."

That's a remarkable statement, though I'm not sure I can make sense of the vague thoughts that struck me as I read the verse this time. We were talking about Christ's Church and union and those gathered by those who have come into truth. It's our commission to gather the vineyard for the completion of him, who himself completes all things everywhere. Only in union with Jesus can we complete his church and we can be in union with him only when we become humble, or, as Isaac Penington said, "And so, sink very low, and become very little, and know little; yea, know no power to believe, act, or suffer anything for God, but as it is given thee, by the springing grace, virtue, and life of the Lord Jesus." (Quaker Spirituality, p. 148-9). So we are only complete in him as our union with him completes his Church, his body. Is that love and total dependence?

Because there's one other thing the Lord opened to me. Though I can't find the passage that quickened my spirit, I remember it had to do with Jesus and his bride, his Church, and the wedding. For a long time I could only envision a material entity, so my thinkinbg was similar to placing a wrong piece in a puzzle. It just didn't fit right. But the Lord let me see his bride was the chosen people gathered. All put together they make a beautiful wedding dress and bride. How glorious. 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: What Is The World Anyway Without God? BASENAME: what-is-the-world-anyway DATE: Fri, 30 Dec 2016 11:10:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ----- BODY:

Unsettling thoughts recently. I've been reading the book, Revelation. Not for the first time. This time what I noticed was the repetition of the distinction between God and Jesus. I had not noted that distinction anywhere in the Bible before. I believe it was that nuance that set off the disturbing thoughts, which proceeded from the inner pages of Revelation. Adding fire to the disturbance, I think, was my habit of assuming I'm in the same Spirit when I read Scriptures as those who put them forth. I believe and have experienced the Lord's openings to me from Scripture. But these "openings" this time in reading Revelation have left me panicked that I have blasphemed. Worse still, I can't rid myself of these unwanted speculations. Yes, speculations. Unnerving.

I wonder what is happening to me. Am I become the Lord's enemy? A disbeliever again? I cry out to Jesus NO! I wail, where are you, Jesus? For it's as if I no longer exist to him because his presence since these unnerving thoughts has escaped me. Stated elsewhere and in my mind is the image of being outside in the cold with no coat to cover me. I plead my case to him: I didn't invite these thoughts, Lord. I don't want to blaspheme. Forgive me, Lord. Make me whole again. Let me exist again in the surety of your love. This is hell for me to be absent from your presence.

Was I selected like Judas was to betray my Lord? God Forbid! Or am I thinking to hightly of my status and position? For if I am anything I am a lowly servant of my Lord. But I can't even be that if I have sinned against the Holy Ghost.

I remember George Fox telling of his troubles and perplexities even to the state of feeling he had sinned against the Holy Ghost. That episode and its lack of specificity has been for me through the years I first read it a great help and comfort. I remember most of all his anchor. His immortal soul was anchored to his Bishop, who preserved him through the tempest. I'm not alone in how I feel. I know to keep to my anchor. I know, too, to be patient--much harder to do. But it can't be any harder than standing on a chair for three hours for the Lord or the Spirit to inspire your sermon; or to sit in nasty prisons for a year (twice) for the crime of following the Lord. I am prone to make excuses for myself until I recall George Fox's trials.

What is this world anyway without God? It is cold as Lake Superior; icy as an Artic wind, and graceless. Without beauty there is ugliness everywhere--visually, outwardly, inwardly.

Lord, preserve and protect those who love you. Find us without excuses. Amen.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: In Spirit and Truth BASENAME: in-spirit-and-truth DATE: Sun, 11 Dec 2016 11:52:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ----- BODY:

You've read this before or heard it said if you've had association with Jesus: "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship him." John 4:23

Maybe you already know what I am about to write, but the LORD only opened it to me this morning. To worship him in spirit and truth is to worship him from within, for whatever is outward is unclean. And no unclean thing can come into the temple, so truth of ourselves to ourselves. In other words, we must truly love the LORD and live his way always and not the world's way at all, not even a pinch.

God doesn't care about hymns, ceremonies, rituals, times, places, or outward forms. Gathered in spirit and truth is all that matters in worship; and the second greatest commandment, "You shall love your neighbor has yourself" (Matthew 22:39) is all that matters in doing.

George Fox puts it this way: visit the widows, orphans, the sick and downtroden, those in prision.

While Christmas is a cherished holiday, it doesn't speak to spirit and truth, which was the purpose of our Savior's birth. Sing or hear the carols, but we can only worship him in spirit and truth.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Gospel BASENAME: the-gospel DATE: Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:56:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ----- BODY:

It seems I've always been mystified by this statement "the gospel, which is the power of God." It's in the New Testament; George Fox spoke of it. Just this morning, reading from his fourth sermon, p.75 (That Thy Candles May Always Be Burning) I glimpsed an opening that might explain it to me. So after completing the page I went back to that sliver of light and thought about what I had glimpsed. Following is what I wrote (Italics) in my notebook with minute by minute additions as I copy it.

The power of  God is Jesus. The power of the gospel is Jesus/God's power to bring his people (creation) back to himself. For the Devil is powerful, too. Consider that he usurped a whole creation with its people and other life.

We don't appreciate the power of Satan. We don't conceive of him as taken over a creation. We don't appreciate the love God has for his creation, especially man, in that he planned for man's redemption from before the fall (I think that's what I've read. Correct me if I'm wrong.) Jesus endured great suffering to defeat death and rescue man from the grave. We don't conceive of Satan perhaps tampering with the universe and the LORD having to protect it until its purpose is ended. We don't appreciate at all the greater power of GOD.

 

There are many things George Fox says that I comprehend only supperficially. But I know there's more to his confounding statements, just as is the case in the whole of the Bible. With the Bible though I have the Holy Spirit to open to me the layers upon layers. I am evermore loving the Bible, appreciating its unique character in being a factual historical account of ancient times, while being at the same time a mirror of us and our times, while being also a source of layered revelations, unlocked only when  the reader is in the same spirit as those who wrote the text and is capable of understanding the particular revelation. It's amazing when one grasps it all.

That, too, is the power of God. And its so sad that there are those who absolutely deny God and don't want to hear anything that smacks of God. I, too, was once that way. In dealing with the deniers in the Meeting I attend, I try to think how I came to God after having spent some fifteen or twenty years actively disbelieving in him and wanting everyone else to do the same? I think in all my contemplations I came to the same conclusion: someone prayed for me. So I am adament about praying for the deniers. And blessed be our God: he has taught me, opened to me, the way to love them, all of them, even those who are damaging, hurtful, deceitful. They are lost souls, captives of Satan's power, and in need of redemption. But what does one say to the captives that will spark a desire to be free, that will speed up the shedding of scales on their eyes?

George Fox in his Journal speaks of Jesus as the author of faith and goes on to chastise the priests as being out of that faith. That statement too confounded me, until this morning, as I read it over several times. I made notes on that as well, which follow in italics. Is he saying the priests are creating their own faith, as if there is a recipe for gaining faith? I think I'm trying to say that people might believe they can want faith and get it by working at it or just thinking themselves to have it.

I understand why faith has to come from Jesus through my own experience. If you want to have faith and think it will happen because you want it, you soon learn that your faith is fragile and resort to previous ways. Ah, the journey; but it's not a journey if you've moved from death to life per John 5: 24. You've reached the end of your journey when you believe in Jesus and the one who sent him. Now you've come into the Kingdom. I wrote blog on this subject but I can't remember where it is in the archives. The point is, when you come into the Kingdom you have much learning from your teacher. 

This is a long blog post, I think. Obviously, things were stashed inside waiting for the Spirit to move me to write. I think I've moved to a more humble stance in this blog post. We'll see what the future brings.

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Everywhere Is Stumbling BASENAME: everywhere-is-stumbling DATE: Sun, 20 Nov 2016 18:37:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: Poem TAGS: ----- BODY:

Below the water a mouth opens to

speak but the word is downed.

Atop the water on ground

an ear turns to listen but hears nothing.

So night becomes day.

Everywhere there is stumbling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: I Love The Lord BASENAME: i-love-the-lord DATE: Wed, 16 Nov 2016 18:59:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ----- BODY:

I love the Lord. He is my voice. He gives me everything.

O Lord, I feel so closed to your presence, and yet I know you give me aid. I find comfort, joy, exhilaration, indeed power and satisfaction from your presence in my life.

I praise your gift--Our Lord Christ Jesus, for he teaches me your ways. He leads me, heals me, counsels me. He will not abandon me. With him I can walk bravely, confidently, righteously in this world.

So why then am I closed up like a house at night against the cold and thieves, or during the day against the heat and burglars?

I close my eyes to hear your voice, and I fall asleep. I open my eyes, yet feel dull. 

My heart searches for the thrill of Your Presence, the joy of Your Spirit with us, among us. Why do I fold up like the fingered jewel weed at the sound of some words from other's mouths? Why aren't my ears open to the laments and entreaties of others? Find me welcoming, Lord and without excuses.

Let me speak of my love for the Lord because He is my voice. Without Him my words are like so many television shows and movies--worthless and corrupting. 

Without Him, my vision is blunted, my hearing distored, my judgment faulty. Without Him I am not even one among the many who are like birds lined up on a telephone wire. Without Him my presence fades until not even my heart is heard. 

I speak then of my love for God, my Lord. He gives me everything.

 

Circa 2005

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Contrary BASENAME: contrary DATE: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 19:13:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ----- BODY:

Contrary to what one person belives about me, I don't think I'm always right. I don't even think I'm right half the time. I do think sometimes I'm right, and that's only because the Lord has opened to me what is right.

Take this morning for instance. I came home from Meeting for Worship feeling dejected. On my drive home I kept thinking about wanting to sloth off my dejection. I knew I had to go to Jesus; he would raise me up. So when I got home I changed clothes and headed to my office/sanctuary to wait upon the Lord.

Like most Americans I've been conditioned by the tyrant Time. I recall an episode in George Fox's jounal wherein he was set to speak to a gathered people in Wales But he felt a consern for their salvation and didn't want to preach until he felt the power of the Lord over them. They were waiting for him, though, so he went "up to the meeting and stood a-top of a chair about three hours. . ." He said he stood a lengthy time before he began to speak. Who knows how long his speaking went, but the point is, Fox was not intimidated by time. I on the other hand had things I wanted to do after I paid homage to the Lord.

I positioned myself in the chair (this won't take long) and waited. And I waited. Strange, dream-like images drifted through my closed eyes which I'd shake away by opening my eyes. What's up with this, Lord, I'd think to myself? And go back to waiting. Okay, what does the Lord want from me? I didn't expect to be here this long! Still the strange, dream-like images or scenes, as if I were privy to flashes of people's lives, darted about.  "Lord, why are you doing this," I wondered.

My time is not His time I thought, recalling earlier in the year a similar episode of comeupance. The Lord chastised me for using Him as a servant. I wasn't worshiping Him, rather I was eager to know His revelation to me that day. The revelation was a rebuke. But was He rebuking me now for using Him as servant to my demands?

To be his servant is to wait for him to tell me what he wants me to do. Understanding is comfort. I remained peacefully in my chair. After all, it's my duty to wait upon Him for a long as He deems necessary. If George Fox can wait for clearness three or more hours standing on a chair, I too can wait sitting in a chair for clearness. The Lord will bring me to my knees in His time. I praise my Lord. 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Who Would Ever Call The Sabbath Jesus? BASENAME: who-would-ever-call-the DATE: Thu, 10 Nov 2016 12:49:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ----- BODY:

Who would ever call the Sabbath Jesus? I never read  such a thing in any book or commentary until I read a George Fox sermon. This is what he said: "But now Christ is come (for the law served till the Seed came) so that now this law of the Sabbath is fulfilled. Now the Seed, that is, Christ, is come...

"He is come who hath finished tansgression, and made an end of sin, and made reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, etc...

"Now all Christians say they are believers, but are they entered into their rest, into Christ Jesus? If so then, there is no burden borne, no food nor sticks to be gathered if they be entered into their rest who is our life, who is our rest, Christ Jesus, the Lord of the outward day. He is the 'substance' of the signs" pp. 32-33, That Thy Candles May Always Be Burning.

I find George Fox to be a remarkable man who had a gift to make clear and beautiful the significant workings of God. Allow me to demonstrate my claim with the following from Hebrews 3: 7-8, 11 (Good News Bible).

"If you hear God's voice today, do not be stubborn, as your ancestors were when they rebelled against God, as they were that day in the desert when they put him to the test. 

"I was angry and made a solemn promise: 'They will never enter the land where I would have given them rest!' " In other words, they'll never see the Kingdom of God. They'll never see salvation.

If you consider what George Fox has said about Jesus being rest (as the Sabbath), you can surmise this rest in the Hebrew passage is salvation. That's why it's important not to be stubborn (deny) God's call when you hear it, because that call is your call to salvation. If you understand that then you might also wonder whether Jesus is the Promised Land, maybe even the Kingdom of God. Remember, George Fox also identifies Jesus as the substance of signs in scripture.

I wrote the following in my notebook this morning, which seems to coordinate with my above thoughts. It's premised on the idea that events in the Old Testament are not only factual but also a play. "The play depicts the real lives of the actors, but also it has significance for the audience and their lives."  When we read the Bible on a daily basis, we begin to recognize a significance in verses or passages that we hadn't before recognized. That's why I've come to see the Bible as a never ending river of revelation.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: "They Will Hold To The Outward Form" BASENAME: they-will-hold-to-the DATE: Fri, 04 Nov 2016 12:16:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ----- BODY:

"[T]hey will hold to the outward form of our religion, but reject its real power." 2 Timothy 3:5  

The "they" Paul refers to are people living during what he thought were the end times. If you read the whole passage (2-5), you might think all times are the end times and marvel that the people of Paul's era are no different from us. Go back a little further to the Old Testament and marvel even more.

People are the same, it's the scenery that changes. So I can write confidently in the margin of my Good News Bible next to Paul's observation: "that can be said of the Quakers nowadays." In fact, I recently made that very point to a Quaker with whom I was sparring, so to speak, he being of the "they" tribe.

"They" value form over substance. No matter what shape that form takes--ritual, dress, silent worship, ceremony, etc.--it's a barrier (the Lord would say a stumbling block) to the substance, Jesus Christ. He IS the reason for the religion, not the other way round. He is the energy we call life; he is the light that opens our eyes to what we can't see on our own; he is the voice that teaches us the ways of God. 

George Fox said in one of his pastoral sermons, "For all must come to the practice of the pure religion." That is, the religion that came from God, not man. Yet, religion from man is what happens when "they" value form over substance. Fox went on to say, "All the world does talk of it, but we must come to the DOING of it . . . " Emphasis mine. It's the "doing of it" that "they" skirt with their form.

Now, when I emphasize the doing I mean the pure religion that can only act in, by, and through Jesus Christ. There is no specified action save that of worshiping God, and that worship may include spontaneous praise, prayer, poem, song, expressions of joy for our Lord God, as well as silent worship. Beyond that we look to the Lord for everything, namely his companionship, for he does walk with us. And that's what "they" don't get because "they" think of him as being away. Maybe far away, or an arms-length away, or on-call away. That last one seems most likely for the "they" tribe.

In the pure religion we are Christ Jesus' companions just as his disciples were. And just as he taught them and opened things to them they couldn't know apart from him, so he does for us. No matter what it is, he does for us. It's humbling, amazing, exhilirating, and believable. It was the believable presence of Jesus Christ with them that allowed the disciples and later the saints and later still Quakers to withstand persecution. The believable presence of Jesus Christ is why the many Christians worldwide take beheading over renouncing Jesus Christ.

Neither the Bible nor George Fox or any person or anything can give us what our Lord God gives us. What he gives us is beyond words. One must experience for himself or herself. Accept the Good News, walk with the Lord and find out Christ IS come to teach his people himself.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The First Way To Wisdom BASENAME: the DATE: Tue, 25 Oct 2016 11:35:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: bible, christ, good, jesus, jesus christ, joy, lord, praise, prayer, religion, secular, spirit, worship ----- BODY:

I give what the Lord gives to me. Yesterday and the day before were restless, gray days for me. Two things veiled my spirit: worry about my country and an unsettled sparring match with a Meeting surrogate. As the day turned to evening these two worrisome issues prompted an internal dialog. I went over what was troubling me and presented the situations clearly. I'll tell this to the Lord, I thought. It would be redundant; he already knew but I vocalized anyway, though not as clearly. I prayed for his help, his guidance. Then, still feeling veiled, I said I would wait upon him knowing he would answer my prayer.

This morning I continued to read my printed The Antipathy Between Prophecy and Religion before settling into my reading preparation for worship. My final read  was the Bible and today's read was the last chapter of Colossians. Verses 5 and 6 appeared to me as if they were lately inserted. Here's the quote:

     "Be wise in the way you act toward those who are not believers, making good use of every

     opportunity you have. Your speech should always be pleasant and interesting, and you should

     know how to give the right answer to everyone."

Amazed, I read it over, highlighted it, and eventually wrote it out in my notebook. But before I did that, I prayed the Lord would make me wise in the way I act toward those who are not believers. That was all.

I settled for worship and in that worship, the Lord gave me my first lesson on these matters. I wrote that too in my notebook: The first way to wisdom toward those who are not believers is to stop listening to or reading anything of this world (secular). He showed me that I can't keep my mind and thoughts on Him when I let the world intrude. I got on my knees and thanked him, praised him.

As I thought about this new way for me I began to comprehend the gift it truly was. I saw I was freed to help others. What a joy to be the servant of our Lord and others. What a blessing. Praise be to Jesus Christ forever and ever.


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Thoughts And Questions BASENAME: thoughts-and-questions DATE: Tue, 25 Oct 2016 10:43:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ----- BODY:

When you look at creation on earth and in outer space you might be moved to glorify it. The beauty and awe of the natural world can fill you with a terrible longing, a longing that seems unquenchable, even to the point where you want to embrace it unto fusion. In that state of ardor it seems intuitive to deem creation Divine.

But creation is not a stand alone entity that harbors a place where you are welcomed, tended to, and cared for. Creation itself is tended to by the one who created it. It has its purpose and carries out that purpose "in accordance with a prescribed design" (American Heritage Dictionary  1981), which suggests an end to the project. You might say creation is a means to an end. That end might surprise you.

 

We have our purpose, too. Since everything in the universe appears to have been purposed to establish and nurture humankind, humankind has been purposed to love their Creator above all and to love their neighbors as themselves.

 

How happy the people of the United States will be when the Lord is again their King.

 

Is Meeting for Worship just for "waiting upon the Lord?" No. It's also for praising and giving thanks to our Lord; for dialoging with Him; for edifying and exhorting Meeting.  

 

 Two things never change. Truth and Love. God pours His love over everyone, the good and the bad, because He loves all of humanity. 

He pours truth into everyone. And he knows the truth about everyone. That's why he tells us to worship him in Spirit and Truth.

 

Psalm 22 is like a symphony in three movements. I want to think more about this.

 

Passover. The blood of the lamb was the blood to save them (Jews) from death; so then they were not to eat meat with blood still in it after that because life is in the blood and blood takes away sins.

Jesus is life, and he sacrificed his life for our sins that we might be saved. By His resurrection he defeated sin (death). No one has to die anymore if he/she is circumcised by the Spirit.

 

I wonder if the declining birthrates predicts the Lord's gathering of His people to Himself?

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Three Days' Pearls BASENAME: three-days-pearls DATE: Sat, 15 Oct 2016 17:35:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: Christ hope prison truth ----- BODY:

6th Day

Can we rightfully complain about anything in this world? Did not the Lord let me see that because the world was corrupted from the Fall, evil runs rampant? That we expect anything different is amazing. Christians, however, have hope; atheists have no hope.

7th Day

Where did I read, what passage in scripture did I see a verse that implied--if not stated directly--that only Jesus Christ can free us from prison, as was done for Peter, the apostle. 

8th Day

Prison is darkness. Only the Holy Spirit can open the chains that bind us in darkness.

All are bound in darkness until we are redeemed through the grace of God.

What if someone doesn't want to be freed from the prison of darkness?

Christ teaches us what no man can teach us because no man knows our condition but Jesus.

Eph. 3:12

If we have the boldness to go into the presence of God through our faith and union in Jesus Christ, will we not have the boldness to speak truth in the presence of active disbelievers?

There is no glory for us on this earth. All our Christian doings are to the glory of God.

Anger, resentment, conceit, reciprocation, etc. warrant no place in Christian endeavors.

You've heard of the housing bubble and the next bubble. But the only bubble that truly exists is our blindness to truth; truth of our condition; truth of evil that overlays all of creation.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Faith BASENAME: faith-1 DATE: Sat, 01 Oct 2016 21:21:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: certainty faith instincts Quakers trust worldly ----- BODY:

Having faith doesn't mean believing in superstition. That thinking belongs to the ignorant and the atheists. Faith is not believing at all, really, but trusting--trusting in the Captain, Pilot, or Driver you've come to know over the many months or years you've traveled with him.

I had been thinking a lot about faith before I took a walk the first morning of a many days trip. My location at the time was a suburb of Chicago but my thoughts that morning were out west. I had traveled to Wyoming during the summer and returned home driving across Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin into Michigan. 

For some reason, Minnesota was a difficult state for me. I think the directional signs were not adequate and often confusing, at least for this traveler. I couldn't be certain I was going in the right direction. So when I was nearing the cusp of Minnesota/Wisconsin border I experienced a deflation of anxiety. Then the unexpected happened. My path homeward was blocked by two barriers and a ROAD CLOSED sign. That was it. No detour sign, no explanation, no one around to redirect hapless travelers. I did the only thing I could think to do, call 911.

The detour route the man who answered my call recited to me while I jotted on paper was long and complicated. I took off not knowing the drive would be a couple of hours and require additional instruction. Those instructions got me almost to where I needed to go, but I, trying to follow a map took a wrong road. I thank my Lord for providing me with a man who held some position in the county. On his way home he saw my confusion and bid me follow him to the highway that would take me to Wisconsin. 

But I wasn't out of the woods yet. I had another detour or maybe it was just a road I had to follow. I can't remember for sure, but what I remember is the darkening sky, the lack of clear directions, and the loss of other travelers. I guess there aren't many people who travel frequently into northeastern Minnesota heading to Wisconsin. I guess not many people live there either because there were fewer and fewer houses.

I kept following the road looking for signs that I was going the right way. Had it not been getting dark I would have done what you might say is my signature move--turn around and go back to see if I'd missed something.

On my walk that morning it was the recall of that trying journey that the Lord chose to use as my lesson in faith. He opened to me that my "signature move" was indeed a repeated tactic in my life. I saw that it hindered me and was unproductive. But why did I do it? For a lack of faith? No. For a lack of trust. I didn't trust Him who would lead me. I was trusting my worldly instincts instead of Him. Like everybody I was wanting certainty and looking in the world to find it.

George Fox admonishes us to keep to Christ when we've come to Him. When I first became a Quaker I practiced what he said and still do. I don't want anything to come between me and my Lord. I think sometimes about what could happen that would try my practice.

The first Quakers were persecuted for years in England. They were thrown in filthy prisons and dungeons; had their property confiscated; lost their livelihood; many lost their lives.

These Quakers didn't withstand the years of persecution because they believed in peace, or love of everyone, or justice, or any other abstract. They withstood persecution because of Jesus. They had trust in Him, not a grandiose vision lighting their eyes in rapture. They knew and loved Jesus Christ personally. They were His people. He gathered them to Himself.

Quakers were not of this world. When they defaulted to worldly status and reverted to their own instincts they encountered trouble, confusion, chaos. But they didn't see it that way. They were in darkness.

Quakers are not of this world. We belong to Jesus. He gathers us to Himself--to teach us, to lead us, to walk with us.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: I Had A Vision BASENAME: i-had-a-vision DATE: Wed, 07 Sep 2016 13:17:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: deniers hell judgement rejecters ----- BODY:

I had a vision of a long line of deniers and rejecters waiting their turn to come before the Judgement. The fellow before Jesus now stood mute as He recounted to him all that he had done--the good and the bad. 

The fellow wanted to smile when he heard the good but a shadow darkened his face as the Lord spoke the bad. The fellow couldn't deny the the bad but he gasped as Jesus revealed the fellow's deepest held secrets. He hardly allowed himself to think of them they were so verboten. What could he say? Jesus knew his darkest secrets. There was no where he could hide them anymore. 

Oddly, his spirit was relieved for the first time in decades. The relief he felt was like a caressing, gentle rain cleasing him. Oh why hadn't he felt this way before? 

Then his spirit quickened and he was filled with joy and a love for Jesus before him. "Oh my Lord, my Lord," he cried. "You are God. You are my God." 

The fellow fell to his knees and kissed the feet of Jesus. "You are my God, you are my God," he wailed, still kissing Jesus' feet. "I've been wrong all these years. I've been wrong. But now I've found you. No, no, you were with me all the time but I didn't want you. Now I want you. Only you. I love you. I never loved you before. I didn't think I could ever love you--this Love, I've never known this Love. If I had known this Love before--"

Jesus stopped the fellow. "What would you have done?" 

The fellow stood up and looked at Jesus. "Nothing," he confessed, closing his eyes. "But now I love you to the point where I can't get on without you."

Jesus looked at the fellow, sharing his grief. "I know," He said. "And you knew, but you chose not to believe this judgement would ever come. You chose to accept what others said, that no loving God would condemn anyone to Hell. You wanted to believe your enmity toward God would be miraculously overlooked because God is Love. But He is also Truth and He made it clear what He expected of you and what would happen if you disobeyed Him."

The fellow nodded, locked his fingers behind his head, turned and followed the Angel away from his only Love. As the fellow walked along side the seemingly endless line of people awaiting their turn at Judgement, he heard wailing and gnashing of teeth.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Thought The Lord Put To Me Lately BASENAME: love-is-willfull DATE: Wed, 07 Sep 2016 11:54:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: jesus god_s law love ----- BODY:

Love is a deliberate state of mind.

It's not an emotion or feeling toward another person or people. If that were the case we'd be waiting a long time for that feeling or emotion to express itself regarding some people. 

As much as we might like to think we  can love some others as we love ourselves, truth will out us eventually. Love for others reflects to ourselves, even parental or maternal love. It's for our sakes that we first love. Yet, it is a beginning of deliberate love. Paul encourages us to love purposely when he writes in Romans 15:7 "Accept one another, then, as Christ has accepted you."                                                                 

John says "This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven."  He is telling us God is the source of love. To truly love we first must know God. And to know him we must go through Jesus Christ. 

Coming to Christ is not so much a deliberate act as it is a spontaneous emotion. We hardly think about it. I say that because when we come to Jesus Christ we're responding positively to God's offer for salvation during our time of his visitation. (See Barclay, An Apology For The True Christian Divinity, Proposition 6, XXVII.) Once we've said yes, we must move on from there. That's a critical juncture. What becomes of our spontaneous acceptance depends on What? Encouragement from others, enthusiasm, curiosty, ability to contemplate, seriousness toward commitment? I don't know, but I do know that what goes on from that point does require deliberation.

Some years ago now while reading through Romans, I read a passage I had read several times before but this time focused my attention. (It's amazing to me that this is how we come to recognize the depth of the Bible.) The words from Paul were this: "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be."

What he's saying is more easily understood in the Good News Bible: "To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace. And so a person becomes an enemy of God when he is controlled by his human nature; for he does not obey God's law, and in fact he cannot obey it. Those who obey their human nature cannot please God."

What I heard Paul saying is this: coming under God's Law is a deliberate act. Much is involved in this deliberate choice which I won't go into here, but it corresponds to deliberate love. We come under God's Law by choice. So it is with love.

The admonitions about loving one another offer Jesus as the model to follow. But I say don't model yourself after Jesus, rather accept him as your teacher. Only though him teaching us are we able to learn the deep things of God that will cause us to a understand the why of love for others. When I say deliberate I mean it isn't something that happens to us, which is the character of carnal love.

Only Jesus can give us the experience of love. I recently described his love as a caressing, gentle rain that doesn't make us wet. To experience his love is beyond description; the memory will remain as the model and the teacher will further educate us on its use: how he sees us, how he delights in us, how he's grieved by our uncleanness, how his love for us established the way of our cleansing. He offers himself up to every person once. 

For that reason every person deserves our love; the caressing, gentle love only we can give as surrogates of Jesus to those broken in spirit, in immorality, in conceit, in lawlessness, in cruelty, in corruption, in deceit, in hostility; that they might know a cleansing experience and a turning to God, a deliberate act of love.

 

 

 

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: What Do You Expect? BASENAME: what-do-you-expect DATE: Thu, 25 Aug 2016 09:27:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: state of enslavement ----- BODY:

We need Jesus Christ in us because, as Paul writes in Romans 5:12, "... death has spread to the whole human race because everynoe has sinned." 

Not a one of us escapes sinning except we come to Jesus Christ and live in him. Through him alone can we die to sin and overcome our slavery to it.

What I just wrote seems analogous to the Israelites after being led out of Egypt, freed from slavery, yet wanting to go back to Egypt because their journey in the desert was difficult and not anything they expected it would be. What I wrote prompted the thought of people who come to Christ and believe themselves to be Christian, but will or want to go back to their state of enslavement to the material world because being Christian is too hard to maintain, or it isn't what they expected it was going to be. I can think of a parable with that theme: The Sower, Matthew 13:4.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Inferior, Tiny Voice BASENAME: inferior-tiny-voice DATE: Thu, 18 Aug 2016 10:08:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: jesus christ vs satan ----- BODY:

I'm eager to do more to turn people to Jesus Christ, their rock and foundation who never changes. But as I sit in worship the Lord reminds me that no endeavor is fruitful unless it's by and through him. That He didn't call me to expand beyond the meeting. His will is for me to be in the meeting to minister to them.

I fall to my knees to praise him--my King, my love, my joy. How great He is! Yet, as I bask in his glory my joy is clouded by an inferior, tiny voice marring my perfect thoughts. I know it's Satan. I think the words "get behind me Satan. You come to spoil whatever is perfect."

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Failing To Find God BASENAME: failing-to-find-god DATE: Thu, 18 Aug 2016 10:06:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: false god nietzsche seeking ----- BODY:

Thinking about how miserable I am when I don't do what God has willed me to do. It's no so much Him being angry with me but the sense of separation from Him that I feel. That separation feels like being totally alone in a vast nothiningness.

Nietzsche must have felt taht way when he disavowed God because he committed suicide. Who could tolerate for long absolute aloneness in a vast nothingness? Who could be with him in that oneness nothingness space when those sharing his active disbelief in God would not go so far as he did to see the truth of disavowing God? It wasn't punishment of God Nietzsche suffered. It was self-satisfaction with his audacious conjecture that failed to glory him when his guess bore no fruit.

Many people disavow God but don't experience that total aloneness (would be fear of God) because they create their own god--a god of their liking--a false god. This god of their liking is really them as god, but they don't see it that way. They suppress that knowledge, that self-deception, fiercely; otherwise, they would have to acknowledge God or be as Nietzsche.

So they are somewhat content to be in that middling state that allows them always to be "seeking" because they do know there is something more but don't want to find it. To find it would mean having to abandon their carefully created false god and submit to the one God--Yahweh. To let themselves off the hook, they are always seeking but never to find.

"Seek, and ye shall find." My Lord convicted me when He callenged my flippant response to a question put to me by a seasoned Quaker woman: "Are you a seeker?"

"I found what I was looking for," I said. But I couldn't stop thinking about my response until the Lord let me see I had not been a true seeker. At that moment I was broken and shattered, knowing I had truly found God. The Lord has blessed me ever since. Praise be to Him forever and ever.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Peace Pole BASENAME: peace-pole DATE: Sun, 14 Aug 2016 15:27:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: idols kings pagan places peace poles ----- BODY:

What would you call a peace pole?

Not long ago the Lord opend to me a vision of the Jews during the time of the kings hanging on to their wooden idols. Especially egregious among the kings were Jerobam, Ahab, Jehoram, Ahaz. The bad kings built pagan places of worship, led the people into being unfaithful to God, caused them to stop worshiping in the Temple of the Lord and to worship idols and images of the goddess Asherah. 

What I saw was a vision of people from our time hanging on to their idols. The Lord said to me that we Americans and all contemporary peoples are the ancient Jews. That's the purpose of the book 2 Chronicals, so we can see ourselves in them. People haven't changed from those of ancient times. 

I wondered as I thought of these things if those long ago Jews like us didn't see themselves as worshiping idols. We think nothing of consulting astrology or palm readers. We wear an amulet as a charm against evil or injury and would be incensed if someone told us we were being unfaithful to God. We worship peace, even creating a stick to worship the god of peace. The environment surely has a god, unnamed as yet and without its own devotional stick, but give us time.

God is as grieved and angry with us as he was with the ancient Jews. But he will, if we change our ways and honor him by living according to his purpose, protect and provide for us as he did for the ancient Jews. See 2 Chronicles 20:11.

It's my prayer, O Lord, that we will change our ways and honor your ways. Amen.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Praise and Glory BASENAME: praise-and-glory DATE: Thu, 04 Aug 2016 09:34:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god love man savior ----- BODY:

I am filled with joy.

My Lord, my God, my Savior has blessed me.

Blessed is my Lord.

He pursues us like a man pursues the woman he loves and wants for his bride.

He pours his love on us and in us.

He is the faithful husband.

He is the husband who cares for us and sees to our happiness.

He is the eternal glad tiding, the Almighty God who was, is, and always will be.

He brought forth all there is and ever will be.

Yahweh, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In him is Light and Life.

Praise and Glory to Him forever and ever.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Out Of The World and Worldly Spirit BASENAME: out-of-the-world-and DATE: Tue, 02 Aug 2016 12:28:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: church glory god jesus joy ----- BODY:

I read from Robert Barclay's Apology for the True Christian Divinity, Proposition 10, Concerning the Ministry, this morning as part of preparation for worship. I quote him below because the substance of what he wrote quickened my spirit.

"The 'Church' then, according to the grammatical signification of the word as it is used in the holy Scripture, signifies an assembly or gathring of many into one place; for the substantive. . . comes from the word. . . 'I call out of,' and originally from. . . 'I call,' and indeed as this is the grammatical sense of the word so also it is the real and proper signification of the thing, the Church being no other thing but  the society, gathering, or company of such as God hath called out of the world and worldly spirit, to walk in his Light and Life."

I love it: called out of the world and worldly spirit, to walk in his Light and Life! It's something all who call themselves Quakers should be quickened by, but that is not the case. It seems that walking in his Light and Life is more imagined than substantive for many.

Those called to gather in one place are diverse in their being, but when that diversity manifests itself among the gathered it's not welcomed: Revelations from the Lord are suspect. Openings from the Lord or holy Spirit are suspect. Praise and joy are non-existent except upon request. Kneeling and/or vocal prayer are taboo. Vocal conversation with Jesus would likely end at the psychiatric ward. Heaven forbid excitement, aka quickening. One is left with adhereing to a strict formalized worship wherein the Spirit has no play.

Quaker Meeting isn't only waiting upon the Lord. And when he speaks to us it isn't only in somber messages. He loves us and delights in us and we can only delight and rejoice in him with us if we allow him to be there. He IS come. He IS real. He walks with us. He talks with us. And YES he tells us we are his own. Such joy! and that joy leads to love, commitment, obedience, praise, and his glory. There's no greater joy than glorifying God.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Substance BASENAME: substance DATE: Tue, 26 Jul 2016 14:21:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: teacher substance word ----- BODY:

The Lord brought me back or rather he removed the veil that hindered me from his presence. All praise to my Lord, Jesus Christ, who hears my groaning and prayers and answers them. Without him I am like a puppy waiting for her master to come home. I am without direction, without purpose.

And it was nothing more than these words from George Fox that acted as catalyst to lift the veil: "Now they were to take it in Remembrance of  his Death; that was a state, and then they must come to die with him that was a nearer state then the taking Bread and Wine in Remembrance of his Death; and then they were to rise with him, that is another state; and if they were dead and risen with him, then to seek those things which were above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God; but Bread, Water, and Wine, these are below, and are not Christ, and they that have him are not Reprobates, neither do they need to have outward things to put them in remembrance of his death, where they are dead with him, and risin with him, and live with him: But them that will not die and suffer with him, such live in the old Nature, and would have outward things to put them always in remembrance of his Death; and such live in strife and jangling about outward Things, and Shaddows, and come not to the Substance Christ, which was before the world was made, in whom there is no strife but Life and Peace. (XXV Concerning Bread, Water, and Wine; Some Principles of the Elect People of God Who in Scorn are called Quakers, etc.)

Jesus is the Substance of all things that were made. Not one thing in all creation was made without him. (John 1:3) George Fox writes eloquently about the substance, distinguishing it from the figures, types, and shadows of the Old Testament which had to suffice until Jesus came into the world. Through him all mankind is reconciled to God. No man or womand is reconciled to God except through Jesus.

In our reconciliation with God we are given a Teacher, Jesus Christ, who is the substance of all we are to learn and know. Through him we learn how to be, how to love as he loves us, how to speak the Gospel, how to live according to his ways. Through him revelations are imparted to us. No one can know revelations except through him.

Many know his words but not the substance. Many know the Word but do not own him. They are those who have outward knowledge of outward ways and forms. They are pliable, conformable, and willful adherents. When the truth is placed before them they deny it. They wander in the desert, never trusting what is witnessed to them so they can own it for themselves. They see the Promise and suppose it's for tomorrow or it isn't what they expected and seek another way. The parable of the seeds fits them well  (Matt 13: 3-8) .

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: He Would Not Be God BASENAME: he-would-not-be-god DATE: Wed, 20 Jul 2016 14:55:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: devil god liar truth ----- BODY:

Jesus preserves us through his teaching. The day before I was to leave for a New Foundation Fellowship gathering, the Lord opened this to me: Never think your thoughts originate with you. Either they come from God or from the Devil. To believe you are the originator of anything is a lie, which comes from Satan.

In John 8:54-55 Jesus is harassed by Jews in the Temple. They have asked him who he thinks he is and "Jesus answered, If I were to honor myself, that honor would be nothing. The one who honors me is my Father--the very one you say is your God. You have never known him,but I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him, and I obey his word."

This is such an important discourse between the Jews and Jesus because he's saying that if he lies, he's no different from them, whose father, he had told them earlier, is the Devil. Jesus tells them again in verse 58 that he is speaking the truth and he is God: "I am telling you the truth," Jesus replied. "Before Abraham was born, 'I Am'."

He would not be God if he lied. Neither would believers be the Children of God if they denied knowing God, the Father. And knowing God, the Father is knowing that good comes only from him, including thoughts. I tell you this that Jesus said to me because we have a tendency to worship ourselves. It's good to be reminded we're created beings who are nothing without God.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Destruction Of The Body Of The Church BASENAME: destruction-of-the-body-of DATE: Sun, 19 Jun 2016 14:04:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: george fox two-edged sword ----- BODY:

I finally understand what two-edged sword means because I experienced it in action this morning. I stood up in meeting and spoke about George Fox. I related how he would send notice before entering a town or city inviting anyone who feared the Lord to come to meeting. People would come and he would speak truth to them, telling them about Jesus, their free teacher, their inward teacher, who is come to teach his people himself. The people who came, I said, were from churches with paid ministers and Fox would tell them their preachers were appointed by man, and not appointed by God and so were preaching the law of sin and death and were not feeding them truth. Fox was run out of town, beaten, severely once, and put in prision, but he never gave up, I said. He never stopped preaching truth, I said; he never backed down.

That was all the Spirit gave me, so I sat down. It didn't take long for the bodies to start popping up to speak in opposition to the Quaker history I had shared. The first speaker even said that George Fox would not stick around people who wouldn't listen. I thought that telling. But speaker after speaker tried to mitigate the message. I praised the Lord, for recounting anything let alone George Fox had not been on my mind. I knew that my path forward would be His doing.

As I sat in meeting after all the mitigators shot off their guns, the Holy Spirit opened to me these things: The destruction of the Temple was really the destruction of the body of the church. The people rejected truth; without truth there is no unity. Quaker meetings with the passing of the original bodies (temples) of God's Church have been destroyed. Christ is come to rebuild his Temple. I saw this as plainly as some see a vision of the future. Last night I had prayed my Lord would make me his servant. This morning I became his servant and will be his servant. The members of the meeting are stymied, praise be to Him who was from the beginning and will be forever and ever.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: I Have Not Become Very Little BASENAME: i-have-not-become-very DATE: Mon, 06 Jun 2016 14:17:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god-centered self-centered ----- BODY:

Isaac Penington advised a Friend "And so, sink very low, and become very little, and know little;" (Quaker Spirituality Selected Writings, P. 148).

I've read that line many times and heard it often on a cassette recording I had from Portland, Maine Monthly Meeting. Intellectually I understood its import, but not its essence, as was shown to me this day in worship. I think the disclosure started in yesterday's Meeting for Worship, wherein there was a lot of self-worship but no God or Christ worship. I must include myself in this instance, not as a self-worshipper but rather as a self-centered one.

An earlier read from George Fox was the impetus for contemplation during worship. In The Journal of George Fox, edited by John L. Nickalls, p. 294, Fox recounts an episode in Wales. A large group of people were gathering for a meeting but Fox stepped away from the gathering "for I had a great travail upon me for the salvation of the people." A man who was loving to Friends came to tell George the crowd was very large (and perhaps restless). Fox sent him up to the meeting, following him shortly. "And so I passed up to the meeting and stood a-top of a chair about three hours and sometimes leaned my hand of a man's head, and stood a pretty while before I began to speak . . . And at last I felt the power of the Lord went over them all and the Lord's everlasting life and truth shined over all." 

He stood a-top a chair for three hours! That he did that so captured my mind I couldn't stop thinking about it. Why, I asked myself. What was in his standing that I needed to learn of? As I contemplated my question I thought of our call to glorify God in all that we do. George Fox was a man of God. How long he had to stand a-top a chair was secondary to glorifying God. His charge was for the people to come into the power, the life, and truth of the Lord. Physical discomfort wouldn't stop him from doing that. Furthermore, he knew the Lord would hold him up for as long as necessary.

In our times we wouldn't tolerate standing for three hours. We wouldn't see the necessity of doing so. If people can't get it in a specified time frame that's their problem, not ours. We're too important to waste our time on people who obviously don't want to understand what we're peddling. And truthfully, the people gathered to hear wouldn't tolerate a lengthy program either, because anything being said is often of little or no substance. As I thought these things I thought too that I had a charge to glorify God whenever I spoke in Meeting. That charge was heavy on me until people started speaking in Meeting, a grievous, sorrowful time.

Then this morning in worship yesterday's First Day worship revisited me. Maybe it was the self-worship of that Meeting that triggered my thoughts, for I thought of my own self-indulgence in worship. The Lord let me see that my worship was quite often not God-centered but self-centered. I wasn't seeing myself as God's servant, rather I was treating God as my servant. How so? I didn't wait upon the Lord. No, I waited for the Lord to give to me. When I was excited for worship it was for what opening the Lord might have for me; what teaching He might have for me; what joy He might bring me that day, etc. I wasn't waiting to hear him to learn his will that I might glorify him. My worship was all about me--a twist on President Kennedy's admonition: Ask not what you can do for God; ask what God can do for you.

What an opening! The Lord also let me see that worship can't be confined in a time frame; that too is self-serving. Neither is worship subject to sleepiness: too little sleep, don't worship. The Lord didn't put that burden on me; I put it on myself. Maybe it's that "wanting to do more" creeping in. 

Realizing all these things brought me to my knees. I recalled Isaac Penington's words,"become little, very little." It's one thing to know what he means; it's another to come to it.

 

 

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Matter Of Surrender BASENAME: a-matter-of-surrender DATE: Fri, 03 Jun 2016 11:07:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: faith need trust ----- BODY:

This the Lord opened to me this morning in worship. We have famine when we fear He will not provide for us. If we had faith; if we trusted what our Lord says, no one would know famine or want of any kind. Yet Jesus said the poor will always be with us.

If our faith is weak we wander in the wilderness like the Israelites (Num 14:20-25), not trusting God will provide, yet all the while accessing all that he provides for us.

Perhaps in restlessness and unbelief, we take matters into our own hands, i.e. rebel, and we die out of the cover and protection of our rescuer, as Korah and his followers did (Num 16).

Or we want more, as Peter wanted more when Jesus washed his feet (John 13:10). For someone to do for us makes us dependent on him. But we want to be in control of ourselves, to do for ourselves. To be indepentent makes us strong we are told.

The Lord opened these things to me because I had worried about not having enough of a particular product for the month. He reminded me I was looking at myself as being poor, though He had shown me before that that perception of myself was Satan's deception. 

But much else was on my mind and the Lord beckoned me to worship first this morning rather than after my preparatory reading. During that worship, with all manner of imagages flying in and out of my mind, I finally settled to wait upon Him. So came to me was the deception of famine and want and how stories of the Old Testament repeatedly showed the Israelites' lack of faith in God despite all the miracals He performed for their benefit.

I thought, too, of the Sermon on the Mount wherein Jesus said "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." That verse has always confounded me until this morning when I saw the Israelites wandering in the wilderness unable to access the promised land because they doubted the Lord, their God.

I had provided an excuse for myself many years ago. I didn't recognize it as such until this morning when the Lord opened it to me. I made up and repeated to others this statement: Lord, teach me again and again, for I am slow to learn and quick to forget. Yet, it's not true. I learn whether quickly or slowly; forgetting is a want of faith. I think if I were to live by that statement I would wander in the wilderness of heaven with the Israelites.

The Lord also envisioned to me that we receive no more, no less than we need. The Israelites in the wilderness found that out when some of them ignored Moses' admonition not to keep any of their manna for the next day (Num 16:19-20). What do we need more than that which the Lord provides for us?

My brother has been expounding for a couple of weeks this idea about wanting more. The Lord opened to him as he read through Acts 4: 32-37 that people want to do more; want to determine what's needed instead of being told what is needed by the person or the Holy Spirit. We see what is given as not sufficient and do more to compensate. It's like picking more manna than needed and hoarding it for the morrow or giving people more than they're capable of receiving.

It's easy to say trust in the Lord but hard to own that trust. God never demands from us what we can't do. We can have unwavering trust in Jesus Christ. He brings us to it in all his capacities. It's a matter of surrender, as Peter had to surrender to our Lord and Teacher, Jesus. 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Prayer And Patience Addendum BASENAME: prayer-and-patience-addendum DATE: Tue, 31 May 2016 18:00:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: patience praise ----- BODY:

My blog post from October 6, 2011, Prayer and Patience, is pasted below.

It will take the power of the Lord to keep me on the path of prayer and patience in resolving the situation with a real estate agent. She owes me a referral fee for a listing I referred to her, which she subsequently sold without ever informing me she had listed the property, even though I had inquired about it. She owes me money; it's been acknowledged by others; she knows she owes me the fee.

My first inclination is to employ whatever coersive instrument is available to me to obtain my money. However, the Lord opened to me that praying for Lori's heart to be softened is the instrument of choice and then trusting in God to resolve the matter. The Lord is teaching me that the better path is for the denier to come to the truth in her heart. Resentment will not follow as it would with coercion.

Perhaps the Lord has a different ending from that which is important to me, and I am an instrument to accomplish that ending. I don't know; I don't want to speculate. What I know is that I am being guided to handle this matter with prayer and patience, a notion that is new to me.

I don't know that I haven't put someone else in a similar situation and they prayed for me. Isn't the love and teaching of Christ to be spread among all people? Isn't this one way of doing that: to let the power of Christ work in another's heart to bring him/her to truth and salvation? Is this not a reason to praise God and thank our Lord Jesus Christ? Yes, praise and thanks to God and Jesus Christ, my Lord and teacher, for his teachings.

Let us pray.

Since that origial writing I have added several addendums, which I share with you today. The first one I wrote in the margin in 2015 as a confession. The other addendum I wrote May 20, 2016 and will incorporate writings from George Fox.

"These words I wrote four years ago are as pertinent now as when I wrote them and they are the words of Jesus Christ. Yet, I failed him. I didn't wait in patience. I didn't trust. I didn't do anything (he wanted) for very long that he would have me do." (2015)

"The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matt 26:41) May 20, 2016

"And when the priests could not get down our meetings with their rude rabble, then they would write to Oliver Protector that we met to plot to bring in King Charles; and so went about to make them treasonable meetings: but the Lord did give them their portion at last as is said before, and his lambs and birds did escape their snares and gins. All these things were of service for Truth for it manifested them and their fruits to sober people, and all these things did work together for good to them that feared God. For we knew that not a sparrow could fall to the ground without the will of the Father who upholds all things by his word and power, and carries his lambs in his arms and brings them to mount up, as on eagles' wings, over all their storms, and waves, and floods that they cast out against us.  His name has the praise for ever and the glory, who is worthy of all, who is the helper of his people and their rock and foundation, and with them in all their afflictions and their deliverer out of the six and seven troubles, yea, even the perfection of troubles." (P276, 277, The Journal Of George Fox, edited by John L. Nickalls)

"Let waves and persecutions and whatever come, here in this, stand to be preachers and possessors of this. They know in it their end, even everlasting life." (P226 That Thy Candles May Always Be Burning, Sermon IX)

 I included the above passages because they seemed to me as I read them the same day I reviewed the initial blog post to demonstrate the strength of patience the Lord will give us to withstand the storms, waves, and floods cast against us if we trust in him. That trust for me is hard to come by, though my trials are minuscule compared to those of the early Quakers. Yet I am much farther along than I was in 2011. Praise to God.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: My Goodness BASENAME: my-goodness DATE: Tue, 10 May 2016 06:40:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: c_s_ lewis goodness the great divorce ----- BODY:

Oh, my goodness--and He is my Goodness--I was just going to write in my notebook for later development this recognition: everything thing I know and understand comes from God. My intelligence is no greater now than it was x number of years ago, but my spiritual growth these last two, three years has been phenomenal. Still, prior to this growth, whatever it was I realized or whatever great thought I had came from God, but I was arrogant enough to believe I had some special insight or prophetic bent. Yet, what did I know of my own? What I knew then came mainly from this world; only glimpses came from God. Still, those glimpses were to be relished.

So all of the above is preface to the Oh, my goodness. I descended to the basement to complete my morning toiletries and picked up the C.S. Lewis book I've been reading in spurts for nearly a year now. Actually, it's five books in one cover, so I'm reading The Great Divorce. Very confusing to me initially, probably because I don't read it regularly. I'm beginning to understand what's going on now, and this morning I was shocked and delighted to read a paragraph that concurs with the aforementioned preface. Let me quote the essential part for you:

" I obeyed. To lean on the arm of someone older than myself was an experience that carried me back to childhood, and with this support I found the going tolerable: so much so, indeed, that I flattered myself my feet were already growing more solid, until a glance at the poor transparent shapes convinced me that I owed all this ease to the strong arm of the Teacher. Perhaps it was because of his presence that my other senses also appeared to be quickened. I noticed scents in the air which had hitherto escaped me, and the country put on beauties."

This is an aside. When I began to understand what Lewis was getting at, I understood the transparent shapes he alludes to are the types, figures, and shadows (particularly the shadows) George Fox alludes to in his sermons. Yes, we human beings are not substantial until we die to the Law through Christ Jesus and are reborn in the Spirit. Only then to we gain life and substance.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Joy, Joy, and More Joy BASENAME: joy-joy-and-more-joy DATE: Sun, 08 May 2016 12:30:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christianity joy misery quaker message ----- BODY:

Joy, joy, and more joy. But first let me tell you the misery I went through last week--because I didn't follow the will of my Lord last First Day. I was sent to Quaker Meeting to give the true Quaker Message to those who claim to be Quaker but are not because they've never heard the Quaker Message. What they have heard is some other, not-Quaker message.

Quakers of the early Nineteenth Century did not keep under the teaching of Jesus Christ and so Satan got in and snookered them into beliving man's theory of creation. Soon it was science, philosophy, psychology, and psychiatry teaching them. Then it was all the isms from the Middle East, the Far East, the Near East and Europe. Now, it is a smorgasbord: pick and chose, mix and match, whatever works for you. Who needs God when we have an abundance of stuff that sounds like it might be worth a try? Christianity is so, so OLD, so COMMON, so NOT EXCITING.

Ah, yes, this is the atomosphere Christian Quakers must venture into, because the Lord wills it, at least for me. For the Quaker Message is despised in Quaker Meetings like it was among Christian sects of Seventeenth Century England. A harangue from disgruntled members and attenders is nothing compared to the misery that ensues when you don't follow His will. Like Moses I gave excuses--to myself, because He wasn't being fooled. On the way to Meeting this morning, I got to thinking about the time when George Fox was so tempted to dispair he felt as if he had sinned against the Holy Ghost. I wondered was my misery akin to his because that's what I was thinking in my perplexity and dejection.

The message I didn't give last First Day I gave this First Day. Whether anyone heard it I don't care. It's not for me to make anyone listen; it's to speak the gospel and let the seeds fall where they will. My job is to keep giving the message and witness.

I sat back in my seat to let the angst and heart pounding subside. Then, opened to me, today, in that Meeting, was this truth: it's not about George Fox, Roberty Barclay, or Rhonda, etc., or Quaker Meeting, or Quaker way, etc. It's about Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of Quaker faith. Sunshine filled the windows; my face lit up with a smile. What Joy!

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Perfect Being BASENAME: redemption DATE: Tue, 03 May 2016 12:35:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: hopelessness nero redemption rome serpents ----- BODY:

In his An Apology for the True Christian Divinity, Propostition 7, Robert Barclay states:

"We consider then our redemption in a two-fold respect or state, both which in their own nature are perfect though in their application to us the one is not, nor can be, without respect to the other. 

"The first is the redemption performed and accomplished by Christ for us in his crucified body without us." 

I wrote in the margin, An important statement. We (humans) had no part in the first aspect of redemption. 

I don't know if it's Barclay's point but it seems it must be because what he's saying underscores our helplessness to free ourselves from wrong doing, i.e. sinning.

The tangled mess of wrong doing is especially fresh in my mind this morning because I'm reading a "docu-novel" (author's characterization) titled The Flames of Rome, which documents the horrors and depravity of Rome during the time of Nero (A.D 54-68). Most of the people depicted envision for me slithering, entwined Serpents. Corruption, cruelty, carnal satiety was the norm.

I recommend you read the book. I would have very high school junior read it before going on to American History--the real history of its founding. Because the difference between America as founded compared to what America has become is stark. What America has become is a near mirror image of Rome in A.D. 47 onwards.

But America's forced decline isn't my topic. Redemption and those slithering, tangled snakes is. For nothing those Romans did is different from what we do, have done, or are capable of doing, lest we put ourselves on too high a pedestal.

How much ugliness can a people or nation stomach? When does a people or nation begin to realize its condition is hopeless? When does the voice of the people cry out, I don't want to live in ugliness anymore? 

What then is the answer? More and stronger government? But what is government composed of but people. People no different from the slithering, entwined snakes of former governments though they will claim otherwise. Can it ever be any different?

These past weeks the Lord has opened to me something so beautiful in concept, so true and pleasing, yet not easy to imagine let alone accept. 

When Jesus looks at us He doesn't see our outward form and features. He sees us as the perfect being He created. And He delights in all His perfect created beings. But He is grieved by our uncleanness; that is by our sinful nature.

In our uncleanness He cannot delight in us. For our uncleanness is a barrier to knowing Him, to walking with Him, to loving Him. We're slithering snakes tangled in darkness. 

He gave us the way to be cleansed, however, through His blood; His blood spilled out from His crucifiction to be sprinkled on our hearts. This is the sacrifice man couldn't have a part in but is beneficiary of.

The gift of grace, forgiveness of sins, is His love to us if ever we realize our condition is hopeless and seek the answer to our condition.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: What You Can Do BASENAME: what-you-can-do DATE: Thu, 21 Apr 2016 10:21:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: meaning real reality spiritual substance ----- BODY:

Our lives are real, but they're also spiritual. And the spiritual is the more important of the two, as it is the substance of everything. Without substance there is no real, ergo, the spiritual is reality.

So everything in our lives, everything that happens in our lives, every act we do in our lives has a meaning, a spiritual meaning just as the Bible does. The stories, the people, their actions recorded in the Bible are real and have a meaning, a spiritual meaning. And the meaning was for the people involved and for the people coming after them, right down to the present time.

That's why pretending to have power to jettison what was and has been is untenable. To jettison the reality and meaning of what came before is not unlike drifting without an anchor in a vast, lifeless ocean or floating untethered in breathless space. You can't jettison substance, which is the reality of all things. But you can confine yourself to the meaningless void which begets no reality, ergo, no life.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Quickening The Spirit BASENAME: quickening-the-spirit DATE: Wed, 20 Apr 2016 10:20:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: glory praise speaker spirit ----- BODY:

"God spoke that was the speaker to Adam and Eve in paradise." (Sermon VI) That George Fox repeated this revelation of the Spirit often in several of his sermons attests to its importance. He exhorts us to hear the voice of the Teacher, Christ in us and to remain with him.

My custom for preparation for worship is to pray my reading is profitable to my worship and prayer. In the moments before proceeding this morning I saw that the voice I heard was the voice George Fox heard was the voice Adam and Eve heard.

Nothing can quicken the spirit but God. Just the thought of Jesus walking and speaking with me quickens my soul. So too did it George Fox. Listen to him at the end of a paragraph from Sermon VII. He's not speaking, he's projecting: [In] the time of Whitsuntide, so called, the Jews dwelled in booths, in green booths, and there was a feast. They had several feasts. In the old covenant they had the outward booths and "feasts of tabernacles." Now in the new covenant they come to be grafted into Christ Jesus, and in him every plant grows green always, in the second Adam, who was and is, and will be without withering to all eternity. Glory to God! Praises, praises, and glorious renown is over all to the Lord God everlasting, forever! Emphasis added to depict his quickened spirit from Christ in him speaking to him. That spirit-quickening experience is what George Fox assiduously exhorts us to know and knowing it to hear the speaker to Adam and Eve in paradise.

Early on in his journal recounting his disgust with those who professed to be Christian, Fox wrote, "And when all my hopes in them and in all men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could tell what to do, then, Oh then, I heard a voice which said, 'There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition', and when I heard it my heart did leap for joy. Then the Lord did let me see why there was none upon the Earth that could speak to my condition, namely, that I might give him all the glory[.]"

Glory and praise to God is the only satisfying response from the quickened spirit.

On page 142 (Sermon VI) George Fox asks, "Would any know who was the Quakers' first speaker?" Such an important question.

When George Fox preaches he never tells us how we have to be. He admonishes us to keep in the Spirit. Keeping in the Spirit is the only way to know how to be.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Jesus Doesn't Quarrel BASENAME: jesus-doesn-t-quarrel DATE: Tue, 12 Apr 2016 13:49:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: jesus love quarreling ----- BODY:

Jesus loves me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so.

The old Christian children's song could add, because He tells me so and I experience it.

Paul speaks of Jesus's love for us in Eph. 3:17-19: "I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you, together with all God's people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ's love. Yes, may you come to know his love--although it can never be fully known--and so be completely filled with the very nature of God." God's very nature is love.

Last night while sitting in bed praising my Lord for his love and greatness, I had this thought. When Adam said Eve caused him to eat the forbidden fruit, God heard instead Adam was corrupted; love had already departed from him  when he blamed someone else for his failure to keep God's command. The process of disintegration had begun.

Jesus says in John 10:10, "The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy." The thief is Satan. Like the spore of black mold planting itself on a damp surface, Satan planted himself in man through Adam and grows darkly in him to eventually disintegrate him. Except the love of Jesus acts to remove the mold and be the barrier to prevent it returning.

It takes time for human bings to be totally cleansed of the filthy mold. I've written before about Satan whispering in our ear or parking in our mind, i.e., nothing bad will happen if you do such and such. (See blog post A Harmless Voice?) We must always be on guard because Satan is often a con artist thief. That which we take no notice of as being evil because it's customary is the very glee of the Thief. Quarreling with another or contradicting another is a Satan glee we take no notice of. Who doesn't argue? I'll tell you who doesn't. Jesus. He rebukes us, but He doesn't quarrel with us. How do I know this? Because I've been quarreling with a Friend for about a week and a half. But no more. See, Jesus schooled me on love before and after the argument began.

Prior to the argument I lived in a glorious place for several days where I experienced the love of our Lord. Words can't describe that love. Yet, I'll try. It isn't anything He did but what He didn't do. He didn't make me feel as I have often felt about myself: if I only did this or was only like her . . . I would be liked and loved by all. With Jesus I didn't feel incomplete. I felt whole. I liked myself without reservation. He liked me without reservation.

During that time whenever anything negative came to mind about myself or another, I knew it was Satan, because Satan is out to destroy what is good and beautiful and worthy. Just realizing it was Satan cleared the Devil from me. I began to recognize my tendency to project on to others my negative assessments of myself and that there was no need for either. I felt joyous sensing I could love others truly as Jesus showed me how.

My glorious time ended abrubtly with an email. The confidence in myself Jesus had inspired disappeared as did the sense of His presence. Was I wrong, I wondered? Was He rebuking me? I found myself unable to think clearly about Satan, as though my mind had dulled. Had goodness been stripped out of me? Could that even be possible? No, but I was feeling anxiety. Finally, as a kind of release valve, I spilled the episode to those in Meeting for Worship. It was really a prayer to God.

I hadn't yet read the response email from the Friend. When I did read it, the Friend had not increased the tension but still I wanted to be right. I recognized it was Satan working again. I would not respond but the desire to be right lingered through the day. What could I write that would open him to the rightness of my position? He hadn't persuaded me to the rightness of his. But was rightness really the issue?

The following night I closed my eyes in silent prayer. Jesus appeared in a vision to say I don't quarrel with you. From that still, small voice I understood that to quarrel is to say to the other, you're incomplete, not me. To contradict another out of hand is saying, you're incomplete. That is not love. That is Satan tearing down.

When we belong to Jesus, He rebukes us in the process of teaching us. That is love because He is lifting us up to a higher level. We as His desciples must think of lifting others, too, and understanding that Jesus works in the heart of those who come to Him; and the Holy Spirit wrestles with man and woman in their time of visitation wherein the offer of salvation is given.

The love of Jesus is pure and beautiful. He tells us to love one another as He has loved us. As He is with us and walks with us and teaches us so we can love one another in a way that says, you're whole.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Choice. BASENAME: a-choice DATE: Sat, 09 Apr 2016 19:37:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: witness ----- BODY:

We all witness.

Every day, every hour of every day, every minute of every hour we witness.

We witness either God or the Prince of this World.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Battle Continues BASENAME: the-battle-continues DATE: Sun, 20 Mar 2016 11:58:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: george fox jesus satan spiritual warfare ----- BODY:

Only a few weeks ago I wrote that I felt encouraged about the direction I perceived the Meeting going in--at least early Meeting.

Last First Day I was moved by the Lord to speak of salvation; that salvation wasn't for those who had gained it, but for those who were in need of it. That had been a startling opening to me. As I spoke one woman left; the others remained but the atmosphere was charged. I left with but one handshake, and when I got home I asked our Lord Jesus, "Is it time for me to go? These people are hardhearted. Their minds are closed, their ears are stopped, their eyes are covered. Why can't I just stay with NFF and be happy?" He didn't respond in his usual form. Instead, He gave me a vision of some members of Meeting, as if to say, don't abandon them.

I don't know what I expected, but I thought to myself after that vision: they don't know how much the Lord loves the Meeting, i.e. them. So I told them this First Day, with the details as quoted above. Some members who had come specifically to challenge me stood as I spoke and one came to remove me from worship. I would not acquiesce to her request that I go speak with her outside of Meeting. I said I wouldn't leave Meeting but would speak with her afterward. Her response, "I won't have the time." Members were cordial to me after Meeting broke, but the angry woman waited to accost me as I left.

She said (among other things), "You want to change us."

I was quite unsettled as I walked to my car. On the way home I thought I should have said to her, "Why do you say that? What do you think I want to change you to?"

At home, still unsettled, I came to my office and worship space in the basement. All I knew to do was to get on my knees and be still. I moved to the chair after a bit. As I sat waiting on the Lord, I was reminded--as part of a conversation with myself addressing what passed in Meeting this morning--that I had dedicated myself to Jesus; I gave myself to Him; sold myself to Him, so to speak, to be His slave. He can do with me as He will, I said. "Even put me through the fire," I heard from one not of myself. Yes, He can do whatever He wants because I belong to Him.

I realized I must think more deeply about belonging to Him in the sense that what He might ask of me might cause me pain and suffering.

"I wish I could say things to you (Red Cedar Friends) as the Lord gives them to me, but you don't like it when I do. Yet, I only came to the Lord because George Fox led me there. Don't you think it ironic that the man responsible for organizing and setting up Meetings is barred from speaking Truth in them in our times?"

I found the following an interesting feature of this whole episode. March 18, 2016, I copied from George Fox, Sermon VI, p.148: "Be obedient to his spirit, power, light, and life."

I apologize for all the drama, but this is spiritual warfare. Satan doesn't want any interference with his plans. The Lord has gifted me with this task. It's good to have somewhat of a refuge.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: An Apology for the True Christian Divinity BASENAME: an-apology-for-the-true DATE: Tue, 08 Mar 2016 11:24:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: barclay book of james george fox ----- BODY:

Robert Barclay, the Book of James, and George Fox, all enlightened me this morning through our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Robert Barclay in his Apology for the True Christian Divinity quoted from Hebrews 4:13, which is to say that there's nothing, nothing in this world that is not laid open to God. Barclay is saying that it is God's WORD, aka the Light, that works as His eyes and ears. And that made me think about the little things that we can do that we think are inconsequential. An example would be yesterday, my having a negative thought about what another driver did; I immediately felt chastised and knew I had the wrong attitude toward the person. I thought this morning that chastising is the Lord bringing me to perfection. He's working in me.

Reading the Book of James, which I'd been reluctant to read, but reading chapter two, again I saw his words as saying that we can't just say we have faith. We must demonstrate our faith in how we behave, act, and what we say. In other words so many people take it that we can't have faith without actions. They take that as doing good for others; they make it an outward thing, something outside themselves. I believe that James is telling us that having faith must be manifest in our behavior. People will know we have faith by what we do. Our outward actions will state our inward our faith. 

Then reading George Fox, particularly a portion of his sermon, what he says and how he says it. On page 143: "So they that were grafted into Christ Jesus, they witnessed the power of God, saw the light before false teachers were." That's the part: the light before false teachers were; in other words they are seeing Jesus before the Fall, so they see the perfection that was. "He is First and the Last." In other words, Jesus is the beginning of the book and the end of the book. And I thought, Wow!

And then going on to page 144, Fox says, "So now Christ is come that bruises the head of all false speakers, that reconciles all things in heaven and in earth, who sanctifies man. Man was not unclean before transgression."  See, man was not unclean before transgression; when he was in the Garden of Eden, he was not unclean; there was nothing about him sullied. "He must know translation, and know what sanctification is, and repentance, [he] must return to God again from darkness to light. . ." See we, Fox is saying, we in this world must return to God, in order to move away from the darkness, to travel from darkness to light, the light being Christ Jesus, and perfection and all good. Fox said man must know from within. So I wrote in the margin: He can't just know of it. He must know light, perfection, and good in himself. He must be able to say what it is he knows. Fox goes on to say, "He must know the washing and the cleansing, and the purification, before he comes into paradise again."

And so when I sat for worship, my fifteen minutes of worship, which I must say I didn't get through, the Spirit opened to me oh, so much. The Spirit was telling me, reviewing for me the ideas in James. It reminded me of the parable of the Talents. It was telling me of perfection. How Christ is perfecting us. Why it's so important to know that Christ is our teacher and that He speaks to us. He teaches us by talking to us, by leading us. He commands us. All of these things He's doing to bring us to that perfection. But as we're moving into that perfection, if we keep it to ourselves because we already have salvation, wouldn't we be like the third servant who buried the talents out of fear.

The Spirit opened to me  our salvation is not for us but for others. That as Christ is bringing us to perfection, our salvation is for others who need to be saved. It isn't money people need, it's truth so they can live. But of course Christ is Truth and  He is life, and He is the way to salvation. That is why our salvation is for others. As He continues to teach us and give to us, we are to take all that He has given us and open it up to others so they might come to salvation and repeat the whole process of sharing with others the riches Christ gives through His teaching. Glory to our Lord forever and ever. Amen

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Me and Mine BASENAME: me-and-mine DATE: Sat, 27 Feb 2016 12:50:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: constitution godly men joshua judges lord ----- BODY:

In the Book of Joshua, Joshua says to all the tribes of Israel: "And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Js 24:15).

Notice he didn't say want to serve the LORD. He said, We will serve the LORD. I make notice of that because as I was on my knees praying and acknowledging God's blessings on me this day, I said to Him, I want to obey you. Then I stopped because saying I want is different from saying I will. Saying I want to obey His will is putting the onus on Jesus, making me as a suckling babe.(Heb 5:12,13) But Christ Jesus has given me power. I am no longer child, a suckling babe. I know between good and evil, for He has taught me all these years and even more so the last few years. I erased want and said I will obey. Praise be to my Lord.

What I really wanted to point out to you this day is the response of the Israelites to Joshua's admonition. "The people replied, 'We would never leave the Lord to serve other gods!' (Js 24:16)". Yeah, right.

What we learn when we move into the next book, Judges, is that "[a]s long as Joshua lived, the people of Israel served the LORD, and even after his death they continued to do so as long the leaders were alive who had seen for themselves all the great things that the LORD had done for Israel" (Jg 2:7).

I had completed reading the Book of Joshua maybe a week ago and was thinking this morning about that verse in chapter 24, thinking how it applied to us, the people of the United States. I thought that as long as we as a nation had godly men who served in office, we followed the Lord.

When did we lose our godly men? Because now, we do not follow the Lord. And as with the Israelites when they stopped worshiping the LORD and started worshiping the Baals and Astartes, God has left us vulnerable to our enemies, external and internal.

Now you may think God has no part in our vulnerability; that it is man who forsakes us; or you may not see any vulnerablility, only a lessening of ability to provide for your needs and wants.

Without God, there is nothing. He is the Creator of all that is and ever will be. His power is mighty. His power is immense. He doesn't need you to believe He exists. Which is why when we as a nation hold a predominant view that He doesn't exist, our culture, our country begins to disintegrate. Where is the disintegration, you ask? 

On the lowest level, look at our roads, highways, bridges--all disintegrating. Homes are in disrepair due to higher taxes, higher costs for essentials, and lower or stagnant wages, or no jobs. 

The next level of disintegration is government economic, regulatory, social, and foreign policies.

On the next level is the loss of fidelity to the United States Constitution and the oath (affirmation) of office to preserve, protect, and defend it.

Next to the highest level is the disintegration of the family, divorce being the main culprit, followed by co-habitation, and fornication.

At the very top level, of course, is loss of the Christian worldview, which was supplanted by a Darwinin Evolution naturalist/materialist worldview. This worldview is so dominant in our culture that even people today who are devoutly Christian are subtley influenced by it.

As I worshipped this morning I groaned to my Lord that it is hard to escape the influence of this culture; it's hard to be in the culture (world) but be separate from or not of it. What did I hear? It was no less hard for Him when He lived with us.

Here's the thing. He has advantaged us with His Spirit that gives us the power to overcome. We are blessed who believe. Amen.

Now, Spread the WORD.

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Provocative Questions And More BASENAME: provocative-questions-and-more DATE: Sat, 20 Feb 2016 11:32:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: caesar wisdom ----- BODY:

April 11, 2015

Lord, what does one do, what does it mean, to love one's brother? I pray, help me to know and understand.

What does it mean to love one's enemy? I pray, help me to know and understand.

April 12, 2015

What I discovered this morning is that it is difficult to come to God in truth and spirit when one is in an area that harbors darkness.

April 15, 2015

Why would you listen to what man says over the Holy Spirit? First seek counsel from Jesus, as He is our inward teacher. Man knows only what is given him from Christ (the Word) or Satan, the fallen angel. I remember what was said about Satan: he doesn't know he's going to hell. We are erroneous in our thinking, rather imaginations, when we imagine everything is completed per Revelation. (Addendum 2.20.2016, Ah, but that's exactly what was opened to me when I experienced the vision of Jesus's hand bringing the Israelites across the Red Sea. See A Vision Dec. 12, 0215)

April 16, 2015

I can't help thinking, Lord, of how alone I am. Alone in the sense of growing older, therefore being out of the milieu. It's as if there is no place for me anymore. Then I realize I haven't lost anything and that I don't want to be a part of the world, the environment either, because it has nothing to do with You. Still, the loss of influence is perhaps the disturbing thing. Who will listen to me, or even grant that I (my generation) have wisdom to offer because to them (younger generations) because everything they know seems so advanced to them that anything from even the recent past is to be discarded as useless?

I pray you will help me understand these thoughts.

Worldly wisdom changes, but the wisdom of God endures forever. (See 1 Cor 2:6)

We can talk/preach about how corrupt man is, or we can talk/preach the way man can overcome corruption.

April 19, 2015

Deception is not so obvious.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Delight In The Lord BASENAME: discernment DATE: Fri, 19 Feb 2016 21:23:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ----- BODY:

Original March 29, 2015

 

Delight in the Lord.

He is your strength,

your refuge in times of trouble.

Delight in the Lord.

Whatever trials and troubles you bear

He means for them to strengthen you.

Delight in the Lord.

He is returning to us to settle

the battle in our favor.

Delight in the Lord. 

He reigns as King.

 

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Leaven And Toulouse Lautrec BASENAME: leavening DATE: Sat, 06 Feb 2016 13:07:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: supernatural toulouse lautrec ----- BODY:

My Lord Jesus opened to me in worship this morning the reason I felt out of the Spirit and distanced from Him this whole week. I prayed as we settled down for worship that Christ's Spirit would be with us and over us.

Many minutes went by before the Spirit opened to me the path that would take me to knowing what had disquieted me all week. Supernatural came first to mind as I wondered whether a Friend with whom I had had a dialogue regarding supernatural had further considered its reality. Accepting the supernatural is hard for Western peoples as their minds are saturated with naturalistic thinking which holds that there's nothing that exists beyond nature. This is true even of Christians who are quite unaware they act from a naturalist mindset.

I had read this morning from George Fox's journal this passage: "... and as I was sitting in a house full of people and declaring the word of life [to] them I cast my eye upon an unclean woman and told her she was a witch. And I was moved in the Lord's power to speak sharply to her and so she went out of the room; and people told me that I had discovered a great thing, for all the country looked upon her to be a witch. The Lord had given me a spirit of discerning by which I many times saw the states and conditions of people, and would try their spirits." Journal of George Fox, P. 155. The passage is one of many supernatural events George Fox tells about in his journal. It led me to  recall the leaven (yeast), specifically, Exodus 12:15, 19, wherein God tells the people that for seven days they must not eat any bread with yeast in it. In fact, on the first day of the seven, the woman of the house must get rid of all the yeast in the home.

Just yesterday I had listened to a program in which there was a question about leaven, but since I was a casual listener, I heard only bits of the response which seemed to say that if bad yeast is mixed in with good yeast the whole batch will be made bad. And because yeast rises, it will cause bad dough to rise expansively. 1Cor 5:6-8

In recalling that biblical command the Spirit layed open for me the source of my disquiet: four small books I had purchased at a market place in Chicago the Saturday before. They were only about four iches by three inches and two of them contained superbly duplicated Toulouse-Lautrec illustrations. I was enamored. Yet, the moment the source was opened to me, my disquiet and foreboding were lifted. I praised God in my heart, though it's sad I felt restrained to do otherwise.

I witnessed my experience to my companion worshiper and said I would do something else with the books. As worship continued I thought I would sell these books. But if there was something evil about them wouldn't the money I collected be corrupt, too? Then emerged a strong counter to selling them: burn them if there is something evil about the books. Immediately, my worldly, fleshly self said You can't do that. These are precious books and you'd deprive someone else from enjoying them. The argument was on. Are the books leaven or is the accusation just the imagination of an over-zealous religious freak?

There is that in me which objects strongly, like a strong-armed man holding me against a wall, to burning the books. Then there is that still, small voice reminding me that the worldly is of Satan. And all of George Fox's exhortations are to keep to Christ Jesus, who is the Light, Life, Truth, and the Way.

I asked my companion worshiper to pray for me. He sounded skeptical. He wasn't used to praying on demand but he would hold me before the Lord. I know what I will do.

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: PINNED TO THE WILDERNESS BASENAME: pinned-to-the-wilderness DATE: Fri, 22 Jan 2016 11:29:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: eternity jesus kingdom messiah ----- BODY:

I know from George Fox and Lewis Benson that God spoke through His prophets, and John the Baptist was a prophet--the last prophet, George Fox says. And the law or obedience to it is what the prophets told the ancient Israelites God wanted them to do and what would happen if they continued to disobey Him. John told the Israelites--Jews by that time--to repent of their disobedience to the law, for God had sent His Son to cleanse them of their sins against Him that they may live with Him in His Kingdom forever.

But no one can come into the Kingdom who has not been cleansed through His Son, Jesus Christ. And in order for you to be cleansed by Jesus, you must believe he was sent by God to carry out the means of cleansing, which was by sacrificing the first born male lamb that was without blemish, which Jesus was, and you must believe in the one who sent him to be that sacrifice.

So, Jesus's crucifixion was the slaughter of the sacrificial lamb to cleanse all who pin their sins on Him. We pin our sins on Jesus and he carries them away, just as the goat took away the sins of the ancient Israelites that were pinned on it before it was led out to the wilderness to die. Their sins were gone for that year, but they accrued more throughout the following year and the process had to be repeated. But Jesus wasn't sent to eternally cleanse sin, leaving us captive to sin the next year. We'd never have access to the Kingdom if that were the case.

The Israelites, later the Jews, thought of the promised Messiah as a strong-arm King who would defeat their enemies forever and rule them forever. They did not see Satan (the Devil) as their actual (real) enemy anymore than we do in our time. But Jesus as King came to defeat the real enemy not as a great warrior of this world but as the powerful King of the invisible realm. His resurrection from his death from mankind's sins was the final defeat of the enemy who brought upon creation corruption and death.

Eterninty for mankind was restored and God's Kingdom is open to us if we believe Jesus is Messiah and believe God sent him, which belief moves us from death (corruption) to life in the Kingdom, where we are taught by our teacher (Jesus), led by our shepherd (Jesus), ministered to by our Priest (Jesus), advised by our Prophet (Jesus), healed by our doctor (Jesus), counseled by our lawyer (Jesus), governed by our King (Jesus).

Christians are in the Kingdom of God if only we would remove the veil from our eyes and see it.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Who Is Groaning BASENAME: who-is-groaning DATE: Mon, 18 Jan 2016 17:00:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: grieving spirit ----- BODY:

The Spirit is grieved. I thought it was my grievance. But the Lord opened to me it is the Spirit in me that is grieved. I can't be grieved myself. The only difference between me and any non-Christian is Christ in me, and I in him. Otherwise, I would be a sinner and unable to grieve about the wickedness because I commit it.

When any one grieves because of the depravity that has overcome our culture, it is the Spirit grieving under the weight of evil. So, it is not I who groans, but the Spirit. The Spirit is grieved.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Post-Quaker Quakers BASENAME: post-quaker-quakers DATE: Wed, 13 Jan 2016 18:50:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: creation disbelievers light seed ----- BODY:

Some people believe all of creation constitutes God. And we, inhering in creation, are God by that virtue.

They are partially right. God IS in all creation and because we are part of God's creation, He is in us.

Paul puts it this way in Colossians 1:15-17, "Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God. He is the first-born Son, superior to all created things. For through him God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things, including spiritual powers, lords, rulers, and authorities. God created the whole universe through him and for him. Christ existed before all things, and in union with him all things have their proper place."

Jesus is in us. His light is in us. If we don't suppress this light, it shines from us according to our measure of it. Others will see the light within us, if we haven't suppressed it.

I was an English major at West Chester University in 1983 when I had the great fortune to have as professor Dr. Corr. But nothing is left to fortune. God was calling me to Him. I know this because Dr. Corr's light was shining in my eyes. I couldn't put words to it then because I actively disbelieved in God. I could only come up with the word aura to describe what I saw in him. I could only think he was religious, but I didn't know what religion. I didn't dare ask him or anybody.

A little later when I first became a Quaker and contemplated my change of heart toward God, I realized Dr. Corr's role in it. He was the first person who ever made me want to believe in God again. (Though as I sat in Meeting for Worship at the beginning I would think myself too far gone to ever believe again.) I wanted to believe because I wanted to experience the light that shined from Dr. Corr.

Quakers employ the word light frequently. From my first years in Quaker Meeting there were requests to be held in the light, meaning, to pray without praying. In other words, keep God out of it. Post-Quaker Quakers have succumbed to the great lie that all things come from nature, ergo, there is no God, save the one conjured.

George Fox, the first Quaker, wrote this about post-Quakers before there were post-Quakers: "The knowledge of thee in the spirit is life, but that knowledge which is fleshly works death. And while there is this knowledge in the flesh, deceit and self-will conform to anything, and will say, 'Yes, yes', to that which it [does] not know," because he knew Truth doesn't change with time. 

What does change with time is our desire to nurture God's seed sown in us (another beautiful metaphor for Christ) "of the increase of this seed there is no end. He was and is." George Fox, That Thy Candles May Always Be Burning. The abundance of the seed accords with the light in us. It's beautiful and that beauty radiates outward, shining in the eyes of those disbelievers on the cusp of change. They can't guess the joy that awaits them when they first believe.

Peace be with you.

 

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Making An Explosive Mixture BASENAME: making-an-explosive-mixture DATE: Thu, 07 Jan 2016 12:05:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: bible christ christians corinthians george fox pau ----- BODY:

I can hardly contain myself the revelation is so momentous.

Do you read the Holy Bible daily? Why not? Not enough time? Sure there is. You just don't deem reading it as important and that's too bad because you lose. Ah, you won't understand that because you don't read the Holy Bible daily. If you had been reading it daily you might understand what I am about to write. Although, if you have a mind to penetrate meaning you might find yourself intrigued.

If only I could talk you into reading George Fox, his Journal and his sermons, but today in particular his sermon from 1674 to London Yearly Meeting. Often I have said George Fox is a man of God, otherwise he could not know what he knows. You can't get it the way we get a certain wisdom just going through life. There's no depth in life, especially now as we regress culturally and spiritually to conditions man has lived in for most of his history. You can't comprehend that either, with your materialist mindset. You're thinking, look at all the technology we have.

Combine George Fox's sermon with 2 Corinthians 3 and you have an explosive mixture. But you say, I've read 2 Corinthians chapter 3 before and I didn't see anything more explosive than usual. Of course, not. To you the words lay as dead fish floating on the water. Though they have meaning per our language, it isn't the language of the Spirit. That language you cannot see, hear, write, or imitate to learn. You learn it when you are joined to Christ. Just as husband and wife join together and become one, Paul reminds us in 1 Cornithians 2:16: "But we [Christians] have the mind of Christ." As a mother transfers her brain to her children, so does Jesus Christ transfer his mind to Christians in union with Him. Better to be in union with Christ than to be in union with the prince of this world, Satan.

What is the explosive mixture? It's Paul and George Fox, writing and speaking in the Spirit, explicating the condition of man without the Lord (who is God, Jesus, the Spirit). George Fox spoke of those who turned back from the Promised Land, Canaan, in reality life in God, to wander in the desert. He identifies Cain, Korah, Dathan, Abiram, Balaam as those who stood still, seeing the Salvation of God but turning back to wander, not having their habitation in God. These, he says, hurt Jews more than anything. Just as these types hurt Christians today, because what is the Salvation of God but Jesus Christ, who was before the Flood; who was before Satan. And what is habitation in God but being joined to Christ?

By refusing to crossover the Jordan River into the Promised Land, Christians, who have come through the Red Sea and the trials in the desert, stand still in sight of the Salvation of God but turn back to wander. Why? Because they don't believe Jesus when He says in John 5:24, "I am telling you the truth: whoever hears my words and believes in him who sent me has eternal life. He will not be judged, but has already passed from death to life." They believe it's impossible not to sin in this world. They believe only their death will end their sinning, which is ironic because sin IS death. They can't imagine themselves dying to the Law and being reborn in the Spirit. In other words, living in the Spirit, where there is freedom, freedom from the Law and death.

Quoting Paul 2 Cor 3:12-14: "Because we have this hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who had to put a veil over his face so that the people of Israel would not see the brightness fade and disappear. Their minds, indeed, were closed; and to this very day their minds are covered with the same veil as they read the books of the old covenant. The veil is removed only when a person is joined to Christ." But you can't join to Christ if you don't first die to the Law and are reborn in the Spirit, which means crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

A beautiful revelation if you have the mind to see it.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Spiritual Libido v Sexual Libido BASENAME: spiritual-libido-v-their-sexual DATE: Thu, 31 Dec 2015 15:44:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christmas jesus moses noah satan sin ----- BODY:

Tuesday after Christmas.

I read a short report of the town of Bethleham somewhere in the United States removing a Merry Christmas banner. My first thought was, why sully the celebration of Jesus's birth with secular notions of Christianity anyway. Do the words merry christmas really mean a praise of God for His magnificent gift? Secularist can't imagine God's existence, so why try to awaken their spiritual libido when their sexual one obscures it? That would include nominal Christians too. Though they accept God's existence on some level, they are deeply skeptical of His truth, power, and sovereignty. Man likes to believe he is just as capable as God in running things, perhaps even more so given the advancements since the advent of the IPhone. Oh, I'm sure the advancements go much further than Apple products. We just can't see them until they're sprung upon us unawares, fait accompli.

George Fox realized three hundred sixty eight years ago that "[A]ll are concluded under sin and shut up in unbeleif as I had been..." Nothing has changed since his time, save man's increased approval of himself as the pre-eminent being among creatures--a necessary adjunct, for most everyone in these United States accepts, unwittingly in most cases, the Darwinian creation story. This creation myth is not only devoid of God but also sin. Yet, reading history, not history books, but history that's an integral part of biographes of men and women, or of institutions, businesses, even theories, will quickly disabuse anyone of the notion sin doesn't exist.

Did you know that before God gave Moses the Law, there was no sin? But there was God and when He saw how wicked everyone on earth had become, how evil their thoughts were, He regreted having created them. God intended to destroy mankind, but for Noah's fellowship with Him, He would have. Instead, He taught Noah to build a huge boat, called an ark, that would house Noah, his wife, his sons, their wives, and a male and female of every kind of animal and every kind of bird. Still, because there was no Law, their wickedness was not counted as sin.

So after the Flood and Noah's sons and their wives and progeny spread out across the world; after Abraham was counted among the righteous by God; after Abraham's son, Isaac, blessed his son, Jacob; after Jacob's dear son, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers; after the famine reunited Jacob and Joseph and his brothers in Egypt; after Moses led the enslaved Hebrews out of Egypt, God wrote the Law on tablets of stone, which Moses delivered to the Hebrews. They would know what pleased God and did not please Him. Now that man knew the Law he knew sin. Though he now knew what was sinful, man, like his ancient ancestors Adam and Eve, disobeyed God, and continues to this day to do so.

In another place George Fox writes: "I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over  the ocean and darkness. And in that also I saw the infinite love of God[.]" We live in an infinite ocean of darkness. Why else would the town of Bethleham somewhere in the United States try to stamp out the Light? Why else would Christians believe Merry Christmas embodied the holy gift of God?

Just today I realized Jesus Christ is that ocean of light Fox referred to. In fact, he refers to Jesus in his journal in other ways, such as our Inward Teacher. "Christ is come to teach his people himself," Fox writes in his journal. It's a most profound statement; one that says Christ is over the Bible; one that directs us to Jesus Christ as our first source of everything.

And always Fox reminds us Jesus was before Satan, before the fall, before the beginning. One evening while reading the chapter in Exodus in which the Hebrews were praising God's strong, right arm that lead them across the parted sea but drowned Pharoh and his men, I saw Jesus's right arm. The scene in my mind's eye was three dimensional and His arm was above the dwarfed figures singing praises. I saw His presence was there, is here, and will always be. I was enraptured. Oddly enough again, just today, reading 1 Corinthians 10:4, I saw for the first time, though I had read the words many times before, Paul saying Jesus Christ was the spiritual rock that went with them (the Hebrews in the Exodus).

George Fox is a man of God. His knowledge of God attests it. Something else George Fox said is part of the quote I supplied earlier: "all are . . . shut up in unbelief." So much was opened to me this morning I can only praise God for the blessings, and what I'm about to say is one of them. The Lord opened to me that the unbelief Fox refers to is not the disbelief in God of secularist and atheists. It is the unbelief of those who are Christian but don't believe Jesus when He says in John 5:24: "I'm telling you the truth: whoever hears my words and believes in Him who sent me has eternal life. He will not be judged, but has already passed from death to life."

These Christians refer to themselves as sinners because the professors, preachers and priests talk of sin and death. That's what George Fox heard as a boy, which is why he says he was shut up in unbelief. Only God could have opened that to him. And it, too, is profound. I told someone not long ago that calling yourself a sinner after having repented and been reborn in the Spirit is like counting on a Get Out of Hell Free card. It's like saying, go ahead and sin because you can always get out of Hell by asking Jesus's forgiveness. I've said this, too: it's like crucifying Jesus again and again. George Fox put it this way: "I say to all people, they cannot crucify Christ no more: he that died once dies no more." That Thy Candles May Always Be Burning, NF Publication.

Jesus first had to be born as a small, vulnerable baby, as we all are, in order to die once for all. Naked and bawling we attract the attention of Satan. But our attempts at Christmas to create an ocean of light against the ocean of darkness are overruled by the dark powers and principalities of this world, which belongs to the Prince of Darkness. And because nominal Christians are skeptical of what they can't see, hear, and handle, the strong arm of Jesus has no meaning for them. They lament the loss of tradition and custom instead of rejoicing in the live birth of the beautiful Light that is over the ocean of darkness and has in fact defeated it.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Vision BASENAME: a-vision DATE: Sat, 12 Dec 2015 11:17:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ancient man giving god jesus provision worship ----- BODY:

I had a vision one morning while eating breakfast. The vision was of an ancient man standing next to me. Before him and to the side of me was a bowl, which this ancient man was filling.

This vision came during a time period in which I struggled to be a giving person. Not just giving money, though that was the largest part of it, but giving of myself--meaning my time, of which I was quite stingy. Honestly, it had taken years for me to reach the point of even struggling to be a giving person. I didn't know how to be giving and felt my circumstances excused me from being so. I saw myself as needy, in lots ways.

I loved the Lord then but had not come into His fullness--I guess that's how to put it. I think George Fox describes it grandly. "And so now, come to receive his image and likeness, and then come to the practice of it." I had not come to the practice of it. (That Thy Candles May Always Be Burning) 

When I started The Religious Society Cafe in 2010, I reinstated daily worship. And the time I alloted for it grew longer. When I realized the vacuity of my worship without preparation or instruction, I began reading the Bible. Reading the Bible became dominant, along with writing down my thoughts, comments, and laments. Worship time dwindled. I returned to reading George Fox's journal and treasured bits of Isaac Penington epistles. But Fox's journal I had read repeatedly and the same was true of Penington's writings. Then I found Quaker Heritage Press online. There I was able to print out Barclay's Apology for the True Christian Divinity, which was especially helpful in that he put forth Quaker beliefs and practices, explaining and supporting them from scripture.

Reading the Bible, writing the blog, jotting down thoughts as prayer, reflecting, clarifying, etc., were all fruitful spiritual exercises. When I look back through my blog posts I can see my growth to God. Yet, I was no where near the practice of Christ's image and likeness. It was like finding my home but unable to enter.

At that time, too, I suffered confusion, a kind of internal battle over God and Jesus. Was Jesus inferior to God or equal or the same? Was he just the son and inferior, because no son is superior to his father? If I loved Jesus intensely was I displacing God? Was this wrong? Then my love for God would intensify almost to the point where Jesus disappeared from thought. I went back and forth for some time.   

My silent worship had ceased as part of my daily life. I read and wrote, maybe prayed, but the reading and writing sufficed as daily worship. But the Lord was tapping me on the shoulder. I wasn't clear about this tapping and so it went on for a while as I tried to guess why my reading and prayers lacked savor. Then one day, seeing how dull my mind was, He invited me back to worship--that fifteen minutes of silent waiting upon the Lord. I didn't forgo the reading or other preparation; all became part of worship. A short while after my return to worship, the Lord brought me to my knees. This was my entrance to my home.

The thing is, the vision of the ancient man scooping provision into my bowl happened before I got on my knees. I say that because the ancient man was God. Not that I saw God, please, I'm not saying that. I just saw an ancient man and knew it was God, because I understood what he was saying to me by filling my bowl. He was saying he provides everything. The more I give, the more he fills my bowl. I must give generously because he gives generously. In other words, I had no reason to believe I wouldn't have enough for myself if I gave all.

The aura stayed with me for some time, but the pull of secular life dimmed its glow. It was easy to recall the vision but its influence waned and I found myself thinking again like one who is needy. Every once in a while, though, I would get that still, small voice admonishing me, drawing me back to the place of practice. After each time I'd maintain my progress. Still, it was getting on my knees that truly set me in the path of my Lord, Jesus Christ.

So tonight, as I brushed my teeth, I recalled that ancient man and the bowl, and thought how God provides for us in all ways, and how we don't have to worry about how our clothes look or whether we have grand homes, or any material stuff. I thought about Adam and Eve after they had eaten from the Tree of Good and Evil and saw that they were naked and how God made clothing for them to cover their nakedness.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: "Made In The Likeness Of Men" BASENAME: quot-made-in-the-likeness DATE: Mon, 07 Dec 2015 13:14:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god jesus miracles supernatural ----- BODY:

From Philippians 2:7 comes the title of this blog. For quite some time I was confounded by the phrase "Christ emptied Himself," which I've not found in any Bible I have but have heard the phrase from others. All my Bibles say something similar: "and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." (KJ)

Emptying himself of what? I couldn't think. But then as I listened to a lecture on C.S. Lewis, I heard something said that made me realize Jesus emptied himself of his status as God. He came as man, without omnipotence omnipresence, and omniscience. He was subject to all of man's needs, emotions, and temptation. He knew God and worshiped him. He knew the Father willed his task and destiny. He was man in the flesh.

In thinking about Jesus being a man in the flesh, I thought about the miracles he performed. It wasn't possible, it seemed to me, that Jesus could have performed the miracles of his own accord, since he had not supernatural power to do so. The only way he could perform miracles, I reasoned, was through God. Like Abraham and Moses, Jesus had to have faith in the Father.

(It just occurred to me that Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am." I could try to salvage my position by surmising an explanation, but I won't do that. The Lord will provide--in all things. I will trust Him in this matter as well.)

But to continue with my reasoning: if Jesus, as man without supernatural power, could perform miracles through God, then man could, too. Consider the miracles of the disciples, the Apostles, and early church men and women. The farther we move from believing in a supernatural God, though maintaining a belief in God, the idea that we can perform miracles similar to those of Jesus and His disciples and apostles and early believers is unthinkable. Just accepting the supernatural itself is quite difficult for most Westerners, whose minds have been trained another way.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Created in Love? BASENAME: created-in-love DATE: Fri, 13 Nov 2015 10:57:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: altered being first adam george fox son of god ----- BODY:

God created us in love. He loves us. He loves His creation. If it's true man believes he can alter the human genome, thereby creating a new being, the question must be this: is he creating in love what he aspires to create?

If you examine human history from ancient times to the present you will see "that there [is] an ocean of darkness and death. . . " (George Fox, 1647; p. 19 Journal of George Fox) beginning with Cain and going on to the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Canaanites whom God punished for sacrificing their children, the Greeks, Romans, then the persecution of the Christians, then Muslim conquests and persecutions, Crusades to regain the Holy Lands, European wars, World War 1, Darwin's theory of evolution as the basis for Hitler's superior race and genocide, scientists using it to rationalize eugenics, sterilizations, lobotomies and other atrocities, World War 2, Communist persecution and mass killings in Russia and China, the Vietnam War, Communist Cambodia's Killing Fields, American mass killing of babies since 1973, Muslim terrorist attacks, wars against terrorism, massive deaths from drug use, mass killings in schools, theaters, buses, churches, work places, human trafficking, kidnapping, beheadings, and all manner of dispicable behaviors too numerous to even begin to mention for they're done in secret.

This is that ocean of darkness. This is why in response to the question of Jesus crying out on the cross, 'My God, my God why have you forsaken me', George Fox said, "... the sins of all mankind were upon him, and their iniquities, and transgressions with which he was wounded, which he was to bear, and to be an offering for them as he was man, but died not because he was God[.]" An offering for them, meaning for us, for all humankind--past, present, and future. For there is not a one of us who can claim purity, goodness, love as innate characteristics. Robert Barclay writes this for the fourth proposition of his Quaker apology. "All Adam's posterity, both Jews and Gentiles, in regard to the first Adam, is fallen, degenerated, and dead; deprived of the sensation of this inward testimony or seed of God and is subject to the power, nature and seed of the serpent, which he [the serpent] sows in men's hearts, while they abide in this natural and corrupted [world]: from [where] it comes that not only their words and deeds but all their imaginations are [perpetually] evil in the sight of God, as coming from this depraved and wicked seed."

To state this predicament in more basic terms, Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, saved our butts when he offered himself as the unblemished, perfect lamb sacrifice. If you read the Old Testament you will begin to understand the significance of the animal sacrifice. All the sins humankind devised and can devise were pinned on Jesus's shoulders. I don't know about you, but all the evil enumerated above, which isn't even half of it, weighs on me and I was only reading of it. I can only think to imagine what the reality of it was to Jesus. And this evil crosses all time and all peoples.

When you become serious about a religion, you want to know how to escape evil, especially, how not to be a participant in it. "Bring us not to the test, but save us from the evil one" are words from the Lord's prayer. How do we escape the test? How are we saved from the evil one? These are the questions every worldview seeks to answer.

George Fox knows the answer and he preached the answer to me through his journal. George Fox is not the answer--he'd be the first to tell you; Quakerism is not the answer--he'd tell you that as well; the Bible is not the answer. He'd tell you that, too, and then he'd tell you Jesus Christ is the answer. Quaker doctrine explains how to live in truth.

So the question you must answer in yourself is the one I asked at the start: does man create in love the altered being he aspires to create?

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: God's Teaching BASENAME: teaching-early-man DATE: Sat, 07 Nov 2015 18:21:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: israelites law leviticus ----- BODY:

I've been reading Leviticus again, and, as with my rereading of Exodus, the Lord opened to me that which I didn't see before. An example is the specificity of the instructions. At one time, reading these was tiresome. Now they are intriguing. Also, as I saw in Exodus, the repetition amplifying importance and retention.

God repeatedly told the Israelites they were holy because He was holy. They were His people and He wanted them separated from the Gentiles who were unclean. But how were the Israelites to know that about the Gentiles, or to know what was clean and unclean? God had to teach them, which He did through Moses. It was as if the Israelites were babes--dependent yet not understanding the authority of mother, blithely going about doing or imitating what pleased them, ignorant of any consquences. There were no consequences until they knew what was expected of them.

Chapter 18, which prohibits intimate relations with family members and animals, seemed most indicative of God teaching a naive people. My first reaction to this perception was to ask why would such an attitude be necessary. Then I realized there was no law or prohibitions before Moses. Though the Flood had happened, these people were still early humans and knew no restraint save that of worldly authority. Since God intended to punish the Canaanites for their evil doings, worldly authority was not doing the job. Without thinking I assumed they had the same moral knowledge as we in the 21st Century. 

God's teaching was more than prohibitions. His statutes created order (by inference there must have been chaos) and certainty. He instructed them on distinguishing between clean and unclean in disease and food and other areas. For the Israelites to remain holy they could not defile themselves or God's sacred places and items. The high preist was especially admonished on the subject of marriage and personal behavior.

The precision of how things were to be carried out fascinated me as well. Perhaps such precision facilitated order and uniqueness, for God's Chosen People were not to do and carry on as the Gentiles. Every aspect of their lives was to set them apart. They were to be holy because God was holy. He made them holy.

Unlike the Israelites we have had centuries of moral instruction. We also know of Jesus, the promised Messiah, his purpose in coming and dying and being resurrected from the grave. We are taught that his blood was shed as a sacrifice to cleanse all people--to make us holy when we accept God's invitation to salvation. And when we are consecrated as the Israelites were consecrated, we are set apart. We are instructed through our Inward Teacher, Yeshua, Messiah, how to be. Through Him we are taught the ways of God. Holy is His name.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: See What Gifts BASENAME: see-what-gifts DATE: Thu, 29 Oct 2015 10:38:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: gifts god and king lord and savior ----- BODY:

From 6.27.2009

Full of anxiety. I am late to worship and worry about interruption.

Let me be still.

 

Honor Him

Love Him

Obey Him

See what gifts He gives you in return.

And do these gifts not bring you joy?

And do you not want to shout to the world His greatness?

Do you not want to share with the world your joy?

 

Addendum to the above worship poem. The gifts I refer to are not material gifts, lest a material minded reader mistakes them as such. The gifts are the Lord's teachings, openings, admonitions, guidance, comfort, and yes, his conversation!

The joy He brings, the comfort, the strength, the revelations He allows us when we are able to see them cannot be adequately described. All we can do is praise Him in prayer; sing of His greatness; and press hard within our longing to go to Him who gives us such gifts. Amen my Lord and Savior, my God and King.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: How Does One BASENAME: how-does-one DATE: Sun, 18 Oct 2015 11:45:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ----- BODY:

In Meeting this morning I sat in a different spot so I would be near someone, anyone. I realized what I missed greatly about the old Meeting Houses in Pennsylvania were the benches. It seems people were less inclined to sit alone on a bench, but with chairs as seating there's no choice. Were there more people attending early Meeting, I'm sure the sense of isolation would be different. Were there only one Meeting per First Day, nearness to one's neighbors would erase a feeling of isolation, it seems. Even so, some people--myself included--want to be apart from others sometimes or all the time. Sometimes sitting next to another inhibits (or one thinks it does) the Spirit from acting in one's self, or inhibits one's ability to access the Spirit within. The Spirit, though, is never inhibited.

I sat in Meeting and prayed. I prayed the Lord would be over all and His spirit would be experienced by all. I wanted so much for the experience this First Day to equal that of last First Day, when the Spirit was felt by all. Last First Day one spoke, eventually acknowledging the Divine for his joy; towards the end of worship, another spoke, reflecting on hearing of the Divine, and was filled with joy. I praised the Lord and was filled with joy, for I had prayed for that very thing that morning. But when the presence of the Holy Spirit seemed to elude me this time and the same person who first spoke the week before remained silent, and no one else spoke, I became restless. I prayed again.

Alas, I decided to wait upon the Lord as I did at home, never minding the others, though not to get on my knees, which probably would have caused consternation. I have been amazed, though, at the change in me when I bowed to my Lord. James, the acknowledged brother of Jesus Christ, in his epistle says "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." Js 4:10. That's exactly it. He lifted me up.

There is so much I want to say to the Meeting. So much that is important for them to hear. Since I felt constrained to say anything this First Day, wanting to get the message right; wanting to see instant fruits (unrealistically, but wanting nonetheless) wanting to engage them, not alienate them; wanting perfection -- The Lord once said to me, You don't know what that perfection looks like -- I worked at being in the Spirit, another conscious overreach. But what was I to do? Mouth a recently heard Christian song while keeping time noiselessly with my foot? Yup. (We are one in Spirit, we are one in the Lord.)

Then my mind went through a trail of memoriable events, ideas, thoughts until I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to write down this question: if they're not hearing the Gospel, what are they hearing? And then this: how does one preach the Gospel to those who are hostile to it? Next: how does one love those who are hostile to one? Lastly: how does one love those who are hostile to what one says?

But to me, the most stunning question is the first. And that question needs our immediate attention. For if they aren't hearing the Gospel from us, you have to imagine what they are hearing and know it ain't nothing about Jesus Christ, redemption, and salvation. It is our Christian duty, particularly for Quaker Christians, whose message, Christ is come to teach His people himself, offers them an experience in the reality of the living God.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Judgmentalism BASENAME: judgmentalism DATE: Wed, 30 Sep 2015 13:43:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: condemnation eternity judgment light ----- BODY:

Only Jesus has the authority to judge us. It is He, the light within, who is judging you, but you don't like what He is telling you about yourself.

You want to transfer the responsibility for the judgment to another person. But another person, no matter who it is, doesn't have the authority to judge you.

So don't you fault the person who speaks truth. Truth doesn't originate with the speaker. The voice you hear is God's; the words you hear are from the Holy Spirit; and the judgment you feel is from Jesus.

Better to praise God you're feeling that judgment. It's your wake-up call. Because Jesus says in John 5:24, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life."

Flip Him off and your judgment will be condemnation. Your resurrection will be of everlasting condemnation. If you think judgment now is stinging, it can't compare to an eternity without the light of God in you.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: All Things For Good BASENAME: all-things-for-good DATE: Wed, 23 Sep 2015 09:39:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god exodus jesus joseph message rescue ----- BODY:

I may not be a scientist, but I make discoveries nevertheless. I read my Bible and discover the symbolism and say, Yes! Now I see what is meant by the scarlet thread that runs though the Bible; what is meant by the figures and shadows. I am quickened to my soul.

My God, my Lord, my King, my Saviour, my Teacher, my Priest, my everything. How great you are! Yes! How great you are!

Exodus 15: 6 "Thy right hand, O Lord is become glorious in power; thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy."

Jesus sits at the right hand of God. The right hand is the hand of power. Jesus is exalted. (Ref. Ps 118: 15 ) Do you not see the shadow of the Lord?

Exodus 15: 7 "And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath which consumed them as stuble."

Exodus Chapter 15 is quite symbolic. When something is repeated and repeated again, what is being conveyed is important and the one with the message does all he can to make sure those to whom the message is given hear the message and remember it. Read the repetitions in Exodus 14.

And if you have the eyes to see you can see in reading Exodus 15, especially verses 6 and 7, God's plan to rescue man from his plight, of which he is ofen unaware. And it seems to me you can see in those two verses that His plan was already accomplished; it just needed to be played out in real time. And it was through Jesus. When He died and was resurrected, the rescue was complete. We have been rescued--if we accept our rescue. How can one not think of Joseph left to die in the pit until his brother rescued him? He did not refuse rescue even though it meant being taken to an alien land and sold as a slave. Oh, Jesus never said following Him would be without travail. But does not God work all things for good?

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: To Tell The Truth BASENAME: to-tell-the-truth DATE: Wed, 23 Sep 2015 09:05:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: deception george fox turkish pirates satan ----- BODY:

You know, in Heaven there's no deception, on Earth there is lots of it.

What I mean by the deception is things are not what they appear to be. We even deceive ourselves, or hide the truth from ourselves, or we willfully accept the deception of another because we want what he or she tells or shows us to be true. It's a game we play with ourselves in a way.

I make excuses for myself because the culture is a culture of excuses. Were it not for the Teacher, Christ Jesus, opening my eyes, I would not have seen myself as one making excuses, the deception is so subtle. 

I was just reading George Fox's account of an escape from a Turkish pirate ship through the power of God. In the Meeting they had the following morning, the presence of the Lord's Spirit was with them. The wild people aboard the ship were humbled. But a few days later, the Master and other mariners told the passengers that the ship they had escaped was a merchant ship and not a pirate ship. George Fox inquired of them why then they had sought his counsel, why had they troubled the passengers, and why did they tack about and alter their course if it was a merchant ship? And then he told them they should take heed of slighting the mercies of God.

How does that account tie into my making excuses? Because I was thinking about my prayer for reconciliation between my daughters and me; and my prayer for my son and the Lord telling me my son would be all right (saved), and my later decision to keep praying for him and finally warning him about disaster to come upon the United States because of its corrupt culture; and then thinking  that when there is a reconciliation between my daughters and me, it would take me time to be uninhibited around them because of the hurt and pain; and that's when I realized I was making excuses for myself; and that the Lord, my God, would heal me of all pain and I could be uninhibitedly joyful with them from the start. So it was like Satan was trying to work the same type of deception on me as the Master and mariners had tried to use on the passengers on the ship.

Can I say Satan is the source of doubt? When I read in Fox's account that the meeting they held on the ship the morning after the narrow escape was filled with the Lord's presence, I understood it was because the attenders were open to the Lord and and didn't doubt His hand in their escape from the Turkish pirates. That is what it means when Jesus says to worship in spirit and truth.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Choice BASENAME: immediate-revelation DATE: Thu, 17 Sep 2015 10:16:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: creation evolution god love mercy ----- BODY:

God starts with love. He loves His creation, especially mankind. No where in evolution is there love. No where in evolution is kindness. No where is there mercy in evolution.

With God all persons are loved. Even the most grotesquely disfigured human being God loves. It is because God first loved us that we can love, even the most grotesquely disfigured person. Because when we love we see not the outward features but the inward beauty of the soul, the light of God in him or her. No where in evolution is there a soul, an inner light, a God.

God begins with love and ends with mercy. God is in all of creation. He is in us. His love is in us. His mercy extends to all of us, even to the most monstrous of sinners.

You can choose God and He will welcome you home, rejoicing in your return. Or, you can choose evolution. Both can't be true.

 

 

 

 



----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Power of Jesus BASENAME: the-power-of-jesus DATE: Wed, 26 Aug 2015 09:25:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: bible almanac jesus power raging storm ----- BODY:

I read The Bible Almanac nightly as preparation for prayer. It's a large, thick book--as you would imagine it to be--so I've been many, many months reading through it. I'm now in the chapter on Jesus. Currently, I'm reading the last of Jesus's three ministries the authors identify. The writers's summary account of these ministries is unbelievably pleasing in a way that's difficult to pinpoint. Perhaps it is because the man Jesus on the page is as if he were living as I read. Which, unwittingly, brings me to my reason for the blog this morning.

Matthew 14: 22-36 and Mark 6: 45-56 tell of the night the disciples were in a boat in a raging storm when they saw a figure walking on the water toward the boat. They thought the figure was a ghost and started screaming but Jesus calmed them when he spoke, telling them not to be afraid. Peter then asked the Lord that if it were truly him, have Peter walk to him on water as well. Jesus said for Peter to come and so Peter started walking to Jesus. "But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water. 'Save me, Lord!' he cried. At once Jesus reached out and grabbed hold of him and said, 'What little faith you have! Why did you doubt?'"

Reading the summary of the story in The Bible Almanac, I realized that underlying the water, the boat, the storm, and the fear was the power of Jesus to calm us and save us in any situation where we think we are drowning. I was moved to tears realizing that and want desperately to remember it.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Language of God BASENAME: the-language-of-god DATE: Sun, 16 Aug 2015 11:45:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: friends meeting good news bible panera ----- BODY:

At Penara this morning to read as preperation for Meeting. First I read a portion of Proposition 2 from Barclay's Apology, then a page from George Fox's Journal, then a chapter from the Good News Bible, and then a fifteen minute silent worship. During that worship a phrase was given me: Speak the language of God.

Perhaps it was given me because the Lord opened in me days ago that people don't hear the voice of God anymore, as we used to when our culture was still based on Christianity. I had written on my tablet, People hear the voice of this world, the voice of the Prince of the World. They don't know God's voice. They don't know the Bible. When people speak, they mimic what the Prince of this World says in hating God. Yet they have no experience by which to justify their hate. They are simply accepting the voice, the words of Satan.

Further into Worship the words of the Apostle Paul came to mind: You're not fighting the people but demons and evil spirits, the minions of Satan who have imprisoned them and don't want to let them go. I saw people caged, and then saw them as captives under the control of another being.

During Meeting for Worship, that phrase to speak the language of God repeated itself in my mind. And I would say repeatedly, what is the language of God, Lord? At some point the Holy Spirit said to me, Love. The language of God is love. Most people would stop at love. We hear it all the time, God is love. And it is in the Bible. Still, what does that mean? We don't even know what it means.

A few days ago when I was agonizing in prayer the Lord's Will for me to go to the larger Meeting for Worship, where there is more hostility and resistance to God of the Bible, the Lord opened in me His love for the Meeting. That's why He sent me back there and has kept me going back despite my wishes not to. During that time, Jesus's words came back to me, "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15: 13

For me to go back to that Friends Meeting, to go to the larger Meeting, to continue to speak, to face hostility or rejoinder, is in a sense laying down my life for them, or, as it was given to me, to love them. To love those I see as my enemy. Sitting in Meeting for Worship this morning, asking what did "the language of God is love" mean, I recalled that earlier episode.

Lastly, given to me this morning were these words, Satan is defeated but most people don't know it. Christ IS come!

My prayer for some time has been for the Lord to open in the Christian remnant a way to turn our nation back to God. The anxiety has always been how to reach people who are so ignorant of God they can't hear his voice. The openings I had this morning and earlier give me a way to start. Speak the language of God. The language of God is love. Trust in the Holy Spirit to lead you.

Because our culture likes rational thinking, perhaps asking people what is meant by the above statement, will elicit conversation.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Through You BASENAME: through-you DATE: Mon, 10 Aug 2015 13:05:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: joy ----- BODY:

My joy comes through you, not from you, O Lord.

That is an important difference.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Perfection BASENAME: perfection DATE: Mon, 10 Aug 2015 13:01:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: bible study perfection truth ----- BODY:

This past May I hosted a Bible Study at a local coffee shop. I set the time at 7:30 Sunday mornings so attenders could go to church afterward. Several people RSVPed their attendance. I was excited and nervous, for this was something I'd never done before.

In the week before the first meeting, I prayed to my Lord that I was rung to my core with anxiety about the Bible Study,  because I wanted it to be perfect. Immediately He said to me, "You don't know what that perfection looks like."

How true. My anxiety melted away. I praised my Lord. Who can be greater? 

Now, I often remind myself of that truth about perfection.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Letter To Jesus BASENAME: letter-to-jesus DATE: Fri, 07 Aug 2015 10:10:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: jesus lord turning away ----- BODY:

I love to write to my Lord. He hears my words. He is not me. But He loves me, even though I am old. He sees me not as old but as I was when I was younger, just as I see myself when I'm not looking in a mirror. Only my knowledge of Him and from Him has grown. I am happy to have grown, matured, become wise even under His teaching. I know my Lord loves me because He wants for me to be a righteous person. I can only be righteous through Him. I can only know through Him. I can only see and understand through Him. I can only praise God because of Him. Without knowledge of God what could I praise? Who could I praise?

So, my Lord, I write today because I am saddened by the state of my country, the United States of America. There is so much wrong, and it all stems from our turning away from You, and it seems no one sees the danger  from turning away from You. I pray to You every night, Lord, asking You to open in us a way to return to Your ways, to restore our nation as one nation under God. The politicians don't know what ails us. They have an election to win and when they win, their fixes are superficial or harmful because many hate you. They want to replace you with the State, which they will run as if they were the Muslim diety, Allah.

Everywhere there are threats and fears, Lord. Everywhere it seems there are immoral actions. But those committing immorality don't know it or think nothing is immoral. Who is to tell them otherwise? Paul dealt with the Pagans and other immoral groups at the time of his ministry.

Your voice comes to me some days, Lord. I love Your voice. I want to follow You and hear Your voice every day. I want to be righteous in the eyes of God. I will think to have faith in You every day.

Your humble servant, Rhonda

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Lord Speaks BASENAME: the-lord-speaks DATE: Thu, 06 Aug 2015 10:41:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: waiting upon the lord ----- BODY:

I had not worshiped by "waiting upon the Lord" (apart from Meeting for Worship) for quite some time, when this morning I was moved to do so. At home I usually worship for fifteen minutes, but it's a suggestion. The Holy Spirit really determines the time. The type of worship that had replaced my waiting upon the Lord was kneeling on the floor in prayer--something I had resisted for many years because I thought that it was not the Quaker way. Such thinking, though, was worldly, because the first time I went down on my knees I was raised up and filled with Joy. I was amazed at how humbling myself before the Lord could open me to Him in a way I'd never known.

Still, prayer and waiting upon the Lord are different. I didn't need to sacrifice one for the other. So this morning He led me back to waiting upon Him and then to prayer. Worship started as if I were new to it, with my mind whirring thoughts generated from what I'd read, heard, and from what troubled me. Realizing that, I wanted to settle down, quiet my mind, empty it of all external distractions. To attempt emptying the mind is to invite other distractions until one lets go of the struggle and accepts the interference. Surprisingly, it disappears and the Lord speaks.

Oddly enough, He spoke to me through a memory from my time as an alternative education teacher. The steps to the memory I won't recount, but it brought back painful recognitions of failure I've felt for years. But the Lord's Power was over me and He said, "Think about what you learned from that time. Don't think about yourself as failing but learning."

Praise be to my God, my Lord, my Savior, my Sheperd, my Teacher, my Preacher, my Healer, my Captain.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Love Poem BASENAME: a-love-poem DATE: Tue, 04 Aug 2015 09:29:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Poem CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: Prayer CATEGORY: Song TAGS: comfort joy king lord savior ----- BODY:

My Lord, my Beloved Teacher,

the words from last night ring through my ears;

they haunted me through the night;

my heart was burdened with saddness;

it cried out for understanding, for charity, for change.

I know only one source of comfort, truth, and joy;

You, my Lord, You are the source of all things

in times of serenity or woe,

need or posperity, confusion or fear.

You listen to my cries and shouts and hear,

for joy follows when you draw near,

speaking so as only the heart knows.

All praise to my Lord and Savior, the strong Arm of God,

the Everlasting King.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Following Directions BASENAME: following-directions DATE: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 12:38:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: crewelwork directions god project ----- BODY:

Following directions allows us to produce the best product or reach our destination the quickest and easiest way.

Some people don't read dirctions. Maybe it's because they have confidence in knowing how something is supposed to work. Maybe they look at whatever is to be assembled and decide it's obvious how it's supposed to go together, so following the directions would only slow them down.

Some people don't follow the directions precisely. They have experience and believe they know what they're doing so they can cut corners or skip a few steps without causing a problem.

When I was younger and took up crewel needlework, I was so eager to get started that I skipped basting the edges of the fabric on which a pattern had been printed so the fabric wouldn't fray. As I matured I decided to follow the instructions and bast the fabric though it took extra time. I also began to be more careful and deliberate with my stitches.

I think the change came about from seeing so many needlework projects of unknow women stacked in bins or against walls in resale businesses. Most of the projects were poorly executed, which is why I thought they'd been orphaned to a resale shop. I guess you could say I saw the writing on the wall. I didn't want that fate for my handiwork. Later, when I saw the crewelwork of my friend's mother, I knew her work was the standard I wanted to follow.

I recount that story because as I sat staring at my unfinished, framed crewelwork project leaning against the wall with the basting stitches hyphenating the fabric, I thought how much better my work is now in anything I do when I follow the directions. That thought lead me to realize that God gives us directions on how to live our  lives. When we follow them we do best.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: I First Had To Love God BASENAME: i-first-had-to-love DATE: Sun, 05 Jul 2015 12:34:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: george fox god jesus love will ----- BODY:

I end my day by reading a chapter from whatever book of the Bible I happen to be reading at the time. And then I read from the Bible Almanac, a book that has greatly increased my knowledge of the ancient world of the Bible, particularly the Isreaelites. It's also enhanced my appreciation for certain texts, such as Isaiah's poetry. I then bow down on my knees for prayer.

I wrote previously that when I bowed down He raised up. Humbling myself before God pleases me so much, that I wonder why I resisted doing it as long as I did. This time, with head bowed, the thought came to me, I first had to love God before I could want to do His Will.

That isn't to say I hadn't loved God. It's just that I loved myself more. I wanted to do what I wanted to do and believe that as long as what I did wasn't breaking the Ten Commandments I was being right with God. That to me was doing God's Will. Every once in a while my Inward Teacher would bring to my attention a wrong I had done. I was so grateful for His teaching me because I knew had He not loved me, He wouldn't care whether I became a person worthy to come before God.

I had often heard other people say they prayed about whether they should or should not do something. I had never done that and wondered if I needed to pray about everything I thought to do. I tried it. Nothing happened. Then, one of the first times I had bowed down on my knees something George Fox wrote that had always confused me suddenly made sense. "And while I was in that condition it was opened unto me by the eternal Light and power, and I therein saw clearly that all was done and to be done in and by Christ and how He conquers and destroys this tempter, the Devil and all his works, and is atop of him . . ." Journal of George Fox, p. 14; Edited by John L. Nickalls.

George Fox in the quote was talking about his personal temptation, but the gist of his opening applies to everything. What I suddenly understood was that whatever I or anybody endeavored to do or did that did not come by and through Christ Jesus was false. It was not true, or perhaps the better word here is real. That was a heavy duty opening for me. I began praying to do God's Will and not my own. I prayed that my mind wouldn't run ahead of what Jesus wanted for me because my mind overflows sometimes with ideas that seem so great, exciting and just what God would want.

Having come to realizing I first had to love God to even want to do His Will, I asked how did I come to love Him so much to want to do His Will? To see that doing anything other than His Will is unthinkable? I'll explore the answer in another blog.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Spiritual Truth and Dogs BASENAME: i-pondered DATE: Wed, 01 Jul 2015 09:10:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: dogs jesus spiritual truth ----- BODY:

This morning I pondered on this admonition Jesus gave in Matthew 7 : 6: "Do not give what is holy to the dogs..."

What does He mean by holy? What do I have that is holy that I should not give to those unworthy of receiving it? Aren't we, as Christians, supposed to give the gospel to the world? Is Jesus contradicting that admonition?

As I pondered, it was opened to me that I have spiritual truths that can only have been revealed by the Holy Spirit. I have often thought to share them with another (anyone) because of their profound spiritual significance, but quickly realized I could not share them but with a few because almost no one would understand. And yes, those who didn't would turn and attack me.

I must admit it is my Lord Jesus, my Teacher, who gave me the sense to realize I couldn't share these things but with those who lived in union with Him, though it made me sad to think there were so few.

From that truth I saw that that was why Jesus spoke in parables to those who came to hear Him. He would not give what was sacred to those who could not understand the profound significance of His words and teaching.

Some of you may already know what I have revealed because it was taught to you by a professor or teacher or from a book that laid it out for you. But I am Quaker and I rather get my revelations and knowledge from the source "that I might give Him all the glory." (George Fox quoted from Journal of George Fox, P. 11.)

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: When I Bowed Down I Was Raised Up BASENAME: when-i-bowed-down-i DATE: Tue, 23 Jun 2015 12:26:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: bow down raise up ----- BODY:

He brought me to my knees.

He humbled me, and I praise Him for it.

Can there be a God greater, more merciful, more loving than He?

When I bow down to Him, He raises me up.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Wanting To Do Good BASENAME: wanting-to-do-good DATE: Tue, 16 Jun 2015 13:32:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: spiritual forces war ----- BODY:

As I read to my companion the last paragraphs from a critique of a critique on Darwinism as religion, my mind received a message unrelated to the topic I was reading.

Has it ever happened to you that while your attention was on the forefront, the wheels in the back of your mind were turning over something different?

The opening given to me was that the neo-Quakers who comprise the Meeting that the Lord returned me to late last year want to be good people. Suddenly, I felt compassion for them because the Lord presented them to me in that different light.

It's difficult not to malign others who hold a different worldview. My first thought typically is to assume their malice. But Paul writes in Ephesians 6:12:

"For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavealy world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age." (Good News Bible)

That's a powerful message not easily absorbed. I thought about it and kept picturing evil spirits atop the wrong-doings of people everywhere so that I'd remember the message: the war isn't against people. Still, warring is the default reaction.

My attitude changed. I understand these neo-Quakers want to do good and believe they are doing good. So I cannot come at them with heavy blows of criticism. Why would they listen to me if I did that, especially with regards to God?

The job is to restore them to their Christian heritage. Only with the strong arm of God can I accomplish it. All that is done and to be done is by and through Christ Jesus to His glory. Amen


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Please Pray for Me BASENAME: please-pray-for-me DATE: Sun, 31 May 2015 18:27:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: prayer quaker truth ----- BODY:

I've been in a disturbed state of mind since yesterday afternoon when I thought to utter a sexually perverse comment in response to an AARP ad. I didn't verbalize the comment but that didn't mean God didn't hear it. In a flash I was horrified to think myself even capable of such a thought anymore. The incident troubled me all afternoon and into evening worship. I felt as if I were being hounded by the devil and prayed for Christ Jesus to strengthen me. He told me I had the power--through Him--to dispatch Satan, but I cried out to Him that a part of me felt helpless. He said, "Don't be afraid. It's the fear that weakens you." Okay, I said. I will face him head on. And he (Satan) disappeared. But then

this morning no one showed up for the Bible Study I host. I waited, disappointed but reading ahead, until it occurred to me to check my email to see whether anyone had sent a message. Sure enough, I had two messages of regret. Still I was vexed, until, as the hour came to an end, I decided to pray and the Lord guided me to pray for those who couldn't come. My vexation melted: my Teacher had given me a different perspective--one of charity and love. Praise to Christ, my Teacher. I continued on

to Red Cedar Meeting. I'm pretty sure I'm the only Christian there, although Quakers are historically Christian. But it was the Lord who sent me back after years of disavowing them for their apostasy. I understood on some level that He sent me to proselytize them. But this morning my mind was distracted until a woman, who had in previous worship services spoken in opposition to my ministry, during meeting began speaking.(Quaker worship is different from other churches.) I struggled to hear completely her words, for she's soft-spoken and the acoustics are terrible. I had my hearing aids in and made out a good portion of what she was saying, enough to know it was not Christian but rather pagan in content. And then she spoke of her brother whom she said was a born again Christian. She said she was worried for him because, as she said, he put God in a box. She went on to predict that some day, something would happen that would shatter that box and her brother would be freed to "see" the backside of God as well as His face. It strikes me that she might believe that we humans are or can be buddies with God. You know, on equal footing. Oh, and she sprinkled her dissertation on Christianity with snipits of Moses and the burning bush and Mount Sinai, and perhaps other biblical references in an appeal to authority. By this time

I was exercised and pulled out my worn Journal of George Fox to read the words of the man whose preaching brought about establishment of the Christians labeled Quakers, also known as Friends in Truth--now shortened to Friends (because they no longer have the Truth). I read a passage wherein Fox described the people's minds "running in the earthly, after the creatures and changeable things, and changeable ways and religions, and changeable uncertain teachers, their minds in bondage. . ." How very contemporary, but he's speaking in 1647. I read more from another part, but all of it meant to counter the woman's pagan pronouncements (though I'm sure she doesn't consider them pagan. I'm sure she believes she's addressing and worshiping the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). Her husband later spoke in answer to my purpose, and pretty much reiterated what his wife had declared. When Meeting broke

I was determined to shake hands with both of them as a gesture of peace. As it turned out I was able only to address him and we began a discourse, as he aptly put it. We must have talked for a good fifteen/twenty minutes.

Upon quitting our talk (maybe to resume another time) I left Meeting feeling downcast and disturbed. Later at home I came to my Lord to lament my state of mind and the enormity of the problem. I don't know how to pray. I don't know what to say. I don't know how to start. There must have been more, but I rested back on my knees in silent obedience. Before my mind's eyes was the image of Jesus turning the tables over at the Temple in Jerusalem. A voice spoke truth to me: I, meaning me myself, came to Meeting to overturn it, to overturn the pagan, Pelagian, secular, one-world religion and other windy doctrines that inform the worldview of the people who erroneously call themselves Quaker. I know this

is what Jesus sent me to do because I had asked Him early on why He wanted me to keep going back, but I was never sure, although I mentioned the proselytizing. But alone? I asked Him today, why do I have to do this alone? Without any support? I am not worthy of this task. But as always, He answers me. "Ask for other Christians to pray for you." So I came here to ask for you to pray for me.

Pray the Lord will give me wisdom in dealing with these people in bondage. Pray He will give me the words and ways to speak to them. Pray He will teach me as He taught Paul to reveal the errors in their thinking. Pray He is my shield. Pray He strengthens me. Pray for Victory over the evil spirits that cloud the mind and blind the eyes of them who claim to be Quaker.

Pray for me. Pray for us. For what I describe is not only in the Quaker Meeting but also in churches and everywhere in our culture. And join with me if you can.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: When God is Happy BASENAME: when-god-is-happy DATE: Mon, 11 May 2015 12:09:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: greg koukl god james dobson jesus paul quaker will ----- BODY:

Ever hear these truisms: when mom is happy, everybody's happy? Or, happy wife, happy life?

I was thinking about these truisms as a way to ease into today's blog post. I was asking myself what these two claims say about women as mother and wife. They tell us--especially the mom one--that she's the power in the home; and from my perspective, rightly so.  I won't go into my reasons for seeing it that way because I have something more important in mind.

The reason I had thought of those two truisms is God. When God is happy with us, we are happy. Making God happy is not as easy as making Mom happy.

But what brought me to the analogy? Doing God's will; more than that actually. Submitting to God's will entirely, as having no will of one's own.

But what brought me to considering that? Defying God. I was contemplating that as sinners, we defy God first thing. 

I was thinking of my own willful defiance of God which I nurtured until I acknowledged my sinful self. My great desire now is to please God as Jesus pleased God--

Which thought had its origin from listening to Greg Koukl explaining the idea of election to a caller the day before, which disturbed me for the rest of the night;

Which disturbance I battled with knowledge of God through personal experience, and Quaker renunciation of election, and asking Jesus to help me know and be confident in that knowledge--

when a small, still voice said to me, as much as you like to think you do God's will, you're not nearly as close to doing it as you believe. Suddenly, Paul's or somebody's admonition to pray for those in authority came to mind.

Now I had just read earlier that day excerpts from Dr. James Dobson's letter in which he used the phrase "those in authority" in referring to government. I countered angrily, they're not our authority. We're their authority.

So when this still, small voice spoke about praying for those elected and appointed officials, I bristled. I experienced inside myself the feeling I can only characterize as a dog planting his feet and not moving.

I was fighting against God. I wanted to make excuses. Why should I pray for people I loathe? Why should I pray for people I believe are destroying this country? Why should I pray for liars, thieves, cheats?

I realized or rather He caused me to see that my obedience, my submission to His will was conditional.

I was immersed in His call to prayer. I went and prayed. 

During this day, this week, I prayed Jesus, my beloved Teacher, would help me learn, help me practice submitting to God's will entirely, without question, without thinking, without analysis, as did He.

Intellectually, I can go there. In fact, I'm already there intellectually. In truth and spirit, that's a different reality.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Choice BASENAME: the-choice DATE: Mon, 27 Apr 2015 18:53:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: corruption man preach teach ----- BODY:

We can talk/preach about how corrupt man is.

Or we can talk/preach the way man can overcome corruption.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: How To Be Free From Sin BASENAME: how-to-be-free-from DATE: Thu, 23 Apr 2015 13:38:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: blood, christ, christian, christians, death, death enmity jesus law life sin, faith, fall, flesh, god, holy, israelites, jesus, jesus christ, joy, law, life, lord, man, paul, perfection, resurrection, savior, sin, son, understanding, union, woman ----- BODY:

I've been reading The Epistle to the Hebrews. This morning I read Chapters 3 & 4.

In chapter 3: 1, the writer identifies Jesus as the Apostle and High Priest. In chapter 4 the writer admonishes the Christians to be diligent lest they fall into disobedience, as the Israelites did in the wilderness and not enter God's rest granted them after the Israelites were disobedient.

Disobedience means defying God. It means to do your will, not His will. It is to shake your fist at Him. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the Law of God, nor indeed can be." Ro. 8: 7

Hebrews 4: 15 the writer says, "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Italics mine)  Jesus was without sin, which is why He was the sacrifice for our sins. But it is His resurrection that allows for our great joy.

How so? When you come under God's Law, you recognize your sinful nature. You recognize your past enmity against God but now want to reconcile with Him. If you've had any Christian influence you know that Jesus is the way to that reconciliation. You acknowledge Jesus is the beloved Son of God and believe in the One who sent Him. In doing so you die to the Law, or, you die to this world and are born anew through your union with Christ. You move from death to life.

Your union can be weak in the beginning because the deceptions of this world are still alluring. You're a newborn babe. You haven't yet learned to walk with the Lord. And while not defiantly going against His will, the wisdom of man still informs your decisions. At this point you could lose your faith. But whatever you do, don't lose Christ because He's your Savior and you will come back to Him. In fact He calls you to Him. When you return the world will have lost its appeal.

But the great joy for you is understanding this very Quakerly thing. You have been freed from the bonds of sin. Sin is in the world, and you, by virtue of having died to the world, now possess the possibility of perfection and a holy and sinless life. "In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, but putting off the body of sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ." Col. 2: 11

When you are a reborn man or woman, you are no longer under the Law. As a reborn creature you will understand as Paul does: "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify." 1 Cor. 10: 23

Freed from sin, purified with His blood, you walk with Jesus Christ as He teaches you the ways of God. There can be no greater joy.

 

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Render unto Caesar BASENAME: render-unto-caesar-1 DATE: Sun, 19 Apr 2015 17:49:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ceasar sin theft ----- BODY:

Do you know the Biblical story of the Pharisees and the Herodians who were sent to trick Jesus into saying something against Caesar? From Mark 12: 14-17, "When they had come, they said to Him, 'Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?'

'Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?' But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, 'Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I might see it.'

So they brought it. And He said to them, 'Whose image and inscription is this?' They said to Him, 'Ceasar's.'

And Jesus answered and said to them, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.' And they marveled at Him."

During morning worship last Wednesday, opened in me was an expanded meaning of that story. The meaning isn't only to give to the government those things which are the government's. It is also about not stealing. Almost everyone knows the commandment you shall not steal.

Have you ever copied something that you didn't have permission from the author to copy? I have done that, excusing myself saying it's for my personal use: I won't be selling it or copying it for someone else. Or I acknowledge the source if I'm quoting from something. That is stealing. I'm taking something that belongs to someone else without compensating them.

How about software that you didn't buy but a relative or friend did and you were able to download it onto your computer or other device? I have. Not often, but I excused my self with this claim: I don't make enough money to buy these things. Poor me. God will overlook my theft because I don't make enough money because my husband left me with three kids to raise on my own and we never had enough money and ... I was good at making excuses, but God didn't, couldn't overlook my trespasses. I liked to think He did because my reason for stealing seemed about right to me.

How about taking food or drink into a movie theater? That, too, is stealing.

I can have righteous indignation about the wrongs done to me. But I can just as easily dismiss my own wrong doing, especially small-scale stealing, with the help of deception. So you can believe that when the Lord opened in me that to render unto Caesar those things that are Caesar's wasn't only about an ancient emperor, but also me and small-scale thievery, I burned to the core.

Yet, I was so thankful for this lesson from my Beloved Teacher. As I have said many times, He teaches me the ways of God so that I may please God. 

Jesus Christ can be your teacher, too. Accept Him as your Savior, repent of your sins, and be reborn in the Spirit.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: From Death to Life BASENAME: from-death-to-life DATE: Thu, 02 Apr 2015 10:16:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ christians jesus satan sinners teacher ----- BODY:

Many people who are Christians will say of themselves they are sinners. I dispute that. If you're a sinner, you're an enemy of God. Romans 5:10 "We were God's enemies. . ." If you're saved, can you still be an enemy of God?

Jesus himself says in John 5:24, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life."

What is the essence of Christianity if it isn't acknowledging your sinful nature and repenting of your sins, and in so doing, dying to the Law and being reborn in the Spirit? Being reborn in the Spirit, you are no longer a child of corruption, of this world. You are a child of God, the off-spring of your union with Jesus Christ. He made you anew.

If you have been baptized in your heart with the blood of Jesus, you passed from death to life. You cannot be a sinner because Jesus washed away your sins and sinful nature. To call yourself a sinner after you have been reborn is to revert to being a subject of Satan, the Prince of this World. Satan is the enemy of God and he's happy to receive you back. He's happy you traded salvation for a lie.

What of our failings when we have moved from death to life? Aren't they sins? No, they're failings. If you were to take Jesus at his word, he is come back as your teacher.  (1 John 2: 27 ) When you fail does your teacher condemn you? No, your teacher helps you to recognize your failing and correct it. You will delight in Jesus teaching you and correcting you.

So, if you've been baptized in your heart with the blood of Jesus Christ, give up the stumbling block, trade a lie for the truth of Jesus Christ: you've passed from death to life. Rejoice and Praise your Teacher!


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Glimpse into History BASENAME: quick-sliver-eye-opening DATE: Wed, 01 Apr 2015 17:58:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: cinderella evil good history satan ----- BODY:

I watched the movie, Cinderella, today, but not before I had listened to Adrian Rogers's sermon this morning on the radio, in which he said Satan doesn't know the future. Now, that information impressed me, as I had never heard it before. I had assumed Satan knows he's going to Hell, but Adrian Rogers said no he doesn't know.

The movie finally started. I was skeptical that I would like it because it was a Disney movie and not a Christian movie. But Greg Koukl, a Christian Talk Radio Host, had seen it with his daughter and recommended it. Based on his laudatory review, I decided to see it. But my skepticism was warranted when the mother, in the throes of death, gave her daughter, Ella, sober advice: be courageous and kind. She went on to exclaim that her daughter had more kindness in her little finger than most people have in their entire bodies.

The message was that courage and kindness would carry one through any tribulation. Oh, and a little magic! I hope Greg Koukl later explained to his daughter that the source of courage and kindness is God, and that neither are attributes we can assign to ourselves. And that magic is Satan's realm.

So, as I was sitting and bemoaning the insipid secular wisdom, I experienced a glimpse into reality. My mind's eye saw that all of history, no matter how it had come  down to us, is all wrong. Wrong in the sense of its theme. The true theme of all history is the battle between good and evil. Every war carried out by man is about good and evil.

Prior to this opening I liked to believe the magnitude of evil evident today began with the 1960s. But as it is said in Proverbs, there is nothing new under the sun. My vision allowed me to see that every era in history has had a magnitude of evil. It's just that there are more people now. 

On my way home I contemplated that vision. I thought about Satan not knowing the future, and because he doesn't know the future, he's going full throttle. And why not, he has so many more souls to herd down his path of destruction.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Ring- The Power-The Truth BASENAME: believing-the-world-is-everything DATE: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 19:20:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: creator possessions power ----- BODY:

Awakened last night around midnight. Under the influence of disturbed sleep I saw my bedroom as I had not seen it before. In this unusual conscious state truth roused me to another level and I saw that nothing in my bedroom, not one thing, was important. When I die everything will either be sold or discarded. And though it will have belonged to me, none of it was me, so no one would associate it with me, even if the next person to possess it were to know me.

Next morning in Meeting, an image flashed in my mind from the movie The Hobbit. It was the ring, the ring that was so coveted yet brought destruction to him who had possession of it. The scramble for it reminded me very much like the scramble we have to get possessions. But then, I thought, what is the use of possessions when we die? Just like the ring, possessions are valuable insofar as we desire them. We set our desire on the wrong object, which is power. Just like possession of the ring brought power, possessions equate power.

What power do we have, though, with possessions or lack of them? The answer is none. We have no power whether we possess a lot or little, for we are nothing. And we are nothing NOT because we evolved from some ancient common ancestor through unguided processes called natural selection and change over time, a theory some people like to use to deflate our sense of ourselves as unique beings in the world, or universe for that matter.

We are nothing, we are powerless, because we did not will ourselves into being. We are created creatures, and it is our Creator who is and who has the power. I deliberately said it is our Creator who Is. When you get right down to it,only the Creator has being. We are only part of the scheme, albeit an important one to the Creator. So in that respect, the Darwinist have it somewhat right: our hubris needs deflating.

God said in Genesis 3:19, "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; dust you are, and to dust you shall return." Like Pinnochio come alive, only we mess up after life is breathed into us rather than the other way around as Pinnochio.

Please get that concept through your head. I don't care how intelligent you think you are and others affirm you are: you are born into this world and you will die out of it. And the only meaningful thing you can do in between those times is to please God by living according to His directions. You will be most happy when you do. If you'd like to know what His directions are, become a Quaker Christian.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Harmless Voice? BASENAME: a-harmless-voice DATE: Fri, 06 Mar 2015 16:54:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ----- BODY:

Morning and evening are joyous when I worship my Lord. Some days I put off my morning worship time until later, sometimes because I ageed to meet someone or made an early appointment. Recently, for a few consecutive days I delayed my morning worship because I wanted to read "the news."

I rationalized my selfish choice in this way: God doesn't care what time of day you worship Him as long as you worship Him. That spat of unadulterated selfishness and rationale were not new to me, but something else was.

As before when I'd gone through this period, I knew in my heart my reasoning was false. What I was doing was making my desires more important than God. I'd been down this road and here I was again. I recommitted myself to sticking to my specified time of morning worship. That decision was not the end of it, though. A few mornings ago I put off doing something else until later. I knew what I should do, but this other voice, in cavalier assurance, lulled me into doing what I wanted to do instead.

I reflected on that assuring voice and how easily I allowed it to persuade me. For the first time I understood it to be from Satan, the great deceiver. Deftly he had argued as if for me. He knew what I wanted and made it easy for me to put myself first and not for the first time.

Where is he when the regrets come? We know that answer.

I finally understood that that assuring voice disguised as my wisdom was not of me at all. For the many years I'd heard it and followed it as if it were, I now knew I had to be wary of it, of its subtle influence. I could make no mistake about it. It was evil whispering in my ear. Such a harmless voice, too. So assuring that nothing bad would come of my choice. 

That's how evil works. And even though in the big scheme of things, it seems as if nothing bad ever really happened, how many regrets have I accrued because I didn't want somebody telling me how to live my life? Because I wanted to do it my way? Because I had the latest expert advice? Because everybody (fill in the blank). 

Who is there when the regrets come? God, of course.


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: All the Foundations of the Earth Are Out of Course* BASENAME: all-the-foundations-of-the DATE: Thu, 05 Mar 2015 15:32:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: psalm 82_5 christ devil evil god jesus savior ----- BODY:

Lord, so full of anxiety am I my face is but a frown.

The world is not right, as it has sometimes seemed to be.

My country, its government, is not what it was meant to be.

So much wrong, Lord, so much evil allowed to run wildly among us,

among our children to infect them.

Is this the time of tribulation I wonder?

Or are these times like historic times when evil gained a foothold?

I cannot question why this is happening

because I know why it is happening.

It happens repeatedly because it is the human condition.

It is happpening because Adam, the first man, disobeyed You and made

a decision for himself based on the deceit of the Devil.

He discounted his Creator's, his Father's, wisdom

and arrogantly assumed his own wisdom was more accurate--or useful.

So the pain of these times is the pain of death Adam bequeathed us.

We will never know the beauty of life, peace, and tranquility except

we accept Your gracious mercy bought for us by Your Son, Jesus Christ,

through His life, death, and resurrection.

Through Him we can overcome these ugly days.

His grace, His power, His glory triumphs over the evil,

even to set free those yet held in bondage.

Praise to our Lord and Savior!

Praise to our God whose grace saved us from certain death.

Amen


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Material vs. Supernatural BASENAME: material-vs-supernatural DATE: Wed, 04 Mar 2015 21:47:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: evolution material supernatural ----- BODY:

If you don't believe in the Supernatural, you don't believe in God. All you have to believe in is a material world. You can't go anywhere beyond the material world.

When I actively disbelieved in God, yet experienced an overflow of joy, I had no means to identify the source of it. If I decided to attribute it to a chance feeling, I felt disappointed and unfulfilled.

If my mind wanted to soar beyond its bounds, I slammed into the materialverse. How was the cosmos different from the material world I inhabited? I would think that if I traveled in a spaceship to the farthest reaches of space, what would I find but the same material box, only much larger. All that travel and distance took me nowhere and left me wanting, just as on Earth. If I cried out in the cosmos, what entity in it would hear and tell me the source of my joy?

Think about it. Being a materialist is something like living in a casket. A large casket to be sure, but a casket nonetheless. Even plunging into the depths of the human body to discover all the minutia there doesn't relieve one of the stark reality of being in a prison.

The sad thing is that we've been so compromised by the popular culture's unwavering devotion to the theory of evolution, we dismiss the idea of the Supernatural out of hand. I maintain Christian people say they believe in God but don't associate Him with the Supernatural. They read the biblical miracles and accept their reality superficially but never ponder what it means to embrace their reality. They talk of something being a miracle but if they were truthful with themselves would attritube the "miracle" to a fluke of the material world.

I have no statistics to support my claim; I go by my own thinking and experience. And I must say that it was Sid Ross's fifteen minute radio show, which I happened to hear one day while driving, that started me thinking about the Supernatural. I encourage you to do the same.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Point is Christ is All BASENAME: christ-is-all DATE: Wed, 18 Feb 2015 15:58:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ concern quaker meeting spirit-led ----- BODY:

Reading this morning from Quaker Spirituality, which showcases Quakers of different centuries, beginning with George Fox, the man responsible for promulgating Quaker theology. The last person showcased is Thomas R. Kelly, an American Quaker of the Twentieth Century.

I have difficulty with the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Quakers. The worldly influence is obvious to me in their writings. At first I thought Kelly was different, but I discovered some of his writings to be tinged with a kind of "New Age" spirituality. My comments are in the margins of the pages and below or above the offending paragraphs.

Yet I find passages where he's truely writing from the Spirit, and this morning I read one of them. I quote it here: "A Concern is God-initiated, often surprising, always holy, for the Life of God is breaking through into the world."

Now, concern is a Quaker term for focus and action regarding some aspect of society, culture, or foreign peoples. According to Quaker order and custom, a member is to put his/her concern before the Meeting. The Meeting is then supposed to prayerfully consider the member's concern and whether he is Spirit-led or self-directed.

Kelly's sentence immediately hit home for me. He was speaking in the Spirit that animated George Fox and early Quakers and me. The Quaker Meeting he knew was the Quaker Meeting I have longed to know and be a part of: a Quaker Meeting where one's time of God's visitation for salvation and one's acceptance of it can be publicly expressed and rejoiced; a Quaker Meeting where the joys of learning from the Inward Teacher can be shared and perhaps cause spontaneous praise to God filling the room; a Quaker Meeting where a deepening commitment to Jesus Christ is the backbone of the Church. My longing led me to plan how I could become a member of the Meeting I've been attending so I could put my concern before the Meeting, and through it I could then pray for guidence in how to address my concern.

Almost immediately I saw I had reverted to my former self-directed ways. I bowed down to confess recognition of my lapse and pray that not my will but my Father's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In that time of prayer and waiting upon the Lord, He let me see that if any endeavor I undertook was not by and through Jesus Christ, it would be a failure. The consequences of my self-directed actions would be harmful to others in some way, though that harm may not be readily apparent.

George Fox wrote in his journal: ". . . I therein saw clearly that all was done and to be done in and by Christ . . . " P. 14, Journal of George Fox, edited by John L. Nickalls.  That is what the Lord was letting me see and understand for myself. Jesus is the Light and Life and without His presence in everything I do, no good will be done.

The profound implication of my confessional statement will be difficult for even religious Christians to wholly comprehend. The unbelieving and active disbelievers in God will be defiant. I know this from experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Wise and Learned BASENAME: the-wise-and-learned DATE: Wed, 04 Feb 2015 14:05:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: alan turing christ enigma god mystery pope, christ, church, creator, evil, experience, father, god, jesus, knowledge, light, lord, man, matthew, quakers, son, spirit, teacher, truth, understanding, words ----- BODY:

I was wondering yesterday morning why there is a Pope when Jesus is our High Priest? Of course, it is as Quakers assert, the offices of the Church, including the Pope, are man-inspired. The same is true of Protestant Churches because Jesus is the Minister, the Preacher, the Teacher.

I also thought about Jesus as High Priest sitting at the right hand of God being able to look down upon us, whereas God does not because He cannot look upon evil. Jesus, being God incarnate, can. He can intercede for us, plead for us, for that reason.

Thinking about the neo-paganists I've been reading about, it occurs to me they believe there is a mystery to be puzzled out. That there is some great revealing knowledge that only a few can obtain because they found the key that unlocks the mystery. Sounds similar to the Enigma machine whose mystery Alan Turing and colleagues worked slavishly to decode. 

It would seem that these neo-paganists expect to experience something beyond what words can express when they find the key and unlock the mystery. They reject God the Creator. Yet only He can provide the experience they desperately seek elsewhere. There is no key, no mystery to be found. However, God is to be found easily. Knock and the door will be opened--no secret password required.

In Christ there is no mystery, only truth. He teaches us what we are capable of learning and understanding. What did Jesus say in Matthew 11:25: "Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, I thank you because you have shown to the unlearned what you have hidden from the wise and learned." Wise and learned--would that not describe the neo-paganists as well as the Pharisees of Christ's time?

And Matthew 11:27: "My Father has given me all things. No one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom He choses to reveal Him."

Lastly, Matthew 11:29: "Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light."

So it is the neo-paganist priests and followers, and others, from whom things in plain sight are hidden. 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Theories of Evolution and Intelligent Design BASENAME: theories-of-evolution-and-intelligent DATE: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 13:50:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: evolution god intelligent design ----- BODY:

I wondered today while reading about the theories of evolution--powered by mutation and natural selection--and Intelligent Design--powered, as it were, by God--I wondered if the theory of evolution is more enticing to modern man because its mechanism for change is easier for man to grasp? Because to try to imagine, let alone contemplate, a being so marvelous as one who planned and created everything in the universe right down to to the proteins in the eyes that allow for perception of colors (with animals and humans having different abilities of color perception) is simply too fantastic for man to grasp--although he arrogantly believes he is capable of and should grasp the whole of creation.

There are people much more intelligent than I who are capable of grasping and understanding much, much more than I. Still, they must find thinking about an all powerful creator God to be beyond their ability.

I wonder, too, that we "lucked out" in having a loving God. But, you see, even thinking that chance was involved is to reduce the power and authority of God. It is in a way to suggest God is something less than who He says He is.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Way It's Supposed to Be BASENAME: the-way-it-s-supposed DATE: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 13:30:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god imperfect world individual sin ----- BODY:

You can read in the Holy Bible the way things are supposed to be according to God. It's beautiful the way things are supposed to be according to God. But they aren't that way. Neither are they going to be that way because you live in a fallen world, a world of sin. 

The question is, what do you do? How do you cope living in an imperfect world when the perfect world is so beautiful and appealing? Are you to do anything to make the imperfect world somewhat perfect? Would what you do to make that somewhat perfect matter? 

These and other questions I put to you, O' Lord. Tell me, what should I think, what I should understand?

His answer just now comes to me. Yes, what you do to make an imperfect world somewhat perfect does matter. He tells me: don't think in terms of the whole but in the part. Think in terms of the individual.

Blessed be my Lord.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Kingdom of God BASENAME: the-kingdom-of-god-1 DATE: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 13:05:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: kingdom of god learning ----- BODY:

It was George Fox's preaching that brought me to the Kingdom of God. When that statement came into my mind, immediately I thought of Jesus's words: the Kingdom of God is near you.

Wow! I had always conceived the Kingdom of God to be within one not without one. So conceiving of it as being outside one's self made me envision walking into the Kingdom of God. And like walking into any place new, one has to learn about it: the lay of the land. With the Kingdom of God, there is much to learn, an infinite amount to learn. And you can't learn it on your own, or by your own perception. 

The way I see it you enter the Kingdom of God when you repent of your disobedience to Him. This you do through the Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ. That entry sets you on the path of learning. Learning, learning, learning. For me, the learning has speeded up within the last six, seven months. A joy and serenity has come over me unlike what I experienced before. What a pleasure to sit down with the Lord to learn more.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Reflections on Jeremiah 32:39 BASENAME: reflections-on-jeremiah-32-39 DATE: Sat, 03 Jan 2015 10:13:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christians jeremiah jesus sin ----- BODY:

Original from 2014

In worship this morning I was reminded of Jeremiah 32:39 "Then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them." I decided to read the next verse as well, and as I did, I saw words that leaped out to say, here is something to contemplate. "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me."

The last line, especially My fear in their hearts, flashed a thought. Is it God's fear for us he means when we disregard his way? His fear of what will happen to us? The same fear that a mother knows for her children if they go astray? She would like to put the fear she has for them in their hearts!

This thought led me to another. As Christians we know sin and death entered the world through Adam. We also know sin is disregarding that one way God wants us to live. We also know it's a willful disobedience. We want to do what we want to do. The concept of sacrifice is inconceivable for many, especially when what we want is contrary to what is good for our children. We can't think of sacrificing our will to do God's will for the good of society.

Jesus prayed, "Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but your will be done."

Jesus did not opt out, reasoning it wouldn't hurt anybody if he did what he wanted instead of what God planned. No, Jesus sacrificed his will to do God's will for the good of all mankind. We should do no less than our Teacher.


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Prohibition of Images BASENAME: prohibition-of-images DATE: Sat, 03 Jan 2015 09:48:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: image knowledge reality ----- BODY:

The Lord opened in me during worship this morning the reason for the prohibition of images. You can't know an image intimately, as you can the person or living thing. The image distracts from the reality and knowledge of another person or being. It becomes a substitute for knowledge of the other.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: My Lord Spoke to Me BASENAME: my-lord-spoke-to-me DATE: Sat, 27 Dec 2014 10:24:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: alien culture lord redeem ----- BODY:

My Lord provides for me. Blessed is my Lord. Praise be to my Lord. All good things come from Him.

Suddenly, in my mind came this thought: I live in an alien culture. A culture that has no God, save that of what the individual cherishes, such as money, possessions, ideology.

To denigrate this culture would be easy and natural for me. My Lord said to me: Don't be hostile to it. You can't effect the culture for good if you are hostile. And then He said, or rather He let me see, that hostility to or avoidance of the alien culture is really masking fear. "Don't be afraid, for I am with you. I will guide you, teach you, shield you."

I was going to add, but then decided not to, but wondered instead whether my Lord had those among the alien culture He specifically wanted to redeem?

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Bed of Her Husband BASENAME: december-twenty-third-two-thousand-1 DATE: Sat, 27 Dec 2014 10:09:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ----- BODY:

Isaac Penington wrote in his treatise Some Propositions, "[A]nd the true spirit hath not been able to find the bed of her husband."

The bed of her husband implies a sexual union and so his words excite me, as do the words "Church as Christ's bride." I love Jesus so much I sometimes wish he were my husband. 

Such thought made me wonder what the marriage relationship between Christ and his Church means. Because when you're married and have sexual union, you create a bond of trust and truth. Truth and Trust, if you don't have both you don't have either.

You create intamacy in the marriage by opening to your spouse private, personal things meant never to go beyond your conjugal bed. The very fact of experiencing this type of intimacy is fulfilling, bonding, and hard to replicate with a different spouse if the new spouse is a result of adultry or divorce.

So is it expected that as a member of His Church one will enter into this kind of intimacy with Jesus Christ? Well, to be member of His Church one goes through a process of revealing to Him (and acknowledging to one's self) the most intimate details of one's sinful life. One won't physically have sexual relations with Jesus in marriage, but the union with Him will create an intimacy exclusive to the two of you. Yet, all members of His Church have that exclusive union with Him, a union of Truth and Trust.

If that is the case, our joy will be nearly unbearable.

December 24, 2014

Truth and Trust. Little children speak truth and they trust. Did not Jesus tell us we had to become like little children?

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Compilation of Openings and Queries BASENAME: a-compilation-of-openings-and DATE: Mon, 08 Dec 2014 14:27:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: charity christ darkness hell light seed will ----- BODY:

November 4, 2014

Do we, with charity for all, tell someone of his/her wrongdoing, or do we assume he knows but is suppressing that knowledge?

When my son tells me he doesn't want somebody else telling him how to live, is he in fact saying he doesn't want God telling him how to live; that he doesn't want to hear that of which God disapproves?

November 6

Last night during evening worship, Jesus opened me to the knowledge of being one of His sheep. His promise, or His Shepherd's duty, is to protect His sheep, lead them, and not to lose one sheep, but find it if it's lost, to protect it from harm. To know that promise experientially is huge!

November 11

Once you determine to do God's will instead of your own will, it becomes easy. The struggle disappears.

November 18

I have become enamored of my own writing, wisdom, and clever thought. But those things are as nothing. I have no wisdom of my own. Certainly, my cleverness was mere put-downs.

I cried for my mother for the first time since she died. It happened unexpectedly as I went for the King James Bible I recently purchased that sat next to the frayed King James Bible she had given me and my family years and years ago. I did not thank her for it, but was miffed that she had given me the King James version.  

November 19

I wonder if going to hell will mean for the sinners that the Seed and Light of Christ, which Robert Barclay writes of in Propositions 5 & 6, wherein he says Christ never is nor can be separate from them (the Seed and Light), will depart from them? Utter darkness--not the dark of no visible light, but the dark of no inner light.

November 29, December 1

Query: Do you humble yourself before the Lord? Do you pray to do His will and not your own? Do you allow time for daily worship, reading, and waiting upon the Lord?

Until recently I would have answered no to the first two queries.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Greed and Envy BASENAME: greed-and-envy DATE: Tue, 11 Nov 2014 19:11:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: jesus knowledge ----- BODY:

There are things we know on one level and take for granted. But we don't know our level of understanding is shallow. We know what we know and can recite what we know easily. Even if our knowledge doesn't roll off our tongue, it's still stamped in our mind, because when we're confronted with something contrary to our knowledge we recognize it as wrong. Not until someone deepens our level of understanding do we realize we were just skimming on the surface before. 

Some time last week my Lord Jesus, my beloved Teacher, deepened my understanding of greed and envy. What he opened in me was that greed and envy signify that you either don't believe in God or don't trust in Him as your provider. Greed reveals your suspicion that if you don't grab everything now there won't be enough later; and envy betrays the same suspicion only this time you perceive someone else getting everything that you could have were it not for some favoritism, luck, or shenanigans. Envy has been my poison. 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Generosity BASENAME: generosity DATE: Mon, 27 Oct 2014 15:26:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: giving god good ----- BODY:

A remarkable thing happened to me this morning. While saying grace before my meal, praying to be charitable to all, the Lord opened to me that giving to others does not take away from me. In other words, I don't lose anything; I'm not left with less because God provides for me, for all of us. The remarkable aspect about this opening is that before my mind's eye was a scene of God dishing up more.

So when we give our piece or our pot, if you will, grows bigger. The bigger it grows the more we can give. But we must always acknowledge that God is the source of the giving, the source of that which we give and can give. So let us praise God for our giving. He makes it possible!

What the Lord let me see this morning is that when I give, the amount I have grows larger--contrary to what I expect. Praise to my Lord! It doesn't matter what I am giving (if I give out hate I get more hate), so I'd better give only good, only love.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Teacher BASENAME: the-teacher DATE: Sat, 18 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christianity c_s_lewis lord teacher, deceit, joy, lord, praise, prayer, teacher, trust, waiting upon the lord, worship ----- BODY:

Praise to my Lord. He opened to me to ask Him questions, for He is come to answer them. Is He not the Teacher?

So yesterday, I asked Him: How do I speak to someone who makes me angry because of deceit and wrong-doing? Shouldn't I speak angrily?

The answer was no. I was astonished the reply came quickly, as if my Lord were standing before me.

Now I need to know how to speak or write against deceit and wrong-doing without anger. Didn't you, Lord, speak angrily when you saw the Temple being descecrated?

With prayer and waiting upon the Lord, He will open to me the answer to my question. Yet, I recalled a verse from Proverbs 15: 1 "A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up."

This morning in worship, I asked the Lord: How do I overcome fear and loathing? I perceive this to be a difficult question requiring internal change. Already I feel the workings of the Lord in me. 

Then I asked Him: How do I  overcome disappointment? Quickly the Lord opened to me: Don't have assumptions of another's doing, saying, or being what you expect. Put the responsibility on yourself for whatever you want to happen or expect the other person to be. If you assume another will say goodbye when he leaves, you are open to disappointment. Not so if you initiate the goodbye or make sure you're available when he leaves or make it known to him you want a goodbye.

There is much to be learned from our Lord and what a joy to ask Him as you would any teacher. Trust He will teach you how to be and then pray you become as He teaches.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: About God's Love and other questions BASENAME: about-god-s-love-and DATE: Sun, 12 Oct 2014 09:38:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god jesus love truth ----- BODY:

I wanted to think about God's love for us even though we have done things so despicable to Him, He will not look upon us. And how, as Christians, we are to gain and excerise that same love for those who wrong or have wronged us.

In worship the Holy Spirit said to me to reverse the equation. What if you are or were the one to commit the wrong to another, would you want that person to hold his grudge or dislike for you, or to love you as God loves you despite your despicable behavior against His desire for how we are to behave? 

What do you do about those who do not acknowledge having done you wrong? 

Again, the Holy Spirit said to me: You pray for them. You pray for their eyes to be opened to the Light within them, so they will come to Truth. Pray that some word or phrase will shake them awake to the Truth within them. Pray that some event will rattle their familiar world, giving them the eyes to see and the ears to hear the Gospel. Pray someone is willing and able to talk to them in such a way that their mind will grasp the Truth in a flash of awe.

Pray, pray, pray for them whenever and however you can because people of God's will are His agents in this material world. And the only way for those who have yet to learn the truth of their situation in relation to God is for His agents on earth to wake them up to it in some way.

As these answers were given to me, I marveled at how easy the answers were, and how obvious they were or would have been if only I hadn't made the obstacle to block the obvious. I think that's why Jesus says in Matthew 11:30 "For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light."

It isn't that what Jesus wants us to do--love one another as He has loved us --is hard or burdensome. It's that we don't want to love one another when we are angry, hurt, or a stranger. Which brings us back to the beginning and God's love for us even though we have done and continue to do despicable things against His will. 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The High Priest BASENAME: exodus-19-3-8 DATE: Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:53:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: chosen people high priest jesus ----- BODY:

The above passage was part of a sermon I heard last Sunday. Prior to the service I thought to review the cited passages. I had no chance to go beyond Exodus, but a word in verse 6 struck me. I had no time to contemplate its intrigue as the service started. But in the sermon the Pastor used the very word that had intrigued me. Here is the sentence from the Good News Bible:

"The whole world is mine, but you will be my chosen people, a people dedicated to me alone, and you will serve me as priests." When I read that and heard it spoken, my intrigue and excitment rose.

What did priests do? The High Priest was sanctified to go behind the curtain to where he received instruction from God to give to the Israelites. Priests performed the ritual of offerings: sacrifices brought by Israelites for pleasing God or obtaining His forgiveness.

Leviticus devotes Chapter 21 to the Holiness of Priests and how they are to retain their holiness. " A priest shall not marry a woman who has been a prostitute or a woman who is not a virgin or who is divorced. The High Priest shall marry only a virgin, not a widow or a divorced woman or a woman who has been a prostitute. He shall marry only a virgin from his own clan. Otherwise, his children, who ought to be holy, will be ritually unclean." Lev. 21:7, 13-15. Two things I want to comment on are the priests made holy by God. The other concerns Jesus. 

To keep holy the priests had to follow God's commands regarding how they lived, behaved, and worshiped. God declared the Israelites the people he chose to be His priests. Presumably, they would minister to all nations by reflecting God's holiness through their lives and being the model of how God desired everyone to live. But either the Israelites didn't appreciate the great honor God entrusted to them, or they didn't understand it as a commission. They failed to retain their holiness. God had another plan. 

What excited me in Exodus was recognizing Jesus as the High Priest, our High Priest. Did the failure of the Jews necessitate Jesus coming? A Divine narrative runs through the Old Testament, beginning with the Jews as God's Chosen People. And while they may have failed Him as priests, the holiness retained by some of them allowed for the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

It is written the veil hanging in the Temple was torn in two when Jesus breathed his last. It is written Jesus said, "It is finished." The Divine story was finished; God's plan was carried out. As High Priest Jesus performed and was the sacrifice. In his death, the veil wasn't only rent in two, but the separation between man and God went away. Through Jesus, we have access to God. He intercedes on our behalf. 

I'm just reminded of the book, The Greatest Story Ever Told. I've never read it, but I will now. Is the author talking about the same thing as I?

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Being Selfish BASENAME: being-selfish DATE: Mon, 08 Sep 2014 08:30:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: joy selfishness servant ----- BODY:

God let me see this morning that I put myself first. He reminded me of my attitude when my first child was born. My attitude was that my son would have to adjust to my lifestyle and not me to him and his needs. Boy, did I quickly learn otherwise. In fact, I reached the point where I was saying, just when I get comfortable with his schedule, he changes it. HA! I thought I could be in charge.

I've admitted my selfishness before, but it's hard (for me anyway) to recognize my selfishness. It isn't that I'm stingy with money, for I don't have a whole lot and that's not really what I have to give. I'm stingy with my time. I think that's a selfishness I developed from childhood when I was somewhat isolated from children other than my brothers. I got used to spending time alone and entertaining myself.

The thing is, I put what I want to do ahead of others. I must overcome this crippling, isolating selfish habit. I will pray every day for my Lord and teacher to help me to become little, remind me of my selfish nature, teach me to be a servant to others.

As I contemplate my assignments through Hospice, I realize again: it's not about me. It's about being a servant to others. That's a hard lesson for me to learn because I want to be in charge of my time. Even though I've given of my time before, it wasn't a joyful giving. It wasn't a loving giving. I have faith in my Lord that he will open in me the joy in being a servant; the joy in giving, even to sacrifice.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: If God Were Myth BASENAME: if-god-were-myth DATE: Wed, 03 Sep 2014 09:09:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: evolution god supernatural ----- BODY:

I have a longing, Lord, for the days when thoughts of you rolled effortlessly to the nation's mind. Jesus was Savior and Christmas holiday celebrated his birth. Easter holiday portrayed his death and resurrection. The nation knew his sacrifical death was to cleanse us of our sins. Less thoughtout in the minds of the nation's people was the resurrection's purpose to show death (evil) had been overcome through Jesus. 

Praise be to God in Heaven who looks down on upon us and does not like what He sees of us now. His righteousness cannot abide our depravity. Among the people of this nation are those who cry out against the depravity, against the corruption of the children. Let our voices be heard; our warnings heeded.

How is it that we can understand allegory, parables, and fables that carry meaning beyond the surface if there is only a material world? Language is even simpler. Its purpose is to carry meaning and isn't meaning immaterial? Even animals convey meaning in their sounds and actions. Meaning has no physical presence. It can't be measured, it can't be seen. Doesn't going beyond the physical as we do daily imply something other than a strictly material world?

Try to imagine life in a strictly material world. Wouldn't that world be devoid of concept because concept itself is immaterial? I don't know. I'm just trying to think through life without God. I mean, to think of life as if God truly were myth. He is other dimensional, supernatural, other than material. Is it not plausible to think that if all there were was a material world, we would not possess thought? This attribute would not be necessary if we were simply products of a materical world. 

I thought one day that evolution itself is seen as a supernatural entity. People refer to it as if it's an intelligent entity guiding the development of life, but because they are adamant that the supernatural doesn't exist, they studiously maintain their position.

Life without God would be living as a rock or water, which is no life. Even when we don't know of the God of Abraham, Issaic, and Jacob, we are aware of Him on some level. To deny Him is to acknowledge Him. For if He didn't exist we would not know to deny Him. We cannot deny that which does not exist.

My longing will someday be met.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Thoughts from Worship BASENAME: thoughts-from-worship DATE: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:07:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god good spirit ----- BODY:

More and more you reveal my flaws to me, Lord. I knew I was self-centered--that you already showed me. But am I lazy, too? Or is it not laziness but an unwillingness to devote my time to doing your will? My pattern is to start something and then hand it over to someone else because I say I'm not a leader.

Doing God's will is more important than doing my will. Doing God's will means giving my time to accomplish His will.

In a Spirit Ordered Life you devote your time to doing God's will. Living in the Spirit is you planning your day and time but doing so according to God's way. Has He called you to live a Spirit Ordered Life?

                                                                     

Don't do anything out of the goodness of your heart. You have no intrinsic goodness. Your goodness comes from God. Any good you do is God working through you. Praise God for being a conduit of His goodness. If you seek to do good, consult God before you do.

                                                                     

"Put no more confidence in mortal men. What are they worth?" Isaiah 2: 22

Yes, no more confidence in mortal men who are not governed by God, their Creator. To acknowledge God as your Creator is to identify your relationship to Him. He's not just a god. He is the very source of your being and life. He is your Father. Not to acknowledge Him is to live as if you were a factory doll with no reality. Your words, your achievments are as dust.  

Those who commit evil suppress the seed of God in them. 

                                                                       

If only we could say in our culture today these words, "His righteous judgment," and know most people would understand them.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Use what Jesus gives BASENAME: use-what-jesus-gives DATE: Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:05:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: change evil jesus strength ----- BODY:

Jesus gives us the strength to overcome evil, but we must employ that strength focefully. We cannot be passive, expecting a change to happen without our participation in making and sustaining change. 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Miracles and Magic BASENAME: proverbs-1-2 DATE: Sun, 10 Aug 2014 09:10:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: deceit magic satan truth ----- BODY:

"Here are proverbs that will help you recognize wisdom and good advice, and understand sayings with deep meanings." Prov 1: 2 

Every once in a while the Lord lets me see what has been hidden from me . He opens my mind to the deeper  meaning of sayings I've read many times. I believed I had understood their deep meaning, so that I determined there was nothing left in that particular saying for me to know. But He does let me see, let's all of us see if we are open to Him, the truth of our state of being. For that I am so thankful. 

How is it we cannot comprehend ourselves as created beings? How is it we can believe we had somc determination in our creation? How is it we can imagine ourselves the potter rather than the pot?

Yesterday I reread a blog post from 2012 in which I discussed miracles and magic and asked the question, where did people get the idea of magic if not from witnessing miracles? This morning it was opened to me that miracles and magic are opposites. Magic is deceit, and who is the great deceiver? Satan, of course. And he is the prince of the world; this world is his kingdom. Which brings me to connect the Lord's hand in revealing to us that which is hidden from us until we are capable of accepting it. 

When we are given the deeper meaning of sayings it is our Lord, Jesus Christ, who is opening our eyes to the deceit of Satan's kingdom. Nothing we know in this world from this world is truth. Even Plato recognized this fact in his cave analogy. Truth is hidden under Satan's deceit. But we can't comprehend that truth on our own because the deceit looks so real. We are helpless against its power. 

God is the source of Truth. He is the source of everything real hence the source of miracles. As children we don't see the deception in magic. When we're older we become skeptical of magic tricks but delight in them anyway for the skill of the magician. We never go beyond our skepticism, though, to wonder what else in this world is but magic, the magic of the great deceiver.

When I was in my late teens I wanted very much to participate in the hippie movement. Most alluring to me was the acid trip. I lived with my mother and step-father in southern California at the time, where the hippie culture was in full bloom. But I didn't know how to access it, being a newcomer and a hick from Michigan at that. My high school boyfriend followed me out to California. He being more outgoing and bolder than I "scored" some acid for the two of us. After everyone went to bed, we "dropped" the acid and sat back to await our "trip." 

Throughout the night I suffered hallucinations and paranoia. In the morning, though, after the drug had worn off, I felt aware. I felt as if I had crossed into another world, that my mind had been opened by the acid, just as the songs predicted. I felt as if I had sloffed off the girl from the farm and become a woman of the world. Well, maybe I was still high. That was the magic of the Sixties. 

So strong was that magic that I set out one day to a park where I throught through the existence of God. It seemed I was there many hours and only left with a sense of finality when I concluded God did not exist. I thought myself courageous and advanced to have reached such a conclusion. But I was not the only one (as John Lennon would croon in Imagine). Only years later did I recognize I had been as a herd animal following not another being but a lie. Sadly, I wanted to impose acceptance of that lie on others, most egregiously, on my children. 

These episodes and others in my life are the reason I can attest to God's mercy and love. From the start of my return journey to God I never saw myself as the instigator of the journey. His love overwhelmed me and I simply responded, though I did not know I was responding to Him at first. It was my contention that taking my children to Quaker Meeting was for their sakes. However, sitting in Meeting waiting upon the Lord, I began to realize God meant it for me. I hesitate to write this, but is that not a miracle? 

All praise and glory to God!

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Be of Good Cheer BASENAME: be-of-good-cheer DATE: Sat, 09 Aug 2014 09:53:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: cheer god lord praise ----- BODY:

Serve your fellow human being with a grand smile.

Be of good cheer.

Be joyful, for your Lord is with you.

You can read and listen to the news reports portending trouble,

but know that your Lord is over all and be of good cheer.

Wake up from your dreams of dread and nightmares. 

If disaster comes, know the Lord is on his way.

Praise be to God.

Amen

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Remind Me BASENAME: remind-me DATE: Wed, 09 Jul 2014 09:20:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christian good news ----- BODY:

Remind me again and again, Lord, that You are over all. Nothing happens without Your knowledge. All that happens is according to Your plan. 

For some days I put off worship until after I had read what I wanted to read and did what I wanted to get done. I rationalized my procrastination by telling myself it didn't matter to God what time I worshipped Him, but rather that I worshipped.

I'd been reading a book, Josephus, The Essential Works, edited by Paul L. Maier, in which are two accounts of the Jews: The Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities. I was reading Jewish Antiquities. I can't remember now the exact story (Moses or Joshua) when my transgression was laid open to me from what I was reading. I was dishonoring God with my procrastination. I was in fact telling God He was less important than my wants and desires. I was contrite. I vowed to give to God first. As I write these words I realize that upon rising my first duty then is to worship God, not at 8:45 AM, the time I had set.

Reading this morning a passage from 1 Corinthians I was reminded by my Lord and Teacher about love. I write the verse for you.

"I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains--but if I have no love, I am nothing."  1Cor 13:2

That love would be for our fellow human beings, to share with them the Good News. For as Paul writes, if we have all this knowledge and understanding but don't share it with those who are walking dead but don't know it, we are nothing indeed, for we haven't sown any seed. We haven't brought anyone into Life.  

Is this why our Christian churches are emptying out? Is this why our children think legalizing marijuana is the best thing that has happened in their life? Yet, have we been trained to speak love to our fellow human beings?

Because we haven't been trained we fear doing what we know in our hearts is so urgent a task. I want very much to reach out to others, that's why I write this blog. I've wanted to reach out since before the day I prostrated myself before God in recognition of my willfulness and disobedience. But I have no training how to broach the subject; no discernment as to when the opportunity presents itself, and no measured courage to follow through.

Where is the church, the organization, that can give me help and hope?            

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Do What God Wants Not What Man Wants BASENAME: do-what-god-wants-not DATE: Sun, 29 Jun 2014 12:01:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: genesis god jesus ways ----- BODY:

The left, secularists at the least and atheists at most, should learn the Judeo/Christian religion. They would learn from reading Genesis, chapter 1, that God created the perfect world, placing the first man and woman in it. They would learn that God's perfect world produced without any toil from man.

When put to the test, however, both man and woman failed it, thereby condemning themselves to be the progenitors of imperfect beings in a corrupted world. But God had a plan whereby man could regain his perfection long before the left was ever on the scene with their ideas for the perfection of man.

His plan was to send his perfect Son, Jesus, to be the sacrifice for all the imperfect doings of the imperfect men and women since Adam and Eve. When the sacrifice was carried out, He planned to resurrect His crucified Son as the final blow to Satan. Death would no longer reign on Earth. And it's true. God did just as He planned.

But what is and has been the plan of man in all its manifestations to perfect "men" (but not the world)? I write "men" to distinguish between those who will do the perfecting and those who will be perfected, the presumption being that those doing the prefecting are perfect in and of themselves. No "created equal" in their eyes. The plan is to use whatever power is available to them to force men and women to conform to their blueprint of the perfected human being. Their definition of perfect human changes, too. 

What power might be available to them? Military power. That's been by far the favorite means of coercion. Political power, which is to gain control of governmental entities and use them to browbeat citizens. Psychological power, which is to subtly infect minds with ideas and ways that conform to the plan.

God is much more powerful than man can ever think to be. He not only created man, but also the univerise and all that is in it. Even with all His power, God does not seek nor ever sought to coerce man to walk in His ways. If man chooses to defy God, He will eventually leave man to wallow in his evil ways. But if man chooses to walk in God's ways, he is given every aid of success. He can then rightfully say he's been remade the perfect man.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Christ Is Come To Teach His People Himself BASENAME: christ-is-come-to-teach DATE: Sun, 22 Jun 2014 09:43:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ george fox ----- BODY:

George Fox's liberating revelation was, Christ is come to teach his people himself. His revelation was a revelation to me, too. Yet, what exactly did that revelation mean?

I have always taken it to mean Jesus will teach us apart from the Bible. But I question that interpretation now that the Quaker church has drifted from its Christian roots to become a pagan religion with no ties to the Bible; therefore, no ties to Jesus. Could what I see as strickly my interpretation of Fox's revelation really be a one-time corporate Quaker interpretation subtly influencing me? Maybe, but by the time I arrived at a Quaker Meeting for Worship, the Church had already been infiltrated, ergo influenced, by atheists, universalist, secularist, humanists, etc. I had to ask for a Bible reading group. 

The question arises: do we need to know the fundamentals of God's Law to be taught by Jesus? Yes, we do need to know them. The question then is, what if we don't have access to a Bible to learn them? If I understand Robert Barclay correctly, such a lacking is no impediment to God. In fact, Barclay asserts that  God would not offer salvation to all and then not provide the means to inform all. In other words, all of mankind is born with the Light (that of God) in him, just as he has inherited Adam's corrupt seed. So the redeeming Christ is universal.

Christ is come to teach his people himself, if they will listen. Having the Bible to read, consult, and affirm is a bonus.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Earnest Prayer to God BASENAME: earnest-prayer-to-god DATE: Fri, 13 Jun 2014 10:05:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: holy spirit ----- BODY:

My last entry in the  notebook I keep close by during worship reflected my anxiety regarding my relationship with God. 

"The Holy Spirit seems to have left me," I wrote. I put aside the notebook and picked up the thin paperback book, To an Ancient People: The Autobiography of Rabbi Leopold Cohn, and read about his "Earnest prayer to God."

His words reflected on me as a light. I saw earnest prayer to God was good and that it pleased Him. So I began earnstly praying to God.

Then last night, when I had not really slept the night before and couldn't truly worship that morning, I decided, before retiring to bed, to again offer prayer and worship to God.

I had a vision as I sat waiting upon the Lord. In this vision I saw people busy in the work of the Lord. They were evangelizing. At the same time I saw them, I felt the Lord's eyes on me, reading my disposition: how tired I was; how inert I was; how lethargic I was; how I excused myself from the work of the Lord. I saw God was pleased with those people who were busy doing His work, viz. spreading the word, preaching the Gospel.

So it isn't enough to believe. Just believing would be like the servants who were given ten minas by their master to put to work for him. If you don't put your belief to work to increase the numbers of those who hear the Gospel, you are like the servant who kept his mina hidden. He was roundly chastized, then stripped of his mina, and the man who had doubled his share was given it.

Thus the Lord instructed me.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: It's What We Do BASENAME: miscellaneous-thoughts DATE: Thu, 05 Jun 2014 19:07:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ----- BODY:

He doesn't remove us from Him.

We remove ourselves from Him when we disobey His plan for how we are to live. 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: O Gracious Father BASENAME: o-gracious-father DATE: Sun, 01 Jun 2014 12:40:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: spirit truth ----- BODY:

O Gracious Father,

It is not the reading of words in books that brings me close to you. It is coming to you in truth and spirit that draws me near to you. Let not words come between your Spirit and my spirit, which issues from you. 

Words are transporters. What they transport depends on the message desired by the originator and the disposition of the receiver. But words can never be the message. They can never reveal beyond their purpose . Only the Spirit reveals.

Definitive knowledge of that which created knowledge is impossible. Even to contemplate the beginning of knowledge folds back on itself. We get to the place where our minds cannot express that which we think we know and experience. 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Call Him Father BASENAME: call-him-father-1 DATE: Sun, 25 May 2014 11:54:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: father god ----- BODY:

To be favored by God is Joy.

To call Him Father is to acknowledge He is the provider of everything.

To call Him Father is to recognize your status as His child and an heir to His Kingdom.

To do God's will is to please Him. 

He is your Father. He provides for you. He favors you. He loves you. You want to please him. You want to honor Him.

Sometimes you think  what you do isn't enough. If  He asks more from you, give Him more. More of your time. More of your contemplation. More good works. More praise. More prayer. Give Him first place in your life. Give to Him what He asks and rejoice, though what he asks may not be an easy or pleasant task. 


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Sitting In The Pew BASENAME: sitting-in-the-pew DATE: Thu, 22 May 2014 10:01:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: jesus teacher ----- BODY:

I closed my eyes to wait upon the Lord, but the noise around me was not unlike looking at clutter in a living room strewn with children's toys. It distacted me. 

In the noise, however, it was opened in me to recall the Gospels and remember that the disciples and followers of Jesus listened to Him. They didn't talk to Him; they listened to Him. 

Even the disciples didn't understand always what Jesus was saying.  He would gather them separately from the crowd and teach them.

We don't understand always what Jesus means when we read the Gospels. Why do we not gather together to let Him teach us, as He did his disciples? Why do so many churches not recognize Jesus as the Teacher within? The teacher of all he said?

"Be still, and know that I am God." Ps 46:10

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: No Confusion BASENAME: no-confusion DATE: Fri, 02 May 2014 10:23:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: chaos, confusion, deceit, one way, truth ----- BODY:

There is no confusion, no equivocation. There is Truth and there is deceit. There is a divide between the two. Either live in the Light, or walk in Darkness, where there is confusion, stumbling, tumult.

God created an orderly world, not chaos. Paul wrote in 1Cor 14:33, "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace . . ." There is only one way, not many ways. In that one way are diverse talents to contribute to it, to sustain it. The Spirit leads in that one way.

Confusion and confounding come from man, the creator of many ways. Learn the one way, know the one way, so when you are confronted by impostors who preach confusion, uncertainty, and many ways, you will dismiss them. You will not be deceived by them; you won't be troubled by them.

There is only one voice of the Divine Spirit and it speaks Truth.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Quickened Spirit BASENAME: quickened-spirit DATE: Fri, 25 Apr 2014 09:15:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: jesus parables ----- BODY:

It was opened to me in worship earlier this week to inquire about the astonishment of people who listened to Jesus teach and preach. They had never heard anyone before speak with authority as He. They marveled at the things He said. (Matt 7:28)

Prior to this inquiry I had listened during a church service to things I already knew and actually had gone beyond, as my teacher, Jesus Christ, had taken me. I wondered, or the possibility was opened to me, that what the followers of Jesus heard from Him quickened their spirit, unlike the dead preachings and practices of the priests they listened to in the synagogues.

His words were filled with the Spirit and they wanted more. Jesus preaching must have been to them like experiencing the powerful presence of God among them, and they wanted to experience that again and again. 

But as Jesus explained to them in parables, the quickening of the Spirit and sustaining the experience of God's presence, required more from them than they perhaps were willing to give.

Blessed is my Lord.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Happiness BASENAME: happiness DATE: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:45:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: father god ----- BODY:

Only when we please God, the Father, are human beings happy. He blesses us when we please Him. To please Him is happiness, also known as Joy.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Fear Of The Lord Is The Beginning BASENAME: fear-of-the-lord-is DATE: Sun, 13 Apr 2014 09:22:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: fear holy spirit lord ----- BODY:

So true are the lines from Psalm 111: 10: "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;"

So fearful to experience the depth of the words from Psalm 51: 11: "Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me."

Since before my last post, I had been in a state of fear and unhappiness. Sorrow filled my days, and my nights were restless. Though I may have smiled outwardly, inwardly, I was sad.

I felt lost, rudderless. The Holy Spirit was absent from my worship. Words were like black squiggles on the page. Waiting upon the Lord devolved into a morass of sleep-induced images of incomprehensible things. There was no meaning. I had no meaning. 

So when I read David's Psalm 51, the tears streamed from my eyes almost from the first line.

But yesterday I wrote in my book, My Lord has answered my prayer. Praise to Him. All glory to Him.

Today I wrote: I can't express the joy visited upon me yesterday! My Lord graced me with His presence and reaffirmed His love to me.

     Holy God, Your grace to me is like water in a parched mouth.

     I blossom happiness in the light of Your love.

     I come to You with my heart full of joy!

     Who can live without You?

     Who can be truly happy without You?

     Blessed be Your name, O Lord.

    

    

    

    


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: If You Know My Writing BASENAME: if-you-know-my-writing DATE: Mon, 07 Apr 2014 08:37:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god jesus writing word ----- BODY:

From my notebook, March 8, 2013

If you know my writing you know me.

This sentence came to me as a way to express the relationship between God and Jesus. When I said it, it astonished me, for Jesus is the Word. If you know His word--His writing (inspired Scriptures), His son, and all of creation, which came about through the Word--you know God. God, the Word, the Son are inseparable.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: What Cost To Me (Part Two) BASENAME: what-cost-to-me-part DATE: Thu, 27 Mar 2014 09:47:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: grace hypocrisy opportunity ----- BODY:

My cousin shared a prayer on Facebook about capitalizing on the divine opportunities presented to us throughout our day. I wrote the comment below.

What I've learned these past few days is when the opportunity presented itself, I declined to take it. I don't know if you can understand this, but I was devastated by my response to a plea for help, because to do what was asked of me would have inconvenienced me. That is my confession and acknowledgement of my utter self-centeredness. Why would I not take a few minutes to do as she asked?

I knew when she left my porch and I went back to the kitchen I had done her wrong. To make it worse, I had written a blog some months ago titled What Cost To Me dealing with that very thing of not helping those who ask for it. When I had the opportunity to help, I said no. I said, I don't know you. How hypocritical of me. I felt as if I had denied Jesus.

What was so important to me that I couldn't be bothered at that time? It is a character flaw I have recognized before in myself. It isn't the first time I have put my desire, my want, ahead of others. It's shameful but true, and now I must live with the image of that girl's incredulous look when I said no, I don't know you.

I know God does not punish us. We punish ourselves and one another. And I have punished myself severely, but punishment doesn't rectify. I must pray to be conscious at all times of my tendency to be self-centered and overcome it. With the grace of God, I will.

While brushing my teeth this morning, I heard a still, small voice say to me: be thankful the Lord let you see yourself as you are. If He didn't love you He wouldn't show you your flaws that you might overcome them. If He didn't love you, He would leave you trapped in the carnal world, a slave to your natural desires.

Praise Blessed God, for You are good and merciful. As the sun grows the seedling, You grow me to Your blessed Light. You feed me with Your blessed Truth, Wisdom, Love. You give me the path to follow and I follow it humbly, joyfully. You are my Blessed King.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Notes Taken in Worship and After Thoughts BASENAME: notes-taken-in-worship-and DATE: Sun, 23 Feb 2014 11:53:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: dr_ who, god, grace, love, tardis ----- BODY:

John 1:10

"He was in the world . . . the world was made through Him . . . The world did not know Him."

He was their Creator, and they didn't know Him. He was (is) in everyone of them and they didn't know Him, as if they were clay pots.

It occurs to me--I say to people we are born into a world that existed long before us and will exist long after us. We did not will ourselves to be, therefore, we have no power except, and here's what occurred to me, we have the power to be born in the Spirit.  (John 1:13) By that I mean we have the power to repent of our sins and ask forgiveness.

Grace in theology-- 1) the free, unmerited love and favor of God; 2) divine influence acting in man to restrain him from sin; 3) a state of reconciliation to God; 4) spiritual instruction, improvement, and edification.

Aren't the words beautiful and quickening in the first definition, especially (for me at this time) "favor of God?" What does God's favor mean to you? What would it take for you to recognize God's favor? 

One of the first openings I had from the Holy Spirit when I became a believer came to me in these words: God does not punish us. We punish ourselves and we punish one another.

The Holy Spirit came upon me when I was visiting an elderly Quaker woman who was beside herself with remorse for her treatment of her step-daughter when the girl was a child. I gathered she had repeated bouts of remorse for this. From my mouth came those words I had no inkling or plan to say as I did not know beforehand her state of mind. I was amazed by the words. They comforted her. I contemplated them later.

My amazement came from seeing how we individuals do the punishing and attribute it either to God or to the person we punish. It helped me to stop punishing others when I was in fact angry but would not admit the reason for it. When I employed that opening in my life, I found the source of my anger was trival. But when I had good reason to be angry, I was forced to tell the person why. Ill-feelings were not harbored in my heart and converted to punishing acts. I also applied the same thinking to myself, for I could be a brutal self-punisher.

And God had nothing to do with any of the punishment. In fact, when I used to go sit in the Meeting House when my heart was burdened with shame, I always found God loving and accepting, which comforted me beyond what words can express. And this is another thing I would say to people: God is always loving, always accepting. When we turn to Him, He is there waiting patiently for us to return home. When we do return, He greets us like the father of the prodigal son. (Luke 15:11-32)

Another opening was given me one Friday late afternoon while I cleaned the Meeting House. As I worked, my thoughts turned to the Tardis of Dr. Who fame. For what reason I don't know except maybe to prepare me for the opening. Those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Who, he's a fictional character who travels through space and time in a vehicle that resembles an English police box. The interior of the Tardis is larger than the exterior. As I recall, it's infinite. Thinking of that very anomaly led me to thoughts of God and confinement--as many people think God limits them. But God doesn't box us in, I thought. He's like the Tardis. We imagine Him putting us in a confining space, but in fact, when you enter His kingdom, it's infinite.

So it is we who limit God in our hearts and lives. If we do let Him in our lives, we let Him in only so far. Or, we only allow Him to affect our lives to a predetermined point. We keep Him at bay, so to speak. Much of the time I think we don't even realize we're doing it. That's what the opening allowed me to understand about myself.

Along those same lines is another opening given me during meeting for worship one First Day. I rose in meeting to share it. "We've heard it said that we only use a tenth of our brain, but it's come to me that we experience only a tenth of our emotional lives."

The point is, we limit what we will allow ourselves to experience--out of fear, discomfort, need to control, habit. Combine these two things, limiting God in our hearts and experiencing only a tenth of our emotional lives, and you see how we deny ourselves the depth and breadth of Him. How we deny ourselves the fullness of life He gives us when we're baptized in our hearts. How we deny ourselves His role as Teacher. How we deny ourselves the fullness of His love and favor.

Go, sit, "be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Love Is BASENAME: love-is DATE: Sun, 16 Feb 2014 11:12:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: jesus, love, matthew ----- BODY:

On my mind this morning is love--what it is, how it shows itself, how one shows it?

This thought of love was prompted by a memory of my father asking me to trim the hair from his ears. At the time I was a teenager or young adult and his request repulsed me. I have recalled that memory before, always wishing I had done what he asked of me. I didn't know how to love my father.

I wonder what my father thought when I refused his request. Did he wonder why I wouldn't trim the hair from his ears? Did he wonder what he had done that I would refuse him? Was my refusal to help him analogous to Jesus's teaching in Matthew 25 : 34-45?

Not that my father was least, but I did not help him when he asked. I gave him a stone.

These thoughts always turn to myself because my daughters don't know how to love me.

So the question is, what is love? Is it a feeling, a doing, a remembering, or a combination of these?

To love your fellow man is to want for him to experience God's love and peace through our Lord, Jesus Christ. But you can't force it in him.

In worship the Spirit opened in me that love is doing.

Your magnificence and mercy touch me, Lord. Raise me up. Help me to be loving to all.

Praise and glory to you, Lord.


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Barack Obama Famously Said BASENAME: barack-obama-famously-said DATE: Fri, 07 Feb 2014 10:23:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: barack obama, spirit, transformation ----- BODY:

Barack Obama famously said prior to his election in 2008 "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." 

Would rather he be a true Christian, having died to the law and been reborn in the Spirit. Would rather he be transformed through renewal of his mind and regeneration.

Paul writes to the Galatians 5: 17-23: "For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, Idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkeness, revelries, and the like . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (NKJV)

No transformation can be more profitable than that which comes from dying to the law. Paul writes in Galatians 3: 21-22 ". . . For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin . . ." (italics mine).

Come, Barack Obama, let yourself be the transformation in America with a rebirth in the Spirit, which is not contrary to God; which is of God. Become a new man in the Spirit. Good works will follow.



----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Powerful Beyond Words BASENAME: powerful-beyond-words DATE: Thu, 06 Feb 2014 14:52:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: heavenly father, the spirit, truth ----- BODY:

Heavenly Father, you are powerful beyond words. You fill my mind with questions and reasons, but the conclusion is a matter of faith. It is curious, Lord, that you tantalize me with the outskirts of proof, yet hide the hard proof from me. But what am I that you would grant me even this much?

You bring me into the Spirit, where I in your being, am awash in your greatness and love. Here I cannot stay long, Lord, for your light is too great for me. Would I be consumed by it? I don't know.  All I know is that I seek the "here" and fall from it grateful that I have experienced it briefly.

It is why I come back again and again to worship at your feet. Why I contemplate your existence day after day. Why I feel so urgently the need to communicate in some way the Truth to others.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Recovery of Rightousness and Innocency BASENAME: recovery-of-rightousness-and-innocency DATE: Sun, 02 Feb 2014 09:45:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: innocency, reborn in the spirit, righteousness ----- BODY:

When we are truly reborn in the Spirit, we recover our rightousness and innocency that Adam lost. (M. Borrhaus provided the words "recovery of righteousness and innocency," he being quoted by Robert Barclay in An Apology for the True Christian Divinity, Proposition 7, P. 15, available at Quaker Heritage.org).

We are necessarily protective of our recovered righteousness and innocency, wanting never to displease or disobey God. And we don't displease or disobey Him if we understand fully the power of Jesus's sacrfice. In that understanding we accept that we have moved from death to life, and that He, through his resurrection and spirit in us, is our teacher, our shepherd, our bishop, our priest, our healer, etc. Jesus lovingly teaches us, leads us, in the ways of God.

So if you feel His rebuke, don't condemn yourself, for Jesus does not. Look at it this way. We are  babes, children learning. Parents don't condemn their children for not knowing something before they've been taught. Jesus Christ loves us enough to teach us so that we may become perfect to present before God.

We have every reason to be happy and rejoice.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Deep Things of God BASENAME: deep-things-of-god DATE: Sun, 26 Jan 2014 16:00:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christians, god_s will, jesus, mother, soviet union ----- BODY:

Aleksey came to the United States from the Soviet Union when he was seventeen. He contributes to American Thinker. Last week I read Aleksey's urgent telling of his life growing up in Soviet Russia. He wrote of not being able to conceive of certain things, such as product brands, because in the Soviet Union there were no choices. One couldn't buy whole wheat bread, white bread, rye bread, French bread, etc. One could buy bread. I write about Aleksey to point out that one cannot conceive of that which one has no experience of.

Some things about being a mother seem to come naturally, such as the desire to hold your newborn, to handle his hands and fingers, to kiss her little feet and toes. I can't say for certain those acts are natural. They seem to be.

However, one can't hardly be the mother she's never experienced. I'll be bold and say that women who are mothers are lacking in some way or another in the motherhood department. It doesn't prevent her from being a good mother, but it prevents her from being the mother she has the potential to be. Women tend to be self-critical, so a mother is apt see her blatant inadequacies and try to correct them. She may very well not want to be like her own mother when it comes to raising her children. That sentence describes me. I was going to be the better mother.

My own mother was often absent from me, her only daughter. She could be at home, but away from where I was and made it clear I was not welcome to be around her. To be fair, though, I used to watch her do some things in the kitchen, such as pull dough and pinch it between her thumb and curled index finger to make hot rolls; I watched her clean chickens and cut them up for frying. I think she actually showed me how to cut up the chicken. But my mother never taught me to cook. She never taught me to sew, to clean: the practical things of housekeeping.

My mother used to call from work and instruct me to hide from my father any bills that came in the mail. She taught me to be wary of him, as if he were an enemy to his children. Consequently, I could not be close to my father.

I never believed my mother loved me or my brothers. I realized one morning while walking to school with my brothers and a boy who was new to our rural area that she did care about us. The boy was telling us all the things his mother let him do.  Our repeated response was, our mother wouldn't let us do that.

I realized something else about my mother when my children were quite young that I appreciated. As a little girl my mother used tell my brothers and me stories of men who did bad things while using marijuana. I credited my escaping the trap of drug abuse in the late Sixties to my mother's implied criticism of drugs. At that moment of realization I decided I would be equally critical of drugs with my children.

Yesterday, I was the happy recipient of a lesson from my inward Teacher, Jesus Christ. The lesson was all about being a mother to my children in a way I had not conceived before. It brought tears to my eyes to learn of my inadequacy, and my first response was to berate myself for my dullness. But Jesus knew my heart and mind were only open to the revelation at this time. Through him I grow ever closer to being the highest and best person I was born to be.

 


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Christian Is BASENAME: a-christian-is DATE: Sat, 18 Jan 2014 17:10:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christian, god, jesus, materialist, naturalist, worldview ----- BODY:

I had a brief spar with a woman on Facebook a few days ago. She had commented on my sister-in-law's post regarding bullying. I'll paraphrase her comment, which was really an admonishment. She said something like, remember all bullies are not born that way. Something has been done to them in their lives that make them bullies. There must have been some reference to Christianity somewhere, otherwise I wouldn't have replied to her statement as I did.

What I wrote in reply was something like this: That's not the Christian worldview. Man is the heir to Adam's downfall. All born into the world (save Jesus) are corrupt because of Adam's fall. (Ro 5: 19) That includes children when they cease to be babies. If what you say is true, then there would have been no reason for Jesus Christ, his death, and resurrection.

Her retort was, God made us in his own image. Amen.

To which I replied, God created man in his own image, and reiterated the fact that if we weren't all fallen because of Adam, there would have been no reason for Jesus Christ.

Whether she is aware of it, based on her remarks she does not have a Christian worldview, ergo, she's not a Christian. She is a materialist/naturalist. Bullying isn't a spiritual problem to her, but one that man can solve through naturalistic means. Find the source of the affecting event (parents), counsel the child, re-educate him on acceptable behavior, monitor him to prevent relapse. If that fails, medicate him. (It occurs to me as I write this description that blaming the parents is what people did in biblical times. Any handicap was the result of parents having sinned.)

This naturalist/materialist worldview predominates in our society. Many people who identify as Christian unwittingly share this worldview. I write this with humility, because that was me until four or five years ago. I do believe my thinking was simply, because I believe in Jesus Christ that makes me a Christian. I didn't even know of a Christian worldview until I read Nancy Pearcey's book, Saving Leonardo. Even so, only recently did I understand problems are spiritual in nature rather than worldly. See (http://www.thereligioussocietycafe.com/blogs/blog6.php/natural-man)

Still, everyone who declares himself a Christian or believes in his heart he is Christian, should know what he is declaring or believing, because Christianity explains evil. I must acknowledge here this idea that Christianity explains evil I heard from Greg Koukl. While I heard it from Greg, the pieces coming together came from many sources, not the least of whom was Robert Barclay. The point is to know what is Christian. Because if we don't know what Christian or "the way," as it was identified early on, is, we will assume the predominant worldview without realizing it.

So here is the Christian worldview: God created man in his own image. The first man was Adam, and from Adam God made Eve. God told Adam not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The serpent tricked Eve with a lie and she ate the fruit and gave it to Adam and he ate it, too. His sin. While Adam and Eve didn't die physically, they died spiritually. They no longer had access to God and they were banished from the Garden of Eden. So from Adam and Eve we all come and from them we inherit our sinful nature. We can do no good thing in and of ourselves because our nature is sinful. What good we do comes from the seed of God planted in us, the light with which every man born into the world is enlightened. This seed is Christ within. And it is Christ Jesus, the son of God, who was sent to be the perfect sacrifical lamb that would absolve man of his sin. As Paul writes in Ro 5:12, "through one man, Adam, evil entered the world for all men; and through one man, Jesus, grace entered the world for all men."

To know this recounting of the beginning, to understand God's plan and it's significance, to accept His offer of salvation is Christian. It is the way of life. All other ways are dead end.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Profound Stillness BASENAME: a-profound-stillness DATE: Tue, 07 Jan 2014 11:30:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: barclay, christianity, church, fox, god, paul, quaker, spirit, yokdan ----- BODY:

"That the best and most certain knowledge of God, is not that which is attained by premises premised, and conclusions deduced, but that which is enjoyed by the conjunction of the mind of man with the supreme intellect, after the mind is purified from its corruptions, and is separated from all bodily images, and is gathered into a profound stillness.

The above quote cited by Robert Barclay in his Apology for the True Christian Divinity, is from Hai Eben Yokdan. Barclay uses the quote and others to support the Quaker doctrine of the Saving and Spiritual Light with which every man is enlightened. In other words, the Quaker doctrine that one does not need to hear the Gospel preached to him nor know of the man, Jesus, nor know the story of Adam and the Fall, in order to be saved. The Law is written in the heart, and one who follows the Law is justified because of it. So heathens, with no opportunity to hear the Gospel, can be saved living according to the Law written in their hearts.

That, however, is not the subject of this blog. I refer to a blog I wrote in late October of 2013, which title is Draw Near to Him. Barclay wrote [we]"have access [to] him as often as we draw near [to] him with pure hearts." I see the same admonition in Hai Eben Yokdan's quote. Only Yokdan is specfic in what is meant by pure: mind purified from its corruptions and separated from all bodily images.

Glorious instruction and it coincides with Paul's observation of the Church at Corinth. "And I brethern could not speak to you as a spiritual people but as to a carnal, as to babes in Christ." 1 Cornithians 3: 1. What is the carnal but the physical, material world! George Fox writes of this warring between the Spirit and the flesh, where the flesh wants its way but the Spirit will have its way. I am reminded of another blog I wrote wherein I admonish that one cannot have one foot in Christianity and one foot in the world. Trying to do that seems to me now, if I didn't say it then, to be the warring between the Spirit and flesh. Those Christians in Cornith were straddlers, as all of us are when we first believe. Even when we think we've reached the pinnacle we are far from it. That is how deceptive or corrupt the mind is.

These meanderings have brought me to a review of an entry in my notebook from October 2012 in which I ask questions about church. I reproduce it below:

"Have you ever found yourself bored or frustrated in church? Did all the order, ceremony, preaching leave you wanting? Or did you not ever consider church or Christianity because you perceived it offered little of value?

There is a church of people gathered by the Holy Spirit to worship God and wait upon his Spirit and counsel. In this church the Spirit quickens the soul, raises it to unanticipated heights of revelation, understanding, and joy."

Having read the above quotes, propositions, and Biblical text in the last couple days, when I reread my entry this morning, I wondered how corporate worship could come to that "profound stillness" if some or many or most of the attenders were either straddlers or disbelievers? And how could churches where there is only singing, rising and sitting, and listening to people speaking, ever come to the conjuction of their mind with the mind of God? Do they even know they can do that?

I long for a church, even if it is made up primarily of those people who are staddlers or disbelievers. It is the one or the few closer to the pinnacle who can instruct through ministry and behavior the others; who can speak to them, as Paul said, not as a spiritual group, but as babes in Christ, feeding them with milk, and not with solid food. This is the role of seasoned Christians/Quakers, though they be younger or older in years. How does one begin at the beginning with babes in Christ, spoon-feeding with milk? She trusts in the Lord, her teacher. Had he not spoon-fed her over the years until she moved decidedly from staddler to the Spirit? Yes.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Lord Is My Shepherd BASENAME: the-lord-is-my-shepherd DATE: Sun, 29 Dec 2013 12:42:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: booker t_ washington, general armstrong, god, lord ----- BODY:

Sometimes I forget to call my Shepherd when I am in the swamp of gloom. Yet, I lament I am out of the Spirit. Still I do not call. I think the gloom will pass. It's come before at this time of year, and knowing it will come, like all other cyclical things, I believe I can get through it on my own. I've strengthend my defences this time, I assure myself.

As the days pass leading up to Christmas, my sense of being out of the Spirit increases. Still, I do not call on him. Do I think simply acknowledging being out of the Spirit is sufficient to bring succor? Yes, such is my arrogance, my independence, my adulthood.

During this time I have looked on the wisdom of Booker T. Washington in his autobiography Up From Slavery, but did not see it until today. Several times Mr. Washington averred he did not, would not, harbor ill-feelings toward white people no matter how terribly they treated him and his "people." His mentor, a man Booker T. admired as the greatest man he'd ever known, General Armstrong, inspired this attitude in him. Mr. Washington explains that the General, despite having fought against the white Southerners in the Civil War, held no animosity toward them, indeed showed them the same regard for their well-being as he did the "coloured."

It had to be the Seed of God in Washington that allowed him to recognize that of God in the General. And it had to be the Seed of God in me that allowed me to recognize that of God in Washington, or rather that allowed me to see that which I saw but hadn't seen. This morning after another shortened night's sleep from an unpleasant dream, I realized I was harboring ill-will toward those who forget me, who distance me.

That's what comes of wallowing in the swamp of gloom. I can't say that I was near despair when I sat down to worship this morning, though it sounds more dramatic. However, I was too tired to continue worship for long and went back to bed, where I did sleep for some time. When I got up again I felt refreshed and returned to worship. Having determined earlier that I wouldn't allow myself to harbor ill-feelings, I still didn't sense my Lord with me. So I poured out my prayer on the page of my notebook, letting my angst fill the lines with pleading and desire. How wonderful a lover is my Lord.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Athwart The Old World BASENAME: athwart-the-old-world DATE: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 11:10:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: anointed one, christ, light, messiah, sin and death, tree of life, virgin birth ----- BODY:

The idea contained in this post is an extention of my last post. I will try to identify the origin of these thoughts. I will try to support them with external references. The idea is what was given to me by the Spirit. I worked it out on paper November 29, 2013. I then prayed that if what I had written were given to me by the Holy Spirit the Lord would give me confidence in publishing it. Over this period of time waiting, the idea had not faded from my thought nor been rejected as worldly.

Reading Proposition 5 of Robert Barclay's Apology: "Christ then tasted death for every man, of all kinds," something occurred to me. I write to think this through.

Jesus Christ, the Anointed one, the Messiah was born of a virgin birth. In other words he had nothing of Adam's nature in him. (Luke 1: 34-35) And everything that is came through him. He is life. He has no sin as he is the Son of God. There is no darkness in him, only light (Truth), and he is the light that enlightens every man that comes into the world.

So what does it mean he tasted death for every man? He looked on darkness? He looked on sin? He allowed himself to experience the consequences of the sin of all men? I think that's it because death is the consequence of sin.

As a sinner one is plunged into darkness (untruth, deceit) except for his measure of the light. For all mankind he tasted death. He took on all the sins and sacrificed himself as payment for those sins. In doing so Jesus effectively eliminated sin and death for all mankind.

Did Jesus transform the world then? Did he abolish the old world? Make it no longer viable? The new world stands athwart the old world. But there is one way only to enter the new world? Recall the Cherubim and flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3: 24) Christ is the tree of life. Life is not overcome by death. Just the opposite. So the old world is death. And all live in the old world until he walks through the door to life, to the tree of life, which could not be reached through animal or other sacrifice.

The following question arose a few days later, pertaining to the above entry. Would you then say that man, prior to the fall, was divine, as Christ? I thought it an interesting question.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Condition of Man in the Fall BASENAME: natural-man DATE: Tue, 19 Nov 2013 10:11:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: adam, evil, fall, god, good, holy spirit, jesus, natural man, sin ----- BODY:

 

Yesterday, I wrote the following in my notebook: We are not neutral beings according to Barclay, when we enter this world, becoming either a conduit of good or evil.

I have believed that we are conduits of good or evil, and it is our choice to one or the other. Such a belief is a viable explanation of why human beings do evil, until the truth obliterates it. I went on to write: According to Barclay in Proposition 4 (Apology for the True Christian Divinity) which he supports with references to Genesis, we have no good in our natural selves. We have the seed of God in us, but that seed is not integral to our being. We in our natural state alone cannot do or even imagine good. If we do good it is from the seed of God.

Thinking this morning about Barclay's statement that good is not inherent to man's being because of Adam's Fall, none of us is born with a wit of good, but we have inherited the bad. Any good we do comes from that seed of God planted by Him in us. Thinking about that with other things, I saw that the terrible things parents can do to their children or vice versa is from the bad inherent in us. It doesn't come from the parents's upbringing or from some experience in their childhood, though those things may contribute. The terrible things human beings do to one another are a product of Adam's Fall.

What does that mean in practical terms? It means you can't cure bad actors through therapy counseling, medication, etc., because the problem isn't a physiological or psychological problem. It's a spiritual problem. Now I understand what George Fox meant when he wrote about doctors, ministers, and lawyers in his journal.

". . . the Lord opened to me three things relating to those three great professions in the world, physic, divinity . . . and law. And he showed me that the physicians were out of the wisdom of God by which creatures were made . . . And he showed me that the priests were out of the true faith which Christ is the author of, . . . He showed me also, that the lawyers were out of the equity and out of the true justice, and out of the law of God, which went over the first transgression and over all sin, and answered the spirit of God that was grieved and transgressed in man." Journal of George Fox, p 38.

Evil is not external. To grasp that fact is revealing: evil is part of our genetic makeup. Good is in us, but only through God's seed, and that is not passed on as a trait;  it's not in our genes. And if you consider good is not in our genes, then this idea of finding a "criminal" gene is silly. If one person has a criminal gene, all have a criminal gene. Or curing people through gene therapy is silly, too. Man may treat the symptom but he is curing nothing. The individual is still the product of Adam's Fall.

The Lord's opening to me this morning Concerning the Condition of Man in the Fall opened another box. Perfection. See, the perfection comes through Jesus Christ because he made it possible for us to die to the law and be born anew. In our rebirth we are in the state Adam was in before his Fall.

But, you ask, what is to prevent us from falling, as did Adam? That same Jesus who came to redeem us. That same Jesus who sent us the Holy Spirit to be our help, our teacher, our guide. 

Jesus said "This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day." John 6: 39

If you are reborn in the Spirit, you are made perfect. You cannot sin, for in God there is no sin. He made you anew, in the image of Him who made you.


 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Reaching In BASENAME: reaching-in DATE: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:12:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: creator, darkness, derelict, god, king, lord, man, woman, word ----- BODY:

I love thee, Lord.

You reach deep into my being

throwing out all that makes me unclean.

You remake me in thy image,

the perfect man, the perfect woman.

In you there is no darkness.

In me the darkness recedes as water from the shore.

Thy light is in me like an ember bursting to flame

from thy breath, glowing Word for others as they stumble

in darkness of their own making.

Who has not stumbled in darkness of his own making?

But thee, Lord, comes when the cry of the derelict,

too frightened to see, rings true.

The WORD vanquishes darkness hiding in images

of fleshly love and fame and glory,

and brings to the throne of the exalted ONE

the perfected man and woman

to stand in awe and wordless exulation

at the throne of their CREATOR

whose eyes and face they cannot bear to see

but bow in supplication to their Lord, their God, their Great King.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Moved by the Holy Spirit to Write BASENAME: moved-by-the-holy-spirit DATE: Sun, 03 Nov 2013 13:51:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god, gospel, letter, quaker theology spirit ----- BODY:

To my dear sister, Doris,

If thee reads this post, please send me thy address that we might correspond in that old-fashioned way of letters on a subject dear to both our hearts, the Gospel. I love thee dearly and know thee to be a woman in whom God dwells. I have witnessed the Spirit of God in thee.

I could share with you some aspect of Quaker theology with which you could disagree or agree. You, in turn, could share with me an aspect of your church's theology with which I could disagree or agree. I plead for this because I love you and wish to maintain a dialogue with you in which we discuss as fellow Christians those things of the mind and heart.

Such a correspondence will not only glorify God, but also benefit us and posterity. I pray thee will say yes.

In Christ is peace,

Rhonda

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: What Cost to Me? BASENAME: what-cost-to-me DATE: Sun, 27 Oct 2013 13:30:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: holy spirit, jesus, samaritan ----- BODY:

The title of this post is the question I realize I ask myself unconsciously when it comes to doing something for somebody else, particularly if it involves money. I believe myself to be selfish. I believe to counter this selfishness I must continually remind myself of my tendency and make myself act unselfishly. I forget the circumstance that recently jolted me to realize the above question was the foundation of my doing for others. Jolt is the word, for it hit me hard and so much flooded over me in regards of helping or doing for others.

Perhaps Jesus was visiting me, for his words that I had been reading in Matthew, flooded my thinking. Additionally, I thought about my country and the wretched state it's in and what I could do to help return it to Constitutional law. I had been inwardly complaining about the never-ending requests for donations from every organization and candidate legally allowed to collect them. Plus, there are the conservative, tea party politicians who are running for office and need campaign money. My response to all these calls is, I don't have enough income to help every one. But underlying that claim is this fact, I have money to spend on things I want. Not need, but want. Therein lies my selfishness.

Jesus's words came back to me: You must leave everything to follow me. Sell everything you own and follow me. I don't take them literally, but the point is clear. I must sacrifice my wants for their needs. It isn't that I must be willing to sacrifice. It is that I must, for if I wait until I'm willing, I will always find an excuse. It is a difficult path for me.

I like to think I willingly sacrifice for my children and grandchildren. It was opened to me that donating to honest, Christian politicians who will follow the Constitution and do what is good for the nation and our society IS sacrificing for my children and grandchildren.

I like to satisfy myself with donations to select charities to help people. Yet, I avert my eyes to the people who have appeared at intersections with signs asking for help. I have been self-righteous in my denial of them, reasoning that they would use the money to buy drugs or alcohol. There are places where they can go for assistance, I tell myself. They don't go there because they want money for drugs or alcohol. Then the words, when your children ask for bread, you don't give them stones, filled my head. Remember the blind man of whom the disciples asked, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind? Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him." (John 9: 3 NKJ) Jesus didn't get the story of the people he healed before hand to find out if they were worthy. He just healed them. The story of the Good Samaritan came to mind. I recalled all the righteous men who purposely passed on the other side of the road of the wounded man. Only the Samaritan aided him without question.

The Holy Spirit questioned me: What does it matter their story? They are asking for bread and you're giving them stones. Give them what money you can and pray for them, hardhearted woman! Your Father doesn't deny you.

"Lord, when did we see YOU hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prision and did not minister to YOU?"

"Then He will answer . . . saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' Matthew 25: 44-45 NKJ

When I saw myself in that dialogue, tears rolled out my eyes. I was ashamed of my righteous attitude. See, I have money and time for them who ask for help at the corner of intersections. I will give, not ask, not wonder, not be smug. God's mercy falls on all. It is up to me to minister to all who come in my sphere.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Draw Near To Him BASENAME: draw-near-to-him DATE: Sun, 27 Oct 2013 11:38:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: jesus, pure heart, spirit, veil ----- BODY:

I have lamented in various places my sense of being out of the Spirit, therefore, out of the presence of God. Propostition 2 of Robert Barclay's An Apology for the True Christian Divinity, sparked an opening as to why I might feel out of the Spirit.

Barclay discusses immediate revelation in this chapter of his apology. His point in the particular section I was reading this morning is that under the old covenant--the Law--people depended on priests to know the mind of God. He writes, "Under the Law there was the holy of holies, into which the high priest did enter, and received the word of the Lord immediately from [between] the cherubims, so that the people could then certainly know the mind of the Lord[.]" Under the new covenant, which Barclay also refers to as the Gospel, "God's law [is] placed in our hearts and written in our minds." This law, the Gospel, is inward, whereas the Law was outward, "written on tablets of stone."

" . . . Jesus Christ . . . [has] rent and removed the veil, whereby not only one, and that once a year, may enter; but all of us, at all times, have access [to] him, as often as we draw near [to] him with pure hearts." Oh, I know it to be true that we have access to him at all times. The opening for me was in the phrase "draw near to him with pure heart." I had read these words before, but today they jumped out at me. I read "pure heart" to mean a mind clear of external concerns, excitements, and distractions, which of course, my mind is not when I am out of the Spirit.

I suppose on some level I did recognize that allowing worldly worries and distractions were the veil that inhibited my drawing near to him. Sometimes I would write in my notebook about what worldly issue concerned me. Sometimes I would speak aloud. Sometimes I would go back through pages in my notebooks for inspiration. Those efforts worked and I will continue to do them. But it was as if I were calling the Spirit to me, much like my assessment of singing hyms prior to service in a conventional church. As I have written in other places, neither I, nor we, can will the Spirit. 

In my blog post published March 24 of this year, I wrote that coming under the Law is a willful act. It was opened to me that coming to worship with a "pure heart" is a willful act, too. That is why all the methods work, though the pupose of them in my thinking was misplaced. I was not calling the Spirit; rather I was calling on myself to empty my mind, as do we all who seek the presence of God.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Precursor To Perfection BASENAME: precursor-to-perfection DATE: Thu, 17 Oct 2013 11:04:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: adam, christ, christian, death, experience, faith, fox, george fox, god, healing, holy, image, jesus, jesus christ, judged, law, life, lord, miracles, peace, perfection, praise, rebirth, reborn in the spirit, renewal, resurrection, righteousness, salvation, sin, spirit, the spirit, truth, witness, words ----- BODY:

This morning while dressing for the day, the Lord opened to me (as George Fox would say) the following:

The miracles Jesus performed of healing those who were sick or diseased, making whole those who were crippled, deformed, or blind, and exorcising demons of those possessed, thus making imperfect human beings perfect, was a precursor to making us perfect through redemption and renewal.

George Fox preached perfection during his years of preaching the Truth. He encountered rage from the professors* of that age who, he blasted in his journal,  "[were] pleading for sin and imperfection, and could not endure to hear of talk of perfection and of an holy and sinless life." Journal of George Fox, p. 18.

Elsewhere he writes, ". . . of all the sects in Christendom (so called) that I discoursed withal, I found none that could bear to be told that any should come to Adam's perfection, into that image of God and rightousness and holiness that Adam was in before he fell, to be so clear and pure without sin, as he was." p. 32.

This morning it became clear to me that that's exactly what occurs when we turn and accept God's offer of salvation. George Fox recounts his experience in his journal, p. 16: The law of the Spirit cross[es] the fleshly mind, spirit and will, which lives in disobedience, and do[es] not keep within the law of the Spirit. I saw this law was the same law which I must go through, though I was troubled while I was under it; for I could not be dead to the law but through the law which did judge and condem that which is to be condemned."

For a long time I was baffled by Fox's words, but one day while I was cleaning the Meeting House, the Spirit came over me and I understood. I came under the law and I saw that none was above or beneath me in status, but all were judged the same under that law, and I was condemned in that law. Praise to God he let me see myself as I really was because without his Spirit coming over me, I would not have confessed to him my sinful nature and found redemption through Jesus Christ.

Fox goes on to say, "And as you are brought into the law, and through the law to be dead to it, and witness the righteousness of the law fulfilled in you, ye will afterwards come to know what it is to be brought into the faith, and through the faith from under the law."

It is this "to be dead to it" that allows us to die, be buried, and resurrected with Christ, or for us reborn in the Spirit, cleansed of sin and imperfection. To argue for "sin and imperfection" is contrary to Christ's sacrifice and God's plan.

" . . . abiding in faith which Christ is the author of, ye will have peace and access to God." P. 17.

* Professor, one who professes to be Christian

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: God He Is BASENAME: god-he-is DATE: Wed, 16 Oct 2013 20:38:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god, jesus, joy, love ----- BODY:

I was struck by a sense of Jesus that I had not had prior to this day. While reading Matthew, Chapter 18 Jesus appeared to me as God. I had consciously or unconsciously conceived of Jesus only as the son of God. The configuration was hierarchical in my mind. Atop was God, a notch below was Jesus, and below him the Holy Spirit. Jesus, that morning appeared to me as I read the text to be the God who inhabits my mind and heart.

He spoke with authority and the people marveled.

In other words, I know the Jesus of the Bible is God! This knowledge isn't from hearing repeatedly the triune of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. That's the hierarchical status I explained. Now, this knowledge, recognition was a profound one for me. It put me in another state of consciousness, which wasn't perpetual, so I'm writing this blog from recall of that state.

The result of this appearance of Jesus as God is the felt love He has for us. He loves us, as John writes, so much that He suffered a torturous death for our sins, rose from the dead to manifest not only His power over death but also His absolute power as the Creator. Ever the teacher in Matthew, He gives to us His Spirit to be our inward teacher that we might live our lives to honor Him for our own good and the good of our descendants. Ever patient with our misdeeds and impetuous ways, He rebukes us and causes us to see correctly.

He loves us, delights in our pleasures and happiness. We are safe in His embrace, His garden, His church. Joy and Hallelujah!

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: We are nothing, Christ is all BASENAME: we-are-nothing-christ-is DATE: Tue, 08 Oct 2013 11:47:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: barclay, jesus, joy, matthew ----- BODY:

Jesus filled me with joy this morning.

I was feeling concerned, anxious (original meaning) about something, unhappy in spirit. In my daily worship at The Religious Society Cafe, where we praise God and the Spirit of Joy serves glad tidings in word, song, poem and prayer, I read first from Robert Barclay's An Apology for the True Christian Divinity, Proposition 2--No one can know God but through the Son. And then I read chaper thirteen in the Gospel of Matthew. Yesterday, I had read chapter twelve. The following paragraphs are what I wrote from my reading:

Part of coming to Christ is seeing yourself as you really are without him. It is acknowledging your sinful nature and knowing you, alone, are powerless to overcome it. So seeing yourself in Matthew 12: 34-37, which reads in part "and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil" can be deflating once you have come to Christ and been baptized with the sprinkling of his blood in your heart; because the memories of your past evil ways don't leave you. You can very easily feel shame and contrition when reminded of your old self.

Jesus did not leave you in a state of reviewing yourself as you once were. He came not only as your redeemer but as your shepherd to lead you away from your old self, and as your teacher, to show  you errors in your ways so you can correct them and perform rightly, time and time again.

Rejoice! He is come to teach his people himself.                                                       

This morning when I settled quietly to worship, I feared coming to God. My anxiety, my concern, my unhappiness came from my sense of being out of the Spirit. Though God knew my condition before I addressed him, my fear of being out of the Spirit tumbled out in thought. I opened my eyes and leaned forward. When I settled back into the chair, Jesus came to me and reminded me of those who are truly out of the Spirit and need my prayer for them. I prayed. He reminded me, too, to be a sower and not worry whether the seed grows, for that is not my power. I thought of my own coming to Jesus, what I had read in Barclay and Matthew and realized for the first time Jesus had nurtured own my salvation. No wonder the crowds had a hard time understanding what he said.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: I speak truth BASENAME: i-speak-truth DATE: Mon, 16 Sep 2013 22:43:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: childdren, jesus, spirit, truth ----- BODY:

I speak truth.

When truth is not what we want it to be, we are angry with the person who speaks it. The one who speaks truth is hated. That's why Jesus is hated. He speaks truth. Priests and professors hated George Fox; he spoke truth. Christians are persecuted when they speak truth. It's the old story of the Spirit and the Flesh, the Flesh wants its way, but the Spirit will have its way.

One cannot straddle the line, one foot in Truth and the other in Deceit. How did the trickster snag Eve? With a lie.

When adults hide behind children for cover; When adults indulge their own desires at the expense of children; When adults sanction self-indulgent behavior at the expense of children; When adults see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil at the expense of children, then adults have ceased being adults except as a function of age.

Adulthood has been dumbed down. It is no longer a status of high responsibility, respect, courage and trust. It is nothing more than an age of license, a status to do as one pleases to make oneself "happy." One need not risk offending other adults by speaking truth, for the truth is whatever the adult declares it to be, depending on the circumstance. As an adult now it's your job to be supportive and understanding of other adults.

Children, they say, will do just fine. Children, they say, bounce back. Children, they say, are resilient. The "they" is the fleshly, worldly, devilish, Evil One.

Go ahead, hate me. I choose Truth. I'll take the persecution that comes with it.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: War or Not to War BASENAME: war-or-not-to-war DATE: Sun, 08 Sep 2013 11:20:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ, god, jesus, life, light, syria, war ----- BODY:

I especially wanted to pray in worship this morning for guidance on a position in the debate on a military stike in Syria.

And my Lord says to me, "Remember the day when you were lifted out of the fleshly world to experience eternity and the Lord let you see that nothing in this world is of any consequence; that all that appears momentous to the fleshly self is as a speck of dust. For the Lord let you float on that plain of etenity where is neither breath nor earth. Remember that day, for if you enter into fight or battle, you will experience eternity no more."

Nothing in this world is worth warring for. Just obey God, your Lord, and take whatever comes your way. For all is nothing; Christ is everything.

I witness to the day I experienced eternity. I was in my backyard doing something, but thinking at the same time about something an elderly Quaker man had said to me the previous evening. He said eternity is now. He said more by way of explanation but it was those words that remained in my mind, for I had not conceived of eternity in such a way before. I was awed, and you might attribute that awe to my experience, but I know differently.

The experience was so powerful its effect stayed with me for many months, maybe accumulating to years. But the experience effected me as I was called upon to remember: nothing in the fleshly world was of any matter. I was nonchalant about everything, but it wasn't because I worked at being that way. It was because I knew nothing was of great consequence. I simply lived in the truth of it.

Perhaps it was my divorce that refocused me in the fleshly world. I don't know, truthfully. But the nonchalance left me. And as my nation descends into a caldron of its own making, I find myself attached to a power struggle, allowing my mind to imagine the future, which takes me out of the light and life of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Then I pray, Lord what veils me? What keeps me from your presence?

I can hear in the Psalms the same question and plea for God's presence, which is the essence of joy. For without Him there is no joy, no worth in living, which is why the pleading is so urgent and fervent. Even if you are wholly invested in ignorance of God, you look for worth in living and if you find something that satisfies your quest it is a false god and cannot help or save you.

"But if you continue to sin you and your king will be destroyed." 1 Samuel 12: 25 My translation, if you continue to turn your back on God and worship false gods you will be destroyed.The essence of sin is turning your back on God. 

"I will give them a simple purpose in life: to honor me for all time, for their own good and the good of their descendants."Jeremiah 32: 39

I never want to do anything because it is what you do because you are a Christian or Quaker or Proestant or Catholic, etc. I want only to live in the light and life of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who teaches us what is good and right for us to do. That, my friends, is the essence of the Religious Society Cafe.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: To Love BASENAME: to-love DATE: Thu, 05 Sep 2013 12:28:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: charity, love, patience, respect ----- BODY:

Love is not feeling; it is doing.

I wrote those words this morning because it was given me when I asked the question, how does one love?

So when you love you do for the person you love. You treat him or her with respect, especially one's husband or wife. That means not going behind their back and doing what they said no to. (I thank Dr. Laura for that admonition).

You treat them with patience. Patience is difficult. It is something we must consciously practice. It is something we must commit ourselves to practice, because most of us aren't naturally patient.

You treat them with charity. By charity I mean assuming their motives are good, especially with regard to yourself.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: 1 Samuel BASENAME: 1-samuel DATE: Wed, 04 Sep 2013 11:49:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: king, spirit, worship ----- BODY:

Reading 1 Samuel, Chapter 8, The People Ask for a King. My how history repeats itself.

In verse eleven Samuel tells the people the consequences of having a king. The explanation goes through to verse eighteen, in which Samuel tells the people they will complain bitterly because of the king whom they themselves chose. In the next verse (19) read, "The people paid no attention to Samuel . . ."

Sitting in worship this morning, I recall the baseball color commenter, who analyzes the pitches, often saying the pitcher is guiding the ball instead of pitching it. I think of myself in worship when I try to guide the service rather than trusting the Spirit to give to me what is to be given to me.

George Fox says ". . . and that which wars against the spirit of God must be mortified by it. For the flesh lust(s) against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other. The flesh would have its liberty, and the spirit would have its liberty; but the spirit is to have its liberty and not the flesh." Journal of George Fox, edited by John L. Nickalls, p 17-18.



 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Book of Judges BASENAME: the-book-of-judges DATE: Sun, 25 Aug 2013 18:03:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god, judges, sampson ----- BODY:

I get an inkling from reading the story of Sampson about the power of God. The story contains much that is gruesome, which caused me to wonder at the nature of God depicted in the story and in the book of Judges, too. I wondered what value is there in reading Judges since the God of the New Testament is so different from this God of the Israelites. As I stated earlier a flash of discernment came to me. The purpose isn't the details of the story. The purpose is God's power in people's lives.

When the Israelites keep to God, they are blessed and protected by Him. A turning away from Him leaves them vulnerable to those who are greater in number, stronger in might, craftier in strategies.

So the details, though gruesome, are not the focus of the stories or the reason to read Judges.



----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Christ is Come BASENAME: christ-is-come DATE: Sun, 11 Aug 2013 12:37:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: ----- BODY:

All praise and glory to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who is come to teach his people himself. My inward teacher teaches me the ways of God. Sometimes it's through others whom he has elected to deliver a message or discipline. But more often he teaches me directly by opening to me that which my native mind has not conceived. He is an everlasting source of joy, peace, and pleasure.

                                    ************************************

The following was written May 29, 2011. The poem was published in a previous blog post.

My mind is weak, Lord. I do not comprehend what is in the Bible. I am weak in my trust, Lord, and worry about tomorrow and am distracted. The worry and distraction make me blind and deaf.

Who will come after me if I fail? Who will feed me if I fail? Who will house me if I fail? Who will clothe me if I fail?

Where is your mercy for sinners, Rhonda? What is in your heart toward them? Look out from yourself to others. What is their spiritual condition? First be concerned with their spiritual condition.

Come, follow me to a church God made,

where His spirit is over all and in all.

Come to the church God made.

Listen to His sermon,

Hear His teaching.

Know it in your heart.

Express it in your life.



----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: ​Heavenly Father BASENAME: 8203-heavenly-father DATE: Wed, 07 Aug 2013 14:11:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Poem CATEGORY: Ministry TAGS: knowledge, rested, sleep ----- BODY:

 

I wait day and night for you.

I look to other things that might answer;

Still, I wait for you.

I ponder my future, clarify my past in the knowledge you give me.

Still, I wait for you.

In the spaces between the words,

Your voice fills my mind.

Day and night, I wait for you,

knowing you will come.

Your presence is everything to me.

Your presence is joy to me.

The knowledge of you is beyond me.

If I sleep, it is because you have rested me.

December 20, 2006

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Prayer Poem BASENAME: a-prayer-poem DATE: Mon, 05 Aug 2013 10:06:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Poem CATEGORY: Prayer TAGS: father, jesus, lord ----- BODY:

Heavenly Father, my Lord Jesus,

I have been away for so long,

it seems my body is wrung to its core.

I am exhausted in spirit, too weak even to feel your presence.

I cry to you that I am removed.

I cry to you that I will sit down and be patient tomorrow,

and then it's Sunday, and still my mind finds no peace.

I long for my Lord, for His comfort and strength.

I long for His presence, knowing He is my guide;

knowing with joy He has set the path for me and I follow.

What veils me?

What curtain draws about me separating me from my Lord?

Is my heart stone?

When I speak before listening, my words are like sharp stones.

When I speak without hearing, my words fall like dust from my mouth.

When I go without being led, my path is dead end--

But I am not sealed off, unable to return.

My Lord awaits me, calls me to Him.


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: What is Truth if not Knowledge and vice versa. BASENAME: what-is-truth-if-not DATE: Sun, 04 Aug 2013 10:25:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: covenant, obligations, promised land ----- BODY:

"Today you are standing in the presence of the LORD your God, all of you--your leaders and officials, your men, women and children, and the foreigners who live among you and cut wood and carry water for you. You are here today to enter into this covenant that the LORD your God is making with you and to accept its obligations, so that the Lord may now confirm you as his people and he your God, as he promised you and your ancestors, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob." Deuteronomy 29:10-13

Forgive me for being excited and awed reading these words this morning. I felt like a young girl at a wedding anticipating her own marriage, eager to find her groom. 

Moses goes on to tell the Israelites, who are about to enter the Promised Land, "You are not the only ones with whom the LORD is making this covenant with its obligations. He is making it with all of us who stand here in his presence today and also with our descendants who are not yet born." Dt 29:14-15 

A young girl imagines the beauty of her wedding gown, the festivity of her wedding day, the solemnity of her vows, and the joy of repeating them publically as a means of sealing her commitment. She is inwardly thrilled at the oneness of her union, yet magnanimous in its inclusiveness. The joy belongs to the groom and herself and they share it with all those present at the ceremony and festivities and those not present.

Moses goes on to warn the Israelites on that covenant day: "Make sure that no man, woman, family, or tribe standing here today turns from the LORD our God  to worship the gods of other nations. This would be like a root that grows to be a bitter and poisonous plant. Make sure that there is no one here today who hears these solemn demands and yet convinces himself that all will be well with him, even if he stubbornly goes his own way. That would destroy all of you, good and evil alike." Dt 29: 18-19

I cannot add to these words. If you have the ears to hear, hear.




----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Why Do You Come To Church? BASENAME: why-do-you-come-to DATE: Wed, 31 Jul 2013 12:57:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: church, spirit ----- BODY:

February 22, 2009

Why do you come to church? God calls you to worship, whether you realize it or not. If you're like me, when you come to church you want to experience God's presence. If you're like me when I first started Quaker Meeting, or had gone to any other church previously, my want was not satisfied.

We know the Spirit exists because we respond to God's calling us to gather for worship. We try all kinds of ways to bring about the experince we crave: singing, praying, reading the Bible, sitting silently. But does singing, praying, reading the Bible, sitting quietly bring about that experience of God's presence we want?

We hear the words week after week, but words have no life, nor does silence. It is the Spirit behind the words, the silence, that has life--that same Spirit that calls us to gather to worship. So the Spirit is there: in the words, in the song, in the prayer, in the silence. Yet you do not experience it. You leave church wanting. Why? Why do you leave the church wanting?

Don't lie to yourself, saying you are satisfied, that your hunger and thirst have been satisfied. If that were true you wouldn't seek false paths, such as astrology, divination, and other worldly distractions, such as environmentalism, multiculturalism, peaceism, on and on and on.

So the Spirit calls you to gather, you answer that call and come to church with that hunger and longing to experience the Lord's presence. But You Don't. Why? God is there, rather Christ Jesus. He's calling you. You respond but you don't connect. Why? As George Fox would say, we put up the barrier. We make the way rough.



----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A meal to worship God BASENAME: to-honor-god DATE: Mon, 29 Jul 2013 12:43:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: bible, god, meal, thanksgiving, worship ----- BODY:

I decided to shift my Bible reading from the New to the Old Testament. Currently, I'm reading Deuteronomy, which is comprised of a series of speeches Moses gives to the Israelites just before they are to enter the promised land of Canaan. The speeches are restatements of the laws God has given them to live by.

The Bible I'm using for these readings is the Good News Bible. I appreciate the everyday American English used in the translation. Passages I have passed over as trival in previous readings draw my attention. An example of such a passage is in chapter 12, verses 5-7, in which God describes how the Israelites are to worship Him at Passover.

     "Out of the territory of all your tribes the LORD will choose the one place where the people are to come into his presence and worship him. There you are to offer your sacrifices that are to be burned and your other sacrifices, your tithes and your offerings, the gifts that you promise to the LORD, your freewill offerings, and the first-born of your cattle and sheep. There, in the presence of the LORD your God, who has blessed you, you and your families will eat and enjoy the good things that you have worked for." Dt 12:5-7

     "Be joyful there in his presence, together with your children, your servants, and the Levites who live in your towns;" Dt 12:12

What a lovely way God provided the Israelites to please Him. Gathering families for the sole purpose of worshiping Him by joyously eating a meal together is a beautiful ceremony. It is a delightful picture, one we Americans should be thrilled to replicate, for the sole purpose of worshiping God and pleasing Him.

We Americans have a yearly event we call Thanksgiving, but it is not for the purpose of worshiping God. We purport to thank God for His blessings, but that is not the same as worshiping Him. And sadly, many people decline even to acknowledge God.

But my imagination was excited by a glorious picture of people gathering together to share a meal in which the sole purpose is to worship God. What would that mean? Constant prayer, solemnity, songs of thanksgiving? Ah, we worship God in our hearts. Come in Spirit and Truth and if it's prayer and solemnity you are compelled to give, do so. Songs of thanksgiving, sing them if you're compelled, songs that emanate from the heart and soul, filled with joy and praise. Yes, yes, and yes! Whatever the Holy Spirit moves you as a group to do, do it.

Pleasing God is worshiping God, so just taking pleasure in eating the good food with family and friends is worshiping Him.

Let's do this thing: gather together for the sole purpose of worshiping God by sharing a meal. Take pleasure in eating it. Hallelujah!



----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: You can't straddle the line BASENAME: you-can-t-straddle-the DATE: Tue, 09 Jul 2013 09:33:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: darkness, god, jesus christ, spirit, temporal ----- BODY:

God is all Goodness. He is the source of good. In Him there can be no darkness. It isn't a matter of God deciding not to tolerate darkness and keeping it out. It is that there can be no darkness in God. It simply cannot, does not exist in God.

Adam was created the perfect man, in the image of God. His wife, Eve, was created from the perfect man. She was the perfect woman. Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden and Eve was with him.

Through the deception of Satan, Eve ate fruit from the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is evil and shared the fruit with her husband, Adam, who also ate of the fruit, thereby defying God.  Adam's act of defiance brought darkness into his heart. Darkness cannot abide with God. Adam and Eve were banished from God's garden.

In every man and woman born since Adam and Eve there is darkness.

On the day they ate the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve died. They became the walking dead--able to reproduce, but unable to abide with God, the giver of life.

Until Moses death reignedin the world. Man was estranged from God. Then God gave Moses and the Israelites rules--known as the Law or Ten Commandments--to follow that they might please Him. The Law did not remove the darkness, but the Law defined sin, so man might turn away from it to please God. Still man could not abide with God because of his innate darkness.

God had a plan that would remove darkness from man. His plan unfolded in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus, born into this world the perfect son of God to live the perfect life Adam did not, was the sacrificial lamb upon whom all man's sins were pinned. And if man repented his sins, accepted Jesus as the sacrifice for his sins under the Law, he would then die to the Law and be made anew, the perfect man or woman, as was the first Adam and Eve. Thus is born a Christian.

Now, to be a Christian is to be in the light and life of Jesus Christ, God's beloved and anointed son. In Him there can be no darkness. No darkness can abide in Him. That is to say, one cannot be a Christian and have one foot planted in the temporal world. The temporal world is darkness, and to heed it is to taint oneself with its darkness. In God there can be no darkness. So one alienates himself from God.

Here is an excerpt from my entry from worship notes dated March 9, 2008.

". . . As usual my mind was fixed outwardly. . . Then the Lord let me see that I had to abandon that outward focus and move to what some have called the "here and now" . . . [But] Maybe it is better to say God brought me to Him. I was there, quiet and peaceful, to hear the voice of God . . . This time God let me know that [Lola] and I gathered in spirit and truth were His church, and [we were] inside His sanctuary. There God let me see that when two or more are gathered to worship Him, there is His church. We enter his sanctuary in spirit, and we can stay there as long as we are in the Holy Spirit.

But the minute we let the world outside in, we are thrust out of His sanctuary, like being thrust out of the Garden of Eden. God's church and His sanctuary are His home, and we can dwell in it forever if we come in spirit."

Keep to God, to God you will grow. Keep to the worldly, in darkness you will grow.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Without The Lord We're Just A Mouth Of The World BASENAME: 8203-without-the-lord-we DATE: Sun, 16 Jun 2013 10:50:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: babies, divorce, family, father, home, hurt, husband, mother, traditions, women ----- BODY:

Marriage is for having babies. Having children and raising them to maturity is the primary reason for marriage. Almost all women want to marry in order to have children and establish a home, which is their domain. They are naturally inclined to homelife, though in varying degrees. Even in circumstances upsetting an established domestic life, women will recreate what she can of a home. She relys on her husband to be the main character in her storybook, while she cleverly or clumsily writes the narrative.

But he is the linchpin, or the keystone, in the family. Without him, the wheels come off the axle, the arch fails. If he divorces her, he leaves her and their children as crippled as a three legged dog. If she divorces him for reasons other than abuse, she leaves him and their children mutilated.

The dissolution of a marriage is the dissolution of lives. Not only are children affected by divorce, but also in-laws. No more family gatherings in one or the other parents's home. No more seeing the cousins or the aunts and uncles. No more rummaging through family history preserved in chests, attics, basements, garages, etc.

Sure, the kids will see their grandparents, and maybe their aunts, uncles, and cousins but always with one or both parents missing. And the setting will always be a sad reminder of what once was. Of course, if the dissolution comes early in a child's life, he'll never have the experiences to remember, nor will she have them to share with her own children.

Where will the traditions come from that children pass on if their earliest years are spent going from one parent's family event to the other parent's family event? What ideal of a future life with a husband can a little girl imagine when she grows up without her father in her home every night? What idea of his role in the family can a boy garner without his father as the linchpin of the home? What pattern of stabilty and longevity do children have to reference in their adult lives when either dad or mom is missing from their childhood home?

Stupid people, inconsiderate people, self-interested people believed that school books, television shows and movies depicting intact families hurt the children from divorced homes. So they pestered governments and media to remove images and stories of intact families. Truth is, those stories and images were all the children from divorced homes had as a guide or model for their adult lives. The hurt came from their parents's divorce. The harm comes from the loss of that wholesome model. These people now pester to have aberrant behavior and models presented as normal and as good a choice as the wholesome model. Woe to those who cause children to stumble and fail. It would be better for them to be thrown into a lime pit than to cause these children to sin.


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: I Cannot Speak As Well As Paul BASENAME: where-are-they DATE: Sun, 09 Jun 2013 10:44:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: 2timothy, christ, paul ----- BODY:

I can only copy his words and say they describe so many Americans nowadays:

"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. . . " 2Timothy 3:1-5 NKJ

They speak directly to me in some cases: "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfull your ministry." 2Timothy 4:2-5

"Christ is come to teach his people himself." George Fox 1647

And a wonderful teacher He is!

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Prayer For My Country BASENAME: a-prayer-for-my-country DATE: Sun, 26 May 2013 09:39:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christians, father, jews, kingdom, love, merciful, spirit ----- BODY:

O Merciful God, Almighty God, Creator of the Universe and all that is in it,

Thank You for Your loving mercies and bountiful love.

Preserve us, Lord, in these dark days of sorrow for the state of our country.

Bring back the days of a nation whose soul was dedicated to You.

Bring back the days when acknowledgment of You and love for You were the birthright of every American child.

Bring back the days when public praise and giving thanks to You were a part of our American heritage.

Let us not despair, Lord, even in the darkest of times, which surely are to come.

Let us turn the negative into a positive, saying, here is an opportunity.

Let us as Christians and Jews come together in truth and spirit to wait upon You, Lord, that we might feed upon Your presence and drink from Your righteousness.

Let us rise up in power to your glory, O Lord, and hail Your kingdom.

Amen


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: May Entries In My Notes Book BASENAME: may-entries-in-my-notes DATE: Sun, 19 May 2013 10:24:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christians, george fox, god, jeremiah, materialistic, philippians, science, secular, supernatural ----- BODY:

May 14, 2013 I wrote, Do not be evnious. Do not think you are poorer in spirit than George Fox. Does not the Lord give to you generously? Rejoice and be glad in the magnificence and bountifulness of our Lord. He feeds you when you are hungry. He quenches your thirst. Praise Him for He holds you like a bird in the palm of His hand.

This morning in Philippians 2: 2 (in part) "... but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." Apropos, don't you think?

May 16 entry, Reading Jeremiah 33, beneath the words I sense something new: the Israelites (maybe not all) take the prophesies--no more than that--the words and what they convey as literal, not as metaphor. So when God says to Jeremiah in verse 3, "Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know," he and the Israelites look for the great and mighty things. Same as in verse 9, which I  won't copy here.

And then God says in verse 11: "The voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride . . . " NKJ. These voices they understand they will hear literally.

This is new thinking for me. Perhaps it is related to Sid Roth's use and claim of supernatural. We must remember God is a supernatural being.

May 19, We discount, dismiss the idea of supernatural in our secular, materialist culture. Even Christians are subtlely influenced by this materialistism, believing in miracles, yet striving to understand and validate (maybe to themselves only or others as well) them through materialistic means. Even when Christians understand that you can't validate the supernatural through natural means, they still unconsciously try to reconcile the supernatural with the natural world, because the natural world appears so accessible and too permanent to abandon for the supernatural, which seems inaccessible and beyond our power to manipulate. And woe comes to Christians who watch and hear of great strides made in science to replicate what is visible in nature. Is our worldview cracking?

A remarkable thing about God is that He doesn't worry. He knows everything and He can alter anything He chooses at any time He chooses. So don't worry. Instead, do this: ". . . do for His good pleasure." Phil 2:13 NKJ What pleasurable thing can you do for God? Men in the Middle Ages built beautiful cathedrals.


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Thoughts Out Loud BASENAME: the-religious-society-cafe DATE: Thu, 16 May 2013 10:01:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: children, god, jesus, spirit, union ----- BODY:

From my notes book, May 5, 2013 the following thoughts: Union with Jesus. Church as His bride. If you are baptized in the Spirit you become a member of Jesus Christ's church. You are in union with Jesus, and from that union you are born anew, a child of God. Did He not say we must become like children?

Saturday May 11 I watched Sid Roth's TV program on Impact. I'd heard Sid Roth before on the radio station. Something about Sid Roth or really what he says appeals to me in a way that seems hard to describe. Perhaps the appeal is from his Jewish/Christian ministry. Saturday night he talked about God as being supernatural. God being supernatural is not a concept I have thought too much about yet know that He is; He cannot be otherwise. Still, the concept remained as an afterglow through Saturday evening. I'll come back to this idea later, but first I want to recount a scene that had played out in my mind Friday night.

The scene was of women pleading with God to love them as He loved men. The women all felt unloved by God because they perceived His relationship with men to be different from His relationship with them, therefore they weren't as valued.

As they pleaded with God not just to be loved but loved the same as men, He spoke to them, saying, "I do love you, but in a different way." 

Not in a lesser way, but a different way.

Are you saying you're a lesser person if you acknowledge being different from someone in some ways?

Are women wholly different from men, therefore not subject to the law, the natural rights and responsibilies of men? No.

But women are not men and should not strive to be like them in a vain attmept to equal them in physical strength and stamina. Women are different from men, not unequal to men. She is equal before the law and God.

Men have a different relationship with God. She should respect and encourage that relationship. Her relationship with God she must discover, cultivate, and cherish. She should never be in contradiction to her husband.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Keep to God, to God you will grow BASENAME: keep-to-god-to-god DATE: Sun, 21 Apr 2013 08:58:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Poem CATEGORY: TAGS: god_s creation, holy spirit, light and life ----- BODY:

Yesterday--groaning under the weight of sadness --the Holy Spirit poured over me--briefly, melancholy  from my view of things, not of God's creation--in a flash, the righteousness of God's world--which I had removed myself from--out of the light and life of Christ--beyond that I cannot express in words--comfort and joy.



----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Rich man shares wealth freely BASENAME: rich-man-shares-wealth-freely DATE: Sun, 14 Apr 2013 14:56:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: giving, glory, god, lord, money ----- BODY:

The amount of money in my little glass jar had grown to  $20.85. Every cent of it I acquired from collecting pop cans and bottles, change from a purchase, or found money. It had taken me maybe six months or longer to accrue that much. When I made the decision to save the money for something, it seems as if accumulation speeded up. But I hadn't made up my mind what I was saving the money for. Only when the total approached twenty dollars did I start asking myself what I wanted to do with my savings. Did I want to buy something, add it to my bank saving account, or continue adding to the jar for extra money for my trip this summer? I was heady with glee at having actually accrued more than twenty dollars by those various means.

Coincidental to my glee, I started reading Jonathan Winthrop's A Modell of Christian Charity, which is part of the reading assignment for Hillsdale College online course in American History. The professor for this class read an excerpt from the sermon, which upon hearing my thought was: he's appealing to our better selves. I was eager to read Winthrop's entire sermon to find more of this appeal.

Winthrop preached in part the commandment for man to love his neighbor as himself. "Upon this ground stands all the precepts of the moral law, which concerns our dealings with men. To apply this to the works of mercy, this law requires two things. First, that every man afford his help to one another in every want [lack] or distress." In other words, we must give to our brethren freely and cheerfully, as our Lord has given to us. Now, you might be thinking in terms of material things when it comes to the Lord's giving and wondering where is yours.

As a side note, it is interesting to think of giving freely for the glory of God and not accolades for oneself. If you acquire material wealth without first acquiring a Christian worldview, you likely attribute your wealth to your efforts or luck. You might give freely to your fellow human beings in that state, but to what end? Winthrop writes, among other things, "the care of the public must oversway all private respects . . ." And for what reason? "[T]he end is to improve our lives to do more service to the Lord. . ."

My thought on the above paragraph is that for those of us who are endowed by our Creator with the wit and means to acquire material wealth must do so, as it is our way of serving God. And the more we acquire the greater must be our giving freely for the purpose of improving the lives of our fellow men and women, so that they too may serve God to his glory. It is not about creating sloth in them, for they are under the same directive from the same God.

I digress from my purpose, however, which is to confess to you the Lord's working in me concerning that money. For in spite of my earlier giddiness there was a point when I heard clearly and understood plainly the Lord's voice telling me to give the entire amount to charity. Did I argue this conclusion? Surprisingly, no. At that precious moment I understood it was God's will that I donate the money. Furthermore, I was filled with joy at the prospect of knowing and doing His will. And I knew that if I did this small act per God's will, how much easier the next one and the next one, until it became second nature. I had to find an organization not connected to the government that served people. So I was happy to deposit all of my $20.85 with the Salvation Army. I started my collection anew.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Between the darkness and the light BASENAME: between-the-darkness-and-the DATE: Sun, 31 Mar 2013 10:43:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: homosexuality ----- BODY:

I don't know the burden homosexuality places on a person. I don't know the burden of promiscuity either. Nor do I know the burden of deceitfulness, though I had a mother I learned to distrust because of her inveterate lying.

I do, however, know the buden of gluttony. I know I must consciously restrain my tendency to indulge in it. Do I, alone, have the power to restrain my tendency? I do not. The means to control my gluttony is Christ Jesus. The desire to walk in the light of my Lord Jesus Christ and honor God help me in times of temptation.

And so it is we all have burdens to bear. Is one sin greater than another? No. All unrighteousness is sin. 1Jn 5:17

Not to distinguish between the darkness and the light is to be swallowed by the darkness. The pull of evil is strong. At the same time, Satan is whispering to you, "What happens to you if you give in? Nothing seriously bad will happen. Nothing will dramatically change in your life if you give in." I know these things because I have felt the pull and heard the voice. 

When I was in the Air Force in the early 1970s, I became acquainted with another female Airman in the dining hall. Though she dressed as a female, she was overtly masculine in her demeanor. So strong was this characteristic it was nearly impossible not to think of her as a man. Plus, it was as though she possessed a strong "masculine attraction" scent. I was confused by her and felt her luring me, too.

For those of you who are too young to know, the '1970s is a time when acceptance of homosexuality and its status became prominent questions for youth and young adults. The push was to accept homosexuality as an innocent variation among human beings. There was pressure then as there is now to normalize an abberrant behavior.

I prayed to God, whom I did not know personally at that time, to help me make the right decision, to give me certainty on what to believe. I don't recall any certainty, and I, ever listening to worldly arguments, didn't make the right decision on my own. I thought I could have friendship with this woman and her companion. He didn't leave it up to me though. He led me away through reasoning and self-preservation by letting me see that associating with them would make it appear as if I were part of their group.

Only now can I see His working in me. At the time I credited it to myself, or more likely, considered myself lucky. It has taken me many years to recognize God's infinite love for me. To this day I am fearful of displeasing Him and thereby losing His love. Yet how can that be when He watched over me all those years? That doubt is Satan's voice again.

From Ephesians 5: 6-8, 11, 17 NKJ "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore, do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light."

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them."

"Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is."


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Romans 8 BASENAME: romans-8 DATE: Sun, 24 Mar 2013 14:27:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: adam, christ, corruption, darkness, death, faith, flesh, fox, george fox, giving, god, holy, holy spirit, jesus, jesus christ, law, life, light, love, man, marriage, moses, paul, praise, quaker, quaker theology, quakers, reborn in the spirit, righteousness, seed, sin, spirit, the spirit, understanding, woman ----- BODY:

"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be." Rom 8:7 So, the carnal mind is outside the law of God? Is it fair to say then the carnal mind lives under a relativist morality?

I have often said that we are all under God's law and all have violated the law since the age of reason by making something else our god. But this morning while reading Romans 8:7, the Spirit opened to me that it is a willful act to come under the law. In so doing we  recognize our violation of it.

That rendering aligns more closely with what George Fox has written in The Journal of George Fox, "I could not be dead to the law but through the law which did judge and condemn that which is to be condemned."

Continuing with the above thought: is it that we are all born corrupted from the original sin (as it is said) but also born with the seed of Christ (the new Adam), also known as the Light? John 1: 3-4. And that the darkness (also known as corruption) cannot extinguish the Light, so that at any time during our age of reason, we can acknowledge the Light within and through the process of coming under the law, die to the law (through Jesus Christ) and be reborn in the Spirit? Such is Quaker theology.

So, there is no way an atheist can please God by "living a moral life?" Not that he is trying to please God, because as an atheist he actively disbelieves in God. The question, though, is why would he even strive to live what he defines as a moral life? His sense of morality can only be informed by God's law, for all else according to Romans 8:7 is of the flesh and not subject to God's law. Would it be for self-righteousness that the atheist would live a "moral" life?

Could you then say that carnal-minded people are as prehistoric human beings? What I mean by prehistoric are those persons who lived between the time of Adam and Eve and Moses, when there was no law. Because there was no law, there was no sin. Yet the people displeased God with their behavior, so much so that He determined to destroy them through a flood, except for Noah, whom He found to be righteous.

Continuing on in Romans 8: 9-13

"Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His."

"And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness."

"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."

"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh."

"For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live."

A couple of questions arise for me: is the sentence from verse 9 meant to distinguish between those who are reborn in the spirit but still dwelling in the carnal world from their future resurrected beings?

In verse 13 does Paul suggest that putting to death the deeds of the body includes marital sex? I can't think that is the case, for marriage between a man and woman is sanctioned by God. (Crazy that one must even designate marriage as between a man and woman, but I do believe we are living in a lawless age).

I have read the Book of Romans many times. It affirms Quaker theology and it never ceases to quicken my spirit. Yet, it is the Holy Spirit that renders meaning, giving to us what we are capable of understanding at the time. As George Fox and many early Quakers admonished, you cannot read the Scriptures aright unless you are in the same Spirit as those who wrote them.

Praise be to God, Almighty. His love, His goodness, His bountifulness, His mercy, His revelations are beyond our imaginations. Lie back on that water and rest in faith. He will not let you drown.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Good Works BASENAME: good-works DATE: Sun, 24 Mar 2013 12:41:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ, faith, god, good works, teacher ----- BODY:

If by good works we are justified and not by faith alone, are the works then something we practice willfully, or do our good works result from our faith? Are our works a product of our faith? I contend our good works result from our faith.

By good works do I mean taking care of the sick, the poor, the widows and their children only? No. Here's what Paul says in his letter to Titus 2:7, "In all things show(ing) yourself to be a pattern of good works." Honesty, integrity, humility, charity, etc. are all characteristics of a life that is a model of good works.

We must be conscious of our faith, though; that it is transforming, and the transformation is why we are capable of doing good works. We must be conscious of our inward teacher, who disciplines us when we stray from the ways of God. This interaction with our inward teacher, Christ, increases our faith and our good works.

Does not our good works answer God's simple purpose for us: "to honor me for all time, for their own good and the good of their descendants?" Jer 32:39 NKJ. Would not the interaction and increase in both faith and works serve as evidence of things not seen?

In faith do we not hope to live to please God? Are we not beset by the question of how do we do that? I tell you, know Jesus Christ as your inward teacher. He alone can teach you the ways of God.








----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: America, do you hate yourself so much BASENAME: america-do-you-hate-yourself DATE: Fri, 15 Mar 2013 10:59:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: drug culture, same-sex marriage ----- BODY:

America, do you hate yourself so much that you would scarify your face and those of your young to express your self-loathing? That's what people do. Has the evil of the left so penetrated your soul that you cannot see Light to guide you out of darkness?

The day was when psychology was the rage and America was bent on learning about itself through guided and experimental introspection: psychology, hallucinogenic drugs. Though false purveyors of enlightenment, America, you at least wanted to probe your being in order to understand the what and why of behavior. But now, NOW you are as shallow as a rain-filled rut and care not to ponder ANYTHING! Not the what, not the why. Words have become one dimensional, mere marks on a page or data bits streaming from an open throat.

Love, if encompassed by sun rays, is something good in your mind. Image is everything, no matter how bizarre, grotesque. But what love IS does not concern you. No definition or nuance can trump the physical experience of a sexual act. And so tales of love and "awwww" inspire you to leap on the bandwagon, lose your religion, and suppress truth.

For you tomorrow is just another day. What was planted today does not affect tomorrow or next year. There's no such thing as long-term effects. No such thing as regret. No such thing as second thoughts. No such thing as too late. No such thing as child abuse without visible scars and cowering behavior.

No such thing as societal suicide because one more public person declares he's changed his mind and supports same-sex marriage because his son is homosexual. Once again, youth lead the adults. Once again America's adults will fail America's youth. Marriage after all is a word, a mere mark on a page or data bits streaming from an open throat. "Their throat is an open tomb;" Romans 3:13 NKJ

I am deeply troubled, deeply saddened. The consequences of the 1960s roll off the backs of adults who were Sixties teenagers floating through those years on drugs. Did those who were adults then come out strongly against the nascent hedonistic culture? No, they followed the youth. Did the youth know where they were going?

Same-sex marriage is the drug culture of the Sixties. No good will come of it, but that won't stop the bandwagon jumpers. Their long-view is the end of their nose.                             

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Contemplating God BASENAME: contemplating-god DATE: Sun, 24 Feb 2013 11:59:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god, materialist, reality, spirit, truth, word, worldview ----- BODY:

February 24, 2013

literal death, figurative death

word on paper, Spirit behind word

word on paper, incorporeal word

Representation of actual

representation of reality

unseen things, the Spirit behind the representation:

Of course there are flaws in the materialist's worldview.


Heavenly Father,

You are powerful beyond words. You fill the mind with questioning and reasons, but the conclusion is a matter of faith. 'Tis curious, Lord, that You tantalize man with the outskirts of proof, yet hide the hard proof from him.

But what is man that You would grant him even this much?

You bring us into the Spirit, where we exalt in Your being, are awash in Your greatness and love. Here, we cannot stay long, Lord, for Your light is too great for us. We would be consumed, or is it subsumed? I do not know.

All I know is that I seek the "here" and fall from it grateful that I have experienced it briefly.

This is why I come back again and again to worship at Your feet. This is why I contemplate Your existence day after day. This is why I feel so urgently the need to communicate in some exigent way the Truth.



----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Word BASENAME: the-word DATE: Tue, 19 Feb 2013 11:44:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god, jesus, light, word ----- BODY:

Word is used often in the books of the Bible. Jesus is identified as the Word. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." (John 1:1-3 New King James Bible)

The word Word piques my curiosity when I come across it in the Bible; rather the Spirit behind it, giving it heft, for Word has no shape nor form, no phyical presence save that of its representation on the page. You can't see it; you can't feel it; you can't taste it; you can't smell it. You can't measure it. But you can hear it. When the Word speaks it is in no particular language, nor, ususally, audible. A person born deaf can hear the Word.

God spoke, and when He spoke, it was the Word and through the Word came everything.

"[S]o He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 8:3 New King James Bible)

"By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible." (Hebrews 11:3 New King James Bible; emphasis mine.)

"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever." (Isaiah 40:8 King James Bible)

"I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day."(John 12: 46-48 New King James Bible; emphasis mine)

What does an atheist hear when the Word speaks? In the days when I actively disbelieved in God I heard but I confined the voice to a box which I kept hidden away.

"But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart . . ." (Deuteronomy 30:14 New King James Bible)

"And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation. For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:19-21 New King James Bible; emphasis mine)

I don't know the mystery of the Word; why it carries such heft for me. There are many things I read in the Bible that I don't fully comprehend, especially those things that affect me in some indescribable way. I restrain myself from guessing at their meaning, As Isaac Penington advised, wait upon the Lord for understanding and meaning. This backing off and waiting is humbling, comforting, and satisfying. He will reveal all things to us in time.

 

 

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The weight of evil BASENAME: the-weight-of-evil DATE: Wed, 06 Feb 2013 12:22:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ, evil, god, law ----- BODY:

The man sitting across the table from a younger man had a contract ready for the prospect to sign. As the older man's clear, blue eyes focused on the younger one, visions of a desired life bloomed in his mind-  a product of the purchase of the advertised car. Just when the young man was moved to sign the contract to purchase the luxury vehicle at a worthy price,  a curtain opened to reveal the manufacturer's affordable price. The young man declines the older man's offer. His consternation evident, he vanishes in a pouff of black-tinged smoke, the viewer's suspicion confirmed.

That's often the depiction of evil in our conceited culture : a quaint source of humor. I've written on the subject of evil before using the alternate depiction of evil: a grotequely malformed entity ready to pounce on and destroy anyone coming near it. I surmized that depiction was a safe one because it divorced evil from our actions and behavior. Both depictions serve that purpose, because for many Americans, especially younger Americans, evil was neutered with the advent of modern science. It is the quaint idea of lesser cultures, whose faulty knowledge limited their comprehension of the natural world. Everything can and will be explained by science. The only power Evil has for this crowd is as an indictment of God.

But evil has no physical shape or characteristic we can easily and routinely identify. It is like a tiny speck in our being that conforms itself to our weakness and feeds off it. It does have a grotesque deformity about it, but that characteristic is manifested through us, the carriers. And we spread it as we spread any communicable disease. Only in the long view, the objective view, can we see the horror. When we see the horror, we immediately want to push it away, distance ourselves from it. For in that moment of clarity we are frightened by palpable evil and wish not to be contaminated by it, never suspecting we are contaminated already.

But I want you to stay and look at the evil. I want you to be still and imagine the horror of it multiplied by an astronomical number. I want you to sink to the depths of dispair in so much evil.

George Fox recounts this episode in his journal, dated 1646: "And this priest Stephens asked me a question, why Christ cried out upon the Cross, 'My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?'  and why he said, 'If it be possible let this cup pass from me, yet not my will but thine be done?' And I  told him at that time the sins of all mankind were upon him, and their iniquities and transgressions with which he was wounded, which he was to bear, and to be an offereing for them as he was man, but died not as he was God; and so, in that he died for all men, and tasted death for every man, he was an offering for the sins of the whole world."

What I want you to come close to experiencing is the mental anguish Jesus felt as the full weight of mankind's evil bore down on him as he hung on the Cross, knowing full well that too few of those looking on or busy with their lives  elsewhere were aware of their sinful nature or his sacrifice for their sake.

If you experience that in the least, you will be slammed with the thought: how can we ever overcome all the evil that pervades our culture? How can we reverse a juggernaut? Consider this report of Abram in Genesis 15: 1-6 when God told him that he would have an heir from his own body, and through that heir he would have more descendants than there are stars in the sky. It is this promise to Abramham that allowed him to trust that God would not have him slay his only heir, Isaac, when he tested him. God promised a substitute for Isaac, the innocent child, who would be the sacrifice for all mankind's sins.

Jesus came and lived the perfect life under God's perfect law, fulfilling the law, so that we may be made perfect under it through him. And through him, Jesus Christ, we could die to the law to be reborn in the Spirit. And when we are dead to that law, we are no longer sinners. Our spirit has no speck of sin.

It is a journey. As with evil, Truth is in you, but it's Christ's seed that grows to fullness. It does not spread as a blight as does evil. Remember wanting to distance yourself from evil? Well, Christ removes us from it for all time. You simply must ask him.

In Christ is peace.

 

 

 

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Has Anyone Talked to You BASENAME: has-anyone-talke-to-you DATE: Mon, 28 Jan 2013 10:28:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: forgiveness, god, jesus, lord, sinner ----- BODY:

Has anyone talked to you about Jesus and His role in your life? Robert Barclay wrote in An Apology for the True Christian Divinity (Quaker Heritage Press) that everyone born into this world has his time of visitation where God's Spirit wrestles with his spirit to bring him to salvation. Have you responded to your visitation with contrition and acknowledgment that Jesus is God's only begotten son, sent into this world to redeem mankind through His death and resurrection?

Have you come to know Him as your savior; your Teacher who teaches you the ways of God; your Bishop who oversees you; your shepherd who feeds you the words of life, who reckons you worthy of finding and bringing back into the fold if you stray?

George Fox writes of dying to the Law. Dying to the Law is to acknowledge to Jesus (and yourself) that you are under God's Law and have violated it. Only then do you see yourself as the sinner and feel the need of forgiveness. This is a hard place to come to, for the very Christ who erases your sins bares them to you. It is unnerving to be stripped naked before God.

But that terrible moment of visibility corresponds to the awesome moment of God's great love. In your wretched state you will marvel that He has not already destroyed you for your wickedness. You will bow in gratitude for His great love.

Go, sit and be still. Let the Lord lead you through that valley that you may emerge among the living. Fear not evil, for the Lord will be with you. He will comfort you and never forsake you. But you must make the journey. It is not a physical one, but a spiritual one.

There can be no greater love than that of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ. If you seek love, seek Him.

Amen

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: March For Life and My Education BASENAME: march-for-life-and-my DATE: Fri, 25 Jan 2013 13:10:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: abortion the spirit ----- BODY:

I listened to a radio interview with the new head of March For Life, Education and Funding regarding abortion. At one time I was in favor of abortion without truly researching or thinking deeply about it. I was viciously adamant that "unwanted" children should be aborted. My shallow thinking was that it would be better for the child not to live to be abused, neglected, or psychologically crippled from being told he was not wanted. I didn't think beyond that scenario.

During that time in my life, I knew a young woman who aborted her five month old baby. Her action made it seem okay on a surface level, though she had agonized about it for weeks. The father, her boyfriend, did not want the baby. Had I been selfless I would have perceived the devastation the abortion caused her. I do not remember her name, much to my shame.

What I wanted to write is about my own education on abortion. And how that education and growing support for pro-life had effected a change in me. I realized during the interview this morning that being educated about abortion was like being educated about Jesus Christ. It is similar to hearing the Gospel- the Truth - and realizing the Light within. It is similar to recognizing oneself as a sinner and repenting.

Those thoughts led to a sense of the Spirit in me. I yielded to its call to worship. I rejoiced inwardly because of the Spirit's call.

I praise God for His love and eternal gifts. I thank my Lord Jesus for rescuing me from my sinful ways, for paying the price to redeem me. Because I owe Him my life, I owe Him my obedience. I owe Him my trust and faith. I owe Him my ears and mind. Praise to God.

Amen.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Love Sinners BASENAME: love-sinners DATE: Sat, 12 Jan 2013 14:31:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: bible, lord, sinner, teacher ----- BODY:

This morning in worship I prayed to God that I see that of God in sinners, so that I am not condemning. But at the same time I see also the sin and condemn it. I prayed to God the sinners find me welcoming and without excuses.

For some reason lately I've been concerned about not calling out evil or condemning it. I'm not clear what my worry is, or why I have that fear. Perhaps it is because in the past, when I was more influenced by the culture and individuals, I saw myself wavering on certain practices I disapproved and maybe being drawn into them.

The other day I was thinking perhaps it is better not to preach to people, especially children and young adults, what they should or should not do, but rather explore what God wants through reading the Bible together and discussing what is read. Later, I realized there has to be some guide for interpreting what we read in the Bible. The Quaker practice of being in the same Spirit as those who wrote the Bible is the only way to understand it rightly, but for newcomers and children, that state is not always accessible. After going through most of Robert Barclay's Apology for the True Christian Divinity, I see the necessity for knowing the tenets of one's faith, as well. It isn't preachy; it is simply saying: this is what we believe and why we believe it.

I want to get back to what I prayed for this morning because of a video I watched later in the day. It came as a Facebook posting from the Manhattan Project and featured Eric Metaxas as the speaker for a National Prayer Day Breakfast, and a moving one it was. He said at one point that as Christians we must not despise those who haven't yet learned what sin is. We must love them. The truth of those words brought me to tears, as it was also the plea I had for myself earlier.

This morning in worship (three days later from the start of this post) I was talking aloud to Jesus, relating my concerns, asking questions, asking for guidance in demarcating sin and sinner, not condemning the sinner but not tacitly condoning the sin because no line is visible. How does one love a sinner without encouraging the sin? Enter the thought: is it easier for someone to follow another when he receives regard as one of God's creation, or condemnation for being a sinner? Still, what would  that love feel like? Enter the thought: recall the tender feelings you experience for a child when he reminds you of your own.

It is not my learned way to show regard for those I disapprove, or to experience tender feelings toward them especially, so this challenge will take much practice and diligence and reminding from my Lord, my teacher. I must discover other ways of seeing, thinking about, responding to those at whom I look askance. In this exercise I see that I fancy myself walking the high road so that others might change. But at this very end of my post I see my true position. It's the Lord who gives me the eyes to see.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: O Little Town of Bethleham BASENAME: o-little-town-of-bethleham DATE: Sun, 23 Dec 2012 11:37:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: corruption, cure, healing, jesus, lazarus, sin ----- BODY:

"O come to us, abide with us/our Lord Emmanuel" The last two lines from the last stanza of the song O Little Town of Bethleham, lyrics by Phillips Brooks.

Listening to Christmas music this morning while cooking breakfast I heard the words "abide with us" for the first time though I'd listened to them many times before. What I heard though was byond the scope of their mundane meaning.

What I heard was the story from Matthew 4: 23-24 of Jesus healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the  people. From Syria people brought to him all manner of sick people who had various diseases and torments, even those possessed with devils, those who were lunatics, and those with palsy. Jesus healed them all. It was opened to me that these were external sicknesses which Jesus did heal to set the stage, so to speak, for the time when he would raise Lazarus from the dead and then his own resurrection.

Yet, more than to heal natural calamities that befall our physical beings, Jesus came to minister to our soul diseased with sin. He came to cure our corruption, to heal the breach between us and God. Abide with us he does, for everyone born into the world is born with a measure of the Light, though one may not know or reject it. As with his parables of increase, those who acknowledge Jesus and believe in  him, more will be given. I witness to this increase. Pray the Lord comes to you, abides in you, and you in him.

 

 

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Shorting God BASENAME: shorting-god DATE: Fri, 21 Dec 2012 11:04:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: devotional, excuses, experience, god, holy spirit, lord, worship ----- BODY:

I carry on with my daily worship at 8:45 most mornings. Earlier this week, after devotional reading for an extended time, I thought I'd do a quick homage to our Lord (since I'd done all that devotional reading) and get on with other things crowding my mind. He won't know or care I'm shorting Him. But you know, He kept me in my seat, settled my mind, and left His footprint on my day.

I've had the experience before, and I've written about it in this blog, where God made it clear to me that there is no where to hide from Him. One cannot hide from God. His footprint on my day was this: He knows your heart and mind, too. There's no thought, no imagining He doesn't know.

It's funny, because we try to hide things from ourselves, as well. But in our heart of hearts, we know what we have hidden, and when we acknowledge our little games, we rationalize (make excuses for) our behavior. I shouldn't say we, because I'm reporting about myself and extending what I know about myself to others.

Still, the Holy Spirit opened to me that I am the source of my excuses and excuses are just lies. Ouww!

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Walking In The Light BASENAME: walking-in-the-light DATE: Sun, 02 Dec 2012 13:34:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: jesus, light, lord ----- BODY:

I don't remember exactly when I began praying every day that I would walk in the Light of my Lord, Jesus Christ and honor God, but it was some time this year, in the early fall, maybe. For me, what I was asking is that I keep on the path of righteousness and not be pulled off it by worldly enticements, especially the enticement of latest the "cause." I envisioned myself in these prayers as walking under a halo of light that flowed down to encompass me as water from a rain shower head would. Sometimes the vision was of me walking forward in a nondescript place filled with light. Pretty simplistic and passive. I was there to be led. But I know Christ to be my teacher, and being a student cannot be a passive endeavor. At some point the student must master the lessons and assume a greater role.

Much to my awe and chagrin my teacher opened to me this past week the true nature of walking in the Light. To walk in the Light, he said, is to use the Light as a means of discernment. I can't be passively led; I must assume the power of discernment and apply it in the everyday world. I can't passively accept protection from evil; I must actively recognize it in all its forms. In the Light I can discern the darkness in which others, especially loved ones, walk.

Yes, to walk in the Light of my Lord, Jesus Christ, means being active in discernment. It means assuming responsibility, and trusting in the teacher. It's like going from the shadow of him to embracing his Spirit within, though I never thought I had been doing anything but that. This is why I sing "his gifts to me are without measure."

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Who Needs God BASENAME: who-needs-god DATE: Sun, 25 Nov 2012 12:12:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god, universe ----- BODY:

manifest, adj., plain; open; clearly visible tothe eye, or obvious to the understanding; apparent; not obscure or difficult to be seen or understood.

manifest, v.t., to make clear or evident; to show plainly; reveal; evince.

manifest, v.i., to make clear to the senses; to show itself.

I write these three definitions and parts of speech of the word manifest as an exercise in discovery. For I'm thinking the difference between "is clear" and "made clear" is one of attitude.

The phrase "is clear" connotes control, in charge, definitive; whereas "made clear" connotes received wisdom and knowledge.

I seldom hear the word manifest used nowadays, which I think is a manifestation of a post-Christian culture, whose most salient feature is this: Man is in charge. He is no longer the created; he is the creator, or on the brink of deeming himself creator. There is no received wisdom. It's earned wisdom. It's a commodity and he's going to cash in on it. No longer are there secrets and perplexities, for he's cracked the code and all that's left is for him to rejigger it to suit his vision. The universe is his vehicle, and a spectacular one, too.

God? Who needs God when you have an expansive universe whose end you can't contemplate and whose beginning you attribute to nothing. Its galactical systems appear to your eye as petrified, but you know better. Out there lies your destiny and you're in control of it. You'll get to the end of the end.

And the smaller minds? They don't perceive themselves as smaller. Didn't they graduate from Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown, Stanford, etc.? Don't they have the capacity to create and interpret convoluted writings? Aren't their hearts as grandiose as the universe but not as constrained? Didn't THEY originate the code? Yes, yes, and yes! The world is their home and they're going to regroup, recoordinate, rearrange it to their liking. God? Wisdom? Patience? Equality? Those concepts are suitable to the little people. Let them play around with them like children playing with ducks in the bathtub. We don't have to wonder how things should be. We decide and we manifest our decisions every day. We are above reproach.

On the other hand, that which is "made clear"  implies humility. Intelligence, curiosity, patience, and wonder are  characteristics of those who recognize and rejoice that God created all that is. It is with awe and love they seek to fold back the layers of life, and not to control, mutate or imitate, but to understand and apply their knowledge per God's design. For they know man's hubris sends him racing ahead of wisdom, racing headlong into destruction and death.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Two Contrary Powers BASENAME: two-contrary-powers DATE: Fri, 09 Nov 2012 09:47:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god_s will ----- BODY:

Robert Barclay writes in An Apology for the True Christian Divinity: "... there are two contrary powers or spirits, to wit, the power and spirit of this world ... and the power of the Spirit of God..." (Proposition 11, p. 11.)

You can find the entire Apology online through the Quaker Heritage Press. I am grateful to them for their ministry in making this explanation of Quaker Faith and Practices available. It is an invaluable document of enlightenment and instruction.

My habit is to read from this Apology daily, followed by worship. This morning, having read the complete paragraph of the Barclay passage I cited and biblical references he provides as support, plus reading beyond the verse in some cases, I found the following verse especially moving, Mark 14: 36 KJV: "And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt."

Another passage I read had Jesus admonishing his disciples to watch. I wrote in my notebook these things: watch- be alert (that was a clarification provided); see- comprehend; be sober- do not let your mind wander, (be) able to pray. Being able to pray made me think of hard times to come and the necessity of praying in order to face the coming evil. Then I thought of the younger generations who are growing up knowing nothing but scorn for God, Jesus, and praying. My heart was saddened.

I closed my Bible and sat with my legs crossed and my hands folded in worship. My mind wandered. I thought how terrible that the younger generations were unaware of the two contrary spirits, and that most of them were under  "the power and spirit of this world."  I was not watching. There were other discordant thoughts. I uncrossed my legs.

The Holy Spirit gave this to me. It isn't the longing and sorrows of your heart that matter. Put them aside. It is God's will that matters.

In other words, quit wallowing in sorrow about what used to be but is not now. What used to be is that children were raised under the aegis of a generic Christianity. This was true until the 1960s, when post progessive liberals began their assault on all things American.

God was telling me that reverting to what used to be and wishing, or wasting prayer, for things to be that way again, is not his will. His will is for me to tell those who are under the spirit and power of this world what liberty is.

"But whoso look[s] into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." James 1: 26 KJV (looketh=looks)

I have heard. I must do.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Whence Come The Stage? BASENAME: whence-come-the-stage DATE: Sun, 04 Nov 2012 12:29:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god, lord, shakespeare, stage ----- BODY:

From Psalm 37: 23-24

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

Psalm 37: 34

Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cast off, thou shall see it.

Why do you resist God's healing?

In God there is no space and time. I've been trying to locate in my notebooks where I wrote this and what date. I have been unable to find it today. While in worship this morning I saw, as Shakespeare has put it, the whole world is a stage. I wonder if he understood it as I mean it? Let me try to explain it as I saw it this morning.

We are born in to a time on the stage. People and societies before us are dead and gone but the stage remains fixed, although its components change. By that I mean the look of the stage. Maybe it is flat and treeless and another time it is rolling hills or a body of water, and yet again it is a city or a waystation. On and on the stage changes and the people who step onto it live out their lives on the stage as they find it. To what purpose, though?

I will leave the question for you to answer. I ask you to imagine yourself as an onlooker, though. For many centuries and all varieties of people, watch as they take their turns on the stage.


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Love Thy Neighbor BASENAME: love-thy-neighbor DATE: Sun, 09 Sep 2012 10:39:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: everlasting lfe, god, jesus, quaker theology ----- BODY:

This morning I finished reading The Fifth and Sixth Propositions of Robert Barclay's Apology,  which is a defense of Quaker Theology. The propositions are as follows: Universal Redemption by Christ, and also the Saving and Spiritual Light with which every man is enlightened.

I found the arguments for both propositions so exhilerating that the joy that had laid dormant in me for many months rose again. But that's not why I write today.  The joy is that which I knew when I was first baptized in my heart by the blood of Christ. It is His blood, sprinkled on my heart, that redeemed me and made me holy for God. If only you could see yourself as the child of imperfect parents, Adam and Eve, you would see the need to be made perfect by the only sacrifice acceptable to God, his only and perfect son, Jesus. He died as the sacrifical lamb and was resurrected by God, so that all who believe in him might have everlasting life.

Ah, but you say, "I am alive. I do not know what happens to me after I die. Nobody knows. Anyway, what is appealing about this idea of everlasting life? What does that look like? Walking around some other-worldly place of sanitized white vapor misting from nowhere and white-robed angels sporting magnificient white bird-feather wings singing glories to God as they walk streets paved with gold? I'd rather not.

What I've heard of everlasting life doesn't appeal to me. But the world, now that does appeal to me, especially now, with all the neat things available to me to communicate with my friends and family, play video games, listen to music, watch video wherever and whenever I want. And I can go awesome places, maybe even to other countries to see how other people live. What's everlasting life compared to the life I have? Comparing the two, one comes up short, real short."

You say you are alive. I say you are an animation. Yes, you breathe, eat, and procreate. So you are a living thing, like a plant or animal is a living thing. You make decisions; you react to pain. You follow established paths, and maybe even venture off the trail a ways. You have fun with friends. You try to avoid boredom. But at the end of the day what can you tell anybody that has meaning without sounding as if you are parroting the words?

"The only meaning is that which I can know or detect through my senses. Beyond that, there is no meaning."

Yes. I gathered that about you. Are you saying you have no inner voice?

"I have a conscience."

Where does your conscience come from?

"I was born with it. Everyone is born with a conscience."

What does it do for you, your conscience?

"It tells me right from wrong."

Oh. I have more than this question but let me ask only this one: how does it tell you? I mean, do you hear it with your ears? Do you sense it with your nose or taste buds? Do you feel it with your fingers? Do you see it with your eyes?

"I see where you're going with this, but it's not going to work."

What do you mean by that?

"I mean you want me to say my conscience isn't a real thing because it doesn't have a physical reality. But there are a lot of things that are real that don't have a physical presence. Such as atoms. Electrical current."

You're certain both of them exists?

"Well, the atom has been detected using instruments and electricity has been known for centuries in the form of static electricity. I see what you're getting at: both examples can be known by a physical means. Thoughts exist and they're not detectable through physical means."

I'll agree with you on that, although medical science can detect brain activity. You made my point, though, with your example of thought. You have an inner voice. You call it your conscience. It tells you right from wrong. But where does the idea of right and wrong come from? Do animals have the notion of right and wrong?

"I don't know."

Let me state it another way. Do they know they are doing wrong and regret it to the point they change their behavior? I know you can teach dogs tricks, or teach them the way you want them to behave, but if a dog attacks someone, does it know it's doing something wrong?

"No. Neither does a child without his mother telling him it's wrong."

Sure, but how does she know? Her mother told her and on back through the generations until we get to the first generation. And how did that generation know? Did they one day get the idea? Or did they contemplate the benefits of peace and decide to incorporate it into their genes? How about love, or any abstract idea: liberty, honesty, respect, reverence, etc? Did Adam and Eve know they were committing wrong when they bit into the apple?

"I don't know."

Yes, they did, because God had told them not to do it. So in doing it, they rebelled against God. Just as a boy is rebelling against his mother if he strikes another child after he's been told it's wrong. That rebelliousness Adam and Eve exhibited we inherited because they're the first generation.

"So what does that have to do with me, life, and meaning? All I said is the idea of Heaven or eternity doesn't strike me as desirable."

God warned Adam and Eve that if they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil they would die. Now, they didn't die physically, but they died spiritually. They were cut off from God, cast out of his favor. Once you know God, I mean experience him and come to him repeatedly for the joy his Spirit imparts in you, the thing you fear most is being out of God's favor. To be cut off from God is a fate that can only be described as hell.

But for someone who has never experienced God, hell will be worse because there is where you will fully comprehend what you don't have that you could have had and now never will have.

Yes, while you're on this earth you have the physical attributes of a living creature, as Adam and Eve did. But life itself comes through the holy Spirit. In order to move from death (the cycle of birth and death) to life, you must accept God's offer of salvation, which is given to all through Christ Jesus, who was the only acceptable sacrifice for our sins against God. He is the way, truth, and life.

As for everlasting life, eternity, or Heaven, would God give us a stone when he promised us bread?

 

 

 

 

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Temporal to Timeless BASENAME: every-man-s-visitation DATE: Wed, 05 Sep 2012 13:29:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: experience, god, lord, prayer ----- BODY:

I was agitated this morning when it came to worship time. I had to stop and pray. I allowed that God knew my thoughts without expressing them, but I did express them for myself. As I made my confession of what riled me and prayed that the future would not hold what I feared, I received God's comforting reminder. The reminder was to look outward to others and their spiritual condition. Whatever happens in the world is miniscule compared to God's greater plan and vision.

Early in my convincement, but before baptism in my heart, I had an experience that I can only describe as being transported from the temporal to the eternal. This experience came a day or two after an elderly Quaker man, Julian Baldwin, had said to me that eternity is now. There was more to his remarks but that is what I remember because the thought had never occurred to me. I contemplated its implications and the next day or a few days later, when I was out doing yard work, I was overcome with a strange sensation. I don't know how long the experience lasted, but during the time it did, I was priviledged to comprehend the smallness of all that is humanly identified as epic, grave, majestic, etc. All was as a speck, not even with the dim visibility of a distant star. I understood, too, that slights and animosity, quarrels and jealousy, all the back-stabbing and gossip human beings are wont to practice are so puny as to be embarrassments. All fades to nothingness, as grass after its season.

This experience left me tingling, as though my scalp were raised. I existed in this state of revelation and knowledge for a long, long time, though the precise experience of it gradually receded. I cannot will a recurrene any more than I can will the Holy Spirit. So I find myself sometimes slipping back into the world as I knew it before the experience, as I did this morning before worship. But my Lord never fails me. He rescues me, comforts me, leads me to green pastures. He rests my agitated mind and shows me more than my mind could ever imagine.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Kingdom of God BASENAME: the-kingdom-of-god DATE: Sun, 12 Aug 2012 10:16:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god, jesus christ, kingdom, tardus ----- BODY:

The Kingdom of God is like the inside of the Tardus from the old TV series Dr. Who, in which the Tardus, an antique English police box , appears not to have much capacity outwardly, but when you enter through the folding door, its interior is expansive beyond imagination.

God's Kingdom is not part of this physical world. It is without space and time. The Parable of the Mustard Seed illustrates this point. "What shall we say the Kingdom of God is like?" asked Jesus. . . "It is like this. A man takes a mustard seed, the smallest seed in the world, and plants it in the ground. After a while it grows up and becomes the biggest of all plants. It puts out such large branches that the birds come and make their nests in its shade." Mark 4:30-32 (Good News Bible  1976).

We may begin a relationship with God at any point in our life, but we must spend time with him in order for the relationship to grow and bear fruit. The Parable of the Growing Seed comes to mind.

"Jesus went on to say, "The Kingdom of God is like this. A man scatters seed in his field. He sleeps at night, is up and about during the day, and all the while the seeds are sprouting and growing. Yet he does not know how it happens. The soil itself makes the plants grow and bear fruit; first the tender stalk appears, then the head, and finally the head full of grain. When the grain is ripe, the man starts cutting it with his sickle, because harvest time has come." Mark 4:25-29.

Although, as I read my statement and what the parable suggests, the one seems to contradict the other. For the man seems not to tend to his field of grain and still it grows, yet from experience we know that is not true. A field left uncultivated will not produce. So a more likely reading is that the seeds's growth and maturation doesn't consume the man's thoughts and time. Just as one may come to God at first tentatively, not spending much time thinking about him, maybe going to church but doing little more, the seed has been planted. We do not know how it grows, but it does, for in time we become more earnest in learning about Christ in us.

Spending time with God is the only way we can know him. We can learn about him in the Scriptures, but to know him requires our waiting upon him in silent worship. The more we know God, the deeper is our love, gratitude, and awe. When we know God, we do not want to be apart from him. When we know God we know Jesus Christ is our inward teacher, and the Spirit is Truth. We know these three are one in the same.

The song In the Garden has a fitting refrain: "And he walks with me, and he talks we me, and he tells me I am his own, and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known." Of course the experience and joy is universal but unique to the individual who is blessed with the ears to hear and the eyes to see. May God bless you.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Doth this offend you? BASENAME: doth-this-offend-you DATE: Sun, 15 Jul 2012 09:57:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: blood, flesh, image, jesus ----- BODY:

The Gospel According to John, King James Bible, Chapter 6.

Jesus talks to the Jews who have come to listen to him of the necessity of eating his flesh and drinking his blood as the only way to gain everlasting life. Yet the image is revolting, though he is not speaking literally.

In the King James Bible I have, Jesus asks his disciples who complained about the thought and image being too hard and difficult to hear, "Doth this offend you?" And what of us who read it nowadays, whenever those nowadays are?

I already acknowledged I find the image revolting--revolting in the sense of provoking nausea. But the essence of his image eludes me. I know he means we must come to him. He also says the Father draws us to Jesus.
 
To eat his flesh and drink his blood he must be dead. Yes, through his death we have life if we come to (the cross) the place where his body is. It is hard to picture oneself coming to his body and eating his flesh and drinking his blood! His body would not be decaying, so we would be eating from a living being. So that we might live and feed others, figuratively. I reject that as it seems to be equating oneself with Jesus Christ.

I don't want my mind to run ahead, imagining meaning before the Spirit gives me meaning.

But the image Jesus gave to the Jews who came to listen in Capernaum is shocking to hear (read). It's the shocking part that puzzles me. My answer to Jesus's question is yes. The image offends me. Not its import, if I understand the import. So what am I to make of this whole passage?
 
Heavenly Father, give me the patience to wait upon the Holy Spirit to impart meaning.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Material and Spiritual BASENAME: the-material-and-spiritual DATE: Fri, 13 Jul 2012 11:45:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god, jesus, spirit ----- BODY:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1 KJB

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  John 1:3 KJB

The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to mankind.  John 1:3 GNB

The last few nights before falling asleep I thought about words and the Word, which gives life. My thinking led me to this assertion: God had to use words, thoughts, to create everything. Because God is a Spirit, he does not exist as a concrete entity.

The subject of my blog today is the difference between the written word and the Spirit behind those words. I write about this because it's my impression that the Protestant Churches and other Christian denominations use the Holy Bible as the means to access the Life and Light. I argue that the words of the Bible in and of themselves have no meaning, but it is the Spirit behind them that endows them with meaning. In order to access the meaning, one must be in the Spirit oneself, just as the writers were when they wrote the words.

Some people are more concrete in their thinking. These thinkers look at the Bible as the source of truth, understanding that the Bible was written by God though men. To them God is accessible only through the written word of the Bible. They scrutinize every word of the Bible to discern what God means, and, it seems to me, judge their behavior according to their discernment. This method creates self-imposed boundaries. Isaac Penington said it quiet well in the following excerpt from one of his letters:

"I was acquainted with the spring of life from my childhood which enlightened me in my tender years and pointed my heart toward the Lord and begetting true sense in me and faith and hope and love and humility and meekness. . . But I never durst trust the spring of my life but in reading the Scriptures gathered what knowledge I could therefrom and set this over the spring and springings of life in me and indeed judged that I ought to do so."

Penington wrote later that "It pleased the Lord, after many years, when my hope nearly failed, to visit me in a wonderful manner, breaking my heart in to pieces, giving me to feel his pure living power, and the raising of his holy Seed in my heart thereby; insomuch, that I cried out inwardly before him, 'This is He, this is He whom I have sought after and so much wanted!'"

Isn't that the experience people are looking for when they scrutinize every word of the Bible, as if it is the key that unlocks the door? The words never provide the key, but it is the Spirit behind the words that gives the opening. Then the words melt away from consideration, for the moment is the rising to life of the inward spirit that had, until that time, been suppressed by opaque words.

Jesus said to the Samaritan woman who came to Jacob's well: "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." John 4:23-24 KJB (In this particular passage, I do not believe the Good News Bible is as clear in meaning and significance as the King James Bible.)

Give yourself up to the Holy Spirit. Know that the Bible (Scriptures) and the Spirit are interwined insofar as the Bible is a record of the inspired words of God. It is the Spirit that inspires. It is the Spirit that lifts one beyond the words. It is the Spirit that calls us to gather to worship God in spirit and truth. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to keep you when you let go your grip on the Holy Bible.

 

 

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Have Mercy? BASENAME: have-mercy DATE: Thu, 28 Jun 2012 09:37:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god, merciful, punishment ----- BODY:

Jeremiah 40-43 Good News Bible

I read The Book of Jeremiah. I read the reports of what you (God) told him to say to his people, the Israelites. I read about the destruction of Jerusalem and the pain and death they would suffer because of their sins. And then Jerusalem falls.

Some Israelites remain after many of the them have been exiled to Babylonia. And among those remaining is an officier who kills the govenor of the terrritory ruled by Babylonia. The people flee to Eygpt, even though God told them not to go there. So I am waiting to read of the deaths of these people by starvation, war, disease, as God said would happen to them if they disobeyed him. I don't want to read that some will return to Judah as refugees, because God said he would destroy all of the Israelites for disobeying him. It's as if I'm cheering for their punishment and see the only benefit is to inflict the promised harsh punishment. No mercy in my soul. Yet God is merciful and does not--as far as I've read--exact his harsh punishment, but rather exercises mercy.

What is this saying to you? Has the Lord not shown mercy to you?

"Do not cave in. Show them you mean business." That is my mind's thinking as I read these chapters.

"If there's an injustice, give punishment to those who commit the injustice. Let them know they cannot disobey you with impugnity." That sentiment runs through my mind.

But wouldn't you want mercy if it were you who committed the injustice or sin?

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Single Purpose in Life BASENAME: inanimate-creatures DATE: Sun, 10 Jun 2012 14:38:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: jeremiah judea prophet purpose ----- BODY:

I'm so excited to write to you today. I often tell people I love the Good News Bible. The reason is that it's so accessible. Now, I can finally demonstate my claim by comparing several translations of particular verses in Jeremiah. But that's not my true excitement. What those verses say is the exciting part, which I will explain according to what was opened in me.

There is so much that is disturbing in the book of Jeremiah, a Jewish prophet who lived circa 609-598 B.C. During that time he prophesied Nebuchadnezzar would destroy Jerusalem and carry away its people into exile. This was to be done because God's people turned their backs on him, worshiped false gods, committed evil acts, such as placing idols in the Temple built for God's worship, and sacrificing their sons and daughters to the foreign god Molech. The imagery is horrific.

"I am going to bring them [King Nebuchadnezzer] to fight against Judah and its inhabitants and against all the neighboring nations. I am going to destroy this nation and its neighbors and leave them in ruins forever, terrible and shocking sight . . . I will silence their shouts of joy and gladness and the happy sounds of wedding feasts. They will have no oil for their lamps, and there will be no more grain. This whole land will be left in ruins and will be a shocking sight . . ." (Jeremiah 25:8-11 GNB)

"The Lord Almighty says that disaster is coming on one nation after another, and a great storm is gathering at the far ends of the earth. On that day the bodies of those whom the Lord has killed will lie scattered from one end of the earth to the other. No one will mourn for them, and they will not be taken away and buried. They will lie on the ground like piles of manure." (Jeremiah 25: 32-33 GNB)

Yet there is so much in Jeremiah that animates the soul. Read what God says to Jeremiah as the Babylonians built their siege mounts around Jerusalem to capture it.

"They have built altars to Baal in Hinnom Valley, to sacrifice their sons and daughters to the god Molech. I did not command them to do this, and it did not even enter my mind that they would do such a thing and make the people of Judah sin." (Jeremiah 32:35 GNB)

In my notebook I wrote,"This verse tells me something about God. He doesn't presume people will commit evil. He sees it and hates it." The following verses are what is so animating.

"I will give them a single purpose in life: to honor me for all time, for their own good and the good of their descendants. I will make an eternal covenant with them. I will never stop doing good things for them, and I will make them fear me with all their heart, so that they will never turn away from me. I will take pleasure in doing good things for them, and I will establish them permanently in this land." (Jeremiah 32: 39-40 GNB)

We do not have to wonder what our purpose in life is. God has told us. While these words might be addressed to Judah and Israel, God has said in many places in Jeremiah and throughout the Old Testament his intention to include all peoples. How great is it to know your purpose in life. My next post will expound on the above verses. But to finish for today, I want to provide the comparisons to those verses as I said I would.

"And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I  will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." (King James 32: 39-40, 1976)

"I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me." (New International Version 1978.)

I find the Good News Bible translation gives great joy.



       



 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Story and Wine BASENAME: the-story-and-wine DATE: Mon, 04 Jun 2012 13:31:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: faith, god, jeremiah, salvation, strife, trouble, war, wine ----- BODY:

Heavenly Father, you opened to me not to worry about myself, especially in times of great trouble and difficulty, because in faith I will trust you will take care of me; that whatever strife and trouble lies ahead, you will bring me home to you in the end; that my focus and attention is to be on others who will need comfort. Perhaps they do not know you, or maybe scorned you; but still they will look for and need comfort. Through my faith in you, I can give them that. I will offer them the story of salvation, or rather I should say, I will offer them the cup of wine that will quench their thirst for all time. The story and the wine.

What I read in Jeremiah seems like a warning for today, especially the prophecy of a great war to destroy all the nations of the earth. Especially the image of no one to mourn for all the dead. And though I would not put any of us at the stature of the ancient prophets, still it is eerie that so many voices are warning the nations of their abandonment of God; their sinning and their evil ways. I do fear the consequences of these things.

Jeremiah 25

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Questions and Answers BASENAME: disbelieving-in-god DATE: Thu, 17 May 2012 11:58:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: believing, god, jesus, salvation ----- BODY:

What do you mean you "actively disbelieved in God?"

What I mean is I worked at not believing in God.  I would experience these times of soaring joy, my heart would be bursting with it, and for no discernable reason. My default reaction to this joy was to thank God. But I would stop myself from doing that, reminding myself that I didn't believe in God. There were other experiences too that I would instinctively attribute to God but would not allow.

Why didn't you want others to believe in God?

It's not that I didn't want others to believe in God. I wanted them to believe in something other than God. That's frightening to me now because I was encouraging people to sin against God; to make something else their god.

Had you thought through the consequences of a large portion of the population not believing in God? What kind of a world did you imagine without God?

No. How can one contemplate the consequences without extensive research into past cultures that were Godless? The Old Testament gives an account of Jewish cultures that abandoned God. But I didn't read the Bible then and was proud of that fact. When I thought of a world without God I just saw people shopping, working, attending events, etc. on Sundays as they did any other day of the week. That's what I wanted: people living their Monday through Friday lives on the weekend. No special day set aside for worship.

What about holidays?

You can have holidays without them being connected to God. That's no problem. What was the problem for me, though, was the memory of Christmas and Easter growing up and all the religious significance that surrounded those holidays. How does one impart significance to these holidays without Jesus? You can't. There's no reason for the holidays without Jesus and what his life, death, and resurrection mean to mankind. Christmas and Easter will cease to be holidays in any form without them being the celebration of Jesus's birth and his great sacrifice for us.

Returning to your answer that you wanted people to believe in something other than God, do you know what you wanted them to believe in?

 Evolution? The goodness of natural man? Nature, Earth, the natural order of things? I don't know exactly. What did I believe in when I was disbelieving in God? I believed in family. Family life and ties were paramount to me. So maybe what I wanted people to believe in was a form of ancestory worship. Except I knew of some of my ancestors who deserved something other than worship.

 Is there anything you'd like to offer as a closing thought?

 We live in a society that is largely without God, so I see firsthand what the world is like without Him. It's an ugly, crass place. There is no morality, no moral code. Corruption is rampant. Sexual immorality is considered just an aspect of human experience. Murder is accepted and has become commonplace, though the murder I'm talking about isn't deemed murder, hence its commonness. Children have become entities to program rather than educate. Government has become a huge nursing sow so large she can do nothing but lie on her side to expose her tits to the sucklings. Government has also become a hovering menace in its masculine form. So, what I'd like people to think about is taking the path back to God through Jesus Christ, who offers us the only hope of salvation from a sinful world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: In God's Face BASENAME: title-7 DATE: Mon, 07 May 2012 08:05:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god, love, power, son ----- BODY:

This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven. 1st John 4.10 (The Good News Bible)

See, nothing originates with us. We can't love God without Him first loving us, or our first recognizing his love.

In the first days of my surrender to God--when I acknowledged to Him, myself, and others that I had not been a true seeker--I remember going out walking and being overcome with the Holy Spirit. My sensibilities were overwhelmed with the realization that I could not hide from God or hide anything from him. It was like being utterly exposed to the awful power of nature in its fury. I knew for the first time in my life there was no escape from God's awful power. But in that same instant I knew God's great love. I knew that He had, at any time in my life the power to utterly, irrevocably destroy me, yet He did not. Instead, He sent His Son Jesus to rescue me from the grave. Can I know any greater love than this: the rescue of my wretched soul?

I had blithely walked along the precipice of the universe not knowing my predicament, or rather not believing it. In fact I actively disbelieved in God and wanted everyone else to adhere to my disbelief. I was not alone, or the first to have such a sentiment, nor am I the last. I fear for all the souls walking along the precipice as did I. Pray they hear God calling to them, for He does every moment of every day.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A strange vision BASENAME: a-strange-vision DATE: Wed, 02 May 2012 11:45:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: vision ----- BODY:

Praise and thanks be to God, for He gives me everything.

In my mind's eye came an image while waiting upon the Lord this morning. It was of a large container in the form of a coffee mug. Its rim was flared, its bowl deep. In the coffee mug container were people. In fact, it was packed solid with people standing on one another, clambering to reach the rim and slip over the edge.

What was outside the coffee mug container? A vast space filled with stars? A developed suburban area with an old type water tower?

I wish I had the skills to render this image on paper.

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Not Faith But God BASENAME: not-faith-but-god DATE: Mon, 16 Apr 2012 11:49:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: believing, christ, creator, disciples, faith, god, gospel, jesus, lord, matthew, moses, pharaoh, uncreated creator, words, worship ----- BODY:

Uncreated Creator. That's how Greg Koukl from Stand To Reason described Jesus to a caller yesterday on his Sunday radio show. I'd heard him say this before but yesterday the description resonated with me as never before. Why?

Earlier that morning during preparation for Meeting for Worship, I was reading from Chapter 14 in The Gospel According to Matthew. Start with verse 22, where Jesus sends the disciples across the lake ahead of him while he dismisses the crowd. Alone, Jesus then went up a hill to sit and pray. By this time the boat was far out in the lake (probably looked like a speck) being tossed by waves. Some time between three and six o'clock in the morning, Jesus came to the disciples [by] walking on the water. When they saw him walking on the water they were terrified, thinking he was a ghost. They screamed with fear.

Jesus spoke to them, telling them not to fear, for what they thought was an apparition was him. "It is I. Don't be afraid," he assured them.

Peter tested him. "If it's you, Lord, command me to come to you."

"Come," Jesus said. So Peter started out walking across the water toward Jesus. But Peter noticed the high wind and became afraid and started to sink down. "Save me, Lord," he shouted. At once Jesus grabbed Peter and saved him. "What little faith you have! Why did you doubt?" Jesus admonished. My thinking on those words from Jesus always focused on faith in being rescued.

Yesterday afternoon as I listened to Greg talking to the caller about the Uncreated Creator, that scene in the boat came back to me. Suddenly, I thought, it isn't about little faith in being rescued. It's little faith in believing Jesus is God!

In the book by Lee Strobel entitled The Case For Christ in which he recounts his investigation to find the facts about Jesus, one of the experts Lee consults says that in the Greek text, Jesus says to the disciples: It is I Am rather than it is I. I AM is the name God told Moses when he asked who should he tell the Pharaoh sent him. It is this piece of information that brought everything together for me.

I thought the revelation so startling, I wanted to share it with you.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Time of Eternity BASENAME: title-6 DATE: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 13:55:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Prayer CATEGORY: Ministry TAGS: christ, eternity, god, joy ----- BODY:

My Lord has blessed me this morning. The previous page has been wiped clean. Praise to God and Christ Jesus, who is the son and author of everything. He brings us peace, joy, and wisdom.

Eternity has no space and time, which is why Christ is with us now to be our teacher.  And is why when God gives us men and women of good character, we can emulate them whether they live among us or lived before us. It is joy to please God.

Wait upon the Lord.

Wait, wait, wait to hear His voice, to know His presence.

Wait. Wait.

Do not let the oneness of your Meeting distract you.

Do not let the oneness of your Meeting sink your spirit.

Let His voice console you, lift you, provide for you.

He does not forget you.

He does not abandon you.

He loves you and will provide you the way.

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Easter Worship BASENAME: easter-worship DATE: Sun, 08 Apr 2012 14:48:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: bible, death, disciples, easter, family, god, good, good news, gospel, jesus, life, love, man, resurrection, sleep, spirit, teacher, the spirit, witness, worship ----- BODY:

Good News Bible, the Gospel according to John, chapters 19-21, dealing with Jesus' death, resurrection, and appearance among his disciples. I have read these chapters before and as often happens, I saw something I had not recognized before in the recounting of the disciples out in the boat fishing.

All night the men fished but had no luck. Toward morning a figure standing on shore close to the water called out to them, asking if they'd caught any fish. They said no. The disciples did not realize the man on shore was Jesus. He told them to put their net in the water from the right side of the boat, which they did. They caught so many fish they could not haul the net in.

The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter the man was Jesus. When Peter heard this he jumped into the water and headed for shore.

What affected me in this vignette was the ordinariness of the disciples' lives after the death, resurrection, and reappearance of Jesus. They were witnesses to this extraordinary event, and, to my contemporary mind, it should have visibly altered their lives. Perhaps it is only the Hollywood and television influences that make me imagine that effect. If you consider your own life when someone you dearly love, you greatly admire, someone you yearn to be with for extended periods, when that someone dies, you still eat, sleep, care for your family and do the mundane chores, though it is with a heavy heart you do them. Perhaps you stop frequently and weep or  allow yourself to feel the pain of loss.

So instead of portraying the men as devoting their lives to sequestered worship, as is my impression of Catholic monks, they were shown doing their usual life's work. Yet in their hearts and minds they kept to their Teacher, ruminating and reliving the wonderous days and weeks they had experienced with him. Why else would Peter jump from the boat to wade to shore when he learned it was Jesus who called to them if he had not been thinking about Jesus?

What of the days after Jesus ascended to heaven? Did the disciples immediately forgo their usual lives to preach the Good News? Or was it when opportunities came in to their daily lives that they told people of Jesus, his teachings, the purpose of his death and resurrection, and their witness to it? As they used these opportunities the news spread, so more and more opportunities came, until their daily lives were given over to spreading the Good News?

I don't know. I can't even say for certain the Spirit gave this to me. It's what poured out of my pen this morning. Even so, this method can be a model for us. We can be alert to opportunities and use them to tell people of Jesus and the Good News.

Another late thought comes to mind about depicting the ordinariness of the disciples lives after Jesus's resurrection. We don't have to live sequestered lives in worship of God to show our love and devotion or to please Him. All we must do is allow Him to feed us our daily bread, our sustaining food. He will teach us how to be. And we will please Him.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Notes From Galatians BASENAME: notes-from-galatians DATE: Tue, 27 Mar 2012 20:11:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ, christian, christians, galatians, gentiles, god, good, good news, jesus, jesus christ, paul, soul, spirit, the spirit, words, worship ----- BODY:

From March 23, 2012 worship.

Reading Galatians this week, having finished II Corinthians earlier. The picture of Paul from his writing in the last chapters is not complimentary. In fact, Paul is off-putting to me. And in Galatians I perceive a rivalry between him and another (or other) Christian(s) that reveals an immature streak him. Yet as I write these words the Spirit rebukes me for my assessment of Paul, as if I observe as a superior or from a superior postion. So I am admonished and humbled. Paul was called by God and given authority by Jesus Christ to preach the Good News to the Gentiles. Who am I to speak? I have not preached the Good News to anyone. And it is the Good News that quickens the soul.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Numbers II BASENAME: numbers-ii DATE: Wed, 21 Mar 2012 15:48:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god, israelites, jesus, moses ----- BODY:

In Numbers the Isrealites complain to Moses about the conditions and hardships they endure wandering in the desert. They vocally wonder why Moses led them out of Eygpt, where they at least had food to eat. Did he lead them out of Eygpt to die in the desert? This lack of faith in God to keep his promise angers him. He tells Moses to tell the complainers that they will never see the promised land.

The Lord gave this insight to me regarding hardships and unexpected changes we may face. We, like the ancient Israelites, cannot see or imagine the end to some trouble, hardship, or illness. We lose faith (if we're believers) or become impatient and complain to God through an intermediary, such as Moses. Maybe we complain to God directly. Since the advent of Jesus, his death and resurrection, he is our intermediary. He can comfort us because he knows the Father and his ways.

The point here isn't about Jesus, though. It's about faith in God and knowing that he does not abandon us; that he will lead us to the still, fresh water; that he will lead us to the promised place. So even though we cannot look out and see the promised land, we must trust and know in our hearts that God will take us there. We must maintain our faith and composure when we can't see or imagine the end to our trouble, our pain, our suffering.

This faith does not happen overnight. We must cultivate it as a flower. Faith grows with little trials and troubles we face in our daily lives. It requires a commitment from us to have worship time with God every day. The Religious Society Cafe is an open place for you to do just that. Please join me in spirit for fifteen minutes every morning at 8:45 to sit quietly and wait upon the Lord for His word. Or you can read in the Bible a page or two and then sit quietly, or vice versa. Whatever way you choose, you are sure to be served glad tidings in word, song, poem, and prayer.

God Bless

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Numbers- the book BASENAME: numbers-the-book DATE: Sun, 26 Feb 2012 14:41:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god, israelites ----- BODY:

February 26, 2012

I continte reading the book Numbers in the Good News Bible. This morning I started with Chapter 15. It is titled Laws about Sacrifice. A couple of  things jumped out at me in this chapter.

One is that the Laws God gave to Moses for the Israelites to follow were also for foreigners among them to follow, whether the foreigners were visitors or permanent residents.

The second thing is the case of unintentional sinners and deliberate sinners. The unintentional sinners were to perform a sin offering to God. For the intentional sinner there was death. The last scene then demostrates the fate of an intentional sinner.

I forgot to mention that the odor of the food offerings is pleasing to God. It made me think of our religious holidays being ordered around food. When we gather at the table as family and friends and thank God for our blessings, is it like the old food offerings? Is this a way in which we commune with God? We must smile, for if that is the case, how wonderful to have Him visit us upon these occasions.

The last section of Chapter 15 describes the tassels God has commanded the Israelites to attach to their clothing. The purpose of the tassles is to tell everyone and remind the Israelites that they belong to God. He owns them (my words) and in exchange for his care and protection of them, they are to do as he wants.

On one hand it is an appealing relationship--to know you belong to God. On the other hand it is difficult not to reduce that relationshhip to a human level. On that level it is appealing yet problematic. God is not man, so it is important not to let the human level into the relationship.

Perhaps that is what occurs in the next chapter: the relationship between God and his people is denigraded to the human level by Korah and the other rebels.

Chapter 16 is about God and his response to the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram along with a couple others plus 250 followers.

I forgot to note something I learned from a previous chapter in Numbers. The passage dealt with God communicating with the Israelites. He said he communicated with prophets through dreams and visions, but he communicated directly with Moses--not through riddles. So Moses has the stature of Jesus? Numbers 12:4-8 Good News Bible.

The rebels approach Moses questioning his authority over them, when God is with the Israelites. How is it they should be under the thumb of Moses? Read Chapter 16, Numbers.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Awash in God's Love BASENAME: awash-in-god-s-love DATE: Fri, 03 Feb 2012 06:45:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Song CATEGORY: Ministry TAGS: ----- BODY:

The great symbol of Christianity is love, God's love for his people. Who are his people? The New Testament makes it clear: those who believe in Jesus Christ. What does that belief entail? Jesus Christ is the son of God, the sacrificial lamb who died for our sins, and was raised from the dead.

Yesterday, as I sat quietly to wait upon the Lord, I was suddenly awash in his great love. Some fleeting scenario playing in my mind led to the moment. And God's love was as palpable as the wrenching pain in my back and leg.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Across Space and Time BASENAME: across-space-and-time DATE: Fri, 27 Jan 2012 12:18:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ, god, jesus, magic, miracles, paul, spirit ----- BODY:

Only God can reach across space and time to talk to us, because in God there is no space and time. It is hard to believe in miracles because they go against our understanding and experience of the natural world. But miracles attest God’s existence.

We don’t believe in magic because we understand it is trickery. But where did the notion of magic come from? Reading about miracles seems not to persuade us anymore than an eye witness account of a miraculous event persuades most listeners to believe divine intervention. We maintain a skepticism that aligns with our knowledge and experience of the natural world. But again, where did the notions of miracle and magic originate if not from the experience of an event outside our understanding of the natural world?

God talking to us through words written millennia ago is a miracle any one of us can experience. Here’s my witness to you of such a miracle this morning while reading Acts 26. (All biblical references use the Good News Bible). In Acts 26: 6 Paul standing before King Agrippa says “And now I stand here to be tried because of the hope I have in the promise that God made to our ancestors--the very thing that the twelve tribes of our people hope to receive, as they worship God day and night. And it is because of this hope, Your Majesty, that I am being accused by the Jews! Why do you who are here find it impossible to believe that God raises the dead?” (emphasis mine) Paul is astonished by the blindness of the Jews, who cannot see that God has plainly fulfilled his promise in Jesus Christ.

Paul goes on to witness to King Agrippa his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. When Festus shouted that Paul was mad, Paul turned to the King. “I am not mad, Your Excellency! I am speaking the sober truth. King Agrippa! I can speak to you with all boldness, because you know about these things. I am sure that you have taken notice of every one of them, for this thing has not happened hidden away in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do.” Acts 26: 25-27

"Agrippa said to Paul, ‘In this short time do you think you will make me a Christian?’” In the next passage God speaks to us through Paul across time and space. It’s almost as if Paul turns away from Agrippa to address us in the audience watching this play. “Whether a short time or a long time . . . my prayer to God is that you and all the rest of you who are listening to me today might become what I am--except, of course, for the chains.” Acts 26: 29. (Emphasis mine)

It is only our minds operating in linear fashion that relegate Paul’s prayer relevant only to ancient history. We, having a plethora of miracles, prophecies, and witnesses in the Bible, still dismiss them (and some God himself) as impossible because they don’t fit our rendering of reality.

I have written before that words have no life. It is the Spirit behind the words that has life. If we experience the Spirit, a contrary voice shouts in our heads, “You are mad . . . Your great learning is driving you mad,” (Acts 26:24) even though, in some cases, we may believe in and worship God. We can’t see the manna, let alone eat it, for the contrary voices in our heads and culture discourage it. Hello, twelve tribes of Israel as in Acts 26:6-7.

Jesus said to Paul when he chose him to be his servant: “You are to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to the light and from the power of Satan to God . . .”

Accept the miracle of God speaking to us across space and time, for He is not bound by these natural-world barriers. Turn from skepticism, the power of Satan, to life, the power of God. Open your heart to God in answer to Paul’s prayer.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Unbecoming a Christian BASENAME: unbecoming-a-christian DATE: Sun, 15 Jan 2012 10:54:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christian, courage, injustice, lord, resentment, slight ----- BODY:

An opening from several days ago: the Lord let me see that harboring resentment is unbecoming a Christian. It became as clear to me as water from a spring that I harbored resentment, which I was not identifying as such. That's what was keeping it alive. I deceived myself into believing the resentment was a product of injustice done to me. I had to acknowledge I was reluctant to abandon it. The Lord let me see, too, that harboring resentment is selfish. But if an injustice is indeed done, doesn't one have reason for redress? Yes, but do we believe we can accomplish that ourselves?

When I speak of injustices done, I'm not referring to evil committed by a person or persons against one or others. I refer to slights that we receive or perceive. If the slight is great, will not Christ make the judgment against the perpetrator? If it is a minor slight, the time to protest it or make the other party aware of our perception is when it occurs. Such daring requires courage. Harboring resentment is a hard-to-break habit. It's worse when we pass it on to our children.

With prayer and diligence we can break the habit. I think it takes the Lord to make us aware of our tendency to harbor resentment. That's why we can trust he'll be instrumental in our defeating it. I recall a line from one of my poems, published in a recent post, actually. It reads: When I go without being led/my path is a dead end/But I am not sealed off/and unable to return/My Lord awaits me/calls me to him. He is our shepherd and will not lose one sheep. THERE is comfort and joy.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Thoughts from reading 1st Cornithians BASENAME: thoughts-from-reading-1st-cornithians DATE: Sat, 31 Dec 2011 19:11:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: 1st corinthians, bible, paul ----- BODY:

December 11, 2011 I moved my worship spot from the living room to my basement office, where, for some reason, I felt less tired and more mentally alert. Read Chapters 8,9,10 1st Corinthians this morning, noting on my place-keeper verse 13 in Chapter 10 in which Paul talks about being tested, but never tested beyond what we are able to resist. Paul says, "remain firm." He goes on to say God gives us the strength to endure in our trials and tests. (Do we sometimes wonder that won't be the case?) I don't always understand the contradictions I encounter in the Bible, or the contradictions others point out to me. To puzzle over them leads me no where. I have come to understand that just leaving them alone and waiting upon the Lord to reveal the truth and understanding of them to me is ultimately the most satisfying. Does your spirit ever soar, your heart swell to bursting? Has the Lord ever reveled a truth or meaning to you, especially of something you've puzzled about? What has been your response to these times? Have you ever composed a song, poem, a prayer, or ministry in response to those spiritual states? The Religious Society Cafe is the place for you. May God bless you all of 2012.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Spirit Ordered Life BASENAME: a-spirit-ordered-life DATE: Sun, 11 Dec 2011 10:26:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ, holy, spirit ----- BODY:

December 8, 2011

Coming closer to understanding the Holy Spirit directing my life rather than simply conceiving myself as living in the Spirit. The other day I prayed for the integration of the joyous experience of God's presence and my daily life. Such a desire is difficult to articulate accurately. In other words, I don't want my daily life to be the conscious choice between an external program of how to be righteous and the secular influence that garners worldly acceptance. I was thinking of being holy without trying to be holy- if that makes sense. Not being holy for appearance' sake, but because Christ made me holy. It's an inward reality versus outward display. Many feel they fall short of that outward display. It is the Spirit acting through me rather than me acting in the Spirit. That would mean giving myself over to Christ. That would mean me not directing my life in the Spirit, but the Spirit ordering my life to accomplish or do God's will. These states of being are quite different.


----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: The Messenger of God BASENAME: the-messenger-of-god DATE: Sun, 04 Dec 2011 12:01:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: god, spirit, words ----- BODY:

I am not God’s messenger. None of us is. Words are his messengers, but they have no message in and of themselves. The message is from the Holy Spirit. So words don’t always carry a message. The same words can be one dimensional, depending on their context.

To be in the Spirit, or Holy Spirit, is to be open to the message the words carry. It quickens the soul. The heart becomes joyful and bursting with eagerness to convey the message with the same gloriousness with which it was received. Such conveyance can fall flat if repeated simply as it was given without the listeners having been prepped in some way to make the road smooth and the mountains flat. Both George Fox and Isaac Penington admonish us to be in the Spirit when we read the Scriptures.

“And I saw that none could read John’s words aright and with a true understanding of them, but in and with the same divine Spirit by which John spoke them, and by his burning, shining light, which is sent from God.” (Early Prophetic Openings of George Fox, P. 30).

“If thou wilt have life, thou must come to that which gives life. If thou wilt come into the ministration of the New Testament, thou must come into the spirit and power; and know the letter of the Scriptures in the Spirit and power which wrote them, if ever thou know them aright.” (Isaac Penington, 1671; Quaker Spirituality, P 145).

Of course, we cannot force ourselves to be in the Spirit. We must wait patiently, which is the basis of the unprogrammed Quaker Meeting gathered in silence. We must come to worship in spirit, however. No late, hurried arrival; no going through routine motions. We must come to that in us which gives life and sit still until we are called by the Holy Spirit to speak.

God Bless You and Keep You

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Faith BASENAME: faith DATE: Sun, 20 Nov 2011 20:14:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Poem CATEGORY: TAGS: faith ----- BODY:
Last week I learned about faith. I can't put into words what was opened to me. It's a sense of knowing. It's like learning you can float on your back in water. The first time you are scared and tense. The minute your body sinks into the water you panic. Eventually, you learn you won't sink and drown. You learn you'll be all right. I've written it before: when I try to imagine the future, I step outside of God's house. Outside his house I'm miserable. But he always brings me back. I have a poem I wrote during a worship service some years back that makes me smile when I read it.

 

Heavenly Father, I have been away for so long, it seems

my body is wrung to its core.

I am exhausted in spirit,

too weak even to feel your presence.

I cry to you that I am removed.

I cry to you that I will sit down and be patient tomorrow,

and then it's Sunday,

and still my mind finds no peace.

I long for my Lord, for his comfort and strength.

I long for his presence,

knowing he is my guide,

knowing with joy that he has set the path for me and I follow.

What veils me? What curtain draws about me to separate me from my Lord?

Is my heart stone?

When I speak before listening my words are like sharp stones.

When I speak without hearing, my words are dust from my mouth.

When I go without being led, my path is a dead end.

But, I am not sealed off and unable to return.

My Lord awaits me, calls me to Him.

It's the last three lines that most excite me--even if I did write them. They portray the reason I say, I love the Lord. How can you not love this God, this Spirit, this man, Christ, who calls you to Him? It's so wonderful when you answer and go to Him.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: What Veils Me? BASENAME: what-veils-me DATE: Sun, 13 Nov 2011 20:22:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Prayer CATEGORY: TAGS: god, good news, skins, spirit ----- BODY: I can't express the Spirit if I'm not in the Spirit, Lord. What veils me? For days now I am apart from you. I grow anxious. You remind me that when I try to imagine the future, I step outside of God's house. This is true, as well, when I review my past. You are far away, Lord, and I hunger for your presence. What veils me? What roadblock have I erected? What path have I not cleared? How can I tell others about the Good News? How can I say what is the Good News? Christ IS come to teach his people himself. ----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Putting on makeup BASENAME: putting-on-makeup DATE: Sun, 23 Oct 2011 09:39:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: death, god, jesus, law, resurrection ----- BODY:

Putting on makeup this morning. Listening to radio. Christian station. Suddenly, I find myself thinking about Jesus as God, or God coming into this world as the man, Jesus. And then I think about the crucifixion and death of Jesus and his resurrection from the grave and death. This resurrection was God's greatest demonstration of his power and sovereignty.

We think of death as final. If we kill something, we are rid of it, period! God demonstrated that death has no power in his creation through the resurrection of Jesus.

Then the thought was given me that all will be resurrected on the day of Judgment. All will have eternal life when Jesus comes to claim his own. But those not belonging to Jesus will exist eternally in Hell. Urgent that we proselytize (to convert from one belief or faith to another).

Come under the Law in order to die to the Law and be reborn in the Spirit. Jesus Christ's death and resurrection makes possible our death to the Law and rebirth in the Spirit.

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Prayer and Patience BASENAME: prayer-and-patience DATE: Thu, 06 Oct 2011 14:21:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: patience, prayer ----- BODY:

It will take the power of the Lord to keep me on the path of prayer and patience in resolving the situation with a real estate agent. She owes me a referral fee for a listing I referred to her, which she subsequently sold without ever informing me she had listed the property, even though I had inquired about it. She owes me money; it's been acknowledged by others; she knows she owes me the fee.

My first inclination is to employ whatever coersive instrument is available to me to obtain my money. However, the Lord opened to me that praying for Lori's heart to be softened is the instrument of choice and then trusting in God to resolve the matter. The Lord is teaching me that the better path is for the denier to come to the truth in her heart. Resentment will not follow as it would with coercion.

Perhaps the Lord has a different ending from that which is important to me, and I am an instrument to accomplish that ending. I don't know; I don't want to speculate. What I know is that I am being guided to handle this matter with prayer and patience, a notion that is new to me.

I don't know that I haven't put someone else in a similar situation and they prayed for me. Isn't the love and teaching of Christ to be spread among all people? Isn't this one way of doing that: to let the power of Christ work in another's heart to bring him/her to truth and salvation? Is this not a reason to praise God and thank our Lord Jesus Christ? Yes, praise and thanks to God and Jesus Christ, my Lord and teacher, for his teachings.

Let us pray.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Openings from the Spirit on the Book of Job BASENAME: openings-from-the-spirit-on-the-book-of-job DATE: Sun, 18 Sep 2011 11:03:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ, god, job, life, light, satan ----- BODY:

The Book of Job begins with a conversation between God and Satan about Job. God says no man is as faithful and righteous as Job. Satan asks whether Job would be so righteous if he weren't prosperous? God gives Satan permission to test Job by delivering disaster upon him.

When the calamity has struck, and Job loses everything, three friends come to comfort him. Believing that the disasters Job has suffered are punishment for sin, they advise him to own up to his sins, and then God will restore him. Job keeps telling them they are wrong about him;  that he hasn't sinned, or if he has he'd like God to tell him the nature of it. Job insists he is innocent and his friends don't hear his protests because they are so sure his suffering is God's punishment.

Not until I read the following passage, especially the words in bold type were my ears opened to hear Job.

To his friends he says, "Can't you see it is God who has done this? He has set a trap to catch me. I protest his violence, but no one is listening; no one hears my cry for justice. God has blocked the way, and I can't get through; he has hidden my path in darkness. He has taken away all my wealth and destroyed my reputation. He batters me from every side. He uproots my hope and leaves me to wither and die. God is angry and rages against me; he treats me like his worst enemy. He sends his army to attack me; they dig trenches and lay siege to my tent." Job 19:6-12 (All Biblical citings are from the Good News Bible)

The Lord opened to me that Job was saying he felt utterly abandoned. Where could he turn for solace if he were God's enemy? Where was his light if he were God's enemy? Where was his hope, if he were God's enemy? He felt he was in total darkness with no hope of ever seeing the light again. This devastating abandonment is what he could not get his friends to understand.

I believe I said in a previous post that the fear of God mentioned in the Bible as the beginning of wisdom to me is the fear of being out of the Light. The fear of doing something that puts one out of God's favor. I can't think of any state worse than being out of God's Light. It is too frightening to even contemplate.

We're all born into this world with our measure of Light, and to squander it on temporal or worldly things is . . . blasphemy. But Job did not blasphemy. That is what he couldn't get his friends to hear.

"How strong God is! He despises no one..." Elihu, a bystander to the dialogue between Job and his friends, responds to Job's assertion that God has made him an enemy. (Job 36:5)

My interpretation is that God can and does despise sinful behavior, but he does not despise the individual sinner. He can despise the sinful nature of an entire culture or society, but not the people themselves. He has punished nations for their sins, but the individuals who were righteous he did not punish. Job's assertion that he is God's enemy is wrong.

Job wants to see God, to challenge him as to the rightness of his losses and woes. Because he has lived a righteous life, he wants to know why he is beset with troubles as if he were being punished. If indeed the troubles are punishment, Job wants to know from God what sin he committed. He wants to be justified.

Yet, Elihu asserts that God is not influenced by righteousness. "Look at the Sky! See how high the clouds are! If you sin, that does no harm to God. If you do wrong many times, does that affect him? Do you help God by being so righteous? There is nothing God needs from you. It is your fellow-man who suffers from your sins, and the good you do helps him." (Job 35:5-8)

God's greatness is beyond our imagination. We can only experience it. God says as much to Job when He answers him.

"Who are you to question my wisdom with your ignorant, empty words?" (Job 38:2)

"Were you there when I made the world? If you know so much, tell me about it." (Job 38:4)

From there God continues to impress upon Job all that he does not and cannot know about God and his creation, even to the basest functions of beasts. Overwhelemed by even this short reel of images, what can Job, or any of us, say? He sheepishly acknowledges his foolishness and then stands mute in the face of God's greatness. God doesn't let him off so easily, though.

"Stand up now like a man, and answer my questions. Are you trying to prove that I am unjust- to put me in the wrong and yourself in the right?" (Job 40:7)

Whoa! Silly man. Yet, even with Job's daring, does God despise him? No. Job cannot understand everything God does, nor does he need to. He simply must know in his heart, having experienced God's greatness, that He is just.

Job responds to God, acknowledges that in the past he knew only what others had told him, but now, having seen him with his own eyes, he is ashamed of all he had said and repents.

In the past I only knew about God and the Bible from what others had told me. Silly me went on to talk to others as if I had some genuine, inner knowledge. Not until I opened my heart to God did I experience His greatness, and like Job, could only acknowledge my ignorance and repent. That is why I tell you the worst fate is to be outside of God's Light. For once you are in the Light of Christ, there can be no other place you to want to be. It is remarkable how worthless this world becomes when you are in the Light and Life of Christ.

God bless you and keep you.




----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: At The Religious Society Cafe BASENAME: at-the-religious-society-cafe DATE: Sun, 14 Aug 2011 08:41:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ, church, god jesus, joy, love, quakers ----- BODY:

Welcome Friends to The Religious Society Cafe, where we praise God and the spirit of Joy serves glad tidings in word, song, poem, and prayer. We're beginning a journey this morning through Ephesians in the New Testament. The Bible I use is The Good News Bible. I like it because it has an Introduction that tells something of what the book is about. Ephesians is "concerned first of all with 'God's plan ... to bring all creation together . . . with Christ as head.'"

When I first went to Quaker Meeting, I was told that Christ was the head of the church. I don't believe that holds true anymore. Quakers have become worldly, agnostic really.George Fox, (founder of the Friends (Quakers), wrote of professors of religion in his time: "But while people's minds do run in the earthly, after the creatures and changeable things, and changeable ways and religions, and changeable, uncertain teachers, their minds are in bondage. And they are brittle and changeable, and tossed up and down with windy doctrines and thoughts, and notions . . ."(The Journal of George Fox, edited by John L. Nickalls, 1985)

That passage describes the modern Quaker Meeting. It is sad they have become so far removed from George Fox's preachings they don't recognize themselves in his admonishments. Yet they maintain the self-righteous attitude that they are "doing God's work" by supporting and financing worldly whims, such as environmentalism. Yet the Quakers can't bear to hear the words Jesus Christ and God spoken in their meetings.

Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians: "Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him." Eph 1:5

Paul goes on to say in verses 22-23: "God put all things under Christ's feet and gave him to the church as supreme Lord over all things. The church is Christ's body, the completion of him who himself completes all things everywhere."

What joy it is then to be a member of Christ's church! It isn't a place or building; it is the chosen people who come together in spirit to wait upon the Lord (Jesus, the head of this body) to "make them wise and reveal God to" them, so that they "will know him." My imput is this: once you experience God, know him through Christ, you will love him and want that experience always. And such an experience fills you with such joy, you cannot contain it within your mind and heart. You must sing or shout out your joy. You must share it with others, almost urgently, wanting to grab them by the shoulders and say, Listen, hear this, know this, understand this!

This joy, this urgency to share the source of it with others, is why I opened TheReligiousSoceityCafe.com. The purpose of this website is to communicate in word, song, poem, and prayer the personal joy experienced when in the Spirit, when in the presence of God, when in the care and leading of our Lord Jesus Christ!

People have to know that in Christ's church there is JOY. Hallelujah!

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: More on Jesus BASENAME: more-on-jesus DATE: Sun, 07 Aug 2011 13:29:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: bible, comfort, jesus, joy ----- BODY:

It's been a few weeks since I've written anything, but I'm back today to write something that was given to me during the time I was away from the blog.

 In one of my posts I said that I didn't understand Jesus all the time, and a lot of what is recorded that he said I couldn't paraphrase. The word to describe my sense of Jesus the person in the New Testament is enigma.

Sometimes I try to imagine what it would have been like to have known Jesus personally. Would I have found extreme pleasure in his presence, the way some people make you feel happy to be around them? There are some teachers who have that effect on students. There are a few polititians who make you feel that way, too. Ronald Reagan was one. I know of no other.

Another question I have is what did Jesus say and teach to the Jews as he carried out his mission? There are some things in the Bible, such as the Sermon on the Mount. He called for people to repent their sins, too. It's reported that people said they'd never heard anyone say the things he preached and taught. Maybe the idea of repenting was new to people, although God had told the Israelites many times to turn back to Him and quit doing the sinful things they were doing. Repent means to have such remorse for your behavior that you change it.

I wonder, too, did Jesus tell the disciples about himself as a boy growing up--the same as we reveal ourselves over time through rememberances of our childhood that we relate to those who have an interest?

What Jesus did do was perform miracles. When people learned of and witnessed his miracles they came to him to be healed or cured. Maybe some came to him to be cured of a sinful inner life. Maybe some came to hear something from him that would make them want to repent and live differently. Matthew, the tax collector, had such an experience. Maybe some came to hear what he had to say so they could measure themselves against it and walk away feeling justified. There were towns where Jesus could not work miracles because the people were unimpressed, as if they'd been there, seen that.

The enigma Jesus is to me is natural when you consider he is the son of God. How can one expect to know the son of God as one would a friend or loved one? Surely, some mystery will accompany his presence, and I feel comfortable with that. For the Jesus I know as my inward teacher I love and want to be with. For with him there is comfort and joy! Just like the song says.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Fear and the agent of death BASENAME: fear-and-the-agent-of-death DATE: Sun, 26 Jun 2011 20:19:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: death, god, jesus, life ----- BODY:

My mind searches like a mega probe for a way to rid itself of fear. But my Lord and teacher says not to seek escape, for there is none. Face the fear, and neutralize it. Its power comes from your efforts to be rid of it in one way or another, whether that is running from it, accommodating it, or slaying it.

When it comes to the agent of death, most of us prefer it to be old age. For a good many of us old age is the cause of death. For the rest of us, we do not know what that agent of death will be, even when we take our own life.

Why write about death during worship Sunday morning? Because preparation for death at any time is of the greatest importance. And what is that preparation? It's to become a child of God through Jesus Christ, often referred to as "being saved."

But what is being saved? For most Christians it means a public ceremony in which one is baptized with water. In the TRUE (and that word true is crucial) Quaker Church becoming a child of God involves a series of events the individual expereinces internally.

The individual, responding to God's call, turns to God. That act brings him under God's Law, which he must go through, acknowledging to himself and God that he violated that Law and is in a state of separation from God--a state of sin.

In that state I saw that none of us was exempt from God's Law, whether we acknowledged it or not. I saw that under God's Law, all were equal because all had sinned--from the highest to the lowest. In that state I experienced God's awesome power when the Spirit was upon me. I knew first hand that I could not hide from God. That instant of recognition of God's awful power allowed me to know God's awesome love, for He had not destroyed me.

Coming "under the Law," as George Fox put it, allows for the next event, which is dying to the Law. In other words, participating vicariously in Jesus's death and resurrection. For Jesus didn't abolish the Law. He fulfilled it, and in doing so, He was God's perfect lamb of sacrifice. His sacrifice allows us to die to the Law, which cannot  justify us. We are then reborn in the Spirit, so we are no longer living our lives under the "Law of sin and death" but living in the Spirit. We have passed from death to life (John 5:24 GNB).

It hardly seems we can be devout enough to remain in Jesus's favor.  Yet, He is our Lord and teacher. The one who leads us and heals us. He willingly gave His life for us. Prepare not for death but for life. Become a child of God.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Meeting For Worship BASENAME: meeting-for-worship DATE: Thu, 16 Jun 2011 17:41:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Poem CATEGORY: Prayer TAGS: church, god, teaching ----- BODY:

June 19, 2011 Worship

Still, I find parts of the Gospel confusing. I find some of  Jesus's teachings confusing. Some of his teachings I could not explain or paraphrase because the gist of them is unclear to me. I will wait upon the Lord to provide me with substance and meaning. Yet, one meaning does come to mind: what I learn in private is to be told, shouted from the rooftops.

Why the disparity, Lord, between the image of you I get from reading the Gospels and that I get from experiencing you?

I fear asking these questions, even having these thoughts. Help me, Lord, to understand. I ask for clarification. Don't let my weak mind lead me ahead of your revelation.

When you come to the church God made, be prepared to become a seeker. When you become a seeker, be prepared to find.

When you find, be prepared to knock on the door. When you knock on the door, be prepared for it to be opened and you welcomed in.

When you go in be prepared for a crowd of people. When you go among the crowd, be prepared to have questions.

When you ask questions, be prepared that none but the Lord can answer. When the Lord answers be prepared to be purified in the refiner's fire.

When you are purified be prepared to die to the Law. When you die to the Law, be prepared for rebirth in the Spirit.

When you're reborn in the Spirit, be prepared for Christ as your Lord and teacher. When you know Christ is your Lord and teacher, be prepared for JOY!

 

 

 

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: I Love Jesus BASENAME: i-love-jesus DATE: Sun, 22 May 2011 19:19:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christian, god, jesus, lord, savior, teacher ----- BODY:

I love Jesus.

Why wouldn’t I ever say that before as an adult?  For one thing, my love for him started only last year and has come about slowly. Secondly, people who said they loved Jesus were to me for the longest time the epitome of my stereotypical Christian: an insipid teenage girl or young adult woman wearing below the knee skirts and white tennis shoes, so vague as to be nearly invisible, without verve and power. As an adult I also had trouble accepting Jesus as the son of God, though I had accepted it as a young girl and felt especially close to Jesus at Christmas time. 

So what brought about this love for Jesus? I’m not clear on that. Maybe I was answering his call to me. Well, that’s it, but how was that call manifested? Reading the Gospel of John in the New Testament? Reading the book of Romans, especially chapter 5? Reading the Journal of George Fox, in which he declared at one point: “Nay, we are nothing. Christ is all.” Hearing different speakers on Christian radio? Listening to an abridgement of The Case For Christ by Lee Strobel night after night while drifting off to sleep? Reading the book of Luke and its companion sections in Matthew and Mark?

Yes, all of these. But none of them would have had much impact without Jesus’ insistent, intimate presence during my daily worship.

When he first came, I kept my distance, calling him my Lord Jesus. I addressed God first, and Jesus as a kind of afterthought. I still address God first, but Jesus I have come to know as my Lord and teacher. How sweet that is. Oh, he is more than that to me. He’s my Savior first and foremost. He’s also my shepherd, my healer, my preacher, my bishop, and my counselor. But right now, I love him as my Lord and teacher. And the more I walk with him, the deeper my love and appreciation for him grow, as moments of clarity permeate my consciousness from his words recorded in the Holy Bible, filling my heart and mind with a joy and certainty of his love and power.

One such example is when Jesus makes a leper clean. The leper says to Jesus: “Sir, if you want to, you can make me clean!” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I do want to,” he said. “Be clean!” (Luke 5: 12-13 GNB)

I had read those words before but never had they pierced my heart as they did this last time. They continued to rip though my brain for days after with that same joy and certainty of love and power. I wondered, why had those words touched me so? Later, I thought the leper’s words were almost like any one of us saying to Jesus: Lord, if you want to, you can save us. And Jesus saying, I do want to.

How powerful that thought! How sobering the realization of Jesus’ sacrifice that we might be saved and made clean again before God. What a reason to rejoice! Rejoice that He died for us! Rejoice that He gave His life for us! Rejoice that He rose from the dead, demonstrating His defeat of death! We owe Him our lives. For without Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we have no life.

I know we are flesh and blood; we are sentient beings. Yet without Jesus Christ, we are just an animation. Flat, two dimensional characters. We will fade and disappear like ink on paper. You cannot live in the fullness of life without the giver of fullness- Jesus Christ.

So here’s my last point: When a loved one dies we are sad and mourn the death. But truly, if that person who has died was baptized in his heart with the blood of Jesus Christ, why wouldn’t we rejoice in his life with Christ rather than mourn a loss? For isn’t the life Jesus gave us greater than life in this world?

As for those who had not been baptized in their hearts, wail and mourn for them, for they will never be among the living. Lastly, what about those who are not yet baptized and function as mere animations? It's for us who have been baptized in our hearts to tell the Good News that Jesus said in response to saving us, “I do want to.”

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: No immunity to evil BASENAME: title-4 DATE: Sun, 01 May 2011 16:01:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: believing, biblical, christ, evil, god, jesus ----- BODY:

None of us is immune to evil. I wrote those words in my little book that I keep with me when I worship. I wrote them before I decided to do my biblical study of evil. Then, having forgotten the entry, I wrote the following entry after my first lesson in my study of evil: to know evil is to know wickedness, depravity, viciousness. Is it because of Adam’s transgression that evil became a component, if you will, of  man’s nature?

The answer to that question is yes. Evil is inherent in human beings, therefore none of us is immune to evil

There must be some pleasure or desired end in committing evil, otherwise we would not be prone to it. Which makes me wonder at the depiction of evil in popular culture: a dark, monstrous entity ready to pounce on and destroy anyone coming into its territory. That’s a safe depiction because it divorces evil from our actions and behavior; besides, if evil is ugly and monstrous who in their right mind would seek it?

But evil is not dark, ugly, or monstrous. It is logical, rational, curious, ambitious, indiscriminate, indolent, rash, decisive, indecisive, meek, strong, proud, boastful, consuming, rhetorical, sarcastic, and so much more. In other words evil is pleasing to us. Whatever we have an inclination to, evil will suit itself to that inclination. It is within us, which is why we can never defeat it on our own. We are slaves to its power to please us.

Even so, how could we mount a battle with evil if we’re not sure what it is? My uncertainty, fostered by the culture, led me to my biblical study of evil. Now I know and I have shared my discovery with you, so that you can identify evil in yourself and in the acts and behavior of others. More importantly, though, is that you know this: the power of Christ Jesus is greater than that of evil.

Your first step in combating evil is to turn or turn back to God. Never think you are too far gone to ever believe in God or believe again. Trust me, what you seek you will find. For God is always loving, always accepting. He will welcome you home.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Biblical Study of Evil BASENAME: title-3 DATE: Tue, 12 Apr 2011 07:48:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: abandonment, adultery, envy, evil, god, murder, stealing ----- BODY:

What is evil? Based on my biblical study of evil, it is first, the turning away from, the abandonment of God. Why is this abandonment evil? Because it removes us from God’s ways. Without His direction we begin to act in ways that are hateful to Him. For instance, if we worship other gods, we’re open to committing acts, such as sacrificing children, which God hates (Jr 32:35) but is deemed necessary by other gods. You may think these practices ended centuries ago, but remember Ecclesiastes 1:9, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."

I say to you abortion is a sacrificial act to the god of--what, convenience?

It isn’t only worshiping other gods and murder that God hates. He tells us in the ten commandments what else He hates: misusing the name of the Lord God; committing adultery; stealing; accusing anyone falsely; desiring what belongs to your neighbor. But of all these admonitions, worshipping other gods is first, because all the other evil behaviors emanate from it. Without God we are ignorant of what He expects from us and what will please Him.

We may not suffer for our sins or recognize our death immediately, but we will in the end. And the suffering will be nothing we can imagine. I say, however, that the realization of total separation from God after seeing Him in His Glory will be utterly devastating.

 

 

 

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Encountering Evil BASENAME: encountering-evil DATE: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 12:36:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: evil ----- BODY:

A few times in my life I have felt the presence of an evil spirit.

It was a dreadful encounter one time, for the object fraught with evil was with me, the book Native Son by Richard Wright, an early twentieth century American writer. I remember driving in my car with the book on the passenger's seat when this strong sense of evil entered. I couldn't understand the advent of this presence. The specifics of how I determined the evil resided in the book I don't recall, but when I ascertained the source, I threw it out the window. The evil presence went with it.

The other encounters with evil inspired loathing. One came from watching a television program aired 1976 or 1977. An expose of a religious group by their trusted preacher/leader, who surreptitiously filmed their meetings and activities in order to show them to be hypocrites, so disgusted me that I turned off the program. And this was during the time when I actively disbelieved in God. I saw this man as doing evil. I didn't see him as evil incarnate, but as an instrument of evil.

Yesterday while I was searching on YouTube, I came across a video of a youngish woman whose inflected, urgent voice, facial expressions, and mocking demeanor oozed evil as she deigned to be a Christian. The evil was so strong in this video that my loathing carried through the day and resurfaced this morning during worship. I believe she is evil incarnate and were it not for the "remove" button created by the internet, I think I would shudder in dread for her being.

I turned to my Lord and Teacher to combat the image of this evil. I recalled the verse from the 23rd Psalm: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." I prayed the vision of that evil be obliterated from my memory. I promised I would write about the evil and dread.

I have long contemplated evil: what it is and how it's defined. Are sin and evil the same thing? These questions will be the subject of another posting.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: What does it mean? BASENAME: title-2 DATE: Tue, 15 Feb 2011 11:55:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: commandment, disciples, jesus, last supper, love ----- BODY:

I prayed for understanding of the scene of Jesus washing his disciples feet during the last supper.  The imagery is strtiking: Jesus removes his outer garment, ties a towel around his waist, fills a washbasin with water and proceeds to wash his disciples' feet and dry them with the towel. It doesn't say he knelt in order to accomplish the task. (John 13: 4-9) (Good News Bible)

Also striking to me is Simon Peter's objection to Jesus washing his feet. I can relate to Peter's discomfort: I, too, would be uncomfortable if someone I held in high esteem were to humble himself in the same or similar fashion. Also, Jesus' act seemed so intimate to me, although it may be my 21st century perspective that influences that perception. Having one's feet washed in Jesus' day may have been routine, though it seems it would have been done by a servant.

Then Jesus told Peter if he didn't wash his feet, Peter would no longer be his disciple. Peter then told Jesus to not only wash his feet, but also his hands and head--an attempt to gain control? (Jesus, you're not supposed to perform such a menial task, so if you're going to despite my protestation, make it a greater act.)

The intimacy of the act seems relevant to me. There is already a level of intimacy between Jesus and his disciples. That Jesus would do this humbling task for them seems binding in a way that people who have been saved from death by another express a sense of indebtedness to that person. After he completes his task, Jesus returns to his seat at the table and asks his disciples if they know what he has done to them.

Bind himself to them? Bind them to himself, because with his death he was giving them life?

Jesus also told them his act was an example for them. "I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet. You, then, should wash one another's feet." (John 13:14-15). Perhaps telling them that humbling yourself does not make one less, nor does it elevate the recipient, but it is an act of love and binding. Think of the pope or a king placing shoes on a child's or close friend's feet. The status of each remains the same. The slave is not greater than the master. The messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. (John 13:16) Later, Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment: "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34)

Acts do have meaning. Sometimes they transcend our intention. When they do, we know something greater than ourselves and our lives has moved us to an experience we could never imagine nor create for ourselves. The meaning is given to us.

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Our Shepherd BASENAME: our-shepherd DATE: Fri, 04 Feb 2011 11:36:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: baptised, god, grace, jesus, judged, shepherd, spirit, trespass ----- BODY:

God does not demand that we be angry with ourselves. If we are reborn in the Spirit, we know Christ is our shepherd. He leads us; he teaches us. If we step outside the boundaries he has set for us, he will let us know. He will retrieve us, and in doing so will teach us our trespass. We will move on, with our shepherd ever leading us.

We can't come to God in spirit if we are angry with ourselves. Being one of Christ's lambs is not difficult or full of self-hatred and denial. No! Jesus Christ, God's only son, died for man's sins, once for all. His grace is a gift. All we have to do is accept it. When we are baptised in our hearts with the blood of Jesus, we will move from death to life. We will be judged no more, for we have already been judged. (John 5: 24)

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Bridge To God? BASENAME: a-bridge-to-god DATE: Sat, 22 Jan 2011 21:59:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: christ, eygpt, god, jesus, king james bible, lord, moses, pharaoh, tower of tabel ----- BODY:

The Tower of Babel in the Bible tells the story of the early people, who spoke only one language, deciding to build a tower constructed of bricks instead of stone and tar instead of mortar. I happened to see an artist's rendering of the Tower of Babel in my King James Bible.

During worship, this image came back to me as I sat wondering how I could get people to come worship with me. What could I say that would convince them to try the Quaker way of worship: waiting upon the Lord to hear His voice?

Among these thoughts was the notion that maybe the story means that man believes there is a way to build a physical connection to God. It led to recalling the story of Aaron and Moses going before the Eygptian king to ask him to let the Hebrew people go to worship God in the desert. To demonstate to the pharaoh that they were messengers of God, Aaron performed successive miracles. The king's magicians were called in, and they performed the same miracles, too, without God. So the king denied the Hebrews. 

I suggest that man's building of the Tower of Babel, the magicians performing miracles without God, and nowadays the attemp to "create" life, are all of the same ambition: I can figure out how that's done and replicate it without God. In other words, create a physical means to access God to "see" who He really is, and for some to be able to say, He really isn't.

Building a church, either a physical structure or with human bodies, is like building a Tower of Babel: it's an attempt to reach God through physical means. A church, though, as George Fox points out in the Journal of George Fox (edited by John L. Nickalls) is neither a physical structure nor a "mixed multitude." A church as Fox says, is "the pillar and ground of Truth, made up of living stones, living members, a spiritual household which Christ [is] the head of . . ." Living members is not a reference to breathing individuals, but to those persons who have received the Holy Spirit, the source of life. My favorite definition of a church is a people called by God to gather in spirit and truth.

Another way people try to access God through a physical means is by reading and studying the Bible. These people like to explain God to others and make pronouncements about Him without having gone to the source. It seems to me that this form of knowledge of God is similar to the magicians performing miracles, or men building a Tower of Babel: you can only go so far. You can't reach a spiritual being through worldly, fleshly means.

The only way to know OF God is to experience Him. The only way to know God and the ways of God is through Christ Jesus.

Go, sit and be still. Wait upon the Lord, to hear His voice. He is the source of everything.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Selections From My Worship Notes BASENAME: selections-from-my-worship-notes DATE: Thu, 13 Jan 2011 10:53:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: Prayer TAGS: god, jesus, spirit, truth ----- BODY:

Periodically, I read through a notebook I keep handy during worship. Some of the entries are lamentations, some thoughts, and some come from the Spirit. These writings from the Spirit are what I'll share today.

20 Sep 2009

Acts 12: 1-19  Peter escapes from prision.

Only God has the power to release us from prision.

Perhaps the fear of God so often talked about and that is stated in the Bible means fear of being out of the Light. How would one be out of the Light, when we are all born with a measure of the Light? The fear is doing something that puts us out of God's favor, or not doing his will, thereby falling out of favor. Jesus Christ is the Light and Life, and the Holy Spirit who leads us daily. In Him we must abide.

28 Mar 2010

I will not rebuke you, for it is  not my place to rebuke you (unless led by the Holy Spirit). I will not interpret God's words for you, for I am not the interpreter of God.

I am God's servant.

If you are to be rebuked, Jesus Christ will do it as your teacher who loves you.

If there is an interpretation of God's word meant for you, you will hear it through the Holy Spirit, who will give you the ears to hear and the eyes to see.

3 Apr 2010

Your Heavenly Father has given you gifts and talents. He is pleased with you, so do not deflate yourself by thinking to yourself you come up short. Develop your gifts and talents to serve God, to His glory. If you look about and say others are doing more than you to please God, then you are being conceited. Who are you to say you are less than what God has created (or said)? It is conceit that lets your mind run first to this thought. So go, develop your God-given talent and gifts, and know you are pleasing Him in doing so.

Keep to God. To God you will grow.

2 May 2010

You can please God, or you can think you aren't doing enough to please Him. One lifts your spirits and makes your heart sing. One casts a cloud that darkens your spirit. One is a never ending journey uphill. One is a place of glory and joy.

Keep to God, to God you will grow. Keep to God in all things and you will please Him. Keep to God and you will be happy.

Worship Him and you will please Him. He loves you.

30 May 2010

You are not wholly a physical being. You are a physical and spiritual being. As a spiritual being, you are either a soldier of good or a soldier of evil. If you deny eivil exists, you are by default a soldier of evil. Only God defines good. You can only do good through God.

20 Jun 2010

We redeem only that which we value. Anything else we sell, give away, or throw away. God redeemed us through his son, Jesus. What He is telling us, what He demonstrated to us, is His great love for us.

For God so loved the world he gave his only son, so that all who believe in him may not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Praise be to God!

24 Oct 2010

Just as animals fulfill their covenant with God by being what they are and serving us, so do we fulfill our covenant with God by doing His will, which is made known to us through our teacher, Christ Jesus. There can be no greater achievement for us than to fulfill God's will.

14 Nov 2010

The Lord let me see this morning that no idea, no thought, no word originates with me. Either it is given to me through Christ, or it comes from the "world" which is corrupt and corrupting. What the world gives has no resonance, as do the words of God. Truth resonates and is eternal.

16 Feb 2010

Wanting to say that one thing that will change someone's heart. . .

Jesus asks, "Is that your power?" Just asking the question gives the anwswer. I can speak or write in the Spirit. Doing so is speaking or writing the Truth that the spirit within another then responds to. But it is the Spirit, or God, who gives the individual the ears to hear, the eyes to see.

God bless you and keep you.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Not A Way To Be BASENAME: not-a-way-to-be DATE: Fri, 07 Jan 2011 11:05:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: 1john, christ, holy, holy spirit, jesus, life, light, peace, spirit, teacher, teaching, the spirit, union ----- BODY:

Life is not about a way to be. Rather it is about being in the Light and guided by the Holy Spirit.

Christ Jesus sent his Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us.

As John tells us in 1John 2.27, "But as for you, Christ has poured out his Spirit on you. As long as his Spirit remains in you, you do not need anyone to teach you. For his Spirit teaches you about everything, and what he teaches is true, not false. Obey the Spirit's teaching,  then, and remain in union with Christ."

Know Christ as your teacher and live in his peace.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: A Precious Soul BASENAME: title-1 DATE: Thu, 09 Dec 2010 14:57:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Poem CATEGORY: Ministry TAGS: faith, family, god, praise, religion, soul, universe ----- BODY:

You are a precious soul/Go, sit and be still/Hear the voice of the Holy Spirit/Calling in the wilderness/Who is John the Baptist in the Bible/Proclaiming the Light within/Christ, who is life/Who is the House of the Lord/Abide in him.

Wanting to say that one thing that will change someone's heart. Jesus asks, "Is that your power?" Just asking the question gives the answer.

I can speak or write in the spirit. Doing so is speaking or writing the Truth that the spirit within an individual responds to. But it is the Spirit, or God, who gives the individual the ears to hear, the eyes to see.

And remember the verses in Mark 4:28-29: first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

The kernel develops in stages and of its own accord. So speak or write in the spirit with no expectation. It is not for you to  have the goal, for it is not your power. Nor are you the source of Truth. But keep to God and to God you will grow.

I am a perfect example of leaving to God the opening of the eyes and ears of someone. When I was in my early twenties, I decided there was no God. I went on for years actively protecting this stance. As I grew older, I grew more vehement about it. When my children were born I did not want anyone telling them there was a God. I didn't want them involved in anything connected to God. What I wanted was for Sunday to be just another weekday and in my family we lived life as if that were the case.

There were times, though, when my spirits were lifted up. There was joy in my heart. I wanted to say thank you for this unexpected present, but because I didn't believe in God, who was I to thank?

Family was very important to me during these years. Not that family isn't important to me now, but I believe family took the place of God for me then. I taught the importance of family to my children, too, by doing many activities with them. We watched television shows together. I'd read to the family from books that I had heard read as a girl and liked. We would walk the country road, lie in the grass at night to watch the stars, wade in the nearby creek, walk to the school playground, and tried fishing sometimes. In winter we sledded and baked cookies at Christmas time.

I was comfortable with all of that, except, when my spirits or thoughts became expansive, I felt I hit a ceiling. Yes, there was the universe, but what was that except an endless void, an inanimate structure of boundless energy. It didn't speak to me, and if I tried to access it as if it were a god, I hit the ceiling.

There was nature, too. But I found myself clinging to it, and wanting everything to stay as it was when I first saw it. I wanted our short country road to stay country, and the looming hill across the road to remain a pasture for cattle in the summer. I wanted no growth except in children, plants, and animals. I hated developers and farmers who sold out to them. Didn't they care they were destroying the earth?

There was a state college in the small town where I lived. I enrolled there to get my college education. One of the professors impressed me as I had never been by anyone before. He said nothing to me especaially, for I was just another student in his class. However, he had an aura about him (which maybe only I saw) that was accentuated by the authors he had us read and discuss.

The man never preached to the class, never mentioned his religion, never made an argument for believing in God. But when reading a passage aloud to the class he never uttered a curse word in the text. And one Wednesday in spring he came to class with a black mark on his forehead. That's how I knew he was Catholic.

I would tell people then, as I am telling you now, he was the first person who ever made me want to believe in God again. He was a miracle in my life. As I think about him and my life since, I have come to realize that someone had prayed for me. I will never know who, nor will he/she ever see the change wrought in me. But I thank whoever it was and praise God for giving me the ears to hear and the eyes to see.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: <b>The knowledge of You is beyond me</b> BASENAME: the-knowledge-of-you-is-beyond-me DATE: Mon, 29 Nov 2010 16:29:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: experience, god, isaac penington, knowledge, quaker, witness, worship ----- BODY:

The title of this post is one of the last lines from a poem I wrote during worship. As I'm wont to say about things from worship, the thought was given to me. I was surprised by it, as the words didn't seem to originate with me. I never thought deeply about the meaning of the sentence, although I was confused by it. During a recent worship the sentence hung about me. The sense of it was joy and peace. The following explains it.

We cannot know God the way we know history through books and personal accounts. Such knowledge is secondhand, and we can only try to imagine the reality of it with no assurance that our imaginings are accurate.

As a witness to historical times and events, our view is narrow, and our abilities unequal in observing and recording. Providing witness to something, regardless of personal limitations, does validate the event or experience.

The knowledge of God--Him in His entirety--is beyond us. But that doesn't mean we can't know God. We can know Him by experience. In fact that's the only way we can know Him. Though the experience of God is open to all who choose to allow it, that experience is unique to the individual. This is not to say that God is changeable. Think of a universal event, such as the birth of a child or death of a parent. The event has the same characteristics among all persons, but the experience is unique to the individual, so much so that when my father died, I felt as if I were the only daughter in the world to have lost her father.

Isaac Penington wrote this to a Quaker Friend in 1673: "Distinguish between words without concerning the thing, and the thing itself within;" (without being the opposite of within). To know God, you must experience Him for yourself.

When you experience God, your experience of Him is unique. What you know of God from experiencing Him is unique, too. Again, I do not say that God is different from person to person, but what you are able to know of Him is personal. He is one in the same in each of us, but we know Him differently.

How does one experience God, you may ask? Go to Him in spirit, wait upon Him in spirit. Here's what I can tell you I know of God: He is always loving, always accepting when you go to Him in spirit. And though you may be low in spirit within yourself, He will lift you. I have found this always to be so.

If you are new to waiting quietly upon the Lord to hear His voice, be patient. Your mind will first race through the cares and business of the day, and that's all right. It will quiet down soon enough, and then you will be in a state of worship. And afterward, a state of joy.

Gather with me in spirit to wait upon the Lord for fifteen minutes every weekday morning at 8:45. Let me hear from you if you do.

God bless you.

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: We are the sowers, we are the recipients, we are the harvest. BASENAME: parable-of-the-growing-seed DATE: Thu, 25 Nov 2010 10:13:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Ministry CATEGORY: TAGS: harvest, jesus, kernel, lord, maturation, promise, season, seed, sow, sower, sprout, trust, understanding ----- BODY:

This what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head." Mark 4:26-28 NIV

The seed is planted in us, whatever it is, by our Lord, Jesus. it grows without our knowledge or nurture. An inkling flashes in our mind, and with minimal reflection disappears from thought, but its existence has been made known. Later, a larger recognition delights our mind, when we have nascent clarity of the ear's potential. A full grasp of the meaning is beyond us as yet. Promise of full understanding is in the ear that houses the kernel to ripeness. We reap what has been sown in us when we can accept its fullness. This maturation is not something we can dictate, anymore than we can dictate the seasons or weather that produce harvests.

We are the sowers, we are the recipients, we are the harvest. If you are the sower of a seed, trust that it comes from our Lord and don't worry about its maturation.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: rfuller TITLE: Thank You Friends For Joining Me BASENAME: title DATE: Sat, 20 Nov 2010 12:04:00 +0000 STATUS: publish PRIMARY CATEGORY: Prayer CATEGORY: Ministry TAGS: church, friends, god, joy, ministry, poem, praise, prayer, quaker, song ----- BODY:

I'm Rhonda and this is my first post for Me in Worship. My blog is part of my larger adventure, www.thereligioussocietycafe.com, where we praise God and the Spirit of Joy serves glad tidings in word, song, poem, and prayer. The reason for the religious society cafe came about because the Quaker Church discourages praise of God and joy in Him. Though not often overt disapproval, the subtlety of it makes it much weightier.

This was puzzling to me because I had come to Quaker Meeting as an active disbeliever in God. I went ostensibly for my children's sake; however, God intended it for my own sake.

If you know nothing of Quaker Meeting for Worship, let me explain: it is unprogrammed, meaning there is no program to follow, no hired minister to deliver a message. If there's singing before worship begins, it's because the Meeting is moved by the Holy Spirit to sing. Ideally, one arrives early for meeting so as to prepare for worship. Worship itself is held in silence. This is to "wait upon the Lord" to hear His voice. For you see, in a true (I use the adjective purposely) Quaker Meeting, Christ is the minister.

When I heard God's voice one summer day--I recount this event in song--I was, as Isaac Penington would say, broken and shattered, meaning my heart was opened. This opening led me to such great joy and discovery that I wanted to shout it, share it, and declare it. Yet, there were none among the Meeting whom I could discern had even an inkling of joy. And so began my long task of trying to bring those professed Quakers to the place where I was. That's when the discouragment began.

It seemed obvious to me that these Quakers did not know George Fox's preachings. I thought that if only they heard George Fox's words, their spirit would be quickened as mine had been. I read his words to the Meeting with urgency and passion.

Their spirits were not quickend. Some because they were "birthright" Quakers and perhaps felt they had absorbed the religion; others because they were agnostic, atheist, pantheist, or refugees from another church and came to Meeting because there's no preacher.

After many years and attempts to proselytize active disbelievers in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I was led by the Lord to leave the established Quaker Church, but not the Quaker way. I tried to go to other Protestant Churches, even attending a Congregational Church for maybe a year or so. I felt so removed from God, from the very substance of my being, that I eventually went back to the Quaker Meeting hoping to experience His presence again.

Still, when you're among disbelievers, God rages in you against them. I went home to worship alone until I could be clear on how to assemble a new Quaker community: a community of people gathered in Spirit and Truth to worship God.

The idea of the Religious Society Cafe was given to me by the Lord. Initially conceived as a physical place where people could gather Monday through Saturday at 8:45 A.M. for fifteen minutes worship and then go joyfully on their way or have coffee and eats, the cost of such an endeavor was prohibitive. But not so a virtual cafe and community.

Since the idea was given me, I've been worshiping for fifteen minutes Monday thru Saturday. The joy, the wisdom, the knowledge that's given to me from that worship, I'll share with you. Maybe you'll be encouraged to access that source yourself, for I cannot tell you what gifts God has for you. In worshiping together, even virtually, we will experience a common joy in His presence and together will sing His praises.

 

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