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A Guide to True Peace cover

A Guide to True Peace

Upon first hearing about “A Guide to True Peace” and its influence upon one pastor A.B. Simpson, I did what I always do when seeking an older publication—I tried to find a free copy online. Though it has long been in the public domain, I was surprised I could only find a single rough scan of the 1815 edition. (There was originally an 1813 edition that underwent some refinements and emerged as the 1815 copy.)

Being that the scanned copy of the 1815 edition was rough, smudged and cut off in places, I felt compelled to send it out for transcription into this cleaner, digitized format. When the transcription came back, it too needed work, and so I was blessed with the opportunity to groom this edition line by line. An intimate process, to be sure!

Through this effort, I have come across several typographical errors and places where modern spelling conventions scream for correction, however I have chosen to leave most of these events untouched. These errors were not a result of the transcription process, but were actually found in the 1815 edition itself. My desire is to leave you with a very true copy of that edition, right down to the page separations and Roman numerals.

Having invested time into studying the work of A.B. Simpson, I recognize him as being a man who understood the character of our Creator better than most. If Simpson points to “A Guide to True Peace” as one of the most influential writings in his spiritual walk, you can be sure it offers priceless insight for you as well.

I hope you enjoy this 2017 resetting of “A Guide to True Peace.”

Download “A Guide to True Peace” PDF

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Matthew Schoenherr

Matthew Schoenherr

A Little About My Spiritual Journey

I was born and raised a Catholic. As a child, I always had a close relationship with the Father, though it would many years before I truly understood the deity of Christ or could claim a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. Growing up, I would pray every night before drifting off to sleep. I was the only kid I knew who would occasionally cross the parking lot to the church to sit with God in St. Patrick’s large, empty cathedral while my friends played during recess.

Still, by the time I reached high school, I had little respect for God’s Word and certainly didn’t understand it. But hey, I was going to church twice a week, so I must be in good standing, right?

Around age 18, I experienced my own personal apostasy when a Jehovah’s Witness friend ask me some tough questions I was ill-equipped to answer. She asked me questions like “Why are there no women priests?”, “Did you know the Catholic church helped to fund the pill?” and “Why would a parent of unconditional love condemn their children to fiery, eternal damnation?”

These questions blew apart my fragile Catholic faith (if you can call it that) and I spiraled into an agnostic haze for a couple decades. Through that time, I maintained a loose relationship with the Father, defining Him as was comfortable for me to live for myself in whatever fallen way I chose. I still prayed occasionally (usually when my choices led me to a humbling low,) but Jesus became “a good teacher” and the Holy Spirit was still some mythical power given to the Apostles about 2,000 years ago.

By my early thirties, I found myself married. My wife and I came from two different sides of the spiritual tracks. I was the disaffected Roman Catholic and she was the liberal New Ager. For me, the last straw from the Catholic Church was when the priest (who always read his sermons anyways) played an audio tape from one of the church officials petitioning for money again. Feed their spirits and they’ll feed your coffers, I thought. It was the good excuse I needed to leave the church. We were barely surviving popping out four children in five years anyways, so taking a couple spiritually-nullifying hours every weekend was a luxury I easily dismissed.

As the children grew older, we taught them to pray over meals and at bedtime. We hoped a connection with an ever-present God would bring them emotional stability when Mom and Dad weren’t around for life’s challenges. Spiritually, we plateaued here for a few years.

One day, my stepfather loaned me a book called “The Harbingers” by Christian rabbi, Jonathan Cahn. In it, I saw the very real hand of God on America. As a result of that book, I resolved to commit a couple hours every two weeks to growing my relationship with God by returning to church. Trinity was the closest church I knew, so I gave them a shot. I wasn’t hopeful. Years prior, a friend had loaned me a tape by pastor Brad Mitchell where he actually promoted the Iraq war. Even in my spiritual ignorance, I found war to be completely uncreative, errant and un-Christ-like. Still, I visited Trinity anyways and pastor Marvin Williams delivered a great message that hit me square in the chest. Next, I began bringing my oldest son. Then my wife surprised me by suggesting the whole family attend. We’ve been going to our non-denominational church ever since.

Even though I was attending church service, I was still full of questions. If Jesus says we can do “all these things and greater,” why wasn’t I seeing it in the Church? What about His lost years in the Bible? (Really? Two decades of His life unrecorded?) And what about that whole doctrine of being sent to eternal damnation by a Father who loves unconditionally and with unending mercy?

I began starving to know Jesus’ path. I decided meditation had to be part of the answer. I looked on YouTube for “guided meditation” and found an eastern guru teaching Kriya yoga meditation. I chased this path for about a year until some well-meaning Christians found me on Facebook and YouTube and offered me new information. Still, I hadn’t completely let go of the eastern meditation arc until God placed a spiritual mentor in my life. This Christian man asked me the right questions and pointed out I was trying climb the wall to God without going through the narrow gate of Jesus Christ. Enter my salvation experience and re-baptism.

From here, the regeneration—which had been going on for years by now—heated up. Professionally, my energies shifted away from chasing the Almighty Dollar and toward studying the Lord, His character, His promises and who He calls us to be. Near the end of 2014, I began dismantling my web practice. After over 20 years in the online marketing industry, we had managed to build a solid client list, however something was still.. missing.

The fact is, marketing work doesn’t feed the soul as much as it feeds the ego. And, as my ego became diminished through the spiritual quickening offered by meditation and prayer, I began to realize the ONLY thing in this life that would fulfill me (or any of us) is a deeper relationship with our Creator.

In fact, I think that’s about the only reason we’re here.

As 2015 began, this revelation was further reinforced as I pushed out over 400 accounts in a few short months. That was when I truly realized all I had been building for the past 20 years was smoke. It was nothing. Temporal.

Professionally, I no longer take on any new clients whose work does not point others to God. I work as a digital marketing manager at the State of Michigan housing authority for the steady income. I have returned to school to pursue a degree in religious ministry.

On the spiritual front, I am growing in my identity in Christ, spiritual discernment and authority. I am studying healing and its place in ministry, and am recognizing the huge importance of spending time in that secret space with Him every day.

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Matthew

Dark Fire cover art

Spiritual Warfare: A Warning About Children’s Books

Around quarter past seven one evening, my oldest son Gabriel holed himself up in the bathroom. At first, I didn’t think anything of it, expecting only a simple nature call. After a while past, I went to check on him. As I neared the restroom, I could hear his mother counseling him from inside. As any nosey parent would do, I listened at the door to see if I could overhear the problem. Seemed he was distressed by a Tolkien-esque series of books he had been reading all weekend.

Eventually, my wife and son emerged from the bathroom. My wife told me my son was going to bed and that I needed to go talk with him. She said she had asked him if he wanted Dad to come in and talk with him, but he had said, “No. Dad will just want to pray and I don’t want to pray.”

Hmm..

I went to his bedroom. The light was off and he was already in bed. I flicked on the light and told him to sit up as I took a seat in his reading chair.

“What’s going on?” I asked. “Mom asked me to talk to you.”

“I don’t know, ” he moaned, burying his face into this sheets.

“Nope, that won’t do,” I said. “We’re here and we’re going to have a grown-up conversation.” (Frankly, I might have said “big-kid conversation.”)

Gabriel started rocking a little and he said, “I don’t know, okay!? I am just hearing a voice in my head that says I need to either run away or kill myself!”

“What?”

“Yes! It says I need to run away or kill myself!”

With gravity setting in, I said, “Okay buddy. Now listen. There are three voices we hear in our heads: the Holy Spirit, our flesh, and the Enemy. They all sound like us; they have our voice. I can tell you your flesh doesn’t want you to die and the Holy Spirit doesn’t want you to die. That leaves the Enemy. You need to grow up in this, so I want you to do the praying.”

He nodded, took a breath and tried to begin. Nothing came out. No words. He tried a couple times and each time he would gag as he pressed into the attempt, placing his hand on his throat. Finally, in despair, he cried, “I can’t! I can’t do it!”

Faced with a deepening understanding about the forces at work, I said, “Okay, let me. In the name of Jesus Christ, any demonic activity, listening or watching is to cease immediately. You are to go straight to the feet of Jesus Christ without communicating with anything on the way, never to return here again. Go NOW. You are under contact.”

I gave him a couple moments to simply rock back and forth. Then I asked him, “How do you feel?”

“A little better,” he said.

“Okay. Now pray.

The floodgates burst open at this point. Gabriel let out peals of anguish and a simple prayer he repeated over and over, “God, help me!” True biblical travailing. I had never seen my son pray with such an earnest heart. He was truly wrecked and pleading for God to rescue him.

I stood up and placed my hand on his back. I prayed, “Holy Spirit, I thank you for setting Gabriel free from whatever was on him tonight. I know you love him and you call him a son. I thank you for raising him up as a young man in God and I love what you’re doing in his heart….” As I continued to pray, I began feeling an ever-so-subtle energy moving from my hand to the back of his shoulders.

I closed my prayer and sat down again. I asked him how he was feeling.

“Better,” he nodded. “A lot better.”

Right about that time, his mother came in. Cracking a joke to break the tension of the moment, she climbed onto the bed behind him and gave him a hug. She suggested he go to sleep now and he agreed, so she kissed him good-night and left the room. As I hovered over him, I looked into his face and said, “You feel better now, don’t you?”

He smiled, still crying, and said yes. “Is it okay that I’m still crying? It feels weird, but I’m really happy.”

I chuckled at him and said, “That’s the love of God you’re feeling right now. The Holy Spirit touched you. It’s very alright. Keep talking to him. Good night, pal. I love you.”

Turns out my wife had been listening at the door for only the last few moments, so I told her all that had happened. She was a little surprised. She agreed with my decree that book series was to no longer come into the house and asked that I sleep on his floor that evening. I told her I was confident there was nothing coming back to him that night, but I agreed anyways, thinking it might do his heart good to see me there when he awoke.

That next morning, my wife came into Gabriel’s bedroom to rouse me while he was off eating breakfast. Turns out, he had immediately sought out the books he so quickly cast aside in his despair the night before. When my wife asked him why he thought that was a good idea, he explained, “Oh, well it turns out it wasn’t my voice; it was the Enemy’s!”

Okay. Send him in. We need to talk, obviously.

I hadn’t told him anything about doorways or treacherous media. When he came back in, I explained how certain books, video games, shows, music.. you name it.. can open doors into us if we allow them. “You had a spiritual experience, last night, buddy.” I told him how his flesh was going to try to pull him right back into those old patterns and how it was at odds with a spirit that desires God’s love and light. “Does the message speak life or does it speak death? There is no neutral ground,” I said. I affirmed I might be able to work with the Holy Spirit to get him free of something once but that I couldn’t necessarily keep him free; that was on him. I let him know that now that he had been freed of his spiritual attack, he needed to fill back up with Jesus otherwise he was risking opening himself up to worse oppression. (Matthew 12:43-45)

Gabriel didn’t really like this story, but he understood and accepted it with a pouty face and slumped shoulders.

Did Gabriel grow from his experience? Absolutely. A couple days later he handed me Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer,” saying he was uncomfortable with the book because one of the characters received a dead rat for a gift. It was one of several classics his mother brought home from the library in an effort to feed our voracious reader healthier material he would still find interesting. I accepted the book from him, giving him kudos for using his discernment. The following day, Gabriel told me about a book he didn’t pick up at the school library because he recognized it as “spiritually unhealthy” (my words, not his.) He’s getting it.

I feel blessed to have received teaching on the authority of the believer by my church and my studies. Without it, I would have likely tried to reason my son out of his spiritual oppression through natural attempts like logic, mental manipulation, etc.

Glory be to God!

Matthew


UPDATE

Turns out the book series my son was reading was “The Last Dragon Chronicles” by Chris d’Lacey. Apparently, the series grows rife with demonic possession, reincarnation, sorcery and magic. Interesting to note the first book starts off quietly with squirrels and clay statues of dragons. By the time a reader reaches the third book in the 7-book series, per Wikipedia:

“In Fire Star, Gwilanna, the evil sibyl that first starred in Icefire, returns. She plans to reincarnate the last dragon, Gawain, and use him to open a portal to the dragon dimension Ki:mera. If she succeeds, the concentrated fire of all those dragons will be released onto an unstable Arctic, already threatened by global warming and in no need of any more heat to push it over the brink. The wishing dragon G’reth is whisked to another dimension by mysterious forces and brought back with an entity that calls itself the Fain. Meanwhile, David and Zanna are on the trip they won to the Arctic, and David is writing another book, an epic book about dragons, polar bears and a mysterious fire star. But when the book, like the one he wrote before, starts to mirror real life, and when Zanna is kidnapped and presumably killed by polar bears, the expedition is cut short. Back at home, he arrives to find Lucy has been kidnapped by Gwilanna for a ritual to raise the last dragon Gawain. Zanna is proved to be alive and learning the ways of the Inuit in a small village. Then, Gwillana’s plans are revealed by a twist of fate that reunites Liz with her former husband Arthur, who is using a powerful relic of Gawain to affect the flow of time. In the dramatic climax, David, Zanna, Arthur, the Pennykettles and the clay dragons have to side with a polar bear army to stop Gwilanna, as well as a darker evil from the past of Ki:mera and Earth. There is however, a final twist, David is stabbed by one of the Ix controlled humans on the expedition with a shard of ice and supposedly ‘dies.’ (At the end, David reveals that he was not dead, but combined with the dragon, Gawain.)”

So, if you’re seeking a Christian book review on “The Last Dragon Chronicles” by Chris d’Lacey, I can safely recommend against it. Not a good idea for your children to be opening themselves to this kind of spiritual pollution. My son explained the Ix are essentially demons. Avoid this one.

P.S.- Cover art for “Dark Fire”, the fifth book in “The Last Dragon Chronicles,” is pictured as the feature image for this post.

Reference: Wikipedia.org. The Last Dragon Chronicles. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Dragon_Chronicles.

 

sovereignty of God

What Does the Book of Job Teach Us About the Sovereignty of God?

Our holy Father calls us back from the Fall into deeper relationship with Him. As in our natural relationships, part of growing in relationship with someone is gaining clear understanding into who they are; their character.

There are favorite tactics the Enemy employs to lead us astray. In the garden, He attacked God’s Word (Genesis 3:4, “You will surely not die..”) In Job 1:11, the Accuser admonishes God and accuses Job of fair-weather faith (“But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.”) Here, Satan attacks the character of both God and mankind.

Enemy rule

Framework for understanding God’s sovereignty in our earthly lives comes in the next lines. “Behold, all that he hath is in your power; only upon himself put not forth your hand.” In God’s sovereign position, He states the limitations to Satan; in this moment, Job is not to be touched. We also recognize Satan is the ruler of this world; allowed at the fall of Adam and Eve when sin entered creation. This is reinforced in the following scriptures:

  • 2 Corinthians 4:4 (ESV) “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
  • Matthew 4:9 (KJV) “And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (How could Satan offer Jesus the kingdoms of the world if he did not control them? He couldn’t.)
  • John 12:31 (KJV) “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”
  • Ephesians 2:2 (KJV) “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”
  • 1 John 5:19 (ESV) “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
  • Revelation 12:9 (KJV) “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

This completely refutes the common, errant belief that God is in control of everything. Indeed, the powers of darkness were given jurisdiction over this world through the lie of Satan and the selfishness of Adam and Eve when they took their eyes off God and placed them upon the fruit of this world (Genesis 3:16-19).

God is sovereign, yes, but He is not controlling every aspect of our lives. If God was in control of our lives, there would be

  • no reaping or sowing (Galatians 6:7-8),
  • no need for prayer (Matthew 6:6),
  • no one would be destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6),
  • the power of life and death would not be in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21), and
  • there would be no reason for you to be given authority (Matthew 28:18), a sword or the armor of God (Ephesians 6:13).

The belief that God is ordaining every attack in your life is false! Reaping and sowing in ignorance equates to people being “destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 5:6, Isaiah 5:13)

Did God give Satan permission to attack Job?

Some pastors preach if you believe God gave Satan permission to attack Job, you will believe God ordains all sickness, death and loss. Jesus clearly stated the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy and that He came to give life and life abundant (John 10:10). Believing God ordained all your sickness, the untimely death of a loved one, or other loss is certainly error. It sets you up for an estranged relationship with your Heavenly Father and a walk with no authority; just what the Enemy wants. However, the Bible teaches us the storms come to the wise and the foolish alike (Matthew 7:24-27). Your walk as a believer will not be trouble-free. Christ’s promise to us is for a peace that transcends all understanding if we keep our minds and hearts on Him (Philippians 4:7).

Yes, God lifted the hedge of protection around Job after drawing Satan’s attention to Job in the first place.

Does God test us?

If Satan rules this world and God is not to blame for our disease, losses and calamity, how do we reconcile the following verses?

  • Psalm 11:5 “The Lord tests the righteous,”
  • Proverbs 17:3 “The crucible is for silver, the furnace for gold and the Lord test hearts,”
  • Jeremiah 11:20, 20:12 “O Lord of hosts, who judges righteously, who tests the hearts and minds,” and
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:4 “So we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.”

In both examples where Satan petitions to attack Job, God not only pointed Job out in the first place but also set the guidelines for the trials. This is likely for a number of reasons, which may include:

  • God had faith in His servant,
  • God desired to see Job grow in his understanding and relationship with Him, and
  • God held divine intention for Job’s example to be immortalized in Scripture for the development of future believers.

The Father, in His sovereignty, places the limitations upon the attack. 1 Corinthians 10:13 states,

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Here, “temptation” is the same word as “test” in the Greek. If read with this understanding, it is not simply the test of temptation to our fleshly desires, but also the tests of a distracting and corrupting natural world, false understanding and tests through physical adversity and loss.

Are all tests and trials from Satan? No. This brings us back to reaping and sowing and false thinking. So not all tribulation is from the devil, but still, what about protection and Satan’s agency? Does God lower the hedge to test our hearts?

Doesn’t God promise to protect us?

So, how does this work? Does God actually employ or allow Satan to test us through trials? Does He remove protection around us to allow in these attacks? Yes, God even has made a covenant of protection with those who walk with him in Psalm 91. Surely this protection is not completely removed all at once, just as Job’s account illustrates (Job 1:10). Otherwise, Satan would sweep us all to the grave before we could grow one more moment in the Lord!

From betrayal by his brothers, false accusations and imprisonment, Joseph faced many attacks, but in each instance, he kept his eyes on the Lord. As he told his brothers, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Genesis 50:20)

Do our chances for testing rise and fall with the righteousness of our walk? Adam and Eve were seduced in the garden. They possibly walked in the closest proximity with God of anyone until Christ and still fell to their own desires through a simple lie. If you live for the flesh, you will set your heart upon the flesh (Romans 8:5-17).

Even Christ suffered. He was tempted, accused, betrayed, beaten and crucified. He suffered hunger and weariness and grief. As Romans 8:17 states, “We suffer with Him in order that we may be glorified with Him.”

During his ordeal, Job did not see why God allowed his misfortune, however if we look at the result, he and his friends grew in their knowledge of God’s character as a result of Job’s trials. God is much more interested in your spiritual development than He is your material well-being.

Wasn’t it God that struck Job?

Was it “the fire of God” (Job 1:16) that burned up Job’s flocks and servants? No, God did not stretch forth His hand and burn up Job’s flocks in a lightning storm; Satan did. Well then, what about in Job 2:3 where God says Satan moved God against Job to “destroy him without cause.” Does Satan have influence over our Father? No. Just as with the crucifixion of our Lord, Satan blindly plays right into God’s plan here in Job. As God says, “Have you considered my servant, Job?” God draws Satan’s attention onto the subject of the next test. In Satan’s rabid distaste for humanity, he charges headlong after the bait and by the end of the story, Job has been magnified.

Is Satan a fool to participate in our downfall then?

Unfortunately not. If his fiery darts often derail and distract the most dedicated Christians, imagine his success with those who are in the world and have not sought to be set apart from it. As illustrated in 1 Peter 5:8, Satan prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Every now and again, a Christian may resist the Enemy and win a victory, but as the Accuser, suffice it to say Satan already has a low opinion of our character. This is why it is so important for us to grow in our identity as sons and daughters, made in His image!

The Butterfly: A Map of Testing, Death and Rebirth

“But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:” (Job 12:7 KJV)

Consider the butterfly for a moment. In the cocoon, the caterpillar dies, its insides literally turning to soup. Over the next few weeks, a new creature is established. This new life is a completely different design, even down to what it will consume for fuel. During the butterfly’s birth, the cocoon itself serves a final purpose. If a butterfly is freed from its cocoon thereby avoiding the struggle to emerge, the fluid in its body will never be pushed into its wings to straighten them. Without the use of its wings, the butterfly cannot take flight and will die.

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” (Romans 1:20 KJV)

Could this not be an eye-catching clue from the Divine Artist who spoke the cosmos into existence and who paints in light and sound and consciousness? How are we to learn to live in faith if we never have our faith tested? If Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and He met with adversity (from Satan, nature and mankind,) can’t we expect to as well? Does not a seed have to die in order for a great tree to be born? Are we not called to die to self daily, in order to be grown up in Him?

Summary

Often we are guilty of thinking of ourselves and others as the bodies we wear, but Genesis is very clear: we were created in His image. We know from John 4:24, God is spirit. Then so we are too. The Father restores us to the full realization of our true, pre-Fallen identity through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Without tests and adversity in our lives, what reason would we have to grow? With trial, we have the chance to press into Him and His Word (which He honors above all, Psalm 138:2,) through faith and belief in love. When faced with trial then, we keep our eyes on Him and His promises. Our natural minds will want to argue as we bump our heads on the ceiling of our faith but we are called to a higher faith. That faith works miracles, heals all sickness and overcomes death itself. As the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45,) Jesus has come to show us our true identity in the Father. He calls us away from the lies and distraction of the natural world and into life through union with the Holy Spirit.

In all things, we must remember the following truth from 55:9:

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

This is about where I’m landing for now on the sovereignty of God. I think there are still some holes in my understanding on this topic, so if you can help fill them in, I encourage you to comment below.

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References

Got Questions. Retrieved from http://www.gotquestions.org/amp/Satan-god-world.html

Got Questions. Retrieved from http://www.gotquestions.org/amp/God-allow-Satan-attack.html

Answers in Genesis. Retrieved from http://answersingenesis.org/is-god-real/the-creator-clearly-seen/

ye are gods He said

Ye are gods, He said

As I lifted my Bible this morning, I began reading in the middle of John 10. Funny, I didn’t see this yesterday when I read the same passage, but today it seems a deeper meaning is clear. Buckle up. Some may cry ‘heresy’ by the time I’m through.

Here, I’m highlighting John 10:33-38. Verses 22-32 have been included to help with context.

John 10:22-38

22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.

23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.

24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

30 I and my Father are one.

31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.

38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

Today, verse 34 particularly jumped out at me. “Written in your law,” “I said” and “Ye are gods”. My KJV tells me the Master is referencing Psalm 82, a psalm of Asaph. Here it is in its entirety, my emphasis on verses 5-7:

82 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.

2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.

3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.

5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.

6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.

8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

The authors of this KLV study Bible (Reformation Heritage) note “’like men’, literally, ‘As Adam’ (Job 31:33, Hosea 6:7), perhaps an allusion to the fall of the first man, appointed to rule the earth (Genesis 1-3).”

I believe the word “perhaps” here is a gross understatement. I firmly believe Psalm 82:6 is a reference to our state prior to the Fall. This is not to say I think we are gods in the ancient pagan or Mormon sense of the word, but that we—crafted in His likeness and sanctified through faith—grow more God-like the closer our walk with the Father through the radiant indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Genesis 1:26 confirms our original divine nature when it says “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” The escape from the fiery furnace in Daniel 3 and the closing of the mouths of the lions in Daniel 6 backed by Psalm 91’s covenant of protection are only a few examples that further echo this elevated supernatural state awaiting the one who believes the Word of God over their perceived ‘reality’. Christ’s example to us was certainly one of dominion over all nature; even death. He is our example of what it looks like to “subdue the earth” (Genesis 1:28).

In Mark 9:23, Jesus was clear when He said, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” So what do the conservative “believers” do with this claim when it come crashing into their tradition and their powerless walk? “Oh, but that was Jesus,” they say. “He didn’t really mean ALL things are possible.”

No, I think this applies to us. I think Jesus meant what He said.

I think the “all” in “all things are possible” means “all.”

What do you think?

restless water fable

Restless Water

Fable of the Restless Water
You are you, no matter when or who.

One day, a little water droplet awoke to find herself surrounded by the great blue Ocean, reaching out from her as far as her eyes could see. At first, she delighted in exploring all the sights, sounds and sensations the Ocean had to offer, but after a time she became restless.

The droplet went to the Sun and said, “Sun, I would like to become a Cloud. I wish to soar the sky and be adored by all the World.”

The Sun said, “Imagine soaring the sky and you will be.”

So the droplet climbed to the top of her Ocean, closed her eyes and thought soaring thoughts. When she looked again, she was flying high in the sky. She looked down at the great blue Ocean and asked, “Sun, what is the Ocean made of?”

“Water,” Sun replied.

The droplet seemed satisfied with this and enjoyed soaring the sky and being adored by all the World. After a time, however, she became restless.

She went to the North Wind and said, “North Wind, I would like to become Rain. I wish to fall to the Earth and bring life to all the World.”

North Wind said, “Imagine falling to the Earth and you will be.”

So the droplet climbed to the bottom of her Cloud, closed her eyes and thought falling thoughts. When she looked again, she was falling to the Earth. As she fell, the droplet looked up at her Cloud and asked, “North Wind, what are Clouds made of?”

“Water,” said North Wind.

“Oh,” said the droplet, a little confused now.

Once she landed upon the Earth, however, she busied herself with bringing life to all the World. She was quite happy for a time, but—after a while—the droplet became restless.

She went to the River and said, “River, I would like to know who I am. I have been the Ocean, and the Clouds, and the Rain and now I even bring life to all the World, but I still don’t know what I am supposed to be.”

River said “Follow me.”

The droplet joined River and soon found herself returned to the Ocean. The droplet was dismayed by this and cried, “River! I don’t understand! I have already been the Ocean!”

River said, “When you were Ocean, you wanted to be Cloud.
When you were Cloud, you wanted to be Rain.
When you were Rain, you brought life to all the World and yet,
you still became restless and wondered what you were to do.
Know you are Water and—in being Water—you are the Ocean, the Cloud, the River and the Rain.”

And, from that moment forward, the little droplet knew she was Water and felt peace, no matter what she decided to be.