“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Johnny Lingo

A while back I believe I wrote a post on Johnny Lingo. I didn’t know much about YouTube, so maybe it had appeared there. Nevertheless, I just thought to look, and behold there it was, since five years ago. But, I recommend the oldest version, since it is the version I saw as a teenager at school just seven years after it came out.
It is a beautiful 24 minute movie, based on a true story, about how a young business-savvy islander (probably of the south Pacific) married a degraded (and by their standards, ugly and old) 20 year-old, only daughter of a crotchety widower and turned her into a princess, simply by letting her know how much he loved her. While all the other women on her island boasted of being 3- and 5-cow wives, Johnny offered 8 cows for Mahana, and she turned out to be reckoned as a 10-cow wife!
I love this movie because it showed what the Son of God did for the children of Adam. We were detestable to the angelic hosts. To them we were cockroaches, every one of us. Kill them, don’t let any of them get away! They will multiply if they escape destruction! The kingdom will become infested with them! They are made to replicate incessantly! They will be everywhere!
But, Jesus loved us anyway, and paid the highest price possible to marry us and have us for Himself forever. Maybe you will see the comparison and relive the thoughts of God and Christ in the distant past of eternity when They made up the plan.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016


Many Calvinists see in the next 5 texts proof of a damnation and salvation that are beyond the control of the fallen human recipient.
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Eph. 1:5).
“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” (Rom. 8:29,30).
“If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.” (2Cor. 4:3).
“All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” (Matt. 11:27).
“It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” (Matt. 13:11).
These texts sound firmly decreed by a heavenly Dictator. Does God not have a Congress or a Parliament? Did He not set up 24 elders for backup mediation after His Son, after which example David appointed 24 priests under Zadok and Ahimelech (see 1 Chronicles 24:3-9)?
Yet, the above texts appear to show that it is by God’s arbitrary act alone that we are saved or lost. These verses make God look like a totalitarian despot who keeps creature choice and consequence on the sidelines while He calls all the shots regardless of their desire to live with Him forever. Similar to how the NIV says, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says… This is what the Sovereign Lord says… This is what the Sovereign Lord says…”
Nothing at first appears to lean toward cause and effect. Does God’s creation have a part in causing Him to act? Do we have a part in our salvation or damnation? Does the law of cause and effect apply to salvation and damnation, so that “righteousness by faith” (Gal. 5:5) means by our faith? “The just shall live by his faith.” (Hab. 2:4). Thus by our faith God can make us righteous, and without our faith He cannot. By our faith we are entered into the Lamb’s book of life; and by our permanent loss of faith we are blotted out of the book. Faith is at least part of the cause; and the righteous life is the effect.
We see cause and effect in our world. We demand cause and effect among ourselves. How can any physician heal a disease without first finding the root cause of it? Without that knowledge, a faulty diagnosis will probably be determined and faulty prognosis given. And no patient would accept such a diagnosis and prognosis; he would get a second opinion. To believe that there is no cause means the disease is predetermined, and that death is inevitable and unavoidable. This falsehood has left many infirmed from a wrong habit, and they died needlessly because either the doctor was trained wrong or the patient refused to hear the cause and to fight his sinful self-indulgence that craved to remain untouched. But, the self-indulgence must go, or the wages of sin is death. The effect is death and the cause is sinful self-indulgence.
The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever” (Isa. 32:17).
“If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Rom. 8:13).
“As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.” (Prov. 26:2).
“And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” (2Chron. 16:7-9).
The effect upon King Asa was God lifting His leadership and protection; and the cause was King Asa not relying on the God of heaven, but rather his reliance on the god of this world for protection and security.
“Because” meant the cause was lack of reliance on the Lord; “Therefore” meant the effect was Syria escaping. “Herein” meant “because the king knew true reliance on God when attacked by the Ethiopians and the Lubims”; “Therefore” meant the effect in wars for the rest of his life.
“He that hath received His testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.” (John 3:33). This statement means that only the person who has decided that God is true can receive the testimony of Christ. God and His Law is the Schoolmaster that, once submitted to, can bring us to Christ for His justification.
Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.” (Ps. 91:14). Obvious cause and effect here.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). God’s love caused Him to give us His only-Begotten.
“We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1Jn 4:19). The effect of our love to God is caused by His love for us.
But, everyone who the Father and Son haven’t called to repentance doesn’t like the principle of cause and effect. They know their need of right standing before God, but they don’t want the correction and reproof that go with it. They don’t like to be judged—even by God. They don’t want to change their habits, or their desires and wants. To rid their characters of those habits will require stern battles against self. And not many are willing to make that kind of sacrifice—even for health and life. They have not yet learned the principle of the gospel, that by the cause—not of our willpower or our behavior—but of setting our love upon Jesus, the effect till be His deliverance and our victory over the sins that so easily beset us. It’s all cause and effect, but it must be the right cause—faith, which gives us the victory.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Tit. 3:5).  Yet, Paul in another place stated that God’s mercy and salvation requires our faith. “By grace are ye saved through faith…” (Eph. 2:8).
From the beginning there had been a cause for the effects of sin. Sin is not arbitrary in the cause of its inception or its existence. Sin resisted much wrestling and many appeals by God and His angels to Lucifer’s heart.
So long as all created beings acknowledged the allegiance of love, there was perfect harmony throughout the universe of God. It was the joy of the heavenly host to fulfill the purpose of their Creator.… But a change came over this happy state. There was one who perverted the freedom that God had granted to His creatures. Sin originated with him… 
“Little by little Lucifer came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation.… 
“In heavenly council the angels pleaded with Lucifer. The Son of God presented before him the greatness, the goodness, and the justice of the Creator, and the sacred, unchanging nature of His law.… But the warning, given in infinite love and mercy, only aroused a spirit of resistance. Lucifer allowed his jealousy of Christ to prevail, and became the more determined…. 
“In great mercy, according to His divine character, God bore long with Lucifer. The spirit of discontent and disaffection had never before been known in heaven. It was a new element, strange, mysterious, unaccountable. Lucifer himself had not at first been acquainted with the real nature of his feelings; for a time he had feared to express the workings and imaginings of his mind; yet he did not dismiss them. He did not see whither he was drifting. But such efforts as infinite love and wisdom only could devise, were made to convince him of his error. His disaffection was proved to be without cause, and he was made to see what would be the result of persisting in revolt. Lucifer was convinced that he was in the wrong. He saw that ‘the Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works’ (Psalm 145:17); that the divine statutes are just, and that he ought to acknowledge them as such before all heaven. Had he done this, he might have saved himself and many angels. He had not at that time fully cast off his allegiance to God. Though he had left his position as covering cherub, yet if he had been willing to return to God, acknowledging the Creator’s wisdom, and satisfied to fill the place appointed him in God’s great plan, he would have been reinstated in his office. The time had come for a final decision; he must fully yield to the divine sovereignty or place himself in open rebellion. He nearly reached the decision to return, but pride forbade him. It was too great a sacrifice for one who had been so highly honored to confess that he had been in error, that his imaginings were false, and to yield to the authority which he had been working to prove unjust. 
“A compassionate Creator, in yearning pity for Lucifer and his followers, was seeking to draw them back from the abyss of ruin into which they were about to plunge. But His mercy was misinterpreted. Lucifer pointed to the long-suffering of God as an evidence of his own superiority, an indication that the King of the universe would yet accede to his terms. If the angels would stand firmly with him, he declared, they could yet gain all that they desired. He persistently defended his own course, and fully committed himself to the great controversy against his Maker. Thus it was that Lucifer, “the light bearer,” the sharer of God’s glory, the attendant of His throne, by transgression became Satan, “the adversary” of God and holy beings and the destroyer of those whom Heaven had committed to his guidance and guardianship. 
“Rejecting with disdain the arguments and entreaties of the loyal angels, he denounced them as deluded slaves….
“Still the loyal angels urged him and his sympathizers to submit to God….” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 35-40.
Predestination might look like God’s predisposition, as if God foreordains sin or salvation; but that isn’t true at all. He gives His creatures their part to choose who they will serve.
“From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency.” Desire of Ages, p. 22.
Although the Godhead can foresee the future, that shouldn’t assume that They alter the future. Rather they leave it in place, unaffected of Their total manipulation. However, They do have an input, of which they take full advantage. But, that advantage doesn’t alter our choice or the future, it simply keeps the future on track against Satan’s efforts to derail it for his unfair grasping for undue power.
Could Satan have the freedom, no flesh would be saved. He would destroy even the very elect, were it not for God’s protection and providential engineering.
We can be thankful for our freedom of choice, not because of the devil, but because of God. And, that freedom includes choosing to follow the devil. If we so choose to enlist on Satan’s sinking ship, God must let us close our eyes and shut our ears, and allow our heart to wax gross, “lest at any time [we] should see with [our] eyes, and hear with [our] ears, and should understand with [our] heart, and should be converted, and [the Spirit of the Lord] should heal [us].” (Matt. 13:15).
So, God predestinates all our transformations into the image of His Son by foreseeing all of our choices in life. And then He works in every way possible to improve our potential for salvation. The battle between the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of Satan rages over the head of every soul. God is not willing that any should perish, but to come to repentance. How many will repent?
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” (Rev. 13:3; 18:3).
“And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” “How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” (Rev. 17:18;18:7).
Many will not repent, but will follow after the Beast and the woman riding on it. They will sell their soul for her wine, which speaks peace when there is no peace from God. And therefore they will never need repentance. They will be the “ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” (Luke 15:15).
But, what about Paul repeating what God said, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy”?
“For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.
Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth He yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will?
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus?
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
What if God, willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory.” (Rom. 9:15-23).
None of Paul’s arguments ever deviated from the principles of Old Testament scripture. Paul counseled Timothy:
 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2Tim. 3:16).
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2Tim. 2:15).
Paul was not an anarchist, a proponent of Law abrogation, or a blasphemer. He knew that life was dependent on our obedience to the laws of God.
“(As we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.” (Rom. 3:8).
“Ye shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (for all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) that the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.” (Lev. 18:2-28).
 “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Rom. 3:31).
The above argument from Romans 9 of Paul agrees perfectly with cause and effect that we see in the Old Testament. Both Old and New Testament lawgivers agreed. “What if God, willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory.” (Rom. 9:22,23).
“See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand.
For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.
If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me.
I will make Mine arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people: for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people.” (Deut. 32:39-43).
The picture we see here is that of cause and effect, not arbitrary decrees from heaven. Pharaoh had fitted himself for destruction long before God destroyed him. And Pharaoh’s chose for himself to be destroyed, by abusing the helpless captives under his keeping, which abuse—though oblivious to him—purified the flock, so that a polarization occurred. By God letting go the reins of human passion, because the empire strove for so long to be free from His convictions that for God to continue restraining them would break the law governing choice, then quickly pride went unrestrained, abuse mounted, the helpless were purified, the wicked did more wickedly, and in short time two diametrically opposed people were created—the very wicked and the very righteous. Until the Spirit loosed the cords of divine intervention into human affairs three groups existed. 1) a very small group of half-hearted wicked, 2) the vast majority of those who did not know right from wrong, and 3) a very small group of half-hearted righteous.
But, God giving Satan full charge while God protected everyone’s choice, all who were not seeking to know Jesus persecuted those who were seeking Him. The more the half-hearted wicked persecuted, the less half-hearted, and the more wicked they became. The more the half-hearted righteous were persecuted, the less half-hearted and the more righteous they grew. In the end the Lord could say, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” (Isa. 13:12).
“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” (Dan. 12:10).

 God’s judgments are righteous because we deserve more than what we receive from Him. The Lord is longsuffering, not willing that anyone should perish. 
“For My name’s sake will I defer Mine anger, and for My praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For Mine own sake, even for Mine own sake, will I do it: for how should My name be polluted? and I will not give My glory unto another.” (Isa. 48:9-11).
For the sake of the half-hearted, double-minded people seeking God, whose hearts were divided between Jesus and their idolatry, God let the calamities of the wicked loose on them. Because only thus could He move them and us to choose His laws and eternity with the God of life.
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil [râ ‘âh “vexing” “wretchedness” from “affliction”, “adversity”, “calamity”]: I the LORD do all these things.” (Isa. 45:7).
Jehovah’s light would follow His darkness; His peace would follow His vexing calamitous captivities. The evil empires, which vex and pruify His people, commit themselves to destruction. And God’s people are delivered. Not by arbitrary decree, but by cause and effect.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Ps. 23:4).
Once His wife is wholly reconsecrated to her Husband in the heavens, then He is her Saviour. He waits for cause to deliver her from her consequences. That cause is her restoration to fidelity.
“I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no Saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.” (Isa. 43:11,12). The church reconciled with her former Husband, she calls Him the only true God. “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.” (1Pet. 3:6).
“Ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.” (Isa. 43:10).
In the end the church is His powerful witness. They witness with all their heart because the Lord did for them what they couldn’t do for themselves; rid themselves of their half-hearted love. Then He can rid them of their enemies who have become wholly wicked.
“Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.” (Isa. 43:9).
Of course, the nations have no argument for their abuse against those who they have helped prepare for paradise. All they can do in judgment is to say that God’s judgments upon them “is truth”.
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel” (1Thess. 4:16) saying, “Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm.” (Ps. 105:15).
“And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet” (Matt. 24:31), “and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1Thess. 4:16,17).

In the end, the wicked cooperated with Satan to be lost and they cooperated with Satan to save the purified, who also cooperated with God in their salvation.  “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! hos unsearchable are His judgments, and His wasy past finding out!” (Rom. 11:33).
“God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise.
And His brightness was as the light; He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power.
Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at His feet.
He stood, and measured the earth: He beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: His ways are everlasting.
I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.
Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was Thine anger against the rivers? was Thy wrath against the sea, that Thou didst ride upon Thine horses and Thy chariots of salvation?
Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even Thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers.” (Hab. 3:3-9).
The destruction of the wicked and the deliverance of the righteous was the product of cause and effect, not arbitrary predestination.
“If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2Cor. 4:3,4).
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Eph. 1:5).
Yes, we were predestinated; but not without cause. We first trusted in Christ after we heard the word of His truth and grace.
“That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” (Eph. 1:12,13).
“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” (Rom. 8:29,30).
God does predestinate us, but not without first watching all of our decisions from the dawning of our intelligence, even while still in our mother’s womb, and not to mention decisions made later under the influence of this sinful world. At that time He foreknew us and predestinated us to be conformed to the image of His Son. Were we setting our love upon Jesus? Here lies the cause of our predestination for salvation or damnation.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28).
“He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” (Matt. 13:11,12).
They don’t want to see with their eyes, or hear with their ears. They don’t want to understand and be converted. Therefore they deafen and blind themselves. This was stated before the parable of the seed and ground.  Each plot of ground was responsible for its own end result.
“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” (Matt. 13:13-17).
Altogether what we’ve looked at explains the following statement by Jesus.
“All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” (Matt. 11:27).
“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28).
Who will hear His voice and come? Whoever is tired of their heavy load and chooses to let Him take the yoke off their necks. “Whosoever will.” (Rev. 22:17).

Picnic in a warzone

Near Centreville, Capt. John Tidball witnessed a “throng of sightseers” approach his battery. “They came in all manner of ways, some in stylish carriages, others in city hacks, and still others in buggies, on horseback and even on foot. Apparently everything in the shape of vehicles in and around Washington had been pressed into service for the occasion. It was Sunday and everybody seemed to have taken a general holiday; that is all the male population, for I saw none of the other sex there, except a few huckster women who had driven out in carts loaded with pies and other edibles. All manner of people were represented in this crowd, from the most grave and noble senators to hotel waiters.”
London Times correspondent William Howard Russell observed, “On the hill beside me there was a crowd of civilians on horseback, and in all sorts of vehicles, with a few of the fairer, if not gentler sex .... The spectators were all excited, and a lady with an opera glass who was near me was quite beside herself when an unusually heavy discharge roused the current of her blood — ‘That is splendid, Oh my! Is not that first rate? I guess we will be in Richmond to-morrow.’”

Manassas civil war battle with bystanders eating their picnics a few miles away. They quickly became part of the battle and they had to scramble to flee.
My niece’s soldier boyfriend decried the new mandate for the Army that female soldiers must be given a shower once every 10 days. The troupes had to stop the fighting, surround the showers and protect the females from the enemy, so that the ladies get their mandated showers once every 10 days.
War is hard. Historically, showers were not part of a soldier’s enlistment contract. I’ve seen photos of soldiers sleeping in desert holes maybe dug out by them for some cooler place to sleep. My uncle Bill told my dad to go into the Navy where he would have a dry bed and a warm meal. During WWII too many times he had slept in the rain and scrounged for food when the MREs ran out.
We are in a war. But, are we aware of it? Or are we in a stupor? Shootings growing closer together, bombings, gay rights, legal and illegal drugs everywhere. The end of America. The collapse of society.
Entertainment that desensitizes us to pain and suffering, so that in our livingrooms we can have a picnic while we watch the killing. “There is another death. Wow, look at our American military might! Please pass the mustard. Are there any chips left? Look at the missile blow up that building! That’s terrible! Those poor civilians! Is there anymore potato salad? Do I have to choose between ice cream and homemade apple pie, or can I have a little of both?”
“The command is: ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.’ These sighing, crying ones had been holding forth the words of life; they had reproved, counseled, and entreated. Some who had been dishonoring God repented and humbled their hearts before Him. But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking.  
     In the time when His wrath shall go forth in judgments, these humble, devoted followers of Christ will be distinguished from the rest of the world by their soul anguish, which is expressed in lamentation and weeping, reproofs and warnings. While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for God’s honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any. Their righteous souls are vexed day by day with the unholy works and conversation of the unrighteous. They are powerless to stop the rushing torrent of iniquity, and hence they are filled with grief and alarm. They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored, the truth made of none effect.
     The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God. The Lord commissions His messengers, the men with slaughtering weapons in their hands: ‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.’” Testimonies for the church, vol. 5, p. 210,211.
How can we wake up? how can we prepare for the storm that is coming in all of its fury? We can pray for the Lord to wake us up. We can seek a Saviour from our sins. Then we can go and, in faith, work our prayers. Praying will keep before our conscience the utterly essential necessity of soberness to eternal realities.
Jesus had a war coming—a major battle with the devil over our redemption. All the hosts of darkness would amass against Him to prevent His death for you and me. So He prayed with all that was within Him. And He was heard.
“His prayer is heard. While He is bowed in lowliness upon the stony ground, suddenly the heavens open, the golden gates of the city of God are thrown wide, and holy radiance descends upon the mount, enshrouding the Saviour’s form. Divinity from within flashes through humanity, and meets the glory coming from above. Arising from His prostrate position, Christ stands in godlike majesty. The soul agony is gone. His countenance now shines “as the sun,” and His garments are ‘white as the light.’” Desire of Ages, p. 421.
“And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:28-31).
Do we want the glory of God shining out of us? We will have to be greatly humbled first.
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (Isa. 53:3,4).
“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey [hupakouō, “conform to”] Him.” (Heb. 5:8,9).
Paul, the apostle and prophet, the unique dynamo of God, was daily crucified with Christ before God on his knees every morning. Only then could Paul receive the daily dying that came at him from all directions.
“I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily…. after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus….” (1Cor. 15:31,32).
“…in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” (2Cor. 11:23-28).
We are the church militant, not the church triumphant. This is no time for a picnic in the park. The picnic is yet to come, and it will be well worth the battle to get to it.
“And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” (Isa. 25:6).
“And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.
And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest.” (Isa. 25:9,8,7,6,10).

Friday, September 23, 2016

A voice in the midnight

“At midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.” (Matt. 25:6).
“As Christ sat looking upon the party that waited for the bridegroom, He told His disciples the story of the ten virgins, by their experience illustrating the experience of the church that shall live just before His second coming.” Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 405, 406.
The unnamed cry in the midnight will be the same as John’s anonymous cry in the wilderness.
“And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not [that is, he was not Elijah literally, but he was prophetically, anti-typically]. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No [‘that prophet’ being prophesied in Deuteronomy 18:18, who was Christ].
Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.” (John 1:19-24).
A question has plagued me for some time. What or who does Matthew 25:6 represent? What or who will wake up the sleeping saints by a cry in the darkest of nightfall? Christ is not specific. “There was a cry made…” A cry comes out of nowhere. Would it be an angel? Will it be the 144,000 waking up start the Latter Rain? Will it come by Christ’s roar in the Most Holy Place, as we see in Revelation 10:1-3 after the darkness of the 6th trumpet has ruined Protestant America in Revelation 9?
Maybe through studying the Spirit of Prophecy or reading of others’ study many already see the meaning of the midnight crier. What I see is that the solitary cry will be the Elijah message to bring the sleeping Adventists back to their original mandates given from 1844 to 1915.
“In the closing work of God in the earth, the standard of His law will be again exalted. False religion may prevail, iniquity may abound, the love of many may wax cold, the cross of Calvary may be lost sight of, and darkness, like the pall of death, may spread over the world; the whole force of the popular current may be turned against the truth; plot after plot may be formed to overthrow the people of God; but in the hour of greatest peril, the God of Elijah will raise up human instrumentalities to bear a message that will not be silenced. In the populous cities of the land, and in the places where men have gone to the greatest lengths in speaking against the Most High, the voice of stern rebuke will be heard. Boldly will men of God’s appointment denounce the union of the church with the world. Earnestly will they call upon men and women to turn from the observance of a man-made institution to the observance of the true Sabbath.” Prophets and Kings, p. 186, 187.
“Among the mountains of Gilead, east of the Jordan, there dwelt in the days of Ahab a man of faith and prayer whose fearless ministry was destined to check the rapid spread of apostasy in Israel. Far removed from any city of renown, and occupying no high station in life, Elijah the Tishbite nevertheless entered upon his mission confident in God’s purpose to prepare the way before him and to give him abundant success. The word of faith and power was upon his lips, and his whole life was devoted to the work of reform. His was the voice of one crying in the wilderness to rebuke sin and press back the tide of evil. And while he came to the people as a reprover of sin, his message offered the balm of Gilead to the sin-sick souls of all who desired to be healed....” Conflict and Courage, p. 205.
“God calls for men like Elijah, Nathan, and John the Baptist—men who will bear His message with faithfulness, regardless of the consequences; men who will speak the truth bravely, though it call for the sacrifice of all they have.” Ibid., p. 208.
“John separated himself from friends and from the luxuries of life. The simplicity of his dress, a garment woven of camel’s hair, was a standing rebuke to the extravagance and display of the Jewish priests, and of the people generally. His diet, purely vegetable, of locusts and wild honey, was a rebuke to the indulgence of appetite and the gluttony that everywhere prevailed. The prophet Malachi declares: ‘Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.’ Here the prophet describes the character of the work. Those who are to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message, to turn the people of God from their idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things. The self-denial, humility, and temperance required of the righteous, whom God especially leads and blesses, is to be presented to the people in contrast to the extravagant, health-destroying habits of those who live in this degenerate age.” Testimonies for the church, vol. 3 p. 62.
“It was believed also that before the Messiah’s advent, Elijah would personally appear. This expectation John met in his denial; but his words had a deeper meaning. Jesus afterward said, referring to John, “If ye are willing to receive it, this is Elijah, which is to come.” Matthew 11:14, R. V. John came in the spirit and power of Elijah, to do such a work as Elijah did. If the Jews had received him, it would have been accomplished for them. But they did not receive his message. To them he was not Elijah. He could not fulfill for them the mission he came to accomplish.” Desire of Ages, p. 135.
“As John the Baptist...called their attention to the Ten Commandments, so we are to give, with no uncertain sound, the message: ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.’ With the earnestness that characterized Elijah the prophet and John the Baptist, we are to strive to prepare the way for Christ’s Second Advent.” Maranatha, p. 22.
In other words, the midnight cry of Matthew 25:6 will be another Elijah and another similar John the Baptist cry in the wilderness. It will be another Ellen White, this time in the darkest moral night our world has ever seen. The people of the Lord will be completely asleep to their task of warning the world of the gross darkness plaguing the earth, and completely unready to receive their Lord when He leaves the Most Holy without the sin of His people and ready to award full salvation from sin. But there will be a remnant among the remnant whose eyes will be locked onto Jesus through His precepts and promises. “Unto them that look for [Christ] shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Heb. 9:28). They will hear the voice of a John or a Paul crying out in the midnight, and they will shake out all the cobwebs from their heads and will jump to follow his lead.
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Dan 7:13,14).
“And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon His head, and His face was as it were the sun, and His feet as pillars of fire:…
And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when He had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.…
And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up His hand to heaven,
And sware by Him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets.” (Rev. 10:1-7).
Those words will be passed throughout heaven that will make its way to the hearts of those who have remained faithful in the dark immorality and impiety. Their sighs and cries have gone up at the abominations sweeping the earth. And their sighs and cries have been heard. “Shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7,8).
How did Elijah come out of nowhere? A Tishbite from an insignificant spot in Israel suddenly showed up to the king to rebuke him for allowing his pagan wife to lead the people of God into spiritualistic worship. Out of Elijah’s work Elisha was made ready to complete the work of Elijah. After his elderly parents died, John lived in the wilderness outside of everyone’s purview. Suddenly he stood up and began a preaching that took ears by surprise, and gave a stern message that shook the nation.
But, “the work of John was not sufficient to lay the foundation of the Christian church. When he had fulfilled his mission, another work was to be done, which his testimony could not accomplish.” Desire of Ages, p. 181. Therefore, out of John’s revival Messiah was baptized and presented to the people who were earnestly seeking the Lord. Anointed by His Father, Christ quickly took the reins of the revival and brought the revival of godliness to heights that John could never take it.
Out of nowhere once more a voice will be raised, a voice in the midnight, to call the people to reform.
“Christ ... told His disciples the story of the ten virgins, by their experience illustrating the experience of the church that shall live just before His second coming.” Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 406.
Will the midnight cry come from those who have left the cities before the darkness swept the earth? Will it come from those who have already come out of Babylon before the freedom to leave was curbed? Will the point when the night has gotten the darkest cause the breaking point in their souls, giving them cause to act and speak God’s bidding? Or, will the breaking point be a recognizable event that shakes the world, such as an economic collapse? Or, will both be the cause, as God sends the collapse due to the midnight darkness in the hearts of men? Will that collapse come from God’s punishment on the worldwide wickedness blanketing the globe? Or will the economic collapse begin the dark night, growing so dark that the sighers and criers can’t take any more, and God recognizes genuineness in their cries?
Then they will receive the power of Christ’s Spirit to give a loud cry that the whole world hears. The last great work will begin inside the church before it goes to the great world outside the church.
“I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen. I was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the true Witness to the Laodiceans. It will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver of the testimony, and it will lead to him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. This straight testimony some will not bear. They will rise up against it, and this will cause a shaking among God’s people.
     I saw that the testimony of the true Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs, has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance, and all that truly receive it, will obey it, and be purified. 
     Said the angel, List ye! Soon I heard a voice that sounded like many musical instruments, all sounding in perfect strains, sweet and harmonious. It surpassed any music I had ever heard. It seemed to be so full of mercy, compassion, and elevating, holy joy. It thrilled through my whole being. Said the angel, Look ye! My attention was then turned to the company I had seen before, who were mightily shaken. I was shown those whom I had before seen weeping, and praying with agony of spirit. I saw that the company of guardian angels around them had doubled, and they were clothed with an armor from their head to their feet. They moved in exact order, firm like a company of soldiers. Their countenances expressed the severe conflict which they had endured, the agonizing struggle they had passed through. Yet their features, marked with severe internal anguish, shone now with the light and glory of heaven. They had obtained the victory, and it called forth from them the deepest gratitude, and holy, sacred joy.
     The numbers of this company had lessened. Some had been shaken out, and left by the way. The careless and indifferent who did not join with those who prized victory and salvation enough to agonize, persevere, and plead for it, did not obtain it, and they were left behind in darkness, and their numbers were immediately made up by others taking hold of the truth, and coming into the ranks. Still the evil angels pressed around them, but they could have no power over them.
     I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth in great power. It had effect. I saw those who had been bound; some wives had been bound by their husbands, and some children had been bound by their parents. The honest who had been held or prevented from hearing the truth, now eagerly laid hold of the truth spoken. All fear of their relatives was gone. The truth alone was exalted to them. It was dearer and more precious than life. They had been hungering and thirsting for truth. I asked what had made this great change. An angel answered, It is the latter rain; the refreshing from the presence of the Lord; the loud cry of the third angel.
     Great power was with these chosen ones. Said the angel, Look ye! My attention was turned to the wicked, or unbelievers. They were all astir. The zeal and power with the people of God had aroused and enraged them. Confusion, confusion, was on every side. I saw measures taken against this company, who were having the power and light of God. Darkness thickened around them, yet there they stood, approved of God, and trusting in him. I saw them perplexed. Next I heard them crying unto God earnestly. Through the day and night their cry ceased not. I heard these words, Thy will, O God, be done! If it can glorify thy name, make a way of escape for thy people! Deliver us from the heathen round about us! They have appointed us unto death; but thine arm can bring salvation. These are all the words I can bring to mind. They seemed to have a deep sense of their unworthiness, and manifested entire submission to the will of God. Yet every one, without an exception, was earnestly pleading, and wrestling like Jacob for deliverance.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, p. 184-186.

[Who is the “true Witness to the Laodiceans” who will call forth the straight testimony which will cause the shaking that Ellen White saw? The faithful and “true Witness to the Laodiceans” is none other than Jesus Himself, divested of humanity and independent thereof. See Revelation 3:14. Jesus will send the Latter Rain of His Spirit, and will prompt it by those who will first receive His straight testimony. If they are sanctified by His straight testimony then He will strengthen them to give it.]

“The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place.—Selected Messages, bk.2, p. 380 (1886).  
     As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition.—Great Controversy, p. 608 (1911).” Last Day Events, p. 180.
“The Lord has faithful servants who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view. There are precious ones now hidden who have not bowed the knee to Baal. They have not had the light which has been shining in a concentrated blaze upon you. But it may be under a rough and uninviting exterior the pure brightness of a genuine Christian character will be revealed. In the daytime we look toward heaven but do not see the stars. They are there, fixed in the firmament, but the eye cannot distinguish them. In the night we behold their genuine luster. —Testimonies for the church, vol. 5, p. 80, 81 (1882).” Last Day Events, p. 181.
“This message will close with power and strength far exceeding the midnight cry. Servants of God, endowed with power from on high, with their faces lighted up, and shining with holy consecration, went forth to proclaim the message from heaven.
     Many were praising God. The sick were healed, and other miracles were wrought. A spirit of intercession was seen, even as was manifested before the great Day of Pentecost. Hundreds and thousands were seen visiting families and opening before them the Word of God. Hearts were convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit, and a spirit of genuine conversion was manifest. On every side doors were thrown open to the proclamation of the truth. The world seemed to be lightened with the heavenly influence.” My Life Today, p. 63.
“The whole force of the popular current [are being] turned against the truth; plot after plot [are being] formed to overthrow the people of God.” The mysterious cry in this world’s moral midnight will come by a lone voice or by voices who have been studying Jesus in the Law of God, the Bible, and the Spirit of Prophecy. By that unique spirit and power of John and Elijah among the multitudes of the church indulgent in the prevailing false religion with spiritualism’s Spiritual Formation and “do as you please” practices, its celebration and free-lovism, individuals will speak out as did Elder William Miller, Dr. Joseph Wolfe, and priest Lucunza.
One star and then two in the dusky heavens, then three stars and more will foretell the approaching plethora of the galaxy that will appear in the midnight sky. May ours be one of those few John the Baptist stars calling for glory to God, men and women who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Resting in death, the gift of God

“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1Pet. 2:24).
Death to sin is not something we can make happen. It is way beyond us and our resources. We are alive to sin.
“There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Rom. 3:11,12).
Righteousness can only exist in a heart that is completely separate from the great adversary and his power to cause sin. Therefore, righteousness belongs only to God.
“O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto Thee, but unto us confusion of faces.” (Dan. 9:7). Righteousness belongs only to God, but He wants to give it to us. Death to sin is the gift of God. We can only be dead to sin if we receive that death from God. Death to sin is easy if by faith we have appropriated what we see in Jesus. Hidden with Christ in God, we may freely eat of every fruit imaginable which He brings, and He fills us with His Spirit. Hidden in Christ and sustained by His Spirit, we are dead to sin.
We also know that God considers literal death to be like sleep.
“These things said He: and after that He saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
Then said His disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.” (John 11:11-15).
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.” (1Thess. 4:13-15).

The dead are really dead, and the sleeping are really sleeping.
“For ... the dead know not any thing,... the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.” (Ecc. 9:5,6). To everyone with a nagging heart and mind, this can be a powerful promise from God.
Do you wake up each morning refreshed from all the harassment and anxiety from the previous day? Do you wake up with peace of mind? Have you ever said this prayer?
“Dear Lord,
So far I’ve done all right.
I haven’t gossiped,
haven’t lost my temper,
haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.
I’m really glad about that.
But in a few minutes, God,
I’m going to get out of bed….”
If we get our 2 hours of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, and if we get our 2-3 hours of deep sleep―the healing sleep―and finally our last 2 hours of REM sleep, then morning by morning God resurrects us from our nightly burial well rested and able to conquer the new day’s harassment. Rest is heavenly. When we come back to life from a good night’s sleep we are dead to sin.
But even better, what if you could sleep all day? No more harassment ever! No more anxiety that leads to gossiping, loss of temper, greed, grumpiness, selfishness, self-indulgence. Wouldn’t that be a good life? A spirit calm and trusting, patient and wise. Many look forward to a quiet lifestyle when they can retire, but then they find that they don’t want to cut back their old lifestyle when they were employed to fit their smaller retirement income. So they go back to employment with all its pressures. The eternal peace seems evasive to the multitudes.
Yet, they find that even physical sleep isn’t enough to tackle a day of harassment. Often the anxiety leaves them so wound up that they can’t sleep at night. And to compound the problem, before they go to bed they comfort eat. All night their stomach is working on the heavy meal and they wake up exhausted because all that they got was REM sleep. A sleeping pill does the same thing. The pill cannot remove the anxiety which is what causes unrest, and therefore cannot cause deep sleep, which is where rest and healing come from. Sound sleep can only come by the removal of anxiety. Removal from the present harassments and physical removal from a world of sinners by slumbering, isn’t enough. Their Creator must put anxiety to bed before the person puts himself to bed.
True, the person who does some aerobic exercise before bedtime, or refrains from a supper, or skips the late-night television junk, and goes to bed early, does give their body and mind opportunity to get the 2-3 hours of deep sleep. This isn’t always guaranteed, but it does often happen. And if they don’t do the exercise or skip the third meal, and if they don’t go to bed early, it is almost guaranteed that they won’t get the long sought deep sleep.
“Yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” (1Cor. 12:31). “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1Tim. 4:8).
It’s rest that we need; and God wants us to have it all day long. A spiritual and mental death every day, all day. Rest and relaxation. Sleep. Heaven’s deep sleep. Working and exerting ourselves from a full internal reservoir as His Spirit abides with our spirit (see Rom. 8:16; Phil. 1:16; 1Jn. 2:27,28; 4:13; 2Tim. 4:22). We can and should have this daily, hourly.
“For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” (Isa. 30:15).
If we can surrender to the spiritual death that God gives us to produce our new life, then our problem of harassment and anxiety, and living in a world of sin, is resolved. All we need is to “sleep the sleep of death” (Ps. 13:3). All we need is have God put our self-focus to death, and He can kill the nagging anxiety that never quits. Anything we attempt for fixing our anxiety can only end in failure and greater disillusionment. Often suicide is used by people trying to fix their painful anxiety problem themselves. But this terrible act does not lead to enjoying a life without anxiety. It ends in nothing because there is no life after death. “The living know that they shall die, but the dead know not any thing ... neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.” (Ecc. 9:5,6). “His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.” (Job 14:21).
God has a better solution for putting our flesh to death. He doesn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. He surgically strikes our anxiety. He supplies His Spirit of life in Christ Jesus and kills the emptiness, the hopeless failures, and the grinding of the conscience; but He spares the soul and heals the soul. Detached and washed away is the tumor of guilt and shame. We can face life again, even our past life, and with confidence and self-worth seek forgiveness and restitution for all that we’ve done wrong. Crowned with the honor from “Him who loved us and washed us from our sins with His own blood” (Rev. 1:5), we seek restoration of past relationships and obtain it. Providence gave the Prince of peace an excruciating crown of thorns, so that by His Son’s horrific crown of thorns our horrific crown of thorny anger and anxiety could be healed. Beholding Him wear our crown of thorns will give His Spirit orpportunity to remove our hopeless torment so that we no longer desire to kill ourselves. He suffered in our place, “by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1Pet. 2:24). That’s good news. It’s certainly worth looking into. It’s certainly worth seeking the Son for it.
Paul put the death of self this way:
“Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.” (Rom. 7:1-3).
Paul used the analogy of a woman and an abusive, cantankerous husband. As long as he is alive, she must receive his abuse and a life not worth living. She has bound herself to this old man, and the law of marriage stands until death do they part. Divorce, and especially suicide and murder, are out of the question. But, for sure, one of the two persons must go.
Yet, we are not in control of life or death; God alone can bring death. And He will end a life when He deems sufficient time has passed. The old man will reach his eternal demise in God’s wise time. God, the Life-giver, is the only one who should end existence for anyone, even our old man. When someone else involves himself with ending life, taking things into his own hands, he ends up much, much worse than before. Death by suicide and murder are unthinkable. Even if a co-worker, a spouse, a parent, a sibling, or our old man, constantly does things that are designed to make us leave the relationship, trying to save oneself from the one’s pain only exacerbates the disease.
Paul then shifts the adversary from being an abusive and undesirable husband to man’s relation to the Law of God. And it may sound like introducing the Law of God ends the relevance of Paul’s solution for modern man. But, the Law is relevant to healing our anxiety because all the sources of our human woe, whether in our day or in the days of the Roman Empire, have always had for a root cause the painful disconnect between the creature and the Life-giver. And that disconnect comes from sin. Therefore, continuing with Paul’s explanation:
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.” (Rom. 7:4-8).
Sin, or our disconnection from the Creator, is a really big problem. Sin is why we are harassed. Our separation from the Comforter and the resulting consequences for our sinfulness are the root cause of anxiety. Sin and separation from God are the cause of all our other problems. Sin is the enemy. And our God has always been the deliverer.
But, sin is difficult to nail down or define. What is it that plagues us so? Sin is an abstract beyond all abstractions. It is evasive like nothing else. Other people can see it in us, but we can’t see it in ourselves; self can’t see its sinfulness. Other people give our exceeding sinfulness the antidote that they prescribe, often without our permission and as often without even a hint that they are giving it. Often they don’t even realize they are giving it, it is just a knee-jerk reaction against our despicable trespassing against them. They hate what they see in us and they react. But, the problem with their remedy for our sin is that they are sinners too and unsanctified. So their self-centered remedy, their slanted judgments only make us worse. “The strength of sin is the law” (1Cor. 15:56) in the hands of the uncircumcised in heart.
But, good news! This their abuse is in God’s plan! (Or is that really good news?) It may not feel like good news, but God is in control! Oh, Yay! (*sarcasm*). But, let me explain.
What we need is peace of mind. That is rest, healing rest, just like deep sleep. In deep peace like a river, there are no flare-ups of anxiety, and we have health, physically, emotionally, and mentally. There is only one way to the peace like a river, which makes it simple; but there are two methods to get there, which make it complicated.
The first way to peace. Our Creator knows how mischievous sin is and how mischievous the sinner is because of sin. So, He doesn’t initially approach us bearing the gift of grace and peace. The first thing He brings us is His Law. This is why Paul dove into the issue of Law when he explained the answer to peace.
There is no peace apart from peace with God. Peace from any other source is not real peace; it’s cheap and shallow, and doesn’t last long. In spiritual things as much as in everything, you get what you pay for. If you don’t invest much, you don’t get much. Therefore, legal or illegal substances, indulgent yet socially acceptable foods, all sorts of hobbies, time-consuming games, toys, work, relationships, education, culture—every kind of earthly source for peace must fail. Cursed is every man, woman, and child who trusts in anything this world offers to remove his chastisement of peace. Their chastisement of peace will endure forever. But, blessed are all they who trust in God to remove their chastisement of peace. His mercy will endure forever.
The world being of no help to give peace leaves only one option—God. And He plays hard to get—at least it seems that way. He isn’t really playing hard to get, but He must do it right if we are to be truly fixed. That correct way to fix us is to help us realize our pride and arrogance. He must baptize us in the humiliating truth about ourselves. “What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself.” Testimonies to Ministers, p. 456.

Once pride is dealt with and humbled, then we are teachable. Our eyes and ears and brain open up to recognizing our problem, which is us. Satan has become very bold toward our ME generation. When you boil it all down, ME is the cause of all our problems, harassments, and anxieties. And ME is self-protective. Self is all-preserving.
The two methods God uses to help us see our mischief:
1) As we have said, God must bring us to face our enemy—who is the blind and deaf person in the mirror. So He puts that mirror in front of us—His brilliant Law. The blinding truth from His Law pierces the ignorance of our sinfulness, and the truth is overwhelming. We are hit by a lightning bolt. ZOWIE!! OWIE!! Anxiety sets in, as we wrestle against acknowledging the truth. After we are grinded upon, the honest soul admits to the truth. We are busted.
2) The other method is the consequence to disregarding the brilliant Law. We don’t have the grace that is inherent to God and His Law; and we find it very painful to see ourselves as we really are. Instead, we dodge the bullet thinking we got away scott free. But, due to our choice of evading the Law’s helpful convictions, we must face Satan’s helping hands: the unconverted, abrasive, thorny, uncircumcised Gentiles. Their crudeness, heartless, harsh ways will be brutally honest in their judgment upon us. “For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.” (Deut. 32:31). “Lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation.... They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.” (Hab. 1:6,7). No mercy or love mix into their righteous judgments. Shape up or ship out!
“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” (Jer. 2:19).
“All that found them have devoured them: and their adversaries said, We offend not, because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice, even the LORD, the hope of their fathers.” (Jer. 50:7).
Either method will God use in order to bring His people to the ultimate requirement of trusting Christ so that they can be justified by their faith, and have the rest in deep sleep, that lays their old man in the dust. From that point onward their spirit is allied with the Spirit of Christ and sin is dead in them. Their rest of spirit gives them strength to say “no” to all their sins. And their victory over sin is so natural that sin is expelled by the act of their soul.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?
Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:1-4).