Tuesday, November 13, 2012

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It Is Finished

When was “it finished” and what was finished?

Most people have no concept of what Hell really is. When the Bible says that Jesus went down into Hell, where did He really go? There were two places to go when you died in those days. The first was the “Bosom of Abraham” and the other was Hades. There was a divide between the two places, as described in Luke 16:19-26, the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Since Jesus rose from the dead, there are still two separate places for those who die; Heaven and what was called Hades and is mostly referred to as Hell.

Jesus was not tortured by demons as some teach. He had gone down into the “Bosom of Abraham” and took all those saints to Heaven. He did not empty Hades or take its keys from Satan. The keys to Hades/Hell are now and always were, held by God. God made Hell for Satan and his followers, therefore Satan never had control over it.

When Jesus cried “it is finished”; IT WAS FINISHED. He went into Hell as Savior; not as a victim of Satan. What he had come to accomplish was completed, and the price fully paid. This was not a price set by Satan or man. It was the price set by God the Father for the Salvation of anyone who would repent of their sins and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

We were redeemed when Jesus was on the Cross, not afterward in Hell. “It is finished” meant “it is finished”. Satan, never at any time, as some teach, had any power over Jesus. God is not subject to His creation; His creation is subject to Him. Satan and his followers are created beings. Jesus didn’t enter into Hell as a lost soul. He entered as God and Savior of the world.

This is my view and opinion of what occurred on the cross. When Jesus said “Father into your hands I commit my Spirit” he was no longer abandoned by, but rejoined with the Father. “Father why have you forsaken me” was apparently when, in the twinkling of an eye, the Father had separated their Spirits so that Jesus could commit His Spirit back to the Father. It was at that split second it was finished.

Now for the Christian, to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. In the past, generally speaking, people didn’t go to Heaven when they died (as described above). There were a few exceptions, like Elijah and Enoch, who were translated into Heaven without seeing death. Normally good people went to Paradise/Bosom of Abraham, to await Jesus, while the bad folks went to Hades.

Jesus never died spiritually. He simply gave his Spirit back to being only part of the Trinity, rather than being all man and all God. The man body died, not the Spirit of God. Jesus gave up His man nature on the cross. Jesus never gave up His divinity. He said “it is finished”, not I am finished. That statement meant the price for redemption was paid in full, period.

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Oh Taste And See That The Lord Is Good

One of my favorite scriptures is “O taste and see that the Lord is good: Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.” (Psalm 34: 8). At first glance, I thought, taste? How can one taste the Lord? As time has passed, and I’ve spent more time with the Lord, He has taught me the reality of being able to ‘taste’ of His goodness through seeking His presence while studying His Word. God reveals the reality of Himself to each of us through His Word by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we are new in our walk with the Lord, He feeds us first with little baby food bites, for He knows that each of us comes to Him as little babes in the Lord.

When I first began spending time with Him through His Word, my understanding was very miniscule. One of the first things I remember puzzling over was “for those who have ears to hear, let him hear.” I thought that was a mighty strange thing to say. My first thought was, what in the world does that mean? Everyone has ears. However, as I spent more time in His Word I came to understand that He meant ‘spiritual ears’. When we get into the Word of God, the natural man is blinded to the truth of God’s Word. It is only when we come to Him in faith, that He then opens the eyes of our understanding that we might truly know Him and His ways. I have found this to be a process that is a life time journey. I have discovered that whatever is needed to expand my understanding, He continues to provide whether it has been through preachers, teachers, through precious family members or friends, or through my own individual time of study in His Word. I do know that I have learned much, but there is always so much more that I have to learn, and I yearn to do so. He teaches me more each day. It is so neat how I can read some scripture and think to myself, “O, that’s what it means.” I may think that I have a full understanding of what He is saying only to discover later that there is still a deeper and more complete kernel of knowledge to be gained from within that very same scripture. For me, this fact has only served to help me understand the importance of “be being filled” (by and of the Holy Spirit) as the scriptures convey. God is so very awesome! His wonders are new, exciting, and marvelous to behold.

I can see how an unbeliever or even a new believer might first think that some of God’s Word can’t really be taken literally. Yet, if we would only come to Him with the attitude that His Word is truth, and the element that is lacking is not within His truth, but rather in the lacking of our own finite ability to grasp and understand His truth. First, I had to learn that if something didn’t ‘seem’ to be true that it was a flaw in my own ability to understand, and not a flaw in the Word of God. That is how I came to
realize that I must depend upon the Holy Spirit to guide me and lead me in understanding the truth of God’s Word as given in the scripture, “…Lord, I believe; help Thou my unbelief.” (Mark 9: 24) Faith is a gift from God, which He gives freely to whomever would seek to know Him. It is not something that we can gain or retain separate from God. Faith also is something that grows within us as a result of a daily process as we seek to know the will of the Lord through His Word. That is why walking with the Lord is described as a personal relationship with Him. It is a process of learning to yield to Him in a manner that surrenders my entire self, mind, soul, and body to Him. It is a process through which I willingly give up the right to my own way in order to give Him access to make me more into His image. Why do we so often insist on having things our own way, when being renewed, melted, and molded into His image can only bring us greater rewards than we are even able to imagine?

I urge you to read the precious prayer that Jesus prayed for His disciples, and all who would come to believe in Him found in John 17.
He poured out His heart to His heavenly Father for you and me. Take special note of this part: “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth.” What does sanctify mean? It is the process through which the follower of Christ is set apart for sacred use, cleansed, and made holy.
Note, that it is an ongoing lifetime process. What tool did he say was to be used to accomplish the fulfillment of this process? It is the belief in and obedience to what? Again I repeat the words of Jesus Himself, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is Truth.” It is the belief in and obedience to the Word of God that cleanses us and makes us holy. Once more, note that this is not accomplished in a one time experience, but rather as an on-going process throughout our daily lives.

As I walk with my Lord, I find the journey to be more exciting and precious with each passing day. Knowing that this journey is not just a ‘here and now’ venture, but rather, it is a wonderful adventure that begins here and continues into a never ending eternity with Him, making the trip even more glorious. Along the way, He is eager to make Himself known to us in so many wonderful ways. Through the renewing of our minds by the washing of the water of His Word, He cleanses us of our old sinful nature and restores and remakes our character to be more and more like His. Who,
in his right mind, would not want to be more like Jesus? All that Christ was, is, and does glorifies God the Father. Like Him, as we yield ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit within us, the importance of the things of this world will diminish. Likewise, the value of God and His ways will become more real than life itself. We will find that our hearts will hunger and thirst for that which is pleasing to the one true living God. Our inner being, or spirit, will come to know what it means to be on fire for the Lord. The Refiner’s fire may not always be comfortable, but its results are always more than worth the process of being recreated into His image.

As I think of how to encourage both you and I to spend more time learning from God’s Word, I relate it to the pleasure of dining at the table of a good meal, though that falls far short of the real experience of dining at the table of God’s Word. When we first sit down at the table, we are first enticed by the sumptuous smells that emanate from each well prepared dish.
We await with eagerness the anticipated satisfaction as our taste buds begin to relish the luscious flavor of each delicious bite. We ooh and ahhh as the food is chewed upon to squeeze out every bit of flavor before swallowing each scrumptious morsel of our meal. When we finish, we rub our tummies and feel the relaxing gratification of a terrifically prepared meal.

The Word of God is living. It is active when ministered by the Holy Spirit and will always result in a change for the good in the heart of the believer. As our bodies need food to grow, so also does our spirit need food to prosper and grow. Remember, faith comes (comes and grows) by hearing the Word of God. The Word of God acts like a seed, when it is nurtured and well cared for; it will grow and bring forth fruit. Though enjoying a good meal is great, in reality it can not compare to the eternal and lasting satisfaction of dining upon God’s Word. However, the comparison helped me to gain a deeper appreciation for the fuller meaning of the scripture, “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” I invite you to join with me in the greater pleasures found when dining upon the precious manna from heaven found in God’s own Word.

Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you. He will share with you and I morsels of truth more precious than silver and gold. Each time that I have truly been ‘with’ Him, I have been showered with the glowing warmth of His precious love that He gives so freely. Yet even as I say that, there have been times that I have not made sure to seek His face to glory in wondrous presence. I have stayed away from the table that is always set for me to dine with Him. Then once I have returned to the table, I find myself singing a song directly given from His heart to me. (The following was first written as the last two paragraphs of this story. See a further explanation of its original source found in the PS at the end. For me it has become a ‘melody of words’ written in one of those special precious moments of being in the presence of the Lord.)

Oh Taste And See That The Lord Is Good!

Why have I stayed away so long?
How can I resist such a living song?
The melody of His Word far surpasses any mortal words.
My heart cries out to Thee, O Lord; Let it be; Let it be!
Let me know each moment of every day,
the newness of becoming less of me and more of Thee.
Let my heart, with a new song break forth each day,
as your love surrounds me and ushers me into your Holy presence.
On bended knee, with a humble heart I plea,
keep me close beside Thee
that your love may forever guide me.
That I may know the joy of being one with Thee,
and knowing that you inhabit the praises of your people,
may my voice forever sing Thy praises.
O what joy t’would be to always and forever be found in glorifying Thee.
No suffering can diminish the power of Thy light,
for in your arms no harm can ever be found.
His love, so dear and true, flows out so free to you and me.
Though trials will come, still dim they will become,
when once we keep our eyes on Thee.
Jesus my Savior, I love and adore you,
remembering always that it was you who first loved me.
You stand at the door of each and every heart,
and beckon to us to open the door.
Won’t you welcome Him in and heed His call,
“Come one, come all,” says Jesus our Lord.
“The table is set. Come dine from my table, and you too can know
the truth that stands now and forever.”
Hear His call as He offers this plea to one and to all,
“O taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Ginger Rahn

PS

I was rereading this today, Nov. 8, 2012, and as I was reading the last two paragraphs I thought, did I write this? Suddenly it sounded as if it were a song written by someone. I looked back over the previous paragraphs to find the name of it. Then, not finding a title, I realized it had been written by me. But then upon further reflection, I was struck with the knowledge that no it was not just of me, but rather the overflowing of the Holy Spirit within me during a precious time of talking with the Lord. A musical melody there may never be, but to my heart He spoke this melody of words, imparting a call to always remember how precious the times when we truly come and sit at His knee. It’s in those moments that He makes Himself so very real that you feel as though you could just reach out and touch Him.

I was once again reminded of a moment in time when my oldest son, Rick,
(then about 8 years old) and I, as we were spending time in prayer with one another. I was sitting on the side of his bed, and as we held hands and I started to pray, he started smiling and giggling. I stopped for a moment and asked him, “What’s so funny?” He said, “You’re talking to Him like He’s just sitting right there in front of you.” His words struck me. I remember telling him, “Well Honey, He is!” It still reminds me of the truth of His words – “Where two or more are gathered, there am I.” Isn’t it marvelous to know that God inhabits (He’s right there!) the praises of His people. He is not a ‘pie in the sky’ mythical idea, He is Emanuel, God with us, and in us, His Holy Spirit. Once again I say along with Him, (Psalm 34: 8) “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.”
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Friday, November 9, 2012

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What Is Faith?

Faith is trust, and fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fear equals respect and reverence equals trust and faith. God is God. God does not need faith. There is nothing out of the reach of God; He doesn’t need faith in Himself because He is Himself. The faith of God is meant to be our faith in Him. Faith is what man needs toward God, not from God. God has knowledge and wisdom: God knows and therefore is. God created everything by His will, not His faith. He has given his word so that we can know His will.

How does apostasy and blasphemy enter into the world, and even the Church? By one man, Adam, sin came into the world. By one man, Origen, distorted gospels came into the world; known as the Alexandrian texts. By one man, E. W. Kenyon, the ‘faith movement” came into the world and was handed down and promoted by the likes of Kenneth Hagen, Kenneth Copeland, Marilyn Hickey, Benny Hinn, Frederick Price, Charles Capps, Jerry Saville and others. Thank God, by the one man Jesus, our sins can be forgiven and our relationship with God can be established.

What would God need faith for, and what or whom would He have faith in, us? Faith is the assurance of things not seen. God can see Himself, His angels and those who have gone ahead of us into Heaven. Those angels and people can see Him. We can have the faith that God is real and eventually we will see Him. Faith is believing that fact. The “God kind of faith”, as promoted by the “faith movement”, does not exist, as explained above. We cannot have what doesn’t exist. We can have faith in God.

Just as there are progressives in the politics of our country who want to change things from what the “Founding Fathers” set up, there are progressives in the religious realm that want to change things from what the “Heavenly Father” set up. Both are dangerous and spoken about by the Father in the Bible and the fathers of our country, respectively. The necessity of the progressives to limit the faith of our Father in Heaven is an integral part of limiting our faith in our founding fathers in order to bring in their Socialist agenda.

Job is the best example of the faith movement’s false reading of scripture. Job told the truth and the faith folks say that he brought the bad things on himself by his bad confessions. To come to that conclusion, you have to ignore everything said by both God and Satan in the Book of Job. “Of course, Hinn must ignore the clear context of scripture to deliver his diatribe against Job. When God calls Job upright, Hinn calls him carnal. When God calls Job good, Hinn calls Job bad. When God says that Job had spoken right, Hinn says Job made a negative confession. Several times in the first two chapters of Job, God makes it clear that Job was blameless and upright, that he feared God and shunned evil (Job1:1,8; 2:3). In fact, the Lord even declared to Satan that “there is no one on earth like” Job (1:8; 2:3).”

Currently, in our country, there is a lack of jobs. People say we need to create more jobs. We may need more jobs, but more importantly we need more Jobs. We need more men, who like Job, will trust in the Lord: no matter what! The Lord will supply all the needs of those who trust in Him.

Does God’s definition, of success in life, match ours? In the United States, today, the lower middle class have an easier life than the kings in the Old Testament. We have more gadgets, labor saving devices, shorter working hours, better occupational safety, air conditioning and heat, running water, more abundant food supplies, better transportation, clothing and housing than the old kings ever dreamed of. Do the prosperity preachers mean we should be living like the kings of old or the middle class of today? We know, from scripture, not to build up our treasures on earth. How about – the Lord supplies all my needs: not necessarily my wants, but my needs. Are you put to shame, don’t have enough money to fulfill your wants, sick and haven’t been healed, have shabby clothes, were involved in a wreck, sent to jail and otherwise punished; perhaps you are living like Paul, Peter and the other followers of Jesus in the Bible. He never promised you a rose garden, here on earth. Fight the good fight, run the good race, endure to the end and you will have more than you can dream of in the life to come. We need to take stock of the fact that this life is temporary. It is essentially a test for the life to come.

Rick Rahn
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

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For Believers Only

I can’t believe how depressed and disheartened I am about the results of this election. I had turned it over to the Lord for His will to be done. I guess I hadn’t completely turned my heart over to the result He would determine.

All things in this world are temporary. Only that which is in Heaven is eternal. Did we think that the sins of our nation would go unrewarded? Surely we have been allowed to have what we deserve. The destruction of our nation is at hand. There is a reason that our nation is not mentioned as part of the end times. We, who are in Christ, although we have a lot to answer for, need not fear the coming tribulation. The Lord will supply all of our needs, both in this world and the next. Be steadfastly assured that the events we have seen simply hasten the return of our Christ, for all things work together for good for those who trust in the Lord.

Just as the Hebrews did, time and time again, our nation has turned its back on the Lord. Mostly by inaction, the remnant of the Lords people in this country, have helped to bring about this coming tribulation. There are certainly consequences to our inaction and the things we have allowed to take place. We have sinned against the Lord and are about to reap the whirlwind. Rejoice however in the knowledge the He is still the Lord and He is still in control. Prepare yourself with the knowledge of the prophets of the Bible and the book of Revelation. Beware; the “Day of the Lord” is coming. Therefore, strive all the harder to bring others into the Kingdom, because the time is short. As it says in Colossians 4:5-6:“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

Our plan of action: Pray for those whom God has placed in authority over you. Pray for those in authority to come to know the Lord. Write to those in office, offering your views and opinions. Watch for the wiles and deceptions of the evil one. Vote For those with a Christian world outlook. Trust that God is in control.

Rick Rahn
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Thursday, November 1, 2012

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The Battle Is The Lord's


          God’s promises are for ever, especially when He says they are for ever.[1]  The land God promised to the Israeli’s is a forever promise.  The truly occupied territories in this struggle are in fact any areas in which the Israelis have no control either politically or militarily which are within the original land grant to the Israeli people, by God. 

          I know I might be condemned by some for what I am writing, but I feel compelled to state what I believe to be true.  I am writing to those whose ears will not hear and eyes will not see[2], in hopes to cracking the fa├žade of those who have not truly considered what the biblical facts are.  Whether one is Christian, Jew, or infidel, a realistic look at the facts should be considered.  The Israeli’s are at war, although most of the world does not recognize it.  This war has been declared against them on many fronts. It is the duty of every Christian and Jew to recognize that it is the Israeli nation that is being oppressed and attacked by ungodly peoples.

          Would the God of the Old Testament put up with the ongoing war against Israel?  The answer is no and God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow[3].  If the “Palestinians” did to Israel, in the Old Testament, what they are doing now, God would have instructed the Israelites to eliminate the Palestinians; men, women, children and animals.  

          Although ignored by most of the world, as led by the United Nations, the Moslem war against Christians and Jews is tantamount to genocide and is well documented. Their goal is to eliminate every Christian and Jew in the world.  An enemy is an enemy and it’s hard to pray for them, treat them well, feed them and clothe them[4] while they are shooting at you.  Those aiding your enemy by action or inaction are also your enemy, by proxy.  Where is the outrage from the “moderates” in the “religion of peace” as the Moslems declare themselves to be?   

          If, in the commission of a criminal act, someone who aids or knowingly allows the act to take place, is judged complicit in the act and charged accordingly.  If a Palestinian sees, or knows about, someone setting up a rocket toward Israel, shouldn’t they do everything they could, to stop the criminal act? 

          Terrorists hide among women and children for safety because they realize that the decent people they are attacking will hesitate to respond.  The Israeli’s also realize that the world community will condemn any action that hurts those women and children.  It is a shame that those women and children are complicit, in essence by choice or coercion, by participating in that they are supplying a safety shield.  It’s truly a shame when innocents are used in such a manner; however, the terrorists are fully aware of what they are doing and are fully responsible for the blood of the innocents.  This is the way cowards conduct their evil acts. 

          Abraham Lincoln said: “We shouldn’t worry if God is on our side, but rather if we are on God’s side.”  In order to do this, we need to seek the will of God.  Prayer and study of God’s Word are the steps to knowing His will. 

          In the Word of God we see that if God’s people were attacked, especially without intelligible reason, for conquest or for vengeance, God’s reaction was to give permission to completely overcome the enemy.  This meant to slaughter everyone involved; men, women, children, horses, cows and every thing else. This was because the remnant left would pollute Gods people, and cause them harm.  Disaster always resulted from the remnants pollution of the people; usually by those people bringing “other gods” into the worship of His people.  Worship of a false god/religion, by Bible standards, is against God in the same way the worship of idols is condemned.   God doesn’t want His people (Christian or Jew) to be polluted by infidels.  

          There are people today, which are so controlled by the forces of Satan they need to be destroyed, or brought into the fold.  The primary examples of these people today are represented by those Islamic peoples who trace their heritage to the peoples who God had told Joshua and others to slaughter rather than to make treaties with.  Palestinians are a perfect example of this because, as Yasser Arafat said, they were descendents of the Philistines.  The first people to be called Palestinians were the Jews.  “There is no such thing as a “Palestinian”.  Yasser Arafat claimed ownership of the territories because the Palestinians were descendents of the Philistines.  That was a lie.  In 1967, before the war, the lands that Israel won in battle were occupied by Syrians, Egyptians and Jordanians.  When the war was over, these countries abandoned those people.  Nobody wanted them.  Five times, since 1948, the Arab nations have tried to annihilate the Jewish nation.  Five times the Israeli’s were victorious; yet we see these enemies of Israel’s existence preparing to try again.”[5] 

          Israel is prospering and the countries surrounding it, by comparison, are not.  Could this possibly have anything to do with another promise of God: “I will bless those who bless thee, and I will curse those who curse thee”[6].


[1] Genesis 13:15
[2] Mark 8:18, Romans 11:8
[3] Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6
[4] Romans 12:14-21
[5] Israel, by Rick Rahn, 6-7-2011
[6] Genesis 12:3
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