Reflecting His Image

RefinersFire Malachi 3:3 “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”

This century provides little understanding about the daily life of those from Bible times.  We travel around in vehicles worth thousands of dollars, while they walked everywhere wearing handmade sandals.  If we could understand the life of those to whom the Scriptures where first written, then perhaps we could better understand the life-changing words written for our benefit.  The following story illustrates the point.

“Malachi 3:3 puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.  One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and to get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

“That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver.  As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

“The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says:  ‘He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.’  She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

“The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

“The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, ‘How do you know when the silver is fully refined?’   He smiled at her and answered,  ‘Oh, that’s easy — when I see my image in it.’”

In other words, He wants us to be a perfect reflection of His Son.  Colossians 1:28 confirms this when Paul states: “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”

So, we can see why the fire seems a little hot sometimes. Our loving Father is just refining the image of His Son in us.  May the Lord do so and more, Amen.

The Greatest of These

kidsbible “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  1 Corinthians 13:13

A review of our world in the year and a half just passed reveals nations in turmoil without and within.  Often leadership is more concerned in maintaining their position and condition than in the needs of their country. They work to provide themselves a “golden parachute” rather than building a sound foundation for those they are suppose to serve.

As we try to view this present world through the eyes of Jesus Christ, we may conclude the world is lost without hope. But that view, though we are trying to have His perspective, is likely generated through earthbound eyes, rather than His all-seeing eyes.

When Jesus first came to this earth He preached hope and faith, yet the world was in as evil a state (maybe worse) as it is today. Despite all He saw and knew to be true, He nevertheless taught faith, hope, and love to twelve disciples and they changed their world.

Today there are approximately 1 ½ billion plus Christians around the world. You would think that these believers in Christ Jesus, believers who have supposedly learned faith, hope, and love, could effectively reach the remaining 5 billion people. But we are not!! Why? Perhaps it’s because we don’t believe that simple message of Christ: faith, hope, and love. In the past ten years I have been in over seven countries taking this message. Around the world this message attracts many to faith in Jesus Christ. Their response is sometimes overwhelming, as it was in the Republic of Georgia in September a few years ago. In a public park area in the center of the city, our team (which included my nephew) sought to hand out Bibles in their language. Once the word spread around that region of the city to what was happening, we gave out thousands of Bibles within thirty minutes. People were still coming begging for a Bible, after we had given out all we had. Is the message still vital today? Yes, as demonstrated by those who received a Bible and sat down at the nearest location to read it – an hour later still seated reading the message. So, the real question for each of us regarding the message of faith, hope and love, is this: “Do I believe this message?”

There’s A Final Word?

quill-parchment4-cam-twit-a My father carried around a collapsible medium format camera (similar to one above) during WWII and brought home amazing photographs that were taken in difficult circumstances. Despite the amazing advances we have made in cameras since that time, these photographs remain competitive against the newer finished products.

A close companion to the photograph is the written word. Obviously, the written word is still important or you wouldn’t be reading this reflection of mine. In addition to the internet and newspapers, millions of books are available today, and many of them claim to be the final word on the particular subject. And often that final word negates any need of an absolute truth. In fact, their “final word” often states there is no “final word.” However, there is an earlier publication that declares absolute truth, and that this truth has lasting, eternal value. It has not lost the craftsmanship of truth. And it never becomes outdated. Many have tried to find flaws in it but in the final analysis it has remained the “final Word.” It is a rare find, that will not disappoint. I mean, of course, the Holy Scriptures, God’s Holy Bible, His Living Word.

Today, much of the population of our great country has abandoned the principles set forth in this uncompromising written Word. And most see no relationship between this abandonment and the growing difficulties in our nation. Rape, child abuse, child kidnapping, and everything we never imagined is reported in every newspaper or broadcast. And it seems most people do not associate these troubles with the abandonment of God’s principles for life. Yet 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 states, “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” I fear that the phrase “will humble themselves” is one part of the abandoned principles from which our nation has walked away. Some go even further and state that only man can save himself from this condition. But when we look into an old “photograph” of truth, we see a totally different picture. Man is responsible before God for abandoning His truth, His final word. It is time to humble ourselves before the Judge of the earth.

Politically Correct Scoffing

171-add2 Chron. 36:16  “But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy.”

   Scoffing has an “in-your-face” end.  Pro. 21:24 states, “A proud and haughty man ‘Scoffer’ is his name; He acts with arrogant pride.”  And God hates pride and will punish the scoffer.  Note the clear statement of Prov.19:29: “Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And beatings for the backs of fools.”  Our first passage at the top of this article clearly states that “the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy”; and this is for His people, those who had become scoffers.

Scoffing is the dismissing of truth, the laughing at that truth, and its messenger, because the heart is so absolutely absorbed in self and selfish ways. A scoffer will point out the believed error of the messenger in order to shove aside the truth of God being spoken. But God’s truth cannot be shoved aside. If the scoffer continues unrestrained, the “wrath of the LORD” will have “no remedy” except in the “judgments prepared for scoffers.” And scoffers will not be able to “scoff” their way out of the wrath and judgment of God. “God can’t do nothin’ to me” will be seen by the scoffer for the lie that it is, but it will be too late.

Our nation seems to be led by scoffers – those who are “scoffers” of TRUTH. To buy into their scoffing suggestions is ultimately fatal, as Adam and Eve discovered. It brought major grief to their hearts because their belief in [s]atan’s lie soon led to one son killing the other son.  Their self-interest brought about self-misery.  We, God’s people today, must never join with the scoffing directed at God’s truth.  May our motto be this: God said it. I will live by it.

Victory Over Cancer – Kathy and the USA!

The link at the bottom of this new blog is to a high-quality video posted at Google-Plus. Many of you who are faithful readers have prayerfully followed the life of my beloved wife as she fought for the victory over Cancer. We – for she has approved this posting – present this video of her journey to victory as it relates to the writing of “Whatever Happened to – America?”, for she was much of the inspiration behind the completion of this work. In this video you will see pictures you likely have not seen before and her own words she spoke at different points. It is a reminder that in all things, God Gives The Victory.

I invite you to watch the video and then share it with your social network. We also ask for you to go to Amazon/author/JamesDuncan and buy a copy of “Whatever Happened To – America?” America needs help. By reading this work you may learn more of the need, and see why my lovely wife, during her struggles with cancer, pressed me to complete the book. Thanks to all our prayer warriors, and may God also give the victory to the people of this great land.

Video link:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/photo/105672572485040249925/6284099691671455506

To Read or Not To Read

In keeping with the principles of marketing (tools for reminding people of the things they wanted to remember but forgot what it was 😊 ), I have created a new video, taking a fresh look at freedoms guaranteed in our founding documents. Many of these freedoms are being targeted for removal by those individuals who wish to have control over the masses (their term for you and me). I encourage everyone to get a copy of this book, Whatever Happened To – America? and then read it. I have heard this comment, recently: “Oh, I don’t read!” And that is what the Destroyers-of-our-Freedom want. “Don’t read, don’t listen to the news, don’t vote, so that we can take over.” So read this book, and others, such as those from WallBuilders, and then be sure and Vote For God this election. To know what God put in the documents of our country and to know what the enemies of freedom are trying to remove, and then going to prayer for wisdom, will enable the act of Voting For God when we go to the polls.
Thank you for reading. Now go to the link below:

AbrahamLincoln-Constitution3sz  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb9DJ2oPeec

A Message from James and Kathy

This has been a tough year for the Duncan household. Three of our four members (Virginia, Ralph, Kathy) spent days in the hospital, with my dear wife, Kathy, spending nearly two weeks there, being in at least 22 different rooms. She went in for cancer surgery, had a heart attack, and then had heart surgery to unblock the 95% blockage of her widow-maker-artery, plus ballooning other locations. The cancer involved cutting through her face and peeling her face back. Yet, God was present, so much so on the day of the heart attack that many of the health professionals knew God had come into the room. Several nurses came into her room in the following days and asked for prayer for themselves. God did a mighty work through all of that.

During the time leading up to her surgery God was heavy on me to write. My dear suffering wife was part of the urging and was always ready to do an editorial-read to help the work along. Even after her surgery she added her help in evaluating rewrites. Her dedicated help was indispensable. And because of it my non-fiction book, Whatever Happened To – America? is now published.

I also would like to thank my brother, musical composer, Daniel Duncan (when your read the book you will discover his added assistance), Rick Carter, Dr. John Keller, and businessman Arch Dixon for their editorial reading that added much to the finished work. Dr. Cecil Todd added words of encouragement as he read part of the book (cancer treatments interrupted his desire to complete it). I also wish to thank renowned artist Jon McNaughton for his gracious permission to allow his painting, One Nation Under God, to be included in the seventh chapter of this work.

Both Kathy and I pray that thousands, if not millions of people, will read this work and be reminded of what was God’s purpose for our nation as He worked through our founding fathers. May we as Americans, in this coming election year, have our eyes opened to God’s perfect plan for America.
I will now turn this space over to my dear “honey” so you may hear her heart:

IMG_2643-enh2szWhile reading Whatever Happened To – America? I began to get a sense of America in the fifties. Back when we could ride our bicycles throughout our town with no sense of danger. Neighbors knew each other well and often grilled in the backyard bringing food from each of their homes in order to catch up on each other’s lives. We cared and held each other close to our hearts. We would gather on our front porches to play board games and to watch the children playing in the yard. Every mother had her own way of calling their children to supper and we all knew one another’s “call” or “whistle” and we all were sent running immediately. This book speaks to those gentler times. It tells the heart-story of America.

Standards of truth, honesty, unselfishness, reverence for life, cherishing our children, cherishing life, compassion for others, purity, and more are now under severe attack. What is “good” is called evil and what is “evil” is called good. We are in a state of confusion in our country.

Our country’s leaders are no longer peacemakers, our constitutional laws have been broken without thought for consequences, and our trust in our leaders on which we have long depended for stability for our land is crumbling rapidly. We no longer can trust our leadership to lead with wisdom and so we feel betrayed. We have gone back to courting the devil and we are on the verge of falling like Rome.

We must return to the Scripture as this new book inspires us to follow. The narrations included in the beginning of early chapters or at the end of the later chapters put a clear perspective on what God intends for us. It states vividly the problems of our land and points out God’s solution already put in place if we will but obey His commands. “Love one another.” “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.”

Simply put: We have never tried Jesus’ way on a large scale. Not enough of us. After having read Whatever Happened To – America? I am persuaded to keep standing and speaking God’s truth to whomever will listen.
Kathy Duncan
Below is the link to Whatever Happened To – America? on Amazon. (The ebook is also available.)

Amazon link to: Whatever Happened To – America?

 

Whatever Happened To – America?

Lincoln-GodsSide_2

“Fourscore and seven years ago” are the words that began The Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. That speech was monumental. The world took note of it immediately. In his humility, Lincoln had said in this address, “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here”, but the world did note it and did remember.

What was it that had forged such powerful words and caused them to flow from a president’s heart? Allow me to quote Lincoln’s own words (quoted from my soon-to-be-released book, Whatever Happened To – America?). Sometime after the dedication at Gettysburg Lincoln wrote in a reply to an Illinois Clergyman, “When I left Springfield [Illinois, to assume the Presidency], I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.”

Lincoln had longed believed in Creator God, had prayed to Him, and asked others to pray for him. But he had not sought Christ’s soul cleansing work for himself, until he arrived on the grounds of the thousands of fresh graves of the cemetery at Gettysburg. He arrived the evening before the dedication on a special train and dined at the home of his host, David Wills, who had helped arrange the cemetery and its dedication. Early the next morning President Lincoln visited part of the battlefield. There, during the early morning, while looking at the graves of those who had given their lives for the cause of freedom for all, the burden and weight of such a war was released and given to Christ Jesus. Though he had written most of his speech at the White House, changes and additions were made after that morning visit. The new heart and soul of a newborn Lincoln gave a life and sacredness to the words spoken that affected the people listening, and to the generations that has followed.

However, much of our present generation know little of Lincoln or of his life-changing consecration to Christ. Instead, the history rewriters are determined erase any knowledge of men in government depending on the Christ, the Son of God. These enemies of all-things-godly would just as soon remove any memory of a godly Lincoln, a godly Washington, and other great governmental men who have spoken out or will speak out for God and His Son.

If you would like to know more about what our founders, and others in our nation’s early history, believed about God in our government, watch here for the announcement of the release of my new book, Whatever Happened To – America? In the intervening time let’s reflect on the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg:

   “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
“But in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here.
“It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Trust or Worry

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Luke 12:12  “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Although the Scriptures tell us to be “anxious for nothing” it is rare for us to actually obey that truth.  Seems all mankind acts as if “being anxious” is a spiritual gift.  And in some respect that is true, although it is not a spiritual gift from God, but from Satan. Since God has commanded us to not be anxious, Satan pushes us to do that very thing — it is shameful that we listen to Satan rather than God.

Because we allow Satan to have such a devastating influence upon us, we become disobedient to Christ in the life we live, in the witness we give (we are a witness, whether good or bad), in the type of servanthood we live. Just before the words above were spoken by Christ Jesus he said, “do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say.” Then He stated the why: “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” In the hour of our need (to live the life, be the witness, be the servant), the Holy Spirit will put within our heart the life example I should live, and the words to say (as is demonstrated each week for true disciples – over and over again).

It all boils down to this: in whom do we trust? The fact that most of mankind is so self-reliant, and that most of mankind are worriers, the resulting combined truth speaks volumes. If we would instead, cease to rely on ourselves, and then obediently trust God in his care over us, worry would end. Then when God leads us to “go” and to “speak” and to “serve” we would open our mouths and our hands, and the Holy Spirit would fill them. Of course, we wouldn’t get the credit, He would. Isn’t it amazing how much our disobedience, that has the results of worrying, keeps opening other issues?! Trusting God completely, pushes self to the back, and then that which fills our field of vision is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Whatever Happened To Sin: Man’s Justice Declared It Normal

we_the_people-burnedSome of the earliest arrivals to the shores of the “New World” were this author’s ancestors, along with ancestors of many of you, and the government and nation they created has been one that recognized the Creator as the One who has blessed us and “endowed us with unalienable rights” so that we may worship God as each person sees fit. Until now.

Today, the words “God”, “Jesus”, and “Christian” have become “offensive”, and in some locations, illegal. Christians can be stoned by those practicing another world religion, and then have the police threaten those Christians with arrest, in this country. The truths of the Word of God are now being called “hate speech” and pastors who preach these God-breathed truths are being arrested or threatened with arrest.  And, as most people around the world know, USA justice has decided (well, at least five lawyers have decided) that the Word of God does not have the final word on marriage, and that God himself doesn’t get to say who is to marry. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin would not recognize the government they once created.

The truly amazing reality to some of us is this fact: some of the citizens of this free country hate the freedoms of America. Now, they don’t hate their personal freedom. They hate the freedoms practiced by you and me.  Some of these people would like to see most freedoms removed from the “common people” and our nation cease to exist as a nation. They want a world government in which they are in charge. They are like Hitler, the Emperor of Japan, and others who wanted to control the world. The difference is that instead of using an army to destroy us, they use the courts, the presidential pen to override congress, and finance, the control over money. And they try to convince us that the government is our savior, and if we put them in charge they will provide all we need and we can just enjoy our pleasures and they will control the government. Does anyone see any danger in this world view?

Just like the “experts” in the stands of a football game, or the sports commentators in sound booths, who may never have played on any field, yet who expound on how the game should have been played, the would be “controllers of  government” declare themselves the “expert” on constitutional law. Yet these “experts” may never have truly read the Constitution of the United States or the writings of the founding fathers. It is clear that we don’t just find “experts in the stands” of a ball game. These “experts” show up everywhere, and likely have never held an elected office, but somehow know exactly how or what “should” be done. And today we have commentary from these “experts” about the way churches should carry out the work of God, even though these “experts” haven’t even carried out the trash from a church kitchen – you know, the church kitchen feeding those who are in hard times. These “experts” are making grand speeches that sin has been declared “normal” and no longer sin, so churches can no longer “discriminate” against sin.

A true church of Jesus Christ (one who completely obeys Christ’s commands) never discriminates against people. That true church will reveal the truth Christ taught about sin and that none of us should practice sin anymore (for every person born to a man and woman is a sinner). But they also reveal that Christ died for every sin of every human person and that if we accept his forgiveness for our sins, we become forgiven sinners. But these afore mentioned experts are declaring there is no sin and so churches must stop talking about sin. In case they don’t know it, that is exactly what the Devil, the great deceiver, wants. If he can get mankind to believe there is no sin, then it becomes his pleasure to drag mankind into hell.

On many a news program on television, in the introduction of the next segment, some individual is proclaimed an expert in their field. And to show proof of that, the show host has outlined a long list of degrees or experience in the field so that viewers will accept the opinion offered by the expert as authoritative.  Often we have no reason to doubt the learned statements made.  Or do we?

It is often true, when the segment is on politics, the expert, being interviewed before our gaze and our listening ear, has never held the office being discussed, has never had to face, therefore, the decisions the office requires, and has never been presented the top secret information that affects the decisions made. This author, having served in the U.S. Navy as a radioman, sometimes as watch commander, received highly classified messages, and it was the sworn duty as watch commander to receive them in behalf of certain “eyes only”.  The watch commander had to have the classified clearance necessary to receive the message and deliver that message to the correct “eyes”. The watch commander would thus have seen the message that affected the decision made by the commanding officer and would understand his decision when fellow sailors did not.  Of course, the watch commander could say nothing.  He was bound by sworn duty.

In the world of supposed Biblical scholarship many “experts” surface, often proclaiming loudly and with disdain toward alternate views, that they are the true voice of reason concerning the Biblical concept of sin, the person of Jesus Christ, the authority of the scriptures, the meaning of “the end times”, etc. They offer as proof of the accuracy of their conclusions, their scholarly credentials, their special fields of study, and the “preposterous” conclusions of others.  They often so belittle their protractors that the audience, and even other Biblical students, are hesitant to disagree with them.   Thus unchallenged, these “expert’s conclusions” find their way into the mainstream of Biblical thought, and into the highest courts of our land.

But there is a question that must be answered concerning their credentials.  “Have you received the ‘Top Secret’ message, and been able to read that message, that was necessary to reach your conclusions?” Just like the Navy radioman who received the Top Secret message and then had to use the Top Secret code for that day to decipher the message, so every so-called expert on biblical ideas has to have the “secret code” to decipher the Biblical message. That code comes only by having a personal relationship with the Code-maker, and he is Jesus Christ. And in order to have that relationship the “expert” must acknowledge that he is a sinner in need of saving grace, and seek the forgiveness and grace that only the Code-maker – Jesus – can give.  If he does “ask, seek, and knock” then he, and anyone who asks, will receive a personal understanding of the “decipher” necessary to read the Biblical message, and all its associated fields of study.

If, however, a so-called expert does not believe in the concept of sin or a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (and Jesus is identified as the Living Word, that “expert” does not have the message-deciphering knowledge necessary to study the Written Word and reach conclusions that we should listen too.   If he hasn’t received the secret decipher, he cannot reach accurate conclusions. His conclusions are baseless, on “sinking sand”.  Worthless. In fact, his conclusions are dangerous. They misguide people to follow a false path.

If a so-called What-is-not-sin Life-style expert’s credentials are to be authenticated, the first credential must be his relationship with Jesus Christ (who is the Son of God and the Word of God Author – you have to know the Author of the Book to truly know what the Book says). (Remember, the word “Sin” would not be in our language if it weren’t for the Book.) Having confirmed that relationship with Christ to be true, we can then determine whether his “security clearance” and “code reading skill” qualifies him to pass messages about sin on to others. We may then give consideration to his words. We are bound, however, to always check all thoughts and conclusions with the Code-maker ourselves.  Remember, if we have a personal relationship with the Code-maker, we can and may talk to Him directly.  He doesn’t just send messages to the self-declaring “expert”! Sin may be “a normal life-style” for these experts, but I am not interested in their “retirement program”.

So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  Revelation 12:9

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’”  Matthew 25:41