Fools Scorn Exhortations

January 31, 2013

Friends,
If it weren’t for the great comfort found in God’s Word, I would be distressed beyond endurance concerning the plight of so many who are in distress. Is it not beyond depressing to think of the pain (of all kinds) which other people are having to go through? Are we not often tempted to despair of hope concerning them and their seemingly helpless or agonizing circumstances?

Just one which weighs heavy on my heart is the situation of Saeed Abedini and the anguish his wife and family must be experiencing. As most of us found out several days ago, Saeed, in spite of being an American citizen, was convicted and sentenced to eight years in one of Iran’s most brutal prisons –merely because he is a Christian. May God’s people get on their knees and pray for this brother in Christ the way we would want others to pray for us if we were the ones in such a horrible plight. And may everyone sign the petition by clicking here: http://aclj.org/ –to get the UN to demand his release.

But, as awful as such a situation is, what is actually the worst situation a person can be in? It is, of course, to be headed for an eternity in Hell (or even worse to already be in Hell), and to be carelessly continuing on toward it. To have deaf ears to the exhortations of Love… to have a heart of filth that can only mock Love’s efforts… to have a mind that is so corrupted that it does not know how to be grateful for the mountains being moved, as attempts go on to expose the great danger… to instead gnash one’s teeth in hostility against those God sends to warn… is a condition more frightening and wretched than any imaginable. But does the “cancer patient” see it that way? No. He blocks his ears in anger and rushes on to commit all the sin he can.

This week, at my brother’s Bible study which he leads for international students, he brought up Luke 12:4,5, a passage we memorized as kids. It is an exhortation by our Lord where He tells us not to be afraid of those who kill the body, for afterwards they can do nothing more. Instead, Jesus says, we need to fear God, “who after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into Hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him.” In other words, to fear men should be of zero concern to us compared to the huge necessity to fear God.

But do people fear God? Most don’t. And when they are exhorted by God’s servants concerning their pride and other sins, and their potential eternal fate, they either laugh it off or resort to justifying themselves, which they can, because of years of practice, do with cleverness and finesse. As Prov. 9:6-9 says, wise men appreciate godly reproof, learn from it, and become wiser still; but anyone who tries to correct or reprove a wicked man incurs only insult, scorn, and disdain, for the path of wisdom the mocker has habitually sneered at and rejected. Caring nothing about the warnings in God’s Word, such people continue to rebel against God and His holy laws. And when someone tries to rescue them from staggering toward foolishness and slaughter (24:11), they, unchanging, know only how to pour out from their mouths the venom of vipers. (Rom. 3:13-18)

But, as Ps. 68:21 says, “Surely God will crush the heads of His enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins.”  We’ve repeatedly warned them:  To go on in sin is to make oneself God’s enemy.  Doesn’t it seem that even sin-lovers would have enough wisdom to realize that this position should cause terror?

We do wish they’d listen to the warnings. We do plead with God that He grant mercy, intervene into their recklessness, and save them before it’s too late. For how awful will be their situation –worse than any temporary plight this fallen world can bring. It will be a plight that lasts, without God and anything good, for all eternity. And it will be theirs because they refused to heed wisdom. It will be theirs because they, in their arrogance, chose Folly and Wickedness instead.

Because of God’s love in us, we hate the thought. Therefore, we continue to agonize, by Christ’s Spirit, on their behalf.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Be Mature, Have Patience

January 30, 2013

Friends,
The Lord wants to teach us wonderful lessons we can learn from so that we can turn from merely enduring life to instead rejoicing through life and being victorious over sin and evil. He gives us His Word and Spirit, and if we meditate and listen, we will grow mature in the knowledge of the Truth by which we become competent in using our spiritual weapons. (2 Cor. 10:3-5) What blessings we have been given that we may demolish that which sets itself up against the Truth! What blessings to have the privilege to praise God, to petition Him, and to walk obediently in His will, knowing then that He is surrounding us, that He is listening to us, that He is pleased with us, that He is leading us, that He is using us to accomplish His will in the earth, and that He is bringing us forth as gold.

But what important, though often neglected, spiritual weapon is absolutely necessary if we are to live consistently mature? It’s patience. This fruit of the Spirit is also a weapon we use by which to live wise and holy in power and love and self-discipline. (1 Cor. 4:20 // Gal. 5:22-24 // Eph. 5:9 // 2 Tim. 1:7 // James 1:4 & 5:7-11) We must acquire a spirit of patience in order to walk strong and triumphant. Our heart must learn to be at rest no matter what –even if we might also be experiencing grief or pain or uncertainty. We must at all times keep a calm, quiet, confident, trusting heart, even when God doesn’t do things our way or even when He seems to be doing nothing at all. We must learn to wait on Him, and then wait some more. How very often God’s Word tells us to wait, though usually we have no idea why the Lord is taking longer than we’d wish. But the trusting heart does not fret or worry, for it remains steadfast and secure. This the mature heart does –even when we do not understand why He isn’t answering or bringing us that job or spouse or home or ministry or deliverance or healing we’ve been praying for.

But, if we wait, what do we find ourselves doing later, maybe much later? We find ourselves smiling, rejoicing, and falling on our faces in gratefulness before His throne because of the good thing He brought us, or because of the evil thing He kept us from. And we realize that we have, in the course of that long wait, advanced a level or two up the ladder of maturity so that, hopefully, we will meet the next crisis –and the next– with the firm knowledge that God, who is total Love, always knows best.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
There are three more new articles at israeliteindeed (since I last mentioned that site) and I’ll say loudly, “I agree!”

Nationalism is an Idol

by israeliteindeed

God is not looking for us (American believers) to trust in the “founding fathers,” the man-made Constitution, guns, the military, financial prosperity, or the pre-eminence of our country in the world scene. God wants us to depend on Him and His Word. We must renounce our idolatry. Following Jesus is more than not getting drunk or believing the Bible is inspired. We are to be as He is in this world. We are to keep His commands and follow in His steps. Let us consider the steps He took while He walked the earth.

Jesus did not start a Jewish uprising to overthrow the pagan Roman government. He did not preach on a return to Jewish rule and law, or bitterly denounce the Romans for destroying His homeland. He did not run for political office; in fact He rejected being a secular king when He had the vote of the people. He did not teach that His homeland was more righteous than other nations and deserved international preeminence–His biggest enemies did! The Pharisees, from whom we have the racist/elitist Talmud, taught these things. Jesus told them they were of their father the devil. Their “form of godliness” did not impress Him; neither did the cause of the zealots who were trying to overthrow the Roman occupation. He had bigger fish to fry. He came to strike the root of man’s problem. He understood that politics and nationalism could never be the vehicles through which real change would come, because both are always saturated with and fueled by man’s pride.

To read the rest of this article, click here:

http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/nationalism-is-an-idol/

Many of us also know that there are many “stars” in professing Christendom that are actually full of darkness. They are simply religious celebrities adored by idolatrous followers who do not discern the voice of the Good Shepherd, and who willingly follow the voice of a stranger. The light these leaders have is darkness. They tell people who walk in their own ways that they will have peace. They strengthen the hands of evil doers. They teach covetousness. They teach we should pursue our best life now, contrary to the teachings of Jesus. They seek worship, setting themselves up as antichrists. They do not advance the kingdom of God, but instead advance their own kingdoms.

To read this second one in its entirety, click here:

http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/light-that-is-really-darkness/

Yesterday, I was at a pro-abortion rally with some other saints. We had graphic signs, which often speak louder than words. A group of women, angered by the signs, shouted, “We WILL NOT go back! We WILL NOT!” What they meant was they refuse to go back to a time when women were so oppressed and unenlightened that they had compassion on their own children.I saw in the Spirit that these women saw JESUS in our signs, and they hated Him. They saw “the least of these” torn and mutilated, and they were enraged–not at the killers–but at the Truth. These dead babies were yet speaking. They were Jesus pleading with these women to turn from their wicked deeds and have compassion on the weak. Their response was, “We WILL NOT.” They are “full of…murder….without natural affection…unmerciful.” (Rom. 1:29-31)

To read this article and see a photo of their group with one of their signs, click here:

http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/delivering-those-who-are-drawn-toward-death-at-abortion-mills/

I could not say any of it better, so please read these excellent exhortations.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Calvinists have certain things they say often and one of them goes something like this: “The purpose for which God created us is that we might glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.” We heard this yesterday at a church we visited, so when we saw the pastor in the lobby afterwards, and being that he (rightly) preached on how God wants relationship with us and that we should thus spend time with Him, I told him that I had an addition to that often-quoted saying. I said that not only did God create us that we might forever glorify Him and enjoy Him, but that He created us so that He might forever enjoy us. The pastor agreed.

I’ve often wondered, though, why Calvinists, those who are so intent on teaching that everything God created (including Hell) is for HIS glory and pleasure (pleasure meaning “delight”), would so heavily focus on our purpose for existing being that we might get enjoyment from worshipping God. So did God create us that we could be given delight (in enjoying God) for all eternity (as we glorify Him forever), or did He create us for His own joy –and if it is both, why not teach that?

Calvinists will say that God created us for His own pleasure (delight / joy), but then they repeatedly quote that motto in which they say that God created us that we might be the ones to receive enjoyment. Doesn’t it seem that while speaking so much about God’s sovereignty (His will / His choice) to do whatever He wants with whomever He wants (including the creating of multitudes just for the sole purpose of receiving glory and pleasure by damning them), that it would then be strange to preach the motto that God’s purpose in creating us (“us” meaning “the elect”, being that the non-elect certainly won’t be enjoying Him forever) is that we might receive delight forever by our worship of God? Isn’t this focus too self-centered?

It’s already a given that Calvinism breeds arrogance, and while most adherents claim humility, sadly, they are far from it. They exude a false humility that is very apparent as they claim their elite status of being “one of the chosen” –this classification having been preordained no matter how they continue to act or how much they sin. But isn’t Calvinism also teaching a self-centered view (though they claim the opposite)? For though they talk so much about God’s majesty and glory and sovereign will, while at the same time emphasizing men’s depravity and zero worthiness for anything good, they then turn around and say that God has created the elect so that they might have the benefit of forever finding enjoyment in Him.

Calvinists are highly confused people. They teach one thing and then in the same breath, teach something contradictory. Those who listen to them and follow them are in danger of becoming confused, prideful, and self-centered as well.

We cannot teach one truth from God’s Word to the exclusion of another truth. We must teach the whole Truth. To repeatedly quote a particular motto that skews the whole Truth is what gets people veering off into false beliefs by which they then create cults.

God created mankind because He wanted relationship, and this because He wanted to share His joy (Matt. 25:21), and this because He who is Love wanted objects to lavish His love upon while being loved in return. In other words, God wanted creatures that could experience delight (joy / enjoyment) in being loved by Him and who would reciprocate the love, AND He wanted to have us bring Him delight (joy / enjoyment) by accepting His love and loving Him back.

It’s not difficult to understand. A pure, sacred, beautiful marriage is a shadow, a copy, a symbol, of what God desired (purposed) in creating humans. It was not only that we might glorify and enjoy Him forever, but that He might honor and enjoy us forever. (Ps. ch. 149 // Ze. 3:17 // Matt. 25:21 // John 12:26 // 2 Tim. 2:12 // Rev. 3:21 & 21:2,3) The whole Truth needs to be taught. And when it is, it will bring both us and God a never-ending flood of delight. Into eternity.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
A presentation: A bicycle is brought in. It has handle bars, a seat, tires, spokes, etc.

Now here’s a jacket. It’s lined, has several pockets, bold stitching, the material has moose drawn all over it, and the jacket itself has a hood with fur around the edge.

Next –a computer. It sits on a table before us and from it the presenter googles all sorts of websites and videos which we view from a big screen above him.

Now our group is led outside. We’re told to look up at the towering buildings above us, being reminded of the elevators within, the furniture, the bathrooms with sinks and toilets, the fax machines, and all sorts of other things about the buildings themselves and what else resides within them.

Next we walk a half block and find ourselves gazing at the great arched bridge that connects two states, cars traveling both ways like busy ants. We’re told to think about how strong and amazing this bridge is to withstand the currents of the great lake, as well as how incredible it is that there are such things as vehicles with wheels and doors and headlights and engines that take people places.

We come back inside and are then given lectures on the human body, the way the digestive system works, detailed facts about the human eye, how scabs are formed after a wound, and how each person’s DNA is more intricate than several cities combined.

After all this, we’re then given some more lectures about physics, astronomy, and how fine-tuned the universe is.

At the end of the day, and after all the lectures and presentations, we are given one last statement: “All these things, though they function so amazingly, had no designer, constructor, or creator, but evolved over millions of years into what we now have.”

One woman looks down at the sleeve of her blouse, then thoughtfully fingers the blouse’s buttons and tailored collar. Another woman takes her glasses off and studies them carefully. A man, quite elderly, holds his cane up to his face for investigation, at the same time sliding his hand across the smooth wood and elaborate handle. Another man, spotting a sculpture in the hallway, walks over to it, and goes around and around it, examining it closely –and muttering.

But the rest of the group? They smile and nod, and realizing the presentation is over, give an appreciative round of applause.

Hmmmm……… –isn’t there a word to describe such thinking? Would the word be “illogical”? Or “irrational”? Or, might “idiotic” be even more appropriate? Because anyone who can look at the universe with its details and complexities and still insist there is no Designer, Creator, or Architect, is, as Ps. 14:1 puts it quite bluntly, an idiot. –No matter how wise or intellectual that person thinks himself to be.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Worshipful praise from a pure heart gladdens God exceedingly. It is the proclamation across the universe of His love, wisdom, power, provision, and other wonders, and the enemy who hates to hear it, is scattered. Through it, God’s heart is freshly warmed toward us and He brings His glorious presence down around us in even more intimate fellowship. Why then do God’s people not exalt Him with high praises as often as they can?

It could be that people don’t have enough of God’s Word in their hearts. Maybe they don’t truly believe in what God’s Word says concerning the importance of praise –of praising the King of glory. Maybe they don’t have enough to say and it gets old to just say the basic phrases like, “I praise You, God,” over and over.

The ability to exalt God (with genuine faith, power, and righteousness on a consistent basis) actually comes only by having His Word deep within our hearts and ready and used often on our lips. But if we do, we can begin to quote the Word, and as we do this, strength rises as the Spirit Himself comes alongside to help us proclaim the praise. He then reminds us of things the Lord has said (John 14:26), and as we focus on those things, we’re reminded of even more of the Word. That is, if we’ve been meditating on it, and have it solid in our hearts. For then beautiful promises come to mind and so do words the Bible uses to describe God’s character and mighty acts.

Then, with His Word in our thoughts, we can praise by the Spirit, saying such things as, “Oh Lord, You alone are great and Your name is mighty in power. Who should not revere You, O King of the nations? This is Your due. [Jer. 10:6,7] You, Lord, reign forever. You reign in righteousness, glory, truth, and justice, judging all with perfect equity. [Ps. 9:4,7,8,16 & 96:10,13] Thank You, God! You are robed in majesty and armed with strength. [93:1] I will speak of the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and I will meditate on Your wonderful works. [145:5] I love You, Oh Lord my Strength [18:1], my Rock, my Redeemer, my High Tower, my Fortress, my Shield. Your statues are altogether perfect and righteous, so I rejoice in them, I am warned by them, I become wise through them, and in keeping them I find great reward. [19:7-11] Be exalted, O God, above the heavens –and in my life. May I always please You and never cower from shining forth Your Truth, Your Light, and Your ways. May I ever sing to the glory of Your powerful name! [66:1-4] May all the peoples of the earth sing to You also, ascribing to You glory, honor, wisdom, holiness, riches, strength, beauty, authority, love, salvation, splendor, and kindness. May all see You in Your greatness, bow down before You in reverence, and obey Your righteous laws.”

Knowing God’s Word helps immensely in praising God so that He moves mountains for us. –Mountains of addiction, grief, fear, anger, hostility, jealousy, discontentment, distress, impurity, and all other sins and evils. Through praise God is glorified in us, and through it, we come into more intimate communion with Him and the knowledge of Him.

The ability to praise the King of the universe, so that He listens with delight and love, is an exceedingly wonderful privilege. May all the saints practice it more and more.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Today was the funeral of one of the elderly missionaries we’ve known. Death always reminds me of the fact that we all will die and face the Judgement, some of us much sooner than we expect, and all of us “soon” in light of eternity. Time just keeps racing by, doesn’t it?

Most of us hear of death quite often. Visiting at the nursing home the last ten years has certainly faced me with it time and again. Even now one of my best friends is in the hospital, quite sick. Being downtown, spreading the Gospel and praying for people at the bus stops, has brought to my ears sad tidings such as, “Did you hear about so-and-so? He died of a drug overdose last week.” Or, “So-and-so was found dead yesterday under a bridge. They think he died from pneumonia.” Or, “My brother was murdered last month. Will you pray for our family?” And of course, living amongst the Agta, we’ve seen much sickness and death as well.

Heb. 9:27 informs us that we have only one life to live and that after we die we will face God’s judgement. 1 Cor. 4:5 informs us that at that appointed time of judgement, God will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of every heart. Rom. 2:16 tells us that this will take place on the day when God will judge everyone’s secrets, while 3:19 warns us that every mouth will be silenced as the whole world is held accountable to God. Since nothing is hidden from God’s sight, every deed –including every careless, slanderous, hateful, and lustful word and thought (Matt. 5:21-30 & 12:36,37)– will be uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Heb. 4:13)

For anyone who fears God and believes His Word, this information should be sobering –and sobering to the point of taking action. –The action of falling on one’s knees and face, and calling out to God for mercy, for cleansing, for forgiveness and redemption.

Furthermore, everyone should ask themselves often, “Does my life please God? And when my body lies in the casket, will people be able to say that I was an encourager and that I upheld and spread God’s Truth and love? Will they be able to acknowledge that I lived a life of integrity and compassion, and that I stood for justice and forgiveness? Will they consider that I made the world a better place? Or… will I pass away to nobody’s regret? –Except for their regret that I refused to quit my sinfulness and so chose eternity in Hell?”

Death is real. But so is the Judgement. Let’s think about that before it’s too late.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel