TruthInvestigate

“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.

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.

http://behondocd.org/information-for-individuals/symptoms/need-for-perfection

“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.”


http://www.psychguides.com/guides/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-symptoms-causes-and-effects/

“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
Hoarding
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
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
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.


Overview
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.
Symptoms
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
Checking
Counting
Orderliness
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.

Causes
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.

Complications
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

Prevention
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.


https://blogs.psychcentral.com/imperfect/2016/06/whats-the-difference-between-ocd-and-perfectionism/

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.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The unpardonable sin of exceeding sinfulness

“For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. 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. 7:9-13).

Do you ever feel like you’ve committed the unpardonable sin? Have you done something that is so grievous that almighty God cannot forgive it?

It’s true, you have committed a sin that God cannot pardon, because He doesn’t pardon sin; He only forgives sinners. He cannot forgive sin because sin destroys you, and it killed Him, His precious Son, and His whole kingdom.

But, to all of us who have committed the unpardonable sin, there is hope. “Now the righteousness of God without [apart from, separate from] the law is manifested.” (Rom. 3:21).

This is a special kind of righteousness, “(being not without Law to God, but under the Law to Christ).” (1Cor. 9:21).

There are two laws—the law of justice, and the law of mercy. There is justice, God’s almighty power to destroy sin and, if we force Him to do so, to destroy even the precious, but treasonous, creatures of His making. But that is a “strange act” (Isa. 28:21) to God. He says, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” (Eze. 33:11).

And there is mercy, God’s almighty power to refrain from destroying sin and sinners. His name is a promise of grace. “And the LORD passed by before him [Moses], and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” (Ex. 34:6,7)

These are the two greatest powers of God.

“And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke Me? and how long will it be ere they believe Me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?
I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.
And Moses said unto the LORD, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for Thou broughtest up this people in Thy might from among them;)
And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that Thou LORD art among this people, that Thou LORD art seen face to face, and that Thy cloud standeth over them, and that Thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.
Now if Thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of Thee will speak, saying,
Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which He sware unto them, therefore He hath slain them in the wilderness.
And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as Thou hast spoken, saying,
The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
Pardon, I beseech Thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of Thy mercy, and as Thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” (Num. 14:11-19).

To God, the great Judge, both His powers of justice and mercy are equally valid, and eternally authoritative and enduring. Mercy has as much authority before God as justice has. But, that divine mercy is predicated on accepting His powerful gift of strong, humbled repentance. Then those who His powerful Presence has oppressed are worthy of His pardon! And no one else except the humbled oppressor is worthy of the Saviour’s loving intercession.

“While he [Peter, unadvisedly] yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.” (Matt. 17:5-8).

Even though Peter had butted in and bungled Jesus’ only opportunity to get relief from our world of sin and the blissful communion of Father and Son was shut down by Peter’s foolish words; even though it cost Him the comfort of beloved, fellow victors over sin; even though Christ’s gravely needed rejuvenation from His Father was interrupted and lost by Peter’s abominable act, once Peter’s folly was put down by the Almighty Spirit of God, it was Jesus’ pleasure to comfort and forgive His disciple who was humbled by the Father.

Are you oppressed by your abominable past? Have you caused Jesus infinite grief by your faultiness? Has it been long ages that you have pined away in sorrow and shame? Have you not been able to believe in the mercy of God and especially of His only begotten Child? Beloved brother or sister, you need to understand your Bible better. All the promises of God are a green light for everyone who hopes in His precious Son.

“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in Him was yea. For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2Cor. 1:19,20).

If you are hoping in the great, merciful Saviour, then believe that He accepts you. As we are, without fixing ourselves up, we all must come to the equally great, divine Little One of the great Judge, and His Little One will give us rest from our wicked past.

“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).

God the auspicious Schoolmaster, the Ancient of days, has put you under great conviction of exceedingly unpardonable sin. The great Father will “by no means [clear] the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.” The wrath of God is upon you. Now go to His Son’s evidences of divine, and let His authoritative mercy convince you of pardon through His propitiation.

“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isa. 53:5). Upon the dropping of His cross into its deep hole with His body nailed to it, His great first words were, “Father, forgive them.” (Luke 23:34).

It’s the fear of trusting in Christ’s life of service and self-sacrifice that keeps God from dispensing His Spirit to eternally bless you. Hoping in and depending on any other can never remove the “chastisement of our peace” from God, His wrath against our sins that He put “upon Him [Jesus]”. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). That Jesus was born and died by water and blood is the truth; His birth into the human race and His human death were real. We have a Mediator who can identify and sympathize with us. But, God will only give us the reprieve of His reconciling Spirit if we come to His sympathizing Son. If we don’t come to the lifeless body of Christ hanging from His cross then our wounds and bruises and stripes of mind and heart and conscience will never heal.

“This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.... If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of His Son.
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son.
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1Jn. 5:6,9-12).

If you still believe that your sins are unpardonable, then listen to Christ, our Maker and Intercessor before His Father.

“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.” (Luke 18:13,14).

The government thief went home forgiven. He had suffered long under the guilt of his crimes against God’s children, and he went home in a right standing before God and man. He was changed into a completely different person, a new creature in Christ, at peace with God, and in soundness of mind and body. This promise is for you and for all who have been pummeled by guilt and shame for days or weeks or months or years or decades. The tax collector had changed from his robbery of the people, and was content to live the meager life of the oppressed, instead of joining with the powerful oppressors. The more powerful Most High had caused his change of heart and he now had peace with the holy power of the Highest, and with His children.

“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:24-26).

“As your conscience has been quickened by the Holy Spirit, you have seen something of the evil of sin, of its power, its guilt, its woe; and you look upon it with abhorrence. You feel that sin has separated you from God, that you are in bondage to the power of evil. The more you struggle to escape, the more you realize your helplessness. Your motives are impure; your heart is unclean. You see that your life has been filled with selfishness and sin. You long to be forgiven, to be cleansed, to be set free. Harmony with God, likeness to Him—what can you do to obtain it? 
     It is peace that you need—Heaven’s forgiveness and peace and love in the soul. Money cannot buy it, intellect cannot procure it, wisdom cannot attain to it; you can never hope, by your own efforts, to secure it. But God offers it to you as a gift, ‘without money and without price.’ Isaiah 55:1. It is yours if you will but reach out your hand and grasp it. The Lord says, ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’ Isaiah 1:18. ‘A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.’ Ezekiel 36:26. 
     You have confessed your sins, and in heart put them away. You have resolved to give yourself to God. Now go to Him, and ask that He will wash away your sins and give you a new heart. Then believe that He does this because He has promised. This is the lesson which Jesus taught while He was on earth, that the gift which God promises us, we must believe we do receive, and it is ours. Jesus healed the people of their diseases when they had faith in His power; He helped them in the things which they could see, thus inspiring them with confidence in Him concerning things which they could not see—leading them to believe in His power to forgive sins. This He plainly stated in the healing of the man sick with palsy: ‘That ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith He to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.’ Matthew 9:6. So also John the evangelist says, speaking of the miracles of Christ, ‘These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.’ John 20:31.” Steps to Christ, p. 49.

The horrible grieving for your past foolishness and mistakes can have relief. Your Lord has sent you the necessary guilt and repentance, and now He sends you His embassage of grace and comfort. His warfare is over; it is finished.

“Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.” (Isa. 40:1,2).