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Archive for May, 2009

The Size of the Camp

Pastor John:

I was reading about when Moses made the brass pole with the serpent on top of it, and he placed it in the middle of the camp, and when god sent fiery serpents thru the camp and they bit the people, they had to make it to the pole to look at it to be healed. how big was the camp? if they were bit on the lower leg or foot area it would make it difficult to get to the pole if it was very far away just wondered what kind of distance they was dealing with.

thanks
 R S

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There is no way to know the size of the camp without knowing the number of people involved, and nobody knows that number. But it was not too far for those with faith. Besides, the brass serpent was up on a pole, and all that the bitten person had to do was to look toward the brass serpent. They did not have to go to it.

Pastor John

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Bro. John:

Thank you for opening up further understanding about obedience when we talked about what the Lord woke me with: “Introduction in obedience”. I had never thought about it in the way you explained it, but it made perfect sense to think of obedience (even from the time of the garden of Eden) as merely acknowledging the order of God. Just thinking of all the places where disorder exists in this world shows how much disobedience there is to God. There was perfect obedience because there was perfect order in the Garden of Eden until sin (disobedience) entered in. Then, disobedience to God led to everything on earth being out of order.

It was the first time, too, that I had really paid attention to the fact that God gave the commandment not to eat “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” to Adam and Eve together, but only to Adam before Eve was created. That was the order of God — to the head.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Now, I understand that in Genesis it was not only the “introduction in obedience” on earth, but the “introduction in order” on earth.

Thank you again for adding to my understanding of this. It is really good!

Sandy

“. . . . and with all thy getting get understanding.”

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The Way of Truth

Hi Pastor John,

I am so thankful for what God and his son have done for us. With all of the other ways in this world that we could have fallen into, God chose us to be a part of what he is doing in the world with his truth right now. It is not a small thing; it is a BIG thing for us.

With all of the things that are going on around us it, makes me value it more and more every day. I would not have had a life if it was not for what Jesus has done for me. All I would have would be lies and false ways of thinking and believing, no matter what my life looked like to others.

How valuable it is to hear from God and walk in his ways and not our own! How much more valuable it is to live for others and believe what God is telling us! To put aside our own thoughts and to want his thoughts and feelings in our bodies, leading us and guiding us every minute of the day! I love this way; I desire this way, and this is my life, not just something I put on and take off again when it fits what I want. It is life in Jesus.

I am so thankful for the ones that came before us and cleared the path way that we are walking on right now! They paid a price and we will, too, if we love it and value it as they did. How valuable is it to any of us? How we live our lives will tell how important we think it is. John, I am so thankful that God has allowed me to know you and to learn what he has done for you with his truth. Jesus and you are cutting us a clearer path way for us to walk on, and I value that very much, it is not a lite thing.

Bro. Stuart

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Dear Bro. John:

The Blog sent out on 5/13/09 Do You Want Jesus to Want You and the email on “Respect”, went right along with what I was reading today in Luke.

[57] And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
[58] And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
[59] And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
[60] Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
[61] And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
[62] And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

There were probably many that day who thought what Jesus said to those men were hard, even rude, sayings. After all, what could be wrong with burying a father or bidding farewell to relatives? But Jesus was respecting his Father and offering LIFE at that very moment to those men when he said “Follow me”. Jesus was the most important thing happening for them, but they chose first to “respect” and give particular attention to things and persons of this world. I like what you said in an earlier email reply: “We are to treat everyone, including those who have wandered off the right road, with respect. But we are foolish if we allow them to influence us after we see that they have spurned the sweet influence of Jesus that was offered to them.” To be influenced by anyone or anything other than Jesus is to become as Jesus said, unfit for the kingdom of God.

[I found it interesting what Webster’s said about the word “respect”: Middle English, from Latin respectus, literally, act of looking back, from respicere to look back, regard, from re- + specere to look]

This story in Luke helps me to understand more about respect. Jesus was not rude. He just told the truth. And by telling the truth to those men, he gave his attention to what and Who was most important for them and for others to follow. The question seems to be: “Do we want to be courteous with the truth or just be courteous with others?” There is a difference.

Thank you for all the good emails.

Sandy 🙂

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Respect

Hi Pastor John,

In your message about Respect, you stated that we should not respect those who turn from the truth and that made me think of a relative of mine. He has fallen away from the truth and is backslidden, but I still love him. Is that considered as respect? I do not hold back in telling this relative that he is wrong and that he needs to turn from his ways. I really don’t know how to treat him at times, and if I see him after not having seen him for a while, I am happy, but there is definitely a distance between us now. I just hope I’m treating him the way I should.

Name Withheld

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Hi:

It sounds as if you are doing very well with this painful situation.

By “respect”, in this case, David was talking about respecting an unfaithful brother’s judgment and envying whatever earthly success they may enjoy in their sin. If we judge the matter rightly, we will not be tempted in the least to follow the example of a backslidden brother, or to any extent be influenced by him. Someone who truly loves God feels indignant when Jesus is dishonored by a person whom he has loved and blessed. A man who is unfaithful to Christ is foolish. He is neither trusted nor admired by those who truly love God. It is that attitude of heart, that depth of love for Jesus, which pleases God and brings to us His favor.

Pastor John

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Samuel’s Attitude

Dear Brother John,

The story we read today in First Samuel was so touching. How that King Saul was moved by the fear of people, according to his own report and spared the life and influence of King Agag. For this, king Saul was rejected of the LORD and “Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless, Samuel mourned for Saul………”

That has always been a consistent trait for those who were truly following the Spirit of God in the bible. Samuel pitied Saul for he knew Saul’s desperate position with God.  He knew God was right, yet he mourned for Saul’s condition.  How selfless that attitude was.  It was Samuel’s intimate relationship with God that gave him that pity for Saul, he couldn’t have felt such sorrow for him and his unrighteous condition if he didn’t know of God’s most certain existence and judgment.  His was a very mature spirit.

Jerry

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And a good example for us all, Brother Jerry.

Pastor John

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AOG Pastor in CA

Greetings in the name of Jesus:

I hope this finds you well.  I received your responses to my five questions.  Thank you for sending them.  It was very revealing, and I shared your answers with the whole body here, and it touched our hearts for God’s people.

You also sent me a question about some who are said to have been filled with the Spirit before the day of Pentecost.  In particular, you mentioned the family of Zacharias the priest.

In answer, we know that no one received the holy Spirit until Jesus ascended and was glorified because John said so in his gospel (Jn. 7:39).  We also know that the New Testament did not begin until after Jesus died (Heb. 9:16-17) and that the new Testament is the Spirit entering into a heart and writing God’s will on it (Heb. 8:8-12).

So, Zacharias and his family were living in Old Testament time, which requires us to understand their “filling” as something other than a New Testament kind of being filled.  Even the prophet Micah once said, “I am full of the spirit and power of God,” but no one (except Mormons, and a few others) believes that Micah and the prophets received the baptism of the Spirit and were born again.  There obviously was a being filled with the Spirit under the Law, but if it was the infilling/baptism of the Spirit that Jesus came to suffer and die for us to have, he could have saved himself a trip, seeing it was already here.

No, the Spirit was not given to man until the day of Pentecost, after Jesus was glorified, just as John said (7:37-39).

I hope I adequately explained this.  If not, I will be happy to try again.

Your servant,

Pastor John

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