20th Century, Americana, Architecture, History, Life, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Prayer

Urban Population Tops Rural

Richfield, Minnesota “History of Richfield, MN. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richfield,_Minnesota#History

1950

“For the first time, the census shows more Minnesotans living in cities than in the country. For example, the population of Cottage Grove Township grows sixfold in the 1950’s. Builders convert thousands of acres of farmland into suburban housing tracts that promise wholesome family living within commuting distance of downtown jobs.” *

1940 Census 

Total population in MN = 2,792,300 

Total urban population = 1,390,098 (49.80%) 

Total rural population = 1,402,202 (50.20%) 

1950 Census 

Total Population in MN = 2,982,483 

Total urban population = 1,624,914 (54.50%) 

Total rural population = 1,357,569 (45.50%) *

It’s a bit strange to think that Minnesota’s cities and suburbs are so young. We were mostly a culture of agriculture only 70 years ago, yet that farming tradition changed in roughly the span of a decade?! What prompted these changes, and the results of these new suburban patterns of life?

Let’s recap what happened previous to the fifties; Minnesotans had survived the belt-tightening of the Great Depression, and the duress of WWII. In order to win the war, massive factories like the Twin Cities Ordnance Plant and FMC needed oceans of laborers nearby.**,*** Many of our people who were raised on farms, followed jobs and a sense of patriotic duty to factory jobs in the cities. Our people shoe-horned themselves in the urban housing available at the time, but many looked for a solution to their dilemma of remaining close to work without sacrificing a connection to the land.

Enter the surburbs! Imagine the joy of these ancestors as they moved from tight apartments, trailers, or rented rooms to owning a brand new place in a brand new town with optimistic names like Roseville, Golden Valley, or Richfield?! Granted, their living space didn’t increase dramatically. Many of these early suburban floorplans were under 800 square feet. **** However, now their “apartment” had: two bedrooms, a living room, dinette and kitchen, private bathroom, a front yard, a backyard, a garage, and was at least a full 12 feet from the next-door neighbor’s wall?! They found solace in the idea that they were still close enough to work, but could still see some green every day or even plant a garden on their own land. 

1950’s suburban floorpan, https://www.thoughtco.com/minimal-traditional-house-plans-177538

So here we come to You in prayer! You are the Master of the Open Field, the Property Manager of All Cities, and the Mayor of the Suburbs. Will You give us insight as we remember this moment in our history with You? Help us think through the impact of shifting from country to city to suburbs. 

Let’s begin with some common sense. Living on a farm doesn’t a farmer make. Every people group has its explorers who want, and maybe need to go beyond the shire. It’s just in their nature to be curious about whats around the next corner. So we thank You for the explorers of Minnesota who left the farm to seek a new life in the city. We thank You that their willingness to relocate and adapt helped our society throw off real threats to our freedoms in World War II. 

Though we do not think of these “explorers” as refugees in the modern sense, we can acknowledge to You that they were surely displaced peoples. Although they shared the same rights, privileges, and duties of their neighbors in the cities it doesn’t seem a stretch that they did not share in the cultures or sub-cultures of the cities. What kinds of judgments did rural Minnesotans make towards their urban counterparts? How did those raised in the city judge the “small townies”? 

One profound difference that comes to mind is that rural people must “make do” out of necessity. When geographically isolated, one must become their own mechanic, carpenter, toolsmith, doctor, and nurse. There is not the luxury to rely on specialists found in the city. So we praise You for the resourcefulness that these rural Minnesotans brought into Minneapolis and Saint Paul. We also ask that You forgive them any judgments of the ineptitude and pettiness of those who only know the streets. 

Conversely, those that live in the city, perhaps, are more schooled in people. They can rely more on others because the opportunity for more mutually beneficial relationships exist. They can specialize in a craft or science because survival is no longer a threat. The variety and breadth of opportunity increases with our exposure to more relationships. So we thank You for this type of knowledge of people, and the expansion of opportunity found by the increase of our population living in town. Will You forgive them their judgments of the naivete of the rural, of not knowing or following their etiquette?

In all of these judgments’ past, we still retain their taste in our mouths. We sometimes think of our neighbors as: “hipsters”, “yuppies”, or “thugs” if they’re too urbane.  It’s right there on the tip of our tongues when we see a: “hick”, “redneck”, or “backwoods” person fumble to order a coffee. To live in a secure neighborhood surrounded by a small yard is now synonymous with being a: “Karen”, “soccer mom”, “Joe six-pack”, or even, gulp, “suburban”. (And these are the nice derogatory terms we think and feel in our hearts and minds.) 

So we land here, Lord, we are inheritors of a mixed fruit basket; some is delectable, and some is rotten. Will You forgive our judgements past, present, and future on their desire to have a safe place to call home? Will You forgive Minnesota our judgments’ based on our neighbor’s place of origin?

Will You bless our cities, suburbs, and rural communities to welcome new neighbors? Will You teach our society to honor those with a different place of origin than ours? You respect our need for place and property; only let us pay that forward. 

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3 NIV

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm 

The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FMC_Corporation

*** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin_Cities_Army_Ammunition_Plant

**** https://www.thoughtco.com/thmb/wVF20PGrd_I7_tPAxq0IMH5kny8=/2840×1888/filters:no_upscale():max_bytes(150000):strip_icc()/1950smintrad-quiet-90009384-crop-57f66a0b5f9b586c35dcf125.jpg

***** https://biblehub.com/john/14-3.htm

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Fasting? Again Lord?

Just wanted to catch up some of you “reading and writing” buddies on the outcomes of my fast for the restoration of worship in Minnesota May 11 – July 31, 2020. I only have minutes to type, so against my nature, gulp, I will use bullet points.

a. I didn’t have any emotional or super spiritual moments. In many ways, the Holy Spirit was pretty quiet.

b. He revealed much more in the realm of my own sin, and worship dysfunctions than downloading insights as to interceding for Minnesota.

c. This is Ok and legit. So far, in my experience of knowing the Lord, He often has to remove the junk from our lives before the next move.

d. I have been profoundly refreshed and focussed. I want to invest each day in whatever He wants for the Kingdom more than before.

e. I see many of my fellow believers taking action by starting with prayer. This is beyond encouraging! Maybe it’s possible that the Lord has a plan? (Wink!)

f. I have successfully shut out the noise of the media, of the news, and the binary debates taking place around me. I’m just not into building the Republican or Democratic kingdom anymore.

g. We are studying Esther in our community, and it seems I can’t escape its messages wherever I go. I am in awe, again, that the Lord is perfectly positioning us, like Haddasah (Queen Esther) and Mordecai to peacefully and lovingly confront the oppositions of our various societies.

h. In effect, myself and many of my peers are choosing to fast and pray: before, during, and after the coming election cycle. We are glue of our society in many ways. It is our privilege to stand firm in the hope of the risen Messiah! We get to invite grace and truth from our Good Father’s heart into the partisanship and stratification surrounding us. If you feel a tug from the Lord, please consider joining us in being the glue of our: families, neighborhoods, and workplaces.

If the Lord can deliver His people from the powerful laws of the empire of King Xerxes through the humility of Esther and the Jewish people, what will He do for us? What if we went first to the Council of Heaven for our political and legal grievances? What if the King of the Universe became our lawyer, representative, and candidate this election cycle?

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21st Century, fasting, government, Governors, History, Intercession, Jesus, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, justice, omnipresent history, Prayer, Uncategorized

To the Honorable Tim Walz, Governor of Minnesota

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Judgement is a windmill.

Monday July 13, 2020

To Honorable Governor Walz, and the Minnesota Executive Council (Lt. Governor Flanagan, Attorney General Ellison, Secretary of State Simon, and State Auditor Blaha.)

As a courtesy, allow me a brief introduction? My name is James Orvis, married to Chris with three teenage daughters that all speak Mandarin. (Thanks Yinghua Academy!) We are currently residents of the Como neighborhood in St. Paul. I worked for years as a touring drummer (Romantica), currently pay the bills working photoshoots for a large Minnesota retailer, and for a light hobby have researched and written a prayerful interpretation of Minnesota’s most significant events of the past 300 years. My wife and I both have the distinction of surviving a coup d’tat; mine in Tallinn, Estonia (’91), and hers in Haiti when Aristide was ousted in 1994.

We have seen and tasted enough politics of the world to last a lifetime, and that is why I come hesitantly to ask one question; when will you restore our freedoms of religion, and reiterate for posterity that worship is essential? My personal mourning for this loss is so deep that I began fasting and praying for myself and all Minnesotans’ since May 11, 2020. I need my freedom to worship the G-d I love more than food!

I, as most Minnesotans’, do not blame you for your initial use of emergency powers to shut down the state. We had no data and were facing a colossal pandemic. For example, on March 11, 2020, “Congress’ in-house doctor (Dr. Brian Monahan told Capitol Hill staffers at a close-door meeting this week that he expects 70-150 million people in the U.S. — roughly a third of the country — to contract the coronavirus, two sources briefed on the meeting tell Axios.”* Most of us did not envy the weight of your responsibility given such claims and expectations.

In response to information such as that, you gave the initial declaration of peace time emergency on March 13, 2020. On April 8th, you extended the Stay at Home (Executive Order 20–33) order until May 3 at 11:59 PM. Again, you extended the stay at home order on April 30th for Minnesota until Sunday May 17 at 11:59 PM.** Today, you extended Minnesota’s peacetime emergency through August 12th.

Again, I appeal to you Governor and executive council members to take off your political hats, and try to see our life through a G-d’s eye lens. What is the cause and effect since the shutdown? A few examples:

  1. No Easter, even in the Vatican, for the first time in 1700 years!? No Sacraments? No grace flowing from the altar into the community. Though I’m a Christian with a Swedish Lutheran, Polish Jewish and Polish Catholic heritage, I seriously mourn that Minnesotans’ felt the loss of Ramadan, Pesach or Passover, and meditating at their temples.
  2. A state-imposed limitation of our work. To work is to participate in Creation, and to express our human dignity. It is a primary act of worship; i.e. “I may be changing tires, but I choose to work as if the King of the Universe were my customer.”
  3. We have paid dearly during the Peacetime Emergency for the loss of relationship between small business owners and their customers. It is not just an economic hit, but a hit on the basic trust and voluntary connections between neighbors. We spend money where we know and trust the people.
  4. We have allowed the fear of Covid 19 to rob us of the things that bring us joy: going to the park, eating a meal, having a beer, watching a ballgame, going to school, playing with friends, buying a coffee, sitting in a cafe, going to the theatre, shopping in a favorite store, and going out to dance. Etc. How are these simple pleasures an act of worship? Whether we acknowledge the Deity or not, when we feel joy we are reminded that “something is good in this universe, I’m tangibly experiencing it, and I belong here. I matter to somebody, and somebody matters to me.”
  5. Worship, I believe, in the Old English means something akin to “worth-ship, or to call something worthy”. Simply put, worship is choosing what is valuable to us. Our choices forge our experiences, and our experiences create our sense of memory. Our memory is what creates our identity. Composer Clive Wearing suffers from retrograde and anterograde amnesia. To his psychologists, he is known as “30-second Clive” because his condition usurps his past. In effect, he has largely lost his personality.**** Why is this relevant? There is an unprecedented cessation or censorship of worship for approximately 2.9 billion people internationally because of the Covid pandemic. What are the international results? We are experiencing one of the most profound attacks on history or historical statues and symbols in recollection, primarily through youth movements. Will this result in personal and cultural amnesia for our kids? Are we raising a “30-second generation”? Dear Governor Walz, how will we build and retain a common cultural identity if we allow the trend of erasing history? Our character is shaped by both our successes and failures; shouldn’t we remember both?
  6. To further the point, we see a crisis of justice. We have experienced and tasted the bitter fruits of George Floyd’s unnecessary death. We have seen a huge response of justice and righteous indignation expressed in peaceful protest. Yet we also saw protest boil over and result in approximately 1500 acts of property damage and violence committed against those who were not the cause of a botched detainment! For some race, class, and gender could be construed as causal in this context; but what happens if we dig past these political labels to the heart? Perhaps it is an internal dysfunction? When we experience deep pain we have a choice; insurrection or introspection. We can choose to hold onto an offense, yet that is precisely what bonds us to our offender. Some call this principle ‘trauma bonding’. Dear Governor, how will our people heal without the introspection learned by giving and receiving both the Grace and Truth; the forgiveness and the judgment of Christ?

So now it’s time for some pointed statements based on nine years of interceding through our State’s history, four months of my experience of a worship-less Minnesota, and nine weeks of mournful fasting. I truly don’t relish rebuking you or your council, but ask that You listen to the kindness and sternness of G-d. (You may not understand or believe in prophecy, but I will share what I’ve heard in prayer and nothing more. Please test it against the Scriptures and your life experiences. Judge for yourselves if I’m wrong about the principles of sowing and reaping judgment.)

Hear the message of the Lord:

“Governor Walz,

Whether You accept it or not, you are my masterpiece. You were created for this moment in history to guide the political state of Minnesota into good government. Part of this understanding is the humility to understand that all political authority is subject to the Authority of Heaven.

I have these offenses against you:

You have judged that you are the arbiter of your citizens’ health, and have stolen their rights and responsibilities for their own health.

You have judged that “Worship is not essential” to Minnesota, and still withhold the freedoms of religion and the practice of faith from my people!

You have both withheld freedom from the people of Minnesota, and added to their burdens.

Governor Tim Walz, and the Minnesota Executive Council, I will now spiritually judge you and the Minnesota Executive Council precisely in the areas of your judgements. I, too, will govern your healthcare choices. I will withhold from you what you deem worthy of value, and goals you find praiseworthy; that which you worship. Humble yourselves! Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good. May You experience my Grace and Truth as you practice these principles of good self-government. Judgment is a windmill. Return to me and I will return to you.”

The Lord, Jesus Christ, Messiah and King of the Universe

In sum, Honorable Governor Walz, we love you, pray for your success, and need you to survive. The Peacetime Emergency powers are crushing our humanity, and extinguishing the light of our heritage of faith and generosity of spirit in Minnesota. Will you lift this burden off of us so we can worship, think for ourselves, and thrive?

Just another man who loves Minnesota, James D. Orvis

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NIV

*https://www.axios.com/congressional-physician-predicts-75-150-million-us-coronavirus-cases-fec69e77-1515-4fbc-8340-c53b65c22c53.html

**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_Minnesota

***https://mn.gov/governor/assets/EO%2020-78%20Final_tcm1055-440367.pdf

****https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clive_Wearing

*****https://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/6-6.htm

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21st Century, authority, ekklesia, Uncategorized

On Earth as it is in Heaven

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“Coronation Mantle”, Steven Zucker, flickr.com

Sunday July 12, 2020

For most of my adult life, I’ve been perplexed or even confused by a single line in the Lord’s Prayer *  found in either Matthew 6:9-13 or in Luke 11:2-4. To put this thought in context, below is Matthew’s version quoting the words of Christ our Messiah.

“This then is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ “ Matthew 6:9-13 NIV **

What did the Lord mean when He said, “on earth as it is in heaven” ?

This question was burning inside of me when I began my fast on May 11th, 2020 in response to the local and international halting of corporate worship over the Covid 19 virus. (For those unfamiliar with the term, by ‘corporate worship’ I mean being physically present together to: sing, pray, receive Communion, speak with each other and the Lord, hear from each other and the Word, kneel, sit, stand, raise hands, give offerings and tithes, and practicing other forms of showing Our Father that He is worthy of praise and adoration.) I wondered to myself and the Lord, “If worship is disrupted on earth, in many places for the first time in over 1,000 years, does this mean that worship stopped in heaven too?”

Many answers came to me by reading and re-reading two of my all-time favorite books on prayer. The first is “Shaping History through Prayer and Fasting” *** by Derek Prince, and the second is”Ekklesia Rising” **** by Dean Briggs. For me, it’s as if the silver pen of the Holy Spirit fell from heaven into the hands of these brothers, and they started writing His hard fought revelatory lessons. Both books are the intersection of education and revelation, and are worthy of our attention!

In Mr. Prince’s book, the Lord speaks so clearly to us about Our Father’s heart for government and leadership. In the third chapter, “Praying for our Government” he starts with Scripture and ends with an unassailable statement of logic. 

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we made lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior: who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 2:1-4 Phillips

He contends that one of the most basic functions of any meeting of believers’ is to pray and express gratitude for our government and those in leadership because it is a clear mandate from the Bible. Yet the Body of Christ rarely practices this primary function?!Allow me a quote from Mr. Prince, “Not merely do they not pray for the government “first”, they scarcely pray for it at all!” p.49

Let’s fast forward to how he summarizes the mandate of I Timothy 2:1-4 as only a philosopher of Eton and Cambridge can?

“1. The first ministry and outreach of believers as we meet together in regular fellowship is prayer.

2. The first specific topic for prayer is the government.

3. We are to pray for good government.

4. God desires all men to have the truth of the Gospel preached to them.

5. Good government facilitates the preaching of the Gospel, while bad government hinders it.

6. Therefore, good government is the will of God.” Shaping History p.53

Let’s hold that thought while I tie it to another “big idea” from the book “Ekklesia Rising” by Mr. Briggs?

Again, he starts with the Word and builds into a logical revelation from heaven. 

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18 NIV *****

Though this is one of the most familiar passages of the Bible, Briggs points out that the word Christ used is “ekklesia” and not “kyriakon”. Why does this discrepancy in the original Greek matter so much to Briggs? It’s because words mattered to Jesus; He said what He meant, and we should settle for no less!

So what is the magnitude of this difference? What is the distance between two words with completely different connotations and meanings? Let’s see for ourselves?

Kyriakon – a compound Greek word translated from; “Kyrios”- meaning the Lord “ and “oikas” meaning house, a building. “Kyriakon” literally means the Lord’s house.

Ekklesia – a compound Greek word: “Ek” ‘out of’ and “Klesis” ‘a calling’ or “called out, separated, holy.” p.107

Though this misinterpretation already shows a major difference in meaning between ‘the Lord’s house’, and ‘the called out, separated, and holy’ there’s much more depth when Mr. Briggs zooms in on the meaning of ‘ekklesia’. A few fast facts below:

  • Ekklesia is used 115 times in the New Testament, misinterpreted 112 times as “church” and interpreted, in part, correctly 3 times as “assembly”. p. 108
  • Quoting Oskar Seyfert’s “Dictionary of Classical Antiquities”, “ekklesia was originally used to describe the assembly of the people, which in Greek cities had the final decisions in public affairs.” p.109
  • The idea of the ekklesia would already have been familiar to the Hebrew mind and the Disciples. Deuteronomy 9:10 and 18:16 used the word ‘qahal’ meaning “the day of the assembly”. p.109
  • Quoting William Barclay “New Testament Words”.

“The Septuagint…translates the Hebrew word qahal, which again comes from a root which means ‘to summon’. It is regularly used for the “assembly’ or ‘congregation’ of Israel…In the Hebrew sense it, therefore, means God’s people, called together by God, in order to listen or act for God.” For this reason, Barclay observes, “In a certain sense the word ‘congregation’ loses a certain amount of the essential meaning” because qahal  and ekklesia are both, clearly, summoned together for a purpose, rather than merely “assembling because they have chosen to come together.” Pp.109-110

Mr. Briggs wraps the chapter saying, “the ekklesia was by definition a governmental assembly”. What does Matthew 16:18 sound like with this new information?

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my ekklesia, my ‘called out, holy ones, who are summoned together by my Spirit to govern, listen and act for me, to enact, spiritually, my dominion over the authorities of earth…

and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

All this to say that when we agree in prayer with even one other person, we are authorized by the ruling council of heaven to make changes on earth. The Enemy doesn’t get to “steal, kill, and destroy” anymore without pushback. The political powers of earth must bend the knee to the will of heaven. Those that create false narratives for profit or power must redact their falsehoods before the King of the Universe, or be windmilled by their own judgments and misbeliefs. 

We have an action plan. We have unbreakable hope. We get to invite the place where everything works into the dysfunction of our nation or neighborhood; our family or tribe because we are summoned to do so by G-d. We get to be the “deciders” and the “inviters” of His will; “on earth as it is in heaven”! 

** https://www.biblehub.com/matthew/6-9.htm

*** Prince, Derek. “Shaping History through Prayer and Fasting”. Old Tappan, N.J., F.H. Revell 1973.

**** Briggs, Dean. “Ekklesia Rising the Authority of Christ in Communities of Contending Prayer”. Kansas City, MO.,Champion Press. 2014.

***** https://biblehub.com/matthew/16-18.htm

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Insurrection or introspection?

The life of my home state is profoundly disrupted since March 13, 2020. Since then look at the effects of living under a “peacetime emergency”:

1. Covid 19 outbreak. 2. Shelter in place orders and the total cessation of all houses of worship. 3. Cessation of economic activity. 4. Massive unemployment. 5. GF death. 6. Massive protests. 7. Protests of righteous anger misdirected into insurrection. 8. City Council voting unanimously to “dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.

Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, will You give us a heart of introspection that displaces the heart of insurrection? Establish Your dominion of grace and truth within the people, land, and history of Minnesota. We love you. We welcome you. We need you in order to survive the chaos present, and establish Your EKKLESIA in the future. Amen.

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21st Century, Faith, G-D, Governors, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, law, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Uncategorized, worship

Open Letter to my Pastor and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz

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Please pray for me to stay centered in the Lord. I wake up most days with a sense of heaviness for our state that has publicly weighed the expression of our worship as “non-essential”. Though I know that we serve a Savior that is omnipresent, I feel remorse that we have not responded in grace and truth to the governor, and his limitations imposed on every house of worship. Where is the masculine leadership of the Church of Minnesota to kindly, respectfully, but firmly stand up to the notion that taking communion, common prayer, common worship and fellowship is as valueless to our society as pumping gas?
He is our fuel! He is our grocery store! He is the department store for our spirit! He is worthy of the respect shown to Holiday, Cub, Target, and Walmart. Lord, if Gov. Walz is truly and sincerely acting from a place of benevolence, why is there no public recognition of the sacrifice of the Church of Minnesota? Why hasn’t our Governor made statements to assure our houses of worship that they will fully retain their inalienable freedoms of religion? Where is the law or precedent that a Governor can regulate, monitor, or insert state controls on the practice of our faith and worship?
If you know the answers to any of these questions, please tell me. My understanding of our law is that it based on the idea of apportionment, the idea that we can and should expect an even and proportional application of the law. Does this mean we can expect Walmart to limit itself to 10 shoppers at time like our cathedrals and large sanctuaries? Will G-d’s house be limited to 10 guests at a time irregardless of size? Shall all food sales, whether packaged or fresh or fast foods be restricted like a communion served only through a table at the door?
What about the spiritual ramifications of touch: in prayer? in baptism? in marriage? in mourning? Are the expressions of our humanity less valued if they come in the Name of the Lord than our neighbors who handle sod, install doors, or serve  coffee? Must we wear PPE to remain human?
It seems that these issues all hinge on choice and responsibility. If Governor Walz is the arbiter of health, then it follows logically that we are not responsible for our own health, and the state must make choices for us. Yet, for 244 years, the opposite is the norm.  We have the precedent given us by the 9th and 14th Amendments to retain choices not expressly given to the Federal or State governments.
 “In sum, the Ninth Amendment simply lends strong support to the view that the “liberty” protected by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments from infringement by the Federal Government or the States is not restricted to rights specifically mentioned in the first eight amendments.” Cf. United Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 U.S. 75, 94–95.
Lord, come stand between us and Governor Tim Walz. You have made him our legal authority whom we esteem, honor, and regard. Will You resolve this painful issue between the worshippers of Minnesota, and our Governor? We do not wish to become outlaws, but we must not fail by ceasing to worship You. We need You for our survival! We need Your Body for our survival! Come Lord Jesus; show us again that worship is essential!
“…Therefore love truth and peace.”  Zechariah 8:18
J.D. Orvis         Pray Through History
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Uncategorized

Heart Reality

Congregational Church of Excelsior, UCC, Est. 1850

https://wp.me/paVTXh-aY

Hey friends!

So interesting to find this teaching on fasting here, and that the Word from Zecariah mentions fasting in the 5th month. I know his calendar was different than ours. (I believe Hebrews used the lunar calendar. Correct me if I’m wrong?)

Yet, the Lord invigorated me through this little half verse in Zechariah 7:3! It lines up with yesterday’s call to prayer. (Worship is Essential) Today, I just want to spread the idea that a call to fast need not be a huge scary thing.

If you eat 12 slices of pizza a day, maybe try eleven? If you eat 2 Ho-Ho’s every lunch, maybe eat one and share the other? What if He wants you to fast from fear, or from bingeing on anxiety-producing TV news? One could practice choosing to tell oneself a promise from His “love letter” to the human race; the Bible.

The Lord has me on a total fast from eating. I will drink only cleansing drinks. I’m giving my mind, body, and spirit a rest. I had so much more time yesterday to think, pray, and spend with my wife and daughters because I wasn’t a slave to my hunger.

Listen to G-d. If He calls to you, join me in fasting until worship is declared essential in Minnesota, your state, province, island, or nation. He invites our humility, and truly enjoys our undivided attention. Will you give it to Him today?

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21st Century, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Worship is “essential”!

Lord, currently I’m sitting by the liftbridge over the St Croix River in downtown Stillwater, MN. My heart is so heavy. I need a place of tranquility like this to pause and listen to what’s on Your Mind for the North Star State.

9:22AM Stillwater Lift Bridge A symbol that connections need not be rigid.

I began my fast this morning to call the Church to pray. Since March 13, 2020, all houses of worship of all faiths of Minnesota have been closed. Our Governor, Tim Walz, declared a state of “peacetime emergency” in response to the Wuhan pandemic. While I support his initial response to Covid-19, I do not understand or endorse the total ban on all of our normal expressions of worship.

Though I am committed to the way of Christ, my heart aches for those Jewish neighbors blocked from Pesach or Passover, Muslims blocked from kneeling together for Ramadan, just as my spiritual family suffered an Easter without the Last Supper, and the healing fellowship of our brothers and sisters. While quarantines do have precedent in our State’s history, the shut-down of the Church and all houses of worship, including their physical and collective acts of worship is unprecedented! Dear Governor, we love you, and need you to survive, but this is killing us inwardly, crushing our free religious choices, and limiting our own decisions to risk getting a flu versus meeting with Our Father.

Dear Governor, we kindly, respectfully, but resolutely dissent! I respectfully but firmly disagree that Covid-19 “social distancing” necessarily trumps our freedom of religion. I respectfully and firmly call the Church of Minnesota to fast and pray with me until the complete and uninhibited restoration of our “inalienable” rights are restored. I call members of all faiths to join me in this “Holy Protest”.

So we find ourselves in the same conflict as generations of the faithful. We have been served with an avoidable and unnecessary ultimatum; “Social distance, halt worship, or become an outlaw.” About two millennia ago, the Apostles found themselves embroiled in a similar controversy; “Why do our beloved brothers now consider us enemies?” In Acts 5:28,29 we see this conflict in early Church history.

“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us responsible for this man’s blood.” 

29 But Peter and the other apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men. 

There surely must be a way to resolve this! We can afford our Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, and Temples the same courtesy to remain open as Target or Wal-Mart! Let us fast and pray to the One until then. We must not fail to meet with G-d for He is worth it! Dear friends, old and new, let us declare to the ages; “Worship is essential!”

James D. Orvis – Pray Through History – May 11, 2020 – Iyar 17, 5780

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21st Century, Awe, Current Events, History, Intercession, Israel, Jesus, justice, omnipresent history, Uncategorized

No B. S. please!

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My title is not a reference to bovine droppings, but fill-in-the-blank Bible Study workbooks!

My wife made it a goal to teach our daughters the Word during this shut-down. A noble and worthy goal. Several of her friends wanted to study the same materials together, and they picked a series by Beth Moore.

Though I bristle at her women-o-centric presentation, I love Beth Moore and am glad that she’s out there. She clearly loves the Bible, the Christ of the Bible, and wants to help women know Him. Maybe I’m a rebel, but I just cringe at fill-in-the-blank anything!

That said, I’m doing her Bible study, but taking the rabbit trails I need to in order to reach revelation. Maybe I have a slow brain, and I need to look at a questions from multiple angles before I have an opinion? Her readings are centered on Genesis 1:26-2:17 and Genesis 3:1-9 and ask the questions: “Where are you?” and “Where is G-d?”

My process of reading scripture, if I have one, is to invite the Holy Spirit to help me learn what He wants today, and read until something “pops”. That’s it. My internal questions most days sound more like, “Hey Dad, what are You up to today? Can I come along?”

So, back on track, the first thing that bounced in this reading was Genesis 2:5.

“Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground,” *

What did this say to me? That we, humans, planted everything on the face of the earth. I had never noticed that we were made to be planters, horticulturalists, or farmers before today. (Sort of an irony that our Maker and our faith is so scorned on Earth Day when He put us here to make things grow, isn’t it?)

So I kept reading dutifully, blah, blah, blah, the whole text through 3:9. Nothing. Crickets. Then I re-read Genesis 2:16-17 and got bounced again on the noggin by the Counselor.

“And the LORD God commanded him, “You may eat freely from every tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.” **

Two more coins dropped, and two questions popped into my mind; “What does the Lord mean by “eat freely”? and “What’s so bad about knowledge of good and evil?”

Pondering the first question, I am led to believe that the Master loves sharing! He wants us to explore; climb every mountain and ford every stream. He generously gave us a universe filled with the answer “Yes!”

Yet, within His universe of freedoms there we find one “no”; “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.” It seems completely illogical at first glance that learning about good and bad, this and that, lightness and darkness could be, (gulp) deadly?

But thankfully, today G-d took me down a different rabbit trail to contemplate the sin before the “original sin”. What was it about Satan’s thinking and heart that ejected him, such a beautiful and awe-inspiring creature, from the presence of the Eternal One forever? What is another word that encapsulates and crystalizes “knowledge of good and the knowledge of evil”? Surely, the King of the Universe does not withhold or resent our learning, contemplation, and exploration of everything, so what is it?

Let’s focus on what He said, rather than on the Serpent’s hissing? ”

“for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:17b

G-d is the great “I Am”. He is the Only One Eternally Present. Therefore, He is the Only One worthy of the name Elohei Mishpat; G-d of Justice! He told us plainly, “You can’t eat this food of judgment or you will die.”

Not to be vain, but for the sake of argument, let’s cross check G-d, ok? Satan begins the cycle of sin in Isaiah 14:14 with a heart of judgment.

“I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” BSB ***

Look again, friends and what do you see; “I will” and “I will”! Satan’s original original sin is judging: a. That he is capable of knowing good and evil. b. That his assessment’s are more just than G-d.

But he is just the author of the cycle of judgment and counter-judgment. His ejection was the belief that he could rightly divide good and evil APART from the Omniscient One. His logical theorems, postulates, and arguments always fail. Forgive my wordiness, but indulge me an example or two?

  1. To perfectly assess and judge good and evil, one must have perfect and total knowledge.
  2. To have perfect and total knowledge, one must be eternal.
  3. To be eternal, one must not be a creature or creation.
  4. Therefore, a creature or creation is not eternal, and by definition cannot possess perfect and total knowledge.

Another attempt?

  1. Satan falsely judged Elohei Mishpat based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil.
  2. Satan’s judgement of G-d based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil broke relationship with G-d. (This is important. G-d did not leave him. He left the Presence of G-d.)
  3. Satan’s exit of the Presence of G-d began his practice of the cycle of judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil.
  4. Satan’s practice of the cycle of judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil entered the human race through Adam and Eve’s abandonment of Justice.
  5. Therefore, the practice of the cycle of judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil is Satanic, and excludes us from the Presence of G-d.
  6. Exclusion from the Presence of G-d is willfully practicing the cycle of Death through judgment and counter-judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil.

All this long-windedness to say that all forms of human separation started with a rejection of our Kind Judge. In turn, we have accepted the mores of the Enemy, a cruel judge whose false assessments are also based on false information. He is truly the Author of Prejudice! He pre-judged G-d and abandoned the Truth. He strives to teach humanity pre-judgement and the abandonment that any truth exists.

Insofar as we believe the Author of Prejudice and the Abandoner of G-d, we enter into his dominion of eternal co-dependency. We must kill and covet. We must reject love to protect ego. We must constantly remain in “fight or flight” mode because “our will must be done”! Our value is up for grabs because it is not rooted in Elohei Mishpat. We have self-rejected staying in the present through the grace and truth of I Am, and walk backwards over the cliffs of injustice. And that, dear friends, is the B as in B, S as in S of the Enemy of All Humanity!

Or…

We heal history because our Messiah believes in doing so!

We overlook and overcome lies and temptations to enact our “street justice” on our enemies.

We practice the Presence of G-d by remaining present to our lives through forgiveness and an acceptance of being a chosen and dearly-loved member of His family.

We remember, record, and bring our offense to the Only One who can take it.

We release the prisoners of the Enemy because we, too, know the horrors of “my will be done”!

We correctly accept that Justice is His, and He will fairly judge all when the game is over because He is the Christ of Post-justice not Prejudice!

 

*https://biblehub.com/genesis/2-5.htm

** https://biblehub.com/genesis/2-16.htm

*** https://biblehub.com/isaiah/14-14.htm

 

 

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