Tag Archive: Faith


If you are getting involved with the Sacred Name movement, you should be aware where that road leads.  It directs you into the Hebrew Roots movement, and the Hebrew Roots movement teaches that you should be under The Law.  From what I’ve seen, they also deny the Trinity.  And they lead you to submit to the rabbis who adhere, not to the Old Testament as you would suppose but, to the (occult) Talmud/the ‘oral tradition’/the interpretation of the rabbis, etc.  Some even go so far as to throw out the books written by Paul, and to declare him a false apostle!

If you wish to try to live by The Law, that’s your choice, but understand this:

‘We [who are] Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is NOT JUSTIFIED by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the FAITH of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall NO flesh be justified. . . .  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.‘ (Galatians 2:15-16, 21)

Your justification can never come by the law, but only by your faith in Jesus Christ.  Furthermore:

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in ALL things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

But that NO man is justified by the LAW in the sight of God, [it is] evident: for, The just shall live by FAITH.  And the LAW IS NOT OF FAITH . . . Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through FAITH.’  (Galatians 3:10-14)

It’s a VERY good thing that Jesus Christ died to redeem us from that curse of The Law, because NO ONE is able to keep all things which are written in the book of the law (Law of Moses).  If you doubt me, read the book of Leviticus and see what you are signing up for.  The Apostles rightly characterized The Law as being ‘a yoke . . . which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear‘.  Beyond that, there are things which the Law of Moses was not able to justify!

‘ . . . through this man [Jesus] is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:  And by him all that believe are justified from ALL things, from which ye could NOT be justified by the law of Moses.’  (Acts 13:38-39)

You may TRY to keep The Law–but no one can.  And if you don’t keep EVERYTHING written in it, you’re under a curse.  And even if you COULD keep it, it wouldn’t justify everything! Only Jesus Christ can justify us in ALL things.

Now, if you wish to live by The Law as a matter of lifestyle preference, that’s your choice.  While I DO believe that most of the early Jewish believers still did their best to live according to The Law, they trusted in Jesus’ sacrifice to cover them when they fell short.  I suspect they kept The Law as a matter of CUSTOM, and as a witness of their continued commitment to righteousness, for their Jewish family and friends.

But, it is clear that GENTILE believers are definitely NOT required to keep the Law of Moses.  Notice the wording of the decision made by the (Jewish) Apostles, in regards to whether the Gentiles should keep The Law:

‘Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have TROUBLED YOU with words, SUBVERTING YOUR SOULS, saying, [Ye must] BE CIRCUMCISED, AND KEEP THE LAW: TO WHOM WE GAVE NO [SUCH] COMMANDMENT . . .it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

(1) That ye abstain from meats offered to idols,

(2) and from blood,

(3) and from things strangled,

(4) and from fornication:

from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.’

(Acts 15:24, 28-29)

We are told, throughout the Scriptures, both old and new testaments, to keep God’s (ten) Commandments.  Other than that, the above four things are all that is binding upon Gentile believers.

And, since I started out with a mention of the Sacred Name movement, you should know that nowhere in Scripture is there any sort of fuss made as to how we address our Father in Heaven.  This is the same sort of silly superstition that leads Kabbalistic (occult-involved) Jews to not speak the name of God.  (Or perhaps that is merely their excuse, because they do not wish to use the name of God, since those in the Kabbalistic/occult ‘Synagogue of Satan’  are actually worshiping Satan/Lucifer.)  Look deeper into who is leading the Sacred Name and Hebrew Roots movements, because I suspect that is who you will find working behind the scenes.

The Lord knows our heart, and He knows when we are calling out to Him.

‘All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT.’  (Jesus–John 6:37)

(Not even if you are mistaken about His name.)

‘Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his . . . ‘  (2 Timothy 2:19)

‘But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.’  (John 4:23-24)

In spirit and in truth–not in form and ritual (which are hallmarks of the occult).  Jesus went all the way to the cross, and gave His life for you– He wouldn’t turn you away for something so small as if you were in error about His name!!

‘Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.’  (Luke 12:32)

Naked Christians

‘The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.  Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and [my] fatlings [are] killed, and all things [are] ready: come unto the marriage.  But they made light of [it], and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated [them] spitefully, and slew [them].  But when the king heard [thereof], he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.’   (Matthew 22:2-7)

This is a quick summary of the history of Israel, through AD 70.

 

‘Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.  Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.’  (Matthew 22:8-10)

This summarizes taking the gospel to all the world.

 

‘And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man WHICH HAD NOT ON A WEDDING GARMENT: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast [him] into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

For many are called, but few [are] chosen.‘  (Matthew 22:11-14)

 

This is a warning for today.  It is not enough just to answer the gospel invitation.  We must be clothed in a proper wedding garment!  And what is that garment?

 

‘ . . . as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might SANCTIFY and CLEANSE it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, NOT HAVING SPOT, OR WRINKLE, or any such thing; but that it should be HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH.’  (Ephesians 5:25-27)

 

‘For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after RIGHTEOUSNESS, GODLINESS, FAITH, LOVE, PATIENCE, MEEKNESS.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called . . . That thou keep [this] commandment WITHOUT SPOT, UNREBUKEABLE, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:’  (1 Timothy 6:10-14)

 

‘ . . . be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, WITHOUT SPOT, and BLAMELESS.’  (2 Peter 3:14)

(If it depended only on Jesus Christ’s righteousness, we would not be told to BE DILIGENT.)

 

Our wedding garment is the spiritual fruit we bear, the faith we live by, and the holiness of our lifestyle.

‘ . . . that they should repent and turn to God, and DO WORKS MEET FOR REPENTANCE.’  (Acts 26:20)

 

‘But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS, TEMPERANCE: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s have CRUCIFIED THE FLESH WITH THE AFFECTIONS AND LUSTS.’  (Galatians 5:22-24)

 

‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath BEFORE ORDAINED THAT WE SHOULD WALK IN THEM.’  (Ephesians 2:10)

 

‘By FAITH Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that HE PLEASED GOD.’  (Hebrews 11:5)

 

‘And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; FOR THEE HAVE I SEEN RIGHTEOUS before me in this generation.’  (Genesis 7:1)

 

‘Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us CLEANSE OURSELVES from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, PERFECTING HOLINESS in the FEAR OF GOD.’  (2 Corinthians 7:1)

 

‘ . . . for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now YIELD YOUR MEMBERS servants to RIGHTEOUSNESS UNTO HOLINESS . . . But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, YE HAVE YOUR FRUIT UNTO HOLINESS, and the end everlasting life.’  (Romans 6:19, 22)

 

In verse thirteen, we saw what happened to the guest who had come to the wedding feast without a garment:

‘Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and TAKE HIM AWAY, and CAST [HIM] INTO OUTER DARKNESS; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

 

Jesus repeats this teaching again . . .

‘Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles TO BURN THEM: but gather the wheat into my barn.’

(Matthew 13:30)

 

And again . . .

‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit HE TAKETH AWAY: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.   Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  If a man abide not in me, he is CAST FORTH as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and CAST [THEM] INTO THE FIRE, and they are burned.’  (John 15:1-6)

 

Paul teaches with this same spiritual understanding:

‘For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:  But that which beareth thorns and briers [is] REJECTED, and [is] nigh unto cursing; WHOSE END [IS] TO BE BURNED.

But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. . . And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:  That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. . . And so, after [Abraham] had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.’  (Hebrews 6:7-15)

 

Salvation does not come at our profession of faith.  We receive salvation if we endure to the end and produce the spiritual fruit that comes from a life of holiness and sanctification.

‘And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name’s sake: but he that endureth TO THE END shall be saved.’  (Matthew 10:22)

 

‘But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, IF WE HOLD FAST the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope FIRM UNTO THE END.’  (Hebrews 3:6)

 

The key to bearing spiritual fruit is to abide in Jesus.

‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same BRINGETH FORTH MUCH FRUIT: for without me ye can do nothing.’  (John 15:4-5)

 

Hear two final warnings, for our generation:

** ‘Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and KEEPETH HIS GARMENTS, LEST HE WALK NAKED, and they see his shame.’  (Revelation 16:15)

 

**’ And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art LUKEWARM, and neither cold nor hot, I WILL SPUE THEE OUT OF MY MOUTH.

BECAUSE THOU SAYEST, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and KNOWEST NOT THAT THOU ART WRETCHED, and MISERABLE, and POOR, and BLIND, and NAKED: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and WHITE RAIMENT, THAT THOU MAYEST BE CLOTHED, and [that] the SHAME OF THY NAKEDNESS do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, THAT THOU MAYEST SEE.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: BE ZEALOUS therefore, and REPENT.’  (Revelation 3:14-19)

‘But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.’ (James 1:22-24)

So much of what James said speaks to us today. This is our culture! We listen to all kinds of things, pick what we like, and disregard the rest. But rarely do we do more than listen, and add to our store of knowledge or opinions. How often do we act on what we learn?

Here, James echos Paul’s words from Romans 2:13.  Then, in the second chapter, James teaches us that faith without works is dead. The idea is the same . . . it’s not what you say, or think, or believe–it’s what you DO that matters.

We’d better start DOING what the Word says–not just read it, agree with it, ponder it, and believe it.

I recently had the experience of caring for some children. They are very sweet children, and if you can get their full attention, they will listen intently. But no sooner would I tell them something, than they would go and do as they pleased! Over time, it became obvious that this was a pattern. They simply could not comprehend that they needed to submit to me–that they needed to both listen AND obey. I found myself getting more and more angry and frustrated.

But isn’t this how most people are today? How frustrated and angry God must get! He tells us things and we smile and nod, but then we go on doing just whatever we please!

Now I’m sure some people will try to correct me and say that God is kind, gracious, loving, longsuffering, forgiving, etc. Let me say a couple of things in response to that . . .

#1. God is the creator of the universe! He is Lord over ALL! He is worthy of our full attention and complete obedience! (Do we imagine the angels in heaven have the nerve to treat God the way that we do?) More than once, I sat the children down and told them: ‘I am the boss. This is my house, I am the grown up, and I am the boss. You need to listen to what I say and then be obedient.’ Of course, they would smile and nod . . . and go back to doing what they pleased. Each time we had this talk, I got a little louder, and their eyes got a little wider, but the result was always the same. I can only imagine how God perceives our lack of reverence and respect for Him, demonstrated by our failure to obey Him.

#2. If you truly want to understand God’s character, you need to read the Old Testament. Start with Moses and read through the forty years in the wilderness. God is still the same! He has not changed. He still has the same temperament. He still gets angry–about the same things. Jesus is OUR Moses. How many times did Moses intervene on behalf of the Israelites when God was angry with them? Jesus intervenes for us EVERY DAY! And He DOES have to intervene. God does not just smile or wink when we sin. God hates ALL sin, no matter WHO commits it.

[Jesus only intervenes on behalf of those that are His. If you are not a Christian, God’s wrath towards you is being stored up for the day of your judgment.

‘But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;  Who will render to every man according to his deeds:  To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,’ (Romans 2:5-8)]

“[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk NOT after the flesh, but after the SPIRIT.” (Romans 8:1)

” . . . Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his FAITH is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3-5)

“Knowing that a man is not JUSTIFIED by the works of the law, but by the FAITH of Jesus Christ. . . for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16)

“What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? . . . faith, IF IT HATH NOT WORKS, is dead, being alone.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith BY my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD?

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how FAITH WROUGHT WITH HIS WORKS, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. . . . For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith WITHOUT works is dead also.” (from James 2)

If we must work for our salvation, then God would owe it to us if we did a good job. However, we are NOT justified by the works of the LAW, for none of us is capable of perfectly keeping the law!

What hope of salvation have we then? We can be justified by faith in Jesus Christ.

There is a difference between belief and faith. Belief is a declaration that we agree that something is real or true. But faith, genuine living faith, is the guiding force of our life.

All the actions and decisions of our life spring not from what we believe, but what we believe IN (in other words, from our faith)! Our works, the way we live our life, will testify as to our faith. If our life reveals that we had our faith in God, then that faith will justify us.

‘Abraham believed God’ . . . in other words, Abraham lived a life of obedience to God–and not because he feared the LAW, but because he revered and had faith in the character of GOD.

This faith, in the character and promises of God, was counted to Abraham as righteousness . . . in spite of the fact that he, himself, was neither completely righteous nor perfect.

And here is how we can examine our own hearts:

Do we place our faith in the LAW . . . because we believe IT has the power to determine whether we should be condemned or justified? Is it the LAW that we fear and respect? Do we strive to know the LAW and obey IT completely? Is it the requirements of the LAW that we meditate on? Is it the LAW that we hold dear in our hearts? Is it the LAW that we judge ourselves by?

Or, do we place our faith in GOD, because HE is greater than the law? Do we realize that we can never completely, perfectly fulfill the law ? Do we realize that, even after doing all that we can, we still fall short of attaining the perfection that could justify us, under the law? Do we know that it is only the grace of GOD and the sacrifice of JESUS CHRIST that CAN fulfill the righteous requirements of the law? Do we trust in HIM to bridge that gap for us, when we come to the end of our righteousness and still fall short?

Is it JESUS CHRIST whom we place our faith in? Is it GOD whom we fear and respect? Is it GOD we strive to know and obey? Is it the requirements of GOD that we meditate on? Is it GOD whom we hold dear in our hearts?

We all have faith in something. Our faith gives birth to actions (works). Will our works demonstrate a faith that can justify us?

Other people may have a hard time discerning the difference between works done to please the law and works that spring from faith in God, but God knows the difference!

I am posting the comment below (submitted in response to:  ‘Christians, Vampires, and Dragons’) because it summarizes a lot of false beliefs that are popular these days.

Submitted by krakowski@live.com on 2011/03/04 at 10:47 pm

“No mortal man should know the name and will of god. As mortals, we have no right to deem what is suitable for all. Only god will deem each man and woman worthy of heaven.

So many have redone the bible, ripped out sections and tried to adapt it to themselves.

Salvation is found in the true belief and love of god, however you choose to find god. True faith is found in the love and acceptance of all people, as jesus christ taught the masses.

To do other is to do evil.

To believe any mortal knows the will of god is arrogance. To pretend to know it is a blasphemy all it’s own. God never speaks or comes through mortal man.

The words of a page are written by man. The words of faith are written by man. Only a true believer will know god, not by written words or coersion. Only true faith will lead each to god.

To have the love of christ, to share it with others, is to not judge–to accept, love and nurture each as who they are. Jesus Christ didn’t demand his followers to be different. He merely helped them be better people. He nurtured, guided and loved.

How can anyone, as followers of Christ, do less?”

 

When a person has too much pride in himself, he will be offended at the nature of God.

  • If a man prides himself on being ‘tolerant’, he will be offended that God appears to be intolerant.
  • If a man prides himself on being nonjudgmental, he will be offended to learn that God judges.
  • If a man prides himself on being kind, he will be offended at actions of God that he deems to be unkind.
  • If a man is exceedingly proud, he will be offended at any indication that God can be humble.

When man is prideful, he will be offended at the nature of God.  Then, he will set about to create a god in his own image–a god that reflects and protects his prejudices and beliefs . . . a god that excuses his weaknesses and justifies his behavior.  The gods that men create are gods that rubber stamp their beliefs and behaviors.

The ‘tolerant’ man will create a tolerant god, the nonjudgmental man will create a god that does not judge, the kind man will create a god who seems to be very kind, the exceedingly prideful man will create a god who is exceedingly arrogant, etc.

The god a man creates is a window into the man’s soul.

It usually turns out, however, that these ‘nonjudgmental’ gods appear to be quite judgmental towards others who don’t believe in them.  These ‘tolerant’ gods are quite intolerant of those who believe in Jehovah-God.  The kind gods are quite hostile towards those who follow the one, true God.

If your god is truly so tolerant, nonjudgmental, and kind . . . then lets see that reflected in your attitude, throughout the course of your life, towards EVERYONE–including those of us who follow Jehovah (because we surely do not serve the same God!)

And that is the crux of the matter–we do not serve the same God!

My God is not ‘tolerant’.  He is not nonjudgmental.  Nor is He always kind (according to the standards of man) in the short term.  He is a God of black and white . . . truth vs. lies . . . light vs. darkness . . . good vs. evil.  In fact, my God is SO judgmental that He will not just judge men by their actions–but by the intent of their heart!

It just happens that Jehovah/God does not fit  with the current picture of what is culturally acceptable!!

What absurd arrogance, to believe that our grand life experience (all of 120 years or less) qualifies us to know what nature God must have to equip him to rule the entire universe through all the ages!  How short sighted man is!

When men creates gods, they are gods that are relevant to their times and prejudices.  But, how will their god hold up when times and conditions change?  How can their god be fair and equitable, truly kind, righteous, and good, if everything and everyone is tolerated, and no one is ever judged?

What does their weak, ineffective god do or say when some pedophile kidnaps their little daughter, then rapes, tortures and kills her?  Is he tolerant of the pedophile?  Surely their tolerant, nonjudgmental god cannot judge him!  And if that pedophile commits suicide to avoid capture–will he be judged in the hereafter?  Who knows?  According to you,

‘As mortals, we have no right to deem what is suitable for all. Only god will deem each man and woman worthy of heaven.’

How great, and good, and just would you now believe your god to be if he decided not to judge that man?  If there was never justice or recompense for loss?

Or, what if he does judge that man?  Then we have to feel sorry for him, in a way, because (according to you)

‘To believe any mortal knows the will of god is arrogance. To pretend to know it is a blasphemy all it’s own. God never speaks or comes through mortal man.’

How could a pedophile, kidnapper, or murderer know that what he was doing was wrong . . . if man cannot know the will of your god?  If your god does not communicate with man?  Perhaps such actions felt perfectly suitable to him–why should he be judged for doing what ‘came naturally’ to him, if others are not judged by the same standard?

Your ‘god’ is  full of holes.  Have you really taken the time to think this through?

Now let me answer some of your other points . . . based on what I DO know of the nature and will of God–Jehovah.

“True faith is found in the love and acceptance of all people, as jesus christ taught the masses.”

Jesus never equated ‘true faith’ with loving and accepting all people.  Nor did he accept the behavior of all people. He was clearly displeased with the Sanhedrin and the moneychangers.

Maybe you should go back and read a little more about Jesus–you can find the chronicles of his ministry in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  Also, much is taught about Him, by the apostles, in the books of Acts, Romans, and Hebrews.

“To do other is to do evil.”

Your opinion and definition.

“To have the love of christ, to share it with others, is to not judge–to accept, love and nurture each as who they are.”

Are we talking about the same Jesus?  God, come to Earth as man . . . born in the flesh, of a virgin . . . lived a perfect life . . . had neither wife nor kids . . . ministered for three and a half years . . . was crucified . . . died . . . then rose again on the third day . . .?

Those of us who believe in THIS Jesus are each called first to REPENT, then to turn from our wickedness, and to follow Him!

Jesus says that if we love Him, we must obey His commands.  He also explained that He is God, and His commands are the spirit of the ten commandments.  If we are loving/obeying Him, we will be living in harmony with the ten commandments.

‘nurture each other as ‘who they are’–no, we are called to correct, rebuke, and encourage each other.  Two of those three terms signify a confrontation of another’s behavior.  According to your jesus, we would only need to encourage one another.

Jesus Christ didn’t demand his followers to be different. He merely helped them be better people. He nurtured, guided and loved.

How can anyone, as followers of Christ, do less?”

Did He demand? No.  Did He teach them to be different?  Yes.  He urged them to understand the spirit of the Law, and to do ‘above and beyond’ what it required of them.

Following Jesus is a free-will choice.  It is not demanded of anyone.  But if one follows Him, then they must submit to His ways.

“Salvation is found in the true belief and love of god, however you choose to find god.”

Excuse me?  You create a god that you can truly love and believe in–then that leads to your salvation . . . How exactly do you define salvation? And what do you  need salvation from, if your jesus just loves and accepts everything about you, as you are  now?

God, through His Word, the Bible, teaches that we need salvation from our SINS.  Which means that everything is NOT tolerable and acceptable.  It means that we are NOT already ok, and just in need of love and acceptance,  nurture and guidance.

The heart of man is sinful and that sinful nature will give birth to acts of sin.  Sinful acts require judgment, from a righteous God.  We need salvation from ourselves–but your religion deifies your self!

“The words of a page are written by man. The words of faith are written by man.”

Yeah, yeah.  Over forty authors, writing over a period of about 2,000 years . . . a multitude of prophecies fulfilled, etc.  . . . just coincidence . . . merely the work of men . . . blah, blah, blah . . . whatever.

“So many have redone the bible, ripped out sections and tried to adapt it to themselves.”

Sadly, it seems this is what you are doing.  Your ‘understanding’ surely has not taken into consideration the entirety of Scripture.  The little bit of what you say that actually seems to have some small relation to the Bible, pertains to Jesus.  Yet even there, I see no indication that you have actually read any of it.  The little bit of what you say about Jesus is the sort of thing one picks up from listening to others’ opinions.

“No mortal man should know the name and will of god.”

No mortal man should know his name–what caused you to develop such a strange opinion?

And how can your god hold men accountable for their actions if they don’t know his will– oh wait, he doesn’t judge does he?  So . . .  we should all just do what seems best to us, and if he likes us we’ll get to go to heaven?

How do you know that what you think is good is the same as what your god thinks is good?  What if your god loves the ways of pedophiles, kidnappers, murderers and thieves–and you aren’t one?

But, here is the conclusion of the matter:

“Only a true believer will know god, not by written words or coercion. Only true faith will lead each to god.”

The god that you talk about is a god that you have created for yourself–and your god is a projection of your own prideful beliefs about yourself.

That pride is what you call ‘true faith’.  But, you are right that your ‘true faith’ (your pride) will lead you to your god, because:

You ARE your god!

Have you ever wondered about Judas?  I have.  Why did Jesus choose Judas, knowing that he would betray Him?  Yes, in order to fulfill Scripture, Jesus needed to be betrayed . . . but wasn’t it kind of a setup to choose someone for that role?  After all, Judas ended up hanging himself.  It’s pretty well certain he went into eternity without forgiveness.  How do we know?  Well, no mention is ever made of him seeking forgiveness from Jesus–or even from the other disciples.

So how could Jesus choose someone to betray Him and be damned?  Because that’s NOT what Jesus did.  Jesus chose Judas, a man who was at the doorstep of damnation, whose only hope of salvation was divine intervention in his life.  Judas was very bad on the inside.  He was just like you and me.  Jesus chose him, to save him.

Before Jesus died to save all mankind, he worked intimately in the lives of twelve men, molding and shaping them.  He put each of them in situations that tested and tried them, that gave them the opportunity to overcome their own personal sins and issues.

Peter, for example, came face to face with his pride, over and over again.  He learned to live by faith, rather than by his own strength and abilities.  Do you think it was by chance that Jesus came to him, walking on water that night?  Surely it was confidence that caused Peter to step out of the boat–as well as his love for Jesus.  But it was confidence in the power of his love for Jesus, not faith in Jesus Himself.  And so, becoming aware of the wind, he began to sink–an object lesson for sure.  When Jesus reached out to save Him, He chided him ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt’?  Little faith?  He stepped out of a boat, in a storm, to walk on the water to Jesus!  Great love, great confidence, great bravery–but little faith.  God knows our hearts.

Again Peter had to face his pride, when Jesus was betrayed.  We know the story.  At the ‘last supper’ Jesus shared with His disciples, He told them that they would all leave Him, that very night.  Peter was the most vehement in promising that he would not forsake Him, even after Jesus specifically told him that he would deny Him three times that night!  Of course, that’s how it turned out, and Peter’s pride was finally broken.  Regret is the hardest thing to live with.  It is the closest thing to eternal punishment that we have in this life.

Jesus said that He had not come to condemn man.  So, why did He tell the disciples they would forsake Him that night, if it was not to condemn them?  (He had also told them that one of them would betray Him.)  He wanted them to search their hearts.  We know that eleven of them did.  (Did Judas?)  And yet, even after twice searching their hearts, they all declared with Peter, that they would not forsake Him, but they did.  They could not truly see what was within their own hearts.

Scripture tells us that the heart of man is desperately wicked, and that if we would judge ourselves, we would all find ourselves innocent.  The lesson here is that we need to let God judge our hearts, and then listen to what He tells us!  Jesus specifically told Judas that he was the one who would betray Him (even then, the plans had been made), and told Peter that 3 times he would deny Him.*  Yet, apparently, neither believed Him.  We so badly want to believe we are good!

It is not what is outside of us that destroys us–it is what lives within us!!  We should fear our own hearts most of all!!  How dangerous, to have within us something wicked, to which we are totally blind, that can so easily lead us astray!!  Scripture tells us to work out our own salvation–with fear and trembling!!  (Fear and trembling, in my opinion, of how we aren’t really as good as we may believe, and of the trouble our hearts can lead us into.)

So, we have two examples here, where Jesus personally dealt with a disciple, regarding what was hidden in his heart that could destroy him.  And we see two examples of men, totally blind to the sinfulness of their own hearts, that pay no heed to Jesus’ warning.

Back to Judas, and my contention that Jesus chose him to save him.

What will most surely bring a man to his knees?  That which has the power to destroy him.  While adultery or alcoholism may finally bring some men to their knees, true regret can break the pride of ALL men.

Judas was a man whose heart was not in the right place.  Although that’s obvious to us now, in hindsight, it wasn’t obvious to anyone then.  No fingers were pointed at Judas when Jesus said that one of them would betray Him.  In fact, when Jesus specifically identified him as the one, the other disciples seemed oblivious to what He was saying.  The chief priests and elders didn’t approach Judas, seeing he was a wicked man (he went to them).  No one knew what lived within his heart.  He put on a very good outward show.  But, as I’ve said before, if you deal in dishonesty for too long, you lose the ability to discern the truth from a lie altogether.  I believe that Judas had convinced everyone, including Judas, that he was a good man.

Jesus chose Judas, knowing that he was a thief and a traitor, and knowing his motives and his issues.  He called him into His inner circle and treated him just like the other eleven disciples.  Judas heard the same teachings, saw the same miracles, took part in the same conversations–yet none of this opened his eyes to the sinfulness in his own heart.

So, Jesus put him in charge of the money bag, knowing he was a thief.  Surely there was opportunity to feel remorse, walking with Jesus while stealing from it.  Did Jesus set him up?  Yes.  Jesus gave Judas the opportunity to sin, feel convicted and repent, so that He could save him!**

But, apparently Judas felt righteous in what he was doing.  Here was God, in the flesh, divinely intervening in his life–and Judas was unable to discern, in contrast, the wickedness within himself!  How powerful is sin, to harden our hearts, and blind us to truth and love!

Judas’ next opportunity for repentance came, at the ‘last supper’.  Scripture tells that Jesus said that the man who would betray Him ‘is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish’.  Then, dipping the piece of bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot.  As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

It is important to know that Satan cannot just enter a man at will–the man must allow him entrance.  What true follower of Jesus would even take the piece of bread from Jesus’ hand, after what He had said?!  Yet Judas felt justified (righteous) in what he was doing.  And, with his perspective distorted by his sinfulness, he probably thought that this is what Jesus wanted him to do!!  Surely the Scripture makes it clear that this wasn’t the case.

Another opportunity, when Jesus tells Judas ‘What you are about to do, do quickly’.  If Judas had any misgivings, Jesus’ words should have pierced his heart and caused him to beg His forgiveness.

It wasn’t until after the deed was done, after Satan was done using him and had departed, that Judas was finally able to see what he had done, and he was seized with remorse.  But remorse is a feeling–true repentance is action.  Judas’ remorse did not lead him to Jesus or the disciples to beg forgiveness.

Instead, feeling guilty, he tried to return the money and undo the deed.
He went back to the corrupt priests and elders, and gave his confession to them.  He had ‘betrayed innocent blood’ he said.  Even then, he was unable to recognize Jesus as more than just an innocent man!  For over three years he had walked with Jesus, yet was still unable to discern that He was God.

We don’t know what motivated Judas to betray Jesus.  Perhaps it was the fear of persecution–after all, Jesus was telling the disciples what was on the horizon.  Maybe Judas, seeing bad times ahead, sensed that the time had come to decide where his loyalties lay–that it was time to ‘get off the fence’, so to speak, and save himself.  Unfortunately, he got off on the wrong side.  But even his remorse did not wake him up to that.

Yes, Jesus set Judas up–even giving him the final opportunity of betraying Him . . . because if anything could have driven him to his knees, could have caused him to repent and be saved,  it would have been the torment of remorse over betraying his Lord.  But his heart was so hardened by years of sin and deceitfulness, and justifying his actions to himself, that he was no longer able to repent.

That is a sobering thought!  If it could happen to a man who walked, for over three years, with Jesus–who seemed righteous, to others, in his outward appearance–who saw himself as a righteous man–could it happen to you . . . or me?

Certainly!!  Fear what may be hidden within your own heart–and fear your heart itself, for it is desperately wicked!  Fear sin–for it has the power to take root in your heart, deceive your mind, and harden you to the point that you are no longer able to repent!!

We are all so worried about the bogey man outside–‘The Beast’, ‘The Antichrist’, 666 . . . the real enemy is within each of us!!

The Scriptures contain many parallels and foreshadowings, to help us understand.  In the ‘latter days’ (in which we are now living), this story will be played out again–countless times.  True believers, like Jesus, will be betrayed by those closest to them, and put to death.  And like Judas, ‘followers of Jesus’ (‘Christians’) will be the ones to betray them, while believing they are acting righteously.

Satan takes a perverse delight in turning man against his brother:  from Cain against Abel, his eleven brothers against Joseph, Judas against Jesus, the Jews against the early Christian Jews, the Catholic church against Protestants–to, in the future, the apostate church (‘Christians’) against true Christians (‘radicals’?, ‘extremists’?).

As I look at history, the ‘unsaved world’ hasn’t proven to be the enemy of God’s people to anywhere near the degree that ‘God’s people’ have!  All the striving seems to be from within!  Sure, God’s people may not be popular with the ‘unsaved world’, but the rest of the world looks a lot more like spectators to me, as those who call themselves by His name kill one another!

It was the Jews who called for Jesus’ death, as the Romans tried to extricate themselves from the situation; it was the most religious of the Jews that called for the deaths of Jesus and the early Christians; it was ‘The (Catholic) Church’  (Christianity infiltrated and subverted by paganism) that persecuted true Christians during The Inquisition and the Protestant Reformation; Hitler (a Jew) that exterminated six million Jews; Ahmadinejad (a Jew) who wants to destroy the country of Israel.

(I am not anti-Jewish.  If the truth were known about all who descend from all of the twelve tribes of Israel [not just the Jews/Judah] there would surely be much more to tell.  My point is simply that Satan delights in turning people who claim to be God’s people against each other.)

So, like a suspenseful movie with a twist of irony at the end, here’s one way things may play out in the days ahead:

  • WHO:  ‘mainstream Christians’ / the ‘lukewarm church’ in the book of Revelation / the ‘apostate church’ / ‘Christians’ / ‘followers of Jesus’
  • WHY:  believing themselves righteous, blind to their sin, eager to maintain a good reputation in ‘the world’,  fearful because of prophecies they don’t understand, fearful of persecution, believing they are in danger from ‘the beast’ and ‘the antichrist’, eager to compromise to have peace and safety, believing ‘radical Christians’ are going to get them in trouble too, believing it will ensure their safety
  • WHAT:  distance themselves from ‘radical Christians’ (Christians who actually want to live in obedience to Christ), verbally separate themselves from ‘radical Christians’ , vehemently and publicly disown them  (think of Peter disowning Jesus)
  • WHEN:  when they start to become unpopular, when they feel persecuted verbally
  • HOW:  play into Satan’s hand by betraying true Christians, handing them over to be arrested

Ok, so maybe now you’re starting to worry about who will betray you and turn you in . . . but that’s not the point!!  If you ARE a true Christian (and we all think we are, don’t we?) . . . being betrayed, arrested and/or killed will not destroy you.  But acting out of your fear, rather than faith, might.

The real question is . . . might you be a Judas, and not realize it?

After all, in the end, it was Judas that was damned . . .  by a life of little ‘secret sins’, justifications and dishonesty. . . unaware that his heart was so hardened that he could no longer tell right from wrong, or discern the truth from a lie, or know he needed to repent . . . blinded to his own sinfulness . . . pawn of the devil . . .  sorry and miserable at the end yet, nevertheless, unwilling or unable to repent.

As the saying goes:  ‘be afraid . . . be very afraid’ . . . of what lurks within.

*I think it should be instructive to us, that Jesus didn’t plead with them, or warn them of the consequences for what they were about to do.  He did not ‘prolong the altar call’, so to speak.

When a person is confronted, before they are sufficiently broken, instead of repenting they will harden their heart and create justifications for themself that serve to further entrap them in their sin.

** Likewise, the purpose of the law was not to save men, but to cause them to realize their sinfulness, by their inability to keep it, so that they could repent and be saved.

Beware Of The Second Beast!

Christian Persecution In America?

One sunny morning, a pilot sets off across the ocean for a distant land. His fuel tank is just large enough to hold enough fuel for the voyage, and maybe a hundred miles extra. Early into his flight, it comes to his attention that he has erred in his navigation, and is a couple of degrees off course. When do you suppose that pilot will make the necessary correction?

If he corrects soon enough, he will only have flown a small distance more than planned. However, if he waits until later to correct, he will have to make a major change, and will have wasted much fuel going in the wrong direction. In fact, if he waits too long to correct, he will run out of fuel and meet destiny at the bottom of the ocean!

America is on the wrong course! As Christians, we are losing our freedoms and rights at an amazing pace! The assault on our liberties was designed to be a blitz attack–so that by the time we figured out what was going on, it would be too late.

We had better start using all the freedoms we have!! For too long we have been voluntarily coerced to refrain from speaking, by the doctrine of ‘political correctness’. Now, we are facing the likely prospect of ‘hate speech’ legislation. There seems to be a principle, that what you give up voluntarily, will later be ‘set in stone’ as law.  People, we can see the storm clouds gathering on the horizon–the time for denial is past!

If you are thinking that, by speaking out and exercising your liberties, it will just draw attention to you and create the persecution you would rather avoid, you may be right–but consider this: we have been quiet, we have been polite, we have been politically correct, yet we have been continually pressured to retreat, to ‘cede more ground’. Now we are expected to be silent in the face of all sorts of abominations!

The hour is late, but speaking out now is better than speaking out never!  Sure, there is much opposition now–but do you think it will lessen in time?

If you find it too hard to speak out now, when it is merely unpopular–how will you have the courage to speak out later, when it is illegal? Don’t count on being courageous tomorrow, if you won’t act with courage today! Courage is built, gradually, upon past experience in being courageous. Conversely, giving in to fear and intimidation only tend to reinforce your tendency to be fearful and intimidated!

And, as Christians, there is one other important factor to consider–the most important one–the God factor!  It pleases God when people act for truth and righteousness, against overwhelming odds, relying on Him for help!!  God can do amazing things!

Do you realize, that if enough people in America repent, and plead with God for mercy, He may relent of judging America now? Be it that He spares America, as an island in the midst of worldwide suffering, or that He postpones the inevitable–it is worth a try people!!  Do not give up hope in the mercy and compassion of our God!!  Have the audacity to trust in Him and ask great things of Him!!

We have failed Him and brought dishonor to His name!  Lets repent and act courageously!  Lets turn things around in America!! Lets wage war on ungodliness!  Lets make abortion illegal!  Lets turn the tide on homosexuality and the indoctrination of our children in the public schools!  Lets push back the unholy tide of Islam and restore Christianity to our schools and our courts!  God is big enough!! He is the God of David,  not Goliath!  He is with the small and weak, that are courageous enough to try great things for His glory!!  Let us go forth to battle, with faith in Him!

Even so, we may die–but better to die honorably, in His service, than to die as cowards and faithless!  Mark my words, the days are coming when you will either deny God (by your words or your actions) or you will be put to death.  Your silence and retreat will not hide you–they will only serve to hasten the arrival of that day.


We Will Turn The World Upside Down!!

The Gates Of Hell Shall Not Prevail Against Us

It’s Time To Push Back!

The New Year’s Gift

I have always been different from everyone around me, so it should come as no surprise that I celebrate New Year’s Eve differently too.  I really don’t give much thought to celebrating it.  Sure, I may turn on the TV and look at other people celebrating, but it doesn’t really move me.

I don’t know where I got the idea, but for at least the last dozen years I have had my own tradition.  I spend New Year’s Eve alone with God, and I ponder which spiritual attribute I lack the most–the one that would give me a closer walk with God, in the year(s) ahead, if I had it.  Then, I request it of God.

The most memorable was the year that I asked Him for faith.  I had already heard that one shouldn’t ask for faith because it would bring many trials.  But, that’s what I felt led to ask for, and I’m glad I didn’t let fear stop me.

When the spring semester ended, I was surprised to learn that I would have no financial aid for the summer . . . and my lease would end at the same time!  As a single parent of three kids, this was not a good situation to have looming on the horizon!

After much prayer, I decided that camping in the woods all summer was one option.  But, that a better option would be to buy a camper shell for my pickup truck, store our things somewhere, and travel the USA for the summer.  I realized we had what might be a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’!

That summer is one that none of us has ever forgotten!  A whole summer of ‘quality time’ together really bonded us deeply.  We had a couple of destinations in mind–relatives that we could visit, but mostly we had ‘time to kill’!  (I find that almost impossible to imagine these days!)

For $100 we bought a family pass to the National Parks, and we lived on $600 a month.  Every day I got behind the wheel and asked God to guide me.  I would set a jar of canned food on the dashboard and head east, driving and praying.

By midday we had a warm ‘meal’.  We ate very simply and very rarely paid to stay at a campground or eat at a restaurant.  We trusted God to show us a safe place to park each night, and prayed we could sleep unbothered.

We soaked in the beauty of God’s creation and rested–what a blessed thing that was!  We learned that California had a nearly magical forest of giant trees;  that in Michigan, blueberries grew on the ground; and that the mosquitos in Minnesota were something to be reckoned with!!  We fell asleep in the woods at dusk, serenaded by the most beautiful birdsong I had ever heard.

That summer, I learned that God can take a bad situation and turn it completely around; that He can be trusted to watch over me, even while I’m asleep; that He is always with me, even when I have no idea where I am; that some of His best gifts are free; and that a glimpse of blue sky, the song of a bird, or a gentle breeze can help me reconnect with Him when I feel alone and afraid.

In the days ahead, as the works of man grow more depraved and ugly, and as evil increases around us–remember to look up sometimes.  Let God’s creation remind you of who is eternal and who is really in charge.  Remember that the trials and tribulations that lie ahead are only temporary.  Life on earth has never been easy.  Although things will get a lot worse–it won’t last much longer!!  Ten years from now, it may all be behind us.

We have much to look forward to.  We will have a thousand years to live on earth, in peace and equity, with Jesus Himself in authority.  How I yearn for His truth and justice to be established upon the Earth; for righteousness to be the standard, and the law to be upheld; for things to finally be fair; for a chance to rest and walk with Him; for a time when evil is put to flight and goodness can prevail.

Last year was difficult.  Not the circumstances of my life, but the evil around us grinding on me, wearing me down.  I imagine that a year from now, 2009 will seem like ‘a piece of cake’ as evil continues to increase.  I’ve become polluted by our culture, taking on bad attitudes and values, picked up from TV and movies.  Anger has taken root inside me, and hatred has started to grow, as I have seen America stolen and our rights stripped away.

Learning that it is all part of God’s judgment has helped me put it in perspective.  I have long known America was provoking His judgment.  Realizing that the destruction of America that is now taking place is God’s will–because of our sin–my anger at the people involved diminishes.

Instead I cry bitter tears of regret.  We had it all, but knew it not!  We had such a priceless gift from God, but we threw it away.  We squandered our freedom, to indulge our lusts.  Oh how foolish we were!! America is forever lost.  We can never go back.

The anger and attitudes I have adopted have hardened my heart and made me more callous towards the pain and suffering of others.  Tonight, I need to repent of my anger, and my attitudes, and move beyond them.  I think what I need to ask for this year, is compassion.  Someone’s life may depend on it.

He Sent A Rainbow Made Of Corn