The System Is Deceitful

April 5, 2018

Friends,
People, church people, and people who call themselves Christians –well, many, it seems, are building their souls on foundations that are not Christ. To be walking on the Narrow Road of Eternal Life (Mt. 7:13,14) we must be careful how we are building (1 Cor. 3:10) and careful that we are building on the True Foundation, who is Jesus Christ. (v. 11) If we are building on anyone or anything other than Him, we are not saved, even if we think we are.

What is this system that many call “church”? Is their church, and is the modern church as a whole, really building on Jesus? Or are they building on a man, a method, and/or a worldly philosophy? Are most churches striving to obey Jesus’ commands, or are they actually striving for fame, for numbers, for accolades, and for thrills? Are they trusting Jesus alone, or are they, in reality, trusting a community and a system? Is their hope truly set on Christ and knowing Him, or is their hope set on a church and on the people they know?

What is this church stuff all about? Is it about Jesus? If it is, it is about obeying Him, it is about preaching the Gospel across the earth with all the fervor we have, going, and supporting those who go. It is about dying daily and letting Christ rule us 24/7. (Luke 9:23-25 // Rom. 8:9 // 2 Cor. 5:15) It is about making disciples, meaning teaching people to obey everything Christ commanded. (Mt. 28:19) It is about insisting that all who claim to be following Christ must really follow Him (John 10:27,28) and behave the way He did (1 John 2:6) –meaning being perfect, as God is perfect. (Mt. 5:48)

But, is this being taught within the church walls, from seminaries, and in the pages of “Christian” books? Jesus told us to repent and believe the Good News (Mark 1:15) and follow Him. (v. 17) What did He say He will do if we’re following Him? He said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” (Same verse)

Therefore, we must all, if we are following Jesus, become fishers of men. If we are filled with His Holy Spirit, we will definitely be compelled to do this and He will give us His words and attitude and strength and wisdom as we step forward in obedience under His guidance and power. (Mt. 5:13-16 & 9:37,38 // Acts 1:8 // Phil. 2:15,16)

But are church-goers doing this? Are they at least preparing themselves to do this, and are their church leaders even encouraging it? Half-heartedly, maybe.

What is being promoted? Well, church attendance, tithing, help with the function of the building and the programs…

It’s a twist. There’s some Truth being taught, but there is a wrong focus, there is error-filled doctrine, there is luke-warmness, there is sin. Even while they praise the Lord and claim they are following Him, they keep sinning! Will not what they’ve built be burned up? (1 Cor. 3:12-15) And will not God destroy those who continue to defile His temple? (v. 17) Each sanctified person is God’s dwelling / God’s temple (v. 16), but even if once sanctified, the defiling one will face the raging fire of God’s wrath. (v. 17 // Heb. 10:26-31)

In the wee hours of this morning, as I lay awake for several hours praying, grieving about the apostatizing church, I suddenly heard from the Lord, “The system is deceitful.” I’ve often thought of the church system as being deceptive, and I have even carried some signs about that, but this was worse. Deceit to me implies deliberate deception. It implies more than a group of people becoming deceived through foolishness or laziness. Instead, it seemed to me to be a focus on those who are deliberately orchestrating the deception and that leaders, with purpose and intent, are using, for their own gain, and especially to try to boost their own ego, a system that is in itself deceitful. Not all are doing this, but most are, or are gravitating toward doing so.

1 Pe. 4:17 warns us that God’s judgement begins with His own people. So, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (v. 18) But don’t most churches teach that it is easy to be saved –in spite of God’s Word which teaches differently, as in Luke 13:24, Acts 14:22, and 2 Pe. 3:14-18? And don’t they teach that once saved, people can act sinful and ungodly and remain saved? God’s Word does not teach these things (see John 15:1-10 and Heb. 3:6-19, 4:11, 6:4-12, & 12:14 for example), but churches do. They do not teach that sowing to please the sinful nature always reaps destruction, as Gal. 5:19-21 & 6:8 state. They do not teach that the sinful nature, with its passions and desires, has, if we belong to Christ, been crucified, as Gal. 5:24 teaches, but instead they teach that we carry around the old sinful nature along with Christ’s divine nature! And this, even though 2 Cor. 5:17 says the opposite, as does 1 John 3:4-10.

People are letting others deceive them. They are allowing a deceitful system to rule them –to both delight and depress them– and to pull them away from the True Foundation who is Jesus alone. For those who allow this to continue, the end will be destruction. (2 Thes. 2:10) Because they refuse to love the Truth –to study the Word of God fervently, obey it, and follow the voice of Jesus– God will punish them by sending them “a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the Truth but have delighted in wickedness.” (v. 11,12)

Therefore, let us come out from among the defiled (2 Cor. 6:17), stop fellowshipping with the unrighteous (v. 14-16), cleanse ourselves (7:1 // Ja. 4:8), submit to God fully, completely, and with finality (Ja. 4:7), and humbly accept and obey the Word which can save us. (1:21 // Luke 6:46-49)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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Friends,
It is common to hear that Christians are saved by grace and that, therefore, we are not saved by works. Eph. 2:8,9 seem to be most often quoted, though they leave out verse 10 which reveals we are ordained to do good works –a verse that implies that if we don’t, we are in rebellion.

Rom. 4:1-5 is also often pointed out about Abraham being justified, not by works, but by believing God. However, the context is left out, for a few verses prior, in Rom. 3:27-31, and really the theme of chapters 2, 3, and 4, show that the works being spoken about are the works of the Jewish law. What Paul is pointing out is that Abraham was found righteous in God’s eyes because of his faith in God’s instructions and promises to him, not by adhering to a law which had not even been given yet. James 2:20-24 makes this point also, stating that this faith Abraham possessed resulted in actions, for it says Abraham was “considered righteous for what he did…” (v. 21) –actions which came as a result of believing God (v. 23,24)– for “his faith was made complete by what he did.” (v. 22)

Thus we see that God’s Word teaches that it is true living faith –the faith that causes obedience– that is credited to us as righteousness. This is what is repeated several times in Romans chapter four and what is stated in the first paragraph of the book –that it is a message concerning “the obedience that comes from faith.” (Rom. 1:5) Scripture does not teach that Christ’s righteousness covers the person continuing in sin (disobedience –Eph. 5:6 / lawlessness –1 John 3:4 / rebellion –Heb. 3:7-15), but rather teaches that our faith (which equates to trust and eager obedience) is what makes us righteous in God’s eyes. Yes, it is God’s grace that has given (faith-filled) people the gift of righteousness, which is what Rom. 5:17 reveals, but this same verse reveals that this gift of righteousness (actual righteous conduct –see 1 John 3:7, not a claim –Titus 1:16) is what is to reign in our lives. As Rom. 8:4 says, the righteous requirements of the law (God’s moral law –1 Cor. 7:19 / Christ’s law –1 Cor. 9:21, preformed through the law of the Spirit –Rom. 8:9 & 7:6) are expected to be fully met in us. (See also John 15:10)

It is true that 2 Cor. 5:21 teaches “that in Him [Christ] we might become the righteousness of God”, but this is available only for those of whom verse 15 speaks of –those who are living “no longer for themselves but for Him who died for them”, and those of whom verse 17 is true: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old [creature and lifestyle] has gone, the new has come!” These expectations being of the True Doctrine, and so that we do not “receive God’s grace in vain” (2 Cor. 6:1), we are to “purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Cor. 7:1)

As Rom. 8:13 teaches, we ourselves are to eliminate sin from ourselves using the power of the Spirit we’ve been given (given because of God’s grace), thereby walking in the Spirit so that we do not fulfill the desires of the sinful nature. (Gal. 5:16) Indeed, God’s grace has been poured out that we might live pleasing to Him, not so that we can sin safely with Christ’s righteousness supposedly covering us and hiding us from the eyes of the omniscient God! Definitely, no matter what sinning “Christians” claim, the Truth teaches that “those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:8)

Rom. 4:6-8 may likely also be mentioned by those who think faith does not include works, but Paul, in quoting David’s words in Ps. 32:1,2 is making a point about God’s forgiveness toward those who have faith apart from circumcision / Jewish law. Again, this is the theme throughout the context of chapter 4, as well as of chapters 2 and 3. If we go to Ps. 32, verse 2 finishes with, “and in whose spirit is no deceit.” Assumedly Paul did not quote this last phrase of David’s because he was stressing a slightly different point –the point that God pardons anyone having living faith, including non-Jews. Paul was not negating the need for repentance and obedience to God. Indeed, if we look at verses 3-5 of Ps. 32, we can see that David writes that it was only when he acknowledged and confessed his sin to the Lord, that the Lord forgave his guilt (v. 5), and that until he relinquished his sin, God’s hand was heavy upon him and he was under great duress. (v. 3,4) It is important that we interpret Scripture with Scripture when determining what the true doctrine of Christ is.

Some people may bring into the discussion Isa. ch. 53 which tells us that Jesus bore our sins by His death, and which ends with, “For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (v. 12) Yes, this atoning sacrifice was not a reward for anything good we humans had done, but was instead God’s gift to all mankind, undeserving though we all are. This truly is grace, making it true that this gracious gift of salvation has not been granted because of our works.

However, it is also true that we must believe in this Gift, we must receive it, and once we receive it, we must submit to, follow, and obey the Giver, who is, we must recognize, The King, The Lord Almighty, the Ruler and Boss of all, and the Rightful Master of our individual lives. It must be taught how this is done, for it is done by renouncing and turning from all sin. As Isa. 55:7 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him, and [let him turn] to our God, for He will freely pardon.” Scripture does not teach that God’s grace and His gift of righteousness is given to the person who refuses to forsake sin.

So, to think that the Gift of grace, forgiveness, pardon, righteousness, and salvation is for those who believe in Jesus –well, this is not the entire Truth, for “even the demons believe and shudder.” (Ja. 2:19) Really, truth is not truth if some of it is left out, or if something is added to it, for then it is only partial truth. Jesus and John the Baptist and the apostles and the prophets continually stated that there must be repentance, a forsaking of sin, a life producing “fruit in accordance with repentance.” (Mt. 3:8) As Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:3) And as Mt. 3:10 warns, “Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Clear confirmation of this is found in Gal. 6:8 –that those who sow to please the sinful nature will reap for themselves destruction as opposed to those who sow to please the Spirit which results in eternal life. Thus those who teach that Christ-followers (Christians) are safe to sin are deceiving themselves and others and making a mockery of God’s Word. (v. 7)

Repentance is absolutely necessary for salvation, as is continued obedience. Moreover, repentance cannot be considered a one-time prayer of acknowledgment of sin but is instead a change of mind, heart, conduct, and spirit. It is a forsaking of sin by letting Christ take it out of us (1 John 3:5) and give us His own divine, sin-free nature (v. 9) which compels us to do what is right. (v. 10) Thus salvation is given to the new creation who keeps on faithfully following Christ by obeying Him.

The Gift of Grace is not the only necessity for salvation, then, is it? No, instead, as Titus 2:11-14 teaches, it is God’s grace that has been given to the world so that those of us who choose to apply it can be redeemed from all wickedness and can walk in pureness, good works, self-discipline, godliness, freedom from the darkness, and eternal life. Those who choose to walk on this holy path consisting of holy conduct (1 Pe. 1:15) are them who can rest in the hope of that further grace which is to be given when Jesus returns (v. 13b) and when God “judges each person’s work impartially.” (v. 17)

We are saved by God’s grace, then, aren’t we? For without it we could not be saved. However, refusing to walk in obedience to God when His grace has given us new life and the power to do so (2 Pe. 1:3,4), is a refusal to apply His grace to ourselves. This refusal would be to “receive God’s grace in vain.” (2 Cor. 6:1)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Several days ago I received a comment at my comment page from a Carl Bromley, taking issue with the fact that I write against the “once saved, always saved” (OSAS) doctrine. I reminded him of many Scripture passages and asked him to explain how he would interpret them. He did not answer. I do wish that if someone comes to my comment page, asking me to give, or change, my views on something, and I take considerable time and effort to answer, that the person would then respond, especially if I ask questions of them as well. I believe this is the only courageous and respectful thing to do. Here is what I wrote to Carl Bromley at my comment page this last Monday, 3/12/18, and I hope that others who rely on the false OSAS doctrine will study and answer the questions for themselves:

Hi Carl. May the Lord bless our walk with Him as we listen to and obey His voice of Truth. As you know, Jesus tells us to remain in Him (John 15:1-10), warning us that if we do not, the consequence is withering and being thrown to the fire. (v. 6) Jesus tells us to remain in His love (v.9) –revealing we have the choice– and tells us that we remain in His love through our obedience to His commands. (v. 10) If you do not interpret this passage this way, then what is your interpretation? (See Rom. 8:13,14 which teaches it is our choice to use the Spirit’s power available to us.)

Jesus tells us in John 10:27,28 that His (true) sheep –those He gives eternal life to– are those who heed His voice and follow Him. To follow Christ is to do what He instructs, wouldn’t you agree? Isn’t Jesus confirming this teaching when He says in Mt. 10:38 that “anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me”? Do we not have to obey Christ to be following Him (with our cross) and to thus be in God’s will? Doesn’t Jesus state in Mt. 12:50 that only those who do the Father’s will are those who belong in His family? Does He not also state this in Mt. 7:21 and in John 8:31? Does 1 John 2:17 not also confirm that it is only those doing the will of God who are inheritors of Eternal Life?

Eternal Life is knowing (having an intimate friendship) with the Lord (John 17:3) and thus being united with Him in Spirit, which comes through obedience to His commands, as 1 John 3:24 says. If this is our position, then we are no longer controlled by the sinful nature but instead by the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 8:9) For, “The man who says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the Truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4) Therefore, “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands.” (v. 3) This is how we remain in God’s love, making His love complete in us. (v. 5a) “This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must conduct himself as Jesus did.” (v. 5b,6) Jesus always said and did exactly what His Father commanded Him. (John 12:49,50 & 14:31)

How would you interpret 1 John 3:6? For it says that if we keep on sinning we do not live in Christ, nor do we know Him. How would you interpret verses 7-10? Verse 7 warns that we can be lead astray by those who teach other than this: That those who do what is right are righteous, just as Christ is righteous. Verse 10 says, “Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God.” Verse 8 tells us, “He who does what is sinful is of the devil”, which means we cannot be of Christ. Verse 9 says that we cannot go on sining if we have been born of God –which is to possess His Spirit and His divine nature. 2 Pe. 1:3,4 confirm this and so do these verses: Eph. 2:11 which teaches that the sinful nature has been circumcised off of us, and Gal. 5:24 which says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires”, and Rom. ch. 6 which tells us we have died to sin (v. 2), having been freed from it (v. 18) through wholehearted obedience to the Truth (v. 17), and so are now slaves to obedience which leads to righteousness (v. 16), which leads to holiness (v. 19), which results in Eternal Life. (v. 22)

To claim to know Christ while also resisting His power available for conducting ourselves in full obedience to Him is to deny Christ (2 Tim. 3:5 // Titus 1:16), and if we continue there we will eventually incur God’s wrath against us. (Mt. 7:26,27 & 24:48-51 // Heb. 4:11 // 2 Pe. 3:17) Heb. 10:26-31 speaks of this also and from verse 29 we can see that this is a possibility included for those once sanctified.

How do you interpret Rev. 3:2? Jesus says there, “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of My God.” He is talking to a church about their deeds. How do you interpret Ja. 2:24? It says, “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” Verse 22 teaches us that faith is made complete by what we do –our behavior. Verses 17 and 26 state that faith without deeds is dead and useless. In other words, there is a faith that does not save.

Are you saying that we can be wicked if we have once been saved? Gal. 5:19-21 tells us that those who behave with impurity, discord, rage, envy, etc. will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 1 Cor. 6:9 tells us, as well, while listing various sinful behaviors, that “the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Verse 11 says, “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified…”, meaning the wicked deeds are in the past. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17) As Rom. 6:21 says, those shameful acts result in death, while verse 19 insists they are only of the past. 1 Pe. 1:13-17 reminds us that conforming to evil desires is the behavior of ignorance (v. 14), and thus commands us to live our lives in reverent fear (v. 17) and to be holy in all we do. (v. 15) And as verse 22 tells us, we are purified by obeying the Truth.

How can you say it is not about our deeds? How would you interpret Rom. 2:5-11? Verse 6 says, “God will give to each person according to what he has done.” (See also Rev. 3:15,16 & 20:11-15) “For God does not show favoritism.” (Rom. 2:11) God is going to judge deeds and the result is wrath or honor and reward. (v. 7-10 // Mt. 25:14-30) Laziness, neglect, willful ignorance, and any kind of disobedience –God considers this rebellion toward what He has provided for our victory over sin –which is His grace (Titus 2:11-14), His Living Word (Heb. 4:12 // 1 Pe. 1:23), and His Spirit’s power. (Eph. 1:19 & 3:20 // 2 Pe. 1:3,4) For if we walk in the Spirit, we will, by the Spirit’s power, keep the sinful nature dead (Rom. 8:13 // Gal. 5:16), but if we do not, we will perish. (Luke 13:3 // Rom. 8:13,14 // Gal. 6:8)

Well, I could go on, for I see in the Scriptures multitudes of warnings that if we refrain from doing the works ordained for us to do throughout our lives (Eph. 2:10), refrain from denying Self (Luke 9:23) and everything (14:33), refrain from proving our repentance by our deeds (Acts 26:20), then we will be turned away at The Judgement. (Mt. 25:1-13 // Luke 13:23-27 // John 5:29 // Eph. 5:5,6) It is a daily choice throughout life to live, no longer for ourselves, but only for the will of God. (2 Cor. 5:15 // Gal. 2:20 // Heb. 3:6-19 // 1 Pe. 4:1,2) I recognize this is not what is taught in the Lukewarm Church –which will be vomited out of God’s mouth (Rev. 3:16) because of her pitiful deeds and attitudes. (v. 15,17) But it is what is taught in God’s Word.

After you read the (many) verses I’ve included, I hope you will tell me how you interpret them, particularly the specific ones I asked about.

Thank you for your comment.

In Christ,
Rachel

Friends,
Isa. 66:2 says, “All these things My hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD / Yahweh. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My Word.” Does this last phrase describe us? Or are we proud, lacking in contrition for those things we’ve done against others, as well as against God and His Word? Do we tremble at God’s Word, or do we tremble at man’s word? Whose word persuades us and influences everything else we believe? Whose word do we honor, study, and promote? Are we humble and contrite before God, or do we behave, think, and speak as if we know more than what His Word states to be the truth?

As the above verse says, along with the verse before it, and along with Acts 7:49,50, which quotes it, the LORD tells us that He is the one who made the heavens and the earth and everything in them. Throughout Scripture, from the first book to the last, we are repeatedly told this. Rev. 4:11 says, “Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they existed and were created.” Do we understand that all things exist because of God’s will, that He created it all, and that because of this truth, God is worthy to be praised by His creation?

Rev. 14:7 commands, “Worship the One who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and the springs of waters.” Acts 14:15 tells us that the Good News is the proclamation that all people must turn from worthless things “to the Living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.” Acts 17:24 says, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth…” In other words, the true God is the Creator of everything (Isa. 45:12), and He is the Eternal Ruler / King / Lord / Boss of everything. (Jer. 10:10 // 1 Tim. 6:15) Indeed, His name is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16) “and His name is the Word of God.” (v. 13) Why, then, would anyone not tremble at the LORD’s Word?

But there are many who do not tremble. Instead of believing the Word of God and trusting Him, they believe in worthless things and trust worthless words. Claiming to be wise, they are fools, for they exchange the glory and truth of God for images, fabrications, and lies, worshiping and serving the creation rather than the Creator. (Rom. 1:22,23,25) Instead of praising and worshipping God for being the Almighty Creator “who does no wrong” (Dt. 32:4) and whose “works are perfect, and… [whose] ways are just” (same verse), many defame God and His greatness and His Word by claiming that time and chance and natural selection and violence and death are the creators of life and the universe. What irreverence toward the True and Living God! What disdain toward His Word which says that “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good”! (Gen. 1:31) Truly, those “Christians” who insist that God created by evolving one creature into another using disease, pain, violence, and death rather than His all-loving, all-powerful, miracle-working Word, are surely of those Isa. 5:20,21 warns about, saying, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil… Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes…”

Jer. 10:6,7 inform us that no one is like the LORD in greatness and power and that therefore all nations are required to revere Him. Verse 12 tells us that it is by His power and wisdom that God made the earth and heavens. Ps. 33:6 informs us, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth.” Verse 8 gives the order, “Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere Him.” And why? Verse 9 answers: “For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.” It is by His Word / His breath / His command that God created! Yet because they believe the myths of men, many refuse to believe God’s own statements in His Word, such as, “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.” (Ex. 20:11) They refuse to accept that this statement in Hebrew can mean nothing other than six literal days, for when qualified by a number, the word “yom” always means a 24 hour day. Why are so many neglecting to revere Him who is the Word of God? It is because they believe men’s teachings above what God’s Word says.

Nevertheless, God’s Word tells us that the Word of God is God (John 1:1) and that “The Word became human and lived for a while among us.” (v. 14) This, of course, is Jesus, and verse 3 says regarding the Word, “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” Col. 1:15-17 confirms this while saying about Jesus, “He is the image of the invisible God… For by Him all things were created… all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Heb. 1:2,3 teach the same when, in referring to the Son (Jesus), we read, “whom He [God] appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word.” How can anyone who claims to have faith in the Scripture not recognize that God created and sustains the universe through one means and one Person –Jesus, the Word of God?! As Heb. 11:3 says, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the Word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

Even so, sadly, there are many who discredit the Word of God, and by holding tightly to the words of men who have exchanged the glory of the Creator for their own inventions and myths, they defame Jesus Himself.

Truly, as 2 Tim. 4:3,4 has warned us, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the Truth and turn aside to myths.” Indeed, many have done precisely this.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Below are the two new signs I made on Thursday and used this last Friday down at the bus and train stops. It was such a beautiful-weather day that I prayed I’d have strength for the whole afternoon –from noon until 6:00– and I did. I happened to meet another woman evangelist when I first got down there and she and I went over to talk with two men who also often evangelize down there and we all had a wonderful 20 minutes or so of fellowship, laughter, and prayer. Then I went on to the restaurant area where those walking to or from lunch could see my signs and receive my tracts, though most in that area, as usual, refused me.

After lunch time I walked back to the poorer section and got into many excellent conversations. I encouraged many with Scripture verses, prayed with some, and even prayed with one man who prayed “the sinner’s prayer” and also asked Jesus to deliver him from alcohol. One young man, at another corner, talked with me for over half an hour, telling me he was greatly inspired to return to following Jesus and wanted to evangelize in power also.

The whole afternoon was excellent and mostly positive except for at one point when one particular young man kept telling me that Jesus came only for the Israelites, of which he was a citizen supposedly (of course). I said that the Gospel of Salvation is for the Gentiles also, but I listened patiently to him as he gave his verses (twisting Scripture). However, when I told him he was adhering to the Black Hebrew Roots groups, which are wrong, he started harassing me and following me from one corner to another. Then he started in about women aren’t supposed to preach and that my clothing was men’s clothing and he even yelled, “This woman is an abomination!” I said to him, “This is women’s clothing in this culture.”

“Not back then, it wasn’t,” he retorted.

“Back then men wore robes,” I said. “So you are not wearing men’s clothing, I guess.” But he just yelled some more as I crossed the street again to try to get rid of him.

I’ve heard that the Black Hebrew Roots groups are often down there on Saturdays, yelling with microphones and insulting people walking by, and saying exclusionist things. (My husband and I got harassed by them last year when we went witnessing down there on a Saturday near Easter time.) I do wonder why the law allows the expressions of their hate-filled doctrine. May the Lord put a stop to it.

I actually didn’t give the insulting young man much thought after he left until later in the evening when I was about to go to bed and I was reading the Word. The Lord showed me Rev. 5:9,10 and it struck me as a concise contradiction to the “Israelites Only” groups. It says about Jesus, the Lamb, “…You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

There is a lot of theology in those two verses. But certainly some of what we learn here is that through His shed blood Jesus did not just purchase Israelites back for God, but Gentiles also. When John records in Rev. 7:9,10 concerning those wearing white robes and praising God, he says it “was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language.” (v. 9) Specifically these were “those who had come out of the great tribulation, who had washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (see v. 14), but truly, the Word of God teaches that every ethnic group has been offered salvation, this fact confirmed in numerous other passages, just a few being Isa. 56:3-8, Luke 2:10,29-32, John 3:16 & 4:39-42, and Acts 10:43-11:18, Rom. 1:5,13-16 & 2:5-11, as well as Acts 28:28 which states, “I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”; and Rom. 11:11 which also states, plainly, that “salvation has come to the Gentiles.”

The salvation that comes through Jesus Christ is for all people everywhere. For “Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all people” (1 Tim. 2:5,6) “is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) Therefore, “Whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the Water of Life.” (Rev. 22:17)

I used several signs on Friday, but here, with supporting Scripture references, are my two new ones, reminding everyone that Salvation and Eternal Life means we are truly freed from the penalty and the power and captivity of Sin:

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May we all put the Truth into practice in our own lives as we work to spread the Good News across the earth.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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

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