The Father and His Son

Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” – I John 1:3

Some say that the Father and His Son are one Person.

Others say that the Father and His Son are two separate deities, which logically leads to teaching that you can be in the presence of one and not the other.

Yet I love what Robert Candlish wrote in the 1800s.  This is the heart of my Christianity:

The object of this fellowship is the Father and the Son.  I say the object, for there is but one.  No doubt the Father and the Son may be considered separately, as two distinct persons with whom you may have fellowship.  And in some views and for some ends it may be quite warrantable, and even necessary, to distinguish the fellowship which you have with the Father from that which you have with his Son Jesus Christ.  As Christ is the way, the true and living way, to the Father, so fellowship with him as such must evidently be preparatory to fellowship with the Father.  But it is not thus that Christ is here represented.  He is not put before the Father as the way to the Father, fellowship with whom is the means, leading to fellowship with the Father as the end.  He is associated with the Father.  Together, in their mutual relation to one another and their mutual mind or heart to one another, they constitute the one object of this fellowship.

The Father and his Son Jesus Christ; not each apart, but the two–both of them–together; with whatever the Spirit of the Father and the Son may be commissioned to show, and your spirits may be enabled to take in, of the counsel of peace that is between them both; that is what is presented to you as the object of your fellowship.

It is a great idea.  Who can grasp it?

The City’s Magna Carta

When my family visited Washington D.C. this summer, we saw the original 1297 Magna Carta in the National Archives, on display courtesy of David M. Rubenstein.

The Book of Galatians is the Magna Carta of Religious Liberty in Idaho Falls for all Disciple-makers of Jesus Christ! It stretches back to almost 2000 years ago.

Paul writes in Galatians 3:28:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

And then he exhorts us in Galatians 5:1 (which is from today’s reading in The NKJV Daily Bible),

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

So let us proclaim spiritual freedom in Idaho Falls for those who trust in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Law in Idaho Falls

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This is the closest that I have ever stood to this thing in Idaho Falls.  I asked one of the workers today if I could climb it.

He said, “No!”

I thought maybe I could sneak out here at night.  Perhaps he was reading my mind because he then said, “Guys have tried to climb this when it’s dark, but we have cameras that spot them.”

Hmm . . . You all do know what the Bible says about what the law provokes within us.  When someone says don’t do something, what do you want to do in your heart?

Prayer Vigil for Saeed Abedini – Idaho Falls

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Today marks two years that our Idaho brother Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned in Iran.  It all begin when the Revolutionary Guard removed him from his parent’s house at 1:30 in the morning and hauled him off to Evin Prison.  During those beginning days, he was brutally beaten.  Immediately, his body begin bleeding internally.  He is in pain every day.  And his life is under constant threat.

Yesterday in Washington D.C., we listened to the words that he recently wrote to his daughter, Rebekah.  As some American voices tend to rise up in anger against others and to accuse God in the midst of evil, Saeed leads us to faith and love in a transcendent God who is above all our sins of greed, pride, and selfishness.  This God is not corrupt like we are.

But not only is God transcendent, the God of the Bible is immanent.God is near.  God is with us.  You must read the full text of Saeed’s letter to his daughter.  He directs our hearts to Romans 8, and the messages within Daniel and Habakkuk.  We can have a lot of “why” questions in the midst of horrific events experienced on the earth.  Yet Saeed writes,

The answer to the WHY is WHO.

What God has given us in the midst of our suffering is a Person.  Jesus took our sin.  He died in our place.  He gave a crushing blow to death, sin, and Satan by rising again.  Saeed Abedini is a living, modern, Idaho example of someone imprisoned in the darkest of places in the world and yet united with Jesus Christ.  In Iran’s prisons, one is being hanged every 7 hours.  But no power or force on earth can ever sever Saeed from Jesus.  Saeed would want all of us in Idaho Falls to see Jesus and cling to Him.  Jesus is our refuge.  Jesus is our strength.  He is the one that has overcome and will make all things new.

So we gather tonight on the front grounds of the Bonneville County Courthouse, 6 pm, and look to the King.  We beseech the One who is the Ruler over all the other kings of the earth.

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We unite our prayers with Naghmeh Abedini that she might be able to hold Saeed in her arms once again.  We join with little Rebekah and Jacob’s prayers that they might be able to touch their daddy’s face and feel his kisses.  We pray for Saeed’s dad and mom who meet with their son for a brief 20 minutes every Wednesday.  We pray for Saeed, that in his suffering God will be strong on his behalf.  May the earth see the work and the glory of God.

Here are some of the men that you will see and hear tonight as we pray.

  1. Mikey Middleton and team are providing music.
  2. I will make some introductions at the beginning.
  3. Mike Ghiglia, Founder and Director of Share the Son Ministries and with Christ Community Church.
  4. Steve Morreale, Founder and Director of Mount Royal Ministry and with First Church of the Nazarene.
  5. Rick Brown, Lead Pastor of Watersprings.

See you tonight.  Rain or shine.  We have an appointment with the King to ask Him to move mightily on the behalf of His Idaho servant and our brother.

Students, Protests, Prayers

Yesterday morning, I read a story in our local newspaper about all the students in Colorado walking out of classes to protest a conservative AP History curriculum promoting patriotism and a respect for authority. I have discovered that learning about America’s injustices and the patterns of civil disobedience is a hot topic in American public high schools. Rather than waiting to explore all of our country’s muck while in college, let’s bring it down to the teenagers in high school. Does that sound like a good idea?

I am all for reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin and other fine, older books that explore historical injustices and call us to repentance and what God requires of us in Micah 6:8 – justice, mercy, and humility. But some of the things that are taught these days in schools simply do not edify. And by what is selected to teach, there is not the bigger picture or any sense of proper balance provided for the young people.

Take for instance, the Puritans or some of our Founding Fathers.

I like what a teacher shared last night in a classroom in Idaho Falls:

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We have been richly blessed by God. We are also in danger of judgment for having forgotten both God and those blessings. Among the founders of our nation were the Puritans who settled New England. Modern history has portrayed them as narrow-minded, self-righteous fanatics whose ways were quickly and rightly forgotten. But these were actually godly men and women who endured great hardship to establish a Christian society in America.

George Washington has been portrayed as little more than a deist, whose struggle was for personal fame rather than for genuine moral ends. But Washington was a devout believer in Christ. In a small prayer book written when he was about twenty years old, Washington implored:

O most gracious God . . . remember that I am but dust, and remit my transgressions, negligences and ignorances, and cover them all with the absolute obedience of thy dear Son, that those sacrifices (of sin, praise and thanksgiving) which I have offered may be accepted by thee, in and for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered upon the cross for me . . . Direct my thoughts, words, and work: wash my sin in the immaculate blood of the Lamb; and purge my heart by thy Holy Spirit.”

Somehow that does not sound like a deist.

At the time of the American Revolution, John Witherspoon, then president of the College of New Jersey (Princeton), wrote:

He is the best friend to American liberty who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down on profanity and immorality of every kind.”

It is true that Jefferson was a deist. Benjamin Franklin was a skeptical unbeliever. Nevertheless, there was at this time and for many years both before and after the Revolution, a rich core of people who so knew Christ and so desired His will and glory in this land that they actually infused the theology and morality of Christianity in to the nation’s cultural and political fabric. Their money, which we still use, stated “In God We Trust.” Even Franklin, when as I have said, was an utter believer, did not hesitate to speak of the value of sincere prayer at the crucial turning point of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in May, 1787.

He said,

“In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered . . . I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this great truth: “that God governs in the affairs of man” and if sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”

He then called for regular, imploring prayer to begin each of the Convention’s sessions.

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As our teens learn about all the problems of America in AP History, my desire is that they would get lengthy, healthy doses of Americans in the past who have looked to God for help in the midst of our problems.

And here is some good news. While some teenagers were walking out of classes on Tuesday, many teenagers around the country were praying on Wednesday. I am thankful for Christ Community Church and their lead in Idaho Falls yesterday for student prayer.

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The Christ, the Curse, Redemption

At bedtime, I have been reading through the book of Galatians with my youngest boy.

This is taken from today’s reading in The NKJV Daily Bible:

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:13-14).