The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Evolution of Revelation

The Scriptures as contained in the Hebrew ( Old ) & Greek ( New ) Testaments are widely accepted by most Christians as the Word of God! There are various & manifold disagreements as to which version of our English Bible is the most accurate or even whether it ( the Scriptures ) is our only source of Revelation, or Truth, about our Creator. The Scriptures are our main source of information concerning Israel & Israel's God, and in fact, they are accepted by most if not all Christians as the only Fountain of Truth by which we can know that Creator & through it, to have a right relationship with Him!

There are however, other sources to be found that give an accurate glimpse ( though not necessarily theological ) of the history of Israel! The so-called deutero-canonical writings, some of which are still accepted by certain parts of the Body of Christ, the Church, while not deeply theological & certainly not orthodox according to the accepted orthodoxy, are a very helpful & even necessary source in understanding the times of the Christ, for instance! Other writings, such as Josephus, are helpful in understanding the history of the Jews & how their mindset, much like modern Christianity, affected their world-view & thus, their actions!

On top of this, we have our Heavenly Father's Promise, as given through the prophet Jeremiah ( 31:31 ), 'this [ is ] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts;'! Though this Promise was made to 'the house of Israel', it is widely accepted, even by the accepted orthodoxy, as a promise to the Church. As such then, we may understand this very metaphorical & mysterious language to be proof of the Truth Within us, as the Body of Christ!

Needless to say, it is abundantly evident that the Scriptures, both Hebrew & Greek ( Aramaic too ) are not our only Source for the Knowledge of God! Not only are there other writings out there by which we cam glean very important information leading to a Greater Knowledge, we have His very Word indelibly etched upon our hearts, our inmost being! We also have this Promise from Jesus, the Son of God, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him' ( John 14:23 ). These two evidences alone should be enough to unmistakeably establish the fact that we, as the Body of Christ, are the Word of God!

We, however, must & do readily acknowledge the Divine Source of Scripture, that it is a Revelation of the Word of God, through the History of Israel! As we saw above, though, it is not our only Source for Revelation, as we have that Source dwelling in our midst. This is not to say that any 'revelation', though it may disagree with the written Revelation that we have extant, is trustworthy & true; we are reminded that our God, the God of Israel, is the One, True & Living God! He is Unchanging & Immutable, according to these Scriptures & so, if any 'new' or further revelation seems to disagree with what has been revealed to us in Scripture, we should examine this source very carefully, before either discarding or accepting said revelation, written or otherwise!

The Revelation of the Word of God, the Record of the History of Israel as chronicled in our Hebrew, Greek & Aramaic Scriptures is Trustworthy & True, but it is an Ancient ( though Timeless )Record of how the Creator introduced Himself to His Creation & consummated that Relationship! We, as the Church, Universal & Divine, are the offspring of that Relationship, or Union! When we, as a Body, begin to accept this Truth & acknowledge the True Source of the Water of Life ( Within ), then we will begin to truly witness the Work of God ( Opus Dei ) in this world; we will see, to a greater extent than we have witnessed before, the healing effect we have on the world around us, as 'the leaves of the tree' which are 'for the healing of the nations' ( Revelation 22:2 )!

To this End,
Charles Haddon Shank

Friday, January 30, 2015

Fallen or Failure?

How correct is it, in this day & age of fulfillment, to say, especially of the Christian, 'all our righteousnesses  [ are ] like filthy rags' ( Isaiah 64:6 )? Since Christ IS our righteousness, wouldn't that be a slight to Him? Now, to be sure, there are individual Christians out there ( mea culpa ) to whom this seems to apply most readily, but much of that problem is solved when we come to the full realization that our righteousness comes, not so much because of what we do or say, but because of Whom we trust, in Whom we have Communion & are in Covenant with!

Traditional, orthodox ( to whatever extent ) Christianity has at least one thing in common; they all believe the mankind has a 'sin nature'! Through the Fall, as recorded in Genesis 3, Adam & Eve are said to have passed on to their descendants some sort of fallen nature which makes it impossible to do rightly without receiving a new heart ( nature )! This is a biblical notion, by the way, for David, king of Israel wrote, in one of his Psalms ( 51 ), 'Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.

Most Christians therefore have what may be termed a 'guilt complex', a feeling of helplessness & yearning, because of passages like 'The heart [ is ] deceitful above all [ things ], and desperately wicked; who can know it?' ( Jeremiah 17:9 ) & 'I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good' ( Romans 7:21 ). One might object at this point, pointing out that though all of these passages, in context, are referring to the sin of Israel, they are still very applicable today. Well, yes & no; we still sin, even in this day & age ( the Kingdom ), we, even within the Body of Christ still harbor resentment, hatred & all manner of evil within our very human hearts!

We are not, however, under the Law as was David, Jeremiah & even Paul; we have inherited the Promise of the New Covenant ( Jeremiah 31 )! The Law, according to Promise, has been written on our hearts &  our Heavenly Father, also according to Promise ( John 14:23 ) now dwells in our midst, having made His ( Their ) Home with us!

This, again, is by no means to say that we, as part of the Body of Christ, no longer harbor our selfish human emotions! In fact, any honest Christian out there will admit to struggling daily, minute by minute, to keep their emotions in check & exhibit the Life of Christ! As part of the Body of Christ, though, we are no longer subject to those emotions. Sure, we fail every second of every minute of every day to perfectly ( according to our utopian vision ) represent Christ, but though we fail, it is not because we are children of Adam! It is simply because we are children, albeit of our Heavenly Father & as children, the wishes of our Father do not always coincide with, or parallel ours!

We are not fallen creatures, as many Christians would have us believe; we simply fail to always represent Christ to the world, whether because of our own ( individual ) selfish desires, or because we fail to listen to the gentle 'wooings' of the Spirit Within!

The Sin of Adam, the Sin of Israel to which all of the above passages refer to, was forgiven! To say that we still bear that sin ( nature? ) is, in effect, to deny the efficacious nature of Christ's sacrifice! The Nature of Sanctification, while bearing heavily on the individual, is Scripturally a corporate entity! It was His People that Jesus came to save, not just individual Jews or even individual Gentiles; it was corporately both Jew & Gentile in One, the Body of Christ!

Since we have inherited the Righteousness of Christ & are no longer under the Law of Condemnation, let us live as free; free from the guilt of bloodshed, free from the sword of Damocles that has been hung over our heads for so long, telling us that we are yet 'filthy rags'! As the Body of Christ, those Scriptures, such as named above, do not apply to us; they were spoken of the Body of Adam, or Israel! We are not ( have never been ) part of the Body of Israel!

We are 'the Israel of God' ( Galatians 6:16 ), yes, but we have been redeemed, we have been set free, we have, in essence, as Paul wrote, been made a 'new creation' ( II Corinthians 5:17 ( Revelation 21:5 )! No more can we blame our own failures on 'original sin' or 'a fallen nature'! We can only practice the Life of Christ & when we fail, which we always do & always will, we can praise our Heavenly Father that those failures do not bring eternal condemnation!

Ever failing but never falling, 
Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


'Truth be known...............'

How often have you heard this statement, or a similar one, usually from the lips of an honest, sometimes brutally honest person?! 'If you want to know the truth.................' is usually followed by a blatant statement like, 'I really don't like...........' which is then followed by anything from 'that' to 'you'! This could be called a 'relative truth'; it may be true for the person making the statement, but this, that or the other person may like the subject of the speaker's disdain! This 'truth' is determined by choice, but there is such a thing as 'absolute truth'; this 'truth', you could say, is determined by choice, as well, but this choice is made, not by some fickle human being, but by the Ultimate Being, the Creator of Heaven & Earth, by the Master of the Universe!

Absolute truth just is; as 2 + 2 = 4 & the Sun always rises in the East, so it is with this 'truth', nothing changes it: our perspective of it may vary according to location, etc., but these are absolutes! Like the Creator Himself, they are unchanging; they always have been & always will be! Some might object at this point, saying that mathematics was invented within the confines of time or that the Sun itself had a beginning ( Big Bang? ), which is true enough, but my point is, these 'truths' are 'absolute'; you can never make two apples plus two apples ( or oranges ) equal five pieces of fruit! The Sun will always rise in the east because that's the way its Creator set it in motion. Yes, perspectives may differ according to location, etc., but we may hold these truths to be absolute, for they were defined & set in order by an Absolute Creator!

The fact that one person believes in absolute truth & the other only believes in relative truth does not make it so; it is what it is! One may believe that our God, the God of Scripture, is the One who created all things & sustains them by His Almighty Power while another believes that everything began with a Big Bang ( eternal LHC? ) & continues to happen by chance or through 'natural selection'! Does either belief make it so; does either person have the truth because they have chosen to give credence to the notion? One might say that simply by looking at all that is, the natural ( material ) creation & biology itself, one can't help but ascribe it all to an Intelligent Designer, but on the other hand, the other may look at the same wonders and ascribe it all to mere chance, or even to the folly of man!

It is what it is!

In the minds of most sane people, there can be no doubt that there is a Creator! No one who studies the heavens or the intricacies of biology can do so without realizing that there must have been an Intelligent Designer for all of it; mere chance will never fit or foot the bill! There is too much out there & in there that we have only begun to understand, through science, to ascribe these wonders to anything but an Intelligent Designer, one who set all things in motion!

Whether we believe what the Scriptures have to say about the Creator of Heaven & Earth, or not, it is obvious to most that Someone set all this in motion! Can one, regardless of the beliefs, float in a tin can through outer space and ascribe all the wonders they see to mere chance? The very fact that they are floating through outer space in a tin can is enough to make anyone wonder & marvel!

Is there a way to know for sure that a truth is absolute? Can we ever say for certain that there are certain factors in this world of wonders that will never change, that will always hold one certain & true value? Yes, as believers in an Almighty & Omniscient Creator; we can know for sure that all of the wonders that surround us were instituted ( appointed ) by this Intelligent Designer! Those who do not believe in this Almighty & Omniscient Creator may blindly look at all the wonders surrounding us & ascribe them to the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, but one thing is for certain, even the Large Hadron Collider had to be built by Someone; it didn't just happen!

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Who IS the Lesser Magistrate?

Scripture is pretty clear that God's People have been set to rule on the earth! Don't believe me; just read Psalm 2! Okay, you might say, Jesus is King of our Hearts, He rules 'in Heaven above' ,within the four walls of the Church, but 'outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.' ( Revelation 22:15 )  'We have no business judging those who are outside!'' Should not even those who are outside the Covenant of Faith be held accountable for their ( wrong ) actions? Why shouldn't we judge them guilty? If we, as the People of God, can't judge them, how will they be judged? 'Well', you might say triumphantly, 'God will judge them!' Yes, we agree; God WILL judge them, but how, with lightning bolts from Heaven?!

Put simply, a magistrate is an officer of the law, one who makes sure that a law is followed, or kept! This officer is given the authority to administer a punishment of some sort, whether it is to deliver the law-breaker to a higher authority, or whether he is to mete out the judgment himself. Depending on the severity of the crime, he is called to be judicious, as to whether to call upon that higher authority or to reek the situation himself. Either way, the magistrate's job is to judge between right & wrong, good & evil!

The Lesser Magistrate, in this day & age, refers to one who is most often found on the State level, whether it be a Clerk of Court, a Judge, or a Sherriff! The Duty of this Lesser Magistrate is to uphold the Law, especially in opposition to a higher authority, such as on the federal level, when that Higher Authority is judged guilty of wrong-doing, or even issues a command that is opposition to the Law, or what is right & good!

The problem with the Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate is that it assumes a Higher Magistrate! Now, I'm not even a student, really, of jurisprudence, much less an expert, but I would say that magistrates ( judges ) should be neither Lesser or Greater, Lower or Higher; if you can judge between wrong & right, good & evil, that should be enough! I realize that there are different levels of punishment in our judicial system for different levels of crime, or law-breaking, but cannot one judge them all? Why must there be one judge or magistrate for one certain level & another for a different sort? Is there truly a Lesser & a Greater crime?!

When one person murders another, that is most definitely a Greater crime than that of stealing a loaf of bread, whether it's to feed his hungry family or not! Should stealing stealing a loaf of bread though ( this is only for example ), though it be Lesser crime, be judged by a Lesser, or Lower authority? Cannot One judge between what is good & evil, right & wrong?,

The Federal Government has no Higher, or Greater authority than the State Government! The Governor of any given State has no more authority than the County Superintendent ( more responsibility, maybe, but not more authority ); both officers are called to uphold the Law & to judge between right & wrong, good & evil! They are both equally Magistrates, just with different spheres, or realms in which they are called to judge!

The Christian, or little Christs, is called to judge! God has given us His Law, written on our hearts, as well as the ability to judge for ourselves between good & evil, right & wrong; why do we need another law to tell us which witch is which? 'Okay', you may say, 'but not everybody is a Christian, not everyone will follow the Law of God'! True, so in such cases, we must judge for them! Right is right & wrong is wrong, no matter whether one is in or out, whether that one obeys or disobeys the Covenant!

Whether we agree or not, as little Christs, we are Officers of the Law! Having been given the authority to judge, we must judge, especially within our own spheres, or realm, between right & wrong, good & evil! Jesus told His disciples, 'all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth' ( Matthew 28:18 ). Clearly, ALL Authority truly belongs to Him & Him alone! He has delegated authority, yes, but it is to US, in the New Covenant, to whom He has delegated it, not to those who don't even acknowledge His Authority!

In conclusion; if there is any such thing as a Lesser Magistrate, WE are it! With our Heavenly Father as the Ultimate & Only Higher Authority, we are called to judge ourselves in matters of right & wrong, good & evil. In our earthly, finite wisdom, we have elected to delegate authority to those who do not exercise it according to that Law which we uphold. Because of this decision, we face what could be a very messy, though glorious revolution in this nation! Politics must be completely revamped & nine out of ten ( if not more ) people in this country will have to be re-educated! Our whole manner of life will have to be re-examined & corrected where necessary. We must unplug ourselves from this insidiously failing & false system, and begin to live again under the Providence, Protection & Authority of the One who alone has True & Absolute Authority!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Weak Christians in an Age of Gospel-Manipulators

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help [ comes ] from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1 & 2 

Why is the standard question in evangelistic exercise today, 'If you died today, where would you spend eternity?' Shouldn't the question be something more like, 'if you died today, what difference would you have made on earth while you were alive?' Not to take away the Hope for Something Better, but now that our Heavenly Father once again dwells in the midst of His People, Heaven has come down, Glory has filled our Soul & Hell has been thrown into the Lake of Fire ( destroyed-Revelation 20:14 ), along with Death itself; there is no more threat of Hell to use as a tool for 'evangelization', no more 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God' to scare unbelievers into submission with!

The Gospel of Jesus the Christ, the Gospel of the Kingdom, in this day & age, has been relegated to a mere Salvation Gospel; 'be saved from this wicked generation', so that you can go to heaven when you die! Aside from the fact that Peter's remonstrance here was aimed at those ( Jews ) of his own generation ( 1st century ), we may see, from reading through the Gospel accounts, that Jesus, rather than preaching a ( personal/individual ) Salvation Gospel, taught His followers to 'seek first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness'! Jesus, as He ministered, not only spoke often of the nearness of 'the Kingdom of God', but 'He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.' The Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus, Paul & the Apostles preached was never about 'going to heaven when you die'; it was a message of Good News to His People that they ( 1st century ) were about to be saved from that 'wicked generation' ( Acts 2:40 ) !

The strength of Christianity today, to a large extent, is one which comes from 'the hills'; the Hope of Heaven pervades modern theology to such an extent that you can't avoid it! The hope of 'going to heaven when you die', where there will be 'no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying' ( Revelation 21:4 ) has been held so long, by evangelism & traditional Christianity for so long that even those who have begun to realize the Present Kingdom of Heaven/God have difficulty in letting go of that misplaced hope!

'The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence'!

This saying, which indicates a natural emotion in most, if not all people, signals a dissatisfaction with what we have been blessed with ( in most cases )! We are a naturally greedy race; if there is a hope, no matter how dream-like, of something more, something better, 'Beyond the Horizon', if you will, we will cling desperately, even vociferously, to that hope!

Since there is such a focus on leaving this earthly realm, with all of its accompanying dangers & evils, and spending an eternity in a place called 'Heaven', free of all the glorious dangers & evils that await us here on earth; it is easy to forget why we were put on this earth in the first place! When God 'God created ( formed ) man in His [ own ] image' ( Genesis 1:27 ), He told them to 'have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth'; however one looks at this command to the first Adam, it tells us that we were put here for a reason, as the Scriptures tell us later, 'to till the ground' ( Genesis 2:5 ), to tend the Garden that God had planted! 

Jesus, in His intercessory prayer ( John 17:15 ), said, 'I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one'! The Gospel of the Kingdom which Jesus taught His disciples to pray for ( Matthew 6 ) was not one of escape from this dangerous & evil world; rather it was for a transformation on this glorious world, with all its present dangers & evils, not just protection from them, but dominion over them, for the glory & advantage of the Kingdom! It is because of the misplaced hope of the Church, the Body of Christ on Earth, that Christianity has itself become weak & ineffective in dealing with the problem of evil!

What is to be done; how can we ever hope to offer this world a more effective solution to the problem of evil? Is there a Solution to the dangers & evils that beset us? Without question, there is a Solution to ALL our problems! That Solution is not to be 'raptured' out of our current situation; it is not even for Jesus to return at the end of time, in wrath & vengeance destroying those who do not obey Him, and especially not to destroy this good earth where He has set us to rule ( Psalm 2 )! The Solution to our problem is within us; He's been there all along! The Church, for the most part, denies this glorious fact, having believed & taught, for the past number of centuries, that He must return in the selfsame Body, in which 'Day of the Lord', 'the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up' ( II Peter 3:10 )!

Weak Christianity believes that their help, their hope, comes from some certain 'place', whether it be from 'the hills' or from a 'place' called 'Heaven'! Because they do not believe that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb has yet occurred ( although it is 'already' a reality, in our hearts ), many of these same Christians are living their lives in preparation for an Eternity in 'Heaven'! Oh, Blessed Hope; to enjoy forever the Presence of God, without having to worry about all the dangers & evils around us! 

Scripture plainly tells us, both through the prophets & apostles, to say nothing of the Law & Jesus, that God's Presence with His People would be revealed in the first century! Jesus spoke these words plainly; 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him' ( John 14:23 ), but the prophets, Isaiah through Daniel, and even Ezekiel & Jeremiah, prophesied of this Day! Daniel ( Daniel 2 ) spoke of the Day when God would do a work in this world wherein all the world would become His Kingdom! Chapters 26-29 of Isaiah are called 'the little apocalypse ( revelation )' for good reason; there is also a revelation of God's ( suffering ) Servant in in his book of Prophecy ( Isaiah 42, 49 & 60, to name a few )! Jeremiah spoke hopefully of the coming 'new covenant' in his prophecy ( Jeremiah 31:31 )!

When individual Christians understand that 'Heaven' is not some place out there, where God is watching over His People from a distance, but that 'Heaven' is in our hearts ( Luke 17:21 ), once that understanding begins to boil over & leech out through their fingertips, then we will see the kind of Transformation that the Gospel of the Kingdom can bring about, as opposed to a mere Salvation ( 'going to heaven when you die' ) Gospel! Once Christians begin to realize that their Blessed Hope is within them, we may begin to see such a Kingdom explosion as the world has not witnessed since the first century; probably even greater, in fact!

To this End, 
Charles Haddon Shank

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Positive Impact

It's all about choice!

We can choose to do this or that, to act or react, but when it comes right down to it, it's our choices that cause the most effect in our lives! Okay, so maybe you were born with some sort of disability; you can choose whether to let that disability rule you or you can rule your disability ( use it for the glory of God )! Okay, so you contracted leukemia, or some other form of cancer ( life-threatening disease ); you can let it determine the course of your life ( from now on, or you can choose to battle that illness with every weapon at your disposal, again, all for the Glory of God! Maybe Life seems to have dealt you an unplayable hand, and the course for you seems to be either to keep losing or to fold & cash it all in!

There is so much evil ( and it seems to be getting worse ever day ) that we are tempted to despair! Those of us who happen to hear the world, or local news, whether we listen religiously or just pick up tidbits here & there, might look at all the deprivation & devastation that seems to be a daily, even almost hourly occurrence somewhere in this wide world & wonder if the world will ever have peace! ( Sorry, Miss America! ) How can Christians ever hope to have a positive impact when the problem of evil seems to be so insurmountable & evil itself seems to have such an unbreakable grasp on pretty much everything we see!

While Christianity has undeniably had a positive impact on the world at large in the past, it would seem almost that, in the past century or so ( at least ) that the Church has seemed to lose sight of an effective Solution to the problem of evil, while it is certain others, Christians & non-Christians alike, who have, apart from the Institutional Church, seemingly had a greater & more positive effect on the evil that besets us on every side!

By exposing the failures of the Institutional Church, rather than extolling the One with Whom She is supposed to have Blessed Union, certain of us may be accused of negativity, of straining at the leash to nit-pick at the Bride of Christ & point out every flaw ( though She is 'perfect'-Hebrews 10:14 )! To a point, that may be true, but maybe a little negativity is needed here! If there is wrongful action or inaction going on, in the Church or outside of it, it needs to be exposed & dealt with! Maybe much of the problem within the Institutional Church is the cause for much of the negative effect that we have noted around the world when it comes to the problem of evil?!

For sake of space & time, we'll not go too far into it right now, but the period of time when the ( Institutional ) Church ceased offering a truly effective solution to the problem of evil can probably be narrowed down to 1-2 centuries ago when the theology & doctrine of the Orthodox Church became more of an escapist pipe-dream rather than a victorious hope, or even a realization that it was indeed fulfilled! This is not to say, again, that the Church has had no positive impact on the world around us, but it certainly is fairly clear that since the early days of Christianity have passed, She has steadily begun to offer this wide world less & less of an effective solution to the problem of evil!

Though She no doubt has had a more or less positive impact, especially in certain areas of the globe, it is not too hard to see that the Church has become less effective! There are manifold witnesses, even in the past couple centuries, to the effectiveness & impact that even a weakened Gospel has had on the world at large; we cannot deny this glorious fact, nor do we wish to detract from it, but how much more glorious would it be if it were the Full ( filled ) Gospel that gone out?!

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, for the most part, has lost its effectiveness because it has become the Gospel of Salvation, about going to Heaven when you die, rather than the Kingdom Gospel that Jesus & His followers preached, teaching the disciples of Christ to seek that His will would be done in the here & now, living in His Kingdom rather than that of men, not seeking escape from this earth, but rather bringing His Kingdom to bear 'on earth as it is in heaven'!

Call this 'negativity' if you will, but the longer the Church wallows in this morass of pride & prejudice, the longer it will take to effect a real & lasting solution to the problem of evil & to affect the world around us in a more positive way! ( when we're expecting to be 'raptured' from this earth any day now, why would we 'polish brass on a sinking ship? ) Though the effectiveness of the Gospel of Salvation has, praise be to God, had a positive impact in many areas of the globe, to a greater or lesser extent, it has weakened many individual Christians & caused them to be less effective in the here & now!''

And so we come full circle; we have a choice! Many individuals & I dare say this is human nature, are happy to latch on to the promised ( future ) hope of heaven & escape from the problem of evil! To inherit, at some point in the future, a virtual Paradise, free of the rigors & dangers of this life ( think of it, no more disabilities, deformations, or diseases, no more physical tears ( even for joy? )! We may someday see that, as the sciences of medicine & biology advance, as the brotherhood of man ( kind ) is realized more & more, etc! As more & more individuals make positive & life-changing choices, this Kingdom Gospel will continue to spread & through the Work of the Body of Christ, the borders of His Kingdom will continue to expand!

Apart from the work of the Spirit within, it may well be argued, men & women will never make the choices that need to be made in order to effect this positive impact! As we have noted; even though the Kingdom Gospel has been weakened to a mere Gospel of Salvation, the Work of the Holy Spirit cannot be discounted or ignored; the effect & impact of even that weakened & corrupted version of the Gospel has been a more or less positive one! The choices that have been made as a result of the Revelation of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ have had the intended effect! More & more Christians everyday & around the globe are rising up to face the evils that surround them!

What it comes down to, not only here in America, but around the globe, is; 'will the circle be unbroken?' Or will we dare to break the cycle and firmly establish the Kingdom Gospel, realizing that the Salvation of God's People was fulfilled long ago on an old wooden cross?!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tithes & Offerings

“Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
Malachi 3:8

Israel ( 'according to the flesh' ) had a problem; rather than showing mercy to their neighbor & loving justice, they were paying tithes of mint, anise & cumin, while leaving their neighbor in the dust! Instead of paying attention to things like justice, mercy & faith, they had 'neglected the weightier [ matters ] of the law' ( Matthew 23:23 ) In today's day & age, we see much the same problem; plenty of tithers & pew-sitters who leave much or most of the 'dirty work' up to the pastors, elders & deacons!

Tithing is an entirely biblical construct; it is even Scriptural, but with the Advent of the Christ & the fulfillment of 'all things' ( I Peter 4:7 ), one might begin to wonder if, as with so many other things that have passed away ( Matthew 5:18 ), the practice of tithing has not itself been done away with! This is not to say that we should not contribute our time & money to the work of Ministry, for we should most willingly do that, but as to giving an obligatory 10% of our earnings to support any certain congregation, the question remains as to whether this is a biblical or Scriptural requirement, especially with the Advent of 'God with us' ( 'Emmanuel' )!

Understanding that a certain amount of giving ( money ) is required for the up-keep of a special structure dedicated to housing the meetings of any given congregation & even for the financial support of certain members of the congregation ( widows, pastors/teachers/ ( Director of Communication ), it is right & good, even necessary, for the members of any given congregation to faithfully & willingly share their blessings! To require a certain percentage, though, of one's income, in order to support any given ministry, especially at the expense of putting food on the table or otherwise loving your neighbor, is not only wrong, it is un-biblical & unconscionable!

The Pharisees of Jesus' day, the same ones that received Ultimate Condemnation for the crime of robbing God, bear a strikingly close resemblance to many in the congregations ( Institutional Church ) today! The leaders of these congregations are even more Pharisaical, using these tithes & offerings in ways they were never meant to be employed! Many, upon parting with 10% ( or more ) of their income, are promised anything from renewed health, to a new Cadillac, to a place in 'Heaven! Then, there is the 'special offering' where the plate is passed around & one is almost made to feel lower than dirt if/when he or she does not contribute!

For a bit, let's look at how needs were taken care of in what is usually called 'the New Testament Church; of the seven times that tithing is mentioned in the Greek ( New Testament ) Scriptures, the first several references speak of it condemningly & all fit exactly into the context of Israel ( 'according to the flesh' )! In Matthew 23:23 & Luke 11:42, we read about Jesus' condemnation of the Pharisees for their failure to understand its true nature & in Luke 18:12 & Hebrews 7:5-9, we see the institution inextricably bound up with the people of Israel. This is not, however, to say that we shouldn't tithe!

For the reasons outlined above, support of the ministry of the Church, etc, it is good & right to give ( freely & willingly ) to these ministries! It is not good & right, however, to require these gift ( else they are not gifts )! In Peter's & Paul's day, when a need, financial or otherwise, was noted in the Church, then the people offered their time & money to meet that need. In fact, if I remember correctly, in the Church at Jerusalem, those who had, laid what they had at the apostles feet so that those who did not have could have! Even in this situation, though, with the relatively new formation of the Church, one must take into account the historical context & realize that these gifts were given to the apostles to bear to wherever they were needed, even though it be the other side of the 'world'!

Jesus' point & Malachi's as well, was that the Jews of the day were paying tithes into the treasury, whether to beautify the Temple ( Matthew 24 ) or what, rather than offering their time & money to help their neighbor who had need! As in the parable of 'The Good Samaritan' ( Luke 10:25-37 ), they were not willing to dirty their hands to help even one of their own, but instead, passed by on the other side, although you may be sure they 'righteously' gave their tithes in the Temple in Jerusalem!

Let us not be like the Pharisees of Jesus' or our day, but let us give willing to the ministry of the Church, and loving  mercy & justice, let us attend, with both our time & mney, to the needs of those around us, to the best of our ability, with the Wisdom which indwells us!

Charles Haddon Shank

The Scourge of God

More & more Christians, in particular, theologians are acknowledging the impotence of modern Christianity to offer an effective solution to the problem of evil, on a global scale! American Christianity, in effect & in particular, has become the purveyor of the Personal Salvation Gospel to such an an extent ( almost solely ) that it has become well-nigh useless & impotent in society! Today's Christianity, for the most part, promises an eternity in 'Heaven' & escape from the fires of 'Hell' ( one of the most infamous question asked by evangelists today is, 'if you died today, would you go to 'Heaven' or 'Hell'? )!

Most, if not all Christians are more or less familiar with the Scriptural fact that God used certain Gentile powers to bring His ( Jewish ) people to their knees. in the Story of the Exodus ( Exodus 9:16 ( Romans 9:17 ), God told the Pharaoh of Egypt, 'indeed for this [ purpose ] I have raised you up, that I may show My power [ in ] you'. God used the Babylonian armies to discipline His people by destroying their beloved Temple & removing them from the Land ( for a time-Jeremiah 25:1-13 ( Daniel 9 )! Scripture uses numerous examples, up to & including pagan Rome, to punish & discipline His people!

The Islamic Horde has become what most Christians would call a Scourge to the World! Not only Christians have fallen victim to the savagery of its more fanatical & militant branches; lately in the news, we have heard & seen reports of beheading by some of these groups claiming Islam! Though this is itself a horrible & deplorable condition, considering the History of War in the Middle East in ages past, it is really no more horrible or deplorable than many of the inquisitions & pogroms visited upon, not only Muslims, but upon others of different faiths, all in the Name of God, or Christianity!

Although, for the most part, Christianity, American Christianity in particular, has been relegated to a religion that is simply to be kept 'behind the eyes & between the ears', the Foreign Policy of America, as well as that of certain other nations, seems to have been so influenced by the Savagery of Christianity, that we have made eternal enemies, rather than converting the ( human ) resources of this world into tools for the Kingdom of God!

The Church has been so weakened by the notion that to engage in the Rebuilding of a ( Truly ) Free Society would be like 'polishing brass on a sinking ship', that most Christians seem more interested in 'weeding out' those who are not of like faith ( doctrines of men ) than in making the world a better place! 'When We All Get to Heaven' is usually more of a concern than actually being the 'light of the world that Jesus said we are ( Oh sure, we'll be the 'light of the world', as long as 'they' will come to 'us' ( OUR Temple )!

So, to ask the question now, 'is Islam, particularly radical & fanatical Islam, simply God's latest method of discipline for His People?' Though we should keep & bear arms, if necessary, against this Plague, should we not accept this as discipline from our Almighty & Heavenly Father, employing the Wisdom we have been given to strengthen our hearts & arms in the Battle Against Wickedness?! May we ever realize that our Creator, Sustainer & Provider uses the folly of men to His own Purpose & that we can but serve that Purpose or be crushed by those who are!

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, January 12, 2015

Beyond the Horizon


Besides having a stellar cast and being a very well-done movie; I'm not quite sure what to think about it! Yes, it was a theological movie ( all movies, or at least most, are theological by nature ), although you might better call it a humanology movie, because, although our hero was forever throughout the movie making reference to some mysterious entity called 'them'; he has an epiphany near the end of the movie and realizes that there never was a 'them', it was simply a more evolved 'us'!

This movie, in the process of blowing your mind with mentions of constructs like 'a three-dimensional time within a fifth dimension' ( or something to that effect ). The possibility of humanity evolving to the point of some of the almost unbelievably crazy notions that 'Interstellar' portrays engenders some rather intriguing questions! It is said that the average human being uses 10% of their brain's capacity ( that WOULD explain a lot ), so who can really say what a human being using even 50-75% of their brain capacitor ( 'Great Scott' ) would be capable of!?

What it all comes down to is where it always has to begin, at the beginning! Given that humanity could possibly evolve, at some point in time, to where some of the equations theorized in this movie might not be outside the realm of possibility; in theory, the root question we must answer is, 'which came first, the chicken or the egg'? No, seriously, it comes down to where the first bit of matter came from; did it just randomly appear out of nowhere? Somewhere, somehow, matter was created ( out of nothing ) by an Intelligent Designer! Take the human biology, for example; Scripture ( if you ascribe to that sort of thing ) acknowledges that we are 'fearfully and wonderfully made'; it is utterly ridiculous to think, even with the advances that science has made in the exploration of the human biology, of replicating such a wonder!

The exploration of the human brain is pretty much in the beginning stages, even though scientists have been observing & studying it for quite some time, and the surface of the human mind has not even been scratched; you could even say that would be a well-nigh impossible endeavor, mapping the intricacies of the mind! One reason that this will never occur has never occurred or simply does not register in the minds of many scientists is that the mind, although closely related to the brain, is an intangible; it can never be mapped because it is our closest link to our Creator!

By certain definition, our Heavenly Father could be described as an intangible, but this is not to say say that He ( She? ) is all in our minds! The Creation itself, including the human biology, bears manifold witness to the glorious existence of an infinitely Intelligent & Loving Designer. Our finely tuned senses, even physical ones, can feel the Presence of our Creator!

This little blog-post was not intended to be a review, so much, of 'Interstellar' ( though that may be on the 'horizon' )it is simply an exploration of some of the points ( questions ) engendered ( in my own mind ) by the movie. Is there Someone out there ( or 'in' here ) guiding our very footsteps? Can our world be saved simply through the ingenuity of man? Are we all alone; is it really all up to us?

Because of the Spirit in us, now that our Heavenly Father has made His Home with us, it is not outside the realm of possibility that we might be the saviors, in a sense, of the whole race! If indeed the Earth, as a habitable planet, is nearing its last days like the fear-mongers are trying to tell us, we could probably find another home out there in this wide universe! If there is another habitable planet out there ( even if it's through a 'wormhole' ), it most definitely won't be because we put it there; not a chance! Even if we were, through discovery, able to transfer many of the inhabitants ( through whatever means ) of this planet, to their new home; it will not be because of our ingenuity ( okay, maybe 'through' it ), but because of the Infinity & Superiority of our Heavenly Father! If there is another habitable planet out there in the universe, whether in some distant, as-of-yet undiscovered ( or simply unexplored ) galaxy, it will be because the Creator of this vast universe put it there for such a time as this! If we could figure out a way to fly through a wormhole ( if they even exist ), and 'fold space' in order to reach that distant galaxy, it would only be because we were created with the sort of mental capacity that such an endeavor would require!

As I'm not even sure yet if I liked the movie ( I may have to watch it again, several times ), this would by no means qualify as an accurate & complete review of the movie ( there's just too much there for my feeble mind to comprehend in just one sitting )! As it stands though, I believe that this movie, like certain others I've seen, brings out certain points that we can almost be certain the maker never intended! What exactly these points are may be yet to be determined, but one thing is for sure, 'Interstellar' will definitely exercise your brain & get you to thinking about some of the deeper questions of life!

Charles Haddon Shank

Friday, January 09, 2015

The Point of the Spear

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
Matthew 10:34

Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace!
O Judah, keep your appointed feasts, perform your vows.
For the wicked one shall no more pass through you; he is utterly cut off.
Nahum 1:15

In the day that Jesus walked this earth, or the Land & spoke the words that Matthew recorded above,  a separation was about to be revealed! This division was between the true & false Israel, those who followed Yahweh's commands from a pure heart & those who merely followed the Letter of the Law, but inside were full of dead men's bones! At the time of Matthews writing, the eschatological point of the spear had been reached & and it was, as Jesus said, a time to separate the sheep from the goats, the good from the evil, the true from the false!

Today, you might well say that we have reached another such point, but theologically, rather than eschatologically! Discoveries have been made & and new revelations have occurred in the past few years & decades that have shed fresh light on the evidence at hand, and this light has begun to show that the evidence that we thought we knew so well wasn't quite so well-known as at first thought!

Covenantal thinking has changed the face of theology! Beginning with Covenant Protology & coming to Fulfillment with Covenant Eschatology, theologians have begun to ( re ) discover exactly what the Story of Scripture is all about! That Adam & Eve ( Genesis 1-3 ) were not the first man & woman to inhabit planet earth, but were simply the beginning of Yahweh's Covenant Creation is not a new concept ( not well-known, or even accepted, but definitely not new )!

The belief that the first part of Genesis refers to a Covenant Creation instead of, as traditionally viewed, the natural or material creation is gaining ascendance by leaps & bounds! It changes everything! Once one accepts that the earth is very likely more than 6,000 years old ( as Science tells us ) & that Adam was not the first human being on the face of the earth, but the first man on the face of the Land with whom Yahweh covenanted, things begin to click into place!

Another facet of Covenant Creation that many modern theologians have begun to pick up on is that the 'beasts of the field', what we would normally view as mere animals, were actually indicative of the nations around the Land who had not received this special revelation from their Creator! 'The birds of the air' & 'the fish of the sea' indicated this aspect of Yahweh's good creation as well! John's words in the latter part of the Revelation, 'there was no more sea', finally make sense without getting embroiled in all kinds of useless speculation & imagination!

He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.
Isaiah 2:4 

This Point, or End was reached in the first century! When the Son of God was Revealed from Heaven, culminating finally, in the Marriage of Heaven & Earth, the eschatological goal of the History of Israel was realized! However, though eschatology had been fulfilled & the Eschaton, or End Revealed, the doctrines of man, particularly in the last days of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth, lost sight of this Fulfillment & Eschaton, focusing instead on some 'pie-in-the-sky' affair & a falsely dis-jointed & materialistic hope of Heaven!

Theologically speaking, we have come to the crossroads again, where people will have to acknowledge this new paradigm or find themselves in danger of being left behind! Now that the End, or Goal of Israel's History has been Revealed & the Marriage of Heaven & Earth realized, the Point of the Sword is no longer to divide the sheep from the goats, the good from the evil, but simply to separate the truth from fiction, the Story from the Tales!

While it it important that we get our Story straight, & have a correct understanding of our Eschatology ( for this will impact, for better or for worse, our Kingdom Initiative ), it is important to realize as well that, even though we may not ever get it all 'down pat', get our ducks in a row, so to speak, we do not need to worry about the eschatological point of the spear anymore! 

The point of the spear that we have come to, in this day & age is a 'merely' theological one! Through understanding the Story, we are gaining a better understanding of the Story-Teller, the Dream-Weaver! This better understanding, in turn, will ( eventually ) come out through our fingertips & witnessing our Positive Impact, the world around us will be able to see that truly, the Son of God has completed the Marriage of Heaven & Earth!

Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Change the World

It's hard to beat the system 
When we're standing at a distance 
So we keep waiting 
Waiting on the world to change.

In today's day & age, too many people seem to have adopted this stance! We hope that we can endure what the world has to dish out just long enough that we see change occur. 'If we hang on, even if it's precariously, by a thread, maybe we will be lucky enough to witness that 'change of season' that we're all waiting for'! At the very least, maybe our grandchildren will!

For the past generation or so, the average citizen has neglected to realize their potential, not understanding that contrary to what government 'education' has force-fed them, they possess the true power, the power to effect positive change in the world, far beyond the false glimmer of hope that voting ( it's our civic duty ) for the lesser of two evils offers, or even that of getting the right man in office! It is only by realizing the potential for positive change that we all possess that any lasting change will be effected, not only in this country, but in the world at large!

People have been aware for at least these few generations that we need to see a change in the affairs of this nation! Many have worked, to various degrees of success, to effect this needed change, but most have begun to realize that, no matter what changes are made, at least politically, these changes ( for the better ) will not be lasting ones without an additional influence! That influence is a change of heart, and that change of heart can only come through acceptance of the relationship that we all cannot live without, Relationship & Communion with our Heavenly Father & the Body of His Son!

This country was founded on biblical principles, to whatever extent, there is really no denying that! Even though these biblical principles can still be seen in many of the ordinances & protections that we bear witness to everyday, this theology was, to some extent, fundamentally flawed! Much of the theology that figured in the founding documents was one that was based on doctrines such as 'The Total Depravity of Man' & that of the future Kingdom of God! Though many battles were fought, to the death, in defense of the Kingship of Jesus Christ, visions of a Heavenly Paradise danced throughout their theology!

The Religious Right has convinced most of its constituents that if we would but return to these foundations, and especially to the Constitution, that we would see effective, positive & lasting change! Really though, one only has to read the history of Israel to see what happens when you try to coerce righteousness; it doesn't work: righteousness, true righteousness, cannot be coerced & morality, true morality, cannot be legislated!

For positive, effectual & lasting change to be effected in this nation, there must first be a Great Awakening! People everywhere must awaken, in a positive way, to their relationship with their Heavenly Father, the One, True & Eternal King! Communion with the Body of His Son is a very important & necessary part of this positive relationship! It is only through the blessed acknowledgement of this relationship, both with Father & Son, that this nation & from it, the world, will ever know the change that it needs & the Everlasting Peace that we all seek!

Now we see everything that's going wrong 
With the world and those who lead it 
We just feel like we don't have the means 
                To rise above and beat it                    

John Mayer realizes that it only seems that 'we don't have the means to rise above and beat it', but like so many others around this country & world, he refuses to acknowledge the means he knows exists! Why do people refuse to acknowledge such Means? It would seem only natural, right, that if people knew that the means were available, that we would be quick to take advantage of these means, but sadly 'No'! For a variety of reasons, the Visible ( Institutional? ) Church has failed to faithfully & effectively represent Her King; maybe now it's time for the Invisible ( Organic ) Church to show Her stuff!

Charles Haddon Shank

Friday, January 02, 2015

That It May Be Fulfilled

Fulfilled Eschatology can be a cause for apprehension among man followers of Jesus the Christ today! That certain Scriptures were fulfilled in & through the Christ is not questioned among most if not all Christians & even among many of these, the implications of this glorious fact is, to a greater or lesser degree, being explored. Probably the greatest concern among most Christians today is that, if according to Fulfilled Eschatology, Jesus, God Himself, has already returned and made His home with us, as per John 14:23, then what happens to our Blessed Hope? If Jesus returned ( as He promised-Hebrews 9:28 ) 'a second time, apart from sin, for salvation', then what hope do we have in this present evil world? Is there nothing that can be done to remedy the sticky situation in which we find ourselves?

What happens after our physical body expires is of great concern, not only to most Christians, but to many non-Christians as well! Will we ever see our dear departed again? Will we ever again hold ( or be held by ) them again, to feel their warm embrace & to make them know how much we love them? What could be wrong with our natural longing to live free of the everyday aches & pains that we suffer, to say little of the evils which we must persevere in the midst? What happens to that hope if we believe that we have been raised ( resurrected ) to New Life already?!

Yet another implication of Fulfilled Eschatology that is of great concern to most Christians is that if Heaven has indeed come to Earth, as Jesus taught His disciples to pray for  ( Matthew 6:5-13 ), then why is our beloved world in such disarray? Why is evil an ever-present & even worsening problem? If The Peace of Heaven is in our hearts alone, what of the Promise of the wolf laying down with the lamb ( Isaiah 11:6 ( 6:25 ), of the cow & the bear feeding together?! Can we ever hope for the peace of God which passes all understanding to be manifest on this earth in a physical sense, for this evil generation to know the same Peace of Heaven that we do?

Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus stated many times that His Advent here was in fulfillment of the Promise made to Israel under that 'first' ( covenant-AKA 'Old Covenant' )! This Promise, in different words, maybe, was the redemption & salvation of His People. Let's us look at several of these statements from our Greek Scriptures;

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 
(‭ Matthew‬ ‭1‬:‭22-23‬ )

To be precise, this was the whole point, the End, you might say, or Goal of Redemptive History! Isaiah quoted these words to Ahaz, king of Judah when he was facing a similar situation to what we face in our day ( Isaiah 7:14 ). Jesus, God in the flesh, introduced Himself to His Creation in a way that we could understand &' comprehend; He limited Himself through the weakness of humanity to show that the blessings of Heaven were indeed attainable on earth, in the midst of this present evil world!

When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.
 (‭ Matthew‬ ‭2‬:‭14 & 15‬ )

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” 
(‭ Matthew‬ ‭4‬:‭14-16‬  )

Isaiah revealed this Promise as well ( Isaiah 9:1 &' 42:3 ) in prophesying of the Coming Messiah of Israel! Egypt, with its Ten Plagues especially, was used throughout Scripture as a metaphor for the ravages of sin & death, so when God called His Son ( Israel &' Jesus-Hosea 11:1 & Matthew 2:15 ) out of Egypt, He was speaking of the Coming Redemption in which He would 'save His people from their sins' ( Matthew 1:21 )!

Because of this Great Redemption &Salvation, God's People, both Jew & Gentile, were set free from the ravages of sin & death! Those who sat in darkness ( sin ) saw that Great Light & that Great Light gave Life & Light to the whole world, that 'whoever believes in Him should not perish but should have everlasting life' ( John 3:16 )'! The Government of Christ, inaugurated with His Advent, was in fulfillment of this Promise!

When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 'He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.'
( Matthew 8:16 & 17 )

To truly understand this passage, as with many other like passages, one must approach them with the understanding that the original audience might have have! Think first of the question, 'why would Jesus need to be casting out demons among God's Holy People, those chosen to host His Temple?' Secondly, we might ask the question, 'why is He casting out demons in fulfillment of 'He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses'?' 

Israel had become filled with demonic influence, which was metaphorized by the many diseases that Jesus healed, including the lameness & blindness! This demonic influence was allowed to infiltrate the ranks of God's Chosen People when they disobeyed His Word &committed adultery against Him with the nations around them, by worshiping their gods ( idols ) & trusting in the ( false ) strength of these idols to save them from their enemies!

Fulfilled Eschatology has many glorious ( and frightening ) implications, but it is only through sincerely exploring these Implications and making Application of them in our lives that that this world will ever experience The Peace of Heaven that resides within us! Realizing this Glorious Truth can make a huge difference in how we understand Scripture & ultimately, how we view God Himself! John 14:23, which was already mentioned, reads, 'if anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him'. Although this statement of Jesus' has to do with Eschatology, we see that Jesus only gives one requirement ( for lack of a better word ) for the Dwelling of God to be with man ( and woman ), to keep His word. It is only those who keep His Word & love His Law that He comes in to & makes His Home with!

Heaven is simply the Blessed Presence of God & since the Marriage of Heaven & Earth, He dwells in the midst of His People! Although individuals within the corporate Body of Christ are building stones within the Temple of God in the Spirit ( I Peter 2:5 ( Ephesians 2:22 ), it is most gloriously as the corporate Body of Christ that we shine, as 'the light of the world' ( Matthew 5:14 )! We may hope for a better world to come, we may hope for a disease-free & blemish-free body; these are certainly noble aspirations & to a degree, achievable, but these are things that we, as the Body of Christ & the Temple of the Holy Spirit, can have the greatest impact on! We can, to whatever extent, eat healthier & by eating healthier, we may, to whatever extent, stave off or even heal our biological bodies of whatever disease or ailments may threaten them! By governing our lives according to the Law of God, we may, to whatever extent, impact the world around us, having an ever-widening effect on the world at large!

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Highs & Lows of 2014

Okay, so there were wars and rumors of wars, but never fear, the end is not yet! Besides all the evil that happened in this past year, there was plenty of good too, thank God! It's all good, at least for those of us who enjoy the blessings of the Covenant & the Presence of our Heavenly Father, for even the 'evil' that occurs serves His Divine & Sovereign Purpose!

We might look at some of the highs first. 2014 was dubbed ( unofficially, of course ) The Year of No Fear! Personally some of my highs were my almost celebrity status in the town where I have lived for the past close to four years, the friends I have been blessed with, not only around my little town, but around the state & country!

Speaking of 'around the country', true believers received a shock to the system when the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary was revealed to be, not simply a hoax, but a training exercise under the auspices & watchful eyes of Homeland Security! Obama continues to work his magic as the national debt climbs its way past $16 trillion & this once-great nation is slowly brought her knees! More & more Americans are being woken up everyday to this sobering fact, thanks in part, not just to our fearless leader, but to leaders like him in the past who have squandered this nations & their own resources!

2014 was a year of change & new beginnings; there were quite a number of births & awakenings! Babies were born under the watchful eye of their Heavenly Father & thanks in large part to the ministries of a multitude, many people have begun to awaken to this glorious Life we live! This past year was also a year of sad goodbyes; there were some loved ones who departed from this biological existence, some who just departed for greener pastures & 'friends who showed their true colors!

A friend of mine announced to me yesterday that 2015 was 'a blank slate': that it is; a time for new beginnings, new resolutions & even new adventures! Over this past year, I personally have gotten to visit ( multiple times ) parts of the beautiful state that I reside in ( Montana ) & to witness some of the most beautiful events I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing to! In this coming year I plan to journey to a part of this beautiful globe that I have never set foot on! This will be quite an adventure, as I have never been outside these continental United States, much less on an island in the middle of the ocean!

There is much that has happened in this past year that could be viewed as good or evil, things that have made us happy or sad & that have left us feeling fulfilled or unfulfilled! Much of this is dependent on how we face whatever Life has in store for us, or rather, what our Heavenly Father has in store for us! There is blessing & cursing for obedience & disobedience! We can choose to enjoy the Presence of our Heavenly Father & Life in His Kingdom, or we can choose to live our own pitiful life & and wallow in the mire that we have created through our willful disobedience!

As we face this New Year, this blank slate, if you will, let us determine to face it, not just with enthusiasm, but with Joy in our hearts! All we can do is 'do better'; if we're not willing to do that, we might as well pack up & go home! Who knows what 2015 holds for us? Only time will tell!

Charles Haddon Shank