“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.

Friday, November 10, 2017

I now have Apolutrosis

I have to let everyone know that I contracted apolutrosis. I was sick for a long time, and finally found out about apolutrosis. I got it in a hospital full of really sick people.

Apolutrosis is a Greek word loosely defined as, “the infusion of the best sort of grace”, i.e. “redemption”.

“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…” (Eph. 1:5-7).

Apolutrosis is to be “enlightened, and [to] have tasted of the heavenly gift, and [be] made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and [to] have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come.” (Heb. 6:4,5).

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa. 40:29-31).

“And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of My mountains: and Mine elect shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell there. And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for My people that have sought Me…. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.” (Isa. 65:9,10,18).

G629 apolutrōsis From a compound of G575 and G3083; (the act) ransom in full, that is, (figuratively) riddance, or (specifically) Christian salvation: - deliverance, redemption.

The apolutrōsis from Jesus is what caused Saul such tremendous joy in song.

“After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy:
And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.
And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee….
And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.
And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.
And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?
And one of the same place answered and said, But who is their father? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets?
And when he had made an end of prophesying, he came to the high place.” (1Sam. 10:5-7,9-13).

Christ’s apolutrōsis is what caused David such joy among the worshipers of Jehovah.

“I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.” (Ps. 42:4).

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” (Ps. 23:6).

Apolutrōsis, the best sort of grace from Jesus, is what caused David such thankfulness when Jesus forgave him all his sinfulness.

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” (Ps. 32:1,2).

Apolutrōsis is what allowed David to be open to all discipline from His Adonay. “Clean”, “whiter than snow”, “joy and gladness”, “all mine iniquities [blotted out]”, “a right spirit within me”, “Thy presence”, “Thy holy Spirit”, “the joy of Thy salvation”, “Thy free spirit”, “my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise”.

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness.
O Lord, open Thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise.” (Ps. 51:7-15).

“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” (Heb. 8:12).

“For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is He whom the Father chasteneth not?
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Heb. 12:6-11).

Apolutrōsis from Jesus is what allowed Paul to suffer any amount of persecution from sinners who he was seeking to save.

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” (1Tim. 1:12-14).

“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. 11:23-25,28).

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” (2Cor. 4:7-10).

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death;
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Phil. 3:8-11).

Apolutrōsis is what allowed all the people of the Lord to keep their faith against the flood of persecution that they endured.

“… others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” (Heb. 11:35-38).

Apolutrōsis is what will give all the saved their songs forever and ever.

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand having His Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed form the earth.” (Rev. 14:1-3).

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Rev. 7:9-17).

“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5:11-13).

“Ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Rom. 8:23).

“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him:
And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” (Rev. 22:1-4).

“As the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.” (Isa. 65:22).

Apolutrōsis ! Amen. The Reformation lives.

I got the disease! Now I gotta tell somebody.

Friday, November 03, 2017

The law of conviction

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:2).

What is this law? It comes from Christ. It brings with it the Spirit of life. It can make us free from the law of sin and death. But what is that law? What is it like to have it? I believe in the Old Testament we have some examples of that “law”. A law can be more than words engraved in a slab of stone. A law can be more than a list of dos and don’ts. A law means power, literally, literally the power of God unto salvation. We see this law, the power of God in Jeremiah and Balaam.

We say that gravity is a law. You jump up and you will come back to earth. The landing can hurt, depending on how high you got before returning. That demonstrates the power of a law. I weigh X number of pounds because of a law. That law is power, power to keep me earth-bound. So much power is in the law of gravity that to overcome that law that Apollo Saturn V used 947,459 gallons of fuels and the Space Shuttle used 1.1 million pounds (550 tons) of solid rocket fuel to overcome the power of gravity. That is a lot of power in the rockets to create an equal and opposite power of gravity. I believe that kind of power gives us an object lesson for the power of God unto our salvation. His power will keep us from falling into sin. His presence will keep us abiding in Him.

There are other laws. Fear is a law. Nothing takes control of the mind like fear does. For many self-indulgence is a law over self. For others greed and covetousness and envy are a law. But, the most enjoyable law is disinterested, self-sacrificing love. “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death.” (Song 8:6).

Laws are the message that Paul was putting forth in his Romans 7 wrestling. He wanted the good and holy law to control him, but another law possessed his reins.

“If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Rom. 7:16-23).

Then Paul finds a third law besides a captivity to the law of death and a captivity to the law of righteousness. Jesus, the Law of love incarnate, fulfilling the Law of holiness and righteousness and goodness. It’s the sight of Jesus that delivers us from our bodies’ laws of death. Beholding Him will grab us and turn us “into another man” (1Sam. 10:6). His word will eject the devil from us. The power of Jesus will overcome the power of Satan.

“Many times did He deliver them… He regarded their affliction, when He heard their cry.” (Ps. 106:43,44).

“Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine. And He smote His enemies in the hinder parts: He put them to a perpetual reproach.” (Ps. 78:65,66).

The Spirit of life from the crucified only-begotten Son of God will douse Satan’s law of self-preservation and pride. The pouring out of His soul unto eternal death will make our obedience to righteousness possible. Our Saviour’s commandment will take control, as His Father’s commandment always took control of Him.

“For I have not spoken of Myself; but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, so I speak.” (John 12:49,50).

Jesus spoke for His Father. Christ was the premier prophet, the Prophet of prophets. He exemplified in His life all that He had required of His servants, the Old Testament prophets. Under the power of the control of the pre-incarnate Christ the prophets spoke the will of His Father. “Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before Me: and … thou shalt be as My mouth.” (Jer. 15:19). That is the power that He gives everyone who comes to Him, who is begotten of Him, and who abides with Him. Jeremiah, as with all the prophets, found themselves dwelling so fully in Christ, “Abide in Me...” (John 15:4) and living under the power of Christ, “... and I in you” (John 15:4), that their primary focus was not on the world outside. Their attention was on living under Jesus’ gaze. The prophets had the privilege given the holy pair in Eden. It was only after leaving Christ to eat of the forbidden tree that “they then for the first time turned their attention to the external.” Story of Redemption, p. 38. But, all their life prior to that day their attention had remained completely forgetful of self. Likewise the prophets, the holy men of God.

Case in point, Jeremiah. He was completely oblivious of the danger his office of prophet put upon him. “The Lord hath given me knowledge of it, and I know it: then Thou shewedst me their doings. But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered.” (Jer. 11:18,19).

“As many as received Him, to them gave He power [G1849, exousia, “ability”, “privilege”, “force”, “capacity”, competency, freedom, or “mastery”, “superhuman”, “potentate”, “token of control”, “delegated influence”, “authority”] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12,13).

With Christ in the heart, and the meekness, hope, and confidence in Christ that He brings when His Spirit takes control, the child of God receives a full rest and release from all concerns for self.  “I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward.” (Gen. 15:1) is believed and rings true in their souls. That rest and release brings freedom to express all the thought of God to the sinner. God’s total disgust for sin comes through and men are boundened to hear of their standing before the Most High.

The Father’s “commandment is life everlasting”.  “The testimony of Jesus” endows the child of God with perfect discernment and delight. When the Spirit of Jesus enters, He “brings life and immortality to light” (2Tim. 1:10). “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand are pleasures for ever more.” (Ps. 16:11).

We also see the power of Christ’s word in His work of creation.

God said, Let there be light: and there was light….
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so….
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so….
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind….
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also….
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind….
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so….
And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” (Gen. 1:3,6,7,9,11,12,14-16,20,21,24,26,27).

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth….  For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” (Ps. 33:6,9).
“Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto then, they stand up together.” (Isa. 48:13).

We see the power of Christ upon Balaam.

“And Balaam said unto Balak, Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say any thing? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak.” (Num. 22:38).

“And Balaam said unto Balak, Stand by thy burnt offering, and I will go: peradventure the LORD will come to meet me: and whatsoever He sheweth me I will tell thee. And he went to an high place. And God met Balaam: and he said unto him, I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram. And the LORD put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak.” (Num. 23:3-5).

“And he returned unto him, and, lo, he stood by his burnt sacrifice, he, and all the princes of Moab.
And he took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel.
How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied?
For from the top of the rocks I see Him, and from the hills I behold Him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.
Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the Righteous, and let my last end be like His!” (Num. 23:6-10).

“And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed them altogether. And he answered and said, Must I not take heed to speak that which the LORD hath put in my mouth?” (Num. 23:11,12).

“And the LORD met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, Go again unto Balak, and say thus.
And when he came to him, behold, he stood by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said unto him, What hath the LORD spoken?
And he took up his parable, and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor:
God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?
Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and He hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.
He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a King is among them.
God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.
Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!
Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain.” (Num. 23:16-24).

“And Balak said unto Balaam, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all. But Balaam answered and said unto Balak, Told not I thee, saying, All that the LORD speaketh, that I must do?” (Num. 23:25,26).

“He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: how goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!” (Num. 24:4,5).

“He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.” (Num. 24:16,17).

We learn from Balaam’s experience that when Jesus takes control we lose self, we lose control of self. The flesh of a man cannot overpower the Spirit of the Creator. This is exactly what Paul needed, and ever afterward wanted.

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24).
“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 7:25).

The power of trusting in God’s promise takes control of God’s child and sanctifies their heart and mind. “The righteousness of faith” (Rom. 4:13) comes through the promise, the Spirit of the Promised One. “Sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Eph. 1:14), “that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” (Gal. 3:22). “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:2).

“The righteousness of faith” (Rom. 4:13), “the righteousness of God without the law… Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (Rom. 3:21,22), “the righteousness of the faith” (Rom. 4:11), “the gift of righteousness” (Rom. 5:17), “the righteousness of One … upon all men unto justification of life” (Rom. 5:18), “righteousness unto God” (Rom. 6:13), “the righteousness of God.” (Rom. 10:3) is .

“...That I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” (Phil. 3:9,10).

We must give obedience to the Law, but our righteousness doesn’t come from the Law. It comes from the power of Christ “upon all them that believe.” (Rom. 3:22). Only thus “the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:4).

Through His justifying forgiveness there is no condemnation, but rather peace with God. Looking to Jesus provides us the shield from the wrath of God. Thus Christ’s life and acceptance and power of righteousness makes us able to obey God. And, thus God is satisfied. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36).

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”, that is, “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:1,9). It is in His Spirit that we have His power to obey and speak for Him.

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Rom. 8:9,10).

“For we through the Spirit [of Christ] wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” (Gal. 5:5).

And the promised Seed, “which is Christ” (Gal. 3:16), would create a whole generation, “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1Pet. 2:9), “the seed [that] should come to whom the promise was made.” (Gal. 3:19). “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure.” (Rom. 4:16).

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22.23). The Spirit is the powerful law of life in Christ Jesus.

All who have sought His Spirit must be “fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.” (Rom. 4:21). The promise belongs to the messenger of Christ, “To him will I give power [exousia] over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father.” (Rev. 2:26,27). “That … even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 5:21).

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” (Heb. 12:2). Overcome by Him, frozen in our tracks and being “caught up into paradise” is the inheritance to the saints in light. Hearing “unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2Cor. 12:4), and clearly speaking those words that are humanly incomprehensible and unutterable--“This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the LORD.” (Isa. 54:17).

“And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the Angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
And I went unto the angel, and said unto Him, Give me the little book. And He said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
And I took the little book out of the Angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
And He said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” (Rev. 10:8-11).

The above text speaks of a wicked Church during the Dark Ages that had been plagued by God’s witnesses. “These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” (Rev. 11:4, cf Zech. 4:14). “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6). Today the Church, via its fifth trumpet and sixth locust plagues, has been given authority to have its revenge on God’s people. But, God is ultimately in charge of the devil’s attempts to wear out the saints.

Yet God always gets the last word: “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.” (Job 38:11). “I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things. Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.” (Joel 2:20,21).

By following after the Spirit, and through Him standing before His Father, the 144,000 will be empowered to boldly say to the Church, “As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” (1Ki. 17:1).

The power of God unto salvation, “the power of the Highest” (Luke 1:35) is the seal of God in the forehead. The heart and mouths and lives of the 144,000 will be circumcised. “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Gal. 4:6). Their hearts will be perfect toward the Lamb because they follow after the Spirit of the Lamb, which has “seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” (Rev. 5:6). And so will their lives be perfect.

“These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” (Rev. 14:4,5).

With the power of the angels on their heads, and the testimonies in their hearts, they will pour forth the straight truth, and the truth will have effect.

“I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what 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; all who truly receive it will obey it and be purified.  
     Said the angel, ‘List ye!’ Soon I heard a voice like many musical instruments all sounding in perfect strains, sweet and harmonious. It surpassed any music I had ever heard, seeming to be 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, who were mightily shaken. I was shown those whom I had before seen weeping and praying in agony of spirit. The company of guardian angels around them had been doubled, and they were clothed with an armor from their head to their feet. They moved in exact order, 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, now shone 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 perseveringly plead and agonize for it, did not obtain it, and they were left behind in darkness, and their places were immediately filled by others taking hold of the truth and coming into the ranks. Evil angels still pressed around them, but could have no power over them.  
     I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth with great power. It had effect. Many had been bound; some wives by their husbands, and some children by their parents. The honest who had been prevented from hearing the truth now eagerly laid hold upon it. All fear of their relatives was gone, and the truth alone was exalted to them. They had been hungering and thirsting for truth; it was dearer and more precious than life. 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 the company who had the light and power of God. Darkness thickened around them; yet they stood firm, approved of God, and trusting in Him. I saw them perplexed; next I heard them crying unto God earnestly. Day and night their cry ceased not: ‘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 around about us. They have appointed us unto death; but Thine arm can bring salvation.’ These are all the words which I can bring to mind. All seemed to have a deep sense of their unworthiness and manifested entire submission to the will of God; yet, like Jacob, every one, without an exception, was earnestly pleading and wrestling for deliverance.” Early Writings, p. 270-272.

“They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31).

The sorrows from the fifth and sixth trumpet locust plagues will be healed.

“Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, My great army which I sent among you.
And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed.
And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and My people shall never be ashamed.
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit.” (Joel 2:23-29).

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Two enslavements within the Advent movement

The post from June 21, 2014, Two enslavements, I wrote,

“How is it that Satan has the power to control the world? What is the evil one’s methodology?

He has used the modified-crayfish method. To catch a crayfish one must put the trap behind the creature, and then approach it from the front. It flees the frontal threat and runs backward into the trap.”

It spoke of the way the papacy presents its terrorizing harassments to the world in order to move the world to need the pope’s avowed blessing and prayers. In other words, the masses run from terroristic Baal, and flock to gracious Ashtoreth. Then she soothes their minds and hearts and souls, and from then onward they can never need or repent to Jesus and come to Him. And heaven allows for such destruction and deception. God unfetters Satan to open his bottomless pit of consuming violence because otherwise the masses’ focus is stuck on the goodness of the world. Therefore, the Godhead uses the earthly master’s plagues and wicked violence to help us need our Creator and Redeemer who has suffered eternal punishment for our eternal forgetfulness of Him.

Today we are seeing a similar scenario happening within Adventism. Heavy-handed, zealous, Jehu-prophets are arising to whip Seventh-day Adventism into shape. Maybe they believe they are filling the role as a John the Baptist or an Elijah, but they are actually playing the role of Jehu. Jehu so zealously killed the worshipers of Baal, that when he finished his “mission for God” he reestablished Baal worship. And God is allowing these Jehus their work so that in the end, after the dust has settled, the honest in heart will recognize the difference between the Jehu and the actual John and Elijah who Jehovah will send to deliver His people from enslavement to sin and unbelief.

Jesus told us that in the very last days “many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matt. 24:5). Who would suspect a handsome married couple to be deceivers? Yet, it seems that false messiahs of every brand always rise up when danger is on the horizon. And we should expect the same thing today, when the enemy of peace and truth on earth is building his extensive bulwarks for his ultimate besiegement of the human race. “Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.” (Jer. 4:13).

When “ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars” (Matt. 24:6) spurious voices come to the fore. But Jesus counsels, “See that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (Matt. 24:6).

Yes, for sure we are seeing definite signs of the end. It may be the beginnings, but the full reality is surely on the way. “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” (Matt. 24:7-10).

Then amidst the dangers we have this reminder from Jesus of a common reaction to dangerous times, “Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (Matt. 24:11).

These folks come in Christ’s name, on His business. But, are they sent by God? They sound like they are. Or are they the other trap that Satan is putting behind our crayfish, unfortified, vulnerable lack of spirituality? And out of stark terror, all who never got grounded in reliance on Jesus and on His world will follow them.

Weren’t there similar voices crying out before Jesus came the first time? Theudas, and Judas, and Barabbas?

Listen to the counsel of Gamaliel, a theologian of the Sanhedrin. Ellen White wrote of him, that he “recognized the voice of God” (Acts of the Apostles, p. 83). He was of “good reputation and a man of learning and high position” (ibid.). He had “clear intellect” and “reasonableness” (ibid.). He “well knew the elements” of the minds he was dealing with. (ibid.).

And he “spoke with great deliberation and calmness” (ibid.) when he reminded people that not far in the past violence among them arose that resulted from the arrival of violent enemies, which subjugated their land. Said Gamaliel, “Before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.” (Acts 5:36,37).

I can’t tell anyone what to do with such people who are gathering multitudes around them. But I have the duty to recommend the Bible’s counsel, if I have anyone’s ear.

Certainly, the people of the Lord are presently in a sad spiritual condition, as these prophets say. Surely, unbelief has left us sitting ducks; we are mortified at the approaching enemy from the Dark Ages. Certainly, we have before us another Hitler Germany in America, a revival of the SS troops, and their juggernaut military machine. Yes, what is coming is another dictatorship and totalitarian authoritarian. And what is worse is that destroyer/controller will be a pretending, ethical authority, i.e. it will be arrogating to itself divine worship, “vile” (Dan. 11:21), “earthly, sensual, devilish” (Jas. 3:15).

“Lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.” (Hab. 1:6-10).

But, what these prophets will never accept is that we all, including the prophets, deserve what is coming.

“Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod [of God’s punishment] of an almond tree.
Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten My word to perform it.
And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot [the wrath of God]; and the face thereof is toward the north.
Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.
For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.
And I will utter My judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken Me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.” (Jer. 1:11-16).

“Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.” (Jer. 25:9).

Nevertheless, we must have “clear intellect” and “reasonableness”. We must think with “with great deliberation and calmness” when we choose who we will allow to lead us in these desperate times. Our leaders must be moderate and Christlike. If the Lord is at hand, and we are seeking to be as pure as He is, then we will eskew extremes. “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” (Phil. 4:5).

Gamaliel’s counsel regarding extremist leaders is, “Now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone” (Acts 5:38).

Were the Jews any less “bitter and hasty” (Hab. 1:12) than were the Romans who accosted them and taxed them? Did the Jews have peace through the Spirit any more than did their oppressors? Do the Protestant Americans know peace with God after having abrogated the Law of God? It’s not possible to know peace through their lawless religion.

“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Prov. 28:9). Unless the Law of God has humbled us and made our sin to appear unpardonable, we cannot have the gift of repentance that God requires of us. “But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” (Rom. 7:13). And without repentance and justification no one can have peace with God because the “chastisement of our peace” was never laid “upon Him” (Isa. 53:5). Do we as Adventists have peace with God and certainty of salvation? If not, the lack of peace and certainty can have only one cause. Lawlessness. Haven’t many of us also abrogated the Law of the Lord after the pattern of the Protestants? Haven’t we turned our ear away from hearing the Spirit of Prophecy like they did the Ten Commandments? God has good cause for bringing us troubles, gigantic troubles to wake us up to our rejection of the gifts from His loving counsel.

“From Healthy Living, 1169-1173, p. 280, 281

“The Modern Church Repeating the History of Ancient Israel. The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ Review and Herald, 1890, No. 7.

“Satan’s snares are laid for us as verily as they were laid for the children of Israel just prior to their entrance into the land of Canaan. We are repeating the history of that people Testimony, No. 31, p. 156.”

Jesus gave us what was most precious to Him. When He gave us His testimonies through Ellen White, He gave from His heart. “And I gave them My statutes, and shewed them My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them My sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.” (Eze. 20:11,12). From Him whose meat and drink is to do the will of His Father, giving His people the Law of His Father meant more to Him than daily bread. The Law was the same expression of love that David and Jonathan had when Jonathan gave David his regalia as the natural expression of love.

“Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.” (1Sam. 18:4). Why did Jonathan do that? “Because he loved [David] as his own soul.” (verse 3). It was love that drove Jonathan to give, and it was love that drove Jesus to give to Protestantism us His most precious things—the transcript of His Father’s character from His personal voice through Ellen White. But, what have we done with her counsels? Sent her as far away as a round earth can put her, Australia. Her generation politely rejected her, and she felt the rejection severely. But, she left and made the best of her rejection. She had grace—the grace of Jesus.

That’s why she could be “troubled on every side, yet not distressed; …perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in [her] body.” (2Cor. 4:8-10). And what have we done with the voice of Jesus since Mrs. White passed away? Slowly but surely, Jesus’ voice through her pen has been marginalized and neglected. We have shut it away in lieu of more modern writers. We are repeating the history of Israel. “They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” (1Sam. 8:7).

So, we deserve the coming troubles. Not only are the troubles discipline, but also a gift from the God of love. If nothing else will help us prepare for His return in power, He will send us catastrophe. Somebody will wake up to love for His counsels. Somebody will respond. There will be a group, a remnant. Even before the behemoth tide of evil hits, they were already sighing and crying for the abominations overspreading the church. They were striving to serve the Lord while surrounded by discouraging unbelief from hearts and mouths all around them. The hearts of these wise virgins will wake up with a reserve of faith that won’t exist in the foolish unbelievers of the Testimony of Jesus.

“Surely in the floods of great waters they will not come nigh unto Him.” (Ps. 32:6).

Only when it’s too late to see the goodness of God in His instruction of righteousness will the unbelievers flock to the bitter and hasty voices of false prophets because the foolish unbelievers will be as bitter and hasty. They never knew the calm peace that Jesus brings with Him when He draws near and makes Himself known to the human heart.

I don’t recommend following Andrew Henriques. He is not the fatherly John the Baptist or Paul that we must look for. He and his wife have not the parental voices of James and Ellen White. Though this pastor and his wife may fight against apostasy, their influence will be as baleful as the Spiritual Formation rebels that they fight. The lawless faction of Adventism looks different from the Henriques’ form of rebellion; but, both are still rebellion. We are called to obey not only the Law of God, but also the gospel.

The Pharisees of Christ’s day sought to defend the faith of their fathers. Their sect’s name may have been taken from Pharez, the son of Judah who was the progenitor of their tribe. Jealous for God’s honor and zealous for the Law, these sons of Pharez, the Pharisim, touted their status of holding fast to the present truth. But they threw out the baby with the bathwater. They didn’t know mercy, repentance, and faith. Saul of Tarsus perfectly exemplifies their “holiness” and “commandment-keeping”. “As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.” (Acts 8:3). “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:1,2). It could not be said of them, “Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought Me.” (Isa. 65:10). And His answer to them will be, “I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 7:23). They didn’t know dependence on Jesus; therefore their defense of the Law was not of the Lord. Thus, the Law left them dry as the hills of Gilboa, which have neither dew nor rain. The only fruit that could grow in the soil of their arid hearts was briers and thorns, anger and hatred.

 “For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: but that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” (Heb. 6:7,8).

But, all who will not only obey the Law, but also the gospel of “mercy, and faith” (Matt. 23:23), which is the “righteousness of God [outside] the law… being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (Rom. 3:21,22), they will be blessed in their work.

“The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek Him: your heart shall live for ever.
All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee.
For the kingdom is the LORD’s: and He is the governor among the nations.
All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship.” (Ps. 22:26-29).

We need a John the Baptist and a Paul, those godly fathers who fore and aft flanked Jesus, the Everlasting Father and Wonderful Counselor. Like Aaron and Hur holding up the hands of Moses, John and Paul buttress the Lord Jesus like the giant mountains that form the dwarfed bodyguard of gigantic Mt. Rainier. John had a warmth and depth of  character that made him worthy of being Christ’s forerunner.

“Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying.
And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, He that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to Him.
John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him.
He that hath the bride is the Bridegroom: but the friend of the Bridegroom, which standeth and heareth Him, rejoiceth greatly because of the Bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:25-30).

 And likewise Paul His greatest apostle. A John the Baptist and a Paul are what we need today. A group is rising today who claim to be the last protectors of “present truth”. But, that doesn’t mean they have present truth anymore than the Pharisees had the truth of the Law. Jesus proved to them that the doctrine He taught, and which they hated, was the true Law of God. Present truth comes with the Spirit of truth. It can’t come from the spirit of bitterness. The Latter Rain will be full of butter and honey. But, sadly, because of hardened hearts, many will not receive the powerful Spirit of Christ. His butter and honey, Law and grace blend will appear to be heresy to those whose diet has been briers and thorns, and whose hearts have been vexed with gall and wormwood. We need a diet not of constant accusation and criticism, but of the butter and honey doctrine that Jesus ate everyday. Then we can feed the same butter and honey to the soul hungry for truth.

“And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land.” (Isa. 7:22).

But, everyone who rejects the Latter Rain’s butter and honey beautiful presentation of Law and Spirit, because it doesn’t fit their minds that are led by the spirit of sowing discord, will find only spiritualism’s gall and wormwood permanently disconnecting them from Jesus. Except for a few, “all the land” will produce a bumper harvest of thistles and cockle as well. To them the coming tribulation will only exacerbate their thorny hearts and minds. They will burn with fire and smoke and brimstone, and “they have no rest” (Rev. 14:11). “The people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.” (Jer. 51:58).

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand [pieces of silver], it shall even be for briers and thorns. With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns.” (Isa. 7:23,24).

Only the hearts that have fallen on the Stone, and have had its “fallow ground” broken up, will not sow “among thorns” (Jer. 4:3).

“And on all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle.” (Isa. 7:25).

Please watch out for Mr. Henriquez and the like.

“Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction.” (Mic. 2:10).

“My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.” (Jer. 50:6).

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Matt. 7:15,16).

“Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you.
The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.
But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?
And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us.
But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees?
Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us.
And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?
Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us.

And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.” (Judg. 9:7-15).

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Self-righteousness, the deception above all things

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jer. 17:9,10).

“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” (Jer. 17:5).

The Lord had a good reason for giving us the book of Job in His word to the human race. From the beginning of mankind, His omniscience saw the self-righteousness in the fallen human heart.

Job cried,
“I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.
The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.
I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.
I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.
And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.
Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand.
My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch.
My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand.” (Job 29:12-20).

 I, I, I, me, me, me, my, my, my. I do this, I did that. I do righteousness because I am righteous, I am just. And I am a part of a larger group, a federation that does the same righteousness, “we who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles.” (Gal. 2:15).

“Boasting” (Rom. 3:27).

As undependable sinners, even justified sinners as Job was, we too often fall into glorying in our exaltation in the earth, our goodness that “is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.” (Hos. 6:4). “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away.” (1Pet. 1:24). “For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.” (Ps. 103:16).

“The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isa. 40:6-8).

Our own righteousness, which appears to exalt our nation or denomination, doesn’t last long. This is what happened to Job. He exalted himself when he was put to the test, in horrific pain and surrounded by people who didn’t know God.

“Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me;
When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness;
As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle;
When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me;
When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil;
When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street!
The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up.
The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth.
The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.
When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me:…
 My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand.
Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel.
After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them.
And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain.
If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down.
I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforteth the mourners.” (Job 29:2-11,20-25).

We have no reason, and the redeemed will never have a reason throughout eternity, to congratulate self. Jesus alone deserves the praises that many have ignorantly given to Job. Jesus was infinitely righteous, in horrific pain on the cross, discouraged by wicked men who surrounded Him, and even engulfed in His Father’s wrath against Job’s sins. Yet, Christ alone did not fall into self-justification or self-glorification.

Self can’t refrain from boasting itself. “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward…. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” (Matt. 6:2,5). We might laugh at the old Jewish religious leaders’ outlandish, forms of self-boasting. However, “there is no difference” (Rom. 3:22) between the Jews of ancient Israel and us in our 21st century world. Really, the boasting of Job was the very first testimony of Jesus because we are all guilty of boosting and boasting self, from the worst of us to the best of us.

Job’s boasting the goodness of self is the unavoidable condition of the sinful fallen heart. “Guilty? Not me.” “Shameful? Not me.” “Horrendously hideous to God? Not me.” “I am good. I am great. I never did anything wrong, therefore I will never need repentance.” “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen,… for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” (Rev. 18:2,7). “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Rev. 3:17). But, God will destroy it and them.

Deceitful above all things is the human heart. “Peter said unto Him, Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake.” (John 13:37).

Little did powerful Peter know his weakness. Only love for Jesus would cause his survival in the great cleaver of truth that would break and cut away and square Peter’s stumbling stone, and that would qualify him for a place in the living temple of God.

Only faith in the love of Jesus for Peter kept him from being destroyed by his own wisdom and righteousness. Peter was the perfect example of every disciple of righteousness. Everyone comes to the offer of redemption full of self, and in great need of a knowledge of God and of their own propensity to self-management. “Jesus, my Lord, You don’t need to bother with my sinfulness; I can take care of it myself.” “Don’t dirty Thy holy hands with my little idols. Don’t spend Your most precious time and efforts on re-arranging my priorities. Take care of other people’s much bigger problems, all those who have huge, really bad behavior. There are those drug addicts and LBGT, LGBTQ, LGBTQIA, and LGGBTQQIAAPPK folks. Lord with all my heart, I beg you to save them and sanctify them. Their sins have reached up to heaven and they are in danger of destroying themselves and missing out on an eternity with You! But, I’ll be OK. And I’ll see You at the tree of life.”

What we need is a knowledge of ourselves apart from the Law and good behavior. What we need is a repentance caused by the conviction of a species of sin that is not measured so much by God’s Law of good behavior, but by Christ’s Law of self-abasement—God’s other Law, His hidden Law. We need the “righteousness of God [separate from] the Law” (Rom. 3:21)—the spiritual Law, the Law of self-sacrifice that judges the motives of the heart. We need “the humbling”; we need conversion and a creature born again into a new and living Adam. We need to fall upon the Stone and be broken. We need to see the righteousness of God. We need natural obedience, natural righteousness, which comes from a new heart and new spirit that the Great Physician has duly humbled and healed.

“Now we know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the Law is the knowledge of sin.
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the prophets;
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:19-23).

Have we examined our motives? Have we looked seriously at our shortcomings and mistakes? “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2Cor. 13:5)?

David expressed the perfect example of failure, but of confidence in the mercy of God and of examining/judging himself in the light of the righteousness of God, rather than a spirit of rationalizing/justifying himself. He was so humbled by his error that he publicized it! “To the chief Musician, even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David”! Let every good commandment keeper take heed! He that is least, as David humbled himself, shall be the greatest!! Obviously and most definitely, David preached the new covenant salvation by faith in the self-abasing Son of God. He knew the Lord and trusted in His mercy. Therefore the humbled David had the power to publish his error so that his descendants would not fall into his same trap. He was thinking of them; and Jesus was thinking of us.

David wrote, “I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.” (Ps. 39:1).

David had tried to fluff himself up and be his own Creator of goodness. “I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.” (Ps. 39:2).

But, his own righteous will-power could not prevent his true, self-dependent, sinful will-power to complain and burn in self-preservation.

“My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned”.

All of our fluffing and the holding of our breath always comes to a horrid end. Our self-righteous afflatus to hold in secret sin explodes in putrid human flatulence everywhere.  “…then spake I with my tongue” (Ps. 39:3).

May we know the depth of our true self-dependence, our dug-in roots of sin and self-glory. Then our righteousness and worship will be more than a show, a production for human entertainment, to receive applause and self-congratulation from Pharisaical men and women instead of the approval of God. “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (John 12:43). There will be the fullness that comes with redemption instead of empty emotion that comes from self-made righteousness. There will be the promised revival of primitive godliness such as the world has not seen since apostolic times.

The end of pride, self-protection, which are the fruit of the hidden sin, self-righteousness, is separation from the God of peace, and the sure by-product of anxiety. Anxiety, the world-wide lack of peace with God, is the tell-tale sign of being cut-off from God for the hidden sin of self-righteousness. Did you ever wonder where anxiety comes from? It comes from God; it is “the wrath of God” (John 3:36) upon all who aren’t trusting in His Son. They are trusting in themselves, “whose heart departeth from the Lord” (Jer. 17:5). Anxiety, “the chastisement of our peace”, infinitely “was upon Him” (Isa. 53:5) who “was made to be sin for us” (2Cor. 5:21). Anxiety is the essence of sin. Yes, all of us self-righteous anxiety-ridden folks, we are sinning. We have not fallen on the Rock and broken. We need to fall by viewing the infinite self-sacrificing obedience and righteousness of the Son of God. Then we will break and be humbled, and be wonderfully healed of our horrendous anxiety. Then our righteousness will be of Him.

Our praise will not be of self, but of Jesus. We will have something to say about Him and His great power to humble and heal. Our happy testimony will be Nebuchadnezzar’s. “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.” (Dan. 4:37). Otherwise, if you flee the pain of the humbling, you will get cancer and die in your anxiety.

Self-righteousness is so secretive that it is impossible to see, by the individual transgressor of it as well as the group he has joined. Self-righteousness evades both the moral religionist and the ethical, atheistic irreligionist. Anxious self-righteousness and self-preservation affects the whole world. It is very difficult for Jesus to weed it out of His people, especially “the mighty and the holy people” (Dan. 8:24, cf Rom. 9:30-33). But, if it is not discovered—“found” (Rom. 4:1); if Jesus cannot point it out; if we won’t let Jesus point it out [“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” (Matt. 13:15)], then, worse than death by cancer, the end of the living unresolved anxiety will be the madness of strong delusions and God’s ultimate visitation of judgment.

“The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred. The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God. They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore He will remember their iniquity, He will visit their sins.” (Hos. 9:7-9).

“The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.” (Mic. 7:4).

The end of the secret sin of self-made righteousness will be the Mark of the Beast. Therefore, the secret sin that is apart from the obvious sins listed in the Ten Commandments; the hidden sin of the heart, which is the greatest of all sins, that of self-sufficiency and the inner recognition of one’s own goodness, the silent boasting of one’s own good track record, will receive the greater judgment of endless restlessness and permanent emotional turmoil in the last days.

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev. 14:9-11).

May this be our prayer “while it is called To day” (Heb. 3:13),

“LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.
And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.
Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish.
I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.
Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand.
When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.
Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.
O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.” (Ps. 39:4-13).

“Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man’s wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed.
I counsel thee to keep the King’s commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.
Be not hasty to go out of His sight: stand not in an evil thing; for He doeth whatsoever pleaseth Him.
Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto Him, What doest Thou?
Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.
Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.
For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?
There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.” (Ecc. 8:1-8).

We need the righteousness of God apart from the law. Not without law to God, but under the Law to Christ. We need the conviction that comes from His self-sacrifice. We need to mortify our fig leaved righteousness.

“The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.” (Ecc. 10:12,13).

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Does God obsess?

Here are some thoughts from the internet. When I quote from the internet I don’t mean to say that I adhere to everything that science says. But, the Bible says that we are made in God’s image and that brings us to compare ourselves with Him. Not everything about us compares, but we need to do the comparison to find the aspects of the human to know the divine. We see this best in Jesus, but even He drew from the world around Him to explain God and His kingdom. Do these three articles’ explanations of obsession and compulsivity line up with God’s actions? Is God obsessive/compulsive? Is He a perfectionist? That is the point I want to look at.

“Obsessions often seen with ‘perfectionism’ as a form of OCD include:
An overwhelming fear of making mistakes; an intense need for things to be ‘perfect’ or ‘done right’ – may or may not be accompanied by a fear that harm will come to oneself or others if things are not done perfectly
Fear of the consequences of making mistakes (frequently overestimated)
A need for one’s behavior and performance to adhere to a particular rule or standard
Fear that one’s work will be seen as being poorly done, with possible punishment or job loss
Need to bring the same level effort, detail and energy to every task; all tasks are equally important
Need to have things look, sound or feel ‘just right’
An intense fear of making the wrong decision
A tremendous need to finish some action or project once it is started
Rituals that may be done in an attempt to reduce the anxiety caused by perfectionism include:
Repeatedly rewriting or revising work, essays, class work, email, project reports or business or personal letters to get the penmanship or alignment ‘just right’
Redoing work to the extent that work or projects cannot be completed in a timely manner; spending an inordinate amount of time on minor details
Rewriting assignments to get the wording to sound or look ‘just right’
Seeking reassurance that tasks have been done well or correctly
Working overly-long hours to finish a project once it is started (inability to put a project aside and come back to it later)
Overly rethinking or revising decisions (inability to make a decision)
Avoiding/procrastinating completion of an assignment because of the time and energy consumed by the need to have things perfect.”

“Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is an anxiety disorder that generally causes extreme discomfort. Sufferers are often riddled with persistent and recurrent impulses, thoughts and images that are unwanted. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, OCD affects more than 2 million adults in the United States. Severe cases of OCD can cause an extreme amount of distress, and the disorder can dramatically interfere with a person’s daily life.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the categories of obsessive-compulsive disorder include:
Intrusive thoughts
Constant checking
Fear of contamination
Sufferers of OCD who have intrusive thoughts generally have reoccurring images in their minds that are disturbing or horrific. These thoughts may occur based on an event that happened in the person’s life, or they may occur for no particular reason. Sufferers of OCD who have the need to constantly check on people or items generally fear that something bad will happen if they stop checking. For example, someone with OCD may constantly walk throughout their home to make sure all the doors and windows are locked due to their fear that someone might try to break in.
 Sufferers who have a fear of contamination may take baths and wash their hands many times throughout the course of one day, or they may be obsessed with cleaning every inch of their home to ensure it is spotless and free of germs. OCD sufferers who hoard items are obsessed with making sure they keep everything they’ve ever owned, even if the item is worn out or useless. A person who hoards becomes emotionally attached to items, and the very thought of throwing things away can cause great distress.

Obsessions are images, ideas, and thoughts that simply will not go away. While it is not uncommon for individuals to have disturbing thoughts from time to time, a person with OCD cannot escape their thoughts no matter how hard they try. These recurring thoughts are so severe that they can debilitate someone with OCD.
Compulsions are behaviors that individuals with obsessions display in order to relieve themselves of their anxiety. With OCD, the compulsive behavior is directly related to the excessive thought. For example, someone who counts their money every hour may have an obsessive fear someone will steal it or they will lose it.
Obsessions Without Compulsions
There is not always a physical behavior associated with an obsession. If you constantly worry about or have obsessive thoughts about something you cannot control, such as the safety of a long-lost relative, you may feel a great deal of distress, but your doctor is unlikely to diagnose you with obsessive-compulsive disorder. There is generally some type of compulsive behavior that accompanies the obsession in individuals who receive this diagnosis.
 OCD is a disorder that is not yet fully understood. However, medical professionals believe there is a genetic component to this disease, as there is some research that has shown that this disorder has the tendency to run in families. This behavior can also be learned based on habits you may have developed during childhood or over a long period of time.
 The symptoms of OCD include both obsessive and compulsive behaviors. Signs of obsession include:
Repeated unwanted ideas
Fear of contamination
Aggressive impulses
Persistent sexual thoughts
Images of hurting someone you love
Thoughts that you might cause others harm
Thoughts that you might be harmed
Signs of compulsion include:
Constant checking
Constant counting
The repeated cleaning of one or more items
Repeatedly washing your hands
Constantly checking the stove or door locks
Arranging items to face a certain way
Emotional Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Sufferers of OCD are generally very anxious and emotional. They display many non-OCD symptoms, such as signs of depression, excessive worry, extreme tension, and the constant feeling that nothing is ever right.
Physical Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Aside from the obvious compulsive behaviors a person with OCD displays, there are no physical signs of this disorder; however, a person with OCD can develop physical problems. For example, a person with a germ obsession may wash their hands so much that the skin on them becomes red, raw and painful.
Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of OCD
A person with OCD may experience multiple short-term effects, including the inability to function as a contributing member of society, difficulties at school or work, or trouble maintaining friendships or romantic relationships. The long-term effects of OCD generally develop due to the poor quality of life that most extreme sufferers have. Long-term effects include depression, constant anxiety and an increased risk of substance abuse.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) features a pattern of unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.
You may try to ignore or stop your obsessions, but that only increases your distress and anxiety. Ultimately, you feel driven to perform compulsive acts to try to ease your stress. Despite efforts to ignore or get rid of bothersome thoughts or urges, they keep coming back. This leads to more ritualistic behavior — the vicious cycle of OCD.
OCD often centers around certain themes — for example, a fear of getting contaminated by germs. To ease your contamination fears, you may compulsively wash your hands until they're sore and chapped.
If you have OCD, you may be ashamed and embarrassed about the condition, but treatment can be effective.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder usually includes both obsessions and compulsions. But it's also possible to have only obsession symptoms or only compulsion symptoms. You may or may not realize that your obsessions and compulsions are excessive or unreasonable, but they take up a great deal of time and interfere with your daily routine and social or work functioning.

Obsession symptoms
OCD obsessions are repeated, persistent and unwanted thoughts, urges or images that are intrusive and cause distress or anxiety. You might try to ignore them or get rid of them by performing a compulsive behavior or ritual. These obsessions typically intrude when you're trying to think of or do other things.
Obsessions often have themes to them, such as:
Fear of contamination or dirt
Needing things orderly and symmetrical
Aggressive or horrific thoughts about harming yourself or others
Unwanted thoughts, including aggression, or sexual or religious subjects
Examples of obsession signs and symptoms include:
Fear of being contaminated by touching objects others have touched
Doubts that you've locked the door or turned off the stove
Intense stress when objects aren't orderly or facing a certain way
Images of hurting yourself or someone else that are unwanted and make you uncomfortable
Thoughts about shouting obscenities or acting inappropriately that are unwanted and make you uncomfortable
Avoidance of situations that can trigger obsessions, such as shaking hands
Distress about unpleasant sexual images repeating in your mind
Compulsion symptoms
OCD compulsions are repetitive behaviors that you feel driven to perform. These repetitive behaviors or mental acts are meant to prevent or reduce anxiety related to your obsessions or prevent something bad from happening. However, engaging in the compulsions brings no pleasure and may offer only a temporary relief from anxiety.
You may make up rules or rituals to follow that help control your anxiety when you're having obsessive thoughts. These compulsions are excessive and often are not realistically related to the problem they're intended to fix.
As with obsessions, compulsions typically have themes, such as:
Washing and cleaning
Following a strict routine
Demanding reassurances
Examples of compulsion signs and symptoms include:
Hand-washing until your skin becomes raw
Checking doors repeatedly to make sure they're locked
Checking the stove repeatedly to make sure it's off
Counting in certain patterns
Silently repeating a prayer, word or phrase
Arranging your canned goods to face the same way

Severity varies
OCD usually begins in the teen or young adult years. Symptoms usually begin gradually and tend to vary in severity throughout life. Symptoms generally worsen when you experience greater stress. OCD, usually considered a lifelong disorder, can have mild to moderate symptoms or be so severe and time-consuming that it becomes disabling.
When to see a doctor
There's a difference between being a perfectionist — someone who requires flawless results or performance, for example — and having OCD. OCD thoughts aren't simply excessive worries about real problems in your life or liking to have things clean or arranged in a specific way.
If your obsessions and compulsions are affecting your quality of life, see your doctor or mental health professional.

The cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder isn't fully understood. Main theories include:
Biology. OCD may be a result of changes in your body's own natural chemistry or brain functions.
Genetics. OCD may have a genetic component, but specific genes have yet to be identified.
Environment. Some environmental factors such as infections are suggested as a trigger for OCD, but more research is needed.
Risk factors
Factors that may increase the risk of developing or triggering obsessive-compulsive disorder include:
Family history. Having parents or other family members with the disorder can increase your risk of developing OCD.
Stressful life events. If you've experienced traumatic or stressful events, your risk may increase. This reaction may, for some reason, trigger the intrusive thoughts, rituals and emotional distress characteristic of OCD.
Other mental health disorders. OCD may be related to other mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorders, depression, substance abuse or tic disorders.

Problems resulting from OCD may include, among others:
Health issues, such as contact dermatitis from frequent hand-washing
Inability to attend work, school or social activities
Troubled relationships
Overall poor quality of life
Suicidal thoughts and behavior

There's no sure way to prevent obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, getting treatment as soon as possible may help prevent OCD from worsening and disrupting activities and your daily routine.

I am often asked about the connection between perfectionism and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It’s actually a fairly complex question and one that realistically this article will only be able to address on the surface.
This article isn’t meant to diagnose any mental conditions and isn’t an exhaustive study of OCD or any other mental health problem. If you are concerned that you may have a mental health problem, please consult your physician or a qualified mental health provider in your area.

Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder characterized by recurring and unwanted thoughts or images (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions).  For example, an obsession is repeated thoughts and worries about germs. And an associated compulsion is frequent hand washing and cleaning.
Obsessions create anxiety and an urgent need to do the compulsive behaviors. Those with OCD feel they must repetitively perform these compulsive behaviors or something bad will happen. The compulsions may temporarily relieve the anxiety, but it’s short lived leaving one in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. OCD can cause so much distress and consume so much time that it disables people from living full and productive lives.
Sometimes we all worry that we left the door unlocked and need to double check. OCD is more extreme. Someone with OCD might have obsessive thoughts that someone will break into her house and have a ritual of checking the lock five times before she can leave the house. In order to meet the criteria for OCD, the obsessions and compulsions must interfere with one’s life, take up at least an hour of time daily, and be uncontrollable.
Wanting things symmetrical and exact is a fairly common in OCD. Someone with OCD might compulsively organize, arrange, or match things. The objective is less about perfectionism than it is about repetitive behaviors done compulsively in an effort to reduce the obsessive, intrusive thoughts.

Understanding Perfectionism
The term perfectionism encompasses a broad scope of characteristics. It isn’t a diagnosable mental disorder. As such, it’s used loosely and without any real clinical criteria.
People with perfectionist traits tend to have extremely high standards for themselves and others. They are goal driven, workaholics, with exacting standards. Perfectionists crave order and predictability. They want things to be “just right” or they feel anxious. They are often highly stressed and feel anxious and tense.
Perfectionists can get hung up on the details, wasting time perfecting, practicing, and redoing work in a compulsive fashion.
A perfectionist might revise and rewrite an email to her boss several times before sending it. She might be washing and putting away the dishes (the “correct” way) while the rest of the family is enjoying watching a movie. Or she might frequently work late reworking the details of a business proposal, afraid of making a mistake and looking like a fool in front of her colleagues.
People with perfectionist traits can also be demanding and critical of others. They expect perfection from others as well as from themselves. Those close to them often feel like they can’t do anything right.
Perfectionism is driven by fears of displeasing others, being rejected, and criticized, and ultimately not feeling good enough. They seek validation through achieving goals and accolades.

Perfectionism and OCD
Some people with OCD identify as perfectionist as they have obsessions and compulsions about order and neatness, struggle to adjust to anything new, and feel tense and anxious. However, in my experience most people who identify as perfectionists do not meet the diagnostic criteria for OCD.
To complicate matters further, I’m going to suggest another possibility. Perfectionism probably has more in common with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder than with OCD.

Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) isn’t as widely known as OCD. And while the names of the disorders sound similar, they are actually quite different. OCPD is like extreme perfectionism with some additional symptoms and clinical criteria.
Personality disorders are another category of mental disorder. They’re long-standing and exist in multiple areas of life (at home, school, work, social situations). Personality disorders are characterized by ingrained behavior and thought patterns that don’t change over time or situations.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, OCPD is a “pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency, beginning by early adulthood…”[i] They fixate on order, details, lists, schedules, and rules to the extent that they miss the actual point of an activity. They’re rigid in areas of morals and values. They also have difficulty expressing affection and parting with money or possessions.
People with OCPD generally don’t see their perfectionism and rigidity as a problem. They see them as necessary and logical. Their perfectionism and difficulty delegating tends to impair their ability to complete tasks or projects. People with OCPD also have trouble relaxing and enjoying activities. Their anger and stubbornness often causes relationship problems.
If you’re a fan of the TV show The Big Bang Theory, the character of Sheldon Cooper may have come to mind as you read the description of OCPD. He seems to have a number of OCPD traits that make perfect sense to him, but annoy his friends because he’s so rigid.
Perfectionism is a component of OCPD. It can also be a component of OCD. However, both disorders encompass a variety of other symptoms and diagnostic criteria. It can be tempting to self-diagnose (or diagnose your friends and family members), but I encourage you to be assessed by a licensed mental health professional if you wonder whether you meet the criteria for either OCD or OCPD.”

Now back to my post. I thought the above articles very interesting and revealing about our Creator.

Does God obsessive about His Law? Yes, but in the right way. Isn’t He obsessively severe over the most minor infractions? Every detail of His kingdom He sees. His omniscience never misses a single atom or nucleic particle or sub-quark energy of His kingdom’s creation. He knows every single principle and sub-principle and sub-sub-sub-sub-principle of His kingdom’s Law of righteousness.

God is the ultimate perfectionist. He suffers over every possibility of imperfection. If an action, if a product, if a result, is to be a certain way, then it is wrong if they differ from that prescribed way.

My friend Ron is building his non-conventional house. For four years he has imagined and designed in his mind, and drawn up and worked out every detail on paper. He did his research for the best ideas; he looked for just the right companies. He ordered each individual part, picked out the quality materials, and gathered all the items himself. He has lived with his home while it was still in his mind. He has lived with his home before it was built, while it was still in pieces.

Long before I showed up he already had bought his prefab tool shed. He had already built his Quonset hut workshop for storing all his materials and one-day-to-be-installed cabinetry and appliances. He already poured his above ground concrete basement for his house and built above it the house’s single floor deck. Finally the time arrived to build the semi-circle roof. Then he asked me to help him construct it.

Everything is new to me, but I’m only seeing the fruition of an idea that existed in Ron’s mind long ago. It’s all new to me, but it’s not new to Ron. As it materializes he puts into operation every thought he has dreamed of for years. Every bolt, every board, every wedge, every nail, must go where he has always planned for them to go. Every nail must go in straight, ever space between staples must be exact. 1/16 of an inch off from his expectation feels like it is a mile out of spec. If the line must be drawn, he must make the line bold. It must be legible from outer space. He must take the time to mark the line three times to make sure no mistake will be made in the placement of the stud or in the edge that the saw will cut.

Ron agonizes over this project. Everything must be perfect; everything must be correct down to the last detail. If something needs to be square, don’t let it be skewed in the least. If the insulation should be cut perpendicular across the roll, then use a framing square and cut it exactly at 90 degrees across. Don’t just wing it! Speed? Work fast? Rushed work? No way! Speed isn’t part of his operating principle. Doing it right is his operating principle, even if it takes forever. If it isn’t done right, then what’s the sense in doing it at all. So do good work. Always. No excuses.

Yesterday I told him he reminded me of God. That was a compliment, and it was also true.

Is Ron obsessive? Is he oppressive? Or is he a perfectionist?

Is he compulsive, or is his work ethic beyond reproach?

When I have gone ahead of him because I believed he needed my better ideas, often I have caused damage to some minor object/material/expectation that I overlooked. Ron had already visited my ideas and saw their potential problems, but he couldn’t stop me in time before I made real problems out of potential ones. And oh, the heart-ache my oversight caused him. And then in my heart. I love my friend. He’s my brother and want to please him in everything. And beside that he is paying me. So, in all of his affliction I am afflicted. And the feeling is mutual. My afflictions are his afflictions. Because that is what love does.

I really appreciate that.

This house is a part of Ron. It hurts him and upsets him if his expectations don’t come to perfect fruition. He feels deeply with a less than perfect product. Whatever it is it must be perfect. Why? Because it will fall apart later if it isn’t perfect. Because it will look wrong every time he passes by and sees the imperfection. Because, even if it is not visible, he knows the imperfection exists and will never forget that it is there. Or because it’s just wrong to be imperfect. There are probably an infinite number of reasons everything must be perfect. All I know is that my friend grieves at the slightest infraction of perfection.

The house is himself. It is his second self. They are married, joined at the hip. It is just like a marriage of a man and a woman. “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.” (Eph. 5:28,29).

God’s church is His kingdom, His house, His sanctuary “of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” (Eph. 3:15). Like Ron, God’s kingdom of stars and nebulae, constellations and galaxies, galactic clusters and super-clusters, atoms and chemicals, amino acids and tissues, minds and souls of man and other mammals and non-mammals, are God’s second self. Any damage, any imperfections anywhere in His kingdom, even the slightest, “visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers” (Col. 1:16), cause Him infinite grief.

“In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” (Isa. 63:9).

He is crucified by what sin has done to this one planet, this dot, this dust speck in His cosmos. Like the minutest metal splinter in our flesh, like an invisible scratch on our eye, like the smallest internal scarring or tumor, like the obscure misconception in our mind or lack of love in our spirit, any or all of which cause our body pain galore and affects our whole lives, likewise the issues of sin and its destruction that exist in this one little world of sin has reeked unimaginable pain to the great Father. “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28). His kingdom is His second self, which He nourishes and cherishes.

“This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” (John 17:3). The eternal life that comes from knowing God isn’t a higher status in heaven as a reward for being loyal to God’s agenda. Rather, the eternal life that Jesus spoke of is the unending blessings of health and power that come with love. “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1Jn. 4:8). Love is the first principle of God’s obsession with justice. In the midst of God’s perfection and obsessions is His divine love that can be satisfied with His kingdom’s desire to be infinitely perfect as their Father is infinitely perfect. Yet, His love is tolerant toward the weakness of His children.

Why should not God be a perfectionist? If only we had the big picture as God sees it, which is far beyond our puny minds and our hardened hearts. If only we could fully sympathize with His burden. He has no one to fully understand His weighty duty except His Son.

His only Begotten is the miracle fruition of infinite perfection, the Father’s infinite obsession to righteousness. But, the miracle is that, out of the heart of Him who has ever been eternally burdened with an infinite obsession with justice, yet a “holy Thing” (Luke 1:35) would come forth with an infinite obsession with mercy. The Son was His Father’s second self, as Eve was to Adam; He was His Father’s perfect help meet. Eternally living under His Father’s burden, shielded from the infinite weight of keeping the universe incalculably tweaked and immaculate, while earnestly seeking with all of His divine heart and striving with all divine effort to please His Father, in every one of His creations which did infinitely please His Father, that His joy was the expression of His Father’s unspeakable, infinite burden.

“Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.” (Ps. 45:7).

The Son’s joy and every fruit from His Spirit shone forth like a white-hot neutron star. In the symbolism of the Bible the number seven represents perfect perfection and infinitude.

“And, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.
And He that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald….
And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” (Rev. 4:2,3,5).

The seven lamps of fire are the infinite brilliance of the pre-incarnate Son, Michael. His form, the fullness of His Father bodily, shone forth the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” (2Cor. 4:6). He was His Father’s thoughts made audible, His Father’s will made visible, His Father’s unspeakable burden expressed, the Father’s heart yearnings for righteousness made known. The beaming Son was the sealed, deepest things of His Father revealed.

The effect and product of the Father’s infinitely just demands, the only begotten Offspring was infinite joy. God’s dear Son was neutron star effulgent with loving-kindness and tender mercies, happiness and joy. Miracle? Impossible to beget Him who was the fullness of kindness bodily out of Him who was the fullness of demands bodily? Infinite mercy out of infinite justice? To us it seems miraculous. But, no doubt the Father’s mercy and kindness and joy were always hidden under His burdens associated with law enforcement and kingdom upkeep. As Judge of all the universe, as obsessive, unspeakable maintainer of immaculate perfection, His loving-kindness and joy could only be seen through His sole, divine Offspring. The One who alone dwelled in His bosom could alone express His peace and rest.

Then the rebellion arrived, sin came into existence, and, like our blood pressure going through the roof, the agonies in the Father sent Him into perfect silence and seclusion. The Son would no longer be shielded from the burdens of the kingdom. The great controversy in the kingdom would prove the Son’s ability to maintain the kingdom, punish the traitors, and organize damage control to minimize the losses. The Prince of heaven, Him who shone out in infinite joy would know the infinite burden-bearing of His Father, and that burden would veil the Son’s glory, such as the kingdom’s burdens had veiled His Father’s glory.

We see this outcome for Michael in Paul’s desire for the same, deepest of all experiences. “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” (Phil. 3:10).

The Son, who had sucked the “butter and honey” (Isa. 7:15) of mercy and joy “out of the flinty rock” (Deut. 32:13) of justice and pristine righteousness would succeed to conquer the enemies of His Father’s universe. He would don His garments of His Father’s vindication, and declare to sin and Satan, “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.” (Deut. 32:41,42). He would save the Law of the kingdom and its kingdom citizens, even sparing the redeemed genuine, honest, earnest, humbled kingdom citizens on cancerous Earth.

All heaven will forever proclaim, “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. 32:43).
“That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:7).

“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5:11-14).

Yes, God does obsess. He obsesses over His Law of justice.

But, He also obsesses over His obsession for justice. He obsesses against imbalance. He obsesses to maintain moderation. He perfectly discerns and judges the difference between balance and compromise, for His sake, for our sake, and for His kingdom’s sake. All under the Law of love.