Faith

Who Are Called….


I”If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  – II Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Today, I asked God, “What should I write, today?”  See, I had this really neat thing all outlined and ready to be fleshed out.  I was excited that I had finished my homework ahead of time.

I arrived at the library, ready to write.  I always pray before I write, because the last thing I want my meager tomes to be is an insult to God and his doctrine.

The next thing I know, I am putting away my outline, to be used for later.  I am compelled to write today, the following, instead:

If MY people, who are called by may name…”

I see this verse constantly posted on FB, and other places.  It seems like a drive by shooting.  It is just there, with no possibility for clarity.  If you are His people, you already know this.  If you are merely playing churchianity, then you may have heard this verse, but not comprehend what it means.  If you do not belong to the Living God through Christ, then this is just all noise and no signal.

I beg your indulgence while I try, in my own way, to give this drive my verse meaning.  I can only do this because this is the very thing I have been dealing with for these past 7 years.  And IF you have been reading my other blogs, you know that I have written about the process with out calling it out in a single verse.

In a couple of my recent posts, we looked at who are God’s called out ones when we looked at “Who Is The Church?”  (Parts I & II).  And if you read yesterday’s post, “With God, All Things Are Possible”, you can see how God is dealing with me, specifically, in order to be made fit for His service.

You are “called out” if you were drawn to Jesus Christ.  If you accepted the free gift of eternal life because He died in your place for the sin of the world.  If you know you have been driven into His service.

The ekklesia, the called out ones, the gathering of believers, both individually, and corporately ARE the called out ones.  We are the Body of Christ.

TO THE CALLED OUT ONES

Read the paper, look at the news (If you have a great B.S. filter, and a lot of discernment). search the web, and you can see that our nation is being remade in the image of evil.  We are no longer a Godly nation.  We no longer turn to the authority of God as our Sovereign leader, and His word as the baseline for all our moral judgement.

It is the “Called Out Ones” who have let this happen, and need to stop what they are doing and do what the verse above says.  I, you, WE, need to individually and corporately fall on our face, fast in grief over our falling asleep  at the wheel, and repent for being so careless with the Word of God.  We have allowed ourselves to be distracted by people who have invaded our churches and gently led us away from the basic truths of the Doctrines of God.

We, the “called out ones” have given up on our responsibility to remain faithful to Christ, to endure to the bitter end, to serve selflessly.  We have abdicated our responsibilities to others.  WE are the ones to feed the poor, clothe the naked, give shelter to the homeless, visit the prisoners.  We are called to be  the light of the World.  When Jesus ascended, He didn’t strike camp and leave us without equipping us.  We are His children.  We have been given the authority, by Jesus Christ Himself to go in to all the WORLD, teaching the world all that Jesus has commanded.

We have chased after political correctness.  We have bowed to a lesser god for the sake of our convenience.  We tolerate preaching that appeals to our carnal selves, and we reject the teaching that is Given by the Word of God, and by our own Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I can say this because, for the last 20 years, I was very guilty of this, and more.  Wake up believers.  This land is going to recieve the Judgement of the Living God.  NO nation has ever remained standing after throwing off the Sovereignty of God.  We have gone from acknowledging that He alone is God, to claiming that WE ourselves are little Gods.  Decide today what you will believe.  There cannot be an autonomous Man and a Sovereign God.  Will you be your own God, or will you return to the Living God?

We all, I me and US, need to humble ourselves.  We need to repent of our individual sin.  We need to return to the word as it is given, and not try to make it fit what we wish it said.

Are you the called out one?  Ask yourself.  Are you too afraid to mention Jesus Christ at your work?  Jesus said that if you are ashamed of Him, he will be ashamed of you on the day of judgement.  Are you afraid your life will be inconvienced, or disturbed, or even ruined if you literally obey Christ?  Then you are not worthy of being His disciple.  Get over yourselves.  Repent.  Obey the Lord.

We have become so vile that the Church of Laodicea looks like a Billy Graham Evnangelical event.

WAKE UP CALLED ONES.  Do your job.

TO THE ONES PLAYING CHURCH.

If what I have written above offends you, GOOD.  Do you say you are a Christian?  Just because you go to a Church, doesn’t mean you are any more saved than, if you go to a Burger King you are a Whopper.  If you are going “because it is good for the kids”, or “It looks good socially”, or “I make a lot more contacts there than I do anywhere else, and that is just good business”, then you are blaspheming the entire meaning of what it means to be a called out one.

Here’s the deal.  You will know if you are called out.  Here’s how.  If you realized the depth and depravity of your sin, and saw that Jesus Christ was beaten and nailed to a Roman Cross, and took on the very wrath of the Living God, IN YOUR PLACE, and if this brought you to repentance, and you confessed that Jesus Christ IS the Son of God, and confessed it with your mouth, THEN you are called out.  You have been given new life, and separated from your old life.

If you have not experienced this, then you are just playing Church.

You are no different from any ordinary sinner who goes to a strip joint instead of a church, except that person is being honest.  You, friend are being a liar.  Stop playing Church.

People, our nation has rejected God.  Our nation has condoned lawlessness.  Our nation has thrown off the Sovereignty of the Living God to pursue it’s own sovereignty.  Our nation has condoned the brutal murders of our unborn children.  Are we the worshipers of MOLECH, now?  Do we sacrifice our children to a being that is NOT God?

We have played right into Satan’s hands.  And we are, at best indifferent.  At worst, a participant in our own damnation.

To the ones who work tirelessly, I pray the blessings of the living God on you.  I pray the protection of the Holy Spirit on you.  Do not tire of these things, as your reward in Heaven will be great.  i ask that you pray for US, the called out ones who have traded our inheritance for a bowl of stew.

Forgive us God.  I pray in the Name of JEsus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God.

David Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Faith

With God, All Things Are Possible


If you read yesterday’s blog, you discovered that I was driving home and working out how I will explain to my family that I was no longer employed.  And that being dismissed from a Military base looks really bad on your resume.  And I didn’t know what to do.  God gave me an assignment.  I am to write something every day and post it.

So, there I was, driving home, screwing up the courage to tell my wife and daughter that I had lost my job at the Base.

I felt that God had clearly given me an assignment.  Write something every day.  He knows me very well.  He knows that if I just sit around between job applications, and twiddle my thumbs, my mind will go into all kinds of fear and condemnation.  I am my own worst enemy sometimes, and I am worse than the Accuser when it comes to my flaws.

I also know that, if this was going to work, I need to be honest with myself and God. After all, there is no such thing as a secret when you deal with God.  (It’s in His job description: Must Be All Knowing, All Seeing, and All Powerful).

It is a good thing God is patient.  Anyone who has dealt with me, knows that you have to bring to the table a great deal of patience.

God is Good. All the time.

I wanted to go over a few things in this contract.  Just to be clear.   I started with Article 1, the first clause: I (David G. Perkins A.K.A. Sammy Snardfarkle)  am to serve God by writing something every day.   I am to keep looking for a job.  But when I am not looking for work, I am to keep writing.  So, I asked God if I had this part down, as in , I wanted to make sure I wasn’t interpreting something into HIS word that suited my world view.  (That is really a no-no in God’s kingdom).

I received assurance that is exactly what I am to do.  Start simply, and we can go from there.  See, there is this trust issue.  I have proven myself untrustworthy to God before. And it isn’t that He doesn’t trust His decisions, it’s that He wants to help me develop the patience for Love to refine me.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

God has a plan for me.  And He will do with me what He will in His time, according to His agenda. And he will refine me as we go about accomplishing this agenda.

I had a huge problem on my mind, and I wanted to get it off my chest.  Something seemed illogical, here.  Anyone who knows me knows, I will sometimes argue till I am blue in the face.  I will argue with a tree stump, just to try to convince the tree stump it is actually a banana.  (I have lost most of those arguments. But, if you are ever in Brownwood, Texas, and you see a tree stump not acting all stumpish, it is because it actually thinks it is a banana.  Just give it a wide berth, and it will not trip you up).

I have flaws.  I don’t mean just one, or two.  Ask any local Christian you find here, and they will be happy to regale you with a complete database and cross index of every flaw I have.  It is ordered, both by topic, and numerically.  I have actually been the happy recipient of this index, and I must say, it is extensive, and thorough.  The unabridged edition is available at one of my relatives homes, but you will have to cover the printing and shipping costs, yourself.

I asked God about all these flaws that I am aware of, and that I have been cheerfully reminded of by His children.  This is where God had to start the refining process in me.

He let me know, CLEARLY, that Satan is the accuser, and Satan’s children behave like their father.  He let me know that His children are covered by His grace, and any flaws they have are His responsibility.  Then He told me to decide, will I be an accuser, or will I be like Him, and demonstrate Grace and Mercy to all, because I will to be like Christ, who is the rightful Head of all things?

That made me stop and think.  I confess I needed a LOT of His help on this one.

So I asked about this Grace thing.  He reminded me it is something I definitely need, and need to give, because as I give it, I will have more of it.  He explained that, in God’s economy, God pays compounded interest on everything you give away.  You are not allowed to put it in your spiritual piggy bank and keep it all to yourself.  If you do that, what little you have will be taken away and given to someone who knows how to use it wisely.

God then reminded me of this scripture:

But this man (Jesus), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God…For by one offering He hath perfected them that are sanctified” Hebrews 10:12-14 KJV

So, I asked God this…”What about all my sin and flaws?”  He asked me, is there any sin you have tried to hide from me?  I thought about going back to that old, “Thou Knowest, O Lord” thing, but I had a feeling God was not in the mood for my sarcasm.  So, I told Him:  As my sin becomes apparent to me, I confess it to you, I repent of it, and I leave it at your feet, just as you have asked me to do.

He let me know that is right.

But that left the problem of all my flaws.  So I asked about all that. He let me know that all humans have flaws. It is part of being fallen. But God, in his Grace, looks at me and sees the blood of His Son, and those flaws are hidden by that blood. So, being true to my nature, I argued, “But those pesky flaws are still there, aren’t they?”

God is Patient. God is Good. His Grace and Mercy endures forever:  All the Time.

He pointed out that, yes, those flaws are there, but I do not need to worry about them. He explained that, since I actually belong to Him, through Jesus Christ, the flaws I still have are not counted against me, and that, as long as I am pursuing the will of God, and I become more like Christ, then the flaws will, by the nature and power of God, be removed.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit, who doesn’t accuse you, but, through Grace and Mercy shows you how unimportant your flaws are, and that it is safe to let them go, so you CAN be more like Jesus.

I thought that had to be the best answer I had heard all day (I was still stinging from losing my job).

Then I asked him, what if I sin again, will you overlook that, too? He let me know that sin occurs when I stop and play with my flaws. Ever hear the saying, “If you play with that, you’ll go blind.”? In order to stop and play with your flaws, you have to stop looking at Christ, who is your goal.  You become blind to the things of God, when you play with your flaws.

When you sin, you inevitably stop in your growth, until you deal with that sin.  When you sin, you have to confess that sin, repent of it, and leave it at God’s feet.  Grace covers all your flaws.  Sin is a stopping point in your growth.  You cannot go around sinning just because you belong to God.  If you did, then you will eventually separate yourself from His fellowship (Again, as in my case).

God is Good.  All the time.  His Grace and Mercies endure forever.

Because I wanted to make sure I had this right, I asked God,

“SO, Jesus’ Blood Covers my flaws.”

(Did I mention God is PATIENT??)

He said “Yes”.

I said, “If I pay too much attention to my flaws, and not to the finished work of Christ, I am more likely to sin?”

He said, “Yes”

I asked, “If I sin, it is because I am fond of one of my flaws to the point that I give it more importance than I do my walk with Christ?”

He said , “Yes. And that is also a form of Idolatry, when you put anything as being more important than Me.”

I asked, “You, or Christ?”

God is ever patient.  He protects children and fools with His patience.

He said, “We are one. If you have seen Jesus, you have seen Me.”

I had to gulp at that, because, as I have mentioned before, I have a LOT of flaws, and some of them are my favorite flaws.  I confess I belong to God because of the Blood of Jesus Christ.  He IS the Son of the Living God.  He died for all my sin.  He rose again to prove He IS who He said He is.  If I have seen Christ, then I have seen God.

I asked Him, “What do I do?” I was still burdened by my flaws.

He said, “Follow Jesus, to be like Him. It is not something you can do on your own power, it is something that I empower you to do by the Holy Spirit, who now lives in you.” “If you will to follow, I will to lead you.” “If you do this, and as you do this, your flaws will become less important. When they come less important, they die of malnutrition, and fall off.  By the time you reach the likeness of Jesus, you will be flawless.” “In the mean time, my Grace covers those flaws. When I look at you, I see my Beloved Son, who died for you.”

That was profound. I actually wept at the thought of the choice God made on my behalf. This can be a problem if you are careening down I-50 at nearly 100 miles per hour. Not that I would know anything about THAT….it’s just something I heard.

In His eyes, I am flawless. It doesn’t matter what my accusers say after all. I am His because I confess that Jesus is the only Begotten Son of God, and that Jesus died for my sin, and rose again from death to life. This makes me God’s own child.

But to make sure I don’t misunderstand, I asked God, “When I sin, and I don’t confess, what does that mean? “

He said, “You have placed a stumbling block in your own way. You will need to bring that stumbling block to me, and I will lead you to repentance, to confession, and delivery. I will remove that stumbling block. But if you leave that stumbling block in your way, you will eventually be tied to that place where you sinned, and will not be able to pursue Jesus with a pure heart. It will be where your growth stops. This is where my Mercy comes into play. I will not judge you immediately for this sin. I will be patient and wait for you to confess it, so we can move forward, where my Grace is already at work. “

I was speechless (Yes, God is STILL in the miracle-working business!).

I confessed to God that I am weak, and am in love with some of my flaws. I asked him how I can ever follow him, being so flawed.

He reminded me: “With God, all things are possible.”

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Faith

Go Ye Therefore….


This is not a plea for a job, OK?  This is just me…I don’t know, getting things off my chest.

I heard another ‘No’ today on yet another job application.  It get’s frustrating.  I have gotten so discouraged.  Here I am, intelligent, capable, WILLING, and not too proud to work.  It seems that, when you are dismissed from a Military base, you pretty much are dismissed from a great many opportunities.  I make no excuses.  I was rightfully dismissed.  Besides, the whole story would get more than me in trouble, so I am content to be in this position.

In my frustration, I decided to go for a walk.  That didn’t help.  I got home,.  I was still  grumpy, because taking a walk didn’t help.  Besides, my conscience was bothering me.  I am learning how to write.  How to blog, how to journal, etc.  They only writing I had ever done in my life was poetry, and seminary papers.  And that, my friend was a very long time ago.

The day I got fired from the base, I felt disoriented.  This is all I had been doing for the last two years.  And this work was good, and I am good at it.  As you surely know, by now, I have recently returned to the Lord.  So, I prayed.  I prayed HARD.  What was I going to tell my wife…my daughter?  Why was this happening?  I had worked hard for my credentials.  Now they were worthless.

As I prayed, I felt a strong sense of calm overcome me.  That kept me from going into a panic.  I slowed the car down (It is a 2 hour commute from the Base to Home).  I didn’t realize I had been speeding.

By time I slowed the car down, I was actually so calm, I could actually smile.  (That, in itself was rare for me).  You hear about those “Charismatic Weirdo’s” who say they heard from God.  I always rolled my eyes at that.  I had to take all that eye rolling back.  I mean, really, when you roll your eyes at God, HE could very well roll them right back at you, and you wouldn’t enjoy it.

I heard from God.  I didn’t take the time to make sure I was not becoming a “Charismatic Weirdo”, or anything like that.  I mean, I was really busy HEARING from God.  It was the most wonderful, calming experience I had ever had.

He asked me what I’d rather do.  I told Him, “You Know, O Lord!”

Sound familiar?  What was that that Ezekiel said to God when God asked Zeke, ‘Do you think I can take these bones and bring them back to life?”  or some thing like that.  And Ezekiel, being the courageous one of God, said, “God Knows!”.  He was hedging His bet.  It wasn’t that Ezekiel DIDN’T think God couldn’t raise the bones in the desert back to life, it was just that, well, what if it is a trick question?  Zeke knew God was testing him.  But Zeke wasn’t sure he had studied hard enough for the test.  So he said, “Thou knowest, O Lord” or something like that.  Turns out, God raised the bones and made a legion of soldiers.  That be a LOT of soldiers.  Zeke suddenly realized the point.  God can do what ever he pleases.  And it pleases God to have Ezekiel serve Him. Where I come from, that is called a HUGE object lesson.

So, when God asked ME, “What would you rather do, Dave?”  and I said “Thou Knowest, O Lord”, I swear I could see him glare at me like my third grade teacher did when I hit her with a huge spit wad.  (I got out of a beating by telling her I just wanted to get her attention so I could tell her she was beautiful…I am going to burn in HELL, I KNOW!)

It was a cop out.  I wasn’t used to the Almighty riding along in my car, and asking me questions, OK?!?

But I did get a chance to stop and think.  Thank God God is merciful and abundant in Grace, too.  I figured I was going to be the worlds largest Chicken Wing, or something like that.

I listed off several things.  I used to play French Horn.  But He said, you can practice at home, but no.  Well, I used to play piano.  Same answer.  We went like this for about 60 miles.  I gotta say, God is also very patient.  My nick name isn’t Jack Ass for nothing, you know…go ask my ex wife and my curent wife.  I got tired of playing this game.  And I asked God to just tell me what it is HE wants me to do, and I will do it.

He asked me if I still had that old fire in the belly for writing.  I looked askance at the empty passengers seat, and said, “You’re kidding, RIGHT?”  I am sure that is why the trucker that saw me do this sped way the heck up.  What would YOU think?

He said, “David, you want to serve me?”  I said “Thou Knowest, O Lord!”, but then repented and said very affirmatively, “I’d rather serve you than be the richest man on the planet”, or something like that.  There were a string of affirmations going on at the time.  I mean, I hadn’t even acknowledges there is a God for 20 YEARS.  And I really wanted to return to God’s fold, and serve.  There is nothing better in this life than serving God.

He told me to write.  Every day.  Put it in a blog.  You can only imagine what I thought about that.  I have read my writing, it bored hell out of me.  So, I was wondering if boring hell out of people was His way of getting people to run toward the scriptures, which are infinitely less boring than my writing.  (Believe me, on this, I have read the Bible too).

He told me that, while HE finds the right place for me to work, I need to keep myself busy writing.  He said he plans on using that gift as it develops.  I asked min if he had ever looked at my writer’s portfolio?  He looked askance at me…well, at least the empty passenger seat looked askance at me.

He said he would let me know what to write, and when.  I have to say, that so far, he has done just that.

My last two blogs concerned Who Is The Church.  I told God, Look, I can’t just go around shooting my mouth off like that, and not walk it, too!!!  he let me know He will take care of that, but for now, keep writing.

Here’s the deal.  I am not trying to be some great writer of great expose.  I am just doing what I have been told.  My hearts desire is, yes, to be good at writing, and writing about the things of God.  And my burning desire is to be part of the next revival that needs to break out over the land.  This planet is using the biggest steam shovel it can just to dig a hole to Hell.

I thought about what Jesus said to the Disciples just as He was about to ascent back into Heaven.

And Jesus came up to them and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given unto Me in Heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matt. 28:18-20

And that is my hearts desire.  To obey.  But I know that God is right.  I have been away for 20 years, and there is a trust issue.  If I am faithful in this little thing of writing every day, He will be faithful to bless me for obeying.

I have been given a commission.  You have also been given a commission.  You do not need anyone’s permission to obey.  Trust me when I tell you, your family will think you are crazy.  Especially when you tell them that you had a chat with the Almighty.  Take Jesus, for an example.  Here he was, running around Israel, raising people from the dead, healing the sick, and telling everyone, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”  And his very own family told people Jesus was crazy.  That is your Bible Drill for the day.  Find where that is written in the Gospels).

Until the day God calls me to higher things, I will obey.  Even when I don’t feel like obeying, like today.  I was discouraged.  I didn’t even know what I was going to write about.  But as I got to the library, God showed me what to say.

Just imagine what He has to say to you, if you’ll listen.

The world is dying, out there.  Let’s be about it.

I love you.

David G. Perkins

 

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Faith

Who is the Church? – Part II


2 Timothy 3:1-5a. “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness denying its power.”

If you glossed over the above scripture, please go back and read it for comprehension sake. I’ll wait.

Now, stop and look around you at the world we live in. Does the list of things in those verses sound like today’s society? You have read in the papers about all the incredibly evil things people are doing to each other. You have seen on the news (For what the news is worth) how evil is triumphed, and those who cry out for good are called evil.

Did you know that Paul was warning Timothy about the false preachers who, in the last days, infiltrate the churches? The warning was there because of the doctrines of the false servants of God would be borne out in the followers of the false teachings. That warning is: They will produce fruit after their own kind. He was not warning Timothy of the sinners who walked around outside the church, he was talking about the church itself.

The same thing happened to Israel.

Isaiah 5:20-23 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and, and valiant men at in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!”

False doctrines and falsehoods were dragged into Israel, and condoned by the High Priests. They took bribes to look the other way, they were drunkards, they pronounced that the things of God are bad, and the things that are evil are good.

Just like in the book of Timothy.

These warnings and the subsequent judgments were not against people who do not know God. They are directed at people who claim they do. Israel was appointed by the Living God to be a light unto the world, that all nations will know there is a God, and He created them all. God’s efforts at redemption are illustrated all throughout the Bible.

In Timothy’s time, the doctrines of Grace, Mercy and Love, filling you by the Spirit of the Living God, based on the believers confession of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, was being diluted.

The people who diluted the Gospel were people who appeared pious, said all the right words, and smoothly talked their way into the congregation. Once they were in, they slowly diverted the Gospel of Jesus Christ for another Gospel. They turned people, slowly from the things of God, to other things. Just like in the days of Israel, when Isaiah gave all those “woes”.

Sinners are going to be sinners. They are the ones we, as Christians, are sent in to the world to reach, love, show mercy, grace, and heal their hurts. But the worst kind of sin, one that God does not tolerate, is when HIS congregation, His “called out” ones, sit idly by and let the congregation of deceivers turn people away from the simple gospel, to some sort of psychobabble, “New Aged”ideology.

Many churches, today, endorse evil, and say that if you cannot embrace that evil, you are a hater, and not a “child of God”. They say this because their view of God is that He is a kindly grandfather that endorses everything you do, simply because he “loves” you enough not to discipline you.

Every generation, every nation, every church, every tribe that has known the Living God, then thrown off His ways was destroyed.

Look around you. America is in deep trouble. Here we are within the worlds largest field, needing harvest, and we ourselves have no idea what to do about it. We are so afraid we will “offend” someone, that we do not tell the truth. We bow to laws that call for us to disobey God, hoping that God will see we are just trying to get along with every one. We fear for our jobs more than we fear disobeying God.

Jesus promised : “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake, and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the son of man be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels? Mark 8:35-38 CEV

The time for compromise has ended. Jesus assured us that we WILL offend people. That all people want to hear is what they want to hear, so they will feel good about the sin they commit.

If we genuinely want revival in the land, it starts with individual repentance. There is no such thing as “corporate” salvation. There is only individual salvation. The whole congregation will not be there for you when you see God on judgment day. If you will bend your knee, confess your sin, and let the Spirit of God remove all the lusts of your heart, and all your pride, and all your lying, and any other road blocks you have placed between you and a walk with the Lord, if you will repent, and be cleansed, you can be the one person who can start this revival in our land.

When you draw other “believers” to repentance, you will have a congregation of believers who have been cleaned again, and are willing to risk it all for the gospel. When you have that, my brothers and sisters, you have a real assembly of believers. If you have a real assembly of believers, forgiven, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, who was given to you when you first believed, and through the knowledge of the word, you will be a formidable force for the sake of the Gospel.

You can feel it in your bones that time is running out. The age of church complacency is over. The age of our willful ignorance os over. The age of denying the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is over. If you want to see all your lost friends and neighbors saved, let it begin in YOUR heart. Do business with God, and watch what business He will do through you.

You do not need permission from ANYONE to obey God. Jesus gave it to you the instant you believed in Him.

If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; (even) if we are faithless, HE remains faithful – for He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:11b-13

In my lifetime I have seen Jesus kicked out of Schools, public discourse, and now the Military.  In some towns and cities IN THIS COUNTRY, it is illegal to share the gospel. “The Religion of Peace” will cut your head off for sharing Jesus. Sharia law is creeping its’ way in to our laws, even as you read this.

When the congregation of believers gave up their right to do the will of Christ in their communities, then the government, who has proven to be evil to the very core, has taken them over. And when you dance with the devil, you way his price.

God destroys every nation that denounces Him. We, as a collective, have denounced God, or, out of fear for our own well being, have stood by and let it happen. I have repented of this sin, and challenge you, the individual, and the church, to do the same.

You can change what is about to befall this country when you can change your heart. And you can bring others to Christ while you can, and are willing.

Start with your church, because, if you have read the book of Revelation, you have read what Christ has to say to the Church at Laodicea. They are the archetype, we are the type. Time to get in shape and finish this fight.

I beg you, as a brother in Christ, to do what I had to do.

Repent, stop making excuses for not serving the Gospel, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Learn to pray again. Learn to read the scriptures again. Find others who have done this same thing. Be the light of the world. If you are saved, then you ARE the image of Christ. Change how you act, change how your churches act, and you will see a change in our beloved nation.

Nothing short of an act of God can turn our country around.

We are out of time, so let’s be about it.

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Who is the Church?


Romans 12:1 – “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which IS your spiritual Worship.”

ekklesia – Greek – from ek, “out of”, and klesis – “a calling”, “called out”, an assembly. Loosely translated, “like-minded people”. In Greek civil society, it meant a body of citizens “gathered” to discuss the affairs of state.

I have a friend on face book, Phyllis Dayton Wall, who posted this question this evening:

When you are asked what church do you belong to, what do you say? Is it like city, county, state, and country? Denomination, Christian, Jesus Christ, God? Or do we belong to Christ’s church of Believers? Think about this. Your Thoughts?”

I told Phyllis that that is exactly what I am about to post on my blog. She kindly said I can link my blog to this posting in FB. For that I am grateful. Thank you Phyllis.  

This morning, I was tapping a dry well. My goal is to write one blog post a day. I could think of several topics, but couldn’t decide on a single one. (Suggestions welcome).

I went to my room and prayed. My mind was all over the map, and I needed to calm down and get centered on Christ, and listen to the topic HE suggests I write about.

What you will read below is from the outline that came to me as I prayed. And it was not one of the three topics I had on my list.

I have more readers from other walks than I do from the Christian walk. I want to say, right up front, that I appreciate all the lovely letters the non-Christians write to me. They are interesting, and give me a lot to think about. Keep ’em em coming.

This blog is written to the Christians.

I have been away from all things Christian for about 20 years.  I have recently returned. Here is my confession.  There is a God.  God created the Heavens and the Earth.  Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God.  All things were created through Jesus Christ.  I belong to the Living God because I believe and confess with my mouth that Jesus died in my place for my sin.  Scary as this may be to others, this makes me your brother in Christ.  I wrestled with even posting this.  But having been on the outside for 20 years, I have a perspective I would like to share.

Church

From the outside of Christianity, looking in, when I think of Christians, I also think of the church building they go to. I see Roman Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, non-denominational, etc. When I was a student at Wayland Baptist University, I used to joke that I am a member of “The First United, Holy Roman, Methyl-Bapterian, Church of God in Christ, With Fire and Signs Following” Church.

Looking from the outside at all this, I can see why non-Christians can get confused. When we ask Christians, “What is Church?”, you will get a variety of answers, but most answers boil down to what denomination and building they go to. To someone looking for a cogent answer, this is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.

Most Christians I have talked to will tell you that they “serve the Church”, when they probably mean they are very involved in the group of people that meet at the same building as they do. They sing in the Choir, they are Deacons, they lead a Youth Group, are Sunday School Teachers, etc. And believe me, that is very important. In fact, that is called for among the congregations of believers. But, again, looking from the outside, I still do not know what the church is, or means. I am beginning to believe Christians, many of them, most of them, do not really know what “Church” is, outside of their own denomination, and building.

The church you attend IS where you go to fellowship and celebrate the joy of your salvation. But, honestly, if the biggest Christian risk you take with your life is to attend Church, then you are not really BEING the Church.

Let me clarify before you decide to gather in my yard and burn me at the stake.

Two wolves were discussing their dinner plans with a Hen and a Pig. The Wolves said they were very hungry for a bacon and egg breakfast. Immediately the Hen said, “OK, We will pitch in.” When the pig heard the hen say that, he objected saying, “Wait a minute! Your only sacrifice is Two Eggs. I will have to give my life for these Wolves breakfast!”

Your Minister, and maybe your Choir Director (Depending on the size of your church) have committed their lives to serve Christ. They have gone whole Hog to answer the “ekklesia ”, the called out ones.

All the other people who serve the church are just giving their eggs to the cause. AND THERE IS NOTING WRONG WITH THAT, except the only thing they are really serving are the people in the local building where they all meet on Sunday.

Look around. Ask yourselves this: Now I am going to play “Devil’s Advocate”. Look at the American society. Look at where the moral standards have gone over the last 40 years. Look where we are politically. Look at the intensity of the acts of violence that are committed here. There was a time in our culture where, even if you didn’t attend Church, the effect the local church had on society was quite strong, and even the unsaved adhered, as best as they could,  to that standard.

Now I can get to the point.

HOLOGRAMS.

(This will make sense by time you finish this paragraph). A hologram image is put onto a film inside a piece of glass. When coherent light hits the hologram, a three-dimensional image can be seen. Let’s say you just got through admiring that hologram, and you went to put it back in its case. Before you can get it to the case, you drop it, and it breaks into several pieces. BUT, being the hologram maker, you know that all the information that was on the whole hologram is also on every piece of the hologram. You can STILL project the whole image from just one piece. 

The whole hologram was made from all the pieces that you gathered up, but each piece IS the hologram.

This is how the Church is supposed to be. Ekklesia is a gathering of the called out people that make a the image of Christ. If, for some reason, that church, and all other churches in America were to cease to exist, does that mean the ekklesia stops existing? NO. It means that the light that shown in the Church is the same coherent light that shows in each Christian.

But What if MY Church is Dead”

Things that need to be in your church. 1. Coherent light (Jesus is the light of the world), and 2. genuine believers. If your “church” is dead, maybe there are some tougher questions you need to ask. Start with “Where’s the SALT?” No individual, or gathering of individuals can obey God, or do the things that Christ did, on his own power. You have to submit to Christ, and work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise you will be part of the falling away when things get tough.  and the church you attend is nothing but another social club hiding behind Christ as an excuse to meet.

Each individual believer attending any gathering of believers is, in and of themselves, the light of the world. When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are remade in His image (REF: II CORINTIANS 5:17).

Lets check the facts. The body of believers all have this in common with each individual believer:

1. They are redeemed – You have been bought by the blood of Jesus Christ. He paid for your sin, and you accept that free gift of eternal life. You are His.

2. They are filled with the Spirit of God – Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come into you, to teach you, and convict you in the way you should go.

3. They know the Word of God – You KNOW that the WORD (Jesus) created all things that exist, and you know that God has given His word in the form of scripture, and you study and DO the word.  Not because it will gain you brownie points with God, but because your love of Christ compels you to obey His word.  

Both the assembly of believers and each individual has the same mandate. To love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul and all our strength. To love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.

Your Church, if it is a body of believers, will be doing these things. YOU, if you are a believer, will do these things.

Looking at “Church” from the outside, all I see is a joke. I see an impotent group of people who no longer know what they believe, but it sure is nice to see all those folks and hear a nice message from the pastor, every Sunday. Whether the body of believers are assembled or standing alone, the Character of the Believer should be the same. Rather than abdicate our call to the whims of the Government, who has gladly taken the place of the Church (Look at all the social programs THEY are funding, that we gave up on!). It IS the Church’s job to meet the needs of the local community. It is each Christians job to be just like Christ, as the bible says we should be.

Churches and individual believers sin when all they do is get together and talk to themselves, and reject the sinner. I can say this because I have been a minister and a sinner. I understand that we all get in our comfort zones, but tell me where that is in the scriptures. We are called to deny complacency, be filled with the Spirit, and follow Jesus. He said you will be reviled, hated, taken to jail, spit on, and persecuted. That is what being like Jesus is.  If your comfort, convenience, lack of desire, or worry of losing your job, or social standing is more important than being like Christ, then you need to re-examine what the Bible has to say about Jesus’ followers.  

While our government is aiding those who hate us, and kill us, we are to be the light in the world, as a group and as individuals.

What is the Church? Christ’s church is every believer who genuinely has been saved. Whether we are an assembly or not, our behavior is to be the same as if we were the only person on earth who believed in Jesus. Feed the poor, give to those in need, visit the prisoners, go where Jesus went, to the lost, the unwashed, the unclean, visit and support the widows, and the orphans. You are the only church that outsiders see. You don’t need anyone’s permission to obey God. Go, and be that Church.

 

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The Character of the Redeemed


I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”JesusJohn 3:3 HOL

Jesus explained to Nicodemus what it means to be “born again”. Nicodemus had come to the place where Jesus was staying to ask a few questions. Jesus, knowing what was really in Nicodemus’ heart : Jesus answered, “I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit.

When we are born from our mothers, we are born in the flesh. We come into this world, already separated from God, because of Adam and Eve. We are born with a soul that is already fallen. Nicodemus had realized, from watching Jesus and His works, that it was obvious that religion was not going to do anything outside of reminding us just how fallen we are. He knew that Christ had the answer. Jesus didn’t waste time explaining it to him. The term “born again” was new. But once Nicodemus figured out that, although he was a high priest, he was as dead to heaven as any prostitute that happened to be walking by.

You are born again when you understand and accept what Jesus said:

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.

“This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.

For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed.

But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.” John 3:16 -21 HOL

To accept this unconditional gift of God’s love for you, means you accept that Jesus came here, as God in the flesh. You accept that Jesus died in your place, for your sin, so that, if you accept this free gift, you are now Born in the spirit. Jesus redeemed your soul by selling his in your place. You were bought and paid for by Jesus. You now belong to God. You are free from your sin.

NOW WHAT???

“for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” I Cor 6:20

Jesus promised that, if you are in Him, He will be in you. Since Jesus had to return to Heaven, He promised that He will send His spirit, the Holy Spirit of God, to live IN you. Your real body became the dwelling place of God’s Holy Spirit. You are now grafted into the vine, also known as Christ.

The Spirit of God will do works in your life, so that you will be able to grow to be like Christ. The Spirit of God will guide you, as long as you will listen, to be like Christ, who bought your salvation with His open blood.

we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” Eph 4:15b

When you follow the Spirit of God, you will develop certain character traits. These traits will be those of Christ. Christ heard the Father, God. Christ Followed the will of God. Christ received God. We have knowledge of this at Jesus’ baptism: After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”- Matt. 3:16-17

We are led to have the same character of Christ, if we are willing.

Believers in Christ are known for their dedication to Christ.

Believers Hear Christ:and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” John 10:3-4

When the Spirit of God fills you, you will, for the second time in your life, be able to hear and be sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You will know the authentic voice of Christ, who is leading you by the Spirit to become more like Him. Before you were saved, you were hearing the many voices of the world. The world was urging you to fear, to want unnecessary things, to seek temporary pleasures. To have all you can get. To disregard your neighbor, and love yourself supremely as your own god.

The Spirit of God will make it clear what the difference is between the voice of the world, and the voice of Christ. And it will be your yearning to follow.

Chances are, if you are saved, but you do not experience this “hearing” then you have returned to the voice of the world, and the cares of the day, and have placed many stumbling blocks between you and God (That is what unrepentant sin is, stumbling blocks).

When a believer hears Christ, he will long to do what he hears. You are no longer a slave to the world. Your freedom has been bought and paid for by the blood of Christ. And it becomes your joy and desire to hear and obey.

Believers Follow Christ: “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” John 10:4-5

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:27-28

and

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Romans 8:14

Believers follow Christ because they know His voice. They follow Christ because they know that through Him, they have the assurance of eternal life. They know they have the assurance of eternal life because they know that this was given to them freely, simply by believing Christ is the Son of God, and confessing with their mouth.

The desire to follow the ways of the world diminish rapidly, as the desire to follow Christ increase. Temptation will always plague a believer. You will fall into sin, occasionally. But Christ will never let anything or anyone take you out of His hand, if you truly have accepted the free gift of salvation.

False believers exist, and \are oftentimes hard to tell apart from Christs real followers. The best way to see who really believes is to watch them when the world insists that following Christ will be detrimental to their job, their comfort, their well being, and/or their personal goals. When it becomes too hard to stand in your religious point of view, and Christ is not your center, it becomes too easy to fall from Christ. The reason people fall from Christ is because they never belonged to Him in the first place. They were just hanging around believers for their own personal advantages.

Jesus promised that when you are His, NOTHING can take you away from Him, even if you trip up. He will pursue you like a lover pursues a woman.

Believers Receive Christ:“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12 NASB

How do you know you are saved? You have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You recognize your sin, and that it separates you from a relationship with God. You recognize that the worlds offerings are nothing but false promises from a system that only exists to chew you up and spit you out when all the good in you is used up.

Believers have the assurance of eternal life. Believers hear His voice, and follow Him, because they have received His free gift of salvation.

DOES ACCEPTING CHRIST MEAN I CAN STAND BEFORE GOD?

One of the hallmarks of disbelief is knowing that I am not really clean inside. People who insist that God does not exist demonstrate a huge amount of hate and anger at the mere mention of God, or Jesus Christ. The world rebels at the exclusivity of the Gospel Message. If the world even wants to acknowledge that there MIGHT be a god, they want God on their terms, believing any and all roads eventually lead to God. The world reacts violently because they do not want to let go of their little kingdoms, and do not want to believe that any God exists apart from themselves being their own god.

The believer, however, has understood what Jesus death and resurrection meant to the lost of this planet. The believer understands that, without the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, for their sin, there would be no God in their future, other than the last judgment.

SO HOW DOES GOD SEE THE SAVED?

When you stand before God, Here is what God will see:

You are BLAMELESS: “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” Phill 2:13-15 NASB

Because you have accepted Christ, and heard His voice, and followed Him, you are blameless before God.

BUT WHAT IF I DIE 3 SECONDS AFTER I AM SAVED???

You are still blameless in God’s eyes. Read John 3:16-18 –

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

When you accepted Christ, you were born into the Kingdom of God. You are His innocent child. Nothing can take that away from you.

God Sees You as FAITHFUL: “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”Rev 17:14 NASB

Because you heard the voice of Christ, and you received Him, and followed him, God sees you as faithful. Again, simply because you have accepted Jesus as Christ, the Lord, you are seen as faithful. It takes faith to accept Christ, but when yu do, you will know the reassurance in your soul that you can stand before God, and be seen as God’s own faithful child. When God sees that you are covered in the blood of His own Son, he will see you as faithful.

God Sees His Image in You. Because you are covered with the blood of Christ, God sees you as complete, blameless, and whole.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Romans 8:14 NASB

Remember, believer, when you accepted Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who gave His own life for you, you inherited a free gift of eternal life. God will lead you to become like Christ. You will be the image of Christ, and are worthy of being called God’s own child.

When God looks at the redeemed in Christ, He sees His own beloved Children.

God Sees You As Holy: “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Col 3:12-17

You are Holy because Christ is Holy. Your love for Christ will lead you to do what is described in the verses above. When you walk after the things of God, led by the Spirit of God, because you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you will not want to commit unholy acts. But even when you do, you know you can goto God and repent, and He will be faithful to forgive you. When God looks at you, He sees his own Holiness, simply because you have accepted Jesus Christ’s sacrifice.

The world will bring you problems. But don’t let that stress you. God will be there with you, to guide you through it, because you HEAR, RECEIVE, and FOLLOW.

The choice is simple, yours, and eternal.

I love you in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

 

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The Scarlet Thread


 

CHAPTER 1 

     “What is in the box?” asked the Pilgrim.

     “Something so dangerous that thousands of wars have been fought over it.” hissed the Bedouin, his foul breath reaching over the stench of the camels.

     “Let me see!” the Pilgrim demanded, as he reached greedily for the very old box.

Not so fast!” barked the Bedouin, snatching the box back and hiding it under his cloak.

     The only livestock this Bedouin had were his camels and some very mean looking dogs. There were no sheep that these dogs had to herd. It was obvious that they were here as part of the Bedouin’s protection. He was clearly no shepherd. He was just another oily, dishonest merchant, looking for his fortune.

The box was aged beyond time. The brass and gold fittings looked new, though, in spite of being coated with the dust of time and burial. The richness of the olive wood container shined through the dust. Whoever made it had put real effort and care in constructing it. The corners were seamless, and the lid fit so well, it looked as if the box was a solid piece of wood. The only give away that it was a container was the hinges. Outside of the expensive metals that held this box together, it looked rather plain.

The Bedouin group had traveled from the wadi musa, at Petra, and he had traveled from Ethiopia. They had agreed to meet in the middle of the God forsaken Sahara. The only light was a yellow, June, Mid-Summer moon, and a dying campfire. This was the only oasis for three hundred miles. It was the only place the traveling salesman of the desert felt safe to meet this kafir, this “Pilgrim”. Mahmoud eyed the Pilgrim with contempt, but also saw the potential for a big pay day.

This is the only remaining copy in existence. You had better have the gold I want, or you will die out here.” The Bedouin growled at the Pilgrim.

He gulped a little too loudly, this Pilgrim, and scanned the horizon. In spite of the chill of the desert night, a film of sweat covered his ebony forehead. He knew that Mahmoud’s forces were hiding just over the two dunes facing them. This oasis was hidden in a valley. He could only imagine how many bodies were already buried under the ageless sand.

Mahmoud laughed a low rumble in his chest. Relaxing, he took the box out from under his cloak and waved it under the Pilgrim’s nose.

You want this pretty badly, do you, kafir?” Mahmoud asked, now with the assurance of a man who knows a good mark when he sees one.

My price just doubled.”

     “W-what??”, the Pilgrim shouted. He heard the sound of many rifles cambering their rounds. He knew he had better get a grip, or die trying.

I only have the million in gold you asked for.”, pleaded the Pilgrim.

That’s too bad.”, Mahmoud said in a condescending voice. I would loved to see the look on your face when you opened the box.

You were going to kill me, anyway, weren’t you?” asked the Pilgrim, finally seeing that this was the plan all along.

You have attained wisdom far too late, my friend. Make your peace.” Mahmoud aimed his .45 cal, Colt 1911, replica at the Pilgrim’s head, and pulled the hammer back with a click that made the Pilgrim jump.

You are pathetic, Pilgrim.” Mahmoud slowly began to squeeze the trigger. He was taking his time, amazed that this weakling could stand bravely and stare down the barrel of his death.

    The Pilgrim raised his hands and shouted, “WIND BLOW!”

This made Mahmoud hesitate. Before he could finish squeezing off a round, the entire desert exploded in a hurricane of sand. The mighty wind howled. Men screamed. Dogs howled. As the skin was being sandpapered off Mahmoud’s face, he looked at the Pilgrim and saw another being standing right next to him. He looked like a God. And the wind was calm where they stood.

 

CHAPTER 2

The morning sun was just breaking the horizon by the time the wind died down, and the dust had settled. The Pilgrim was laying unconscious by the oasis. Date palms and coconut trees cast a very long shadow, as an underground stream bubbled into the water nearby.

The Pilgrim woke up as if from a profoundly deep dream. He didn’t feel like he had just traveled hundreds of miles on a camel to the middle of nowhere. He knew he had been sent here. He was visited in another dream, a lifetime ago, by one who said his name was “I AM”. In that dream, “Eh’ya”said to shout “WIND BLOW!” when the time is right. He recalled asking the visitor, “When will I know that the time is right?”

When the tunnel you are staring down leads to your death”, He said. The Pilgrim woke up crying, laughing, afraid to open his eyes, wanting to dance on his bed. That dream seemed like it happened a thousand years ago. But here he was. Just like in the dream. And it had all happened as “Eh’ya”said it would.

The Pilgrim stood up and laughed as loud as he could. He saw it happen before his own eyes. Facing death, his mysterious visitor had given him the words of life. And here he was; At an oasis, with plenty of fresh water, and food, and shade. The Bedouin tents were still standing, so shelter will not be a problem.

He stood in total amazement as the camels slowly poked their heads out of one of the tents, as if they were making sure the terror was over. Assured it was safe, the camels followed each other to the fresh grasses and water by the oasis.

The Pilgrim looked around. Everything was still in place, as if nothing had happened. He looked all over the valley and the two facing dunes. He found no evidence that the men of the Bedouin caravan had ever existed.

He was alone.

 

CHAPTER 3

As the rays of the sun slowly crossed the fresh water of the oasis, he caught the glimmer of shining bindings reflecting off the box. The ancient box was sitting on an outcropping of rock that jutted out over the oasis. It looked as if it had been placed there on purpose.

He walked to the oasis and sat by the water and just looked at the box. He was transfixed by how alive this ancient container looked. He could swear it gave off a subtle, but beautiful music. He was in awe. After years of searching, there it was. He felt excitement and fear just by looking at it. He knew the hard work of finding it was over, and the harder work of uncovering its secrets was only beginning.

He knew he was safe. He had a dream about this place. This very oasis. In that dream he met a strange, but fearfully powerful being called “Eh’ya”.

“Eh’ya” said he will have his sentries guard this place as long as he, the Pilgrim, chose to remain at the oasis. He saw no evidence there were any sentries, but he also remembered the amazing spectacle he saw when he shouted the words that , “Eh’ya” had given him, “WINDS BLOW!”.

The box was not going anywhere, soon. He was well rested, but hungry. The first thing he did was gather dead wood that was scattered all around the oasis. It looked as if a forest had been here not too long ago, but had run out of water to sustain itself.

Pushing the trees over was no difficult task. He had found tools in the Camel Riggers tent, and used them to break the wood up into usable chunks. He poured a little oil on the wood and started a fire. It was broad daylight, but it is never too soon to start a fire when you are alone in the desert.

After a pleasant breakfast, and after making sure all the camels were eating and drinking, he decided it was time. The box was as patient as eternity, but he was running out of patience with himself. He walked out to the ledge that overlooked the oasis, sat down next to the box, picked it up, and looked at it as if it might grow three heads and start singing to him. He was nervous.

The latch was made of the finest brass he had ever seen. The workmanship was something beyond any he had ever seen. Intricate scroll work covered the golden trim that adorned the box, front and back. And the box hummed. It felt alive.

He took a deep breath, not knowing what to expect, and set out trying to figure out how to unlock the latch. Hundreds of men had tried over hundreds of years to unlock this lock, but, for him, it opened as if there were no lock. It clicked open, smoothly, as if it had just been oiled.

     He opened the lid slowly. He wasn’t sure what to expect, except he knew that this was the last one on earth. Legend has it that this book contained a powerful history, that the one who possess this book will have the keys of life. Nations and kingdoms had fought and died trying to obtain it for themselves. Every man that had held it, and tried to open it had died. At least that is how the story went.

Over a thousand years ago, wars were fought and men died over the secrets contained in this book. Two thirds of the humans on Earth had been destroyed. As far as he knew, His land was the only one still inhabited. He had heard rumors of humans being alive on the forbidden side of the Earth, but those were only rumors. Besides, as the stories go, only the crazies live on that half of the Earth. Most of them were supposed to be cannibals. That thought made him involuntarily shiver.

Nations and kingdoms began to believe that this book should be banned, since it caused so much trouble. Eventually, it became forbidden to have a copy. All copies had been rounded up burned, along with their owners. All except this one. And he held it in his hands.

     He figured it would be an emerald book of mysteries, or, maybe a gilded book with a pearl cover. But it was just a plain, simple looking book, covered with lambs skin. It looked incredibly old. He wasn’t sure if opening it would hurt it, or not, but he had come all this way, and he was not about to stop now.

The book had writing in it. It was in a language he had never seen before. The shapes of the letters mystified him. Here he was, a scholar of the first order, and he couldn’t tell what the book said. As he was about to put the book back into the box in frustration, a light appeared standing on the water of the oasis.

He fainted.

 

CHAPTER 4

When he came too, he saw a man in the clothes of another Bedouin. But this man’s robes were clean, white and bright. He could smell the fragrant and aromatic scent of exotic wood and flowers. His keffiyeh, head scarf, was pure white with streaks of scarlet running through it. He wore what looked like a spun and woven gold sash around his waste. The sword hanging from his sash looked like lightning dusted with gold flakes.

The visitor was smiling, and spoke to him.

Don’t be afraid.”

But the Pilgrim couldn’t find his legs, and fell on his face in fear. He had never seen anyone that looked like this man, so ordinary, but so regal. He knew he was in the presence of tremendous power.

Shaking, he stayed bowed, but looked up. When he saw the man’s eyes, he felt completely at peace. He felt as if he was seeing the best friend he ever had known, but also felt such a power radiating off this man, that he knew that with a word, he could do more than make the wind blow.

Get up.” said the visitor. It wasn’t an order, but it held all the authority of a command. And the Pilgrim stood.

The Visitor said, “We have a lot to talk about”.

 

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The Grace of God – Part II


Editorial View Point:

Someone asked me why my posts are SO long.  There is a specific group I am targeting.  They like the information I provide.  If you are not one of them, I am grateful that you work your way through my posts.  I am working at developing several styles to convey Biblical truths.   I suppose I could give you those “FB” style one liners, or even a daily devotional style of writing.  And I am working on that.  But when the subject is as important as the one below, I would rather include something that will bore you, the educated Christian, than leave out information that someone seriously desiring to hear God might miss.  For that, I make no apologies.  I simply write about what I, myself, had to go through to understand the difference between a religion and a relationship to God.

INTRODUCTION:

I had a very interesting, and fulfilling,  conversation with a brother in the lord, last night (Thank-You, Casey).

The subject was over what I had written in my post,  “The Grace of God”.  That post dealt with how Satan tries to trip you up, and how God carries you through this experience.  My brother, Casey, correctly pointed out the dangers of the belief that God’s grace is like a giant bandage to all sins you will commit.  That you may mistakenly fall under the same error that the Romans did, that it is OK if you sin because God has already covered that sin.

The Grace of God – Part II will cover this case.  This post is also in two parts.  In Part A, I will cover what God does with your sin if you are an unbeliever, and how he offers us hope through Christ.  This part is the cornerstone of what it means to belong to God through Jesus Christ.

The second part of this post deals with what to do about sin AFTER you are saved, and what the believer should do about specific sins.  Thank you for reading it all the way through, and please, leave a comment.  I am very interested in your opinions.

Part A

SIN and sins – Or what was the whole Jesus thing for, in the first place?

In my post, “The Grace of God”, I described what happened in the first place to separate Humans from the face to face presence of God.  We were given free will, because God didn’t make a bunch of robots.  The Angels have free will, which is why we had the wars of the angels in the first place.  God gave Humans free will because he literally wants only people who want to hang out with him to be with him.  The down side of our having this free will is, we bought the lie that Satan gave us, and ended up just as condemned as Satan.  Satan’s eternal abode will be Hell.  This is the second death.  SIN brought real death, real decay, and real evil into this Earth.  The eternal covenant God has with ALL of his creation is that God will not tolerate Sin in His presence.  It isn’t like he is allergic to it.  It is more like, God is HOLY and will only have HOLINESS around His home, which is in the highest heaven.  SIN = death.  GOD is life.  You can look at world history to see how all that turned out.

We are born separated from God.  While you are an unaccountable child, you live in a kind of grace.  When you reach the age of accountability,then all bets are off.

So, now is the right time to ask “WHO really needs salvation, anyway?”

Short Answer:  Humans.

All the World Guilty

…as it is written,

“There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”
Romans 3:10 – 12 NASB
and
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”  Romans 3:23 NASB
You can be “good”, you can give to every charity you can imagine, you can live in a way that the worst thing you ever did was steal one extra cookie when you were 4.  But, SIN, still lives in you.  You know this is true when you ask yourself, how much do I hate, how angry do I get over things, how many times have I coveted, how many times have I told a lie, how many times have I heard about someone getting killed, and thought to myself , “That bastard deserved it!”.  These are evidences of SIN.    The Bible makes it crystal clear that all Humans are born in sin, and live a life separated from God.  You can feel it in your heart.  Like something is missing, or you get a serious longing in your heart for a love that you cannot define.  You spend your entire life trying to fill that gap in your heart, and never reach it.  You turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, or whatever, but nothing can fill that hole that exists, that yearning for peace that you crave.  You can feel it.
We are all born separated from God.

So, now is the right time to ask “WHY do we really need salvation?”

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NASB
and
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. ” John 3:16 NASB
Because original SIN separated Humans from God for all eternity.  God loves you, but His own law is “For the wages of SIN is death”.  The only way Humans can receive forgiveness was that a PERFECT Human had to voluntarily and willingly die in your place for your sin.  After the fall of all mankind in the garden of Eden, there were no perfect Humans.  God is all-powerful and sovereign.  In His own might, HE came to earth in the form of a man.  His name was Yeshua (Jesus).  Jesus voluntarily filled the will of God the Father, and died in your place for all the SIN in the world.  He did this out of His enormous love for you.  Jesus rose himself from death in order to prove He had the Authority to call himself the “Son of God”.   You need salvation because you are born in sin.  You receive eternal life with God if you accept this FREE GIFT of Jesus dying in your place.  You have the hope of eternal life after your body dies.  Jesus proved this by His resurrection from the dead.
JESUS IS HOW GOD PROVIDED SALVATION
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”  Romans 5:8 NASB

How Do We Receive this Salvation??

“…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”  Romans 10:9-10 NASB

and

 “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

When you believe in your heart that Jesus died in your place for your sin, and confess with your mouth (Say it out loud),  you are saved from eternal death.  You have been rejoined to fellowship with the Living God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  The Holy Spirit will come to you, and will guide you.  You have peace with God, now.   You are no longer His enemy, as Satan still is, but you are now, eternally, God’s own beloved child.

Our Victory in Christ

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1 NASB

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

You have admitted that your SIN separates you from God.  You understand that as a sinner, you deserved eternal separation from God (This is the second death).  You believe that Jesus Christ died in your place, on the cross, to free you from the curse of SIN and death (The second death).  You have repented by turning from your old life of sin to a new life in Christ.  And you have received, through FAITH in Jesus Christ, His free gift of Salvation.

OK, But what about all the sin I keep committing???

I am glad you asked.  I will tell you.  Jesus promised you that He will send the Holy Spirit to you.

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. “ John 14:16 NASB (Words of Jesus are in red).

and

“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”  John 14:21 NASB

and

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.  He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”   “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. but the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”  John 14:23-26 NASB

Once you are sealed in forgiveness by the Blood of Jesus Christ, you will not be able to be removed from His hand.  But you will still be able to be tempted by your old habits, and by Satan.  As long as you are on this Earth, that is how it is.  We are called to be IN the Earth, not OF the Earth.  We are still here after we were saved so that we can tell others how it is we have eternal life, how it is we have such joy in our hearts, how it is that we suddenly are at peace.

Now that you are saved, God’s grace covers all your sin, past, present and future.  THAT IS TRUE!  There is a heresy being taught today, that was being taught in the Apostle Paul’s day.  The heresy teaches that you can sin, and it will be covered by God’s grace, so don’t worry about it.  This doctrine is a religious point of view that God never allowed for.

The truth of the matter is that God’s grace covered all your sin from the foundation of the world.  But that is not a license to sin, in order that God’s grace can be demonstrated:

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Romans 6:1 NASB

and

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. ” Galatians 2:20 NASB

and

“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”  John 14:20

and

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. “ John 15:4-5 NASB

The evidence of your salvation will be revealed in your life.  If you abide in Christ, you will grow to be like Christ.  Yes, because you are human, you will slip and fall, occasionally.  That is why Jesus promised you the Holy Spirit, so that when you trip up, the Spirit of God will LOVINGLY convict you, and you will be led to repent, and you will have learned from that lesson, and will grow to be like Christ.

Any unconfessed sin is a barrier YOU place between YOU and God.  Has God covered it?  In his sovereignty and foreknowledge of you, he knew you would sin.  In His grace, he allows that sin.  In His mercy, He forgives that sin.  But it is not a license to continue in sin.  Jesus pointed out that if you continue to live in sin, you are not His.  If you ABIDE (A word that means to move in with, or literally “Pitch your Tent”, establish your dwelling with), then you have willingly given up YOUR own way to pursue the way of Christ.  We are to become like Christ.  This takes a daily effort.  This takes you intentionally laying aside YOUR will in the pursuit of the will of God for you.

God’s grace is not a license to sin.  It is the covering God gives you so that when the Spirit of God convicts you, you will be able to go to God and confess, and repent, and be restored.  If you are intending to be like Christ, and His Spirit has filled you, then you will not WANT to sin.

Let’s put it this way:  If you are still living a life of sin, chances are you have either never been saved, or you have intentionally chosen NOT to walk in a life to be like Christ.

Grace is not a license to sin, it is your opportunity to repent when you do.

Go and sin no more.

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I Renamed My Lawnmower


I am not playing the sympathy card, here, but I have really bad lung problems.

The problem is SO bad that if the local humidity gets above 50%, I start having problems breathing.  When it gets above 60%, I am virtually a prisoner in my own home.  My lungs are bad because of all the times I have had pneumonia, and have been exposed to really corrosive chemicals.

To make matters worse, I am allergic to almost every thing that exists in Missouri.   I live in Missouri. If I were sitting in my favorite cafe, in the mountains of Montana, sipping a good hot tea, and my wonderful wife, Sandy, were to sit down next to me, holding a package just shipped up from Missouri, I would probably have a collapsed lung, right there. I hope God smiles on me soon and allows me to move to the Mountains.  I can breathe there, and enjoy the great outdoors with no hindrances.

I think I am allergic as a judgement.  See, I used to make fun of my First Wife (Let’s call her Cinnamon).  She has allergies that can, sometimes, be pretty bad.  I used to tease her incessantly.  Not only was that an unkind act, in and of itself, and I am genuinely sorry for that, but it was cruel.  This is when I first realized that “You reap what you sew.”

So, here I am, in Missouri, allergic to every organic object that exists, and it is hot and very humid here.  Grass grows in my yard.  It wouldn’t be a problem if I could hire Skippy McDork to come out and mow my lawn, but I cannot.  SO, I mow the yard.

Today, it is hot and humid.  I can barely breathe.  So I get really exhausted pretty fast.   When it is this bad, I fade between seeing and graying out.  I wanted to get this over with.

But, as I mowed, I was able to overcome these obstacles.  And I remembered:

The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.”  Psalm 118:14

Remembering that verse lifted my heart, and I swear I felt a cool breeze go right through me.  It felt good, and I kept mowing.

As I got fatigued, I noticed that I had left a few patches.  I was tired, and didn’t feel like going back for the patches I missed.

Then I remembered:

“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?”  Luke 15:4

and THAT made me think of Christ dragging his beam to the hill of Golgotha.  He was tired beyond reason.  He had been beaten nearly to death.  Because HE was a workman worthy of His hire, he completed all the things God set before him to do.

And I also remembered that God intends us to harvest until he returns, and the even the corners will be harvested.

So, I did the whole Job.  I know mowing isn’t one of the “High Spiritual Callings” but if I am to believe the word of God, I need to develop the habit of practicing it.  And the word says:   “And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” Colossians 3:23   

Jesus didn’t die for only a few of our sins.  He died for all of them.  He didn’t cut corners.  He drank deep of the cup God had served  Him.

“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud [one] sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.  And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.  And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.””  Revelation 14:14-16

The fields are ripe for the harvest.  I was reminded that, because of the Grace of God, I am still here to reap.  I remembered all this while I mowed and wanted to quit.  When we are faithful in these little things, God will trust you with bigger ones.  I have only recently returned to God, through Jesus Christ, but I have no intention of getting it wrong this time.

I have renamed my Mower “Grace” so every time I mow, and struggle to breathe, and get fatigued, and want to lay down and die, I will remember why I am still here.

“To live is Christ, to die is gain.” – The Apostle Paul

 

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The Grace of God


Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.  But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being  fell  upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.  All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. Is. 53:4-6 NASB                     http://www.blueletterbible.org

I first learned of the time gap between the 1st and 2nd verses of Genesis 1 from a Messianic Jew, a former Rabi from Israel.  He was from the “School of the Prophets” group.  They delved deep into the mysteries of the Scriptures.  They knew of the “Bible Code” long before it was a popular topic.  They knew things about the Bible that even other Rabin did not know.  And that takes me back to the gap between the 1st and 2nd verse in Genesis 1.  Proving that fact is not the purpose of this writing, but you can get a decent understanding of that gap here:   http://custance.org/Library/Volume6/Part_III/Introduction.html.

The whole point of my bringing this up is to tell you that a many events occurred between those two verses.  One of those things was the Wars of the Angels in Heaven.  Two thirds of the Angels of God rebelled against God.  Very long story short, they lost the war.  Their leader, Lucifer, was cast out of Heaven. Lucifer is known by many names, but Satan is the name we know him by.  As a noun, Satan means “Adversary, enemy, etc”, as a verb, it is “Accuser”.

Satan knows what his future will bring.  He knows his day s are numbered.  Because he has been disconnected from God his mind is given completely over to sin and evil. He has become incapable of any holy thought, act of righteousness, or discernment.  Satan believes he stands a chance of winning the final battle.

In between the Angelic Wars and now, Satan managed to talk Human Souls into joining him in eternal damnation.  Satan is the one who kills, steals and destroys.  Satan will tempt you.  That is half of what this post is about.  The other half is dedicated to the Grace of God.

Satan the Tempter:

Satan will tempt you using the word of God.

Jesus had been in the wilderness for 40 days.  He was hungry, thirsty, and exhausted.  “Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.” Luke 4:2

And he (Satan) brought him (Jesus) to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:  For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:  And in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.  

Satan, as the destroyer knew that, if he could get Jesus to succumb to temptation, then the show was over for all of us.  He, knowing what his fate is, wants company in his misery.  Jesus was weakened by his trials in the desert.  If he could get Jesus to fail, there would be no hope for the redemption of mankind to God.  There is a reason it is called Temptation.  If it were easy to say ‘No’, it wouldn’t really be tempting, would it?

Jesus, as tired and hungry as he was, did the one thing he could do and not blow it.  He answered Satan with the Word of God.  He didn’t reason, justify, waffle, bargain, or debate.  He fell back to a position that shows the authority of the scriptures when they are used properly.

And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Luke 4:12

Satan Will Tempt You Over What God Actually Said

Here is where we learn to know AND understand the words of God.  Horrible things have been done on this planet simply because people do not know and understand what God said and meant.  Jesus never subjugated women, yet many faiths treat women like second class citizens.  Many people think the Bible actually said, “God helps those that help themselves.”  Misunderstanding the intent of the Word, or blatantly not knowing it will lead you into a world of deep doo-doo.

Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:  But of the fruit of the tree which [is] in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  Gen 3:1-3 KJV

Here, Satan used doubt as a tool to get Eve to wonder if what she thought she heard was actually what she heard.  In response, Eve not only used God’s word to argue with Satan, but added to what God said.  Probably to underscore her point.    Satan’s goal is, and always has been to separate us from God.  Have you ever told someone something that someone else said to you, and the person you said it to said, “REALLY?, He said that?”  Because you might be wrong, you begin to entertain the idea that you might be wrong.  Maybe you misunderstood what was said, or what that someone meant to convey by saying it.  When doubt clouds your judgement between right and wrong, you have opened your armor against temptation.  Once you are vulnerable, it is easier to tempt you.  The lesson here is to what God said and what He MEANT when He said it, and what you should do in the light of it being said.

KNOW THE WORD INSIDE AND OUT!

SATAN THE ACCUSER

Along with being the adversary, Satan loves to accuse us.  If he can make a case against you, then he thinks he wins.  The case doesn’t even have to be true, as Satan is not acquainted with the truth.  It just has to be convincing.

SATAN WILL ACCUSE YOU TO GOD.

In the book of Job, we see that Satan was in the throne room of God.  Satan waited in line so he can accuse someone to God.  In this case, God, knowing what Satan was up to, offered Job as an example of one of his children.  Immediately, Satan accused Job to God and said that if God hadn’t shown Job such favor, Job would just abandon his faith, and curse God to God’s face.

Satan will go to the Living God and accuse you every time you trip up.  He gets his kicks doing this.  He believes that he is rubbing God’s children’s failures in God’s face.

SATAN WILL ACCUSE GOD TO YOU

Sometime we mess up.  We sin.  And when we do, our conscience starts eating at us.  We pray and confess our sin, and repent of it.  But Satan will come along in an effort to rob you of your joy,  and tell you, “God is mad at you for what you did.  What a loser you are to God.  You blew it with the Big Guy this time.”  Satan will rob you of your joy if you give him one second to make his case to you.   There is a way to deal with this, and I will show you in a minute.

SATAN WILL ACCUSE YOU TO YOURSELF

When we mess up, and we know we have messed up, Satan loves to accuse you to yourself so that you will forget to go to God for confession and repentance and forgiveness.  He wants to distract you, so you will be too confused and full of self loathing to do the right thing.  He may say things like,  “You know what it says in the Book, “The wages of sin is death.”, you might as well give up.  You will never be good enough for God.  You can’t go ten minutes with out tripping up.  Man, you call yourself a Christian.”  If he can get your eyes off the redemptive work of Jesus, he can bring you down to a pit of misery and personal hell.  If you stay there, you may eventually lose your faith altogether.  This is the goal of Satan as the accuser.  To separate you from God.

WHAT GOD HAS TO SAY ABOUT YOU

THE ASSURANCE OF GOD’S GRACE

You have the assurance of God’s Grace when you repent.  You have this assurance because you have accepted that Jesus died on the cross in your place for all your sin, past present and future.  You are saved because of His death and resurrection.  When Jesus died on the cross, the eternal covenant was sealed.  Satan was defeated, and lost the right to call Earth his home, and human souls his own.  Jesus took the keys of hell away from Satan for all eternity.

     For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;  whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;  for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  Romans 3 :23-26 NASB

When you go to God, you have the assurance that God will blot out your transgressions for the sake of the blood of Christ that covers you, and makes you God’s own beloved child.

“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”  Isaiah 43:25

Because of this great gift of God’s grace, through Jesus Christ you can say:

I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”  Isaiah 61:10  NASB

GOD CHOOSES TO FORGET YOUR TRANSGRESSION

Because of your faith in Jesus Christ, and because you turned to God, confessed your sin, repented of it in your heart, and laid it at His feet, you can say:  “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 NASB

Hanging on to your unconfessed sin will only weaken your faith, and open a door for the tempter to come in and twist your heart even more.  You have a loving God who is ever ready, and joyfully willing to forgive you.  You are His own precious one of you have accepted the free gift offered through Jesus Christ.  There is no other place to go to know real redemption and forgiveness of sin.  Unconfessed sin is a stumbling block to your growth in the Lord.

Have no fear.  Come to His throne with thanks giving and know he will forgive you.  You will leave the Throne Room knowing you are forgiven.  Be sure and leave that burden at his feet.  He will remove it from before Himself, and not count it as transgression against him.  You are free of this.

Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.  He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.”  Micah 7: 18-19 NASB

His desire is that you remain His child.  Because of the blood of Christ, you are saved.  When he sees you, he sees the mark of Jesus on you, and he declares his everlasting love for you.

“Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness; It is You who has kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.”  “For Sheol cannot thank You, Death cannot praise You; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness.”  Isaiah 38:17-18 NASB

HERE’S WHY

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  John 3:16-18 NASB

Satan thought he could take all of Humanity with him when he tempted Adam and Eve.  Like I said, he was deluded because he was incapable of reasoning out that he was evil and defeated.  The contract was that a perfect human had to be sacrificed, voluntarily, for the sake of all mankind.  There were no perfect humans on earth.  None.  But God foresaw all this from the beginning, and became human.  He came here in the form of Jesus.  The rightful heir to the throne, and a rightful rabbi of the house of Levi.  Jesus was on record of being a priest-king. And he lived without sin among us.  He came here that we will have life.  He came here for the express purpose of being that sacrifice that would satisfy all of Heavenly law.  He became the fulfillment of the law, when he died on the cross, and rose himself up again, by his own authority.  He did this to prove He has the right to be called the Son of God.

“God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  II Corinthians 5:21 NASB

Satan has no hold over you.  He has no power over you, unless you give it to him.  You are the precious child of God.  Nothing can remove you from God once you are His child.  You become His child when you believe with all your heart that Jesus IS the Son of God, died for your sins, and rose again on the 3rd day.

Satan will try to tempt you, deceive you and accuse you in order that you may stumble.  Satan will tempt you with things you like.  Satan will tempt you with things that God means to give you anyway.  When Satan tried to tempt Jesus to bow before him, so that all the kingdoms of the earth could be His, Satan was trying to tempt Jesus with what God was going to give Him any way.

By the Authority given to Jesus, you are saved if you believe.  You are safe from temptation if you know the word for what it actually says and actually means.  By the authority given to you by Jesus Christ, you are Christs representative while you still live.  Go boldly before the throne and be free of the things that encumber you.  What Satan tries to take your joy away, do what the angels did, and say, “The Lord Rebuke You”.

Satan has no power over you at all, unless you give him YOUR power.

Go, and sin no more.

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FAITH TO BE RECKLESS


David G. Perkins

FAITH IS NOT BELIEF WITHOUT PROOF, BUT TRUST WITHOUT RESERVATION.” – Anon

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Heb 11:1 – ESV

FACTOID: “The assurance of things hoped for (elpizomenōn hupostasis). Hupostasis is a very common word from Aristotle on and comes from huphistēmi (hupo, under, histēmi, intransitive), what stands under anything (a building, a contract, a promise). ” From Robertson’s Word Pictures

In this case, it is used as a contract of deed. Faith is the TITLE-DEED of things hoped for. It is the document that states clearly that you can have confidence in God‘s promises.

 FIRST THINGS FIRST

Faith is the Title Deed That says, “Because you have believed in Jesus Christ, you have inherited eternal life.” Almost everyone knows John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave…

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The Ethics of Hell


David G. Perkins

[NOTE: I have kept a copy of this article preserved and encrypted in the event that it is somehow altered by a person or persons other than me.]

“Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. “Ecc 3:16 -17

THE SETTING:

Ray Charles can see that the Government of the United States has abandoned all that is holy, moral, legal and right. Oftentimes, I stand in stupefied wonder that “We the People” have let this happen.

The condition we are in today didn’t happen overnight, either. I remember vividly, in the 1960’s, when God was being kicked out of school. Today, there is a concerted and…

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FamilyLife Today® Radio : The Downward Spiral


This is good stuff.
The Downward Spiral

Tue, 18 Jun, 2013Every person has a story to tell. For some, like Joy McClain, living with an alcoholic husband had become a nightmare. Joy describes how, lifted up by the prayers and encouragement of the church body, she found herself being coaxed out of despair, even as her marriage continued to spiral downward.

Listen to today’s program:   http://web.familylifetoday.com/fl2013-06-18.mp3
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More on The Ethics of Hell (What Makes Us Unworthy of Christ)


“For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”16:7b NASB

from http://www.blueletterbible.org/

C.S. Lewis is one of my most favorite Authors.  In his great work, “Mere Christianity“, Lewis had this to say about ethics:

All quotes are from “Mere Christianity”:

“One man may be so placed that his anger sheds the blood of thousands and another so placed that however angry he gets he will only be laughed at. But the little mark on the soul may be much the same in both. Each has done something to himself which, until he repents, will make it harder for him to keep out of the rage next time he is tempted, and will make the rage worse when he does fall into it. Each of them, if he seriously turns to God, can have that twist in the central man straightened out again; each is, in the long run, doomed if he will not. The bigness or smallness of the thing, seen from outside, is not what really matters.

“Good people know about both good and evil. Bad people do not know about either.”

“While the rule of chastity is the same for all Christians at all times, the rule of propriety changes. A girl in the Pacific Islands wearing hardly any clothes and a Victorian lady completely covered in clothes might both be equally ‘modest’; proper or decent, according to the standards of their own societies; and both, for all we could tell by their dress, might be equally chaste (or equally unchaste).

It all boils down to what is in our hearts.

It doesn’t matter what others think about what is in our hearts, although most of us crave the adoration and approval of some one.

In fact, outward appearances can be quite deceiving.  Planned Parenthood is a very good example.  They claim to offer medical services for females, that, without their help, all females would be deprived of.  The intent of the founder of Planned Parenthood was that all “undesirable races and people” be either eliminated or reduced to manageable numbers.  It was the writings of that founder that inspired Hitler.  He wrote about it in his own diseased journals.  Both Planned Parenthood and Hitler have lived up to the intent of their desires.

Now, that may be an extreme case of the ethics of Hell.  But let that serve as a good example.

As Christians, we are to be more like Christ.  As we grow in the knowledge of Jesus, and the Spirit of God works in you, to become more Christ Like, you will find that the decisions you make are more eternal than you think.

I will give you another example.  Say you, as a Christian, run across a person in genuine need.  It doesn’t matter what that need is, you fill in the blanks.  I actually heard a brother in the Lord say, “I would have helped that person, but I don’t know but that God may be putting that person through that thing in order to grow that person up.”

What that brother failed to realize, as he was doing the wrong thing for the right reason, is; Maybe God put that person in YOUR life just to see what YOU would do, and in failing to do that, whatever act of Grace, or Mercy you should have done, you yourself missed out on the growth, the blessing, the grace and the mercy for yourself.   None of us, unless God has spoken directly to you about a person, knows what is really going on with someone.   But when God places them in our path, we are to act toward them just as we would want God to act toward us.  Let us stop making excuses for our unfaithfulness.

So you will know, and we will all be accountable for our gifts of knowledge, I am going to spell out some of the “Ethics of Hell”.

1. Doing the wrong thing.   example: Orphaned children in Puerto Rico are being rounded up daily, and used as sex slaves.  After they are used up in that trade, they are taken out to the edges of town and used as target practice for criminals, gangs, and some police officers, and their police dogs.   God forgive me and all the rest of us who know this and do nothing about it.  God make us able to do something about it.

2. Doing the wrong thing for the right reason.  example:  I see someone in need, but I do not have the resources to meet that need.  Instead of asking for God’s provision for that person, or consulting someone who is in a better position to help, you steal something and give it to them, believing God will look the other way.  That is the Robin Hood stuff that our current Government is made of.   If you do harm to one person in order to do good for another, you have still been part of the harm.  

3. Doing the right thing for the wrong reason. example: You know of a family in need. You meet that need, but not in the way that your right hand does not know what your left hand is doing.  You meet that need simply so others will recognize how “spiritual and Christian” you are.  Publicity is probably not your only motive, either.  You probably are slowly positioning yourself so that enough people will think highly enough of you so you can impose your personal agenda on others.  God has His own agenda, and doesn’t need yours.  

4. Doing Nothing at all.  example – Take any of the examples above, and do nothing at all about it.  Don’t pray about it, don’t help, don’t get involved.  don’t feel compassion for others.  Don’t feel mercy or grace.  I guarantee, if you do this, you will get from God exactly what you have put into it.

You don’t need anyone’s permission to obey God, and do the right thing.  You WILL be laughed at, despised, called names, and people will actually try to stop you, some will even be “Christians” and other well-intentioned dragons.

Do it any way.  Cross that street.  Give to that person in need.  Stand between evil and the ones who will commit that evil.  The reason you weren’t raptured the day you got saved is that God is not done with your NEW LIFE.  It will be better for you to do this and lose everything than to commit the ethics of hell and save your own skin.

The simple fact of my writing this means I will be put to the test.  If you have actually read this far, then you are also accountable.  Just be careful of your intentions.  Whatever you do, what ever you don’t do, say, or think (As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he) know that God is seeing your INTENTION.  Whatever it is you intend, it will also be done to you, in the same measure.  This is why we are not to worry about what others will think of us.

We are free, by the Blood of Jesus Christ to be called the sons and daughters of God.  We have been given the authority of Jesus to do what Jesus has commanded all of us to do.

Let’s be about it.

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Do You Love Me? (The Concentric Circles of Love)


So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” John 21:15

This is for all of us who are looking for home.  This is for all of us who have been rejected and condemned by the church.  This is for you who, in one form or another, walked in service to Christ, but did something stupid, and have fallen out of relationship to Him.  This is for those of us who have, for a season, felt the loss when God let you have your way, cut the moorings from his shore, and your ship drifted, alone, lost at sea.

You miss the joy of your salvation.  You miss the sweet fellowship you had in your Bible studies, worship, and prayers.  You miss the embrace and fellowship of other, like-minded, servants of Christ.

You have been shunned by friends, family, and strangers. You think, “But they don’t know what is in my heart!”  No, they don’t, and chances are, they never will.  You have to accept some realities, and it is not easy.

Is the joy of your salvation an echo of things past?  Is the sweet embrace of the Holy Spirit now just an ache of longing?

Is the weight of your sin so unbearable that sometimes, you wonder if people are right about you, that you cannot be redeemed, that you are better off dead, that you would do more people a favor if you just went away?

I have good news for you. You are wrong.  People are wrong.  And God is waiting with His arms outstretched, waiting with all his heart for you to come home.

I can tell you this because I have just gone through this.

There was a time in Peter’s life that he swore to Jesus “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” (Mat 26:33) Jesus told Peter,  “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” (Matt 26:34)

Peter was a strong and courageous, if not a bit hot headed, man.  The thought of denying Jesus never occurred to him. He rested in his own strength to stand with Christ when things really hit the fan.

But when they did, Peter denied Christ three times before the rooster crowed.

“And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”  And he went out and wept bitterly.” Matt 26:75

Now, you weren’t at the arrest and trial of Christ, AND you are not Peter.  But, you were saved, and you were serving.  And you did something that separated you from God’s loving fellowship.  You suddenly understood what the first part of the verse in Isa 54:7 meant:  “For a small moment have I forsaken thee;”  and now you want to have the rest of that verse apply to you as well: “but with great mercies will I gather thee.”

After my fall from God, I went out and wept bitterly.  I could feel His absence as loudly as a clap of thunder.  I know it is not conventional theology to say that for a season God will separate Himself from you, but He will, and does as He is the same, yesterday, today and forever.

I used to tell my wife that I want to return to His fellowship,  but I have no way of knowing how to get back to Him.  The good news, as you will eventually discover, is that you have not even left the palm of His hand.  He has simply left you to your own devices for a season.

Eventually, and my wife will attest to this, eventually, if returning is your hearts true yearning and intent, then you will have the support of the entire Kingdom of Heaven.

CIRCLE 1:  Draw a circle around yourself (Not really, but in your mind).  Include in that circle everything that is currently you.  You have to be totally honest, here.  Include all that you perceive is good and from God, and in a separate pile, include all you have said, or done, that is not of God.  You will know what those things are by the way they reveal your relationship to God.  Everything you do either accepts Christ as your Lord, or it rejects Christ as Lord.  Even though the hurt you have caused was to others, as well, in the end, it is a behavior that ultimately denies Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

God may do you like He did me, and have me pick up every little behavior that denied Him, and address each one on an individual basis.  But I am, and you can ask my wife, a Jack Ass.  It takes me longer to do things because I am stubborn.

Eventually, God will show you that, because you have confessed your sin, He has dealt with them.  He promises us all that He has thrown them as far away as the East is from the West.  That he has trampled them underfoot, and remembers them no more.  That He has cast them into the sea of forgetfulness.  Jesus died for ALL of our sin, past, present and future.  That is not a license to sin, it is the permission to forgive yourself if you have repented.

Accept this forgiveness, and forgive yourself.  Your judgment is not greater than God’s.  If He has forgiven you, then you are forgiven, PERIOD.  This may take time, or it might be instant.  In the end, you will know the joy of your salvation.  There is no sin you can commit that is so bad that God will not forgive you, if it is in your heart to repent.  All sin is a denial of Christs work on the cross.  Be forgiven.  You will be free.

CIRCLE 2:  Now, draw a larger circle around that first circle.  The first circle represents God dealing with you, and you doing business with God.

Circle 2 contains all the people your sin has directly affected.

You are forgiven, but not forgotten.  You have hurt people you love.  You must lay your offering at the alter and seek forgiveness for all the hurt you have done.  This is an ongoing process, and may not be able to be accomplished overnight.  But it is necessary.  And it is good, albeit a hard thing to do.  You have to overcome your fear of rejection, your fear of not being taken seriously, and possible the reality that you may not be forgiven.  There really is nothing you can do about that, but you must, with all Godly intention, seek forgiveness for the harm you have done.  Whatever happens from your effort, God will show you how it is a blessing.  Some loss happens, but if you stand in your faith, God will see it through.  Many times, healing happens.  And it will be good, and fruitful for both of you.

CIRCLE 3: These are the people that you did not sin against, but are really angry because you have hurt someone thy love when you sinned.  Listen closely.  You still have to do business with them.  You have to obey God in this.  Forgive their hatred and the terrible, and hurtful things they have said to you and about you.  And seek their forgiveness.  It would help a lot if the person or persons in the second circle would go with you, and help smooth things over, so that they can see that a genuine change has happened in your heart.

They will either accept that you are redeemed, or not.  They will either forgive you or not.  You do not know the hearts of men (or women), but God does.  He knows where they are in their walk, you don’t.  He knows where they need work, you don’t, and unless God uses you to affect their changes, you have no business interfering with the work God is doing in their lives.  BUT, you do get to love them. You do get to pray with them and for them.

Take care of this business.  Don’t worry about the outcomes.  Your walk doesn’t depend on how people in the second and third circle treat you, what they say about you, or if they believe you.  Your walk depends ONLY on your obedience to God.  He has called you to return to His embrace.  He has cleansed you of your sin.  He has demonstrated His overwhelming love for you.

Peter denied Christ three times.  In order to restore Peter, Jesus asked Peter, three times, if Peter loved him.  This sealed Peter in his love for Christ.  Peter eventually did die for the sake of the Gospel.

This leads to

CIRCLE 4:  Now you have done all you can to be redeemed to God, your beloved friends and loved ones, and the people who were affected by your behavior.

YOU ARE  FREE!

Be free to serve.  Be recklessly abandoned to Christ and His service for you.  This is the 4th circle.  Jesus said:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matt 28:20

Now you feel his call.  You do not need anyone’s permission to obey.  Lay your hindrances at God’s feet, and He will clear the way for you to serve Christ.  It IS your call, and God’s gift is without repentance.

Go, be about it.


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Forgiveness, the Test of Authenticity


“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil [souls][humans]. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.  Luke 6: 35 – 37 NASB

Also, do not take seriously all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your servant cursing you. For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others.. Eccl 7:21 – 22 NASB

SCRIPTURES COPIED FROM:  http://www.blueletterbible.org/

THIS ONE IS PERSONAL.  I HAVE CHOSEN TO EXPOSE MYSELF IN THIS REGARD SIMPLY BECAUSE MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO KNOW ME ALREADY KNOW MUCH THESE EVENTS.  I AM NOT LOOKING FOR YOUR PITY.  I WANT TO USE THIS VERY PERSONAL EVENT TO SHOW YOU HOW I FIRST LEARNED FORGIVENESS.

IT IS TO THEM, THE WELL INTENTIONED DRAGONS, THAT I DEDICATE THIS INSTALLMENT ON FORGIVENESS.  I REALLY LOVE YOU, HONESTLY, COMPLETELY. AND IN THE NAME OF JESUS, I LOVE YOU.

I am going to share with you a special case under the heading of Forgiveness.  It is a case that I struggle with.  To forgive and to be forgiven.  This is about accepting God‘s forgiveness, yet dealing with the unforgiving souls who insist that you are still damaged goods, in spite of what God has done.  In a later installment (Which I have not decided if I will post) I will deal with an extreme case of hatred, and where forgiveness comes into the picture.

20 years ago, God told me that my first marriage was going to end.  I knew a week before it happened that it was coming.  God let me know in no uncertain terms that, if I will cling to Him during this storm, He would sustain me, restore me, and make me stronger in the Lord than I could imagine.  The clouds were in the sky, but the storm had not hit, yet.

Although I could see this storm coming, I had not prepared my heart for the intensity of the storm.  And it was intense.  The year leading up to this storm, I had really begun to stray from God, through various acts of self righteousness.  I had become a Pharisee of the first order.  God had given me the privilege of seeing Moslems come to Christ in my ministry.  God had given me the privilege of seeing witches, satanists, and gang members come to the Lord.  He used me as His pen to draw the picture of salvation.  But in my pride and arrogance, I felt I could take it from there, and pretty much excluded God from His work in me.  I had stopped bible reading and prayer.   I began to allow the little foxes of sin and pride into my garden.  Eventually, I was screwing up my life, and didn’t understand it was my fault.

Then the storm hit.

My heart was not prepared for it, even though God had let me know in very clear terms it was coming.  The right thing for me to do would have been to repent of my sin, humble myself before the Lord, seek His forgiveness, and cling to Him for all I was worth.  But because I didn’t heed God’s warning, I was not able to withstand the unbearable intensity of losing my wife.

Even then I had the opportunity to repent and turn to God.  I failed that test, too.  I was letting my confusion, frustration and anger do my thinking.  I was allowed to have my way, and I was left to my own devices.  And I fell into even more sin than I could imagine was possible.

I left behind a trail of destruction.

Later on, I met my current wife.  I was still damaged goods.  The day I met her, the very instant I saw her, I had a vision of things to come.  I saw us married, and I saw my child.  I actually saw Hannah, years before she was born.  (There is more to that, and remind me to tell it to you).

What I saw scared me so badly, I ran away from her and hid for 6 weeks.  Anyone who knows me knows I don’t back down from anything.  But THIS vision truly horrified me.  See, I knew deep in my soul that I had not done business with God.  I had a lot of repentance to do.  I had a lot of forgiveness to seek and give.  I was seriously damaged goods.

Eventually, I screwed up my courage and called her, and we dated and eventually got married.  A year later, Hannah was born.

But I still lived in rebellion to God.  By this time, I genuinely began to crave that sweet relationship with God, but I wanted that relationship on my terms.  I didn’t want to go through the very hard time of repentance.  And I had some repenting to do.

Eventually, I let sin get the best of me again.  It was one of the big ones, and it caused a great deal of hurt in my marriage.

The details are none of your business.  But I sinned.  And I never sin in half measures.

The damage was bad.  Family on both side of the fence let me know in no uncertain terms what a schmuck I was.  Some even told me I would be better off dead.  Some cursed me to my face, and spared no expense telling everyone and everything that would listen what an incredible sin I had committed.  It affected my ability to make friends, it affected my ability to get a job (I live in a small town).  I was given the scarlet letter.  In the view of these well meaning dragons, I was irredeemable, and there will be no forgiveness to be had.  People told me to my face that they want me to leave, go away, never return, to do my wife a favor and disappear.  I genuinely got to see the dark side of the children of God.

Eventually, people I had never known would confront me about this sin. I learned that, not only do religious people love to hate, but they love to gossip, too.

I had begun to crave the presence of God in my life, and I wanted so bad to have a prayer partner.  While I was at work, one day, the guy that delivers our welding gases drove up.  He was very nice, very friendly.  Somehow, we began to talk about God.  I told him that I had fallen out of fellowship with God, and want to know the presence of God in my life.  He prayed with me and for me.  He told me I can come by his work-place anytime I wanted to pray with him.  He gave me his phone number.  I was so overjoyed, I actually started crying right there, in front of my co-workers.  I actually had someone to talk to, who wanted to work with me on the return to God.

A week later, I needed to go to that guys’ work place to buy an additional bottle of acetylene gas.  While my order was being filled, I went to that guy.  Instead of shaking my hand, I was met with a great deal of hostility.  It turned out that he was also a prayer partner with one of the well intentioned dragons who told me my family would be better off if I were dead.  I saw genuine hate in this man’s eyes.  He let me know what that well intentioned dragon had told him.  I was devastated that in an instant, a person I just met, who would pray with me, would turn on me with such vengeance.

My wife had a heart attack.

While she was in surgery, and I was waiting in the waiting room, I was told that one of my wife’s friends wanted to talk to me.  I got her phone number, and after I got home, late that night, I called her. It started out alright.  I wanted things to go well, as I have always admired this person.  I mean I genuinely loved this person.  The conversation suddenly turned ugly.  She let me know that there is no way that healing in my relationship with my wife would happen.  That this friend had been trying with all her might to get my wife to leave me and move in with her.  I was, once again, informed that the local world would be better off if I just went away.

I think it was this turn of events, my wife having a heart attack, her friends and relatives continually letting me know that it would be best if I just went away, seeing the dark hearts of Christians who couldn’t forgive, that I knew then I was genuinely lost to God.

I wrote in another installment on Forgiveness how to return to a forgiven state, and how to forgive.  The above events in my life are where I had to learn this process.

1. I turned to God.  I had to get back to the fundamentals of the faith, here.  I confessed that I know there is a God.  I confessed that I know that this God is THE creator, the great I AM of Scripture, the one who created us Humans.  I confessed that man fell from God just as I had fallen from God.  I confessed that God gave His only begotten Son to die for the sins I have committed, so I will not have to face God’s wrath, but have eternal life in Jesus Christ.  Then I confessed my anger.

I was angry at me.  A Lot.

I was angry at Christians who could not offer a healing hand, but offered only condemnation.  I was angry, angry, angry.  It was a deep and abiding anger that burned hot.  This was the hardest thing for me to face.  My anger.  God showed me how my anger does not further the Kingdom of God.

Until I could learn to place that at the feet of God, and let Him take it out of my heart, there would be no further progress in my restoration to Him.  Period.  This kind of anger has no place in the Kingdom, and I cannot return to the service of God if I insist on being angry.  It took from around 2007 to 2012 to work through that.  But God did His wonderful work in me, and helped me be rid of that hate and anger.  It is gone, now.  It is a distant echo.  God has shown me what I need to learn from it, and has healed me.  The lesson I learned here is, I cannot turn to people for help.  I must first turn to God.  People will be too married to their opinions and agenda to be able to help.  And I learned that that, too, is OK.  We are all human, and have things to work out with God.  It is not my place to judge them, or be angry with them.

2. BE WILLING.  I was in love with my anger.  It was all that drove me.  I had forgotten that there is more power in a whisper of God’s love than there is an a ton of anger and hate.  So this was a hard one foe me.  Here were people speaking death into my life, into my marriage, and “In the name of the Lord” letting me know just how irredeemable I was.  I was hurt, disappointed, angry, and these feelings had become so familiar, and so normal to me, that letting go of them was worse than having surgery with out pain killers.  (That happened to me once, it was awful).

But, Just as Jesus prayed in the garden, the night before His arrest, “Not my will, but thine.”  It took a lot of work for me to be willing to give up my anger.  I loved having an excuse to throw tantrums.  But God wanted to turn me into a man of God, not a child of the world.  I had to be willing to release that anger, hostility, rage, and resentment of all those well meaning dragons.  And, with the power of God’s grace, I did, and do, and will.  I willed that my will align with God’s will.  Not for their snakes, but mine.  My attitude had no place in God’s will for my life.  If I want to truly return to Him, I had to let go  of anger.  And the more my will aligned with God’s desire for my life, the more anger diminished, until it was only a memory.  And I was surprised by the intense JOY that replaced the anger.  Obedience to God brings joy, even when you think your world is going to hell.  I understood grace.  I felt mercy.  From there, it was a simple thing to let go of my hurt and anger, and forgive all the well intentioned dragons.  It is easier to accept those Christians who speak death in my life.  They honestly think they are doing the right thing.  How often had I thought that about my anger and hurt.  I get it.  We are all saved, but we are all incomplete.  We are all having to grow.  Now I am able to understand what Jesus meant when he prayed on the cross, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

I AM FREE!.  I AM FREE!  I AM FREE!!!  Free to dive deep into the word of God, free to love.  Free to pray for those who hate me.  Free to serve God.  Free to pray with my wife, who has forgiven me my sin.  What a joy it is to be married to the most incredible woman in the world.  I could search all my life and not find a woman as wonderful and great as she is.

I have given up “my right” to anger and hate, and unforgiveness.  For the first time in 20 years, I feel free, loving, forgiven, and I feel hope.  I feel JOY.  I can dance with King David and sing that the Lord my God, the Living God, has restored my soul.

It doesn’t matter one whit what people will say to you, about you, against you.  There is NOTHING on this earth you can do about it EXCEPT FORGIVE THEM.  Then you can let it go, and you will find you actually really love these well intentioned dragons.  REALLY love them and care about them.

The are just as fallen as you are.  You need to worry about your own walk in the Lord. Even if you have to do what I did and return to the fundamentals and grow from there.

I have not ever felt this freedom before.  EVER.  What a glorious God we serve.  What a powerful God he is that he can root out my sin and hold me close, and tell me he loves me.  It no longer matters who else loves me, not now that I know where I stand with God.

Listen, people who have their minds made up about you will only change when God deals with them.  Not a minute sooner.  You may raise people from the dead, right before their eyes, and they might still speak death into your life.  It is OK, the religious of Jesus’s day did the same thing.

Now, go, sit at God’s feet, and do business with the Lord.  I can tell you, as one who has come out of that bath, it is good, it is joy, it is clean.  God is GREAT.  And I thank God for this freedom.

I really want to hear from you if you need prayer.  I don’t care what evil you have done, I will not turn you away.  I can do this because it is what God has done for me.

I genuinely love you in the Name of Jesus, and because of God’s great love in my heart.

Now, go be about it.

David G. Perkins.

 

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Faith, Uncategorized

The Jewels in Your Crown: Forgiveness, Part 2


“and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matt 6:12 – Part of “The Lord’s Prayer” given by Jesus Christ

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Matt 6:15-16 – Spoken by Jesus Christ

I apologize for the inevitable length of this installment.  I am doing my best to condense this without leaving out the important stuff.  There will be other parts following this one, but this part will help complete the groundwork of the battlefield of life where Forgiveness is our greatest weapon.

A great deal of this depends on you.  It depends on the state of your heart, and your willingness to genuinely forgive.  I will be covering this in this installment.  I appreciate your patience and indulgence with the length of this article.

In part one I covered a few of the stumbling blocks in our daily walk in Christ, where it comes to forgiveness.

1. Being willing and desiring to forgive.  It is MY WILL that is forgiving or unforgiving.

2. Rehearsing over and over again the litany of wrongs done to you.

3. Pride – the belief that the person who offended you ought to know you are offended and ought to come to you to ask for forgiveness, that YOU shouldn’t have to go to them.  (This one is a whopper, as Jesus himself went to the people who needed forgiveness instead of the other way around.)

4. Fear – Fear of being taken advantage of, Fear of rejection, fear of being misunderstood.

Most of our unforgiveness toward others can be boiled down to these 4 things.  I have no doubt you can come up with more than this list, but I think these are the roots of unforgiveness.

Sometimes these stumbling blocks hang around, impeding your walk for various reasons.  Perhaps you have to continue to forgive someone who insists on hurting you.  Perhaps you are angry at them, or angry for some other reason.  Perhaps you harbor anger and don’t even know it.

Before anyone decides I should walk in their shoes, let me tell you.  I have been hurt deeply by people I love completely.   The details are none of your business, but I genuinely do understand the intense pain of betrayal, of intentional deception, of abandonment by brothers in the Lord.  I have been disowned, cursed, gossiped about, lied to, and some have done far worse things than this to me.  So believe me when I tell you, I understand the pain of the deep hurt by loved ones.

When this type of hurt happens, you feel as if you are in an explosion.  Nothing is the same again, ever.  It takes time even to realize how real this situation is.  It takes time to regain your bearings from the intensity of this sudden hurt.  Your friends may abandon or betray you, your loved ones will offer you anything but hope and mercy and grace.  Those closest to you will judge you.

These are hurts that take time to get over.  The hard part about this hurt is, if you are not careful, you will let anger and bitterness grow roots and take over your heart and mind.  When this happens, your ability to love and trust and commune with the Living God is impeded by the bitterness that flows in your veins.

I am begging you today, if this is you, find a way to stop yourself from getting deeper involved in the anger and bitterness.  The last 20 years of my life are the result of me losing my bearings, and taking matters in my own hands.

When Jesus was instructing the disciples on how to pray, He included this phrase, “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matt 6:12.  After that, He continued to instruct his disciples saying, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Matt 6:15-16

You will know when you have unforgiveness because your joy in the lord is diminished, your communion with Him feels incomplete.  You have a stumbling block keeping your walk from being joyous,, fulfilling and growing.  You are at a standstill with God.

Listen to these hints from the Spirit of God.  If there is unforgiveness between you and God, it is likely because you have unforgiveness between you and someone else.  Or unconfessed sin. God will wait right there with you, as long as it takes until you take care of your business.  The good news is that God will be with you because He always empowers obedience to Him.

If God acted in any other way toward you, while you hold bitterness and unforgiveness and anger in your heart, then He would be contradicting His own nature.  He would be condoning sin.

Jesus taught that we reap what we sow.  An unforgiving spirit affects every aspect of your life.  It will come back to you with interest.  When it does, this is when anger and bitterness can set root.

An unforgiving spirit will generate in you a critical spirit.  Unforgiveness is detrimental and destructive, and will influence everything else you try to do.  If you find yourself being overly critical or overly cynical, there is a chance you are harboring unforgiveness, that has given root to bitterness.

When Jesus was teaching the disciples about forgiveness, Peter (A man I can clearly identify with), asked Jesus:  “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?”

“Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Matt 18:21-22

Was Jesus telling Peter you have to forgive someone 490 times, then all bets are off?  No.  Forgiveness takes practice, and Jesus was telling Peter you must forgive repeatedly.  The good news is that, the more you do it, the better you get at doing it.

In other words, Jesus was telling Peter, and the others, that there is no measuring rod.  I can tell you that, by the time you get in to the habit of forgiving, you actually lose count.  We do not return insult for insult, but we bless those who curse us, and pray for those who despitefully use us.  When you get in this habit of this kind of Grace and Mercy, forgiveness will grow in your heart until you have a joy about forgiving.  In other words, When you can learn to forgive, you will find there is NO LIMIT on forgiveness.

Forgiveness comes from your heart, not your lips.  How many times has someone said or done something to offend you, and immediately they said “I’m Sorry”, and you said “I forgive you”.  Then after they left, you couldn’t wait to tell everyone you know how you were wronged?

So the burning question here is, since Jesus has forgiven you ALL you have done against God, how many times and things will you forgive others?

Unless forgiveness comes from the heart, it is not forgiveness. You don’t really have to forget, either.  If it is genuine forgiveness, when it comes to your mind later on, it will be in the form of lessons learned.

To not forgive means you would rather wear the chains of slavery to anger and bitterness.  Some people actually fall in love with their anger and bitterness.  It gives them something to wallow in as an excuse to not do business with God.  It feeds our vanity to be this way.  We get to present ourselves as the wronged ones, and try to illicit sympathy form others, so you can look like you are really suffering for your faith.

THIS is really a faithless act, and is sin, too.  It is pride and fear that keeps you in chains.

Who are you angry with?  What did they say or do that means they can never be forgiven?  What have you said or done that means God can never forgive you?  Do you want differential treatment over this issue?  In order to be forgiven, you have to forgive.  You cannot get rid of this anger or hurt by running away from it.  You have to put your offering down and go deal with it.  You have to let the Holy Spirit deal through you for healing to really happen.

Hurt is hard, Especially when it is repeated hurt, willful hurt, intentional hurt.  No person who deeply loves can just switch off the hurt. It is a process.  It may not come instantly.

Here is the process that leads to forgiveness.  You may have to do this every 5 minutes, or every day, or as often as it takes until the Spirit of God has worked in you to forgive.

STEP 1:  ANGER  You have to acknowledge your anger.  Confess it before the Lord.  Lay it at His feet.  He loves you and cares for you.

Make this confession after you have asked forgiveness for sin and anger: “Because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, I have experienced God’s total forgiveness in my life”.  “I have been saved by his grace, His love, and His mercy.”  “All of my forgiveness has come from God.”

FORGIVENESS is one of the very first gifts God gives you.  Forgiveness is ongoing in your life, because you are human, and make mistakes.  But God is HAPPY and DESIRING to forgive.  It is His joy to do this in your heart.  He will show you, that the forgiveness that began at the Cross, is still going on today, in you, in your life.  He will give you the gift of forgiveness.  Do business with God first.  Forgiveness is a gift that will grow in your heart the more of it you give away.  God has been doing this for you every day of your whole life.

Make this confession:  “I AM FORGIVEN!”  Keep doing this until it becomes real to you.  It is oftentimes a process.  But the anger has to go away.

STEP 2:  BE WILLING. Be willing to confess your anger, hostility, rage, resentment, and whatever feelings you have toward that person.  Ask God to forgive your anger and hurt for that person.  BE SPECIFIC.  When you are specific, it breaks the bondage.  You must be willing to deal with it specifically and personally.  If you are genuinely confessing something, you have to deal with it.  God will wait for you to do this, and He will empower your obedience.

STEP 3:   THE WORD.  Learn that your unforgiveness is a violation of the word of God.  If I have an unforgiving spirit, I have sinned against God and others.  Know what the Bible has to say about forgiveness and unforgiveness.  Look it up in your Bible index.  You have to know the word, confess the word, and recognize this in your heart.  Out of the overflow of your heart, comes the issue of your lips.

STEP 4:  ASK GOD to forgive you.  Be specific about what you have said, or done, or felt in your heart against the person who hurt you.  God will take that and relieve you of it.   Confess all of it.  You may have to do this a few times as things float to the surface.

There is nothing in the scriptures about CONDITIONAL forgiveness.  The Bible doesn’t say, “Ask your brother to forgive you UNLESS…he rejects you, misunderstands you, or it is just too painful for you.”  You will not find that in the Bible.

We are to forgive no matter what.  No matter the outcome.  No matter the consequences.  Even if that person doubles up on your pain, forgive anyway.

So, here we are dealing with the root of the problem.  It is an act of will that you forgive.  It was an act of will that Jesus died for you.  Jesus prayed at the garden, “Not MY will, father, but thine.”  God helped Jesus align Jesus will with the father’s will.  In the same manner, God will empower you to align your will with His if you ask from deep in your heart.  You have to be willing.

You may have to go to that brother and ask him or her to forgive you for your unforgiveness toward him or her.  You have an attitude in your heart. You have judged him unworthy of forgiveness.  Even IF he has wronged you, you still need to go to that person and ask him to forgive you of your attitude for him.

Pray this:  “By an act of MY will, Father, and by the power of the Holy spirit that lives within me, Father, I lay down my anger, my bitterness, my ‘right’ to be offended, my hurt.  I lay them all down at your feet,.”

This stops being about your feelings when you do this.  It becomes an act of your will.  Say, “I choose to lay it down”.  You will that God takes it from you.  If you leave this at the Father’s feet, God will remove the hurt from your life.  Acknowledge His forgiveness as you lay down your anger.  There may be MANY people you are angry with. Be willing to do this for each and every one of them.

It is a process.

God will let you know if you need to go to that person or not.  God will strengthen you to admit and gracefully confess to that person the conflict, as you seek forgiveness from that person about your attitude toward him.

If God sends you to that person, and you talk to him, DON’T ENUMERATE THE LIST OF THINGS DONE WRONG AGAINST YOU.  Remember what it says in II Corinthians that Love does not keep an accounting of the wrongs done against it.  God is Love, and His Spirit abides in you.  You don’t need to rehearse all the wrongs done against you to that person.  It will only make things worse.   Confess the attitude you have had toward that person, ask his forgiveness for your attitude, and leave it at that.  God will do the rest.

Genuine forgiveness does not build up a legal case, or a defense for your hurt, and say, “I will forgive you BUT.”  There are no buts to forgiveness.  You either forgive or you don’t.  Forgiveness is an act of grace, mercy, and unconditional love.  Forgiveness is given with no limitations or demands.

Don’t front-load your imagination about forgiveness.  In other words, don’t try to predict what his reaction will be.  You may be surprised at his reaction.

When you genuinely forgive others, not only do you set yourself free of the chains that bind your walk with God, but in the act of forgiving, you also set that person free of those same chains.

There is a true and genuine feeling of freedom when you allow God to work in you to remove the stumbling blocks of unforgiveness and anger.  I know this because I have been doing this.  The more I do this, the more free I feel in my heart and soul.  Anger becomes a last resort for me, instead of a first reaction.

BUT SUPPOSE THEY LIVE 1000 MILES AWAY, OR ARE ALREADY DEAD?

Ask yourself, “Is the unforgiveness still in my heart?”  If the answer is “yes” then you have a stumbling block.  Forgive them anyway.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:  Get two chairs.  Set them 2 feet apart facing each other.  You sit in one, and and you imagine that that person is sitting in the other one.  Tell that person exactly what you would say if they were really sitting in that chair.  Confess your attitude.  Ask forgiveness.  Chances are, if that person were a real difficulty in your life, you will have to do this several times before it gets real, and you forgive.  Just do it.  Ask their forgiveness for your attitude.   (I got this exercise from Charles Stanley).

Once you deal with that issue, claim the forgiveness by faith.  then tell yourself, “That is the end of THAT!”  If it turns out that it is not the end of that, do it again until it is.  I promise you, one day, you will get up from that chair, and you will be genuinely free of unforgiveness.

HOW Will I KNOW WHEN I HAVE REALLY FORGIVEN THEM?

I’ll tell you how you will know.  And I have experienced this repeatedly, so I know this is a fact.

The next time you think about them, there will not be any “static” in your heart toward them.  You will have a sense of freedom from that burden.  The harsh feelings are gone.  You will feel compassion for them and hope the best for them.  Somehow, you will be able to accept them as they are.  If the grievance is over a terrible wrong this person has done, let God have His way with that person.  It is not your place to hold unforgiveness.

When you are really and truly set free, you will be able to say in your heart, “Thank you God for teaching me about your grace.  Thank you for this lesson I would have not have learned if you had not brought me through this.  You have genuinely turned my curse into a blessing.”

This is not a one time thing.  You will have to forgive over and over in your walk.  How many times?  70 X 7.

I love you in the Lord.

Let me know if you need prayer for anything.

I am your little brother in Christ Jesus.

David G. Perkins

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