“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, October 19, 2012

Hi C_____

  Elder Venden has said that keeping the law won’t save me but it will keep me out of jail. In other words, being a law abiding Christian may help me avoid the consequences of sin in this world but it doesn’t make me a child of God. This is an important understanding because the world is full of moral people who will lose out on eternity. The church is full of them also. The Latter Rain will reclaim many in the churches who believed that their moral, upstanding life equated to salvation and guaranteed acceptance with God. But many, very many will not want a kind of acceptance that calls for total surrender to God, down to the deepest issues of the heart. They will cling to an external religion only. That is acceptable to the world, which they love more than God.

 How does this relate to smoking and its cessation? To give up smoking, or surrendering the cigarette, is no different from surrendering any other sin—lying, cheating, not returning a tithe, etc.  It’s all sin. And to do like the world in making New Year resolutions or behavior modification or setting a drop dead date for cessation and taking a week’s running start to get the psychological momentum up for the misery involved in nicotine withdrawals, is all righteousness by works, that is,  righteousness by our own works. (Boy, I probably just blew a big hole in your plans.)

  Elder Venden didn’t say not to do what it takes to stay out of jail. And in your case I’m not telling you not to do whatever it takes to prevent lung cancer or emphysema. But, I will say that if the Holy Spirit, the power of the Highest hasn’t totally removed your desire to smoke, then you don’t have the true gift of God in that victory. And the true victory over sins will leave Jesus all through our thinking, perfusively thankful to Him who alone could do such a miracle as remove the desire. The soul will be running on a perpetual high. In new ways at each victory of His in us the Son of God will be born in us. “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luk. 1:35).

  Bear this in mind. It’s something to really think about and to pray about and to strive over. One of the reasons the Lord brought Israel into trouble so many times was to teach them about this thing of total dependence, which is so evasive to the sinner.

  “For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.
But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift.
One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee: till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill.
And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.
For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer thee.
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” (Isa. 30:15-21).

  This total surrender is not an easy thing to obtain. This is why so few are ever saved. But, the Lord has brought you out of much trouble and intends to continue that program for you. And He will do that through delivering you from the dangers of sin as you continue to keep close to Him and make yourself available to His Spirit. That is the key to true smoking cessation. In the meantime, you can try to stop and hold your breath for a month, drinking lots of water to flush out the nicotine, walking and willing yourself to stay away from those cancer sticks. I’m not stopping you from that because I don’t want you languishing in a hospital full of cancer or without the strength to breathe or the inability for your lungs to remove oxygen from the air and dying of oxygen deprivation.

  But, if that horror is what it would take for you to experience the deepest surrender to Jesus and pure trust in Him, such as happens when we are totally going under the waves and billows of death, I’d be the happiest.

  G____, my good friend in Georgia, a previous heavy smoker and drinker, ended up in our church because she saw her sister die of some gruesome disease. But at the last moment, just before passing away, her sister sat her devastated body up in bed, reached up her bony arms to heaven and cried out to the hospital room ceiling, “Jesus, I’m coming to you!” Her sister did what was impossible for her body to do, and that demonstration of faith glorified the Lord and blew my friend away. Like Saul of Tarsus after witnessing the total surrender of Stephen at his stoning, G_____ couldn’t shake that scene from your mind, and finally gave in to it.

  If you are too late to survive the consequences of sin and end up caught in the grip of a horrible cancer and you die of cancer, but your total helplessness has taught you total surrender, then you will die in perfect peace and your faith may save C____ and your mother and M___. This is what Christ went through on the cross, and why His Father had Him go through that experience. It is the very identical experience of all who come to Him. They must be at the very tipity-tip end of their own resources. They must know total and complete lack of self-controlled self-control. That’s what Jesus had on the cross, especially at the last moments as He sunk into shock and unconsciousness, but clinging to surrender to God and His love and righteousness. His Father had taken away from His Son the sense of His presence, which was everything—everything—to the Son of God. Secondarily, Christ’s love for humanity was uppermost in His being. His self was forgotten; no attention did Jesus place on His own survival or He would have called to His Father for the twelve legions of angels to come and take Him home.

  But He wanted to go through what we go through, to demonstrate for our sake that He personally knows what we go through. He also wanted us to know that He has always experienced the dying and death that it takes to bring us to surrender, even if we can’t conceive that His sorrow for the existence of sin and its oppression of His children has crucified Him and His Father since sin’s very inception. And our desperate reaching out to God in the darkness of sin and death He also experienced, not only at the pouring out of His soul when He offered Himself up, but throughout His life, every day the presence of sin reinforced His desperate connecting with His Father. What He had every day from His conception, we often only have a few times in life when we are in desperate circumstances. But as we look to the driven heart of Jesus to have intimate association with His Father, we are driven to have the same.

  Conversely, if we missed that total surrender and faith, even if we survived a cancer or successfully overcame the cancer stick by conventional human methods, we lost everything, everything. And this Satan is banking on. He knows the sinner’s drive to save self from death. And he knows that we will give up salvation for that. And in the tenuous reception of salvation, the devil uses many sidetracks to prevent any sinner from getting the gift of God. That gift comes through total surrender and trust, and even accepting a human method to overcome sin will usurp the work of God, in which He often uses through tragedy, to finally bring us to the real victory.

  Fight the good fight of faith, strive to get with Jesus for His total salvation package: His removal of the guilt of our sin, His power over our sin, and, one day, His removing us from the presence of sin; and don’t let anything, even modern humanistic behavior modification steal your salvation from you.

Love you, sister,


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