Friend,
I received your text this morning but my response is lengthy, so I’m emailing it, and have also used it as a post. I hope you find time to check every one of these verses to see that what I am saying the Word teaches really is what it teaches.

I am surprised, and sadly so, that you seem not concerned enough about our Final Evaluation when the Scriptures warn us continually to be very concerned about it. (Rom. 2:5-11 // 1 Cor. 3:10-17 // Gal. 6:8 // Rev. 3:1-6 & 20:11-15 // etc.) For example…

When God tells us to warn someone and we don’t, God will hold us accountable for that person. (Ezek. 3:18,19)

Jesus tells us we definitely are to fear God, for He has the authority to throw anyone into Hell. (Luke 12:4,5)

We are told to make every effort to enter salvation so that we will not fall through disobedience (Heb. 4:11) and careless doctrines. (1 Tim. 4:15,16 // 2 Pe. 3:17)

Jesus warns that the Master’s servants, if they become lazy or unconcerned, will be thrown to Hell. (Mt. ch. 25)

Jesus warns that our every word will be judged to acquit us or condemn us. (Mt. 12:36,37)

We are told that all people will have all they’ve done –both good and bad deeds and everything in between– judged by God, and because of these be given Life or Condemnation. (John 5:29 // 2 Cor. 5:10 // Heb. 9:27 & 10:30,31 // Rev. 3:14-16)

Jesus tells us that we belong to Him and are saved eternally if –if– we produce fruit for Him (Luke 8:15 & 9:23,24) and do His will (Mt. 7:21-23 & 12:50 // Heb. 10:36-39); but that otherwise we are cut off. (John 15:2)

Thinking we know and worship God, when we do not actually do what He commands of us, will prove useless to us. (Mark 7:6-8 // 1 John 2:3-6) As Eph. 5:6 warns, “God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” Verses 15 and 16 warn further: “Be very careful, then, how you live –not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity…” while verse 17 warns us to “not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

So, thinking we are believers, or are serving God, or are sacrificing for Him in some ways, will prove useless if we are not walking wisely and truthfully (Acts 5:1-11) and if we are not obeying what He is actually commanding of us. (Mt. 7:21-27 // John 12:25,26 // Ja. 2:14-26) Let us remember King Saul’s words to the prophet, Samuel: “I have carried out the LORD’s instructions.” (1 Sam. 15:13) Yet Saul had actually, through arrogance, rebelled against the Lord’s instructions to him and for doing so, God rejected him. (v. 14-35) Yes, if we shrink back in rebellion –and pride, carelessness, or stubbornness can blind us to the fact that we are indeed doing this– we will be disowned. (Mark 8:34-38 // 2 Tim. 2:12 // Heb. 10:36-39 & 12:14-17)

We must believe God’s Word enough to obey it. (Mt. 19:17 // Luke 6:46-49) Obedience to God’s / Christ’s Spirit and Jesus’s teaching is love for God and what it means to do what is right. (John 14:15,23 // Rom. 8:9 // 1 John 3:24 & 5:3) Indeed, “God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.” (Acts 10:34)

Therefore, only those who fear God and thus do what is right within the Truth have been born of Him (John 8:31-36 // 1 John 2:29) and continue to house His Spirit. (Mt. 25:8 // John 14:23 // 2 John 1:9 // Rev. 2:4,5) This righteous conduct equates to obeying God’s commands and doing what pleases Him and this is what keeps us united with His Spirit and what gives us confidence before Him on Evaluation Day. (1 John 3:21-24)

Yes, “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18) But the verse in front of this one says, “Love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment…” (v. 17) And how/why can we be confident that Love is being made complete in us? The rest of the verse tells us: “Because in this world we are like Him.” In other words, we must be conformed to Christ’s image (Rom. 8:29), be living like Christ (1 John 2:6), and be following Him in everything He commands (John 10:27,28 & 12:25,26 // Rom. 8:9) so that we produce much fruit, which, in turn, proves we are in Him. (John 15:2,6,8) That, Jesus says, is the only way to remain in His love. (v. 9,10)

1 John 2:5 teaches the same: “But if anyone obeys His Word, God’s love is truly made complete in him.” This would mean that anyone who is lax about obeying God’s Word does not have God’s love made complete in him and cannot, therefore, be legitimately confident concerning the Day of Judgement. In John 8:35 Jesus refers to a place in the family that is not permanent and that it is not permanent due to one’s continuation in sin. And of course sin is any disregard for God’s commands (1 John 3:4) or any neglect to do good. (Ja. 4:17)

It is crucial to fear the Lord as well as to listen soberly to a Scripture-full, Spirit-led, love-motivated rebuke. If we don’t, we definitely lack wisdom and have shut our ears to the Truth. (Pr. 9:7-10 & 15:33 // Mt. 13:11-15)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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Friends,
Last Thursday while evangelizing downtown, one of the signs I was displaying was, “The Judge is at the door. (See Ja. 5:9)” I used it because I’ve been grieving all summer concerning the wickedness of our nation and the apparent lack of concern the wicked have in getting right with God. James 5:9 and similar Scripture verses were extra heavy on my heart the whole week before the eclipse.

Yes, I tried to enjoy the solar eclipse like most everyone else. My husband interrupted his work day to bring me lunch, use the glasses he ordered for us to view the half-darkened sun, and to watch some of the hype on T.V. But I, like many others, wondered if the phenomenon was actually a warning from God of judgement eminent for the United States. Hurricane Harvey developing less than a day later, and then by the weekend causing extreme damage, could reveal a connection. Whatever the case, “The Judge is standing at the door!” (Ja. 5:9) is a warning that the inhabitants of the whole world would be wise to think on and act upon.

I don’t often mention the obvious sins of our nation (or of the rest of the world) when I write my posts. Why would I? We all see and hear about filth and rage often enough and are confronted with it even when we try to shield ourselves from it. But I am going to mention today what I see as so detestable to God yet commonplace even among church-goers. It’s all this mind/heart/spirit-noise people are deliberately ingesting. It’s this constant focus on the world. Isn’t this what staring at one’s iPhone is about? –An eating of the world? Isn’t this habit of almost non-stop texting, this being glued to the T.V., phone, or internet, this refusal to get alone with the Word of God, listen quietly to His voice as we read, and then obeying what He tells us to do, a clear definition of feeding off the world? Is this noise-ingesting habit not crowding out time with God and choking out time in serving His purposes? Is it not idolatry?

God has been kind to our nation. He has given us many, many blessings down through the years. But, in spite of that, most Americans seem to treat God and His commands with indifference. How grievous to God –our disgraceful attitude and behavior! And if this is not enough, the pastors in most pulpits continue to proclaim that God is smiling on all believers! It is just not so. (Ja. 2:14-26 & 4:4 // Rev. 3:1-6 & 14-16) And we know this if we are studying the Word of God carefully.

Remember King Hezekiah? God blessed him and did miracles for him. Yet 2 Chron. 32:25 says, “But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him [by the Lord].” And the rest of the verse says, “Therefore the LORD’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.” Is there not a stench of pride and indifference that goes up to the Lord every day from most Americans, including every Sunday from the stage and pews of the churches? Does God’s favor truly rest on us, or is the reality actually that it is His wrath that is poised over us? With all the turmoil going on everywhere, including among most church-going families, and with all the unrest assaulting most hearts, could we really legitimately think God is smiling on us?!

But there is still hope. There are praying people here in America. There are those who are striving to bring the Good News of Salvation and Holiness to the country. One of my prayer partners paid for a tent to be erected in her area over the weekend and for advertisement for Christ-followers to come and intercede. I hope they did. The Lord told Abraham, who was petitioning Him on behalf of Sodom, that even “For the sake of ten [righteous people], I will not destroy it.” (Gen. 18:32) Maybe God will yet postpone His heavy hand of judgement hovering over us..?

But who is righteous? Is it those who go to church, sing worship songs, listen to the preaching, and then go about their week focused on the world and their own concerns, thinking that Christ’s righteousness, which is supposedly imputed to them, keeps them safe while they commit sins of neglecting God’s will for them? Are these righteous? Is God really smiling on them? He absolutely is not. (Mt. 7:21-27 // 1 John 2:3-6)

But let’s look at 2 Chron. 32:26: “Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the LORD’s wrath did not come upon them during the days of Hezekiah.” One holy person interceding can make a difference. (Ja. 5:16,17) And groups of people –if there is a true turn from sin, the world, and the neglect of God, and a corporate intercession– can not only turn away God’s judgement against us, but allow Him to grant us peace and blessing. As God has said, “If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.” (Jer. 18:7,8)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Who Are We Believing?

August 15, 2017

Friends,
If we distort the Word of God, then we do so to our own destruction, as well as to the destruction of those we influence. (1 Tim. 4:16 // 2 Pe. 3:16,17) Indeed, those who make a practice of disregarding God’s laws will fall more and more into doctrinal error and they will cause others to also fall from the Truth and from salvation. (Same verses) It is only in holding to the Truth that we are abiding in Freedom / Jesus (John 8:31-36), so if we choose to get careless about this, we have “no permanent place in the family” (v. 35) “and fall from our secure position.” (2 Pe. 3:17)

The Word of God warns us repeatedly that we can get deceived by false teachings. (Mt. 24:24 // Rom. 16:17,18 // Gal. 6:7 // Col. 2:4,8 // 1 Tim. 4:1 // 2 Tim. 3:13-16 // etc.) We are to diligently guard against this through careful study of the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:14,15 // 2 Pe. 3:2), by listening to and heeding what the Holy Spirit is teaching us (John 16:13), and by having an intimate relationship with Christ (17:3) “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2:3)

All Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16 // 2 Pe. 1:20,21) and every word is inerrant / flawless. (Pr. 30:5) As Ps. 119:160 declares, “All Your words are true; all Your righteous laws are eternal.” Yes, various Bible versions may have some translation errors, but in this day of the internet when we can compare numerous versions and get the English words alongside the Hebrew or Greek words, and use teaching tools that explain how those Hebrew or Greek words were often (or rarely) used, –well, we have no excuse to not understand what God is communicating to us in His Word.

The question is, though: Who are we really believing? If we are believing what men say regardless of what the Word of God is saying, then we are not actually putting our trust in God, but instead in men. That is idolatry. God’s Word is flawless. Men’s words are riddled with error. So, even if men, in their own minds, distort what God’s Word is saying to fit their own preconceptions and experience, does this change what is true? No. God’s Word is fact, the Truth, unbendable, and unable to be changed, compromised, or distorted. –Except in the minds of the deceivers and the deceived.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Mrs. B’s Funeral

August 5, 2017

Friends,
Mrs. B’s funeral last Tuesday, which was in the country funeral home sanctuary, was exceptionally wonderful. One reason was that the preacher (Homer Morgan) gave a superb sermon –full of joy, faith, hope, the Gospel message, and Scriptures. Later, when I asked Mr. B where they had found such a great preacher, he told me that he and Homer’s dad had ‘coon hunted together! Also, after the short graveside service, when I thanked Mr. Morgan for giving such a Spirit-filled message, I learned his church is in Fruitvale and I realized I had walked with my signs in that town back about 12 years ago. I also realized that, due to another elderly couple inviting me, I had visited his church several times (though I think his dad was the preacher then).

I also learned that Mrs. B’s sister had been praying a lot for Mrs. B’s salvation, as well as had the oldest daughter who had started attending a Baptist church two years ago and whose Sunday School class had been praying too. In fact, about eight women from the class came together (from an hour away) to the funeral and they, the daughter, and Mrs. B’s sister thanked me profusely for helping Mrs. B ask God to forgive her and save her eternally. Before I left, I talked again with the oldest daughter, and also her daughter, and they cried with gratefulness when I told about how Mrs. B finally prayed that day before she went into a coma. (See my last post where I described that.) I told them, as I had told several others, that I could sure see how God was using the prayers of many, many people to save Mrs. B from an eternity without Him. No wonder we who love Jesus could rejoice at this funeral!

One other thing I thought was really special, was that the family had laid out some of Mrs. B’s 30 or more hand-stitched quilts along the backs of the sanctuary pews. I had seen several of them before, but certainly not all of them, and they sure were a display of beauty and skill! Since I had arrived there early, I tried to look at each one, and in so doing, I thought lovingly of Mrs. B, of how much I would miss her, of how thankful I was that she was no longer suffering, of how powerful and compassionate God is to save even a long-time stubborn sheep, and furthermore of how great God is to give people such incredible talents such as He did for Mrs. B in her quilting. See this photo I took:

Yes, God is so good. Again and again I thank Him for saving Mrs. B. And I thank Him that her funeral was one we believers could rejoice at and at which the marvelous Good News was presented to everyone, including to the unbelievers’ ears and hearts, if they were listening. I had asked people to be praying about the funeral to be Spirit-filled, and it was. The Lord uses any of us who are willing vessels, and I am so thankful for a remarkable small-town preacher whom God used to comfort and inspire us at the funeral of Mrs. B. Here is a link to one of his Youtube sermons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtHoYdHgqQM

We never know when we will die and it could be sudden. Mr. Morgan had mentioned on Tuesday the terrible tornados that had hit East Texas on 4/29/17, including Fruitvale. We know that a tornado can whip through a house and leave a person dead within seconds –yes, it can be that abrupt and unexpected. Shouldn’t we, then, never postpone being fully ready to meet The Almighty Judge? Here is a link of some of the tornado damage done in Fruitvale, Texas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaDyqMocLaE

Here is another link where a woman there, who lost a lot, still gives God glory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMv4x11Ezug

Here is one showing the damage in another nearby community where I’d evangelized in about 2004: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uH_cT6xxNeA As I drove in the line of cars from the funeral home to the gravesite on Tuesday, I noticed the damage there and I felt sad. Sad to think about the places and people I’ve evangelized, knowing that most probably never repented, and realizing that many have probably since died. Even so, I thought about how merciful and powerful God is, and that what He has done for the Bells, He could have done, and can still do, for anyone and everyone.

I feel so privileged to have known many precious people in East Texas, including dear Mrs. B. I am so glad to have been one vessel God used in bringing her to salvation, and feel so blessed to have consistently felt some of God’s immense, intense, incredible, supernatural love for her. I am so, so happy to be looking forward to seeing her in Heaven.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel