Dividing Soul and Spirit

Jan - 17 2023 | no comments | By

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.

What is the difference between soul and spirit?

Before we can understand this scripture, which speaks about the nature of the Bible, the Word of God itself, we need to understand what soul and spirit really are…

Here is a simple answer that will help us understand this scripture, and also, how we can utilize our relationship with God in Christ through the Holy Spirit to overcome our natural negative reactions to daily life by waiting on the supernatural insight that comes through the Holy Spirit when we “wait upon the Lord” and respond to what is happening instead of simply reacting to it.

Just as God (One God) is made up of Three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, man (one man or woman) is made up of three parts.  Body, soul and spirit.

What is the Body?

Our bodies are the vehicle which allow us to interact with the world.  They carry us around, and through the five senses, Sight, Hearing, Touch, Taste and Smell, the body allows us to experience the world around us.  Through it we experience pleasure, or pain.

What is the soul?

Simply, the soul of a person consists of the mind (or intellect), the emotions and the will.

The Soul is who we think of when we think of ourselves. It is the “inner man”.  The Soul is complete and with the body, is all we need to operate in the natural world. The Mind, Emotions and Will (which is the ability to make choices/decisions), are the way our physical bodies are able to operate and make sense of the world around us.  Our senses perceive the world around us and communicate to the soul and the soul operates our bodies so that we can function.

What is the spirit of a man?

The spirit of a person consists of conscience, intuition and communion.

The conscience is the part of a person that perceives right and wrong (their moral sense).

Intuition is the part of a person that understands those things that are not spoken or experienced directly by the senses.

Communion is the part of the spirit of a person that is able to communicate directly with God through the Holy Spirit. It is also the function of the spirit of a person to worship God.


In the Bible the name Adam is Hebrew for “from the ground” and is used in the rest of the Bible as the Hebrew name Ha’Adam for humanity.  Genesis 2:7 tells us that Adam was created from the dust of the earth and became a living soul.

Because of this, our senses, which are our body’s way of communicating to our souls, are attuned to the earth and all ”natural” things.

That is why our feelings shift and change according to what is happening around us. Science talks about natural selection and that the human being has survived because of the “fight or flight” response, as it is called.

The science of Psychology describes it like this:

The fight or flight response is an automatic physiological reaction to an event that is perceived as stressful or frightening. The perception of threat activates the sympathetic nervous system and triggers an acute stress response that prepares the body to fight or flee. These responses are evolutionary adaptations to increase chances of survival in threatening situations. Overly frequent, intense, or inappropriate activation of the fight or flight response is implicated in a range of clinical conditions including most anxiety disorders. A helpful part of treatment for anxiety is an improved understanding of the purpose and function of the fight or flight response.

Have you experienced this reaction in times of threat or stress?

Everything that is of the earth is unsteady and changeable, which is why a person who allows their soul to control their life is never at rest. Through the soul – through our senses and feelings – we are in contact with people. Someone who lives according to the soul is always in unrest with regard to what other people think and say about him.

Through my spirit I am meant to be in contact with God. However, before I said yes to Jesus, I lived according to my own understanding.  My senses and my body were used to serve my own earthly desires. My spirit was then polluted by those desires and filled with that which is of this world, with the result that I had little or no contact with God.  My spirit was suppressed by my soul.  I was a soulish person.

Let me explain further…

Before we receive the Holy Spirit by accepting Jesus Messiah as our Lord and Savior, our spirit is under the control of the soul.  Fight or flight is the only reaction we know to trouble or stress.  We also tend to idolize or worship the things of this world like money or power.  This is not what our spirit was intended to do.

Salvation in Christ is meant to change this relationship so that I become spiritual and heavenly instead of soulish and earthly. The result is a life of faith instead of a life according to my human understanding.  When I received Jesus as Lord, and I became “born again”, my spirit was AWAKENED by His Holy Spirit.  Instead of my soul, with it’s own desires, dominating my body and my spirit, now, my awakened spirit, in proper alignment with God’s Holy Spirit, has control, through my WILL aligned with God’s WILL, over my MIND and my EMOTIONS so that my body now is under obedience to God’s purpose for my life.  I am now as God created Adam to be.  I am now able to have dominion over the earth as a partner with God.

Ephesians 2:10 tells us “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

The intention is that our spirit is to be made alive so that God can speak to us; we should live for Him and for the heavenly things. Then we find rest for our souls. The heavenly things are eternal and unchangeable. When we live before God’s face, we are free from people and the unrest that comes from living before their face.

God’s Word: A two-edged sword

That said, even when we are “born again” and our spirit is awakened, we still struggle with the body of sin that is still a part of our flesh.  This is where God’s Word, the Bible, comes in.  It’s purpose is to do a deeper work in us. It is sharper than any two-edged sword. It pierces and divides between soul and spirit and discerns the thoughts and counsels of the heart.  In this sense, the heart is the inner man which now includes both soul and spirit.

The scripture we started with, Hebrews 4:12, tells us that God’s Word discerns the thoughts of the heart and pierces and divides between soul and spirit – between that which is earthly (human) and that which is spiritual and heavenly, which I receive into my spirit through the spirit of God. For this to occur, first I must believe the Word and be obedient to it.  I do this by spending time reading the Word, studying the Word, meditating upon the Word and praying in accordance with the Word.

For example, the biblical concept to “Overcome evil with good” goes against our human feelings and our human reasoning; but if we believe the Word and are obedient to it we come to understand the truth of that statement. When we choose to believe God and ask for His strength to ACT as if we believe that good overcomes evil, only then can we EXPERIENCE that God’s wisdom is greater than our senses and see the deliverance of the Lord when trouble comes.

God’s Word also says to forgive the person who sins against you seven times seventy each day, in other words, as many times as it takes… If you are soulish, you will hold onto your grudge and your pride and fleshly sense of personal honor will cause you to make plans as to what you should do to the offender and you may also seek the opinions of family and friends who will validate that, rather than simply forgive.

The Apostle James, the brother of Jesus tells us…

James 3:16-18 – For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.  Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

It is far better to let God’s Word in to pierce and divide between what you are absorbing through your senses – especially through your emotional feelings of hurt and pride – and the wisdom that is from God, which you absorb through your spirit by His Word. Live by faith and not according to your human reasoning; only then will you enter into that rest, the true Sabbath, that only comes with a right relationship with God.

If you are struggling with all of this, just know that the disciples did too.  The Gospel of Matthew tells us how Peter struggled with confusion between soul and spirit…

Matthew 16:13-23  

13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

Matthew 16:21-23 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”

23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” 

Peter, ironically, was the one who had just been commended by Jesus for proclaiming Him as Messiah, and yet, when Jesus revealed to the 12 that He was going to be killed as the completion of His mission, Peter tried to talk Him out of it.  Peter, although he knew that Jesus was from God, thought that he was going to be the conqueror of Rome, not the victim of it.  That was a worldly view.

Peter cared for Jesus, but he only had a sense for the things of men, which is to spare yourself and those you care about from pain. Satan has access to this unregenerated soul, and the result is a terrible unrest.

Jesus told Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan!” because Jesus had a sense for the purpose of God, which was to lay His life down. Now He wants to make our spirit alive as well so we can carry our own cross, which is the purpose for which we were born and in fact, born again.

In his defense, Peter did not have the Holy Spirit as we do, even though he had the unique privilege of knowing Jesus personally and Calling Him friend.  On the Day of Pentecost, after Jesus went up His Throne, when the Holy Spirit was released upon him, Peter became fully the Rock upon which Christ built His Church.  We who are spiritual are that Rock today, who have received God’s Spirit and do His Will by allowing His Word to divide our soul and spirit.

Becoming spiritually minded

The result of having an awakened spirit, meditating on God’s Word and taking up your cross daily and following Jesus, is a life of faith in which we hold fast to the Word against our own human reasoning and present our body in the service of God. Then our soul, which is earthly and restless, is poured out, and we become spiritually minded and enter into rest in God.

“See that you do not refuse Him who speaks … from heaven. … Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Hebrews 12:25,29.

All unrest, complaining, struggling with other people and anxiety stems from giving in to the soulish desire to fight for earthly life. The spiritual man lives by faith in God’s Word. All things serve him for good.  (Romans 8:28) He has a mind for laying down his life, and he rests in God. What a glorious life and peace this is – a kingdom that cannot be moved.

With blessings from the Abundant Life,

John Henry


Dealing With The Isaacs In Our Lives

Jan - 06 2023 | no comments | By

Today we are going to take one of the most compelling and well-known stories of the Torah and extend it’s lessons to our lives in a way, hopefully, that will give us a fresh perspective on the blind spots, or idols, if you will, which can hinder our obedience and thereby block the movement of God’s power in our lives. Our goal today is to address these issues and give them to God, surrendering our will to His.

The story of Abraham and Isaac, specifically the command that God gave Abraham to sacrifice his son in Chapter 22 of Genesis, contains one of the most important lessons in the Old Testament, which we can only fully understand in the light of the Gospel. It is often said that the New Testament is “concealed” in the Old Testament, and the Old Testament is “revealed” in the light of the New Testament.

In this story in Chapter 22 of Genesis we see one of the clearest examples of the Torah, written by Moses, pointing the way to the coming of Jesus Messiah, including a glimpse at God’s purpose and plan as to how He was going to ultimately deal with our sin issue, an issue that before Jesus, kept us from experiencing a full and beneficial relationship with God the Father.

The Pharisees, who supposedly were more learned of Torah than anyone living at the time of Jesus, and who were certainly aware of the nuances of this story, apparently missed it. Let’s make sure that we don’t make their mistake.

The passage we will study today begins with the words “After these things”. Therefore, we should start with a quick overview of what “these things” are, described in Chapter 21, the previous chapter. Let’s read the part of this chapter that precedes the story of Abraham and Isaac in Chapter 22…

And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him—whom Sarah bore to him—Isaac. Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. – Genesis 21:3-5

So the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the same day that Isaac was weaned. – Genesis 21:8

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing. Therefore she said to Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.” 11 And the matter was very displeasing in Abraham’s sight because of his son. – Genesis 21:9-11

But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed.” – Genesis 12-13

So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water; and putting it on her shoulder, he gave it and the boy (Ishmael) to Hagar, and sent her away. Then she departed and wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba. – Genesis 21:14

There is another part to this chapter that describes a covenant that Abimelech, King of the Philistines, had made and maintained with Abraham. This is interesting, but the phrase, “after these things” at the beginning of Chapter 22 most surely refers to the casting out of the “illegitimate” son Ishmael for “scoffing” or ridiculing Isaac, the child of promise, on the day of his weaning celebration.

Now it may seem that Ishmael was a baby or a child when Abraham ordered him and his mother Hagar out of his house, but in reality he (Ishmael) was about 17 years old and Isaac was about three years of age, which was the typical age of weaning in Biblical times. We know the timeline because Abraham was 86 when Ishmael was born according to Genesis 16:6, and Genesis 21:5 that we just read, tells us that Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born.

As we know, Ishmael, the illegitimate child, was also blessed by God to become a great nation, but that nation would ultimately become an enemy of the children of Israel even until the present day.
Let’s go on to the main story which we will read in it’s entirety and then break down…

Genesis 22
1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.”
12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.

We are going to go back and unpack these verses in the light of the Gospel, but the main points of the story are that God speaks to Abraham commanding him to sacrifice his son and he sets out to do so but God, through His Angel, stops the process.

Surprisingly, some of the Rabbis of the Middle Ages who wrote and commented on Torah in the Talmud, questioned God for “testing” righteous Abraham, and some of them questioned Abraham for his willingness to obey God’s “wicked” command. Clearly, they didn’t get it.

Let’s look at this story through the lens of the Gospel.

In the first chapter of Hebrews, we see God’s promise to Abraham that through Isaac many offspring would be born. As the writer of the Book of Hebrews tells us…

Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. – Hebrews 11:12

Before Abram, who became Abraham and Sarai, who became Sarah made the bad decision to use Sarai’s maidservant Hagar to “push” God’s promise, the Lord had promised a child would come from Abraham’s own body and his marriage to be his heir.

And behold, the word of the Lord came to Abraham, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. – Genesis 15:4-6

So we might ask… why did God test Abraham? Most biblical scholars place Isaac’s age at between 15 and 20 years old when the Lord gave his command. Perhaps Isaac, as the child of promise, had become the main focus of Abraham’s attention and he had begun, after a number of years of God’s silence between Genesis 21 and Genesis 22, to worship the gift, and not the Giver (Yahweh).

I know that we have all been guilty of this at some point. Perhaps we have a child who is the apple of our eye, who we feel can do no wrong, and we do not intervene with sound counsel when we know better. Or we remain too long in a job that was clearly a God-send at one time but that has now become unethical (I did this), or we maintain some pharisaical mindset because we think it is our duty as Christians, when in fact it is not our calling as followers of Christ at all.

The first verse of Gen. 22 gives us some insight into Abraham’s level of desire to please God and gives us some insight into the power of his faith…

Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.” – Genesis 22:1

Abraham may not have heard from God (that we know of) for a long time since the end of Chapter 21, but he is quick to respond “Here I am”.

In the 2nd verse God gives His command to sacrifice Isaac (who since Ishmael’s departure is the “only son whom he loves”, and Abraham’s immediate response at the beginning of verse 3 is to “rise early in the morning and saddle up his donkey”.

Abe doesn’t argue, he doesn’t hesitate. He simply obeys. It is interesting that in Chapter 21, which we just read, when The Lord tells Abraham to cast out his other son Ishmael, he also “rose early in the morning” to do what God called him to do.

This is the first lesson for us. When God speaks, respond IMMEDIATELY. Don’t argue, don’t hesitate, just do it. How do we know when we hear from God? We will discuss that in a minute… But for now let’s talk about why we respond IMMEDIATELY in OBEDIENCE.

In Psalm 119 David shows that he understood this…

I made haste and did not delay to keep Your commandments. – Psalm 119:60

In 1 Samuel we see this scripture where Samuel the Prophet of the Lord tells Saul why the Lord is angry with him…

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams. – 1 Samuel 15:22

This scripture also gives us some insight into the overarching narrative of this story. Abraham is between a rock and a hard place in that he would have known that God’s command to sacrifice his son seems contrary to everything Abraham knows of God’s character, yet he recognizes God’s voice and authority in his life and knows that obedience to God’s command is Job One.

This is Lesson two for us. Although it may be counter-intuitive to the lifestyles and choices we might make for ourselves, God’s Word and the commands He gives through His Holy Spirit and the Scriptures are to be our true guideposts and must be obeyed.

Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord said this of Himself

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9

The big picture here is that even if Abraham had begun trusting in his understanding of the promise that God had made concerning Isaac, he trusted in God Himself more.

The key to this is found in Verse 4 and 5.

Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” – Genesis 22:4-5

This is where much confusion came in for the religious jews of the 10th Century and for their forefathers the Pharisees at the time of Jesus… Their limited understanding was this… Either their righteous Father Abraham was lying when he told the young men with him that he AND the boy would return, OR Abraham, who believed that God’s promise to use Isaac to bless the world, knew that this was a mere test of his faith. What they missed, apparently, is that Abraham had such unparalleled faith in his God that he knew in his spirit that test or not, even if God allowed Isaac to die, He would raise him to life again so that the promise would be fulfilled.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we generally presume the latter. Furthermore, we see Isaac as a type or foreshadowing of Jesus in that, as a nearly adult man of about 17, he allowed his 117 year old father to bind him to the altar when he clearly understood, just by the act of binding, that he was to BE the sacrifice. As a young man, surely, he could have overpowered his father and escaped this fate. Like Jesus, however, he laid down his life to the will of his father.

The story ends happily in that the Lord stops Abraham’s hand and Isaac is returned to his father. Abraham’s act of obedience has now apparently sealed the promise made in regards to Isaac as we see in verses 15-18.

Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, BECAUSE you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” – Genesis 22:15-18

Now I find myself asking only this question… Would God’s promise to Abraham that through Isaac would come a great nation, Israel, have come to fruition had Abraham NOT been obedient? That, I think, is only a mystery which we must accept as unknowable.

Now we come to the biggest question for US…

How do YOU hear from the Lord so clearly that you are compelled to action? If you don’t know the answer to that question you may be missing out on the power of God in your life. It is not a salvation issue perhaps, but it is a quality of spiritual life issue. How can you sensitize your inner person to “hear” from the Holy Spirit?
First, In Hebrews Chapter 11, which we call the Hall of Faith, we see a clue as to how Abraham was able to hear from God with certainty…

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6

Paul tells us, and we know that we have all been given a measure of faith. That faith should give us the earnest desire, like Abraham, to WANT to hear from God and to please Him with our obedience.
Secondly, remember what the Apostle James tells us…

2b. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3a. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss.– James 4:2b-3a

Surely walking out the will of God is His desire for our lives and thereby a prime example of asking rightly of God. This scripture indicates that we can ask to be made sensitive to God’s Will and His quiet voice in our spirit.

This scripture in Red, directly from Jesus, underscores this point…

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. – Luke 11:9

Clearly if Jesus tells us this, then He will see it done by the power of His Spirit. My personal daily prayer is that the Lord would make me sensitive in my (small s) spirit to what His Holy Spirit IS DOING and align my (small w) will with His perfect Will.

I always quote this next scripture whenever I teach, because it is fundamental to our daily walk, in hearing from and being obedient to, His purpose for our daily lives.

“You are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which He has prepared beforehand, that you should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10

There is no doubt that when Abraham understood that the Lord was asking him to sacrifice Isaac, there could have been other ways for him to react. Fight or flight, the natural order of human reaction could have certainly kicked in. However, Abraham did not REACT to his fear, but rather RESPONDED, in his spirit, to what God was asking him to do. This only works if we have no other idols before God.

If we are wholly and completely surrendered to God, we will do what He asks of us as Abraham did. Sometimes He will accept our obedience from the heart in saying “yes Lord” to giving up something that has become an idol to us, and then He may allow us to keep that thing anyway, only because it is no longer a priority.

Other times He will demand the sacrifice. Either way, it is always for our own good and for His glory. In fact, I maintain, that anytime God is glorified, we are joyful.

James tells us this in regards to testing and trials…

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. – James 1:2-4

I asked our brother Kai if I could use him as an example of this today and he agreed. When I met Kai, he was a self-professed “lifetime smoker” and swore he not only couldn’t quit but had no desire to do so. After several years of friendship and discipleship, and much submission to the Word of God and seeking direction through the Holy Spirit with prayer, Kai heard from the Lord that it was time to quit, which he did, in obedience, and God made it not only possible, but easy for him to do so. God was glorified and Kai was and is still joyful because of the way he dealt with this idol in his life.

So… The biggest question to ask ourselves today is… “Do we want to hear from God and take on the idols in our lives. I hope that your answer today will be a resounding “Yes, Lord”.



Aug - 02 2022 | no comments | By

Yesterday, just 5 days out of major neck surgery, adorned with a neck brace, I was able to play guitar and sing and lead worship with Donna and the worship team at Abundant Life. I believe that it was a great encouragement to our little church that just one week after they prayed over me I was back having never missed a beat. It was truly supernatural strengthening. This psalm is the only way that I can explain it….


Blessed is he who considers the poor;

The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.

The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive,

And he will be blessed on the earth;

You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies.

The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness;

You will sustain him on his sickbed.

Psalm 41:1-3


In light of this miraculous healing, with all due gratitude and credit to the talented and dedicated Surgeon and Physician Assistant, both men of God with whom we prayed beforehand, I need to proclaim that God truly DOES strengthen and support His willing servants by providing every resource and protecting us from harm while giving us every good thing we need (physical, emotional and spiritual) to accomplish the good works that He has prepared beforehand to do. (Isaiah 54:17, psalm 91:11,12, James 1:17, Ephesians 2:10)


He will consistently bless those who will be willing to bless others with the blessing they have received.


During our brief sojourn in the hospital, Donna and I were able to pray for and encourage 8 Nurses and a Social Worker, many of whom had either lost their way or were struggling with faith.  All received the Good News and prophetic Touch from the Throne of Grace with joy and some tears.


One nurse slipped a note of gratitude into my backpack allowing me to glimpse how the Lord had pierced her armor with His love through this servant.  Be encouraged beloved!  If I, who consider myself, like the Apostle Paul to be “chief among sinners” can be used mightily by the Almighty God and Savior King of Glory, then all of us who profess and follow Jesus are more that capable of these acts of mercy and Grace.  Take up your cross today and see the deliverance of the Lord!  To Him be the Glory!


Blessings for the eternal Now,

John Henry


Equipped For The Battle

Nov - 14 2021 | no comments | By

Here is the text of a sermon that I was privileged to give this morning at Abundant Life Church in Simi Valley…

In his last couple of sermons, Pastor George talked about the battle within us.  Although we become a “new creation” when we receive Jesus as Lord, and we have at that moment become “crucified with Him” and our body of sin is nailed to the Cross with Him, we often still struggle with the reality of ongoing sin in our lives.  As Pastor said, the answer to this problem is the renewing of our minds through the Holy Spirit.  Let’s talk a bit today about why we struggle, what the battlefield looks like and what we can do about it.

I’m going to start at the beginning….

2 Corinthians 5:17- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

So… When we receive Jesus as Lord, our spirit is awakened from it’s dormancy.  At that moment we become a “new creation”.  As the Spirit of God hovered over the waters before the first creation, the Holy Spirit gently awakens our spirit to it’s new life as master and commander of our soul.

Our soul, which consists of our Mind, Emotions and Will often does not take this lightly.  After all, our soul, left to it’s own devices in the old person, had full reign over the Body, and our dormant spirit was suppressed by the raging desires of the flesh.  In this case the flesh I am referring to is that body of sin that is the soul’s nature without the influence, guidance and control of the Holy Spirit.

That is a lot to digest.  Let’s break it down a bit.

First, let’s talk a about the triune or Three-part Nature of God. We believe that there is One God in Three Persons.  I am often asked by seekers and unbelieving fellow Jews how it is possible that the One God of the Old Testament, referred to in the most Holy prayer of the Jews, the Sh’ma, which says, “hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One”, can be the Three Persons of the New Covenant as Father, Son and Holy Spirit and still be one God.   Here is a simple way to look at it…  Water is necessary to sustain life, just as the essence and underlying power of God is necessary to sustain life.  Now we all know that water is able to take three forms.  Liquid, Solid and Vapor.  So… water, ice or steam, they are all H2O which we all know as “water”.

This is an interesting analogy.  We refer to Jesus as the Living Water and He is the central Person of the Bible, the One who pre-existed Creation with the Father and the Holy Spirit and was the designer of the Universe.  It was Jesus who Himself became the Bridge between a Righteous, Holy God and depraved, sinful people so that the relationship between God and man could be restored.  Jesus is the one we come to when we are in need. He would be like water in it’s drinkable, consumable state.

The Father is the solid, rock-like Creator who gave all things life and under Whose authority Jesus put Himself in His time on earth and in Whom we trust.

The Holy Spirit is the One who hovered over the waters like vapor before the creation and is the One who is able to be in all places and all times drawing us to Jesus, strengthening us in our trials, and performing mighty miracles, all by the Will of God who is all three and yet One.  Amazing right?

Now let’s talk about the triune, three-part nature of people, you and me.  We are also three in one.  In the basic, a person consists of body, soul and spirit.  People often confuse the soul and spirit as the same but they are not.  Let’s break it down.

One. The Body. The body is the outside and inside physical working of the creature that is a man or woman.  It has five senses through which we perceive the world around us.  It is an amazing and incredibly complex engine that gives us the ability to experience physical sensations of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. It also allows us to think and speak and interact with other people and the world around us. The senses enable us to experience pleasure or pain.  The body does not like pain and generally craves pleasure.  That is One. The Body.

Two. The Soul.  The soul is the inner person, what the Bible calls the “heart” of a man.  The Lord told us through His Prophet Jeremiah about the unregenerated soul, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” – Jeremiah 17:9.   In this scripture, Jeremiah refers to the human soul BEFORE the spirit is awakened by the Holy Spirit to make Jesus Lord.  The Soul interestingly, is also triune. Your soul has three parts.  It consists of, as we mentioned earlier, the Mind, the Emotions and the Will.  Except for the automatic functions that keep the body alive, the body does whatever the soul wants through the Will.

The reason that the soul without the spirit in control of it is so dangerous is that it is the abiding place of free will.  The soul without the spirit’s guidance is free will run riot.  I know that before Jesus took control of my spirit through the Holy Spirit, I was highly covetous, unstable and fear and desire ruled me.  It was particularly dangerous because the physical Body we have is always under the control of the soul.  Think of it.  Your mind, your emotions and your ability to make decisions (the will) are all you need to operate in the physical world.  Without the guidance of our spirit (which in my case was asleep in a back room), we can and will, do a lot of damage to ourselves and others.

Now as to number Three, the spirit of a person.  In the unregenerated person, that is, the person before the soul is awakened by the Holy Spirit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the spirit is like a baby.  It needs very little and does even less.  The sinful nature and all of the demanding of the soul of the Body’s time and attention keeps the spirit suppressed and the enemy’s constant lies and temptations make it even worse.  However, God has made available to us a great salvation from the power of Sin in the person of Jesus Christ!  So… Jesus did what only He could do so that our spirit can be restored into right relationship with God through the Power of the Holy Spirit!  Now can I get an amen Hallelujah?

So now that we are saved, and our soul is awakened, now what?

Paul tells us:

Romans 6:3-6  Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,  knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

So… Sin should no longer be a problem for us right?  And yet many of us are still in a battle.  Let’s look at how we can wage war in Christ Jesus against the sin that can trip us up.

This is what the spirit of a person looks like once it has been awakened and aligned properly with the Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus to the Glory of the Father…

A properly aligned new creation in Christ looks like this…  Instead of the person being a body run by a soul run riot carrying around a little baby spirit, the New Person is a healthy, vibrant spirit, in communion with the Holy Spirit, in the driver’s seat over the soul with the body as the engine that accomplishes good works.

So… once the spirit is awakened or regenerated in Christ, our mind, emotions and will are now also New Creations.  Our Mind is submitted to the Mind of Christ, our Emotions are now all Love and both our mind and emotions are receivers of the fruit of the spirit as the body now does good works through the power of our will that is aligned, receptive and obedient to God’s Will.  That is why Ephesians 2:10 tells us… we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.


If you are not living a life of power, grace, truth and love then you are losing that battle.  Let’s talk about how to win and finish well.

Paul describes the battle we are in and how to be prepared to win it.  Here is his description…

Ephesians 6:10-13 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

The problem, it seems, is also the solution.  We have access to the whole Armor of God in Christ but we have to put it on.  Our will is still free.  So if we want to win the battles we face we must be intentional about it.

As the Holy Spirit lives in us through communication with our spirit, like an Admiral to our Captain, we are also “hidden with Christ in God”.  Just as God sees His Beloved son when He looks at us in Christ Jesus, so when we are wearing the full Armor of God, the enemy sees Jesus. No contest there right?  He has to flee. Let’s see what the whole Armor of God looks like….

Ephesians 6:14-17 – Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

In order to be effective in the battle against our own sinful flesh, which remains to some degree even in the born-again person, we need to put on, EVERY day, the full Armor of God.  The enemy will attack wherever we are weak or unprotected.  The Belt, the Breastplate, the Shield and the Helmet are all defensive weapons.

The Belt is the Truth of the Gospel and we who believe are wearing it at all times. We hold the Truth of the Gospel at the very Center core of our lives.

The Breastplate is the Righteousness of God, not our own self-righteousness, and is attached to the Belt of Truth. When we have on God’s Truth and Righteousness, the powers and principalities cannot penetrate to our weaknesses because we are protected by God’s Kingdom Power.

The Shield of Faith is our most important defensive weapon. An unshakeable faith is the surest defense against the fiery arrows of the evil one.  Here’s what using your faith in God’s promises as a shield looks like… The devil tells me I am weak, confused, untrustworthy, foolish and unloved.  My faith tells me that I am strong (in Him), confident (in Him), trustworthy (in Him), wise (in Him) and beloved always.  Fiery darts? Quenched!

The armor for the feet and lower part of the body is the “Preparation of the Gospel of Peace”.  With this protection we move forward confidently, already prepared because we have done the work of studying His Gospel and as we advance, with the goal of freeing the captives of the enemy with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are protected because as we advance, peace is established.

We “take up” the Helmet of Salvation.  Now the Helmet of Salvation is not our salvation itself, which is assured to us when we first receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  The Helmet is the HOPE of eternal life with which we are protected from the lies and doubt that the enemy uses to throw us off.  We take up this HOPE every time we are attacked with doubt and God strengthens us because we have chosen to Hope in His promise that we will live forever with Him.  The lies of the enemy therefore cannot stick in our mind.

Our offensive weapon is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  John the Beloved tells us that Jesus Christ was “The Word” from the beginning and was with God and He was God.  Having accomplished the work of the Cross, He sits on the right Hand of the Father, calling on the Holy Spirit to defend the brethren. HE Himself is our offensive weapon against the enemy of our souls. As was told the Kings of Judah whenever they would return to the Lord,

“The battle is not ours, but God’s!Chronicles 20:15 

When we wield the Sword of the Spirit, all three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit move as one to attack the enemy and victory is assured.

The Lord has also provided us with the Bible, the inspired, written Word of God, which when we apply it, sends the enemy fleeing and also slays the demons that have been dispatched to waylay us on the battlefield.  God Himself strengthens our spiritual arms for the battle when we wield this Sword faithfully.

Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Here is something to think about… The Word of God, also known as the Sword of the Spirit, helps us to divide what is soulish (our own desires) from what is truly spiritual (His will for us).  When we spend time meditating on His Word, His Holy Spirit guides us into understanding and the renewing of our mind which leads us into the newness of life.


Ephesians 6:18 – praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints

Prayer is HOW we use the offensive weapons that belong to the Armor of God.  With our defensive Armor in place, and our Shield of Faith at the ready, using the Sword of the Holy Spirit, we can pray effectively for wisdom and strengthening in whatever trials we are in, for help in overcoming sin on the battlefield, and we can effectively bring God’s power into the lives of our families, our friends and our neighbors as well as all the saints worldwide!  How?

2 Corinthians 10:4 – For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds

So now we have seen how we passed from death into Life.  We have all been crucified with our Lord and raised up as soldiers who report to our Supreme Commanding Officer Jesus.  We have power and authority over all demonic powers and principalities in this world.  We only have to armor up and use the power of the Holy Spirit to see the victory.  To God be the Glory!

Here is something I have used to encourage the troops in my favorite role as Kingdom Field Lieutenant…

I am a soldier in the Army of my God. The Lord Jesus Christ is my Commanding Officer.

The Holy Bible is my Code of Conduct.

Faith, Prayer, and the Word are my weapons of warfare.

I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, trained by experience, tried by adversity and tested by fire.

I am a volunteer in this Army, and I am enlisted for eternity. I will either retire in this Army when the Lord returns, or die in this Army; but I will not get out, sell out, be talked out, or pushed out.

I am faithful, reliable, capable and  dependable.

If my God needs me, I am there.

If He needs me in Sunday school, to teach the children, or on the streets to work with the youth, feed the poor or preach to the lost, He can use me because I am there!

I am a soldier. I am not a baby.

I do not need to be pampered, petted, primed up, pumped up, picked up or pepped up. I am a soldier.

No one has to call me, remind me, write me, visit me, entice me, or lure me. I am a soldier.

I am not a wimp. I am in place, saluting my King, obeying His orders, praising His name, and building His Kingdom! No one has to send me flowers, gifts, food, cards, candy or give me handouts. I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for, or catered to.

I am committed. I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn me around. I cannot be discouraged enough to turn me aside. I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit.

When Jesus called me into the Army, I had nothing. If I end up with nothing, I will still come out ahead. I will win. My God has and will continue to supply all my needs. I am more than a conqueror. I will always triumph.

I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. Devils cannot defeat me. People cannot disillusion me. Weather cannot weary me. Sickness cannot stop me. Battles cannot beat me. Money cannot buy me. Governments cannot silence me and hell cannot handle me. I am a soldier.

Death cannot destroy me. For when my commander calls me from this battlefield, He will promote me to Captain and then allow me to rule with Him. I am a soldier in the Army, and I’m marching, claiming victory. I will not give up. I will not turn around. I am a soldier, marching heaven bound. Here I stand! Will you stand with me?

In His Grip Of Grace and Full Armor,

John Henry



Oct - 20 2021 | no comments | By

Luke 9: 23 – 24 – Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”

Wikipedia says “Self-denial is an act of letting go of the self as with altruistic abstinence – the willingness to forgo personal pleasures or undergo personal trials in the pursuit of the increased good of another.  Various religions and cultures take differing views of self-denial, some considering it a positive trait and others considering it a negative one. According to some Protestants, self-denial is considered a superhuman virtue only obtainable through Jesus.”

The Protestants to whom this description refers are Calvinists, presumably.  John Calvin’s view of self-denial is almost completely centered on the list of “don’ts” that are associated with asceticism, as opposed to altruism (the Golden Rule).  Calvin was also most well-known for the odious doctrine of “double-predestination” causing millions of modern Christians as well as many of those since the 16th Century to believe that God predestined all people he created, some for Heaven and some for Hell (none knowing for sure who is who).  Even Calvin stated that this decree by God was “horrible” (and yet he believed in it enough to put it into doctrine and  burn others at the stake for disputing it!).

Conversely, I maintain that the self-denial that Jesus taught was denial of self for the purposes of putting others ABOVE yourself and spending your thoughts in prayer for others, and spending your time and your money pursuing the betterment of others (and of course living out a true Christ-like example so that those that know you can see Jesus in you and come to faith).

Let us look at the picture that is painted when we put these whole-thought scriptures beside one another.

Luke 2: 1- 4 – Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Matthew 22:37-40 -Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

1 John 4:7-8 –  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God, Whom John says “is Love”, desires that we love Him and love each other.  Therefore, I assert that the “self-denial” that Jesus taught is the laying down of one’s life for 1. The Glory of God (His Will, not mine be done) and 2. The benefit and betterment of those God has placed around you.

That said, as I have revealed in previous blogs, I believe that being/becoming “the called” is a whole life event and that God knows who belong to Him at the end from the beginning because He is transcendent (in all time and space at once) AS WELL AS imminent (with us in real time through His Spirit).  Because this is true, those who are the called are set apart even before they say YES to Jesus in this time and place we call life on earth.  For that reason, God is gracious and merciful to them and they are capable of great acts of love although not yet regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit that happens at the moment of their heartfelt confession of faith in Him.

Think on this symbol of the horizontal piece of the Cross as Jesus’ and our love for each other, and the tree, or vertical stake, as Jesus and our love of and for our Heavenly Father.  We CARRY the horizontal piece to the vertical piece of the Cross where He was lifted up and nailed to the Cross.  This is a vivid representation of the journey of the called.  Loving people around them until they can acknowledge God and see the Truth of Jesus, be crucified WITH Him, and only then loving Him FIRST while continuing to love all those around them with HIS love.

Perhaps you are unsure of the metaphor because you believe that Jesus carried the WHOLE cross to Golgotha.  Then please consider the following…

All of the narratives are silent about the details of the cross Jesus carried, likely because their audience, Jews and Greeks in the 1st century, were well aware of the Romans and their methods of torture. Crucifixion was a common penalty for criminals in the Roman Empire and was used as a public deterrent. Those who read/listened to the accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion did not need a detailed description as they knew exactly what it looked like.

Historian Hershel Shanks explains in an article in the Biblical Archeology Review that wood was difficult to acquire and that the Romans reused wooden uprights that were already fixed in the ground. This means anyone who was crucified only had to carry the crossbeam.

“According to the literary sources, those condemned to crucifixion never carried the complete cross, despite the common belief to the contrary and despite the many modern reenactments of Jesus’ walk to Golgotha. Instead, only the crossbar was carried, while the upright was set in a permanent place where it was used for subsequent executions. As the first-century Jewish historian Josephus noted, wood was so scarce in Jerusalem during the first century A.D. that the Romans were forced to travel ten miles from Jerusalem to secure timber for their siege machinery.”

This is what it looks like for us… We take up our Cross daily by carrying horizontally (the Crossbeam) the burdens of others out of love for them (that comes from God of course).  God bears with us as soon-to-be saints because we have love for our neighbors until we can arrive at our own personal Gethsemene and agree to lay down our lives not ONLY for those around us but for the GLORY OF GOD (the Vertical pole).

Let us not esteem people lightly who do good for others yet are “not Christians”.  They have love, so they have God.  Show them the best you have of what Jesus looks like and watch them come to the foot of the Cross and receive the salvation prepared for them from before the foundations of the world!

With Love and Life Abundant,

John Henry


Powers and Principalities: American Idols

Jul - 17 2021 | no comments | By

Philippians 3:17-19 – Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.

This scripture was written while Paul was under house arrest in either Rome or Ephesus, to the followers of the Way of Jesus the Christ in the church at Philippi.  The Philippian church was the first church that Paul had planted in what is now modern Europe, in Greece.

Philippi was a global center (global in the sense of the then-known world) of commerce and politics and although under Roman rule at the time of this writing, had been the center of the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great, and was, in fact, named for Alexander’s father Philip of Macedonia.

In Acts 16 we see that Paul was called to Greece (Macedonia) in a vision on his 2nd missionary journey.   “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Acts 16:9,10)

In the church at Philippi were found both Jews and Gentiles (all believers).  In the scripture noted above, Philippians 3:17-19, Paul is recognizing the worldliness of the culture surrounding this flock of believers.  He implores them to follow his example, and walk worthy of the calling with which they were called by emulating those who like Paul and Silas and Timothy, are mature in the Lord.

We are living today, in the USA, in a center of commerce and politics much like Philippi and face the same temptation to “conform to the world” that the believers in Philippi faced.  Our popular culture, like that of ancient Philippi, is filled with idolatry of various kinds.  This idolatry might take the form of sexual perversions (adultery, fornication, prostitution, homo, trans and pansexuality, pornography), which may seem obvious to the believer called out of the darkness and into the marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9), or it may take other, more subtle forms.  Perhaps just as obvious to some of us who follow Jesus, is the idolatry that He specifically warns us makes it impossible for us to serve God, the love of Mammon (money).

Idolatry is simply anything or anyone that we place above, or even alongside of God.  This includes nation, family, jobs, politics and even ministry.

However, let’s focus for the purposes of this message on the two major idols that troubled and eventually seduced the people of Israel.

These two were Ashtoreth, the goddess in several of the Caananite cultures who represented fertility, but also sexual licentiousness, and in whose worship were included temple prostitutes of both sexes, and abominable practices such as “passing their children through the fire” to receive favor from their gods, and Mammon/Money which leads it’s followers to covet, steal, lie and distort the truth to gain their riches or comfort at the expense of  the poor and their neighbors

The Spirit drew me to Philippians 3 and these verses specifically for this reason.  The current American political and cultural landscape  is rife with Idolatry, whereby it’s idolators, either directly, or through their political Proxys (representatives that they vote for and support) further the agendas of Satan’s two Lieutenants, Powers and Principalities.

Let’s start with the Powers.  The American political Right, on it’s extreme edge, is Mammon.  Those who serve Mammon seek their own comfort and security at the expense of those less fortunate and the neighbors whom they are supposed to help.  This includes warmongers and the wealthy who benefit from wars and throw young people into harm’s way for their greed and self-interest. These are people, including believers, whose “God is their belly”.

As for the Principalities… The American political Left, at it’s extreme edge, is Ashtoreth, whose supporters are doers and enablers of all kinds of sexual perversion, abortions, and lies about God.  These are those whose “glory is in their shame”.

Is one worse that the other?  They are both the epitome of evil.  However, let’s take a deeper look…

We are now living under the New Covenant. Hallelujah! The Messiah has come and done the one thing that men could not do for themselves, namely, provide salvation by His death and Resurrection on the Cross.  Those of us who believe, should rest in the power of God’s Grace and walk out this great salvation in fear and trembling by extending the same Grace to those around us, including sinners, among whom we were when we were saved.  The ultimate Grace is to forgive and tell them the good news about Jesus Christ.

So… let’s take a step back.  The snare of the OLD Covenant to the people of Israel was the Ba’al (or Idol) Ashtoreth (also Molech, Chemosh, etc.) who were the gods of the peoples of the land of Caanan who were under God (The Lord’s) wrath because of sexual immorality and just plain old disobedience to the one true God.  Worship of, and simple obedience to the “gods of the land” were what ensnared God’s people and caused Him to send them into captivity time and time again.

Before Jesus came to provide salvation, the woman caught in adultery, who we see in the New Testament Gospels, would have been stoned to death by the righteous among God’s Chosen People and this is where the confusion begins about what sin remains under the new Covenant…

In short, the only sin that remains under the Blood of Christ for believers is unacknowledged and unrepentant sin.   Since the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin (convicting meaning bringing it to mind, not condemning us), we who are true believers must acknowledge our sin and cannot use ignorance as an excuse.  Also… if we acknowledge active sin in our lives, we must repent of it, and if we repent of it, then we must also allow the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and strength to turn from it.

So… back to the woman caught in adultery…

When the Jews (mostly Pharisees and Sadducees) brought the woman to Jesus, their purpose was to trap Him into contradicting the Levitical Law, which demanded that she be stoned to death.  Hypocritically, although the man involved in this adultery was also ‘caught in the act” they did not bring him.  Perhaps he was even one of those who cried out for the woman to be stoned.

Jesus response was to begin writing in the dirt with his finger and saying to the crowd… “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”  I have always thought that Jesus was writing each of the Commandments given to Moses one by one and that as he wrote the command that each person in the crowd was guilty of breaking, they slunk away until there were none left.  At this point, Jesus said to the woman that since all of her accusers were guilty of the same or equally awful sins and were therefor unable to accuse her, that He, God incarnate, did not condemn her either but did acknowledge her sin by saying “now go, and sin no more.”

Now… back to the question of the sin of political idolatry in our modern times.

Let’s look at the parable of the Prodigal son.  The one who disrespected his father and then wasted all that was coming to him, acknowledged his sin when he was living in the pig sty and repented by saying that he had sinned against his father, and also against God.  He turned from his sin by getting up from his filth and beginning the long, hard walk back to his father and apologize, willing to forego his sonship as punishment and be a slave of his father.  As we know, his Father, who represents God in the image of Jesus, was already aware of his repentant son’s heart and ran down the road to restore him fully into the family.

Clearly this part of the story represents the carnal sinner who truly repents and receives salvation and not only is restored to his position as son but also the power that comes from being the son of a great and wealthy man (Robe, Sandals and Ring).

The parable does not end there, however.  The elder brother who remained with his father was angry that his brother got to go off and “do his thing” and was then forgiven.   His response was to disrespect his father by questioning his forgiveness of the younger son and as the parable ends, he remained angry.

So… the prodigal son represents a sinner who is saved by Grace, and the elder brother represents the Pharisees and Sadducees who rejected the Grace of Christ.  They, like the crowd who accused the woman caught in adultery, were guilty, as was the elder brother, of rejecting the Grace of the Father who was now in their midst in the Person of Jesus.

The extreme political Right movement in the American Church is clearly like the elder brother.  Angry at the entitlement of those they consider lazy and undeserving of Grace that they themselves have received.  Willing to ignore their responsibilities as followers of the Way of Jesus to protect the poor in their midst and being eager to cast stones at their neighbors who believe differently then they do.  In other words, New Testament Grace for me, Old Testament judgement for you, and without irony apparently. These believers, to their shame, are circling the wagons in fear of “the other side” and are ignoring the Great Commission. The extreme adherents to the Idol of Trumpism are the greatest transgressors in current times, especially those who lie and support liars and hoard guns and ammunition, waiting for their opportunity to “avenge” God against the Godless.  Many of these use as their excuse/mantra that we are “in the end times” and God wants them to bring violence to overthrow those they consider to be “evil” (or more evil than they are) on the Left.

The extreme political Left movement in the American Church is not, however, blameless either, in that unlike the prodigal son, they neither acknowledge nor repent of carnal sin, but rather celebrate it by proclaiming as good and right many of the things clearly described as sinfulness in the Bible.  Fornication (“free love”), abortion as a means of birth control, homosexuality, transvestitism, trans and pansexuality, etc. are being celebrated, often in church under the “rainbow flag”.  Ironically, many of the adherents and celebrators of this licentiousness in society are also the defenders of the poor and those of races other than Caucasian who may need legitimate redress to their having been enslaved, belittled and undervalued by a society that claims to provide “freedom for all” but has historically practiced “freedom for some”.  Jesus approves of the latter, I believe, but given the odious nature of the former, cannot bless it.

So where does this leave the Body of Christ in America?  It’s fairly simple.  Jesus is in the center.

Think of the Cross as being in the Center of God’s “perfect and acceptable” will for all humanity.  Remembering that the sin of the people of Israel was worshipping strange gods AS WELL AS the God of Israel, It is not acceptable to God that those that have received and proclaimed the greatest gift given to man, Jesus Christ, also give absolute obedience to ANY worldly political or religious construct that are, quite literally, the Powers and Principalities that are the rulers of darkness in the world.

We, the Body of Christ, true followers of His Way, having taken up our own crosses as He commanded, should not be standing on the Left or the Right, throwing stones at the other side, but we are to be united as one true Church, encircling the Cross at the Center of human experience, with our faces outward and arms open wide, attracting and embracing the lost that are running from both Left and Right, Powers and Principalities, and inviting them to receive that great Salvation, prepared for them from the Foundations of the world, growing the Kingdom of Heaven to the Glory of God!

Humbly, In His Grace,

John Henry



Apr - 01 2021 | no comments | By

“Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not someone who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah”

These lyrics appear in Leonard Cohen’s beautiful and haunting song Hallelujah. In this poetic, seemingly hopeless verse, we may not see so much the poet’s personal view of love, but a near perfect representation of what the world’s view of “love” is… It mostly knows the heartbreak of romantic, erotic love which is so easily broken and causes terrible, even sometimes generational brokenness.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Greek word “eros” , which is the Greek word used for sexual and/or romantic love is never used in the Bible, not even as a cautionary word. Biblically, I believe that the closest concept to “erotic” or eros-driven is the Hebrew word “zanah” which is used to describe both fornication (sexual gratification without affection) between partners and is used in the Old Testament to describe prostitution, incest and rape and also, interestingly, it describes the idolatrous acts of apostate Israel (the harlot) because Israel is considered by God in the OT to be His beloved bride and by worshipping idols his beloved people are committing spiritual fornication/adultery which God detests.

There are several types of love found in the two major languages of the Bible, Greek and Judeo/Aramaic which is an early form of Hebrew.

The Old Testament uses the word Ahava or Hova (Judeo/Aramaic) to portray a love that a man has for a woman (The word used in Genesis 29:30 for Jacob loving Rachel more than Leah is that all purpose word ahavah which in its root means I will give. Jacob ahavah Rachel but he hovah Leah. He loved Leah only out of obligation.) Sometimes the word Ahava is used as Ahab or Ahaba (Hebrew) and can also denote the Love that God has for His people.

The New Testament as we now have it, uses these primary descriptive words for love:
Phileo or Philadelphia (Greek) best understood as friendly affection or “brotherly” love.
Storge (Greek), or natural affection as a mother has for a child or a father his children.
Agape, the highest form of love such as God’s Person (“God is Love” – 1 John 4:8 & 16), His love for His people, also the love that a person has for God which is rooted in a willingness to submit fully to the other’s authority.

Here is an example of a subtle difference between phileo and agape love in John 21.

Peter, Do you love (ἀγαπάω/agape) me?
You know that I love (φιλέω/phileo) you.
Do you love (agape) me?
You know that I love (phileo) you.
Do you love (agape) me?
You know all things. You know that I love (phileo) you.

Jesus is asking Peter if he loves Him as Lord and Peter keeps responding that he loves Him as his brother. Jesus overlooks Peter’s obtuseness and gives him the instruction to “Feed His lambs, et al. In so doing, the implication is that by actively loving his brothers (phileo), Peter will be loving/serving Jesus/God as his Lord and Master (agape).

But I digress… Back to the world’s problem. What the world mostly teaches of love is the hopelessness of inordinate affection and the obsessive addiction of sex and sexuality on the human psyche. Like a rat in a lab test, we tend, without the Spirit’s leading, to repeat the same mistakes over and over again as we look for “love in all the wrong places” and take our physical comfort where we can find it, offered or not. This always leads to dysfunction in relationships which brings harm to all parties involved.
This is not to say that there is not the ability of the unregenerated (Godless) human being to be kind or compassionate. However, the Lord says that “there is none good but God the Father, not one”.

Interestingly, the word Chrestotes (Greek) is used in the New Testament to denote the goodness that leads to repentance because of the kindness of God. Romans 2:4 shows us that it is through the richness of God’s goodness that we find repentance. The Greek word here signifies more than goodness as a quality—it is goodness in righteous action, goodness expressing itself in deeds. It was God’s/Jesus’ goodness that led Him to take the Cross for us. We who have chosen to receive Christ must first choose to acknowledge and repent of our inherent sin. That is as close to Chrestotes as we can get.

My opinion here is that this type of goodness or kindness is always God-breathed, even in the unregenerated human being. However, it may come and go in that person in the same way that the Holy Spirit came and went among the OT prophets. When “the called according to His purpose” is awakened to Christ and receives Him as Lord, the Holy Spirit then comes to dwell with and in that person. Their part is to offer the hospitality of obedience to Him.
Jesus will never leave or forsake that person and will continue to draw him/her to Himself but if that person hardens their hearts to the Lord’s Ephesian 2:10 invitation to walk in the good works prepared beforehand for them to do, and continues leaning on their own understanding, serving idols like Mammon (love of and/or trust in money), Astoroth (eroticism in all forms), Hedonism (self-worship), and even inordinate affections like Politics, Sports, Fandom and even work or family obligations when they overshadow God’s Presence through His Spirit, then eventually they will grieve the Holy Spirit that is calling them even as one who refuses the invitation of the Cross. You cannot love the Lord, in other words, and not “follow Him”. That was true for Ancient Israel and it is true for the Israel of God (known today as Christians but originally “The Followers of The Way of Christ”) as well.

Let us then “Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.’ – Matthew 22:37

Remembering that He loved us first, this is the love of God that He deserves in return from us, those who believe and follow Him.

In His Amazing Grip of Grace,

John Henry



Mar - 31 2021 | no comments | By


In a word, the answer to this question is “No”.

That said, one of the first arguments that unbelievers (and often seekers) make when they question our faith as followers of Jesus is, “if God is all-powerful and completely good, how can He allow children to die, disease and poverty, or evil to prevail under any circumstances?”

This question obviously assumes that God operates by human standards of acceptable behavior.  As we know, God, the Lord, the Creator of all things, does not answer to, nor is completely understandable by His creations.  However, there is an answer to this question, and it is a theme that runs throughout the Bible.

As we see from the very beginning in the Book of Genesis, God is a Creator who desires to have a relationship (fellowship) with His creation.  It was for this reason that He made man in His own image. (Genesis 1:26)  He also desires that we should grow into the image of His Son Jesus so that we can truly be His children for eternity. (Romans 8:29)  In order to understand this passage as well as the concept that God is always just and therefore “fair”, we first must comprehend, if not completely understand, the basic nature of God.

God is both Transcendent (the cause of His Creation living outside and beyond it) and He is also Imminent (involved intimately in every aspect of His physical Creation and interacting, through His Spirit, with every individual person and thing He has made).

In order to more fully understand this concept, think of His Transcendent nature being the Creator Father who was unknowable by the people of Israel even though they were His “chosen” people.  They were afraid of the raw power of the fire on the mountain that they saw and asked only that Moses would interpret the Law for them so that they would not have to be confronted by His awesome and terrifying (to them) Presence.

Now, think of the Imminent nature of God as the Person and Spirit of God represented by Jesus Messiah.  While we can only approach the Transcendent God with reverence and awe, we can approach Jesus as His child, and also our friend and brother as well as Savior.  We can come confidently before His (Jesus’) “Throne of Grace” to make our requests known to God. (Hebrews 4:16)

In Matthew Chapter 5, the same Chapter that contains the Beatitudes, Jesus tells His followers that the sun shines and it rains on the just and the unjust.  This is told to them in the context of exhorting them to love their enemies, so that they can be perfect as their Father in Heaven is perfect, the implication being that God provides His blessing of sunshine and rain on the wicked as well as the righteous and so we must endeavor to also do good to all regardless of their attitude towards us.

Is this fair?  Of course it is.  God intends the sun and the rain to always be a blessing and He loves all His children.  When He created the Heavens and the earth, He said “It was good”.  To see how this is fair from our human understanding, however, let’s take the long view.

Matthew 5:43-48 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,  that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?  Therefore, you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

It occurred to me a long time ago that the reality of the effect of even good things on the just and the unjust can be entirely different.  After all, even in human terms we see that “as a man sows, so shall he reap” (Galatians 6:7)

Think of it then this way… When it rains on the just it waters their crops.  When it rains on the unjust, it washes out their house.

By the same token, when troubles come (and they will and do) to everyone, the way we approach our trials, and whether we trust the Lord or not according to His Word in Romans 8:28 (God works ALL things together for the good…) can and will have a tremendous impact upon the outcome.  After all, for the believer/follower of Christ, the goal is to grow into the image of Jesus and as it is said (NOT in the Bible, but true nonetheless) “no pain, no gain”.  For the wicked person, whose only interest is their own satisfaction and/or benefit, the outcome of their trials (although undoubtedly allowed by God to draw them into right relationship with Himself and those around them) is usually fear that leads to unhappiness or worse.  Think of this as the sun warming the face of the just and burning the back of the wicked.

Romans 8:28-30 – “For we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

Again, about this verse I often hear both believers and unbelievers alike ask “How is this fair?  If God “predestined” some for Glory and not others, why should men even bother to be good?”  Again, this plays out in terms of God’s Transcendence and also His Imminence.  In His Transcendence, He knows the end from the beginning.  He “foreknew” His Chosen, the “called according to His Purpose” because He is at the beginning and the end (or the beginning of eternity with His finished Family) simultaneously.  He (Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit) are the Alpha AND the Omega.  God foreknows and predestined us because He already knows the choices we made about a relationship with Jesus and how we lived out His Word by treating well the people He put in our lives.  It is WE who are living life out linearly, one choice at a time, while He sees us in real time both before, during and after the choices we will make, are making and have made.  It is ALWAYS God’s desire that all would come to salvation in Christ Jesus and spend eternity with Him in Paradise.  Yet as we know, some won’t, and by their own choices.  That is how God is fair even if we can’t always wrap our heads around it.

Perspective is everything on earth and in Heaven.  On both Heaven and earth, the Lord’s perspective is the only one that matters.


In His Truth, with His Love,

John Henry


Beware the Idol Mammon

Sep - 12 2020 | no comments | By

Jesus words in red in the Gospel of Matthew tell us “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”  When our Lord Jesus tells us something this specific, we would do well to pay attention.  Note He says NO ONE can serve two masters.  In other words, you trust Me or you trust what I have given you.

The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Timothy  that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”.

While we may be tempted to think that because we don’t consider ourselves greedy or money-grubbing, and we might from time to time give to a church, or some televangelist, or some foreign Mission or even give a buck to a needy stranger or a relative needing help, that we are immune from the warning of which both Paul and our Lord Jesus tell us have spiritual consequences.  We must not allow ourselves to be lulled into complacency by the enemy.  The Idol Mammon is one of his chief lieutenants.  It is not a question of degree.  It is a matter of trust.

Here is a personal story…  Two and a half years ago, my lovely wife Donna took a nasty fall at work which injured her severely.  We tried to take care of her injuries through our Health Insurance but the moment that they found out that the injury happened at work, they told her that they could not treat her and that the injuries had to be reported to Workman’s Compensation and be taken care of through the Work Comp Insurance carrier for her employer.

Two and a half years later this saga is still ongoing and with very few exceptions, my wife has had no meaningful treatment because of the constant denials by the Insurance Company of treatment authorizations requested by the very Doctors who she was referred to BY THE INSURANCE COMPANY.

I have been Donna’s advocate and defender throughout this soul-crushing process and so I am intimately aware of the callousness and lack of compassion for the injured worker that is an integral part of this system.  Along the way, we have met several kind and well-meaning physicians and others who have shared with us that this is common experience with most work comp patients.  The System AKA the Insurance Company and the Utilization Review vendors routinely deny reasonable care as a means of coercing the injured worker to settle to their own and their employer’s detriment.

The Employer, the Insurance company’s client, also suffers because they do not get their valuable employee back in a timely manner  (or in some cases like my wife, ever) because the injuries, easily addressed in the beginning with reasonable proper treatment, eventually become worse and chronic as the denials drag on.

This has been the case for Donna, and to add insult to injury, the Insurance Company has recently paid a Private Investigator to follow her and take surreptitious photographs attempting to “catch” her doing something outside the guidelines of activity for her Medical Disability evaluation.  That money would have been much better spent taking care of Donna’s injuries early on thereby allowing her to return to work.

Why am I telling you all this in a discussion about the idol Mammon?  Here it is.  As I was praying in the Spirit for Donna’s health the other day, a Word came to me that I should also be praying for those who identify as “Christians” who work for the Insurance Company as well as for those who work for the Utilization Review Company and for the politicians who allow this system to continue.  Why?  The Lord revealed that these Christians are trading their soul’s right standing with God and trust in security in HIM for their trust and security in their paycheck.  We have been assured by some who would speak out (mostly treating Doctor’s whose recommendations the Insurance Company denies through the Utilization Review company) that all along the line these people KNOW that they are denying reasonable care and they are doing it for their bosses who answer to their stockholders. That said, I am praying for the stockholders too.

What does this have to do with us?  When Jesus tells us that NO ONE can serve God and Mammon, we need to hear Him!

Jesus tells this story in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.  Here is the story in the Gospel of Mark…

Mark 10:17 – 22 – Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”

And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”

Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Now I point to the line… “Jesus, looking at him, loved him”.  Jesus knew his heart.  He wanted to be worthy to inherit eternal life and he acknowledged Jesus, but he had an Idol in his heart that was going to keep him separated from the Kingdom of Heaven as long as he did not deal with it.  What was the idol?  Money.  Plain and simple.  He walked away, sorrowful, because he was going to continue to put his trust in riches, and not in God, the Giver of those riches.

Wealth is a responsibility.  It is supposed to be a gift that is given away.  It has been said that we all want to be blessed, but some just want more blessing for themselves, while others want more blessing to bless others.  God deserves the latter.  That is why we have the Golden Rule.  God blessed Abraham so that through him the world might be blessed.  Jesus left His riches in Glory to become poor and a sacrifice to many.  If we say we follow Jesus then we must do as He did.

2 Cor. 16:9 – For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

The Apostle Paul quotes Exodus 16:14 in 2 Corinthians 8:15 when he was exhorting them to give generously to the poorer churches out of their wealth, which they had in abundance.  He tells them “As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”  The early church was supposed to live this way.

The original verse was found in Exodus 16 in regards to the manna which fed the Israelites for the 40 years in the desert and which they were told to use for the welfare of ALL of them but NOT save up or hoard.

Exodus 16:15, 16 – And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat.  This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.’ ”

Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need. And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.”

Certainly “saving for a rainy day” is prudent, if worldly advice.  But are some of you listening to this broadcast putting your trust and faith in your money in the bank or in those that promise to increase your wealth, rather than gratefully depending upon the Lord for your daily bread?

Don’t get me wrong.  It is okay to have much.  But we must always remember that Jesus said in the Gospel of Luke that “to whom much is given, much will be required.  He was referring to the knowledge of the Gospel and the great Commission, but I believe that He was also referring to our gifts and possessions.  We who believe must look to the Holy Spirit to reveal what we are to give away, when and to whom.

We live in a society that values personal wealth as well as fame, good looks, desirability and political power.  We must realize that these things are worldly pursuits.  Our gifts, including money but also our talents and other strengths are mandated by the Lord, to be used for the benefit of others and the Glory of God.  When we make our daily decisions based on whether they benefit us financially, or in any other way for our personal benefit, we are serving an idol.


Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  Those good works always involve giving something that you have been given whether it is God’s Grace and mercy, some piece of wisdom, or ten thousand dollars.  Trust Him.  Seek HIS will.  Ask for courage to give more than you think you can.  That is what trusting the Lord is all about.


In His Grip, with His Love,

John Henry Raskin



Uncommon Faith AND Common Sense

Mar - 19 2020 | 1 comment | By

It is March 2020. March, they say, goes in like a Lion and leaves like a lamb. Jesus is both the Lion of Judah and the Lamb slain for us. True to his twisted nature, satan shows the reverse. Right behind the movement of the Spirit and revival of faith within the Body of Christ that we saw in the beginning of the year, now the roaring of the enemy has intensified and we all now find ourselves in the uncharted stormy waters of an international pandemic.

Psalm 91: 1-3

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the enemy
And from the perilous pestilence.

Psalm 91:9

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;

For those of us who live in right relationship with the Lord, and pray as we are commanded, led by His Holy Spirit, there is nothing to fear, but we must be vigilant.

1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

As we ask for wisdom, God will let each of us know in real time, how and what to pray, but also how to protect ourselves, family and neighbors, when and where to go or not go, and what to do or not do to actuate the Psalm 91 protection that He has promised to us.

James 1:5

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

He will also extend His hedge of Divine protection over our unsaved friends, family and neighbors through the effective prayers that He leads us to pray and we speak into Life in obedience to His Spirit.

1 Peter 3:12

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers

James 5:16

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much.

Donna and I are going out only as needed, to procure food and supplies and to distribute meals, water and needed goods to neighbors and members of our flock who are homeless, elderly or immune compromised, We are also doing worship services on Sunday as a Live Stream on Facebook (AbundantLifeSimi) thereby limiting exposure to the COVID19 virus. We feel led by the Lord and feel secure in His leading.

We are also giving added financial support to Homeless Services organizations in our area (HopeoftheValley.org, Samaritancentersimi.org) and suggest that all of us be mindful and generous to those serving on the front lines of the fight against this viral attack of the enemy, especially toward the poor and homeless.

Above all, as the enemy has temporarily been somewhat successful in isolating us from each other for this (hopefully) short season, we must be more fervent in praying for each other, and looking out for the weakest among us. Stay safe, and above all, faithful.

Yours, in eternity, Armor on, and faithful,

John Henry

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