The Light for Today

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Location: Pensacola, Florida, United States

Friday, March 30, 2007


Over the more than twenty-five years of my ministry as a pastor and as a discipler, I have received and amassed a series of questions which always triggers much thought and gives me much incentive to explore and explain this subject. The questions all have to do with “an intimate relationship with God.” I have received such questions in some form or another several times during my ministry, but seldom (if ever) in a close succession like I wish to deal with here. I want to address, for you, some of those questions and my answers learned from many older and wiser men in the ministry, in this short teaching lesson. Some of this is based on what I have personally learned over the years, by experience, but most I have been taught by men of God who have gone before me.
I am asked, “Does the Bible teach that we can have an intimate relationship with God?” My answer was, of course, Yes. It not only teaches that we can have an intimate relationship with God, it teaches that the only possible real relationship with God is the intimate relationship. This is why Jesus taught that the New Birth is a “must” (John 3:3, 7), because without it, man has no relationship with God at all. Though the unsaved man lives out his entire life with God as his “frame of reference,” he has no relationship with God until he is born again. His spirit remains dead in him, hence he is dead in his trespasses and sins. By means of the New Birth, man receives the very life of God within himself, the Holy Spirit comes along side man’s dead spirit and makes his spirit alive. At that precise moment he is born again, quickened, and is thus brought into identification (a more intimate relationship with anything or anyone is not possible) and union with God.
In John 17:3, Jesus said to His Father, “This is life eternal, that men may know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom You have sent.” The word “know” is exactly the same word that is used in the Septuagint (Greek) Version of the Old Testament in such verses as Genesis 4:1, “Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain.” The word “knew” pictures in both cases the greatest possible intimacy, a physical intimacy in the case of Adam and Eve and a spiritual intimacy in the case of man with God. But the word in each case is an expression of the deepest possible intimacy. Yes, it is fully possible and absolutely necessary for one human being to have an intimate relationship with God. The old catechism question and answer said it well, “The chief end of man is to know God and to enjoy Him forever.” It might also be added that one of the chief purposes of God is to know man and to enjoy him forever!
“Where in the Bible can we find examples of human beings experiencing an intimate relationship with God?” My answer was, On page after page. I want to preface my explanation at this point with a few necessary remarks. Most people seem to have a terrible misunderstanding of “an intimate relationship with God.” They seem to think that such a relationship must always be perfect or there is no relationship at all. In my measured understanding, this misunderstanding is the product of very shallow thought. When human beings are involved in a (any) relationship, they always prevent its perfection because they are sinners, and the distortion of being sinners necessarily twists to some degree any relationships they may have. This is the reason man needs to be saved, and the reason salvation is/must be by Grace. Without grace, without God acting toward man in grace and mercy, there could be no salvation at all. This is what makes the message of Christianity a “Gospel”. It is the Best News any man can ever hear, know and experience. The Gospel tells us that, despite man’s helplessness and hopelessness in sin, God has graciously acted to open the way for man to come into intimacy with Himself. Later in this series of vignettes, it is my hope to show why the awareness of this Gospel may be the most important factor in establishing a climate, an atmosphere for daily intimacy with God.
My relationship with my wife is certainly not perfect (after all, my wife is a woman—a quite admirable Divine arrangement, but one that throws into the relationship an often baffling “mix”—and she would firmly admit the same thing with regard to me, a man), but in spite of its imperfection, my relationship with my wife is intimate. We both are aware of the absence of perfection in our relationship (we have not yet found a way to surmount that difficulty), though we work constantly to improve our relationship. The mutual effort we put into the maintenance of our relationship creates a deeper understanding of each other, and creates in each of us a greater appreciation for each other. Any relationship requires careful and regular attention, and the same is true of one’s relationship with the Lord Jesus. I work steadily to adjust my relationship with God, correcting any breakdown or distortion I am aware of, and maintaining the disciplines of the relationship as regularly as I can. The human imperfections in any relationship, properly understood and accepted (without excuse or extenuation), still do not detract from intimacy in that relationship. The Gospel of the grace of God assures me that every deficiency is covered—if I am intent on “leaning toward Him” as I take the successive steps of my daily pilgrimage.
Biblically, the spotlight of our attention might be thrown upon the stories of Enoch in Genesis 5:21-24, a story of remarkable intimacy with God. And that of Abraham in Genesis 15 through 21, as well as the story of Moses in the book of Exodus. Note in every case that the relationships of these believers with God were not perfect, but were always covered by the grace of God. Throughout the Bible, one person after another had a believing, struggling, singing, shouting, protesting, etc., relationship with God—and the protesting was often the greatest show of intimacy, because it showed how much God meant to the believer. Carnal, timid people tend to ignore God because of their own failures, but truly spiritual people engage in full, honest and real relationships with Him, and especially so when they are aware of failure. Some of the signs and symptoms of these relationship are positive, some are negative, but they are intimate. I have been engaging in a Quiet Time examination of the book of Job for nearly a year now. The thing that has most impressed me about Job is his open, honest, uninhibited exchange with God in the most intimate possible way, while always maintaining personal confidence that God has final dispatch of all matters and is open to our approach with any matter we want to bring to him. Job’s intimacy with God is the feature that allowed a major subtle change to occur in him (Job) in the last chapters of the incredible book that bears Job’s name. The same will happen with any human being who engages in regular intimacy with God. He will discover vistas of mystery and mercy, love and grace, disclosure and honesty, that he never would have known apart from such a relationship.
I do not mean to leave the impression that intimacy with God was most evident only in Old Testament characters. The lives of all of the Apostles of Christ were marked by intimate exchanges with Him—in conversation, in observation, in learning, in communion, etc. It was through the deepest scrutiny of personal intimacy that they arrived at their Spirit-taught conclusions about His identity, His integrity, His Purpose, etc. It was this intimacy that established the “power base” of their lives and enabled them later to “turn the world upside down.” One has only to read the extensive accounts of John, Peter, Paul and others to see great examples of intimacy with God through Jesus Christ.
“How would you define an intimate relationship with God?” It is surely something of an oversimplification, but I would begin with the word Jesus used. Intimate relationship with God or with Jesus Christ can be defined as “abiding.” It would be valuable here to read and/or re-read John 15:1-8 and I John 2:28 as examples of the use of this word. Someone interpreted this as “centering” on Jesus Christ all day long every day. This is a good definition, even if it requires much amplification. This brings into the picture all the “means of grace”, all the supportive means of relationship-building and relationship maintenance, that are essential. The list includes the daily dependent study of the Word of God, turning the Bible into a territory of encounter and intimacy, not a mere object of academic study. Another means of relationship is open, realistic prayer, the “talking” and communing side of the relationship. Another is fellowship and worship with other believers who are engaged in an open, all-cylinders-active, relationship with God. Another is witnessing and soul-winning, an activity in which God “jumps rails” and joins you so that the intimacy of relationship is enhanced. The one setting I have often found to be very quickening of my own relationship with Him is the open, free, uninhibited small group of disciples in a disciple-making setting, expressing transparency, freedom, happiness and honesty together as expressions of their own free relationship with Jesus. I have left many meetings of such disciples wonderfully aware of the near Presence of our Lord, more intimately aware of His Person and His Purpose, and more determined to know and serve Him better. “While we were musing, the fire burned.”
Perhaps this lesson will open the door for future suggestions about
“How to Improve Your Daily Quiet Time.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

After Action Report Gathering Of Eagles I 03/17/07

An after actions report from Rev. Ed Anthony (Jmpmstr82) National Co-Chaplain “Gathering of Eagles”
I wrote an article a few years back to encourage another army, the Lord’s army. It’s about being tenacious and faithful to our calling and duty in life. With some slight adjustments, I wish to share it here:

"Keep about your work -- proclaim the truth, do the work of a soldier, fulfill your duties with honor. Do not flinch because the lion roars; do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs; do not fool away your time chasing the arguments of the communists rabbits. Do your duty, be honest to your calling. Let liars lie, let sectarians quarrel, let critics malign, let enemies accuse, let the devil do his worst; but see to it nothing hinders you from fulfilling with joy the duty post that was assigned you. God has not commanded you to be admired or esteemed. He has not commanded you to get rich. He has never bidden you to defend your character. He has not set you at work to contradict falsehoods about yourself which the enemies of this nation are so proficient at generating. Do not waste time tracking down every rumor that threatens your reputation. If you focus on this, you will do nothing else; you will be at work for yourself and not for our national best interest. Keep at your work. Let your aim be as steady as a star. You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered, wounded and rejected, misunderstood, or assigned impure motives; you may be abused by foes, forsaken by friends or family, and despised and rejected of men. But cover yourself with eternal glory by seeing to your assigned duties. Pursue with steadfast determination, with unfaltering zeal, the great purpose of your life and object of your being until at last you can say, “Mission Accomplished” and “Lord, I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do" - “I have been the noble soldier, I have defended my Nation with honor and dignity to the death!”……Ed Anthony circa 2001
My hearts desire and prayer to God is that this breath of fresh air continues to blow throughout our nation and calls us back to a free, constitutional Republic as it scatters the socialist and communist who would destroy it. I do not recall ever being any more grateful and proud to stand with a gathering of people in my life than in Washington DC on March 17, 2007. The hook line of my report to the Eagles is, “Stand Fast with joy in your heart for the opportunity to serve your country once again.”
Let me say first, I am grateful for the leadership of Col. Harry Riley and Capt. Larry Bailey, as well as the leadership of the other groups and chapters of Veteran organizations. I also want to thank the many people who willingly invested the long hours and personal expenses just to serve the rest of us. I know of much behind-the-scenes sacrifice that went on to make this event come off as well as it did. You all showed the dedication and leadership qualities that have always marked this as a great nation. Thank you for your dedication and sacrifices. You have made me grateful to have you as brothers and sisters. God bless you and the Bible promises He will not forget your faithful service to His people. “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” Hebrews 6:10.
With all of the joy and celebration of the triumph of good over evil comes a sobering thought to my mind. These foolish miscreants lead by wicked and evil forces from the dark shadows are NOT going to lay down and roll over. On the trip to DC, I shared with Col. Riley my thoughts on this, “If we hand these people their butt-in-a-bag, in DC, before the entire nation, they will return the next time more determined and vicious that ever before.” Eagles, we must not let down our guard. The “string-puppet-stand-before-the-camera” so called leader of ANSWER spoke what everyone in the anti-American camp considered to be the condition of our resolve, “No one will show up, in forty years, they never have before.” But the puppet-masters pulling his strings from out of sight miscalculated where so many Vietnam Veterans where emotionally. Many of the Korean, WWII and other veterans, as well as many Americans have had enough of this lying, slanderous vilifying of the greatest, most generous nation of people to have ever existed in the history of mankind. If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times, “Enough is enough, Not this time, No more, Not ever again, and NOT ON MY WATCH!” The time was ripe for our actions.
If anything, NOW is the time to move out and take even more ground. We must show up in even greater numbers the next time. Gathering of Eagles II must bring more civilians into the mix, more college age men and women, more youth and we must ALWAYS be a gathering where people can bring their whole families and know they will be respected and safe. As an ordained Baptist pastor, I am always keenly aware of the language and deportment of the people around me. With very few exceptions and mild ones at that, this was as clean and honorable a public family gathering as I have ever attended. I saw honesty, transparency and clean hearts in the people’s eyes. When I looked around, I saw clean, neat people be polite and respectful to each other. I saw bright eyed, clear faced men and women caring for and comforting each other, even though strangers. I saw a trooper weeping before the three soldiers memorial and out of the crowd stepped another trooper and they embraced and shared words of comfort with each other. This was the America I was raised to believe in, this was the America I am so proud of, this is the America I’ll defend.
When I looked across the no-man’s-land I saw confused nihilist, dirty, ragged, and dull eyes full of hate and fear. A hate for anything clean and good because in their heart of hearts they know they can’t measure up to the standard set by brave men and women. Full of fear because they know if not today, maybe tomorrow they will be exposed for the uselessness, corruption and sickness that they are. My message for this pathetic rabble is:
“Eagles are a part of your future, get used to it!”
Eagles, Patriots, much loved brothers and sisters, we must take up that age old vow to defend our constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic. Up until now, there have not been sufficient forces to face down the “fifth column” in our nation. We, and they, now know better. We can, We will, We must, stand in the gap for our country once more. America needed us then and we responded, America needs us now more than she did then. God bless our troops, God bless the Eagles, God bless the USA.

“The people who would have freedom and rights are those who would dare to defend them.”… Ed Anthony

Rev. Ed Anthony Psalm 144:1
Pensacola, Florida
National Co-Chaplain
Gathering of Eagles

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Gathering of Eagles on March 17, 2007

To All Americans,
We are just ten days out from our Gathering of Eagles event in Washington, D.C., March 17, 2007..........Eagles are souring........
Our preparations are going well and all expectations point to a large, perhaps huge out pouring of for the principles that under-gird Gathering of Eagles has resonated favorably across America and indeed, around the's the right thing to do.......and the right time to do it.
The encouraging numbers we are anticipating has required beefing up our support mechanism...........we have tentative arrangements made for: EMT/Ambulance service; porta potty comfort stations (Lincoln Memorial will also be available); a sound system for our formal program of entertainment, speakers, etc. from 10:00 to 11:30; Stage area, conference tables, chairs, canopy(s), speakers, etc.; there will be a concession nearby to purchase subs, novelties, etc. Stardust radio and others will do "live" broadcast of our event........this is a glimpse of what we are doing....many loose ends to tie up.......but it's going smoothly. It's a big event.
Remember, Gathering of Eagles is an event....we are not an organization...this is not something we had the luxury of two years planning, committees to research tasks, no main stream media support, no advertising campaign, no money in the short this is a "faith based" undertaking........we sent a request for financial help and you are have provided just over $15,000 so we are well on the way to having enough funds to cover all our expenses......but our needs exceed what we have received, so if you can contribute, please do. has a means to contribute on line via paypal/credit card or you can send check or money order payable and to:
Vets for the Truth
ATTN: Gathering of Eagles
PO Box 291Chocowinity, NC 27817
Our movement is getting broad you can view on our web site, dozens of organizations, bloggers, etc are spreading the word. Several have been interviewed on Internet Radio, we're getting some attention from major talk shows (Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, Michelle Malkin) but the best is each one of "you", the grass roots that are using email list, letters to editors, calling in to talk shows, sending letters to the major media (Fox, CSPAN, CNN) in large numbers eventually will get their attention.
Please remember to pray for us as we step forward to stop the desecration of the Vietnam Wall and other monuments to our service heroes. We will not allow the likes of these anti-American God hating Communist to do as they did back in January when they spray painted the steps of the capital. We, the veterans, paid with our blood and lives for their right to “peaceful” protest against anything our government is doing. But they will NEVER have the right to damage and vandalize monuments to service men and women and other public property. You don’t have to be a Veteran or service member to join us. Just a patriotic American who is fed up with the anti-American, communist loving, socialist moon-bats who gather to complain about men and women in uniform doing their job, protecting America.
God Bless America
God Bless our troops
Remember; Life has a flavor the protected will never taste!