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   Christian Concourse - POETRY
Blooming Magnolia Bush

The Journal for Jesus' Sheep

Vol. 7, No. 1

To The Church, "ARISE!" - Behold, the Bridegroom Cometh!

Published by:
Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc.
1543 Norcova Ave., Norfolk, VA 23502

© Copyright 1996, 1999, 2010 by Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this journal may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.
 
The views expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily those of Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc.

Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc. is a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation, registered in the State of Virginia, USA.

Gerald T. Johnson, President
Gerald T. Johnson, Editor
Dar Johnson, Assistant to the Editor

Laura Olmstead, Assistant Editor
Jeff Hadsell, Contributing Editor

 

This Journal is dedicated to the work of Jesus Christ.  The goal of this ministry is to provide a vehicle for believers to improve their relationship with each other and with Him. 

   

"Only Christ can enable men to live in a right relationship with each other. It is this unifying power of His which must dictate your every decision, for you were meant to be one united body."
Colossians 3:15 BARCLAY

   

YOU HAVE A PART!
Each believer has faith and experience in Jesus Christ. This personal treasure multiplies in our sharing it with others. We invite you to write down what the Lord has given you. Send us your Christian poem or prose to encourage others in their faith in Jesus Christ. Please click here for details and more about Christian poetry on our website. 

 

From The Editors:

Dear Reader, joy and peace to you! We are honored that you would take time out to set your heart on the poems and the articles we have selected for you in this issue of Christian Concourse. We sincerely believe it is our best yet in seven years of publication. As you read, expect to benefit from each author's attempt to express what they see in their Christian experience. Be assured we have prayerfully chosen each work and we feel that, though they are not infallible, they do spring from hearts that are sincere in what they are trying to share. Again, I thank Jeff Hadsell for entering the bulk of the material in this edition into the computer. And, it is an honor to introduce Laura Olmstead as our new Assistant Editor. I think you will sense her contribution toward making this a very meaningful and spiritually rewarding publication. Her inspiration is reflected by our theme for this issue: ARISE!!!

Gerald T. Johnson

Editor

 

 

To the Church: "ARISE!"

What is the church's mindset to be in this day and age? Remember the words in Matthew, chapter 24, concerning the signs of Christ's return. Do we not see the signs all around us? Are we excited about His soon return? Or are we like those described in 2 Peter who say:

 

"Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."  2 Peter 3:4

 

The early church lived in the awareness that Christ could return any moment. One of their greetings was "Maranatha!", meaning "O Lord come."  The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 directly follows the signs listed in Matthew 24. Jesus is warning and instructing us here. We are to be living in active anticipation of His soon return, but we are not to be discouraged if He tarries.

Remember the ten virgins. Only five were prepared for the long haul. What are the signs that the oil has run out: A lack of faith, discouragement, a lack of victory, a lack of fellowship. Referring back to 2 Peter , let us meditate on these words:

 

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise but is long suffering..." (2 Peter 3:9)

 

And in view of the destruction to come in the day of the Lord, the Spirit's admonition to us through Peter is:

 

...what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God,....But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation... 2 Peter 3: 11-15 (NAS)

 

The scriptures are full of admonitions to wake up: "Arise, Shine, for your light is come," (Isaiah 60:1) and "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Ephesians 5:14). It is time for us to take heed of such scriptures and change our lives to line up with them. The essays, poems, and testimonies in this issue of The Journal for Jesus' Sheep have been chosen to highlight the virgin way of life: to wake up and stay awake, to anticipate His arrival any day, and to be prepared to wait if He tarries longer. In waiting, we are longing for our bridegroom, we are aware of who He is, what He is like. I believe that one of the reasons the early church was so on fire for the Lord was that they expected His return soon and did not want to be caught doing anything other than His will when He appeared. We are to live in this very state of awareness. But as days turn into years it is so easy to fall asleep and settle into the world, loosing the knowledge of our purpose here. So, ponder the words in this issue. Meditate on them. My prayer for you is that you will be encouraged evermore to seek His face and therein to find solace and the strength to live the life He calls us to. ARISE!!!

Laura Olmstead
Assistant Editor

       

Table Of Contents - Volume 7, No. 1

 

Stop
Laura Olmstead

Tug-O-War
Mark Phillips

Wake Up!!!
Laura Olmstead

Do I Believe?
Cheryl Chambers

Running
Ed Strange

While We Debate
Mark Phillips

Pharaohs
Laura Olmstead

Today He Rode
Laura Jean Ruth

Please Read The Signs
Jerry Johnson

Answer By Degree
Mark Phillips

You're Invited
Damon E. Wyatt

God Is In Control
Marina Stevenson

Prayer Answered By Crosses
John Newton

O Cross Of Christ
Laura Olmstead

Tame My Heart
Mark Phillips

You Are Not Alone
Temple Richardson

All Things New
Matthew J. Barlow

No More Promises
Leo Parenteau

A Heart Craving For Place
Mark Phillips

Lukewarm
Edward Miller

Giver Of Concord
Charles Wesley

About The Authors

The Ministry Of Christian Concourse
 
© Copyright, 2000 by Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc.  All rights reserved.

        

Stop

 

Before you continue, ask yourself: Have I received the Lord Jesus?

 

There is no-one righteous, not even one; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,... Romans 3: 10, 23 (NIV)

 

We were created to be with God and we are not truly alive unless we are walking with Him.

So...

Test yourself to see if you are in the faith; examine yourself! Or, do you not recognize this about yourself, that Jesus Christ is in you --- unless indeed you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13: 5 (NAS)
Be sure of this, no one will survive the judgment of God unless Christ is in them.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. John 3:18  (NIV)
Don't put it off. There is no better day than today, nor better moment then this one:

 

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts... Hebrews 3:15 (NIV)

 

And remember,

 

...to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God... John 1: 12 (NIV)

 

If you have been touched by the Lord through this article, please call us today: (757) 714-3133.  Thank you.

 

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Tug-O-War

Mark Phillips

 

A tug-o-war for territory strains
the rugged resolve.

Desperate determination gives way to
oh
so
familiar
and frightened hooves of heartbeats
that trample tested affection.

At once the pull places my heart
in the reception line of grace.

Tugged again, outside I wait, doors closed
and soundproof, excluded and dazed.

My feet dig in mud,
hands scraped, blood-caked, resist,
groan, gain and lose. I won the day,
lost the night, not gaining more than
yesterday's daybreak.

Tired, tired, sweat and crying,
when best has failed, failure's best.
I'd trade my trying for a brighter
day or surrender to quit the game.

But did I forget, facing the game alone.

Teammate and triumph sure surround
the One who calls.

I face foes solo
and fall all too soon.

True.

Quit the trying,
tried the crying,
called to One who joins my joy.

The rope released, the game now ceased,
His hand in place of mine.

Heart cry to heaven, tug-o-war
to prayer-o-peace and surrendered solo.

 

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Wake Up!!!

Laura Olmstead

 

O GOD, the nations have invaded thine inheritance. They have defiled Thy Holy Temple; They have laid Jerusalem in ruins. Ps 79:1

 

How the world has polluted the Church!
How God's dwelling place has been defiled!!
What a weakened condition His people are in!!!
How is it, that we no longer even offer a defense against attack? We let in a few forerunners of the enemy and his spies; we even entertain them and befriend them.

WAKE UP!!! WE'RE UNDER ATTACK!!! It Is Not Time To Nap!
AWAKE! ARISE!! WE.. ARE.. UNDER.. ATTACK!!!

Why do you close your eyes, as if all is well?
Do you not know that the surface may not yet have collapsed, but the underlying foundations are being worn away. Soon, even the crust will be pitted, and all will be eroded!

AWAKE!!! Make Your Foundation Sure!!!

Make sure your house is built on The Rock and not on sand, for a huge deluge is on the way...and many will be washed away. The day is coming soon when all shakable things will be shaken. But the unshakable will remain.
Be sure your anchor is in Christ and you will not be washed away.

AWAKE, ARISE; AND STAND TO YOUR DEFENSE!!!

 

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Do I Believe?

Cheryl Chambers

 

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. John 3:16-17

 

To believe -- it sounds so simple. We all know that Christ was sent to Earth as God Incarnate. I say I believe, but do I?

The verses from John say that if I believe in Him I will have eternal life. Yet in the very act of belief I find my faith faltering. It's in the simple everyday activities where I catch my non-belief showing.

Do I "believe" when I worry about the safety of my children when they leave our protective home? Do I "believe" when I spend my days in frustration over having so much to do in so little time? Do I "believe" when a young mother dies of cancer? Do I "believe" when I feel defeated by so much evil and darkness in this world?
The action of belief in Christ is not just the knowledge of who Christ is -- but also having the confidence and conviction that Christ is the all powerful sovereign God.

It is this confidence in Christ that allows me to come to Him in prayer rather than worry. It is this confidence in Christ that causes me to slow down and prayerfully put my busyness in His hands, confidence that He will see me through each day. Lastly -- I can go with confidence -- through peaks and valleys because I believe that God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to his purpose.
All that Christ has asked for me to do is believe in Him.

 

Prayer: Lord, help my unbelief. Help me to see my need to depend on you each step of this journey on Earth. And, lastly, bring me home to your eternal kingdom. Amen.

 

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Running

Ed Strange (Edited for Christian Concourse by J. Johnson)

 

Running to and fro,
seeking here, seeking there.
Be still . . . be still . . . be still, says The Lord!
For I will speak into your life
that which the Spirit of Truth will reveal.
Yes,
for many voices will say to you,
"Come, go this way,
turn to the right,
turn to the left"
but it will not be My voice, says the Lord.
For I will speak to you in My Word,
yes, even by My Spirit as you are quickened.
Yes, even as you tremble
at My Word
will I reveal My will unto you.

Many are they that call upon idols
and cast their hope upon life's fortunes
but their end is ceaseless toil
and a downcast spirit;
for they say,
"Woe is me for I am undone and my life is full of calamity!"
Is it not your ways that bring strong rebuke?,
says The Lord.
Is it not your halting between the door and the altar that causes your burden to remain,
and the worm to destroy the garden
I have planted in you by My Holy Spirit?

Therefore,
run not,
but arise,
says The Lord
and praise, yes, worship, yes, lay your burden down
and carry it no longer.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice in The Lord!
Place your trust in The Lord,
lift up your hands,
and lift up your gifts unto Me,
and I will lift your burdens and bring you great joy!!!

 

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While We Debate

Mark Phillips

 

While we debate
the Holy Spirit waits
for fearless faith
from power prayer begun,
One voice to cry
and with our hands held...high
in Him we find our surge of strength that hour.

Pressures,
stressors,
pale persecutors
cause carnal knees to buckle,
bending only in weak bowing before the blast.

But filled souls, knowing more than medial mending,
cry for power, courage, and bold,
to proclaim a word in timeless trilogy.

Lay down our lives (I have no need, But Him).
Lay down our lives, only Holy Spirit power to perform the works of His hand.

Convince and challenge,
heal whole,
signs and wonders (make them wonder),
the kingdom awaits the prayer of power,
(debating hall closed for repairs while electrical circuits are restored.)

Shake the room and shock us anew.

 

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Pharaohs

Laura Olmstead

 

Praise God for the Pharaohs in my life.

God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the land of Canaan as a habitation.
After Joseph was brought to Egypt, which God used to bless His people, they decided to stay there in the land of Goshen. Praise God that He called His people back to the Promised Land, after their stay in Egypt.

Praise God for the Pharaohs in my life that drive me back to Him.

Egypt is the land of slavery.

At first, it is full of blessing because God uses it. Then, when God is finished, He reveals the nature of it without Him in it: full of slavery and bondage. Then we move on as God frees us from the bondage and by faith we continue on to know the Lord.

That's when I hear His voice:

 

"Arise and go, For this is no place of rest, Because of the uncleanness That brings on destruction." Micah 2:10

 

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Today He Rode

Laura Jean Ruth (Edited for Christian Concourse by J. Johnson)

 

Today He rode very tall
On a donkey very small.
The crowd cried "HOSANNA!"
To the King of Kings.
They thought he'd save them all
From taxes and political things.
Little did they know, five days from today,
They'd cry, "CRUCIFY HIM!!"
And nail Him to a cross to stay.

He went down to Hell for three long days,
But nothing could make Jesus stay.
He rose up higher than the water and the sod;
Jesus went to tell people about God.
Now we have salvation,
So we need not fear;
For very soon Jesus will be here!!!

 

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Please Read The Signs

 (A Message To Homesick Aliens On Planet Earth)

Jerry Johnson

 

Today is the Holy Time ...for more pressure,
more than you or I'm ...able to ignore.
Compromised defenses + exposed deception,
too sensitized senses = imposed perception.
Worry reigning inside ...ego straining outside,
fearing true confession ...nearing blue depression:

This is our burning = this our turning
from this blazing planet ...to our Home!

We need each lamb, it ...is not done alone.
The Eternal Lamb was slain ...making the way His sheep to graze

And Oh, the stabbing pain ...of His quiet searing gaze
As wicked will again ...tries His holy cross to raze
with hidden evil intent ...of my whitewashed motive-maze.

Eye intend to surrender ...before my hope Holy Time decays.
In this, our only Holy Time ...in the realm of churchy pantomime,
the highest among goals ...is to synchronize our souls
to the rhythm of His mind, ...with our neighbors' needs to rhyme.

Yes, neighbor-lambs,
Eye intend to surrender ...to His iron will so tender:
to give you an innerview ...of the new beloved you
in my heart He's molding ...with such gentle-hearted scolding
as we see face to face ...smiling I's ringed with tearful lace;
scar to scar embrace = undeniable wounds of grace:
they are mirrors of insight ...torn, melted, steeled delight
Longlast relinquished pride ...smelted together: the Virgin Bride:

It is The Lord's ...doing...sit up...hear
He's Coming Soon ...ALL need lamp oil

 

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Answer By Degree

Mark Phillips

 

I.
I take half a cup and long for more.
It's liquid chill chased by too sudden
drought. My tongue is primed to receive
the next
draught
of flow and fresh.

II.
At dusk the only star is only
a planet.
I can count to one but long for more.
Slow motion sparks and speaking
of more than my eyes can receive.
You make me long for more.

III.
I ask and you speak. But so silently.
One, two, a few words. Each one fills
a place dry from waiting.
But each reply is spoken in degrees.
Each word to my heart, sailed to my soul
makes me long for more.

 

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You're Invited

Damon E. Wyatt

 

God's light leaps forth to consume the darkness,
God's Word is clear to exalt The Way,
God's Spirit calls to invite all creatures,
Come, Oh come, While it is day.

Yes, we know the night is coming,
Now we know it is getting late.
All the signs are clear before us,
Why, Oh Why, Would we want to wait.

To live without The Savior,
To turn our backs upon The Lord,
To give deaf ears to The Spirit's calling,
Would bring reproach upon our God.

He garnished the heavens, we must look upward,
To the enchantment of the Milky Way.
The ultimate of His gracious bounty,
Should make us live within His say.

But yet we wander far from values,
Fabricating a life of sin,
Compounding the ways of lost, loose living,
When He has put our sins on Him.

Won't you come right now to Jesus,
Enraptured to the throne of grace.
His precious blood He shed on Calvary,
Is sufficient to save the human race.

You are invited to become a Christian,
If not now, is there a better way?
If not here, where will you meet Him?
NOW is the time: COME WHILE IT IS DAY.

 

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God Is In Control

Marina Stevenson

 

There are so many things in this life that we just don't understand. It's the times when things don't make sense that we need our faith the most.

This past year has been one of ups and downs for me. The birth of our fourth child was indeed the most joyous event. Yet as a result of her delivery, my legs were injured and it took many months for full recovery. I was dependent on others for daily activities. Despite this, I was thankful for my family and friends; for all those who gave their time and support to us. I was surrounded by God's love through His people. At that time, it was easy to be trusting, thankful and obedient towards God. A prayer time with God was filled with hope for continued healing and thanksgiving for family and friends.

This past November my father died of liver cancer at 63. Even though we knew for months that his condition was terminal, we kept praying for the miracle of God's healing. Many relatives and friends prayed and supported our family. His death has been most difficult for me. It's been harder to pray and much more difficult to understand. When the death of a loved one occurs, it devastates. There are so many questions and doubts. It is during these hardest of times that we need to hold firm to our faith in God. We must believe that our Father who created, loves and protects us will also care for us and our loved ones when we leave this world. I don't think I'll ever satisfy my questions completely -- why he wasn't healed despite so many prayers, why he had to die now and not when he was older, etc., - but I know that God is in control; I can trust Him. Though we may not understand circumstances in this life, we can trust our Lord to take care of us.

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5,6

 

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Prayer Answered By Crosses

John Newton

 

I ask'd the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek more earnestly His face.

'Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answer'd prayer;
But has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favour'd hour
At once He'd answer my request.
And, by His love's constraining power,
Subdue my sins and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart,
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea, more, with His own hand
He seem'd Intent to aggravate my woe;
Cross'd all the fair designs I schem'd
Blasted my guards and laid me low.

"Lord, why this?" I trembling cried,
"Wilt Thou pursue Thy worm to death?"
"`Tis in this way." the Lord replied,
"I answer prayer for grace and faith.

"These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may'st seek thy all in Me."

 

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O Cross Of Christ

Laura Olmstead

 

O cross of Christ
Why dread I thee?
Art thou not the means
To life's sweet liberty!

As mother have I known
The pain begets life;
As Christian must I learn to love
The Spirit's holy knife.

O mortify, O mortify,
These fleshly members mine
I'm crucified, yes crucified,
To share the life divine.

When yet dead was I
With Christ then unified,
Purified, cleansed, forgiven,
Risen and glorified.

Joined with Christ I die,
Yet joined with Him live I.
The Spirit's wings doth lift me
When I am crucified.

 

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Tame My Heart

Mark Phillips

 

Tame my heart,
This wild steed runs too free.
Put the bit in mouth
and confine and domesticate me.
Arrest my heart,
Criminal charges bring.
Try me and convict me,
then chained to your side new songs I sing.

Conquer my heart,
This rebellious domain,
Rule by power of love,
prisoner of war, I serve you slain.
Captivate my heart,
Just the gaze of your eyes
or one word from your mouth
and life begins as my struggling dies.

 

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You Are Not Alone

Temple Richardson

 

And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20

 

"You are not alone;
I am here with you.
Though you're far away,
I am here to stay."

 

These are the words to a Michael Jackson song. Although he wrote the song about a person, I think of God in my life when I hear it. He is never far from me, even in years when I have not been close to Him. I often pray for God to take my hand and show me the path to walk. It helps to know he is holding my hand through life's journey.

 

I lift up my eyes to the hills -- where does my help come from? My help comes from The Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your feet slip -- He who watches over you will not slumber. Psalm 121

 

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All Things New

Matthew J. Barlow

 

Thru the travail of all the ages
Men have sought a Valhalla of peace and rest.
This longing for justification and pardon
Ever beats deep down in the human breast.

Thus the hope of eternal joy and redemption
Written upon the winds of adversity and rue
Came to when the Everlasting proclaimed,
"Behold, I Jesus make all things new!"

This yearning for a true final justice
I, Jesus implanted in the heart of man,
So be not dismayed, I have overcome the world,
Your redemption draws nigh at hand.

Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden.
My grace is sufficient for you.
Come mount up with the wings of eagles
"Behold, I Jesus make all things new!"

Midst all your blind searching for riches and pleasure
I have never, no never forsaken you.
In Me rests all power and glory,
Behold, I Jesus make all things new!"

Cast aside all pride and vainglory
Come drink from the fountain anew.
I am that hope nurtured by men of all ages,
"Behold, I Jesus make all things new!"

 

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No More Promises

Leo Parenteau

 

FROM: Leo Parenteau
TO: Christians
RE: IF YOU WANT TO BREAK AN OLD HABIT

Three Releasing Principles:

1. In prayer, admit that you are desperate to break old sin patterns.

2. DON'T try for victory all by yourself.

3. EXPECT a miracle from God.

NO MORE PROMISES. They are just another way of reaching for victory all by ourselves.

Instead, EXPECT A MIRACLE.

Simply trust Jesus to break the bonds and bring freedom.

 

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A Heart Craving For Place

Mark Phillips

 

Above it were cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Hebrews 9:5

 

Light to the darkest soul, and sight to the blind,
You are,
riches to the poorest, fullness for the empty.
Yet as I journey home,
a heart craving place,
fogs from craters greater than time
and space, creep like stealth
and steal my sight. The cloud of unknowing
cancels every painful perception won through
grace and groaning.

Hands to the helpless arms, and feet to the lame,
You are,
humble for the mighty, glory for forgotten.
Yet I stumble on, (oh trembling stumbling),
driven by desire, pursued by holy passion,
drawn by divine dawn.
A sunrise to pierce and make patchwork the
fog.

I know the way now, follow the signs,
promptings and writings and loving lead me
home.
Paid for the penniless, and died for my sin,
You are,
alive for the once dead, risen for the helpless.

Stumbling becomes walking, light brightens
through faith's grasping and pursuit.
Still dimly seeing afar, but seeing still,
As I see You beckon me,
Though beckoning began before my sight.
And now I sit, at rest and ready, heart
freed, cleaned, seeing and safe. My High Priest
and perfect, at His side I sit.

 

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Lukewarm

Edward Miller

 

I Know Your Deeds, That You Are Neither Cold Nor Hot; I Would That You Were Cold Or Hot. So Because You Are Lukewarm, And Neither Hot Nor Cold, I Will Spit You Out Of My Mouth...Because You Say, "I Am Rich ...I HAVE NEED OF NOTHING.. Revelation 3: 15-17 (NAS)

 

LUKEWARM IS THE MOST DANGEROUS OF ALL SPIRITUAL STATES!!

The problem mentioned in the seventh church [of Revelation], Laodicea, was exactly the same as the problem referred to in the church of Ephesus with this difference: The Expression Of The Problem In The Seventh Church Was Far More Subtle Than It Was In The First Church. This progression of subtlety from church to church is clearly evident as each of the churches moved closer and closer to the real truth. Each of the churches, in the order of the Bible record, appeared to be more spiritual than the one that preceded it. In fact, it was this Appearance Of Spirituality that made the error so insidious and dangerous. The warning the Lord Jesus gave to the church of Laodicea (He would vomit them out of his mouth) was the most severe of all His warnings because the church of Laodicea had come closest to the truth, Without Having The Truth. Their appearance of spirituality blinded them to the reality of Christ as their life. Oh, how we thank the Lord that He has exposed this terrible possibility to us, that we might be delivered from the most dangerous of all spiritual conditions -- The Danger Of Being LUKEWARM!!

The church of Laodicea made three great boasts. They boasted that they were incredibly wealthy. They claimed that they were luxuriously attired. They prided themselves in their perfect vision. "We are rich, we are clothed, and we are able to see clearly!" Now we must not forget that these boasts were religious! This church was not, as far as the record goes, a worldly church. Their claim to riches was not what our Lord Jesus referred to as love of mammon. It was a spiritual coin they gloried in. They believed they were, "Rich In Jesus." When they spoke of their nakedness being covered their reference was not of jewels and furs and expensive fabrics that would cover their body; NO! They spoke of "Spiritual Dress." They were exalting in being "Clothed In The Righteousness Of Christ." Their boast of eyesight was also a spiritual boast. They were not glorying in human wisdom; it Was Spiritual Insight They Claimed. Illumination! Insight! Could anything be more spiritual sounding than this, "I Am Rich In Christ; I Am Clothed In The Righteousness Of Christ; I Can See By The Holy Spirit Of God"?

Clearly, the Lord Jesus viewed things differently. His advise was to, "...Buy From Me Gold Refined By Fire, That You May Become Rich..."; Jesus saw them as naked, not covered -- "...I Advise You To Buy From Me...White Garments That You May Clothe Yourself And That The Shame Of Your Nakedness May Not Be Revealed...." He considered them blind, "I Advise You To Buy From Me...Eyesalve. Anoint Your Eyes, That You May See...." There was a terrible ignorance in this church as to their true condition. The adjectives the Lord used to describe them; "Wretched, Miserable, Poor, Blind and Naked", certainly revealed that, in reality, They Were Very Far From What They Imagined Was Their True Spiritual Condition.

At first glance, it may appear that the problem of the Christians in the church of Laodicea was self-sufficiency; trusting their own resources, efforts or wisdom to meet the needs of spiritual wealth, covering and eyesight. But it was far more subtle than that. Self-trust is a terrible thing and God reminds us that only a fool trusts his own heart. Self-Trust attempts to meet needs without The Lord! The problem with this church was far worse than self-trust; this church was lukewarm! The essence of their error, in the analysis of the Lord Jesus is, "...Because You Say...I...Have Need Of Nothing...." Self-sufficiency attempts to meet it's own needs; The Laodiceans Claimed They Had NO Needs!

They are not supplying their needs; They Are Denying Their Needs! They were denying their needs because they had, What They Considered To Be, a high view of the Person and work of Christ. All their needs had been meet in Jesus! They Had Arrived! They Were Full! The Lord had provided everything for them so that they were complete in Him!

This Was Their Condemnation: THEIR CLAIM OF NEEDLESSNESS!!

All instructed Christians rejoice in the truths that we are rich in Jesus, clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, and by the ministry of The Holy Spirit, illumined to behold Jesus in the Bible. We Are In Serious Trouble, However, If We Embrace Those Truths In Such A Way That We Are Left Without Needs. It is in reference to this church that the Lord Jesus pictured Himself as the One who is outside the church door calling and knocking, seeking permission to regain an entrance. He is on the outside!

If They Have No Needs, Then They Do Not Need Jesus!

Oh, how sad! To be so rich in the spoils of the cross; so orthodox as to the truth of imputed righteousness; so illumined by His grace that there is no practical need of Him! May the Good Lord have mercy on us if we ever come to the place of needlessness.

The Greatest Need The Church Has Today, IS THE NEED TO SEE IT'S NEEDS!!!

What exactly, is meant by the Lord's accusation that the church was lukewarm?
So much has been said and written about these three words of our Savior: Hot, Cold and Lukewarm. The term, "a hot Christian" is often understood to mean, one who is zealous in the things of The Lord; the person most involved with the book of God, the people of God, the will of God and the glory of God. A cold Christian, on the other hand, is regarded as the opposite. Cold, describes the spiritual temperature toward God. This attitude is usually illustrated in "the prodigal son", the backslider, the worldly person, or the selfish! The cold Christian is the one who has tried to save his life and is bound, therefore, to lose it. The lukewarm Christian, it is thought, is somewhere in between hot and cold, the zealous and the backslider. Lukewarm is the word that describes mixture, compromise and half-heartedness.

Although this is the popular opinion concerning these words, there is serious question as to whether these are the concepts The Lord intended to convey. Jesus intended something that is far more basic and spiritual than the external measurements that would interpret hot as zealous, cold as backslidden and lukewarm as compromising.

It is the SPIRITUAL conception of lukewarm that makes the principle so powerful and important in the life of every Christian.

HOT Is The Ideal! It Is The Most Desirable Quality To The Heart Of God. When We Are Aware Of Our Desperate Needs, And Then Trust Jesus Alone To Meet Those Needs, WE ARE HOT!! Oh, how God's heart would rejoice if we always lived this way!

COLD is the opposite of that. When We Are Aware Of Our Desperate Needs, But We Foolishly Look Away from Jesus And Attempt To Meet Our Needs By Some Other Means, We Are COLD!

LUKEWARM is the most dangerous of all spiritual conditions, because It Has No Recognition Of Need. We can understand why the Lord Jesus preferred cold or hot to lukewarm. If we are cold, the Lord can engineer our steps by His providence to reveal to us the futility of our attempting to meet our needs outside of Jesus. There Is Some Hope If We See Our Need! But if we are lukewarm, figuratively speaking, we tie the hands of God! If we will not acknowledge our needs; if we consider ourselves full and complete; if we think we have arrived, Then There Is LITTLE Hope! If we have no needs, we have no room left for Jesus who is preeminently a need-meeter, to work in our lives! Oh, the tragedy of being blind to our blindness! Nothing Brings About Spiritual Death As Quickly As Being Unconscious Of Our Needs.

It Is A Paradox To Realize When Christ Meets Our Need, The Need Does Not Go Away!

It is not as if we come to him as an empty pot crying, "Fill Me! Fill Me!", then, being filled, we no longer need Him, or His filling. We Come, Rather, As An Empty Pipe Which Needs The Continual Flow Of Water To Keep It Filled. There must be the recognition of the everlasting nature of our needs; a continuous supply must sustain the fullness!

Our Needs Are ALWAYS Being Met In Jesus.

When The Lord unveils Himself to us as the Shepherd, our sheep-nature rejoices. That does not imply that the need of the sheep disappears with the revelation of The Shepherd. The Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not want is an everlasting reality! Our first experience of the Lord was when, as guilty sinners we cried out to the Lord Jesus as an all-sufficient savior. We Are Sinners Still! The need was not dissolved by the meeting of the need. He became in order to be! -- A King to be a King; A Father to be a Father; A Savior to be a Savior; All to be All! As the everlasting God, He provides our everlasting needs. No One Would Suggest, In The Physical Realm, That One Meal Would Satisfy Forever Our Desire For Food, Or one night's rest answers forever our need of refreshment, or that our lungs, being filled once would no longer cry out for oxygen.

Our Needs Are Continual; His Provision Is Continual!

The dear saints at Laodicea became so occupied with their wealth-in-Christ, the garments of salvation and the revelation of Christ, They Imagined That Their Needs Had Disappeared. It rang like unbelief in their hearts to suggest, "We are rich in Christ, but we are still poor in spirit; We are clothed in His righteousness, but we are still naked; He has opened our eyes, but we continue to be blind." That Is Not Unbelief! That Is Not Contradiction! That Is SPIRITUAL PARADOX! The living Lord Himself is our wealth; He is made unto us, righteousness; He is The Glorious One who fills up the landscape of our vision! I am sure there is a wrong way for new convert Christians to stand up and testify, "We are wretched! We are miserable! We are poor! We are blind! We are naked!" Some might conclude, after hearing that witness, that The Lord is doing nothing for these Christians. There is also a correct way to declare the paradox. "We are wretched, but He is the joy of all our wretchedness; He is the balm of our misery, the wealth of our poverty, the light for our blindness and the covering for all our moral nakedness." However we word it, We Must Never Believe We Have No Needs! We must never claim a fullness that allows no emptiness! We must NEVER be Lukewarm!

There is mercy in The Lord, even for the lukewarm.

As the Savior closes his message to the church of Laodicea, He pictures Himself the suppliant at the door. Perhaps, as He is knocking and calling to those who imagine they are without needs, He is wooing them in the very words the groom used in the beautiful Song of Solomon, "...Open To Me, My Sister, My Darling, My Dove, My Perfect One...." His Knocking Is Courting! He desires to come in as the guest and supper with us, and soon as we admit Him as our guest, He will become the host and begin serving us and meeting our desperate needs.

Jesus is the happiest when we allow him to meet our needs!

The closer a teaching comes to the truth without actually being the truth, the more dangerous that teaching becomes. Nothing is more dangerous than being lukewarm. There is only one safe-guard against that subtle danger. Laodicea substituted creed for Christ. They separated truth from Jesus. Truth Is Not An Abstract; Truth Is A Person; Truth Is A Title For Jesus! May we ever draw our life from Him who is Truth!

May we ever rejoice in The Lord for our incredible riches in Christ Jesus; may we ever exult in The Lord for the marvelous provision of a perfect righteousness to cover our moral nakedness; may we ever thrill at The Lord for the grace which opens our eyes to spiritual reality;... MAY WE NEVER BE LUKEWARM!!! Our wealth, our covering, our ability to see is only realized in living union with the Lord Jesus Christ. In Heaven, the dear Lord will prevent our needs, but here He meets them!

Let Us Not Keep Him Waiting At The Door A Moment Longer!

 

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Giver of concord

Charles Wesley

 

Giver of concord, Prince of peace
Meek, lamblike Son of God,
Bid our unruly passions cease,
By thine atoning blood.
Us into closest union draw,
And in our inward parts
Let kindness sweetly write her law,
And love command our hearts.

Saviour, look down with pitying eyes,
Our jarring wills control;
Let cordial, kind affections rise,
And harmonize the soul.
O let us find the ancient way,
Our wondering foes to move,
And force the heathen world to say, "See how these Christians love!"

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

 

Mark Phillips is an active Christian poet whose work we discovered on the internet.

Laura Olmstead is a very busy housewife and mother.

Cheryl Chambers, Marina Stevenson and Temple Richardson are members of The Church of the Good Shepherd in Norfolk, Va. Their works were taken from a collection of Lenten Meditations compiled for the congregation by their Rector, Ross Wright.

Ed Strange is the former pastor of Churchland Christian Fellowship, in Portsmouth, Va., adjunct hospital chaplain, and member of the board of Tidewater Crisis Pregnancy Center.

Laura Jean Ruth is a sincere Christian and a teenager with a special gift for baby-sitting.

Jerry Johnson is the Director of Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc., and pastor of Good Shepherd Community Chapel, Portsmouth, VA.

Damon E. Wyatt is an old-fashioned, hard-preaching, evangelist from Portsmouth, Va.

John Newton ( 1725-1807) wrote "Amazing Grace", an English sailor and pastor.

Matthew J. Barlow (1915-1980) was a member of First Church of God, Norfolk, Va.

Leo Parenteau is an insurance salesman living in Cedar Park, Texas by last report.

Ed Miller is a Bible teacher in Newport, R.I.

Charles Wesley ( 1707-1788) was an English clergyman, poet and hymn writer.

 

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The Ministry of Christian Concourse

 

In the name of Jesus Christ, this ministry is dedicated to God for the development of practical tools with which we may harmoniously enhance our relationships and our service within the greater interdenominational Church. As the full-time Director, the President and the founder of this ministry, I seek to follow our Lord in each step of our progress. In prayer and consultation with other Christians, we have established an organization that is flexible yet faithfully focused on our goal of promoting The Good News of Jesus Christ and Christian Accord among believers.

To that end, our labor encompasses activities in three distinct areas:

Nursing Home Ministries
Christian Publications
Small-group Bible Studies

The long-term care facility arena is a perennial opportunity for Christian service. My wife, Dar, and I conduct "church services" in several care centers each month, and we have been instrumental in helping many others start. The ministry collects and distributes "care packages" for nursing homes year 'round.  There are over 130 facilities in Hampton Roads. It is our goal to see all of their Christian volunteer needs met.

The publication of "The Journal" answers our burden to offer Christian writers the opportunity to share their work. We minister to them by providing the opportunity to be in print and, in turn, they minister to the Christian community that reads them -- both without fees or subscription costs. We know of no other publication of its kind. The criteria for consideration of an article is that it should magnify Jesus Christ or encourage others in their faith in Him.

Our inductive Bible study format, Chapter & Verse, has been developed especially for interaction with a small-group. The type of study we have designed does not impose on someone what we think they should believe the Bible means. Rather, we guide the serious Biblical student toward discovering for themselves what God meant when He recorded it. We also present the Focus On The Family video series, "That The World May Know." This suite of seven volumes, with several lessons each, is a Biblical teaching tool for the spiritual growth of believers, using the historical, cultural and archeological settings of Ancient Israel.

All of our ministry is provided without cost. We are supported solely by freewill offerings.

As you can readily see, each of these areas of endeavor incorporate tools that bring Christians together in meaningful activities. I strongly believe that in God's eyes, though there are many assemblies, there is only one Church in each locality. And I am equally convicted that our Heavenly Father wants us to act like it! It is my prayer that these efforts will, in a great way, effect that reality.

Gerald T. Johnson
Director of Ministry

 

 

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© Copyright 1997, 1998, 2010 by Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this journal may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.

Content - © Copyright 2010, 2011, 2014 Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc.  All rights reserved.

 

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