Thinking Out Loud
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by Rick Bowen | November 11, 2017
Is the world big or small? Depends on your point. We often say its a small world when we meet someone that someone else we know already knows or is related to upon finding out! So the cliche does not escape any of our vocabularies.
But I want to say that maybe that is a problem, at least to some. Their world is too small!
Wait! I don’t mean you have to have thousands of so called friends on Facebook. I am not saying we should be “name droppers” to give the impression that our circle of influence is bigger than it is. We really don’t have to have huge number of acquaintances or friends to prove anything. It doesn’t have to turn into a vicious competition.
I guess what I am saying is some people live in a bubble. Their world and its mores are determined by the bubble. The bubble or “small world” creates its own paradigm by which those in the bubble judge everything. It becomes there MO. Even more troubling is they think that everyone must operate or see things that exact way in order to have an amiable relationship, even though MOST people don’t live in their small world.
These small worlds are created sometimes when someone, who wants to be accepted, compromises their values in order to “fit in” to this new “community!” At first it is a little awkward because there is that transition period. But after a while their thinking is programmed to adapt to the new environment. Now they begin life in the bubble. Often they will not accept anything that differs in philosophy from outside their world; NO, they will not even consider it! Why? Because now they are right, maybe even enlightened and everyone outside their elite group of deep thinkers is inhibited at best and a moron at worse. To penetrate this world, this small world, one must find the seeming impossible remaining idea that resonates in order to even get a word in edgewise.
Just this last Monday, after the tragic shooting in Texas at the small Baptist Church in that small Texas town that killed over 20 people and injured almost as many more, I walked into a local store. Because of the nature of my visit, I referred to the travesty and the young man hadn’t even heard of it yet. I don’t know why he hadn’t. But, it made me think of people on college campuses or on the streets of large cities that are often asked contemporary or historical questions, that give the most ludicrous answers. They live in bubbles, small worlds!
I do believe the way to heaven is narrow (Matthew 7:13,14). The Bible says so. I also believe that we can have an awareness about the things going on around us that enable us to speak to the issues of the day with a basis of common sense and a value system that was not created by our world, however large or small it may be. Something outside of us, something bigger than us should be the source of our value system (Colossians 1:13-20).
I remember once I had a candy-stick message called Panorama with the opening line, “We need a broad perspective of a narrow way!” I basically said we needed to be informed about all the options and choices available to us within the Biblical scope of living. Christians need to be informed of truth against the backdrop of this modern culture. Yep, it is a stark contrast! But it then becomes obvious that there is a difference between God’s way and the world’s way.
After all God lives in a bigger world, its not small at all, its called ETERNITY (Ecclesiastes 3:11; John 3:16)!
by Unknown | September 19, 2017
I am a soldier
I am a soldier in the army of my God.
The Lord Jesus Christ is my Commanding Officer.
The Holy Scripture is my code of conduct.
Faith, prayer and the Word are my weapons of warfare.
I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, trained by experience,
tried by adversity and tested by fire.
I am a volunteer in this army, and I am enlisted for eternity.
I will not get out, sell out, be talked out or pushed out.
I am faithful, reliable, capable and dependable.
If my God needs me, I am there. I am a soldier.
I am not a baby. I do not need to be pampered, petted,
primed up, pumped up, picked up, or pepped up. I am a soldier.
No one has to call me, remind me, write me, visit me, entice me or lure me.
I am a soldier. I am not a wimp. I am in place, saluting my King,
obeying His orders, praising His name and building His kingdom!
No one has to send me flowers, gifts, food, cards or candy, or give
me handouts. I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for or
catered to. I am committed. I cannot have my feelings hurt bad
enough to turn me around. I cannot be discouraged enough to
turn me aside. I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit.
When Jesus called me into this army, I had nothing. If I end up with nothing,
I will still come out ahead. I will win. My God has and will continue to supply all of my need.
I am more than a conqueror. I will always triumph. I can do all things through Christ.
The devil cannot defeat me. People cannot disillusion me. Weather cannot weary me.
Sickness cannot stop me. Battles cannot beat me. Money cannot buy me. Governments
cannot silence me, and hell cannot handle me. I am a soldier.
Even death cannot destroy me. For when my Commander calls me from His battlefield,
He will promote me to captain and then allow me to rule with Him.
I am a soldier in the army, and I’m marching claiming victory.
I will not give up. I will not turn around.
I am a soldier, marching heaven-bound.
by Gary Atkinson | August 21, 2017
You can watch live and past shows. He just had Mark Biltz who was
the originator of the Blood Moon teaching that all the other preachers copied. If you want to know all the ins & outs on the Blood Moons his book is unparalleled.
The same goes with the Solar Eclipse. Here are some interesting info that you can get all details especially the 1st two days.
What makes the eclipse special it is according to GOD's feast of ROSH Hashanah~So it is according to GOD's calendar and Jewish New Year feast~The USA is the only country it will go over. This has not happen since 1776. Why was that year important? They say it will be 70 miles wide starting in Oregon to South Carolina and the path 95% of the people voted for Trump. The southern half of the USA will go dark. I do not know the full meaning but I will be a watchman of the wall. Mark believe he is calling the Church to repentance. It always starts first in the house of GOD.
Some will say Oh you are just looking for a sign. My answer
(Gen 1:14) And GOD said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years:
(Luke 21:25) And there shall be signs in sun and moon and stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the billows;
by Rick Bowen | August 9, 2017
You need a church! Or do you?! What is the church?! The etymology of the word church has created some chasms in thought in those professing to be Christians. Therefore, I will do my best NOT to broaden the expanse of that gulf.
Jesus himself said that he would build his church on a rock and the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). Did he say church? No. He used a different word. The Aramaic is edutha, the Hebrew is quahal, and the Greek is ekklesia. These words mean assembly. Assembly of what? If we look closer at the word ekklesia which is often used when talking about the “church” we see that it means “called out.” So the Assembly of Jesus is those that have been called out. By implication they have also been called in! They have been called out of the world. They have been called into Jesus. They are the called out body of baptized believers in the Lord. The called out ones are to “assemble!”
The word church is an English word that came from Dutch, German and other words which primarily meant a place of worship. Over time you can see how the word church could be used for the assembly. I guess if you got technical you could say the assembly assembles at the church. Smile!
This does not mean we cannot continue to use the word church. We will. It is now part of our vernacular.But we need to understand the ways we use it and its nuances of meaning.
Originally the church (assembly) gathered from house to house and in temple courts. Also since the church was originally Jewish, they sometimes met in synagogues until they were cast out. Later in Roman times they met in catacombs (underground tombs and passage ways). Wherever the church (ekklesia/assembly) could “assemble” it did.
Over the centuries it became possible for nice and not so nice buildings to be built primarily for the local assemblies to meet. It was convenient to have a structure that was built with a purpose in mind. We drive by these buildings and say, “look at that church!” But those buildings would not be a church if it weren’t for the assembly, the people of God.
Obviously the church can meet wherever it deems fit. But order has been something that God has always wanted and demanded. God sets the church in order as we read in Acts and the Epistles. Along with that order, comes a place to meet, a time to meet, and a regularity in meeting, and those that oversee the meeting. Every attender is encouraged to be a member of the body (which a metaphor for the local assembly).
We are instructed to turn away from those that have the form but deny the power (2 Timothy 3:5). We should seek, lodge and involve ourselves in local expressions of God’s community where they Holy Spirit is alive and well (John 4:24).
Sadly, the enemy has tricked many into giving up on the church (assembly), because of the imperfections of people (Hebrews 10:23-25). There are many other reasons (excuses) to not assemble, like, being too busy, conflicts, sickness, or apathy. As a result many have become displaced and never seem to “find” that fit that they think is out there somewhere (Ephesians 4:16). Often they just wing it and never find the place that God wants them to be used and to grow. Wherever this is, it will be a place where God is using imperfect people to carry out his plan. In the midst of this Assembly one can mature and actively serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
Are all churches of God….of God? No! Are there some that are? Yes! Among the ones that are, how many are perfect? None! If we look back at the New Testament times we see how many situations and problems they had. Why? Because of people (imperfect humans). Why? Because the devil takes advantage of every possible weakness! Nevertheless, instructions have been provided for all these scenarios (Epistles).
Notice the letters to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3. Here we see commendations, rebukes, and instructions. Leaving Sardis, Thyatira, or Pergamos was not an option. Jesus wanted a church in each city. The admonition given was much more urgent for that reason.
The same is true today. We now have the closed cannon of Scripture to help us find a good church. We also have the complete Word of God to deal with any given scenario, from conflict resolution to church discipline. The truth is when we “find” a good church and begin to engage that often the Holy Spirit “sets” us in that local body (1 Corinthians 12:18). We become an organic member of a real corporate expression of Jesus in that area.
It is my view that in these last days we are going to see a line of demarcation that clearly defines the Assembly of Jesus from the false church. However, it will be one in which imperfect people submit to a perfect Jesus and seek to mature in his perfect will and fulfill his excellent assignment (Romans 12:1,2).
I encourage you today to recognize what God is doing in your locale and become an active member of the body of Christ. It won’t be perfect. But it will be what Jesus has started and what Jesus will perfect and finish. You will be a productive part of that growing assembly (Ephesians 2:21) and you will be the better for it too (1 Peter 2:5). Glory be to the Lord (Jesus) of the Assembly (Church)!
by Rick Bowen | July 19, 2017
Before the ‘last’ revival starts most will have to deal with some issues in their purview. We know the Word compares Satan the Devil to a roaring lion that seeks whom he may devour. Of course we think of the large cats in Africa that weigh hundreds of pounds. We know these are ravenous beasts that can quickly tear their prey limb from limb and make a bloody mess out of the carcass as they devour the tasty morsels of carnage.
But, the Devil cannot be everywhere at once. Most of the opposition we have on a personal level can be attributed to a minion of Satan, a demon. This writing’s purpose is not to clarify where the demons came from (I’ll save that for another time), but if you read and believe the Bible you can see that the subject is dealt with over and again.
So demons and sins and issues can be those hindrances to our relationship with Christ even when everything is ripe for the picking. In fact, that is when we may be the most vulnerable. In other words, we can be so enamored by the fragrance of the intimacy of our relationship with Jesus, that we fail to address the lurking entities or distractions that hinder and can even destroy the relationship (Satan would be all for that!)
Although this concept can be applied to any relationship, we are primarily concerned with our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
As we look in the ancient book of The Song of Solomon, we see a picture of two lovers that are seeking to pursue the ultimate in their union. They want to fully immerse themselves in everything that it was designed to be. But early in the treatise, an ominous and potent threat emerges, “little foxes!”
I saw a little scrawny fox on the trail yesterday. Since I don’t see foxes often, I stopped to get a better look. This particular fox was cuter than a squirrel. As I looked from a distance of about 20 feet, I had an urge to go over and pet the little fellow. Of course that impulse quickly gave way to my schooled rationale, for I knew that even if the little guy allowed me to get close that he would gnaw off one of my fingers. Plus, he could have rabies. So I left him to the wild.
These omnivorous creatures can quickly ruin a vineyard as the Bible so states in Song of Solomon, chapter 2, verse 16. There, the maiden request the gentleman to “catch” the little foxes that spoil the vine!” She recognized that all the effort of this romance could immediately or ultimately be hindered or even ruined if they were ignored. It didn’t matter that they were small. They were foxes and foxes spoiled vines!
These days I see a plague of “little foxes” that have dogged Christians. This pervasive situation has escalated and now lasted so long that folks have forgotten that they had a relationship to protect and nourish. Instead, the little foxes are so cute, thy have become pets in many cases.
The Shulamite woman in our story pleads with the young man to “catch” the foxes. Obviously she wants them trapped and done away with. She realizes that they are very prolific. Little foxes breed and produce more little foxes. Ultimately the fruitful vineyard is rendered a dead pile of brush. The relationship is no more.
If there are things in your life that keep you from getting as close to Jesus as possible, its time to catch and eliminate those little rascals. Don’t keep any pet demons, sins, attitudes or any other “little foxes” for they devour the fruit of a blood bought relationship. Jesus gave us authority, so we need to take it and deal with the foxes.
This concept can apply to anything of value. Don’t allow, even unwittingly relatively small things to breed and become so numerous that a once fragrant garden is nothing more than a desert.
by Denise Shick | March 10, 2017
I find it hard to listen, because I know that their purpose is to justify self-destructive, sinful behavior. I know that God gave us behavioral boundaries for our good, not to stifle us. I’ve been in this ministry long enough to have seen—more times than I can count—that those who cross those behavioral boundaries always pay a high price, and so do their loved ones. The old serpent slithers out of the garden and uses various, devious techniques to draw deceived ones away from biblical truths and across those boundary lines. But regardless of the technique, all of them tie back to questioning the God of the universe: Did God really say?
For instance, my dad was deceived into believing he could become Becky. Genesis 5:2 clearly says, “He created them male and female.” My dad was born a male—a son, a brother, grandson, and later became an uncle, a husband, a father, and a grandfather. Did God really say that He created each of us according to His will? Yes, He did. Psalm 139:14 says God, the Creator, wonderfully and fearfully made each of us, including my dad. That is an undeniable biblical truth.
Each time we deny or ignore a biblical truth we make it a little bit easier to deny or ignore another one. No individual or society ever turned completely away from God in an instant. Apostasy is gradual.
But truth is permanent, isn’t it? We may sometimes battle with the truth, because it hurts to face the reality or our circumstances. But when we do, we become confused and can end up in rebellion against the loving—but also mighty and holy—God. Paul offers simple instructions: Hate what is wrong and hold on to what is good.
We live in a sinful and fallen world, full of temptations to cross those God-given boundaries and align ourselves with the world’s harmful ways. Doing so can appear very appealing, but it inevitably leads to suffering and heartache.
God so loved my dad that he sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for him—as well as for you and your loved one who identifies as homosexual or transgender. Hang onto biblical truths—and to the Cross—that will lead to love, patience, and kindness. The Bible is true; it is the foundation upon which we must live our lives. Knowing what the Bible says, and hiding God’s Word in our heart, helps us to discern between harmful deceptions and life-affirming eternal truths.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).
by Linda Seiler | February 26, 2017
by Denise Shick | January 18, 2017
Have you seen the popular TV show called “The Voice?” As the program begins, seasoned music industry moguls sit in chairs with their backs turned to contestants. Without being able to see the vocalists, the panel of judges determines if the voices of these men and women warrant their training and endorsement. I find it fascinating that one artist is chosen while others who sound fine to me are overlooked. What are these judges listening for? What makes them decide to endorse one person over another?
We are living in an age with a cacophony of powerful voices. Each one attempts to convince us of a particular perspective. At one time, morality was the loudest voice, offering us sound biblical teaching with the Ten Commandments being the greatest moral voice ever heard. The Bible guided our Founding Fathers, as well as every university and every morally great American who has ever lived.
Now “consensus morality” is the voice that is in vogue, and like a pied piper, it mesmerizes us with its slick arguments and glamorous spokespersons. These alluring voices have tickled our ears and deceived us into thinking that we will flourish as a successful society without teaching the Bible or following its wisdom and moral codes.
From the mouth of Jesus…
"But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” Luke 6:48-49"
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Mark 13:31"
“The truth is revealed in God’s Holy Word; life can be lived only in absolute and disciplined submission to its authority.” …Chuck Colson
Whose voice are you listening to? What is shaping your thinking? To whom are you choosing to give your allegiance? Your own heart—or the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords?
by Rick Bowen | December 29, 2016
This was originally written on November 29, 2016 and posted on Facebook -
I heard in my spirit the other day a phrase that some will consider trite and trivial. So I hesitated about putting it out. I guess that is ok. The Bible says we are to prove all things. Within one day any number of things began to happen across the face of the planet that reminded me of what I heard. Yet I was still hesitant.
Now I feel released to say that there will be a quaking, shaking, a remaking and an awakening. I believe that for the most part that is the order in which it will occur. Get ready for some of the most phenomenal, alarming and alerting things to happen in many spheres of activity, from geo-political to cultural to spiritual. Don’t be surprised at the magnitude of events, not just the number.
While it is good to feel a sense of relief and to look forward with a measure of hope, it is not wise to refrain from being vigilant. It is time to increase our sensitivity and discernment. While God has worked a mighty miracle before your eyes, he has not excluded you from the continuing unfolding of events. Each victory gives us a platform from which we can operate with an advantage.
Just a few weeks ago, I stood on the Golan Heights in Israel, looking over into Syria. I beheld a UN post, the area of occupation by ISIS and the place that was presently an area from which Russian and Syrian National Troops went forth. Just a day or so ago mortar shells landed in the Golan Heights from ISIS. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, “We will not permit radical Islam or any other hostile entity to open a front of terror against us on the Golan.” see http://www.jpost.com/…/Netanyahu-No-attacks-from-ISIS-will-…
The Golan Heights is currently held by Israel as a vantage point, not a border between Syria and Israel. Whoever has this land has a great advantage either in attack or defense!
This is what I want you to understand. God has given us an advantage that we must not surrender. Nevertheless fiery mortars (darts) are being launched by ravenous forces of nefarious intent against us as you read this writing. Our mutual enemy knows he has but a short time. The enemy will step up its activity. Because of this and the simultaneous judgments of the Almighty (though measured ONLY), there will be a quaking and a shaking.
This quaking represents earthquakes literally and figuratively. The shaking happens at the same time. But shaking can mean the agitation of circumstances. Volatile upheavals of the earth, and political, cultural, and societal eruptions, threats of anarchy and intimidation, bullying and militant oppression, shall be indicative of this shaking.
Sadly revelations of corruption will continue, many will be humiliated because of their persistent indulgences in iniquity. This will happen corporately and individually. As the OT says in at least two places, the skirts will be discovered above the face, and nakedness will be seen by all. (Jeremiah 13:26; Nahum 3:5)” This is a reaping of formerly sowed wild oats!
Then you see the restructuring of hierarchies of stagnant, non productive systems.
Reformation is sometimes restoration. Get that. It is not always something brand new. With the remaking shall come a great awakening.
The Great Awakening has the potential, depending on the church’s response, to be the 5th of its kind in our nations history. But wait, it can and should be unlike any other before it. The demographic of involvement is vastly different. The availability of technology and understanding has greatly changed. There is also the scope of everything that has happened heretofore that can give perspective to a people with a new God given paradigm.
This is an exciting hour to be alive. Why?! Because in spite of all the depravity beginning to spew from the gullet of Hell, there is potential for some of the greatest miracles, deliverances and testimonies of victory that have ever been said. I am looking for the wayward to return and, in some cases, pass those that have been twiddling their thumbs with idle passivity. The last shall be first and the first shall be last. Go ahead and shake yourself now, repent and call on the name of Jesus, for the best is yet to come!
by Rick Bowen | December 29, 2016
What is all this you are seeing and hearing? Real stuff! But I thought our warfare was spiritual. Well here is another angle of looking at spirtual warfare. I hope you can get some inspiration and motivation from it!
-Not Flesh and Blood-
Spiritual warfare. I know you have heard of it. But our concept of this can empower us or inhibit us. Hopefully this write up will assist you by offering a new platform of effective leverage.
Ephesians 6 is probably one of the most well known and popular spiritual warfare scriptures in the Bible. But I believe it has been misunderstood and probably misrepresented by well meaning people. The part I want to zero in on is the phrase, “not against flesh and blood!”
The impression seems to be that our battle is INVISIBLE and does NOT involve humans, tangible or material elements. The conclusion is we fight this battle in the prayer closet only and just kind of grit our teeth and stubbornly resist the pressures of life.
This Donald Trump election has been and still is a spiritual battle. I can SEE him and his hair. I can hear him speak, sometimes rather roughly. I see and hear all the flesh and blood people in all areas of influence that are doing everything in their power to stop him from being effective or even from being inaugurated.
Have you ever asked yourself why is the bulk of the news media, Hollywood, sports, academia and practically every other profession for the most part against Trump? Many in the Republican establishment fought him or up until recently would not support him. Some are still lukewarm in their support.
Something spiritual is going on.
He needs our prayers so that he will make the right decisions and walk in divine protection.
Recently I have realized that Paul’s point (in Ephesians 6) was NOT that there was NO physical, material or visible aspect to our fight.
Remember David and Goliath? Visible. Real rock.
Remember Gideon? Visible. Real trumpets and lamps.
Remember Joshua and Jericho? Real Walls. Real swords.
It would take too long to remind you of every real battle. But you have to admit that every one of these was “Spiritual Warfare!” There was the miraculous aspect, the invisible facet that actually brought the deliverance. Angels and demons were behind each side!
But some might say that was Old Testament, now we are living in New Testament times!
Okay. Paul was really stoned. He really pled his case before Festus and Felix. Peter was really a chicken when confronted by the girl at the fire while Jesus was being grilled. The cross was a real tree and there were real nails. Every single conflict had its tangible and three dimensional aspect. But you have to know that all were also spiritual. There was the dimension that Paul is stressing, the one we often overlook or don’t prioritize.
Therefore, when Paul says our battle is not against flesh and blood, when he says the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, he is saying more that what many think. I believe he is pointing out that if we limit our adversity to only coincidence, happenstance, or bad luck we are missing what is really happening. If we confine our understanding to people that are in a bad mood, with ulterior motives, or just evil people, we are missing the greatest part of the battle! All that is in the visible realm is a result of something much deeper. If we don’t recognize that, we won’t win.
Look at any of the conflicts mentioned in my lists and remove the spiritual aspect, remove God’s miraculous intervention, and/or remove the participation of angels on assignment; then the outcome would have been much different. Maybe the altercation would not have even occurred; because behind all that is the instigator or all nefarious activity, the prince and the kingdom of darkness.
When you recognize that confrontations are spiritual, then you can begin to properly find your place and leverage your effectiveness. You can go into the prayer closet with purpose and tear down strongholds by praying in the Spirit. You can petition the Heavenly Father in Jesus’ Name and go forth and confront the enemy that manifests in a person, a professional, a business, a political arena with means that have been trusted to you as a Christian.
No we won’t be shooting guns wildly into the air or swinging fists at folks we differ with, but we won’t be chicken liver, intimidated cowards either! We will find a way with the wisdom of God and the fruit of the Spirit to stand up to be seen and to speak up to be heard. We will NOT allow the enemy to pursue and enact his agenda with little or no push back.
The fight is on. Even though the election is over, the battle rages hotly. Go into the prayer closet with boldness and courage and come out ready to be the warrior and influencer that God put you in this world to be! The battle is spiritual it does not originate in flesh and blood (people), the source is much stronger, deeper and less obvious to those that don’t discern.
But greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world! 1 John 4:4
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