June 30, 2012
If we have been proving our repentance by our deeds (Acts 26:20), if we are continuing in the teaching of Christ (2 John 1:9), if we are abiding obediently in the Vine (John 15:1-10), if we have been refined and have come forth as gold (Job 23:10-12 // Mal. 3:1-4 // 1 Peter 1:5-7), then we’ve become over-comers. (1 John 3:9 & 5:3,4) And for over-comers, God has given great promises. Such as, that He will write on us His new name (Rev. 3:12), give us “a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it” (2:17), and call us “by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.” (Isa. 62:2)
Only those who have come to this place can comprehend even a fraction of the honor and privilege involved in this. To have the Majestic, Almighty God stoop down and say, “I am pleased with you and I know you by name” (Ex. 33:17), and then tell us the name, or names, He has given us in His commendation and affection, is unspeakably marvelous.
We who walk in Christ’s New Kingdom are no longer of this world. (John 17:16) We are not of it any more than Jesus was of it when He walked on earth. (v. 14) For we’ve been given His weapons of warfare (2 Cor. 10:3-5) to overcome the evil realm (Luke 10:19) just as He also had them through the Spirit. (John 14:12 & 17:14 // Luke 3:16,22 & 4:1,14 // Acts 1:5,8 & 2:4 & 4:31 & 10:38,47 & 11:16)
We receive, and then enact these weapons, by becoming “a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17)…
…which we become by being “born from above of the Spirit” (See John 3:3-8)…
…which we receive through repentance and obedience to God’s commands (Acts 5:29-32 // 1 Peter 1:22 // 1 John 1:9 & 2:29 & 3:22-24)…
…which we’ve been enabled to rise to by our stand of faith in Christ. (Eph. 6:10-18 // 1 Peter 1:5 & 5:9 // 1 John 5:5)
Being then, that true Christ-followers are already dwelling in the Kingdom of God –which is mightily advancing here on earth (Matt. 11:12 // Luke 17:20,21 // John 18:36) as we continue to be victorious over the dark kingdom– we can expect to receive, in confidence, these new names from God after He Himself can call us over-comers. (Rev. 2:17)
One of these new names we can expect is the one Christ told us about concerning all who have proved their love for Him by their continued loyal obedience. (John 15:14) The name is “God’s Friend.” (See Ex. 33:11 // John 15:14,15 // James 2:23) All such people come to know Christ ever more closely, and our reward continues to be Him (Gen. 15:1) in increasing fullness (Eph. 3:19 & 4:13), as we receive His teaching (John 15:15), His mind (1 Cor. 2:16), His Spirit (John 14:16,20), His power (Luke 10:19 // Eph. 3:16,17), His deep love (Eph. 3:18,19), and His friendship. (John 15:15)
For those to whom He has already given this name, you may, as I do, rejoice whenever you hear the reminder of it –even through that great song called “I Am A Friend of God.” I get thoroughly excited and happy whenever I hear this song, not only because it is upbeat, but because the message is so wonderful to be a part of –! ! !
To listen, and to be inspired to dance with joy, click this link:
June 29, 2012
There once lived on this earth a man… a cruel man… a man abusive to his wife. His wife, still beautiful 15 years ago when I first met her at church, tried to figure out how to stop the abuse… tried to figure out how to leave him… tried to figure out how to appease him, be firm with him, love him, be kind to him, get along with him. But, of course, as is the case with those who love wickedness, strife, and cruelty, peace in the home could never be attained. For the man didn’t want it. He wanted his way… he wanted to keep his control, his anger, his lies… going… And, because he would threaten worse things should she leave him, like taking their son away from her, she refused to chance the possibility that his threats were not just bluffs. So she stayed, and she stayed, looking more and more haggard every time I saw her.
Periodically, this wife would go to the church elders… She was crying out in desperation… but all the men just told her the same thing: “Be more submissive.” Every time I heard of this, I cringed and shook my head in disbelief at the gross naivety…
I saw this man at church pretty often… wondered what went on in his spirit between him and God… Sometimes I wished I could say something… but these strongholds are complex, usually permanent… except for God’s miracles… which, yes, do happen… Truly this man sat under plenty of excellent sermons, and had plenty of chances to repent.
This man’s wife and I have a mutual friend. This friend called me 7:01 p.m. last night, asking me if I’d heard about _____’s husband. –That yesterday morning his 18-wheeler had run off the highway, went across a field, and submerged itself –and its driver– in a pond. The funeral is Monday.
This man’s body was found at 7:00 a.m. However, my friend told me that the coroner stated his death actually happened at approximately 2:00 a.m.
Weird… and sad… –to think that the pale horse of death came for my friend’s husband just an hour and a half after I’d sent my last post… It makes me wonder, “Was I hearing the horse’s hooves galloping toward him?”
Only the Lord knows all whom the horse was coming for. And who is still about to meet it.
June 28, 2012
I truly do not take any joy in writing what the Lord has been laying on my heart all month and all week. When I read His Word, He keeps leading me to His warnings of judgement decreed across the whole land, even throughout nations. After I have no more tears, I’m left feeling tired and very sad. Sad because the peoples won’t repent. Sad because they praise the gods of money and pleasure and evil (Dan. 5:1-4), and in their pride, continue to set themselves up against the Lord of heaven. (v. 22,23) Sad because we have been weighed on the scales and come up short. (v. 27) Sad because Truth has perished. (Jer. 7:28) For even God’s sanctuary has become a harlot (Hosea 2:2-5 // Amos 5:21), and He is about to reject her (Lam. 2:7) along with this generation that is under His wrath. (Jer. 7:29)
Two days ago (Tuesday) I saw again –a sort of vision– the pale horse of death. It was galloping toward us in great strength. I saw such a horse a few weeks before the Katrina disaster in ’05, and also a couple of weeks before the tsunami hit Japan last year. Both times the pale horse was running through water. This last March I saw it again –this time standing on land– and I prayed fervently about whoever it could involve. Several days later a friend tried to kill herself. But she pulled through.
Sadly though… last Dec. 2 and 3 I also saw “the pale horse of death” –numerous times both days– sometimes standing and staring at me, sometimes galloping across my view. Because I kept hearing the words “death”, “grave”, and “son”, I began fervently praying and pleading for a guy who, by the Lord’s Spirit, I’ve been interceding on behalf of for over four years. I finally emailed him a strong warning late in the night of Dec. 2, telling him of this vision. When I “saw” the horse again upon opening my Bible early evening, Dec. 3, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly and dramatically cried out from me with a loud wail, “______, My son!” (The Lord’s son.) I jumped up, ran to the kitchen, but then fell to my knees, petitioning the Lord to spare his life so that he might have more time to eventually come to Christ. After a while, I had the assurance.
However, a few days later, I was informed, by the OSAS preacher who I’d just met two weeks before and who had been contending with me over the OSAS issue, that his backslidden son had killed himself 12/3/11, and that he’d learned of it the evening of that day. In hearing this horrible news, I realized that I’d wailed on his behalf, but that my own “son” had been spared, yet only because I’d believed the Lord’s warning and had been interceding mightily. I also realized that the OSAS preacher had been being warned by the Lord for some time to intercede and strongly warn his own son. For this preacher had been warned, not only by the events surrounding his pastor-friend’s wayward son who had been recently killed in a road wreck, but was, at the last minute, still being warned (to awaken out of his complacency over his own son) by the debate he and I were having over the OSAS issue.
See, I’d written this preacher extensive and strong warnings on Nov. 30, Dec. 1, and Dec. 2. I’d also sent him (on Dec. 2 at 9:09 p.m.) my blog message titled “Rebels Insisting They’ll Get The Prize”. But our heated debate had begun on Nov. 30 when I’d sent him numerous verses which show OSAS to be a false belief system. Here is a small part of what I sent him that day –though I didn’t even know he had a son, let alone a backslidden one, until I heard of the death:
~~~~~”Below are just a few of the verses in God’s Word which I find disprove OSAS. Many of them speak of our continuous free choice to either walk closely in the truth, following Jesus, or to turn away from (to desert) Him by being disloyal (fruitless) to His commands:
**John 15:2,4,6 –“He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit… Remain in Me, and I will remain in you… If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” This means Hell, and it is the fate of those who choose to not remain in Christ by not bearing fruit in keeping with repentance / obedience. (See Matt. 3:7-10) The warning of becoming withered or cut off (see Rom. 11:20-22 as well) would not be necessary if it wasn’t possible.
**1 John 2:4,6 –“The man who says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him… Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” We see here that it’s about obedience, not about claim or mere belief, for belief and claim are not enough as James 2:17-24 confirms, as did Jesus in John 8:31 when He told the Jews who had believed Him that to hold to His teaching (the Truth) is the proof of who His true disciples are.”~~~~~
I must admit that the Lord had been weighing on my heart to bring up the OSAS issue with him two weeks before –right after I’d gone to the Bible Study he was leading. I don’t think I could have changed his belief, for he was set on believing OSAS even before his son died, not to mention afterwards –telling me later that he was sure that, though his son was an adulterer and a druggie and obstinate toward the faith, he was in Heaven now. I couldn’t bear to grieve him further, so I just found agreement on the fact that the Lord is merciful, and left it at that. However, it was another sober reminder to me to warn others the minute I feel that tug from God’s Spirit, for it could –possibly– save a soul.
Why do I tell all this? It is certainly not to exalt myself in any way, and I’d really rather not have to tell it. But the Lord has led me to do so, and I’m sure it is so as to remind us that when we think we are hearing the Lord tell us to warn others, we’d best do so. For those who listen to the Lord know that He does speak –through His Word, by His Spirit, even in dreams and visions– to those who are walking obedient to His Word. (Prov. 3:32 // Jer. 23:18,22 // Matt. 10:20 // Acts 2:17,18 // 1 Peter 4:11) And between us and the Lord and the few we confide in, His many other warnings He’s given through us which have come to pass, is ample reason to now take heed every time –and obey.
So what about the pale horse I saw this week? Here’s what: There was also a small horse, whitish in color and symbolizing conquest. It was galloping alongside the large pale horse and veering it away.
The simple interpretation is that those who believe God’s warnings, though they may be smaller and weaker in themselves than God’s wrath or the Destroyer, can by their faith, petition, endurance, and righteousness, turn the judgement away for those they fervently pray for (Jer. 5:1 // Ezek. 22:30), if they have in them the power of the Spirit of the Mighty Conqueror Who Overcomes –that is, Jesus.
But, for “all who have an eye for evil [they] will be cut down.” (Isa. 29:20) For all who refuse correction and refuse to repent (Jer. 5:3)… those who lie about the LORD saying, “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us” (v. 12)… the LORD will avenge Himself on them. (v. 9) And because so many who have the Word of God have handled it deceitfully, judgement has already begun in the family of God. (1 Peter 4:17)
“Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers” (Isa. 28:14), you who think the overwhelming scourge cannot touch you (v. 15) — “Your lie, which is your refuge, will be swept away.” (See v. 15,17) And you will be swept away with it. (v. 18,19)
June 27, 2012
Below, and used with permission here, is an exceptionally beautiful, insightful, and encouraging message I received by email two days ago from Israeliteindeed –whose site’s address is:
I have a promise from the LORD, learned in the garden (should be a new post!)
I left some sickly tomato plants in very small containers behind the house, having nowhere to plant them. They grew tall and spindly, and being neglected, lost many leaves. They got very little sun or consistent water.
Recently I noticed that they looked almost entirely dead, but they had gathered their strength and produced beautiful, perfect tomatoes (some were tiny but still looked good.) I was instructed by the Lord as I looked at this. A seed (a supernatural thing) went into the ground and died. Out of it sprang a life that had many disadvantages–cramped space, not enough nutrients or water. These plants were abused, really. But they did not sit around complaining about their disadvantages. Nor did they try to “save their own lives” by producing leaves and stems and looking like beautiful plants to be admired by men. Instead they poured all their strength into making fruit, causing the plants themselves to look horrible. Strength was perfected in weakness. In the fruit those pitiful plants produced is hope. In the fruit, there are more SEEDS!!! Seeds of hope! Those seeds can grow into an eternal harvest. Those seeds can go on and on to produce goodness.
Men will judge us by our appearance, and we will be tempted to produce an appearance that is pleasing to men. “What seminary did you attend?!” Circumstances will happen in our lives that are less than desirable. We may not be as privileged as the next “plant.” But the question is what will we do with what we were given? What will we do with OUR time in history, with OUR deposit of light from Jesus, with OUR redemption story? Will we put all our heart, soul, mind and strength into glorifying our Father with FRUIT that will last?
I was not privileged in childhood with wise, understanding parents. I believe I did a little bit better with my own children, but still failed in some areas. They now have a better deposit to work with, and I pray they will make the most of that, and their own children will have it even better. They must choose to go and produce the fruit God requires. Or another way to put it is they must steward the “gift” He gave them. To whom much is given, much is required. On the flip-side, if little was given, there is still something required. These NOBLE PLANTS in my backyard gave all they could to produce fruit with such small blessings they had received!!!
Whole generations can change, depending on what one fruit or plant does with its deposit. I can pour my life into teaching my children correctly, and they *could* grow up and waste the deposit and fail to produce correct fruit. They could save their lives in this world, growing beautiful leaves and stems; but being fruitless when they die (and all people must die), they would leave behind no fruit that would last. Their beauty would be only as the grass that springs up and withers away. OR, they could invest their own lives into producing fruit that will last, and when they themselves die away (as a plant that has passed its own season of fruitfulness), they would leave many, many new thriving plants behind (as my garden did this year, fully seeding itself from last year’s harvest!!–I had to throw away at least 40 tomato plants that grew from last year’s 8 or so dead plants!)
I don’t know if I’ve properly communicated what the Lord is showing me here, but I love His voice in creation, day unto day uttering speech and declaring His glory.
June 26, 2012
It’s almost as bad as someone deliberately crippling a toddler… someone with-holding protein from a child… someone spoon-feeding a teen… someone leading an adult everywhere.
Who is doing this? It’s those teachers, those doctrines, that insist all Christians must be mentored by another person, must go weekly to a building to worship, must follow certain instructions and do certain works. It is those who, even while they say church attendance isn’t necessary for salvation, nevertheless try to shame anyone who doesn’t make it to the meeting. It is those who talk about a “covering” everyone needs to have –meaning, usually, that they themselves are the “covering”, thus the ones commissioned by God to control, evaluate, instruct, and keep tabs on others.
If there is any teaching about this in God’s Word it only concerns those who are young in the faith and who, because of their immaturity, thus need help understanding the basic Truths of the Gospel. Our meetings are to be for the purpose of corporate worship, prayer, righteous fellowship, and the teaching of God’s Word, as well as a place to use our individual gifts to edify one another in preparing to serve God in maturity. (Rom. 15:14 // Gal. 3:28 // Eph. 4:11-16 // 1 Cor. 12:7,27 & 14:26,31)
If someone continues year after year sitting under the tutelage of “the elementary truths of God’s Word” (Heb. 5:12), this is not commendable. Such a person is living on milk (same verse) and remains an infant. (v. 13) Such a person is not on solid food because he has not matured, and he has not matured because he has refused to put to use the spiritual knowledge he has already been taught. (v. 14) Individuals like this have refused to “train themselves to distinguish good from evil” (see same verse), and they thus get caught by deceiving teachers (2 Cor. 11:3,4 // 2 Peter 2:14) who promise freedom (freedom in, not from, the sinful nature), and who themselves remain slaves of depravity. (2 Peter 2:18,19)
Such teachers –these men of depraved minds (2 Tim. 3:8)– worm their way into people’s lives so as to gain control over others. (v. 6) They prey on those who are weakened by a continuation in sin (same verse) and who, though they do get fed, refuse to grow up and put to practice what they’ve learned. (v. 7) The teachers mix lies in with the Truth so that they can keep the people weak and needy, and by remaining in control (Matt. 23:4-15 // 1 Tim. 4:2,3), they thereby keep their egos fed and their pocketbooks full. (Ezek. 34:1-10 // 1 Tim. 1:6,7 & 6:3-5 // Jude 1:11,12,16) Yet, unbelievably, most of the people love it this way. (Jer. 5:31)
But such teachers and their followers are denying Christ as our only Master (2 Peter 2:1 // Jude 1:4), and they are upholding falsehoods so they can follow the shameful ways of the sinful nature. (2 Peter 2:2,10) In their lust and greed, the teachers make up doctrines so they can exploit people. But in spite of this, the people themselves promote the idolatrous system. (2 Tim. 4:3,4)
However, for those few who have meditated on God’s Word for themselves, for those few who have trained themselves to be holy and discerning (1 Tim. 4:7 // Heb. 5:14), for those few who have listened to God’s Spirit (1 John 2:27), not men and their man-made, demon-inspired, interpretations of Scripture (v. 26 // 1 Tim. 4:1-3 // 1 John 4:1), they do not need anyone to mentor them but Christ. (1 John 2:27) They are not subject to guardians (Gal. 4:2), but in their spiritual maturity, have come into the full rights of sonship. (v. 5) For God, in sending the Spirit of His Son into their hearts (v. 6), have made them co-heirs with Christ (v. 7 // Rom. 8:15-17), and they have trained themselves to be led and controlled by His Spirit (Rom. 8:9,14), not by men.
When 1 Tim. 2:5 informs us that “there is only one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”, it means just that. –Because salvation, as well as all we need to live holy, self-controlled, and obedient lives in the will of the Lord (1 Peter 4:2), comes from spending time under His counsel and instruction, not men’s. Remaining under men’s tutelage and watchful eye will, in the end, leave a person weak, self-centered, and infantile. Isn’t this why we have so many toddlers running back and forth to churches, seminars, and counseling sessions, doing nothing of lasting value, but only crying for more milk? “Feed me… feed me… feed me… feed me……….! I can’t figure out what to do…. I can’t overcome this sinful habit…. I can’t… Me, me, me, me, me…..”
And on the wailing goes. Yep, even as the world goes to Hell.
June 25, 2012
God’s Word does declare a group of people to be detestable. Who are these people who have been stamped with such a horrible description? Titus 1:10-16 tells us.
When we study this passage, we read more labels and character traits: Mere talkers, deceivers, rebellious people (v. 10)… people teaching falsehoods –and for their own gain (v. 11)… people who reject the Truth (v. 14), do not truly believe the Truth (v. 15), and who, thoroughly impure, have minds and consciences that are corrupted. (same verse) These people are detestable because they are disobedient to God and have thus become unfit for doing anything good (v. 16) –“good” meaning in line with His will (1 Peter 4:2)– even though many of them think they know Him and are serving Him. (Matt. 7:21-23 // 1 John 2:3,4)
Furthermore, these verses, plus several proceeding verses, show us that the main group of people being described are teachers who are not sound in the faith, some being those who insist upon law-observance and Jewish myths, and those who overall oppose the true doctrine of Christ. While claiming to know God, their actions prove otherwise. (Titus 1:16) Thus God’s Word says they are detestable. (same verse)
So that we can take care not to be labeled detestable by God, let’s figure out what the issue is exactly. The issue is this: We have a responsibility to abide in the undiluted Truth of the Gospel. This Gospel teaches that Jesus, God in bodily form, died, was buried, and rose again, canceling sin’s debt and power for all who, through faith, step into Christ –He who is Eternal Life Himself. And that once we do this we are freed from sin (Rom. 6:18 // 1 John 3:5 // Rev. 1:5), no longer its slave (Rom. 6:16) but now slaves to obedience. (same verse) And that this new slavery leads to righteousness (same verse), holiness (v. 22), God (same verse), and eternal life. (same verse)
The true Gospel also informs us that it is God’s grace (Rom. 3:24), the blood of Jesus shed for us on the cross (Rom. 5:9 // Gal. 6:14 // Rev. 1:5,6), and the Spirit’s power (Gal. 5:16 // 2 Peter 1:3,4) that enables us to live obedient to God (1 Peter 1:14,15) as we say “No” to all ungodliness and worldly passions. (Titus 2:11,12 // Col. 3:5) We do this by training ourselves to be godly (1 Tim. 4:7) and by washing ourselves with (Eph. 5:26 // James 4:7,8) the purifying, living, and saving Word (Heb. 4:12 // James 1:21 // 1 Peter 1:23) –which we do by meditating on it and obeying it. (Ps. 119:11 // 1 Peter 1:22)
However, if a person hears God’s Word, and even calls Jesus “Lord”, but he does not put the Word to practice, that man will not be saved but will instead reap destruction. (Luke 6:46-49) For “God’s wrath comes on all who are disobedient.” (Eph. 5:6) –On all who refuse to produce fruit in keeping with repentance. (Luke 3:7-9) –On all who turn back to the corruption of the world. (2 Peter 2:20-22) –On all who follow their shameful ways and bring the way of Truth into disrepute. (v. 2) –On all who wander away from the Truth. (2 Tim. 2:18) –On all who begin promoting a different gospel. (Gal. 1:6-9) –On all those who, though they think they are fellowshipping with Christ (Luke 13:26), are, by hanging onto their sins (v. 27), doing no such thing. (v. 23-28)
Let no one be deceived (Gal. 6:7 // Eph. 5:6): All who do not know God or obey the true Gospel will be punished with everlasting destruction. (2 Thes. 1:8,9) For such people have sowed to please the sinful nature, not God (Gal. 6:7,8), and God’s Word declares that all who have not abided in the Truth, but have continued in their wickedness, will be declared not only detestable, but condemned. (Rom. 1:18-32 // Eph. 4:18,19 & 5:12 // 2 Thes. 2:10-12)
June 24, 2012
Yesterday, again, the Lord led me to read in His Word warnings of His coming judgement to cities and individuals who harbor wickedness and irreverence for God’s holy law of love and righteousness. His Spirit’s tears streamed down my face once more as I heard His grieving call for people to repent. God is so tender, so compassionate, so merciful, so gracious. He warns and He waits, and He relents from what He could certainly justly do –wipe them off the map with one command from His mouth.
Last Tuesday afternoon I wrote my message “His Tears of Indignation & Lament” and posted it at 7:32 p.m. –just an hour and a half after the rains started in Duluth, MN. Those rains, more than they’ve had in a two day period in 150 years, lasted 18 hours and caused their authorities to declare a state of emergency. I didn’t hear about it until a few days later, but being Duluth is my mom’s hometown, the home of many of our relatives and friends, and where I’ve lived bits of my life too, it was extra grievous.
However, as has happened time and time again here in the U.S. through the devastations which our lands, trees, livestock, buildings, homes, and other properties have endured, few, if any, people have been killed compared to how many could have been. Even in Duluth this last week no one was killed, and though several barely escaped death, the Lord obviously (miraculously) rescued them Himself. How kind our God is! He is trying to warn, while also shielding people from His full wrath.
Oh, that people would listen! Oh, that they would return to the Lord, the Father who loves us, our Maker who cares about us, our Shepherd who wants to bring us in beside quiet streams and pleasant pastures.
Yet in spite of His warnings and judgements, the people insist, “We’re not sinning. He’s not angry with us.” (See Jer. 2:35) Then God calls again, “Return, faithless ones. I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful. Only acknowledge your guilt, your rebellion, your idolatry, your spiritual prostitution. Return to Me, for I am your Husband.” (See 3:12-14) Can we hear God’s grief? His compassionate heart? His desire to reconcile? “Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.” (v. 22)
The peoples can return. There is still time. For God is long-suffering.
What should the inhabitants of Duluth do? They should call for a fast. (Joel 1:14) They should summon all who live in the land and cry out to the LORD. (same verse) They should hear the Lord’s Word, “‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’ Rend your heart… for He is gracious… and He relents from sending calamity.” (2:12,13) Thus should they repent, saying, “Spare your people, O LORD.” (v. 17)
But will they take the blow to heart? What have the peoples of other cities done? What have individuals done who have watched others being swept up in disaster? Have they fallen on their faces and cried out to God on behalf of their brethren of the earth and realized it could’ve been them? Or have they just sighed, said, “Hmmm… that’s terrible…”, and then gone back to their movies, their video games, their fishing and boating and picnics and slander and foul talk and lewdness? –And to their complete disregard for the ways of the Lord?
Who will turn back the tide of His coming wrath? Is anyone else willing –and obedient? Or does no one believe that weeping and fasting and repenting and petitioning before the God of all Might does one bit of good?