November 30, 2012
“I am rich and powerful, so if I want something of yours, I will take it from you, and then to feign political-correctness, I will claim that I’m taking from you for your own good, as well as the good of all.” Such a mentality in action is none other than a violation of human rights. But, those with power, and those skilled in skewing the truth, are ever-ready to sacrifice the well-being and rights of others to further their own agenda, benefit, money, and power.
The Casiguran Agta, the indigenous people group I grew up with, are still under duress by APECO, a group headed by one particular powerful family, who think they should be allowed to grab the Agta’s land, as well as the land of farmers in the area, because they so choose.
On November 24, 120 individuals representing those against APECO, began marching from Casiguran to Manila. They hope to arrive there by December 10, Human Rights Day, and to receive a hearing on the 13th with the Philippine president. Here are two articles describing their current effort:
Here is another article that very well describes what is going on in the big picture:
The land being taken does not belong to APECO, nor do they have any right to it. For all who care about justice, please send these articles, or this one of mine, on to as many people as you know so as to alert the world to this gross violation of human rights.
Thank you, in advance, for everyone’s effort and concern.
November 29, 2012
It was really great to be able to go to the streets again today after not being down there for several months. Last time I went my arm was still so painful that I couldn’t hold out my (one paragraph) messages very well. My arm is much better, but in extending it out for four hours at a time (like I did today), I realize it still has a ways to go to heal.
But, thank the Lord I got down there today and it was so very wonderful! I saw many friends and they’d missed me, as I too had missed them. Several told me they are growing stronger spiritually, and it was a sweet blessing to hear it and hear them even quote verses to me as they talked about what the Lord is doing in their lives! How fantastic!
One friend was there with her two kids who I’ve seen grow up from toddler age (now 2nd and 4th grade) and we all gave each other big, excited hugs. Later, as they were hanging out, chattering with other friends, the little boy, the second-grader, asked if he could wear one of my signs. I told him he had to ask his mom, but she said he could, so I put my front sign over his little neck and told him how to hold it –because of the gusting wind. A few minutes later he asked if he could please hand out tracts too, so I gave him some and he was handing them out like a pro. It was so cute.
Several people thanked me (I often get thanked for my concern and boldness) and many said that they’ve kept all the tracts they’ve ever received from me over the years. One friend, who had really seemed to have grown spiritually, tried to give me a ten-dollar bill. I thanked him profusely, but said I don’t take money. He seemed disappointed, but I said that I want the cops (which there are always many down there) to know I’m not receiving money so that they won’t have any excuse to insist I need a permit or something. But my main reason is that I don’t want people to think I’m proclaiming God’s Word for any other motive than that I want them to understand the Great News, to know Christ, and to be set free of the evil realm.
One guy I’d never met before said he is an atheist, but I kind of scoffed (with a loving tone) mentioning DNA. Then I pointed to a tall building and said, “Come on. If we know someone had to build that, we know there’s a God who made us.”
He agreed and said that he actually did believe in God. See? Atheists believe in God and usually even admit it.
Anyway, he and I talked for about 20 minutes, and though he had some very weird and even blasphemous beliefs about God, it was a start. Later, when I was talking to others at another corner, he came back within earshot and listened quietly. I greeted him again; then he soon wandered off. May the Lord bring him to Himself.
I could go on writing about all the wonderful encounters, but suffice it to say, I’m so thankful to the Lord that I got down there today. May He work in each and every life so that all may come to the Truth!
Oh, one more nice thing: My mom always helps me by praying when I’m out witnessing, and she usually calls others to pray with her. Today she called the 700 Club and got a Filipina on the line who was totally excited about the request my mom was giving her –because she herself does street evangelism with signs in another state! So, not only was this an encouragement to them both, but so was the fact that we’d all three lived in the Philippines. What an extra blessing! And so much like God to pour them out upon us!
November 28, 2012
A couple of days ago a friend sent me this link:
Many of us have been warned since we were kids about the mark of the beast, and certainly time marches on toward the fulfillment of what the Bible has predicted: “And it makes all mankind, the small and the great, both the rich and the poor, both the free men and the slaves, be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, so that no one can buy or sell except those having the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.” (Rev. 13:16,17)
Palm and retina scanners are likely not images of the beast in and of themselves, but it sure makes the prophecy of the beast’s mandatory mark much more believable and inevitable and near.
For God’s people, though, –those who truly know Him and obey Him– there is no cause for alarm, except, of course, in regards to those we pray for who are not right with the Lord. For did Jesus not remind us in Rev. 1:17,18 to not be afraid, and to know that He holds the keys of death and Hades? Did He not assure us that He who “holds the key of David” (3:7) has taken note of those who have kept His Word and not denied His name? (v. 8 ) For those who endure patiently, He promises to keep them “from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” (v. 10) If we pass the tests now, we will be kept from that huge and final global test.
Therefore, as Jesus warns us in Luke 21:34, let our hearts not be loaded down with self-indulgence, with drunkenness, or with the stresses of life, otherwise we will not be spiritually equipped, and the hour of trial will close on us “like a trap.” (same verse) For “That Day” (same verse) will come upon all who are living on the earth (v. 35), except those who are watching, are completely ready, and who are praying that they may escape it. (v. 36)
So, may we stand firm till the end (Matt. 24:13), and not allowing our love to grow cold (v. 12), continually refuse all wickedness and deception (v. 10-12) –even the most cunning. (v. 24 // 2 Thes. 2:9-12) May we not be asleep and unprepared (Matt. 25:1-13), but “be alert and self-controlled” (1 Thes. 5:6) and girded with faith, love, and salvation. (v. 8 )
For as in the days of Noah, so will it be at the return of Christ Jesus. (Matt. 24:37) He will come when most people least expect it (v. 38,39), and one will be taken, the other left behind (v. 40,41) –left behind to face not the Great Flood (see v. 39), but to face the Great Tribulation of God’s wrath (Rev. 14:19,20), the one last warning and test before eternal destruction. (v. 6-13)
But, we who are sons of the light (1 Thes. 5:5) will be ready, and though He comes suddenly and unexpectedly (Mark 13:32-37), He will not find us sleeping (v. 36) or unclothed (Rev. 16:15), though He comes as a thief. (same verse) “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation…” (1 Thes. 5:9) through Christ Jesus who snatches us up to meet Him in the clouds. (4:17) Yes, He will “gather His elect from… the ends of the earth” (Mark 13:27) –those who have kept extra oil next to their lighted lamps (Matt. 25:4)… those who have remained ready to meet the bridegroom at a moment’s notice. (v. 10)
What is the very best way to prepare for Christ’s return? It is to be abiding in Him, to be living in purity, to be walking in obedience, to be communing with His Spirit in His Word, and to know the Word very, very well.
“Therefore keep watch [and be ready –v. 44, not unfaithful, unwise, or wicked –v. 45,48,49], because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” (Matt. 24:42)
November 27, 2012
If the Lord tells us to ask Him our heart’s desire… that is, if one day, while communing with Him, He impresses upon us strongly, “Ask and it will be given to you” (Luke 11:9)… even His words to Solomon, “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you” (1 Kings 3:5), then what would we answer Him? Very likely we’d have some honorable requests, for it’d be hardly probable that God would say this to anyone He couldn’t trust to answer in line with His will.
The Lord has said these words to me a few times over the years, and did again yesterday in a precious time of fellowship we had. What an unspeakably beautiful kindness and gift the Lord extends when He says such things. And He’s eager, I’m sure, to say it to anyone whom He considers His friend –which can be anyone who truly believes and obeys God’s Word and Spirit. (John 15:14 // James 2:23) (–What good news and privilege!)
So, I will share what I wrote down yesterday in the journal I use during my times with Him. I wrote, “Lord, I hear You saying to ‘Ask for whatever…’ so I ask that You, through me, will influence millions to follow You whole-heartedly. And that You’ll always counsel me, and care for me (provide and protect), and do this for my loved ones too, and that You’ll save the souls of all who I keep praying for. These are my top requests today, Lord. Thank You so much.”
I’ve hesitated in writing this post, but still feel the Lord wants me to share it, though it is quite personal. Furthermore, I realize that it may sound arrogant. For, –me? –the Lord bring millions to Him through me? But I know that back in 1994, when I lay on the carpet of my bedroom, overwhelmed with the impression of Hell, and compelled to rush to the streets to share the Gospel of salvation, I cried to the Lord that He would (eventually) bring a million people to Him through my efforts. What? I thought. A million? There’s no way possible. But I had faith even back then. And as I realized that I was crying out by the Spirit of the Lord in me, I added another million. (Why not? –Smile.) See, from my own mind, I’d never have thought that even a fraction of that would be possible. In fact, such a thing seemed so impossible that I wouldn’t have dared to pray such a thing. (Remember, global internet access was just beginning in homes, and I sure did not use it until several years later.) Besides, I never put any importance on numbers. But, now, lately, I keep feeling that the Lord is reminding me of that prayer and to start praying it again regularly, in faith.
So, in faith, and because He’s impressing me to take a stand on that faith, I am posting it. So… twenty years from now, we’ll see…
It is, actually, easier to glimpse the potential now than it was back in 1994. Because when I think about those who have been encouraged to evangelize because they’ve seen me do so, and then others see them… and then others are influenced by those… and so someone becomes a missionary, another becomes a pastor, another a preacher, another a model dad, another a youth leader, and still others become ministers to the homeless, the abused, the poor, the aged, the divorced, the rich, the businesspeople, the preachers themselves… I realize that it really can happen. Was I not influenced by others myself? Of course I was. –By many, especially my missionary parents, but also particularly and because of what God’s call on me was, by a family of three who street-preached.
So, what am I getting at? I’m trying to help ignite a fire in the hearts of those who want to change the world, but think they can’t. –Those who desire people to live righteously, in love, to walk in the Truth, and to spread the Truth so that souls will be rescued from eternal damnation. Can one person do it? Yes! One person! One, one, one. Because that one, by walking in the will of the Lord and in the power of His Spirit, cannot help but become two, and then three, and then more… and then those, doing the same, cannot help but multiply as well. Soon then, there will be a group, then a crowd, then a throng, then a multitude, and then…… –millions!!! See?
Very exciting, I’d say. Wouldn’t you all say? Then let’s pray, commune with God, repent and be holy, petition Him to work in and through us, ask requests by the Spirit’s prompting, and step out in the power of God’s Spirit and will.
Oh, but it starts with getting to know God’s voice, instructions, character, and ways –which are all found in His Word. So be sure you start there.
November 26, 2012
I was mentioning to someone the other day that I’ve come to the conclusion that the deepest desire of unregenerate people is to possess power. And that because of this desire, their deepest need is to control others –and this, so that they can also control situations. For when these are achieved, they’re on their way to possessing power.
Isn’t this what the devil wants –power? Yes, he wants admiration and worship, but that, I believe, is what he wants so as to achieve power. Isn’t this what we see with evil dictators? They sought ways to be admired, but really, the admiration achieved was just the means to obtain power. Because with power, one can do whatever he wants. So, yes, greed and selfishness and pride are all part of the equation, but it’s not even the money or fame or possessions themselves, for if it were, the dictator could contentedly enjoy these. But he can’t, because what he is really desiring is power. Power over all. And yet it eludes him.
That being said, I actually want to focus on what the devil, and those who serve him (humans, as well as demons) use in order to gain power. What would we each suggest is the main tool the evil side uses to gain power over others? True, he uses all sorts of alluring temptations and deceptions, but I’d say it’s fear that tops even these. For by fear he can control even God’s people –if they succumb to it.
Most born anew people are not going to be coaxed into that which is obvious sin, nor will they listen to enticements to be lazy, apathetic, un-loving, slanderous, or rude. But, because of the evil going on about them, the sickness and death, the harsh trials others are undergoing, and the uncertainty of the future, fear is definitely something the evil realm has found itself able to use to render a saint ineffective.
Unless. Unless the saint knows the whole Truth and keeps that Truth living and active within his heart, at the forefront of his mind, and operative in his spirit. If he does these, the Truth will be controlling the saint’s life, and the devil, having no wedge in, finds no way to be able to usurp control.
What then is the antidote for fear? It’s to be filled up with the whole Truth.
And how are we filled up with the whole Truth? We eat a huge meal of God’s Word! We eat like we’re eating our Thanksgiving dinner. We eat slowly, meditatively; we converse with God as we eat; we think about all that we’re thankful for –and we tell God. We think about what we’re eating and we have a gratefulness for all God has so richly provided. We appreciate the food, remembering that everyone doesn’t have this major privilege to eat a feast. Therefore, we go to God’s Word as often as we can, being exceedingly thankful for it, refusing to neglect it, and refusing to take it for granted.
How else are we filled up with the whole Truth? We praise the Lord, exalting Him for His kindness and His greatness, for redeeming us, and for keeping us shielded in His love and His presence. We also petition the Lord to enlighten us to the whole Truth, to teach us, instruct us, and by His Spirit “guide us into all Truth.” (John 16:13) And we believe His promises –that He will come to the aid of those who call out to Him, that He will minister to us, counsel us, protect us, and deliver us. We must believe, though. We must trust and not doubt. We must wait patiently for Him to rescue us from the attacks, and quote His Word and praise Him as we wait.
Oh, but there is the hard part –to believe and trust and praise and quote the Word when we are under attack. True. But that’s why we take preventative measures. That’s why we put on the armor as soon as we wake up. That’s why we praise God for the blood that redeemed us and covers us –as soon as we wake up. That’s why we take every thought captive to obey Christ –as soon as we wake up. That’s why we tell God (aloud, if possible) that we submit our whole selves to Him in the mighty name of Jesus –as soon as we wake up. That’s why we repent of all known sin and ask to be washed totally clean –as soon as we wake up. And that’s why we start singing praises to the Lord –as soon as we wake up. For if we do these things, how can the devil shoot fear-darts our way? He won’t even want to be anywhere near us and our worship to God! Besides, all these things put up a shield around us. For God Himself, as He delights to listen to us, comes around us like a wall, and every evil dart would just bounce off of Him. What good news!!!! May we remember these Truths –the whole Truth– and act accordingly!
Now besides all these wonderful things, what else fills us with Truth. Obedience does. Going in the will of the Lord does. For God gives more enlightenment to those whom He sees obeying the simple orders. And what else squelches fear? Stepping out –with our feet, our hands, our mouths, our thoughts. This is courage. And courage, especially practicing it, living it, even when afraid, is what builds more courage. And it builds habit. The habit of facing fear down by our faith, praise, obedience, and courage.
Of course we aren’t the ones who can slay fear attacks. God does it. His power defeats the enemy of fear. But let’s understand: It is by doing the things He has told us to do that God comes into the situation and enacts the victory –through us. (Eph. 3:20)
In view of all this, let us then say with total confidence, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31) For not even the devil, with all his tactics to frighten us, so as to control us, can do a thing if we are taking refuge in the shelter of the LORD Most High. (Ps. 91:9,10 // 1 John 5:18)
November 25, 2012
Of course the Lord is gracious, compassionate, and merciful. But He is a King and expects to be given reverence and respect. (Mal. 1:11,14b) This means He expects people to obey His commands and to abide by His universal law –that of loving Him and others. This Royal Law of Love (James 2:8) is what all the other commands hang on (Matt. 22:40), which means that by abiding in love, a person will do what is right and righteous. For God certainly does command people to act and speak and think righteously. If they do not, they remain under condemnation (Matt. 12:36,37 // John 5:29 // 1 Cor. 6:9,10 // Eph. 5:5,6 // Heb. 4:12,13 // Rev. 21:8) –even if they believe in Jesus. (All of Matt. 25 // Luke 13:23-28)
Many people are claiming that they love God and are thus on their way to Heaven. They claim that their conduct does not matter as long as they have claimed (even a one-time claim) that Jesus is their Savior; for, they say, this makes them covered with Christ’s righteousness, regardless of their own righteousness. But, this is a skewing of the Truth.
The Truth is, we are covered in Christ’s righteousness only as long as we abide in Christ. And how do we abide in Christ? We do it by our righteous actions of thought, word, and deed, done in the will and power of the Lord. “Ahhhh, blasphemy!” the OSAS-such groups cry. But they are the ones deceived. For all through God’s Word we are told that our faith in Jesus must be a loyal trust in Him, provable by our behavior of continually choosing to believe and obey. Paul preached this (Acts 26:20), James preached this (James 1:22,27 & 2:14-26), Peter preached this (2 Peter 2:20-22), John preached this (1 John 2:4 & 3:6), and Jesus preached this –repeatedly. (Matt. 7:21-23 & 12:50 & 13:41,42 & 25:24-30 // Luke 6:46-49 & 9:23-25,62 // John 8:31 & 15:6 // etc.)
We can give verse after verse and anyone who is honest cannot deny the fact that Scripture does teach that those who do right live in Christ and those who commit sin do not live in Christ. And that those who do right belong to God and those who commit sin do not belong to God. It’s very, very simple and clear-cut. False teachers, because they love sin, as do the flocks they gather about themselves, have muddied the waters.
But let’s look at just a few verses. 1 John 2:29 says that “everyone who does what is right has been born of Him [God].” Compare this with 3:8 which states that anyone “who does what is sinful is of the devil.” Verse 10 makes it pretty clear when it says that we can know the difference between the children of God and the children of the devil by whether or not the person does what is right and loving. (See all of ch. 3 & 4:7-21) Both 3:9 and 5:18 state it plainly: Anyone born of God does not continue to sin.
OSAS adherents like to quote Isa. 53:6 about the Lord’s atoning sacrifice for the sins of we, His sheep, who “have gone astray.” Rather than understand that present-tense is a literary form the Bible often uses, and even though verse 5 says, “by His wounds we are healed” (revealing that we’ve also been healed of going astray), Isa. 55:6,7 state that in seeking the Lord so as to find mercy and pardon, the wicked man must quit his wicked ways and thoughts! This is called “repentance” and “action”. It’s a renouncement of sin, and it is a turn from sin to God. Then God will freely pardon. And only then.
But, plain language is not clear to those who want to listen to the father of lies. (John 8:43,44) They deliberately misunderstand because they want to believe they can be “saved to sin safely”. They think God’s Word applies to “those others”, not them. However, Jesus means everyone when He says, “Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” (John 5:29) But again, those of the OSAS belief claim that Jesus is only referring to those who have never “accepted Him as their Savior.” Sigh. And on they rationalize in the face of verse after verse after verse.
So when Jesus says, “Unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:3), does this mean we need only repent once? Does Jesus not really mean that a 180 degree turn-around is necessary and an opposite (and narrow) road must be walked? Is Jesus not really saying that sin must be renounced, given up, and abandoned in order to be kept from perishing? Is Jesus just saying that all we need to do in order to be saved is to give a statement of confession of having sinned and ask for the pardon? Is He saying that as long as we’ve confessed this once, we can then go back to committing sin, and actually do so safely, without fear of Hell, and because His own righteousness is now covering us?
Not quite. For this is not what God’s Word teaches. God’s Word teaches that we must remain in Christ (John 15:1-6) and that we remain in Him by being obedient to everything He commands. (John 15:10 // 1 John 2:3-6 & 3:24)
Let’s get it straight: Our behavior is crucial. For by it we will be acquitted or condemned. (Heb. 12:14 // Rev. 20:11-15)
November 24, 2012
Are we in anguish over the debauched lifestyles of others as Lot was? (2 Peter 2:7,8) We should be. No, this doesn’t mean we take our grief and turn it into anger, hate, slander, or bitterness. Instead, we who have the Spirit of Christ Jesus in us will have His attitude, both toward the depravity, and toward the people filled with it and causing it. Toward the wickedness, we will show disdain, but toward the people themselves, we will show strong love.
What does strong love look like? Does it cower? Does it give in to sin? Does it tolerate evil? It does none of these. Strong love stands up for Truth. It proclaims Truth. It defies evil and falsehood. And it does these things in the name and power of the Lord of Hosts. Look at the lives of the martyrs who were true followers of Christ and we will see what strong love does. For strong love comes only from the Lord. Other types of love come from ourselves, the world, and even from the evil one. Oh yes, the devil certainly spreads different types of counterfeit love everywhere –loves that are motivated by selfishness, greed, pride, jealousy, envy, power, control, and even cruelty.
But for those who truly house God’s Spirit, there is a different love in operation. It’s God’s love. It’s true love. And it’s strong love.
What then does this love do when it sees the unprincipled, wretched, and debauched lifestyles of the wicked? This love sacrifices. It sacrifices one’s time, energy, dignity, safety, and reputation. It thinks of the other at all times. No, not so that the loved one may do what he wants, or say what he wants. But this love sacrifices in order to show and be Christ to others –Christ who sacrificed Himself to provide redemption for us, and who, while loving us, also hates sin and will not tolerate it. And because Jesus, while on earth, defied the evil of sin, hypocrisy, and deception by proclaiming the Gospel of Truth and Righteousness and Love and Freedom From Sin, and because we’ve been commanded to conduct ourselves just as Jesus did (1 John 2:6), we must be doing the same –continually.
So, are we in anguish over the depravity of people? Are we willing to lay down our lives so as to enact God’s true love in their lives? Are we submissive to God’s leading in exactly how to do this, even if it costs us our comfort or even seems to us to be a strange way? Are we opening up our mouths to remind them that their cancer is growing and they are indeed dying from it? And are we groaning by the Spirit (Rom. 8:26) –who prays in accordance with God’s will (v. 27) through our mouths (Ps. 81:10)– as if we ourselves were the ones dying and headed for Hell?
Oh, that God’s people would have a vision of Hell! Oh, that we would weep in anguish of spirit over those about to fall into the abyss of everlasting torment! God wants no one to go there! (2 Peter 3:9) He came to save ALL people! (1 Tim. 2:4) –To bring ALL people to the knowledge of the Truth! (same verse) How can we hold the Truth back from them because we’re too shy, or we’re too tired, or we’re too lazy, or we’re too preoccupied–?! Or even because they say they don’t need it? Yes, we must respect their right to hold onto their cancer (for this is exactly what God does and why they end up not saved), but we (by God’s wooing, compassionate Spirit) will continue to try! We will continue to use every means we can think of –loving words, Scripture verses, modeling holiness and compassion, praying for them…
What then should the anguish of sinner’s sin do in us if we’ve already done all we can in their hearing? We still have more we can do! What’s that? We can fall before the Holy and Mighty King and cry out. And cry out some more. And cry out some more and more and more! For the soul is dying! The soul is falling. The soul is rushing toward the precipice! –That cliff where the dark flames leap out to grab the foolish rebels who just will not listen.
Even now, I’m sure some readers can tell I am crying. Yes, tears… for of course I’m speaking from an anguished heart. From God’s heart in me. And I’m thinking of several who I love, who God-in-me loves. One is a friend who has already died. I haven’t been able to talk of it yet. Only right this minute I mention it finally. I found out about it about two months ago, and actually that he died last year. I still cannot talk about it, really. Because I heard he was unrepentant till the end. But I’d prayed, I’d wept, I’d fasted, I’d lay in sackcloth for hours and days and years over his soul. But… could his rebellion truly have negated all the effects of my love-soaked prayers, at least the effects for him? Could his rebellion truly have negated all God’s efforts to save him? I can’t bear the thought. But… how much God values our freedom to choose… to choose to hold on to the eternal cancer that only He can wash away.
Oh, that God’s people would anguish over the debauched, ruined lives of others –those whom God wants to save, heal, and restore, but who are in need of intercessors, preachers, and people whose lives they can look at to see that God is real. Oh, that God’s people would hate sin the way He does, but love people the way He does.
Strong love is the only way. But… where can God find a willing, holy, and committed heart He can use?