Monthly Archives: February 2008

Ramblings of a Roman Soldier by Alan G. Smith inspired by the Holy Spirit Sunday, September 14, 2008 sp

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ARTICLE OF INTEREST: SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN

Ramblings of a Roman Soldier
transcribed by Alan G. Smith, inspired by the Holy Spirit

Do you hear it? What you ask? “Tetelestai” I can hear it even now. It beckons to me through the wind. I can tell you are looking at me strangely.

Let me go back and explain why this word is so pregnant with meaning for me. I had never seen anything remotely like that day. In my time spent with the Legion in Jerusalem; I had helped perform many executions, but this one was different. This day there were three young men condemned to die. The sentence proclaimed on each of them had been death by crucifixion. At the palace, we tied the large crossbeams of rough hewn wood across the backs of each of the condemned. Their arms were outstretched on the wood demonstrating to everyone throughout the city what was going to happen to them. We took “the parade route” through town. We wound down every street to warn the people that the Roman Empire was serious about crime. Everyone knew where we were headed. There was this hill called “The Skull” where we performed the executions. As we wound down the streets, the weight of the beams dug into their back.

Several splinters from the rough wood slivered deep into their skin. The first man hollered curses at the crowd. There was no remorse there, only bitterness. I can still hear his angry voice yelling at the top of his lungs. The bitterness came out with his words and hung around him condemning him yet further. He made no appeals for mercy. I guess he was holding onto the only thing he had left. His strength had been robbed from him in the prisons. I had to prod him with my sword several times to keep him moving.

The second man was almost the opposite of the first. In his tears, he cried out for mercy. He mentioned his child and tried to tell a heart-rending story to the crowd. But all they did was jeer back. I had to wonder about the wisdom of killing this repentant man. But mine was not to wonder, mine was to take orders.

As the third man came by, I heard the whispers and murmurs going through the crowd. I overheard that this was Jesus. I figured this must be the guy that had whipped the city into a frenzy and the reason why we were having this execution so quickly. He didn’t look like the criminal he was supposed to be. Also on his head, there was a wreath of thorns. Each one had dug deeply into his flesh encircling his head with blood. His olive skin was hanging in strips on his back. He was so badly beaten that the pain had to be unbearable. I glanced at him and saw such a peaceful look in his eyes that I couldn’t help but stare. This peace didn’t make sense. Did he not realize that he was about to die one of the most gruesome deaths possible? Did he know that he would die from lack of air as he started to lack the strength to pull himself up by his nail pierced wrists and finally his lungs would fill with liquid? I was absorbed by this man, when he stumbled. The weight of the cross seamed to be unbearable for him. I grabbed one of the young men standing by and shouted at him, “CARRY HIS CROSS!” This man looked like he was going to hesitate, but as I went for my sword he lowered his head in submission. I strapped the cross to him and we continued to march.

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After an eternity of marching, we approached the site of execution. The sound of a hammer hitting a nail echoed throughout the countryside as we connected the crossbeams to the posts. As we finished each one we would lift the post up and into the hole in the ground. As we slid the cross with Jesus on it into the ground, he asked for forgiveness for us. For us??

Why in the world did we need forgiving? Even more importantly, how come he didn’t hate us like every other condemned man. Did he not realize that we were killing him? I wandered away with some of the other soldiers while we waited for the condemned to die.

About three hours later, the entire land went dark. This was an unusual dark. It wasn’t like night. It was a stifling darkness. This day was getting weirder and weirder. I just wanted this execution to be over with so I could go my own way.

Then about three hours later, the darkness left and I heard Jesus scream out “Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani” I wondered what he was screaming. I heard someone say that he was calling Elijah. But then I heard someone else correct them and say that what he was saying was Hebrew for “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” The cry was with such agony that I can still hear it in my ears. It was not merely a physical agony. It went much deeper. It was the agony of a heart breaking. I recognized that cry as one that I could never quite understand. Finally something that made sense from this man. I was used to seeing a sense of desperation from these men watching their life slip away.

I was thinking about this when he screamed out his final word, “Tetelestai”

It covered the countryside. It was long and drawn out and obviously painful for him to say. Roughly translated that means “It is finished.” But that alone would make sense. Truly it was finished, after all he was dead after he uttered it. But “Tetelestai” means more than that. It means that it is utterly and totally complete and that nothing else could possibly be done to add to it. My curiosity could take it no longer.

I went up to the cross and asked a woman there who this Jesus was. She broke down in tears, and I couldn’t understand her through her sobs. But the man with her explained to me a fanciful story of Jesus. He tried to tell me that Jesus was the Messiah. But I wouldn’t listen. After all, if Jesus was truly the Son of God then we wouldn’t have been able to kill him, right??

Before I left we went ahead and broke the legs of the two other criminals, but we didn’t waste our time with Jesus. He was obviously dead. One of the other soldiers ran a sword through Jesus’ side and blood and water flowed. I had heard of these “tears of the heart” before but I had never seen it. I left that site and tried to go about my day.

Well the next week as I was going around town, I stopped in my tracks as I saw this guy that was in the spitting image of Jesus. I figured it must be his brother or something. But as I stared I saw the nail marks still in his wrists. As I stood there staring, he called me to him. With a slight smile, he said, “I AM He” He had read my mind, I bowed down. He could read my heart as well. He raised my head and told me, “What I had completely finished was paying for your sins. Go and sin no more, for you are a new creation.”

Now as I go everywhere, I hear “Tetelestai” It is God’s way of reminding me that sin is no longer my master. After all, nothing else could have been done. I hear the word echoing in the breeze as the birds sing. It is a subtle sound even in the hubbub of the crowd. Whenever I stop listening with my ears, I can hear it again. “Tetelestai” Can you hear it? Listen closely. There it is. Yes, it is finished. Jesus could have done nothing more to reconcile you with God. That is the great news!! As you hear “Tetelestai”, remember once again that you can be a new creation. The old will be wiped away! Shout it in praise to Him, “Tetelestai.” And when someone asks you what you are saying, you can tell them about this man that died not only for me but for you and them as well. “Tetelestai!”

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Fight The Warfare! (Tuesday, February 19, 2008)

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A DREAM COME TRUE!

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RSS FEEDS & GOOGLE READER!

We’ve received lots of requests that we might provide a way for you to email an article to your friends and your email network. We’re happy to say that we now have the capability. It’s done through Google Reader. In order for you to do that you simply have to look on the right side of the page (as you face the computer for RSS Feeds.) It says SUBSCRIBE above it. If you want to read comments click comments, but if you want the complete visual immediately; click entries. This action will take you to a page that will entitle you to sign up for email subscriptions. In the pictorial display you’ll see a small box and it will take you to the Video if there is one. If there is not; you won’t see a small box. If by chance you select comments then they will take you directly to the site simply by your pointing your mouse on the title and clicking. This new technology is cool beans!

At the bottom of the article that you’ll find in Google Reader are many options but email and share are great features!

Perilous Times… by Pastor Christopher Dart, Guest Writer (Sunday, February 17, 2008)

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Beloved, the time is perilous.

The fields are white and ready for the harvest.

The enemy is at work in all facets of humanity with his intent to steal, kill and destroy.

The above seems as generalities taken from scripture. Jesus said:

2He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

3And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? MATTHEW 16: 2,3 (KJV)

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I don’t suggest, for an instant, any form of hypocrisy in (you) the readers nor any spiritual ineptness. As I read the passage, I am reminded how obviously we are approaching the end times.

Heating oil is $3.05/gal. (on the average), the production of ethanol is depleting grain supplies causing the cost of food to skyrocket, abortion is epidemic (and will become even greater with the next administration), today’s generation of youth is the least evangelized ever to live in this nation. Even more alarming is the Church is irrelevant and powerless to do anything about it.

Many denominations are moving towards interfaith apostasy.* (Abandonment of one’s religious faith, a political party, one’s principles, or a cause.)
The question begs an answer, “What shall the true Church do?”
Joel 2:12-17 (King James Version)
King James Version (KJV)

Public Domain
[A Public Domain Bible] [KJV at Zondervan] [Zondervan]

12Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

13And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

14Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?

15Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:

16Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.

17Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?

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I’m one person, just a guy on the street. I can only speak to one person at a time. Some of those who are capable of speaking to hundreds seem only interested in leading their congregations in Purpose Driven Apostasy; and in turn..some of the church services seem to have driven the Holy Spirit away.

(In many cases) There is no anointing on the sermons; nothing to stir the spirit; nothing to convict the conscience; no impetus to follow after God. Just a dose of dead religion for the week.

Every week I enter (a) church expecting and leave disappointed.
Where am I wrong?

I believe we must pray for those in leadership, including music ministers and Sunday School teachers to not beat at the air anymore; forsake the gratification of self and seek God as never before. I would recommend that every one of them should be out of bed by 4:00 a.m., seeking the face of God diligently, every day for their ministry is not a treadmill but that which should be an oracle of the eternal destiny of those they face every Sunday.

There is (often) no anointing because men are not serious about prayer. When was the last time you or I heard of the ministers of the Lord weeping between porch and altar?

So many churches seem dead. The messages should affect the hearts of men. The young people would not be so impatient to get out of church and into their worldly activities. Divorce would not be rampant. Men would be getting saved.
If you have any interest, at all, in the souls of men, you will fast and pray, give up hours of precious sleep, call on God to have mercy and get those leaders into His presence, so that the Holy Spirit can return to His church and make her relevant again.

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The Blood on my bedposts! by Elaine Davenport (Sunday, February 10, 2008)

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No, I didn’t kill anyone, but someone was trying to kill me in my sleep. It sounds drastic, but it actually isn’t. For years I had this choking cough that only seemed to manifest while I was sleeping. Many times, I awakened to what seemed to be my absolute demise. I became convinced that if I had not awakened at that very moment…well, I’m glad that an angel awoke me at the right time! Then to top it off I began to have nightmares. Somehow, the total experience and maybe my job turned me into someone who avoided sleeping and eventually an insomniac; someone who could not sleep. I eventually turned to sleeping pills like people that I knew and I am so sure that the Lord took me off of them. That’s the crux of my story but it continues…

I thought about the plague in Egypt when Pharoah’s heart was hardened towards the children of Israel; and how he in turn began to persecute them. THIS WAS GOD’S REPLY:

THE PASSOVER

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb [a] for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.
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12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD -a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat—that is all you may do.

17 “Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”

21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. 23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. EXODUS 12: 1-21

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Because they in faith put blood on their door posts, God did not allow the destroyer to enter their houses and strike them down.

WOW!

See, I’ve been pleading the blood over my house but the enemy was creeping into my dreams giving me horrible visions. One dream was so terribly gone wrong that when (as an escape) I went to the restroom; I heard the Holy Spirit say: “Go back and fix it!: So I did. At that point I began to know that it was a problem. I began to plead the Blood of Jesus over my bed and in my bed. Now, it may sound strange but ALL of the nightmares stopped. Even when symptoms of ill health would manifest in my bed out of the blue..I would and still do plead the Blood of Jesus. I’ve come a longs ways. I’ve gone from a hopeless insomniac to a person who can fall asleep and have sweet sweet sleep overnight. I snore sometimes I’m told. I love it!

HOW I APPLY THE BLOOD…

I envision the Blood of Jesus then I in my mind and with my mouth apply it to every part of the perimeter of my bed. Then, I act as though I am throwing it or pushing it on my bed, my pillows everything as though my bed is covered in blood. It doesn’t matter if I can see it, I just believe it’s there and I always do this every night when I get in the bed. Sounds weird? I don’t care, I really don’t. I stopped worrying about what other people think a long time ago! That’s when I “really” got Blessed!

WITH HIS BLOOD HE SAVED ME BY THE OSLO NORWAY GOSPEL CHOIR

You Know Me by George Huff (Music Video) (Monday, February 4, 2008)

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FORMER AMERICAN IDOL FINALIST CURRENT CHRISTIAN RECORDING ARTIST GEORGE HUFF

LINK TO GEORGE’S MYSPACE PAGE HERE