Friends,
God’s Word repeatedly commands people to turn to God, follow His ways, act with righteousness and justice, love as God loves, and to be holy. In short, we are to be blameless, upright, and completely pure.

“Oh, I can never be completely blameless and pure,” most people, even “Christians”, argue. “In fact, no one can.”

Yet God’s Word commands that we must be. It commands us to be holy in all we do, just as God is holy. (1 Peter 1:15,16) It commands us to understand that we are done with sin (4:1) and are to be living the rest of our lives only for the will of God. (v. 2) Lust, drunkenness, carousing, and idolatry –detestable behavior reserved only for pagans– is a thing of the past. (v. 3) Fear, timidity, and a lack of self-discipline is a thing of the past. (2 Tim. 1:7) Also finished is that form of godliness that denies the divine power given to Christ’s followers for living victoriously holy, godly, and pure. (3:5) As Jesus says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt. 5:48) That is not a suggestion, but an order. Consequently, everyone who is truly following Christ will be doing everything they can to obey this order.

So how do we rise to such a tall order? We do it “by living according to God’s Word.” (See Ps. 119:9)

“But,” people insist, “I can’t live according to God’s Word –that’s the problem!”

Our answer should be, “Really? And how often are you meditating on it? Are you diligently seeking the Lord? Do you fervently desire to know Him and His precepts? If so, you will be eagerly saturating yourself in His Word, memorizing it, and reminding yourself and others of what it says. These things will be your top priority, your greatest delight, and the focus of your efforts.”

People who claim to love God, but who won’t do what it takes to walk in the power He has offered us for living by His commands (2 Peter 1:3,4), are not sincere. They are not being genuine.

When the psalmist states that purity comes by living according to God’s Word (Ps. 119:9), he goes on to acknowledge that he seeks God with all of his heart. (v. 10) He asks God to keep him from straying from those commands. (same verse) He announces that he has stored up God’s Word in his heart so that he will be able to keep from sinning against God. (v. 11) The psalmist then praises the Lord and asks Him to teach him His decrees. (v. 12) He says that he recounts all the laws from God’s mouth. (v. 13) He declares that he rejoices in following the way of God’s rules like a person who delights in great wealth. (v. 14) He says he meditates on God’s instructions and fixes his eyes on God’s ways. (v. 15) He advertises that he delights in God’s decrees, and pledges to not neglect His Word. (v. 16)

If a person has the attitude and behavior of this psalmist, will he likely be abiding in purity? Certainly he will. He will be conducting himself according to God’s Word, and he will be pleasing to God. He will be following God’s ways, and he will be blameless and upright and holy.

The Word of God is the power. (Rom. 1:16 // 1 Cor. 1:17 & 2:4,5 // Heb. 4:12) The Word of God is the healing, the cleansing, and the deliverance. (Ps. 107:20 // Eph. 5:26,27 // Ja. 1:18,21 // 1 Peter 1:22,23) But it takes saturating oneself in it often –morning, noon, and night. Or “daily”, at the very least. A few glances at God’s Word, even mixed in with a couple of sermons a week, will do almost nothing for keeping a person blameless and pure before God. Is it any wonder then that so many “Christians” maintain that they find it difficult, even impossible, to live according to God’s Word?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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Friends,
When people turn from honoring God’s Word as their highest authority and turn to believe Catholicism’s teachings which insist that “the Church” and the church “fathers” are a higher authority than the authority of God’s Word, what have such apostates done? They have committed treason against Christ. They have turned from His Truth, turning instead to the authority of men and to the authority of “the Church”, as well as to worship, service, and devotion directed, not to Christ Jesus alone, but to Mary, the saints, the “church fathers”, and “the Church” itself. Such a thing is idolatry, the worship of false gods; and false gods are lifeless deities which demons jump at the chance to impersonate. Thereby idolators deny Christ’s authority, the authority of His Spirit, and the authority of His Word. What grave wickedness. Yet in their “pious” hearts, these apostates claim to have more knowledge than those of us who won’t bow to anyone but Christ.

There are, undoubtably, Catholics who love the Lord and search for the Truth in spite of being surrounded and informed by that religion only. Many of these may not have had opportunity to read the Scriptures for themselves, they may not have the Scriptures in their own language, they may be very poor and have to share one Bible amongst several villages, or they may not even know how to read. Or, maybe, slaving away in some factory just to put food on the table, they may truly have very little time or energy to study God’s Word. Or maybe they believe God wants them, for the sake of peace in the home, to attend Catholic services. Therefore, and because we know that God is patient, we cannot say, “No Catholic belongs to the Lord.”

However, for those who have had plenty of time and opportunity to study God’s Word for themselves, and who have even gone to Bible school, there is no excuse for them to turn from the Truth of God’s Word to the false and idolatrous teachings of Catholicism. Along with the teachers of the law who studied the Scriptures yet mixed in their own teachings, including that of demanding honor for themselves (Luke 20:46), “such men will be punished most severely.” (v. 47) Rejecting Jesus’ very clear command to not call anyone on earth Rabbi, Master, Teacher, or Father (Mt. 23:8-10), or to consider anyone as such except God and Christ (same verses), Catholicism commands people to call their priests “Father” and to honor “the Church” as more authoritative than “Christ, our one and only Teacher.” (See v. 10) If that isn’t idolatry, what is?! Therefore those who teach falsehoods “will be punished more severely.” (v. 14)

But, as in Jeremiah’s day, “the priests rule by their own authority” (Jer. 5:31) and by the authority of “the Church”, and the people eagerly participate in the idolatrous and worthless customs of the peoples (same verse & 10:3) while honoring lifeless images that are but a fraud. (10:14) Praying to a dead woman as they rub beads, and bowing “down to a block of wood” (Isa. 44:19) –a statue of her or another saint– the deluded and deceived cannot seem to acknowledged that that which they consider their savior, comforter, or helper, is just a lifeless lie. (v. 20 // Ps. 115:4-8) Ridiculous and damnable! (Jer. 10:15)

Are Christ-followers to befriend people who have committed deliberate and willful treason against Christ, His teachings, His Spirit, His Word? Absolutely not. (2 Cor. 6:14-18) Friendship with apostates is friendship with those who have, by their own insolence, turned back to the Lie. Such people are adulterers against Christ, and if we chum up with them, we ourselves share in their enmity toward God (Ja. 4:4) and in their damning gospel. (Gal. 1:6-9 // 2 John 1:9-11) People who willfully turn from the Truth of God’s Word to the teachings of any other authority are idol-worshippers. They serve and bow to someone or something other than God. (Luke 16:13) Thereby they crucify Christ all over again, subjecting Him to public disgrace. (Heb. 6:6) They have disrespected the Covenant of Truth by trampling Christ the Truth (10:29), and are thus destined to be punished with great severity. (same verse)

Such people ARE to be judged, exposed, and expelled from the midst of genuine believers. (1 Cor. 5:12,13) Otherwise their false teaching will spread like gangrene. (v. 6-11 // 2 Tim. 2:17) We are to have nothing to do with them (1 Cor. 5:11 // Titus 3:10) for such people are warped, sinful, and self-condemned. (Titus 3:11)

If people want to send themselves to an eternity of severe punishment, they should not take pride in their foolish choice nor attempt to proselytize others to join them in their submission to men instead of to Christ alone. Rather, these idolators should get on their knees and cry out to God to deliver them from deception, and they should do so before they lead anyone else, including their own children, to the place assigned to hypocrites, that place of eternal banishment from God and all that is good –that place of eternal punishment and torment.

But alas, Catholicism teaches its adherents another doctrine completely foreign to Scripture –Purgatory –a place where a person can be prayed out of, or bought out of, into Heaven. So really, the motivation to remain in the Truth becomes significantly less important. More important, apparently, is to join the ranks of the Lie, because anything, they seem to reason, is better than submitting to Christ and His “difficult” commands. –Like those commands that require the slaying of Self and self-rule, and the command that we are to have no other gods, but God Himself. Is it because people feel a compelling need to worship something tangible and visible and to obey someone they can hear with their ears rather than with their spirit? It seems so. Why else would they bow to images, use rosaries, and insist that men’s teachings (and priest’s and husband’s commands) overrule the teachings of Jesus and of those writers who, in writing under the inspiration of the Spirit of God Himself, confirmed, not contradicted, the teachings of Christ?

Truly, people who have turned from the Truth of God’s Word, especially those who should know better, are like those who have gone back to the corruption of the Lie and all that is of the Lie –the world, sin, Self, the doctrines of demons, etc. They are those who, like dogs, have returned to their vomit (2 Peter 2:22) and because they have apostatized, are worse off at the end than they were before they came to the Truth. (v. 20,21) They have made themselves enemies of Christ (Luke 11:23 // Phil. 3:18,19) –again. Such people will be punished most severely. (Mt. 3:7-12 & 25:24-30 // Luke 12:47,48)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
When people have been in a ministry that is devoted to spreading God’s Word, or when they are preparing to join that ministry, and in either case, are, or have been, asking others to support them financially, it is called deceit if those people are secretly listening to and adhering to doctrines which are contrary to the doctrines of that ministry. While people remain unsure of what they believe, they should not pretend that they are on board with the doctrines of a certain ministry, especially if they are receiving financial support (from anyone) for being involved in that ministry.

For example, if a man is renting a mission’s housing facility because he has said that he is preparing to go overseas as a member of that mission, yet he is gravitating toward Mormonism, the New Age, Catholicism, or any other false religion, that man is being deceptive toward the mission as well as toward others who are helping him in various ways, particularly financially. Certainly the man is free to turn from the Truth of God’s Word, but in doing so, he should have made it known that he was considering the change and thus not have accepted financial support while he was studying literature in opposition to the mission’s beliefs. Moreover, he should give back the money he did accept from those who, in trusting the man’s integrity, were giving to him due to the fact that he had said he was engaged in preparation for the proclamation of God’s Word overseas.

But, aside from being deceitful toward his fellowman, what else has such a man done by turning from the Truth to follow the teachings of a false religion? The man has committed treason against Christ. He has turned from Christ’s Truth and authority and has turned to the authority of men. He has chosen to believe men’s teachings as more authoritative than Christ’s teachings. He has decided that submission to men is more important than submission to Christ, His Word, and His Lordship. In deliberately following Deception, such a man has denied Christ and is walking the path of damnation.

Can such a man recognize his arrogance and error? Maybe, if someone is praying for him; and if he hasn’t already been so swallowed by the strong delusion that he simply cannot come back.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Martial Arts: Danger

October 28, 2013

Friends,
In spite of God’s continuous appeal to His people to come out from mingling with those under His wrath (Rev. 18:4) and to refrain from partaking in that which is unclean (2 Cor. 6:17), “Christians” remain insistent that they can safely associate themselves with the world and its customs. However, it is just not so.

“Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Cor. 15:33) and by not obeying God by separating oneself from all that is of the dark side, even those things which assert themselves as the Light (Luke 11:35 // 2 Cor. 11:14), a person will not be spared the plagues and doom which are coming upon the disobedient. (Eph. 5:5-7 // Rev. 18:4) For God will only receive us as His own if we remove ourselves from fellowshipping with those who are, or that which is, aligned with the darkness. (2 Cor. 6:14-18)

One of these areas which many “Christians” are participating in, is in the area of the martial arts. These arts, these methods, of achieving relaxation, fitness, and power, are not what they are often packaged to appear to be. Demons care nothing about the reasons people have for opening up doorways to their influence. All they care about is the doorway and if it has opened for them.

Christians need to be informed, and inform others, about the dangers of these doorways. Here is a really good and informative article on this topic:

http://secretdangersofmartialarts.wordpress.com

And here is another site, with two more informative articles:

http://dontaskthatinchurch.blogspot.com/2012/04/tai-ch-ch-chi-can-christians-do-tai-chi.html

http://dontaskthatinchurch.blogspot.com/2010/09/qigong-good-bad-or-ugly.html

The martial arts and all that is associated with them is not innocent but is instead a deception that leads to demonic influences. Participating “Christians” are endangering themselves, even if they think they are not.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Praising God Along With Us

October 27, 2013

Friends,
It has been such a blessing to our family to have so many people express their sympathy and concern toward my dad regarding the accident he had on 9/30/13 when he, as a pedestrian, was hit by a car. He is okay (except for bruises and a sprained foot), and we thank all those who have praised the Lord along with us for God’s compassion in sparing his life. I wrote about the incident a week later and it can be read here: https://knowgodsword.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/dad-a-pedestrian-hit-but-okay

It has been amazing to see how many people stopped by my parents’ house and visited my dad, conveying their concern for him as well as their thanksgiving to God. The first two weeks it seemed that my parents had at least five visitors a day! Besides that, others from all over the world have emailed or called, as they heard of it via Facebook or however else. We thank all who have been so kind, thoughtful, and concerned.

It has truly been sobering to hear others tell of the way the Lord has cared for them too, many who are in other lands spreading the Gospel diligently and courageously. May the Lord continue to watch over them and encourage them. Also sobering are the reports of those who are having difficulties of various sorts, including terminal disease. Yet it is inspiring to hear their words of reliance and trust in the Lord’s goodness, wisdom, and sovereignty.

We certainly are in a fallen world, a dangerous world. But God. But His goodness, but His might, but His tenderness toward His servants and those who daily take refuge in Him. It has been beautiful to praise our God along with so many others who also love to extol His wonderful works.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
“The devil made me do it.” Isn’t this a favorite excuse among many, even many who claim to be following Jesus? However, it is not a legitimate excuse for true believers. For believers are those who believe Jesus’ words. Believers are those who believe the Gospel –the Gospel of freedom. Believers are those who have received forgiveness of sin because they have, by their faith and their choice, turned “from the power of Satan to God.” (Acts 26:18)

If someone has not turned from the power of Satan to God, that person is not free from Satan, is he? If he is not free from Satan, then he does not belong to Christ. He still belongs to the devil. He is still the devil’s child. “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God…” (1 John 3:10) Therefore anyone who does what is sinful is of the devil. (v. 8 )

Anyone who lives righteously, anyone who does what is right, has been enabled to do so because he has been born of God. (1 John 2:29) Because he has the Spirit of Christ within him, such a person is done with sin (3:9 // 1 Peter 4:1) and lives only for the will of God. (1 Peter 4:2) He is a slave of God’s (Rom. 6:22) and thus a slave to righteousness. (v. 18) Free from the power of Satan, such a person has been freed up to walk in the power of God.

Walking in the power of God brings victory. –Victory over everything of the world. (1 John 5:4) –Victory over everything not of God. This victory leads to a life and lifestyle of holiness, which then results in eternal life. (Rom. 6:22)

Anyone who says that the devil makes them sin is a person who remains unaware, or in denial, of what the Word of God teaches concerning the freedom Christ bought for us. Walking in slavery to the devil is not freedom. But “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Gal. 5:1) This is the Good News, but it must be believed and lived out. This is why the rest of that verse says, “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Whether it be law, the world, Self, sin, or the devil, none are to master us, or even affect us. The Lord who bought us is the only One who is to be our Master. And a servant cannot serve two masters. (Luke 16:13)

So, when we hear someone excuse their sin with, “The devil made me do it”, then for that person’s own eternal good, we should point out to him that those who are born of God have been delivered from the devil’s power. (1 John 5:18,19) And we should add, if someone has not been delivered, then his sins have not been forgiven (Acts 26:18), and he has not yet received a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ. (same verse) In other words, he is not yet saved. Let’s, therefore, be honest with people and stop helping them deceive themselves into Hell.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
We are so privileged to be allowed free access through Christ Jesus into the presence of God Almighty, the King of kings. (Eph. 3:12) Who are we to think that God is the one who is lucky to have us grace Him with our presence whenever we feel like giving Him a few moments of our time? Who are we to neglect thanking the Lord that He stoops to grace us with HIS presence? What ignorance, what shamefulness, people display as they extend to the King attitudes of ingratitude and irreverence.

And how most obviously do people snub the God who continues to bestow upon them favors –those favors they can’t seem to even acknowledge? They do so by refusing to meet with Him, listen to Him, thank Him, learn from Him, and worship Him from the heart. This they do by shunning His Word. God’s Word is the primary place God speaks from, the primary place where He reveals Himself, His ways, and His expectations to mankind. Yet most people ignore it. And why wouldn’t they, when they’d rather not know what He expects of them?

As Jesus said to the generation He lived among while on earth in the body, so He certainly says to our generation as well: “The Queen of the South will rise at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom and now one greater than Solomon is here.” (Mt. 12:42) Let no one say we don’t have One greater than Solomon –he to whom God had granted extreme wisdom– for we have Jesus who is the Spirit of God and the Word of God. (John 1:1,14 & 6:63 // Eph. 6:17 // 1 Peter 1:11 // Rev. 19:13) Truly “we have the word of the prophets made more certain” (2 Peter 1:19) –that Word who is the Creator of all things, and the Life who is the light of men. (John 1:1-4)

In the past God spoke through the prophets (Heb. 1:1), but now He speaks through His Son (v. 2) “through whom He made the universe” (same verse) and who “is the radiance [the Light] of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.” (v. 3) Speaking through His Son, the Light and the Revelation of God, God speaks through the words of Jesus and His disciples and His servants, all which are recorded and preserved for us as Scripture (2 Peter 1:12-21 & 3:16), “the Word of Truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15 // Ja. 1:18,21,22) –“And this is the word that was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:25), “the Gospel that has been preached to you by the Holy Spirit.” (See v. 12)

Therefore, knowing God’s Word personally is to know God personally, for the Word which was preached to us washes us and purifies us as we obey it (Eph. 5:26 // 1 Peter 1:22-25), enabling us to know the Wisdom [the Light] of God which He reveals to searchers by His Spirit in the Word. (1 Cor. 2:10-16 // 1 Peter 1:10-12) What an awesome gift! And what an incredible privilege to have the “living, active, and enduring Word” (see Heb. 4:12 and 1 Peter 1:23) who/which saves us, gives us new birth, makes us new creations (Ja. 1:18,21 // 1 Peter 1:23), and causes us to share in His own holy divine nature so that we can escape the control of the sinful nature! (Gal. 5:24 // 2 Peter 1:3,4)

But, as Jesus says, “The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.” (Mt. 12:41) “His name is the Word of God.” (Rev. 19:13) Indeed, we have been given the Message of good news and warning “through the Word of Christ.” (Rom. 10:17) He is greater than Solomon or Jonah, and He has given us His words, His wisdom, His preaching, and His testimony of death and resurrection weightier than Jonah’s three days and nights in the belly of the fish. (Mt. 12:39,40) Yet how few people are bothering to come to Him to listen, to take even a bit of time and effort to open the Sign, the Testimony, the Word. No wonder Jesus declares that the Queen of the South who did take her time and effort, and that the Ninevites who did repent, will rise up to condemn those who have remained apathetic toward the One whose Word they should have paid attention to.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel