September 6, 2016
“Two dollars,” my friend Rad said, holding up two fingers for emphasis. “Two dollars. Women are out here selling their bodies for only two dollars.”
Shaking my head sadly, I agreed that that was shocking and awful. There must be a lot of desperation, a lot of hopelessness. No one would stoop to that depth if this weren’t the case. Truly, the world needs help so badly! They need the Savior, but He is precisely who most choose to reject. John 3:19,20 tell us why –because they love darkness instead of the Light and this because their deeds, which are evil, get exposed by the Light. Thus, they won’t come into the Light and many even hate the Light.
This conversation I had with Rad (who talks to me often down there) was last Friday at the bus and train stops as I witnessed there with four signs and some of my tracts I’d just printed out that morning. My back sign said, “Jesus is the only true Savior” and the three front ones (two which had messages on both sides) I inter-changed periodically.
Rad complained (again) that he wanted to follow God’s (moral) laws but that the culture and community he is in makes him feel it is next to impossible. I tried to encourage him to choose to be different and to “come out from them and be separate” (2 Cor. 6:17) in whatever way necessary. Rad always seems to have a flicker of hope cross his face –that maybe he could change– but then he lapses back into defeatism. Somebody reading this, please pray for Rad’s transformation to happen!
I actually had a lot of great conversations on Friday, and being there seemed to be an extra amount of tourists, I felt I was able to reach an extra amount of people I’d never met before. All in all, most individuals I talked with seemed genuinely interested in understanding what God would require of them in their particular current situation. I cared greatly for each one and felt God’s love in me for them. I knew the Lord was working through the prayers of those who I’d asked to be praying, some who I’d not ever asked before. Definitely, experiencing the Holy Spirit using Christ’s people together as a body is always an incredible joy!
May God use us all to pray and go and proclaim Christ, to remind people that there is a Way out of the darkness and into the Light, and to help them find the courage and the will to renounce the hopelessness, the filth, the darkness, so that they can be separated, wholly and loyally, to Jesus, the Light and only true Savior of the world.
August 3, 2016
I was reading Isa. 44:21-23 a few mornings ago and this statement which God made there really struck me: “Return to Me for I have redeemed you.” (v. 22b) It is “O Jacob… O Israel” (v. 21) whom the LORD is addressing. Using present tense for something future, God is saying that He has redeemed this particular race (Israel), and that because He has, He exhorts them to return to Him. In the same verse, God tells Israel that He has swept away their offenses and sins, while in verse 21 God assures them, “..you are My servant; O Israel, I will not forget you.” In verse 23 all heaven and earth are told to sing and shout for joy. Why? Because, “The LORD has redeemed Jacob, He displays His glory in Israel.” (Same verse) So besides redeeming Jacob’s descendants, the LORD says that He displays His magnificence in them.
This passage, and many like it, are promises God is making to a group of people, a particular race. The race these promises were directed to were those who came from the physical lineage of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, whom God later named Israel. They became a nation, they were dispersed (due to God’s punishment to them for their continued sin, as He promised would happen), but they have once again become a nation, and this because God has fulfilled that repeated promise of His that He would bring the Israelites back to the land He had given them, that He would make them a nation again, and that He would display His glory within them.
Can God do such a thing even while the people still have not returned to Him? Of course. Can they be His servants even while they remain unbelieving concerning Jesus, the Messiah? Of course. Even of Nebuchadnezzar, the heathen king of Babylon who had thousands captured as well as killed, the LORD called him, “My servant”. (Jer. 27:6) And to Pharaoh, God said, “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” (Rom. 9:17) God can, and is, definitely making His name famous throughout the earth through Israel, even in their unbelieving state; and He will do so on a much greater scale when they, as a whole nation, return to their God. (11:12,15,26,27)
The Scriptures Jesus used (the Old Testament) were written to and for Israel specifically, and the Jewish people believed this to be so, as did Paul (Rom. 9:1-5) and Jesus Himself. (Mt. 15:24 // John 4:22) The whole world has been invited to share in the salvation that comes through “the King of the Jews” –a title Jesus did claim (Mt. 27:11), but there has been no replacement of the recipients of the Covenants. Gentiles are invited to have a share in Christ by being grafted into the spiritual citizenry of God’s people (Rom. 11:17 // Eph. 2:11-22), but to claim that it is not the houses of Israel and Judah that God has contracted with through both the Old and the New Covenants (Heb. 8:6-13), is to commit the very arrogance about which Paul warns the Roman church. (Rom. ch. 11) As he reminds us concerning God’s firm choice about two nations: “The older will serve the younger” (Rom. 9:12) and, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (v. 13)
In spite of God’s clear Word, those who hold to the false doctrine of Replacement Theology –which has morphed into doctrines such as Augustinianism, Covenant Theology, Fulfillment Theology, Liberation Theology, and Christian Palestinianism– choose to follow those who teach that God has rejected Israel and transferred all the promises He made to them over to the Church. The Church is the new Israel, they say. Some, in denying they teach this, claim that the Church has existed throughout Israel’s history, the believing remnant being the Church (they say) to whom God made all those promises about the land, nation, salvation, glory, and dominion.
Strangely, while these teachers teach that all these promises are now to be reinterpreted to mean a spiritual land, a spiritual nation, a spiritual rule, etc., they also, at the same time, teach that the Jewish people were, in fact, the initial recipients of the promises, even those promises about the literal land. But should we believe that God is okay with men twisting His words around to mean something entirely different than what He stated so very clearly and repeatedly? For who did God really make all those everlasting promises to as He spoke to and through Israel’s patriarchs and prophets? Did He make them to the Church? Or did He make them to the literal offspring of Jacob? Anyone who has read the Bible, objectively, knows the answer.
We know that God covenanted with Jacob’s literal descendants –a race, a nation, a cultural/ethnic group, the Israelites, the Jews. Many of the branches were broken off through unbelief (Rom. 11:20), yet this is no excuse to teach that God revoked what His Word says is an irrevocable election. (v. 28,29) God’s numerous, lasting promises to Israel will be inherited eternally by all those Israelites who turn to their Messiah, though mercifully, Gentiles too, though cut from a wild olive tree, can, also through faith in Jesus, be grafted into the Jews natural, cultivated olive tree. (v. 17-24) Yes, Gentiles have been invited to share in the blessings of the New Covenant which God made with the Jewish race (v. 17,18 & 15:8-12), though the majority of the Jewish people have yet to believe. But, as God’s Word promises over and over, this will change!
Rom. 11:25-27 is just one passage where this promise of redemption is repeated, so let’s look at it closely, even while taking note at how it relates with the three Isaiah verses in my first paragraph above. Let’s then compare it with the way Replacement Theology adherents interpret it.
Here is Rom. 11:25-27, translated correctly, a couple different ways: “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part [a partial hardening / a degree of hardening] until the full number [until the fullness] of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it has been written [through the Jewish prophets]: ‘The Deliverer [the Delivering One] will come from Zion [out of Zion]; He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is My Covenant with them [Jacob’s descendants] when I take away their sins.'”
Now, in every instance that the Israelite’s race, city, or land is referred to, let’s insert the words “the Church” to see if teachers of Replacement Theology are interpreting God’s Word accurately. Indeed, if they were consistent and faithful to their doctrine, they would have to read Rom. 11:25-27 like this: “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, fellow Church people, so that you may not be conceited: The Church has experienced a partial hardening until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all the Church will be saved, as it has been written: ‘The Deliverer will come from the Church; He will remove ungodliness from the Church. And this is My Covenant with the Church when I take away their sins.'”
Some Replacement Theology teachers claim that Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises, or that by being in Jesus everyone is a recipient of all of God’s promises, including every promise He made to the patriarchs. Obviously Rom. 11:25-27 makes zero sense when we insert the name Jesus in place of the names Israel, Jacob, or Zion, so let’s try inserting the idea of “those in Jesus”. It then reads like this: “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers in Jesus, so that you may not be conceited: You who are in Jesus have experienced a partial hardening until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all those in Jesus will be saved, as it has been written: ‘The Deliverer will come from that spiritual place in Jesus; He will remove ungodliness from those in Jesus. And this is My Covenant with those in Jesus when I take away their sins.'” Really? Those in Jesus have experienced a partial hardening until the full number of the Gentiles has come in? Does that make sense? And haven’t those in Christ already had their ungodliness and sins removed? Unquestionably, Rom. 11:25-27 is referring to the literal, physical Jewish people, the descendants of Jacob in the physical land of Israel.
So, let’s ask with the apostle Paul, “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew?” (Rom. 3:1) Let’s believe Paul’s answer, for he says, “Much in every way!” (v. 2) And why? He says, “First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.” (Same verse) “First of all” reveals that there are other advantages as well to belonging to the Jewish race; and of course we can read of these throughout the Word of God such as in Rom. 9:4,5, Mt. 5:35, Zec. ch. 2, Jer. 31:7, Dt. 14:2, etc.
After saying that there are many advantages to being a Jew, Paul promptly asks, “What if some [Jews] disbelieved? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness [to His promises to them]?” (Rom. 3:3) Let’s believe Paul’s answer when he exclaims, “Not at all!” (v. 4) and when he emphatically reminds us that although men lie, God does not! (Same verse)
In verse 1 of Rom. 11 Paul asks, “I ask, then, Did God reject His people?” Immediately he answers, “By no means!” (Same verse) So how can Replacement Theology teachers claim that God has?! Paul continues (also in the same verse), “I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.” Paul is identifying with a physical, literal, bloodline within the Jewish race. He is emphasizing the Jewish race, stating that they are God’s people whom the Lord has not rejected. He is identifying God’s people as being the physical descendants of Abraham. Then he emphasizes the unending relationship again: “God did not reject His people…” (v. 2)
So even though God did, as punishment for their unfaithfulness to Him, remove His favor from them for a time, God has not rejected Israel, the nation He chose as His own inheritance forever. (Dt. 10:15 & 32:9 // Ps. 135:4 // Isa. 14:1,2 // Amos 3:1,2 & 9:11-15) Instead, by the Word who created the world and became a Jewish man (John 1:1-3,14), and though most of “His own [His own possession / His own people] did not receive Him” (v. 11,12), God’s faithfulness to His promises will manifest in a soon-coming spectacular physical deliverance, spiritual revival, and brilliant display of Christ’s glory for and throughout the entire nation of Israel. And every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow to the King of the Jews dwelling in Zion! (Isa. 9:6,7 & 66:7-24 // Zec. 14:16-21 // Phil. 2:9-11 // Rev. 11:15)
The Jewishness of our Lord Jesus is emphasized across the pages of Scripture, including in Christ’s own words even to the last chapter of the Bible: “I, Jesus… am the Root and the Offspring of David… Yes, I am coming soon.” (Rev. 22:16,20)
July 9, 2016
I watched parts of some of your videos on Youtube and after praying about it, I still feel the Lord wants me to again, as I did a few years ago, caution you about the genre of rap, and now even more strongly warn you concerning your apparent increased involvement in it. Rap and hip hop are, as we all know, deeply associated with the ungodliness of the world, characterized by aggressive and/or sensual arm and body movements, profanity, rebellion, arrogance, self-promotion, immorality, the drug culture, violence, murder, the degradation of women, and the idolization of wealth, along with the glorification and legitimization of feelings of discontent, of being deprived or victimized, and of anger and rage and lust.
Such things, of course, are not in line with living out Christ Jesus and His holiness, so how is it okay to associate ourselves with such an art form? Is such an art form redeemable? Even if we put clean words into the form, how is this different than mixing the profane with the sacred? How is proclaiming God’s righteousness through this avenue different than if a group would hand out beer cans or cigarette packages with the Gospel message written on the cans or boxes? The Gospel would have minimal effect, at best, by the mixture, by the creation of confusion, and by the promotion of worldliness. How is “Christian rap” different than someone participating with his friends in questionable or sinful activities for the purpose, supposedly, of being a “Christian influence”? God forbids us to mix Him in with that which is worldly or related to unwholesomeness, for mixtures defile the clean and teach that there is no difference between the unholy and the holy. The Lord says this is to profane Him. (Ezek. 22:26) Therefore, even a hint of us mixing with uncleanliness is improper for God’s holy people. (Eph. 5:3) Instead, we are to train ourselves to distinguish good from evil. (Heb. 5:14)
Is “Christian rap” patterned after the world? We cannot deny that it is. Rom. 12:2 tells us not to conform any longer to the pattern of this world. Patterning ourselves after the world is contrasted with being transformed by the renewing of our minds. (Same verse) Then, and only then, will we be able to discern God’s will, that which is good, acceptable, and perfect. (Same verse)
The Lord tells us that only if we separate, and remain separated, from that which is unclean will He accept us. (1 Cor. 3:16,17 // 2 Cor. 6:17,18) If we do not, we will, along with the sinful, receive God’s wrath (1 Cor. 3:17 // Rev. 18:4-8), for “friendship with the world is hatred toward God” (Ja. 4:4) and by such spiritual adultery we make ourselves an enemy of God. (Same verse) “God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.” (Eph. 5:6,7) Is there any harmony between that which is of the world and that which is of the Holy Spirit? 2 Cor. 6:14-16 tells us there is not. Thus we are most definitely required to cleanse ourselves of defilements (2 Tim. 2:21), to continue to “purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit” (2 Cor. 7:1), and to make every effort to be found spotless and reverent toward God and His holiness so that we won’t fall but instead inherit eternal life. (Same verse // 2 Pe. 1:5-11 & 3:14-18)
I exhort you to reconsider if rap is truly “a platform to witness for the Lord” as you say. Does it turn many from sin and teach people to stand in reverent awe of God’s name and holiness? (Mal. 2:5,6) If our teaching and/or our behavior is a cause for others to think, speak, or behave sinfully or to be careless about reverence toward God and His name, requirements, and holiness, then we invite God’s curse (v. 1-9), even Hell. (Mt. 13:41,42) God is adamant that His people must discern and teach the difference between the impure and the pure (Ezek. 44:23) for anyone impure will not be allowed fellowship with Him or be saved. (Heb. 10:26-31 & 12:14 // 1 John 1:6 // Rev. 21:27)
Who are those people united with Christ? They are those who obey His commands (1 John 3:24) and Word (2:3-5) and conduct themselves just as Jesus did (v. 6) by being led and controlled by His Spirit (Rom. 8:9,13,14) so that they consistently walk in the will of the Father. (Mt. 7:21-23) They are those who behave “in a manner worthy of the calling” (Eph. 4:1), “in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ” (Phil. 1:27), and “in a manner worthy of the Lord” (Col. 1:10), pleasing Him in every way while producing the fruit of holiness. (Same verse // 1 Pe. 1:14-17)
Such are the people who have died to Self, and sin, and the world (Rom. 6:1-7 // Gal. 2:20 & 6:14), are conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29), and are inheritors of the Kingdom of God. (6:22 // Rev. 3:4,5)
January 9, 2016
One evening last month (on 12/12/15) as I was studying the Scriptures while also questioning the role I had in the furtherance of God’s Kingdom, the Lord’s comfort came to me afresh. This is what I wrote down within the same hour –as a possible post but particularly so that I would remember for myself God’s encouragement to me:
It was through a woman preacher that God called me to use my life to proclaim His Word, and speaking directly to my spirit, He used exact words.
When I was admiring an older woman preacher (a guest speaker) at Preach The Word Church in Minneapolis, MN, my first year in college, I was thinking something like, “If she is a woman and can preach, then that means I could. And I want to do that!” I suddenly heard from the Lord, very clearly in my spirit, these exact words: “You are going to be an evangelist.”
In spite of having just been wishing I could preach, hearing this from God was actually a big shock. For one, I was studying to be an El. Ed. teacher and two, because I really had never envisioned myself speaking on a platform in front of adults. I was very shy, and the times when I felt compelled to say anything within a group, even within a small Bible study, my heart would begin to pound so hard that I usually just had to remain silent. I still find it amazing that I actually had that overwhelming desire come into my heart and mind to be a preacher of the Word when I saw that woman preaching that Sunday and that, furthermore, it was right before God stated to me that I was going to be an evangelist. I also find it amazing that this happened at a church called Preach The Word, one that I had been attending for a few months (whenever I could catch a ride there).
When the Lord said these words to me, I believed Him at the time (and afterward), even though I found it profoundly incredible. But, I reasoned to myself that one day I wouldn’t be as shy and therefore later in life I’d be able to get up in front of others to preach. I also figured that I’d be asked to preach at different churches (for that is what I considered to be an evangelist). I did not think about the possibility of preaching on public sidewalks or over the internet, as at the time I knew next to nothing about either.
Today is 12/12/15 and after feeling discouraged about the realization that half of Christ’s body (the female gender) is experiencing their gifts being repressed, I immediately felt the Lord reminding me again that He had called me to be an evangelist, that He had initially done so while using a woman preacher/evangelist, and that I am to thus not worry about anything man says or does to me. It warmed and comforted me, and some tears formed in my eyes. I felt the Lord’s great love and affirmation wash over me, assuring me that I have been using my life the way He prescribed for me, and that I am to continue faithfully in His choice of assignment for me.
Thank you, Lord. I love you and want to fulfill my calling, always doing exactly what You say. Please continue to give me Your power, Your words, and Your guidance.
To whom was the resurrected Christ first revealed, and the commission given, to tell the disciples, including the men, about Him? –To women. Moreover, “‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy [will proclaim My Word]…'” (Acts 2:17)
Yes, everyone who is willing to follow Christ has been commanded and empowered by the Lord’s Spirit to proclaim, teach, and model, throughout the earth, the teaching found in the inspired Word of God. In what manner, what location, and with what gifts we fulfill this, is up to God, not men. (1 Cor. 12:4-11)
March 22, 2015
Being holy has to do with conduct. The opposite of being holy is being sinful. Even so, we have many who try to tell us that being holy means to be separated unto God. But that is a misleading description, for by being separated unto God –by receiving this privilege– we are expected, yes, required, to walk in submission to His commands. If we are in His Kingdom –of which He is the King– then we are obligated to comply with His rules of righteous living. Holiness is about conduct.
1 Peter 1:14-17 states it plainly: “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’ And if you call on Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.”
There is a lot in those verses that we could discuss, but I want to point out that conduct is being emphasized. Conduct obedient to our Heavenly Father is being stressed. Conduct conformed to God Himself is being underscored. We are being ordered to reject the sinful conduct we displayed when we were ignorant of God and His holiness, and are being ordered to walk in a manner that pleases Him who will judge impartially everyone’s every deed. (See P.S. below.) Furthermore, we are being warned that in light of this situation, we are to fear The Judge throughout our lifetimes and walk in accordance with that holy fear.
So are we separated unto God through an acknowledgement of who Christ is, through a confession of sin, and through a request to be forgiven of sin? Or are we separated unto God through those plus through a persistence in holy conduct?
Let’s look at what Jesus says in John 15:10: “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love.” Is there any other way to abide in Christ’s love –that position in “Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath” (1 Thes. 1:10)– if we do not keep (hold to / obey / abide in / live in / persist in) the Lord’s commands? There is not. (2 Thes. 1:8,9 // Heb. 10:26-31) Jesus says that we must abide in Him in order to be eternally saved (John 15:6) and that this abiding comes from being obedient to His commands. (v. 10 again // see also 1 John 3:24)
It is critical, therefore, that this Truth be understood: Obedience to Christ = Abiding in Christ = Salvation from God’s wrath (Hell)
Righteous conduct is what holiness is about. So if a person does not have righteous conduct, then that person is not abiding in that place of being separated unto God. (Heb. 12:14 // 1 John 2:28,29)
P.S. Our “deeds” by which we will be judged include not only our actions, but also our words, thoughts, and motives. (Ec. 12:14 // Jer. 17:10 // Mt. 5:28-30 & 12:36,37 & ch. 25 // John 5:29 // Rom. 2:16 & 3:19 // 1 Cor. 4:5 // 2 Cor. 5:10 // Heb. 4:13 // Jude 1:15 // Rev. 20:11-15) Moreover, the deeds we did not do but should have –these omissions, considered disobedience, will help to condemn us. (Mt. 7:21 & 12:50 // 2 Cor. 5:15 // Eph. 2:10 // Ja. 2:10 & 4:17 // 1 Peter 4:2 // 1 John 2:17)
May 22, 2014
Israeliteindeed has written another vital exhortation warning us not to follow leaders who, while advertising a false freedom, usher others further into the bondages of sin. Here is an excerpt from her post:
I encourage everyone to read the whole post here:
Is the church experiencing the “Great Apostasy”? (Mt. 24:10-13,24) It almost seems so. But, let us separate ourselves from their defection and heed Jesus’ warning, “Watch out that no one deceives you.” (v. 4)
Do people know they are deceived once they fall for deception? It would behoove us, then, to take serious precaution now by well-equipping ourselves with the Truth.
May 3, 2014
I’d like to pose this question: How much would we pay to possess joy? Would we give up our pursuits, our hobbies, our dreams, our idols…?
It seems like a rat-race out there. So much striving. So much trickery, cheating one another, grabbing to please “me, me, and me again.” What for? Really? A few trinkets? A few hundred dollars extra? And then what? Do they go home and cuddle those possessions… that money…? How long does it ease their pain? A day? A week? What are they doing it for? Just so they can buy a bigger house, a fancier car, more stuff, and then work even faster and more furiously in order to make those higher payments and impress more elitists? Weird culture. More than weird –scary… pathetic…
Jesus has told us that life is not about possessions. (Luke 12:15) –That possessing things, money included, is not what brings about the abundant life that pleases God and thus brings a person true happiness. (Mt. 6:19-34) Along with this teaching, Jesus has given us the warning to be on high alert against all forms of greed. (Luke 12:15) He has cautioned us with the parable about the rich fool who hoarded more and more, sought the indulgent lifestyle, and yet met Death early and unexpectedly, unable, of course, to take one cent with him. (v. 16-20) This, Jesus tells us, will be the hollow end of all who store up things for themselves but are not generous toward God. (v. 21)
Jesus has taught us that we cannot serve both God and Money (possessions, fame, power, or anything the world offers), for we will be devoted to one and despise the other. (Mt. 6:24) Therefore we must choose God and set our mind on Him and true Life. (v. 25) He will give us what we need, and one of the top things we need is joy. No matter what is going on in our lives –trials, sufferings, uncertainties, etc.– if we have joy, we can see good in it all. We can delight in other people, in creation, in God, and in what God is bringing about for His glory and the salvation and eternal reward of many. We can please God, have our needs met, and genuinely delight in life, for we will be serving God and doing His will. It’s the only position that brings lasting and continuous joy.
But to be devoted to God takes giving up all ideas, pursuits, even people, that are not His idea / plan / will for us. And that takes dying. Dying daily to Self. (Luke 9:23,24) If we turn from this Life, this Joy, then “What good is it if we gain the whole world? For in the pursuit of the world, we will have forfeited our eternal soul.” (See v. 25)
So how much would we pay to have true and lasting joy? Hopefully we can answer that we would pay anything and everything God requires, and that we would rejoice in knowing it is infinitely worth doing so.