Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How Great Is Our God!

The splendor of a King,
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice,
All the earth rejoice...
He wraps himself in light,
And darkness tries to hide,And trembles at his voice, And trembles at his voice

How great is our God,
sing with me
How great is our God,
How great, How great
Is our God!

Hey's a great day to be alive! The Spirit of God is moving, and this is the day the Lord has made...and God is good...and all things are working together for your good because you love Him!

I'm sure that you've got things you are having to work through right now...challenges, trials, "opportunities for miracles"...but I promise you, if you list all of the blessings in your life and compare them with the hardships, you will see that the good far outweighs the bad! You have every reason to praise the Lord today!

But sometimes it takes the occurence of something negative to make you appreciate all in your life that is positive. For example, I love all of your posts...everyone here is so on the page and full of faith that it really is a pleasure to fellowship with you all every day. But yesterday I got a negative message which I didn't post, and I even appreciate that one, because reading it made me so thankful that I have a connection with people who really have ears to hear.

I don't want to open the floodgates of strife here, but I do want to share this with you, because it gives me an opportunity to re-establish some things that I think are important. Since this was from someone anonymous, it shouldn't anger or embarass them that I am publishing it, and I hope that you all hear my response in the spirit in which I wrote it. This post is about focusing on the GREATNESS OF GOD, so please keep that in mind.

Here's what "Anonymous" said:

"This new format does not right all the wrongs that you believe. It's just sweeping them under a rug until the dust dies down. If you still believe in the ultimate reconciliation of all and inclusion and no true hell, then you're as lost now than ever before. You are picking and choosing verses in the Bible that fit your agenda and then applying YOUR understanding of it. And forgive me if I am being too "churchy" for you folks but God is a God of balance. Yes, HE is love but He also delivers wrath. I just have one question for you. You've been in ministry for decades. But now, you say that you are being enlightened with a paradigm shift. My question is "WAS EVERYTHING THAT YOU WERE PREACHING BEFORE THIS PARADIGM SHIFT FALSE TO YOU?"

And here's my response...

Dear “Anonymous”,

Peace to you, and thanks for getting in touch! I haven’t gotten a message like this in a few days, and I started to just ignore this one because I’ve already answered, in detail, everything that you brought up, but I decided to go ahead and say these things again, in order to (hopefully) help someone who might just now be discovering BLOGINTHENOW.

Just so you know, nothing’s being “swept under the rug until the dust dies down”, because all of the articles from the beginning of the blog are still available online (and easily accessible), and there isn’t a rug big enough to cover cyber-space. And as long as I’m in the ministry and preach the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the power of His cross, I don’t expect “the dust” to ever die down...I am happy to say that I have a very dusty ministry!

The only reason for the new format is that I just got tired of people with whom I have no issue constantly trying to pick a fight with me. I’ve retired from fighting with religion. Jesus told His disciples to go into a city and preach the Kingdom with this one stipulation…“if they receive you”. But, if not, He also told them to shake the dust off of their feet and move on until they found an audience with an open mind. Religious arguments are a waste of time because they don’t change anyone’s perception…change comes only by revelation. That’s why Paul said “Let him who is ignorant be ignorant still.” (1 Corinthians 14:38)

I just altered the layout and direction of the blog because I want to enjoy a positive exchange with like-minded people, and build up the Body of Christ, without stirring up unnecessary conflict from those with whom I have no argument or contention. Jesus said to agree with your adversary quickly, so I just keep it positive and uplifting here for the same reason that He preached the Gospel in parables. It’s why adults spell out “grown-up” words in front of small children.

If you really think I’m “as lost now as ever before”, even though I confess the Lordship of Jesus Christ and believe in the cross and the resurrection and am filled with the Holy Spirit and love the Bible and have given my entire life to the ministry of the Gospel…then I don’t know what to tell you. I guess…pray for me? You should know, however, that regardless of what you believe, I consider you a brother (or sister), and I love you, and command a blessing on you, and there’s nothing that you can do about it!

I don’t know what Scriptures I’m “picking and choosing”, and only the Judgment Seat of Christ will reveal my “agenda”, but more than anything else, my study of the Scriptures has made me fall in love with the Savior all over again, and has enhanced my worship experience. And I also don’t know what “paradigm shift” you’re talking about, because what I preach is what I’ve always believed. The only difference now is that in the last few years I came to see that my congregation was mature enough for me to declare the whole counsel of God concerning Christ’s triumph over Adam, and so I speak to them as spiritual adults in these matters.

Anyway, a living theology should take you somewhere…in Him we live and MOVE…so I make no apology for growing and walking in more and more light. In fact, I hope that I continue to grow in the future so, no, I don’t believe that everything I taught before was false. I’ve always preached the cross and grace, and I’ve always rejected the limits of religion. I guess you could say that there has been an evolution, of sorts, that has taken place in my theology, but it has only converted my theology into doxology. That simply means that a better understanding of the things of God leads to a better relationship with Him, which ultimately leads to a complete worship-encounter lifestyle.

I’ve already said everything I need to say about hell, because I care more about believing IN something, that in NOT believing in something. Regardless of what you believe about the four words that got interpreted into the word “hell” in the English Bible, the bottom line is that when you take a journey through the entire book of PSALMS, you see the universal/global paradigm that David and the other Psalmists clearly shared ( “All the earth shall worship You” ). And there are two words and one phrase that are prevalent in the Scriptures pertaining to God’s plan for the reconciliation of all things: “ALL,” “EVERY” and “THE WORLD.” I can’t speak for anyone else, but reading and meditating on these passages doesn’t make me want to argue with anyone who might not interpret them the way that I do . . . they make me want to sing and shout praises to God and to lift my hands and to bow down before the King of Kings and worship Him with my whole heart! Let’s read them now, Anonymous, and see if they don’t have the same effect on you.


Throughout the entire Old Testament, the great mercy of the Savior of ALL men, ALL people, ALL souls, is clearly revealed to us. In LEVITICUS, we read about the Day of Atonement and how once a year ALL the sins of the entire nation of Israel were simultaneously laid upon the scapegoat: “Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it ALL the iniquities of the children of Israel, and ALL their transgressions, concerning ALL their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man” (Leviticus 16:21). Think about it…the sins – ALL the sins – of each and every individual were removed from them, whether or not they asked for it and whether or not they deserved it! Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever! How great is our God!

In the book of ISAIAH, the Prophet tells us that “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and ALL flesh shall see it together . . .” (Isaiah 40:5). In speaking for the Lord concerning His purpose and plan for ALL mankind, he says, “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do ALL My pleasure,” (Isaiah 46:10). Then, in his greatest and most famous Messianic prophecy, he says, “. . . ALL we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord laid upon Him the iniquity of us ALL!” (Isaiah 53:6). In the same way that the sins of Israel were laid on the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement, the sins of the whole world were laid upon the Lamb of God on the cross! Doesn’t that make you want to praise Him, Anonymous?! How great is our Savior!

The salvation of ALL is seen in the books of both the Major and Minor Prophets. JEREMIAH reveals one of the most amazing revelations of universal salvation, or the salvation of ALL, when he says, “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they ALL shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). In EZEKIEL . . . “Behold, ALL souls are Mine . . .” (Ezekiel 18:4). In DANIEL . . . “Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that ALL peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him . . .” (Daniel 7:14). In JOEL . . .“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on ALL flesh…” (Joel 2:28). And in MICAH, “. . . You will cast ALL our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). Isn’t that wonderful? O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name, together! The Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to ALL generations!

The New Testament is filled with the concept of ALL (people, things) being reconciled in Christ. There are some passages in the gospels that need to be rightly divided to see it, but the concept is definitely there, as it is in the book of ACTS. For example, in LUKE . . . “Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to ALL people’” (Luke 2:10). In JOHN . . . “This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that ALL through him might believe” (John 1:7), and this often-quoted statement of Jesus, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL peoples to Myself”(John 12:32). And in ACTS . . . “Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to ALL life, breath, and ALL things” (Acts 17:25). O worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness! God is great and God is good, and He deserves all of our praise!

Certainly, the dominant theme in Paul’s epistles is the reconciliation/salvation of ALL. In ROMANS . . . “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to ALL men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to ALL men, resulting in justification of life” (Romans 5:18). In II CORINTHIANS . . . “For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ ALL shall be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22) . . . “Now when ALL things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put ALL things under Him, that God may be ALL in ALL” (1 Corinthians 15:28) . . . “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not ALL sleep, but we shall ALL be changed” (2 Corinthians 15:51). In COLOSSIANS . . . “For it pleased the Father that in Him ALL the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile ALL things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:19, 20) . . . “where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is ALL, and is in ALL!” (Colossians 3:11). In I TIMOTHY . . . “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires ALL men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for ALL, to be testified in due time . . .” (1 Timothy 2:3-6) . . . “For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of ALL men, especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10), and in TITUS . . . “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to ALL men . . . ” (Titus 2:11). Hallelujah! For the Lord God, omnipotent, reigns!

In HEBREWS, the writer quotes JEREMIAH when he says, “. . . for ALL shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them” (Hebrews 8:11) and also says, “with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for ALL, having obtained eternal redemption . . .” (Hebrews 9:12). And in II PETER . . . “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that ALL should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). There it is over and over again . . . ALL are redeemed, whether or not they know it yet. Many are lost, but they are still redeemed and ultimately will be reconciled. Sing praises to the God of ALL the earth! Worship the Savior of ALL – especially those who believe – for He is worthy of ALL our praise!


All the old fashions are now obsolete.
Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious,
insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free,
mean nothing.From now on EVERYONE IS DEFINED BY CHRIST,
(Colossians 3:11 – The Message)

Not only is “ALL” pervasive in the Scriptures, we also find the wonderful word “EVERY” in reference to salvation in both the Old and New Testaments. In GENESIS . . . “Then God saw EVERYTHING that He had made, and indeed it was very good . . .” (Genesis 1:31). In ISAIAH... “I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me EVERY knee shall bow, EVERY tongue shall take an oath” (Isaiah 45:23). In JOHN . . . “That was the true Light which gives light to EVERY man coming into the world” (John 1:9). In PHILIPPIANS . . . “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus EVERY knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that EVERY tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). And in the REVELATION . . .“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and EVERY eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And ALL the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him” (Revelation 1:7). Worship Him in Spirit and in truth! Worship the Lord of EVERY man and woman and boy and girl . . . the Lord of EVERYTHING! In EVERYTHING give Him thanks and praise and worship and adoration!


I don’t even have room here to go, in-depth, into the lyrics to the PSALMS, which include God’s ultimate plan for global salvation through the often-used terms “THE WORLD,” THE EARTH,” “THE WHOLE EARTH,” “ALL THE EARTH,” and “THE WHOLE WORLD.” But we find these phrases elsewhere, as in ISAIAH . . . “With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in THE EARTH, The inhabitants of THE WORLD will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9). In JOHN . . . “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into THE WORLD” (John 1:9) . . . “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of THE WORLD!’” (John 1:29) . . . “For God so loved THE WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into THE WORLD to condemn THE WORLD, but that THE WORLD through Him might be saved” (John 3:16, 17). In II CORINTHIANS…“God was in Christ, reconciling THE WORLD to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them” (2 Corinthians 5:18, 19). And, of course, in I JOHN…“He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for the sins of THE WHOLE WORLD” (1 John 2:22)! If that doesn’t make you want to worship Him, I don’t know what will!

Forgive me for getting so fired up about the Word, Anonymous, but this stuff just makes me want to run through a troop and leap over a wall! If you don’t see it the way I do, I completely respect your position. As a matter of fact, not everyone in my congregation believes the way I do, and I don’t require them to! I understand why some people need the fear of hell to keep them in line…for me, though, Jesus is enough. The goodness of the Lord brings me to repentence.

You said that God is a God of balance…I don’t know about that, my Bible just says God is Love. But I do agree with you that He is capable of delivering wrath…boy, is He ever! God poured out the full fury of His righteous wrath on Jesus on the cross:

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. (Isaiah 53:4, 5, 10).

We are certainly responsible for our actions, and the grace of God isn't a license for reckless living...the wages of sin is death, the way of the transgressor is hard, and we reap what we sow...but nothing compares with the wrath that Jesus experienced in the atonement. Nothing that God could ever do to punish me could compete with or compare to that! That's why I believe Jesus when He said "It is finished".

Anonymous, I wish you could have been in our service this past Sunday. I think if you were at any service at CITN and could see the way that the people honor God and worship Him and love the Word and love each other and come to the alter to make Jesus the Lord of their life…well, I just think that maybe all you would take home from the service is that the presence of Christ was there, and that that was all that mattered. Maybe not.

But that’s the reason for the format change here...for me it’s all about thinking on those things that are true and honest and just and pure and lovely and of a good report. It’s about finding, every day, a reason to declare HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!!!

Jesus is Lord!

Jim Swilley

I just want to take a minute and praise God for His goodness and His mercy that endures forever! It's a beautiful day, and everywhere I look I see evidence of the greatness of God. It's so wonderful to be alive and redeemed and forgiven...and to know that you're loved and accepted in the Beloved!

I hope that this post will direct EVERYONE toward looking for reasons to give God praise, and will not incite the onslaught of a lot of religious rhetoric. If publishing this starts an avalanche of argumentative e-mails, I'll just delete it and go back to ignoring all negative comments. If you disagree with anything I've said, I completely support your right to believe what you want to believe. You don't have to try to convert me because I'm saved and born again, and my confidence in the cross is unshakable. And I'm not trying to convert you...if you don't believe that Jesus wins in the end, it's fine with me. In fact, I bless you...I speak a blessing on you and your family and on "Anonymous" and on all who visit here. Let everything that has breath PRAISE THE LORD!!! ALL WILL SEE HOW GREAT, HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!!!

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so...if you're saved and you know it say, "AMEN"!

(How Great is our God by Chris Tomlin)


Teezy313 said...

Hey Bish,

As far as I'm concerned I'm with you...Anonymous, I pray blessings and revelation upon you and your seed. Even though you may not YET see the Kingdom as we do we still love you!

Bish, this really took me back to the last School of the Bible (can't wait till the next one btw), ALL, EVERY, THE WORLD….very very "Guud Eats"(anyone who watches food network or are a fan of Alton Brown will automatically get it)!! I’m sooo lovin the revelation God gives us in his Word! God is truly great and greatly to be praised!! I will bless the Lord at ALL times and His praises shall CONTINUALLY be in my mouth!


Kettly said...

Dear Bishop,
Early this morning about1:30am,I open the Bible on the book of Ephesians chapter 3.To read about the Apostle Paul's mission:To preached Christ to the gentiles.On verse2.He starting, by saying the administation of God's grace was given to him, for us.On verse3.He talked about the mystery made known to him by REVELATION.On verse4.He said in reading this ,then you will be able to understand his insight into the mystery of Christ,verse5 which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophet.Verse6.He said this mystery is that through the Gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Isreal,members together of one body in the promise in Christ Jesus.verse7.He stated himself as a servant of the gospel.Verse8. He called himself less than the least of all GOd's people,he has gone a little further to say this grace was given to me,I did not go after it.It was given to me:to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,verse9.Say:and to make plain to EVERYONE the administration of this mystery,which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created All things.10.Says:His intent was that now through him the church,the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,11,according to His eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.I skipped some verses and go to half part of verse 17.Where Paul said he prayed that you being rooted and established in love,18,may have power,together with the ALL the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19,and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of ALL the fullness of GOD.Bishop I know,this passage is very familiar to you,but I wanted to make a point to this person,not to defend you because I believe you certaintly can do that yourself.But,through the Spirit, I know you did not apprehended yourself to preach the GOSPEL,the way you did,which is very beautiful.Like the Apostle Paul stated he is a servant,just like you're.This REVELATION has to make known to ALL men wherethere they think you change your doctrine or not,it does not matter because,they are still spleeping,and behind the veils.I don't know ifyou,already quotes this verse on Romans5:18,I'm still going to quotes it myself, It says :Consequently,just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men,so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for ALL men.
All us, with Bishop can join together with one voice,giving praise and glory to GOD,the Father of our LORD Jesus Christ.(Rom.15:6)
Praise the Lord,for He has shown us His unfailing love Ps.31:21.
Let's consider HOW GREAT GOD IS,THE AWESOME CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE.Consider how mortal and sinful we are.Then consider HOW GREAT GOD LOVE FOR US.HOW CAN WE HELP BUT PRAISE HIM.Anonymous,God Bless you.
Bishop I am so proud of you,for your response of this letter.2Timothy2:25-Gently teach those who oppose the truth.Perhas God will change those people's hearts,and they will believe the truth.

Donald said...

Thank you so much Bishop for publishing Anonymous's posting because your response helped me reflect on where I used to be. I can remember a time when I could tell you exactly who was going where in eternity and why.
Bishop I was anonymous for decades. I was as zealous as Saul of Tarsus and quite frankly wanted to kill some of the people that I disagreed with on theological issues.
If someone had told me ten years ago that I would accept as truth what I now accept as truth I would have probably slapped them. Back then I considered people like the "present me" hopelessly deceived and totally blinded by the prince of darkness. But, I know how I was then and how I am now and I really like the now version better.
Anonymous, be blessed my brother/sister.

Ebony said...

Great response. In the verse where it says "it's not his will that any man should perish", there's not an asterisk there that says "unless you're not an English-speaking American who said a sinner's prayer, attended a specific church and went to Sunday school, then you're screwed, sorry, but thanks for visiting earth, hope it's not too hot downstairs.". So we really should hope as Christians that No man will perish. At first, the lack of hell I heard from you gave me a little pause but the more I attended and listened,the more I realized that when Jesus rose, he took care of it all. And granted, the human in me (self-righteous and a little prissy one at that) still thinks the "really really bad people" should be dealt with, it also didn't sit right with me that a small child, or a coma victim or a special needs person would go to hell either (which you know, some churches preach). So I'm gonna leave all that for God to work out, that's his job. All I can do is work my own salvation out, and not worry abou anyone else.

Friend4Life said...

Thanks for the warm welcome, Bishop. Well, like I said about my dream. They want to box you in. (Don't let them.) I'll tell you reading the blog today and listening to the playlist is very moving. (Jeremiah 31:34)Stood out for me.

“No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they ALL shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more”

God is Gr8! Unconditional Love for ALL of US! I have forgiven my abusers. I could hold something against them. God loves them. Forgives ALL. That's why I follow him. ALL the days of my Life!!

Amen,Bishop to your blog.

Peace to ALL,

Friend4Life said...

Just wanted to add one more thing. The song "Jerusalem" by Matisyahu.

"Aint no one gonna break my stride
Aint no one gonna pull me down
Oh no, I got to keep on moving "

Perfect for today's listening ears!!

tracy said...

Bishop- First off big high five on your very mature response. I have never heard such wisdom from any preacher of the gospel since we started attending at CITN 7+
years ago. I also love how you teach us to search the Word ourselves and judge by the Spirit. We have grown because of you and your courage to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. On a side note I almost sent you a letter and kept this personal, but I feel led to post here. We were having a discussion over the holidays and you looked at David and said,"I would love you even if you were not a giver." I just wanted you to know the impact those words had on him. He has struggled with self esteem issues all of his life from being raised by a father who told him he was never good enough and always had an expectation nobody could live up to. When you said those words to David as an authority figure in his life -he let go of the way he saw himself and began to walk in who God says he is. This post from "Anonymous" just reminded me that when we stop looking at God as 8 pound 6 oz baby Jesus or the polar opposite the "wrathful" God,we can just be who He called us to be and do what he called us to do which is love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. If you had not so those words to David he may still believe that he isn;t good enough. You showed him the unconditional love of a father and the unconditional love of THE FATHER. P.S. He knows I was planning to write you about this and fully agrees.

DoubleBack Alley said...

Whew Donald, I feel you bro. I walked in Anonymous' shoes for a majority of my life. It's amazing how right(eous) I felt when I was there. I exulted in the fear of the faces as I forced them to forever abandonment by their Father. But I had to do it, you know? I couldn't be here now, if I wasn't there then.

Anonymous, you have a point and you can't grow in God until you experience whatever it is that you are experiencing. We are all children working to the day where we put away childish things. I agree that you are true to yourself for now. Now you need to reassess everyday and slough off dead deeds and ideas. We are all busy doing that to ourselves, so you are not alone. Slough at your own pace dude. If you find that you are not changing, then be happy.

Consider this; love is everything. Nothing else matters. All the law and prophets hang on that.

Sahib, thank you for being sharpened by Anon. Anon, thank you being sharpened by Sahib. I am sharpened having had access to your exchange. Not many folks could take a punch like that and not be mad my brother. This blog has served you well.

You mentioned the word "occurrence" in the opening and in Latin it means to "run toward". Interesting that you ran toward an occurrence of opposite opinion in an effort to show Christ. Your response was like watching the sun rise on Easter morning. You are a maestro when conducting the Word of Love symphony.

I pray peace over you anonymous and pray you have occurrences in abundance to which to run and opportunities for miracles that bless you and those around you. I hope the Sahib and myself can be included in that group. PM, Avatar, Holly, Teezy, Izumi, y'all (sp?) want to come too? Please make room for us.

Ain't God Good?

Lise said...

Truth lives, revelation reigns, and "dusty" is part of life. Those who are "allergic" should either take something or move on.

Brilliant response... peaceful, namaste! Glad you posted this, as it helps those of us who believe in this revelation to understand the deluge that you often face.

This IS the day that the Lord has made; and it's a beautiful one!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous: may God, whom you desire above all things to please, invade your life today with more Love than you have ever known and in ways you've never imagined.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

I say, “Anonymous”, but you have a name. I don’t know it – or maybe I do. God does. Your family does. Your friends do.

What matters is that you cared enough about His name to respond to the call to love.

I appreciate that you feel the new format doesn’t align itself with your theology. You’re concerned about the cleanliness of the Lord’s house. That’s admirable. I commend you for recognizing kingdom righteousness and desiring that in His earth.

Truth is, God's perfecting everything that concerns His children.

Your letter makes me glad, remembering that the host of heaven cannot be numbered. And sea sands can’t be measured. Our trespasses have been removed as far as the east is from the west. Considering how that’s just a small sweep of His hands, forget a dusty floormat!

My spirit sings, “Holy!”, because you pointed out another facet of His majesty. So, thank you.

As for ultimate reconciliation of all and inclusion vs. no true hell, I cannot make what’s real for me, valid for you.

Hell may be having IBS while stuck in holiday traffic. Or discovering at the end of the day, that I’ve walked around with a fabric softener stuck to my pant leg.

It might be the anguish I feel when I cannot fix what hurts my loved ones. Or hearing the evening news despite a vigilant prayer watch.

Hell – all of that might occur in one day.

Nevertheless… God.

Thank you for reminding me.

Concerning being “as lost now as ever before” – respectfully, how can this be? Even in the howling wilderness, God led His people out because they were the apple of His eye. It’s not about us losing God. He knows where we are. In Him. So, personally, that’s a non-issue. What I really wonder is, where’s the missing sock from the dryer?

As for Bishop picking and choosing Scriptures and then applying his understanding to fit his agenda, I don’t understand the assertion.

What I do understand is if I ask Abba for an egg, I don’t have to dread that He’ll give me a scorpion. But, that’s just me & when it comes to trusting God, I’m childlike.

I appreciate that you mentioned God’s balance. Can someone honestly tell me they know for sure His minutia?

Your question, “Was everything that you were preaching before this paradigm shift false to you?” was heart-felt; genuine.

It reminded me of when one of my kids pulled too hard on a banister in our home, causing it to fall off.

It needed to be restored.

Putting it back in the same position, didn’t work. The wall couldn’t support the weight of it anymore. After many attempts, we almost gave up. Then someone suggested setting the wooden beam directly across from where it was previously fastened.

Same house; different wall, stronger foundation. Voila!

I hope your day is blessed, Anonymous.

Aren’t dust particles fragments of something much larger? Whatever my response stirs in you, I pray you choose to see Christ in all His creation.

Beauty for ashes.

Iris said...

Hi Bishop… Sorry that I haven’t blogged for several days, but I’ve had out of town guest all weekend and through last night… I have snuck a few peeks at the blog … wanting so desperately to find time to blog… I have a lot of catching up to do…!!!

I had to respond to today’s blog… WOW!!! You are right… How GREAT IS OUR GOD!!! Every word that you said put fire in my bones… I can hardly contain myself… I wanted to jump for joy… bow in reverent worship… raise my hand and scream HALLELJAH!!!... When the word is spoken… and received in the Spirit… it is like a jolt of lightning… igniting every fiber of my being… Praise God in the highest…. PEACE and GOODWILL to ALL men…

I want to say so much more and will hopefully later this evening or after church tonight… But until then… I do believe the in the end every nation and all people will see HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!!!


Lise said...

Well, I find myself back here again!

Izumi/Joy, loved your post, and ironically (or not), your reference to His people being the "apple of His eye" was like another of those flourescent post-its I've been experiencing of late. You'll see when I paste this next part, but it came across the cyber-waves on that other site today and was an additional precious word to me. Perhaps, "anonymous" will read this and see a personal word for his/her situation:

Today's Scripture

“Keep me as the apple of your eye…” (Psalm 17:8).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

God cherishes and values you so much today. You are the apple of His eye; the center of His world! In this day and age, people are considered to be important for so many different reasons—titles, position, possessions, where you go, what you drive. But God’s value system is very different from the value system of the world. If you’ve ever thought that God has too many other important things on His plate to be concerned with you and your life, know this today—you are God’s number one priority. And there’s nothing you can do to be more important or less important. God values you today simply because He made you, and your value will never change. You are significant. Your life is significant. The things that concern you, concern God. He carefully watches over every detail of your life, and there is nothing too big or too small for His attention. Take your concerns and cares to the Father today. He loves to hear you call upon Him, and He is waiting to show Himself strong on your behalf. Because you are important to Him, He is ready to bless and empower you to live in victory all the days of your life.

Sending out blessings to ALL!

Anonymous said...

Matthew 22:46 (NIV)

46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.


HollyC said...

First off.. Amen.

Bishop you are such a Jesus man.. People didn't get Him either. You're in amazing company.

My Dad told me my whole life that I wouldn't succeed because I am a woman.. I allowed myself to believe him for a long long time.. I don't believe that anymore.. Bishop you are the first male authority figure in my life to ever tell me "I can".

Anonymous said...


A mini-prayer:

Dear heavenly Father,

Help me to always see Your royal splendor.

When Adam finished mowing the garden lawn, I'm sure it couldn't have been encouraging to overhear a suppressed, "Look. He missed a spot."

And when Michelangelo painted the Sistene Chapel ceiling, someone might have cackled, "Oops. He missed a spot."

Lord, in You, there is no spot or blemish. Knowing that, causes me to be eternally grateful for the canvas of Your Spirit.

So, when I receive the daily deluge of spam mail, (several years) help me see this from Your Holy Spirit spotlight.

Help me understand the higher purpose behind unsolicited, daily ads for body enhancers, credit card applications, car loans, offers of educational financing, potency boosters, tips on weight reduction, stock options & bogus sympathy letters requesting funds.

Help me see with Your wisdom. Through it all, help me reflect Your goodness. Keep me from the natural impulse to judge a matter before its time.


Teezy313 said...

DBA I'm in!

Teezy313 said...

CRAZY IDEA!! What if you were to do another Washed by the Word project but this time do it with ALL, EVERY, and THE WORLD?!?!? Seems we've been in that mood for a good minute now...proclaiming God's unconditonal love to ALL...ALL seeing his glory TOGETHER...etc. etc.

Just an idea....

HollyC said...

DBA.. I'm in tooooo!!

Anonymous said...

DBA,& LP in SC - salutations, whomever & where ever you are. Hugs to you, Holls!

Anonymous said...


Hey guys. Last night I kept thinking of the game Marco - POLO! This is it, DBA!! The water's GREAT, ain't it?

Who else is in?

peacemaker said...

Bishop Swilley...A pure masterpiece of Love and true understanding. An expression of the Christ like that can't be resisted by anyone, even the most religious. They'll either flee or be transformed.
I love this blogsite.

DBA...On some plane my Bro, we have to know each other. As I was reading Anonymous' comment and Bishop Swilley's response, which by the way, was the word of reconciliation in it's purest form, the same words of admonition and encouragement you so eloquently wrote to Anonymous were forming in my mind...almost verbatim. After reading your post, I felt a sense of satisfaction as if I'd written it myself...very cool.
It sounds like we share similar backgrounds in religious legalism and both realize the impetus that gave to our current path.
I pray the same realization for Anonymous.
You gave a great follow-up to a great man's response. So to answer your question...D@%# right, I'm in.

Friend4life...your Jeremiah 31:34 reference sent chills all through me. A rhema word to all.
Thank You!!

Knowing we are one, Peace.


peacemaker said...

Please forgive me everyone. I need to step outside the current subject for one comment to Iris regarding a previous post.

Iris...I don't know how I missed your comment on Mar. 5. In it, I think you referenced doubleback alley's post referring to evolution and creation. Reading your comment , it sounds like you and I share a very similar view abut the subject. There is a cool website, that deals with just that.
I think you will find it interesting.

Thank you all for your indulgence.

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

OK, you have all officially blown me away today. After I published the article I felt somewhat uneasy about it, because I didn’t want to take the blog backwards, and I worried a little that even entertaining the message from Anonymous would do that. But after reading your responses, I have no doubt that I did the right thing…

Teezy, thanks for being a faithful “first-responder” to the articles…

Kettly, loved the exposition on Ephesians 3…there’s nothing like Ephesians…great to be reminded of it…

Donald, your post got me choked up, and I looked at your profile (even the Presbyterians handled snakes?)…now that’s funny, I don’t care who you are…and I agree with you about the Andy Griffith Show (only when Don Knotts was on there, though)…each episode was a brilliant little morality play about life in a small town, and the wisdom from the series has helped me better understand the quirkiness of Conyers over the years…

Ebony, “self-righteous and a little prissy one at that”?...awesome turn of phrase…

Friend4life, I agree with PM…the Jeremiah passage gave me chills, too, for some reason, even though I had written it, myself, in the article…

Tracy, that’s deep…give your husband a big ‘ol hug and tell him it’s from me…

DBA, you probably won’t admit to this, but I think you very politely suggested to me that I had misspelled “occurrence”…you have very good manners…and the sentence “your response was like watching the sunrise on Easter morning” will stay with me for a long time…man, do you have a way with words!

Thanks, LPnSC…and your other post (“my mother didn’t share the wealth”?)…very funny…by His stripes you are healed…

Avatar, as always, your presence is very important to this blog…


Thanks, Iris…love the “eye” pic…

Iconoclast, I need to talk to you about coming here for an ordination…

Holly, that’s no bullsubstance…I do believe you can…

Peacemaker, I look for you here every day…seems like old times…

You all rock!

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Also, Teezy, I acutally have considered that, but it would take a lot of memorization on my part. All of the WBTW series is quoted from memory...I don't know, we'll see...

Ebony said...

I can be honest enough about myself to admit that I am prissy, and was very sanctimonious in my youth. It is what it is. But, on a more positive note, I receive the word you put out about finding favor with college admissions boards and submitted my FAFSA and will submit my online application to UGA for my Language Education Ed.S.

Friend4Life said...

I know its late and need to go to bed. Had to read 1-on-1 and AYITN. Just wanted you to check #6AYITN 3/13. "Creat Joy"

Today I will turn a long-standing and negative situation around through the force of joy. The paradigm shift that I experience will pull down strongholds of despair and hopelessness. The joy of the Lord makes anything possible today.

That's for Anonymous. Peace to ALL!!

Iris said...

DBA... Can I come too!!! I am so IN...


Anonymous said...

Bishop Swilley

Honest question. Why does Jesus talk about hell?

confused in covington

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Dear “Confused in Covington”,

I posted your question under the assumption that it’s actually a question, and not an attempt to draw me into a debate, because I’m not going there. And I’ve already written so much on the subject that is easily found online that I won’t repeat all of that here.

If you are for real about wanting to know, log onto and look at the media section. I have four Schools of the Bible available (workbooks, CD, DVD), and particularly in SOTB, I go verse by verse through every single thing that Jesus said about “Gehenna” (and twice the Greek “Hades”) that got translated “hell” in the English Bible.

In the meantime,,,, and www.completerestorationinchrist.comall have loads of information on what Jesus actually said (or didn’t say) about it in original languages.

Listen, I don’t mean to sound suspicious of your question…sometimes it’s hard to discern when someone is really asking an “honest question”, or just getting ready to pounce. If you’re really just asking, forgive me for sounding cynical.

Hope that helps.

Peace to you.

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

...that should read "particularly in SOTB I, I go verse by verse..."

Anonymous said...

This is the "Anonymous" from the post that you commented on. Real name: Nicole. I understand your interpretations but I am just not there yet! Perhaps, my words were a little harsh in my post. I've been saved for years but still consider myself a baby in Christ because there is so much that I don't know. Yet, I am studying the scriptures for myself and getting understanding. As of now, my interpretations of certain scriptures certainly do not align with your interpretation but only God knows and searches the hearts of men, so you are right in that only He will judge who is right and who is wrong or if all are right or if all are wrong. I thank your people for the blessings. I may not agree with you all but I can agree that love conquers all! (Is that a Bible verse?) I need to look it up! But you are teaching to love, regardless and that is a beautiful thing. May our Lord Jehovah continue to bless and prosper you and your entire congregation. Pray for me and I'll pray for you.

Anonymous said...

Welcome, Nicole!
This is not the verse you wondered about Matt 7:8 applies here - For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

"Love regardless" is Great News! You're on an awesome journey. Gotcha covered in prayer. Thanks for yours.

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Hi Nicole. Wow, I must say that I am impressed with your post! In fact, I'm pleasantly surprised that you had the courage to come back and to even identify yourself.

I don't know everyone on this blog, but I can assure you that, judging from the lives of the ones that I do know, that everything that was said to you was heartfelt and sincere. We really do love Jesus, and, furthermore, we've all been where you are!

Please understand that I've already said so much on this subject that it's difficult for me to go back and start at square one with the whole premise. That's why I did the Schools of the Bible and put them on CD and DVD for people who want explanations from the Word of God.

But the bottom line is this, no one (including me) knows it all, and as I have already said a bazillion times...I don't want to be known as "that guy who doesn't believe in hell"! I understand how that sounds, and I also understand why that statement gets the reaction that it does. Mainly, I think when people in this culture hear that said, they interpret it as if you are saying "Hey, everybody, do whatever you want to do and don't worry about the consequences!", and I have never, ever said anything like that.

Instead, I want to be known as the guy who represents Christ...who tears down walls and builds bridges...who loves people and brings them together.

Whether or not you ever agree with my interpretation of Scripture, you are still my sister. You said that you considered yourself a baby in Christ...I don't know about that...all I can tell you is that your second post makes you sound very mature to me!

BTW, I think the passage to which you are referring is 1 Cor 13:8 that says "Love never fails".

And you are welcome to participate in this blog, regardless of what you believe!


Erik said...

Hi Nicole,

It is excellent to hear from you. Every beautiful blessing to you. I am in agreement with all that is excellent for you, and what is in your heart for knowing Jehovah.

I am probably the least educated regarding being able to go to chapter and verse of anyone here. I have read scripture for a long time, (30+ years) but really get lost on trying to memorize the chapter and verse, but generally know the book something is in. Point is, all the time from Genesis to Revelation, what comes out to me everywhere is how absolutely beautiful Jehovah IS . All together lovely, and wonderful to every one. That’s probably why chap and verse get lost on me. It is like an amazing multi media event.

One thing I do know is I am the last person to even begin to know a scintilla of the scope of the glory of Jehovah, and I guess because of that, I know of the little I know, that He sees the heart of every person, and every person is made in His image. Because I love Him, I love all that He creates. So then, I know somehow in all of His Splendor, He says ‘Come’ . That thrills me, and all I want to do is be in His presence with everybody, not arguing which step is the ‘right’ one to take, let’s just go into the Throne Room . Since He covers all , it is figured out in His Presence. We are all following the cloud by day and fire by night. I want to have everyone enjoying His Presence, I do not want to argue about if the 2 step or waltz is the best way, let’s just dance before Him. This is why, I for one, want to relish all that we all agree on, and accept for each person what we do not. One thing that seems to be true for everyone is that Love is the essence of Jehovah. That is the greatest of all. Everything else follows.

I love that you are here, the door is always open here. I see everyone (in the Big Jehovah picture) as door holders, none of us are the Host, so we are not the ones to check the invitations, just to hold the door open and invite everyone to come in. Like the parable about invited guests ditching the invite, and the Host saying, then invite everyone you can find. I know for me, that is when I was invited, after others didn’t come, although I know they are also coming. I am just glad to be at the event(in the Big Jehovah picture). I know you are too, and I am also glad you are here in this part of it to the degree you want or are comfortable. I do know that whatever you have to share, is valuable and thank you.

Lise said...

I'm so glad you identified yourself! We're a loving bunch here... WELCOME! And I agree with Bish; I think you're probably much more mature in Christ than you realize. I guess my bottom line is just KNOW GOD. Seek Him, as opposed to a bunch of rules and pretense and all the other stuff that gets in the way. If you are able to separate yourself from the debris, and focus on building the relationship between you and Christ, He'll reveal Himself to you in myriad ways... and you'll know it. I HIGHLY recommend SOTB1 that Bishop mentioned. Everything is backed by scripture and is studied in the original text (Hebrew & Greek). So many of us have said that we think somewhere inside we always believed this interpretation to be the truth, but there was no one around to validate it for us. Bish doesn't wade around in shallow water; he dives right in... and the revelation is priceless! So, be blessed, my friend! I'll say a prayer for you, as I hope you will for me. My wonderful prayer warriors here are covering me right now in agreement for my health. Please feel free to join in :)

Teezy313 said...

Blessings to you and WELCOME!! Not everyone will get revalation the same way and at the same time but eventually eveyone will get it. I didn't get it for a while myself because I grew up traditional Baptist (raised on it for 15.5 yrs) and we basically didn't believe in being filled with the Holy Ghost or God's unconditional love to ALL people except those who loved him...and here I am 3 yrs after leaving my "roots" filled with the Holy Ghost learning to love ALL people!! Was everything taught to me a lie...certainly thing I do take from my past teachings is that the way of the transgressor is hard and that sin ultimately leads to death....yet "thank God for Jesus and thank Jesus for the Holy Ghost" as my childhood pastor would say!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nicole,

It was so wonderful seeing your response. Thoroughly enjoyed your, "I understand your interpretations, I'm just not there, yet!"

I sooo identified with that. Because of some heavy brimstone "preaching" from childhood, I have to remind myself that God is Love.

You don't mention age or whether you have family. I have 3 grandkids (another on the way) and the oldest (30 mos.) constantly asks, "Why?"

Sometimes, I wonder if that's how God feels about His children. I imagine that He never tires of showing us His glorious mysteries.

What right do I have to persuade you otherwise, when I'm not "there" yet, either?

I can't even program the VCR.

Hope you never stop asking God, "Why?"

I do a lot, and am constantly amazed how He answers.

Donald said...

Hi Nicole. Trust me, you're no baby in Christ. Babies, both natural and spiritual, depend on others to attend to their needs. When you said that you were "studying for myself and getting understanding" you removed yourself from the realm of babyhood.
Jesus himself said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. YOU continue to be sincere in YOUR quest for righteousness and GOD will get YOU where HE wants YOU to be.
I fully recommend visiting CITN one Sunday and see for yourself. I feel like I need to warn you though. You'll probably have to walk past some folks outside wearing loin cloths with strange markings painted all over themselves. They'll probably be dancing around a fire and sacrificing chickens or something. Never mind them, just walk on by, they won't hurt you.
Just kidding there OK. It is really a great place to worship and hear the word. And the people are like obnoxiously friendly.

Anonymous said...

I’m back home Bishop,
WOW! Our God truly is GREAT! What an invitation; I most certainly would like to talk. YES! AMEN!

Iris said...

Hi Nichole…
I also want to welcome you… Thank you for introducing yourselves to us…
This is an exciting journey that we are on… New revelation daily unfolds before us… As the Son arises on the horizon and we behold His face… we all see the true unadulterated Christ… full of love… full of grace and mercy… Thank God for His grace and His mercy or we would all be in loads of trouble… Because of His love the world is so much better… as we reach in and claim it for our very own, the peace that passes all understanding begins to pour down like a hot oil… I know for me as I rest in His grace, mercy, and love, it make me fall in love with Him over and over again… My love for Him is stronger today than it ever has been… I’ve been serving Christ for 41 years now… His love still amazes me… I serve Him because I love Him with every fiber of my being… not for fear of what might happen to me… but pure love for my God…
I look forward to hearing more from you…. Welcome… Welcome… Welcome…

Anonymous said...



my name is katrina.
i don't know what happened to my response. maybe i didn't word verify so i will post again. i THANK YOU for responding to my question about Jesus' comments about hell. i am not trying to "pounce" you. i am honestly trying to figure this out for myself as i don't want to believe and mimic what i have learned from someone - i want to "know" for myself what i believe. i have learned a great deal from reading the bible but there is so much to learn and this is one issue that is confusing to me. i don't believe that God punishes someone that has not heard the name of Jesus. in order to reject Jesus, you would have to have heard of Him. I have come to believe that God will reward us according to what we have done with the light - revelation- (to whom much is given. . ) that we have received and those that have heard and refuse to receive His Lordship will be judged (whatever the judgment is whether it's hell or less rewards in the new heaven and earth - i don't know). so thank you for answering me. i will examine those sights this weekend. and God bless you for having this blog and discussion. i especially love reading someone who is as AMAZED AND AWED by God's mind as i am. the size and depth and complexity of all His creation (that we know of) is too much to wrap a mind around. imagine how "too much" He is! God bless you.


Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Hey Katrina,

I didn't see any other response from you, but I appreciate this follow-up. I know "pounce" probably sounds a little dramatic, but you seriously wouldn't believe how defensive people can be for their concepts of hell. The people who contact me with questions about it are generally much more open-minded about heaven (and even about Jesus) than they are about what they believe about hell, so please understand my wariness.

I don't think you're "confused" as much as you are just a seeker of the truth, and really seeking the truth isn't always comfortable. Paul said that we are to "work out our own salvation", but he said that to do that would be such a daunting task, that it would actually cause "fear and trembling".

For me, personally, I kind of enjoy the fear and trembling part. By that I mean that truth and revelation are so important to me that I'm willing to take the journey, even though it can be a little scary some times. In the same way that mountain climbers enjoy the danger, I enjoy the rush of being outside my religious comfort zone.

As I have said before, there's a Scripture that pops up now and then that I don't know what to do with. But at this point, after studying the Bible my whole life and preaching for 36 years, the only thing that makes sense to me is this: either everyone is "saved" or no one is "saved".

It took a long time to come to that conclusion, and I don't expect everyone to see it that way. I'm not even sure everyone in my congregation believes that. But we all definitely agree on how great God is, and that is our common bond. That's why I don't debate about this stuff...the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life!

Something you said made me think of this Scripture...

Romans 2:14-16 in The Message says, "When outsiders who have never heard of God's law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. They show that God's law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God's yes and no, right and wrong. Their response to God's yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes his final decision about every man and woman. The Message from God that I proclaim through Jesus Christ takes into account all these differences."

Visit often.

Peace to you.

Kettly said...

Hey Nicole,
Grace and Peace to you sister I Am so glad you have decided to revealed yourself and your name to us. I would like to take this apportunity to extend an invitation to you ,to visit us at CITN,this sunday or the next one. I pray that you will say yes to the invitation,so that we can show you the kind of LOVE and WORSHIP we offer to the LORD.
God is love.If we keep on loving others,we will stay one in our hearts with God,and He will stay one with us.If we truly love others and live as Christ did in this world,we won't be worried about the day of judgment.A real love for others will chase those worries away.

We love because God loved us first. but if we say we love God and don't love each other,we are liars.We canno't see God.So how can we love God,if we don't love the people we can see?The commandment that God has given us is:"Love God and Love each other.
Sister Nicole this is"The Gospel We
May the Great Love of Our Great God
Our Lord Keeps You safe.We at CITN
are waiting on your visit to experience this beautiful Worship Service and Love among us.
God Bless You