Disbelieving God’s Prophecies

September 23, 2016

Friends,
It is commonly taught in evangelicalism that there are multitudes of prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled, literally, in the person of Jesus Christ during His first advent. Just one of these is Micah 5:2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you are little among the clans of Judah, from you shall go forth for Me one who will be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from the days of eternity.” We can see in Luke 2:1-20 that God orchestrated the literal fulfillment of part of this prophecy by having Caesar Augustus order a census, thus motivating Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem in time for Jesus, God in the flesh, to be born there. But was (or is) Jesus ruler in Israel? True, He is their rightful and over-seeing Ruler, but because God does not usurp anyone’s free will, and because Israel has not yet chosen Jesus as their Messiah-King, the manifestation of the prophecy in its totality is yet future.

A similar prophecy concerning Jesus was made way back in Genesis 49:10 that One who will come from the tribe of Judah will rule the nations. Jesus, by being a descendent of Judah (Heb. 7:14) and by being born in Bethlehem in Judea, fulfilled the first part of this prophecy literally just as He will fulfill the second part of it literally about ruling the nations in the age to come. (Ps. ch. 2 // Isa. 9:6,7 & 45:20-25 // Zech. 14:9,16-19 // Mt. 19:28 // Heb. 1:8-13 & 2:5-9 // Rev. 11:15) That the Son of God was born a Jew is crucial in order to fulfill God’s prophecies, as is the fact that He came from the lineage of David and Judah and Jacob. (Dt. 18:17-19 w/ Acts 3:20-23 // Mt. 1:1 // Rom. 1:3 // Rev. 5:5) Yes, Jesus will rule from the throne of David (and David’s throne was neither in Heaven nor in the hearts of believers but in the literal physical city of Jerusalem) and His rule will extend across the whole earth, lasting forever. (Luke 1:32,33 // Isa. 11:10-12 // Dan. 2:44,45 & 7:13,14,27 // Rev. 11:15 & 12:5 & 15:4 & 21:1-5,26,27)

Anyone who claims to believe the literal fulfillment of the prophecies of Christ’s first advent while denying the literal fulfillment of the prophecies concerning His second advent should realize they are disbelieving what God has stated in His Word. No one can slice out portions of Scripture, throw out the LORD’s statements or invent new meanings, and then legitimately insist they are believers of God’s Word. Instead, choosing to believe just some of Scripture, they, as is typical of those who follow cults (or who follow the views of the average Westerner), remain unbelievers.

There are over 60 distinct, major, separate prophecies that Christ fulfilled during His first advent, and He fulfilled them literally. Zech. 9:9 prophesied that Jerusalem’s King/Savior would come to them riding on a donkey and we can read in Mt. 21:1-11 that this was fulfilled literally. Ps. 22:16 and Zech. 12:10 were prophecies that the Messiah would have His hands and feet pierced, and Isa. 53:5 prophesied, “He was pierced for our transgressions.” Jesus died for the sins of the world by crucifixion, a literal fulfillment. Zech. 11:12,13 is a prophecy about the thirty pieces of silver (betrayal money) thrown in the temple to the potter; Ps. 22:18 is a prophecy that lots would be cast for Jesus’ clothing; Ps. 69:21 is a prophecy that He would be given gall and vinegar for His thirst, and Isa. 53:7-9 prophesies that, though He was completely innocent, the Messiah would, without defending Himself, die for the transgression of the people and have a grave amid the wicked and the rich. We can read the literal fulfillment of all these prophecies in Mt. ch. 27.

When we consider these things, it is certainly strange that there are teachers who, while adhering to Replacement Theology (R.T.), deny the literal fulfillment of multitudes of Scripture’s prophecies that have yet to come to pass, and deny even those which have already come to pass in modern times such as the rebirth of the nation of Israel. As the prophecy in Ezek. 37:19-22 says, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph… the Israelite tribes… and join it to Judah’s stick… and they will become one in My hand. …I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or divided into two kingdoms.” God Himself, through people and events, has fulfilled this prophecy concerning the physical descendants of Jacob and has done so in the physical land of Israel as He promised. The rest of Ezekiel chapter 37 then prophesies that this Jewish nation will be cleansed of their sinful backsliding, that David will rule over them forever, that God’s dwelling place will be with them forever, and that they will live in the land forever. Passages such as Luke 1:32,33,67-75 and Rom. 11:25-29 and Heb. 8:8-12 confirm this, but, R.T. adherents disbelieve, and through their confusion they make most of God’s Word out to be nonsense.

Regardless of their unbelief, all of God’s prophecies will come to pass. The “twelve tribes of Israel” (Ezek. 47:13) will have the land divided for them as their inheritance (same verse), because, God says, He swore to Israel’s forefathers to give it to them. (v. 14) In chapters 47 and 48 God gives specific instruction about the borders allotted to each tribe, showing this is to be understood as literal physical boundaries. Moreover, chapters 40-46 describe, in detail, the new temple that will be functioning in the time of the 1,000 year reign of Jesus (who Himself says, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David…” –Rev. 22:16), and He will reign over the whole earth, His capital being the present city of Jerusalem. (Isa. 2:1-5 & chapters 11 & 12 & 59:15-66:21 // Jer. 31:1-14 // Zech. chapters 8 & 14 // Rev. 20:1-6)

In Rom. 8:19-23 it is clear that it is not only humans who groan while waiting for Jesus to reverse the Curse and bring renewal to the earth, but creation itself. (See also Gen. 3:17-19 and Isa. 25:6-10 and 2 Pe. 3:2-13) Acts 3:17-26 tells us that Jesus “must remain in Heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets.” This restoration to an Eden-like earth will begin in Jerusalem, spread throughout Israel, and on to the nations that honor the Lord. (Ps. ch. 72 w/ Zech. 14:16-19 // Isa. 27:6 & 35:1,2 & 51:1-5 & 65:16-25 // Joel 3:16-21 // Amos 9:11-15) The person who “dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth” (Isa. 65:20) and whoever “fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.” (Same verse) Animals will no longer be carnivorous (v. 25 & 11:6,7), vipers will no longer be poisonous (11:8), nations will not war against one another (2:4), and Satan, the Deceiver, will be bound in the Abyss for a thousand years. (Rev. 20:1-3) But, R.T. adherents disbelieve these prophecies.

After the Millennium, Satan will be released for a short time (Rev. 20:3,7) and will go out to deceive the nations again, gathering them for battle against God’s beloved people and city. (v. 8,9) But fire from heaven will devour them and Satan will be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur to be tormented forever. (v. 9,10) After this comes the Great White Throne Judgement of all the dead –the dead which had not been found worthy of the first resurrection (Luke 20:35,36 // 1 Cor. 15:22,23 // 1 Thes. 4:13-18 // Rev. 20:4-6)– at which time earth and sky flee from the presence of the Judge (Rev. 20:11-15) who commands the present heavens and earth to be burned up. (2 Pe. 3:6-13) Death, Hades, and all the wicked are thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14,15) and because “the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (21:1) and “the old order of things had passed away” (v. 4), then upon the arrival of the new heaven and the new earth (v. 1), death and sadness and pain are thereby gone forever. (v. 4)

Jesus, having reigned until putting all authorities and enemies under His feet (1 Cor. 15:24,25) –the last enemy to be destroyed being death (v. 26)– then hands over His Kingdom to God the Father (v. 24) and is made subject to Him (v. 28) so that God may be all in all. (Same verse) That will be the finality of the ages (v. 24) and God will come down to dwell with man on the Eternal New Earth. (Rev. 21:1-5) Yes, God’s dwelling remains Jerusalem, but, having come down from Heaven to the New Earth, Jerusalem is now a brand-new, enormously-enlarged, and forever-purified city (v. 2,3,16), one without a temple building (v. 22), but one into which the nations and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor. (v. 24,26) The New Jerusalem will be approximately 1,400 miles wide, long, and high –a cube (v.16) and anyone who works iniquity will not be allowed entrance. (v. 27) There will be no night there since Jesus is its light (v. 23,25 & 22:5), there will no longer be any curse (22:3), the river of the water of Life and the Tree that heals the nations will be along the main street of the city, and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there (v. 1-3) –there in Jerusalem, the Holy City (21:10), on a mountain great and high (same verse), “the wife of the Lamb.” (v. 9) But, R.T. adherents, in disbelieving these prophecies, allegorize or spiritualize them all so that they can continue in their unbelief.

However, just because there are many spiritual aspects to the Kingdom of God, this does not negate the physical aspects, most which will manifest in the Millennium and on afterward into Eternity. Those of us who are united with Christ have His divine power for everything we need for walking in God’s will for our present earthly life. (2 Pe. 1:3,4) This does not mean, though, that our bodies will not get sick, or grow old, or die, for this existing earth and its inhabitants are still under the Curse. But, in the next age –the 1,000 year earthly reign of Christ when Satan is bound for that time– God will have lifted much, though not yet all, of the Curse for those born during that age (Isa. 11:6-10 & 65:16-25) while those who have been already risen to immortality will be reigning with Christ (Rev. 20:6) over the nations (2:26,27 & 3:21) –in charge of many things (Mt. 25:21-23 // 2 Tim. 2:12), including whole cities. (Luke 19:17-19) These saints will not marry or have children, but will be like the angels. (20:34-36)

Sadly, because of the influence of R.T., most churches do not teach these Truths, even though Jesus taught His disciples often about the Kingdom of God, including telling them to pray that it would come to earth. (Mt. 6:10) During the 40 days between His resurrection and accession to Heaven, He taught them still more about the Kingdom of God. (Acts 1:1-3) So, contrary to what many R.T. adherents teach, it was a completely appropriate question when the disciples asked Him, “Lord, are You at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (v. 6) They would not have asked about their Messiah restoring to Israel a kingdom if Jesus had not been teaching about such a thing. He had been teaching about it, but He had not indicated when it would come to pass. Hence their question. Jesus answered that the timing was not theirs to know (v. 7) but that they should focus on the Good News getting out to the world, and He encouraged them that they would soon receive power from the Holy Spirit to do that task. (v. 8 ) Jesus then ascended to Heaven as they looked on (v.9), and two angels, suddenly standing beside them (v. 10), informed them that Jesus would “come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.” (v. 11) Yes, every one living will see Jesus returning in the sky (Mt. 24:30,31 // Rev. 1:7) and when His feet stand on the Mount of Olives it will split in half forming a huge valley. (Zech. 14:4) This will happen literally, physically, as God’s Word makes clear by including phrases about locations such as “east of Jerusalem” (same verse) and that the valley “will extend to Azel.” (v. 5)

Quite significant, then, was what Jesus told His disciples when He said, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Mt. 19:28) Should we understand that this promise/prophecy will come to pass literally? Absolutely, we should and we must. For God will bring all His words to pass and they will center around the physical land of Israel, the land that is God’s own inheritance (Joel 3:2), among the nation that is His special possession. (Same verse // Ps. 135:4)

Disbelieving what God’s Word prophesies/says concerning Christ’s first advent is to remain an unbeliever. Disbelieving what God’s Word prophesies/says concerning Christ’s second advent is to remain an unbeliever. “And without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11:6) Let no one be deceived: Faith that pleases God is to believe what His Word states. It is to believe the Truth and to reject falsehoods, and this is essential for salvation. (3:12-19 // 1 Tim. 4:1,16)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
While practicing my memory verses a few days ago, 1 Tim. 3:6 struck me in a way it hadn’t before. Regarding overseers in the church (its leaders / pastors / teachers), it says, “He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgement as the devil.” Wow, I thought, “fall under the same judgement as the devil.” That’s severe. That’s terrifying. That judgement is something everyone should flee from and warn others about. For truly, the devil has an awful eternal future he heads toward, and if a human falls under that same judgement –well, that human has a horrific eternal future as well.

Who is it who is in danger of receiving the same sentence as Satan? This verse shows that it is the person who, after recently becoming a convert to Christianity, then becomes an overseer of a church, becomes conceited, and thus brings himself into enmity with God. In other words, a person who makes the claim to submit to and follow Christ and who then quickly rises to a leadership/teaching role within the church is prone to becoming conceited through doing so, and that this conceit will be the root cause of that person’s condemnation –the same condemnation and punishment the devil is under and will receive.

Such a warning should give all of us very sober pause. Pause in believing just any teacher’s doctrine. Pause in following just any pastor’s leadership. Certainly those who have for a long time claimed to belong to Christ may also be conceited, but we are told to be especially careful about recent converts who quickly become church leaders. But, how recent does “recent” mean? We’re not told, but those in whom the Holy Spirit dwells should utilize the discernment He gives.

Several years ago my husband and I attended a church for about a year where Rick, the pastor, had only been a Christ-follower for about six years, before that having been a drug dealer. He did show signs of conceit in the pastorate but we tried to over-look it, not only because he was using his Spirit-given gifts, but also because we felt anyone doing Bible-based ministry through the Spirit should not be dis-encouraged.

Even so, at the intense and repeated promptings of the Spirit, I wrote him a handwritten letter, and as lovingly as I could, addressed his pride. He didn’t accept it so we went to church elsewhere. However, after crossing paths with him, his wife, and his congregation at a tent revival meeting about a year later, we went back to his church a few times because we still considered everyone there to be our friends. Once again, though, the Lord impressed me to write still another letter to Rick warning him about pride. So after much prayer and weeping I did, and the next Sunday I had it with me, ready to give it to him. My husband, though, pained over the potential strife, had asked me if I couldn’t just wait a couple of weeks; and after church he again asked me to wait. Conflicted about obeying God or adhering to my husband’s wishes, I reasoned I could please them both if I still gave Rick the letter, but not yet.

Well, I never saw Rick alive again. I was in North Dakota that following week, arriving home Sunday night. The next night (Monday) Rick shot himself in the head. I never had given him the warning letter. (Yes, both my husband and I repented through many tears.) It was a letter that could’ve woke Rick up, could’ve shaken him to his senses, could’ve made him hopeful enough, or mad enough, or scared enough, to call out to God for help. The letter could’ve alerted him, reminded him, that even if he was fooling the church people and stealing money from the church treasury for his renewed drug habit, God was seeing all of it and could write him a warning even through the pen of someone who didn’t know anything about how far his pride had actually taken him.

Well, I say all that to say this: Rick was a skilled, smart, and incredibly likable guy. Whoever had helped him get into the pastorate could see that, as could those who eagerly chose to sit under his leadership. But there were other valuables missing –like humility, wisdom, maturity, and careful alertness to the devil’s cunning schemes. Such things come through time, by repeatedly putting into practice Christ’s commands, by exhibiting faithfulness when tested and disciplined by the Lord, and simply through gradual, steady progress. Yet recent converts typically don’t realize this. Thus it’s up to those who are sound and mature in the faith to allow no provision for recent converts to be spiritual leaders.

Does this mean recent converts shouldn’t be urged to evangelize or share their faith? No, for they should. They should be encouraged in proclaiming Christ everywhere. But 1 Tim. 3:6 does teach us that a recent convert should not be given a leadership role or a role of authority pertaining to church discipline, money, or doctrine. The mature should know better than to put a person in a position where Satan, through the strength of temptation, is able to take advantage of a leader’s naivety, immaturity, and lack of experience and discipline. It is no small sin to aid someone in their folly, to assist in the ensnarement laid for someone by the evil one –he who tries to entice everyone into receiving his same destiny.

What is the judgement that the devil has already received? He was ejected from his God-ordained position of being guardian cherub (Ezek. 28:14-16), and this because his pride corrupted his wisdom (v. 17) and his heart. (Isa. 14:12-15) His presumptuous conceit sealed his doom to a non-escapable fate. It is a God-declared condemnation (John 16:11) that, manifesting in the future at God’s appointed time (Rev. 20:1-3,7-10), will sever Satan’s rule and glee forever –as he is “thrown into the lake of burning sulfur” (v. 10), never to emerge.

And again, what does 1 Tim. 3:6 warn us of? It warns us that a spiritual leader, particularly if he is a recent convert, may become conceited and fall under the same judgement as the devil –!!! Yes, to those receiving the same judgement as Satan, Jesus will say, “Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Mt. 25:41) “Then they will go away to eternal punishment…” (v. 46) For as Jesus warned even those branches already in Him, if we do not remain in Him, we will be cut off and thrown away to wither, then picked up, thrown into the fire, and burned. (John 15:1-10)

Conceit. It blinds those who begin to think they are better than others, that they are above the rules others must follow, that they are smarter, spiritually stronger, and more gifted than the average. Conceit, if left unrepented of, grows like a cancer, making horribly foolish the one who won’t give it up.

Where does conceit lead the adherents? It leads them to abandon the faith (1 Tim. 4:1) as they delight in listening to deceiving spirits teach their demonic doctrines (same verse), as they listen to godless myths, fallacies, and evil suspicions / conspiracy theories (4:7 & 6:4), and as they continue developing their unhealthy interest in controversies (6:4) so that their corrupted minds (v. 5) are no longer able to teach sound doctrine. (v. 3-5) Such a person’s fate is the same as the devil’s. –Condemnation in the lake of burning sulfur. (Rev. 21:8)

Let’s take note that many verses, including 1 Tim. 3:6, are speaking not of false converts, but of converts to the faith / to Christ –yet who have allowed conceit to overtake them so that they incur upon themselves the same eternal sentence that is coming upon the devil.

Who then is teaching, “Once in Christ, always in Christ”? According to the Scriptures, such doctrine just isn’t so.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Honor Them This 9/11

September 11, 2016

Friends,
Today we should definitely remember, and pray for, the families of those who lost loved ones in the 9/11/01 tragedy of the Twin Towers. Let us also pray that the Lord will thwart the plans of evil people worldwide who, in the name of their god, think and teach that it is heroic to kill anyone who disagrees with their religion. All who have been harmed at the hands of such wickedness, and all who have fought to help and rescue others from those hands, should be remembered and honored by the rest of us.

As important as this day of remembrance is for that, today is also a day to remember another group of individuals who ought to be honored, cherished, and given attention. They are those who are grandparents.

National Grandparents Day was created as a reminder for us to take notice of our grandparents, to listen and learn from them, and to make them feel cherished and appreciated. This is highly important. The Fifth Commandment tells us to honor our parents so this would include honoring them as we guide our children in how to honor their grandparents. (Ex. 20:12 // Mark 7:9-13 // Eph. 6:1-3 // 1 Tim. 5:4,8)

Even for those who are not our parents or grandparents but who we suspect are elderly, lonely, and in need of encouragement, let’s pay some attention to them too. Do we realize how many persons languish in nursing homes or are confined at home, feeling forgotten and discarded? Likely way more than we wish to believe. Before the Lord we are responsible to them! (Mt. 25:31-46)

National Grandparents Day is significant. It is a day we should uphold. Grandparents are people we should respect and honor and love. Not only by our words, but in action involving our time.

Today is truly an important date for it is one in which several groups of people are to be remembered. Remembered for their contribution to us. Remembered because every person is valuable –the aged as well as those who sacrificed their lives for strangers on 9/11 in New York, and for those who died so unnecessarily as they began their normal day of work.

Let’s not forget to honor all these groups and to pray for those closely affected. And, for those to whom we can personally, let’s give our time and our love.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

The Only True Savior Is Jesus

September 6, 2016

Friends,
“Two dollars,” my friend Rad said, holding up two fingers for emphasis. “Two dollars. Women are out here selling their bodies for only two dollars.”

Shaking my head sadly, I agreed that that was shocking and awful. There must be a lot of desperation, a lot of hopelessness. No one would stoop to that depth if this weren’t the case. Truly, the world needs help so badly! They need the Savior, but He is precisely who most choose to reject. John 3:19,20 tell us why –because they love darkness instead of the Light and this because their deeds, which are evil, get exposed by the Light. Thus, they won’t come into the Light and many even hate the Light.

This conversation I had with Rad (who talks to me often down there) was last Friday at the bus and train stops as I witnessed there with four signs and some of my tracts I’d just printed out that morning. My back sign said, “Jesus is the only true Savior” and the three front ones (two which had messages on both sides) I inter-changed periodically.

Rad complained (again) that he wanted to follow God’s (moral) laws but that the culture and community he is in makes him feel it is next to impossible. I tried to encourage him to choose to be different and to “come out from them and be separate” (2 Cor. 6:17) in whatever way necessary. Rad always seems to have a flicker of hope cross his face –that maybe he could change– but then he lapses back into defeatism. Somebody reading this, please pray for Rad’s transformation to happen!

I actually had a lot of great conversations on Friday, and being there seemed to be an extra amount of tourists, I felt I was able to reach an extra amount of people I’d never met before. All in all, most individuals I talked with seemed genuinely interested in understanding what God would require of them in their particular current situation. I cared greatly for each one and felt God’s love in me for them. I knew the Lord was working through the prayers of those who I’d asked to be praying, some who I’d not ever asked before. Definitely, experiencing the Holy Spirit using Christ’s people together as a body is always an incredible joy!

May God use us all to pray and go and proclaim Christ, to remind people that there is a Way out of the darkness and into the Light, and to help them find the courage and the will to renounce the hopelessness, the filth, the darkness, so that they can be separated, wholly and loyally, to Jesus, the Light and only true Savior of the world.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Swimming & Hiking In Idaho

September 2, 2016

Friends,
Below is one more set of photos I’m sharing of my vacation to Idaho this month. I stayed with my parents at the same camp I stayed with them at in Idaho two years ago before we went on to Yellowstone. I love the scenery in that area of the country! God has made such a stunning creation for us to enjoy.

The Lord had several very intriguing people cross paths with me who I was able to share my faith with, both on my flights there and back, and also while staying there. I kept thinking of how valuable every person is to God, even those who do not (yet) know Him. With every person I talked with, I had the impression that God was wooing that person to Himself and that I was just one step in the process. Some I talked with at length and shared the full Gospel with and the reason I believe it. With others I just dropped a few “seeds”, hoping that they would engage, but even with those who didn’t, I will continue to pray that God brings people and events into their lives to show them the Truth so that they will be saved.

I remember that many years ago my dad had two verses on their bathroom mirror that he was memorizing. It was this: “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Col. 4:5,6) These are commands for us, everywhere we go, near or far.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Spokane River where we swam on 8/21/16, a few hundred feet from our rented cabin.

We went sight-seeing 8/21/16; My dad, Bayview, 25 miles N of Coeur d’Alene.

8/22/16, early morning, my mom and I went for a hike around the hill by our cabin.

Me, and Spokane River and lagoon in background, 8/22/16

My mom and our cabin up ahead, 8/22/16

My dad starting out on the Tubbs Hill hike along the Coeur d’Alene Lake. 8/22/16, late afternoon

I went with him. (It’s a mouse in the moose’s antlers!)

My dad looking at the lake view.

Beautiful coastline

Rugged beauty!

Yes, I climbed down there, and it’s much steeper than it looks in the photo.

My dad overlooking a cliff, also much higher than appears in the photo.

Me by another cliff

Shot toward the sun from Tubbs Hill

Next morning, 8/23/16, at the camp, watching my niece and nephew swim

The camp beach of the Spokane River is so pretty! (8/23/16)

Violet, Jenny, me, and my mom watching them swim, 8/23/16

My dad and me, on another hike around the lagoon, 8/23/16 afternoon

A cross on the hill across the lagoon from our cabin, 8/23/16

My parents in front of our cozy cabin. (8/23/16, evening)

Friends,
Two evenings ago I arrived back home from being in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for a week where we attended my sister’s oldest daughter’s wedding. It was wonderful and I heard several remark that even though almost all brides are lovely, Jillian was the most beautiful bride they’d ever seen. Below are some pictures and everyone can decide for themselves.

Unfortunately, heavy rains in Dallas prevented my brother and two of his children from being able to fly out, even though they tried twice. However, his wife (Ruth) and son (Kael) had gone on a flight several hours before and so they made it. My husband did not go either for a number of reasons. But, the rest of us were there and it was a happy and Christ-honoring wedding. The vows, which they wrote themselves, were quite something –so sweet, so full of commitment and selflessness. Oh, that we all could vow such things and hold to them!

Jillian and Brent met their first day of college on the east coast because both were in the honors program. They were friends among a circle of friends until Jillian’s junior year when they decided to take their relationship further. Both of them love academia and Brent is a Math and Science wiz while Jillian is a Sociology major. Both of them love Jesus and have hearts and actions that reach out to the down-trodden.

We are all very grateful for God’s kindness and amazing ability to lead two very precious people –living on opposite sides of the country– to meet each other, love each other, and commit to one another for the furtherance of good in the world. May the Lord favor them all their lives and help them bring glory to His name.

Love and prayers,
Rachel

8/18/16 –My mom, Violet, and Jillian, two days before Jillian’s wedding

8/18/16 –My dad with Lincoln (the bride’s brother)

8/19/16 –Rehearsal day, and this is Jillian’s bouquet she made out of brooches everyone contributed

8/19/16 –Jillian with friends and with sisters, Violet and Clementine

8/19/16 –My sister (Jenny) and me

8/20/16 An hour before the wedding: My parents and Clementine

8/20/16 –Violet and her grandma

Ruth (my brother’s wife) and Jenny (mother of the bride)

Jenny and me before the wedding ceremony

8/20/16 –Jillian and Brent presented as husband and wife (Brent’s brother & dad were the groomsmen)

Ceremony ending

Wow! They look happy and excited, to say the least.

Best friends and happy couple

An emotional hug of brother and sister after Lincoln gave his toast speech

Jillian and Brent’s first dance being married

Jillian and her dad (a pastor and the one who married them) dancing

Beautiful Jenny, mother of the bride, watching her husband and daughter dance

Cousins, Kael and Lincoln

Beautiful Jillian talking with guests

Me between the bride and groom

Friends,
If we who claim to follow Jesus choose to keep saturating ourselves in the philosophies of men even while they contradict God’s Word, then we will veer far off the path of Truth. We will become so confused, so blinded, that we will not only cease from growing in the knowledge of the Truth, but we will actually slide backwards. Yes, those who are overtaken by falsehoods will incur upon themselves an ever-increasingly strong delusion so that, in the end, aside from a miracle that enables them to repent, they will be condemned. (2 Thes. 2:10-12)

Numerous Scripture verses warn us that the Truth –the true Gospel– is what we must adhere to in order to be saved. (John 8:31-36 // 1 Cor. 15:1,2 // 1 Tim. 4:16 // etc.) Gal. 1:6-9 says this emphatically, warning that those who desert the Truth by turning to a false gospel thereby have no Gospel at all. Teachers who teach false gospels will be, it says, eternally condemned. Of course all who refuse to repent of sin and false gospels will perish, but it is alarming to think of the extra-horrific punishment that awaits those who have not only rejected the Truth themselves, but have also persuaded others to do so. (Luke 17:1,2 // Rom. 16:17,18 // Ja. 3:1)

2 John 1:7-11 warns us to not lose what we have worked for by listening to deceivers who add or subtract to the teaching of Christ, particularly in disavowing the Messiah as coming in the flesh. For the teaching of Christ does not involve only faith, repentance, and how to walk in the will of God, but it includes all the doctrine (truths / Truth) concerning Christ found in both Old and New Testaments regarding both His first coming and His second coming. This is the Gospel, the Good News, the Message that declares what our Lord came to earth (in the flesh) to do the first time (Rom. 5:10 // 1 Cor. 15:21 // 1 John 3:5,8) and what He is coming back (in the flesh) to do the second time. (Isa. 11:6-9 // Mt. 19:28 // Acts 3:21 // Rom. 8:18-25 // 2 Pe. 3:13 // Rev. ch. 20-22) If someone does not grasp this Gospel, then that person has missed the centrality of the whole Word of God. If they remain stiff-necked about believing what God’s Word states concerning our Savior and soon-coming King, and go on adding what isn’t there and taking away what is, doing so through their reinterpretations, then such a person should not be viewed as a legitimate Bible teacher but instead as one whose work is wicked, void of God, and antichrist. (2 John 1:7-11 again // 1 Tim. 1:6,7)

Pr. 30:5 tells us that every word of God is flawless and verse 6 warns, “Do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” Rev. 22:18,19, as well, warn that those who add or subtract from the prophecies in that book will incur plagues and will not share in the Tree of Life nor in the Holy City. Truly, the whole Word of God warns that both righteous conduct and correct doctrine are essential for salvation.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel