Beautiful Words

September 30, 2011

Friends,
I have recently been meditating on certain words. They are words that sound so beautiful, so soothing, so full of comfort… even bliss… And why do these words sound so lovely? Because of the meaning behind them. Here are a few that might make any of us want to close our eyes and sigh with contentment:

~~~ Rest

~~~ Peace

~~~ Tranquility

~~~ Quietness

~~~ Safety

~~~ Security

~~~ Comfort

~~~ Provision

~~~ Protection

~~~ Courage

~~~ Perseverance

~~~ Victory

~~~ Joy

~~~ Beauty

~~~ Softness

~~~ Gentleness

~~~ Tenderness

~~~ Love

~~~ Friend

~~~ Companion

~~~ Life

~~~ Health

~~~ Truth

I could go on, as there are many calming words we could meditate upon. But aren’t these beautiful… and relaxing to think upon… like gentle waves of hope washing across one’s soul?

The wonderful thing, too, about all these words, is that they describe a reality of abiding with, within, and under the shadow of, a Person. That Person is God… through Jesus… by being in the Spirit’s presence… He dwelling within us…

Each one of these words… plus more… describe a supernatural existence… experience… that is indescribable. And it radiates from our Creator, Shepherd, God. Which word best captures this blessed state of being? I’m sure our past experiences, especially our hardships and traumas, would cause us all to choose differently from the next person; but I think I’d choose “Rest”. –That’s why I listed it first. Because, I guess, if I have “Rest”, then I’m already victorious, for there is no strife or war… stress or worry… in my life. If I have “Rest”, then I would, by implication, be experiencing the following eight which I listed. If I have “Rest”, then I must be in good health, otherwise aches and suffering would cause rest to elude me. If I have “Rest”, then my soul must have found Him who I so long for, and the companionship, friendship, and love would certainly also be mine. –As well as “Life” and “Truth” and “Joy”! I could go on some more with my reasons here too, but suffice to say, –yes, I choose “Rest”.

What do you choose? Ponder each one… Or maybe you have another beautiful word…?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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Our Tears, A Rainbow

September 29, 2011

Friends,
There is a God who comforts. But would we need Him… would we need His comfort if we’d not walked through deep valleys, experiencing long nights and crushed dreams? The Lord allows the pain because without it we wouldn’t grow, we wouldn’t produce, we wouldn’t learn graces needful to be a blessing to others. For the unpruned grapevine yields only tiny, sour grapes, useless to satisfy a famished world. Has He not left us here on earth –when He could’ve just whisked us off to Heaven the moment we decided to repent– because we are to do a mighty work for Him here? Does He not desire bodies to dwell in… mouths, voices, hands, feet… to shine forth from? (Gal. 2:20) Can He do this from slothful, dirty, selfish, and apathetic vessels? Then let Him do His cutting.

Yes, many have experienced God cutting away almost everything. But didn’t we volunteer to the Heavenly call, saying, “Here am I. Send me”? (Isa. 6:8) Did we not profess, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love you more than all others, all things, as well as my own self (see John 21:15 & Luke 9:23-25 & 14:26,27), and I am willing to give up everything to be Your disciple.” –? (See Luke 14:33)

We know that conformity to Christ… obedience… strength… maturity… perfection… come through suffering. (Heb. 2:10 & 12:10 & James 1:2-4 & 1 Peter 5:10) So do salvation, honor, and glory. (1 Peter 1:6-9 & James 1:12) We know that undisciplined soldiers can’t win victories for anyone. They cannot help, rescue, or save anyone. Therefore, we’re told, “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:3), be prepared to “fight the good fight” (see 4:7), and “fill up in my [our] flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the church.” (Col. 1:24) Amid the suffering, rejoice! (same verse & 1 Peter 4:13)

Why should we rejoice? Because besides many blessings God sends along with the pain, He pours into us His comfort, His nearness, His voice… giving us insights, and anointing us with “the Spirit of glory and of God.” (1 Peter 4:14) As Ps. 34:18 promises, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” See? He will bring comfort and healing; He will bring salvation. Thus we remember what Phil. 1:19 says: “What has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance / salvation.” Moreover, we realize that our suffering “has really served to advance the gospel” (v. 12) and has been a source of encouragement for others to “speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” (v. 14) How’s this? Because when others see our endurance through the power of Christ, they gain faith that they too can overcome in Him.

Standing at yet another crossroads is traumatic… struggling with the decision to obey or to shrink back… especially if this one involves one’s “Isaac”, one’s most precious possession, one’s “only son”. Yes, when we face this one, our pillows become wet with tears… our heart crushed… But, if we can’t give up everything to the Lord, if we hold back that one thing, that one security, that one person, that one source of help… what does this mean? It means we have an idol.

We must slay, or let God slay, our idols. He is God, He is able, He is mighty, He is compassionate. Did God not say, once He saw that Abraham was going to indeed obey Him, “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son.” (Gen. 22:12) Even at the last moment, God often still intervenes… brings restoration… a mighty victory. But, even if He doesn’t, let us firmly declare as we’ve been taught, “Our God will rescue us. But even if He does not, we will not bow to any idol.” (See Daniel 3:17,18) –Including any idol within our own heart.

This is one of the deepest valleys any of us will go through –when we realize God is asking us to give up our “Isaac”. It is so painful, so heart-wrenching. But, if we allow God to be our Comforter through it, we will emerge victorious and Christ-like, and the scars and the limp will be the very thorns that keep us compassionate comforters to a lost and troubled world… a world full of souls who desperately need a rainbow of hope, who need to hear God’s salvation promises, and who need to be pointed toward “The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort”. (2 Cor. 1:3)

Yes, there truly is a God who comforts. But how would we know this, how would we know Him, if we’d never needed to be comforted?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

In Whom Does God Confide?

September 28, 2011

Friends,
It is a strange thing that so many who call themselves Christ-followers admit that they do not regularly hear from the Lord, if at all. What a strange thing indeed if such a person is “born from above… of the Spirit” (John 3:3-8) of God and has thus become His temple. (1 Cor. 6:19) Should we not think it normal for such a person to hear from the Person dwelling right inside one’s spirit?! How else is the Counselor Jesus sends us (John 16:7) to guide us into all Truth? (v. 13) How else are we to walk in Christ’s promise, “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.” –? (10:27) Does not God answer us when we cry for help (Isa. 30:19) and grant us assurance, saying, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'” –? (v. 21) Are we not being promised that the ears of our spirit will hear our Shepherd?

What should we expect to hear from our Counselor, Savior, and God? Among many things, we should expect to hear which way to walk. This is what we are promised in the above verse. Numerous times He says such things in His Word, like, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” (Ps. 32:8) The Lord does this by pointing out insights from His Word, confirming them through other means, and then often validating them again elsewhere in His Word.

Who is it the Lord does this for? Those who fear Him. Does this not describe all Christ-followers? It most definitely should!

Ps. 25:12 says, “Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.” Is this not comfort –and another promise of guidance? Certainly! And what else is promised in the next verse? “He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.” (v. 13) But even better than this, let’s read further: “The LORD confides in those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them.” (v. 14) Wow! This is high privilege!!! Yet it is promised to any of us who fear (honor, reverence, and worship) the Lord! How else do we gain this knowledge? –By keeping our eyes focused steadily on God. (v. 15) How is that done? By reading His Word diligently, listening to His voice through it to our spirit, and obeying the amount of revelation we’re given. If we listen and obey, we will hear more. (Luke 8:17,18)

God says in Isa. 42:9, “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being…” Listen to this: “…before they spring into being I announce them to you.” God is saying He tells us things ahead of time. No, not everything. But certain things to certain ones of His people who He, for various and several reasons, decides to do so for.

God says in Isa. 45:19, “I have not spoken in secret… I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek Me in vain.'” Is God not saying that He speaks plainly to those who belong to Him and that He reveals His secrets to those who seek Him? (Jer. 33:3 & Ps. 119:18) He is! As Jesus says in Matt. 13:11, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them [–not to those who won’t seek –v. 44].” They may be told (Isa. 48:3,5,6,16), but they refuse to understand –v. 8. Dan. 2:22 says, “He [God] reveals deep and hidden things.” But to whom? Jesus tells us in Luke 10:21: “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”

Children? Yes, those in God’s family who humbly fear, seek, trust, and obey their Heavenly Father. For whom has God given the right to boast in knowing Him? (Jer. 9:24) The right is given to those who are lowly, foolish, ignorant, non-influential, weak, and despised by the world’s standards. (1 Cor. 1:20-2:5) But the world doesn’t understand that “God’s secret wisdom” (2:7) is being revealed to those who are taught by His Spirit. (v. 10,13,16) As was promised way back in Dt. 29:29, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” God reveals things to us so that we can more closely obey and please Him, we who by “faith are blessed along with Abraham” (Gal. 3:9) and who now live by “the law of the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:2)

God says in Isa. 46:10a, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.” Who does He do this for? He does it for those He confides in. God continues: “I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill My purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.” (v. 10b,11)

To whom has God revealed His plans? Amos 3:7 answers: “Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets.” Who are the Lord’s prophets now? They are those who have hidden God’s Word in their hearts (Ps. 119:11), minds, and spirits, and proclaim it from their mouths. “He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals His thoughts to man…” (4:13) Who does this? –The Creator. –To what man? Prov. 3:33 answers: “The LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into His confidence.” So, we see again that it is the upright, the righteous, those who fear God and walk in His ways… whom God confides in. But there is a contrast made here… The perverse man is not awarded such privilege.

In considering all the verses above, what do they reveal concerning those who claim to know the Lord but do not hear Him speaking?

I believe the answer is self-explanatory.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Rebellion Can Be Righteous

September 27, 2011

Friends,
Doctrines concerning the Word of God are typically derived from the Word of God, for few people are going to insist that God requires something by which they cannot somehow back it up with Scripture. Yet this is precisely why we must know God’s Word for ourselves –all of it– and furthermore, know intimately the One who inspired His Word to be written down. If we do not commune with God’s Spirit through the Word, then we open ourselves up to the influence of those who twist the Word of God or use it to prove their own biases and invented doctrines. Scripture does not continually warn us of such deceptions if they are not prevalent and dangerous.

One popular doctrine with most spiritual leaders is that of submission. They teach that children are to submit to parents, wives are to submit to their husbands, and that everyone is to submit to their bosses and spiritual and civil leaders. We can see that passages such as Eph. 5:21-6:9, Col. 3:18-22, Rom. 13:1-7, and 1 Peter 2:13-21 do teach this.

But what does 1 Cor. 6:12 say? It says, “‘Everything is permissible for me’ –but not everything is beneficial.” Is everything permissible? Are murder and perversion permissible? They certainly are not in God’s eyes, so what do we learn from such Bible statements? We learn that we must interpret Scripture through what other parts of God’s Word teaches.

In Matt. 7:1 Jesus says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Yet what does He say in John 7:24? He says, “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” Wait… here the Lord says we should “make a right judgement”, yet He also says, “Do not judge…” Which is it? Which is the correct command? Both. This is why we need the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, for He will guide us in applying God’s Word for each situation. If we hold to “law” rather than adhering to “the new way of the Spirit” (Rom. 7:6), then we will not live according to wisdom or righteousness.

Several times God’s Word says, “Love your neighbor [your fellowman] as yourself.” Jesus says, “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” (Matt. 7:12) Yet 2 John 1:10 says, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching [the Truth], do not take him into your house or welcome him.” Don’t we all want to be welcomed? Titus 3:10 says, “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.” Would we want others to shun us? So… if we are to treat others as we’d want to be treated, then why the commands to avoid certain people?

My point is that the Word of God can only be correctly interpreted and applied as led by the Spirit of God. It’s the only way. For Scripture without the Spirit cannot lead a person to walk daily in humility, in righteousness, in wisdom, in love, or in any aspect of the will of God.

Let me get back to this idea, then, that Christ-followers must submit to every authority of man over them. Is this correct teaching? If so, what should be said of Elijah who rebelled against King Ahab and Queen Jezebel who were the authorities over everyone in his land? (1 Kings 18-21) What about Mordecai who disobeyed the king’s command to kneel down and honor Haman. (Es. 3:1-4) What about when the three Hebrew boys defied the king’s command in Daniel 3:16-18, or when Daniel deliberately ignored a prayer edict? (6:7-10) What about those commended in Heb. 11 for their faith –a faith which caused them to go against the demand of an authority figure?

Heb. 11:23 says, “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.” Let’s see… I wonder… did they actually break the ninth of the Ten Commandments and lie to authorities in order to keep Moses hidden? And what does God’s Word tell us concerning the midwives who defied the Pharaoh’s edict to kill all male infants as they were being born? (Ex. 1:15,16) Verse 17 says, “The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.” Was God angry at the midwives so that He rebuked them for their rebellion and their lies (–v. 19)? No, instead, we read, “so God was kind to the midwives… And because the midwives feared God, He gave them families of their own.” (v. 20,21)

What about Moses himself? Heb. 11:27 informs us, “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger…” Moses, with all the plagues he called down on Egypt, and leading an enslaved nation in escape, could certainly be considered a rebel in the Pharaoh’s eyes! What about Rahab? Heb. 11:31 commends her bravery and righteousness, but what she did was actually a treasonous act against her own government. What about when Peter and John would not obey the religious leaders’ command to stop talking about Jesus? They insisted that they would continue to obey God over men. (Acts 4:18-21 & 5:27-33) What about Stephen, who when filled with the Holy Spirit, so sharply rebuked the religious court (Acts 6:12,51-53), that they, in fury, stoned him? (v. 54-60)

What about when the angel helped Peter escape from his prison cell which King Herod had thrown him into? (Acts 12:1-17) Should Peter have turned himself in, knowing the guards would likely be executed –which they were? (v. 18,19) What about Paul and Silas who were repeatedly being told by magistrates of various cities not to preach Jesus, yet they continued to do so?

Well, I could go on and on. But it should be obvious that though God’s Word does tell us to be submissive, it also teaches us that Christ-followers are to refuse to comply to orders that are not in God’s will. How do we discern the difference? We discern by knowing the whole counsel of God, and this, by knowing His Word and Spirit intimately, so that both can lead us in exactly the actions (or non-actions) which we are to do for each and every situation.

Is this discernment critical? Yes. For in cases where the one in authority is abusive or ungodly, the Lord has provided for us His Spirit, and not only to bear up under suffering, but also so as to use wisdom and discernment when the time comes to say “No. No more.” Or to declare even the first time, “No way.”

There are certainly times when rebellion against human authority is not only wise, but absolutely the Christ-like thing to do! A child should definitely rebel against a parent who tells her it is okay to commit incest with him. A wife should definitely rebel against her husband if he is doing anything illegal or unethical –or immoral, like insisting that she should allow him to bring a mistress right into their home as his second wife! A woman should definitely rebel against a pastor who says God told him she should disrobe for him… or bow down to him in worship. A teacher should definitely rebel against a principal who tells her to cheat and change grades so the school can benefit. An employee should definitely rebel if the boss is doing unethical or illegal things.

Are such examples rare? Unfortunately not. All the above are examples that have affected people I know personally.

So, might rebellion against human authority be the righteous thing to do? Yes. Then let’s not let anyone twist God’s Word and tell us otherwise.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Compassion Toward An Armadillo

September 26, 2011

Friends,
Today I was sitting by the living room window while talking on the phone and I saw our white dog investigating something. It was a cute little armadillo. Afraid that our other dog would see it and try to kill it (because she seems to like to kill anything that moves on four legs that she is not friends with), I got off the phone and went out to see if somehow I could get this dillo to move on toward the woods. Well, all he did was bury his little snout into a shallow hole he’d dug and make a few weird grunts.

I tried to talk quietly and sweetly to the little guy, but he was apparently too scared to move. I then decided he might be looking for water (since we’re still in a drought and the ponds are all dried up), so I fetched one of the dog’s water dishes and offered Dillo some water. With strength I didn’t know he had, he swung his tail at me with force and turned to run. But the mesh fencing was right there and so he just froze again. Poor guy. He was frightened. So I left him alone with the water dish, came back inside the house, and watched from the window. Our white dog, realizing I didn’t seem to care, also left him and found a new place to doze. Thankfully, our “hunter” dog never did come out from wherever she’d been sleeping.

Remembering the other armadillo I wrote about which our dog had killed, I prayed for this little guy’s life to be spared. I prayed that he’d leave and get safely away. The Lord answered. Dillo soon waddled away and I watched him until he was out of sight beneath a far-away fallen tree. But… here’s my point in telling of this episode:

As I watched the (basically) helpless creature waddle away, I felt the Lord’s loving compassion for the foolish little guy. I said, “Oh, Lord, thank you. You care about every one of the creatures You’ve made.” Then I thought of the wicked men who have defamed God by their repulsive doctrines of Calvinism. How they teach that God wants to create human souls only for the purpose of displaying His glory, His sovereignty over all, and His cause of hatred against sin –as well as (supposedly) against all who are depraved in sin. I thought, “What if I went out there and started hitting that little dillo with a stick, saying, “You are foolish and depraved! And because you tried to angrily whack me with your tail, I’m going to torture you with my wrath forever!” Oh, did these thoughts ever make me want to weep –weep concerning the horrible and slanderous doctrines men have invented to defame our tender-hearted God!

Calvinists do teach this cruelty of God. They teach that God deliberately withholds salvation (salvation from an eternity of damnation) from billions; and that He does so in order to use them as His examples for what just punishment for sin brings.

Friends, please speak out against Calvinism. It is a false and evil belief system, and while insisting they are proclaiming Truth from God’s Word, they instead vilify and blaspheme our most gracious and loving God (Ps. 145:8) –He of whom verse 9 says, “The LORD is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.”

Yes, God has compassion for, and loves people infinitely more than I could ever feel love and compassion toward an armadillo –a creature I would never purposefully inflict pain upon, even for a moment, let alone repeatedly for hours and hours and eons and eons.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

As A Mother Comforts…

September 25, 2011

Friends,
The LORD says to us, His people, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” (Isa. 66:13) What a beautiful verse to remind us of the innumerable times the Lord has breathed into our hurting or frightened or sad or angry or weary spirits His soothing comfort. He does it through His Word, through a song, through something funny, through a caring smile, listening ear, or warm embrace. He does it through the words of our spouse, “It’s going to be okay. Hasn’t the Lord helped us this far –every time?” He does it even through the purring of a lovable cat. He does it as a perfect mother would comfort her children… those helpless, trusting, human beings she adores… who are so extremely precious to her. Isn’t knowing this about our great and mighty God, in itself, ointment to our otherwise frayed souls?

And who is the “Jerusalem” we will be comforted over? For us, it can be anything, any place, or anyone, we’ve loved and/or mourned over. (v. 10) –Any we’ve shared sorrow with or due to –a city, town, church, family, friend, or one we’ve labored over in prayer… that one whom we’ve shared God’s heart over… whom God has desired to deliver… to redeem… to bring into new birth. (v. 9)

We will be comforted as we see them… or that one… comforted, healed, saved. We will delight in the abundance the Lord grants them (v. 11), and we too will flourish through them. (v. 11,14) “For this is what the LORD says: ‘I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees.'” (v. 12) Who is blessed? Them. And who else –through them? Us. But, upon whose knees are we really supported and nursed? The Lord’s. For “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” (v. 13 again)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

See The World’s Savior!

September 24, 2011

Friends,
The Truth really is The Good News. In fact, it’s Great News! –At least for all who hate bondage, who hate evil, who hate sin, and who hate all that is of the dark realm. And what is this Great News? Here it is in a nutshell: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) Who is the Lamb of God? Jesus, of course. What does He do? He takes away sin. From whom? From the world!

Calvinists insist that “of the world” means “of the elect”, but they add to God’s Word to teach this. They do not teach that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world –of all humans who were ever created– but instead teach a repugnant doctrine called “Limited Atonement”. Instead of proclaiming the Truth –that everyone ever created is invited to, by choice, believe, accept, take, and apply the Atonement unto themselves by faith, they teach that Christ’s atoning sacrifice applies only to those whom God, by His own sole choice, preordained / decreed from eternity past would be saved.

The Calvinists’ gospel is not the Good News. In fact, it’s terrible news. Yet unashamedly and callously they continue to blaspheme God by declaring that not only was Christ’s blood not spilled to ransom everyone (–though it was –1 John 2:2 & 1 Tim. 2:6), but that God preordained most people to go to Hell, and just because He decided that this would bring Him the most glory. In other words, Calvinists teach that God created billions of people just so He could deliberately send them to Hell. –Even though God’s Word says that God “wants all men to be saved” (1 Tim. 2:4) and is patient, “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) What a demonic god Calvinists tout!

But, for the rest of us who believe the Truth: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Look! we are told. How do we do this now since Jesus does not walk the earth bodily as He did when John exclaimed this? And why did Jesus say in John 16:16, “In a little while you will see Me no more, and then after a little while you will see Me”? Was He referring to the mere three days He was to be in the tomb? The chapter’s context lets us know He was mostly referring to “leaving the world and going back to the Father.” (v. 28) For in verses 5 & 7 He says, “Now I am going to Him who sent Me… But..: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” Then He continues speaking of the Counselor (the Spirit) down through verse 15.

So, what about Christ’s promise in verse 16 of seeing Him? How can we see Jesus / God? We do want to see Him, for 1 John 3:6 teaches, “No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him.” We realize that we must know God in order to have eternal life (5:20 & 2 Thes. 1:8 & Jer. 9:24), but seeing Him? How? No one can see God. (1 Tim. 6:15,16)

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4) stood up and quoted several Old Testament passages, one being where David spoke of Jesus: “I saw the Lord always before me…” (v. 25) Yet when we go to this passage, David writes, “I have set the LORD always before me…” (Ps. 16:8) What do we learn here, besides the fact that the LORD (YHWH) is Jesus, the Lord? It is that we see the Lord by setting Him before us. How do we do this? We do it in the spirit. No, not a visualization thing like the mystics or New Agers do, but simply by seeing the Lord through our spirit. We do this by communing with Him… by placing His Word, His beauty, His compassion, His majesty, His companionship, His voice, His comfort, His presence before us. This is how we see God, our Father. This is how we look and see the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world –including our own sin– if we accept this Truth by faith, turn around, and walk away from the realm of darkness into the Light. This is repentance, this is salvation.

1 John 3:5 tells us, “But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins.” And verse 8b says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” What work? Sin. (v. 8a) So by comparing Scripture with Scripture, we realize that for those of us who trust in what Jesus came to do, we are completely freed from sin (see also Rom. 6:18), have died to sin (v. 2), have been rescued from the dominion of darkness (Col. 1:13), and can see –in the spirit– our dear Lord and Savior! ! ! ! ! What blessing! What freedom! What comfort! What a glorious salvation!

And what a compassionate, merciful God we have! –He who came to earth to be the sacrifice that bought back the world –yes, the world of anyone who believes (John 3:16)… who wishes to take the pardon (1 John 1:9)… who chooses to drink of the water of life (John 7:37-39 & Isa. 55:1-3 & Rev. 22:17)…

This is the Great News, the Truth, the True Gospel.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel