“A LETTER TO MY FRIENDS”
“A GATHERING OF THE DOVES”
“A LETTER TO MY FRIENDS”
“A GATHERING OF THE DOVES”
RESURRECTION SUNDAY 2018
There are some things that happened during the Crucifixion of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, that are only mentioned in the Gospel of John. One reason for this is that he was the only one of the Twelve Disciples who actually witnessed the Crucifixion. This is attested to in John 19: 25 – 26
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’
We know that John was the disciple that Jesus loved by reviewing John 21: 20 – 24. In that passage, occurring after Christ’s resurrection, John reveals that Peter expressed a certain level of jealousy towards John about Jesus’ apparent closer relationship with John. Jesus explained to Peter how he would die to glorify God, then told him, “Follow Me.” Jesus then asked Peter that if he willed something for John, what was that to Peter? His job was to follow Jesus;
Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?”
Peter,…, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?’” Jesus said to him If I will (desire) that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.’
John refers to himself outright in verse 24;
This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
We know why Jesus came into the world;
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3: 16
He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
1 John 3: 8
When Jesus, on the cross, released his spirit and his human body died, he did so because his work on the earth as a man was completed. We have the report of the eyewitness, Apostle John.
Then He said to the disciple,”Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “IT IS FINISHED!” (Emphasis mine.) And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
John 19: 27 – 30
John goes on to report that the “Jews” (the members of the Sanhedrin and others who hated Jesus,) requested that the legs of Jesus and the two who were crucified with him be broken and they be removed from the crosses before the official beginning of the Sabbath. The legs were broken during crucifixion to prevent prisoners from supporting themselves and avoiding suffocation.
The two had their legs broken and they suffocated. Jesus’ legs were not broken, because he was already dead. His side was pierced, spewing forth blood and water. The eyewitness continued;
And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, (P “Not one of His bones shall be broken.”(Psalm 34: 20) And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” (Zechariah 12: 10)
John further reports that two other disciples of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus, redeemed Jesus’ body from Pilate. They prepared and placed His body in a new, unused tomb. On the first day of the week, (Sunday-which is why many of us gather to worship the Lord on this day,) Mary Magdalene went to the tomb before anyone else and found the covering stone rolled away and Jesus’ body gone.
She hurried to inform Peter and John, who both went to the tomb with her and found the burial clothing and the tomb empty. The men went away to their homes, but Mary stayed, weeping. Two angels appeared to her, questioning her sorrow. When she turned around, Jesus was standing there beside her, but she did not recognize him through her sorrow. He spoke her name and she then knew who it was. He assigned her to go and tell the disciples that he was risen. Thus began the first of many sightings and interactions with the Risen King.
Jesus appeared, Immauel-God with us (Matthew 1: 23), that same evening to the disciples as they were gathered behind closed doors where he breathed on them and imparted the Holy Spirit upon them; eight days later he appeared to them in the same place and demonstrated his holiness to Thomas. (John 20: 19 – 29) John tells us that Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that were not written.
Jesus appeared to them again, preparing breakfast for them at the Sea of Tiberias. (John 21) It is written in the Gospel of Luke (24: 13 – 36) that Jesus appeared to two of his disciples on their travel to the village of Emmaeus. They recognized him not until later in the evening when he broke bread for them, blessed it and then vanished.
When they returned to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples about the Risen King, he appeared in the midst of them and ate food with them. (Luke 24: 42)
Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”
Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day…”and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you: but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.
Luke 24: 44, 46 – 51
Jesus came into the world to redeem us from sin, to destroy the power of the devil, to empower us to tread upon Satan and his helpers by healing, restoring and setting free people from oppression by Satan, and to spread the Good News of his victory over Satan, hell and death for all who would believe.
The ball is in our court! We don’t need to ask him for things, we only need to do as he did, speak God’s word, in Jesus’ name, into our lives and the lives of others, and believe. He has done all he came here to do, the rest is up to us. As for Jesus’ work on earth–
“IT IS FINISHED!”
Surely I am coming quickly. Amen, Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all (with all the saints.) Amen.
Revelation 22: 20 – 21
All Scripture from New King James Version of the Bible
Minister Ronnie Stricklin
A version of this feature appears in the Gospel publication “Just Good News,” Milwaukee, WI
Saturday, November 11, 2017 was Veteran’s Day in America. We say “Thank You!” to all our Veterans who voluntarily put their lives on the line, just as our First Responders do , every day.
Here is one Black Veteran’s observation of what is tearing the USA apart at the seams. It seems, to paraphrase one man’s statement, “We have found the enemy, and it is us.”
Having many Vets among my family and friends, it is always interesting to hear them talk, particularly after their service periods. While unquestioningly patriotic, They Ain’t Fools Either! Perspectives on their lives as military often show that they usually have the same concerns over the collective treatment of Black/African American and other marginalized people in the US.
Some Vets of color (as well as “Christians”,) however, seem to continue the same myopic view of relations between ethnicities in America as many well-known politicians and others in this country. Verbal attacks against the Colin Kaepernicks of the world or movements such as Black Lives Matter (no, they don’t always use “agreeable” tactics and yes ALL lives matter to the Lord!,) or against “lib-ralls,” or against Obama (yes, he did some things that didn’t/don’t benefit non-elites, but which POTUS (President Of The United States) hasn’t?-I call it the Kennedy/Lincoln unwritten job description; some things you try to buck the system with get your head blown off for you.)
One thing these groups and people did put some effort into was not unlike the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King. Yet the same haters of these groups and people “love” what they believe Dr. King stood for.
One commentator went so far as to say to Blacks that we only wanted someone in the White House who looked like what “we” want-Tall, dark and handsome (read Obama.) At least he isn’t known as a sexual molester/predator who grabs women by their privates and boasts about it, among other atrocious and, possibly treasonous, behavior.
2017 minus 1776 is 241. 2017 minus 1896 is 121. 2017 minus 1954 is 63. 2017 minus 2015 is 2. 2017 minus 2017 is zero.
241 years since Blacks fought and died in the “Revolutionary War” for America.
121 years since the Supreme Court decided that Blacks have no rights that whites are bound to respect.
63 years since it was upheld that segregation in schools was unconstitutional.
2 years since the last “documented” hanging of a Black man. (I won’t use “lynching” since that hasn’t stopped.) http://www.euronews.com/2015/03/20/mississippi-lynching-black-man-found-dead-hanging-from-tree
Zero years since a politician has called for lynching. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/24/lynching-threats-mississippi-racism-richard-collins
Yet, the “progress” charted for the larger portion of Black in America is largely confined to the areas of entertainment; singing, dancing, clowning, on or off stage of movies/tv or athletic field (as long as you don’t speak out on inequality of opportunity,) and getting killed by “authority figures” progressively/proportionately more than others.
It has been well over 2,000 years since Christ gave His human life to free the willing from such hatred/self-hatred. Find out for yourself how Christ dealt with the reactionaries of his day who used laws to control/browbeating to keep people in submission to them instead the Lord. Study the Word of God, especially the revealed Messiah in the New Testament. Pray for wisdom, revelation and discernment.
We live in a reincarnate Babylon System-man trying to make his way through this life experience without God. When people in positions of authority demand that you revere a mere man, be on alert. Yes, it is true that we shouldn’t take sides (republican, democrat, socialist, communist, etc.,) we should “take over.” There are only two “sides” the light and the darkness of the Enemy. The light of the Lord is the only “side” we need to take.
Christ and the bible taught us that ” …there is none good but one, that is God.” Mark 10: 18 (17 – 31) and Romans 3: 23 (…for all have sinned…) We don’t have to hate but we should “(be sent by Christ) forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10: 16 (16 – 33) “…Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils…Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18: 2 – 5
All lives do matter to God: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly…” Romans 5: 6 – 10 “…As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked: but that the wicked turn from his way and live…” Ezekiel 33: 11
That makes part of a good prayer for our leaders, our nation, and all the leaders and nations in the earth, including Jerusalem and Israel, Christian and non-Christian alike!
The following article, written by Minister Ronnie Stricklin, Childrens Bread Ministries Inc, Mesa AZ, is reprinted from the Vol. 15, #8, September 2017 issue of “Just Good News,” a Christian newspaper published in Milwaukee, WI. It has been edited and updated to reflect accuracy and recent developments.
The Trumpet To Repent
Minister Ronnie Stricklin
Blow ye the Trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;
Joel 2: 1
Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head…But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
Ezekiel 33: 4, 5c
Recently, “Evangelical” leaders have sought to justify the current President, #45, of the United States of America’s (POTUS) threats of “pre-emptive” nuclear bombing attacks against North Korea by perversely using Romans 13, Biblical scripture. Just as unseemly, some “Christian” and other “leaders” perversely used Biblical scripture to call for prayers that the 44th POTUS die an early and frightful death and that his family be decimated.
Romans 13: 1-7 King James Version*
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom is due; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
These are the scriptural verses used to justify the POTUS prerogative to preemptively attack North Korea. Yes, it is true that there is no one in power that God does not allow to be in power, good or evil. It is equally and more so such that God allows what mankind allows to happen on/in the earth. Matthew 18: 18 He gave mankind dominion over the earth. Genesis 1:26
Since there are persons who argue that God puts political/civil governments in place, is it not so that God put Russia’s, North Korea’s, China’s, Saudi Arabia’s, Iran’s, Cuba’s, the United Kingdom’s, France’s, Canada’s, etc. governments in place? God allowed the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Chaldeans, the Medes/Persians to invade and destroy the land, to enslave, kill, and terrorize the Children of Israel. He allowed it because through their disobedience to Him, they allowed it.
All of the modern countries mentioned above, and more are Communist, Socialist, and Islamic. Russia, Iran, the UK, India, Pakistan and other countries, “Christian” and not, have nuclear weapons. Yet we’ve heard no one call for nuclear destruction of Saudi Arabia, found complicit in 9/11 and in funding groups terrorizing the UK and Israel.
No calls to destroy Russia, China, the UK/European Union, etc. Saudi’s have oil, Russia and China have nukes, Europe has “skin-ship.” That “exempts” them from the bellicose threats made by the “Leader of the Free World.” Interestingly, only countries who do not kowtow to America’s wishes (usually hinging upon natural resources and/or “strategic” positions,) are condemned and threatened for developing nuclear weapons. No one should use nuclear power to threaten or engage warfare.
Apparently in America, Romans 13 : 1-7 is reserved only for those who resist the current version of American exclusionalism and Manifest Destiny. Nowhere is it found that those breathing threats on other countries seek to bring the Gospel of God’s Grace and Reconciliation between God and man through the blood of Jesus Christ. Is that why quotations from Romans 13 stop at verse 7 and do not include verse 8?
Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Jesus showed us how to behave with those who are aligned against us. In Matthew 15, a “heathen” (Canaan/Gentile) woman beseeches Him to help release her child from demonic oppression. He tells her that it is not right for Him to help “dogs,” (which is what Jews felt about non-Jews,) with “bread” that belongs to the “children.” (God’s people.)) She replies that it is true, but that even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the children’s table. Jesus recognizes the woman’s faith that He is the Messiah and causes her daughter to be healed because of her faith.
In Luke 10, Jesus recounts a story of how a man was robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the road. He was passed and ignored by two religious Jews. A third traveler came along, bandaged the victim, and took him to shelter, paying for the bill. The third man was a Samaritan, a descendant of the invaders (and the peasant stock of Samaria/Northern Israel left behind) from Babylon who took Israel captive almost eight hundred years beforehand. Samaritans were well despised by all Jews. This man Jesus called a true neighbor of the victim because he set aside political/religious animosities and helped a person in need.
Incidentally, Jesus never called the man “The Good Samaritan,” He called him a “certain Samaritan.” This is another one of the ways Satan works to pervert the Word of God. Jesus stated very clearly in Mark 10: 18 “…there is none good but one, that is God.” To talk of the “Good Samaritan” is the way of the world, set apart by Satan who boasted that all the kingdoms of the world were given to him, and he gives them to whomever he pleases. Luke 4: 6 A simple thing, yet, when multiplied with all his other deceptions, seeks to undermine the power of God’s Word.
Jesus instructed again in Matthew 22 when questioned by “legal authorities” of Israel as to what the greatest commandment in the Law as given by Moses. Christ responded;
…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Nowhere has it been said that these “Evangelicals” and others, so ready to plunge into warfare using Romans 13, have considered the true message of our Lord and the Bible/New Testament.
The same can be said of those people who prayed for the death of POTUS #44 and the decimation of his family. Their prayer begins from Psalm 109: 8,
Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places…Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any favour to his fatherless children…Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.
This was not a prayer against a foreign enemy, but against the 44th President of the United States of America. A death threat. From “men of God,” and US Senator. Yes, #44 supported civil measures that go against the teaching of the Bible. As done from the beginnings of this country until this very day, so have other Presidents, high profile politicians and elected officials. No death threats were issued against them for that.
(Roe v. Wade [abortion] was in place, since 1973, under a Republican administration, long before #44 got elected.) Again, the Word of God was perverted by agents of Satan to accomplish their own ends.
Some of these same “Evangelicals” recently held their annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona and engaged a heated stalemate on the question of equality for their Black members. In 2017!
It has not been recorded that #44 grabs women by the genitals (sexual assault,) or poses in master/slave photos with women, for outside consumption, or, sought out business opportunities with Russia, “the ‘God-less’ enemy.” #45 and his camp has.
Yes, every person who called for these prayers has enjoyed, and continue to enjoy the privileges of this country wrought through the murder, rape, exclusion, exploitation and oppression of _________ (fill in the blank!) that “made this country great.” Their haughty self-righteousness has ushered in a continued resurgence of hatred for people of color, for the indigenous people, for anyone who dares question whether their hate-filled tirades are really what made America “great.”
No longer are people allowed to go unmolested, physically and verbally, because they take a stand against the injustice that has become the order of the day in America. Some preachers who praise Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for leading the protests that pricked America’s conscience, now ridicule the youth of this country who are taking a stand and saying “no more!”
All lives DO matter to our Lord. Black/poor/color/justice-seeking lives don’t seem to matter in the USA , the UK and other parts of the western societies. A high profile professional football athlete takes a knee to protest what is happening to people in the name of “patriotic Amurica,” and is scourged from every corner. Thankfully, he knew what to expect and move to donate some of his millions to the very people the haters in this country ignore, women, children, people of color, veterans and others.
There is yet hope. Some ministers from the south have organized a “mancott” of a sports institution that makes billions off the backs of athletes like the one in question, where 80% of the professional football athletes are Black men and 80% of the audience is white. They call it a “mancott” because they say, in this instance, “boycott” is for “boys,” not men taking a stand.
None of these ministers are marching in hoods, carrying torches. They are not recklessly driving their cars through peaceful protesters (several occurrences since Charlottesville, Virginia in Canada and the US.) They are not firing weapons at counter-protesters as the police stand idly by and do nothing about it. They are not driving to the places of worship of the hate-mongers and killing as many as they can (as done by hate-mongers from Wisconsin to Virginia.) They are calling for an economic “squeeze” on a particular institution that is trying to “whip their slaves into line.”
And the ministers are doing it without the blessing of POTUS #45, who gave/gives his tacit approval to the monstrous behaviors of the hate-mongers in Charlottesville, and other hotbeds of hate. So, we have a “leader” that we as a country allowed. I am reminded of Samuel, Saul and God;
Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel…And they said…now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel…and Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said…Hearken unto the voice of the people…for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them…show them the manner of king that shall reign over them…He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen…he will…set them to ear his ground…to make his instruments of war…he will take your daughters…your fields, and your vineyards…and give them to his servants…you shall cry out because of your king…and the LORD will not hear you…
Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel: and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us…
1 Samuel 8
I am also reminded of two verses in Ecclesiastes 10;
: 20 Curse not the king….
: 16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child…
In the 700s B .C., and again in the 500s B. C., Israel and Judah were destroyed as a nation. God “allowed” this to happen because the people “allowed” themselves to be caught up in idolatry, disobedience, and occult practices. Can you say “I gotta have a new (truck, car, tv, wardrobe, etc),” even though it is only because you want to keep up with the Jones? Can you see how we collectively disobey the greatest commandments (“…love the Lord your God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all your mind…love thy neighbor as thyself.”? Can you see how the minds of our people are taken with walking dead, vampires, astrology, magic, and other popular occult practices?
Like Samuel’s people, like Israel and Judah, America is headed down the same road. God allowed Samuel’s people to have a leader who disrespected any and everything. Not unlike our getting POTUS #45. God allows us to wallow in the “undead.” God allows us to place material values over love of each other. God allows it because “we” allow it. Mathew 18: 18
John the Baptist told us “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3: 2 He was a herald for King Jesus who began His ministry, after baptism and His testing by Satan, by preaching “Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4: 17
Take time to learn about bible prophecy (1) and you will find that the stage is currently being set for the return of Jesus to take his church/bride, come back again to destroy the Anti-Christ, the False Prophet, and Satan, their General. It is not far away! Prepare yourself to receive him. It will not be pleasant for those who do not!
Update: North Korea has continually insisted that they are willing to sit down and negotiate what to do about their nuclear weapons programs IF the US will stop making threats of attack. Today’s major media outlets either ignores this or misrepresents it. See here for a reference.
*While I use the King James Version of the Bible, it is because it is the most accessible to most people. I will occasionally us other translations and commentaries, such as the Chumash, the New King James Version, the 1901 American Standard Version, the Message Bible, the Complete Jewish Bible, and others, in attempt to provide a closer translation to the original Hebrew and Greek languages and to provide some understanding in today’s “lingua.”
(1) In particular, Daniel (especially Chapters 7 and 9); Matthew 22 – 25; and, Revelation (especially Chapters 17 – 22)