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I think that’s an interesting question. I discuss this topic in my book, “The Questions of Jesus,” Question 25 – “How much then is a man better than a sheep?”
“…The lamb is the epitome of servitude; it has no other purpose than to give. No reason but to serve, the lamb always provides food and clothing and neither offers resistance to the one who shears it, nor to the one who slaughters it…” You are invited to listen to the audio of this question from “The Questions of Jesus” by clicking on the picture of the lamb.
Recently, God’s Learning Channel of Midland/Odessa, Texas (GLC) requested that Think Red Ink Ministries (TRI) record a series of programs to air in March on “How to Keep a Christian Passover”. This work was accomplished in February. It was a joy for TRI to have this opportunity to share the message of what Jesus Christ accomplished (and changed) in the Passover.
Though it is still 6 weeks to Passover, recording these programs has me thinking about Passover, more perfectly, “The Pesach”. The Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world, to cover us, to redeem us, to reconcile us … in His words…
“For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them….
Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are…
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. …”
Let’s look at the first time the incorruptible seed of God conceived life. …The story of the birth of Christ is not given to us to make a celebration or a day of giving gifts. It is given as a glimpse of the marvelous work of God as He joins us, in this life. It is a picture of the birth that is to occur in all of us.
When the angel appeared and made his salutation to Mary, his greeting contained a declaration of favor: “…Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” The awareness of being favored accorded to those who are visited by the Holy Spirit, is nearly absent today.
Somewhere among the dialogue of “whosoever will” and indiscriminate “Jesus Loves You” bumper stickers, we have laid aside the glorious doctrine of election and adulterated the sovereignty of our God.
We have come to expect our God to promptly answer when we call, but when the Creator of the universe visits you, it is a wonderful day, and you are highly favored “…for thou hast found favour with God.” (Luke 1) “[We] were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13)
“Christmas” Has Hidden the Story of the New Birth
Then the angel explained to Mary what was about to happen: “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
We see here that the “holy thing” is Christ. After questioning the impossibility of such a proposal and being assured that it would be as God said, Mary submitted to the will of God and surrendered herself totally to Him. “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:38)
In this story we can begin to see a parallel to the experience we call being born again. We see the overshadowing or visitation, the expectation of an impossibility, the questioning within, and finally the submission to the higher One. When we reach this point of submission we have the seed of God implanted in us.
This seed has within it the DNA structure of a new you in Christ. As Mary was to carry Christ within her for the next nine months and then give birth, it is our responsibility to care for and nurture that seed to birth and finally, maturity.
Paul spoke of this mystery. “To whom God would make known … this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you…” (Colossians 1:27) In Ephesians 4:15, Paul spoke also of our growing up into Christ, “But speaking the truth in love, [we] may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”
As you submit to God in this process of the new birth, He places His seed within you. The new birth is not an instantaneous one that takes place the second you pray a “sinner’s prayer” as is commonly taught today. First, there is a visitation, a yielding, and then a pregnancy, which you are expected to nurture and care for, till it comes to the time of birth. If you do not cherish the new Seed of Christ you could miscarry, and lose this “holy thing” within.
There are scores of people still struggling with sin and trying to reconcile their present wretched lives with their past experience of being “born again.” When, in reality, their visitation only planted a seed that they must bring to the birth by responsible and caring behavior.
Remember that the Scripture says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” (John 1:12) We have been given the “power to become” just as a woman impregnated has been given the potential to bring forth life.
The care and nurture necessary to bring about this new birth successfully is to be guided by Christ, to be a disciple, and carrying ones own “cross” – to do the will of the Father. In fact, being a disciple is living under the discipline that creates the proper environment for the new birth. No one can successfully bring new life into an environment hostile to the nature of the life conceived in them. You cannot force the lips of Christ in us, to tell lies, nor force His hands to strike, His mouth to curse or His heart to worship idols and yet expect this holy Seed to thrive.
You must first learn to obey His Commandments and do His will to successfully bring about a live birth of the Seed within. Luke 14:27, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” You must DO the will of God to care for, and not miscarry, the seed within. After you have been “mother” to this holy life within you, it is then that you are born into the family of Christ, and have become brothers and sisters of His.
Second, after prenatal development, comes the birth, and “mothering” of this new “Christ in you” and is a matter of feeding, protecting and maturing. As Peter says, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby…” (1 Peter 2:2) Being born again consists of the Spirit and Life of Christ being born in you. “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7) “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23)
On this particular day when Jesus was teaching and ministering to His followers, His mother Mary and His brothers were standing outside the place and were calling to Him. For what cause He was ignoring them, is unknown. Whether it was for this lesson alone or for other reasons, we don’t know. The crowd told him that His mother and brothers were outside and wanted to see Him, and Jesus asked a profound thing. “Who is my mother?”
As you consider the holy child that you are carrying and birthing as raising the seed of God, “Christ in you,” you may now see new depth to the question of Christ, “Who is my Mother?”
This is a question you need not answer, as the answer is given quickly afterward,
“And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples said, “Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God my Father the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.”
Do your utmost, dear friends, to achieve this worthy life “Christ in you.”
*Excerpt “Who is my mother?” taken from “The Questions of Jesus” by Don C Harris
The Truth Will Set You Free – JESUS IS IN THE RED
Hosted by Linda Wattley
It is not every day you encounter a true man of God who does not use worldly techniques to spread the Gospel. Don C. Harris is indeed a humble man who at the same time is empowered to manifest the truths outlined in Jesus’ plan to empower us to be children of God to the max. When he speaks about the Word of God he does it with great conviction and certainty. Even if you are not looking to consider what he is saying, you will because truth is a power of its own.
Don is an author of several books and the Director of Think Red Ink Ministries International and he is host of daily broadcasts, TV and radio shows. Ever since he was a child, he had problems with the church institutions and how they portrayed God and the Bible. This unsettling dissatisfaction sent him on a journey to truth.
He stepped down out of the pulpit and for 23 years he traveled to all the states as well as to Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Nigeria and Israel looking for answers. Ultimately, he discovered: Jesus came to teach us to think!
This revelation brought THINK RED INK into existence which is his gift to the world to set people free from untruths about God and the Bible. It is believed that this revelation will go down in history as compared to the revelation of Martin Luther who sparked Great Reformation. His truths are so profound and a waste of time to challenge. Don is a man who keeps the commandments, yet refuses to be tied to the minutiae of legalism. He knows someone bigger than the book.
His disappointment, honesty, and a love of truth equipped him to decipher the mystery of the gospel. THINK RED INK is a game-changer, to say the least. It is the foundation of his books, ministries and his TV/Radio Shows where he daily shares truth from this amazing awakening.
|However elusive unprompted gratitude may be, it is the point that our unworthiness occurs to us that becomes the point of our salvation and wholeness – not the time of our cleansing. The return to show gratitude is the visible indicator that a man has been adopted into the family of God – and that point is out of our control.|
Luke 17:17,”And Jesus answering said, “Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?”
… Ten lepers got together one day and finding their opportunity, called out to Him, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” One of them was not an Israelite but, hiding among the nine he calculated that he would get in on the deal. The Jewish Master would not notice, he schemed, or ask for pedigrees and he would blend in and get a blessing just these Jews. Much to their surprise and amazement, the Teacher granted their request. Jesus, knowing the Law, said to them to go to the priest for pronouncement of cleanliness and as they went, the record says, they were cleansed. The Samaritan watched wide-eyed as the white scales fell from under his robe and out of his sleeves and his arms were clean and beautiful for the first time in years. This one returned running. He thanked Jesus for cleansing him. Jesus looked at him and saw that it was not one of the Israelites to whom He was sent, but a man of a bastard culture, a land that worshiped a god named Yahweh, but whose worship was far from true, and whose understanding was far from pure. He had but a vague idea what Jesus wanted him to do when he was asked to go to the priest. He was not allowed to even approach a priest. He just did as he was told. Now, overwhelmed with gratitude, he returned and thanked Jesus.
Jesus looked at his disciples and asked, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Luke 17:17-19)
Here is a question for us, what made the others whole? Were they made whole, or were they merely healed?
It is when we return and give thanks, it is when we realize our before and after condition, that our faith makes us whole. There are many who have bowed at an altar, many who have made professions of faith, prayed a prayer, even repented of sin, but few have fully realized our wonderful blessing and returned in humility to give thanks.
This quality of gratitude is a missing ingredient in the salvaging process. We cannot teach thankfulness, we cannot put it into a tract as a step to salvation.
We cannot demand appreciation, as it would become an act of compliance instead of a spontaneous act of love. However elusive unprompted gratitude may be, it is the point that our unworthiness occurs to us that becomes the point of our salvation and wholeness – not the time of our cleansing. The return to show gratitude is the visible indicator that a man has been adopted into the family of God – and that point is out of our control.
Many have been touched by Christ, many have been forgiven of Him, but few have been made whole. When it comes down to words on paper, it cannot be better said than, “Many are called, but few are chosen.”
There is a special message here to we who are Gentiles in the flesh. Do we fully realize that we have received cleansing by “hiding” among ungrateful Jews? Paul’s comments on this matter are worthy of note.
“I say then, Have they [the Jews] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles… For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in… ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their [the Jews] unbelief:” (Romans 11:11-30)
We have been called now to the feast that we did not, and yet do not deserve only because those who were called spurned their opportunity. If we have been called we must seek to be worthy of acceptance – at the very least we can be grateful. “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Jesus used this phrase again when describing a man, invited to a wedding feast, who, when given a garment to wear, refused it for his own clothes. Here was a man invited in the place of ingrates, though unworthy, a man called, a man who answered the call, but he accepted the favor on his own terms. He wanted to participate in the festivities and food and wine at the expense of the wedding family, but he did not want to do it if cost him his identity to do so. In short, he was very ungrateful. “And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.” He was promptly thrown out. For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22)
Another example was the story of the greedy workers who, after they worked all day wanted more than what they were hired to receive only because they saw others being paid the same for less work. Complaining to the husbandmen, they accused him of being unfair, though they received exactly what they agreed. They showed themselves ungrateful. Their wages were paid, but the last came before them. “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” (Matthew 20:16)
We need not only be called; we need to be chosen for our gratitude and our lack of complaint. We need to be faithful and thankful. Do we ever consider the sacrifice made for us, the invitation we have been given, or the miracle that has been bestowed on our behalf? Have we counted the price paid by Christ for us as dear, precious and undeserved? Do we wear, without complaint, the beautiful garment we have been given, to appear to the world as one of His own? Do we try to hold to our own way, or withhold faithful service until benefits equal our idea of fairness? If we want to be counted with Him, there is only one way. The verse in Revelation lists the attributes of those who are with Christ, “… for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, AND chosen, AND faithful.” (Revelation 17:14)
If as many who were cleansed, were grateful enough to serve, our efforts of evangelism may reveal better statistics. Many people have professed faith in Christ because He once touched them. Most of our country, as well as a large portion of the world, has been to Christ and asked for cleansing, but only one in, perchance, ten have returned to thank Him, to serve Him, to honor Him… but… where are the nine?”
“The Red Letter Questions” by Don Harris published by Bridge Logos is available at major retailers. The audio book “The Red Letter Questions” is available by request at Think Red Ink.
Penetrating Questions … Profound Answers
Jesus was a Master Teacher. The questions He raised deal with the most important issues of life, and the insightful answers He gave apply directly to our lives in the twenty-first century.
This reader-friendly book takes an in-depth look at each of His questions and answers them in a well-organized and easy-to-follow format. The author’s simple-and-direct approach shows how each of Jesus’ questions demands a personal response from every believer.
Through clear and compelling examples this unique book reveals the spiritual priorities, principles, and practical applications behind each of Jesus’ attention-grabbing questions, thereby enabling the reader to find personal answers for daily living.
The meditational style of The Red Letter Questions is effective for:
- personal study and reflection
- group Bible studies and Sunday school classes
- family devotions
Paul prayed, “… that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened…” (Ephesians 1:17-18, NKJV). After reading this book, your spiritual eyes will be opened, and you will grow greatly in your understanding of Jesus’ truths.
Dedication to Guy Joseph Morrell, President & CEO Bridge-Logos Publishers (1945 – 2007): “It is because of his confidence, encouragement and vision that this book is in your hands. He will be missed. “
Hey old man. You in the mirror
What did you do with the boy?
The fresh faced kid who seemed much nearer
Before you came to annoy?
You look like him – and I know sometimes
You feel you still may be
In fleeting dreams and thoughts sublime
You may even think you’re he.
But you’re not, old man; the boy is gone
Never to see the sun
Never to kiss his forever love
Or play, or jump, or run.
Time (that thief) caught him away
Dimmed his smiling pearls
His giggle, his songs, his carefree way
His eye for pretty girls.
Time bartered for strength, gave him fatigue
White teeth for dingy rocks
Soul gambled and lost to selfish intrigue
Baldness he got for his locks
Cheated was this little guy
He never stood a chance
That Time would be kind, and pass him by
He stood – no shield, no lance.
Thoughts like bubbles of looming troubles
Effervesce behind your eyes
Hey old man what’s left for you
Since time demands, then flies?
You sorry you ran the lad at a lope?
And spent up all your youth?
The boy you chased could help you cope
Now that you’re long in the tooth.
Your eyes once light with future bright
Now red with dust and years
The sparkle’s darkened for want of sight
They’re hard for lack of tears
Is that our boy behind you?
May I talk with him?
I know, all to soon I’ll find you
Eclipsing him once again
You see, that’s me, What am I, Ten?
Though I can hardly remember
The boy I was, way back then
Too green to cut for timber.
What do you think of the road we took?
What do you think of your end?
We paddled our boat to the end of the brook
Avoided some rocks and bends.
The old man there, is us, little guy
No worse for wear I found
Did I do okay, did I do alright?
Did I get us there safe and sound?
I cheated you buddy, it wasn’t just age
I chased you away in fear
Your innocence kept me from turning the page
You seemed to keep God so near
Sorry, pal, for the man you see.
It’s you – after I got through.
I thought I was the best that I could be
Yet, giving no thought to you.
Blame me, selfish me
I knew better and did it
Before I knew, life was a spree
I felt I couldn’t quit it.
He’s quite a mess, that old coot
You and I turned out to be.
Ugly, broken, dying to boot
But, like it or not it’s you – it’s me.
Sorry ol’ pal, it’s the end
There’s still plenty to do
You’ll never be back to try it again
And I’m the old man – not you.
“Hey ya’ mind if I say somethin’?”
The youth appeals complaint.
“I know you feel like it’s the end
But I’m here to tell you – it ain’t.”
This old guy? I’m his biggest fan
Life ebbed his naiveté
When I played boy – he played man
While I stayed young everyday
In defense of my future – your past
Defending poor Tempus Fugit
You did well – we made life last
We wasted no time – we used it.
Drank to the dregs did we?
I hope that you enjoyed
Yours was a plan! – “no ennui!”
And we did it – The man and the boy!
You worked hard, I made you laugh
We found what girls were for
You tasted the life of God’s favorite sons
What want you yet? What’s more?
I had to hide, for the man to be bold
Yours is to stop complaining
You wouldn’t want to live as a seven year old
Not know to come in when it’s raining
Like medals of honor, your scars, are to see
And with ‘em you still have grin
You’re my hero, dear image of me
Uh, your eyes are twinkling again.
You can show me what’s wrong with the old man you are
All the stuff you may never do
But I’ll not slam him; to me he’s a star
After all – he’s me too.
The years are lean and scattered?
No, they’re fat and full of song
Want my complaint about those years
None were ever too long.
As far as making us enemies?
I’m afraid you are wrong because
Unavoidably he, is what I will be
And I am what he was.
The ol’ guy and I are one and the same;
Neither of us can gloat
We’re partners in life – no one to blame
Neither more worthy of note.
He doesn’t hate me for what I lacked
I don’t hate for what was done
It makes his smile when he looks back
And makes my future fun.
“Like… unringing a bell
Is regretting the bygone past
Making the present and future a hell.
For only the end is last.”
Hey old man, I’m lacking insult
You look better now that I’m sure
The boy has only become an adult
As I embrace “mature.”
• Information about the author, Don C Harris – Author, Radio and Television Host, Speaker
• Background information about the book – Think Red Ink is a reference to the words of Jesus which are printed in red in many Bibles.
• Author’s purpose – The author’s purpose is to provoke Christians to love truth over tradition; to give people permission to doubt and to investigate their faith in the light of the Scriptures, not denominational creeds; to persuade people to leave fantasy and honestly consider what Jesus said.
• Author’s thesis – The authority of the words of Jesus (the substance of the admonition to “think red ink”) provide the Scriptural foundation for Christianity.
• Summary – Think Red Ink relays the life of Don C Harris as he struggles from childhood to believe the Bible and the inconsistent doctrines of the churches he attended; later even as he excelled in the business of church – he became disappointed with God and walked away. However, instead of becoming atheist, Don decided to give the Bible another read with the commitment to believe what he found, rather than to search for what he believed. Don traveled the United States living in a converted city-bus motor home for 20+ years. This “exile journey” separated Don from alliances and obligations to orthodoxy. Using the literary device of personal stories interwoven with an introduction to the Traveler (Don’s revelation of history), the reader is invited to walk along with the Apostle Paul and Don, as the story of the Scriptures comes to life.
• “Think Red Ink” in its declarative form is a cry for men and women to take another listen to the instructions of Jesus, the Son of the God.
• In 2003, Harris wrote his first book, The Questions of Jesus. Don’s second book, The Red Letter Questions, was published by Bridge Logos in 2007.
• Scholarship – Autobiography, solid Biblical foundation, not scientific literature
• Strengths and weaknesses: There are times the theological doctrines piqué a curiosity for more details than this work delivers. Some supporting information is available in the Appendix. The stories of Don’s life are not given in a chronological order, rather, Don utilizes life anecdotes to facilitate the reader in a gestalt process or discovery of theological truths he found. Harris allows, nay, rather demands the reader participate in the revelation and discovery of their own path. He is not a writer who mandates certain processes or ascription of certain beliefs that are applicable to every man…with one exception; he steadfastly draws the reader, the Christian to the authority of Jesus Christ.
• The tone and style of the writing: Informal and conversational
•The effectiveness of the author’s argument: Christian denominational promises offered to Don did not give him the strength or ability to be changed. Exchanging a “bad habit” (smoking) for an “accepted habit” (gossip or overeating) is not the thing that led to the regeneration and strength of the Apostle Paul – Paul learned from the Great Teacher, Jesus. Don maintains this same Teacher is available to all. For a Christian, there can be no greater authority than the words of Christ. Don makes a solid argument for a Christianity which is measured by changed lives.
•The soundness of the author’s conclusions: There is a questioning and an honesty which haunts the reader who is comfortable with accepted traditions and methods of worship. The retooled doctrines, “We’ve decided…” religious practices of today are removed from the simple instructions of Jesus. Think Red Ink is not aligned to a particular set of doctrinal rules. The foundation of the book is the author’s experience with solid Scriptural support.
• The practicality of the author’s recommendations: The idea of obeying Jesus, looking to His words for doctrine is simple, however, the distance between the brilliant advice of a Galilean preacher and the modern Christian practice is expansive in some cases. The basic requirement is simply honesty. A man’s journey to seek truth, not fantasy, to doubt that which could not be supported in church rhetoric. The reader may only see one man’s journey through the trials of life; others will be encouraged by the ensample of a modern witness of the faith of Jesus Christ. Those who love truth will rejoice!
• Don is an iconoclastic man of rare courage. History will compare the revelation of “think red ink” to the revelation of Martin Luther.
Host of The Kovacs Perspective, Steve Kovacs, interviews Don Harris, Author of “Think Red Ink” about Don’s journey to discover “the red ink” in the Scriptures. Neither Steve, nor Don skirt the hard questions about Christianity. Listen now.
If Don’s message rings true and you’d like to hear more . . . join him for his daily, Red Letter Edition – LIVE! radio program. If you have a question, there’s a call-in portion on his Sunday program! (9:00 am MST) Questions by email may be sent to Don@ThinkRedInk.com.