On the offensive

It is good to remind ourselves that a conflict is raging around us.  My war will always be on the side of oppressed people. Joining the people who are losing their grip on robbery and bribery is just not in the cards. Caesar’s moves are in service of idolatry. We know that. So we are not drawing new lines between sacred and secular authority, and are committed to being harmless as doves and wise as serpents.

We only mess up character by putting the things we want out front at the wrong time or too often. Desires – lusts – war against life. We know the joyful sound. Dying daily, wrestling our passions over to Christ’s example is we will find ourselves victoriously on the offensive.

Dear friends, I urge you, as pilgrims and strangers upon earth, to refrain from indulging the cravings of your earthly nature, for they make war upon the soul.

1 Peter 2:11

The church has no secret agenda. Much of what goes on is public. While the official gatherings are designed for both vested and other interests they are of optimum benefit only to the member and any initiate to the faith.

Honest conduct (with food and drink, clothing and circumspection, other people and prayer) with Christ as star of the show, is what we envision as vibrant and abundant life. We cannot dump that “prosperity is abundance” idea soon enough.

When the gospel is toyed with – not accepted- we cannot use it when we run into trouble.

I love the gospel’s thrust and plunge: this piece of armor, the shoes, 👞👠, covers everywhere we go. We travel with good news shoes.

And with the readiness to serve the Good News of Peace as shoes for your feet.

Ephesians 6:15

How the wisdom of Christ was received

A post-Resurrection episode involving Stephen


Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

Like Master, like servant

And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.

This pattern of attack began with the Lord Jesus himself as these three encounters (below) illustrate.

About Resurrection

Have we gone offscript and are unfamiliar with God’s power.

After our Lord silenced the Sadducees on the question of resurrection the Pharisees decided that they would try to see if their attacks would fare any better. The Sadducees had thought they could muddy the hope of resurrection with ordinary marital developments. Their question was “who gets a many-times married woman to be his wife in the resurrection age?” This was probably a first rate silly question out in the open for the first time.

“Your mistake,” replied Jesus, “is due to your ignorance of the Scriptures, and of the power of God.

Matthew 22:29

What are the law’s priorities?

Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Matthew 22:35-36

Though they did not know it at the time monotheism had so little to do with loving people that no neighbour of Israel was excited about become Israelite or imitating her religion. We now know that loving God wholeheartedly can quickly become a convenient cover for malice and apathy.

Identifying Messiah with a descendant of David.

Knowing that ultimately the question about Israelite destiny would come around to what authority our Lord had. The winds and waves were subject, the thoughts of men were open to him, so Yeshua did not wait for them to pose the question. He brought it up.

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

Matthew 22:41-46

Let us pose questions to the text. As we also learn from the birds and field lilies, let us live in one-eyed attraction to Christ. Failure to do so will result in angel worship, food and marriage barriers, and making the creature more influential than the Creator.

The satisfaction we have from getting our needs and desires met does not justify the wisdom that comes with the indwelling Christ. As long as the proceeds of prophecy, exorcism and wonderful works are still around the wisdom of God will take a back seat, being justified by her children apart from law and prophets and hirelings of all kinds.

The Rush to Dupe us

The personal focus of writers and speakers cannot be nebulous. A hard line of reality separates “I” from “we”, “you” from “us”, and “him” from “them”. Realizing that expressions can be reports or questions, demands, or commands, or speculations, we pay attention to the type of expression we find ourselves reluctant to confront.

As a teacher of the gospel (=Christian theology) I find that one needs to pick carefully from the growing list of red herrings and non-sequitors in order to be most effective. Constantly going after students’ oneliners and supposedly faith building slogans is more destructive than helpful. One has to notice that many things called Christian have no explicit reference to :

  • CHRIST- Messiah the Anointed One (lamb, king, saviour, door, shepherd, lover-supreme)
  • Christ’s work – dying, rising, interceding on high
  • Christ’s words – sayings from the apostolic witnesses (4 gospels, the letters, the prophecy of Revelation and Acts)

Why is that?

We need to be reminded that we are not our neighbour, and that our names matter because identity matters. We know we cannot insert any name – least of all our names – where the Bible has a personal name. Jesus is not Isaiah, nor will Moses ever be John the son of Zebedee.

Scoffers have no legs

The chances of anyone who turns away from dealing soberly with Yeshua’s words and actions contributing to anything besides mockery and ignorance are small indeed.

We buy a great many catastrophic scenarios if we insert ourselves into the text without asking “What time is it?”

Of all those sayings in Psalms and Proverbs which can we say have brought us back from death?

God said both “let there be” and “I am sorry I let there be”. God said both “let us make” and “I am sorry I made”. So we can spare ourselves a lot of misery and embarrassment by filtering the notion that all God-spoken words are relevant all the time for all people.

And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; … for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Genesis 6:7

Why did the Sinai covenant not include “angry with a brother is murder”? Where are the priests who work on the Sabbath and are innocent? Are there any people partaking of sacred things – as David did – illicitly that we might want to execute.

Duped over righteousness

Du-ped indeed

Walking in two camps at the same time has never been attractive and is mostly destructive.

  • Declaring righteousness
  • Being just
  • Justifying people who believe
  • Justify people apart from their performance


Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Romans 3:25-28

Buttonholing Capernaum

I suppose that many observers think of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Bethany and Golgotha as the main settings for the Messianic drama. There are however two places that seem to be destiny: Nazareth and Capernaum in Galilee.

And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

Matthew 4:13-16

This was done to connect Messiah with a region where (a) death stalked innocent citizens and (b) the darkness of hatred cemented the barriers of xenophohia.  Our Saviour grew up in Gentile Galilee – the prophecy calls it so, and no one can put down his fond regard for all humans in contrast to the murderous Jerusalem cliques and revengeful people in general.

There were three cities of refuge in the Galilee region. Having come as high priest, the Son of David would have had proper concern for the plight of people in protective custody or facing oppression.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Luke 4:18

Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.

Matthew 12:18

So when one assumes that nothing good can come out of Nazareth it is a denial of both the darkness and the light. The disturbing trend of denial continues over who the Saviour of the world is and the not so important “which city and which mountain”.

Choosing God’s Will and Personal Destiny

Mechanics who can fix our cars without aptitude and passion are a symptom of the darkness and stupor that covers humanity. In the same class are cooks whose food speed our trek to our graves, politicians who are self-serving and bribable clowns, children who dominate their parents, patriots with itchy trigger fingers, and selfish spouses. Finding God’s will is not rocket science and choosing to do it involves a great deal more than being a nice guy or complying with a hundred commands. In the world of tickets to heaven, membership in the church, nepotism, tradition, and blind men with visions, there are few individuals who  have found their personal call.  The passion of Yeshua of Nazareth shows us that self-righteous certainty about our calling is a childish and hypocritical game that few dare relinquish.

Twelve years old

Connecting with destiny then pressing pause for eighteen years may seem like unique path to take but it is a pattern of divine calling and timing for all people.

And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

Luke 2:42-48

Thirty-three years old

In the last year of his life Yeshua wrapped up his testimony by riding into Zion on a donkey, visiting the temple, and by preparing to lay down his life.

And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve. And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Mark 11:11-17

Passion for God

When our Lord realized that his life’s mission was imminent he prayed. His success was not only the result of thanksgiving. His victory in staying with the mission did not come easily. He prayed.

Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

Matt. 26:36ff


He insisted on going through with his calling.

And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Matthew 26:36-44


This is what shouldering the calling of a lifetime looks like. This is above and beyond our daily dying. It is not a cakewalk.

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

Hebrews 5:7

Have you found your calling? Are you wrestling with getting it done? Does your calling involve your death? Does your calling make you “deadly sorrowful”? Have you been handed the victor’s wreath or have you said “I have finished my race”?

Whose name is in you?

SALVATION is not just an argument we make about human status but the person we need to make life livable.

A Samaritan woman’s testimony

We can pretend that we do not know his name even though it is in the highest place, higher than all blessing and praise (Neh. 9:5), and above every kind of authority.

Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Ephesians 1:21

Creative interests adorn the gospel; witness “y’all are a new creation”, not merely new items in the workshop. There is new status available: sons and daughters of God. We each carry a potter’s logo. His name identifies every vessel, every living stone, just as surely as name-glory distinguished Jerusalem, as surely as the name-excellence is everywhere. We are a new world order: a family grounded in God, not Adam.

God made us to be shepherded (Psalm 100:5). How many universes has any human made and how many angelic insurrections have we had to put down and manage?

Wherefore God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Philippians 2:9

I embrace Peter’s caution about the necessity of “one name unlocking salvation for all humans”. That puts me at odds with all the faiths without malice or anger.

And Salvation is in him alone; for there is no other Name in the whole world, given to men, to which we must look for our Salvation.”

Acts 4:12

I pledged a long time ago, taking a cue from Paul (nothing of interest but the Crucified) to reject any theory that does not have the Son of David as front and centre, and him as A and Z. No one can survive the hypocrisy, thievery and robbery without him. No relief comes without his name.

Violence and Murder Inspiration

As news of another senseless violent incident reaches us we find that reflection on the history of human violence is helpful. Violence had a dramatic effect on the Creator of heaven and earth and a fresh start was his judgment. In the 21st century widespread violence and murder are complicated by the suicide of the perpetrators. There is a graphic illustration of this murder-suicide phenomenon. Judas.

And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

John 13:27

Judas proceeded to finish his deal with certain of the leaders.

Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.

John 18:3

And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

Matthew 27:5

I am suggesting that suspect #1 in murder-suicides demonic influence, if not demon possession.