Evangelism Last Friday

June 17, 2014

Friends,
This last Friday I had an exceptionally great time spreading the Gospel downtown with my signs, tracts, and conversations. As I always do, I’d asked my mom to call others to pray, and later, I found out she’d asked seven people to be praying. I could tell, for I had many excellent discussions and much encouragement from many who were excited and encouraged themselves to see my boldness. But why should we not be bold? We have a message of Good News and the Spirit of the Mighty Creator within us –He who gives us His words to say, His strength, His leading, and the encounters He has pre-planned.

I went earlier than I usually do because I was determined to walk up to catch the white-collar lunch crowd about a mile from the big train and bus depot where I usually canvas. I think I’d not been there for about three years so I was shocked at the swarms of people. (The economy certainly must be better! And what an opportunity to plant seeds among the “self-sufficient”!) After I’d been there a bit, a singing, guitar-playing Christian I’d met before came up and began setting up his amp with a homeless-shelter friend. I talked with them a minute and then a young girl, maybe about 18 years old, showed up with a camera.

After taking some pictures, this girl sat down on the water canal wall so I walked over and began a conversation. What a philosophy she had developed for herself! She admitted to having had the Gospel explained to her many times, but still, she wasn’t even sure about a Creator. In fact, if there is one, she mused, then He (or rather, It) is a force, not a person. Moreover, there is no Heaven or Hell, she opined, except there is both for those who believe in them. See, she reasoned, reality is what a person believes it is, and Truth is completely relative. (I thought this philosophy was deemed nonsense and had thus gone out of vogue 20 years ago, but I see it must be alive and well.) I tried to listen to her respectfully, but when I asked if wanting to be queen would make us queens, or if wanting flowers to grow up amid the cement at our feet would make it so, she knew I found her doctrine to be more than silly.

What pathetic thoughts people are being taught to entertain! The whole of creation (including DNA and the fine-tuned delicateness of the universe) declares a Creator (Ps. 19:1-4 // Rom. 1:19,20), yet people insist that there is great evidence to the contrary and continue to insist upon inventing their own Truth! We parted politely, but as I walked away from that block, I felt both grieved and disgusted concerning the foolishness of those who weave their doctrine from their own “lofty” thoughts. “The wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight” (1 Cor. 3:19) is the verse I kept hearing in my spirit. So grievous! I prayed many times over the next few days for that girl’s soul, and that the enemy would not snatch away the Good Seed (the Truth) which the Farmer had many times in her life attempted to plant within her. (Luke 8:5,12) May the Lord have mercy on her!

Later, back at the main depot, I met a friend who used to be homeless and wow! has he ever been growing in the knowledge of God’s Word! It was precious to hear him quote verses and so humbly describe what the Lord has been revealing to him. We talked quite a while and I thanked the Lord for impressing on me that that good fruit in this endearing soul was largely due to the numerous times I’d talked with him about the Truth. I thank the Lord when He shows me some lasting fruit from my labors.

One guy came up to me and could not stop telling me –for about 15 minutes– how important it was what I was doing. “Do not ever stop this assignment,” he kept saying. “This is so wonderful and I know the Lord wants you to know you are not to ever stop due to the commands of people. Do not listen to those who discourage you or tell you that this boldness is dumb. Keep doing this! It is great! It is of God!” and on he went excitedly, then praying for me a very wonderful prayer. I was truly encouraged.

At one point, later, I saw a guy sitting on a low wall watching me and frowning. The frown did not make me want to talk with him, but eventually I realized the Lord was telling me to go over and talk with him anyway. I approached him with, “Well, do you like my signs?” (These were about freedom for sin’s captives.) “No,” he answered –as I expected. “Why not?” I asked.

The guy went on to explain how annoyed he was at Christians’ doctrines, particularly that they were always telling him that gays could not inherit Heaven. “Do you teach that?” he asked me.

I’m usually straight-forward, but I chose to be gentle, saying something to this effect: “God considers all adultery –gay or straight– to be sin. Even looking at someone –of either sex– with lust, is adultery, and it breaks the law of love. Lusting after someone defiles that person. Lusting in not love, but defilement. Defiling others instead of loving them unselfishly causes pain. God wants to shield us from such pain. He wants everyone to love Him and to love others.”

The man softened and talked with me. He told me some about his upbringing. He asked me questions about the Word. When we parted, he had a smile –one of appreciation or of hope, or maybe of both. I’ve prayed for him many times since. And for many others I’ve met down there. –Because prayer does change things. It does change eternal destinies.

Going and speaking and sharing and proclaiming changes a lot. But it must be bathed with prayer. And prayer must be followed with Spirit-led words and action. It all must be done together –done with faith and boldness. For we have no small Message to bring to the world!

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
We are to proclaim God’s wonderful acts all across the globe. (1 Ch. 16:8,9) Are we doing so? We are to tell of His love and His faithfulness and remind the peoples of the earth how profound are His thoughts. (Ps. 92:2,5) In the hearing of the nations we are to shout and sing with joy to the Lord, the Mighty and Holy King who loves justice. (98:4 & 99:4,5 // 1 Ch. 16:23-31) We are to broadcast the perfect character of God –that “there is no wickedness in Him.” (Ps. 92:15) Are we doing these things?

If we are not advertising God across the earth with consistency and boldness, and in line with the Truth, why not? Are we ashamed of God? Are we afraid? What of? Our reputations? Or are we just too busy? Or is it that we ourselves do not actually know God, His ways, or what He has said?

Whatever our reasons for not declaring God –His character, His works, His salvation, His judgements, His mercies, and His Truth– to a world that sits in darkness, a world that remains shackled by evil and sin, a world that gasps in death… is to disobey God’s numerous commands to do so. Remaining quiet or timid when people shriek with fear, when they groan in such hopelessness that they are willing to run to chaos rather than lay in that “overwhelming nothingness”, is to act with wicked negligence. Even a worldling’s heart is moved to call 911 when someone is seen to be in danger or wounded. But God’s (supposed) ambassadors often glance quickly away and, tiptoeing around the sufferer (Luke 10:31,32), they instead head for the party hall, or the mall, or their church.

What insensitivity! What selfishness! What greed! “It’s all about me” still, isn’t it? Well, Jesus said some things about that –that those who try to preserve Self or who use up time attending to spiritually dead things (Luke 9:23-25,57-62) are not fit to be called His. (same verses & 14:33) Their negligence to give themselves (their hearts and their lives) whole-heartedly and forever to Christ –to His glory and to His mission– is to act in rebellion, unbelief, and/or embarrassment concerning Christ and His words. (9:23-26) To disobey Christ’s Leadership is to reject or disown Christ as one’s Lord. (Mt. 7:21 // 2 Tim. 2:12 // Jude 1:4) It is to forfeit one’s soul. (Luke 9:25,26)

Let us remind each other then, that love for God is to proclaim Him –to proclaim Him boldly, always at the leading of, and under the control of, the Spirit, and, while never neglecting any chance we get, to be doing this everywhere, even to the most remote regions of the earth, including the most sinful, dark areas of our own city.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Expose Deceivers

October 6, 2013

Friends,
Israeliteindeed’s post yesterday is excellent! Here it is:

Warning Others About False Teachers

by israeliteindeed

Jesus said:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

Jesus desires us to examine a teacher by his/her fruits. Nowhere in Scripture are we forbidden to test a teacher. In fact, Jesus commends the Church at Ephesus for testing those who claimed to be apostles and exposing them as liars (Rev. 2:2). The Bereans were commended for testing Paul’s teaching by the Scriptures they had (Acts 17:11).

Paul wrote:

Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned (from the apostles, prophets, and Jesus), and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. (Rom. 16:17-18)

The underlined words are so important. Often a person will spend a long time drinking from the polluted well of false-teaching, and when someone comes along exposing the lie, they will attempt to use this Romans passage to “mark” the truth teller as false! The truth teller is wrongly labeled as divisive. This is a satanic sleight-of-hand designed to keep the deceived in their error. In truth, the divisive person is the one who divides you from the doctrine that was given in Scripture. Such a person is to be noted (or “marked” in the KJV) and avoided.

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. (2 Pet. 2:1-3)

Peter wrote that heresies are destructive. They cause people to destroy themselves and others, and they bring the way of Truth into disrepute. They are constructed with deceptive words. That is, on the surface the teaching may sound good. The false prophet may have an appearance as a messenger of light. But he brings deception, causing God’s Word to be seen in a different light than it was intended to be understood.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Tim. 4:3-4)

Selfish desires and itching ears will cause people to love fables over truth. If selfish desires and itching ears weren’t so plentiful, the market for false teaching would disappear. False teachers depend on itching ears that want to hear their twisting of the truth. If nobody listened, they would have to get another job!

The deceived can be very sure of themselves that they are not deceived at all. Pride seems to precede and accompany deception. The proud man will not receive correction. He knows it all already. He delights in thinking he is so spiritual and learned, he cannot be deceived. Woe to such a one. We need to remain humble and teachable, and always examine our hearts in the light of God’s Word, making sure we don’t have any proud ambitions hindering us from obeying the Truth.

Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. (Acts 20:30-31)

This passage gives insight into the selfish desire of false teachers to have disciples for themselves. They may say they want you to love and follow Jesus, but they place themselves in between you and Jesus, subtly making it appear that you can only be close to Jesus if you follow what they themselves teach. Paul knew how grave the danger was going to be. How passionately he warned them with tears for three whole years!

Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words… As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught…Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power…Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. (Col. 2:4-10; 18-19)

I’d like to highlight some of Paul’s very important words in this passage:

1. Deception often comes through very persuasive words. The speaker may have a dynamic and charming personality, or be powerfully convincing. These things are sometimes mistaken for “the anointing” of the Holy Spirit, but they are not.

2. As we have received Christ, so we should walk in Him. And how did we receive Him? By simple faith. We believed the Word of God, repented and began to follow Him. False teachers often have gimmick teachings that supposedly make one closer to Christ. But no one gets closer to Christ by their gimmicks. We draw near to God by faith. God is not far from us, and does not need men’s gimmicks as an alternate mediator. If you did not need that gimmick to be born again, you don’t need it to walk in Him either. We are complete in Jesus. We don’t need that book, we don’t need that new thing, and we don’t need that understanding of Scripture that has supposedly been “restored” by some new voice claiming to speak for God.

3. False teachers often delight in false humility. If you don’t have the Spirit of God, or if you have been grieving Him by your own pride, you may not be able to discern false from true humility. They will say things that on the surface appear humble, but there is an underlying look at me, look what I have experienced, look how spiritual I am, look at how important my personal revelations are.

4. False teachers have a fleshly mind that puffs them up in pride. They love to talk about angels and supernatural experiences. They intrude into things they have not seen. They don’t see themselves in humility, connected to all other Body parts beneath the Head, needing the constant nourishment of others. Today, there are scores of such teachers, and the blatant worship of angels is rampant especially in the charismatic church. Followers, wishing to have such ecstatic experiences for themselves, by which to prove their own spirituality, leave the simplicity and humility of Christ to chase something deeper or higher than what others have.

Naming Names

Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. (Eph. 5:11)

These specific false teachers were exposed by name in the New Testament:

Phygellus and Hermogenes (2 Tim. 1:15)
Hymenaeus and Philetus (2 Tim. 2:17)
Jannes and Jambres (2 Tim. 3:8)
Demas (2 Tim. 4:10)
Alexander the Coppersmith (2 Tim. 4:14)
Diotrephes (3 Jn. 9)
Balaam (Rev. 2:14)
Jezebel (Rev. 2:20)

False teaching is public. If we don’t name the names of false teachers in our midst, how will others take heed? Our silence is complicity, and it speaks volumes of our character. Though silence about false teaching might be seen as love, it is not love. Love warns of danger.

Please click here to read the last few sentences, and also, to show appreciation, to click “Like” or make a comment.

http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/warning-others-about-false-teachers/

It is so true that it is precisely the love of God that compels His people to repeatedly warn deceivers (and their followers) and to courageously expose their lies to the world. For deceivers harm others –for this life, and for eternity. Thus deception is evil to the core and must be exposed and apprehended. But who has equipped themselves well with the Truth so that they might step up and take action?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
I was very excited to hear Daniel email me this wonderful report of the encounters he and his friend had this last Saturday as they went out ministering to the homeless. I applaud him for his courage and obedience, for being “a doer of the Word, not a hearer only.” (See Ja. 1:22) For as that verse along with verse 21 warn us, if we merely listen to the Word without putting to practice what it commands, we deceive ourselves if we believe ourselves to be saved. (See also Luke 6:46-49) And being that Jesus has told us to follow Him in being “fishers of men” (Mt. 4:19), meaning to bring others into His Kingdom, we must be doing this actively –either on the front lines or assisting in some capacity. (Mt. 5:13-16 & 9:35-38 & 28:18-20) If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will definitely be proclaiming Christ’s Kingdom in the boldness and power of God’s Spirit. (Mi. 3:8 // Mt. 11:12 // Acts 1:4-8)

Here, and used with permission, is what Daniel wrote:

~~~~
Hey Rachel,

Thanks for the words! It was awesome to serve the Lord. Wasn’t easy, a different experience for me to be honest, but was great. We ministered to a group of about 7 homeless sitting together. At one stage the Lord really took over and spoke through me quite convictingly and strongly, with the basic message of ‘Look Jesus is calling out to you guys now, and He loves you with an everlasting love, but you guys need to actually choose Him, if you don’t want Him He can’t give Himself to you, so you have to choose if you really want Jesus from your hearts or not.’ But it was in a powerful way that I even saw the one girl was quite convicted. I really felt the Spirit talking through me, cause I am not normally outspoken like that and firm like that, especially speaking in front of a group.

We also specifically ministered to this one person Vincent, who we felt God wants to raise up as even a leader, even to lead the homeless to a better place, like Moses, but could really sense God calling Him to Himself with all His heart. I told Him I felt God say that He was holding back his heart from God, which He confirmed was true, and then told Him God is challenging Him to give Him and wants all of His heart. I hope that gnaws at Him until He truly gives God all His heart. What I really wanted above all else was that God would show up and speak through us, which is exactly what happened! In my humble opinion that is what is impactful, when we are the vessels and we speak just what God is wanting to speak to a person or group of people, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Then you come away with a sense of, whew, okay I just spoke what the Lord wanted to say, now its up to them if they respond to the Lord or not . Like basically doing His work, not our own, but He does it through us. Vessels :) (obviously offering them to respond then and there, but you know what I mean, like they now know Jesus has directly reached out to them). I really believe that God will now speak to all of them Himself and convict them further of what was said. I hope the words burn in their hearts so they can’t forget them. Jesus really called out to them there today.

It’s also just personally so great to know that in some way I’m responding to doing the work of Jesus. Its really almost relieving to the soul, that actually doing what He asked of us, not just hearing it.

Blessings,
Daniel
~~~~

It is so true that when we step out in the courage and obedience that comes from (true) faith, then the Holy Spirit takes over (not like a trance, but seemingly natural, though also supernatural), rewarding our efforts so that we do actually find Him speaking through us! (Mark 13:9-11 // 1 Peter 4:11) If we are cleansed vessels who have been walking in the Spirit, then we are fully enabled to, every chance we get, open up our mouths to proclaim the Message of freedom obtained through Christ. (Isa. 61:1 // 1 John 2:6) It truly is an exciting and fulfilling vocation!

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

To Jim Fox

September 3, 2013

Jim Fox,
Slander is a grievous sin, and those who practice it, right along with those who practice sexual sin, theft, hatred, discord, jealously, and fits of rage (1 Cor. 6:9,10 // Gal. 5:19-21), will reap Hell. From your tone and words, I will have to caution you about several of those sins, as well as your sin of mockery, and about throwing your stone / your judgmental statement: “This guy is definitely full of SIN in his life.” Do you have sin in your heart and life? Jesus warns us to examine our own selves first as He says, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone…” (John 8:7)

Maybe you’d do well to ask yourself if you are truly a man who walks in the Spirit. Ask yourself, too, if you are walking in wisdom. Is it wise, and is it of the Spirit, to introduce yourself to me via an attack? Wisdom is supreme and we are to seek it as our top priority, for therein is the knowledge of God. (Pr. 2:1-6 & 4:7) Those who are wise walk in the Spirit continuously and they therefore behave and speak humbly, not with arrogance and hostility as you have. While accusing me of pride and boasting, you say, “I’m pulling down your mighty stronghold of who you think you are in relationship to Christ Jesus.” Really? How so? Are you saying my beliefs now crumble due to your angry outburst? Is that not great pride on your part?

Well, as for me, I boast in the Lord alone. Yes, He who makes His true and faithful followers walk steady, strong, and victorious. Does that make you angry, Jim? I see that you resent my confidence about knowing the Lord, His Word, and His voice, and so you call that pride. No, pride and confidence are not synonymous. Confidence is being sure of the One Whom we are in unity with, and knowing what He has told us. Confidence is walking out our Lord’s instructions with faith, trust, courage, boldness, maturity, and wisdom.

I would caution you about slandering Jeremy Riddle without stating what it is he does that is so sinful. Moreover, your accusations must be reliable and correct and your sources trustworthy. Also, for me to post a song I heard in passing or at church and that struck a grateful and worshipful chord in my heart toward God, is not the same as promoting the singer himself (though he must be acknowledged). There are about three songs by Riddle that I like (or even know about), and I certainly don’t promote or post him, or any man or band, but instead songs that have God-exalting words and peaceful or joyful music. I’m sorry if you think that it is my business to take precious time out to research the lives of singers so as to try to find out if they are sinful, or if they are holy enough for me to worship God through their songs. If that is your doctrine and you want others to adhere to it, then it’d be wise of you to explain your beliefs with tact and humility, not anger.

Your comment has reminded me of the Pharisee in Luke 18:11: “God, I thank You that I am not like all other men –robbers, evildoers, adulterers– or even like this tax collector.” I exhort you to check your heart and see if you have added to the Pharisee’s words, “For they sin, but I don’t sin. And I sure don’t worship You, God, with incorrect kinds of music.” What is the music you believe God is pleased with? Is it the type you like, that which you are used to, and that which is the culture of your brand of “Christianity”? Definitely there is a lot of wicked music out there that calls itself “Christian”, but let’s remember that God created variety for His pleasure, as well as for ours, and a variant that is not to our liking is not necessarily wicked. Let’s remember the record of King David and his wife Michal, and that harboring contempt toward a fellow worshipper of God is another detestable sin in God’s eyes. (2 Sam. 6:16-23)

My comment page is not open to those who wish to waste others’ time and who work for the enemy to distract God’s people from instructing one another constructively. Therefore, Jim, please do not comment here again until your own heart has been cleansed, and you can approach a discussion with respect toward others.

Rachel

Friends,
Isa. 62:3 says, “You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” Is it only Jerusalem that is being referred to, or are all who are righteous included? It is the latter, and their righteousness will shine “out like the dawn” (v. 1) that the nations will see it. (v. 2) This is what will bring glory to the Lord.

If we are in Christ, then we, just as He is the Light of the world (John 8:12), are also the light of the world. (Mt. 5:14) “A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (same verse), for its light lights up the sky and everyone can see it and its light plainly. This we ourselves are commanded to be. We and our light (Christ within us) are to be put on a stand to be seen. (v. 15,16) We are to do so in order that everyone can see Christ. We are to do so that we may encourage and flavor (influence) the world. (v. 13) We are to stand up boldly and shine out Jesus everywhere. We do this through our righteousness, and that does mean by doing good deeds. (v. 16) There is no way to shine out Christ through our righteousness if our behavior is not righteous. Righteousness is about action. It’s about action that proves what is inside. (15:18-20)

So what about it? –Can each one of us honestly say we are a crown of splendor and a royal diadem in the Lord’s hand? Are we each wearing the “garments of splendor” (Isa. 52:1) –Christ Himself whom God has so graciously clothed us with? (Gal. 3:27) And are we choosing to wear Him daily as we are commanded to do in Rom. 13:14? He is our full armor of God (Eph. 6:11), the armor of Light (Rom. 13:12) who extinguishes the darkness and exposes evil. (John 3:20 // Eph. 5:8-14) Are we thus living as children of the Light? (Eph. 5:8) If we are, then we will bear its fruit –which “consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.” (v. 9)

God says, “I will grant salvation to Zion, My splendor to Israel.” (Isa. 46:13) True Christ-followers, through faith, are Abraham children and heirs of the promise (Rom. 4:16 // Gal. 3:29) –and of all the promises that go along with the promise. (2 Cor. 1:20)

Therefore, and because all heirs are also God’s servants, to every one of us the Lord declares this: “You are My servant, Israel, in whom I will display My splendor.” (Isa. 49:3) Does it matter how He chooses to do this in and through each of us? It shouldn’t. For when we came into covenant with Him we submitted our will to His. Is there then not cause to rejoice in that He wants us, desires to use us, and delights to make us His own instrument of splendor? Indeed there is great cause for rejoicing.

Moreover, if we, as we hold out the Word of Life, are becoming blameless, faultless, and pure, then we ourselves, along with our deeds, will be shining like stars amongst a crooked and depraved generation. (Phil. 2:15) Then when Christ returns in blazing glory, we will not be disappointed, for the reward He will bring with Him will show we “did not run or labor for nothing.” (v. 16) Yes, it will be seen that we did not labor without purpose or spend our strength in vain. (Isa. 49:4)

Having been a crown of splendor and a royal diadem in God’s hand will prove, eternally, well worth the “light and momentary affliction” (2 Cor. 4:17), effort, and submission.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
“But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.” (Micah 3:8)

Are we? Are God’s people filled with His Spirit’s power and boldness and obedience to God? If so, we will be declaring to sinners their transgressions against God’s holy laws. Transgression is to break a rule or code of conduct. It is to step over the bounds and make offense. It is to commit a crime. To transgress is to sin. And “sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4) It is to rebel against the Most High God.

To rebel against the Most High is no light matter. It is like the detestable sin of sorcery (1 Sam. 15:23), the vile practice of consorting with demons. (Dt. 18:10-12) Everyone who invites the demonic realm into their circumstances is abhorrent to God. Whether or not they believe they’ve invited demons in, they have, for by sinning, they have submitted themselves to the ruler of evil. (1 John 3:8) This is what rebels against God’s Word are doing. By their rebellion, by their sin, they are inviting demons to influence them, speak to them, and soon completely control them. How horrifically foolish!

There are two kingdoms in the universe –God’s and the devil’s. They are at war with each other. God’s Kingdom is going to win, but in the meantime, the Lord allows the battles to sift out the weak, the cowardly, and the rebels –even as He gives them all chance after chance to open up their eyes to their awful situation and run to the Savior. Furthermore, He is using the battles to strengthen His servants. He is doing so that we might grow powerful for the advancement of His Kingdom. Are we rising to this calling? If we claim we are, then how? What are we doing to prepare ourselves? Not just in the big picture, but daily, hourly, every minute?

When we get attacked by the devil’s servants –those who “hate good and love evil” (Micah 3:2)– or from those invisible fiery darts the prowling, scheming lion himself shoots our way (Eph. 6:11,12,16 // 1 Peter 5:8), what do we do? Are we in the practice of, immediately, whether we feel like it or not, adjusting our armor and holding higher our shield? (Eph. 6:10-17) Do we know how to pray and praise God “in the Spirit on all occasions”? (v. 18) We will not be able to do this when we get whammed hard with debilitating fear, depression, or other temptations of sin –unless we’ve been practicing holiness, unless we’ve been preparing in God’s Word and putting it to practice in the fields, unless we are in the habit of consistently telling evil, “Never! Get out!”

Preparation takes time. It takes diligence. It takes self-control and will-power. We have the Spirit’s power available to us if He is in us, but we ourselves are nevertheless the ones who must choose to rev up the forcefulness. (1 Cor. 4:20 // Eph. 3:20) As Jesus tells us, the Kingdom of Heaven advances forcefully through forceful men. (Matt. 11:12) No warrior can expect victory if he doesn’t advance, and he can’t do that if he is not courageous and forceful. But that’s certainly not possible if he’s ill-prepared.

Enlightenment of how to prepare comes only to the obedient. God’s Spirit tutors only those who are willing to learn and obey and act upon what He has already taught them. It is important to take breaks for rest, but these breaks do not mean time-outs for sinning! Sin is no longer an option. (1 John 3:6,9) Each servant of Christ “is done with sin” (1 Peter 4:1) and therefore “he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” (v. 2) Does this verse reveal any license to sin –ever? It does not. Does it give us permission to step away from God’s will sometimes and dabble a little in our own will, in whatever we so desire to do or say or think? It does not. Our every minute is His. He is gracious and kind and delights to bring us good things, including joy and feasting and celebrations, but only as we walk in His will. He’s the Boss. Whoever doesn’t like this set-up does not adore the King, does not belong to the King, and will not live forever with the King. Instead, he will live forever in the place made for his master, the devil. (Matt. 25:41,46)

Do some people not like to hear these Truths from God’s Word? Well, those who don’t will reap the consequences. They and all who listen to them. And they will be ever so sorry. Sorry forever that they did not listen to exhortation after exhortation that came from the Spirit of God within those who are filled with His power –His power to declare to sinners their transgression and sin and rebellion.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
I happened to call the blueberry farm yesterday morning to inquire about their crop, for we enjoy picking blueberries there every summer. I was shocked and greatly saddened to hear that one of the workers who I asked about had died of a sudden heart attack. After getting off the phone, I wept and wept, actually surprising myself at my great grief.

About five summers ago, and visiting the farm about three times that year, I witnessed quite a bit to this particular worker. He was kind of a jokester, but he did listen and he did tell me that he believed the Bible, though it was obvious his was one of those flippant and half-hearted beliefs. The following two summers when we went there I encouraged him again to be reading the Word and to be seeking God, but he seemed a bit less interested than that first year I’d met him, so I tried not to come on too strong.

Last summer I brought up the Lord again, and after his response I remember thinking something like, “Rachel, he’s not interested, so just drop it and be friendly with some other conversation.” But I also had had the thought, “If he dies in this attitude he has, he is not going to be going to Heaven.” However, since I thought I’d have more time to pray for his soul (which I did quite a bit), as well as time to witness to him again, I didn’t say much more about the Lord then. So, I guess in my weeping yesterday, it wasn’t as much the sadness that this guy had died, but that I was feeling grief over his soul, as well as that I had not tried harder to turn him to the Lord (though my exhortations to him, I remember, had almost been pleas).

Was there anything more I could’ve done with someone who wouldn’t take my admonishments seriously and kept making jokes instead? There really wasn’t, at least not without being rude, except I certainly could’ve prayed more, and I so much wish I had.

Where is this acquaintance of mine now? Where is his soul? His soul is in eternity, that dimension that is outside of the time dimension. His soul is where there is no longer time to “repent, reconcile with God [by way of Christ Jesus], and prove one’s repentance by one’s deeds.” (See Acts 26:20) For “it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the Judgement.” (Heb. 9:27)

May we all witness to everyone as boldly as we can. And when that is no longer possible, may we pray fervently on behalf of unsaved souls, and even fast and weep before the Lord for them. And may we do so before their fate is sealed in eternity.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
God is a God of justice; and He has put within each of us a conscience that commands us to uphold justice for our fellow man. Anyone being objective can understand that if someone, or a group, tries to deprive others of their rights (such as their right to remain on their own land), attempting this through means of force, lies, or deceitful scheming, such actions are clearly wicked and unjust. God will rise up and act. He will act on behalf of the oppressed. And one main way He does this is to stir up hearts of people who care about justice so that they will speak out to expose the injustice and take action to help the helpless.

For anyone following the issue, here is a gripping 16-minute video:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=600173876661802&set=vb.100000075850703&type=2&theater

Many people are joining the cause of the Agta people and other poor people whose lands are being usurped by the APECO corporation. Some are writing about it in their blogs and in the Manila newspapers, while others have risen up to defend them before the Philippine President and in court. Recently, some Philippine lawyers, on behalf of those poor whom APECO seeks to disinherit from their lands, requested that the international community of scientists sign their names to an open letter to President Aquino. Being that my parents lived among the Agta most years from 1961-2010, and being that my dad has a Ph.D. in Anthropology, the lawyers asked my dad to help them collect signatures. An impressive list, from approximately 20 nations, was quickly obtained –266 signatures.

Here is that letter, the signatures, and each scientist’s scholarly credentials:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/letter-on-apeco-to-pres-aquino-from-international-scientific-community/casiguran-agta-people-in-trouble-please-sign-this-statement/180758425412857

Please send this post on to as many people as you can. Thank you.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel
P.S. Here are three photos of me with the Agta:

Watching my mom give medicine to an Agta child

With Agta friends and with my pet monkey in a sling

Home from college with the Agta

Friends,
Many, even in the USA, are preaching that women are inferior to men, especially when it comes to being able to teach God’s Word. Women, they say, can only teach other women, or children, and their place is to attend to the home. Well, what about women who are not married or who don’t have children? What about women who are filled with the Spirit of the Lord and have been commissioned by Him to speak His Word out boldly? I suppose we are to say, “Men, close your ears, for it’s not biblical for me to teach you anything about God’s Word. I can teach you Math or Science or Economics, but not God’s Word.”

Please, Church, come out of the Dark Ages. Come off your thrones, Pulpit Men. Come to the Fountain where we all drink. Listen to Him. Quit listening to your own cravings for power. Quit listening to the teachings of other chauvinists who are emboldening you. Quit following the traditions of men. Quit perpetuating the terrible condescension of women, the demeaning words and attitudes toward them, the abuse that gains strength through your twistings of the Word of God.

I know what it’s like to try to help a woman pry her mind free of false teachings concerning her worth, abilities, and rights. It takes years, if ever, for often the woman cannot muster up the determination to wrench herself free. Forever she remains captive to her captor and the others who support oppression. It is heart-breaking. Yet the pulpit men continue their misogynous rantings, calloused to the devastation they’re inflicting upon homes and hearts and lives.

Let’s get educated and spread the truth about the abuse toward women that is happening, and being empowered, within “Christian” homes and churches. Here is an excellent article I found and read last night:

http://godswordtowomen.org/Grady.htm

Here is another article:

http://www.russellmoore.com/2011/12/05/women-stop-submitting-to-men/

And here is one with some statistics to read on page 3:

http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2009/october/helpingabusedwomen.html?start=3

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, may we all look for ways to honor the women in our lives, including ourselves (if we are a woman), by seeking bold ways to put an end to the abuse.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel