Friend,
How do we live a victorious, righteous life, pleasing to God? First of all, we must have the mindset that we are in training and that what God wants and expects is that we be in the process of becoming Olympians. Olympians may fall or get tired, but they keep “working-out” because their goal is the gold. Our goal is Christ-likeness (Rom. 8:29) and to “be imitators of God” (Eph. 5:1), and we are not to ever get rebellious against our Coach or get slothful. We have periods of rest and enjoyment, but it is always to be within what is allowed. Sin is not allowed for anyone and certainly not for the one training to be like Jesus, for again, submitting to this training is required in order for a person to be saved. (John 8:31-36 // Rom. 6:22)

If we do sin, due to some neglect of what we’ve learned or due to getting weary, we are to repent and take measures to not enable opportunities for sin. If we sin deliberately or due to habitually neglecting the Word of God and neglecting to put it into practice, then we are in rebellion, and if we continue there, we have forfeited grace. (Heb. 10:26-31; see also Ezek. 33:12-20 and Jonah 2:8)

Of course no one has been perfect, but our goal –daily– is to be perfect, and Jesus has commanded this of us. (Mt. 5:48) Just as anyone is to strive hard to get an A on an exam or perform medical surgery perfectly, so are we to understand the importance and to do whatever is necessary to live, 24/7, pleasing to our Creator and Judge. This means that we conduct ourselves in every situation as Jesus would, as 1 John 2:6 commands, and to walk in His will continuously (Mt. 7:21), growing in the Word which purifies us (John 17:17) and enlightens us to what His will is. (Eph. 5:10 // Ja. 1:18-25)

So how do we walk strong and steady in God’s will? We change our mindset, stop conforming to the world, and offer, as a living sacrifice, our body to God. (Rom. 12:1,2; see also 2 Cor. 5:15 and Gal. 2:20 and 1 Pe. 4:2) This we can do if we saturate ourselves in the Word of God. Jesus says in John 6:53, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no Life in you.” He also says in verse 63, “The words that I speak to you are Spirit and they are Life.”

Are you filling your mind and heart and spirit with God’s Word daily? If not, you will have trouble trying to defeat sin. If you are filled up daily with God’s Word then you will be filled up with His Spirit who gifts us with His power and instruction and compulsion to obey it. If we squelch Him, however, by not obeying His promptings, then even our reading and our prayers will be, or become, Life-less. As 1 John 3:24 says, “Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them.”

Jesus says in John 15:1-10 that we cannot bear (good) fruit without abiding / remaining in Him. Foundational to being in Christ is to be in His Word. Yes, we must repent and renounce sin, self, the world, etc. (Luke 9:23-25), and ask the Lord to take the reins, but if we do not follow up by soaking ourselves in the Truth (the Word), then we will quickly wither (Luke 8:13), as we will do if we resist obeying the Word.

The Good News is that “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” (2 Pe. 1:3) But, that power does come only by knowing the Lord (same verse) and this comes by listening to Him in His Word and following what He is saying (v. 4 // John 10:27,28) If you are following sin, you do not follow Jesus, for they walk in opposite directions. Following sin / disobeying Christ’s commands means not knowing the Lord (1 John 2:3) and not possessing the Truth (v. 4) –the Truth that by knowing it sets us free (John 8:32)– for if we know the Lord, then we have the Spirit, and we do follow Him, not the sinful nature. (Rom. 8:9) In other words, when we follow the Spirit, who is in the Word, who is Jesus (John 1:1,14), the Truth (14:6), then we are freed up to participate in God’s holy, divine nature (2 Pe. 1:4), and through this participation have His power to reject any and all sin. (1 John 3:9)

As to being chosen for salvation –all people have been chosen for salvation. Through the cross, Jesus draws everyone (John 12:32), having died to pay for everyone’s sin (1 Tim. 2:6 // 1 John 2:2) and rising to show He had the right to do so. (Rom. 1:1-4) He wants all people to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4) and all to repent so that they will not perish. (2 Pe. 3:9) It is to believe a lie for someone to think they are excluded and have no hope. As long as we are alive and have even a speck of faith, God can work with that and bring even the worse to repentance and salvation –if we allow Him to do so through asking, repenting, not making provision for temptations, and going forward with those things we are, so far, able to obey. (John 14:23 // Acts 5:32 // Heb. 5:9)

Look at Paul who helped some of God’s people be murdered (Acts 22:4) and yet who repented when he was confronted by the Truth / Jesus. (9:1-22) There is definitely hope for everyone. But we must submit our will, our thoughts, our words, etc. to Christ’s control and leadership. If we start to slip, we tell God again that we are submitting to Him and we again ask Him for help and praise Him that He is able and willing. We then run from sin. We throw out those things and relationships which trip us up. And we read the Word and put it into practice. We continually take every thought captive to be obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5), we keep our armor on (Eph. 6:10-18), and we stay focused on the fact that we are Olympians in training.

May the Lord encourage you and help you take His Word to heart and act accordingly.

In Christ,
Rachel

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Discipling Downtown

February 27, 2018

Friends,
Below are two photos of me as I was witnessing downtown yesterday afternoon. My husband actually took them because he had a client a few streets away and was able to drive by, stop for a few minutes, and snap these. James, who I was talking to at the time and who is in the photo with me, used to be homeless. I’ve witnessed to him for about 12 years and he seems to truly love Jesus and be growing in Him. Please pray for him. Pray also for Barbara who used to be a prostitute and on drugs and got delivered about 6 years ago. I saw her yesterday and she gave me a praise report that she is still walking with the Lord, delivered, and has started writing a book about her life.

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I also saw another good friend (I’ve written about him before and he used to be a pimp) and he said he is married now to a woman he loves but that he has gone back to some drug addictions. He asked me how to get delivered and though I’ve told him many times before, I told him again: To stay away from places and people that tempt him. “And,” I said, “reading God’s Word is step one. Are you doing that?” He laughed an embarrassed laugh and said, “You’re right! I haven’t been doing that!” Please pray for this guy too.

(It sure is frustrating when I tell people over and over and over to read God’s Word and that it is necessary food (power / strength / nourishment) for our spirit, yet most people, church-going people as well, though often heartily agreeing, still do very little follow up. In other words, most people do not heed Jesus’ words in John 6:53-63 when He tells us that Eternal Life comes through ingesting His Words.)

Well, so, yesterday was a beautiful sunny Monday and I was able to have many conversations with different people about God’s Word. Some were with people I’d never met and some were with those I’ve talked with often. I prayed with those who asked me for prayer, I gave away a New Testament and one Gospel of John, and of course I handed out my short tracts (and I write a different one each time). Several people asked questions about God or about His Word, and also told me their beliefs, and several people came up to me to thank me for my efforts.

As is usually the case, almost every encounter was positive, but there was one stranger who, when I first got down there, came up to me to ask me what my beliefs were and we talked for about fifteen minutes. I wasn’t sure what he was getting at because he kept saying that he was very upset about all the “Christians” who were characterizing God as an ogre who likes to torture people forever. I said that he sounded like he was against Calvinism, which, I told him, I certainly am against, but then he asked me if I believed in Hell. I said of course I do because Jesus taught a lot about it. He told me that God is love, we are not to fear Him, and there is no Hell, and he said he had written a book about all this. I reminded him of some verses and quoted to him Luke 12:4,5 where Jesus warned us to fear God who has the authority to thrown people into Hell, but he just said, “No, no…”, apparently not believing in Jesus’ warnings. He wouldn’t let me talk after that, and while walking away, he told me that I better get the Truth. I could only think how sad it will be for him on Judgement Day when he finds out there is a Hell and when he gets judged for the many people he taught falsehood to and lead away from fearing the Judge of all. Please pray for him to repent and come to the Truth and not be able to lead others astray.

Thank you to all who pray for my ministry and for those who I’ve witnessed to and/or discipled downtown. May the Lord bless you and strengthen you, also, in His Truth.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
All of God’s Word endures forever and is, in the original, completely true and error-free. Believing this, and putting it into practice, is what it means to be a true Christian. The finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 has showed us that God’s Word is indeed eternal and fixed and that He has preserved His Word as He promised. (Ps. 119:89 // 1 Pe. 1:25) Problems, therefore, in translation, or with versions that are inferior, are no excuse for us to not understand what God has revealed in His Word / what He has said, and especially when we have the internet where we can not only compare the numerous versions’ translations, but can easily look to see what the individual Hebrew and Greek words mean. (I use biblehub.com, but there are others as well.)

So what are we to make of Genesis chapters 1-11 while many “Christians” / “Bible-believers” are telling us to write those chapters off as myth or as meaning something different than what it says? Should we let those who have been influenced by the world’s philosophies dictate the Truth to us, or should we value the Word of God as the ultimate authority and let it speak for itself? I would hope we’d agree we are to do the latter.

I love God’s Word, and I expect other Christians to love it as well. I also enjoy science, and I have never considered the two to be in conflict with one another, including when I took Physical Science and Biology in high school and Geology, Physics, Anthropology, etc. in college. What is in conflict with God’s Word is evolutionism, a belief system / religion that has come about through those who choose to believe that God is either non-existent or uninvolved in our universe. However, knowing this while studying the sciences, the true Christian (the Christ-the-Word-follower) should have little difficulty sifting out the textbook information that is based on belief and that which is truly factual.

If we study real science, we can see that it fits in well with what God has told us in His Word, including in Genesis chapters 1-11, and we do not have to twist anything. In fact, believing that the Word of God is infallible aids our studies of science, while believing the lie of evolutionism builds confusion (or denial of the obvious) in the person observing the truth and the complexities of God’s amazing creation. So why would a Christian who claims to believe God’s Word attempt to subjugate God’s Word under the authority of men’s words?

But, appallingly, many “Christians” are doing just this. Yet what does that reveal about them? Are they truly believing the Word of God? And if a person doesn’t believe the Word of God, doesn’t that make them an unbeliever, one outside of the Light? (Isa. 8:20) At best, they are certainly being inconsistent –when they say they believe and love God’s Word yet disbelieve the portions that don’t harmonize with their worldview. Can they be the ones to determine which parts of God’s Word are inerrant and which parts are not? Is it okay with God if people change His words to mean what those words are not saying, even if it’s because they think their teaching will be more palatable for those who are skeptical about the Scriptures? Does allegorizing historical narrative really help bring people to believe in Jesus and His words? Most evolutionists would laugh at such hypocrisy.

Telling people that Genesis chapters 1-11 are myth, or that the words have been changed over the years, or that it’s been “written to fit in with the culture of ancient man” is not God-honoring, nor is it the truth. Definitely any so-called “Christian” who teaches such things should go back and meditatively read and study the Bible, for throughout its pages it repeatedly supports the factuality / the history of Genesis chapters 1-11.

God’s Word is true. It is without errors. It is our Authority for life and truth. All of it.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Love: It Loves & Warns

February 15, 2018

Friends,
I was so grateful to the Lord that it was a pretty day here yesterday and that my mom and I were both able to go witnessing downtown at the bus and train stops with our homemade Valentine treat bags. We took the foldable cart my husband bought us last Fall for this purpose, along with some Bibles to give out if anyone would want one. We did give one Bible out to a young woman who was very grateful for it. May the Lord grow her in the Truth through His Word.

It was, as always, a huge blessing to watch my mom give out the treat bags and see frowning people light up when she started talking with them. One young man, wearing a gold-colored, cup-shaped hat, was one my mom spoke with for almost 15 minutes. She told me later that he was very polite and thoughtful and had said he was from Istanbul. One woman we both talked with was visibly blessed to hear that the Holy Spirit, as we read the Word which is our necessary spiritual food, will give us joy and comfort and strength and wisdom and peace in the midst of our troubles. “Yes, peace,” she said at least twice. “I do need peace. And I believe what you are saying, so I will read God’s Word!” She was smiling as she listened and she kept thanking us, and I hugged her when we parted.

There were many wonderful encounters my mom and I had yesterday and I thank the Lord that my mom is able to still sometimes join me downtown even though she is 83 years old! We thank Him that we were able yesterday to share God’s love, message, and concern with people, most who are going through some kind of deep pain, and to remind them that following the Lord’s words and leading makes all the difference.

True, we live in a world full of evil, even as we were reminded again yesterday through the tragedies revealed on the news, but this is why we must not waste any time. We must go forth in doing whatever the Lord has told each one of us to do, in the manner He instructs, and use all available time to be studying and applying “so that we may be a workman approved by God, one who correctly handles the Word of Truth.” (See 2 Tim. 2:15) And this should be “our prayer: that our love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that we may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the Day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes though Jesus Christ –to the glory and praise of God.” (See Phil. 1:10,11) Yes, filled with the fruit of righteousness, not just the claim. For as Jesus has warned, “But the one who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand… [and in the storm] it fell with a great crash.” (Mt. 7:26,27)

“Be very careful, then, how you live –not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Eph. 5:15-17) Truly, no one who does what is shameful or deceitful will enter Life (Rev. 21:27), but only those who do God’s will (Mt. 7:21) and follow the voice of Jesus. (John 10:27,28)

Let us heed God’s Word, and Jesus’ warning to “Fear God who… has the authority to throw you into Hell.” (Luke 12:5) Yes, all of us will give an account of our every moment before the God who has seen everything. (Rom. 14:12 // 2 Cor. 5:10 // Heb. 4:13 // Rev. 20:13 // See also Mt. 12:36,37 and Rom. 2:5-11 and 1 Cor. 4:5) Therefore, besides God’s message of love, forgiveness, and power, our message, given in Spirit-filled love, must also be one of warning.

May we obey.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Two months from now my brother is going to visit the Agta people who we grew up with in the Philippines (my parents having translated the New Testament into that language). He will be bringing aid to the Agta and checking on the school he helped organize there. He will also be arranging for a doctor to remove the growth from between the eyes of the little Agta girl whose picture, taken four years ago, is here. Her name is Princess Diane.

Our family is all pitching in to help pay for the operation, and if anyone else would be led to help, that would be wonderful. People can help by donating, or by letting the need be known at their Facebook page.

Checks can be made to:

Steve Headland
PO Box 662
Lillian, Texas, 76061

Besides Steve’s intense involvement with the Agta and making trips back there every other year to assess their needs and bring aid, my brother is also the college/international pastor at Grace Community Church in Arlington, Texas, working primarily in this from his ministry at UTA called The Cornerstone.

If anyone would like to receive a tax deduction, the gift needs to go through this:

http://partnersacrosscultures.com/donate And the word Agta needs to be put in the memo spot.

Thank you for donating and/or telling others of the need. Thank you too for praying that my brother will find the right doctor there in the Philippines, that the operation on Princess Diane’s face will be completely successful, and that the Lord will favor this little girl all her life so that she is a joy-filled, healthy, blessed Jesus-follower.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

God Used Evolution?

February 8, 2018

Friends,
Did the universe begin with a big bang consisting of hydrogen and helium? If so, where did those elements come from, and how did they turn into planets and stars and trees and animals and people? Were the creators time and chance and natural selection? Or, if we are Christians should we leave out that idea of chance and the word “natural”? Can we believe in evolution while also believing that God was the One orchestrating the process? Just how much was He involved? Evolution is about a random, unguided process, so how do we reconcile that with God’s guidance of the process?

Furthermore, how does (or did) life come from non-life? How did the first living cell (that which is way more complex than a factory) appear from non-living chemicals? Is this occurrence a true possibility? The Law of Biogenesis tells us it is not –that life can never, ever come from non-life. Oh okay, so God was the One who made it happen, supernaturally.

What about the genetic information that makes up all living things, but varies with each kind? Can one kind ever change into another kind? How could it when we know that no new information is ever added, including when mutations occur? With mutations, a loss of information occurs, but none is ever added. So a certain kind of animal can change to a degree, but having limits, it always remains the same kind of animal. Horses can be bred to be faster, have longer manes and tails, have prettier markings/colors, or be bigger or smaller, but they remain horses. New information in the DNA coding cannot be added, so a horse can never become anything other than a horse-type animal. How then could a horse have evolved from a “lower” or different kind of animal, or before that, from something like an ameba, which supposedly before that came from some kind of chemical soup? Time and chance and natural selection could never cause this to happen, not to mention that transitional forms of life, not being able to function, would just shut down and die. Oh, but for the theistic evolutionist, God created everything this way, right? Or again, should we say that He did not use chance and purely natural selection, but that He did use lots and lots of time as He guided the evolutionary process, and this by means of disease, suffering, violence, and death?

And what about God’s (supposed) use of billions of years? Does this match with what God’s Word says when Gen. 2:1-3 tells us that God completed His creation of the heavens and the earth by the seventh day, on which He rested, and with Ex. 20:11 & 31:17 which say the same? For Ex. 20:11, right there in the Ten Commandments –specifically the fourth one about resting on the Sabbath Day– says, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day.” Those are God’s own words and they are very clear, as are His words in 31:17: “…for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He abstained from work and rested.” The “six days” means six literal 24 hour days, for when clarified by a number, the Hebrew word for “day” (which is “yom”), never means anything different.

Are we actually being told by many Christians that Moses recorded God’s words incorrectly and that God really meant something like, “For in six million-plus-year segments I created…”? Are we to believe that even though we are told that the Lord knew Moses face to face and spoke to him in clear words, not in visions, dreams, or riddles (Num. 12:6-8 // Dt. 34:10-12), Genesis chapters 1-11 (the chapters of controversy), which Moses recorded, cannot be interpreted literally –as historical narrative– though the rest of Genesis is allowed to be? Who commands this of us? Is it not those who are trying to reconcile an anti-God worldview with God’s Word, even though the two are in stark, irreconcilable opposition to one another? What spirit is it that says, “Has God really said..?”

But it’s obvious science, a friend said to me recently, that the earth is millions of years old, that the fossil beds prove this, and that the layers of rocks tell this clearly. But why would she think this when there are at least 300 scientific reasons that show she is wrong about the earth’s age? The massive bone beds found all over the world, bones of all kinds of animals thrown together violently, speak of a global flood, as do the marine fossils found on mountain tops. Large, petrified tree trunks standing vertically through rock strata (layers evolutionists tell us are each millions of years old) reveal that the layers had to have formed before the tree decayed.

That the earth is young is supported by both scientific reasons and Biblical. Therefore, believing that God created the universe the way Scripture says He did –by merely speaking it into existence over the course of six days– comes by both faith and logic, certainly for anyone who claims to believe in the inerrancy of the Word of God. As Heb. 11:3 says, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed by God’s word, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
This last Friday, while downtown evangelizing at the train and bus stops with my signs and tracts, I had many good conversations again about God’s Word. Of course there also often seems to be one or two (or more) who want to express their “knowledge” of why the Bible is full of errors or pontificate about the evil actions, throughout history, perpetrated by certain others. I encountered one such young man Friday, and realizing quickly that he had rewritten some history to suit his angry emotions and was looking for a scapegoat to persecute, I just walked on.

Later I met another angry man who raved on about corrupt Bible versions, but somehow I was able to disarm him enough to leave him with a smile on his face. However, less than a block on, I met another upset man who vented to me his angry disappointment in friends whose aim it was to just use him. I listened empathetically, also noticing a much younger man nearby who paced slowly up and down that half of the block, saying absolutely nothing, and with one pant leg rolled up. I think he had been trying to figure out what to do about needing a bathroom, for after coming up to stand a few feet from us, this man urinated down his leg and all over the concrete. I looked at him with pity, but he just kept staring off into space and said nothing. I prayed for him as I walked away, and I still have been praying that the Lord will deliver this particular guy from his desperately messed-up life.

One enjoyable conversation I had was with a believer in Jesus who was born, he said, in Haiti, but raised in the Dominican Republic. He was very excited to met me and thanked me for my evangelism efforts. He was sitting with a woman who knew only Spanish and he kept translating for her what I was saying. He also said that she said about me, “She is so joyful!” I immediately quoted Neh. 8:10 –“The joy of the Lord is our strength”, and I took the opportunity to explain that no matter what we are going through, if we have Christ the Lord in us, we can live in His joy, which becomes our own joy and strength. The woman, having been looking so sad, brightened greatly, her face visibly filling up with faith and hope and encouragement.

Later, as I crossed the street to another bus stop, I noticed a big homeless man smiling shyly at me before he blurted out, “Hi! Do you remember me?” I told him I did, though I think I’d not seem him for about five years. He asked me if I remembered his name and I took a guess. “Close,” he said. Then I guessed again and was right and it made him so happy. (I have prayed that I would remember people’s names, so it’s always great when the Lord helps me somehow match up the thousands of names and faces I have in my brain.) This guy told me about how last month he had told God he was rededicating his commitment to following Him and how the Lord was helping him, and that even though he was living in a tent, he was thanking God that it was near to the church he was going to.

Well, I could go on about the numerous conversations, some in-depth, some brief, I have had with people while spreading the Good News of Jesus. In fact, two different people, the last two times I’ve been down at the bus stops, have said, “You’ve been doing this down here for years!” I just answered, “Yeah,” but I could say that it has been 22 years, because it has been, and for 3-10 hours per week most weeks, weather permitting. And not only have I been holding up The Truth to the people of Dallas, I have talked to countless people from other cities, states, and countries, some who are here on business, some who are here on vacation or sightseeing.

In saying this, I’d like to let those who are reading my blog, or just this post, know that I receive virtually no financial support, except from my husband, for my ministries. Besides my evangelism ministry, I also have a prayer ministry, a nursing home ministry, and this blog, all which becomes at least 50 hours a week in ministry-related work. There have been a handful of people over the years who have given me some love gifts, but in all the 22 years, that has amounted to less than $1,000 in all. I have not received any financial gift through my blog’s “Donate” page, even though I put that up two years ago.

I don’t like to ask for a donation, and actually, if anyone offers me a few dollars downtown, I don’t take it, because I do not want people to think I’m doing ministry for any wrong motives. Instead, I give them a grateful hug for their offer and tell them I pray God blesses them 100-fold for their generosity. However, I would like to mention now, here, that I would very much appreciate if some reader out there would feel God’s leading to donate to me to help me. (I have a small elderly-care job, but it doesn’t bring in much, and to add hours means less time I have to be writing my tracts and posts, making evangelism signs, memorizing Scripture, praying for and with others, evangelizing, visiting at the nursing home, etc.)

Again, I do not like to ask for money, but I am sad concerning the burden on my husband when I believe there are people out there who could commit a small amount monthly to my ministries, or even a one-time gift. I believe my ministries are just as worthy as other ministries, and my downtown evangelism ministry is especially so being that few people are willing to go to the streets. The Lord impressed 1 Cor. ch. 9 on me some time ago, particularly verse 14 which says, “In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the Gospel should receive their living from the Gospel.” I have preached the Gospel boldly on the streets for 22 years (and before that also everywhere I went) and so I am taking the liberty to make known my need.

Thank you so much, dear Reader, for considering these things.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel