Friends,
Often, when we’re going through some kind of trial or suffering, temptations to turn to evil rise up to entice us. Oh, the evil doesn’t hardly ever look evil. Instead it looks good and comforting, and it whispers promises of rescue and of happiness. However, underneath the silk, and behind the soothing words, we catch a glimpse of evil and sin. We realize that with the pleasure and “salvation” lies a catch. A trap, actually.

But we’re desperate. We’re lonely. We’re tired. We’re bored. We’re weary of waiting on God to do something, to deliver us from our affliction, from our oppressor, from our distress. We feel so victimized and we believe that our time for being cared for gently and understood by the many, including by God, should be now. So we turn a blind eye to the tentacles lurking amid the shiny waters. We turn a deaf ear to the hiss behind the music. We turn a hard heart to the sin coursing through the merriment.

In we therefore go. And it’s good fun for a while. The friends are friendly, jovial, and caring. Until they get tired of us. Which is pretty much right away. Because that’s what they do. –They use others. They use each other, and anyone else they can find, and have no qualms about it because they consider their behavior normal. Because isn’t that the game all of society is playing? The game called “Use & Cheat”? Use and cheat where you can, whenever you can, as much as you can? They seem to think so.

Christ-followers need to be on guard about this game. For the game hides in brilliant packages, in winsome smiles, and even in “godly” talk. We need to be on guard about the promises of pleasure and of rescue which are really just traps. Jesus, our God, is the only real and lasting deliverance, the only real and lasting delight.

Job 36:21 warns, “Beware of turning to evil, which you seem to prefer to affliction.” Are you, Friend, going to give up your good morals –your integrity, your honesty, your purity, your principals, your birthright– for a bowl of stew just because it will alleviate your pain for a moment? The stew’s salvation is temporary. You know that. The stew comes with strings attached. (Heb. 12:14-17) Big strings. Sinful strings. Eternal death strings. It’s not worth it. Wait on God. “Call out to Him in your distress and He will answer you.” (See Ps. 120:1)

With suffering always comes temptation. The devil is ruthless and loves to fire away at easy targets. God allows it to test us, but He also provides us with a way to escape every arrow. If we call out to Him for help, He will give us the strength to take that way. Every time.

Affliction will come and go. Throughout life. Preparing for it God’s way and knowing who our real Fortress is, is how we will escape the evil which always seems to try to take advantage of our “weakened” condition. Then, with God –in His Spirit and His Spirit in us– we will remain standing firm.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
As Israeliteindeed has reminded us, the Lord Jesus Christ must be our life, for He is the only True and Eternal Life. (John 6:53-63) We have this Life if we feed on Him, which we do by listening to, and walking in, His Spirit and His words. (v. 57,63 // Rom. 8:9 // Gal. 5:16) We do not have this Life by just saying that we have It. We do not have this Life by trusting in a prayer of confession, trusting in church membership, or even by trusting in Christ’s righteousness imputed to us. We have this Life by following Jesus’ Spirit and words, meaning we obey Him –His Spirit and His words– continually. (John 15:1-10)

The Lord gives us His righteousness as we, in submission to that Righteousness, live righteously. (Rom. 8:3,4) “Let no one deceive you about it: The person who does what is right has Christ’s righteousness. The person who does what is sinful is of the devil.” (See 1 John 3:7,8) The sinning person does not walk in that realm of victory Jesus bought for us. (v. 8 ) The sinning person proves he does not possess God’s Nature or Spirit or Life (v. 6,9), but that he possesses, instead, the devil’s eternal death. (v. 8,10,12)

Look at this excerpt from Israeliteindeed’s newest post:

The apostle Paul wrote to fellow believers, “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Col. 3:4)Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” (Jn. 10:27-28) False teachers twist the end of verse 28 by teaching that even if we stop following Jesus, we will never perish. But the person who is listening to the Spirit of God will see that the sheep who never perish continually follow Jesus, and as they follow Him, He gives them eternal life. A Shepherd cannot feed the sheep who have wandered away; He only feeds those sheep who are with Him. The eternal life is in Jesus, and when the sheep becomes disconnected from Jesus, they are disconnected from eternal life. Jesus said this another way in John 15, where He warned that apart from connection to the Vine/Himself (the only source of life) a branch will be fruitless, wither and die.

All over the world, people are searching for life in places where there is no life. They search for it in…

Read the whole message here: http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/jesus-is-life/

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
What powerful, convicting, filled-with-the-Spirit messages Israeliteindeed is writing for us!

What is our morality? Is it that of Christ Jesus, or is it that of the culture, even the “Christian” culture? If it is not that of the Lord, it is sin, and it is unable to bring salvation.

Read here: http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/the-religion-of-morality/

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Here is a description Israeliteindeed gives, one that is similarly repeated countless times when sinning “Christians” are exhorted to quit their self-deception in their “safe-to-sin-salvation”.

I remember telling a young man who unashamedly admitted living in fornication that he was not the Lord’s sheep. He kept telling me how sad it made him feel for me to say such a thing, and he pressed me to confess that he was the Lord’s sheep based on his having prayed a prayer at one time to be saved. I refused. How could I claim he was the Lord’s sheep when Jesus said His sheep know His voice and follow Him, refusing to obey the voice of a stranger? (Jn. 10:4-5) After trying for two years to get this young man to come to a place of repentance, he still defended his sinful lifestyle and wicked heart. He still argued against holiness and obedience to the Lord every chance he got, most often while “fellowshiping” with other Christians. The true sheep do not do these things, and such “fellowship” is worthless, as light is forever divided from darkness. When we figure out we are in the presence of an unrepentant Korah, we need to, “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.” (Num. 16:26)

Read her whole message here: http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/perishing-from-the-assembly/

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Be Deliberate In It

May 27, 2014

Friends,
Israeliteindeed is writing messages filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, because I believe her exhortations to be straight from the Lord, I stop to encourage my readers to always read the revelations God gives her. Those who preach God’s Word by His Spirit are to do this. (1 Cor. 14:30)

In this post http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/the-importance-of-being-deliberate-in-our-walk/ Israeliteindeed exhorts us to remember that when the Lord says He is our God, this means He is our Boss. She reminds us that His commands must therefore be fully obeyed, and that we must be deliberate in practicing and learning to do good while being submissive to God continually.

Please read her important message.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Freedom is not free. We all know that this is true. We know it when we stop to meditate on the freedoms we have –when we stop the rush, the whirl, the noise, in order to be intentionally grateful. Then we remember the cost, the huge cost… the cost of thousands of lives… the cost of one life. One precious life… a person loved by someone… by a friend, a sister, a dad… certainly by a mother…

Our freedoms which so many people take for granted –which most of us so often forget to cherish and to thank God for… These freedoms were purchased for us by a soldier. A brave soldier. A soldier who went forward, who went obediently, and who went with the greater good in mind.

It is a good custom to have devoted a day to remember… a day to honor those who sacrificed themselves, on physical battlefields as well as on spiritual, for the welfare of others… It’s good that a day has been set aside to thank them, think of what they did, and to be grateful for freedom –the freedom to express a belief, to learn and teach one’s belief, and to adhere to that belief in the manner one believes to be right. It’s good, too, to remember that those who sacrifice for others’ good are heroes.

Many of these heroes were thrown into an unmarked grave or are represented by a nameless cross. But God saw them fall, and die. He saw their fortitude, their love, their sacrifice… He saw their heart –their determination and courage as well as their fear.

We thank the Lord for brave and selfless men and women. We thank Him and them for the freedoms we enjoy.

Here is a song and video which honors them:

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Gary’s sermons always inspire me to keep going forward with the Great Commission –that Command from Jesus to go, in His authority, into all the world and teach others to obey all of His commands. (Mt. 28:18-20) Last Sunday, Gary reminded us again of Jesus’ words that when the Gospel of the Kingdom has been preached as a testimony to all nations, then the end will come. (24:14) Many are looking forward to Christ’s return, yet, as Gary exhorted, the Lord is waiting for His servants to fulfill what He has called them to do. THEN the end will come.

(My observation: But maybe many “Christians” do not want Jesus to come any time soon..? Maybe they want this earthly life to continue so that they can continue to enjoy whatever it is they are so “enormously” enjoying..? Maybe it doesn’t matter enough to them that most of the world’s inhabitants will live and die without adequately hearing the Gospel..?)

Gary reminded us that salvation comes only by knowing Jesus personally. And that that comes only by opening the door of one’s heart to let Him rule. “Thy Kingdom come…” (Mt. 6:10) which our Lord told us to pray, is what must happen, through faith and choice, in everyone’s lives, including in our own.

We must understand that God’s Kingdom has a King. His name is Jesus. Therefore, Jesus must rule our minds, our hearts, our attitudes, our words, our thoughts, our actions. Anyone who tries to save his life will lose it. (Mark 8:35)

Gary’s sermon last Sunday was excellent. To take the time to listen to it may change one’s future, one’s life, one’s eternal destiny. And it may change the eternal future of multitudes of others we then teach, as well.

Here is the link: http://www.gracearlington.com/who-we-are/resources/sermons/true-christianity-the-sermon-on-the-mount-series-xiv-for-may-18-2014/

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel