Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Length of the Broad Road

In physical terms, the length of the road could not be described. No one can see the destination. If it were attached physically to this world, it would be possible to see the end. We could follow it by plane until we saw the end.

It might be described in time. It has been traveled for thousands of years. People reach the city of Destruction one at a time when they die. Every day, people, tens of thousands of them, disappear from the road; they die. However, the road is so crowded that the dead are not missed or, if so, only for a short time.

The destination does not seem to be the object of the people on the broad way. They are just pleased with the road, their companions on the road, and the pleasures of the road.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Wide Gate

Other than being wide, Jesus does not describe the gate. In my past, I thought of a narrow gate as a garden gate and a wide gate as a cattle gate. This dream had a gate much wider. If we were describing the gate we would say “very, very” or “extremely” wide. In my dream I did not see any gate posts. They were beyond my horizon. Nor did I see a swinging gate. It was always open, of course wide open, and crowded with people entering it. It would seem that this should be a toll gate, but there was no evidence of any ticket dispenser. The absence of these allowed a conclusion that this was a free way. This was apparently a planned deception, for the broadway was a toll road and payment was made at the destination. Few, if any, of the people on the road know that there is payment at the end.

Some people on the road suspect that there is payment required, but they are not worried because they think their credit is good. That is a minor error. The major deception is that they believe that these many, almost parallel, broad roads are leading to Heaven and they have good credit for Heaven. These roads are going to destruction and everyone has earned his way.

Jesus said many people go in the wide gate. A gate does not have to be wide for many people to go in it. They can go in one at a time in single file. However, the gate has to be wide for many people to enter at the same time. That is the case here. Hundreds of thousands are entering the wide gate daily.

The road is described as broad, but it is not described as short or long.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Grace Abounds More Than Sin

The beginning of this happened in a dream two days ago. I hesitate to write it because it may seem to emphasize the breadth and depth of evil. However, I know that where sin abounds grace abounds much more.

In my dream I saw a broad way. I do not know that it was a one way street; it just seemed like it. The traffic was heavy and all of it going in the same direction. There seemed to be many other streets, none of them cross streets, all of them broad, crowded and going in the same direction. They were not all parallel; some of them merged to make wider highways of crowded vehicles and pedestrians. As my eyes scanned the landscape to the horizon I saw more and more broad ways. Some of them were high speed highways; some were very low speed-like parking lots of crawling life. Some of these ways seemed only for pedestrians, some for bicycles, or motor scooters; motorcycles; some for all of them together.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Suggestion on Pleasant Living

There is a city in China, Hanzhow, where the saying is, “If you can’t go to Heaven, go to Hanzhow.”

Apparently it is the next prettiest place. I have not been to either, yet. However, I would like to tell you about another place here on earth. I am not yet sure that I will tell you where it is. Normally, I spend my time with people. This is to assure you that I sometimes look at the land.

The state has the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states with high mountains, forests and many white water rivers. It also has Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, cougars, wolves, deer, elk, moose, coyotes, and much fish. It also has hills that are very high, very steep, with no trees, and no fences perfectly rounded without any sharp edges. These hills are white, green, brown or golden. It is possible to spend days looking at them. It is like looking at the ocean. The towns and small cities are beautiful. In a half hour’s walk there are probably fifty different kinds of trees, including weeping birch, hawthorn, cedar, maple, oak, elm, and Douglas fir. The tulips are fading, so is the plum. But the apple, the lilac (white, dark purple, and lavender) bridal wreath and many colors of iris are in full bloom.

I haven’t yet talked about the weather. There is no severe weather. It is a four season climate. There is snow. It comes down vertically, 2 to 4 inches at a time. There are no blizzards. The snow sticks to every twig on every tree, so the whole city is white. If not snow, there may be rime frost on every twig of every tree. Again, the city is white. The temperature might get down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit with an exception every twenty years. The summers are also mild. It may get to be 95 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime. It will be 65 degrees Fahrenheit every night. The humidity is low. There may be a mild thunderstorm, but no violent ones. Certainly, there are no tornadoes, nor hurricanes. There has not been a crop failure in the 130 years the land has been farmed.

It is a very pleasant land.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Words of Love From Paul

I mentioned that the Apostle Paul has gotten bad press from the man on the street and others who talk as if they had read their Bibles.

To partially correct this bad reputation, I will quote the Apostle Paul on love, repentance, and his personal, emotional attachments.

Love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Repentance: “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?” Romans 2:4

Personal Attachments: “We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.” 1 Thessalonians 2:6-7

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,” 1 Thessalonians 2:11

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Really? Only Jesus' Words?

I often hear people say they are only interested in the words of Jesus, not those of the Apostle Paul or other writers of the New Testament. Somehow they think that Jesus says kinder things than Paul. They not only do not know of the words of love by Paul and John, they do not know that Jesus was the greatest Hell-Fire preacher that ever lived. Let’s look on some of the words of Jesus.

“The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. "As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” Matthew 13:38-43

“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:47-50

“If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” Matthew 18:8-9

“Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:33-35

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless. "Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 22:11-13

“Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25:28-30

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." Matthew 25:31-46

There is more! Keep reading.

Jesus provided the solution to this judgement. Read the last three chapters of each of the four gospels.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Truth About Murderers

There is a truth about murderers even if they are not caught and convicted. That is that they are caught and convicted by God. Here it is from Jesus.

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” Revelation 22:14-16

This applies to other than murderers. In fact, many of the murdered are guilty of being sexually immoral, idolaters, those who practice magic arts, and falsehood. We should not assume that the murdered are innocent. They might have been acquitted in a court of law here but they are not here. They are before the absolute just judge.

There is a solution for murderers who are still on this earth and all of the other practices of evil.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

People Are Murdered Everyday

People die everyday. People are murdered every day. People are mass murdered. In recent history, the last 75 years, mass murder has occurred in Germany. Russia, China, Bosnia, Ruanda, Darfur, Zaire, Iraq and Uganda.

Our sense of righteous interference is strongly qualified by several things.

1. the cost to us in money and lives

2. Who is being killed, Chinese, Russians or Africans? Rich, important people or poor people. Muslims, Communists, Animists or Christians? Do we have our own view of ethnic cleansing? That is we look the other way if the people being killed are not of our religion or race. Do we have the same sense of justice that we have for a murderer of a white little girl in this country? Would we have the same intensity to find the killer of the kidnapped, raped and murdered little girls in North Uganda. This is happening by the hundreds right now.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Christian Suffers Persecution

Fifty-eight years ago, last October; I passed from death to life. That was in my sophomore year; I had just turned twenty-years-old. Eighteen months later my life began to have an effect on my classmates and those senior and junior to me, both positive and negative. This positive-negative effect continued for the next seven years on active duty in the Navy and ever since in civilian life.

During the last 58 years I saw men turn to Christ and have the joy of having their sins forgiven. I also saw the harassment they got because of Jesus Christ. Some of them came through the persecution and some of them caved.

What happened in the cities in the Book of Acts happens to every new Christian. It is “revival and riot” an individual level all over this world.

Jesus said it this way:

“All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.” John 16:1-4

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11, 12
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” John 15:18

Paul said it too.

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2 Timothy 3:12

And Peter…

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” 1 Peter 4:12-16

Because of this truth many Christians do not want to live godly lives. They know that they will suffer persecution.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Revival Through the Holy Spirit

There are a few things that are associated with a Holy Spirit revival.

A great sense of sin is experienced both by Christians and unbelievers.

Sometimes this sense of sin is the result of Holy Spirit preaching. Sometimes it is unrelated to preaching; it just happens.

Consequently, there is repentance toward God, confession of sin and restitution among the believers.

And confession that Jesus Christ is Lord by the unbelievers.

Because of this confession, repentance and restitution, the community of believers has great love and joy.

Because the confession that Jesus is Lord the new believers suddenly love the believer that they hated a few minutes before.

There is a great change in the moral climate of the community, even if a majority of the community is not touched.

Here are a few of the changes:

1. There will be much less profanity.
2. There will be much less drunkenness.
3. There will be fewer pre-marriage pregnancies, abortions, and divorces.
4. There will be much less sexual promiscuity.
5. There will be less lying and cheating.

However, when this awakening hits a community there will be a negative reaction in the people who have not been touched by the Holy Spirit.

It will happen first in the Christian Churches, all kinds, Catholic, Fundamentalist, Evangelical, Pentecostal, and liberal. The untouched will not sit still when their close friends become joyful, loving and moral. It will start with ridicule and then turn to violence. This reaction will spread to the secular side of the society because of these new Christians, white collar and blue collar, sophisticated and red-necks work side by side with their unconverted peers.

There will be a noticeable difference in the businesses in the community. The retailers will not like it.

I know all of this from three sources. One, the Bible, two, my own experience, and, three, Revivals in History.

1. Please read the following accounts of Revival and Riots.
A. Antioch in Pisidia—Acts 13:26-51 (envy)
B. Iconium—Acts 14:1-5
C. Lystra—Acts 14:6-20
D. Philippi—Acts 16:12-34
E. Thessalonica—Acts 17:1-9
F. Corinth—Acts 18:1-17
G. Ephesus—Acts 19:8-41 (economics)

Please keep this post; you will want to read these references at your leisure. If you do not have a Bible I will send you one, free.

My own experience and with other microcosm revivals will be in the next post.

Friday, May 05, 2006

"Credible" and "Credulous"

Here are two words that have different meanings with the same root. They are “credible” and “credulous.”

Credible: offering reasonable grounds for being believed.

Credulous: ready to believe, especially on slight or uncertain evidence.

Many Christians are credulous. Fairly often I receive a long e-mail that has been forwarded to me of something wonderful that God supposedly has done. At the end of this wonderful letter I am instructed to forward to ten or thirty or everyone on my mailing list within ten days. If I do I will receive a great blessing, normally in lots of dollars. If I do not follow the instruction then something bad will happen to me. God could well have done this wonderful thing, but when I see the instruction at the end I know the whole thing is a lie or euphemistically, a fabrication. Satan is the master liar. A good liar does not go around saying “I am a liar, do not believe me.” He says that he is telling the truth. The false prophet does not say, “I am a wolf in sheep’s clothing I am here to eat sheep.” He says, “I am a sheep.”

Both the truth teller and the liar say that they are telling the truth.

Discernment! Look for verifiable facts in the story, names, addresses, dates, witnesses, hospitals by name, and doctors by name. If they are listed, call them. If they are not there, do not forward the message, at least not to me.

If you have the gift of discernment; use if for the benefit of the whole body.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Some Thoughts On Immigration

My great-grandfather Lewis immigrated to Nebraska from Wales with his father-in-law, my great-great-grandmother Joseph. They each homesteaded 160 acres given to them free. My grandfather Leggat came from Scotland when he was four. The Wilsons came from Scotland in the 17th century. Other than work and weather there was no hassle.

A little over fifty years ago when I was in graduate school in Monterey, California a young Japanese couple came to the United States to attend a Christian college in Kansas. Their plan was to return to Japan as evangelists. While they were in Kansas their daughter was born. They did not want her to be an American citizen so they had to register her at a Japanese Consulate. The scenario went something like this. They sent the required information to the Japanese Consulate in New Orleans. The consulate wrote back and said they had the wrong consulate. The sent the information to Chicago. Chicago wrote back saying that they had to send the information to Los Angeles. Los Angeles wrote back and said they had to submit the information within thirty days. They were late so she could not be a Japanese citizen. When they returned to Japan the baby had a U.S. Passport. Japan would not give the baby a permanent visa. They were forced to return to the U.S.

They are living in the U.S. against their first desire. What has this to do with immigration? I recommend that all immigrants who have children born in the United States be given a fast track toward permanent visas and ultimate citizenship.

Monday, May 01, 2006

"Don't Pave Paradise"

Recently, I have seen bumper stickers that say “Don’t pave paradise.” I have two problems with this statement.

1. Paradise is already paved—with gold.
“The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great
street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.” Revelation 21:21

2. I grew up in places where there was no pavement. The roads were either very hard
or very bumpy or they were sloughs of mud. When pavement came into this world, it
seemed like paradise.