Confession

Around 480 years ago, William Tyndale translated from the Greek into English, “If we knowledge our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” –  I John 1:9
To confess is to spread the issue before the Lord and agree with Him on the sin in your life as you hunger to walk in the light.
The following words are from Robert Candlish, a man who lived in the 1800’s.  I have applied some of his words on I John to our scene in Southeastern Idaho.
The sinner prays:
“I thank thee, O my God, O my Father, for that most precious word in season:  “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”  Yes? it is “a word in season to the weary.”  For I am weary; weary of darkness in which I have been trying to hide or paint deformity, and get up some specious semblance of decency and beauty; weary of all impostures and all lies; the poor and paltry lies especially of my self-deluding, or scarcely even self-deluding, self-righteousness; weary of all attempts to take advantage of the darkness for making evil seem a little less evil, and some show of good look a little more like reality.  I would fain step forth from the darkness into light; into thy light, O God!”
The Father responds to the broken sinner in this city:
“For, be thy guilt ever so deep and thy heart ever so black, the blood of Jesus Christ my Son cleanseth from all sin.  He has answered for all thy guilt.  He has purchased for thee a new heart.  The fountain filled with his atoning blood is ever freely open and full to overflowing.  Wash in all that fountain and be clean.  Enter into the victory of light over darkness which that blood secures.  Let all compromise take end; compromise is a work of darkness.  I invite thee to have fellowship with me; fellowship real, and not merely nominal, with me and with my Son Jesus Christ;–fellowship with us in our plan and purpose of saving mercy,–in all its grace and all its glory;–a fellowship in it with us, of insight, confidence, partnership, sympathy, joy.  If it is to be real fellowship, it must be fellowship of light.  I cannot modify, I cannot alter, that condition of fellowship, any more that I can cease to be what I am–“light.”  But I do what is far better.  I make provision for the removal of every obstacle which your guilt and corruption might interpose in the way of your walking in the light as I am in the light.  I give you the assurance that the blood of Jesus Christ my Son cleanseth from all sin.”
Hallelujah!  There is no greater message than this for one to hear.

Beheadings

Sitting in the Dixon Dental office downtown this morning, I read World magazine (October 4, 2014), which they had displayed on one of the tables.  It’s a fascinating magazine.

Here is a quote from a short article by Andree Seu Peterson:

“Who would have thought that after centuries of modernity, beheading would once again be a means of persecuting the people of God?  Does it not send a chill up your spine to read about it in Revelation 20:4 even as we hear about it on CNN?  “Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed.  Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus.”

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.