Monthly Archives: August 2018

Jesus Came Preaching (Part 1 of 2)

Watch the latest video from McGuiggan Reflections.
McGuiggan Reflections Ep 103
Series: Preacher and His Work
Section: God Maketh Himself Present

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  1. We’re witnessing to the faithful God’s fulfillment of His six centuries-old promise to faithless Israel that’s recorded in Jeremiah 31:31-34. (See Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 8:7-13; Romans 15:7-13.)
  2. We’re proclaiming God’s faithfulness to faithless non-Jewish nations of the world as promised in Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18. (See Acts 3:25; Romans 1:18–3:20; Ephesians 2:11-22; 3:1-7; Romans 11:13-18; 15:27.)
  3. We’re proclaiming that God’s sentence has been passed on the satanic world and that the prince of that world has been defeated by God through the death of Jesus Christ: John 12:31; 16:33; Colossians 2:15.
  4. We’re proclaiming that Sin and Death were conquered by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ: Romans 5:12, 14, 21; Hebrews 2:14-15; John 6:50; 11:26; 1 Peter 1:3; 3:21—”…baptism now saves us…by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
  5. We’re proclaiming our rejection of all gods ancient or modern, and their demonic nature: 1 Corinthians 11:14-22; John 18:33-37.
  6. We’re proclaiming the forgiveness of sins for the world in and because of the grace of God manifested in the self-giving death of the Lord Jesus: 1 John 2:2; 1 Timothy 2:3-6; 4:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Galatians 1:3-5; 2:20.
  7. We’re proclaiming immortal and glorious life for all who are embraced in the saving work of God in the Lord Jesus Christ at His returning: 2 Timothy 1:9-10; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Corinthians 11; 26; 15:54-55.
  8. We’re proclaiming judgment as we eat and drink in His very presence on all that is selfish in thought and behavior, on all that is unlike Jesus Christ who on the night He was betrayed gave Himself rather than burn with resentment and who on that night selflessly gave Himself for all those in need. 1 Corinthians 11:17-26 and 27-29.




Sometime back in a snatch from the Oprah Winfrey show I heard Oprah ask a gentleman (essentially), “So what do you think happens to us when we die?” and his answer was, “I don’t give it any thought.”

Oprah’s question was not, “What do you think happens to the starved, plundered and butchered millions when they die?” but what happens to us when “we” die.
It’s astonishing how the complexion of the question changes when we ask, “What happens to the enslaved, raped and murdered nations?” instead of what happens to those of us who are well-fed, housed healthy and befriended.

In this man’s religion everything’s about himself.    

I gathered from the brief remarks in the dialogue that his view of God was that “God is an ‘experience’ and not Someone who is, independent of our experience. For him, God is not Someone to believe in, Someone who has an agenda, a purpose toward which He is moving; a purpose that involves a new creation where righteousness, joy, peace and adventure is the order of life. To him God is not Someone we’re accountable to for the life given to us. GOD is an experience. In short, his God is not the GOD of Jesus Christ. But what does that matter? Let’s follow Oprah’s guest.

“So, let’s all sit in silence and feel ourselves breathing!”
There now, doesn’t that feel good? Don’t you feel better, nice n cozy n relaxed?

Who cares if there is no Final Judgment?
Who cares if the multiplied millions never see justice and restitution?

Who cares if they aren’t allowed to feel themselves breathe while others wallow in sheer self-indulgence of a religion that feeds their hunger (greed?) for emotional experience?

Who cares if there is no resurrection to life for the beaten, starved and defenseless children, butchered by unrepentant machete-wielding brutes?
“Let’s all sit here in silence and feel our divinity.”

When the atheist Dennett was asked, “Would you not like there to be a God like the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ?” he immediately said, “No. I have no need of him.”—Godless and content that it should be so.
Had he been asked, “Would you not like someone to rise up and bring justice and blessing to the world’s abused and starving?” He would have said, “Of course I would.” He would not have said, “No, I have no need of him.”

Here lies one of the suppurating ulcers that flourish at the corrupt heart of all these synergistic religious movements—they’re designed to feed us who are already so well-fed (in every sense). More! More!

This much is clear: Say “God” is nothing but our experience or that “God” is wishful thinking and we’ve proclaimed the doom of the countless plundered poor. What was and is the “God” of their experience? Maybe we can think about that when we sit down to worship our inner divinity, fix our minds on our breathing or pray, asking the Lord God Almighty to get us a hairdresser that pleases us.

Two things said Kant fill me with awe
The starry heavens and the moral law.
But I know something more mysterious and obscure
The long long patience of the plundered poor.



The late vehement atheist Christopher Hitchens didn’t at all mind saying that he liked the poetry of GK Chesterton. I like that though I’m certain that he wouldn’t have cared whether I did or didn’t. Hitchens (who was shaped by more experiences than even he knew) marched to the drumbeat he heard. I don’t know how many streams feed our human convictions—life is all too complex to pretend we know a LOT about it—but there was something about the bitter Hitchens that I found appealing. I had the same experience with Carl Sagan, atheist and astronomer. I don’t find Dennett or Harris or Dawkins appealing—I wonder how many streams feed my distaste for them?

I know this, and I like it: Hitchens and I like Chesterton’s poetry and though I have no grounds whatever to support what I think, I like to think that Hitchens knew this poem and liked the gallantry he saw in it. Yes, even the unselfish gallantry in it! Hitchens had little patience for people like me because his convictions differed so radically from my own and because he looked for the wrong kind of “proof” for my faith. The kind of “proof” he sought from believers like me wouldn’t support his own faith. But that’s another discussion and besides, atheist or not, I think that the gospel about God blessed Christopher Hitchens with qualities I’d like to have in me or more marked in me than they are. Without going into a long discussion about how God does that I just wish to claim that the atheist’s liking of GK’s poetry is one of the “proofs” that He did.

It appears beyond doubt that Lord Byron lived a truly libertine life though some like Richard Edgcumbe disputed it. Still, there were things about him that must be admired—well things I can’t help but admire. Will Durant the noted historian (and agnostic) quotes Leslie Marchand who has Byron’s chief physician as saying that right close to the end, the poet said he did not know what to believe in this world. Then, “I heard him say, ‘Shall I sue for mercy?’ “and after a long pause, ‘Come, come; no weakness! Let’s be a man to the end.’ ” I wish to believe that Byron at that point was telling himself that he should take what was coming to him. Being an accomplished literary man Hitchens would know of that and it would appeal to him as the kind of thing one should do—live and die by one’s convictions. Hitchens’ bitter anger and anguish-bringing disease would add bitterness to his long-held atheistic convictions. He was only 62! So young. (Bless me, I can hardly believe that Hitchens died late in 2011, where did those years go?)

Chesterton had only just left 62 behind when he died in 1936 (the year before I was born). The poem that follows is the gallantry of a firm believer in God and a very fine man but I find it easy to believe that the confrontational Hitchens would have admired the unselfish nature of the gallantry Chesterton expresses in the poem. There is so much in the poem but I want to focus on the non-whimpering message in it—not as a rebuke, but as an inspiration. I want to be like this myself and I can’t but believe that others wish it also. Staying with the same thought but making it clear that Chesterton and Hitchens were light years apart there’s this in GK’s poem, The Deluge. Noah is in the middle of planetary chaos (by which God made Himself present against moral evil that was worldwide) standing upright in unremitting storm and tsunamis with a cup of wine in his hand and looking skyward and saying:

Though giant rains put out the sun,
Here stand I for a sign.
Though earth be filled with waters dark,
My cup is filled with wine.
Tell to the trembling priests that here
Under the deluge rod,
One nameless, tattered, broken man
Stood up, and drank to God.

I took my cue from the poem and wrote a little book that Random House picked up. I called it Celebrating the Wrath of God. You might think it worth reading. Okay, that’s the commercial over. I didn’t intend to mention the book when I began writing this piece. It just happened.

I admire gallantry where I think I see it (don’t we all?) whether it’s in a heretic or an atheist—whoever! But I particularly admire it when I see those who’ve trusted their lives to God and won’t back away from it even in the middle of personal chaos when they’re sharing pain along with the human family—they don’t negotiate for exemption from hurt and they don’t get it. To truly commit to Him in faith against all the powers of unbelief, cruelty and utter selfishness and do it cheerfully and without apology is heroic! I was going to offer some help to you who are reading this with the poem but I’ve changed my mind. Read this superb thing that follows. Work at it if you need to—it’s worth it. And if you wish to, write me at giving me your response and/or interpretation. Line 8 is wondrous and the last 2 lines could leave you happily dazed for a good while.

This much, O heaven—if I should brood or rave,
Pity me not; but let the world be fed,
Yea, in my madness if I strike me dead,
Heed you the grass that grows upon my grave.
If I dare snarl between this sun and sod,
Whimper and clamor, give me grace to own,
In sun and rain and fruit in season shown,
The shining silence of the scorn of God.
Thank God the stars are set beyond my power,
If I must travail in a night of wrath,
Thank God my tears will never vex a moth,
Nor any curse of mine cut down a flower.
Men say the sun was darkened: yet I had
Thought it beat brightly, even on—Calvary:
And He that hung upon the Torturing Tree
Heard all the crickets singing, and was glad.

(Holy Father bring us and keep us close to your heart and expect much of us for you have given us much to give—each in our own way and all of us as one. This prayer in the One who hanging on a Torture Tree could still hear the crickets sing.)





It wasn’t limitless power that moved Him to create; it was love!
Limitless wisdom wasn’t what moved Him to create. It was love!
It wasn’t indisputable sovereignty that moved Him to empty Himself. It was love!
His personal need didn’t move Him to seek friendship. Our need did!
If in Jesus’ life here we truly saw God, it wasn’t punishing that was on His mind.
If on the cross we saw God’s heart we saw what it always was and always will be!
God didn’t punish us with alienation. Sin is alienation—we chose alienation!
In love He came to end it! He never wanted it and He doesn’t want it now!
Almighty God seeks our friendship!



The book of Revelation is: GOD against the Dragon
It is: The Lord Jesus and His Church (City) against Rome (city of 17 & 18)
Revelation is about worlds in collision!
The saints are “those that dwell in heaven” and the Dragon’s people are those “that dwell on earth.” Revelation 3:10; 6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 12:12; 13:14, twice; 14:6; 17:2;—12:8, 12; 13:6; 19:1, 14.
The Dragon gives power to Rome (13:4) and it shapes the world (by armies, false religion and commerce (13:7, 11-16; 17:1-7; 18:9-19). The sea beast is Rome from a military perspective that supports the whore of 17 which is Rome as the world’s trading center and the earth beast which is Rome from a religious perspective (it’s called the false prophet (19:20). Since it dominates and shapes the world the world becomes “a world of the ungodly.” Compare 2 Peter 2:5
Rome claimed to be unstoppable and took the name of the eternal city and like boasting  Assyria, and Babylon, Persia and Greece in Daniel they “proved” the world was theirs by domination and the nations bowing to them. (See Isaiah 10:5-11 & chapter 36.)
TOLD IN PICTURES: Rev in chapters 16 & 19, the battle of Armageddon—(Megiddo, where so many ancient battles were fought) has Christ and His followers on white horses defeating Rome and its allies and therefore defeating Satan. The vision has Rome destroyed. So in his use of Rome Satan is thoroughly, utterly defeated (he doesn’t suffer a set-back). Chapter 20:1-3 has him locked away in the abyss rather going into the fire. His thousand year imprisonment images his total defeat in Rome’s defeat.
STILL IN IMAGES: The next scene is the battlefield. John sees mass of corpses, then he sees many of them rise from the dead to sit on thrones with others and with Jesus Christ.  They reign a thousand years while Satan is imprisoned 1,000 years. It has nothing to do with length of time. It is a way of stressing his utter defeat and their utter triumph.
This is “the first” resurrection John sees and it is only for those who have died in the service of the Lamb (20:4-6). To die in Christ is to triumph, the image says. The picture of a resurrection is not new. See Ezekiel 37:1-14 and the glory and unity that follows in the rest of the chapter under “David”.
STILL IN IMAGES: Then John sees the rest of the dead who lay dead for 1,000 years coming to life only to be judged and die again (20:5, 12). That is the 2nd resurrection implied by the words “the first resurrection”. Those in the 2nd are those who made themselves allies of the Dragon and they die again and join the beasts in a lake of fire–a 2nd death. (See Isaiah 34:8-10 for the image of a lake of fire; God’s judgment on Edom and enemies of Israel. See also Isaiah 66:22-24 and note carefully the imaged context AND what they see! See also Daniel 7:1-11.THESE ARE ALL PICTURES and John uses them in Revelation to tell of Rome’s fate in coming against the Church. (Note how he made use of the Egyptian plagues throughout the book and note how he makes them even worse but they cannot be actual historical occurrences. They speak of Rome in bizarre dress the way they spoke to God’s enemy Egypt in historical occurrence. And carefully notice 22:18-19 along with 22:6-10.
Satan is utterly defeated in using Rome! The picture of his being locked down for a 1,000 says that. Those who died in Christ IN THE PICTURE reign 1,000 years, those who died in the Dragon IN THE PICTURE lie dead 1,000, then rise and perish forever. Three uses of 1,000 years to tell three distinct but immediately related truths. Satan is not utterly destroyed after Rome’s defeat so he can be used to give a final word from God.
But might there be other enemies after Rome?  IN ANOTHER PICTURE: Satan is released to get an unbeatable army that is annihilated without even a battle(20:7-10). That says he can never win, no matter how big the army. See Ezekiel 38-39 where John gets his PICTURE from. He uses it for the same purpose.
Israel had plenty of fierce enemies but God brought them safely through (Ezekiel 37). Yes, but what of the future? The future us secure! Gog & Magog is numberless but see chapters 38–39. So it is in Revelation. God defeats Rome and assures the Church that the future is secure. Gog & Magog are destroyed & Satan enters the lake of obliteration.
Rome’s world is shredded (see Isaiah 13, 34, Jeremiah 4, Zephaniah 1 and elsewhere and see evil worlds uncreated) and a new world appears IN PICTURES. In chapter Rev. 21:1. The Roman “world” has been destroyed and Rome (city) is burned in chapter 18. Now IN A PICTURE John sees the persecuted city (the Church) comes down from heaven (not up from the earth) looking like a bride (21:2). The angel says he wants to show John THE BRIDE, THE WIFE OF THE LAMB (21:9) and he does that by taking him to see THE GLORIOUS CITY. (21:10-21). THAT’S A PICTURE of the triumphant Church that John gets from Isaiah The city four-square is not heaven! It’s an image of a glorious city with walls 1400 miles high; it’s NOT heaven. It’s the triumphant Church (under Christ) living in a “new creation”. See Isaiah 11 & 66 and the closing of Ezekiel 40–end. These are images of a secure and glorious future painted in terms that speak to people in ways people would think of as glorious.
These images tell of worlds in collision. again and again and again they’re given to us in Holy Scripture only we don’t “get it”. It’s only when we get a new and enriched vision of God and who we humans are meant to be that we begin to see our tragic state. The 1st WW ended, joy, joy. We provoked a 2nd WW, it ended with Hitler’s defeat, joy, joy….Korea,  Viet Nam, Berlin Wall comes down, joy, joy…….. Evil worlds are brought down (by God, in all the complex ways He does this) and a new world appears (Revelation 21, “there was no more sea”—which is where the sea beast rose from and see Daniel 7). And then because we don’t see it as the work of God we humans glorify our tanks, bombs, planes, wisdom, economy, sanctions, forms of government and such and we create another “world”.
Jesus said to one of Rome’s powerful representatives: “My kingdom is not of this world. It’s not like yours. I don’t wade through blood or ‘make a desert and call it peace’. “
But there’s a new world coming! We may not know what is coming but we know WHO is coming so we don’t need to know what is coming!