Jesus and Justice

Jesus is all about justice.

…for individuals.

…for families.

…for communities.

…for nations.

His definition of justice is so much more brilliant than ours. If we really want it we will need to repent of so much of the dim vision of justice that we’ve received through our humanistic and nationalistic worldviews.

THE GREATEST ACT OF INJUSTICE is that 100% of us, the created, have reviled, lived independently of, and refused to worship our Creator, Who has only shown us perfect love.

Now we’re talking context…

Whether it’s racial justice, justice in the womb, or justice for the Church to assemble, EVERY discussion about social justice that neglects this context is horsefeathers…

It’s the primary impetus for WHY WE SPEAK and ACT at all. It’s rooted in our worship of Jesus. As my friend Stuart Greaves so excellently notes in his book “False Justice”: “All social justice issues must end in the worship of our Creator.” I agree 100%. This is the height of human injustice. This is also what/why the enemy is ultimately animating both sides of these issues – to keep humanity from worshipping God. When we see this as the “end game” we will be MUCH more prepared to offer wholistic, compassionate and incarnational solutions to these important issues.

The nexus of all JUSTICE on the earth is the CROSS: (1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 1:18; Galatians 2:20,21; Galatians 3:1-3 & 10-14) JESUS’ victorious death upon it, and our proclamation and participation in it.

No matter how we parse, argue for, or practice JUSTICE, if we omit the CROSS…

a.) at best, neither ourselves nor our world ultimately profit

b.) at worst, we also perpetuate an anti-Christ delusion.

“When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.” (Luke 7:29-30)

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JSB • May 22, 2022

4 Convictions that This Old White Man Brings to All of His Conversations About Abortion

The abortion issue needs a thorough, wholistic response from the people of God. Not merely a “prohibition” like the striking down of Roe vs. Wade. There’s a ton to say about the multi-faceted aspects of this issue, but here are some of the foundational convictions that this “old white man” brings to each of his conversations about abortion:

1. Abortion isn’t a mechanical issue of convenience or inconvenience. It’s ultimately a response made (by both mother AND father) to the God Who alone has the capacity to create life. To choose abortion when there is every indication that the child will be born is to play the card of “self-determination” – not against pro-lifers – but against God Himself. This will, and always be, at the core of the abortion issue. Humanity saying, “We have the right to choose to determine life and death; good and evil.” This is the original lie of satan in Genesis 3.

2. A society that argues for the right to terminate a child all the way up to delivery is essentially saying: “At no time are we responsible to God and His declaration of life. We have ultimate say in what will live and what will die in me – and/or in my wife, girlfriend, one-night-stand etc.” This is the raging order of hell. One aspect of a society that’s attempting to function in love is to curb our individual “rights” for the sake of the well-being of the many. A law may be thin, but it helps to determine ethics and societal boundaries of responsibility. I’m 100% for Roe vs Wade being overturned and every one of the 50 states outlawing the practice.

3. My own journey will always make this a deeply personal issue. Both of my amazing daughters were born at 26 weeks. For 3 months my late wife and I nursed, prayed, wept and agonized for their little lives; God-glorifying lives that in the majority of our nation could have been swept away through a simple visit to a clinic.

4. Don’t you tell me that I, as a man who is filled with the Spirit of Christ, have no right to speak into the life or death of a child – ever. The only way this makes even half-sense is to then consistently argue that we men should not be held accountable for recreational pregnancies, fatherlessness, abandonment, and or the creation of a pornified culture that pressures women into childbirth. I was, and now am, no less responsible and authorized to speak into the well-being of my biological daughters as my heroic wife was. This is God’s-ordained order. My input re: abortion is me taking part of the man’s responsibility seriously, by direct-order from God Himself.

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JSB • May 21, 2022

The Forerunner, First Commandment Love and Repentance

Those who are in love repent easily, freely, and deeply, with little thought to the cost of their repentance. They want their love to be unhindered and filled with prolific righteousness.

Those who are aiming at first-commandment love for the One Who is filled with grace and has perfectly loved us first, have all the more reason to repent in this manner.

To begrudge repentance is to begrudge lavish love. And lavish love is what He is so worthy of.

True, Spirit-borne repentance never asks how little contrition we have to offer to God – or where my sin ends and my family’s sin begins. He who has seen much of God repents much unto God.

When the Lord revealed Himself to the prophet Isaiah this was his response: “Woe is me, for I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the Lord of Hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5)

In light of the end of the age, and Who is coming, our only thought should be, “How GREAT COULD BE our repentance!?” Seriously!

So often our thoughts about repentance are connected to the rote religious equation of “What must I do in order to be saved and make it to heaven one day?”. When teaching/dialoguing about repentance and revival and the judgments of the Lord, the Body urgently needs to begin developing a mind-set that is living beyond a temporal, this age only status quo… we need to be thinking “tomorrow I’m going to e standing in the Presence of the King.”

In all great likelihood, the NEXT great revival will be the LAST great revival before the great and terrible Day of the Lord and His return. The whole earth has never seen a revival like the one the Lord is birthing in the Prayer Room right now. America has never seen this kind of revival. 

Add a.) the degree to which the status quo of nearly all of western culture has embraced demonic darkness, to b.) the promises of the Lord to bring His whole household to first-commandment love before the return of His Son and viola! we’ve got an explosive convergence that makes humanity’s combined nuclear arsenal look like pop rocks.

John. Jesus’ best friend on the earth. “Laid his head on Jesus heart John”. “I’ve already gone up and seen Him on the mount of transfiguration John”. After living a full life of proclaiming this Jesus, when he saw a revelation of Jesus in a bit of His heavenly glory fell at Jesus’ feet as though he were dead. (Revelation 1:17) On the day that we first catch a glimpse of Jesus which of us would say, “In that moment, I will possess more equilibrium than John!”

I appreciate the artists’ depictions of the believer’s first moment in heaven – jumping into the arms of Jesus to hug Him… (I love that Jesus is that intimate with His followers) However, embracing familiarity is never how scripture describes humanity’s face to Face encounter with the eternal God. Wherever and whenever this happens it always produces trembling and fear and “woe is me” awareness.

From this standpoint, one of the things the tribulation on earth will do is help prepare humanity for the greater cataclysmic event… We think, the great tribulation and the groan of creation and stars and seas are something… wait until we see their Creator… there will never be a more “woe is me” event on the earth (nothing even close…) than the Day the Sun of righteousness breaks in on an unrighteous world as Bridegroom, King and Judge.

Isaiah’s vision is a bit of what constrained John the Baptist. John wasn’t roaming the wilderness stewing over the mud puddle of humanity’s sin. Day after day he was being captivated by overwhelming visions of the majesty and beauty of the One Who was coming.

This is 99.9% of what the forerunner’s heart needs to be gripped with.

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JSB • May 17, 2022

Praying Daniel 9 for the 21c American Church

Throughout Jeremiah’s “ministry” the Lord was calling for a people to pray the following prayer.

In 560 BC, more than a hundred years after the initial seige of Jerusalem, and a hundred and forty years after the Lord’s Words first came forth through Jeremiah, a man named Daniel discerned from the prophets the heart and purposes of the Lord, and then was constrained to pray the thorough and agonizing prayer of repentance we find in Daniel chapter 9.

Beloved, we’re making a transition that is much greater than the transition of the Jewish people from Babylon to the restoration of an earthly kingdom. We’re making a transition from the captivity of this age to the eternal Kingdom of Jesus.

What follows is the (Daniel 9:4-19) prayer hermeneutically adjusted for American Evangelicalism. We don’t have a hundred years to “pray” it.

DANIEL 9 FOR 21c AMERICAN EVANGELICALISM

“O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments,
we have sinned and committed iniquity,
we have done wickedly and rebelled,
even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.

Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets,
nor the precious Words of Your Son, Jesus Christ,
Whom many of our leaders, and fathers and people of the land claim to follow.

We’ve turned our hearts away from those caught in pornography and engaging in the horror of abortion.
We’ve marginalized and even despised the cross that would bring an end to self-determination and the curse of LGBTQ.
We’ve not blessed and stood in the place of intercession for Israel.
We’ve not walked with humility re: our racial sins and the great sins of our fathers, and the fathers of this nation.
We’ve erected idols of self-liberty and national pride that militate against our primary allegiance to You, Father.
We’ve not given ourselves to prayer, and become a people of prayer.
Neither do we heed the foundational teaching of Your Son’s Sermon on the Mount.

O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day –
to those in the Bible belt,
to the inhabitants of Hollywood,
and all of America, those near and those far off,
captivated by the great idolatries that we have unfaithfully committed against You.
O Lord, to us belongs shame of face,
to our leaders, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You.

To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness,
though we have rebelled against You.
We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God,
to walk in Your laws,
which You set before us by Your servants the prophets, and by Your Son.

Yes, all of us have transgressed Your law,
and have departed so as not to obey Your voice;
therefore the curse and the oath written in the Word of God has been poured out on us,
because we have sinned against You.

And You have confirmed Your words,
which You spoke against us and against our pundits and false-prophets who condemn us, by bringing upon us a great plague of self-destructive hostility;
for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what is being done in our nation.

As it is written in the Word of God, all this destruction has come upon us;
yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God,
that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth.

Therefore the Lord has kept (Galatians 5:15) in mind, and brought it upon us;
for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works which He does,
though we have not obeyed Your voice.

And now, O Lord our God, Who brought Your people out of darkness by the mighty blood of Your Son,
and made Yourself a name, as it is this day –
we have sinned, we have done wickedly!

O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray,
let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from this people,
and those who are called by Your name;
because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers,

Your people, the people of the good news have become a reproach to all those around us.

Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant,
and his supplications,
and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your Church,
which is desolate.

O my God, incline Your ear and hear;
open Your eyes and see our desolations;
for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds,
but because of Your great mercies.
O Lord, hear!
O Lord, forgive!
O Lord, listen and act!
Do not delay for Your own sake, my God,
for the sake of Your inheritance
and for the sake of the people who are called by Your name.”

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JSB • May 16, 2022

First-Commandment Love for the Lord

I woke up early this morning hearing the Spirit of the Lord speaking the “sh’mah” over our house.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind and with all of your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)

This declaration arrested my sleepy spirit. THIS is what the Lord is passionately wanting to cultivate in me – all the time: All of me loving Him with wholehearted love.

Here are five + truths about the value of cultivating first-commandment love for Jesus.

1. First commandment love is the central issue of discipleship. If I want to be His disciple – to really be His disciple – there is nothing more important to learn than how to do 1 Corinthians 13 love with Him the way HE does 1 Corinthians 13 love with Himself; Father to Son; Son to Holy Spirit – in every circumstance of my life. This is what our Master is chiefly interested in developing in every one of His followers.

2. First commandment love is at the heart of the great commission. In the hour that’s in front of us, if we Christians are not steeped in swelling love for of the Man Christ Jesus, the unsaved in our world will remain hostage to a perspective of Christianity that only meets them on the barren field of abrasive arguments and competing morality.

It’s our duty to make sure that the unsaved in our culture hear more than principled contention in our lives. They MUST SEE WHO we’re enthralled with – the One Who is vastly worth shifting our values for.

The love that our Savior is worthy of is a love that will win the lost.

3. First commandment love is the Holy Spirit’s universal prophetic word to every context in our world. In addition to whatever else He is saying, He is always using every human circumstance to leverage increased first-commandment love among the nations.

First-commandment love is what the Lord is most adamant to produce in Ukraine.
It’s what He’s stirring in those on the steps of the Supreme Court.
It is what the Lord is zealous to establish in us on social media.
It’s His end times strategy for Israel.
It’s the declaration He is speaking over Arrowhead Stadium, and every revival center in America.
It’s His great hope for our President, Joseph Biden, and our former President, Donald Trump.
It’s His ultimate will for gender bending radicals.
It’s the outcome He’s orchestrating through all of our political and civic and justice contentions.
It’s what He is producing through all of His judgments that are on the earth.

4. Knowing this then, we can deduce that the enemy’s supreme objective today is to keep you and I from growing in first-commandment love for Jesus. He will stop at nothing to turn our hearts and minds away from growing deeper in love with our Lord. He will bribe us, deceive us, enrage us, attack us and schmooze us in his attempts to remove us from first-commandment love.

One of his chief plots to dismantle 1 Corinthians 13 love between God and myself is through idolatry and compromise. This temptation sounds like this: “You can love God. But love this too.” As he did with Eve in Genesis 3, the serpent wants to beguile us with the notions that: We can love God and love money too. We can love God and our nation too. We can love God and our own life too.

Jesus sets the way straight for our easily swayed souls: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

What Jesus is saying is, the only love that’s safe to pursue is the love for God. If we pursue love for God “all these (other) things will be added to us” (Matthew 6:33) by God. (This is called “faith”) If however, we pursue love for anything else, the enemy will use it to draw us away from love for God.

4. + Without being firmly rooted in first-commandment love for Jesus the human heart will not be able to withstand the demonic assault of rage, fear, lust, pride, doubt, defensiveness, shame, delirium and grief on our mind and emotions that will come against us at the end of the age. We must understand – all of the storms that are raging in our world have at their foundation the intent to increase love for Jesus, and dissuade increased love for Jesus. This is the eternal fulcrum over which the Christian must view our world, and our response to our world.

5. Finally. We will not get first-commandment love for Jesus without cultivating a life of corporate prayer. It simply will not happen. I’ve NEVER heard a Christian say: “I have a vibrant relationship with Jesus. I hear His voice. I’m growing in first commandment love for Him. I trust Him deeply through all aspects of my life. And I am richly manifesting His love and glory to my family and neighbors… but I never pray.”

If we want much love for Jesus we must be people of much prayer.

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JSB • May 11, 2022

NOTE: Our book, “Seek My Face” is about cultivating first-commandment love for Jesus through all the judgments and trouble that’s on the earth in this hour. You can get it on AMAZON, or by writing us at xaris4u@yahoo.com

This was the topic of our May 11, 2022 session of “Oil for the Hour”. You can check out the video here: https://youtu.be/8HkJCpIqxRg

How Will The World Know How to Respond to the Judgments of the Lord?

Tragically, in the wake of the judgments of the Lord, THIS (The Senator’s rant above) is exactly the type of patterned reaction too many of us American evangelicals have been giving to “ungodly sinners” (1 Peter 4:18) like Elizabeth Warren.

Over the last two years, instead of responding to the judgments of the Lord with humility, weeping and repentance, our family has largely (mostly?) given “those who do not obey the gospel” (again 1 Peter 4:18) the blueprint of rage, malice and protest when replying to the pressure points in our culture.

Let me say this again. The example we’ve largely given to our nation when our liberties have been clipped is rage, malice and protest. Ask 10 unbelievers. That’s been our witness.

Senator Warren’s fury is showing us why the Lord says, “judgment must begin with the house of the Lord…” It begins with us so that we (the sons and daughters of God) can give the ungodly (those who don’t know our God) a spiritual template to follow when the Lord is calling them to respond to His judgments in our world.

Senator Warren won’t be saved by changing her view on Roe vs. Wade. She will be saved if she humbles herself before her Creator and knows that His Son has made repentance an option.

“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now if the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear? Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him…” (1 Peter 4:17-19)

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JSB • May 4, 2022

Our book, “Seek My Face” lays out the purpose and Biblical pattern to the judgments of the Lord. Pick up a copy on AMAZON, or email your physical mailing address and we’ll ship you a print edition copy. xaris4u@yahoo.com

Waking Up to Jesus

In 1983 Leonard Ravenhill wrote: “There’s going to come an awakening. God Almighty doesn’t care if He sends America bankrupt. He doesn’t care if we have to stand in bread lines. He doesn’t care if our automobiles rust because we have no gasoline… The greatest impediment to this (awakening) will be preachers who refuse to give themselves to prayer and churches that refuse to give themselves to repentance.”

Awakening is a God thing. In our carnal, disengaged state we believers will sleep (and sleep and sleep…) It requires a supernatural response to the Word of the Lord for a soul to be awakened and remain awakened in Christ.

Awakening is also a Church thing. The world can’t wake up. Only those alive in Christ can wake up. The world is dead in their sins and trespasses. The New Testament call to wake up is to the covenant people of God who have had their souls dulled and weighed down by the paradigms, narratives and thinking of the flesh; thoughts that don’t stimulate faith, first-commandment love and the fear of the Lord in our hearts. This happens naturally in a fallen world, and at different times happens to all of us.

Waking up for a believer entails the same response to the Lord as being raised from the dead does for the unbeliever.

• Hearing the Word of the Lord

• Responding with repentance

• Taking up our cross

• Being filled with the Spirit

The Church’s waking up actually stimulates the dead. It gives unbelievers an example of how to respond to the God Who is pursuing them. More importantly, it also directs their gaze to focus on the One Who is calling them to Himself. (Romans 13:12) works for both those being awakened and those being brought to new life in Jesus Christ. There’s one Lord – one faith – one baptism…

Around the world, the Spirit of the Lord is cultivating voices who will “cry in the wilderness”; God-empowered voices that will awaken the slumbering and raise the dead. They have one Message. It’s their Magnificent Obsession: a Man; a crucified, resurrected, Jewish God/Man. The revelation of this beautiful Man is the ruling passion and preoccupation of these voices and their message. EVERYTHING ELSE is a shadow and an expendable extra to the increase of His glory.

Here’s the trick: (And in today’s politically polarized culture it IS a trick) Don’t let someone (no matter how prominent and/or popular) wake you up to a shadow rather than the One casting the shadow. Our waking up is to Him – and nothing else; not political correctness; not threat to liberties; not racism; nor deep-state. The Holy Spirit is singularly invested in waking us up to Him. The Bride belongs to the Bridegroom. He’s the One (and the only One) you want to wake up to. And as we see in John’s revelation of Jesus in Revelation 1, there’s more than enough of Him to wake up to to keep us engaged and enthralled – for eternity.

The truth of the matter is, none of us are as “awakened” as we can be. In Christ, there’s always more to be awakened to. He’s that big.

Revelation shows us how the mature apostle John was “awakened” to a new dimension of awe and fear and love for His “friend”, Jesus. Although John had watched him heal the sick, feed thousands and refute the wisest teachers of his day; although John himself performed miracles in Jesus’ Name; although John was an eye-witness to His crucifixion – felt the earth-quake under his feet – and even walked into his Friend’s empty grave; when Revelation 1 happened to him he still fell as though dead at His feet.

There’s no shame in waking up to more of Jesus. Ever. The only shame is for us to assume that we are fully awake to Him and Who He is.

Come. Let’s let the Holy Spirit awaken us further to the glory of Who He is.

NOTE: We wrote the book “Seek My Face” specifically to help us – the Body of Christ – to be awakened to this beautiful Man in an hour of trouble. If you would like an E-copy you can either email me at xaris4u@yahoo.com or download the EBook from Amazon. If you send me your physical address I can also send you the print edition.

Here’s a link to our YouTube broadcast: “Oil for the Hour”: “Being Awakened to the Beauty of Jesus in the House of Prayer”http://youtu.be/MoKSdTDxQKo

God bless you, beloved.

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JSB • May, 2022