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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 Bestest Feast Ever!”
…That’s the way it was described by me and everyone there. What a wonderful time we had. As you know, I try to have a teaching theme for the Feast and this year it was, Time-lyin’. This was to be a look at false prophecies of the end-times that have affected our day and also recent history. The study for the series was so depressing that I decided to combine them one by one into an uncomfortably long sermon and then attach the over-arching message.
We live in a time when prophecies about the end of the world, the coming of Christ, the coming of the antichrist, the destruction of the planet… Oh my goodness, I just realized this list will be nearly endless if I don’t just quit now. The fact is that since the Internet, every idiot with a concordance and an over-active imagination can say and publish anything they want to excite and incite what would normally be very intelligent people to believe the most ridiculous things. As a matter fact, I have been fascinated with the fact that it seems to be the intelligentsia that were so taken in by the tomfoolery of blood moons, planet X, solar eclipses, comets … oh my goodness, I just realized I am involved in another very long list.
I suppose everyone knows that the world did not end when it was expected on September 23, 2017 and every other prophesied time as well. For those of you who do not watch the news, the world did not end – it didn’t even hiccup.
It is really not my intention to point out all the stupidity of the purveyors of these ridiculous applications of so-called scientific facts, nor is it my intention to lampoon those who believed it. In reality, I feel sorry for both.
Our Lord Jesus went to a lot of trouble to tell us how to handle end-time events. None of which, by the way, involves the following:
- scouring your Bible
- matching Scriptures with historical events / dates / times
- playing with equidistant letter sequences or
- interpreting rare, scientifically predictable events into “signs of the heavens”
In reality, our preparation for the end of the age, the end of our lives, and the end of our society as we know it, all culminate in one solid piece of advice.
Horrible events happen to all persons but there is no need for us to perish by them. Even the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that good and bad things happen to good and bad people. We should not be surprised by this. But as Jesus tried to tell us when he spoke of the Galileans who were slain at the altar, and the persons upon which the tower at Siloam fell, He offered His advice, “Except you change, you will all likewise perish.”
Oh, yeah? Change what?
Well, it’s simple. Change the way you process information. Change the way you trust those who are intent on scaring you, motivating you, merchandising you, and perhaps even using your fear as their entertainment.
I think a little piece of advice, perhaps some new information, perhaps even old information may be able to settle you if you are one who believes that God uses rare (but not scientifically inexplicable) portents and signs to try to tell us what Jesus spent his entire ministry stating and restating,
“The end is near.”
My friend the end is near. Your end is near. The chances are very good, even if the end of the age is 15-20 years away, you will never see it. Wouldn’t it be a shame to find yourself 20 years from now in the same condition you are today having only added fear and dread and cowardice to your list of characteristics?
So, here’s the kicker.
If you need to change – do it now!
There is not one bit of difference between the way we should be – the way we should act – where we should spend our money – how we should provide for our family – how we should worship our God – or any any other characteristic of Christianity whatsoever – and the way we should live in the severest tribulation.
There is no difference at all in the way we should live if the end of the world is tonight, tomorrow, 20 years from now or 200 years from now – IF you are Christian!
IF you are not a Christian – become one! “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” (Eph. 4:15)
- Keep the commandments.
- Never, ever violate your conscience.
- Take time every day to hear the voice of God (guidance).
We cannot prepare for those days without guidance. Concerning preparation for tribulation the Prophet Amos said, “Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.”
In reality, there is no effective preparation, other than the preparation of ourselves. We should pray, we should live, we should minister to our neighbor, and we should worship our God, now as in the day of our end (with a pure heart intent upon being the people He wants us to be). If that is the case, it makes no odds pertaining to tribulation distractions, wicked politicians, planets crashing into the earth, plagues, wars and rumors of wars.
Our mission is still the same, “To simply be God’s people full of His spirit and wisdom and knowledge.”
Don’t get sidetracked.
Don C Harris
|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. “
• 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.
There is a riddle that does not rhyme,
A rhyme that does not ring.
There is a story obscured by time,
A song you cannot sing.
There is a wine that eludes your drink,
A bread that resists being broken.
There is a thought that eludes your think,
A language that cannot be spoken.
There is a road that avoids your feet,
A path that resists your motion.
The sign, when read, its words fall to the street,
A direction, that melts into notion.
A riddle, a rhyme, a story, a wine,
All names for what we all know
God placed in our hearts and wrote in our minds,
This mustard seed to grow.
Cherish this order the Gospel has given,
That shows us the way we ought walk,
It’s only obscured by the way we’re living,
But, it’s truth is “lead in the rock”.
By Don C Harris