Deaf Hearts

July 31, 2012

Friends,
How can people spend a lifetime going to church, even studying God’s Word, serving others in the name of the Lord, praying, fasting, etc., yet still not be abiding in the true doctrine of Christ? One reason is that, at forks in the road, they choose wrongly. They choose the world instead of holiness, they choose to please men instead of God, they choose self instead of Christ, they choose men’s teachings instead of the teachings of God’s Word, and they choose the easy way instead of the self-disciplined way.

Oh, a person won’t likely acknowledge, even to himself, that he’s choosing what’s wrong instead of what’s right, but this is because he has let the other voices drown out the Truth. While claiming to know Christ, he keeps shutting down the Spirit’s quiet voice so that he doesn’t have to throw off all the sin, worldliness, friends, habits, etc. that he has accustomed himself to. Besides this, all his “Christian” fellows are wandering in the muck as well, so if he ever does try to seek the narrow way, the fellows mock and hiss and insult him for being “self-righteous” and for thinking he knows a better way than they know. So with spirits of jealousy, they continually pull each other back from taking the high road.

But why are “Christians” thinking they are right in how they are acting? Again, it’s because they’ve dulled the ears of their hearts. They may hear the Truth, they may sit and listen to sermon after sermon, even understanding clearly that yes, they must strive to be holy, but it doesn’t affect their hearts. It can’t, for their hearts are too filled up with love for everything of the world, every desire of the sinful nature. As 1 John 2:15,16 say, the love of the world has crowded out love for God. As James 4:4 says, friendship with the world has made them enemies of God.

God is merciful. He sees that we are lost, stupid sheep. But He does not expect us to stay there in that mode. He gives us abundant provision by which to walk the narrow road, by which to hear His instructions, and by which to receive power to overcome. If we take the right way, He will enlighten us some more. If we take the wrong way, we are in danger of going deeper into the realm of the lie.

Of course, Satan, who has a lot to do with it, is cunning, and he uses his means of influence to keep the man blind and deaf. He’s studied what entices each particular person, and so he shoots blow after blow of that temptation toward the man until the man has become weary and discouraged in trying to fend it off. However, here again, the man has become deaf to understanding what his spiritual weapons are, for he is lukewarm in faith like those other “Christians” around him (who are of no help), and so he gives up and resorts to what he knows –continuation in sin while thinking he’s saved.

Even so, God, who loves and cares for the pathetic sheep, does send His interventions as well –love and Truth from His assigned ambassadors, revelations from the splendor of His creation, circumstances to get the man to wake up, and in his need, fervently seek Truth, and blows of judgement to try to persuade the man to unstop his ears, throw out the filth in his heart (repentance), and cry out to God to cure him.

The question is, will the man do these things? Or will he continue to keep his heart deaf, continue to make wrong choices at each fork, and continue walking further and further into the forest of deception until there is no turning back. –?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

P.S. At my comment page yesterday I’ve written briefly about my own testimony in this regard.

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OSAS = False Refuge

July 30, 2012

Friends,
Many say, “Preach to us nice things. Don’t keep confronting us with the Truth. Allow us to rely on deceit.” (See Isa. 30:10) But the Lord answers, “Yes, because you have depended on deceit, this sin will become for you a high fortress that will collapse suddenly.” (See v. 12,13) “You have turned from Me and are clinging to deceptions and false doctrines, rejecting My requirements and My Word.” (See Jer. 8:5-9) “Therefore, I will sweep away your refuge, the lie [see Isa. 28:17], and your treaty with death will not stand.” (See v. 15,18) In other words: Depend on deceit, reap eternal death.

What is the largest and most prevalent falsehood taught by those who claim to believe God’s Word? It is that people can be saved from Hell and have the privilege of Christ living within them, even while they continue to live in sin. In other words, that because salvation is about an acknowledgement given in statements and not a heart change that is proven by deeds, it’s good, but not necessary, to obey God. Furthermore, these statements, if expressed at the time in sincerity, supposedly solidify the speaker’s salvation once and for all –no matter what. This particular false refuge is called the OSAS (once saved, always saved) doctrine. It abounds everywhere –within almost all denominations that name the name of Christ.

Sadly, multitudes of people are being led to Hell by this doctrine. I would never be able to recount the numerous times someone has told me, as a person did again a few day ago, that though their wayward child is living in sin, she is nevertheless saved because she accepted Christ when she was young. It is said with little alarm, for the OSAS belief causes the parent to rest upon the lie that even though their child may have troubles in life and may lose rewards in Heaven, she will certainly not go to Hell. So, instead of the parent being in anguish over their child’s soul and praying and fasting for their child… instead of being a godly role model that their child can eternally benefit from… instead of trying to persuade their child to seek God, to obey Christ, to study the Scriptures, to flee friends who are wicked influences, and to turn from sin, the parent, thinking they too have been guaranteed Heaven, also conduct themselves any way they please! And because most everyone else who claims to be a Christian is believing this way and indulging the sinful nature, the whole church shows itself no different than the world as they proclaim their “Good News” which is: “Join us and be grateful to be saved as you sin.”

Well, this doctrine is not the Truth found in God’s Word. It is not the covenant of circumcision of the flesh which God made with Abraham (Gen. 17:1-14) and his descendants (v. 9-14 // Josh. 5:2-9), nor the covenant of circumcision of the heart He makes with us. (Rom. 2:29 // Ezek. 36:26 // Heb. 8:7-12) The context of these verses reveal that circumcision is the symbol of the covenants (both old and new), but that the agreement between God and man consists of this: God’s promise of life and blessing; man’s promise to be obedient. It was precisely because the old one was not capable of keeping the people faithful to obey Him, that God created the new covenant. (Heb. 7:18,22 & 8:7) Therefore, the reason we’ve been given the new covenant is because it is able to keep us faithful –so that we can meet God’s righteous requirements (Rom. 8:4), become His sons (v. 14), and thus inherit eternal life. (v. 17)

How does the new covenant keep us faithful? It does so by the fact that God, when the covenant is transacted, circumcises the old nature off from the repentant one, as He does these things for us as well:

1. He washes us clean of idols, impurities, and sin, taking them all away. (Ezek. 36:25 // 1 John 3:5)

2. He places in us a totally new heart and spirit (Ezek. 36:26) –His own nature. (1 John 3:9)

3. He puts in us His own Spirit through which to have power to overcome temptations. (Ezek. 36:27 // 2 Peter 1:3,4)

4. He, through His in-dwelling Spirit, moves us to follow His decrees and be careful to keep His laws (Ezek. 36:27) so that we produce the fruit of righteousness. (John 15:1-5 // Phil. 1:11)

Now, if a person is not manifesting these things, yet he claims to be saved because he has covenanted with God under the new covenant, that man is relying on a deception of the worst sort. He is not saved, for he is not abiding in the covenant’s requirement –that of obedience to God. He is deceiving himself by thinking that God is obligated to uphold His promise of salvation, though he, by his continuation in sin, shows little concern to uphold his part of the covenant. No, if a person continues to live sinfully, God considers the covenant broken, the man to have denied Him and His Lordship, and He will then disown the man (2 Tim. 2:12), even before His Father in Heaven (Matt. 10:33), even on the Day of Judgement. (Mark 8:38 // Rev. 3:5)

In view of what the Word of God really does teach, is there any loving reason why we should not keep trying to warn those who are depending on getting into Heaven through that which is just a big lie –the OSAS doctrine?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Ask The Calvinist

July 29, 2012

Friends,
Calvinism seems to be the doctrine now coming from most of the pulpits which claim to be teaching Christianity. Its main premise is that God, being sovereign, has predestined all salvations and damnations, as well as all events –both good and evil ones– from eternity past. This teaching has been broken down into five main points and assigned the acronym of TULIP. (Read of TULIP’s points here: https://knowgodsword.wordpress.com/sermons/the-evil-theologian-john-calvin/ )

However, though God is certainly sovereign, Calvinists, in not understanding the meaning of God’s sovereignty, have forced themselves to limit His capabilities. For God, in being the ultimate Ruler, has given mankind free choice. He had the authority to give it, and He chose to do so. This gift was given in the Garden of Eden, and it is a gift God has not withheld from any of us. His Word makes it abundantly clear that He presents us with choices. This does not reduce God’s sovereignty, nor His unfathomable greatness, and we should thus praise Him all the more when we grasp this Truth. For how marvelous and mighty the Lord certainly is to have the ability to be in complete control of His universe in spite of multitudes who are constantly choosing to rebel against His laws and purposes.

When a Calvinist insists that God predestined (fated / decided before they were born) a person to go to Hell forever, and that God accomplishes this by deliberately withholding from that person any ability to look to Him in faith, ask that Calvinist about 2 Peter 3:9 which says that God does not will (wish / desire / purpose) for anyone to perish, but that they repent. If the Calvinist thinks that God’s will is always done, then ask him how this verse reconciles with the fact that many do not repent and do therefore go to Hell.

Then ask the Calvinist about Luke 7:28-30. These verses state that the people who heard Jesus’ words and had also submitted to John’s baptism –which, as Acts 19:4 reveals, was a baptism of repentance– admitted the justice of God’s demands. However, the Pharisees and “experts” in the law of God refused John’s baptism, and so “rejected God’s purpose for themselves.” (Luke 7:30) In other words, because they refused to repent, these men refused / thwarted / denied / rejected God’s will and plan for their lives. This was their choice. And God gives this same choice to everyone –to accept repentance and His will, or to refuse repentance and His will.

After this, ask the Calvinist about his interpretation of Jer. 7:31 where God rebukes the people for burning in the fire their sons and daughters in sacrifice and then says that this was “something I did not command nor did it enter My mind.” Ask the Calvinist how the people could commit acts that he believes God preordained yet which had also not entered God’s mind. Ask him how God could predetermine acts that He had never thought of.

Then ask the Calvinist about the previous verse –Jer. 7:30. For there God declares that the people did evil in His eyes by setting up detestable idols in His temple, thus defiling it. This was a defilement against God’s Name and Presence. Yet we are told by Calvinists to accept that, even though God was full of grief and anger over rebellion and wickedness (Ps. 78:40,41 // Isa. 63:10 // Ezek. 6:9 // Matt. 23:37), He nonetheless preordained, from eternity past, all vile behaviors. And if we ask why a holy and perfect God would do such a thing, the Calvinist will likely reply, “So that God will get more glory.”

Well, we shake our heads, incredulous. For Calvinists –those who admit to what their doctrine really does teach, are not only under a strong delusion, but are blaspheming God. They are spitting towards His beautiful, powerful, loving, merciful, and just character, as they attribute to God injustice, partiality, and evil acts and plans. –And all this against the One who does not ever commit, or decide upon doing, one ounce of injustice or evil. (Dt. 32:4) For whatever punishment a man may receive from God comes to him because God is a righteous Judge whose judgements are completely perfect (same verse // Ps. 7:11), and because God has therefore rendered unto the man what that man deserves according to the man’s deeds. (John 5:29 // Rom. 2:6) God judges this way because He is strong and loving (Ps. 62:12), and because He sovereignly watches and records all the words, thoughts, and deeds of all mankind. (Matt. 12:36,37 // Heb. 4:12,13 // Rev. 20:11-15) Moreover, God sees to it that His purposes march on, doing so through man’s free choices and His interventions, all which are in line with His perfect foreknowledge –while He lives outside of time, but works within it as well.

So why are many sermons and teachings of late sounding so strange and twisted? Because they are being influenced by an evil and false doctrine –a doctrine called “Calvinism”.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Is it not surprising to watch gifted and intelligent people make decisions that are obviously foolish, or see them accept ridiculous lines from con men? Truly, high intelligence and worldly skill or knowledge do not often seem to make a whole lot of difference. A doctor or an astronomer or a physicist, or an expert in some other area, can allow their emotions or sinful nature to rule over good judgement just as most anyone can. This is because understanding gained from worldly education does not equal true wisdom. (1 Cor. 1:20)

There is only one place where true wisdom is acquired. It is at the feet of Jesus. It is from meditating on the Word of God. And it is by putting into practice what He teaches there.

Does a person not spend time in the Lord’s presence –listening, learning, studying, and obeying in the power of the Spirit– because they love the Lord and want to please Him? Yes. But what initiates such desire and behavior? It comes from the fear of the Lord. God’s Word tells us this. Therefore, the man who fears the Lord has stepped into the beginning of wisdom. (Ps. 111:10 // Prov. 1:7) And once he enters there, he will walk, abide, and grow in wisdom, doing so within the Lord Himself –“within the Lord” meaning, being in the Word, walking in the Spirit, and abiding in the Vine.

When a man is in this holy place (–called “in Christ”), he will be following God’s precepts; and as he does so, he will have good understanding (Ps. 111:10), including that of understanding the fear of the Lord. (Prov. 2:5) Then from that will grow his knowledge of God. (same verse)

Why then do so many worldly-smart people often make poor choices? Why do they accept preposterous ideas, doctrines, philosophies, lifestyles, or statements? It is because they lack the knowledge of God. For it is only by knowing the Lord that anyone can achieve true wisdom so as to discern what is good and right and correct. However, wisdom is what they have not achieved, and it is precisely because they have not feared the Lord.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Refusing Redemption

July 27, 2012

Friends,
The King sends out His servants to those who have been invited to the wedding banquet of His Son (Matt. 22:1-3) to remind them of the invitation and that it is time to repent and receive the Covenant of forgiveness and betrothal. These servants obey and go out, climbing over hills and fording rushing streams, searching for those invited sheep, some who have lost their way, lost their focus, or even lost their senses. All those who have not yet received the message that all are indeed invited, are given a personal invitation. Truly, the servants are excited, expectant, and ready to bring them in herds to the palace of the King.

But a strange thing happens. Some sheep, even though they, like the rest, are bleating with fear or anguish or lust or loneliness, cannot understand the servants’ words to them. They swat at them as though they are hearing flies buzzing about their ears, but they will not stop what they’re doing in order to really listen. (v. 5) Others hear clearly but just say, “No thanks. I’m busy.” (See v. 3) And off they trot (v. 5) –or hobble– whatever their case is, all the while crying or whimpering, even through their fake laughter and exaggerated boastings.

Then there are other sheep who are cruel. They kick at the servants, bite them, and gather groups together to stampede over the King’s servants. Some servants even die this way. (v. 6)

In spite of the risks and rejections, the King’s servants keep going. They often follow the sound of the cries which echo through canyons and up from hidden valleys. They find many sheep this way, some torn and bleeding on the sides of cliffs, about to plunge to their death, others wedged tightly between boulders, prisoners left as food for the jackals. Most of these gratefully accept help, and many receive the invitation to the wedding banquet with joy, even rushing after their guides to meet the King’s kind Son who gives them the new clothing of His Spirit to wear. (John 1:33 // Rom. 13:14)

Unfortunately though, there are many sheep who, upon hearing of the invitation, refuse it only to later sneak to the Palace by a different way. (John 10:1) This they do because they do not want to meet the King’s Son, for they like wearing their old, unholy clothes –even though they also desire the promised security of the King’s Palace. Foolish sheep these are, though, for their dirty clothes are obvious in the wedding hall amongst all the others who shine white and clean. (Matt. 22:10 // Rev. 19:7,8) So “when the King comes in to see the guests” (see Matt. 22:11), these sheep who refused to come by way of the Son, are questioned, and having no excuse (v. 12 // Heb. 2:3), the King orders them bound and throw outside into the darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 22:13) For though all are given grace and opportunity (John 3:16 & 12:32 // 2 Cor. 5:14,15 // 1 Tim. 2:3-6 // 1 John 2:2), only those who have continued to submit to wearing the Son’s clothing are chosen. (Matt. 22:14 // Eph. 4:22-24 // Rom. 8:13)

It is truly grievous that so many sheep refuse to accept the wedding invitation or to come according to the rules (2 Tim. 2:5) –which is to be washed inside and out, to accept the change of clothing, and to walk obedient to the King’s commands within that new clothing. Even while some of the King’s servants are so exceedingly kind that they return over and over to the lost and rebellious sheep, trying repeatedly to compel them to come to the King’s Son who has all power to help them, these sheep refuse. They refuse the redemption. They scoff at their need –even while their coats are disheveled and blood-soaked, even while they grope about blindly, even while they know there’s a chain of distress attached to their glittering idols.

“It’s hopeless,” these sheep say. (Jer. 2:25) “For we love falsehoods, worldliness, and sin, and each of us must go after these, as well as our own plans as we follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.” (See same verse w/ 18:12) Indeed, they have no energy to rise and walk into the freedom, the cure, the forgiveness, the healing, for “they have wearied themselves with sinning.” (See 9:5) Therefore, no matter how much of the King’s love is shown to them through His servants, through His patience, through the cups of living water brought to them along with the portions of choice food from the King’s own table, these sheep accept, at the most, only a tiny taste and then insist on going back to their meals of garbage.

Sadly, even shockingly, these sheep have continued to deliberately hold on to the ultimate foolishness –that of refusing redemption.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Today several graves are being excavated. The coffins are being opened, their contents noted.

In these caskets lay the remains of mighty men –warriors and generals and kings, men of extreme wealth and fame, men who were glorious in their time. There are a few of women too –queens and princesses, some who were fought over, others who made history by some great act.

The dirt is scraped away from the first stone box… The lid is lifted… There, with a jeweled crown still resting on its skull, lays the skeleton of a once mighty general-emperor. An exquisite sword lays next to the bones, both weapon and master resting forever in a bed of gold coins.

Another coffin’s lid is lifted… Inside is the skeleton of a queen who was considered the most beautiful woman in all the land, the richest, even the wisest, the most elegant, and one to whom many nations were subject. A jeweled crown rests on that lifeless skull as well, and a gold necklace, studded with sapphires and rubies and worth millions, rests across the crumbling bones.

Now here are some other caskets… These have been brought to the lab from another place. The first lid is opened and in it lies the skeleton of one who was labeled in modern times, “Richest Man in America”.

Another coffin lid is raised. This one reveals the skeleton of a woman who, across her rib cage, are two giant plagues. One states, “Teacher of the Year”, the other, “Mrs. America”.

Yet another lid is raised. Who is this? The examiners stare. They start to tremble. What are they seeing? Everyone is curious… so we tiptoe over… We peek over their shoulders. We wish we’d not done so. Yes, we see piles of money, we see awards we’d won, we see magazine clippings about our extra-ordinary accomplishments, we see keys to mansions we’d purchased with the wealth accumulated through our deceitful schemes… We suck in our breath. Can that skeleton really resemble each one of us? Is that decaying flesh really similar to what our mirrors show us…?

Shaken, we all quickly exit. Emerging into the bright and cheery sunshine, we sigh with relief. Realizing it must have been a dream, the bustling, ordinary street reminds us of the huge party being thrown in our honor tonight. Then looking down at our missed calls, we smile, feeling smugly popular.

Glancing up at the sky-scrapper several blocks away, we inwardly smile again about the big window office we now have there. We’d best get back. But, as we turn to step out from the curb, the echo of a warning yell reaches our ears too late.

Kinda strange… but, drifting off… the faint voice of our grand-mother is heard. Indeed, she’s reading to us the parable of the rich, greedy fool who kept hoarding more and more as he praised his easy life, until those words from God came to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded of you. Then who will get what you have stored up for yourself?” (Luke 12:20) Within the squeal of sirens, we continue, vaguely, hearing the steady reading, though now it is Jesus’ words in Mark 8:36: “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” However, the meaning of the verse seems fuzzy right now… too deep to try to comprehend when one’s head is swirling… when it feels hard to breathe…

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

P.S. Sorry for the creepy story, but death is wretched, decay isn’t pretty, and eternal death and imprisonment in a dark pit full of demons –forever– is definitely going to be worse than creepy. See, history reveals that there really was a man named Jesus, that He taught a lot of things, that He did miracles, that He died on a cross, that the tomb was found empty, and that He did warn about sin and Hell over and over and over. So, if someone doesn’t yet believe His words, it might be good to do some honest research about Him, about the Scriptures, and about the undeniable fact that the supernatural (the spiritual) does exist. And that since it does, there is a God, there is a Judge who expects obedience to the Royal Law of Love, and there is a Final Judgement.

Friends,
There will no longer be singing in the churches, but instead wailing. (Amos 8:3,10) May we therefore weep now (Joel 2:17) with repentant hearts (v. 12), saying, “Spare Your people, O LORD.” (v.17) For the Lord who is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love, does relent from sending calamity (v.13) upon truly repentant ones. (v. 12-14 // Jer. 18:7,8 // Jonah 3:10)

But if God commands the pillars and the houses to be smashed (Amos 6:11 & 9:1), what does this look like? Yes, it comes in the form of flood, fire, drought, mass shootings, increased crime, economic collapse, wicked leaders, family chaos, etc., but that all comes from one main “smashing” which is this: God departs. It’s when the people have so defiled themselves that He withdraws His abiding Presence and leaves the people cursed (1 Cor. 3:16,17) –cursed with the worst of all curses, the one which Hell possesses: The absence of God.

This doesn’t mean that God does not continue to see everything or that He no longer has control; it means He abandons the people to the evil realm they’ve chosen to hang on to, or go back to.

It would be foolish of us not to recognize that God’s departure has already begun. And though there is still time for us to repent, who is doing so? Most are just saying, “Leave us alone. Quit warning us. Can’t you see we are the temple of the Lord?” (See Amos 7:12,13) But are they? Hasn’t the famine already started? Hasn’t it already spread pretty much everywhere? “What famine?” some ask. “For I still have food and drink.” But those of us who believe God’s warning already see the people staggering, fainting, and crying out for God’s Word. (8:12) For this is the famine that is already upon us and growing. It is “a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.” (v.11)

What happens to people who can’t find the words of the Lord… who can’t find anyone to correctly handle Scripture and give it out in the power of the Holy Spirit and from a pure heart? The people die. For though they search from sea to sea, they are not being given that which is Spirit and Life. (John 6:63) Thus the branches wither. (15:6) And they wither because they get thrown away for not remaining in the Vine (same verse) –He who is the Word of God. (1:1,14)

There really is a simple way to get God to bring mercy, blessing, and life, rather than judgement. It’s to repent. For if we would seek good, not evil, then we would live. (Amos 5:14) And as the rest of that verse says, “Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say He is.”

But, it’s not enough to say the Lord is with us, or among us. We have to truly invite Him in, and invite Him to stay. Unfortunately, many are not doing this. For we do this not only by asking the Lord, but also by living according to His commands. (John 15:10) And this we can only do by abiding in His words. (v. 4)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel