Saved From What?

Weekly Sabbath Survey
Saved From What? —  2-17-2018

   

We use the word ‘saved’ to mean Born Again and belonging to Jesus. In general usage, “saved” may mean rescued from something. Life guards saved him from drowning; the prince saved the fair maiden from the dragon. So, as Believers, we might ask the question, What am I saved FROM?
If the preaching of hundreds of years among evangelicals is to be believed, we are saved from HELL—(eternal damnation.) Years ago, my Mama would complain about the preachers who were constantly “dangling us over Hell’s fire.” I always laughed when she would go on and on, but I wonder if she was on to something with this. The whole idea of ‘saved from Hell’ seems to be a scare tactic and an incomplete “Gospel.”  You get saved, then hang around enduring earthly life waiting for heaven?    
And, it could be possible for someone to accept that weak, half truth salvation, buy themselves a 40 lb. Bible, get a big ol’ cross to hang around their neck, and think they are just fine, literally ‘good to go.’ We can believe that, and keep living just like we always have. Many people have done that over the years. The blood of Jesus was applied to protect us from hell, like our lucky coin we carry with us when we play golf.
But what about another aspect of salvation? Could it be the complete Gospel involves being saved FROM something? Yes! There is a Gospel in which Jesus says:  “Go, and sin no more.”  This doesn’t have the crowd appeal that missing Hell does. Giving up sin is hard work. Especially when it may be sins we like and really want to keep doing. Not too many preachers sermonize about sin these days. It’s a ‘Jesus loves you and wants you to be happy’ message most of the time. True enough. But a life of true salvation cannot keep going the way it always has. The saved one must hear the rest of the story! Real salvation involves a desire to embrace change in our way of living. The ‘proof’ of salvation is a changed life, not a ‘Get Outta Hell Free’ card!
Another advantage of being saved from sin, is that we are saved TO Eternal Life. Missing Hell isn’t even factored in for the redeemed of the Lord! There is no such thing as “fire insurance” in the Bible. Our insurance and assurance is in the shed blood of Jesus who has Saved Us From Sin To Righteousness.  By the power of His Spirit, Jesus has made us strong enough to resist and refuse sin.  This power evident, visible, by a life lived in righteousness. (The ‘magic’ word here is:  REPENT.  Which means ‘stop sinning— turn around and go the other way.’)
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.  1 John 1:8-10

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah

copyright  June 2017
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing at
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Bad Things Happen

Weekly Sabbath Survey
Bad Things Happen —  2-10-2017

   

As we soldier on in our lives with the Lord, some bad things will happen. –It is a WAR we’re in down here!– Some battles are on the outside and some are inside. How we understand our battles and how we act or react because of them is important. We live in a fallen world. Here are few things that speak to that: Mosquitoes, Poison Ivy, the Flu, Cancer, Auto Accidents, Medical Mistakes, Birth Defects, Robbery, Betrayal, Murder. The list goes on.
Adversity.  These are times when things happen, which are beyond our control. They are on the outside. We know God allows adversity at times and we wonder, WHY?
Illness. Sickness and disease can come from both inside and out. They are environmental or biological or emotional. Some cancer is being caused by our polluted Earth. Bad bacteria and viruses are everywhere. We all get a common cold from time to time. We wonder, Why?
Despair.  Depression, confusion and many other mental problems come from the inside. Our mental processes may overwhelm our spirit man when we are not in a good fellowship with the Lord or the battle is just exceedingly hot or long-lived. This can lead to major problems and weak faith. We wonder, Why?
A lot of all this is inevitable. It’s just part of the fallen condition of mankind us and our planet. If we do not accept what is going on with us and stand strong in our faith with The Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are going to be the victim of our circumstances. We must pray for God’s protection, but sometimes God just allows things to happen. The reason is not known to us. One question God almost NEVER answers is “Why?”  Mostly, I don’t even ask that any more. It doesn’t matter. We must take each day as it comes. We pray God gives us the strength to get through whatever is going on. We stand against our enemies and the devil, who is the enemy of God. It doesn’t always mean it gets easier, but we can have peace as we endure.  We must KNOW the promise of Holy Spirit to be our Comforter and BELIEVE He is still with us.
Scripture says the rain falls on the just and the unjust. In life, we get the bitter and the sweet. And, we can get better or get bitter because of the bad things. We get to choose. If we can still trust the Living God no matter what, the adversities will make us stronger in our faith. My own Mother sustained crippling injuries in a rollover car wreck at the age of 38. She was pretty, healthy and active, and then she was a cripple. She prayed for a miracle, went through painful therapy and surgeries with only a little improvement. For a while, she was defeated and eventually even bitter. But she found her faith again. She got her miracle, but it was not healing. It was a renewed faith and a precious joy, in spite of her disabilities.
We have God-given immunity to disease inside us. But injuries, stress and the aging process can compromise our immunity. We have diminished strength, aches and pains, or we begin to get sick more often and with diseases and syndromes we never had before. But there is still much beauty to behold. There is still God’s own presence, His grace, His forgiveness, His salvation, and His JOY!  The Joy of The Lord is our strength!  In Him we are made strong in the power of His might.
By faith the saints of old defeated kingdoms, created righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched fires, escaped the edge of the sword, and out of weakness they were made strong; they became valiant in the fight, and put to flight the armies of their enemies. Hebrews 11:33-34

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah

copyright  June 2017
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing at

Courts of The Lord

Weekly Sabbath Survey

Courts of the Lord  — 2-3-2018
For the purposes of the teaching today, we will consider the people in the Christian faith to be in three categories. These are ones who are known commonly as “Christian.” They attend gatherings of God’s people. So, let us identify the three types of attendees by using the pattern of the Temple in Jerusalem, its three “courts.”
The Outer Court:  Also called The Court of the Gentiles, this area was open to everyone, particularly to Gentiles who were studying in synagogue so they could abandon their pagan gods and to embrace the YHVH, the God of Israel. For us, it would be those we call “seekers” — not yet Born Again. Others might be very new to the faith and/or shallow in their understanding of it. Today we might call them Social or Cultural Christians. They confess Jesus is LOrd, but are in church mostly because this is what they know to do, or because of family tradition, or in order to interact with friends of their financial or social status, maybe even to find business contacts.
The Inner Court: This area was for people fully into the Jewish faith by birth or by conversion. In a church setting today, these are people who are truly Born Again but are in need of further instruction in righteousness to grasp their faith. They are “in Christ” which makes it possible for them to have a relationship with The Father. They may have a prayer life, attend Bible study, and many are busy doing good works. They live up to all the light they have, keep the faith, trust God, and some even tell others about Jesus. They may teach or preach.
The Holy Place: This is the very private secret place of God. The Holy of Holies. Within the veil. Our hiding place. In the Temple only one person went in there: The High Priest, alone with God. In the framework of Christianity, these are people who have slipped into a communion with Him alone. Nobody goes in with them. From Peter we have learned that we are ALL PRIESTS with an open invitation to go into The Holy Place with our Father. Those who do this have a Power Walk with Him and it shows when they come out to join the rest of us in assembly. This relationship with God is very much like marriage. Each marriage has its own workings and some things are not to be shared with others. But the love and strength these people demonstrate draws others to them. Their faces reveal to the discerning that they have been in the presence of God. It’s a little like Moses when he came down from the mountain and his face was shining so bright the people had to look away. And, it made them afraid. Even today, some people are still afraid of that ‘look’ on the face of someone under that strong anointing. The power of God is so obvious it can be scary! The powerful ones can seem a bit quirky to others. They have their own little ‘thing’ going and people can see it. If a person isn’t drawn to that, they will be afraid of it. At times these ‘shining’ ones are misunderstood and even shunned by others. Without God’s leading, people run away from what they can’t understand. But those who have their eyes opened recognize something important with these ‘different’ ones. And, they begin to want that experience with the Almighty. In The Holy Place we hear God’s voice, are given the power to have dreams, visions, and prophecies. We enjoy a peace that cannot be found anywhere else.
The Bible says our body is the Temple of Holy Spirit. On this personal level, The Outer Court is our physical being, what people see. The Inner Court is our Born Again persona that can be easily recognized. It is our inner man and the doer of good deeds. We might call this ‘our heart.’  But there is something else in us very deep, quiet and not visible to others, except for that shining face. It is The Holy Place, something eternal, some part of us that is joined with the Spirit of God and it will never die. This is the part of us that only God knows and sees. We likely don’t even really understand it ourselves, but if we are pressing in to KNOW Jesus, we are very aware of it. The more we know of Jesus, the more we want to be like Him, and the greater are our works we do in Him.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do works of righteousness, which God has ordained and planned that we should walk in those good works.  Ephesians 2:10
 

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah

copyright June 2017
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing at



The Little Gate

Weekly Sabbath Survey
The Little Gate —  1-27-2018

   

In Bible times, wealthy people protected their homes with stone walls. (This is still the case in many countries around the world. In America we have ‘gated communities.’) The wall would have a tall entrance gate, opening onto a large courtyard in front of the house. It was kept closed both day and night. The wall provided privacy by day, and safety by night. Tradesmen and visitors would knock on the wooden gate and wait to be let in. These people might very well arrive riding a camel or with several camels carrying baggage or goods to sell.
A smaller gate or door would be built into the larger gate This gate kept unruly camels from charging in like crazy, stirring up dust and generally causing a ruckus. Many home owners required tradesmen and others to come through the small door. There would be a designated ‘stable’ area where animals were housed. This way the front courtyard was kept clean and free of animal ‘leavings.’
The small door or gate was narrow and low. In order for a camel to pass through, it had to have its back pack load removed. Once the burden was removed, a camel is still too tall to get in. It had to crawl through the opening on its knees. By this time, the camels would be all calmed down and could be quietly led away to their pen to get water and feed. Then the visitor or merchant could get their belongings into the courtyard for putting into the house or displaying in the courtyard for the family to shop.
There are many things in the Bible that we think we understand, but we don’t because we don’t know the culture or the lingo in which these words were spoken. Many of us have puzzled about how hard it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Why would Jesus say something so impossible, concerning a rich man getting into heaven? Peter even said, “How then can anyone be saved?”
In Israel today and other places in the Middle East there still exists homes with a “little gate” built into the larger gate. For more centuries than anyone can remember, the little gate has been called The Eye Of The Needle by Jews and Arabs alike. Whether it was already called that or it was named that after Jesus said what He did, I wasn’t able to find out. But it sure makes sense to me now!
And, according to Jesus, people get into God’s Kingdom pretty much the same way a camel gets through The Eye Of The Needle:  by having their burdens (sins) taken away and by getting down on their knees!  
Do you wake up every day letting Jesus take your burden of sin?  Are you kneeling in quiet prayer beside Him each night, thanking Him that you have gotten through the Eye of the Needle and are part of His Kingdom?  Nothing else we will ever do can exceed the glorious and marvelous thing this is.
You must immediately enter through the narrow gate: because wide is the gate and broad is the way leading into destruction; many are those who enter through it.  How narrow the gate is, and the way that leads to life is constricted, and few are those who find it.  Matthew 7:13-14  The Power New Testament
              Residence in Old City Jerusalem (photo about 1935)
 
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
copyright July 2017
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing at

Self-Help

Weekly Sabbath Survey
Self-Help — 1-20-2018
Most of my readers are aware of my continual theme of ‘There are only two sides in this spiritual war on Earth.’ Every human being is on one side or the other. If we don’t choose to serve the Lord God, we get the devil by default. In Biblical context, this truth cannot be refuted. God gave a sure and certain way to know if we are really on the right side. He never meant for us to compartmentalize our lives into personal (family), religious, business, recreation, whatever. This concept was arrived at by an OT character named Nimrod, who lived in Babylon thousands of years ago. It persisted and became embedded into the Greco-Roman mindset. From there, it went (you know)—into “The Christian Church.” Crime bosses go to church faithfully and give big money. Their life of violence is walled off from their families, their public persona, and their “religion.”  So if the life we live is the same at home, at church, at the inlaws, at work, at school—everywhere, then we are on the right team. (Here’s how to give yourself a checkup: Is there anything you hide from any other person?  Is there some ‘secret sin’? Are there books on your shelf, TV shows you watch, that you wouldn’t want “Pastor” or your Mama to know about?)
When YHVH called Abram out of Babylon [Genesis 17] belief in Him had become one of many religions of the time. But Abram heard and knew God’s voice. This move was much more than a change in location! Abram was a rich man and no doubt lived in ease, maybe even opulence. Now he was being called away from an unrighteous people and all that luxury to serve an Almighty God who had him living in a tent city in the desert for the rest of his life! God called him to trust his God, walk with Him and learn of Him. The Hebrew concept of God in every aspect of our lives was born in that relationship between the man Abraham and the God YHVH. God revealed Himself to Abraham as El Shaddai, The All Sufficient One. The Hebrew faith was born.
One of the most difficult things for people of faith to do is disassociate themselves from certain others. We are still in the world, and we should be reaching out to the unsaved when we can. But we must be very careful who we let into our inner circle. Our closest friends who advise and influence us, must be people of deep faith. Too much close association with unsaved persons will contaminate our spiritual lives.
God called Abraham to see Him as the complete source of everything: spiritual, mental, financial, physical, EVERYTHING. His life became an example for all of us who came after him. There is no such thing as “self help” when we belong to God. Where we go, what we do, who our friends are, what we eat, what we allow/refuse, and so on—all adds up to the depth of our devotion to and dependence on the God we claim to serve.
There is nothing more helpless than a human infant. Even newborn marsupials (Possums, Kangaroos) which are born so small they seem to be premature, know immediately after birth to crawl around, find the pouch and get in it!. They live their wee infant days in there where the breasts are, the mother is hardly aware of them at first. Bears give birth during hibernation, don’t even wake up for the big event. The cubs know what to do for themselves. In Spring the mama emerges with 2 or 3 very mobile toddlers. God regards us as more helpless than a newborn animal! He expects us to utterly depend on Him. We do our best to obey and do what we understand, but the bottom line is: He is Jehovah Jireh, Our Provider.
We cannot serve God in church or when we are with other Believers, and then cheat people is business, embezzle from our employer, steal when nobody is looking, lie to our loved ones when the truth is too terrible for us. We are ALL IN with God’s team, or we are not in at all. To be Born Again means we are part of God’s family and we must live by God’s rules. If we are living any other way, in any part of our lives, that ONE THING will contaminate all the rest. We all mess up. And when we do, we must repent immediately (if not sooner!) and get back on the right path.
Jesus: “I am the vine and you are the branches . . apart from me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
copyright March 2017
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing at

Women Preachers?

Weekly Sabbath Survey
Women Preachers? 1-132018
I do not permit a wife to [teach] nor exercise dominion over her husband, but to be in a quiet manner.  1 Timothy 2:12  The Power New Testament
When I first became active in a teaching/preaching ministry, I went full out, unaware of people who didn’t “suffer a woman to teach.”  (Paul to Timothy, “suffer” the word for “permit” in the KJV.) My calling and anointing was very real to me and I doubted nothing as the Lord lead me. Later when I was better informed about the ‘woman thing’ it caused me to have reservations. A teacher came periodically to our little town to hold meetings. I asked him about this problem. Was I out of order? He explained to me that when Paul wrote what he did, Timothy was a young pastor in Ephesus, which was home to a pagan fertility goddess. There was a big temple which was a thriving business. (Money was a big deal with this!) In this period of history goddesses were elevated above male gods. The temple prostitutes offered ritual sex for insuring fertility in wives and livestock. Both men and women could attend the temple to ‘get lucky’ with the opposite sex or even same sex. (Now in these modern times, people just go to bars and clubs for the same rituals and don’t even bother to pretend it’s a religion!)
All these temple shenanigans morphed into female superiority in their culture. The girls had taken the lead by several furlongs! The men became followers of whatever the women said. An entire culture was hen-pecked!! Timothy was having a time with his pagan converts. Seems old habits are hard to break. So Paul spoke up about husband and wife relationships, the relative duties of each, and how the man should be the head of the household and the woman was next in line of authority over the children, the slaves and much decision making.
I have a Bible version (The Power New Testament) that clarifies how the First Congregations were taught and governed. In every church in Paul’s time the Believers were a mixed bunch, but the Jewish Believers out-numbered the pagan converts. But even so, much of his writing was directed at these former heathen Gentiles. So in this Bible translation, the verse above speaks just of husbands and wives. The word “teach” comes from a root word “to lead or instruct”, but the word actually connotes “to boss around.” It implies that in a Gentile marriage the wife was The Boss. Paul brought the men back into the headship of their own family. And, he came down hard on the wives. He said they should be quiet when the teachers talked. They would learn by listening. They were prone to interrupt with questions, so he said to ask their husbands when they got home.
This did not mean there would never be women in leadership or working in the Five-Fold ministry. In time, the Gentile women worked side by side with the men. There were women apostles, prophets, deacons, and even pastor/teachers. This is in the Scriptures! Ladies, we are free! We must submit to our own husbands, but when milling with the flock, we are equals. Some husbands are not willing or capable of teaching, even their wives. So a lot of women became spiritual leaders in their home to bring the children up in the knowledge of God. And some are being called out by the Lord to preach and teach outside the home. Many brave women blazed the trail for us. It’s sad, but still kind of laughable, that male dominated Christianity for almost 2000 years sent women with and without husbands into the mission field. They served among sometimes dangerous native peoples where they became Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers to the Gentile converts. They taught, performed baptisms, marriages, and funerals. When they retired and came home, they were relegated to the nursery or teaching children in Sunday School. They were NOT recognized as the MINISTERS of God they truly were.
It seemed to me at the time almost an accident, when I became pastor of a little church in my hometown. I asked men to take the lead, but they refused. So, I stepped up. We had a run of 5 successful years with a fellowship that was in order in the Lord. But at the time, it was shocking. There had never been a woman pastor in our town. A couple of pastors supported me, but most did not. There was vocal, unkind opposition. I got called wicked names. In time, one of the ‘real’ churches got sent a woman pastor. I was on my way out by that time, but wondered what the town may have thought about a real “legitimate” organized church having an ordained seminary woman preacher in the pulpit.
However we feel about it, it is a FACT that women are free in Jesus and called by Him. It’s time we got over the problem of First Century Gentile female dominance (and even Women’s Lib) that kept anointed mouths shut for CENTURIES. No More!!!  Boys, wake up and smell the perfume! There could a woman preacher in your future.
 
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
copyright  May 2017
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing at

Three Circles

Weekly Sabbath Survey
Three Circles —  1-6-2018

    

The head shrink guys tell us we each should have the people in our lives placed in three imaginary circles that form rings around our hearts. We control who goes where, and can move them in close or further out when the time is right as relationships ebb and flow. The first and innermost circle closest to our heart, is for those nearest and dearest. For most It’s about 12 people. The second circle away from our heart is for family and friends we love but do not have that strongest bond with. There will be a more people here. Maybe we were close as children or teens. Our fond memories sustain our love for them now, even though we don’t see or hear from them as often. The third and outer circle is for those we have affection for, such as co-workers while we work with them. But these people come and go with time and circumstance. So the number here goes up and down quite a bit. New friends start here and can move in closer as time goes by. And, faded relationships move into this space, and may go away forever.
Depending on how gregarious we are, the middle group might have the greatest number of people. If you’re out and around, you may know a lot of people. I’m a homebody, so most everybody in all three circles are people who have been around for a while. Counting the number of people you consider best friends will give a clue. My best friends over a lifetime, I can count on my fingers. If you have had so many best friends you can’t remember them all, you are a real people person, but your friendships may be kind of shallow.
As we move people away, it should not be in anger, but to prevent hurt to yourself and the other person. We may not cut them off completely, just move them back a step. Most things work out over time because both parties stop trying so hard to FIX IT. The real truth is even with our dearest friends and some family, they are there very close just for a season. Holding on to the people we need to let go of, or letting them have a strangle hold on us, is unhealthy and usually worse than settling for ‘love you much! see you next summer.’
If somebody from the first circle ever ‘divorced’ you suddenly, whether a marriage or a friendship, you know there is great pain involved. It may take time to completely remove them to where they need to be, but we work them away from us as we let the Lord heal us. They may just go from Circle One to Circle Three, or they may disappear completely. Whatever is right in God for us. Sometimes it’s just a matter of geography, somebody moves. You hardly ever see or hear from them any more, but they may be in Circle Three forever. Sometimes the parting is not amicable. It is best after a while, to let them go. We may remember painful memories, but we don’t have the hug them close to us. There is little purpose in them, especially if we have learned whatever lesson was in it. Of course, the required element of forgiveness is very necessary to our healing. The third group farthest out seems for me to mostly take care of itself. People drift in and out without much pain or feelings of great loss. We call them acquaintances, business associates, and just people we met but never did bond with completely.
Once we understand the three circles, we can better manage the people and the relationships in our lives. Obsessing over lost love, failed friendship, or the sinister sibling who pilfered our inheritance is a waste of time and energy. The quicker we do Circle Maintenance the quicker we will heal and move on. Sometimes I have reminded myself of God’s law of sowing and reaping. I know there will be a pay day some day for everybody who ever did me harm. The downside of that is I will be held accountable for every person I ever hurt or mistreated or the hurt I did but neglected to ‘own’ or try to make it right with the person I hurt and God.
Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men do to you, do ye even so unto them: for this is the Law and the Prophets.  Matthew 7:12
 
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
copyright  March 2017
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing at