Friends,
While Jesus was teaching, healing, and delivering amongst “a large crowd of His disciples… and a great number of people” (Luke 6:17) “who had come to hear Him and be healed” (v. 18) and who were trying “to touch Him” (v. 19), He asked, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (v. 46) So, although this group of people believed in Jesus and were looking to Him to teach them the Truth and to cure them, Jesus, at one point, confronted them about their hypocrisy –how their claim did not match their (disobedient) actions. (Again, v. 46)

Jesus went on to say that if a person would listen to His words and then also put His words into practice, meaning through one’s actions (which includes attitude, will, thoughts, words, beliefs, decisions, emotions, etc.), that person would be like one digging deep down to rock on which to lay his home’s foundation. (Luke 6:48) Such a person’s house (life), Jesus said, would thus stand strong, even if a torrent struck it. (Same verse) “But” Jesus stated, “the one who hears My words and does not put them into practice is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent stuck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” (v. 49)

What is Jesus saying? He is saying that to be saved we must obey His teaching. This obedience, He says, is what makes us His true disciples (John 8:31), and who, in adhering to and knowing the Truth, will be set free. (v. 31,32) In persevering, these individuals are those who grow their roots down deep so that in the time of testing, they do not fall away (Luke 8:13), nor are they choked, stunted, or unproductive. (v. 14,15) However, Jesus warns that “every branch in Me that bears no fruit will be cut off by the Father, the Gardener.” (See John 15:2) This warning by our Lord is to branches who, at one point, come into Him, but who, as the years wear on, refuse to produce (or quit producing) good fruit.

Such people, in the end, will be denied entrance into God’s Presence. (Luke 9:62 & 12:45,46) Such people, even if they’ve heard Christ’s teaching, have believed, and are waiting for Jesus to return, will be rejected. (Mt. 25:1-13 // Luke 13:23-28) Because they troubled others, because they neglected to help those in need, because they did not obey Jesus’ commands, and because they thus did not abide in unity with God, they will be counted unworthy of the Kingdom of God and will be punished with everlasting destruction. (Mt. ch. 25 // 2 Thes. ch. 1)

We have been warned that belief is not enough for salvation, for even the demons believe and know who Jesus is and what He has done for humankind. (Mark 3:11 // Ja. 2:19) Instead, we’ve been told “that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” (Ja. 2:24) We’ve been told that just “as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (v. 26) We have been told that even if someone thinks they are saved, they are not, if they continue speaking careless words (Mt. 12:36,37) –words which are unpleasing to Christ. (Ja. 1:26 // 1 Pe. 4:11)

God’s Word has made it clear: If one’s actions (again, this includes thoughts, words, emotions, etc.) do not prove that he or she has been redeemed from all wickedness, that person is not abiding in salvation. (Titus 1:16 & 2:11-14 & 3:9-11) If one’s actions are being sown to please one’s sinful nature rather than to please God’s Spirit, that participant will reap Hell. (Mt. 5:27-30 // Gal. 6:7,8) If one’s doctrine is contrary to that of Christ’s, that person also, is not saved. (Gal. 1:6-9 // 1 Tim. 4:1,16) Repentance and a walk with God (meaning a faithful, obedient following after Christ’s voice of command –John 10:27,28) is proven through deeds (Luke 3:7-9 // Acts 26:20) –deeds done under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 8:9,14)

Therefore, if anyone remains (continues in) under the power (rule / influence / dominion / servitude) of the devil’s kingdom, that person is not abiding in Christ’s love (John 15:10) nor in the forgiveness of God. (Acts 26:18 // Col. 1:13,14 // Rev. 1:5,6) Because they soiled themselves with unworthy deeds, God will vomit such a person out from Himself and erase his or her name from the Book of Life. (Rev. 3:1-6 & 14-16)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Evangelizing today at the train and bus stops was great. I had a lot of wonderful conversations and I especially enjoyed one in particular with a 30 year old man with whom I truly connected with in the Holy Spirit. He found it exciting to talk about God’s Word and about how to follow Jesus more closely and boldly, and I found it greatly encouraging as well. Those of us who have experienced conversations filled with the presence and glory of the Lord know how beautiful and special it is. Driving home later, I asked the Lord to send such divine encounters to me daily, wherever I am. God is truly an exciting God so I am going to anticipate this excitingness more often!

I had many other lovely conversations also today, and another I’m thinking of right now, and though it was very brief, was with a woman with a four-day-old baby who asked me to be praying for her. I have prayed for her many times since and I do try to remember each person to pray for them. I pray that the seeds of the Word I scattered through my homemade tracts, signs, words, my smile, my concern, etc. will not be in vain regarding anyone.

Last week my mom joined me as she sometimes does and we handed out the Mother’s Day gift bags we’d worked on over the last couple of weeks. One of my acquaintances had donated some very beautiful roses made of paper-thin wood and we made sure many of the bags had those sticking out the top, as can be seen in the photos below. Also, my parents’ neighbor had donated a box of tracts last month, and happily, it included a stack of pretty Mother’s Day ones.

It is a joy to evangelize in the power of the Holy Spirit. Doing so without His help would be a drudgery and a pain for sure, so this is why we thank our praying partners. What a difference they make, for the Lord uses prayer (and obedience and being nourished with His Word) to accomplish His work.

May the Lord continue to spread His Truth through His people. May we be faithful and loving and strong. May we not get weary or discouraged or weak. May our God consider us servants He can count on –count on to do just what He says, think what He desires us to think, and say what He puts in our mouths.

Amen. So be it.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

My sweet mom last week

Me

The T In TULIP

May 4, 2019

Friend,
I do not believe God created us with a sin nature or “totally depraved”. Ecc. 7:29 says, “This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes.” I believe sin and depravity come by following the ways of the world (Eph. 2:1,2) and following the lies of the devil who is at work in the disobedient. (v. 2 // 2 Cor. 4:4 & 11:13-15) I believe it comes by being tempted by our own evil desires and refusing to choose the right (Ja. 1:13-15) –the right which every conscience can choose, for God has given everyone a good conscience. (v. 16,17 // Rom. 2:14,15) God put truth and decency into everyone, but in choosing to rebel, people suppress these (Rom. 1:18-20) and thus their hearts and minds become more and more dark, foolish, and depraved (v. 21,22), exchanging the natural for the unnatural (perverse). (v. 23-32)

I believe God’s Word teaches that people are alienated from God through their evil behavior (Col. 1:21), and that they become hardened, ignorant, and corrupt by repeatedly giving in to their deceitful desires (Eph. 4:17-24), not because God created each person only to reject them at conception for (supposedly) being depraved. (Ps. 95:6 & 139:13,14 w/ Dt. 32:3,4 // John 1:3) God created Adam and Eve, as well as Lucifer, perfect and sinless, but even in their perfection, they chose to turn from God and from how He made them, and so they sinned.

Also, here is a post against the T in TULIP:

http://lhim.org/blog/2014/02/06/three-arguments-against-total-depravity/

Blessings,
Rachel

Friends,
I trust that many people here in the U.S.A. were praying today to the Lord Most High on behalf of our nation. May the Lord answer the prayers that love, truth, justice, and righteousness fill our land, and that the evil realm be pushed back. Certainly, we can take confidence in Jesus’ words in John 14:14: “You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.”

Does the Lord want His will done in our lives, in our families, and in our nation? Didn’t He teach us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”? (Mt. 6:10) May we pray in faith –faith in the One who answers prayer, faith in Him who is compassionate and all-powerful.

Jesus made the statement that “anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing.” (John 14:12) That is a promise. Jesus walked obedient to the Father. He walked in love, truth, justice, and righteousness. He performed miracles. So are we doing what He did? Do we understand that if we truly have faith in Him, we will walk holy and we will walk in power? (Eph. 3:20 // 2 Pe. 1:3,4) We have been given Christ’s “authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, and to overcome all the power of the enemy”! (Luke 10:19)

So, prayer is about faith and faith is about power. –Power to accomplish the Lord’s will in our lives and His purposes throughout the earth. Without faith we cannot please God (Heb. 11:6), but in having faith, we are “sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (v. 1) Jesus has promised us that we can even tell a mountain to throw itself into the sea, and it will happen –if we have faith and do not doubt. (Mt. 21:21)

But how is our faith developed and strengthened? Rom. 10:17 tells us that “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.” We must be reading God’s Word! We must be saturating ourselves in it, nourishing our spirit with His Spirit (John 6:53-63), and applying what He says by putting His words into practice. (Mt. 7:24-27)

Jesus promised in Mt. 18:19, “that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in Heaven.” This is fantastic! Should we not expect great things, then, from the prayers lifted up to the Lord this National Day of Prayer? Let’s have faith –faith that we have been heard by the One “who performs miracles.” (Ps. 77:14)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Sinners Shut Out

April 29, 2019

Friends,
Jesus tells us that when He returns, He will pay “to everyone according to what he has done.” (Rev. 22:12) Those who do what is right by walking in the will of the Father and obeying the commands of Jesus will receive Eternal Life, but those who continue to walk in sin will be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur. (Mt. 25:41-46 // John 5:29 // 1 John 2:3,4,17,29 // Rev. 21:8)

Don’t be deceived: Anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful will not have their name found in the Book of Life. (Rev. 3:5 & 21:27) Anyone who does not keep themselves washed and clean (by abiding in Christ and obeying Him and His Word –John 15:1-10 & 1 Pe. 1:22) will be denied the right of Eternal Life. (Rev. 22:14) Anyone who practices sin or who abides in falsehood (including false theology) will be shut outside. (v. 15) Anyone who adds to or subtracts from God’s Word will be condemned. (v. 18,19 // Rom. 16:17,18 // 2 Cor. 11:3,4,13-15)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Both Tuesday and yesterday (Thursday) this week were wonderful evangelizing on the streets, encouraging people to read God’s Word and follow Jesus whole-heartedly and faithfully. Both days felt powerful and greatly effective, as I found numerous receptive hearts and had stimulating conversations. What a fantastic joy to walk in the Spirit and watch Him work! Here is a photo another evangelist woman I met yesterday took of me and texted to me:

This evening I received six more snide comments from Randy at my comment page, even though I’ve told him that his comments will not get approved until he addresses several of the questions I put to him last year on Nov. 28. Interestingly, he won’t do so, but instead continues to get himself into a pretzel over Scripture’s teaching about Christ-followers walking in freedom from sin. He keeps accusing me of claiming to be sinless even though I have explained my belief over and over to him as well as throughout my blog. I think most of us understand the difference in being “set free from sin” (Rom. 6:18) and in being sinless every moment of every year (which I have not taught is the case). We all know we are all in process. However, the Word of God does teach that we are to, “Aim for perfection.” (2 Cor. 13:11) This is a serious command, not a suggestion, and as Jesus made clear in Mt. 5:48, this perfection is the perfect perfection of the Father.

So is it okay to be lax about this command to be perfect? It’s not. 2 Pe. 3:14 tells us to “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with Him.” 1 John 2:6 says, “Whoever claims to live in Him must walk / live as Jesus did.” Jesus lived perfectly. We are being commanded to do the same. Regrettably, many, like Randy, do not want to believe this, nor believe numerous other Scripture verses.

Rom. 8:9 states that if anyone houses the Spirit of Christ then that person will be “controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit.” Chapter 6, verses 1 & 2 say, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Indeed, how? “We died to sin.” Again: “We died to sin.” How can a person live in that which he has died to? This is what Paul is asking. This is what Paul is pointing out. This is what I, also, point out. Continually. But, unfortunately, many, like Randy, claim to follow Christ even though they have not died to sin, and even admit they haven’t.

Anyway, my sign in the photo above is one of my favorites. It’s to the point, has three references written on it, is a great starter for quoting more references when anyone inquires, and actually, a lot of people let me know they agree with it, even if they may also admit they are still Sin’s slaves and thus unsaved.

Well, for those who have ears to hear, it’s clear what Jesus has warned us: “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34) and “a slave has no permanent place in the family.” (v. 35)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
It’s always a joy to evangelize on the streets and today my mom joined me –as she often does around holidays. We gave out gift bags we had made together and talked with people about reading God’s powerful, comforting Word —that Word which also helps us know our Lord better and teaches us how to love Him and others. We talked about what Jesus did for us by dying and rising again, and many were receptive and appreciative.

One man, after asking us to pray for him right then to get his life straightened out, was greatly blessed by our prayers. Another in a wheelchair was so happy and encouraged and kept smiling as we talked about Jesus and our Eternal Home. Another man who was homeless kept quoting Scripture after Scripture verse and kept talking about being full of the Holy Spirit, which he obviously was. He was a huge blessing! One smiling girl crossed the street to ask for a gift bag and brightened even more as I encouraged her about feeding her spirit with the spiritual food of God’s Word. One young man listened intently as we gave him the Gospel in a nutshell and he appeared to believe even though he said he had thought that after death we all just sleep! There were many families down there today and the kids we gave gift bags to seemed surprised and blessed. There were many other wonderful people we met and conversations we had… but our meter was up and our gift bags were all given out (though we still had plastic eggs left, which we’d filled for extras).

On our way home, my mom and I stopped at Golden Chick for lunch, and we witnessed to a guy in the parking lot and gave him two filled eggs for his kids at home. Later, when my mom and I went to buy groceries at Walmart and I’d dropped her off at the front door, I gave away some more filled eggs (tracts, candy, etc. also in them) as I walked from my car into the store. Inside, we met a Christian woman from Germany who we spontaneously fellowshipped with in the Lord. Later when I got gas, I witnessed to a man with a huge, fancy pickup truck, and he listened. As I drove away, I prayed for him to be saved.

The day was good, especially because everywhere people seemed receptive to the reminder of what Jesus, our Savior, has done.

Here are four photos:

A young woman from China, who said she is a Christian, and who was putting quarters in the meter next to ours, took this:

My mom and me, ready to start out today:

Some of the things we put in the gift bags, like wood crosses we decorated:

Some more of our decorated crosses:

Well, may we all, always, everywhere we go, share the love of Jesus, and may we be sensitive to the fact that there are many who would love to be reminded that there is indeed deliverance, salvation, comfort, peace, strength, freedom, victory, guidance, friendship, (and much more), found in Him who died to pay our sin-debt and who conquered evil by rising victoriously.

Happy Resurrection Day!

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel