Tag Archive: test


The Sabbath Test

God said the seventh day (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) is the Sabbath. He said to keep it holy.

For a time, the LAW added to the Commandments, and made things much stricter (the Israelites could do no work, could not light a fire in the home, etc., or incur the death penalty). We are not under the LAW now, but we are still supposed to keep the Commandments. So, that means we focus on God from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown.

We don’t work (for wages) then, or participate in activities that oblige others to have to work then (in other words, we don’t shop or go to restaurants etc. then either). We also prepare the day before the Sabbath, so as not to do housekeeping or yardwork then. It is possible to prepare most meals in advance.

Some people believe we can just pick a day to call our Sabbath. No!! We do not just pick a day–GOD defined the Sabbath. (So many people lack reverence (‘fear’) for/of God!)

The reason many people are told they must work on Saturday is the same reason Friday night is the biggest ‘party night’: Satan seeks to cause people to profane the Sabbath, in order to upset God, because it brings him (Satan) pleasure to see God upset.

As I often say, this is our ‘test life’. This life is filled with many trials and events that are meant to test us, and to prove our commitment. God is sifting those who DO love Him from those who only pay Him lip service.

What did Jesus say about serving God or money? Did He say ‘surely God understands that you must earn a living’? No! Basically He told us we had to make a choice:

‘No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.’ [money] (Matt. 6:24)

How true it is. To serve God often means that we will have to lose out on monetary opportunities–but God’s kingdom operates on a whole different economy!

‘For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.’ (Ps. 50:10)

‘Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:31-33)

‘Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.’ (Luke 6:38)

When we are told that we must work during the Sabbath, that is a test of our faith. We must remain faithful.

Some people literally behave as though they are SLAVES to mammon/money. It seems not to have occurred to them that they are EMPLOYEES, not slaves. Employees are employed (used) by their employer (user), and employees USE money. An employer–employee relationship is NEGOTIATED to be acceptable to both parties.

This is a very different mindset to have, than the person who puts their FAITH/trust in money and will do whatever their employer demands in order to obtain it! A person who consents to this is in the bondage of slavery to mammon.

As an employee, you have the right to set some limits on your time, and to say that you are not available to work during the Sabbath. (Ideally you discuss this at your job interview.) If your employer is amenable to it, then all is well. If not, then you must choose whether to look for a better work arrangement elsewhere, or to submit to a slave–master relationship with your employer.

Yes, it may mean taking lower pay or a less glamorous job elsewhere . . . or not putting your college degree or training to use (usually temporarily) . . . but would you disobey God for an extra $20,000 a year? $10,000? $5,000? What is your price? Do you HAVE a price? Because if you are willing to disobey God for ANY amount of money, then you are a slave to mammon and NOT a servant of God!

‘He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.’ (1 John 2:4)

Which do you choose . . . to put your faith in God, or to put your faith in mammon? . . . to obey God, or to obey men? Who answers your prayers, your employer, or God? Who will care for you, your employer, or God?

Those who do not sincerely wish to obey God will always try to justify their disobedience. Yes, Jesus is our Sabbath rest. He is also the Bread of Life, but who among us has stopped eating? Stop making excuses and put Jesus first.

 

(NO!!!  I’m not a Seventh Day Adventist–that is a cult.)

 

https://dontbefooled666.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/the-difference-between-the-commandments-and-the-law/

Advertisements

Testing And Purging

God’s overall plan is to eliminate evil.  We all have within us the capacity to choose evil or good.  But because Adam & Eve chose evil, we actually have a seed of evil within us.  We can either choose to let evil permeate us, or we can struggle against it.  Unfortunately, even those who fight to overcome it cannot set themselves free.  But, if they choose, they can ask God to remove it from them.

There is a process involved in removing the evil within us

  • First, the soul must understand the difference between good and evil.
  • Then, one must long for righteousness.
  • When they realize they cannot overcome it on their own, they may come to God, in repentance for their sins and ask His forgiveness.  His forgiveness was paid for by the death of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who died in our place.
  • Once forgiven, we are baptized in water.  This signifies our cleansing by repentance and obedience to the Word of God.  Water is the first means that God used to separate the righteous from the evil, when He washed the world with a flood, and spared the only eight righteous souls that He found.
  • Then He fills us with the Holy Spirit.  This is the seal of God and the constant indwelling of His presence.  Once within us, the Holy Spirit begins the work of purifying & refining us.  We must continue to walk in righteousness, but God allows us to be tested and tried by the forces of evil.   The testing reveals where we are vulnerable to evil, or where it remains inside us.  He works in us, to purge the evil and strengthen us in those areas.  If we stumble when we are tested, His Holy Spirit picks us up and leads us to repent.
  • This continual process of purging/refining us is the ‘baptism with fire’.  We live in the portion of time where God portrays himself as fire:  Moses and the burning bush; God leading the Children of Israel through the wilderness, His constant presence with them manifesting as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire in the darkness of night, etc.  (Our world today is dark with the presence of evil, but God’s children [Christians] are the flames that shine forth from the darkness.) Fire is also the final means that God will use to purge evil from His Creation.
  • Before He takes us to Himself, we have a final test, to make sure no remnant of sin remains in us.

This phase of God’s plan for mankind is drawing near its end.  The world is steeped in darkness.  It is now that God’s light will shine the brightest.  However, evil is approaching its peak, and the testing of God’s people will be more severe and widespread than ever before.  This will require patience and endurance from His people.  It will also require trusting Him completely.

Even the most righteous among God’s people are more stained and deceived than they realize.  There are very few who, in their hearts, desire complete holiness–and even less that pursue it as a way of life.  In many ways, today’s Christians are just a subset of society–a group that indulges in the same things as society, but to a lesser degree.  Christianity’s light has almost gone out.  Its ability to cleanse and preserve society seems almost a thing of the past.

The Holy Spirit will continue working with each of us (Christians), to bring us to perfection, as long as we will participate.  However, not everyone who says they are a Christian is–and some who are, will fall by the wayside.  Do everything you can to encourage and strengthen each other.  Help those in need.  Gently confront those who have gone astray.  Live your life as an example.

Wickedness is so pervasive, and has affected our ways of thinking and behaving so deeply,  that many of us will require a lot of work to be made pure.  Trust that He will use the hardships and trials you endure to test you, strengthen you, and perfect you.

Many things are going to slam America and American Christians.  It will be one wave of hardship after another.  The Lord has granted us several months to reflect and repent, and to ‘get our house in order’.  Those days are now drawing to a close.

Great suffering is coming to America, Israel, and the ‘Western Nations’–and to Christians.  God has been restraining powerful forces of evil, but He will soon release them, allowing them to help purify and refine His children, and to provoke the ungodly to reveal the sin that lives inside their hearts.

Along with His children (the wheat), the Lord has allowed many wicked men (tares)  to thrive.  If we had been truer to the guidelines that Paul so painstakingly laid out for the church, we would not have so many of them sitting beside us in the pews, or standing behind the pulpits.

As it is, there are many imposters among us.  They have received the same blessings as we have, from our loving Father’s hand.  However, they have corrupted our understanding of God’s Word with their doctrines of demons and men, and their lying prophecies.  A great shaking is about to occur, and many you have listened to and trusted for years are going to be revealed as ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’.  Stand firm.

Their (and our) testing will come as persecution from the ungodly.  Remember, trials do not form character so much as they reveal it.  It is not from pressure and persecution that people fall into sin–trials are God’s way of revealing what is already inside.  Don’t let anyone fool you by claiming that they fell into sin as a result of this pressure.  Those who truly wish to serve God will repent when their sin is revealed–those who place blame elsewhere are deceivers.

For those who truly repent–have the grace to forgive them, but they must not serve as leaders again, until God’s work is completed in them.  If their repentance is sincere, they will be humbled.  But if they remain proud, their repentance is not complete.

When you are beset by trials and tribulations, trust God.  He is working to strengthen and perfect you.  Many of the things that happen in the months and years ahead are going to be too shocking for some Christians to comprehend.  Everything they’ve held to be true will be upended.

If that is you, if you feel like you’re in shock from what is happening, and what you are learning–understand that we have been persuaded by false doctrines and lulled to sleep by false prophets.  We have been lied to–sometimes intentionally, often not.  Hold onto God.  Trust Him to uphold you.  Be pliable in His hands.  Be humble.  Repent where necessary.  Trust Him to finish the work He began in you.  Pray always.  Be encouraged and know that The Day of The Lord is near.

(For those of you who are still playing with sin: you must choose whether you will humble yourself before God and repent, or whether you will continue to consort with the evil that has courted and tempted you–the evil that will soon delight in your shame as it ‘outs’ you to the world!  Will you choose humility, or will you be given humiliation?)

Unconditional Salvation?

We Will Turn The World Upside Down!

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?