A BORN-AGAIN BELIEVER

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INTO THE REALM OF MIRACLES

The raising of Lazarus from the dead was a pivotal moment in Jesus’ ministry. It not only foreshadowed Jesus’ own rising from the dead a short time later, but also pushed the faith of Jesus’ followers to the limit.

As Lazarus lay dying, Jesus got his hair and nails done.

As Lazarus lay newly dead, Jesus played another round of pool at the pub.

When Jesus finally made his way towards Bethany and Lazarus’s grieving family, all of his followers were certain that Lazarus was dead. Some of them even blamed Jesus for not showing up sooner to save him.

But God had a plan.

(God always has a plan.)

And God’s plan is always better than everyone else’s. It just doesn’t always look that way.

Jesus knew God’s plan for raising Lazarus from the dead because God told him. But God also told him not to tell anyone else for a time.

He wanted people to believe what they wanted to believe.

It was a test of sorts: A test of faith.

In fact, Jesus said he was glad for our sake that he wasn’t there to heal Lazarus from his illness. He also said that the purpose of Lazarus’s death was to instruct our belief. Imagine the disciples’ confusion when Jesus said that. What kind of lesson required a friend to die?

God always has a plan, and God’s plan is always better than ours. God is never missing in action, even though it may seem that way at times. We think in human terms through our human limitations, but God operates in a realm where the dead can be brought back to life with a simple command. The belief that Jesus wanted us to expand into was the realm of miracles.

Are you still operating in the realm of appearances, trusting only in what you can see and understand? Or have you entered into the realm of miracles, fully convinced that God always has a plan and that nothing is impossible for him?

If you’re born-again, you live in the Kingdom, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve entered into the realm of miracles. Many believers are still like doubting Thomas, wanting to touch Jesus’ open wounds, or they’re like little kids wanting to learn how to ride a bike but screeching every time their father tries to take off their training wheels. And so they wobble along on four wheels, leaning way over to one side, certain they’ve got the hang of riding a two-wheeler.

Pushing into the realm of miracles and finding your faith is like shedding your training wheels and finding your “bike balance”. I still remember the day my father took off my training wheels and ran behind me, holding onto the back of my bike seat. At some point he let go, and without knowing it I was floating along the sidewalk on two wheels all by myself… straight into a neighbour’s front doorsteps. But for the first time in my life, I’d felt the feel of what it felt like to float along on two wheels, and I never went back to training wheels. I’d found my balance on a bike, and that’s something I will never unfind.

Entering into the realm of miracles is similarly definitive. Once you realize that God can do anything at any time, you stop relying on your own limited senses and instead put your trust in God. You just let go and float. That’s the best way I can describe it: You move over a threshold and never want to go back. Trusting means not knowing and not understanding, yet fully believing. I cannot possibly know how God performs miracles, but I know that he does perform them, and that’s enough. Jesus likely didn’t know how God was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, but he believed that God could do it, and that was enough. God worked through Jesus’ belief, and he can work through ours, too, if we let him.

If you haven’t yet pushed into the realm of miracles, you need to get there. You need, as the saying goes, to “let go and let God”. You don’t have to know God’s plan or to understand how miracles work; you just have to believe that God does have a plan and that miracles do work. Or you can keep wobbling down the spiritual sidewalk with your spiritual training wheels on, leaning way over to one side and thinking you’ve mastered the faith thing.

God wants to take off your training wheels so he can share more with you and work through you like he worked through Jesus. Will you let him?

BIBLE READ-THROUGH: DAY 3 REFLECTION (EXODUS 5 – 31:18)

“40 Days and 40 Nights of God’s Word”

DAY 3: JULY 25

EXODUS 5 – EXODUS 31:18

This reading is the meat and bones of the Old Testament. It’s so rich, you could read it every day for the rest of your life and still find something new, something that impresses on you in a way it hadn’t before.

  • It’s good that God told Moses in advance that his efforts to persuade Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go would fail multiple times before finally succeeding. Otherwise, Moses might have given up after the fifth or sixth try. God talks to all his children, to guide and encourage them. This spiritual fact has mostly been lost on Christians today. They think prayer is a one-way channel to God, but the communication flows both ways, as we see throughout the entire Bible. God is a very present God and Father for those who love him and serve him and heed his advice.
  • Interesting that the Egyptian magicians (demon-summoners) could turn a rod into a serpent and back, and turn water into blood, but they couldn’t turn dust into lice, or call forth the frogs, or any of the other miracle plagues that God struck the Egyptians with. Even today, some people who claim to be Christians can perform miracles in Jesus’ name, but they’re actually summoning demons to do the task. Jesus warned us about those people. Just because someone performs a miracle in Jesus’ name doesn’t mean the miracle is from God.
  • Note that the plagues didn’t affect the Hebrews, just the Egyptians. The Hebrews were protected by God. Note also that later in the reading, when the Hebrews are in the wilderness, God tells them they won’t get sick (“I will take sickness away from the midst of thee”). These are the protections promised to those who obey God’s Commandments and other directives. We are not of the world; we are in the world, not of it. Remember that.
  • “SPOIL THE EGYPTIANS!” After 430 years of slavery, the Hebrews were only too happy to take whatever they could get from the Egyptians, and God made sure the Egyptians gave generously. But why on Earth did God direct the Hebrews to take gold jewelry and fabric on their wilderness journey? Would they not have been better off taking food and water? We find out later in the reading that the gold and fabrics are for the building of the Ark of the Covenant and everything that went with it (candlesticks, basins, etc.). God’s directions to you initially may seem odd and even nonsensical, but they always have a purpose, as you eventually find out.
  • The Egyptians thought they had the Hebrews trapped when they heard they were camped on the shores of the Red Sea. The Hebrews, when they saw Pharaoh’s army coming for them, thought the same. But God’s whole purpose in bringing the Hebrews to the shores of the Red Sea was to trap the Egyptians, not the Hebrews. The Hebrews he safely led through the sea on dry land by miraculously parting the waters, whereas the Egyptians who followed after them he drowned. God ALWAYS makes a way for his people. No matter how hopeless and impossible it may look, GOD ALWAYS MAKES A WORKAROUND. We need to remember this for what is coming. You don’t have to give into evil because you don’t see a way around it. God will get you through it HIS way (that is, in a way that you cannot conceive at the time), if you trust him and follow his advice.
  • THE TEN COMMANDMENTS! These are the core of scripture. None of them have changed, and they are all as equally valid today as they were thousands of years ago when God first gave them to Moses. Remember that, at the time, the Commandments were to apply to Hebrews only, so killing a non-Hebrew was not considered a sin. Jesus later expanded the jurisdiction of the Commandments to include everyone, whether believer or not, and God then wrote his Commandments on everyone’s heart, believer or not. So none of us now has any excuse not to follow them. No-one can claim they don’t know the Commandments, and no-one can claim they don’t apply to them. The Commandments now apply to everyone.
  • Do you keep all of them? Your answer had better be “YES!” without thinking twice, or you have some repenting and restorative work to do.
  • Fascinating directive about the altar – you’re not supposed to go up steps to get to it, and if it’s stone, it’s not supposed to be hewn. Strange, but nearly every altar I’ve seen in every alleged Christian church I’ve been to has steps leading up to it and is made of polished marble or some other manufactured stone, wood, iron, or artificial material. I don’t recall one altar in an alleged Christian church that was simply unhewn stone. Anyone know of any? How about graven images of people that are prayed to, decorated, or have lit candles around them – seen any of those in alleged Christian churches? “By their fruits shall ye know them.”
  • I LOVE THE SABBATH! Obviously, God does, too, since he made it a Commandment and stressed that we need to keep it to “refresh” ourselves (his term). The Sabbath was made for our refreshing, so that we can rest physically and mentally and have plenty of time to get another hit of God’s Word without feeling obligated to perform other duties. It is the one day a week to be Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus rather than Martha running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off. There’s nothing better on Earth than spending the whole day with God and reviving yourself through scripture. If you don’t do that, you don’t have the refreshing you need to get through the next week. As Jesus said: “The Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath”. God wants us to refresh ourselves in mind, body and spirit one day out of every seven because he knows we need it. He made us that way.

What were your impressions of this blockbuster reading? Did anything jump out at you that you hadn’t noticed before? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. Happy Sabbath, everyone!

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The BIBLE READ-THROUGH SCHEDULE on PDF is directly below:

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BIBLE READ-THROUGH: DAY 2 REFLECTION (GENESIS 29-EXODUS 4:31)

“40 Days and 40 Nights of God’s Word”

DAY 2: JULY 24

GENESIS 29 – EXODUS 4:31

  • The primary themes of moving/leaving to survive, obedience to God, and having a personal relationship with God continue in this reading. Another theme has also blossomed here, which is the God-given right to deceive, if the deception means the godly survival of the one doing the deceiving. We saw this seed planted already in Day 1’s reading with Abraham passing off his wife Sarah as his sister to ensure their survival among the non-Hebrews, but it really takes off in the reading today. Deception abounds, though not all of it is blessed and encouraged by God.
  • When learning the 10 Commandments after I was born-again, I was intrigued that God commands us not to bear false witness; he doesn’t command us not to lie, although many people misconstrue the Commandment as being not to lie. So lying, in and of itself, is not a sin if it’s used for godly purposes. God gives his children leeway to lie if lying saves their butt and furthers his plan. We’ll see more of this as the readings proceed.
  • I love the story of Joseph! How he had to cheerfully endure injustice after injustice (that is, test after test) in order to end up in a position of authority that would ultimately enable him to save what would later become the 12 tribes of Israel is classic God (as in “the Lord moves in mysterious way, his wonders to perform”). It’s also a good lesson for us on how to deal with adversity (patient endurance), knowing that God is always in control and his plan is on track, even though it may not look that way while you’re in the midst of it.
  • Joseph’s love for his brothers brings me to tears every time. I cry when he cries. Joseph weeping over his brothers reminds me of Jesus weeping with Martha and Mary over the death of their brother Lazarus, even though Jesus secretly knows that Lazarus will be brought back to life shortly. The depth of Joseph’s love and compassion for his brothers’ suffering is intensely moving. He knows he has to make them suffer for what they did to him, but it hurts him to do it. He isn’t punishing them out of hatred or revenge; he is just doing what has to be done, all the while loving them.
  • As with many of the main Bible figures (our spiritual forefathers), most of the offspring of Jacob (Israel) were problem children. They were not like their father. In fact, in their younger years, some of them were downright nasty. Nonetheless, we can see during their interchanges with Joseph in Egypt that they had become godlier with age. But their father’s final blessing of them before his death reveals their core characters, and not all of them are admirable.
  • Note in particular Israel’s blessing of Judah, Jesus’ tribe. This is one of the early messianic prophecies.
  • Even so, warts and all, the twelve sons of Jacobs are the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel and remain so to this day.
  • I like that scripture shows the warts and weaknesses as well as the strengths. It humanizes the people being portrayed. It gives them an immediacy that overcomes the thousands of years and different cultures that separate us. These people are our spiritual kinfolk. They served the same God we now serve. They spoke with the same God we now speak with. And they love the same God we love. This makes them our spiritual brethren, and it’s good that we get to know them through scripture. If and when we make it to Heaven, we’ll get to know them in person.
  • Really looking forward to getting deeper into the Exodus in tomorrow’s reading! Love the “rod of God” that became symbolic of Moses and is still used out of context today for other far less godly purposes.
  • Never a dull moment in the Bible!

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By the way, you’re welcome to post your own reflections of the day’s reading in the comment section. If you’ve posted it elsewhere, just copy and paste it here. One of the glories of God’s Word is that we all see different things in it at different times, depending on what’s going in our own lives and what we need to learn.

What jumped out at you in this reading? What did you see this time that you hadn’t noticed before?

Feel free to let us know! Share it with us below.

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BIBLE READ-THROUGH SCHEDULE ON PDF:

THE WORLD IS UNDER SATAN, AND THAT’S OK

Scripture is very clear that the world is under Satan.

At the same time, we are told by Paul not to resist worldly authorities, as all authorities have been designated by God.

Does this mean we are to put ourselves under the authority of Satan?

Of course not. We live in the Kingdom and are under the authority of God as followers of Jesus. When Paul tells us not to resist worldly authorities, he means not to protest them and their laws or try to remove them from power. In other words, we are to just let them be. The world is under Satan, but Satan is under the authority of God (all things are ultimately under the authority of God) and so can do nothing that is not permitted by God. If we protest the authorities put in place by God, we are protesting against God.

God’s justice is perfect and plays out every day in every way, including in how worldly authorities govern us. At the same time, as followers of Jesus, we are to be in the world but not of the world.

Jesus set the ideal example of how to live in a world that is under the authority of Satan. He never protested the Roman occupation; he let the Roman authorities be. He also never protested against the many arrest warrants that were issued for him; he just went somewhere else. And when his time came, he permitted himself to be arrested without resisting, and he refused to defend himself in court (that is, he refused to oppose the authorities that had him arrested). This is how you live in the world: you don’t get involved in it, and if it tries to get involved in you, you find workarounds (like Jesus did by leaving places where he was under threat of arrest). God will always make a workaround for you so that you don’t have to submit to worldly authorities until it’s your time.

And you’ll know when it’s your time; God will tell you.

The world is under Satan because it is the realm of death and decay. The Kingdom, on the other hand, is indestructible. Satan has no jurisdiction there. So physically, we move through the realm of time and space, death and decay, which is the temporary jurisdiction of Satan, while spiritually we dwell in the realm of the Kingdom, which is eternal realm of God where no death and decay can enter in.

The world is the way it is because of the people in it. If people made better choices, we would have a better world with better leaders. The way the world is today is the end result of all the choices people have made since the dawn of free will (that is, knowledge of good and evil). As well as being very clear in stating that the world is under Satan, Jesus is also very clear in stating that the measure we mete out is the measure we receive in return, mitigated by God’s mercy. In this way, we create our own lives, choice by choice. Make good choices, have a good life; make bad choices, have a bad life. This concept is so simple that even a young child can grasp it, and yet billions of miserable souls that have come and gone on Earth were unable (or unwilling) to make the connection between their lousy lives and their lousy choices.

Taking personal responsibility for our bad choices can be hard. It means humbling ourselves, and most people don’t want to do that. They would rather blame someone else for their mistakes. Pride prevents them from accepting their own culpability in their self-made misery.

Pride is also the major obstacle separating people from God. Pride is a position of obstinacy and rebellion that is directly opposed to Truth, which is why it is elevated to the worst of sins. Satan fell through pride. He is still proud. He did not repent of his pride before his fall and now never can.

Opposing worldly authorities because they institute ungodly laws is a position of pride for those who know better than to oppose such laws. All Christians should know scripture and therefore should know better than to oppose worldly authorities, even when those authorities pass ungodly laws. If, though knowing they’re not to oppose worldly authorities they yet take it upon themselves to do just that, Christians are no better than Satan: They are standing in opposition to God. They are standing in a position of pride.

The world is under Satan, but Satan is under God. If God’s justice is perfect, then the way the world is must be. It cannot be any other way. It is, as a philosopher once put it, “the best of all possible worlds”.

We need to let the world be, regardless of the ungodly laws it institutes. If born-again, we are citizens of the Kingdom, not of the world, so the world is not our concern. The world is under Satan, who himself is under the authority of God. You mess with the world, you mess with God.

Don’t do that.

Follow Jesus’ example instead: The only tables he overturned were those that had no place in God’s house. He let the rest be.

BIBLE READ-THROUGH: DAY 1 REFLECTION (GENESIS 1-28:22)

“40 Days and 40 Nights of God’s Word”

DAY 1: JULY 23

GENESIS 1 – GENESIS 28:22

Three main themes emerge from today’s reading that remain constant throughout the Bible. These themes are established in the early chapters of the Old Testament and continue all the way to the end of the New Testament. The three main themes are: 1) moving is survival; 2) good rewards for obedience to God, bad rewards for disobedience to God; and 3) establishing a personal relationship with God.

  • MOVING IS SURVIVAL

As can be seen in the first reading already, moving equates with survival. Adam and Eve move from the Garden of Eden and survive; Noah moves from his home onto the Ark and survives; Abraham moves from his home in Ur and survives; Lot moves from his home in Sodom and survives, and so on. In every case, God prods his people to move, even if they don’t want to go. They move, they survive; they don’t move, they don’t survive. There is a constant motion of leaving behind the old (like a shedding) and moving towards the new.

Again, this theme of moving to survive permeates the Bible, as you’ll see over the next 39 readings.

  • GOOD/BAD REWARDS FOR OBEDIENCE/DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD

Another constant theme throughout the Bible that’s established in the first reading is rewards – good rewards for obedience to God, and bad rewards for disobedience to him. Noah, Abraham, and Lot are all rewarded with good outcomes for their obedience, while Adam and Eve are rewarded with the bad outcome of expulsion and loss of personal relationship with God. This theme of good rewards for obedience and bad rewards for disobedience is a primary theme throughout scripture and in in fact one of the driving forces that motivates God’s people.

  • ESTABLISHING A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

All of the major figures in the first reading knew God personally. He wasn’t somewhere “up there”, he was walking side-by-side with them in the Garden (Adam and Eve) or having conversations with them about their next steps (Noah, Abraham, and Isaac). Having a personal relationship with God is, in fact, one of the rewards for obedience, and we see it being removed after a certain degree of disobedience (Adam and Eve).

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Other themes are also established in this reading, such as the God’s unswerving protection of his people (his people being those who are loyal to him). What themes did you notice? How do those themes and the ones listed above personally affect you in your everyday life and your relationship with God? And how do you think they might serve as a tool for you in the dark days to come?

BIBLE READ-THROUGH: DAY 1: JULY 23

“40 Days and 40 Nights of God’s Word”

DAY 1: JULY 23

GENESIS 1 – GENESIS 28:22

SUMMARY:

This is probably the densest, most action-packed section of the Bible. As you can see from the Highlights below, the early chapters of Genesis cover all the major events that have become the foundational bedrock of Christianity. You don’t have to know much about the Bible to know the story of Adam and Eve or Noah or Sodom, but today you have the chance to learn about these people and events in detail and in chronological order. If you’re a born-again Christian, this is a history of your people. These are your spiritual kinfolk. Get to know them!

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The creation
  • The temptation and fall of Adam and Eve
  • Expulsion from the Garden of Eden
  • Cain’s murder of Abel
  • Noah’s lineage from Adam
  • The ark and the flood
  • God’s covenant with Noah
  • Abram becomes Abraham
  • God’s covenant with Abraham
  • The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
  • The birth of Isaac
  • Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac
  • Jacob and Esau
  • Jacob tricks Isaac

POINTS TO PONDER:

  • What reasons did God give for expelling Adam and Eve from the Garden? And who is God talking to in Genesis 3:22?
  • Why do you think God decided to destroy his creation with a flood instead of some other means?
  • What does the rainbow signify to God?

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Bible Read-Through full schedule (July 23-August 31) on PDF:

HAPPY BIBLE READ-THROUGH EVE!

Just a few thoughts on “Bible Read-Through Eve” (lol) before we start our 40-day trek through God’s Word tomorrow.

I posted the read-through info yesterday on Godlike Productions, which no, is not a Christian forum, but some of God’s people are there. They took the ball and ran with it, and now we’ve got a whole host of believers joining us on our journey.

Here’s the thread: https://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message4852497/pg1

The GLPers also brought up some good points that I’d like to share with you.

  • A few of them mentioned keeping a notebook and pen handy while you’re doing the read-through, in case you want to write down some words that you’re unfamiliar with or make a note of passages that you want to go back and reread later. This is an excellent idea. However, if you’d rather just read and leave the note-taking for another time, that’s good, too. Do whatever works best for you.
  • Some were under the impression that we’re going to stream a live read-through, which frankly would be amazing, but that’s not what this is. This read-through is each of us reading on our own but reading the same sections of scripture on the same day. If you prefer to have someone read you the Bible, you can listen to the audio version. You can probably find one online. I prefer holding the Bible in my hands and seeing the words in front of me, but some people prefer having the words read to them. As my grandmother used to say: “To each his own!” Whatever works best for you, do it.
  • If you find the daily readings are too short and you want to keep going, you can do as you please. However, it would be best if we all read the same passages on the same day, reliving the spectrum of events together in the same order and more or less at the same time. That’s one of the reasons for doing the read-through together. Maybe instead of going ahead, you could go back and reread some sections that particularly piqued your interest, or you could do an online search on those sections that interested you, to flesh out your understanding with some background material. Or you could do some research on the Bible in general and on how it evolved to the Book we have in our hands today. Again – do whatever works for you, but it would still be best if you could stick with the schedule so that we all finish together on August 31st.
  • If you find the daily readings are too long and you’re having trouble keeping up, just skim over the words and let the ones that speak to you sink in. I can’t stress enough how important it is that the whole Bible be read, not just bits and pieces of it – the whole Bible from cover to cover. If skimming is how you can get through the daily readings, then by all means, skim. But if you find you have time after you’ve finished the skimming, then go back and try to read a little deeper. We are to do this read-through “with loins girded, shoes our feet, and staff in hand” – that means, we’re to do it in haste but with our senses fully tuned-in to our task at hand. Remember: you’ll get out of this Bible read-through as much as you put into it, so give it all you’ve got!
  • A few people on GLP were curious about which version of the King James Bible we were going to be reading. Whatever version you have at hand is the version we’re going to use. If you choose instead to use a Catholic Bible, the schedule will be slightly off and you might get side-tracked by all the footnotes. But I’m not going to tell you not to use a Catholic Bible, if that’s what you want to read. Me, I prefer my trusty olde English KJV.  😀

Finally, I’d like to remind everyone that this is not a competition or a knowledge exam. It’s an invitation and a blessing that will continue to bless you for years to come. Immersing yourself in God’s Word for 40 days and 40 nights will open new doors to you that you never knew existed. God will make a path for you where you thought there was none. I know, because I’ve done Bible read-throughs, and every time I finish, I want to start all over again. God’s Word is addictive, and the blessings that come from reading his Word from cover to cover are enormous.

But don’t just take my word for it – find out for yourself!

We start tomorrow, July 23, at Genesis 1. Here again is the full schedule:

Thank you so much for accepting the invitation to join the read-through and for handing on the invitation to others.

May God bless you for your efforts!

BIBLE READ-THROUGH SCHEDULE: JULY 23 – AUGUST 31, 2021

Please see my previous blog about the Bible Read-Through.

You can get the schedule on PDF by clicking on the dark gray oblong bible-read-through “Download” button below, or you can squint at the two images of the schedule below the Download button.

I’ll be posting the readings early on each of the 40 days from July 23 to August 31, so if you don’t want either to download or squint, you can just check back here to follow along.

This read-through is really important. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not a Bible study, it’s a “loins girded, shoes on feet, staff in hand” kind of reading. It’s urgent and it’s required. I don’t know why it needs to be done now, but God’s leading me to do it now, so I’m doing it.

If your spiritual life were a meal, this Bible Read-Through would be your spiritual veggies. You’re not expected to savor each mouthful, just get the veggies into you and swallow them down. Your body will take care of the rest.

Here’s the Download button for the schedule on PDF:

… and here’s the squinty version:

JOIN THE BIBLE READ-THROUGH: JULY 23 TO AUGUST 31, 2021

For anyone who’s interested, I’m doing a Bible read-through starting with Genesis on Friday, July 23rd, and ending at Revelation on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021.

That’s 40 days and 40 nights of God’s Word.

To read the Bible in 40 days and 40 nights, I’ve divided it into 40 readings of roughly 20 pages each. That should take around 2 hours a day. This is not a Bible study, so a deep reading is not the aim here. I’ll be reading with my lamp topped up and my loins girded, so to speak. Again, this is a read-through, not a study.

I usually read the Bible from cover to cover a few times a year, but not at that pace. (I normally take twice as long.) But God said to do it in 40 days and 40 nights and to finish it by the end of August, so that’s what I’m doing. He also said to mention it to you guys in case you might want to do it, too.

It would be great if we could all read the Bible together at more or less the same time, like a cloud of witnesses.

If you think God’s calling you to do this, I suggest you do it. We’ve got some dark days ahead. Born-agains prep by reading God’s Word and remaining in prayer with God and Jesus at all times. Doing a read-through now will help you strengthen your spiritual muscles. We need to be strong for what’s coming. We need to be strong for ourselves and for each other.

I’ll be posting the 40 daily readings later this week on my blog.

The Bible will be the King James Version.

HOLY GHOST HIGH: THE ONE ABOUT BOOZE AND WINEBIBBERS

Jesus drank.

Alcohol, I mean.

He was accused of being a “winebibber”, which is like being called a drunkard.

I have zero doubt that Jesus was NOT a drunkard. I believe he went to pubs to talk to people and do informal ministry work (no preaching, just listening). Of course he had a few drinks while he was there, but I don’t believe he drank to drown his sorrows or because he was addicted to alcohol. He drank with those around him as a social gesture.

I mention “Jesus the winebibber” because alcohol receives mixed reviews in the Bible. In some cases (especially in the Old Testament), it’s poo-pooed altogether and considered a sign of degeneracy and sin, while in other cases it’s equated with God’s Holy Spirit. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus himself compares the effects of the Good News on a soul as being like new wine. Consider also that Jesus’ first public miracle was to turn water into wine (which was then immediately drunk and judged superior to the earlier wine) and that Jesus used Passover wine to represent the sacrificial blood of God’s new covenant with his people. A few months later, at Pentecost, the disciples are accused of public drunkenness, they’re so over-the-top animated and joyful from being baptized in the Holy Spirit.

I haven’t had a drink in years. I stopped counting just how many a while back, but it’s been more than a few. Over ten at least. Prior to that, I really enjoyed drinking. I started when I was 14. As an atheist, I was a genuine winebibber; I used to call booze my medicine and self-medicated daily. My favourite drink was the first of the day, which I usually had mid to late afternoon. And then I would drink for the rest of the afternoon, all evening, and into the night… and get up early the next morning and pop Tylenol and drink coffee until it was time for the first drink again. I did this for years while working full-time and thought it was normal. I think the term for that is “functional alcoholic”.

The days leading up to my spiritual rebirth I was on a 2-week bender. In fact, all I did was drink and write. I even forgot to eat. But the instant I was reborn, I lost my taste for alcohol and caffeine. For months after my rebirth I couldn’t drink at all. The rebirth process had reset me both spiritually and physically. I had no tolerance for alcohol or caffeine, though I slowly rebuilt it over time. I also couldn’t write anything beyond a grocery list for three years after my conversion.

Spiritual rebirth is a total reset of mind, body, and soul.

Years ago, as a Christian. I worked for the Salvation Army for a few months. They have a strict no-drinking policy for their members and heavily promote their 12-step program made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous. I do not support the 12-step program, nor do I support the Salvation Army any more. I believe that any attempt to overcome addictions needs to be done on a spiritual level. I also don’t believe that “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic”, any more than I believe “once saved, always saved”.

Alcohol addiction is not a physical or mental disease; it’s a spiritual stronghold that can be broken by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, and an alleged Christian organization like the Salvation Army should know that. When I was born-again, God healed me from alcoholism instantaneously. That’s how miracles work – instantaneously and perfectly. I went from being an alcoholic one second to a tee-totaller the next. No 12-step program or a lifetime of creepy and controlling “mentors” required.

As I grew and matured as a believer, God let me drink again on occasion, though I never used alcohol as a means to feel better. It was more a social thing. Eventually, I lost my taste for it altogether and gave it up over a decade ago now. I don’t miss it, but I am looking forward to having a nice big glass of perfectly chilled heavenly champagne at the wedding feast, if I make it home.

Champagne was my preferred poison. I loved how it made me feel good without feeling drunk. I used to drink Perrier-Jouët, a whole bottle in one sitting. It’s a lovely dry champagne that comes in beautiful hand-painted bottles. Drinking Perrier-Jouët, I would not feel myself going up or coming down; I would just feel a happy buzz that would unfortunately fade after an hour or so.

That’s something like the same feeling I get from God’s Holy Spirit now. The buzz I used to pay a hundred bucks a bottle for I can get for free any time of the day or night. And it doesn’t fade after an hour. In fact, it’s been with me for over 21 years. Holy Ghost High is far superior to any high I’ve ever had from a bottle.

And that’s how I know for sure that Jesus wasn’t a winebibber. God’s Spirit was more powerfully with him than with any other person on Earth. Jesus wouldn’t have needed alcohol to make him feel better because he must have felt great all the time. That’s the feeling you get from God’s Holy Spirit – you just feel great, no matter what’s going on around you or to you. There is no better feeling than the presence of God’s Holy Spirit on a soul. Always deferring to God (that means, praying without ceasing) keeps the Spirit strong in you.

Excuse me now while I go take another hit.  ;D