When running a couple of errands yesterday morning, my husband stopped at a gas station to get gas. Three young African American boys were walking around offering free gift cards to people, stating that they were from a certain church and were wanting to bless people. One boy offered my husband one and asked him if he would like prayer about anything. Though my husband declined the card, suggesting that the boy give it to an unbeliever who he could invite to his church, he did eagerly accept having the boy pray for some relatives of ours; and the boy prayed a very sweet, earnest prayer.

When my husband got home and told me about this encounter, I was so blessed. I prayed for those boys and for whoever was influencing, teaching, and encouraging them to be bold and proactive in showing the love of Christ. I prayed that these boys would keep on being bold in spreading the Gospel and be evangelists and followers of Jesus all their lives. I also prayed for their families and their church.

I tell about this because it is encouraging to see that there are people who are getting out, using their time and energy, to be available to show kindness and pray for others. And it is particularly encouraging when I see or hear of young people doing such.

Jesus has told us to go into all the world, teaching others to follow Him and obey all His commands. (Mt. 28:19,20) He has told us to feed and clothe the poor, to show hospitality to those in need, to visit those in prison, to look after the sick, and to do these things even for those who are considered the least important in society. (25:31-46) This is indeed what life consists of if we are truly following Christ. This is what meeting together to encourage one another (Heb. 10:25) should be about –“how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (v. 24) True Christianity is not about huddling and huddling while neglecting to get out on the field. What sports team would do that? Why then do most “church teams” think it’s okay?

Jesus has said, “He who is not with Me is against Me.” (Mt. 12:30) Oh, of course most church-goers claim to be “with” Jesus. But are they –when they won’t follow Jesus’ leadership in their day to day lives? Jesus has said, “Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servant also will be.” (John 12:26) In other words, where Jesus is and where He leads, is where His servants must be and go. But… if one will not give up one’s life, one’s self-interest, one’s self-rule, then that one will lose his soul. (v. 25)

Let’s look at Jesus’ full statement in Mt. 12:30. He says, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” So… if we are not gathering with Jesus (and He is gathering people into His Kingdom), then we are scattering people away from His Kingdom. If we are not with Him on His mission, then we are against Him. This is a serious accusation! But being Jesus, who knows all hearts, and who does not lie, spoke it, then it is reality, no matter how insistently a person claims otherwise. Yes, it is the case: Those who do not labor with Jesus in His field (the world), work against Christ’s efforts to bring in the harvest (bring souls) to Himself. Yet when confronted with such statements made by Jesus, how many people meeting in church buildings this morning would show any concern whatsoever?

Let’s us be concerned though. Let’s join those who are striving to do what they can to get out and be a part of Christ’s true body –those going forth to share His love and Truth while inviting people, and teaching people, to follow our Savior and Lord.

with love,

I get many different responses while I’m witnessing with my signs and tracts downtown at the train and bus stops. Last Wednesday, one of the first people I encountered started pointing his finger at me, saying something about God isn’t for white people. Why is this crazy doctrine spreading like it is? Weird. Anyway, I just laughed and said that God wants a relationship with everyone. Another guy, who had heard our exchange, followed me across the train tracks, pushing his loaded cart of belongings, and told me not to let ridiculous people like that bother me. I said I was fine but that it is sad that such a mentality exists. He agreed, and we went on to have a lively dialogue about the Word of God.

One young woman I met later listened intently as I encouraged her and she asked several questions. Another woman told me how inspired she was by my evangelism and signs and how much she desired that church-goers, including her, would be more bold in spreading the Gospel. Two construction workers were excited to see my efforts and confided that they would like to become fervent in their walk with Christ. There were many other uplifting conversations, while there were also several people who smirked at me, several who laughed with their friends at me, and many who just ignored me.

But, like I was telling my husband later that night, the positives way, way outweigh the negatives and make it all worthwhile and a blessing. Like this one homeless-looking guy in particular on Wednesday… He was so cute! Cute, as in someone I was amused by and uplifted by and who I felt God’s great love for. I met him up by the restaurant area and I at first saw him across the street, wheeling his bicycle, his dog in the front bicycle basket. The dog was wearing a woman’s floppy hat and had sunglasses on which were kept in place by a rubber band around the dog’s nose. I laughed and pointed and waved at the man. When he crossed toward me, I told him his dog was adorable. The man said, “Her name is ‘Lamb of God.'”

I exclaimed that that was very interesting because my name, Rachel, means “Little lamb of God”.

“Well, this really is the Lamb of God,” the little man said. (I say little, because he was almost as small as an Agta man.)

I didn’t contradict him because I’ve often mentioned that my cat is (like) a real angel, so I chose to think the man meant something like that, and I listened to him tell me about his dog, their situation, and that he had told God that he would always try to give the dog shelter. He hinted about needing money, but I said that I don’t bring any money with me when I evangelize and he said he wasn’t trying to hint. Then he said, “Well, one night I didn’t provide shelter for her [the dog], but my conscience really bothered me.”

The man told me his name (for privacy I’ll call him Hal) and that he grew up in the area but was actually Greek.

We talked for over 20 minutes about the Lord and His Word and His care for us and twice he read aloud to me from the small New Testament I gave him. Then suddenly his empty Clementine (fruit) bag blew away. He said, “Uh-oh, I need to get that because I never litter”, so he said goodbye and went to fetch it across the street.

Just then a big truck drove halfway up on the sidewalk in front of me and the Chinese man and his wife in there offered me a tract and a $20 bill. I said no, but they insisted, so I took it and thanked them very much. Then they drove away. I suddenly had the desire to give the $20 to Hal, but not seeing him anywhere, I wondered if I should try to find him.

Well, lo and behold, a couple minutes later here Hal came back toward me, wheeling his bicycle and dog and holding out two of his Clementines. He said, “Oh, I forgot that I wanted to give you these.” I said thank you but wanted him to keep them, but that I was very glad he came back, because… and I told him that someone had just given me money, and that although I’m of the habit of never accepting money offered, this time I did accept it and realized I did so in order that I could give it to him! He was so, so happy to get that $20 bill! He kept looking up to Heaven with thankfulness and hugging and kissing his dog. It was such a delightful encounter, particularly because I felt the Lord’s great love for him, and extra so as I noted that because Hal chose to offer to me from his meager supply, God had orchestrated provision for him. It was precious.

Sharing the Gospel boldly is truly a wonderful thing. It gives us the chance to see God at work in amazing ways and it gives us the chance to meet people He is working with and loves very much. Seeing these people in eternity whom we’ve encourage in this life will definitely be part of our very great eternal reward.

So although we do not know who will respond positively to our Message, God knows. Our job is simply to be available, usable, attentive, and loving, and to go everywhere as His ambassadors. God will do the rest. Through us.

with love,

Yesterday my mom and I went witnessing at the big train stop downtown. She handed out the many Valentine treat bags she had made with such things inside like beautiful Scripture bookmarks. As usual, I wore two signs and passed out my new one-paragraph message about the importance of obedience to Christ.

At one point, a young man that I’d given a tract to approached me and I found out that he was down there witnessing as well. As we talked and encouraged one another, I was very glad to realize, once again, that God does keep raising up His servants in every generation. This guy told me that he is twenty-five years old. Yet the amount of Scripture verses he knew, and his maturity in the Truth, and his deep concern and heart’s desire to see the unsaved come to Christ, was unique. It greatly gladdened me to have confirmation from the Lord that He is always raising up obedient children that do go forth spreading His Truth.

Besides him, I want to mention someone else who I saw a few weeks ago down there who I’d not seen in a couple of years, yet who I’d witnessed to quite a bit in the 90s when he was a pimp. He said he’d been in prison the last two years for having an illegal pistol on him, but that he had taken the time to do some reading of God’s Word while incarcerated. He said that he is trying to obey God’s commands to some extent, but finds it nearly impossible. “How do you do it and how do you stay consistent?” was the gist of what he asked me.

I told him what I am continually trying to tell everyone: That we must step into and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. But, I say, this does not happen without our extreme effort coming from our firm determination to do what it takes to abide there!

The steps we must take are such as these:

1. Decide that following Jesus and God’s Word is top priority and make it that, meaning that upon waking in the morning we take every thought captive to be obedient to Him. (2 Cor. 10:5) We also tell the Lord that our will is submitted to His (and we mean it).

2. We put “on the full armor of God” (Eph. 6:11) by going through each piece mentioned in verses 14-17.

3. We praise and exalt the Lord, also by using Scripture we’ve memorized and songs made up as led by the Spirit.

4. We pray in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18 // Jude 1:20) and ask God to reveal any sin in our life. If there is any, we renounce it and take immediate measures to forsake it.

5. We make conscious choices all day long to keep walking according to the Word of God which we have been hiding in our heart through reading and memorizing it daily.

6. We stay alert for Satan’s deceptions and we listen intently all day long to the Holy Spirit who guides us according to the precepts found in God’s Word.

This is the gist of what I told my friend and it is, most assuredly, the way to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” (Eph. 6:10), through which we walk consistently in the Truth as holy vessels, spiritually productive, and free from the corruption of the world (2 Peter 1:3-11), thereby pleasing to our Master.

with love,

Acts of Self-sacrifice

September 28, 2014

In the suburb next to the one we live in there has been a beautiful occurrence that has gone national. It can be read and viewed here:

Being that homecoming is actually a very big deal in Texas, this act of kindness shown by two girls toward another is no small thing. But giving up the crown for their friend who had experienced a cruel prank has reaped more reward and honor than had they kept their crown. What an inspiration to all of us to remember those who hurt, those who are bullied, and those who are less fortunate. And what an encouragement to remember to be kind, generous, humble, unselfish, and self-sacrificing!

Last year I wrote about my niece, Kiana, who was her school’s 11th grade homecoming princess and whose boyfriend accompanied her in his football uniform. This year this same young man is the captain of their football team, but, ever since last year, Kiana, with his agreement, has planned, if she gets nominated again, to have a particular other classmate to be her escort. This classmate happens to be mentally handicapped. Kiana has assisted with him and the other handicapped students for several years, getting them involved and participating, and this year, while being a cheerleader, the president of the student council, and the vice president of the student body, she has organized for them to be a part of several things including the cheerleaders. Talk about someone who has worked to make potential outcasts feel included and honored!

There are many self-sacrificing people in the world. True, there are many who are not, but there are many who are. And all too often their acts of kindness and selflessness go unnoticed. Maybe this is why it is so wonderful when someone’s does get attention. Even national attention.

May many take such heart-warming stories to heart and strive to think of ways to show kindness to everyone they can, especially to those who may be hurting somehow. I’ve seen that sometimes even the smallest act of kindness can go a very long way. It can melt a heart, it can create a friendship, and it can save a soul.

with love,

Evangelism Last Friday

June 17, 2014

This last Friday I had an exceptionally great time spreading the Gospel downtown with my signs, tracts, and conversations. As I always do, I’d asked my mom to call others to pray, and later, I found out she’d asked seven people to be praying. I could tell, for I had many excellent discussions and much encouragement from many who were excited and encouraged themselves to see my boldness. But why should we not be bold? We have a message of Good News and the Spirit of the Mighty Creator within us –He who gives us His words to say, His strength, His leading, and the encounters He has pre-planned.

I went earlier than I usually do because I was determined to walk up to catch the white-collar lunch crowd about a mile from the big train and bus depot where I usually canvas. I think I’d not been there for about three years so I was shocked at the swarms of people. (The economy certainly must be better! And what an opportunity to plant seeds among the “self-sufficient”!) After I’d been there a bit, a singing, guitar-playing Christian I’d met before came up and began setting up his amp with a homeless-shelter friend. I talked with them a minute and then a young girl, maybe about 18 years old, showed up with a camera.

After taking some pictures, this girl sat down on the water canal wall so I walked over and began a conversation. What a philosophy she had developed for herself! She admitted to having had the Gospel explained to her many times, but still, she wasn’t even sure about a Creator. In fact, if there is one, she mused, then He (or rather, It) is a force, not a person. Moreover, there is no Heaven or Hell, she opined, except there is both for those who believe in them. See, she reasoned, reality is what a person believes it is, and Truth is completely relative. (I thought this philosophy was deemed nonsense and had thus gone out of vogue 20 years ago, but I see it must be alive and well.) I tried to listen to her respectfully, but when I asked if wanting to be queen would make us queens, or if wanting flowers to grow up amid the cement at our feet would make it so, she knew I found her doctrine to be more than silly.

What pathetic thoughts people are being taught to entertain! The whole of creation (including DNA and the fine-tuned delicateness of the universe) declares a Creator (Ps. 19:1-4 // Rom. 1:19,20), yet people insist that there is great evidence to the contrary and continue to insist upon inventing their own Truth! We parted politely, but as I walked away from that block, I felt both grieved and disgusted concerning the foolishness of those who weave their doctrine from their own “lofty” thoughts. “The wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight” (1 Cor. 3:19) is the verse I kept hearing in my spirit. So grievous! I prayed many times over the next few days for that girl’s soul, and that the enemy would not snatch away the Good Seed (the Truth) which the Farmer had many times in her life attempted to plant within her. (Luke 8:5,12) May the Lord have mercy on her!

Later, back at the main depot, I met a friend who used to be homeless and wow! has he ever been growing in the knowledge of God’s Word! It was precious to hear him quote verses and so humbly describe what the Lord has been revealing to him. We talked quite a while and I thanked the Lord for impressing on me that that good fruit in this endearing soul was largely due to the numerous times I’d talked with him about the Truth. I thank the Lord when He shows me some lasting fruit from my labors.

One guy came up to me and could not stop telling me –for about 15 minutes– how important it was what I was doing. “Do not ever stop this assignment,” he kept saying. “This is so wonderful and I know the Lord wants you to know you are not to ever stop due to the commands of people. Do not listen to those who discourage you or tell you that this boldness is dumb. Keep doing this! It is great! It is of God!” and on he went excitedly, then praying for me a very wonderful prayer. I was truly encouraged.

At one point, later, I saw a guy sitting on a low wall watching me and frowning. The frown did not make me want to talk with him, but eventually I realized the Lord was telling me to go over and talk with him anyway. I approached him with, “Well, do you like my signs?” (These were about freedom for sin’s captives.) “No,” he answered –as I expected. “Why not?” I asked.

The guy went on to explain how annoyed he was at Christians’ doctrines, particularly that they were always telling him that gays could not inherit Heaven. “Do you teach that?” he asked me.

I’m usually straight-forward, but I chose to be gentle, saying something to this effect: “God considers all adultery –gay or straight– to be sin. Even looking at someone –of either sex– with lust, is adultery, and it breaks the law of love. Lusting after someone defiles that person. Lusting in not love, but defilement. Defiling others instead of loving them unselfishly causes pain. God wants to shield us from such pain. He wants everyone to love Him and to love others.”

The man softened and talked with me. He told me some about his upbringing. He asked me questions about the Word. When we parted, he had a smile –one of appreciation or of hope, or maybe of both. I’ve prayed for him many times since. And for many others I’ve met down there. –Because prayer does change things. It does change eternal destinies.

Going and speaking and sharing and proclaiming changes a lot. But it must be bathed with prayer. And prayer must be followed with Spirit-led words and action. It all must be done together –done with faith and boldness. For we have no small Message to bring to the world!

with love,

We are to proclaim God’s wonderful acts all across the globe. (1 Ch. 16:8,9) Are we doing so? We are to tell of His love and His faithfulness and remind the peoples of the earth how profound are His thoughts. (Ps. 92:2,5) In the hearing of the nations we are to shout and sing with joy to the Lord, the Mighty and Holy King who loves justice. (98:4 & 99:4,5 // 1 Ch. 16:23-31) We are to broadcast the perfect character of God –that “there is no wickedness in Him.” (Ps. 92:15) Are we doing these things?

If we are not advertising God across the earth with consistency and boldness, and in line with the Truth, why not? Are we ashamed of God? Are we afraid? What of? Our reputations? Or are we just too busy? Or is it that we ourselves do not actually know God, His ways, or what He has said?

Whatever our reasons for not declaring God –His character, His works, His salvation, His judgements, His mercies, and His Truth– to a world that sits in darkness, a world that remains shackled by evil and sin, a world that gasps in death… is to disobey God’s numerous commands to do so. Remaining quiet or timid when people shriek with fear, when they groan in such hopelessness that they are willing to run to chaos rather than lay in that “overwhelming nothingness”, is to act with wicked negligence. Even a worldling’s heart is moved to call 911 when someone is seen to be in danger or wounded. But God’s (supposed) ambassadors often glance quickly away and, tiptoeing around the sufferer (Luke 10:31,32), they instead head for the party hall, or the mall, or their church.

What insensitivity! What selfishness! What greed! “It’s all about me” still, isn’t it? Well, Jesus said some things about that –that those who try to preserve Self or who use up time attending to spiritually dead things (Luke 9:23-25,57-62) are not fit to be called His. (same verses & 14:33) Their negligence to give themselves (their hearts and their lives) whole-heartedly and forever to Christ –to His glory and to His mission– is to act in rebellion, unbelief, and/or embarrassment concerning Christ and His words. (9:23-26) To disobey Christ’s Leadership is to reject or disown Christ as one’s Lord. (Mt. 7:21 // 2 Tim. 2:12 // Jude 1:4) It is to forfeit one’s soul. (Luke 9:25,26)

Let us remind each other then, that love for God is to proclaim Him –to proclaim Him boldly, always at the leading of, and under the control of, the Spirit, and, while never neglecting any chance we get, to be doing this everywhere, even to the most remote regions of the earth, including the most sinful, dark areas of our own city.

with love,

Expose Deceivers

October 6, 2013

Israeliteindeed’s post yesterday is excellent! Here it is:

Warning Others About False Teachers

by israeliteindeed

Jesus said:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

Jesus desires us to examine a teacher by his/her fruits. Nowhere in Scripture are we forbidden to test a teacher. In fact, Jesus commends the Church at Ephesus for testing those who claimed to be apostles and exposing them as liars (Rev. 2:2). The Bereans were commended for testing Paul’s teaching by the Scriptures they had (Acts 17:11).

Paul wrote:

Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned (from the apostles, prophets, and Jesus), and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. (Rom. 16:17-18)

The underlined words are so important. Often a person will spend a long time drinking from the polluted well of false-teaching, and when someone comes along exposing the lie, they will attempt to use this Romans passage to “mark” the truth teller as false! The truth teller is wrongly labeled as divisive. This is a satanic sleight-of-hand designed to keep the deceived in their error. In truth, the divisive person is the one who divides you from the doctrine that was given in Scripture. Such a person is to be noted (or “marked” in the KJV) and avoided.

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. (2 Pet. 2:1-3)

Peter wrote that heresies are destructive. They cause people to destroy themselves and others, and they bring the way of Truth into disrepute. They are constructed with deceptive words. That is, on the surface the teaching may sound good. The false prophet may have an appearance as a messenger of light. But he brings deception, causing God’s Word to be seen in a different light than it was intended to be understood.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Tim. 4:3-4)

Selfish desires and itching ears will cause people to love fables over truth. If selfish desires and itching ears weren’t so plentiful, the market for false teaching would disappear. False teachers depend on itching ears that want to hear their twisting of the truth. If nobody listened, they would have to get another job!

The deceived can be very sure of themselves that they are not deceived at all. Pride seems to precede and accompany deception. The proud man will not receive correction. He knows it all already. He delights in thinking he is so spiritual and learned, he cannot be deceived. Woe to such a one. We need to remain humble and teachable, and always examine our hearts in the light of God’s Word, making sure we don’t have any proud ambitions hindering us from obeying the Truth.

Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. (Acts 20:30-31)

This passage gives insight into the selfish desire of false teachers to have disciples for themselves. They may say they want you to love and follow Jesus, but they place themselves in between you and Jesus, subtly making it appear that you can only be close to Jesus if you follow what they themselves teach. Paul knew how grave the danger was going to be. How passionately he warned them with tears for three whole years!

Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words… As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught…Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power…Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. (Col. 2:4-10; 18-19)

I’d like to highlight some of Paul’s very important words in this passage:

1. Deception often comes through very persuasive words. The speaker may have a dynamic and charming personality, or be powerfully convincing. These things are sometimes mistaken for “the anointing” of the Holy Spirit, but they are not.

2. As we have received Christ, so we should walk in Him. And how did we receive Him? By simple faith. We believed the Word of God, repented and began to follow Him. False teachers often have gimmick teachings that supposedly make one closer to Christ. But no one gets closer to Christ by their gimmicks. We draw near to God by faith. God is not far from us, and does not need men’s gimmicks as an alternate mediator. If you did not need that gimmick to be born again, you don’t need it to walk in Him either. We are complete in Jesus. We don’t need that book, we don’t need that new thing, and we don’t need that understanding of Scripture that has supposedly been “restored” by some new voice claiming to speak for God.

3. False teachers often delight in false humility. If you don’t have the Spirit of God, or if you have been grieving Him by your own pride, you may not be able to discern false from true humility. They will say things that on the surface appear humble, but there is an underlying look at me, look what I have experienced, look how spiritual I am, look at how important my personal revelations are.

4. False teachers have a fleshly mind that puffs them up in pride. They love to talk about angels and supernatural experiences. They intrude into things they have not seen. They don’t see themselves in humility, connected to all other Body parts beneath the Head, needing the constant nourishment of others. Today, there are scores of such teachers, and the blatant worship of angels is rampant especially in the charismatic church. Followers, wishing to have such ecstatic experiences for themselves, by which to prove their own spirituality, leave the simplicity and humility of Christ to chase something deeper or higher than what others have.

Naming Names

Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. (Eph. 5:11)

These specific false teachers were exposed by name in the New Testament:

Phygellus and Hermogenes (2 Tim. 1:15)
Hymenaeus and Philetus (2 Tim. 2:17)
Jannes and Jambres (2 Tim. 3:8)
Demas (2 Tim. 4:10)
Alexander the Coppersmith (2 Tim. 4:14)
Diotrephes (3 Jn. 9)
Balaam (Rev. 2:14)
Jezebel (Rev. 2:20)

False teaching is public. If we don’t name the names of false teachers in our midst, how will others take heed? Our silence is complicity, and it speaks volumes of our character. Though silence about false teaching might be seen as love, it is not love. Love warns of danger.

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It is so true that it is precisely the love of God that compels His people to repeatedly warn deceivers (and their followers) and to courageously expose their lies to the world. For deceivers harm others –for this life, and for eternity. Thus deception is evil to the core and must be exposed and apprehended. But who has equipped themselves well with the Truth so that they might step up and take action?

with love,