Faith

Me and My Big Mouth – Part III


This is from my personal journal, “Lessons From a Broken Heart.”

My definition of “Broken” is,  sometimes God has to break a man in order to make him teachable.  I am one of those men.  My personal journal records the lessons I have learned through the process of being broken, and subsequently healed by the Lord.

He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck,  will suddenly be broken beyond healing. Proverbs 29:1 ESV

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. Proverbs 12:1 ESV

If Discipleship were easy, everyone would be doing it, and it wouldn’t require discipline.  It would have an “Easy Button”, and at one click, we could all be wise.    I guess that would make it Easyship, instead of Discipleship.   Unfortunately, discipleship is hard.

Discipleship is hard because what the Holy Spirit is trying to teach me is completely contrary to my flesh, and my natural mind.  I have prayed to be possessed of the Mind of Christ, yet have spent the majority of my life doing things my way.   I was not willing to give up my character in return for the character of Christ.  But I still insisted that God deal with me.  I could have avoided all the pain of being broken had I either submitted in the first place, or admitted that I wanted to practice a counterfeit Christianity.

God disciplines the son he loves.

Instead of admitting I was faking my Christianity, and had no real relationship to the Lord, Jesus Christ, I kept asking God to make me like Christ.  None-the-less, I refused to submit to the will of God; To be made in the image of Jesus Christ.  I didn’t think it was all that important that I read the bible, pray, fellowship with other believers who are also being disciplined, etc.  I wanted to go on doing “My Thing”.

The reason I did that is because I didn’t know the difference between the personality that makes me David, and the Character that would make me Christlike.  I figured my fleshly character was fine.  “If you didn’t like it, stuff it.”  What I didn’t want to see was that I had to get out of the way, and let the Holy Spirit build in me the Character of Christ.  We were originally created in the likeness of the Living God, but our sin separated us from Him, and we forfeited His character for a fallen, sinful nature.

The rebellion cry of the fallen is , “I am me, you have to like me on my terms, and if you don’t then **** you!!!”  I have heard this a lot, recently from several people I correspond with.  But the prayer of the Saved is that we be remade into the image of Jesus.  The rebellious cry, “I am doing it my way!!!”  Sadly, so is much of Christendom.  The ones who have a shallow and cheap grace, believe that they can go right on ignoring the call to Christlikeness

We all have a personality.  Our personality is one of the unique things that makes us identifiable as individuals.  God didn’t mass produce a bunch of “I Robot” machines.  We are individual notes in a symphony of unimaginable beauty.  What makes our individual note sour and out of tune is the character of sin.  That is all we have to offer.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made, but, without Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, I am just my personality full of lousy character.

You never lose what makes you unique, but you gain what makes you acceptable to God.  We are all called to submit to the discipline of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit does not deal in accusation and shame.  That is what Satan Does.  The Spirit of God convicts, but never condemns.  You are already redeemed.  And u=in God’s eyes, you are complete in Christ, because of Christ.

SO!  What’s the big deal?  Here is the Big deal.  I lived most of my life insisting that God has to accept me as I am, period.  But I was not raptured the second I believed.  So, while you are still here on Earth, God wants to take you through the process of being remade in the likeness of Christ.  Your flesh will rebel every step of the way, but, you can overcome simply by submitting to the will of the Lord.  You have to lose your own life to gain His life in you.  You have to let the Holy Spirit take apart your character and replace it with His.  The reason for this is so you can be a living testimony of Jesus.

My misadventures in to all the dark places I have been were hell’s of my own making.  I never had to go there.  All I had to do was obey, and submit.  I could have avoided all that misery, had I just given my entire life over to Him in the first place.

But now I am finally there.  I have given up.  The strangest thing for a warrior of God to so is first surrender to God.  But you cannot, and will not serve God if you are stiff necked, arrogant, full of your own knowledge but devoid of the Knowledge of the Holy.

If you can read a Bible, open it with the desire to hear from God.  You cannot teach the Bible, it already knows more than you ever will.  But you can learn from it.  You cannot do that unless you have surrendered your way to God, and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into His righteousness.

I have joy to day because God broke me.  I have peace, I know love, REAL love.  I am being prepared for His service.  I no longer have that fire of hate and anger in me.  The Spirit of God is putting the light of His fire in me.

I grew weary of being stupid.  And it is a stupid man who claims he serves Christ bur refuses to learn wisdom.  This lesson came hard to me because I fought against God’s wisdom.  He let me wander around in my own filth.  No one saw Jesus when they saw me.

I can now say, with confidence, with the Apostle Paul, I am confident that He who began a good work in me, will be faithful to complete it untill the day of our Lord Jesus.  That is when I will perfectly reflect His image.  In the mean time, I choose to grow.  I choose to know the word.  I choose life over death.  It is only cheap grace and rebellion that says all you have to do is claim youare saved simply because you acknowledge Christ.  You will be part of the great falling away, because, when the storm blows, you will not have th edeep roots to withstand the tempest.

I was just like that, and every wind that blew, blew me off track, because I insisted that even the Almighty God has to accept me without changing me.  And I had the stones to ask God why nothing went right in my life.  A fool’s way will lead to death.  But the heart of the wise is ever learning.

Dear God,

Thank you that you love me enough to discipline me.  Thank you that you never gave up on me and kept at the art of breaking my will.  I surrender to you, My God.  I surrender to you because of the shed blood of Jesus the Messiah.  I pray you continue to fill me with YOUR spirit, as you remove my fallen character and make me in the image of your precious and only Son, Jesus Christ, My Lord.

I love you God.  I praise you God.  You are my delight and joy.  To you I give my heart.  Amen

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;  

a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  

Psalm 51:17 ESV

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Faith

Alright, people, this is  a LONG one.  Go get something to drink, and maybe a snack.

“He saved us —not by works of righteousness that we had done,  but according to His mercy—  through the washing of regeneration  and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5 HOL

Leaving the Military Base for good didn’t really come as a surprise to me.  I actually knew I would be leaving last November, 2012.   What I didn’t know then is the manner I would be leaving it.   Sometimes God has to give you a nudge to get your attention.

Here’s the deal.  I realized what had gone wrong with my walk with God, some 20 years ago.  I was doing it all on my own effort.  I had fallen for a cheap grace;  I knew in my heart that the call God placed on my heart a long time ago (1986 or 7), was the kind of call that means committing myself to that call.

Here is what I mean by that:  At the on-set, I knew that what God had called me to was the kind of thing that takes total commitment.  It was the type of calling that I could not, and would not do on my own.  Not having the patience to grow up, I took matters in my own hands, ran WAY ahead of God’s will for me, and attempted to do it all on my own.  My walk WAS pretty effective at first, but after a while, I grew fatigued.  When I grew fatigued, and because I was doing this ahead of the will of God, I didn’t have the power to sustain what I was doing.

Instead of going back to where I should have been, and taking the time to grow up, and finding the time and wherewithal to go through the disciplines of spiritual growth,  I gave up on God, and I gave up on everything else that relates to Christ.

I learned a few things over these last several years about that.  One thing I learned was that I had to get back to the very basics.  I had to be re-grounded.   In 2007, I began searching for God, again.  I didn’t know, at that time, that I had not left His hands.  It just felt that way.  The loneliness and desolation I felt was an isolation of my own creation.  I learned this from being a daddy.  Sometimes, you just have to let your kid alone with their thoughts, let them be mad at you, and let them struggle with the issue at hand.  Eventually, if you have been doing your job as a parent, that kid will come back, and peace will be made between you.  Hopefully, we both learned wisdom in that process.

God, however, does not need to learn anything.  So, if I had a problem with God, Christ, religion, etc, then it was not God that was wrong, it was my perception, or understanding of God that got in the way.  God is not going to let us play with strange fire, any more than you will let your child play in the middle of the Highway at rush hour.

It took me from 2007 to the present to learn what I am going to share with you.  And this is fundamental to understanding what it means to be a Christian.

Salvation is a work of God.

Humans are not capable of saving themselves.  Humans do not think they need saving. Despite of the ever present hole we feel in our heart that tells us something is missing, that something is wrong, it does’t occur to us that we are separated from God.  Nothing fills that hole either.  Trust me, I have tried.  There is not enough adventure to satisfy that missing piece.   There isn’t enough sex, food, money, material belongings, or vacations that can touch that hole in our soul.  Still, we go out of our way to fill it, thinking that the next adventure will do the trick.  We become objective junkies of whatever it is we pursue to fill that hole; yet nothing satisfies.

Somehow, someway, because it is not God’s will that anyone should perish, you hear the gospel message.  You learn that we are sinful creatures.  You learn that your best efforts will never please God.  You learn that the wages of sin is death.  But, while you were still enemies of God, He sent Jesus as His only begotten Son, to die in your place for that sin.  And if you believe in your heart that Jesus did this for you, and if you confess with your mouth that his resurrection was proof that he has the right and authority to bring the dead to life, then you are saved.

Before, you were already dead because of sin.  Now, you have eternal life  because of Christ Jesus.

You didn’t do this by your own power.  You were going along, pursuing anything that would fill that hole in your soul.  It was God that drew you to the right place at the right time.   There really was NOTHING AT ALL you could have done on your own to get to this place. (Titus 3:5).  God draws us to Himself.  Humans have no desire to be there.  All we know is that something is missing, and it takes God to show you what it is.

What you received is faith, so that you can believe.  That too is a gift from God, and not something you already have (Ephesians 2:1-5, 8).   And here is where I get back on track.

REAL faith , saving faith, is neither defective or short-lived.  REAL FAITH endures forever (Phil 1:6 & Hebrews 11).  God gave you that gift of real faith.  It never dies if it is real.

I had to ask myself a LOT of questions at this point.  I will cut to the chase, though and go to the answers.  The questions are self evident.

There is a gospel being taught in America. This gospel is NOT being taught anywhere else.  Friends of mine, from all around the world, have talked to me about this gospel.

My friends live in a world where merely mentioning Jesus Christ in public is the death penalty.  Or, they may go to jail.  It is risky business being a believer in those countries.   The Faith and Grace and commitment they have is genuine, real, forever, and powerful.  It gets tested every moment of every day.

My friends talk to me about our cheap grace.

American churches have gotten to the point that they teach that, all you have to do is give some sort of mental assent to the fact  that Jesus lived, and you are saved.  There is no need to see a change in your daily life.  You can go on and do whatever it was that you were doing.

American churches have stopped teaching that it is sin that separates us from eternity, and fellowship with God.   It is this cheap grace that has allowed the Roman Catholic Church to say to the Moslems, your path to God is equal to our path to God.  After all, there is plenty in the Koran and the Hadith that teaches that the historical Jesus existed.  By the logic of cheap grace, that makes the Moslems Christians, and the Christians Moslems.

Cheap grace teaches that it is not necessary to do anything other than give some mental assent to Jesus.  That you are saved if you do this.  But this is NOT what the scriptures teach.  (I recommend two outstanding books by John MacArthur, “The Gospel According to Jesus“,  and “FAITH WORKS – The Gospel According to the Apostles” for a really deep discussion on this topic).

Where I went wrong in my earlier walk was that I only acknowledged God, and only acknowledged Jesus, and decided I had better get busy “doing” what “Christians” do.  And it fell flat on its face.  Because I did not have a complete understanding of the effective work of God in my life, I was not able to sustain a relationship with God.

If you are simply going around acknowledging that Jesus existed, then, you are not saved.  SATAN knew Jesus existed, and HE is not saved either.  There is coming, in our lifetime, a falling away from the Church.  That will happen when those who say they belong to Christ are given a choice to serve Christ, or serve something that will cause less stress in their life.  Humans always chose the easy path.  It takes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the acknowledgement of Jesus as Lord, and the faith that God gave you to stand up to the pressure.  Those who live by cheap grace will discover that they are willing to sell their soul than acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Lord and the Savior.

The closest I ever got to what my friends overseas face was right after I was saved.  I was with one of my Moslem friends.  He had bought a new gun, and he wanted me to go shooting with him.  I took my gun, and we went.  I couldn’t shut up about Jesus.  He pointed his gun at my temple and said that if I mention Jesus again, he will kill me.  I mentioned Jesus.  He pulled the trigger, and the gun jammed.  God always protects children and fools.  It is foolish to commit yourself completely to Jesus as your lord.  It takes time, effort, and gets in the way of all your fun.  But if you are saved, you will know in your heart that serving God is better than anything else you could possibly ever want to do.  There is no cheap grace when you are on the firing line.  Another Moslem threatened to storm in to my home, tie me up, rape my wife in front of me, cut her throat, and then see if I will still be a Christian.  This is is actually what they do overseas to Christians.  I told him that neither my wife, or I will ever denounce our faith.  Fortunately, another friend from Lebanon stopped that guy.

In Ephesians 2:10, we learn that we are saved and fully justified BEFORE our faith ever produces a single righteous work.  It is never the other way around.  You are incapable of doing ANYTHING righteous until after you are saved and fully justified.  Then you cannot produce on your own, but only produce by the will of the Holy Spirit working in you.

This gets us to the Object of our Salvation.  The object of faith.  The object in our faith is first, last, and always Jesus Christ HIMSELF.  A creed, acknowledgment, or some sort of promise is NOT salvation.  Faith in Jesus Christ as Lord AND Savior IS salvation.  It is impossible to separate the two; Lordship and Salvation.   It is impossible to please God without it, either.  You can go and do all the works you want, but if it was not driven by the Holy Spirit, out of your love for Jesus Christ, you just wasted your time thinking that you have curried favor with God.

FAITH involves a personal commitment to Christ.  (II Corinthians 5:15).  Merely acknowledging that Christ exists is not being saved.  Going to a church does not mean you will be saved, either.  Being a deacon or a Sunday school teacher does not mean you are saved.  Saved people will do these things, but we know that it is because the Lord has driven us to do it, and we have responded out of our love of Christ to get it done.  We acknowledge that we do not have the power to do this on our own, but that God gives us the power to do it.

Works will happen if you are committed to Christ as your lord.  If you have given your being to serve Christ.  Works, however do not make you saved.

Now, here is where I get LOTS of lovely email.  Go ahead and write.  I love hearing from you.

All true believers follow Jesus.

“My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish — ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.” John 3:27-28

Simply acknowledging Jesus doesn’t get you saved.  To repent because of your sin IS to have a change of heart.  Faith and Repentance are concurrent. (Acts 2:38; 17:30; 20:21; 2 Peter 3:9)  You do not see the need to repent until God has drawn you in, and until you receive the faith to see the need for repentance.  The two happen at the same time.  So check if you have ever repented.  That is your first clue.

Repentance is not a work, either.  It is an act of GRACE.  It is by the grace of God that you are drawn to Jesus.  It is by the grace of god that you realize the weight of your sin against God.  It is an act of Grace that you are able to see what Jesus did on your behalf to take away your sin.  It is an act of the grace of God that led you to repent, to turn around and follow Christ.

You will hear Jesus’s voice IF this is what has happened to you, and in you.  You WILL follow Jesus Christ out of your love for him.  Salvation is an act of Grace, and committing to Christ is not something you can do on your own, but only through the Grace of God.  (Acts 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25)

Repentance will change your heart.  Repentance will change the way you behave. Repentance will change your priorities.  Repentance will lead you to a strong desire to please the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Repentance, genuine repentance, means you will no longer desire to do the things you used to do.  (Luke 3:8, Acts 26:18-20).  Repentance is turning from sin. (Acts 3:19;  Luke 24:47).

SALVATION IS NOT JUST A TICKET TO HEAVEN!

We read in Romans 6:23 that eternal life is the “gift of God”.  This gift also includes everything that it means to be a Christian.  It means to stop what you are doing and serve Him.  It includes every aspect of your life.  It includes all that is considered godly.  (2 Peter 1:3;  Romans 6:23; Romans 8:32)

Everything I have written above pertains to the struggle I went through from 2007 to now.  I knew that my days were numbered at the Base, long before it happened.  I knew this because I finally understood that I cannot merely acknowledge the historical fact of Jesus, and give only head knowledge for what he did.  I needed Christ to become completely and irreversibly part of my very being.

I also knew, the minute I understood all of the above, that this will call for a change in my life.  A radical change.  God brought me to faith.  There was noting I could do or read that would do it for me.  Only God.  I had to face my sin and depravity and see what that looks like to God.  It is a state of being that deserves God’s judgement of death.  But, in His mercy, he bestowed on me the faith to see that Jesus died on the cross for me, and the faith to accept that, because Christ has risen from the dead, I too will have eternal life if I believe in Him.

I knew that this will take a commitment.  Anyone who knows me well knows my passions run deep, and when I commit, I really commit.  But this commitment is not one of my own doing.  It has deeper passions, a stronger love than I have ever imagined, and a purpose that makes all my former plans and schemes look meaningless.  And the real evidence that this change is real, is the evidence of real change in my life.

The people who have taken the time to get to know me, have seen this change.  It is not fake.  I do not have to pretend to love or care.  I do not have to try to love Christ, I simply LOVE Christ, and I desire with all my heart to follow him.  I hear his voice.

I knew I would have to accept whatever change God brings to my life.  But I knew for sure, my old life was over and done with.

Cheap grace does not bring you to this point.  Cheap salvation cannot create in you the desire to follow Jesus.  Cheap grace does not change you like the real Grace God bestows on you.  Cheap grace says it is OK to keep on sinning, and you don’t really have to change anything about yourself to be saved.

Real salvation teaches you that, as long as you are human, you will still sin, but you will not pursue sin.  You will hear Jesus’ voice and you will follow him.  And when you do sin, you will feel its weight on your soul, and the interference it brings to your relationship with God.  And you will repent of that sin.  The JOY of your salvation will be restored.  Real salvation means that it will be your hearts desire to please God, and follow Christ wherever he leads you.

I am unemployed in the sense that I have not had an income since April 10th, 2013.  But that does not mean I do not work.  I witness for Christ because I love Him.  I write about the things of God because I am called to do this, and I LOVE doing this.  This is not labor.  Earthly labor saps you of your strength.  Obedience out of Love for Jesus gives you more strength, more joy, more grace, more courage, more love.

I have been writing a lot about the Church.  I have been accused of being an angry Christian.  Of that, I am guilty.  I am angry that we have sold our birthright for a cheap or alien gospel.  We are the only country on earth that has people who think they are Christians simply because they go to church, or give some kind of mental assent to the fact of the historical Jesus.  We have let other forces, spiritual forces, take over every aspect of our lives because we have been deceived into believing we are saved, when the evidence of salvation simply does not exist.

I was one of those “Cheap Grace” Christians.  Except for one thing.  I actually read the Bible.  I have seen that what the Bible says is not what is taught in our Churches.  Real salvation means a changed life.

I knew when I realized this, that the only answer for me was to surrender it ALL to His will.  I have no idea where this will lead, but I do know I am obeying.

My challenge to you is to have the stones to examine your life, like I had to examine mine.  See if your life is one that pleases God.  See if your life is one of submission to Jesus Christ as Savior AND Lord.  You either genuinely believe, or you don’t.  You are genuinely saved or you aren’t, and the fruit of your walk will be the evidence of it, and it will exist, not because YOU did it, but because, when you submitted to Jesus, HE brought forth fruit out of your walk.

Want salvation?  Let’s do what my friends overseas risk their lives for everyday.  Get real salvation.  Get real.

Now, go be about it.

I love you.

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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

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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Faith

The Return to God, Part I : When you turn to God, God will turn to you.


[NOTE TO READERS: Please accept my apologies for taking so long on this one. It took several rewrites before it made any sense.]

“From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:17 – ESV

“If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.” Jeremiah 18:8 – ESV

Let’s see…Hold on a sec….(Sounds of me frantically digging through my notes.) OK, here they are. You should see my desk. It looks like the International Paper Corporation exploded all over it. Alright, let’s see. “…yet I refused to repent.” Yep, that was the point, wasn’t it?

Frankly, I don’t even know where to start on this one. If you KNOW you need to repent, then this is probably not where we need to start out…I mean, well…you KNOW, right? You might as well be about it, and wait patiently for me to write The Return To God, Part II : God Will Then Let You Know He Is Aware Of Your Plight.

When you turn to God:

How do you know that you need to repent and return to God? I wish I could say that an angel will appear, or a hand will write on the wall, or the spirit of Christmas past will haunt you, but that’s not what usually happens. It DOES happen that way on occasion. Look at the Apostle Paul. Here is how you know you need to repent.

You start to realize there is something terribly out of place. You become miserable. Your conscience bothers you more and more. The fact that you even have a conscience means God still has His hands on you. You can remember what it was like when you were saved, and learning the Bible, and can tell there is no way your present life is anything close to that. You have stopped reading the Bible, but every time you go near it, you feel like you really ought to open it. You wake up one day and realize that everything you have done since turning your back on God has been nearly a complete waste of time (We will discover later that that is not necessarily true, but for now, that is how it feels). You slowly wake up and feel the weight of your sin. You wake up and feel that that sin is going to crush you. If this is you, then you are going through what I and countless other backsliders have gone through.

I woke up slowly, and in that waking I discovered I have never been more miserable in my entire life. I was doing work I hated, I was living a life I hated, I was miserable. “Somehow” it occurred to me that, if I really belong to God, where is the evidence of the walk? Where is my Bible? Where are my prayers? Could it be because there might be something amiss between God and me? “Nah…um…well…maybe I should take a look.” And that’s what I did. I stepped out of my own skin, looked at my life, noticed my life was really messed up, and that I had God riding all in the back of the bus.

It really hit me hard when I heard Carrie Underwood’s hit song, “Jesus Take The Wheel“. I thought my heart was going to tear a hole right through my chest. The thing about God is, He loves you beyond measure. He is waiting to bless you in ways you have never imagined. But, unlike modern parenting, He is not going to coddle us, and give us a trophy just because we exist. God has His own economy, and if you want to do business with Him, you need to know that you cannot have it YOUR way, and please God. He has something else in store for you.

Here’s the big deal about turning to God. It doesn’t matter if all you did was sneak that extra cookie when Mom told you to leave the cookies alone, and you lied to her about it. It doesn’t matter if you just murdered your wife, or husband, or robbed a bank, or raped someone, or are an alcoholic, or a prostitute, or a Satanist. Sin is Sin. Period. If you are a Christian, and have turned your back on God in ANY way, THAT is sin. If you are a Christian and sin, you make a mockery of the death Jesus paid on the cross.

BREAKING NEWS: There is no sin that cannot be forgiven except to blaspheme the Holy Spirit of God.

For the past several years, one prayer that has become my daily prayer is Psalm 51:

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51 – ESV

Did you feel it in your heart? Is that how it feels when you look over your shoulder because you miss God? Do you miss the JOY of His salvation? I know I sure did. And more. What’s more, in the beginning of the Spirit convicting me, I still dug in. But God never gave up on me.

Because I was so damned stubborn, it took God being persistent for 20 years to break me. I really hope you don’t wait that long. Life becomes a living hell if you wait that long. And you will know in your heart that, if you wait any longer, God will give you over to your own will. In spades.

So, give it a try.   Why?

God will turn to you.

In the Old Testament, when you see that phrase of God turning to you, the word picture the Hebrew paints is of a Daddy reaching his arms out, anxiously waiting to hold you again. Jesus called God the Father, Abba…it means “daddy”.

If you are a Christian, you have the right and privilege to call the Living God “Daddy”. He loves you so much it hurts good. He is already waiting right where you are. He is standing right behind you with his arms stretched out waiting to hold you again. He loves you. You are the prodigal son returning to his father after squandering all your talents doing things that served your appetites.

Did you know that the Bible describes this reunion with God actually dancing with you? That the Angels themselves throw a huge party? I can just see Jesus throwing a high five to his dad.

But that alone is not the total reason you repent. That is just what happens if you chose to repent. What happens when you repent is, God cleans you up Himself. He will lift your burden. He will pour his forgiveness all over you. Your heart will be clean again.

Let me ask you something. Do you have to bathe before you take a bath? Nope. That would be silly. You don’t have to clean up before you turn to God because, frankly, that is impossible. Because of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, you are and will be clean again when you confess with all your heart, and repent (Means to turn back, FOR GOOD).

You know, just like I knew, that you miss God. Maybe you don’t remember how you got where you are. Maybe you don’t think you can figure out how to get back home. Maybe you don’t think you can be forgiven. You would be as wrong as I was when I thought all those things.

God was there all the time. When I was running from him, all I was doing was crossing his palm. You see, the Bible tells of God’s promise that nothing, no power, no thing at all can remove you from His hand if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. So, you can come home, because you are already there. He already knows what happened in your life because he saw it all. You cannot shock God. Believe me, I tried.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

Give it a try. You really have nothing to lose.

Let Jesus Take The Wheel.

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Here is an outline of my next few posts:

Part II: God will then let you know he is aware of your situation.

Part III: God has made you exactly the way you are, so that you can do exactly what He intends for you to do.

Part IV: God will then tell you of His plans for you.

Part V: God will send you to do a task. He will empower you to do that task.

That’s it so far, but there will be more in this series.

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