Question of the day

What can “sources close” to the Messiah say to muddy the waters and trample the green grass? (Ezekiel 34:16)

Here are an outrageous few

To set up the answers let me connect the dots of water, the grass, and the “close sources”.  You have likely heard the popular opener for many news items, which instead of feeding the news follower the facts from the subject, the anchor or reporter keeps teasing people with what unnamed “sources close to” who ever have to say.  This introduces us to a host of people spouting “thees” and “thines” while conveniently skipping “doest” and “loveth”.

GOD punishes you but not me for violating the law


But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? (Romans 2:3, NASB)

Grace makes them obedient to law

The gift of life can turn out to be a mistake

For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.  (John 5:21, NASB)

Eternal life is a testing stage like Sinai, and Messiah does more killing than giving life

We have to teach you the doctrines for you to become a child of God


“…Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven”. (Matthew 18:3, NASB)

Neither kids nor adults need a knowledge base for access to God’s kingdom

A man can’t be God


The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” (Luke 5:21, NASB)

Hard-hearted and impenitent things

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. (Romans 7:4, NASB)


And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law;” (Acts 21:20, NASB)

To be married to the law is adultery

Muddy water is not good for consumption by beast or man.  Trampled grass loses its nutrient value.  People who need to put their own stamp on what God has said (the water and the grass for his flock) are obviously not sources close to GOD.  They are not even close to his eyewitnesses.  From the start, there was one way into the kingdom,  “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15, NASB)

It is not the Gospel and something else that constitutes the pure life water. It is not Christ and someone else who speaks for God. Sinai streams no good news. Faith’s channel is not debt, but grace. People who have insurmountable problems interpreting a 200 year old constitution have nothing to tell us about the 2000 year plus sayings of the Nazarene.

Ambassador Uhura

Bright and Shiny, Nichelle Nichols, now in that place reserved, exclusively, for her.

As any respectful Vulcan or Human would expect, this ambassador of excellent inspiration had a long and prosperous life.

From murderer to god

One of the closing narratives in Luke’s second book shows how opinions drastically change and with little to anchor the mind to the facts. Paul had been a murderer, was on his way to Rome to be tried for crimes alleged by opponents of the Christian church and of Paul in particular. Temporarily stranded on Malta, Paul is the subject of changing islander opinion.

Saved from death at sea: Paul and his fellow travelers are fortunate

“When they had been brought safely through, then we found out that the island was called Malta. The natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all.

Acts 28:1-2

Snakebitten: Paul’s a man with whom justice had caught up

But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.”

(Acts 28:3-4

Survivor of snakebite: Paul’s a god

However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.

Acts 28:5-6

Change is especially good when it concerns the mind in the direction of facts and truth. These islander witnesses to Paul’s shipwreck and venomous snakebite experiences were repeatedly wrong.


Question of the day

How does the promise of divine residence eventually get resolved?
[  ] In the Jerusalem temple?
[  ] With Christ in the believer?
[  ] In people going to heaven?
[  ] With God becoming human?

David is the person whose experience best shines light of God being with humans, but before David, there was the sacred tent. The tabernacle, throughout its wilderness journeys , illustrates communication with Moses as a channel for the people. There was reluctance on God’s part to be in the camp. The danger of his presence was made quite clear.

Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.

Exodus 25:8, NASB

For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the sons of Israel, ‘You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. Now therefore, put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I shall do with you.’”

Exodus 33:5, NASB

Place for the divine name

You shall sacrifice the Passover to the Lord your God from the flock and the herd, in the place where the Lord chooses to establish His name. (Deuteronomy 16:2, NASB

Where to worship

Israel’s primary festival, commemorating deliverance and election,  was to be observed in a certain place.

But you shall seek the Lord at the place which the Lord your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come. (Deuteronomy 12:5, NASB)

Location defined by divine name association

Not only was there place for the divine name but David was possessed by the idea of building a house for the divine name. 

Here is Solomon’s summary of the plan.

You know that David my father was unable to build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the wars which surrounded him, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune. Behold, I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke to David my father, saying, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he will build the house for My name. (1 Kings 5:3-5, NASB)

The facts beyond the wood and precious metals

Isaiah got the picture; temple was not the mature version of divine residence. He wrote,

Thus says the Lord, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?” (Isaiah 66:1, NASB)

The prophetic quest to understand the mystery of God-with-us

Solomon saw the truth; temple was not the mature version of divine residence. He prayed:

Now therefore, O Lord, the God of Israel, let Your word be confirmed which You have spoken to Your servant David. But will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You; how much less this house which I have built. (2 Chronicles 6:17-18, NASB)

House cannot be a house made with human hands

God not only with but in his people

The Sender of the Holy Spirit clarifies

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17, NASB)

The apostolic conclusions: Paul’s mind

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22, NASB)

The apostolic conclusions: Peter’s mind

And coming to [Ghrist] as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5, NASB)

The credential commotion

“Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?”

2 Corinthians 3:1

This passage in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church begins with a discussion about why a credible individual such as the apostle to the Gentiles himself would need a letter of commendation in order to be made welcome to preach and teach in their congregations. 

The surprising fallout from Paul’s response

By the time he closes off his comments Paul had accomplished the following.

  • Established the distinction between letter and SPIRIT religion being death and life respectively
  • Identified the tables of stone (the Sinai Covenant) as a death service
  • Put the glory of Moses’ face in the fading category 
  • Identified the SPIRIT’s ministry as producting righteousness 
  • Contrasted Moses’ veiled face with the believer’s unveiled face 
  • Contrasted the believer’s hope, their bold and plain speech with the hidden (veiled) hearts of Moses’ disciples 

Believers, like these Corinthians, can dabble in second guessing their own veracity.  Paul says that they themselves were his letter of commendation (2 Corinthians 3:3).   John reminded his disciples “We are now God’s children” (‘1 John 3:2). The Corinthians were proof of Paul’s ministry.  Their request for credentials was off the wall.  They were under a spell like the bewitched Galatians. Of all the credentials to which we access the name child of God outstrips the others, first for bring certified by the gift of the Spirit to each individual believed. Any other requirement to corroborate our adoption is a tempest in a teapot; a useless credential commotion.

The Sword’s Edges

The sword is an icon of Christian wisdom, work, warfare and worship.  When it is double-edged it strikes at the core of human rebellion and resistance and in that configuration it affects all humans who are paying attention. The temptation to bring actual swords into play in religious communities gets boosted by medieval and antiquated practices, and killing people is never far away as religious people fall into the trap of shaping community with government help and the use of weapons of war as the enforcers. 

“In vain I have struck your sons; they accepted no chastening. your sword has devoured your prophets like a destroying lion.”

Jeremiah 2:30

Look no further than Saul of Tarsus to see how the sword, as used by the people of Judah for silencing the prophets, backfired and ultimately was useless. Political assassinations are particularly apt signs of moral decay. When people reject correction they become homicidal.

Dangerous swordplay

Jeremiah was not reporting that the sons of Judah did not receive correction at any time; his intention was to have his reader look at the residual consequences of turning their back to Yahweh. In response to instruction – by prophetic pronouncements – the people took aim at the prophets. The subsequent value of prophets, from the perspective of those in power, was the ready-made scapegoat (1 Kings 18:17-18) and short-lived hero (John 5:35)

Extra sharp edges

Prophets are truly a yesterday phenomenon (Hebrews 1:1-2), and that is exactly why the prophetic leaders of many of the religious movements since the first century are such good examples of poor judgment and rejection of God’s chosen ways. They are in denial about the timelessness of the apostolic witness. Modern Christian movements can find no way to fake a front seat with the material that is the common foundation of faith in Christ: the authoritative texts of both Testaments. Muslims fatally wound themselves by creating alternate versions of Old Testament narratives, and say that “Jesus is a prophet” apart from Jesus’ testimony about himself, as recorded in the Old Testament previews and the testimony of New Testament. I cannot imagine what Arabs in the sixth and seventh centuries were doing with the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament.

“Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.”

Zephaniah 3:4, KJVA

It does not help in the twenty-first century that reckless and treacherous persons are presenting themselves as God’s servants. Zephaniah’s plain and provocative statement of what the prophets were in his world does help us avoid the deceit of our prophets. The co-accused priests are charged with profaning the holy place. 

The distractions and smokescreens

The current political realities of the year 2022 are pushing the world towards a “blame the prophet and put his light out” moment.  Yeshua’s arrival as Saviour-King ends the need for anyone to rely on a prophet, and builds the confidence of all who come to God for peace and rest in – not a mere spokesman – God himself. Prophetic ministry is with us in the church and fading (1 Corinthians 13:2, 8-12). The saying “a prophet has no honour in his hometown” comes into sharper focus. One thing is certain: the pastor, prophet, and apostle who is ready to leave Yeshua out of the picture will always be welcomed by the crowds. I can see pastors, prophets and apostles will be forced to give account in court and before God for their misdeeds, because many of them are convinced that the secular power, sword included, are not going away. On the other hand let there be clarity about the sword wielded by religious authorities, the sword wielded by governments, and the sword wielded by members of our own faith community or our own households. What religious authorities, the government, and his own household did to Yeshua cannot be far from our gates.


Question of the day

What does GOD do with requests for love, patience, faith (or any other SPIRIT-FRUIT)?

Everything pertaining to life and godliness: granted

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

2 Peter 1:2-4, NASB)

Willy-nilly consumer praying

“You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:2-3, NASB)